Thursday, September 29, 2011

St. Michael the Archangel Feast Day (of Course Along with Gabriel and Raphael)

Revelation 12:7-12
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.
St. Michael the Archangel outside the shrine in Italy
  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
  and the Kingdom of our God
  and the authority of his Anointed.
  For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
  who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
  and by the word of their testimony;
  love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
  and you who dwell in them.”

It is no surprise that St. Michael the Archangel is the patron of this blog.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Michael.  It played on the story of the Archangel Michael returning to Earth and doing some good.  It was a fun movie.
There was a phrase that Michael would use over and over--"Battle"
He reduced a bank to rubble, cleared out a bar, and even took on a bull.

Praylium the blog is a play on the Latin word--praelium which means battle.

There is always a battle for your soul.  There is no other way to share this spiritual truth.
It's difficult to keep at it though isn't it?
Evil and the demonic constantly comes at us.
It somehow awakens in us our fallen tendencies of pride and anger and lust and sloth and gluttony--it builds on these.  In fact it is counting on us cooperating with it.
And then when we do--it darkens another part of our soul.

Go to Confession.
Receive Eucharist.
Pray the Rosary today--pray it with St. Michael--
Read Scripture and know that the story is one the end God wins.  The question is--are you doing the work to be on the winning side?

Click on the picture of St. Michael on the right and say the prayer--

St. Michael the Archangel...defend us...pray for us.

Here is some interesting stuff--St. Michael

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Caution--Depression Ahead


This morning I came across a line in my son's church history book (Story of the Church, Tan Publishers) that addressed the church's need of reform during the time of St. Boniface (680-755 AD).  There existed not only corrupt pagans and political forces but bishops, priests, and religious.  It was ugly.  Of course we live in a different time today right?

Here are my mental notes from this morning...

Church is corrupted--which at first is very well disguised.
Holy person leads reform of the church or religious order or diocese.
Demonic eventually enters--which at first is very well disguised.
Holy person usually martyred.
Demonic does it's best to kill the reform and re-corrupt--which at first is very well disguised.
New holy person is born--leads new reform---demonic re-enters---
and so on and so on and so on.

The battle seems to never end--

Come to think of it--the above cycle is a little like the spiritual life and confession, no?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Standing at the Top of the Slippery Slope

So an elderly priest from Canada spoke his heart and was silenced.
The diocese played the "we need to love everyone card" -- which translated to diocesan garble means--"don't offend any one and please be politically correct."
It smacks of relativism and if you follow the reasoning of the diocesan spokesperson--we end up with no absolute truths--a slippery slope.  But how can you argue with a diocesan spokesperson who says "we are all loved unconditionally...."?
You can't--
But, by taking that position the church hung the elderly priest out to dry and aligned itself with moral relativism.  Bad form.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Excuse me...NGSR

When I was a young seminarian we would attend evening prayer and Mass with the monks.
So, for the first part of the Mass we would chant the psalmody.  It usually was a beautiful experience.
On one such evening I had a monk sitting to my right.
He thought it best to change every gender identifying pronoun to a non-specific non-gender pronoun.
So every time God was referenced in the psalm as He--it became God, or Lord, or Creator (but too many syllables would not flow--you get the aural picture).
Every psalm.
Every messed up syllable.
Every blessed pronoun.

Yeh, good prayer.

Later that week someone in seminary referred to the Trinity as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
Okay...I get it.  I know the arguments from all sides and all genders (only two genders right??)

Yesterday at Mass my wife had a non-gender-specific responder or (NGSR's) as I am now officially coining the phrase--post this and tweet it from the blogosphere
Now parishes will have to post on their bulletins and pages and promotions if they are NGSR.

Anyways this woman was next to my wife at Mass.
I think she was a nun.

In the old days you knew of a women religious by their garb---now you know them by their response at Mass.

I know, in the greater scheme it is no big deal.  In fact if I was the therapist for this rant I would laugh and tell myself to chill.
It just gets old. Why does someone need to pointedly not respond the way the community is responding?
Is it really about praising God the Father? (excuse me--God the Creator)--or is it more about simply drawing attention to one's own relationship with Christ? (excuse me--Redeemer --cause the descriptor 'redeemer' is so much more personal to me).

When I didn't want to live and play by the rules--I left--(canonically we call it excommunicated.) BUT when I returned (by the Grace of God) I understood one thing--I had to leave my agendas and baggage and crap at the door--(and believe me I had some crap)--but nothing that a letter from the Pope couldn't clear up.

My point?--NGSR is inherently flawed.
They need to stop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pride and Money and Bishops and Priests

Looks like the demons are raising their ugly heads.
There is a story in the church about a pro life priest and a bishop.
The priest is being called back to the diocese by the bishop.  He isn't suspended or anything, just called back, plucked out of his pro-live apostolate.
I think the priest is ticked.  He played his hand to the media early and basically said that the old bishop understood, but this new guy...well it just isn't working out, so he's going to find some other place to 'be a priest'.

You can search the internet for all the takes on the story--from the financial concerns to the ministerial.  I won't plague you with all of that here.

But, from a praylium perspective--the whole entire thing just smells bad--the demonic has taken up residence.

Pride and ego and money are in the mix, actually ALOT of money.  Now don't jump to conclusions but between you and who has it....are you surprised?  Really?

Money (or lack of it) and entitlement go hand in hand.
If a person has money and wants for nothing--they live in the world of entitlement.
And, the opposite is also true--I found as a therapist that many people who were 'playing the social system' felt entitled to do whatever, whenever, to whomever, because they had nothing and something was 'owed' to them.
And, if that isn't enough there's more to this web of entitlement--if a person is jealous or envious of another's money, they may begin to believe that that are somehow entitled to have a piece of it.
In all three scenarios the behavior of the 'entitled' is selfish, obnoxious, and maybe even abusive and violent.   Clericalism really is entitlement with robes.

So, money and entitlement, and power and authority--good mix for satan.
By the way, the priest is appealing to Rome.  He really really doesn't want to go back with this bishop.  Do you think he has any connections in Rome?

Who has the bigger 'connections' the bishop or the priest?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A little story about Real Presence

A long time ago in an Episcopal Diocese far far away a Bishop lead an Episcopal priest to a parish with the request that he get them back on track with the Book of Common Prayer and celebrating Holy Eucharist.

The priest tried and failed.  People got angry at the priest and his family.  They threw stuff like gossip and opinions at them.  Eucharist was not to become the center and the priest couldn't do what the Bishop wanted.
The Blessed Virgin Mary intervened and took the Episcopal priest and his family away and has taken care of them ever since.

As the years progressed a few more rectors attempted to lead the congregation but did not stay.

Still, when the moon is full and that old congregation awakens its' inner tumultuous past--the name of that priest, and perhaps even his family, now three times removed from the rectorship-- is whispered and even published as one of the  'aborted rectorships'
Why do they need to keep bringing it up?

It must have something to do with Eucharist.
Pope Benedict Eucharistic Adoration
photo from St. Anne's parish
It has to have something to do with Eucharist.

Moral of the story:  Real Presence--what are you doing with it?

Interested in a little more on Real Presence?

The best thing to do--is go and sit and kneel and stand and whatever you need to do--before the Blessed Sacrament.  And if you can't make a visit today--then do it in your right now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Football Season

My lovely wife and I attended a high school football game this past Friday night.

Here is what I thought.

Stadiums are planned, contracted, politicized, and built. Turf is grown, mowed, fertilized, or maybe installed, and painted. Goal posts are set. Lights are replaced. Electricity and PA systems are installed. Plumbing and water and sewage is set. Landscaping and trees and flags are readied. Buses pull up--teams dressed in colors and equipment are unloaded. Special shoes and gear and helmets and pads. Bands unload--instruments and music and pit crews and uniforms are all readied. Bus drivers park and sit and wait. Cheerleaders practice their routines. Concession stands are stocked and selling. Parents and fans arrive and begin to take their seats.
All this on opening night-- and not just for the two schools I was watching.
And, weeks before the teams and bands and coaches and parents and families all put in thousands of collective hours and made thousands of different sacrifices and changes in schedules--and not just for the two schools I was watching.

Multiply the above by hundreds and hundreds. Then escalate it into the college and pro ranks....
Then add more money...

All this so--a ball can cross over a goal line?

If only we put as much energy into spending time with our God.

I enjoy the competition and I love the music. I'm not out to stop it.
I was just thinking--what if the approach to our relationship with God even hinted at the hours of preparation, stamina, discipline, and energy?

What would happen if we held band camps and football camps and spring trainings for our souls?
Days of confession and purifying and stretching and praying and receiving Holy Eucharist?

satan wants us to just 'get' by and we fool ourselves thinking that an occasional Our Father and sitting in a pew for an hour is enough.

We put more work into getting that ball across the goal line--for a fleeting moment that really has nothing to do with our salvation.

I ought to conclude at this moment and not even get into the realm of sports in Catholic schools.
Actually there isn't any discussion since Jesus gets cut from the roster every year.

He's the first to go--making way for a brand of elite and entitled sports programs that are 'catholic' in name only--many of them dictating school and parish resources and agendas.

Right--I'm not going to discuss that.

Just Do It.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If a soul kneels to receive and there is no archbishop to see does it matter to God?

**Warning--rant ahead**

So an Archbishop in Scotland has told his 'flock' to stop kneeling for the reception of Holy Communion.

Give me a break.  Really?
If someone kneels--they are what?--drawing attention to themselves?  Maybe.  Or maybe they have an agenda?  Or maybe they just want to have a moment with Christ?
Does it really matter?

Haven't you ever been brought to your knees?
Hasn't it ever hit you what miracle you just received?
Not that it's every time--but occasionally doesn't it just knock you down?
----off your high horse?

What's the big deal if a person approaches God that way?

We've focused so much on the 'gathering of the assembly as the Body of Christ'--that we've lost the reason why we are gathering.
Maybe a little kneeling would help slow us down and not be concerned about the constraints.

Maybe more people who are confecting and distributing Eucharist ought to kneel.

I have heard the argument that standing in western culture is a sign of respect.  I've heard the argument that we are an "Easter" people standing in the midst of the Resurrected Christ present before us.  Yep, I've heard them--and I've stood.  I'm just saying a little kneeling when the Spirit so moves is not a bad thing.

What is the greater issue is that an Archbishop has decided that people must conform to his liturgical mandate.  Really?  Everything else must be going pretty well in his diocese for this to become the focus of the latest liturgical energy.

Now, this blog entry is on the heels of a rather disheartening experience of Eucharist an Episcopal church (remember Jesus in the plastic baggie) -but in all fairness I want to share the following.
One of my holdovers from my Episcopal priest days was the altar rail--There was something humbling about the whole action.
The priest and chalice bearer would distribute Holy Communion from behind the altar rail.  Contrary to popular belief it was still very efficient and you didn't feel like cattle being lead to milking.  And, if you don't want to kneel, then don't--it was never and issue.
One day I stood waiting for an elderly gentleman who was having difficulty kneeling down.  At first I grew impatient and thought "Why doesn't he just stand?"

My heart was opened as I watched him humbly kneel and hold out his worn arthritic hands to receive his savior.  He looked at the Host as I held it, "The Body of Christ."
"Amen" --his eyes welling with tears.