Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reconciliation

I just read the post Ego Te Absolvo on the blog Fioretta (http://flowersofstfrancis.blogspot.com/2006/11/ego-te-absolvo.htm) about being forgiven and accepting it.

Something I heard in my sacramental theology class, which has thrown a different light for me on the sacrament of reconciliation is that the difference between the protestant notion of forgiveness and the Catholic notion of forgiveness is like the difference between a murderer being saved from punishment but still being a murderer and a murderer being saved from punishment and even being given the dignity of a king. Our professor said that for the reformers such as Luther, forgiveness just obtained a stay of the punishment, yet the sinner is still a wretch, while the Catholic notion of "remission of sin" not only includes not being punished but even being restored to the state before having commited the sin. I couldn't help but think about the parabel of the merciful Father (Luke 15) where the Father restores the prodigal son to his status of son. It's a completely different concept and maybe can help us understand better what we believe happens in reconciliation.

In the prayer for the sacrament we hear "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen"

After what my professor said, I can't help but make a connection with the role of the Holy Spirit in the forgiveness of sins and in making us children of Godcalling out "Abba, Father." It makes sense that it would happen at the same time, I just never thought of it that way before.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Or Is It Three Romes?



Or maybe the number of Rome's is three? I guess if we were to ask the Russian Orthodox, who have been building this church near the Russian Embassy here in Rome (I can see the golden onion dome from the top of the steps near my friary as I walk to the bus stop every morning), they might respond differently, that there are three Rome's, the Catholic Rome, the secular Rome, and the Orthodox Rome - Moscow of course. Let me explain. Rome was the capital of the Roman empire until Constantine moved the capital to Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople. It also assumed the nick name "the second Rome." Because it was the administrative capital of the eastern empire, an empire that was Christian, the patriarch of Constantinople assumed a certain respect among the eastern Christians. When Constantinople fell in 1453, Moscow, which had become its own patriarchate in 1448 (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Church_of_Russia), was considered by the Russian Orthodox as the third Rome, taking over the leadership of orthodoxy after the fall of Constantinople. Well, I don't agree since the first Rome was still the most important see and patriarchate, but I'm still glad to have the Russian Orthodox in the neighborhood, even if I joke with my OCA seminarian friend saying "there goes the neighborhood." I can't wait to see the church completed. I just hope they don't work on Roman time.

The Two Romes


Most every time one sees a picture of St. Peter's, it is normally fromt he front with Via della Conciliazione and the colonnade, placing it in a context that seems to say that St. Peter's is surrounded by other Christian works of art. While walking, I saw this view of St. Peter's and thought the contrast to be interesting. To me this shot expresses the idea that there are two Romes, the Christian Rome, which is the capital of Catholicism, and the secular Rome, which is a city in a Europe slowly forgetting its Christian roots.

Angelus


I was in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday the 19th, when what should I see during the Angelus but the mega-screens displaying the words of the Angelus in Latin. I pretty much have the hang of the Angelus in Latin by now, but I always get hung up on "ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi" (that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ) So I was glad to be able to read the response in Latin instead of just saying it to myself in English. Thank you, Benedict!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thought for the Day

"Do this in memory of me"... These words of Jesus from the gospel are the source of our coming together to celebrate the eucharist. But how can I apply them also in my daily life? Do I think of my daily prayers as a chore? What happens when I do these prayers in memory of Him? Is it difficult to relate to others or to be open to others? What happens when I live my relationship in memory of Him?

I kind of have a scientific bent to my way of thinking and am very interested to know how these little "experiments" will turn out. I can't help but thinking that if I do everything in memory of Jesus then I will make Him the center of my life and look to do His will.

I was also reading a section from Pastores Dabo Vobis today, and I can't help but think that living this way in memory of Jesus is to enter into His "Today," which John Paul speaks about... the "today" of the new and everlasting covenant, the day of salvation, the appropriate time, the moment when the time is fulfilled and the kingdom at hand, the "day" the Lord has made, the "today" for listening to the voice of the Lord, the "today" of Jesus Christ's eternal action of salvation, which will not change and which will ever continue to seek out souls to accept His Kingship and to accept His love... The "today" whereby salvation comes even to our homes, the intimate recesses of our very lives.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Poem: Discourse of a soul with God

O God of Love, O Father most tender,

Look down upon me in mercy a sinner,

Help me to open up to your Spirit,

So that guided by You, I might gain true merit.

O son of mine, I love you dear.

And wish thatyou my voice would hear

My life to you I wish to give

To heal and help you to truly live

This news, O Father, does make me thirst,

For that love you give to me in Christ

Break with your grace this heart of stone,

And bring me back to my true home.

Peace, be still, o son of mine.

For in your darkness my light will shine.

You need not fret, you need not run.

For freely do I make you my son.

What, O Father, can I give for this gift,

I'll give you my all with nothing left,

Or a prayer of thanks I will first give

You name it, anything, just give me life.

O son of mine what could you pay.

For the gift of love I give this Day

My Son I give upon the cross

With a gift like this all else seems loss.

Loss? O lost I feel, O God!

Within myself I see no good,

Why, O how could you then give,

This precious grace, this new life.

Shalom, my son and do not fear.

Your cries, your prayers I always hear.

I wait, I wait to hear you say

You'll let me love you, that you'll give way.

Stop, o how, your love to win?

A way, away, I have to find.

No - what - oh - my - yes.

Your grace! What mystery!

Now, my son, do you now see?

My grace has been and will always be

With you so that you might accept

My one command, my true precept.

My love is free. I give it to you.

That you may love and give it too.

That you may taste my love, my life.

And have my peace amidst all strife.

Do not fear and do not run

I love you and want you as my son

Receive my life, receive my love.

Do not fear, there is enough.

Thank you, O Father, for your love for us

For the gift you gave us in Christ Jesus.

And for the Holy Spirit, who as guide

Helps us to walk to reach your side

To arrive one day with you in heaven

To praise you forever and ever. Amen.