Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Annunciation

John William Waterhouse: The Annunciation - 1914

Today is the celebration of the Annunciation of Mary. This event, which celebrates the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. The timing of this celebration is another reason why I love my Catholic faith. Today is exactly nine (9) months before Christmas. This tradition of reminding us, during the year, of important events in human terms makes the reality of the event so real. This celebration is also a reminder of two important facts. First, that for God all things are possible and second, Mary's "yes" changed the world.

I have spoken to many protestants who discount Mary's active participation in this event, and suggest the incarnation would have occurred anyway. However, this proposition discounts "free will". Mary had to accept the words of the angel in order for the event to take place. That is one of the many reasons we Catholics venerate Mary as we do. She is a role model for all of us. We must all say "yes".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This will be a difficult day. The Holy Spirit family is burying a graduate from the class of 2007. He was the only son of two wonderful people. I cannot image the grief that they are feeling right now.

May Charles rest in peace and I pray that the Lord give me an inner ear to provide whatever support I can to those I encounter today.

Monday, March 9, 2009

We had confirmation at St Thomas the Apostle yesterday and a total of 65 young adults came into full communion with the Church. The Archbishop, as usual, did a great job and engaged each of the confirmadi during the service. Many of them were quite nervous because he does ask questions.

I love these services because we come together as a community and at St Thomas, we have a very diverse community - Black, White, Asian, African, Central American, South American, European and just plain old Americans (I include the Canadians in this category). When I see this gathering, I really believe that we are seeing what Heaven will be like and that our local Church represents that diversity. It makes me very proud.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CANCER: These dreaded words pierce the hearts of people on a daily basis. The shock is more profound because we think that this happens to other people.

This news has now been heard by a dear friend, mentor and spiritual director. He is a man of great energy and insight. I knew something was up because he missed my institution as a Reader and when he said Mass on Ash Wednesday. He was not himself and it was clear his heart was pointed inward. At Mass on Sunday, he announced to the laity that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. There was a collective sigh in the room. After Mass, many people stayed in the church in silent prayer.

This Lent will have a new meaning. To learn more about empathy and how to minister to those around you who your need prayers and support. Especially those who we have leaned on in the past. Its time to return the favor.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


We had a fascinating class in Patristics yesterday (and we did not talk about the Church Fathers). Fr John brought in two Icons from his Church (St Johns Malachite) in Atlanta. The entire discussion was on the History of Icons, and the Liturgy of the Icon. Some interesting facts include:

  1. The first Icon was made by Christ during his passion (image on Veronica's cloth);
  2. Veronica's name means "true image"
  3. Icons are not painted but written (tells a story);
  4. All aspects of an Icon has meaning (colors, etc.)
  5. Red represents divinity, blue humanity,
  6. The Virgin is never alone in an Icon (she always points to Christ)
  7. Christ is always spelling his name with his right hand and hold scripture with the other.
Today is an important day in the eastern churches because today they remember the heresy against Icons (Iconoclasm) in the 6th Century lead by Emperor Leo III.

There are many artists who draw icon type figures but they are not true Icons. For example, in an Icon Christ is always dressed in a red tunic and a blue cover (Jesus' nature is divine and He put on humanity). Icons of the Virgin are the opposite with blue tunic and red cover (Her human nature, which became divine).

You can find out more here: