Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost, 2009

"When the Most High descended and confused tongues, he scattered the peoples, but when he divided the tongues of fire, he called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, let us praise the Most Holy Spirit." - Kontakion for Pentecost (Tone 8), Byzantine Rite

The coming of the Holy Spirit heals the divisions of the Tower of Babel, not by returning all of humanity to the use of one language, but by empowering the Apostles (and their successors) to proclaim one gospel, one message of good news for all people everywhere and for all time, regardless of the language they speak. This is the first and primary meaning and purpose of the "gift of tongues". Ecstatic prayer, while possible, is secondary.

Fr. Hosea has a Pentecost homily by Metropolitan John of Pergamum, formerly known as John Zizioulas, the author of Being as Communion.

"Come Holy Spirit! Sanctify our Lives!"

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Prayer for Priests

(Phiro tip to Philip Gerard Johnson)

"O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests, for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for Your lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.

"But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priest at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen".

"For all the clergy and all the faithful, that their prayers may be a stronghold for us, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie Eleison" - West Syriac Rite, ACCA use.

Please keep all bishops, priests, and deacons in your prayers, especially me, the most unworthy priest Gregory.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fr. Joseph on the Ascension

Today, the Byzantine Orthodox celebrate the Ascension. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, whose tone, but not faith, differs markedly from Fr. Stephen's, has a post:

"Ixnay on XB! (With a Shout!)"

Come Holy Spirit!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kenosis in the Life of the Trinity the basis of everything else, including ecclesiology.

Mother Clement and I were discussing this just last evening...

"The Church and the Cross"

Some have posited that the kenosis, the self-emptying, spoken of Philippians 2:7 means that Christ, in becoming human, somehow set aside his Deity. No, not at all; rather, the Divine Nature itself is inherently kenotic: "God IS love".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ascension of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ

As recorded in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles:

"In the first book [the Gospel of Luke], O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away..." (Acts 1:1-12, RSV)
The Ascension, then, sets the stage for Pentecost. It also completes the Incarnation, the process by which humanity is united with Deity, the Deity of God the Son; God and humanity are forever joined. It but remains for that unity to be actualized in the lives of Jesus' followers by the "baptism in the Holy Spirit".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Death of a Reporter

Growing up in NE Montana, the Billings Gazette was a daily read. Now, I read it online (especially the obituaries). Today's edition brings news of the passing of a legend in Montana print journalism: Addison Bragg, who for many years wrote a daily column for the paper. He was 90.

"Addison Bragg"

Another Great Post from Fr. Stephen

Everything that OCA priest Fr. Stephen Freeman writes is good; however, some of his posts are especially worthy of mention. In this category of superb writing from Fr. Stephen is the following, concerning the relationship between the Saints and those of us who remain on earth. Truly, the Church is one!

"The Communion of Saints"

"Through the prayers of our Most Holy, Most Pure,Most Glorious and Blessed Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for Thou, O Lord, art good and lovest humanity".

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 2: A modern "Mother of the Faith"

"WE OFFER this incense unto Thee [O Lord] as did Aaron the priest, who burned incense before Thee in the tabernacle and thus withheld the plague from Thy people, Israel. Thus do we commemorate Mary, the Holy Ever-Virgin Mother of God, the prophets and apostles, the righteous and just, the martyrs and confessors and all the Orthodox fathers and mothers of the Faith, the orphans and widows, the distressed and afflicted, the sick and oppressed and all who have asked for our prayers unto Thee, O Lord, and to † Thy Father and Thy Living Holy Spirit in both worlds unto the Aeon of aeons. Amen." (Offering of Incense, Holy Qurbana, West Syriac Rite, ACCA use)

"Blessed Matrona of Moscow" ora pro nobis

Friday, May 1, 2009

For One College Student, Finals are Over...(Updated)

And that student is our dear daughter. One year down, two years to go! (Before graduate school.)

"On a slightly more personal, and longer, note"

(Even though she is a Junior, Cary will apparently have to spend two more academic years at Loyola in order to complete her Environmental Science major and English Literature minor.)

May 1: St. Joseph the Worker, International Workers' Day

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.

Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you. (James 5:1-6, RSV)