December 8, 2013
Second Sunday of Advent, 2013
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah,from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,whose origin is from of old,from ancient days. (Micah 5:2)
And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’ (Matthew 2:6)
The solemnity of the moment calls for the place’s full title: Bethlehem, of (the district of) Ephrata, of Judah; to add ‘Ephrata’ and ‘Judah’ was immemorial when speaking of Bethlehem. All texts and versions read Bethlehem, though LXX (The Septuagint) adds ‘house of’ before Ephrata—an insertion found elsewhere in the Greek. Thus this striking prophecy is as well-established as it is definite. Bethlehem means ‘House of Bread’ and Ephrata, ‘Fruitful’.
–K. Smyth, “Micheas,” in A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. Bernard Orchard and Edmund F. Sutcliffe (Toronto;New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1953), Page 674.
My notes: Micah is a prophet that lives after Isaiah, perhaps 725 B.C.
December 6, 2013
Lord whatever you give me is too little for me.
Be Yourself my inheritance!
I love you without reserve: with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind.
Of what value is anything You give me that is not Yourself!
–St. Augustine Sermon 334, 3
Augustinian spirituality is Christocentric, which means putting the person of Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. This prayer is a perfect example of this.
December 1, 2013
First Sunday of Advent, 2013
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”(which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)
But who shall say that Christ and Christians have no connection with Israel, seeing that Israel was the grandson of Abraham, to whom first, as afterwards to his son Isaac, and then to his grandson Israel himself, that promise was given, which I have already mentioned, namely: “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed”? That prediction we see now in its fulfillment in Christ. For it was of this line that the Virgin was born, concerning whom a prophet of the people of Israel and of the God of Israel sang in these terms: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; and they shall call His name Emmanuel.” For by interpretation, Emmanuel means, “God with us.” — St. Augustine, Homilies on the Gospels
First, the prophecy of Isaiah takes place about 750 years before the birth of Jesus. Second, the important point that St. Augustine makes is that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the Covenant The Lord made with Abraham, a Covenant that took 1,900 years to be fulfilled: “and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:18)
November 29, 2013
Quick Book Review
- “Prayer” by Pope Benedict XVI
- Published by Our Sunday Visitor, 2013
- ISBN 978-1-61278-709-1
To explain this book I will just repeat the Editor’s note:
“The material in this book is derived from catecheses given by Pope Benedict XVI during his weekly audiences from May 4, 2011, to October 3, 2012. The texts have been edited slightly to facilitate presentation in book form. The date each address was presented is annotated in the footnotes.”
This book contains 45 chapters from 45 weekly lessons from Pope Benedict. It is a priceless treasure for learning about prayer from one of the greatest theologians of our time.
November 27, 2013
Man bears within him a thirst for the infinite, a longing for eternity, a quest for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and for truth that impel him towards the Absolute; man bears within him the desire for God. And man knows, in a certain way that he can turn to God, he knows he can pray to him.
– Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, May 11,2011
November 23, 2013
The human being of all times prays because he cannot fail to wonder about the meaning of his life, which remains obscure and discomforting if it is not put in relation to the mystery of god and his plan for the world.
– Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, May 4, 2011
November 15, 2013
… they lifted their voices together to God and said,
“Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, your servant, did say by the Holy Spirit, `Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’
– for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, who you did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
And now, Lord, look upon their threats,
and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness,
while you stretch out your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken;
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
(Acts of the Apostles 6:24-31)
The context for this passage is that the Apostles had been arrested by the Jewish authorities for preaching about Jesus. After being released from jail and warned not to preach any more about Jesus, they decide that they need to continue and even increase their preaching, and so they pray for boldness. This passage shows us two things: 1) that in today’s secular society we look to the example of the Apostles for inspiration on how to act/how to evangelize, 2) we need to pray like the Apostles prayed. What they prayed for (boldness) and how they prayed (the room shook) are both important.