Theology

Snowy? Retreat

I’m anxious for the week to move along, as I’m attending our Knights of Columbus annual retreat this weekend.  Each year Fr. Foster Council 9518 of Ralston, NE hosts a retreat in the middle of winter at the  Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, IA.  The retreat center is a former Boy Scout Camp, and has been enhanced, expanded, and improved for many years under the direction of Fr. David Smith, SJ.  The center is owned and operated by the Jesuits of Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Our Council believes that the work we do must be grounded in a genuine spirituality.  The Knights of Columbus aren’t just do-gooders; they are Catholic gentlemen seeking to serve Christ among us in a variety of ways.  Find out more about the Knights of Columbus here.

I’ve attended the retreat for many years, and have always been delighted by the wildlife encountered during the weekend.  The main chapel, named after Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, features floor-to-ceiling windows along the south side.  I’ve yet to attend Mass there without seeing deer moving through the forest.  I’m hoping to encounter some this weekewinter-retreat1nd, too.

Retreats are important for anyone serious about the spiritual life.  It’s important for us to tithe some of our time each year to listen to the voice of the Lord, and to draw close to God in a pronounced and unhurried manner.

I remember being in Rome during the Jubilee (Holy) Year 2000 – signs were posted at all the basilicas reminding everyone (in multiple languages) that a pilgrimage is about an interior journey of the heart, not just a physical vacation of the body.

If you haven’t been on a retreat lately, take some time to schedule one right now.  It’s a New Year’s Resolution worth keeping.  If you’ve never been on a retreat, drop me a line for some suggestions, or contact your diocesan family life office.  They can share with you what is available in your area.

Please pray for me this weekend, I’ll be like a deer longing for running water . . .

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Categories: Jesuits, Saints, Theology | Tags: , | 3 Comments

O Antiphons – Messianic Titles

If we arrange the titles of the O Antiphons in reverse order, we receive a lovely message:  ero cras, Latin for “tomorrow, I will come.”  Take a look at the chart below:

MESSIANIC TITLES OF THE “O” ANTIPHONS

Date

Title

Language

Translation

Dec 17th

Sapientia

Latin

Wisdom

Dec 18th

Adonai

Hebrew

LORD

Dec 19th

Radix Jesse

Latin

Flower of Jesse

Dec 20th

Clavis David

Latin

Key of David

Dec 21st

Oriens

Latin

Radiant Dawn

Dec 22nd

Rex Gentium

Latin

King of Nations

Dec 23rd

Emmanuel

Hebrew

God-with-us

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(at right is shown the star marking the place in Bethlehem where Christ entered the world)

Tomorrow indeed our Lord comes to us.  He comes not as a conquering hero, but rather, as a vulnerable, darling child born in a cave.  Kept warm by the livestock that share their shelter with Him.  God has touched our world — and changed it forever.

Merry Christmas to all of you – please remember to keep the “Mass” in Christmas.  We’d love to celebrate this holy event with you at Mass.  God bless you who seek the one who comes.

Categories: Catechetics, Etymology, Theology | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

O Antiphons – Emmanuel – Dec 23

The final O antiphon appears tonight.  The title of our God that is truly remarkable:  God-with-us, or in Hebrew, Emmanuel.  How blessed we are that the Creator of everything chooses to become part of His creation; to enter into this world as one of us.

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

Blessed are we to have such a God!  How marvelous is our Lord Jesus who enters our world to save us!

It is only through love that our God comes to us as one of our own.  The creator becoming a creature is a truly humbling thing, if we spend a moment and think about that.

Any among you that have artistic talent can relate to how remarkable this is:  when you paint or sculpt or throw pottery do you ever wlionlamb1ish to that you could enter the piece?

Of course inanimate objects aren’t the same as people; but it gives us a glimpse into the love that is beyond our understanding that motivates our God to send his Son to us, to die for us, and to save us.

Blessed by the Lord, the God of Israel, He maintains all things and keep the world spinning at every moment.  Thank you for the gift of You!

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Tim LaHaye missed Mass today

Today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – and it’s a shame that Tim LaHaye wasn’t with me at Mass this morning.

You see, in the Epistle we hear St. Paul using the very language that LaHaye and his followers base their “rapture” theology on:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 italics mine)



But the solution to all of this rapture talk is foun in the words of Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel reading for today:

Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:10-13 italics mine)



Throughout the Gospels we hear the words of our Lord consistently urging us to be on guard, to be prepared for we know not when He will come again.

But the success of LaHaye’s Left Behind series shows that so many Christians do NOT heed these words of Jesus. They prefer to look for signs and clues – both in Sacred Scripture and in other places as well.

Tomorrow is promised to no one, folks – it’s as clear as that. Live each day of your life expecting and desiring that our Lord would return. Instead of waiting for the Kingdom – make it present by doing what Jesus commanded of you: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick & imprisoned.

Who wants to be a foolish virgin when the bridegroom arrives? Or worse yet, who wants to be a goat when they are separated from the sheep?

God bless you all that serve our Lord faithfully, diligently and quietly. Your reward in heaven will be great.


Categories: Catechetics, Homiletics, Theology | Leave a comment

What’s in a name?

Rev. Mr. Chris

The title of this blog is a nod to two (or would it be three?) converging presences in my life:

  1. My two older brothers, Rick & Larry gave me the nick-name “Mr. Chris” many years ago.
  2. The honorific for a deacon is “Rev. Mr. ___________”

So, upon completing my diaconate formation and receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders, my family and close friends simply extended the nick-name to “Rev. Mr. Chris.”

Here’s my favorite photo of the day I went from Mr. Chris to Rev. Mr. Chris:

Categories: Etymology, Theology | Leave a comment

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