Tuesday, January 06, 2015


The kings of Tharsis and of the isles shall give presents; the kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts.  And all the kings of the earth shall worship him; all nations shall do him service.

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead.  Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who  lives and reigns with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

Arise and shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come,   And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Sermon of Pope Saint Leo on Epiphany

Dearly beloved, rejoice in the Lord; and again I say, rejoice.  Only a few days are past since the Solemnity of Christ's Nativity, and now the glorious light of the Epiphany is breaking upon us.  On that day the Virgin brought him forth, and on this he was made known to the world.  For the Word-made-Flesh was pleased to reveal himself by degrees to those unto whom he had come.  When Jesus was born, he was first manifested to the believing, but hidden from his enemies.  However, the heavens declared the glory of God and their sound went out into all lands, namely, when the herald-Angels appeared to tell the shepherds the glad tidings of a Saviour's birth.  And now the guiding star leadeth the Wise Men to worship him, that from the rising of the sun, even unto the going down thereof, the birth of the true King may be known abroad; that through those Wise Men the kingdoms of the East might learn the great truth, and the Roman empire remain no more in darkness.

The very cruelty of Herod, when he strove to put an end to the new-born King whom he feared, was made an unwitting means to further this new dispensation of mercy.  For the tyrant was so intent on his horrid crime of slaying the little Child, that he did not perceive how his indiscriminate slaughter of the Innocents would serve to spread wider abroad the story of a new-born Babe whose birth as a great ruler had been announced from heaven.  Thus were these glad tidings loudly proclaimed, both by the novelty of their story, and the iniquity of their enemies.  Moreover, the Saviour was carried into Egypt.  And thereby that nation, so long hardened in idolatry, was (by the mysterious virtue which went forth from Christ, even when his presence was unknown) prepared for the saving light so soon to dawn upon them; if so be, they might receive the Truth as a wanderer even before they had banished falsehood.

Dearly beloved, we recognize in these Wise Men, who came to worship Christ, the first-fruits of that dispensation to the Gentiles wherein we also are called and enlightened.  Let us then keep this Feast with grateful hearts, in thanksgiving for our blessed hope, the dawn of which we do commemorate on this day.  From the worship paid to the new-born Christ is to be dated the entry of us Gentiles upon our heirship of God and joint-heirship with Christ.  Since that joyful day the Scriptures which testify of Christ have lain open for us as well as for the Jews.  Whose blindness rejected that Truth which, since that day, hath shed his bright beams upon all nations.  Let us then honour this most sacred day, whereon the Author of our salvation was made manifest. As the Wise Men fell down and worshipped him in the manger, so let us fall down and worship him, enthroned omnipotent in heaven.  As they opened their treasures and presented unto him mystic and symbolic gifts, so let us strive to open our hearts to him, and offer him from thence some worthy offering.

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Friday, December 26, 2014


Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that He Who was this day born to save the world and give us second birth, may also bestow upon us the gift of immortality. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.
R:       Amen.
We beseech Thee O Lord, that as  by the new birth of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, the old man hath been put away from us: So by this Holy Communion we may ever go forward in newness of life.  Through the same Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.
R:       Amen.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God,  that we who do joyfully keep the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, may walk so worthily here in earth, that we may dwell with Him in life everlasting. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.
R:       Amen.

 Canticle of Isaiah (Isaiah 49:13, 9:6, 25:9, 12:3-6)
Sing for joy, O heavens,
and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!

For a child has been born for us,
a song given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders.

And he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Sing for joy, O heavens,
and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!

This is our God;
we have waited for him,
so that he might save us.

This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

With joy let us draw water
from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord,
call on this name;
make known his deeds among the nations.

Sing praises to the Lord,
for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion.

For great in your midst is the
Holy One of Israel

Praise to you, O Son of God, hidden Child.
You chose to reveal yourself through a humble virgin, and you filled creation with your sweet fragrance.  On this glorious day we now offer you the sweet fragrance of our incense.

Make our worship holy and pleasing.
Grant that we may stand at your right side, and with the faithful departed, on the day of your coming. And we will glorify you, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit unto the ages of ages.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Cast of Season One of The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns. Photo from Lifetime

My wife and I started watching Lifetime Television's The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns, this afternoon. It was interesting. She says she enjoyed it, and is up to watching the rest of the season.  I'm not so sure.  I will give the second episode a chance and then make my decision. 

Both men and women who think about entering religious life, the convent or monastery, often have preconceived notions, even fantasized ideas as to what religious life entails. I certainly did as a younger man.  The young women in this television series certainly did as well.

Left to right, Dominic-Martin, Jean-Joseph
August 1995, first vows
I've lived in two monastic communities prior to getting married.  (Hence the blog name: The Married Monk, in addition to still having much of a monastic spirit)  There is much about community that I found very positive for me.  The schedule or prayer, work and study.  Religious camaraderie of in the community, a strong brotherhood (Two of my monastic brothers, who also left the community are clergymen I had the privilege to ordain in the diocese I am blessed to serve.)  Paternal and Fraternal guidance from the superior and more experienced monastics as various challenges present themselves in the spiritual struggle.  While it is different for each person, many of the opportunities for growth (aka problems) have been overcome by monastics before us over many centuries.  

This collected wisdom is seen expressed by a couple of the Sisters in the first episode.  I expect as time goes on, we will see some more of it. At least I hope we will, as it is essential the the discernment and formation process. 

There are already critics of the show.  Former nun Katy Laffond has expressed her doubts, yet, like myself is withholding judgement based on the some of the positive aspects of the first episode.  Her analysis seems pretty fair. A google search will bring up other critics as well.  Many take issue just because the show is related to the Roman Catholic Church. 

Check it out here if you're interested. 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014


May we always remember and remain thankful for the service and sacrifice of those who serve.

We are thankful and we remember.
Thankful to all who have served, sacrificed and survived.
We remember those who have given their lives.
It's not about politics or pacifism.
I know of no soldier who who loves war and hates peace.
We pause and remember all those who have served and sacrificed.
We pause and remember in prayer those who gave their lives for our country, or more recently, for those of another country, in the hope that they might one day experience democracy and freedom.


    O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep them, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt them; that, being ready both in body and soul, they may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, in service to their country, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be their defense against all their enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

*Modified (italics) from the Prayerbook for Soldiers and Sailors.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014


The day after I notified a gentleman from Pakistan that our small missionary archdiocese will help to sponsor his seminary education and formation, I learned that a married couple was killed for blasphemy by an angry mob. No investigation. No trial. Just a death sentence.  

Please pray for Nicholas and his fiance Shazia, their families, and the orphaned Christian children that they work with and minister to. 

Here in the USA, and most of the Western world, we live in societies where Christians (at least nominally) are in the majority. Even in secular humanist countries, freedom of religion is the rule. Most of us don't experience living in fear of violence for our faith. In Pakistan, for minority Christians referred to as "pigs and dogs" for just attempting to live their faith, to rise up and protest against this lawless violence is itself a danger. 

In coming weeks we will attempt to raise some financial assistance and clothing for the sixty orphaned children between ages seven to twenty, Nicholas and Shazia minister to.   ( I have some pictures, but want to obtain permission prior to posting them.)

O Lord, save Your people, 
and bless Your inheritance! 
Grant victory to all right believing Christians 
over their adversaries, 
and by virtue of Your cross, 

preserve Your habitation.

O merciful God, who has made all men, and hates nothing that You have made, nor desires the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; have mercy upon all unfaithful, and non-believers, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of Your Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to Your flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Fort Lauderdale FL City Commission

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale Florida!  Don't feed the hungry, or you will be arrested.

From the blog, Resist Fort Lauderdale Homeless Hate Laws.

I understand wanting to protect people, and putting guidelines in place for people to follow, but this Florida City has enacted regulations that all but makes it illegal for organized efforts to feed the city's homeless and hungry. 

Fox News reports that "Supporters of the strict laws say that allowing programs like Abbott’s encourages homelessness. Cal Deal, a 65-year-old former journalist who videotapes homeless people in the city and says they commit crimes, cause sanitation problems and need more help than simply food."

Feeding the hungry encourages homelessness!  Imagine that. 

Someone should have told our Lord Jesus Christ he was only encouraging homelessness!

If you are a Fort Lauderdale resident, your voice and vote counts the most here.  Contact your City Commission member. 
John P. "Jack" Seiler Mayor, Vice Mayor / Commissioner Romney Rogers District 4, Commissioner Bobby B. DuBose District 3, Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis District, Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts District 1.  Of course you can also contacts the City Manager Lee R. Feldman, 954-828-5013, lfeldman@fortlauderdale.gov

Correspondence to the mayor and commissioners may also be addressed to:

City Hall
100 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Tel. (954) 828-5003/5004

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Sunday, October 19, 2014


I spent some time in a Dominican community prior to becoming Orthodox. The community and people it ministered to were rather traditionally minded, while the Prior was much more contemporary.  I learned a great deal from Father Prior in my time associate with the community.  I had been ordained as a deacon rather young, and set on a study track with an eye towards canon law and administration.  My diaconate assignment was to serve as secretary to my bishop, a very traditional churchman, while I finished my studies toward ordination as well as secular studies. The archbishop was not fond of flying, so anytime he needed to go somewhere, it was usually by car, with me driving.  Cincinnati Ohio, Montreal, Nashua, Boston, Springfield, Hartford, New York and as far South as Richmond Virginia were all points that I knew well over a period of two years.   After ordination to the priesthood, I continued to serve as the archbishop's secretary and assistant. I knew policy and procedure, canon law, liturgy, administration and all of the personal problems, challenges, strengths and weaknesses of the clergy of the diocese. I didn't know squat about the pastoral care of souls.  When I preached, I read from my prepared text, usually a theological explanation of the readings of the Mass.  

Several issues in my life changed significantly and what was supposed to be a rather rapid climb up the ecclesiastical ladder came not only to a stop, but an outright fall to the ground.  There I was in the early ninety's entering a semi-contemplative community, a priest, bishop's secretary entering my canonical year as a novice, a beginner.  The man I entered with was almost thirty years my senior, not ordained, but had a treasure trove of ministry experience with the poor, sick and suffering.  He had served with Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity in Washington DC and New York City.  He was very down to earth and related very well to people in need. I was still detached, reading my sermon on the few times I was allowed to offer Mass and preach. (Father Prior though progressive in many ways, kept his novices humble.  Maybe I'll share more of my experiences in this community, and my pastoral education in a future another post.) 

The life and works of Pere Lataste were a significant part of novitiate. Mercy was a community motto in addition to "there is no past here, only the present and the future hope."  I was researching some information on one of the books I have an extra copy of that I listed on eBay this evening.  In my search I came upon the icon of Blessed Jean Joseph Lataste, OP that I posted above.  He has long been considered by many in the Dominican Community as the Apostle of Mercy and the Apostle of Prisons due to his ministry with women in prison as well as to those coming out of prison in the Seventeenth Century France.  At the time it was rare to encourage these women to enter a religious community of any kind, never mind allowing them to be treated as equals of the "choir sisters."  Pere Lataste was one of the first to do this. There is a recent book, the only one in English, about his life available for less than ten dollars you might consider reading.

Every night after Compline we chanted the Marian Antiphon (usually the Salve Regina) in Latin and then recited the Prayer of Father Lataste, after which began Grand Silence until after Mass the following morning. To this day, no matter what time I go to bed, the last prayer that passes my lips is this prayer of Pere Lataste. 

O my Jesus, I want to love you.  Give yourself to me and grant that I may give myself to you.  Make me one with you.  May my will be yours.  Unite me to you, so that I may live only in and for you.  Grant that I may spend for you, all that I received from you, keeping nothing for myself.  May I die to all for you and bring others to you.  O my Jesus, many others.  Amen.

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