Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BECOMING NUNS ON TELEVISION

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

IN REMEMBRANCE AND THANKFULNESS


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.


FOR GOD‘S PROTECTION*

    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.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

PRAYERS FOR CHRISTIANS IN PAKISTAN


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

WELCOME TO FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA: DON'T FEED THE HUNGRY

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

APOSTLE OF PRISONS APOSTLE OF MERCY BLESSED JEAN-JOSEPH LATASTE, O.P.


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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Thursday, September 04, 2014

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Prayer for the Defense of the Church & All Christians


In searching for prayers I compiled from different sources last year about this time titled for Protection from Persecution by Unbelievers & for their Conversion, I also happened upon the text of an email I sent to the clergy I am honored to serve. As the situation has not changed in the course of the last year, I share this with you, along with some of the prayers.  For those interested, I will try to have the full text of these prayers as well as the propers for the Votive Mass for the Defense of the Church on the archdiocesan website liturgical resources page(It might take a day or two.)
I share the original letter and some of the prayers with you here in the meantime.


A mosaic from the Church of Saint Clement in Rome

23 September 2013

Glory to Jesus Christ now and forever!
Please forgive this email blast intrusion into your email.  I try to avoid doing so  at all costs as I am aware how annoying they can be.  You are free to hit the delete button of course, but I would appreciate just few moments of your time.

No I am not asking for money!  It is much more important than that. I am asking for your prayers.

Violence against Christians,as well as other religious minorities, in the Middle East is increasing day by day.  Extremists Muslims are out of control and moderate Muslims, except for the few brave voices, are silent.  Perhaps because apathy, but more likely fear, because they are the "wrong kind" of Muslims who could be next on the terror list after the Christians are wiped out.

Some of you are active politically in your attempts to stop the violence and I applaud you for that. 

Our Lord instructs us that some demons can not be cast out as easily as others. When His disciples asked him privately why they were not able to cast the demons out of a boy,".. He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."  Certainly those persecuting Christians are under the influence of the worst kind of evil.  Please join me in praying for those being tortured and killed.  Please join me in praying and fasting for the protection of those remaining and the conversion of those committing these atrocities.

The attached one page Prayers for Protection from Persecution by Unbelievers & for their Conversion is compiled from three sources;  the Byzantine Troparion (short hymn) of the Holy Cross, a litany of saints, the majority of whom were martyred by Muslims, and finally a modified version of the Third Collect of Good Friday from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

Should you find these prayers useful, you are free to disseminate them to the four winds.  All I ask is that you do so without modifying them.



Prayers for Protection from Persecution by Unbelievers 
& for their Conversion

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.(1)

Our Lady of Victory; intercede for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel; defend us in battle.
Saint George, pray for us.
Saint Casilda of Toledo, pray for us.
Saints Abdon and Sennen, pray for us.
Saints Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
Saint Abo of Tiflis, Pray for us.
Saint Bashnouna, of Scetes, pray for us.
Saint Philotheos of Egypt, prayer for us
Saint Bernulf of Asti, pray for us.
Saint John of Syracuse, pray for us.
Saint Triantafyllos, pray for us.
Saint Filothei, pray for us.
Saint Cosmas of Aetolia, pray for us.
Saint Anthim the Iberian, pray for us.
Saints Adolphus and John, pray for us.
Holy Martyrs of Córdoba, pray for us.
Forty-two Holy Martyrs of Amorium, pray for us. (2)


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 Infidels, and Heretics, 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.(3)


(1) Troparion of the Holy Cross
(2) Litany of Saints (except Our Lady, St. Michael and St. George) all were martyred by Muslims
(3) 1662 BCP Third Prayer of Good Friday
Compiled by Abp. Dominic Martin, 2013, Mustard Tree Publications, Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of St. Titus


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mobile Blog Posting

Found an app that will allow me to blog from my tablet. Thought I might try it out. Maybe this will help me blog more regularly.