The Kingdom of God

Hubert Van Eyck, part of the Ghent altarpiece

To see this image in amazingly close detail, as well as the rest of the Ghent Altarpiece, go to: http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be/#home

Happy Solemnity of Christ the King!  Today is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, and one of our favorite feast days!  When the traumas and tragedies of the world seem overwhelming, it’s always a consolation to remember that Jesus Christ is truly the King of the Universe.  No matter what sorrow we endure here, it will pass – His Kingdom is eternal.  Moreover, He is not a king who rules from some distant throne.  No, He is closer to us than we are to Continue reading

Show Notes – A Good Habit 8/27/14


A Good Habit Show Notes

Hello, everyone!  Hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend.  I’ve been neglecting the show notes over the last month, so I want to make sure I get them up for last week’s episode of A Good Habit.

Firstly, many of you have let us know that you’re having trouble accessing the podcasts in iTunes.  Hopefully that will get fixed soon, but in the mean time we’re going to put it on the blog as well, and hopefully there won’t be any trouble listening.

Here is A Good Habit from Wednesday, August 27th, 2014.

If you’re interested in going on the EWTN/Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament pilgrimage October 7-11 with Ken and Debbie Felder, you can email them at kenDOTdebDOTfelderATattDOTnet.  It’s a great opportunity to see the EWTN studios, as well as the Shrine, including the John Paul II Eucharistic Center (which we hope to see some day, too).

We spent a lot of time talking about what a great time we had at the Fullness of Truth Conference last weekend here in San Antonio.  We met so many people from all over Texas, and although we didn’t actually get a chance to listen to any of the speakers (because we were too busy talking with everyone), we heard lots of good things from the attendees.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next Fullness of Truth conference is in Corpus Christi next month, and it’s their very first Marian conference.  The theme of the conference is: Mary: the New Eve, Heaven’s Strategy for Spiritual Warfare. Click here to learn more and get your tickets.  They are going to have some fantastic speakers, including Dr. Michael Barber and Dn. Harold Burke-Sivers, – it’s definitely worth your time.

We mentioned meeting The Classical Theist at the conference last weekend, and were excited to see what he’s doing to bring the intellectual patrimony of the Church to everyone.  Here is the link to his website if you want to learn more: The Classical Theist

And, speaking of St. Augustine and smart people, we wanted to mention that Taylor Marshall is working on his next book, Saint Augustine in 50 Pages: A Quick Layman’s Guide to Augustinianism.  It’s a follow up to Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages, which is available for free at taylormarshall.com  Keep him in your prayers as he works on the book.  When it’s finished it will be available for free on his website.  Don’t you just love stuff that’s free and feeds your soul?

Two Kinds of Life

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I love reading this in the Office of Readings and look forward to it each year – especially since it unites two apostles that are especially important to me, as I am named after both of them: St. Peter and St. John.

It is usually read today, the Saturday after Ascension, but when the Ascension is transferred to Sunday (as it is in all but six dioceses in the US) we read it on Friday.

From a treatise on John by Saint Augustine, bishop
Two kinds of life
The Church recognizes two kinds of life as having been commended to her by God. One is a life of faith, the other a life of vision; one is a life passed on pilgrimage in time, the other in a dwelling place in eternity; one is a life of toil, the other of repose; one is spent on the road, the other in our homeland; one is active, involving labor, the other contemplative, the reward of labor.
The first kind of life is symbolized by the apostle Peter, the second by John. All of the first life is lived in this world, and it will come to an end with this world. The second life will be imperfect till the end of this world, but it will have no end in the next world. And so Christ says to Peter:Follow me; but of John he says: If I wish him to remain until I come, what is that to you? Your duty is to follow me. Continue reading

Wedding Bells

Image

Every so often we go to the evening Mass at the Little Flower Basilica, and during Mass the ringing of the 6pm Angelus bells can be heard.  What’s striking is how much the sound is like the peal of wedding bells, so loud, so joyful.  The truth is, every time the Angelus bells ring it is calling to mind a wedding:  when heaven was wedded to earth in the womb of the Virgin Mary

The Word is joined to flesh;The Word is wedded to flesh, and the bridal chamber of this exalted marriage is your womb.  Let me repeat, the bridal chamber of this exalted marriage between the Word and the flesh is your womb, whence “He, the Bridegroom, goes forth from His bridal chamber”.

St. Augustine

Now, the bridal chamber of this Bridegroom was the womb of the Virgin Mother. That is why the Psalmist says, “He has set His tabernacle in the sun: and He is as a Bridegroom coming out of His bridal chamber” (Ps. 18:6). And it was as a Bridegroom in fact that He came forth from His bridal chamber, because to unite the Church to Himself, the Incarnate God went forth from the inviolate womb of the Virgin.

Pope St. Gregory the Great


The Incarnation is the defining moment of Christianity.  It sets us apart from every other religion, and shapes everything about our world view.  God Himself entered into time, into this created world, and in doing so, transformed and sanctified everything.  Because of the  Incarnation our joys and our sufferings are made fruitful, because we can unite them to the joys and sufferings Christ experienced during His earthly life.  God not only created the world and all that is in it, He wanted to dwell in it bodily, to be close to us, to redeem us.

When Pope Francis spoke to the priests of Rome on Holy Thursday, he urged them to be “shepherds with the odour of sheep,” taking their cue from Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who lived in the midst of His “sheep” before laying down His life for them.

Today’s feast of the Annunciation recalls the beginning of our salvation, the moment longed for by generations, when the promised Messiah would come to save His people.  God didn’t just force Himself on us, He wanted our cooperation.  He found it in Our Lady’s fiat, when, trusting in God’s message through the angel Gabriel, the humble Virgin of Nazareth uttered the words that tore heaven open and drew God to earth: Be it done unto me according to thy word.

When one day is simply not enough

adamevechristHow can our poor minds even begin to understand the enormity of Easter, called by early Christians ‘The Feast of Feasts’.

The wonder and joy of Easter cannot be contained in one day, it must spill out into many
days of celebration!  The Church shows us just how important and central to our faith this feast is, by mandating a full Octave (from the Latin word octava, eight) of celebration.  Christmas is the only other feast that does so.  Eight days of celebrating!

Those of us who pray the Divine office pray the same psalms of Easter Sunday for eight days to underscore this wonderful truth.

As our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith celebrate the Feast of Passover for seven days, as commanded by God to Moses in Exodus, we as Christians, can do no less on this solemn sacred Feast of Easter, and in fact,we take it one step further, one day further.

The Church Fathers speak of the number seven as the ‘total of temporal existence’.  The great Saint Augustine speaks of the eighth day of the octave as ‘taking us out of time and into eternity’.  Jesus leads us into that eternity, into that eternal light.  Each day gives us the opportunity to live with our Lord in that eternal reality, being in the world, but not of it.  As Adam was pulled from his prison of darkness into the light by the very Author of Light, the New Adam, we too are freed to walk in that Light of truth and grace, we can live in that eternal reality in a very authentic way, each and every day.

As the Octave takes us into rest of the fifty days of this Easter season, let us really rejoice in the true knowledge of a very real hope, the hope and joy only Jesus can bring!