Saturday, June 30, 2012

Getting Over Them

The Vatican seems to be making efforts to handle its “PR troubles.” Secrecy may be giving way to transparency. Will some in the Vatican may do their best to block that transition? Mr. John A. Allen Jr. offers his analysis of the new PR person hired and his job.
Wiki-image by Cgs of Mirror used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Two For One

On the Solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul, Jesuit Peter Edmonds noted that God's life worked differently in each saint. One verse of Prophet Jeremiah contained two opposite dynamics, and each dynamic described God at work in Peter and in Paul. People may notice in themselves one or other of the divine activity; or, people may notice one at different moments in their lives. Read his ThinkingFaith post.
Wiki-image of Ss. Peter and Paul is in the public domain.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quick To Spread Fear

While it took what seemed an eternity to hear who won the Egyptian presidential elections Sunday (the people elected Mohamed Morsi), Dan Murphy of the CSM reported
Fox News put up a short unsigned blog headlined "Muslim Brotherhood Takes Egypt, Cleric Declares: 'Our Capital shall be Jerusalem, Allah Willing.'".
Read his “backchannels” report for more. 
Wiki-image by Alessio Nastro Siniscalchi of flag of Egypt used by CC BY-SA 2.5 Italy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PTSD Awareness Month

June has been dedicated to it. The sign at the Veteran’s Hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, has been announcing it. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects many, and military personnel are at a high risk. View the video series at the VA website. @PBSNeedToKnow recently tweeted:

Did you know? According to a recent #Pentagon report, there were 154 suicides among active-duty troops in the first 155 days of this year.

PTSD may well have been involved in many of those cases. 
Wiki-image of PTSD-Depression graph is dedicated to the public domain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Transitions and Hope

Transitions challenge. Depending on the nature of them, some transitions are steeper challenges: the loss of a loved one; the loss of work; the end of a marriage; and receiving a diagnosis with an impact on future health. Each of those upends the way people present themselves to the world and changes self-perception.
Along with external realities, transitions challenge everyone spiritually, that is, one’s interior, heartfelt landscape. Spiritual coping is as necessary as living without another, without paychecks, without health.
Young people face numerous transitions as they mature. Becky Eldredge recalls
The question I am asked often by others in a period of, “How do I hold on to hope in this time of change?”
The second link in her dotMagis post is worth perusing: imagination in prayer is often misunderstood.
Wiki-image by Wolfgang Sauber of Hope used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Very Sad

Syria ejected another person who sought to defend those suffering and to  allow “friends of Bassel pray for their lost friend.” Both “Muslims and Christians attended,” according to expelled Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio, in Syria 30 years working for interfaith dialogue.
Read how he received his “one way visa out” of Syria and that Christian leadership in the country support the regime.
Wiki-image by Bernard Gagnon of Deir Mar Musa used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday word, 24 Jun 2012

Growing into Our Messiah
Birth of John the Baptizer (24 Jun 2012)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
When certain solemnities fall on Sundays they replace the Sunday worship. Most of them celebrate the Lord or Mary, but Saints Joseph, Peter and Paul and John the Baptizer are most important for the Christian message and life. Today, I would like to reflect with you on the Baptizer’s role of making Jesus known and how we may profit from him in our baptized vocations to make Jesus known to others.
Baptism has united us to Jesus in a vital way: it incorporated us into our risen Messiah. Our Savior, we profess, is seated at the right hand of the Father.1 That is his normal location after his wondrous resurrection and ascension.2 Yet he abides with us in a different and no less real way so we may allow him to nourish and lead us in our lives of faith. Jesus’ sacramental presence invigorates us to be his witnesses everywhere we are.

To witness to Jesus was John the Baptizer’s role. His role had two functions: to prepare and to step aside. John is well known for his desert life. The end of today’s gospel selection recalled it: he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel. That is no throwaway line. In biblical language the desert was the place of formation for the Hebrews escaping Egypt on their way to the land of promise. Many a prophet—and the Baptizer was last in the line of prophets before Jesus—also went there. Why? Because the desert, more exactly, the wilderness,3 was an uninhabited, uncultivated place. Suited to deep thought, it also allowed raw creation to work its power to awaken us anew to God.

Seclusion is good preparation for anyone about to undertake a new role. The church has and continues to ask people to make a retreat; think of knights of yore as well as people about to undertake new roles in church and life: engaged couples; those to be baptized; those about to profess vows as religious; those to be ordained deacon, priest and bishop. For John time in the wilderness helped John prepare himself. By proclaiming a baptism of repentance John readied the way for Jesus. People flocked to him,4 out of need, and because they felt John walked his talk: in the wilderness John faced his frustrations about his vocation—Isaiah’s words surely took root in his heart: [What if] I toil[] in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spen[d] my strength? In the wilderness, too, John faced his demons and his inadequacies. As he did John counted on God, who called him.
Preparation times end as do efforts for which they ready us. That leads to John’s other charge. Again the gospel’s final verse: John was in the desert until the day of his manifestation5 to Israel. St. Luke used language of ancient public election to say God propelled God’s chosen prophet to action. John acted until Jesus, his contemporary, appeared after his time of wilderness temptation and faced frustrations about his vocation. When Jesus appeared John stepped aside, saying, [Jesus] must increase, I must decrease.6 John left his popular stage so Jesus could fulfill what John began for him. 
John’s willingness not always to be the center is good for us to imitate. We can grow satisfied with ourselves as witnesses to Jesus; worse, we can grow smug. John’s willingness to play his part did not overshadow Holy Spirit, who filled him from his mother’s womb.7 We are frequently tempted to block Holy Spirit. To give Holy Spirit freer reign in our lives allows us to increase, that is, to grow in every way into [our] Messiah.8

In your 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in the Trinity, who creates and redeems you.
  • Ask John the Baptizer to present you to Jesus, so you may converse with him.
  • In your words: Praise Jesus for sharing his Holy Spirit with you to make you his witnesses. Ask Jesus to free you from what keeps you from giving his Spirit freer reign in your life.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to announce the good news of his gospel with greater freedom and generosity.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. On earth as in heaven reminds us that what we do on earth—our witness to risen Jesus—the Trinity will fulfill in heaven, that is, in the divine presence, in whom we hope to dwell and increase forever.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Nicene CreedRoman Missal.
  2. Eucharistic Prayer III, Roman Missal.
  3. The word is more accurate in description.
  4. Luke 3.7. Later verses name groups in the crowds.
  5. The word translated as manifestation is different from the epiphany of Jesus. Because God elects and makes known God’s prophets, the effect is also divine.
  6. John 3.30.
  7. Luke 1.15; part of the gospel for the Vigil Mass.
  8. Ephesians 4.15. St. Paul used the same word, meaning to increase / grow.
Wiki-image by Юкатан of the Baptizer’s birthplace used by CC BY-SA 3.0. Wiki-image of the appearance of Jesus to the people is in the public domain.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Applying Self Not Only Thought

Prayer involves the whole self. That means 1) all that touches us can channel divine life to us; and 2) prayer is more than any-one can understand.

In teaching her son to drive, Michelle Francl-Donnay, made that connection with prayer: “driving for 38 body knows how to make the gears change in my Mini Cooper while my mind can’t figure out how to articulate precisely (or evenly vaguely) how I do it.”

In her Friday post at This Ignatian Life, she elaborated. Following her links in her post is worthwhile.
Wiki-image of japanese garden is in the public domain.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Same Data, Different Results?

A version of that appeared in the Italian press. Specifically:
two Italian newspapers reported that the Vatican will fail an upcoming transparency test by European anti-money-laundering experts while a third claimed the Vatican will pass. While such conflicting accounts are hardly new, the twist is that all three stories contained virtually identical information.
John L. Allen Jr. explained, “The difference wasnt the data, but the spin.” In his All Things Catholic post today, Mr. Allen explains that Moneyval is the “anti-money-laundering experts;” reminds that the Vatican asked for the “evaluation;” and that its “willingness to court outside scrutiny is something of a novelty.”
Wiki-image by LosHawlos of money changer used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lest “Green” Turn Red for the Poor

The Vatican has representation at Rio+20the high-level environmental summit this week. The Vatican’s position is that to protect the environment is to improve the lives of people. If technology trumps people, then the poor will suffer. More about the church’s position may be found at the Vatican Insider.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Window on Portion of Africa

In May the Jesuit Provincial of East Africa gave the commencement address at The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. An announcement described Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator. Late last year, Fr. Orobator discussed the mission of the Society of Jesus in its East African province. Some of its six countries are often in the news.

[Source: YouTube]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Crown Prince

In Saudi Arabia two Crown Princes have died in less than a year: first, Prince Sultan; days ago, Prince Nayif. Succession is not always clear in the Saudi monarchy. Bruce Riedel says the “good news for Saudis is that his successor is all but certain to be Prince Salman, a more pragmatic and progressive prince with a half century’s experience as the governor and builder of the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh.” Read his post at The Daily Beast.
Wiki-image by TUBS of Saudi Arabia in its region used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Feeding Time

When we’re “out of sorts” or overtaken by “that strange feeling that darkens the mind and heart,” according to Jesuit Joe Simmons, we more easily fall into the grip of evil. What is that slippery, elusive reality we name “evil?” Joe takes on that and offers encouragement along the way at his “Feeding the Lion” two-part series at The Jesuit Post.
Wiki-image by Witchblue at it.wikipedia of Scar costume used by CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!


any thanks for all they have done and continue to do!

Sunday word, 17 Jun 2012

Tree Language 
11th Sunday of the Year B (17 Jun 2012)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Exile is the word used for the forced deportation of the Israelite people from their land to the lands of their conquerors. During their exile God raised prophets to remind the people God was with them, and more, God was working the return of the people to their land. Their return to the land would not happen with the violence that forced them from it. Using the image of a tree, as we heard, Prophet Ezekiel hinted God would work a new thing with them.
When we pause to think, Ezekiel’s tree language is not so foreign. We use it to describe the similarity of a child to a parent: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” Biblical imagery has offered us more than proverbs. A tender shoot of a plant with desired flowers or fruit is the scion grafted to another plant chosen for its roots. The scion contains the genes to produce more flowers and fruit a gardener desires.
We use the word scion of human descendants, too. The tender shoot God chose was a descendant of David, who would rebuild the house and family of David.1 All kinds of winged birds, that is, peoples of the earth, would form part of the kingdom of David. People of all kinds suggested that it would be more than its former self: it would begin the messianic era.
Fast forward many generations after exile. When Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, whose mature tree was a haven for birds, his image was familiar to his first hearers. Jesus emphasized God working with parables of growth. Ancient Mediterraneans did not understand growth as we do. They were aware not of the process but of the vast difference between seeds and plants. In Jesus’ first parable of the farmer sowing seed, the phrase he knows not how emphasized that, like the new thing God did to return Jesus’ ancestors to their land and later did in Jesus, humans could not hasten or accomplish that new thing. 
God in Jesus by their Spirit works through people. God always exceeds our sophistication as well as our limitations. As a Jesuit I am reminded of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. At their beginning and end St. Ignatius of Loyola emphasized that God began, preserves, directs and carries forward the works of what we call our “least Society of Jesus.”2 In our recent province gathering we reminded ourselves of that. We also recalled that we have our parts to play in developing God’s gift to the church and to the world. The Spirit of God needs humans to make its work palpable. We asked, like you and the rest of the members of the body of our risen Messiah, “Are we cooperating with our Creator and Redeemer? Do we use our initiative, like the farmer sowing seed who paid attention to the seasons, and put our resources to better use?”
The reign of God began to dawn with the birth of Jesus: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.3 Jesus made it public as he announced, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”;4 and, “The kingdom of God is among you.”5 Like St. Paul all of us live the tension of desiring God and fulness of life with God and of serving others. We live that tension and endure its anguish well by doing our parts but doing them in ways that never try to outstrip or outdo the surprising and always-exceeding-our-imaginations ways and workings of God in Jesus by their Spirit.
In your 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Allow yourself, body and spirit, to rest in the Trinity, who creates and redeems you.
  • Ask the saints to present you to Jesus; draw near with eagerness like those who listened to Jesus’ parables.
  • Speak to Jesus: in your words praise Jesus for including you in the kingdom he announced and lived.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to do your part to announce the good news of his gospel.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. On earth as in heaven calls us to attend to our common vocation: we allow the Spirit of Jesus to use us, to work through us so more people will come to meet Jesus as well as the gospel he announces through us and all his disciples everywhere today.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Luke 2.4.
  2. Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, ##134, 825.
  3. Luke 2.14.
  4. Matthew 3.2.
  5. Luke 17.21.
Wiki-image by Reji Jacob of Mustard Plant with Flowers and tender seeds used by CC BY-SA 3.0. Wiki-image of The Sower is in the public domain.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Exclusive Interview

Here’s part of the one-on-one interview Mr. John L. Allen Jr. had with Cardinal Levada earlier this week. Mr. Allen released it yesterday.

Are you willing to say that if people want to know who’s responsible for this [assessment of the LCWR], the answer is you?  

Correct, our congregation is.

It’s a mistake to try to find others to blame for it? 
Mr. Allen posted the entire transcript at yesterday’s All Things Catholic.
Wiki-image by Oven Fresh of sky is in the public domain.