Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today's Reading - Acts 13

In today's first reading, St. Paul walks into the synagague and gives the Isrealites and all of us a short birds eye view of salvation history. I thought I'd share this today because its not only an amazing journey, but a reminder of how Our Father keeps His promises. And for a great study and adventure through salvation history, there no other book I can recommend, than Scott Hahn's "A Father Who Keeps His Promises"

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish. From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”

Acts 13:13-25

Friday, April 23, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

TOB Explained: Prologue

Tackling the Theology of the Body is no small task. This is one heckuva dense text. Pope John Paul II was a world class philosopher and his writing style is not as linear as I would prefer. He spirals concepts throughout his Wednesday Audiences which makes this quite a difficult read. I don't know, maybe it's just me. So as a result, this time, I have enlisted the help of Christopher West's commentary: Theology of the Body Explained. West wrote this commentary with the intention for it to stand alone. I haven't finished the prologue and I'm already blown away. The fact that he takes such a difficult text and popularizes it may cause this theological time bomb to go off sooner than later.

Today's problem is not that people overvalue the body. They don't value it enough. The ancient heresy of Manichaeism has reared it head in the form of Cartesian Dualism which pits the body and spirit against each other. This belief has even found its way into the Church. This dualism causes people to abandon the belief that the spirit gives life to the body and the body receives it's life from the spirit. As a result, Man ceases to live as a person and subject but becomes an object. This has led to human sexuality being regarded as something to be exploited and manipulated rather than the same source of wonder that caused Adam to proclaim, "this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (Gen 2:23)

When the body is objectified, a person is no longer a "he" or a "she" but an "it." When we begin to understand that the material makes visible the invisible we can see the body in a new light. We begin to understand that a human person doesn't have a body, but a human person is a body. If only we can truly come to grasp this mystery.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

TOB: The Journey Continues

"The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the devine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it." (TOB 19:4)

A couple of years ago I was introduced to Pope John Paul II's important work entitled "Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body."(TOB) The concept behind this work amazed and yet baffles me. JP2 spent five years (9/5/79 to 11/28/84) to deliver a series of talks during his Wednesday audiences. The text is thick so, needless to say, I haven't made it through the entire thing. I'm picking it back up and, with the help of a commentary authored by Christopher West, I hope to finish this time.

With the start of Lent this week, this may be the best time to reflect upon the meaning of the body and the fact that, in the Incarnation, God took on a body and later gave it up in the single greatest act of love man has ever seen. It wasn't just a spiritual act; it was physical. And that physical act would not have been possible without a body.

I'll be using this blog as a place to log my reflections, ask questions and hopefully, come to a greater understanding of who I am and who God is.

If you'd like to join me, feel free to do so in the comments. A converstion is much better when others contribute.

John Paul The Great-- pray for us!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Give What You Have

As it has been with all of our children, it's safe to say that my family is in a "transition period." It simply takes us time to adjust to having a new little one in the house.

My wife wasn't feeling very well so I ventured to take my four older boys to Mass. Now, my wife's parents were there so I wasn't left to manage the boys alone, however, it is usually a challenge nonetheless.

All in all, I'd say that the boys behaved pretty well. My two year old was a bit wiggly, but he made it through without my having to excuse the both of us. I did find it difficult to focus, though. At times when I would have wanted to offer my intentions, I found myself offering my son some sort of distraction so he'd stay quiet. The distraction would usually consist if a question like, "where's the cross?" or "can you point to the altar?" I try to draw his attention to the beauty of the church or the mass in genneral. Sometimes it works; sometimes, not so much.

Anyway, I often leave mass with the feeling that I didn't really participate because of all the attention I have to devote to my son. That's changing. I am reminded of the widow who gave a little, but gave from her want and it was counted to her as a great gift-- as opposed to those who give much, but give from their abundance.

I suppose my offering at Mass is just that. I give what I have: my distracted self. That's enough because anything I lack, He provides.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Can't You Do With an iPhone?

Last summer I broke down and bought an iPhone. No doubt, it is a fun tool to have, but it can be a real time sucker. When the ads claim, "there's an app for that," they're telling the truth. In fact, I'm writing this post from my phone. All the pictures in this post are from my phone.

Recently, I purchased two applications that I know I'll get plenty of use from. The first is the Catholic Missal ($4.99).

This app not only has the liturgical calendar built into it, but it has the daily mass readings with audio. The other day, my boys and I listened to the readings while I drove them to school.

The second app I really enjoy is the Divine Office ($9.99).

This app contains the entire liturgy of the hours with audio as well. When I would try to do morning prayer from book of Christian Prayer, I'd usually skip the hymns for obvious reasons. But I can now read along and pray the office antiphonally. Another cool feature is that you can see who else is praying along with you using the app:

A third app I have yet to really try out was just released by the Logos bible software company and I just loaded it today (Free). This app contains an incredible library of not only different bible translations, but different scripture study tools as well.

So, while being connected can be, and often is, a stumbling block, having these tools at your fingertips can also be a blessing. My challenge is to be sure to avail myself to Our Lord through prayer and scripture study each day with the same diligence that I check the conversations on Twitter and update my Facebook status.

In this age if information, we must be sure to take time to slow down and hear the "still small voice" even if we are using technology to do so. After all, in the 1600's, a book was considered a technological advance.

Pray for me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

For Unto Us...

I've been off the blogging grid for a while due to just being plain ol' busy. In the meantime, we welcomed our newest son:
Bohdan Isaiah Cox. Bohdan was born 11/11/09 and weighed in at 6lb 12oz and 19.25".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Preparing for Christ's Birth

It's a story familiar to all of us. The tale of a virgin giving birth, a child laid in a manger and shepherds greeted by angels. But what if we had never heard the story before? Lets place ourselves as first century Jews who are hearing this plot for the first time. Were the events prior to Christ's birth a fulfillment of what had been prophesized for centuries? Let's all try and go back into the first century Jewish world so as to discover many of the spiritual treasures by looking more deeply into the mystery of Christ's coming in Scripture.

Daniel 9: 20-23

20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God; 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He came and he said to me, "O Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went forth, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the word and understand the vision. "

24 "Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place."

Malachi 3:1

BEHOLD, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts

Luke 1:8-23

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; 15 for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19 And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

[1] Edward Sri. Dawn of the Messiah. Servant Books. Chapter 1.

Monday, October 5, 2009

49,551,703 and Counting

A "holocaust?" Are you kidding me? The more I think about these comments by Rep. Grayson, the more frustrated I become. At first I wondered if he understood the irony in his comments. After all, there have been 49,551,703 abortions in the United States since 1973--an average of 1,376,436 per year and he happens to be a proponent of abortion rights. Rep. Grayson says that there have been 44,789 deaths every year due to lack of health care. Of course no one thinks that preventable deaths are acceptable. But there is a huge difference between a person dying because of omission and the willful taking of an innocent life. He makes it clear that he understands the connection between the abortion and health care debates when he says, "We should care about people even after they are born."

To say that the health care situation is even close to a holocaust is ridiculous. No one's life is being taken. However, I can think of over 49,000,000 examples of a true holocaust.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BloodMoney Trailer

Friday, July 31, 2009


Last summer I spent a lot of time reading blogs and entering into the discussions that took place. One of the blogs that I followed was that of a fellow Catholic convert, Steve Ray. It didn't take too long before he linked to a very interesting conversion story. The Woman at the Well fascinated me. Her story was nothing like mine, but somehow, I felt like I could relate. If you haven't read this story before, stop now and go read it.

Fast forward one year.

Jennie and I decided to take the boys to the coast for a couple of days. She worked her usual magic in finding the best possible place in the best possible location for the best possible price. She even managed to find a hotel that threw in breakfast--which is nothing to sneeze at when you have four growing boys. Anyway, once we checked in we went through our normal routine of Dad unload the Sienna while Mom keeps the boys under control (wouldn't want to get thrown out the first night, right?). Right about the time I finish unloading the van, Jennie reassures me that maybe we will be ok, because she just saw a family with children come in from the parking lot. Fantastic! we won't be the only ones making noise around here.

Now off to the beach. As we come down the steps, I notice a Sienna parked right next to ours. And what do you know, they have two bumper stickers I and Yes on 8! So I hit the remote to unlock my door just as the guy who owns the van next to ours hits his. He says to me, "Nice choice in van." I look over at him and his four--What, this guy has four boys too?--and say, "it looks like we are carrying the same load too." So we exchange pleasantries and introduce ourselves and it turns out that he's a convert too! Oh, man we gotta meet up at the pool tonight. Let the kids swim and let's exchange stories. So that is exactly what we do.

Jennie was feeling a bit tired by the end of the day, so we put Jabin to bed and let her put her feet up. The rest of the clan and I head down to the pool and shortly my friend and his boys join us. It turns out that the age range for his boys is 9 to 4 and mine is 10 to 4. Our kids hit it off immediately. Which is great because that allows my friend and I to talk without putting out a bunch of fires.

After a while, his wife joins us and I feel as if I already know this couple. They are great. We are so different, yet exactly the same.

He's a convert; I'm a convert.
He's a teacher; I'm a teacher.
4 boys; 4 boys.
He's a musician; I own a guitar.
He's an artist; I can color inside the lines.
And you can't foget the vans.
But most importantly, we are two families who are desperately depending on God's grace to live out our Catholic faith. That makes us identical.

It turns out that as my friend's wife shared more of her story, I felt like I had heard it before. She tells me that she has written about it on her MySpace page. You guessed it--she's the Woman at the Well!

This whole encounter just blows me away. I have visited MySpace two times. Once to hear some music written by a former student and the other to read The Woman at the Well's conversion story. What are the chances?

It's not chance; it's providence. I just got a first hand glimpse of what being conformed to the image of Christ really means. God can take four people who come from completely different backgrounds, give them a burning desire to follow Him, conform them into the same family, put them in their mini vans and send them to the same floor of the same hotel at the same time. And just to prepare me for this encounter, He had me read about them a year in advance.

I can't stop thining about this...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catholics and Crucifixes

Crucifixes are crosses which have the corpus (body) of Jesus on them to represent the historical crucifixion of Our Lord. The cross alone, with no body, has been a symbol of Christianity since antiquity. The very instrument of capital punishment and horrible torture by the pagan Roman Empire became a symbol of the loving and forgiving crucified Savior.

Catholics are not the only Christians to use the crucifix in church for public worship or in their homes. Eastern Orthodox, Anglican (Episcopalian) and Lutheran Christians also use the crucifix, while most Reformed Protestant Christians will only have a cross and never with a corpus.

The main goal of the crucifix is not to shock or frighten believers, but to remind them of the ultimate price paid for their salvation. Redemption was expensive. Jesus sacrificed His very life and He endured a painful and horrible death just so we could go to heaven. The crucifix brings home the reality that sin caused us to be lost and ony the death of the Savior could save us. Celebrating Christian worship on Sunday (rather than on the Sabbath, Saturday) and calling it the day of the Lord is how Christians honor the Resurrection.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Found: The Bones of St. Paul

This Post was taken from Thomas Moore's Blog, American Papist-Not Your Average Catholic. Cool Finding . . .


Again, a story that slipped through my fingers.
Happily, St. Paul did not manage to permanently slip through the fingers of the Church (it seems):

Pope Benedict XVI said last night that bone fragments found inside the tomb of St Paul in Rome had been carbon dated for the first time, "confirming the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul".He said that archaeologists had inserted a probe into the white marble sarcophagus under the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls which has been revered for centuries as the tomb of St Paul.The pontiff said: "Small fragments of bone were carbon dated by experts who knew nothing about their provenance and results showed they were from someone who lived between the 1st and 2nd century.

This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that these are the mortal remains of Paul the Apostle."The Pope, who said the discovery "fills our souls with great emotion", made the unexpected announcement during Vespers at St Paul's Basilica last night, marking the end of the Pauline year held in honour of the apostle. He said that as well as bone fragments, archaeologists had found grains of red incense, a piece of purple linen with gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen filaments in the tomb. (UK Times)

St. Paul: always full of surprises!

Can we say "pilgrimage site"?Related: New Discoveries. Why St. Paul Was Given a Philosopher's Face by Sandro Magister:

"The oldest depiction of the apostle has been found just a short distance from his tomb, which is also the object of new investigations. The Church wanted to represent him as the Christian Plato. A daring decision. And still extremely relevant, even today"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Gospel of John: Unity of Christendom

John 17:20-23: v20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me."

The Reformation principle of "each man with a Bible and his own interpretation" has brought about the tragic results we see today among numerous Christian denominations. There are over 30,000 divisions and denominations in Christendom that are ripping and tearing the Body of Christ.
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 17, notice that Jesus prays for the future generations of Christians, that they be "One" and "Perfected in Unity", not ripped apart by divisions and denominations. Those who continue to "protest' against the Catholic Church are like a nation that divides into tens of thousands of competing, disagreeing factions but that still claims to have an invisible unity. St. Paul also condemns factions and divisions in the Church in his first letter to the Corinthians. All of this has unfortunately lead to the new and radical theology of the "invisible Church", where one only needs his bible and love for Christ. No Church, no community, no gathering, "just me and Jesus, and my bible." Where will the results of Sola Scriptura lead to next?

About a year after his Ninety-Five Theses, Martin Luther wrote a letter to Pope Leo X about his concern of the schism brought about by his teachings. Luther in writing to Pope Leo X said, "I never approved of a schism, nor will I approve of it for all eternity. . That the Roman Church is more honored by God than all others is not to be doubted. . Though nowadays everything is in a wretched state, it is no ground for separating from the Church. On the Contrary, the worse things are going, the more should we hold close to her, for it is not by separating from the Church tha twe can make her better. . There is no sin, no amount of evil, which should be permitted to dissolve the bond of charity or break the bond of unity of the Body."

[1] Letter of Martin Luther to Pope Leo X. January 6, 1519. Patrick O'Hare. The Facts about Luther, pg 256.

[2] Crossing The Tiber. Stephen K. Ray. Ignatius.