Monday, May 21, 2007

In the Womb of the Father's House

The fifth Joyful Mystery is the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple when he was 12 years old.

Too often this is seen by some as an example where Jesus the boy was disobedient to his parents Mary and Joseph. The story goes that they had come up to Jerusalem for the annual Passover festivities and had come up with relatives in a caravan. When it was time to go back home they thought Jesus to be among his kin. However, he turned out to be missing and Mary and Joseph searched until they found him on the third day in the Temple. He was sitting surrounded by the priests and teachers of the Law. They were asking him questions and they were amazed at his answers.

When Mary and Joseph asked Jesus how he could do such a thing and that they were worried sick, he replied with a question, "Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's House about His business?" The story says that Jesus went with them quietly and grew in grace and wisdom, and Mary for her part is pondering all these things in her heart, "for they did not understand what he was saying to them."

In the Womb of the Father's House was where Jesus was called to be by his Father at that moment. Jesus the boy was aware of his Eternal Begetting from the Womb of the Father's Bosom. He sought the earthly dwelling of his Father prompted the Spirit of Love shared between Them. In the earthly Womb of the Temple where the Holy of Holies was and the Shekinah dwelt Jesus was at home. He was (at this time of his life) protected and nourished by the earthly dialogue with the priests and teachers of the Law which was a reflection of and earthly extension of the Eternal Dialogue of the Word with God His Father.

In our Catholic parishes, the Holy of Holies is present. The Word made Flesh made Bread for our sake dwells in the Womb of the Tabernacle. The Word is proclaimed at every Mass and is received by the faithful as the Bread come down from Heaven. Each parish is truly the Father's House wherein the Truth about Jesus and flowing from that ourselves is shared and discovered. In this dialogue of the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the R.C.I.A., the Children's Faith Formation, etc... the People of God should be protected and nourished and midwived into new life. As the Apostle Paul said, "I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you (Gal 4:19).”

Sadly in some parishes, the latest fads in experimental liturgy and speculative theology are all the rage, while sound doctrine is ignored and even openly rejected and sneered at. Jesus was not disobedient to Joseph and Mary as it may appear at first glance. In the Father's House, all are called to the obedience of faith. Those who are newborns in the faith who need pure spiritual milk to start on and then good solid food of mature doctrine are deprived and grow up weakly formed on spiritual junk food. They are not protected and nourished in this womb as they should be. Many who mislead these little ones are only passing on the ingrained heresies they themselves have been taught. There is a great need to re-evangelize and re-catechize the the Catholics who have been malnourished the last forty years.

Again the words of St. Paul. “ Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil” (Heb. 5-12-14)

The Man Jesus (das Mann)came back to the Temple and drove out the money changers who were there for personal profit and had no intention of helping to see that a pure sacrifice be offered. The spiritually mature man of God needs to rise up in reponse to the Holy Spirit who calls and be a defense for the ignorant and weak in the local parish setting. The Spirit pours out the seven-fold gifts including courage and wisdom on those who ask. It's time to ask.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thomas Malthus and the Womb of the World

The world is often referred to as "Mother Earth". In Genesis man is given dominion over the earth and charged with stewardship of it. The earth is the very substance that God forms Adam from and breathes his life into. Too often, we have lost sight of our responsibility to take care of the physical world by practicing conservation of resources and not polluting it. We are stewards of creation and must not neglect it.

The above being said, I do not have much more in common with some people in the environmental movement than "green" practices of conserving and not polluting but recycling when possible. There are some who believe human beings are the viruses that are making the earth sick and therefore the vast majority of us must be wiped out.

The earth was intended by God to be the "womb" in which we children would grow, be formed, and nourished physically as well as spiritually. Even though death entered the world because of sin, we have hope of new life through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In our death the tomb in the earth becomes the womb from which our resurrected bodies will be born.

Thomas Malthus wrote an essay on the need for population control in 1798 and as the following editorial in the Boston Globe points out there are still those who feel the same way today.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thinking Outside the Garden

Since the abortion from Eden, human beings have had a fallen state. The loss of orginal innocence, original justice, and original unity. While Adam and Eve walked with God, they were in a protective womb which allowed them to grow in their relationship with Him and be nourished by every good thing of Creation placed in Eden for their use. They were forbidden only one thing, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, God told them that they were not to "know" evil in the sense of intimate union with it.

Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent who has a story of its own abortion from heaven--heaven being another womb in which the angels were spiritually nourished and protected so they could grow in their love of God. Recall the passage in Isaiah 14:19 where in the RSV translation the king of Babylon is compared to an abortion, "but you are cast a loathed untimely birth." Also the words of Christ in Luke 10:18, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from the sky!"

Our intellect is now dulled and concupiscence impairs our wills. The basic desire to do good remains, but the ability to discern what is good and to control our thoughts and impulses is greatly reduced. In Baptism we receive the new life of spiritually adopted children of God. The guilt of original sin is forgiven though the effects can remain.

In the womb of the Church, our mother, we again receive the nourishment and protection of the "Garden" in which a new Tree of Life gives forth every good fruit for our benefit. All the sacraments but in particular the Eucharist is our source and summit, our beginning and our end, our Alpha and our Omega...Jesus Christ.

Augustine said that before the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived Jesus in her womb, she conceived him in her heart. "And Mary pondered all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:19,52). In the womb of Mary, our mother, we find the silent Word waiting for us to join Him in the soil of humility from which the New Adam was formed. We poor banished (aborted) children of Eve, find our life, our sweetness and our hope. We find protection and nourishment in this valley of tears until one day we look upon the Blessed Fruit of Mary's Womb Jesus. (Be patient this is coming together to a point soon.)

The kind of thinking Mary did by pondering was more than intellectual. It was a deep contemplation of the very Life of God which dwelt within her in perfection by a singular grace of her own Immaculate Conception. Through Baptism we are given freedom from sin to live as God's children. Through the pondering and deep contemplation of God's Life within us and His love for us, the presence of Christ comes to live and grow within the wombs of our hearts in a stronger and fuller way. We then say with Paul in Galations that "now not I, but Christ lives within me."

All the baffling things which happen to us in our lives only come to make sense in the Light of Faith. A deep intimate knowing of God our Spouse, brings about the Living Jesus in us and us living in Jesus. Thinking outside the new Garden, the Church leads to heretical thinking and the corresponding manifestations of sin.
Contemplating the Word of God within the context of the Living Tradition of the Liturgy and the Church's teaching authority preserves our lives and nourishes us.

Thinking outside the Garden has only and always led to our destruction.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

In dying that we're born to Eternal Life

"Whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Somewhere in the Gospels Jesus says this. I cannot live a life of comfort and conviction at the same time. One has to give. Either I put myself on the line and I am authentic trying my best to live the life God has given me the way he wants, or I take the easy way out and play the part of being modern, sophisticated and "grown-up". I deny the reality of child-like simplicity which is imperative for entering into Eternal Life. When I am well educated and know many things, I can perceive myself to be wise, but in fact, play the bigger fool for it. If I deny Jesus, he will deny me. If I cut myself off from the source of Life, I am dead inside. If I die unrepentant, I am aborted to eternal death. I pray for the grace of final perseverance almost every day. When my hour is come, I want to be born to Eternal Life. I am in the womb of the Church, the womb of my family, the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the womb of the wounds of Christ where I seek shelter until that day I am called. May the Blood of Christ which speaks more eloquently than that of Abel speak on my behalf that day, and may I die with the sweet name of Jesus on my lips.