Thursday, February 23, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
It is with heavy heart I take to this post, today me beloved pup breathed her last. After almost 16 years of grand life in high style, she could no longer go on, stubborn, but not stubborn enough to see herself to the completion of her 16th year. When I last saw her at Christmas, I knew...I'd no longer see her, but even that knowledge can't prepare one for the loss of one so dear. The puppy who was scared of grass, having never seen it. The dog who was there for Jr. High, High School (heck, even the football coach knew her by name), college, work, grad school, and life away. No matter what, she was always there to great meet at the door, even as she aged, she still summoned the strength to greet me when I came home, to play a little fetch with her favorite ball and to just curl up next me on the floor, even one last time over Christmas, for old times sake when she wouldn't leave my side....she knew I think, too, that it would be out last time together. I try to hold back the tears, but they keep coming. Tears of grief, tears of happiness, because the past week she had really taken a turn for the worst, old age coupled with one last big snow did her in. Words can't express what a great friend, companion, and source of joy she was....think about it...I'm 27, she was almost 16...that means she's been in my life since I was 11...for a dog that is amazing, but it also makes the sense and bond that much stronger. My puppy, my baby...finally gone. Why is that good dogs have to grow old? Perhaps it's to teach us about life and friendship and that everything has an end, just as it has a beginning. If there is a place in the great beyond of Heaven for good dogs...I'll see her soon. No dog could take her place, but there will be others, not right away but someday and each will be different, but each will draw comparisons to Candy. My black faced little puppy who loved to chase birds, squirrels, bit slippers, answer the phone, and walk her neighborhood. Even in her advance age, all the neighbors knew her and none of the other dogs bothered her...they knew who ruled the block...the little 18 lb terrier. I'll see you soon girl....in the meantime find a ball, find Smokey, Candy I and Cookie and wait for us to catch up and then be prepared for a game of fetch like you've never seen.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....Oh, when we get to Heaven We hope that we will find The souls that once we loved Who left us all behind.Some left us at the right time They left this world in peace Others left too sudden Without the chance to say Goodbye, They were gone before we had The chance to even cry.There's a special place for grownups A special place for kids Me? I'll be on the other side The side called Rainbow Bridge. Across the dark green meadow A'top the hills I'll run Where the colors from the rainbowG litter from the sun.And there I'll find my sweetheart Running fast toward me In my arms where she belongs for all eternity.
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Part 3 of an Ongoing Series: Transubstantiation, Just what is it?
In Christian circles the meaning of Communion differs widely. From consubstantiation, to a spiritual presence, to a reenactment there are many interpretations. However, when one looks at all the views out there, the Catholic view of transubstanstiation.
Transubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine is literally converted/change ino the whole substance of the body and blood of Christ, with only the appearance or sensible qualities of the orginal elements remaining. The body and blood are the only present elements, although the appearance of the bread and wine remian as sacramental symbols of earthly food. The Eastern Churches note this as a mystery of faith, so why was it defined in the West?
As with most defined doctrine's, it results from the challenge of heresy that a doctrine must be defined in a very specific manner. Transubstantiation was defined in 1215 at the Council of Lateran. The word itself was deemed to be the only term which completely and accurately defined mystery of the Real Presence. Other terms either are incomplete or wrong. Though consubstantiation affirms a real presence, it does not due justice to the biblical teaching of Christ regarding the Eucharist and the practice of the early Church in this area.
The teaching finds scriptural basis in the New Testament in all 4 Gospels and 1 Corinthians. It is also supported in the writings of the early Church fathers, such as Cyril of Jerusalem to name one of many.
I've given a quick summary of a very interesting doctrine. If you're interested in learning more, do so for your own benefit. My goal with this series from the outset is to touch the surface and give an easy explanation. I am not here to convince anyone of whether what I write of is right or wrong, but rather to challenge biases and predjudices and force some to take a new look at things.
As an aside, I leave you with a quote from St. Brigid, the other Patron Saint of Ireland which I enjoy:
“I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal. Amen.”
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I wanted to open up the old book of poetry and share with y'all a poem/song I wrote in early December after meeting a former city employee who came back to visit after being over in Iraq with his National Guard engineers unit. He was showing us a slide show and there was a picture of him on his bunk next to his rifle....it was the writing either in a silver sharpie or white out on the butt that caught my eye.... honest critiques are welcome.
God, Country, and Carolyn
Me and my boys just got back
And I remove my pack
Another mission over, another battle won
I look down and see my reminder of why we won't cut and run
Starting back at me from the but of rifle
And a tear I'm made to stifle
Folks back home may not agree about why I'm over here
What they say, What they print, I don't really care.
I'm over here for more than just a win,
It all comes down to God, Country, and my sweet, dear Carolyn.
We were getting married in June when my orders came in April
We talked it over for two minutes, our thoughts were both the same
A miracle we did seek,
But we stood there before God, family and friends,
At the end of that chaotic week.
I shipped out two weeks later to a midwest fort
Then off to Iraq via some mideast port
Where our friends in light are our foes at night
But I'm doing my best to end this long, long fight
Tonight's my night on the tower guard
I pray to the Lord that tonight won't be hard
Three more weeks and I'm home for good
To see my wife and start my life with her
The way you know it should
The lust for home, you know it ain't no sin
I pray to God to see my country again
And hold and love forever
My sweet, dear Carolyn.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Part 2 of an Ongoing Series: The Sacrifice of the Mass
I can not think of a doctrine that is more foundational to the Catholic Church and more misunderstood by Protestants and other outsiders than that of Holy Communion. It will take more than one entry here to dispell that even though I would like to do it all at once, this is a simple explanation designed to encourage study. (Well that, and I don't want to send that nice picture of the Double B to the archives yet!).
It is a misheld notion by many Protestants and by many Catholics that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the sacrificing of Chirst over and over again at each Mass. As if the sacrifice was somehow insufficient. In the early part of this century, this view was common amongst Fundamentalist Proestants, but due to a failure of the Catholic Church to sufficiently teach their own coupled with groups trying to "save" Catholics, this notion has krept into the Catholic Church.
To make a long story, Catholics believe (or at least those who study and learn the faith) that Jesus does not die again at each Mass. They hold to scripture that He died only once and that this death was wholly sufficient to atone for all our sins, he gave Himself up willingly as a voluntary, perfect sacrifice.
In the Catholic Mass, the sacrifice of Calvary is made present, re-presented to the faithful in that moment in time in an unbloody sacramental way. Christ's body and blood were shed but once. When the priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass, it is the exact same sacrifice that was present at Calvary. I hope that makes sense to everyone out there.
It is a prescence that is distinct from a historical prescense and distinct from a symbolic prescense. It is distinct from a spiritual prescence. It is Christ, His body and His blood that is given to the faithful for nourishment as He proclaimed at the Last Supper and elsewhere in the Gospels (John 6 comes to mind). Through the Mass Christs saving act is made present day by day until the end of the world so that all the faithful may eat of His body and drink His blood.
Catholics hold a very literal reading of Scripture in this regard, because Christ was literal. Of course this also leads to the need to understand the idea of Transubstantiation which is next in the series.
The sacrament itself mirrors that of the sacrament of marriage. The bride coming forth to recieve her groom and becoming one. Christ is the bridegroom of the Church and we are His bride. Even the words of invitation in the Catholic Church reference this concept mirrored in Revelation 19:9.
So long story short, the Catholic Church does not believe that Christ is sacrificed over and over again, depsite the claims made by others and the uneducated in her fold. Go ahead, look it up and reach your own conclusion. But don't base it on what others tell you, don't believe it because some author tells you, go to the source and make up your own mind.