Advent

Catholicism is a religious tradition that lives in a cycle of feasts and seasons.  This cycle begins each year four Sundays before Christmas, with the season of Advent.  These four or five weeks are a time of prayerful preparation, during which we contemplate the coming reign of God at the end of time, and the Incarnation of Christ which we’ll celebrate at Christmas. At least, … Continue reading Advent

Eucharistic Adoration

 The practice of Eucharistic adoration is a devout prayer before the body of Christ in the Eucharist, displayed outside of the context of the Mass. Once a very widespread practice, it became less popular after the second Vatican Council, which placed a greater emphasis on the active participation of the faithful in the liturgy itself. In the 21st Century, adoration is growing in popularity once … Continue reading Eucharistic Adoration

AD and BC

For as long as there have been calendars, there have been arguments about calendars.  Early on in Human history, we developed a need to measure the passing years, so that we’d be able to track when to plan the crops, who’s got seniority, and when we qualify for Social Security.  Once we had established the length of a year roughly 365 days, it was necessary … Continue reading AD and BC

Acceptance of the Gospels

With the publication of the so-called “Gospel of Judas,” discussion and debate about the many and various Gnostic gospels has once again been revived.  Coming as it does on the heels of the “Di Vinci Code,” much of the press coverage has intimated that there’s some frightening new information here, or that the Church has conspired to suppress or cover-up these gospels. Any thinking person … Continue reading Acceptance of the Gospels

Abbreviations

Throughout our history, Christian art has been used to teach about our faith.  In centuries when illiteracy was common, icons, statues, frescoes and stained glass were the “catechism books” that taught biblical stories and theological lessons.  You don’t have to delve too deeply into Christian art to see that lots of these images are adorned with abbreviation designed to clarify the message in the picture. … Continue reading Abbreviations

Seven Deadly Sins

In traditional Catholic piety, sins have been divided into venial and mortal sins:  venial being more minor offenses, and mortal sins being those that mark a significant life-changing turn away from God.  Another designation that has been part of our tradition is that of “Deadly” or Capital sins.  The word capital is derived from the Latin root caput, meaning head.  So, these capital sins are … Continue reading Seven Deadly Sins

Bells

Occasionally something that begins with a purely practical purpose will, over time, take on a spiritual significance and become part of the Church’s tradition.  One good example of this is the church bell.  Bells are so much a part of our tradition that the most basic iconic representation of a Church is a square building with a steeple or bell tower. It is thought by … Continue reading Bells

Encyclicals

On November 30th, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published his second encyclical letter, “Spe Salvi,” or “Saved by Hope.”  His first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” was a reflection on the nature of love.  But you may be wondering, what exactly is an encyclical letter anyway? In the ancient Christian Church, a encyclical letter was one sent to the bishops of a particular area. The name comes … Continue reading Encyclicals