Sunday, June 24, 2007

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us

The picture to the left is of St. Aloysius Gonzaga parish. I lived across the street from this parish when I attended Gonzaga University (class of '88).

The Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga is 21 June. I wanted to share the following, from the Liturgy of the Hours:

"St. Aloysius was born of the princely family of Castiglione in 1568 near Mantua in Lombardy. Instructed in piety by his mother, he manifested an inclination to religious life. He legally delivered his share of the ancestral dominion to his brother and entered the Society of Jesus. While serving the sick during a plaque, he himself contracted the disease and died in 1591."

As he was dying, St. Aloysius wrote a letter to his mother. In that letter, he wrote: "When [God] takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have."

Father of love, giver of all good things, in Saint Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence with the spirit of penance. By the help of his prayers may we who have not followed his innocence follow his example of penance. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

God bless,


Friday, June 22, 2007

Petrine Primacy and the Council of Jerusalem

This has been brought up more than once, so I thought I'd post it on my blog...
If Peter was deemed the head of the Apostles by Jesus, then why is James acting as the leader at the Council of Jerusalem, and why does Peter seem to be on the wrong side of the circumcision argument in the epistles?
After there had been "much disputing" (Acts 15:7) at the Council of Jerusalem, Peter said [literal translation, YLT]: "Men, brethren, ye know that from former days, GOD AMONG US DID MAKE CHOICE, THROUGH MY MOUTH, for the nations to hear the word of the good news, and to believe" (Acts 15:7).

The above is how Peter prefaced his decision regarding the dispute, by pointing out to all present that God chose Him to be the voice from which the nations would hear and believe. This is Petrine primacy straight from the mouth of Peter himself. James made no such claim, nor did the dispute end until Peter, the chief apostle, decided the matter, not by the cleverness of his argument, but by citing his singularly distinctive Divine authority among the other apostles. After Peter spoke, "
all the multitude did keep silence." (Acts 15:12).

So why did James formulate the response to those troubled by the Circumciser Party?

I'm an officer in the Air Force. Often I am asked to formulate the wording in policy on behalf of and subordinate to the policy of my General officer. This is not the "leg work" of the one who has universal primacy, but is more like the authoritative concurrence of a subordinate commander writing a letter to his specific unit from whence the dispute has come.

After all, elsewhere in Scripture, the "circumcision faction" is said to have come "from James" (Gal 2:12), right? It is prudent then that James would be the one to formulate what had been decided by Peter, the chief apostle who ended the dispute on the matter definitively.

As for Peter being "on the wrong side of the circumcision argument in the epistles," you'll have to cite the Scripture passage, because I don't get what you are saying. He did fail to dine with gentiles when the "circumcision faction" from James was present. But I don't see how this bad example had anything to do with an assertion that he agreed with the circumcision faction.

God bless,


Saturday, June 09, 2007

St. Raphael, Angel of God

These words from St. Raphael, Angel of God, were taken from today's Old Testament reading. Tobias wanted to thank Raphael for all that he had done for him and his family. Instead of accepting compensation, Raphael replied, "Thank God, give glory to Him." These wise words from an angel should guide us even to this day.

St. Raphael, Angel of God:
"Bless ye the God of heaven, give glory to him in the sight of all that live, because he hath shewn his mercy to you. For it is good to hide the secret of a king: but honourable to reveal and confess the works of God. Prayer is good with fasting and alms more than to lay up treasures of gold: For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting. But they that commit sin and iniquity, are enemies to their own soul. When thou didst pray with tears...I offered thy prayer to the Lord. And because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee...For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.

And when they had heard these things, they were troubled, and being seized with fear they fell upon the ground on their face. And the angel said to them: Peace be to you, fear not. For when I was with you, I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him....It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me: but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works. And when he had said these things, he was taken from their sight, and they could see him no more. Then they lying prostrate for three hours upon their face, blessed God: and rising up, they told all his wonderful works." [Book of Tobit, ch. 12]

God bless,