Thursday, February 1, 2018

On the Feast of St Brigid

On this feast we offer the following links in recognition that social media, Facebook in particular, often seeks to suppress Christians and their beliefs and practices so the following is from a blog that has received such treatment from FB - because, apparently, it is dangerous stuff!

Visit Shower of Roses Blog  HERE and see for yourself if this is worth suppression!  Needless to say FB allows porn, propaganda, and all sorts of incivilities without question.

A Collect for this day.
Merciful God,
origin and reward of all charity,
you called Saint Brigid to teach the new commandment of love
through her life of hospitality and her care of the needy;
give to your people, by her intercession,
a generous spirit,
so that, with hearts made pure,
we may show your love to all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

FIRST READING Job 31:16-20, 24-25, 31-32
Have I been insensible to poor men’s needs,
or let a widow’s eyes grow dim?
Or taken my share of bread alone,
not giving a share to the orphan?
I, whom God has fostered father-like, from childhood,
and guided since I left my mother’s womb.
Have I ever seen a wretch in need of clothing,
or a beggar going naked,
without his having cause to bless me from his heart,
as he felt the warmth of the fleece from my lambs?
Have I put all my trust in gold,
from finest gold sought my security?
Have I ever gloated over my great wealth,
or the riches that my hands have won?
The people of my tent, did they not say,
‘Is there a man he has not filled with meat?’
No stranger ever had to sleep outside,
my door was always open to the traveller.

Or: Ephesians 3:14-21
This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:
Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine;
glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 106 (107):35-38, 41-42.

R/. (v.1) Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
He changes desert into streams,
thirsty ground into springs of water.
There he settles the hungry
and they build a city to dwell in.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
They sow fields and plants their vines;
these yield crops for the harvest.
He blesses them; they grow in numbers.
He does not let their herds decrease.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.
He raises the needy from distress;
makes families numerous as a flock.
The upright see it and rejoice
but all who do wrong are silenced.
R/. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love has no end.

ALLELUIA 1 John 4:12
As long as we love one another,
God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.

GOSPEL Luke 6:32-38
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.’ ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

As we present these gifts, O Lord,
on the feast of Saint Brigid,
may we come to know you as the source of all true love.
Through Christ our Lord.

Saint Brigid of Kildare
 or Brigid of Ireland (IrishNaomh BrĂ­dLatinBrigida; c. 451 – 525) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun,[3] abbess, and foundress of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland, which was famous and was revered. Her feast day is 1 February, which was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring. Her feast day is shared by Dar Lugdach, whom tradition says was her student and the woman who succeeded her.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yes, The Sojourner Has Certainly Been Oppressed.

"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears:
for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 39:10

Have you heard it?

"Your bible permits sojourners and so it is wrong to have borders- where is your Christian compassion you hypocrite?”

The latest apologetic sentiment for the political Left seems to be the ‘sojourner,’ and very likely, those making this assertion have not read the Bible, or having read a little, read in a self-serving and superficial manner. Likely though, they merely rely on what others say that the Holy Scriptures teach rather than laboring through diligent and communal study as do Christians-- within the Body, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit.

The usual result of such an approach is something known as Presentism a fallacy or logical error imposing contemporary cultural agendas on ancient texts without generally realizing they even commit the error. Others though, are certainly aware some Christians will not have the wherewithal to spot such twisting of an archaic doctrine and these people are guilty of committing argumentum ad ignorantiam, another fallacy 
exploiting the ignorance of an issue and thereby ‘guilting’ the hearer into accepting the error as valid.

The line of faulty reasoning behind the sojourner issue insists that an illegal alien is the contemporary and moral equivalent of the Old Testament sojourner and that Scripture tells us the breaking of our Country's laws are acceptable to God.

This new dogmatism (dogma being the epiphany of Revelation and subsequent preservation) we are not to question comes from the very people who mock us for accepting the authority of God in the first place. A God they claim to be myth and reject in their own lives. We are, under this new Inquisition, to be judged by a subjective ignorance born of the uninitiated in whom the Holy Spirit has no home and therefore sojourns not. The Christian knows that without Godly understanding (Isa 11:1- etc), one is in a state of natural man and thereby repeating the same errors as endless generations before them.

Epistemology: We have sound historic and doctrinal reason to reject these fallacies:

Sometime prior to the fourth century an anonymous author penned an apologetic known as the Epistle to Diognetus. The relevant themes in this letter with which we concern ourselves are Christian faith and manner in the world. It presents a bit of a problem for our friends who think they understand what sojourning actually is and believe they have ‘evolved’ in intellect and society.
"Every foreign country is to them as their native land, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry as do all; they beget children; but they do not commit abortion. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are the citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all. They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil-spoken of and yet are justified. They are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign a reason for their hatred.”

So just who is this ‘sojourner?’

We Christians are told to accept illegals as sojourners all the while being treated as illegals in our own country. Throughout today’s world Christians are ostracized, marginalized, sued, slandered threatened, and often killed by those who say our book says we should be accepting of others. Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today and yet we accept not just our own as Christians, but people of all cultures and races. Why? Because that old ‘book’ the Bible says we are all "of one blood" and all one in Christ. Our detractors want to impose their dogma on us while using our tax dollars to fund the government as a proxy for their compassion.

The student of the Bible knows the OT foreshadows the New and understands the concept of dispensation and covenant. She knows the Bible is not an amalgam of isolated rules but rather a coherent revelation on living towards an ultimate end- being acceptable to God. The Christian interprets the Scriptures in context and indeed this novel Leftist Dogma has no historical context. The idea that sojourning can be twisted into a convenient political agenda in such a way as abrogating the articles of the Decalogue is no more logical than believing a local municipal ordinance can abrogate the U.S. Constitution. Attempting to present such fallacious and fantastic ‘doctrine’ only makes those attempting it foolish in the eyes of anyone with reasonable familiarity. The attempt to displace true doctrine with such nonsense is to treat us as illegals in our own religion- an act condemning the perpetrator as both superficial and hypocritical. The sojourner, just as many doctrines, has both a literal as well as allegorical sense. Not only do they misconstrue the literal sense, in this case the greater sense is lost on them as well, a loss that may well condemn them for their effort.

Consider some facts about the sojourner in the sense of the Old prefiguring the New Testament. Whether today, or ages past, the sojourner is not one who willfully violates the law while expecting material handouts from the host. The sojourner is here for a season because he is not of this ‘country.’ In a greater sense the sojourner is not of this world, but of another. Such a sojourner is “not without honor except in their own land” (Mark 6:4). He has not come to stay, but is journeying towards a Kingdom which is not of this world and yet is visible in this world. Dare they see this Kingdom is Christ’s Church? Just as Diognetus explains centuries ago, the true sojourner, whether the coming King or his subject, seek a Kingdom not fully manifest. Sojourning as it were, for a season and estranged in the land he lives.

'He is to the world what the soul is to the body, in the world but not of the world, a light to that world just as the soul enlivens and enlightens the flesh. Bodies have many members and the soul enlivens them all and the soul is in the body but not the body. Christians dwell in the world and are not of the world. The world hates the Christian and the blood of martyrs, the seedbed of the Church, proves this both today and historically. The body hates and is in constant war with the soul because the soul aspires to a higher state of being than the flesh, which is weak and fleeting in nature, unable to reach such a state on it’s own.

The greater sense is that the flesh represents the world, and the world hates the Christian striving to perfect his soul and subjugate his flesh as he sojourns here for a season in preparation for a higher state of holiness that the world cannot attain. Reproved, the flesh hates the soul and hinders it yet the soul loves the flesh, all of it's members, and tempers it towards perfection, just as the Christian loves those who hate him or her while working to elevate natural man to a higher state.'

“But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him
who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.”

So the moral of the story is beware the people who decry the Christian for not showing compassion to those who break our laws as they are the same people who do all in their power to make us strangers in our own land. Compassion aimed at those they will never bear the burden of personally- theoretical persons if you will, all the while subjecting real neighbors to un-vetted criminals and diseases long unknown in this country. Persons who will rely on State welfare and entitlements and vote for those offering the handouts.

These same ideologues that redefine the sojourner to fit their political agenda attack our Church and culture by redefining marriage, inventing genders, suing florists and bakers for not accepting the new dogma, the Inquisitors that sue towns for displaying crosses and Nativity scenes. They demand our unalienable 1st Amendment right to religious freedom be silenced in the town square and exiled into private practice. They mock and scorn us for adherence to that 'old book’ written by ‘primitive patriarchal misogynists’ and then, as the double-minded are want to do, they cite those very patriarchs out of context to drag us down to their worldly level!

The truth is that this moral equivalency conflating a sojourner with illegal immigration also throws the precepts of God into contradiction. The idea that willfully breaking the law, and at the same time, demanding hospitality is preposterous. It is especially so, when having broken our laws of immigration with impunity, to commit more crimes emboldened by our Inquisitors willingness to aid and abet the criminal behavior. This is the compassion we are to imbibe?

The sojourner doesn't break down the door or scale the wall of the host like a common thief; he knocks in humility and allows the host to answer generosity and with grace or accepts rejection as the case may be. Yet this is exactly as our self appointed Inquisitors would have it- judging sinful things as good and good things as sinful because they are of the world and without Light, and in so doing absurdly redefine sin itself as compassion.

The precepts of the Kingdom to which Christians aspire preclude the true sojourner from violating authority and demanding welfare in the City of God.

“And Jesus answering said unto them,
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
And they marveled at him”.
St. Mark 12:17

There is a Gatekeeper in this City and a standard of character and conduct that determines either entry or rejection. There is no entitlement for sustenance, but rather the Bread of Heaven to quicken one for immortality.

“There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: [no] sojourner of the priest,
or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.”
Leviticus  22:10

Setting Scripture against Scripture is an evil enterprise and not binding on us. Buying into such distortions is to be blindly led by the blind- falling into a ditch of hypocrisy. Such will clamor at the Gate of Hospitality but their cloaking and deceit may well be their turning away. The reward for evil at the Gate of the Kingdom is the hearing of the words "I know you not.”

Let us continue our sojourning together in truth.

John Dixon
St. Athanasius Anglican

Sources and excerpt:  Joseph Cullen Ayer. "A Source book for Ancient Church History"

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mary at the Circumcision of Jesus

Eight days ago, we were celebration the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1: 14). Today, the church is inviting us to follow the new born Jesus to the Temple. There, he will go through the rite of circumcision. It is not only physical (Jesus was physically circumcised), but also spiritual (Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father).
But at that event, His mother, Mary also circumcised herself by submitting to the will of the Father. She circumcised her heart by not occupying it with worldly desires and passions and by occupying it with meditation on the words of God.

Mary teaches us how to draw to Jesus. What is this lesson that she offers?
Saint Luke gives us a beautiful answer in his Gospel. He writes: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (2:19), and tells us yet again: “and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (2:51b). On these two separate occasions—the presentation of Jesus in the temple as an infant, and finding Him there as a twelve-year-old child after searching for three days—Mary reacts to the mysteries of God in the same way. She reflects. She ponders. She keeps all these things in her heart.

What things? The angel Gabriel’s words. Her cousin Elizabeth’s words. The shepherds’ words. The Old Testament words about the Messiah’s coming. Every developing event, every new word.
Each time, she would arrange the pieces anew, placing the various elements in fresh configurations.

Today she would, perhaps, place the shepherds’ words beside a passage from an Old Testament prophet. Tomorrow she might place the shepherds’ words beside the words of Gabriel. On the next day, she might consider the shepherds’ words as they related to Elizabeth’s greeting.

We also must try to find a time and place, even in the midst of this noisy world, to meditate, to surrender to the will of God. “Yes, Father Thierry, I know all that, but how do I know that it’s God talking to me”? My answer to that question is always, “because you are too noisy; when you are talking, God can’t talk”. Keep quiet and you will hear God speaking to you as clear as the day. Pondering and meditating lead to hearing, and hearing the voice of God. A wise person doesn’t talk too much. He listens a lot, ponders a lot, and talks less.

Mary reverently held each word to the light and compared it with the other treasures in her bag.
Paul exhorts us to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God (Col. 3:16).
Why? Because when the word of God dwells in us over the years or over time, it flows over and touches others. You can’t help it, but go proclaim what God has revealed to you in your time of pondering and meditating.

Pondering leads to proclamation  
Mary didn’t just ponder. After some time, she carried the Good News of the Incarnation to others. Just after the Annunciation narrative, we read that Mary “set out and traveled to the hill country in haste” to tend to her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (1:39). Mary’s life of contemplation filled her with a desire to share with others the divine mysteries that had been revealed to her, so that they, too, might become people whose souls “proclaim the greatness of the Lord” (1:46b).
“The shepherds made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning the child”…”And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

Mary teaches us to seek the face of Christ in all aspects of life, whether in the radiant light of joyful moments or in the darkness of sorrow and death, and even in the midst of our doubt or confusion, to continue open ourselves up to profound trust by pondering all things in our hearts. As we contemplate with our Mary the mysteries of her Son, she becomes for us “a means of learning;” she teaches us “to ‘read’ Christ, to discover his secrets and to understand his message”, so that we may then share that message with all people.

Please don’t forget our challenge this year: everyone is required to (1) bring one person to Jesus and (2) bring one person to our church.

I pray that the word of God may richly dwell in you and transform your lives to become the light that will shine in the darkness all those around you.

Happy New year!
Fr. Thierry
Peace and blessings!
"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay??? (Habakkuk 2:3).

Friday, December 23, 2016

Advent 4

Dear Beloved in Christ,
We are now in the last week leading to the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Mother Church is helping us to rediscover John the Baptist, Witness of the Lord, Trumpet of Heaven, Herald of Christ, Voice of the Word, Precursor of Truth, Friend of the Bridegroom, Crown of the Prophets, Forerunner of the Redeemer, Preparer of Salvation, Light of the Martyrs, and Servant of the Word.
John the Baptist bridges the Old and New Testaments. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets who points the way to the Messiah. He is the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs. He is the herald who prepares the way for Jesus and who announces his mission to the people: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!  John saw from a distance what the Messiah came to accomplish — our redemption from slavery to sin and our adoption as sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father.  Do you recognize your identity as a child of God and a citizen of heaven?
Christmas Schedule
Christmas Services
Christmas Eve
The Christmas Eve service will take place on Saturday, December 24 at 7 pm. Please come join us and invite your friends and family members.
Christmas Day
We will have the service at 10 am (No Sunday School). Remember that this year Christmas falls on a Sunday which is a day of obligation.

Peace and blessings,

Fr. Thierry

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