The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Grandchildren...and Interesting Things

Once again it's early morning, probably the only truly quiet time in our least for a few weeks. You see, one of our daughters and four of our grandchildren are visiting us here in Florida and this makes for a more lively environment than Diane and I are used to. But we love every minute of it.

The little guys, three boys and one girl who range in age from 1 1/2 to 7, are a true joy and full of wonderful surprises. And what surprises me most are their differences. These four, tiny human beings, raised and nurtured by the same parents and spoiled by the same grandparents, have four completely different personalities. This can be only the outcome of an act of God, a God who revels in the variety of His creation. And they are such angelic little people that I sometimes find myself just staring at them in wonder and marveling at the simple fact of their existence. This, in itself, is proof enough for me that we are created by God and are not the products of some cosmic lottery, that we didn't evolve from some primordial slime. No, these beautiful children are not the mere accidents of an unthinking "nature"; rather they can be only the result of the conscious creation of a loving God. And for this we thank Him and praise Him.

And when these four little ones return home to Cape Cod, Diane and I will await the arrival of our other two equally beautiful grandchildren...soon, we hope.

A few more interesting things...

I facilitate a parish Bible study and in the course of it always seem to be apologizing for the arrogance expressed by some of our Catholic scriptural scholars who, blinded by their academic arrogance, seem to believe that they are so much smarter than St. Paul or St. Peter or the early Church Fathers. But some apparently believe they are even smarter than Jesus. Here's something I can across the other evening while browsing on Catholic World News:
The Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, whose lectionary commentaries are used across the USA, has this comment on the Gospel for June 21: "First-century Christians lived a simpler life....Jesus, however, could hardly imagine the pressures of a twenty-first century world."

You can almost hear the subtext struggling to break free from this ridiculous comment: Yes, if only Jesus could have appreciated the oh so difficult challenges we 21st century Christians face, I'm sure he wouldn't have been so unyielding in his teachings, so narrow in his views of morality. But Jesus was really just a simple country boy from Galilee so how can we expect him to have understood the subtle complexities of our more sophisticated lives today?

Such thinking will naturally lead to the rationalizing of...well, anything. We need only say that Jesus simply didn't understand, and that if He were alive today He would surely support __________ (fill in the blank). Of course, what this says about their belief in the eternal divinity of Jesus Christ is an entirely other matter.

Fortunately, we have a truly scholarly Pope who is unafraid to take on these so-called scholars. Pray for him.

Another interesting liturgical item is the latest directive from the Congregation for Divine Worship ruling that the Name of God, commonly rendered as "Yahweh," should not be pronounced in the Catholic liturgy. The new directive reminds bishops that in the Hebrew tradition, which the early Christians adopted, the faithful avoided pronouncing the Name of God., which "as an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable."

The directive states that authorized Catholic translations of the Bible reflect the Hebrew tradition and that liturgical language should adhere carefully to the Scriptural texts, so that the Word of God is "conserved and transmitted in an integral and faithful manner."

The ruling requires no changes in the language of liturgy, since the Name of God is not spelled out in any authorized translation of the Roman Missal; however some hymns will obviously be inappropriate for liturgical use. Let's hope our liturgists and music directors can cope.

It is, of course, a wonderful ruling if only because it reminds the faithful of the majesty of our God, the Creator of all existence. Praise Him.

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