Friday, October 30, 2009

On Particular Grants

Actiones Nostras
“Direct, we beseech, O Lord, our actions by your holy inspirations, and carry them on by your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended.”
- From Enchiridion of Indulgences 1968.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Good Hymns For Jesus, Our Worthy God and Saviour

To God be the glory, great things He hathdone;

So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegate, that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!

- Fanny J. Crosby, "To God Be The Glory," (1820-1915)

On European Secularism and Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI thinks Europe needs to wake up from their godless slumber. Maybe America can take a page from his play book.
From Day One, countering Europe's supposed slide into a godless secularism has been high on Benedict's agenda. Recently, that defense of the church's values has been looking almost like a counteroffensive. On Oct. 17 in Spain, the traditionally Catholic right turned out perhaps as many as 1 million people in the streets of Madrid to oppose plans by the country's center-left government to loosen abortion laws (allowing 16-year-old females, for example, to terminate their pregnancies without parental consent). And on Tuesday, in a Vatican meeting with the new European Union envoy to the Holy See, Benedict chided those who deny the "Christian roots" of Europe. Said the Pope: "Europe will not truly be herself if she cannot keep the originality that made her great. When the church reminds Europe of its Christian roots, it is not looking for special status, [but] recalling the fact that the founding fathers of the European Union were inspired by Christianity."
- Jeff Israely, "The Pope to Unhappy Anglicans: Come On In!" in Time, October 20, 2009.,8599,1931193,00.html

On Anglicans 'Swimming the Tiber'

Yesterady Pope Benedict XVI (J. Ratzinger) proposed a new assimilation process for Anglicans to return back to Rome and "swim the Tiber"

For Anglican leaders, the Vatican announcement is the latest minefield to manage in their ongoing effort to avoid a full-fledged schism within their 80-million-strong church, which includes 2.2 million American Episcopalians. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is juggling the gripes of Anglicans of all philosophical stripes and ecclesiastical sensibilities, most notably as battles over women and gay clergy have undermined that prized "communion" within Anglicanism for more than two decades.

Under the new structure, groups of Anglicans can move into a local Catholic Church that will be headed by former Anglican clergy, who can ease them into Catholicism without their having to kiss goodbye their own pastor or the rites they were raised on. Married Anglican priests who convert, like married priests in the Eastern Rite of Catholicism, will not be eligible to become bishops.

The Vatican's doctrinal chief, Cardinal William Levada, told reporters on Tuesday that Catholic leaders were simply responding to requests by certain Anglicans to find a comfortable home in Catholicism.

The question looming in my mind is how they can find like minds with core conservatives, and church style, but there is not much talk concerning anything related to their view of Jesus. Call me simple, but I want to hear how justification by faith alone in Christ alone comes into play between Anglicans and Catholics.

- Jeff Israely, "The Pope to Unhappy Anglicans: Come On In!" in Time, October 20, 2009.,8599,1931193,00.html

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On Canada And Abortion Protest

Let's just be honest: it's lame. Granted, it is school property, but I think the school could have found another solution.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates joined the silent day on Tuesday wearing red tape on their mouths or red armbands to protest the millions of abortions that take place in Canada and the United States. Rankin joined them by wearing red tape and preparing to pass out a flier to anyone who asked her why she would remain silent throughout the school day. Instead, a school principal alerted police and met Rankin and her mother at the entrance where she told them that the protest is not welcome at the school. Ultimately, school officials allowed Rankin into the building but kept her in isolation away from other students.

School principal Pat Cavan told the Examiner that the protest violated school policy. "School property is not a public place," Cavan said. "So while absolutely we support the right to free speech in a public space, that's not school property." Cavan said she told Rankin about how she could not participate in the protest days in advance and Rankin was the only student to show interest after school officials stopped her and her friends last year.

- Steven Ertelt, Editor, "Pro-Life Canadian Student Placed in Isolation for Joining Abortion Awareness Day," October 21, 2009

On Obama's Thick Skin

Apparently Obama doesn't like Fox News:
Fox executives also say the White House informed them this month the network will not receive an interview with the president this year. Alan Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington, says the White House goal is to "discredit Fox in the eyes of the American people." In doing so, however, the president also risks diminishing his own stature, Lichtman says.

"It is unwise for Obama to single out Fox, and generally unwise for Obama to go after the media," he said. "Clashes between presidents and the media are not usually happy for the president. It kind of brings the president down, and makes the president look a bit petty, a bit of a whiner, and it usually just helps the media outlet."
- Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Washington Correspondent, Obama should lay off Fox News: Critics," in The Gazette, October 15, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On Perseverance

I need reminders:

Jesus, keep me near the cross,

There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

In the cross,in the cross,

Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find

Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,

Love and Mercy found me;

There the bright and morning star

Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,

Bring its scenes before me;

Help me walk from day to day,

With its shadows o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait

Hoping, trusting ever,

Till I reach the golden strand,

Just beyond the river.

- Frances J. Crosby, "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross,"1869.

Friday, October 2, 2009

On Pope Benedict XVI and Justification By Faith

Is the Pope Catholic? I came across Pope Benedict XVI's words from November 19, 2008. He states:
"The relationship between Paul and the Risen One became so deep as to induce him to maintain that Christ was no longer solely his life but also his very living, to the point that to be able to reach him death became a gain (cf. Phil 1:21). This is not to say he despised life, but that he realized that for him at this point there was no other purpose in life and thus he had no other desire than to reach Christ as in an athletics competition to remain with him for ever. The Risen Christ had become the beginning and the end of his existence, the cause and the goal of his race. It was only his concern for the development in faith of those he had evangelized and his anxiety for all of the Churches he founded (cf. 2 Cor 11:28) that induced him to slow down in his race towards his one Lord, to wait for his disciples so they might run with him towards the goal. Although from a perspective of moral integrity he had nothing to reproach himself in his former observance of the Law, once Christ had reached him he preferred not to make judgments on himself (cf.1 Cor 4:3-4). Instead he limited himself to resolving to press on, to make his own the One who had made him his own (cf. Phil 3:12)."
And again:
"It is precisely because of this personal experience of relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul henceforth places at the centre of his Gospel an irreducible opposition between the two alternative paths to justice: one built on the works of the Law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ. The alternative between justice by means of works of the Law and that by faith in Christ thus became one of the dominant themes that run through his Letters: "We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law; because by works of the law no one will be justified" (Gal 2:15-16). And to the Christians of Rome he reasserts that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rm 3:23-24). And he adds "we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (Ibid., v. 28)..."
And again:
"At the moment of his encounter with the Risen One he understood that with Christ's Resurrection the situation had changed radically. With Christ, the God of Israel, the one true God, became the God of all peoples. The wall as he says in his Letter to the Ephesians between Israel and the Gentiles, was no longer necessary: it is Christ who protects us from polytheism and all of its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity within the diversity of cultures. The wall is no longer necessary; our common identity within the diversity of cultures is Christ, and it is he who makes us just. Being just simply means being with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Further observances are no longer necessary. For this reason Luther's phrase: "faith alone" is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5:15)."
In this address he is simply saying, look justification by faith, in so far as you are not liberated from good works. I take this to mean, do not use your freedom for a liscence to sin. He end stating:
"At the end, we can only pray the Lord that he help us to believe; really believe. Believing thus becomes life, unity with Christ, the transformation of our life. And thus, transformed by his love, by the love of God and neighbour, we can truly be just in God's eyes."
- Pope Benedict XVI, St. Paul (13): "The Doctrine of Justification: From Faith to Works," to the General Audience at St. Peter's Square, November 19, 2008.

On Pain, Prayer, Jesus and Missions

I was listening to a sermon by John Piper on missions, evangelism and the sovereignty of God given to Native American missionaries. In it he talked about John Eliot. There was a phrase that was especially impactful. First, hear Paul as he writes:
"I can do all things through [Christ] who gives me strength"
- Philippians 4:13
Now compare to John Eliot:
"Prayers and pain through faith in Christ will do anything."
- John Eliot (1604-1690)