Holy Thursday – Western Church
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 4:28 PM

Ubi Caritas by Paul Mealor

Latin:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur, caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

English:

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice in Him and be glad.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love one.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
At the same time, therefore, are gathered into one:
Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
At the same time we see that with the saints also,
Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good, Unto the
World without end. Amen.



Great and Holy Thursday (Eastern Orthodox)
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 12:00 PM

Today He is Suspended

Today He is suspended on a Tree
who suspended the earth over the waters.
A crown of thorns was placed on the head
of the King of angels.
He who wore a false purple robe
covered the heavens with clouds.
He was smitten who, in the Jordan, delivered Adam.
The Groom of the Church was fastened with nails
and the Son of the Virgin was pierced with a spear.
Thy suffering we adore, O Christ.
Make us to behold thy glorious Resurrection.

Sung by Lebanese singer, Fairuz.



Mere Links 04.17.14
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor, Christianity Today

If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.

Are Christians in America Persecuted?
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

The short answer is “Yes, all the time.” The not as short answer is: “Yes, Christians in America are persecuted, but not as frequently, consistently, or with nearly the intensity that Christians are persecuted in many other parts of the world.”

Down the Slippery Slope: A Timeline of Social Revolution
R. Jared Staudt, Crisis Magazine

It is certainly not breaking news to assert that America is in cultural decline. Many aspects of this decline have been widely documented: the breakdown of the family, threats to life, and ever increasing secularization.

Why We Need Monks
J. David Nolan , Fare Forward

Religious communities serve as icons of the Christian life. Today more than ever, we need their witness of poverty, chastity, and obedience to counteract our contemporary excesses.



An Invocation for Resurrection Sunday
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 9:45 AM

Our Loving Heavenly Father, today we gather to worship You as we celebrate the most important event in human history and Your greatest miracle: the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  We remember the horrible sufferings that Your Son endured on the cross for each of us.  We remember the torture of Your Son by the Roman soldiers, by the mob, and by the wicked leaders of Rome and Jerusalem, preceding and during Our Lord’s crucifixion.  For us, Your Holy Son experienced hellish torment with all of the venom, enmity, and hatred of Satan.  And yet, we remember Our Savior’s prayer as He was dying on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  We now see that the people in that day did not know fully what they were doing as they drove those ghastly, hideous, and ugly nails through His hands and feet.  Just as today, we do not realize what we do when we reject You and Your ways in our hearts and lives.  We do thank You, Lord Jesus, that on that first Resurrection morning, You paid the debt of Adam’s sin for each one of us, that the shedding of Your precious blood on the cross cleared away the darkness of sin by Your magnificent and radiant resurrection.  We thank You that on the first Easter morning, You broke the bonds of death and rose from the grave as Conqueror, reconciling Heaven and earth, and reuniting a sinful mankind with a holy God.  None of us had any hope of eternal happiness before You redeemed us through the blood of Your Son Jesus.  The miracle of Your resurrection has washed away our sins, gives us the opportunity and privilege to be restored to a right relationship with You, and brings us great joy and peace.  We pray, Our Lord and Savior, that You will preserve, bless, and protect Your servants gathered in churches throughout the world, who today gather together in the enjoyment of this Easter happiness.  We think in particular of our brothers and sisters in Christ in other lands, many of whom worship You under terrible persecution, poverty, and suffering.  We ask that Your presence will be particularly close to them on this holy day through Your Holy Spirit.  For we ask this through the precious name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with God The Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.  Amen.

As we read in I Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  I wish my readers and your families a blessed and holy Easter with the promise of good conquering evil.  Maranatha!



Mere Links 04.16.14
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

Millennials ‘Talk To God,’ But Fewer Rely On Religion, Survey Finds
Scott Neuman, NPR

Barely half of millennials say they look to religion for guidance, but a higher percentage “talk to God,” suggesting that the 18-to-34 demographic is more spiritual than sectarian, according to a new survey by the Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Dictatorship of Diversity
William Kilpatrick, Crisis Magazine

If diversity is such a good thing, we might expect to find much praise for it in the Bible. But the opposite seems to be the case. For example, the diversity of language visited on the people of Babel is presented in Genesis as a curse, not a blessing.

Confessions of a Christian film critic
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

If it’s a challenge to write about Christian films as a Christian, it can be just as problematic to review nonreligious films, especially the bad ones: The humility and loving kindness I try so hard to cultivate in my daily life doesn’t hew to the snark and downright cruelty that can be the occupational hazard of the reviewer’s job.

Christians Must Reject Putin’s Christianity
Ryan Mauro, Juicy Ecumenism

Russian President Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer when the service was promoting an anti-Western, Marxist version of Christianity. He is now, with some success, pitching himself as the man who can save Christianity from the moral vices of the West and Islamic oppression.



Bridegroom Matins – Hymn of Kassiani
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 7:00 AM

O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial wailing and crying: “Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night; accept the fountains of my tears O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds incline Thou to the sigh of my heart O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension; I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet Whose tread when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise dismayed her so that she did hide herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul turn not away from Thy handmaiden O Thou of boundless mercy”.

Exqusitely sung by Margo and David Sinkevitch at St.Catherine Church

The Hymn of Kassiani, also known as the Hymn of the Fallen Woman, is a Penitential Hymn that is based on the Gospel reading for Holy Wednesday morning (Matthew 26:6-16), which speaks of a sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly ointment (distinguished from a similar incident with a different woman, St. Mary of Bethany). This hymn is chanted only once a year and considered a musical high-point of the Holy Week, at the Matins and Presanctified Liturgy of Holy Wednesday, in the Plagal Fourth Tone. (Orthowiki.)



Mere Links 04.15.14
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 10:00 AM

Forgiving the unforgivable in Rwanda
Tim Townsend, CNN

At first, the prisoners thought he had been sent by the government – a spy in a clerical collar – to investigate their crimes. Even when they were satisfied that Gahigi wasn’t a spy, they were skeptical of his motives. Why would this man come to their prison to preach when he knew what they had done?

Catholic Schools Pressed to Give Up Morality
Anne Hendershott, Crisis Magazine

After decades of well-documented dissent on many Catholic college campuses over Church teachings on abortion, contraception, and same sex marriage, a new front in the Catholic culture wars has opened on Catholic K-12 campuses as increasing numbers of gay and lesbian teachers and administrators at these schools are lobbying for the right to marry their same sex partners—and keep their jobs.

Hollywood tries to win Christians’ faith
Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times

With the box-office success of ‘Son of God,’ ‘God’s Not Dead’ and the controversial ‘Noah,’ more faith-based movies are in the works. But experts warn not to treat Christians as a monolithic audience.

Rugged Individuals: Revival Of American Calvinism
Stéphane Bussard, Worldcrunch

Calvin is discovering a new popularity in America. No, not the character from the Bill Watterson comic Calvin and Hobbes, but John Calvin, the 16th-century French Protestant Reformer.



Mere Links 04.14.14
Monday, April 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

The New Testament Jeremiah
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Like Jeremiah, who foresaw the coming destruction of the Temple, Paul sensed that he was living in apocalyptic times. Like Jeremiah’s, Paul’s soul was formed by his internal identification with the tragic history of his people.

Bait And Switch: How Same Sex Marriage Ends Family Autonomy
Stella Morabito, The Federalist

Abolishing all civil marriage is the primary goal of the elites who have been pushing same sex marriage. The scheme called “marriage equality” is not an end in itself, and never really has been.

Ethnic Parishes, Catholic Schools and the Vocations Crisis
Bruce Frohnen, Crisis Magazine

The emphasis on speaking to modern man using modern language has meant far less emphasis on speaking Catholic language to Catholics.

Diversity and Dishonesty
Ross Douthat, New York Times

This refusal, this self-deception, means that we have far too many powerful communities (corporate, academic, journalistic) that are simultaneously dogmatic and dishonest about it.



Constitutional Violations Against Children at Apple Valley, California
Monday, April 14, 2014, 9:23 AM

Apple Valley, California, a small community of about 70,000 residents, lies on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert.  This desert community is best known for being the home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (my younger readers should just wiki them), and their museum was originally established in Apple Valley.  Among the town’s elementary schools is the Desert Knolls Elementary School, where third grader Steven Peterson, age 8, and his brother, fourth grader Patrick Peterson, age 10, attend.  They are two sweet and lovely young boys who love the Lord Jesus Christ, and want their classmates to know Him as well.  As a result, the boys have sometimes handed out coins that quote two Bible verses: John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) and John 3:36 (“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”)  The reverse side of the coin asks the important question, “Where will you spend eternity?”

On a number of occasions during 2013 and 2014, teachers reprimanded the boys for bringing their Bible coins to school.  Patrick’s teacher, Mrs. Stormy DeHaro, said she “hated” the coins, and told Patrick not to bring the coins to school again.  Steven’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Julie Manker, noticed the coins in his St. Valentine’s Day cards for all of his classmates.  Ms. Manker then removed the coins from each child’s St. Valentine’s Day card, placing the coins in a zip-locked bag with a note for his parents saying that the coins were “in violation of the Ed Code,” and returned them to Steven.  Steven said that he felt sad after this St. Valentine’s Day incident.  Ms. Manker said that she believed that bringing the coins with Bible verses violated state law.  Of course, that view is wrong, even in California.  In fact, Ms. Manker’s conduct violated the California Constitution’s free speech clause, and free exercise and enjoyment of religion clause, and even violated the California Education Code section 220, which provides that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their religion.

Then adding insult to injury, the school principal, Mrs. Crystal Schinhofen, failed to address the discriminatory behavior by the teachers, and unlawfully insisted “that she must be informed in advance of any religious items being distributed on campus.”  (How stupid do you have to be to be an elementary school principal in California?  But I digress.)  As a result of their conduct, the Peterson family sought legal advice, and the boys were represented by William Becker of Freedom X (www.freedomxlaw.com), a Los Angeles-based public interest law firm.  Following the allegations, the school district investigated, and on April 4, 2014, issued its long, confidential report, available here.  The investigators determined that the school teachers did in fact violate the boys’ First Amendment constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression, and freedom of religion.  (It looks to me that the investigation and preparation of this confidential report cost the taxpayers of California lots of money based upon the numerous interviews.  Oh, and if you read the report, you can see just how sweet and loving the boys are.)  Although the investigation did suggest a number of remedial and corrective steps for the teachers, none of the recommended corrective actions call for discipline against Mrs. DeHaro, Mrs. Manker, or Mrs. Schinhofen.  District Superintendent Thomas E. Hoegerman wrote in a letter to Attorney Becker that the results of the investigation:

make it clear that although no violation of the children’s rights was intended, a teacher was mistaken as to obligations under the law.  I can assure the Petersons that corrective actions are underway.  The District will use the finding as a learning opportunity to teach staff about the rights and obligations of the students at school and provide guidance as to how to support student rights to freedom of expression at school, including religious expression.

It is good that the school district admitted that it was wrong.  However, in this post-Mozilla world, it seems to me that it is completely appropriate that the two teachers and the principal should be immediately terminated from their positions for their thuggish behavior in violating the constitutional rights of Steven and Patrick Peterson, and for wasting California taxpayer money.  Only in this way can the district teachers truly be forewarned, in the words of Superintendant Hoegerman, to “support student rights to freedom of expression at school, including religious expression.”  In this Holy Week, may God continue to richly bless the Peterson family.  Great job, Mr. Becker, in defending and protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of these boys.  For eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  And shame on you, Mrs. Stormy DeHaro, Mrs. Julie Manker, and Mrs. Crystal Schinhofen for what you have tried to do to these young boys.



Bridegroom Matins – Behold the Bridegroom
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 12:00 PM

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. ~ Matthew 25:6

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night,
And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching,
Unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, be not be overcome with sleep,
Lest thou be given up to death, and lest you be shut out from the Kingdom.
But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God,
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.

Performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir


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