December 2003

Is God “outside of time”?

The short answer is yes, unless you want to descend into process theology. The real question is: what does it mean to be outside of time?In my post of December 22, I quoted a passage from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy which points out that there have historically been two approaches to examining the nature of time: “Reductionism/Relationism with Respect to Time”, and “Platonism with Respect to Time”. In the first, time does not exist outside of the events (i.e. changes) that occur in time.

The status of the family

Today is the feast of the Holy Family, and it was my turn to preach. I find it very hard to preach on the subject of family. For those who think that priesthood is a vocation in crisis, I (as a priest) have only this comment to make: the vocation to marriage and family life is in as bad if not worse shape than priesthood. I take absolutely no pleasure in this, in fact this is what makes it so hard: because no matter what you say, you’ll wind up rubbing some salt in somebody’s wound.

Christmas shopping…

…is over!

Yes, I know I should not leave it to the last minute. But to be honest, I am not a Christmas “shopper” so much as I am a Christmas “purchaser”. I know what I want to get before I go out and get it, so the rest is pretty easy…it’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it.

Life in the Spirit: the four spiritual “food groups”

When the Charismatic Renewal movement began Catholics were introduced to a phenomenon called “baptism in the Holy Spirit”. People whose spiritual lives were lukewarm (or even quite cold) suddenly experienced a new “fire” in their relationship with God, which they attributed to the action of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. I have heard many testimonies to this effect from people who are otherwise very ordinary, and some are even able to pinpoint the day and hour when they “met God” in this new way.

Kudos to our Christmas basket team

Last night I got asked to take my car out of the garage and park it in the church parking lot overnight. Today I found out why: dozens of volunteers converged on our parish hall and garage to pack and deliver Christmas baskets for the poor of our neighbourhood, with my garage as the delivery and drop off point. While I live in what normally would be considered an affluent area, in some ways that makes the poverty, when it does strike, even worse, because people can feel very ashamed.

More on confession

I’ve posted on the power of the sacrament of Reconciliation before, but I realise that some of you might not know much about this amazing sacrament. I just participated in a Reconciliation evening last night, had one tonight, and will have one tomorrow night, each in a different parish (we priests back each other up to ensure everyone who comes has the chance to be well received). I thought I’d share a bit about what it is about.

Time for something a little lighter

It has been a crazy few days. I have a few ‘heavier’ posts on the back-burner…things like spiritual warfare, an update to the “Repas de Fraternité” post, reflections on the power of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and a blog post on the nature of time, all of which are inspired by events of the last few days. So what to blog about?

Munchkin! Y’ever play it? It’s hilarious!

Too many Popes?

I got an email from one of my students recently who is a Seventh Day Adventist. She wanted to know a bit more about why Catholics have the office of Pope, what the point of his office is. I hope my reply to her was useful.

Penny for your thoughts

I visited a high school today. While it is a public non-denominational high school, the students are 90% Catholic. The purpose was a multi-faith assembly they were having — presentations were being given by students on 4 different faith traditions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism) and I was invited to close the event with a prayer.

“To accept…you are free then!” — Mother Teresa

I spent some time with a few brother priests today, all recently ordained (and so we are all still curates, a.k.a. associate pastors), and as usual we got to kvetching about how the diocese is going, etc. As the saying says, “Wherever two or more priests are gathered, the bishop is there among them.” The same applies to assistant priests with their pastors…

The power of fasting

I don’t know how many of you include fasting in your regular pattern of religious devotion, but if you don’t, I’d suggest you consider it. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives advice to his disciples on the attitudes they should adopt when fasting, which of course presumes that they fasted.

World Youth Day 2005

I just got back from a meeting to start to prepare for World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany. Yes, I know it seems a bit early to be working on this, but we want to really use this as a catechetical and evangelization opportunity.

Our basic strategy is going to follow a pattern similar to the RCIA model.

There will be an initial no-pressure period where young adults can “come and see” what the event and the experience is all about.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, i.e. the Mormons…

…are not Christians. No matter what they may claim.

I realise that in our terribly “politically correct” culture this is not a “nice” thing to say. But I now know of two people I care for who are thinking of becoming Mormons. I feel I need to set the record straight.

To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus, yes, but Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity. What does this mean? “One God, in three Persons”. But still one (and only one) God.

A special day

Two years ago on December 7, I was ordained a priest. A day that will live in infamy? Hopefully not for that reason, at least…

It’s strange, I woke up and it was like any other day. I didn’t even remember it was my anniverary until a parishioner congratulated me this morning before our first Mass. I’m not sure if that is a sign of increasing humility or early senility…hopefully more of the former than the latter…

Some initial background: the analogy of being

Some years ago I picked up a copy of the On Being and Essence by St. Thomas Aquinas, tranlated and commented by Joseph Bobik. It cost me $8.95 (CAD) at the used book store, and it was entirely worth it. It took the metaphysics course I had at the seminary, which gave me the basics, and allowed me to penetrate even more deeply into the “Meaning of Being”. It also took me months to read, simply because it was so dense, but every morsel was a meal in itself.Aristotle, in the Metaphysics, wants to study Being in itself, for what it is.

Advent mission, evening #4 (reconciliation service)

Tonight was the final part of our Advent mission. Fr. Madore preached the first 3 days, as you know already if you’ve been following my blog. Tonight I took over, presiding our Advent reconciliation service. After a brief moment of prayer, a reading, a homily, and an examination of conscience, people had the chance to confess their sins individually to one of 5 priests in attendance.

Advent mission, evening #3

This was the last evening of our parish mission with Fr. Madore. He preached within the context of a Mass, and since I had already presided Mass this morning (and to be honest, I was extremely tired) I just stayed for the homily. I am glad I did, and didn’t just cop out of the whole thing completely, because he had interesting things to say. I’m not going to repeat everything, so I’ll just tell you about one example that he used: the “parable of the jigsaw puzzle”.