March 2009

Condolences to my sister-in-law and her family

Today was the funeral of my sister-in-law’s stepfather. Grandpa David, as my nieces called him, was not a believer, so the service at the funeral home was actually more of a memorial than an actual funeral. Still, lots of people came, and I drove from Montreal for it (just to come back right after to teach my evening course). I was really proud of Tawnia for being such a trooper, and of my niece Chloe for the reading she did at the service. Please pray for the family.

Why exorcisms are so rare

I’ve been having a discussion with a group on friends on the question of exorcism (the topic seems to come up once every so often), so I thought I’d write a bit about it, and in particular, why exorcisms are so rare. I am referring, of course, to what is called a “major” exorcism. Minor exorcisms are done all the time as part of the Church’s liturgical life, and prayers of deliverance are also known as part of spiritual direction and discernment.

Hail to the (acting) chief!

I got a new job today: as of a little after noon I am the acting chairperson for the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. After a period of exemplary service our prior chairperson resigned today, and I got put in her place. The Centre is facing some major challenges ahead, so please pray for me.

Doing the Buffalo shuffle

Yesterday I had a most interesting experience: I was refused entry into the United States at the Champlain border crossing. Or, to be more accurate, my passenger was refused entry, so we had to be processed inside the border services post and then sent back to Canada.

Translating “makarios” – for Eric

Some time ago Eric, a faithful reader, posted this comment:

I used your beatitude homily in class (with proper citation, hopefully traffic picks up! But I have to say…all my greek students said ‘makarios’ translates as ‘death’ or something close to it. They asked all their relatives from the ‘old country’ as well…unanimous on the ‘death’ translation.

Confronted by kenosis

I’ve been spending my morning getting ready for week 7 of my course on the Christian Understanding of God. One thing I wondered before going to the Holy Land was how the trip might affect my teaching of this course, or indeed how it might affect my own personal vision of the Christian understanding of God. I’ve come to realise it has.

I’ve been confronted, in a powerful way, by the Christian teaching of the Incarnation. I’ve been confronted, in effect, by kenosis.

Back home

I got home Monday evening just exhausted. We had to leave our hotel at 1:30 am to get to Tel Aviv in time for our flight. Wow, is security ever tight! It is easier to enter Israel than to leave it. First, an armed guard entered our bus as we were pulling up to the airport, and the luggage compartments were checked. Then, at the airport itself, I was asked questions for a good 15 minutes about our group by one young woman…followed by another who asked more questions! Then, the X-ray machine (for the bags) followed by a manual check.