Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Best Combination Ever!

Bassoons and Super Mario Bros...woohoo!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Come Chat with C-YA!

I'm very excited to announce the new and improved C-YA Board! Complete with our own domain name, stmarycya.org. Now, in my experience people are either "board people" or they're not. A lot of the people we've met in person so far and gotten to know through C-YA are wonderful, enthusiastic Catholic young adults, who happen not to be particularly big "board people." And that's cool! We absolutely need the kinds of people that actually talk in person. I'd prefer sitting in a room with individual laptops and typing to each other, myself, but hey not everyone is as normal as I am.

I am hoping, though, to put feelers out and find those who ARE board people, as often they'll be less likely to join us in person unless and until they feel more comfortable.

Honestly, one of the main reasons I joined the planning committee in the first place was because I typically hate putting myself out there in person right off the bat in the way that is usually required, and I figured there were other people like me, and I wanted to help provide a comfortable way for ALL types of people to join us, which doesn't often happen in newer groups. We introverts often tend to get forgotton when these kinds of social groups are starting up, completely inadvertently, because we're not social in the same way as the types who are completely necessary to start up groups! We absolutely need the extroverted, enthusiastic, go-get-'em types, they're the driving force! But I'm hoping that we'll be able, over time, to attract the less outgoing types as well, and end up with a nicely balanced group.

Ok, I admit, part of the reason is pretty selfish...I find that introverts tend to talk "deep" and extroverts tend to talk "wide." I'm not good with chit chat, "wide" talk, I'm better with one deep topic, lol, and I need more people like me to talk deep with, so I don't end up boring all the wide talkers!

So if you're an Austinite who attends St. Mary Cathedral, or even if you don't but you might stop by once in a while, and you're a "board person" who enjoys chatting online, come and help the C-YA board get rolling! Boards tend to grow exponentially, if no one is talking, no one starts talking, but if there are conversations going on and the board is active, more people will be inclined to join in the conversation. I could talk to myself a lot on the board, but somehow I don't think that would be very enjoyable for most people. ;-)

So come on by and chat with me! We had a nice Harry Potter discussion going on for a bit, feel free to add your 2 cents.

C-YA at the Trail of Lights!

Every Austinite knows that come Christmas Time, Zilker Park is transformed into a magical trail of lights.

Ok...well it felt more magical when I was a kid, lol, but it was still cool to visit, especially with the Catholic Young Adult group at our parish, C-YA! Unfortunately, my camera died after only a few (pretty blurry artsy) shots, but oh well!

I'm making a new C-YA tag, and I plan on talking about our events and outings here on my blog, to hopefully get the word out to other Catholic Young Adults who attend St. Mary Cathedral, and anyone in the Austin area who would like to join us. Cam and I are involved in the planning committee, specifically with the spiritual aspect of the group, and we're making plans for some great spiritual events. So stay tuned for more about C-YA!


This was my other little anniversary surprise. My favorite! :-)

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise!

Tonight was our "civil wedding" anniversary...5 years. :-) We don't actually count it as our "real" anniversary (that's in June when we had our church wedding in France...it was a complicated ordeal.) But we use any excuse to celebrate, lol, so we usually go out to eat on our civil wedding anniversary.

First hubby brought me roses, which was a lovely surprise in and of itself! Then we went to Outback, and just planned on going back home afterwards. But as we were waiting for dinner, an older couple across the way came over to us and asked if we had plans tonight. We said not really...and they offered us tickets to the Nutcracker!! I'd wanted to go but we never got around to getting tickets. The wife said she had just been feeling yucky and didn't feel like coughing on people, and they had received free tickets from work, so asked if we would like them and we said definitely! We also mentioned we were celebrating our anniversary, and they were so sweet and said congrats and hoped we enjoyed the night. We went to the ballet and very much enjoyed it! (It had been a long time since I'd seen the Nutcracker in person!)

So, I just wanted to give thanks to God for that nice little surprise, and to ask for prayers and blessings for the nice couple! :-)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

We sang the Lourdes Ave Maria today at mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which reminded me that I hadn't yet put up a little video I got of the bells at Lourdes ringing the tune.

It's not very long but it's a bit slow to load, sorry!

Friday, December 07, 2007

French Stupidity

And just to prove that I'm an equal opportunity critic, lol, here is a clip from the French version of "Millionaire."

For the non-French speakers out there, this is the basic rundown:

The question is, "What orbits around the Earth?"

The options are A: The Moon; B: The Sun; C: Mars; D: Venus.

As you can see he looks thoroughly perplexed...so he decides, after some hemming and hawing, to use the "poll the audience" option. The result of that is what really shocked me!

You can probably figure out the rest from watching!

American Stupidity

If I didn't, at one point, have a real life roommate who asked me if London was in France (she also happened to be a cute blonde with a very thick East Texan accent, lol), I would have a much harder time believing that this wasn't an act:

*shakes head sadly*

Monday, December 03, 2007

Reclaiming Christmas

With Advent upon us and Christmas on its way, I am reminded of the kind of forced separation and compartmentalization I had to endure growing up around Christmas time in the CoC.

We did celebrate Christmas in our family, though it was stripped of all its religious meaning and reduced down to a time for family to spend together and talk about Santa Claus and reindeer and chimneys. While most Christians were attempting to "keep Christ in Christmas," we were trying to do exactly the opposite. My sisters and I once asked if we could write a message on the fence with Christmas lights, and our father said that as long as we used "xmas" so that people didn't think we really thought it was Christ's birthday, it would be ok. (Yeah, he obviously doesn't know what the "x" stands for, and apparently didn't mind that most people would just assume we were shortening the word to fit on the fence!) And so, our mission, alongside atheists and anti-religious folk oddly enough, was to keep Christ out of Christmas.

It was kind of a confusing time as a child. A mention of Jesus out in the secular world that I normally would have considered a good thing was tainted by the fact that it was because of Christmas, and so I had to frown upon it and regard it as bad. For once, images and pictures and talk and music surrounded us proclaiming the glory of Christ, but any good was overshadowed by the fact that this was of pagan (i.e. "Catholic") origins and was considered idolatrous and bad. It seemed that the most important thing was to be different. If the world didn't talk about Christ, we should. If the world was talking about Christ, they were doing so for the wrong reasons and we shouldn't join them.

And so now that I am pagan...er, Catholic, I love being able to embrace the good that comes from the general increase in awareness of Christ around the time of Christmas, and I welcome it with open arms! On the other hand, some well intentioned folks can risk running to the other extreme by wanting to completely separate their religious Christmas from any secular "tainting." But, even this gives me flashbacks and makes me cringe a bit.

I think for me, personally, the CoC just kind of wore me out on stressing the "we're SOOO different from the world" idea, and so that kind of makes me cringe now in any form, and even more I find it fascinating to see where the world actually picked up traditions because of our faith, and to see that our culture really is influenced by Christianity, even if they've forgotten, and I want to reclaim that and be proud of it! After being in the CoC, where we claimed that the best way to let our light shine was to continually separate ourselves from "the others" around us, it's still thrilling for me to see a real light shining in the midst of all those people in the world, even when they don't realize it. It's amazing to me that pretty much everyone in our culture knows the story of the birth of Jesus, even if it is only because they watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and heard Linus read about it from Luke. I also love just celebrating the authentic and original traditions, and pointing out to people where their own supposedly secular traditions came from when it turns out they originated from something religious.

I'm reminded of a blog post from Mark Shea I read a while back about Harry Potter and Pharisees. (Yeah, I know...go with me here!) He describes how the Pharisees are so focused on remaining clean by remaining separated from all "unclean things", that they completely miss the lesson when Jesus comes. The laws from God that were supposed to humble them and teach them that there was no way, through their own power, they could be sanctified, to prepare them for the idea that Jesus alone has the power to sanctify, were kind of twisted around. They set up so many rules to try and keep themselves clean (which was a noble idea) that they ended up convincing themselves they didn't need any cleansing.

And so in an ironic way, they take the mirror of ritual uncleanness that God has given them in the Mosaic Law, and instead of seeing in it an image of their own uncleanness and defilement by sin, the turn it around and say to those around them, "See how unclean you are!"

Naturally then, when Jesus appears on the scene, they simply do not know what to do with him and are motivated by their pride to misunderstand him. Jesus, in Matthew 8, turns the Pharisaic understanding of the law on its head. He touches lepers and they are healed (8:1 4), receives Gentiles and they receive faith (8:5-13), consorts with demon-possessed people in a cemetery and they are restored (8:28-31), and, in the next chapter, permits the touch of a menstruating woman and she's healed (9:18-22), touches the dead and she is raised (9:25), and eats with tax collectors and sinners and makes them saints (9:9-13). Yet, in all this, they see only the ritual defilement, not the revolutionary reversal in the flow of power. For, as Jesus points out elsewhere, pride has blinded them (John 9:35-41). They are so certain they are clean they cannot say, "Lord, if you're willing, you can make me clean." And so they miss the crucial lesson that the time for separation is past. In Israel's childhood, separation from uncleanness and sin was necessary just as it is necessary for us to keep our children from "bad influences" lest they become imitators. But with the dawn of the power of the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the bad influences that are to be conquered with good ones, sin that is to be conquered with virtue, and death that is to be conquered with life.

So what does this have to do with Harry Potter?
[And Worldly Christmas?]

Well, the funny thing about the gospel is how often, in the history of the Church, the Church has fulfilled Jesus promise, "if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them" (Mark 16:18). The Church has drunk from all sorts of pagan wells, ranging from Plato and Aristotle, to the various ways in which Norse, German, Druidic, Roman, Indian, and other forms of pagan culture have been baptised and turned to the service of Christ. The Pharisaic approach is to reject--as the Pharisees rejected Christ--the possibility that he really holds power over the devil. It is a mentality that never considers the opposite possibility: namely, that Christ has power to conquer what defiled us under the old law and turn it to his glory.

And that is why I'd rather reclaim the worldly versions of Christmas and re-sanctify them in people's minds, and turn them to the glory of God as they were originally meant rather than separate myself from them completely.

And on a side note, it never ceases to amaze me how closely the CoC resembles the Pharisees when I read more about the Pharisees and their understanding of things! They both often have the best of intentions and the strongest of convictions, but they just miss the mark, largely because of blinding pride.

Edited to add: I just found out that Mark Shea made a whole 3 part series on the subject! All three parts are just piercing with witty truth, as usual!

Part 1: Pharisaic Purity
Part 2: A Christian Approach to Purity
Part 3: Sterility and Fruitfulness

Mistress of My Domain

I have some exciting news! I'm now officially the owner of my own domain name...www.coctocatholic.com

The board is still being hosted on 110mb, but we went ahead and bought the domain name. So feel free to update your links and bookmarks! The 110mb link will still work to get here, but I think that because of some cookie issues, if you use the 110mb address and login with that, because of the different name it might not keep you logged in. Something like that...so update your stuff!

Thanks everyone!!

**Update: Well wouldn't you know it, there are some whacky things going on.

If you're having problems logging in and staying logged in, try using this specific address:


For some reason, the proper address (with the www) is being redirected to the above address, which messes with cookie stuff and doesn't keep people logged on. Sorry!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year:

Peppermint Fudge

Chocolate Trifle

Can't wait to dig in...hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Man For All Seasons

So I watched this movie about St. Thomas More and what he went through with King Henry VIII...wow, that guy was a genius, and a holy genius at that, which is just so much cooler! ;-) (I also have to add, they did a really good job matching that portrait, the actor looked just like him!)

With election day having been today, and the presidential elections being next year, I couldn't help but notice this portion of the dialogue in the movie, a discussion between Cardinal Wolsey and St. Thomas as Wolsey is trying to gain his support in securing a divorce for Henry VIII. When St. Thomas declines to aid him in such an endeavor, the following exchange takes place:

Cardinal Wolsey: Explain how you as a counselor of England can obstruct these measures, for the sake of your own private conscience.

St. Thomas More: Well, I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.
And...we shall have my prayers to fall back on.

Cardinal Wolsey: Hhmmm, you'd like that wouldn't you, to govern a country with prayers.

St. Thomas More: Yes, I should.

Talk about a modern day patron saint for those seeking, and those already in political office. We need people like St. Thomas with a moral compass and a spine, more than ever.

St. Thomas More, pray for us!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pray for Fr. Francis Mary

A letter was read at the beginning of EWTN's Life on the Rock explaining why Fr. Francis Mary wasn't there. Here is a transcript, courtesy of WI Catholic:

Dear Family Regretfully, I have a message that does not come without significant pain to both you and me. I have to tell you in all honesty and truth, that I have been personally involved with helping a widow and her struggling family. Over the course of time, the mother and I have grown very close. As a result, I am compelled to take some time off to prayerfully and honestly discern my future. I am truly sorry of the impact this may have on so many. I am not unaware of the gravity and magnitude of the situation, yet after much wise counsel, it is really something that I must deal with now for the good of all. With that said, it is best that I deal with it away from EWTN. Therefore, I have asked for and graciously been granted some extended time to prayerfully discern my vocation. To those who are part of the EWTN family locally, and others throughout the world, especially all those who have supported me so faithfully in my priestly vocation and ministry here on Life on the Rock, I sincerely apologize. I ask for your prayers and understanding during this time that is so very difficult, but yet so very necessary. Please lift me up in your humble prayers to Jesus through Mary, our Mother, in Grace and Mercy. Fr Francis Mary, MFVA

Fr Anthony Mary then said "Brothers and Sisters of our EWTN family, this is a time in which Fr Francis and all involved are in great need of your prayers and your support as our family. Always remember that no one is beyond the power of God's Mercy or Redemption. And on Fr's behalf, I humbly ask that you pray for him. God bless you."

Indeed, let us keep him, and all priests, in our prayers.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Early Church and the Eucharist - CoC vs. Catholic

On my board recently, a discussion was revived concerning John 6 and the question of whether or not Christ meant "this is my body" literally. The discussion eventually turned to the Early Church Fathers and what the most common belief regarding this was among them. Unfortunately the CoC participant felt he could no longer dialogue with us and had not yet been able to study what the Early Church's view was to be able to present evidence that supported the CoC view. So I was intrigued when, by a complete coincidence, I stumbled upon an article written by a CoC member concerning this very subject.

The author starts off explaining his view of the use of human history in the Christian faith.

"There is also human history to consider. Though it does not carry the same weight as Scripture, still, to consider how others responded to what God has done among us helps us, and the closer in time to the divine act the better."

The author mentions that the term Eucharist is often used among these early writers...the very term Catholics have used continually. He mentions that the "president" or "presider" was the one who led the "Lord's Supper" and equates it to the brother appointed to "head" the Lord's Table.

Seems to me to fit closer to a priest!

He says that Justin Martyr makes it clear that the Eucharist is to be taken every Sunday (which is also a Catholic belief.) He also mentioned that deacons take the "blessed" communion to those who couldn't come to receive it (also a Catholic practice, especially concerning the "blessed" part.)

The author claims that...

"The idea that the bread and fruit of the vine become literally the flesh and blood of Jesus, sacrificed anew [an incorrect representation of the Catholic belief] on the altar of the Presence [?] by the priest, is not found among these men. It is clear that they speak of commemoration and celebration, not transubstantiation."

I was intrigued to read this, looking forward to his evidence. More on that in just a bit.

Furthermore, he goes on to say...

"Yet there was a heresy at work that demanded of these church leaders (or so they thought) a stress on the reality of the symbol of Christ's presence at the Lord's Supper that some might consider today overreaching, or at least, extravagant."

Umm...I'm really not quite sure what it means to "stress the reality of the symbol." I think he's trying to account for the very literal language they use, but I'm disappointed to see such a claim without much evidence at all to support it.

"There seemed to be, at least among some, an invitation to confess sin offered by the president at every service; and this was to be done before the Lord's Supper was served, so that all might partake worthily."

Ring any bells, fellow Catholics? At the beginning of every mass, the priest leads us in calling to mind our sins and asking for forgiveness. "I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters...." Y'all know the rest I'm sure!

Now, I'm going to take a look at some of the quotes of the Early Church Fathers that were provided as support for the CoC view.

"And on the day called Sunday, there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a city or rural district...And, as I said before, when we cease from our prayer, bread is presented, and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent, saying the Amen. A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person, and to those who are not present it is sent by the deacons," (Justin Martyr [ca. 156], Apology, 1, 67).

Once again, sounds very much like mass...where the wine and water are brought, and mixed, prayers are said, the people respond with Amen.

I found it interesting that on the CoC forum where this was being discussed, one person said:

"I am a little confused that one of the writers in the article said that during the communion they not only had the bread and fruit of the vine but also gave out water. I wonder if this was to assist in the need to drink something afterwards or if this was something added in addition, maybe as a result of the scriptures about being saved in Jesus through not only blood but also water, which we know is baptism but I am curious about this. Anyone know about this in any detail?"

If he were Catholic he would have known the significance of the water and wine right away!

But as for the quote from Justin Martyr, there's nothing contrary to Catholicism there, and from other writings of Justin Martyr we know that he did indeed believe in the real presence and was thoroughly Catholic.

Take the following quote (from here):

For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, AND BY THE CHANGE OF WHICH our blood and flesh is nourished, IS BOTH THE FLESH AND THE BLOOD OF THAT INCARNATED JESUS. (First Apology 66)

Food that is "made into" the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer, a "change," food which IS the flesh and blood of Jesus...sounds like a belief transubstantiation/the Real Presence to me!

Moving onto some other quotes in the article...

No one is to eat or drink of your eucharist except those who have been baptized in the name of the Lord... Having earlier confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure, come together each Lord's Day of the Lord, break bread, and give thanks, (The Teaching [ca. 110]).

This is from The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, otherwise known as the Didache.

Is this text, as a whole, closer to CoC or Catholic views? It's one of the earliest extra-biblical Christian texts we have! But what is this about a sacrifice? The CoC says that the sacrifice is over and done with and we simply remember it...but this text seems to talk about a recurring sacrifice. Here's another quote from the Didache that wasn't included above:

For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: "In every place and time offer to me a pure SACRIFICE; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations."

The mass is a sacrifice, it does not sacrifice Christ anew but taps into the ever-present, eternal, perpetual sacrifice that was made once and for all. Therefore, this text seems to support the Catholic idea of the Eucharist as a sacrifice rather than the CoC idea of simply a symbolic memorial.

Furthermore, the Didache definitely does not match up with the CoC view of immersion as absolutely necessary for baptism.

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, POUR OUT WATER THREE TIMES UPON THE HEAD INTO THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

No CoC person worth his salt would accept pouring water on someone's head as a valid baptism!

It seems clear to me that the document taken as a whole appears to be Catholic, not CoC.

Moving onto the next quote...

Be careful, therefore, to employ one eucharist, for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup for unity with his blood, one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and deacons, who are my fellow servants, in order that whatever you do may be done according to God, (Ignatius [ca. 112], Philadelphians, 4).

This is one that could apply to CoC or Catholic fairly equally, although I'd have to say that the mention of an altar and "one bishop" tips it a bit towards the Catholic view. Since the CoC doesn't present a sacrifice, they don't really have an altar, they have a table. And of course a plurality of elders is a must according to the CoC.

Furthermore, we know without a doubt that Ignatius was most certainly Catholic (his famous quote, "Where the bishop is, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church," is the first known instance of the term Catholic Church being used), and that he believed in the Real Presence, as can be seen in the following quotes:

I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, WHICH IS THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I DESIRE HIS BLOOD, which is love incorruptible. (Letter to Romans 7:3)

They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. (Letter to Smyrna 7:1)

[As a side note, the whole idea of having one bishop most certainly did not come wholly from St. Ignatius as claimed in the article, and his "proof" that people fought against having one bishop or thought it was wrong from the Shepherd of Hermas is not very convincing, to say the least. But for now I'd like to focus on the Eucharist and not get sidetracked with Church hierarchy.]

Moving on to the next quote...

How can they be consistent with themselves when they say the bread for which they give thanks is the body of their Lord and the cup his blood, if they do not say he is the Son of the Creator of the world?...Let them either change their views or avoid offering the bread and wine. But our view is in harmony with the eucharist, and the eucharist confirms our view, (Irenaeus [ca. 160], Against Heresies, vol. 4; ch. 18; 4, 5).

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what this quote is being used to support in the CoC view. So I'll just say that it's very clearly Catholic! Those who do not profess Christ as the Son of God are not being consistent when they say their bread is His Body and their cup is His Blood, it seems they're playing copy cat but not accepting the Whole Truth. Likewise, Catholics ARE being consistent, our view is "in harmony with the eucharist, and the eucharist confirms our view."

Here is more from the same document by Irenaeus, Against Heresies, which clearly shows his belief in the Real Presence:

Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished WITH THE BODY OF THE LORD AND WITH HIS BLOOD, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, IS NO LONGER COMMON BREAD, BUT THE EUCHARIST, CONSISTING OF TWO REALITIES, EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity. (4:18:5)

If the BODY be not saved, then, in fact, neither did the Lord redeem us with His BLOOD; and neither is the cup of the EUCHARIST THE PARTAKING OF HIS BLOOD nor is the bread which we break THE PARTAKING OF HIS BODY...He has declared the cup, a part of creation, TO BE HIS OWN BLOOD, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, HE HAS ESTABLISHED AS HIS OWN BODY, from which He gives increase to our bodies.

When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, THE BODY OF CHRIST, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, WHICH IS ETERNAL LIFE -- flesh which is nourished BY THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD...receiving the Word of God, BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST... (5:2:2-3)

Seems pretty clear where he stood on the issue!

Ok, the last two quotes seem to be trying to prove that the early Christians did not believe the Eucharist to be the actual Body and Blood of Christ, but rather a "memorial" and nothing more.

The first quote is from Tertullian:

Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples, he made it his own body by saying, "This is my body," that is "a figure of my body." On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body. (Tertullian [ca. 200], Against Marcion, 4, 40).

At first glance, with our modern understanding, this would seem to imply that Tertullian does favor a symbolic view of the Eucharist.

However, the problem here is precisely the fact that we're reading into the words our modern understanding, rather than trying to understand what Tertullian meant.

In the text above, Tertullian is arguing against Marcion, who believed that Christ did not have an actual body, but was just spirit. Tertullian is using the Eucharist as proof that Christ did indeed have a body. After all, what kind of "figure" of Christ's body would the Eucharist be if Christ had no actual body?

First I'd remind everyone that Catholics DO believe that the Eucharist is symbolic. We simply don't believe it is merely or only symbolic, we believe it is both symbolic and actual, the way that we believe baptism is both symbolic and actual. So to begin with, even if Tertullian did mean to say, in the above quote, that the Eucharist is symbolic (in the sense that we mean it today), this would not be a contradiction to Catholic teaching, especially because, as we'll see in just a minute, elsewhere Tertullian definitely shows a believe in the Real Presence.

But the most important point is that "figure" in Tertullian's quote is not equivalent to our modern day idea of a mere symbol. This article goes into much more detail explaining the difference, but here is a short explanation:

"A scholar of great authority as to the meaning of early Latin documents has inferred from these facts that in Tertullian 'figura' is equivalent not to -schema- but to -charakter- [see Turner, Journal of Theological Studies, vii,596], that is, it would approach more nearly to 'ACTUAL and distinctive NATURE' than to 'symbol' or 'figure' in the modern sense of those terms.

"The question of the meaning of such words in connection with the Eucharist will recur again in a later period. It may be sufficient here to express the warning that to suppose that 'symbol' in Clement of Alexandria or 'figure' in Tertullian must mean the same as in modern speech would be to assent to a line of thought which is GRAVELY MISLEADING."
(Stone, vol 1, pg 31)

Now, another way to know whether Tertullian really meant the Eucharist is merely symbolic rather than both symbolic and truly the Body and Blood of Christ is to examine what he says about the Eucharist elsewhere. Let's take a look:

Likewise, in regard to days of fast, many do not think they should be present at the SACRIFICIAL prayers, because their fast would be broken if they were to receive THE BODY OF THE LORD...THE BODY OF THE LORD HAVING BEEN RECEIVED AND RESERVED, each point is secured: both the participation IN THE SACRIFICE... (Prayer 19:1)

The flesh feeds on THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, so that the SOUL TOO may fatten on God. (Resurrection of the Dead 8:3)

It seems clear that Tertullian did indeed believe in the Real Presence from the above quotes.

The final quote in the article is, I suppose, an attempt to show that the Early Christians did not consider the Eucharist to be really the Body and Blood of Christ because it is not "another sacrifice" but a "memorial."

It is evident to those educated in divine things that we do not offer another sacrifice, but we perform the memorial of that one saving sacrifice, (Theodoret [ca. 440], Interpretation of Hebrews, 8:4, 5).

The problem is that, once again, this reveals an underlying assumption that something cannot be a memorial and also real, as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of the Catholic teaching about the Eucharistic sacrifice. Indeed, the above quote fits exactly with the Catholic understanding that we do NOT re-sacrifice Christ on the altar, rather, the Once and for all sacrifice is re-presented, made present again for us on the altar. It is a true memorial, a memorial which does not just bring to mind the event celebrated, but also makes it truly present.

Once again, if we look at other writings of Theodoret, we can see he did indeed believe in the Real Presence.

From a dialogue he wrote:

Eran.—What do you call the gift which is offered before the priestly invocation?
Orth.—Food of grain of such a sort.

Eran.—And how name we the other symbol?

Orth.—This name too is common, signifying species of drink.

Eran.—And after the consecration how do you name these?


Eran.—And do you believe that you partake of Christ's body and blood?

Orth.—I do.

Eran.—As, then, the symbols of the Lord's body and blood are one thing before the priestly invocation, and after the invocation are changed and become another thing...

Orth.—...even after the consecration the mystic symbols are not deprived of their own nature; they remain in their former substance figure and form; they are visible and tangible as they were before. But they are regarded as what they are become, and believed so to be, and are worshipped as being what they are believed to be. Compare then the image with the archetype, and you will see the likeness, for the type must be like the reality.

This describes our understanding of the substance and accidents of the Eucharist and the change that takes place, and only makes sense if they are speaking of the Eucharist and the Real Presence, not if they're speaking of a merely symbolic "Lord's Supper" in which no change takes place, and no consecration exists.

So among the quotes presented, we see that where they support the CoC view, the CoC is in agreement with the Catholic Church. We see that none of the quotes contradict the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, in fact they fit right in with it. Furthermore, in cases where the specific quotes presented from certain Early Church Fathers could be interpreted either way, we can see from their other writings that they did believe in the Real Presence, and so these quotes must be interpreted in light of that belief.

The author of the article ends by saying:

"No one should build his faith or religious practice on the words of mere men. But using the Bible as the standard, drawing our conclusions only from there, we then turn to the words of later saints to hear their understanding. When we find ourselves in such concert, over so many centuries, it can only thrill and strengthen the faithful in Christ. For it is obvious we and all who follow the apostolic pattern are the one and the same church of Christ."

Indeed, it is thrilling to see Christians through the ages who profess the same beliefs as we do today. Unfortunately for the author, none of the early Christians he quoted do profess exactly the same faith as the CoC, and certainly not concerning the Eucharist, as I've shown. And in general, members of the CoC are not content to affiliate themselves with those with whom they only partially agree, nor should they be. But to be consistent, they can't claim these Early Church Fathers as their own any more than they can claim members of various modern denominations as their own just because they happen to agree on some issues.

The same Church of Christ that these early Christians belonged to is not the one that came from the restoration movement. It is clearly the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

For your enjoyment: Jack, the Depressed Pumpkin

Gotta love Fr. Roderick! ;-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paris, Lourdes, and Rugby!

Well we're back and unpacked and settling back in to life as usual. Camille is a bit sad to be away from his mother country after enjoying it so much, but hopefully we'll be returning in the not too distant future!

So, where to begin? We arrived on a Friday afternoon in Paris and had to drive down to Burgundy pretty much right away. The wedding was the next day, and I was playing bassoon in it! (By the way, I had absolutely NO problems bringing my bassoon onto the plane, no one said a thing to me and it fit fine in the overhead bins! I was SO relieved!) It was a bit of a whirlwind the next day, but the wedding was beautiful as was the bride!

(Sorry, some of them are blurry!)

The Church:

After the wedding we went to the vin d'honneur, and then the dinner reception. It was gorgeous, the food was great, and it lasted well into the evening! It just so happened that while we were in France, the Rugby World Cup was going on in France itself. During the reception, France was playing the All Blacks, New Zealand, who are known to be very good. They have this tribal dance they do before the game to intimidate the other team...it's pretty fun to watch. Anyway...the game was going on during the reception, so half of the men kept running outside to watch a snowy TV, while one guy was on the phone getting more detailed info about what happened. It turned out that France won, so that was announced at the reception and everyone cheered, lol. We were at the reception until 1:30 in the morning, and then had to drive home and didn't get home until 3:00!

The Reception location, outside:

And inside:

And of course, the cake!!:

We spent the next few days in Burgundy with family, mostly relaxing and just hanging out.

Here is a beautiful local town, Semur-en-Auxois:

Camille and I, on our way up to visit the church where we got married (recognize the skirt? ;-):

A couple of Camille's sisters:

The church where we got married:

After a nice weekend, we headed back to Paris and visited around to various grandparents and aunts and uncles. The next week or so we just spent site seeing around Paris, went to the Musee d'Orsay, l'Arche de la Défense, the Catacombs, did my Christmas shopping, and just generally enjoyed ourselves.

Here are a few pics from Paris:

At the Musée d'Orsay:

La Défense - La Grande Arche:

The Catacombs:

L'Arc de Triomphe:

La Tour Eiffel:

The big rugby ball underneath it:

Saturday night was the France/England Rugby game! We all got decked out for the game...

Camille and one of his cute little cousins:

...but unfortunately, France lost to England! Camille and his uncles were pretty disappointed!

The following Monday we headed out to Lourdes. At first we were worried because a strike was supposed to be happening on Wednesday, which was the day we were supposed to be coming back from Lourdes. The strike was going to affect all of the metro and trains, so we were worried we would be stuck in Lourdes! Fortunately, the date was changed from Wednesday to Thursday, so we were good to go! It was a LONG train ride (about 5 hours), but we arrived and walked around and visited the grotto and the church on top of the grotto. We went and looked at where the baths were, and agreed, as I'd planned, to go the following morning. We were both pretty nervous...luckily, the weather was really beautiful while we were there, it was pretty warm compared to how it had been. (Camille was not looking forward to getting in the cold water during the cold weather...so it was really good that it was warmer!)

Ste Bernadette:

Statue of Mary:

The grotto:

The Church above it:

That evening we attended the procession and rosary around the grotto. It was really beautiful, everyone had candles and we sang and prayed in so many different languages. It was really amazing to see how many different nationalities were in such a small place, while being united in prayer and song, despite the language differences...it was truly catholic, truly universal. Afterwards we headed home to get to bed early since we would be waking up in the morning to go to the baths.

The grotto at night (sorry it's blurry!):

The procession:

Oh!!! I almost forgot...I had internet access for a short time with one of the uncles we stayed with before leaving for Lourdes. I found right before we left that the day we were planning on going to the baths was the feast of St. Gerard!!!!! As one of my top prayer intentions was for our infertility struggles and all the infertility struggles of the ladies on the IF board, this was really SO amazing, I was just floored to realize it! It still gives me shivers!

Ok, so the baths...we went early, about an hour before they opened. There was already a line for the women, the men's line was almost non-existent, lol. They have nearly twice the amount of baths for women as they do for men, for good reason obviously. So, we sat on the benches and soon a man started to lead the rosary, again in lots of different languages. They opened the baths and the lines moved really quickly. A group of young men volunteers in their teens (obviously on a parish pilgrimage, as we had seen lots of people with green scarves on like they had) came and began to say prayers in different languages (it was so cute to see them trying to speak English) and sing songs in French. One of the first songs they sang, while I was close to going in for the baths, had me in tears. It was so sudden, but I heard them start singing a song, and thought "I know that...was it at the wedding we just attended?" And then I thought through the music I had played on bassoon, and thought no....it wasn't there. Then I realized, it was a song, about Mary, that had been sung at our own wedding. And BAM, I was nearly bawling and trying to hide my face, lol. I tried to focus and pray and ask for prayers from the Blessed Virgin and from St. Gerard to bless our already wonderful marriage with children, and the same for all those struggling with infertility. (If you'd like to hear the song, it's the one in this video.)

Soon after, we were asked to come inside the door. There were lots of blue and white striped curtains, with sisters helping people in and out and directing them on what to do. I was called in to come inside one of the curtains, they asked what language I spoke, and then one of the sisters held up a blue robe type thing around me as I got undressed. There were several other ladies getting dressed and undressed in the same area, and there was a white curtain in front of us, which is where the bath was. I waited to be called, blue robe clutched around me. So then I was called, went behind the white curtain, again they asked what language I spoke, and one of them explained to me that I would go in, kiss the statue of Mary at the end of the bath, then sit down in the water, and then get up. As she explained this, they were wrapping a wet (and VERY cold) white robe around me tight as the took away the blue robe. So, I walked down into the water, which yes was VERY cold, lol, and went and kissed the statue of Mary, then they said sit down, and I did, and my breath was taken away by the cold for a bit, lol. Then I got up and as I walked out they said "Holy Mary, pray for us. St. Bernadette, pray for us." Then they wrapped me again with the blue robe. I went out, got dressed, and that was it! I'm so glad we went through with it, it was a great experience.

Then we went and prayed at the grotto, I prayed for all the requests that had been given to me, and then we went and lit some candles for those intentions.

The next day we returned to Paris. Since the following day, the strike was to start, we knew we wouldn't be doing much for the rest of our time in France, which was fine. We just relaxed, spent time with family, had some great meals with them. Watched France lose against Argentina...Camille was once again really quite disappointed in their performance, and joked about being ashamed of wearing the t-shirts he'd bought, lol. The next day was the Rugby final, England against South Africa. South Africa won, so at least England hadn't won the World Cup, lol.

Oh, and of course I have to show you the lovely little Myrtille (Blueberry in English):

Yes, that's me reading Bruce Sullivan's book, Christ in His Fullness. I plan to blog a bit about it and other books I read soon!

And, that was about it! We woke up early the next morning, and waded through horrible traffic (largely because of the strike) to the airport, and began our long journey back home. We're still adjusting, still have a bit of jet lag, but we had a wonderful time, and it's possible we'll be returning this coming summer for the 60th wedding anniversary of one set of grandparents.

And, as a special little treat, the lovely photo below, in case you hadn't guessed, is Camille as a kid, lol!! I saw it while we were at their house in La Motte-Ternant, and HAD to take a picture of it.

So there you have it, hope you enjoyed my little recap of our trip! :-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'm Still Alive!

Just in case anyone was wondering why I hadn't posted in so long, I'm in France at the moment! We're visiting family and enjoying ourselves. This coming Monday we'll be going to Lourdes, I'll be sure to post pictures!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Everybody Together Now...AAAAWWWWW

Read more about the abandoned monkey who befriended a pigeon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shameless SPAM!!

Ok, I cleaned out my closet and decided I'd try to sell all these clothes/shoes/coats I never wore, some of which I seriously have never worn once, and sell them on ebay! But y'all know how lost clothes get in the shuffle of ebay, so I'm appealing to my readers to pretty please help me out and pass along the word to any ladies who wear anywhere from a size 10 to a size 14 in skirts/dresses, and/or size 9 or 9 1/2 in shoes...come check out what I'm selling! I'm starting everything at 99 cents (and that includes lots where there are more than one skirt/dress being sold together) and there is no reserve, so you could really get some great deals here. There are also 2 very nice and warm coats (which I don't exactly need in Texas) also starting at just 99 cents.

Just Click Here to see what all I'm selling!

Thank you! Now back to your regularly scheduled blog. :-)

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's Giving Life That Counts

I recently watched the original Yours, Mine, and Ours (haven't seen the new version, it just didn't appeal to me.) It's always interesting to watch older movies, especially because I find I'm often pleasantly shocked by the blatant messages of morality in them. I laughed so hard when I watched the original Cheaper by the Dozen, and the local Planned Parenthood woman was scandalized by the fact that this obviously intelligent and well respected woman dared to have twelve children, lol, and then had the door slammed behind her as she left, disgusted.

I admit that there were a few things in Yours, Mine, and Ours that kind of grated on me a bit at first, some slight passes at having lots of kids. But, I think one part beyond made up for those little passes. I found it so sweet, that I just had to copy it word for word!

The scene is near the end, Helen (Lucille Ball) is expecting their first child together, their 19th child combined. In the midst of labor pains and attempting to get her to the car to head to the hospital, one of her oldest daughters is having a boyfriend crisis of sorts. The daughter's shaggy-haired boyfriend, Larry, wants to have sex, and she's asking her step father, Frank (Henry Fonda) if she's being old fashioned or a prude for saying no to him, like he claims she is. The response given while he's supporting his wife down the stairs as she's in labor with their first child together, with 18 children running around them and all kind of chaos surrounding them was just beautiful, and about as pro-life as you can get.

Frank: "I've got a message for Larry, you tell him this is what it's all about. This is the real happening. If you want to know what love really is, take a look around ya."

Helen: "What are you two talking about?"

Frank: "Take a good look at your mother."

Helen: "Not now!"

Frank: "Yes, now! It's giving life that counts. Until you're ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won't keep it turning. Life isn't the loving, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and ground round instead of roast beef. And I'll tell you something else, it's not going to bed with a man that proves you're in love with him, it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful, everyday world with him that counts."

They head outside, Frank still supporting his laboring wife, they're both shouting goodbyes to the younger kids, telling them to get back in bed, and he continues talking to Helen's daughter.

Frank: "I suppose having 19 kids is carrying it a bit too far, but if we had it to do over, who would we skip, you?"

Such a simple message...each life is precious, and it's giving life that counts. Can you imagine hearing such a thing in a movie made today? It would be utterly shocking. It seems at this point, people hadn't quite yet forgotton that sex and love and babies go together, though they were beginning to. Frank summed it up nicely, trying to separate those things "is just a big fraud."

New Look!

We gave my CoC to Catholic Board a little makeover, check it out!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Skirt #3!

Ok, I promise that one of these days I'll post about something other than skirts. But I just finished my third, and after all, isn't that what blogs are for? To show and tell? Lol...anyway, here it is!

This one is a bit longer and fuller than the last one, and I just love the fabric. The buttery yellow and royal blues remind me of France! Here's a close up of the fabric:

Now, I took advantage of some of the Labor Day sales and bought some more fabric...it's on the way! But, that is all the fabric I'll be buying this month, and since I need to start focusing on getting ready for our trip, I shouldn't have too many more posts about skirts in the near future.

Yeah, I tend to get obsessive about new things for a while after I've discovered them, in case it wasn't obvious enough!