Christ: The Unmarried Jew

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In this time leading up to Easter, many of the “historical” shows start having specials on the life of Christ.  One problem with this- Christ was never married, no matter how much Dan Brown wishes he was.  Christ could not have been married.  He was not only the Son of God, he WAS God.  In many of the Roman and Greek god myths, we see the gods running around and sleeping around.  Christ was not one of these though.  He was fully Divine and fully Human.  This has always been known, even if it was not always apparent.

Can you imagine the scandal that would have occured if Jesus Christ, God, the Son of the Father, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords had descendants???  Could you imagine what life would be like if you were a physical descendant of Christ?  No, you see, I’m better than you are because Jesus was my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great breath great great great great great great great great great great great great great great  breath great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather?

This caused great scandal in his Jewish history.  The Jew’s traditionally have placed a great emphasis not only on marriage, but on family.  Christ was not married, and thus counter-cultural.  We, even if we are called to marriage, are called to be counter-cultural.  We are called to live holy lives.  We are called to defend marriage between one man and one woman.  We are called to defend life from the moment of conception to natural death.  We are called to live like Christ, whether that is imitating Christ in his Marriage to the Church, for men, in persona Christi capitas; for women, who may be called to Christ in Holy Matrimony through religious life; for married couples called to live married lives in witness of the love that Christ had for His Church.

So, Christ was not physically married to a woman here on earth.  He was God.  Let us live out the lives that he has called us to, whether through the imitation of love that he had for the church with a physical marriage to either your husband or wife, and living this out through your counter-cultural examples of preserving traditional marriage, or through a representation of his life by being married to Christ or his Bride, the Church.

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Lateran IV, Part 1

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…

Wait, what I really mean is:

Eight hundred, no, wait, Seven Hundred and ninety seven years ago, in a land across the ocean

Yes, that’s much better…

Seven Hundred and Ninety Seven years ago, in a land across the ocean, lived a man named Pope Innocent III.  Pope Innocent III would redefine the face of marriage for ages to come.  Only, he didn’t know it at the time.

Lateran IV was convened by Pope Innocent III in 1215, and deal with things such as transubstantiation, papal primacy, and confession, and the reception of communion once a year.  Except that was not all.  Innocent III also dealt with things regarding marriage, and, while the others were huge for the Catholic faith, his decrees on marriage redefined the world as they knew it.

Lateran IV declared 3 canons on marriage.  But 3 very influential canons they were.  His three canons dealt with marriage, impediments, and publication of the banns.  Now, you may be asking yourself, impediments?  Why is Holy Mother Church worried about impediments.  Well, in 1215, marriage was really all that mattered.  It was arranged to stop wars and alliances, arranged for this reason and that reason.  In fact, the only people it wasn’t arranged for was the peasants, since in the grand scheme of things, all that really mattered was that they married and produced children to keep working the land.  Who was going to take over Father’s castle wasn’t an issue, nor was dealing with legitimacy of children.  Oh, to be a peasant… But I digress.

Here is where the impediments become handy.  You see, when that arranged marriage went bad, or the 100 years War started again, or whatever, these impediments suddenly appeared out of the blue in order to end the marriage, both on the civil and religious level.   Suddenly, because there are no heirs, the marriage was never consummated, or they married too closely (if only the Hapsburg’s learned this…)   Anyway, impediments are useful to these people who hate each other and are forced to be married…

Or so we think…

The Solemnity of the Annunciation

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So it’s almost the end of the Great Season of Lent.  We have now entered Passiontide, which includes both this week, and next week, signaling then end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week.  However, before we can fully enter into this great ending to Lent, where we will hear that fateful command that “as I have done for you, you should do also” we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation.  This solemnity is celebrated a day late this year because the 25th falls on a Sunday, and is thus transferred to the next day.

“Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.””  We too must follow this fateful command of the Blessed Mother.  We must not only do whatever he tells us, but also, let it be done unto us according to His Word. His Word is the most important thing for us to follow.  We must follow Him in all that he calls us to do.

Let our prayer be that as we enter into this most Holy Season of Passiontide, we may more fully participate in Christ’s plan for ourselves as we await his heavenly splendor.  Amen


Families: City or Country Dwelling?

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In class last week, we discussed the history of the Early Modern City, and how it influenced family life.  Most families would live in the country, and the young children would make their way to the cities, usually as a way to try and get rich fast.  Women ended up working as prostitutes, while the men usually ended up finding themselves in debauchery.   The city dwellers usually found themselves sicker  and dead earlier as well.

Man could not find the perfect balance until centuries later, with the advent of the suburbs.  Give me the suburbs any day!  You are close to the city to take advantage of all it has to offer, but are not living in the city and thus avoiding all the problems it represents, while not living in total isolation that the country was either.

Hail Glorious Saint Patrick

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Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

The Commemoration of Saint Patrick

Bishop, Confessor, Apostle of Ireland

       

From the Confession of Saint Patrick, Bishop

I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing.  Today, I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who kept me safe through all my trials.  I can say now: Who am I, Lord,and what is my calling, that you worked through me with such divine power?

How did I get this wisdom, that was not mine before?  I did not know the number of my days, or have knowledge of God… If I am worthy, I am ready to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name.

It is among that people that I want to wait for the promise made by him, who assuredly never  tells a lie.  He makes this promise in the Gospel: They shall come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.

Let us pray:

O God, who chose  the Bishop Saint Patrick,
to preach your glory to the peoples of Ireland,
grant,  through his merits and intercession,
that those who glory the name of Christian
may never cease to proclaim your wondrous deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

First Comes Love, or does it?

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In a homily preached on September 8, 2011, the Feast of the Nativity of the Most Blessed Mother, in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, in Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., the newly installed Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington mentioned arranged marriages.  Specifically, he said,

A married friend told me last week that getting ready for today reminded him of planning for a very, very,very big wedding.  He was being humorous, but he was actually more accurate than he knew.  The relationship of a bishop and his local Church is very close to a marriage.  The ring I wear is a symbol of every bishop’s love for his Church.  And a bishop’s marriage to the local Church reminds me, and all of us, that a bishop is called to love his Church with all his heart, just as Christ loved her and gave his life for her.

Of course, my appointment to Philadelphia is an arranged marriage, and the Holy Father is the matchmaker.  The good news is that romance is a modern invention — and given the divorce rate, not everything it’s cranked up to be.  In fact, history suggests that arranged marriages often worked at least as well as those based on romantic love.  When arranged marriages were common, there was an expectation that people would get to know each other and then come to love one another.  Good matchmakers were aware of the family history of each of the spouses and their particular needs.  And the really wise matchmakers could make surprisingly good choices.

In the Church, we believe that the Holy Spirit guides the decisions of the Holy Father.  And the results are always joyful if we commit our wills to cooperating with God’s plan.  For any marriage to work, two things need to happen.  People need to fall in love, and together they need to be fruitful.  That’s what we need to dedicate ourselves to today – to love one another and be fruitful together in the new evangelization.

Getting to know each other is a great adventure.  Our life together is part of the story of salvation, which God continues even into our own time.  Mary didn’t expect the Annunciation.  She didn’t expect to be mother of the Redeemer.  And yet her act of obedience changed the course of history and led to a new covenant of love and fruitfulness.  I have no illusions of being worthy of this ministry, but I do trust in the wisdom of the Holy Father.  So I’m deeply grateful for his confidence and the privilege of serving this Church.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., at his Installation Mass

This idea of arranged marriages has been in my mind more and more these past few weeks, as we have been discussing not only arranged marriages, but marriages that happened out of love.  It is true that the higher you went up the noble food chain, the less love was involved. This is important while looking at history, because those marriages that were unhappy, in which the bride and groom never did learn to love each other, led to adultery, on both sides of the issue.

I happen to agree with the His Excellency here that maybe there was something to arranged marriages, and not marrying for love.  People learned to love each other, there was less divorce, and families thus stayed together.  Maybe its time we bring this back, at least partially.

Maybe then we wouldn’t have marriages like that of Giovanni and Lussana.  There marriage was one of so-called love, where Lussana cheated on her husband with Giovanni, and maybe even had her husband killed, in order to marry Giovanni.  Giovanni later divorced her after he became the sole heir to his family’s fortune, and left Lusanna out cold.  This is just another marriage based on love failing.

Then again, you never truly know…

A Sermon on HHS

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So, as I was walking out of class today, I was talking to my professor, asking her how many posts we are supposed to have class related, and when I received the answer, I commented that when I sit down to write a class related post, I usually end up ranting about something else.  Well, today is no different.  As I was sitting down to write a post on the aristocratic marriage practices, specifically the Marriage of Giovanni and Lusanna, I instead starting listening to a youtube video of a Sermon about the attack on Religious Liberty.  Well, as you can see, that posts on Giovanni and Lusanna didn’t happen (though I promise it will soon Dr. S!)   Below is the video of the sermon.  It is well worth 10 minutes of your time.

 

 

P.S.- I will get back to my Lenten Series soon!   I have had to take a break due to midterms, though I am sorta keeping up with Matins!  

The Bells of Brookland

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In 1921, a student by the name of Anna M. du Brul penned a poem about life in Brookland, and how it is run by the bells.  I came across this poem while writing my Senior Thesis, and recently ran across it again.  I thought it would provide a nice reflection this day before Lent.

The Bells of Brookland

When dewdrops glisten in each flower
O’er earth the sun holds sway.
It is the Angel’s glad reveille
The birds are on the wing;
God gives us yet another day,
The Bells of Brookland ring.
 
And then again at high noon hour
They bid us stop to pray,
To thank God has His blessings shower
Upon us through westay.
O Come adore, twas at mid-day
They crucified the King,
And bend thy knee to homage pay,
The Bells of Brookland ring.
 
At eventide all wee things cower
Each deepening sunset ray
Reflects the Great Creator’s power
Brings rest from work and play.
The Angelus once more today,
And now ‘tis evening
And “De profundis, Domine”
The Bells of Brookland ring.
 
O monks, who mark the day
By Aves as you sing,
Reminders of His service may
The Bells of Brookland ring

Tu Es Petrus

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N.B., this was a scheduled post, and I was surprised to see that His Holiness took his reflections this morning from the same gospel passage

In response to Jesus’ question, we hear that great Profession of Faith flow right out of Peter’s mouth.  This great profession of faith that we all need to profess every day.

Tu es Christus Filius Dei vivi. Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Who is Jesus?  He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

respondens autem Iesus dixit ei beatus es Simon Bar Iona quia caro et sanguis non revelavit tibi sed Pater meus qui in caelis est.  And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.

Who revealed this to Simon Peter?  God the Father.  This same Father whose Son will be killed on a CROSS for my sins.  Killed on a CROSS for your sins.  For the sins of the whole world.

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!

et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam.  And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Tu es Petrus.  You are Peter. Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam.  The gates of hell will not prevail against Her.  Holy Mother Church will prevail in the end.  She will rein.  We may lose the battle, but will win the war.