21 May 2011


Please pray for me and my OP brother, Fr. Scott Daniels. . .we are celebrating the sixth anniversary of our priestly ordination today!

We were ordained at St Peter's Church in Memphis by Bishop Terry Steib, SVD.

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Knowing THAT Jesus is in Father

4th Week of Easter (S)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Joseph Church, Ponchatoula

“Knowing” is a complicated business. For example, can know that a computer works—whether or not it works; we can know how it works and when; we can know where it works and doesn't; we may even know enough about the thing to know why it works like it does. Our varying levels of knowledge about a computer are distinguished more by kind than degree, that is, knowing more certainly that a computer is working does not increase our knowledge about how the computer works. To learn more about the how's and why's of computer technology requires a much more intimate relationship with computer science than simply knowing whether or not the thing is going to work when you turn it on. If knowing the what, how, when, and why of a computer is complicated, how much more complicated is knowing another person, or knowing God the Father? Jesus says to his disciples: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” What we know of the Father—who, what, when, where, why—we know b/c Jesus, His Son, has revealed Him to us. Why does it matter to us that Jesus is our window to the Father?

If God the Father had wanted to reveal Himself to His children, He could've done so in a hundred or a thousand different ways. He could've appeared to a prominent person among His people and spoken His will. He could've performed miracles or sent angels. He could've commissioned prophets to announce His plan for humanity. He could've inspired poets and priests to write down the stories of these revelations and made sure that the stories survived for centuries and millennia. And just to make absolutely sure that we had every opportunity to come to know Him best, He could've promised long ago to send us His Anointed One, His Messiah so that we could see and hear for ourselves the love He has for us. He could've done all this. And, of course, He did. Yet we still failed to come to know Him in a way that would bring us back to Him. So, He fulfilled His promise and sent us His only Son to live among us as one of us so that we might come to know everything we need to know in order to repent of our sins and receive His forgiveness. 

When Jesus says to the disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father,” he means exactly that. If we come to know Jesus—to plant and cultivate a relationship with the Christ—we will come into a saving knowledge of the Father. Not just a factual knowledge, not just “knowing stuff about God,” but knowing Him in a way that saves us, perfects us, and brings us back to Him more fully human than we could ever be otherwise. Knowing Christ in this way is more than merely informative; it is performative, that is, know Christ as our Savior performs our salvation, makes our redemption happen. Stories and miracles, prophets and priests can't perform or accomplish our salvation. Only an intimate relationship with God the Father through His Son in the Holy Spirit can achieve that which we long for the most: a reunion with the One who created us. This is why Jesus is astonished when Philip says, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus is disappointed, exasperated by this request. He says, in essence, “What do you mean 'show us the Father'? What do you think I've been doing these last three years?! Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? I'm not speaking my own words but the words of the Father. The Father who dwells in me and I am doing His works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. And if my word alone isn't good enough, believe me because of the work I do in His name.” 

Our job is the same as Christ's. To reveal the love of God in our words and deeds, what we say and what we do. Our burden is both heavy and light. Heavy b/c we carry the responsibility of making sure that He is revealed to the whole world. Light b/c we never do this job alone. We have the whole Body of Christ, the Spirit of God, and sure knowledge that—in the end—victory goes to the Lamb who was slain for our us.

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20 May 2011

Coffe Cup Browsing (Late Edition)

If The One gets his way, some of the most sacred sites of Christianity in Jerusalem will be under the control of the terrorist group, Hamas.  Can 2012 get here soon enough?

M.U.S.T. read this!  ". . .liberals - or 'progressives,' as they prefer to be called - persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It’s precious. In fact, today’s liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform - like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings. . ."  Amen.

Science vs. Religion. . .which will happen first:  the Zombie Apocalypse or the Second Coming?  I know which one I'm cheering for!

Most HancAquam readers know what it means to be Raputured. . .but do you know what it means to be Zombied?

More on the Great Target vs. Wal-Mart Debate. . .this has the makings of a Coke vs. Pepsi War or the perennial southern favorite:  Ford vs Chevy Throwdown.   My picks:  Wal-Mart, Pepsi, Chevy.

Hideous new statue of Bl. JPII.  I've said it before:  "Raze it, salt the earth!"  Lord, spare your faithful from any more of these pretentious, modernist wrecks.

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19 May 2011

The Adult Faith of a Dissident?

4th Week of Easter (Th)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Joseph Church, Ponchatoula

I recently ran across an article about an upcoming gathering of Church dissidents in Detroit. They call themselves the American Catholic Council. Their agenda for Church reform is as predictable as it is destructive to the Body of Christ: give us women priests, openly gay/lesbian priests, popularly elected bishops, etc. Had this group met in the 16th century, historians now would call them by their proper name, Protestants. Given the religious freedom that Americans enjoy and the ease with which we can form religious associations, it beggars the mind to understand why these disaffected Catholics don't simply join the Episcopal Church. Regardless, what's interesting to me is the frequency with which these folks identify their radical agenda for the future of the Church with what they call “an adult faith,” or “an adult Church.” It's not entirely clear why they think that their version of the faith is more mature than the one given to us by the apostles, but it is clear that they see the apostolic faith as immature and oppressive. Setting aside for a moment that middle-class academics whining about being oppressed is the very definition of adolescent behavior, and setting aside for now questions about their motives and chances of success, let's ask a more fundamental question: what is an “adult faith”? When do we know that our beliefs and religious practices have matured into an adult spirituality worthy of our time and energy?

Jesus has just finished washing the feet of his students, demonstrating that he no longer considers them his students but his friends. He says to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.” Here's the key to identifying a matured spirituality, an adult understanding of our relationship with God: you and I are not the masters of our faith; we do not control, direct, or in any way influence the truth of the gospel, nor do we have the authority or the power to change one letter of the Father's Self-revelation to His people. A teenager rages against The Machine b/c he believes that he is the center of reality, the locus around which all living things exist. He chooses what's Real and what's not. An adult long ago recognized that The Real is a given and that one's success or failure in life is judged against one's ability and willingness to accept that wishful-thinking, tantrums, and appeals to self-centered notions of justice can't alter truth. Jesus tells his newly minted friends that though they are no longer his students, they are still slaves to the Master, an eternal Master who loves them enough to give His only Son to death.

Spiritual maturity can never be about asserting control or demanding that one's “rights” be respected. Servants, faithful servants of the Church work tirelessly to make sure that every opened eye and ear sees and hears the central message of the gospel: you're sins are forgiven, receive God's mercy and live wholly in His love. Jesus tells his friends that if they understand the truth in what he is teaching them, “blessed are you if you do it.” Not just believe it or assent to it. But do it! Don't just believe that you are a servant. Serve. Don't just assent to the notion that you are blessed to be of service. Go out and act blessed. Go out and serve. Service does not include stamping your feet and whining about the need for structural change in the institutional Church, or demanding that Reality be altered to fit your fantasy-agenda. Jesus says, “. . .whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” We receive from the ones sent by Christ all that they received from him. We receive. We do not create or change or revolutionize or re-think what we have received. Instead, we pass it on. Whole and entire. We pass it on in mint condition so others can mature into an adult faith rooted in the apostolic faith.

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Coffee Cup Browsing

New study argues that the clergy sexual abuse scandals were caused largely by poor seminary training, a permissive culture, and bishops who ignored victims.  If priests and bishops in the '60's and '70's had been taught Catholic moral theology and followed it none of this would have happened.

The Anchoress has the right idea about the study and the scandal.

Editorial on that letter sent to Speaker Boehner by a group of Catholic profs:  "Nowhere in the Gospels do you find Jesus saying his followers should enlist in a government spending rampage that will not only make the poor poorer, but devastate the livelihoods of just about everyone in society."  Amen.

Figured I'd link to the story about the woman who wouldn't stop talking on her cell phone in the Quiet Car of an Amtrak train.  She talked for 16hrs straight!!! 

No, implementing the Church's authentic social justice agenda does not necessarily entail support for politically leftist solutions to economic problems.  "Social justice" advocates in the Church (esp. in religious orders) often fail to distinguish btw the legitimate goals of social justice and the methods used to achieve them. 

Who burdened us with P.C.-speak and the oppression of the Word Police?  The fallacy here is the ridiculous notion that language is the sole source and arbiter of reality.  Control language, control reality.  Bunk.

Don't throw paperclips at your co-workers.  I love the fact that none of the other guys intervene.

Yes, Zombies have their own currency

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18 May 2011

Target vs. Wal-Mart

I found this quote on Instapundit. . .still waiting for my Instalanche,* btw.

“Target is Wal-Mart for pretty people.”

I like both stores, but Wal-Mart gets my $$$ about 80% of the time.  The apparel shoppers for Target seem to believe that men with waist sizes smaller than 34 should roam the streets naked.

Wal-Mart, however, always has a well-stocked Deep and Wide department.

*This term is used to refer to what happens to a blogger's stats when Glenn Reynolds links to your site.  Come on, Prof. Reynolds!  Do a priest a solid!!

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17 May 2011

Coffe Cup Browsing

Professional atheist Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate prominent Christian philosopher.  Dawkins is actually being smart here. . .he is clueless when it comes to philosophy.

European anarchists seem a bit confused about their who they are and what they believe. 

Jesus set to return on May 21st.  I wonder if anyone told the Lord that he's scheduled to Rapture the faithful that day?  He said he didn't know the day or time of his return. . .soooooo. . .???

A classic Mark Shea Rant:  we are all slobs and losers. . .thanks be to God!

This is what happens to your church when you choose to be OF the world and not just IN the world.  NB.  this is also what the Catholic Church would look like if the Holy Spirit hadn't given us JPII and BXVI.

Famous physicist assures us that there is no heaven. . .famous theologian assures us that gravity is a myth.  Stick to what you know, Steve, OK?

I will defend the use of the semicolon 'til the day I die!  Oh, and commas go inside the quotation marks.  Jesus said so.  

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15 May 2011

Link for the new missal translation

For those who have requested more info on the new English translation of the Roman Missal:

Go Here and look under the menu "Sample Texts."

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