Thursday, February 21, 2008

Off-Topic: Two Proposals for Journalists

This post got me thinking....

If any influential reporter, newscaster, anchor, editor, copy writer, teleprompter loader, etc., employed by the "mainstream media" happens to be reading this, may I suggest a modest proposal? In the interests of even-handed coverage, either:
  1. Refer to the temporal founder of Islam only as "Mohammed," rather than "The Prophet Mohammed"; or
  2. Always refer to the Founder of Christianity as "Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ."
It only seems fair. What do you think?

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The Confiteor and the Humility of the Publican

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa....

Our brethren in the Byzantine Rite this past Sunday celebrated the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. The Gospel is taken from St. Luke:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
In the Western Orthodox Mass every Sunday during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the priest (and later the servers) inclines profoundly and prays:
I confess to God Almighty, to Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John (the) Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints, and to thee, brethren, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word, and deed: (He strikes his breast three times while saying:) by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault. Wherefore I beg Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints and thee, brethren, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
How fascinating that this week's Byzantine Gospel pericope is most poignantly, most literally expressed by this Western devotion.

P.S.: Yes, I got up awfully early...a sign of advancing age. :)

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Monday, February 18, 2008

An E-mail from Down Under

Our friends at Journey to Orthodoxy have posted an e-mail from a "convert" out of the Baptist Australia. He joined ROCOR and found the JTO blog on the web (and, naturally, liked what he saw). The two unique parts of his story (to me) are that he had dabbled in many non-Christian religions before finding Christian Orthodoxy, and that he was brought to Orthodoxy, in ROCOR, by two people: one an atheist and the other a Jew. The story picks up from there:
After establishing a friendship with this Orthodox friend, I decided to go to an Orthodox Bookshop. As I entered the store, I was warmly greeted and sat down to explain my situation to the workers. They recommended me to go to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia rather than the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, even though they were Greeks themselves. The reason being the purity of the faith generally retained by ROCOR as opposed to the involvement with ecumenism and World Council of Churches on the part of GOA. I even arranged to speak with the Archbishop of Australia, His Grace, Hilarion.

After much discussion and investigation into Orthodoxy, I came to the conclusion (in conjunction with the Church Fathers) that the Church of Christ Visible is One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church retained in Orthodoxy...Orthodoxy is the way of unchanging conviction in Christ being lived out in an ever-changing world...

In the heart of every hardcore Fundamentalist is someone who is truly Orthodox. They just do not know it yet.
Thanks to JTO, and the move of the Holy Spirit, many hardcore fundamentalists are finding this out and finding their way home to the Orthodox Church founded 2,000 years ago, and not a few are finding their way to the Western Rite of canonical Orthodoxy. We welcome them home (and hope they'll bring their friends). :)

It's well worth reading this whole story on JTO.

(Hat tip: Journey to Orthodoxy, but you knew that, didn't you?)

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Off-Topic: More Marriages Like This, Please

Here's a touching story about a rare feat: a couple in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, celebrated their 83rd wedding anniversary!

Clarence, 101, and Mayme Vail, 99, celebrated their 83rd anniversary Sunday, possibly making them the longest married couple alive in the United States.

It comes as no surprise that God was a major force in holding these two together since the Coolidge administration:

Married in 1925, they almost didn't make it to their 25th anniversary. When Clarence became critically ill with tuberculosis in 1948, Mayme made a promise to God that if her husband survived, she would attend mass every day -- a promise she kept until last year when health issues forced them to move into an assisted-living center.

Bless them, O Lord, and grant them many blessed years! (And may He grant rich blessings to your marriage, too.)