Archive for June, 2012


JMJ

Log-in

(7:00 p.m. – 7:05 p.m., all times Pacific and approximate)

Our address for this video chat discussion is: http://liveminutes.com/B31525

The format we will use is included below, if you’d like to follow-along in a new window/tab or print this out for your reference. Please feel free to participate even if you have not had a chance to do the readings yet. It may whet your appetite and we may benefit from your insights. Come and go as you please or need to!

Introductions

(7:00 – 7:10)

While everyone is logging-in, let’s introduce any new faces and get caught up. 🙂

Prayer

(7:10 – 7:15)

Let us pray together: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us.

Reading Recap

(7:15 – 7:30)

  • Let’s silently read each point below in turn, and then add any additional summary comments for each:
  • The “Early World” covers the period from Creation until 2000 B.C. (approximately the time of the construction of the pyramids until the construction of Stonehenge), Genesis Chapters 1 through 11. (See the timeline chart.)
  • Act 1: Creation. The Genesis accounts of Creation are the spiritually — not literally! — true antidotes to creation myths popular in the early world. Here, God is alone and above creation, and man is the specially-created climax of Creation. Key to understanding Creation is that it is an insitution of a familial covenant between God and man. According to the Pontifical Biblical Commission (in 1909), what must Catholics believe about the Creation? (See pg. 3 of the journal.)
  • Act 2: The Fall. Key to understanding The Fall is our original parents’ misunderstanding of their relationship to God; with the “help” of the serpent, they came to distrust God and to understand their relationship as slaves to a Master, while God created them as children with a Father. After their disobedience in The Fall, man is in conflict with everyone, but a Savior is promised even then.
  • Act 3: The Flood. Cain’s offering — and the stingy disposition of Cain himself — offend God; Cain is unrepentant and kills Abel. Great care is taken in Genesis to make distinct the two family lines (Cain’s and Seth’s), a device repeatedly used as a shorthand reference to the “black hats” and the “white hats.” The Flood story is a “re-Creation,” distinct from flood myths, again, by depicting the flood as God’s act of purifying man anew, rather than as the act of a helpless/bored/raging god. But, it’s not too long before Noah becomes drunk and his son Ham commits a very perverse act of lust/a power-grab against his mother/his father’s wife, leading Noah to curse Ham’s unborn son Canaan, from whom will originate many conflicts.
  • Act 4: Tower of Babel: The construction of the Tower is an attempt by Ham’s descendants (led by Nimrod) to usurp power from God and His chosen leader, Shem, and make a utopia. Here, sin starts by creating a unity — against God — but ends in a God-made division by language. Shem’s line will produce Abram/Abraham.

Discussion Questions

(7:30 – 8:20)

  • Specifically, how do the Creation stories in Genesis contrast with pagan creation myths? Why are these differences important for us today?
  • What choice was given to Adam and Eve? Why did they fall? How is The Fall evident in our lives, pre- and post-Baptism?
  • Why did Cain kill Abel? How do family lines relate to series of sins (Cain’s, Ham’s, etc.)?
  • Silently read 1 Peter 3: 18-22, then answer: What is the ultimate significance of The Flood as it relates to life in Christ?

[18] For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;
[19] in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
[20] who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
[21] Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
[22] who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

  • Why did God scatter the people at Babel? What is the spiritual/moral signficance of Babel for us today?

Wrap-Up

(8:20 -8:25)

  • What is the most important/interesting thing each of us is taking-away from this week’s study and discussion?

Closing Prayer and Log-off

(8:25 – 8:30)

Thanks be to God.

Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be…

Up next week (26 June 2012): Chapter 2 (“Patriarchs”)

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As the self-declared religious, political, and moral enemies of the Faith and or Christians become more hateful and violent towards us (examples could be multiplied almost to infinity), leaving aside any pretense of respect or even tolerance, the question becomes less theoretical and historical, and more practically-pressing:

What should a Christian’s response to persecution look like?

Though by no means a conclusive essay, here are a few conclusions I’ve come to, based on some reflection on the Scriptures and the lives of the saints. I welcome you to share yours in the combox below.

1. We are indeed called to “turn the other cheek” and be willing to “lay down [our lives] for a friend,” but we are not to sell ourselves cheaply; we do not shove our cheeks against others’ hands, or wear a sign that says “Crucify me!” We should fight to preserve our lives, our families, and our rights as fully as possible, for as long as we can. After all, if we are silenced or dead, we are unable to press the vital spiritual battle in any earthly sense.

2. In fighting to preserve our lives, our families, and our rights, we need to be careful not to put ourselves in the way of justice. In other words, if we’re writing/speaking or acting in a way that draws others’ attention almost solely to ourselves and not to, say, the Faith, or the lives of the preborn, or the defense of the family, we are doing it wrong. One way that we make this mistake is by letting ourselves get overtaken by the very natural human emotion of anger that swells when we — or our children! — are unjustly attacked. The antidote to this is supernatural: mercy, particularly the Divine Mercy devotion.

Many times, Jesus slipped-away from those seeking to kill Him because it was not yet His “hour.” St. Maximilian Kolbe published against the Nazis and suffered in a concentration camp for it, but he only put himself forth for martyrdom when necessary to save the life of a father with small children. The early Christians hid in homes and catacombs for Mass — they didn’t set-up an altar in the town square — but when the persecutors came for them, they refused to sacrifice to idols, and they prayed and shared the Faith as they were being tortured and killed for it. None of these called-down the wrath of God to smite their enemies. Jesus famously prayed on the Cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Many saints have used these exact same words on their own crosses, whatever shape they took. Many times, the very men and women who were perpetrating or encouraging the persecution were themselves converted by this example, and persecuted themselves for following it!

3. Some specific strategies that we might follow include:

+ strengthening ourselves spiritually (praying frequently and frequenting the Sacraments, studying the Scriptures/saints/spiritual writings, continuously practicing the virtues — especially humility!, connecting with others who are trying to bone-up, too, etc.).

+ doing what we can practically and legally to protect our families and our legal rights (keeping our children from those trying to take their innocence for malicious ends, having as little as possible to do with government agencies/”mandatory reporters” [doctors, teachers, social workers, etc., who often act like overzealous busybodies] and “keeping our noses clean,” being ready and able to use legal processes when our rights are violated, etc.).

+ spreading, via social networks and conversation, news of injustices and inviting even those opposed to our message to consider what they are really supporting. Are there people who have rendered themselves beyond reaching by willful ignorance and hatred? Sure. But, most people are reachable somehow, sometime! Do this across as many lines as possible (religious, political, class, race, sin-proclivity, etc.).

+ forgiving our enemies, realizing that our battle is not truly against them, but against Satan and his army of fallen angels, and praying for the ongoing conversion of all people, including ourselves.

+ asking the intercession of our fellow Christians and of the Church Triumphant in Heaven, including our Guardian Angels and the Archangels.

+ taking what is intended for evil and turning it to good. For example, if a legislator’s idea of a rip-roarin’ good time/counter-punch to a pro-life bill is to read “The V***** Monologues” on the Capitol steps (see the “hateful” link above), adults can turn-out nearby to silently pray a Rosary, holding non-graphic signs about the dignity of all human life and the help that is available to women in need.

+ having a sense of humor, especially about ourselves. One of the most famous examples is St. Lawrence, who was burned to death on gridiron. At one point, he told his torturers to turn him over because he was cooked on that side!

+ voting — and voting only for those who are worthy of office, even if that means sitting some elections out. Don’t take your party’s word for it; do your own candidate and proposition research!

+ standing our ground, with grace, when the battle is finally brought to our front doors.

JMJ

Introductions

Prayer

“Come Holy Spirit…”

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us.

Reading Recap

  • Our 12-period study is like the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), when Our Lord explained the “big picture” of Scripture’s “great deeds, adventure, love, betrayal, sacrifice, miracles, and much more.”
  • “Scripture is a unity… Jesus is the center and heart.” (CCC No. 112)
  • This study draws-on the wisdom of ancient rabbis, Church Fathers, history, modern scholars, and the authors’ original interpretation.
  • Does anyone else have any further summary points?

Discussion Questions

  • Read the Emmaus story:

[13]

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma’us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
[14] and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
[15] While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
[16] But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
[17] And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
[18] Then one of them, named Cle’opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
[19] And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
[20] and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
[21] But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.
[22] Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning
[23] and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
[24] Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.”
[25] And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
[26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
[27] And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
[28]

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further,
[29] but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
[30] When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.
[31] And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.
[32] They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?”
[33] And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them,
[34] who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
[35] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

  • The disciples on the road had the current news and thought they understood what was happening, but Our Lord clearly showed them how little they knew, and filled-in the gaps. In what ways are we like these disciples? What are we hoping Jesus will teach us in this study?
  • How will we recognize Jesus’ voice in our study, versus our own thoughts?
  • Read CCC 115-117, about the senses of Scripture:

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”83

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84

2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.85

3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86

  • Give an example of each of the four senses of Scripture and explain why you understand the particular example in that sense.
  • What are your favorite Scripture Study tools/references, and why?

Wrap-Up

  • What are we taking-away from this week’s study and discussion?

Closing Prayer

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 4:

[2] When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me. Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer. [3] O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? [4] Know ye also that the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him. [5] Be angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds. [6] Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who sheweth us good things? [7] The light of thy countenance O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart. [8] By the fruit of their corn, their wine and oil, they are multiplied. [9] In peace in the selfsame I will sleep, and I will rest: [10] For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.

Amen.

Our Lady’s WiFiS

UPDATED 17 July 2012

Hi, friends. You’re invited to consider joining me to form a new Catholic ladies’ Scripture/book study group that is ideal for stay-at-home moms and anyone else who finds it hard to get to local church-based study groups – a phone-chat study group!

As a SAHM living with my husband and six small children in an outlying area, I’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile, and I’ve now found the ideal technology and book to begin it. The technology is the free Skype group-call feature, and the book is “Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible.”

For the present, I’ve named the group “Our Lady’s WiFiS” (Women inquiring Faithfully into Scripture), under the patronage of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein, the intellectual, Jewish convert, and Carmelite nun murdered by the Nazis).

The tech

If you would like to join the discussion, simply tell me your Skype name and I’ll add you to the group call!

The book

I recently reviewed “Walking with God” on my blog. Please read my review for details about this excellent opportunity to read what is basically an inexpensive short-course in the narrative of the Scriptures, a narrative that we know in bits-and-pieces from Mass and other studies, but is here presented systematically.

You can order the book less expensively on Amazon.

In addition, I have and will be using the chart and journal that I mention in my review to help with a weekly content summary and to generate discussion questions.

Join the group call!

If you’d like to be added, please let me know as early as possible, and if you are having problems with the group call, please send me an SOS on Facebook or at weareacatholicfamily@live.com .

Here are some details, subject to tweaking as we see what works and what doesn’t:

Weekly Discussion Plan

All times are Pacific; come and go as you’d like.

7:00 p.m.: Group call and greet
7:10 p.m.: Opening prayer
7:15-8:20: Discussion
8:20: Wrap-up
8:25: Closing prayer
8:30: Hang-up

Study Schedule

All chats after the Test Run will be open on Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific time.

Friday, 8 June 2012, 7-7:30 p.m. Pacific time: Test Run. Anyone who wants to test-out their download of ooVoo, ask any questions, or just gab with new and old friends is welcome!

12 June 2012: Introduction (“Finding Scripture’s Story”)

techincal difficulties

10 July 2012: Ch. 1 (“Early World”)
17 July 2012: Ch. 2 (“Patriarchs”)

24 July 2012: break (OLPH VBS and my 8th wedding anniversary 🙂 )

31 July 2012: Ch. 3 (“Egypt and Exodus”)

7 August 2012: Ch. 4 (“Desert Wanderings”)
14 August 2012: Ch. 5 (“Conquest and Judges”)
21 August 2012: Ch. 6 (“Royal Kingdom”)

28 August 2012: Ch. 7 (“Divided Kingdom”)

4 September 2012: Ch. 8 (“Exile”)
11 September 2012: Ch. 9 (“Return”)
18 September 2012: Ch. 10 (“Maccabean Revolt”) and nominations for next book

25 September 2012: Ch. 11 (“Messianic Fulfillment”) and discussion of nominations for next book
2 October 2012: Ch. 12 (“The Church”), Book Wrap-Up, and selection of next book

Feel free to share the invitation!

The odds are pretty good that I’ve forgotten to send this to someone, even though I’ve scoured my e-mail address book and Facebook friends list, so if you think of any other Catholic ladies you’d like to invite, please feel free to share this with them, too. The more the merrier.

And, God bless us everyone! 🙂 Kristen

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