Christian Unity – Deposit of Faith

+JMJ+ Welcome to Day 3 of the Octave of Christian Unity. I’m using a meditation book as a jumping off place for this series of posts, In Conversation with God,* by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. (I’ll refer to it as ICWG with volume & page number hereafter, or Ibid. You know, standard stuff, or as close to standard as I usually get. Notes and links will be at the end of the post.) In this post we’ll be looking at the deposit of faith and ecumenism.

“Ecumenical dialogue needs to be based on a sincere love for divine truth.”.

ICWG, vol. 6, 33
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Christian Unity – Vine and branch

+JMJ+ Welcome to Day 2 of a special series of posts for the Octave of Christian Unity.  I’m using one of my favorite meditation starters, In Conversation with God (ICWG hereafter), a seven-volume set published by Scepter, written by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. I’ve used it for years and it never gets old. As always, you’ll find notes and links at the end of this post.

The first image Fr. Carvajal mentions in this day’s meditation is the image of the Vine and the branches. He says that there was a sculpture of an immense golden vine in the vestibule of the Temple. So Jesus here is using an image familiar to His disciples. If the branches remain on the vine, they thrive. But if they are removed, they dry up and wither. (ICWG, vol. 6, p. 27.)

Then comes the familiar line:

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

John 15:6

Union with Christ is the foundation for unity among the faithful. We are all bound together and strengthened in the Mystical Body of Christ…Faith in Jesus Christ should move us to act with brotherly love like the first Christians who were of one heart and soul.” (ICWG, v 6, 28. Emphasis mine.)

(There is no other foundation for unity. Union with Christ is THE foundation for unity among the faithful. Seems to me, this is why you see those without this unity so often tearing each other and themselves apart. There is love and unity, and there is, well, something else, and it ain’t love and it doesn’t produce unity.)

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

Acts 2:42

We see there in Acts that already there is a Liturgy of the Word and a Liturgy of the Eucharist. I did not see that before I began to study Catholicism. I’d never even heard of the word “liturgy” until then. I did not see that the Bible and the Liturgy go hand in hand. To me the Bible was something I held in my hand and read alone or sometimes in a group. But in the Church the Bible has always been part of worship. Not worshipped, but part of worship. The Bible contains the texts that are read, are shared in the Liturgy, in the Mass. The Bible is also the record of our family history. (I’m doing a series about that on Thursdays.)

I’m not saying that Bible is only for the Liturgy, but it is primarily for that. But of course it is also for us to read and study and pray with. Soaking in the Word is one of my greatest pleasures in the world. Even if sometimes, well, often it makes me downright uncomfortable. I can always find something to humble me in the Bible. 

Fr. Carvajal goes on to talk about the way people treat each other, especially the way the faithful treat each other. Before we can do much to promote unity with other Christians or anyone else, we have to have unity in the Church, unity among ourselves. (Ibid., 29.)

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:35

“Fraternal charity acts like a cement that holds the living stones of the Church together, to use an expression of St Augustine.” (Commentary on Psalm 44)

The time of Roman persecution brought the faithful closer together and the “term brother acquired a deep meaning.” 

“If we ought to love those who are not fully incorporated into the Church, how much more charity should we exercise towards our brothers and sisters in the Faith?”

ICWG, v 6, 30.

His words about how to handle criticism and correction of others is something we should all read several times a day. 

“If we should ever happen to come across a Church leader who gives bad example, we should make an effort to pray for that individual and, if appropriate, give fraternal correction in a delicate and respectful manner. We should ask Our Lady to help us in this struggle.”

Ibid., 30.

Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope you’ll join me again. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

PS: Be sure to subscribe below for updates from me about the Rosary Project, the ebooks, giveaways, new series and other things. :)


Notes and Links

  • In Conversation with God, by Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal. 7 volumes, vinyl cover with dust jacket, in a boxed set. So excellent, I’ve used these since my early days of conversion, so since the mid-nineties, though I collected them one at a time.  (Amazon affiliate link. See Full Disclosure below.)
  • ICWT is not to be confused with that other set of books, Conversations with God, a set of New Age books. I always need to point this out because there’s always someone who gives me the side-eye when I mention ICWG. I am not a New Ager anymore and I never read those CWG books when I was. 
  • I’m mentioning Christian Unity especialy this week in the Live Rosary Threads: Follow me @disciple96 on Twitter at 7pm Central, Tuesdays and Fridays. See the Rosary Project Live Archives to see what the threads are like.

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Entry form for Giveaway is working now

Sigh. I knew I should’ve tested that form last night, er, this morning. Oh, well, it’s working now. If you tried earlier and got an error message, I apologize. There was a step in the form-making process that I didn’t realize was there. It’s all fixed now, I tested it just now. Go to the Winter Giveaway 2021 page.

Week of Christian Unity

+JMJ+ This is the first post in a short series for the Week or Octave of Christian Unity. The practice of praying for several days for Christian Unity goes back—well, in a sense it goes all the way back to Jesus and the Apostles, but this particular practice goes back to 1897, though it was then observed during the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost. These days we observe it “during the octave which precedes the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25.” So it begins today, Monday, January 18. 

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New series exploring salvation history

+JMJ+ Welcome to the introduction of a new Thursday series where we will explore the Story of Salvation. I’ve been wanting to write about the Bible and salvation history for some time now but have only mentioned it here and there in the past. When I was a kid (either in the 7th or 8th grade or maybe a freshman in high school) and a Methodist, I read the Bible straight through. I’d gotten one at church and, bookworm that I was (and am), I set myself the goal of reading it from cover to cover. And I did. I didn’t understand most of what I read, but I kept at it. Parts of it were beautiful and I’ve maintained my love of the Psalms to this day. 

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Aiming at Sainthood

Greetings! I gotta tell you about Matthew Leonard’s Next Level Catholic Academy! If you’ve watched any of the videos he’s done with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and Scott Hahn, then you know this is going to be good. And it is. I signed up this weekend so I could get the special price with a one month trial period. And I’m so glad I did! I’m not an affiliate and I don’t make any commission on this, I’m just very excited about it and I like to share things that I think are of high quality and that are helpful. And who doesn’t need some help learning how to become a saint?

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A new year and a renewed focus

+JMJ+ Two things for tonight: first, a note about the virtual Catholic Bible conference that starts tomorrow. I registered already and then ran over here to tell you about it. Looks really interesting and I’m excited about it. Second, I’ve been working on a blog plan for the year and I’m looking forward to that, too.

There will be lots of free content at the Catholic Bible conference, I think, and a premium tier gets you continuing access to the content with downloadables and such. That’s what I need, something I can access way after the thing is over because I can hardly ever sit down and pay attention while these things are actually happening. More about the Take and Read: A Journey Into the Bible and a video below.

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Re-Reading the New Age Series – Part 8 – The Course

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 8 of the continuing series, Re-Reading the New Age. We’re currently beginning to explore A Course In Miracles (ACIM) from a Catholic perspective. I found some really good articles about the Course from a Catholic perspective. I linked to them in part 7, but I had only read a little of them then. I spent yesterday and today reading and thinking, getting ready to go directly to the text. But I’ll need to pray a few rosaries first. For now I’ll share some quotes from them. It’s important to get this information out there to help as many people as we can to stay away from (or get out of) the ACIM and its false Christ trap, and away from or out of the New Age movement altogether. I was in that trap for years, I know how it is, how easy it is to fall into it, how difficult to get out.

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Weekly Series on the Soul, Part 50 – Afterword

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 50 of our weekly series on the soul. We’re looking back at the series that began as a post for November, then became a series for the month, and finally ran weekly for several months. In this post I’ll highlight some of the ones that I think are most important in understanding what the Church teaches about the soul, and what some of the finest minds have thought about the soul, from the Biblical writers and others onward into our own day. 

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The Light and the darkness

I hope you’re having a Merry Christmas. That greeting sounds strange at the beginning of a post about a day devoted to the Holy Innocents. After all the joy of Christmas Eve and Day, and the celebration honoring the Holy Family, now we have this. In honor of the day I’ll share some artwork I’ve found while gathering art for the Rosary Project, and a couple of video commentaries I found, too. What an utterly shocking feast day the Massacre of the Holy Innocents always is. These paintings capture that well, I think. The one above shows the Holy Family in the upper corners. The one below gets to me. It’s hard for me to say more about it right now. I will say, look at the baby’s right side. There’s a wound there already. Foreshadowing?

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Weekly Series on the Soul, Part 49 – Merry Christmas!

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 49 of our weekly series on the soul. Just one more to go after this one and the series will be at an end, for now. Tonight I’ve been reading a homily by St. Augustine of Hippo: On the Nativity. St. Augustine always gets to me. I wish I could have heard him preach. Reading this homily I can almost hear him. I wonder if anyone with a great and dramatic speaking voice has recorded anything of his. That would be a wonderful project for someone somewhere.

And there’s a show that I’ve heard really good things about but have not yet watched. Well, I watched the first couple of minutes of the Christmas special just now, and that’s why I decided to share it with you. (See video below.) I hope you’ll enjoy it. I’m going to get some egg nog and settle down with Miss Lucy Dawg and watch it, too. And read some more St. Augustine. I do love that good and holy bishop.

Continue reading “Weekly Series on the Soul, Part 49 – Merry Christmas!”

My first podcast interview

+JMJ+ Hey, y’all, I got interviewed for a podcast, I really did! You’ll get to hear me completely mess up the podcast host as she tries to pray the Hail Mary while I pray along with her out loud, not realizing that the sound won’t sync up (or that I’m off in LaLaLand and praying to my own rhythm in my own little world) and that I am behind and throwing her way off. I haven’t listened to the rest but I’m sure that there will be other moments just as bright and shining as that one was. Yup. That’s me. Bright and shining. ;) The real miracle was that I didn’t cough my sarcoidosis cough all the way through it. I had my trusty cuppa on my trust cuppa warmer nearby and lots and lots of cough drops just in case.

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