That old fallacy….

There is a fallacy making the rounds, being perpetuated yet again.

Really, as Belloc said in Survivals and New Arrivals, there are no new fallacies. No new heresies. Just old ones, the same ones, wrapped in slightly different tissue paper, in slightly different words, but essentially the same heresies…the same errors.
Just when we think it is safe to pray at mass in peace, to receive Our Lord with reverence and grace, so we can “meet the Lord in all His love for us, … are ready to respond, especially in the care we give to the poorest and those most in need, those closest to the Heart of our Saviour.”(Archbishop
Nichols)..well, then we hear that same old heresy arise again.
Which one ?
You know, the one about the ancient Church. That the liturgy or practices of the ancient Church are those to which we should return today.
Which completely denies the living tradition of the Church, denies the Church’s wisdom and authority, the Church’s experience throughout history, Divine Revelation.
81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

83…Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium. Catechism of the Catholic Church
So when I hear that the correct posture for receiving Holy Communion is on the hand, with the example of the early Church used as a supposedly definitive argument, I cringe.
Not because I want to enter into a debate about posture for receiving Holy Communion or reverence in reception…this has already been discussed by the Church and shared on this blog before…no, I cringe because of the fallacious argument. And because of the use of the word proper.
And I cringe because I hate to see poor argument. I mean, the proponents of a return to early practices in the Church deny the living tradition described in the CCC. And I note that those using the argument of the early Church as being definitive and for their own particular preference, are selective about which practices to which they wish to return.
“The “early church” arguments offered would be more persuasive if those who invoke them were more consistent in applying the principle. For example, one never hears of a liturgist urging a return to bread and water fasts, public penance for adultery, and other strict ascetical practices common in the early Church. Thus the “more traditional than thou” arguments for liturgical changes, which ignore the past several centuries of development in Catholic doctrine and liturgical practice, seem unconvincing.” ( See more discussion here)
When one discusses the teaching of the Church , particularly in a public setting and when representing the Church, or in a teaching position or within a homily, then it is important that one does not rely on personal preference and on fallacious argument. Lest others be lead astray. Or scandalized, when they find the errors in argument and that, in fact, some teachings of the Church are not what they were lead to believe, that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes.
“Therefore my own tastes, my own preferences, my own personality, my own view of ecclesiology, are marginal, of little importance, when it comes to the celebration of the Mass. We don vestments to minimise our personal preferences, not to express or emphasise them.”(Archbishop Nichols, again).

Costly Grace

“John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.'” (Jn 1:29)
I was inspired during the homily this morning.

Inspired because as Father preached on the the feast of St John the Baptist, preached on this saint’s humility and poverty, a humility and poverty akin to the humility and poverty of St Francis and of the Franciscan way of life, the words of the homily and the words of Sacred Scripture pierced my every day thinking, my holiday mode.
Behold the Lamb of God, he who takes away the sin of the world.
As Father said, this should be our call to the world, we should raise up our voices, even in a seeming wilderness, and cry out…here, here is Jesus, the Lamb of God. Here is why we come to mass. Not for warm fuzzy feelings or out of a sense of duty or to socialize, but for love.
And this is what our lives should proclaim to the world. That Jesus is the Lamb of God, that He died for love of us.
Father’s challenge is this, the challenge if the Gospel, the challenge of the Christian way of life.
Relationship with Our Lord, He who died for us, should mean a transformation. Of self, of family, of culture.
There is no gap between Catholicism and evangelism . To be Catholic, to be a Christian, is to live a life showing the Lamb of God to others.
Simply to confess a belief in a Catholic view of Christ is to take a counter-cultural position which demands apologetics and explanation. Demands love and forgiveness.
And fidelity.
Now, is this always easy?
But did St John the Baptist count the cost?
Again, to quote the homily heard this morning, …no, no counting of cost but a heroic call to cry the Gosepl by word and deed , even at cost of life.
That dying to self, if not necessarily a physical death.
This is the challenge. The cost. For I want to be me. To not give up those parts of me that I hold dear.
God’s grace can sometimes come with a cost.A joy, a grace a love, yes. But.. He loves, He gives, He calls.
(The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer) “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”
Costly grace. So that my life, and yours, echoes the cry of St John the Baptist…look, look, here is Jesus, the Lamb of God, come let us adore, come let us follow, let us live.
religion, Unschooling

Nice and Bland.

“If mankind forgets God this is also because Jesus is often reduced to the status of a wise man, and His divinity is diminished if not denied outright. This way of thinking makes it impossible to comprehend the radical novelty of Christianity ,..”

So the Holy Father said, recently.

And so I have seen, recently.

When Jesus is seen as a nice man, a wise man, a prophet who came to teach us to be our own versions of nice, then Christianity is reduced to a laundry list of to dos.. Be nice to your neighbour, help a friend, don’t judge , don’t criticise.

We miss the challenge, the radical call to reason and to love, to relationship, to worship.

And Christianity then becomes another self help organization… As in the style of the self help books I perused last weekend at Dymocks…Ten Steps to A Better You, Be The Best You Can Be, Your Best Life Ever.

Or.. Create Your Own Miracle in Forty Days.

And.. Lose Weight, Be Happier and Have More Energy in 10 Days.

As one son said, I am surprised that it can’t be done in one week..

If Jesus is seen as just another teacher, then not only is God missed and bypassed but so, too, is bypassed any real challenge to love and to know.

These are replaced by that bland, beige niceness… That niceness that makes salvation hard, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis again. (I’m alright , Jack. I’m nice without God)

We do our children a disservice, too, when we water down Christ and His Church and her teachings. If, in an effort to be relevant, we swab clean our terms and our teaching, if we don’t share the hard stuff .

Take a recent lesson for Catechism class. On the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Fortitude? Wisdom? And the ilk?

No, the teacher’s manual spoke of gifts the children could supposedly understand. Sharing. Helping another.

I’m sorry but sharing as a gift of the Holy Spirit just makes Christianity look like yet another set of classroom rules… We help one another. We share. We respect other people’s property. Ad infinitum. Chanted daily. Pointed to when misdemeanors occur. Watered down. Wishy washy. Almost meaningless.

And misses God and the Holy Spirit all together.

“Jesus wants us to be nice to others.”

Bypassing the challenge to relationship, to knowledge.

And don’t tell me that children today can’t understand the faith, have no need of challenge.

In a secular world, one in which they grow up all too fast, there is a need for a real, attractive alternative. Something that makes them stop and think. Something outside themselves and the dumbed down curriculum.

So today I introduced the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Including Awe and Wonder, or Fear of the Lord. We had flashcards. We had meanings in one or two words or small phrases. We played a game showing visible and invisible gifts. We broke into groups and the seven and eight year olds got it… They illustrated, by picture and in words, their group’s gift.

No bypassing God.

No watered down terminology.

No lukewarm list of beige, unfeeling niceness.

But a call, a challenge, to think and to know.

And eventually to love.

And no moralistic therapeutic deisma watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost young people’s self-esteem”.

An Unschooling vignette

A vignette of an unschooling week?

What have we done? Well I have been sick and working and getting exhausted so that curtails everything!

Anthony has spent some time at university with his brothers, typically reading in the university library while they have been in class. The head librarian told me she loves my boys because they all love to read, especially poetry. ( What a nice thing to say!)

We are watching one Harry Potter movie a week, in preparation for the new Harry Potter movie which comes out on July 13. My, how young were the actors for Hermione and Ron and Harry in the first movie!

We are eagerly watching the Dr Who series each week. Amy pregnant? Does Rory trust the Dr??

And we quite like the Sarah Jane Chronicles, a spin off from Dr Who and my Mother’s Day present…an episode a night….

Anrhony has been picking up the books from the My Story series.. We own the whole set, novels in Australian history, he has read some but he saw the set on the shelf and decided to read his way though.

Mondays, Anthony has two friends over for gaming before we go to my Kumon centre and this week because I was sick I gave them money to walk to the fish and chips shop and buy chips and potato scallops for lunch. A real treat!

We have been praying the St Anthony novena and going to masses and Anthony has been serving. On Tuesday I had to go to the doctor and do Kumon banking so we met another homeschool family for coffee.

Weekly stuff is drama class , piano class and son Alexander teaches guitar on Wed nights to Anthony and one of his friends.

Jonathon, Alexander and Thomas are on university study break, exams next week.

We had a friar over for coffee and a chat. Anthony wrote an essay on St Bonaventure because when we were in Melbourne and talking to a friar Anthony’s knowledge on the saint was woeful ( a Franciscan! A Doctor of the Church! One of my favourite saints! Gasp!) so I said “Good practice for uni one day.. Do some research, write 1000 words on the saint some time”. He finally got around to it and one of his brothers read it, said great info but needed an introduction and conclusion. So we talked about these and a hook .

Anthony has also done some Kumon Maths while his brothers have been studying. And hung out with them and played games and did junk mail delivery. We have talked about booking excursions for homeschoolers to an Australian museum and to a cemetery after I booked an excursion for the OOSH kids (my other job not the Kumon one) to tour McDonalds.

And at OOSH I taught a few little girls to knit, they are knitting scarves for teddies. I brought home their knitting so I could do a few lines at night and speed up the knitting progress. This sparked memories in my sons and we all laughed and talked about when they were little and I taught them to knit and they knitted scarves and jackets for teddies and belts and gun holsters for themselves and how they thought knitting grew by itself over night as I would surreptitiously knit a few lines for them myself each night… just as with the kids at work!

Thomas is baking bread today, they are all helping me with work for my Kumon centre and will work for me at Kumon tonight. This week I have been in cooking mode..something about me being sick makes me want to cook, even though I don’t feel like eating. Or maybe it just winter? I’ve made Pasta Carbonara, Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding, Apple Pie, Fettucine with a fresh tomato sauce, Apple Cake….

Currently listening to chant, in honour of St Ephrem, Doctor of the Church, composer of poetry and hymns.

So that’s been our Unschooling week! Although I have asked Anthony today to please ( for Mummy!) look at his Saxon Physics and some Latin and Anthony,Thomas and Alexander have enrolled in the Macquaurie University Winter Language School for a week of Introduction to Coptic. And I found an amazing recipe for a lemon cake using lemons we grew in our tree-in-a -pot and we made this fantastic cake for the Ascension !


Solemn Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua

Go over to the Moment By Moment blog, the blog for the MI Australia for the prayers for the solemn novena.

St Anthony is a special saint for our family. Okay, he helps us find lost things. But more than that, the saint is an example of love and of faithfulness.

All our sons have Anthony as one of their names.

We pray the weekly novena to St Anthony in the Tuesday night St Anthony mass in our parish, a parish under the care of the Conventual Franciscans.

And our little unschooling homeschool is called St Anthony’s Academy.


Liturgy as catechesis

” If one modifies the liturgy, however, instead of making the liturgy “more meaningful” one runs the risk of changing the meaning altogether and of despoiling the wealth already contained within the sacred liturgy.”
So I am quoting myself. Pathetic I know. But a quote from one of my recent essays, for the Liturgy and Life unit.
And why am I quoting myself? Not because I am fabulous (satirical laugh) but because the quote came to mind. Because it’s June.
There are quite a few solemnities this June. Including the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi.
I have seen a tendency in some parishes to add activities to the sacred liturgy in an attempt to make the feast or solemnity and thus the liturgy more meaningful .
Dancing girls. Liturgical dance and movement. For example.
Now, I am not going to write a diatribe against these activities. A look at the General Instructions to the Roman Missal lets one know what is allowed and when and how.
At these times, however, I do ponder the meaning of sacred liturgy.
The beauty, the splendor, the rubrics of the liturgy clearly describe each feast or solemnity. Be it by the colour of vestments et al, denoting the feast or by the prayers of the Collect, for example.
The liturgy itself, with rubrics carefully followed, with care paid to music and to liturgical arts, is catechesis. No need to add to the liturgy to give it extra meaning. Better to follow the prayers, the rite, with reverence and due consideration and thus raise the faithful’s hearts and minds towards the deep meaning of the solemnity, to an understanding of the feast, to an understanding of the Church’s teaching and so to a closer relationship with Our Lord.
This is catechesis in action. I know. From experience.
As a new Catholic in the 1990s, I attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form and over the course of time learned about the saints, about the solemnities and their significance, about the Eucharist… and so I was drawn closer and closer to Christ and to a deeper understanding of my faith, heart, mind, body and soul.
And this catechesis is not restricted to Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Of course not!
As the CCC says : 1074 “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.”It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men.”
It is in the sacraments that Jesus Christ works in fullness. To transform the faithful. Not in activities that change the focus , in small or large ways, from Christ, from prayer, from the solemnity, in the name of so-called education or community.

Another Fitness Post

Weight: Two kilos gone. Two. In one week. Is there something wrong? Should I worry? Can I not self sabotage? Look out skinny I come!

Food Epiphany: 1. Alcohol can fit into a calorie controlled diet. Just sayin’. In case you were worried.
2. There is an argument for counting calories carefully and not estimating all the time. And for not eating too little…duh, Leonie! Avoiding the eating too few calories trap has taken me awhile. See Calorie Queens .
General: Good quote…”After decades in this field, I can honestly say that most, if not all, of the disordered eaters I have known or worked with are excellent caretakers of others and poor caretakers of themselves.” The Rules of Normal Eating.

Fitness: Battling a cough and cold and this is reflected in workouts.
Sat: The FIRM Cardio Workout with the accompanying weighted gloves. A kickboxing inspired workout with some nice plank work for abs at the end. Pulls a lot of punches (pun intended!) in twenty minutes.
Sun: Dance With Julianne. A sweaty dance workout, really works your abs and makes you feel like you are dancing in a music clip. Contemporary. Forty minutes. Intermediate level. Good workout, choreographed by Jen Galardi, a fave dance fitness instructor of mine. Julianne looks a bit like a Barbie doll and over uses the word sexy and with my headache I could not, would not, shake my head and hair as she did…but the cardio was fun and my body was worked.
Mon: Leslie Sansone Walk Away Your Waistline. Gosh, I chose this because Monday was not a good day for me and I needed a mindless workout. But I loved the ab belt. You really suck in your abs and the weighted handles provide some upper body toning when you do the arm movements while walking with Leslie and her “pals.” 3 miles 45 minutes.
Tues: Too much coughing. Too busy. No workout. Grr. I hate giving in.
Wed: Today. The other twenty minute FIRM Ignite workout ( see last week). I’ve done this before, but it was harder today…that cough and cold! Major coughing fit after but it was too cool a workout to ignore. Cardio, then cardio bursts with intervals of weights, followed by cardio and an ab toning cool down/stretch. Burpees with weighted squats!
Okay,that’s fitness today in a nut shell. For those of you who asked…you know who you are, my fellow fitness friends..