Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Opinions on (not) kneeling on Sundays

After my post on Cannon 20th of Nicea I, which states that on Sundays and during the days of Pentacost prayers at church should be said standing as opposed to sitting or kneeling, I have some comments.

1 - In the Roman Catholic Western rite it can be argued that this is the case since we stand up for the Our Father, and other prayers. This is the case with the big exception of the Eucharistic Prayer. The posture of the people during the Eucharistic Prayer is different in various countries and regions; in the United States and England, for instance, the people normally stand until the "Holy, Holy", and then kneel until after the "Great Amen."[1] I guess that one could argue that the Eucharistic prayer is not a prayer that the congregation pray but only instead only the priest prays it, therefore saving the Nicaea cannon. I wonder if that is the common explanation for it between liturgists. Does someone know?

2 -  After communion some people kneel and pray. Is this going against the letter of Nicaea cannon? Before, when I don't use to kneel, I didn't mind. Now that I got used to kneel, I got more curious and wonder what other people think of it.

3 -  Finally, in the Eastern Rites, it is usually the case that the congregation stands all the time, and that there are indeed not seats in the church (or only for the elderly people). This is the case, for instance, of the Roman Catholic of Byzantine Rite that I attended sometimes in New York. And they were proud of it, of not having pews. Seats in the church are in fact a late invention. Reverting to no seats would be -I think- and interesting experience. Maybe in the next post I will write on it.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Church Unity

From, Cartoon Church, with permission

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

About (not) kneeling on Sundays

My translation of the 20th canon of the Nicea Council (325ac).


Canon 20th:
About the no necessity of kneeling on sundays or during the fifty days [ of Pentecost]

Because some kneel on Sundays or during the fifty days, and to the intent that all things may be done in the same way in every parish [ diocesis ], it seems good to the Holy Synod that glory [ prayer ] be made to God standing.



It is amazing! I didn't know about this cannon since not long ago. I even doubt that there are many christians (and specially catholics) aware of it. It would be interesting to have a discussion about the appropriateness of kneeling in worship. What to you think?

Bellow I add some comments I found on the cannon. 

HAMMOND.
Tertullian, in a passage in his treatise [ mentions that this observances] were universally practised upon the authority of tradition. "We consider it unlawful," he says, "to fast, or to pray kneeling, upon the Lord's day; we enjoy the same liberty from Easter-day to that of Pentecost." Many other of the Fathers notice the same practice, the reason of which, as given by Augustine; and others, was to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord, and to signify the rest and joy of our own resurrection, which that of our Lord assured. 

This canon, as Beveridge observes, is a proof of the importance formerly attached to an uniformity of sacred rites throughout the Church, which made the Nicene Fathers thus sanction and enforce by their authority a practice which in itself is indifferent, and not commanded directly or indirectly in Scripture, and assign this as their reason for doing so: "In order that all things may be observed in like manner in every parish" or diocese.

HEFELE
"All the churches did not, however, adopt this practice; for we see in the Acts of the Apostles(20. 36 and 21. 5) that St. Paul prayed kneeling during the time between Pentecost and Easter."

[HAMMOND and HEFFLE As cited by Henry R. Percival in here ]

As always your comments are very welcomed!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Moment of Resurrection

From Richard Beck at Experimental Theology
As a psychologist I often wonder what people mean by "resurrection." It's a word that gets thrown around a lot and I often don't know how it is being "cashed out," psychologically or experientially. What does it mean to experience a "moment of resurrection"?
For my part, the experience of resurrection is freedom from the fear of death in the giving our lives away to others. More succinctly, love is resurrection, the moment where we move from death to life: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death." (1 John 3.14)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do you want to be Pope?

Pope Francis decided that instead of reading his 5 page discourse to the audience of the Jesuits schools, he would give a summary of it (the let the people to read if afterwards if they want) and the rest of the time take questions from the boys and girls. A risky move as the questions were not prepared or agreed in advance. And what question did one of the girls ask? Do you wanted to be the Pope? Here is the recording of it, audio-translated also into English.  


Thursday, June 6, 2013

The onion and the wicked woman. Reading Dorothy Day

On one of his writings Dorothy Day recalls a story that Grushenka tells in the Brothers Kamarazov.  The story goes like this:

Once upon a time there was a peasant woman, and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunger here into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell god. 'She once pulled up an onion in her garden,' said he, 'and gave it to a beggar woman.' And God answered: 'You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you pull her out of the lake, let  her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.' The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. 'Come,' said he, 'cath hold, and I'll pull you out.' And he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her out when the other sinner sin the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. 'I'm to be pulled out, not you. It's my onion, not yours'. As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away.  

Pause here for a minute. Maybe some lessons can be learned by meditating on this short story.

             ---  ---  ---

As for Dorothy Day. She saw herself wondering if God's goodness to her was because she once gave away an onion. Dorothy loved the poor, and them taught her to know God.

I think that if she is to be compared to the woman it is because many poor people caught hold of her, and in this way God show them mercy.

---------------------------------------------
 * Dorothy Day selected writings p 6

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How practising hospitality looks like today

From the London Catholic Worker Newsletter. Reproduced with permission.

Hosting by Henrietta Cullinan 
People often ask me if they can come and stay sometimes I say yes and sometimes no, mostly no. Four grown up children, always coming and going, late night pre-loading sessions at the weekends and four tiny bedrooms. Up until now our daytime lives have always been communal. The bathing arrangements are not at all private, my husband and I having been born into a generation accustomed to wandering around their own home naked. We still have a communal sock pile, not so long ago we had a communal dressing room and before that we all six lived in one room. I am using the communal nature of our hours, I can only conclude, as an excuse not to have anyone to stay.  
It doesn't seem selfish to be looking after your own children, three meals, shopping, cooking, fetching, carrying, picking, riding through the teenager hood for four times. This month my eldest son got married. It's time for a new approach to home ownership. 
Playing music at New Year, my friend the viola player says, "and what does 2013 hold for you?" I say, "this year is going to be the year of Hospitality." He says, graciously, "I'm sure you're always hospitable." On Twitter I post, "hospitality in my house every single day" and get spammed by internet dating sites. I print out a colour copy of Andrei Rublev's icon, Trinity, Abraham with the three angels under the oak tree at Mare (Genesis 18,vv 1-15) and pin it up in my office. 
Shortly after this the opportunity arrives and KM, a Burmese man waiting for NASS support, moves out of Dorothy Day house and into my third son's empty bedroom. I had discussed the plan with my husband who at first just says "yes if that's what you want." "Should we undergo some discernment and preparation?" I ask. He says, "What is there to discern?" 
This experience has taught me more about marriage and notions of house and home that about offering hospitality. We don't need to be Mr and Mrs tucked up in our own house. Our house is not part of us; it's just concrete, aluminium and glass. Welcoming a guest makes us both nervous and nervous of admitting this to each other but then draws us closer. 
There are of course possible problems. Our gust is almost completely nocturnal and so I immediately start to worry about being woken up and the back door being left open when he goes out to smoke. KM tells me his own father is a very disciplined man who doesn't like any kind of noise. He himself is so quiet he never disturbs us. I discover that privacy is a shared endeavour, a shared sensitivity to each other needs. We settle into a rhythm of conversation every few days, each knowing when the other is likely to be in or out. I quickly develop the sense that our guest wants to be respected and that our son's bedroom is his room for the time being. Paradoxically at the same time I am asked to write a letter saying that KM couldn't stay any longer than two weeks, a date which shifts as bureaucratic delays appear and disappear.  
I am shocked that our living room that I always thought was a shared space seems like a private room to KM, who never comes to watch television with us for more than a few minutes, even Match of the Day. He often uses the kitchen after we've finished even after we've gone to bed. It turns out the 'communal' areas of our home are not that communal.   
My upbringing says hospitality is cooking a shared meal, clean towels, books and flowers in the bedrooms, polity conversation at meal times, but mainly a shared meal. But who is expecting this of me? At first I leave a small pan of rice for KM to eat late at night with dried hot chillies. 
Our guest arrives in winter during the snowy weeks when the temperature is below freezing each night. There is no heating in the bedrooms, and I worry how could it must be for a guest with nocturnal habits. I buy a thermometer for our kitchen, which struggles to stay above 15 degrees, sometimes making it to 18 degrees, warm and cosy for our home. I realise I needn't worry. My husband's grandmother used to say "a jumper is something a child has to wear when its mother feels cold." 
Dorothy Day tells us that every home needs a Christ room. The paradox is that the minute that empty room is filled with a guest it doesn't feel like a Christ room anymore. The Christ room is a promise for the future. It is a first practical step in the realisation of my responsibility to others. 
It makes me sad to realise how selfish we have become. Offering hospitality helps me remember the many, many people who are hovering on the fringes, not able to work, to support themselves, to be with their families. It makes me realise that for some ours is an oppressive society, where the burden of proof lies with the asylum seeker, where ther are different rules for different people. 
It is easy to have a guest but also hard. At first I feel uneasy and guilty. I regret losing my peace of mind. I am aware that my own taboos and customary compulsions were getting in the way. It doesn't come naturally to me, but when I turn away and set off for work, I have a deep gladness that KM is here sharing our house with us. It has led me to dream of inviting more guests, why not two or three, sitting round the table, keeping warm. 

 Thank you so much Henrietta for your example of hospitality. Your story tells me what a disciple of Jesus looks like today. Many blessings to you too, KM, and your family.