Tuesday, March 23, 2004


This year, my parish here in Santa Barbara, St. Raphael's, is having a Tenebrae service on Good Friday. I'm excited because it'll be the first one I've ever been to! The form is slightly different depending on where you go, but I've heard so much about them. What are your experiences of the Tenebrae?

Also, I found this poem:
E Tenebris, by Oscar Wilde (1881)

Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach thy
For I am drowning in a stormier sea
Than Simon on thy lake of Galilee:
The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,
My heart is as some famine-murdered land
Whence all good things have perished utterly,
And well I know my soul in Hell must lie
If I this night before God's throne should stand.
'He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,
Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name
From morn to noon on Carmel's smitten height.'
Nay, peace, I shall behold, before the night,
The feet of brass, the robe more white than
The wounded hands, the weary human face.
A deathbed conversion, also out of the darkness into the light.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Mary, Mother of Christians

I briefly read through some of Origen's commentaries on the scriptures several months ago, particularly On the Gospel of St. John, written in the early 3rd century and considered by many to be his chef d'oeuvre. Origen is a little shaky, especially to one as historically ignorant as myself, but I found some things that I didn't expect to find. In chapter 6 of the first book, Origen lays out what he considers to be essential in understanding this Gospel.

We may therefore make bold to say that the Gospels are the first fruits of all the Scriptures, but that of the Gospels that of John is the first fruits. No one can apprehend the meaning of it except he have lain on Jesus' breast and received from Jesus Mary to be his mother also. Such as one must he become who is to be another John, and to have shown to him, like John, by Jesus Himself, Jesus as He is. For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother, "Woman, behold thy son," and not "Behold you have this son also," then He virtually said to her, "Lo, this is Jesus, whom thou didst bear." Is it not the case that every one who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him; and if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary, "Behold thy son, Christ."

- Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John: Book I, Chapter 6 (c. 232 AD)
So, according to Origen, to fully understand the Gospel of John, we must receive Mary from Jesus to be our Mother as John did. Origen here is dealing primarily with John, but in his argument concerning John, we might also extract Origen's fundamental premise that Mary is the Mother of all those in whom Christ lives, id est, Mary is the Mother of all who live in Christ.

Sunday, March 21, 2004


This weekend, I saw a sign for Aqueous Church, which apparently meets every Saturday night at the elementary school auditorium in the college town of Isla Vista. My curiosity having been peaked, I visited their webpage to discover that they are basically a young adult, "pop-culture" frontend to the Goleta Foursquare Church. They use the name aqueous as a reference to the waters of baptism and to the living water spoken of by Jesus. As is mostly the case, aqueous is their attempt to reform themselves into something that seems to be fresh and new, something modern and relevant. It seems these types of pop-churches abound now more than ever in our culture in the attempt to reach young adults who are lost on old-school religion.

Initially, I thought the name aqueous was a little too new-agey. I love the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has tradition, a profound sense of history and depth built on years of reflection, guidance, and perseverance through every type of human tragedy and world change. The Church has traditionally reached cultures by adapting elements while remaining true to its own history and teaching, sustaining doctrinal unity throughout the world. These pop-churches that spring up only appeal to one type of culture, one type of epoch in history; Hence, I am very suspicious of them.

Where else can you find a guy with a mohawk and black fingernails releasing a dove? On a more interesting note, one of the expectations listed on their webpage is:
To create an atmosphere so saturated with joy that people can barely fight the urge to "shake it like a Polaroid picture."
But we, Catholics, are joyful too! Our joy echoes through the centuries, for mohawks and all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails