Saturday, December 09, 2006

Made in Santa Barbara

From the SB Independent, courtesy of Goleta pastor Billy Calderwood. All of these items (and there are many more) started in Santa Barbara, California:

-Earth Day
-Balance Bar
-Motel 6
-Sex Wax
-Big Dogs (clothing)
-Kinko's (in Isla Vista)
-Ranch Dressing
-Egg McMuffin

Although I dispute the assertion that Tri-Tip is a Santa Barbara invention. Santa Maria has held claim to that for lo these many years.
Maria, Gratia Plena

The Magnificent Event of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through a singular grace of God, in view of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ, Mary was preserved from the stain of original sin from the first moment of her presence in her mother's womb. This was to prepare her as a sinless vessel, the immaculate ark of the new and everlasting covenant, through which God would take human flesh upon Himself and be born as a human being, human like us in all things but sin.

It does not refer, as many Catholics have been erroneously taught, to the conception of Christ in Mary's womb, although it does anticipate that reality. And whatever special grace Mary has that others do not have is there because of God. Mary's sinlessness can only be a work of grace, of being perfected and made whole. For Mary, God did this at the moment of her conception, though she still had the freedom to cooperate with that grace. For the rest of us, however, God does this throughout our ordinary human lives, so that all who enter Heaven are perfect as God is perfect.
In mense autem sexto missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae, cui nomen Nazareth, ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Ioseph de domo David, et nomen virginis Maria. Et ingressus ad eam dixit: "Ave, gratia plena, Dominus tecum". Ipsa autem turbata est in sermone eius et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. Et ait angelus ei: "Ne timeas, Maria; invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. Et ecce concipies in utero et paries filium et vocabis nomen eius Iesum. Hic erit magnus et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris eius, et regnabit super domum Iacob in aeternum, et regni eius non erit finis". Luke 1:26-33
The angel Gabriel came down to her and said to her, "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.... Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bare a son, and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the seat of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His Kingdom will have no end."

Through this we know that 1.) Mary was "full of grace", 2.) God chose her out of all the women of the world, and 3.) because she was to carry the Son of the Most High in her womb, God in the flesh.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Giving thanks and Richard Dawson

We've been pretty busy lately; we spent much of last week preparing for family visits during the Thanksgiving holiday, which we were very blessed to have so soon after moving out here to Texas. We spent a lot of time eating all the food we prepared and touring the city and surrounding areas.

Sometimes when I relax, I like to tune in to reruns of old Match Game episodes on Game Show Network. This show epitomizes all that was nutty about the 1970's, complete with groovy music, polyester fashions, historical trivia, and tacky attempts at humor. Gene Rayburn, my muse. But, if I see Richard Dawson kiss one more woman on the lips, I'll...
Two brothers...

Last week while in Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI spent a good amount of time with Patriarch Bartholomew I (Eastern Orthodox) of the very ancient and venerable city of Constantinople (Istanbul). It is certainly refreshing to see them together, like the two brothers Peter and Andrew. While it's clear that Benedict and Bartholomew aren't quite ready to join hands and sing Kum Ba Ya, one hopes that this visit will further dialog and strenghten the hope for future reconciliation between much of the Eastern Orthodox world and the Roman Catholic church... after 1000 years of schism. Ut unum sint...

Here they are giving a common blessing, courtesy of Benedict pronounces the blessing in our cherished Latin, while Bartholomew pronounces the blessing in Greek.

This was only one of many memorable moments that occurred during this visit. Go here for more videos of the visit between Benedict and Bartholomew.

UPDATE: Joshua Treviño posts a very moving piece about his experience of the Patriarchal liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict. Read it!
On the twofold coming of Christ

Taken from today's office of readings, by St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, what relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before all ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future. At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." At the second we hall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgment he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: "You did these things, and I was silent." His first coming was to fulfill his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity. Malachi the prophet speaks of the two comings. "And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple": that is one coming. Again he says of another coming: "Look, the Lord almighty will come, and who will endure the day of his entry, or who will sand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner's fire, a fuller's herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing."

These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: "The grace of God the Savior has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await.

That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: "He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end."

Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new.
Christ came first to be judged; When He comes again, He will come to judge us. As St. Cyril connects to the prophet Malachi, quoting him, he comes like a refiner's fire, a fuller's herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing... Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on us.


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