Sunday, February 21, 2010

happy together

"love and marriage [philosophy and theology, french and english, faith and reason (update: mass and confession, love and mercy)] go together like a horse and carriage, this i tell you brother, you can't have one without the other." words once spoken by Frank Sinatra in 1955, are as true today as they were then. of course, i added the words in brackets. i read yet another article by an author who believes that the two best buds - faith and reason, must somehow be split up, separated, divorced. why is that?

faith and reason live on the same axis. however, Rebecca Goldstein, an American novelist, disagrees and writes about it in her new book. the danger with splitting faith and reason up is that it usually means building up one at the expense of the other. both are needed, period.

in the article, there are several mentions of new atheism - whatever that means. maybe it's like the new country? anywho, you can't separate faith and reason, nor can you separate love and marriage, soup and sandwich, or the strands of DNA without becoming lost. faith and reason are happy together, are they not?

i remember my first year at the seminary. i had to study philosophy first, before theology. some people told me that it would make me lose my faith. i was necessarily a bit weary of beginning those studies. however, nothing could have been further from the truth! it did not make me lose my faith, but rather made it stronger. we had to study all type of philosophers, their thoughts, ideas, atheists, religious, and everything in between. i enjoyed that year and the conversations that it made me have with my fellow brothers. i particularly enjoyed David Hume's idea on causation - not because i understood it, but because he used billiard balls in one of his famous examples on the topic (see An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding). i love playing pool. ask me, and i'll challenge you! :)

faith and reason go together, and when reason has no answers, faith goes beyond it. many have discussed this in greater detail vs. this blog entry. a classic of course is Pope JPII's encyclical Fides et ratio on the relationship between faith and reason. i'm sure many remember Pope BXVI's lecture at the university of Regensburg, in Sept. 2006 (summary, comment). on the topic of faith, reason and university, it sparked international reaction and controversy. Charles Taylor also speaks of the divide between the two in his book, A Secular Age, which i still must finish.

however, the marriage of faith and reason still causes people to get upset. comparing the two, Pope BXVI said that "faith and reason are inextricably linked for both seek the truth". there have been many yesterday, and today that try to break the two apart. and i'm sure more will in the future. for example, St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Abelard fought tooth and nails about where to put the focus - faith or reason. faith seeking understanding. St. Bernard put the focus on the first, where as Abelard put the focus on the latter. St. Bernard won that battle. indeed, Pope BXVI said in another report "when controversies arise in theology people should always strive to protect their faith while searching for truth." both men were fully reconciled, by the way.
"me and you and you and me
no matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
the only one for me is you, and you for me
so happy together" (The Turtles - Happy Together, 1967)
faith and reason, it does a body (+ soul) good. have a great prayerful Lent! peace out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

lost together

love is in the air! happy valentine's day to one and all. i preached about love and marriage on this World Marriage Sunday. everyone has heard about the crisis in vocation to the priesthood, but after reading a few articles, and living in the world, the real crisis is with the Sacrament of Marriage. indeed, as the Archbishop of New York said,

"We have a vocation crisis to life-long, life-giving, loving, faithful marriage. If we take care of that one, we’ll have all the priests and nuns we need for the church."

so, this past weekend i preached about the beauty of the Sacrament of Marriage! i love celebrating weddings and enjoy sharing the joy that fills the hearts of the couple, the family and the Church! i also came across Bustedhalo's site when researching articles. i enjoyed their webisodes! as a new priest, it gave me an idea of questions that need to be addressed - not only to prepare for the wedding day (one day), but for the celebration of the marriage (lifetime)!

as i was researching this and that, i came across a new show from Salt & Light Television. Perspectives is a daily 5-min summary of current topics affecting the Church, with Friday's weekend edition being 30minutes. the first weekend edition (Feb. 5, 2010 webisode) was on faith and technology. their first question peaked my interest, "should priests have a facebook profile?" hmmm, yes?

therefore, should there be some type of online presence course during the seminary formation? indeed, they commented that the next pope possibly will have had some type of presence online - facebook, blog, etc. the interview was done by the host with Most Rev. Vincent Nguyen (Canada's new youngest bishop), and Sister Marie-Paul Curley. they commented that the Church speaks through the Pope, the bishops, the priests and deacons, sisters, Christian men and women! where it was once difficult to know what the other diocese spoke and wrote about, now with technology, the Church is hear and now. indeed, this rang true as i was preparing for my Sunday homily, quoting an article from the Archbishop of New York, from a different country, where i originally got word of the article from news i follow from my twitter account. crazy or cool? technology can get out of hand, fast! that's why one needs to protect one's self from all the crap that's out there!

for example, why read blogs? i agree that once they were all a waste of time. but now, slowly, they are making their way into the media. it's a great way to share one's life experience and reality is in the details. i used to blog about my sock-with-a-hole, but hopefully i've moved past that.

q? should all priests, religious, anyone involved with evangelization have an online presence? if one can, i think it's a great idea. i believe it flows from our ministry - part of proclaiming the Gospel! i can't write everyday, but once in a while (weekly) i can blog about my faith in Christ, and how that impacts my daily life!

q? should priests have facebook profile? online presence in general? i enjoyed and was rather intrigued by this question - which was not discussed enough. however, i must vote in the affirmative. i had a profile before, and should i change that now that i'm ordained? "the glory of God is man fully alive!" rather than escape humanity, one needs to embrace humanity, as Our Lord did! blogging, technology - up to a point, helps me become who God intended me to be. it helps, but it never will take the place of another human person. it cannot.

so, answer to the question? yes. but now i'm not blogging only as a Christian with you, but as a priest for you as well. thus, i can blog, have an online presence, but only in so far as i preach Christ and not myself. i can talk about my experiences, but as Mother Theresa would say, how sad it would be if the people did not encounter Jesus Christ when seeing me, or now, reading my website, blog, facebook profile, twitter account, etc., etc.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

doesn't mean anything

"Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority." - Vince Lombardi
today is a big day! why? because it's SuperBowl Sunday or because it is the Lord's Day? hmmm, 'cause it is the Lord's Day, of course ... and by the way, there's a game on too. at the end of the day, i'll probably catch some of it as well. go Colts go. who's with me?

this past week has been a SuperBowl this, SuperBowl that! i was pleased to read this article, however, which discussed the teams (Colts vs. Saints) spiritual preparation! today is a big game for both teams, however, both spiritual chaplains help their teams keep things in perspective.
"Fr. Gallagher, [chaplain for the Colts], says that paramount in the Colts’ spiritual preparation for the Super Bowl is the realization that when all is said and done football is a game, and win or lose, life is going to continue with its higher challenges and expectations."
beautiful! i have always been interested in sports, because they are fun, but now what speaks to me is the theology of sports! you can learn a lot from on person on how well he plays with another. take for example Annunciation of the Lord's classic hockey game, each and every Saturday afternoon. we have young and younger playing together, and we have a great time - because we play as a team, rather than individuals. i sometimes get carried away and start yelling, "tackle!" a number of the youth tell me, "Father, you shouldn't be yelling 'tackle' during our pick-up hockey game." hmmm, they are right! i was merely saying it for humour value - but, ah ... taken out of context, some people may get the wrong idea! :) so, yesterday i tried to minimize the use of that word, during the game.

i commented on this briefly when we first started playing about a month ago. how people play sports reveal how they live life! are they going to start punching and fighting like some NHL players? hogging the puck, or will they pass and play as a team?! we can apply this to most sports i suspect - football, hockey, ultimate frisbee, etc., where in order to win you must play as a team! charity means to play with your team, not by yourself. that's why i like the Timbit's commercial - it shows us why we like hockey in the first place, a reason that some players may have to revisit!

let's get back to football for a second. as i was reading the various comments on this game, i particularly enjoyed what the coach Lombardi had to say. he reminded me of Pier Giorgio Frassati (Saint).
“I believe in God.
“I derived my strength from daily mass and communion.” - Lombardi
wow! i'm not saying that the coach was a saint, but he is considered "the greatest football coach of all time, and is on the short list of history’s greatest coaches, regardless of sport." the more i read, the more i like this guy, and therefore, more to come later. i also happen to fall upon this site. i've been thinking of the theology of sports for a while, and this is just another reason why i should go deeper in that mystery! for as the coach says, "perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." this is sports. this is the journey of holiness. as Alicia Keys noted, it doesn't mean anything, ... unless i have God in Jesus Christ.

ps. each year before the big game, we had our own big game at the seminary! winner takes all. good times, always! can you spot me? ciao.