Friday, September 26, 2014

Science and Faith

A search for me as author on Amazon will produce links to three books, two of which are simply different formats, Paperback and Kindle of the same text, focused on a new, yet old, specialized ministry of Roman Catholic men. The third book is an expensive plate tectonics monograph.

What is it like to write books on such divergent topics? Is there a common thread lacing through each texts? Yes, there is.

However, it's going to require another book, which I've been working on for more than twenty-five years. The problem for me, however, is that I'm in the middle of another manuscript for still another book which has apparently been bumped to the front of the line, at least for now.

The Story of Wanda

Some three decades ago, in a southern diocese where we lived, my wife and I had been invited to a program of evangelization leadership training by a traveling priest, a gifted layman, and their team. Part of the gift of that experience was getting to know other Catholics from other parishes in the diocese. Upon completion of the training, we were sent back to our own parishes to implement the program we had gone through.
Many experiences came out of that program, including re-gathering of the leaders several months later. So it was that Wanda shared an experience that she and her girlfriend had. They were in a grocery store in their home town when they saw a young mother with her sick baby. They approached the woman and Wanda offered to pray for the baby. The mother said yes. They offered a simple prayer for healing of the baby and concluded their prayer with the sign of the cross. Immediately upon seeing the gesture, the woman pulled her baby back, saying, “Why do you make that sign? Don’t you know that he was crucified on a tree?” Wanda told us that she said to herself, “’Oh no, we’re in trouble here.’ The woman was obviously a Jehovah’s Witness.” So, she prayed quietly, “Lord what can I say?” The answer came quickly, as Wanda said, “I make the sign of the cross because I believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” With that they left. You see, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the Holy Trinity. Rather than get in an argument with the young mother, Wanda and her girlfriend witnessed to a foundational belief of Catholics. What happened to the woman and baby, I don’t know. While we periodically saw Wanda and her friend, they had not seen the woman again, at least until after we moved from that diocese.
What I did not mention above is that Wanda and her friend were black. They belonged to a small church with black parishioners in their hometown.  Sadly, just a few years later, after their pastor died – he was a charismatic white man – their small parish was closed. At the last Mass in the little church, many of the white parishioners in the much larger church joined their new fellow-parishioners and escorted them to the larger church. A bittersweet experience was succeeded by a new journey of the clearly integrated new (for Wanda and her former parish family) parish. Similarly, the separate charismatic prayer groups were merged.
The story goes on...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who is called to be a deacon?

In answer to this post's subject, I have published a book entitled:

Every Man a Deacon? Who is called to ordination as a Roman Catholic deacon.

It is available in both paperback and Kindle.

You can preview the contents and in either format.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

Beneath it all, he had class...
May he rest in peace and may the Lord have mercy on his soul.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Eye has not seen...

As has become my practice in recent years, I take advantage of websites which provide the prayers and readings from the Liturgy of the Hours rather than the designated volume. An American site, is the preferred service as it uses the readings from the American version, although I assume, for copyright reasons, it does not always produce the indicated hymn in the published Liturgy of the Hours (or Christian Prayer -- the condensed version). Sometimes is apparently down for maintenance or there are traffic issues, so I access which, while it utilizes other translations of the Liturgy, it has a smaller footprint and loads faster.

Today, the Feast in honor of St. Dominic. Universalis includes a familiar text of St. Paul's, designated for Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary time:
The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him. These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:7-10; taken from the Jerusalem Bible©; quotation with italics and bold are from the Universalis website)
The original New American Bible translation of the same text, taken from another site,, reads:
There is a certain wisdom which we express among those who are spiritually mature. It is not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away. Rather, we speak God's wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: "What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him," this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10a)
Meanwhile, provides the reading in honor of a priest-saint:  
To the elders among you I, a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and sharer in the glory that is to be revealed, make this appeal. God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care. Watch over it willingly as God would have you do, not under constraint; and not for shameful profit either, but generously. Be examples to the flock, not lording it over those assigned to you, so that when the chief Shepherd appears you will win for yourselves the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Returning to the reading of St. Paul's, how often do we hear someone quoting "eye has not seen...," and then uses the citation as an encouragement of all the blessings we will have in heaven (God willing). But, notice how the verse above concludes: "These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (Jerusalem) or  "this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. (New American). When Paul uses the plural second person, "we" or "us" he is not invoking a royal "we" but, rather, means all believers. God has revealed himself through Christ Jesus -- we already have an understanding; we already know so much. Or, is it too much? We have to avoid presumption, but hold to the truth: the way, the truth, and the life, and then God reveals himself to us that we become a dwelling place of the Spirit, indeed the Holy Trinity.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I just noticed this bas-relief plaque on the index page for the Documents of Vatican Council II.

The figure on the left is that of Giovanni (John) XXIII. On the right is that of Paolo (Paul) VI. The former convened the council in 1962 and presided over it until his death in 1963. His successor, Paul VI, reconvened the Council, presiding until its completion in 1965. 
In the middle of the plaque is a patriarch of the Eastern Church flanked by two other bishops; I assume that none of the three is identified.
I have no further rationale for this post other than finding the plaque to be very intriguing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July message to our elderly parishioners

Dear Praise Ministers,
July is upon us, the month of high temperatures and, sometimes thunderstorms and monsoons, as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico streams north to meet cold fronts from the north and west.
The beginning of July is also the time of celebration by our country of one more year of freedom, as first proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. The second paragraph of the Declaration begins with:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As Catholic Christians and American citizens, we are grateful that these words of Thomas Jefferson were endorsed along with the rest of the Declaration in Philadelphia 237 years ago by those courageous men – including one extraordinary Catholic, Charles Carroll of Maryland.
In the subsequent years Catholics have prospered in this most unusual country. Despite periods of discrimination and even persecutions, the Faith of Our Fathers has blossomed.
However, we now appear to be entering a new period of persecution, as there are those in power in our country who wish to force Catholics and other Christians to undertake actions that are contrary to their faith and conscience. Prayer is needed. If you agree, offer your prayers to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit for:
(1)    freedom of religion in our own country and around the world,
(2)    protection of the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled
(3)    conversion of political leaders to realize their obligation to protect all of their citizens, from conception to natural death
(4)    protection of our service men and women around the world
(5)    strength and courage for all Catholics and Christians to exercise all of their God-given rights.
Can you pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be for each of these intentions?

May the Lord bless you always.

Deacon Rex Pilger

Director of Business and Adult Formation.