Friday, June 28, 2019

The doors of repentance do Thou open unto me (Покаяния отверзи ми двери)


The doors of repentance do Thou open unto me, O Giver of life,
for my spirit waketh at dawn toward Thy holy temple,
bearing a temple of the body all defiled.
But in Thy compassion, cleanse it by the loving-kindness of Thy mercy.
 Both now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen.

Покаяния отверзи ми двери, Жизнодавче, утренюет бо дух мой ко храму святому Твоему, храм носяй телесный весь осквернен; но яко щедр, очисти благоутробною Твоею милостию. 

Pokayaniya otverzi mi dveri, Zhiznodavche, utrenyuyet bo dukh moy ko khramu svyatomu Tvoyemu, khram nosyay telesnyy ves' oskvernen; no yako shchedr, ochisti blagoutrobnoyu Tvoyeyu milostiyu.

Guide me in the paths of salvation, O Theotokos,
for I have defiled my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted all my life in slothfulness,
but by thine intercessions deliver me from all uncleanness.

На спасения стези настави мя, Богородице, студными бо окалях душу грехми и в лености все житие мое иждих; но Твоими молитвами избави мя от всякия нечистоты.

Na spaseniya stezi nastavi mya, Bogoroditse, studnymi bo okalyakh dushu grekhmi i v lenosti vse zhitiye moye izhdikh; no Tvoimi molitvami izbavi mya ot vsyakiya nechistoty.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy
And according to the multitude of Thy compassions, blot out my transgressions.
When I think of the multitude of evil things I have done, I, a wretched one,
I tremble at the fearful day of judgment;
but trusting in the mercy of Thy loving-kindness, like David do I cry unto Thee:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.

Множества содеянных мною лютых помышляя окаянный, трепещу страшнаго дне суднаго, но надеяся на милость благоутробия Твоего, яко Давид вопию Ти: помилуй мя, Боже, по велицей Твоей милости.

Mnozhestva sodeyannykh mnoyu lyutykh pomyshlyaya okayannyy, trepeshchu strashnago dne sudnago, no nadeyasya na milost' blagoutrobiya Tvoyego, yako David vopiyu Ti: pomiluy mya, Bozhe, po velitsey Tvoyey milosti.

Image result for russian orthodox church repentance

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Ecce advenit dominator Dominus [Gregorian Chant]


I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Rev.1:8

γώ εμι τ λφα κα τ , λέγει Κύριος Θεός, ν κα ν κα ρχόμενος, Παντοκράτωρ. Αποκ.1.8

Ecce advenit dominator Dominus:
 et regnum in manu eius, et potestas, et imperium.
Deus, iudicium tuum regi da: 
et iustitiam tuam Filio regis.
Ecce advenit dominator Dominus: 
et regnum in manu eius, et potestas, et imperium.

Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: 
and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion.
Give to the king Thy judgment, 
O God: and to the king's Son Thy justice.
Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: 
and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sexual Anarchy by fr. Josiah Trenham

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contemporary tolerance is intrinsically intolerant. It is blind to its own shortcomings because it erroneously thinks it holds the moral high ground; it cannot be questioned because it has become part of the West's plausibility structure.”
D.A. Carson, The Intolerance of Tolerance

The term “freedom” is truncated, divorced from truth, responsibility, the good of others, and the common welfare. Selfishness makes the autonomous individual easily seduced by these new rights.”

A new totalitarianism is developing under the cloak of [sexual] freedom.”  “The destruction of the family uproots every single human being. We become atomized human beings who can be manipulated to do anything.”
Gabriele Kuby, The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom

Friday, June 21, 2019

A Lily In His Hidden Garden


Yesterday, I came across a site where devout Catholic ladies were talking about the issues of biblical femininity after the model of holy Virgin Mary. One lady expressed the essence of modest apparel beautifully as follows;

A woman is a lily and lilies are protected by petals.

I think the spirit of modesty springs forth from a deep sense of appreciation toward the divine fact that we are created as women in His Creation.

While the exposure-driven-world constantly instigates us to believe that our "petals" are already outdated so that our chastity guard could be weaken or loosen, nonetheless, those women who have found the mystical door leading to the Inner Garden would know in their hearts that it is in the very virtue of inner/outer modesty that we can truly find security, protection, intimate communion with our Lord and a bliss.

May God sanctify our whole being--spirit, soul and the body--, so that we can follow the Marian path of chastity and holiness. Let us cover ourselves with modest "petals" with a spirit of shamefacedness and humility. This is my prayer that you and I are being planted in His hidden lily garden and that the world will see His beauty in us. Amen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Trinity

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What a wondrous apparition
Moved into the Patriarch’s vision –
A trio of amazing travelers
His shady grove were now approaching.

White as snow their raiment sparkled
With a light so brightly shining,
Yet all three seemed quite ethereal,
In a misty haze enveloped.

Straight and stern, the First One’s visage
Gazed majestically forward.
Neath His gaze the grass and flowers
Bowed their heads down very humbly.

Full of charity was the Second,
And wherever He would glance at –
Fragrant flowers bloomed directly,
Springing from the arid soil.

Pure as morning’s wind the Third One,
Gazing lovingly and gently,
With His meek gaze tending promise
Of great hope and full forgiveness.

Kneeling down in awe and trembling,
Comprehending now the vision,
Tearfully Forefather Abraham
Bowed his head to the Triune One.

- A. Lavrov
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff (source)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Anti-Sacramentalism

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God's sanctuary or a bare lecture hall? (source)

"The anti-sacramentalism (and non-sacramentalism) of some Christian groups is among the most unwittingly pernicious of all modern errors. Thought to be an argument about a minor point of doctrine, it is, instead, the collapse of the world into the empty literalism of secularity. In the literalism of the modern world (where a thing is a thing is a thing), nothing is ever more than what is seen. Thus every spiritual reality, every mystery, must be referred elsewhere – generally to the mind of God and the believer. Christianity becomes an ideology and a fantasy. It turns religious believing into a two-storey universe."

-- Fr. Stephen Freeman

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Congaudeant Catholici (Medieval chant from Codex Calixtinus)

Latin text

Congaudeant catholici,
letentur cives celici
 Die ista

Clerus pulcris carminibus
studeat atque cantibus.
 Die ista

Hec est dies laudabilis,
divina luce nobilis.
 Die ista

Vincens herodis gladium,
accepit vite bravium.
 Die ista

Qua iacobus palatia,
ascendit ad celestia.
 Die ista

Ergo carenti termino
benedicamus domino.
 Die ista

Magno patri familias
solvamus laudis gratias
 Die ista

English translation 

Let the Catholics rejoice together; 
let the heavenly citizens make merry
On this day.

Let the cleric be intent this day 
upon comely songs and hymns
On this day.

This is a praiseworthy day, 
noble in godly light
This day.

Conquering Herod's sword, 
he hath received the reward of life
On this day.

Wherein James hath ascended 
unto the heavenly palaces
Yea, on this day.

Therefore, let us bless the Lord 
Who hath no end
On this day.

To the great Paterfamilias, 
let us break forth with thanksgiving of praise
On this day.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Full-time or Part-time Head Covering?

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Though I am covering my head almost all day (and I love to do it!) , I personally think we are not obligated to cover all the time. You might want to disagree with me but it seems that full-time covering or part-time covering belong to the area of Christian liberty. My friend Jessica made a video on this issue and she presents these two positions fairly and lovingly. 

Full-time or Part-time Head Covering? by Jessica Roldan (source)

For those of us who have decided to wear a headcovering according to God’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), one of the very first questions that comes to our minds is: Should I cover all the time or just during church?

I had to work through this issue early on in my headcovering journey, which started in November of 2012 (six years ago). I’ve seen some people comment that those women who wear a covering only some of the time are not fully obeying God. I wish they could see into my mind and life a little. Maybe they would understand that this is not a cut-and-dry issue, but that there might actually be some very good reasons for either of the two options!

Originally, I had considered covering full time and had even started wearing a covering every day. However, my husband objected to this. Having been raised in a Catholic tradition where the women in his family had veiled only during mass, he didn’t see the need for covering all the time. Additionally, I think he liked seeing my hair. Another concern for him was that he didn’t want his wife looking as if she belonged to a denomination we did not belong to, such as the Mennonites (I mean no disrespect toward that denomination). He preferred for me to cover only at church and, if I wanted to, during family Bible reading or prayer at our home. So, my husband’s opinion was what really cemented this issue for me.

I think that by allowing my husband to have his say and by respecting and following his beliefs, I am following God fully. The headcovering is supposed to symbolize God’s order for the church, for society, and for the home. For the married woman, headcovering represents submission to her husband. How would it make sense for me to wear something that means I submit to my husband, while not submitting to my husband by wearing it at times he doesn’t want me to?

There were other, secondary reasons I decided to cover mainly during church. The Bible seemed to me to support that interpretation. Also, Jeremy Gardiner’s articles about this subject on the Head Covering Movement site were an additional influence.

Though I may someday begin covering full time if my husband supports it, for now I’m happy with our choice that I cover only during church and during Bible reading or prayer with our family at home. In no way do I think that by covering part time I am somehow superior to women who cover full time, nor do I believe that they are obeying God more fully than I, since the way I see it, there are good reasons for both choices.

In the video below, I talk about some of those reasons. Why cover full time? Why cover part time? Please watch the video, and after thinking through the information, you will be able to decide for yourself what the best route is for you. And, if you already cover, it may help you understand more fully why some women choose one form of headcovering over another. I don’t talk about all the reasons but touch on the main ones. Later, I would like to address some specific points (such as headcovering and the angels). For now, this video provides a brief overview of what I see as the strongest reasons in support of covering full time, and the strongest reasons in support of covering part time.

Afterwards, I would love to hear your take on the full-time/part-time issue in the comment section of this blog:

-Do you cover full time or part time?

-What led you to that choice?

How do you think we can do better in the headcovering community to show grace towards those whose views about when to cover are different from ours?





Among the groves
The crosses shine:
A five-domed church,
With bells aligned.

Their summons peals
Across the graves
So mournfully,
Yet full of grace.

It lures me forth,
Irresistibly pulls,
Beckons and calls
To native soil,
The blessed land
That I forgot;

And, filled with yearning
And pain unknown,
I pray, repent,
And weep once more,
And I reject
All evil deed.

Wandering far
In wondrous dreams,
Through space I fly
And heaven’s realms,
And my heart joyously
Trembles and melts
Till the peal of bells
Slowly fades…

A.K. Tolstoy
Translated by Natalia Sheniloff (source)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Mystical Rose


THERE is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bear Jesu:

For in this rose containéd was
Heaven and earth in little space:
Res Miranda.

By that rose we may well see
There be one God in Persons Three:
Pares forma.

The angels sang, the shepherds too:
Gloria in Excelsis Deo:

Leave we all this worldly mirth
And follow we this joyful birth:

By an unknown Medieval Author (source)

Res Miranda, thing to be marvelled at. Pares forma, equal in nature. Gaudeamus, let us rejoice. Transeamus, let us go hence.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Limits of Tolerance

Excerpts from Jim Tonkowich, My Catholic Story, 2015

In 2006, I left BreakPoint to become president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD). The IRD was part of the Mainline Protestant renewal movement, and my first summer at the IRD included trips to three national denominational meetings: the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) General Assembly, the Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention, and my own Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) General Assembly.

At the PCUSA and TEC meetings I saw first-hand how, in contrast to Christians through the ages, the liberal denominations have substituted feelings for facts, passions for authority, and sentiment for reason. Their belief seems to be that if they “create space for dialogue,” emote, and vote, they can determine the New Revised Standard Version of God’s truth by Roberts Rule’s and simple majority — and Christian orthodoxy, their own confessional documents, and dissenters can all pound sand. (I should add that there were and are good, solidly orthodox dissenters who are still fighting the good fight in those groups. They are courageous men and women who deserve our prayers — and invitations to attend RCIA.)

The impact of the first two meetings sank in as I flew between TEC’s General Convention and my own PCA General Assembly.

I was reading Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper’s discussion of “the sovereignty of the individual person” and the individual conscience before God in his Lectures on Calvinism when a conversation began in the row behind me. Two women who did not know each other discovered that they had both been volunteers at the TEC General Convention. “Were you there,” asked one, “when Katherine Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop?” The General Convention had elected Schori, one of its few female bishops, to lead the denomination.

Oh, yes I was there and it was wonderful,” replied the other. “Couldn’t you just feel the Spirit?”

Yes, yes. I felt the Spirit.”

Hmm, I thought, here we have “the sovereignty of the individual person” writ large. I was not encouraged.

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Katherine Jefferts Schori’s theological positions are troubling, to say the least. In her inaugural sermon as presiding bishop-elect, she announced, “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation and we are His children.” No doubt many in attendance including the women in the row behind me thought this creative, panentheist, gender-bending was wonderfully profound. In truth, it is self-evident gibberish and heretical gibberish at that. Yet, there were at least two women who “could feel the Spirit.”

I arrived at my own General Assembly sobered. What, I asked myself, is keeping our thoroughly orthodox denomination from voting to affirm same-sex marriage, ordain practicing homosexuals, and rewrite or reject the doctrine of the Trinity? (Live issues at the PCUSA and TEC meetings)? What will keep us on the straight and narrow? The PCA’s Westminster Confession is already an edited version of the original. What was keeping us from doing more editing? (Good news: They removed all the anti-Catholic “whore of Babylon” references that were in the 1646 Puritan original.)

I could only come up with one answer: the good will of a converted clergy. And while that is a truly marvelous thing — something for which we should praise God — it also struck me as a very slender reed on which to hang the future. Given the right provocation, the PCA could, claiming the guidance of the Holy Spirit, make radical changes in Christian doctrine to accommodate the spirit of the age just as surely as the PCUSA and the Episcopalians have.

How long, I began wondering, can the PCA, any other Protestant group, or for that matter Protestantism in general maintain orthodoxy in a post-modern world? Protestantism began with a strong nominalist streak (cf. Louis Bouyer, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism), and what is post-modernism if not nominalism on steroids? The seeds of its destruction were inherent in the Protestant system from the beginning as historian Brad Gregory argues in his book The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.

Every individual Protestant and every Protestant denomination — really just a collection of (more or less) like-minded individuals — claims the authority to interpret the Bible and define doctrine. But the buck has to stop somewhere. In the final analysis, the buck either stops with me and the like-minded group I have chosen to join (and can choose to leave) — a very scary prospect — or it stops with a Church that actually has the authority to decide, an authority given to her by God.

This was the crucial issue, settled finally as I read in Blessed John Henry Newman’s argument by inference in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua. In light of the evil brought by original sin, he wrote, the Catholic Church’s infallibility is “a provision, adapted by the mercy of the Creator, to preserve religion in the world, and to restrain freedom of thought, which of course in itself is one of the greatest of our natural gifts, and to rescue it from its own suicidal tendencies” (p. 220).

It is those suicidal tendencies of freedom of thought that are killing the Protestant Mainline and infecting Evangelicalism. This is Protestantism’s Achilles heel and without the authority of the Catholic Church, the dissolution will continue. Given that state of affairs in Protestantism, it is wise, as Newman knew, to opt out of “private judgment” into the security of the Catholic Church.