Monday, May 22, 2006

Good Answers to "Dumb" Vinci Hoax

The below is from an email discussion on
the DaVinci Code. I do not know what source,
if any particular one, the individual in
the discussion was citing, but i love the
responses for their succinctness:

Da Vinci Code Myth: Jesus was just an ordinary man.
Truth: Jesus said He was the son of God and proved
it with dozens of miracles. He turned water into wine,
cured the sick, the lame, the blind and the deaf; cast
out demons; brought three people back to life; and rose
from the dead Himself. Only an "extraordinary Christ who
did extraordinary things," said historian Paul Johnson,
can explain the rise of Christianity during three centuries
of persecution under the Roman Empire.

Da Vinci Code Myth: Jesus' miracles were only "religious
designed to help "millions of people cope and
be better people."

Truth: If Jesus' dozens of spectacular miracles were only
"religious allegory," why were his disciples willing to
suffer persecution and horrible deaths for their belief
that His miracles were real and proved that He was God?
People don't shed their blood for allegorical or symbolic
expressions of divinity, but only for the real thing. And
bear in mind that even Jesus' enemies did not deny the
reality of His miracles. They could not deny what they saw
with their own eyes, e.g., the raising of Lazarus from the
dead, so they denounced Jesus for performing some of His
miracles on the Sabbath.

Da Vinci Code Myth: No one knew Jesus was the Son of God
until the
Council of Nicea in AD 325.
Truth: Jesus is described as the Son of God or as God's
Son more than 100 times in the New Testament. For example,
when the Apostle Thomas was invited by Jesus after the
Resurrection to put his fingers into Christ's
wounds, Thomas fell to his knees and said, "My Lord and
my God" (John 20:28), and Peter in his Pentecost sermon
that led 3,000 listeners to ask for Baptism, said: "Therefore
let the whole house of Israel know for certain that
God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus, whom
you crucified" (Acts 2:36). Futhermore, in AD 107,
St. Ignatius of Antioch referred to "Our God, Jesus Christ."
In AD 150, St. Justin Martyr said that Jesus was. "God, Son of
the only unbegotten, unutterable God." In AD 177,
St. Iraneus called Jesus "true man" and "true God." Not long
after that, St. Clement of Alexandria (d.215) said that Jesus
is "quite evidently true God. These statements came
long before the Council of Nicea.

Da Vinci Code Myth: The bishops at the Council of Nicea decided by
relatively close vote" that Jesus was God.
Truth: Responding to the Arian heresy that denied the divinity of
Christ,the bishops of the Council of Nicea already knew Jesus was
God and voted 218 to 2 (that's close?) to affirm that. He was
true God and equal to the

Father. They approved the Nicene Creed that is said every Sunday at
Masses around the world, that Jesus is "God from God, Light from
Light, true
God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being
with the Father."

Da Vinci Code Myth: That must be Mary Magdalene sitting next to
in Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of The Last Supper because
the person has
long hair, no beard, and feminine features.
Truth: No, that's John the Apostle sitting next to Jesus, not Mary
Magdalene. Leonardo explained in his Treatise on Painting, that he
painted people according to their age and status. Since John was
the youngest apostle and a favorite disciple of Jesus, Leonardo
painted him as youthful, long-haired and clean-shaven.

Da Vinci Code Myth: That Leonardo was part of a secret conspiracy
shown by his painting of the Mona Lisa because when you shift
the letters
around, Mona becomes the pagan god Amon and LIsa
the pagan goddess Isis.

Truth: Mona is a shortened version of Madonna, which means, "My
Lady." Lisa was the wife of an Italian businessman and Leonardo
did the painting for him and called it La Gioconda, not Mona Lisa,
which means, "My Lady Lisa."

Da Vinci Code Myth: The Roman Emperor Constantine shifted the
from Saturday to Sunday, because that was the day that
the pagans worshipped
the sun, and that's why we observe Sunday
as the Sabbath.

Truth: In AD 321, Constantine did make Sunday a day of rest in
the Roman Empire, but the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath
from Saturday to Sunday nearly 300 years before Constantine
(cf. Acts 20:7) because that was the day on which Jesus
rose from the dead.

Da Vinci Code Myth: Constantine created a "new Vatican power base"
the fourth century.
Truth: The Vatican was swampland in the fourth century and did not
become the official residence of the Pope until a thousand
years later.

Da Vinci Code Myth: Constantine assembled the Bible and burned all
those "gospels" that showed Jesus wasn't God.
Truth: The Bible was assembled by the Catholic Church about 150
years before Constantine and included only those Gospels (Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John) that were written by persons who either knew
Jesus ( Matthew and John) or those who had talked with those
who knew Jesus (Mark and Luke). That these four authors spoke
the truth is proved by their willingness to
give up their lives for what they wrote about Christ.

Da Vinci Code Myth: Some of the gospels that Constantine tried to
destroy were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947
in a cave in
the Judean desert.
Truth: There are no gospels, (none!) among the more than 800
scrolls found near the Dead Sea between 1947 and 1956.

Da Vinci Code Myth: The Dead Sea Scrolls are the "earliest Christian
records" we have.
Truth: The Dead Sea Scrolls are Jewish records, not Christian
records. They were compiled by a Jewish sect known as the
Essenes, who lived near the Dead Sea from about 200 BC to 100 AD.

Da Vinci Code Myth:
Dan Brown's book is supported by scholarly research and historical

Fact: The bulk of "historical" assertions made by Brown
are pure fiction and filled with anti-Christian and
anti-Catholic messages.

Here is a link to the Jesus Decoded Website, which has some
excellent material.

Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816.

In 1826 she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She had a great love for the Holy Trinity, and was drawn to comtemplation of this cnetral mystery of our faith.

Joachina lived a life notable for devotion to prayer and mortification. A true spiritual daughter of St. Teresa, she lived in an exemplary way the central Christian virtues of detachment, humility and charity.

She died at Vich in 1854, and was canonized in 1959.

Prayer from her Mass

Lord God,
you gave St Joachina de Vedruna to your Church
for the Christian education of youth
and the care of the sick.
May we follow her example,
and lovingly devote our lives
to serving you in our brothers and sisters.
Grant this through Christ, our Lord.

Optional Carmelite Memorial.

What little information I have found about the present day Carmelites Sisters of Charity indicates that they are very devoted to their charism of exercising the Church's preferential option for the poor. They are an active order with a very lively concern for social justice, serving in healthcare and education, among other things. Contemplatives in action!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Memorizing the Office

A Yahoo group to which I belong, IFSB (I think it stands for International Federation of Saint Bruno--Boy thats bad, when you can't remember the names of your groups! Anyhow, a group for those interested in Carthusian spirituality), has had a recent discussion of how possibly the memorization of parts of the Divine Office leads to a deeper integralization of the text, and can be an inducement to contemplation. Here is a quote from a recent posting:

"Do people here in this forum find that prayer and liturgy
learnt by heart creates a deeper internal contemplative rthymn of prayer and
if so what do you learn by heart?"

" I personally have always found this to be true, that prayer and
liturgy learnt by heart creates a deeper internal contemplative rthymn of
prayer, and I’ve been doing it since 1966 when I first entered the
Trappists. It was even more certainly true for me as a Carthusian in the
solitude of the Cell. All this has really carried me in my very active life
as a husband, father, neighbor, and clergyman with a busy social
ministry and campus ministry.

As far as a version of the Office and the Scripture is concerned, I
find it gravely difficult and disruptive to switch around translations.
Every opportunity I get to use the same standardized translations and
texts, I do. This is especially true of the Eastern Christian services
since rendering them in English is relatively new and there has been
very little universally endorsed translating of texts or authorizing of
exclusively to be used Scriptural translations. What we have is a
confusing mismash that is liturgically disruptive and uneven, and produces a
lot of unwanted gaffs and even confusion when serving/celebrating.

For the physical muscular and neurological imprinting in these
various memories of our bodies and minds to work as it worked for the Church
Fathers and the Desert Mother and Fathers, it requires a predominantly
single stable set of texts and translations. This is why the Septuagint
with the Textus-Receptus in the Greek East and the Vulgate in the Latin
West held sway for so very long as the only authorized scriptural

This imprinting allows a marvelous recall, as well as a type of
connection with everything else that has been imprinted that uses the same
words. You see this at work in some of the Latin Patristic
Commentaries, especially the monastic ones, where the use of a word in one original
text will cause the recall of all kinds of other texts with the same
word to help illuminate the meaning of the original text under

So I am a strong partisan of the position favoring stable texts and
translations. This reduces distractions from becoming flustered by the
differences in the rendering of texts and translations, which may seem
minor in scope but can produce some major disasters. It you are publicly
serving liturgically, it also helps you not to become tripped up or
confused while serving or celebrating, even if you are reading out of the
ritual book, since you are imprinted for one thing and your tripped up
by trying to read something different in place of what you are used to.
I may possibly be an old dog that can’t learn new tricks very well, but
that’s been my experience and it’s conditioned my advice, PICK WHAT

Now that particular argument for a stable translation had not really dawned on me. Imagine having such living scripture in your heart that the mere mention of a word on a passage could bring up a whole interior wealth of "crossreferences"!

My First Post

Okay. I've decided to try this again. My last blog, linked to my website, was trashed by spambots--tres discouraging. But what the hey, here we go again.