Monthly Archives: March 2012

Another death thanks to ME.

I am still reading Osler’s Web which I highly recommend. It is a massive, well researched tome that should have changed the way medics behave towards people who are desperately ill. It hasn’t and it also hasn’t forced more research.

And so while those who could do something don’t and while ignorance leads to maliciousness yet another young person dies thanks to ME.

And my GP – who is one of the good’uns- wonders why I am so firmly resistant to a dx of ME.

May God recieve her and may she rest in peace and may He pour out His comfort on those who mourn.

Friday Freebie; St Peter Witness to the Resurrection lesson pack

Kalei has posted up my latest lesson pack for Easter. St Peter, Witness to the Resurrection. You will need a Bible to work with on this one.

I have a free bible software that I use, but apparently the owner doesn’t like being linked to. Not sure why. Anyway what I would really love to have is a free Catholic Bible software. Although by searching about I’ve found some good Catholic add-ons for the software I have, it’s been a mighty faff to load ‘em.

If anyone knows of a good, easy to use, well laid out software that’s free or very cheap let me know (Logos is out of my league I’m afraid).

Anyway get yourselves a good translation and have a go at the lesson pack. I’ve included journal/note/prayer sheets for most pages and some lapbook mini’s. I hope it will be a good family one suitable for a mixed age group.

Kalei has written about what the Stations have taught her and offers a lovely copysheet too. Check out her other resources to get ready for Easter.

I AM lunatic liar or God?

Jesus really, really annoys the priests and Pharisees (a lot of them) by saying “Before Abraham was I AM.” Despite Roman Law insisting that the Jews could not execute anyone themselves, they had, mob like, picked up rocks to stone Jesus to death He walked away and somehow escaped this, but why were his enemies so angry and why were they accusing Him of blasphemy?

So many people still talk about Jesus as a nice rabbi who was so humble He wouldn’t dream of saying anything as arrogant as  claiming to be God. The big problem with this theory is Jesus did go around claiming to be God, and that’s why the Temple authorities wanted to stone Him.

It is mainly in John’s Gospel that we find the “I AM” statements of Jesus. These statements are using the Holy Name of God “I AM WHO AM”. (YHWH). Jesus is claiming that Holy Name. He was up front with the Temple authorities so that they can choose whose side they want to be on. He has already warned them strongly that as He has shown them who He is and has preached the truth, that if they reject Him now they will “die in your sins”. This is another one of those terrifying moments when Jesus says things about hell and death. The idea that He was some nice sugary sentimental guy is absurd.

By the time Jesus is standing before the High Priest being tried at night (which was illegal under Jewish law) there was hardly a way the High Priest could pretend he didn’t know who Jesus was.

Just taking John’s Gospel alone we find that Jesus made the “I AM” statement seven times (one of those important Jewish numbers) so He was trying to be as clear as possible. Surely it was for this reason He was saying, “You will die in your sin.” I really can’t think of anything more horrifying to hear from the mouth of Jesus, even if He was using rabbinic hyperbole. (Other than saying of Judas that it would have been better for him never to have been born).

C S Lewis was right. Jesus wasn’t just a nice man, he was either a liar, claiming to be God, or her thought he was God and was mad, or He is God and proved it and  is therefore worthy of our worship and complete love.

We just have to choose.

Videos to remind us what Charlotte Mason was on about.

It’s easy in the hustle and bustle of home education to loose sight of the foundational philosophy of our family and the method that I believe best helps my children learn.

These videos from  International are a wonderful reminder tool for people like me. There are 18 short videos that cover all the basics - actually I think it’s more like 21 – about how children learn and how we as parents and teachers can help them do that.

They have a school by the looks of it that breathes the atmosphere of education as Charlotte Mason would have it.

Even though we are heading more down the workbook route, I think there is a Charlotte Mason edge to the Seton material. But these videos remind me of the side of a good education that isn’t about books, or workbooks, but about learning self discipline, kindness and how to learn.

Wed before Holy Week; Lazarus is so ill he will die.

A runner finds Jesus preaching and healing the sick. The apostles are all with Him as He is making His way to Jerusalem for Passover, although they have not realised He was on His way to Jerusalem. He is not far from Bethany, just south  of Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives.

The runner tells Jesus to come quickly to Bethany, to the house of His dear friend Lazarus as he is so ill he looks close to death.

Jesus simply doesn’t rush. He doesn’t jump up and go and see Lazarus, neither does He do as He did for the centurion’s servant and “say the word”. By the time they are heading for Bethany, He has to bluntly tell the apostles that Lazarus is dead.

In the end we know that Jesus is going to raise Lazarus before many witnesses just before He enters Jerusalem to face His Passion.

It is the only time in Christ’s public ministry where He (at first) appears not to answer a prayer – but instead seems to say no, or not answer at all. In the end there is something amazing, that no one could have expected. Perhaps we need to remember that when our prayers don’t seem to be answered.

Today the British Parliament sneak in a Bill for “suicide” for sick and disabled people. I am reading Edith Stein and Companions

In a move that only be described as sneaky and dishonest, there is a Bill being pushed into vote in Parliament today as most MPs leave early for the Easter break. Hoping that the lack of MPs will get the vote through (this can hardly be called democracy), this already failed bill on what is being called “Assisted Suicide” is pushed and pushed. Disabled and sick and elderly people, we are told, don’t want to live. They want the “right to die” (which doesn’t exist) and the “right to die with dignity”(which does). The bill doesn’t push for excellent end of life and palliative care. It doesn’t demand that nurses and medics are fully trained in pain management. There is nothing about expanding the hospice movement or even helping the movement out financially. No, this bill is merely the first giant step to an obligation for sick and expensive disabled people to die.

Edith Stein and her amazing and little known companions all died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz near the Polish border. The gas system was designed originally for the killing of disabled, sick and vulnerable people. It had proved difficult and expensive to shoot so many people. Some soldiers had been a little distressed. People deemed not USEFUL and therefore life unworthy of life were killed. Thousands upon thousands of disabled babies, children and adults were killed for not being useful; for being unworthy. (I can’t help thinking that the reason it has become taboo to mention Hitler or the wholesale slaughter of the innocent he and his cronies implemented is because we want to do the same thing without being noticed. The parallels are stark- no wonder we aren’t to mention them).

In Oregon USA reports are being made that insurance companies are refusing to pay for treatment for seriously ill patients but offering them the cheaper package of assisted suicide instead. In the Netherlands where St Edith Stein and many of her fellow Catholic Jews lived, they now kill sick children without parental consent. Worse still they also kill sick children with parental consent.

In three weeks it is Divine Mercy Sunday. Let us pray.

From this morning’s Divine Office Intro Prayers: (Ps 11(12))

Help, Oh Lord for good men have vanished; truth has gone from the sons of men.

Falsehood they speak one to another, with lying lips, and false heart. May the Lord destroy all lying lips, the tongue that speaks high-sounding words, Those who say “Our tongue is our strength; our lips are our own, who is our master?”

‘For the poor who are oppressed and the needy who groan, I Myself will arise,’ says the Lord, ‘I will grant them the salvation for which they thirst…

It is you O Lord who will take us unto your care and protect us for ever from this generation…

 

Annuciation; questions about Mary.

It’s forty weeks to Christmas!

This is the feast of the Annunciation when the Archangel Gabriel came to the virgin Mary and told her that she would have the Son of God. He called her “full of Grace,” and she gave her “Fiat”, that is, her consent to whatever God wanted of her.

The first question that often gets asked at this point is ‘how come she gets away with asking how this will be, when poor old Zachariah is struck dumb for 40 weeks (or 41 if you add the 8 days after John’s birth). God isn’t fair is he?’

The answer is that Zachariah, standing in the Holy of Holies before an angel of the Lord says he doesn’t believe it can happen. His wife is beyond child-bearing age. His lack of faith is punished with dumbness and he therefore cannot give the blessing to the people that the High Priest was supposed to give. That must have caused some consternation at the time.

Mary however is asking how she is going to get pregnant. Now this looks like a really silly question when you consider she is betrothed (more than engaged but less than married) to Joseph. The general tradition is that she had made an oath to God to remain His handmaid and therefore a virgin all her life. She wondered if she was somehow to be released from the vow, or if there was some other way she could become pregnant with the Messiah.

Gabriel then explains what will happen- which of course keeps her vow in tact.  It is this that helps St. Augustine and other father’s to see that she had made such a vow. It was very fitting that this should be so. She is now called to be the Mother of God Incarnate and she accepts the call.

OK, you might say, but what about the “brethren of the Lord”?

Of course there is nothing at all in either Scripture or tradition that suggests that Mary had other children than Jesus. There is a tradition based from the Evangelium of James that St. Joseph had children from a first marriage, but even that has not taken off a tradition throughout the Church.

The brothers of the Lord we see are the sons of Mary and Cleopas and of Mary Salome and Zebedee. There is a traditional family tree that shows how Mary Salome and Mary of Cleopas were related to Mary the Blessed Mother and therefore all their children were “brethren”. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ and others who know both Aramaic and Hebrew point out, there is not set of words for extended family and so even today people will speak of uncles and cousins as brothers and sisters.  (I actually think this is a rather lovely aspect of these languages).

It hasn’t been easy to extrapolate who the father’s of all the James mentioned in Scripture might be. the biggest question has been over whether Mary of Cleopas was married to Alpheus before Cleopas or where Alpheus is simply another name Cleopas held (Much as St. Matthew was also called Levi). There has never been a tradition that Mary had other children. But could she have?

Mary has a special role in Scripture. She is called to be the Christ bearer, the Theotokos in Greek. As Christ is the second Adam so she is the second Eve, born without the loss of Grace – original sin – incured by the sin of Adam and Eve. Mary does have free will, just as all have from the time of Adam. She remains true to God though, freely choosing not to sin as she freely chose to give her Fiat to the angel.

In carrying the Christ child she is the second Ark of the Covenant. Only she is more holy than the first Ark. She carries the God Incarnate inside her whereas the Ark of the old Covenant carried manna, the tablets of the Law and Aaron’s staff (symbol of his priesthood). All these are precursors, types and symbols of what Mary and Jesus really are.

The Ark of the Covenant is the holiest object known in Israel. It was so holy that no one but the High Priest could touch it, and we all remember the story of two men who touched the Ark and immediately dropped dead.  No one could touch what was consecrated so completely to God.

So Mary could not have had other children as there is no way Joseph would have dared have children with the woman who was the Mother of God, Ark of the Covemant. She had received her child from God, by being covered with the Holy Spirit. She belonged completely to God then.  Her womb had been the place for the Incarnation and was therefore sacred so it would not be fitting for another child to dwell there.

The question over Our Lady’s perpetual virginity began around the 4th century and was answered by St. Jerome.

I think the root of the constant questioning of her perpetual virginity these days is based not only in a profound lack of Scriptural knowledge but in a loss of the understanding of the sacred – what is holy and set aside. Worse still I think the constant harping about her virginity is based in a bizarre view that sex is the be all and end all of life.  And a subtle, but nevertheless very present, undermining of the belief in the Incarnation itself.