Archives for November 2007

But It’s Not Advent Yet!

At the Thanksgiving gathering, my wife, my children, my parents and I gathered with some friends, Mr. and Mrs. G., and their children, at another friend’s house. These friends are Catholic, and aware that I’ve returned to Byzantine-Ruthenian Praxis. (I took a four year hiatus to see if I could go back to being Roman. I can’t.)

Mrs. G., the matron of the other family, asked, “So, looking forward to turkey and ham tomorrow?”

“I can’t,” I replied. “Fasting.”

“But it isn’t advent or lent!” she replied.

“Phillips fast. Byzantine Advent. Started last week.”

She goggles. She’s a recent convert, having been through RCIA, and baptized, chrismated, and communed last Easter. The Roman parish we both were attending last year dunked her quite well. She was even taught about the Eastern Catholics in her RCIA program, in a vague and “you’ll never meet one” kind of way. She’s a former Lutheran, and possessed of one gift I really wish I had: easy simple faith.

Her husband, who met me during my previous decade-plus stretch as a parishioner at St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Parish, is slightly better informed. He knows where three Byzantine parishes are… two in Florida, and St. Nick’s… but he’s never set foot in one. He’s a cradle Roman Catholic, has outlived his first wife, and is from Florida. His response was milder, “Wow, you start early.”

For me, the Byzantine path has made my faith far easier, tho’ not simple. I still find I need to delve, to seek exactly where and how God wants me to go. For now, it seems, He wants me to be unabashedly Catholic, and definitely Eastern, and to teach Roman Catholics about that other lung Pope John Paul II spoke of. I am able to sing the praises of God in a manner that makes sense to all my senses. And while I’ve not experienced Roman “Liturgical Abuse” and neither has Mrs. G., for me, I can still go through the Motions as a Roman, but find myself feeling a lack. I’m jealous of Mrs. G.’s simple ease with the Roman Church, and thankful for the most successful failure in the Metropolia of Pittsburgh.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving


For those of us in the United States, today is Thanksgiving, and the landscape looks a lot like the photo above, which I took around this time a few years ago. I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. May we truly be thankful for what the Lord has given us. From the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,we thine unworthy servantsdo give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindnessto us and to all men.We bless thee for our creation, preservation,and all the blessings of this life;but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.And, we beseech thee,give us that due sense of all thy mercies,that our hearts may be unfaignedly thankful;and that we show forth thy praise,not only with our lips, but in our lives,by giving up our selves to thy service,and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days;through Jesus Christ our Lord,to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen

MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

MARIAN PRAYER OF SAINT GREGORY OF NAREK (A.D. 1010)

Assist me by the wings of your prayers,
O you who are called the Mother of the living,
so that on my exit from this valley of tears
I may be able to advance without torment
to the dwelling of life
that has been prepared for us
to lighten the end of a life burdened by my iniquity.

Healer of the sorrows of Eve,
change my day of anguish into a feast of gladness.
Be my Advocate,
ask and supplicate.
For as I believe in your inexpressible purity,
so do I also believe in
the good reception that is given to your word.

O you who are blessed among women,
help me with your tears
for I am in danger.
Bend the knee to obtain my reconciliation,
O Mother of God.

Be solicitous for me for I am miserable,
O Tabernacle of the Most High.
Hold out your hand to me as I fall,
O heavenly Temple.
Glorify your Son in you:
may he be pleased to operate Divinely in me
the miracle of forgiveness and mercy.
Handmaid and Mother of God,
may your honour be exalted by me,
and may my salvation be manifested through you.
Amen.

Pray for Veronica Gantt and Her Family

Veronica Gantt is the 16 year old girl from Las Vegas who was killed by a car this morning while staying in Columbus, Ohio for the National Catholic Youth Conference. A press release with condolences from the NCYC and the Columbus Diocese is available here. Information about the hit-and-run is found here.

May she rest in peace and her family be comforted in this very tough time.