Volume 1 No. 32 September 29, 2011 If the Journal is not displayed properly, please click on the link below (or copy and paste) to read from web
Table of Contents
Bible Readings for This Sunday (Oct 2)
Sermons for This Sunday (Oct 2)
We are pleased to inform all our readers that, with the grace of
God, Malankara World is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. The
website, in the last census, has more than 7,500 pages out of which about 3,000 articles are indexed
This week, we introduce another feature: An Infocenter on Trinity. This will complement our infocenters for St. Mary, Great Lent, Holy Spirit, etc. unveiled earlier. We will be adding more material to these sections so that, with time, it will grow to be important reference sources for our readers. The New Trinity Infocenter can be accessed here.
In this issue of MW Journal, Dr. Jack Graham writes about what we Christians should be doing in a world of crisis. Are we reflecting the light of Jesus or are we sitting on the sidelines to be politically correct?
Priest David Moser, in his article, tries to unravel some of the mysteries of Holy Trinity. Our liturgy, sacraments and worship are designed around the Holy Trinity. Our lives are transformed by the Holy Trinity. "In the Holy Church, our true nature as a corporate body, a single entity made up of many persons, is made manifest. When we gather together to worship in the public services of the Church, we express this godlike nature. In this we can begin to see the importance of participating in the services of the Church." We also have an absolutely beautiful prayer by Saint Catherine of Siena to meditate on the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
Lesson 6 from the book, 'With Christ
in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray included in this week's
Journal is titled, 'How Much More'
Or 'The Infinite Fatherliness of God'. It shows the importance of
developing a relationship with God through prayer and being
'childlike' in His presence and surrender fully to His will. In a
companion article, 'Answers for Unanswered Prayer' Gary E. Yates
explains what happens when we pray and it appears that God is not
answering our prayers. Using the example of how God used Moses to
liberate Israelites from the clutches of Egypt, Yates says that
sometimes God is working on our prayers even before we pray!
We congratulate the dedicated members of our church who are leading the efforts to make the dream of our Holy Father to provide much needed medical services to those in need a reality by opening a new chapter of St. Ephrem Universal Syriac Orthodox Medical Mission in UK this weekend. Let us all pray for the success of this worthwhile venture.
This Sunday in Church (Oct 2)
Third Sunday after the Feast of Holy Cross
Before Holy Qurbana
This week's Gospel reading is from St. Mark 2:23-28. It is one of the encounters with Pharisees. We had one last week when Jesus warned the disciples to look out for the false yeast of the Pharisees. This time, the Pharisees find fault with the disciples for plucking and eating grain on Sabbath and breaking the rule regarding Sabbath.
Several issues arise from this encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees:
1. Was Jesus telling them to ignore Sabbath and it does not apply anymore by declaring that he is the "Lord of the Sabbath?" Jesus himself said that he is here not to break any Mosaic laws but to fulfill them. So, what is the discrepancy?
2. Did St. Mark make a mistake in referring the encounter of King David and his men described in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 when he referred the chief priest's name as Abiathar when, in fact, the chief priest at that time was Alimelech (1 Sam. 21:6)? Or can there be a simple explanation?
These are some of the issues you will find answers to when you read today's sermons and bible commentaries/analyses in Malankara World:
This Week's Features
|Inspiration for Today: How to Change a World in Chaos|
by Dr. Jack Graham
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be
Our way of life is under unbelievable attack today. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the Western world is becoming increasingly secular and humanistic. And as we watch the news and see so much turmoil and unrest in the streets of some of the largest cities around the globe, we see firsthand the cold hard truth that life apart from God will always devolve into chaos.
Too many Christians today are playing it safe. They're standing in the shadows and keeping their mouths shut rather than courageously standing for Christ. And of all times, of all places, of all people, now is the time for men and women of faith to stand boldly.
I truly believe that our world today is not beyond hope. But, as a believer in Christ, you must firmly declare that any real hope is only found in Jesus Christ. You must get past the world's way of thinking that to claim truth is 'narrow-minded' or 'intolerant.'
If you had a magic pill that could cure any disease, would you bury it in your backyard? Jesus is the only answer for the world's ills. So stand firmly for Jesus and allow His light to shine through you and give hope to a world searching for hope!
WHILE THE WORLD SPINS IN CHAOS, REMEMBER THAT THE ONLY HOPE IS JESUS AND ALLOW HIS LIGHT TO SHINE THROUGH YOU!
by Priest David Moser
The Holy Trinity is one of the great mysteries of the Orthodox Faith. With our finite and limited minds, we are unable to comprehend the Holy Trinity at all, and yet with our hearts, we can believe in the truth of the this mystery. We confess our belief each time we say the Creed , "I believe in One God, the Father almighty,...and in one Lord Jesus Christ...and in the Holy Spirit..." And so, even though it is incomprehensible, the mystery of the Holy Trinity is intertwined throughout the most basic confession of our faith.
The worship of the Trinity is the key element of the Orthodox Faith. If you were to ask a group of people, "What is the essence of true religious belief?" you would get a number of different answers, depending on who you asked. If you were to narrow your questioning down to only those who confessed Christianity, it is most likely that you would get an answer which expressed in some way "to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ". But if you were to ask an Orthodox Christian who was familiar with the services of the Church, "What is the true faith?" he could immediately answer with the words of the Church. At the end of the Divine Liturgy when we sing "We have found the true faith..." we describe what this "true faith" is "...worshipping the undivided Trinity." Orthodox Christians have known even from the very beginning that in order to truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary to believe in the Holy Trinity and that in order to worship God "in spirit and in truth," we must worship the Holy Trinity.
What is it that makes this mystery of the Holy Trinity so vital to our Christian belief? In order to answer this question, we must first understand a little about the Holy Trinity. The mystery of the Trinity is that there is One God in three Persons and that each of these Persons is distinct and separate from the others while at the same time all three Persons are indivisibly united. How can something be three separate and distinct things and yet at the same time be only one? This is the mystery of the Trinity.
But the nature of the Trinity is not just an abstract idea, a belief that has no impact on us as Orthodox Christians. St Athanasius said about the incarnation, "God became man so that man might become god." And indeed this is true - when we "put on Christ" at Holy Baptism and as we begin to work out our salvation, we become like God, that is we take on His nature. We give up our own fallen human nature, and in exchange we receive the nature of the God-man Jesus Christ. In order to be saved we must exhibit the mystery of the Holy Trinity in our own lives.
How is such a thing possible? How can we, who are created beings, who are limited, mortal and finite, become like the Holy Trinity - three persons in one essence? Again the Holy Fathers teach us what we must know. We know that there is no salvation outside the Church. In order to be transformed and enter into the life of Christ, we must do so within His Church. The Church is the ark of salvation and we are all gathered into that ark. But there is more to this than just membership in an earthly organization. The Church is much more than that. The Church is the union of all Orthodox Christians into the one mystical Body of Christ. It is in the Church that our true nature as Christians is made manifest. We, who are many, are united into one body (and yet we remain many persons, distinct from one another). This unity of diversity that we find in the mystery of the Church is exactly the same mystery of the unity in diversity of the Holy Trinity. By being members of the Holy Church, we are transformed so that our nature becomes like that of the Holy Trinity.
In the Holy Church, our true nature as a corporate body, a single entity made up of many persons, is made manifest. When we gather together to worship in the public services of the Church, we express this godlike nature. In this we can begin to see the importance of participating in the services of the Church. These services are not just a social gathering, a ritual that we share with those of like mind and belief. The services of the Church are the necessary expression of our godlike nature. By participating in the public worship of the Church we act like God, we confess our belief in the Holy Trinity and we confess our likeness to the Holy Trinity. If we shun the services of the Church, if we do not participate, then we are in effect turning our back on Christ, turning away from the salvation that He provides, denying that we are like Him. It is in the public services of the Church that God does the work of making our nature to be like His. It is only in the Church and in her public and corporate worship that we become like the Holy Trinity.
|Prayer: The Trinity as Mystery|
by Saint Catherine of Siena
A magnificent prayer to the Trinity that we can pray every day.
Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.
I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.
Source: “On Divine Providence” by Saint Catherine of Siena (Cap 167, Gratiarum actio ad Trinitatem)
The concept of Trinity is difficult to grasp as it is a mystery. But it is central to our Christian faith. Malankara World has an Infocenter on Trinity that will take you from Trinity 101 to more advanced concepts. Read about classical and contemporary articles, read sermons on Trinity, meditations, prayers, hymns (including a St. Ephrem classic). Once you progress more, you can start tackling more difficult theological concepts such as Filioque where we differ from Roman Catholic Church. Trinity Infocenter in Malankara World
Lesson 6: How Much More Or The Infinite Fatherliness of God
|[Editor's Note: Here is this week's lesson from the book, 'With Christ in the School of Prayer' by Andrew Murray. This book is a very important reference book on intercessional prayer, something Orthodox Church believes in greatly. Murray skillfully describes the role of the Holy Spirit within the church and exhorts Christians to use the blessings God has given us. This book is a guide to living a life as a temple of the Holy Spirit. If you have missed the earlier lessons, please read them in Malankara World.]|
...the Lord asks us to look up from earthly parents, of whom the best are but evil, and to calculate How Much More the heavenly Father will give good gifts to them that ask Him.
In these words our Lord proceeds further to confirm what He had said of the certainty of an answer to prayer. To remove all doubt, and show us on what sure ground His promise rests, He appeals to what every one has seen and experienced here on earth. We are all children, and know what we expected of our fathers. We are fathers, or continually see them; and everywhere we look upon it as the most natural thing there can be, for a father to hear his child. And the Lord asks us to look up from earthly parents, of whom the best are but evil, and to calculate How Much More the heavenly Father will give good gifts to them that ask Him.
The prayer can exert that influence only when the child is really living in that relationship...
Jesus would lead us up to see, that as much greater as God is than sinful man, so much greater our assurance ought to be that He will more surely than any earthly father grant our childlike petitions. As much greater as God is than man, so much surer is it that prayer will be heard with the Father in heaven than with a father on earth.
As simple and intelligible as this parable is, so deep and spiritual is the teaching it contains. The Lord would remind us that the prayer of a child owes its influence entirely to the relation in which he stands to the parent. The prayer can exert that influence only when the child is really living in that relationship, in the home, in the love, in the service of the Father.
...Live as a child of God, then you will be able to pray as a child, and as a child you will most assuredly be heard.
The power of the promise, Ask, and it shall be given you, lies in the loving relationship between us as children and the Father in heaven; when we live and walk in that relationship, the prayer of faith and its answer will be the natural result. And so the lesson we have today in the school of prayer is this: Live as a child of God, then you will be able to pray as a child, and as a child you will most assuredly be heard.
And what is the true child-life? The answer can be found in any home. The child that by preference forsakes the fathers house, that finds no pleasure in the presence and love and obedience of the father, and still thinks to ask and obtain what he will, will surely be disappointed. On the contrary, he to whom the intercourse and will and honour and love of the father are the joy of his life, will find that it is the fathers joy to grant his requests. Scripture says, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God: the childlike privilege of asking all is inseparable from the childlike life under the leading of the Spirit. He that gives himself to be led by the Spirit in his life, will be led by Him in his prayers too. And he will find that Fatherlike giving is the Divine response to childlike living.
...those whose fasting and praying and almsgiving is not before men, but before your Father which seeth in secret...
To see what this childlike living is, in which childlike asking and believing have their ground, we have only to notice what our Lord teaches in the Sermon on the Mount of the Father and His children. In it the prayer-promises are imbedded in the life-precepts; the two are inseparable. They form one whole; and He alone can count on the fulfillment of the promise, who accepts too, all that the Lord has connected with it.
It is as if in speaking the word, Ask, and ye shall receive, He says: I give these promises to those whom in the beatitudes I have pictured in their childlike poverty and purity, and of whom I have said, They shall be called the children of God. To children, who let your light shine before men, so that they may glorify your Father in heaven, To those who walk in love, that ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven, and who seek to be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. To those whose fasting and praying and almsgiving is not before men, but before your Father which seeth in secret who forgive even as your Father forgiveth you.
...the childlike and whole-hearted surrender to live as a child with Him in obedience and truth.
Who trust the heavenly Father in all earthly need, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Who not only say, Lord, Lord, but do the will of my Father which is in heaven. Such are the children of the Father, and such is the life in the Fathers love and service; in such a child-life answered prayers are certain and abundant.
But will not such teaching discourage the feeble one? If we are first to answer to this portrait of a child, must not many give up all hope of answers to prayer? The difficulty is removed if we think again of the blessed name of father and child. A child is weak; there is a great difference among children in age and gift. The Lord does not demand of us a perfect fulfillment of the law; no, but only the childlike and whole-hearted surrender to live as a child with Him in obedience and truth. Nothing more. But also, nothing less.
...the secret of effectual prayer is: to have the heart filled with the Father-love of God.
The Father must have the whole heart. When this is given, and He sees the child with honest purpose and steady will seeking in everything to be and live as a child, then our prayer will count with Him as the prayer of a child. Let any one simply and honestly begin to study the Sermon on the Mount and take it as his guide in life, and he will find, notwithstanding weakness and failure, an ever-growing liberty to claim the fulfillment of its promises in regard to prayer. In the names of father and child he has the pledge that his petitions will be granted.
This is the one chief thought on which Jesus dwells here, and which He would have all His scholars take in. He would have us see that the secret of effectual prayer is: to have the heart filled with the Father-love of God. It is not enough for us to know that God is a Father: He would have us take time to come under the full impression of what that name implies.
...how impossible it is for us to apprehend Gods readiness to hear us...
We must take the best earthly father we know; we must think of the tenderness and love with which he regards the request of his child, the love and joy with which he grants every reasonable desire; we must then, as we think in adoring worship of the infinite Love and Fatherliness of God, consider with how much more tenderness and joy He sees us come to Him, and gives us what we ask aright. And then, when we see how much this Divine arithmetic is beyond our comprehension, and feel how impossible it is for us to apprehend Gods readiness to hear us, then He would have us come and open our heart for the Holy Spirit to shed abroad Gods Father-love there.
Let us do this not only when we want to pray, but let us yield heart and life to dwell in that love. The child who only wants to know the love of the father when he has something to ask, will be disappointed. But he who lets God be Father always and in everything, who would fain live his whole life in the Fathers presence and love, who allows God in all the greatness of His love to be a Father to him, oh! he will experience most gloriously that a life in Gods infinite Fatherliness and continual answers to prayer are inseparable.
How much more shall your heavenly Father...
Beloved fellow-disciple! we begin to see what the reason is that we know so little of daily answers to prayer, and what the chief lesson is which the Lord has for us in His school. It is all in the name of the Father. We thought of new and deeper insight into some of the mysteries of the prayer-world as what we should get in Christ's school; He tells us the first is the highest lesson; we must learn to say well, Abba, Father! Our Father which art in heaven. He that can say this, has the key to all prayer.
In all the compassion with which a father listens to his weak or sickly child, in all the joy with which he hears his stammering child, in all the gentle patience with which he bears with a thoughtless child, we must, as in so many mirrors, study the heart of our Father, until every prayer be borne upward on the faith of this Divine word: How much more shall your heavenly Father give good gifts to them that ask Him.
LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY:
...it is only our un-childlike distance from the Father that hinders the answer to prayer...
Blessed Lord! Thou knowest that this, though it be one of the first and simplest and most glorious lessons in Thy school, is to our hearts one of the hardest to learn: we know so little of the love of the Father. Lord! Teach us so to live with the Father that His love may be to us nearer, clearer, dearer, than the love of any earthly father. And let the assurance of His hearing our prayer be as much greater than the confidence in an earthly parent, as the heavens are higher than earth, as God is infinitely greater than man. Lord! show us that it is only our un-childlike distance from the Father that hinders the answer to prayer, and lead us on to the true life of Gods children. Lord Jesus! it is father-like love that wakens childlike trust. O reveal to us the Father, and His tender, pitying love, that we may become childlike, and experience how in the child-life lies the power of prayer.
Blessed Son of God! the Father loveth Thee and hath given Thee all things. And Thou lovest the Father, and hast done all things He commanded Thee, and therefore hast the power to ask all things. Lord! give us Thine own Spirit, the Spirit of the Son. Make us childlike, as Thou wert on earth. And let every prayer be breathed in the faith that as the heaven is higher than the earth, so God's Father-love, and His readiness to give us what we ask, surpasses all we can think or conceive. Amen.
by Gary E. Yates
Chaplain Max Helton prayed beside the car of Dale Earnhardt prior to the start of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt told Helton, "Just pray that I'll be wise in putting the car at the right place at the right time . . . and be able to drive with wisdom." Holding hands, they prayed for wisdom and safety. In that very race, Earnhardt lost his life in a final lap crash.
We have all had the experience of unanswered prayer. We pray for God's healing for a loved one. We pray for God to bring revival and renewal to our churches. We pray for the suicide bombings to end and for our troops to come home. Why does nothing seem to change when God has promised us, "Ask and you will receive"? Is Jesus being totally truthful when he tells us, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it"?
We will never have all the answers to unanswered prayer, but the story of the exodus in the Old Testament provides us with some important perspectives when we are struggling with the silence of heaven. In Exodus 2:23, Israel cries out for God to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt. The people waited for twelve long chapters, a wait that must have seemed like forever, before God completely answered their prayers. What we learn from their waiting will help us the next time we are struggling with unanswered prayer or God's answer is not what we have asked for or expected.
I. We need to remember that God is answering our prayers even before we pray them.
Before the people ever pray for deliverance, God has already begun the process of providing a deliverer. A baby at the beginning of chapter two is the unknown answer to the prayer at the end of chapter two. Even when Moses goes from being a prince in Egypt to a fugitive in Midian, there is a reminder that God has a special purpose for Moses's life. In Midian, Moses drives away a bunch of bullies who are harassing the daughters of Jethro and he waters their sheep. It foreshadows precisely what Moses is going to do for Israel — he's going to confront the biggest bully of all and then spend 40 years of his life taking care of God's sheep.
When you're waiting for an answer to prayer it helps to remember that God already has the answer worked out before we are even aware enough to know our need or articulate the words of our prayers. God knows the beginning, middle, and end of every circumstance and situation. Jesus reminds us that "your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Israel needed a deliverer and the Lord knew about it before Israel even asked.
II. We need to remember God's care and concern even when our prayers are not being answered.
God's complete answer to Israel's prayer in 2:23 doesn't come for twelve long chapters, but notice what follows immediately in verse 24 — a reminder of God's concern for his people. As soon as Israel "groans" and "cries," God "hears." God is immediately touched by the cry of his people.
The name of "Yahweh" is prominent in the book of Exodus. When Moses asks for God's name at the burning bush, God answers that his name is "I AM" (the first-person form of Yahweh) (3:14). What does that name mean? Why does the disclosure of the personal name of the God of the universe sound like the old Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on first?" This name "I am" could mean self-existence; it could mean eternality, but those ideas are really too abstract for what is conveyed in this story. Yahweh is God's covenant name, and it means that He is the ever-present helper who is there for his people. It means that God hears the cry of His people as soon as the cry goes up.
You don't have to use a magic formula to get God's attention. You don't have to build up enough faith to earn his answer. You don't have to weary God into giving in. God is concerned at the very moment we come to him with our needs and requests because we belong to him.
St. Ephrem Universal Syriac Orthodox Medical Mission (SEUSOMM) will be opening a chapter at Bristol, England on October 2, 2011. HH Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and the Universal Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church approved the chapter in a Patriarch bull (No: E262/11 dated Sept 14, 2011).
The medical mission is the official social ministry of the Holy Church. It has the following objectives:1. Provide financial, social, and medical assistance to the members of our church who are displaced by war, famine and other calamities in different parts of the world, including immediate attention to those who are in Iraq and those who are left for neighboring countries. 2. Establish a Medical Core for immediate deployment to places of need. 3. Establish Patriarchal University including a Medical branch at least in places which are now under-served. Please contact Rev. Fr. Babu Peringol, OK, Secretary General for further information.
by Rubel Shelly
Ike Ditzenberger had watched his big brothers play football. He grew up idolizing and imitating them. Ike wanted to play football too. And he even dared to talk about his dream of playing college football. Big deal, right? It just means that he is like thousands of other teenagers who dream of being an on-field hero.
As a matter of fact, Ike is quite different from your "average" teenage boy. The 17-year-old junior at Snohomish (Washington) High School has Down Syndrome. His 5-foot-6, 160-pound frame isn't that of an athlete, and he doesn't have the motor skills to compete in a game where he could get hurt very easily.
Ike is fortunate to have a supportive family. More than that, his classmates have given Ike the one gift that matters most to so many kids who have a handicap, look different, or stand out for the wrong reasons - the gift of inclusion. Still more specifically, Snohomish's football coach lets Ike come to practices and hang with the guys he admires. Coach Mark Perry has even created a play that ends every varsity practice. Called the Ike Special, the offense hands the ball to Ike. And he gets the thrill of running it toward a soft defensive line of his friends.
On Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, the traditionally competitive Snohomish was absorbing its fourth loss of the season. A 35-0 drubbing at the hands of undefeated Lake Stevens High was mercifully about to end. With 10 seconds left on the clock, Coach Perry heard the "We want Ike!" chant from the stands, put Ike Ditzenberger into the backfield, and called the Ike Special. Wearing No. 57, Ike took the ball and began to run left. Although he appears to have stepped out of bounds, officials let the play continue - as his teammates ran interference and Lake Stevens players made reluctant efforts to get to him.
By the time the clock had expired, Ike was in the end zone. He had run for 51 yards and scored Snohomish's only touchdown of the night. He got to dance in the end zone. The play that worked every time in practice had worked that night in a real game. And Ike got to head to the sidelines to rip off his helmet, pump it in the air, and - in his mom's words - "scream like a banshee."
Grownups in the stands were crying. Lake Stevens players had given up a shutout for something far more important. Snohomish coaches and players had taken the final step in making Ike "one of the guys" with the team.
With all the scandals in sports at all levels, it's nice to come across a story that affirms what games are supposed to teach - character, sportsmanship, team spirit, and self-confidence. Ike and his big brothers can talk football like never before for the rest of their lives now. The guys on the field that wonderful night can talk forever about the biggest play in their high school careers.
If you missed it, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb_4f5nXZdA . It's a highlight play you don't want to miss.
About the Author:
Rubel Shelly is a Preacher and Professor of Religion and Philosophy located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. To learn more about Rubel please go to: www.RubelShelly.com
by George Weigel
In the fall of 1972, a group of us, philosophy majors all, approached our dean of studies with a request: Under the supervision of a faculty member, could we build a two-credit senior seminar in our last college semester around Kenneth Clark’s BBC series, 'Civilization,' which had been shown on American public television. He agreed, and we had a ball. “Civilization” was the perfect way to finish a serious undergraduate liberal arts education; it brought together ideas, art, architecture and history in a visually compelling synthesis of the history of western culture that respected Catholicism’s role in shaping the West.
Over the next four decades, I wondered whether someone, somewhere, at some point, would do a 'Civilization'-like series on Catholicism itself: a Grand Tour of the Catholic world that explored the Church as a culture through its teaching, its art, its music, its architecture—and above all, through the lives it shaped. That has now happened. The result is the most important media initiative in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
The man responsible for this feat is Father Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a faculty member at Mundelein Seminary. Father Barron’s 'Catholicism', a 10-part series premiering on public television stations around USA this fall (2011), is a master work by a master teacher. In 10 episodes that take the viewer around the Catholic world, from Chartres to the slums of Calcutta and dozens of points in-between, Father Barron lays out the Catholic proposal in a visually stunning and engaging series of presentations that invites everyone into the heart of the faith, which is friendship with Jesus Christ.
Having talked with Father Barron and his colleagues at Word on Fire, his media ministry, throughout the production of “Catholicism,” I can testify that this was a great labor of love: love for the Lord, love for the Church, and love for the truths the Church teaches. Yet there is nothing saccharine here, nothing cheesy, nothing pop-trendy. It’s Catholic Classic, not Catholic Lite, but John Cummings’ cinematography is so beautiful, Steve Mullen’s original score is so fetching (drawing on ancient chants in a thoroughly contemporary way), and Father Barron’s narration is so deft—the man has a genius for the telling example or analogy—that even the most difficult facets of Catholic belief and practice come alive in a completely accessible way.
At the center of it all is Jesus of Nazareth, posing that unavoidable and disturbing question: "Who do you say that I am?" Viewers of 'Catholicism' will get to know many of the great minds and spirits who wrestled with that question over two millennia—Peter and Paul; Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and Dante; Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross; Edith Stein and Katherine Drexel. But throughout the series, the focus keeps coming back to the Lord Jesus. 'Catholicism' is built on the firm convictions that it is his Church and that it is his truth that measures all truth. Father Barron understands that post-modern culture poses special challenges for the proclamation of the Gospel. That's why this committed believer, who is also a fine theologian, can sympathetically but forcefully invite his viewers into a thorough exploration of the Creed (an exploration deepened in the series' companion book, 'Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith' [Doubleday]).
There is no dithering about the bad news, either: Father Barron knows that the Catholic Church is a community of sinners whose infidelities have often marred the face of the Lord. At the same time, Father Barron's series displays the innumerable ways that the Catholic Church has been and remains a force for truth, decency, compassion, and sanity in an often-cruel world.
Watch it. Politely lobby your local public television station to show the series in its entirety. Spread the word.
'Catholicism' broadcasting in Denver
[Editor's Note: As of Tuesday, Sept 27, I do not see any stations in Metro New York or Ohio region carrying this show next week.]
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Does Anyone Actually Proofread Church Bulletins?
Some bulletin bloopers gathered from across America.
Source: The Sermon Fodder newsletter
Malankara World has over 5000 articles and hundreds of links to outside resources covering all aspects of Syriac Orthodoxy that are of interest to Family. In addition to articles on spirituality, faith, sacraments, sermons, devotionals, etc., Malankara World also has many general interest articles, health tips, Food and Cooking, Virtual Travel, and Family Specific articles. Please visit Malankara World by clicking here or cut and paste the link on your browser: http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/default.htm
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Tell Your Friends about Malankara World
Malankara World is different. Malankara World's focus is on our families. Our mission is to help every member of our families. Since family is a microcosm of church, it will have everything that a church focused website will have. But there will be more. We will cover issues that are important to families. What are the things that keep our members awake at night? Is that about their children? taking care of old aged parents? Relationship with their spouses? Breakdown of marriage? Health issues? Balancing work, family and spiritual life? Managing stress?
We will use a combination of technology and harnessing the resources of our people within our church to do that. What we hope to do with Malankara World is to strengthen our families. First, we want to teach them about our faith. What is different about Orthodoxy? We want to start bible and Sunday school classes for all ages through Malankara World and a series on our qurbana. Later we will have support groups for different age and interest groups.
So, please tell your friends about us.
You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your help and support.
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