Who’s your daddy? St. Ignatius of Antioch

This is the first entry in what I hope to be a regular series of posts about the Early Church Fathers.

It is a good thing to study the Early Fathers because by reading their writings we can get a better picture of what the Church looked like during those early centuries, both during the years of persecution and the years of peace.

The Church Fathers speak to us of the Faith they learned from the Apostles and from their immediate successors.  If we would sit and listen, their words can still instruct and inspire us today, just as they did for Christians under their care in their own time.

I would like to begin this series of entries with my favourite Early Church Father, the inspirational martyr and gifted writer, St. Ignatius of Antioch.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

– James 1:12

My posts on the Fathers will not normally be this long, but reading St. Ignatius for the first time had some a profound effect on me I want to try and do him justice.  Read to the end, it’ll be worth it, I promise.

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Sunday Lectionary: Teach Us To Pray

Today I’m going to cheat a bit.

Shocking, I know…

I’m in the middle of writing several other blog entries at the moment, so rather than spending time writing a brand-new entry for this Sunday’s Gospel, I’m going to recycle something I wrote a few years ago.

The Gospel in this Sunday’s Lectionary continues on from last week in Luke’s Gospel:

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,one of his disciples said to him,”Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:Father, hallowed be your name,your kingdom come.Give us each day our daily breadand forgive us our sinsfor we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friendto whom he goes at midnight and says,’Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journeyand I have nothing to offer him,’and he says in reply from within,’Do not bother me; the door has already been lockedand my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’I tell you,if he does not get up to give the visitor the loavesbecause of their friendship,he will get up to give him whatever he needsbecause of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;seek and you will find;knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives;and the one who seeks, finds;and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

What father among you would hand his son a snakewhen he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked,know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more will the Father in heavengive the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” – Luke 11:1-13

Below is a reflection I gave on this same passage at a “Cheltenham In Prayer” service back in 2004…

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Catholicism’s Best Kept Secret: Fathers Know Best

FeaturedFathers

father-knows-bestI would now like to share with you what I regard as one of the best kept secrets in Catholicism, a group of men called the “Early Church Fathers”.

I myself only discovered the Fathers about ten months ago. Despite going to Mass each week of my entire life (that’s approximately 1,534 sermons), going to Catholic school for six years, and taking part in adult formation throughout my twenties, I can never remember any of these men being discussed or even mentioned with the exception of St. Augustine and, even then, he was only mentioned in passing.

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Top Ten, All Time, Catholic Pick-Up Lines

I’m currently in the middle of writing an introductory post about the “Early Church Fathers” and I came across a wonderful quotation from one of my favourite Fathers, the great preacher, St. John Chrysostom:

“An intelligent, discreet, and pious young woman is worth more than all the money in the world.  Tell her that you love her more than your own life, because this present life is nothing, and that your only hope is that the two of you pass through this life in such a way that, in the world to come, you will be united in perfect love”St. John Chyrsostom

Wonderful stuff!  But how exactly does one find this woman?! Unfortunately, this amazing preacher and Father of the Church does not tell us!  Do not fear!  I have stepped into the breach and have compiled my definitive list of the “Top Ten, All Time, Catholic Pick-Up Lines”!

Please feel to add your own suggestions in the comments 😀

Part 1 | Part 2

Sunday Lectionary: Welcoming the Lord

The readings in this Sunday’s Lectionary speak to us of hospitality.

In the First Reading we hear recounted Abraham’s reception of the three strangers to whom he offers his choicest food.  In the Gospel we hear another story about the hospitality offered to Jesus in the house of Martha and Mary, the two sisters whose brother, Lazarus, Jesus had raised from the dead (John 11).

The Gospel this week is as follows:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:-28-42

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Biblical Mary: The Ark of the New Covenant

The other day I wrote about the trials of trying to be an “Ecumenical Apologist“, so today I would like to write a post about something rather controversial, or rather someone rather controversial – Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Mary is something of a source of contention between Catholics and non-Catholics.  At best, Catholics are told that the attention they give to Mary draws glory away from God.  At worst, Catholics are charged with unbiblical doctrine, necromancy and idolatry.

In this post I will not attempt to try and convince any non-Catholics of the veracity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, her Assumption or any of the other particularly Catholic Marian doctrines. I would simply like to show you a scriptural perspective on Mary of which you may be unaware. My aim is that after reading this post you would be awed at the cohesiveness of God’s master plan and declare that Mary truly is “blessed” (Lk 1:48-49)

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The Ecumenical Apologist

As I wrote in my very first post, recently I have been called upon more and more to defend my faith – Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

The continued questioning by others about my faith was actually one of the main reasons I started this blog in the first place.  Sometimes, in an attempt to provide someone with a satisfactory explanation, I had to do quite a bit of research.  A blog will now allow me to share the fruits of my hard work with more than just that one person!  Also, as time has progressed I’ve noticed that much of the discussion has been around similar issues so I intend to use this blog to publish my explanations to some of the more commonly-asked questions and invite feedback.

However, before I can start addressing some of these issues, I feel the need to write about a tension that I find within myself, the tension that comes from being an “Ecumenical Apologist”

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