Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book of Revelation for the Confused and Bemused

Whore of Babylon.jpg
By First upload to en.wikipedia on 5 Sep 2003 by en:User:Ihcoyc as Whorebab.jpg, Public Domain, Link
Much as I love the Easter season, there is one thing I don't mind when it ends: leaving behind the daily readings from the book of Revelation, a.k.a. the Apocalypse.

Because it's absolutely crazy. All those weird, fever dream visions, with no real way of knowing what the degree of symbolism vs. physical reality might be, and whether these are things that have already happened or are still to come in the future. (Or some of each.)

I believe it was St. Jerome (but I could be wrong--maybe another Church Father) who did not want Revelation to be included in the canon of Sacred Scripture because it was so open to misunderstanding. While I accept what the Church decided, I sympathize with his objections.

And before you tell me to read Scott Hahn on the heavenly liturgy--yes, I like that part. But all those beasts and heads and horns and locusts that look like tiny horses with human heads, etc. All that seems just disturbing and not really helpful in any way.

I will say there is a general takeaway for Christians to be ready for, and undismayed by, the seeming triumph of evil, persecution, and martyrdom. It will all come out beautifully in the end. Okay, I get that.

In the interest of getting past my irritation with certain features of Revelation, I just bought the Kindle edition of Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying its Lessons today. Written by Michael Barber of Catholic Answers, I know it will be realiable.   And after only two chapters, I'm already glad I bought it.

As an aside, when we had the reading earlier this week describing all the precious gemstones adorning the temple of the New Jerusalem (Chrysolite, beryl, sardonyx,chrysoprase, etc.) I looked them all up on Google Images and had a pleasant time with that. Showing that I will do anything to help me feel a bit more friendly towards this mysterious book.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Where Have I Been?

Just noticed, to my dismay, that it's going on two months since there's been a new post here.

Smart readers are still asking miscellaneous LOTH questions in the comments from the previous post, and I've been answering. But somehow I've coasted by without a word about Holy Week, Easter, or its glorious Octave.

So in case you're wondering, there's been no  huge catastrophe preventing me. Just lots of middle-sized work and family events that keep my mind  elsewhere most of the time.   A good bit of travel plus physical and mental energy related to administering my late brother's estate. Lots of paid writing gigs, so I must keep those employers happy by meeting deadlines.   Tomorrow I head out to Santa Paul, CA for my daughter's college graduation.  Next week, my newest grandson will be christened.

Beyond that, it's harder now than it used to be to come up with topics for blog posts. Over the last six years I've said pretty close to everything I have to say about the Liturgy of the Hours. Maybe this blog needs a co-author with new ideas and greater zeal, since clearly I"m running out of steam. (Interested parties may contact me about that--include 3 sample posts.)  Anyway, I'm trying to get back in the swing of blogging, so here goes.

We can usually find (or impose) a pattern in the psalmody of each liturgical hour. This morning, the psalmody of Morning prayer had a great flow. We start out with Psalm 108, which is at once full of joyful praise and confident militancy. As I've said before, don't get bogged down by seeing this as merely the boasting of a warlike King  David. The King whose voice we should hear is that of Jesus, Who, for the glory of His Father, set forth to trample the hordes of Satan (those Edomites and Moabites and Philistines in the psalm symbolize them). Alternately. pray this psalm as your personal resolve to (with joyous confidence in God's power, not yours) conquer the temptations and personal faults that will assail you today.

Next,  the canticle from Isaiah looks with hope towards a time when the victory in that battle is complete. Here we can think about the Church, which is at once the forever beautiful spotless and beautiful bride of Christ, yet at the same time, due to constant assualt from without and within, can seem "desolate" and "forsaken." Today I'm thinking about all the church closings in Connecticut, here recently where I live in the Erie diocese, and so many other places.   We have to hold on to hope, and this canticle puts us in that hopeful place, doesn't it?

Last, Psalm 146 exhorts us to praise and thank God for what He has and will accomplish, regardless of what is happening in the political realm. I can't tell you how often that verse 3, "Put no trust in princes" springs into mind every time a new headline about this or that politician and his/her actions/promises/threats pops up. No trust in them, but always "sing praise to my God while I live."

Okay, questions and comments are welcome in the usual place. I'll be travelling the next few days so be patient waiting for the responses.