Keith Little joins me this week to discuss his faith journey and some aha moments that changed his life. We discuss his ministry “Biblical Principles for Growth”, and his upcoming podcast that launches on Aug 21 on Breadbox Media. Check out Keith’s website at www.biblicalpriciplesforgrowth.org to learn more.
This blog has been pretty quiet over the past few weeks. That isn’t because I don’t have anything to say or write. To be honest I am working on the biggest paper I have ever written. It is titled “The History and Theology of the Roman Canon”, but more on that in a future post. A more accurate reason would be that I have been in a period of discernment.
A few weeks ago I had an incredibly vivid dream. In this dream I was part of a Non-Profit group in Tucson where my family and I call home. In this dream I was writing, creating, and talking to small groups of people about the faith. As the dream ended I say a banner that said the event was presented by a group called the Tucson Institute for Catholic Apologetics. Upon waking I couldn’t stop thinking about this dream. Over the next couple weeks the dreams became even more vivid and occurred nightly. They got more detailed and I started to pray and ask the Lord if this is something I should do. I then spoke with my wife and she didn’t hesitate to support the idea to support the church in the New Evangelization.
Long story short is that I officially filed the paperwork to incorporate the Tucson Institute of Catholic Apologetics as a Non-Profit entity. The goal of the organization is to create content such as podcasts, videos, books, pamphlets, and brochure to assist Catholics in Southern Arizona to learn and defend their faith. The organization will also go to parishes and other groups to hold talks, seminars, and retreats at no cost (of course offerings and donations will be accepted but not expected). If a group outside of Southern Arizona wants to participate I will only ask for the cost of travel (even if it is only $20 for gas). The ultimate goal is to hold weekend classes where people will have the opportunity to earn certificates in Catholic Apologetics and Theology, but that is a ways down the road.
I humbly ask for your prayers as I embark on this journey, and will share the various social media pages for the organization in a separate blog post. The website, which is not functioning yet, will be tucsonapologetics.org. God bless you all.
The Perfect Prayer
Throughout the world, people gather to pray the Rosary. They pray for our Pope, world peace, an end to abortion and the holy souls in Purgatory, among other intentions. Considered to be the perfect prayer, contemplating on the Rosary brings a deeper union with Jesus and Mary.
“The Rosary is considered a perfect prayer because within it lies the story of our salvation.”
~Saint John Paul II~
Crown of Roses
The word, Rosary, stems from the Latin word, “rosarium” which means “garland or crown of roses”. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes an early legend which made its way through Europe, eventually connecting the word to a story about Mary. This story tells of a young monk who was praying and repeating the Hail Mary. Each time he completed one Hail Mary, Our Lady took a rose bud from his lips. He wove these rosebuds into a garland and Mary placed it upon her head. This legend created the belief that each time we pray a Hail Mary, we are giving Our Lady a rose, and when a full rosary is complete, it becomes a crown of roses.
Not Exclusive to Catholicism
Prayer beads have been used throughout history. Repetitive prayer was a part of many religions. Examples are Buddhist and Hindu monastics who use circular beads on strings to chant. In early Christianity, the repetition of a short verse from the Psalms or the Our Father became very popular in the monasteries of Egypt. The prayer we know as the Jesus Prayer was popular among Eastern monastics during the fourth century. Saint Basil recommended praying the Jesus Prayer instead of the psalms, for those who could not read, were traveling or unable to use the liturgical books. He also proposed the use of a woolen cord of 100 knots with 25 knots separated by a larger knot or bead. Before Saint Basil, Christian monastics used small rocks in bags to count their repeated prayers.
The “Rosary” is Formed
Eventually, beads, pebbles, and berries were strung on a rope. This was the beginning of what we now know as the Rosary. Western use of this prayer cord originally involved praying Our Father’s in place of the Psalter; one Our Father for each of the 150 psalms. The Hail Mary was also used and soon the “Rosary” or “Psalter of the Virgin Mary”, consisting of reciting 50 or 150 Hail Mary’s, came into being. The mysteries of the Rosary and the custom of meditating on them was introduced by Dominic of Prussia, a 15th-century Carthusian monk, sometime between 1410 and 1439. Domenic referred to this as the “Life of Jesus Rosary” or a vita Christi Rosary.
The Rosary, made up of the Our Father and the Hail Mary, was the first Catholic devotion prayed through the centuries. It was not, however, until 1214, when it was given to the Church by Saint Domenic, that it was received it in the configuration that we have today.
“Preach my Psalter.”
Saint Dominic received the Rosary from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting Heretics.
Saint Domenic, distraught by the extent of people’s sinfulness, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse. There he prayed relentlessly for three days and nights, weeping and offering penances. His body became fragile and he fell into a coma. It was at this time that Mary, accompanied by three angels, appeared to him. She spoke, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” He replied, “Oh, my Lady, you know far better than I because next to your Son Jesus Christ, you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.” Our Lady answered, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”
Excitedly, he went to the Cathedral. Unseen angels rang bells which brought people together and Saint Dominic began to preach. As he started preaching, a storm began. The thunder and lightning were so fierce that those in the Cathedral became frightened. Their fear became greater when they looked at an image of Our Lady and saw her raise her arms to heaven three times as she called God’s vengeance upon them if they did not convert, change their lives, and seek her protection.
The storm came to an end, and Saint Domenic continued, explaining the importance of praying the Rosary. Nearly all the people of Toulouse embraced his teaching and abandoned their false beliefs. In a short time, the town became peaceful and its people began leading faithful Christian lives.
[Note: This post was sponsored by holyart.com]
I had the pleasure if interviewing John Kraemer of The Lego Church Project. We discuss the project, his ministry, faith, and disability awareness. Check out his Facebook page at facebook.com/legochurchproject.
I have been called many things in my life: a good soldier, solid worker, a model employee, and even a good husband. Those things are great and admirable, but they fail in comparison to my favorite title: dad. The Lord has blessed my wife and I with four awesome children, but with raising children there is much responsibility.
At this point you are probably thinking that I am stating the obvious. After all, as parents we have to feed, clothe, and provide shelter for our family. These are great responsibilities and should not be minimized, but there is an enormous responsibility not on the above list. As parents we are also called to catechize out children. Let’s be honest about something: the church is losing young people in droves. I was recently listening to the Word on Fire podcast, and in a past episode Bishop Baron said that for every person that enters the church there are six who leave.
You can read the rest of my article on Epicpew here.
What is sacramentum tantum?
sacramentum tantum is a Latin word that describes the sacramental elements. They are the physical matter that is presented to be offered up in the sacrament. In the case of the Eucharist it would be bread and wine. The literal translation in English is “matter alone”. In an of themselves they are only elements and not sanctifying.
What is res et sacramentum?
The Latin term res et sacramentum contains the whole of the sacrament. It is when the physical properties and the grace of God become one. The grace and the physical elements are united, and this is what makes the sacraments effective. It is this terminology that shows that the sacraments are more than just elements. They are physical elements, infused with God’s grace, that are used to bring us into deeper relationship with him.
What is res tantum?
Res tantum is made up of two Latin words that mean “thing alone”. The “thing” that the phrase speaks of is the grace of God. This is the presence of the Lord God himself. Without this presence the elements of the sacrament remain merely physical. They would have no effect as a sacrament.
What is ex opere operato?
Ex opera operato is a term that refers to the work worked. This term is helpful when understanding how a sacrament is valid even if the one administering it may not be of the highest moral character. If everything is done through the church, and according to the command of Christ then the sacrament is valid. This term was also used in the medieval period to help keep maintain the relationship between the sacraments and faith and reason. The grace flows through the sacrament as long as the criteria mentioned above are met.
What is ex opere operantis?
Ex opera operantis is a term that refers to the work of the worker (Lecture Notes). Though a sacrament may be valid the disposition of the recipient must be in good order. We have a responsibility to cooperate with the grace given to us. We can block the grace of the sacrament by not believing what it truly it. Ex opere operantis and ex opera operato must work together as in any relationship.
The book of Joshua is an interesting book in the Old Testament. Moses has died, and the children of Israel are about to enter the promised land. Before they do so they must cross the Jordan river, but they have no way to cross. It is at this point that we must look at the power of God over nature. In Exodus the Lord parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape Pharaoh. In the book of Joshua God parted the Jordan River.
This can be read in Joshua 3:17 which states, “While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan” (NRSV). Through baptism one parts the waters and is being led by the New Moses, which is Jesus Christ (Origen page 52). It is Christ, through his priesthood, that leads us into the future.
This is important for those of you who are being baptized. God has shown over and over what he can do in the natural realm. He parted the Red Sea, he provided manna from Heaven, and today He begins a new work in you. Through Baptism you step in the water, just as the twelve tribes did in the book of Joshua, and the waters part. You now follow the priests of Christ into the land of our inheritance (Origen page 53).
Through of your baptism you are dying and rising with Christ. This is a great responsibility, and a great honor. Christ is exalted when you come to the baptismal waters, and he is happy that you are here. Follow Christ and keep him close. Do not fall back into sin and be like the Egyptians who were swallowed up by the Red Sea.
Origen, et al. Homilies on Joshua. Catholic University of America Press, 2002. The Fathers of the Church.
I recently had the opportunity to write a guest blog on The Simple Catholic. The post is about three ways the newly baptized can live their vows going forward. You can read the post here. Lastly, check out and follow The Simple Catholic for great content. Matthew is doing great work over there.