Sunday, 28 September 2008

Gospel 26th Week in Ordinary time

Last Thursday I had a first look at today's Gospel (Mt 21:28-32) during the Slovak prayer meeting here in St. Saviour's Priory, Dublin. The biggest part of this meeting is focused on Lectio Devina, looking at the Gospel of the coming Sunday.

At that time I was struck by the second son who after being ask to go to the vineyard replies "I go sir", but he didn't go. It struck me that he gives a very formal reply to his father, but doesn't mean it, which makes it very cold. It also reminded me about myself often saying wanting to do things, and sometimes promising things to do, but at the end don't do it, or even from the start didn't really want to do it or having no intention to do it. In contrast the first son was very different. He didn't want to go, and said that. He didn't give a formal, political anwser, but a straight one face to face. He however then felt bad about it and changed his mind, and ended up doing the will of the father.

Since then I have been looking more into the text and more conscious noticed the word "vineyard". This Sunday is in Ireland specifically dedicated for awareness of vocations, and the vineyard can be easily connected to the labourers the Lord calls to work in His vineyard.

With this thought on the passage we see that the Lord is calling His laborers to work in His vineyard, and now the reaction of the second son is even more striking. He says "I go, sir", but he doesn't! The word used in Greek is κυριε, which can mean sir in addresses, but is most often used for Lord (the Vulgate uses the word Domine), and so the Father who asks him to work is God.

At the end of the gospel the Lord tells the chief priest and elders that they did not belief and followed John the Baptist when he came in the way of righteous. The tax collectors and prostitutes changed their way but they did not want to change their ways to the righteous one, doing the will of the Lord.

I see this as an address to myself, being a student with the Dominicans. I often do say "Yes, Lord, I go Lord", but do I keep my promises? Do I really do it, and do I life the way of righteous, or are they just empty words, like we often see Jesus pointing out about the Pharisees.

"Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 7:21) and "Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" (Lk 6:46) .

It is important that we don't lose sight of ourselves, as the Lord so often warns us. That we start pointing fingers at others, and don't life the righteous life ourselves. That we make promises to the Lord, but because it is not to a physical person we soon forget about those promisses. I am looking here particularly to myself@

Finally let us pray for vocations, on this day specially dedicated to it in Ireland!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Why revelation is necessary

We started our introduction on the Summa, and I intend to post a few of short thoughts on my blog now and then. The first is on Prima Pars, Question 1, Article 1 (I q1. a1). St. Thomas is arguing that the philosophical sciences are not enough to come to know God.

Although we can discover God through reason, as God is reason, St. Thomas argues that only with reason as a tool to come to know God it would proof very difficult for most people to find Him. Not all are skilled in the art of reason, and many might be deceived. Also, it would be only known to the few who can afford to spend the amount of time required to discovering God. Since the knowledge of God is essential for man's salvation it follows that philosophy alone in not enough.

Apart from helping us to find God revelation also makes it possible to make known things about God who we cannot otherwise know. One reason is that our reasoning is inferior to God, so we cannot understand everything that is Gods. The ancient philosophers had an understanding of "a god" that was supreme over all created things, but not on who or what this god is. Therefore revelation is required for us to understand more about this God, and to know him better even to the point that we can have a personal relation with Him.

It is important to keep in mind though, that with revelation comes faith, so what is revealed by God then must be accepted by faith! When we do this however and open our hearts to God, we start trusting Him and walk with Him, our lives are completely transformed as God reveals more and more of Himself to us!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Opening of the college year

Last Tuesday we celebrated the Mass for the Opening of the college year, and Wednesday we started our first classes. Fr. John Harris OP came into the first class to bless the classroom, and as part of the small ceremony used a piece of scripture of which the following is an abstract (1 Cor 1 if I remember correctly):

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."


When this was read out it did strike me in a profound way. Particular the emphasis on the lack of the wisdom of our selves, but the grace that comes forth out of a true relationship with Christ. "God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise". It reminded me of St. Thomas Aquinas and his emphasis on prayer, it reminded me that theology is done on ones knees, in communion with God.

I think it was a very fitting reading as a reminder that we are doing everything for the greater glory of Christ, and not for our own glory. We do it to personally come closer to Christ. In the Dominican tradition, we contemplate Christ, and bring the fruits of this contemplation to others: contemplari et comtemplata aliis tradere.

It is hard to say why this piece of scripture made such a particular impression, something I cannot bring to words, but I know that I am really looking forward to this year of studies to deepening my understanding and relation with God, and I trust in His help during the year.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Three vestition and six professions in two days!

Three vestition and six professions in two days! It was a great weekend for the Irish Dominican Provence! Last Sunday we received three men into the noviciate with the clothing ceremony, in which the men get the habit of the Dominican order.

Then yesterday, Monday the 15th, six of us made our profession of obedience, poverty and chastity to the Irish Province. Three of us finished the noviciate and made our first 'simple' profession for a few years, and three brothers made their 'solemn' professions for the rest oft their lives.

I myself made profession for three years and afterwards moved to Dublin to start my studies! It was a great day a a great witness to hope for the (Irish) Catholic church! It shows there is real life in the church!

I hope to write some more about our profession day as soon as I am settled in into my new home! Some pictures about both days can be found on our website: http://www.dominicanfriars.ie/gallery/events.

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The Irish Dominicans have a website called Dominicans Interactive with online resources. We also have an iPhone/iPad App, which can be found in the iTunes App Store.


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