A Story the Interwebs Cannot Tell

We have been down this road before, on this silly weblog. And I had to eat my words.

GeorgiaBut I think I have a question which the internet simply cannot answer…

You might have thought that my favorite Scripture verse is

When I summon him, he shall approach Me; how else should one take the deadly risk of approaching Me? says the Lord. (Jeremiah 30:21)

since that verse adorned the little holy card published unto the world on the occasion of my ordination as a priest, lo these ten years past.

Or you might have thought that my favorite verse is

You knew I was a demanding man. (Luke 19:22)

or

The wedding day of the Lamb has come. (Revelation 19:7)

Dust Bowl farmsince I myself told you so last year.

But I fibbed. My real favorite verse is Sirach 7:15:

μὴ μισήσῃς ἐπίπονον ἐργασίαν καὶ γεωργίαν ὑπὸ ῾Υψίστου ἐκτισμένην

or

Non oderis laboriosa opera et rusticationem creatam ab Altissimo.

My question for the interwebs is this:

Why, dear interwebs–considering the fact that both γεωργίαν and rusticationem certainly refer to farming, to agriculture, to husbandry (as the names of two great farming states, one in the US and the other in central Europe, both bear witness, not to mention our delightful Anglicization of ‘rustic’) –why, pray tell, did the New-American-Bible rendering of this verse change from

Hate not laborious tasks, nor farming, which was ordained by the Most High.

to

Do not hate hard work; work was assigned by God.

when the Revised Edition of our beloved American Catholic NAB was published in 2011?

Of course there must be a reason for such a stupefying change. I am certainly no scholar. I vaguely know that Hebrew fragments of Sirach were found at the Dead Sea in the years between these two translations. The eminent, humble, and wise translators must have had a reason for rendering this verse in such a way that it makes a joke out of the way the neo-Vulgate renders it (i.e. with the word rusticationem prominently employed, as can easily be seen on the Vatican’s own website).

Only a reason of great moment, a compelling discovery in the bowels of the Qumran community–or some other place studied by diligent archaeologists and philologists–only such a solid reason could possibly induce the translators to change this verse and remove one of the key concepts of the sentence (i.e. farming).

Dear internet, can you disclose this reason to me? Doesn’t look like you can.

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Jerusalem Council, Maundy Mandate

The Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything. (John 14:26)

These are the words of our Lord Jesus to the Apostles at the Last Supper. He was explaining to them what would happen after He ascended into heaven.

That was the beginning of the Catholic Church.

The Lord Jesus had taught the Apostles many things while He was on the earth. There would be many other things He would teach them from heaven. As He promised, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church.

In the Acts of Apostles, St. Luke recounts the first Church Council. The situation was this: The Apostles had gone out from Jerusalem to preach the Gospel. In the surrounding countries, both Jews and non-Jews came to believe. This left the Apostles with an honest question.

Continue reading “Jerusalem Council, Maundy Mandate”

Commonsense Papism

opportunity

Ego … Archiepiscopus … beato Petro apostolo, Sanctæ, Apostolicæ, Romanæ Ecclesiæ, ac tibi, Summo Pontifici, tuisque legitimis Successoribus semper fidelis ero et oboediens. Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.

“I …, Archbishop of …, swear to be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle, to the Holy Roman Church, and to you, the Supreme Pontiff, and your lawful successors, so help me God Almighty.”

The new Archbishops who celebrated Mass with the Holy Father today swore their allegiance with these words.

StPeterThe Archbishops’ oath of allegiance is not something strange. It is not something foreign to American sensibilities. It is the most commonsensical statement a person could ever make.

Christians believe things–and we live according to principles–which we could never figure out by ourselves.

Therefore we rely on some source of information that possesses infallible authority. Our faith and morals are based on the testimony of God Himself, delivered to us in writing and by word of mouth.

Now, the authority to give this testimony either resides in me myself, or it resides in someone else.

Some people actually do regard themselves as their own infallible religious authority. But it takes just a little humility and maturity to realize that being your own infallible teacher is a prescription for disaster.

Therefore my infallible teacher must be someone else.

readdumWho is it? Could it be a politician? Could it be the pastor of a megachurch? Shirley MacLaine?

Of all the candidates for infallible teacher, the only really viable one is the Pope. The Pope can claim to hold such an office–the office of infallible teacher and shepherd established by the Son of God when He was on earth.

The Lord Jesus never promised that every Pope would be a saint. Rather, He guaranteed that there would be a spiritual fortress which the enemies of God could never conquer. Within this fortress, the true faith will always survive. The fortress is the Apostolic See of Rome.

Someone might say: Back off! My infallible teacher is the Bible!

Two questions, dear friend:

1. How do you know that the Bible is the Bible (i.e. the compendium of divine teachings committed to writing)? How do you know that the Koran is NOT the Bible? Or Football for Dummies? What authority certifies that your Bible is, in fact, God’s Word?

2. If there is a dispute about what the Bible means, who has the authority to settle the question?

Answer:

FILES-VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

and his successors.

Happy Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, founders of the Church of Rome!

Three Years Our Shepherd

crozier wuerl

Three years ago today, Donald Wuerl took the crozier in hand to guide the Archdiocese of Washington.

Here are a few words about bishops from the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council:

Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that He might save His people from their sins and that all men might be sanctified. Just as He Himself was sent by the Father, so He also sent His Apostles. Therefore, He sanctified them, conferring on them the Holy Spirit, so that they also might glorify the Father upon earth and save men, “to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12), which is the Church.

In this Church of Christ the Roman pontiff, as the successor of Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the feeding of His sheep and lambs, enjoys supreme, full, immediate, and universal authority over the care of souls…

The bishops…, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls. Together with the supreme pontiff and under his authority they are sent to continue throughout the ages the work of Christ, the eternal pastor. Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the command and the power to teach all nations, to hallow men in the truth, and to feed them.

Bishops, therefore, have been made true and authentic teachers of the faith, pontiffs, and pastors through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to them…

illuminated-bibleBishops…have been taken from among men and appointed their representative before God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Bishops enjoy the fullness of the sacrament of orders…Therefore bishops are the principal dispensers of the mysteries of God, as well as being the governors, promoters, and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the church committed to them —Christus Dominus

May the good Lord prosper the endeavors of our father and shepherd, Archbishop Wuerl.

…Want to learn more about the Bible? Are you within striking distance of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, U.S.A.? Come to Scripture Study this evening at St. Mary of the Assumption School, starting at 7:30 p.m.!

All-Star Week

This week is just about the best week of saints’ days in the whole year.

Today we keep the Feast of the Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, the Archangels. Tomorrow we keep the Memorial of St. Jerome. St. Jerome was a learned scholar and orator in Rome, but he went to the Holy Land to give his life to the task of translating the entire Bible. If St. Jerome had not done the work that he did 1600 years ago, we would not have the reliable Bible translations that we have now. When I was in Bethlehem in February, I was able to visit the cave where St. Jerome did his work; it is just a few steps from the place where the Lord Jesus was born.

This Sunday, Bishops from all over the world will meet in Rome for a Synod. For three weeks, they will discuss the Word of God. Our Archbishop Wuerl is one of four bishops from the United States who will attend. Let us pray to St. Jerome that the Synod will be fruitful.

On Wednesday, we will keep the Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (a.k.a. St. Therese of Liseux, the Little Flower), Doctor of the Church. St. Therese’s Story of a Soul is one of the best spiritual reading books you can get. Her “Little Way” is the “elevator” to heaven. On Thursday, we keep the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. Of course each of us should thank our Guardian Angel ever day for all his help. But if we have let a few days slip, we can try to make it up by special expressions of gratitude on Thursday. Your Guardian Angel is the best friend you have. When we get to heaven–please God–we will finally see our Guardian Angels. We will of course effusively thank them for helping us to get there. They will say, “Don’t mention it. Just doing my job.”

Then on Saturday, we keep the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi, the second-most popular saint of all time (after the Blessed Mother). In addition to being friendly to animals, St. Francis was also intensely ascetic. He renounced every worldly pleasure for the love of God. He was unswervingly faithful to the Pope and the Church. And he was given the gift of sharing in the Lord’s own wounds, the stigmata.

More people have given up everything to follow the example of St. Francis than any other saint. It is safe to say that no one has ever been closer to Christ, more like Christ.

Assisi is one of the most beautiful and prayerful places on earth. Those of us who will go on pilgrimage together from St. Mary of the Assumption, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, U.S.A., to Italy in November will visit Assisi, walking the streets where St. Francis walked. We will pray at his tomb, and we will remember the rest of you there, for sure.

There you have it: Ecclesiastical All-Star Week. If ever there were a week to try to go to Mass everyday, this is it. Many graces will flow from heaven this week. Thank you, holy angels and saints!