Wednesday, April 30, 2003

today's servant of God: Bishop Walsh of Maryknoll

One of the great culture heroes of my Catholic childhood was Bishop James E. Walsh. Having helped to found the Maryknoll Missioners, he became a bishop in China, where he served faithfully for many years. He refused to evacuate when the Communist takeover happened, holding that the place of a priest and a bishop was with his people. He was arrested, and spent over a decade in prison in China, spending his time praying and working to improve his abilities in the Chinese language. In 1970, when I was a junior high schooler, he was released from prison and expelled from China, at the age of 79.

One of the sayings attributed to him in my childhood referred to the ability to say the Rosary in prison even though he was often not permitted any religious items. He said thr Rosary was particularly suited to our prayer because us humans have two rosaries attached to our bodies: our ten fingers and our ten toes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

a sidebar correction: I have corrected the spelling of Photina's name. (I guess I hang out on too many Orthodox listservs where the "i" form is common.) Thank you, Heidi Photina, for not calling me on it :-)
It's my name-day --- and a remembrance of even more general importance

Today is the feast of Catherine Benincasa of Siena, doctor of the Church and one who lived by the counsels but didn't become a nun. She even, for some time, lived "betwixt-between," canonically without a place and unknown or opposed by her kin, loving her Lord her Beloved in her cupboard under the stairs. May she always remember all her poor namesakes here below.

But besides being April 29th, 2003 it's also 27 Nisan 5763, and Yom haShoa Vehagevurah, the day of remembrance of those lost to the Nazi persecutions, the anniversary of the day the Warsaw Rebellion began. Remember in your prayers all those who died, and all those who, whether they succeeded or whether they lost their own lives trying, did attempt to save even one human life; especially the unfamous ones who are remembered by no one anymore. The person who saves even one life, saves the whole world. Magnified and sanctified be the Lord's great name. Amen.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

A hymn for this second Easter Sunday from St Hippolytus of Rome ..... back in the neolithic times when I was young, we called this day the second Easter.

It is Pascha; the Pascha of the Lord,
O You, Who are truly all in all!
The joy, the honor, the food and the delight of every creature;
Through You the shadows of death have fled away,
And life is given to all,
The gates of heaven are flung open.
God becomes man
and man is raised up to the likeness of God.

O divine Pascha!
O Pascha, light of new splendor,
the lamps of our souls will no more burn out.
The flame of grace,
divine and spiritual,
burns in the body and soul,
nourished by the resurrection of Christ.

We beg You, O Christ, Lord God,
eternal king of the spiritual world,
stretch out Your protecting hands
over Your holy Church
and over Your holy people;
defend them, keep them, preserve them.

Raise up Your standard over us
and grant that we may sing with Moses
the song of victory,
for Yours is the glory and the power for all eternity!

Friday, April 25, 2003

Today is Rogation Day

As I've been reminded by Bob of CINJustAnn listserv, today is the Rogation Day, when we beg God for success and fruitfulness in our farms and gardens. Like the Ember Days, for us city-folk, it reminds us that our food does not come from the grocery store, but from the enviernmental blessings of God and the hard work of farnworkers. From Bob's email, what his community, the Oscar Romero CW House of Oklahoma City, is doing for the Rogation Day:

Today is one of the traditional Rogation Days of the Church (from Rogare, Latin for "to ask"). It is a time to ask God's blessing on fields, gardens, seeds, and farmers and gardeners. It is traditionally observed with a mass followed by a procession through fields and gardens. Sometimes small wooden crosses marked with the date are implanted on fields or nailed to trees or fence posts as a sign of the blessing.

Here in Oklahoma City, we are having mass at 6:30 PM this evening at our house, and afterwards we will process through the neighborhood to the two lots we have for community gardens, to bless them. Below are some links with ideas, prayers, and history for observing this holy day. The last link, from EWTN, has the complete text of the litanies and Rogation day prayers and the traditional mass in Latin and English.

Robert Waldrop
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City


http://hometown.aol.com/cfortunato/Rogation/RuralRogationDays.htm (prayers in English and Latin)


So, it's a little late for planning, but at least pray God for the fruitfulness of the earth and the safety of those who grow our food. And, if you have a garden place, or even a few rhubarbs or asparaguses, you may want to take out your bottle of holy water and give them a prayer and blessing this day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The first witness to the Resurrection:


Sunday, April 20, 2003

Christ is Risen! The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and loveth God,
Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!
If any man be a wise servant,
Let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.

If any have laboured long in fasting,
Let him how receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour,
Let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour,
Let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour,
Let him have no misgivings;
Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour,
Let him draw near, fearing nothing.
And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.

For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour,
Will accept the last even as the first.
He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour,
Even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
And He showeth mercy upon the last,
And careth for the first;
And to the one He giveth,
And upon the other He bestoweth gifts.
And He both accepteth the deeds,
And welcometh the intention,
And honoureth the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord;
Receive your reward,
Both the first, and likewise the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival!
You sober and you heedless, honour the day!
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted
And you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith:
Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered
When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.



Saturday, April 19, 2003

off for my preparatory nap......because I'm going to attempt to attend Vigil tonight. Two weeks ago I tried to go to Liturgy and had to go out halfway through because the pain and exhaustion got me; I'm a little stronger now, but Vigil is long; that's why I'm going to Cathedral instead of my parish, because the Cathedral has side rooms with speakers where I can go if I need an "adult cry room," and my parish does not. Better safe than sorry. Pray for the catechumens and candidates, and I'll see you after Vigil tonight.
In the 100's, someone wrote a letter to an official named Diognetus about "those Christians...."

For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.
To sum up all in one word --- what the soul is in the body, that are Christians in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world. The invisible soul is guarded by the visible body, and Christians are known indeed to be in the world, but their godliness remains invisible. The flesh hates the soul, and wars against it, though itself suffering no injury, because it is prevented from enjoying pleasures; the world also hates the Christians, though in nowise injured, because they abjure pleasures. The soul loves the flesh that hates it, and [loves also] the members; Christians likewise love those that hate them. The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves that very body; and Christians are confined in the world as in a prison, and yet they are the preservers of the world. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tabernacle; and Christians dwell as sojourners in corruptible [bodies], looking for an incorruptible dwelling in the heavens. The soul, when but ill-provided with food and drink, becomes better; in like manner, the Christians, though subjected day by day to punishment, increase the more in number. God has assigned them this illustrious position, which it were unlawful for them to forsake.
Today is their day: Remember our catechumens and candidates!

Katherine who loves Suscipe and doesn't write for sheep
Sean who swims in the Tiber
Mysterium Crucis' Will
Christopher who moved to Steubenville on his directed path
Heidi at Photini's Well
Joe Convert
and any others I've missed or forgotten about. [and don't forget the elect in our real-life parishes!]

Friday, April 18, 2003

Behold, behold the wood of the cross, on which is hung our Salvation. Oh, come, let us adore!

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to God to attain that state wherein we freely cease from fighting. ....Whoever rightly attains to it, does in some degree feel that Spirit in which our Redeemer gave His life for us. (John Woolman)

Behold, behold, the wood of the cross,
on which is hung our Salvation;
O come, let us adore!
(Liturgy of Good Friday)

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
for by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

O my Lord, Messiah and (truly!) King,
You have been lifted up, and have triumphed.
You Yourself mend our lives, and draw us to Yourself,
and make Yourself our greatest yearning, greatest gift.

We who lifted You up from the earth ---
not far, not nearly to the sky, let alone the heavens ---
intending only evil; or not intending at all, "just following orders,"
just another execution in a busy day

It was for us that You took everything we gave,
that You offered Yourself, unresisting,
(and You, our Messiah and Lord, are God;
You had the power to save Yourself)
so that when we had done our very worst
Your forgiveness and Your triumph would rescue us,
very thankful and truly humble.

We know what we have done.
We know of what we are capable.
We look upon Your cross
and our sin remains before us,
we cannot ignore the truth of ourselves.

We deny You. We are cowards and run away from You.
We drag You all over the city, from courtroom to courtroom.
For You, our King, we weave a crown of thornbush to force upon Your head.
We beat You. We mock You. We parade You through the streets.
We disdignify You, stripping You of everything.
And, clothed only in welts and bruises and Your own blood,
we nail You to a cross to torture You to death.

Our sin is always before us,
and yet,
and yet,
so also is Your mercy,
so also Your forgiveness,
so also Your great offering.

And, in time's fullness,
the sign of Jonah ---
even Death itself is conquered, vanquished;
so we might proceed from life to Life true and eternal,
Life that knows no end.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

"The Eucharistic Church" is now online....

The Pope's latest encyclical, on the Holy Eucharist, is released and available at the link in the headline.
Template tampering done this afternoon

Thanks for the patience of all those who've been waiting for me to update their links....... done.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Getting ready for the war to end and the warriors to come home --- are we ready?

In a few weeks or a few months the war will be, for practical purposes, over. Our warriors will be coming home again.

Let us for now not think of who was fer and who was agin going to war. That doesn't matter now. Whether any war is good or bad, unjust or just, or even unaviodable, the fruits of war are evil, for the victors as much or even more than the conquered. Are we ready to serve our warriors as they come home? Most of them are not "career military," and in their real life would never ever solve a problem by violence --- and some of them will have had to do things with which they cannot live. Guilt and doubt and trials of conscience and faith, and nightmares...... we must not abandon our sisters and brothers when they come home, no matter what. We did just that when the warriors came back after tours of duty in Vietnam, and we must not again.

Those of us who are the ones people come to when they need listened-to [you know who you are] and our priests need to be preparing now in prayer, and in consciousness of the entire scope of passion and death and resurrection and of the primacy of hope. Also, in practicing not being shocked, or at least not echoing shock, for some of the things that happen in war are horror-making. Some people will need to speak of things they did that officially "didn't happen," like the soldier from Gulf War I who told his priest who is now a cardinal about his action in burying opponent soldiers alive.

We've at least a few weeks to prepare: we must pray and stay strong for what will come, and be ready to listen and to weep.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

for all of you who have been praying for eldest younger brother Thomas:
Free at Last, Free at Last, emails a newly liberated Tom!

Family, friends, Brother Knights and Colleagues ---

I am finally at home after the ordeal. Hospital food! Beautiful Nurses! Surgeons and assorted other Doctors of Medicine. Combined with the home prep before the surgery, that's a week down the chute to the Path lab.....

The surgeon says that everything is copascetic, except for the size of the mass they removed. It is classified a T3 carcinoma, based on size, and factors concerning the likelihood of metastatization (try that one three times fast!!) Whether I get to spend time with an oncologist will depend on how the discussion between the surgeon, the colonoscoper, and my primary care physician go before my appointments next week. Twenty five clean lymph nodes. No signs of abnormality in the overexcavation into my back. The surgeon says to expect about three weeks of recovery, just to get the colons working right again.

That's all for now. Thanks for the prayers and other offerings. See some of you soon, others a little later.

Thomas Knapp PE
Senior Engineer
[snipping longish list of titles that various people know him by, but concluding with....]
Big Brother and Oldest Uncle Knapp
Posting will be sporadic --- please pardon me

Just now recovering from 4-day bout with the intestinal bug. The incision has come open by itself; I see the surgeon tomorrow so he can try to patch it up. Went to Mass Sunday [didn't realize I had the bug until too late to cancel the 6:45 am ride] but shouldn't have; at the homily I had to leave Mass for somewhere I could put my head down.

Summary: I'm too busy being sick and in pain and being a good patient to put a lot of attention here right now. I'll drop in whenever I can, please be patient and do not forget me.

Friday, April 04, 2003

Another meditation from St. Ephrem the Syrian in this joyous season of Lent

Thou to Whom the penitent are pleasing, incline Thyself to me, a sinner. Fill me with the crumbs from the table of Thy great banquet; do not let my life perish at the left side in darkness. May Thy truth not behold the terrible impurity of my misery in that great morning when the sentence unto eternity shall be pronounced.

The joy of this world is bitter. Woe to him who is seduced by it! As a boat is tossed by waves, so is my life convulsed by my misery. Vain joy captures it with the illusion of satisfaction. Be Thou my helmsman and steer my ship to Thy harbor in that great morning when the sentence unto eternity shall be pronounced.

God loves the sinner when he comes to repentance and, with his eyes full of tears, sighing and sobbing, he cries out to Him: O our Lord, deliver me from fire! I pray thee, accept the tears of my misery. Voluntarily have I sinned before Thee, yet voluntarily do I also repent.

So come forth boldly, O sinner. The door is already open and ready to receive you. Bring the Lord a sacrifice or tears and go freely to Him. He does not demand gifts, nor does He have any respect of persons. He is kindhearted to men and willingly forgives the sins of
repentant sinners.

Update: my brother Tom's medical adventures

Got an email from Jimbo (James Philip), another of my brothers, who shares a house with Tom in Long Beach. He writes:

As you probably know Tom had intestinal surgery Wed. the 2nd. The doc took a baseball size lump out of his intestinal area then removed part of his large intestine. He seems to be doing quite well all things considered! From what I heard he got up today and was walking around ok. If everything stays ok, it looks like he be coming home maybe Saturday, but more likely Sunday.

Praise God! [Now for a decent pathology report on that baseball.....]

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Why nobody wants to pay for poor people's medical care

I got a form letter from Columbia-St. Mary's today, the group that runs St. Mary's Hospital, informing me that they have billed my insurance company for my recent stay with them.

18 days hospitalization, 3 of them in med-surg ICU, don't know if bill includes the surgeon: $66,619.56

Back when I was working that would be three year's gross income!
The new General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) is out! and I've read it through.

[pdf file: Acrobat Reader needed to read link]
Now I can point to the paragraphs in black and white that prove that what we do in my parish has nothing to do with "horrific abuses," but is just the way it's supposed to be, or permitted to be! [things like processing with Book of Gospels and placing it on altar; Tabernacle in well-appointed place near sanctuary; processions in general....]
Facing up to the mystery of suffering: more wisdom from All God's People, my only post-1000 Lenten reading.....

Lent, too, also forces us again to face up to the mystery of suffering. We know, in faith, that suffering can be redemptive, if only we can find a way of uniting ourselves with Jesus in his own passion and death. Our faith tells us that our trials and hurts are not in vain. We cannot avoid them if we want to live fully, and thus there must be a positive and redemptive feature about them. The example I would like to point out in the Lenten season also is Mary. So often her sufferings are brought to our attention and might help us in analyzing and making sense out of our own situation. Mary suffered because she was so closely united to Jesus in love and affection as well as by parental bond. Her suffering was not the martyr's physical endurance test, but that of the one in love seeing the loved one suffer. To stand helplessly by and see another whom one loves suffer --- senselessly and unjustly --- is the deepest kind of suffering. We call that "compassion" --- to suffer with another. The Church sees its model in Mary. Thus we, as Christians, also have something to learn from Mary about what compassion and suffering mean.

First of all, we must learn, all of us, that being united in affection and love with Jesus is the basis of Christian discipleship. Because of that union we can have compassion when we meditate on his sufferings and death. Like Mary, we stand helplessly by.

One should, however, go one step further in this understanding of Mary's love and, thus, of her compassion. We know that Jesus accepted his cross and death because of his love for us. He had compassion on us. He identified, in love, with our human suffering and took it upon himself. So, if we are one with him in love and affection, we must also be one with every one of our suffering brothers and sisters whom he loves. Love of him, compassion on his sufferings, implies love of those he loves and compassion on their sufferings.

Mary, we know, became at that moment of his suffering our Mother. Jesus, dying, presented her to us. She is the model, then, of one who is united to our suffering as she was to her Son's. She is united to all whom he loves.

If Mary is the model of the Church, then what kind of Church must we be? Without doubt --- a compassionate one. Redemptive love is possible if we are united with the Redeemer. All of his suffering led to resurrection and the triumph of life over death. One with him in suffering (compassion) leads to one with him in resurrection. Jesus loved us so much as to suffer death for us. Mary, because she loved him so, suffered to see him suffer. She became our Mother and suffers, in love, for and with us. As model of the Church, she thus teaches us to be united, in our suffering, to Jesus in his suffering and in this way to all of those he loves. United with him in suffering we will be united with him in resurrection. A compassionate Church is a redeemed and loving Church.

[Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B., All God's People, Paulist Press, 1985, pp.168-170]

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Personal things update

Just back from the surgeon's, all stitches are out, he says healing is progressing well. Also, today is prep day for brother Tom's surgery tomorrow (right bowel resection). Keep on praying....