My friends are dragging me to the Las Vegas Strip to ring in the New Year, but I'm having second thoughts about going. It's sheer madness out there.
God bless you all and have a prosperous and blessed 2008 !!
Here is a picture of Father Phil and Jerri. Father Phil and I were in the same Discernment Group that was created by the Diocese of Las Vegas for serious candidates to the priesthood. I don't have to tell you which one of us had a change of heart.
Bob and Marilyn told me it took them two hours to put up this Christmas tree. It was quite beautiful, and if you can see how much stuff is on this tree they must have assembled it at breakneck speeds. It would have taken me probably a whole day (maybe more cuz I'm lazy) to complete it!
This was the dessert table. Oh, wonderful calories, who could resist thee? Not I...not I...
I did have a wine spritzer that one of my friends at the party made. I had a buzz that lasted almost three hours and could barely stand up straight. I'm such a wimp!
1) This is my favorite time of year. I absolutely love Christmas and all its meaning, even though it's highly commercialized and secularist and irreligionist forces try desperately to commandeer it.
2) Like most of you I despise "Happy Holiday" greetings. It's a cowardly way of wishing someone a Merry Christmas.
3) Unlike most of you - probably because you've never heard it before - I prefer the expression "May Christ be born in you." This prayer/ blessing is spoken by monks during Advent at an Abbey whose name, regrettably, I have forgotten.
4) I struggle with science and faith as often as I think of God, which leads me to number 5
5) I think about God and His existence constantly, around the clock, while driving, while walking, while reading, while working, while listening to music. I contemplate different ways of finding Him; perhaps looking at something or at some thought from a different angle might yield a greater understanding into who He is and how I can live comfortably with that understanding. Perhaps during the times I toiled I was looking too deeply or not deep enough or I thought I understood my own struggles to believe when in actuality I didn't. Even doubts are sometimes difficult to understand.
6) During Christmas, I reflect on the words of Teilhard de Chardin and his assertion that Jesus Christ was the most perfectly evolved human being that ever lived. In Jesus Christ, Chardin saw "both matter and the spirit of God definitely combined", as well as our ultimate destiny. Be careful how you interpret this. Chardin was a Catholic priest and NOT a pantheist.
7) In Church tradition the Holy Spirit is often described as the Love shared between the Father and the Son. This is one of the most beautiful thoughts that can enter my feeble mind. That God would Love so incomprehensibly and place the fullness of Himself behind that Love is an idea that can move any unbeliever with an open mind.
8) Even during the times I struggle with believing in God, I think faith in Him is a magnificent and beautiful gift to mankind. I'm seized by the impression that faith in the Creator will someday yield a good conclusion.
May Christ be born in you.
*Taken from John Donne's poem Nativity.
Born in Belgium on July 17, 1894, Monsignor Lemaître, before becoming a priest, volunteered to serve in the Belgian army during WWI. Upon completion of his military assignment, Lemaître returned to Belgium as the recipient of the Military Cross and began a program of studies for the priesthood and doctorate in mathematics and physics. After his ordination and successful completion of his doctoral studies, in 1930 Monsignor Lemaître proposed his theory of "the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of creation." Fred Hoyle, a British astronomer and critical of Lemaître's theory, pejoratively referred to this exploding egg as the Big Bang.
In a nutshell: the Big Bang Theory proposes that the universe began with the incomprehensible and unimaginable explosion of an atomic nucleus that contained all the matter that comprises the universe today. Before the explosion there was nothing. During and after the explosion there was our universe. As Lemaître once described it, "A day without yesterday." In 1966, shortly after having learned of the discovery of cosmic background radiation- a detection which added validation to his cosmic theory - Monsignor Lemaître died on June 28 of that year.
Since then many discoveries has solidified the proposition made by this scientists and man of God. To this day, the "exploding primeval atom", the "day without a yesterday", stands as the most likely and scientifically supported theory of universal origins in all of cosmology. The discoveries made by the COBE and WMAP devices add more missing pieces and greater clarity to what Monsignor Lemaître proposed over seventy years ago. In his honor, there is a crater on the moon named after him, and in 2005 he was voted as one of the top 100 Belgians of all time by Flemish and French constituencies.