See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Friday Breviarium

Just some brief thoughts...
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Whatsabreviary anyway?
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Breviary - that is what the book containing the Divine Office was once called, and many still call it that. I'm not sure, but I think the origins of the word breviary denote the fact that the secular priest's office is shorter than the monastic office - at any rate, it must have meant that early on. You see, the monastic offices were much longer, and the priest's offices were abbreviated due to their diocesan schedules and so on.
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At least that is how Mr. Peabody explained it to me: "Yes Sherman, in brief, the diocesan priest's prayer book was called a breviary because it was the abbreviated form of the monastic Opus Dei, or Divine Office."
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A happy death.
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I wasn't going to write about Edward Kennedy, simply because everyone - from media personnel to taxi drivers to beauticians to their clients, carry on way too much about celebrities and famous people when they die. Emotions run rampant - I get like that too - but I'm trying to be wiser and keep my mouth shut, which is obviously impossible for anyone with a blog. But I digress.
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Anyway. I hope I can die like Teddy. I read an interview with a priest who assisted at his deathbed, it certainly sounds as if the Senator had a happy death. He had the consolation of the sacraments and a priest - in other words, Christ himself was there assisting him as he prepared to die. Kennedy said he was ready - what more can one hope for?
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Venomous attacks.
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I haven't been a fan of the Kennedy's for decades - the last one I cared about was John Jr. - otherwise I think I saw the family for what they were, most of us did, in a way that wasn't possible when John was president and who for many became a 'martyr' in his assassination. Years later all the skeletons came out of the Kennedy closet and the world knew... The dad was a philanderer, a crook, a Nazi sympathizer, and so on. I suppose it doesn't mean they were bad people since Rose went to Mass everyday. But the family was obviously screwed up, and many people were not quite as enamoured with them as they had been.
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Nevertheless, reflecting upon the reaction of many bloggers to Ted Kennedy's death and eternal judgement, I have to say once again - accusing myself first, we are quite a mean lot. I know, I know, people have been genuinely scandalized by Catholics in public life supporting anti-Catholic policies such as abortion and gay marriage, but many of us really went for the stake in the heart with the dead senator. I know, it happens, as Howard Beale always said, "We get mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore!" We all have our faults and prejudices and make our mistakes, and hopefully we can all die like Teddy - with all the means at hand for repentance and forgiveness, assisted by the sacraments and a priest - indeed, to die in the presence of Christ.
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Hecklers and gossips.
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It struck me however, that we civilized people on the web are frequently little different than the crowds who followed the wagons of the condemned to the guillotine, or the audiences in Shakespeare's time who hurled garbage at the actors whose performance they didn't like, or even the Roman spectators in the Colosseum screaming for more bloodshed. Yes, the most respectable amongst us who discreetly hide their nasty little criticism and rumor mongering behind their elegant painted fans, facades of piety, or most deeply enclosed closet; everyone takes their swipes from time to time. And none of us are without sin.
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Woe to us, hypocrites. We cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside we are full of plunder and self indulgence... we are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are filled with dead men's bones; envy, greed, lust, and every kind of filth. Outside we appear righteous, but inside we are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
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"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." - Matthew 25:13
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Let's pray for one another's conversion and happy death. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:03 AM

    Thank you for your words of sanity and charity, of which I've seen far too little in the "blogosphere" since EMK died. I hold no brief for this man, and IMO he was a pale reflection of his brothers, but when all is said and done, he did take the opportunity to repent (hopefully) and was prepared for death as all of us hope to be. It's impossible for us mere humans to make judgements about the state of his soul, and it's our prerogative. I like your closing words, and I hope that we Catholics can all stop tearing each other apart, and recognize our common sinfulness before Our Divine Lord. Yes indeed, "May Senator Kennedy's soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace". Amen.

    Regards from Canada,
    Patricia

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  2. Nicely written, Terry. Much better than what I attempted to write.

    May he rest in peace.

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  3. Larry and Patricia - I am the worst offender in these matters.

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  4. Anonymous5:52 AM

    Hi Terry
    What are your thoughts on this?

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/aug/09082803.html

    Patrick

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  5. Patrick, I have immense respect for Fr. Euteneuer and recognize he is far more qualified to speak to these issues than I am.

    My thoughts regarding the Senator and his faith reflect the hope I have for the salvation of souls - I have heard that Kennedy had a priest and that he received the sacraments before death, therefore I hope for his eternal salvation.

    I am so deeply aware of my own shortcomings, failures, betrayals, and hipocrisy accompanied by moral compromises throughout my life, I am unable to condemn Kennedy, much less sit in judgement upon his conscience. As a Catholic I could point out his errors and failings, but so many are doing so already I do not think it appropriate or necessary that I add to the mellee of opinion.

    I am pleased he was permitted to be buried from the Church. The testimony of his children impressed me deeply, therefore it seems obvious to me, that Ted Kennedy was a better man and Catholic than I could hope to be... although as St. Paul says someplace, "I cannot even judge myself..."

    I'm closing comments now on this post - there are many bloggers more qualified than I am, ready and able to define and declare the teachings of the Church as it concerns the Kennedy funeral.

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