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For 2017: Quit Resolutions, Develop a Rule of Life and Prayer

So You’ve Never Kept a Single New Year’s Resolution. Why? It began just over a month ago on Thanksgiving in November, the gorging, the loosening of the belt after dinner, the “just one more” mentality. You said to yourself, “On January 1, I’m cutting calories, reducing the number of libations I sip or switching to lite beer and going back to the gym. You said all this knowing that the feasting would continue through the month of December: Christmas parties at the office, at church and at friend’s places. This would obviously continue on Christmas Eve (especially if you’re of Italian…

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Poetry: Opus Viridis

“Opus Viridis” ©2013 Matthew Paul Buccheri   Shades of verdant Crayola in a lengthy season Prompt us like the hands of a Grandfather Where will the sun rise this week?   Torches atop the draped marble, east-facing Curlicues of gold thread weave about Like a circulatory system, only more handsome to the eye   Yes! Sanctus Paulus patiently we awaited you: How now to live after being raised and deified? He reminds us: continue the trek over the steep hilly summer meadow   Originally published in The Anglican: A Journal of Anglican Identity, (Pentecost 2014, Volume 42, No. 1.).

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Article – Jesus: The Prayer (The Episcopal New Yorker, Spring 2016)

What’s in a Name? What’s in a name? Do names have power? Well, the U.S. Supreme Court certainly believes so—ruling in 2002, and again in 2010, that people’s “Miranda” Rights do not include the right to withhold their names. There’s much information in a name, and the justices recognized that it is the key to its owner’s legal history: Our names can tell a lot about us—not only who we are, but also where we’re from, and even what we’ve done. Names do indeed have power. The Prayer’s History For centuries in the Church, especially in Orthodox Christianity, there has…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

IV The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part; Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer’s art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart. Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse, And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse. The whole earth is our hospital Endowed by the ruined millionaire, Wherein, if we do well, we shall Die of the absolute paternal care That will not leave us, but prevents us…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“Question from [a monk, who was also a priest, in the community of Seridos] to the Other Old Man (John): When I give to my body more than is necessary, it does not help me during the Liturgy; and if I give it less, I am afraid it will collapse completely. What should I do about this? And in regard to Holy Communion, since I want to partake of this every day, is it a burden to me that I approach Holy Communion as a sinner or should I continue to partake of it? And, again, how can I protect my…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“I shall never forget the tormenting feeling that I experienced on the day I received communion for the first time in many years. The service, the priest, the rules of prayer, were all something I could understand, and created in me a joyful realization that the meaning of life was being revealed. The communion itself I interpreted as an act performed in memory of Christ, signifying the purification of sin and the full acceptance of Christ’s teachings. If this explanation was artificial, I failed to notice its falsity. As I bowed down and humbled myself before the confessor, a simple,…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“John’s gospel is haunted by the idea of the ‘time’ or the ‘hour’ for which Jesus waits….The ‘hour’ is the time of humiliation, betrayal, and murder: as John puts it, this is the time at which the world is judged, when its fears and its lies are dragged into the open. In the betrayal and slaughter of Jesus, we are shown what it is we do to one another and ourselves in our self-justifying, self-defending terror, our refusal to penetrate to and face out inner divisions and their destructive effects….The judgment is beginning, then: the painful glory of the mercy…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“When a man leaves on a journey, he must know where he is going. Thus with Lent. Above all, Lent is a spiritual journey and its destination is Easter, “the Feasts of Feasts.”…Is it necessary to explain that Easter is much more than one of the feasts, more than a yearly commemoration of a past event? Anyone who has, be it only once, taken part in that night which is “brighter than day,” who has tasted of the unique joy, knows it. But what is that joy all about? Why can we sing, as we do during the Paschal liturgy: “today…

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“The dark night is God’s attack on religion. If you genuinely desire union with the unspeakable love of God, then you must be prepared to have your ‘religious’ world shattered. If you think devotional practices, theological insights, even charitable actions give you some sort of purchase on God, you are still playing games.” — Rowan Williams, A Ray of Darkness

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Fridays in Lent: Quote of the Day

“The word for ‘confession’ in Greek (exomologesis) suggests something more than simply accepting, acknowledging and bearing witness to an event of act. More than a matter of admitting a hitherto unacknowledged sin, to confess means to accept and submit to the divine Logos (ex-omo-logesis) who is beyond and above the nature and condition of humanity. It is this Logos, the Word of God, in whom the repentant soul seeks salvation. To repent and confess is not so much to recognize and expose a failure as it is to respond from within to the call of God in whose image and…

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Sins I’m Giving Up for Lent: None!

I recently did a “thought experiment” on my Facebook page.  I asked the question (to my 1000+ “friends”), “What sins are you giving up for Lent?” In parentheses I added the qualification, “trick question.” I really did not think that many people would “fall for it,” or “take the bate.” Frankly, I thought that folks would (rightly) object to such a public display of a personal, spiritual matter. Now I won’t list for you the various answers, but suffice to say that folks chimed right in with a battery of sins, some of which you could guess. Think with me,…

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Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s “Progressive” Straw Man (Part 1)

Last week while trolling through Facebook I stumbled on a Patheos blog post by Fr. Dwight Longenecker entitled, “Twelve Reasons Why Progressive Christianity Will Die Out.” After skimming Fr. Longenecker’s 12 reasons, I was baffled how this former fundamentalist/evangelical, turned Anglican priest, turned Roman Catholic priest could not see the obvious holes riddling his 12 points. One would think that a man who has had access to as much of the Christian tradition as he has had would inevitably recognize his category mistakes. Before I address Fr. Longenecker’s 12 reasons point by point, I wanted to first highlight his problematic starting point. His overarching category…

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The Gospel According to (the Feast of the) Epiphany

If ever there were a perfect text for the meaning behind the feast of the Epiphany, surely it is the Third Song of Isaiah (Canticle 11, BCP p. 87), taken from Isaiah 60. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you. For behold, darkness covers the land; deep gloom enshrouds the peoples. But over you the Lord will rise,  and his glory will appear upon you. Nations will stream to your light,  and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Your gates will always be open; by day or night they…