Passiontide 2014

Passiontide 2014

As of this past Sunday (two Sundays before Easter) we have entered the time known as Passiontide. A venerable tradition is that all the crucifixes and statues in the church are covered from Passion Sunday until Easter. This veiling is one way of signaling to the faithful that the Holy Triduum is nearing. It serves to remind us that our focus should be on the essentials of our faith – those key concepts that are contained in the last days of Our Lord on earth. Just as life takes on a different tenor when we are faced with the reality of the death of a friend or loved one, so too should our Lenten renewal become even more focused as we approach the great feasts of the Triduum and the Easter season.

No matter where you worship, or how you practice your faith, join us in prayer and penitence as we Free Catholics of the Diocese of the Epiphany and the rest of Christ’s Catholic Church strive to faithfully journey to the renewal of Easter. May we all be a sanctuary of prayer and faithfulness.

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Advent is Here! Be Quiet!!!

 

week-one-advent

Each year we start the holiday season with our own traditions, trimming tress, buying gifts, visiting friends, attending parties, singing carols, greeting strangers, giving change to the bell ringers, and oh so much more!  None of this is bad, in fact, most of it is beautiful and life-giving.  However, anything can be taken to an extreme; all good can be twisted away from its original blessing; and the best of intentions can be led astray.  An most of us do get led astray in our preparations for the holidays.  How often have you heard, “I need a vacation from the holidays” or, “the holidays are so hectic,” or, “it’s the holidays, everyone is miserable!”?  The problem is that we don’t take enough time to be quiet and let the meaning of these preparations sink into our soul and being.  If fact, this season is quite simply a microcosm of our entire life.  All too easily we get caught up in the craziness of busyness and lose sight of the deeper meanings of life.

Advent is a time of hope, waiting, yearning.  It is a time to remind us that in order to know what we await, we must be quiet and listen with the “ear of our heart” to the gentle call of our God.  Our God chose not to come in thunder, bombast, and great fanfare.  Rather, our God comes as a gentle kick of an infant deep in the mother’s womb; in the sound of a tumbling snow flake; in the murmur of moonbeams on a cold winter’s night.  This season we are given an opportunity to slow down, reevaluate our goals and aims, and consider the simple needs of an infant, rather than the desires of adults.  Consider accepting the invitation to be as quiet as a single burning candle, to ponder the reason for our mania, and to help each other to calmly and considerately look for the Christ-child beckoning to us this season and always.

Wishing you Advent silence and contemplation!

Inspired by the Past

St-Gregory-the-Great-icon-with-dove-200x300As we face the promise of military action to counteract military action in Syria … As we hear the cries of the shrinking Christian population in the Middle East, where Christianity was born … As we hear the drum beats of other nations criticising each other with increasing vehemence, perhaps it is time to sit and read of the dilemmas and struggles of a leader from the distant past.

Gregory (540 – 604) was born in Rome and was a civil servant, the usual path for a man of an aristocratic family; he became Rome’s Prefect.

In time, Gregory became a monk and then he founded a monasteries in Rome and in Sicily. As a deacon he was sent as an envoy to Constantinople.

History tells us that Gregory was the first monk –likely to be living the Rule of Benedict– to be elected Pope. His papacy was reform-minded when it came to property, service, concern for the poor and marginalized, the Church’s liturgical life, including sacred music. You can say that Gregory had a working relationship with people in tension with the Church, especially the Barbarians threatening the peace of peoples.

Gregory lived at the crossroads of history.  Ancient Rome was breathing its last and the idea of Christendom was just beginning to take hold.  Literally, there were barbarians at the gates.  Much was entrusted to him; just as much is entrusted to us.  Read his words:

I am forced to consider questions affecting churches and monasteries and often I must judge the lives and actions of individuals; at one moment I am forced to take part in certain civil affairs, next I must worry over the incursions of barbarians and fear the wolves who menace the flock entrusted to my care; now I must accept political responsibility in order to give support to those who preserve the rule of law; now I must bear patiently the villainies of brigands, and then I must confront them, yet in all charity.

My mind is sundered and torn to pieces by the many and serious things I have to think about. When I try to concentrate and gather all my intellectual resources for preaching, how can I do justice to the sacred ministry of the word? I am often compelled by the nature of my position to associate with men of the world and sometimes I relax the discipline of my speech. If I preserved the rigorously inflexible mode of utterance that my conscience dictates, I know that the weaker sort of men would recoil from me and that I could never attract them to the goal I desire for them. So I must frequently listen patiently to their aimless chatter. Because I am weak myself I am drawn gradually into idle talk and I find myself saying the kind of thing that I didn’t even care to listen to before.

As I read the bold statements by my friends and allies, my fellow Christians, and the politically savy, I am unconvinced of the absoluteness of their positions.  I see more gray than black and white.  I hear the lessons of history whispering in the winds of war.  I feel the tug of “justice, right, and the American way.”  I feel the angst of Gregory.  I smell the fear of the helpless poor, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Christian faith preaches hope in the face of despair.  I want to shout my resounding vote on action, but the conviction is not there.  Prayer seems an escape.  “I am weak myself.”  Gregory, we turn to you to intercede for us as we face our own crossroads of history.  God of love, show us the way to peace, justice, and salvation.  Help us to be strengthened by the little gifts of love we experience all along the way.  Fortify our faith and trust by witnessing the promise of fidelity between young spouses.  May we value each moment, each life, each miracle and renew our better nature by Your grace.

The Truth?

in-search-truth-titleBe careful of anyone who is absolutely certain of what is the “Truth.”  There are so many people who claim to know the truth and yet when one listens to them, their truth is nothing more than a weapon with which they beat upon others who are different from themselves.

If one is to believe the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as reiterated by the saints throughout the ages, then the truth cannot be separated from love and beauty.  Truth is not a weapon of destruction, but a building block of creation.

There are a lot of clergy and other “religious types” that wield their certainty like a scythe, trying to cut down those who would extend Jesus’ message of love to areas of our culture not yet touched by the building, healing love of Christ.  Each of us needs to be careful of shutting out those who are different from ourselves.  We are most comfortable with what is near, what is like us, and what is familiar.  However, the truth does not have to be any of those things.  The truth can be different, foreign, and strange.  We need to be open to the loving embrace of our God.  That is truth; that God is love and God embraces all love.

We celebrate love at Epiphany. We celebrate truth.  We celebrate you.  Won’t you join us?

Why Another Way?

magifollowthestarWhy do we need another way to be Catholic? Here in the Diocese of the Epiphany we look to the first Epiphany for the answer to that question. Just as the Magi “returned home by another way” after realizing the threat posed to them by Herod (Mt. 2:12), so too many of us have found the traditional way to be Catholic to be hostile and menacing against us. There are many reasons for this. Whatever your reason is for looking for another way to be Catholic, you have come to the right place to seek the light of Christ.

We come from the East (West, North, and South, too!) sincerely seeking to worship and serve Christ in this complex world of ours. We know that there are many reasons why people feel that the traditional Church does not work for them; we welcome all to come and speak to us. Share your story and pray with us. Together we can share the light of Christ that so many seek and travel far to find. Together we can bring our gifts to a world yearning for another way.

Wise people still seek Him!

New Beginnings

stairsThis site is dedicated to promoting the Diocese of the Epiphany.  As we are a small Christian Catholic community, we are constantly reaching out to others who want to be with others who want to celebrate the sacraments in a Catholic way without the rules and barriers established by the Roman church.  We are all climbing the path to holiness and appreciate the support of like-minded seekers.  If you find your way to this site and would like to explore “another way to be Catholic,” please contact us.  We are a member diocese of Christ’s Catholic Church (http://free-catholic.org/).