Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Icon starts streaming myrrh at Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Moscow, January 27, Interfax - The Softener of Evil Hearts Mother of God Icon at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow has started streaming myrrh.Vesti television channel reported citing evidence of numerous churchgoers that the icon was "streaming myrrh very intensively."In line with a long-standing church tradition, the icon has been specially brought to the Church Council meeting currently being held in Moscow, at which over 700 of its participants earlier cast their ballots to elect a new Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.A tabulation commission member is expected to announce the result of the voting within minutes.

UPDATE: 2:00 pm edt - Metropolitan Kirill has been elected Patriarch of Moscow and all the Rus

UDATE2: http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/36500

Monday, January 26, 2009

Twixt (Support for) Life or Death (PC="Choice")

Kathryn Jean Lopez, of the National Review Online reports on her attendance at last week's March for Life in DC, as well as reflecting on attending 2004's March for Women's Rights. March for Life is an annual protest march in Washington, DC, in support of equal rights for all human beings from conception to natural death. March for Women's Rights was a protest march in 2004 organized by the National Organization for Women in support of abortion and other political 'rights'. Below is an excerpt from Ms Lopez' article.

But I walked the whole March. I walked the March from the Mall to the Supreme Court after attending the pre-rally. I walked the March and hung around on the House side of the Capitol for a little while. The only display of anger I saw came from a woman walking a block away from the Supreme Court with a big round “Keep Abortion Legal” sticker from the National Organization for Women. She was furious, saying to a friend, “They don’t care about human rights. I can’t believe all these people. They just care about babies.”

Of course they care about babies. Some of them have had a lot of them, and brought some of them along; others look on with joy at the families. But it is because they know these babies are human—which shouldn’t be in dispute, though it seemed to be back when Obama was in the statehouse arguing that a newborn shouldn’t have the same rights as an older baby—that they care about this issue.

And that message—that this is a human-rights issue and men, women, and children deserve better than a culture that values the legal “choice” of abortion over all other values, including compassion and common decency—was emanating from the March for Life this year, and so many of the events surrounding it. “Healing” had a big presence there.
Read the whole article here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Update on Life

Dear Readers:

My apologies to you for the long period of low-blogging; things here have been rather complicated.

On 20 November, the good Presbytera was discovered to have a dangerous tumor impacting her brain. She had been suffering from headaches, forgetfulness, confusion and periods of dizziness for some time, the symptoms getting more pronounced for weeks. When the neurologists looked at the MRI they told us they were frankly amazed that she had walked into the emergency room under her own power. This was in the evening after the initial CAT scan revealed the tumor and several hours of the doctors consulting each other as to where she should go for the surgery.

Suffice it to say that the next couple of days were chaotic. Our Liturgy for the Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple had to be cancelled; I spent the day in the hospital with her praying as the medical team awaited the optimum time for the surgery; and our parish family joined in prayers for her safety. We dedicated her recovery to the Holy Theotokos under the title Our Lady the Protectress of All Christians.

Our prayers were met with God’s favor. Presbytera came through the surgery very well, again to the amazement of the medical staff. By 25 November, she was discharged and back home.

Of course, the surgery was not the end of the trouble. Presbytera has a grade four glioma. These are very dangerous, quick growing, and tenacious. By mid-December we were introduced to the routine of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She was given a mild regime of antibiotics as a prophylaxis against infections, and began the watch for the obligatory falling out of the hair and onset of exhaustion caused by the treatment.

We currently are near the end of the round for both chemo and radiation, and the cumulative effect on Presbytera has been telling but not defeating. There are days wherein sleeping is her major activity around taking her meds and visiting the hospital for radiation. Then there are days where sleep seems far removed and out of reach. Other physiological effects also are borne with patient but difficult endurance.

God willing, after the round of treatment is over, and the cooling off period that these necessitate, the next MRI will show no further growth. As this type of glioma is rare, Presbytera will be eligible to participate in a drug study that seeks to determine the best combination of already-known-to-be-effective chemotherapy medicines. Whether she participates – initially she was ready to sign on – will depend on how she feels by the time she is eligible.

This time of our lives has been profound on many levels. People have been wonderful in their prayers and support for us. From our local parishioners to people around the Eparchy to my co-workers in the Chancery, the inner heart of each has been revealed in their care, sincerity and desire to help us. For your rambling host, this has been a time to re-evaluate priorities, look beyond the obvious, and allow God’s compassionate Spirit to comfort and reassure through difficulties that I now perceive can only be understood from the “inside”.

As I noted in a previous entry, the Psalter – always central to the life of the priestly vocation – has become more and more important to me; and the writing of St Ephraim the Syrian (A Spiritual Psalter) has provided a spiritual balance I have desperately needed. Of course, the Divine Services have been a supreme source of comfort and inspiration.

In many ways, I have come to consider that only now have I begun to truly understand what the priesthood is all about. The Apostle’s image of the earthen vessel has more truth than people know. Only when we are emptied of our own illusions of power, authority, importance, and intellectual prowess can we make fitting accommodation for the Holy Spirit. In the Divine Liturgy, the priest’s work is accomplished in humble silence as the ancient prayers and words of the Golden-tongued are enlivened through Grace. These prayers, like so much of our Byzantine Tradition, nourish, heal, and fill with hope as we surrender all to the Holy Trinity. Our Lord warms us in the fire of His Divine Love, and the Theotokos craddles us in the protection of her intercessions.

Presbytera has good days and bad days. We do not know what the future holds for her and us. Yet somehow I have a confidence that defies the limitations of statistics and expectations. We are not going through this alone. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.

Please keep Presbytera in your prayers; and her mother, our daughter, and your rambling host. While blog updates may be erratic for some time (like that never happened here before, eh?), I will do my best to continue my rambling commentary and reflection on life in this age of cultural decline. We have no need of fear, He has conquered death already; and so, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Oh, and after Pascha I will have to undergo hip replacement surgery.

C'est la vie!

Thanks be to God.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Superior Scribbler Award

My thanks to Josephus Flavius at Byzantine Texas for bestowing unto me a Superior Scribbler Award. I am in turn obliged to pick five bloggers of my own to proffer - understanding my solemn responsibility - the same accolade and provide the rules for them to follow:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received the Award.

  • Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains the award.

  • Each Blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List (scroll down). That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor!

  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

    I now create thee, Superior Scribblers!

    1. In Caritate Non Ficta
    2. Orthodoxy Today Blog
    3. The Rosemary Tree
    4. A Catechumen's Tale
    5. Salt of the Earth

    and for bonus points...

    1. Glory to God for All Things
    2. Credo
    3. The Blogland of Earl Capps
    4. A Conservative Blog for Peace

    the list truly could go on and on...
  • Saturday, January 03, 2009

    Old News?

    In keeping with this blog's motto, I submit that while it will all too soon be three years "old", the homily delivered by the Patriarch of Constantinople on the occasion of the Pope of Rome's 2006 attendance at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Feast of St Andrew is worth our humble reflection. May we all increase our prayers for the Unity of the Faith and may the day soon come when we merely remember our divisions as a closed page of history.

    If we can recite the Holy Creed together in unison, why is there not unity among us?

    Also worth consideration, this link: http://cdn3.libsyn.com/thehiddenpearl/eastern_catholic_churches.mov?nvb=20090103150207&nva=20090104151207&t=03383a145aef47de3ba86

    It's a slow download, but also worthy of our consideration.

    (Just overlook the visual of the NAB {"Not a Bible"}.)