Pseudepigrapha

Monday, April 28, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (55)

...is a really cool word. It has nothing to do with Sudafed or pigs. Also, it's not related to the game Sudoku (or its cousin game Real Ku).

Nope. It's a three dollar word for "writings that claim to be written by some Famous Person but are really not."

One of the marks of a lot of early fake Christian (and Jewish) literature as that they are pseudepigrapha: they almost always claim to be by some important Heavy Hitter in the early Christian community: Mary Magdalene, Philip, James, Peter, Thomas.

The reasons for this are not far to seek, though we moderns (who habitually believe that anybody making religious claims is a fraud and a liar) tend to batten on one reason: namely, when you...READ MORE

Filed under scripture

A Curious Question About an Emergency Baptism

Friday, April 25, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (48)

A reader writes:

Two nights ago on the way home, a guy ran out into the highway in front of our bus, was hit and went under the wheels. We stopped and I and several others rushed back. He was... very... torn up (don't want to be graphic), but somehow he was still trying to breathe, so I know he was alive. While others with more first aid knowledge than I tried to help (but there was honestly no way, short of divine intervention in a spectacular miracle, that he would survive), I suddenly thought about how he may not be Baptized. Several cars had stopped by that time, but in the course of the little time I had all I could find was a McDonalds cup that had some diluted, warm coke in...READ MORE

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For All the Newly Baptized

Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:01 AM Comments (1)

The Convert

G.K. Chesterton

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

Happy Easter!  Christ is Risen...READ MORE

Filed under happy easter

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

Friday, April 18, 2014 1:00 AM Comments (0)

Let man's Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is't, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I'almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of...READ MORE

Filed under good friday

What Do I Think About Boycotts?

Monday, April 14, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (3)

A reader asks:

Last weekend, some friends and I were discussing a topic that became more serious as the conversation wore on. (This was one of those conversations that men have on a weekend retreat at the lake with beer and cigars, their wives wisely already fast asleep with the children.) I recently came across a list of companies that signed a Friend of the Court brief in favor of same-sex "marriage". I'm not sure if you're familiar with the list, but one of the more prominent and ubiquitous companies is Amazon. I'm sure you're familiar with their CEO's stance on the sexually libertine issues. But this was the last straw for our family: we have decided to boycott Amazon until they...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

A reader struggles with scruples about prayer

Friday, April 11, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (16)

Perhaps you can take a moment to touch on a topic that I haven't seen covered on your blog before, or explicitly in any of the Catholic things I have read.

It's related to the issue of pain and suffering, but it's from the perspective of a believer.  I find that as I've gotten older, and have become more convinced of the power of prayer, I am tormented by guilt over the suffering of others.

By which I mean, I ask myself how I can sit at dinner and laugh at my husband's jokes, when, right at that very same moment, innocent babies are being aborted in droves.

I read today that a five-day old baby was abducted from her home in Wisconsin, and now I can barely function.  I want...READ MORE

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A question about the dead

Monday, April 07, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (14)

A reader writes:

Can souls of our departed love ones return to earth to appear to us? I recently lost my 45 year old wife and have been praying for a sign that she’s in Heaven and okay. I’m thinking that Heaven is outside of space and time so would be difficult to “crossover” back to earth. What do you think? What does our church say about this?

First of all, please accept my condolences on your terrible loss.  May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  In answer to your question, yes, it is possible—and has on rare occasion happened—that God permits the dead to be manifest to the living.  We have an example of that in the New Testament, when the...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Question about Shopping on Sunday

Saturday, April 05, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (0)

A reader writes:

Is it okay to shop online during Sunday? What if only downloadable, digital purchases are made? What do you think?

I suppose it depends on the spirit in which it is done.  The idea is to set Sunday aside for rest and time with God and loved ones.  People do different things to relax on Sunday.  What is for one person a pleasurable bit of relaxation is, for another, a driving work of slavery to the work ethic or avarice.  So one person might find gardening on a Sunday a lovely, restful, prayerful time while another might find it an exercise in a harried torment of trying to keep up with the Joneses and their perfect, manicured home and garden.  If it’s the latter,...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

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About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.