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Archive for April, 2011

“NATO’s war makes no sense. People want peace. What have people done to deserve all this?” asks Mgr Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, apostolic vicar of Tripoli. “Targeting military objectives” is crazy because “bombs are striking everywhere,” the prelate said. “We cannot sleep and people are panicking,” he added. “Just last night, there were some explosions just a few kilometres from our area.”

Read more:

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/This-%E2%80%9Cwar-makes-no-sense%E2%80%9D,-the-Italian-govt-should-%E2%80%9Cresign%E2%80%9D,-Tripoli-bishop-says-21417.html

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Lord Have Mercy

Senate hawks push for intervention in Syria: http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/28/senate-hawks-push-for-obama-move-against-syria/

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By Metropolitan Hierotheos:

Christ’s Resurrection should not be celebrated as a historical or social event, but as existential, which means that it should be a participation in the grace of the Resurrection. The fasting which precedes the feast during the whole of Great Lent, the ascetic struggle, aims at the best participation in the mystery of the Resurrection. In order to be successful, however, this requires, as all the Fathers teach, purification of the senses of both body and soul. St. John of Damascus sings: “Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the ineffable light of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him saying clearly, ‘Rejoice!’, as we sing the triumphant hymns!” Thus purification is a necessary condition for vision of God and communion with God. St. Gregory the Theologian says: “Therefore one must be purified, then one must converse in purity.”

Read the rest: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/

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Icon by Gregory Krug

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Of God

There is only one place to watch non-mainstream movies around here, about an hour away in Cleveland, at the Cedar Lee theater. I have ventured there only once in the fifteen years I have been married. I don’t even remember what film I saw, only that I was disappointed and considered it a waste of time and money to have ventured so far.

But on Wednesday of Bright Week I took my two oldest boys to Cleveland to see Of Gods and Men, the trailer of which I had posted here a couple of weeks ago.

The film is based on the true story of a community of French Cistercian monks in North Africa who had been killed  (apparently) by Islamist militants ten years or so ago.

I had read only positive reviews of the movie, which always bodes well, and it was no disappointment. Indeed, Of Gods and Men is a welcome addition to my (small) canon of films which approach the subject of faith and prayer directly, and the first whose subject is Roman Catholic faith. (The others are Ostrov (Russian Orthodox), Ushpizin (Hasidic Jewish), The Color of Paradise (Shia Muslim), and Tender Mercies (Texan Baptist)).

Of Gods and Men  is an altogether beautiful meditation on faith, vocation, and Christian love.

The monks live amongst the local Muslims, and in a departure from the purely contemplative Trappist tradition with which we are familiar in this country, live a life of prayer as well as service to their neighbors:  one of the monks is a physician, who freely treats the villagers, and the monks participate in the life of the village.

The film captures the rhythms of monastic life, the prayer, the chant, the work. The peace of their lives is broken only occasionally, and sometimes brutally, by the intrusion of “the World”.

In time they are trapped between their vocation, the nascent Islamist militancy, the corrupt military government, and their own fears. These are not holy card saints, and they wrestle, some more than others, with their discipleship and a very human hesitation in the face of death.

I won’t give away more, only tell you that it is in every way a very good idea that you make every effort to see this film, even if you have to wait to see it on DVD.

It was certainly worth a trip to Cleveland, even if my teenagers really didn’t get it. Sometimes I wonder if they were crossing their baby fingers when they were baptized.

Alas….

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Beyond Pascha

A very fine Bright Week meditation from Father Stephen: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/

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