Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Living with the Dead: Thoughts for Halloween

Hello my dear reader.

As part of my theological and spiritual formation, I am very lucky to know some excellent and kind professors, priests, theologians and other men and women who challenge my assumptions, force me to grow and never be satisfied with what I think I know, and inspire me to continue my quest for Sophia (wisdom). This journey has taken me several times to St. Gregory's Abbey; it is the home of a community of men living under the Rule of Saint Benedict within the Episcopal Church. The center of the monastery's life is the Abbey Church, where God is worshiped in the daily round of Eucharist, Divine Office, and private prayer.

One of these great men and women that continue to inspire me is the Abbot at St. Gregory's: Andrew Marr, OSB. In one of his latest posts (from his blog Imaginary Visions of True Peace) he writes about Halloween:

For many in North America, Halloween is a day for children to dress up, have fun, and get lots of candy from indulgent neighbors. Skeleton suits and witch’s makeup are all in fun. Not as fun is the background to Halloween that goes back to rites, such as the Celtic Samhain festival, designed to allay anxiety over blurring the distinction between the dead and the living and make sure the dead stay dead. This anxiety causes some people to try to suppress modern Halloween, although the people who sentenced witches to burning should be more horrifying than girls running about in black dresses with candy bags.

(Click here for the entire article)



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Theological reflections

Hello dear reader.

As I continue my research on the documentary series I am currently working on, I came across some things I wrote in the last couple of years. I have not posted a lot of this stuff and when I read it (it is amazing what you can discover in old drafts of emails, in pieces of papers, in little notes, etc) I felt driven to share it here.

I guess I could call this "Some Theological Reflections" and the pictures are from the Waycross Camp and Conference Center during a retreat I had there about a month ago. So, here it goes:

Leonardo Boff once said that to believe in Christ is to face an existential act and way of life. To do so is to examine, evaluate, and ask questions not only of ourselves but of our place in the world; to be a Christian is to confront all aspects of our lives and embrace the state of being found in a faith rooted in Christ and his message. This is all part of a journey that consciously or unconsciously continues to defy my plans and my expectations and it will continue to do so. But what is the message of Christ? Why is it important? More to the point, can it be important to the human being of the 21st century? Even if we say that it is, how do we present it so that it may be connected to praxis? The journey goes on and as I continue my discernment in the Episcopal Church it is clear that Theology will play a key role for the rest of my life. Will I remain a layman or will I be ordained? Only God knows the answer to that question and I look forward to what God is planning for me...

I find inspiration in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Ethics” to explain why an ethical life in the Christian spirit is inspired by Scripture but not bound by Scripture; it is to the will of God and how we treat our neighbor that we should be looking to. In Desmond Tutu I find the words that allow me to speak of a pivotal part of Christianity: forgiveness...

Tutu spoke of the “principle of transfiguration” as he tried to explain how his native South Africa faced incredible suffering and dealt with a post-Apartheid reality and existence; the country had years of pain under that oppressive regime but they made it...


As 'seres humanos' (human beings) and as members of the Body of Christ we are faced with suffering every day of every kind. But we can all be eschatological partners with God as we find ways to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger regardless of his country and/or legal status, find clothes for the naked, heal the sick, visit our prisoners, and comfort and defend those of us who cannot do it themselves. And just as we try to find a home for those of us that lost their homes during these difficult economic times, Theology can help the Church be a home 'para todos', for all of us...



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Christian Humanist?

Hello my dear reader.

I hope you are well. I just finished another session of "Coffee with Mario" (the name that I use for my "ministry outside of ministry/mobile ministry") and I would like to share with you the following as it is something that I have found myself thinking about from time to time; it just came up again, forcing me to reflect and meditate...

After another session of "Coffee with Mario"
My Atheist brothers and sisters have told me before: that I am a Christian Humanist. This brings up the following questions: first, how should I define Christian Humanism and how does it compare to Secular Humanism? Second, if they are correct and I am a Christian Humanist, does my Christianity influence my Humanism, or does my Humanism influence my Christianity? The third question is for all of you:

What else should I ask myself?

I would love to hear from you.



P.S. Thank you to those of you that responded so quickly.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Never forget Matthew Shepard (Oct 12, 1998)

My dear reader,

On Oct 12, 1998 a young man died. His name was Matthew Shepard.

"Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who was kidnapped, robbed and pistol-whipped, died here today, five days after he was rescued from a Wyoming ranch where he had been left tied to a fence for 18 hours in near-freezing temperatures."

Let us never forget Matthew Shepard.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Hello my dear reader.

Today is the Feast of of St. Francis of Assisi. As a former Roman Catholic and now Episcopalian, the story, the deeds, the example, and the life of St. Francis still resonates with me. Allow me to share with you 'The Collect' that will be read in every Episcopal church today as part of the liturgy:

St. Francis Preaches to the Birds
Sadao Watanabe
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and everAmen.

Have a great rest of the week and an even better weekend.


Mario :)