On September 8 the Catholic Church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Canotta Chicago Bulls In context, the date is exactly nine months after the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Connected with this particular feast is an ancient “blessing of seeds” that has taken place on this day for hundreds of years. Canotta NBA Farmers and other parishioners would arrive at Mass with their seeds or seedlings and the priest would bless them afterwards. Maglie Denver Nuggets It is a custom that takes as its biblical basis the command of God given to Moses, “Tell the children of Israel that when they enter the land of promise which I shall give them, they are to offer the first-fruits to the priests, and they shall be blessed.” The traditional text of the blessing can be found in the Roman Ritual. New Balance 446 męskie “Holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God, we ask and beseech you to look with merry countenance and fair eyes on these seeds and seedlings. And as you proclaimed to Moses, your servant, in the land of Egypt, saying: “Tell the children of Israel that when they enter the land of promise which I shall give them, they are to offer the first-fruits to the priests, and they shall be blessed”; so too at our request, O Lord, be merciful and pour out the blessing + of your right hand upon these seeds, which you in your benevolence bring forth to sustain life. Let neither drought nor flood destroy them, but keep them unharmed until they reach their full growth and produce an abundant harvest for the service of body and soul. We ask this of you who live and reign in perfect Trinity forever and ever.” “Almighty everlasting God, sower and tiller of the heavenly word, who cultivate the field of our hearts with heavenly tools, hear our prayers and pour out abundant blessings upon the fields in which these seeds are to be sown. By your protecting hand turn away the fury of the elements, so that this entire fruit may be filled with your blessing, + and may be gathered unharmed and stored up in the granary; through Christ our Lord.” The annual blessing of seeds on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a way for farmers to mark the closing of the summer harvest and the beginning of fall and winter planting. Before they engaged in such an endeavor, they sought the blessing of the priest to bring God’s protection on their actions. Reggie Jackson Baseball Jersey It was a way to recognize the power God has over creation and to place the following year’s growing season into his hands. new balance 996 homme pas cher In addition to being a day where farmers recognized the role of God in protecting their livelihood, farmers sought God’s help through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. As Eve was known as the “Mother of all the Living,” Mary being the “New Eve” has been given the title of “Mother and Queen of All Creation.” Pope Francis even highlighted this particular role of Mary in his encyclical Laudato Si’. “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now lives with Jesus, and all creatures sing of her fairness. She is the Woman, ‘clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars’ (Rev 12:1). New Balance 993 damskie Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19,51), and now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom.” This blessing has received even more relevance with the recent celebration of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” that Pope Francis established in the Roman Catholic Church on September 1. fjällräven kånken mini In the end, the blessing of seeds is a way to recognize God as the one from whom all blessings flow and to ask for his assistance and protection through the motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After perusing the latest Pew Study on why young people are leaving the active practice of Christianity, I confess that I just sighed in exasperation. I don’t doubt for a moment the sincerity of those who responded to the survey, but the reasons they offer for abandoning Christianity are just so uncompelling. That is to say, any theologian, apologist, or evangelist worth his salt should be able easily to answer them. And this led me (hence the sigh) to the conclusion that “we have met the enemy and it is us.” For the past 50 years or so, Christian thinkers have largely abandoned the art of apologetics and have failed (here I offer a j’accuse to many in the Catholic universities) to resource the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition in order to hold off critics of the faith. New Balance 990 damskie I don’t blame the avatars of secularism for actively attempting to debunk Christianity; that’s their job, after all. Adidas Scarpe Donna But I do blame teachers, catechists, evangelists, and academics within the Christian churches for not doing enough to keep our young people engaged. These studies consistently demonstrate that unless we believers seriously pick up our game intellectually, we’re going to keep losing our kids. Let me look just briefly at some of the chief reasons offered for walking away from Christianity. asics pas cher Many evidently felt that modern science somehow undermines the claims of the faith. One respondent said: “rational thought makes religion go out the window,” and another complained of the “lack of any sort of scientific evidence of a creator.” Well, I’m sure it would come as an enormous surprise to St. Paul, St. Fjallraven Kanken Sverige Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St.
Thomas Aquinas, St. Robert Bellarmine, Blessed John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and Joseph Ratzinger—all among the most brilliant people Western culture has produced—that religion and reason are somehow incompatible. new balance 577 marron homme
There simply cannot be “scientific” evidence or argument that tells one way or the other in regard to God. Mind you, this is by no means to imply that there are no rational warrants for belief in God. Philosophers over the centuries, in fact, have articulated dozens of such demonstrations, which have, especially when considered together, enormous probative force. I have found, in my own evangelical work, that the argument from contingency gets quite a bit of traction with those who are wrestling with the issue of God’s existence. What these arguments have lacked, sad to say, are convinced and articulate defenders within the academy and in the ranks of teachers, catechists, and apologists. New Balance 1600 hombre One of the young people responded to the survey using the formula made famous by Karl Marx: “religion just seems to be the opiate of the people.” Marx’s adage, of course, is an adaptation of Ludwig Feuerbach’s observation that religion amounts to a projection of our idealized self-image. new balance 1300 acquisto Sigmund Freud, in the early 20th century, further adapted Feuerbach, arguing that religion is like a waking dream, a wish-fulfilling fantasy. Fjällräven Kånken Ryggsäckar This line of thinking has been massively adopted by the so-called “new atheists” of our time. I find it regularly on my internet forums. What all of this comes down to, ultimately, is a dismissive and patronizing psychologization of religious belief. new balance 577 damskie But it is altogether vulnerable to a tu quoque (you do the same thing) counter-attack. I think it is eminently credible to say that atheism amounts to a wish-fulfilling fantasy, precisely in the measure that it allows for complete freedom and self-determination: if there is no God, no ultimate moral criterion, I can do and be whatever I want. Nike Store Italia In a word, the psychologizing cuts just as effectively in the opposite direction. Hence, the two charges more or less cancel one another out—and this should compel us to return to real argument at the objective level. Hollister Soldes A third commonly-cited reason for abandoning the Christian churches is that, as one respondent put it, “Christians seem to behave so badly.” God knows that the clergy sex abuse scandals of the last 25 years have lent considerable support to this argument, already bolstered by the usual suspects of the Inquisition, the Crusades, the persecution of Galileo, witch-hunts, etc., etc. Cheap Nike shoes We could, of course, enter into an examination of each of these cases, but for our purposes I am willing to concede the whole argument: yes indeed, over the centuries, lots and lots of Christians have behaved wickedly. Brandon Crawford Jersey But why, one wonders, should this tell against the integrity and rectitude of Christian belief? Many, many Americans have done horrific things, often in the name of America. One thinks of slave owners, the enforcers of Jim Crow laws, the carpet bombers of Dresden and Tokyo, the perpetrators of the My-Lai Massacre, the guards at Abu Ghraib Prison, etc. Do these outrages ipso facto prove that American ideals are less than praiseworthy, or that the American system as such is corrupt? The question answers itself. Relatedly, a number of young people said that they left the Christian churches because “religion is the greatest source of conflict in the world.” One hears this charge so often today—especially in the wake of September 11—that we tend to take it as self-evident, when in point of fact, it is an invention of Enlightenment-era historiography. Voltaire, Diderot, Spinoza, and many others in the 17th and 18th centuries wanted to undermine religion, and they could find no better way to achieve this end than to score Christianity as the source of violence. Through numberless channels this view has seeped into the general consciousness, but it simply does not stand up to serious scrutiny. In their exhaustive survey of the wars of human history (The Encyclopedia of Wars), Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod demonstrate that less than 7% of wars could be credibly blamed on religion, and even the most casual reflection bears this out. In point of fact, the bloodiest wars in history, those of the 20th century, which produced over 100 million dead, had practically nothing to do with religion. Marcus Mariota Oregon Football Jerseys Indeed, a very persuasive case could be made that ideological secularism and modern nationalism are the sources of greatest bloodshed. And yet the prejudice, first fostered by the philosophes of the Enlightenment, oddly endures. An earlier Pew Study showed that for every one person who joins the Catholic Church today, six are leaving, and that many of those who leave are the young. This most recent survey indicates that intellectual objections figure prominently when these drifters are asked why they abandoned their faith.