Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pleasant Dreams

Edwin is spending a lot of time dreaming about meeting his new cousin.
Who isn't quite done yet.
New cousin is just letting us all know who's in charge around here.
In the meanwhile, Edwin can dream and so can we.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thanks Again, Dr. Hahn

Twenty-five years ago, at the age of twenty-seven I came into the Catholic Church.   I was a new convert and an innocent and fledgling Christian.  Thinking I would be eager to hear a conversion story, a friend (also a convert) lent me Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.  Reading it was the first inkling that perhaps I didn't have all the information required to be a Catholic.  I was tenderly taken under the guidance of the Hahns.

I was a little confused.  But this nice couple, the Hahns, took me by the hand and gently lead me down a path where I didn't even recognize all the words.  Only later did I realize that Scott Hahn was one of the Heavy Hitters in the Catholic world, a powerhouse of faith, apologetics, theology and rhetoric.  Now knowing who he was, who quoted him, who argued from his premises, and who he kept company with...I feared him.  But over the years I listened to talks and read the writings of the esteemed Dr. Hahn, and eventually got less fearful, less confused, and recognized most of the words.

Just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being asked to review a new book to be released by Dr. Hahn, The Creed:  Professing the Faith Through The Ages.

I knew I was in for something memorable when, just in the first couple of chapters, three or four chills went down my spine.  I was going to be taken by the hand, once again, to a deeper understanding, and ultimately a deeper faith.  I was going to be moved, in the same way that the creed should move us every single time we profess it.

From "I believe" "Amen" Dr. Hahn carries us through the creed (not one particular creed, the Church has developed many) in light of theology, history, conviction, dissent, heresy and error.  The history of salvation, in fact, comes to life with the light hand of an experienced tour guide who sweeps you along with his fervour, teaching without the student even knowing he is being taught.  The creed's "revolutionary character" unfolds.

Exploring the nature of covenant (the spoken bond between God and humanity), we begin to understand creed (the spoken confession of what we believe about God and humanity).  The words used profess the faith, uphold and instruct, but more:

"These are not merely instances of instruction.  They are moments of conversion--the deep transformation of a human life. The confession (of creed) is an outward sign of an interior change that is taking place." (pg. 33, The Creed)

The purpose of the words in covenant and creed are the same purpose of the Church: to get us to heaven.  To save us.  Dr. Hahn proceeds to unveil how that happens.  "He establishes the covenant and invites us to live in his family forever; but he doesn't not compel us to accept the terms." (pg. 116, The Creed).  "...and not only did he save us from our sins--but he made us like himself." (pg. 119) "We are saved for fellowship (with God)..." (pg. 121).  The purpose of covenant, creed and the Church is to aid our growth in holiness, and ultimately our communion in heaven with God.

The survival of Christianity becomes apparent through the development of the creed, it shows us what the Church was up against and how carefully she needed to safeguard the teachings of Christ.  The words of the creed were formative for the culture.  The language carries us forward as individuals to live the creed more fully.  The words carry us forward, also, as the body of Christ.
In simplicity and clarity, Dr. Hahn guides us through the creed.   In a little more than a hundred and fifty pages, he sweeps us through relevant Church history and we emerge from it realizing he has done something similar to the creed itself. He informs us, forms us, unifies us and helps, through deepening our understanding, to bind us to Christ.

He unsettles and comforts us. He takes us by the hand and helps us grow.

Of course vast references are provided which I was not compelled to check because, well, he is Scott Hahn.  I read the book from start to finish with a well developed sense of trust because...well, 
I'm not Scott Hahn.

In the spiritual confusion and apathy in which we live today, he wraps up by offering us this:

"In such a climate what are we, in our turn, to do?  Perhaps we should do the same as 
St. Gregory did all those years ago.  We should go forward, fortified by the creed."  
(The Creed, pg. 159)


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Labour Inducing Gelato, who knew?

Yesterday we got talking about gelato, as we often do.  Once the conversation rolls around to food, well, gelato is fundamental to the conversation. 

Scout says, "Apparently there is a gelato shoppe in Ottawa that sells labour inducing gelato."  She says this like it's completely a normal thing. I respond (like it's completely normal thing), "hey, I'll take you guys out for gelato tomorrow afternoon if you like."

We agree that it is a good idea.

So today, after we check out the parish garage sale, where we exclusively buy books, and tour through Little Italy (it's Italian Car Day in Little Italy...and the red Ferraris are lining the streets as are cool looking Ferrari owners)...we head over the gelato shoppe for the completely normal labour inducing gelato.  It's called Stella Luna and you can even check it out here on the local news.

We arrive and place our order.  The gelato scooper person says, "are you wanting the labour inducing gelato?"  Exactly like it's a completely normal thing.  "YES."  He has to go get it from the back.

It's Special.

"It's on the house."

Bonus.  Free gelato.  I wish I was about to give birth.  Actually, I'm okay paying for my gelato.  I've had my day.   And so we eat gelato.  If baby doesn't arrive by tomorrow, we still got to eat gelato today.  We might get to eat gelato every day.

And then, bonus upon endless bonus...a priest (known to my daughter and her husband) walks into the gelato shoppe, he orders gelato, blesses the baby and we are on our way, satisfied that blessings rain down upon us.  

I would like to qualify that labour inducing gelato is actually not a normal thing.  In case this post led anyone to believe otherwise.