John M. Samaha SM

The Dormition (Assumption) is celebrated with great reverence by the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches. John M. Samaha, a Marianist monk from Cupertino, California, considers the role given to Mary in Byzantine liturgy.?

One aspect of the Byzantine Liturgy that frequently captures the attention of the Christian faithful is the exalted place given the Blessed Virgin Mary in daily worship. Her image is always at the left side of the iconostasis, depicting her with her Son and never without him. Her name is always proclaimed after that of her Son. In addition to the four Marian feasts shared with the Roman Church, the Byzantine faithful celebrate many other Marian festivals and dedicate two weeks of intense preparation for her feast of the Assumption (Dormition).

When Mary’s name is mentioned in liturgical prayer, the Byzantine Church gives her entire title: ‘All holy, spotless, most highly blessed and glorious lady, the Mother of God (Theotokos) and ever-virgin Mary.’

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July/August 2012

A D Paul

Mirror imagery is used to powerful effect in both the Old and New Testaments. A.D. Paul takes a brief look. The author is retired principal of Bharata Mata College, Cochin, India.

Many everyday objects find their place in the bible either as utilities or as sources of absorbing imagery. Mirrors also find their way in various places. However, the references to actual users as well as situations of people using the mirrors are scarce. Mirrors do appear in the bible as part of the persuasive imagery of the biblical language.
Before we look for the users of mirrors in the bible and instances of mirror imagery, let us find out what actually were the biblical mirrors. They were certainly not the mirrors that we use which are made of glass; glass is a later invention. The biblical mirrors are sometimes called also looking-glasses.

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July/August 2012

Kevin Tortorelli OFM

In his authenticity a priest must make sense of the various challenges to faith.  These challenges are best met in contemplative prayer that is rooted in the Word and in his Church with the Spirit as tutor. Kevin Tortorelli OFM is  parochial vicar of St Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan and director of its Adult Education Centre.

How is faith doing?
The ebbing tide on Dover beach memorably moved Matthew Arnold to a disturbing reflection on an ebbing and receding faith. The forlorn truth of this image still haunts us who can yet hear the long, withdrawing tide of faith. Nowadays faith is stretched to express itself publicly. It is hounded by a stern consortium of knowledge, logic, reason, and technology that like the ebbing tide have banned faith from its once secure place in the culture. Faith is expected to be the well behaved handmaid of reason, its mysticism tainted by irrationalism.

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July/August 2012

Robert Govaerts

This article invites us to consider that prayerful living with awareness of the wider creation is crucial for allowing a wholesome living on this planet. Robert Govaerts is?a theologian affiliated to the University of Glasgow.

A time of crisis
We live at a time wherein prayerful living, the natural world and people are under oppression. This does not mean to deny that there are still among us many prayerful persons. It suggests, however, that for many people living a prayerful life is not made easy. Not only may there be the challenge of raising children or of looking after elderly parents, but challenges peculiar to our agitated times. Challenges such as living in a flat or estate where there is a lot of noise disturbance; or perhaps irregular working hours in a noisy environment or where one is constantly tied to a busy telephone. For those living in a built-up area it may not be possible to have the regular tranquil outdoor time wherein a prayerful disposition can be fostered.

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July/August 2012

 Gerald O’Collins SJ

Gerald O'Collins SJ finds much advice for today in St Romuald's eleventh century teaching on prayer. The author is adjunct professor at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne.

Born to a noble family in Ravenna and the founder of the Camaldese Order, St Romuald (d. 1027), grew up in the ‘normal’ way expected of him. But then, horrified when his father killed a man in a duel, he left home to become a monk and eventually a creative religious leader up and down Italy. He left behind what has been called ‘St Romuald’s Brief Rule’. While being an instruction for monks, especially young monks, it introduces some lovely images of what happens to all those who commit themselves seriously to prayer. Let’s hear the text before reflecting on it.

‘Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms; never leave it. If you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, then take every opportunity to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind.

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July/August 2012

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