Reflections and Questions on Revelation

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Since I have a flaw in me that makes me like to finish things, especially tasks on a list, I have been working on finishing up some things from last semester, including some Bible study questions from Revelation.

What made me write this post was a question from one of the “Application” sections:

In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the people of God into their greatest battles. What are the ways we can carry Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant, with us in the spiritual battles we face today? — Jeff Cavins and Thomas Smith, 34.

Early last week, I had this freaky dream. The dream itself wasn’t particularly scary yet rather intense and bewildering, but believe me when I say that I woke up immediately and could not shake this sense of fear and even a sense of the presence of something evil. So I spoke to my bedroom saying something like, “If there’s anything in here which is not of God, leave now! Because He is more powerful than you and will not let anything bad happen to me!” I felt a little better, but was still uneasy. I started praying a string of Hail Marys, over and over. I peeked into every room in my house, just to make sure things “looked normal.” This is not normal behavior for me.

By the time I came home from work, things were fine. Later in the week, I had a meeting with my spiritual director. She asked if I had had my house blessed (not yet), and suggested that I do so, and also that I speak with one of my pastors because he believes that dreams mean something. I got to talk with him yesterday, and he said that while he didn’t want to place too much emphasis on this, evil was real. Then, he prayed a blessing over me.

Reading the question, I realized that I had been doing that: bringing the new Ark into my spiritual battle. Sadly, I do not yet have the devotion to our Blessed Mother that I would like, but I know that when I am frightened or very sick, I still turn and run to my Mother for comfort. She’s a good one to run to. πŸ™‚


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. — Rev. 21:1

I don’t think this means that there will not be a beach or an ocean in Heaven. At least I hope not, since I love to swim! πŸ™‚ I think this was more meant as an idiom, since the sea represented the feared unknown, “Here there be monsters,” and all that. So, with the coming of the new heaven and new earth, there will no longer be any fear or anything which is not known.


Throughout Revelation we have seen many temple furnishings (like the ark and the altar) and the heavenly Temple itself. In God’s new heaven, a temple cannot be found (21:22). What new reality has replaced the image and symbol of a temple? — Jeff Cavins and Thomas Smith, 49.

The Lord Jesus and God the Father are our new temple. We will worship in them and upon their foundation, within their light and place ourselves upon their altar, as a complete gift of ourselves to them.


Here’s another question that I have: the juxtaposition of

they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; — Rev 9:4

with

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts. — Rev 9:20-21.

v. 4 seems to be saying that those who are not marked as belonging to God would be the ones who would experience the plagues. However, v. 20-21 make it seem like the ones who SURVIVED the plagues were those who did NOT follow God. Now, I am confused.


Update, based on the comment below:
Rev 9:4 vs. Rev 9:20-21

Why Christ crucified?

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Jesus crucified. God crucified. I think the emphasis here is because of the assumption of Christianity on the part of Paul’s audience. To emphasize the resurrection would be to try to make a point of His divinity, or at least His favor with God. To emphasize His crucifixion, I think, is to highlight the very first days of the covenant made with Abraham.

And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chalde’ans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. — Genesis 15:7-10, 17

In these days, a covenant was formed in this manner between two peoples, and whoever would violate the covenant would bring about the same fate upon himself as that of the animals cut in two.

And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant which they made before me, I will make like the calf which they cut in two and passed between its parts — Jeremiah 34:18

So man, as the party who violated the covenant, needed to die because the covenant was broken. In order to fulfill the covenant so that a new covenant could be created, one of the parties needed to die — to fulfill the covenant curse. While we were the ones who deserved death, God died in our stead.
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It also points to how we are to live in Christ now. We hope to God’s mercy when we die, so that we may live with Him in His glory forever. But for now, we look to His Son. In particular, we look to His Son on the cross, which is the best example of self-giving love that the world has ever seen. Think not to your own comfort, but give everything for the good of others. Be ridiculed and mocked, so that they can come to know Truth. Allow yourself to be beaten and scourged, so that they can have access to a Love which heals all hurts. Wear their crown of thorns, so that they can have their own minds be filled with Wisdom. Carry for them the dead weight of their troubles and sins. Have your hands and feet be bound to a tree with spikes, so that they can experience freedom. Experience a moment of feeling abandoned by the Father, so that they may know they are never alone. Give up your Spirit, so that they may receive it.

He did not just allow blood to flow from His wounds so as to heal ours, but squeezed out every drop.

This is the kind of life we are called to lead. If God sees to the birds of the air and the lilies in the field, certainly He can take care of our needs; so we have no reason to dwell on our needs, but can look solely to our neighbor in love and ask ourselves, “How can I squeeze out some of my blood on his behalf, to make his lot in life a little easier?” Not a passive bleeding, as in handing over the spare five you happen to have in your wallet, or giving away clothes you don’t wear any more — although these are not bad things to do. But what can you do that will really be a sacrifice? What’s going to make you stop and think about it, and then deliberately decide that the person is far greater and far more worthy than any object, amount of wealth, amount of time, amount of effort that you could possibly relinquish?

And when you have done something really worthy of being called Love, seek out another situation, another person to Love, another instance where you can pour out the blood of your life for someone else.

For your blood is not your own; it is His. Your life is His life in you.

And He wants it to fall upon all His people.

A Density of Questions on 2 Corinthians

Why does Paul use the same word so densely? In the greeting, endurance 10 times? By the end, I have lost all sense of what the word means. And why would boasting be a persuasive argument? It is like advertising? The “superapostles” were going around preaching “Ivory soap — 99.75% pure!”? Paul: “Bah! Mine is 100% pure and more effective to boot!”? Maybe a silly question, but is “boasting in the Lord” similar to “giving witness/testimony” to the way God has worked in your life? With the “no, no,” “yes, yes,” and “yes, no” section (2 Cor 18-19), is this like accusing a politician of “waffling” and thus being untrustworthy?

If people question that 2 Cor could not be one coherent letter because of breaks in theme, tone, etc., they have not read one of my e-mails. LOL! And now to talk about…vegetables…. It’s all related, just maybe not that clear to others, but perfectly okay in my head. I get that. πŸ™‚

Trust

The thing about trust, is that it can be very easy. But for it to be easy, you have to make yourself vulnerable. You have to be willing to be hurt as badly as you were before or worse, again today. There is no “building trust,” because then you subject the other person to trying to “prove” their trustworthiness, and you always keep this seed of doubt within you, looking for “warning signs” of a breach of trust. True trust, I think, is laying yourself bare before the other person and saying, “I *choose* to trust you, unconditionally, regardless of the past. I *give* you the power to hurt me, because I *know* you will not choose to do so.”

Of course, you’d want to be prudent about whom you are giving your trust to…. πŸ™‚

The Lord of Hosts

Today was one of those times where reading different things simultaneously was advantageous. I was reading both the second half of 1 Corinthians and The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn. In his book was a section talking about the Lord of Hosts. I stopped reading for a minute and reflected on this title. Usually, I took this to be a Eucharistic title, and kept picturing in my mind the hosts which would be consecrated into the Body of Christ.

But perhaps this is a little simplistic.

Next, I thought about hosts as in the angels and saints who are present worshiping at Mass with us. And this tied in well for me with the text from Corinthians, where Paul talks about all of us being the body of Christ:

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

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And this leads me back to the concept of being a host. The unleavened bread is transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. We become hosts for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at our baptism.

But with God, it’s not a matter of one of these. With God, it is all of these. Just one resounding “Yes!”

Thanks be to God!

Preists vs. Seminarians Basketball Game 2011

Due to the timing of the game, the crowd was a little less than it had been in previous years, but we still had a fun time watching the Priests play the Seminarians in the annual Sr. Mary Finn Classic. πŸ™‚

I arrived early wearing my inflammatory T-shirt. (“Sacerdotes delent! Scholares modo velint!” which translated is supposed to mean something like, “Priests dominate! Seminarians [students] only hope to!”)

The Priests:
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The Seminarians:
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Opening Tip-off:
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Player #24 is our very own Fr. Mark Prill:
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He did a great job of controlling the center court and observing some of the unorthodox soccer moves which were being displayed. πŸ˜›

There were many, many fouls called…particularly on the Priests…so we got to see a lot of photos like this:
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Some photos of athleticism in action:
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At halftime, the evening’s emcee, seminarian Jim Houbeck, spent some time razzing Fr. Mark and even interviewed his parents! πŸ™‚

At which point, Fr. Mark stole the mike and said some words of self defense:
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Next, came the tricksy part of the evening. Due to a … scoring deficiency … despite creative scorekeeping efforts … the priests decided to call some seminarians to defect to their side. The new team, with the addition of the 2 deacons, was renamed the Clerics. Here’s the photo evidence of one of the defectors;
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At one point, we even tied the game!
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The question arose whether it was licit for the Priests to steal team members from the other side.
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Dr. Peters ruled in favor of the Priests. πŸ™‚

Final score:
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Final prayer:
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After the game, Fr. Mark had me lead people up to the bar since “I knew the way.” Well, I found my way into the occupied locker room! I knew one of the doors lead to a stairway…I just picked the wrong one! We did eventually find our way up there.

Shortly thereafter, Jim gave us a tour of the seminary.

Sanctuary:
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St. Thérèse of Lisieux:
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Along the way, Jim quizzed us. If we got a question wrong, we owed him 3 Hail Marys. I was not allowed to participate, since I go to school at the Seminary.

We made it back to the bar and hung out for a bit.
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The anticipated pizza never arrived, so we concluded the evening by heading out to the Green Lantern for our evening meal.

And much fun was had by all.
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The End. πŸ™‚