March 28, 2017

The Face of Christ - A New Image

The Face of Christ
by Jonathan Byrne
Jonathan Byrne, an Irish Catholic artist with a special devotion to the Face of Christ has artwork too beautiful to not share.  On his website, Jonathan explains why he feels compelled to paint these ponder-ful images ...

Why Bother With a New Image?
There is some attraction to the idea of an image that is at once present and not present, seen and unseen. The Shroud, despite its uncertain history, is, at least, a highly resonant concept as it delivers a notion of a hidden image that can only be revealed in fuller detail through an X-Ray process. And, following from that, I have been developing a painting technique that creates a textural overlay onto an image, a texture of combed paint that delivers an effect similar to a distressed piece of cloth. So, the quest, then, is to create a shrouded image upon a canvas using the accumulated paint layers to create the effect of a veil or a shroud. 

They [Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus] took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths.  ~ John 19:40a

When Simon Peter arrived after him [likely John the Evangelist], he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head.  ~ John 20:6-7

March 25, 2017

To Die Like St. Dismas ...

I do hope that when my time comes I can be like St. Dismas ... the penitent criminal who was crucified with Jesus.  He faced his wrongdoings, expressed them, and then asked Jesus for mercy.  I pray that God will grace me with the clarity to see my yet-to-be-confessed sins and faults in life and the humility to acknowledge them.  I hope I will then make any reparation that would please God and give peace or relief to others. Yes, I really would like a holy death ... like St. Dismas's.

The other (Dismas), however, rebuking him, said in reply, 
"Have you no fear of God?  We have been condemned justly."

St. Dismas & Fr. Emil Kapaun

Today, March 25, is the feast of St. Dismas (by the way, March 25 is also the feast of the Annunciation!), and it seems a good day to recall/learn about a military chaplain from the Korean War, Fr. Emil Kapaun (kuh-PAHN).  While a prisoner of war, this Catholic priest was expert at "stealing" food.  His fellow POWs suffered terribly from extreme hunger, and so Fr. Kapaun felt as though it was fair to take a little food to keep his fellow soldiers from starvation.  Sometimes Fr. Kapaun had some of the other POWs help out ... sneaking out in the middle of the night to find and snatch what food they could.  Sometimes before going out on these food hunts, Fr. Kapaun would have he fellow POWs ask St. Dismas (the "Good Thief" who was crucified with Jesus) to pray for their success.    Soon, Fr. Kapaun was nicknamed Dismas by his comrades!

Then he ('Dismas') said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."  He replied to him ('Dismas'), "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."     -Luke 23:42-43

I learned another thing from Fr. Kapaun's story, The Miracle of Fr. Kapaun ... that it is important to think careful about the way we treat our parish priests.  True, they are not perfect and sometimes need to be challenged; however, sometimes we can be too difficult as well.  I was stunned to learn that Fr. Kapaun served in World War II and so was not obligated to participate in the Korean War.  It was his deliberate choice to go back to a war zone!  When asked why he volunteered to go to a second war, Fr. Kapaun replied:

"Serving in those parishes - it didn't work out.  I mean, my God, Bob!  Have you ever had to deal with one of those women's committees of a church Altar Society?"

Now, this seems pretty unfair to a lot of Altar Society ladies, I'm sure many, many of them are very nice (and I'm sure that a few Knights of Columbus fellows can be rather trying, too).  If Fr. Kapaun had known that he would be quoted, he probably would have couched his words a little differently.  But, overall, the comment made me pause and think about the way we all treat our parish priests.  That one preferred war over parish life staggered me!  Not that priests should be bowed down to and blindly obeyed (that would be treating them as if they were God), but perhaps a prayer or two for discernment before sending that terse e-mail or making that flustered phone call would help.  How would you feel if your priest preferred duty in a war zone over serving your parish?

March 24, 2017

The Feast of St. Dismas & Good Friday

Saint Dismas and Christ
by Titian circa 1566
Whenever Easter lands on March 27, Good Friday coincides with the Feast of St. Dismas - March 25. The last time this happened was in 2016, and it won't happen again until 2157!  A rare, but rather neat co-occurrence of memorials for the day that Jesus and Dismas died together.

He (Jesus) replied to him (Dismas), "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."   
- Luke 23:43

A Few Ministries Named After St. Dismas

~   ~   ~   ~   ~  ~   ~

Prayer to St. Dismas
Lord, have mercy on all prisoners around the world 
who are incarcerated for their crimes against humanity, 
especially those who are to face execution for their crimes. 
We beseech Thee, grant them the grace of repentance.

O Lord, help us too to always observe the seventh commandment, 

and grant us to keep Thy holy example always before out eyes, 
that we may despise the nothingness of this world 
and make Thee the object of all our desires and affections.

Saint Dismas Holy Card & Prayer

March 22, 2017

St. Epaphroditus - A Kind Philippian

St. Epaphroditus (e-PAF-ro-DY-tus) was from Philippi, the first European city to learn of Christianity.  It was St. Lydia who initially accepted Paul's words in Philippi and evidently shared the Faith with others ... very possibly Epaphroditus.

At some point after his time preaching in Philippi, Paul found himself in prison, but was delighted to receive a visit from one of the Christians from Philippi: Epaphroditus.  Epaphroditus brought a gift from the Philippian Christian community to Paul, and the great evangelist was very touched.  While visiting Paul, Epaphroditus became very ill and nearly died!  After some time, Paul sent the good man back, likely with his letter of thanks, joy, and encouragement to the Philippians.

"Sending Epaphroditus"
by Theology with an English Accent

March 20, 2017

St. Archippus and Advice from St. Paul

St. Archippus with His Parents
Sts. Philemon and Apphia

We Should All Follow Paul's Advice to St. Archippus ...

And tell Archippus,
"See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord."

(In the Orthodox Church, it is November 22)

March 19, 2017

St. Joseph - A 100-ish Year Old Painting

 A Beautiful 100-ish Year Old Painting of St. Joseph 
Donated by a Polish Settler Descendant
St. Stanislaus Church, Bandera, TX

More Photos From Some of the Polish Settlers of the Town

A Few Relic Cases on Display in the Parish Hall
Holding Treasures From the Earliest Settlers of the Church


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