A Closer Look at the Scrutinies: How an Ancient Rite Remains Relevant Today

On the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent, Catholic Churches with aducts preparing to be baptized at the Easter Vigil will perform three successive rites called "the Scrutinies." These rites, with roots dating back to the early Church, are part of a larger process called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.If you're not familiar with these rites, they might feel like an unnecessary add-on to the Sunday Mass. But oneeds you understand the history and the theology behind the Scrutinies, … [Read more...]

A Candlemas Meditation

Today is the feast of the Presentation, traditionally known as Candlemas. It's a time when churches would hold lovely candlelight processions (they still do that at the Trappist monastery here in Georgia) and candles would be blessed on this day.It's a feast day to commemorate the day when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. The old prophets Anna and Simeon encountered the baby, and Simeon, who had been promised that he would live to see the Messiah, said these lovely … [Read more...]

Better to Light a Candle (of Silence) than to Curse the Darkness (of Language)

Does language always limit the way we talk about, think about, or even pray to, God?This question has been on my mind for the past few days.This past weekend I attended a service at a nearby Episcopal Church. The liturgy came from Enriching Our Worship, a contemporary, inclusive language resource approved for use in Episcopal Churches. For the most part it was poetic and lovely. However, one phrase during the Eucharistic prayer startled me — and not in a good way.Glory and honor are yo … [Read more...]

Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Part One)

In yesterday's post (The Archbishop and the Community Theologian) I quoted two renowned living contemplatives — emeritus Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and author/community theologian Kenneth Leech — both speaking of the communal and social implications of contemplative prayer.Naysayers, stand aside. Contemplative prayer is not about navel-gazing or self-absorbed "spiritual experiences." Indeed, anyone who explores contemplation only out of a desire for mystical experience or per … [Read more...]