The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Advent Thursday 2 - the Kingdon is taken by force

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 41:13-20, Psalm 145, Matthew 11:11-15. Read more

Advent Talk 2 on Video

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This year's second Advent talk, delivered by Br Romero Radix, O.P. on Wednesday night, is now available in a pre-recorded video for readers who cannot join us for our weekly talk, meditation and Compline.

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Advent Tuesday 2 - Christian hope shown in beauty

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 96:1-3, 10-13; Matthew 18:12-14 Read more

Advent Monday 2 - The healing of the paralytic

Monday, December 10, 2007

Advent Sunday 2 - The crooked straight

Sunday, December 09, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Romans 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-2

In today’s Gospel, we are told that it was John the Baptist whom the prophet Isaiah referred to when he said: "A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight." Advent is a time for reflecting on our lives in order to prepare for the coming of Jesus in the miracle of Christmas. It is a time for turning the direction of our whole life towards God.

This is no easy task. So often the paths of our lives are anything but straight. As we know, life can take many twists and turns, and we can feel pulled and drawn in so many different directions. Indeed, life today can seem so hectic and fast moving that even finding the time to reflect can seem like a tall order, never mind finding the energy to make big changes. When faced with the challenging call of the Gospel it is tempting to retreat into our comfort zone and just say "leave me alone". The challenge of Christ is to go beyond this comfort zone to find the deeper reality of who we are as children of God. Whatever crooked paths we have walked or are walking, there is always a new beginning with the Lord. We can always begin again.

As Christians we know that we do not do this alone. This is not some kind of self help course for success. We rely at each step on the boundless mercy and grace of God.
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The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 08, 2007
Readings: Gen 3:9-15,20; Ps 97:1-4; Eph 1:3-6,11-12.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX defined the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus. The statement of the doctrine was that from the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace granted by God, Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin. One of the confusions that often arises with regard to the definition of a doctrine is how it can be that the Church can define a dogma with such certainty. To this, we may say that the definition is the culmination of centuries of theological reflection. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception has been celebrated by the Church since at least the ninth century, and the doctrine itself was developed and explained by theologians such as the Franciscan Blessed John Duns Scotus. In Ineffabilis Deus, we see that the doctrine as we now understand it draws on Scripture, and in particular, the understanding of certain passages which we find in today's readings, but also on the Tradition and liturgical practice of the Church.

Someone once remarked to me that they didn't think that the doctrine made any difference to them and their lives. However, when we think about it carefully, we realise that it makes all the difference. A much loved brother of this Province, now deceased, has become famous for saying that without Our Lady we would be 'in a right pickle'! And the Dogma shows us how Mary, being 'full of grace', is the New Eve, who having been preserved from original sin through grace, can utter that fiat which signals her acceptance of God's call to be the mother of Christ. The Dogma thus presents us with the good news that God has heard our cries, and comes to us as man through the obedience of Mary, to get us out of our 'pickle'. Surely this makes all the difference ...

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Advent Friday 1 - Healing the blind

Friday, December 07, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 29:17-24; Psalm 26; Matthew 9:27-31

The gospel reading for today portrays Jesus as the great healer. It is one of a series of stories in Saint Matthew which tell of Jesus curing the sick. Here we see him restoring sight to two blind men. In all these stories of healing Jesus is shown to be the one who inaugurates the great age that the prophet Isaiah anticipates: 'In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see' (Isaiah 29:18). Yet the central theme of the reading is not in fact the miraculous or the dramatic healings but rather the issue of faith. In this story the absence of sight is understood not merely in terms of a physical disability, but stands as a symbol of unbelief which is a sort of spiritual blindness.  Read more

Advent Thursday 1 - St Nicholas

Thursday, December 06, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6; Psalm 117; Matthew 7:21, 24-27 Read more

Advent Talk 1 on Video

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
weekly talk, meditation and Compline Read more

Advent Tuesday 1 - Happy eyes and happy ears

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72; Luke 10:21-24 Read more
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