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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Sacraments: Eucharist - Sacrifice

Friday, May 11, 2012

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Aquinas Institute/Templeton Lectures – Nicholas Lombardo OP

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Last week the Aquinas Institute at Blackfriars, supported by the Templeton Foundation, was privileged to host two open lectures by Dr Nicholas Lombardo OP, professor at the Catholic University of America. Read more

Wanting Everything

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
There are times when the Gospel seems to be closed off, days when I have to twist and turn my brain, sit down and try to pray (not easy when you’re running out of time), or even desperately knock on a brother’s door and hope for some inspiration. There are days when it seems almost impossible to say anything of relevance to the readings.

And there are days when the readings seem to overflow with ideas, and I simply can’t get started. The different aspects accumulate, one idea upon another, so that in the end I don’t know what to say. Today is one of those days!

Should I speak about how Paul and Barnabas are being confused with Hermes and Zeus as they successfully perform miracles at Lystra? Yes, I should. But what about the glory of our God, creator of all things? ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name give glory!’ That’s a theme that would do for several homilies! But then again; how could we possibly ignore the theme of obedience as the way to full communion with God our Father? And what about the question that the disciple is asking; did Jesus really give him an adequate answer to the revelation only given to the disciples? Much to elaborate here! And then we are confronted with the great mystery: both the Father and the Son will come and make their dwelling in those who love the Son. How could they possibly find room in such a little being as a human?

The questions and the themes accumulate. So what should we go for? I concluded that I would like to say something about Winnie the Pooh! This little fellow has the gift of expressing what most of us only think. One example is a late morning when Pooh was having a little walk and “accidentally” bumped into Rabbit. He was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ he was so excited that he said, ‘Both’ and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, ‘But don't bother about the bread, please’.

Or said in other words: Yes please, I choose it all, and then the best of that again. Now that’s the spirit. And it is truly the language of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit doesn’t measure, calculate or hold back. Once it is there, it is fully there. The Spirit gives in abundance. If we want to place this in a more explicit Christian context, we may turn to Thérèse of Lisieux, who by love and driven by God’s Spirit wrote in her diary: ‘I feel myself called to be a soldier, priest, apostle, doctor of the church, martyr. Finally, I feel the need, the desire to perform all the most heroic deeds for you, Jesus ... I feel in my soul the courage of a crusader, of a soldier for the Church, and I wish to die on the field of battle in defence of the Church...’ (from The Story of a Soul).

So let us throw ourselves onto the Lord, let us with open heart and good will give our Father our 'Yes.' In return, we receive the Promise of Christ, as he tells us: ‘The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you’ (John 14:26).
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Sacraments: The Eucharist - Presence

Sunday, May 06, 2012
When thinking about the Eucharist it is important to be clear from the very beginning that we are dealing with a mystery. God is not some ‘thing’ that we will ever get our thoughts around, not some thing we will ever get our language around; the infinite God exceeds our finite mind’s capacity to understand. We ought, then, to be suspicious of any attempt to ‘explain’ the real presence of Christ among us in the Eucharist. In the end, an understanding of how bread and wine can become the Body and Blood of Christ will be beyond us; it is not something we can demonstrate or prove but a truth revealed by God that must be accepted on faith. Nevertheless, if we are to remain faithful to this revelation, faithful to the tradition we have received, and in our turn to hand it on to others, then we must be sure that what we are preaching is the true faith and not nonsense. Catholicism is not contrary to reason, the mysteries of God are not truths that we can say nothing about; they are simply truths that we cannot say everything about.  Read more

Sacraments: Confirmation

Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Confirmation is the sacrament of Christian maturity. By a unique sealing with the gift of the Holy Spirit, baptismal grace is strengthened and perfected, confirming the Christian for public witness to the Gospel. But why is Confirmation necessary – is it not enough to be born-again in Baptism? Read more
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