Godzdogz

Godzdogz

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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Pope St Gregory the Great

Saturday, September 03, 2016

‘For the love of God’: it’s an utterance of exasperation at an unwelcome or intimidating task and said with sincerity characterises the proper disposition for all Christians to all their labours, both welcome and unwelcome. As far as unwelcome tasks go, being Pope when all your deepest desire – save for doing God’s will – is to be a monk living a quiet, cloistered life of prayer, has to pretty high up there, and, therefore I think ‘for the love of God’ would have been a very appropriate papal motto for Pope St Gregory the Great. Read more

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Recently I have started reading fairy tales again, prompted by GK Chesterton’s great love them, and, in particular those of George MacDonald. I have always enjoyed them, but my appreciation of them as an adult far outweighs that of my youth. One of the regularly recurring themes that I have become more aware of is that of destiny. To the reader it is clear what the hero or heroine is supposed to do. We also have a pretty good idea that they will end up doing what they are supposed to, albeit with an aberration or two along the way, and that the good will triumph in the end. The idea of destiny can easily be confused with predestination, but the thrill and drama of fairy tales lies in the important difference. With predestination the ending is inevitable, but with destiny it is only desirable.

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Transfiguration

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Along with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, over the last couple of weeks, I've done my fair share of mountain climbing. In my case, first on the Polish-Slovak border, before World Youth Day and afterwards in Styria, Austria. Beyond the spectacular vistas, one of the beautiful things about the mountains is the quiet. There is a stillness which is conducive to prayer, and a sense of the beauty of the Father's creation in nature. Our Lord, Peter, John, and James went there to pray, but the latter three were to behold more than they bargained for.

The three disciples saw and understood fully for the first time that Jesus is at once one of the prophets and the one that was prophesied by them; and that he is God, and lives eternally and manifests Himself in a blaze of powerful, radiant light. Thus He came both to fulfil scripture and to make it new.

St. Thomas Aquinas gives over a whole section in his Summa Theologiae to this event in which he draws on the writings of the Church Fathers. Echoing the Venerable Bede, he writes that it was fitting that Christ should reveal his glory at the Transfiguration so that the disciples would know the purpose of their journey: eternal joy in heavenly glory in which our bodies will be transformed. For this reason, Thomas declares that the Transfiguration was "the greatest miracle" because it complemented baptism and revealed the perfection of life in Heaven. Though we have not seen the event like the disciples, today we are challenged to contemplate this miraculous revelation and make it our own. The mind boggles, and so it should. Read more

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In the last month we have celebrated the Feasts of, variously, St Aloysius, St Cyril of Alexandria, St Irenaeus, St Anthony of Padua, the Birthday of St John the Baptist, the Apostle Matthew, and the Apostle Bartholomew. Next week we will celebrate the Feasts of St Maria Goretti and St Elizabeth of Portugal. All great saints, whose examples we would do well to follow, and all worthy of their individual feast days. Yet, on today’s Solemnity, we might then be tempted to ask the question of why Saints Peter and Paul share a Feast and don’t get their own?

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Your Father who sees in secret - Wednesday Gospel reflection

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I once saw a shop sign with a picture of Jesus and the caption: 'I'm watching you.' Perhaps some potential thieves were put off when their piety was pricked in this way. But what an abuse to turn God into some kind of celestial CCTV! Read more

Anarchy or legalism - Wednesday Gospel Reflection

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Are you an anarchist or a legalist? I suspect you’d want to reply, ‘neither’. But the reality is that most of us are at least inclined towards one or the other. Today’s Gospel appears to strike a blow for those with legalist tendencies, but of course it is no more an endorsement of legalism than ‘The truth will set you free’ is an endorsement of anarchy. As ever, the Catholic picture is much richer than a simple ‘either/or’. Read more

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart

Friday, June 03, 2016

The heart is the centre of life, and each minute of our life is made possible by the beating of our heart. Not only does the Bible refer to the heart as that which is most personal to the individual, one’s feelings, joys and desires, but also one’s intelligence and will. One can only truly understand with the heart. The heart is the very centre of one's being.  Read more

Interesting Churches: Santia Maria de Eunate, Spain

Saturday, May 28, 2016
One of the joys of pilgrimage if, like me, you are not a meticulous planner, is that you are always stumbling across fantastic places that you have never heard of and know nothing about. When I walked the 1,100 miles from Arles to Santiago de Compostela in 2012, there were dozens of occasions when I came across a Church on the route and thought, ‘This place should be famous.’ Frequently, it would transpire that it was, and that I was just ignorant! Read more

Wednesday Gospel Reflection

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Seating plans can be a headache. We had one recently for our Doorkeepers’ Dinner. The trouble with seating plans is that if there is a logic underlying the arrangement of people, inevitably someone will feel overlooked whereas others who may have been preferred can feel embarrassed about the honour they have received to the exclusion of someone else. It usually ends in some sense of awkwardness. Incidentally, about six months ago I was at a friend’s birthday where a table plan was displayed with nice little name cards. My friend proudly announced that  had placed people randomly, which seemed to me to defeat the point. I suspect that where he sat was not entirely random. Anyway, the point is that it matters to us as social creatures where we sit, and it was no different in Jesus’s day.
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On fire or burnt out?

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Do you feel on fire with faith, or a little burnt out? If the latter, perhaps we can find hope in the events that we celebrate today.  Read more
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