Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

The Sometimes Bewildering Basis of Biblical Books

BibleThe question of “How many books should the Bible contain?” is a common question asked by religious education and RCIA students. The Catholic and, for the most part, the Orthodox canon of Scripture contains 73 books while the Protestant canon contains 66 books. Some believe that the seven books were added to the Bible at the Council of Trent but that is an urban myth. The books and sections in question are:

Books: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and 1 & 2 Maccabees

Sections: Letter of Jeremiah, additions to Esther, Prayer of Azariah, Susanna (Daniel 13), and Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14).

«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: An Unintentional Catechesis

pau v1sealMy sister Iwalani and I happily graduated from Paul VI High School (PVI), classes of 1989 and 1991 respectively. We both attended public school until middle school and then entered into Catholic school education. But it was not until I started my diaconal formation in 2006 that I finally recognized the enormous impact those four years in high school had on my life and spirituality.

Paul VI provided me a great education, although I admit that I took my teachers for granted while I attended. However, it was the additional Catholic formation that influenced my life and eventually provided a foundation that helped me answer the Lord’s call to pursue a vocation as a permanent deacon. I discovered during my diaconal formation that my practical and pragmatic approach to family life, work, and play was uniquely Salesian, which is the Catholic spiritual tradition at the heart of PVI. (Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: The Service of Permanent Deacons

ordinationBy: Deacon Marques Silva

From a young age, my parents taught us that service is the duty of every Christian. It was not merely words, but lived out in their daily experience. In fact, I cannot say that we only served on certain holy days or for particular events for the reason that it was a way of life for our family. This love to assist behind the scenes stayed with me as I went off to college, married, and started our family.

Then I was invited by my wife and kids (I did not see it coming) to apply for the permanent diaconate here in the Diocese of Arlington. My question was, “Why?” when I could serve just as well as a lay person. (Read more…)

Considering the Penalty Box…

skull chalicePersonally, I love All Souls Day (November 2). It is a constant reminder that I am mortal and that my end is approaching (possibly quicker than I imagine if I continue to eat these blasted candy corns). Some may consider this morbid but consider the Christian point of view.

For the Christian,

Death is a consequence of sin. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin. Even though man’s nature is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin. “Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered. (CCC1008) [Emphasis mine]

«Continue Reading»

Encourage & Teach: Led to Victory by Mary and the Holy Rosary

OurLadyRosaryMy paternal grandmother converted from Buddhism to Catholicism at the young age of 13. As the story is told, she was passing by St. Theresa’s Church in Honolulu one day and heard the music from within the Church. She walked in, talked to the priest, and was received into the Church after a short period of catechesis. As I think back on my childhood, I have no memory of her ever going to bed without the Sacred Scripture in one hand and a Rosary in the other. She was fiercely loyal to Our Lady and devoured Scripture. Happily, she passed on the fervor of both to me. (Read more…)

Thursday Levity

There is so much truth here…


Ten Tenants of Tempering Tempers in Relationship Tussling Tournaments

rules-for-fighting-fair-e1391250995328-150x138My wife and I are born fighters. I am sure that part of the reason is that I am a son of Adam and she is a daughter of Eve. It could also be that we are stubborn and we do not like to lose. These traits are a bad recipe for disagreements in relationships.

Christine and I work with lots of engaged couples and a fair number of married couples. We find during our discussions that a common theme of challenges within their relationship with each other is that they are terrible at communication. Now, Christine and I are not experts but after 20 years we have developed our own rules for fighting fair. Yes, I said fight. Call it what you want: disagreement, spat, lovers quarrel, etc. Yeah, right. We fight. Granted, we neither throw things (and never have) nor do we get into screaming matches (voices have been raised) but we have been known to have knock-down, drag-out fights. Here is what we have learned:«Continue Reading»

The Soul of Nature

swansA beautiful poem by one of my daughters…thought I would share!

Wherein lies the soul of nature?

Perhaps in a cheerful stream,

Which giggles, laughs, shouts over rocks,

A sound that possesses as though in a dream.


Surely earth’s mother’s soul could be found,

In a field that teems with life,

From flowers, to trees, to the smallest of bugs,

Creation that bears not our mortal strife.


One must be sure to also seek,

Using your ears, not eyes,

Within mournful winds ever searching,

Constantly following its lovers lies.


Examine closely in your search,

A snowflake, water turned divine,

A thing of beauty and yet so vain,

For with no other will it share its design.


Recall one more piece,

Before your search quits,

Look in the selfish, majestic, blinding lightning,

Whose fiery finger, on the earth hits.


If by now, at the end of your search,

Nature’s soul you still have to find,

Seek not outside, within all that lives,

But instead, the recesses of your mind.


Encourage & Teach: Child-like Faith, Legends, and Spiderwebs

Macro-Dew-CobwebLast night at 10:29 p.m., the Autumnal Equinox occurred. This means fall has begun (except for the meteorologists that set it on September 1). Mother Nature even assisted last night with some brisk air to remind us that fall has indeed arrived. Nature itself is preparing for its Advent retreat and so are many of Our Lord’s creatures.

Take, for instance, the spider. It is at this time that a number of spider younglings hatch from their eggs. After their exoskeleton hardens, the spiders find the highest point, release a strand of their silken web and let the wind carry it wherever the autumnal wind wills (You remember, like in Charlotte’s Web). This silken thread of web is known colloquially as gossamer.(Read more…)

Encourage & Teach: The Sacramental Seal

Small_Red_RoseAre you familiar with the phrase sub rosa or “under the rose?” Beginning in the sixteenth century, the rose was occasionally placed over the entrance to a confessional to symbolize the sacramental seal and its obligation of permanent silence concerning what is revealed.[1] (Read more…)