Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
December 16, 1988     Arkansas Catholic
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December 16, 1988

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC DECEMBER 16, 1988 ~r five years, I lived on the cam- Illinois Benedictine College in within the shadow of St. Pro- Abbey. Ever since then, I have ure out why I felt closest to my in that atmosphere. tile Thanksgiving holidays, I to celebrate Mass with the again raised the question. Mass, my Benedictine friends ~t have been warmer. Bencdicti- aotcd for their hospitality and I whether itwas me or some- ~, any person quicklywould sense community. give you file feeling that happy to see you and are in what you do. They wel- their family. Procopius Abbey represents !aospitality. Tile simplicity it tile way that simplicity draws closer to God is its most inspir- lit),. It is best found in its chapel ttmppens there. lel is built of plain brick with ceiling that is low in but gradually rises to ~ tliree or Ibur stories high over light beams clown on a stark a high brick wall as its :are no ornaments or distrac- tive chapel, either in tile archi- way the monks celebrate, a person is left to concentrate on of the Mass. simplicity is found in tile line of the chants the monks ~osed. There is a purity in to concentrate on of the words. No cornpli- the music interfere with its t flows unrushed and smooth. has experienced simplic- in architectural lines, in a or in a person, appreciates it has to create beauty. ]P 1-1.. rl @ JESUS was Why do we % - 25? earliest death and of Je- did Fr. Stephen Binz brate the birth of Jesus l l'ew centuries later. The Gospels Christian writings give us no of the date or time of year eSus was born. tlleorics have attempted to ex- the Church chose Dec. 25 as remember the birtli of Jesus. likely theory is thatMle date BBIDB&G II Dear Editor: Dear Editor: . The quality of your paper has im- I would like to extend warm thanks to proved greatly the last few months. I all who have so kindly and generously look forward to each issue. I,t s a good ministered to me and my family during a way of keeping up with what s going on season of pilgrimage, preparation and in depth in Arkansas. As a former resi- presentation for service. Among those dent, I still have ties there. I'm also en- who have tutored and given me direc- closing money for another year's sub- tion, I would like to thank especially Frs. scription, so compute me in for another Clayton Gould, Frank Malone, Don Alt- vear. May your ministry continue to be hoff, Greg Hart and Paul Worm. Fr. St. Procopius Abbey inspires me, as I fruitful. Ralph Bauer and St.John's, HotSprings, am sure it does others, to pray. It pro- vides a beautiful atmosphere in which God can be fully experienced and in which our material self is permitted to unite more closely_with our true spirit. The peace and holy intimacy that ensue during such prayer are true Christ- mas gifts. Most of us don't have the opportunity to visit a St. Procopius Abbey around Christmastime. And if anything, the closer we get to Christmas, the more complex and hectic the days become. Simplicity seems to vanish. Advertisements remind us that there are only so ,many shopping days left. Many of us are caught up in hectic tray- cling. We are pulled in many different directions at once. Often, the holidays require a holiday after they are over! May I share a Christmas wish for my readers during this season? May you create an atmosphere much like that at the abbey, one that allows you to focus on the essentials of the feast, May you have simplicity and may it be a means of arriving at the true meaning of Christmas. May the days surrounding this feast be uncomplicated and allow you to reach and feel the heart of Christmas. (Copyright 1988 by NC News Service) was chosen to correspond to the date of the winter solstice. In the old Julian cal- endar, that date was Dec. 25. The winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, was a p~gan feast of the sun god. In 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian proclaimed the sun god as the patron of the empire and Dec. 25 as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun. As ChrisfianiW gained in number throughout the empire, this important feast was chosen as the birthdate of Christ. Since Jesus is tile light of the world, as the prophets !lad foretold, the feast of file coming light seemed a mostappropriate choice to celebrate the birth of Christ into the world. (Send questions to Ft. Stephen Binz, 1321 South Van Buren, Little Rock, 72204.) Danielle Wolf Wichita Falls, TX Dear Editor: I m avomnteer at the Veterans Hospi- tal and I give my Catholic magazines to patients who want them. I met an elderly man who took m~ "One Spirit" copy and told me he had been an altar boy as a child, but had left the Church and my reading made him want to get backin the Church. He asked if I could see that he receives more Catholic reading each month. Could yore" readers please mail him something to help him? His address is: Barney Stephens, 1302 Iowa,Joplin, MO 64801." Alice M. Schneider Bella Vista, AR Dear Editor: The intended humor ofthe cartoon in the Dec. 2 issue of Arkansas Catholic fails me. A bear trap as an "anti-leave early from Mass control?" I'm sure that if pastors inform their congregations that bear traps have been -~laced at the exits of church to catch early leavers that the traps will go un- used. No one in their right mind would leave church early if it meant having to wear a bear trap home on one's foot. But then no one in their right mind would attend a church that resorts to traps to ensure attendance. Worship and love are best offered from free h'eartg. / Fr. David LeSieur Texarkana~ AR Dear Editor:. Ifyou know someone who was injured physically, mentally, or emotionally by a legal abortion, urge that person to seek legal help by writing to: A. L. L. Advo- cates, PO Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22554. Urging this help is another form of charity. Charles J. Sippd Cherokee Village, AR have given both material aid and per- sonal support. Fr. FrankDr iude has been a constant friend. The sisters at Carmel are friends and have blessed us in manyways. Words are insufficient to indicate the generosity, patience and loving kindness of Bishop McDonald. Many friends among the laity have made special efforts to under- stand, support and offer aid. You will all understand that, as Deb Hilliard showed well in her article, the last eight years, and really the last 25, find their home in tile events of the last few weeks. The other day, someone asked, having heard of the pastoral pro- vision [for the ordination of non-Catho- lic priests], whether I was a diocesan priest or did I have a community? I didn't really answer, but maybe the an- swer is that I am a diocesan priest but I have a built-in religious community, tool What we know is that we have and are a wonderful family. Fr. Alan Rosenau Hot Springs 'Higgins', from page 2 think, that the Houston speech, for all of its political effectiveness, will not take us very farin answering the question~)fhow religion and politics are related. Americans do notwant their president to use his high office to impose his own religious beliefs on the citizenry. But to say only that is not very helpful in the late 1980s.' As Richard C. Hutcheson argues in his recent book, God in the White House: How Religion has Changed the Modem Presidency: "As long as moral questions continue to be asked, religious answers will be sought. American society's experiments with values divorced from religion have not been encouraging. Despite the complex reasoning of secular ethicists, Americans by and large remain con- vinced that morality and religion are in- separable. And as long as that remains the case, religion is likely to play a con- tinuing role in the presidency and the presidency in religion." I am enough of an optimist to think that on balance that will be for better rather than for worse. (Copyright 1988 by NC News Service)