What is Solitude and How Can We Practice it?

Dear family

As I believe most of you know I am a monk and a member of a monastic community called "The Community of Solitude". So what is solitude? It is my belief that the whole universal church is called to spend periods of time in solitude seeking God and yet for me and other monastics this has a special call and meaning. So let's dig a bit and see what we can find that may help us all in our seeking God and coming to understand God's will for us and the journey we are on to Jesus and eternity.

Read moreWhat is Solitude and How Can We Practice it?

What Does it Mean to Receive Jesus?

Sixteen years ago at Thanksgiving 2002 I began a journey that would ultimately take me from the Evangelicalism of my younger years to my becoming a Catholic in 2008 which I still am. During that time as a man dedicated to following the "Word" and Jesus I have had a problem and wrestled over seemingly contradictory means of what it means to be a Christian and how to be one. Evangelicals would say accept Jesus as your personal savior and you're saved. However I see in places like Matthew 25 where Jesus teaches it's by our works that we will be judged and our eternal destiny decided. Many might say the Bible contradicts itself and this is one of these contradictions. However I am inclined to believe there are no contradictions in the Bible simply things I do not understand. The following then is a result of praying, seeking answers and trying to understand what the Bible is saying and seeking reconciliation between seemingly to opposing points of view. Its represents sixteen years of seeking and is presented here as my views at the moment and as food for thought that we might wish to consider.

Read moreWhat Does it Mean to Receive Jesus?

Is Zionism Christian?

Recently the US under president Trump moved the its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel sparking a lot of concern, consternation and violence by those opposed to the move mainly Arabs. Part of the problem as I see it is something called Zionism and the belief on the part of many that we have to back Israel 100% right or wrong as this is what God requires. This lead to a promise made in 1917 to the Jews of a promised home land. After World War II in 1948 without consulting the people then living there (Palestinians) the United Nations arbitrarily decided to create the nation of Israel. The Palestinians living in this land were moved into refugee camps with a promise they would also be given a home land of their own. That promise was never kept and the Palestinians remain in refugees camp leading too all the current problems there in the Gaza Strip and in the Occupied Territories. However is this what God wants? Is God solely on the side of Israel? Do Christians have to support Israel blindly because God allegedly does? Is Zionism of God?

Read moreIs Zionism Christian?

What Is Ascension Thursday/Sunday?

Today is forty days since we celebrated Easter and the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the grave. Now He is preparing to return back to the father and no longer be visible to the disciples and others whom He has just spent the last forty days with teaching and instructing them. The disciples fail to grasp the real significance of what is about to transpire. Their minds are focused on Jesus restoring the kingdom back to Israel and getting rid of the hated Romans. However Jesus has something altogether different in mind. As He is standing there spending the last few moments with his disciples His thoughts are all together in a different direction from those of the disciples looking forward to a future event that He wants His disciples to wait for. So why is this day important? Why does Ascension matter and what does it mean for us today in the 21st century?

Read moreWhat Is Ascension Thursday/Sunday?

What is a Progressive Christian?

In recent years there has been a rise of Conservative Evangelicalism which has to pass itself off as the legitimate and only form of true Christianity. Theirs is faith-centered in a personal relationship with Jesus, and following a conservative theological understanding of the Bible, as well as a politically conservative agenda.

Their idea is to make us a "Christian" nation as they claim our forefathers intended. However, there is another movement which stands in sharp contrast.  It is called the Progressive Christian Movement, which can serve as an antidote to the right wing Conservative Evangelical view, in particular.  It can also point us to a different view of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus and how they apply in the 21st century.  So what are Progressive Christians and where do they come from?

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What Would it Take to Have Another Pentecost In Our Day?

We have made it through Easter, encountered the risen Christ and are moving from there. The next two events are Ascension Thursday (or Ascension Sunday if the church doesn't have Thursday services) and the ten days later is Pentecost which then leads to the beginning of Ordinary Times, which lasts to the beginning of Advent on the last Sunday of November.

So what is the significance of these holidays, and what can we learn from them, both as individuals and as the family of God united together?

Read moreWhat Would it Take to Have Another Pentecost In Our Day?

Whose Report Will You Believe?

We have gotten through Holy Week and celebrated Easter and now its Easter night.  The disciples are all sitting behind locked doors debating a message they had received earlier in the day.  Certain women had gone to the tomb early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus.  When they arrived they found an empty tomb.  According to John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, found it empty, and ran back to tell Simon Peter and John about what she had found, and claiming that someone had moved the body, and she had no idea where they had taken him.

Read moreWhose Report Will You Believe?

What Is Good Friday?

Today we celebrate Good Friday, the day on which our Lord, Savior, and Master was crucified and buried.

What is the significance of this day?  Some may see it as a sad time and see no reason to call it good.  Others may say that Christ couldn't have died on Friday as that would be only two days to Sunday instead of the three days the scriptures say He was in the tomb.  Others would seem to believe that Jesus died to establish as legalistic a church as what He sought to replace in the Pharisees interpretation of Judaism.  Maybe not 613 laws as the Pharisee's had, but none the less still a bunch of rules and regulations to have to follow if we want to be "true" Christian.  However is that the real message of Good Friday, or is there something else we are supposed to get from Good Friday?

Read moreWhat Is Good Friday?

Matthew 25 Translation for the 21st Century

Dear family

Enclosed find a 21st rendition of the words of Jesus found in Matthew 25 I found on the internet. I believe they have a very pointed message for our time. Any comments would be welcomed.

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

I was molested and you didn't believe me
I was LGBTQ and you dehumanized me
I was non white and you stood over me
I was a woman and you discounted me
I was a sick child and you uninsured me
I was poor and you gave my money away
I was seeking justice and you silenced me
I was handicapped and you mocked me
I was a refugee and you locked me out
I was a stranger and you banned me

Matthew 25 (2017 Translation)

What is the Baptism of the Dead Mentioned by Paul?

by Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

 Dear CG family

Enclosed find my latest article on Baptism for the Dead. It stems from a discussion we had in Sunday school class last Sunday as we continued our discussion of the book of I Corinthians and last week we were in chapter 15. The issue of baptism of the dead was raised and questions were asked about what Paul might mean here. This is an attempt to address that issue and the questions raised. Thought others than just my Sunday school class might have wondered about this also so am sharing here in the hopes you may be blessed by it and perhaps even learn something. As always any comments are always welcomed.

Read moreWhat is the Baptism of the Dead Mentioned by Paul?

Why are Satan and Jesus Both Referred as Morningstar’s

Dear Family,

Bruce sent me a copy of a chat that happened in chat the other night after I left between Bruce, Dad and Father Steve. They were discussing morning stars and how both Satan/Lucifer and Jesus are referred to as morning stars and wondering why? Enclosed find my response to them in case anyone else is interested.


The first reference to morning stars  is found in Job 38:7. Here God is questioning Job and wants to know where Job was

” When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Here is seems to me it is clear that the morning stars are angels who sang together at the time of creation. The word son refers to a created being of God Thus all angels and created things praise God on the day of creation. Another possibility is they both refer to angels. In either case Satan qualifies as we shall see he was an anointed Cherub which is one of the angelic ranks,

Read moreWhy are Satan and Jesus Both Referred as Morningstar’s

I am Dreaming

 I am dreaming of a world without war,

A world of peace with justice for all,

With no male or female slave or free,

Where we all are one as children of God.

 

A dream where the lion can lie with the lamb

Where all will know the Lord and seek him

Where the realm of God rules majestically,

And the devil is banned for eternity

 

In this dream the oppressed go free,

God’s love flows from pole to pole

From north to south and east to west

Until it covers all of the earth entirely.

 

The dream can become reality

When we bind together harmoniously,

All working together for God’s glory,

His reign to bring in eternally.

Learning the Ceremony of Connectedness

By Brother Lawrence Damien Cos
Muiscas Ceremony for Connectedness

“When I consider your heavens
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them]
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them] with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas,
9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Dear family,

Today, as I was doing some studying, meditating on a new paper I am in the process of currently writing on peacemakers, I came across a practice which I had not heard before.

As monastics and Christians we spend a lot of time in meditation, prayer, alone in our prayer cells communing with God or trying to do that. For what purpose do we do this? What is the purpose of it all?

Read moreLearning the Ceremony of Connectedness

Is God an Environmentalist?

Is God and Environmentalist?

By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear Family

On Saturday April 22 we will be celebrating Earth Day here in the USA. That got me to thinking about what God might think of Earth Day? What would God think of our handling of the earth? Would he or she care? Many believe that it doesn’t matter what we do to the earth as God will be making a new heaven and earth at some point in the future anyway so go ahead and exploit it for maximum profit for the greedy and the upper echelons of society. They would deny climate change is really happening despite much evidence to the contrary and want to go on despoiling the environment so the rich can get richer while all the rest get exploited quite often for the benefit of the few. However is that a Christian attitude or is there something else which reflects the true feelings of God on this issue? If the latter then what is God’s views on the environment and are part as Christians in it all? I would like to look at those questions as we think and pray about Earth Day and what if any part we should play in the celebration of it. Before we start I need to state the views I will express here are my own and are presented here as food for thought as we prepare for Earth Day tomorrow.

Read moreIs God an Environmentalist?

Why Did Israel Want a King and Were The Consequences?

Why Did Israel Want a King and What Were The Consequences?

By

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear Family

I participate in a conference call on Monday nights where several of us gather to discuss what we have been reading in the Bible and sharing any insights God may have shown us so all can be blessed, This past week we were in I Samuel 23 looking at Saul and his trying to kill David and does in fact kill seventy of God’s priests. The question was raised as to why Israel wanted a king in the first place, why Saul and what were the consequences of that action? We know God regrets ever making Saul king. His reign seems to be nothing more than one big disaster. Yet could something good come out of all this? Could one simple act of kindness change the course of history forever? I would like to address those questions here and see what we can find and learn. Enclosed find the article I wrote Monday night in response. Pray you all will enjoy and would love to hear any comments or thoughts any of you may have on what I will be sharing.

Read moreWhy Did Israel Want a King and Were The Consequences?

What is the Real Story About Easter

What is the Real Story of Easter?
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Today is Easter Sunday the day when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If you come from a traditional, fundamentalist either Protestant or Catholic background you may as I was taught that God was mad at humankind because of their sins and alleged rejection of him. He was so angry that he was going to send us all to hell to burn for eternity unless something was done to placate his wrath. Therefore he sent his son Jesus to die for us so he can be satisfied and let us into his kingdom to spend eternity with him. However is that what Easter is all about making an angry, wrathful God happy? Does God get a kick out of watching his son suffer? If any parent had allowed or did half of what is alleged God allowed his son to go through even though he could have prevented it they would permanent custody of their children at the minimal and end up be hauled to jail for a good long while. So is God the big child abuser in the sky is that who we worship? Is that the story of Easter that God allows his son to be tortured and killed so he can be satisfied and turn his alleged wrath from us and grant mercy to us instead? Did God actually abandon Jesus on the cross allegedly because he couldn’t look on sin? If so then might God if he did it once do it again because of our sins? Again I ask “What is the Real story of Easter”?

Read moreWhat is the Real Story About Easter

What is Good Friday All About?

What is Good Friday All About?
 
By
Brother Lawrence Damien
 
Dear Family
 
Today is Good Friday so what is it and why do we celebrate it? This is day that Christians throughout the world commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. Church services recall the account of Jesus death given in Christian scriptures especially the gospel of John. It covers the period from the arrest of Jesus, his trial and conviction, being stripped of his clothing and flogged, receives a crown of thorns to mock him with, to his crucifixion on Calvary. They day ends with Christ’s body being laid in the tomb.

Read moreWhat is Good Friday All About?

What is Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday?

What is Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday?
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear family
Palm Sunday has come and gone. Holy Week has begun and we are about to witness and be a part of the last few moments of Christ’s life. The first major event of that week comes on Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday if you are from a Catholic tradition. It celebrates two main events foot washing and the institution of the Eucharist or Communion. The term Maundy comes from the Latin and means command. It is taken from the command of Jesus at the last supper when he says
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Read moreWhat is Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday?

What is Chrism Mass?

What is Chrism Mass
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear Family,

We are approaching Holy Week. At some point during Holy Week the priests, bishops and the faithful will gather for a Chrism Mass. This mass has two purposes. First it is the time for the blessing of the oils which will be used in the various sacraments of the church during the year. The second is it is when the ordained clergy renew their promises for another year. It is done at the local cathedral which is a building where the bishop resides. It is a practice that has its roots in the Old Testament. In the book of Exodus is instructed to make a special holy oil to be used to anoint things with. Only a priest could make it and if a common person tried to reproduce the Holy Oil they were to be put to death, The practice of Chrism Mass goes back to the times of Theophilus (died 181 CE) and Tertullian (died 220 CE) where the practice is explained in the Apostolical Constitutions. St. Cyril of Jerusalem describes how holy oil or ointment was symbolically applied to the forehead and other organs of sense. He also mentions the anointing of the ears, nostrils, and breast. According to Cyril “ointment is the seal of the covenants of baptism and God’s promise to the Christian who is anointed.” He also taught that being “anointed with the Holy anointing oil of God was the sign of a Christian and a physical representation of having the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the meaning that is understood in Catholicism and Orthodoxy today. St. Cyril further states “Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians."(On the Mysteries 3.5)[3]”. This tradition is also rooted in the early Church as noted in the Gelasian Sacramentary (named after Pope Gelasius I, d. 496), but was later absorbed into the Holy Thursday evening Mass; Pope Pius XII issued a new Ordinal for Holy Week, which reinstituted a special Mass of the chrism distinct from the evening Mass.

Read moreWhat is Chrism Mass?

Why Do We Celebrate Palm Sunday?

Why Do WE Celebrate Palm Sunday?
By
Brother Lawrence Damien Cos
Dear family,
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday when the Christian Church celebrates Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. Jesus is coming fresh from raising Lazarus from the dead. While many believed in him because of that miracle others report what has happened to the priests who decide to kill both Jesus and Lazarus as well. The next day as he enters Jerusalem he is greeted by people waving palm branches. What is the significance of the palms? In the ancient world palm branches were widely recognized as symbols of peace and victory. Thus as we shall see the people are recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and coming king that the prophets had spoken about. This leads them to cry out Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna means save us now, Mark in recording this incident says

Read moreWhy Do We Celebrate Palm Sunday?