Dance group from Krakow, Poland in Grand Central Station after today’s parade.
To kick off the Yoga program, Philip Goldberg, an interfaith minister and author of American Veda, hosted an event at LMU called The Beatles’ Yoga: How the Fab Four’s Passage to India Enlightened the West.
The LMU catalogue says “the course will explore the history and philosophy of Yoga, its health benefits, its relation to religion and spirituality, its place within world spirituality and the techniques utilized for the teaching of Yoga.”
In American Veda (Harmony Books, 2010), Mr. Goldberg recounts The Beatles meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1967—and then a year later going to his ashram with Mia Farrow, Donovan and the Beach Boy’s Mike Love. “What could be more intriguing than celebrities who had everything and could go anywhere deciding to sit with their eyes closed for several hours a day?” In its 2008 obituary for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the New York Times said of that retreat: “They left in the wake of rumors of sexual improprieties by Maharishi, an avowed celibate, though no sexual misconduct suits were filed.”
In his recent interview, A Big Heart Open to God, Pope Francis said: “Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in his creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”
When John Paul II, acting as a good shepherd, critiqued Buddhism, in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he was doing more than just offering an opinion: Among the religions mentioned in the Council document Nostra Aetate, it is necessary to pay special attention to Buddhism, which from a certain point of view, like Christianity, is a religion of salvation. Nevertheless, it needs to be said right away that the doctrines of salvation in Buddhism and Christianity are opposed.
Between Christianity and the religions of the Far East, in particular Buddism, there is an essentially different way of perceiving the world. For Christians, the world is God’s creation, redeemed by Christ. It is in the world that man meets God. Therefore he does not need to attain such an absolute detachment in order to find himself in the mystery of his deepest self. For Christianity, it does not make sense to speak of the world as a “radical” evil, since at the beginning of the world we find God the Creator who loves his creation, a God who gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16).
For this reason it is not inappropriate to caution those Christians who enthusiastically welcome certain ideas originating in the religious traditions of the Far East—for example, techniques and methods of meditation and ascetical practice. In some quarters these have become fashionable, and are accepted rather uncritically. First one should know one’s own spiritual heritage well and consider whether it’s right to set it aside lightly.
We are not suggesting that LMU’s embrace of Yoga studies signifies a setting aside of its Catholicity, although there are some signs of that. The important thing is for students and teachers to discover the pattern (way) of life, that is both objective and subjective—with Jesus Christ as the means and the end. To do so, self-mastery and the overcoming of sin are important. Those who do Yoga often believe that it helps with self-mastery, when in fact it can be a gateway to sin and alienation from God.
“May our Lord then, preserve deep in our souls this impulse towards progress and fuller being; and may he at the same time direct this deep-rooted urge towards himself alone.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1916
Photographs: Stephen Wise
The Testament of Mary, a work by Colm Toibin, opened this week in NYC. The one-person play, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw, presents the Blessed Mother as bitter, self-absorbed, addled by booze and spewing bile while recalling the events of the Gospel. She sneers at Jesus’s (“misfit”) followers while denying the resurrection (a “dream”). The last line of the play has Mary wailing as a vulture looks on: “I fled before it (Crucifixion) was over. If you say he redeemed the world, I will say it wasn’t worth it!”
The play brings to mind the Billie Holiday recording of Darn That Dream — “Without that dream I never have you, But it haunts me and it won’t come true.”
“Every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this is Antichrist.” (1 John 4:2,3)
The Blessed Virgin Mary (Mother of God) is real and very much alive in the world today, seeking to heal hearts and unite them with her Son and Heavenly Father.
Photograph (top): Paul Koluik
“JMJ” are being replaced by snowmen, the NFL and the NBA. The situation will hopefully move faithful people to make their own cards as they prepare their hearts for Christmas, and pray a lot for society.
We found this sculpture in a local thriftshop, photographed it, and used it as ‘art’ for this year’s Christmas card.
In his remarks Mr. Schwarzman, who is Jewish, said that he and his wife Christine (a Catholic) support 200 students in Catholic schools. He suggested merging the Jewish and Catholic religions — joking that “only one article of the faith would have to be altered — the Holy Trinity, to include: the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and brother the doctor.”
Mr. Schwarzman described what he saw as two longstanding narratives in the U.S. — one being ‘rugged individualism’ and the other ‘collective action.’ He said the “social fabric is being ripped apart today as people take advantage of individuals suffering.”
Archbishop Dolan’s remarks were brief in order, as he put it, “to get home and watch the World Series.” Describing himself as the “Chris Christie of the American Church hierarchy” and the dinner as being “big,” the Archbishop emphasized (a number of times) that the event was to help “the little people.”
Both Mullin (recently inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame), and Shula (in the Football Hall of Fame as the winningest coach in NFL history), are Catholics and both take their faith seriously.
OC asked Coach Shula if Catholic humanism — being a whole person, informed his life? He said “It really has. I think its so important. You win with good people. You try to set the right example when you are in a leadership position. It’s always things I’ve felt very strongly about — the way I conduct myself and the example or image that I am giving off.”
Chris Mullin commented, “Faith is everything. My Catholic upbringing I rely on daily. If you life a good life good things will happen.”
Don Shula and Chris Mullin are examples of coherent and fruitful living out of the Gospel as Catholic laymen in the world — which most certainly has included struggles and setbacks, but also the realization that all things work for the good for those who love God.
There is an annual tradition, in conjunction with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, that brings together senior U.N. officials and members of Catholic Church’s hierarchy (plus leaders of other denominations), for the purpose of praying for the work of the United Nations.
This year’s Prayer Service was held on September 12, and included Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, along with The Most Reverend Francis A. Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.
The service concluded with a blessing of an image of Pope John Paul II, that will hang permanently in Holy Family Church — to commemorate John Paul II’s addressing the UN General Assembly on 2 October 1979 and 5 October 1995.
“The United Nations Organization needs to rise more and more above the cold status of an administrative institution and to become a moral center where all the nations of the world feel at home and develop a shared awareness of being, as it were, a “family of nations.” Pope John Paul II, 5 October 1995