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English Translations of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s prayer is found in more than one Gospel. This version is found in Matthew Chapter 6:9-13. The versions are taken from Bible Gateway. Although there are more English translations, this list is the same as the one found in Luke 10, referenced in my previous post, except for the New Jerusalem Bible, which is missing. The Douay-Rheims version is the closest to the prayer Catholics say at Mass every day except for verse 11 which says “supersubstantial bread” rather than “daily bread.”

New King James Version (NKJV)

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

American Standard Version (ASV)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day [a]our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

Therefore pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’

Good News Translation (GNT)

This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven:
May your holy name be honored;
10 may your Kingdom come;
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need.
12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done,
as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
13 Do not bring us to hard testing,
but keep us safe from the Evil One.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

 This is how you are to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10     your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
11     Give us today our daily bread;
12     and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
13     and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized (NRSVA)

‘Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.
12     And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

“Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.
12     And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

And thus ye shall pray, Our Father that art in heavens, hallowed be thy name;

10 thy kingdom come to; be thy will done in earth as it is in heaven[a];

11 give to us this day our each day’s bread;

12 and forgive to us our debts, as we forgive to our debtors;

13 and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

New King James Version (NKJV)

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Once again, the English translations of the Lord’s Prayer vary. The idea remains the same but the wording differs.

 

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The Variety of English Translations of the Lord’s Prayer found in Luke 11

Pope Francis has announced that the English translation of the Lord’s prayer, used by Catholics, will be revised based upon a review of the original Greek. I went to Bible Gateway, a very useful on-line site that provides many translations of the Bible. I was surprised to see how many different English translations that are already in existence. I am listing some of them here. Some are Catholic editions, some are Protestant.

The English translation commonly learned and used by Catholics for both personal and liturgical prayer is:

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

King James Version (KJV)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation.

Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

English Standard Version (ESV)

 Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.

Good News Translation (GNT)

 Father: May your holy name be honored; may your Kingdom come. Give us day by day the food we need. Forgive us our sins, for we forgive everyone who does us wrong. And do not bring us to hard testing.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.

Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

 Father [Father ours], hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come to; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give to us to day our each day’s bread. And forgive to us our sins, as [and] we forgive to each man that oweth to us [as and we forgive to each owing to us]. And lead us not into temptation.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE

Father, may your name be held holy. Your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.

All these translations use different words, giving the impression that the concept is different, but they generally say the same thing. Each translation is an attempt to provide more clarity for the English speaker. Whether they do or not is questionable. The history behind each of these translations also varies. I do not know which, if any, go back to the original Greek. The original Douay Rheims was a translation of the original Latin.

Praying The Rosary

Roman Catholics pray the Rosary. Most Protestants don’t.

The Rosary is a string of beads and a crucifix. At the crucifix and at each bead a specific prayer is said. The prayers are well known to all Catholics: the Apostles Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Doxology or “Glory be . ,” the Hail Holy Queen, and the Fatima prayer (Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save all souls from hell, especially those in most need of your mercy.)

The Rosary prayer always starts with the sign of the cross: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Then the Credo is said. So, the Rosary begins with a declaration of faith.

A single bead is next to the crucifix on which the Our Father is said. It is set apart from the other beads. It is the prayer Jesus taught his apostles to say, so Catholics reverence this prayer.

On the next 3 beads, clustered together, the Hail Mary is said on each, requesting the gifts of faith, hope and love (or charity).

Although the Our Father is familiar to all Christians, the Hail Mary is not. The Hail Mary is half biblical quote, and half prayer. The first half of the prayer comes from Luke (1:28, 42) “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”  The second half says, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

After these Three beads the Doxology is said in this form: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.”

These are the introductory prayers.

Next comes a single bead set off from the following ten beads. On the single bead is said the Our Father. The Hail Mary is said on the next ten beads followed by the Doxology and the Fatima prayer. The Rosary is composed of five of these sets.

At the end of these five sets of beads, the last prayer of the Rosary is the Hail Holy Queen.: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope, to you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears; turn then most gracious Advocate, your eyes and ears toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. Oh clement, oh loving, oh sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.”

This prayer is based upon the belief that Mary, who is in heaven with her son (see Heaven is for Real where Mary stands beside her son.), intercedes for us just as she did at the wedding at Cana, and as Bathsheba (as Queen Mother) interceded for supplicants to her son, Solomon. Catholics believe that Mary is our mother just as she is Jesus’ mother. We believe that when Jesus gave his mother into the care of John, as his mother, so too he gave her to all the rest of us as our mother. We ask for her help. Just as we ask our living friends to pray for us when we need prayers, we ask Mary to pray for us because we believe she is as alive today in heaven as she was on earth.

Some people refuse to acknowledge that the Rosary is an efficacious prayer because it is repetitive. They say that Jesus said not to pray like the Gentiles who repeat meaningless words as prayers.  But the Credo, Our Father, Hail Mary, Doxology, and Fatima prayer are not meaningless words.

The Rosary is repetitive on purpose. Catholics take seriously Jesus’ parable about the man seeking food from his neighbor. As Jesus said, the neighbor will get up and give him food because he kept knocking at the door – he would not go away. In the same way, Jesus also reminded his followers of the story of the woman who kept insisting that the judge hear her case and give her justice. The judge finally heard her case to make her go away. In other words, Jesus encouraged his followers to be tenacious in their prayer. The Rosary is a persistent prayer.

Some Catholics do not like to say the Rosary because of its repetitiveness. They get bored. So, the Church has given them something to think about while saying these prayers. For those blessed with an imagination, the following meditations are siggested: for the first Rosary of five sets of Hail Mary’s, the Church suggests thinking about the infancy stories of Jesus found in Luke: the Annunciation/Incarnation; the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth; the birth of Jesus; Jesus presentation in the temple; and last, finding of the boy Jesus in the temple.  On each of these five sets of ten beads (called a decade), try to imagine each story. These are referred to as the Joyous Mysteries because each story has a moment of joy.

For the second Rosary of five sets, think about Jesus’ public life and ministry: His baptism, the wedding at Cana, the proclamation of the kingdom (his entire ministry), the Transfiguration, and finally the institution of the Eucharist. These are referred to as the Luminous Mysteries or the mysteries of the light.

The third set focuses on Jesus’ passion and death: The Garden of Gethsemane, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning of thorns, the carrying of the cross, and finally Jesus’ crucifixion and death. These are called the Sorrowful Mysteries.

The final set of five meditations begins with the Resurrection, followed by the Ascension, then the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, followed by Mary’s being taken up to heaven, and last Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven as described in the Book of Revelation. These are the Glorious Mysteries.

The Rosary requires a knowledge of the New Testament. If you don’t know the stories about Jesus, or his teachings, it’s hard to have anything to think about. Not only are the prayers based upon the Scripture, so are all the meditations. The Rosary covers Jesus entire life.

Since the Rosary is a meditative prayer, it cannot be said amid noise. It requires quiet. It takes about fifteen minutes so say one Rosary. It soothes, quiets down the mind and emotions, leaves the person feeling peaceful. Saying the Rosary does not require the beads, it can be said, ticking off each prayer on the fingers.  Some Catholic priests have made their rosary from the bits of bread they had been given to eat as prisoners of the Chinese Communists.

Sometimes we run out of things to say to Jesus, but we want to keep in contact, we want to continue praying. The Rosary is a great help.

There are those who say that the Rosary must be said with love or it is meaningless. Or, as some prefer to say, the Rosary must be prayed “from the heart” to have any value. These are discouraging remarks and keep people from even trying. I agree with G. K. Chesterton who said, “Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing badly.” In other words, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing. No matter how well or how poorly said, praying the Rosary is definitely worth doing.

Catholic Devotion to Jesus’ Mother Mary

Devotion to Jesus’ mother is as old as the Catholic Church. When Jesus began his active ministry and traveled all over the Galilee, Judea and beyond, Mary often traveled with him. She was no stranger to his friends. The Catholic Church takes the biblical passages about her very seriously and over the centuries has bestowed upon her various titles that reflect those roots. The Catholic teaching about Mary is logical.

Biblical Roots

We learn about Mary primarily from Matthew (1-2) and Luke (1-2). Both open their Gospels with the infancy narratives. We are told in John 2:1-12  of the wedding at Cana and in John 19, that Mary was present at the foot of the cross.

Mary was Conceived without Original Sin

Catholics believe that every human since Adam and Eve have been conceived with Original Sin. The sins of disobedience and pride that caused Adam and Even to disobey God’s command, has been passed down to all their offspring – us. The sacrament of Baptism, washes away that original sin and brings people back into God’s grace.

The angel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Gabriel’s description of Mary as “full of grace,” meant that she was without sin of any kind. She was born sinless. This is the basis for her title “Immaculate Conception.” Only a sinless person could conceive, carry and bear the Divine. To be singled out by God, from all possible generations, to bear His son, is a significant honor. To image that God would single out a sinful woman to bear his son is unthinkable. To imagine that the woman who was to raise and educate the Son of God could commit sin after she gave birth is equally unthinkable. All Christian faiths agree that Jesus was sinless. How can a sinless person be raised by a sinful person? It makes no sense. God would not allow it.

God chose to take on human form, to live as a human, to experience what all humans experience. To accomplish this, he had to be born of a woman. The woman who carries and gives birth to the divine must herself be pure, in every sense of the word. She had to be a virgin as God’s birth was the greatest thing the world has seen. God chose a sinless virgin so that He, Himself, could “open” Mary’s womb.

Mary is the New Eve

Matthew often says that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old (The Jewish Scripture). Mary’s sinlessness has its parallel in Genesis. Eve was created without sin. (If Adam and Eve committed the first sin, we must assume that they were sinless prior to that moment.) God promised the serpent (Gen 3:15) “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” If “offspring” refers to Jesus, then “the woman” is clearly Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus (the new Adam), could not be more sinful than Eve.

Mary as the Ark of the Covenant

When Mary visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-43), John, her unborn son, leaped for joy in her womb on recognizing Christ in Mary’s womb. Since we assume Mary set out immediately to visit Elizabeth after the Annunciation, the fetus, Jesus, could not have been more than five weeks old at the time.

The Ark of the Covenant held God. David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. Mary’s body held God in the person of Jesus. John danced in his mother’s womb when the newly pregnant Mary came to visit. (Ark of the Covenant.)

Mary was a Perpetual Virgin

The Catholic Church assumes Mary’s perpetual virginity. Nothing that held the divine can subsequently hold something conceived with original sin. Only by God’s grace did Mary live an unsullied, sinless life. Although there is reference to Jesus “mother and brothers and sisters,” nowhere in the Bible is there any reference to any other children of Mary. Mention is made only of Jesus’ relatives. For example, James is often called “the brother of Jesus.” In the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, there is no word for “cousin.” Cousins are called brothers and sisters. So, the reference to Jesus “brothers and sisters” was probably about Jesus’ cousins. There is also the ancient belief, found in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (Chapter 8), that Joseph was a widower when he married Mary and that he had had children by his first wife. The reference to “brothers and sisters” may refer to Joseph’s children. Mary had only one child. (Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.)

Mary as the Mother of God

If Jesus is divine, then logically Mary, as his human mother, is “Mother of God.” In fact, Elizabeth called Mary “Mother of My Lord.” (Luke 1:43)

Mary as the Mother of the Church

Throughout the Gospels, Mary was present. When Jesus was dying (John 19:26-27) he looked down from the cross and addressed his mother with the words “Woman here is your son” referring to the “beloved disciple.” Then turning to this disciple, he said “Here is your mother.” (Now in Jewish custom, a widow was helpless if she did not have a male relative to care for her, whether a son or a husband. If Mary had other sons, and if Jesus had other brothers, it would have been unthinkable that Jesus would have given his mother into the care of a non-relative.) With these simple words, using the last of his breath, Jesus gave Mary to all humans (as represented by the beloved disciple) as mother. For some reason, many people disregard this passage and do not connect it with the passage about Jesus’ mothers and brothers.

Mary is the Queen Mother

Solomon was a King of Israel. The kings of Israel, like their counterparts, had many wives. Who was to be queen? They solved this problem by making the king’s mother the Queen Mother. Solomon showed to his mother, Bathsheba, great deference. (1 Kings 2:18-20) He bowed to her. He placed her at his right hand. He asked her opinion when judging and administering the land. People would go to Bathsheba and ask her to intervene for them with Solomon. As a good son, he always granted her requests.

Just as the citizens of Israel went to Bathsheba to solicit her assistance in their requests to Solomon, Catholics ask Mary to intercede with her son. If Mary asks Jesus, he is sure to listen, just as Solomon listened to his mother and granted her requests. Does this mean that Catholics ignore Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit? No. Catholics pray to the divine but also ask Mary to “pray for us.” (see the second half of the Hail Mary.)

Mary as Advocate

John’s Gospel tells the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-9) when the hosts were running out of wine. (Since wedding feasts in Jesus’ day lasted a week, this was a problem.) Mary noticed what needed doing and told her son, “They have no wine.” His immediate response was “this is no concern of mine.” Mary, knowing her son intimately, went to the wine stewards and told them to “do whatever he tells you.” Jesus lavishly turned gallons of water into wine – because his mother asked him to.

If Jesus complied with his mother’s wishes while he was alive, why would he refuse her requests in heaven?

Mary as Role Model

Gabriel politely asked Mary if she would be willing to assume the awesome task of bearing and raising God’s son. Mary’s fiat, “Be it done to me according to thy word,” (Luke 1:38) her complete acceptance of the will of God is considered the epitome of Christian behavior – to cooperate with God’s will, freely.

Respect for Mary as the Mother of Jesus

Those who love and respect their mothers, would be very hurt if their closest friends ignored her, treated her badly or disrespectfully. Mothers are to be treated with love, kindness, patience, and respect. Can anyone doubt that Jesus would see it differently? For those who believe that Jesus is a friend, as well as Lord, why ignore His mother? Ignoring Mary is being disrespectful to Jesus. Christians can no more ignore Jesus’ mother today than the Apostles could have when Jesus was alive. Yet many believe that Mary ‘gets in the way’ of their relationship with Jesus. They see Mary as a distraction rather than as a helper. They do not see that she loves them just as she loved “the beloved disciple” and all the other disciples of Jesus. Now she is in heaven she can love even more and be of greater help. It’s hard to imagine anyone ignoring the mother of the beloved, but it is true.

Catholic devotion to Mary is richly deserved. Granted, Mary was a human person. She did, however, conceive, bear and raise the Divine. An honor reserved only to her. The respect given to her by the Catholic Church is reasonable. Where would Christianity be without her?

 

Catholic Devotion to Jesus’ Mother Mary

Devotion to Jesus’ mother is as old as Christianity. When Jesus began his active ministry and traveled all over the Galilee, Judea and beyond, Mary often traveled with him. She was no stranger to his friends. The Catholic Church takes the biblical passages about her very seriously and over the centuries has bestowed upon her various titles that reflect those roots.

Biblical Roots 

We learn about Mary primarily from Matthew (1-2) and Luke (1-2). Both open their Gospels with the infancy narratives. We are told in John 2:1-12  of the wedding at Cana and in John 19, that Mary was present at the foot of the cross.

Mary was Conceived without Original Sin

Catholics believe that every human since Adam and Eve have been conceived with Original Sin. The sins of disobedience and pride that caused Adam and Even to disobey God’s command, has been passed down to all their offspring. The sacrament of Baptism, washes away that original sin and brings people back into God’s grace.

The angel Gabriel greeted Mary with the words: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Gabriel’s description of Mary as “full of grace,” meant that she was without sin of any kind. She was born sinless. This is the basis for her title “Immaculate Conception.” Only a sinless person could conceive, carry and bear the Divine. To be singled out by God, from all possible generations, to bear His Son, is a significant honor. To imagine that God would single out a sinful woman to bear his son is unthinkable.

God chose to take on human form, to live as a human, to experience what all humans experience. To accomplish this, he had to be born of a woman. The woman who carries and gives birth to the divine must herself be pure, in every sense of the word. She had to be a virgin, as God’s birth was the greatest thing the world has seen. God chose a sinless virgin so that He, Himself, could “open” Mary’s womb.

To imagine that the woman who was to raise and educate the Son of God could commit sin after she gave birth is equally unthinkable. All Christian faiths agree that Jesus was sinless. How can a sinless person be raised by a sinful person? God would not allow it.

Mary is the New Eve 

Matthew often says that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old (The Jewish Scripture). Mary’s sinlessness has its parallel in Genesis. Eve was created without sin. (If Adam and Eve committed the first sin, we must assume that they were sinless prior to that moment.) God promised the serpent (Gen 3:15) “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” If “offspring” refers to Jesus, then “the woman” is clearly Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus (the new Adam), could not be more sinful than Eve.

Mary as the Ark of the Covenant

When Mary visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-43), John, her unborn son, leaped for joy in her womb on recognizing Christ in Mary’s womb. Since we assume Mary set out immediately to visit Elizabeth after the Annunciation, the fetus, Jesus, could not have been more than five weeks old at the time.

The Ark of the Covenant held God. David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. Mary’s body held God in the person of Jesus. John danced in his mother’s womb when the newly pregnant Mary came to visit. (Ark of the Covenant.)

Mary was a Perpetual Virgin 

Unlike Protestant theology, the Catholic Church assumes Mary’s perpetual virginity. Nothing that held the divine can subsequently hold something conceived with original sin. Only by God’s grace did Mary live an unsullied, sinless life. Although there is reference to Jesus “mother and brothers and sisters,” nowhere in the Bible is there any reference to any other children of Mary. Mention is made only of Jesus’ relatives. In Hebrew and Aramaic, there is no word for “cousin.” Cousins were called brothers and sisters. So the reference to Jesus “brothers and sisters” was probably in reference to Jesus’ cousins. There is also the ancient belief, found in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (Chapter 8), that Joseph was a widower when he married Mary and that he had had children by his first wife. The reference to “brothers and sisters” may refer to Joseph’s children. Mary had only one child. (Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.)

Mary is the Mother of God

If Jesus is divine, then logically Mary, as his human mother, is “Mother of God.” In fact, Elizabeth called Mary “Mother of My Lord.” (Luke 1:43)

Mary is the Mother of the Church 

Throughout the Gospels, Mary was present. When Jesus was dying (John 19:26-27) he looked down from the cross and addressed his mother with the words “Woman here is your son” referring to the “beloved disciple.” Then turning to this disciple, he said “Here is your mother.” (In Jewish custom, a widow was helpless if she did not have a male relative to care for her, whether a son or a husband. If Mary had other sons, and if Jesus had other brothers, Jesus would never have given his mother into the care of a non-relative.) With these simple words, using the last of his breath, Jesus gave Mary to all humans (as represented by the beloved disciple) as mother. For some reason, many Protestant sects disregard this passage and do not connect it with the passage about Jesus’ mothers and brothers.

Islam, in contrast, has a great devotion to Jesus’ mother.

Mary is the Queen Mother 

Solomon was a King of Israel. The kings of Israel, like their counterparts, had many wives. Who was to be queen? They solved this problem by making the king’s mother the Queen Mother. Solomon showed to his mother, Bathsheba, great deference. (1 Kings 2:18-20) He bowed to her. He placed her at his right hand. He asked her opinion when judging and administering the land. People would go to Bathsheba and ask her to intervene for them with Solomon. As a good son, he always granted her requests.

Just as the citizens of Israel went to Bathsheba to solicit her assistance in their requests to Solomon, Catholics ask Mary to intercede with her son. If Mary asks Jesus, he is sure to listen, just as Solomon listened to his mother and granted her requests. Is Jesus less respectful of his mother than Solomon was to his? Does this mean that Catholics ignore Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit? No. Catholics pray to the divine but also ask Mary to “pray for us.” (see the second half of the Hail Mary.)

Mary as Advocate 

John’s Gospel tells the story of the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-9) when the hosts were running out of wine. (Since wedding feasts in Jesus’ day lasted a week, this was a serious problem.) Mary noticed what needed doing and told her son, “They have no wine.” His immediate response was “this is no concern of mine.” Mary, knowing her son intimately, went to the wine stewards and told them to “do whatever he tells you.” Jesus lavishly turned gallons of water into wine – because his mother asked him to.

If Jesus complied with his mother’s wishes while he was alive, why would he refuse her requests in heaven?

Mary as Role Model 

Gabriel politely asked Mary if she would be willing to assume the awesome task of bearing and raising God’s son. Mary’s fiat, “Be it done to me according to thy word,” (Luke 1:38) her complete acceptance of the will of God, is considered the epitome of Christian behavior – to cooperate with God’s will, freely.

Respect for Mary as the Mother of Jesus 

Those who love and respect their mothers, would be very hurt if their closest friends ignored her, treated her badly or disrespectfully. Mothers are to be treated with kindness, patience, and respect. Can anyone doubt that Jesus would see it differently? For those who believe that Jesus is a friend, as well as Lord, why ignore his mother? Ignoring Mary is being disrespectful to Jesus. Christians can no more ignore Jesus’ mother today than the Apostles could have when Jesus was alive. Yet many Protestant sects believe that Mary ‘gets in the way’ of their relationship with Jesus. They see Mary as a distraction rather than as a helper. They do not see that she loves them just as she loved “the beloved disciple” and all the other disciples of Jesus. Now she is in heaven she can love even more and be of greater help. It’s hard to imagine anyone ignoring the mother of the beloved, but it is true.

Catholic devotion to Mary is richly deserved. Granted, Mary was a human person. She did, however, conceive, bear and raise the Divine. An honor reserved only to her. The respect given to her by the Catholic Church is reasonable. Where would Christianity be without her?

 

On Reading the Bible*

We are celebrating Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, who advocated the idea that everyone should read the Bible. It’s a good idea, especially for those who read it as a devotional exercise. The major problem that I see is people who simply read the Bible without knowing the context of the stories. This can lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. As a case in point, many people like to quote, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24) as an excuse for retaliating a perceived wrong or injustice. The quote, however, is taken out of context. It was meant to discourage escalating violence. Retaliation was to be limited to similar offenses and not overkill. (You killed my dog, I will kill your child.) The discussion is about how to respond to personal injuries. (Exodus 21:12-36)

In addition, many people get their ideas about the Bible from art. The famous painting of Paul being thrown from his horse is a good example. Nowhere in Acts does it say Paul was riding a horse. Or “The Last Supper” by da Vinci with Jesus and his disciples sitting at a long table. In Jesus day people did not sit at table, they reclined. There are many Biblical stories, books and movies based upon the imagination of the writer. Many are interpretations of Biblical stories with little basis in history or culture. But we believe them.

The television series by Franco Zeffirelli, called Jesus of Nazareth, has a scene of Mary and Joseph in the temple having baby Jesus circumcised. The scene is taken from Luke 2:21-24 “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived. When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”, and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two young pigeons.’”

Zeffirelli got it wrong, and I believed it for years. In the Jewish culture into which Jesus was born, baby boys were circumcised on the 8th day following birth. At the same time, the new mother was confined to her house for forty days after the boy’s birth. She was then allowed to go out to a mikva (ritual bath) to be “cleansed.” If Mary and Joseph were still in Bethlehem (we don’t know that for sure), then they could go to the temple in Jerusalem and present Jesus to God in the customary way. Zeffirelli and I collapsed two different time periods into one based upon ignorance of the culture of the time. Is this knowledge necessary for the devotional reading of Luke? No, not really. But it is important to know if you are teaching Bible stories to others.

Another area that keeps cropping up is related to whether Jesus had siblings and/or whether his mother had more children. Catholics say no, and Protestants say yes. It all hinges in passages like this one: Mark 6:3-5 ”Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.”

What I did not know, until I studied anthropology, is that many cultures, including the Jewish culture of Jesus’ time, do not have a word in their language for ‘cousin.’ So, cousins were all referred to as siblings – brothers and sisters. This information will not change devotional reading, but it is a sticking point for Catholics and Protestants. For Catholics, it does not change the belief that Jesus’ mother Mary had no other children besides Jesus.

Reading and praying over the Bible is a good thing. Thinking about the stories that are told and trying to imagine what was happening and why, takes study. Our imaginations only tell us about our time and our culture and we interpret everything we read by that lens. That is wrong. We need to inform our imagination by studying the context in which the books of the Bible were written.

We also need to be aware that every translation of the Bible changes the nuances. Anyone who knows more than one language knows some words simply don’t translate, so a similar but not exact meaning is sought. This changes the message.  There are many different versions of the English language Bible. The degree to which they conform to the original Greek meaning is probably the best. If you cannot read the original Greek or Latin versions, you are limited to your own language. I am told that there is a new English gender inclusive Bible available. Instead of the Our father . . . prayer (Mat 6:9-13 NIV), the translation reads: “Our parent . . .” Some Bibles have changed John 1:1 from “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” to “. . . the word was a God.” This changes the meaning totally.

I agree with Martin Luther. We Christians should read the bible, meditatively and prayerfully. But we also need to be reminded that Jesus did not live in N. America in the 21st century. His life experience was a far cry from ours. We would be well served by trying to learn what life was like for him in the first century.

*I have no idea why some of these paragraphs are in bold. I can’t seem to change them. My apologies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_of_Nazareth_(miniseries)  directed by Franco Zeffirelli

Four famous Catholic saints named Teresa

The Catholic Church has the custom of honoring certain individuals who have lived lives of great piety and virtue or for the heroic act of martyrdom.  Christianity is a difficult religion to follow. So much of what Jesus taught is extremely challenging to practice day in and day out, consistently, for years. Those individuals, who also had their faults, but who lived up to Christian ideals with remarkable success, are held up as examples of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. A saint is a role model.

It’s not easy to be declared a saint. The Church has a process that includes collecting all the possible data available on the individual whose name has been put forward, which includes any writing, interviews with people who knew them, interviews with people who did not know them but observed them publicly, as well as interviews with those who claimed to have had a miracle granted by this person’s intercession either before or after they died. These miracles must be documented and unexplainable by any other means.

A person put forward for sainthood must first be designated Venerable by the Pope, then a Servant of God, next as a Blessed and finally a Saint. The process may take several hundred years.

It is unusual for a series of saints to have the same name, because they deliberately chose to take a name they wished to be known by in their religious life, and then become a saint themselves.  This is the case, however, with four women who are all named Teresa in religious life.  (Although there are others, these four are the best known.)

The first was Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), or Dona Teresa de Ahumada y Cepeda , who took the name (this is a custom in some religious orders when an individual is accepted into the order, they take a new name) Teresa de Jesus (Teresa of Jesus). The second, Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), was named for Teresa of Avila at her baptism, and took her name in religion as Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Edith Stein (1891-1942), took the name Teresa, Benedicta de la Cruz (Teresa, Blessed by the Cross) because of her admiration for Teresa of Avila. In fact, she attributes her conversion to Catholicism to her reading of Teresa of Avila’s autobiography. Last was Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 – 1997) who took her name in religion from Therese of Lisieux.  Other women, who took the name Teresa in religious life, are in the process of becoming declared saints themselves.

These four great women saints were all members of a religious order. All were known for their persistence in their faith and in the tasks they were to perform. Three belonged to the Carmelite religious order while the fourth founded an active missionary order (Missionaries of Charity).

All four Teresa’s had their faith revealed to the world either through their written autobiographies, through their personal correspondence or through other writings. In their time, they were pillars of strength to others, deeply in love with God, and demonstrated the Christian message through their lives. Whether they lived in obscurity or in international fame, they remained true to their calling: to love and serve God in the best way they could.

Two have been named “Doctors of the Church” (Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux) meaning that their writings contain profound truths about spirituality. They are considered among the greatest teachers of Christianity and Christian spiritual practices.

All four were born in Europe, and three spent their entire lives in European countries: Teresa of Avila in Spain, Therese of Lisieux in France, Teresa Benedicta del la Cruz (Edith Stein) Germany and the Netherlands. Only Mother Teresa left Europe voluntarily.  Her order sent her to India where she spent most of her life.

Three died natural deaths. Edith Stein was gassed in Auschwitz.  They came from wealthy, well to do families (Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux) or from poor circumstances (Edith Stein). They entered religious life at different times in their lives. Therese of Lisieux entered at age fifteen. Mother Teresa entered at eighteen. Theresa of Avila entered at around the age of 20, while Edith Stein was in her forties.

Of the four Teresa’s, only Edith Stein was a convert to Catholicism, having grown up a Jew. Edith Stein was also the best educated, having a PhD in Philosophy.

On the face of it, these four women don’t have much in common other than their religious names. What made them so notable that the Church says their lives reflected, at a heroic level, their love of God?

Teresa of Avila is famous in the Catholic Church for two things: she restored the Carmelite religious order to its original purpose and rule, and wrote some of the most profound books on prayer ever written (The Interior Castle). Her books, written in Spanish, were never edited or rewritten; they remain first drafts as she hand-wrote them during spare moments of the day.  She lived during the time of the Spanish Inquisition which attempted to stamp out any person or writing that was overly “spiritual” and was in fact, denounced to the Inquisition.  She lived in a time when kings and royalty ruled Europe and their word was final and binding. Everything that happened in a kingdom needed royal approval, including the founding of religious houses. She suffered from physical illnesses throughout her life, yet she traveled extensively to accomplish her goals. When exhumed, her body was found to be incorrupt.

Therese of Lisieux grew up the pampered youngest child of a well to do pious Catholic family. Like Teresa of Avila, her mother died when she was young. Her older sisters, one by one, left home to enter the convent. After a conversion experience, she too longed to enter the convent, and begged for permission to enter at the age of fifteen, one year before most girls were accepted into the order. Permission from the Bishop was requested and denied, so she appealed to the Pope.  She did enter at fifteen, dying at age twenty-four of tuberculosis. She left behind an autobiography (The Story of a Soul) written at the request of her superiors.  This book, like the works of Teresa of Avila, has become regarded as a giant in spiritual literature, documenting through her own life and experiences, how she followed Christian ideals in “little things” for love of Jesus. Just as she saw herself as only a “little flower” so her way to perfection became known as “The Little Way.” Her body remains incorrupt and is on display.

Edith Stein (Sister Benedicta de la Cruz) was born and raised a Jew. Her autobiography (Life in a Jewish Family 1891-1916, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1986) is unfinished. She was a brilliant woman. Her doctoral dissertation in philosophy was a phenomenological exposition of the concept of Empathy.  As a woman and as a Jew, she was prevented from taking up an academic career at any German university but she was able to obtain a teaching position at a Catholic girl’s school. She was a popular lecturer. Some of her speeches and writings on women have been translated into English and published (“Das Frau” or “Woman.” Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1987).  After her conversion to Catholicism she was drawn to the Carmelite order where she was eventually admitted. When Germany began purging its population of Jews, her order transferred her to the Netherlands where it was felt she would be safe.  When the Nazi’s conquered the Netherlands, she and her sister Rosa were part of the general round up and they were sent to Auschwitz. The Church honors martyrs or those who died for their faith. Ironically, Edith Stein was martyred, not for being a Christian, but for being a Jew.  Pope John Paul II named her a co-patron saint of Europe.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta became known to the world when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for her work among the destitute of India. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, whose work of mercy was, and is, to serve the poorest of the poor.  She saw the face of Christ in every person she met, whether it was Pope John Paul II or a dying Untouchable crawling with worms. She drew people to her and to the work but insisted that she and the members of her order were not social workers. Their service came from a deep need to be obedient to Jesus in all things, rooted in a consistent and profound prayer life. Like Teresa of Avila, she was a strong minded woman. She had a rock-like faith that sustained her through decades of long arduous days of fighting and caring for the unwanted. Her letters (Mother Teresa, “Come be my Light”) describe her “Dark Night of the Soul” (Saint John of the Cross) while remaining completely trusting in God. She exemplified the message that the virtue of the “Corporal Works of Mercy” comes about only through deep prayer and love.

All four are admired by the Catholic Church for living out their faith in a heroic manner.  What is striking is that they deliberately chose the same name by which to be identified and known. Each was groundbreaking in her own way, following in the footsteps of Teresa of Avila. They represent the best of Catholic womanhood: strong minded, persistent, dedicated, deeply spiritual and loving. They gave everything they had. They shared Christ’s love with their lives.

Reading and Interpreting Research Reports

I have been reading the research on diet for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become aware that research data are interpreted by the researcher according to their personal preference for the outcome of the research. In other words, the “findings and conclusions” are tilted toward the researcher’s biases. Very much like the divide between liberals and conservatives in politics, dieting researchers generally belong to either the “Low Fat” or the “Low Carbohydrate” group and interpret their data accordingly.

For the past thirty years, the FDA committee that writes the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” has produced their recommendations every five years. In looking at the Guidelines, it is clear that the committee belongs to the low-fat camp. I have read their reports which rely heavily on epidemiological reports with some clinical trials.

For those who don’t know much about epidemiological studies of diet, they rely heavily on phone calls to selected people and ask them what they have eaten over the past week, their gender, race, ethnic group and what their current health concerns are, what foods and beverages were consumed over the past week, how much and how many times. (Data collection can last for decades producing interim reports of findings.) From the thousands of answers to these questions, the researchers do a statistical analysis of the data based upon pre-set questions. These are then categorized according to the breakdown of known nutrients: fat, carbohydrate, protein, sugars, vitamins and minerals. This data is then recategorized by the other factors of age, gender, and health issues. Researchers look to see which variables seem to influence which variables. When reporting their research (which has an enormous amount of data), the researchers can have selective inattention. They may report the data the supports their diet belief system and ignore all the data that does not agree with their POV. Since no one else sees the data other than the research team, there is no one to cry “foul.”

The results of these studies are published and shared with the media. What the media does not understand about epidemiological studies is that the findings only show a statistical association between two or more bits of information. Epidemiological studies can never say “this variable causes this other variable to change.” So, basing the Dietary Guidelines on epidemiological data primarily, is like building a house on shifting sand.

Diet researchers also report on their clinical trials/experimental studies. These studies are the gold standard in research because they are so tightly controlled. The researchers must have some reasons (previous research findings) for including a certain variable and then deciding how it is to be studied and how long it will be studied. In diet research, a thorough knowledge of the physiology of processing food is critical. If the research is trying to compare a low-fat diet to a low carbohydrate diet, the researcher must know that there are differences in how the genders process foods and age also impacts food processing. Therefor a good study will select only one gender and age group to study. (If a study includes both genders and a range of age groups, then all the data must be compartmentalized by these variables. The results are only valid for specific gender and age groups. Knowledge is needed on how long it takes the human body to adapt to a change in diet, how different foods trigger insulin production, store foods, breakdown foods, are eliminated without being absorbed. This knowledge is critical to creating a research project that is both reliable and valid. If the project is too short, the findings are invalid. If foods are prepared in certain ways, nutrients are lost which will influence the findings. The gold standard for dieting research is one year in length. The usual results looked for are: amount of weight loss, changes in body measurements, blood values such as cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. Even more specific tests can reveal the action of food on subjects.

Since 2007, there have been publications challenging the research upon which the US Dietary Guidelines have been based. (To date, these studies have not been considered by the committee producing these Guidelines. They are not listed in the references the committee says it used to produce the Guidelines.)

Two publications are worth noting. Both published in 2007. The first is the monumental literature review of dieting research and politics by Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories). The second is the publication of the A to Z study by Gardener et al. Gardener was a member of the low-fat group. He and his team at Stanford, designed an experiment that compared four different diets: Atkins, Dietary Guidelines, The Zone and ultra-low-fat diet by Dean Ornish. They wanted to know which diet his overweight over-forty women would stick to the longest and which diet showed the greatest weight loss, the best blood values and stayed on it longest. To Gardener’s surprise, The Atkins group lost the most weight, stuck to it the longest and had the best blood values. In contrast, the low-fat group gave up the quickest, lost the least amount of weight and had the worst blood values. The committee publishing the US Dietary Guidelines has consistently ignored these two publications.

A new publication, belonging to the low carbohydrate group, by Volek and Phinney (2011) is adding to the research data on low carbohydrate diets. They have conducted many clinical trials/experimental designs (with not much success at getting published in prestigious journals that espouse the low-fat belief system. What they have found, which flies in the face of previous research, is that exercise does not contribute to weight loss in many people (although it is important for fitness reasons), and that people with insulin resistance do better on a low carbohydrate diet, while people with insulin sensitivity do better on low fat diets (finding by Gardener et al.). This tells us that the dichotomy of low-fat versus low-carb isn’t the answer. It depends on the physiology of each individual person. One size does not fit all. To my mind, this s a breakthrough in dieting research. This publication is also ignored by the committee producing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Why does the committee insist upon restating the low-fat mantra despite the research demonstrating that it is palpable false? Two answers are possible. Either the committee is unable to see that they have a low-fat bias which skews their report or there are vested interests that have convinced the committee to stand fast. Until the Medical Research Council funds a large scale study comparing the diets – similar to the Gardener et all study – there will be no changes in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Rebecca “Becky” Self: Her Story

My family called Rebecca Self, Auntie BBecky Self 1951illie. She was not a blood relative but she was such a close friend to my parents, it seemed too formal to call her “Mrs. Self.” Becky Self was an army nurse. During World War II, she and her husband, Leonard, were imprisoned with us in Cebu and Manila (Santo Tomas Internment Camp). I mentioned her in my memoir as making my brothers and me, as a baptismal gift, small pillows we could take to Mass to kneel on. Auntie Billie told us that she was part Cherokee. When she let her dark hair grow, and twisted it into a braid, she did look Cherokee.

The following is a letter Auntie Billie wrote to me dated July 10, 1956, from Bono, Arkansas. Apparently, I had written to her dithering over what I should do with my life: enter the convent, wait for ‘Mr. Right’ to come along and get married, or go on for graduate education. The date of the letter reminds me that I had just graduated from school and was living on my own in my first apartment with my first graduate nursing job. I was a head nurse on the evening shift on a surgical ward at St. John’s hospital in Santa Monica, California. This letter is autobiographical. She was demonstrating to me that life is a series of choices. It is a remarkable story of a strong woman who persisted in following her dream despite all the obstacles. I am sharing her letter to introduce her to you. I left in her words of advice to me at the end of the letter. Only personal messages to me are deleted.

Dearest Pam,

The reason I am writing you now is mostly because I want to tell you something of my own experience and about my life, and give you some un-asked for advice. First, I am glad you are alone for awhile, but I was very glad too to be with older and experienced nurses when I first graduated. I also had the lost feeling when I left the Sisters petticoats and the shelter of my home hospital – also that striped uniform, to go to a strange place among what I considered foreigners, I shall never forget the first time I was on night duty at an army hospital in Fort Sills, Okla and a woman came in to have a baby and we didn’t get her any farther than from the car to the litter and she had it on the front porch. I had to deliver it with my bare hands all by myself. I left it there with her and we got her to the delivery room and I called the O.D. [Officer of the Day] and also an older nurse that was on night duty and she came over and made me tie the cord and finish up the job. When the O.D. arrived he asked me why I had called him? I had many such experiences in my career. It doesn’t take long till you feel at home.

When I was about 9 years old a horse threw my Mother and broke her hip. My youngest sister was 6 mos. old at the time, from then on, I was as grown up as I’ll ever be. I knew that someday, if it took me the rest of my life, I would be a nurse. My mother used to take us to Mass once a year. We lived so far away only 25 miles, but it might as well have been 500. We had no car only 2 old mules & a wagon, and we were very poor, so we could only go to church once or twice a year at the most. Every time I went I couldn’t take my eyes off the Student Nurses or the Sisters. I wanted to be a nun at the time but my practical mind got the better of me. I wanted to get myself and my family out of the poverty we had gotten in since we had left Kentucky & moved to Arkansas in 1918.

Pam, I struggled on going to school in the country 2 or 3 days a week until I finally finished the 8th grade. I was 14 years old and had no hope of going any further, but I never did give up. One day a missionary priest came along and talked to me. He got me a job at the hospital washing dishes and I could go to school to the sisters in my spare time. I washed dishes 3 times a day for 2 years. They paid me $20.00 a month and my room and board and schooling. I worked until my father had to go to Florida to get a job and my older brother and my mother were trying to keep the rest of the family from starving to death. There were 3 others besides my brother and myself and all younger. My mother got sick and I finally quit and went home. I was very unhappy about it but I was needed at home to take care of my Mother, so I packed up my little tin trunk and back home I went. Cooked and kept house and hired out by day to Chap Calton for a $1.50 a day. My brother and I could make $3 a day. That was in 1925. We lived in a small town in one of my uncle’s houses and didn’t pay rent so we could eat on $3 a day. I stayed home 6 months that time and helped my brother while my father was away. Then the priest came back again to say Mass at our house and see what I was going to do. Now that my family was sorta on their feet they still needed me but they could make out now without me.

I told the priest I was not going back to dish washing. I had the amount of education necessary to enter nurses training and that’s what I always aimed to be and the quicker I got started on it the quicker I could help my family. And if I wasn’t old enough in years, I sure felt like it. He told me to pack my tin trunk again and come on back to the hosp. he would talk to the Supt. of Nurses and also the Rev. Mother. He had a royal battle I heard later, years after, but we both won out.  I had to promise him I would not go anywhere without his permission and he had to promise the nuns he would be responsible for me. On Dec. 23, 1925, I entered Nurses Training and on May 12, 1927, I walked out of the chapel with a diploma in my hand and a white uniform on. That was one goal I had successfully reached. I knew from there on what I was going to do. I was only 19 and I had no desire to get married. In fact, I hadn’t yet had my first real date with a boy. I got me a job and started from there helping my family. It was a long slow struggle up, but it kept me going. When my baby brother was 6 yrs. old a mule kicked him & ruptured his spleen. I had only been in the Army 2 weeks. It took me almost 2 years to pay for his operation and Hosp. bill and live on $70 a month. My father and I bought their first 40 acres of land when I finished that debt. Then I went in for $500 more. The year of 1935 I left the States to come to the P.I. I still owed 40 dollars for a mule I bought my Father. I paid that off after I got to Manila. I was 26 years old the August after I got to Manila. I felt for the first time in my life I was free and that I could live a little and that I had paid off a debt I had promised myself to do if God would be so good as to give me the chance.  When I left the States my family was definitely on their feet and on the way up. My sister Shirley, 5 years younger than I, was already married and owned her own farm, even had a baby. My baby sister was about to get married and my youngest brother seemed to want an education so he was going to high school. My Brother Glenn, older by 23 months than I, was still at home helping my Father farm and didn’t seem interested in getting married. In fact, he was the last one to get married in 1942 just before he went to war in Asia.

Well, Pam, nothing that happened to me was planned, nothing except I wanted to be a nurse and after I became one I wanted to help my family and did. When I felt I had done that I just kept on nursing and let God and fate do the rest. I was 27 years old when I met Leonard and I knew the minute I laid eyes on him he was the man I would marry. And it will happen that way to you if it’s to be. Maybe you have a vocation to be a Nun, but unless you desire that more than anything else in the world you don’t have one, my dear. Don’t be in a hurry to decide. After you have nursed awhile and seen some of the sordid side of life you may want to become a Nun yet on the other hand you may fall in love and marry. Whatever you do, you still have plenty of time. Just don’t rush life, it has a way of passing by on its own. I was 28 years old when I married and soon will be married 20 years so you see you have time. And if marriage is your lot, you don’t have to find a husband, one will just come along, or you will stumble up on one, don’t just hunt one but just keep your eyes open.  Ha!

I will give you the last piece of advice and then I will shut up:  Pam, stop thinking about what you are going to do and just live day to day and let happen what will for a while and see if something doesn’t happen sooner than you expect. Get down to living, have fun, save a little money, and come see us. And anything can happen in Arkansas. Just let yourself go. You don’t have to think about anyone but yourself now do you? Bob, Bill and your Mother seem to be doing all right for themselves so I don’t see why you are doing all this serious thinking. Pray – yes.

Do you remember Curt and Elizabeth Hogan from San Carlos Sugar Central in the P.I.? They were here to see us the latter part of May.

Love

Auntie Billie

P.S. That little brother is now an M.D.  in Hazard, Kentucky.

Pamela J. Brink, Robert A. Brink, and John W. Brink. 2016. Only by the Grace of God: One family’s story of survival during World War II as prisoners of war in the Philippines. Archway.

https://www.amazon.com/Only-Grace-God-Pamela-Brink/dp/148084070X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

A Biographical Sketch of Edith Stein

Edith Stein was a German Jew who converted to Roman Catholicism, entered a Discalced Carmelite order of nuns, was gassed at Auschwitz in 1942, and was canonized a saint in 1998.

Edith Stein (Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross OC), born in 1891, was the youngest child in a large Jewish family living in Breslau, Germany. She attended university and served as a volunteer nurse on the Russian front during World War I. What is known about her early life comes from her unfinished autobiography in which she chronicles her family with awesome recall. (Edith Stein, “Life in a Jewish Family:  An autobiography.” ICS Publications. Washington, DC.  1986.)  Brief sketches of family members as well as a chronological account of her life within the family are treated with honesty, describing failings as well as triumphs. The love in the family shines through every page.

At the university, she studied under Husserl, the founder of Phenomenology, one of the newest concepts in Philosophy. She wrote her doctoral dissertation in only two years. Husserl considered Edith his most promising student; but the academic appointment she had expected and he had led her to believe she would receive went to a fellow student, a Christian male named Heidegger. Instead, Husserl hired Edith to be his assistant which meant she was essentially a glorified secretary. A magnificent intellect was wasted simply because she was a woman and a Jew.

In order to support herself, she taught at a Catholic girls’ school until she entered a Discalced Carmelite convent in Cologne, Germany. When the persecution of Jews began in Germany, her order sent her to another Carmelite convent in the Netherlands where her superiors felt she might be safe. When Germany invaded the Netherlands, Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Edith and her sister Rosa were among those taken.

There is a story that a young man was standing at a railway trestle in Breslau when a cattle car stopped. The doors to the cars were opened to reveal people packed in. The stench was horrific. A Carmelite nun moved to the opening in the car saying, “This is the last time I will see my beloved Breslau.” Edith Stein was never seen or heard from again. Speculation has it that she was immediately taken to the gas chambers where she died and was cremated. The young man, when shown a picture of Edith Stein, confirmed that she was the nun he had seen in that cattle car.

In her autobiography, Edith describes a few experiences she had that lead her from Judaism to Catholicism. She tells of one incident that affected her very powerfully. She was visiting a church as a tourist when she saw an old woman enter, genuflect, then go down on her knees to pray. This was the first time Edith had seen anyone pray in an empty church or outside formal services. It lead her to question what made this church so special that someone would come in to pray alone.

After this experience, she spent all night reading the autobiography of Teresa of Avila. Although this was the beginning of her conversion experience we know little about it or her decision to enter a Carmelite convent. Whether this apparent reticence signified a desire to keep her spiritual life private or because she never had the time to detail what had happened to her, we will never know.

Edith Stein was a remarkable woman. In a time when women were expected to be homemakers and not academics, she was an academic. In a country where to be a woman or a Jew meant there was a glass ceiling for almost any academic position, she was both a woman and a Jew.

Most American academics (and even phenomenologists) may never have heard of Edith Stein simply because her work is in German. Only recently (since the 1980’s) has the Institute for Carmelite Studies translated some of her works into English. Her doctoral dissertation on “Empathy” is yet to be translated. She is, however, well regarded and well-read in Europe.

In the Collected works of Edith Stein, translated into English and published by the Institute of Carmelite Studies, the first volume is her unfinished autobiography, “Life in a Jewish Family 1891-1916.”  (ICS Publications. Washington, DC.  1986).

The second volume of her translated works is “Edith Stein: Essays on Woman” (ICS Publications. Washington, DC. 1987), is a collection of her published articles as well as unpublished speeches.

The third volume is a collection of papers given at an Edith Stein symposium (John Sullivan, Editor. “Edith Stein Symposium: Teresian Culture.” ICS Publications. Washington, DC. 1987). The first section includes biographical papers on Stein. The second section is on the Carmelite order and the third section is on themes derived from the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila. The final section of the book covers Pope John Paul II’s comments about Edith Stein at her formal beatification ceremonies in Cologne.

Edith Stein lived her life being discriminated against because of her gender and her religion. She died for her natal religion despite having been converted to Catholicism. She lived under an unjust political system. Despite these persecutions, or perhaps because of them, she developed a great spirituality. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and was named a co-Patron Saint of Europe.