Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Quodlibet 13 - Salvation and Hell

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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Quodlibet 12 - How much do Dominicans study?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
People who know only a few things about the Dominicans are likely to know that the Order places greater importance on study than almost anything else, besides the vocation to preach. In the English Province, most students will study for a minimum of five years before ordination to the priesthood, and many will study for higher degrees after ordination, either immediately or following a few years of pastoral and preaching experience. However, for the Dominican, being engaged in theological study at some level is a life-long occupation, and does not merely end with formal studies during preparation for the priesthood. It is important that all Dominicans have a good knowledge of theology, because it is needed to preach the Gospel, to shape and influence our entire ministry. We might say that a certain intellectual curiosity is one of the signs of a Dominican vocation. Read more

Quodlibet 11 : Stages of Dominican Formation

Thursday, June 05, 2008
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Quodlibets - ask us more questions!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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Quodlibet 10 : The seal of the confessional

Monday, May 12, 2008
Is it true to say that even if a priest knows through confession that he is clearly dealing with a serious criminal, such as a serial rapist, killer or child abuser, he may not under any circumstances reveal any information that may lead the police to question or even arrest that person?
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Quodlibet 9: Call no one on earth your father

Thursday, February 28, 2008
I attended a social function recently. I noticed that some attendees addressed the Catholic priest as 'Mr'. They quoted the verse that says call no one Father etc. Could you help me understand the reasoning behind our use of Father as a form of address of our priests? Read more

Quodlibet 8 - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

Wednesday, January 02, 2008
"How, exactly, do we forgive others? We can say the words, but what if we simply cannot? How is forcing yourself to forgive any more possible than forcing yourself to like spinach? Are there techniques that work?"

Forgiving others can often be a very difficult thing to do. It is so often the case that the people that we find it hardest to forgive are the people closest to us – parents, siblings, a wife or husband, children, a girlfriend or boyfriend, our best friend and so on. When such people do things that hurt us, things that seem to us unprovoked or unjust we feel it deeply. After all, this is someone who we thought loved and cared for us. There are, unfortunately no techniques. But there are a few things that we might wish to meditate on as a starting point.

When we find it hard to forgive, we must ask ourselves questions about our levels of expectations of others. Sometimes we find it hard to forgive people because we expect them to be superhuman. Those we love can become God-like, and then we hurt when they do not live up to our impossibly high expectations. When this is the case, we need to be honest and accept that others cannot be God for us. Only God can. Realisation of this can help free us a little and prepare the ground for forgiveness, and help us to see our relationships in the right light.

We must also acknowledge that sometimes we are rather too keen to hold on to grievances against others, and to develop a story surrounding an event that becomes more elaborate and distorted as time goes on. This can make us unhappy, but goes some way to helping us to define who and what we are. The problem is that this means defining ourselves as victims, and allowing our past to shackle us, preventing us from living in the present. We must remember that it is not easy to walk forwards when we are looking back over our shoulder! In all these things it helps if we can pluck up the courage to talk to someone whom we trust, who can help us to see the wood from the trees.

Another thing that is perhaps important to note is that difficulties in forgiving others are often linked to an inability to receive forgiveness offered to us by God. The Gospel leaves us with little doubt that receiving forgiveness for our sins and forgiving others are inextricably linked (see Mat 6:12-15). If I cannot believe in God’s power to forgive my sins through Jesus Christ, how can I hope to forgive others? When it is hard to believe that God forgives our sins, it might help to reflect for a while on the formula for absolution said by the Priest in the Sacrament of Penance (see CCC 1449).

So after we have reflected, what next? I think the fact that there are not techniques for forgiveness is good news. Why? Because forgiveness is not something we can achieve for ourselves. Forgiveness is a gift freely given by God to those who ask for it. What we have to do in order to forgive others is to pray to have the courage to look with honesty at what has wounded us so much, and to pray to truly want to forgive the person who has wronged us. We pray for a change of heart. It is then that Christ’s grace can enter in, so that we can live with the freedom and lightness of spirit that is characteristic of the children of God. This is not easy, and often takes some time and much patience, because the things that have hurt us are often so complicated. But with God, and only with God, it is possible….. Read more

Quodlibet 7: Is priesthood a higher, better, more spiritual calling than marriage?

Monday, November 19, 2007
Essentially it is not good to start considering the sacraments in terms of a hierarchical order: each of them has its particular role and function in the life of the Church. The seven sacraments touch the important moments in the Christian life, and this reflects a resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of spiritual life. Read more

Quodlibet 6 - Vows and Sacraments

Sunday, October 21, 2007
'Why is religious profession a sacramental and not a Sacrament? Similarly, a priest is eternally a priest...is a religious eternally a religious and why...is it because the vows are eternal and it is a realization of God's call, or is there some other reason?’ Read more

Quodlibet 5 - Search for God

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Question: Read more
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