January 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

This year, I've decided to avoid New Year's Resolutions.  I find that I often don't keep the ones I set for myself.

Instead, I've opted to continue working on developing and maintaining new and existing habits.  I'm more interested in creating sustainable ways of life rather than giving up as many people are doing on their resolutions about now.

I hope you find this format more beneficial than daily posts.  If however you feel that you preferred smaller posts, then please email me: josh@joshmoore.com.au

I wish you a 2017 filled with every blessing and happiness.


How I Started Praying the Liturgy of the Hours

From the start of Advent in November last year, I have been praying the full Liturgy of the Hours, including the Invitatory, Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Prayer During the Day, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.

However, praying daily did not start there for me.  Not by a long shot.

The following is basically how I scaled up to the Liturgy of the Hours.  I have added a few points that I have learned along the way, but I would follow this process if I was to do it again.  If you are interested in commencing a daily prayer life, I would commend the same to you:
  1. Catholic Magazine Melbourne recently had an interview with a priest who said that his prayer life began when he started praying one Our Father every day.  If you are not praying daily I would commend starting your prayer life in the same way.
  2. The early Church writing the Didache (from 60 A.D.; a time when the New Testament was being written), suggests in Chapter 8 praying this three times a day (presumably morning, lunch time and evening).  Assuming you memorise the Our Father and follow this pattern, you should very easily be able to build a sustainable habit of praying three times per day.
  3. Protestant Martin Luther, in a manner similar to the initial steps of the Rosary, taught in his small catechism to begin and finish each evening with the Sign of the Cross, The Apostles' Creed and the Our Father.  He would then (as do many Christians) have other prayers that follow, but this is a great starting point for commencing a daily prayer habit.
  4. The first time I ever set foot in a Catholic Church, the priest suggested in his sermon that someone could start developing their walk with God by saying grace before meals.  Assuming you eat three times per day, this would be another three times per day that you would be praying.  If you did the Sign of the Cross before this grace before meals, that would be another again another prayer added.
  5. You could then add grace after meals to this routine.
If you implemented all of that over the course of four months you would find yourself praying daily as follows:
  • The Sign of the Cross 6 x per day
  • The Apostles' Creed 2 x per day
  • The Lord's Prayer 3 x per day
  • Grace before meals 3 x per day
  • Grace after meals 3 x per day (x 2 prayers per session for a total of 6 prayers)
Total: 20 prayers per day or 140 per week!

From here, I started with a book called 'A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer', which contains the morning and evening prayers (along with the night prayers) of the liturgy of the hours. I then scaled up to the full hours over the course of about six months.

Of course, you don't have to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  You could add things such as prayer for friends, for your work, for safe travel every time you drive, for your family, etc.  The point is that as you build certain a routine of praying at certain times throughout the day, you can add to it over time.

Don't overburden yourself at this stage, just start by praying one Our Father today.  If you can do this every day for a week, you are on your way to building a consistent prayer routine.


How I Would Start Reading the Bible in Hindsight

After being challenged (unintentionally) by a friend in 2012, I committed to reading the whole Bible. I read the whole protestant Bible from cover to cover.  I have since gone on to read the extra books in the Catholic Bible as well as some of the extra books in the Orthodox Bible.

When people used to ask me about starting to read the Bible, I suggested doing what I did; reading through cover-to-cover.  Nowadays I don't suggest that method.

Whilst all scripture is inspired of God, some parts are better known than others.  Different parts of the Bible have different purposes from each other, and not all of it is easy to read for some.  So whilst some people are able to do a cover-to-cover read through, a lot of people end up struggling around Leviticus / Numbers, and give up.  This is because laws written circa 3,400 years ago are often difficult to understand, especially since many things addressed seem different from today.

I therefore have two suggestions for how to start:

Suggestion One

  • Begin by reading the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  A chapter a day will see you get through the gospels in 89 days.  You could go slower if you wish.  Most of the gospels is read by liturgical churches in the west over a three year period.
  • Continue to reread the gospels, but add the rest of the new testament to your reading also.  1-2 chapters per day.
  • Next, start working through the Book of Psalms - the prayer book of the church.  The Psalms were once described as, 'The Bible in miniature.'
  • From there, you can branch out into other parts of the old testament (such as the first five books, known as the Torah, the Prophetic books like Isaiah, etc.).

Suggestion Two

  • Start by reading through the Sunday Mass gospel readings
  • Continue by adding the other readings from Sunday Mass
  • Add the Weekday Mass gospel readings
  • Add the other readings from weekday masses
  • Add the Liturgy of the Hours.

Weight Loss - The Great Aussie Bloke Slim-Down

I read this book recently by Peter Fitzsimons, the husband of Lisa Wilkinson.  I've been following this plan since boxing day and have lost 2.5 kilos since then, which is probably the best I've gone on the weight loss front in a while.  If you're a bloke and looking to lose some weight, perhaps you should check out this book.


Documentary - Meet The Romans

This is the second series I've watched by Mary Beard now on the Romans.  This was a really good insight into everyday life of Roman citizens.  Key takeaway: The Romans were very similar to us after all.

You can find the three-part documentary on youtube as follows:


Early Church Fathers' Test for Finding the True Church Still Works Today

Want to find out where the Church founded by Jesus Christ is?  The Early Church Fathers established a way to test if your church is the true church.

It still works today.  I've trialled it with Presbyterians and not one of them answered correctly according to the Early Church Fathers.

The test is simply this: 

Whenever you are in a town, ask a person not where the Lord's house is, nor where the Church is, but where the Catholic Church is.  

The early church position was that no heretic will point to his own chapel or house.

Here's the quotes from the Early Church Fathers outlining this in more detail:

"But since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the EphesiansAnd when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to you now the ArticleAnd in one Holy Catholic Church; that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God (for it is written, As Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, and all the rest,) and is a figure and copy of Jerusalem which is above, which is free, and the mother of us all; which before was barren, but now has many children... " 
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (313 - 386 A.D.), Catechetical Lectures #18.

"For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual, men attain in this life…not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations…so does her authority…the succession of priests…and so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church… Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church… For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church… for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me. Wherefore, if no clear proof of the apostleship of Manichaeus is found in the gospel, I will believe the Catholics rather than you."
Saint Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus, 4:5,5:6 (A.D 397).


Biblical Quote for Reflection

"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
Colossians 3:12-14 (Revised Standard Version)

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