Announcing Esther

Announcing Our Spring Scripture Study:
            Lessons from the Book of Esther
                    with David Higbee & Ted Janiszewski

In five sessions, beginning the week of April 12

So why should we study this curious book? And why now?

This small book has been the subject of controversy since ancient times. It nearly didn’t make it into the Jewish canon of the Old Testament. It is the one book of the Bible that never mentions the name of God at all (in the Hebrew, at least). Nevertheless, the providence of God operating in human affairs through faithful and courageous individuals is very much at the heart of this amazing book.

The Rabbis writing in the Talmud came to assert that there were two portions of Scripture that would always have an enduring relevance to mankind: the Books of Moses and the Book of Esther. That may seem an amazing assertion. Come find out why Esther should elicit such interest and praise.

Find out why this book is so timely for us Christians as we feel ourselves increasingly beleaguered in this secular society and in this election cycle. There are timely lessons for us in this often overlooked book.

 

►► Our study begins next week – April 12, 13, & 14

– at the usual times and in the usual locations:

 

at St. John Fisher College

Tuesday Evenings: 7:15 PM

in Murphy Hall across East Ave. (31F) from the main campus

in Charlotte

Wednesday Evenings: 7:15 PM at 294 Burley Rd. (off Lake Ave.)

at the St. Irenaeus Center in Rochester

Thursday Mornings: 9:30 AM at 542 Blossom Rd.

 

Price: We suggest $5.00 a session, but only pay what you can afford.

College students attend free.

Esther concerns the destiny and salvation of God’s people in a hostile world. It can yield a rich treasure to all who study it seriously. We will be covering the nine chapters of the canonical book and chapters 10–15 of the Deuterocanical additions.

Begins the Week of April 12th

 

As a side note: An interesting article appeared in the March issue of First Things entitled “The Miracle of Esther”, speaking of the unique relevance of this small book.

 

Lenten Pitfalls

Dear Friends,

Here we are at the threshold of another Lent, and I’d like to share a few thoughts on making this Lent more profitable. In the past we have put out a general review, “A Few Thoughts on Making a Good Lent”, which is available to anyone who asks us. Today, however, I would like to speak to a few common pitfalls that can undercut our Lenten efforts.

Some Pitfalls for the Lenten Pilgrim

Some of us may be tempted to think of Lent primarily in terms of fasting and Lenten rigors, all the more if we react to the general laxity of the age. But fasting and Lenten rigors are only one side of a larger task – that of bringing ourselves into line with the will of Christ. In his classic call to discipleship our Lord said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross [the instrumentality of his own death to self] and follow me.” This is a call to surrender all that we have and all that we are: body and soul, reason and emotions, appetites and imagination – everything. It is a process and, of course, it is a very personal thing, fitted to each individual. It also should involve a strong positive side of prayer, charity, and good works.

Nevertheless, we can say a few things about self-mortification. St. Paul has commanded us:

“Put to death [mortify] therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.… But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

But he also warned “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement,… puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head [Christ].” Lent is not meant to be a competitive contest. We must be wary of all that leads to spiritual pride.

Also, anyone who undertakes to mortify himself will find that the human heart “is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” We often practice a type of self-deception. Desiring some thing, we often work toward it by indirection. We entertain the subtle temptation, which finally comes around to the same spiritually destructive end.

And oh how we make excuses, small evasions, concessions by degrees. We labor to cloak cherished vices and run after things that are distractions from the spiritual life.

Blessed John Henry Newman has warned us to be wary of vain curiosity, love of idle tales, curiosity about what does not concern us, especially curiosity about sin. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.” But how often do we read what we ought not to read, watch what we ought not to watch, listen to what we ought not to listen to, engage in foolish chatter or inappropriate humor? This Lent let us mortify our vain curiosity and the thirst for unprofitable knowledge. Let us curb the vain desire for a knowledge that does not profit. Knowledge is very well in its place, but we are often drawn away after a luxuriant overgrowth of leaves in which there is no fruit – no fruit to feed us. True religion feeds us. So let us understand that our chief duty is to reverence God and keep his commandments. Let us mortify the desire to chase after the glut of unprofitable knowledge and every vain curiosity. Today’s media offers us too much of this thing, and our souls never have sufficient time or ease to focus on what truly profits. Consider a fast from these distractions.

Door of Mercy Announced

We will soon begin a special short study, beginning the week after Thanksgiving. It will run only for the first two weeks of December. We offer it as an Advent meditation and in preparation for the Jubilee year. The great mercy of God in Christ is our subject. What a subject!

In our study we will examine the scriptural underpinnings of Pope Francis’ call for a Year of Mercy (which begins on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th). Our objective will be to take this key biblical theme more deeply to heart and to offer practical steps to enter more fully into the spiritual potential of this Jubilee year.  As usual classes will be held in three locations: Tuesday nights at St. John Fisher college from 7:15 to 8:45, Wednesday nights in Charlotte from 7:15 to 8:45, and Thursday mornings at the St. Irenaeus Center from 9:30 to 11:00.

You should be getting a flyer on this in the mail. Please let us know if you don’t. And please consider joining us for this Advent meditation.

Studies in Deuteronomy Announced

We will soon begin our fall Scripture study, ten weeks in the Book of Deuteronomy. We begin the week after Labor Day.

Let me say that I am very excited about this particular offering and have long looked forward to the right time to present it. I know that many modern readers find this a difficult book to get into. But oh what treasures it holds when rightly read! It is one of the books most often quoted books by Christ – and with good reason. It was clearly meant for everyone and it is foundational to all biblical thought and our most basic ideas of a covenant relationship with God.

So I hope you will able to join us as we unlock some of the treasures of this keystone book.

Please check out this flyer for more information. I think that it has a particularly beautiful graphic.

St. Irenaeus Mass and Potluck

Dear Friends of St. Irenaeus  (and St. Titus too):

You are invited to join us on our patronal feast day for

The Mass of St. Irenaeus
Saturday, June 27th at 4:00 pm

in Murphy Hall at St. John Fisher College

Murphy Hall is across East Ave. ( 31f ) from the main campus. Fr. Mike Mayer will be our celebrant.

 Informal Potluck will follow. The main dish will be provided.  Bring a side dish or dessert.  For the supper RSVP Marie Brennan by Friday the 26th ,  413-0771

This year’s feast, 2015, marks the completion of 22 years of ministry in the Rochester area and beyond and 12 years at the Center on Blossom Rd.   So we are inviting all our friends and those concerned with spiritual renewal and orthodox mission to join with us in giving thanks and praying for an even greater harvest of souls.

St. Irenaeus was a great champion of orthodox Catholic faith and evangelizing zeal.  So our great desire has been to see the upbuilding of a vibrant community of orthodox renewal and witness, a community of real disciples of Jesus Christ.  And this summer we hope to chart a new chapter in our ministry, looking forward to great prospects ahead!

Colossians Bible Study Announced

Announcing our new spring Bible study!
Beginning this Tuesday, April 28!

 
Unfortunately, our regular mailings are arriving late. So we are notifying everyone on our mailing list of our new study – a four week study in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

This should be a special study, one that is particularly appropriate to the Easter Season, because it sets out for us the true power and scope of what we actually can and do possess in Christ – the secret of the Christian life unpacked in four brief chapters. What a study for Easter season!

It is our prayer that this study, with its emphasis on the true realities of our Christian life will be powerful to touch lives and build us up in the faith in a special way.

Locations & Times

Tue. Eve: 7:15 – 9:00 PM  at St. John Fisher College
in Murphy Hall across East Ave. (31-F) from the main campus

Wed. Eve: 7:15 – 9:00 PM in Charlotte
at 294 Burley Rd.

Thurs. Morn: 9:00 – 11:00 AM in Rochester
at the St. Irenaeus Center, 542 Blossom Rd.

This week, after a little introduction, we will start out with chapter one of the text, verses 1–23, treating “The Person and Work of Jesus Christ”. Come to one or as many sessions as you can.

We suggest $5.00 a session (1 1/2 – 2 hours instruction with a break), but people pay only what they can afford, and college students are free.

Amos Series Starts This Week

Lenten Bible Study for 2015

The Book of the Prophet Amos

“God’s Call to Justice & Holiness”

in five sessions with instructor David Higbee

This week we begin a new Bible study well-suited for Lent. We will be taking up the small but powerful Book of the Prophet Amos. In five sessions we are going to look at the deeper meanings of this Scriptural book which is able to speak to the sins of modern America.

Amos is the fiery prophet of God’s justice – the first of the written prophets and perhaps the most severe in his indictment of all the sins of his society. He cries out against the moral complacency of his age, declaring God’s demands for personal and social justice for the oppressed and unmasking all hypocrisy in religion. And so Amos warns his hearers of a coming day of judgment, but offers them hope in God.

Come, discover the treasures of this prophetic book.
Join us for one or all five sessions.

Begins the Week of February 23rd
in one of the following three locations:

• at St. John Fisher College •
Tuesday Evenings: 7:15 – 9:00 PM
in Murphy Hall across East Ave. (31f) from the main campus

• in Charlotte •
Wednesday Evening: 7:15 – 9:00 PM
at 294 Burley Rd. (off Lake Ave.; just north of Riverside Cemetery)

• at the St. Irenaeus Center •
Thursday Mornings: 9:00 – 11:00 AM
at 542 Blossom Rd. in Rochester

 

Price: We suggest $5.00 a session, but only pay what you can afford.

College students attend free.

Bible Study Begins This Week: The Advent of Hope

This week we begin our new study, The Advent of Hope. This will be a study on God’s saving intention toward his creation. There will be five lessons, taking us up to Christmas: each lesson, we’ll focus in on scriptural witnesses to the unfolding of God’s plan. We’ll also be trying out a new format: the first half will be biblical instruction, the second half will be discussion.

We hope you can join us this week and going forward:

Tuesdays, 7:15–9:00 pm at St. John Fisher College
Wednesdays, 7:15–9:00 pm in Charlotte
Thursdays, 9:0–11:00 am at the St. Irenaeus Center

For more information, call us at (585) 288-1618 or download the class flyer here.

Classes Begin This Week – Witness of Power: Stories of Elisha the Prophet

Dear friends,

Tonight we hold the first class in our fall series, Witness of Power: Stories of Elisha the Prophet. The life of Elisha is not just relevant to our situation in America today; it offers a hard-hitting corrective to the issues we face as Christians in a drifting nation. This is a series you won’t want to miss.

For more information about meeting times and places, see our flyer, which is available for download here.

Grace be with you all,

Ted J.