Orthoscopy
Newsletter #7
Deacon Joe Hulway
January 1, 2009
Jesus Asked:
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? "
(Matthew 12:48)
We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the questions that Jesus asks
of others, and indirectly of us. I thought the above questions might be an appropriate starting point for us today, January 1, the Solemnity of
Mary, Mother of God. Many of you reading this newsletter are not Catholics; some are non-Christians. You may struggle with the terminology
of calling Mary the Mother of God, or more precisely Theotokos, a Greek word meaning bearer of God. But just as Barbara Bush is mother of
the president, at least for a few more weeks, Mary is the mother of Jesus who is God forever.

Mary bore God in her womb for nine months and is referred to as the Ark of the New Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant was carried by
the Israelites through the desert. It signified God's presence with the people as they traveled. It contained the stone tablets which were
inscribed with the Ten Commandments; it contained a golden urn of manna; and it contained Aaron’s staff. God was physically present in
the Ark of the New Covenant; the prophesied Emmanuel, which means "God is with us". Mary’s womb contained not the law written on
stone, but instead the fulfillment of the law embodied in flesh; it contained not manna which sustained physical life, but instead the Bread of
eternal life (
John 6:48-58); and it contained not the symbol of Aaron’s priesthood, but instead the Eternal High Priest himself.

There is so much that can be said about the Catholic understanding regarding Mary and her role in salvation history and in the Church
today. Many excellent books have been written. There are wonderful audio tapes and videos that clearly lay out biblical and historical
perspectives for much of the Church's teachings. But for a starting point for those who have questions about exactly what the Catholic
Church actually teaches, I would like to refer you to a document from the 2nd Vatican Council. It's title is
Lumen Gentium and it is the
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Chapter VIII of
Lumen Gentium (paragraphs 52-69) is entitled: The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of
God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church
. It's not real easy reading, but it's not very long either. Take some time and read the section on
Mary prayerfully, and hopefully it will answer many of your questions and clear up many misunderstandings. If anyone has a specific
question about this topic, please send me an e-mail at
deaconjoe@orthoscopy.net and I will try to address it next month. Who knows,
maybe Q&A will become a new part of the newsletter format.

But I've digressed; so now let us get back to the original questions from Jesus: "Who is my mother?"; "Who are my brothers?" Jesus gives
us the answer two verses later:
"For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Mt. 12:50)
Mary did the will of the Father and was a special model for all of us to follow. Her example is worth reflecting upon as we begin this new
year, as we examine our lives to determine if we are following the Father's will or our own. Mary willing became the bearer of God and
brought Jesus to the world. Are you willing to be a bearer of Jesus and bring His message to the world? Just like being a mother, being a
follower of Jesus is not an easy task, but the rewards are great. Jesus makes this analogy for us:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will
weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish
because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a
child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will
take your joy away from you."
(John:16:20-22)

New Year's Eve is a time at which the world especially rejoices and celebrates. As Christians, we enter the new year knowing that our time
for truly rejoicing is yet to come.
What’s New?
Where has the year gone? I think time actually flies by faster now that I am retired, and I get less done than I did before. Still working on
regaining that discipline.

Christmas was an exciting time around the Hulway family. We had five days with our granddaughters in from Minnesota and we learned that
we have two new  grandchildren that are expected to be born about two weeks apart next summer. Our son, Brandon, and his wife, Jenny,
are expecting their first, as are our daughter, Casey, and her husband, Robert. And to top it off, our youngest daughter, Andi, became
engaged to Nathan.

This new year is also time for me to make a mid-course correction, or maybe it's simply a shift to a holding pattern. I've mentioned in earlier
newsletters about my struggle to discern if I was supposed to become a high school teacher as a second career. Being uncertain, I was
taking necessary steps "just-in-case". Yesterday I made the decision not to register for classes for the winter semester at Oakland and plan
to request putting my teacher certification program on hold. I don't like to quit things I have started, but I truly believe this is the correct
decision for now. Yesterday, in his homily at mass, Father told a story about a little boy who went to church every day to pray. When the local
priest asked the lad what he was praying for so earnestly, he replied: "Nothing, I just want to be here in case God wants me to do
something." I stayed for a holy hour after mass to pray some more, and it dawned on me that I never felt a call from God to become a
teacher, at least not yet; it was something I was pursuing out of a personal need for security - a potential job and benefits to fall back on. It is
something I could do, and I like to think I could do it well, but it probably is not the best thing I could do. The reason I retired was because my
job, a very good job, was interfering with my calling. Preparation for another good job has been interfering as well.
Homilies and Bulletin Articles
There are five new homilies.  The  new homilies that I have posted at the website are:

Home - The Domestic Church
Feast of the Holy Family
December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus
Christmas Vigil - Children's Mass
December 24, 2008

Growing in Virtue
Advent Reconciliation Service
December 22, 2008

Make a Home for Jesus
4th Sunday in Advent
December 21, 2008

Reflect the Light of Christ
3rd Sunday in Advent
December 14, 2008
Status of the Book
Sometimes taking a break to do some reading is more important than writing.

Way back when I first received the inspiration to begin writing the book, I also felt called to read Dante's, The
Divine Comedy, an epic poem
about hell, purgatory, and heaven. In the back of my mind I almost got the impression that my next project was supposed to be in a poetic
form. (Now if that were to happen, it would truly be miraculous evidence of God's power and sense of humor.) Well, I finally picked up a copy
of the
The Divine Comedy from the library and am slowly working my way through it. (I'm still in hell.) I also received a beautiful illustrated
copy for Christmas which has a slightly more formal translation. (It was originally written in Italian.) It's interesting to compare the two
translations and it sometimes helps to find nuances that otherwise might be missed. (Comparing multiple translations is also an excellent
tool when studying a Bible passage.) Either way, the first stanza is a remarkable lead-in into my effort to write
Orthoscopy. I am considering
using in place of a frontispiece. Here are the two translations:

"Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost."
, or

"Half way along the road we have to go,
I found myself obscured in a great forest,
Bewildered, and I knew I had lost the way."

Any votes on which one you like better? This poem was written back in 1308, yet has application to conditions in our society today. Speaking
of one of the inhabitants of Hell encountered on his journey, he could just have well been writing of our country today. Dante writes:

"To sensual vices she was so abandoned,
That lustful she made licit in her law,
To remove the blame to which she had been led."
, or

"She was so at the mercy of sensuality,
That she made laws allowing what she liked
So that her own conduct could not be blamed."