Thursday, August 23, 2007 - MLB - Rangers first team in 110 years to score 30 runs - Thursday August 23, 2007 1:48AM

I usually don't post sports stories--but this one I couldn't let pass. I'm going to bookmark this story and, when I'm having a bad day and feelin' sorry for myself, come at remind myself: It Could Be Worse! O So Much Worse!!!!

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Five runs in the fourth inning.

Nine runs in the sixth.

Ten in the eighth.

Six more in the ninth.

The Texas Rangers rounded the bases at a dizzying pace and became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game, setting an American League record Wednesday in a 30-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.

"This is something freaky. You won't see anything like this again for a long, long time. I am glad I was on this end of it," said Marlon Byrd, who hit one of two Texas grand slams.

Trailing 3-0 in the opener of a doubleheader, Texas couldn't be stopped. Finally, the last-place Rangers did something right.

"We set a record for something on the good side of baseball," manager Ron Washington said.

Texas kept right on hitting in the second game, too, although at a decidedly tamer pace. Travis Metcalf drove in four runs and the Rangers used a three-run eighth for a 9-7 victory and a sweep.

Texas set an AL record for runs in a doubleheader, surpassing the 36 scored by Detroit in 1937.

"Tonight there were some balls thrown across the plate and we put them in play," Washington said. "Everybody was part of it. It was a total team effort."

The Rangers had 11 hits in the second game, including three by Michael Young. The nightcap, however, will forever be regarded as a postscript to the incredible opener.

It was the ninth time a major league team scored 30 runs, the first since the Chicago Colts set the major league mark in a 36-7 rout of Louisville in a National League game on June 28, 1897, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"It was AMAZING in capital letters," said Metcalf, who hit a grand slam after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day.

To read the rest: Rangers first team in 110 years to score 30 runs - Don't Rush Pope-Patriarch Summit, Cardinal Says - Don't Rush Pope-Patriarch Summit, Cardinal Says:

"17-August-2007 -- Catholic World News Brief Don't Rush Pope-Patriarch Summit, Cardinal Says Moscow, Aug. 17, 2007 ( - Speaking to reporters in Moscow, a senior Vatican official has urged reporters not to place undue stress on the prospects for a 'summit meeting' between Pope Benedict XVI and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray said that careful preparations should be made before a summit meeting takes place. He explained that 'all the circumstances should be favorable,' to ensure that the meeting is not merely a matter of 'posing for the camera.' 'Only God knows when it will happen,' the cardinal told Vesti-24 television in Moscow. When the world's two most influential Christian leaders do meet, he said, the event will be a powerful testimony to the unity of the faith. Cardinal Etchegaray, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, conceded that it is only natural to focus attention on the prospect of a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch. But the French-born cardinal, who met with Patriarch Alexei during his trip to Moscow this week, explained that other contacts between Moscow and Rome are helping to prepare the way for the summit. The Catholic and Orthodox churches, he said, are finding many different ways to collaborate in promoting the Christian culture"

But Why Can't You Just Pray Like Me?!?

Upper left: Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Lower right: Icon, Theotokos of Kazan

So, I'm preparing a paper for a conference in honor of the 90th anniversary of the appearance of the Theotokos at Fatima Portugal. While I'm honored to asked to make a presentation, I have to be honest, much of the piety that surrounds Fatima just doesn't appeal to me. And this just isn't because I'm Orthodox, if I were a Roman Catholic (and I was), I wouldn't be inclined to the piety that I see when I look at Fatima.

At the same time, however, when I put the differences in style to one side, when I put on hold for a moment the desire to engage in theological polemics, I also have to admit that I see the evidence of grace in the lives of those men, women and children for whom Fatima is an important part of their spiritual lives.

And this brings to my point for this essay:

Ecumenicism is not simply, or even simply, a question of theological agreement, but also an ability to recognize the work of grace in life of the other Church.

Unfortunately, the lack of a stylistic sympathy with another tradition's piety not only makes theological agreement difficult, if not impossible, but can also (and more importantly) blinds us to the shortcomings in how we live our own spiritual lives.

Let me explain that last point.

The things I find troubling in much of the devotion of Roman Catholics and Anglicans to our Lady of Fatima, are what I see as a tendency toward sentimentality and over-rationalization of the faith. In both cases, the problem as I see it, is an overemphasis on the psychological dimension of the Christian life.

But, if I'm honest with myself, I must admit that this is hardly a Western problem. There is a fair amount of Orthodox Christian piety that is just as sentimental and rationalistic as anything one sees among the devotees of Fatima. For an Orthodox Christian to reject or criticize or minimize the importance of Fatima, at least in the lives of those for whom it is important, is not only a sin against charity, but short sighted for the health of our own Church as well.

I say short sighted because it reflects the all too common, and simplistically, habit among some Orthodox Christians to make Western forms of Christianity, and Western Christians, the source of all ills in the Christian world. When, for example, we talk about the "western captivity" of Orthodox theology, we make it sound as if the Jesuits came along and kidnapped us! That's not what happened--and in fact, Orthodox Christians were attracted to Western theological forms and spiritual practices because of a perceived lack in the life of the Orthodox Church.

We need to take seriously the piety of Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians. As part of that, we should ask ourselves if there isn't something in these Western forms of piety that fulfills a lack among Orthodox Christians?

Asking this question, and more importantly giving an affirmative answer to it, doesn't mean that we are embracing the "branch theory" or that we are rejecting the conviction that the Orthodox Church is the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It does mean that we are humbling acknowledging that while we see Orthodox Christianity as normative, we don't see it as exhausting the mystery of God's saving grace for His people.

We need to take seriously forms of piety outside the Orthodox Church especially when the offend us or (as in my case with piety), "turn us off." We need to carefully and prayerfully ask ourselves, why am I uncomfortable with another person's piety? More often then not, the discomfort reflects something in my own heart that needs to be corrected.

Maybe, in my own case, Fatima reminds me that I need to be a bit more willing to listen to my feelings and the contribution they make to my spiritual life. Or maybe, I need to re-evaluate the role of the intellect in my life. Or maybe, as I said in an earlier post, I simply need to remember and acknowledge that, while it isn't my piety, it was--and is--the piety of many of the people who were responsible for helping me become the person and priest I am.

In the final analysis, we need to permit each other as much freedom as we can in matters of piety. Granted, with the Apostle Paul, we need to see that everything is done in an orderly fashion--but part of orderly, is respecting each other and making room for each other's piety.

Outside of the Liturgy, very few of us pray in a manner that would pass strict theological muster. And, truth be told, if we examine not simply the words we sing at Liturgy, but the hearts out of which those words arise, how many of us would be saved?

In the Roman rite, the celebrant asks that God look not on our personal sin (I'm paraphrasing, anyone with the exact text is most welcome to post it), but on the faith of His Church. We are none of saved by our piety, and I dare say most of us are saved in spite of it. What saves us is God's grace and our incorporation into the Body of Christ through the sacraments and our ongoing repentance. Personal piety and devotions have their role for sure, but it they are secondary and we must never make them primary either for ourselves or for other people.

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory