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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The Pope has Packed His Bag... Have You?

Monday, February 28, 2011
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Film Review: Black Swan

Saturday, February 26, 2011
With the Academy Awards coming up, Godzdogz will be having a look at some of films that have been nominated. Read more

Film Review: True Grit (2010)

Thursday, February 24, 2011
With the Academy Awards coming up, Godzdogz will be having a look at some of films that have been nominated. Read more

Litany of Loreto - Gate of Heaven

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The history of the covenant between God and man begins in the very first book of the Bible. After the flood, Noah is the first to receive a guarantee that the Lord will not exterminate his creation forever. But this is only the beginning of what God has in mind. He constitutes a new covenant, where Abraham is chosen to be the father of “many nations”. God proves his intentions by giving Sarah a son, even though she is past child-bearing. This son, Isaac, becomes the father of Jacob. In his younger years, Jacob has a dream where he sees a ladder reaching from earth to the skies, and he hears God’s voice telling him: Read more

Litany of Loreto – Ark of the Covenant

Monday, February 21, 2011
'The holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary.'

These words from St. Gregory Thaumaturgus in the third century reflect an understanding of Our Lady that goes right back to the beginning of Christianity. In Luke's Gospel, there are clear parallels between Our Lady and the ark of the covenant. In the hill country of Judea, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of her cousin Mary, the babe leapt in her womb. Elizabeth exclaimed 'why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?' and Mary remained with Elizabeth for three months before returning home (Luke 1). Compare this with the account of King David and the ark (2 Samuel 6). When he manages to retrieve the ark after its capture by the Philistines, he leaps and dances before it. He says “how can the ark of the Lord come to me?” and he takes the ark to Abu Ghosh, a village in the hill country of Judea and the ark remains there for three months. Read more

Litany of Loreto - House of Gold

Saturday, February 19, 2011
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Litany of Loreto - Tower of Ivory

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Strangely, in its modern usage the term 'ivory tower' has come to designate the esoteric and impractical ponderings of scholars who have disconnected themselves from the demands and needs of the wider world. It implies bloodless, heartless intellectual pursuits that are sterile and cold. Yet the roots of this expression are in perhaps the most passion soaked book in the Bible, the Song of Songs. In chapter seven of this wedding song the Groom is exultant, rejoicing in the beauty of his Bride. We read:

Your neck is like an ivory tower, your eyes are pools in Hesbon, by the gate of Bathrabbin, your nose is like a tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus (Song of Songs 7:4).

The traditional allegorical reading of this book has seen the Groom as a figure of Christ. The analogy of marriage is used consistently throughout the Bible in an attempt to shed light on God's relationship with his people. Hosea, for example, is ordered to marry a prostitute as an allegory for God's relationship with Israel. The same idea appears in Ezekiel 16:8, God pledges himself to Israel when he sees that she is old enough to be loved. The author of the Book of Revelation sees the Bride of Christ - the heavenly Jerusalem - in a vision (Revelation 21:9). Paul says the love of husband for wife is like the love of Christ for the Church (Ephesians 5:25), even going so far as to call the Church the Body of Christ with the obvious allusion to the second chapter of Genesis, 'the husband cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh' (Genesis 2:24).

If the Groom in the Song of Songs has been understood to be Christ, then the Bride is the Church. Yet Mary has long been considered a symbol of the Church, so it is only natural that Christians would think of Our Lady when the Groom heaps praises upon his bride. Mary, conceiving as she did by the Holy Spirit, is at once a child, mother, and spouse of God. She remained a virgin because she belonged to God in a peculiarly intense way, unlike that of any other woman. Mary is honoured as a 'tower of ivory' precisely because she was set apart in this manner, precisely because of her unique relationshop with her Son, precisely because she showed the depth of love that only one who is without sin is able to offer. Read more

Litany of Loreto - Tower of David

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
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Litany of Loreto - Mystical Rose

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Litany of Loreto - Singular Vessel of Devotion

Sunday, February 13, 2011
In certain periods of the Church's history (and the current time, I think, is probably one of them), Christians have been rather cautious about giving too much honour to the saints: after all, true worship is due to God alone (cf. Ex 20: 3-6), and veneration of the saints can sometimes look dangerously like diverting that true worship elsewhere. Read more
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