Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


I will sing to my beloved the canticle...

Isaias 5:1

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Corpus Christi, observed

Today is the day on which the Catholic Church in the United States observes the feast of Corpus Christi. It is not the traditional day, which was last Thursday, but still, as an expression of the Church's faith, it is within the Church's powers to change when the day is celebrated. Moving the day from Thursday to Sunday, we lose some of the connection to Holy Thursday, but gain more worshippers for the Lord.

Last Thursday, Corpus Christi as traditionally observed, the American bishops very fittingly announced their approval of corrections to various mistranslations in the Mass. Since this was the day on which we particularly honor our Lord's True Presence in the Holy Eucharist, one might think that our bishops would have paid particular attention to the words of consecration. One would be mistaken. Fixing lesser errors, the good bishops left our Lord's (supposed) words in the consecration of the Precious Blood at variance from what He actually said. But it is not in the Church's power to change what He said!

From today's first reading:
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do." Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of His."
(Exodus 24:7-8)

From today's Gospel:
Then He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."
(Mark 14:23-24)

+++

A bright note at the meeting of the American bishops mentioned above was the address by the relatively new chairman of ICEL, the Right Reverend Arthur Roche. He spoke with the sensitivity to the sacred one hopes for from a man in his position:

...Another example is found in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer in the phrase the fruit of the vine in the Institution Narrative. Currently we say he took the cup filled with wine, as you know, and some argue that the fruit of the vine means the same as the single word wine, and that the simpler expression should be preferred. But we hear the words the fruit of the vine on the lips of the Lord himself in all three synoptic Gospels – which I would consider as being more than enough reason to respect their form.

...The prayers of the Mass, including the anaphoras, are mainly inspired and formed from Sacred Scripture, and the Commission of ICEL has accepted one very important point found in Liturgiam authenticam and accepted it as being crucial, namely the significance of the language of Sacred Scripture in our translation of the Mass. One good example of this is the translation of the Domine non sum dignus as, Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, with its reminiscence of the Centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.

The link between the Liturgy and Scripture, on which Liturgiam authenticam lays emphasis, seems so obvious, important and valuable. ...

I cannot help but think that what is being asked of us bishops today is no less vital than what was being asked of Paul when, in the face of the cacophonous Church at Corinth, he wrote:

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, ...

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Corpus Christi

"I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from Heaven, that, if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is My flesh for the life of the world."

John 6:48-52


Matthew 26
Corpus Christi Sequence
by St. Thomas Aquinas

Zion, to Thy Savior sing,
To Thy Shepherd and Thy King!
Let the air with praises ring!

All thou canst, proclaim with mirth,
For far higher is His worth
Than the glory words may wing.

Lo! before our eyes and living
Is the Sacred Bread life-giving,
Theme of canticle and hymn.

We profess this Bread from heaven
To the Twelve by Christ was given,
For our faith rests firm in Him.

Let us form a joyful chorus,
May our lauds ascend sonorous,
Bursting from each loving breast.

For we solemnly record
How the Table of the Lord
With the Lamb’s own gift was blest.

On this altar of the King
This new Paschal Offering
Brings an end to ancient rite.

Shadows flee that truth may stay,
Oldness to the new gives way,
And night’s darkness to the light.

What at Supper Christ completed
He ordained to be repeated,
In His memory divine.

Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the Host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Words a nature’s course derange,
That in Flesh the bread may change
And the wine in Christ’s own Blood.

Luke 22:44Does it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of light transcending
Leaps to things not understood.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden;
Signs, not things, are all we see.

Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire confessed to be.

And whoever of Him partakes,
Severs not, nor rends, nor breaks:
All entire, their Lord receive.

Whether one or thousand eat,
All receive the self-same meat,
Nor do less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food:
But with ends how opposite!

With this most substantial Bread,
Unto life or death they’re fed,
In a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remain
What was in the whole before;
For the outward sign alone
May some change have undergone,
While the Signified stays one,
And the same forevermore.

Hail! Thou Bread of Angels, broken,
For us pilgrims food, and token
Of the promise by Christ spoken,
Children’s meat, to dogs denied!

Shown in Isaac’s dedication,
In the Manna’s preparation,
In the Paschal immolation,
In old types pre-signified.
1 Corinthians 13
Jesus, Shepherd mild and meek,
Shield the poor, support the weak,
Pity all who pardon seek,
And who place all trust in Thee,
Fill them with Thy Charity!

Source of all we have or know,
Feed and lead us here below.

Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love
We may see Thee face to face.

Amen. Alleluia.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Perichoresis

I recently encountered two words that theologians use to describe the unity of the Trinity: from Greek perichoresis and from Latin circumincession. They mean the same thing, that each Person of the Blessed Trinity lives in the other two, and they act with one accord and cannot be separated from each other, yet they remain distinct Persons.

Perichoresis literally means "dancing around", although it has perhaps become a theological term of art divorced from its origins. As an occasional social dancer, I hope it is not irreverent to still see in human dance some dim reflection of the Divine life. My own dancing is typically lead-footed and clumsy, but, once in a great while, the weights fall off, and with Rebecca, my friend and dance partner, we soar. There is joy in dancing as one, a small model of the exaltation and unity of the Ever-Blessed Trinity.

Years ago I read Chance or the Dance by Thomas Howard. As I recall, it contrasted the modern view of the world as a place of random, meaningless events with an older view of the world as a great dance, wherein we each have a part. I am reminded of both views when I think of a folk dance I once attended. From inside the dances, things looked chaotic, with lots of people wheeling around and going under each other's arms (the whirling energy was a big part of the fun). But of course there was a pattern to the dancing, and one only got into trouble when one left the pattern.

With Christ Jesus as our model, we learn our part in the dance of life, moved sometimes by the Holy Spirit, but other times by the zeitgeist or by our own stubborn will. Leaving the pattern, we may step on a few toes. We may even stumble and fall. If we do, the music still goes on, and the master of the dance waits for us to resume our part, training us with infinite patience and tremendous insistence, preparing us for our part in the great eternal dance, where the life and light and joy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit fill the souls of the blessed.


SummerDance LessonBlogger and friend, lower-right foreground, at Chicago's SummerDance


Two to TangoLearning to Tango

+++

The Council of Florence declared:
These three persons are one God, not three gods; for the three persons have one substance, one essence, one nature, one divinity, one immensity, one eternity. And everything is one where there is no distinction by relative opposition. Because of this unity, the Father is entirely in the Son and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Son. None of the persons precedes any of the others in eternity, nor does any have greater immensity or greater power. From eternity, without beginning, the Son is from the Father; and from eternity and without beginning, the Holy Spirit has proceeded from the Father and the Son.' All that the Father is, and all that he has, he does not have from another, but of himself; he is the principle that has no principle. All that the Son is, and all that he has, he has from the Father; he is a principle from a principle. All that the Holy Spirit is and all that he has, he has from the Father and equally from the Son. Yet the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation, but one principle. Therefore, the holy Roman Church condemns, disapproves, anathematizes, and declares to be separated from the body of Christ, which is the Church, all who hold any contrary opinions.


(Relative opposition, or relation, is the opposition between two terms either of which needs the other to explain it. For example, the ideas of father and son, of double and half, of knowledge and the object known.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Trinity Sunday - The Creed of St. Athanasius

The Most Holy TrinityThe Creed that speaks most clearly of the Most Blessed Trinity is the Athanasian Creed. Named in honor of Saint Athanasius, who defended a Trinitarian understanding of God at the Council of Nicaea, the creed is commonly thought to have actually been composed by someone else, possibly Saint Vincent of Lérins or Saint Hilary of Potiers. The Creed of Saint Athanasius is an ancient expression of fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith.

The Creed
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, and the Holy Ghost Uncreated. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

Scutum Fidei
(Incomprehensible: without boundaries or limits, infinite)

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pentecost

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of Thy love.

The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has at last shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St. Luke says, are accomplished. [Acts 2:1] We have had seven weeks since the Pasch and now comes the day that opens the mysterious number of fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the creation of the light, and by the Resurrection of Jesus: it is about to receive its final consecration, and bring us the fullness of God. [Eph. 3:19]
- Abbot Guéranger


Pentecost
The Third Glorious Mystery:
The Descent of the Holy Spirit: Jesus sends the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues on His Apostles and disciples.

And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them.
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-3

To live according to the Holy Spirit means to live by faith and hope and charity – to allow God to take possession of our lives and to change our hearts, to make us resemble him more and more. A mature and profound Christian life cannot be improvised, because it is the result of the growth of God’s grace in us. In the Acts of the Apostles we find the early Christian community described in a single sentence, brief but full of meaning: and they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in prayers.

…There are no second-class Christians, obliged to practice only a simplified version of the Gospel. We have all received the same baptism, and although there is a great variety of spiritual gifts and human situations, there is only one Spirit who distributes God’s gifts, only one faith, only one hope, only one love.

And so we can apply to ourselves the question asked by the Apostle: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16)
- Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer

My God,
Infinite Ocean of Tenderness,
Whose torrents are held back by human malice,
free Your divine desire and permeate
all the souls whom You love.
- Fr. Jean Petit

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 9 (Saturday)

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, descend:
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joy which never ends. Amen.


The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration, may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

+++

Prayer to the Holy Ghost

V. Come, O Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
R. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
V. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth
V. Let us pray --- Oh God Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and to ever rejoice in His consolations, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 02, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 8 (Friday)

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray!


The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish divine things, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, while the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: "Take up your cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.


Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 9 of the Novena

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Novena to the Holy Spirit, Day 7 (Thursday)

Heal our wounds -- our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away!


The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct your way in truth."


Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.


Our Father who art in heaven...

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, ...

Glory be to the Father... (7 Times)

Act of Consecration

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Day 8 of the Novena

Labels: , , ,