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


Glory to You, O Lord: For Your holy and pure Body,
for Your precious Blood, for the immeasurable Charity of Your life-giving Sacrifice
may Your saints sing your praises forever.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

For Fear of the Wolves

A request for prayers from the Inaugural Homily of his Holiness Benedict XVI:

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

According to Hilary at The Devout Life, the wolves have won the battle over the indult:

I have it through various channels that there is not going to be a motu proprio freeing the Mass. ... A threat was made the exact nature of which I have not been able to discover. Either way, it's over for now.

With sincere respect for the estimable Hilary, I'm still not willing to give up hope.

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Johann Tetzel

I just heard Fr. Connor, on EWTN's The Catholic Church through the Ages, say that Johann Tetzel claimed that one could buy salvation. Martin Luther famously made the same accusation.

What Brother Tetzel actually said is that alms can be given to the Church in reparation for sins which have been repented of and forgiven. It should be noted that almsgiving as a form of reparation for sin is supported by Holy Scripture (see Sirach 3:29b-30, Ecclesiasticus 7:36, Tobias 4:7-11, Tobias 12:8-9, Proverbs 14:21, Proverbs 22:9, Psalm 41:1-2, Matthew 5:7, Luke 11:41). The accusation that Tetzel said that forgiveness can be purchased or that sins need not be repented of is slander. In "Vorlegung", his reply to Luther, Br. Tetzel wrote that an indulgence can be applied only "to the pains of sin which are confessed and for which there is contrition. ... No one secures an indulgence unless he have true contrition".

Shame on EWTN and Fr. Connor for repeating this false accusation.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Persevere in running the race

Today's reading:

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
The Letter to the Hebrews continues:
And you have forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? —

‘My son,
do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
or lose heart when you are punished by Him;
for the Lord disciplines him whom He loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.’

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled.
In this long wait for the restoration of the Traditional Mass, grant us, O Lord, patient and peaceful hearts.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

St. Francis de Sales

The Feast of St. Francis de Sales was celebrated today, according to the traditional Calendar. It was celebrated last week, on the 24th, in the New Calendar.

A Thought from St. Francis de Sales:
Don't lose any opportunity, however small, of being gentle toward everyone. Don't rely on your own efforts to succeed in your various undertakings, but only on God's help. Then rest in His care of you, confident that He will do what is best for you, provided that you will, for your part, work diligently but gently. I say "gently" because a tense diligence is harmful both to our heart and to our task and is not really diligence, but rather over eagerness and anxiety... I recommend you to God's mercy. I beg Him, through that same mercy, to fill you with His love.


Introduction to the Devout Life Book CoverSt. Frances has been named a doctor of the Church for the wisdom of his teaching. For anyone desiring to draw closer to God, Tan Books sells a helpful book he wrote: An Introduction to the Devout Life. No matter what job you hold, no matter what kind of life you have led in the past, you can follow Christ more faithfully, starting now.

The book describes how to avoid particular sins and how to strengthen particular virtues, with meditations to stir in the soul a love of its Creator. The book's chapters are short and self-contained, allowing you to jump in anywhere from the table of contents, to find advice on particular issues in your life. The brevity, clarity and sincerity of the chapters also make them suitable for evening devotional reading. It is a book that leads the reader directly to prayer and repentance.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 8]

Conversion of St. Paul
Conversion of St. PaulFrom the J. Paul Getty Museum

‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
Acts 22:7

And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.
Mark 16:15-16

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For the eighth day of the octave of prayer for Christian unity:

To be missionaries... How? As needed, even to die for it, if necessary. Where? Anywhere. When? Always. Measure? Our measure is obedience. We need to be obedient, like Jesus who "was obedient to death, death on a cross". "Here I am, I come to do your will". We need to be missionaries with Him, for Him, in Him, in all its implication: in sacrifice, pain and suffering but also in joy.

Joy in our daily Mass, our adoration and meditation, in our daily apostolate, in any type of work we do, in all actions of our daily lives: while we eat and sleep, as well as when we rest. We need to be missionaries by every breath, by every palpitation of our hearts, minute by minute of our lives. Always, daughters, always.

Our missionary spirit must be universal; it must extend and embrace all peoples, all races, all nations. It must embrace the whole world, without frontiers.

Our testimony as missionaries is not all that is required, it is not enough. We must teach others about Christ. How will they know Him if nobody teaches them? Faith comes as result of knowledge and knowledge is the result of listening, of listening the Word of God (cf. Romans 10:14-17; EN 42).

We missionaries should not therefore, let a day go by without our talking of Christ to others. To know that only a small number of people know the true God (the Love), should be a source of torment for us. It should urge us not to spare any suffering, any inconvenience. It should spur us to do everything, anything to make God known and loved by all the inhabitants of the world.

I leave you, daughters, to continue these reflections in the loving care of God our Father, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Let them be the ones to inspire and show the best way to spread throughout the world the Good news that Christ has brought for us".

- Mother Maria Ines Teresa Arias
(foundress of the Congregation of Poor Clare Missionary Sisters)

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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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It is a paradox that St. Thérèse, chosen to be co-patron of the missions along with St. Francis Xavier, never left her convent in Lisieux from the time she entered at the age of fifteen until the day she died, September 30, 1897...

Restoring Missionary Zeal Where It Begins

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Called by God

Missionaries of the Poor

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 7]

For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

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For the seventh day of the octave of prayer for Christian unity, part of a lesson given last week by his holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in St. Peter's square:

"He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the twelve..." (Mark 3:13-16; cf. Matthew 10:1-4; Luke 6:12-16).

In the place of the revelation, "the mountain," with an initiative that manifests absolute awareness and determination, Jesus constitutes the twelve so that they might be witnesses and heralds with him of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. There is no room for doubt concerning the historical character of this call, not only because of the antiquity and multiplicity of testimonies but also because of the simple fact that the name of the apostle Judas, the traitor, appears despite the difficulties that including his name could imply for the incipient community.

The number 12, which evidently refers to the 12 tribes of Israel, reveals the meaning of the prophetic-symbolic action implied in the new initiative of founding the holy people again. After the downfall of the system of the 12 tribes, Israel awaited the reconstruction of this system as a sign of the arrival of the eschatological time (this can be read in the conclusion of the Book of Ezekiel 37:15-19; 39:23-29; 40-48).

By choosing the twelve, introducing them into a communion of life with him and making them sharers in the same mission of announcing the Kingdom with words and deeds (cf. Mark 6:7-13; Matthew 10:5-8; Luke 9:1-6; 6:13), Jesus wants to say that the definitive time has arrived; the time for rebuilding God's people, the people of the 12 tribes, which is now converted into a universal people, his Church.

By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of the old.

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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Hineh Hu (Behold Him)

Created by Eved of HaShem of The Lion of Judah Fellowship

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 6]

This blog has already prayed earlier this week for those who leave the Church for any of the heretical or schismatic sects. The particular prayer of this blog today is for those Catholics who remain in the pews but dissent in various ways from the Faith. May dissension cease and our Church unite in the one true faith handed down from Christ through His holy Apostles and saints. And may we seek always to understand and do His will more perfectly. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Cornelius, pray for us.

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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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If your children leave the Church - some does and don'ts
If a parent has left - (and wants to return)
One woman's story - tomorrow is the anniversary of her return to the Church
More pages for lapsed Catholics

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 5]

On the fifth day of the octave of prayer for Christian unity, we pray for unity in our own country, where our actions have the most direct effect to promote good or evil. [What is God calling you to do?]

In the United States, today is also a day of penance in reparation for the judicial decision 43 years ago today that stripped the unborn of the legal protections they once had, and for the nearly unspeakable crime of tens of millions of lives snuffed out as a result of that decision.

May all Christians (and all people of good will) unite to protect innocent and helpless unborn babies.

Lord, please soften the hardened hearts of those that would kill, and let them find hope and repentance and peace in You, Who are all-good, all-loving, all-just, and all-merciful. We ask this in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, always and forever. Amen.

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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

That the Christians in our country may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Powerpoint presentation from Sword and Spirit

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 4]

“When we need a labor union we go to our parish priest; when we need the word of God we go to the Protestant pastor.”

According to Gerald J. Mendoza in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, ignorance and apathy in our parishes push Catholics out of the Church. In the evangelical Protestant sects, ex-Catholics find some measure of the fellowship, and discipleship, and evangelical fervor lacking at home. What a disgrace, that baptised Christian Catholics should feel the need to leave Christ's own Church, in order to seek Him!

In some parishes, the Church Militant still shows signs of life, however, with conversions going the other way, too. The God Fearin' Fiddler talks about his conversion from the Presbyterian Church of America here, the Tiber Jumper talks about his reversion from the charismatic movement here, Fr Alvin Kimel talks about his conversion from the Episcopal Church here, and there are a whole bunch of other conversion stories here and here.

Bring them all home Lord! May all that seek Thee, find Thee, and all that they need, in Thy Church. O Lord, please help Thy Church to provide for them. In Jesus' Holy Name: mercifully send Thy Holy Spirit to help us! Angels and saints, in His Charity please pray for us!

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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 3]

A Prayer Once Prayed in England

O MERCIFUL God,
let the glorious intercession of Thy saints assist us,
particularly the most blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of Thy only-begotten Son,
and Thy holy Apostles, Peter and Paul,
to whose patronage we humbly recommend this country.
Be mindful of our fathers, Eleutherius, Celestine, and Gregory,
bishops of the Holy City;
of Augustine, Columba, and Aidan,
who delivered to us inviolate the faith of the Holy Roman Church.
Remember our holy martyrs,
who shed their blood for Christ:
especially our first martyr, Saint Alban,
and Thy most glorious bishop, Saint Thomas of Canterbury.
Remember all those holy confessors;
bishops, and kings,
all those holy monks and hermits,
all those holy virgins and widows,
who made this once an island of saints,
illustrious by their glorious merits and virtues.
Let not their memory perish from before Thee, O Lord,
but let their supplication enter daily into Thy sight;
and do Thou, who didst so often spare Thy sinful people
for the sake of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
now, also, moved by the prayers of our fathers, reigning with Thee,
have mercy upon us,
save Thy people, and bless Thy inheritance;
and suffer not those souls to perish,
which Thy Son hath redeemed with His own most Precious Blood,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

(I have changed Henry VIII's odd "world without end" to the more literal and understandable "ages of ages". Tradition is a good guide to orthodoxy, but not a perfect guide).

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Today is the third day of the octave of prayer for Christian unity.

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Hymn: The Church's one foundation




The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity was started in 1908 by the Society of the Atonement at Graymoor, an Episcopalian community located in New York. The following year the Society was received into the Catholic Church. May many more follow them.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 2]

Posted two years ago today in Occidentalis:
An interesting quote from Bishop Kallistos Ware (via Pontifications):

At Corpus Christi processions, the Orthodox behaved with marked reverence towards the Latin sacrament. The Chian Jesuit Andrea Rendi recounts how in 1630 the Greek Metropolitan with another Orthodox bishop went specially to a house from which they could conveniently observe the procession, while in front of the building they posted three priests, to cense the blessed sacrament as it passed. On the predominantly Orthodox island of Andros, the Greek bishop himself took part in the Latin Corpus Christi procession, accompanied by his clergy in full vestments, with candles and torches.
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May the Good Lord reward those Greek bishops, successors of the Apostles, for their reverence, and inspire in us a similar attitude!

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Today is the second day of the octave of prayer for Christian unity.

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

[Our Lord called twelve men to be Apostles, and they received power and authority from Him, but only one is listed first, and to that one alone did He entrust the keys of His kingdom. May all of Christendom return to unity with Peter, the rock chosen by the Lord.]

For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity [Day 1]

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter [Traditional Roman Calendar]

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity has as its beginning a feast honoring the authority of the Pope, the Rock on which our Lord built His church. Or it did in the old Calendar; in the new Calendar, the feast has moved to February 22, and we lose the symbolic value of seeking unity first of all under the authority of Peter, chosen by Christ to shepherd His people.

So amid the varied prayers for unity ascending to heaven this day, the prayer of this blog is for the unity of God's holy Church across the ages and a return to the wisdom and beauty of earlier days. Our Church is one Church, not a "pre-Conciliar Church" and a "post-Conciliar Church", but one Church, founded by Christ our Lord to serve Him in faith, hope and charity until the end of time. When we undo the work of past generations, we may unravel more of the fabric of the Faith than we understand. But Christ can heal all wounds. Through His Holy Spirit may we find again many of the good things which we have foolishly set aside.

Hymn: Faith of our Fathers


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ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;

R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

For the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine apostles, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;" regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which is according to Thy will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for Thy holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it it in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, The Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Who shall ascend to the mountain of God?

He is always able to save those who approach God through Him,
since He lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for His own sins and then for those of the people;
He did that once for all when He offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a Son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this:
we have such a high priest,
who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices;
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then He were on earth, He would not be a priest,
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, “See that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Now He has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as He is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 7:25—8:6


Video from the Missionaries of the Poor

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sophia Institute Press

From the blog Totus Pius ("Because when a pope takes the name 'Pius' you know playtime's over"):

Sophia Institute PressSophia Institute Press is well known for its fine Catholic publications. It publishes such books as Aquinas's Shorter Summa, Fulton Sheen's Wartime Prayerbook, and numerous other spiritual and practical guides for Catholics of all ages and walks of life.

It was with great sadness we heard that the small company has fallen into financial troubles. In an email sent recently (which can be read here) Publisher John Barger lamented that the Press has had to stop printing a number of books in order to stay in business.
When Sophia Institute Press first started, I bought and read every book it published. While I do not consider it a perfect organization (I know of no perfect organization on this Earth), I consider it a a good organization worthy of your support.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Participatio Nonsensio"?!

The blogger at "Catholic Sensibility" seems to regret the prospect of a greater availability of the traditional Mass, and demands that traditionalists be open to unspecified changes to the Mass and to unspecified "reforms of Vatican II", which to my ears is as vague and vulnerable to abuse as an openness to guidance from "the Spirit of Vatican II".

My reply:

I am one hoping for greater availability of the traditional Mass. Having been born in 1962, I can hardly be nostalgic for the 50’s. Too young to remember the old Mass, I am still old enough to have watched the old sensibilities fade out. After the new Mass arrived, we still knelt for Holy Communion, and genuflected when crossing in front of the tabernacle, and maintained a prayerful quiet before and after Mass, remembering that we were in the house of the Lord.

But over the last 35 years, I have seen the people of my parish behave at Mass more and more like they were in a meeting hall, rather than a church. The traditional piety that was lost here seems to have survived in the traditional Masses. With traditional Catholics less marginalized, it is my hope that some of the practices that led people to sincere worship of God in the past will benefit more people in the future.

The “individualistic, private Sunday experience” that Eric decries is the Mass that spiritually formed St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and many more holy saints besides, through which the Catholic Church has been blessed. The traditional Mass is nothing to sneer at.

It is not the mutability of the Mass that makes it a living form of worship; it is the presence of the Lord, and the adoration of His people.

+++

Saint Paul wrote:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 - 3:5

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rorate Caeli Desuper

In a somewhat random reading of Holy Scripture, today I read in the 45th Chapter of Isaias:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour: and let justice spring up together: I the Lord have created him...

I have not said to the seed of Jacob: Seek Me in vain. I am the Lord that speak justice, that declare right things.


In Latin, drop down dew, ye heavens is rorate caeli, which happens to be the name of the first blog I check for any news on the long-expected broadening of the Traditional Mass indult.

It is also the name of an ancient hymn, an advent prayer that remains timely in this period of waiting for a renewal of the traditional Faith and practices of the Church:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity : behold the city of Thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of Thy glory, where our fathers praised Thee.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

See, O Lord, the affliction of thy people, and send him whom Thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that He Himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? Why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Liturgical Dance

Liturgy? Yes!
Dancing? Yes!

Liturgical dance? No, no, no.



No.

~~~

(Mostly no). I did once attend Mass with a congregation that was 99% Haitian. The people who brought up the gifts swayed to music as they walked forward, and in that context their movements seemed as serious, as joyful, as authentic, as appropriate as a wedding march.

By contrast, any dance that would turn a congregation into an audience observing a performance would be out of place at a Mass.

~~~

Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has publicly criticized introducing dance into the Liturgy, as it risks reducing this sacred rite to a spectacle. In an address in 2003, for example, the cardinal responded to a question on "liturgical dance": "There has never been a document from our Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments saying that dance is approved in the Mass"; and he noted that "the tradition of the Latin Church has not known the dance. It is something that people are introducing in the last ten years -- or twenty years". (See Cardinal Responds to Questions on Liturgy AB October 2003)

There has not been an express ruling from the Holy See against so-called "liturgical dance" -- primarily because, as Cardinal Arinze also observed, dance-like movements during processions are customary in some countries, and thus may be a legitimate form of "inculturation" of the Litugy in these regions. This kind of ritual dance has been introduced into several papal liturgies in recent years -- on occasions usually connected with African or Asian culture. These are special exceptions, however, that are to be seen in the context of the Holy Father's unique universal role, not as precedent-setting liturgical variations.

But the Holy See has addressed the matter of dance, constantly stressing the proper distinction between permitting indigenous cultural traditions and introducing innovations into the celebration of the Liturgy...

On "Liturgical Dance"

See also: "Liturgical dance smackdown, Benedict style", and Gerald Augustinus's Liturgical Dance Collection

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of the Lord is celebrated today, according to the new Roman missal, or on Saturday, according to the traditional Roman missal. Eastern Catholics refer to this event as the Theophany, meaning "the manifestation of God", because the three Holy Persons of the Blessed Trinity were revealed together, as recounted in the Gospels.

Traditional Gospel reading:

The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him,
and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who taketh away the sin of the world.
This is he, of whom I said:
After me there cometh a man,
who is preferred before me:
because he was before me.
And I knew him not,
but that he may be made manifest in Israel,
therefore am I come baptizing with water.
And John gave testimony, saying:
I saw the Spirit coming down,
as a dove from heaven,
and he remained upon him.
And I knew him not;
but he who sent me to baptize with water,
said to me:
He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending,
and remaining upon him,
he it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
And I saw, and I gave testimony,
that this is the Son of God.

John 1:29-34


New Gospel reading:

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”


Luke 3:15-16,21-22

+++

(Latin Catholics in the United States celebrate our Lord's baptism tomorrow. Eastern Catholics celebrated it yesterday. It is a big Church).

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Why I prefer the Traditional Mass

From a Catholic Answers Forums thread:

I understand that some older cradle Catholics feel homesick from time to time, but as an adult convert of more than 25 years, I do not see the benefit of attending a mass that I cannot understand at all since I do not speak or read Latin? Honestly, smells and bells and nostalgia aside, what is the point? Don't shoot, I'm trying to "get it".

I understand your puzzlement. All things being equal, I would prefer a Mass in English to a Mass in Latin, for the sake of understanding.

Nevertheless, as things are today, I prefer the Traditional Mass for several reasons:

(1) Validly translated words of consecration. It is the heart of the Mass!
(2) Kneeling to receive Communion, on the tongue, from a priest. Jesus' holy body is too sacred a thing to be handled by unconsecrated hands.
(3) Unity with the saints of the past, who worshipped our Lord using different versions of the Traditional Mass.
(4) Sacred Language. Compare the language of a traditional Low Mass with the New Mass. There are points of similarity, but the expressions of devotion are more abundant in the old Mass.
(5) The "smells and bells", the quiet before Mass, the candles, the unabashedly devout surroundings all make it easier to approach God in prayer.
(6) I have not yet heard a heretical song sung at a Latin Mass.
(7) A Mass that has been deeply meditated upon, and revised only with the utmost care and caution over the centuries. Our encounter with the Living God is a tremendous event, too important to be handled with a ceremony thrown together over a few months or years.

---

Some people insist that a nod of the head before receiving is "is every bit as reverent as kneeling at the altar railing". This seems nonsensical to me; it must be an either you see it or you don't situation.

Re: point #6, above. At my parish we frequently threaten to "sing a new Church into being" (I'd rather stay in Jesus' Church though). We also often claim that we ourselves are the bread of life. The words do not seem to register with most people, or they do not take them seriously. I think the songs are outrageous. There are many hymns that ought never to be sung in a Catholic church again.

+++

Re: my preliminary comment. Some suggest that having the Mass all in easily understood language is a bad thing, and that the Latin language serves as a verbal iconostasis, concealing some of the action of the Mass from profane-minded individuals. On the other hand, the iconostasis was formerly a low rail or stand, and was not raised until the 14th-15th century, so it would not have concealed much for most of the history of the Church.

+++

If only we had received a translation of the Traditional Mass into English, a translation that was reverent, beautiful, and accurate, instead of what we did receive circa 1970.

+++

But what is done is done, and many are now attached to the new Mass, even if poorly translated and irreverently celebrated. It may take many years to recover. May God speed a restoration of the Traditional Mass and a revitalization of His Church on Earth!

+++

A reply to a reply:

Validly translated? I hope you're not taking the extremely dangerous position of suggesting the words of consecration used in the NO are invalid?

I'm saying the words currently in use are incorrectly translated.

As for communion - you have every right to receive kneeling and on the tongue at NO, and I see more than a few people doing one or both of these at the NO masses I attend. As for your hands not being fit to handle the Body of Christ - what makes them less fit than your unconsecrated tongue and mouth or your unconsecrated throat???

While I am inspired by those very few people I see at Novus Ordo Masses that receive Holy Communion kneeling, I prefer to remain unobtrusive.

My unconsecrated mouth and unconsecrated throat simply swallow and problems with receiving by mouth are virtually unheard of. My unconsecrated hands can drop crumbs and putting the Body of Christ in those unconsecrated hands puts me in a position of unwarranted control over my Lord and Savior. A couple months ago, I found a host stuck between the pages of a hymnal in our Church. This type of abuse would happen less if the laity were not permitted to handle the Eucharist.

Ans unity with the saints - what about our current day saints? Blessed Mother Teresa? John Paul 2 of blessed memory (may he be sainted soon)? So you seriously think they one iota the less saintly for attending and celebrating NO Masses?

I do not wish to debate the relative merits of those two good people as compared to the great saints of the past. In the Traditional Mass I hear echoes of centuries of prayer and praise, and see the Sacred as clearly as my clouded vision permits. Less so in the new Mass. But if the new Mass helps you draw closer to heaven, then stick with it, and praise God.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Epiphany

O God
Who on this day
through the guidance of a star
didst manifest
Thine Only-Begotten Son to the Gentiles;
mercifully grant
that we who know Thee now by faith,
may one day be brought
to the contemplation of
the beauty of Thy majesty.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
Amen.

+++

Our Lord's Divine mission was made manifest in three events remembered on this day. For Latin rite Catholics, the emphasis is on the visit of the wise men, a sign that the Messiah was bringing salvation to the whole world, and not just the house of Israel. (Epiphany is also known as Three Kings Day).

Eastern Catholics commemorate the baptism of our Lord on this day. When Jesus came out of the water after His baptism, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove, and God the Father spoke, saying "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3:13-17). The Most Holy Trinity was manifest on that day, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and so this Holy Day is called "Theophany", "the revelation of God". Western Catholics also recall this event today, but remember it more fully on (or within) the octave of Epiphany.

Finally, our Lord's first public miracle, performed at the prayer of His blessed mother, is remembered today: the miraculous transformation of water into wine. (John 2:1-11). The six large vessels filled to the brim with wine prefigure the consecrated wine, the Blood of the New Covenant, the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. St. John's account of this miracle will be the Gospel reading a week from tomorrow, in both the old and new cycle of readings in the Latin Church.

(cf Catechism of the Catholic Church #528)

+++

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!
Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Isaiah 60:1-6

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The entire world thrills with hope

Merry twelfth day of Christmas



Minuit, chrétiens, c'est l'heure solennelle,
Où l'Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu'à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d'espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.

Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!


De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l'Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les trois chefs d'Orient,
Le Roi des rois né dans la dépendance
En lui confond toute humaine grandeur

Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.
Qui Lui dira notre reconnaissance?
C'est pour nous tous qu'Il naît,
Qu'Il souffre et meurt.

Peuple debout! Chante ta délivrance,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur!



Midnight, Christians, 'tis the solemn hour,
When the Man-God descended upon us
To erase the stain of original sin
And His Father's wrath, to stop.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Saviour.

Fall on your knees, people, Await your deliverance.
Noel! Noel! Comes the Redeemer,
Noel! Noel! Comes the Redeemer!


By our Faith which the guiding Light
That brings us all to the Child's cradle
As before when a bright star
Brought the Kings of the Orient
The King of Kings borne in a humble stable:
Masters of today, proud of your might
Of your conceit, is what God preaches about.
Bow your head to the Saviour.

The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave.
Love unites those who surround the fire.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude?
It's for all of us that He is born,
That He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Noel, Noel, sing of the Redeemer,
Noel, Noel, sing of the Redeemer!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Adeste Fideles

(O come all ye faithful)



Hat tip to Fr. Nicholas Schofield.

Happy tenth day of Christmas.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Most Holy Name of Jesus

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Circumcision. Today, in the traditional calendar, or tomorrow, using the new Calendar, we celebrate the name our Savior received.

This Jewish website comments on the naming of a baby boy:

With the fulfillment of the commandment of milah [circumcision], G-d changed Abram's name to Abraham, giving him a totally new persona to complement his new role as the "father of a great nation." For this reason, we name a baby boy at his Brit.

According to Jewish tradition, the name of a person describes his or her essence. It provides identity and generational connection. It begins the process of shaping a human being. A name can influence the behavior of the person and provide a spiritual connection between the individual and his soul.

A name carries enormous potential. It can define the individual or describe his personality. It can be a portent for the future or a wish that the person live up to the potential expressed in the meaning of the name. It is important, therefore, to give much thought to a child's shem kodesh, sacred or Hebrew name.

+++

The name of our Lord, announced by the angel, certainly defined or described Him. The Holy Name Jesus (or Yahshua in Hebrew) means "Saviour", and it is through Him that His people is saved. The online Catholic Encyclopedia says the Holy Name, "when invoked with confidence":

  • brings help in bodily needs, according to the promise of Christ: "In my name They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover". (Mark 16:17-18) In the Name of Jesus the Apostles gave strength to the lame (Acts 3:6; 9:34) and life to the dead (Acts 9:40).
  • gives consolation in spiritual trials. The Name of Jesus reminds the sinner of the prodigal son's father and of the Good Samaritan; it recalls to the just the suffering and death of the innocent Lamb of God.
  • protects us against Satan and his wiles, for the Devil fears the Name of Jesus, who has conquered him on the Cross.
  • obtains for us every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: "If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you." (John 16:23) Therefore the Church concludes all her prayers by the words: "Through Our Lord Jesus Christ", etc.

+++

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

+++

This essay (by the sort of fine protestant preacher that really ought to be Catholic) has some comments on the most holy name of Jesus that tie in with the pro multis controversy which, God willing, will soon be behind us.

+++

Colleen Hammond joins the Right Reverend Arthur Roche in an appeal to show reverence for the holy name of Jesus. Bishop Roche was mentioned previously in this blog, after he gave an admirable speech to a meeting of the American bishops. He is chairman of ICEL! Until recently, I would not have been able to use the words ICEL and admirable in the same sentence -- the ICEL was responsible for the execrable translation of the new Mass we currently use. A revised translation will be released within the next couple years. Slowly, slowly, slo-o-owly over the years and decades, the Church Militant is reorienting herself back towards right worship of the Divine.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

One Church united from age to age

Over at Καθολικός διάκονος, Deacon Dodge is having none of my "live and let live" philosophy for the traditional Mass alongside the new Mass. He refers back to his citation of objections by the French bishops and to his opposition to "traditionalism and restoration", both of which, for the sake of charity, it seems better to pass over silently. He also cites the need for collegiality between Pope and bishops (but where was collegiality when our traditions were being uprooted? How about some collegiality with the Church from the first 98% of its existence?) He ends with:

I suppose one can pray 5 decades of the rosary in 15 minutes, or recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or any number of other devotions, which is what people would regularly do during Mass, since they were not actually fully, actively, and consciously participating in the Eucharistic liturgy.

I reply:

I regret that our devotions scandalize you. We wish only to unite our prayers with those of the priest, to the glory of our Lord's Holy Name.
Dcn Dodge gives a cordial but unyielding reply, and wanting to end the discussion on a positive note (his splendid prayer life), I leave it at that. Neither of us are likely to change our opinion in the near future.

The notion that two people could be saying two different things simultaneously and still be united in worship seems to be entirely opaque to him. But it is not just old-fashioned lay Roman Catholics that have this sort of idea. This morning I was privileged to attend a Divine Liturgy of the Ruthenian Catholic Church. For part of their version of the Mass, the priest was doing something behind the Iconostasis while the congregation chanted. Were they not "fully, consciously, and actively participating"? I think that the humble folk who prayed the rosary during Mass in years past were doing the same sort of thing then that the Eastern Catholics do now. Even if there wasn't an audible unison of voices, there was still a communion across the continents and over the centuries through a common method of prayer.

I use the past tense for the rosary during Mass, because from what I have observed, it is very unusual to see someone praying the rosary in a modern traditional Mass.

+++

Meanwhile, Wimsey in the Theological Downpour blog wonders if there is any good reason to continue or resume wearing chapel veils, if their use is not required by canon law. Her mother thinks traditions should not be lightly discarded, but Wimsey wants reasons. My comment:

Your mother is right: the simple fact that something has traditionally been done is a good reason to continue, if there are not good reasons to stop. This tradition dates back to Apostolic times. There has been too much contempt for the "pre-conciliar" Church these last few decades. It is encouraging to see women who do not sneer at the Church that produced Sts. Thérèse and Teresa and Clare, and the other great saints. The Church of Christ our Lord is one Church through all the ages, and this little sign of unity is a bond of charity with the Christians that came before us.

+++

If the base of a felled tree that has grown old in earth and rock 'will bud at the scent of water ... like a young plant' (Job 14:9), it is also possible for us to be awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit and to flower with the incorruptibility that is ours by nature, bearing fruit like a yong plant, even though we have fallen into sin.

- St. John of Karpathos, Texts for the Monks in India

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Veni, Creator Spiritus

According to the Fisheaters website, a plenary indulgence is available on the Feast of the Circumcision, under the usual conditions, by reciting the prayer Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit).

The "usual conditions" are:
  • Sacramental confession, usually within a week before or after obtaining the Indulgence.
  • Eucharistic Communion (preferably the same day).
  • Prayer in keeping with the intention of the Supreme Pontiff.
  • Having the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin (that is, renouncing all sin).
+++

Come Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father,
Thou Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.

+++

Veni, Creator Spiritus

Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis surrexit,
ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula. Amen.

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Circumcision of the Lord

Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring."

Genesis 17:9-12

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When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:21

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Today, on the octave of Christmas, the Feast of the Circumcision is traditionally celebrated. In the New Order, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is observed on this day. The intent of both solemnities is the same, I think: to emphasize that our Lord, immortal God, truly became man, with a human mother, and with human flesh that could be cut like all flesh.

In His circumcision, we can observe a faithful observance of the law, and perhaps a foreshadowing of of the shedding of our Lord's blood on Calvary.

Our Lord received His name on this day, as noted by St. Luke. In 2006, His holy name is particularly honored by the Latin Church on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.


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Circumcision was the sign of the old covenant between God and Israel. Through Christ Jesus all nations are offered a covenant with our Father in Heaven and the sign of the new covenant is baptism.

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In [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the flesh, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

Colossians 2:11-14

Is any man called, being circumcised? Let him not procure uncircumcision. Is any man called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised.

1 Corinthians 7:18

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