Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The angels at christmas

The Gospel according to Saint Luke.

And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock.
And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear.
And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:
For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.
16 And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.
17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child.
18 And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

IN THE 5199th year of the creation of the world, 
from the time when in the beginning God created heaven and earth; from the flood, the 2957th year; from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year; from Moses and the going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th year; from the anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year; in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; from the founding of the city of Rome, the 752nd year; in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His conception was born in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, having become man. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Michael Mass 2012

St. Michael

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Memorial lights at the site of the ruins of the World Trade Center towers.

How are they down, how have they fallen down
Those great strong towers of ice and steel, And melted by what terror and what miracle? What fires and lights tore down,With the white anger of their sudden accusation, Those towers of silver and of steel?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15 2012 
O most sweet Lady and our Mother, by the merits of thy happy death obtain for us holy perseverance in the divine friendship, that we may finally quit this life in God’s grace; and unite with the blessed spirits in praising thee and singing thy glories as thou deservest. Amen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

St. John the Baptist

June 24:
St. John the Baptist
is the last of the prophets and the first of those to approach the Kingdom. He occupies a place of transition. Christ acknowledges him in a strange way: 

When the messengers of John had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see – a reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
(Luke 7:24-28)
Somehow the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. The least are greater than this courageous prophet who spoke truth to power and was beheaded for his efforts. Aren’t those of the Kingdom not born of women? Isn’t John’s courage and faithfulness a model for all Christians? Christians are born again of water and the Holy Spirit. John announces the coming of the Lord and for all of the wonder and importance of this role, it is not as privileged as the least in the Kingdom of God.
The feast of St. John the Baptist is a time to reflect on the privilege and grace of our invitation to the Kindgom. In the earlier verses of this chapter, Jesus tells the the messengers of St. John to report to him what the signs of the Kingdom are: the blind see, the lame walk, the sick are cured.

____The article above comes to us from the blog Theologica.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Liturgical piety.

The following is a Paper published at
Rorate Caeli. It represents a
very worthwhile exploration of some of the liturgical-theological
positions proper to a correct "Traditionalist" understanding of
the situation in the life of the Church today. I present it here
for your perusal and edification.

FIUV Position Paper 2: Liturgical Piety and Participation

1. The term ‘Liturgical Piety’ refers to a piety which is fostered by frequent participation in the liturgy, draws inspiration from the unfolding of the sacred mysteries through the cycle of the liturgical year, and for which the texts of the liturgical books and the ceremonies of the liturgical rites as central rather than peripheral to its formation. It is contrasted with a piety which is formed predominantly by non-liturgical devotions, whether these be public or private. The fostering of liturgical piety, and the participation in the liturgy conducive to such piety, might be said to be the ultimate objects of the Liturgical Movement, from its beginnings in the nineteenth century up to, and including, the influence that Movement had on the reform of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. It was the task of successive popes to encourage this movement while simultaneously guarding against the exaggerated and misguided conclusions which were sometimes derived from this ideal. The concept of liturgical piety is of particular interest in the context of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Missal, since this ideal continues to influence discussion of the participation of the faithful in the liturgy, and the discussion of how the Extraordinary Form should be celebrated, and its liturgical books further developed over time. In particular this paper is intended to shed light on the question of whether the ‘former liturgical tradition’ is itself a barrier to a proper liturgical participation by the faithful, and whether the arguments of the Liturgical Movement, and the contemporary Magisterium such as Pius XII’s encyclical Mediator Dei, should be read as indicating that it is a barrier.

2. The desire for a more liturgical piety arose naturally from two observations. First, that the Catholic liturgy is an enormously rich source for the devotional life. As the English Cardinal Wiseman exclaimed as early as 1842:
Why there is not a place, or a thing, used in the worship which [the Catholic] attends, upon which there has not been lavished, so to speak, more rich poetry and more solemn prayers, than all our modern books put together.[1]

3. Secondly, the liturgy, and in particular the Eucharist, is of its very nature the privileged opportunity for the Christian to communicate with God. The liturgy is the public prayer of the Church, and the Mass is the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross: in joining themselves to the first, the faithful can take part in the perfect prayer offered to God by His spotless Bride; in joining themselves to the second, the faithful can associate their own offerings with the perfect Sacrifice offered to the Father, that of the spotless Victim.

4. For the liturgy to have the place in the ordinary Catholic’s devotional life which it ought to have, his participation in the liturgy must be as profound as possible. One way of fostering this was to promote liturgical formation, both of the clergy and the faithful,[2] notably by books, both of the liturgy—missals for the laity—and about the liturgy, such as Dom Prosper Guéranger’s monumental ‘L’Année liturgique’, published between 1841 and 1844. Guéranger wrote in his general preface, after noting the special value of prayer united with the Prayer of the Church:
Liturgical prayer would soon become powerless were the faithful not to take a real share in it, or, at least, not to associate themselves to it in heart. It can heal the world, but only on the condition that it be understood.[3]

5. Even at its very dawn, the aims and inspiration of the Liturgical Movement encompassed a tension. On the one hand, the richness, which is to say the theological profundity, density, and complexity of the Catholic liturgy, is part of the reason for promoting a greater appreciation of it, particularly as the basis for devotional contemplation. On the other hand, if participation in the liturgy, which was also recommended by the contemporary Magisterium,[4] requires an adequate understanding of it, then it would seem that participation could be enhanced both by the exposure to view of parts of the liturgy traditionally hidden, in one way or another (by saying silent prayers aloud, by the use of the vernacular, by saying Mass ‘versus populum’), and also by the simplification of the rites.

6. This tension explains the debate within the Liturgical Movement over liturgical reform, which continued for more than a century. Many writers in the movement were profoundly attached to the liturgy as it had been handed down, and opposed (for example) the use of the vernacular: Guéranger himself being an example of this. Others took the opposite view.[5]

7. This tension can be resolved, however, by two observations. First and most simply, taken to its logical conclusion, the attempt to ease the comprehension of a rite by simplifying it is self-defeating, since the process of simplification has the result that there is less to comprehend. Removing prayers and ceremonies, clearly, removes things which could be the object of fruitful meditation.

8. Secondly, the ‘comprehension’ at issue in liturgical participation is not primarily a matter of the grasp of propositions; it concerns rather the spiritual impact of the liturgy on the participant. Fr Aidan Nichols OP, discussing the views of a number of sociologists concerned with religious ritual, observes:
To the sociologist, it is by no means self-evident that brief, clear rites have greater transformative potential than complex, abundant, lavish, rich, long rites, furnished with elaborate ceremonial.[6]
The notion that the more intelligible the sign, the more effectively it will enter the lives of the faithful is implausible to the sociological imagination. ...a certain opacity is essential to symbolic action in the sociologists’ account…[7]

9. This is not just a matter of aesthetic impact, but of the general issue of non-verbal communication. Elaborate ceremonial indicates in a universal language the importance of whatever is at the centre of the ceremony. The use of Latin serves to emphasise the antiquity and universality of the liturgy, as Pope Blessed John XXIII pointed out.[8] The use of silence is a very effective means of emphasising the sacred character of what is happening.[9] Similar things can be said of many aspects of the former liturgical tradition which might superficially appear to impede the comprehension of the faithful. Pope Blessed John-Paul II refers to such things in speaking of the liturgy of the Oriental Churches:
The lengthy duration of the celebrations, the repeated invocations, everything expresses gradual identification with the mystery celebrated with one’s whole person.[10]
Again, as the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam points out:
The Sacred Liturgy engages not only man’s intellect, but the whole person, who is the “subject” of full and conscious participation in the liturgical celebration.[11]

10. The point is underlined by Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mediator Dei. While approving a number of the initiatives of followers of the Liturgical Movement, as well as deprecating others, he makes an important qualification.
Many of the faithful are unable to use the Roman missal even though it is written in the vernacular; nor are all capable of understanding correctly the liturgical rites and formulas. So varied and diverse are men’s talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them.[12]

11. With the aid of this fuller understanding of participation, which is certainly both active and liturgical, but which is of the whole person, and not merely the intellect, we can look again at the questions raised by the Liturgical Movement about the form that a properly liturgical piety should take. To be imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, to have the liturgy in its proper place of honour in one’s spiritual life, requires a degree of liturgical catechesis, but it is above all to be effected in the way the Church, in the liturgy, wishes us to be effected. This is with a profound sense of awe, awe being the rational response to the apprehension of the Holy. It is this sense which stimulates us to participate spiritually in the Sacrifice as intensely as possible. Pope Benedict XVI has noted that a particular charism of the Extraordinary Form in its ‘sacrality’, its evocation of awe.[13] The mysteriousness of the ceremonies, the fact that prayers are said in a sacred language, even silently, the fact that parts of the liturgy are veiled from sight, naturally contribute to that awe, and in this way facilitate, rather than impede, the participation of the faithful.