Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saint Martin I. Pope and Martyr

Saints Martin, Clement, Sixtus II, Lawrence.
Church of San Apollinare Revenna.

Feast: 12 November

Pope Martin I was born in the Tuscan town of Todi on the Tiber, and elected Pope--the seventy-fourth Pope--on the 21 of July, 649. without imperial approval. Saint Martin Convened the Lateran Council which condemned and deposed the patriarch of Constantinople for the crime of the heresy of Monothelitism, a heresy which taught that our Lord lacked a human will. This act placed the holy Pontiff in direct opposition to the Emperor Constans II himself a Monothelialite heretic. The Emperor had the Pope arrested brought before the Senate at Constantinople where after declaring him deposed from the throne of Saint Peter and charged with rebellion against God and the state, he was tortured, striped before the public and loaded down with a great number of heavy chains. The Pope was after placed in prison. Patriarch Paul of Constantinople, after witnessing the cruel manner in which Saint Martin had been treated, and moved by the Holy Spirit, repented of his heresy, a move which saved Saint Martin from execution, but was exiled instead to Cherson in the Crimean peninsula(modern day Chersonesus Taurica). The pope arrived at Cherson on the 15th of May 655 died soon after on the 16th of September from starvation and the rough treatment he suffered during his imprisonment and transportation to the Crimean. Saint Martin is listed among the holy martyr because of the manner in which he died, he is the last Pope martyrs.

His relics are venerated in the city of Rome in the church of San Martino ai Monti.

Traditional Dominican All Saints Nov. 12

The Saints of the Dominican Order

The Martyrology for the Twelfth Day of November

The Feast of All the Saints of our Order. A totum duplex feast of the second class.

St. Martin I, pope and martyr, whose birthday is commemorated on September 16.

At Vitebsk in Poland, the suffering of St. Josaphat, of the Order of St. Basil a Polish archbishop and martyr. He was cruelly slain by the schismatics in their hatred of Catholic unity and truth. He was numbered among the martyrs by Pope Pius IX. His feast, however, is kept on November 14.

At Alcalá in Spain, the birthday of St. Didacus, confessor, of the Order of Friars Minor, who was noted for his humility. He was canonized by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Sixtus V; his feast is celebrated on November 13.

In Asia, the suffering of the holy Bishops Aurelius and Publius.

At Eachen in Belgium, St. Livinus, bishop and martyr. He had convcrted many persons to the Christian faith when he was slain by the heathens. His body was later transferred to Ghent.

At Gnesen in Poland, the holy hermits and martyrs Benedict, John, Matthew, Isaac, and Christian. They were engaged in prayer when they were savagely attacked by robbers and put to the sword.

At Sergines near Sens, St. Paternus, monk and martyr. He met some robbers in the nearby forest and when he tried to persuade them to correct their lives, they put him to death.

At Avignon, St. Rufus, who was the first bishop of that city.

At Cologne, the death of St. Cunibert, bishop.

At Tarazona in Aragon, Blessed Emilian, priest. He was remarkable for his many miracles. St. Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa, wrote his admirable life.

At Constantinople, St. Nilus, abbot. In the reign of Theodosius the Younger, he had been prefect of that city and then became a monk. He was distinguished for his learning and holiness.

V. And elsewhere, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reflection on the Sacred Liturgy.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

It is essential for all Catholics, but most especially for those Catholics who desire a restoration of the Sacred Liturgy in the Western church, to reflect from time to time on the nature--the doctrinal nature--of the Church's worship.

The following comes to us by way of an Anglo-Catholic who in turn comments on a post from a Russian-Orthodox blog. The insight is profound, moving, and very much on target.

A friend recently referred me to an excellent blog with which I had not been previously familiar. It is written by an Orthodox priest, and his insights are astounding. However, unlike most Roman Catholic blogs, the comments sections of his posts are also valuable and full of insight. One such insight sent me reeling a few days ago when I read it:
One of the first times I saw a liturgy was in a Russian church. I didn't understand anything, of course, and at first I was a bit distressed that people came and went, children wandered around, etc. But then I noticed that no matter what anyone was or wasn't doing, the liturgy continued. It was obvious that the audience was God, not the restless congregation. When I returned to my evangelical church, I asked the pastor if he would do the same things he had planned to do this Sunday if no one showed up. He was very struck by that and couldn't answer.
I know what the answer would have been in the pentecostal church of my youth, and I daresay that nearly every Protestant church would have the same answer to that question: dumbstruck silence. Odds are that this question would never have occurred to them. Which is understandable, but regrettable.

In most Protestant worship services, the "worship plan" simply would not work if the congregation did not show up for services. Nearly every element of it is dependent upon the participation, whether active or passive, of those gathered. Worship leaders would have no one to lead. Large, white screens projecting song lyrics that adorn either side of the platform would have no readers. Hymn boards would go unnoticed. No one would "amen," and no one would "testify." No one would listen or scribble notes in the margins of their Bibles during a 50 minute sermon. When the invitation was given, no one would respond.

Liturgical Catholic worship, the greatest expression of which is the Mass (or the Divine Liturgy, Holy Eucharist, whatever you wish to call it based on your tradition), is different, or at least it should be different. No one could show up but the priest, and yet the worship could, and should, happen anyway. And not only should it happen, but anyone who could not make it for some unforeseeable reason could, in faith, unite themselves spiritually with that worship no matter where they happened to be, because they knew the "game plan" well in advance.

However, we as Catholic worshippers must be careful not to fall into the same trap. Innovations which seek to elevate the worshipper over the Worshipped must not be permitted to enter the liturgy. Our focus should never be on ourselves. We enter our holy houses to be in the presence of One who far surpasses our ability to understand. We gather to worship and sacrifice; as a community, to be sure, but community is not the end. (This is why I emphatically advocate worship ad dominum at the Altar, instead of the precarious orientation that many churches have adopted during the last century.) It takes a little more doing, but it is possible for Catholic worship leaders to come up with the same response as their Protestant counterparts when asked the question of the day: dumbstruck silence.

Smug smiles and pats on the back should be shelved for a moment by "traditionalists," many of whom might think that this question doesn't apply to them. It does. The circumstances can become a bit trickier, but it is still a danger that even traditional Catholic worship can be turned from its purpose: worship. I dare not attempt a list of possibilities lest I begin a comments war that rivals those of a Minnesotan birdwatcher. Use your thinkers.
Would your corporate worship work if no one showed up? I pray yes.

Pax et bonum.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saint Martin de Porres

Saint Martin

Martin de Porres (1579 –1639)
Dominican lay brother.
Beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI
Canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

Feast Day: November 5th.

He is the patron saint of innkeepers, and barbers.