Benedict XVI to Juventutem for Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage

During the Mass last night at Ss. Trinità and today at San Pietro, a little bit of Benedict XVI’s message was read to the pilgrims.  The message was more or less complete depending on the language of translation.

However, no reading was complete.

Namely….

I finally have time to thank you for your letter of last 21 August. I am glad that the Usus Antiquior now lives in full peace in the Church, also for young people, supported and celebrated by great Cardinals.

I will be with you spiritually. My state as “monk in secluded enclosure” does not permit also an external presence. I go out of my enclosure only in special cases, invited personally by the Pope.

In communion of prayer and of friendship,

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Posted in Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Father’s job is to say “No.”

I have been saying for a very long time now that the Pope’s first job is to say “No.”

The job of bishops, priests, fathers in general, is to say “No.”

Whether your children are plotting to make a go-cart that should be able to sail off the roof  or your children are plotting to confuse the people of God with aberrant notions about the two natures of Christ (or Communion for the… well…), Father’s job is to say “No.”  And as the erring children insist more loudly, Father’s response becomes more firm.

Sometimes I have been in situations wherein I have been challenged to perform liturgical abuses.  At first, I give short answers: “No.”  As the ex-nun liturgy coordinatrix continues to insist that that’s-how-they-do-it-here, I lengthen my explanation to “Noooooooo!”

And so I turn to Fr Hunwicke (whose prose is delightful). He has a great piece today wherein he riffs on Pope Francis’s now famous “Who am I to judge?”  HERE

Here is a sample:

I have no problem with the idea of a pope who keeps anathemas under his camauro. A pontiff who issues a Syllabus of Errors seems to me a pontiff who is earning his paycheck. When Pio Nono, with the assent of Vatican I, issued his admirable negative, “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that by his revelation they should reveal new teaching”, I would have applauded. Three cheers for the author of Pascendi Dominici gregis. Cardinal Ratzinger’s insistence that the Pope is but the humble servant of Tradition had me raising my glass to drink his toast. (Indeed, during his Pontificate I was rarely sober.)

I really wanted to post the whole thing, but I also want to force you over to his place to read the rest.

 

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence | Tagged | 11 Comments

Rome – Day 6: Procession, Pontifical Mass at St Peter’s #SumPont2014

The Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage continues today with the procession to San Pietro from San Lorenzo in Damaso.

Follow on Twitter #SumPont2014

Some images.

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Card. Burke did show, today.  He did not have even the slightest hint of flu, Argentinian or other.

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Before Mass, messages were read from Benedict XVI and from the Secretary of State on behalf of Pope Francis.  Benedict’s was essentially what we heard before, namely, that he was with us spiritually.  However, that’s all we heard in English and French.  The Italian version was a little different. It included a paragraph about his monastic life, which didn’t allow for him to go out from the convent where he resides.  I found that interesting.  Yesterday evening, someone mentioned to me that Benedict doesn’t leave his place unless specifically invited by the Pope.

After Mass Card. Burke was pretty much mobbed.

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Just for nice: one of my favorite altars in St. Peter’s.

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UPDATE

Time for a quick supper at a favorite place, happily near where I am staying.

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Posted in Benedict XVI, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, On the road, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, What Fr. Z is up to | 21 Comments

USArmy: Ebola virus can go airborne in low temperatures

Not good news from info wars.

U.S. ARMY: EBOLA GOES AIRBORNE ONCE TEMPERATURE DROPS
Ebola can go airborne but hasn’t in West Africa because it’s too warm, researchers conclude

Ebola can spread by air in cold, dry weather common to the U.S. but not West Africa, presenting a “possible, serious threat” to the public, according to two studies by U.S. Army scientists.

After successfully exposing monkeys to airborne Ebola, which “caused a rapidly fatal disease in 4-5 days,” scientists with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) concluded Ebola can spread through air but likely hasn’t in Equatorial Africa because the region is too warm, with temperatures rarely dropping below 65°F.

“We… demonstrated aerosol transmission of Ebola virus at lower temperature and humidity than that normally present in sub-Saharan Africa,” the 1995 study entitled Lethal Experimental Infections of Rhesus Monkeys by Aerosolized Ebola Virus reported. “Ebola virus sensitivity to the high temperatures and humidity in the thatched, mud, and wattle huts shared by infected family members in southern Sudan and northern Zaire may have been a factor limiting aerosol transmission of Ebola virus in the African epidemics.”

“Both elevated temperature and relative humidity have been shown to reduce the aerosol stability of viruses.”

The study also referred to the 1989 Ebola outbreak at a primate quarantine facility in Reston, Va., in which the virus rapidly spread between unconnected rooms.

“While infections in adjacent cages may have occurred by droplet contact, infections in distant cages suggests aerosol transmission, as evidence of direct physical contact with an infected source could not be established,” the study added.

It is interesting to note this outbreak occurred in December 1989, when temperatures in Reston were usually below freezing, and it’s unlikely the indoor temperature in the vast quarantine facility was much higher.

A 2012 study also by the USAMRIID, which exposed monkeys to an airborne filovirus similar to Ebola, reached a similar conclusion to the 1995 study.

“There is no strong evidence of secondary transmission by the aerosol route in African filovirus outbreaks; however, aerosol transmission is thought to be possible and may occur in conditions of lower temperature and humidity which may not have been factors in outbreaks in warmer climates,” the study entitled A Characterization of Aerosolized Sudan Virus Infection in African Green Monkeys, Cynomologus Macaques and Rhesus Macaques stated.

The study pointed out that filoviruses, which include Ebola and the Sudan virus used in this particular study, have stability in aerosol form comparable to influenza.

“Filoviruses in aerosol form are therefore considered a possible, serious threat to the health and safety of the public,” it added.

And the Pentagon took this threat of airborne filoviruses so seriously that it organized a Filovirus Medical Countermeasures Workshop with the Department of Health and Human Services in 2013.

“The DoD seeks a trivalent filovirus vaccine that is effective against aerosol exposure and protective against filovirus disease for at least one year,” the executive summary of the workshop stated.

The Pentagon’s concern with airborne Ebola runs contrary to health officials who claim the disease can’t spread through coughing and sneezing, but according to the Army studies, that may only be true in tropical climates.

“How much airborne transmission will occur will be a function of how well Ebola induces coughing and sneezing in its victims in cold weather climates,” the web site potrblog.com suggested. “Coughing and nasal bleeding are both reported symptoms in Africa, so the worst should be expected.”

More there.

If we do not ask for miracles, God will not grant them.

GO TO CONFESSION.

Be an intercessor.

Ask God to avert this terrible disease and the consequences it will bring.

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Pray For A Miracle, Semper Paratus, TEOTWAWKI, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 19 Comments

What Archbp. Chaput really said about the Synod

This First Things piece is a must.  It has many good points, so I urge you also to visit First Things and explore their combox, once some discussion gets underway there as well.

 

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia spoke a prophetic word on Monday night at the 2014 Erasmus Lecture in New York. Actually, he spoke several prophetic words. The most powerful, the one that bears mentioning before I turn to the one that immediately concerns us here, was about our duty to the poor:

If we ignore the poor, we will go to hell. If we blind ourselves to their suffering, we will go to hell. If we do nothing to ease their burdens; then we will go to hell. Ignoring the needs of the poor among us is the surest way to dig a chasm of heartlessness between ourselves and God, and ourselves and our neighbors. [Pretty clear.]

This searing spiritual challenge was the heart of Chaput’s talk, but because our press is less concerned with the poor’s suffering than the rich’s interminable debates over sex, these words weren’t highlighted. Instead, attention centered on Chaput’s comments on the recent Synod on the Family in Rome.

David Gibson of Religion News Service [which to me seems rarely to read events in the Church with an objective stance] wrote an article that suggested Chaput had denounced the Synod in unequivocal terms as “of the devil.” The headline, likely not picked by Gibson but certainly reflecting the tone of his article, said that Chaput had “blasted” the Synod.

In fact, Chaput denounced its public image while saying he would need to hear more from his brother bishops who actually attended before forming a firm opinion. As I told David O’Reilly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, there was no criticism of Pope Francis. Chaput did, however, offer the deliciously prophetic warning alluded to at the beginning of this post. His words?

“To get your information from the press is a mistake.” [This is also why I think the Catholic blogosphere, though flawed and limited, is vital, now more than ever.  We have an alternate information stream.] 

* * *

Below is the full text of Chaput’s remarks on the Synod (watch the videhere; relevant portion begins at 56:00).

Audience member: Thank you for your splendid lecture. I would be very grateful for your comments on the recent Synod on the Family in Rome.

Chaput: Well, first of all, I wasn’t there. That’s very significant, because to claim you know what really happened when you weren’t there is foolish. To get your information from the press is a mistake because they don’t know well enough how to understand it so they can tell people what happened. I don’t think the press deliberately distorts, they just don’t have any background to be able to evaluate things. In some cases they’re certainly the enemy and they want to distort the Church.

Now, having said all that, I was very disturbed by what happened. I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was of confusion. Now, I don’t think that was the real thing there. I’m anxious to hear from Bishop Kurtz. Bishop Kurtz and the Byzantine bishop of Pittsburgh were the two Americans who were our delegates there. Cardinal Dolan was there and Cardinal Wuerl because they’re part of the organization body of the Synod. But every country’s president of the bishop’s conference attended, and then they have representatives from the Eastern Church. That’s why Bishop Skurla was there from Pittsburgh.

I want to hear from them. Then you can ask me the question and I can give you a better answer. Now, I read about it in the same blogs you do. There’s no doubt that the Church has a clear position: on what marriage means and that you don’t receive communion unless you’re in communion with the teachings of Christ, that gay marriage is not a possibility in God’s plan and therefore can’t be a reality in our lives. There’s no doubt about any of that. I think when it’s all said we have to be charitable toward people who disagree with us and we certainly welcome into the Church sinners. I’m one, and they usually welcome me when I come to the parishes.

I think we have to be better at reaching out to divorced Catholics so they don’t think that they’re immediately excluded from the Church because they’ve been divorced and remarried. Some people think that even when they get a divorce they’re not welcome in the Church. So I think we need to work on that.

We have deep respect for people with same-sex attraction, but we can’t pretend that they’re welcome on their own terms. None of us are welcome on our own terms in the Church; we’re welcome on Jesus’ terms. That’s what it means to be a Christian—you submit yourself to Jesus and his teaching, you don’t recreate your own body of spirituality.

I’m not fundamentally worried because I believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church. The last report at the end was certainly much better than the interim listing of the topics that were talked about.

Posted in Biased Media Coverage, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Bishop calls England to conversion to Christ. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Disease with global killing potential is on the rise.

Militant Islamism is on the rise.

Homosexualism is on the rise.

The Dictatorship of Relativism has weakened Western Civilization to the point of collapse so that hostile forces with satanic direction are roaming and devouring at will.

We barely know who we are anymore, even within Holy Church which is the last – teetering – bastion against such forces.

In times of crisis we Catholics have always turned to prayer and popular – public - devotions.  For example, the threat of contagion prompted processions and the threat of invasion spurred the development of Forty Hours Devotion.

I saw this encouraging piece at ZENIT.

Bishop Calls for Earnest Prayers for Conversion of England

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, is marking October, the month of the Rosary, by distributing free recordings of the devotion to every parishioner in his diocese.

The bishop, who is to make the announcement in a pastoral letter due to be released on Sunday, says the CD will contain all the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

[...]

“The Church in our time is calling us to an evangelisation ‘new in its ardour, new in its methods and new in its expression’,” he says. “This is why we need to pray for enormous creativity.”

Underlining the importance of prayer, Bishop Egan says it takes us “out of ourselves” facilitating “a person-to-Person encounter with God.” He says he hopes that by dedicating oneself to prayer, each person will become “less inward-looking and more outward-looking, that is, people who constantly pray for those in society around us, for their needs and their salvation.”

“We should work and pray earnestly for the evangelisation and conversion of England,” he says, “that all may have the chance to hear the Gospel and be inspired to convert to Christ.”

St. Pius V attributed the victory of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

If the Rosary was effective on the level of nations in their time, why could it not be effective on the level of nations in our time?

It depends on you.

One of the first things you can do is GO TO CONFESSION.

One of the ongoing things you can do is recite the Rosary.

You might start saying the Rosary especially for the intention of your bishop and your priests.

The Enemy of our souls hates bishops and priests with a fury and plotting malice that our limited human minds cannot wholly comprehend.    To create a good spiritual zone for our families and personal spiritual health, we must have courageous bishops and priests who can give proper formation to the lay faithful who, in their turn, shape the world.  Please designate a bead for me, a poor sinner and priest.

And for the lay faithful of the more traditional type, I say that the Enemy will sow division among us who are faithful and true, pitting one part against another, precisely to prevent us from being leaven and light and salt in our failing societies.   The Enemy must keep us all off balance with each other.

GO TO CONFESSION.

Pray the Rosary.

Support and strengthen your priests and bishops.

Finally, I firmly believe that the restoration, renewal, reinvigoration, restitution of our sacred liturgical worship is the sine qua non which must accompany, if not precede, every other initiative that we undertake in the Church at every possible level, whether in the parish, in the diocese, in the nation, or in the Roman Curia.  For the family home, which is the domestic Church, the daily common prayer of the Rosary – with specific intentions for the good of bishops and priests, renewal of our sacred worship, safety from harm of disease and the attacks of debased movements – can be the mortar which holds fast the foundation of the Church.  We are the Church’s living stones.  We must play our role in the building and the defense of the Church.  When Nehemiah set about to rebuild the walls of the city, the workers wore their swords in case of attack.  Let your Rosaries be your sword and your trowel.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, I'm just askin'..., Just Too Cool, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Pray For A Miracle, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Religion of Peace, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

ASK FATHER: “God’s Holy Church” not “His” – inclusive language

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Dear Father Z: You may have written about this before, but if so I’m not able to find your discussion of it. Where we say “His name” and “His Holy Church,” I have heard people, particularly women, and most particularly women religious, say “God’s name” and “God’s Holy Church.” Have others heard this, and if so, what is your take on it?

If people want to be silly and avoid using masculine pronouns when talking about God in ordinary discourse, that’s one thing. “God loves all God’s people and the many ways God created them to reflect God’s glory in and through God’s holy Church.” Blah blah.

If people take it upon themselves to change the words of the Mass and they replace pronouns in their responses, that’s an entirely different pot of beans.

What is merely silly in ordinary discourse becomes disobedience in liturgical settings.

The words of our liturgical rites are not their words to change. They are words that the Church speaks. The Church gets to determine what those words are.

We who are privileged to participate in the Church’s worship of God be aware that we walk on sacred ground. We speak sacred language.

The words the Church gives us to pray are not arbitrary or personal. We do not have the right to alter them.

I had hoped that most of this silliness had died off. I guess not.

Posted in Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, What are they REALLY saying?, Women Religious | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Rome – Day 4: No Show Edition

I have been running uninteresting errands… except for one.

As you may know the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage is underway.

Card. Pell was to be celebrant at Ss. Trinità.

Card. Pell is ill. Some wags here are suggesting that he has “Argentine Flu”.
His Eminence’s secretary assured me that the Cardinal is truly ailing.

However, earlier in the day there was an event scheduled for clerics. Card. Sarah was also a no show.

As we say here… eh beh.

The pilgrimage/event Twitter hashtag is #SumPont2014

Here is what it is like to sit in choir:

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Messa in Latino has few less than perfect photos, but I can be glimpsed in the sanctuary in this one, taken during the Gospel.

Oh… before I forget, I saw this great vehicle today.  Gotta love the free market!

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And… speaking of vehicles… here is some Z-Swag “In The Wild”!

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Click HERE for swag!  Join Zed-Head Nation!

That’s Washington, not Rome.

It is common in traditional communities that people stick around after Mass to talk.  I have seen this play out everywhere I travel.  Tonight was no exception.  I’ll let others post more liturgical eye-candy.  What I am happy to see are the people who come who are so happy afterwards.

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I wish that more of you could have experienced the Mass with the entire congregation singing the Ordinary and the Salve Regina at the end.  It was great.

I was out to supper with The Great Roman Fabrizio.  Alas, I only remembered that I had a camera at dessert time.  We split this thing… which involved apples and chocolate.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this was pretty good!

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Before I forget, Benedict XVI sent a message for those attending the Mass and tomorrow’s procession and Mass: “I am with you in spirit.”  He especially treated the young people who were participating in the Church’s older, traditional rite.

We head Card. Pell’s secretary read the homily that His Eminence would have given.  Some good points were made, among which was the fact that even as Pope Francis does some things that we find unusual, the long history of the papacy is a sign that God guides his Church.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Large gesture of openness toward SSPX!

Apparently one of the Francis Effects is “apertura”, “an opening up … openness”.

I have suggested elsewhere on this blog, and not too long ago, that Pope Francis could be the one to show TLC to the traditional side.  Benedict XVI was the obvious one to do so, but, after Summorum Pontificum - which was HUGE – he didn’t do too much more.

Could Francis be the one to say or be at a Pontifical Mass?  I somewhat facetiously suggested that in my interview with Amerika.  Somewhat facetiously, but not entirely.  Could Francis be the unexpected one to reconcile the SSPX?  That’s a long shot. It’s a loooooong shot, as a matter of fact, given what we have seen over the last few months. Still, I won’t denounce yet what I have written.

Now I read this.

Marco Tosatti, who has been doing yeoman’s work of late, has this at La Stampa:

Lefebvrians: “Rome doesn’t plan on imposing a capitulation

In an interview with authoritative French weekly magazine Famille Chrétienne, the Secretary of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Guido Pozzo, discussed the state of relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X following Mgr. Fellay’s recent meeting with the Prefect of the Doctrine for the Faith. From the interview, it would seem that the Holy See does not intend to put any pressure on Mgr. Lefebvre’s followers but would like an agreement to be reached, although the timeframe for this is uncertain. [Some time between the opening of the 3rd and 4th Seals, perhaps.] What we are given to understand here, is that Rome intends to show greater flexibility on any aspect that does not regard doctrine. [But... isn't that pretty much what the SSPX are concerned about? The excommunications were lifted, so that's not a problem.  They are all suspended divinis because they have received ordination illicitly and do not submit to ecclesiastical authority.]

In 2009 Benedict XVI decided to revoke the excommunication of Lefebvrian bishops who had been illicitly ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre in 1988. This was a first and essential step toward the resumption of a constructive dialogue. Just a first step, however, because there were still some big doctrinal questions which needed to be addressed. The Ecclesia Dei Commission which has close links with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the main instrument in this dialogue process. [And the dialogue is about doctrine.]

Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is that which addressed the sticking points in said dialogue. Mgr. Pozzo underlined that “any reservations or positions the Society of St. Pius X may have regarding aspects which are not related to faith but to pastoral questions [Would that include illicit witnessing of marriages, without faculties? Receiving confessions without faculties?] or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium do not necessarily need to withdrawn or relinquished.” [Could this be going the way that I have always suggested?  I have always said that matters of religious liberty were really hard questions, that the Vatican Council's documents raised quite a few questions, and that there weren't easy answers.  SSPXers should have the right to raise legitimate questions.] Here Rome seems to be showing an attempt to alter positions expressed in the past: According to Mgr. Pozzo, the fraternity’s reservations are linked to “aspects of pastoral care or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium.” The monsignor’s statement suggests that since these criticisms and reservations are no longer labelled as “doctrinal” the Lefebvrians could legitimately continue to express them. [!]

This approach is expressed more clearly in the following part of the interview: “The Holy See does not wish to impose a capitulation on the SSPX. [!] On the contrary, it invites the fraternity to stand beside it within the same framework of doctrinal principles that is necessary in guaranteeing the same adhesion to the faith and Catholic doctrine on the Magisterium and the Tradition. ["framework of doctrinal principles"... The Creed?] At the same time, there is room for further reflection on the reservations the fraternity has expressed regarding certain aspects and the wording of the Second Vatican Council documents as well as some reforms that followed but which do not refer to subjects which are dogmatically or doctrinally indisputable.” [This is a pretty big deal.]

Finally, one other very important clarification was made: “There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them”, [and yet those declarations are in Dogmatic Constitutions...] whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism “are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.” [Bless my buttons.  This is what I have been talking about for decades now.]

It is unclear how long this process is going to take: “I don’t think it is possible to say yet when this process will conclude,” Mgr. Pozzo said. Both sides are committed to taking things step by step. “There will be no unexpected shortcuts; the clearly stated aim is to promote unity through the generosity of the universal Church led by the successor of Peter.”

Well well.

L’apertura SSPX?

I suspect the members of the SSPX these days, especially after the latest Synod, are having aneurisms and spittle-flecked nutties.  The SPPX has been going on for ever about “eternal Rome” v. “modernist Rome”.  The big move is going to have to come from the Holy See.

Moderation is ON.

Posted in Brick by Brick, I'm just askin'..., Just Too Cool, New Evangelization, Pope Francis, Reading Francis Through Benedict, SSPX | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

WDTPRS 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time: “In His will is our peace.”

Let’s look at this week’s Collect, a prayer having a precedent in the 1962MR as the Collect for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost. It was also in the Veronese and Gelasian, ancient sacramentaries both.

COLLECT – (2002MR):
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
da nobis fidei spei et caritatis augmentum,
et ut mereamur assequi quod promittis,
fac nos amare quod praecipis
.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):
Almighty and ever-living God,
strengthen our faith, hope, and love.
May we do with loving hearts
what you ask of us
and come to share the life you promise
.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:
Almighty eternal God,
grant us an increase of faith, hope and charity,
and cause us to love what You command
so that we may merit to obtain what You promise
.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):
Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise
.

Today we pray to God the Father for an increase of the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity.

By baptism we were endowed with a supernatural life. As the German writer Josef Pieper (+1997) describes, a supernatural life can be described as having three main currents.

First, we have some knowledge of God surpassing what we can know about Him naturally because He reveals it to us (faith). Second, we live by the patient expectation that what we learn and believe God promises will indeed be fulfilled (hope). Third is an affirmative response of love of God, whom we have come to know by faith, and also love of our neighbor (charity).

While natural human virtues are acquired through education and discipline, the three theological virtues faith, hope and charity are given to us by God. They are fused into us with grace at baptism.

Looking at the positive development of the theological virtues, we can say that faith logically precedes hope and charity, and hope precedes charity. From the negative point of view, considering their unraveling and loss, we lose charity first of all, and then hope and, last of all, our faith. Charity is the greatest of the three, followed by hope and then faith.

The theological virtues perfect and elevate everything virtuous thing man can do naturally. They can be considered logically, one at a time, but are all three intimately woven together. St. Augustine (+430) says, “There is no love without hope, no hope without love, and neither love nor hope without faith” (enchir 8). The goal of the virtuous life, as we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1803), is to become like God. Living the theological virtues concretely reveals image of God in us as well as the grace He gives to His adopted children. Today we pray for their increase.

Faith is the starting point for all salvation and meritorious actions. “The righteous shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). Living faith works through charity. Furthermore, ““faith apart from works is dead” (cf. James 2:14-26). “When faith is deprived of hope and love, it does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body (CCC 1814).” “The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity (CCC 1818).” “The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which ‘binds everything together in perfect harmony’” (CCC 1827).

This Sunday we also pray to love what God commands.

Doing what another commands is not always very pleasant. Our wills and passions rebel and we prefer to command rather than be commanded.

It is easy, from the worldly point of view, to think that by being the commander, rather than the commanded, we can find peace. Surely each one of us desires peace and happiness and we seek after the means to attain them. If we attach our hopes to the created, passing things of this world to find peace and happiness we are inevitably disappointed.

All created things, including people, can be lost. They cannot be the foundation of lasting peace. Even the fear of their loss lessens our peace in this world. God alone gives the peace and happiness we seek. He alone is eternal, unchanging, forever trustworthy. We cannot lose God unless we ourselves reject Him. And, in the end, God, the source of peace, remains in command.

In Canto III of the Paradiso of the Divine Comedy the poet Dante is in the Heaven of the Moon. He encounters the soul of Piccarda. Dante queries her about the happiness of the blessed in heaven wondering if somehow, even in heaven, souls might be disappointed that they do not have a higher place in celestial realm.

In response Piccarda utters one of the greatest phrases ever penned and or recited (l. 85):

In His will is our peace.
It is that sea to which all things move,
both what it creates and what nature makes…

We are all made in God’s image and likeness, made to act as God acts. He reveals something of His will to us. When we obey Him we act in accordance with the way He made us and what He intended for us. In obedience we find happiness and peace, even amidst the vicissitudes of this troubling and passing world.

Our Collect prays that we “love what you command”. This is a prayer for happiness. The theological virtues provide the key.

E ‘n la sua volontade è nostra pace. In His will is our peace.

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