WDTPRS Septuagesima Sunday: strength in time of oppression

In the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is called Septuagesima, Latin for the “Seventieth” day before Easter.  This number is more symbolic than arithmetical. The Sundays which follow are Sexagesima (“sixtieth”) and Quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) before Ash Wednesday brings in Lent, called in Latin Quadragesima, “Fortieth”.

These pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter.

Septuagesima gives us a more solemn attitude for Holy Mass.

Purple is worn on Sunday rather than the green of the time after Epiphany.  These Sundays have Roman stations.   The station today is St. Lawrence outside the walls.  St. Gregory the Great preached a fiery sermon here, which we have, and which is read in part for Matins in the traditional Office.  The traditional Office also presents three figures over the three pre-Lent Sundays, all foreshadowing Christ: Adam, Noah and Abraham.

When we want to follow what Holy Church is giving us in our sacred liturgical worship we should remember that Mass is only part of the picture.  We also have the Office, the “liturgy of the hours”.  They mesh together and reinforce and complete each other.

Alleluia is sung for the last time at First Vespers of Septuagesima and is then excluded until Holy Saturday.  There was once a tradition of “burying” the Alleluia, with a depositio ceremony, like a little funeral.  A hymn of farewell was sung.  There was a procession with crosses, tapers, holy water, and a coffin containing a banner with Alleluia.  The coffin was sprinkled, incensed, and buried. In some places, such as Paris, a straw figure bearing an Alleluia of gold letters was burned in the churchyard.  Somehow that seems very French to me.

The prayers and readings for the Masses of these pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604), Pope in a time of great turmoil and suffering.  Looking at Gregory’s time, with the massive migration of peoples, the war, the turmoil, you are reminded of our own times.

I like the imagine the Romans who were aspiring to be brought into the Church at Easter as they were brought out to St. Lawrence for today’s Mass, only to hear in the antiphons about suffering and crying out to God, and then to hear the reading in which Paul says that God wasn’t pleased with everyone who drank from the rock.  “What am I getting myself into?!?”   But, if throughout the Mass formulary there are grim messages, there are also signs of great hope.  God does hear the cry of those who invoke him.

In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent.

A terrible loss.

We are grateful that with Summorum Pontificum the pre-Lent Sundays have regained something of their ancient status.

The antiphons for the first part of Mass carry a theme of affliction, war, oppression.  How appropriate right now when the Obama Administration is conducting a war against the Catholic Church and against religious liberty of all Americans.  We hear from 1 Corinthians on how Christians must strive on to the end of the race.  The Tract (which substitutes the Gradual and Alleluia) is the De profundis.

Preces populi tui,
quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi:
ut, qui iuste pro peccatis nostris affligimur,
pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur.

This prayer, as well as the other two we will see, is in versions of ancient sacramentaries, such as the Gregorian. Our wonderful Lewis & Short Dictionary says ex-audio means “listen to” in the sense of “harken, perceive clearly.” There is a greater urgency to exaudi (an imperative, or command form) than in the simple audi. Clementer is an adverb from clemens, meaning among other things “Mild in respect to the faults and failures of others, i.e. forbearing, indulgent, compassionate, merciful.” We are asking God the omnipotent Creator to listen to us little finite sinful creatures in a manner that is not only attentive but also patient and indulgent.

We beseech You, O Lord, graciously to hark
to the prayers of Your people:
so that we who are justly afflicted for our sins,
may mercifully be freed for the glory of Your Name.

The first thing you who attend mainly the Novus Ordo will note, is the profoundly different tone of this prayer.

It is just as succinct as most ancient Roman prayers.  It has the classic structure.  But the focus on our responsibility and guilt for our sins is very alien to the style of the Novus Ordo.  For the most part, such direct references to our sinful state were systematically excised from the ancient prayers which survived in some form on the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum.

Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine,
precibusque susceptis:
et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis,
et clementer exaudi.

This ancient prayer was also in the Mass “Puer natus” for 1 January for the Octave of Christmas.  The first part of the prayer is an ablative absolute. In the second part there is a standard et…et construction.  The prayer is terse, elegant.

Our gifts and prayers having been received,
we beseech You, O Lord:
both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries,
and mercifully hark to us.

In the first prayer we acknowledge our sinfulness and beg God’s mercy.  In this prayer we show humble confidence that God is attending to our actions and we focus on the means by which we will be cleansed from the filth of our sins, namely, the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, about to be renewed upon the altar.

As the Mass develops there is a shift in tone after the Gospel parable about the man hiring day-laborers.  An attitude of praise is introduced into the cries to God for help.

Fideles tui, Deus, per tua dona firmentur:
ut éadem et percipiendo requirant,
et quaerendo sine fine percipiant.


In an ancient variation we find per[pe]tua, turning “by means of your…” into “perpetual”. That éadem (neuter plural to go with dona, “gifts”) is the object of both of the subjunctive verbs which live in another et…et construction.  Requiro means “to seek or search for; to seek to know, … with the accessory idea of need, to ask for something needed; to need, want, lack, miss, be in want of, require (synonym: desidero)”.  Think of how it is used in Ps. 26(27),4: “One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after (unum petivi a Domino hoc requiram); that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”  Quaero is another verb for “to seek”, as well as “to think over, meditate, aim at, plan a thing.”  The first meaning of the verb percipio is “to take wholly, to seize entirely” and then by extension “to perceive, feel and “to learn, know, conceive, comprehend, understand.”

Notice that these verbs all have a dimension of the search of the soul for something that must be grasped in the sense of being comprehended.

The New Roman Missal – 1945:
May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts,
that receiving them they may still desire them
and desiring them may constantly receive them.

The New Marian Missal – 1958:
May Thy faithful people, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts;
that in receiving them, the may seek after them the more,
and in seeking them, they may receive them for ever.

Saint Andrew Bible Missal – 1962:
O Lord, may your faithful people be made strong by your gifts.
By receiving them may they desire them.
And by desiring them, may they always receive them.

Just to show you that we can steer this in another direction, let’s take those “seeking/graping/perceiving” verbs and emphasize the possible dimension of the eternal fascinating that the Beatific Vision will eventually produce.

May Your faithful, O God, be strengthened by Your gifts:
so that in grasping them they will need to seek after them
and in the seeking they will know them without end.

In this life, the closest thing we have to the eternal contemplation of God is the moment of making a good Holy Communion.  At this moment of Mass, which so much concerned struggling in time of oppression, we strive to grasp our lot here in terms of our fallen nature, God’s plan, and our eternal reward.

I don’t believe this prayer, like Septuagesima Sunday, made it into the Novus Ordo, to our great impoverishment.

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I point the attention of the readership to something at American Catholic.  This is dreadful, but I sense that much of our struggle for our Catholic identity will be circumscribed by situations like this.

The University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) says, “Stick it in your ear!”

The folks over at The College Fix have done their homework, exposing how administrators at the University of St. Thomas (UST)—a “private Catholic liberal arts school” located in St. Paul, MN—are standing by their decision to let students to gain academic credit by serving as interns at a Minnesota-based National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter, even though the organization advocates for abortion on demand, LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and its brand of so-called “racial justice.” UST’s Women’s Studies Department is sponsoring the internship opportunity.

This decision comes after the folks over at TFP Student Action also did their homework, organizing a successful petition drive garnering 10k+ signatures admonishing UST for offering internships at Planned Parenthood and Minnesota NARAL. Quickly after that email was forwarded to UST President Julie Sullivan, the listings were removed.

Now, that administrative fiat might satisfy some people.

However, what’s noteworthy about the NOW incident is not that diversity and inclusion means providing students opportunities to intern in organizations whose purpose contradicts official Church teaching. Nor is what’s noteworthy that academic administrators and professors sincerely believe that providing students those internships advances the institution’s mission as Catholic.

What’s noteworthy about this incident is that doing so provides additional evidence of a pattern of conduct on the part of academic administrators and professors at many of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. Namely, tacitly allowing opportunities like those internships at NOW to proceed. How? Perhaps through a “wink and a nod” or, even better yet, “Don’t inform me.” The idea is that if nobody finds out, all the better. And, if a crazy conservative Catholic does find out and complain, assert plausible deniability.


Read the rest there.

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Septuagesima – Burying the Alleluia

We have come around again to Pre-Lent. It is time to get our heads into the game and start preparing for our upcoming Lenten discipline.


Sunday is Septuagesima. That means that on Saturday at 1st Vespers, in the traditional Roman Rite, we sing “Alleluia” for the last time until Easter.

Here are the Benedictines at Le Barroux singing the Alleluia for the last time.

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“Who says Catholic Social Teaching requires us to follow the policy prescriptions of the hard left?”

I found a really interesting opinion piece at Crisis by Austin Ruse, who runs C-FAM (an organization you should know and support).

I am going to drop you into this piece in medias res.  You should go back to read the first part on your own.  Plenty of fireworks there, too.


I first noticed this group of thunder-bolt tossing uber-Catholics at a blog called Vox Nova, [they seem to come unhinged pretty easily… HERE ] which for a good long while was exorcized over the question of water boarding. I engaged the debate and suggested this was a distraction from real issues and a way to convince faithful Catholics that they could not vote for the Republicans because of it. You would have thought I was the biggest heretic since Martin Luther.

People went to the board of directors of the group I run asking for my firing because a heretic like me certainly could not run a Catholic organization. [Pretty nasty, that.  But that’s how they work.] I was excoriated in columns and comment boxes. I was schooled on Elizabeth Anscombe’s essay about why numbers do not matter; that three water-boardings are as important as 50 million abortions, or something like that.

This started all up again when a few months ago the Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 6,000-page report on “torture” wherein they did not interview anyone from the CIA, but spent most of their time with defense attorneys for terrorists jailed in Guantanamo Bay.

This group of writers hasn’t exactly downplayed the non-negotiables as to expand them into meaninglessness. Gun control is now a non-negotiable. So is the minimum wage. Universal government provided health care is a non-negotiable and now, with the impending papal encyclical on the environment, global warming is one, too.

I got into a debate a few weeks ago on the topic of water boarding. What I found is these juice-box theologians, that is, mostly young newly minted but largely unemployed PhDs, believe that water boarding is so important that one must cast their vote for president based on it and it alone.

Talk about single-issue voting.

This may be an important issue but not one that rises to the level of determining my vote nor should it. There are too many other important issues like—yes—abortion.

Has the GOP overturned Roe v. Wade just yet? No. Does the GOP desert this issue on a fairly regular basis? Sure. Are there anti-lifers all over the GOP elite? You bet. Even so, the GOP remains the only viable political vessel for stopping what Pope St. John Paul the Great called the most important human rights issue of our time. He did not say that about torture, or the minimum wage, or universal government-run health care.

[QUAERITUR…] As for Catholic Social Teaching, the cudgel this group likes to beat us with, who says Catholic Social Teaching requires us to follow the policy prescriptions of the hard left? The following fits right in with Catholic Social Teaching, if only Catholics were willing to put it this way:

Eliminate the corporate income tax. Eliminate the capital gains tax, and the death tax. Eliminate OSHA and the Department of Education. At the same time, run a national campaign out of the White House encouraging people to finish high school, get married, go to church, and have babies. Sit back and watch all boats rise.

While we’re at it, let’s get the Federal government out of the land business. The Feds own a third of all US land, up to half and more of many western states. Let’s have a modern day land-rush for all those Distributists out there who are just itching to fish, farm or make cheese—though one suspects they’ll stay exactly where they are, blogging and adjunct teaching. [heh heh]

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Brick by Brick: Another parish implements Summorum Pontificum. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

For your Brick by Brick file.

A reader sent me a link to a story in the St. Louis Review (a publication of the Archdiocese of St. Louis) about a parish which as started up a Traditional Latin Mass.

‘Mysterium tremendum’ | St. Barnabas begins offering the Traditional Latin Mass

With a single intoning of the bell, Mass had begun at St. Barnabas.

But this was no Ordinary Form of the Mass.

“In Nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti …”

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass — better known as the Traditional or Tridentine Latin Mass — is being celebrated at the northern O’Fallon parish. In January, Father Raymond Hager began offering the Mass at 10 a.m. on Sundays, after a group of parishioners wrote a letter last January requesting it.  [See what happens when you ask?]


“At the first Mass, people had tears in their eyes,” said Father Hager. He said that all of this is “directed toward God and what’s called the ‘mysterium tremendum,’ or the tremendous mystery. [the sort of “tremendum” which makes one shudder with awe…] The sense of the sacred, and the mystery of God becoming present in His most sacred Body and Blood is proclaimed profoundly in and through the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

[This part might sound familiar to longtime readers here…] “In the Eastern Churches they have the iconostasis … where you can’t see everything that’s going on, because what is happening is so holy it should be veiled. When the elements of the bread and wine become Our Lord’s Body and Blood, you’re not seeing that at that moment, but you do see Our Lord and God at the elevation of the consecration in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It really speaks to that sense of mystery.”


Ordained in 1997, Father Hager taught himself how to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Born in 1960, he has no memories of going to the Traditional Latin Mass as a child. As a seminarian, he would occasionally visit St. Agatha, where the Latin Mass was offered in St. Louis at the time. “I was blown away by the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy,” he said.

The process of learning the language and rubrics took several months. Father Hager approached Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who connected him with Canon Michael Wiener, rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, one of two churches designated specifically for the Latin Mass in St. Louis. Canon Wiener, the episcopal delegate for the implementation of the Traditional Latin Mass in the archdiocese, offered his guidance.

Father Hager also watched videos, read books and sought help from several others, including Sister Michaleen Vomund, CPPS, PSR director at St. Barnabas, and Bill Guelker of the Latin Liturgy Association, a local organization that promotes the use of ecclesiastical Latin in the liturgy. Several changes had to be made in the sanctuary, including moving the nearly 1,500-pound altar back four feet and adding a communion rail.  [Well done!  And it was worth all the effort.]


Read the rest there.

We need as many celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite as possible in as many places as possible as soon as possible.

These are trying times, and there is a lot of confusion right now.  Some people are showing signs of defeatism.


This is precisely the time to get to work.  Let’s keep our eyes focused on what is really going to make a difference.  I think that is located in exactly the vision that Pope Benedict XVI offered us.

So, I will repeat what I have been saying for some time now.

Make things happen.  Work with sweat and money to make them happen. If you thought you worked hard before, forget it.  Work harder.  Pope Francis wants some “lío”?  We’ve got some “lío” right here.  ¡Hagan lío!

Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. If Pope Francis wants a Church “for the poor”, then we will respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

Pray and fast and give alms. Have you been doing that?  Do more.

Form up and get organized.  Find like-minded people. Put in your request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  Raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need. Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

Get your ego and your own little personal interpretations and preferences out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

The legislation is in place.  Young priests and seminarians are eager to get into this.

Give them something to do.

As I have written before, Pope Benedict gave us, boys and girls, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave us a direction, encouragement, and a running push.  Now, take off the damn training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!

Meanwhile, Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Raymond Hager and St. Barnbas parish!

28 votes, 4.04 avg. rating (80% score)
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MADISON, WI – 2 Feb – CANDLEMAS – Pontifical Mass at the Throne

Presentation-of-the-LordOn 2 February – Candlemas – in Madison, WI, His Excellency Most Rev. Bishop Robert C. Morlino (the Extraordinary Ordinary) will celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Throne.

The Mass will begin at 7 pm at the Bishop O’Connor Center.

Bishop Morlino will bless candles brought by parishes and people before Mass.  All are invited.

Candles are symbols of sacrifices.  They are like living things.  They eat and drink the wax from the bees, which reminds us that sacrifice can also be sweet, not just bitter. Candles breathe air.  They move in their flames as they flicker.  They communicate to our eyes a beautiful.  They die at the end of their span.  They are consumed for the Lord in all our liturgical rites.  So should we be.  Using candles during important times is a wholesome Catholic practice.


9 votes, 4.44 avg. rating (88% score)
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More from the mighty pen of Daniel Mitsui

From time to time I post about art from Daniel Mitusi, the talented Catholic artist who has worked under the inspiration of the Medieval period as well as Japanese prints. He gets proper inculturation.

You may recall that his little daughter has spent quite a bit of time in the hospital.  You know what that means.

Here are a couple more pieces which he sent recently.

The first is a treatment of a psalm.    HERE



I was especially amused by the rabbits, which multiply along the decorative margin.




The second is an ink drawing of the dream of Joseph when the angel reveals Herod’s plot and tells the Holy Family to flee to Egypt.  The image of what the angel wants is depicted on the raised fan.  Very cool.



Marvelous.  And there is a reference to the cherry tree.  HERE



His site is HERE.  Please visit.

Speaking of the cherry tree, recently when I was in Washington DC, I saw the exhibit of images of Mary. They had a well-known Barocci on loan from the Vatican Museum of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Joseph, with a beautiful smile, hands the diminutive Lord a branch with cherries.


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WDTPRS Collect 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time: “Billy loves bugs.”

bugsToday’s prayer was not in the post-Tridentine editions of the Missale Romanum but it does have its origin in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

Were you to hear this prayer intoned in Latin, or at least in an accurate translation, you would be thereby transported back 1500 years to our most Roman of Catholic roots.

Concede nobis, Domine Deus noster,
ut te tota mente veneremur,
et omnes homines rationabili diligamus affectu

Lord our God,
help us to love you with all our hearts
and to love all men as you love them.

Is this what the Latin really says?

Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honour you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart

Grant us, O Lord our God,
that we may venerate you with our whole mind,
and may love all men with rational good-will

“Affection” just doesn’t cut it for affectus and something more pointed than “love” is needed too.  I came up with “rational good-will”.  We mustn’t reduce all these complicated Latin words to “love”.  Why not?  Note in the prayer the contrast of the themes “reason” and “mood”, the rational with the affective dimension (concerning emotions) of man; in short, the head and the heart.   The fact is, a properly functioning person conducts his life according to both head and heart, feelings under the control of reason and the will.  The terrible wound to our human nature from original sin causes the difficulty we have in governing feelings and appetites by reason and will.

Today’s prayer aims at the totality of a human person: our wholeness is defined by our relationship with God.

We seek to know God so that we may the better love Him and His love drives us all the more to know Him.  Furthermore, possible theological and Scriptural underpinnings of this prayer are Deuteronomy 6 and Jesus’ two-fold command to love God and neighbor: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (cf. Matthew 22:36-38; Mark 12:2-31; Luke 10:26-28).  In Deut 6:5-6 we have the great injunction called the Shema from the first Hebrew word, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might….” Jesus teaches the meaning and expands the concrete application of this command in Deuteronomy 6.

There is no space here for the subtle relationships between the Latin words St. Jerome chose in his translations and the Greek or Hebrew originals of these verses.  Suffice it to say that in the Bible the language about mind, heart, and soul is terrifically complex. However, these words aim at the totality of the person precisely in that dimension which is characteristic of man as “image of God”.  Heart, mind and will distinguish us from brute animals.  We are made to act as God acts: to know, will and love.  Thus, “mind” and “heart” in man are closely related faculties and cannot be separated from each other.  Mind and heart are revealed in and expressed through our bodies and thus they point at the “real us”.

Love is at the heart of who we are and it the key to our prayer today.

We are commanded by God the Father and God Incarnate Jesus Christ to love both God and our fellow man and God the indwelling Holy Spirit makes this possible.

But the word and therefore concept of “love” is understood in many ways and today, especially, it is misunderstood.  “Love” frequently refers to people or stuff we like or enjoy using.  Bob can “love” his new SUV. Besty “loves” her new kitten.  We all certainly “love” baseball and spaghetti.  But “love” can refer to the emotions and affections people have when they are “in love” or, as I sometimes call it, “in luv”.

Luv is usually an ooey-gooey feeling, a romantic “love” sometimes growing out of lust.  This gooey romantic “love” now dominates Western culture, alas.   The result is that when “feelings” change or the object of “luv” is no longer enjoyable or usable, someone gets dumped, often for a newer, richer, or prettier model.

There some other flavors of “love” you can come up with, I’m sure.  But Christians, indeed every image of God in all times everywhere, are called to a higher love, the love in today’s prayer, which is charity: the grace-completed virtue enabling us to love God for His own sake and love all who are made in His image.  This is more than benevolence or tolerance or desire or enjoyment of use.

True love is not merely a response to an appetite, as when we might see a beautiful member of the opposite sex, a well-turned double-play, or a plate of spaghetti all’amatriciana.

True love, charity, isn’t the sloppy gazing of passion drunk sweethearts or the rubbish we see on TV and in movies (luv).  Charity is the grace filled adhesion of our will to an object (really a person) which has been grasped by our intellect to be good.

The love invoked in our prayer is an act of will based on reason. It is a choice – not a feeling.

Charity delights in and longs for the good of the other more than one’s own.  The theological virtue charity involves grace.  It enables sacrifices, any kind of sacrifice for the authentic good of another discerned with reason (not a false good and not “use” of the other).  We can choose even to love an enemy. This love resembles the sacrificial love of Christ on His Cross who offered Himself up for the good of His spouse, the Church.  St. Augustine, as a matter of fact, taught that “enemy love” is the perfection of the kind of love we can have in this earthly life.  Rationabilis affectus reflects what it is to be truly human, made in God’s image and likeness, with faculties of willing and knowing and, therefore, loving.

Knowledge and love are interconnected.

The more you get to know a person, the more reason you have to love him (remember… love seeks the other person’s good in charity even if a person is unlikable).  Reciprocally, the more you love someone or (in the generic sense of love) something, the more you want to know about him and spend time getting to know him.

For example, Billy is fascinated by bugs.  From this “love” for bugs Billy wants to know everything there is to know about them.  He works hard to learn and thus launches a brilliant career in entomology.  Given Our Creator’s priority in all things, how much more ought we seek to know and love God first and foremost of all and then, in proper order, know and love God’s images, our neighbors?  He is far more important that the bugs He created.  Even spouses must love God more than they love each other.  Only then can they love each other properly according to God’s plan.

We also have a relationship with the objects of both love and knowledge.  What sort of relationship?  With bugs or spaghetti it is one thing, but with God and neighbor it is entirely another.

In seeking to understand and love God more and more we come to understand things about God and ourselves as his images that, without love, we could never learn by simple study.  The relationship with God through love and knowledge changes us.  St. Bonaventure (+1274) the “Seraphic” doctor wrote about “ecstatic knowledge”. This kind of knowledge is not merely the product of abstract investigation or analytical study (like Billy with his bugs).  Rather, it comes first from learning and then contemplating. According to Bonaventure, by contemplation the knower becomes engaged with the object. Fascinated by it, he seeks to know it with a longing that draws him into the object.

Consider: we can study about God and our faith, but really the object of study is not just things to learn or formulas to memorize: the object of our study and faith is a divine Person in whose image and likeness we ourselves are made.  To be who we are by our nature we personally need the sort of knowledge of God that draws us into Him.  Knowledge of God (not just things learned about God) reaches into us, seizes us, transforms us.  To experience God’s love is to have certain knowledge of God, more certain than any knowledge which can be arrived at by means of mere rational examination.

Bring this all with you back to the last line of our prayer and the command to love our neighbor, all of them made in God’s image and all individually intriguing – fascinating, in a way that resembles the way we love God and ourselves.  This we are to do with our minds, hearts, and all our strength.

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Finding one’s way deeper into the Faith

On the threshold of the big… *yawn* … game, there is something of interest in a piece at the National Catholic Register, an interview with the grandson of the legendary Vince Lombardi.

Joe Lombardi is the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions.

Take note of this in particular:

LOMBARDI: I first started becoming truly interested in the greatness of the Catholic faith around the time I got married 15 years ago. My wife, Molly, and I were concerned about all the health dangers of contraceptive pills, so we looked into natural family planning [which the Church approves]. A priest we met with wanted us to listen to a talk on CD from Dr. Janet Smith called “Contraception: Why Not”; but we said we were already sold on the topic. He insisted that we listen to it anyway, and we were blown away by what Dr. Smith said. Even though we were on the path it recommended, our beliefs and motives were reinforced or augmented in many ways.

Q: That was the first step toward becoming more fully Catholic?

LOMBARDI: Yes, we started looking into what the Church teaches, and our search has produced so many great results. Now, we love being immersed in Catholic traditions, including the extraordinary form of the Mass. We attend a parish that has this one Sunday a month, and the other Sundays they have the ordinary form in English, but with the priest facing ad orientem [“toward the east,” or in the same direction as the congregation] and with suitable music.

37 votes, 4.68 avg. rating (93% score)
Posted in Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: Where to bow or genuflect in confusing church

Genuflecting2From a reader…


I attend a “modern” church with the traditional long, central aisle. At one end (not the east) is the rose window above the wooden table that serves as an altar (ad popularum). At the other end is the Tabernacle in a small chapel with glass doors. Thus the tabernacle is just about as far from the altar as possible, but can be seen from the aisle through the glass doors. Some folks when they enter genuflect toward the bare altar, and bow when they cross from left to right in front of the altar (on their way to give a reading etc.). Before the consecration shouldn’t they bow toward the Tabernacle, and not the bare altar?

When Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th c., the Church moved from worshipping in homes, caves, and makeshift gathering spaces into larger venues built (or in some cases, adapted) specifically for the worship of God. In times of persecution, the Church went back to worshipping in whatever space was available.

When persecution comes again (as it will) we’ll do the same.

In the meantime, we have the ability -now – to construct buildings specifically for the worship of God. We have a tradition of such structures, built by our forebears, upon which we can draw. From past constructs we can what works, and what doesn’t work.

We don’t need to re-invent the wheel.

There are those for whom “creativity” means starting with a blank slate, ignoring the past, and creating something altogether new. Beauty is irrelevant, what works is cliché, logic is thrown out the window (which usually contains some chips of colored glass in some abstract pattern). It’s a passing trend, but it’s something we have to deal with now.

Two hundred years from now art and architecture students will write theses entitled, “What WERE They Smoking in the 20th – 21st Century?

Reverence should always be shown to Our Lord. He is our Creator and Redeemer. We owe Him EVERYTHING. We genuflect when we pass before the Blessed Sacrament because throwing ourselves prostrate before the Lord of the Universe each and every time we encounter Him would simply be impractical.

Genuflecting3Yet, we also have liturgical law. In a spirit of humility, we should obey liturgical law. After all, the Church, which is properly deputized to do so, puts this in place to govern our actions when we worship God.

The current liturgical law in force for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite requires that the ministers genuflect when entering the sanctuary if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there. They must also genuflect at the end of the Holy Mass as they leave. If the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the sanctuary, the ministers bow to the altar. During the Holy Mass, the ministers are instructed to bow to the altar when they pass it.

Happily we also have now the full use of the Extraordinary Form.  It is to be hoped that the Extraordinary Form will exert a powerful “gravitational pull” on the hearts and minds and knees of the faithful, and then upon the rubrics and laws of the Ordinary Form.

22 votes, 4.59 avg. rating (91% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 27 Comments