Daily Archives: 4 June 2006

Pentecost: Super Oblata (2)

EXCERPT:
One thing kept secret from catechumens was the Symbolum, the Creed. In the time of St. Augustine and St. Ambrose (+397) they were taught the Creed only two weeks before Easter. They were tested on it by the bishop in the baptistery the week before Easter. Here is Augustine in a sermon:

The creed is learned by listening; it is written, not on tablets nor on any material, but on the heart. He who has called you to his Kingdom and glory will grant that, when you have been reborn by his grace and by the Holy Spirit, it will be written in your hearts, so that you may love what you believe and that, through love, faith may work in you and that you – no longer fearing punishment like slaves, but loving justice like the freeborn – may become pleasing to the Lord God, the giver of all good things (s. 212, 2 and cf. symb. cat. 1.1). Continue reading

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PENTECOST: Collect (2)

EXCERPT:

Unity and continuity are keys to this Collect. The Holy Spirit wove the early Church together through the preaching of the Apostles and their successors. In the Church the Holy Spirit extends to our own time the preaching of the Apostles. The Church’s unity has continuity, both diachronic as well as transnational.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church guarantees our unity and continuity across every border and century. The Holy Spirit gives the Church her life’s principle, pouring spiritual life into the Body of Christ. The Spirit imbues and infuses, virtually tints and dyes the fabric of the Church as He flows through it. Our hearts, which in our Collect we pray to be imbued by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, are in a certain way microcosms of the Church. The phrase cor ad cor loquitur, the motto on the coat-of-arms of Venerable John Henry Card. Newman, pertains to us in the Church: by the working of the Holy Spirit the Church’s heart speaks to our hearts, and vice versa, for in the Holy Spirit the faithful are of one heart. Continue reading

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Pentecost: Post Communion

EXCERPT:
Sometimes we think we know what words mean. As I considered how to render that ad aeternae redemptionis augmentum I decided to check out the massy L&S, since I was catching a hint of something interesting in the choice of the word. (Aside for you critics of anything “new” like the “new Mass”: Clearly it was no slouch who wrote this prayer for the 1970MR, for it is obvious that he did his homework, checked his sources, and chose these words with great care.) The substantive augmentum means, as you might guess, “an increase, growth, augmentation”. It also means, in the language of religion “a kind of sacrificial cake”. Augmentum is from augeo which means “to increase, to nourish”. It is related to our friend vigeo, by the way. By extension it also indicates, “to magnify, to exalt, to extol, embellish, to praise” and therefore (this is fun) “to honor, reverence, worship by offerings.” Think of the concept of Mary “magnifying” the Lord. Different word, same concept. So, augmentum would by a thing that “augments” in the sense of worship. Still, lest we push our prayer a little too far, augmentum, or “increase”, is found in different contexts in Scripture, such as in Eph 4:15-16: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth (augmentum corporis) and upbuilds itself in love” (cf. also Col 2:19). Continue reading

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Pentecost: Super Oblata (2)

EXCERPT:
Confirmation, one of the sacraments of initiation, is rightly associated with Pentecost. Just as the sacred mysteries of the Lord’s life from the Passion, Resurrection, Ascension and Decent of the Holy Ghost and all interrelated, so too are the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. In the ancient Church when catechumens were brought into the Church, they were baptized, confirmed and given the Eucharist on the same night of Easter. During the time that followed, especially the octave but also after, they were given further instruction concerning many things that had been kept secret from them as catechumens aspiring to membership in the Church. This bond of secrecy and the post-baptismal instruction of newly initiated Christians was called the disciplina arcani. This was correctly thought to sharpen and peak the catechumen’s interest, curiosity and longing for what was sacred. As St. Augustine says, “The sacraments of the faithful are not divulged to (catechumens)…; that they may be more passionately desired by them, they are honorably concealed from their view” (Io. eu. tr. 96, 3). This partly explains why the “orientation” of the altar and silent canon in the West and the iconostasis in the East were and are still so effective. Recall that the super oblata was once called the “secret” prayer and that at this point in the Mass, in the older, traditional Roman rite, the priest would have just called down the Holy Spirit on the offerings: Veni, Sanctificator omnipotens aeternae Deus: et bene+dic hoc sacrificium tuo santo nomini praeparatum…Come, O Sanctifier, Almighty and eternal God, and bless + this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Thy holy name. Continue reading

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Pentecost Pantheon Petals

Today at the Church S. Maria ad Martyres, otherwise known as the Pantheon, an annual event much beloved of the Romans took place. At the end today’s Pentecost Mass red rose petals were let to fall in great abundance through the oculus or “eye” of the dome, which is open to the sky. The dome is actually a foot wider than the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica. At the end of Mass fireman from Rome’s fire department did the honors and let fall the petals.

Here are some photos of the event. Various folks were tricked out. Continue reading

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