LENTCAzT 2017 26 – 4th Sunday of Lent – Laetare: The finger that taught the world

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent, called Laetare Sunday from the first word of the first chant of the Mass.  The Roman Station is Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, where the relics of the Passsion are preserved.


Some of the music used in some of these podcasts is from Matthew Curtis Motecta Trium Vocum.  US HERE UK HERE

These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

25 March – Feast of the Good Thief: St. Dismas

Titian_Christ_Good_Thief_Dismas_smToday is Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, the instant of the Incarnation.

However, 25 March is also the Feast of the Good Thief, St. Dismas!

Luke 23:39-43:

And one of those robbers who were hanged, [Gesmas] blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other [Dismas] answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

It makes the heart ache, to read these words addressed to that penitent sinner.  Would that they were address to each one of us.

But wait!  They can be.

Holy Church has the Lord’s own authority to forgive sins, to loose and to bind!

It is exercised by His bishops and priests!


Daniel Mitsui – Crucifixion


There is a legend that, during the Holy Family’s flight from Herod to Egypt, they ran into Dismas, who was exercising his trade of thievery.  Dismas was going to rob them, but seeing the Infant Jesus, he instead gave them shelter in his lair and let them go on their way without harming them.  Dismas would continue to be a nefarious ne’er-do-well.  His intellect still darkened by sin on Calvary kept him from recognizing Christ’s Mother.


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FOLLOW UP: Requests for GREGORIAN MASSES and priests who can say them

UPDATE 25 March:

I’ve had a few email requests, so I will repost in case there are priests who can accept a Gregorian Mass stipend.

Please take careful note of what I describe, below.

___ Original Published on: Dec 14, 2016 ___

mass sacrificeEvery once in a while someone will ask me if I can take a Gregorian Mass intention (i.e. 30 straight days for the same intention, usually for the soul of someone who has died).

I have then put on my yenta cap and posted here on the blog asking if there are priests out there who can take them. I then forward requests to those priests. I have nothing to do with the stipend, which the parties work out for themselves.

Today I received a note from a priest who says that he can take a Gregorian Mass stipend. I now have quite a few priests on my “Available” list.

If you, dear readers, want Gregorian Masses said, drop me a note (HERE) and I will forward your request to a priest on my list. I won’t have anything to do with setting the stipend. Period.

Petitioners put: GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST in the subject line. Put that in the subject line so that I will be able to find you in my email:  GREGORIAN MASS REQUEST  [UPDATE: It is amazing that people write and put something else in the subject line!  No… really… put just that… unless you want me to miss your email.]

Priests: Put AVAILABLE FOR GREGORIAN MASS in the subject line.  Just that.  Not anything else.  Just that. Drop me a note (HERE)

Folks, think about this.  

Are you looking for a truly spiritual Christmas gift to give?  How about having Gregorian Masses said for the deceased priests who served you?   Don’t necessarily pick the priests who were seriously holy guys.  How about picking priests who were troubled or who were liberal and, therefore, probably not exactly faithful?   Have Masses said for the priests who really need your spiritual care?

I know that I would appreciate your prayers after my own death.   I appreciate your prayers in this life too!   You can have Masses said for both the living and the dead.  Pray for your priests, dead and alive.   We need your prayers.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wherein Fr. Z muses about Lady Day, 25 March

"Cestello"Annunciation - Botticelli (1489-1490)

“Cestello”Annunciation – Botticelli (1489-1490)

This is one of my favorite Annunciations, though I quite like some modern versions as well. The angel – a mighty being by far exceeding our mere humanity – approaches Mary with great humility, placing himself below her. Note also the courtly, grace-filled gestures and postures, so typical of Botticelli and that era. The perspective, which points out of the window, lends a sense of endlessness, hence eternity. With this moment, all of history and creation are forever changed.

Sometimes in the history of our salvation the stars line up to portend amazing events.  These stellar alignments are sometimes literally stellar, as in the case of the Star of Bethlehem.  I, for one, buy the arguments for the Star made HERE (which also concerns what lined up with your planet’s yellow star on that first Good Friday).

Years line up, too.  Take the curious situation we face this year, when many portentous anniversaries are coincident.  It’s a bit unnerving.

But I digress.  This is about Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation.  This is the day when we celebrate the moment of the Incarnation.  Mary says her “Fiat” and the Eternal Word takes our humanity into an indestructible bond with His divinity.  From the instant of His conception, nothing would ever be the same again.  And so we celebrate 25 March – nine months before the Feast of the Nativity – with great attention.

This is the day there occurred that which drives us of the Roman Rite to our knees with great frequency.  In our traditional liturgical practice, we take a knee every time in the Last Gospel of Mass Father says: et verbum caro factum est… and the Word was made flesh.  We genuflect every time we sing in the Creed: et homo factus est… and he was made man. The Son, consubstantial with the Father from before creation, becomes consubstantial with His human Mother, with our humanity in the instant of the Incarnation after the Annunciatory Archangel’s announcement to Mary Annunciate that she would conceive… if she agreed.

One gets the impression that God gives us clues in the mighty whirling clock of the heavens.  After all, God knows how to do this stuff.  Had there been tiny variations in strong and weak nuclear forces in the fractions of a second after the beginning of material creation, if the Big Bang Theory is correct, and we wouldn’t be here.  God is precise. His precision in creation suggests that we should pay close attention to the celestial signs He puts in front of and above our faces.

It was the very moment when the “fullness of time” began.

How much did hang upon that momentary meeting?

The 25th of March has, through history, has been considered the most important day of the year. In ancient times it was thought that many events critical for our salvation took place on this same date.  Augustine posited that that Christ’s Incarnation, His Conception, as well as His Crucifixion, His Death, was on 25 March.  They also thought that God’s “Day of Rest”, the Eight Day after Creation was 25 March.  Moreover, the Hebrews crossing of the Red Sea (death and resurrection, the fall of man and his rising in baptism) and Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (the two-fold prefiguring of Christ, priest and victim in one Person, ascending the hill to the altar/Cross) were on, yes, 25 March.

In other news, on this day, Frodo and Sam reached Mount Doom.  You know what happened next.

One gets the impression that God gives us clues in the mighty whirling clock of the heavens.  After all, God knows how to do this stuff.  Had there been tiny variations in strong and weak nuclear forces in the fractions of a second after the beginning of material creation, if the Big Bang Theory is correct, and we wouldn’t be here.  God is precise. His precision in creation suggests that we should pay close attention to the celestial signs – and calendrical coincidences – which He graciously puts in front of and above our faces.


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LENTCAzT 2017 25 – Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent: Left Hand… Right Hand

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017Today is Saturday in the 3rd Week of Lent.  It is Lady Day, but these podcasts are about Lent, so let’s stick to Lent.  The Roman Station is Santa Susanna (under renovation, so it is celebrated this year at Santa Maria della Vittoria across the street, where you find Bernini’s fantastic Transverberation of St Teresa).


Today you hear something from Lent at Ephesus by the wonderful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Missouri.  UK dwellers can get it HERE.

These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

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WDTPRS – Lady Day: The very Feast of the Incarnation

Tanner AnnunciationThis is the very Feast of the Incarnation.

Today we celebrate that moment when our Lord elevated our humanity by taking our human nature into an indestructible bond with His Divinity.

In the Incarnation God opened for us the path to our “divinization”: His sharing of something of His own divine glory with us in the eternal happiness of heaven.

In the sin of our First Parents the whole human race sinned.  In justice, therefore, a human being had to correct the offense.  However, such a correction was entirely impossible for a mere mortal human.  Such a correction required the intervention of one who was both man and God.

In the Incarnation, the Word made flesh – made man – Jesus the Lord and Savior not only begins to save us from our sins in His earthly ministry, but begins also the mysterious revelation of man more fully to himself (cf. GS 22).

Part of the Lord’s mission was also to teach man more fully who He is in the beauty of His own Person.  However, He did not begin to do this only from the beginning of His public ministry.  He began this from the very moment of the Incarnation.

Remember: From the instant of His conception, the Word made flesh begins to teach man more fully who man is.

Light from Light sheds light on the dignity of man, God’s image, from the instant of conception, from man’s humblest beginning.

Here are the Collects for this beautiful Feast of the Annunciation, Lady Day.  Here are the “Opening Prayers” from both the older, traditional, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the newer, post-Conciliar, Ordinary Form.

You might discuss their differences, their respective strengths.


Deus, qui de beatae Mariae Virginis utero Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti: praesta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genetricem Dei credimus, eius apud te intercessionibus adiuvemur.


O God, who desired Your Word to take flesh from the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary the angel announcing it: grant to your supplicants; that we who believe truly in the Mother of God, may be helped in Your sight by her intercessions.


Deus, qui Verbum tuum in utero Virginis Mariae
veritatem carnis humanae suscipere voluisti,
concede, quaesumus,
ut, qui Redemptorem nostrum
Deum et hominem confitemur,
ipsius etiam divinae naturae mereamur esse consortes


O God, who wanted Your Word to take up
the truth of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
grant, we beseech,
that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
may also merit to be the sharers of His divine nature

This is of new composition, though there is a reference here to Letter 123 Ad Eudociam Augustam – “De monachis Palaestinis” of St. Pope Leo I, “the Great” (+461).

“Fides enim catholica sicut damnat Nestorum, qui in uno domino nostro Iesu Christo duas ausus est praedicare personas, ita damnat etiam Eutychen cum Dioscoro, qui ab unigenito Deo Verbo negant in utero Virginis matris veritatem carnis humanae susceptam.”


O God, who willed that your Word
should take on the reality of human flesh
in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray,
that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Solitary Boast, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 2 Comments

VIDEO: Card. Burke about the future of the Five Dubia about ‘Amoris laetitia’

At St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Virginia (which if I am not mistaken was built by my my friend Fr. James Gould), another Raymond, Card. Burke, answered a question about the Five Dubia submitted by the Four Cardinals about the infamous objectively murky bits of Amoris laetitia.

The Dubia That Won’t Die.

So far, Pope Francis has not given any clear answer to the Five Dubia, though surrogates (e.g., Card. Schoenborn, Card. Coccopalmerio, et al.) have thrown up smoke screens and misdirections which we were supposed to accept as adequate explanations of the objectively murky bits.  Others have flat out denied that there are any obscurities or ambiguities, which is, of course, absurd.

Yesterday, Card. Burke responded to a question about what might happen if the Holy Father does not provide responses to the Dubia.  There is a video.

The question was, what would the Four Cardinals do if the Pope does not respond to the dubia.

The Cardinal answers that they would have to correct the situation in a manner that draws from the constant teaching of the Church on the issues raised by the dubia, and that this teaching would be made known for the good of souls.

In other words, the Cardinals would issue a public restatement of the constant teaching of the Church in regard to the issues covered by the Five Dubia.  Does this mean all four of the Four Cardinals? Cardinal Burke did not say, at least in the video clip, above.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“No man is above canon law!”

As the Gorsuch Trials continue, this comes from the often amusing Eye of the Tiber:

Catechumen nominee Neil Schlesing said that “no man is above canon law” when pressed on whether Pope Francis could allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion.

It was one of several exchanges Tuesday as Schlesing mostly deflected council members’ efforts to get him to reveal his views on the death penalty, global warming, and other controversial issues inside the Catholic Church.

As the grueling day of questioning wore on, council members and Schlesing engaged in a well-established tradition in recent confirmation Masses, as the nominee attempts to resist all requests to say how he feels about the Holy Father’s decisions, regardless of how many times he’s been asked.

Donohue also asked Schlesing what he would do if the pastor of the church asked him to deliver a speech about sin in front of the congregation.

“Mr. Council, I would have walked out the door,” Schlesing replied. “That’s not what Catholics do. My personal views, I tell you, Mr. Council, are over here. I leave those at home.”

The exchange with parish council member Lindsey Donohue came on the second day of Schlesing’s confirmation hearing to fill one of the final vacant seats for this round of confirmation classes.

Posted in Canon Law, Lighter fare | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Fr. Z’s take on the Pope’s remarks to Chilean Bishops

amoris vaticanPeople are asking me in email what I think of the Pope’s alleged statements to Chilean bishops making their ad limina visit.  Apparently the Holy Father told them, as reported by the UK’s best Catholic weekly The Catholic Herald (for which I write a weekly column):

The Chilean bishops were speaking to the newspaper El Mercurio, which paraphrased their remarks and included a few direct quotations. Here’s the key passage:

¿Comunión a los divorciados? Con la misma decisión, el Pontífice negó que su objetivo con el sínodo al que convocó sobre la familia haya sido autorizar la comunión de los divorciados. Les habló de que no hay “moral de situación”, dicen otras fuentes. “Nos cuesta mucho ver los grises”, les habría dicho, cuando contó un caso personal, familiar suyo. “Tengo una sobrina casada con un divorciado, bueno, católico, de misa dominical y que cuando se confiesa le dice al sacerdote ‘sé que no puede absolverme, pero deme su bendición’”.

The Pope says a few separate things here:

  • The objective of the Family Synod was not to authorise Communion for the remarried (“autorizar la comunión de los divorciados”).

  • “It’s not a matter of ‘situation ethics’.” (“Les habló de que no hay ‘moral de situación.’”)

  • It’s difficult for us to see grey areas. (“Nos cuesta mucho ver los grises.”)

  • His niece is married to a divorced man who doesn’t take Communion, but tells the priest: “I know you can’t absolve me, but give me a blessing.” (“Sé que no puede absolverme, pero deme su bendición.”)

Some are taking this as an “indirect” response to the Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals aroused by the objectively murky bits of Amoris laetitia.

My response?  What do I make of this?  How to make sense of this thrashing bag full of cats?

If and when Pope Francis wants clearly to respond to the Dubia, he knows how to do it.

Moreover, I respond that today is a Friday in Lent.  Say your prayers, pray the Stations, examine your consciences and…


The moderation queue is ON, of course.

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

A Saint who bi-located to be with a dying Pope

Clement_XIV_Alphonus_LiguoriToday, a Friday in Lent, I re-posted my recordings of different versions of the Stations of the Cross, one of which is the classic by St. Alphonsus Liguori. I did so, as I sipped from my glorious Pope Clement XIV (Ganganelli) mug.

Did you know that there is a connection between Pope Clement, Suppressor of the Jesuits, and St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church?

In 1772, the second year of Clement’s glorious reign, St. Alphonsus wrote to the Pope asking to be relieved of his duties as diocesan bishop. Clement responded that it was enough for him that Alphonsus govern from his bed: “His prayers do as much for his flock as all the activity in the world.”

When in 1773 Clement finally suppressed the Jesuits – did I mention that he suppressed the Jesuits? – Alphonsus wrote of how he prayed for the harassed Pontiff. And then on 21 September 1774, after saying Mass, Alphonsus had a prolonged ecstasy, lasting into the next day. When he came out of it, he said that he had been with Clement XIV as he lay dying. Hence, Alphonsus bi-located and was with Papa Ganganelli at his dead bed.

Just so that you can’t say that you hadn’t been told, I’ve made available some Papa Ganganelli mugs.

Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

For all the selections click




Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 2 Comments


Since it is a Friday of Lent, a 1st Friday, do please pray the Act of Reparation. Here also are my audio projects of the Way of the Cross.

What we need right now is PRAYER, especially at the end of this hard week.  And remember to GO TO CONFESSION!

Also, these days, we especially need to pray for priests, which includes bishops and everyone up the hierarchy.  There are many priests today who – for one reason or another – are failing in their duty to teach with clarity what the Church has always taught.  There are other priests who are becoming discouraged and afraid concerning what might befall them if they remain clear and faithful.  Yet other priests are mired in sins.  And always there are those priests who are infirm, old, nearing their judgment.  Hence, this year, I’ve added a new version, The Way Of The Cross For Priests from the Benedictines of Silverstream Priory.  HERE.  Would you consider getting copies of this for your priests where you are? They also have beautiful altar cards HERE.  In my reading, I left out the references to the Scripture passages which are quoted, for they would not be read in a public recitation.  I urge you, however, to obtain a hard copy so that, if you wish, you can find them.  Even more, I urge you lay people to get a copy and then pray with it for priests.

Below are readings of the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, composed by

  • Joseph Card. Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, for the 2005 Good Friday observance at the Colosseum in Rome
  • St. Alphonus Liguori
  • Bl. John Henry Newman
  • St. Francis of Assisi (according to the method of…)
  • Silverstream Priory – The Way Of The Cross For Priests

There are two versions of the Way by St. Alphonsus Liguori. One is plain with just my voice. The other is the same voice recording but with the Gregorian chant Sequence Stabat Mater interlaced between the stations.

You can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions of confession and Communion within a few days of the work and detachment even from venial sin.  From the Handbook of Indulgences:

63. Exercise of the Way of the Cross (Viae Crucis exercitium)

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who make the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross.

The gaining of the plenary indulgence is regulated by the following norms:

  1. The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.

  2. For the erection of the Way of the Cross fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.

  3. According to the more common practice, the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.

  4. A movement from one station to the next is required.

I believe that if you follow the Holy Father’s Way of the Cross on Good Friday, even by television, the indulgence is available.

If the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their place.

Those who are “impeded” can gain the same indulgence, if they spend at least one half an hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For those belonging to Eastern Rites, among whom this pious exercise is not practiced, the respective Patriarchs can determine some other pious exercise in memory of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the gaining of this indulgence.

Meanwhile, from a reader last year…

Just a quick note to say thank you for providing your recordings of the Stations of the Cross. I am completely blind and had committed to making this part of my Lenten practices, only to have the Braille display from which I read promptly die. I had been struggling to find a recording of St. Alphonsus’ version. May God bless you!

If these recordings are helpful to you, please say a prayer for me, especially if you use the Way Of The Cross For Priests.

Posted in Classic Posts, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, PODCAzT, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Great news for Sacred Music promoters everywhere!

Firstly, did you know that the man who made the magnificent Garand rifle – which helped to win freedom for millions – was named John Cantius Garand?

Speaking of John Cantius, I received a note from St. John Cantius in Chicago – which is helping to win salvation of souls – where there is a magnificent music program, that they have signed a recording contract with Sony Classical.

I guess they have learned the lessons taught by the Benedictine nuns in Missouri, et al.

I attest that their disc Miserere: Music for Holy Week From St. John Cantius (US HERE – UK HERE) is, quite frankly, magnificent.

All is not quiet on the Sacred Music front these days.

Even Pope Francis said (HERE) that a lot of our music is “mediocre, superficial and banal”. Truer words were never spoken, and this from someone who doesn’t seem terribly interesting in liturgy.

Anthory Esolen is also on the case.


Fr. George Rutler put out a new book.


And there is a fine initiative – Cantate Domino – to promote worthy sacred music for liturgical worship.  HERE

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WDTPRS Laetare – 4th Sunday of Lent (2002MR): “with prompt devotion and eager faith”

Fr. Finigan when he was still PP of Blackfen in the Rose vestments YOU readers helped to purchase in 2009!

The nickname Laetare originated from the first word of the Introit chant for Sunday’s Mass, “Rejoice!”

On Laetare Sunday there is a slight relaxation of Lent’s penitential spirit, because we have a glimpse of the joy that is coming at Easter, now near at hand.

The custom of using rose (rosacea) vestments is tied to the Station churches in Rome. The Station for Laetare Sunday is the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem where the relics of Cross and Passion brought from the Holy Land by St. Helena (+c. 329), mother of the Emperor Constantine (+337), were deposited. It was the custom on this day for Popes to bless roses made of gold, some amazingly elaborate and bejeweled, which were to be sent to Catholic kings, queens and other notables. The biblical reference is Christ as the “flower” sprung forth from the root of Jesse (Is 11:1 – in the Vulgate flos “flower” and RSV “branch”). Thus Laetare was also called Dominica de rosa…. Sunday of the Rose. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to develop rose colored vestments from this. Remember, the color of the vestments is called rosacea, not pink (especially not baby-rattle pink). This Roman custom spread by means of the Roman Missal to the whole of the world.

Our Collect is a new composition for the 1970MR and subsequent editions of the Novus Ordo based on a prayer in the Gelasian Sacramentary and a section of a sermon by St. Pope Leo I, the Great (+461). There is some similarity between this Collect with those of Advent. On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, we heard: in tui occursum Filii festinantes… “those hurrying to meet your Son.” On the 3rd Sunday (this Sunday’s fraternal twin Gaudete, the only other day for rose vestments) we heard: votis sollemnibus alacri laetitia celebrare…”, to celebrate…with eager jubilation by means of solemn offerings.”

There is rosy anticipation in today’s Collect just as there was in Advent.

Without further delay, here is the beautiful Latin followed by the current ICEL version, the atrocious but happily obsolete ICEL version, and then… a couple of surprises!


Deus, qui per Verbum tuum
humani generis reconciliationem mirabiliter operaris,
praesta, quaesumus, ut populus christianus
prompta devotione et alacri fide
ad ventura sollemnia valeat festinare.

Sollemnia is the neuter plural of the adjective sollemnis meaning “yearly”, that which is established to be done each year. In religious contexts, it comes out as “religious, festive”. As a substantive, it is “a religious or solemn rite, ceremony, feast, sacrifice, solemn games, a festival, solemnity”. Sollemne, the neuter noun, is also, “usage, custom, practice”. In legal contexts, it can be “formality”. In later, Christian Latin words related to sollemnis came to indicate the celebration of the Eucharist. Alacer is “lively, brisk, quick, eager, active; glad, happy, cheerful”. Promptus, a, um is from the verb promo. Promptus indicates, “brought to light, exposed to view” and by extension “at hand, i. e. prepared, ready, quick, prompt, inclined or disposed to or for any thing.”


O God, who by Your Word
wondrously effect the reconciliation of the human race,
grant, we beg, that the Christian people
may be able to hasten toward the upcoming solemnities
with ready devotion and eager faith.


O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come

Note the marvelous parings of alacer fides and prompta devotio … “eager faith” and “ready devotion”. We know that fides “faith” can refer to the supernatural virtue which is given to us in baptism and also to the content of what we believe. This content must be understood as both the things we can learn and memorize with love, but more importantly the divine Person whom we must learn and contemplate with love.

There is a faith by which we believe, the virtue God gives us, and a faith in which we believe, the content of the Faith.

On the other hand, whereas fides is a supernatural virtue, devotio is an “active” virtue according to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica. The Angelic Doctor wrote:

“The intrinsic or human cause of devotion is contemplation or meditation. Devotion is an act of the will by which a man promptly gives himself to the service of God. Every act of the will proceeds from some consideration of the intellect, since the object of the will is a known good; or as Augustine says, willing proceeds from understanding. Consequently, meditation is the cause of devotion since through meditation man conceives the idea of giving himself to the service of God” (STh II-II 82, 3).

The Jesuit preacher Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704) underscored devotion as especially “a devotion to duty”. What we do, including our “devotions”, must help us keep the commandments of God and stick to the duties of one’s state in life before all else. There is an interplay between our devotions and our devotion.

Each of us has a state in life, a God-given vocation we are duty bound to follow.

We must be devoted to that state in life, and the duties that come with it, as they are in the here and now.

That “here and now” is important. We must not focus on the state we had once upon a time, or wish we had, or should have had, or might have someday: those are unreal and misleading fantasies that distract us from reality and God’s will. If we are truly devoted and devout (in the sense of the active virtue) to fulfilling the duties of our state as it truly is here and now, then God will give us every actual grace we need to fulfill our vocation. Why can we boldly depend on God to help us? If we are fulfilling the duties of our state of life, then we are also fulfilling our proper roles in His great plan, His design from before the creation of the universe. God is therefore sure to help us. And if we are devoted to our state as it truly is, then God can also guide us to a new vocation when and if that is His will for us. Faithful in what we must do here and now, we will be open to something God wants us to do later.

This attachment to reality and sense of dutiful obedience through the active virtue devotio is a necessary part of religion in keeping with the biblical principle in 1 John 2:3-5:

“And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says ‘I know Him’ but disobeys His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: he who says he bides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”

Father of peace,
we are joyful in your Word,
your Son Jesus Christ,
who reconciles us to you.
Let us hasten toward Easter
with the eagerness of faith and love.

This makes you want to pound your head against the table.

What would happen if we translated the ICELese back into Latin? If the ICEL were accurate, you might expect some similarities, right?

WARNING: Do not attempt this at home. Spiritual harm and damage to property can be caused by thinking about these ICEL versions. Leave this sort of thing to trained professionals and people with tough foreheads.

Pater pacis,
in tuo Verbo, Iesu Christo filio tuo,
qui nos tibi reconciliat, laetamur.
Fidei studio et amoris
ad diem Paschalis festinemus.

So, just for kicks we can see how the Google translates the Latin original.

O God, who by your word
reconciliation of the human race dost wonderfully,
grant, we beseech Thee, that the Christian people
with ready devotion and eager faith
the formalities to come to the be able to hurry up

Oookaayyy… ‘nuf said about that.

And there are some in the church today who want to revise the norms for liturgical translation.  Talk about wanting to “turn back the clock”!  The irony would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

Posted in LENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Reader Feedback, Biretta Project Update, A Note to Cops, Challenge Coins

Some reader feedback.

First, I received a great note from a seminarian who benefit from the generosity of one of you readers out there.


For more on the BIRETTA PROJECT go HERE

Next, a snail mail card from a fellow in Fresno, CA (who participates at Masses of my friend Fr. Sotelo, who comments here occasionally.  He wrote that he has been reading since 2005 when he was a teen.  Now he is a father of two daughters and is deeply involved in pro-life work.  He reads the older breviary at their “ad orientem” home altar and their family chant the Marian antiphons together. “Thank you for opening this world to me, and to so may other readers who, like me, benefited from your work….”

Thanks for that.  It helps.  My snail mail address is on the side bar.  And I do report threats to law enforcement.

Also, from a reader, I received and am presently receiving, a spiritual benefit which I very much need and appreciate.


An added delight is the fact that these Masses are at the Priory of the wonderful Benedictine Sisters in Missouri.  Many thanks!  I often feature their discs in my PODCAzTs.

Speaking of law enforcement, recently I was in New York City where I had the great good fortune to meet some Catholic cops (NYPD).  I hauled along a couple friends (including The Great Roman who was briefly in town) to the precinct for a tour.  Their captain asked me to bless his body armor, which was a new one for me.  Of course I did it… and put it on afterward (come to think of it… I should get some for myself).

A NOTE TO COPS/LEOs/MILITARY: I’ll happily bless whachya got, body armor, service or back up weapons, vehicle, whatever.  You name it, I’ll bless it!

Two of these fine Catholic gentlemen gave me Challenge Coins, which I am pretty pleased with.  Alas, I was not in the position to return the favor with my own!  That must be remedied and ASAP.



I am also now – so I am informed – an honorary member of the the NYPD Holy Name Society.



I am grateful for these.

LEOs! I’ve got your back in daily prayers: St. Michael!  Also, anyone who has been to any Novus Ordo Sunday Mass I’ve celebrated (yes, that happens), I always add the petition: “For all members of the military and law enforcement, that God will protect them from spiritual and temporal harm…”

Having received those great challenge coins, I am at last inspired to have my own made.  Since this is still within my 25th year of ordination, I’ll do one for that.  Also, I am looking down the road at the 100 millionth visit to the blog (since I’ve kept stats, that is).  I’ve taken concrete steps to design the coin and find a good maker.  As a matter of fact, one suggestion came from the author Chris Kennedy who fictionalized me and put me in his books … where he has pretty much killed me (at least once), brought me back to life, and then nearly killed me again, giving me great lines along the way.  At least I think I’m still alive at this point in the tale.  For more about this books, HERE.

I’ve also received a few kind emails.  Thanks for those.  You know who you are.

I don’t usually have a combox with these posts, but, because of the various items I brought up (especially the challenge coin bit), the moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Reader Feedback | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

An odd dream

car-repair-shopDo some of you find that dreams which come just before rising have a … different quality?  This morning I had a particularly vivid dream which is still stuck in my head.  Often dreams fade.  Not this one.

Here are the bare bones.

I was in a garage, a car repair and body shop, run by a bunch of Hispanic guys and gals lead by a fellow named Hector.  The shop was a business but it was also a kind of half-way house (I’m not sure that’s the right term, since it has negative connotations) for pregnant young women and others in various phases of trouble.  They could live for free over the garage, but they had to work in the repair shop and also participate in physical-condition-appropriate daily PT.  They learned to repair cars and each one had a project of working also on a particular needy car during their stay.  When it was time to leave, they had a job skill and they could keep the car they had “rescued”.  I was there to say a daily TLM in their chapel, off the back of the garage where they also had the Blessed Sacrament reserved.  A cadre of women from the neighborhood provided both pot luck meals and day care.

Anyway, it was vivid enough that I felt compelled to write it down.  I have no idea where this one came from.  I’m rather susceptible to dreaming about the last thing that I might have watched on TV (movie, etc.) or read. As I get older I find that I have to be pretty careful about what I watch before turning in, because that’s what I’ll dream later on.  That can be bad, particularly when it involves lots of combat, etc.  In any event, this one came seemingly out of nowhere, nothing I was involved with during the day.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 21 Comments