Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

30 November 2011

To be in communion

To be in communion is the way to be. It has taken me years, and will take me more still, to learn this. Read and learn.

27 November 2011

Once Removed--but not Retracted

The author of "Whispers in the Loggia," a fine blog, invited his readers to comment upon their first experience of the new translation of the Mass.  I responded and my post was accepted.  Eagerly I checked the post, only to notice an egregious error.  Below is the amended post, currently listed as "removed by the author" because, in my neurosis, I couldn't stand to see my error in print:

If the reigning Archbishop of Philadelphia has likened his appointment to that see as an "arranged marriage," I feel free to use the same analogy with respect to the new translation of the Mass. Were I ordained in 1953 or 1973 rather than 2003--for that matter, were I born in 1926 or 1946 rather than 1976--no less would I be "in persona Christi capitis et sponsi [the original read, "sponsae," which would have rendered the Christ feminine]" and no less would I be willing to pray the Mass entrusted to me, no matter how I felt about its vocabulary and syntax.

As of last night's vigil Mass I have entered into a covenant with this text, like a young widower who has remarried. At times, lamentably, my execution of the last text became stale, and it may very well, at times, happen with this one. Thus for a human instrument! I shall capitalize upon the newness for the present.
If Mr. Palmo refuses to accept the amended comment, I should not blame him.  He has enough to worry about; I don't.  Furthermore, he asked about the reader's perspective, from wherever he or she sits, stands, and kneels.

My perspective, as celebrant at Holy Guardian Angels' 6pm Vigil and 10am?  As well as could be expected.  The signature phrase, "And with your spirit," was not rendered uniformly--nor were most of the other changes--but we'll get there.

It definitely is different.  Most of us are not accustomed to praying to God in that verbiage.  I'm not.  Whenever I use highfalutin words in personal prayer--as I am accustomed to use in formal writing--I sometimes imagine God telling me to knock it off.  But here's the thing: the Mass is formal.  It is the Church's preeminent modus orandi as Persons-in-Communion.  Entering into the sacred Mysteries, we depart earth and enter the Heavenly Sanctuary.  The Eastern Christian Churches portray this with the use of, for example, the iconostasis (icon screen).  Their liturgical language expresses the Inexpressible for who and what He is--which our translation, many have opined, failed to do.  Until now.

Americans, humans, that we are, we will all have opinions.  Thanks to the blogosphere, none need remain unpublished.  Amen, the days will come when all will be Truth and the many opinions will suddenly, in a flash, be so much straw.


"In Christianity, there can be no room for purely private religion: Christ is the Savior of the world, and, as members of His Body and sharers in His prophetic, priestly, and royal munera, we cannot separate our love for Him from our commitment to the building up of the Church and the extension of His Kingdom.  To the extent that religion becomes a purely private affair, it loses its very soul." 
Pope Benedict XVI, "Responses to the Questions Posed by the Bishops," Christ Our Hope (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 2008), p. 31.

Munera is the plural of munus, the Latin word for "gift," "service," or "office."  The title of this article hints at the derivation of the word "remuneration" from munera--offerings that one receives by virtue of his office or responsibility.

His Holiness reminds us that all baptized persons (not just the bishops, whom he is specifically addressing in this talk) share in the three-fold action of Christ the Prophet, Priest, and King.  Insofar as one has been immersed into Jesus, the Mystery of Faith, he or she is oriented to (1) the proclamation of the Gospel, (2) the discharge of liturgical offering, and (3) the care of those in need.  These are a type of Trinity: "you can't have one without the Other[s]."  It isn't just a nice idea that a baptized person may take or leave: it is an orientation, which surpasses mere altruism and cheerful words as human persons transcend the non-rational beasts.  And yet, this orientation presupposes altruism and cheerful words, when appropriate.  Sometimes, alas, the Word that needs to be spoken is far from cheerful--though it is never meant to discourage.

Marked for Christ-Life, we the baptized are hard-wired to exhort and evangelize as prophets, to sanctify and purify as priests, to direct and cultivate as shepherds.  We can't uninstall this call as if it were software; it is firmware that must be doctrinally, liturgically, morally, and prayerfully connected to the Source of Truth and Charity in order to receive constant updating, to which we must give consent by our moment-to-moment availability to God.  The applications for this spiritual data include: family, work, social groups, school...

Under the grace of God, you and I must prevent the above ideas from disintegrating into mere rhetoric.

26 November 2011

Coming at you: the Ballistic Missal

Saturday, the twenty-sixth of November 2011, is a day that I will never forget; and I say this before the unforgettable moments will occur.  I am referring, of course, to the implementation of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal with its changes in the translation of the Holy Mass.

I will approach this as a remarrying widower approaches his new bride.  As with the one before--the one he loved with his whole heart--he will approach with hesitation, with self-consciousness, with eager expectation.  Yet the one he approaches now, he will also love with his whole heart.  Unlike the irreplaceable human being, this new translation indeed replaces the old one.  I knew that one all my short life.  

Adjustment to the changes in language will not be instantaneous--not for me, and not for you, dear flock.  We (priest and people together) reviewed the congregational responses, but we have not begun to consider the priest's parts.  So we will be considering them in the recitation and in the hearing.  Be patient and fair in your judgment, as I must be in mine.  While I have known many of these changes for months, this will be the first time I say them aloud in public.

Let us journey together.

22 November 2011

Something Found in the Snooposphere

ZENIT - Multipurpose Theology of the Body is an interview with Janet Smith, who has long been a force to be reckoned with in Catholic theological circles.

21 November 2011

Breakfast With Santa; Dinner With Jesus

Our parish is blessed to be part of a regional school--a fine community of persons who strive to grow in the love of God, others, and self.  The proper estimation of all three a better world makes!

The school is on our parish property, and most of its students and their families are registered in our parish.  In fact, I often find in conversation that people associate the abbreviation "HGA" with the school more readily than with Holy Guardian Angels Parish.  We have "school families" who send their children to our school without strongly participating in the activities in our parish, especially The-Lord's-Day Mass.  Of course there are families who belong to and attend another parish, even another ecclesial communion (denomination) or a non-Christian religion or none at all.  They are most welcome and their participation in the life of the school is of inestimable value, and we pray that they, in turn, are enriched by the Gospel as we strive to live it at "HGA."

Here I am thinking of the registered Catholic families who fulfill their responsibilities for school functions (whether or not these functions intersect with parish life, as did the recent Breakfast With Santa, which took place on Sunday morning), yet who fail to connect with God and neighbor and self in the consummate manner--the manner prescribed by our Mother and Teacher, the Church: the Sacred Liturgy.  Granted, any exposure to the practices and principles of Divine Revelation is better than none, and our Catholic schools are privileged and pleased to offer our children that exposure; but what's the point if families can take or leave the "Church part" of being Catholics and Catholic-School Families?  If communal worship is missing, everything is missing!  This isn't the parish's rule or the school's suggestion: this is the Third Commandment.

"We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25).  What "day" is the inspired writer talking about?  Not the day when tuition is due!  Well, actually, it is--in the ancient sense of "tuition" as "guardianship or custody."  Talents buried in the sand or put in a strongbox earn nothing, regardless of the job market or how students in the public system, China or elsewhere are doing.

Furthermore, parishes would derive great benefit from the involvement of school families outside of school functions.  As their children get older and advance to upper grades or high school, it would be an appropriate time for parents to "graduate" to a deeper involvement in parish ministries, in spiritual and social endeavors (though they certainly don't have to wait that long).  I know many such families in our parish.  They are our backbone.  They have recognized that "contribution" is a diverse reality, and they wear it well, even though it may not be in style.

One Examination of Conscience (preparation guide for Confession) invites the presumptive penitent to ask: "As I seek to develop my academic, athletic, or professional skills, am I also deepening my understanding and appreciation of God and my Catholic faith?"  Every Catholic, including the current writer, stands to ask this question often and with brutal honesty.  One of our local gyms calls itself a "Judgment-Free Zone."  That's quite fine, as the lack of condemnation for not being an Adonis does tend to help the majority of us improve our physical fitness incrementally.  But we proclaim that the Day of the Lord is by no means a Judgment-Free Zone, and our incremental efforts to improve our spiritual fitness will yield noticeable results in as little time as it takes to make one decision.

A Shot of B16: On the Reception of Holy Communion

Thanks to a reader for informing me of HH's words to children in Benin, where he is currently on pastoral visit.  I will offer just two brief passages for your prayerful consideration.

(1) "When I receive Communion, Jesus comes to live in me.  I should welcome Him with love and listen closely to Him.  In the depths of my heart I can tell Him, for example: 'Jesus, I know that You love me.  Give me Your love so that I can love You in return and love others with Your love.  I give You all my joys, my troubles, and my future.'"

(2) "This love [of Jesus], which I receive in prayer, calls me in turn to give it to my parents, to my friends, to everyone with whom I live, even with those who do not like me, and those whom I do not appreciate enough.  Dear young people, Jesus loves you.  Ask your parents to pray with you!  Sometimes you may even have to push them a little.  But do not hesitate to do so.  God is that important!"

This is cool.  We usually hear Papal Pronouncements, and not just a venerable priest and bishop talking to his charges.  The address (in toto) is provided.

19 November 2011

Mass Appeal: The Heart Has Its Reasons

Sean Cardinal O'Malley of Boston has this to say about attending Mass on the Lord's Day.  Worth reading.
Note the section on fathers--a call to "man up" if ever I've read one.  Previous generations might never have thought that such a pastoral letter was necessary, but this is today--and praise God that Cardinal O'Malley is issuing this reasoned and impassioned call to Dominical Devotion.

15 November 2011

How about that!

For your review and reflection:
Being Human in an Age of Unbelief, a little number from the Hind-Kicking Archbishop of Philadelphia.

08 November 2011

A Happy Meal or the Supper of the Lamb?

A Happy Meal or the Supper of the Lamb?

One of the salutary effects of the new translation of the Roman Missal is the clearer recognition of Sacred Scripture in the words of Mass. Overall, we will recognize more deeply that we are not just at any ordinary event.

05 November 2011

Young Fogeys: The storm on the horizon and my grief about it

I am glad to have received a link to this blog, and to this post in particular.

Young Fogeys: The storm on the horizon and my grief about it: No, I'm not talking about weather. For two times in the last four days, I've been contacted to anoint someone who is dying. Certainly, thi…

I made a supportive comment upon his posting, expressing my interest in conveying the Reverend Blogger's article to Catholics in the habitus that he describes, perhaps to discuss the article (and their situation) together.  Harangue will not win people over.  Perhaps discussion won't, either, but I'll sooner try it than harangue.

01 November 2011

This (All Saints) Day in Catholic Liturgy: Poor Me

Poverty of spirit means, among other things, giving up the need to have one's way, to be right, to please others or to be pleased by them.  When these apparent goods are lacking in a person's life, what else is left but the Kingdom of God…and what else is necessary?  Granted, until the True Value of this Kingdom is truly appreciated, the absence of those other attachments really bites.