Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kansas City Bishop on the "Church Militant"

Quote His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City, MO:
The month of November begins with the two great celebrations: All Saints day (November 1) and the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2). These feasts celebrate our communion with the "Church triumphant" in heaven, and the "Church suffering" in purgatory. Today I would like to share a few brief comments about what we have sometimes called the "Church militant," the Church here on earth. (Source)
[H/T: Fr. Z]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liturgy: "Behold the Lamb of God..."

I'm going to do something out of order. Eventually, I'm going to do a series of posts on the liturgy (the words and actions, the Scriptural references, the symbolism, etc.), and I'll go through the Mass in order. But today I'm going to give you a sneak peak at the series, looking at part of the Communion Rite: the Ecce Agnus Dei and the Domine non sum dignus.

The Scripture excerpts in Latin are from the Vulgate; those in English are from the RSV Second Catholic Edition.

The Text
Here's how it appears in the 2002 Latin Missale Romanum:
132. Sacerdos genuflectit, accipit hostiam, eamque aliquantulum elevatam super patenam vel super calicem tenens, versus ad populum, clara voce dicit:

Ecce Agnus Dei,
ecce qui tollit peccáta mundi.
Beáti qui ad cenam Agni vocáti sunt.

Et una cum populo semel subdit:

Dómine, non sum dignus,
ut intres sub téctum meum,
sed tantum dic verbo,
et sanábitur ánima mea.
The following is from the 1975 GIRM (US translation):
115. [T]he priest genuflects, takes the eucharistic bread, and, holding it slightly above the paten while facing the people, says: "This is the Lamb of God." With the people he adds, once only: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you."
This is reflected in the 1985 US translation of the Missal (the "Sacramentary"):
132. The priest genuflects. Taking the host, he raises it slightly above the paten and, facing the people, says aloud:

This is the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sins of the world.
Happy are those who are called to his supper.

He adds, once only, with the people:

Lord, I am not worthy
to receive you,
but only say the word,
and I shall be healed.
The 2000 GIRM reflects a change, permitting the Host to be held over the Chalice:
157. When the prayer is concluded, the priest genuflects, takes the host consecrated in the same Mass, and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says, Ecce Agnus Dei (This is the Lamb of God). With the people he adds, Domine, non sum dignus (Lord, I am not worthy).
Here's how the Latin is rendered in the upcoming (2010?) English translation of the Missal:
132. The Priest genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud:

Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

And together with the people he adds once:

Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word,
and my soul shall be healed.
You'll notice some changes in the English translation; the underlying Latin has not changed. The new translation is superior to the old in a number of ways: 1) the words are almost identical to Scripture; 2) the words are a more accurate translation of the Latin (ecce = "behold", not "this is"; anima = "soul", not "I"); and 3) the word choice is less secular (beati as "blessed" rather than "happy").

Also note that, in the present translation, the priest does not say "Happy are we who are called to this supper." There is great significance in saying "those" (instead of "we") and "his" (instead of "this"). First, saying "we" is over-inclusive: it presumes that everyone present at Mass is going to receive (which might not be the case). Second, saying "we" and "this" is over-exclusive: it emphasizes the local congregation and celebration, neglecting the universal character of Holy Communion, whereby all those who receive Holy Communion are partaking of the same "marriage supper of the Lamb". It's not just this supper, it's his supper, the Lamb's supper. Instead of being focused on the local present moment, our attention should be drawn to the heavenly eternal moment.

The Scripture
The words of the priest come from John 1:29 (the words of John the Baptist) and Revelation 19:9 (the words of an angel).
John 1:29

Altera die videt Iesum venientem ad se et ait: "Ecce agnus Dei, qui tollit peccatum mundi."

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Revelation 19:9

Et dicit mihi: "Scribe: Beati, qui ad cenam nuptiarum Agni vocati sunt!".

And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
The words said in response come from Matthew 8:8 (the words of the centurion).
Matthew 8:8

Et respondens centurio ait: "Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer meus."

But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed."
As you can see, the words have been only slightly altered. This happens from time to time in Scriptural texts which are used in the liturgy: a word is added, removed, or changed, to fit the context.

The rubrics (the text in red) are very clear here. First, the priest genuflects. Then, he holds up either the Host over the paten or the Host over the Chalice. Then, while facing the people, he speaks his words aloud. We respond along with the priest.

History, Context, and Symbolism
You'll notice the rubrics makes a few points clear: 1) the priest genuflects first; 2) the priest is holding the Host in his hand over a paten or the Chalice, and is not simply holding up a paten with the Host on it; 3) the priest faces the people at this part of the Mass; 4) the priest speaks aloud; 5) the priest and people respond together; 6) our response is said once; and 7) there is no mention striking the breast during the response.

We will look at each of these in turn, pointing out some differences between the Ordinary Form ("O.F.", the Mass as revised in 1970) and the Extraordinary Form ("E.F.", the Mass as revised in 1962). In the E.F., the Communion of the priest was separate from the Communion of the people:
The priest stands on the same side of the altar as the people, and he is facing the altar (just as the people are) for most of the Mass. First, the priest genuflects and adores the Host; as he rises, he says a prayer in a low voice. Next, he takes the Host and paten in his left hand and prays the Domine non sum dignus three times (speaking the first four words out loud, and the rest in a low voice), striking his breast with his right hand once each time. Then he makes the sign of the cross over himself with the Host, says a private prayer, and consumes the Host.

After a moment of silent meditation, he says another prayer in a low voice, uncovering the Chalice which has a pall over it (a board covered in cloth to prevent things from falling into it, still used in the O.F.), and genuflecting again. He collects any fragments of the Host from the corporal (the white cloth on which the paten, Host, and Chalice are placed on the altar, still used in the O.F.) and paten and brushes them into the Chalice. Then, holding the paten in his left hand and the Chalice in his right, he says another private prayer, makes the sign of the cross with the Chalice, and drinks from it.

Then he genuflects once more to the Blessed Sacrament to be distributed to the faithful, and turns to face them, holding a Host in his left hand over the ciborium, and he says out loud the Ecce Agnus Dei, to which the faithful respond with the Domine non sum dignus three times, striking their breast once each time.
In the O.F., the Communion rites of the priest and people are combined and simplified. The priest makes one genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament, combining the three of the older liturgy (which were for the Host and the Chalice during his own Communion, and for the Host before distributing Communion to the faithful). This genuflection is an act of adoration for the Blessed Sacrament.

The priest holds the Host over the paten or over the Chalice; he does not simply hold up the paten with the Host on it, nor does he hold the Host and the Chalice apart from each other (as he does at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer). The priest is showing us the Lamb, so that we can "behold" him.

The priest faces the people during this part of the Mass. Contrary to popular opinion, the O.F. assumes that the priest will be saying Mass ad orientem, that is, "facing the east", which has been the long-standing custom of Christian worship going back even to the first century. While it is permitted for the priest to stand on the other side of the altar (and thus face the people and the altar at the same time), the default posture of the Mass is for the priest to be on the same side of the altar as the people, and it contains instructions for the priest to "face the altar" at some times and to "face the people" at others. Since the preparations of the priest just prior to this part of the Mass are private (that is, they are for him and not for us), he is facing the altar during them. Once he has genuflected and taken up the Host and paten or Chalice, then he faces the faithful.

He says the Ecce Agnus Dei aloud so that the people can hear him. Again, the private preparations of the priest are said in a "low voice", since they are not being spoken to us. Since these words are being spoken to us, they are said audibly to us.

Both the priest and the people respond with the Domine non sum dignus together. Strictly speaking, the faithful did not need to say this response in the E.F., although they were certainly encouraged to do so. In the O.F., our vocal participation at this point is expected. This is also a simplification of the rite in the E.F., where the priest would say the Domine non sum dignus for himself prior to his own Communion, and then again prior to the Communion of the people.

The response, Domine non sum dignus, is said only once, which is a simplification of the three-fold response found in the E.F.

There is also no mention of the gesture of striking the breast during the response. Striking the breast is a sign of penitence, which is appropriate given the response, in which we admit that we are "not worthy". This was found in the E.F., but has been dropped from the O.F.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What are you praying for?

I need to organize my prayer intentions. I have a litany I pray at every Mass -- Kristin, Jonathan, Fr. Charlie, Fr. Tom, Fr. Viego, Fr. Bob, the Pope, Cardinal Arinze, people in RCIA, etc. -- but I am strongly considering keeping a blog post here with all of them so that I don't forget, and so that, at least once a week, I can pray distinctly for each one of them.

I'm currently praying a Rosary novena for the election. After that, I'm going to try praying daily in reparation for the sexual sins scandalizing the Church and for the victims of that scandal. I also have a boatload of charitable organizations which I should be praying for on a regular basis.

It makes me envious of the monastic lifestyle. How on earth will I find time to pray for everything I need to pray for?

What do you pray for? And where do you find the time?

Bible Study: 1 Thess 2-3

1 Thessalonians 2-3
Download this study [MS Word, 49 k, 3pp]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vote for Freedom

I'm not going to be silent on my blog about this matter any longer.

What is true freedom?

It is not freedom from restraint, to do whatever you choose. That is the freedom Satan offered Adam and Eve -- and through them, all humanity -- in the Garden of Eden: "God said? No, God is wrong. You will know right from wrong. Don't listen to God, listen to me. And then you'll be like God, and you can listen to yourself." (cf. Gen. 3:1-5)

It is freedom to do what is right. That is the freedom a human has in Jesus Christ. Satan abhors what is right, which is why he hates God, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, Catholics, and all Christians. True freedom comes from the truth: if we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free. (cf. John 8:31-32) And what has the Church known since the beginning? "Thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born." (Didache 2:2)

Don't listen to the misinformation which Pelosi and Biden spread: the issue is not ensoulment, the issue is biological. Biology was not St. Thomas Aquinas's strong suit. When a sperm and an ovum combine, there is a new human life, full of potential to be honest, but it is already human. It won't become something other than a human. No matter what you call it -- a fetus, a zygote, a proto-human, etc. -- it is a human being. Even honest atheists will agree to that.

Barack Obama voted against legislation to protect infants born alive after attempted abortions. That's right: if you attempt to abort your child, and the abortion fails, and the child is born alive, Obama would rather let that person die. People like Gianna Jessen, who was born alive after a failed saline-injection abortion.

The so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) touts itself as supporting freedom. But it does just the opposite, and if Barack Obama has his way, millions of Americans will have their freedom stripped away: 1) Those states which have passed legislation limiting abortion, where the people have spoken, will lose that legislation. 2) Obama supports public funding of abortion via our tax dollars, whether or not we support abortion. 3) And, of course, there is no freedom for the unborn.

This is what FOCA says:
    (a) STATEMENT OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.
    (b) PROHIBITION OF INTERFERENCE- A government may not--
      (1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
        (A) to bear a child;
        (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
        (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
      (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
It's the powerful destroying the powerless who have no voice. That is an unjust war.

Do yourself a favor: read this letter from Bishop Serratelli (of the diocese of Paterson, NJ). You can also read it with Fr. Z's commentary.

I'm not voting for Obama. I'm voting for McCain. I'm voting against Obortion. I'm voting for the candidate who promises to give life a chance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Liturgy: Consecration of an Oratory

This link has some great pictures and excellent explanations of the various actions that take place during the consecration of an oratory in the traditional Roman Rite. Astonishing symbolism!

You can always count on the New Liturgical Movement for amazing photos of liturgical celebrations!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bible Study: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Be an example even for other Christians
Vos imitatores nostri facti estis et Domini.
Download this study [MS Word, 45 k, 2pp]

Friday, October 17, 2008

Making a mockery of Christ the King

The Church of England is hijacking November 23rd, the Solemnity of Christ the King, with their National Youth Sunday which is obsessing itself with "social sins" (like failing to recycle, not turning off light switches, and littering).

Oh, wait. Not the Church of England. The Church in England. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is promoting this travesty. "Reclaim the Future" has a liturgy plan which involves numerous modifications to the liturgy -- such as choreographed skits/dances during the First Reading and during/after the Gospel; paraphrasing (poorly) the Responsorial Psalm; an ad hoc Penitential Rite; distribution of chocolate after Communion; an entrance procession involving light bulbs, recycling bins, etc. -- and which completely takes the focus of Christ as King and places the focus squarely on people. Everything their liturgy plan advocates is distracting from the actual liturgy itself; much of it is objectively abusive to the liturgy as the Church calls us to celebrate it.

Look, I just bought a hybrid car. I'm all for energy reduction, recycling, not littering (I cannot stand to see people throw cigarette butts on the ground!), etc. But to hijack the Mass for this? Utterly atrocious.

40 Hours at Mater Ecclesiae

I'm driving down to Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ, tonight. They're beginning their 40 Hours adoration this evening at 7:30 with a Eucharistic Procession followed by Mass, and then adoration. Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (of WDTPRS) will be preaching.

This will be the fourth Mass in the Extraordinary Form I have attended, and the first time I've met Fr. Z... not to mention the first time I've attended Adoration in the traditional rite.

Octobre, Francis Cabrel

Le vent fera craquer les branches
La brume viendra dans sa robe blanche
Y'aura des feuilles partout
Couchées sur les cailloux
Octobre tiendra sa revanche
Le soleil sortira à peine
Nos corps se cacheront sous des bouts de laine
Perdue dans tes foulards
Tu croiseras le soir
Octobre endormi aux fontaines

Il y aura certainement,
Sur les tables en fer blanc
Quelques vases vides qui traînent
Et des nuages pris aux antennes
Je t'offrirai des fleurs
Et des nappes en couleurs
Pour ne pas qu'octobre nous prenne

On ira tout en haut des collines
Regarder tout ce qu'octobre illumine
Mes mains sur tes cheveux
Des écharpes pour deux
Devant le monde qui s'incline

Certainement appuyés sur des bancs
Il y aura quelques hommes qui se souviennent
Et des nuages pris aux antennes
Je t'offrirai des fleurs
Et des nappes en couleurs
Pour ne pas qu'octobre nous prenne

Et sans doute on verra apparaître
Quelques dessins sur la buée des fenêtres
Vous, vous jouerez dehors
Comme les enfants du nord
Octobre restera peut-être.

Vous, vous jouerez dehors
Comme les enfants du nord
Octobre restera peut-être.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Pope... a blogger?

It could happen. At least, it's been suggested by the president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong.

The jokes and puns on this abound. For example, the Pope's operating system would need to be an upgrade of redhat Linux, such as whitehat Linus (named after the second bishop of Rome).

And if you want to donate to the Pope's blogging cause, remember you can send your money digitally and securely via PaPal.

[H/T: The Curt Jester]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New texts for dismissal; a Eucharistic Compendium

At the end of the previous Synod of Bishops (on the Eucharist), a set of Propositions were presented to the Pope; in early 2007, Pope Benedict responded with his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis.

In the exhortation, the Holy Father mentioned, among other things, the dismissal rite of Mass and the need for a Compendium on the Eucharist:
Finally, I would like to comment briefly on the observations of the Synod Fathers regarding the dismissal at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. After the blessing, the deacon or the priest dismisses the people with the words: Ite, missa est. These words help us to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world. In antiquity, missa simply meant "dismissal." However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word "dismissal" has come to imply a "mission." These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church's life, taking the dismissal as a starting-point. In this context, it might also be helpful to provide new texts, duly approved, for the prayer over the people and the final blessing, in order to make this connection clear. (n. 51, referring to Proposition n. 24)

At the conclusion of these reflections, in which I have taken up a number of themes raised at the Synod, I also wish to accept the proposal which the Synod Fathers advanced as a means of helping the Christian people to believe, celebrate and live ever more fully the mystery of the Eucharist. The competent offices of the Roman Curia will publish a Compendium which will assemble texts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayers, explanations of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Missal and other useful aids for a correct understanding, celebration and adoration of the Sacrament of the Altar. It is my hope that this book will help make the memorial of the Passover of the Lord increasingly the source and summit of the Church's life and mission. This will encourage each member of the faithful to make his or her life a true act of spiritual worship. (n. 93, referring to Proposition 17)
Both of these considerations are becoming a reality. There has been a recent revision to the third edition of the Roman Missal (from 2002) which includes these new texts. We won't hear these in English for a few years still.

[H/T: Zenit]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bible Study: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Thank God for your brothers and sisters in Christ
Evangelium nostrum non fuit ad vos in sermone tantum
sed et in virtute et in Spiritu Sancto et in plenitudine multa.

Download this study [MS Word, 61 k, 4pp]

Friday, October 10, 2008

The New Translation of the Mass

I think, in the coming months, I will make an effort to go over the new English translation of the Ordinary of the Mass on this blog, comparing and contrasting the new to the old. The most time will be spent, I imagine, on the Gloria, the Credo, and the Eucharistic Prayers (I through IV). This is in addition to the various Bible Study stuff I'll be posting. And keeping up with my reading of Documents on the Liturgy.

On the subject of Eucharistic Prayers, there is word that the Eucharistic Prayers for Children are being retired. Even though they are present in the 2002 Missale Romanum, the news is that these prayers will be eliminated and not translated. The USCCB has taken the issue of their translation into English off their agenda for their November meeting. (Suggestion: reserve the use of Eucharistic Prayer II for children's Masses!)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

1967 Address of Paul VI to altar servers

Here is an address that Pope Paul VI gave in March of 1967 to a pilgrimage of (male) altar servers from across Europe to Rome. I just read it this evening, and I think it's rather timely and appropriate.
Dear sons, in your beautiful white albs you present us with a splendid sight that is a joy to our eyes and our heart. We are happy to address a few words to you, in response to the request expressed in your name by your friend and protector in Rome, the Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peters.

His words introducing you to us suggest the thought that the whiteness of your vestments is a reflection of the whiteness of your souls. Your contact with the altar sustains and develops in your souls faith, devotion, purity, and all the other virtues that are pleasing to God.

You will remember the young man in the gospel who had faithfully cultivated those same virtues since childhood. The evangelist tells us that Jesus looked up him with love: Iesus, intuitus eum, dilexit eum, "Looking on him, Jesus loved him." (Mark 10:21)

We believe that we see the Savior's look also resting upon each one of you with special favor. Are you not the ones who come so very near to him as you serve at the altar? Is it then surprising that his call to an even greater nearness to him should at some time -- as has just been said to us -- sound in the hearts of some of you?

Dear sons, the charge that we wish to commit to you consists in two points: be faithful to carry out in exemplary fashion the liturgical functions assigned to you; listen to the voice of Christ if he graciously calls you to follow him more closely.

To be faithful: that is a whole program for life. As you know the word "faithfulness" includes the word "faith". To revivify that faith at the tombs of the Apostles is the reason you have come to Rome. In that faith St. Paul summarized his whole life as an apostle when he came to the end of his earthly life: fidem servavi, "I have kept the faith," he said to his disciple Timothy. (2 Timothy 4:7) I have been faithful to God, to Christ, to the Church. I have been faithful to my calling, to the ministry entrusted to me. May such a faithfulness be yours and may it be particularly true of those concerns involved in your functions as servers at the altar.

You might at times think that the liturgy is made up of a lot of minor details: posture, genuflections, bows, handling the censer, missal, cruets, etc. It is then that you must remember the words of Christ in the gospel: "He that is faithful in the smallest things is faithful also in the great." (Luke 16:10) Moreover, in the liturgy nothing is little, when we realize the greatness of the one to whom it is directed.

Therefore, dear sons, be outstanding in faithfulness toward carrying out your sacred functions. To that devote your attention, all your heart, and all your love.

Next, listen to the divine call. We will share with you one of our worries. In the face of the vastness of the task of evangelization that the modern world sets before us, we often put the question to ourself: How are we going to find enough priests, enough religious to meet this need? Does it not seem as though God is calling in vain -- that today's young people have no wish to hear him; that they no longer have the taste for God, the response to the ideal, the attraction toward sacrifice?

Dear sons, a good number of those older than you have resoundingly repudiated such fears. May it come true that a great many of you also will follow in their footsteps! Be on your guard against letting the voice that calls you go unheard and unanswered. Pray ardently that from among your ranks Christ may choose many to carry on his priesthood.

(Documents on the Liturgy 338, paragraphs 2919-2920)

Prayer: St. Paul and the Lord's Prayer

"How St. Paul prayed the Our Father", presentation by Fr. Peter Cameron, O.P.
  • The Our Father configures us to the image of Christ
    • Reveals us to ourselves, as Christ reveals humanity to itself (cf. Acts 9)
    • Conversion of Saul (Paul)
      • Struck blind
      • Goes to Straight Street
      • Has a mini-retreat
    • Ananias
      • Jesus tells him he'll know which one Saul is
        • He's the one praying
  • Paul's journey was radically different from everyone else's
    • Paul's response must have been free
    • Paul was unequipped to be a Christian
    • Paul is like the infant of the family: he has no past knowledge (of the Christian family)
    • Some one taught him, shared with him, handed over the faith
      • A companion (com- = with, panis = bread; "with bread", Eucharistic life)
    • The basis of the Christian faith is an encounter with an event and a Person, Jesus Christ (cf. Deus Caritas Est, n. 1)
  • "Our Father, Who art in heaven..."
    • God's name (YHWH) was not uttered by a faithful Jew
    • Calling God "Father" was also exceptionally rare
      • Christ opened that door for us, telling us to call God Abba
      • It is inconceivable that a Jew would call God Abba
      • Cf. "The Prayers of Jesus" by Lutheran theologian Joachim Jeremias
  • Working backwards through the prayer
  • "Deliver us from evil"
    • That is what happened to Paul: he was saved from his heinous evil
      • He was attacking the Church with murderous rage, way beyond zeal
        • "I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure" (Gal 1:13)
        • "Of [sinners] I am the foremost" (1 Tim 1:15)
      • Jesus called Saul by name (twice!) and told Saul he was persecuting him
        • Saul responds, asking who he is
        • Jesus identifies himself as Jesus whom Saul is persecuting
      • God rescued us from the power of darkness (cf. Col 1:13f)
        • The evil we are delivered from is not just any evil
        • It is The Evil One, the diabolos
        • This darkness is just as personal as the light (Christ) is
    • Paul was a Pharisee
      • He prayed the Psalms and probably had them memorized
      • Perhaps he was so violent against the Church because he wanted something in his heart that he had never yet encountered
        • A mélange of Psalms comes together to describe Saul's longing and his situation
          • "For you I thirst" ... "flash forth lightning"
        • Violent... yet honest
      • Jesus was the answer to Saul's prayer
      • We are blackmailed by evil; when we sin, we look for a way out of blame
      • Why did Jesus wait so long to answer Saul's prayer (and interfere with his attack on the Church)?
        • Paul was intent on exterminating all Christians
        • There was a plan for the evil Paul was committing
          • That evil had a role to play in his conversion
          • It created an awareness of the void in his life
  • "Lead us not into temptation"
    • Example of a looking for happiness in a cheesecake
      • You eat a slice of cheesecake and feel happy
      • Then you want more cheesecake
      • That is disordered: it is not the cheesecake you want, but the happiness you derive from the cheesecake
    • Concupiscence - the tendency to sin - wanting things in a disordered way
      • Three types: lust, concupiscence for things, and concupiscence for power
    • Aquinas said that Christ did away with the power of the grave and death, but not so for concupiscence
    • Without concupiscence, we would be proud; the state of concupiscence demands dependence on God rather than ourselves
    • We need things that show us our limits and lead us to God
    • Satan shows us our weaknesses and how much we depend on God
      • Say to the Devil "thank you" for that, and then tell him "go to Hell"
    • God saves us from that final temptation that turns our "yes" to God into an eternal "no"
    • Paul said the Lord gave him "a thorn in his side" (cf. 2 Cor 12:7)
      • Better to have the thorn in his side if it leads him to appreciate God in his life
    • 1 Cor 10:13 - God will not test us beyond our strength
  • "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"
    • Not the Jewish conception of justice - "eye for eye, tooth for tooth"
    • Humility was seen as a mark of cowardice until Jesus Christ showed it to us
    • Paul did not encounter retribution from the people he had once persecuted; rather, he met with mercy and forgiveness
      • This confirms that what happened on the road to Damascus was true
    • Paul could forgive his former cohorts
      • During the storm at sea in Acts, Paul calmed his captors and treated them with love
      • Something was changed in Paul by his encounter with Christ
    • Forgiveness is a type of judgment
      • Either you harbor ill will against a person (and things get worse)...
      • Or use your freedom to forgive them
        • Inject mercy where it doesn't belong
        • Forgiveness is "bringing being to where there was non-being" (Aquinas)
    • Paul describes "heartfelt compassion" as something to "put on", forgiveness is like a garment (cf. Col 3:12-14)
  • "Give us this day our daily bread"
    • This was the hinge of the whole prayer for Paul
    • At this point, he would have said: "Jesus is everything I could ever want and will ever need, he is my sustinence. I fasted for three days before I was baptized. I would fast every day of my life if after that fast I could receive Jesus. Any bread that isn't Jesus isn't bread enough."
    • And that is the Eucharist: Jesus under the appearance of bread
      • He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying "this is my body"
    • We should beg to receive that which we truly hunger for
    • Prayer for daily bread which has become Jesus Christ
  • "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done"
    • Easy for Paul from here on
    • The Kingdom is Christ, and in him we shall reign
      • Jesus is the Kingdom of God in Person; where Jesus is, there is the kingdom
    • Doing God's will is not about being a robot, it is the expression of joy from one friend to another
      • Hearing a voice in danger and paying attention to it
        • Let us follow that voice forever!
    • Asking for obedience isn't about being robotic or brainwashed
      • It is to do the bidding of my friend who knows my needs better than I do!
      • It is about following the signs God gives us to bring us to happiness
        • Immorality is like being given signs to our destiny and then saying NO to them
    • Christ reveals himself to be Paul's shepherd
      • Paul could not disobey the vision (cf. Acts 26:19)
  • At this point, Paul says "teach me to pray what Jesus prayed!"
    • In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to his Father, and called him Abba
    • What Paul had feared the most is what Paul needed the most
    • He writes in Romans and Galatians about calling God Abba

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    Carnival: Liturgy and Reconciliation

    Welcome to The Cross Reference for the October 2008 installment of the Christian Reconciliation Carnival. Tonight is "wristband night": one low price for a wristband and you may read all the blog posts you want.

    Our theme this time was the role that liturgy plays (whether by assisting or hindering) in reconciliation between Christian confessions.

    • Posts along the theme of liturgy:

    Mark, the Pseudo-Polymath, spends some time "Considering Liturgical Chaos" and asks how "non-liturgical churches hold precious and fast to the important events in Church history in the absence of liturgical remembrance?"

    The Weekend Fisher has caught our attention with two posts on the liturgy. First, Anne explains "Why I am pro-liturgy", confronting that old canard about liturgical worship being un-Scriptural (or even anti-Scriptural) with a multitude of examples of Scriptural texts directly used and Scriptural concepts coming alive in Lutheran liturgy. Next, she gives us a rundown of the "Common Service" as an aid to "Comparing Liturgies".

    Your host gladly takes her up on her offer, describing "The Once and Future (and Present) Liturgy" of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. (For a bare-bones look at the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, also see "The parts of the Mass and their purpose".) I also address a question raised by Anne in her second contribution: "Are differences in the service used to highlight differences in theology?"

    Halden, at Inhabitatio Dei, shares a quote from Sergius Bulgakov on the seriousness of liturgy in the aptly titled "On Taking Liturgy Seriously".

    • In the realm of ecumenism in general:

    Fred, safely nestled in Deep Burrows, gives us his perspective, as a Catholic, on participation in "Protestant VBS" (Vacation Bible School).

    We find clinging to Henry's Web a post about the high level of suspicion with which some Christians regard anything coming from a denomination other than their own in "Denominationalism - The Disease".

    Anne completes her contribution trifecta with an exhortation to beware of "The spiritual hazards of debate", reminding us to stay on guard against the adversarial spirit with which it infects us, and the adverse effects on reason, doctrine, and fellowship.

    Bill of The Thinklings comments on the refreshing anti-hate message he read from a Christian of another denomination, as "A Progressive Christian Injects Some Wisdom Into a Conversation".

    Here are two posts of mine from July in which I engaged in a dialogue with two other Christians (one from the Church of Christ, and the other an Independent Baptist) and two separate occasions. In the first, we discuss the Catholic practice of praying to saints; in the second, I try to answer a series of allegations against the Catholic faith in general.

    • Lest you fear we've exhausted the Internet's resources, we also have a post from elsewhere in the blogosphere:

    The Singing Owl channels Susan Powter (and don't pretend you don't remember her...) as she asks her denomination to "Stop the (Charismatic) Insanity!".

    The Once and Future (and Present) Liturgy

    I love the liturgies of the Catholic Church. I've lived with the Pauline Missal -- that is, the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite -- my whole life. Only very recently (within the past few years) have I ventured outside of this liturgy. My first exposure to non-Catholic liturgies came as a preparation for my work on the RCIA team of my parish: I want to a handful of nearby churches to see what their services were like so that I might have an idea of where other Christians are "coming from". Three were liturgical, two were not.

    Then, in the middle of 2007, I attended an Orthodox Divine Liturgy for the first time, and a Vespers service shortly thereafter. The chanting, the incense, the bells, the gestures, the words... I found the whole thing very beautiful. In the past year, I have attended three Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgies and three Masses in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (i.e. the "Tridentine" or "Pian" or "Gregorian" Missal).

    What I'd like to do with this contribution to the Christian Reconciliation Carnival is look at the structure and content of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. This post complements Anne's post about the Lutheran "Common Service".

    Structure of the Roman Mass
    Extraordinary Form (E.F.)
    Ordinary Form (O.F.)
    Introductory Rites
    Entrance Procession
    Entrance Procession
    (see below)
    Introit antiphon (often replaced by hymn)
    (see below)
    Approach and kissing of the altar
    Sign of the Cross
    Sign of the Cross
    (see below)
    "Dominus vobiscum" (Greeting) (one of several greeting texts)
    "Iudica Me" (Psalm 42)

    Penitential Rite (Confiteor is Form A of three Forms)
    "Deus tu conversus"
    (dialogue suppressed, although part of this prayer is used as part of Form B of the Penitential Rite)
    "Dominus vobiscum" (Greeting)
    (see above)
    "Aufer a nobis" (approaching the altar)
    "Oramus te Domine" (kissing of the altar)
    (prayers suppressed, altar approached and kissed earlier)
    Introit antiphon
    (see above)
    Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) (nine-fold)
    Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) (six-fold)
    (omitted if Form C of the Penitential Rite was used)
    Gloria (Glory to God)
    Gloria (Glory to God)
    "Dominus vobiscum"

    Collect (only one)
    Liturgy of the Word
    Lesson / EpistleFirst Reading
    Gradual (often replaced by Responsorial Psalm)

    Second Reading (Sundays and Solemnities)
    Alleluia / Tract
    Alleluia / Gospel Acclamation
    "Munda cor meum" (preparation by the Priest for reading the Gospel)"Munda cor meum" (preparation by the Priest for reading the Gospel) (shortened)
    Homily / Sermon
    Homily / Sermon

    Prayer of the Faithful
    Liturgy of the Eucharist
    Offertory collection
    Offertory collection
    "Dominus vobiscum"

    Offertory verse
    Offertory verse (often replaced by a hymn)
    "Suscipe, Sancte Pater" (over the bread)"Benedictus es, Domine" (over the bread) (new prayer)
    "Deus, qui humanae" (mingling of the water and wine)
    "Per huius aquae" (mingling of the water and wine) (briefer prayer)
    "Offerimus tibi, Domine" (over the chalice)"Benedictus es, Domine" (over the chalice) (new prayer)
    "In spiritu humilitatis" (prayer for offerings to be accepted)"In spiritu humilitatis" (prayer for offerings to be accepted)
    "Veni Sanctificator" (a sort of epiclesis)

    "Lavabo" (Psalm 25) with "Gloria Patri"
    "Lava me" (verse from Psalm 51) without "Gloria Patri"
    "Suscipe, Sancte Trinitas" (prayer to the Trinity)

    "Orate fratres" (invitation to prayer)
    "Orate fratres" (invitation to prayer)
    Secret (prayer over the offerings)
    Super Oblata (prayer over the offerings)
    "Dominus vobiscum, Sursum corda, Gratias agamus" (Preface dialog)
    "Dominus vobiscum, Sursum corda, Gratias agamus" (Preface dialog)
    Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)
    Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer)
    Eucharistic Prayer (13 to choose from), part 1

    Memorial Acclamation

    Eucharistic Prayer, part 2
    "Per ipsum" (Doxology and minor elevation)
    "Per ipsum" (Doxology and minor elevation)
    "Pater Noster" (Our Father)
    "Pater Noster" (Our Father)
    "Libera nos" (prayer for peace)
    "Libera nos" (prayer for peace) (shortened)

    "Quia tuum" ("For the Kingdom...")
    Fraction (breaking of the Host)
    (see below)
    "Haec commixtio" (mingling of the Body and Blood)
    (see below)
    Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
    (see below)
    "Domine Iesu Christe" (prayer for peace)"Domine Iesu Christe" (prayer for peace) (slightly altered)
    Pax (sign of peace) (only at solemn Masses)Pax (sign of peace)
    (see above)
    Fraction (breaking of the host)
    (see above)
    "Haec commixtio" (mingling of the Body and Blood)
    (see above)
    Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)
    "Domine Iesu Christe" (prayer for holiness)
    "Perceptio Corporis" (prayer for grace)
    "Domine Iesu Christe" (prayer for holiness) or
    "Perceptio Corporis" (prayer for grace) (slightly altered)
    "Panem caelestem" (over the Host)
    "Domine non sum dignus" (priest, three-fold)

    "Corpus Domini" (Communion of the priest)
    (see below)
    "Quid retribuam" (over the Chalice)

    "Sanguis Domini" (Communion of the priest)
    (see below)
    "Ecce Agnus Dei" (Behold the Lamb)
    "Ecce Agnus Dei" (Behold the Lamb)
    "Domine non sum dignus" (people, three-fold)
    "Domine non sum dignus" (people) (once)
    (see above)"Corpus Domini" (Communion of the priest)
    (see above)"Sanguis Domini" (Communion of the priest)
    (see below)
    Communion antiphon (usually replaced by a hymn)
    "Corpus Domini" (Communion of the people)"Corpus Christi / Amen" (Communion of the people) (new formulary)
    "Quod ore" (Ablutions)"Quod ore" (Ablutions)
    "Corpus tuum" (Ablutions)
    Communion antiphon
    (see above)
    "Dominus vobiscum"
    Post-communion prayer(s)
    Post-communion prayer (only one)
    Concluding Rites
    "Dominus vobiscum""Dominus vobiscum"
    "Ite, missa est" (Dismissal)
    (see below)
    "Placeat tibi" (prayer to the Trinity)

    "Benedicat vos" (blessing)
    "Benedicat vos" (blessing)
    (see above)
    "Ite, missa est" (Dismissal) (one of a few variants)
    The Last Gospel (John 1:1-14)

    Recessional (often with hymn)
    Recessional (often with hymn)

    Whew! You can see that the O.F. (re)introduced some parts into the Mass, while simplifying some of the rites and also cutting out a large number of prayers. I didn't mention the numerous gestures, such as signs of the cross, kisses, genuflections, bows, etc.; these are greatly reduced in the O.F. I also didn't mention the Scriptural origin of many of the things said and done in the Mass.

    Now comes my responses to some of Anne's questions. She asks: "How close is this to your own order of service? Are there differences? Are differences in the service used to highlight differences in theology?"

    I mentioned that I grew up with the Ordinary Form. When I went to the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Christ Congregation (United Church of Christ) liturgies a couple years ago (before I started studying the liturgy) I was surprised how similar they were in format to the Mass I knew. They even used the same Lectionary (cycle of readings)!

    Now, I have yet to research the Presbyterian, Methodist, and UCC liturgies, to know their history and when they came to be like they are today. I am curious if they modeled themselves after the Ordinary Form of the Mass... or if the Ordinary Form of the Mass modeled itself after their liturgies.

    Either way, while there is an ecumenical reason for happiness at the similarities, there is also a cause for concern, at least from the Catholic perspective. Why do some Protestant liturgies so highly resemble the reformed Catholic liturgy, if the Catholic liturgy (or "law of prayer", lex orandi) is supposed to be an expression of the Catholic faith (or "law of belief", lex credendi)? This is my answer, then, to Anne's last question:

    While the similarities between the liturgies may be helpful in ecumenical matters -- especially from the perspective of bringing people into the Catholic Church -- I wonder if these similarities might cause more damage to the goal of unity sought by the Catholic Church. I agree wholeheartedly with what Lumen Gentium (the Vatican II dogmatic constitution on the Church) says, that the one Church of Jesus Christ subsists uniquely* in the Catholic Church, but that elements of that one Church (which belong to her and consequently are ordered toward Catholic unity) are also found outside of the Church. But this can lead to the misconception that a Christian community only needs some of the elements; or that elements like the Eucharist (i.e. the Real Presence) and the ministerial priesthood and the Papacy are simply Roman traditions that are not necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ.

    To put it more bluntly, if Catholics believe something very specific and special is happening at a Catholic Mass, then why does a Protestant liturgy look so similar (seeing as how the theology behind the Protestant liturgy denies key elements of Catholic theology)? Even discounting the use of Latin, the more traditional liturgy of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the Extraordinary Form, is considerably different from virtually every Protestant liturgy, and as such, it makes its point known, that there is something fundamentally different going on.

    * This statement from Lumen Gentium 8 has sometimes been interpreted to mean the Catholic Church no longer teaches or believes that it is the one Church of Jesus Christ. However, in 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith answered that allegation in the negative: "The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are 'numerous elements of sanctification and of truth' which are found outside her structure, but which 'as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity'." (Responsa ad quaestiones, Q3)