"I pray the Divine Praises when I'm in pain."
I've been visiting hospital patients this summer, and I have had the privilege of hearing many beautiful expressions of faith. This one particularly struck me; it's such a jarring image. Praise is not my first reaction to pain, but as soon as I heard this I couldn't help but see that it could be, and perhaps even should be. We can combat the evil that afflicts us by praising the goodness of God right in the midst of its attack. Often when we are seriously in pain, a prayer recited hastily from memory is all that we can manage. And in that moment, such a prayer is enough. Now, though, we are at liberty to begin to reflect on this prayer more deeply. In so doing, we can prepare ourselves to confront pain by glorifying God's everlasting goodness. Blessed be God.READ MORE
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains exactly what the Apostolic Pardon is and the requirements to perform it.
"The anointing [of the sick] is ordinarily succeeded by the conferring of the Apostolic benediction, or 'last blessing,' as it is commonly called. To this blessing a plenary indulgence is attached, to be gained, however, only at the hour of death, i.e. it is given nunc pr o tunc. It is conferred in virtue of a special faculty granted to the bishops and by them delegated quite generally to their priests. The conditions requisite for gaining it are the invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus at least mentally, acts of resignation by which the dying person professes his willingness to accept all his sufferings in reparation for his sins and submits himself entirely to the will of God…. The words of St. Augustine are in point: 'However innocent your life may have been, no Christian ought to venture to die in any other state than that of the penitent.'"READ MORE
Why veil the Tabernacle? The immediate and short answer is because the tabernacle in desert had veils and because there was a veil shielding the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple. The fact that this Temple veil was torn in two does not mean that we should abandon the use of veils and curtains. That would be simplistic, not to say childish, interpretation of that tremendous event.READ MORE
According to the liturgical legislation of the Church, the chalice used at Mass should be covered with aveil. The General Instruction for the Roman Missal [GIRM 80c] states, "The chalice should be coveredwith a veil, which may always be white" . Like most liturgical vestments, the chalice veil is a mysteriousgarment. We may be tempted to dismiss it as a kind of decoration. But the chalice and the veil not onlyhave a function during the celebration of Mass, they also remind us of a dignity that is too often veiled. A veil is used to cover the chalice when it is carried to and from the altar during the celebration ofMass. It is usually the same color as the vestments. As a liturgical vestment, it was probably introducedin the Middle Ages, and may have had a functional origin-perhaps developed from a sacculum or smallbag for carrying the sacred vessels.READ MORE
"Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord, sing praise to him and highly exalt himforever."
The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church glorifies the Father and the Lamb. It is preferably sung (or said) on Sundays and feast days outside the seasons of Advent and Lent. The Gloria is a joyful response to the forgiveness received in the Penitential Act. When it was first introduced to the Roman liturgy, it was sung only at the midnight celebration of the Nativity of our Lord – called the "Angelic Hymn" (because it begins with the song of the angels that was heard at the birth of Jesus Christ).READ MORE
We begin the Sacred Liturgy, as we do all good things: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit --the Sign of the Cross. After the entrance hymn, the priest invokes God's presence and power with these words – taken from the lips of Christ himself (Matt. 28:19).READ MORE
Father Tim had such words of wisdom last week in his homily, which has been resonating with me all week: "Much of what we do is habit – we go through motions on automatic pilot, without much thought. Therefore, it is nice to have a reminder of the importance of what we do." Just as we heard last week the importance of receiving the Eucharist, so might we need a review of how and why we participate in the liturgy.READ MORE
Each week we come to participate in the "source and summit of the Christian life" (cc1325). We are then called to 'go forth and make disciples'. To help us become more familiar with the structure of the Mass, over the next few bulletins we will look to the specific parts of the Mass and their Biblical references. But first let's have a brief overview of the Liturgy itself.READ MORE
Treasured ancient rites, familiar rituals. Wouldn't you like to know where it all comes from?
The Mass has been at the very center of Christian worship since the time of the apostles. To examine its history and development, we look to the New Testament and the account of the Last Supper. It is because Our Lord told us to do what he had done, in memory of him, that our Liturgy exists. A definite pattern, or format, of the Eucharistic celebration developed within decades of the death of our Lord. The earliest and most detailed account of the Eucharist is found in St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, which predates the Gospels – written in Ephesus between 52-55 A.D. By the time of St. Gregory (d. 604), we have the text of the Mass, its order and arrangement – aren't we so privileged to partake in this most sacred tradition? Minimal changes, moving certain elements to different places, took place with each century, but by 1570 and the Council of Trent, we have the finalized edition of the RomanMass.
In weeks to come, we will walk through the main parts of the Mass, and ponder them in light of their Scriptural background. With this understanding, the more we will come to appreciate the splendor of the rich treasure of the Liturgy. We will be better prepared to give ourselves to Jesus in every prayer and gesture; and the more we will be prepared to encounter Jesus.
In pondering the title of this column – LIVING LITURGY – it led me to reflect on:
The Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time, it is the font from which all her power flows. The Celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy is the formal structure for us to worship, give praise and thanks, ask forgiveness, pledge fidelity and render service. Aaah – render service - this is where the remaining 167 hours comes in to play!READ MORE
These are the highest, holiest days celebrated each year by the Church beginning with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. It is called the "Easter Triduum" or Paschal Triduum". We celebrate the great Paschal mystery of Christ's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
Holy Thursday the Church recalls the Last Supper when Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. The Lord commands the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, to perpetuate this offering. So not only are we commemorating the gift of Christ's body and blood, we thank God for the priesthood. After the homily, we witness a representation of Christ's service and charity, as twelve parishioners' feet are washed. Our Lord came "not to be served, but to serve." (Mt. 20-28) After Communion, we experience the beautiful tradition of a Eucharistic Procession to an Altar of Repose where we can spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 11:00 p.m…. "won't you come and spend an hour with me"?READ MORE