Monday, January 26, 2015

Even More Intercession

Once again, I seek stable, suitable employment.

Back to this prayer again (this will be the fourth time I've used it in a post).


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Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua: 
Good Saint Anthony, in God's providence you have secured for His people many marvelous favors. You have been especially celebrated, good Saint Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home. You are widely known also, good Saint Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth. In honoring you, Saint Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need. Pray for us, good Saint Anthony, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your Confessor and Doctor, Saint Anthony. May his spiritual help always make us strong, and by his assistance may we enjoy an eternal reward. This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen. 
(This post will remain at the top until further notice.)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 7

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.

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The Liturgy of the Eucharist, Part I 
The first major part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, with the Prayers of the Faithful is completed. After the Introductory Rites, we have been fed by the rich fare of the Scriptures, carefully selected by the Church for each Mass, first from the Lectionary, then from the Book of Gospels. The meaning of the readings and the application of their message in our lives have been expanded for us in the homily. 
Now we enter the second major part of the Mass – the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Here we experience two ancient traditions – the Hebrew tradition of sacrifice offered to God, and the meal, or breaking of bread, which Jesus left as his memorial. We find that these two elements are woven together in the beautiful actions and prayers of the Eucharist. Today we will focus on preparations for the Eucharistic celebration and presentation of the gifts to be offered in that celebration. 
Up to this point, all of the actions at the Mass have taken place away from the altar, either at the priest’s chair or at the ambo. Everything now centers on the altar where the Eucharistic Sacrifice takes place. The altar is carefully prepared by the priest or deacon. We may recall the veneration of the altar, by a kiss, at the beginning of Mass. The care with which the altar is now prepared conveys appropriate reverence, indicating the importance of the actions about to occur. We see special linens: the corporal, upon which the Sacred Host and chalice are placed during the celebration of Mass, and a purificator used by the priest to purify his fingers, the chalice and paten after Holy Communion. We also see the Missal, which is the priest’s book of Mass prayers, and a cruet of water all carefully arranged in preparation for the presentation of the gifts. In parallel, it is now that we bring into clear focus our personal preparation – to link ourselves to Christ’s sacrifice, which is about to unfold, and to the Eucharistic meal. 
A key action is the procession, when members of the assembly bring the gifts of bread and wine to the altar, led by an altar server carrying a processional crucifix. These individuals represent all in the assembly, and their action in the procession calls all of us to prepare ourselves for the sacred celebration. This is very much a communal action. Its communal aspect is also reflected in the accompanying music. As the procession moves toward the altar, we all advance our hearts toward the Lord. We express our willingness to give of ourselves to God, and our monetary gifts presented along with the bread and wine acknowledge that everything we have is a gift from God. From our hearts, we offer our very selves to God at this time. 
Once the gifts have been placed on the altar, the priest begins the prayers by blessing and praising God, acknowledging that we have received from God’s goodness the gifts we offer to him. As he lifts the bread and then the chalice, the priest prays according to a formula modeled on a Jewish table prayer offered by the father of the family, praising God as the creator of the world. He reminds us that the gifts of bread and wine will become for us the bread of life and our spiritual drink. We all respond by saying, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.” We are not passive observers or mere spectators at this celebration.  Rather, each of us is an integral part of the action. We are invited to full, conscious and active participation in the celebration – at this point and throughout the Mass.

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The last line of this reflection is awkwardly phrased, in my opinion. It almost intimates the congregation is now, at the Liturgy of the Eucharist, to begin its "full, conscious, and active participation" in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is as if during the Liturgy of the Word the congregation was not. And didn't St. John Paul II say something about listening being a mode of participating?

Still, an accurate description of what is happening to this point.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

As Time (Pro-Life) Marches On

A list of the "Marches For Life" that have, are, or will be taking place around the country this year (including, of course, the one which started it all).

A recap of the number of abortion clinics closed in 2013 (and wondering how many more will have the same fate).

Fading in memory (as evil should) but still a catalyst for continuing the work.

State legislatures proposing and enacting more pro-life legislation.

It seems the pro-life movement has gained considerable ground the past two years.

All well and good.

But (and I hope somewhere, someone else may have this thought)...

Is the pro-life movement just "treating the symptoms" or are they looking "for the cure"?

I ask not in a cynical manner. I ask not as a weary observer of the biggest cultural fight in this country since slavery. I ask because I want to know if this is the way this issue is going to be settled for the time being.

Forty-two years ago this day, both by a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court decided in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that abortion will be legal throughout this country and framed their rulings in a way that do not allow for any restrictions to this so-called Constitutional right.

56,000,000+ abortions later, this great moral tug-of-war is still being contested.

It's being contested because the pro-(poor-)choice contingent makes this an issue based on emotions, a subjective stance which cannot be argued. They don't care about reasoned and rational conclusions like this. They don't even care about being rational.

They want, and for the moment have gotten, their way.

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I have faith this issue will be settled in my lifetime. I have hope the right to life will be victorious. And while the only thing I can do right now is pray (and, spiritually, I know I can do more), I do stand with the pro-life movement.

I just can't be in 89 places at the same time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 6

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.

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The Liturgy of The Word, Part II 
Having proclaimed the Gospel, the priest or, in some cases, the deacon, takes up the important task of breaking open i.e., applying the Scriptures we have just heard. The homily is an integral part of the liturgy and “may not be omitted without a grave reason.” It is through the homily that the mysteries of faith and the guiding principles of Christian life are shared. A good homily is faithful both to the mystery being celebrated and the needs of the listeners. It should lead those present to celebrate the Eucharist actively. The best homilies are the result of prayerful meditation on the texts, careful selection of ideas and images, and a joyful presentation that is neither too long nor too short. It is concluded with a moment of shared silence during which all present may reflect on what they have heard. 
This brief sharing of silent reflection prepares us for the sincere response that follows, the Profession of Faith, or Creed. By this profession we agree to what we have heard in the homily and will experience in the Eucharist. This response of faith by the community of believers begins with the words, “I believe:” in Latin, Credo, whose root words mean to give your heart to something. The Creed is more than an intellectual assent to the mysteries of the faith expressed by Church councils many centuries ago; it is also our deepest expression of faith in the mystery of which we are a part. The Creed may be sung or recited by the priest standing together with the people. At the words, “and by the Holy Spirit … and became man…” we make a profound bow; at the Solemnities of the Annunciation and Nativity of the Lord we genuflect. Either the Nicene or the Apostles’ Creed may be used. 
Our response to the Word of God is further expressed in the Prayers of the Faithful.  These prayers have their roots in the ancient Jewish synagogue service when a series of blessings for individuals and universal needs were expressed. It is likely that Jesus joined in these prayers. They became a fixed part of the Mass during the mid-second century. They are spoken of as “Universal Prayers” or “General Intercessions” because they go beyond the needs of the local community. 
The Prayers of the Faithful begin with the celebrant addressing the people and relating the prayers to the particular mystery being celebrated or some particular aspect of the Scriptures. The deacon (or in his absence another minister) announces a series of intentions to which the people respond. After a brief moment of silence, the celebrant summarizes the intentions and asks God to look favorably upon the prayers that have been expressed. The people stand during the presentation of the intentions and respond at the end, “Amen.” Because the Church is both local and universal, the intentions usually include prayers for the needs of the Church, for public authorities, for the salvation of the world, for those oppressed by any need, and for the needs of the local community. The presentation of the intercessions is traditionally given to the deacon, who by his particular ministry is focused upon the sick, the poor and those in need. The dead may also be included in the Prayers of the Faithful.

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If the Prayers of the Faithful/Universal Prayers/General Intercessions were "a fixed part of the Mass back in the mid-second century", then why are they not a part of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which is the predecessor of the Ordinary Form? Was this a true restoration or another anachronism foisted upon us back in 1969?  And how is the general public to know this is accurate information? I admit this is based on what very little knowledge I have gained about this; but while become a skeptic by nurture, I raise a red flag. I would also bet whoever reads this has their own tales on how this part of the liturgy suffers abuses based on the "needs of the local community" and how those are proclaimed.

Basic information, but I wonder....

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Let's Talk Liturgy: Part 5

This continues the series of reflections about the liturgy as requested by the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, for the education of the people of the diocese. This was read at the Masses celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany and printed in the Intermountain Catholic the following Friday.

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The Liturgy of The Word, Part I

In his writings on the Eucharist, Saint John Paul II often spoke of two tables that are involved in the celebration of Mass – the Table of the Word of God, where the scriptures are broken open for us, and the Table of the Bread of the Lord, on which the bread and wine are consecrated. It is from the Table of the Word of God that we receive the life-giving Word of God that sparks a burning hunger for Christ and prepares us to receive the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ.   
The life-giving Word comes to us in readings from the Old and New Testaments, from the responsorial psalm, and from the gospel. The first reading is almost always from the Old Testament, a sign that our roots are firmly planted in the Jewish tradition where the reading of the Law and the Prophets was a part of the synagogue service. Only during the Easter Season does this change, for then the first reading is from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Old Testament reading is usually chosen to prepare for the theme of the gospel to be read that day.   
The person who proclaims the Old Testament reading is called a lector or reader, and the book used for the reading is called the lectionary. We sit while the lector proclaims the reading from the ambo, or lectern, listening attentively until we hear the lector say: “The Word of the Lord,” to which we respond, “Thanks be to God,” signifying our assent to what has been read.   
Our connection to the ancient form of worship in the Jewish synagogue continues when next we sing (or recite) together a responsorial psalm. Ideally, the psalm is led by a cantor who sings the verse, while we sing the response. In the absence of a cantor, the psalm may be recited, although singing is preferred. Singing the psalm is a wonderful way of praying. The more familiar we are with these ancient texts, the more aware we become of the Word of God speaking to us through them. 
The Word of God nourishes us as well in the second reading, taken from the New Testament. During certain seasons – Christmas, for example – the second reading may correspond with the mystery being celebrated. During other times of the liturgical year, the second reading may have no direct connection to the gospel but still can have great meaning, if we listen attentively. 
Once the lector or reader finishes the second reading, we prepare to welcome the Lord who is about to speak the good news expressed in the Sunday Gospel. The Alleluia is once again grounded in Jewish tradition, for “Hallelujah,” meaning, “Praise Yahweh” was used at the beginning and end of psalms intended for use in the Temple.   
The Alleluia is used throughout the liturgical year, except during Lent when it is replaced with an equivalent acclamation of praise. It is always sung, never recited, by everyone standing. The deacon (or the priest when there is no deacon present) elevates the Book of the Gospels and prepares to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. 
Before the gospel is proclaimed from the ambo, it is shown further marks of respect by the signing of the cross on the text. We make the sign of the cross on our forehead, mouth and heart, signifying a readiness to open our minds to the word, to confess it with our mouths, and to safeguard it in our hearts. At the end of the reading of the Gospel, the deacon or priest reverences the text by a kiss. When the bishop is present this sign of reverence is reserved for him. These visual signs tell us that the Gospel is a special part of God’s word to be proclaimed and broken open for us at the Table of the Word of God.
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While waiting for this to be published, I have come across some commentary discussing two aspects of this reflection. One is in reference to the first paragraph about another way of looking at how St. John Paul's "Word" is used. The other is about how the Responsorial Psalm "developed" and what its purpose is in the Mass. Might make for an interesting post script.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

January 2015 Morning Offering Prayer Intentions

Here are the intentions for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal Intention - Peace. That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace. 
Evangelization Intention - Consecrated Life. That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.
Reflections for these intentions are found here.

Hail, Theotokis!


Fish Eaters presents the Akathis Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Originally posted 1/1/2011.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.

Perpetual Resolution


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Originally posted 1/1/2007.
Re-posted 1/1/2013.
Re-posted 1/1/2014.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Song At The Stroke Of Midnight



It is truly a time to celebrate, reminisce, and rejoice.  Hopefully you will have some kind of singing voice tonight. However well you sound, may you join in the verses and chorus of  Robert Burns' poem:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wandered mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

May our eternal God grace the new year with abundant love, peace, and joy. May the coming twelve months bring you closer to Him and those you love. May riches in whatever form come your way and be spread to others.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

The Best New Year's Hymn


New Advent provides the background to this hymn.

The website FishEaters.com provided the Latin and English.

From The Handbook of Indulgences:
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who recite the hymn, Te Deum, as an act of thanksgiving.  The indulgence will be a plenary one if this hymn is publicly recited on the last day of the year.
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Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae!
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

V. Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum.
R. Et laudabilis, et gloriosus in saecula.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Santo Spiritu.
R. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.

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O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Thee, the Father, all the earth doth worship.
To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Full are the Heavens and the earth of the majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles praises Thee,
The admirable company of Prophets praises Thee,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Thee, the Holy Church throughout the world doth confess:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
Thou, O Christ, are the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thou, we believe, art the Judge to come.
We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance!
And govern them, and exalt them forever.
Day by day we bless Thee
And we praise Thy Name forever: yea, forever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have trusted in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee I have trusted; let me not be confounded forever.

V. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
R. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever.
V. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost.
R. Let us praise and magnify Him for ever.


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Originally posted 12/31/2011.
Re-posted 12/31/2012.
Re-posted 12/31/2013.

Last Day's Last Word

If you are any kind of regular visitor to my infinitesimal corner of the universe, you may recall I have two sentences I use frequently to give a broad description of the happenings in my life.  One is, "The status quo is status quo," meaning nothing has really changed. The other is, "Go Forward," a motto I have adopted almost since the beginning of this 'blog as a source of focus and motivation. Obviously with the latter there is always the opportunity to compare and contrast where you were at a specific "then" and "now". How fitting on the final day of 2014 I chose to do that.

As for the state of my state, the status quo is status quo. While opportunities have come and gone the past twelve months (most of them going without any mention of their leaving), I can take comfort in the fact I am still willing to battle. A long time ago a distant cousin once mentioned to me I wasn't a quitter. While I may be more selective in my skirmishes, it still holds true. The vast majority of the frustration is found in the lack of progress in securing a full-time job and the reluctant acceptance of the "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude of whoever does the hiring. When it comes to the job search, silence is deadly. Sometimes, you can't "Go Forward" unless you are invited.

At times, this makes me wonder if God has abandoned me on this cross. The cry of my soul saying, "What do You want" grows louder with each passing moment, hopefully not creating a white noise which does not allow me to listen to the reply. Discouragement is one step removed from despair, which is one step away from sloth. That is definitely not "Going Forward".

Yet, I do realize I have been blessed. I am longing for Heaven while still here on Earth and not some "where" else. My prayer life, while still spotty, is still there. The injunction to "pray and work" is still a grace I embrace and need to more. Perhaps I need to find better soil for the seeds to be planted.

I am in a position of having an open hand and not a closed fist. There is comfort without being comfortable. Filled, but still hungry. Having, but still wanting. The Augustinian restlessness, both spiritually and materially, is here.

So, what do I do in 2015.

What else?

"Go Forward."

The status quo, with the help of God, will be a different status quo.