Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Into The Desert Again

And so it begins.

Our preparation for the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, celebrated this year on April 1 (no fooling).

The liturgical season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday, which is today. The next forty days the People of God, as a whole and as individuals, are called to repentance and conversion, to seek the face of the Lord and abide in His shadow. While this should happen every day, the next 6+ weeks brings it more into focus.

Like lost sheep, we have strayed. Like the Prodigal Son, we have lost our way. But like the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the paralytic man--like anyone who has sinned, if and when we return to the loving and merciful presence of God, we are on the way to fulfilling the redemption won by Christ on the Cross. As St. Augustine said, while He has created us without our co-operation, we will not be saved without it either.

The clarion call of more prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will be heard again in today's Gospel reading. How well we heed it, how well we implement those things even more into our lives, in short, how we become more loving of God and neighbor is set before us as a challenge to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is. The universal vocation to humanity is holiness. We who were created in His image and likeness must, with the help of His grace, remove the tarnish so that His light shines brighter in a world that seemingly doesn't recognize the darkness in which it lives.

It is time to rend our hearts. It is time to amend our lives. It is time to be purified.

It is a lifetime journey.

It can start with the steps adorned in purple.

Friday, February 02, 2018

PM: Special Edition--Feast Of The Presentation

In the calendar associated with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, this marks the end of the Christmas season. In Simeon's canticle is another recognition of the Savior of the world.

The celebration of this feast has a similar form to Palm (Passion) Sunday. Instead of palm leaves and branches, however, candles for use throughout the coming year are blessed.
Behold, our Lord will come with power, to enlighten the eyes of his servants, alleluia.
Is. 35:4-5
This antiphon gathers the faithful before upcoming procession. The Light of the world has arrived and will be recognized by those who have sought Him.

After the blessing of the candles, the faithful proceed to the church, lighted candles in hand. One of the following antiphons are sung:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
V.  Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, according to your word.
V. For my eyes have seen your salvation.
V. Which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
Luke 2:32; V. 29-31
The last of the Lucan canticles continues the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Israel's glory can now be shown to the rest of the world.
Sion, adorn your bridal chamber and welcome Christ the King; take Mary in your arms, who is the gate of heaven, for she herself is carrying the King of glory and new light. A Virgin she remains, though binging in her hands the son before the morning star begotten, whom Simeon, taking in his arms announced to the peoples as Lord of life and death and Saviour of the world.
The Old (and soon to be New) Covenant are called to worship the Infant King, the Promise of Ages. The Ark of this New Covenant is also honored, but only in relationship to the "blessed fruit of her womb."
Simeon had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. And  when they brought the child into the Temple, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying, "Lord, now you can let your servant go in peace."
Luke 2:26-29
Contrast this to what St. Thomas said after the Resurrection. But Simeon always believed before he saw; his touching was an absolute "faith seeking (and finding) understanding."
They offered for him unto the Lord "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" as it is written in the law of the Lord.
V. When the time of Mary's purification had been completed, according to the law of Moses, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
Luke 2: 24, 23; V. 22
How fitting is this Responsory. As the Lord was offered in the Temple, we now offer Him in our Church.
Your merciful love, O God, we have received in the midst of your temple. Your praise, O God, like your name, reached the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with saving justice.
V. Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise, in the city of our God, on his holy mountain.
Psalm 47: 10, 11; V. 9
How fitting this Introit, also heard on the 14th. Sunday of Ordinary Time. Like Simeon, we prepare to receive His Real Presence in true worship.
Behold, the Lord, the Mighty One, has come; and kingship is in his grasp, and power and dominion.
V.  Endow the King with your judgment, O God, and the King's son with your righteousness.
Malachi 3:1, 1 Chronicles 29:12; V. Psalm 71:2
And why not the Introit from the Solemnity of the Epiphany as an option? It is, in a very real sense, another manifestation of the Lord to all the world.
We have received your mercy, O God, in the midst of your temple; even as your name, so does your praise extend to the ends of the earth.
V. All that we have heard, we have now seen, in the city of our God, on his holy mountain.
Psalm 47:10, 11; V. 9
If it was not heard as the Introit, it will be as the Gradual (as it is heard on the 31st. Sunday of Ordinary Time). We have received Love and Mercy Incarnate; praise and adoration is the only response.
The old man was carrying the infant child; but it was the child who was guiding the man.
In the Alleluia, Simeon was carrying the Child in his heart long before he carried Him in his arms. May we all be blessed as he was.
Grace has been poured out on your lips; therefore, God has blessed you for ever, world without end.
In the Offertory, recall the Second Reading of the Mass of the Nativity:  During The Night--"The grace of God has appeared...." (cf. Titus 2:11) As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
Simeon has received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah.
Luke 2:26
In the Communion, Simeon had seen and worthily received the Lord. Have we?

Thursday, February 01, 2018

February 2018 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
Universal: Say “No” to Corruption. That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.
A reflection for this intention is found here.