Sunday, April 21, 2019

2019 Easter Card

May our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, pour out abundant blessings upon you.
May the Lamb of God, slain for our salvation, bring you joy and peace.
May He Who died and rose from death grant us grace upon grace, favor upon favor.

Happy Easter, Everybody!

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

In Sacred Triplicate

The use of the number three is quite prevalent in the Church. There is, most obviously, our Triune God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love. There is the Communion of Saints:  the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant. There is the Holy Family:  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. There are the three temptations of Christ after His Baptism. There is the scene of the Transfiguration with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah being seen by Peter, James, and John (with this specific group of Apostles figuring prominently in other scenes). There is both Peter's triple denial of Jesus and his triple forgiveness. There were the three crosses on Calvary. And then there is something about "on the third day"....

It is prevalent during the Mass. It is heard in the Confiteor ("...through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.") and the prayer that follows. The Kyrie in the Extraordinary Form is a three-fold repetition. The Preface Dialogue has three parts. The beginning of the Sanctus praises our thrice-holy God. The end of any Eucharistic Prayer begins, "Through Him, and with Him, and in Him...", with a triple "Amen" sung at times in reply. The Agnus Dei is obvious. And when used, the Solemn Blessing at the end has three petitions.

It even has places in the Sacred Triduum. During the Good Friday liturgy, the cross used for veneration pauses three times on its way to the sanctuary. It is the same with the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil. From there, the minimum number of readings before the Epistle and Gospel is three, with the account of the crossing of the Red Sea (the third of the seven) being mandatory. The Alleluia returns from its hiatus with a three-fold recitation. And the Church receives new members with Her three rites of initiation:  Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion.

And during the Vigil, there is one more example. It comes at the singing of the Exsultet. The opening three lines use the same melodic pattern. This unites the three expressions of joy found in the text:
Exsultet/Exult--the exultation of the angels in Heaven.
Gaudeat/Be glad--the gladness of the earth. (Notice the connection to the 3rd. Sunday of Advent, which is also known as Gaudete Sunday.)
Laetatur/Rejoice--the rejoicing of the Church. (Notice the connection to the 4th. Sunday of Lent, which is also known as Laetare Sunday.)
So may our joy at this most awesome, marvelous, and wonderful event--the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ--may be united, complete, and limitless.

May those who have the privilege to chant this bring out this joy.

The text of this prayer, in both Latin and English, is provided for your meditation.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Fulfilling The Baptist's Cry

Since Ash Wednesday, we have been preparing.

We prepared with our prayers, that we may be more receptive to God's Word. We prepared with our fasting, that we may know God will fill any void. We prepared with our almsgiving, that we make manifest God's love to the world.

Then we prepared the way into Jerusalem with our palms and cloaks. Then we prepared the body in anticipation of His death. Then we prepared to betray Him.

Now, we enter the Sacred Triduum. But we are not done with our preparation. Far from it.

We must prepare the Upper Room. We must prepare the Passover banquet. We must prepare ourselves for what is to come.

We must prepare to hand Him over. We must prepare for His trials, the two legalistic ones as well as what He endure along the way. We must prepare for His sentencing. We must prepare for His execution.

We must prepare for His death. We must prepare for His burial. We must prepare for His proper entombment.

So, there is still much to do over the next three days. I encourage you to attend as many of the liturgies and devotions as you are able. This can and should be the culmination of your preparation.

We can then hope all this preparation will help us be fruitful.

Then we shall be prepared for what happens "on the third day".

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Everlasting "Words" Again

Palm Sunday is upon us again. We are seven days away from celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But in order to get to the empty tomb, we have to get to Calvary.

Once again I present to you a series of short meditations on the "Seven Last Words" of Jesus as He hung upon the Cross. His final sentences are mini-sermons, pondered upon by more brilliant minds than mine. Like my series on the "O" Antiphons, if my widow's mite inspires you to find something more substantive, then it will accomplish its mission.

As we finish Lent and head into the Triduum, let His final orations enliven your hearts and souls.

One per day for the next week, starting today.

They come at the hour of mercy, the hour of His death.

Monday, April 01, 2019

April 2019 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:

Doctors and their Collaborators in War Torn Areas. For doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.
A reflection for this intention is found here.