Friday, April 30, 2010


See this baby? It's a 6.5 meter doll that blinks. It is Spain's entry in Shanghai's World Expo opening tomorrow.

Its creator explained the reason for her theme "because of the passion China and Spain share, for children, and as a way of showing that our actions have consequences on our children."

Seriously? Spain and China passionate about babies?? Spain has the one of the lowest birth rates in Europe. And China is in the middle of gendercide so much so that there are 30 million more men than women. Let's not forget the one-child policy so rigorously enforced.

So, instead of real-live giving birth to babies, this exhibit objectifies the dream of babies, the romantic notion of passion for babies that in reality is a far from being passionate about babies.

This is a delusion.

She is correct in one thing, actions DO have consequences. And the culture of death that prevails in both Spain and China is hard to ignore.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Texts of the New Translations

If you want to read the side-by-side comparison of the new Mass text translations against those currently for the people's parts, click here.

The priest's parts are here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards

This blog has been nominated in The Annual Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards in the category of "More Catholic than the Pope."

Why, thank you very much, Cathy (who has been nominated in the Snarkiest category)! I take that as a compliment.

*It must come from living in the choir loft*

Arise, Shepherds!

~excerpt from Pope Benedict's address to Vox Clara:
The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.
Time to teach and strengthen!

Pope Benedict's Address to Vox Clara

~lunch with Papa. Source Radio Vaticana
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,

Members and Consultors of the Vox Clara Committee,

I thank you for the work that Vox Clara has done over the last eight years, assisting and advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts. This has been a truly collegial enterprise. Not only are all five continents represented in the membership of the Committee, but you have been assiduous in drawing together contributions from Bishops’ Conferences in English-speaking territories all over the world. I thank you for the great labour you have expended in your study of the translations and in processing the results of the many consultations that have been conducted. I thank the expert assistants for offering the fruits of their scholarship in order to render a service to the universal Church. And I thank the Superiors and Officials of the Congregation for their daily, painstaking work of overseeing the preparation and translation of texts that proclaim the truth of our redemption in Christ, the Incarnate Word of God.

Saint Augustine spoke beautifully of the relation between John the Baptist, the vox clara that resounded on the banks of the Jordan, and the Word that he spoke. A voice, he said, serves to share with the listener the message that is already in the speaker’s heart. Once the word has been spoken, it is present in the hearts of both, and so the voice, its task having been completed, can fade away (cf. Sermon 293). I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the anglophone world. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people. The voice that helped bring these words to birth will have completed its task.

A new task will then present itself, one which falls outside the direct competence of Vox Clara, but which in one way or another will involve all of you – the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.

Dear Brother Bishops, Reverend Fathers, Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the great collaborative endeavour to which you have contributed. Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. As the prayers of God’s people rise before him like incense (cf. Psalm 140:2), may the Lord’s blessing come down upon all who have contributed their time and expertise to crafting the texts in which those prayers are expressed. Thank you, and may you be abundantly rewarded for your generous service to God’s people.

Altar View

~from my parish after Father turned off all the lights save for the Crucifix after a long day of Masses.

Chant Choir Camp for Children

~Sponsored by Institute of Christ the King. Thanks to The Recovering Choir Director at Musica Sacra Forum for the heads up.
The Institute is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to children age 9-15: a completely immersive experience in Catholic choral music and musicianship. The splendid campus of the Ursuline Motherhouse of Mount Saint Joseph in Kentucky will provide the ideal setting for the camp.

Choristers who attend the choir camp will enter a world of daily prayer and music-making with their fellow campers. The personal musical advancement the choristers make will be comparable to a full year of standard weekly choir rehearsals. Classes are taught by practicing Catholic musicians.

The cost is $360 for the first camper, $310 for the second, and $250 for each camper thereafter. A limited amount of space is available. You may register online.

Brochure here
This looks fantastic. Check out the schedule and the workshops.

New ICEL translation to be approved today

~via Fr. Finigan at the Hermeneutic of Continuity
Edward Pentin, who reports for the National Catholic Register and for the Catholic Herald, reports this morning that the Congregation for Divine Worship will approve the new ICEL translation of the Missal later today.
Wooooo! I shall raise a glass to Cardinal Pell and think fondly of Bishop Trautman, er Fishperson. Fr. Finigan wondered, however, at the delay in making the missal available in 2011. 2011?!
Nowadays it would be easy enough to produce good quality, dignified pdfs which could be discreetly inserted into the altar Missal. Would it be too much to allow priests to use the texts of the Eucharistic Prayers and other prayers said by the priest alone? For one thing, it would help people to become gradually used to the new translation. For another, it would be a great relief to be able to pray the actual texts in a reasonably accurate translation rather than the defective and erroneous versions we have had to use for far too long.
Hear, hear! The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.

See? That wasn't so hard, was it?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Wounded Liturgy

Intervention by His Excellency, Msgr. Rev. M. Aillet, Bishop of Bayonne, France from the Theological Convention in Rome earlier in March of this year. The theme was "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest".

Here's an excerpt by New Liturgical Movement posted in March.
The opening to the world called for by Vatican II has often been interpreted, in the years after the Council, as a sort of "conversion to secularisation": This attitude was not lacking in generosity, but it led to obscuring the importance of the liturgy and to minimise the need for observing the rites, which were considered too distant from the life of the world which had to be love and with whom one had to be fully connected, up to being fascinated by it. The result was a grave crisis of identity of the priest who could no longer perceive the importance of the salvation of souls and the need to announce to the world the newness of the Gospel of Salvation. The liturgy is, without doubt, the privileged place of deepening the identity of the priest, called to "fight the secularization"; for, as Jesus says, in his priestly prayer: "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil. They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth." (John 17, 15-17).

This certainly will be possible through a more rigorous observation of the liturgical norms that preserve the priest from the requirement, even the unconscious one, to draw the attention of the faithful on his person: the liturgical ritual which the celebrant is called to receive filially from the Church in fact allows the faithful to come more easily to the presence of Christ the Lord, of which the liturgical celebration must be a telling sign, and which must always come first. The liturgy is wounded when the faithful are left to the arbitrariness of the celebrant, his quirks, his personal ideas or opinions, to his own wounds. Hence also follows the importance of not banalising the rites which, tearing us away from the secular world and thus from the temptation of immanentism, have the gift to immerse us suddenly in the Mystery and open ourselves to the Transcendent. In this sense, one can never stress enough the importance of the silence preceding the liturgical celebration, an inner narthex, where we are freed of the concerns, even if legitimate, of the secular world, in order to enter the sacred space and time where God will reveal his Mystery; [sc. one can never stress enough the importance] of silence in the liturgy to open oneself more readily to the action of God; and [sc. one can never stress enough] the appropriateness of a period of thanksgiving, integrated or not into celebration, to apprehend the inner extent of the mission that awaits us, once we were back in the world. Teh obedience of the priest to the rubrics is also itself a silent and eloquent sign of his love for the Church of which he is but the minister, i.e. the servant.

Hence also the importance of the formation of future priests in the liturgy and especially in the interior participation, without which the outward participation advocated by the reform would be soulless and would favor a partial understanding of the liturgy that would express itself in terms of excessive theatricalisation of the roles, reductive cerebralisation of the rites and abusive self-celebration of the assembly. If active participation, which is the operating principle of the liturgical reform, is not the exercise of the "supernatural sense of faith," the liturgy is no longer the work of Christ, but of men. Stressing the importance of liturgical formation of priests, Vatican Council II made the liturgy one of the main subjects of ecclesiastical studies, avoiding reducing it to a purely intellectual formation: in fact, prior to being an object of study, the liturgy is living, or rather, is "to transcend one's own life to merge into the life of Christ." It is the ultimate immersion of all Christian life: immersion in the sense of faith and in the sense of the Church, in praise and in adoration, as in the mission.

We are therefore called to a true "Sursum corda". The phrase from the preface, "lift up your hearts", introduces the faithful to the heart of hearts of the liturgy: Christ's Passover, that is, his passing from this world to the Father. The meeting of the Risen Jesus with Mary Magdalene on the morning of the Resurrection, is very significant in this sense: with his "Noli me tangere" Jesus invites Mary Magdalene to "look to the realities of the highest", making her realise in her heart that he is not yet ascended to the Father and requesting her to go and tell his disciples that he must go up to his God and our God, his Father and our Father. The liturgy is exactly the place of this elevation, this stretching towards God which gives life a new horizon, and thereby its decisive orientation. Provided that we do not regard it as material available to our all too human manipulations, but that we observe, with filial obedience, the prescriptions of Holy Church.

Beauty and Truth

One more so little surrounds us. We are pressed in on all sides by coarseness, by ugliness that wearies, by mediocrity that is held up as beautiful, mocking that which is True and Good. We become inured to the Beauty that beckons and mesmerizes us out of our inward-ness, that navel-gazing which is glorified in our media. It is a navel-gazing that condemns yet provides no way out but more self-glorification.

So, in these rare moments where the beauty of liturgy lifts us out of our trodden paths and propels our gaze upward, our hearts leap with joy, yes, true joy, to know, as Bishop Slattery so beautifully said, that our suffering is taken up, united with Christ's suffering, that we may make sense of what we bear daily in our crosses.

This is why it is imperative that our worship not be banal and me-oriented. It is so crucial that our gestures embedded in our liturgical rites be the highest and best that we can offer. This is about Salvation, not about feeling good.

St. Paul exhorts us to lift our minds to that which is true and good and beautiful because that is precisely where our destiny is, where God is who is all goodness and truth and Beauty Himself. This is where we truly find ourselves.

The Splendour of Worship

People, no doubt, wonder why such fuss is made over extravagant vestments and claim that it's all pomp and circumstance feeding the ego of the ministers. Then there's the usual rant about the poor, how the excessive show of triumphalism is contrary to the heart of Jesus who loved the poor and dispossessed.

This is all true, that Jesus has particular care of the poor and the dispossesed. But really, it is all of us who are poor and dispossessed. We are poor because without God, we are nothing, we have nothing. We do not bring ourselves into existence and neither can we exist without God, however much atheists protest and try to prove this point. We become less human when God is pushed out of the picture. So, yes, all of us are poor. Jesus' Incarnation, His emptying Himself of glory to take on our human nature teaches us this very point. For our sakes, He became poor. We are the poor.

And we are dispossessed. Our sin deprived us of our heritage, that of beholding God face to face. And it is only through Christ that we are able, by adoption through Him in his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, that we are restored to that heritage, that we are sons and daughters of the Most High.

What does this have to do with worship, and vestments, and "pomp".

The Pontifical Solemn High Mass last Saturday reminded me once more that God is utterly Other. However much I want to bring Him down to my level, yet He is God, truly adorable and worthy of all the best that I can offer Him through worship. The vestments, the rituals, the gestures bear within them the symbol that God is beyond me. And yet, through the Sacrifice of the Mass, I am drawn into the heart of the Divine.

What was so stunning about the cappa magna that Bishop Slattery was dressed in as he entered the temple, evoked Isaiah: "In the year that King Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and elevated; and His train filled the temple."

Isaiah was given this vision of the splendour and the glory of God.And now, through Christ's Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, we--foolish and weak that we are, unfaithful and forever wandering away--can know, can glimpse, can be pierced, too, by the glory of God. It is splendid. It is glorious. It is not like us. And we fall down to our faces and say, "Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips and I have seen with my eyes the King, the Lord of Hosts."

And just like the priest prays before the declaration of the Gospel, "Munda cor meum ac labia mea,omnipotens Dei..." Cleanse my heart and lips. We are once more drawn into that temple where we come to face Truth, Holy, Transcendent, Merciful and Glorious.

Unlike the modern manifestations of the liturgy which pull our attention away from God to fall upon ourselves and our actions and our relevance, this most solemn of rites makes us lift our eyes heavenward, the destiny of our journey. Not by anything that we do, but only through the Offering of Christ in Himself. For our part, it is the offering we give of our heart, our prayer, our whole attention that are required of us. It isn't whether we verbally say things out loud: words are meaningless if we do not have recollection, remembering who we are and who God is, that is, pardon the pun, at the heart of worship.

The infernal and maddening battles over liturgy and whether modern man can rightly understand the words of worship detract from what it is that is being done, who it is that is acting at Mass. We are spectators, you and I, in this grand drama of salvation. It is Mystery that our minds can hardly penetrate. This leaves little room for silly dancing, hand-holding, comedic actions that have nothing to do with the sacred actions happening at Mass. It is Mystery and we are left in awe.

I can understand why liturgical wars are so intense. It is a matter of who is at the heart of the Mass. We feel useless when we aren't "doing anything". Why is it only the priest that gets to do things? Aren't we, all of us, priests in that royal priesthood of believers?

But it is Christ who is the Priest, the only one who can offer a worthy offering to God the Father. And so when the cappa magna passes by, when that sacred minister, with his face set in a solemn way, passes by and his shimmering long train follows, our hearts are lifted because, here, in this person, in this temple, in this hour, Christ enters. This is our Catholic Faith. Through sensible signs, the Divine enters. How blessed are we to witness it and at the end, when we are dismissed, it is our turn to walk in this world bearing this light, this Divine Truth, God is in His temple, let the earth worship.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another view

Well, my husband was able to take a few pictures of Bishop Slattery in the cappa magna.

Cappa Magna

Bishop Edward Slattery wearing the cappa magna.

It's grand!

Oh, and did I mention that His Excellency had returned from Rome (after the volcano delay) on Wednesday, initially declined the invitation, then at the urging of Abp. Wuerl, accepted. He was on the plane Friday morning to DC, celebrated the Pontifical Solemn High Mass on Saturday. He had no voice by Sunday. I shall be praying a spiritual bouquet for His Excellency.

A still photo from Catholic News Service (*grin*)

Note to CNS, thank you for the article and photos. But,please, Bp. Slattery did not have his back to the congregation, we all faced God in the same direction. BIG difference. Oh, and I was once of the "many women who wore veils."

An excerpt from Bp. Slattery's sermon the Pontifical Solemn High Mass.
Christ’s Sacred Heart is the image of the obedience which Christ showed by his sacrificial love on Calvary. The Sacrifice of Calvary is also for us the means by which we are made obedient and this is a point which you must never forget: at Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Christ, who offers Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. We make this offering in obedience to Christ who commanded us to “Do this in memory of me” and our obediential offering is perfected in the love with which the Father receives the gift of His Son.

Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ’s obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ’s final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today.

Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiff's, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come.

Do not be dismayed that there many in the Church have not yet grasped this point, and fewer still in the world will even consider it. You know this to be true and ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.

If then someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came to this Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery and if someone asks what I said of the present situation, tell them only that we must - all of us - become saints.

Pontifical Solemn High Mass

The Pontifical Solemn High Mass was simply beautiful. I brought along my DSLR camera, but then decided to live each moment and savor them. So I don't have any pictures to show. I'm grateful that Bishop Slattery stepped up to the plate and celebrated this Mass. The overwhelming reverence and sense of mystery was what I took away from it, that the momentous moment of the return of the solemn traditional rite--and I was there. The idea of "active participation" was reinforced for me one more time. It's the actions of the heart and uniting myself with the prayers at the altar that are truly active participation. The whole thing made me ever so grateful to be Catholic, to be in communion with the Holy Father in celebration of the timeless Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in its most splendid form.

***Oh, and the cappa magna was really awesome....I had the camera in my hand but then I decided to watch every bit and commit to memory the look of His Excellency. He had a solemn look, a sense of the import of the moment, and I imagined that his long train was gathering up all of our love and prayers. As he ascended the steps toward the altar and then take a turn into the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, I had a flash of recognition of the entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies. It just doesn't get any better than that.

***The sermon was stunning. Read it here at the Diocese of Tulsa's website.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrant Found for Pontifical Solemn High Mass

Thanks be to God. Bishop Slattery of Tulsa will be celebrating the Pontifical Solemn High Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in a couple of days.

Bishop Slattery is known for his support of the traditional rite. His diocese is home of the Clear Creek Benedictine Monastery and the nascent diocesan Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Change in Celebrant for Pontifical Mass

via Fr. Z, the Paulus Institute made this announcement:
In consultation with His Eminence, Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, The Paulus Institute has agreed to seek another celebrant for the Pontifical Solemn High Mass taking place on April 24th. This action will help maintain the solemnity, reverence and beauty of the Mass.

The Paulus Institute was formed for the propagation of sacred liturgy. The Traditional Latin Mass planned for April 24th honoring Pope Benedict on his five-year inauguration anniversary is a liturgical event much bigger than the individual celebrant. Cardinal Castrillon was approached to celebrate the Mass early in what has been a three-year effort because of his special experience in celebrating this form of Mass and his efforts under Pope John-Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in encouraging the traditional form of the Mass, full liturgy and sacraments.

We are in the process of seeking another Bishop to celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Mass on Saturday and are confident that one will agree. However, in any event, a beautiful, dignified Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday at 1PM and will be the first time in nearly a half century this has occurred. All Catholic faithful are encouraged to attend.

The Paulus Institute regards all sexual abuse as tragic and a heinous sin and supports Pope Benedict’s fight to rid this disease from the Church. It stands on the side of every victim of clerical sexual abuse and earnestly desires to bind up the wounds done to their human dignity, to vindicate their civil and canonical rights, and to help them in the restoration in Christ of all they have lost.

To that end, The Paulus Institute supports the directives by the Supreme Roman Pontiff and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that all bishops should report crimes of sexual abuse to the police in accordance with the requirements of civil law. However, the Paulus Institute is not competent, nor does it have the facts, to form an opinion about the about recent media reports concerning Cardinal Castrillon.

The Paulus Institute requests respect for the human dignity and civil rights of all who participate in this sacred liturgy and observance for the tranquility and good order of the celebration.

Reform of the Liturgy

Two-part interview with Martin Mosbach on the Reform of the Liturgy and the Catholic Church. Part I here. Part II here.

Mosbach says of Pope Benedict XVI's program:
"Benedict XVI views as one of his main tasks making the essence of the Church more clearly visible – for Catholics and then also for non-Catholics. The Pope knows that the Church is indissolubly bound to her Tradition. Church and revolution are irreconcilable contradictions. He attempts to intervene where the image of the Church has been distorted through a radical break with the past. Now the Church, like its Founder, has exactly two natures: historical and timeless. She cannot forget from where she came and cannot forget where she is going. Especially the Church in the West has problems with this. She has neither any sense for her historical organic evolution nor for her life in eternity."
Since my conversion, it has been a continuing source of sorrow that the Catholic liturgy as celebrated in many, many Catholic parishes is indistinguishable from the Protestant church down the road. Liturgical ministers are afraid of connecting with the traditional liturgy, are told that it's the wrong ecclesiology, and continue the myth that "active participation" is the hustle and bustle of as many people at Mass as possible.

And yet, Sunday Mass attendance is shrinking, the young are fleeing, belief in the Real Presence diminishes. The movements toward even more "touchy-feely" worship are not working. A sense of awe, of timelessness, of being shaken out of comfort has to be restored in liturgy. It is, after all, the heart of worship, to return to God His proper due. What we encounter in every other parish is a celebration of ourselves, the closed-in circle that Pope Benedict talked about in The Spirit of Liturgy. Far from being worship according to your style, worship must be God-oriented, a turning toward God, away from what our notions of "feeling good" in worship.

Mosbach continues:
What is there more important for the Church than the liturgy? The liturgy is the body of the Church. It is faith made visible. If the liturgy falls ill, so does the entire Church. That is not a merely a hypothesis but a description of the current situation. One can’t present it drastically enough: the crisis of the Church has made possible that her greatest treasure, her Arcanum, was swept out of the center to the periphery.
Aidan Nichols, OP, in the forward to Bl. Columba Marmion's Christ in His Mysteries wrote this about the Liturgy:
The Liturgy is the way the Church as Bride gazes lovingly--and therefore penetratingly--at her Bridegroom, laying out her understanding of His heart: His purposes, the grand design of the Father which is carried out for our sake. What we experience in the texts and chants of the Liturgy at Mass and the other Offices dovetails beautifully with what we read of the life of Christ in the Gospels..."
That is why I keep harping to fellow musicians to restore the Propers of the Mass, for without them, the Catholic Mass is deformed (and can we please return to the Roman Canon for the Eucharistic Prayer?). And to restore the use of chant at Mass so that we liberate the Mass from being perpetually stuck in the '60s and '70s style of wretched music.

The endless debates about what constitutes a proper hymn or song for Mass would be drastically reduced if we restore the Propers. I'm speaking now of the Novus Ordo which, unfortunately, is so very unstable in its present practice. This fact was reinforced one more time to me during Easter. By sticking to the Propers chanted at Mass, the Easter liturgy shone more brightly and more gloriously than had I had an army of instruments and flashy music. Imagine at the Introit, "Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sim, Alleluia" being chanted while Father was censing the altar, Paschal candle and baptismal font. The unaccompanied chant immediately sets one in a time outside of time. Isn't that what worship is?

People commented on the beauty of the music after Mass. Isn't it sad that people didn't know that this music is and has been the music for Easter.

True Liberation

Here's an excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI's impromptu homily which he gave to the Pontifical Biblical Commission last Thursday, April 15th.
Obedience to God has the primacy.

Here it is important to emphasize that this is a matter of obedience, and that it is precisely obedience that gives freedom. The modern age has spoken of the liberation of man, of his full autonomy, and therefore also of liberation from obedience to God. It is said that obedience should no longer exist, man is free, he is autonomous: nothing else. But this autonomy is a lie: it is an ontological lie, because man does not exist on his own and for himself, and it is also a political and practical lie, because collaboration, the sharing of freedom, is necessary. And if God does not exist, if God is not an imperative accessible to man, what remains as the supreme imperative is only the consensus of the majority. As a result, the consensus of the majority becomes the last word, which we must obey. And this consensus - we know this from the history of the last century - can also be a "consensus in evil."

So we see that so-called autonomy does not truly liberate man. Obedience to God is freedom, because it is the truth, it is the imperative that stands before all human imperatives. In the history of humanity, these words of Peter and of Socrates are the true beacon of liberation for man, who is able to see God and, in the name of God, can and must obey not so much men, but Him, and thus free himself from the positivism of human obedience. The dictatorships have always been against this obedience to God. The Nazi dictatorship, like that of Marxism, cannot accept a God who stands above ideological power; and the freedom of the martyrs, who recognize God precisely in obedience to divine power, is always the act of liberation by which the freedom of Christ comes to us... is important that we be told where Christ arrives, and where we must also arrive: hypsosen - on high - ascending to the right hand of the Father. Following Christ is not only an imitation of his virtues, it is not only living in this world, as much as we are able, as Christ did, according to his word, but it is a journey that has a destination. And the destination is the right hand of the Father. There is this journey of Jesus, this following of Jesus that ends at the right hand of the Father. It is to the horizon of this following that the entire journey of Jesus belongs, including his arrival at the right hand of the Father.

In this sense, the destination of this journey is eternal life at the right hand of the Father in communion with Christ. Often today we are afraid of talking about eternal life. We talk about things that are useful for the world, we show that Christianity also helps to improve the world, but we do not dare to say that its true destination is eternal life, and that it is from this destination that the criteria of life come. We must again come to understand that Christianity remains a "fragment" if we do not think about this destination, that we want to follow the archegos to the height where God is, to the glory of the Son who makes us sons in the Son, and we must again come to recognize that only in the grand perspective of eternal life does Christianity reveal all of its meaning. We must have the courage, the joy, the great hope that eternal life exists, it is true life and from this true life comes the light that also illuminates this world.
This excerpt echoes what I've been reading in my post-Easter recovery in Christ in His Mysteries by Bl. Columba Marmion.
It was from highest heaven, "a summo coelo," that He arose, like the sun: and it was to this sublime summit that He went up again--up to the highest heaven, "ad summum ejus." This coming forth, like the sun from the heavens, is His eternal dawn in the heart's-embrace of the Father: "I came forth from the Father." His return is His ascension to the Father: "I leave the world and go to the Father."

But he does not go up unaccompanied. This giant was sent to seek lost humanity: He regains it; and, in an embrace of love, bears it away with Him along the course He runs, so as to place it near Him in the heart's-embrace of the Father: "I ascend to my Father, who is also your Father." I go there to "prepare a place for you"--a place in "my Father's house."

Such is the work of this divine giant: to bring back fallen humanity into the heart's-embrace of the Fahter, to the divine source of all bliss, by giving it back the grace of adoption through His life and His sacrifice.
Beautiful! Where are you going?

Slow down, you move too fast

A little serenity to help you start your day. Time lapse photography:

Timescapes: "Death is the Road to Awe" from Tom Lowe @ Timescapes on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pontifical Solemn High Mass

Where I will be this weekend:

Earth Day 2010


Ashes, ashes

Photos from the volcano eruption, Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

Photo by Olivier Vanderginste.

More photos at this site

My father-in-law is stuck in Rome and doesn't know when he'll be able to return Stateside. I can think of worse places in the world to be stuck in.

Light blogging

Read this post which will explain in large part why I've been silent lately. We just celebrated the Third Sunday of Easter and still, I'm exhausted.

Easter music at our parish was pretty simple, the Latin Propers chanted. The Alleluia was a setting by Henry Purcell. The Postlude was a Corelli string quartet. Our choir was diminished because of illnesses. So the decision to go with the proper music of the Mass was a painless one. But Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday was pretty intense. We added Tenebrae on the schedule. I counted how many Masses and services (Tenebrae and Good Friday) that I play between Palm Sunday and Easter. Fourteen. That included a three-hour Easter Vigil and a Missa Cantata Easter Day. Then Divine Mercy Sunday was not a Low Sunday by any means. Our diocesan schola came to our principal Novus Ordo Mass and stayed for the chanted Divine Mercy Chaplet and ending with a Low Mass EF, which was full of beautiful music.

On top of it, I've not had a full weekend off from work since the first of June. Yes, I'm totally burned out.

Oh, and did I mention that I also teach RCIA?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An ancient homily for Holy Saturday

~an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all”. Christ answered him: “And with your spirit”. He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light”.

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Friday, April 02, 2010

By the Cross death was slain

~a sermon by Theodore the Studite

How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return.

This was the tree on which Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death, and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death, but now a tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent by a tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim: Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world! The supreme wisdom that flowered on the cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom's pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.

The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed clearly even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God's command, to escape the destruction of the flood together with his sons, his wife, his sons' wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the cross when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh's magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God's own people? Aaron's rod, which blossomed in one day in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the cross, and did not Abraham foreshadow the cross when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood?

By the cross death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The cross is the glory of all the apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the sanctification of the saints. By the cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfold of heaven.


I hope that you get to hear the Reproaches in your church today. They are proper to the Latin rite liturgy for today. Somehow, they have disappeared from most observances of Good Friday. This is tragic because of the power of these words, God enumerating the ways we have failed His love. We will be chanting these in simple plainchant during the Adoration of the Cross.

Antiphon 1 and 2: We worship you, Lord, we venerate your cross, we praise your resurrection. Through the cross you brought joy to the world.

(Psalm 66:2) May God be gracious and bless us; and let his face shed its light upon us.

Repeat Antiphon by 1 and 2:

The Reproaches:

My people, what have I done to you How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the cross.

My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

Holy is God! 2: Holy and strong! 1: Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!

For forty years I led you safely through the desert. I fed you with manna from heaven,รน and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.

Holy is God...

What more could I have done for you. I planted you as my fairest vine, but you yielded only bitterness: when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink, and you pierced your Savior with a lance.

Holy is God...

For your sake I scourged your captors and their firstborn sons, but you brought your scourges down on me.

My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!

I led you from slavery to freedom and drowned your captors in the sea, but you handed me over to your high priests.

My people....

I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear. 2

My people....

I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate's court.

My people....

I bore you up with manna in the desert, but you struck me down and scourged me.

My people....

I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.
My people....

For you I struck down the kings of Canaan. but you struck my head with a reed.

My people....

I gave you a royal scepter, but you gave me a crown of thorns.

My people....

I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a cross.

My people....

Popule Meus

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me.

Setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria

Crucem tuam


with the Trisagion:
Agios o Theos! Sanctus Deus! Agios ischyros! Sanctus fortis! Agios athanatos, eleison imas. Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ubi Caritas

One of the antiphons at the Washing of Feet in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is the Offertory antiphon in the Ordinary Form. This exquisite setting is by Maurice Durufle wherein he incorporated the plainchant.

Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, there is God. The love of Christ has gathered us together. Let us rejoice in Him and be glad. Let us fear and love the living God. And let us love one another with sincere hearts.

Christus Factus Est

The Gradual

This is one of the most sublime pieces of liturgical antiphons here in a setting by Anton Bruckner.

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum: et dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen.

Christ became obedient for us unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause, God also hath exalted Him and hath given Him a Name which is above all names.

Nos autem gloriari oportet

For all of you who will not have an opportunity to hear any or all of tonight's Mass Propers, here is the Introit chanted by Giovanni Vianini.

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini: in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra; per quem salvati, et liberati sumus. Ps. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

But it behooves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by whom we are saved and delivered. Psalm. May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us.

The Last Supper

The Lamb that was slain

~from an Easter homily by St. Melito of Sardis

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.

He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonoured in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.