The Meeting of Time and Eternity FR. JOHN R.P. RUSSELL: Re-Blogged

 

The Meeting of Time and Eternity

Forty days ago, Christ is born! So now it is time for him and his mother to go to Jerusalem — to the temple — according to the law of Moses (Luke 2:22). The book of Leviticus states that when the forty days of purification are complete after the birth of a son, the mother is to bring a yearling lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering (Leviticus 12:2-6). Mary doesn’t do this, but rather brings a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons (Luke 2:24) — because Leviticus goes on to state that if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons – one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering (Leviticus 12:8). The Lord’s Christ and his mother come to the temple in Jerusalem in some measure of poverty — unable to afford a lamb — but also with an unseen poverty greater than this poverty which would have been apparent to all. For here is the giver of the law subjecting himself to the law — “him who as God is the legislator, [is seen now] as subject to his own decrees.”[ii]  Here is God coming now as a baby boy. Here is an incomprehensible self-emptying – a giving up of everything for us – the creator become a creature – the divine made human – the infinite made finite – the eternal made temporal. Such impoverishment!

We call this feast, the Meeting. Here eternity is meeting time. Here an old man is meeting a baby boy. Simeon is meeting Jesus.

Simeon has been waiting a long time to meet the Lord’s Christ at this intersection of time and eternity in the temple in Jerusalem – in the house of the Lord. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he sees the Lord’s Christ (Luke 2:26).

Listen to some of what he says when finally lays his eyes on Christ. We hear these words so often – at every vespers and at other services – that maybe sometimes we forget to listen to them as they wash over us day after passing day, night after passing night. Simeon says that his eyes have seen the Lord’s salvation, so now he is ready to depart in peace (Luke 2:29-30).

How does the Lord Jesus Christ save us? How can Simeon say he has seen our salvation? As if it is already accomplished here in this baby boy – this baby who has not yet spoken a word, though he is already and from eternity the word of God. Yet, he has not yet preached a single word of the Gospel to the world. He has not yet died for us so that he may rise for us and by his death trample death. Yet here is Simeon saying he has seen the salvation prepared by the Lord before the face of all people (Luke 2:30-31). How can this be?

For one thing, Simeon is a prophet of the Lord and he speaks of what is coming as well as of what is present before him and what has been (eg. Luke 2:34-35). Nonetheless, his eyes have already seen this salvation. And the Incarnation of God in Christ Jesus even as a baby can truly be understood and expressed as already accomplishing our salvation by uniting the divinity with our humanity. But does this mean that what was to follow – his life, his preaching, his teachings, his healings, his transfiguration, his death, his resurrection, his ascension – are all superfluous addenda to our salvation already accomplished in this baby boy? No! This is not what it means.

Rather, this reveals to us something of the prophetic mind – the mind we ought to yearn to acquire for ourselves. We ought to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that [we] may prophesy” (1 Cor14:1). And we must seek to acquire the mind of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5). When a prophet speaks, the Lord speaks through him. When a prophet thinks, the Lord also thinks in him. When a prophet sees, he sees with the eyes of the Lord. This is the way to be – more and more configured to the Lord – more and more like him in every way, each and every day. Then we can begin to see things as he sees them.

And the Lord’s understanding is not confined by our chronology. This is a point we often forget, being so limited in our understanding, but which is greatly helpful to remember as often as possible: God is not confined by our chronology.

In the Divine Liturgy, after the epiklesis, we offer the spiritual sacrifice for the Theotokos and all the saints. Now, what need have they of our prayers? – You may well ask. Their salvation is accomplished. We have need of their prayers more than they do of ours, it seems to us. While from a chronological perspective, this question makes sense, it forgets what the Divine Liturgy is and it forgets that we are in the house of the Lord who is not confined by our chronology.

In the house of the Lord, Simeon looks upon the baby Jesus and sees our salvation already accomplished. In this house of the Lord here today, if we look with prophetic eyes, we will see our salvation already accomplished.

Does this mean our salvation does not require us to work it out in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)? Or that we don’t need what remains of our lives, filled – as they doubtless will be – with many sufferings and blessings? Or that we need not die? Or that the Lord need not come again in glory? Or that we need not rise again to live eternally in Christ? No! That’s not what it means. But at every Divine Liturgy we remember the second coming in glory, in the same breath as we remember the cross the tomb the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven and the sitting at the right hand. We remember these things as already accomplished – for our Lord is not confined by our chronology and today on this Feast of Meeting, our time meets with eternity.

[i] Inspired by Nicole M. Roccas, “Meeting Vulnerability in the Presentation of Our Lord,” (https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/timeeternal/meeting-vulnerability-presentation-lord/).

[ii] Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, Homily 3.

Who is God? a Brief Reflection by Patrick Miron

 

 

Who is God?

A Brief reflection by Patrick Miron

If I were to ask ‘Who is God”, undoubtedly every person reading this could in their own words, without reflection share a correct response.

But what if I changed the question to: Who is GOD for YOU?  … This question ought to cause pause for reflection.

FROM Father John A. Hardon’s S.J. Catholic Dictionary

GOD. The one absolutely and infinitely perfect spirit who is the Creator of all. In the definition of the First Vatican Council, fifteen internal attributes of God are affirmed, besides his role as Creator of the universe: “The holy, Catholic, apostolic Roman Church believes and professes that there is one true, living God, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth. He is almighty, eternal, beyond measure, incomprehensible, and infinite in intellect, will and in every perfection. Since He is one unique spiritual substance, entirely simple and unchangeable, He must be declared really and essentially distinct from the world, perfectly happy in Himself and by his very nature, and inexpressibly exalted over all things that exist or can be conceived other than Himself” (Denzinger 3001).

Reflecting on the nature of God, theology has variously identified what may be called his metaphysical essence, i.e., what is God. It is commonly said to be his self-subsistence. God is Being Itself. In God essence and existence coincide. He is the Being who cannot not exist. God alone must be. All other beings exist only because of the will of God End quotes

So Father Hardon has shared “Who God is”; but leaves unanswered “Who is God for ME?”

From time to time, [not nearly often enough], I pause to contemplate that the God of the Universe; Thee GOD of the BILLIONS of stars, planets and galaxies; the inexplicable Order of the Universe, the very initiator and sustainer of life in all forms; but most remarkably; the cause of MY life. Prompts me to ask:

Why ME?

Why Now?

Why Here?

Each time I ask this, I come up with different answers. I puzzle how God can use me, an under educated, far from perfect person. Then I smile. God choose folks like ME to be His Apostles. Fishermen, tax collectors and common folks. So I marvel at God’s Wisdom. Being less educated, even less intelligent, means GOD gets the credit for all that I do and all the He is able to accomplish through me; and through you. I am but a conduit for the Holy Spirit.  That same Holy Spirit longs to use each of us if we are open to His promptings.

That this GOD, the God of every good thing can use me; and desires to be VERY Personally involved in my life; little ol’ ME; and in Our lives too when permitted is incomprehensible to me; but then I realize …. I don’t need to understand it; I merely have to acknowledge it with Great Gratitude and thanksgiving. To accept the reality that as unworthty as I am; I AM still a child of God, Created in His Image. I have worth only to the degree that I know, love, obey and serve Him and acknowledge His Sovereign right to be in control of all that I do.

Who is God for me? Everything!

May the Holy Spirit take control of your lives as well

Patrick

“Our King and Our Queen” by Howard Kainz …. Re-Blogged ; have a Blessed Sonday my fiends; PJM

 

Our King and Queen

Howard Kainz

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018

When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus (Jn. 18:37-38) whether he was really a king, Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

It sounds as if Jesus is “changing the subject.” What does “testifying to the truth” have to do with being a king?

Plato theorized that the only hope for having a good and just kingdom would be having a philosopher king. Historically, the candidates for being called a philosopher king are few: Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.), Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, who was not very kind to Christians (Justin Martyr died under his rule); and Frederick the Great (1712-1786), who was biased against Catholics and Jews.

Kings or politicians dedicated to the truth would, in any case, be welcome. But many or most politicians would agree with Pilate’s response, “What is truth?” – forerunners of pragmatism, situation ethics, and political correctness. Shades of Machiavelli.

Otto von Bismarck famously said, “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.” Thus many politicians and diplomats pride themselves on their discretion, in divulging just enough of the truth to get elected and/or keep their jobs; and many princes of the Church think they are doing a service to God and the faithful by downplaying doctrine in favor of “pastoral” adjustments.

But Christ the King, who spoke truth to power – especially truths about the Kingdom of God, heaven (and how to get there), sin, and hell – is (admittedly) a difficult model to imitate. Few now even try. Secular and ecclesiastical leaders everywhere are having trouble with the truth – whether to ignore it, modify it, try to approximate it, or simply declare it and accept the consequences.

If that is the truth about “kings,” what can we say about “queens”? We Catholics call Mary our Queen. But that requires no little explanation. She was largely silent and (to the eyes of the world) undistinguished, unlike so many queens who try to make themselves be seen as benevolent national figureheads. When a woman in the crowd once called out to Jesus, “blessed is the womb that bore thee” (Lk. 11:27), Jesus seemed, again, to “change the subject,” and talked about the blessed as those who “keep the word of God.”

*

Certainly, because of her Immaculate Conception, Mary must have had virtues and gifts beyond compare. But any use of these gifts during Jesus’ lifetime must have been private, not public. Her motto seemed to be, like John the Baptist, “he must increase; I must decrease.”

It is a paradox of Christianity that sufferings become the sources of the greatest glory. The renewed body of Christ after his Resurrection still bears the wounds; and these are special sources of His glory, His spiritual identifiers. This is a harbinger of the fact that the particular sufferings of saints in the afterlife will be insignias of special glory – not only external wounds, beheadings, tortures, etc. but also internal sufferings – including sicknesses and disabilities accepted with resignation to God’s will.

What was Mary’s signal suffering? In the case of Mary, it has to do with her Immaculate Heart.

At the Presentation of Jesus (which we just celebrated Friday), Mary and Joseph brought into the Temple the child who was to be the Savior that Israel had been expecting for centuries, the Son of the Most High described by Gabriel at the Annunciation. (Luke 1:32) But Simeon prophesies that this child would be a “sign of contradiction,” bringing about the rise and fall of many; and that “a sword” would pierce Mary’s soul.

This prophecy was just the beginning of Mary’s sufferings. The “sword” was not meant metaphorically. Just as medical science tells us that hearts can actually be “broken” by sorrows and even cause death, this doting Mother who was bringing the final hope of redemption and salvation into the world, would feel an almost intolerable pang at these words – not just a short sense of immense sorrow, not something that would just disappear with time and the joys of life.

No doubt she experienced grief even more than those who suffer and die of a “broken heart.” She and Joseph had to flee to Egypt, to escape Herod’s attempt to slaughter the prophesied “King of the Jews.”

After their return from those unfamiliar, hostile, and largely pagan surroundings, domestic life, possibly in an extended family, caring for the incarnate Son of God in the midst of unbelieving “brothers” (Jn. 7:5) – were formidable tests for Mary’s patience and faith.

Later, Mary’s distress at losing track of the twelve-year-old Jesus for three days before discovering Him in the Temple must have brought grief that can only be understood by those parents who have lost children at one time or another and went through panicky searches to find them.

Finally, no analogy to our own experiences can help us to imagine the grief of Mary at the trial and sentencing of her Son, the King of the Jews, tortured and executed by persons who knew not what they were doing: committing an unfathomable deicide.

We talk about Mary’s “sorrows” as she witnessed the Crucifixion, claimed the body, and buried her dead son. But “sorrow” is too tame a word. Surely her grief, knowing that people were rejecting their divine Savior, must have been tantamount to a broken heart, miraculously kept alive while experiencing the pangs of death. That was her crown as Queen.

We Christians are committed to a King who was victorious, but whose glory is manifested in wounds suffered for revealing unwelcome truths to mankind; and we have a Virgin Queen Mother whose Immaculate Heart, once weighed down with secret, unbearable anguish, has now been glorified as an unfailing source of compassion and mercy with the King. And, as old Simeon predicted, all so that the thoughts of many hearts, “may be revealed.” END QUOTES

 

*Image: The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple by Fra Angelico, c. 1440 [Museo Nazionale di San Marco, Florence]

© 2018 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

 

Another message in the parable of the mustard seed  Deacon Greg Kandra: Re-Blogged |

Another message in the parable of the mustard seed

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Great things often begin with something small

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

This gospel about the mustard seed is familiar to so many of us, and I think we all understand the larger point Jesus is trying to make – that even a little bit of faith can work wonders. That it can grow, and strengthen, and make possible miracles.

But there is something else here that is easy to overlook, another message worth remembering.

It is a reminder to us of how much God treasures those things that are small.

After all, He came to us as one who was small Himself – a helpless baby, without a home, in a forgotten corner of an occupied country.

He feels a special affinity for those things in this world that are weak. Overlooked. Neglected. Dismissed. Little.

I think of St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day we celebrate today – a young woman, barely more than a girl, who hid herself in a Carmelite convent and vowed to find her path to God through what she called her “Little Way.” She died at just 24 – and is hailed today not only as one of the most beloved saints, but as one of the greatest doctors of the Church.

Or consider the woman who took her name, Mother Teresa — now Saint Teresa of Calcutta —  who dared to embrace and love those nobody else would even touch. She once said that while we may not all be able to do great things, we can all do small things with great love. That message has moved millions of all faiths – and even those of no faith – all over the world.

Great things often begin with something small.  And, on this particular Sunday, when we are called to honor life, our hearts and minds are drawn to those who are the smallest of all.  Those who are often dishonored, and even discarded.

Those who are – literally — the size of a mustard seed.

Science tells us that at five weeks, an embryo is roughly the size of the tip of a pen – only a little bit smaller than a mustard seed.

And yet, its life story is already beginning to be told.

Its heart has already started the great work of a lifetime. It’s begun to beat. And beat. And beat. Across an average lifespan, the human heart will beat three billion times. In a five-week-old embryo, it’s only getting started.

But so is everything else. The baby’s facial features are starting to form: the eyes, the nose, the lips. Eyes that will watch the leaves change and the sun rise. The nose that will smell burning leaves and fresh baked bread. The lips that will smile and one day whisper, “I love you.”

The passageways of its inner ear are taking shape – to hear the sound of music, or the laughter of a child, or the call of seagulls on a beach.

Small limbs are forming – arms to hold, and legs to run.

At five weeks, the brain is beginning to develop – a mind that will solve problems, or write poetry.

And yet: that life — that remarkable, miraculous, incomparable life — is not much larger than a mustard seed. It may be, at most, the size of a pencil eraser.

And that small life, imperceptible and maybe even unknown, is loved by God. It has a spark of the divine. It carries with it the potential to one day build towers, span rivers, compose symphonies. There is a purpose to its being, even in being so small. As Houston’s Cardinal Daniel DiNardo once wrote: “Every human being, at every stage and condition, is willed and loved by God. For this reason, every human life is sacred.”

Over the last four decades, we have all heard so many reasons for standing in opposition to abortion. Let me add my own.

It is, quite simply, because it strikes so deeply at the heart of God. It disrupts His divine act of creation, ripping it from His hands, throwing it to the ground. And it does this to those for whom He feels a special closeness – the weak, the struggling, the defenseless, the small.

The fact is: every life carries possibility, and hope.

As Catholic Christians, it is our responsibility to proclaim that hope to the world – to respect life as the sacred gift that it is, in all its forms, in all its stages. To pray for life. To nurture it. To act as collaborators with God, to help His work come into the world, and continue.

And to do that with even the tiniest mustard seed of faith — trusting, somehow, in God’s will.

If we do that, who knows what miracles might happen?

Who knows what mulberry trees we might be able to move?

Ten Practical Steps to a Sanctified Life: by Father WADE L. J. MENEZES, CPM

 

Ten Practical Steps to a Sanctified Life

  1. WADE L. J. MENEZES, CPM

Let us turn to some practical aids that can encourage us to establish a strong spiritual life. This is by no means an exhaustive list; rather, it’s simply a starting point for your own exploration. And realize, too, that you won’t achieve these all in one week or even one month — and you’re not supposed to. As St. Philip Neri says, “One should not wish to become a saint in four days but step by step.”

And remember this: Show me a room with seven different Christians who are committed to a strong daily spiritual life, and I’ll show you seven different regimens of prayers and other devotions. Quite simply, we’re all different. St. Francis de Sales tells us that our spiritual lives should “be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.” Even so, there are some staples that everyone should acquire and practice over time.

  1. Monthly Confession

It will suffice to say that the beautiful Tribunal of Mercy that is this Sacrament is an irreplaceable fountain of healing grace for our souls. And let us not be afraid to call on Our Lady of Mercy to assist us in making a sound confession.

  1. Weekly Eucharist

This, of course, includes your Sunday Mass obligation — which is an obligation not because we fear God but precisely because we love Him. Try, though, to attend one or two weekday Masses if your schedule permits. After all, the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” You should also try to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament at least once per week. Whether it is a fifteen-minute visit or a Holy Hour, time spent in our Lord’s Eucharistic presence is invaluable.

  1. Morning Offering

This is a simple practice every Christian can integrate into his or her daily life. After all, how do you know that today isn’t the day you’re going to die? How do you know you won’t be tempted to commit mortal sin? It is traditionally said that St. Philip Neri spoke these words each morning upon rising: “O Lord, stay by your Philip today, because if You do not, Your Philip will betray You before the day is over.” You might want to use St. Philip Neri’s model, write your own, or use any other Morning Offering found in a good Catholic prayer book. The Morning Offering can also be a great way to renew your consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  1. Daily Rosary

Try to pray just five decades a day — a fifteen- to twenty-minute practice. You can even incorporate the Rosary into your daily commute or walk — be creative. In family settings you can pray it with your spouse and children. You can give children a chance to participate by letting them take turns in announcing the mysteries of the Rosary and leading the decades of prayer.

  1. Daily Chaplet of Divine Mercy:

This simple devotion reminds us of our sinfulness, but also of the beautiful fact that God is always waiting to embrace us with open arms — provided we honestly repent. If you don’t have time for the entire chaplet, just remember this simple prayer brought to us by St. Faustina that you can say throughout the day: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

This article is from a chapter in “The Four Last Things.” Click image to preview or order.

  1. Fasting

Fast according to the mind of the Church at least one day per week, preferably on Fridays. By “according to the mind of the Church” I mean simply one main meal and then two smaller meals that together do not equal the one main meal. It’s really a very simple fasting rule. Fasting regularly can be a powerful tool to overcome habitual sin. As our Lord says in the Gospel, some demons can be cast out only by “prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).

  1. Two Daily Examinations of Conscience

I recommend a par­ticular examen and a general examen every day. Each of these should take only about two or three minutes and should close with an Act of Contrition (either a formal one from a favorite prayer book, or one of your own wording).

The particular examen is done around midday and looks at a specific virtue that you’ve been trying to cultivate in your life, or at a specific vice that you’ve been trying to eliminate. It is as simple as asking yourself: “How have I done so far today?” Similarly, at the end of the day, just before you retire for bed, make a general examen of your entire day — that is, how you did overall that day in following God’s will. Recognize certain instances during that day when you practiced virtue; and don’t hesitate to recognize certain instances when you sinned.

These two daily examens help us to grow in self-knowledge by recognizing and admitting any sin we may have committed that day. If your sin is venial, your fervent Act of Contrition will wipe it away. If it is mortal, pray an Act of Contrition and get to the sacrament of Penance as soon as is reasonably possible.

  1. Aspiratory Prayers

These are simple one-or-two-sentence prayers that can be said in a single breath — hence, “aspiratory.” These are great to get into the habit of saying because they help us recognize the presence of God throughout the day. These short prayers can be based on Scripture or other devotions. For example:

This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1) Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — I love you, save souls. My Guardian Angel, protect me.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Pick out a favorite passage from Scripture and make it your own aspiratory prayer, or invoke a favorite saint throughout the day.

  1. Daily Liturgical Reading

Have a plan to read the daily Mass readings for the day, perhaps along with a short meditation, so that even if you don’t get to daily Mass you can still read the Scriptures with the Church. There are several daily devotionals you can subscribe to that have the daily Mass readings in them, and the readings are also available free online.

  1. Sacramentals

Sacramentals are “Sacred signs which bear a certain resemblance to the sacraments, and by means of which spiritual effects are signified and obtained through the prayers of the Church” (CCC, glossary). They can include blessed objects and places, such as holy water, shrines, and religious medals (for example, those of your patron saints). Sacramentals can also include blessings of persons, meals, and objects — for example, the blessing of a mother before childbirth, blessings before and after meals, and having one’s rosary blessed. These practices derive from the baptismal priesthood in which all the baptized share, as “every baptized person is called to be a ‘blessing’ and to bless (cf. Gen. 12:2; Luke 6:28; Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:9)” (CCC 1669).

Suggested Reading

Lastly, there are four chief texts that I’d like to recommend that you become very familiar with:

  1. Sacred Scripture: Try to read one chapter daily — roughly a five-minute exercise — leaving some time for meditation.
  2. Catechism of the Catholic Church: Try to read and study three to five paragraphs each day. This is a great way to catechize yourself at your own pace and learn faithfully the teachings of Holy Mother Church.
  3. Lives of the Saints: Try to read a condensed version of one saint’s life per week. Good, condensed versions will not take you more than a few minutes. While we can benefit from reading the life of any saint, particular benefits flow from focusing on those saints who shared our vocation and state in life. Remember: The saints lived in the modern world of their time just as we live in the modern world of our time. St. Faustina’s Diary: I have a particular affection for this beautiful piece of spiritual writing. Try to read three to five paragraphs per week. It will help you discover even more what an immense gift and treasure the mercy of God is.
  4. Faustina’s Diary: I have a particular affection for this beautiful piece of spiritual writing. Try to read three to five paragraphs per week. It will help you discover even more what an immense gift and treasure the mercy of God is.

I hope that these ten spiritual exercises and the regular reading of these four staple texts will serve as a great foundation for you to begin a faithful regimen in the spiritual life. Again, this list is by no means exhaustive, nor do you need to incorporate each and every suggestion right away; it is simply a suggested plan of action meant to spur you on to a prayerful daily life. A strong spiritual life assists us all in staying in a state of sanctifying grace, which must always be our first goal.

Our Lord once told St. Faustina, “My Kingdom on earth is My life in the human soul.” What a wonderful truth! The soul in the state of grace is Christ’s Kingdom, allowing us to participate in God’s own divine life. END QUOTES

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Fr. Menezes’s The Four Last Things: A Catechetical Guide to Death, Judgment, Heaven, and HellIt is available as a paperback or an ebook from Sophia Institute Press

Tagged as: Faustina KowalskaholinessSanctitySophia ExcerptsSpiritual Life,St. Francis de Sales

By Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM

Fr. Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM is a member of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching Religious Congregation based in Auburn, Kentucky. Ordained a priest during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Catholic Thought from the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Toronto, Canada and his dual Master of Arts and Master of Divinity Degrees in Theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Who are the “Fathers of the Church” and why do they matter?  Philip Kosloski: re-blogged

They are pillars of the Church and their writings are inspirational.

Many Christians frequently refer to the “Fathers of the Church” or the “Church Fathers.” Who are they and what are they talking about?

Not to be confused with the “Desert Fathers,” the “Church Fathers” are a group of foundational members of the early Christian Church.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The word Father is used in the New Testament to mean a teacher of spiritual things, by whose means the soul of man is born again into the likeness of Christ.” Initially this term was used to denote those spiritual “fathers” who nurtured the faith of the early Church and who maintained what the Apostles taught.

Over time this term became more focused and the Church defined specific people who qualified as “Fathers” and whose teaching greatly influenced the growth of Christianity. This includes bishops from both the Western and Eastern churches. The following Fathers are recognized as the “Great Church Fathers” or the original “Doctors of the Church.”

Ambrose (340–397), Jerome (347–420), Augustine (354–430) and Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540–604)
Basil the Great (329–379), Athanasius (296–373), Gregory of Nazianzus (329–389) and John Chrysostom (347–407)

Four of these Fathers are depicted in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and are seen carrying the great Chair of St. Peter in the apse of the church.

Besides these eight Fathers, there are many other influential spiritual figures of the early Church. According to Catholic Answers, there are specific requirements that qualify an individual as a “Church Father.”

The Church demands four major characteristics to be exhibited in the life and works of an early Church leader if he is to be considered a Father of the Church. These are antiquity, meaning that he lived before the eighth century (the death of St. John Damascene [cir. A.D. 750] is generally regarded as the close of the age of the Fathers); doctrinal orthodoxy; personal sanctity; and approval by the Church.

For many Christians these Fathers of the Church have been extremely influential on a personal level. By reading their writings an individual gains a unique insight into the early followers of Christianity. In particular, their writings confirm what the Church has always taught and continues to teach today. The Fathers stand as foundational pillars who always point back to Jesus Christ and show with their writings and example what it means to be a Christian. END QUOTES

A World-Wide Petition to the Bishops: We Ask for Kneelers for the Faithful Who Want to Receive Communion Kneeling:re-blogged

 

A World-Wide Petition to the Bishops: We Ask for Kneelers for the Faithful Who Want to Receive Communion Kneeling

Marco Tosatti

Today we want to relaunch an initiative which seems to us both legitimate and desirable, at a moment in which the sense of the sacred is being continually eroded, also within the Church, by other concerns and priorities, often linked to passing fashions. We reprint here a letter which the ex-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Canizares, now Archbishop of Valencia, sent to his priests in January, which may be found at Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. Among other things, the archbishop wrote, referring to a pastoral letter of some time ago:

“In this same letter I recalled how to exchange the sign of peace and how to receive communion. I confess to you that there are times when I am angry seeing how some people come forward, without any recollection or devotion, without any gesture of adoration, as if they were taking a cookie or something similar. I insist on that which I said in that letter on the Eucharist: one may receive communion directly in the mouth, or with the hand so as to then place the Body of Christ in the mouth. But I must add that the form most consonant with the mystery of the Body of Christ which one is receiving is to receive it kneeling and in the mouth. In saying this I am not turning back the clock; I am merely stating what is in accord with [the nature of] communion.”

And precisely in these days a request has been made, to all the Catholic bishops, to which anyone may show their support by signing it. This is the text.

Letter Addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church

We ask for kneelers for the faithful who wish to receive the Eucharistic Jesus kneeling; a petition promoted by the “Committee United to the Eucharistic Jesus through the Most Holy Hands of Mary.”

On the reception of Communion in the hand

In order to understand the importance of the way in which Holy Communion is received, it is necessary to begin with a brief reflection on the significance of the Mass, during which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The document Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council affirms two central things: the Mass as a sacrifice and the Real Presence. In addition, the formulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the direction of [Cardinal] Ratzinger, restated these Catholic connotations regarding the Eucharist. It was the very pope who concluded the Council, Paul VI, who even felt inclined to publish an Encyclical letter in which he reaffirmed the sacrificial character of the Mass and the legitimate validity of Eucharistic adoration by the faithful outside of Mass.

In the meantime, the national Bishops’ Conferences were given the faculty to grant an indult for the reception of the Eucharist in the hand, the communion rails and kneelers were eliminated, the tabernacles were moved from the center of the churches, notwithstanding the fact that the Catechism (still in 1992) restated that the tabernacle ought to be situated “in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.” Concerning the question about the reception of the Eucharist, one must above all remember that in the Conciliar documents – including in those which make the most progressive statements concerning the most significant innovations proposed in the liturgy – not a word is spoken about communion in the hand. And yet it is considered to be something the Council wanted even though the Council did not even address it. In reality the reception of the Holy Eucharist in the hand remains only an indult of the Apostolic See. When the Italian bishops approved communion in the hand (with a majority of only two votes), there were those, like the President of the Bishops’ Conference who was obviously against it and very concerned, who had inserted a recommendation to the faithful, especially to children and adolescents, that they ought to be sure their hands were clean. Instead of stopping the abuse, they concerned themselves from the outset only with trying to limit the extent of profanation. It was precisely this generation of Catholic youth, raised in the 80s and 90s which (apart from the counter-tendency of those in prayer groups linked to the Tradition or to the apparitions of Medugorje) showed a certain disinterest regarding devotion to and adoration of the Holy Eucharist, not having any perception of Who is received. The document in question – the Instruction on Eucharistic Communion – is that of May 1989, followed by the decree of Italian Bishops’ Conference which contains it, dated July 19, 1989, and which came into force on December 3 of that year, the First Sunday of Advent.

The text of the Instruction on Eucharistic Communion concerning this new way of receiving the consecrated host explains: “it appears particularly appropriate today to come forward processionally to the altar and receive the Eucharistic species standing, with a gesture of reverence, professing with an “Amen” faith in the sacramental presence of Christ.” We recall that we are dealing here with an indult. By means of the Instruction Memoriale Domini promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship on May 29, 1969, the Holy See allowed individual Bishops’ Conferences the possibility of requesting the faculty to introduce the practice of receiving Communion on the hand. A possibility does not oblige! Yet it is not an irrelevant question, because it pertains to none other than the Real Presence of Jesus. It is not therefore, merely a quaint practice of the traditionalists; it is rather the central affair of the entire Church, which, prior to concerning itself with ecological matters, or the question of immigrants, ought to guard and protect the Eucharistic Lord with that love and fidelity with which Saint Joseph protected the Infant Jesus. In the Eucharist, in fact, out of love for souls, Jesus makes himself vulnerable as he was when he was a tiny infant, attacked by the murderous hatred of Herod.

This aspect was configured by Bishop Schneider as ius Christi, that is, the law of Christ. Even recently, commenting on this intuition of Schneider, Cardinal Burke, grateful for this intuition, said, “recalling the total humility of the love of Christ who gives himself to us in the tiny Host, fragile by its nature, Bishop Schneider recalls our attention to the grave obligation to protect and adore Our Lord. In fact, in Holy Communion, He, moved by His unceasing and immeasurable love for man, makes himself the smallest, the weakest, the most delicate among us. The eyes of Faith recognize the Real Presence in the fragments, even the smallest, of the Sacred Host, and thus lead us to loving Adoration.” As St. Thomas Aquinas taught, Jesus is really present whole and entire in the least fragment of the consecrated Host. The great Dominican theologian affirmed that the Eucharist is sacred and thus may be touched only by consecrated hands; he made reference to the practice of receiving communion only on the tongue, so that the distribution of the Body of the Lord would be done only by the ordained priest. This is so for several reasons, among which the Angelic Doctor mentions also respect towards the Sacrament, which “ought not to be touched by anything that is not consecrated: and therefore the corporal, the chalice, and also the hands of the priest are consecrated, in order to be able to touch this Sacrament. It is not permitted to anyone else to touch it outside of cases of necessity: if, for example, it should fall to the ground, or in other similar situations.” 

An experiment conducted in the United States demonstrated that, when placing communion in the hand, various fragments, difficult to see with the naked eye, remain first impressed into the palm of the hand, and then fall to the ground. In addition, along with the risk of continuous profanation, there is also the problem of “black Masses” and Satanic circles, which, almost astonished at the new practice, can now more easily steal the host and take it away. Recently, various isolated but significant voices have been raised in the Church, calling for a reflection on the damage caused by and risks of communion in the hand. Particularly deserving of mention is the plurennial work of the already-mentioned Bishop Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, who, in several essays translated into various languages, courageously has denounced the great dangers of communion in the hand. So also Benedict XVI, although he expressed himself to be in favor of both practices (both kneeling as well as in the hand), always wanted to give preference to the practice of receiving kneeling during Pontifical Masses. Still more recently, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (meaning the #1 man of Catholic Liturgy!) spoke in Milan with unmistakably clear words about the dangers of communion in the hand. Also worthy of mention in Italy is Fr. Giorgio Maffei who has been fighting for a long time on this topic. He has made many appeals, all falling on deaf ears, in which with authentic priestly zeal he has appealed to his brother priests, as when for example in one of his various contributions on this theme he wrote: “with the practice of Communion in the hand, the fragments remain on the hands of the faithful, who usually don’t even look at them, don’t even care or don’t notice, so that the fragments end up on the ground where they are trampled on, swept away and desecrated. This is well known, and all priests know it well, because as has been said, they have daily experience of it.

Also young priests, who have been instructed to give Communion on the hand and not to use the communion plate, know just as well this particular problem of losing fragments of the Host, even when it is not touched. The faithful have less experience of this and are less culpable than the priests.” This well-known traditionalist priest has also favored at least re-introducing the communion plate, for which argument he has suffered humiliation and ridicule as an old-fashioned priest who does not understand what “real problems” are. However, Fr. Maffei has firmly maintained that the use of the communion plate can significantly reduce the concrete risk of fragments falling to the ground during the giving of Communion. On several occasions, not without reason, this priest from Bologna even expressed concern about the risk of excommunication for those who have permitted the profanation of the fragments of the host through the practice of communion on the hand, because, he has said, a sin committed against God and his Christ is a harbinger of excommunication, and what more serious sin could there be than that of an outrage against the Eucharistic species? Among the mystics, we recall the testimony of the Austrian woman Maria Simma, who had an exclusive rapport with the souls in Purgatory, who revealed to her that all of the Pastors of the Church who had approved Communion in the hand, if they died in the state of grace, would nevertheless remain in Purgatory until the day when the Church revoked the indult permitting it.

It is possible to think that this innovation, which did not originate with the Second Vatican Council, at least not directly, originated in the movement [after Vatican II] which infiltrated its way into the ranks of the national Bishops’ Conferences, especially those of northern Europe.  This movement outwardly claimed to be returning to the practice of the ancient faith, but in fact sought to delegitimize all of the reforms made by the Council of Trent. I will try to explain myself better. All of the circles which requested communion in the hand were linked in a radical way to progressive theology with its origin in Modernism. In reality, the slogan of a desired return to the patristic sources (however appealing and meritorious that may have sounded) meant from these people the discrediting of the era of the Council of Trent. And why? Because the discrediting of the era of the Council of Trent would permit the rehabilitation of Martin Luther. This was a consideration of Ratzinger the theologian just after the Council. And thus, at any rate, the liturgical reform oriented itself unilaterally in the direction of the patristic era, but as a veiled rejection of the Tridentine era. As if to say, yes, the first five centuries are normative, don’t pay attention to the rest. This thesis of a non-existent opposition [between the practice of the ancient Church and the reforms of the Council of Trent], however veiled, accompanied the liturgical reform tampered with by the modernists. They held in high regard the practice in use in the first centuries of Christianity, abundantly attested to by the Fathers of the Church, of receiving the Eucharist in the hands.

In the first Christian communities it was normal to receive the Body of Christ directly in the hands; in this regard there are numerous testimonies, both in the Eastern and Western Church: many Fathers of the Church (Tertullian, Cyprian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil, Theodore of Mopsuestia), various juridical canons during synods and councils (the Synod of Constantinople of 629; the Synods of the Gauls between the 6th and 7th centuries; the Council of Auxerre which took place between 561 and 605), all the way to the testimonies of the 8th century of St. Bede the Venerable and St. John Damascene: all of these attest to the same widely-practiced tradition. And it was certainly useful to recognize this practice. But at this point one must ask what happened – in terms of theological and liturgical legitimization – as the next step taken by the faith of the Church. When, in the Medieval period, certain schools of theology began to discuss the modality of the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament – some ending by defining it only as an empty sign which recalls from a distance the substantial reality of the Lord present among us [only spiritually] – the reaction of the ecclesial community was to greatly emphasize the veneration and adoration given to the Eucharistic Species, to the point of introducing the new rite of receiving Communion directly in the mouth while kneeling, precisely in order to emphasize the greatness of the Real Presence of the Body of Christ. If there had not been such an intervention, there would have been the real risk that the Eucharist would have been completely profaned.  END QUOTES

We would like to add, humbly, that also from a hygienic point of view it is much better if the host is only touched by the priest and does not pass through hands that perhaps have not had the chance to be washed before Mass. Hands, like my own, which [on the way to Mass] have been handling a bicycle, or driving a car and dealing with keys and locks, all of which are certainly not the most hygienic things…anyway here is the link. END QUOTES  {To HANDLE Jesus Christ: GOD} PJM

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino. Originally published atMarcoTosatti.com, and edited for

A World-Wide Petition to the Bishops: We Ask for Kneelers for the Faithful Who Want to Receive Communion Kneeling Marco Tosatti: Re-blogged {AMEN}

A World-Wide Petition to the Bishops: We Ask for Kneelers for the Faithful Who Want to Receive Communion Kneeling

Today we want to relaunch an initiative which seems to us both legitimate and desirable, at a moment in which the sense of the sacred is being continually eroded, also within the Church, by other concerns and priorities, often linked to passing fashions. We reprint here a letter which the ex-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Canizares, now Archbishop of Valencia, sent to his priests in January, which may be found at Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. Among other things, the archbishop wrote, referring to a pastoral letter of some time ago:

“In this same letter I recalled how to exchange the sign of peace and how to receive communion. I confess to you that there are times when I am angry seeing how some people come forward, without any recollection or devotion, without any gesture of adoration, as if they were taking a cookie or something similar. I insist on that which I said in that letter on the Eucharist: one may receive communion directly in the mouth, or with the hand so as to then place the Body of Christ in the mouth. But I must add that the form most consonant with the mystery of the Body of Christ which one is receiving is to receive it kneeling and in the mouth. In saying this I am not turning back the clock; I am merely stating what is in accord with [the nature of] communion.”

And precisely in these days a request has been made, to all the Catholic bishops, to which anyone may show their support by signing it. This is the text.


Letter Addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church

We ask for kneelers for the faithful who wish to receive the Eucharistic Jesus kneeling; a petition promoted by the “Committee United to the Eucharistic Jesus through the Most Holy Hands of Mary.”

On the reception of Communion in the hand

In order to understand the importance of the way in which Holy Communion is received, it is necessary to begin with a brief reflection on the significance of the Mass, during which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The document Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council affirms two central things: the Mass as a sacrifice and the Real Presence. In addition, the formulation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the direction of [Cardinal] Ratzinger, restated these Catholic connotations regarding the Eucharist. It was the very pope who concluded the Council, Paul VI, who even felt inclined to publish an Encyclical letter in which he reaffirmed the sacrificial character of the Mass and the legitimate validity of Eucharistic adoration by the faithful outside of Mass.

In the meantime, the national Bishops’ Conferences were given the faculty to grant an indult for the reception of the Eucharist in the hand, the communion rails and kneelers were eliminated, the tabernacles were moved from the center of the churches, notwithstanding the fact that the Catechism (still in 1992) restated that the tabernacle ought to be situated “in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.” Concerning the question about the reception of the Eucharist, one must above all remember that in the Conciliar documents – including in those which make the most progressive statements concerning the most significant innovations proposed in the liturgy – not a word is spoken about communion in the hand. And yet it is considered to be something the Council wanted even though the Council did not even address it. In reality the reception of the Holy Eucharist in the hand remains only an indult of the Apostolic See. When the Italian bishops approved communion in the hand (with a majority of only two votes), there were those, like the President of the Bishops’ Conference who was obviously against it and very concerned, who had inserted a recommendation to the faithful, especially to children and adolescents, that they ought to be sure their hands were clean. Instead of stopping the abuse, they concerned themselves from the outset only with trying to limit the extent of profanation. It was precisely this generation of Catholic youth, raised in the 80s and 90s which (apart from the counter-tendency of those in prayer groups linked to the Tradition or to the apparitions of Medugorje) showed a certain disinterest regarding devotion to and adoration of the Holy Eucharist, not having any perception of Who is received. The document in question – the Instruction on Eucharistic Communion – is that of May 1989, followed by the decree of Italian Bishops’ Conference which contains it, dated July 19, 1989, and which came into force on December 3 of that year, the First Sunday of Advent.

The text of the Instruction on Eucharistic Communion concerning this new way of receiving the consecrated host explains: “it appears particularly appropriate today to come forward processionally to the altar and receive the Eucharistic species standing, with a gesture of reverence, professing with an “Amen” faith in the sacramental presence of Christ.” We recall that we are dealing here with an indult. By means of the Instruction Memoriale Domini promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship on May 29, 1969, the Holy See allowed individual Bishops’ Conferences the possibility of requesting the faculty to introduce the practice of receiving Communion on the hand. A possibility does not oblige! Yet it is not an irrelevant question, because it pertains to none other than the Real Presence of Jesus. It is not therefore, merely a quaint practice of the traditionalists; it is rather the central affair of the entire Church, which, prior to concerning itself with ecological matters, or the question of immigrants, ought to guard and protect the Eucharistic Lord with that love and fidelity with which Saint Joseph protected the Infant Jesus. In the Eucharist, in fact, out of love for souls, Jesus makes himself vulnerable as he was when he was a tiny infant, attacked by the murderous hatred of Herod.

This aspect was configured by Bishop Schneider as ius Christi, that is, the law of Christ. Even recently, commenting on this intuition of Schneider, Cardinal Burke, grateful for this intuition, said, “recalling the total humility of the love of Christ who gives himself to us in the tiny Host, fragile by its nature, Bishop Schneider recalls our attention to the grave obligation to protect and adore Our Lord. In fact, in Holy Communion, He, moved by His unceasing and immeasurable love for man, makes himself the smallest, the weakest, the most delicate among us. The eyes of Faith recognize the Real Presence in the fragments, even the smallest, of the Sacred Host, and thus lead us to loving Adoration.” As St. Thomas Aquinas taught, Jesus is really present whole and entire in the least fragment of the consecrated Host. The great Dominican theologian affirmed that the Eucharist is sacred and thus may be touched only by consecrated hands; he made reference to the practice of receiving communion only on the tongue, so that the distribution of the Body of the Lord would be done only by the ordained priest. This is so for several reasons, among which the Angelic Doctor mentions also respect towards the Sacrament, which “ought not to be touched by anything that is not consecrated: and therefore the corporal, the chalice, and also the hands of the priest are consecrated, in order to be able to touch this Sacrament. It is not permitted to anyone else to touch it outside of cases of necessity: if, for example, it should fall to the ground, or in other similar situations.” 

An experiment conducted in the United States demonstrated that, when placing communion in the hand, various fragments, difficult to see with the naked eye, remain first impressed into the palm of the hand, and then fall to the ground. In addition, along with the risk of continuous profanation, there is also the problem of “black Masses” and Satanic circles, which, almost astonished at the new practice, can now more easily steal the host and take it away. Recently, various isolated but significant voices have been raised in the Church, calling for a reflection on the damage caused by and risks of communion in the hand. Particularly deserving of mention is the plurennial work of the already-mentioned Bishop Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, who, in several essays translated into various languages, courageously has denounced the great dangers of communion in the hand. So also Benedict XVI, although he expressed himself to be in favor of both practices (both kneeling as well as in the hand), always wanted to give preference to the practice of receiving kneeling during Pontifical Masses. Still more recently, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship (meaning the #1 man of Catholic Liturgy!) spoke in Milan with unmistakably clear words about the dangers of communion in the hand. Also worthy of mention in Italy is Fr. Giorgio Maffei who has been fighting for a long time on this topic. He has made many appeals, all falling on deaf ears, in which with authentic priestly zeal he has appealed to his brother priests, as when for example in one of his various contributions on this theme he wrote: “with the practice of Communion in the hand, the fragments remain on the hands of the faithful, who usually don’t even look at them, don’t even care or don’t notice, so that the fragments end up on the ground where they are trampled on, swept away and desecrated. This is well known, and all priests know it well, because as has been said, they have daily experience of it.

Also young priests, who have been instructed to give Communion on the hand and not to use the communion plate, know just as well this particular problem of losing fragments of the Host, even when it is not touched. The faithful have less experience of this and are less culpable than the priests.” This well-known traditionalist priest has also favored at least re-introducing the communion plate, for which argument he has suffered humiliation and ridicule as an old-fashioned priest who does not understand what “real problems” are. However, Fr. Maffei has firmly maintained that the use of the communion plate can significantly reduce the concrete risk of fragments falling to the ground during the giving of Communion. On several occasions, not without reason, this priest from Bologna even expressed concern about the risk of excommunication for those who have permitted the profanation of the fragments of the host through the practice of communion on the hand, because, he has said, a sin committed against God and his Christ is a harbinger of excommunication, and what more serious sin could there be than that of an outrage against the Eucharistic species? Among the mystics, we recall the testimony of the Austrian woman Maria Simma, who had an exclusive rapport with the souls in Purgatory, who revealed to her that all of the Pastors of the Church who had approved Communion in the hand, if they died in the state of grace, would nevertheless remain in Purgatory until the day when the Church revoked the indult permitting it.

It is possible to think that this innovation, which did not originate with the Second Vatican Council, at least not directly, originated in the movement [after Vatican II] which infiltrated its way into the ranks of the national Bishops’ Conferences, especially those of northern Europe.  This movement outwardly claimed to be returning to the practice of the ancient faith, but in fact sought to delegitimize all of the reforms made by the Council of Trent. I will try to explain myself better. All of the circles which requested communion in the hand were linked in a radical way to progressive theology with its origin in Modernism. In reality, the slogan of a desired return to the patristic sources (however appealing and meritorious that may have sounded) meant from these people the discrediting of the era of the Council of Trent. And why? Because the discrediting of the era of the Council of Trent would permit the rehabilitation of Martin Luther. This was a consideration of Ratzinger the theologian just after the Council. And thus, at any rate, the liturgical reform oriented itself unilaterally in the direction of the patristic era, but as a veiled rejection of the Tridentine era. As if to say, yes, the first five centuries are normative, don’t pay attention to the rest. This thesis of a non-existent opposition [between the practice of the ancient Church and the reforms of the Council of Trent], however veiled, accompanied the liturgical reform tampered with by the modernists. They held in high regard the practice in use in the first centuries of Christianity, abundantly attested to by the Fathers of the Church, of receiving the Eucharist in the hands.

In the first Christian communities it was normal to receive the Body of Christ directly in the hands; in this regard there are numerous testimonies, both in the Eastern and Western Church: many Fathers of the Church (Tertullian, Cyprian, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil, Theodore of Mopsuestia), various juridical canons during synods and councils (the Synod of Constantinople of 629; the Synods of the Gauls between the 6th and 7th centuries; the Council of Auxerre which took place between 561 and 605), all the way to the testimonies of the 8th century of St. Bede the Venerable and St. John Damascene: all of these attest to the same widely-practiced tradition. And it was certainly useful to recognize this practice. But at this point one must ask what happened – in terms of theological and liturgical legitimization – as the next step taken by the faith of the Church. When, in the Medieval period, certain schools of theology began to discuss the modality of the Real Presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament – some ending by defining it only as an empty sign which recalls from a distance the substantial reality of the Lord present among us [only spiritually] – the reaction of the ecclesial community was to greatly emphasize the veneration and adoration given to the Eucharistic Species, to the point of introducing the new rite of receiving Communion directly in the mouth while kneeling, precisely in order to emphasize the greatness of the Real Presence of the Body of Christ. If there had not been such an intervention, there would have been the real risk that the Eucharist would have been completely profaned.


We would like to add, humbly, that also from a hygienic point of view it is much better if the host is only touched by the priest and does not pass through hands that perhaps have not had the chance to be washed before Mass. Hands, like my own, which [on the way to Mass] have been handling a bicycle, or driving a car and dealing with keys and locks, all of which are certainly not the most hygienic things…anyway here is the link. END QUOTES  {To HANDLE Jesus Christ: GOD} PJM

Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino. Originally published atMarcoTosatti.com, and edited for 1P5. 

 

What If’s … a reflection by Patrick Miron

 

The Extraordinary Possibilities of “WHAT IF’s”

A reflection by Patrick Miron

Dear friends in Christ,

 

What If: you won the Powerball?

What If: you could be [??] again?

What If: Could live your life over?

What If you could change my world?

What If: you never had to say “I’m sorry”?

What If: ………………………

My dad, long past used to tell me that “I could be anything; do anything, accomplish any goal if; …   if I were willing to pay the price it demanded.” And I have found that to be largely true.

So friend, how would you respond to changing these if they were {many are} real changeable possibilities?

Which “What If’s” in our lives are still changeable? Can still be altered to get the desired or hoped for results? Think positively; God’s on your side.

Am I fully-satisfied with all my family relations?

With my friendship relations?

With my employment and its relationships?

With my physical, mental, emotional condition, as much as I can affect them?

With my Spiritual relationship with God?

With my Spiritual relationship with my family and others?

God does not promise us a tomorrow; so there is an urgency; an unknown time limit that we have to make the changes in our lives that will make us better persons, and also improve the lives of those around us; and even all the lives we touch, and  of critical importance, to seek His Truths.

What does God want from me, expect from me, demand of me, Hope for me?

My own life experiences have taught over time me to believe and rely mightily on Divine Providence. This a firm belief that God, not Me, is in charge. Every person that crosses our life path is an opportunity to make a good impression. Everything that happens, from the insignificant to the Life-Changing, has God’s imprint upon it. It is either willed by God or permitted by God for one of two reasons.

  1. So when we choose the good over the evil, God is Glorified {Isaiah 43: verses 7 &21], and we are sanctified [graced].
  2. When we choose the evil over the good, God is still Glorified for having given us the opportunity to choose the “good.” But we lose the opportunity to be sanctified.

 Definition of providence

1a often capitalized : divine guidance or care

b capitalized : God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny

My friend, there is no such thing as “luck” either good or bad. Coincidence in non-existent. Happenstance is a myth to explain what we don’t immediately understand.

Our all-knowing God aware of how simple minded we are gives us only two choices: [1] we’re in charge [2] God’s in charge. And the responsibility can’t be shared or split. So which is it going to be? You or God?

That personal decision is where to begin to dramatically change your “What If’s.” This will most likely cause an immediate noticeable change though it might. More likely you’ll have to retrain how you think; how you make decisions. It will likely be a road of failures and successes. But if we persevere prayerfully and in humility; slowly the successes will exceed the failures; and eventually become a very good dominate habit.

Two key’s to accomplishing the changes we desire upon careful objective reflection, no matter what stage of life we are in, are a disciplined prayer life and humility. No Saint has ever attained heaven without this habit and this attribute.

If we are to accomplish the changes we deem necessary or beneficial in our lives, and the lives of others, we must rely on God’s Provident care of us, and love for us.

“0 sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God!
I abandon myself forever to Thy arms.
Whether gentle or severe,
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt;
will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass,
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me.
My soul finds no rest without the arms
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence,
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart.

Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance,
0 my Savior,
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances,
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that;
but I will blindly follow Thee
according to Thy Divine will,
without seeking my own inclinations.

Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee,
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms,
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire,
to will, to wish.
I offer Thee this desire, 0 my God,
beseeching Thee to bless it;
I undertake all it includes,
relying on Thy goodness,
liberality, and mercy,
with entire confidence in Thee,
distrust of myself,
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity.

Amen!
By Saint Jane Frances De Chantal”

 

“What If’s” are possible when we ask God, and permit God to be in charge. Amen!

What If you could   ………………………?

Blessings,

Patrick

 

 

 

 

WE’RE ON A MISSION FROM GOD Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio: re-blogged

 

WE’RE ON A MISSION FROM GOD

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

This post is also available in:  It’s not just about being saved — it’s about taking others with us. Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is called evangelism or evangelization, and to share in this apostolic mission is a responsibility of all Christians.

The Bible is not just for Churches and Synagogues. Portions of it are read as literature, even in secular university classrooms. Invariably, when you look at the syllabus of such courses, you find Job.

JOB & THE DAILY GRIND

It’s not hard to see why. Job poignantly expresses what all human beings experience at one time or another–the feeling that life is a burden, that our daily routine is drudgery, that our suffering is meaningless, that there’s not much hope for our future (Job 7:1-7).

Things are tough all over–in Job’s day, in ours, in Peter’s. It’s all about trying to earn a living and raise a family with taxes, government, disease, and unexpected tragedies yapping at our heels.

GOOD NEWS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The Gospel (Mark 1:29-39) shows us such a world that is suddenly turned upside down by someone who breaks all the rules. Demons that normally inspire terror now run away in fear. Fevers flee. Incurable illnesses yield. Instead of tiresome talk about the law and its innumerable regulations, Good News is announced that gives people hope again.

The Good News is that God is on the move.   That He — not the Emperor or the Prince of Darkness — is King.  That he is not taskmaster but Father.

The Someone responsible for all this commotion happens to look like one of us, and indeed is one of us.  Yet he does things that only God can do. As he speaks, they begin to feel as if the world just may have meaning, that life may actually be worth living. They want to be with him, to hear his electric words and see his astonishing deeds. So they won’t leave him alone. Crowds gather outside the door of the humble place where he is staying.

What happens next is instructive. Knowing his need for communion with his Heavenly Father, he rises early next morning to seek solitude and a few moments in prayer.

SENSE OF URGENCY

But the people need him. So they send the apostles to track him down. When they find Him, he is not annoyed. He does not protest that it is his day off, tell them to come back tomorrow. He has come to bring Good News, to bring light to those in darkness, relief to the suffering. Many are desperate, so his mission is urgent. He gets up, but doesn’t return to Capernaum. Instead, he moves on to other towns. Those who wish to enjoy the excitement of his company must join him in his mission.

St. Paul has the same sense of urgency as his master (I Cor 9:16-19). He is aware of being entrusted with an awesome responsibility. It is not an option for him to share the gospel. What he has received as a gift, the most precious gift imaginable, he must give as a gift. And he must give it not only to those he likes, or those with whom he has some natural bond. He must not do it only when it suits him, when it is convenient.

APOSTOLIC MISSION

No, he must exert himself. He must seek common ground with all — Jew, Greek, weak, strong, educated, uneducated – so as to express the gospel to them in a way that they can understand. And this mission leads him to cover more ground than even his master–not just Judea and Galilee, but what is now Turkey, Greece, and Italy!

It’s true that not all are called to be traveling preachers like our Lord and St. Paul.

But the Church teaches unequivocally that membership in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church is not just about being saved and enjoying God’s company. There is a suffering world out there that desperately needs the saving truth and healing touch of Christ.

Notice that immediately upon being healed, Peter’s mother-in-law began working! Baptism is completed by confirmation, an anointing to serve. You can’t be fully a member of the apostolic church without participating in the apostolic mission.

This post focuses on apostolic mission, the Good News of the Kingdom of God, evangelism and evangelization. It reflects upon the readings for the fifth (5th) Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B (Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147, I Corinthians 9:16-19; Mark 1:29-39). End QUOTES

For more great resources on apostolic mission, see the MISSION & EVANGELIZATION section of the Crossroads Initiative Library.

Originally posted on Jan 30 2018

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

From a colorful and varied background as a professor of theology, a father of five, business owner, and professional performer Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) crafts talks, blog posts, books, and videos that are always fascinating, practical, and easy to understand.  He is a popular speaker, TV and radio personality, New York Times best-selling author, and pilgrimage host who has been leading people on a journey of discovery for over thirty years.  For a fuller bio and video, visit the Dr. Italy page.