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To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Posts Tagged ‘feast’

May Day

Posted by james0235 on May 1, 2010

In 1955 Pope Pius XII established May 1st as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. On the modern Liturgical Calendar in use since the release of the 1970 Roman Missal this Feast Day ranks as a Memorial. The institution of this Feast by Pope Pius was in response to communist-backed “May Day” celebrations on the 1st of May and served to offer a Christian view of labor. Communism, and really Socialism as well, are incompatible with the Catholic faith and both have been repeatedly condemned by the Holy See:

To this goal also tends the unspeakable doctrine of Communism, as it is called, a doctrine most opposed to the very natural law. For if this doctrine were accepted, the complete destruction of everyone’s laws, government, property, and even of human society itself would follow.

Blessed Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus 16 – November 9, 1846


Hence we have reached the limit of horrors, to wit, communism, socialism, nihilism, hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin. And yet too many attempt to enlarge the scope of these evils, and under the pretext of helping the multitude, already have fanned no small flames of misery. The things we thus mention are neither unknown nor very remote from us.

Pope Leo XIII, Diuturnum 23 – June 29, 1881


If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.

Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno 120 – May 15, 1931


See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless.

Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris 58 – March 19, 1937


Now, the Catholic Church is no stranger to the cause of worker’s rights. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: … injustice to the wage earner” (CCC 1867). And when it comes to presenting a solid Christian view of labor I don’t believe that it should be any surprise that devotion to St. Joseph has long been the vehicle chosen to do so.

The Gospels present him as both “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24a) and a laborer – Jesus is called “the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:54-58). The Church presents these passages to us on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (Gospel 1st Option) and on the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker (Gospel) respectively. And notice that Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical condemning atheistic communism, Divini Redemptoris quoted above, on March 19th – the Solemnity of St. Joseph. A bit closer to our own day Pope John Paul II held up St. Joseph, as a laborer,  as a model of holiness for us all:

Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph’s entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51). This “submission” or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as “the carpenter’s son.” If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.

Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos 22 – August 15, 1989

The more time that I spend meditating on the life and the work of St. Joseph the more I am coming to appreciate him as a role model. Over the past few years I have slowly been growing in devotion to him. And this is something I foresee continuing well into the future.



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Purification, Presentation, and the Churching of Women

Posted by james0235 on February 2, 2010

Today, the 40th day after Christmas, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This Feast has a very solid biblical foundation:

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

(Luke 2:22-24)

On the 40th day after giving birth the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the temple to offer a sacrifice in accordance with the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:1-8). She didn’t offer this sacrifice because she was actually made unclean by the birth of Christ but rather it was in order to fulfill “the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” (Luke 2:39). In imitation of this event in the 4th century the Church instituted the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be celebrated on the 40th day after Christamas, February 2nd, every year.

This Feast had 3 emphases:

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Leviticus 12:7),

The Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22),

and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles by the prophet Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)

In the revisions to the liturgy following the 2nd Vatican Council this feast was renamed the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the recognition of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (represented by the  blessing of candles which are then carried in procession before the Mass) seem to have been de-emphasized slighltly while the Presentation of Christ in the Temple has been emphasized. But, all of these aspects of the Feast are still quite evident in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.

In addition to the Mass we see these aspects of the Feast also displayed in the devotions of the Church. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the 4th Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Simeon’s proclamation of Christ as the light to the Gentiles (Luke 2:29-32), known as the Nunc Dimittis or the Canticle of Simeon, – is prayed every night in the Liturgy of the Hours in the Office of Compline (Night Prayer). And the idea of a ritual purification after childbirth can still be seen, albeit quite rarely, in a very beautiful ceremony known as the Churching of Women.

The Churching of Women is performed soon after childbirth. Ideally it was given as soon as a woman was able to return to Church for the first time – which does not necessarily mean the following Sunday. Remember that the care of infants does excuse one from the obligation to attend Mass (CCC 2181). The Churching, also called the Blessing of a Mother after Childbirth in the Roman Ritualone of the Liturgical books of the Roman Rite, was both a blessing given to a new mother and it was an opportunity for the new mother to give thanks to God for the birth of her child. While it is not actually a ritual purification – the Church does not teach that childbirth makes a woman ritually unclean – it is inspired by the purification rituals that the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates.

The beautiful prayers of the Churching of Women can be found here.

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Pentecost

Posted by james0235 on May 31, 2009

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

Acts 2:1-11 NAB

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The Ascension of the Lord

Posted by james0235 on May 21, 2009

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with the them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Acts 1:1-11 NAB

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The Feast of the Most Precious Blood

Posted by james0235 on July 1, 2008

Sanguis Christi, inebria me! Blood of Christ, inebriate me!
(from the Anima Christi)

In the Liturgical Calendar of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite July 1st is the Feast of the the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (This Feast exists in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the form of a Votive Mass.) It commemorates all of the times Our Lord shed his most precious blood: the Circumcision, the Agony in the garden, the Scourging at the pillar, the Crowning with thorns, and in the Crucifixion.

You may recall that the Circumcision is specifically commemorated in the Mass on the Octave Day of Christmas. But, today’s Feast calls to mind all of the occasions Our Lord shed his Blood. And this same Blood is offered daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on altars the world over.

I read something interesting today online in the June 29th bulletin of Assumption Grotto in Detroit. The pastor writes:


I have often noted the practice of wine connoisseurs–those more adept than myself (if it were possible) in the art of drinking wine–who studiously oscillate their glass and ceremoniously sniff their beverage before consigning it to the quaff. Real wine lovers, you see, must first inform their olfactories before their tongues concerning the quality of the wine. Smell is among the senses that both informs and gives pleasure or displeasure, as the case may be.

Now, what in heavens has this to do with the Mass? Well, in the celebrating of the Tridentine Mass, there is a coincidence of word and gesture in the priest’s offering of the wine during the Offertory rite. He, while moving the chalice over the altar in the form of the cross says, “may this chalice ascend in the sight of Your divine majesty with a sweet odor…

That God should take delight in smells may be a surprising idea, but it does have biblical precedent. After the flood, Noah offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord for his delivery and God who “smelled the pleasing odor” then promised never again to destroy all living creatures. In other places of the Old Testament there is ample reference to the fragrant incense offered to God.

At Mass, when I make that sign of the cross with the chalice, I too get a brief sniff of odoriferous wine and think that this is symbolic of the agreeableness of the sacrifice that is soon to be offered to God, namely, the sacrifice of Christ. You will note, by contrast, that this Offertory prayer is not said in the ‘ordinary form’ (new rite) of the Mass and that there is no gesture made with the chalice except for its slight elevation during the priest’s words of ‘blessing.’ I know that this is only a little thing, but it is one of those many subtle and meaningful touches that arrest my attention in the Tridentine Mass and which help to raise the mind to God.

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The Angelic Doctor

Posted by james0235 on March 6, 2008

“You call him ‘a dumb ox,’ but I declare before you that he will yet bellow so loud in doctrine that his voice will resound through the whole world.”
– St. Albertus Magnus

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as well as in the Dominican Rite. The Angelic Doctor was honored in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite on January 28th.

aquinas2.jpg

It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God. Who hast willed to raise up as a Doctor in thy Church the blessed Thomas, an Angel in purity of life and elevation of mind: Who should everywhere establish sound and saving doctrine, and like a star light up the Heavens, and whose wisdom, extolled by all, should win the admiration of the world. And therefore with the angels and archangels, with the thrones and dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying: Holy, etc.

Preface of St. Thomas Aquinas
1948 Dominican Rite Missal

The Dominican Rite of Mass is offered in a few places around the world. One of them is Holy Rosary Church in Portland, Oregon. A video of a Solemn High Mass in the Dominican Rite offered at Holy Rosary in 1995 is available for purchase (VHS only).

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St. Thomas Aquinas

Posted by james0235 on January 28, 2008

Today is the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (and in the Dominican Rite) he is honored on March 7th, the date of his entry into eternal life. As I have a particular devotion to Thomas Aquinas (I took Thomas as my Confirmation name in honor of him) I will be celebrating his feast both today and on March 7th.

aquinas.jpg

God our Father,
you made Thomas Aquinas known for his holiness and learning. Help us to grow in wisdom by his teaching, and in holiness by imitating his faith. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Opening Prayer
1970 (2002) Roman Missal

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The Circumcision of the Lord

Posted by james0235 on January 2, 2008

Yesterday, the 1st of January, was a Holy Day of Obligation. It was the Octave Day of Christmas – the 8th day of Christmas. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is also known as the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. But, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is known as the Feast of the Circumcision.

Even though the name has been changed and the Blessed Mother is now more emphasized the Octave Day of Christmas is still a celebration of the Circumcision of the Lord. The Gospel Reading makes this clear:

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
(Luke 2:21 NAB)

When we look at what the Old Testament has to say about circumcision it becomes clear why we celebrate this event on the 8th day of the Nativity:

This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the mark of the covenant between you and me. Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised, including houseborn slaves and those acquired with money from any foreigner who is not of your blood. (Genesis 17: 10-12 NAB)

We celebrate the Circumcision of the Lord on the 8th day because the Lord was circumcised on the 8th day in obedience to the Mosaic Law.

Now that we know why we celebrate the Circumcision on the 8th day of Christmas another question comes to mind: why do we celebrate it at all?

Because it is the first time Christ shed his blood for us. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explains it better than I ever could:

In the Circumcision of the Divine Child there was a dim suggestion and hint of Calvary, in the precocious surrendering of blood. The shadow of the Cross was already hanging over a Child eight days old. He would have seven bloodsheddings of which this was the first, the others being the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Piercing of His Heart. But whenever there was an indication of Calvary, there was also some sign of glory; and it was at this moment when He was anticipating Calvary by shedding His blood that the name of Jesus was bestowed on Him.

A Child only eight days old was already beginning the bloodsheddings that would fulfill His perfect manhood. The cradle was tinged with crimson, a token of Calvary. The Precious Blood was beginning its long pilgrimage. Within an octave of his birth, Christ obeyed a law of which He Himself was the Author, a law which was to find its last application in Him. There had been sin in human blood, and now blood was already being poured out to do away with sin. As the East catches at sunset the colors of the West, so does the Circumcision reflect Calvary.

Must he begin redeeming all at once? Cannot the Cross wait? There will be plenty of time for it. Coming straight from the Father’s arms to the arms of His earthly mother, He is carried in her arms to His first Calvary. Many years later He will be taken from her arms again, after the bruising of the flesh on the Cross, when the Father’s work is done.

(The Life Of Christ pp. 37-38 )

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St. John Of The Cross

Posted by james0235 on December 14, 2007

In the General Roman Calendar today is the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. However, among the Carmelites today ranks higher. For the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance (O. Carm.) today is a Feast. And for the Discaled Carmelites (O.C.D.) today actually ranks as a Solemnity.stjohnofthecross.jpeg

The Mass offered by the Carmelites today would be very much like that offered by any other priest. But, there would be a few differences. First, the different rankings of the day mean that in most parishes (where it is celebrated as a Memorial) the Gloria and the Creed would not be used. The O. Carm. would use the Gloria today because it is a Feast, and the O.C.D. would use both the Gloria and the Creed because it is a Solemnity.

But, there is another difference I noticed. While the propers for the Mass are mostly the same in the Roman Missal and the Carmelite Missal the Carmelite Missal has two Prefaces for St. John of the Cross that don’t seem to appear in the Roman Missal:

 

SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS I
The Father Has Given Us All Things in Christ

Father, all powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we honour Saint John of the Cross
through your beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ, your eternal Word, you made all things,
and you clothed them with his beauty and goodness.
He is the fullness of revelation and grace;
in him you have placed all Wisdom within our reach,
and in him you make us
possessors of all heaven and earth.
In the mystery of his death and resurrection
he has reconciled mankind to you,
restoring us to your friendship
and reuniting all creation with you, its Maker.
And now he reigns in everlasting glory among his saints
as head and bridegroom of his Church.

With their great company and all the angels
we praise your glory as we cry out with one voice:

Holy, holy, holy Lord…

 

SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS II
St John of the Cross as our Guide to Union with God

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we honour St John of the Cross.

His life and teaching set before us anew
the mystery of Christ’s Cross and victory.
He taught us
to make up what is wanting in Christ’s passion,
and to share and proclaim
the joy of his resurrection.
Inwardly strengthened by
the living flame of your Spirit,
he ascended in darkness the heights of divine union
as he sang canticles of your love,
the Church’s greatest treasure.

In our joy we sing to your glory
with all the choirs of angels:

Holy, holy, holy Lord…

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