Today was Memorial Day. Too often we hear words without really hearing them. We think “memorial” has to do with simple memory, as when we remember to call a friend or we remember to pick up dog food on the way home from work. But there is a deeper meaning. In the Bible the word is used in this deeper way, in a technical sense. I suppose one disadvantage to reading the Bible in the vernacular (which is the only way I can read it) is that we take for granted that we understand it when all we grasp is the surface, most often not suspecting that there is anything deeper.Continue reading “Remembrance and Memorial”
Taking a break from collecting some thoughts for writing, watching this wonderful talk by Dr. Brant Pitre: Jesus & the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. This is a good video to watch during Lent, preparing for Passover. Will also be watching The Passion of the Christ with the study guide this time, a first for me.
Thank you for stopping by. Lent continues and I’m staying off of social media except for posting here at the blog and answering necessary emails. May this season of preparation bring you closer to our Lord. God bless you! Peace be with you.
PS: Hey, see that tabernacle? It’s empty during Dr. Pitre’s talk. Would that more parishes would take care to do this when holding non-liturgical events in the worship space, if no more suitable space is available, such as a parish hall.
(A post for the Year of Faith.) There are only five precepts of the Church and every Catholic should know them. Let’s take a look at them as found in the Catechism, second edition, Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 3, starting with paragraph 2042, without the commentary, just the precepts. And notice that the subtitle of Article 3 is: The Church, Mother and Teacher. The Church is your Mother. She has something to say to you. Listen up!
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
There. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Only five precepts and they’re brief, too. Blessedly. (Heh. A little Church humor. Very little. Ahem.)
Now why do you suppose the Church wants you to attend Mass on Sundays or to confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year? Because, like any good mother, she just wants you to drop in once in a while so she can see your face before she forgets what you look like? Well, maybe. But mostly to keep you spiritually alive! Read these words in paragraph 2041 right before the list of precepts.
“The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor…”
You see, to keep alive spiritually you must attend Mass every Sunday, confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year. (Notice that you can attend Mass without receiving. This is important. If you’re not in a state of grace, you should not even think about presenting yourself for Communion. But you still must attend Mass!) You must also observe the days of fasting and abstaining, and help provide for the needs of the Church. This is the bare minimum for your interior, spiritual self to stay alive. If you are not meeting this bare minimum in your life, you may be in danger of dying spiritually. And if all you do is the bare minimum, then you’ll be barely alive spiritually, too.
When someone says, “Oh, I’m not religious at all but I’m very spiritual,” I have to say, “Oh, really?” Because I know that person is probably not spiritual at all. Most of the people who say things like that to me only concern themselves with things of the world and the body and the body’s appetites. They don’t go to church, don’t see why they should; don’t mortify their appetites, again, they don’t see why they should; they don’t practice self-control; they don’t confess their sins and they don’t receive the Eucharist. And, of course, they don’t give anything to their church because they don’t even have a church. Because…they’re “spiritual, not religious!”
Oy ve! Tell me how they can be spiritual! What do they even mean when they say it? Do they mean they believe in spirits? What kind of spirits? Spirits of good or spirits of evil? Do they mean that they practice spiritualism? Play with Ouija boards? (And why does that word end in an “a” instead of an “i” or an “ie” or “ee” or something? I never hear anyone pronounce it “Wee-ja”, it’s always “Wee-jee” board.)
Oh, they’re very spiritual. So spiritual that they will go to almost any lengths to avoid suffering. Mortification? Why, they’re mortified at the thought of it! And not in a good way!
Christ said that He is the Vine and we are the branches. If we cut ourselves off from the Vine, we will shrivel and dry up. If we cut ourselves off from the Eucharist, we have no life in us. If we turn away from the ordinary means of grace in the sacraments, how do we expect to receive grace? If we don’t mortify our appetites, how do we expect to preserve or increase in grace? If we don’t confess our sins after sinning, how do we expect to get back into a state of grace so we can continue to grow and have a real and not imaginary spiritual life?
And that, I think, is all too often the problem: People imagine that they are spiritual and that they have a spiritual life when they don’t know the first thing about spirituality at all.
So stop imagining that you’re a very spiritual person and go to confession and get into a state of grace and get to Mass and and control your appetites and stay in the Vine and really be spiritual! Because your Momma says so. Momma Church, that is!
The full text of paragraphs on the precepts can be found online, paragraphs 2041 – 2043.
Vine passage from Gospel of John 15:5:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Well, this is helpful. Wish I’d known it was out there before now. I’m sure that in another place and time these things were noted in the rubrics. But somewhere along the way we tossed such helpful things and since then nobody ever knows what they’re supposed to do or when or how. Adoremus has a PDF file (from February 2010) called Gestures and Postures of the Congregation at Mass which is explains what we are to do, how and when. If I find an updated version, I’ll pass it along. See below for more from the Adoremus website:
**In response to reader requests,
“Gestures and Postures of the Congregation at Mass”, which originally appeared in the February 2010 Adoremus Bulletin, is now available in PDF format, or go to google document, especially formatted for printing on standard 8.5 x 11 paper (2 sides).
Permission is granted to reproduce this file for personal or parish use. For all other uses, please contact us.
**See also Church Documents page for official instructions and statements of the Holy See on these same topics.
Update, Mar 14, 2020: We’ve been using the “new” (then) translation of the Missal for years now. I haven’t made any kind of formal study of it by any means. But in recent years I’ve become aware of so many troublesome things, including in the liturgy itself or with changes that have been foisted upon it, that I almost winced when I came across this post today. My mind is in flux about many things, not about the Church or the Faith, but about things I used to take for granted. So forgive or ignore this post and chalk it up to a period of exuberance past. I don’t even know what I think about it (the post or the translation, either) anymore.
Update, Dec 6, 2011: At the end of this post I listed some related posts from around the web. Update, Dec 8, 2011: I’m making this a featured post since we’re still getting used to the new translation of the Mass. See the comments at the end for a discussion that represents two very different reactions to the translation.] I went to Mass this morning [Note: This post was originally written on the First Sunday of Advent.] at the chapel at EWTN. The first day of the liturgical season of Advent, the first day using the new English translation of the Roman Missal, and the first day using the new Mass cards showing the changes in the responses of the congregation. (See notes at the end for more resources.) Thank goodness we had these cards.Continue reading “And with your spirit: the new translation of the Roman Missal”
I love to visit the blog Sonitus Sanctus and today I found an unusual treat, Confession: A Roman Catholic App. Imagine having an aid to the daily examination of your conscience, complete with various prayers and acts of contrition, and the ability to customize the whole thing for your state in life, your age, etc., for one user or several and with password protection. Well, imagine no more. Now you can have all this on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Get it at the App Store. I’m going to leave a little review there now because I like this app and I want it to do well. Gotta do my part, no matter how small.
Who is to blame for the culture of death? Not atheists or progressives or democrats or republicans or pro-choice advocates. No, according to Dr. John Cuddeback in his talk, Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for Life in a Culture of Death, we Christians have no one to blame but ourselves. For we have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten to put on the mind of Christ. We have forgotten how to pray. We have forgotten that prayer is necessary to the life of the Christian. We have forgotten that the Eucharist, the highest form of prayer, is absolutely necessary to the life of the Christian. Prayer and reception of divine grace in the sacraments is not optional, not something extraneous to the Christian way of life but is absolutely central to it. Continue reading “Who is to blame for the culture of death?”
I have a friend who is Mormon. She sent me copy of the Book of Mormon. I asked her to. I told her I had talked to some nice young men in the park and they wanted me to have a copy but they wanted me to call this 800 number and let the home office mail it to me. Yeah, I said, Uh, no, I’ll get one from my friend. She laughed when I told her all this.
But she didn’t laugh when I told her not to baptize me—or any of my family, living or deceased. Ever. Period. I requested and received baptism when I was twelve years old and a Methodist. That’s the only baptism I need or will ever need, thank you very much. Been there, done that. A valid baptism only needs to be done once. And mine was. As for my family, all my relatives (all the ones I ever knew personally, anyway) were baptized Methodists or Baptists. I could look up their geneaological records and have them baptized (or re-baptized, if “necessary”). If I were Mormon. Continue reading “Baptism, been there, done that, thank you very much”
I guess I’m going to have to start a new category for the blog. The “things I hear people say that blow me away” category. The other day the thing that blew me away was having a Christian tell me that, not only was the Bible just a book written by men, but it is also based on dreams. :O Today I was listening to Catholic radio and I heard a gentleman caller tell the hosts of the show that he doesn’t understand why his wife, who is not Catholic, cannot receive Holy Communion at Mass (which I will address in a separate post), and (it gets worse) now he doesn’t think he needs “religiosity” (or the Church or anything else) based upon the words of the Lord Himself in His conversation with the centurion. Continue reading “Religiosity, who needs it?”
This is part of a continuing series of posts on the Mass, salvation and the sacraments. Acknowledgments may be found at the end of this post.
Why do we get baptized or baptize our children? Why do we even need to go to church? I often hear people ask these questions of various believers, some of them teachers of the faith. Rarely do I hear them receive a good answer. Even more rarely do I hear them receive a true answer. I’ve heard people say that we go to church because we need the fellowship of other believers in order to stay faithful on our walk with the Lord. I’ve heard people say that we get baptized to show the Lord that we’re serious and ready to commit our lives to Him. I’ve heard that we Catholics baptize children because of some silly notion that baptism actually does something when anybody can see that it is merely symbolic of a decision made by a person who can reason about such things; so obviously a mere child isn’t capable of benefiting from it, much less, a baby.Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Baptism, Part 2”
The following is part of a continuing series on the Church, salvation and the Sacraments. We’re beginning our exploration of the Sacraments themselves and where better to begin than with Baptism, the Sacrament by which we become members of the Body of Christ.
In the series to follow this one we’ll be looking more closely at the Old Testament background of the Church and the Sacraments, but I want to spend some time reflecting on the Church as the Barque of Peter, carrying the faithful safely across the crashing waves of the world, guiding them on their journey home to the Father. I’ll base these reflections mostly on the sources listed below in the acknowledgements. I offer the drawing below in the hopes that it will help you to visualize what I’m saying and will help me too.
Let’s look first at the entry into the Church, the Sacrament of Initiation par excellence: Baptism.Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments – Baptism, Part 1”
The following is Part 3 in a continuing series which began as a write-up of a talk by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, but instead took on a life of its own and has become some rather broad reflections on salvation history as it leads up to the founding of the Church by Christ, and the Church’s role in salvation. In the next set of posts we’ll go deeper and into more detail.* Notes and credits at the end of this post.Continue reading “The Mass, Salvation and the Sacraments, Part 3”