Saturday, June 19, 2004
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Response: pray for us.
Heart of Mary,
Heart of Mary, like unto the Heart of God,
Heart of Mary, united to the Heart of Jesus,
Heart of Mary, instrument of the Holy Spirit,
Heart of Mary, sanctuary of the Divine Trinity,
Heart of Mary, tabernacle of God Incarnate,
Heart of Mary, immaculate from thy creation,
Heart of Mary, full of grace,
Heart of Mary, blessed among all hearts,
Heart of Mary, throne of glory,
Heart of Mary, most humble,
Heart of Mary, holocaust of Divine Love,
Heart of Mary, fastened to the Cross with Jesus Crucified,
Heart of Mary, comfort of the afflicted,
Heart of Mary, refuge of sinners,
Heart of Mary, hope of the agonizing,
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto the Heart of Jesus.
Let Us Pray:
O most merciful God, Who for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the miserable, was pleased that the Most Pure Heart of Mary should be most like in charity and pity to the Divine Heart of Your Son, Jesus Christ, grant that we who commemorate this sweet and loving Heart may, by the merits and intercession of the same Blessed Virgin, merit to be found like to the Heart of Jesus, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (state your request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever.
I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
Always a good time to pray to St. Jude for help when no help seems possible.
Friday, June 18, 2004
What he has to say reminds me favorably of something Father Wilson wrote in greater depth two years ago on the nature of our bishops.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke you, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus. fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in you, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in you, have mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
R. Make our hearts like to yours.
Let us pray;
Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. R. Amen.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Behold, O most loving Jesus,
the wonderful extent of Thine excessive charity!
Thou hast prepared for me,
of Thy Sacred Flesh and most precious Blood,
a divine banquet,
where Thou givest me thyself without reserve.
Who has urged Thee to this excess of love?
Assuredly no other than Thine own loving Heart.
O adorable Heart of my Jesus,
most ardent furnace of divine love,
receive my soul into Thy most sacred Wound,
in order that, in this school of charity,
I may learn to make a return of love to that God,
Who has given me such admirable proofs of His love.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Penned up inside the town of Boston after the retreat from Concord, the British under General Gage and the newly arrived Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne planned to make their position more secure by seizing the heights of Charlestown and Dorchester, and then converging on the main rebel force at Cambridge. The New England rebels pre-empted this plan by fortifying Breed's Hill in Charlestown on the night of June 16-17.
The next day, with frigates and shore batteries arding the rebel positions and burning Charlestown, General Howe landed on the Charlestown shore with an eventual force of 2,500 redcoats. The New England rebels under Massachusetts' Colonel William Prescott, New Hampshire's Colonel John Stark, and Connecticut's General Israel Putnam were not impressed and held their ground.
Two frontal assaults were driven back with huge British losses. Howe's third assault only succeeded when the rebel defenders ran out of ammunition. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting erupted in the redoubt as the Massachusetts men there withdrew. Doctor Joseph Warren, the leading figure of the Massachusetts rebel government was killed at the end of the battle as he and other volunteers tried to cover the retreat. Howe, who had lost 1,054 killed and wounded, including 10 of his 12 aides, found his troops too decimated and exhausted to pursue. The plan to sweep from Charlestown on to Cambridge and Roxbury was abandoned. The rebels lost some 300 killed and prisoners and a few hundred wounded. Recriminations followed in the Rebel camp, with courts martial the order of the day. Not all the New England troops or leaders had behaved as well in the fighting as had Prescott, Putnam, and Stark.
Howe, who succeeded Gage in the supreme command later in the year, was transformed by the y experience. He would win a knighthood and much praise for his handling of the army, driving Washington from position after position in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Never again, even when his subordinates told him that all he need do was press an attack on a dispirited American force crouching behind makeshift entrenchments to finish Washington off, would he commit his forces to a direct frontal attack. He would use flanking movements, coups de main, amphibious landings. But never again would he hurl his army against defended positions. Because of that, the Continental Army would live to fight another day, again and again.
Today, the battlefield, except for the block-sized area where the monument is located- the site of the redoubt- is covered over by highways and row houses. Authentic re-enactments of the battle on the site are impossible because of this, and because of National Park Service regulations.
But a perversion of the spirit of Bunker Hill is perhaps the battle's most enduring living legacy. Many state workers and city workers in Suffolk County have long had the day off as a result of union contracts. So Bunker Hill Day is primarily comemmorated in Massachusetts as a Hack High Holy Day. It is most unfortunate that this is the most we do to remember the bravery of those Yankee rebels and the intrepid redcoats, whose descendants are now our staunchest allies.
The Massachusetts Historical Society has an exhibit on the battle on-line here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
The others are Evacuation Day (March 17) and Patriots' Day (3rd Monday in April). They are days off for government "workers" (now there is a classic oxymoron).
Patriots's Day, which recalls the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775) is actually a state holiday (and in Maine, too, as Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820).
Evacuation Day (no, it has nothing to do with eliminating green beer and corned beef and cabbage that has been consumed in copius amounts) recalls the British evacuation of Boston in 1776. It's just was a coincidence that the British left on St. Patrick's Day. And of course Bunker Hill was the first major battle of the American Revoutionary War on June 17, 1775 (and a British victory!).
Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day are just Suffolk County holidays, so only government workers in Suffolk County get it off. But since Suffolk County is, for the most part, just the City of Boston, which happens to be the state capital... The state weasels have been trying to get those days off, so they can open a few cold ones with their municipal collegues.
What I have been doing is taking him around to a variety of parishes, so that he can experience a little of this and that and understand the rich variety of Cathoic liturgy. He has been to St. Leonard of Port Maurice, the Franciscan-run very moderate parish in the North End, to St. Francis Chapel run by the Oblates in the Pru, and to Holy Trinity's High Masses (many of those these last three weeks).
He is learning the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, along with all the basic prayers, and I have been giving him lessons from the Baltimore Catechism, all in preparation for RCIA (which I assume will be an adult version of the "Butterfly Curriculum" pap I was given in Catholic school.
What I would like feedback on comes down to two things. First of all, is there anything else I should be doing to prep him for RCIA?
Secondly I've found something rather frustrating. He has read on his own goodly portions of the Bible (protestant King James, unfortunately) and he keeps quoting individual Bible passages about this or that. Now I've had the standard Catholic education: strong on the Gospels, and OK on Genesis and Exodus, and the story of King David, but woefully weak on the rest of the Old Testament and the Epistles (and I tend to steer away from Revelation). And I'm not well-equipped to handle many of the questions he peppers me with. Should I refer him to a priest for the "authoratitive reading" on all these matters, or just wing it, as I have a fair idea where the Church will come out?
I've told him many times that Catholics and protestants have very different approaches to the Bible. But somehow this does not seem to be getting through. Suggestions?
I was strongly tempted by what I experienced at Mass this morning to veer away from my plan of discussing pre-Mass reverence and bring up the topic of children at Mass. But I think I shall ignore that provocation and address it in a more dispassionate moment at another time (perhaps next week, when my blood pressure is back to normal). I'll stick to my previous plan.
I should state that these reflections on problems one experiences at Mass are just expressions of my own thoughts. They are in no way mandatory (though they should be!). I have no power to dictate (would that I did!). I have, though, plenty of power to express what I prefer and what I dislike. In other words, take them as they are offered, as my views on what would be the best way to experience Mass.
Proper attitude and behavior before Mass is an essential ingredient in the reverence due to the Holy Eucharist present in the Tabernacle. Sadly, proper behavior before Mass begins has been in decline for about 20 years. At least in my experience, for the first 10-15 years after Vatican II ended, people remained fairly reverent before Mass. Sometime in the mid-late 1980s, a serious decline in behavior became noticeable. And young people are not necessarily the worst offenders. People who ought to know better have been just as guilty of irreverence before Mass as their juniors.
What We Should Do Before Mass
1) Arrive 10-15 minutes before Mass is scheduled to start.
2) Silently bless yourself with your right hand after you have dipped it in Holy Water, and silently proceed to your seat.
3) After genuflecting (see last Sunday's blog in my Archives), depress the kneeler and (unless you have physical limitations) kneel in silent prayer. If you don't have specific petitions to bring to the Lord's attention, a decade or two or three of the Rosary would be a wonderful idea.
3) If you are lucky enough to have fewer things to ask of the Lord than I do, and have spare time after your prayer, silently familiarize yourself with the first, and second readings for the day, the Gospel reading, the responsorial psalm, and all of the hymns to be sung during the Mass.
4) If you still have time before Mass, silently read the bulletin.
5) Stand quietly as Mass starts.
You will notice a common theme in what you should do- silence. You have entered the special dwelling place of the Lord on earth. A reverent attitude is essential. Mass is neither a cocktail party, nor a company function. You do not greet everyone you know. It is not an opportunity to exchange juicy tidbits of gossip with the other old biddies. If you feel compelled to acknowledge the presence of a special friend or neighbor, a silent nod or quiet smile is more than adequate for the occasion. Save the greetings and chit-chat for after Mass and outside the church. That is what parking lots are for, after all.
What We See All Too Often
1) Noisy chatter is very common. I was reading in someone's reflections on Masses he had attended that the priest in one parish had to come out before Mass and ask for quiet. Even that only brought the noise level down a little bit. Gentle readers, consecrated Hosts are present in the Tabernacle at all times. Catholics believe that the Lord is actually, really present in the Eucharist. You can chat anywhere else at any other time. Be quiet in the Sacred Presence. In my observation, this is a special failing among older parishioners. When I first brought my wife to Mass in my home parish, she was stunned by the old ladies busily gossiping away until Mass started. They should know better. They once did.
2) Priests(!) interrupting silent prayer to introduce themselves I know they don't teach reverence at most seminaries anymore. But common politeness would, I think, tell them that they should not interrupt someone's prayers. Few things are more annoying than to be in the middle of a lengthy prayer on your knees with your chin resting on folded hands and eyes closed and to hear, "I don't think I've seen you here before. I'm Father Flapdoodle. Welcome to St. Bozo," in your very immediate vicinity. The social conventions of introduction must give way at this particular time and place to the higher call of prayerful meditation. If I told you that the first time this happened to me, the priest in question had been for a great many years assigned to Boston's St. John's Seminary before getting a pastoral assignment and even serves as a regional vicar for the Archdiocese, would you be surprised? You can only wonder what he was teaching his seminarians about reverence in the Presence before he took a parish assignment.
3) Getting out of the pew to use the facilities has become an epidemic. This gets dangerously close to my soon-to-come rant on children at Mass. But don't parents train and school teachers expect children to exercise bladder control anymore? What ever happened to going to the bathroom at home before you leave for Mass? Why is it that the serenity of Mass is constantly disturbed by a parade of youngsters getting up and making their way to the bathroom? Pastors, just make an announcement one week that the bathrooms will be locked from the beginning of Mass until the end, when they will be open for 15 minutes. A little bit of this potty parade is acceptable, as long as it is done quietly and discreetly before Mass. It has gotten out of hand.
4) Why is the organist and choir rehearsing before Mass? Doesn't the choir have a regular night each week for rehearsals? When one is praying in the Presence, one does not want to hear from up in the organ loft, "OK, let's try that Great Amen again," or, ""We're a little too slow on the Our Father." At my old home parish, the "Music Minister" takes a few minutes before each Mass to run through the hymns and psalm for the Mass. If he wasn't adverse to just using the same old tried-and-true hymns handed down from generation to generation, instead of the latest offering from David Haas, he would not need to put the congregation through its paces every week. Catholics don't sing, anyway. One would think that, after 33 years, the "music ministers" would get the message, and stop flogging a dead horse.
5)Announcements read by the lector We will, I think, agree that Catholics don't sing. But they do read. Most parishes go to great lengths to print up parish bulletins and newsletters with everything you could possibly need to know about upcoming Masses, and social events in the parish. Some tech-savy parishes even put this information on their web sites. Literacy in this country is really at a very high level. historically speaking. One would think that the days are long past when the congregation needed to be told what was going on in the parish via the spoken word. The lector reading the relevant parts of the bulletin to us is condescending and unnecessary.
6) "The opening hymn is Number 715 in the Music Issue, On Jordan's Bank. Please stand." Most parishes have invested in boards on which dutiful ushers post the hymns for the week before the first Mass for Sunday (Saturday evening). Catholics, as I said, can read. Most of them even know what the little hymn boards are for, and can connect those numbers to the numbered hymns in the music issue, amazingly without the prompting of the music minister. Beginning Mass this way is particularly deplorable in that it replaces the much better practice of ringing a bell as the procession leaves the sacristy, and the organist duly starting into the first hymn. Besides, Catholics don't sing. If the congregation knows the hymn, they will join in, if they like. Hymns the congregation does not know should be avoided. But we are too close to a coming rant on liturgical music.
If the period before the Mass were observed as I have specified, a more reverential atmosphere would envelop the congregation. It would be much easier to remember that we are in the Sacred Presence before Mass. After all, the Mass is about the Lord's sacrifice and His True Presence in the Eucharist. If we truly believe that, we will act in a reverent manner. It is astonishing what a small change in tone can accomplish.
That Many Good Gifts Are Bestowed Upon Those Who Communicate Devoutly
The Voice of the Disciple
O Lord my God, prevent Thou Thy servant with the blessings of Thy sweetness, that I may be enabled to draw near worthily and devoutly to Thy glorious Sacrament. Awaken my heart towards Thee, and deliver me from heavy slumber. Visit me with Thy salvation that I may in spirit taste Thy sweetness, which plentifully lieth hid in this Sacrament as in a fountain. Lighten also mine eyes to behold this so great mystery, and strengthen me that I may believe it with undoubting faith. For it is Thy word, not human power; it is Thy holy institution, not the invention of man. For no man is found fit in himself to receive and to understand these things, which transcend even the wisdom of the Angels. What portion then shall I, unworthy sinner, who am but dust and ashes, be able to search into and comprehend of so deep a Sacrament?
O Lord, in the simplicity of my heart, in good and firm faith, and according to Thy will, I draw nigh unto Thee with hope and reverence, and truly believe that Thou art here present in the Sacrament, God and man. Thou willest therefore that I receive Thee and unite myself to Thee in charity. Wherefore I beseech Thy mercy, and implore Thee to give me Thy special grace, to this end, that I may be wholly dissolved and overflow with love towards Thee, and no more suffer any other consolation to enter into me. For this most high and most glorious Sacrament is the health of the soul and the body, the medicine of all spiritual sickness, whereby I am healed of my sins, my passions are bridled, temptations are conquered or weakened, more grace is poured into me, virtue begun is increased, faith is made firm, hope is strengtened, and charity is enkindled and enlarged.
For in this Sacrament Thou hast bestowed many good things and still bestowest them continually on Thine elect who communicate devoutly, O my God, Lifter up of my soul, Repairer of human infirmity, and Giver of all inward consolation. For Thou pourest into them much consolation against all sorts of tribulation, and out of the deep of their own misery Thou liftest them up to the hope of Thy protection, and with ever new grace, dost inwardly refresh and enlighten them; so that they who felt themselves to be anxious and without affection before Communion, afterwards being refreshed with heavenly food and drink, find themselves changed for the better. And even in such wise Thou dealest severally with Thine elect, that they may truly acknowledge and clearly make proof that they have nothing whatsoever of their own, and what goodness and grace come to them from Thee; because being in themselves cold, hard of heart, indevout, through Thee they become fervent, zealous, and devout. For who is there coming humbly to the fountain of sweetness, carrieth not away thence at the least some little of that sweetness? Or who standing by a large fire, feeleth not from thence a little of its heat? And Thou art ever a full and overflowing fountain, a fire continually burning, and never going out.
Wherefore if it is not suffered to me to draw from the fulness of the fountain, nor to drink unto satisfying, yet will I set my lips to the mouth of the heavenly conduit, that at least I may receive a small drop to quench my thrist, that I dry not up within my heart. And if I am not yet able to be altogether heavenly and so enkindled as the Cherubim and Seraphim, yet will I endeavour to give myself unto devotion, and to prepare my heart, that I may gain if it be but a little flame of the divine fire, through the humble receiving of the life-giving Sacrament. But whatsoever is wanting unto me, O merciful Jesus, Most Holy Saviour, do Thou of Thy kindness and grace supply, who hast vouchsafed to call all unto Thee saying, Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you.
I indeed labour in the sweat of my face, I am tormented with sorrow of heart, I am burdened with sins, I am disquieted with temptations, I am entangled and oppressed with many passions, and there is none to help me, there is none to deliver and ease me, but Thou, O Lord God, my Saviour, to whom I commit myself and all things that are mine, that Thou mayest preserve me and lead me unto life eternal.
Receive me unto the praise and glory of Thy name, who hast prepared Thy Body and Blood to be my meat and drink. Grant, O Lord God my Saviour, that with coming often to Thy mysteries the zeal of my devotion may increase.
But there are other things I want to do first.
Does everyone know what I mean by the term? Is everyone familiar with what a Book of Hours is? If not, speak up and I'll be glad to explain. That's what the comments are for, after all. If someone had gone on and on around me about Books of Hours before, say, April of this year, I'd have had no clue. Now I know all about them (well more than 99% of the population, anyway).
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Monday, June 14, 2004
Sunday, June 13, 2004
National Review Online reprints a 1992 article that, as far as I am concerned, is the last word on the legacy of Ronald Reagan.