Saturday, June 17, 2006

Her Majesty's 80th Birthday

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign has lasted more than 50 years, today celebrated her 80th birthday, with a trooping of the colours ceremony.

God Save the Queen!

I Mentioned Last Saturday's Boston Gay Pride Day

Well, the Caveman has a fuller report.

I try to keep away from nonsense like that for the sake of my blood pressure. And to keep my breakfast firmly on the route down the digestive track, because, as former Boston City Councilor Albert "Dapper" O'Neill, the last sensible Democrat in the USA, used to say, "It makes me want to puke."

The New, Much Improved Translation Of the Mass

If what the US bishops approved the other day (a big if) is what is spelled out in this article, it is a vast improvement over the current translation.
Thanks to Dymphna's Well for the link.

I don't think the Vatican will drag its feet in endorsing the US bishops' action, if this is indeed what they approved. After all, this change pretty much came from the Vatican over the whining, wailing, and gnashing of teeth of the USCCB staffs and hierarchs. The Vatican pretty much yelled, "Do it!" at the US bishops, and they finally did it. It will probably take the Vatican a few weeks to review exactly what the US bishops have approved (I understand that there were some amendments) and authorize publication of new missals.

Here is a suggestion. America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and many other places are fountains of vast affluence. The average American has a home computer, a TV, one or more cars, stereo systems, CD collections, DVD collections, and so on. Would it be unreasonable to publish and promote the use of permanent missals that people would buy on their own, bring home with them, and use both at home and at Mass, missals that would resemble the handy, thick leather-bound ones almost all Catholics owned before Vatican II? Missals that would, like the old 1959 edition St. Joseph's Daily Missal that I and most other indult-Mass attendees use, contain now only the Mass readings for each day, but a treasury of basic prayers and devotions, the form for Confession, for Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy chaplet and novena, devotions to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, the Most Precious Blood, the approved litanies, some of the more popular litanies for private use, some popular novenas, a selection of traditional hymns, an explanation of the liturgical year, a calendar of feasts, and so on?

One of the things I would most like to see is sacred art. No, not the '70sish line drawings, clip art, mosaics, and junk that looks like it was drawn by an Aztec with a particularly unsure touch when drawing the human form, but real historical sacred art which glorifies God magnificently and raises hearts and minds and souls to His worship. In color. Just like in the old St. Joseph's Daily Missal, which itself was drawing on the tradition of teaching with images going back to the medieval Book of Hours and the gothic church interior itself.

Here is some things that are moving in the right direction.

Now I don't say stop providing the paperback missalettes that everyone uses now. After all, there are poor people who would struggle coming up with the $40-$80 for a missal like the one I describe.

But aren't we old enough and mature enough now to possess such missals, to use them responsibly, and to draw on them for our devotions. Why should people who work in the trades and in consumer goods stores and in the professions and government service have to make do with these very inadequate missalettes that are so cheap-looking, and so temporary and so, so 70s? The average American is perfectly willing to pay $80 for The Sopranos on DVD. Why can't the Church expect him to pay that same $80 for a beautiful Missal that will be his own, that he will use for years, and that will enrich his spiritual life?

"And Now Ensued One Of the Greatest Scenes Of War That Can Be Conceived"

My piece on the Battle of Breed's Hill can be found here.

The following Description of the Action near Boston, on the 17th of June, is taken from a Letter written by British Major General John Burgoyne to his Nephew Lord Stanley.

"Boston, June 25, 1775.

"Boston is a peninsula, joined to the main land only by a narrow neck, which on the first troubles Gen. Gage fortified; arms of the sea, and the harbour, surround the rest: on the other side one of these arms, to the North, is Charles-Town (or rather was, for it is now rubbish), and over it a large hill, which is also, like Boston, a peninsula: to the South of the town is a still larger scope of ground, containing three hills, joining also to the main by a tongue of land, and called Dorchester Neck: the heights as above described, both North and South, (in the soldier's phrase) command the town, that is, give an opportunity of erecting batteries above any that you can make against them, and consequently are much more advantageous. It was absolutely necessary we should make ourselves masters of these heights, and we proposed to begin with Dorchester, because from particular situation of batteries and shipping (too long to describe, and unintelligible to you if I did) it would evidently be effected without any considerable loss: every thing was accordingly disposed; my two colleagues and myself (who, by the bye, have never differed in one jot of military sentiment) had, in concert with Gen. Gage, formed the plan: Howe was to land the transports on one point, Clinton in the center, and I was to cannonade from the Causeway, or the Neck; each to take advantage of circumstances: the operations must have been very easy; this was to have been executed on the 18th. On the 17th, at dawn of day, we found the enemy had pushed intrenchments with great diligence, during the night, on the heights of Charles-Town, and we evidently saw that every hour gave them fresh strength; it therefore became necessary to alter our plan, and attack on that side. Howe, as second in command, was detached with about 2000 men, and landed on the outward side of the peninsula, covered with shipping, without opposition; he was to advance from thence up the hill which was over Charles-Town, where the strength of the enemy lay; he had under him Brigadier-General Pigot: Clinton and myself took our stand (for we had not any fixed post) in a large battery directly opposite to Charles-Town, and commanding it, and also reaching to the heights above it, and thereby facilitating Howe's attack. Howe's disposition was exceeding soldier-like; in my opinion it was perfect. As his first arm advanced up the hill, they met with a thousand impediments from strong fences, and were much exposed. They were also exceedingly hurt by musquetry from Charles-Town, though Clinton and I did not perceive it, till Howe sent us word by a boat, and desired us to set fire to the town, which was immediately done. We threw a parcel of shells, and the whole was instantly in flames. Our battery afterwards kept an incessant fire on the heights: it was seconded by a number of frigates, floating batteries, and one ship of the line.

"And now ensued one of the greatest scenes of war that can be conceived: if we look to the height, Howe's corps ascending the hill in the face of entrenchments, and in a very disadvantageous ground, was much engaged; and to the left the enemy pouring in fresh troops by thousands, over the land; and in the arm of the sea our ships and floating batteries cannonading them: strait before us a large and a noble town in one great blaze; the church steeples, being of timber, were great pyramids of fire above the rest; behind us the church steeples and heights of our own camp covered with spectators of the rest of our army which was not engaged; the hills round the country covered with spectators; the enemy all anxious suspence; the roar of cannon, mortars, and musquetry; the crush of churches, ships upon the stocks, and whole streets falling together in ruin, to fill the ear; the storm of the redoubts, with the objects above described, to fill the eye; and the reflection that perhaps a defeat was a final loss to the British empire in America, to fill the mind; made the whole a picture and a complication of horror and importance beyond any thing that ever came to my lot to be witness to. I much lament Tom's* absence:--it was a fight for a young soldier that the longest service may not furnish again: and had he been with me he would likewise have been out of danger; for, except two cannon balls that went an hundred yards over our heads, we were not on any part of the direction of the enemy's shot. A moment of the day was critical: Howe's left were staggered; two battalions had been sent to reinforce them, but we perceived them on the beach seeming in embarrassment what way to march; Clinton, then next for business, took the part, without waiting for orders, to throw himself into a boat to head them; he arrived in time to be of service, the day ended with glory, and the success was most important, considering the ascendancy it gave the regular troops; but the loss was uncommon in officers for the numbers engaged.

" Howe was untouched, but his aid-de-camp Sherwin was killed; Jordan, a friend of Howe's, who came, engage du coeur, to see the campaign, (a ship-mate of ours on board the Cerberus, and who acted as aid-de-camp) is badly wounded. Pigot was unhurt, but he behaved like a hero. You will see the list of the loss. Poor Col. Abercrombie, who commanded the grenadiers, died yesterday of his wounds. Capt. Addison, our poor old friend, who arrived but the day before, and was to have dined with me on the day of the action, was also killed; his son was upon the field at the time. Major Mitchell is but very slightly hurt; he is out already; young Chetwynd's wound is also slight. Lord Percy's regiment has suffered the most, and behaved the best; his Lordship himself was not in the action:--Lord Rawdon behaved to a charm; his name is established for life."

* His nephew, the Hon. Tho. Stanley, Esq; (and brother to Lord Stanley), who had gone a volunteer to Boston, in his Majesty's service.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Corpus Christi

The Thursday after Trinity Sunday, today, is Corpus Christi, the feast set aside by the Church for honoring the Most Holy Eucharist particularly. Maundy Thursday is too overshadowed by Good Friday and the coming of Easter to be an adequate commemoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Recognizing this, the Church has made Maundy Thursday's liturgical focus more on the institution of the priesthood (without which there can be no Communion) than on the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. Most parishes, including boston's indult parish, Holy Trinity, move the celebration to the following Sunday, as Corpus Christi is not a holy day of obligation.

The following prayers and images could be the basis for a Eucharistic Holy Hour.

O Salutaris by Saint Thomas Aquinas
O salutaris Hostia
Quae coeli pandis ostium.
Bella premunt hostilia;
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino,
Nobis donet in patria.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori's Prayer For a Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
My Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the love which Thou bearest to men, remainest night and day in this Sacrament full of compassion and of love, awaiting, calling, and welcoming all who come to visit Thee: I believe that Thou art present in the Sacrament of the Altar: I adore Thee from the abyss of my nothingness, and I thank Thee for all the graces which Thou hast bestowed upon me, and in particular for having given me Thyself in this Sacrament, for having given me Thy most holy Mother Mary for my advocate, and for having called me to visit Thee in this church. I now salute Thy most loving Heart: and this for three ends: 1. In Thanksgiving for this great gift; 2. To make amends to Thee for all the outrages which Thou receivest in this Sacrament from all Thine enemies; 3. I intend by this visit to adore Thee in all the places on earth in which Thou art the least revered and the most abandoned. My Jesus I love Thee with my whole heart. I grieve for having hitherto so many times offended Thy infinite goodness. I purpose by Thy grace never more to offend Thee for the time to come; and now, miserable and unworthy though I be, I consecrate myself to Thee without reserve; I give Thee and renounce my entire will, my affections, my desires, and all that I possess. From henceforward do Thou dispose of me and of all that I have as Thou pleasest. All that I ask of Thee and desire is Thy holy love, final perseverance, and the perfect accomplishment of Thy will. I recommend to Thee the souls in purgatory; but especially those who had the greatest devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to Thee all poor sinners. Finally, my dear Savior, I unite all my affections with the affections of Thy most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to Thy Eternal Father, and beseech him in Thy name to vouchsafe, for Thy love, to accept and grant them.

Saint Thomas Aquinas' Prayer Before Receiving the Blessed Sacrament
Almighty and eternal God, behold, I approach the sacrament of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I approach as one who is sick to the physician of life, as one unclean to the fountain of mercy, as one blind to the light of eternal brightness, as one poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore I beseech Thee, of Thine infinite goodness, to heal my sicknes, to wash away my filth, to enlighten my blindness, to enrich my poverty, and to clothe my nakedness, that I may receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords with such reverence and humility, with such contrition and devotion, with such purity and faith, with such purpose and intention, as may conduce to the salvation of my soul.

Grant, I beseech Thee, that I may receive not only the sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord, but also all the fruit and virtue of this sacrament. O most indulgent God, grant me so to receive the Body of Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took of the Virgin Mary, that I may be found worthy to be incorporated with His mystical body and numbered among His members.

O most loving Father, grant that I may one day contemplate forever, face to face, Thy beloved Son, Whom now on my pilgrimage I am about to receive under the sacramental veils; Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

Lauda Zion (sequence For Corpus Christi), by Saint Thomas Aquinas
1. Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem,
Lauda ducem et pastorem
In hymnis et canticis.
Quantum poses, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude
Nec laudare sufficis.

2. Laudis thema specialis,
Panis vivus et vitalis
Hodie proponitur;
Quem in sacrae mensa coenae
Turbae fratrum duodenae
Datum non ambigitur.

3. Sit laus plena, sit sonora,
Sit iucunda, sit decora
Mentis iubilatio.
Dies enim solemnis agitur,
In qua mensae prima recolitur
Huius institutio.

4. In hac mensa novi Regis
Novum Pascha novae legis
Phase vetus terminat.
Vetustatem novitas,
Umbram fugat veritas,
Noctem lux eliminat.

5. Quod in coena Christus gessit,
Faciendum hoc expressit
In sui memoriam
Docti sacris institutis,
Panem, vinum in salutis
Consecramus hostiam.

6. Dogma datur Christianis,
Quod in carnem transit panis
Et vinum in sanguinem.
Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Animosa firmat fides
Praeter rerum ordinem.

7. Sub diversis speciebus,
Signis tantum, et non rebus,
Latent res eximiae:
Caro cibus, sanguis potus;
Manet tamen Christus totus
Sub utraque specie.

8. A sumente non concisus,
Non confractus, non divisus
Integer accipitur.
Sumit unus, sumunt mille;
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consumitur.

9. Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Sorte tamen inaequali,
Vitae vel interitus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Vide, paris sumptionis
Quam sit dispar exitus.

10. Fracto demum Sacramento,
Ne vacilles, sed memento,
Tantam esse sub fragmento,
Quantum toto tegitur.
Nulla rei fit scissura,
Signi tantum fit fractura,
Qua nec status nec statura
Signati minuitur.

11. Ecce panis Angelorum,
Factus cibus viatorum,
Vere panis filiorum,
Non mittendus canibus.
In figuris praesignatur,
Cum Isaac immolatur;
Agnus Paschae deputatur,
Datur manna patribus.

12. Bone Pastor, panis vere,
Jesu, nostri miserere,
Tu nos pasce, nos tuere,
Tu nos bona fac videre,
In terra viventium.
Tu, qui cuncta scis et vales,
Qui nos pascis hic mortales,
Tuos ibi commensales,
Cohaeredes et sodales,
Fac sanctorum civium. Amen

Adoro Te Devote, by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quæ sub his figuris vere latitas;
Tibi se cor meum totum subjicit,
Quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,
Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.
Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis verius.

In cruce latebat sola Deitas,
At hic latet simul et Humanitas,
Ambo tamen credens atque confitens,
Peto quod petivit latro pœnitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor:
Deum tamen meum te confiteor.
Fac me tibi semper magis credere,
In te spem habere, te diligere.

O memoriale mortis Domini!
Panis vivus, vitam præstans homini!
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie Pelicane, Jesu Domine,
Me immundum munda tuo sanguine:
Cujus una stilla salvum facere
Totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Jesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio,
Oro, fiat illud quod tam sitio:
Ut te revelata cernens facie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ gloriæ. Amen

Pange Lingua Gloriosi, by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Pange lingua gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte cenae
Recum bens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

Saint Faustina Kowalska's Prayer Before Receiving the Blessed Sacrament
I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of You, incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.

My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here You light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.

O Christ, let my greatest delight be to see You loved and Your praise and glory proclaimed, especially the honor of Your mercy. O Christ, let me glorify Your goodness and mercy to the last moment of my life, with every drop of my blood and every beat of my heart. Would that I be transformed into a hymn of adoration of You. When I find myself on my deathbed, may the last beat of my heart be a loving hymn glorifying Your unfathomable mercy. Amen.

Ave Verum
Ave, verum corpus
natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum immolatum
in Cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum
unda* fluxit (et)* sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

Prayer Before Receiving the Blessed Sacrament of Saint Ambrose
O loving Lord Jesus Christ, I a sinner, presuming not on my own merits, but trusting in Thy mercy and goodness, with fear and trembling approach the table of Thy most sacred banquet. For I have defiled both my heart and body with many sins and have not kept a strict guard over my mind and my tongue. Wherefore, O gracious God, O awful Majesty, I a wretched creature, entangled in difficulties, have recourse to Thee, the font of mercy: to Thee do I fly that I may be healed, and take refuge under Thy protection. And I ardently desire to have HIM as my Savior, whom I am unable to withstand as my Judge.

To Thee O Lord, I show my wounds, to Thee I lay bare my shame. I know that my sins are many and great, on account of which I am filled with fear. But I trust in Thy mercy, of which there is no end. Look down upon me, therefore, with the eyes of Thy mercy on me, who am full of misery and sin, Thou Who wilt never cease to let flow the fountain of mercy.

Hail, Victim of Salvation, offered for me and for all mankind on the tree of the Cross. Hail, noble, and precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, O Lord, Thy creature, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Blood, I am grieved because I have sinned, I desire to make amends for what I have done.

Take away from me, therefore, O most merciful Father, all my iniquities and sins, that, being purified both in soul, and body, I may worthily partake of the Holy of Holies. And grant that this holy oblation of Thy Body and Blood, of which , though unworthy, I purpose to partake, may be to me the remission of my sins, the perfect cleansing of my offenses, the means of driving away all evil thoughts and of renewing all holy desires, the accomplishment of works pleasing to Thee, as well as the strongest defense for soul and body against the snares of my enemies. Amen.

Panis Angelicus, by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus, et humilis.

Te trina Deitas
unaque poscimus:
Sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
Per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.

O Sacrum Convivium
O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis eius; mens impletur gratia et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.
V. Panem de caelo praestitisti eis;
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.
Oremus; Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili Passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti; tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Domine, non sum dignus ut entres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea.

Spiritual Communion Prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori
My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee.

Anima Christi
Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salve me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Iesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meæ voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
in sæcula sæculorum.

Saint Pio's Post Communion Prayer
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all it’s dangers. I need You.
Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen

The Divine Praises
Benedictus Deus.
Benedictum Nomen Sanctum eius.
Benedictus Iesus Christus, verus Deus et verus homo.
Benedictum Nomen Iesu.
Benedictum Cor eius sacratissimum.
Benedictus Sanguis eius pretiosissimus.
Benedictus Iesus in sanctissimo altaris Sacramento.
Benedictus Sanctus Spiritus, Paraclitus.
Benedicta excelsa Mater Dei, Maria sanctissima.
Benedicta sancta eius et immaculata Conceptio.
Benedicta eius gloriosa Assumptio.
Benedictum nomen Mariae, Virginis et Matris.
Benedictus sanctus Ioseph, eius castissimus Sponsus.
Benedictus Deus in Angelis suis, et in Sanctis suis.

Tantum Ergo, by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Præstet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Three Cheers For the Australian Government

I'm pretty much a 50-and-forget-the-rest when it comes to admitting new states to the Union. But if the Australians ever want in, I'll support that.

I'm Pretty Conservative

Always have been. Always will be.
Your Political Profile:
Overall: 95% Conservative, 5% Liberal
Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
How Liberal Or Conservative Are You?

Via Libertas Et Memoria

Well, It Took A Lot Longer Than They Thought It Would

But Matthew Sheehan's Religious Goods, for 100 years behind Jordan Marsh in Boston's Downtown Crossing, has finally shifted to an on-line business. The website is up and running.

The whole Downtown Crossing seems to be going right down the toilet. Filene's is closing its doors this fall. What I think is the original Barnes & Noble (at least I remember shopping there in the 1970s before Barnes & Noble was a national chain) is closing at the end of this month. Even the smaller fry are drying up. The Walgreen's on Summer Street will close this week. The McDonald's on Summer has been gone for months. Stoddard's Cutlery is long gone (even the fall-back location at the Prudential Center has closed now). The Gold's Gym that used to be next door to Saint Anthony's Shrine is still open, but not as a Gold's Gym (it is now 365 Fitness or something like that). The LaFayette Place Mall has never succeeded in finding adequate tenants.

It is a wonder that anything can survive in Downtown these days. What used to be a respectable shopping district is overrun with undesirables bused up by the Silver Line on a daily basis. And now the place features stores that sell lottery tickets, and "urban gear" (mostly "dew rags" as far as I can see) and that blare obnoxious noise like RAP (Retards Attempting Poetry) into the street. And the presence of these worthies in Downtown Crossing has forced the City to permanently garrison the downtown shopping district with an army of police day and night. Downtown Crossing will never flourish again until the urban blight stores, like Hip Zepi Boston just go away.

Bring On the Ushers!

Fumare notes how this important dignified function is being replaced by "greeters," or, heaven forbid, "a greeting ministry" made up of the local busybodies.

Flag Day

Here are some vintage posters honoring Old Glory.

Three cheers for the Red, White, and Blue!

Good Priests Persecuted By Useless Bishops

Dom Bettinelli points us to an excellent article by Mary Ann Krietzer about this problem. Father Altier's case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saint Anthony of Padua

This is the feast of one of the greatest Franciscan saints, Anthony of Padua, who everyone loves for his special gift of finding lost things.

The story of Saint Anthony and the horse was a favorite topic in Books of Hours (here from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry).
When Saint anthony was preaching, a local heretic stated that he would not believe in Our Lord's Real Presence in the Eucharist unless a horse knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. After praying, Saint Anthony had a horse brought to him, and showed the horse the Blessed Sacrament in his right hand, and some oats in his left. The horse refused the oats, and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. And the heretic made his submission to Holy Mother the Church. A great St. Anthony story, and very appropriate since Thursday is Corpus Christi.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Father Cuenin Preaches At Boston Gay Pride Day

Rebel priest Father Walter Cuenin preached at yesterday's Gay Pride "festivities" in Boston.

Actually, this is Manchester, UK's Gay Pride Parade. Yesterday in Boston was yucky and wet and raw and not conducive to good pictures. But we have all seen pictures of Gay Pride Parades all over the world, and they are pretty much the same. Lots of flamboyant perversion on display, and the perverts proud to be perverted.

Now I don't think he was wrong in being there. It was what he said or, more importantly, didn't say, that was wrong. Essentially, he affirmed the drag queens, dykes on bikes, and other assorted perverts in their "OK-ness." By speaking at their gathering, he was giving his blessing (and, implicitly, Holy Mother the Church's) to their activities.

It is true that our Lord often was among the persecuted, as Father Cuenin says. And He was often among sinners, too. But when he was there, he called them to repentence. He told them how awful their sins were and that, to avoid eternal hellfire, they had to reform their lives and sin no more. Our Lord wasn't telling the murderers to go on murdering. He wasn't telling the thieves to go on stealing. He wasn't telling the adulterers to go on commiting adultery.

What Father Cuenin, as a priest of Christ's only Church on earth ought to have said was to explain the position of the Church on the perversion of homosexual acts in firm and unyielding terms. At the same time, he should have offered all there the love and mercy of God. Surely, Christ our Lord loves every sinner, while He hates the sins they commit. He died on the Cross for everyone who was participating in the Gay Pride Parade. But He didn't die so that they could go on committing their unnatural sins. He did not die to affirm their perversions. He died so that they would have the chance to repudiate the viciously ugly sin pattern they have fallen into with the support of the truly evil "Gay Community," and gain eternal life.

Salvation only comes to sinners who repent of their sins and seek God's mercy, and strive to do better. And having a priest giving his blessing implicitly to sins by not condemning sin and calling sinners to repentence does those present a terrible disservice.

Would Father Cuenin have been booed off the stage if he had done his job? Yeah, probably. On the other hand, maybe his reputation as a "gay friendly" priest might have got the people there to listen to him. But that is not the point. His job was to teach, and offer God's grace. It doesn't sound as if that was what he was doing at all.

Trinity Sunday

God, Father, Praise and Glory
God Father, praise and glory Thy children bring to thee.
Thy grace and peace to mankind Shall now forever be.

Chorus: O most holy Trinity, Undivided Unity;
Holy God, mighty God, God immortal, be adored.

And thou, Lord coeternal, God's sole begotten Son,
O Jesus, King anointed, Who hast redemption won. (Chorus)

O Holy Ghost, Creator, Thou gift of God most high;
Life, love and holy wisdom, Our weakness now supply. (Chorus)

Ave, Colenda Trinitas
All hail, adorèd Trinity!
All hail, eternal Unity!
O God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, ever One.

Three Persons praise we evermore,
One only God our hearts adore:
In thy sure mercy ever kind
May we our strong protection find.

O Trinity! O Unity!
Be present as we worship thee;
And with the songs that angels sing
Unite the hymns of praise we bring.

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB

Trinity Sunday:
ON the day of Pentecost the holy apostles received, as we have seen, the grace of the Holy Ghost. In ac­cordance with the injunction of their divine Master,1 they will soon start on their mission of teaching all nations, and baptizing men in the name of the holy Trinity. It was but right, then, that the solemnity which is intended to honour the mystery of one God in three Persons should immediately follow that of Pentecost, with which it has a mysterious connection. And yet, it was not until after many centuries that it was inserted in the cycle of the liturgical year, whose completion is the work of successive ages.

Every homage paid to God by the Church’s liturgy has the holy Trinity as its object. Time, as well as eternity, belongs to the Trinity. The Trinity is the scope of all religion. Every day, every hour, belongs to It. The feasts instituted in memory of the mys­teries of our redemption centre in It. The feasts of the blessed Virgin and the saints are but so many means for leading us to the praise of the God who is One in essence, and Three in Persons. The Sunday’s Office, in a very special way, gives us, each week, a most explicit expression of adoration and worship of this mystery, which is the foundation of all others, and the source of all grace.

This explains to us how it is that the Church was so long in instituting a special feast in honour of the holy Trinity. The ordinary motive for the institution of feasts did not exist in this instance. A feast is the memorial of some fact which took place at a certain time, and of which it is well to perpetuate the remem­brance and the influence. How could this be applied to the mystery of the Trinity? From all eternity, be­fore any created being existed, God liveth and reigneth, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If a feast in honour of that mystery were to be instituted, it could only be by fixing some one day in the year, whereon the faithful would assemble for offering a more than usually solemn tribute of worship to the mystery of Unity and Trinity in the one same divine Nature.

The idea of such a feast was first conceived by some of those pious and recollected souls, who are favoured from on high with a sort of presentiment of the things which the Holy Ghost will achieve, at a future period, in the Church. So far back as the eighth century, the learned monk Alcuin had had the happy thought of composing a Mass in honour of the mystery of the blessed Trinity. It would seem that he was prompted to this by the apostle of Germany, Saint Boniface. That this composition is a beautiful one, no one will doubt that knows, from Alcuin’s writings, how full its author was of the spirit of sacred liturgy; but, after all, it was only a votive Mass, a mere help to private devotion, which no one ever thought would lead to the institution of a feast. This Mass, however, became a great favourite, and was gradually circu­lated through the several Churches; for instance, it was approved of for Germany by the Council of Selingenstadt, held in 1022.

In the previous century, however, a feast properly so called of holy Trinity had been introduced into one of the Churches of Belgium--the very same that was to have the honour, later on, of procuring to the Church’s calendar one of the richest of its solemnities.

Stephen, bishop of Liege, solemnly instituted the feast of holy Trinity for his Church, in 920, and had an entire Office composed in honour of the mystery. The Church’s law, which now reserves to the holy See the institution of any new feast, was not then in existence; and Riquier, Stephen’s successor in the See of Liege, kept up what his predecessor had begun.

The feast was gradually adopted. The Benedictine Order took it up from the very first. We find, for instance, in the early part of the eleventh century, that Berne, the abbot of Reichna, was doing all he could to propagate it. At Cluny, also, the feast was established at the commencement of the same century, as we learn from the Ordinarium of that celebrated monastery, drawn up in 1091, in which we find men­tion of holy Trinity day as having been instituted long before.

Under the pontificate of Alexander II, who reign­ed from 1061 to 1073, the Church of Rome, which has frequently sanctioned the usages of particular Churches by herself adopting them, was led to pass judgment upon this new institution. In one of his decretals, the Pontiff mentions that the feast was then kept in many places; but that the Church at Rome had not adopted it, and for this reason: that the adorable Trinity is, every day of the year, unceasing­ly invoked by the repetition of the words: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancto; as likewise by several formulas expressive of praise,2

Meanwhile, the feast went on gaining ground, as we gather from the Micrologus; and, in the early part of the twelfth century, we have the learned abbot Rupert, who may justly be styled a doctor in litur­gical science, explaining the appropriateness of that feast’s institution in these words: ‘Having celebrated the solemnity of the coming of the Holy Ghost, we, at once, on the Sunday next following, sing the glory of the holy Trinity; and rightly is this arrangement ordained, for, after the coming of the same holy Spirit, the faith in, and confession of, the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, immediately began to be preached, and believed, and celebrated in Baptism.’3

In our own country, it was the glorious martyr, St. Thomas of Canterbury, that established the feast of holy Trinity. He introduced it into his archdio­cese, in the year 1162, in memory of his having been consecrated bishop on the first Sunday after Pentecost. As regards France, we find a Council of Arles, held in 1260 under the presidency of archbishop Florentinus, solemnly decreeing, in its sixth canon, the feast of holy Trinity to be observed with an octave. The Cistercian Order, which was spread throughout Europe, had ordered it to be celebrated in all its houses, as far back as the year 1230. Durandus, in his Rationale, gives us grounds for concluding that, during the thirteenth century, the majority of the Latin Churches kept this feast. Of these Churches, there were some that celebrated it, not on the first, but on the last, Sunday after Pentecost; others kept it twice: once on the Sunday next following the Pentecost solemnity, and a second time on the Sun­day immediately preceding Advent.

It was evident, from all this, that the apostolic See would finally give its sanction to a practice, whose universal adoption was being prompted by Christian instinct. John XXII, who sat in the Chair of Saint Peter as early as the year 1334, completed the work by a decree, wherein the Church of Rome accepted the feast of holy Trinity, and extended its observance to all Churches.

As to the motive which induced the Church, led as she is in all things by the Holy Ghost, to fix one special day in the year for the offering of a solemn homage to the blessed Trinity, whereas all our adorations, all our acts of thanksgiving, all our peti­tions, are ever being presented to It: such motive is to be found in the change which was being introduced, at that period, into the liturgical calendar. Up to about the year 1000, the feasts of saints marked on the general calendar, and universally kept, were very few. From that time, they began to be more nume­rous; and there was evidence that their number would go on increasing. The time would come, when the Sunday’s Office, which is specially consecrated to the blessed Trinity, must make way for that of the saints, as often as one of their feasts occurred on a Sunday. As a sort of compensation for this cele­bration of the memory of God’s servants on the very day which was sacred to the holy Trinity, it was considered right that once, at least, in the course of the year, a Sunday should be set apart for the exclusive and direct expression of the worship which the Church pays to the great God, who has vouch­safed to reveal Himself to mankind in His ineffable Unity and in His eternal Trinity.

The very essence of the Christian faith consists in the knowledge and adoration of one God in three Persons. This is the mystery whence all others flow. Our faith centres in this as in the master-truth of all it knows in this life, and as the infinite object whose vision is to form our eternal happiness; and yet, we know it only because it has pleased God to reveal Himself thus to our lowly intelligence, which, after all, can never fathom the infinite perfections of that God, who necessarily inhabiteth light inaccessible.4 Human reason may, of itself, come to the knowledge of the existence of God as Creator of all beings; it may, by its own innate power, form to itself an idea of His perfections by the study of His works; but the knowledge of God’s intimate Being can come to us only by means of His own gracious revelation.

It was God’s good-pleasure to make known to us His essence, in order to bring us into closer union with Himself, and to prepare us, in some way, for that face-to-face vision of Himself which He intends to give us in eternity. But His revelation is gradual: He takes mankind from brightness unto brightness, fitting it for the full knowledge and adoration of Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. During the period preceding the Incarnation of the eternal Word, God seemed intent on inculcating the idea of His Unity, for polytheism was the infectious error of mankind; and every notion of there being a spiritual and sole cause of all things would have been effaced from the earth, had not the infinite goodness of God watched over its preservation.

Not that the old Testament Books were altogether silent on the three divine Persons, whose ineffable relations are eternal; only, the mysterious passages, which spoke of them, were not understood by the people at large; whereas, in the Christian Church, a child of seven will answer those who ask him, that, in God, the three divine Persons have but one and the same Nature, but one and the same Divinity. When the Book of Genesis tells us that God spoke in the plural, and said: ‘Let Us make man to Our image and likeness,’5 the Jew bows down and be­lieves, but he understands not the sacred text; the Christian, on the contrary, who has been enlightened by the complete revelation of God, sees, under this expression, the three Persons acting together in the formation of man; the light of faith develops the great truth to him, and tells him that, within himself, there is a likeness to the blessed Three in One. Power, understanding, and will, are three faculties within him, and yet he himself is but one being. In the Books of Proverbs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, Solomon speaks, in sublime language, of Him who is eternal Wisdom; he tells us--and he uses every variety of grandest expression to tell us—of the divine essence of this Wisdom, and of His being a distinct Person in the Godhead; but how few among the people of Israel could see through the veil! Isaias heard the voice of the Seraphim, as they stood around God’s throne; he heard them singing in alternate choirs, and with a joy intense because eternal, this hymn: ‘Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord!’6 But who will explain to men this triple Sanctus, of which the echo is heard here below, when we mortals give praise to our Creator? So, again, in the Psalms, and the prophetic Books, a flash of light will break suddenly upon us; a brightness of some mysterious Three will dazzle us; but it passes away, and obscurity returns seemingly all the more palpable; we have but the sentiment of the divine Unity deeply impressed on our inmost soul, and we adore the Incomprehensible, the sovereign Being. The world had to wait for the fullness of time to be completed; and then, God would send into this world His only Son, begotten of Him from all eternity. This His most merciful purpose has been carried out, and the Word made Flesh hath dwelt among us.7 By seeing His glory, the glory of the only-begotten Son of the Father,8 we have come to know that, in God, there is Father and Son. The Son’s mission to our earth, by the very revelation it gave us of Himself, taught us that God is eternally Father, for whatsoever is in God is eternal. But for this merciful revelation, which is an anticipation of the light awaiting us in the next life, our knowledge of God would have been too imperfect. It was fitting that there should be some proportion between the light of faith, and that of the vision reserved for the future; it was not enough for man to know that God is One.

So that, we now know the Father, from whom comes, as the apostle tells us, all paternity, even on earth.9 We know Him not only as the creative power, which has produced every being outside Him­self; but, guided as it is by faith, our soul’s eye respectfully penetrates into the very essence of the Godhead, and there beholds the Father begetting a Son like unto Himself. But, in order to teach us the mystery, that Son came down upon our earth. He Himself has told us expressly that no one knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.10 Glory, then, be to the Son, who has vouchsafed to show us the Father! and glory to the Father, whom the Son hath re­vealed unto us!

The intimate knowledge of God has come to us by the Son, whom the Father, in His love, has given to us.11 And this Son of God, who, in order to raise up our minds even to His own divine Nature, has clad Himself, by His Incarnation, with our human nature, has taught us that He and His Father are one;12 that Theyare one and the same Essence, in distinc­tion of Persons. One begets, the Other is begotten; the One is named Power; the Other, Wisdom, or Intelligence. The Power cannot be without the Intelligence, nor the Intelligence without the Power, in the sovereignly perfect Being: but, both the One and the Other produce a third Term.

The Son, who had been sent by the Father, had ascended into heaven, with the human Nature which He had united to Himself for all future eternity; and lo! the Father and the Son send into this world the Spirit who proceeds from Them both. It was a new Gift, and it taught man that the Lord God was in three Persons. The Spirit, the eternal link of the first two, is Will, He is Love, in the divine Essence. In God, then, is the fullness of Being, without beginning, without succession, without in­crease; for there is nothing which He has not. In these three eternal Terms of His uncreated Substance, is the Act, pure and infinite.

The sacred liturgy, whose object is the glorification of God and the commemoration of His works, follows, each year, the sublime phases of these manifestations, whereby the sovereign Lord has made known His whole self to mortals. Under the sombre colours of Advent, we commemorated the period of expectation, during which the radiant Trinity sent forth but few of Its rays to mankind. The world, during those four thousand years, was praying heaven for a Libe­rator, a Messiah; and God’s own Son was to be this Liberator, this Messiah. That we might have the full knowledge of the prophecies which foretold Him, it was necessary that He Himself should actually come: a Child was born unto us,13 and then we had the key to the Scriptures. When we adored that Son, we adored also the Father, who sent Him to us in the Flesh, and with whom He is consubstantial. This Word of life, whom we have seen, whom we have heard, whom our hands have handled14 in the Humanity which He deigned to assume, has proved Himself to be truly a Person, a Person distinct from the Father, for One sends, and the Other is sent. In this second divine Person, we have found our Mediator, who has reunited the creation to its Creator; we have found the Redeemer of our sins, the Light of our souls, the Spouse we had so long desired.

Having passed through the mysteries which He Himself wrought, we next celebrated the descent of the holy Spirit, who had been announced as coming to perfect the work of the Son of God. We adored Him, and acknowledged Him to be distinct from the Father and the Son, who had sent Him to us with the mission of abiding with Us.15 He manifested Him­self by divine operations which are peculiarly His own, and were the object of His coming. He is the soul of the Church; He keeps her in the truth taught her by the Son. He is the source, the principle of the sanctification of our souls; and in them He wishes to make His dwelling. In a word, the mystery of the Trinity has become to us, not only a dogma made known to our mind by revelation, but, more­over, a practical truth given to us by the unheard-of munificence of the three divine Persons: the Father, who has adopted us; the Son, whose brethren and joint-heirs we are; and the Holy Ghost, who governs us, and dwells within us.

Let us, then, begin this day, by giving glory to the one God in three Persons. For this end, we will unite with holy Church, who in her Office of Prime recites on this solemnity, as also on every Sunday not taken up by a feast, the magnificent Symbol known as the Athanasian Creed. It gives us, in a summary of much majesty and precision, the doctrine of the holy Doctor St. Athanasius, regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation.16

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