Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Catholic Matters"

I just received Father John Neuhaus's book, "Catholic Matters" to read over spring break (Of course I'm going to start it now! Why wait?!). It begins talking about "American Catholicism." Which I found very interesting. Not that I didn't know what he is talking about, but rather, I found it interesting on how clearly he presented it. This is what I got out of it so far:

In America, Catholicism is viewed as a choice, not as something that really matters. Even though it matters ultimately. Americans have become church-hoppers. Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, you name it--it doesn't seem to make much difference to millions of American Christians. Some would say that this is explainable due to our American society. Don't we pride ourselves on being a free market society where choice rules over all? Why shouldn't there be a free market in religion?

This "church-hopping" is simply church shopping in search of "spirituality that meets my needs." A while ago, it was alright for different denominations to say why they were right, and others were wrong. But now, it seems as though talking about truth, or right or wrong is over with. While "talking about my needs, and wants" is growing.

One will see the switching from Lutheran to Presbyterian (or Baptist, Methodist, etc.) goes, mostly, unnoticed. Switching from one denomination to another (if not non-denominational; become bigger and bigger) are religious preferences that are "in the religious community." But, if you were to announce that you were converting to Catholicism, you would receive sharp questioning. Catholics in America seem to be the religious "other."


--I will periodically write my thoughts, passages, and my perceptions of this book down as I read it. I already knew it was a great book. Now that I began reading it, I love it! I suggest this book to whomever; young, old, devout, all would get MUCH out of this book.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Passiontide


Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death,
even death on a Cross.
Philippians 2:8

Passiontide Sunday/Passion Sunday/Holy Week

One will notice, during this fifth Sunday of Lent, a shift has occurred. When we listen to the readings and pray the Church's prayers for today we see right away that our attention is now directed much more towards the Lord’s Passion. This shift was much clearer in the old calender. Traditionally, statues and sacred images are veiled in violet starting today. Even though this custom has become rare, due to the option being left up to local priests, these last two weeks of Lent still invite us to begin a more intense reflection on the Passion of our Lord.


Soul of Christ, sanctify me,body of Christ, save me,blood of Christ, inebriate me,water from the side of Christ, wash me.Passion of Christ, strengthen me.O good Jesus, hear me:hide me within your wounds and never let me be separated from you.From the wicked enemy defend me,in the hour of my death, call me and bid me come to you,so that with your saints I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hmmm

Father S. doesn't like the Wendy's fish sandwich....


De gustibus non est disputandum. ;)

All I can say is...

I am saddened to read about what's going on at Notre Dame University; I think this is a major sell-out. Nothing more than that. To help out the cause, go here and sign this petition. So far 156,000 (roughly) have already signed it. It's simple to do. I just did.

http://www.notredamescandal.com/

Called to Prayer

I can't stop praying! I can't get enough of it! I could sit at church for hours praying. Just sitting there, talking to and praising God. Throughout my entire day I try to be in communication with Him. I am always trying to pray. A big tool that has come along in my praying has been the rosary. I always have one on me, and when I get a free minute or so I am praying it. Prayer seems to put me at peace, and at one with God. I believe it is one of the most powerful tools God gives us in fighting off the devil. Speaking of prayer--I'm off to Vespers! Another great gift given to us from the Church for universal prayer.

Annuntiatio Christi

"Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end."



The Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is probably one of the most important dates in the Church calendar. It celebrates the actual Incarnation of Our Savior made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary. The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus entering into His human nature. Through His mother He becomes a member of the human race.The religious calender is divided up in a way that celebrates the annunciation exactly 9 months before the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. It also comes in the middle of lent, showing how God operates out of time. Our human instinct is to look at things in chronological order, whereas, God doesn't work like that so our calender is made up around no certain timeline, it all overlaps and repeats.

Mary's response to the angel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word," is a statement of humble faith, and a model for how we are to respond when God calls us to do what seems impossible. We should follow God with blind obedience, and commit all of ourselves to Him. When he presents us with grueling tasks and suffering, we are to embrace those, as graces from God! The more suffering one endures, the closer one is with God.

As hard as it may be, everything that we endure, suffer, enjoy, feel, etc. must be offered up to God in sacrifice. I do not mean for us to run out looking for suffering, or to become a "victim" of suffering (to dwell in self pity, and only see how you were/or weren't persecuted). That is an issue that I think is one of society's biggest problems. The victimization of people. People tend to make themselves victims because it is "an easy way out," or out of pure self-centered laziness. In doing so, they become prideful, and won't come face-to-face with the reality of the situation or the trials that God has set out for us. They put that all on someone else. We each have a cross to bear. All of which make us grow closer to God.

Which brings me to another point. (I've been thinking about this for a while now.) When we endure suffering, we must remember that this suffering that we uphold may not only be for our own sake, or our own growth, but possibly for the growth of others. That in its very self is an act of selfishness. See how easy it is to fall back into the pit of sin?! When we endure suffering for our own sake, we believe God is bestowing that upon ourselves. It could very well be that we are enduring this for others, or to help others in a way we as humans can't clearly see all of the time. That is why I said (earlier) that we should follow and uphold God's will with blind obedience! For we do not know the plans that He has in store, or in what way they may affect us or others around us.

We should all embrace the suffering, trials and crosses that God gives us with open arms. To find peace and joy in this suffering. Even though it's extremely hard to do this no doubt. Yet, that is what God calls each of us to do. Each trial we should humbly and blindly take up as an act of not only faith, but love for God. Mary's response to the angel is a perfect example of how we should act in accordance to God's will. This response is called Mary's fiat, meaning "let it be done." Our motto too should be, "Let it it be done according to God's will." So that we may be able to devote all our life to God. In the same way that our Virgin Mother offered herself up fully and blindly to God's plan, and the salvation of the world.



Let us pray to God for the strength and courage to approach our daily sufferings with open arms, and to offer it before Him out of obedience and love. May we see His love and graces given to us each day, and may we receive them with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.


My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has looked with favor upon His lowly servant,
For henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For The mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
He Has mercy on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His family forever. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wendy's

I think "Wendy's" should become Lex Orandi Lex Credendi's new sponsor! I've sent so many people there within the past few days! I think I should get a little profit! Don't you!? They are better than McDonalds though.=D


I just like how one of my most commented posts is about Fish Sandwiches!


Irony.

Funny

My little sister wrote on my mom's white board in her classroom that she is the second best mom in the whole wide world. My mom's students kept asking her all day what my sister meant by it. =D

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Magic Flute

I just got home from the opera! (So fancy!) Actually, I went up to CMU to see my close friend in the opera "The Magic Flute." For any of you that this would mean something to, she was Papagena! It was awesome. I love listening to great music, today was a real treat. It was good to see her again too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Year of the Priest

Pope Benedict XVI declared a year of the priest in an effort to encourage "spiritual perfection" in priests.

The pope will open the special year with a vespers service at the Vatican June 19 -- the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day for the sanctification of priests. He will close the celebrations during a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peter's Square June 19, 2010.

The pope made the announcement during an audience March 16 with members of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.

During this jubilee year, the pope will also proclaim St. John Vianney to be patron saint of all the world's priests. At present he is considered the patron saint of parish priests.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of this 19th-century saint who represents a "true example of a priest at the service of the flock of Christ," the pope said.

In his address, Pope Benedict said the priestly ministry consists of total adherence to the ecclesial tradition of participating "in a spiritually intense new life and a new lifestyle which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and which the apostles made their own." Priestly ordination creates new men who are bestowed with the gift and office of sanctifying, teaching and governing, he said.

The pope underlined the necessary and "indispensable struggle for moral perfection which must dwell in every authentically priestly heart."

The pope said he was calling for the special year for priests in an effort to foster the priest's yearning "for spiritual perfection, upon which the effectiveness of their ministry principally depends."

"The awareness of the radical social changes over the past decades must stir the best ecclesial energies to look after the formation of priestly candidates," the pope said. This means great care must be taken to ensure permanent and consistent doctrinal and spiritual formation for seminarians and priests, he said, specifying the importance of passing down, especially to younger generations, "a correct reading of the texts of the Second Vatican Council, interpreted in the light of all the church's doctrinal heritage."

Priests must also be "present, identifiable and recognizable -- for their judgment of faith, their personal virtues and their attire -- in the fields of culture and charity which have always been at the heart of the church's mission," he said. (Big point there)

"The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of ordained ministry," he said, adding that, without priestly ministry, there would be no Eucharist, no mission and even no church.

Therefore, he said, it is crucial to make sure that new bodies or pastoral organizations are not set up "for a time in which one might have to 'dispense with' ordained ministry based on an erroneous interpretation of the rightful promotion of the laity."

"This would lay the foundations for further diluting the priestly ministry, and any supposed 'solutions' would dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently connected with the ministry," he said.


(Tip to Catholic Spirit)

Wow, this is great! I agree with it all! Right on Pope Benedict!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Interesting Facts

St. Joseph's Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick's Day.

After Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar is laden with food contributed by everyone. Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph's floor), seafood, and, always, fava beans, which are considered "lucky" because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed (recipes below).

The table -- which is always blessed by a priest -- will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity. The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph's staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for "luck"; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions.

The cry "Viva la tavola di San Giuse!" begins the feasting and is heard throughout the day. When the eating is done, the St. Joseph's altar is smashed, and then three children dressed as the Holy Family will knock on three doors, asking for shelter. They will be refused at the first two, and welcomed at the third, in memory of the Holy Family's seeking of hospitality just before Christ was born. This re-enactment is called "Tupa Tupa," meaning "Knock Knock."

(fisheaters.com)

I think I'm going to wear some red tomorrow. Probably not all red, but some. =D Interesting stuff no doubt!

Feast of Saint Joseph

Father, You entrusted our Savior to the care of Saint Joseph. By the help of his prayers may Your Church continue to serve its Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Gospel - Matthew 1: 16, 18-21, 24a

Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with Child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a Son; and he called His name Jesus.


Joseph, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and true husband of the queen of the world and of the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father to be the faithful foster-parent and guardian of the most precious treasures of God, His Son and His spouse. This was the task which he so faithfully carried out. For this, the Lord said to him, "Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord." A comparison can be made between Joseph and the whole Church of Christ. Joseph was the specially chosen man through whom and under whom Christ entered the world fittingly and in an appropriate way.


Therefore be mindful of us, blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with Him Whom men thought to be your Son. Win for us the favour of the most Blessed Virgin your spouse, the mother of Him Who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit through ages unending. Amen.


Festival

I just got back from choir festival. Our choir sang the "Cum Sancto Spiritu" by Vivaldi, and "Set Me as a Seal", by Rene Clausen. We got an overall "One" division (which is the highest rating possible). It's not really a "One", they changed the rating system, but it's the same thing basically. Also, we got a "One" for our band festival a few weeks ago. Pretty awesome.


Welp, I'm off to Vespers! In Christ-

Monday, March 16, 2009

Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

I had to write a short essay for my public high school Biology class.



Scientists largely agree that stem cells may hold a key to the treatment, and even cure, of many serious medical conditions. But while the use of adult stem cells is widely accepted, many religious groups and others oppose stem cell research involving the use and destruction of human embryos.

Their reasoning can be summed up by the fact that, once an egg is fertilized, it will develop into a fully-developed human. This opinion is often related to religious doctrines which state that conception is the beginning of human life (or the presence of a soul).

Based upon this reasoning, the argument against embryonic stem cell research is that human life is valuable and should not be voluntarily destroyed. It has been argued that "the line at which an embryo becomes a human life remains unclear". It doesn’t matter. If we don’t know when the exact time is when a soul enters the embryo, then why even risk it. That isn’t left up to humans to decide.

No hope for a 'greater good' can erase or diminish the wrong of directly taking innocent human lives. In fact, policies diminishing the respect for human life can only endanger the patients that stem-cell research offers to help. The same ethics that justify taking some lives to help the patient with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease today can be used to sacrifice that very patient tomorrow.

Anecdotal appeals to one’s emotion do not nullify the reality of Truth. If life is sacred and is to be preserved, then personal stories cannot change the reality. Our individual perception of what is “truth” might change based on our life experiences. Truth, however, does not change. It would certainly be painful to witness a loved one suffering from a debilitating illness. But, this pain does not change what ultimately is right or wrong.

Eventually, each of us will die, but that gives no one a right to kill us. Our society does not permit lethal experiments on terminally ill patients or condemned prisoners on the pretext that they will soon die anyway. Likewise, the fact that an embryonic human being is at risk of being abandoned by his or her parents gives no individual or government a right to directly kill that human being in the first place.

The use of adult stem cells and umbilical-cord blood have been shown to offer "a better way" to produce cells that can benefit patients suffering from heart disease, corneal damage, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases.

There is no moral objection to research and therapy of this kind, when it involves no harm to human beings at any stage of development and is conducted with appropriate informed consent. Until the time in which scientists discover how to allow embryos to give consent for their own stem cells to be used, politics cannot condone this form of human destruction.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Random

I love reading the divine offices. There is such connection to the daily psalms and prayers, and scripture readings. They all fit! I love how when you read the morning prayers it talks all about how the flowers praise God, and how the sun praises God, etc. It is all about our day ahead, and asking God to be with us. Then, when the day is all done, we come back to prayer, and it talks all about how we screwed that day up! How we sinned, and how we repent, and we ask God to forgive us and protect us through the night from all evils that may haunt us in our sleep. If judgement should come to us through the night, we're in BIG trouble. It constantly keeps me focused on God, and I need as much of that as I can get. I have tons more to write. Many other posts in mind. Today was one of those "field days" of ideas But I have school, and homework, and lessons, and choir festival, etc. This is going to be a very busy two weeks. So I'll try to get 5 minutes to write sometime. Oh well, God's keeping me busy, out of trouble. ;) I don't mind it that much. That's my job right now. To go to school, and be a friend, and brother. To be busy and take lessons, and study, and practice, and be involved, and volunteer. That's what God is calling me to do right now. Then again, I lose time to pray to God, and to meditate on Him, and His love. I wish to do that all day, constantly. But God calls me to do otherwise. Then again (again), in my daily works and business, I am praising God, and doing His work. Whether I know I am or not. Random, I know. See? So much to say right now!

Anyways-scarce blogging for a while. God Bless!

Mockery

So today at Mass, Father addressed a recent issue that occurred in our little old city. A couple of weeks ago the Rotarian's put on their annual rotary show to help raise money. Every year something objectionable occurs. Some skit, or reference, or makes a mockery of a certain person, religion, race, etc. This year there was a certain skit performed by local people who have in the past mocked the Catholic Church publicly. The skit was basically about the Pope hearing confessions, while accepting money for them. A Knight brought in a written letter that all the Knight's signed, and they sent it to the local newspaper saying they were upset with the skit. When the newspaper got the news, the headline stated, "Local Masons Upset with Rotary Show."

Ya, I know. Mix up the Knights of Columbus with the "Masons."

Anyways, all this being said. Father talked about this in his homily today. It was a very good homily and he said a lot of things that people needed to hear, and what they probably didn't want to hear. Nonetheless, it needed to be said. Some people involved with the skit and show were present at Mass. He has only received one comment (not much of one). Someone came up to him after the 8 o'clock Mass, and said he was wrong and should get his facts straight. Then said, "I don't want to argue with you Father," and left. Not engaging in discussion at all. Because they wouldn't want to actually talk about it, or say they were wrong, or it was objectionable. Nope. They just wanted to say Father was wrong and that's it.

Now, what gets me is people are probably thinking, "Well, who does he think he is to call people out like that at Mass?" But my thing is, that's his JOB. He's the Catholic priest. He preaches at the pulpit, and used the pulpit for what it's intended to be used for. He is the voice of the Catholic Church. He is the one ordained to speak for all the Catholics of our parish. But people have put priests at a "lower level" over the past 40 years, making them no more special than any other guy. It gives the priest no place to stand on any issues. The priest doesn't have a role in the community anymore. This confuses everybody! The laity don't have anyone to speak for them, so no one does. And the priest isn't allowed to and is diminished to a layman's role-giving no voice to the priest.

Oh dear. Let's pray for these people who wish to attack the Church. If not intentionally, then let's pray for their common sense. Amen!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vespers and Stations

Welp! I'm off to vespers and stations! Stations has been really cool this year because we've had four altar servers doing it, which means one on cross, one on incense, and two holding candles. More than the two we had all last year (me and my brother). The church is so pretty at that time of night too. I could stay in there for hours! The physical sacrifice we altar servers endure by holding such heavy candles, or the cross is my favorite part. I'm trying to memorize the prayers that go along with stations. I'm getting closer! I just need more time. Anyways! I'm off!

In Christ-

(A little scattered, but not a bad post! =D)

Prayer of Adoration

I adore You present in my heart, O incarnate Word, only Son and splendor of the Father, born of Mary. I thank You, sole Master and Truth by essence, for Your immense goodness in coming to me, an ignorant person and a sinner. With Mary, I offer You to the Father: through You, with You, in You, may there be eternal praise, thanksgiving, and supplication for peace among people. Enlighten my mind; render me a docile disciple of the Church; grant that I may live by faith; give me an understanding of the Scriptures. Make me Your ardent apostle. Let the light of Your Gospel, O divine Master, shine on the farthest bounds of the world. Amen.

My Love of Each Mass

Over the past forty years the Church has been dealing with a reformation. Most took its intentions and twisted them, leaving the theology that we are now fixing today. I don't believe that it was Vatican II's intent for all of the "guitars, tambourines, and folk" Masses. Rather, I believe that they were just offering the Novus Ordo as a form that would be available to priests so they could speak in their vernacular, along with other various changes. In hearing this, certain people and news articles began to take these new options and run with it. Turning it into something that "you have to do, declared by the pope." That something is exactly what we are reforming today.

I personally, have no problem with a traditional Novus Ordo Mass. It is very beautiful, and if done right, can be as holy as any other form of Mass. Now, mind you, I am not referring to the typical "70's" Novus Ordo Mass most people think of. But rather, an enhanced one at which I feel we as a Church, and the Holy Father are pushing towards. A Mass that uses Latin throughout, one that doesn't have any EMC's or girl altar servers, etc. Along with many other things in which distract from the real purpose of the Mass.

I also think there is a great calling for priests and layman alike to see the true essence of Christ in the Mass. That is one of the biggest things that I think we need to catechise the faithful (priests, deacons, and layman) about. We need to be constantly aware of Whose presence we are in at Mass, and the cosmic battle and suffering that is being offered to save us. The more we come to see the real purpose of the Mass, and what ACTUALLY takes place, the more humble people will become before our Lord. From this, we will begin to see that our Masses in which we celebrate now are not suitable for God and all His glory. Then we begin to celebrate our Masses in a far more devout, and pious manner. Making every effort to make it as beautiful and holy as possible. With this we begin a "snowball effect" of our worship at Mass. We begin to search for a more devout way to celebrate Mass (Why not?! Why not do the best we can do for our God? If we have the capability, then what should stop us?).

We love the Latin Mass for its own sake, for its inherent reverence and for all the Catholic elements in it that were removed from the "New" Mass. Sure, the New Mass is Catholic and entirely sufficient, when done properly, of course -- but when Catholics attend the Latin Mass they see what else is possible.

In our search we come full circle to where we first began with the Tridentine Rite. Set up hundreds of years ago, when they too were looking for something "worthy" of God in the Mass. It is the most reverent, and pious Mass form (I believe) we have. And the funny thing is, we've had this it all along! It shows God such humility and pious devotion.



I truly do love the Tridentine Mass. Everything about it is perfect. It is two thousand years old, but it has been fine-tuned to perfection over the course of that time through a process of development which represents the very best, the very highest that the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to offer to God. The altar server's/priest's movements, the mental position it puts the laity, the reverence, the way it keeps the priest and congregation in "check", so that they may remain fixed on the sacrifice of the Mass. But I do believe there is space for a Holy Novus Ordo Mass as well. I love them both, for different reasons.

I think we as a church, are going to get to a place at which both Mass forms are accepted, and neither are looked down upon. It will be up to the diocese, or even the local priest as to what form they celebrate when. This clarity in the intent of each Mass, will leave both priest and congregation not worrying what each Mass will have in store. Both forms will be held to strict guidelines, and "personal touches" won't be accepted.


O God, the Protector of all who hope in Thee and without Whom nothing can have either strength or holiness, multiply Thy mercy, we beseech Thee, upon us, that Thou being our Ruler and our Guide, we may so pass through the goods of this life as not to lose those which are eternal. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Focused

As busy as I am right now, I feel like I need to do some more work. I feel as though I should do more physical work, centered towards helping others. When one is in a depression, others often recommend doing something for others (mostly physical) as a way to get out of it. Now, I'm not saying I'm in a depression. At all! I'm just saying that I feel as though I should do more, that I should fill my empty time doing something to keep me physically, and mentally focused on God.
Why the Divine Mercy picture? Oh, I don't know.
I just felt like posting it. =D

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Server Training

My friend and I are offering an altar server class coming up on March 29. I am very happy that we are getting this started. There are a lot of young boys who wish to serve the Mass, but don't want to just "jump in" because they don't want to mess it up, or get in the way, or distract the priest. So we're going to get them going, and really explain to them what they are doing while they are assisting the priest. This is just for the Novus Ordo Mass though, that is, until Father begins to celebrate the Tridentine Rite. =D (In which case I will need classes! I just have a server handbook for that, I've read it several times--but I need to go through the Mass to "get it.")


As Fr. Z would say:

"Brick by Brick"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fish


Hey--I feel like crawling in a corner after I eat McDonalds as much as you do, but at least they acknowledge our Lenten abstinence from meat. Even if it is for their own profiteering. =D Oh well.



(p.s. Wendy's has a new fish sandwich...WAY better than McDonalds!)



Friday, March 6, 2009

VATICAN: Rising Number of Priests

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican says the number of priests worldwide is slowly but steadily rising.

The Holy See presented its yearbook filled with statistics to Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday.

Since 2000, the number of priests has gone up by several hundred each year. The two decades before that had witnessed a marked decline.

The percentage of Catholics worldwide remains stable, at about 17.3 percent.In 2007, the last year statistics were available, Catholics numbered some 1.147 billion around the globe.

Worldwide, the number of candidates for the priesthood rose by just under one-half of a percentage point, although Europe and North and South America registered small declines.

(tip to "Roman Catholic Faithful")

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today's Special Word

Calumny is any form of ruse or fraud used to deceive another, particularly in judicial proceedings. It means the unjust damaging of the good name of another by putting a crime or fault of which he is not guilty upon him. The sin, thus is committed in a general sense, mortal. Objectively, a calumny is a mortal sin when it is calculated to do serious harm to the person wrongly accused. Just as in the instance of wrongful damage to a person or estate, so the calumniator is bound to adequate payment for the injury perpetrated by the blackening of another's good name. He is obliged to: (1) to retract his false statements, and that even though his own payments may necessarily as a consequence suffer. (2) He must also make good whatever other losses have been sustained by the innocent party as a result of his utterances, provided these same have been in some measure foreseen by him.

(Catholic Encyclopedia)

Never Ending Battle

I've been praying the Saint Michael prayer a lot lately. This spiritual war we fight with the devil is one that is far out of my hands. There is no way I can beat him by myself. Only through God will I succeed. I am so weak, so tiny compared to the forces I/we are up against. More and more I've discovered the help of guardian angels, and archangels--I've begun to pray to them as well as God in help through these battles. They see what I don't. When I can only see the individual works of the devil, or what is right before my eyes-- they see the whole picture and the devil's long term plan. They are my spiritual eyes and ears. It's a constant battle, a battle that I offer up. I try not to dwell on it, but then again, I am a moody teenager (perfect combination!). I try to look upon the devil as not a giant foe, but rather as pathetic. Which he is! He tries whatever he can to try and trip us up. It is actually really sad to watch. "O God, thrust into Hell satan, and all the evil spirits the prowl about the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."






Sancte Michael Archangele,defende nos in proelio;contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.


Saint Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle;be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,by the power of God,thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Magnificat?

Vespers is an awesome thing to have. I can't say enough about it. I just have one question. We are going to be doing a "high" vespers on Sunday's, but we can't find a chanted version of the "Magnificat." Anyone out there have one? I've looked through the gradual, and most of my prayer books/hymnals. Thanks!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Suffering is God's Love

There is constant desire for my soul to be with God. I feel compelled to pray, think, and worship God whenever I can, and when I am not I am unsatisfied. Even in prayer, I long to be with God. There is constant unrest inside of me. Yet, I know that this is all a test. A test to show God our love for Him. This "test" is the human life, and the suffering that comes along with it. That suffering is God's love. It is as though one was ill, so they went to the doctor, who, in order to cure them, had them take an awful pill that caused them pain for several days until the sickness eventually was lifted.

(I'm reading the biography of Padre Pio, so if I seem like I'm in a "dark place"-- you know why. =D)

God doesn't present Himself to me always. When it seems as though God has abandoned me in the midst of darkness, I find that suffering, is God's love. It is part of God's test to me, so that I may show my longing for Him, and my love for Him. So I cling to that. I ask for that. I feel as though I long for that suffering, I long for God. For in that suffering comes a joy that is far greater than the "simple" or "trivial" joys which we inhibit here on earth. It is a peaceful joy. One that puts my soul at peace, and on a path, which I know is where God wants me to be.

Now, some may find this "over the top," but to me it is very real. Our culture has seemed to "water-down" suffering, to something no one wants to endure. I don't look for suffering, and pain. But I don't avoid it. I take whatever comes at me and offer it up to God. I long to carry the cross with Christ. And I say "With Christ" for certain reason; no human is capable of carrying that cross. yet, I strive to help, in any manner it be for me to lift that sacrifice off of Jesus, or souls in purgatory. When doing this I ask for humility. For most of the time, when I do suffer, or I do bear a cross, I try not to show it, yet my immaturity leaks out and I show of that "something is going on with me." I allow others to see the acts of my right hand. (Pride is the root of all evil) Whereas, "God will reward that which is carried out in secret."

God understands our torment here on earth, and recognizes our longing for beauty and rest in Him. That is why He has given u His Son. So that we may be able to become one in Him, that we can be as close to god as humanly possible. We "eat" Him. What an AMAZING God we have, one that recognizes our spiritual and physical thirsts, and needs. Not only does He supply us with that Eucharist, but also "worldly" things such as; music, flowers, art, people, etc. All things that derive from God's goodness, that are given to us to be enjoyed and to grab hold to as joys of the world to come.

I have ignored this over the past few months. I've only looked at how terrible this world is, and how I long to be in heaven. While this is true.. There are great joys here on earth in which God has put there for our happiness so that we may see the full greatness of His glory, and that we may long for more.

I am completely obedient to God and will do whatever He asks of me. For it is in His goodness, and in His strength that I carry out my work, my suffering. Not my own. And I am always ready to undergo whatever He has in store for me. I am ready and willing to suffer. We will all suffer, whatever we can handle. I pray that I am strong enough to handle my own suffering, along with suffering of others. For suffering is the only way to rest in God.

"Let it be done to me according to your word."

Angels

An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.

I was surprised to learn that there are apparently nine choirs, or orders, of angels. Seven are mentioned in the New Testament and two in the Old Testament. Here's a briefing on what I learned: (most from "Catholic Online")

Seraphim are the highest order of angels. They are angels who are attendants or guardians before God's throne. They have six wings: 2 cover their face, 2 cover their feet, and 2 are for flying. I can't really even produce the image of a Seraph in my mind. There are also Cherubim, the 2nd highest choir. They are the guardians of God's glory.

Thrones are the Angels of pure Humility, Peace and Submission. They reside in the area of the cosmos where material form begins to take shape. The lower Choir need the Thrones to access God. I am unclear of how we know what we know about Thrones.

Dominion are Angels of Leadership. They regulate the duties of the angels, making known the commands of God. I am unclear of how they access God and how we know anything about this order, either. There are Virtues, known as the Spirits of Motion who control the elements. Apparently this choir controls all nature- the seasons, stars, moon, and even the sun. They are also in charge of miracles and provide courage, valor, and grace.

The most interesting to me were the Powers. Powers are Warrior Angels against evil, defending the cosmos and humans. They are known as potentates. The chief is said to be either Samael or Camael, both angels of darkness. Are they fighters in the sense of Spiritual Warfare?

The Archangels are the most frequently mentioned throughout the Bible. They may be of this or other hierarchies as St. Michael Archangel, who is a princely Seraph. The Archangels have a unique tole as God's messengers to the people at critical times in history and salvation as in the Annunciation and Apocalypse. Of special significance is St. Michael as he has been invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles.

Okay, the next one confuses me a lot. Principalities are one type of spiritual (metaphysical) being which are now quite hostile to God and to humans. These beings were created through Christ and for Him. Given their hostility to God and humans due to sin, Christ's ultimate rule over them expresses the reign of the Lord over all in the cosmos. This is the Lordship of Christ.

Christ's reign over them is because of his holiness because humans (and Christ was human) are beneath angels (Psalm 8). "God has given him authority over all things (except God, who gave Christ his authority)" is stated in 1 Corinthians 15:27. So Christ has power over the angels. But why would only the Principalities be upset?

Why are they wicked? They are not fallen angels or are they? What is this about? Where do I find more information?

The last group is comprised of the regular angels, the common folk. These angels are closest to the material world and to human beings. They deliver the prayers to God and God's answers and other messages to humans. Angels have the capacity to access any and all other angels at any time.

Now, I am excited to learn that we all have guardian angels. Psalm 91:10-12 states that "no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone." I have a question about guardian angels. If they are in accord with God, and yet are submissive to us, then do they have free will? Since they would have to choose to go against God? But then, why don't they sin?

There's a lot to take in there. My brain hurts right now. =D But it is definitely interesting! I was thinking about this last night when we were talking about how servers who do incense are called "Thurifer's" and cross bearers are called "crucifer's", so light bearers, or candle bearers, would be called "Lucifer's." So we easily got off topic and started talking about angels. I have been exposed recently to "guardian angels" more and more through my studying, and promote others to become closer to one's own angel. They are always there, to help.