1st Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2016)
2nd Sunday of Advent (December 4, 2016)
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Advent (December 11, 2016)
4th Sunday of Advent (December 18, 2016)
Christmas (December 25, 2016)
Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2017)
Epiphany (January 8, 2017)
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 15, 2017)
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 22, 2017)
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29, 2017)
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 5, 2017)
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 12, 2017)
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 19, 2017)
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 26, 2017)
Ash Wednesday (March 1, 2017)
1st Sunday of Lent (March 5, 2017)
2nd Sunday of Lent (March 12, 2017)
3rd Sunday of Lent (March 19, 2017)
4th Sunday of Lent (March 26, 2017)
Archive for the ‘Mass’ Category
1st Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2016)
1st Sunday of Advent, Year C (November 29, 2015)
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 6, 2015)
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015)
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 13, 2015)
4th Sunday of Advent, Year C (December 20, 2015)
Christmas (December 25, 2015)
Holy Family (December 27, 2015)
Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2016)
Epiphany (January 3, 2016)
Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2016)
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 17, 2016)
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 24, 2016)
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (January 31, 2016)
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (February 7, 2016)
Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016)
1st Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 14, 2016)
2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 21, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C (February 28, 2016)
4th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 6, 2016)
5th Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 13, 2016)
Palm Sunday of Lent, Year C (March 20, 2016)
Holy Thursday (March 24, 2016)
Easter (March 26-27, 2016)
Divine Mercy Sunday (April 3, 2016)
3rd Sunday of Easter (April 10, 2016)
4th Sunday of Easter (April 17, 2016)
5th Sunday of Easter (April 24, 2016)
6th Sunday of Easter (May 1, 2016)
Ascension / 7th Sunday of Easter (May 8, 2016)
Pentecost Sunday (May 15, 2016)
Holy Trinity Sunday (May 22, 2016)
Corpus Christi Sunday (May 29, 2016)
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 5, 2016)
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 12, 2016)
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 19, 2016)
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (June 26, 2016)
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 3, 2016)
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 10, 2016)
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 17, 2016)
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 24, 2016)
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (July 31, 2016)
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 7, 2016)
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 14, 2016)
Assumption of Mary (August 15, 2016)
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 21, 2016)
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (August 28, 2016)
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 4, 2016)
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 11, 2016)
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 18, 2016)
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (September 25, 2016)
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 2, 2016)
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 9, 2016)
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 16, 2016)
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 23, 2016)
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (October 30, 2016)
All Saints (November 1, 2016)
“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God; but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.”
“If we could comprehend all the good things contained in Holy Communion, nothing more would be wanting to content the heart of man. The miser would run no more after his treasures, or the ambitious after glory; each would shake off the dust of the earth, leave the world, and fly away towards heaven.”
—St. John Vianney
This Dominican sister of Mary Mother of the Eucharist will be coming our parish (along with Sister Stephanie Spor) to lead next week’s Vacation Bible Camp. In former days, she was a video blogger under the handle SheIsCatholic. Enjoy:
Aphantasia (Greek for “without fantasy”) has been written about since 1880 but it has recently gained increased attention. To understand what I am talking about, picture a red triangle, a horse running, or the house where you grew up. With a moment’s attention you can see them in your mind. However, people with Aphantasia are incapable of voluntarily forming images in their mind’s-eye.
Blake, a successful 30-year-old software engineer only recently learned he experienced the world differently from others. He relates a conversation similar to this with a Facebook friend:
—If I ask you to imagine a beach, how would you describe what happens in your mind?
—Uhh, I imagine a beach. What?
—Like, the idea of a beach. Right?
—Well, there are waves, sand. Umbrellas. It’s a relaxing picture. Are you okay?
— But it’s not actually a picture? There’s no visual component, right?
—Yes, there is, in my mind. What are you talking about?
—Is it in color?
—How often do your thoughts have a visual element?
—A thousand times a day?
—Oh, my goodness…
If someone were to ask Blake to “imagine a beach,” he could ruminate on the concept of a beach: it has sand, waves, heat, sun. He could recognize a beach when he saw one, but even if he were standing on a beach he could not recreate or remember the image with his eyes closed.
Philip is a 42-year old photographer from Toronto. He is happily married, but he cannot conjure up his wife’s face (or any other image) in his mind’s eye. He was recently listening to a podcast presenter describing aphantasia. He says it came as a complete surprise, “I was like ‘what do you mean? People do that?’” He thought it was a joke so he checked with his four-year old daughter. “I asked her whether she could picture an apple in her mind, she said ‘yeah, it’s green’. I was shocked.”
A 2009 survey of 2,500 people suggests that aphantasia is the experience of about 2% of people. So far, I have found it in two of my friends, including a fellow priest. He tells me that when our spiritual director in seminary would tells us to prayerfully picture ourselves, say, at the table of the Last Supper he thought it was just a metaphor. He was surprised to learn that when people “counted sheep” to fall asleep that was more than just a figure of speech.
Disbelief is a common response when people on either side of this phenomena hear that other people do no experience the world like themselves. (“That’s impossible. You’re lying. You’re pulling my leg.”) However, unless we happen to carry around an MRI machine, we have to take our friend at his or her word in order to know the truth. And here we come to the connection with this Feast of Corpus Christi.
An extraordinary experience at the center of our Faith is founded upon a trust in our friend Jesus Christ’s testimony. At the Last Supper, Jesus does not say, “This is like my body,” or “This symbolizes or represents my body.” He says, “This is my body.” Around the year 150 AD, St. Justin Martyr described what early Christians everywhere believed about these words:
“The apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “Do this in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood” … “This food is called among us the Eucharist… For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.”
The Church has always proclaimed and worshiped Jesus Christ as truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. This belief has been confirmed for us throughout the centuries. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised would lead us to all truth and remind us of all that he told us, has reaffirmed this teaching in Councils of the Church. Jesus has also allowed Eucharistic miracles to unveil this mystery we cannot normally perceive. For instance, at the Miracle of Lanciano in eighth century AD, a priest who was doubting Jesus’ Real Presence witnessed the bread become flesh and the wine become blood (which coagulated and broke into five globules in the chalice) as he said the words of consecration. In 1971, scientific analysis indicated that, as at similar miracles, the Host was human cardiac muscle. Who would go through such trouble when a fraudster’s more convenient use of pig’s flesh would have been undetectable? The truth is that Jesus gives us his heart in the Eucharist, along with his whole self. You can go to Lanciano, Italy and behold this Host today.
For many Christians, the Lord’s Supper is merely a symbolic commemoration, a ritual that remembers him. But if Jesus is everywhere, then he is nowhere. It then impossible to physically draw near to him any place on earth. Unless you are blessed with a vision of Jesus, you can never see him with your eyes or touch him in your flesh until after your death and resurrection. But with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, “Behold, I am with you always…”
If you have always enjoyed mental images, or if you have received the Real Presence of Jesus in Holy Communion since you were a child, then you may not appreciate the gift you have. If you experience aphantasia, or if you have never believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, then you may not even know what you are missing. So for our non-Catholic family and friends, tell them about this treasure—Jesus wants them to receive him, too. And for ourselves, let us truly appreciate the incredible gift that we are blessed to receive.
A new liturgical Church year will begin in a couple of weeks with the first Sunday of Advent. As this Church year ends, our Mass readings (like today’s Sunday readings) focus on the Last Things and the end of the world as we know it. This weekend’s news reports, especially the terrible events in France, remind us that though the Kingdom of God is among us, we pray “thy Kingdom come” because it is not yet fully here in total, unveiled power. This weekend’s readings and news events remind me of passages from C.S. Lewis in excellent book Mere Christianity:
“Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless [radio] from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going.”
Why does Lewis say that our king has landed “in disguise?” Well, where would you expect a king to be born? The Magi sought the newborn king of the Jews in the palace at Jerusalem, but Jesus was born in a barn—a cave in Bethlehem—to a pair of poor parents. How would one expect the Jewish Messiah to enter into Jerusalem to claim his throne? Probably riding on a warhorse, but Jesus came meekly riding on a donkey, just as had been prophesied about him. Who would have thought that God would become a man, and then suffer and die as he did? After the vindication of the resurrection, one would have thought he would appear to the high priest and Governor Pilate, or to the Emperor Tiberius in Rome, to declare that he was indeed who he claimed to be. Instead, Jesus appeared discretely, to his disciples.
Lewis writes that God has landed in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and has started “a sort of secret society” to undermine the devil. This secret society he speaks of is the Church. But what is so secret about the Church? We have a sign in front with our Mass times. We don’t check ID’s at the door. And if anyone wants to know about what we do or what we believe, we will gladly inform them. But, in a sense, the Church is a secret society—for the world and even many Catholics do not recognize who and what we really are. We are a holy conspiracy. We are fighting the propaganda of the world and the devil with the truth of God. We are recruiting others to the side of the Lord. We are his special forces sabotaging evil with the weapons of love in preparation for the king’s arrival.
From where do we receive our power for this mission? The source of our power is the Holy Mass. Today’s second reading says that the Old Testament’s priests offered many sacrifices because those could not truly achieve their purpose, but Jesus our High Priest offers his sacrifice once for all. At Mass we transcend space and time to personally encounter that sacrifice, and it’s power is applied to us here and now, providing all the graces we need to fulfill his will.
Lewis asks, “Why is [God] not [yet] landing in [total unveiled] force, invading [our world]? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; [but] we do not know when.”
Indeed, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “of that day or hour, no one knows… but only the Father.”
We do not know when the Lord is going to land in force. “But,” Lewis continues, “we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman [during World War II] who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade.”
Why has God not yet invaded our world with his full, unveiled force? Why does he allow the wicked to use their freedom for evil, like the terrorism we saw in Paris?
Lewis writes, “I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else—something it never entered your head to conceive—comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?”
I think “the whole natural universe melting away” is an excellent reflection on today’s gospel. Jesus tells us that at the end:
“the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken…”
In the ancient world, the sun and moon, stars and planets, were considered the most stable and eternal things in the cosmos (and you can understand why.) But when even these things are passing, you know the universe as we know it is melting away. After this, the Lord Jesus comes with judgment. “And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory… (and his angels, like St. Michael from our first reading, along with him…)”
Perhaps we may find it surprising that Jesus describes these events as a good thing to his disciples. He says:
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that [the Son of Man] is near, at the gates.”
We usually associate the end of things with the fall. Youth is called the springtime of life, while old age is the fall. In the Northern Hemisphere, every Church year ends in the fall. Yet Jesus presents an analogy for the end of the world as one of spring becoming summer: ‘When the tender branch sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.’ A small thing, the branch, points to the arrival of a much greater reality, the summer. Why would we cling to the branch when the whole world is being renewed in glory? For friends of God, what is to come is better than what we see. The life we live now in this world is the winter. What is still to come for us is the spring and summer. Let us not hesitate to hope for it, envision it, and rejoice in it.
When the last day comes, “it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. … That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give [people] that chance. [But it] will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”
How long will it be until the Lord comes again? Jesus says in today’s gospel that, “This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” But he said this a long time ago. Was Jesus wrong? No, for when you read these passages from Mark in full context, Jesus is responding to his disciples questions about two things side-by-side: the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world. The Romans destroyed the great city and its temple in 70 A.D., during the lifespan of some of Jesus’ hearers, and to many Jews it felt like the end of the world. This event prefigured the passing away of all things. Like other prophesies in the Bible, Jesus’ prophesy has a near and distant fulfillment, one after a forty-year opportunity for conversion, and another at the end of time.
So when will the Lord come again? The answer for every generation before us has been “not yet.” If this world endures to the year 10,000 A.D., the Christians of that time will probably regard us as the early Christians. I personally think it will still be awhile before he comes, for it is still legal to be a Christian in too many places on earth. Yet, in a sense, it doesn’t matter when Jesus is coming, for the end of our individual lives is equivalent to the end of the world for us. If you’re ready for one, you’re ready for the other. But if you, or people that you know, are not ready for either, then now is the time for conversion.
The Lord our King has recruited us into his holy conspiracy, arming us with the weapons of truth and love. You and I are his advanced forces and, among other tasks, he is sending us on rescue missions to bring others to himself. Who do you know that is far from Christ? We are to draw on the power of this Mass for them. We are called to pray, fast, and sacrifice for them, and even to be so bold as to talk with them—inviting them to come to Jesus Christ and his Church. Seize this opportunity and do not let it pass away, for whether the Lord first comes to us or we go forth to him, each and all will encounter him soon, face-to-face, in his full, unveiled glory.
1st Sunday Advent, Year B (Nov 30, 2014)
2nd Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 7, 2014)
Immaculate Conception, Year B (Dec 8, 2014)
3rd Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 14, 2014)
4th Sunday Advent, Year B (Dec 21, 2014)
Christmas, Year B (Dec 25, 2014)
Holy Family, Year B (Dec 28, 2014)
Mary, Mother of God, Year B (Jan 1, 2015)
Epiphany, Year B (Jan 4, 2015)
Baptism of the Lord, Year B (Jan 11, 2015)
2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Jan 18, 2015)
3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Jan 25, 2015)
4th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 1, 2015)
5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 8, 2015)
6th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Feb 15, 2015)
Ash Wednesday (Feb 18, 2015)
1st Sunday Lent, Year B (Feb 22, 2015)
2nd Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 1, 2015)
3rd Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 8, 2015)
4th Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 15, 2015)
5th Sunday Lent, Year B (Mar 22, 2015)
Palm Sunday, Year B (Mar 29, 2015)
Holy Thursday, Year B (Apr 2, 2015)
Easter Vigil, Year B (Apr 4, 2015)
Easter Sunday, Year B (Apr 5, 2015)
Divine Mercy Sunday, Year B (Apr 12, 2015)
3rd Sunday of Easter, Year B (April 19, 2015)
4th Sunday of Easter, Year B (Apr 26, 2015)
5th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 3, 2015)
6th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 10, 2015)
7th Sunday of Easter, Year B (May 17, 2015)
Pentecost (May 24, 2015)
Most Holy Trinity, Year B (May 31, 2015)
Corpus Christi, Year B (June 7, 2015)
11th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 14, 2015)
12th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 21, 2015)
13th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (June 28, 2015)
14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 5, 2015)
15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 12, 2015)
16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 19, 2015)
17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (July 26, 2015)
18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 2, 2015)
19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 9, 2015)
19th Sunday Ordinary Time TV Mass, Year B (Aug 9, 2015)
Solemnity of the Assumption, Year B (Aug 15, 2015)
20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 16, 2015)
21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 23, 2015)
22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Aug 30, 2015)
23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 6, 2015)
Feast of the Holy Cross, Year B (Sept 13, 2015)
25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 20, 2015)
26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Sept 27, 2015)
27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 4, 2015)
28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 11, 2015)
29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 18, 2015)
30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Oct 25, 2015)
Solemnity of All Saints, Year B (Nov 1, 2015)
32th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Nov 8, 2015)
33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B (Nov 15, 2015)
Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 22, 2015)
How could we possibly celebrate the Holy Mass without the chalice? Without the chalice, how would we adore the Precious Blood? The chalice holds the Lord and it gives form to his presence. He is not lifted up in sacrifice without its close collaboration. Perhaps our Lord could have chosen another means but this is the one He chose. The chalice at Mass is not divine, but when our Lord is adored it shares in His glory.
The chalice at Mass is an icon of a person. The chalice of Jesus Christ is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She held the Lord within her and from her He received his human form. He was not lifted up in sacrifice without her close collaboration. Perhaps our Lord could have chosen another means, but she is the one He chose. Mary is not divine, but when our Lord is adored she shares in His glory.
These five liturgical practices may seem unorthodox, but the Roman Catholic Church officially allows for each of them:
1. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament Twice in the Same Day
The Church limits the number of communions the faithful may receive in a day, lest people misguidedly pursue sanctity by filling their days with numerous communions or lest receiving too-frequently make this most sacred gift feel common. According to the Code of Canon Law (which governs Church practices) the faithful may receive Our Eucharistic Lord twice daily. However, unless someone is in danger of death, the second time must be while participating at Holy Mass. (Canons 917 & 921)
2. A Priest Eating Between His Sunday Masses
Ordinarily, a person who is going to receive Our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from all food and drink (besides water or medicine) for at least one hour before holy communion. This is done to prepare oneself to worthily receive this most precious food (though the elderly, the infirm, and those caring for them are exempted from the fast.) The Church, recognizing that a priest could have difficulty finding time for needed nourishment, allows priests who celebrate the Eucharist two or three times in the same day to take something between their Masses, even if there is less than one hour between them. (Canon 919)
3. Offering Mass for the Soul of a Notorious Person
May a priest offer a Mass for the soul of Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, or Judas Iscariot? Pastoral prudence may advise him against doing so publicly but the Code of Canon law affirms, “A priest is entitled to offer Mass for anyone, living or dead.” (Canon 901) While the Church has declared many saints and blesseds to be now in Heaven, she has never declared any particular human being to be presently in Hell. Since Jesus warns us so strongly and frequently about damnation, and we know that the devil and ‘one third’ of the angels are eternally consigned to Hell, it seems very unlikely that all people will be saved. (Revelation 12:4 & 9, Matthew 25:41, Catechism of the Catholic Church #393) However, even if hoping against hope, we may still offer our prayers (capable of transcending space and time) for the salvation of any and all human souls.
4. A Wedding Couple Processing into Church Behind the Priest
At weddings in the United States, the groom typically takes his place near the altar to await his bride’s walk down the aisle. But the Catholic Rite of Marriage, while allowing for local custom, presents a different entrance as the norm: “If there is a procession to the altar, the ministers go first, followed by the priest, and then the bride and the bridegroom.” (Rite of Marriage, no. 20) The ministers of the sacrament of marriage are actually the bride and groom themselves — the priest (or deacon) simply presides as the Church’s official witness. (Catechism #1623) Thus, it is fitting that the couple enter the church on their wedding day side-by-side in liturgical procession.
5. A Priest Dipping Hosts Into the Precious Blood at the Distribution of Communion
A minister of the Holy Eucharist who steeps the Host into the Precious Blood before placing it upon a communicant’s tongue is distributing by “intinction.” The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (or GIRM, which governs liturgical practices for Holy Mass) states, “The Blood of the Lord may be consumed either by drinking from the chalice directly, or by intinction, or by means of a tube or a spoon.” (GIRM, no. 245) While noting that “distribution of the Precious Blood by a spoon or through a straw is not customary in the Latin dioceses of the United States of America,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterates that a bishop may allow distribution by intinction in his diocese. (Norms, no. 48 & 24, citing GIRM no. 283)
As the GIRM describes it, “If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a Communion-plate under the mouth, approaches the Priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, with a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The Priest takes a host, intincts it partly in the chalice and, showing it, says, The Body and Blood of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the Priest, and then withdraws.” (GIRM, no. 287) The U.S. Bishops further emphasize that the faithful, including extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, are never to self-communicate by intinction. (Norms, no. 50) May an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist distribute by intinction? The GIRM passage above speaks of “the Priest,” but I would refer people to their local bishop’s norms on the distribution of Communion for a judgment on this question.
Did you know that the Church gives priests celebrating the Mass several prayers to say in a low voice such that few (if any) in the church hear them? These are called the “secret” prayers (from the Latin word for “hidden.”) May the great beauty of these prayers inform and inspire your own devotion at Holy Mass.
The priest, before proclaiming the Gospel, pauses in front of the altar to bow and pray:
“Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel.”
At the end of the Gospel, the priest (or proclaiming deacon) kisses the book and prays:
“Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away.”
During the Offertory, the priest (or assisting deacon) pours a little water into the chalice of unconsecrated wine and prays:
“By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
After thanking God for the gifts of bread and wine He has given us to offer (“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation…”) the priest bows behind the altar and prays:
“With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.”
While the priest washes his hands, he prays:
“Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
During the “Lamb of God,” the priest places a small piece of the Host into the chalice, praying:
“May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.”
At the end of the “Lamb of God,” the priest joins his hands and prays one of these two prayers:
1. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be parted from you.”
2. “May the receiving of your Body and Blood, Lord Jesus Christ, not bring me to judgment and condemnation, but through your loving mercy be for me protection in mind and body and a healing remedy.”
Before consuming the Body of Christ, the priest prays:
May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.
Before consuming the Blood of Christ from the chalice, the priest prays:
May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.
Finally, while purifying the sacred vessels following the distribution of Communion, the priest prays:
“What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity.”
You may have noticed that the Gloria and the Alleluia have gone missing since Ash Wednesday. “Alleluia” is Hebrew for “Praise the Lord,” (literally, “Praise Yahweh,”) and it is typically sung before the proclamation of the Gospel. The Gloria, an ancient hymn of ecstatic praise to God, is usually sung at Sunday Masses. However, in Lent, the Church sets both of these aside.
Throughout this penitential season, we deprive ourselves of things so that we may be more perfectly prepared to celebrate Easter joy. By refraining from saying “Alleluia” or singing the Gloria (except for Solemnities) during Lent, their Easter resurrection is made that much more special.
1st Reading : The Christmas Proclamation
1st Song : “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
2nd Reading : The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem
2nd Song: “Away in a Manger”
3rd Reading : The Shepherds are Heralded by Angels
3rd Song: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
4th Reading : The Shepherds Come to the Manger
4th Song: “O Come All Ye Faithful”
5th Reading : The Shepherds Go Forth Rejoicing
5th Song: “Joy to the World”
1st Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 1, 2013)
3rd Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 15, 2013)
4th Sunday Advent, Year A (Dec 22, 2013)
Christmas, Year A (Dec 25, 2013)
Feast of the Holy Family, Year A (Dec 29, 2013)
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Year A (Jan 1, 2014)
Solemnity of the Epiphany, Year A (Jan 5, 2014)
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year A (Jan 12, 2014)
3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Jan 26, 2014)
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Year A (Feb 2, 2014)
5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 9, 2014)
6th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 16, 2014)
7th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Feb 23, 2014)
8th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Mar 2, 2014)
1st Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 9, 2014)
2nd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 16, 2014)
3rd Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 23, 2014)
4th Sunday Lent, Year A (Mar 30, 2014)
5th Sunday Lent, Year A (Apr 6, 2014)
Palm Sunday, Year A (Apr 13, 2014)
Holy Thursday, Year A (April 17, 2014)
Easter Sunday, Year A (Apr 20, 2014)
Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A (Apr 27, 2014)
3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 4, 2014)
4th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 11, 2014)
5th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 18, 2014)
6th Sunday of Easter, Year A (May 25, 2014)
7th Sunday of Easter, Year A (June 1, 2014)
Pentecost Sunday, Year A (June 8, 2014)
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (June 15, 2014)
Solemnity of Corpus Christi (June 22, 2014)
Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29, 2014)
14th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 6, 2014)
15th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 13, 2014)
16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 20, 2014)
17th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (July 27, 2014)
18th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 3, 2014)
19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 10, 2014)
Solemnity of the Assumption, Year A (Aug 15, 2014)
20th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 17, 2014)
21st Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 24, 2014)
22nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 31, 2014)
23rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 7, 2014)
Feast of the Holy Cross, Year A (Sept 14, 2014)
25th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 21, 2014)
26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Sept 28, 2014)
27th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 5, 2014)
28th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 12, 2014)
29th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 19, 2014)
30th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Oct 26, 2014)
Solemnity of All Saints, Year A (Nov 1, 2014)
Feast of All Souls, Year A (Nov 2, 2014)
Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran (Nov 9, 2014)
33rd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year A (Nov 16, 2014)
Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov 23, 2014)
Based on CCC 2761-2865
Jesus “was praying at a certain place, and when he was finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'” In response, the Lord entrusted to his disciples and his Church the fundamental Christian prayer, the Our Father.
St. Luke presents a brief text of five petitions, while St. Matthew gives a more developed version of seven petitions. The liturgical tradition of the Church has followed St. Matthew’s text.
Early Christians prayed the Our Father three times a day and it has always been associated with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the Mass.
The doxology, “For the Kingdom, and the power, and the Glory are yours, now and forever,” which follows the Our Father is not found in the most ancient Gospel texts, but it does date back to very early Church tradition.
The Our Father uses some unfamiliar, old English words: “Art” is a form of “is,” while the word “thy” means “your.” Thus, the prayer begins, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
We pray “Our Father” rather than “My Father” because our relationship with God is not individualistic, but communion that includes our brothers and sisters as well.
Our Father above surpasses the excellence of all good fathers on earth, and He is the ideal that inferior fathers fail to embody.
Saying “Our Father who art in heaven” does not point to some spatial place far away, but speaks to His beatific majesty among us.
For the Jews, seven was a number symbolizing perfection. The Our Father consists of seven petitions. The first three mainly address God’s glory: “thy name, thy kingdom, thy will.” The last four refer to our needs: “give us, forgive us, lead us, deliver us.”
“Hallowed be thy name” We cannot make God more holy; but his name, his person, can be regarded as more sacred among us. Not only does this rule out blasphemy, but prays that all would come to a deeper personal relationship with Him.
“Thy Kingdom come” We pray for the fullness of His kingdom, his kingship, and his reign on earth. The Kingdom of God has begun among us with Christ, but the evils on earth show that it has not yet come in full measure.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Imagine if everyone on earth did His will as perfectly as the saints and angels? These first three petitions are advanced by God’s graces and our cooperation.
“Give us this day our daily bread” We need three kinds of sustenance: literal food for our survival, gracious rations for our many other human needs, and the Most Holy Eucharist for our perfection.
We pray “this day” for “our daily bread” to emphasize our constant reliance and trust.
“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Jesus tells us that if we do not forgive others from our hearts, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You can pray for your enemies, know that you are loving them as a friend.
“And lead us not into temptation” God tempts no one. The original Greek can be translated, “Do not allow us to enter into temptation,” or “Do not let us yield to temptation.” We know our weakness and should pray for protection and deliverance.
“But deliver us from evil” We pray for freedom from all evils; present, past, & future; of which Satan, the Evil One, is the primary author or instigator. Just as the listings of apostles begin with Peter and end with Judas, so the Lord’s prayer begins with Our Father and ends with evil. Our confident, loving focus is on God, but we should not be naively unaware of the enemy of our souls.
With this deeper understanding of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, the perfect prayer, try praying its words slowly and meditatively for new intimacy and fruits.
Alleluia = Hebrew for “Praise (all of you) Yahweh!”
“Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father” (Nicene Creed)
Beget = To procreate or generate offspring, typically said of a male parent.
Consubstantial = Of one and the same substance, essence, or nature.
“Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts”
Host = An army, or a multitude or great number of persons or things.
“Hosanna in the highest”
Hosanna = Hebrew for “Please (God) Save!”
“Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance…” (Eucharistic Prayer #1)
Countenance = A person’s facial expression; or support or approval.
“Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family…” (Eucharistic Prayer #1)
Oblation = An act of making a religious offering, or the thing being offered.