03 July 2014

Fervorino per bollettino

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
6 July 2014

The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?  Today’s Introit would have us make these words, taken from Psalm 26, our own.  Since we believe that all Scripture points to and is fulfilled by Jesus — “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16) — we should consider this passage in relation to Christ Jesus our Lord.  He is “my light” because, as we hear at every Mass, Christ, the Word of God, is “the light of men, the true light that enlightens every man that comes into the world” (Jn. 1:9).  And elsewhere in the Gospel of St. John, Our Lord declares, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me walks not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
One of the things the light of unaided reason can grasp is the existence of an objective moral order; that there is a right and a wrong that exists beyond the arbitrary decisions and determinations of the human will.  The ancient Greeks and Romans understood that this moral order, or natural law, was rooted in the divine Word or Logos, the source of the order and intelligibility of the universe.  The Fathers of the Church understood that Christ was that Logos; that to follow Christ was to fulfill human nature itself, and that far beyond what man could do on his own.

07 April 2014

The Passion of Christ and S.O.W.P.E. (Passion Monday)

Passion Monday
7 April 2014
Today’s introit, from Psalm 55, gives voice to Christ as He finds Himself surrounded by His enemies, by those who seek to destroy Him.  Little do they know, however, that Christ came into the world to redeem us from sin and its effects by surrendering Himself to His enemies — to suffer, and die, so as to conquer sin and death.  For this reason, we may regard the Passion of Christ as a remedy against the chief evils incurred through sin.  What are these evils?  The first is that sin stains the soul.  Second, sin offends God.  Third, sin weakens man.  Fourth, sin incurs punishment.  Fifth, sin exiles man from the kingdom of heaven.

To remember these five effects, think of a bar of soap.  If we have dirty hands, we wash them with water and soap.  If we throw a bar of soap in someone’s face, we will offend him.  If we ingest soap, it will weaken us.  A child who uses foul language might be punished by being forced to use soap as mouthwash.  A man who never uses soap might find himself exiled from polite society.  And if you remember that Sin, Offense, Weakness, Punishment, and Exile spell S.O.W.P.E., then you’ll be able to remember these five effects of sin.  Let’s now turn to these effects and, relying not a little on the Angelic Doctor,[1] consider them one by one. 

10 March 2014

The Role of the Desert in an Urban Religion (First Sunday of Lent, 2014)

Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock.  If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  — Rev. 3:20.
First Sunday in Lent
9 March 2014 (revised)

In Greek, the word for city is polis.  In English, this word is found as a suffix in many familiar city names, such as Annapolis, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis; and even in many less familiar city names, such as Lithopolis, Teutopolis, Uniopolis, and Thermopolis.  In addition, words like politics and political derive from this same Greek word, polis.

07 March 2014

When Prelates Lose their Savor (Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas 2014)

I have learned this wisdom without guile, and communicate it without envy, and her riches I hide not.
Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas
7 March 2014

As is customary in the venerable and ancient form of the Roman rite, the Scriptural texts appointed for the celebration of a saint are meant to serve as a literary icon, inasmuch as they give expression to the main features of the saint.  Given the great wisdom and keen intellect of St. Thomas, as well as his humility, today’s first reading aptly describes and images him for us.  The Gospel text is commonly used for doctors of the Church.  For the wisdom of the doctors can be compared to both salt and light.

Now, it’s one thing to affirm that St. Thomas was wise; it's quite another to experience his wisdom first hand.  To this end, I thought I would share with you Thomas’s commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:13, wherein Christ uses the metaphor of salt to describe his disciples, especially his apostles (and by extension, their successors, the bishops).  As we just heard, the entire verse reads as follows: You are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt lose its savor, wherewith will it be salted?  It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.       

03 March 2014

Regarding the different meaningns of "Reform of the Reform"

Here's an insightful essay by Dr. Kwasniewski that articulates the ambiguity in the expression "Reform of the Reform".

Lent: A Labor of Love assisted by Grace (Quinquagesima Sunday 2014)

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!
Quinquagesima Sunday[1]
2 March 2014

In today’s gospel, we can observe a phenomenon that often causes most readers of the New Testament to wonder.  I mean the slowness of the disciples to grasp the notion that our Lord was to suffer on the Cross.  Even though Our Lord tells them in the plainest language, they simply didnt get it.  Or, as St. Luke reports it, “they understood nothing of these things and this ‘word’ was hidden from them, and they did not understand the things that were said.”  Why “hidden”?  Because they were blind and could not see.

Such a failure to comprehend can only be accounted for by the circumstance that a contrary opinion had strong possession of their minds—what we may call a strong prejudice against the truth that the Messiah was to suffer.  To be sure, theirs was an honest prejudice, the prejudice of honest religious minds, but still a deep and violent prejudice.  When our Lord first spoke of His Passion, St. Peter presumed to take Him aside to reprove Him, saying: “Far be it from Thee, Lord, this shall not happen to Thee.”  Doubtless, St. Peter acted out of reverence and love, as the context shows.  Still, he spoke with vehemence and passion.  How deep his prejudice must have been!

This is certainly a very remarkable state of mind, and the record of it in the gospels may serve to explain much that goes on among us, and to put us on our guard against ourselves, and to suggest to us the question, Are we in any respect in the same state of imperfection as these holy, but at that time prejudiced, disciples of our Lord and Savior?

28 February 2014

On the "Reform of the Reform": an Honest Assessment

Here's a thoughtful essay worth reading.

Explaining the "Addiction"

When comparing the two forms of the Roman rite, it's helpful to study texts and appreciate where this or that prayer comes from and why it was changed, etc.  However, one should not neglect how the faithful actually experience the Mass.  This video offers a comparison.  Though it unfairly provides an overlay of dramatic music for the excerpts from the EF, the glaring contrast we see remains.

23 February 2014

Laboring in the Vineyard and Grace (Sexagesima Sunday 2014)

And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundred-fold.
Dominica in Sexagesima
24 February 2014
Epistle: 2 Cor. 11:19-12:9
Gospel: Lk. 8:4-15

In these last weeks before the beginning of Lent, the Church would have us prepare for Lent by bringing to our attention its importance and its purpose. For the Church wants us to take seriously the opportunity Lent affords us to become more deeply converted to the Lord, the better to be able to accept the Lord’s invitation to follow Him as the disciples we are called to be, and make disciples of others, bringing them into the Church, which is the Kingdom of God on earth.  Last Sunday the liturgy impressed upon us the fundamental truth that discipleship entails labor — the labor of an athlete training to win a race in which there is only one winner.  Whether we mean cooperating with God to become more deeply converted to the Lord ourselves, or whether we mean cooperating with God to bring about the conversion of others, discipleship necessarily entails hard work.  After St. Paul encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, he neither ate nor drank until he was baptized three days later.[1]  Then what did he do?  Did he go to Club Med for a relaxing vacation?  Not at all!  In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul tells us that he “retired into Arabia”;[2] that is, he went into the desert to prepare himself for the mission that lay ahead.  In doing so, he did nothing more than follow the example of Our Lord Himself, who (as St. Mark informs us) went into the wilderness “immediately” after His baptism — being driven there by the Holy Spirit.[3]  Lent is our opportunity to “retire into Arabia” and labor for the sake of deeper conversion and liberation through acts of penance, mortification, and prayer.  If we fail to take up this intensive labor of personal conversion, we will be unable to be instruments of God’s grace to bring about the conversion of others.  For striving to make disciples of others is no less arduous than striving to become more deeply converted oneself.  Just consider all that St. Paul suffered during his numerous missionary travels: imprisonments, countless beatings (often near death), whipped five times, beaten with rods three times, and on one occasion stoned.  Three times he suffered shipwreck, spending a night and a day adrift at sea.  Throughout his journeys danger was his near constant companion: danger from rivers and robbers, danger from both Jews and Gentiles, danger in the city, the wilderness, and at sea, danger from false brethren.  Often he had no chance to sleep, suffered hunger and thirst, cold and exposure to the elements.  And besides these physical labors was the daily anxiety and concern for all the churches.  Our labors may be lighter than St. Paul’s, but if we too strive to bear witness to Christ and make disciples of others, our labors will not be without weight.  For if, as St. Paul assures St. Timothy, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”, how much more will they be persecuted who strive to rescue others from the Kingdom of Satan and bring them into the Kingdom of Christ!