The Ancient Hymn of Christ the King: Laudes Regiae

Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ Commands! 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The ancient hymn: Laudes Regiae is sung at the Installation Mass of Popes, Coronations of the Holy Roman Emperor, etc. AND on today’s Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

It’s a beautiful text, check it out! After the text, there are a few links to different versions and a the history of the Liturgy and naming of today’s Feast!

Latin text
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe
Exaudi, Christe
Ecclesiae santae Dei salus perpetua
Redemptor mundi, tu illam adiuva
Sancta Maria, tu illam adiuva
Sancta Mater Ecclesiae, tu illam adiuva
Regina Apostolorum, tu illam adiuva
Sancte Michael, Gabriel et Raphael tu illam adiuva
Sancte Ioannes Baptista, tu illam adiuva
Sancte Ioseph, tu illam adiuva
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe.
N., Summo Pontifici et universali Pape, vita!
Salvator mundi, tu illum adiuva
Sancte Petre, tu illum adiuva
Sancte Paule, tu illum adiuva
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe.
Exaudi, Christe
Episcopis catholicae et apostolicae fidei cultoribus,
eorumque curis fidelibus, vita!
Salvator mundi, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Andrea, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Iacobe, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Ioannes, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Thoma, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Iacobe, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Philippe, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Bartholomaee, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Matthaee, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Simon, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Thaddaee, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Matthia, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Barnaba, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Luca, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Marce, tu illos adiuva
Sancti Timothee et Tite, vos illos adiuvate
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe.
Exaudi, Christe
Sancti Protomartyres Romani, vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Ignati, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Polycarpe, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Cypriane, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Bonifati, tu illos adiuva’
Sancte Stanislae, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Thoma, tu illos adiuva
Sancti Ioannes et Thoma vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Iosaphat, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Paule, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Ioannes et Isaac, vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Petre, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Carole, tu illos adiuva
Sancta Agnes, tu illos adiuva
Sancta Caecilia, tu illos adiuva
Omnes sancti martyres, vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Clemens tu illos adiuva
Sancte Athanasi, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Leo Magne, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Gregorio Magne, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Ambrosi, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Augustine, tu illos adiuva
Sancti Basili et Gregori, vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Ioannes, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Martine, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Patrici, tu illos adiuva
Sancti Cyrille et Methodi, vos illos adiuvate
Sancte Carole, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Roberte, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Francisce, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Ioannes Nepomucene, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Pie, tu illos adiuva
Omnes sancti potifices et doctores, vos illos adiuvate
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe.
Exaudi, Christe
Populis cunctis et omnibus hominibus bonae voluntatis:
pax a Deo, rerum ubertas morumque civilium rectitudo.
Sancte Antoni, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Benedicte, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Bernarde, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Francisce, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Dominice, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Philippe, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Vincenti, tu illos adiuva
Sancte Ioannes Maria, tu illos adiuva
Sancta Catharina, tu illos adiuva
Sancta Teresia a Iesu, tu illos adiuva
Sancta Rosa, tu illos adiuva
Omnes sancti presbyteri et religiosi, vos illos adiuvate
Omnes sancti laici, vos illos adiuvate
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Ipsi soli imperium,
laus et iubilatio
per saecula saeculorum.
Amen
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Tempora bona habeant! Tempora bona habeant!
Redempti sanguine Christi.
Feliciter! Feliciter! Feliciter!
Pax Christi veniat!
Regnum Christi veniat!
Deo Gratias!
Amen
English translation[8][9]

Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

Hear, O Christ
Hear, O Christ
Perpetual safety and welfare to the Church of God
Redeemer, Savior, Come to her aid
O Mary blessed Mother. Come to her aid
The Holy Mother of the Church, Come to her aid
Queen of Apostles, Come to her aid
Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Come to her aid
Saint John the Baptist, Come to her aid
Saint Joseph, Come to her aid
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

Hear, O Christ
Life and health and blessings to Pope [Name of Pope], our Holy Father, Come to his aid
Saviour of the world, Come to his aid
Saint Peter, Come to his aid
Saint Paul, Come to his aid
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

Hear, O Christ
The bishops of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith,
faithful to their worries, life!
Saviour of the world, Assist and strengthen him
Saint Andrew, Come to their aid
Saint James, Come to their aid
Saint John, Come to their aid
Saint Thomas, Come to their aid
Saint James, Come to their aid
Saint Philip, Come to their aid
Saint Bartholomew, Come to their aid
Saint Matthew, Come to their aid
Saint Simon, Come to their aid
Saint Jude, Come to their aid
Saint Matthias, Come to their aid
Saint Barnabas, Come to their aid
Saint Luke, Come to their aid
Saint Mark, Come to their aid
Saint Timothy and Titus, Come to their aid
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands
Hear, O Christ
Saint Ignatius, Come to their aid
First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, Come to their aid
Saint Polycarp, Come to their aid
Saint Cyprian, Come to their aid
Saint Boniface, Come to their aid
St. Stanislas, Come to their aid
Saint Thomas, Come to their aid
Saints John and Thomas, Come to their aid
Saint Josaphat, Come to their aid
Saint Paul, Come to their aid
Saint John and Isaac, Come to their aid
Saint Peter, Come to their aid
Saint Charles, Come to their aid
Saint Agnes, ‘Come to their aid
Saint Agnes, Come to their aid
All ye holy martyrs, Come to their aid
Saint Clement, Come to their aid
Saint Athanasius, Come to their aid
Saint Leo the Great, Come to their aid
Saint Gregory the Great, Come to their aid
Saint Ambrose, Come to their aid
Saint Augustine, Come to their aid
Saints Basil and Gregory, Come to their aid
Saint John, Come to their aid
Saint Martin, Come to their aid
Saint Patrick, Come to their aid
Saints Cyril and Methodius, Come to their aid
Saint Charles, Come to their aid
Saint Robert, Come to their aid
Saint Francis, Come to their aid
Saint John of Nepomuk, Come to their aid
Saint Pius X, Come to their aid
Church fathers and doctors, Come to their aid
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

Hear, O Christ
And to all men of good will to all peoples:
Saint Anthony, Come to their aid
Saint Benedict, Come to their aid
Saint Bernard, Come to their aid
Saint Francis, Come to their aid
Saint Dominic, Come to their aid
Saint Philip, Come to their aid
Saint Vincent, Come to their aid
Saint John Mary,, Come to their aid
Saint Catherine, Come to their aid
Saint Teresa of Jesus, Come to their aid
Saint Rose, Come to their aid
“All ye holy priests and religious, Come to their aid
All ye holy lay people, Come to their aid
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

To him alone be authority,
praise and rejoicing,
endless ages of ages.
Amen
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands

May they have favourable times!
May those redeemed by the Blood of Christ have favourable times
Happily! Happily! Happily!
May the peace of Christ come!
May the reign of Christ come!
Thanks be to God’
Amen

A very unique version:

From Rome:

From St. John Cantius in Chicago:

From the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC:

On Organ:

From our Passionist Nuns in Whitesville:

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Today’s Mass establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; “All things were created by Him”; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, “holding in all things the primacy”; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.

Today’s Mass also describes the qualities of Christ’s kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all people but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for “The Lord shall sit a King forever”; 4) spiritual, Christ’s “kingdom is not of this world”. — Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Gandas

CHRIST THE KING AS REPRESENTED IN THE LITURGY

The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine.

With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the “coming King”; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions “King” and “is coming.” On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — “the King of peace gloriously reigning.” Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year — the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world….On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: “Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!” The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ’s royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, “Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!” It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, “The royal banners forward go,” is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, “Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!” During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King’s triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: “Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore” (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ’s kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.

We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: “The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore” (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, “The Lord is King”. Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: “To the King of ages be honor and glory.” Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus “who lives and reigns forever.” Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: “the king’s house”), upon the altar as His throne.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

 

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These are the wounds I wish for Lord…

“These are the wounds I wish for Lord…”

The statues of Mary and the Crucified Christ in the Church Escuela de Cristo in Antigua, Guatemala

Wounds. We all have them. Some we don’t want. Others we try to hide and still others we can’t help but recall from time to time, if not every day.

Wounds make us who we are. Wounds cut. They hurt. They go shallow and they go deep. Yet, they also can transform.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Pope Benedict XVI, in an idea that he takes from some of the Fathers. The idea that we must allow ourselves to be wounded by beauty. We must allow the beauty of God, the love of God to pierce our heart and to make it beat and bleed for love of God.

What wounds do you not want?

Fear?

Hatred?

Not being loved?

Told that you’re worthless?

Told that you’re not beautiful?

Abuse?

Physical?

Mental?

Emotional?

Vocal?

Passion?

Friendship?

Family?

The list could go on and on. But what happens if we allow the Lord to have that wound? What happens if we allow he Lord to take that wound and join it to his 5 most glorious and precious wounds? What if we allow the Lord to crucify that wound in our life to the cross with himself? What then?

How might our lives be changed? How might they grow? How might we be transformed by our wounds?

“Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit; wound our souls with your love, so that the soul of each and every one of us may say in truth: Show me my soul’s desire, for I am wounded by your love.

These are the wounds I wish for, Lord.

What if we allow our wounds to be replaced with new wounds? What if we allow Christ to wound us with his love?

The Abbot St. Columban put it beautifully in the Office of Readings this morning. Read his words below and imagine what would happen if you and I allow our wounds to be transformed by love? What would happen if we allow ourselves to be transformed by Him who loves us more than anything else he has created? What if?

From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot

(Instr.13, De Christo fonte vitae, 2-3: Opera, Dublin 1957,118-120)

You, O God, are everything to us

Brethren, let us follow that vocation by which we are called from life to the fountain of life. He is the fountain, not only of living water, but of eternal life. He is the fountain of light and spiritual illumination; for from him come all these things: wisdom, life and eternal light. The author of life is the fountain of life; the creator of light is the fountain of spiritual illumination. Therefore, let us seek the fountain of light and life and the living water by despising what we see, by leaving the world and dwelling in the highest heavens. Let us seek these things, and like rational and shrewd fish may we drink the living water which wells up to eternal life.

Merciful God, good Lord, I wish that you would unite me to that fountain, that there I may drink of the living spring of the water of life with those others who thirst after you. There in that heavenly region may I ever dwell, delighted with abundant sweetness, and say: “How sweet is the fountain of living water which never fails, the water welling up to eternal life.”

O God, you are yourself that fountain ever and again to be desired, ever and again to be consumed. Lord Christ, always give us this water to be for us the source of the living water which wells up to eternal life. I ask you for your great benefits. Who does not know it? You, King of glory, know how to give great gifts, and you have promised them; there is nothing greater than you, and you bestowed yourself upon us; you gave yourself for us.

Therefore, we ask that we may know what we love, since we ask nothing other than that you give us yourself. For you are our all: our life, our light, our salvation, our food and our drink, our God. Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit; wound our souls with your love, so that the soul of each and every one of us may say in truth: Show me my soul’s desire, for I am wounded by your love.

These are the wounds I wish for, Lord. Blessed is the soul so wounded by love. Such a soul seeks the fountain of eternal life and drinks from it, although it continues to thirst and its thirst grows ever greater even as it drinks. Therefore, the more the soul loves, the more it desires to love, and the greater its suffering, the greater its healing. In this same way may our God and Lord Jesus Christ, the good and saving physician, wound the depths of our souls with a healing wound—the same Jesus Christ who reigns in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

If you used to be Catholic, have been re-baptized, are a protestant, etc. Read this!

A disclaimer: This is a hard subject. So first, please don’t just read part of what I have to say and then stop. Read it all. From top to bottom. Thank you!

I have friends and yes, even family members who have left the Catholic Church for one reason or another. I pray each day that they might one day return home to the folds of the One, Holy, Catholic (the word means: Universal), and Apostolic Church, which Christ founded.

Why leave? Each person will say something different. They each have different reasons. And while those reasons have a value to them and deserve to be honored, and discussed so that wounds and misunderstandings can be healed, there is one main reason they leave which they won’t tell me, and I’d even dare to say it’d be something that some of them would argue about and deny. But I know. I know what the answer is that is at the root of their leaving. Because even with all of the other problems they might have with the Church, if they knew. If they believed. If they would vouch their life upon this ONE thing. They never would leave. Because that which they don’t believe is the most precious thing, the most precious person, this side of Heaven. What is the root of them leaving?

They don’t understand the Eucharist. They don’t believe Jesus at his word, that “This IS My Body…This IS My Blood.”

And who can blame them? I mean, even in the time of Jesus, as he taught this in Capernuam, many of his disciples turned and left him. Jesus says: “I am THE Bread of Life…Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life…For my Flesh is TRUE food, and my Blood is TRUE drink.” As John 6:6o says: “This saying is HARD…who can accept it?” And then later in John 6:66: “As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” (full text provided below)

Mayan woman kneeling in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the Octavo of Corpus Christi at the Cathedral in Antigua, Guatemala 2018

Today. In the Church. In 2018, many, many, many leave the faith. They leave the Church for one reason or another, but altogether at it’s core: “Because this teaching is hard.” If we took Jesus at his word, if we believed what he said, we would work to forgive any fault and heal any wound, because being able to consume and receive the living Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a gift we would never, ever want to be without.

So they leave the Church. They leave the Eucharist, the very Body and Blood of our Lord, and they leave his Body of the Church on Earth to join a broken part of that Body. Yes, while many protestant religions fall under the category “Christian,” they are not fully united to the Body of Christ on Earth. These aspects of “differences of faith and belief” separate and break the Body of Christ. But there is one thing that does unite us.

Baptism. Through the saving waters of Baptism, through the invocation of the Holy Trinity: “N. I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” All are united to Christ and to one another. We as Catholics profess “One Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” Once you have been baptized, whether as a baby, or a child, or an adult, the door to a Life of Grace is opened to you.

I have to admit. It stings when someone leaves the Church. It literally breaks my heart. It breaks my heart as well to see those Protestant brothers and sisters who have not yet come to the knowledge of the truth. They have intimate encounters with our Lord in prayer, with the Holy Spirit moving through their lives, but they are part of that broken body. On Good Friday, during the Solemn Intercessions, we pray and chant the beautiful prayers, praying for the whole world. The 5th Intercession is a prayer of Unity for All Christians. In it, we acknowledge that we pray for all who believe in Christ, that they who have been consecrated by Baptism, might be gathered together and united in Christ’s One Church.

V. For the unity of Christians

Let us pray also for all our brothers and sisters who believe in Christ,
that our God and Lord may be pleased,
as they live the truth,
to gather them together and keep them in his one Church.

Prayer in silence. Then the Priest says:

Almighty ever-living God,
who gather what is scattered
and keep together what you have gathered,
look kindly on the flock of your Son,
that those whom one Baptism has consecrated
may be joined together by integrity of faith
and united in the bond of charity.
Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

 

Many times, when someone leaves the Church, they are “re-baptized.” It’s as if they say that their Baptism didn’t work. Many say: “Oh, this time I chose it for myself.” Okay, real-talk-sassy, Corey is coming out now. When someone says that, do you know what an insult it is? I mean really. Saying that the faith your parents raised you in, that the saving waters pouring from the Side of Christ and opening the recipient to new life “didn’t work,” “didn’t take,” or “wasn’t your own decision” is a huge insult to the faith, the love, and the desire of your parents for you to be with them and more importantly, Jesus, forever in Heaven. By being “re-baptized” one is saying, that their parent’s desires of passing on the faith, of opening the Kingdom of Heaven and the Life of Grace to you through the saving waters of Baptism shouldn’t have been done. It’s not saying that it’s your own choice, it’s saying that Christ’s saving act wasn’t good enough for you the first time. He, the creator of perfection, the all-powerful God couldn’t do something right? I don’t think so.

It’s like when someone gives you a gift at Christmas, they thought you would love, and instead of taking and saying thank-you, you say: “Oh, I don’t want that, you can go return it.” Seriously. It’s a huge insult. Parents at baptism, give their children the second greatest gift they can after choosing life for their child. They give them the gift and hope of Eternal Life. That’s not a gift with a gift receipt. It’s not returnable. It’s eternal. *Sassy Corey, checking out…

NB: If you have been “re-baptized,” I’m not mad, and I hope that I didn’t offend you too much with my sassy-talk. There’s a reason though that re-baptism is a sting to the faith you practiced/were raised in. And the good news is that it’s just a sting. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Be happy that you have chosen Christ. Be happy and rejoice in your Baptism, and in the saving gift of Grace it offers you, but please read on and see why you shouldn’t go for that third “re-baptism.”

So, what does the Church have to say in all of this? She says, as long as Baptism has been performed through the Trinitarian formula, we acknowledge it and respect it for we are baptized once for the forgiveness of sin. Throughout my years of working with men and women coming into the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, I am always overwhelmed and overcome with joy when they learn that they don’t have to (nor can they) be re-baptized. The marks of Baptism form an indelible mark on the Soul of a Human person. They claim that soul for Christ. It is a mark that can never be washed away or erased. For someone who has had a long life as a member of another Christian denomination, to hear that those years of learning and growing in their relationship with Jesus mean something, that their choice to choose Baptism (or their parent’s choice to choose Baptism for their child) means something is always an overwhelming moment for those individuals.

The Church recognizes the unity and the joining into the family of God which Baptism initiates in the lives of the Christian. We respect that. We honor that. Because we honor Christ. Because we honor the faith. Because we honor and take him at his word.

St. Augustine put it beautifully in the second reading from the Office of Readings today (the full text is provided below): “Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptize us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognizing our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.”

You are our brother. You are our sister. That is what the Church says when she says that we recognize one Baptism for the forgiveness of sin. We recognize the unity of the Family of God, even though that Body might be broken, that Body is still one.

One of my friends has a very, very deep faith life. She has an incredible relationship with Jesus Christ, one which at times I could be a little envious of. She was telling me the other day about how she lives down the road from a Catholic Church. She said that when life gets stressful, when she doesn’t know what to do, when she is struggling in prayer she walks down to the Catholic Church because they have a “24/7 prayer room.” (her words) She said that when she is in that room, she can’t explain it but she has the deepest prayer experiences and the greatest amount of comfort and experience of peace she ever has. I had to laugh.

The prayer room she talks of is the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at this Church. It is the chapel where Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, our Savior and Redeemer, is exposed in the Monstrance upon the Altar. He the Lord of all, the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe is hidden under the simple form of a piece of bread. The ultimate act of humility. God becomes man and not only does he become man to redeem man, he hides his flesh under the forms of simple food; bread and wine, which he gives to man to nourish him, restore and strengthen man’s relationship with God and bestow upon him grace upon grace upon grace. I laughed, because she experienced this peace,  the greatest sense of comfort she has ever felt because as she sits in that “24/7 Prayer Room.” She sits face to face with the Body, the very person of her Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. And slowly. Slowly she’s coming like the men along the Road to Emmaus to know Him in the Breaking of the Bread.

Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the Church are our brothers. And as our brothers and sisters, I promise you that we will strive to treat you with love, respect, and dignity.

To my brothers and sisters, my friends, my family members, come home. Please. I mean this with all of my heart. Whatever is keeping you, is separating you, is stopping you from remaining in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ founded upon the rock of Peter and the 12 Apostles, don’t let it have any more power over you! Don’t let Satan continue to deceive you and keep you from Him, the Creator, the Master Sculptor who created you wonderfully, and beautifully, to be his and His alone. Come home to Jesus. Come home to his Church. Take him at his word. If Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords said that: “This IS My Body, This IS My Blood” Why not believe him? Why not take his words and believe them completely?

If you have wounds. If someone in the Church has wronged you, if you don’t understand something, I’m sorry. I truly, truly am. And I extend to you the invitation to reach out, I won’t be sassy. I won’t be judgmental. I just want to listen, acknowledge and honor your wounds, misunderstandings, your past and I want to invite you to be healed. And I promise to stand by you and walk beside you as you explore, search, and consider coming home to Him who died for you.

We love you! HE loves you! Come home!

 

 

Full texts to both John 6:48-69 and St. Augustine’s words are provided below:

 

From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop:

(Ps. 32, 29; CCL 38, 272-273)

Whether they like it or not, those who are outside the Church are our brothers

We entreat you, brothers, as earnestly as we are able, to have charity, not only for one another, but also for those who are outside the Church. Of these some are still pagans, who have not yet made an act of faith in Christ. Others are separated, insofar as they are joined with us in professing faith in Christ, our head, but are yet divided from the unity of his body. My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers; and they will only cease to be so when they no longer say our Father.

The prophet refers to some men saying: When they say to you: You are not our brothers, you are to tell them: You are our brothers. Consider whom he intended by these words. Were they the pagans? Hardly; for nowhere either in Scripture or in our traditional manner of speaking do we find them called our brothers. Nor could it refer to the Jews, who do not believe in Christ. Read Saint Paul and you will see that when he speaks of “brothers,” without any qualification, he refers always to Christians. For example, he says: Why do you judge your brother or why do you despise your brother? And again: You perform iniquity and common fraud, and this against your brothers.

Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptize us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognizing our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.

If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.

And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realize that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God.

 

Bread of Life Discourse:

John 6:48-69

48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”a

52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”53Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”59These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life.*60Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”61Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?62What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?*63It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.c65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

66As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.67Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”68Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.69We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”a

52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”53Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”59These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life.*60Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”61Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?62What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?*63It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.c65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

66As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.67Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”68Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.69We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

If I don’t preach the Gospel, what can I ever hope to do?

We are bound by love, by the commission of our Baptism to proclaim Christ, crucified, resurrected, and alive to each we encounter! Here’s a great reflection on our duty as Christians from Blessed Paul VI, Pope.

How have you proclaimed Christ today? Have you? What’s holding you back? Don’t wait!

From a homily by Blessed Paul VI, pope

(Hom. Maniliae habita die 29 novembris 1970)

We proclaim Christ to the whole world

Not to preach the Gospel would be my undoing, for Christ himself sent me as his apostle and witness. The more remote, the more difficult the assignment, the more my love of God spurs me on. I am bound to proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of him we come to know the God we cannot see. He is the firstborn of all creation; in him all things find their being. Man’s teacher and redeemer, he was born for us, died for us, and for us he rose from the dead.

All things, all history converges in Christ. A man of sorrow and hope, he knows us and loves us. As our friend he stays by us throughout our lives; at the end of time he will come to be our judge; but we also know that he will be the complete fulfillment of our lives and our great happiness for all eternity.

I can never cease to speak of Christ for he is our truth and our light; he is the way, the truth and the life. He is our bread, our source of living water who allays our hunger and satisfies our thirst. He is our shepherd, our leader, our ideal, our comforter and our brother.

He is like us but more perfectly human, simple, poor, humble, and yet, while burdened with work, he is more patient. He spoke on our behalf; he worked miracles; and he founded a new kingdom: in it the poor are happy; peace is the foundation of a life in common; where the pure of heart and those who mourn are uplifted and comforted; the hungry find justice; sinners are forgiven; and all discover that they are brothers.

The image I present to you is the image of Jesus Christ. As Christians you share his name; he has already made most of you his own. So once again I repeat his name to you Christians and I proclaim to all men: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, Lord of the new universe, the great hidden key to human history and the part we play in it. He is the mediator—the bridge, if you will—between heaven and earth. Above all he is the Son of man, more perfect than any man, being also the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary his mother on earth, more blessed than any woman. She is also our mother in the spiritual communion of the mystical body.

Remember: [it] is Jesus Christ I preach day in and day out. His name I would see echo and re-echo for all time even to the ends of the earth.

Pray God that we might preach our Lord even with our final breath!

Christ should be manifest in our whole life: how to achieve Christian perfection

As I sit here on the shores of Lake Atitlan this morning, the Office of Readings this morning had provided another gem to chew on and mull over.

From a treatise on Christian Perfection by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop

(PG 46, 283-286)

Christ should be manifest in our whole life

“The life of the Christian has three distinguishing aspects: deeds, words and thought. Thought comes first, then words, since our words express openly the interior conclusions of the mind. Finally, after thoughts and words, comes action, for our deeds carry out what the mind has conceived. So when one of these results in our acting or speaking or thinking, we must make sure that all our thoughts, words and deeds are controlled by the divine ideal, the revelation of Christ. For then our thoughts, words and deeds will not fall short of the nobility of their implications.

What then must we do, we who have been found worthy of the name of Christ? Each of us must examine his thoughts, words and deeds, to see whether they are directed toward Christ or are turned away from him. This examination is carried out in various ways. Our deeds or our thoughts or our words are not in harmony with Christ if they issue from passion. They then bear the mark of the enemy who smears the pearl of the heart with the slime of passion, dimming and even destroying the luster of the precious stone.

On the other hand, if they are free from and untainted by every passionate inclination, they are directed toward Christ, the author and source of peace. He is like a pure, untainted stream. If you draw from him the thoughts in your mind and the inclinations of your heart, you will show a likeness to Christ, your source and origin, as the gleaming water in a jar resembles the flowing water from which it was obtained.

For the purity of Christ and the purity that is manifest in our hearts are identical. Christ’s purity, however, is the fountainhead; ours has its source in him and flows out of him. Our life is stamped with the beauty of his thought. The inner and the outer man are harmonized in a kind of music. The mind of Christ is the controlling influence that inspires us to moderation and goodness in our behavior. As I see it, Christian perfection consists in this: sharing the titles which express the meaning of Christ’s name, we bring out this meaning in our minds, our prayers and our way of life.”

Some questions for reflection:

Does my life bear witness to the marks of our Savior, crucified?

Does my life lead others to Christ through my thought, word, deed, and action?

“Our lives are stamped with his thought” we’re created in the very image of the living God. Do our lives reflect the beauty and love of our creator?

“The inner and outer man are harmonized in a kind of music.” Are we healthy? Do we know ourselves? Who we are before God? Who we are before our brothers and sisters? Does our inner life and outer life live in harmony, reflecting the beautiful work of His hands that we are?

Servants of Christ and Stewards of the Mysteries of God – A Reflection on Communion Calls

St. Paul says that we are to be regarded as “the servants of Christ and the stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1)

 

I’m reminded of one of the readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, I think it is from Romans, but the line says: “He whom you serve is the Lord!” I am always consistently amazed at the blessing that the Lord continually puts into my life. It’s not that I’m amazed that he would bless me or give me a joy, but sometimes in my own sinfulness, I think, “Who am I to be able to experience this?” I’m MLK-2832continually made aware of my own failings and lack of abilities, but when I place those in the presence of Christ at the foot of the cross, it’s amazing to watch and see how he will take something so small and turns it into something which I can experience his love and his mercy in my own life.

Part of my summer assignment at Holy Spirit is to join a group of faithful folks (called the Ministers of Care) each Friday morning to bring the Holy Eucharist and a friendly face to some of our shut-ins and homebound from the parish. I’m continually amazed at how the Lord never ceases to either smack me upside the face and bring me back to reality or how he humbles me through these Friday visits.

There are several people whom I have gone to see who are just sweet as can be, who love to sit and chat, ask about you and even remember your name and things you have spoken about even though you haven’t seen them for a couple weeks as someone else went. At the same time though, I am reminded of how much our world is hurting, how much healing is needed and how we need the presence and mercy of Christ more than anything in the world.

On one of my visits to the hospital, my first “communicant” if you will started talking ill of Muslim’s, RIGHT after he had received communion. The irony of having received the Sacrament of Charity, and some of the things he was trying to get me to comment on  was crazy! Another time, the spouse of a Catholic man would not permit us to visit him, due to her not agreeing with the Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. And then there was the time I got to visit and bring communion to a couple who had just welcomed their first child into the world. To think, I got to be the first person to bring Jesus to visit her outside of the womb!

This past week, one of the gentlemen that I visited was bed-ridden and had a huge pitbull and a boxer. As I went to see him the boxer hopped in bed with him and we began the Rite of Communion for the sick. It was a good learning experience for me of the need to be flexible. The gentleman was going in and out of consciousness and I was left praying a lot IMG_4958of the prayers like the Our Father by myself. I was reminded though in the moment, of the great “Cloud of Witnesses,” the “Communion of Saints” that were no doubt gathered around the bedside with me, adoring Christ and praying on behalf and for this gentleman.

When the priest celebrates a Mass by himself and not with anyone else he doesn’t say the responses to certain prayers. When he says: “The Lord be With You” or “Lift up Your Hearts” He doesn’t answer, because those present in the Communion of Saints answer them. We are always surrounded by those who having gone before us are marked with the Sign of Faith.

The gentleman, after receiving communion prayed the Hail Mary with me as a prayer of Thanksgiving. I always try to pray a Hail Mary after folks receive our Lord, that as Mary was the first to become a living tabernacle and bear Christ to the world, that as they become a living tabernacle will be able to bear Christ to all that they meet.

Immediately after receiving Communion, the gentleman said that he wished they made hosts for puppies and that I would give communion to his dog.

Oh my! I had to laugh and chuckle and remind him that only humans could receive the Eucharist, lest he try to take the host he was chewing and give some to his dog. It was amazing though that the dog in the cage stopped barking and the dog on the bed stopped moving and laid its head down when I brought the host out of my pyx and said: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the World…” Animals, being created by God have a sense of the holy. St. Francis of Assisi, my patron gave many wonderful examples of this.

As Christians, we are each called to be “Servants of Christ” as a man in formation for the priesthood, I hope one day to fully be able to be a “steward of the mysteries of God.” Until then, I get to have these small but beautiful encounters of the life of a priest, in bringing Christ’s healing love and mercy to the world, through the great Sacrament of Charity, the Sacrament of Unity, the Holy Eucharist.

I had a priest friend who told me that when I go on a Communion call, to help those I am bringing Christ to, to recognize that it indeed IS Jesus. So often, when we’re outside of the Sacred space of the Church building, and standing in the middle of a lysol-smelling hospital room, it can be easy to become lax, but the simple pauses, redirecting conversation back to the prayer, genuflecting to the pyx, before distributing communion, little details help to bring the Sacred to the secular. One of my favorite parts of Lumen Gentium is where the Council Fathers remind us that we are called to sanctify the secular. We are called to bring Christ to the world and remind them of his presence.

As I go on communion calls, as I spend those precious moments in the car, carrying Christ in my burse hanging upon my breast, over my heart I pray for those I am going to see. I pray for those that I drive by, that even if they don’t know Christ is passing them by, that he will touch them and bring them his love and mercy. Each time that I meet someone and get to bring Jesus to them in Holy Communion, I am reminded of the beauty of the Sacrament, and the great gift to be, at that moment, a servant of Christ and a steward of the greatest mystery of God.

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“That All Might Sing” – My Paper on Pope St. Pius X’ paper on Church Music and the Chant Method of Justine Ward

For the Feast of Pope St. Pius X:

Originally written for Dr. Katharine Harmon’s History of the Catholic Church in America Class on 11-21-14.

690_Justine_Ward_Gajard_1949I enjoyed writing this piece on how Pope St. Pius X’ document Tra Le Sollecitudini was interpreted and engaged here in America, specifically by Justine Ward, who founded an amazing way of teaching Gregorian Chant to children. Justine started and held the first Congress for Chant in America. “What she wants above all,” wrote Dom Augustine Gatard, O.S.B., Prior of Farnborough Abbey, England, who was at the Congress, “is to put the faithful, all the faithful, in the position to participate actively, as much as possible … in the liturgy and in the chant of the Catholic Church.” (2) She especially encouraged girls’ choirs. (3) In a private audience in 1924, Pope Pius XI gave his Apostolic blessing to her work. (4) Thanks be to God for Justine Ward and the many others who assisted in the beautiful Liturgical Renewal we have had in the Church. May it continue to be renewed and may Justine Ward and St. Pius X, help teach us a little bit about walking the Way of Beauty to Heaven, more specifically through the Heavenly Liturgy.

That All Might Sing: American Catholic Responses to Pope St. Pius X’ Tra le Sollecitudini

John Adams once wrote: “Went in the afternoon, to the Romish Chapel [in Philadelphia]. The scenery and the music are so calculated to take in mankind that I wonder the Reformation ever succeeded … the chanting is exquisitely soft and sweet.” (Chase, 61) While Adams witnessed the beauty of the proper execution of “Romish” chant in October 9, 1774 he never could have envisioned what would one day take place in the country soon to be founded in regards to the proper execution, teaching, and use of Gregorian chant. Throughout the early part of the 20th century a response to Pope St. Pius X’s 1903 Tra le Sollecitudini (Instruction on Sacred Music) was carried out across the globe by Catholic musicians in different ways. Some, embraced the changes wholeheartedly, others chose to implement parts of them with and without proper catechesis. In the United States of America Pius X’s Motu Proprio was embraced particularly by Justine Ward a woman with little musical instruction, but with a passion for music and her new faith. Across the board, the training of the young in the church’s tradition of music was seen as one of the most important responses to Pius X’s instruction on Sacred Music. Ward and others took this to heart in developing programs, which educated the young in methods of chanting and ensured that all might sing.

From 1903 on into the 1920’s and finishing up around the 1950’s what could be called as the last “traditional” Catholic music movement occurred in response to Pius X’s Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini (hereafter referred to as “TLS”). TLS was written and promulgated by Pius X after a series of abuses in regards to music in the liturgy kept happening. Pius ordered that there be two particular types of music to be used in the Roman Liturgy. That is, Gregorian chant, which has been “inherited from the ancient fathers” (Pius X, II 3) and Classic Polyphony. The main reason for these abuses was that the music was becoming quite operatic and theatrical. Instead of being music, which by nature of its’ composition and execution lifted the congregation to God and was a prayer in itself; music in the Sacred Liturgy had become a show, detracting from the sacred action occurring.

As previously stated, throughout the early twentieth century there was a varied array of

Pope St. Pius X

Pope St. Pius X

responses to Pius X’s TLS, one of which was the action of Justine Ward. Ward, thought to have had no formal training in “vocal music, choral music, or pedagogy” (Brancaleone, 7) became known as one of the leading advocates of and promulgators of Gregorian chant in America. Due to her parent’s wishes for her to not pursue a musical degree in Europe, she was left with receiving private musical instruction. (Zuberbueler, 14) Ward, a Catholic convert started to fall in love with Gregorian chant due to her friendship with Fr. Thomas E. Shields and Fr. John B. Young SJ (Brancaleone, 8) and having attended a retreat given “at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattanville in Harlem” (Brancaleone, 8) by another Jesuit she began to learn the basics of pedagogy (the methods and concepts of teaching) and formulate ideas on how to teach Gregorian Chant to children.

America in the 20th century was still largely protestant, no doubt due to the large number of protestant immigrants who settled the country early on. One has to wonder as to why in 1903 a church, struggling to become better recognized and understood in the mainstream (and mostly protestant) culture would continue to push the use of a language (latin) which was no longer spoken conversationally, in not only their worship but especially in their music. Robert Holzmer S.M. wrote an article about the people not “liking” Gregorian chant in the then-popular Catholic Music journal: The Caecilia. In his article he discusses a few reasons of why Gregorian chant is not liked by the majority of Catholic congregations. Pius X and his Motu Proprio is one of the first “authorities” on the subject that he quotes. Holzmer argues partially that because the pope said it, it must be true, but also from an informed knowledge and understanding of Gregorian chant. “Gregorian Chant is Church music while the other forms are also church music” (241) Holzmer reconnects his future points back to Pius X, reaffirming what he stated of Gregorian chant as having pride of place in the Roman Liturgy, but also acknowledging that other types of music (classical polyphony) can be used as well. Holzmer goes on to state that there are several factors at play with why people don’t like Gregorian chant. Factors such as an ill-trained choir, poor musicianship on behalf of the choir, conductor, and organist, and the basic element of people not understanding the reasons for the use of Gregorian chant or the language it is in. Holzmer closes his article by stating: The most important of all, and, unfortunately, the most neglected. It is the training of the young in music…” (241) Like Ward, Holzmer recognized that without the training of the young in the music of the church, there would never be a hope for “this venerable music…to come back to its rightful domain, when it will be supreme again in fact as it has always been by right?”

Dom G Mercure, a Benedictine Monk of the Monastery of St. Benoit-du-Lac, Quebec wrote in a 1935 issue of The Caecilia: “one of the reasons why Gregorian Chant is not more widespread in ecclesiastical music circles is because the public expect to find in Gregorian chant, or plain chant, the same element of sensible pleasure that is found in profane music or even in religious music other than plain chant.” (213) Pius X in his Motu Proprio TLS knew well the state of music in the church and world. For instance throughout the War Between the States (1861) Union and Confederate Soldiers used hymns as a way of rallying the troops and bringing them comfort from home. Hymns such as the Battle Hymn of the Republic, or Dixie would be heard across the battlefields as soldiers marched. Still others such as Amazing Grace, or It Came Upon the Midnight Clear were sung in many protestant churches at their services. Hymns in the spoken language of the people gathered, tended to have more emotional and pleasurable connotations associated with them. As people heard these hymns full of poetic and beautiful language they were attracted to them more and more. The chants of the church in a language unknown seemed distant and did not stir the emotions of the musically untrained ear. How were the Catholic musicians in America supposed to combat these feelings, which could not be ignored?

Justine Ward in her article for the Atlantic Monthly published in 1906 The Reform in Church Music puts it well: “church music is made up of two elements, music and prayer, and it cannot be judged by the value of one of its elements tested as a separate entity . . . “Lex orandi lex cantandi”… Prayer and music must so combine as to make one art; the music must pray, the prayer-must sing…This, then, is the true test of a musical composition for the church: Does it conform to the law of prayer?” (455) According to Justine music should not be judged as solely inspiring emotion or being judged on the music alone, rather music for use in the Liturgy is interwoven with prayer in such a manner that the two cannot be separated. For to separate these two things, which in a way are one, is to tear that work of art apart. To Pius X, Gregorian Chant is the primary music of the church. Holzmer, Ward, and Mercure all agree that there are certain aspects of Gregorian Chant which must be met in order to ensure that it is sung properly and can truly be that unification of “music and prayer” (Ward 455) The promulgation of Gregorian chant in the church as well as to provide the means necessary for its’ survival relied upon the teaching and training of the young in chanting and the proper execution of this tradition. Ward, working with Fr. Shields, Fr. Young, and eventually Dom André Mocquereau (founder of the Solesmes method of Gregorian chant) created a program that would do just that.

Early in her career, after her conversion to the Catholic Church and divorce of her husband (which left her considerably wealthy) Ward started working with Fr. Shields and Young while assisting at the Catholic University of America. After a short period there “in the summer of 1916, Mother Georgia Stevens asked Ward to come to Manhattanville” (Brancaleone 10) In 1917, she with the help of Mother Stevens created the Pius X Institute of Liturgical Music, a school devoted to training teachers and students in not only what was becoming known as the “Ward Method,” but also in other forms of Liturgical Music in the Church. Ward’s method of teaching chant to the young was unique in that it used body movements as a way of understanding rhythm. Through the Pius X Institute and her newfound friendships with Dom Mocquereau, and others Ward began to share her method of teaching Gregorian chant with others in other countries. “In 1925, Ward brought her method to Holland…Belgium, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, China, and Italy.” (Zuberbueler, 16) For Ward teaching and singing Gregorian chant was a chance at learning, singing, and praying. It was a way of living the liturgical life of the church in a new way.

While Ward worked on the teaching of Gregorian Chant others in America took a different approach to the Pius X’s TLS. According to Paul Hume’s Catholic Church Music, one of the ways in which the objectives of the Motu Proprio were enforced was through the creation of a “White List.” “The “White List” is a list of music approved for use in church by the St. Gregory Society of America. The idea of having a “white list” comes from Pius X: “Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.” (Pius X, II 5) This movement in the church away from music of a secular nature was led by Pius X and joined by Ward, the St. Gregory Society of America and others. Ward and the St. Gregory Society of America published hymnals containing chants and hymns, which followed the “Classic Polyphony” called for by Pius X. Pope Pius XII later in 1955, published Musicae Sacrae Disciplina an instruction on the usage of hymns for the liturgy.

In Musicae Sacrae Disciplina, Pius XII says: “We must also hold in honor that music which is not primarily a part of the sacred liturgy, but which by its power and purpose greatly aids religion. This music is therefore rightly called religious music. The Church has possessed such music from the beginning and it has developed happily under the Church’s auspices. As experience shows, it can exercise great and salutary force and power on the souls of the faithful, both when it is used in churches during non-liturgical services and ceremonies, or when it is used outside churches at various solemnities and celebrations.” (Pius XII 36) Granted the usage of hymns was already something that was customary in the church at the time. With the stipulations imposed on music by Pius X, hymns (note: vernacular hymns) were not to be used in the Liturgy, but instead could be used for prayers, gatherings, processions, novenas, etc. In short, they could only be used for celebrations outside of the Liturgy. Gregorian Chant was still the official music of the church and remains so to this day.

For some 60ish years the stipulations imposed by TLS stood and the Ward Method helped ensure its’ future survival. Though as the Church drew closer and closer to the middle of the 20th century the advent of the Second Vatican Council appeared on the horizon. Up until this point Gregorian Chant and Classical Polyphony were the only types of music to be used in the Liturgy. Ward’s method seemed to prosper, for decades, being spread throughout the world. With the end of the 1950’s and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in sight, church music in America was once again something talked about. Gregorian Chant was the norm for music in parishes; even the smallest tried to create a choir, which would be able to chant the Propers of the Mass. Hymns were sung by Catholics in the 20th century (including some protestant ones) as long as it was for worship outside of Solemn Liturgical Functions.  The renewal of Gregorian Chant in the church was almost complete and there were many to thank for it. The movement of 20th century Catholic Church Music in America was one that will forever define the history of the church here and around the world. The impact of one woman who embraced the call of the Holy Father to return to the sacred traditions of music in the church through the construction of her teaching methods ensured that all, whether young or old could chant with a little effort. For Justine Ward chant could not be “listened to as music” rather through the “ears of faith”(Ward, 460) To her “the music must pray and the prayer must sing” (455) “For the carrying-out of the full ideal demands the co-operation of the entire people, who will no longer assist at, but take part in, the liturgy. This may not be accomplished in a day, but the Church works for the future, and already she is sowing the seeds. The little Catholic school child is learning to pray, not only in words, but also in song; not only in the Church’s language, Latin, but in her musical language,

Chant; and when these children grow up, our choirs will be the whole Catholic world. While the variable and the more elaborate parts of the liturgy will demand the great genius, the great artist, the simpler parts will be taken up spontaneously by the entire congregation; producing the superb contrast of, on the one hand, the perfection of art, and on the other, the majesty of numbers. This is, indeed, nothing new: it is thus that the liturgy is intended to be rendered; it is thus that it has been rendered in the past, and is still rendered in a few centres of Catholic life. It is simply a return to the true ideal, a “renewing of all things in Christ,” a revitalizing, through art, of the spirit of Catholic democracy and universality.” (Ward 462-463)

Justine Ward and others worked tirelessly, embracing the call of the reforms instituted by Pius X and catered them specifically to children. They worked for an idea that would be largely envisioned in coming years by the Second Vatican Council. They worked to ensure that all might sing.

Work Cited

Brancaleone, Francis. “Justine Ward and the Fostering of an American Solesmes Chant Tradition” Sacred Music Fall 2009: 6-26. Print.

Chase, Gilbert. America’s Music New York: McGraw- Hill Book Company, Inc. 1995. Print

Holzmer, Robert. “People don’t Like Gregorian Chant” The Caecilia May 1935: 239-232. Print.

Hume, Paul. Catholic Church Music Binghamton: Vail-Ballou Pres, Inc. 1956. Print.

Mercure, Dom G. “True Church Music Should Calm the Mind Not Minister to the Senses” The Caecilia May 1936: 213-214. Print.

Pius X, Pope. Tra Le Sollecitudini, Vatican City: Vatican State, 1903. Vatican.va

Pius XII, Pope. Musicae Sacrae, Vatican City: Vatican State, 1955. Vatican.va

Ward, Justine B. “The Reform In Church Music” The Atlantic Monthly January 1907:455-463. Print.

Zuberbueler, Amy. “The Ward Method: Chant from the Ground Up” Sacred Music Spring 2006: 14-17. Print.

A light in the Dark – Reflections on Candle Time at camp & the Paschal Candle

Well, tonight we started our first ever duo-camp! We are running two camps at once this week. Expedition (7th-8th grade), and Quest (5th-6th). I’m working the Expedition camp and also being a staff counselor (living in the cabins with the campers) this week.

It’s a camp tradition that every night after campfire we close with candle time, a time to be candle-in-the-dark-reporter_087897with each other as brothers, share a little about the day and encourage each other to grow. In the past we have actually used candles during candle time, normally though due to a problem a few years back we don’t though some staff like myself, do like to pull out a candle every once in a while if a group is doing well.

The boys (still not men or young men, but getting there) did excellent tonight. They shared their Holy Spirit moments from the day, talking of how it was so good to be accepted by other boys their age, when they are not always accepted at school. We talked of how the smiles on everyones face made them want to be here at camp and how they were so happy to see glimpses of the fun we would have together this week. Many of them shared how this was some of the happiest few hours of their lives thus far and how they couldn’t wait to see what would come tomorrow. Others saw the Holy Spirit in the storm which seemed to pass by over us without much thunder and no rain. One said: “a real sign of how God’s hand is protecting us and guiding us here at camp this week.”

Our second question we prompted them with was if there was anything they were nervous or worried about for camp this week. One boy shared of how he worried for his grandmother, recently diagnosed with cancer. Still, another worried about his parents celebrating their 20th anniversary and hoping that they had as much fun as was going to this week. Some worried about what their mom’s would do without them this week. Others were scared for the weather and what we would be able to do if it rained all week.

We closed candle time like we opened it with one of the boys leading us in prayer. The camper who did the honor said a beautiful spontaneous prayer he prayed from the heart. (It’s his first time as a camper too! 🙂 )

As we began candle time I invited the boys to come sit around me on the floor so that they could be close to the candle. It was one of those simple inserts that we use for the Sanctuary lamp, that I had placed in a cut crystal bowl with a clear cylindrical globe. Easter-Vigil-CandleThe light danced across the room and across their faces, which you could tell were filled with wonder, nervousness, and awe. I was brought back to the glorious Vigil of Vigils; that is, the Easter Vigil, where we bring the single lighted paschal candle (a symbol of Christ, the light of the world) into the church for the first time. There in the closed space, the light dances off of the walls and stained glass, as well as the priest, congregation, and other ministers faces. It too is a moment of rejoicing for the church, as we welcome Christ, the risen savior back!

So too, like the Paschal candle being carried into the Church, we, the staff are called to bear Christ into the world, especially to these campers and everyone we encounter this summer. We are to pour ourselves out Eucharistically, give of ourselves in charity, love one another and help each other get to Heaven. I pray that we may continue to be that beacon of light in the dark for the campers, here this week and the rest of the summer. Will you join me in praying that that may be so? May we take the beauty we experience on this journey; this walk, and share it with those who so desperately need it.

Here’s a short poem on the Paschal Candle, I found and thought I would share:

The Paschal Candle
Burns brightly in the darkness
Light conquers darkness.
Death is banished forever.

The Christ Candle
A symbol of the Risen Lord
The victory of life over death
Heaven over the grave.

The Easter Candle
The Alpha and the Omega
The beginning and the end
The omnipotence of God.

The White Candle
Christ, yesterday and today
The Light of the world
Forever present amidst His own.

The Tall Candle
A pillar of strength day and night
All time belongs to Him
All ages under His power and rule.

The Cross bearing Candle
Five grains of incense ingrained on it
The five wounds of our Lord
The sacrifice once and for all.

The Vigil Candle
A celebration of the first Easter
To the one who merits
All praise and glory in every age to come.

Maria Franco

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Gasper Summer Staff 2015

Now, if you will please excuse me, I have to go wrangle some of the boys who can’t sleep and keep going to the bathroom. Oh my, I’m so thankful for my parents, (especially my Dad and the priest-fathers in my life on this Father’s Day.)

Let us continue to walk this way of beauty to God together. Oremus pro invicem!

Consecrated and Set Apart – Recognizing our own Consecrated lives through the Consecration of the new Altar at Gasper River

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, prior to the Altar dedication.

The St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, prior to the Altar dedication.

This past week we had the dedication of the new Altar at Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center in Bowling Green, KY. Gasper has been my “home” and summer job for the past two years. (This final round is #3) It was a great joy and blessing to be able to emcee the dedication and serve alongside my friend Sam Rasp, Deacon Matthew Keyser, and my Bishop.

The Liturgy for the dedication of the Altar during Mass is in my opinion one of the most beautiful liturgies. It is one that is steeped in tradition, full of beauty, prayer, and symbolic actions. During the Liturgy there are several main actions that are performed. This movement of different actions in the Mass and ritual for the dedication of an Altar is a wonderful way to look at walking the way of beauty. It is a way in which we can encounter God and his Son Jesus, in unique, beautiful, and meaningful ways. LEt’s look at this Ritual a little further and see how Consecrating an Altar works and how it relates to us as a consecrated and chosen people.

First at the beginning of the Mass, the Altar is sprinkled and blessed with Holy Water, a

The Bishop sprinkles the Altar with Holy Water

The Bishop sprinkles the Altar with Holy Water

sign of the intended use for a holy purpose of the object. (The same reason why we bless medals and ourselves with holy water.) Then after the homily the Litany of the Saints is sung, invoking the intercession of all of the holy men and women of God as well as the angels. The Litany reminds us that we do not act alone in this world or in our faith. The Bishop then prays an extremely long prayer of dedication for the Altar, calling to mind the many different altars that have been erected and established throughout Salvation History. The text for this prayer can be found at the bottom of this post. After the Litany and prayer of dedication the Bishop removes his chasuble and puts on a gremial

Deacon Matthew and I assist the Bishop in binding his sleeves and placing a gremial on him.

Deacon Matthew and I assist the Bishop in binding his sleeves and placing a gremial on him.

otherwise known as a linen apron, to protect his vestments from being ruined by the Chrism Oil. (Hey, Liturgies and rituals are supposed to be somewhat messy!)

The Bishop then anoints the Altar with the Oil of Sacred Chrism, the oil which leaves an indelible mark on a person’s soul and sets them apart for a sacred person. At Baptism, we see that a person is set apart for a life in the family of Christ, at Confirmation, those graces received at Baptism are strengthened and affirmed. At ordination a Man becomes a priest through

The Bishop anointing the Altar with Sacred Chrism

The Bishop anointing the Altar with Sacred Chrism

the imposition of hands and calling down of the Holy Spirit. His hands are anointed to bring Christ to the world in the Eucharist as he acts in persona Christi through his ministry.

It is recommended that the Bishop not just pour Sacred Chrism on to anoint the Altar mensa, but that he anoint the entire surface with Chrism, you can see that Bishop Medley uses both hands and reverently

Bishop Medley spreads the Sacred Chrism Oil across the mensa of the Altar.

Bishop Medley spreads the Sacred Chrism Oil across the mensa of the Altar.

smears the Chrism over the entire surface. His hands are so full of Chrism after the anointing that he normally has to wash his hands several times. You can just smell the Chrism in the air, the silence of all those gathered directing their attention to the ritual at hand.

After the Bishop has cleansed his hands of the Chrism and changed back into his chasuble, a brazier or bowl is placed on the Altar, inside of which are several lighted charcoals. He places incense on the charcoals and inside the Thurible, with which he

The brazier (bowl) of Incense symbolizes our prayers rising to the Father.

The brazier (bowl) of Incense symbolizes our prayers rising to the Father.

will incense the Altar. Incense has long been a staple in Catholic Worship as a symbol of the prayers of those gathered ascending to the Father. I couldn’t help as I watched the incense drift upwards, but  to call to mind the Psalmist’s words: “Let my prayer rise like incense before you.” Catholics use incense like our Jewish forefathers did. Thus, like our jewish forefathers who offered sacrifices on altars, so too Catholics offer the one true sacrifice (the death of Christ on the Cross) on our Altars to the Father, through and with Jesus. The Bishop walks all around the Altar, censing it and and showing through the smoke that the Altar is the way in which we lift our prayers and praise to God. He prays:

Lord, may our prayers ascend as incense in your sight. As this building is filled with fragrance so may your Church fill the world with the fragrance of Christ.

After the Incensation of the Altar, the brazier is removed and the Altar top is wiped. This is probably one of the most beautiful and poignant parts of the Mass. As Bishop stated,

Olivia (left) and Emily (right) bow before the freshly consecrated Altar while Deacon Matthew and I look on.

Olivia (left) and Emily (right) bow before the freshly consecrated Altar while Deacon Matthew and I look on.

while sitting down, this part symbolizes the women who came to the tomb to anoint the Body of Our Lord and wrap him in white linen. There was no music for his part of the Mass, the silence, and reverence with which the two girls wiped the altar spoke for itself. My sister, Emily and fellow staff member Olivia Conder volunteered to wipe the Altar off. They came forward and reverently bowed to the Altar, showing that it was consecrated. They were the first really to bow to it, as during the other parts of the Liturgy such as the procession, we did not bow, rather just go to our places in the sanctuary. This made me recall that Mary Magdalene was the first to recognize our Lord after his resurrection from the tomb.

Olivia and Emily wiping the Altar under Deacon Matthew and my instruction. (we had to point out any missed spots)

Olivia and Emily wiping the Altar under Deacon Matthew and my instruction. (we had to point out any missed spots)

She went to the Tomb and saw that it was empty, and after mistaking Jesus for the gardner, recognized him as the Lord. For the two girls to have the opportunity and joy of being able to recognize our Lord’s presence in the Altar had to have been a blessing. Emily and Olivia wiped the mensa (top) and sides of the Altar with such care and reverence. I actually teared up after the Bishop reminded us of what it symbolized and as I watched with what care and devotion the two ladies took as they attended to their task.

I thought back to that early morning Mass in the Tomb of Christ that we were blessed to celebrate on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land and with the silence and reverence that accompanied our Mass then and the Altar dedication now. After the Altar had been

Sam and I vesting the Altar

Sam and I vesting the Altar

thoroughly wiped off, Sam and I placed the White Linen Altar Cloth on it, vesting it for the Eucharistic Prayer to come. I’m excited for when we will get our new Altar Cloth at camp this summer, so that we do not have to use the simple white tablecloths anymore.

After vesting the Altar, or I should rather say: “While,” Mason and Ian came and carried the candlesticks over to the sides of the Altar. They forgot that we would be vesting it,

Ian (left) and Mason (right) place the Candlesticks by the Altar

Ian (left) and Mason (right) place the Candlesticks by the Altar

so they came a little early and were stuck holding them for a time. The candlesticks probably weigh a good 40 pounds  each. I felt sorry for them! Haha!

After the Candlesticks have been placed there comes the ceremonial lighting. The Deacon recieves a lighted candle from the Bishop who instructs him to light the candles that as the light shines from them, so too shall those gathered shine with the light of

Deacon Matthew lights one of the Altar candles.

Deacon Matthew lights one of the Altar candles.

Christ. This part of the ritual reminds us of the Easter Vigil, with Christ the light of the world coming and setting us free from the darkness of sin, releasing us into the marvelous light of his Father’s kingdom.

After the candles are lit, the Mass continues as normal with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Communion, and the final collect and blessing. The final collect (prayer after communion), which collects all of our prayers together and helps draw the Liturgy to a close says:

Keep us, O Lord, ever close to your altar where the Sacrament of sacrifice is celebrated, so that, united in faith and charity, we, who by Christ are nourished, into Christ may be transformed. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

Bishop Medley reminded all of us present that although this Altar is now consecrated, we must never forget that we too are a consecrated people. We are consecrated by and anointed with the same Oil of Sacred Chrism used to consecrate the Altar at our Baptism into the family of God, commissioned as we are anointed at our confirmation to go and preach the good news, the priest’s hands are anointed at ordination to make present the Living mysteries of Christ, and the Bishop’s head is anointed at his ordination to receive the fullness of Holy Orders and be able to consecrate others (including Altars) to a sacred purpose.

One of the things which I am really excited for about the summer is that we got to keep the towels with which we wiped the Sacred Chrism off of the Altar. I plan on cutting them into a few pieces, so that we have one for each week of camp, and then sharing with the campers that week not only about how we dispose of blessed items (Something I think I’ve done for the past 2 summers), but also about the Altar and how we too are a consecrated people. Our universal vocation is to that of holiness. We are called to offer ourselves on the Altars of our lives to God. Sanctifying our work, asking for our Lord to help us, giving ourselves over to the movement of his Holy Spirit. We must never forget that we are consecrated for a purpose, one which might have a rough road, but in the end will be very rewarding. We are a consecrated people. May we always be ready and willing to answer and act for the task for which we have been consecrated. . . Heaven. Amen.

After the Consecration of the Altar

After the Consecration of the Altar

Bishop Medley, preaching during the Mass.

Bishop Medley, preaching during the Mass.

Like the Consecrated Altar, so too are we consecrated for a Sacred Purpose

Like the Consecrated Altar, so too are we consecrated for a Sacred Purpose

The following is the text for the Consecration of an Altar, calling to mind the many Altars throughout human history. How does it help us to see the need to recognize our own consecrated lives?

Father, we praise you and give you thanks, for you have established the sacrament of true worship by bringing to perfection in Christ the mystery of the one true altar prefigured in those many altars of old.

Noah, the second father of the human race, once the waters fell and the mountains peaked again, built an altar in your name. You, Lord, were appeased by his fragrant offering and your rainbow bore witness to a covenant refounded in love.

Abraham, our father in faith, wholeheartedly accepted your word and constructed an altar on which to slay Isaac, his only son. But you, Lord, stayed his hand and provided a ram for his offering.

Moses, mediator of the old law, built an altar on which was cast the blood of the lamb: so prefiguring the altar of the cross. All this Christ has fulfilled in the paschal mystery: as priest and victim he freely mounted the tree of the cross and gave himself to you, Father, as the one perfect oblation. In his sacrifice the new covenant is sealed, in his blood sin is engulfed.

Lord, we therefore stand before you in prayer. Bless this altar built in the house of the Church, that it may ever be reserved for the sacrifice of Christ, and stand for ever as the Lord’s table, where your people will find nourishment and strength. Make this altar a sign of Christ from whose pierced side flowed blood and water, which ushered in the sacraments of the Church. Make it a table of joy, where the friends of Christ may hasten to cast upon you their burdens and cares and take up their journey restored. Make it a place of communion and peace, so that those who share the body and blood of your Son may be filled with his Spirit and grow in your life of love. Make it a source of unity and friendship, where your people may gather as one to share your spirit of mutual love. Make it the center of our praise and thanksgiving until we arrive at the eternal tabernacle, where, together with Christ, high priest and living altar, we will offer you an everlasting sacrifice of praise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.

Pictures courtesy of Elizabeth Barnstead via the Diocesan FB page:

Active Participation in the Liturgy: Misunderstood, and Full of Love

Fr. Bob Robeson, Rector of Bishop Bruté, celebrates Mass during Lent.

Fr. Bob Robeson, Rector of Bishop Bruté, celebrates Mass during Lent.

Here is my paper that I wrote for Moral Theology on how the Roman Canon (Euchristic Prayer I) leads us to love how Christ loves. I also discuss how Active Participation (though somewhat misinterpreted after the council) in the Liturgy is most closely related to the Eucharistic Prayer. (A Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger idea)

I REALLY enjoyed writing this and was very pleased with the “A” grade and how the paper turned out. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Written for Dr. Matthew Sherman’s Fundamental Moral Theology class at Marian University on 4-13-15:

Active Participation in the Eucharistic Prayer leads us to love as Christ loves. 

The life of a Christian is one thirsting for and seeking after truth. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The human person finds his perfection “in seeking and loving what is true and good.”” For Catholic Christians the closest we can get to actual truth is through our faith, especially through our worship in the Mass. The Second Vatican Council Fathers acknowledged this when they called for Active participation in the liturgy by all of the faithful.[1] This important document on the Liturgy known as Sacrosanctum Concilium further calls the Sacred Liturgy the “primary and indispensible source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.”[2] This true Christian Spirit or perfection as Pope Benedict taught is found in loving, specifically through our interaction in the Liturgy, the source of what is true and good.

Pope Benedict XVI, (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) in one of his most famous works discusses the idea of active participation. He says that this was “very quickly misunderstood to mean something external…a need for general activity…as if as many people as possible, as often…should be visibly engaged in action.”[3] He goes on to explain how a deeper study of the sources for this call to active participation in the Liturgy points to the “the Eucharistic Prayer. The real liturgical action, the true liturgical act, is the oratio, the great prayer that forms the core of the Eucharistic celebration…”[4] Through the Eucharistic Prayer in the Mass the Christian people seek the truth (Christ, himself) and learn to love through it.

There are three main types of love, which exist in the Christian life: (1)Agape, (2)Eros, and (3)Philia. Authors of The Christian Moral Life, Patricia Lamoureux and Paul J. Wadell point to Jesuit Father Edward Vacek’s explanation of these three loves as being that “We may love the beloved (1) for the sake of the beloved, (2) for our own sake, or (3) for the sake of a relationship we have with the beloved.”[5]   Taking after Pope Benedict XVI if we look at The Roman Canon, known also as Eucharistic Prayer I, which has remained relatively, unchanged since the 7th century we can see an assortment of the three different types of love, that are present throughout it. These three loves help us to see the role of active participation in the Eucharistic Prayer and the ways in which it has affected different branches of Christianity throughout the centuries.

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Fr. Bob, elevates the host in the chapel at the Church of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor during our Holy Land Trip

Agape as Fr. Vacek states is, loving for the sake of the beloved. Many theologians tend to point to this love as being the primary Christian love, made evident through Christ’s sacrificial gift of himself upon the cross. Christ, through loving those in the world gave his life out of love for those whom he loved. One could say that the greatest proof of this love in the Roman Canon would be Christ talking of his sacrifice in the Institution Narrative: “Take this all of you… For this is my body, which will be given up for you.”[6] This total gift of self, of Christ’s body on the cross and then made present at every Mass celebrated demonstrates that way of loving someone so much for the sake of them, that nothing else matters. As Lamoureux and Wadell state, “agape does not require reciprocity.”[7]

Eros is love for our own sake,5 It does not require loving someone or something else for their sake, but rather what brings us joy, pleasure, and comfort. Lamoureux and Wadell go on to explain that Fr. Vacek “emphasizes that even though eros is self-interested, it is not necessarily self-centered because it does involve recognition of another thing’s value or goodness and, in that respect, is genuinely love of the other.”[8] One could argue that eros in the Liturgy could be found in the intercessory side of the prayer. Asking for something, (good) because we desire it and its’ effects in our lives is an example of intercession. The Mass by its’ very nature is as a whole intercessory, that is, it is offered up for the sake of someone. In the Roman Canon we see where the priest prays commemorating the living and offering a specific line of petition to God on their behalf. “For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them…”[9] I would argue that even though the priest is praying these prayers on behalf of the people, this is a moment, where the active participation occurs that Pope Benedict XVI alluded to. The priest says, “or they offer it for themselves”9 This offering up of one’s intentions and prayers with those of the mass is a perfect example of focusing on what is happening and being present and a living part of this living sacrifice. The eros, or love for the sake of oneself is beautifully demonstrated in this way of intercession, asking God to accept this sacrifice for something we desire. So often in our culture we line Eros up with erotic love, and while it is that, the basis for it, is love for the sake of oneself. One could argue that the love with which Christ gave up his life on the cross was as Fr. Vacek states, “love of the other”8 We see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians this love in a sacrificial nature, like Agape. “Even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.”[10] Fr. Vacek also states, “Eros emotionally unites the lover with the beloved and therein affirms the beloved’s value, but does so for the sake of the perfection that accrues to the lover.”[11] Thus, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross not only united him with his bride the church, but through it, and through the words spoken during the Eucharistic prayer, the goal of which Christ died is made present. Christ, through the incarnation in taking on our human flesh restored the sacredness and beauty to the human body that was removed by sin, thus his own physical body perfected with his divinity affirmed those redeemed by his action, as well as uniting him more wholly to his people.

Philia, also known as friendship makes up the third type of love. Lamouroeux and Wadell talk of how “even though we love our friends for their own sake (agape), as well as for the joy and meaning they bring to our lives (eros), more than anything we love the relationship that exists between us and our friends.”[12] This relationship that exists between us and our friends is made evident through the relationship which Christ redeemed with his people through his sacrifice. We see in the Roman Canon an example of this love as the priest prays, “so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.”[13] The relationship with which the people, priest, and Christ have through the celebration of the Eucharistic prayer shows the “perfection” which exists in a philia form of relationship. Thomas Aquinas discusses whether Charity is the form (origin) of all other virtues. He states, “that it is charity which directs the acts of all other virtues to the last end.”[14] Thus, Agape, and eros, point us towards our relationship with the one whom we love for the sake of a relationship.5

Through seeking the truth, man discovers God, and discovers him in the person of Jesus Christ, our beloved. This encounter happens most profoundly through the Sacrifice of the Mass, when those present are united to the one, “true and singular sacrifice”[15] of Christ on the cross. This union which forever bridged the gap between Man and God is renewed each time by those who participate actively in the Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass. By seeking him who is true and good, we come to love Him, in a unique way and experience love in all its’ forms. The goal of our attendance and participation at Mass is a life of grace from the Sacraments. This love of Christ present in the Sacraments is brought out through Christ loving us for the sake of us, loving us for the sake of himself, and his human body, and loving us for the sake of the relationship he desires to have with us forever in Heaven. This union with God in the person of Jesus Christ is made present at every Mass. This relationship of lover to the beloved is made present to all who actively participate in the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer, through loving Christ who loved us first.

Fr. Bob and Deacon Cronin, elevate the chalice and host in the Church of the workshop of St. Joseph, Nazareth

Fr. Bob and Deacon Cronin, elevate the chalice and host in the Church of the workshop of St. Joseph, Nazareth

Through our active participation in the prayer, we receive a foretaste of the love which exists in the Kingdom of Heaven for all who lead a moral and virtuous life, a life, which Christ came to call all of us to, a life, which calls us to love ourselves, and others, for the sake of the union to come. For as John says, “I, (Christ) when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”[16]

[1] Paul VI, Vatican II: Sacrosanctum Concilium (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1996), 7.

[2] Ibid. 8.

[3] Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), 171.

[4] Ibid. 172.

[5] Lamoureux and Wadell, The Christian Moral Life (New York: Orbis Books, 2010), 194.

[6] Eucharistic Prayer I, The Roman Missal, trans. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 3rd typical ed.. sec. 89 (Washington D.C.: United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, 2011), 639.

[7] Lamoureux and Wadell, The Christian Moral Life (New York: Orbis Books, 2010), 195.

[8] Ibid. 197

[9] Eucharistic Prayer I, The Roman Missal, trans. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 3rd typical ed.. sec. 85 (Washington D.C.: United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, 2011), 636.

[10] Ephesians 5:25 NABRE

[11] Lamoureux and Wadell, The Christian Moral Life (New York: Orbis Books, 2010), 197.

[12] Ibid. 198

[13] Eucharistic Prayer I, The Roman Missal, trans. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 3rd typical ed.. sec. 94 (Washington D.C.: United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, 2011), 641.

[14] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica: Question 23 on Charity, (Handout, abridged from NewAdvent.org) 2.

[15] Pius IV, Decretum de sacrificio Missae, (handout prepared by K. Harmon 2015, originally published in 1562) 1.

[16] John 12:32 RSV