jump to navigation

High Spirituality April 16, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
comments closed

My readers may want to check out this very worthwhile link.  This webpage describes the experiences of a woman at Mass, when the Holy Spirit fills her soul and the Blessed Mother speaks to her.  There is much to commend here, especially the Blessed Mother’s words about our preparation for Mass, and our need to prepare ourselves interiorly to shed our unworthiness and receive the Eucharist:

It was the vigil of the Annunciation, and the members of our group had gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some of the ladies of the prayer group had not been able to do it, and so they left their reconciliation for the next day before the Mass.

When I arrived at church the next day, a little bit late, the Archbishop and priests were already coming out of the sacristy.  The Virgin Mary said with Her soft and feminine voice that sweetens one’s soul:

Today is a day of learning for you, and I want you to pay close attention because of what you will witness today. Everything that you will experience today, you will have to share with all of humanity.” I was deeply moved without understanding why, but I tried to be very attentive.

The first thing I noticed was a choir of very beautiful voices that was singing as if it was far away. For moments the music came closer and, then, it went further away like the sound of the wind.

The Archbishop started Mass and, when he reached the Penitential Rite, the Blessed Virgin said:

“From the bottom of your heart, ask the Lord to forgive your faults that have offended Him. In this way, you will be able to participate worthily in this privilege of assisting at the Holy Mass.”

I thought for a fraction of a second: “Surely I am in a state of grace of God; I went to confession last night.”

She answered: “Do you think that since last night you have not offended the Lord?  Let Me remind you of a few things. When you left to come here, the girl who helps you approached to ask you for something and, as you were late and in a hurry, you did not answer her in a very nice way. There was a lack of charity on your part, and you say, you have not offended God…?

“While on the way here, a bus crossed over your lane and almost hit you. You expressed yourself in a very non-advisable way against that poor man, instead of saying your prayers and preparing yourself for Mass. You have failed in charity and lost your peace and patience. And you say you have not hurt the Lord?

“You arrive at the last minute when the procession of the celebrants is already coming out to celebrate the Mass…  and you are going to participate without previous preparation…”

I replied, “All right, my Mother, say no more to me. You do not have to remind me of more things because I am going to die of grief and shame.”

“Why must you all arrive at the last moment? You should have arrived earlier to be able to pray and ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit that He may grant you a spirit of peace and cleanse you of the spirit of the world, your worries, your problems, and your distractions so as to enable you to live this so sacred a moment. However, you arrive almost when the celebration is about to commence, and you participate as if it is an ordinary event, without any spiritual preparation. Why? This is the greatest of Miracles. You are going to live the moment when the Most High God gives His greatest gift, and you do not know how to appreciate it.”

Read it all.  It may take a little time, but I found this reflection, this mysterious grace granted to this woman, to be very moving, especially the part about the offertory.  It is important to remember our unworthiness to participate in the august Sacrifice of the Mass, and God’s eternal love and constant pardoning of our shortcomings.  Her descriptions of the Mass, of Heaven come down to earth, of lines of angels and the beautiful light and sounds, it is amazing.  We need to realize that this is what happens at every Mass!  What an awesome God we have!

Dominus vobiscum!

Pope Benedict stresses the importance of Liturgy and Mystery April 16, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
comments closed

Via Rorate Caeli, Fr. Z adds some comments to the Pope’s recent ad limina address to bishops from Brazil.  It’s all so good, I’m going to post all of it below, Fr. Z’s comments in red:

Wonderful words on the true meaning of active participation

Today’s speech of the Holy Father to the Bishops of Brazil (North II Region) in their ad limina visit was a true course on sacred liturgy, active participation, inculturation, and the Holy Mass. We particularly refer to the 4th, 5th, and 6th paragraphs of his address (in Portuguese).

VIS excerpts; complete translation coming up:

    Speaking of the Eucharist, the Pope recalled that it constitutes “the centre and permanent source of the Petrine ministry, the heart of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church’s mission of evangelization. You can thus understand the concern of the Successor of Peter for all that can obfuscate this most essential point of the Catholic faith: that today, Jesus Christ continues alive and truly present in the consecrated host and the chalice.[NB: “most essential”.  When we speak of “the Eucharist” we need to keep in mind both the Sacrament and its celebration.]

    “Paying less attention at times to the rite of the Most Holy Sacrament [i.e., Holy Mass] constitutes,” he said, “a sign and a cause of the darkening of the Christian sense of mystery, [EHEM… sound familiar?!?  Not only is this redolent of the whole “Save The Liturgy – Save The Word” thing I have been pushing forever, it also directly bears on what I have pounded for several years, ever since the unveiling the the text of Summorum Pontificum: if our worship does not bring us to an encounter with mystery, then it has failed.] such as when Jesus is not the centre of the Mass, [stressed by ad orientem or ad Deum worship] but rather a community preoccupied with other things instead of being taken up and drawn to the only one necessary: their Lord.”  [Fantastic.]

    Benedict XVI emphasized that “if the figure of Christ does not emerge from the liturgy … it is not a Christian liturgy“. [OORAH!] This is why, he added, “we find those who, in the name of enculturation, fall into syncretism, introducing rites taken from other religions or cultural particularities into the celebration of the Mass.”  [It loses its proper identity.  And we, therefore, lose our identity.  This is rich fare.]

    As Venerable John Paul II wrote, “the mystery of the Eucharist is ‘too great a gift’ to admit of ambiguities or reductions, above all when, ‘stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet’.”

    The Pope highlighted that “behind many alleged motives, there exists a mentality that is incapable of accepting the real possibility of divine intervention in this world to assist human beings. [That is modernism.]  … Admitting God’s redeeming intervention to change our situation of alienation and sin [The Holy Father is speaking of sin more often.  And I predict he is also going to be speaking more about worship.] is seen as fundamentalism by those who share a deist vision and the same can be said about the sacramental sign that makes the salvific sacrifice present. For such persons, the celebration of a sign that corresponds to a vague sentiment of community would be more acceptable.”  [A “vague sentiment of community”… embodied by versus populum worship and the clericalization of the laity, non-sacral language, music reduce to the lowest denominator.]

    “Worship, however,” he continued, “cannot come from our imagination: that would be a cry in the darkness or mere self-affirmation. [Here it comes:] True liturgy supposes that God responds and shows us how we can adore Him. [“how we can adore Him”… i.e., proper worship] … The Church lives in His presence and its reason for being and existing is to expand His presence in the world.”

Yes!  This is how I feel about the Mass, precisely.  The Mass is a transcendent, mysterious experience that should always be ordered towards God and not man.  The point of Mass is not to highlight our relatively small relationship with one another in community (the shorter, horizontal bar of the cross), but our critical relationship with God (the vertical bar).  Mass should always be ordered first and almost entirely towards the worship of God in the manner He has proscribed through His Church.  The Mass should not be about ad libbing, or about a focus on community as a family meal around the altar, but should be oriented with the entire congregation, led by the priest, looking up to God and offering the ONLY Sacrifice acceptable to Him.  This Sacrifice, the eternal Sacrifice of Christ in Heaven, literally comes down to earth during the Mass.  That is why the utmost reverence and devotion must always be shown during Mass, from the priest celebrating Mass to those in the congregation assisting through their active, internal participation.  And that is why I think elements like incense, many altar boys, numerous candles, etc., are important – they all help mark the event as significant, as transcendent, as something incredibly special and definitely commonplace or routine.

This is also why I so value Latin in Mass, and why I think the new English translation is so important.  Mass should not be said in commonplace, day to day language – even in Roman times, the Latin used in the Mass was “high” Latin, different from that used on the streets.  Latin is transcendent, it is the unique and universal language of the Church, and it helps highlight the sense of mystery.  But even if you desire Mass in English, wouldn’t it be better to use a form of English that is more rarefied, that points to the august majesty of God, rather than the same kind of language you use in your home?   The new english Mass translation will help a great deal in this regard.

Yet again, Pope Benedict hits one out of the park.  Dominus vobiscum!

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict! April 16, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
comments closed

Today is the Pope’s 83rd birthday.  Let us pray that he may with God’s will have many more! 

Ad multos annos!  Habemus Papam!