Holy Week

Curious about the history of Holy Week, and having no library at hand, I ran a quick search and decided to check the references over on the Wikipedia page.  One would never want to write an academic paper using Wikipedia as a source – one would actually want to create an account and correct articles as necessary – but it can be a jumping point when checked for accuracy.

The first paragraph of the History section contains a paragraph from the Apostolic Constitutions:

Holy Week in the Christian year is the week immediately before Easter. The earliest allusion to the custom of marking this week as a whole with special observances is to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19), dating from the latter half of the 3rd century and 4th century. In this text, abstinence from flesh is commanded for all the days, while for the Friday and Saturday an absolute fast is commanded. Dionysius Alexandrinus in his canonical epistle (AD 260), refers to the 91 fasting days implying that the observance of them had already become an established usage in his time.[3]

v. austere, n’est-ce-pas?

(For a robust article on the Apostolic Constitutions, see the entry from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Reading the Apostolic Constitutions is a fruitful endeavor, if not long and ponderous, giving insights into early Christianity.  However, because sometimes I’m all about spiritual growth and processing things and sorting out everything in life at the moment, what jumped out at me immediately was the phrase, “You shall not be as a wanderer“,  Book I, p.IV.

We have to remain steadfast and true during these times of great change. And you can feel it, can’t you?  Momentous change is coming, happening even now.

I’m not one to wander.  While my focus used to be music, my duties in life have changed as I’ve grown in the knowledge and love of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and have sought to do his will.  I fail miserably at times and no doubt cause him great pain, but it’s through grace alone that I’m able to remain steadfast in his ways. Late have I come to love thee, O Lord.

What is one to do in life, if not to come to know the Lord?  To discern and do his will?  To walk in his ways?  To live a life of pleasing witness to him? To love him beyond all measure and to love our neighbor as ourself?

We all have a state in life:  single, married, consecrated, ordained. We all have duties according to our state in life. We all have a spirit and once Baptized, the indwelling of the Holy Trinity – a precious gift which must be nurtured, dwelt upon in thoughtful prayer,  and allowed to have rule in our lives.

So, getting back to Holy Week.  Now is the time to live life to the fullest.

Does that mean taking a mountain trek in the Alps, or hitting the highlife?  Absolutely not.  That full paragraph about being a wonderer, by the way, reads as follows:

IV. You shall not be as a wanderer and drifter abroad, rambling about the streets, without just cause, to spy out such as live wickedly. But by minding your own trade and employment, endeavour to do what is acceptable to God. And keeping in mind the oracles of Christ, meditate in the same continually. For so the Scripture says to you: You shall meditate in His law day and night; when you walk in the field, and when you sit in your house, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, that you may have understanding in all things. Joshua 1:8;Deuteronomy 6:7 Nay, although you are rich, and so do not want a trade for your maintenance, be not one that wanders about, and walks abroad at random; but either go to some that are believers, and of the same religion, and confer and discourse with them about the lively oracles of God: —

And, what are we to do with our time, according to the author of the Apostolic Constitutions?

“V. Or if you stay at home, read the books of the Law, of the Kings, with the Prophets; sing the hymns of David; and peruse diligently the Gospel, which is the completion of the other.”

We do have to ‘work out our salvation.’

  • What type of prayer will you do today?
  • When will you pray
  • What time will you go to Mass on Easter Sunday?
  • What will you wear?
  • What time will you go to Confession beforehand, if you haven’t already done so?
  • What Scriptures are you currently reading?

All well worth pondering and acting upon.

And as usual, I’m off to practice what I preach. It’s one of the main tasks of my life aside from catching up on paperwork.

Pax Christi,


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s day than to meditate on the poem, the hymn, the prayer attributed to him.

So instead of having a green beer, or some other ridiculous custom – give this a whirl in your prayer life. You’ll be glad you did.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.



Universal Judgement

The article is here. The YouTube video is here. 

This is the spectacular show hosted by the Vatican, announced some time back. The video debuted on March 12, and I came across it researching something else entirely. I definitely look forward to seeing the whole thing.

I really don’t know anything about it yet, as I don’t speak Italian.  Surely there’s an English version somewhere.

So much to write about – so little time!

On Wandering

I was considering the whole idea of “wandering”. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not me that’s wandering – it’s the Church.

But, while the Church appears to change from Pope to Pope, that has probably always been the case over the centuries. In the same way. Parishes change from Pastor to Pastor.

Any Catholic knows though, that when you go to a different Parish things can be so entirely different as to be almost unrecognizable. I’ve also been categorized as “one of those Priests who says the Latin Mass.” Which is fine by me – I absolutely love it.

Then, Traditionalists often categorize me as “one of those Novus Ordo Priests who says the Latin Mass in a Novus Ordo Parish.” Which is fine by me as well. I mean – what can I do?  I love the Church, and my bishop (Archbishop, in this case.) I’m not going to go rogue and wander about aimlessly (which would, in fact, be wandering.)

My duties in the Parish are to teach, to govern, and to sanctify. It’s the governing part which usually drives people nuts – one has to do what one has to do.

On Prayer

Ultimately, the answer to everything boils down to prayer. More specifically, it boils down to reliance upon the Lord, and admitting what we don’t know.  I do know Canon Law. I know Liturgical norms to a great degree. I know the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and am learning Latin.

I don’t know much about business – I rely on our accountant for that and keep my own business as simple as possible. I don’t know much about writing – this post is all over the place.   I don’t know much about taxes – I am always correcting them.    The Lord is calling me to learn about these things more properly, so I may as well dive right in. It’s going to be an adventure in grace.

And I do know about meditating on the law of the Lord, day and night.  Meditating on the Psalms this Lent, a strong theme comes across.  The people wander from the Lord, forgetting his mighty works and strong deeds. The Lord’s anger and wrath are stirred against the people.  Then comes an intercessor.   The Psalmist is always interceding for the people, atoning for his own sins, and praising the Lord for His might works, His mercy, His might in bringing about beautiful restoration.

Moses does the same thing as we read through the Office of Readings – Exodus and Deuteronomy. The Lord is constantly fed up with the people who have no training in His ways. Moses is constantly interceding on their behalf, sparing the wrath of the Lord.

And then – Jesus is lifted high on the Cross.  The Cross of our salvation effects en entirely new phase of Salvation History.

I was remarking the other day to a friend that we spend a lot of time meditating upon the Psalms and the Old Testament in the entire Daily Office which we pray.  We do have the Gospels and bits of the Epistles in the Mass.  I consider though, that we need to spend much more time with the Epistles, which explain a true and rigorous formation in Christ Jesus, and a deep reliance upon the Holy Spirit in both our strengths and in our weaknesses.

On Universal Judgment

“1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:
The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.”
Well there it is.  I’m looking forward to seeing the Vatican’s extravaganza. On YouTube, at least. I don’t see myself heading over to Rome anytime soon.
Splash, out.