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,
out.

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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.

Amen

 

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.

On Rectory Renovations

Not that it’s in our budget in the least to undertake such a breadth of renovations, but that’s one good looking dining room.

No, it is for me to live amongst the poor and strive for holiness. (Not that I am in any way living amongst ‘the poor’.)

Who are the poor?  Sure, those with little or no funds.  How about those who do not know Jesus Christ? Who haven’t been Baptized? Who are lost in other spiritualities which are a dead end?

Striving to live a life of holiness in an unholy culture.  Which brings to mind a prayer of Catherine Doherty.

 

Arise – go! Sell all you possess.
Give it directly, personally to the poor.
Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me,
going to the poor, being poor,
being one with them, one with Me.

Little – be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike.

Preach the Gospel with your life – without compromise!
Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.

Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.

Love…love…love, never counting the cost.

Go into the marketplace and stay with Me.
Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.

Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour’s feet.
Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts. I shall be with you.

Pray always. I will be your rest.

One does what what can in the service of our Lord – one day at a time.

A Reflection on Being Pastor

The picture is entitled “The Damned.”   A Pastor’s efforts are almost all geared towards saving people from becoming “The Damned,” saving people from eternal damnation, and seeing that they arrive at the pearly gates with a warm welcome into paradise.

We strive to get to know Jesus Christ in a full life of prayer, and to work with others to do so as well.

We tend to the Sacramental life of the Church: We teach, we preach, we hear Confessions; we celebrate Masses, Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, Confirmations. We meet with people for spiritual direction, we meet with endless committees and councils. We exhort to holiness of life and try our best to live up to it ourselves.

Don’t aim for purgatory – aim for Heaven itself. And by all means, avoid eternal damnation at all costs!

In that vein, here is a great reflection from Fr Eddie Gros SJ the pastor at Holy Name of Jesus in New Orleans.  I’ll be praying for him; I certainly know what he’s going through. I have learned though, that there’s only so much you can do on any given day. We can’t “do it all.”

A Reflection on Being a Pastor

“PLEASE PRAY FOR ME

“Being a PASTOR has become almost like playing one of those video games set at an impossibly high level. And although fulfillment in ministry is always what keeps me going—I love the sacraments and I love being a part of people’s spiritual journeys—the expectations with regard to my management and conciliatory skills are about to push me over the edge.

“First of all, I didn’t write the Sermon on the Mount or proclaim the Reign of God. It is a very challenging and demanding message… Yet people, especially in the US, get angry when I do not dilute or mute the demands Jesus makes. I have the option to either commit the sin of distorting Jesus’ message to appease people’s political preferences, or be condemned with being either LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE. To divide the Gospel message into one of these two categories—otherwise known as binary thinking—constitutes a great pressure and a constant temptation to commit serious material mortal sin by being untruthful to who I am.

“Secondly, the demands of administration and the skills the faithful expect of me are impossible for Jesus to meet, even on a good day.

(1) To preach in a dynamic, captivating, and original way, BUT KEEP IT BRIEF
(2) To be a perfect example of patience and emotional equilibrium
(3) to know how to counsel in any situation
(4) To resolve problems whereby I am perceived as both “tough and demanding” as well as “compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and conciliatory”
(5) To bring groups together whose inner dynamics and purposes are frequently at odds with one another
(6) To be a friend, teacher, mentor, expert in dealing with children. a reconciler, expert with adolescents, marriage counselor, leadership promoter, advocate in interpersonal conflicts, long-range planner, challenger and consoler, tough and gentle, strong enough to fire people from their jobs yet patient enough to allow them to grow and develop, biblical scholar, able to praise and able to criticize, generally available round the clock, considered lazy when asking for one day off a week,
(7) A BUSINESS MAN WHO CONDUCTS CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS LIKE BUSINESSES WHILE ALL THE WHILE USING MONEY, MATERIAL GOODS, AND CHURCH ASSETS ACCORDING TO GOSPEL VALUES

“AGAIN, I DOUBT WHETHER JESUS ON A GOOD DAY CAN FULFILL ALL OF THIS

“Reflections by Fr. Eddie Gros, S.J.”