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Knowledge and Sanctity
Meditations for Each Day, by Cardinal Bacci
Submitted by James B. Spencer
If there had been equal progress throughout the ages in sanctity and in science, men would now be very wise and very holy.
It is a well-known fact that science has made great strides, but it must be admitted, unfortunately, that it has often forgotten its beginning and final end, which is God alone. The object of knowledge is truth, and all truth comes from God, but it dwells in created things like a reflection of divine light. We must trace that reflected light back to its original source. If students had always done this, they could have become wise as well as learned. They would have gained from their studies and research a deeper knowledge of God, the author of all the marvels in the universe, and they would have discovered how to worship and obey Him.
When science goes astray or becomes and end in itself, it ceases to be of real service and can become an instrument of evil. When the history of philosophy was described as the history of human aberrations, this was not altogether an exaggeration. Moreover, the technical and practical sciences which are flourishing in this era have often become a means of human destruction. This is what happens when science turns away from God, Who is its origin.
There is a great deal of learning in the modern world, but very little holiness. As a result of their absorption in intellectual labor and scientific research, men have forgotten the most important thing in life, which is goodness.
It would seem that the intellect has stifled the impulses of the heart and the dictates of conscience. Do not let that happen in your case. By all means, have and promote learning, but more than anything else cultivate in your soul that sanctity which will be your greatest treasure in life.
We have no right to speak evil of human learning and industry, which are always a gift from God. But we must recognize that goodness is more important than knowledge. The devil’s intellect is superior to ours, but he has lost God and in losing God has lost everything which is good.
Knowledge puffs up, writes St. Paul. Pride and presumption can easily spring from a little learning, whereas the fruits of holiness are always beneficial to ourselves and to others.
Let us be humble in our scientific studies and use the results which we obtain four our own progress in sanctity. . . . .
By Elizabeth Lev
Courtesy Zenit: the World Seen From Rome
Six years after Dan Brown's infamous novel "The Da Vinci Code," let's hope it's safe to talk about Mary Magdalene again. The Apostle to the Apostles (as Magdalene was called before Brown's more tawdry references eclipsed this title) celebrates her feast day this week, July 22, and it seems a fitting honor to briefly discuss her important role in the history of art.
Mary Magdalene has had more costume changes and nuances to her saintly image than any martyr or apostle. Like the popstar Madonna, she has transformed many times through the ages, but instead of trying to upstage the exalted role of Christ's mother, or promote a self-serving, hedonistic lifestyle, Mary Magdalene has employed her many guises to urge men and women to love Christ, renounce worldly temptations and fulfill their vocations to sainthood.
In the Renaissance, Gentile da Fabriano, painting for the wealthy merchants of Florence, gave us a stately Magdalene, in elegant brocaded robes swathed with red velvet, an example of how the mighty and privileged could also serve Christ. A few years later Piero di Cosimo painted a prim, studious Magdalene, to appeal to the intellectuals of the era. As Mary Magdalene had a unique knowledge of Christ, his miracles and his resurrection, so her obligation to be a witness to Jesus was greater than that of others.
But Mary Magdalene's iconographic fame took off in post-Tridentine Italy, when the call to conversion was at its strongest. In every parish and home, she led the way to repentance and love of God. The greatest artists of the 17th century, Caravaggio, Guido Reni and GianLorenzo Bernini all bent their formidable genius to rendering Mary Magdalene as the model of penitence par excellence.
Caravaggio, the famed Milanese painter, would treat the subject of Mary Magdalene three times in his brief career.
His first effort was in 1596 with the "Penitent Magdalene", today in the Doria Pamphilj gallery. This unusual portrait has a seated Mary wearing an expensive brocade dress as her red hair escapes its pins and tumbles over her shoulder. A mustard color mantle engulfing her waist would have identified her to contemporaries as a prostitute, yet her posture belies the easy label. Her head bowed low, she encircles her arms around a void. The treasures of this world have ceased to please and she realizes that all her sins have left her with nothing. A strand of pearls and golden chains lie discarded on the ground, and seem ripped from her neck in disgust, while a glass jar filled with oil, reflects the crystalline tear falling from her eye. In this image, Caravaggio not only allows the viewer a glimpse the private world of a personal conversion, but gives us a novel, startling viewpoint as well. The oddly foreshortened chair and lower body of Mary Magdalene have often been put down to Caravaggio's artistic limitations, but if one realizes that the artist was painting his subject from a raised viewpoint, looking down on her, the work makes more sense. Caravaggio give us a " God's eye" view of conversion and the warm light that bathes her neck and shoulders indicates that in these darkest hours of self-examination, God's comforting presence is there.
Forty years later, Guido Reni approached the subject. Considered the greatest painter of his age, he was asked to produce an image of penitent Magdalene for a private patron. This work, now in the Barberini Gallery in Rome, uses the opposite palette of Caravaggio. Where the Milanese painter employed yellows and reds to hint at the passionate nature of Mary, Reni chose cooler blue tones to explore her role as penitent. Reni places his Magdalene in a cave, her lower body wedged between dark stones reminiscent of the tomb. She wears a mauve-colored robe echoing the purple shade of penitence. Roots lie by her side, symbolic of fasting, and her hand rests on a skull, a reminder of how soon death takes us. Despite her golden flowing hair, her skin tone has a greenish cast, and her face contains the only warm shades in the work. Rosy cheeked and framed by luminous curls, she contemplates the glory of the heavens through her vision of angels. In the hands of Reni, Mary Magdalene becomes the poster child of corporal mortification.
In 1661, the greatest of the Baroque artists, GianLorenzo Bernini, turned his considerable talents to the subject of Mary Magdalene. His was a papal commission, a gift of Pope Alexander VII for the cathedral of his hometown of Siena. Bernini, 63 years old at the time, was personally absorbed with the idea of repentance. He attended Mass daily and practiced the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. With this kind of spiritual preparation, Bernini was more than up to this task.
His Mary Magdalene has little of the earthy solidity of either Caravaggio or Guido Reni. In the hands of this master sculptor, Mary has become an elongated figure. Stripped of ornament and costly fabrics, her body twists and turns, drawing the eye upward like the serpentine flames of a votive candle. She stands upon her jar of ointment, but her face turns toward the heavens, and her hands are fervently clasped in prayer. Her deeply pleated robe falls from her like a discarded shroud, as her highly polished body seems to blend into the light pouring in from the overhead windows. Bernini's Magdalene has reached the end of her earthy struggles and becomes a beacon to Paradise for the rest of us.
This saint, so approachable in her passionate impetuousness, was held up for particular devotion by the Church in the 17th century. Adapting to many forms and personalities, she managed to make sacrifice and repentance chic, a miracle in and of itself.
* * *
Elizabeth Lev teaches Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University's Italian campus and University of St. Thomas' Catholic studies program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal.
Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals.
(This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.)
To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan employed extraordinarily sensitive cameras capable of detecting single photons. Five healthy male volunteers in their 20s were placed bare-chested in front of the cameras in complete darkness in light-tight rooms for 20 minutes every three hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for three days.
The researchers found the body glow rose and fell over the day, with its lowest point at 10 a.m. and its peak at 4 p.m., dropping gradually after that. These findings suggest there is light emission linked to our body clocks, most likely due to how our metabolic rhythms fluctuate over the course of the day.
Faces glowed more than the rest of the body. This might be because faces are more tanned than the rest of the body, since they get more exposure to sunlight — the pigment behind skin color, melanin, has fluorescent components that could enhance the body's miniscule light production.
Since this faint light is linked with the body's metabolism, this finding suggests cameras that can spot the weak emissions could help spot medical conditions, said researcher Hitoshi Okamura, a circadian biologist at Kyoto University in Japan.
"If you can see the glimmer from the body's surface, you could see the whole body condition," said researcher Masaki Kobayashi, a biomedical photonics specialist at the Tohoku Institute of Technology in Sendai, Japan.
The scientists detailed their findings online July 16 in the journal PLoS ONE.
Schematic illustration of experimental setup that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities that vary during the day. B is one fo the test subjects. The other images show the weak emissions of visible light during totally dark conditions. The chart corresponds to the images and shows how the emissions varied during the day. The last image (I) is an infrared image of the subject showing heat emissions. Credit: Kyoto University; Tohoku Institute of Technology; PLoS ONE
Courtesy Remnant News Watch July 25, 2009
By Mark Alessio
Remnant Columnist, New York
(Posted 07/22/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) The Vietnamese government has renewed its seizures of Catholic Church properties in the country, demolishing “several monasteries to build hotels and tourist resorts. The move has generated fears that the government has adopted a new and ‘harsh’ approach to Catholics,” reports VietCatholic News (June 12, 2009):
Last week the government ordered the destruction of the monastery of the Congregation of the Brothers of the Holy Family in Long Xuyen, Vietnam. A spokesman for the diocese said the former two-story home of the priests and religious of the Holy Family Order was destroyed on June 4. The Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres’ monastery in Vinh Long was also recently destroyed.
The Brothers of the Holy Family monastery, built in 1971, was still in good condition and its destruction surprised Catholic officials, Fr. J.B. An Dang reports. The local government did not inform the diocese about its intention to tear down the building and has not announced its intention for the future use of the land.
The monastery’s altar and religious statues were all discarded in a garbage dump. Neither the diocese nor the religious order has been officially informed to go and retrieve the items.
The Congregation of the Brothers of The Holy Family of Banam was founded in 1931 by Bishop Valentin Herrgott, the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom-Penh, Cambodia. In 1970, the order moved to Long Xuyen, Vietnam, after a coup against Cambodian monarch Norodom Sihanouk resulted in the rise of the Khmer Republic. In 1984, the Congregation’s brothers were arrested on charges of “anti-revolutionary activities” and jailed without trial. Their monastery was also seized by the Vietnamese government.
Protests by the Congregation of the Brothers of the Holy Family over the unjust imprisonment of its members and seizure of its property have met with no success. On May 21, 2009, the government's deputy chief of religious affairs, Nguyen Thanh Xuan, declared that the state "has no intention of returning any property or goods to the Catholic Church or any other religious organization."
Fr. An Dang fears that the destruction of the Long Xuyen monastery and Xuan’s statement signal a “new, harsh policy on Church’s properties in which there would be no more dialogue .... as if the State is the true owner with full authority on Church assets.”
Comment: It was only last October (2008) that Vietnamese Prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung warned Catholics that his government would not tolerate protests over seized Church property. He made this statement after thousand of Catholics had gathered outside St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi’s largest church, to demand the return of two seized plots of church land, one located near Thai Ha Church, near the center of Hanoi, the other the site of the former Vatican Embassy, next to the Cathedral. During the previous August, Vietnamese police arrested four Catholics who had taken part in Masses and prayer vigils for the return of the seized land.
The Vietnamese government’s attacks on the Church are not limited to property only. On April 28, 2009 the Catholic News Service reported:
Vietnamese state media have “fiercely attacked” two Redemptorist priests, accusing them of critically damaging national unity and blocking the national construction and development process. In what some see as a preparation for a government crackdown, the media are accusing the priests of the capital crime of plotting to overthrow the Communist regime. The tactic is commonly practiced to target opponents whose leadership among ordinary citizens is perceived as a threat to the current regime, Fr. J.B. An Dang tells CNA.
The New Hanoi Newspaper, run by the Party Committee of Hanoi City, denounced Fr. Peter Nguyen Van Khai, spokesman of Thai Ha Redemptorist Monastery, for “instigating parishioners in order to cause divisions, inciting riots, falsely accusing the government, disrespecting the nation, breaking and ridiculing the law and instigating others to violate it.”
In addition, the Capital Security Newspaper accused Fr. Nguyen of teaching “false Church doctrine to incite violence against the government.” Fr. Nguyen has also been criticized for opposing construction at a 4.5 acre lakeside site which belongs to Thai Ha parish.
Another Redemptorist, Fr. Joseph Le Quang Uy of Saigon, was also attacked by New Hanoi for criticizing the government’s bauxite mining plans, and establishing a web site through which Catholics from all over the world could sign an electronic petition calling for the suspension of the mining in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The newspaper accused Fr. Joseph Le of “stupidity,” “ignorance,” causing critical damage to national unity, and the serious charge of plotting to overthrow the communist regime. In fact, Fr. An Dang believes that the accusations of plotting to overthrow the government could signal “that the Vietnam government has been preparing public opinions for an imminent crackdown.” The New Hanoi Newspaper has called for the Vietnamese government to enact “immediate and severe punishment” against the two priests “before they go too far.”
These media attacks on Catholic priests are nothing new. Last year, state-controlled Vietnamese newspapers and television joined the government in attacking Archbishop Ngo Quang Kiet, accusing him of “illegal acts” and “instigating unrest” on account of the prayer-vigils taking place to protest the seizure of church property.
On September 19, 2009, Catholic World News reported on the Vietnamese government’s use of paid agitators masquerading as priests and lay Catholics in order to discredit the Church. On one occasion, a “Church dissident” was quoted speaking out against the protesters. It turns out that the quoted individual had already been dead for a few years at the time of his “interview.”
The Agence France-Presse news service reported that, last year (September 21, 2008), police stood by, doing nothing, as a gang attacked Thai Ha Church, which had organized protests against seizure of church property. The gang chanted slogans threatening to kill priests, religious, the faithful and the archbishop; they threw stones and destroyed every statue of the Virgin Mary they could find. According to Fr. Khoi Phung, “Everything happened clearly in front of a large number of officials, police, security personnel, anti-riot police, and mobile police – those who are in charge of keeping security and safety in the region. But they did nothing to protect us.”
The anti-Catholic campaigns launched by the Vietnamese government could be a blueprint for anti-Catholic campaigns in any country. It includes attacks on property, attacks on priests and attacks on the Church as a “dissident” entity, or an “enemy of unity.”
Can we travel that road in America?
- Look at “Bill S.B. 1098,” introduced in the Connecticut legislature on March 5, 2009. This bill would remove control of Catholic parishes from bishops and place it into the hands of a “lay” panel, which would give them legal control over church management. It’s not exactly the bulldozing of church property, but it’s a start.
- Look at “Resolution 168-08,” passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (March 21, 2006), which claims that the Vatican “meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great City's existing and established customs and traditions such as the right of same-sex couples to adopt and care for children in need.” It also describes the moral teachings of the Catholic Church as "insulting to all San Franciscans," “hateful and discriminatory,” "insulting and callous," and "insensitive and ignorant."
Interestingly, “Resolution 168-08” called upon Archbishop Niederauer and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to defy the directives of Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who said that "Catholic agencies should not place children for adoption in homosexual households.”
Now, last year in Vietnam, state-run newspapers quoted from a letter written by Hanoi Mayor Nguyen The Thao to Archbishop Ngo Quang Kiet. The mayor told the Archbishop, “You have a responsibility to persuade priests and parishioners to abide by the law.” Of course, “law” here meant denouncing prayer vigils against church land seizure. The City of San Francisco and the Vietnamese government – birds of a feather?
May Our Lady of La Vang, who first appeared to the Catholics of Vietnam in 1798, and has been their special protector in times of persecution, watch over them as their trials continue.
The Sarum Rite
Blogger's note: While surfing the world wide nets I stumbled across the Sarum Rite which I found to be very interesting (I love history). I particularly enjoyed the Cherubic Hymn (pasted after article). The entirety of the liturgy can be found here: http://www.orthodoxresurgence.com/petroc/sarum.htm
"Sarum Rite," or "Use of Sarum," refers to the body of liturgical ritual, text, and music used at the Cathedral of Salisbury, in southern England, in the later Middle Ages. That liturgy, in the 13th century, became the standard for many English non-monastic institutions -- cathedrals (e.g. Hereford), minsters (e.g. York, Lincoln), churches, chapels, and colleges -- up to the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. It differed from the Roman Rite of the time by having some of its own melodies and texts, and celebrating its own local feasts. Even where (as is mostly true) it used the same material as Rome, its melodies often had distinctive variants.
For example, one of the glories of the Sarum repertory is the Marian antiphon Salve regina celorum, in the special and unique form in which SARUM sings it from time to time at the Compline of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not only does the melody of the antiphon vary strikingly from the Roman, but it has in addition a "trope" exclusive to England: five stanzas of devotional poetry, set to an exquisitely distinctive melody. These verses are interleaved with the final acclamations of the antiphon to produce a haunting effect in the closing minutes of Compline.
In 1066, the Normans invaded England. There were some abortive attempts at changing entirely to the related uses of northern France. However, monasteries particularly in the western parts of the island (especially Sherbourne Abbey and Glastonbury Abbey) proved intransigent. The Norman bishop of Sarum, Osmund, arranged the services for his new cathedral according to the practices that he saw around him—both Norman and Saxon/Celtic.
The Sarum Use was one of the first to be published on the new printing presses in the early days of the Reformation. The complete service books for the whole rite survive. The rite was legislated as the sole use of the English Church by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1544 and after the reversion to the papacy, it was commanded for the whole realm of England during the reign of Queen Mary. It was also the primary source text for the first edition of The Book of Common Prayer (1549) of the Church of England . After Elizabeth I took the throne, the Recusant Roman Catholics continued using Sarum in their chapels until the restoration of the Roman hierarchy in the nineteenth century.
19th Century Non-Orthodox Revival
The rite was revived particularly by the orthodox party of the Anglo-Catholic or Tractarian movement in the 19th c. Church of England. In the mid-19th c., the services were translated into English by such as G. H. Palmer, and became either the preferred liturgy or preferred liturgical model for the non-Romanizing part of the Anglo-Catholic movement (also called Orthodox Anglo-Catholic or Prayer Book Catholic). The ceremonial and customs of the rite were the major influence in the development of the English Use, partly through the efforts of Percy Dearmer, author of The Parson's Handbook. The old English Catholic Clergy Brotherhood also maintained a tradition of Sarum Use through the period of Catholic persecution in England.
Attempts to revive the Sarum rite amongst non-Orthodox groups have resulted in Roman Catholic proponents such as A. W. N. Pugin and Bishop Willson of Hobart. The Sarum rite was suggested, but rejected, for use in the new Westminster Cathedral in 1903. It is used by the "Milan Synod" in some parishes and has been used on several occasions in RCC churches and cathedrals in England and Scotland in recent years.
Excerpt from the Sarum Rite Liturgy
Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand;
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to command.
King of Kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of Lords, in human vesture,
In the Body and the Blood,
He will give to all the Faithful
His own self for Heavenly food.
Rank on rank the Host of Heaven,
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of Lights descendeth
From the realm of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six-winged Seraphs,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry
Alleluia, Lord most High.
Dies Irae, Dies Illa
by Dr. R. Kenton Craven
From True West:Night wanderings of a sinful Catholic pilgrim on The Way
You may find it odd, but when I was a choir and altar boy, I used to look forward to funeral Masses. I didn’t know why then, but now I see it as proof that I had some taste for beauty, poetry, and great liturgy. When our child choir sang the Dies Irae Dies Illa or when I heard the adult choir sing it, I knew that something solemn was taking place, something beyond what we knew in everyday life. The closest thing I knew to it was the massive roll of a sixteen-wheel Mallet locomotive entering the passenger station, all thunder and lights and steam. When I returned to the Church in the 1980’s after a long absence that began with the introduction of the Novus Ordo and the theological Bolshevik revolution, what I found even more vulgar than the protestant communion service designed by the willful and pernicious Archbishop Bugnini and perfected in silliness by the American clergy was what passed as the funeral Mass, the exit of a Christian from this world and his passage to Judgment. In a number of parishes I attended, the exit had been reshaped as yet another party of celebration with rubrics designed by the same nidgets who came up with the banners and suburban architecture. It resembled a visit to a Mall. Despite its illegality even in the new rubrics, it is now a widespread practice for congregations to bob up and burble sentimentally about the deceased and utter fatuous certainties that he is now in heaven (purgatory and hell having been abolished by modernist fatwas). Unlike the liturgy I knew as a child, the goal of the Novus Ordo liturgy seemed to be exactly like everyday life. The funeral mass now resembled a town hall meeting with flowers and brunch. At the funeral mass for my uncle Buddy, the priest, wearing spiky high-heels, assured the parish that, since Buddy had been baptized a Catholic, he was surely in heaven. Then why, I wondered then, are we here? Why did my uncle have to go to Mass and Confession all those years and say all those rosaries? The treasury of merit and the entire mystery of sin, death, judgment, hell and heaven having been abolished, why are we here? Has God Himself been abolished?
No traditional culture on the earth has funereal customs less holy, less dignified, or less serious than these. Archbishop Bugnini expunged the Dies Irae, Dies Illa from the Roman funeral liturgy as “too negative” and Kurt Vonnegut hated this hymn so much he rewrote it in a humanist version, presumably to Bugnini’s applause
The Requiem High Mass celebrated before Vatican II always had black vestments and the rubrics required the choir to sing all the verses of the medieval hymn, Dies Irae Dies Illa. One of the internet addresses at the end of this article contains this part of the funeral Mass as sung, a capella, by a choir. Unless you listen to it and read the translation in the sites referenced below, you won’t have any idea of what I am talking about. The hymn is a medieval poem in medieval Latin, with trochaic meter in brilliant triplets. Sample:
Solvet sæclum in favilla
Teste David cum Sibylla
See fulfilled the prophets' warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!
In Waugh’s description of his father’s funeral, when he hears the choir singing the hymn, he imagines his father joining his voice with that of the choir in:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.
Which in English renders as:
all my shame with anguish owning;
spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!
Although Guy believes his father to be the best man he has ever known, a just man by any standard, he does not imagine him as assured of anything.
That would be his prayer, who saw, and had always seen, quite clearly the difference in kind between the goodness of the most innocent of humans and the blinding, ineffable goodness of God. ‘Quantitative judgments don’t apply,’ his father had written. As a reasoning man Mr. Crouchback had known that he was honourable, charitable and faithful; a man who by all the formularies of his faith should be confident of salvation; as a man of prayer he saw himself as totally unworthy of divine notice.
I suppose that this would not pass the liturgy committee of any parish today, sunk like most of our culture in ‘quantitative judgments,’ i.e., sociological vision, or the standard of the National Catholic Bishops, because it lacks the presumptive certainty that we know what God has in mind. The author of Dies Irae sees things as old Crouchback did, and as his ancestors Sir Roger Waybrook, the crusader, and Blessed Gervase must have:
see, like ashes, my contrition;
help me in my last condition.
Guy Crouchback comes to realize that he has lived much of his life in a spiritual paralysis because he has been unwilling to ask God for anything. From his father Gervase, he learns that even at the end, the soul must still be asking, because we are meant to always be asking.
The Crouchback funeral takes place in the middle of the second world war wherein the remnant of Christian civilization, although being torn apart by the Nazi socialists and the Marxist socialists for whom individual human lives are ciphers on charts, continued to treat human beings as destined for the four last things—Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven. That treatment requires solemnity which, as C.S. Lewis observes, is public and has pomp and ceremony. I think of solemn things I have seen: the Solemn High Mass; the funeral of John F. Kennedy; the changing of the sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers; scenes in Tolkien, Shakespeare, Spenser, Lewis; burials in Arlington National Cemetery; and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Solemnity, as Lewis observes, may include a great joy, but not the silly joy of the Novus Ordo Mass. There must be stillness and stateliness and sacredness at the heart of it to carry our grief. The Dies Irae, Dies Illa, this great medieval poem, brings that to death.
I wonder aloud why the “new church” cannot speak of death with the attitude of the eternal church, which sees each of our deaths in the proper context of the end of the world, or why the color black and genuine grief should be banned. Perhaps for the same reason that many priests dislike using the verse, “remember, man, that thou art dust and to dust, thou shalt return,” when they administer the ashes on Ash Wednesday. Or perhaps it lies deeper than that. Like Athanasius Contra Mundum on the web, I am deeply disturbed (but not surprised) that only one-third of the American Catholic bishops could even put pen to paper to protest the Obama fest at Notre Dame, and none could show up to join Alan Keyes and Joan Andrews to protest this honoring of a man who favors butchery over reverence for life. Our attitudes toward death and our attitudes toward life must correlate; they are revealed by our actions, including our liturgies. This correlation must exist in the spiritual realm, just as it is imitated in the physical actions we perform to evoke them, from the simplest to the most intricate. I had rather hear Australian aborigines on a didgeridoo and clacking wooden sticks than hear some silly, trivializing modern hymn. This is so frightening a chain of thought that I am reluctant to pursue it further.
Litany to the Holy Angels
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Angels, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us
Saint Michael, who was ever the defender of the people of God, pray for us
St. Michael, who did drive from Heaven Lucifer and his rebel crew, pray for us
St. Michael, who did cast down to Hell the accuser of our brethren, pray for us
Saint Gabriel, who did expound to Daniel the heavenly vision, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did foretell to Zachary the birth and ministry of John the Baptist, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did announce to Blessed Mary the Incarnation of the Divine Word, pray for us
Saint Raphael, who did lead Tobias safely through his journey to his home again, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did deliver Sara from the devil, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did restore his sight to Tobias the elder, pray for us
All ye holy Angels, who stand around the high and lofty throne of God, pray for us
Who cry to Him continually: Holy, Holy, Holy, pray for us
Who dispel the darkness of our minds and give us light, pray for us
Who are the messengers of heavenly things to men, pray for us
Who have been appointed by God to be our guardians, pray for us
Who always behold the Face of our Father Who is in Heaven, pray for us
Who rejoice over one sinner doing penance, pray for us
Who struck the Sodomites with blindness, pray for us
Who led Lot out of the midst of the ungodly, pray for us
Who ascended and descended on the ladder of Jacob, pray for us
Who delivered the Divine Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, pray for us
Who brought good tidings when Christ was born, pray for us
Who comforted Him in His agony, pray for us
Who sat in white garments at His sepulcher, pray for us
Who appeared to the disciples as He went up into Heaven, pray for us
Who shall go before Him bearing the standard of the Cross when He comes to judgment, pray for us
Who shall gather together the elect at the End of the World, pray for us
Who shall separate the wicked from among the just, pray for us
Who offer to God the prayers of those who pray, pray for us
Who assist us at the hour of death, pray for us
Who carried Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom, pray for us
Who conduct to Heaven the souls of the just, pray for us
Who perform signs and wonders by the power of God, pray for us
Who are sent to minister for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation, pray for us
Who are set over kingdoms and provinces, pray for us
Who have often put to flight armies of enemies, pray for us
Who have often delivered God’s servants from prison and other perils of this life, pray for us
Who have often consoled the holy martyrs in their torments, pray for us
Who are wont to cherish with peculiar care the prelates and princes of the Church, pray for us
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us
From all dangers, deliver us, O Lord.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all heresy and schism, deliver us, O Lord.
From plague, famine and ware, deliver us, O Lord.
From sudden and unlooked-for death, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Lord.
Through Thy holy Angels, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would govern and preserve Thy Holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would protect our Apostolic Prelate and all ecclesiastical orders,we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant peace and security to kings and all Christian princes, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, we beseech Thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world Have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Bless the Lord, all ye Angels: Ye who are mighty in strength, who fulfill His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His words.
He hath given His Angels charge concerning thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.
Let Us Pray
O God, Who dost arrange the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order, mercifully grant that our life may be protected on earth by those who always do Thee service in Heaven, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost are one God now and forever.
O God, Who in Thine unspeakable Providence dost send Thine Angels to keep guard over us, grant unto Thy suppliants that we may be continually defended by their protection and may rejoice eternally in their society, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever.
By Mark Llamas
I love the flea market. One man's junk is another man's treasure.
While looking through old badges, campaign pins and ink pens I spied this old crucifix (see picture) looking forlorn and forgotten so I snatched it up for ten bucks.
The proprietor of the booth mentioned that it was old and German and after an internet search I found an almost exact duplicate (and yes it is old adn German).
This type of crucifix I have seen labeled as a "pillow crucifix", a crucifix worn by religious and/or a "coffin crucifix" placed on the lid of coffins. They come from the late 1800s and typically contain black wood inlaid in plated brass. The skull and crossbones at the foot of Christ represent victory over death or the skull of Adam since it was believed that Christ was crucified over the grave of Adam.
My crucifix is missing the INRI banner at top and the rosette medallion on the back. Had it been intact, an eBay search shows it's worth around $100.
I am guilty of buying a lot of junk but I just had to rescue this crucifix. I have actually seen a tabernacle door at the flea market but the $300 price was too much for me to spend.