Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!

It is a little difficult to find a rendition of 'O Holy Night' where the artist is simply trying to sing praises to God and not somehow trying to impress us with his or her great voice. NTL here is one sung by Twila Paris where her unadorned delivery seems to communicate the message-over-the-medium.

Naturally, my favorite part is the chorus: 'Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!'


Friday, December 13, 2013

Holy Father has not yet condemned the November church desecration by a mob in his Homeland.

Holy Father, why do you not condemn the church desecration by a mob in your homeland of Argentina?

Your Holiness, do you have any bigger and better things to do?  I would think not!  What was done was a direct attack on our Lord!  The faithful who shielded the San Juan de Cuyo Cathedral  with their own bodies were themselves desecrated by an ugly mob which consisted not only of chattering women, but also of violent men! (video is linked at the end of this post.  do not watch it unless you have a strong stomach)

Please go there, your Holiness! Perhaps you could seek out these modern-day Gomorrists and Golgathists, and announce that even for this there can be forgiveness IF they will turn from their ways!  Certainly, can there be a better time to gamble some of your dollars of popularity to redeem a few repentant souls –if any will listen?

If you do nothing, you will only convince:

1.     the Gomorrists--that the Church will crumble when She is attacked.
2.     The Church’s traditionalist--that you will not act because you have judged the cathedral’s defenders  to be 'self-referential Pelagians’,   and perhaps even think they got what they deserved.

Do you remember Don Camillo, your Holiness?  Is this not the best way to confront evil, and rescue souls?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blessings in Brelinskyville Blogger recounts her spiritual journey to kneel before Jesus

Folks! The following was published in May 2013.  It is brief and convincing.  The  authoress just recounts her story and finally gives us the best reason to kneel for Holy Communion, i.e. this outward posture works on our interior attitude towards our Lord.......Enjoy!!

Kneel For Jesus

Receiving on the hand had long been part of my routine, before it finally came to my attention that there was another, more preferable way. I suppose I just hadn't given it all that much thought, sadly. In grade school we'd been taught the proper hand positioning, but my generation missed out on the altar rails and their purpose.

Yes, intellectually, I knew that the Body and Blood of Jesus is truly made manifest in the Eucharist, but I'd adopted a "casual" reverence. Hands crossed I quietly waited my turn in the communion line, until reaching the Extraordinary Minister at which point I accepted the Blessed Sacrament in my palm. Sliding back into the pew, I'd pause for a bit of head down-turned, silent prayer. For years that moment signaled the fast approaching end of Mass with only the final blessing and closing song to follow.

I remember distinctly the very first time a priest introduced me to the "old" kind of reverence. He was visiting our parish, the kind that hosted 45 minute Masses on Sundays. Once the last communicant headed back to his seat, Father returned to the altar singing "O' Sacrament Most Holy" while with careful attention and genuine devotion, he cleaned each chalice and paten until not one miniscule speck of Jesus could have been left behind. Entranced by curiosity, I followed his every movement as he wiped and inspected, rubbed and examined. Father's obvious love for the Blessed Sacrament and want to protect Jesus from any careless indignity, captivated me and stirred an ember in my heart. Unfortunately, Father's appearance was a one time blessing, but it was enough to inspire a sincere reflection.

Time passed at that parish and then the witness of an egregious sacrilege at a First Holy Communion celebration caused me to reconsider the lessons I was now allowing my children to encounter. My son came home distressed from Sunday school one week because a little classmate had hidden Jesus in her pocket. And then there was the Faith Formation teacher who'd told my little ones that Communion was merely a symbol of their Lord. For if my own focus had been skewed by perfunctory worship, how could I ignore the long lasting affects of errors and omissions in my children's faith journey.

After much prayerful discernment, we left and God planted us temporarily in a parish dominated by seniors. What a gift that was to our growing family, being immersed in a church home where traditional reverence was the norm. No more jeans and sneakers (for us as well), no more homilies that left us thirsting and most importantly no more rushed communion lines and swiftly discarded vessels.

It never ceases to amaze me how patient and gentle God is with me. The perfect Father, He knows just how and when to reach me. Never impetuous, like me, He redirects and corrects a little here and a bit there as the gardener who sets out to straighten a bent tree.

A move led us to search out a new parish, but we did so with cautious consideration. Not that I advocate church-shopping, but history had led my husband and me to weigh the merits of attending more versus less traditional Mass celebrations and the latter now seemed unsatisfactory.

By the grace of God, we found our new parish home and instantly knew it was where He intended us to raise our family. From that very first liturgy, that ember in my heart which had been stirred into a slow burning flame was fed all the more. Like that visiting priest, Father moved slowly through the consecration, giving thoughtful consideration to each word he uttered. And upon returning to the altar he would show no less care and love for the sacred vessels. His silent motions were a visible prayer.

My understanding of and love for the Blessed Sacrament increased beyond the intellectual, but there was more to come. It was a simple statement posted on facebook by a seminarian. "Kneel for Jesus," he typed.

Kneel? I'd never considered that position, but after reading those three words I was convicted. It just seemed proper although so foreign to me. Sharing the experience with my husband, he seemed ready to adopt that humble stance without hesitation, as well did our children.

Admittedly, it took some courage those first few Masses to lower myself before Jesus. Not that I struggled with recognizing my smallness, but I worried that somehow someone might misconstrue my kneeling as a sign of "holy pride." "Look at that woman with all those kids, she's trying to appear all holy, you know." But then again I suppose perhaps there was greater merit in learning to forget the judgment of others because none of this was about me.

If Moses had to cast off his shoes in order to step on sacred ground, how is it that we came to this time in history when we've so removed ourselves from the right practice of reverence? More than Moses, we are able to partake of the very real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but casual worship has blinded many of us to the treasure resting in our hands. We may never even consider whether our hands are even clean enough to touch His Precious Body or that we could carelessly drop our Lord on the dirty ground.

Hard to really capture in words, the act of kneeling and receiving on the tongue has deepened my affection for Jesus and given me opportunity to pay Him homage in a way that I'd previously been neglecting. Understandably the devoted are no longer required to kneel and for some people the position may be impossible, but for me there is no longer any other way. Not because I think myself a better Catholic (I am not), but because I can no longer quiet that still, small voice that beckons me to lower myself and receive, rather than stand and take.

Remember the woman who bent down on the floor in order to anoint the feet of Jesus and how she dried them with her own hair. What an act of charity that was. Remember that Jesus Himself got down on His knees in order to wash the feet of His Apostles. What a lesson in humble service that was.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

How modern liturgies drive people out of the Church

Is it ok for liturgy to offend faithful Catholics?
In a society where we are all called to be 'accepting', it is ironic that liturgical experts never seem to ask themselves this question.

I know of a young man who recently enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He was raised Catholic and was an altar boy for 10 years.  He was raised in the Novus Ordo and only assisted in a handful of Extraordinary Rite Masses during his entire career.  His parents tell me that he recently stopped attending the Masses offered at the post chapel.  The reason?

He thinks the Army's Masses are irreverent. 'Happy-clappy' he calls them. Now, I know that 'Mass is Mass', and would surely warn him about the spiritual danger of not putting up with whatever kind of Mass is being offered, and I pray that he does not let his frustration drive him into a state of permanent disillusionment.  But....from this small anecdote I think I see a lot of why Vatican II Mass attendance is a small fraction of what it was prior to its 'implementation'.  This young man is not against guitars. I am told he has spent many an evening at a local club attending concerts, usually country, but some of which would even qualify as 'rock'.  Yet he does not like such carryings-ons at the post chapel.  It is irreverent and *unmanly*.

Perhaps this young man represents but a sliver of the Catholic population, but  I doubt it,  Judging from radical drop in Mass attendance ( I reiterate:Vatican II Mass attendance is a miniscule fraction of what it was prior to the innovations. ) I think he is more likely typical of the multiude of former Catholics who were never enthused by the vulgarization of the Mass.  They are those who concluded in their simple way that if Mass was not 'above' being celebrated with pop music, hand clapping, cheer leading, etc., then it most likely wasn't nearly as special as what they had earlier  been lead to believe.  Hence to avoid the frustration of watching performances which scandalize their sensibilities, they just drifted away.

The innovators usually congratulate themselves on their 'inclusiveness'.  Yet, I fear, it is they who have excluded and estranged countless millions of poor, simple Catholics whose parents and grandparents and great grandparents would never have missed a Mass.     Maybe the innovators have never really looked themselves in the mirror, or ever seriously considered that their bold performances might be offensive to some of the Faithful. 

How many millions souls would have been saved had the innovators stuck to beauty and adoration which offends no one!