Friday, June 24, 2011


In honor of the Feast of St. John the Baptist (he's my Confirmation Saint), I thought I would give my little blog a facelift! Hope you enjoy, and happy feast day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Novena to the Sacred Heart

Novena Prayer

Divine Jesus, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you." Behold me kneeling at Your feet, filled with a lively faith and confidence in the promises dictated by Your Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary. I come to ask this favor: (Mention your request).
To whom can I turn if not to You, Whose Heart is the source of all graces and merits? Where should I seek if not in the treasure which contains all the riches of Your kindness and mercy? Where should I knock if not at the door through which God gives Himself to us and through which we go to God? I have recourse to You, Heart of Jesus. In You I find consolation when afflicted, protection when persecuted, strength when burdened with trials, and light in doubt and darkness.
Dear Jesus, I firmly believe that You can grant me the grace I implore, even though it should require a miracle. You have only to will it and my prayer will be granted. I admit that I am most unworthy of Your favors, but this is not a reason for me to be discouraged. You are the God of mercy, and You will not refuse a contrite heart. Cast upon me a look of mercy, I beg of You, and Your kind Heart will find in my miseries and weakness a reason for granting my prayer.
Sacred Heart, whatever may be Your decision with regard to my request, I will never stop adoring, loving, praising, and serving You. My Jesus, be pleased to accept this my act of perfect resignation to the decrees of Your adorable Heart, which I sincerely desire may be fulfilled in and by me and all Your creatures forever.
Grant me the grace for which I humbly implore You through the Immaculate Heart of Your most sorrowful Mother. You entrusted me to her as her child, and her prayers are all-powerful with You. Amen.

On the Sanctification of Time

I am extraordinarily fascinated with the principle "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi" (The law of prayer is the law of belief), that what we pray and how we pray is directly relational to what we believe.

Most often, we think of the law of prayer being the Mass when we talk about this principle. And for good reason. The primacy of the Mass in the lives of the Faithful as the expression of both lex orandi and lex credendi is the foundation for the objection to the over-use of the Second Eucharistic Prayer in lieu of the Roman Canon: it doesn't express as well the depth of what we believe. And, more imminently, we have the new, corrected translation of the Mass coming out this autumn-- the words we pray are important.

However, I have been thinking of another aspect of liturgy as it pertains to "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi," as of late. When we speak of liturgy, we are not only talking about the Mass, but the other rites, as well-- the Rite of Ordination, for example-- and not simply the public prayers directly pertaining to the Sacraments, but also the Divine Office as liturgy, and, directly correlating with that, the liturgical calendar, which is what I want to mention today.

There are some glaring discrepancies in the liturgical calendar as celebrated in most parishes: for example, the recently celebrated feast of Ascension Thursday, which is almost universally commuted to Sunday. This not only doesn't work well, catechetically (try explaining how 40=43 to a bunch of elementary school kids), but it disrupts the oldest novena in the Church, the nine days of preparation for the Holy Spirit, promised by Christ to be sent before his ascension. Do we really believe that Christ ascended in to heaven 40 days after his Resurrection? Or perhaps this was simply an event of faith, not one of historical importance to Christendom, and if so, what of the sending of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps it is less important that the Apostles received the Holy Spirit as promised, but more important that it simply "happened". The effects of the historical-critical method of Scripture scholarship are even more pronounced when viewed through the lens of the faith lives of the average parishioner in today's Church.

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi. However, in most parishes in the world who celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the feast day will be commuted to Sunday, so as to "enable the Faithful to (more fully, actively, and consciously) participate" in the feast. Inevitably, the scene that will take place in not a few parishes will be a long walk around the block spent catching up on the latest gossip from a friend in the parish (or maybe I'm presuming too much in expecting that there will even be a procession).

This de-sacrilization of time is almost more dangerous to the Faith than many of the causes championed by so-called "progressives" in the Church. To the Church Fathers, to peasants and nobles alike in the middle ages, and even to farmers in the early 20th century, the sanctification of the day, and ordering the temporal to that of the sacred, was a routine of life.

Time means something. When specific feasts are celebrated mean something-- think of Christmas, Christ our Light coming in to the world just at the time when the world is the darkest. Think of your parish's celebrations of Lent and Easter. For forty days we mourn and beat our breasts, but do we celebrate the divine balance, or after Easter Sunday is finished, do we get on with life? The Church, in her Wisdom, gives us 40 days of fasting, but 50 days of feasting. That says to me, yes, we should mourn and repent, and pray, and fast, but that should also inspire in us a desire to celebrate all the more!

For me, prior to looking up the origins of the feast of Corpus Christi (see this incredible article at NLM for more), the sensus fidelium had already turned me to the relationship... Here's a glimpse into my mind as I was thinking about it earlier in the week, and why this feast (now almost universally commuted) would have been on a specific Thursday, anyway: "The feast is celebrated on a Thursday... the feast is the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ... On what day was the Eucharist instituted?Aha!" This is what the liturgical calendar is meant to do in our lives-- we shouldn't all need to be liturgical scholars to "get it"!

In most places, it is almost impossible to find a recently-ordained priest who isn't in line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, the importance of liturgical life, rooted in the family and local community, is an area in which we should seriously consider investing more pastoral effort. The Second Vatican Council, as well as the GIRM of the New Missal, calls for an establishment of "new" rogation days (and, presumably to retain ember days) of prayer for the community at various times of the year (planting, harvesting, etc)-- where are they?!

If the cycles of prayer in the community begin to be lived again (the lex orandi), then surely the belief will follow in response (the lex credendi).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Some New Additions...

Take a look at the Blogroll-- I have added some new blogs!

I noticed that I don't really have any women blogs, and it's not because I don't like what women writers write about, in fact, a wise man pays attention to the unique perspective a woman brings to things... so, in that spirit, here are a few blogs by women!

First, Introducing Eloquent Defenders. This is a pro-life blog, but I think with a bit of a different take on things than many of the other pro-life blogs out there-- she has some good stuff, check it out!

Second, The Anchoress. I have just recently started perusing her stuff, but it all seems on the up and up, and, actually, it's a rather refreshing take on some of the Catholic news that gets churned out everywhere.

Finally, the NFP Blog. Run by a fellow transplant to Wyoming, its an insight into what's going on in the world of NFP. Since my wife and I are becoming trainers, it seems like a good thing to follow. Also, there are some good resources to be had there!

(Insert evil laugh here)... I couldn't really get away with simply posting about blogs by women without some sort of gender equalization. For you men out there, here's a blog I check out regularly:

The Art of Manliness. Full of sage wisdom and advice that every man should know. Really.

Working on some other things... check back soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fr. Corapi: How did we get here?

I personally do not really get what has got people up in arms with the Fr. Corapi saga.

I mean, I get it, I do. A hero has apparently been slain. A martyr for the "cause," whatever that might be. I'd simply recommend praying for Fr. Corapi and all those involved in the situation, that the truth will come out, and justice (tempered with mercy) be served.

The circumstances do raise a question, though. How did we get here?

In my mind, it is in the disillusionment of the Faithful.

The days of the parish priest being the hero seem to be long gone-- films such as "I Confess" are a bygone era, to be replaced by sick films, such as "Primal Fear," "Doubt," etc, that portray priests and the Church in an unfavorable manner. Oh that every parish priest could indeed be a hero to their parishioners. For the parishioner not to have to worry about heterodox sermons or liturgical innovations, or to temper everything they hear being taught with the thought in the forefront of their mind being "is this compatible with Church teaching?"

So perhaps that is how we arrived here-- the disillusionment with our clergy, the dissatisfaction with our parish life, forcing the faithful to look toward some bright and shining star of hope, of "true Catholicism" to be found elsewhere.

Here's a reality check: that place doesn't exist in this world, so you can stop searching.

The New Media is full of these personalities, these "beacons of light"-- I can tell you that I have only ever personally met one of the bloggers that I read regularly, and I only have met him in passing. I'm not sure I could say I really know him. He seems on the up and up, but I couldn't tell you for sure... One thing I do know is that he is a sinner, just like me, in need of God's grace and mercy to persevere in this life.

Perhaps the mission, then, of the New Media in Catholic life should be to promote and encourage personal holiness within the context of lived relationships in ones' own community. To do anything otherwise seems to implicitly promote a sort of escapism into a virtual world.

In the exchange of ideas, everything that is read on the New Liturgical Movement won't become a reality in every parish in 2011. Everything that Fr. Z. says (partly tongue-in-cheek) about simply using the Latin if the new translation isn't your cup of tea won't actually happen in most places. The dream of the Chant Cafe' to have the Propers sung at every Parish Mass won't be realized in many places. Or maybe they will for a few years, until the new pastor is appointed, who sells the organ and hands out guitars to the choir...

The ideas on these blogs can be a source of inspiration, just as the words of a Fr. Corapi, or Scott Hahn, or Msgr. Pope, etc, can be for those who follow them. I'm sure we could spend hours listing and discussing our 21st century Catholic heroes. Maybe we could even print up baseball cards!

But I think that what makes a real "hero" here is that we would take their words of inspiration, combined with the example of their deeds, and apply them in our lives, in our families, in our parishes, in our communities; rather than simply escape into this perfect idealized church that doesn't actually exist.

If every dad did that, if every sacristan or reader or catechist applied these ideas in their parish, then the "hero," if there were one, would be that volunteer who, inspired by these great icons of the New Media, spent the extra afternoon helping teach the Act of Contrition to someone preparing for their First Confession, or the person who grabbed a coffee or a pint with an RCIA candidate confronted with worries, or took a meal to the overworked priest of the parish-- those people would be the real heroes.

And something tells me that Fr. Z, Jimmy Akin, Fr. Finigan, and Matt and Pat Archbold, etc,  would be all the more pleased with that lived faith in their readers' lives, more so than whether they got a religious blog of the year award to post on their site.

My hope and prayer for Fr. Corapi, and those who followed him, is that through all of this, they can remember that it is Christ who is the font of Christian life, and the summit toward which it is directed, and seek to take that Gospel message and apply it to their own lives. And that you do, too.