We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Living the Faith in the Public Square and the Politics of Deception.

This blogger has no pony in the American presidential horse race. That said, the following essay is intended to provide our American cousins a moment for reflection so that they can avoid creating the circumstances whereby fundamental freedoms are further destroyed by those who, if elected, would almost certainly add shame to the shameful legacy imposed on the American people by the Obama-Biden administration.

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Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.– G. K. Chesterton
Hillary Clinton's choice of Vice-Presidential running mate, has been described as "the safe choice". Too true.

Tim Kaine has been described by the liberal media as a traditional or faithful Catholic. By now, informed Catholics are probably aware that those terms, especially when used by the media, are a sly attempt to convince Catholics to vote for a wo/man who, at best, plays loosely with that fundamental issue—the sanctity and dignity of human life.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lectio Divina in the newly released Apostolic Consitution Vultum Dei Quaerere

The Holy See Press Office has recently released the Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere (Seeking the face of God) On Women's Contemplative Life.

Contained therein is a passage on Lectio Divina.
20. Lectio divina, the prayerful reading of God’s word, is an art that helps us pass from the biblical text to life. It is an existential interpretation of sacred Scripture, whereby we can bridge the gap between spirituality and daily life, between faith and life. The process initiated by lectio divina is meant to guide us from hearing to knowledge, and from knowledge to love. Today, thanks to the biblical renewal that received fresh impetus especially in the wake of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council, everyone is invited to familiarity with the Scriptures. Through prayerful and assiduous reading of the biblical text, dialogue with God becomes a daily reality for his People. Lectio divina should help you to cultivate a docile, wise and discerning heart (cf. 1 Kg 3:9.12), capable of knowing what is of God and what, on the other hand, can lead away from him. Lectio divina should allow you to acquire that kind of supernatural intuition which enabled your founders and foundresses to avoid being conformed to the mentality of this world, but renewed in their own minds, “to discern what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rm 12:2).
Your entire day, both personal and in community, ought to be organized around the word of God. Thus your communities and fraternities will become schools where the word is carefully listened to, put into practice and proclaimed to all those who encounter you. Lastly, never forget that “the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity”. In this way, it will produce abundant fruits along the path of conformation to Christ, the goal of our entire life.
Let us hope this nod to lectio divina will help steer all believers away from pseudo-mysticism of a kind, for example, associated with "Christian Meditation" and "Centering Prayer" as well as other aberrant forms of spirituality and dangerous "spiritual" practices too frequently and naively embraced by our religious (monks and nuns) brothers and sisters.

Ad orientem worship summarized.

  1. Ad orientem worship acknowledges the primacy of God.
  2. Ad orientem worship establishes right relationship between the congregation and God. "The liturgy is the “door” to God, who calls us to be instruments of his divine action. The priest, the celebrant, draws us into the beating heart of the Holy Trinity as we join him, facing the East."
  3. Ad orientem worship, by rightly orienting man to His Creator, affirms the dignity of man by orienting him to his Creator, the true and living God, in Whose image man has been created.
  4. Ad orientem worship upholds the dignity of the Mass and fosters a spirit of reverence for and adoration of God.
  5. Ad orientem worship affirms "the Church’s relationship to its past, present, and future, to its identity across time".
  6. Ad orientem worship enables right conduct. "It is only when we celebrate all the sacraments, especially holy Mass, according to the mind of God that we are then able to do the things of God."
  7. Ad orientem worship is a conduit of grace and blessing.
  8. Ad orientem worship is the way in which the saints have worshipped God.
The then Cardinal Ratzinger, in his book Spirit of the Liturgy, identifies the nature of true worship of God:
(A) common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle, but the common movement forward expressed in a common direction for prayer.
That common direction of which Cardinal Ratzinger spoke is ad orientem, toward the East, or liturgical East which is signified by the crucifix in the apse or upon/above the altar.
“There is nothing in the (Second Vatican) Council text about turning altars towards the people; that point is raised only in post-conciliar instructions,” explained the future Pope Benedict XVI, in his foreword to the second edition of U.M. Lang’s volume Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer."—Editors, National Catholic Register.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Those who truly love the Church, those many who are practically cast out from Holy Jerusalem (or their local parish neighbourhood) because they reject loose play with the Sacred Liturgy, mourn the travails of the present folly, of the descent of cardinals, priests and bishops—supposedly learned men—into liturgical goofiness and theological confusion.

If conversations among decent folk on the internet mean anything, a not insignificant number of Catholics yearn for a return to liturgical sanity, a return to beauty and truth and goodness. The longed-for return of beautiful Liturgy to common experience is, of course, some 40-plus years overdue. In brief, we never should have permitted "experiments" in the wake of the Council, shabby treatments of the Mass, any place in the spiritual life of the Church. Communion in the hand, versus populum "worship", lay ministers of Holy Communion, a loss of the Proper chants (Introit, Offertory and Communion) as well as a loss of the Church's treasure trove of sacred music—these are but a few of the signs of a loss of respect for the patrimony of the Holy Spirit Who inspired men to evangelize and instruct through beautiful, true and good works of art, music, architecture and stained glass, graced works all pointing to and praising the greatest gift known to man: the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life (CCC1324).

As it is, Catholics of the Ordinary Form are malnourished, starved of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, Who inspires great works of art and the beautiful celebration of the Mass, is ignored, even by those who claim to be "charismatic". Banal music fills the pews of so-called charismatic congregations who, though stunted by quasi-protestant and heterodox "praise and worship" songs, manage to appreciate the need to live as faithful disciples who live the Gospel with integrity and fervour.

We witness day after day an abundance of childish behaviours once again occupying the sanctuary of the Lord. Those who hope for the Ordinary Form to be celebrated as intended by the Council must now admit to a fading springtime. The Reform of the Reform, if not dead, is severely wounded and has stalled. Appreciation for the restoration of the sacred fades among once zealous defenders of the Benedictine arrangement.