Night Holds No Terror: 7 of the Best Psalms to Pray Before Bed

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Compline via anglicanbreviary.net
Compline via anglicanbreviary.net

Listers, the Liturgy of the Hours is a gift from Sacred Tradition that allows the Faithful to truly pray without ceasing. Though quite complex, this rich tradition is basically the Psalms adorned with hymns and other prayers. The Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours are the only two public prayers of the Church. It is also interesting to note that under Canon Law, the Liturgy of the Hours is a requirement of all Roman Catholic priests and deacons. Though the Liturgy of the Hours has prayers for the entire day, the following list is a selection of Psalms from the prayers called Compline. Compline is “night prayer” and stems from the same Latin word as the word complete, because the prayers of Compline complete the day.

The following list highlights some of the more striking and thematic verses of the Compline psalms. Particularly after the Second Vatican Council, the psalms selected for compline thematically reflect the trust we have in God at the end of each day. We are going to sleep, and we pray that God may watch over us – even when we are surrounded by our enemies. The theme is perfectly captured by the antiphon: “Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.” May God grant all us of quiet night and a peaceful death.


 

 

Saturday Night (Sunday Vigil)

When I call, answer me, O God of Justice;
from anguish you released me;
have mercy and hear me!

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

[…]

“What can bring us happiness?” many say.
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy,
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.1

 

Sunday Night

It is he who will free you from the snare
of the fowler who seeks to destroy you;
he will conceal you with his pinions
and under his wings you will find refuge.

You will not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day
nor the plague that prowls in the darkness
nor the scourge that lays waste at noon

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand fall at your right,
you, it will never approach
his faithfulness is buckler and shield.2

 

Monday Night

In the day of distress I will call
and surely you will reply.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
nor work to compare with yours.

[…]

The proud have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life:
to you they pay no heed.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity me.3

 

Tuesday Night

The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten
Therefore my Spirit fails;
my heart in numb within me.

[…]

Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.4

 

Wednesday Night

My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman count on daybreak
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.5

 

Thursday Night

He has put into my heart a marvelous love
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood.
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight:
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!6

 

Friday Night

For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
I have reached the end of my strength,

like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand.

[…]

Wretched, close to death from my youth,
I have borne your trials; I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me;
your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

They surround me all the day like a flood,
they assail me all together.
Friend and neighbor you have taken away:
my one companion is darkness.

 

Concluding Prayers

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

May almighty God grant us a quiet night and a peaceful death. Amen.

 

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Compline #prayer #catholic #catholicism #saints #jesus

A photo posted by St. Peter’s List (@stpeterslist) on

Night Prayer – #compline #prayer #catholic

A photo posted by St. Peter’s List (@stpeterslist) on

  1. Psalm 4; also read Psalm 134. []
  2. Psalm 91; the antiphon for this particular psalm is where this list draws its name: Night holds no terrors for me sleeping under God’s wings. []
  3. Psalm 86. []
  4. Psalms 143:1-11. []
  5. Psalm 130; read also Psalm 31:1-6. []
  6. Psalm 16. []

I Smell Heresy – 11 Cardinal Burke Memes

A few light-hearted memes regarding His Eminence Cardinal Burke.

Cardinal Burke Coat of Arms

 


 

Burke Meme 9

Burke Meme 8

Burke Meme

Burke Meme 5

Burke Meme 7

Burke Meme 1

Burke Meme 2

Burke Meme 3

Burke Meme 6

Burke Meme 4

Burke Meme 10

 


 

More on Cardinal Burke from SPL:

Facing God: 10 Advantages of Ad Orientem

Catholic churches are traditionally built facing the East, because, as Cardinal Ratzinger taught, this direction reflects the “cosmic sign of the rising sun which symbolizes the universality of God.”

Listers, Fr. Mark Kirby offers an excellent reflection on ad orientem.1 On his blog, Vultus Christi, Father Kirby reflects on five years of saying the Holy Mass ad orientem. He states, “after five years of offering Holy Mass ad orientem, I can say that I never want to have to return to the versus populum position.”

Ad Orientem is Latin for to the east and refers to the direction the priest faces during the mass. Catholic churches are traditionally built facing the East, because, as Cardinal Ratzinger taught, this direction reflects the “cosmic sign of the rising sun which symbolizes the universality of God.”2 The priest facing the altar is also referred to as Ad Deum, which is Latin for to God. First, this phrase sidesteps so-called problems that arise if the priest is facing the altar in a Church that has not been built facing the East. Second, it provides a strong contrast to the phrase Versus Populum, which is Latin for facing the people. While the ancient liturgies did speak of the priest turning and “facing the people” during certain parts of the mass, the concept of celebrating the entire mass versus populum is arguably an invention of the 1970’s, an invention that stands in direct contradistinction to the Church’s ancient traditions.

In celebrating five years of switching to ad orientem/ad deum from versus populum, Father Kirby submits “10 Advantages” to celebrating the mass facing the East.

 

Bishop Edward Slattery celebrates a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Washington (CNS photo)
Bishop Edward Slattery celebrates a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Washington (CNS photo)

 

10 Advantages of Ad Orientem

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.

2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.

3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.

4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.

5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.

6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.

7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.

8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.

9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.

10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.

 

In contrast, he also speaks of the disadvantage of occasionally having to celebrate versus populum. He laments, “I suffer from what I can only describe as a lack of sacred pudeur, or modesty in the face of the Holy Mysteries. When obliged to celebrate versus populum, I feel viscerally, as it were, that there is something very wrong — theologically, spiritually, and anthropologically — with offering the Holy Sacrifice turned toward the congregation.”3 Father Kirby is not the only advocate of ad orientem in the Tulsa Diocese. His Excellency Bishop Slattery celebrates mass ad Deum and has been a vocal critic of versus populum. In his own words, he states, “it was a serious rupture with the Church’s ancient tradition. Secondly, it can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God. Thirdly, it places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage.”4

 

Bonus Memes!

 

Ad Orientem Sunrise Meme

 

Ad Orientem Cartoon Meme

 

Ad Orientem Matrix Meme

 

Ad Orientem Meme Cry

 

Ad Orientem Francis Meme

 

Ad Orientem Meme Latin

  1. Fr. Kirby: At the time of his blog post, Fr. Kirby was the Prior of the Diocesan Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is now at the Silverstream Priory. []
  2. Cardinal Ratzinger on the East: The Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Ad Solem, 2006 p. 64 []
  3. Father Kirby: The good priest wrote this reflection in 2010 in a blog entitled, Five Years of Ad Orientem, h/t to the Rorate Caeli post Fr. Mark Kirby on Ad Orientem and the TLM for pointing us toward Father Kirby’s reflection. []
  4. Bishop Slattery: The quote is taken from Oklahoma bishop explains return to ad orientem worship Catholic Culture, August 18, 2009. His Excellency has also penned an article for his diocesan news paper on Ad Orientem – PDF. He also written an article for the National Catholic Register on the liturgy, in which he proclaims “nothing was broken” in the pre-Vatican II liturgy. []

6 Lessons from Pope Francis’ First Holy Week 2013

“Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.”

 Holy Thursday

1. Chrism Mass Homily

A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith.

 

2. Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service. But it is a duty that comes from my heart and a duty I love. I love doing it because this is what the Lord has taught me. But you too must help us and help each other, always. And thus in helping each other we will do good for each other.

 

Good Friday

3. Passion of Our Lord Sermon

In Christ dead and risen, the world has reached its final destination. Human progress is advancing today at a dizzying pace and humanity sees new and unexpected horizons unfolding before it, the result of its discoveries. Still, it can be said that the end of time has already come, because in Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Father, humanity has reached its ultimate goal. The new heavens and new Earth have already begun. Despite all the misery, injustice, the monstrosities present on Earth, he has already inaugurated the final order in the world. What we see with our own eyes may suggest otherwise, but in reality evil and death have been defeated forever. Their sources are dry; the reality is that Jesus is the Lord of the world. Evil has been radically defeated by redemption which he operated. The new world has already begun.

 

4. Via Crucis

One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It is also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Remember this: God, in judging us, loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.

 

Easter

5. Vigil Homily

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.

 

6. Urbi et Orbi

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!
What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons …
Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!

The Golden Calf & Our Catholic Mass: 3 Reasons Man Cannot Invent the Liturgy

“[Liturgy] cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self affirmation.” – Cardinal Ratzinger

Spirit of the LiturgyListers, “man himself cannot simply ‘make’ worship.” This is the opening line of arguably the two most powerful paragraphs in Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy. SPL has previously promoted this seminal work in The 2 Books by Cardinal Ratzinger that Will Change Your Life. While that list focuses on the greater context in which the book is written – the Queen of the Sciences and the role of the liturgy – this list presents a small but potent pericope.

Cardinal Ratzinger reads the Golden Calf episode in Exodus 32 not as the people of Israel rebelling against God directly, but rather after losing hope in Moses, the people decided to worship God in their own way. The beginning of the chapter lays out the mindset of the Israelites, especially verses 4-5.

 

1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, “Up, make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 And Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” 6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

 

The good Cardinal uses this chapter to discuss the distinction between the liturgy given by God and the liturgy created by man. As a point of caution, it is too easy for a Catholic reader to superficially acknowledge the Cardinal’s words as a condemnation of Protestantism. While they do condemn those who fabricate their own faith, Cardinal Ratzinger’s purpose in writing the work is to show Catholics what a proper “spirit of the liturgy” should be.

The Catholic liturgy is not in danger of being hijacked by Protestants; it was and still is in danger of being made protestant by Catholics.

 

The following presents the text verbatim (pp. 21-23) with supplemented enumerated titles and  highlighted quotes.

 

"Worshipping the Golden Calf." - Fucas van Leyden, a selection.
“Worshipping the Golden Calf.” – Fucas van Leyden, a selection.

1. What Man Cannot Make

“Man himself cannot simply ‘make’ worship. If God does not reveal himself, man is clutching empty space. Moses says to Pharaoh: “[W]e do not know with what we must serve the Lord” (Ex 10:26). These words display a fundamental law of all liturgy. When God does not reveal himself, man can, from the sense of God within him, build altars ‘to the unknown god’ (cf. Acts 17:23). He can reach out toward God in his thinking and try to feel his way toward him.”

[Liturgy] cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self affirmation.

“But real liturgy implies that God responds and reveals how we can worship him. In any form, liturgy includes some kind of ‘institution’. It cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self affirmation. Liturgy implies a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us and gives our existence a new direction.”

 

The Golden Calf 3

2. The Golden Calf

“In the Old Testament there is a series of very impressive testimonies to the truth that the liturgy is not a matter of ‘what you please.’ Nowhere is this more dramatically evident than in the narrative of the golden calf (strictly speaking, ‘bull calf’). The cult conducted by the high priest Aaron is not meant to serve any of the false gods of the heathen. The apostasy is more subtle. There is no obvious turning away from God to the false gods. Outwardly, the people remain completely attached to the same God. They want to glorify the God who led Israel out of Egypt and believe that they may very properly represent his mysterious power in the image of a bull calf. Everything seems to be in order. Presumably even the ritual is in complete conformity to the rubrics. And yet it is a falling away from the worship of God to idolatry.”

Worship is not longer going up to God, but drawing God into one’s own world. He must be there when he is needed, and he must be the kind of God that is needed. Man is using God, and in reality, even if it is not outwardly discernible, he is placing himself above God.

“This apostasy, which outwardly is scarcely perceptible, has two causes. First there is a violation of the prohibition against images. The people cannot cope with the invisible, remote, and mysterious God. They want to bring him down into their own world, into what they can see and understand. Worship is no longer going up to God, but drawing God into one’s own world. He must be there when he is needed, and he must be the kind of God that is needed. Man is using God, and in reality, even if it is not outwardly discernible, he is placing himself above God.

 

"The Golden Calf" - Tissot
“The Golden Calf” – Tissot

3. Banal Self-Gratification

“This gives us a clue to the second point. The worship of the golden calf is a self-generated cult. When Moses stays away for too long, and God himself becomes inaccessible, the people just fetch him back. Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking, and making merry. The dance around the golden calf is an imagine of this self-seeking worship. It is a kind of banal self-gratification. The narrative of the golden calf is a warning about any kind of self-initiated and self-seeking worship.”

Worship becomes a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation.

“Ultimately, it is no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources. Then liturgy really does become pointless, just fooling around. Or still worse, it becomes an apostasy from the living God, an apostasy in sacral disguise. All that is left in the end is frustration, a feeling of emptiness. There is no experience of that liberation which always takes place when man encounters the living God.”

Disapproving Joe Biden: 5 Memes from Pope Francis’ Inaugural Mass

A few comment on Vice President Joe Biden’s mood at His Holiness Pope Francis’ papal inaugural mass.

Listers, on the Solemnity of St. Joseph 2013 His Holiness Pope Francis celebrated his inauguration to the Petrine Ministry. In his expected style, Pope Francis charmed the crowd by stopping the popemobile to kiss a baby and bless a handicapped man. His Holiness’ homily spoke of the poor and weakest amongst us to the delegations from over 130 countries and hundreds of thousands of people. Everyone described their experience of the papal inauguration as a joyous experience. Well, almost everyone.

 

Vice President Joe Biden in the crowd at the Papal Inaugural Mass 2013.1

 

Joe Biden not impressed

 

Joe Biden Catholicism

 

Joe Biden Rome

 

Joe Biden Liturgical Dancers

 

Joe Biden Latin

 

Listers, we post these in good nature and simple fun. If you have a caption you think is good add it to the comment box and it may become a meme! We’ve posted more memes and photos of Pope Francis at 30 Memes and Photos to Love and Share and some of his more notable quotes as a Cardinal at Quotes from Cardinal Bergoglio on 7 Moral Topics. Cheers. 

 

  1. ORIGINAL PHOTO: SPL does not take any credit for the original photo of VP Joe Biden. []

8 Notable Videos from His Eminence Cardinal Burke

“Our observance of liturgical law is a fundamental expression of love of Christ and of the Church.” – Cardinal Burke, Divine Love Made Flesh

Cardinal Burke on SPL

Cardinal Burke: 10 Photos of this Wondrous Prince of the Church
Cardinal Burke at Notre-Dame de Fontgombault: 21 Photos
The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration: 8 Teachings from Cardinal Burke

 

VIDEOS

1. Call to Martyrdom by Cardinal Burke

2-22-13

 

2. At Clear Creek Monastery

12-14-12

His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke Visits Clear Creek Monastery in the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma and celebrates Mass.

 

3. Cardinal Burke on LCWR

8-9-12

On The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (Vatican Supreme Court), spoke to the controversy surrounding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Vatican’s intervention with LCWR. He further discussed the conference’s right to exist.

 

4. The Call of Beauty

7-6-12

Five years after Pope Benedict liberalized the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, now known as the extraordinary form, U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke reflects on its significance for the universal church.

 

5. On neglected traditions post-Vatican II

6-25-12

Today’s “First Take: Vatican” hears from the former archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, on the revival of traditional devotions.

 

6. On the SSPX

6-15-12

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, talked to CNS about the ongoing reconciliation talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.

 

7. Cardinal Burke’s Book Recommendations

7-28-11

Cardinal Burke speaks on books at Loome Booksellers, part II may be found here.

 

8. On Abortion and Voting

10-27-10

The video is a selection of Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke in a 25 minute interview on October 20, 2010 discussing the obligations of Catholics when voting. The full video is available here.

The 2 Books by Cardinal Ratzinger that Will Change Your Life

“Politics is the realm of reason – not of a merely technological, calculating reason, but of moral reason, since the goal of the state, and hence the ultimate goal of all politics, has a moral nature, namely, peace and justice.”

Listers, if Catholics are to live a life of virtue then there are two primary sciences – bodies of knowledge – all Catholics should study: the “Noble Science” and the “Queen of the Sciences.” The corpus of writings from Cardinal Ratzinger is as vast and as it is impressive. An excellent survey of his writings can by found in Abram’s The 6 Books of Pope Benedict XVI Every Catholic Should Read. The list at hand takes a different approach.

A Unique Review: Why were these works chosen?
It is typical of a positive book review to go into great detail lauding the message and delivery of the particular author. For the review at hand, we take a different approach and presuppose that Cardinal Ratzinger’s works are brimming with solid Catholic erudition and strike with a clear and orthodox Catholic tone. The purpose of the review is to step back from the works and truly understand the overall sciences in which they are written. It is to move the reader from thinking of works as well written on this or that subject, to understanding that different bodies of knowledge are not isolated from each other. In fact, the word we use for understanding the proper ordering of knowledge is wisdom. The higher bodies of knowledge – higher sciences – order the lower ones; thus, if one truly grasps the importance of a higher science and can study an excellent work on that science, it will have “trickle down” effect on all the other areas in their life. It is in this focus that we must first explain the science and then suggest a work by Cardinal Ratzinger.

The Noble Science

According to Aristotle’s Politics, man is by nature a political animal. It is by nature that humans gather together and form political bodies. Human political order begins with the household and the natural relationship between a husband and a wife. Built upon the natural order of the family, society grows from the village and then to the self-sufficient city. This concept of the”city” is known as the polis, which is a philosophical term referring to any political body under a single government, i.e., a socially and economically differentiated political community. For Aristotle, the polis is as natural to humanity as the forest is to the earth. Man, his household, his communities, are all natural sub-political parts of the polis. Aristotle posited that any person who could live without the polis must be either a beast or a god. The polis is natural to man and man needs the polis. He needs community and order. The order that the polis gives man allows man to live and live well.

Aristotle, The Louvre – via Wikicommons Sting aka Eric Gaba

How then should the polis be ordered? Since the polis is a natural institution populated by political animals, man, as the rational animal, must reflect upon nature and act according to reason. When man acts according to his reason, according to what is most properly natural to him as the rational animal, then these acts become habits and good habits are referred to as virtues. Aristotle claims that the virtue that belongs to the polis is justice, because justice is the virtue of proper order. As Aristotle says, “just as man is the best of animals when completed, when separated from law and adjudication he is the worst of all.” It is in the polis that man is able to live well, because it gives an architectonic order to all the areas of man’s life. It is the polis man finds a natural completion, which is in practicality the “greatest of goods.” This is why politics is referred to as the “Noble Science.”1

In his introduction to the Politics, St. Thomas Aquinas lays out a brief explanation of why politics is the Noble Science. There are two primary categories of sciences: the speculative and the practical. The speculative sciences are ordered toward the “knowledge of truth,” the contemplation of “natural things,” while the practical sciences are ordered toward a work – things made by man -that imitate nature. Within the practical sciences, there are things man will make that are ordered according to a specific use, e.g., a ship or a house, and a things specific use is ordered toward a specific good, e.g., ships for sailing; however, man can also make things which have as their specific end the ordering man himself, e.g., laws. The things that have their end in the proper ordering of man come together as a whole in the polis and since the end is always greater than the means the polis is “therefore necessarily superior to all the other wholes that may be known and constituted by human reason.” Aquinas’ statement has two parts: the polis is superior to all other wholes and is the greatest whole constitute by human reason. Following Aristotle, we see that the first claim is because the polis gives order to all other areas of man’s life and the second claim is become the order of the polis is derived by human reason contemplating nature, i.e., natural law and the virtues.2

Within practical science there are the mechanical sciences that deal with an agent acting upon an external matter, e.g., a smith or a shipwright. In distinction to the mechanical sciences there are the moral sciences. The moral sciences deal with the actions that remain with the agent, e.g., deliberating, willing, choosing, etc. The political science is therefore a moral science, because it is concerned with the ordering of men and their actions. Aquinas concludes, “If the most important science, then, is the one that deals with what is most noble and perfect, of all the practical sciences political science must necessarily be the most important and must play the role of architectonic science with reference to all the others, inasmuch as it is concerned with the highest and perfect good in human affairs.” The order of the polis – its laws, et al. – is derived from nature or natural law, man’s habitual obedience to these natural and rational laws is virtue, and the natural virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.

Yet, how does one apply the timeless truths of natural law and virtue to a modernist world that was born out of an explicit rejection of Catholicism? It is one thing to speak of the polis and another to apply it to a liberal democracy. One of the defining attributes of St. Thomas Aquinas was his ability to engage his era and all its ills and imperfections. As Catholics living within modernity, how do we work for a proper polis? Cue Cardinal Ratzinger. Values in a Time of Upheaval is a short and often overlooked work of political brilliance. St. Peter’s List has previously called attention to this work by including it in our 6 Books for a Proper Introduction to Catholic Political Thought. For a student of Catholic political thought, a collection of politically orientated essays by the ironclad mind of Cardinal Ratzinger – now Benedict XVI, Bishop Emeritus of Rome – is a godsend. The text is a compilation of essays and speeches given by the illustrious Cardinal over the span of several decades. It is a short work that lends itself to a brief but fruitful reading. The reason it will “change your life” is it comments on the Catholic understanding of the Noble Science couched in a world given over to modernist theory and praxis. To what degree Cardinal Ratzinger did or did not adhere to St. Thomas Aquinas is not the question put forth here. The genius of the work is that it is a bridge between the principles of Catholic political thought and the world around us. It challenges the reader to engage the polis by going into great detail on the role of a Catholic citizen within an Enlightenment based democracy. In his own words:

“The state is not itself the source of truth and morality […] Nor can it produce truth via the majority.”

 

“In place of utopian dreams and ideals, today we find a pragmatism that is determined to extract from the world the maximum satisfaction possible. This, however, does not make it pointless to consider once again the characteristics of the secular messianism that appeared on the world stage in Marxism, because it still leads a ghostly existence deep in the souls of many people, and it has the potential to emerge again and again in new forms.”

 

“Politics is the realm of reason – not of a merely technological, calculating reason, but of moral reason, since the goal of the state, and hence the ultimate goal of all politics, has a moral nature, namely, peace and justice.”

 

“The totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century promised us that they would set up a liberated, just world – and they demanded hecatombs of victims in this cause.”

One dichotomy that exemplifies the problem Catholicism has with modern political thought is the notion of individual rights. As the good Cardinal mentions several times in his work, the rights of an individual are seen in the modern West as autonomous moral universes that often clash with one another. Rights have become little more than desires and products of the unadulterated human will. In contradistinction, the Catholic tradition never focused on rights at all – it focused on someone external to the individual citizen, natural law. Just skimming this particular dialogue – individual rights v. natural law – pours forth a host of explanations and answers on why Catholicism is at such odds with the world around it. Those more interested in Cardinal Ratzinger’s work can reference SPL’s collection of political quotes from the work: 29 Quotes on Political and Religion by Cardinal Ratzinger. One of the best treatises on a Catholic’s response to living in a modernist democratic regime was a document composed by the CDF under the good Cardinal entitled: Doctrinal Note: The Participation of Catholics in Politica Life. Moreover, proper Catholic political thought has been a mainstay topic at SPL and a catalogue of our lists on the subject can be found at The Educated Catholic Voter: 10 Lists on the Catholic Citizen. As Catholics may we study the highest whole of human reason, the Noble Science, so that we may live well ordered lives and work toward a society where all may live well.

 

Theology, Stanza della Segnature by Raphael

The Queen of the Sciences

If politics is the noble and architectonic science of human affairs, how does a Catholic approach politics and theology? In the time of Augustine until the thirteenth century nature and natural law sat in a jarring juxtaposition with the revealed truth of God. In fact, many theologians proposed that there were two truths: one of nature and one of divine revelation – a traditional Islamic answer. The Church was then given a gift: the Common Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas proposed that faith and reason were and must always remain in harmony with one another. Grace is not isolated from nature, is it not a replacement of nature, and it is not contradictory to nature. In essence, grace perfects nature; thus, if you have a science based on nature, say politics, and a science based on grace, say theology, then the science of theology should perfect and elevate the natural science of politics. In this light, theology – more truly the unerring Sacred Doctrine of the Catholic Church – is the “Queen of the Sciences” that perfects all other sciences by properly ordering them according to the virtues.

However, what does it mean when we say a higher science orders the lower?

The official “Sede Vacante” stamp following Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation.

Imagine the construction of a house. There is a plumber to handle the plumbing and a carpenter for the carpentry. And though these two arts are distinct, the two artisans must work together. Even if both workers excel within their own field, the overall order of the home will suffer if they are not in harmony.

However, neither plumbing nor carpentry can speak to how the home must be built as a whole. What is needed is a higher principle that can order both plumbing and carpentry to the proper goal of building a home. The principle is architecture; therefore, while the plumber and the carpenter may be wise concerning the principles of their respective arts, it is the architect who is wise concerning the order of the house. He is the wisest concerning the house, because his wisdom orders the lower principles according to the higher. In his own words, St. Thomas Aquinas states, “For since it is the part of a wise man to arrange and to judge, and since lesser matters should be judged in the light of some higher principle, he is said to be wise in any one order who considers the highest principle in that order.” According to St. Augustine, “order is the appropriate disposition of things equal and unequal, by giving each its proper place.” As seen with the architect, wisdom is knowledge properly ordered, and the wise must have the prudence to do it.

The highest cause, the Uncaused Cause, the cause the universe and its order, is God. Theology – more specifically the Sacred Doctrine of the Catholic Church – is the architectonic study that is most properly wisdom, because the “knowledge of divine things” sheds light on the appropriate order of all other things. Now, let us be clear. God is not only known through his self-revelation in Jesus Christ and in Scripture, but also in the imprint of the Creator upon Creation. Hence, the Catholic Church finds herself guarding and elucidating both Sacred Scripture and Nature. Certain truths, like the Trinity or the Incarnation of Jesus Christ had to be revealed to us, because they are above human wisdom. Other truths, such as the natural virtues, were discernible by human reason. These revealed and discerned truths are guaranteed by Christ and His Church and compose the Sacred Doctrine that orders all things and is rightly called the Queen of the Sciences.

The examples are endless, because Sacred Doctrine orders everything from our souls to our finances. However, say a technological break through leads to a scientifically astonishing surgical procedure. Now say that technology is used for abortions. Just as the carpenter cannot speak to the proper order of a home as a whole, neither can science – as much as it tries – speak to the whole order of existence. We see this particularly in its inability to speak on moral order. It is not that science is necessarily deficient, but rather its judgments are limited by its empirical purview. Much like the plumber and carpenter, it begs for a higher principle to order its steps.

Our world is saturated by debates that fall directly into this dialogue. Whether it be stem cell research, gay marriage, education, or abortion, differing guiding principles are in steep competition. There is always a “highest principle” at work, but unfortunately many see that principle as the unhindered human will. How then does the Spirit of the Liturgy relate to this concept of the Queen of the Sciences? At first glance there appears a disconnect between the focus of the the Sacred Doctrine of the Catholic Church as the Queen of the Sciences and Cardinal Ratzinger’s work on the Liturgy; however, the acute connection between the two is that for most Catholics it is precisely in the liturgy that they are catechized. It is in the liturgy that they see and believe and have their minds ordered toward the understanding that God and his wisdom is the highest principle. Our post-Vatican II world is suffering what is arguably the most comprehensive catechetical crisis since the Reformation and Catholics will never be well catechized and never succeed at a “New Evangelization” until the liturgy is brought back into a “hermeneutic of continuity” with the overall Sacred Tradition of the Church. Attempting to evangelize before one is well catechized puts the cart before the horse. What Holy Mother Church needs is a liturgical reform – and arguably a reverent liturgy that truly reflects the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass would be the greatest evangelical tool. In this belief, we turn to the work of Cardinal Ratzinger.

SPL’s John Henry writes, “Spirit of the Liturgy is in my opinion a book that all Christians of the True Faith should not only own but read often. Cardinal Ratzinger served as one of the chief theologians for the Second Vatican Council; thus, he possesses the ability to show the ‘liturgical development along the path sketched out by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.'”3 There is a famous book with the same title written by Romano Guardini that the good Cardinal uses as his inspiration:

“My purpose here is to assist this renewal of understanding of the Liturgy. Its basic intentions coincide with what Guardini wanted to achieve. The only difference is that I had to translate what Guardini did at the end of the First World War, in a totally different historical situation, into the context of our present-day questions, hopes and dangers. Like Guardini, I am not attempting to involve myself with scholarly discussion and research. I am simply offering an aid to the understanding of the faith and to the right way to give faith it’s central form of expression in the Liturgy.” – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

John continues, “this work can be understood by all: scholars, theologians, historians, parish priests, religious, and most important of all the laity. Cardinal Ratzinger uses historical, biblical, philosophical thought in order to express what Catholic worship is was and should be.” The Cardinal’s work is considered an instant classic by those working to restore the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Arguably one of the most poignant passages is his comment on the Golden Calf pericope in the Old Testament:

“But the real liturgy implies that God responds and reveals how we can worship him. In any form, liturgy includes some kind of ‘institution’. It cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity – then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self-affirmation…”

“No where is this more dramatically evident than in the narrative of the golden calf… the cult conducted by the high priest Aaron is not meant to serve any of the false gods of the heathen. The apostasy is more subtle. There is no obvious turning away from God to the false gods. Outwardly, the people remain completely attached to the same God. They want to glorify the God who led Israel out of Egypt and believe that they may very properly represent his mysterious power in the image of a bull calf.”

Ratzinger’s reading of the Golden Calf episode is unique insofar as it is often read as a complete turning away from the God of Israel and modern readers condemn the Israelites as abandoning the true God; however, the Cardinal states that it is more subtle. It is not a complete abandonment, but rather the Israelites with their high priest were attempting to worship the true God of Israel as they saw fit. This reading turns the story from one modern Christianity normally  passes over in judgement of the Israelites to one capturing the very heart of modernist Christianity. It echoes the core of all protestantism and unfortunately resonates in much of today’s Catholic population. The Cardinal sums up his reading by stating, “the worship of the golden calf is a self-generated cult,” and “the narrative of the golden calf is a warning about any kind of self-initiated and self-seeking worship.”

This is but a glimpse of the profound liturgical insight found within Cardinal Ratzinger’s work. Within an understanding of the Queen of the Sciences and her all encompassing order, read The Spirit of the Liturgy with an eye towards renewing the mainstay of all Catholic catechesis and evangelism: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

 

Why these works will change your life
We return to our original premise, that these two works by Cardinal Ratzinger will change your life. The why is now better understood. Yes, it is because the good Cardinal writes in an acute and clear manner and always bears the mark of orthodoxy, but it is also because you – as the reader – will have a greater appreciation for the sciences in which the works are written. The Cardinal’s ideas and quotes will find fertile ground within the wisdom of the reader, because the reader will know the architectonic ordering affect that both the Noble Science and the Queen of the Sciences have on their life. Understanding the order of knowledge allows one to be truly wise and order their lives in an holistic Christ-like manner.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Common Doctor of the Universal Church, pray for us.
St. Thomas More, patron of statesmen and politicians, pray for us.
Mother Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

  1. ARISTOTLE: Further comments on Aristotle’s Politics may be found at The Political Animal and the Philosopher King and Understanding Aristotle: 22 Definitions from the Politics. []
  2. AQUINAS: The Angelic Doctor’s commentary on Aristotle’s Politics may be found at Aquinas’ Introduction to the Politics. []
  3. Quote take from The Catholic Answer []

Fasting and Abstinence: 6 Basic Questions and Answers on Lent

“Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land.”

Listers, Lent is a penitential season within Holy Mother Church and all Catholics are called to participate. For various reasons there is always a spectre of confusion around the time of Lent regarding the requirements of fasting and abstinence asked of all Catholics pursuant to Canon Law. Since the Catholic Church allows the local bishops’ conferences to articulate and command the details of the overall prescribed rule, it is good for us within the United States to turn to the USCCB. The following series of questions is taken from the USCCB’s resources on Lent and is presented in full with supplemented numerical titles. SPL has also published The Idiot’s Guide to Fasting and Abstinence, which includes citations to Canon Law and Sacred Tradition.

Other Lists from the USCCB

 

1. On the 40 Days of Lent

Q. Why do we say that there are forty days of Lent? When you count all the days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, there are 46.

A. It might be more accurate to say that there is the “forty day fast within Lent.” Historically, Lent has varied from a week to three weeks to the present configuration of 46 days. The forty day fast, however, has been more stable. The Sundays of Lent are certainly part of the Time of Lent, but they are not prescribed days of fast and abstinence.

 

2. On the Sundays within Lent

Q. So does that mean that when we give something up for Lent, such as candy, we can have it on Sundays?

A. Apart from the prescribed days of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and the days of abstinence every Friday of Lent, Catholics have traditionally chosen additional penitential practices for the whole Time of Lent. These practices are disciplinary in nature and often more effective if they are continuous, i.e., kept on Sundays as well. That being said, such practices are not regulated by the Church, but by individual conscience.

 

3. On the guidelines for abstinence from meat

Q. I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?

A. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.

 

The Crucifixion. Icon by Theophanes the Cretan (16th century, Stavronikita monastery, Mount Athos). – Wikipedia, Great Lent

4. On the heart of penitential practice

Q. I’ve noticed that restaurants and grocery stores advertise specials on expensive types of fish and seafood on Fridays during Lent. Some of my Catholic friends take advantage of these deals, but somehow I don’t feel right treating myself to the lobster special on Fridays during Lent.

A. While fish, lobster and other shellfish are not considered meat and can be consumed on days of abstinence, indulging in the lavish buffet at your favorite seafood place sort of misses the point. Abstaining from meat and other indulgences during Lent is a penitential practice. On the Fridays of Lent, we remember the sacrifice of Christ on Good Friday and unite ourselves with that sacrifice through abstinence and prayer.

 

5. On the rules for fasting

Q. I understand that Catholics ages 18 to 59 should fast on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday, but what exactly are the rules for these fasts?

A. Fasting on these days means we can have only one full, meatless meal. Some food can be taken at the other regular meal times if necessary, but combined they should be less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no solid food should be consumed between meals.

 

6. On age and other requirements

Q. Are there exemptions other than for age from the requirement to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?

A. Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.

6 Books by Pope Benedict XVI Every Catholic Should Read

With the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, we wanted to share with you part of his lasting legacy as a theologian and teacher. In the history of the popes, it is hard to find anyone as easy to read and understand.

Listers with the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, we wanted to share with you part of his lasting legacy as a theologian and teacher. In the history of the popes, it is hard to find anyone as easy to read and understand. His writings are, moreover, a beautiful blend of timeless and timely teaching, and at the center of all of his writings is the ever present search for the “Face of Christ” in his own personal relationship with Christ.

 

Pope Benedict XVI on SPL:

 

1. Introduction to Christianity

Possibly the most important book to understanding the thinking of Pope Benedict XVI, this is also the oldest book in this list. Originally written in 1968, this work is the most time-specific writing in this list, but the timelessness of Ratzinger’s “narrative Christology” reveals a process of encountering Christ in our own time and present situation while rooting that encounter within the walls of the Church.

 

 

 

2. Called to Communion

In this work Ratzinger explores the fundamental nature of the Church and its relation to today’s world. The first four chapters explore the origin of the Church, papal primacy, the relationship between the universal and particular Church, and the nature of the priesthood. In the fifth chapter, which is maybe the most relevant to us today, Ratzinger discusses the nature of reform, i.e. the necessity of institutional and juridical means to help the Church speak and act in the era in which She finds herself. On this matter he says, “Reform is ever-renewed ablatio—removal, whose purpose is to allow the nobilis forma, the countenance of the bride, and with it the Bridegroom himself, the living Lord, to appear.” This emphasis on personal encounter is an element of Evangelism found throughout his writings.

 

3. Jesus of Nazareth Vol. I

The most important of the series, this exegetical work lays out, in his foreword, his preferred methodology for the interpretation of scripture, which is ultimately a search for a personal relationship with Christ. This work, like the others in the series, sets an example for how to read and study Scripture. Simply titled, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Pope Benedict clearly leaves behind any search for the Second Person of the Trinity separate from the humanity of Christ. It is a culmination of a life of searching for a relationship with an historical figure who is both God and Man.

 

 

4. The Spirit of the Liturgy

The original title of this book in its original language, “The Spirit of the Liturgy: an Introduction,” indicates more about its relation to the work that inspired it, namely, “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by Romano Guardini. Ratzinger admits in the preface that Guardini’s work was fundamental to much of his own formation with regard to liturgy, which is ultimately the greatest possible encounter we have in this world with the God for whom we seek and long. Ratzinger again roots his ideas in Sacred Scripture and draws out from them the principles that define Christian worship.

 

 

5. Jesus of Nazareth Vol. II — Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection

The second part to his opus, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Pope Benedict XVI continues to explore the “figure and message of Jesus.” Christ’s figure and message culminate in the decisive events that surround His death and resurrection. These events are in themselves an expression of His message. In another way, they are the final word on the “figure” of Jesus and therefore the culmination and conclusion to the first part.

 

 

 

6. Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

In his own words, His Holiness describes his book,  “It is not a third volume, but a kind of small ‘antechamber’ to the two earlier volumes on the figure and the message of Jesus of Nazareth.” Since the infancy narratives are not a source of Christ’s message, they do not fall into the purview of the earlier two volumes. It is a third part that, in a limited way, helps us to see and encounter the figure of Jesus. The Holy Father writes, “My hope is that this short book, despite its limitations, will be able to help many people on their path toward and alongside Jesus.”

 
Listers, check out Pope Benedict XVI to browse our complete catalogue of lists that reference the beloved “German Shepherd.”

Pontifical Mass: 10 Beautiful Photos of Bishop Schneider at St. James Cathedral-Basilica

Athanasius Schneider (born Anton Schneider on 7 April 1961) is a Roman Catholic bishop who is the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan and titular bishop of Celerina. He is a member of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra.

Listers, the following photos were sent in by SPL’s John Henry of the Pontifical Mass of the Most Reverend Monsignor Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. James during his January 2013 visit to New York City. Bishop Athanasius Schneider (born Anton Schneider on 7 April 1961) is a Roman Catholic bishop who is the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan and titular bishop of Celerina. He is a member of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra.1 The New Liturgical Movement also has a brief video of the mass.

 

  1. Source []

14 Photos of a Procession Celebrating the 95th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima

St. Benedict’s parish (Chesapeake, VA) celebrated the 95th anniversary of the Fatima apparition. With several parishes from the area we marched a Eucharistic procession from Star of the Sea Catholic Church to the 17th St. Park in Virginia Beach.

Listers, we received the follow gallery of photos back in October from a lister in Chesapeake, Virginia. She writes:

 

St. Benedict’s parish (Chesapeake, VA) celebrated the 95th anniversary of the Fatima apparition. With several parishes from the area we marched a Eucharistic procession from Star of the Sea Catholic Church to the 17th St. Park in Virginia Beach. We prayed the rosary and sang hymns both ways, and at the park heard a small message from each priest (Frs. Nichols and Byrne from our church, and Fr. Novokowsky from Star of the Sea). It’s the first of an annual tradition.

 

SPL has written on Our Lady of Fatima and her sayings to the Faithful in Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima: 4 Things You Must Know About Our Lady of Fatima.

 

21 Questions on Why the Holy Eucharist Was Given to Humanity

The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

The following list is the fourth installment of questions explaining the Eucharist:
This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist
Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist
Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-THIRD
On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was Instituted

 

Q. 895. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:

To unite us to Himself and to nourish our soul with His divine life.
To increase sanctifying grace and all virtues in our soul.
To lessen our evil inclinations.
To be a pledge of everlasting life.
To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection.
To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

 

Q. 896. Has the Holy Eucharist any other effect?

A. The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation.

 

Q. 897. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.

 

Q. 898. What is Holy Communion?

A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

 

Q. 899. Is it not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food?

A. It is not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food any more than it was beneath His dignity to enter the body of His Blessed Mother and remain there as an ordinary child for nine months. Christ’s dignity, being infinite, can never be diminished by any act on His own or on our part.

 

Q. 900. Why does not the Church give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also?

A. The Church does not give Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly, to refute those who denied that Our Lord’s blood is present under the appearance of bread also.

 

Q. 901. What is necessary to make a good Communion?

A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace and to fast according to the laws of the Church.

 

Q. 902. What should a person do who, through forgetfulness or any other cause, has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. A person who through forgetfulness or any other cause has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion, should again fast and receive Holy Communion the following morning if possible, without returning to confession. It is not a sin to break one’s fast, but it would be a mortal sin to receive Holy Communion after knowingly breaking the fast necessary for it.

 

Q. 903. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ?

A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.

 

Q. 904. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin to receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?

A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope, and ardent love.

 

Q. 905. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?

A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining from food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks for one hour before Holy Communion. Water does not break the fast.

Cheat Satan and drink coffee. Click the picture to view the mug in the SPL Store.

Q. 906. Does medicine taken by necessity or food taken by accident break the fast for Holy Communion?

A. Medicine does not break the fast; food taken by accident within one hour before Communion breaks the fast.

 

Q. 907. Is any one ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting?

A. To protect the Blessed Sacrament from insult or injury, or when in danger of death, Holy Communion may be received without fasting.

 

Q. 908. Is the Holy Communion called by any other name when given to one in danger of death?

A. When the Holy Communion is given to one in danger of death, it is called Viaticum, and is given with its own form of prayer. In giving Holy Communion the priest says: “May the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ guard your soul to eternal life.” In giving Holy Viaticum he says: “Receive, brother (or sister), the Viaticum of the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which will guard you from the wicked enemy and lead you into eternal life.”

 

Q. 909. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?

A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

 

Q. 910. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?

A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all grace and the Source of all good.

 

Q. 911. How shall we know how often we should receive Holy Communion?

A. We shall know how often we shall receive Holy Communion only from the advice of our confessor, by whom we must be guided, and whom we must strictly obey in this as well as in all matters concerning the state of our soul.

 

Q. 912. What is a spiritual Communion?

A. A spiritual communion is an earnest desire to receive Communion in reality, by which desire we make all preparations and thanksgivings that we would make in case we really received the Holy Eucharist. Spiritual Communion is an act of devotion that must be pleasing to God and bring us blessings from Him.

 

Q. 913. What should we do after Holy Communion?

A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need.

 

Q. 914. What length of time should we spend in thanksgiving after Holy Communion?

A. We should spend sufficient time in Thanksgiving after Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains.

 

Q. 915. What should we be particular about when receiving Holy Communion?

A. When receiving Holy Communion we should be particular:

About the respectful manner in which we approach and return from the altar;
About our personal appearance, especially neatness and cleanliness;
About raising our head, opening our mouth and putting forth the tongue in the proper manner;
About swallowing the Sacred Host;
About removing it carefully with the tongue, in case it should stick to the mouth, but never with the finger under any circumstances.

Do This in Memory of Me: 7 Questions on the Eucharist and Consecration

Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments,and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

The following list is the third installment of questions explaining the Eucharist. The first collection of questions can be found in the list This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist and the second list is Transubstantiation: 10 Questions on the Substance of the Holy Eucharist.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist 888-894

 

Q. 888. Are there not, then, as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time?

A. There are not as many bodies of Christ as there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Masses being said at the same time; but only one body of Christ, which is everywhere present whole and entire in the Holy Eucharist, as God is everywhere present, while He is but one God.

 

Q. 889. How was the substance of the bread and wine changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ?

A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.

 

Q. 890. Does this change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continue to be made in the Church?

A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ through the ministry of His priests.

 

Q. 891. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles, “Do this in commemoration of Me.”

 

Q. 892. What do the words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean?

A. The words “Do this in commemoration of Me” mean: Do what I, Christ, am doing at My last supper, namely, changing the substance of bread and wine into the substance of My body and blood; and do it in remembrance of Me.

 

Q. 893. How do the priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ?

A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass, which are words of Christ: “This is my body; this is my blood.”

 

Q. 894. At what part of the Mass does the Consecration take place?

A. The Consecration in the Mass takes place immediately before the elevation of the Host and Chalice, which are raised above the head of the priest that the people may adore Our Lord who has just come to the altar at the words of Consecration.

This Is My Body: 10 Questions to Help Explain the Holy Eucharist

The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of thanking Him for all His blessings.

Listers, the following lesson is taken from the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism was the standard catechism of teaching the faith and catechizing children from 1885 to Vatican II. Its basic question-and-answer approach is the most natural learning style for the human mind and simplifies even the most complex theological questions. SPL has also reproduced 29 Questions Explaining Indulgences, 46 Questions to Help Explain the Sacraments, and What Is Meant By the “End of Man” and 10 other Questions.

 

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

LESSON TWENTY-SECOND
On the Holy Eucharist 869-878

 

Q. 869. What does the word Eucharist strictly mean?

A. The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of thanking Him for all His blessings.

 

Q. 870. What is the Holy Eucharist?

A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

 

Q. 871. What do we mean when we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood?

A. When we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and Blood, we mean the Sacrament which is the Body and Blood, for after the Consecration there is no other substance present in the Eucharist.

 

Q. 872. When is the Holy Eucharist a Sacrament, and when is it a sacrifice?

A. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament when we receive it in Holy Communion and when it remains in the Tabernacle of the Altar. It is a sacrifice when it is offered up at Mass by the separate Consecration of the bread and wine, which signifies the separation of Our Lord’s blood from His body when He died on the Cross.

 

Q. 873. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

 

Q. 874. Who were present when our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist?

A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, the twelve Apostles were present.

 

Q. 875. How did our Lord institute the Holy Eucharist?

A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: “Take ye and eat. This is my body”; and then, by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: “Drink ye all of this. This is my blood which shall be shed for the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me.”

 

Q. 876. What happened when our Lord said, “This is my body; this is my blood”?

A. When Our Lord said, “This is my body,” the substance of the bread was changed into the substance of His body; when He said, “This is my blood,” the substance of the wine was changed into the substance of His blood.

 

Q. 877. How do we prove the Real Presence, that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist?

A. We prove the Real Presence — that is, that Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist:

By showing that it is possible to change one substance into another;
By showing that Christ did change the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood;
By showing that He gave this power also to His Apostles and to the priests of His Church.

 

Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one substance into another?

A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into another, because:

God changed water into blood during the plagues of Egypt.
Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also do instantly by an act of His will.

Let It Be the Armor: 3 Meditations from Aquinas for After Holy Communion

Articulating our gratitude and both intellectual and emotional response to the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Second Person of the Trinity is a daunting if not impossible task for most of us. Thankfully, the gifted mind of the Catholic Church’s Common Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas has given us his expression and attempt to verbalize that which is truly ineffable.

Listers, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Catholic life. However, articulating our gratitude and both intellectual and emotional response to the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Second Person of the Trinity is a daunting if not impossible task for most of us. Thankfully, the gifted mind of the Catholic Church’s Common Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas has given us his expression and attempt to verbalize that which is truly ineffable. According to tradition when the acumen of St. Thomas Aquinas’ mind reach even its limit of wisdom, he would go up and embrace the tabernacle and softly knock his head against it. As in his meditation for before receiving the Eucharist, the “Dumb Ox” of the Church gives us an immense gift in his meditation for after Holy Communion.

1. For No Merit of My Own

I give Thee thanks, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, that Thou hast vouchsafed, for no merit of my own, but of the mere condescension of Thy mercy, to satisfy me, a sinner and Thine unworthy servant, with the Precious Blood of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ.1

2. Let it be…

I implore Thee, let not this Holy Communion be to me an increase of guilt unto my punishment, but an availing plea unto pardon and forgiveness. Let it be to me the armor of faith and the shield of good will. Grant that it may work the extinction of my vices, the rooting out of concupiscence and lust, and the increase within me of charity and patience, of humility and obedience. Let it be my strong defense against the snares of all my enemies, visible and invisible; the stilling and the calm of all my impulses, carnal and spiritual; my indissoluble union with Thee the one and true God, and a blessed consummation at my last end.

3. To the Ineffable Banquet

And I beseech thee that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring me, sinner as I am, to that ineffable banquet where Thou, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness and content, joy for evermore, gladness without alloy, consummate and everlasting bliss. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Further into the Glory
6 Points on the Worthiness to Receive the Eucharist by Cardinal Ratzinger
The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration: 8 Quotes by Cardinal Burke
All SPL Lists with Recourse to the Eucharist
All SPL Lists with Recourse to St. Thomas Aquinas

  1. Translation: Written originally in Latin, this translation differs slightly from the translation in the 1962 Roman Missal []

7 Blogs by Traditional Catholic Priests

We continue to bring you the best Catholic minds and resources on the internet.

Listers, we continue to bring you the best Catholic minds and resources on the internet. In response to our original 12 Catholic Blogs Worth Your Time list, we received an outpouring of reader recommendations for other Catholic blogs to be noted and shared. We then released 25 Reader Recommended Catholic Blogs and published a list of the Top 10 Catholic News Sites. Now we turn to a more narrow scope: Catholic blogs written by traditional Catholic priests.1

 

1. Offerimus Tibi Domine

Operated by Fr. Simon Henry of St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Farington Leyland.

Full, conscious and actual participation does not mean people clamouring to take part in the performance of the rites, rather, they are fully to participate in the Paschal Mystery they signify.

Fr. Henry recently composed an article entitled Martini – Bitter and Stirred in which he opines the following: “Instead the Holy Spirit kept Blessed Pope John Paul on the Throne of St Peter for long enough for Cardinal Martini to be passed over by the time of the last conclave (his health was already poor by then) and for Joseph Ratzinger’s time to have come.” He complements his observation with a quote by Bl. John Paul, “I am convinced that a priest should have no fear of being “behind the times” because the human “today” of every priest is included in the “today” of Christ the Redeemer.”2

 

2. Sense of the Sacred

Operated by Fr. Jojo Zerrudo.

Do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols? Yes, we do need them, precisely so that, through the “image,” through the sign, we learn to see the openness of heaven. We need them to give us the capacity to know the mystery of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy

Fr. Jojo Zerrudo has recently posted an article on the Reproductive Health debate in the Philippines entitled Unstained by the World. He concludes with an acute paragraph on dissent: “Dissenters enjoy much popular support because they say what the world says. They say what everybody says. They say what everybody wants to hear. And the bishops who uphold the clear commandments of God are labeled as narrow minded and outdated. But that is to be expected. For the thoughts of God are so different from the thoughts of man: “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways. For I am God and not man.” (Isaiah 55:8) Let us keep our religion pure as God is pure. Let us keep ourselves unstained by the world.”

 

3. The Hermeneutic of Continuity

“This blog is written by Fr Tim Finigan, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, visiting tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary Wonersh, and tutor in Dogmatic Theology at St Hugh’s Charterhouse, Parkminster. I was ordained priest in 1984.”

The Hermeneutic of Continuity is probably one of the more well-known blogs featured on this list. Fr. Finigan has recently posted an encouragement for us to remember our subjugated and suffering brothers and sisters in Pakistan and has touched on the bizarre story of Muslim groups calling for their followers to abstain from “Christian” tomatoes. In his Eating Tomatoes and the Problem of Avoiding Crosses, the good father states, “I am delighted to know that my tomato consumption now counts as an act of Christian witness.”

 

4. Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

“Father Kevin M. Cusick, from the Washington, D.C., area, writes a weekly column for The Wanderer, the oldest US Catholic weekly published in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He also authors “Meeting Christ in the Liturgy”, weekly reflections on the Scriptures of the sacred Liturgy and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an on-line resource for over ten years with over one half million visitors, and is a long-standing contributor to Homilies.net. Cusick is a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy chaplain corps (RC) who served most recently in Iraq, before that for two years in Italy, three years on board the carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, in Florida and North Carolina. He is also published in The Catholic Standard of the Archdiocese of Washington and the magazine Homiletic and Pastoral Review. His photographs have also appeared in The Wanderer. A Detroit native, Cusick attended Fordham University, from which he earned the Bachelor of Arts in English and Mount Saint Mary’s for an M.A. in sacred theology.”

“…liturgy is truly the apex of the Church’s life, the time and place of a profound relationship with God.”
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

The MCIL has a focus on Scripture Readings and most recently posted a cogent piece on abortion and justice entitled “Have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?” Covering everything from Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life DNC 2012 speech to sacramental theology, he candidly states, “Justice was violated by using the outer periphery of a woman’s body to decide that the right to life of some human beings could be denied by the whim of another human being if the victim happens to be found on the wrong side of that periphery: the preborn side.”

 

5. Fr. Blake’s Blog

The good Father Blake’s blog is one that has appeared time and time again on respected blog-rolls and suggested links. His post are characterized by brevity and acumen and come together to form an informative and well-written outlet for Catholic thought.

Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna

It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.

The good priest has several notable blog posts including a commentary on the mass  – Hope Which Is in You – in which he says, “The Mass is not about us, it always has been about Jesus and giving us glimpse of heaven, ‘and so with Angels and Saints we sing…’, it is a vision of the triumph of the Lamb, it is about our ultimate re-orientation, the end of  our earthly pilgrimage.” Other notables include a clip from a Russian film demonstrating Prayer in Adversity, a brief commentary on Germany’s judicial push against circumcision – In Praise of the Diversity and the Irrational, and in Primacy of Liturgical Law he turns to one of our favorite princes of the Church, Cardinal Burke.

 

6. Forest Murmurs

Operated by Fr. Michael Brown a parish priest in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Ego vero Evangelio non crederem, nisi me catholicae Ecclesiae commoveret auctoritas.

Truly, I would not believe the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church impressed me.
St Augustine: Contra epistolam Manichaei 5.6

Forest Murmurs is another blog often cited on traditionalist Catholic blog-rolls and appears to be primarily categorized by news clippings of traditional interests. A good example would be the happy news of the Institute of Christ the King purchasing a historically Jesuit – and unused – Church in Ireland.

 

7. What Does the Prayer Really Say?

The seemingly ubiquitous blog of Father Z is one often shared and cited by St. Peter’s List and one found on almost every blog-roll of the aforementioned traditionalist sites. His incredibly popular WDTPRS has been featured on SPL’s 12 Catholic Blogs Worth Your Time and is most certainly ranked amongst the overall best traditionalist resources online. Brimming with liturgical wisdom intermixed with bird-feeder pictures and step-by-step historical records of gourmet meals, Father Z stands as one of the most notable and unique Catholic online personalities.

Slavishly accurate liturgical translations & frank commentary on Catholic issues – by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)

This blog is rather like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven. – Fr. Z

It is not uncommon that the good Father Z will post several times in a single day, making him a timely source for news commentary, reader Q&A, and the beloved liturgical or political “rants.”

 


Listers, how’d we do?
If there are any blogs you think should be added to this list or ones you think should not have made this list let us know. Also feel free to mention any other type of internet lists you’d like to see. Thanks.

Traditionalist Websites – You Tell Us
During the course of scouring over these blogs and others, we noticed a common theme of often recommended sites within the traditionalist blogosphere – none of which were a surprise. The greatest recourse seemed to be given to Rorate Caeli, the New Liturgical Movement, and the Canterbury Tales. SPL would be in debt to any other traditionalist websites the listers would recommend.

  1. How were these blogs chosen? – The only listed blog that SPL has intimate knowledge of is Father Z’s WDTPRS. The others blogs were selected from Rorate Caeli’s blog-roll by looking at professionalism and frequency of posting; however, for content quality we openly rely on Caeli’s prudence. []
  2. Pope John Paul in his book “Gift and Mystery” []

Aquinas: 4 Points of Meditation Before Receiving the Eucharist

The following is a prayer by the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas meant to prepare the soul for reception of the Eucharist.

Listers, the following is a prayer by the Angelic Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas meant to prepare the soul for reception of the Eucharist. SPL has taken the prayer from the Recommended Prayers chapter of the 1962 Roman Missal and has organized the Common Doctor’s words into four meditations.1

 

1. I Come to the Physician of Life

Almighty and Eternal God, behold I come to the sacrament of Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As one sick I come to the Physician of life; unclean, to the Fountain of mercy; blind, to the Light of eternal splendor; poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth.

2. The Bread of Angels

Therefore, I beg of You, through Your infinite mercy and generosity, heal my weakness, wash my uncleanness, give light to my blindness, enrich my poverty, and clothe my nakedness. May I thus receive the Bread of Angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with such reverence and humility, contrition and devotion, purity and faith, purpose and intention, as shall aid my soul’s salvation.

3. The Virtue of the Sacrament

Grant, I beg of You, that I may receive not only the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord, but also its full grace and power. Give me the grace, most merciful God, to receive the Body of your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, in such a manner that I may deserve to be intimately united with His mystical Body and to be numbered among His members.

4. Until then, the Sacramental Veil

Most loving Father, grant that I may behold for all eternity face to face Your beloved Son, whom now, on my pilgrimage, I am about to receive under the sacramental veil, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Listers, please consider reviewing our other lists from the 1962 Roman Missal or our further discussions with St. Thomas Aquinas and other discussions on the Eucharist.

  1. Titles: To be abundantly clear, the titles and section breaks were added by SPL []

14 Quotes in Support of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church

Listers, please take the time to review these quotes on the importance and immutability of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church. Note the sources: many of which can certainly not be labeled (and discarded) as “traditionalists.” Latin in the Church is not a liberal or conservative issue, but a Catholic one.1

It [the Traditional Latin Mass] is virtually unchanged since the third century.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, “Callistus”

 

For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time … of its very nature requires a language that is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.
Pope Pius XI, Officiorum Omnium, 1922

 

The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs.
Pope Pius XII

 

The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruptions of true doctrine.
Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947, Sec. 60

 

Latin is the immutable language of the Western Church.
Pope John XXIII

 

The Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.
Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia, February 22, 1962 (just eight months before the opening of Vatican II), chap. 13

 

We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons … are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in some quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.
Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientia,
February 22, 1962 (just eight months before the opening of Vatican II), chap. 13

 

The use of the Latin language … is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), para. 36.1

 

In accordance with the age-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the Divine Office.
Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), para. 101.1

 

If the Church is to remain truly the Catholic Church, it is essential to keep a universal tongue.
Cardinal Heenan (1967)

 

The Latin language is assuredly worthy of being defended with great care instead of being scorned; for the Latin Church it is the most abundant source of Christian civilization and the richest treasury of piety…. We must not hold in low esteem these traditions of your fathers, which were your glory for centuries.
Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, August 15, 1966, Epistle to Superiors General of Clerical Religious Institutes Bound to Choir, on the Celebration of the Divine Office in Latin

 

We cannot permit something that could be the cause of your own downfall, that could be the source of serious loss to you, and that surely would afflict the Church of God with sickness and sadness…. The same Church gives you the mandate to safeguard the traditional dignity, beauty, and gravity of the choral office in both its language [Latin] and its chant…. Obey the commands that a great love for your own ancient observances itself suggests….
Pope Paul VI, Sacrificium Laudis, August 15, 1966,
Epistle to Superiors General of Clerical Religious Institutes Bound to Choir, on the Celebration of the Divine Office in Latin

 

We address especially the young people: In an epoch when in some areas, as you know, the Latin language and the human values are less appreciated, you must joyfully accept the patrimony of the language which the Church holds in high esteem and must, with energy, make it fruitful. The well-known words of Cicero, “It is not so much excellent to know Latin, as it is a shame not to know it” [Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine, quam turpe nescire (Brutus, xxxvii.140)] in a certain sense are directed to you. We exhort you all to lift up high the torch of Latin which is even today a bond of unity among peoples of all nations.
Pope John Paul II, 1978

 

Nevertheless, there are also those people who, having been educated on the basis of the old liturgy in Latin, experience the lack of this “one language,” which in all the world was an expression of the unity of the Church and through its dignified character elicited a profound sense of the Eucharistic Mystery. It is therefore necessary to show not only understanding but also full respect towards these sentiments and desires. As far as possible these sentiments and desires are to be accommodated, as is moreover provided for in the new dispositions. The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself.
Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae,
February 24, 1980, sec. 10

  1. Thanks to John Henry for compiling the quotes []

Splendour of the East: 5 Byzantine Hymns All Catholics Should Know

“We, who mystically represent the cherubim, and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn:let us lay aside all earthly cares, that we may welcome the King of All, invisibly escorted by angelic hosts. Alleluia.”

1. Axion Estin (It Is Truly Meet)

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

The Axion Estin is the great hymn of praise to the glorious Theotokos, found in nearly every major service of the Byzantine rites. Believed composed in the 8th century by St. Cosmas the Hymnographer, it is ancient tradition that the first verse (“It is truly meet…”) was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to a holy monk on Mount Athos, and this tradition is celebrated in a feast on June 11th each year.

2. Trisagion (The Thrice Holy)

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

One of the oldest texts in the Divine Liturgy, it is believed that this hymn was supernaturally revealed by an heavenly voice during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II in the early 5th century. We know that it was used by the Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, and it once had a presence in the ancient Latin-rite Gallican liturgy of France. Many modern Roman-rite Catholics will be familiar with this hymn through its inclusion in the popular Divine Mercy devotion of St. Maria Faustina.

3. Cherubikon (The Cherubic Hymn)

We, who mystically represent the cherubim, and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn:let us lay aside all earthly cares, that we may welcome the King of All, invisibly escorted by angelic hosts. Alleluia.

One of the most sublime hymns of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the Cherubic Hymn occurs during the procession of the Holy Gifts from the altar of preparation, through the nave, to the altar of sacrifice. It represents the uniting of ourselves with the hosts of heaven, in preparation for the great and awesome Mystery that will soon be made present in our midst. This hymn, of ancient origin, was added to the Liturgy by Emperor Justin II in the late 6th century.

4. Vasilieu Ouranie (O Heavenly King)

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life: come, dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Good One!

Part of the “Usual Beginning,” this hymn occurs in the midst of a number of prayers used to open most of the Byzantine Divine Services. It is also a proper hymn of Pentecost, and is thus not sung during the Easter Season, being instead replaced with the great “Christos Anesti”.

5. Phos Hilaron (O Gladsome Light)

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ. Now we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening. We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For it is right at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise, O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world glorifies Thee.

This incomparable hymn, also known as the “Lamplighter Hymn” of Great Vespers, is the oldest recorded hymn in Christianity outside of the Scriptures. It was first referenced in the Constitutiones Apostolicae of the 3rd century, and St. Basil the Great considered the singing of this hymn to be one of the most cherished traditions in the Church. To this day, it is recited daily during Vespers by all those of the Byzantine rites.

 

More Music and Hymns from CL Davis:

5 English Hymns All Catholics Should Know
Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know
4 Musical Analogies in the Writings of the Early Church

The Queen Takes Her Throne: 6 Quotes on the Dormition and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary in the Roman Church and the Feast of the Dormition in the Eastern Churches.

Listers, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary in the Roman Church and the Feast of the Dormition in the Eastern Churches. Along with the following selection of quotes, we have also shared a sermon in its entirety by St. John Damascene regarding the Dormition and Queenship of the Blessed Virgin: Sermon I on the Dormition – St. John Damascene b. A.D. 676.

1. The Woman

And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars … And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished.

The Apocalypse of St. John 12:1,14

2. Intercessor before God

In thy birth-giving, O Theotokos, thou didst keep and preserve virginity; and in thy falling-asleep thou hast not forsaken the world; for thou wast translated into life, being the Mother of Life. Wherefore, by thine intercessions, deliver our souls from death.

The Troparian of the Dormition, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

3. Glorified in the Heavens

Almighty and eternal God, who hast assumed the body and soul of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of Thy Son, to celestial glory: grant, we beseech Thee, that always minded toward heavenly things, we may be sharers of the same glory.

Collect of the Assumption, Missale Romanum 1962

4. Happy Death

But God was pleased that Mary should in all things resemble Jesus; and as the Son died, it was becoming that the Mother should also die; because, moreover, He wished to give the just an example of the precious death prepared for them, He willed that even the most Blessed Virgin should die, but by a sweet and happy death.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, On The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

5. The Incorruptible One

It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.

St. John Damascene, The Dormition of Mary

6. Radiant Queen

The bright spiritual dawn of the Sun of Justice, [our Lady Mary], has gone to dwell and shine in His brilliance; she is called there by the one who rose from her, and who gives light to all things. Through her, that overwhelming radiance pours the rays of His sunshine upon us, in mercy and compassion, rekindling the souls of the faithful to imitate, as far as they can, His divine kindness and goodness. For Christ our God, who put on living and intelligent flesh, which He took from the ever-Virgin and the Holy Spirit, has called her to Himself and invested her with an incorruptibility touching all her corporeal frame; He has glorified her beyond all measure of glory, so that she, His holy Mother, might share His inheritance.

St. Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium on the Dormition

Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

O salutaris Hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium!

Listers, our study of the best hymns within the treasury of the Church continues with a look at the Latin hymns all Catholics should know. A previous look at the best English hymns can be found at 5 English Hymns All Catholics Should Know.

1. O Sanctissima

Mater amata, intemerata: ora, ora pro nobis!

Believed to be a traditional Sicilian mariners folk song, O Sanctissima is most often heard today on Marian feasts. In Germany and Spain, this hymn has become closely associated with Christmastide.

2. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

Salus, honor, virtus quoque: sit et benedictio!

Really the last two verses of the larger hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi, this sublime piece was written by the revered St. Thomas Aquinas, a talented hymnologist as well as theologian. Historically, the complete Pange Lingua hymn is associated most closely with the rites of Maundy Thursday and Corpus Christi. In more modern times, the Tantum Ergo has become a staple of the Roman rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

3. Salve Regina

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria!

The “Hail, Holy Queen” in English — and one of the four principle Marian antiphons of the Roman Breviary — the Salve Regina dates at least to the 11th century. According to legend, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was moved by divine inspiration to add to the hymn the final three-fold petition to Our Lady. St. Alphonsus Liguori found this hymn so beautiful that he wrote an entire treatise on it in his book The Glories of Mary. Every Latin Catholic should strive to memorize this beautiful song of praise to our Mother.

4. O Salutaris Hostia

O salutaris Hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium!

Another hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas, this piece is actually the last two verses of the Corpus Christi hymn Verbum Supernum Prodiens. Along with the Pange Lingua, this hymn was written at the request of Pope Urban IV, who instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi in AD 1264. Today, O Salutaris is most often heard in the ritual of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

5. Ave Verum Corpus

O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.

A beautiful Eucharistic hymn dating from the 14th century, this has often been attributed to one of the mediaeval Popes Innocent, though historians are unsure of its actual origin. In the days of the pre-Tridentine liturgies, it was not uncommon for this hymn to be sung during the elevation of the Host at the Mass. Today, Ave Verum is most often associated with Christmastide and Eucharistic liturgies.

5 English Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

Triumph, all ye cherubim,
sing with us, ye seraphim,
heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

1. Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All

Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!

This Eucharistic hymn was written by Fr. William Faber. A friend of Bl. John Henry Newman’s,
Fr. Faber was a prominent cleric in the Church of England, who converted to Catholicism in the
midst of the Oxford Movement. He wrote several hymns, including the ever-popular “Faith of
Our Fathers”.

2. Hail, Holy Queen, Enthroned Above

Triumph, all ye cherubim,
sing with us, ye seraphim,
heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

This classic English hymn is really a poetic translation of the ancient “Salve Regina Coelitum”
of the Roman Missal. Thanks to Whoopi Goldberg’s rousing interpretation of this hymn in her
movie “Sister Act,” it is even recognized amongst many non-Catholics.

3. Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign!

Attributed to the hymnologist Fr. Ignaz Franz, this is an 18th century German hymn, loosely
based on the text of the great “Te Deum”, that has become closely associated with the modern
ritual of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

4. Immaculate Mary

Immaculate Mary, Thy praises we sing,
Thou reignest in splendour with Jesus our King!

Also known as the “Lourdes Hymn,” this triumphant hymn of praise to our Lady is believed to
have been written by Abbe Gaignet and adapted to a traditional French folk tune. When sung at
the Lourdes Shrine, there can be as many as sixty different verses!

5. To Jesus Christ, Our Sov’reign King

Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!

This powerful hymn, associated with the Feast of Christ the King, was written by Monsignor
Martin Hellreigel in 1941. Msgr. Hellreigel was a German priest living in St. Louis, Missouri at
the time, and offered this hymn as a counter to the dark forces of Nazism and Communism
sweeping over the world.