Monday, April 25, 2005

Scandalous Mercy

Those of you who have been around a while know that the background mission of this anchor hold dweller is to "pray for the City and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee". And, as a part of that, I followed the saga of Father Eleazar Perez, the pastor of St. Adalbert Parish just down the street from the little anchor hold, earlier this year. Here he is:

after committing one of those scandalous acts of mercy common to the followers of Christ. The hardest, most countercultural, most scandalous teaching of the Church is that we must forgive. All those so-called "pelvic issues" don't even come close!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Some of our responsibilities toward our bishops

While we're sitting up all night tonight watching Benedict XVI get installed, a little reminder that it's not just the Pope and the bishops who have responsibilities toward us, but we also have responsibilities toward them. They need us! A reminder of some of those responsibilities, from Peter Maurin's "Easy Essays":


1. The Holy Father
appoints a man
named a Bishop
to a seat -- a cathedra.

2. From that seat -- cathedra
the Bishop
teaches the truth
to all men
so the truth
may make them free.

3. But some people
are Bishop-shy.

4. They are Bishop-shy
because they are
hungry, shivering, or sleepy.

5. They must be
fed, clothed, and sheltered
before they will consent
to come to listen
to Christ's Bishop.

6. To feed, clothe, and shelter them
at a personal sacrifice
is to participate
in the Bishop's apostolate.


Where God Is

one translation of a very, very traditional hymn [that I received 6 years ago from our beloved Gerard Serafin ---memory eternal!]

Gathered together in the love of Christ
Let us rejoice in him, exultantly,
Let us adore and fear the living God,
Loving each other in our love of him,
Where there is true love, there is God.

The loveless heart abides in darkness still,
The shadowy walls of death around him stand.
In daytime we, the loving ones, shall walk
In sushine, as becomes the sons of light.
Where there is true love, there is God.

The clear voice of the Lord rings in our ears
Saying, when two or three together come
For his name's sake, there will he ever be
With them, according to his spoken word.
Where there is true love, there is God.

We must, while we are gathered here as one,
Be on our guard against divided minds.
When malice falls away and quarrels cease,
Then will the Christ be truly in our midst.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Love joins together all who are afar
As discord severs those who should be one.
We must unite in heart and thought and mind
Lest we who are together fall apart.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Love is the sum of goodness, greatest gift,
On which the ten Commandments all depend.
Through love the old and new laws are fulfilled,
A love-filled heart reaches the highest heaven.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Love represented in the ancient law
Was clothed in vivid scarlet, double-dyed.
This love continues in a double law
That as our God is love, so loved is man.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Let us then love our God with our whole mind,
Hold nothing greater than our love of him,
And, in this, love our neighbour as ourselves,
And our worst enemy for Jesus' sake.
Where there is true love, there is God.

He who will strive to keep this double law
Of charity with loving, humble mind,
Shall truly live in Christ who, driving out
Sin of the blackest dye, will live in him.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Narrow and steep the path that leads above,
Broad and downhill the road that leads to hell;
Brotherly love leads to eternal life,
But sinful discord leads to endless woe.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Let us with single heart beseech our God
To grant in mercy peace throughout our days;
To faith and hope may he add works of love,
That we may join his company on high.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Let us sing "Glory to the eternal King!"
Pray for the lives of those who rule us now,
So that for many years we may rejoice
With those for love of whom we gather here.
Where there is true love, there is God.

Friday, April 22, 2005

I've already said this a dozen times

and I've even blogged this particular citation before, but I believe it's quite fit to repeat, from an encyclical of Pope Benedict the 15th ---

It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself

[Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Another view of our father, Benedict XVI

courtesy of somebody on the cathworker list who forwarded this, a different perspective on the new pope, from Sr. Joan Chittister, osb, the author of the best little book of rosary meditations I've seen (and a bit of a lightning rod around St. Blog's, just as my father the archbishop-emeritus is....)

Is it possible for a disciplinarian of the church to become its universal pastor? Answer: God willing.

And therein lies my hope.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI is said to have taken the name 'Benedict' to indicate that the model of his papacy would be the great Patron of Europe, Benedict of Nursia. If that's really the case, I can't think of anything more hopeful for the church.

As a Benedictine, I state my case for hope in any leader who sees Benedict of Nursia as the measure of his leadership.

The Rule of Benedict, a document now over 1500 years old and the basis for the lifestyle of monastics around the world, is based on four major concepts that are totally incompatible with authoritarianism or suppression of the human spirit.

Listening is at the center of this Rule for those who live in community. "Listen... with the ear of the heart," its Prologue counsels. Listen, in other words, not so much for what is canonically right but for what is spiritually true, for what speaks to the deepest part of the human being. Listening to the Word of God, to the tradition, to one another, to the circumstances of life becomes the cornerstone of spiritual growth. It is questions, not answers, that guide this life.

Humility, the second major concept of Benedictine monasticism, requires that each of us come to realize how limited is our own understanding of the universe. It demands that we let God be God. It's not for any of us, Benedict teaches, abbot or monk, to think we can bend the world to our own designs. After precisely defining the mode of community prayer in twelve separate chapters, Benedict ends the chapters dealing with the most important aspect of monastic life by saying, "If any brother knows a better way, let him arrange things differently." We cannot look to the Rule of Benedict to legitimate authoritarianism in the name of God.

Community, the third dimension of Benedictine spirituality, brings us to realize how bright and good and essential to our own growth is everyone else around us. We learn from the community. We serve the community. Benedict is clear: "Whenever weighty matters are to be discussed," the Rule requires, "let the abbot call the community together and, starting with the youngest, ask each their advice." No thought suppression here. No smothering of fresh thought here. The abbot does not come to the community with answers. The abbot comes with questions and finds his answers there.

Hospitality, the fourth dimension of Benedictine spirituality, takes everyone in. No one is excluded from the Christian community. No one is too bad, too poor, too useless, too unimportant to be part of the community. "Let the Guest be treated as Christ," the Rule says. Treating one another as Christ becomes the norm.

Finally, St. Benedict had a sister, St. Scholastica, whom he treated as an equal. They came together yearly 'to speak of holy things together.' She learned from him, yes, but he learned from her as well and her monastery was independent of his. In Benedictinism lies a holy model of male-female relationships and the authority of women.

Each of us has a piece of the truth, Benedict shows us; no one has all the truth. We need to learn from one another.

Believe me, if this pope really takes Benedict of Nursia for a model, this will be a very healthy church.


Who, me?

I have no idea how it happened, but I've been nominated for Milwaukee's Blog of the Week. Welcome to all who come here from MKE Magazine.

Eucharist, Communion, and Solidarity: another sample

with a tip of the beret to a listserv buddy on Liturgy-l, here's another sample of what we may expect from our new pope, Benedict XVI. This is from a lecture he gave at a Campania bishops' conference meeting in June of 2002:


What is happening in these words?

In the first place we are confronted by the word "transubstantion". The bread becomes the body, his body. The bread of the earth becomes the bread of God, the "manna" of heaven, with which God nourishes men not only in their earthly life but also in the prospect of the resurrection --- which prepares for the resurrection, or rather, already makes it begin. The Lord, who would have been able to transform stones into bread, who was able to raise up from rocks the sons of Abraham, wishes to transform the bread into a body, his body. Is this possible? How can it happen?

Body given, Blood poured out

We cannot avoid the questions that the people posed in the synagogue of Capernaum. He is there before his disciples, with his body; how can he say over the bread: this is my body? It is important to pay close attention to what the Lord really said. He does not say only: "This is my body", but: "This is my body, which is given up for you". It can become gift, because it is given. By means of the act of giving it becomes "capable of communicating", has transformed itself into a gift. We may observe the same thing in the words over the cup. Christ does not say simply: "This is my blood", but, "This is my blood, which is shed for you". Because it is shed, inasmuch as it is shed, it can be given.

Real transformation of violence into an act of love

But now a new question emerges: what do "it is given" and "it is shed" mean? In truth, Jesus is killed; he is nailed to a cross and dies amid torment. His blood is poured out, first in the Garden of Olives due to his interior suffering for his mission, then in the flagellation, the crowning with thorns, the crucifixion, and after his death in the piercing of his Heart. What occurs is above all an act of violence, of hatred, torture and destruction.

At this point we run into a second, more profound level of transformation: he transforms, from within, the act of violent men against him into an act of giving on behalf of these men --- into an act of love. This is dramatically recognizable in the scene of the Garden of Olives. What he teaches in the Sermon on the Mount, he now does: he does not offer violence against violence, as he might have done, but puts an end to violence by transforming it into love. The act of killing, of death, is changed into an act of love; violence is defeated by love. This is the fundamental transformation upon which all the rest is based. It is the true transformation which the world needs and which alone can redeem the world. Since Christ in an act of love has transformed and defeated violence from within, death itself is transformed: love is stronger than death. It remains forever.

Transformation of death into life

And so in this transformation is contained the broader transformation of death into resurrection, of the dead body into the risen body. If the first man was a living being, as St Paul says, the new Adam, Christ, will become by this spiritual event the giver of life (I Cor 15:45). The risen one is gift, is spirit who gives his life, "communicates", indeed, is communication. This means that there is no farewell here to material existence; rather, in this way material existence achieves its goal: without the actual event of death (with its interior transcendence) all this complex transformation of material things would not be possible. And so in the transformation of the resurrection all the fullness of Christ continues to subsist, but now transformed in this way; now being a body and the gift of self are no longer mutually exclusive, but are implicit in each other.

Before going on, let us first seek to sum this up once more in order to understand this whole complex reality. At the moment of the Last Supper, Jesus has already anticipated the event of Calvary. He accepts the death on the cross and with his acceptance transforms the act of violence into an act of giving, of self-giving poured forth, "Even if I am to be poured out as a libation on the sacrificial offering of your faith", St Paul says on the basis of this and in regard to his own
imminent martyrdom in Philippians 2:17. At the Last Supper the cross is already present, accepted and transformed by Jesus.

This first and fundamental transformation draws to itself all the others --- the mortal body is transformed into the resurrected body: it is "the spirit which gives life".

Transformation of bread and wine

On the basis of this the third transformation becomes possible: the gifts of bread and wine, that are the gifts of creation and at the same time fruit of human labour and the "transformation" of the creation, are transformed so that in them the Lord himself who gives himself becomes present, in his gift of self-giving. His gift, himself --- since he is gift. The act of self giving is not something from him, but it is himself.

And on this basis the prospect opens onto two further transformations, that are essential to the Eucharist, from the instant of its institution: the transformed bread, the transformed wine.

Through them the Lord himself gives himself as spirit that gives life, to transform us men, so that we become one bread with him and then one body with him. The transformation of the gifts, which is only the continuation of the fundamental transformations of the cross and of the resurrection, is not the final point, but in its turn only a beginning.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Sample of what we can Expect

via HughHewitt.com, here's the text of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's last public teaching as cardinal --- the homily at the Mass of the Holy Spirit going into the conclave.

At this hour of great responsibility, we hear with special consideration what the Lord says to us in his own words. From the three readings I would like to examine just a few passages which concern us directly at this time.

The first reading gives us a prophetic depiction of the person of the Messiah - a depiction which takes all its meaning from the moment Jesus reads the text in the synagogue in Nazareth, when he says: "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4,21). At the core of the prophetic text we find a word which seems contradictory, at least at first sight. The Messiah, speaking of himself, says that he was sent "To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God" (Is 61,2). We hear with joy the news of a year of favor: divine mercy puts a limit on evil - the Holy Father told us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God. Christ's mandate has become our mandate through priestly anointing. We are called to proclaim - not only with our words, but with our lives, and through the valuable signs of the sacraments, the "year of favor from the Lord." But what does the prophet Isaiah mean when he announces the "day of vindication by our God"? In Nazareth, Jesus did not pronounce these words in his reading of the prophet's text - Jesus concluded by announcing the year of favor. Was this, perhaps, the reason for the scandal which took place after his sermon? We do not know. In any case, the Lord gave a genuine commentary on these words by being put to death on the cross. Saint Peter says: "He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross" (1 Pe 2,24). And Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians: "Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,' that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal 3, 13s).

The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of favor meet in the paschal mystery, in Christ died and risen. This is the vindication of God: he himself, in the person of the Son, suffers for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we draw closer in solidarity with his suffering - and become willing to bear in our flesh "what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ" (Col 1, 24).

In the second reading, the letter to the Ephesians, we see basically three aspects: first, the ministries and charisms in the Church, as gifts of the Lord risen and ascended into heaven. Then there is the maturing of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, as a condition and essence of unity in the body of Christ. Finally, there is the common participation in the growth of the body of Christ - of the transformation of the world into communion with the Lord.

Let us dwell on only two points. The first is the journey towards "the maturity of Christ" as it is said in the Italian text, simplifying it a bit. More precisely, according to the Greek text, we should speak of the "measure of the fullness of Christ," to which we are called to reach in order to be true adults in the faith. We should not remain infants in faith, in a state of minority. And what does it mean to be an infant in faith? Saint Paul answers: it means "tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery" (Eph 4, 14). This description is very relevant today!

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - which creates unity and takes form in love. On this theme, Saint Paul offers us some beautiful words - in contrast to the continual ups and downs of those were are like infants, tossed about by the waves: (he says) make truth in love, as the basic formula of Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love coincide. To the extent that we draw near to Christ, in our own life, truth and love merge. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like "a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal" (1 Cor 13,1).

Looking now at the richness of the Gospel reading, I would like to make only two small observations. The Lord addresses to us these wonderful words: "I no longer call you slaves...I have called you friends" (Jn 15,15). So many times we feel like, and it is true, that we are only useless servants. (cf Lk 17,10). And despite this, the Lord calls us friends, he makes us his friends, he gives us his friendship. The Lord defines friendship in a dual way. There are no secrets among friends: Christ tells us all everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full trust, and with that, also knowledge. He reveals his face and his heart to us. He shows us his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the madness of the cross. He entrusts us, he gives us power to speak in his name: "this is my body...," "I forgive you...." He entrusts us with his body, the Church. He entrusts our weak minds and our weak hands with his truth - the mystery of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the mystery of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (Jn 3, 16). He made us his friends - and how do we respond?

The second element with which Jesus defines friendship is the communion of wills. For the Romans "Idem velle - idem nolle," (same desires, same dislikes) was also the definition of friendship. "You are my friends if you do what I command you." (Jn 15, 14). Friendship with Christ coincides with what is said in the third request of the Our Father: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". At the hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will in a will shaped and united to the divine will. He suffered the whole experience of our autonomy - and precisely bringing our will into the hands of God, he have us true freedom: "Not my will, but your will be done." In this communion of wills our redemption takes place: being friends of Jesus to become friends of God. How much more we love Jesus, how much more we know him, how much more our true freedom grows as well as our joy in being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!

The other element of the Gospel to which I would like to refer is the teaching of Jesus on bearing fruit: "I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain" (Jn 15, 16). It is here that is expressed the dynamic existence of the Christian, the apostle: I chose you to go and bear fruit...." We must be inspired by a holy restlessness: restlessness to bring to everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. In truth, the love and friendship of God was given to us so that it would also be shared with others. We have received the faith to give it to others - we are priests meant to serve others. And we must bring a fruit that will remain. All people want to leave a mark which lasts. But what remains? Money does not. Buildings do not, nor books. After a certain amount of time, whether long or short, all these things disappear. The only thing which remains forever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity. The fruit which remains then is that which we have sowed in human souls - love, knowledge, a gesture capable of touching the heart, words which open the soul to joy in the Lord. Let us then go to the Lord and pray to him, so that he may help us bear fruit which remains. Only in this way will the earth be changed from a valley of tears to a garden of God.

In conclusion, returning again to the letter to the Ephesians, which says with words from Psalm 68 that Christ, ascending into heaven, "gave gifts to men" (Eph 4,8). The victor offers gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to humankind, to build up his body - the new world. We live out our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to humanity! But at this time, above all, we pray with insistence to the Lord, so that after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he again gives us a pastor according to his own heart, a pastor who guides us to knowledge in Christ, to his love and to true joy. Amen.


Saint Benedict Joseph, pray for your namesake!

We have a pope, and really fast --- faster than I could post about the waiting and the hoping. He'll need all our prayers, and I think he will surprise us. For the last 23 years or so he's had the very important but pretty thankless job of the Pope's "bad cop", the "Grand Inquisitor". But before then he was a brilliant and in some ways innovative theologian and philosopher, and that won't have gone away. I think we're in for wonderful things. As we now pray "for our Holy Father, Benedict,...." let his namesake St. Benedict Joseph, the homeless pilgrim of Rome, and all the angels and saints, and all of us, pray for him. They don't call the room where they dress the new Pope "the Room of Tears" without cause!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Some of the facts of life

of living in a real city, in the real world. This hotel with its 300 building code violations is only a block and a half from my little anchor hold. A friend of mine getting evicted from elsewhere (not enough hours of work to pay the rent....) asked there last week, so I know definitely that they charge $75 per night there. [minor discount by the week. At that rate the elusive owners can afford to keep it up, if'n they cared to, but they don't.] One of the unconscionable things that happen in real-life city neighborhoods.

Even day-laborers and disabled folk need to sleep indoors ..... with heat in the cold season and door locks that work, and without great numbers of four-legged and six-legged non-paying subtenants.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

If it's Wednesday, it must be Carnival Time

and the 65th Christian Carnival is now available for viewing at Another Think. Enjoy climbing on the great pile of great gifts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

And we recognised Him

[sorry this is so tardy --- for some reason my computer and browser have not been playing well with others the past few days. For the same reason, the St. Justin quotation will be from a different translation than that used in the LofH books, since the LofH sites have already cleared Sunday....]

In this Sunday's gospel reading, two people were walking home from Jerusalem. Faces down, distraught, disillusioned, in mourning. (The easterners say that this was St. Cloepas and somebody. Maybe his wife? We know from the gospels that she was one of the disciples from early on, and was at the crucifixion.) Somebody else walking the same direction met them on the road. Somebody they knew very well indeed. They walked with this fellow-traveller and conversed all afternoon and did not recognise Him.

Did they even really see Him? Mourning and dejection don't do a whole lot for one's perceptiveness, I know this from experience. The text says their faces were lowered and their eyes downcast. But they did the right thing and the only societally proper thing, and offered their fellow-traveller hospitality in their home, since it was too late in the afternoon to make it to the next town before dark. And when they sat down to supper, the unknown one took the bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them [you may want to check in Luke and Acts when Luke uses these terms instead of "they ate" or "they were fed"......] and they recognised them in the breaking of the bread. For the first time all afternoon, they actually saw Him. And He left them, disappeared from their sight. (and, only a few minutes later, walked through the locked door of a certain upper room not far from His mom's apartment in Jerusalem; oh, the wonders of a glorified resurrection body!)

We also, even to this very day and onward to the end of the age, have troubles seeing Him sometimes, though He is among us, yet we recognise Him in the breaking of the bread. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist and partake of the one Body of Christ, and of the one cup of blessing of the Blood of Christ, we become what we receive, and we recognise Him.

Back in the 100s, St. Justin wrote about how the Christians celebrated the Holy Eucharist, and he describes the same six movements in which we have celebrated the Holy Eucharistic Liturgy in every generation continuously until now, making the one death and the one resurrection of our Lord and Messiah continually now for us. Recall that it is the evil child who says "the Lord delivered our ancestors from Egypt" --- only them back then, not us --- and the good and wise children who proclaim "I have been brought out of the house of bondage".

Here are St. Justin's words, which were the appointed reading for this past Sunday's Office of Readings:

And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

[First Apology, chapters 66-67]


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Archbishop Romero and all the American new martyrs, pray for us!

Here is an open letter from one bishop to his martyred brother bishop, via SojoNet. Triduum, then Bright Week, and Annunciation, and the mourning for the Holy Father, has delayed many remembrances. March 24th, Holy Thursday, was also the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador.

Monday, April 04, 2005

We are all sedevacantists now

and there's an emptiness.

When I was at Mass yesterday morning, and we came to the part of the Eucharistic Prayer when we commemorate those who serve us in the Church --- and there was no commemoration of the Pope, because there isn't one. [But there was prayer for our holy father, John Paul, who has passed from this life.....] When the parts come in the Liturgy of Hours when we pray for the Pope, and I have to remember to skip that line. Standing in line to sign the parish condolence book. Today is a solemnity, one that should be obligatory, but starting tomorrow there's the Office for the dead. And soon we pray for the Conclave, that they exercise wisdom and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to give to us another servant to exercise Peter's ministry among us.

Pray. Remember. Do the deeds of mercy. John Paul II has passed from this life to life true and everlasting, do not dishonor his name.

Friday, April 01, 2005

This is the Holy Father's final illness

and he knows it. Pray for his peaceable and holy death.

The giveaway in the news reports: the report by all sources that he was informed of the gravity of his condition --- heart attack and kidney shutdown because of septic shock --- and he chose to stay home and not go back to the hospital.