Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!! Not only are altar rails making a comeback, but courtesy of our wonderful Holy Father, Pope Benedict, accepting the Eucharist while kneeling may finally be making a comeback as well!
Oh please, oh please!!! How wonderful it would be to re-establish our understanding and reverence for the Presence of God in the Eucharist. We truly do not understand who we recieve anymore! Kneeling, rails, even veils... we're slowly making our way back to the proper understanding and reverence the Divinity of God demands. My heart is smiling so big right now I feel like it may just jump out of my chest and start dancing on the keyboard. YAY!!!
We still have altar rails (beautiful marble ones!) in my previous home parish in Philadelphia, but my new parish was built post-Vatican II and has very meager rails. Ah well... any step in the right direction is a step towards God's Will, right?
I came across a wonderful article written by the mystic Raphael Brown. I had always known St. Joseph was the patron of Happy Deaths because his own was blessed to be in the arms of His Son and the Blessed Mother.
I had no idea, however, just how happy that death was until reading what Brown had to say here.
Talk about the most happy of deaths! I'll admit I shed a couple tears reading how beautiful his passing was. We can only hope to taste a fraction of that joy upon our own.
O, Blessed St. Joseph, you give forth your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close my life, come with Jesus and Mary to help me. Obtain for me this solace for that hour; to die with their holy arms around me. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I commend my soul living and dying into your arms. Amen.
I understand wrath is a mortal sin. Wrath, in the context of wishing evil to befall someone (either out of our own misconception of justice or simple human emotion), goes against everything God stands for (love, all encompassing mercy, and forgiveness). However, I am struggling with overcoming wrath today. I'm struggling to overcome this severe occassion of sin.
God, I'm trying, but I don't know if I'm capable of this without You.
Today, a jury somehow found a woman not-guilty of murdering her innocent daughter. I have no idea how this fits into Your Plan, God. I have no idea how Your Justice for this sweet little girl can be appeased, but I am so angry... so filled with disgust and even hatred for what that sorry excuse for a person represents... I don't know if I can extend mercy. I don't know if I can extend love. I don't think I can. I'm too filled with evil thoughts.
Help me, God. I want to extend love and mercy, but I also don't want her to walk away unpunished! I don't want her to be an example to others that this deplorable behavior is not only tolerated, but EXCUSABLE in our court system! Please, God... You are wiser than I. You are holier than I. Your mercy, and Your love are infinitely greater than mine. They are also greater than my anger, hatred and malice. So please... drown out those evil feelings within me. Banish the demons that urge me to neglect my own sins to call her out for hers. Fill me with Your limitless mercy and love, and teach me to pray even for her.
May this twist in the road be part of Your Will, and may she repent while she still has time on Earth. May she turn towards You and live out the rest of her life as an example of Your Great Mercy and Love, and may she someday be united with You and that sweet, innocent little angel in Heaven.
I think I may have found a new favorite artist! His name is Jon McNaughton, and his paintings of Jesus are AMAZING. I mean - wow. Please go here and see all the awesome for yourself!
Anyway, the reason I stumbled across him is I was doing a little research into our Founding Fathers when the painting to your right popped up. Apparently the blogosphere is all abuzz with folks who are angry or offended that McNaughton portrayed Jesus in the midst of such great figures of our American heritage as if He was guiding them along the path we find ourselves on.
Arguments regarding the painting aside, this masterpiece speaks volumes to me about the workings of God in my life as an American. Throughout our existence, we've nodded our heads in prayer, acknowledged the bounty of God in all we were blessed with, and saw His Face in our fellow man. As a result, God truly did shed His Grace on us.
It seems we've lost our way in recent times, and as a result, we are turning away from those Graces which were once so vastly poured out to us.
My prayer is that we once more see the Face of God in our fellow man, bow our heads in prayer, and offer thanks and appreciation for His copious Blessings.
So I'm only about a year late on this one! I really don't know how I feel about this. Actually, I do. I find it to be foolish on the part of the Reverend Mother Abbess. I find it reprehensible to her superiors who likely knew about it (and understood better the ramifications of such a contract), and I am irritated that this singer is attempting to utilize religious prayers and hymns to make money while desecrating them.
Okay, so I know exactly how I feel, I guess. Angry, disgusted and floored. How in the world did anyone think this was a good idea? I'm really curious what "answer" these sisters think they got from St. Joseph. Doubtful he'd ever turn on the radio and sing along to a Gaga tune.
Humpf, grumble and growl. I am not enthused about this at all. I can only pray this music does reach through the slime and touch folks in unexpected ways, calling them closer to Christ. God has been known to work in stranger ways...
Oh, and PS - you may be interested in the link the above photo takes you to. It tells the story of the REAL Sr. Dolores Hart, an actress turned nun.
I was at Mass in Ocean City this weekend. I love attending Mass there since the priests seem very traditional, and have always given wonderful homilies. They don't shy away from issues for the sake of being politically correct. I love it!
I also love the little religious shop they have in the anteroom. They sell books, rosaries, statues, crucifixes, etc. The books are, thus far, my favorite! Of course, I love my sacramentals as well, but I thirst for a better understanding of Catholicism, and these wonderful books help me feel I'm being productive towards that end. Ha ha.
Anyway, I really, REALLY want one in the back of my home church. I wonder how to even go about starting that. I want one, though!!! Ha ha. I'd sell Pieta books, rosaries, Trinitine Crucifixes and chapel veils, and I'd talk to everyone after Mass about different devotions and Church traditions. Plus, the proceeds would benefit my home parish, so it's win-win all around. I honestly believe that those who better understand the faith better practice the faith, so a religious bookshop / sacramental store would help plant the seed for deeper love of Catholicism. At least it always does for me!
A common misconception regarding the Catholic faith is our view of the Blessed Mother. A lot of folks mistake our veneration for worship. Protestants get super angry, because our prayers to the Blessed Mother seem like a smack in the face to Jesus.
On the contrary, we give glory to Jesus by offering our prayers to the Blessed Mother.
Now I understand this might sound a little counter-intuitive. I promise it's not, though! If we accept Jesus as God, we accept everything He did as the perfect example on how we should live and act. Our treatment of the Blessed Mother echoes, less perfectly, of course, the treatment she received by her Son, Jesus. He followed the 4th Commandment perfectly. We know the 4th Commandment to be Honor thy father and mother, but what we all may not be aware of is that the Hebrew word for "honor" is "kabad" which also means "glorify." It also means "to burden / make heavy."
We must stop and meditate on these seemingly different definitions. At first glance, they seem to be at odds with one another. How can you glorify something you are burdening down? How can you honor something by making it heavy? Again, Jesus patiently explains His Divine point of view through example. His perfect, perfect example.
He bestowed upon His Blessed Mother a variety of burdens. First, He came to her through the Incarnation before she had "consummated her marriage" to St. Joseph. He ensured that through this great humility (being obviously conceived before consummation w/ St. Joseph), even the first moments life His Life would be sacrificial. He burdened the Blessed Mother (who willingly trusted these mortifications as part of God's Plan) with untold sufferings. Life on-the-run in Egypt, losing Christ in Jerusalem at the Temple, allowing Him to leave her - lonely - as He began His missionary work - all these were sacrifices He asked of her for the glory of God's Name. Even to the foot of the Cross, he burdened her with such untold suffering - such untold, unfathomable pain - all for God's glory. Only through this suffering could the glory of Salvation be sealed.
So here we see unmistakably united concepts of burden and glory. Jesus again establishes this through offering mankind to the Blessed Mother through John the Apostle when He said, "Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy Mother."
Not only does He offer the maternal bosom of the most perfect creature ever in existence, He asks her to provide a source of comfort and peace to her spiritual children. Again, as always, the Blessed Mother accepts this sacrificial role. She takes on the troubles, sufferings, and fear of the Church and places them before God, forever pleading her children's case at the Feet of the Father.
THIS is why we revere the Blessed Mother. THIS is why Catholics bow their heads in prayer to this most perfect of all creatures. Through her, Christ came to the world, and through her, He sheds His Mercy. Thanks to her unshakable "Fiat" to the Will of God, she is eternally glorified in Heaven and on Earth by the sufferings which weigh so heavily on her Immaculate Heart. She is our Mother, given to us by God Himself, as our fiercest intercessor.
Many still disregard the idea of an intercessor as being anti-biblical (I'm looking at you, Protestants!). However, Jesus gives us multiple examples throughout the Bible of the power of intercession. The most powerful, however, is the example we're given at the Wedding Feast of Cana - the point where Jesus first "outs" Himself and begins His ministry.
You may remember the story. Jesus and His Blessed Mother attended a wedding ceremony. Everything was going great until the family ran out of wine for their guests. The potential embarrassment and upheavel this would have caused distressed the Blessed Mother. So, knowing her Son was God and could fix this problem promptly, she relayed the problem. Jesus' response always threw me for a loop. When He replied, "Woman, what does this have to do with us? My hour has not yet come" I shook my head in disbelief!
When I was a kid, I used to remember thinking, Wow, that's really kinda mean for Jesus to say that to His Mom. She was only trying to help.
Now I realize that He said this specifically so we could understand the powerful intercessor we find in Mary. She was able to solicit His help anyway, and quickly. As soon as she instructed the servants to "Do whatever He says," Jesus graciously turned water into wine. Or, in Alexander Pope's beautiful words, "The conscious water saw its Master and blushed."
Jesus cannot deny His most perfect creature anything. The perfection which faithfully says "Yes" to His Will, even at such impossible personal suffering, will never be greeted with "No." She is so full of Grace and holiness that her intercession is more powerful than comprehension. Catholics understand this and we venerate her for this selfless glorification in the Name of her Father, Son and Spouse.
So again, we Catholics do not worship the Blessed Mother. We revere her for her gifts to humanity, we praise her for her faithful Fiat, we love her for her constant guidance and protection, and we pray to her, asking for her immensely powerful intercession. All of these things give glory to God, because in appreciating all that she is, we appreciate all that God can do for us. She is the mirror which reflects the Love of God in a way that is both gentle and visible enough for humans to feel without becoming lost within Its fire.
Top Rated Entries
My Darkest Secret
Do Animals Have Souls?
10 Things a Parent of an SPD Kid Wants to Say
Fun and Easy Lenten Crafts
Blessed Mother as Intercessor
Loss of Life
Women Priests II
Render Unto Caesar
The Godparent Poem
NYT Anti-Catholic Ad
Pages I Stalk
A Woman's Place
Real Catholic Love & Sex
Having Left the Altar
Fr. Z @ WDTPRS
These Stone Walls
St. Joseph's Vanguard
Traditional Latin Mass
Truth, Beauty and Goodness
The Way Out There
Written by the Finger of
Little Catholic Bubble
So You're a Church Musician
There and Back Again
Make It - Love It
St. Monica's Bridge