O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Bridegroom Suffers for the Bride

We are in Passiontide when the Christ the Nymphios (Bridegroom) suffers for His Bride the Church.


(Improperia from Good Friday)

Translation:
"My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me." (Micah 6:3)

1.) "For I led you out of the land of Egypt," (Micah 6:4) but you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Agios o Theos!
Sanctus Deus.
Agios Ischyros!
Sanctus Fortis.
Agios Athanatos, eleison imas.
Sanctus Immortalis, miserere nobis.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (first Greek, then Latin)

2.) For I led you through the wilderness forty years,
And fed you with manna, and brought you into a land exceeding good; (cf. Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 7)
But you have prepared a cross for your Savior.

Agios o Theos...

3.) "What more ought I have done for" you that I have not done? (Isaiah 5:4)
Indeed I planted you, my most beautiful vineyard,
and you have become exceeding bitter to me;
"In my thirst you gave me vinegar to drink," (Psalm 69:22)
And with a lance you have pierced the side of your Savior.

Agios o Theos...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Betrothal of the Bridegroom


There is a whole lot happening today. It is the First Sunday of the Passion. Today we begin the patronal season of this blog. Some places have a patronal feast, we have a patronal season (our actual patronal feast is the Fifth Sunday after Easter). Passiontide is the time when we celebrate Christ the Bridegroom giving Himself to the Father for the sake of His Bride the Church. He commends Himself into the hands of the Father that the Father might remit His Bride's sins through Him. Christ takes the form of a slave that the Father might use Him to sanctify His Bride. Christ completely breaks Himself because nothing can satisfy Him except the sanctification of His Bride. He sees Himself as nothing and His Beloved as everything.

Today is also the Feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God (while the Latin Rite transfers it to tomorrow, the Eastern Rites observe the feast today). The Annunciation is when God the Word took flesh and became man. The Annunciation is the Betrothal of Christ to His Bride. How appropriate is it that we celebrate this feast shortly before Good Friday each year and this year on the First Sunday of the Bridegroom! On the day we celebrate the humility of the Bridgroom, we celebrate the humility of the Mother!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Arise Arise And Utter A Canticle!

Today in the Eastern Rites is Akathist Saturday. An Akathist is a type of hymn, consisting of a long series of various types of antiphons in a specific pattern. Akathists are chanted in praise of God, the Theotokos, the angels, or any saint. The Akathist to the Theotokos, commonly called simply the Akathist since it's by far the most famous, is the one chanted today. It speaks of the Theotokos' role in salvation by bearing the Savior Who offers Himself on the Cross. The Akathist is chanted on Friday nights (liturgically already a part of Saturday) during Great Lent. One quarter of it is chanted on each of the first four Fridays of Great Lent and the whole thing on the fifth Friday (last night, as a part of today). This practice is equivalent to having the Stations of the Cross on Friday nights in the Latin Rite-it's a basic thing that you can't do Lent without.

Since Akathists are the longest type of hymn the Church has, it's just put up pieces of it.


Kontakion 1:
"To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!"

O Immaculate Champion, thou dost command the Heavenly Host in battle as the champion woman of old didst command Israel's armies victoriously in battle! Arise, arise O Mary! Arise, arise and utter a canticle! Let thy children hear thy Magnificat to raise their fallen spirits on the battlefield that thy enemies might be crushed under thy sinless foot, O Guadalupe!

Monday, March 19, 2012

For Bridegrooms and Papa's

Role model for husbands, fathers, and men in general.
It takes quite a bit of sanctity to be the bridegroom of the
Theotokos.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rejoicing With Our Bridegroom

Christ the Nymphios (Bridgroom), Titular of this blog

IV Sunday of Lent - I Class

The Greeks celebrated Mid-Lent this past Wednesday. We Latins celebrate the same today, calling it Laetare Sunday, after the Mass of the day. Every Sunday we celebrate a weekly mini-Easter. At the half-way point of Lent, we do so in a more important way due to our fasting, taking a day to become joyful because we look upon our progress and how much closer we are to our goal.

The relationship between Mid-Lent and Easter is much like the relationship between receiving Communion and going to Heaven. In Heaven we are perfectly united with Christ the Bridegroom and see Him as He truly is. In the Eucharist, we have the same intimacy, but on a much lower level, according to the capacity of our mortal and feeble humanity. At Easter we celebrate the Resurrection in all its glory. At Mid-Lent we celebrate the same on a lower level, according to the capacity of our Lenten Fast. So today we are in a condition like unto receiving Holy Communion, the intimacy between Christ and His Bride. At Easter, we are in a condition like unto Heaven, Bridegroom and Bride together forever, Marriage having accomplished its end.

A damn sexy set of rose vestments

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Are We Doing?

via Fr. Z, comes Bp. Schneider's "Five Wounds" inflicted on Christ’s Mystical Body through our liturgy:

1. Mass versus populum.
2. Communion in the hand.
3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers.
4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form.
5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

The Eucharist is the intimacy between Christ and His Bride the Church. How much do we give ourselves to Him vs. how much do we focus on ourselves instead?


Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Worship Thy Passion O Christ


III Sunday of Lent

In most languages (English obviously not included) there is a very well developed gender system. Every word is either male, female, or neuter. Sometimes it is counter-intuitive. For example, the Portuguese word for "feminine" is male and the word for "pope" is female. One would think that because you have to be female to be feminine and male to be pope that the reverse would be true. But "feminine" is a male word and "pope" is a female word even if logic tells you otherwise. So it is with many truths about the Catholic Faith. Good things are good even when logic tells you otherwise. Evil things are evil even when logic tells you otherwise. All actions are either good or evil in and of themselves according to what faith says regardless of what the world's logic says. Sodomy is evil even if logic tells you otherwise. Abortion is evil even when logic tells you otherwise. Contraception is evil even when logic tells you otherwise.

In the Eastern Rites we today venerate the Holy Cross. The Cross is the contradiction of contradictions. The Cross is victory even when logic tells you it's defeat. The Cross is life-giving even when logic tells you it's life-taking. The Cross is the intimacy between Christ and His Bride the Church even when logic says the contrary. On the Cross Christ the Bridegroom gives Himself to the Father to nourish His Bride with the Father's love and through the Father Christ gives His entire self to His Bride, even His Very Body, which She receives in the Eucharist. That Particle the priest puts in your mouth is the Very Body of the Divine Bridegroom even when logic tells you otherwise. Christ denies charge authority over Himself and His Church and instead offers Himself and Her up to God for Her salvation. He empties Himself and becomes obedient unto death (Phil 2:6-11).

Marriage is an imitation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Anointed Bridegroom. Bridegroom and bride each give themselves to God that He might nourish the other through the one. God gives each to the other as nourishment unto life eternal and through each gives Himself to the other, for the love in each is not their own, but God's love moving through each of them to nourish the other. They each commend themselves to God for the sake of each other and through God they give everything to each other, even their very bodies, to nourish each other unto life eternal. This union is life-giving and the bride becomes mother just as the Church is mother. This is true even when all the reason and logic in the world says the contrary. Marriage is a living icon of the Crucifixion. Bridegroom and bride sacrifice themselves and are "crowned for each other" (as the Byzantine Rite ceremony says) as Christ was crowned with thorns for the sake of the Church. They deny authority over themselves and over each other and instead offer everything to the Father, for the love in them for each other is not their own, but the Father's. It is a love that is satisfied by nothing except the salvation of the other. It is a love where the one demands to be destroyed to be used to save the other. It is the love of Christ the Bridegroom and bridegroom and bride commend themselves to God to save each other just as Christ commended Himself into the Father's hands to save His Bride.

We bow before Thy Cross, O Lord, and we glorify Thy resurrection!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Modern Penitent; Pray for More of These

I love penitents. It's one of my basic characteristics. I have previously about St. Mary Magdalene, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Pelagia of Antioch, and St. Margaret of Cortona. The life of St. Mary of Egypt is a traditional read for Lent in the Eastern Rites, btw (hint, hint, wink, wink, go read it).

Now over at Catholic Sistas there is a story of a woman who went from this:
I spent most of my life doing whatever I wanted. From the age of 13 until 33 I had pretty much given myself control of my own life. I honestly believed that God was a merciful God and He would forgive me of anything I did, even if I didn’t humble myself and admit I was wrong with contrition. All of that was a foreign concept to me.

I stopped feeling shame for my promiscuity when I turned 30. At that point in my life I no longer felt that it was wrong for me to be sleeping with multiple partners at the same time, and according to my “counselor” at Planned Parenthood, who I saw once a month for STD testing, I was being responsible. Why? Because I was getting tested and I was sterilized so I couldn’t get pregnant. So allowing men to treat me like a toy to use for their pleasure was perfectly fine according to them. In fact, whenever I went in with one of the particular men that I was involved with, the clinic workers would flirt with him, never mind that he was bringing me in there to get tested for STD’s all while treating me like trash and talking to me with anything but dignity and respect. They still thought he was a catch.
to this:
We made our choice because we both realized that if we were going to be Catholic, if we were going to be married in the Church then we were going to do it right. All the way right, which meant doing whatever it was God wanted from us, and not taking it upon ourselves to do what we wanted all while saying we were Catholic. Being Catholic means more than just going to Mass, having envelopes, being a part of Parish activities, being on the Parish Council or any of that. Being Catholic means being obedient to God and His Church in all things, not just the teachings that we choose to follow.

[...]

I know what it is to do things my way, it never turns out good. I now know what it is to do things God’s way, and I have found nothing but peace following His Will. Stacey [her husband] and I will forever be grateful to Father Jonathan for never budging on the issue. It is by the Grace of God that we even made it into his office without being married by the JP. It is by the Grace of God that we have a great marriage and a great life. It is also the by the Grace of God that Fr J told us the truth, in love, and that we choose to be obedient to God’s Will. By His Grace, Stacey and I made Jesus the Lord of our Sexuality. Thanks be to God.
Do go there and read her whole story. And above all, pray for more women to repent of their sins. We need many more penitents like this. We need more conversions to proclaim the glory of the truth about love, sex, and marriage and it's nature as being an imitation of Christ the Bridegroom.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Re-Learning What Marriage Even Is In the First Place

 An Eastern Wedding Crown. This one (with
its icon of the Theotokos) is for the bride.
The bridegroom's crown has an icon of Christ.

Marriage is not about emotion-sodomites do that too. Marriage is not about making an agreement to take care of each other for the rest of your lives-sodomites do that too. Marriage is not about procreation-people do that outside marriage. Marriage is about sacrificing yourself to God so He can use you to get your beloved to Heaven. That cannot be accomplished unless you give yourself to God to live as He created you to live instead of living the way you want to live. When we pretend that marriage is something it isn't, that opens the door for sodomy and every manner of immorality to be tolerated as if it were good. The marriage debate isn't about who is allowed to marry who but rather what marriage even is to begin with. Marriage is a Divine Institution, a Sacrament, not a human institution. Marriage is not about making people happy, but about getting people to Heaven. Pray that God raises up saints to defend this truth of the Catholic Faith.