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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Behold the Lamb of God

A voice cries out to the sinner:

Come O Sinner and receive the Precious and Holy Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Be filled with the Divine Fire of His Love given to thee through His Sacred Flesh. Come O Sinner and live the life for which thou wert created. Cast off the empty life of sin in which thou hast mired thyself and give thyself to the Divine Love for which thou wert created, created to be in It, created to live It, created to show It. The partaking of the Holy Mysteries of Christ is meant to be a blessing, but thou O Sinner hast spent thy whole life in in sin and empty pleasure, so unless thou dost cleave those sins from thyself in Holy Confession, thou dost eat and drink judgement upon thyself2 by partaking of the Sacred Mysteries. Approach with fear of God and with faith3, casting off thy empty life and being filled with the Fire of God's Love. Deny thyself and take up thy cross4, otherwise thou canst not be called a follower of Christ. Behold the priest, standing in the place of St. Zossima, offering salvation to the sinner. St. Mary of Egypt ran off into loose living and proclaimed that to be her whole life. All the while, the Love of God knew the true purpose for which she was created and waited for her to return. When she attempted to return, her entrance into the Church was barred until she has repented of her whole life of sin, whereupon she was welcomed with open arms amidst the joyous celebrations of the angels. Arise, arise O Sinner! Cast off thy sins and be filled with the Love of God, that the whole world may see His Divine Love through thee for that is the purpose for which thou wert created. Arise, arise and utter a canticle! Arise from the empty pleasure of thy sins and live the life for which thou wert created, showing forth Divine Love!

1Formula for Communion, Divine Liturgy
21 Cor 11:29
3Prayers before Communion, Divine Liturgy
4Mt 16:24

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

She Who Has Been Helping Us Always and Always Will Forever

Icon of the Theotokos of the Passion (Our Lady of
Perpetual Help), whose feast we celebrate today.
She is a special patroness to me as today is my birthday.

O thou who dost console thy Son in His sufferings, teach us to join thee in consoling Him. For, if thou hast a duty to console Him as His Mother, we have a greater duty to console Him as the ones who commit the sins that cause Him so much anguish and suffering. O thou who dost console thy Son, grieved by our sins, console us too, grieved the same foul sins of ours. O thou who dost perpetually aid thy Son in the undeserved sufferings caused by our sin, aid us too in the sufferings we have justly brought upon ourselves by our irresponsible and self-centered sins. Fill us with the love of thy son, the same love we have been rejecting from Him for so long, that we at long last may be joined to Him. Console thy Son with the knowledge that we, His Beloved Bride, repent of our sins, which have grieved Him so much, and wish to finally return to His loving embrace. Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Voice of the Word, Lamp of the Light, and Best Man of the Bridegroom

Some antiphons from Byzantine Rite Vespers for the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Forerunner, Prophet and Baptist, John:
When John was born, the silence of Zecharias was broken. For when the Voice appeared, it was not proper that his father remain silent. Just as disbelief bound the tongue of the father, so now the appearance of John frees him. Having revealed himself, he preaches good tidings to all. The Forerunner of Light and the Voice of the Word is born, and he prays for the salvation of our souls.

Today the Voice of the Word frees his father's voice which was lost through disbelief, and he reveals the blessed posterity of the Church by loosing his mother's bond of barrenness. The Lamp preceding the Light appears; the star proclaims the coming of the Sun of Justice Who is the restoration of all and the salvation of our souls.
St. John the Baptist has a very profound participation in Christ's three-fold munus of Priest, Prophet and King. St. John is the son of a temple priest, St. Zacharias, and thus is himself a priest. St. John is the greatest and last prophet (not the pseudo-prophet Muhammad as very misguided people claim). St. John is the Forerunner of Christ the King, heralding His coming and commanding that all people prepare a path for their Divine King. As the Holy Forerunner, St. John is the Best Man of Christ the Bridegroom, described by Christ as the "greatest born of woman". It is noteworthy how the Byzantine tradition gives St. John the title of "Voice of the Word" in his capacity as Forerunner of the Lord and that it was only when the Voice appeared that St. Zacharias' tongue was loosed and he was able to speak again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How To Be A Father

Today here in the US it is Father's Day, so I'll say a word about fatherhood, although this is just as true about motherhood. A child is not loved when his father has accepted what he wants to do with his life, but rather when his father has sacrificed himself to get his child to Heaven. Parenthood is a sacrifice of yourself to God that He might use you to get your children to Heaven. Parenthood is not a confirmation of your children in their desires nor is it about making them happy; it's about sacrificing yourself to get them to Heaven. It is a natural off-shoot of marriage, which is likewise a sacrifice of yourself to God for Him to use you to get your spouse to Heaven; not some sort of contract or compromise nor about making each other happy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

He Loves Us

Today, Christ the Bridegroom reaches out to put His arms around His Ecclesial Bride and says, "Come into My Heart. I'll pull you in with My Arms. You broke a hole in My Heart with your sins. Now enter into It by that same hole. Rest inside My Heart and My Blood will wash You clean. You will be pure again. I love you."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Patron Saint of Weddings

St. Anthony of Lisbon
Marriage, as if it wasn't obvious enough, is central to this blog. Today is the feast of an important patron of marriage. Well, St. Anthony of Lisbon is patron saint of couples wanting to conceive. The logic is quite simple: he has a baby, so lets ask him for one. St. Anthony's feastday is an always popular day for weddings in Portugal, with couples praying that St. Anthony will bless them with plenty of children. We are all well aware of the problems that the Sacrament of Marriage faces these days. Marriage is the sacrifice of yourself to God that He might use you to get your beloved to Heaven. Marriage is not about being happy or doing this or that with your life. It's about getting your spouse to Heaven. Period. Anything else is a fraud. We need Catholics who are not afraid to speak up and defend marriage regardless of how much they are putting themselves at risk. Not only is St. Anthony the patron of weddings and everything related thereto, but he is also patron of preachers, making him a doubly important intercessor for the dignity of Marriage in the life-less world in which we find ourselves.

St. Anthony's Tongue
St. Anthony's Jaw
St. Anthony's Skeleton

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Show Forgiveness & Pray for More Priests

II Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel: Mt 4:18-23 [Call of Peter, James, and John]-Byzantine Rite

Let us forgive one another because getting each other to Heaven is more important. What reason is there to be angry? Christ has already sacrificed Himself on the cross for the forgiveness of those same sins. Christ wants to forgive them because having them in Heaven is more important to Him than giving them the severe punishment that is meet and just for their crimes against Him, which all fairness demands be given them. He wants them in Heaven so much that He sacrificed Himself for them after they completely rejected His love. The repaid Him hatred for His love, but he turned to prayer offered for them (cf. Ps. 108:4). If you do not love in this way, how can you be considered obedient to Christ or His Church? The atonement for their sins has already been accomplished. What reason is there not to forgive? We forgive our debtors because getting them to Heaven is more important. Even if they don't want to be with us or with God, we still forgive them and pray for them because getting them to Heaven is more important. Sacrificing ourselves to get others to Heaven is the entirety of the Catholic Faith. The satisfaction for their sins has already been accomplished on the cross. We just need to deny our grudges against one another to follow Christ and love as He loves.

The world does not know the love of God because there is no one to show it to them. Even in the Church, there is no one to show it to them, because most people are only interested in what is emotionally meaningful or are afraid to offend other people, so the love of God isn't lived and is often dismissed as "out-dated" or "judgmental". Pray for more priests; men that will leave everything, their families, all their possessions, all their pleasures and grudges to follow Christ; to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (the very sacrifice of Calvary) in atonement for their own sins and those of the Church, to give the same forgiveness of Christ in confession, and to teach the faithful to live that same love, that the whole world may know the Love of God.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Open to Me, My Sister, My Bride

Christ and His Bride

Today we worship the Sacred Intimacy between Christ and His Bride the Church. He gives His entire self to Her, even His Very Body, for Her good: to get Her to Heaven. In the same way, She gives Her entire self to Him for His good: the spread of His Divine and Immortal Kingdom. He gives Himself to Her and She gives Herself to Him. She, by consuming Him, is taken into Him and the Two become One Flesh; One Holy, Immortal, Precious, and Life-Giving Flesh. She becomes so united to Him that there cannot be any separation of the Two; they are One Flesh. She broke a hole in His Heart by Her sins, now She enters by that same hole and rests in Him, His blood washing Her clean. It really is beautiful how we have these three feasts in succession: Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart, and Precious Blood. It is the union of Christ the Bridegroom and His Ecclesial Bride. He breaks Himself over Her to be Her protection and sustenance and She breaks Herself under Him to support Him in His work. This is the source of all marriage. Every legitimate marriage that ever existed is either a prefigurement of this or an echo. The Sacrament of Marriage and the sacrifice of the marriage bed are an imitation of this. If the marital sacrifice is not an imitation of this, then that is what renders it lustful and a sin-and it doesn't matter if you're married or not; to use your spouse for lust is the worst insult you could give your spouse. Let us look to Christ and the Church. That is how we are to act; that is what we are to imitate.

Here is the sequence for this most solemn feast. I can't remember if the translation is my own or if I found it online, I've had it for so long:

Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
Christ, your king and shepherd true:
Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow, 
Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
Is the quickening and the living
Bread today before you set:
From his hands of old partaken,
As we know, by faith unshaken,
Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
From your heart let praises burst:
For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law's new oblation,
By the new king's revelation,
Ends the form of ancient rite:
Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be done,
in His memory:
And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
To his precious blood the wine:
Sight has failed, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
Resting on a power divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
Sign, not things are all we see:
Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
Christ is whole to all that taste:
Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.
Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe 'tis spoken,
That each severed outward token
doth the very whole contain.

Naught the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides
Jesus still the same abides,
still unbroken does remain.

Lo! the angel's food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
See the children's bread from heaven,
which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesus, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heavenly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be.
Amen.  Alleluia.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sacred Heart Novena Begins Today

The Heart of Jesus lies broken by the sins of His Bride the Church. He calls out to Her
to enter His Heart by the hole She broke in it to rest therein and His Blood will wash
Her clean. He will be over Her as Her protector and She will be under Him, supporting
Him in His sacrifice for Her sake.

Novena prayer:

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore Thee, I love Thee and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer Thee this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Thy will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in Thee and for Thee. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Thy blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Within Thy Heart I place my every care. In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust saying, Heart of Jesus help me.