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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thine Own Of Thine Own...

Tvoya ot Tvoih Tebe prinosyashche o sveh i za vsya.

Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Regarding Marriage Ceremonies And Which Words Confer the Sacrament

Over at Glory to God For All Things, (w/ a h/t to The Raven) Fr. Stephen Freeman has a post about the lack of vows in the Byzantine Marriage ceremony. Marriage is the sacrifice of yourself to God for the sake of your spouse. In the Byzantine Rite of Crowning, bridegroom and bride never speak to one another, rather they offer themselves to God for each other and the priest, through the various actions made famous by "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", offers them to God and he himself joins them together. They do not interact, rather it is the priest, who acts in the person of Christ, that joins them together.

This is contrasted with the secular notion in the West that the essential act is not the priest, but rather vows that the couple speaks to one another. Fr. Stephen goes on about the Western myth that marriage is some kind of contract or covenant (thus allowing any two people of any gender to enter into one), clarifying that it is really a sacrificial union accomplished by God, and as such, they can only enter into such a union if God created them such that they "fit together" (and at the same time He actually wills them to be together, for He creates the union and not they themselves). In short, Fr. Stephen says that the East is correct and accurate because it has the priest, representing Christ, joining the couple together, without them interacting with each other, (their interaction being with God for the sake of each other) and that the West is inaccurate since it reduces one of the 7 Mysteries to a man-made contract by having an exchange of consent between two "parties" be the establishing factor of the marriage, opening the door for all sorts of immorality to call itself marriage.

Now, to be fair to the West, the Tridentine Rite ceremony does not have "vows" the way the West understands them as "contractual promises made in an exchange between the parties". Sure, the rubrics allow them to be done, but they are in no way essential and are not the part that confers the sacrament. The idea that "vows" are necessary and even confer the sacrament is a very recent idea that became popular after the Novus Ordo made these "vows" mandatory-the Tridentine Rite has always conferred the sacrament by the priest's words and the "vows" were always optional. The priest was removed as the central focus and replaced by the couple. In other words, the NO took up the actions already practiced by the God-less secular world.

The actual "form" of the sacrament is the declaration by the priest, joining them together: "I join you in Holy Matrimony in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen". This formula, like all sacramental formulas in the Tridentine Rite, must be in Latin. The rest of the ceremony (the not as essential parts) may be in the vernacular. First, the priest questions the consent of each and the formula in Latin then confers the sacrament. Actual "vows" spoken to each other being optional. The only time the bridegroom speaks to the bride is when he gives her the wedding ring (which comes next). The bride never speaks to the bridegroom at all. They don't interact with each other (except when giving the ring), rather they interact with the priest. The ceremony finishes with the priest saying some prayers for the couple and Mass (a normal Mass) immediately follows the ceremony.

It, like the Eastern ceremony, is an accurate depiction of what marriage really is: a sacrifice of yourself to God for the sake of each other. You do not join yourselves together; God joins you together. The words spoken by the priest declaring you married is what makes you married, for the priest acts in the person of Christ in all the sacraments. Consent is not a part of the form, it is a part of the matter, namely a consenting man and a consenting woman. Hence, the West has always required proof of consent by way of the priest's questions. It is similar to the act of contrition in Confession, the matter is a contrite sinner, not a sinner, so the existence of contrition must be established for the priest to say the form ("I absolve you..."). Marriage works the same way, at least in the Latin Church.

The idea that exchange of consent confers the sacrament is a recent, invalid, secular notion. It removes God from the action and reduces a sacrament to a contract, which was precisely Fr. Stephen's grievance in the first place. It is just as absurd as saying that the act of contrition confers the Sacrament of Penance. No it doesn't. Even in the NO, the priest's declaration that couple is married confers the sacrament (similar to the priest-according to any rite-declaring that "This is my Body" makes bread Flesh), the consent being akin to the act of contrition as above. The problem is thinking that the establishment of consent (which doesn't ever require the couple to speak to each other) confers the sacrament. That creates an idea that "marriage" is something we create ourselves on our terms when it's really something God creates on His terms, hence why the Byzantine ceremony is a more accurate depiction of the sacrament: it lacks any interaction between the couple and instead puts the focus on them giving themselves to God for each other.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ven. Fulton Sheen of the Melkite Church

The Venerable Hierarch Fulton J. Sheen of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church:

He had bi-ritual Melkite-Latin faculties. Images of him celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass as a bishop are very well known and easy to find online. Here is his miter on display in Peoria:

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Holy Penitent and Inspiration for Conversions Today

22 July
Feast of the Holy Penitent, Myrrhbearer, and Equal-to-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene

Troparion, Tone 1
By keeping His commandments and laws, holy Mary Magdalene, / you followed Christ, Who for our sake was born of the Virgin, / and in celebrating your most holy memory today, / we receive forgiveness of sins by your prayers.

Kontakion, Tone 3
Standing before the Cross of the Savior, / Suffering with the Mother of the Lord, / The most glorious Mary Magdalene offered praise with tears. / She cried out: What is this strange wonder? / He who holds the whole creation in His hand chooses to suffer: / Glory, O Lord to Your power!

Friday, July 19, 2013

There is Only One Love, For There is Only One God

On this day, we pray to Thee, O Christ the Divine Bridegroom, that the couples that Thou dost call to the Mystery of Crowning might become Icons of Thy Holy Union with Thy Bride, the Church. That every bridegroom might stand up manfully and be a protector and provider over his bride, taking the responsibility of leading her to heaven. That every bride might stand as a lady by her bridegroom, as his helper and support under him, offering to God the sacrifice of obedience to her bridegroom to get him to heaven. That they will give everything of themselves to each other, even their very bodies, to bring each other to Heaven and comfort each other in the turbulent sea of this life. We pray that Thou, O Immortal King, will raise up Godly couples to shatter the false idols of lust in the world today, those diverse and countless false notions of "love", and raise up on high Divine Love, the Divine Love who dost appear as Unquenchable and All-Conquering Fire, the Giver of Life who creates new life in the same union of such couples unto His own glory, the Divine Love in which they offer themselves for each other, the Divine Love in which Thou didst offer Thyself on the Holy and Life-giving Cross for Thy Bride, the Divine Love with which Thou wast anointed O Christ, to be worshiped and adored with Thee and the Father as One Holy, Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Undivided Trinity, always, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rejecting Childish Philosophy for Full-Grown Virtue

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Right-Believing, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Vladimir the Great, Grand Prince of Kyiv.

Troparion, Tone 4:
Thou wast like a merchant that seeketh a beautiful pearl, O glorious sovereign Vladimir, sitting on the height of the throne of the mother of cities, God-protected Kyiv. Searching and sending to the Imperial City to know the Christian Faith, thou didst find Christ, the priceless Pearl, Who chose thee as a second Paul, and Who did shake off thy spiritual and physical blindness in the holy font. Wherefore, we who are thy people celebrate thy falling asleep. Pray that thy Ukrainian land be saved, and that Christian people be granted peace and great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 8:
Like the great Apostle Paul, O most glorious Vladimir, in old age thou didst leave off all zeal for idols as a childish sophism, and as a full-grown man thou wast adorned with the royal purple of Divine Baptism. And now as thou standest in joy in the presence of Christ the Savior, pray that thy Ukrainian land be saved and that Christian people be granted peace and great mercy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Holy Queen

Icon of Our Holy Venerable Mother Crowned by God Elizabeth the Peacemaker, Apostle of the Holy Ghost.
Today (in the Latin Rite) we celebrate the falling asleep of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. She was the consort of King Denis "the Farmer", who reigned as King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1279-1325. During her time as Queen, she was known for her piety and her alms for the poor. She would often bring them bread, carrying it in the folds of her royal dress. Her husband, opposed to the practice, tried to stop her and on one occasion, when he ordered her to open her dress, roses fell out.

She would invite the poor into the palace too feed them and would let some of the children wear her crown, using this as an opportunity to promote devotion to the Divine Holy Ghost, the work for which she is still best remembered. The feasts of the Holy Ghost, with distribution of sweet bread and the crowning of children, still takes place today, mostly in the Azores and the Azorean diaspora. The main symbols of the devotion are the Holy Ghost flag and crown. Upon the death of her husband, she made peace between her sons, who were fighting for the throne, and retired to a monastery in Coimbra, where she is buried.

My Statue of St. Elizabeth and Holy Ghost Flag.

A Holy Ghost Crown.

A Holy Ghost Procession in the Azores.

High Altar where St. Elizabeth is buried.

Msgr. Bux celebrating High Mass at the tomb
of St. Elizabeth in Coimbra.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thou Art Black But Beautiful

Thou art black, O Sinner, because of thy sins. Sin has become a part of thee and thee a part of sin. Thou art separated from God by sin. Yet thou art still beautiful for thou art still loved and the Love of God still persists and He who survives His own death and has power over life and death sacrifices Himself for thee, enduring thy sins and the pain they cause as a penance for thee that by his wounds, thou might be healed and everything in thee contrary to Him might be removed from thee. Divine Love exists as a singularity, as One God, as a Single Trinity, with distinction of persons but without division and He loves thee as a whole and by His Nature wills to possess thee as a whole and sacrifices Himself for Thee that all that is in thee contrary to Him might be removed and thou be joined to Him, and belong to Him whole and without spot, living in simplicity and majesty as an icon of His Love and great mercy for the world.

Thou wast created by God to live in His Love but thou hast instead sinned and separated thyself from Him. But He raises thee from the dead by enduring the pain of thy sins to remit thy sins and raises thee to new life that thou might live in Him undefiled and glorify Him by proclaiming His Love and by proclaiming in the restoration of thy purity His great mercy for the world.

The bee was created to give honey, but instead has stung, and died when she stung, according to the manner of bees. But she will be yet raised from the dead for the Lord's glory and shall give her honey and shall arise and utter a canticle for the glory of the Lord praising His Love and great mercy for the world.

Nigra sum, sed formosa,
Filiae Jerusalem.
Ideo dilexit me Rex,
Et introduxit me in cubiculum suum.
Et dixit mihi:
“Surge, amica mea, et veni,
Jam hiems transiit, imber abiit et recessit
Flores apparuerunt in terrat nostra,
Tempus putationis advenit.”

I am black, but beautiful,
O Daughters of Jerusalem.
Therefore the King has loved me,
And he has brought me into his chamber
And said to me:
“Arise, my friend, and come,
For winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
The flowers have appeared in our land,
The time of pruning is come.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

This is Why Sex is Good

Sex is good. Why is sex good? Because it was created by God as a carnal expression of Divine Love; the participation of the body in the sacrifice of yourself to God to unite your spouse to God, which serves as the environment in which God can create new life. Bridegroom and bride sacrifice themselves to God to bring each other to Heaven (this being done in the Nuptial Rite), then, already belonging to God for the sake of each other, they give everything of themselves to each other to bring each other to Heaven. Why should the body participate in that sacrifice? To make it a more complete sacrifice of yourself, giving your spouse even your very body, and also so that God has a means with which to create new life among humanity. The Holy Eucharist is the carnal intimacy between Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride, the Church. When we receive His Flesh, we become joined to Him (that's the whole point of receiving Communion). When a bride receives her bridegroom, she becomes one flesh with him, as God's instruments for taking care of each other in a union that serves as an icon of Christ and the Church and as the environment where God can create new life.

When sex is emptied of Divine Love, it is emptied of its purpose and becomes complete vanity: treated as an act of pleasure, it is used contrary to its purpose and becomes physical pleasure for it's own sake. Since the Devil hates the union of Christ and the Church, since it is the only means for salvation, he wants nothing more than to separate sex from it's purpose and reduce it to an act of pleasure.