Friday, July 27, 2007

Tantum Ergo

The church I go to has a holy hour every Friday from 4-5pm. It would be fantastic if I could go to all of it, but because of work that is not possible. Still, the Lord has blessed me with being able to make it to the last 10 minutes, where the Tantum Ergo is sung. I love this and feel very blessed to get to sit for 10 minutes with the Lord and then sing my adoration of him.

I decided to add this beautiful piece to my page. It's a shame I don't have a recording of it, but this way you can all sing it yourselves :)

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
For those who are curious what this means in English, here is the popular translation. Wiki had the exact translation, but it is similar enough and this is very beautiful:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Mass Explained

As I said in my last post, I've been listening to The Mass Explained by Fr Larry Richards. It's great. There was very little new information, given that I've read the books by Scott Hahn's and Mike Aquilina's. However, he didn't talk as much about why we did the Mass the way we do, but what it meant to God and what it should mean to us.

I'm not going to quote the whole CD (although I have notes from it all), but I would like to share some of the things that really struck home for me.

Abraham was told by God the Father, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and give him to me." And Abraham goes and does that. He's walking up the hill and Isaac says to him, "Father, here is the wood and here is the fire, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?" And Abraham pronounces something which is prophecy, "God himself will provide the lamb." ...

At the top of the mountain he ties up his son and goes to offer him up. What is happening at this moment is that all the other Baals and gods of these other people said, "to prove you love me give up your children to me." And they sacrificed their children. When Abraham was told to do that by God he was thinking, "Ok, you're just like all the other gods."

But see what happens, right when Abraham is ready to kill his son, God says, "Don't you dare! Abraham, don't give up your son to prove your love for me. Abraham, I will give up my Son, to prove my love for you!" And that's what happens at every Mass.
I knew this, I really did, but I suppose I'd never really thought about how this was God's Son, His only Son, whom He Loves.
Do you know what it cost Jesus to give us the Mass? It cost Him His life. To give us the Mass it cost Him His life. If we are truly going to enter into any Mass, it must cost us our lives... We don't go to Mass to see what we can get. We go to Mass to die and to rise again...
In the fourth century it was a crime punishable by death to be caught at the Mass...All these Christians are being killed just because they are going to Mass. So finally the Emperor asks some Christians, "Why don't you just stop going to Mass." And this is what they say, "Christians make the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Christian. Without the Eucharist, we cannot live."

They're saying, "we can't be alive, we can't live, we can't be Christian without the Eucharist. I would rather die then not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament"

...Can we say that ourselves? Can we say, "I cannot live without the Eucharist."?

We must go to every Mass as if it's our first Mass, our last Mass and our only Mass...
Can I say that? The God of the universe gets down, on his hands and knees and to wash us clean and I wonder whether the floor will make my knees dirty. Our Lord has the audacity to humble himself and become food for us, while I have the audacity to be distracted and bored. Lord, grant me the ability to truly know and love you in the Blessed Sacrament. Teach me to love you in the mass.
I offer up my whole life at the offertory so that I may be transformed into Christ...

When you're one with Jesus, you're one with everyone else...You know the person next to you right now? That person, if you make it to heaven, you're going to love that person more than anyone else on this earth. And if they make it their going to love you the same way...Heaven is the place where God will love us, we'll love each other and we'll love him, intimately, forever. Heaven is about love and at every Mass we get to experience that reality.

When he sends you forth, it means "Go forth!" Go forth and be Christ to the world now, go and make disciples of all nations... Go forth and show the reality that you've just received the God of the universe and now you will be the presence of God by being his tabernacle to the world.
How many times have I received Jesus and run out the door? How often I've been afraid to talk to someone, afraid to say hi, afraid to have the wrong words. How often I've been afraid to love, even after seeing how much God loves me. Oh Lord, help me to learn to love as you love so that I may bring your love to the world. Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Heaven on Earth

Lately I've been coming across a so much information on the Mass; it seems the Lord is opening my eyes to the beauty of the Mass and I'm eating it up.

I grew up Catholic and we tended to go every Sunday, but I always thought the Mass was boring, although I did enjoy the songs. I knew that there was a problem when we missed it when we were traveling, but I generally didn't mind. When in college I went because I knew it was necessary, but I also missed it quite frequently, like when I "accidentally" slept in.

For several years now I've been researching the Catholic faith and with that has come, in bits and pieces, knowledge and understanding of the Mass. I learned that the Eucharist was indeed Christ Jesus and to receive him in a state of mortal sin was worse than the sin itself. I learned that we actually read the Bible at Mass, and the Mass is Biblical in nature. I know that sounds silly, but there was a time when I thought the most Biblical thing about the Mass was when we sung On Eagle's Wings.

During this time I remember thinking how I was "finding the Mass." I was learning "so much" about it and I would think there couldn't possibly be more. This past year the Lord has shown me that he was just building the foundation.

First he sent me The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn. I knew the Bible was read at Mass and that the Eucharistic Prayers were from the Gospels, but I had no clue how much more was. I was shocked to learn that almost the entire mass was in Revelation, although it seems On Eagle's Wings is missing...

Then the Lord sent The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilia. I love this book! While Scott Hahn's looks at the Biblical record, this book looked at the Early Christian historical records. Here is a passage from this book that especially struck me,

In the third century, the Cappadocian Bishop Firmilian spoke of regional differences in the liturgy, but also acknowledged a common core that his North African colleague, St. Cyprian, could recognize. In Egypt, St. Clement of Alexandria referred to rules, or "canons," for the proper celebration of Mass. By the middle of that century, disciplinary manuals known as "Church orders," such as the Didascalia, offered copious legislation concerning the liturgy. All the evidence indicates that certain prayers - such as the "Holy, holy, holy" and the dialogue proceeding from "Lift up your hearts" - were almost universal by the middle of the third century, though probably much earlier.
"What's the big deal," you might ask, "you already knew it was from the Bible, which is far earlier." Yes, but many Christians find all kinds of things in the Bible, that doesn't make it necessarily true. Knowing you could support the Mass biblically was fascinating, but no more than an amusing parlor trick to me. Finding out that the part of the Mass I found most robotic and dull was something Christians have been saying every day for 1,800 years or more completely floored me.

I know I must sound like a complete dork by now, but then I came across two wonderful CD's. The first was by Michael Barber called Unlocking the Book of Revelation. It was distributed by Lighthouse Catholic Media. It seemed to be along the same lines as Scott Hahn's book, but somehow hearing it made it more real that reading it, perhaps it's just a psychological effect.

Then today a friend loaned me this wonderful CD by Fr Larry Richards called The Mass Explained. I loved it, not so much because it told me new stuff about the mass, I have that foundation now, but for the spiritual side of it. What is means to be kneeling before Jesus on the altar, to know He is God and you are not.

Since it is getting late, I'll post tomorrow about some of the things Fr Richard's talked about in his talk on the Mass.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have this coworker, I'll call him 'Bob'. Bob comes from a family of very smart people, yet this intelligence gene skipped him, as he's told me. Now, my observations of Bob tell me that he is not stupid. He just tends to not think about something before asking, again and again. Up until this week it's been OK, I did learn the material faster and I answered his questions patiently. Lately, however, I've been getting really short with him. Today I was really bad...

Bob: I found this error in the file.
Me: Yes you are looking for errors in the file.
Bob: What do I do with it?
Me: The same thing you've done with all the others.
Bob: But it's in my file.
Me: AND?!? This is the same question you've asked a dozen times!
Bob: whispers apologies and creeps off to his desk with a confused look.

Fast forward to tonight, I go to see my spiritual director and I mention how I'm nervous about finding a new apartment. Will I find a place to live in time? What if I don't realize it's the right place? He tells me to repeat over and over "Jesus, I trust in you." As I'm saying it a dialogue comes to mind...

Me: Jesus I trust in you, but I'm afraid I won't find a new apartment in time.
Jesus: Didn't I provide the place you are currently living in?
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if I'm too picky?
Jesus: You were picky last time, yet I provided you with a place.
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if I don't realize it's the right place?
Jesus: You understood my will with moving down here and with the job you're at now.
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if...
Jesus: How many times will you question me before you trust me?
Me: Probably several dozen or so.
Jesus: You mean a couple dozen or so times more than Bob's asked you about that error?
Me: Oh...

Yes, I've been testing the Lord again and again. Practically every day I question whether or not the Lord will provide for me when he has so many times before. Now I sit here complaining about a coworker who is asking questions. I'm allowed to repeatedly question, but he is not?

If the Lord can show so much patience with me, should I not also be patient with those around me? Lord, please give me the grace to be patient with others as you've been patient with me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pray, but row to shore

I've heard it said, if you are stuck in a sinking boat you need to pray, but also row to shore. Don't sit in the boat while it sinks, row like mad. But also don't think that you'll get there on your own power, pray like mad too.

I'm still looking for a home. I went to Craigslist, the local newspaper, looked at the local apartment complexes. I even posted a couple ads, I know the Lord has something in mind and I'm trying to do my part; I'm trying to row that boat to shore.

But then I wonder if I am being too picky. I know there is some things I can't budge on (like price), but maybe I shouldn't be as picky about living alone, should I be bringing my cat down, would a basement and mold be so bad? Surely living in the worst part of town wouldn't be that's not like this is Chicago.

Yet so far, every place I've seen an ad for makes me nervous. When I found my sublet it was immediate "That's the place!" Lord, please give me that same prompting when I come across the ad for the place where you want me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Trust in the Lord

Why is it so difficult to trust in the Lord, even when he has done so much to provide recently?

When things became difficult at home, He provided me with a friends and a spiritual director who guided me to stay in this town. When I could no longer stay at my friends house, He provided me with a sublet which I could afford. When I began to wonder if I would ever find a job, he provided me with a great one. And when things became hideous at home, He brought back my spiritual director when I needed him most.

Now, as I sit fretting over a permanent home, I keep reminding myself that He has brought me this far and knows what I need to stay, and if it's His will that I stay (as it appears to be) then He will provide. If it's not...then I go where He leads me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I've been excommunicated!

The society of St Leo I has official declared me a heretic...although one could hardly hope for a more beautiful and poetic (once the spelling errors were fixed) declaration of heresy.

Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us in binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive them and all their accomplices and all their abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate them from the society of all Christians, we exclude them from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare them excommunicated and anathematized and we judge them condemned to eternal fire with Satan and all his angels and all the reprobate, so long as they will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver them to Satan to mortify their bodies, that their souls may be saved on the day of judgment.

I've now been declared anathema along with several other great...I mean evil...bloggers. I definitely recommend reading through their blogs to hear of all the heresies present in the Church today! I'm now required by the group to post the Anathema Sit badge on my blog to show my contrite nature and warn others of the heresy present on this page. It has also been recommended that I find a pillar to take up residence in for penance...although I've been having difficulty finding one in the area.