Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amazon’s FREE Virgin Mary Book Give-Away Starts Today | Courageous Priest

Amazon’s FREE Virgin Mary Book Give-Away Starts Today | Courageous Priest

Click the above link to get a free Kindle edition of a new book on the Immaculate Conception published by the creators of the Courageous Priest blog. It is free, so you have nothing to lose! If you don't have a Kindle or the Kindle app for iPhone, you can simply download a free Kindle software to your PC or Mac, or use the online Kindle Cloud Reader. In other words, this won't cost you a penny to start enjoying this new book. Check it out!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The "O" Antiphons

Father Z describes the "O" Antiphons as, "short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55......The Magnificat is sung during Vespers, evening prayer. The O Antiphons begin on 17 December, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (24 December). The seventh and last antiphon is sung at Vespers on 23 December. They are called the "O Antiphons" because they all begin with the letter-word "O": they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles. They are fervent prayers asking Our Lord to come to us."  (

As usual, I'm always late with these sort of things (seeing as how it is already December 21 before posting this).  Perhaps you could do a retroactive meditation on these antiphons to catch up, and then finish them through December 23. 

The O Antiphons: 17 December O Sapientia
LATIN: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 18 December O Adonai
LATIN: O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.. ENGLISH: O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

The O Antiphons: 19 December O Radix Jesse
LATIN: O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare. ENGLISH: O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 20 December O Clavis David
LATIN: O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris. ENGLISH: O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and lead forth the captive who sits in the shadows from his prison.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 21 December O Oriens
LATIN: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis. ENGLISH: O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 22 December O Rex Gentium
LATIN: O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti. ENGLISH: O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

The O Antiphons: 23 December O Emmanuel
LATIN: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster. ENGLISH: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

17 Dec O Sapientia.jpg (186125 bytes)

Follow the link to Father Z's blog ( if you want to listen to chants, see relevant Scripture passages, and see some reflections for each day. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


St. Ambrose the silent reader

You may have heard me mention this before, but one of the best resources for Catholic education is  This is St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology started up by Dr. Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina.  I have found it to be a great resource to take free online courses (including audio lecture courses), and download dozens of free talks on various topics.  There is also a resource library containing many great links that are very informative.  So if you don't have this website bookmarked, do it now!  Here are the places that I recommend you visit frequently:

The last link (other audio resources) is where I recently discovered a radio conversation on St. Ambrose that I found very interesting.  Mike Aquilina was the guest and was discussing the life of St. Ambrose.  I'm in the process of listening to the other audio files on the saints that are listed on that webpage, but the discussion on St. Ambrose was intriguing.  I highly recommend listening to it, as I found a new appreciation for St. Ambrose.  Click HERE for the specific link to this St. Ambrose discussion. 

Here are some fun facts that Mike Aquilina brought up about Ambrose:
  • In his day, bishops were often chosen by the popular consensus of the people.  He was chosen to the episcopate for Milan, Italy at the age of 35 before he was even baptized!  He was only a catechumen studying Christianity at the time (it was often common for people to delay their baptism's until later in life during his day).  Therefore, he received the grand slam of sacraments (baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, and ordained as a bishop) all in succession.  He reigned from 374-397 taking the place of an Arian bishop and restoring orthodoxy to his diocese.  
  • Due to his being a recent convert when becoming bishop, he is quoted as saying, (paraphrasing) "I am teaching you what I am still learning myself!".  This did not stop him from becoming one of the greatest minds of the Church (when the Holy Spirit says you are ready, I guess you are ready....). 
  • He was a fierce opponent of Arianism (which denied that Christ was divine).
  • He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church from the Latin West (along with St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great). 
  • When the printing press was invented around 1440, the writings of St. Ambrose were one of the most printed works (despite the fact that he had been dead for over a millenium).  In fact, you can still find some of his writings HERE (he is the third person down the list).  In the discussion that Mike Aquilina has on the radio show, he stated that of all the early fathers of the Church, Ambrose was one of the easiest to read as he was known for keeping things very simple and straightforward.     
  • He was considered to be one of the great hymn writers of his day.  In keeping with his reputation of keeping things simple, his hymns were noted for being simple so that lay people could sing along.  He was one of the forerunners of using great hymns during Mass, and laid the foundation for other future hymn writers for the Church.  
  • The Ambrosian Rite which he developed still survives to this day as a Western liturgical rite.  Most people know of the various Eastern liturgies (Byzantine, Maronite, etc.), but few people realize that there is actually another Western Rite besides the Roman Rite, and it is the Ambrosian Rite.  It risked being suppressed after the Second Vatican Council, but its survival may possibly be attributed to the sympathies of then Pope Paul VI who was the former bishop of Milan and had belonged to the Ambrosian Rite.  You can read all about it HERE.  Interestingly, this Rite incorporates Ambrosian Chant which is distinct from Gregorian Chant, which is used in the Roman Rite (or was formally used in most places unfortunately.....).
  • St. Ambrose was a spiritual director for St. Monica (the mother of St. Augustine).  He is quoted as telling St. Monica, (paraphrasing) "maybe you should spend less time talking to Augustine about God, and spend more time talking to God about Augustine".  This led to St. Monica's long journey of prayer for several years, and the grace of God would eventually win Augustine over, and he would become one of the most influential figures (not just religious figures, but overall figures) that shaped the development of Western culture.  St. Augustine writes glowingly of St. Ambrose and mentions that Ambrose was one of the main figures that influenced him in his conversion.  One could argue that without Ambrose, there would be no Augustine.  St. Augustine is the most quoted person in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; quoted even more than St. Thomas Aquinas. 
  • In the discussion that Mike Aquilina had on the radio show, he told a story that St. Augustine was once visiting St. Ambrose and was astonished to see Ambrose just looking at a book.  During their time, reading out loud was the norm.  St. Ambrose was considered the father of silent reading.  Up until then, I guess nobody ever thought about reading silently to yourself.  Augustine says of Ambrose in Book 6, chapter 3 of his Confessions:
    • When [Ambrose] read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.

I find it amazing that Augustine (and others of his day) found the concept of silent reading to be such a novel thing.  I guess I learn something new every day.  You can read more about this HERE

If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful saint, check out these sites:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bring back Friday abstinence?

Bring back Friday abstinence? Absolutely! « In the Light of the Law

I'm liking it.  Just read this from Dr. Ed Peters' blog:

"Cardinal Tim Dolan just delivered an excellent address to the USCCB. It needs to be read, and even listened to, in its entirety. Here I’ll underscore just one of his points: “The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent” (my emphasis)."

I am a big proponent of this.  Catholics will only begin to rediscover our traditions and bring back a sense of the sacred when our Church leaders stop bowing to the liberal mind-set that has been so prevalent since the 60s/70s.  You already know my thoughts on communion in the hand and standing (versus on the tongue and kneeling) if you read my previous post here.  What about other church laws?  Fast from midnight (or three hours before communion once masses started being celebrated later in the day)?  No that's alright, just fast for one hour before communion (or simply just don't be eating in the car on the way to church and you should be fine....or better yet just do whatever you want.  No one observes this fasting law anyway anymore).  Fast for forty days all throughout Lent?  No that's alright, just fast two days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday).  Abstain from meat on all Fridays throughout the year?  No that's alright, just abstain on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent.  Gregorian chant?  No that's alright, let's just bust out the electric guitars and drums.  Latin?  Forget about it.  

The list goes on and on.  The Church since Vatican II has opened its doors to everyone by trying to be more "modern", but the reverse effect has happened as the Church has now been more irrelevant than ever.  We've been focused on ecumenism for the last 40 years reaching out to non-Catholics, all the while we did not take care of our own and have essentially imploded from within.  Mass attendance is down, while contraception is up among "catholics".  Is it any wonder that 50% of so-called Catholics voted for our current president that has guaranteed that he will openly trample on our first amendment right by interfering in the practice of religion via the HHS mandate?  We have essentially voted for our own persecution.  We have put the noose around our own neck.  

I compare the current situation of our Church to an old drunk uncle.  Maybe he has to hit rock bottom before you can finally intervene to get him the help that he needs.  The Church is on the road to hitting rock bottom, and maybe this will be the big slap in the face that we need.  The voice of the Church has been stifled while trying to keep a tax-exempt status, but we may suffer a loss of tax-exempt status one of these days anyway.  Who knows....maybe the liberals will sue us for not giving an open communion to non-Catholics which will be enough to revoke tax-exempt status.  You may think that sounds ridiculous, but nothing would surprise me at this point. 

I was critical of Cardinal Dolan for pow-wowing with Obama at the Waldorf, but I respect the strides that he is taking now.  He has been outspoken about Confession being the sacrament of the New Evangelization.  Now (as noted above) he is bringing up the discussion concerning returning to the traditional abstinence on all Fridays throughout the year.  You may think that we have bigger fish to fry than worrying about traditions.  You may say, "why worry about the liturgy and Church law when we need to worry about "social justice" issues (including abortion)"?  We've been emphasizing "social justice" issues over the liturgy/Church law since Vatican II, and look at where it has gotten us.  Catholics continuing to vote for the most pro-abortion president in US history.  So much for "social justice".....

People have been defying the Church because the Church has not taken itself seriously for several decades.  I argue that if we start taking ourselves seriously by returning to traditional Church practices, maybe (just maybe) we will reap the fruits of the faithful starting to obey the Church on moral issues once the faithful rediscover how glorious the Church really is.  And maybe (just maybe) they will begin to think that it is all worth it in the end.  We've openly defied church teaching on the moral issues because we have been believing that "I'm OK, you're OK" and we're all going to heaven.  When we get back to Orthodoxy and realize that our eternal salvation is at stake, maybe the faithful will wake up and begin to realize that allegiance to our Church is more important than allegiance to any political party. 

In times like these when we need prayers, let us turn to the Saints.  Ora pro nobis!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts on the election

Do not put your trust in princes; they are but men, they have no power to save. As soon as the breath leaves his body, man goes back to the dust he belongs to; with that, all his designs will come to nothing. Happier the man who turns to the God of Jacob for help, puts no confidence but in the Lord his God. - Psalm 145(146): 2-5

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Knox Bible

Baronius Press has recently re-released the Knox translation of the bible. This translation is also available online for free from Bible Gateway. With the release from Baronius, the full Knox Bible is now available again for the first time in over 50 years. From the reviews I've read on the blogosphere, I've heard multiple accounts of people being brought to tears (in a good way) from reading this translation. I knew this bible was something worth investigating.

Baronius press has several classic, high-quality books (bound in leather and hard backs). Here is the Knox bible from Baronius:
I encourage you to read all the tabs for this bible (description, history, etc.) on this site to learn about the history and influence of this bible.

Here is the free online version at Bible Gateway:

In case you were wondering how good this translation is, Fulton Sheen quoted from it exclusively in his book The Life of Christ. This translation is often recommended for private devotional reading or Lectio Divina because of its poetic style. For instance, here is Philippians 2: 6-11 from the New American Bible (which is the primary source for the Lectionary in the United States):
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Now here are the same verses from the Knox Bible:
His nature is, from the first, divine, and yet he did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted; he dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form; and then he lowered his own dignity, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross. That is why God has raised him to such a height, given him that name which is greater than any other name; so that everything in heaven and on earth and under the earth must bend the knee before the name of Jesus, and every tongue must confess Jesus Christ as the Lord, dwelling in the glory of God the Father.

It has the classical English feel like the Douay-Rheims (without the thees and thous), but is much more poetic in style.

The Knox Bible may not be for everyone, but I would suggest giving it a try. If you are thinking about Christmas gifts, why not surprise a loved one with a Knox Bible from Baronius? Baronius products seem to be extremely high quality from what I have seen and from reviews I've read, so I plan on supporting them with gift purchases in the future. Check out the rest of their website after visiting the Knox Bible link above. There are many classics that they have brought back into print.

"Msgr. Knox had a profound love for Sacred Scripture, a passion was to make the Bible accessible to as many people as possible … In the Knox translation, clarity is paramount." - Dr. Scott Hahn

"Praiseworthy achievement … a monument of many years of patient study and toil." - Ven. Pope Pius XII

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hail Holy Queen may not have been written by today's standards

Blessed Herman the Cripple
Memorial - September 25
My favorite saints include St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Jerome, St. Anthony, and St. Therese the Little Flower.  My favorite "venerable" is by far Venerable Fulton Sheen.  Who is my favorite "blessed" you might ask?  Blessed JP II?  Blessed Mother Teresa?  Blessed Pius IX?  Nope.  It has now officially become Blessed Herman the Cripple.  If you agree that he is your new favorite "blessed" after reading this blog post (or at least near the very top of your list), leave a comment in the combox!  Let's give Blessed Herman some love shall we?

Click this link to find out more about Blessed Herman.  Some people have touted Blessed Herman as the pro-life saint of our modern day.  Herman was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida.  By today's standards, poor Herman would have had a good chance of being aborted due to the inconveniences that would have been imposed on the parents from his disabilities.  He studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin.  He also built musical instruments and astronomical equipment.  He later became blind and had to give up his academic writing.

What most people don't realize about Blessed Herman is that he gave us two beautiful poetic prayers that are still recited to this day.  The first is the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) which is commonly used as the concluding prayer to the Rosary:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy. Hail my life, my sweetness and my hope! To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To you do we send up our sighs; mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn, most gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy toward me, and after this, our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus Christ! Clement, loving, sweet Virgin Mary! Amen.

Next time you recite the words "mourning and weeping in this vale of tears", remember the conditions that Blessed Herman was born with and you will have a much better appreciation of the author's sentiments when writing this poem.  This was not a man that was angry at God for his shortcomings, but thanked God everyday for each moment of his life.  

The other prayer that he wrote was the Alma Redemptoris Mater (Loving Mother of Our Savior) which is commonly prayed at the end of the office of Compline (before bed).  Here is the English translation from John Henry Newman:

Kindly Mother of the Redeemer, who art ever of heaven
The open gate, and the star of the sea, aid a fallen people,
Which is trying to rise again; thou who didst give birth,
While Nature marvelled how, to thy Holy Creator,
Virgin both before and after, from Gabriel's mouth
Accepting the All hail, be merciful towards sinners.
From the first Sunday of Advent until Christmas Eve:
V. The Angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary
R. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.
Let us pray.
Pour thy grace into our hearts, we beseech thee, O Lord, that as have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by His passion and cross, we may be brought to the glory of his Resurrection; through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.
From First Vespers of Christmas until the Presentation:
V. After childbirth, O Virgin, thou didst remain inviolate.
R. O Mother of God, plead for us.
Let us pray.
O God, Who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech You, that we may experience her intercession for us, by whom we deserved to receive the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.
It is sobering to realize that this wonderful man who influenced so many people during his life might not have received a chance at life by today's standards.  As a result, the whole Catholic world would have been deprived of the Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater for the past millenium.  Too many people are looking for the perfect child, but sometimes God has something else in mind.  Reflecting on the life of Blessed Herman and the crosses he bore daily should help us to look at our own lives and be thankful for all that we have.  Just as God can use sin for good (e.g., the crucifixion of his Son), he can use ugliness to create beauty.  Blessed Herman, ora pro nobis! 

DISCLAIMER:  I am not sure what the deal is with the creepy violin woman in the beginning of this video.   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Scientist Pope

Statue of Pope Sylvester II in
Aurillac, Auvergne, France.
Whoever said the Church rejects science!  This has to be one of the coolest things I have come across in a while.  Pope Sylvester II (or Gerbert d'Aurillac), who reigned from 999-1003, was held in high esteem for his learning as one of the most brilliant scientists of his time.  He is considered by some to be the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day.

In fact, legend has it that some people later believed (mistakenly) that he was a magician in league with the Devil because of his scientific understanding.  He is also credited with introducing the use of Arabic numbers to Western Europe (1,2,3 instead of I, II, III), and is credited with inventing the pendulum clock (also see here).  He also reintroduced the abacus and armillary sphere to Europe.

Cum studio bene vivendi semper conjunxi studium bene dicendi. (I have always combined the study of how to live well with the study of how to speak well.)
-Gerbert later Pope Sylvester II (Letter to Ebrard,  Abbot of Tours.)
Delegimus certum otium studiorum, quam incertum negotium bellorum. (We have opted for the certain leisure of study, rather than the uncertain business of war.)
-Gerbert later Pope Sylvester II (Letter to Monk Raymond.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

I love the satire

Kresta In The Afternoon: From First Things' Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine:

Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal

The Chant Café: Dramatic Changes in Music Rubrics for New Missal

Check out the above article on sacred music in the new GIRM. Ironically, I wrote most of this post a few days ago before attending mass this last Sunday at St. John Cantius.  After hearing the sacred music at this Mass done appropriately in the context of the liturgy, it sparked a brief conversation between the wife and I on the topic of music.  I figured I would finish this post and provide some thoughts.  As always, I find it extremely difficult to come off as charitable when writing a blog post about a topic that you are passionate about.  So please rest assured that I write this post not as an attack on any specific church, but I am writing this to provide some insights on what I would consider best practices for a church that is looking to embrace traditional sacred music.

This is a topic that gets people fired up as people have strong opinions about music at Mass. What I state in this post is not only my opinion and preference, but is the norm of the church laid out in the GIRM. The problem is that people don't know what the GIRM says, or simply don't care (but that is a whole different issue).

There is a difference between "chant" and "song" when it comes to liturgical music. The new GIRM is very clear that "chant" should be used in the liturgy. I know this will be ignored by the majority of churches across America as the status quo is going to be difficult to change. Sacred music at Mass should not be "anything goes" (cue bongo drums and tambourine). Our minds should be elevated to God during the liturgy where the church militant and church triumphant meet in the eternal realm of the divine liturgy. Playing God Bless America is not what the church has in mind. There is a time and place for everything, and as much as I love praise and worship the old-fashioned Newman/Koinonia way, I think it is best suited outside the context of the liturgy. Here is what needs to happen to get back to a sense of sacred music:

1. Put choirs (or "bands" which is what most of them really are) up in the choir lofts or at least away from the sanctuary if there is no loft. This will heavily bruise their egos since they are no longer the focal point of Mass, but so be it.

2. No clapping after Mass. If people clap for the choir, then the choir has failed. They are not there to put on a show and get applauded like they are at a night club.  They are there to lift our souls to heaven with beautiful, transcendent music.  Instead of clapping after Mass showing that we were entertained by the music, the music should instead leave us sitting in awe as we meditate on the sacred mysteries that we have just encountered.  The music should assist us in this meditation instead of distracting us from it.  By the way, we don't clap for the priest or servers who played the most important roles at Mass, so why clap for the choir?

3. More polyphony chant (see article at the top). Like I said, most churches won't go for this since they view music as purely a form of entertainment. If you can't tap your toe to the song, then it is too boring, churchy, pre-Vatican 2, etc. This mentality will have to change before we see chant make a valiant comeback.

4. Finally, SILENCE during and after communion. Since when do we need a dozen communion songs when people are trying to communicate with the Lord? Sacred silence, especially right after communion, is something we need to bring back. There is too much daily noise all around us. A couple minutes of meditative silence isn't too much to ask.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lectio Divina

Read, Reflect, Respond, Rest
Lectio Divina is a Latin phrase meaning "divine reading". The Carmelites have adopted this form of reading scripture which involves breaking it down into four steps. The goal is to slow the reader down and get the person to meditate on each word of the scriptures. Check out the official website of the Carmelites by clicking here.  This web link will teach you the basics of Lectio Divina and also provides a daily reading on the right sidebar if you wish to follow the Carmelites in their daily meditations. After following the daily readings for a few days which walks through the four steps, you should be on your way to exploring the bible on your own and implementing Lectio Divina as part of your personal reading plan. I highly recommend it, so check it out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Inspirational Story of Garvan Byrne

"And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." (Mark 10:13-15)

Above is the edited version of Garvan's interview.  If you want the full interview, check out Steve Ray's website.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The triple whammy of the Latin mass (Part 1 of 3)

Liberal Episcopalians celebrate a clown mass.  This
liturgical crime has crept its way into some Catholic masses
as well. 
This post has been in the works for a while, but I've now put on the finishing touches.  Hopefully it will be useful to some of you.  For those of you that do not have the patience to read a long blog post, you may want to pass this one over!  (although I think all Catholics can gain something from it)  

I'll start out by throwing a scenario out there.  I'm driving down the street in a foreign city on a Sunday morning and see two churches that I could attend.  Option #1:  I could attend a Traditional Latin Mass (or "TLM") with Gregorian Chant, tons of clanking incense, strict adherence to the rubrics (say the black, do the red), reverent silence in the pews, and bells ringing throughout the sanctuary during the consecration.  Option #2:  I could also attend a clown mass where they sing Kumbaya, have liturgical dancers parade down the aisle, rock out on electric guitar, and have children come up to the altar to clap and sing in the middle of the consecration (yes, I've seen this....).  Would I be getting the same mass?  

Liturgical dancers?!?!?!........Yuck!

Regardless of the liturgical chaos, I've always believed that the value, or efficacy, of the mass is the same regardless of the Rite (Latin, Byzantine, etc.) or the manner in which it is celebrated simply because I am receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament (presuming the words of consecration were spoken properly).  

I am obviously using extreme examples to illustrate my point.  With that said, however, one of the other questions that we should ask ourselves is what are the "fruits" of the mass.  In other words, which of the two masses above do you think fosters vocations to the priesthood or religious life, and emphasizes transubstantiation and the sacrificial character of the mass instead of it simply being a "communal meal"?  Which of the two masses above do you think has people in the pews who are following the Church's teaching against birth control, attending mass on Sundays and holy days, abstaining from meat and fasting on the prescribed days, and going to Confession when they are conscious of mortal sin?  Which of the two masses has parents in the pews that are taking the time to train their children in the dogmas and doctrines of the faith and how to defend the faith with proper catechesis, instead of just sending them off to a religion class so that they can learn about the names of the rivers mentioned in the Old Testament?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Don Ross - Crazy (Acoustic)

Here is Don Ross performing an acoustic cover for "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Some songs just sound good on the 'ole geet-box.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Class Relics

Lisa and I went to 9:00 a.m. mass at St. John Cantius this last Sunday (Divine Mercy Sunday) to check out the first class relics of St. Faustina that were at the Church.  A first class relic is defined as an item directly associated with the events of Christ's life (manger, cross, etc.), or the physical remains of a saint (a bone, a hair, skull, a limb, etc.).  

St. Faustina lived from 1905-1938 in Poland and is credited with being a visionary of Jesus who gave her the message of Divine Mercy.  Originally, her writings were condemned as heretical in 1958 due to bad translations of her diary which had reached Rome.  However, JPII ordered a better translation of her writings to be made, which were later approved by the Church and published as Divine Mercy In My Soul.  Click here to learn more about St. Faustina.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


You can tell he liked his cheese
I was going to post on something serious today (because Lord knows that there are several things going on in the world that I could rant about), but I figured that I would ease back into my blog posting with something light-hearted.  What better topic than Cheese.  I was thinking today about how delicious cheese is, and figured I would say something about it. Better yet....I'll defer to a man who has already written about everything; including cheese.

Here is my English buddy Chesterton in his impassioned 1910 essay titled "Cheese," from the collection, Alarms and Discursions. My emphases are in bold and my comments are in [red].

Tuesday, April 3, 2012