Saturday, April 28, 2012

Join in a May Campaign for the Family Rosary!

April 28th, Feast of St. Louis de Montfort
May is Mary’s month, a time to consecrate our hearts and our homes to the most august Virgin. And, of all the ways a family may be devoted to our Blessed Lord and his Holy Mother (at least in the West), the Most Holy Rosary enjoys a certain pride of place. How precious the Rosary is to Christian families! And yet, how often it is neglected!
I propose that, during the month of May, we join together in a campaign for the family Rosary. To promote the family Rosary, we would do well to begin with a month of prayer. I suggest that, through a joint spiritual effort, we offer prayers every day during May for the renewal of the family Rosary and in preparation for an active Family Rosary Campaign in which we would engage during the month of October (the Month of the Rosary).
If you have a blog, or a facebook page or twitter account, please consider promoting this Family Rosary Campaign!
Join us on facebook! [here] 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love the shepherd, beware of the wolf, tolerate the hireling

4th Sunday of Easter, John 10:11-18
A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.
Preaching on this verse, St. Augustine once said, “The shepherd is to be loved, the hireling is to be tolerated, of the robber must we beware.” He refers these three characters to three classes of priests.
On Good Shepherd Sunday, we do well to consider the qualities of these characters and, even more, how the faithful ought to relate to their priests and bishops. Why is it that the people should tolerate the hireling?
We will rely on St. Augustine’s eighty-seventh sermon on the New Testament [here], from which the title quotation comes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Correction regarding infant Communion

I mistakenly indicated in an earlier article [here], that the Latin Church permits the distribution of Communion as Viaticum to dying infants. This is not the case.

Rather, the Latin Church encourages priests (and parents) to carefully consider whether perhaps even a young child (below the age of seven) may have a sufficient use of reason to be able to recognize what the Eucharist is and to receive Communion with devotion. If it happens that a young child is able to do so, then he ought to be given Viaticum (when the circumstances of the illness permit).

In every case, the Latin Church maintains the best tradition regarding Communion: The fruitful reception of the Sacrament requires the devotion of the faithful, either present devotion or at least past devotion (in the case of those who are at the point of death and who at that moment lack the use of reason, but who previously had devotion for the sacrament and who are able to receive without danger of vomiting).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Should Confirmation and First Eucharist be given to infants?

The common practice in the East of giving both Confirmation and Eucharist to infants immediately upon their baptism occasionally causes Catholics of the Latin Rite to question whether such a practice ought to be adopted also in the West.
Especially now that, at least in the USA, a number of dioceses have lowered the age for Confirmation to seven, some individuals would like to see the age for both Confirmation and First Eucharist lowered to infancy.
While admitting that Confirmation and Communion can be given to infants, I will defend the Latin tradition of delaying these sacraments until the age of reason.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Did Jesus really eat after the Resurrection?

3rd Sunday of Easter, Luke 24:35-48
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.
Christ our Savior manifested the corporality of his glorified body through two principal proofs: First, he allowed his disciples to touch him; second, he ate in their presence.
While spirits, whether angels or separated souls, are indeed capable of appearing in a bodily form, the sight of our Lord eating was taken by the apostles as a certain manifestation of the truth of the resurrection of the flesh.
Yet, we might ask, was it fitting for Christ to eat food after having risen from the dead?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where was Jesus during the forty days after Easter?

We know that Christ truly rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples in bodily form at various times during the forty days from Easter Sunday to Ascension Thursday. Christ our God was truly upon the Earth and in the world, even in his glorified flesh, for all of those days until he ascended into heaven.
The gospels speak of ten apparitions of the risen Jesus, and we gather at least two more from St. Paul. But, we wonder, where was Jesus during the rest of those forty days? Where was the Lord when he was not visibly present to his disciples?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Which is greater in God: Mercy or Justice?

“Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.” (concluding prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet)
We know that in God there is both mercy and justice; rather, that God is both mercy and justice. However, we also pray that, upon our death, we might meet in Christ not the just Judge, but the merciful Savior. Knowing that mercy and justice can never truly contradict one another, we might still ask which is greater in God, and which comes first and which is greater.
Is justice the foundation from which mercy builds? Or, is mercy the fundamental disposition of God toward his creatures?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's wrong with blessing children in the Communion line?

Fr. Cory Sticha has stated, “I despise blessing children in the Communion line (and yes, I chose that strong language very carefully), and encourage other priests to stop immediately.” [read the article here]
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has seconded Fr. Sticha’s article with the phrase (in his typical red-ink), “Do I hear an ‘Amen!’?” [here]
But I ask, What is wrong with a priest giving blessings to young children in the Communion line?
For what it’s worth
Fr. Sticha is a good friend of mine, as we are both priests of the Diocese of Great Falls – Billings in Montana, USA. He is a few years ahead of me in the priesthood, and I am currently serving in what was his first assignment. Fr. Sticha was recently appointed by our Bishop as the diocesan liturgist.
That being said, friends are able to have differing opinions. And in this case, I think that both Fr. Sticha’s and Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s articles are not at all helpful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Shroud of Turin, represented at every Mass

The negative of a photograph of the Shroud of Turin

Then cometh Simon Peter … and went into the sepulcher, and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. (John 20: 6-7)
The Shroud of Turin is traditionally believed to be the pure linen burial cloth which was wrapped around the Corpse of our Savior and which was found in the empty tomb on the first Easter Sunday. The image of our Lord miraculously imprinted upon the Shroud is a visible indication and (to some degree) “proof” of the Resurrection.
Thus, it is fitting that, during the Easter season, the Christian faithful consider the Shroud, meditating upon the joy and amazement of the first disciples who found the tomb empty.
Many of the faithful may not realize that the Church provides a tangible reminder of the Shroud at every Mass through the use of the corporal.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

When did Mary begin to understand that Jesus would die and rise?

Tradition holds that Blessed Mary alone remained steadfast in faith, even in the midst of her grief, on the Saturday of our Savior’s rest in the tomb. She knew, by her perfect faith, that Jesus would indeed rise from the dead on the third day – perhaps this is why she did not go with the other women to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, she knew that she must not seek the living among the dead.

How is it that Mary knew that Jesus would rise from the dead? What event, if any, can be singled out as the moment when she first began to understand that her beloved Son would die and rise again?

Many years earlier, when Jesus was only twelve, he began to instruct his Mother in the paschal mystery.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A chronology of the passion and death of Jesus

The events of last twenty-four hours of our Savior’s life can be a bit confusing to fit into a chronology. No single gospel relates all that happened, and (what is more difficult) some of the gospels seem to contain points of contradiction.

Here, I will set forth a simple chronology of the events from the Last Supper through Christ’s burial. But first, we will show the Catholic tradition regarding the question of whether Holy Thursday or Good Friday was the feast of Passover.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crying children call to mind the mystery of the Mass

It is not uncommon today for parents to feel awkward about bringing young children to Mass. If, when they are in the church, the toddlers or infants begin to fuss and cry, the parents often struggle to quiet their little ones before other parishioners become annoyed. Many parishes now have cry-rooms to segregate these noisy kids from the rest of the Christian community.
For me, as a priest, the sound of crying children calls to mind the mystery of the sacrifice of the Mass.