Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why priests ought to wear black vestments for funerals and for All Souls' Day

Though the New Theological Movement blog rarely enters into matters liturgical or rubrical, preferring to consider the more profound theological foundations, the re-introduction of the use of black vestments in parish life seems to us to be so important to the renewal of the faith of the people (at least in the USA, though most likely throughout the world) that we must devote a post to this cause.
In the Novus Ordo – that is, the ordinary form of the Roman Rite which is celebrated in most parishes in the USA (in English) – there is no reason why black may not be used regularly. In the usus antiquior – the extraordinary form – black vestments remain mandatory for certain Masses. Let us consider the theological points first, and then we will make a few practical conclusions.
[this article is a re-posting from last year (here)]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What's in a name? St. Jude Thaddeus

October 28th, Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude
Today we celebrate the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude. While Simon was from Cana and is called the Zealot, Jude is known as Thaddeus. This “Jude” is distinct from Judas the Iscariot who betrayed our Lord – this “Jude” is among the “brethren of the Lord”, a cousin of our Savior.
One small disappointment about the new translation is in the rendering of St. Jude’s name in the list of the apostles in the Roman Canon. While the Latin sates Thaddaei, the English reads “Jude”. Certainly, Thaddeus is the same Jude brother of James, the author of the last biblical epistle. Yet, it is rather disheartening that the new English translation follows the old in changing the name from “Thaddeus” to “Jude”.
When we consider the meaning of the name (or rather, the nickname) “Thaddeus”, we will see why the Church has chosen to invoke the Saint under this title during the Mass – and why the English ought to follow this tradition.

Friday, October 26, 2012

When was Jesus ordained a priest?

The Infant Priest - Source: NLM [here]

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Hebrews 5:1-6
No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest.
While St. Paul, in his Letter to the Hebrews, generally distinguishes our Savior from Aaron (showing that the priesthood of Christ is greater than that of Aaron), in this place the Apostle emphasizes this point of similarity between the Levitical priesthood and the eternal priesthood of Jesus.
Namely, St. Paul tells us that, just as Aaron was called and ordained a priest, so too was our Lord. For no man can be a high priest of himself, but only when he is so called by God.
When, we ask, was Jesus called and ordained to the priesthood? When did he become a priest?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did St. Raphael lie when he said, "I am Azarias"?

October 24th, Feast of St. Raphael (traditional calendar)
And Raphael the angel answered: I am Azarias the son of the great Ananias. (Tobit 5:17,18)
There are three angels mentioned by name in the Canonical Scriptures – Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The last of these is explicitly present only in the book of Tobit, while Michael is reference in three books (Daniel, Jude, and Revelation) and Gabriel in two (Daniel and Luke).
While all the archangels (named and un-named) are celebrated on September 29th in the post-Vatican II Liturgy, St. Raphael has traditionally been commemorated on October 24th.
We do well to consider today not only the significance of Raphael’s name and his role in the Scriptures, but also the difficult question of whether he told a falsehood when he presented himself as Azarias the son of the great Ananias.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The martyrdom of the sons of Zebedee

Sts. James (right) and John (left) as children

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark 10:35-45
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” [James and John] said to him, “We can.”
The sons of Zebedee, by way of their mother, request of the Savior to be seated one on his right and the other on the left in his kingdom. The good Jesus, seeing their zeal (for which reason they were called the “Sons of Thunder”) and recognizing their need for yet further purification, calls these two apostles to lay down their lives in service of the Gospel.
James and John were the first of the apostles to ask for the cup of martyrdom, and each received that cup in a privileged manner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Rosary, "Luke on a chain"

October 18th, Feast of St. Luke
During the month of October, we thank God for giving us the Most Holy Rosary through our Blessed Lady. Have you ever noticed that the Rosary is based more on the writings of St. Luke than on those of any other biblical author?
This is part of what makes the Rosary such a precious prayer – it is one of the best ways of meditating upon Sacred Scripture and is, thereby, a means of entering into truly contemplative prayer. Recognizing the scriptural roots of the Rosary, we might even call it “St. Luke on a chain”.

Monday, October 15, 2012

St. Teresa of Avila: Why you can't seem to progress in the spiritual life

October 15th, St. Teresa of Jesus
St. Teresa of Avila is the “Doctor of Prayer”, most especially for her classic work on Christian prayer, “The Interior Castle”. However, while many people desire to grow in the life of prayer, they are often confused as to what must be done. How do I pray well? What method should I use?
Sadly, many modern(ist) Catholics (including even some priests) have turned to eastern forms of meditation – like centering prayer or yoga – rather than to the true tradition of Christian prayer. If we understand St. Teresa’s key insight about prayer and the interior life, we can clearly see how far eastern meditation is from true prayer.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A better way of reading the Catechism, for the Year of Faith

October 11th, 2012 – Opening of the Year of Faith
In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. (Pope Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei 12)
The Year of Faith, called by Pope Benedict, extends from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. Beginning on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and also on the twentieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Year of Faith will conclude with the Feast of Christ the King 2013.
During this Year, the Holy Father desires a renewed study of our faith, especially through a return to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, this Catechism is over five hundred pages long (and nearly three thousand paragraphs) – How, then, might one approach such a large and theologically daunting book?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three sets of five tips for the Family Rosary

October 7th, Feast of the Most Holy Rosary
Today is the great feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. This feast commemorates the most important naval battle in human history – a battle which, if lost, would have left Rome as the new Istanbul and St. Peter’s as a second Hagia Sophia.
For the history of this feast, consider a good article from Catholic Culture [here], and the poem of G.K. Chesterton [here].
Our Lady has saved the world through the Rosary, and she desires to do so again. More particularly, in our own day, there can be no doubt that our Lady wants to save the world through the Family Rosary. But how can a family succeed in the practice of the Family Rosary?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Christ was like St. Francis

October 4th, Feast of St. Francis
The Poor Man of Assisi is often called the Mirror of Christ, for he was as another Christ (alter Christus) present among us. St. Francis was a true Christian, “Christ-like” to the core.
G.K. Chesterton, in his excellent work on the Saint, makes the following observation (very much in his classic, witty fashion): If St. Francis is said to be like Christ, then Christ must necessary be just so much like St. Francis.
The following paragraphs are excerpts from the eighth chapter of G.K. Chesterton’s excellent biography of St. Francis (which can be read online [here]).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Can my guardian angel read my mind?

October 2nd, Feast of the Guardian Angels
For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 90:11)
“From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” (CCC 336)
A plethora of questions may well be asked about guardian angels. We have attempted to discuss some of these in a previous article [here].
However, we did neglect to answer one question which is probably most common: Can my guardian angel (or any angel, for that matter) know the secret thoughts of my soul? Does my angel know everything I am thinking? Co-relatively, Does Satan or any of the demons know all that passes within my soul?
Our answer will be derived mostly from the Angelic Thomas, Summa Theologica I, q.57 [here] and q.111 [here].