2cornucopias

Posts Tagged ‘Mass’

That They Might Have Life

In 15 Audio on 2015/10/22 at 12:00 AM

Fr. Pablo Straub, CSSR conducts this in-depth teaching series and study on the seven sacraments, the manner in which we should live our lives in response to them, and the underlying prayer that must support our participation in each of them.

That They May Have Life

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Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

If you knew the gift 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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2.

Unto the Holy Trinity 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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3.

As my Father sent me 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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4.

The Lamb that saves the sheep 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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5.

How can I pray? 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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6.

The Mass is Calvary 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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7.

In the person of Christ 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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8.

Oh, merciful God! 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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9.

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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10.

He makes her holy 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

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11.

To live is Christ 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl11.mp3

12.

The thirst of God 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl12.mp3

13.

The Church that prays 

Host – Fr. Pablo Straub

tmhl13.mp3

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“Come, Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/09/04 at 12:00 AM
Be a eucharistic soul! If the centre around which your thoughts and hopes turn is the Tabernacle, then, my child, how abundant the fruits of your sanctity and apostolate will be! (The Forge, 835)

I was talking to you about the love of the Blessed Trinity for man. And where can we see this more clearly than in the Mass? The three divine Persons act together in the holy sacrifice of the altar. This is why I like to repeat the final words of the collect, secret and postcommunion: “Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,” we pray to God the Father, “who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

In the Mass, our prayer to God the Father is constant. The priest represents the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, who is, at the same time, the victim offered in this sacrifice. And the action of the Holy Spirit in the Mass is truly present, although in a mysterious manner. “By the power of the Holy Spirit,” writes St John Damascene, “the transformation of the bread into the body of Christ takes place.”

The action of the Holy Spirit is clearly expressed when the priest invokes the divine blessing on the offerings: “Come, Sanctifier, almighty and eternal God, and bless this sacrifice prepared in honour of your holy name” — the holocaust that will give to the holy name of God the glory that is due. The sanctification we pray for is attributed to the Paraclete, who is sent to us by the Father and the Son. And we also recognize the active presence of the Holy Spirit in this sacrifice, as we say, shortly before communion: “Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the will of the Father, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, by your death have brought life to the world…” (Christ is passing by, 85)

Pentecostal Pastor to Catholic Deacon

In 12 Converts, 14 Book Corner on 2015/09/04 at 12:00 AM

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Alex Jones was an “on-fire” Pentecostal minister in Detroit who was a completely dedicated shepherd of his flock. He greatly loved his people and they loved him. In seeking to give his flock the most genuine experience of the early Church prayer and worship services, he carefully read Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and writings of the early saints. The more he read, the more Alex came to the startling conclusion that the present day Catholic Church – and the Holy Mass – is the same exact “worship service ” from the very early Church. Alex began to share his findings with his parish, and eventually Alex, and most of his parish, joined the Catholic Church. This is his incredible story of a black Pentecostal minister’s challenging and dramatic spiritual journey, and the flock that followed him. Today he preaches with his usual passion about Christ – as a Catholic deacon! This book tells the story of Alex’s life from his childhood all the way to his conversion to Catholicism in 2001. It simultaneously tells the story of his wife, Donna, and her spiritual journey as well, which shows how they were not always on the same path during Alex’s preparation for entering the Catholic Church. Each had to be personally, deeply convinced that this momentous, life-changing and career-changing spiritual decision was God’s will for them. Illustrated with numerous photos.

Cardinal Newman, a former Anglican priest, said that no one could read the Church Fathers and remain a Protestant. Alex Jones is living proof of this statement as well a countless others.

2cornucopias | 2014/10/06 at 6:28 PM | Tags: Church Fathers, Eucharist, Pentecostal, Sacrifice of the Mass, Worship | Categories: 08 Book Corner, 09 Faith Journey | URL: http://wp.me/p1u7G9-2d3
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Theological Explanation of the Mass

In 07 Observations on 2014/06/27 at 12:00 AM

Dear Catechists and Friends,

Instead of a summary, a whole transcript of  Fr. Barron’s theological explanation of the Mass .

I do want to interject though, since yesterday was Corpus Christi and Fr. Barron touched upon the Eucharistic Miracle of 1263 that led to the Feast of Corpus Christi, that our Good Lord goes to an extreme to help our unbelief without trampling on our freewill.   For centuries there have been Eucharistic Miracles, generally occurring to dispel doubts of the true presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in Transubstantiation during the Consecration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I’ve personally seen 2 of these miracles up-close.

• Belgium, Bois-Seigneur-Isaac  In 1405 a particle of a large consecrated Host is left in a folded corporal. It clung to it and began to bleed. After 4 days, the bleeding stops after staining almost all the corporal.  I saw the corporal in a small church in a town south of Brussels.  http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Boisseigneurisaac.pdf

• Lanciano, Italy.  This Eucharistic Miracle is probably the best known in the Church. In the 8th century A.D., in the little church of St. Legonthian, a Basilican monk was having doubts about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. During Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the Host was changed into live Flesh, and the Wine was changed into live Blood. As I was standing in front of the almost 1300 year old  Host-Flesh and the coagulated Blood of our Lord, I marbled at His Love for us and realized I no longer need to see such miracles because I have found Him fully alive in my soul and my unbelief no longer persists.  This youtube has more information about the miracle at Lanciano: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=lanciano+eucharistic+miracle&view=detail&mid=B7DB793F81E11FA63AF2B7DB793F81E11FA63AF2&first=1&FORM=NVPFVR

Lesson 7 – The Liturgy and the Eucharistic Communion with the Lord.

Fr. Barron starts by pointing out that we do the Liturgy for its own sake, because it is good and beautiful.  In the act of giving right praise to God in the Liturgy, we achieve inner harmony and peace.  God’s good order is preserved in the midst of a sinful world. The Mass is our participation and anticipation of the heavenly Liturgy where the right praise is given to God by the saints and angels.

The Mass begins with the way in which the people who participate gather.  They come from all walks of life, education, economic stratus, moral excellence, and both genders.  We humans are interested in people status but for Christ there is no difference between Greek or Jew, slave or free, man or woman, He doesn’t put labels on anyone.  All are members of his Mystical Body.  In Church the rich and the poor, the great dame and the servant, the educated and the uneducated kneel side by side in the Liturgy.  When the Catholic historian Christopher Dawson converted to Catholicism from his native Anglicanism, his mother was not happy.  She said that it wasn’t the doctrine that bothered her but the fact that his son will now be worshiping with the help.

By the simple of gesture of starting the Liturgy in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we already announce we belong to the Triune God.   Modern secularism is predicated on the assumption that we essentially belong to no one, that we are self determined and self directing, pursuers of happiness according to our own likes.   But Paul told Christians long ago in Romans 14:8.  If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  In contradistinction to modernity, biblical people say your life is not about you.  This is a fundamental truth which does not change .  We all belong to our Creator whether we believe or not.

THE LITURGY – Everything about the Liturgy (Mass) has theological meaning.

INITIAL RITE; Sign of the Cross, Greeting, Penitential Rite

Sign of the Cross. The Liturgy signals this from the beginning with the Sign of the Cross:  The Cross speaks of the great act by which the Father sent the Son into god-forsakenness in order to gather us through the Holy Spirit into the Divine Life:  The story of our salvation in one sentence.  Because the Son went all the way down, He was able in principle to bring even the most recalcitrant sinner back into fellowship with God, thus when we invoke the Cross at the beginning of the Liturgy, we signify that we are praying in God and not merely to God.

Greeting. After the sign of the Cross the priest greets the people in Christ’s name (not his own).  The priest operates in the person of Christ therefore his expression, movements, and words are expressive not of his own perspectives and convictions but of Christ’s. Which is why the people respond And With Your Spirit because they are addressing not the individual man but in Jesus in whose person the priest is operating.

Penitential Rite: After the greeting the priest asks those in attendance to call to mind his/her sins. This is of extraordinary importance. The relevant distinction among us is not between sinners and non-sinner, but between those sinners who know it and those who don’t as we are all sinners.   The great heroes of our faith (the saints) are those who ordered their lives to God and therefore they are keenly aware of how far they fall short of the ideal. John of the Cross compared the soul to a pane of glass.  As long as the glass is away from the light, its imperfections don’t appear but if you turn it towards the light, all the smudges and marks become visible.  This explains the paradox of the saints saying “I’m the worst of sinners.”  They have directed their lives toward the light of God therefore they are more and not less aware of their sin.  As the Liturgy begins and we are bathed in the light of the Trinitarian God, we mimic the saints admitting that we are sinners.   By doing so we offer correctness to a pervasive cultural tendency toward exculpation.  I’m ok and you are ok we tell ourselves.  But to subscribe to such naïve sentiment is ipso facto, to prove that one is facing away from the clarifying light of God.  We call to mind our sins in preparation for the Kyrie Prayer…Lord have Mercy!  There is no room for the self aggrandizing and self deception.  We know we are incapable of saving ourselves, that we are beggars before the Lord.  Compelled by the Liturgy into this correct and finally liberating attitude we hear the voice of the priest asking God to have mercy on us and forgive us our sins.  God wants to forgive but it is of upmost importance that we recognize that we have something in us that needs forgiving.

The Gloria: After the Kyrie comes the most magnificent prayer in our liturgical tradition: The Gloria.
The whole of Catholic theology is in it.  The first prayer (Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth peace to people of good will), is a kind of formula for a happy life.  When we give God the supreme glory above all else, then our lives become harmoniously ordered around that central love.  Peace breaks out among us when God (and not pleasure, money, or power,) is given Glory in the highest.  The word worship comes from the old English worth ship designating what we hold dear.   Aristotle said that a friendship will endure only in the measure that the two friends fall in love not as much with each other but together with a transcendent third. In the Gloria we expressed our shared love for God’s glory.

LITURGY OF THE WORD – TELLING OF THE STORIES.  The next major move in the Liturgy is the proclamation of the Word of God: Usually a selection from the Old Testament, from one of Paul’s epistles and the Gospel.  We do this for us to draw into the strange world of the bible   Remembering that the priest is in the person of Christ, he proclaims the Gospel of Christ and delivers a homily which does not include the priests private convictions about politics, culture or religion or anything else, but speaks the mind of Christ and only the mind of Christ. The preacher surrenders to the divine voice and conforms himself to the attitude of Christ.  After the homily comes the recitation of the Creed, usually using the Creed from the Council of Nicaea in 325 which expresses that Jesus shares fully in the divinity of the Father and defeats the heresy of Arius of that time which questioned the divinity of Jesus.  The Church protected by the Holy Spirit will never succumb to a heresy. This particular heresy would have rendered Christianity invalid since its foundation rests on the divinity of Christ thus ensuring our salvation.  Instead, for almost 1700 years this declaration of the Divinity of our Lord, the Creed, is recited at every Sunday Mass across the world.  Those who faithfully profess the Creed are standing resolutely athwart all forms of idolatry, ancient and cotemporary, material or emotional.  After the Creed we offer prayers for the living and the dead expressing the interdependence of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. We pray for one another precisely because we are implicated in one another connected by the deepest bond in Christ.  One member of the body cannot coherently say to another, ‘Your concern is not mine.’ for we are not a club but an organism.

THE OFFERING.  Commences the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In most cultures, an encounter with a person usually involves two moves: First conversation and second a meal.  The Mass is an encounter with Christ.   In the Liturgy of the Word we listen as He speaks to us in the Scripture and in the Psalms and responses we speak back to Him, we converse.  Then in the Liturgy of the Eucharist we sit down to eat at a meal that He himself prepares for us.  A fundamental biblical principle is that in a world gone wrong, there is no communion without sacrifice.  This is true because sin has twisted us out of shape and therefore intimacy with God will involve a twisting back into shape, a painful re-alignment, a sacrifice.  God doesn’t need the sacrifice; in fact God doesn’t need anything at all.  The point is that we need sacrifice in order to reorder us and thereby restore communion with God.  What is given back to God, sacrificed to Him, breaks against the rock of the divine self-sufficiency and returns for the benefit of the one who has made the offering.  Sacrifice produces communion.  This is the distinctive logic that undergirds the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist bread wine and water are brought to the altar so that the priest can offer them to God.  To say bread and wine implies wheat and vine which implies earth, soil, water, wind and sunshine which lead us to solar system and the cosmos itself.  These small gifts symbolically represent the entirety of Creation.  Taking this gifts in hand, the priest speaks the Berakah prayer, “Blessed are you Lord God of all creation…we offer you this bread and wine”..  The bread and wine offered to a God who doesn’t need them will return to us immeasurably elevated as the Body and Blood of Jesus.  After the Berakah, the priest moves into the climatic prayer of the Mass,  the Eucharistic prayer in the course of which Christ becomes really, truly and substantially present.  First the priest involves the participation of the heavenly community: “And so with the angels and the saints…..we acclaim”… this is not pious decoration, this links the Mass on Earth to the eternal Liturgy in Heaven and we join in the praise of the angels and the saints.  Therefore as the gathered people sing: “Holy, Holy Holy Lord God of Hosts….” They are like the angels and saints giving glory to God in the highest and hence actually realizing the unity that God desires for them.   The prayer commences with a word of gratitude to the Trinitarian God for the sheer grace of His creation and redemption. “You are indeed holy, o Lord and all you have created rightly gives you praise…….” He then beckons the Father to send down the Holy Spirit for the sanctification and transformation of the bread and wine.  “Therefore Lord we humbly implore you by the same spirit graciously make holy these gifts….” He then continues with what is termed the “institution narrative” which is an abbreviated form of the Gospel account of what Jesus said and did at the Last Supper.  He recalls how Jesus took bread and gave thanks and then he moves from 3rd person description to direct quotation, speaking the very words of Jesus “take this all of you and eat it for this is my body which will be given up for you”. The priest does the same in regard to the cup of wine, recounting how Jesus gave thanks and passed the chalice to his disciple and then moving to first person quotation, he says, ‘this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins…”  The faith of the Church is that by the power of these words, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus becomes really, truly and substantially present to His people under the appearance of the Eucharistic elements.

EXCURSUS ON THE REAL PRESENCE

In the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus Himself taught, after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and the walking on the sea, he went to Capernaum.  The people followed Him and He told them “don’t go after food that perishes; go after the food that will last into eternal life.  I myself I’m the living bread from heaven. My flesh is food for the life of the world.”  It is hard to imagine anything that is more theologically problematic and disgusting for 1st century Jew that those words since it was prohibited in their law to eat animal with its flesh and blood. When they protested Jesus had every opportunity to render his language more spiritual or metaphorical perhaps say “Well, I means something symbolic”. But instead he said “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you”. And the words in Greek are interesting.  He used the word “trogein” not Phagein, the way humans usually eat, trogein is the way an animal would eat, like gnawing.  In other words, when they object to the physical realism of it, he intensifies it.  Many of the disciples went away, that teaching was too much for them to bear and He turned to His own inner circle, the Twelve, and He says,” Are you going to leave me too.”  It’s as though this teaching of the “real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist” is a standing or falling point.

It is Peter who speaks up “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. ” Peter confesses the truth of the Real Presence.  In Orvieto, year 1263, a priest named Peter of Prague, stopped in the little Italian town of Bosena to celebrate Mass. He had been entertaining doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Just after the words of consecration, blood began to run from the Hosts onto his hands then down unto the corporal on the altar.  Confused he went directly to Orvieto where Pope Urban IV was visiting.  He confessed his unbelief and the Pope sent a delegation immediately back to Bolsena. They returned with the corporal stained with the blood.  So impressed was the Pope that he declared a new feast for the Church called Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ and he turned to a Dominican Friar who also happened to be in Orvieto in his entourage and he asked him to composed the office for the feast with a  series of prayers and hymns.  This was Thomas Aquinas and he responded with the most poetic and beautiful hymns which we still sing to this day.  Tantum Ergo and O Salutaris. So identified was Thomas Aquinas with the Eucharistic mystery that he couldn’t get through the Liturgy without copies tears.  He never felt he did justice to the Eucharist and after writing at treatise about the Eucharist, he put his work at the foot of the cross filing he failed the Lord.  He heard Jesus speaking to him for the cross saying in Latin “You’ve written well of Me, Thomas.  What would you have as a reward?” Aquinas responded “I will have nothing except You”.

In that treatise, Thomas explained the transubstantiation where the substance of something chances but not its appearance.  Most of the times, appearance and reality match, but not always.  You look up into the sky on a clear winter’s night and you see the stars but in fact those starts are not longer there because the light takes so long to reach us.  Appearance and reality are different.  It seems like the sun moves across the sky but in reality the earth moves around the sun.  Appearance and reality differ.  The church states in the case of the Eucharist that what appears to be ordinary bread and wine in fact has changed at the deepest level of its reality.  How can that be?  Consider the power of words.  Words not only describe reality, but under the right circumstances can change reality.  If I go to someone and say you are under arrest, those words have no power and it would be taken as a joke, but if a properly deputized officer of the laws said to you, you are under arrest, whether you are guilty or innocent, you are in fact under arrest. Those words changed reality. In a baseball game, a fan can yell to a player you are out, but it has no impact.  However, if the umpire tell a player you are out, whether he is or not, the words of the umpire have changed reality.  Those are our puny words, now consider God’s word.  In the bible, God creates through the power of his Word.  Let there be light, and there was light, Let the earth come forth and it came forth.  God’s Word does not just describe, it affects what it says.

Who is Jesus?  Not one figure among many, not one in a long line of prophets.  Jesus is the very “logos” the very Word of God made flesh.  The same Word by which God made creation becomes personally present in Jesus and therefore, what Jesus says IS. Lazarus, come out, and he came out.  Little girl get up, and the dead girl gets up.  The night before he died he takes bread and He said, “This is my body which will be given up for you.”  He took the cup. He said, “This is the cup of my blood.” Jesus’ Word is the divine word, it does not simple describes but rather, affects, creates, changes reality in the most radical sense.  When the priest pronounces the word of consecration, he is not using his own words.  He is using the divine word of Christ which can affect reality and change reality most profoundly.

At the very beginning of her career, Flannery O’Connor who would develop into the greatest Catholic fiction writer of the 20th century sat down at dinner with Mary McCarthy and a group of other New York intellectuals.  Flannery was so overwhelmed that she barely spoke.  Mary feeling sorry for her, made a few remarks about the Eucharist knowing that O’Connor was Catholic.  She said of the Eucharist “It’s a very powerful symbol.”  O’Connor looked up and in a shaky voice said, “Well, if it’s only a symbol, I say to hell with it.”  Fr. Barron couldn’t imagine a better summary of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence.

Communion and sending.

At the close of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Jesus who is really present under the forms of bread and wine is offered as a living sacrifice to the Father.  Lifting up the elements the priest prays, “Through him and with him and in him…. “ At this time the Catholic priest is in the true holy of holies and what he does is analogous to what the High Priest did in the temple on the Day of Atonement.  In the ancient time, the priest enters the Holy of Holies and there he would sacrifice an animal to Yahweh on behalf of the people.  He would sprinkle some of the blood around the interior of the sanctuary and the rest he would bring out in bowls and sprinkle on the people sealing thereby a kind of blood bond between God and the nation.

The Catholic priest at the climax of the Mass offers to the Father not the blood of bulls and goats but the blood of Christ beyond all price.  Since the Father has no need of anything, that sacrifice redounds completely to our benefit.  If our troubles began with a bad meal, by seizing the forbidden fruit, our redemption is affected through a properly constituted meal, God feeding His people with His own Body and Blood.  After the congregation has communed and given thanks, they are blessed and sent.  The priest says “Go forth, the Mass has ended.” It is said that after the words of consecration, these are the most sacred words of the entire Mass. Now that the people have gathered as one family, heard the Word of God, professed their faith, prayed for one another, offered sacrifice to the Father, and received the Body and Blood of Jesus they are at least in principle more properly formed, and hence ready to go out and effect the transformation of the world. Fulton Sheen reflected that after the Magi’s visit to Jesus they went back a different route, and Bishop Sheen concluded, of course they did, no one encounters Christ and goes back the same way he came!

The Liturgy is the privileged communion with the Lord.  It is the source and summit of the Christian life and therefore, those who participate in it never leave unchanged, never go back the same way they came.

Notes on Fr.  Baron by Aida Tamayo

The Mystical Body of Christ and the Church

In 07 Observations on 2014/05/02 at 12:00 AM

Aida Tamayo’s notes on Fr. Barron’s series

The Mystical body of Christ and the Church.  What do you think is the primary reason for the Church existence?  Is it to feed the poor? Is it to provide social programs?   To educate the masses?  To tend to the sick?  NO, none of those is the primary function of the Church.  Don’t get me wrong, the Church is the oldest functioning institution in the history of the Western World and has been a major source of social services from the beginning providing education and medical care; inspiration for Western art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion and we in the Church are called to service. But that is not the primary reason for its existence.  The Primary Reason of the Church is to make us saints so we can spend eternity with God.  Through the Church, God gathers the people to Himself. Everything else flows from it but is not its reason for existing.

The Church is not a human institution, but a sacrament of Jesus, so it shares in the very being, life and energy of Christ.  This may shock many Mass goers.  Our celebration of Mass is not just what we perceive with our senses.  Each Mass joins the liturgy which the angels and the saints continually celebrate in heaven.  In His presence, the communion of saints and the angels unceasingly praise and adore God and those destined for heaven will be expressing this love in the heavenly liturgy, a sort of joyful perpetual adoration in His presence. The Mass allows us to join in this adoration because the earthly Mass has the power to plug us into that heavenly liturgy and all of heaven (angels, the Communion of Saints, Mary the Mother of God and of course, the Holy Trinity) is present at our Mass. Think of Jesus words.  Remain in me, live in me, eat my body and drink my blood. What did He say to Paul on the road to Damascus… Saul why are you persecuting me?  He didn’t say my followers or my Church.  He meant His mystical body.

We are joined to Christ across the ages in some mystical way, the Church is meant to gather all of creation around Christ. The Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus, and when we receive Him, we become more integrated into His mystical body, giving us a heightened sense of justice. By filling ourselves with the life of Christ and doing His Will, we will become saints and an active part of the Mystical Body.  All the baptized are connected to each other like cells in a body, so if someone is persecuted that affects all of us, it is our problem.  It is a tragedy that most people don’t realize this truth.

EKKLESIA – God established the Church in response to men’s sin. The Church mission is to restore us to that friendship with God.  Sin results in disillusion and division, totally opposed to God and the ever-loving God response to sin was a gathering of the people. He starts by calling Abraham and the people of Israel and he formed them to be a people distinct, unique, peculiarly His own.  He gave them laws, rituals, covenants, liturgies, a form of life meant to be pleasing to God. Not for the glorification of Israel but so that Israel could be the magnet by which the whole world would be gathered eventually unto God.  Jesus was the culmination of Israel and the supreme and divine magnet.  This gathering of people is what we call the Church. He told Peter, you are the Rock upon which I will build my ekklesia (Greek for church).

The 4 basic Marks: One Holy Catholic Apostolic

In the Catechism paragraph 811, it says that the Church of Christ is professed in the Creed: “…… to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other, indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes His Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is He who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

THE CHURCH IS ONE – because God is one.  I believe in one God.  By this we are called to reject all other “deities”  (political leaders, cultural idols, ideologies, etc.) …there is only one God.  The Church is the vehicle by which the one God draws all people to unity with Himself.  Jesus, the Word and mind of God is all that is true and beautiful and He draws all things to Himself over time.  The Pantheon in Rome provides an example of this process.  It is the most beautiful space created by paganism and is now the Catholic Church of Mary of the Martyrs.  The Church holds on to its truth but is able to transform and assimilative that which is good, true and beautiful into its own unity, its unchangeable truth.  That was Jesus prayer to God the Father, that we may all become one [in Truth] as He and His Father are One.

THE CHURCH IS HOLY – Because God is Holy and the Church is His mystical body. The Church’s primary purpose is to make saints, to make people holy.  Everything about it is meant for that end. One hears always about the inquisition, persecution of Galileo, the crusades, corruption, too much money, and recently abuse of children by some priests.  Given this why do we call the Church Holy?  That the Church is holy doesn’t deny the sinfulness of its members.  Sadly, our fallen nature affects us.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:   844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:   Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasoning, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair. 845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church.

The Church itself is holy and a bearer of grace.  Its grace in the sacraments comes not from the moral excellence of the ministers, but from God.  The grace of God is that which makes the Church holy.

THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC – Catholic comes from the Greek word kata holos meaning according to the whole: Universal.  The Church is universal because it is the means by which God wants to gather the whole world to itself. The Church is the new Israel and a magnet to all the nations.  One of the greatest gathering places in the world is St. Peter’s square.  It can hold up to 300,000 people.  And Bernini’s columns are meant to look like arms reaching out to gather in the whole world.  The Word got out to all nations and all nations come here, which is a realization of what was said 2000 years ago.

CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC – because it is rooted on the apostles; The 12 men chosen by Jesus.  They stayed with Jesus, were formed and shaped by His Mind, the mind of God.  The main altar of the great basilica of St. John Lateran, holds the reliquaries with the head of the great apostles Peter and Paul.  The form and structure of the Church itself are depiction of the 12 Apostles.  Bishops today can legitimately claim that they are successors of the Apostles.  The leadership of the Church today is Apostolic in structure.  Hierarchy comes from two Greek words; hieros(priest)  and arche (rule or principle). It is not a power play, it is a church grounded in this Apostolic faith.  Apostles meant to send and so the Church has that great missionary purpose. The Church is not a democratic polity or a philosophical debating society but a body grounded in revelation.  Its integrity rests in its founder and the on-going guidance by the Holy Spirit.  This same Spirit protects the Church from error in matters of faith and morals through the infallibility of the Pope, the successor of the Apostle Peter.  Infallibly does not mean the Pope interferes with the life of the Church it means that he is the living voice of authority to protect the Truth of God which guides its life.  The keys given to Peter as the first Pope are meant to unlock the secret to life, the secret to the great mystery of all things.   If the keys were flexible, it would lose its whole reason for being.  The keys handed to Peter will take us to the truth of God so we can be gathered in Him.

Purgatory:The Dogma Explored

In 15 Audio on 2014/03/07 at 12:00 AM

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

The Church has always offered prayers for souls receiving final purification that they may attain the beatific vision of God. Join Fr. Clement Machado for an exploration of the tradition and doctrine of Purgatory.

Purgatory: The Dogma Explored

Back to Series List

Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

The Dogma Explored 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_01.mp3

2.

Fathers of the Church #1 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_02.mp3

3.

Fathers of the Church #2 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_03.mp3

4.

The Liturgy 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_04.mp3

5.

The Doctrine 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_05.mp3

6.

Consolations & Sufferings 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_06.mp3

7.

Indulgences 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_07.mp3

8.

The Mass 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_08.mp3

9.

Handbook of Indulgences 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_09.mp3

10.

Mary 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_10.mp3

11.

After Vatican II 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_11.mp3

12.

Healing the Family Tree 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_12.mp3

13.

Avoid Purgatory 

Host – Fr. Clement Machado

purg_13.mp3

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“A personal meeting with Christ”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/01/03 at 12:00 AM
When you receive him, tell him: Lord, I hope in you: I adore you, I love you, increase my faith. Be the support of my weakness: You, who have remained defenseless in the Eucharist so as to be the remedy for the weakness of your creatures. (The Forge, 832)

I will not surprise anyone if I say that some Christians have a very poor concept of the holy Mass. For them it is a purely external rite, if not a mere social convention. This is because our poor hearts are capable of treating the greatest gift of God to man as routine. In the Mass, in this Mass that we are now celebrating, the most Holy Trinity intervenes, I repeat, in a very special way. To correspond to such great love, we must give ourselves completely, in body and in soul. We hear God, we talk to him, we see him, we taste him. And when words are not enough, we sing, urging our tongue — Pange, lingua! — to proclaim to all mankind the greatness of the Lord.

To “live” the holy Mass means to pray continually, and to be convinced that, for each one of us, this is a personal meeting with God. We adore him, we praise him, we give thanks to him, we atone for our sins, we are purified, we experience a unity with Christ and with all Christians. (Christ is passing by, 87-88)

“We are going to receive our Lord”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/12/19 at 12:00 AM
Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life? We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves to receive him very well. (The Forge, 828)

Jesus is the way, the mediator. In him are all things; outside of him is nothing. In Christ, taught by him, we dare to call God our Father — he is the Almighty who created heaven and earth, and he is a loving Father who waits for us to come back to him again and again, as the story of the prodigal son repeats itself in our lives.

Ecce, Agnus Dei… Domine, non sum dignus… We are going to receive our Lord. On this earth, when we receive an important person, we bring out the best — lights, music, formal dress. How should we prepare to receive Christ into our soul? Have we ever thought about how we would behave if we could only receive him once in a lifetime?

When I was a child, frequent communion was still not a widespread practice. I remember how people used to prepare to go to communion. Everything had to be just right, body and soul: the best clothes, hair well‑combed — even physical cleanliness was important — maybe even a few drops of cologne… These were manifestations of love, full of finesse and refinement, on the part of manly souls who knew how to repay Love with love.

With Christ in our soul, we end the holy Mass. The blessing of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit accompanies us all day long, as we go about our simple, normal task of making holy all honest human activity. (Christ is passing by, 91)

Becoming Catholic

In 15 Audio on 2013/10/24 at 12:00 AM
Becoming a Catholic
Host – Fr. Ed Krause
Fr. Ed Krause instructs, encourages, and inspires listeners with the wisdom and strength of the Catholic creed, moral tradition, and sacramental life. He demonstrates that becoming a Catholic is a lifelong struggle, beginning with Baptism and ending in Heaven.
Becoming Catholic Back to Series List
Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. Preambles of the Faith Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc01.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about the basics of the Faith including proofs for the existence of God and the first article of the Creed.
2. The Second Commandment Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc02.mp3
Fr. Krause discusses the ways that the Lord’s name is taken in vain today in phony religions, and how the Catholic Faith, the true faith has shown herself to be true since its foundation 2000 years ago.
3. On Christ, Christology, and the Incarnation Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc03.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about the teaching of Jesus Christ on the Kingdom of God, the beatitudes, and how the Incarnation was God’s answer to suffering and death.
4. The Church and its Mission Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc04.mp3
Fr. Krause concentrates on the mission and task that Jesus gave us: to break beyond selfish isolation and share a richer life in communion with God and all the Saints.
5. Baptism, Confirmation and Penance Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc05.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about the sacraments of initiation, their scriptural sources, and what the Catechism teaches on them.
6. The Sacrament of the Eucharist Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc06.mp3
Fr. Krause concentrates on the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the scriptural references to it.
7. Marriage and Orders: Vocational Sacraments Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc07.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about how Love is perfected within Marriage or Holy Orders.
8. The Anointing of the Sick Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc08.mp3
Fr. Krause discusses the issue of suffering and illness, and how God uses evil to produce a greater good, but also how, without God, suffering would lead to anguish, self-absorbtion or despair. He also talks about how the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick gives people the grace to carry their crosses and healing.
9. The Moral Imperatives of any Faith Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc09.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about how Morality is objective, and perceived by the Conscience through Natural Law
10. The Fifth Commandment: You Shall not Kill The Fifth Commandment: You Shall not Kill Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc10.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about the sacredness of human life, the heinousness of abortion, and how even hatred against your brother is a sin.
11. The Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth Commandments Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc11.mp3
Fr. Krauses ties together the sins of adultery, lust, and dishonor to parents into one theme of preserving the sacredness of family life.
12. The Eighth Commandment and the Media Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc12.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about how bearing false witness has affected society today, on a small scale and a larger scale with the media.
13. The Paschal Mystery and the Last Things Host – Fr. Ed Krause bc13.mp3
Fr. Krause talks about the culmination of Christ’s life in His death and resurrection, the culmination in our lives through our death to self and our rising in Christ, and the culmination of the Church’s mission at the end times.

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/05/31 at 12:00 AM

In looking for a word to describe what happens to the bread and wine at Mass as they are consecrated into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, St. Thomas Aquinas created the word transubstantiation.

The first part of the word, trans, means to change or cross over. The latter part of the word, substantiation, is the Latin word for substance. St. Thomas, of course, understood substance in the philosophical sense used by Aristotle.

If you’ve ever studied metaphysics, you know that Aristotle said that all things are made up of substance and accidents. The accidental qualities of a thing are what can be perceived with our physical senses: color, texture, taste, smell, etc.

Substance, on the other hand, is the metaphysical quality that makes a thing what it is. For example, our altar here at St. Ann’s is different from the altars at St. Vincent’s, St. Patrick’s, or St. Gabe’s.

But even though they look vastly different, we all know and recognize an altar when we see one. Aquinas and Aristotle would say that these particular pieces of furniture possess a certain “altarness” if you will. That is the substance of this furniture.

Some of you may be wondering why I am giving you a metaphysics lesson today at Mass. It is because we cannot fully appreciate what we as a church are celebrating today without a little metaphysics.

Today is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is Corpus Christi! Thus, today is the day we celebrate and give God thanks for the great gift of the Eucharist.

Here at Mass ordinary bread and wine are brought forward and placed on the altar. Then during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest prays that the Holy Spirit will come down upon the gifts. This is known as the epiclesis – and you will hear the bells ring once to signal this.

From there we enter into the most important and solemn moment of the Mass. Jesus Christ, through the priest, utters the words of institution: “Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.”

And “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.” And again, bells ring to signify what is happening.

Through these words the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. The substance of the bread and wine change, but not the accidental properties. That’s why St. Thomas used the word transubstantiation – because only the substance changes.

So even though the bread still looks and tastes like bread, and even though the wine still looks and tastes like wine, they are no longer bread and wine, but really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ.

As Christ makes abundantly clear in the Gospel today, the bread and wine are not symbols of His body and blood. He says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” and “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

And again Christ says: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

This is not magical, it’s metaphysical – and it certainly is miraculous. And it is a tremendous gift that we should never take for granted, but rather we should constantly give God thanks and praise for the gift of the Eucharist.Moreover, if we truly believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, then we should also take great care to receive Holy Communion worthily.

Of course this means that we should never receive Holy Communion when we suspect that we may be in a state of mortal sin or if we know in our conscience that we are living our lives in a way that is contrary to God’s commandments or the Church’s teachings.

Receiving Holy Communion worthily also means that we should do our best to be prayerful, recollected, and reverent when we come up to receive. As you kneel at the altar rail to receive our Lord, think about Who it is that you are receiving! It is the Lord!

He loves you so much that not only does He come to you, but He allows Himself to be bread and wine to be consumed by you, and so we are called to receive Him as a bride receives her bridegroom!

But, my friends, even beyond ensuring that we understand what the Eucharist is and that we receive Holy Communion reverently and in a state of grace, today’s feast calls us to a change that is analogous to the change that takes place at the consecration.

As the bread and wine and changed at the consecration and cease to be what they were before, so too must be allow ourselves to be changed as we participate in the Mass and receive Holy Communion.

When we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we must allow ourselves to be offered up with Christ, identifying ourselves with His sacrifice. We must see ourselves in the bread and wine as they are offered up.

The old man of sin that reigns within all of us must die so that we can put on the new man of grace and virtue. While we will still look and sound like we always have on the outside, on the inside we must be completely renewed. There must be a sort of spiritual transubstantiation that takes place within us.

In the Mass, my friends, we are called to unite our hearts and minds and wills with that of Jesus as He offers Himself to the Father for our sakes.

And the better that we identify ourselves with Christ’s sacrifice and allow ourselves to be offered up with Him, the more the old man of sin within us dies, the more efficacious Mass becomes for us – and the more we grow in a holiness that better disposes us to handle our daily tasks and duties, as well as our crosses.

As we honor our Lord’s Body and Blood today, let us give thanks to God for this most efficacious of gifts.

And let us earnestly seek to unite ourselves ever more closely to our Eucharistic Lord as He offers Himself up in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass so that we may become more like Him whom we worship.

Copyright 2011 by Reverend Timothy Reid, Pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC