Sunday, April 6, 2014

Treasure Found as result of Giving up FB for Lent!

Last year I gave it a little more thought - the need to give up FaceBook (FB) for Lent.  This year I just saw a friend saying she was giving it up and decided it was an excellent idea and I should too.

With FB removed from my commuting routine (I spend a couple hours on the Metra train each day), one of the books I've read is The Heroic Face of Innocence: Three Stories, by Georges Bernanos.  The first story is about St. Joan of Arc.  It pulls from the transcripts of her trial.  The middle story wasn't as good.  The third is a masterpiece, The Dialogues of the Carmelites, based on the true story of the 16 Carmelite nuns of Compiegne that were executed on one day during the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution.  The sisters first sang the Salve Regina and then the Veni Creator Spirtus, with the sound of their chorus having less voices as each sister in turn was beheaded.   That led me to find the opera of the same name by Poulenc.  While the play written by Georges Bernanos is fiction, it is a masterpiece of the reality of heartfelt faith testifying to not only the faith of the Carmelite sisters, but also the faith of Bernanos.  The opera also testifies to the faith of Poulenc.  
martyrs of Compiegne 2
martyrs of Compiegne 1
Poulenc's opera is also acclaimed as a masterpiece.  It was a little unfortunate the streaming video of the opera on Amazon did not have the sisters in their habits, and also that it had no subtitles, and it was sung completely in French, but the story was fresh in my mind.

Well, besides the French there are were several hymns in Latin that we don't often hear, but I am going to download to listen to more often:

That isn't correct.  We hear Ave Maria on the Marian Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.  The Salve Regina we are familiar with as it is the Latin version of the "Hail Heavenly Queen" that we pray after the 5th decade of the rosary.  The Ave verum corpus though, how many of you know that one?

Ave verum corpus, natum
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine,
cuius latus perforatum
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.
O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
Miserere mei. Amen.
A translation into English is:
Hail, true Body, born
of the Virgin Mary,
who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side
flowed with water and blood:
May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
in the trial of death.
O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus, O Jesus, son of Mary,
have mercy on me. Amen.
This was sung at the elevation of the host during the consecration. It was also used frequently during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

From Wikipedia, "The hymn's title means "Hail, true body", and is based on a poem deriving from a 14th-century manuscript from the Abbey of Reichenau, Lake Constance. The poem is a meditation on the Catholic belief in Jesus's Real Presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist. . . ."

Well, I want to start praying it again, and maybe singing it too.  

It is sad how few "Catholics" believe and reverence Jesus's Real Presence in the Sacrament of the the Holy Eucharist.  I could go on my soap box about all the little things that happened over the years - losing the communion rails, receiving communion standing up, receiving communion from lay ministers, receiving communion in the hand, mass consecrations of the Eucharist, etc.  I don't like it.  It is not this way in the Byzantine church nor in churches that celebrate Latin Masses with communion rails.  But I won't go on my soap box.  I will pray for reform, and I will continue to be one of those nuisance people who insist on kneeling during the consecration, even when the priest says to stand, and to navigate to the priest's communion aisle away from the lay woman handing out communion in the fashionable top and the well practiced "Receive the Body of Christ".  Pretty sure it is simply, "The Body of Christ", but she felt led to embellish . . .  arghh!  Even she wasn't as bad as the 7th grader from my local parish that was practically giggling as she was handing out the Body of Christ.  More and more things are making me appreciate the Roman Catholic Church but this really needs reform.

We recently did a college visit to Franciscan University of Steubenville.  There are Eucharistic Ministers there, but only for the cups.  The Body of Christ is only given by the priests.  Sadly I heard an upsetting story from a girl there that attended a Catholic High School in our area.  First she said she thinks only 50% of the students believed in God, let alone were Catholic.  Secondly, she told about a football player receiving Communion in the hand and then going to the back of the church and throwing the Consecrated Host in the garbage can.  Very upsetting, but also, that doesn't happen when you receive communion in the mouth at the Communion Rail, or in the mouth by the spoon in the Byzantine rite.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Holy, Holy, Holy

Two prophets--one from the Old Testament, and one from the New;
both chosen while alive to see that which most of us will only see after death

Both the great prophet, Isaiah, and the Apostle John, capture the reality in the same words.

Isaiah 6:3

3And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Revelation 4:8

8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

Jesus had this to say about Isaiah's testimony:

John 12:41

41Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him.

Good to keep in mind as we contemplate for the 99.999999% of us still living who do not get whisked into the the holiness of the reality of God's holiness and glory, charged to give an account to foster the faith, love, trust, and hope of the rest of us!

Let us pray the prayer taught by the angel to the children at Fatima:
MY GOD, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee! 
I ask pardon for for those who do not believe, 
do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.

Let us take encouragement from these words of our beloved Lord, Jesus the Son of God:

John 20:29

29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thank You, Mom

"Thank you, Mom, for giving birth to me.

Thank you, Mom, for feeding me every night.

Thank you, Mom, for telling me about Jesus."

This is what my son told me after eating his fill of Ukrainian pierogies, and two slices of honey bun cake.  I've noticed the males in this family are happiest and most loving after eating well.

Still, had to post this because these three thank you's need the platform of the world wide web.

A good Sunday to you all!

God Bless You!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Can't Always Get What You Want

But if you believe in God, trust in him, and wait upon him and his will to be accomplished, you will!

Revelation 21

21Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home* of God is among mortals.
He will dwell* with them;
they will be his peoples,*
and God himself will be with them;*
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 

This has to be one of the most wonderful, hopeful passages in the whole Bible.  I guess this is a "Sunday" reading for a "Friday" when we should remember the price Jesus paid, the gift the Father made to give us this blessed hope.  A few times in recent days I've hoped for something that would have at best given us a little temporal, fleeting happiness.  I still prayed that God's will be done, and the fact that the Holy Spirit stuck that little prayer in my head helped me to accept the disappointment even when it was at its sharpest.  

Just as I tell the girls I coach in basketball, and as Larry Bird once said, "You learn more from a defeat than a victory."  

I do trust the God who left this little jewel for us:

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for good* for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Not the good now, in the timing that my little brain desires, but the good that is the building of Christ-like virtue in us and those around us.

Thank you for the reminder and the gift of faith that comes from reading the opening of Revelation 21. You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are making all things new. You are bringing us into your kingdom where you will wipe away all tears.
I believe the disappointment was for the good of those involved. Thank you God for the peace and hope you give me in presenting that little phrase in the Lord's Prayer - "Your will be done," and the next, "Your Kingdom Come."

Revelation 22

22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 23

3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants* will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants* what must soon take place.’
7 ‘See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’ 

Blessed are we to have this hope.  Blessed are we to put trust in the Lord.  We will get what we want - to worship him, bathed in the light of his glory, seeing his face, forever!