The Most Holy Trinity

holy trinity

This past weekend is a great example of how the mystery of Christ unfolds for us throughout the liturgical year.  The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is easily overlooked – after all, Easter season is over, Pentecost was so exciting, and oh yeah, this year, we’re all focusing on our brats and beers for Monday (especially in this state!) Well, I for one can’t complain – while visiting my brother, I attended a beautifully celebrated High Mass perfectly fit for the occasion.

Remember that solemnities are the highest-ranking celebrations on the liturgical calendar.  They are opportunities for us to rejoice in the richness of our faith, and to understand it more fully.  Today, we examine more closely the mystery of the Trinity, the central mystery of our life in Christ, as the Catechism (no. 234) teaches:

“The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life.  It is the mystery of God in himself.  It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.  It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith.’”

All Christians are baptized with the “Trinitarian formula”.  We are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Notice it is “the name”, and not “the names…”  The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, not many gods, and so we express this belief in the language we use.  We must be particular in our use of language about our faith.

Every single time we pray, we sign ourselves with the Sign of the Cross, the sign of the Trinity.  This is the first prayer we learn as children, and the one we pray the most often.  Do we just go through the motions, or do we pray these words with care?

most holy trinity

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The Golden Sequence and a Story

How wonderful it would be to celebrate the Octave of Pentecost in the OF…

Truth Revealed in Beauty

A treat for Monday within the Octave of Pentecost (Old Calendar). I was just thinking earlier how really sad it is that the “greatest of the octaves” was eliminated in the liturgical reforms of Paul VI. Even the Holy Father himself seemed to regret this, as an old story goes:

The Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose bright and early and went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red he expected, there were green vestments laid out for him.

He queried the MC assigned that day, “What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?”

“Santità,” quoth the MC, “this is now Tempus ‘per annum’. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished.”

“Green? That cannot be!”, said the Pope, “Who did that?”

“Holiness, you did.”

And Paul VI wept.

…and…

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Pray for our Priests

Pray for our Priests

On the Solemnity of Pentecost, remember to hold in your prayers the priests that are dear to you. Many priests need our prayers and the protection of Our Lady, especially a few priests who are very dear to me. Also, four young men were ordained to the priesthood yesterday in our diocese, and we ask for their protection as well.

Here is a link to some prayers for priests.

You may also wish to pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart, as well.

St. John Vianney, pray for us.

Pentecost

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“The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the ‘dispensation of the mystery’ – the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, ‘until he comes.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1076).

We speak about Pentecost as the beginning of the Church, but do we really know what we mean when we are saying that?  Often our “great commission” is quoted, that we need to go out and preach the Gospel to all nations.  Yet the gift of the Spirit on Pentecost is not only for the purpose of evangelizing non-Christians.  The Holy Spirit helps us experience that invisible heavenly reality through the Sacraments and other sacramental signs.  The Holy Spirit helps us to understand how Christ is acting through the Church, through her Sacraments, in this time when we can’t physically see him.

“In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to a new age.  He acts through the sacraments, in what the common Tradition of the East and West calls the ‘sacramental economy’;  this is the communication (or ‘dispensation’) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s sacramental liturgy.” (CCC 1076).

Read this carefully.  Christ acts through the Church.  It is through the Church’s liturgy that we receiving the “fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery” (the saving work he did for us on the Cross).  The sacraments, signs and symbols of heavenly realities, were instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church.

As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Church at Pentecost, and remember our own reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to understand how he is working through the Church and making Christ present to us at each and every Mass.

Saints

saints and martyrs

In my last entry, we looked at what the Catechism teaches about the Lord’s Day: Sunday is the most important day of the week, the celebration of the Christ’s Paschal mystery.  The liturgical year is structured in such a way that throughout the Sundays and Solemnities of the year, the entire mystery of Christ is unfolded for us.  Another way of exploring the Paschal mystery of Christ throughout the year is through the “Sanctoral cycle,” that is, the memorials of the lives of the Saints.  The Catechism (no. 1173) teaches us:

“When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those ‘who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ.  She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God’s favors.’”

I may have mentioned here before, and we should remember, that as Catholics, we do not “worship” or “adore” the saints.  Worship is reserved for, and due to, Almighty God alone.  We do, however, venerate the saints.  This means that we acknowledge our respect for this particular person, and that we hold them as an example of how to live the Christian life. Saints are people that we know are in heaven.  Some people, and some other Christian groups, may say that honoring a saint, or even a statue of a saint, is worshipping a false idol.  This is not what we are doing.  We are not making that person into a god, but we are saying that they honored God by their life, and we wish to follow their example.  By contemplating an image or praying in front of a statue, we are asking for help in leading good Christian lives, just as that person lived.  Pre-eminent among the saints is our Blessed Mother, Mary, a perfect example of how to answer God’s call to holiness.

When we ask a Saint for their intercession, we are asking, believing that they are in heaven, for them to be an advocate for us to Christ.  In the Litany of Saints, we sing the name of a Saint followed by “pray for us.”  This means “pray to God for us.”  It’s like having a friend go whisper in His hear, because you know this friend is in “good-standing”, so to speak. In the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen), one of the many awesome titles we give to Mary is “most gracious Advocate.”  There’s nothing wrong with praying to Jesus, and also asking His mother to go ask Him for help, too.  After all…what happened at the Wedding at Cana?

Is there a particular saint that you ask for intercession on your behalf?  Who do you wish to emulate?  Who is your patron saint?

The Lord’s Day

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“By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord’s Day, or Sunday.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1166/Sacrosanctum Concilium 106)  The entire week revolves around Sunday, as the “pre-eminent” day for the Church to come together.  Sunday is both the first day of the week, representing the first day of creation, and the eighth day, which represents the eternal day after the Lord’s rest, a new creation, the “day the Lord has made,” which has no end. (See CCC 1166).

Each Sunday is like a “mini-Easter”, celebrating Christ’s Resurrection.  Easter is not just one Sunday feast out of the year, but as the Catechism says, is the “Feast of feasts” and the “Solemnity of solemnities.”  Each Sunday represents and celebrates the saving work of Christ, his life, death and resurrection for us so that we might have eternal life.  That is why participation at Mass each Sunday is an obligation for Catholics (so there are at least 52 days of obligation during the year, not to mention the additional solemnities that are obligatory).  We are asked to keep holy the Lord’s Day, just as the early Christians did. It is at the heart of our life in the Church.

One of the most important texts from the Second Vatican Council is Sacrosanctum Concilium, or the “Consitution on the Sacred Liturgy.”  This is the document that addresses the Liturgy.  It contains a beautiful reflection on Sunday:

“When we ponder, O Christ, the marvels accomplished on this day, the Sunday of your holy resurrection, we say: ‘Blessed is Sunday, for on it began creation…the world’s salvation…the renewal of the human race…  On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light. Blessed is Sunday, for on it were opened the gates of paradise…’” (SC 106).

How do you keep the Lord’s Day holy?

Mary, Mother of the Church

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May is known as the month of Mary. While Mother’s Day is not a religious holiday, but a secular observance, today we show appreciation for both our earthly mothers and Mary, who is our heavenly mother.

One of the titles for Mary is Mother of the Church. We give her this name because, by being the mother of Christ, we consider her also to be the mother of all of those who are members of Christ’s body. We learn about this further in both the Catechism (no. 963) and in the dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, no. 53):

“The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. (…)She is the mother of the members of Christ, having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head. (…) The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.”

Let us today honor both our earthly mothers, for their response of “yes” to God in their gift of life to us, and also honor Mary the Mother of the Church for her example of faith in God and gift of life to His Son, Jesus Christ.

Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, pray for us!

And to my awesome earthly mother: I love you so much, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!!