Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Saints Named in the Canon of the Mass

In the Canon of every Mass over three dozen saints are invoked by the priest before and after the Consecration – the Consecration, that sublime act whereby the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ become present under the appearance of bread and wine. Who were these great saints? Why are they entreated at the pinnacle of the Mass? And why were these particular saints chosen?

When the days of the old covenant between Almighty God and His chosen people had been fulfilled, Christ defeated sin and death and so made it possible for men to enter Heaven through union with His mystical body, the Catholic Church. Those who are united with the soul of Christ’s Church share in the Communion of Saints, a locution describing:
* The faithful on earth (the Church Militant) who are fighting the temporal crusade for the Kingdom of God,
* The souls in Purgatory (the Church Suffering) who are making atonement in the place of purification, and
* The blessed in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) who are rejoicing in their eternal reward. 

With our Lord as its head, this unity forms the Mystical Body of Christ, and benefits from a plenary exchange of grace and vitality between its members. Thus, through charity and obedience the members of the Church Militant participate in the same faith, sacraments, worship, and government, and aid one another through holy examples, constant prayers, and satisfactory works. These faithful also assist the suffering souls in Purgatory by prayers and sacrifices. The saints in Heaven, meanwhile, intercede with God on behalf of those who have not yet attained the Beatific Vision. The whole is vivified by life-giving activity of the Holy Ghost. 

In recognition of this, and to compensate for the defects in the prayers and works of the Church Militant, during the sacrifice of the Mass the priest invokes the intercession of the saints in Heaven. In calling to mind the examples of the members of the Church Triumphant the priest also provides instruction to the faithful on earth by illuminating the continuity of Catholic life and teaching. Further, loving attention to the saints encourages a spirit of adoration for what is holy and good, without which the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil becomes a grim campaign. In venerating the saints, Catholics also honor what God Himself honors. 

The saints petitioned in the Mass are those who were venerated since the earliest days of the Church of Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great (590–604 AD) set the number of these saints at 40, and thus the count remained until Pope John XXIII added St. Joseph to the Canon in 1962. 

Twin invocations fittingly unite the full Mystical Body at the Consecration.
(1) In the Communicantes preceding the Consecration, two ensembles of saints – the 12 apostles and 12 martyrs – are named under the mantle of the Queen of Saints in union with St. Joseph her most chaste spouse.
(2) In the Nobis quoque peccatoribus following the Consecration and the Memento for the holy souls, fourteen martyrs are invoked alongside St. John the Baptist. 

The Saints of the Communicantes
In expectation of the Consecration the faithful unite themselves with the saints of the Communicantes as they await the arrival of their Divine Master, who is about to appear in Person on the sacred altar.
The Holy Family, the saints of the Incarnation:
* Mary, the Mother of God
* Joseph, the Head of the Holy Family 

The Apostles are next named in the Canon:
* Peter
* Paul
* Andrew
* James the Greater
* John
* Thomas
* James the Less
* Philip
* Bartholomew
* Matthew
* Simon the Zealot
* Jude Thaddeus 

After the Apostles, 12 saints are named. The first seven are clerics; the last five are laymen whose martyrdoms sanctified their professions.
* Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, and Cornelius: Popes
* Cyprian: Bishop
* Lawrence: Deacon
* Chrysogonus: Teacher
* John and Paul: Civil Servants, brothers
* Cosmas and Damian: Physicians, brothers
The Saints of the Nobis quoque peccatoribus
After the Consecration the martyrs are again invoked in the prayer Nobis quoque peccatoribus, often called “The Great Intercession.” This list of saints is a choir of seven men and seven women headed by St. John the Baptist.

The men are named first, and represent the several orders and states in the Church.
* John the Baptist: Prophets
* Stephen: Deacons
* Matthias: Apostles
* Barnabas: Levites
* Ignatius of Antioch: Bishops
* Alexander: Popes
* Marcellinus: Priests
* Peter: Exorcists, Clerks
The canon next calls our attention to holy women who died for the Faith of Jesus Christ. All of them were added to the Canon by St. Gregory. They represent both the married and unmarried states, and hail from the important centers of early Western Christianity.
* Felicitas and Perpetua: married, Carthage
* Agatha: virgin, Sicily
* Lucy: virgin, Sicily
* Agnes: virgin, Rome
* Cecilia: married but continent, Rome
* Anastasia: widowed, the Orient

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Checking In

In its conception this blog was begun to capture the author’s ruminations on how sense-perception penetrated by reflection can lead to intellectual insight; it was to be various essays that describe movement from the mutable to the immutable. The medium is germane to the age in which it is written; the mode of expression not infrequently reflected the idiom of the day in the service of truth.

Other pursuits and interests have cropped up over the years to occupy this writer’s attention and account for his time, but the original objective remains his north star.

Mu canit, Ar numerat, Geo ponderat, Ast colit astra.
Celebrate Life, Consider the stars, Ponder the earth, but Cherish the heavens.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Year

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my father, Robert. In your charity, kindly say a prayer for the repose of his soul. It is a good and beneficial thing to pray for the dead, that they might be loosed from their sins and come at last to their eternal happiness with our Father in Heaven.

“Then he would have contribution made; a sum of twelve thousand silver pieces he levied, and sent it to Jerusalem, to have sacrifice made there for the guilt of their dead companions. Was not this well done and piously? Here was a man kept the resurrection ever in mind; he had done fondly and foolishly indeed, to pray for the dead, if these might rise no more, that once were fallen! And these had made a godly end; could he doubt, a rich recompense awaited them? A holy and wholesome thought it is to pray for the dead, for their guilt’s undoing.”

- 2 Maccabees 12:43-46

Monday, February 9, 2015

Grassroots : Astroturf :: Facts : Media Con Game

Veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests like Wikipedia, effectively manipulate and distort media messages.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank God for Large Families

Children being a blessing from God, it's a sad day when one hears misguided souls talk about children being an interruption of their lives. Pope Pius XII offered the following kindly wisdom on the topic.

“Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church; happiness flowers in them and sanctity ripens in favorable soil. Every family group, even the smallest, was meant by God to be an oasis of spiritual peace. But there is a tremendous difference: where the number of children is not much more than one, that serene intimacy that gives value to life has a touch of melancholy or of pallor about it; it does not last as long, it may be more uncertain, it is often clouded by secret fears and remorse...

“It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness. Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren.

“Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them.

“And the hopes soon become a reality when the eldest daughter begins to help her mother to take care of the baby and on the day the oldest son comes home with his face beaming with the first salary he has earned himself. That day will be a particularly happy one for parents, for it will make the spectre of an old age spent in misery disappear, and they will feel assured of a reward for their sacrifices.

“When there are many children, the youngsters are spared the boredom of loneliness and the discomfort of having to live in the midst of adults all the time. It is true that they may sometimes become so lively as to get on your nerves, and their disagreements may seem like small riots; but even their arguments play an effective role in the formation of character, as long as they are brief and superficial. Children in large families learn almost automatically to be careful of what they do and to assume responsibility for it, to have a respect for each other and help each other, to be open-hearted and generous. For them, the family is a little proving ground, before they move into the world outside, which will be harder on them and more demanding...

"All of these precious benefits will be more solid and permanent, more intense and more fruitful if the large family takes the supernatural spirit of the Gospel, which spiritualizes everything and makes it eternal, as its own particular guiding rule and basis. Experience shows that in these cases, God often goes beyond the ordinary gifts of Providence, such as joy and peace, to bestow on it a special call — a vocation to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the highest sanctity.

“With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten.

“Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values.”

- Pope Pius XII, from an address to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy, January 20, 1958

Pope Pius XII

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Origami Nativity

Friday, January 16, 2015

Of F-Bombs, N-Words, and G-Ratings

What’s more selfish than the gluttony of Augustus Gloop, more demanding than the tantrums of Veruca Salt, more bovine than the obsessive masticating of Violet Beauregarde, and more vacuous than the glassy stare of Mike Teavee?

Recently I met up with a group of friends, one of whom I’ve known since high school. The next day I phoned her to ask that when we got together next, she not drop any more F-bombs on the proceedings. I was invited to find another circle of friends to spend evenings with; news reached me later through another party that yours truly is now said to be good primarily for G-rated gatherings.

An F-bomb is an ugly and gross word that sours joy and wrecks mirth, one that is favored by ill-mannered people who shabbily seek to be the center of attention. It is the language of ungenerous and dreary souls; repeated or frequent utterance makes a person (whether the speaker or the victim) dull and obtuse. It is a misnomer to call recourse to it an “adult” matter. I say, let’s have only adult conversations - ones characterized by the respect, civility, good humor, and camaraderie beyond the ken of rotten children.

Now, the expression in question describes a loveless sex act. It is a crudity unfortunately attached to a natural and beautiful matter that creates new human life, something to inspire awe and wonder and joy. An F-bomb is a demeaning shout of contempt against life itself that has all the charm and eloquence of a racial epithet.

But should anyone ever ask that it not be used?

If we take the view that one abusive remark should be tolerated, then consider what other vulgar, crude, or objectionable phrases should also be tolerated. Is the N-word all right? How about slang for genitalia? If the granddaddy of repulsive terms is fair game, then it seems the consistent course would be to say that anything is fair game.

In that case, an individual who gave voice to the wish that everyone practice a bit of courtesy in their language would be unwelcome indeed.

Meanwhile, the original Willy Wonka film was rated G.