March 31, 2007

The Roman tradition uses olive branches on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion.

[I posted this last year.]

The Missal in Latin (from which we draw our English translations) tells us that the ashes on Ash Wednesday are to be made from olive branches blessed the previous year, but that other branches may be used (no mention being made of palms).

However, our English translations of the Missal completely disguise the fact that olive branches are the primary choice.

(Agenzia Giornalistica Italia) - Vatican, Saturday, April 8 - A hundred thousand olive branches have arrived from Puglia, sent to the Vatican in four refrigerator containers. Pope Benedict XVI will bless them tomorrow during the Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter's Square and they will be issued to the Catholics who are there. However, tomorrow afternoon, they will also be given out in the chapels of Roman hospitals and in other parishes. Six magnificent olive trees will decorate St. Peter's church square during the mass and will stay there for the entire Holy Week, until the mass on Easter Sunday. After the festivities, they will be planted in the Vatican gardens. This project is being called "The Puglia Garden, roots of peace". In addition to the olive trees, there will be 45,000 palms and 500,000 stems from the Mediterranean area. Thirty different arrangements will line the Pope's path from St. Peter's church square to the altar. Forty expert florists have been called to create the arrangements. This is part of the Terlizzi florists' co-operative "Project 2000", a project which involves flower growers and olive tree producers on a voluntary basis. "A garden from Puglia will represent peace and St. Peter's brotherly love during the Holy Week", the regional agricultural councillor, Pietro Pepe, told journalists. He pointed out that this was "a project that is effective and rich in meaning. It is a sign of a council which sees the olive as a universal symbol, one that is represented in the Region's coat of arms, and our region produces a lot of olives".


The following are links to photos that The Roamin’ Roman has posted on her blog.

One of six olive trees decorating St. Peter Square in Rome for Palm Sunday and all of Holy Week

Mounds of olive branches arranged as decorations of the pavement for the pope's Mass

Clergy with olive branches in the pope's Palm Sunday procession

Ooh! "Messiah" visited me!

My meter indicates that someone from the domain "" visited my blog.

That turns out to be Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Their website indicates their identity and mission as follows.
Messiah College is a Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences. The College is committed to an embracing evangelical spirit rooted in the Anabaptist, Pietist and Wesleyan traditions of the Christian Church. Our mission is to educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society.
The website also describes their religious heritage. Here's the opening paragraph.
The College was founded by the Brethren in Christ, a religious group that emerged in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, about 1780. Many of the early members came from a Mennonite background and brought with them Anabaptist influences. At the outset the leaders of the new group were also influenced by the Church of the Brethren, especially on the issue of triune baptism by immersion. It was from the Church of the Brethren that the Brethren in Christ also received the insights of radical Pietism— a renewal movement in 17th century Germany. Thus in their early formation, the Brethren in Christ were shaped by the theological streams of both Anabaptism and Pietism.
The website deserves further reading.

Upcoming four-part television series about the Trappistine nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey

Trappistine monastery to be focus of new cable reality show
Dubuque, Iowa (Catholic News Service, March 30, 2007) -- Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, near Dubuque, is known for the lives of prayer the Trappistine Sisters lead there and for the delicious caramels they make. Now an even wider audience will get a glimpse into their lives. A four-part television series, "The Monastery," filmed in Dubuque a year ago, will be shown on the TLC cable channel. It was to debut at 2 p.m. EDT on Easter, April 8, and continue for three more Sundays at the same time. Five women who answered a casting call were chosen to spend 40 days and nights in a women's monastery somewhere in the United States. That "somewhere" turned out to be Our Lady of the Mississippi. The entire 40 days were filmed. The finished product is a companion to "The Monastery" series filmed at the men's Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, N.M., shown last fall on TLC.

= = = =

The nuns have a website.
Click HERE for it.

March 30, 2007

The next stage in fashion ... and I hope it never shows up in church

Click HERE for it.

... speaking of fashion ... in church

An older monk in my monastery attended summer school at the Catholic University of America sometime in either the 1940's or the 1950's.

During summer school that campus would be crowded with students from among the clergy and members of religious orders.

The Sisters all had nicknames for other religious orders.

There was one group that got the nickname, "Sisters of the Unmade Bed."

Could this be one of those Sisters?

(Okay! I saw the first one on three other blogs already ... but not the second one.)

. . . thou liturgical ballet-rog!

March 29, 2007

This Holy Week: Imitate Your Savior


You can donate a little of your blood to save others.

Your King will declare,
Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren,
you did it to me.

Look for your local blood bank.

You can also find out about local blood donation events and locations from the Red Cross.
Click HERE for it.

March 28, 2007

The Trials and Tribulations of the Liturgy

[Click on the image to see it larger.]

Since Christ in his Eucharist gives us his Body and Blood that he sacrificed on Good Friday, I think of the tensions in our liturgical life— stretched between the hootenanny and the hallowed— as a constant reliving of the Paschal Mystery itself.

On the one hand the Passover Supper is a sacred event of ceremony, history and tradition; the Lord's Last Passover Supper gives the form, the substance and meaning of the next day's violence.

Then the Day of Sacrifice on Calvary is accompanied by the jeering howlers and the gambling soldiers. Horrendous liturgy! Only a few women, one apostle, and one criminal reverence the victim of blasphemy on his cross. Afterwards, the holy women do what they can to provide the proper dignities of burial, even returning early in the morning on the first day of the week to complete (and still failing to complete) the devout burial liturgy they never completed on Good Friday.

The glorious mystery of the Risen One breaks through all the lack of completion. The Church finds itself wanting rightly and sincerely to grasp the feet of the Glorious One, but he has a "further" glory to ascend to, and he sends the Church off with a "Noli me tangere"— but also a celebrative proclamation of Glory, "I have seen the Lord".

The Church then runs to the empty tomb, but it is empty of the Glory. The Glorious One appears again in a Liturgy of the Word on the road to Emmaus, and he initiates a Liturgy of the Food at table in Emmaus. Glory recognized immediately becomes Glory vanished.

Finally, in the evening of that first day of the week, Glory appears again— in the upper room— in the Birthchamber of the Eucharist— appears to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church— and gives his Liturgy of the Word, "Peace be with you. It is I. Do not be afraid." Then his Liturgy of the Body and Blood: "See, a ghost does not have flesh and bones as I do. Do you have anything to eat?" What is his intention? "Receive the Holy Spirit!"

Just when we have a chance to grasp the Resurrection Glory in Person, he vanishes from the first Eucharistic Sanctuary of the Church.

Forty days later, the Ascended One has now left us to our liturgical efforts. The angels ask, "Why do you stand looking up to heaven?" Because we're waiting for Jesus to come again in the same way.

Liturgical glory is right and just. We need it. We owe it to God if we're going to put our money where our mouths are— as well as put money out for the mouths of the poor. "You shall love the Lord your God with your all...." The second greatest commandment is like to the first. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Rightly do we spend effort on our neighbors, but God commands that effort to take second place to our effort to spend our all, all, all on God. Liturgical glory is about fulfilling the God-specified first and greatest commandment.

As for howling jeers (some contemporary music) and the gambling "Mosh Pit of Peace" at Mass: a repetition of the need to say, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

We reach for glory. We suffer the passion.

- - - -

The above is a touched-up version of a comment I posted yesterday on Amy Welborn's blog.
Click HERE for it.

March 27, 2007

Preface for the Weekday Masses of the Fifth Week of Lent

[The preface "sets the tone" for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.]
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father, all powerful and everliving God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.

The suffering and death of your Son
brought life to the whole world,
moving our hearts to praise your glory.
The power of the cross reveals your judgment on this world
and the kingship of Christ crucified.

We praise you, Lord,
with all the angels and saints in their song of joy:

           Holy, holy, holy ...

DVDs from the Vatican

"Benedict XVI: The Keys of the Kingdom," which documents the papal transition in 2005.

"John Paul II: The Pope Who Made History," which offers a chronological view of the late pope's life in a five-disc collection.

"John Paul II: His Life, His Pontificate," which condenses his life and papacy onto one disc.

"John Paul II: This Is My Story," which features the late pope narrating the most significant events of his life.

"John Paul II: Seasons of the Apostle," which follows the pope's bold initiatives and courageous mission that never waned over the years even during his illness.

"The Vatican: Behind the Scenes of the World's Smallest Kingdom," which shows the day-to-day life behind the city's walls.

"The II Vatican Council" showing special archived footage and interviews with religious leaders explaining the council's reforms.

The Vatican has an official distributor.
Click HERE for it.

Women's monasteries and convents in crisis: not enough room for the new recruits

Go read about it on the blog of the Anchoress.
Click HERE for it.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1805, says:
Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them.
The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin cardo— “pivot” or “hinge.”

[CCC 1806] PRUDENCE is the virtue that disposes practical reason TO DISCERN OUR TRUE GOOD IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE AND TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MEANS OF ACHIEVING IT; "the prudent man looks where he is going." .... Prudence is "right reason in action".... It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); IT GUIDES THE OTHER VIRTUES by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

[CCC 1807] JUSTICE is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor....

[CCC 1808] FORTITUDE is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause....

[CCC 1809] TEMPERANCE is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion.... In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety"....

As human virtues, the cardinal virtues are:
... rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature: for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object. [CCC 1812]

March 26, 2007

The section I recommend most often in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church"

. . . because it offers A TRUE VISION OF OUR HUMANITY— a vision that is indispensable for those who choose to be alive in Christ in the midst of our culture that forgets or rejects the truth.

The part that appears in red corresponds to paragraphs 1691 through 2051 in the Catechism itself, and to questions 357 through 433 in the Compendium of the Catechism.

Click HERE for the Catechism online.

Click HERE for its Compendium online.