Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ad te levavi

It is the First Sunday of Advent. Here is the Entrance Antiphon (Introit):
Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O my God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed.
V. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths (Ps 24:1-4).
From Vultus Christi:
 There is movement in today’s liturgy: a great sweep upward and away from all that holds us bound and confined “in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:79). This is the ecstatic movement of prayer, of all right worship: out of self, upward, and into “the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). The Introit sets the tone, not only for this the first Mass of Advent, but also for the rest of the Advent season and, indeed, for the whole new liturgical year. “To Thee, my God, I lift up my soul” (Ps 24:1) or, as Ronald Knox translated it, “All my heart goes out to Thee, my God.”

The heart, in going out to God, leaves much behind and cannot look back. This is the law of prayer, this is what it makes it costly, sacrificial and, at the same time, unspeakably sweet. The things we leave behind are mere trifles but, oh, the hold they can have on us! The old self, fearful and anxious about many things, grasps at every illusory promise of security, clings to things, arranges them in great useless piles, looks on them caressingly and takes inventory of them. The loss of any thing, even the most insignificant, represents for the old self, the loss of control, the loss of power, and of comforting familiar pleasures. All of this in incompatible with the prayer that the liturgy places on our lips today: “All my heart goes out to Thee, my God” (Ps 24:1). The upward flight of today’s Introit has nothing to do with cheap pious sentiment. It is an uncompromising call to detachment, to poverty of spirit, and to an obedience that is off and running with all speed, ready for the leap of hope. (Read more.)
More First Sunday of Advent meditations from Silverstream Priory, here:
 There is a second way of hearing today’s Introit. The stational church in Rome for the First Sunday of Advent is the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the oldest temple in Christendom dedicated to the Mother of God. By singing this particular psalm in this particular place the Church is suggesting that we are to hear the voice of the Virgin Mary in it. Everything in Our Blessed Lady is in readiness for the advent of God. The Mother of God, Our Lady of Advent, prays and teaches us to pray, “All my heart goes out to thee, O God” (Ps 24:1). The second part of the verse is equally important. “Of those who wait for thee, not one is disappointed” (Ps 24:3). The Virgin Mary teaches us to pray Psalm 24 as she prayed it; by teaching us to pray with her, she becomes the Mother of our Hope. (Read more.) 

 Many people struggle with loneliness during this season of the year. Here are some words from the great Benedictine Dom Hubert van Zeller: 
After sin, the three evils most to be dreaded are doubt, fear and loneliness. Of these, loneliness is the worst. Loneliness can give rise to doubt and fear, while if a man knows he is not alone he can fight his doubt, and disguise- which is half the battle- his fear. We can force ourselves to laugh at our doubts and fears, but loneliness forbids laughter. Loneliness is an echoing ache in the soul, it hollows out the heart and scoops away at our reserves. It even communicates itself to the senses, and all the outer world seems indifferent and hostile. We must have something with which to meet this evil. We must find something which will turn it into good....

This is where we need to have faith. This is where we pull ourselves up and cry "It's a mood. It will pass. It is only a mood." That d├ęsespoir des lendemains de f├¬te will melt away in time, giving place to color and light and normality and, finally, joy.
~ Dom Hubert van Zeller's We Die Standing, pp.62-63

Novena to the Immaculate Conception

Drawing close to Our Lady in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception is one of the best ways I can think of to spiritually ready the soul for the great feasts that are to come. The novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States of America, begins today. And here is an excerpt from the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, much of which is based on Sacred Scripture:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, I firmly believe in thy Immaculate Conception. I bless God for having granted thee this glorious privilege. I thank Him a thousand times for having taught it to me by the infallible voice of the Church. Receive my heart, O Immaculate Virgin; I give it to thee without reserve; purify it; guard it; never give it back to me, preserve it in thy love and in the love of Jesus during time and eternity. AMEN.

V. Thy name, O Mary, is as oil poured out.
R. Thy servants have loved thee exceedingly.

Let us pray.
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, did prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as in view of the death of that Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain of sin, so Thou wouldst enable us, being made pure by her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Christ Our Lord. AMEN.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Solemnity of Christ the King

It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power. Nevertheless, during his life on earth he refrained from the exercise of such authority, and although he himself disdained to possess or to care for earthly goods, he did not, nor does he today, interfere with those who possess them. Non eripit mortalia qui regna dat caelestia.[27]
Thus the empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: "His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ."[28] Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved."[29] He is the author of happiness and true prosperity for every man and for every nation. "For a nation is happy when its citizens are happy. What else is a nation but a number of men living in concord?"[30] If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. What We said at the beginning of Our Pontificate concerning the decline of public authority, and the lack of respect for the same, is equally true at the present day. "With God and Jesus Christ," we said, "excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation."[31]
~Pope Pius XI "Quas Primas"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Litany for France

From Vultus Christi:
O God the Father of mercies: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ O God the Son, who wept over Lazarus: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ O God the Holy Ghost, the Comforter: — Have mercy upon us. ✢ Holy Mary, assumed into heaven: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Mother of Christ, Lady of Sorrows: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Mary, our Advocate in this vale of tears: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Michael, heavenly defender of Christians: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Denis, faithful martyr of the Lamb: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Martin, merciful Confessor of Christ: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Genevieve, protector of Paris: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Remigius, Enlightener of the Franks: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Francis, Apostle to the Muslims: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Louis, champion of justice: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Joan, valiant in battle: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Vincent de Paul, captive of the Turks: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Saint Therese, little martyr of love: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ Blessed Charles, brother of Christ and of all men: — Have mercy on us.
✢ All ye Saints of France: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ All ye holy Martyrs and Confessors: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ All ye Saints of God, men and women: — Have mercy upon us.
✢ O Lord, be merciful: — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From all evil, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From all sin, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From thy wrath, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From a sudden and unprovided death, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From anger, hatred, and all ill-will, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From plague, famine, and war, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ From everlasting death, — Spare us, O Lord.
✢ O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest.
✢ O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest.
✢ O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant them rest eternal.
V. Give peace in our time, O Lord.
R. For it is thou, Lord, only, that makest us dwell in safety.
Let us pray.
Do well, O Lord, unto those that are good and true of heart; grant the rule of thy salvation, watch over thy people’s safety with constant care, and restrain with thy right hand the rage of the enemy. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord: Who livest and reignest with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
✢ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: — Have mercy upon us, and upon France.
✢ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: — Have mercy upon us, and upon France.
✢ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: — Have mercy upon us, and upon France.

Dom Benedict wrote this litany upon hearing of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, 13 November 2015.
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