‘The Maastricht Hours’, Liège 14th century (British Library, Stowe 17, fol. 172r)
We know Jesus Christ through the mediation of others and if fortunate, to a personal relationship. On the former, we honor today the author of the first of the gospels. Saint Mark’s testimony to who Jesus is, and what he means to God’s promise to be with us.
The meditation today brings us to guidance we share in for our salvation.
“… the words of our Risen Jesus forbid us to fear such a calamity. He did not say to his Apostles: “Lo! I am with you even to the end of your lives;” but Lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. So that those to whom he addressed himself were to live to the end of the world! What means this, but that the Apostles were to have successors, in whom their rights were to be perpetuated, successors whom Jesus would ever assist by his presence and uphold by his power? The work founded by a God, out of his love for man, and at the price of his own precious Blood, must surely be imperishable! Jesus, by his presence amidst his Apostles, preserved their teaching from all error; by his presence he will also, and forever, guide the teaching of their successors.”
The Liturgical Year
Dom Proper Guéranger, OSB
Frequently do I go to places where certain liturgical practices catch my attention because of the novelty of what is said and heard. We always need a deeper understanding, a profound appreciation for the prayer of the Church as expressed in the sacred Liturgy. Some will say that canon law, particularly liturgical law, is the bad side of the Good News. As Catholics we are part of a Church; as Catholics we are not independent of sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition and the sacred Magisterium; as Catholics we follow a guided companionship on a journey to a deeper communio with the Triune God. We are not Marlboro people; we are, in fact, sheep in flock called to the Holy Synaxis, to the holy in-gathering of a people in Christ, or simply, Church. We have a good shepherd in Jesus and in His successors, that is, the bishops, and we follow the teaching authority of the Christ and His vicars.
This is a long introduction to a question as whether or not priests of monastic communities ought to name the abbot in the Eucharistic Prayer. There seems to be some confusion over this seemingly small, trite matter. It is not small, and it is not trite. We have an ecclesiology, and we have a liturgical practice that ought to be followed because we live our Catholic lives in communion with others. Abbots are minor prelates; they exercise their pastoral authority and power in their monastic community and not in a diocese, and by extension to the dependent priories. An abbot ought not employ the attitude of having a mitre and a crosier so that you can do whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like, etc.
Can a priest commemorate Abbot X (or even the abbess if in the context of a woman’s monastery) along with the pope and the bishop in the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass?
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal gives four titles that may be named in the Eucharistic Prayer: “The Diocesan Bishop, or one who is equivalent to the Diocesan Bishop in law, must be mentioned by means of this formula: together with your servant N., our Pope, and N., our Bishop (or Vicar, Prelate, Prefect, Abbot)” (no. 149). Each of these offices are “equivalent to the Diocesan Bishop in law” by virtue of their appointment to act on behalf of the Supreme Pontiff within a particular area.
You may remember reading this phrase in the Confessions, “Tolle lege.” It means “take up and read.” As is well known that “while he was under conviction of sin, Augustine heard some children singing this phrase as they played — and he concluded that God was telling him to “take up and read” the Scriptures. And the rest is history…
The practice of Lectio Divina is essential for knowing the beauty of the faith.
Today, the Norbertine liturgical calendar celebrates the conversion of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and their holy patron. Let’s pray for the canons of Daylesford Abbey.