Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

TLM at 10

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the publishing of the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, Summorum pontificum, freeing the Tradition Latin Mass (TLM) for celebration without the interference of clergy who want to kill off this noble expression of divine worship. It is clear that the breaking of its chains has allowed the Mass to change lives.

Instead of getting caught up in the usual concerns of some people, I think it is helpful if we appreciate the theological synthesis of the TLM not only in terms of the liturgical and ascetical discipline in the West, but also of pastoral practice: the salvation of one’s soul and that of the entire cosmos; one’s conversion to Someone Infinite and who can answer the thirst of the heart. Permit yourself to engage in a reflection that sees how the TLM conveys the worship of the Blessed Trinity, gives a theological and a moral tradition –not moralism and how it is allowed the laity with the help of the clergy to build culture.

I will say this, however, that the clergy who are adamant in seeing the diminishment of the TLM are ignorant of the graces poured out by God upon the Church. Why frustrate Beauty, Truth and Goodness? Let us pray for a deepening of the knowledge and grace that is given to us today at 10 years, and for the years to come.

The image is that of The Mass of Saint Gregory the great and miracle of the host, by Carle Van Loo (1705 + 1765), in the Chapel Saint-Grégoire of the royal church of sick, 1764. Museum of the Beautiful, Lyon Arts.

Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ

The Church, in July, traditionally honors the Most Precious Blood of Jesus. By His blood we are washed of sin and given eternal life.
 
Pope Saint John XXIII, with his apostolic letter “Inde a Primis” (June 30, 1960), explained its meaning and approved the litanies of the Precious Blood of Christ.
 
Benedict XVI said of this devotion:
 
The theme of blood linked to that of the Paschal Lamb is of primary importance in sacred Scripture. In the Old Testament the sprinkling of the blood of sacrificed animals represented and established the covenant between God and the people, as one reads in the Book of Exodus: “Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying: ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you on the basis of all these words of his'” (Exodus 24:8).
 
Jesus explicitly repeats this formula at the Last Supper, when, offering the chalice to his disciples, he says: “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). And, from the scourging, to the piercing of his side after his death on the cross, Christ has really shed all of his blood as the true Lamb immolated for universal redemption. The salvific value of his blood is expressively affirmed in many passages of the New Testament.
 
 
The blood of Christ is the pledge of the faithful love of God for humanity. Looking upon the wounds of the Crucified, every man, even in conditions of extreme moral misery, can say: God has not abandoned me, he loves me, he gave his life for me — and in this way rediscover hope. May the Virgin Mary, who beneath the Cross, together with the apostle John, witnessed the testament of Jesus’ Blood, help us to rediscover the inestimable riches of this grace, and to feel profound and perennial gratitude for it.
 
Several saints who had a devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus, come to mind: St. Paul, St. Augustine, St John Chrysostom, St Gertrude, St. Catherine of Siena, Bl. Gaspar del Bufalo, Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich,St. Veronica Giuliani,
 
The feast day of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus is July 1st.

Trinity Sunday

“The person of the Holy Spirit was of such authority and dignity, that saving baptism was not complete except by the authority of the most excellent Trinity of them all, that is, by the naming of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by joining to the unbegotten God the Father, and to his only-begotten Son, the name also of the Holy Spirit.”      ~ Origen

I was looking for something to reflect upon with regard today’s solemnity and I went to Pope Benedict to see what he said. Here is an excerpt from his June 7, 2009 Angelus address:

Today we contemplate the Most Holy Trinity as Jesus introduced us to it. He revealed to us that God is love “not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance” (Preface). He is the Creator and merciful Father; he is the Only-Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, who died and rose for us; he is the Holy Spirit who moves all things, cosmos and history, toward their final, full recapitulation. Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. God is wholly and only love, the purest, infinite and eternal love. He does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly given and communicated. To a certain extent we can perceive this by observing both the macro-universe: our earth, the planets, the stars, the galaxies; and the micro-universe: cells, atoms, elementary particles. The “name” of the Blessed Trinity is, in a certain sense, imprinted upon all things because all that exists, down to the last particle, is in relation; in this way we catch a glimpse of God as relationship and ultimately, Creator Love. All things derive from love, aspire to love and move impelled by love, though naturally with varying degrees of awareness and freedom. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Finally, I would suggest that at Sunday Mass (or later in a quiet place) when contemplating the awesome gift of the Eucharist, let us be united with the Church when the priest prays: May the reception of this sacrament, O Lord our God, and also the confession of our faith in the holy everlasting Trinity and of the undivided Unity of the same, profit us for the salvation of body and soul. (Post Communion prayer, trans. JZ)

A return to our Catholic inheritance through the Liturgy

We can’t escape the fact that the paradigms of modern society are suffocating the intellect, the heart and the souls of  men and women. What has efficacy for salvation? What conveys grace most authentically? It would be, I have come to believe, is the traditional form of the sacred Liturgy, either the older form of the Roman Rite or the Liturgies of the Eastern Churches (that of the liturgical families of Greece, Armenia, Syria and Egypt). There is Someone and Something that is transmitted the traditional forms of the Liturgy absent, minimized and moralized in the reformed rites of the 1960’s. While there are some good things that came about in some of the liturgical reforms, but there is a mystagogical diminishment therein. In fact, you could argue there has been a significant loss of shared transcendence available to the most humble of people. The Christian mystery, therefore, is highly reduced sense of the sign and symbol of Catholic worship of the Triune God.

In a First Things article, German philosopher Martin Mosebach publishes his thinking on this subject in “Return to Form: A Call for the Restoration of the Roman Rite” (April 2017). Pay close attention to Mosebach’s argument; it is a needed call to renew the Covenant and mark a path of redemption.

Prayer at the end of the year, at the beginning

the-holy-faceCatholics at the end of the calendar year and at the beginning of the new one do so in an atmosphere of prayer. Our faith is one of Thanksgiving. Hence, those who enter into prayer with the intention of giving thanks to the Most Blessed Trinity for the blessings received and supplicating God the Holy Spirit for the grace to be His faithful disciple in the New Year, may gain a plenary indulgence for the public recitation or chanting in Church of the Te Deum on Dec. 31 and the Veni Creator on January 1. It must be in Church, as a liturgical function, like at the end of Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or one the Divine Offices. The usual conditions for gaining the indulgence apply. The General Conditions are:

The traditional norm for going to confession, receiving Holy Communion, and praying for the intentions of the pope, in order to gain a plenary indulgence, was 8 days before or after doing the prescribed work (counting the day of the work). In the Great Jubilee Year 2000, the Apostolic Penitentiary relaxed this norm to “several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act” (Gift of the Indulgence, General remarks, 5).

Some may ask if the norm of 20 days remains today. The Apostolic Penitentiary responded that the norm of “about 20 days” remains in effect, since it was contained under the “General remarks on indulgences,” and not under those specific to the Jubilee Indulgence.

In sum, from Gift of the Indulgence, therefore, the usual conditions given in the Church’s tradition:

1. This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”.

2. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions(below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works …..

[N.B. The grants of indulgence are contained in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum (4th ed., 1999), in special grants of the Holy See, such as for the Year of the Holy Eucharist, and in special grants which bishops may establish for their dioceses.]

3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.

[N.B. Thus, one must be a Catholic in communion with the Pope, i.e. not excommunicated or in schism.]

4. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:

have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;

have sacramentally confessed their sins;

receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);

pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.

6. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).

7. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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