“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)
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.
Catholics 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.
The Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, and not Saint Peter’s Basilica as many would think. The Liturgy given to us is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica because it is the oldest and highest ranking of the four major basilicas in Rome. The Lateran is the oldest church in the West, constructed in the era of the Emperor Constantine and consecrated by Pope Sylvester in AD 324.
What do we celebrate with this feast? We don’t celebrate a building as magnificent as it is; we don’t honor the craftsmanship of the building as important and relevant as this idea is because of beauty and harmony in themselves. But, we do recognize as Pope Benedict XVI said on this feast in 2008: “The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.” Hence, we honor the fact that Jesus Christ through his Apostles and disciples founded a church for our salvation and the proper teaching of the Christian Gospel.
Again Benedict said: “God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love” (November 9, 2008).
A feast with a universal observance, the Church tells us that the archbasilica, the ecclesiastical mother church, called “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world” (omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput).
Saint Bernard, Sermon for the Dedication of a Church gives a particular insight into what we do liturgically:
Today’s feast, brothers, ought to be all the more devout as it is more personal. For other celebrations we have in common with other ecclesiastical communities, but this one is proper to us, so that if we do not celebrate it nobody will. It is ours because it concerns our church; ours because we ourselves are its theme. You are surprised and even embarrassed, perhaps, at celebrating a feast for yourselves. But do not be like horses and mules that have no understanding. Your souls are holy because of the Spirit of God dwelling in you; your bodies are holy because of your souls and this building is holy because of your bodies.