Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

National Marriage Week

images“National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14) and World Marriage Sunday/Valentine’s Day (Sunday, Feb. 14) provide an opportunity to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged and married couples.”

Bishop Richard Malone
Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life,and Youth

“Marriage, both as a natural institution and as a Christian sacrament, is an irreplaceable good for society and all people,” wrote Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, in a letter to his brother bishops. “Our Committee remains ever grateful for the ongoing efforts in dioceses and parishes to promote, strengthen and defend marriage, and to accompany married couples in their joys and trials.”

A prayer resource is found here.

Put into the deep

Fishers of MenIn the Ordinary Form of the Mass it is the 5th Sunday through the Year. The Gospel is Luke 5:1-11. In the Byzantine Church it is Cheesefare Sunday (also called forgiveness Sunday). The Byzantine Church prepares its faithful to move slowly into the Lenten observance by three weeks of growing more and more into prayer, fasting and giving alms. While the gospel readings for  the various liturgical rites may differ, it is always important to hear the lesson Jesus offers: follow me, watch what I do: put yourself at the mercy of God the Father and the holy desires of your will be made real which in turn will build God’s Kingdom. Lent is almost here. Will we put into the deep?

“The Church is called out into the deep, delving, as it were, into the profound mysteries of the heavens, into that depth concerning which the Apostle says, ‘O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!’ For this reason he says to Peter, ‘Put out into the deep,’ – that is to say, into the depths of reflection upon the divine generation. For what is more profound than what Peter says to the Lord, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God?’” –St. Maximus of Turin:

Baptism and Life

Baptism of Lord“Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. He begins to perceive the meaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await “eternal life” – the true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life. Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10), has also explained to us what “life” means: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we ‘live’”

Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical on Hope, November 30, 2007.

Holy Prophet Nahum

Prophet NahumThe sacred Liturgy, at least the Byzantine Church, recalls the person of the Holy Prophet Nahum, whose name means “God consoles.” The particularities of Nahum’s life are unknown. Historically we know that the Prophet Nahum came from the village of Elkosh (Galilee) and lived during the seventh century B.C. He died at the age of forty-five, and was buried in his native region. He is the seventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets. How fitting in this era of civil upheaval, personal anxiety, and the temptation to nihilism. The liturgical remembrance of the prophets is a little unusual for Latin Catholics but as we know, nomen omen, the name means something, the name of a person shows that person’s God-given mission to the world.

Scholars tell us that Nahum is distinguished from most of the prophets because he neither issues any call to repentance (metanoia), nor denounce Israel for their infidelity to God. The text is one of the richest in image and composition. But in the Office of Prophet that he exercised, Nahum did speak of  the ruin of the Assyrian city of Nineveh because of its iniquity, the destruction of the Israelite kingdom, and the blasphemy of King Sennacherib against God. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal died in 632 B.C., and over the next two decades, his empire began to crumble. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C. All this leads to the catastrophic demise of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

The book of Nahum places a strong emphasis on the God’s absolute sovereignty over everything.

The Byzantine Church ask for the Prophet Nahum and Saint Nahum of Ochrid’s (December 23) for people with mental disorders.

 

Saint Callistus and Ember Days

Happy feast day of Pope Saint Callistus. The Church liturgically remembers this early pope because of his leadership and spiritual care in the face of trial and heresy. Slave, failed banker, convict and pope. He’s a late second century personage. Studied theology, ordained a deacon and a great counselor. Killed in 222 a riot against Christians. He’s the patron saint of cemetery workers. The pope’s biography is incomplete and often untrustworthy due to the lack of good records from this time. This Pontiff shows how to face our trials (and death): with Christ alone. Don’t give into the temptation of nihilism. Seek what God has shown us: Himself.

The liturgical scholars tell us that Callistus gave us the Ember Days. Before the revision of the Liturgy, the Church observed days of prayer and fasting (outside Fridays, Advent and Lent, and certain other days) with Ember days. There exists for sets of Ember days corresponding more-or-less with the change of seasons. So, Ember Days were known by the faithful from about AD 220 to 1969. Callistus links our Christian life with a good dose of Old Testament theology and typology.

As typical, when you touch something ancient it has the possibility of disintegrating, which is what happened to the Embers. The 1969 revision of the Church calendar reads:

“In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions and the different needs of the people, the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan of their celebration. Consequently, the competent authority should lay down norms, in view of local conditions, on extending such celebrations over one or several days and on repeating them during the year. On each day of these celebrations the Mass should be one of the votive Masses for various needs and occasions that is best suited to the intentions of the petitioners.”

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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