Category Archives: Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments

The cross is no failure

Cross with Carthusian monk JdeBeaumetz.jpgIn one respect the cross does have a terrible aspect
that we ought not to remove. To see that the purest of men, who was more than a
man, was executed in such a grisly way can make us frightened of ourselves. But
we also need to be frightened of ourselves and out of our self-complacency.

I think, Luther was right when he said that man must first be frightened of
himself so that he can then find the right way. However, the cross doesn’t stop
at being a horror; it is not merely a horror, because the one who looks down at
us from the cross
is not a failure, a desperate man, not one of the horrible
victims of humanity

For this crucified man says something different from
Spartacus and his failed adherents, because, after all, what looks down at us
from the cross is a goodness
that enables a new beginning in the midst of
life’s horror. The goodness of God himself looks on us, God who surrenders
himself into our hands, delivers himself to us, and bears the whole horror of
history with us.

Looked at more deeply this sign, which forces us to look at
the dangerousness of man and all his heinous deeds, at the same time makes us
look upon God, who is stronger, stronger in his weakness, and upon the fact
that we are loved by God.

It is in this sense a sign of forgiveness that also
brings hope
into the abysses of history. God is crucified and says to us that
this God who is apparently so weak is the God who incomprehensibly forgives us
and who in his seeming absence is stronger.

Pope Benedict XVI

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Cross, San Francesco, Arezzo.jpg

God the Father has exalted

Jesus Christ, the Lord of all,

Who has emptied self of glory,

Took our human nature’s thrall;

In obedience, He was humbled

Taking even cross and death;

Now creation shouts in wonder

“Christ is Lord” with ev’ry breath!

As the Cross is boldly

And the faithful now embrace

What was once a thing so shameful,

Now the hope of all our race,

Let us, marked with Cross, and

Shout this news throughout the earth:

Through the Cross, our God has conquered!

Through it, come to His new birth!

87.87. D, no tune

James Michael Thompson, (c) 2009, World Library Publications

St Stanislaus Church (New Haven, CT) receives St. Gregory Society

JRingly preachin Sept 13 09.jpg

This afternoon the first Mass celebrated by priests associated with the Saint Gregory Society was offered at Saint Stanislaus Church, New Haven, CT. Having attended Mass at the Church since the mid-1970s I am elated that this has transpired, as I mentioned earlier on this blog. The beauty of the architecture coupled with the beauty of the sacred Liturgy is a wonderful convergence.

What a happy day for the SGS and for Saint Stanislaus!

September 11: in prayerful remembrance 8 years later

We mark the 8th anniversary of 9/11 today. And so we pray,


Almighty and merciful God, in your forgiving love look upon our sufferings. Lighten your children’s burden and strengthen their faith in such a way that they may always trust unhesitatingly in your fatherly providence.

Ted Kennedy: mercy or damnation? What do real Christians think?

In the week since the obsequies for Edward Kennedy, Senator, not a few self-appointed ministers of God’s justice and mercy have rendered their judgement: the Senator should not have been buried using the rites of the Catholic Church. Interesting.

The sacred Liturgy tells us what we who are baptized believe: we are sinners and God’s mercy is in abundance. Sinners need and want mercy from God almighty. I want and need His forgiveness and His tender embrace. I am sure Ted Kennedy wanted the same. Since I was not at his bedside when he was sick, nor did I hear the Senator’s confession and nor was I present when his priest gave him the Sacrament of the Sick, Viaticum and the Apostolic Pardon. Presumably he received these sacred rites before his death. In short, I don’t know the state of his soul. I do know that he wrote to the Holy Father and a kind reply was received.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been criticized for being a pastor of souls; he explains as much on his blog this week. The bishop of Madison, WI, Robert Morlino, has a wonderful piece on this subject and I highly recommend your reading it. Use it for you lectio. Bishop Morlino’s reflection is found here.
Is a lack of mercy to a sinner the demonstration of Christianity’s decay? What virtues are being taught and lived when Christians so violently pontificate that mercy is not possible for the sinner, even such a public sinner? Does Christianity have any real meaning left? If we break mercy from the Christian life then we no longer have a Christian religion that leads one to salvation in Christ. To whom do we witness: Christ or the self?

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]
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