Tag Archives: liturgy

Pro-Life is to be pro-Liturgical Life

A recent article by Peter Kwasniewski, “Why pro-life Catholics should strive for a higher and deeper life” caught my attention and I think you ought to read it.

Kwasniewski states,

“…to be pro-life in its most profound sense is to be pro-liturgical life. As the Second Vatican Council says about the baptized: “Participating in the Eucharistic sacrifice, the source and culmination of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It” (Lumen Gentium §11). “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time, it is the font from which all her power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium §10). The font from which all her power flows … The power to welcome children, to love them into the Church, to care for them over all the years; the power to value every human person, well or ill, hale or handicapped, conscious or comatose, embryonic or elderly; the power to build a culture of life, a culture of beauty, a culture of intellect consecrated to the truth—all this flows from the Holy Mysteries. Without the Church’s liturgy, we fail to grasp the infinite dignity God has bestowed on us in Christ. We miss out on the flesh-and-blood encounter with the Source of Life, Life incarnate, Life outpoured for eternal life.

“Correctly understood, then, the pro-life movement is pro-human life, pro-intellectual life, pro-cultural life, and pro-liturgical life. When we see this movement in its full breadth and depth, we see the prerequisites of our vision, the scope of our struggle, the source of our strength, and the glorious destiny of our toil.

Read the entire article here.

Blessing of Basil on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

I am giving emphasis these days on knowing what we believe as Catholics by looking at the liturgical sources. We first go to the sacred Liturgy to study and pray the prayers prayed by the priest for Mass, Lauds, Vespers, or those smaller rites such as the Blessing of Basil that you would find on today’s feast of the Holy Cross, also called the Roodmas. Ours is a richly endowed sacramental faith.

“The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which, the day after the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection raised over the tomb of Christ, is exalted and honored, in the manner of a memorial of His paschal victory and the sign which is to appear in the sky, already announcing in advance His second coming” (from the Roman Martyrology).

basil3.jpg
The Blessing of Basil

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

Let us pray.

Almighty and merciful God, deign, we beseech You, to bless + Your creature, this aromatic basil leaf. Even as it delights our senses, may it recall for us the triumph of Christ, our Crucified King and the power of His Precious Blood to purify and preserve us from evil so that, planted beneath His Cross, we may flourish to Your glory and spread abroad the fragrance of His sacrifice. Who is Lord forever and ever.

R. Amen.

The bouquets of basil leaf are sprinkled with Holy Water.

Some account for the connection between the herb basil and the Cross as follows:

The herb, basil has long been associated with today’s feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The word “basil” is related to basileios, from the Greek word for king.

According to the liturgical legend, the Empress Saint Helena found the location of the True Cross by digging for it under a colony of basil. Basil plants were reputed to have sprung up at the foot of the Cross where fell the Precious Blood of Christ and the tears of the Mother of Sorrows.

A sprig of basil was said to have been found growing from the wood of the True Cross. On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross it is customary in the East to rest the Holy Cross on a bed of basil before presenting it to the veneration of the faithful.

Also, from the practice in some areas of strewing branches of basil before church communion rails, it came to be known as Holy Communion Plant. The blessed basil leaf can be arranged in a bouquet at the foot of the crucifix; the dried leaves can also be used by the faithful as a sacramental.

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.

Our Christian Object of Faith

Today gave me the opportunity to read through some things today that I have put on the back burner. You can see why I would post this thinking. One such item includes the following:

“The Christian faith has only one object: the mystery of Christ dead and risen. But this unique mystery subsists under different modes: it is prefigured in the Old Testament, it is accomplished historically in the earthly life of Christ, it is contained in mystery in the sacraments, it is lived mystically in souls, it is accomplished socially in the Church, it is consummated eschatologically in the Heavenly Kingdom. Thus the Christian has at his disposition several registers, a multi-dimensional symbolism, to express this unique reality. The whole of Christian culture consists in grasping the links that exist between Bible and Liturgy, Gospel and Eschatology, Mysticism and Liturgy. The application of this method to Scripture is called spiritual exegesis; applied to liturgy it is called mystagogy. This consists in reading in the rites the mystery of Christ, and in contemplating beneath the symbols the invisible reality.”

Jean Cardinal Danielou, SJ

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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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