- Tuesday, 07 July 2009 05:30
For many reasons I have had a devotion to Saint Thomas Becket whose liturgical memorial is observed on December 29. Becket was killed in 1170. His conversion and subsequent witness to the work of the Trinity in the world is one which inspires and challenges me to follow Christ more closely.
Today is the day that the Church in Canterbury observes a liturgical remembrance of the transfer of relics of Saint Thomas Becket. I should point out, however, there is a problem for some people in verifying Becket’s relics being as true and therefore the subject of debate among some scholars. You can read any number of works on the subject if you’d like to enter the debate. I happen to come down on the side that the relics of Saint Thomas Becket are real.
A transfer of relics from one shrine to another is similar to a reburying a body. As we know of tradition, it is in the second half of the 4th century that some local churches (dioceses) placed the relics beneath the altar and this placement of matryrs’ relics became part of the dedication rites of a church.
The veneration of martyrs is a very ancient part of Christian faith. All sorts of practices surfaced with regard to the honor paid to a martyr-saint (and later to non-martyr saints) such as adorning the tombs, lighting lamps, paintings, inscriptions, offering the Eucharist on the martyr’s anniversary of death, writing of the martyr’s history, making a pilgrimage and the like. All these things first acknowledge the power of God over sin and death (the Resurrection) and then the confidence that we have in the martyr would intercede on our behalf before God. All this contributes to the belief that the martyrs were (and continue to be) true disciples of Jesus Christ. The martyr witnesses to us the reality and truth of the Paschal Mystery and our being able to be saved if we surrender to that Mystery. Why are we concerned with the transfer of relics? Why is this important? Existentially it is rather unimportant; as a matter of faith and Christian living the transfer of a saint’s relics is important because of the honor due to God through the life of a blessed man or woman as interpreted for us by Christ crucified and risen; the martyr is only important insofar as he or she points to Jesus; the martyrs’ relics and there occasional transfer illustrates an eschatology present in the baptism we daily live.
We venerate (we don’t adore) the remains of a person we are morally convinced, that is, we have certainty that this person is among the saints in heaven and that the saint shows how to excel in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Today we remember the moving of Becket and we ask him to ask God for the grace of courage and greatness of heart.
from a letter by Saint Thomas Becket
our sake Christ offered himself to the Father upon the altar for the cross. He
now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day he
will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve. It must therefore be our
endeavor to destroy the right of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and
uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple of the
The harvest is good and one reaper or even several would not suffice to
gather all of it into the granary of the Lord. Yet the Roman Church remains the
head of all the churches and the source of Catholic teaching. Of this there can
be no doubt.
Everyone know that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to
Peter. Upon his faith and teaching the whole fabric of the Church will continue
to be built until we all reach full maturity in Christ and attain to unity in
faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Of course many are needed to plant and
many to water now that the faith has spread so far and the population become so
Nevertheless, no matter who plants or waters, God gives no harvest
unless what he plants is the faith of Peter, and unless he himself assents to
Peter’s teaching. All important questions that arise among God’s people are
referred to the judgment of Peter in the person for the Roman Pontiff. Under
him the ministers of Mother Church exercise the powers committed to them, each
in his own sphere of responsibility.
Remember then how our fathers worked out
their salvation; remember the sufferings through which the Church has grown,
and the storms the ship of Peter has weathered because it has Christ on board.
Remember how the crown was attained by those whose sufferings gave new radiance
to their faith. The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing
truth that without real effort no one wins the crown.
- Saturday, 04 July 2009 16:00
God of love, Father of us all, in wisdom and goodness you guide creation to fulfillment in Christ your Son. Open our hearts to the truth of his gospel, that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice guide our lives.
- Thursday, 18 June 2009 06:30
It is especially in the sacred liturgy that our union
with the heavenly Church is best realized; in the liturgy, through the
sacramental signs, the power of the Holy Spirit acts on us, and with community
rejoicing we celebrate together the praise of the divine majesty, when all
those of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (cf. Apoc. 5:9) who
have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and gathered together into one Church
glorify, in one common song of praise, the one and triune God. When, then, we
celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice we are most closely united to the worship
of the heavenly Church; when in the fellowship of communion we honor and
remember the glorious Mary ever virgin, St. Joseph, the holy apostles and
martyrs and all the saints. (Lumen gentium, 48)
- Tuesday, 16 June 2009 06:36
Today, the Holy Father nominated Dominican Father Joseph Augustine Di Noia, 66, as the archbishop secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments. He is given the archepiscopal dignity and is assigned the Titular See of Oregon City.
A native of New York, a professed member of the Order of Friars Preachers, DiNoia possesses an earned doctorate from Yale and he is an esteemed professor. He is the past editor of the Thomist (a journal of Theological research and opinion). Until now Archbishop-elect DiNoia was the under-secretary for the CDF.
Archbishop-elect Joseph Augustine DiNoia, O.P. will be ordained to the episcopacy by His Eminence, William Cardinal Levada at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC on 11 July 2009.
Blessings, my friend! May God grant you many years!
- Wednesday, 20 May 2009 09:36
Damian Thompson’s blog entry the other day on trendy liturgical music is right on but I can only bring myself to say, no kidding. Saying that the “liturgists” have made our liturgical life a laughing-stock is correct but it’s clearly an understatement and patently too polite. In my mind the poor state of the Liturgy has driven more people away than we care to admit.
Here Thompson is relating to us the reflection (informed judgement) of James Macmillian to the new Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. MacMillan is considered Britain’s “best” liturgical musician alive. His insight is nothing new and in fact doesn’t go far enough. People of reasonable intelligence and liturgical sensibility think –not feel– that the state of the Liturgy today, particularly in parishes, is rather rotten to the core. Little of the liturgical music we get today is beautiful, true and good.
Hence, I think we live with horrid agenda-driven sense of the sacred Liturgy which praises humanity more than the divinity, especially when it comes too music because we don’t know any better plus we’ve been beaten down by the ecclesiastical establishment who want no controversy. Add to this the vapid liturgical formation purported to be the mind of Vatican II and current scholarship. I’d like to hear, just once from the pastoral musician crowd, that they’ve only been serving pablum since the end of the Holy Synod in 1965. The experience of the Liturgy is more often than not off-putting and too often trite. AND we wonder why many abandon the Catholic faith.