Tag Archives: Prosper Gueranger

Prosper Guerganger’s beatification prayer

Prosper Gueranger

The re-founder of Benedictine life in France in the 19th century, Dom Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875) has a cause introduced (2005) for study for possible sainthood. While no one is perfect in this world, there is reason to believe that God has made a saint of his monastic servant. The ideas and works point in a certain direction of the quality of the person being proposed for study but these things do not completely identify the person.

I chose this date to introduce the invitation to pray for the beatification of Guéranger because it is the date on which the newly formed Benedictines professed their solemn vows at Abbey of Saint Paul outside the Walls in Rome in 1837.

Prayer for the Beatification of Dom Prosper Guéranger:

God our Father, your servant Dom Prosper Guéranger, Abbot of Solesmes, guided by the Holy Spirit, helped a multitude of your faithful people rediscover the meaning of the liturgy as the source of true Christian life. May his devotion to your Holy Church and his filial love for the Immaculate Virgin, inspired by the mystery of the Incarnate Word, be a light for Christians of our own day. Deign, O Lord, to grant the favour we ask you by his intercession, so that his sanctity may be recognized by all and that the Church may soon allow us to invoke him as the one of your blessed and one of your saints. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Dedication of the Laterna Basilica

Lateran BasilicaSome may wonder why the Catholic Church honors the dedication of a church in Rome today and not follow the regular course of the liturgical year.  The Lateran Basilica is not your ordinary church building. It is the seat of the bishop of Rome’s pastoral authority, it the incarnation of the ministry of St Peter whom the Lord gave the keys to the Kingdom. So, the feast is not merely about a holy temple dedicated to the Lord’s service and our sanctification but also the teaching, sanctify and pastoral authority of the papal office first given to Peter which extends in time until today. It is the place of which each and every Catholic Church and Catholic receives its identity and mission: it is the place when the sacraments and the Good News rings out to the entire world because they are true.

Hence, the Church re-proposes what she professes as the abiding and objective presence of God revealed in history in the new and indestructible Temple, which is the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and the ministry through the ages in the Church.

Saint Augustine teaches:

“What was done here, as these walls were rising, is reproduced when we bring together those who believe in Christ. For, by believing they are hewn out, as it were, from mountains and forests, like stones and timber; but by catechizing, baptism and instruction they are, as it were, shaped, squared and planed by the hands of the workers and artisans. Nevertheless, they do not make a house for the Lord until they are fitted together through love” (Sermon 36.)

This basilica and not Saint Peter’s is properly the Pope’s Church.

The Basilica was dedicated on this date in 324 by Pope Sylvester and holds the title of “The Church of the Most Holy Savior” but also it bears the names of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.

While not reflecting on the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome Saint Augustine does form a few a ideas to meditate on: “‘Jerusalem that is being built as a city.’ When David was uttering these words, that city had been finished, it was not being built. It is some city he speaks of, therefore, which is now being built, unto which living stones run in faith, of whom Peter says, ‘You also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house, that is, the holy temple of God’. What does it mean, you are built up as living stones? You live, if you believe, but if you believe, you are made a temple of God; for the Apostle Paul says, ‘For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple’.”

But as a little history may be important, Dom Prosper Guéranger offers a perspective on today’s feast:

The residence of the Popes which was named the Lateran Palace was built by Lateranus Palutius, whom Nero put to death to seize his goods. It was given in the year 313 by Constantine the Great to Saint Miltiades, Pope, and was inhabited by his successors until 1308, when they moved to Avignon. The Lateran Basilica built by Constantine near the palace of the same name, is the first Basilica of the West. Twelve councils, four of which were ecumenical, have assembled there, the first in 649, the last in 1512.

If for several centuries the Popes have no longer dwelt in the Palace, the primacy of the Basilica is not thereby altered; it remains the head of all churches. Saint Peter Damian wrote that just as the Saviour is the Head of the elect, the church which bears His name is the head of all the churches. Those of Saints Peter and Paul, to its left and its right, are the two arms by which this sovereign and universal Church embraces the entire earth, saving all who desire salvation, warming them, protecting them in its maternal womb.

The Divine Office narrates the dedication of the Church by the Pope of Peace, Saint Sylvester:

It was the Blessed Pope Sylvester who established the rites observed by the Roman Church for the consecration of churches and altars. From the time of the Apostles there had been certain places dedicated to God, which some called oratories, and others, churches. There, on the first day of the week, the assembly was held, and there the Christian people were accustomed to pray, to hear the Word of God, and to receive the Eucharist. But never had these places been consecrated so solemnly; nor had a fixed altar been placed there which, anointed with sacred chrism, was the symbol of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who for us is altar, victim and Pontiff. But when the Emperor Constantine through the sacrament of Baptism had obtained health of body and salvation of soul, a law was issued by him which for the first time permitted that everywhere in the world Christians might build churches. Not satisfied to establish this edict, the prince wanted to give an example and inaugurate the holy labors. Thus in his own Lateran palace, he dedicated a church to the Saviour, and founded the attached baptistry under the name of Saint John the Baptist, in the place where he himself, baptized by Saint Sylvester, had been cured of leprosy. It is this church which the Pontiff consecrated in the fifth of the ides of November; and we celebrate the commemoration on that day, when for the first time in Rome a church was thus publicly consecrated, and where a painting of the Saviour was visible on the wall before the eyes of the Roman people.

When the Lateran Church was partially ruined by fires, enemy invasions, and earthquakes, it was always rebuilt with great zeal by the Sovereign Pontiffs. In 1726, after one such restoration, Pope Benedict XIII consecrated it anew and assigned the commemoration of that event to the present day. The church was afterwards enlarged and beautified by Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII.

(L’Année liturgique (Mame et Fils: Tours, 1919), The Time after Pentecost, VI, Vol. 15. Translation O.D.M.)

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Fray Miguel de Herrera.jpg

With the Church we pray…

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts.

At the period of Jesus’ coming upon this earth, man had forgotten how to love, for he had forgotten what true beauty was. His heart of flesh seemed to him as a sort of excuse for his false love of false goods: his heart was but an outlet, whereby his soul could stray from heavenly things to the husks of earth, there to waste his power and his substance. To this material world, which the soul of man was to render subservient to its Maker’s glory–to this world, which, by a sad perversion, kept man’s soul a slave to his senses and passions–the Holy Ghost sent a marvelous power, which, like a resistless lever, would replace the world in its right position: it was the sacred Heart of Jesus; a Heart of flesh, like that of other human beings, from whose created throbbings there would ascend to the eternal Father an expression of love, which would be a homage infinitely pleasing to the infinite Majesty, because of the union of the Word with that human Heart. It is a harp of sweetest melody, that is ever vibrating under the touch of the Spirit of love; it gathers up into its own music the music of all creation, whose imperfections it corrects, whose deficiencies it supplies, tuning all discordant voices into unity, and so offering to the glorious Trinity a hymn of perfect praise. The Trinity finds its delight in this Heart. It is the one only organum, as St. Gertrude calls it, the one only instrument which finds acceptance with the Most High. Through it must pass all the inflamed praises of the burning Seraphim, just as must the humble homage paid to its God by inanimate creation. By it alone are to come upon this world the favors of heaven. It is the mystic ladder between man and God, the channel of all graces, the way whereby man ascends to God, and God descends to man.

Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB

The Liturgical Year

Saint Mark

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We know Jesus Christ through the mediation of others and if fortunate, to a personal relationship. On the former, we honor today the author of the first of the gospels. Saint Mark’s testimony to who Jesus is, and what he means to God’s promise to be with us.

The meditation today brings us to guidance we share in for our salvation.

“… the words of our Risen Jesus forbid us to fear such a calamity. He did not say to his Apostles: “Lo! I am with you even to the end of your lives;” but Lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. So that those to whom he addressed himself were to live to the end of the world! What means this, but that the Apostles were to have successors, in whom their rights were to be perpetuated, successors whom Jesus would ever assist by his presence and uphold by his power? The work founded by a God, out of his love for man, and at the price of his own precious Blood, must surely be imperishable! Jesus, by his presence amidst his Apostles, preserved their teaching from all error; by his presence he will also, and forever, guide the teaching of their successors.”

The Liturgical Year

Dom Proper Guéranger, OSB

Lent: When fallen humanity humbles himself before divine justice


Lent needs some explanation. The liturgical season is so vast and complex one needs to enter into this period of preparation for Easter with eyes wide open. It is a time for our conversion. The famous 19th century Benedictine monk Dom Prosper Guéranger (founder and Abbot of the Abbey of Solesmes 1837-1875) wrote brilliantly of the our Christian life of prayer in a multi-volume collection that is unfinished, The Liturgical Year. While Guéranger’s images are typical of the 19th century, they remain crucial, I contend

Here is his piece on Lent:

Yesterday, the world was busy in its pleasures, and the very children of God were taking a joyous farewell to mirth: but this morning, all is changed. The solemn announcement, spoken of by the prophet, has been proclaimed in Sion: the solemn fast of Lent, the season of expiation, the approach of the great anniversaries of our Redemption. Let us, then, rouse ourselves, and prepare for the spiritual combat.

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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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