Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: January 2013 Archives

preaching to the pope.jpgLast Sunday at the keynote address given by Father Julián Carrón who said among many other good things is that preaching is taking part in man's search for God. Moreover, preaching arouses curiosity from within, that one of its aim is to overcome the divide between faith and life.

We can point to the many instances when the preacher goes to his file, looks for the right date, and proceeds to inflict on the faithful yet another good example of pastoral slothfulness as if the faithful will not recall the last time the priest said the exact same thing. You can say that the quest of the Infinite, the quest for the  Faith is severely reduced.

In his Vatican Diary yesterday, Sandro Magister wrote a piece that may interest you, "Those who preach to the pope." A timely essay given that Pope Benedict recently chose Cardinal Gianfrance Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to preach this coming Lent.

Magister's essay is good not only because it reveals some insight into an aspect of papal life not often thought about by the laity, but it also shows a certain commitment of the Pope to hear others share what Father Carrón says about our searching for God and the preacher arousing curiosity in the hearer. Magister also provides a helpful list of names and affiliations.
Three things came at me recently that I think needs to be looked at with intellectual and affective honesty. That is, from a perspective of faith and reason, the mind and the heart. The issue of how we receive Holy Communion.

When I was prepared to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion in the third grade by Sister M. Rosetta, CSFN, I was taught to receive our Eucharistic Lord kneeling and on the tongue. In fact, there were no other options available. At some point, for some unknown reason, I began to receive the Eucharist in my hand. And then the parishes I would attend all distributed Holy Communion standing. "That's the way it's done." Surely there is a disconnect between what I was taught and what I eventually adopted. Mind you, I didn't adopt a new way to receive Communion out of protest or because I thought better than the Magisterium. Sheer habit was born because, well, "just because."

Back to the recent three things.

I heard, saw, experienced:

Pope gives HC.jpg
1. At the beginning of January, I heard Bishop Athanasius Schneider make a reasoned argument for receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling;
2. I've recently been re-adopting, in a conscientious manner, the way I receive Holy Communion: experience tells my heart and my mind that Communion received in a more traditional way, taking my example the papal Masses, is what the Lord requires in a relationship;
3. Deacon Greg Kendra (a permanent deacon of the Brooklyn Diocese) wrote on his blog that he thought it's time to restore a greater sense of reverence in our liturgical practice by kneeling at the rail for Communion.

So, who cares what Deacon Kendra thinks? I am sure a few do; I think his blog piece opened a new window of opportunity to rethink pastoral practice for sensible and honest reasons. But if truth be told, Pope Benedict and Bishop Schneider carry the burden of argument.

The sacraments are events

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[T]he sacraments constitute the events of a time which is the tension between the Resurrection and the Parousia .... Thus during the delay of the Parousia, the Eucharist prevents humanity, in this foretaste of celestial food .... And the Eucharist is the sacrament of unity which gathers about Christ of glory, present in the community, all nations in order to offer them through His hands to the Father.

Jean Cardinal Daniélou, SJ
Marxist History and Sacred History, 508-9

Adoration of Magi GPreviati CL poster 2012.jpg

We honor the witness of the Magi, Casper, Melchior and Balthasar. The Seekers from the East following the signature of God to the star burning brightly over the Light of the World. Saint John Chrysostom taught, "If the Magi had come in search of an earthly king, they would have been disconcerted at finding that they had taken the trouble to come such a long way for nothing. Consequently they would have neither adored nor offered gifts. But since they sought a heavenly king, though they found in him no signs of royal pre-eminence, yet, content with the testimony of the star alone, they adored: for they saw a man, and they acknowledged a God."

As you know Pope Benedict ordained 4 priests to the Order of Bishops today at the Sacrifice of the Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The Pope, per usual, hits the ball out of the park. He speaks eloquently about the ministry of the bishop for the Church. I read the following homily with astonishment. I am in awe of the profound nature of the vocation; I am sad to know so many called to this office by the Spirit and the Church live it with such lack of faith, hope, and charity, with a lack of mercy and the good of the people put in his charge. On this feast we pray for all the pastors of the Church, including the bishops. Let's look with mercy as the Lord has shown us mercy. Pay close attention to Pope.

Blessing of Chalk

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Christmas-related themes, very present in Gil ...

Gil Vicente's Epiphany

On this feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the manifestation of the Eternal Incarnate Word of God, it is traditional for the priest to bless chalk and in the Polish community to bless incense with the chalk.

We can note two meanings of the letters of inscription. First, the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Second, the letters abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat. May Christ bless the house." Hence, the purpose of the blessing is manifest. The recalling that the Magi were the first of the nations to recognize the Divine Infant as the King of the Nations, and to acknowledge that we seek the face of God. The blessing and imposition of chalk reminds us that God is the origin of all blessings of our home and life.

By placing the crosses with the Epiphany inscription we remember that with the Incarnation there is also the Paschal Mystery.

As it noted by students of culture, the Epiphany inscription is made above the front door, so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God's blessing. "The month of January still bears the name of the Roman god Janus, the doorkeeper of heaven and protector of the beginning and end of things. This blessing "christens" the ancient Roman observance of the first month. The inscription is made of chalk, a product of clay, which recalls the human nature taken by the Adorable and Eternal Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit" (MDK).

To bless your home this Epiphany, first read the Prologue of Saint John's Gospel, followed by the Our Father, and the following Collect; then write the inscription for this year above your front door with blessed chalk.

Blessing of Chalk

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

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, O Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to Thy people. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe upon the doors of their homes the names of Thy saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession
enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord.

And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water.

Epiphany Inscription over the Doorway of the Home

20 + C + M + B + 13

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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]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from January 2013.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: November 2012 is the previous archive.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: February 2013 is the next archive.

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