Monthly Archives: August 2014

Given a Glimpse of the Face of a Child in Heaven

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face.  She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

God grants the favor of a glimpse of her face. She is not an angel, but a human soul who, in heaven, appears as a toddler.

In my waking thoughts in the morning, I tend to express gratitude to the Lord for all of His help.  Sometimes I don’t feel like expressing gratitude – when my body is complaining about waking up.  But there are times when my body cooperates quite well with my spirit, and gratitude flows more easily.  This morning, I was also thinking about my dear Great Aunt Bertha who died some years ago but with whom I was very close – she was my God-mother.  In the thinking of her, I was given a spontaneous glimpse of a little girl’s face in a calm and shaded place – a toddler who had a sweet baby face and her hair was all “done up” as if she had been to the hair dresser, just like my Aunt Bertha would do.  I could imagine that this was my Great Aunt Bertha, because she certainly lived the life of a saint, and she had her hair dressed as if this was a clue to me about her identity.  I believe she is there with God and that God wants me to know this.

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WHAT IS GOING ON? THE US CHURCH APPEARS TO HAVE FRACTURED FROM WITHIN

The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

From my single parish perspective, the Catholic Church in the USA appears to have divided itself into three social classes, all of which are opposed to each other:  1) The Traditional Latin Rite Mass party (ultra-conservative and outwardly pious); 2) The Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass party (moderate, obedient and humble); 3) The Folk Novus Ordo Mass party (casual, believe what you want, it’s about me).

Specifically, I have noticed, in a single United States parish, that there are at least these three different cultures which are identified by the clothing people wear and the music they use.  I have also noticed, between the Extraordinary form and Novus Ordo form of the Mass,  a break in the integrity of the roles of the ministerial priesthood (of the ordained Priest alone) and common priesthood of the baptized Faithful in worship:

1) Traditional Latin Mass goers: Standard for men is coat and tie; ladies wear long dresses and white or black veils; children are similarly dressed. The well-dressed, by their attire and implied stance, bring judgment on everyone else who do not comply with this standard. Also, there is a break in the integrity of the Vatican II “participatio actuosa” mandate in that the people are not allowed to vocally pray, for example, the Our Father. If a person does, the person is violating the sacred right of the priest alone. Also, if you do not kneel at the altar rail and receive Holy Communion on the tongue, you don’t (at least, it will greatly offend if you don’t follow the TLM rule). The faithful are barred, by the communion rail, from entering the Sanctuary.

2) Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass: Clothing standard is modest, business casual attire; only lectors and EMs are required to wear semi-formal attire; music is based on the organ. Again, those wearing semi-formal attire in the pews bring judgment on those who do not, or they set themselves apart. Here, the Faithful are expected to actively engage in some of the prayers or chants which, in the Traditional Latin Rite, they must not. If one does not pray the Our Father vocally, for example, the person is not participating as a member of the “common priesthood of the Faithful.” The faithful are instructed NOT to kneel at the altar (as the norm) and they should receive Holy Communion on the tongue, while standing, but are instructed that they may receive on the hand as well. The Faithful are invited into the Sanctuary. “All are welcome”

3) Contemporary Novus Ordo Mass: Most wear casual attire (or even a lower standard like shorts and flip flops or tee shirts); the music is usually folk guitar and fairly bland (in my opinion). This Mass, while following the Novus Ordo, looks and feels like an Evangelical gathering. There is no judgment going on here. “Everyone is equal” is sort of the mindset.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  WHO ARE WE?  WHAT ARE WE DOING?  WHAT ARE OUR VALUES?  WHAT IS OUR RELIGIOUS CULTURE?!  I am saddened by the class system which we seem to have allowed to grow unchecked and also by what seems to be a loss of integrity and movement away from the direction which the Holy Spirit set for us during Vatican II ecumenical council.  What are we doing?

Do You Reject the Novus Ordo Missae? Really? Warning follows…

The Great Pope, the Saint, celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae, not in his own language, but in that language which the Lay Faithful understand.  He is the Good Steward.

The Great Pope, the Saint, celebrates the Novus Ordo Missae, not in his own language, but in that language which the Lay Faithful understand. He is the Good Steward of God’s Gift of Mercy.

Forty years I endured that generation.  I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.”  So I swore in my anger, “They shall not enter into my rest.”  [Psalm 95:10-11, NAB]

It is not the Novus Ordo Missae that is the problem. But, it is the rebellious, contentious, vain, selfish, self-righteous or proud mind of some that is the problem. When God opens the liturgy that it can be understood well by all, including the “common priesthood” of the faithful, but then both priest and lay reject it, then their gift may soon be removed, not externally, but internally from their souls so that these may not be fulfilled in the Novus Ordo Missae. And such it has been; and such it will be unless these have a change of heart. God is not a fool. One should not reject His Mercy. And the Stewards must not abuse or set aside His Gift!

Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.  There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works. Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways.” Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter my rest.”

~ Psalm 95:7-11, New American Bible

When Your Inner Voice Says: “Marry me.”

Church Adorned as a Bride

The Church as the Lord Sees Her Soul, When She Prays in Truth

When you are praying in truth – with true affection in your heart for the Lord – and you hear “Marry me,”  what do you say?  How do you respond?  What happens in your mind and soul?

In my soul, in the hearing of the words, it is like water entering a parched leaf, softening and rejuvenating my soul.  But I question it:

“Who?  Me?  Of course!  What?  Marry You?  How?  How can this be?  When?  Yes.  I believe what is impossible for me to understand from a human perspective.  I will, but…”

And then I yearn to hear the words again, and often, subtly I do, but only when my prayer is in truth, and when my prayer is in truth, it is because I am already being acted upon by a soothing Presence in my soul, that Presence, the Holy Spirit in whom my soul rejoices.

We ask ourselves, “What will life be like after I die on earth?  Where am I going?  What will I do?”

We don’t know all of the details, but we do know how much our Creator loves us and desires us:

For your husband is your Maker;
the LORD of hosts is his name,
Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.

The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.

For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.

In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.

~ Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 54:5-8, New American Bible

And St. John the Baptist confirms the intent of God for His people:

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.

~ Gospel of John 3:29, RSV Holy Bible

And the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself confirms the intent of God for His people in the Kingdom when He teaches:

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom…

~ Gospel of Matthew, 25:1, RSV Holy Bible

But this is not a human marriage where new human life is procreated from the carnal union of two.  I believe that this is a marriage consummated in the spiritual soul, wherein God works most effectively, a deification of sorts from which new, spiritual Light emerges, new in the sense that it is intimately mingled with our spiritual soul.  It is joyful.  It is beautiful.