Sunday, April 28, 2013

FOR 70,000 TO BE CONFIRMED THE HOLY FATHER OFFERS THREE SHORT AND SIMPLE THOUGHTS!

UPDATE!!!!A MAJOR CHANGE IN PAPAL LITURGIES! I've posted the video below. There is a hymn for the procession and then the Holy Father goes to the front of the altar to be greeted by a bishop who introduces the nature of the Mass of Confirmation. After this, the Introit is chanted, the Holy Father goes,kisses the altar, incenses it and goes to his papal throne to begin the Mass from there! This is a vast improvment to say the least, normally this has been done after the greeting of the Mass and is so long and has no place there! Thank you Holy Father for changing this!
Please note the hermeneutic of continuity at work in the Benedictine Altar arrangement!


MY COMMENTS FIRST: This pope gives great sermons and the best part is how short these are and filled with something to take home and chew on. I think too that in these three short points, the Holy Father gives us his "Marshall Plan" for the Church, meaning, not just the functioning of the Church, like the curia, or the liturgy of the Church, or the other sacraments, but the people of the Church, those fully initiated into the Church,those led by the Pope and Bishops in union with him, led by the Magisterium that hands on the complete Deposit of Faith and of the moral life that leads to holiness.

The three points of Pope Francis' Marshall Plan"for the rebuilding of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church":

1. Let us open the doors to [God], let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!

2. To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us, which often fails to understand us, but also within us, in our own hearts.

3. There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion to our sinfulness. Let us trust in God’s work!

MY FINAL COMMENT: The hermeneutic of continuity and rupture continue in the Holy Father's Masses. The Benedictine Altar arrangement continues, the austere style of Pope Francis continues in vesture and demeanor. At Holy Communion the Holy Father continues to give Holy Communion only to the deacons who kneel before Him and by way of intinction. Others distribute Holy Communion to communicants who either stand or kneel, receive on the tongue or in the hand. Those confirmed by the Holy Father were kneeling at an altar railing set of kneelers and they received Holy Communion kneeling, most received on the tongue, many received in the hand while kneeling. At Communion time, it isn't either standing or kneeling, in the hand or on the tongue, it is both and what a marvelous compromise!

The Masses in the Square continue to have two places for the Liturgy of the Word, the First Reading, the Responsorial Psalm and Epistle Reading are at the Epistle side of the altar area at a smaller ambo and the Gospel is proclaimed at the larger ambo at the Gospel side of the altar. Interesting, no? In St. Peter's itself, they only use the larger ambo, no Epistle ambo.

Parts of the Mass of the congregation were chanted in Latin, the Pater Noster was spoken in Italian, the prayers of the Holy Father all in Italian.

Homily of Pope Francis celebrating Confirmation Mass

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Confirmands,
I would like to offer three short and simple thoughts for your reflection.

1. In the second reading, we listened to the beautiful vision of Saint John: new heavens and a new earth, and then the Holy City coming down from God. All is new, changed into good, beauty and truth; there are no more tears or mourning… This is the work of the Holy Spirit: he brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. And Saint John’s vision reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord’s face, and be with him for ever, in his love.

You see, the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well.God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to him, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!

2. A second thought. In the first reading Paul and Barnabas say that “we must undergo many trials if we are to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The journey of the Church, and our own personal journeys as Christians, are not always easy; they meet with difficulties and trials. To follow the Lord, to let his Spirit transform the shadowy parts of our lives, our ungodly ways of acting, and cleanse us of our sins, is to set out on a path with many obstacles, both in the world around us, which often fails to understand us, but also within us, in our own hearts. But difficulties and trials are part of the path that leads to God’s glory, just as they were for Jesus, who was glorified on the cross; we will always encounter them in life!

3. And here I come to my last point. It is an invitation which I make to you, young confirmands, and to all present. Remain steadfast in the journey of faith, with firm hope in the Lord. This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide. There are no difficulties, trials or misunderstandings to fear, provided we remain united to God as branches to the vine, provided we do not lose our friendship with him, provided we make ever more room for him in our lives. This is especially so whenever we feel poor, weak and sinful, because God grants strength to our weakness, riches to our poverty, conversion to our sinfulness. Let us trust in God’s work! With him we can do great things; he will give us the joy of being his disciples, his witnesses.

The new things of God, the trials of life, remaining steadfast in the Lord. Dear friends, let us open wide the door of our lives to the new things of God which the Holy Spirit gives us. May he transform us, confirm us in our trials, strengthen our union with the Lord, our steadfastness in him: this will be a true joy! Amen.



19 comments:

WSquared said...

"This is the secret of our journey! He gives us the courage to swim against the tide."

BINGO.

How many times have I *not* heard this when I was growing up, and even now?

I think this is often where the Church can really shoot herself in the foot right from the pulpit: preaching the "hard teachings" of the Church-- Humanae Vitae being one of the most obvious ones-- also has to come with the message that God's grace enables us to live what the world delights in telling us is "too hard" and "unreasonable." And we are enabled when we remain in Him.

From Pope Francis's example, I think priests are more freed up to teach the hard stuff when they also make it clear to their flock that it is God who enables us to do these things. It's also a reminder for them as well as for the rest of us.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And his message of love (Pope Francis) isn't the drivel we got in the 1970's, I'm okay, you are okay, let us hold hands and sing Kumbaya, he couches his message with the Gospel imperatives, within the context of Satan who wants to take our love and take our salvation. His message is simple but clear!

WSquared said...

"the drivel we got in the 1970's, I'm okay, you are okay, let us hold hands and sing Kumbaya"

Some related points: the facile hand-holding stuff has crept into daily family prayer, even, where it exists.

E.g., some of our relatives would simply begin saying grace by holding hands and saying, "Bless us, O Lord, . . ." No Sign of the Cross, Catholicism notwithstanding. When I gently asked about that, the answer I got was an unassuming "that's how people do it around here."

But then, it occurred to me: what do we even mean by "Lord"? What do we even mean by "Christ"? That's not defined or restricted to "what people do around here," and thank God.

I don't think I'm exaggerating regarding a seemingly small gesture with profound import (and the profound emptiness that results when it is absent) when self-identified Christians think they can conduct 40 Days of prayer for "abortion rights," and the President slams pro-lifers, but tells Planned Parenthood, "God bless you."

The Sign of the Cross makes all the difference. So I've quietly reintroduced it at grace before meals, and then, if anyone wants to (the younger kids often do, for example), we hold hands. It's a both-and thing.

Because without Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even the bond of holding hands-- which we often presume to be so much more tangible and concrete for its immediacy-- is weak and fragile. This is also something that Pope Francis has alluded to many times, particularly when he reminds us that the disciples don't make the Church, but God does.

That little gem of a statement from Pope Francis is something I've thought about for a long time in many different circumstances, prompted in part by reading a lot of Pope Benedict. So I'm grateful that he came out and said it.

Among one of those circumstances, something I notice in a sense of worship that is more horizontal than vertical is that it seems to insist in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that everyone should somehow comport themselves as though they are made in the image of the congregation, and not in God's image.

This has come up in chapel-veil-related discussions or whenever anyone wants to kneel for Communion. While these things are not the norm, the Church nonetheless allows both. While most people don't complain, it's amazing to hear complaints that women who veil and people who kneel are "distractions" and should "think of others," when those who make those complaints won't even accommodate what Mother Church says is okay regarding other people. There's an insistence on "fitting in" without asking "fit into WHAT, exactly?"

So God bless you, Fr. McDonald, for all that you do, for accommodating those who kneel and receive on the tongue, and those who stand and receive in the hand. I remember you when I pray my Rosary every evening.

Andrew rex said...

Interesting also that Francis didn't give the conformation candidates a slap in the face but gave them a kiss instead (including the guys)!

Kneeling Catholic said...

Father MacDonald! (I do go to your blog for the 'latest!)....however, sadly, I must disagree with your comment about 'marvelous compromise'.

I'm afraid we have been doing the marvelous compromise for 50 years....allowing hand Communion to anyone, and most people prefer it, not out of theological concerns, but as 'a preference'. People vehemently opposed to hand Communion, like yours truly, oppose it on theological grounds--as you know! So what we have is some people's personal preference trumping other people's theological grounds. You see how this is bound to cause aggravation and grief?

I think there is a thing called 'cognitive dissonance' where someone is required to believe something and disbelieve it simultaneously, and it's not a good thing! Father, why do priests cleanse their fingers after touching the Blessed Sacrament? Is it only a symbolic gesture, or is it to assure that the Holy Fragments are not allowed to be casually rubbed off and to fall to the floor....more or less like someone might do with their own dried-up-boogers?

Either, Father, the priest is just doing a symbolic gesture or he is not....(maybe the Church needs to explain that the Fragments should not be given any special care or that maybe Fragments are not the Eucharist?!!....otherwise people like me are going to want special care given!) I'm sure you see where I am going....but I must 'go there' nonetheless......

Why are people allowed to touch the Blessed Sacrament, but not then told that they need to examine and cleanse their hands in the same way conscientious priests and EMHCs do? If you can answer that question, then I'll sign onto your 'marvelous compromise'!!!

Gene said...

Kneeling Catholic, Excellent observation. These kinds of mixed signals abound in the post-Vat II Church. They are a reflection of a certain ambivalence within the Curia regarding the nature of the Church and theological truth.

Pater Ignotus said...

Kneeling - Not all conscientious priests cleanse their fingers after touching the Blessed Sacrament because not all conscientious priests have fragments of the host on their fingers after handling the sacred species. Yes, a conscientious priest can know, with certainty, whether or not he has fragments on his fingers.

Not all priests hold a purificator to their lower lips when they consume the Precious Blood because not all priests dribble when they drink the sacred species.

A gesture may be both symbolic and functional. It does not have to be one OR the other.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Pater Ignotus>>>A gesture may be both symbolic and functional. It does not have to be one OR the other.<<<

A valid point, Father! but tangential to my question. Your examples lead us right back to my original question, untouched and unanswered...i.e. why do priests make such a fuss about Holy Fragments on their own fingers, and yet teach the rest of us to be supremely indifferent?

Actually, it's not my question! My daughter asked me, and her 6th grade religion teacher this very question a few years back....neither of us could give her an satisfactory answer...

perhaps another example?... back in 2010 I was discussing this topic with a Chaldean Catholic, and she got downright fired-up and told me that she didn't think lay people should be handling the Eucharist in the first place..then she went on to relate how once she saw a priest rescue a dropped Host by getting down on his hands and knees and licking It off the floor!

of course, Eastern Rite Catholics do have our 'marvelous compromise'...maybe you feel they are overly scrupulous? At least they do have an answer........

Pater Ignotus said...

I find no freagments of the hosts on my fingers after distributing communion, not do I see any on the hands of those to whom I give communion. Yes, I have looked at both.

Licking the floor is not a practice in which I intend to participate.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Pater Ignotus said...
>>>>I find no freagments of the hosts on my fingers after distributing communion, not do I see any on the hands of those to whom I give communion. Yes, I have looked at both. <<<<

>>>>Licking the floor is not a practice in which I intend to participate.
April 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM<<<<<<


Pater Ignotus,

forgive me, but it is impossible for me to believe that you, after having fractioned the Eucharist with your fingers, and then distributing a 100 or so Hosts, both whole and fragmented, on a regular basis, that you never get any Holy Particles on your fingers?!!!!

Father, that would be almost as big a miracle as your confecting the Eucharist in the first place! :-0

In as much as what we believe determines how we act, [[and how we act can reinforce what we believe]] would it be safe for me to say that your belief about the Holy Eucharist must in some way differ from that of the floor-licking Chaldean priest?

Pater Ignotus said...

Kneel - If you want to come out for finger inspection, seeking fragments, let me know when.

I suspect the Chaldean priest and I share a common belief in the Eucharist. What we do not share is thoughts on how one needs to or ought to react/respond when a host is dropped accidentally on the floor.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Drinking from the common chalice (doing the ablutions) after 30 people have drunk from it, or licking the floor, I'd say what's the difference, six of one or a half dozen of the other!

Pater Ignotus said...

Communion cups have contained liquid with a low alcohol (germ-killing) content. They have also been wiped after each communicant, and are (often) made of gold or silver, each of which has mild anti-biotioc properties.

The floor has none of these benefits.

Gene said...

Ignotue, You mean the Chaldean Priest doesn't believe in the Real Presence, either? LOL!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I doubt seriously that by the time the 30th person has drunk from the chalice that the saliva of the 29 others that he is drinking has any alcohol content whatsoever and if so it is tainted and quite unmedicinal. It's time to wake up about this unhygienic silly liturgical anomaly.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - No, I mean that he does believe.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I'm sure HE does...

Kneeling Catholic said...

Father, P I !
I already am coming out for ‘finger inspection’, what would be wrong with teaching us to be more careful in handling the Blessed Sacrament?

Regarding you and the Chaldean priest [[who rescued a Host by licking it off the floor]] sharing the same belief about the Eucharist, Father, I take you at your word. But wouldn’t you say your attitude towards the Sacred Species differs? A lot? And wouldn’t you say the Eucharistic attitude of Eastern Rite laity [and the Eastern Orthodox for that matter]– horrified at the thought of the Eucharist being handed out like spare change at the local 7-11 —differs from the attitude of your Latin-rite parishioners?

Pater Ignotus said...

Kneel - No our attitude toward the sacred species does not seem to differ in the least.

And nothing is wrong with reminding folks to be respectful in handling the sacred species if they choose to recieve in the hand. I do it from time to time m'self.

What differs is our attitude regarding how to respond to a host that is accidentally dropped on the floor.