Monday, January 6, 2014



Again, Pope Francis celebrates the traditional Latin Mass at St. Peter's for Epiphany and on January 6th, the true date of this marvelous feast. He wears the ornate vestments that Pope Benedict wore when he beatified his good friend, Blessed Pope John Paul II.

If every priest and parish would have as beautiful of Masses as Pope Francis, what an improved liturgical world we would have! Please note Pope Francis' seriousness, his ad orientem style, although facing the congregation and the marvelous pre-Vatican II altar arrangement.

Please note the trumpets and for the recessional, as well as the snare drums, for the Adeste Fidelis--stunningly beautiful. There is also a very good visiting choir, compared to the rather bad one with someone off key at the Mary, Mother of God Mass on New Years.

Please note  also, the Tu es Petrus prelude and then the official Introit, as well as Offertory and Communion Antiphons. This too is a model of parishes instead of substituting someone else's choices for these parts of the Mass.

Following Monday's Epiphany Mass, Pope Francis gave his Angelus Address and there must be well over 200,000 people below his window and down the street from it!! Pope Francis is reinvigorating the Church of Rome and the Italians' Catholic Faith. And where else should Catholicism be the strongest but in Rome and Italy. It has not be for a long time, but this is changing under Pope Francis! Long live the Pope!


Vatican Basilica
Monday, 6 January 2014
Lumen requirunt lumine”. These evocative words from a liturgical hymn for the Epiphany speak of the experience of the Magi: following a light, they were searching for the Light. The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. The Magi followed faithfully that light which filled their hearts, and they encountered the Lord.

The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great “books” which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love.

The first reading echoes, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, the call of God to Jerusalem: “Arise, shine!” (Is 60:1). Jerusalem is called to be the city of light which reflects God’s light to the world and helps humanity to walk in his ways. This is the vocation and the mission of the People of God in the world. But Jerusalem can fail to respond to this call of the Lord. The Gospel tells us that the Magi, when they arrived in Jerusalem, lost sight of the star for a time. They no longer saw it. Its light was particularly absent from the palace of King Herod: his dwelling was gloomy, filled with darkness, suspicion, fear, envy. Herod, in fact, proved himself distrustful and preoccupied with the birth of a frail Child whom he thought of as a rival. In realty Jesus came not to overthrow him, a wretched puppet, but to overthrow the Prince of this world! Nonetheless, the king and his counsellors sensed that the foundations of their power were crumbling. They feared that the rules of the game were being turned upside down, that appearances were being unmasked. A whole world built on power, on success, possessions and corruption was being thrown into crisis by a child! Herod went so far as to kill the children. As Saint Quodvultdeus writes, “You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart” (Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655). This was in fact the case: Herod was fearful and on account of this fear, he became insane. 

The Magi were able to overcome that dangerous moment of darkness before Herod, because they believed the Scriptures, the words of the prophets which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And so they fled the darkness and dreariness of the night of the world. They resumed their journey towards Bethlehem and there they once more saw the star, and the gospel tells us that they experienced “a great joy” (Mt 2:10). The very star which could not be seen in that dark, worldly palace.

One aspect of the light which guides us on the journey of faith is holy “cunning”. This holy “cunning” is also a virtue. It consists of a spiritual shrewdness which enables us to recognize danger and avoid it. The Magi used this light of “cunning” when, on the way back, they decided not to pass by the gloomy palace of Herod, but to take another route. These wise men from the East teach us how not to fall into the snares of darkness and how to defend ourselves from the shadows which seek to envelop our life. By this holy “cunning”, the Magi guarded the faith. We too need to guard the faith, guard it from darkness. Many times, however, it is a darkness under the guise of light. This is because the devil, as saint Paul, says, disguises himself at times as an angel of light. And this is where a holy “cunning” is necessary in order to protect the faith, guarding it from those alarmist voices that exclaim: “Listen, today we must do this, or that...”. Faith though, is a grace, it is a gift. We are entrusted with the task of guarding it, by means of this holy “cunning” and by prayer, love, charity. We need to welcome the light of God into our hearts and, at the same time, to cultivate that spiritual cunning which is able to combine simplicity with astuteness, as Jesus told his disciples: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16).

On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart. They teach us not to be content with a life of mediocrity, of “playing it safe”, but to let ourselves be attracted always by what is good, true and beautiful… by God, who is all of this, and so much more! And they teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that. It is necessary to guard the faith. Today this is of vital importance: to keep the faith. We must press on further, beyond the darkness, beyond the voices that raise alarm, beyond worldliness, beyond so many forms of modernity that exist today. We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so.


Anonymous said...

Tedious, dull, monotonous, repetitive, pretty much sums it up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but stop saying this is the TLM it is the Novus Ordo in Latin!! Not even close, never will be.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Tradition, meaning Sacred Tradition, not little "t" tradition regarding the Traditional Latin Mass in whatever form, new or old is the Holy Sacrifice of Christ made present in an unbloody way for those present to experience and receive as well as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ when received worthily, Jesus, the Bridegroom and Head of His Bride the Church, continues to make us a part of Himself! What do you mean by Traditional Latin Mass, that the Ordinary Form does not make present as it concerns what is essential to the Church collectively and our own personal salvation???????

Henry said...

Plainly, this was not a Traditional Latin Mass (caps). A Mass according to the rite of Paul VI can be a beautiful, indeed glorious, re-presentation of the sacrifice of the Cross. It can be offered in Latin, and in a quite traditional (lower case) manner. But if a Mass is not offered with the prayers, ritual, and ceremony of the rite of Pius V, it is frivolous use of language to call it a TLM.

This is not to say that a particular OF Mass may be may be offered in a more holy and reverent manner than a particular OF Mass. A particular solemn OF Mass with Gregorian chant can certainly be more splendid--and perhaps more pleasing to God (who knows?)--than a particular silent EF low Mass. But words and phrases have the meaning that prevalent usage gives them. When I first encountered the ancient form of the Mass, the phrase “traditional Latin Mass” was not in use, and therefore had no usage-defined meaning whatsoever. But now the phrase TLM is used universally to refer to what Pope Benedict described juridically as the extraordinary form of the Mass. For a single person to use this same term to refer to a celebration of the ordinary form of the Mass is no less silly and meaningless than for him to use the word red to refer to the color that the rest of the human race calls purple.

John Nolan said...

Nothing wrong with the Novus Ordo in Latin. JP II celebrated it, as did B XVI. A lot of traditional elements are there, including the seven acolytes, one of Benedict's restorations. Notice how Pope Francis sometimes slips into the Spanish pronunciation of Latin, particularly in 'qui' where the 'u' is not sounded. JP II in his later years used sometimes to lapse into the German pronunciation used throughout central Europe.

Are the extra choirs necessary because the congregation can't join in Mass IX? And not many of the 200,000 Italians in the square could pray the Angelus in Latin. I enjoyed the Mass (although a lot of the music was almost inaudible, particularly the Introit 'Ecce advenit'). And I wish the cameraman would resist the temptation to dwell on the pretty women in the congregation in lingering close-up. It's just too corny for words, as well as embarrassing for the victims whose wrinkles and badly-applied makeup are mercilessly exposed.

Father G said...

Looking forward to next Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Will His Holiness Francis celebrate Mass ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel as did His Holiness Benedict XVI?
Yes, I know that Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the people at his first Mass as Pope, but so did Pope Benedict at his first papal Mass.
With his recent celebration of Mass ad orientem at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II, here's hoping--and also with some convincing by his MC, Monsignor Guido Marini-- that Pope Francis will do so again this coming Sunday.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Time will tell and wouldn't it be great for me to be able to change the photo at the top of my blog with a Sistine chapel one?

Rood Screen said...

I kinda agree about the terminology. The revised Roman order of Mass is clearly not the same one passed down through the ages. It is unquestionably valid, licit and pastorally valuable, but the rite itself is simply new. I do think we would all do well to employ the EF/OF designations introduced by Pope Benedict, or even just refer to the forms and translations by the year their respective missals were published: 1962, 2002, 2010, etc..

That said, I do take Fr. McDonald's point that the OF missal, whether in Latin or in a modern language, has a place within Sacred Tradition and even within the Roman liturgical tradition.

Carol H. said...

"We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so."

THIS is the most important thing we should be drawing from this article. Why is everyone tripping over the use of the word 'traditional' and missing the point?

Bethlehem means house of bread. The sanctuary light is our Christmas Star that leads us to the Tabernacle- our House of Bread. Like the Magi, let us follow our Christmas Star, go to the Tabernacle, our Bethlehem, and adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Why is everyone tripping over the use of the word 'traditional' and missing the point?”

Oh come on, Carol. With a Pope who is so “tedious, dull, monotonous, and repetitive” (like the words you quoted), what else is there to talk about? (Sarcasm alert).