Category Archives: Liturgy

Pope Francis transfers authority for liturgical translation to local bishops’ conferences

PTL!!!!!

9/9/17
-by Rev. John F. Baldwin, SJ. Father Baldwin is professor of historical and liturgical theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/09/09/liturgical-expert-explains-pope-francis-change-mass-translation-rules

“The question of who has appropriate responsibility for the translation of liturgical texts has been a kind of political football since the Second Vatican Council. On the one hand, the council clearly wanted that responsibility to rest mainly with episcopal conferences (i.e. national assemblies of bishops). On the other hand, even before the council ended, a Vatican instruction on implementing the liturgical reform put the weight of responsibility not on the national bishops conferences but on the recognition and confirmation of translated texts by the Holy See (i.e. the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments—as it is now known).

In English-speaking countries this procedure did not seem to cause much concern during the first wave of translation (through the 1970’s). However, beginning with the second generation of revisions, especially the revision of “Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum” (1983), the Vatican began to become more proactive in scrutinizing translations sent to them. In the meantime the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) made up of bishops of eleven English-speaking episcopal conferences continued to produce revised translations according to the principles laid out in the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments’ own document on translation, “Comme le Prévoit,” published in 1969.

During the 80’s and 90’s relations between the Vatican and ICEL became more and more strained. A crucial moment came with ICEL’s new translation of the liturgical psalter in 1995. Three years later the Vatican forced the U.S. bishops conference to withdraw its approval (imprimatur) for the translation. In 1997 the Vatican responded to the proposed ICEL translation of the Rites of Ordination with a letter citing 114 errors and claiming that many more were found in the translation that had been sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It should be noted that each episcopal conference needs to approve translations to be sent to Rome by a two-thirds vote.

With the new U.S. representative to ICEL, Cardinal Francis George, taking the lead the Vatican proceeded to change ICEL’s constitution and remove its long-term executive secretary, Dr. John Page, as well as all of the advisors who had done the work of preparing the translations for the bishops’ approval. At the same time the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a new instruction on translation, “Liturgiam Authenticam” (2001), which reversed the translation strategy of “Comme le Prévoit” insisting on a much more literal translation of the Latin texts (including word order and punctuation) than the previous philosophy which was commonly called dynamic equivalence.

As is well known, this change imposed by the Vatican led to the scrapping of a translation of the Roman Missal that had been approved by all of the English-speaking conferences in 1998 (again by a two-thirds vote in each conference). A new translation of the Missal was prepared and approved in 2010. It had been preceded by a revised ordination rite and followed by a translation of the rite of confirmation and just a year ago by a new translation of the second edition of the marriage rite, which had appeared in 1992!

Last December Pope Francis announced that he was appointing a commission of bishops and experts under the chairmanship of the secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (second in command), Archbishop Arthur Roche, to review “Liturgiam Authenticam.” They met sometime last winter. The motu proprio, “Magnum Principium,” issued by Pope Francis today is presumably a response to their report.

This latest document may not be a bombshell but it is certainly a significant change in direction with regard to who has responsibility for liturgical translations. The pope has changed Canon 838 in two important ways.

The first change is to the text that formerly read:

§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and recognise their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.

It now reads (changes in bold):

§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognize adaptations approved by Conferences of Bishops according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.

The second change is to the text that formerly read:

§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.

It now reads (changes in bold):

§3. It pertains to the Conferences of Bishops to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

This latest document may not be a bombshell but it is certainly a significant change in direction with regard to who has responsibility for liturgical translations.
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The most important key here is found in §2 where “translations” is replaced by “adaptations.” The latter refer to significant changes to the original Latin text (typical edition) published by the Vatican—i.e., additions made by the conferences themselves. They are subject to a closer vetting by the Congregation. Now the translations (§3) are to be confirmed by the Holy See. The import of this seemingly small change is noted by the pope himself in the motu proprio:

“In order that the decisions of the Council about the use of vernacular languages in the liturgy can also be of value in the future a vigilant and creative collaboration full of reciprocal trust between the Episcopal Conferences and the Dicastery of the Apostolic See that exercises the task of promoting the Sacred Liturgy, i.e. the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is absolutely necessary.”

To put it more simply, the weight of responsibility now falls much more on the shoulders of the various episcopal conferences. This is made clearer in the official Vatican commentary on the motu proprio:

“In brief, the “confirmatio,” ordinarily granted based on trust and confidence, supposes a positive evaluation of the faithfulness and congruence of the texts produced with respect to the typical Latin text, above all taking account of the texts of greatest importance (e.g. the sacramental formulae, which require the approval of the Holy Father, the Order of Mass, the Eucharistic Prayers and the Prayers of Ordination, which all require a detailed review).”

In his explanatory “key” to reading the motu proprio Archbishop Roche asserts that “Liturgiam Authenticam” needs to be reinterpreted in light of the new document with regard to how it deals with the Vatican’s stamp of approval.

What are the consequences? In the first place, the Vatican still has the last say on translations. That has not changed—nor is it likely to for fairly obvious reasons like the unity of the faith. But, second, the Vatican commission, Vox Clara, which had been established by Pope John Paul II in 2002 to help the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments vet English translations is now redundant. For many it had been a clear violation of the spirit and the letter of Vatican II in the first place. Third, those conferences which have been experiencing tension with the Vatican over revised translations, like the French-speaking and German-speaking, now have much more breathing room in deciding what is best for translating liturgical texts. Fourth, conferences will now have great latitude in applying the rules set out in “Liturgiam Authenticam.” In any case it would be a good time for the Vatican to issue a more balanced statement on translation in line with the pope’s obvious desire to respect the “entire communicative act” (surely a reference to “Comme le Prévoit”) as well as to be faithful to sound doctrine.

Finally, what about the English-speaking Catholic world? It is no secret that the 2010 translation has received a mixed reception and a number of prominent Catholics, not least the Australian Jesuit theologian, Gerald O’Collins, have called for a reconsideration of the current missal. Many will rejoice greatly if the current translation is revisited. Certainly, some will not. The bishops, particularly the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, will have to decide how to proceed. They now have much more authority over liturgical translation. The ball is in their court.

‘America’ Magazine Editor’s note: the author has clarified this article with respect to which changes to the Latin text fall under the authority of episcopal conferences and also which aspects of “Liturgiam Authenticam” stand in need of reinterpretation.

Love & real ‘Merican English!!,
Matthew

Why we go to Mass

A few years ago some friends of ours bought a homemade donut machine. You just poured batter into it and in one minute a bunch mini-doughnuts rolled off its little conveyor belt. When they told their five-year-old son about it his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “That’s amazing! Now we don’t have to go Church anymore!”

Like this little boy, some people go to church for the “donuts.” They might be literal donuts, but usually the “donuts” are some other nonreligious reason that gets them up earlier than usual on Sunday. They may feel the need to please a family member or spouse. Or they might go because that’s just what their family always did. As they get older they might only keep that tradition going for major holidays like Easter and Christmas. But for many people, the “donuts” stop being worth it and they no longer go to Church. They might say:

  • “Catholic services are boring. I don’t feel like I’m getting anything out of it.”
  • “They’re always asking for money.”
  • “The music is dreadful and the homily is even worse.”

When people ask me why I go to church every Sunday I tell them it’s because no matter how boring the homily, no matter how terrible the music, no matter what else is happening, the bread and wine on the altar at every Catholic Mass becomes the body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ. I go because that bread and wine don’t just symbolize Jesus; they actually become His body, blood, soul, and divinity. Jesus is there, not just every Sunday, but every day, ready to be received by the faithful so they can have eternal life.

The New Passover

The first time I visited a Catholic Church, the person who invited me explained that the services are called “Mass” because the name comes from the Latin word misa, which means “to send forth.” Catholics attend Mass so they can be equipped and “sent forth” to share the Gospel with the entire world. When that friend told me about the “sacrifice of the Mass,” however, I stopped a few feet from the church entrance.

“Sacrifice? You’re not going to kill a goat up there on the altar, are you? Because I’m not sure I’m ready for that.”

He laughed and said that the sacrifice would be the bread and wine brought up to the altar, called the Eucharist, which comes from a Greek word that means “thanksgiving.” The Catechism says, “For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (CCC 1324).

Pasch means Passover and is a reference to an event the Jewish people still celebrate. When they were enslaved in Egypt, God told his people to kill a lamb without blemish so that the angel of death that was sent to punish the Egyptians would “pass over” their homes (Exod. 12:43-51). Christians also have a lamb who was sacrificed so that spiritual death would pass over them: Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist said that Jesus was “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29), and St. Paul said, “Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). The Passover lamb in the Old Testament had to be a male, without blemish, and his legs could not be broken (Exod. 12:5,46). Christ, our Passover lamb, is male, without sin (Heb. 4:15), and during the Crucifixion his legs were not broken (John 19:33). Finally, the Passover was not complete until the lamb was eaten, and so the “Passover” that Christians still celebrate must be completed in the same way.

Food Indeed, Drink Indeed

Since Jesus did not want us to be cannibals, He gave us His body and blood to consume under the miraculous form of bread and wine. He said:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. (John 6:53-57).

The original Greek in this passage communicates an even more powerful message than what we read in English. Earlier in John 6, Jesus uses phago, a generic word for eating, but in these verses he switches to trogo, which means “to gnaw or chew.” Likewise, Jesus uses the word sarx, which means the soft, fleshy substance that covers our bones, and not soma, which just means “body.” Jesus’ word choice, as rendered in the Greek, shows that he is talking about real, physical chewing and eating of his very flesh.

My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed—John 6:55

After His Resurrection Jesus appeared to two of His followers on a road to the city of Emmaus. He hid His identity from them until after He blessed and broke bread for them to eat. Jesus made it clear that after His Resurrection all of His disciples would not see Him in a human form, but that He would instead be “known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35).

When I told one of my non-Catholic friends that I went to Mass he scoffed. “Don’t you think it’s weird that Catholics believe they’re eating Jesus’ actual flesh and blood?” I then showed him John 6:53-57 and asked him what he thought Jesus meant when He said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” My friend read the passage, closed the Bible, and while shrugging his shoulders said, “It’s just a metaphor.”

But that explanation didn’t sit well with me.”

Love & prayers. Pray for me & mine, please.
Matthew

Pentecost – sweet guest of the soul

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

Presence of God – O Holy Spirit, You who deign to dwell in me, help me to open my soul completely to Your action.

MEDITATION

The Encyclical Mystici Corporis states that “the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church.” Because soul means “principle of life,” this statement equivalently says that the divine Paraclete is the One who gives life to the Church. As the soul is the principle of life in the body, so the Holy Spirit is the principle of life in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. Divinum Illud Munus).

We have seen that the Holy Spirit was in Christ’s soul to direct Him in the accomplishment of His redemptive mission. Jesus could have carried out this mission alone, but He wished the Church to participate in it. Since the Church continues Christ’s work, she needs the same impetus which guided His soul; she needs the Holy Spirit. Jesus merited His Spirit for us on the Cross; by His death, He atoned for all sin, the chief obstacle to the action of the Holy Spirit, and when He had ascended into heaven, He sent Him to the Apostles, who represented the whole Church. Now, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, He intercedes continually for us, He is always sending the Holy Spirit to the Church, as He promised. The Holy Spirit operates in the Church now, just as He once did in the blessed soul of Christ. He gives her impulse, moves her, and drives her to accomplish God’s will, thus enabling her to fulfill His mission, the continuation down through the ages of the redemptive work of Christ. With reason, then, did the early Fathers call the Holy Spirit the Soul of the Church; the Church herself invokes Him in the Credo: “Dominum et vivificantem!” Lord and life-giver. As the soul vivifies the body, the Holy Spirit vivifies the Church. He is the impulse of love who kindles in her zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls; He gives light and strength to her shepherds, fervor and energy to her apostles, courage and invincible faith to her martyrs.

COLLOQUY

“O Holy Spirit, You formed our Redeemer in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary; You gave life to Jesus, and directed Him in all He thought, said, did, and suffered during His earthly life, and in the sacrifice He Himself offered to the Father for us on the Cross. When Jesus ascended into heaven, You came upon earth to establish the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, and to apply to this Body the fruits of the life, Blood, Passion, and death of Christ. Otherwise, Jesus would have suffered and died in vain. Furthermore, O Holy Spirit, You descended to us at holy baptism to form Jesus Christ in our souls, to incorporate us into Him, to give us birth and life in Him, to apply to us the effects and merits of His Blood and of His death, to animate and inspire us, and to guide and direct us in all that we should think, say, do, and suffer for God. What, then, should our life be? Oh! it should be completely holy, divine, and spiritual, according to the words of Jesus: ‘that which is born of the Spirit is spirit!’

O Divine Spirit, I give myself entirely to You. Take possession of my soul, direct me in everything, and grant that I may live as a true child of God, as a true member of Jesus Christ; grant that, born of You, I may totally belong to You, be totally possessed, animated, and directed by You” (St. John Eudes).

“O Holy Spirit, Soul of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, fortify me, console me. Tell me what I should do, give me Your orders. I promise to be submissive to all that You ask of me and to accept everything that You permit to happen to me” (Cardinal Mercier).”

Love & Fire!!!
Matthew

Solemnity of the Ascension

-The Ascension, by John Singleton Copley, 1775, oil, canvas, 73.66 x 81.28 cm, located Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Jean & Alexander Heard Divinity Library.

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

Presence of God – O Jesus, who ascended into heaven, grant that I, too, may live there in spirit.

MEDITATION

The central idea in the liturgy today is the raising of our hearts toward heaven, so that we may begin to dwell in spirit where Jesus has gone before us. “Christ’s Ascension,” says St. Leo, “is our own ascension; our body has the hope of one day being where its glorious Head has preceded it” (Roman Breviary). In fact, Our Lord had already said in His discourse after the Last Supper, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be” (John 14:2,3). The Ascension is, then, a feast of joyful hope, a sweet foretaste of heaven. By going before us, Jesus our Head has given us the right to follow Him there some day, and we can even say with St. Leo, “In the person of Christ, we have penetrated the heights of heaven” (Roman Breviary). As in Christ Crucified we die to sin, as in the risen Christ we rise to the life of grace, so too, we are raised up to heaven in the Ascension of Christ. This vital participation in Christ’s mysteries is the essential consequence of our incorporation in Him. He is our Head; we, as His members, are totally dependent upon Him and intimately bound to His destiny. “God, who is rich in mercy,” says St. Paul, “for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us … hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up … and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). Our right to heaven has been given us, our place is ready; it is for us to live in such a way that we may occupy it some day. Meanwhile, we must actualize the beautiful prayer which the liturgy puts on our lips: “Grant, O almighty God, that we, too, may dwell in spirit in the heavenly mansions” (Collect). “Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also” (Matthew 6:21), Jesus said one day. If Jesus is really our treasure, our heart cannot be anywhere but near Him in heaven. This is the great hope of the Christian soul, so beautifully expressed in the hymn for Vespers: “O Jesus, be the hope of our hearts, our joy in sorrow, the sweet fruit of our life” (Roman Breviary).

COLLOQUY

“O my God, O my Jesus, You are going away and leaving us! Oh! what joy there will be in heaven! But we have to remain here on earth. O eternal Word, what has Your creature done for You, that You should do so much for him and then ascend into heaven to glorify him even more? Tell me, what has he done for You, that You should love him so much? What has he given You? What do You look for in him? You love him so much that You give Yourself to him, You who are all things, and besides whom there is nothing. You want from him his entire will and intellect because when he gives them to You, he gives You all that he has. O infinite Wisdom, O supreme Good, O Love, O Love so little known, little loved, and possessed by so few! Oh! our ingratitude, cause of every evil! O Purity, so little known and so little desired! O my Spouse, now that You are in heaven, seated at the right hand of the eternal Father, create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).

“Alas! how long this exile is, O Lord, and how the desire to see You makes it seem longer still! O Lord, what can an imprisoned soul do?… I want to please You. Behold me, Lord! If I have to live longer in order to serve You further, I refuse none of the crosses which may await me on earth. But alas, Lord, alas! These are but words; I am capable of nothing else. Permit my desires, at least, to have some value in Your sight, O my God, and do not regard my lack of merit!

“Ah! my works are poor, my God, even if I could perform many! Then why should I remain in this life, so full of misery? Only to do Your will. Could I do anything better than that? Hope, therefore, my soul, hope. Watch carefully, for you know not the day nor the hour. Everything passes quickly, even though your desire makes a short time seem very long. Remember that the more you struggle, the greater the proofs of love you will be giving to your God, and afterward, the more you will enjoy your Beloved in happiness and felicity without end” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 15).”

Love, Glory, & Victory!!!
Matthew

Pascha Nostrum

Alleluia.
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast,

Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.

Christ being raised from the dead will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over Him.

The death that He died, He died to sin, once for all;
but the life He lives, He lives to God.

So also consider yourselves dead to sin,
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.

Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.

Love,
Matthew

“Mysterium fidei” – Mystery of Faith

[Ed. Recall when the Catholic Church uses the word “mystery”, it does not mean something unknowable. Rather, it means something infinitely knowable. Key.]

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

Presence of God – O Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and I adore You. Increase my faith.

MEDITATION

In the Canon [Eucharistic Prayer] of the Mass, the Eucharist is called “Mysterium fidei,” the Mystery of faith; indeed, only faith can make us see God present under the appearances of bread. Here, as St. Thomas says, the senses do not help at all—sight, touch, and taste are deceived, finding in the consecrated Host only a little bread. But what matters? We have the word of the Son of God; the word of Christ, Who declared: “This is My Body … This is My Blood” and we firmly believe in His word. “Credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius, nil hoc verbo Veritatis verius.” I believe everything the Son of God has said; nothing can be truer than this word of Truth (Adoro Te Devote by St Thomas Aquinas, OP)…

I devoutly adore you, O hidden Deity,
Truly hidden beneath these appearances.
My whole heart submits to You,
And in contemplating You, it surrenders itself completely.

Sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of You,
But hearing suffices firmly to believe.
I believe all that the Son of God has spoken;
There is nothing truer than this word of truth.

On the cross only the divinity was hidden,
But here the humanity is also hidden.
Yet believing and confessing both,
I ask for what the repentant thief asked.

I do not see the wounds as Thomas did,
But I confess that You are my God.
Make me believe more and more in You,
Hope in You, and love You.

O memorial of our Lord’s death!
Living bread that gives life to man,
Grant my soul to live on You,
And always to savor Your sweetness.

Lord Jesus, Good Pelican1,
wash my filthiness and clean me with Your blood,
One drop of which can free
the entire world of all its sins.

Jesus, Whom now I see hidden,
I ask You to fulfill what I so desire:
That the sight of Your face being unveiled
I may have the happiness of seeing Your glory. Amen.

…We firmly believe in the Eucharist, we have no doubts about it; unfortunately, however, we must admit that our faith is often weak and dull. Although we may not live far from a church, although we may perhaps dwell under the same roof with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is easy to become rather indifferent, or even cold, in the presence of this great reality. Alas, our coarse nature gradually grows accustomed to even the most sublime and beautiful realities, so that they no longer impress us and have no power to move us, especially when they are near at hand. Thus it happens that while we believe in the ineffable presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we pay little or no attention to the greatness of this reality, and we fail to have the lively, concrete appreciation of it which the saints had. Let us then repeat, very humbly and confidently, the Apostles’ beautiful prayer: “Domine, adauge nobis fidem,” Lord, increase our faith! (Luke 17:5).

COLLOQUY

“Praise and thanks to you, O blessed faith! You tell me with certitude that the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, the heavenly Manna, is no longer bread, but my Lord Jesus Christ Who is wholly present there for love of me.

“One day, O Jesus, full of love and of goodness, You sat beside the well to await the Samaritan woman, that You might convert and save her. Now, You dwell on our altars, hidden in the consecrated Host, where You wait and sweetly invite souls, to win them to Your love. From the tabernacle You seem to say to us all: ‘O men, why do you not come to Me, Who love you so much? I am not come to judge you! I have hidden myself in this Sacrament of love only to do good and to console all who have recourse to Me’; I understand, O Lord; love has made You our prisoner; the passionate love You have for us has so bound You that it does not permit You to leave us.

“O Lord, You find Your delight in being with us, but do we find ours in being with You? Especially do we, who have the privilege of dwelling so near Your altar, perhaps even in Your very own house, find our delight in being with You? Oh! how much coldness, indifference, and even insults You have to endure in this Sacrament, while You remain there to help us by Your presence!

“O God, present in the Eucharist, O Bread of Angels, O heavenly Food, I love You; but You are not, nor am I, satisfied with my love. I love You, but I love You too little! Banish from my heart, O Jesus, all earthly affections and give place, or better, give the whole place to Your divine love. To fill me with Yourself, and to unite Yourself entirely to me, You come down from heaven upon the altar every day; justly then, should I think of nothing else but of loving, adoring, and pleasing You. I love You with my whole soul, with all my strength. If You want to make a return for my love, increase it and make it always more ardent!” (St. Alphonsus).”

Love,
Matthew

1. In medieval Europe, the pelican was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result, the pelican came to symbolize the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist.

Peacocks & Resurrection

Master of Isabella di Chiaromonte. ‘Initial D with Imago Pietatis (Christ on His Tomb with Marks of the Passion),’ ca. 1460. ink, paint and gold on parchment. Walters Art Museum (W.328.101R): Acquired by Henry Walters.


-by Rev John Bartunek, LC

“Peacocks often appear in early Christian art as a symbol of the Resurrection and Eternal Life. There are various levels to this symbolism.

Pagan Roots

The most obvious is a carry-over from ancient pagan religions, some of which held the belief that the peacock’s flesh never decayed, even after it died. Early Christians, therefore, adopted the bird as a symbol of the Resurrection, Christ’s eternal, glorious existence.

Medieval Theories

In medieval times, it was also thought that peacocks molt (shed their feathers) every year, and the new ones that grow are more beautiful than the old ones. Along with this idea, medieval legends included the theory that the gorgeous colors of a peacock’s feathers came from a special diet: It was believed that peacocks could kill and eat poisonous serpents, ingesting the poison and transforming it into the colors of their feathers. This too contributed to their being an apt symbol of Christ’s Resurrection, since Christ “became sin” [cf 2 Corinthians 5:21] for us on the Cross, but then rose from the dead with his glorified body and wounds having conquered the powers of evil.

Regardless of the biological accuracy or inaccuracy of these traditions, they help explain why Christian artists often used peacocks as a symbol of the Resurrection and Eternal Life.

Hidden Splendor

Personally, however, I have always been moved even more deeply by another level of symbolism that we can discover in this intriguing bird.

During the normal activities of a normal day, peacocks are fairly normal looking animals. And yet, all the while they are pecking and clucking like your average fowl, a hidden splendor lies underneath. When they spread their tail-feathers, this magnificence shines forth, revealing their true beauty.

The symbolism here is clear. When you see a Christian walking along the street, you can’t tell the difference between him and someone who has never been baptized. From all external appearances, they are both just human beings making their way through the hustle and bustle of daily life. And yet, underneath that ordinary appearance, the Christian soul enjoys a hidden splendor through the transforming power of God’s grace. The Blessed Trinity actually dwells in the soul who lives in that grace. And the person living the life of grace has also received a plethora of spiritual gifts: the theological virtues and the other infused virtues; the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the sacramental seals coming from baptism and confirmation, etc.

These spiritual realities are habitually and dynamically present in every Christian who lives the life of grace, but they are not visible in the ordinary way. Their full splendor will only become visible when the Christian enters into eternal life and comes to share in Christ’s own glorious resurrection. At that point, the hidden magnificence of each Christian’s soul will be revealed, to the wonderment of all, similar to a sudden spreading of the peacock’s magnificent feathers.

It’s only an artistic symbol, so there isn’t a perfect correlation. But it’s a lovely one, in my opinion.”

Love, and beauty,
Matthew

Salva festa dies – 6th century AD

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis aevo. qua deus infernum vicit et astra tenet (Repeat after each verse)

Ecce renascentis testatur gratia mundi omnia cum domino dona redisse suo.

Namque triumphanti post tristia Tartara Christo undique fronde nemus, gramina flore favent.

Legibus inferni oppressis super astra meantem laudant rite deum lux polus arva fretum.

Qui crucifixus erat, deus ecce per omnia regnat, dantque creatori cuncta creata precem. salve, festa dies.

Christe salus rerum, bone conditor atque redemptor, unica progenies ex deitate patris.

Qui genus humanum cernens mersisse profundo, ut hominem eriperes es quoque factus homo

Nec voluisti etenim tantum te corpore nasci, sed caro quae nasci, pertulit atque mori

Fexequias pateris vitae auctor et orbis, intras mortis iter dando salutis opem.

Tristia cesserunt infernae vincula legis expavitque chaos luminis ore premi.

Depereunt tenebrae Christi fulgore fugatae et tetrae noctis pallia crassa cadunt.

Pollicitam sed redde fidem, precor, alma potestas: tertia lux rediit, surge, sepulte meus.

Non decet. ut humili tumulo tua membra tegantur, neu pretium mundi vilia saxa premant.

Lintea, precor, sudaria linque sepulchro: tu satis es nobis et sine te nihil est.

Solvecatenatas inferni carceris umbras et revoca sursum quidquid ad ima ruit.

Redde tuam faciem, videant ut saecula lumen, redde diem qui nos te moriente fugit.

Sed plane inplesti remeans, pie victor, ad orbem: Tartara pressa iacent nec sua iura tenent.

Inferus insaturabiliter cava gruttura pandens, qui rapuit semper, fit tua praeda, deus.

Evomit absorptam trepide fera belua plebem et de fauce lupi subtrahit agrnus oves.

Rex sacer, ecce tui radiat pars magna triumphi, cum puras animas sancta lavacra beant

Candidus egreditur nitidis exercitus undis atque vetus vitium purgat in amne novo.

Fulgentes animas vestis quoque candida signat et grege de niveo gaudia pastor habet.

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis aevo. qua deus infernum vicit et astra tenet.

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day! whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ. (Repeat after each verse)

Lo! our earth is in her spring, bearing thus her witness that, with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.

For now the woods with their leaves and the meadows with their flowers, pay homage to Jesus’ triumph over the gloomy tomb.

Light, firmament, fields and sea, give justly praise to the God that defeats the laws of death, and rises above the stars.

The crucified God now reigns over all things; and every creature to its Creator tells a prayer.

O Jesus! Saviour of the world! Loving Creator and Redeemer! Only ­begotten Son of God the Father!

Seeing the human race was sunk in misery deep, thou wast made Man, that thou mightest rescue man.

Nor wouldst thou be content to be born; but being born in the flesh, in the same wouldst thou suffer death.

Thou, the author of life and of all creation, wast buried in the tomb, treading the path of death, to give us salvation.

The gloomful bonds of hell were broken; the abyss shook with fear, as the light shone upon its brink.

The brightness of Christ put darkness to flight, and made to fall the thick veils of everlasting night.

But redeem thy promise, I beseech thee, merciful King! This is the third day; arise, my buried Jesus!

‘Tis not meet that thy Body lie in the lowly tomb, or that a sepulchral stone should keep imprisoned the ransom of the world.

Throw off thy shrouds, I pray thee! Leave thy winding sheet in the tomb. Thou art our all; and all else, without thee, is nothing.

Set free the spirits that are shackled in limbo’s prison. Raise up all fallen things.

Show us once more thy face, that all ages may see the light! Bring back the day which fled when thou didst die.

But thou hast done all this O loving conqueror, by returning to our world: death lies defeated, and its rights are gone.

The greedy monster, whose huge throat had swallowed all mankind, is now thy prey, O God!

The savage beast now trembling vomits forth the victims he had made, and the lamb tears the sheep from the jaw of the wolf.

O King divine! lo! here a bright ray of thy triumph- the souls made pure by the holy font.

The white ­robed troop comes from the limpid waters; and the old iniquity is cleansed in the new stream.

The white garments symbolize unspotted souls, and the Shepherd rejoices in his snowlike flock.

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day! whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.”

Happy Easter!!!

Love,
Matthew

Why we believe in the Resurrection


-by Trent Horn

“The Bible says that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then the Christian faith is worthless (1 Cor. 15:17). However, if Jesus did rise from the dead then we know Jesus can keep his promise to give everyone who follows him eternal life (1 John 2:25).

But how can we know that Jesus really rose from the dead and that the Bible’s description of this miracle wasn’t just a story someone made up?

One way is by showing that the Resurrection is the only explanation for the events surrounding Jesus’ death, events that almost everyone, including skeptics, agrees are historical. Even scholars who don’t think the Bible is the word of God admit it is not completely made up.

For example, skeptical scholar John Dominic Crossan denies that Jesus rose from the dead but he says, “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”

Similarly, the atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann said, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.” Lüdemann doesn’t think Jesus actually rose from the dead but that the apostles experienced an hallucination instead. He does think, however, the apostles thought they saw the risen Jesus and this fact of history needs to be explained.

An Atheist Admits the Evidence Is Overwhelming

Antony Flew was at one time one of the most famous atheists in the Western world. His essay “Theology and Falsification” is one of the most widely printed essays in the history of twentieth-century philosophy. That is why it is remarkable that even he admitted in a debate with a Christian that “the evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity.”

For example, the Qu’ran does not record Muhammad performing miracles, and the earliest sources about Buddha say he refused to perform miracles. Both men are described as performing miracles only in legends written centuries after their deaths. This stands in sharp contrast to the accounts of Christ’s Resurrection that we find in the Bible. Unlike the stories of other ancient wonder-workers, these Christian accounts were written decades (not centuries) after the events they describe and are preserved in multiple sources.

“I’m Ready to Be a Christian”

I remember staying up one night in high school watching debates on the Internet between Christians and atheists. One question kept bothering me: How did it all start? Christianity didn’t begin with one person having visions of God that no one else could confirm. It began with the public proclamation that a man had been raised from the dead. It was accompanied by historical evidence like the empty tomb that proved this was not a hoax or a hallucination.

That night I realized Jesus was really alive and he was the God “out there” I had vaguely thought about for so many years. I then bowed my head, opened up my palms, and prayed, “Jesus, if you’re real, help me believe. I’m ready to be a Christian.”

Why We Believe: The Resurrection

Even skeptics admit that Jesus was crucified, buried, his tomb was found empty, his disciples saw him after his death, and they were willing to die for that truth.

Other explanations, like hallucination or fraud, only [attempt to] explain some of these facts.

The most plausible explanation for all these facts is that Jesus really did rise from the dead.”

Love, & Easter Joy!!! He is Risen!!!! He is truly Risen!!!
Matthew

Haec dies

Haec dies quam fecit Dominus:
exultemus et laetemur in ea,
alleluya.

verse for Easter Sunday:
Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus:
quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.
[Pascha nostrum Immolatus est Christus.]

verse for Easter Monday:
Dicant nunc Israel, quoniam bonus:
quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.

verse for Easter Tuesday:
Dicant nunc, qui redempti sunt a Domino:
quos redemit de manu inimici,
et de regionibus congregavit eos.

This is the day which the Lord hath made:
let us be glad and rejoice therein.
Alleluia.

verse for Easter Sunday:
Give praise to the Lord, for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:1)
[Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.]

verse for Easter Monday:
Let Israel now say, that He is good:
that His mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:2)

verse for Easter Tuesday:
Let them say so that have been redeemed by the Lord,
whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy:
and gathered out of the countries.
(Psalm 107:2)

He IS RISEN!!!! Praise Him!!!

Love,
Matthew