Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 29 July 2011

Martha, Martha, Martha...

Today is the feast of the patron saint of invented lay "ministries," of "active participation" as deteremined by calorie burning.
(Yeah, I know thta's Jan, but I always hear her voice in my head when I hear, Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her. )
I was told by one of the shining lights of the middle school cantor/lector team that her family had not attended Mass the preceding weekend because none of them "had anything to do."
Our deacon nominated some high schoolers to become extraordinary ministers as a way of "getting them to come to Mass."
Dr Mahrt speaks about trying to find what he is expected to sing, between juggling a hymnal and a worship aid and a pew-missal, and suddenly realizing -- he'd missed seeing the procession.
Catholic attendance at Sunday worship in this country has sunk almost to euro-levels.

Are these things connected?
I believe so.

I believe the great mass of pew-sitters had chosen the better part, and were misguidedly urged into being busy about many things.
The better part was taken away.

I should also add, that whenever I hear or read that passage that Martha, being a little like someone I know, thenceforth decided to game the Lord, and smiled, and said oh, okay, I get it, and plopped herself down at His feet.
And after a few hours, everyone decided they were kinda hungry, and lo, there was no bread made, and the fire had gone out under the pot, and the kitchen was a mess.

Oh well, said Martha, continuing to smile.

(So yes, as a professional martha, I have a certain ambivalence about this bible passage. When I was a kid I HATED it, it seemed so unfair.)

Hey, and the old testament reading this morning -- was it or was it not all about the liturgical calender? and wouldn't it have been a wonderful opportunity for a reflection on whether or not how we worship matters, and whether or not "God doesn't care how we do this."

Thursday, 28 July 2011

R.I.P., Archbishop Sambi

"Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, died at Johns Hopkins Hospital July 27. He was 73. Staff at the nunciature, his residence in Washington, on July 22 asked for prayers of the Catholic community for him.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Archbishop Sambi was a friend of the United States.

“As the personal representative of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Sambi enjoyed the highest respect and deepest affection of the bishops of the United States and of our Catholic people,” Archbishop Dolan said in a July 28 statement.

Archbishop Sambi was appointed U.S. nuncio, or ambassador, in December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to the U.S. appointment, Pope John Paul II had named him nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine in 1998. The appointment made him only the second Vatican ambassador to Israel, after the Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1994.

Archbishop Sambi was a native of central Italy and was ordained a priest in 1964. He was named an archbishop and nuncio to Burundi in 1985, a position he held for six years until being named nuncio to Indonesia."


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

"Seek That Which Is Above"

Had been meaning to post about this, if you haven't read it, buy it, and if you any friends, buy them each a copy, you will never give a more beautiful gift, and (here speaks the cheapest woman in the world,) you will never get more value for your gift-buying dollar.

In this beautifully illustrated book, Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) gives us profound meditations on what our life in Christ should be like as it is lived through the various Seasons and Feasts of the liturgical year. This book also includes thoughts on other spiritual and secular themes such as the true nature of peace, why it is difficult for so many to experience joy, the relationship between spirit and matter, vacation and rest, etc. These inspiring insights from the man who became Pope, show how Joseph Ratzinger’s deeply spiritual and theological experience, together with his wide literary and cultural interests are a gift to the Church in the modern world. Here is a shepherd leading the faithful entrusted to his care to deep springs of refreshing, life giving water.

Within the pages of this gem of a book, readers from all backgrounds will find helpful and encouraging wisdom which can be referred to again and again. It is a perfect gift, as well as inspirational and instructive spiritual reading for oneself throughout the year

It is a gorgeously produced and exquisitely illustrated book; and the elegant, pithy prose lends itself nicely to being picked up and browsed in tiny increments, (because how often to you find yourself with the leisure to pore over a bit of encyclical length wisdom?)

Seriously, FIVE DOLLARS??!?@?$???

Friday, 15 July 2011

Looking at the Lectionary

Seriously, am I this only one who cocked an eyebrow at the coincidence that, on the Memorial of the first, (so-far only, I believe,) "native" American to be declared Blessed, Blessed Kateri Tekawithat, had the lay reader proclaiming that God would be giving His chosen people land that, er.... already HAD inhabitants, thank you very much?
Do I have this right, in the Bad Ol' Days, instead of the consecutive, let's-get-through-as-much-of-this-sucker-as-we-can approach, there were more propers and proper readings for memorials and feasts, rather than just soldiering through the temporal cycle?
Probably not, I do have selective memory for things I've been told, (confirmation bias and all that, as I drift into a different liturgical preference...)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I have a girl crush...

(Seriously, my favorite actor at the moment, and I think she'd be fun to hang with, and I'd like to preach her out of her odd lifestyle choices.)
(But NOT her fashion choices.)
SWINTON W spreadhttp://cdn03.cdn.gofugyourself.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/SWINTON_W7.jpghttp://cdn01.cdn.gofugyourself.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/SWINTON_W10.jpg

Summer Serenity

What a joy that the FBI pastor, when he visits home, has scads of FBI preists happy to spend their vacations in the US, so we never want for celebrants in my (not yet, but eventually my,) parish.

The two who have been concelebrating this week bring a wondrous solemnity and ...patience? to their ars celebrandi.
The pastor is efficient to the point of brusqueness, very March Hare.
I always want to ask, gotta date?

Endless Variety

One of the charms of eczema is that it manifests itself in such an exciting range of distinctive visuals.
This time, I feel that I should be looking for a penitent adulteress to heal me. (And no, I'm not nearly as cute as that chubby cheeked child... though I am that chubby-cheeked...)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Vegetarian? Did you know HITLER was a Vegetarian?

Does the editor of this blog really think the story "will interest Pray Tell readers" who were as of yet unaware of what sedevacantist means?
Or that his readers would be a touch slow on the uptake, and would need the meaning spelled out to this extent?
sedevacantist – that is, someone who believes that the bishop’s “seat” in Rome is “vacant” – sede, sedentary, sitting around, seat, see, I think you get the connection

Yeah, I think they get the connection you are trying to make.
You know, your blog quotes approvingly, accepts entries from, and is altogether very conciliatory with... um, protestants -- that is, adherents of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them, protestant, expressing disagreement or complaint separated, apart from, from Latin sēparāre, from sē- apart + parāre to obtain, I think you get the connection.

Or is that irrelevant and inflammatory?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

ASL and the New Translation

The synchronicity of the universe, or my just being more liable to notice something because I'd already noticed it elsewhere...
Royals swarming the continent, mention that I had recently read something about Prince Philip's mother and Himself reminiscing about a theater-housing roommate, and the latter's ongoing conflict with his father over the parent's laziness with ASL ("Dad, you know how to do this and you're signing like Tonto!")
Anyway, this popped up on Google News:
liturgy is what the American Sign Language (ASL) track of the 2011 Eucharistic Congress was all about. Throughout his presentation, Father Coyte encouraged the deaf and hearing attendees to participate fully in liturgy.

“The goal of liturgy is to experience God,” he said. “The priest has his work, and you have your work!”

While in seminary, Father Coyte met his first deaf person. He then decided to take sign language classes. There was no one working with deaf Catholics in his area at the time. During the 37 years of his priesthood, Father Coyte has developed a very active deaf ministry at Holy Cross Church in Thornton, Colo., the parish he pastors near Denver. All the deaf Catholics in the archdiocese go there, where everything is interpreted in ASL, including all Masses, all meetings, all social events. He himself signs one Mass every weekend, and interpreters sign the others. The readings during Mass are both signed and voiced. There is a deaf person on the parish council, and the RCIA program is always interpreted, regardless of whether a deaf person is joining the church or not. In other words, everything his parish does is readily accessible to the deaf....

Father Coyte began his presentation by outlining his goals for the day: to discuss what the Eucharist/Mass means, to prepare for the upcoming changes in the new Roman Missal, and to discuss the connection between Eucharist/Mass and the people.

“What is the language of the church?” Father Coyte asked. Hands moved as various participants attempted answers. “Is it Latin?” “Hebrew?” “Perhaps it is the language of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.” None of these responses were incorrect, but Father Coyte brought in a different perspective.

“From the beginning, God used sign language! Sunsets, thunder, rain. The Word of God, Jesus, was a sign. He came as a man, for people to touch, hear, watch, experience.” With this in mind, Father Coyte encouraged deaf people to take a major role in the church. “The Catholic Church needs deaf people to participate in church, to help people understand God’s sign language.”

And I spend so much time worrying about sound in the new Missal.... (I'll just look past and forgive the gratuitous, but seemingly obligatory swipe at the bad ol' days, when the attitude was, “I’m never going to heaven; God is ‘way up there’ (out of reach).”



Incan Gold

No, not that kind!
Have you tried Quinoa?

Lemme just say, ya GOTTA!
Much as it goes against the grain to suggest anyone alter his diet in a.... ahem, healthy way, this really is a delightful food.
Okay, part of my enthusiasm is sloth, or laziness, or impatience -- I am a big fan of barley, and this cooks in about a third of the time.
(Oh, and if you are near a Big Lots, they have it in at the moment - I do love me a bargain....)

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper?

"... most people liked the new Mass. There were a few strong rejections, but the expected explosion never materialized. Sociologist Father Andrew Greeley said that within two years around 73 percent of American Catholics said they liked the changes in the liturgy, which was astonishing."

They liked it but not enough to attend? There was no explosion, but rather a slow leak?

I do like this, though: the opposite of Catholic is not Protestant; the opposite of Catholic is sectarian.

But not this: those who want a purer, smaller church that seeks to withdraw from the world are the non-Catholics because the Catholic tradition has always been a big one, because there ARE hardly any such people. (And I think it is sectarian to misrepresent the views of the more orthodox that way.)

No one WANTS a smaller Church. But Jesus didn't say, good riddance, don't let the door hit ya.... but neither did He say, no, no, wait a minute, come back, never mind, it's okay, you can believe whatcha want
He did not "want" it, but He accepted that, tragic though it was, His would be a "smaller, purer" band of disciples.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Gregorian Chant Preached a Sermon More Eloquent Than the Priest's

Jeffrey Tucker has a fascinating post on the reaction of that barbarian, Robert Louis Stevenson to the chanting at the Mission at Carmel.
I heard the old indians singing mass. That was a new experience, and one well worth hearing. There was the old man who led and the women who so worthily followed. It was like a voice out of the past. They sang by tradition, from the teaching of early missionaries long since turned to clay. And still in the roofless church you may hear the old music. Padre Casanove, will, I am sure, be the first to pardon and understand me when I say the old Gregorian singing preached a sermon more eloquent than his own. Peace on earth, good will to men so it seemed to me to say; and to me as a Barbarian, who hears on all sides evil speech and the roughest bywords about the Indian race, to hear Carmel Indians sing their latin words with so good a pronunciation and give out these ancient chants with familiarity and fervor suggested new and pleasant reflections.
Remarkable! (Not to mention, sacred, beautiful, universal....)

Monday, 4 July 2011

Fear of the Lord and Bratty Kids and the New Translation

It is a holiday, so as a consequence of my parents' apparent great fondness for each other, and the resultant descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore, (we have NOT taken possession of the gates of our enemies as of yet; but I digress,) I have been around, oh, a GAZILLION different children, products of a greater range of parenting skills, and parenting philosophies as well, than usual.

And the extreme unpleasantness of having to spend time with a certain seven-year-old, (who is the primary decision maker in his family of five, it seems,) and subsequent reflection on the fact that said child does not, as a result of his parents and siblings deference to him, know what is the appropriate behavior for him to display and expectation for him to have, as a child, threw something into relief me.

Our relationship with the Father is a bit askew.

And I sometimes wonder if it's because we think of it as a relationship.
To me, relationships are about compromise; trying to change, be better because of and for each other; give and take?

That is not what we want of God! (Dang good thing, because we're not gonna get it, huh? ya know, because he's. um... unchanging?)
Or IS it what some people want of Him?

And I think a gaping lacuna in our use of certain scriptural references may have had an impact on this, may have led to faulty understanding.

At the last Mass I heard, an otherwise excellent homily was marred by the priest's repeating several times, without nuance, that "God wants us to love Him, He doesn't want us fear Him."
Well, kinda, but no, not exactly... otherwise, so much for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Can we not, f'rinstrance, differentiate between filial and servile fear?

It does seem to be a problem for some people.
The image of the assembly’s relationship to God and the emotional tone accompanying that relationship will not be the same come November. The old is marked by an attitude of reverence, joy, and trust. God is great and we are small, but the relationship is one of love. As a child might run to a parent with unaffected gladness, so we come into the presence of our God (“We come to you, Father...”). Not anymore. Now we come before God as a suppliant
Okay, that's not fair, the writer does differentiate, but is worried, essentially, about the change in emphasis.

Well, guess what?
That's what happens, that's how corrections work.

The attitude of IRreverence, neglect and presumptuousness that has obtained for so long has left us in serious need of "a change in the dominant note" of the liturgy.

And, um, yeah...... it does SING.

'Zany of that make sense?

(And now back to the picnic table and the troll-child...)