An Hour is Not a Long Time

June 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Two simply amazing quotes about the celebration of the Eucharist:

“O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally” (Saint Francis, Letter to the Entire Order).

(All the emphasis in the following quote is my own) 

“Faith can never be presupposed, because every generation needs to receive this gift through the proclamation of the Gospel and to know the truth that Christ has revealed to us. The Church, therefore, is always engaged in proposing to all the deposit of the faith; contained in it also is the doctrine on the Eucharist — central mystery in which “is enclosed all the spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ himself, our Pasch” — doctrine that today, unfortunately, is not sufficiently understood in its profound value and in its relevance for the existence of believers. Because of this, it is important that a more profound knowledge of the mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord be seen as an exigency of the different communities of our diocese of Rome. At the same time, in the missionary spirit that we wish to nourish, it is necessary to spread the commitment to proclaim such Eucharistic faith, so that every man will encounter Jesus Christ who has revealed the “close” God, friend of humanity, and to witness it with an eloquent life of charity.

In all his public life, through the preaching of the Gospel and miraculous signs, Jesus proclaimed the goodness and mercy of the Father towards man. This mission reached its culmination on Golgotha, where the crucified Christ revealed the face of God, so that man, contemplating the Cross, might be able to recognize the fullness of love. The sacrifice of Calvary is mysteriously anticipated in the Last Supper, when Jesus, sharing with the Twelve the bread and wine, transforms them into his body and his blood, which shortly after he would offer as immolated Lamb. The Eucharist is the memorial of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, of his love to the end for each one of us, memorial that He willed to entrust to the Church so that it would be celebrated throughout the centuries. According to the meaning of the Hebrew word “zakar,” the “memorial” is not simply the memory of something that happened in the past, but a celebration which actualizes that event, so as to reproduce its salvific force and efficacy. Thus, “the sacrifice that Christ offered to the Father, once and for all, on the Cross in favor of humanity, is rendered present and actual” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 280). Dear brothers and sisters, in our time the word sacrifice is not liked, rather it seems to belong to other times and to another way of understanding life. However, properly understood, it is and remains fundamental, because it reveals to us with what love God loves us in Christ….

The Holy Mass, celebrated in the respect of the liturgical norms and with a fitting appreciation of the richness of the signs and gestures, fosters and promotes the growth of Eucharistic faith. In the Eucharistic celebration we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. This universal openness, this encounter with all the sons and daughters of God is the grandeur of the Eucharist: we go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us. Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely this reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle “lex orandi – lex credendi.” And because of this we can say “the best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated”.  It is necessary that in the liturgy the transcendent dimension emerge with clarity, that of the mystery, of the encounter with the Divine, which also illumines and elevates the “horizontal,” that is the bond of communion and of solidarity that exists between all those who belong to the Church. In fact, when the latter prevails, the beauty, profundity and importance of the mystery celebrated is fully understood. Dear brothers in the priesthood, to you the bishop has entrusted, on the day of your priestly Ordination, the task to preside over the Eucharist. Always have at heart the exercise of this mission: celebrate the divine mysteries with intense interior participation, so that the men and women of our City can be sanctified, put into contact with God, absolute truth and eternal love….

Communion with Christ is always communion also with his body, which is the Church, as the Apostle Paul reminds, saying: “The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians:16-17). It is, in fact, the Eucharist that transforms a simple group of persons into ecclesial community: the Eucharist makes the Church….

Pope Benedict XVI
 Address to the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Rome
Basilica of St John Lateran
15 June 2010

Well there isn’t much I can really say after that.  Pope Benedict XVI puts it splendidly.  Really, I encourage you to take as much time as you need to read this quote.  I know it seems a bit much but don’t let it intimidate you!  I find myself relating to what he has said in a very personal way.  I wish there was some way to let priests know that when they themselves seem distracted or hurried at Mass, it really affects the way I experience Mass.  Maybe it shouldn’t be like that, but for me, it is.  Mass is one hour long and I want to be ‘in’ that hour, I want to experience it to the fullest.  Don’t rush your way through the homily for the other twenty people behind me who only want to get to their soccer games.  That’s not fair.  I am not trying to blame priests in any way, I know they are certainly busy enough, but Mass is the heart of the Church.  Working at the restaurant, I frequently see couples having a romantic dinner out together.  Even though we waitstaff have places to go after work, you don’t see our customers rushing through meals just to let us get out of there.  No, they take their time and enjoy being in each other’s company.  They engage themselves wholly in each other.  Maybe it’s a weak metaphor, but you get my point? 

Not that I am a saint or anything even close (although I’m sure Danny emphatically, lovingly, and in true preservation of self, disagrees with that!).  I’m not trying to make myself sound like I am.  In fact, I have a lot I could be doing better as far as Mass goes.  Ever since I gave Genevieve the Bible for her baptism day, I’ve been trying to read it with her a little bit before Mass, but as far as my own personal preparation… I’m not going to lie, I get lazy.  And then there’s daily Mass, a habit that I have fallen out of in the past few years.  I used to go a lot when I worked at the elementary school, because the church was right next door.  That was almost 4 years ago though.  Through much personal laziness and also a bit of irritation at the ever-changing Mass schedules due to re-forming the parishes in Nanticoke, I haven’t been to daily Mass very frequently.  I wish that St. Mary’s here in WB had a morning Mass, but their daily Mass is at 12:10.  They probably made it that time so working people like me could just walk over and attend Mass on their lunch break, unfortunately I haven’t been lucky enough in my last two jobs in WB to go to lunch at that time.   St. Nick’s is right down the road, but their daily Mass is 6:30… even that half-hour difference between 6:30 and 7 is incredibly disheartening to a 24 year old who just wants to SLEEP as much as possible and wouldn’t crack an eyelid until noon if she could. 

You see how the words build up, until oh look, another few months have gone by and I STILL haven’t gone to daily Mass the way I want to.  Keep me in your prayers, dear readers, and I’m sure the Holy Spirit will shove me enough that I get back into the habit. 

PS – Have to properly credit Whispers in the Loggia, which is where I first found the quote from Pope Benedict.

PS2- Reading the Temeraire series on my Kindle still!  I mentioned it a post or two ago.  Dragons, battles, heroes… I love it!


Eeek! Quick Weird Shoe Post

June 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

When a pair of shoes causes you to mutter “eeek!” and wince slightly away just from seeing them on your computer screen, not even in person, then it’s a bloggable pair of shoes!  Look at these babies. 

 bruno-frisoni-fringed-sandals is my favorite shoe blog and if you’re a shoe lover too, I highly recommend it!  Especially right now as the CUTEST pair of Louboutins ever are gracing the homepage.  They’re the ‘Tahiti’ peep toes.

Impromptu Beach Vacation Time? Why, Yes!

June 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

What are your plans for the weekend?  Do they involve crisp ocean breezes, soft beaches, and glistening green waves?  Mine do! It’s an impromptu trip because my mom just told me the other night that the family is going down.  Sometimes those are the best kind though.  No expectations, no mighty plans, just me and the sand and the waves!  And the sea gulls.  Ugh.  Although I could definitely live at the beach all summer long, I know I would miss skiing and the mountains in the winter.  I’ve thought about this dilemma before and I’ve often come to the conclusion that the perfect life for me would be six months at the beach and six months at a ski resort chateau.  (If only! ) My lucky family gets to go down to the beach for a whole seven days, but I only get the weekend.  That’s okay though.  Enough is as good as a feast, right?  I will drive down tonight with Pete and Genevieve and return home Sunday night by myself.  It’s only a three hour drive so I won’t have a problem driving it by myself.  Cathy’s making me a CD right now of all my latest favorite country songs.  I’ll just pop that in tonight, roll the windows down for a bit of a breeze, and soon I will smell the salt of the marshes!!  I’m so excited!  I have a bottle of white wine that’s just been waiting for the right occasion.  I can think of none better than sitting on the porch of the beach house tomorrow evening, enjoying the salty ocean breeze, hearing the roar of the waves, and reading my Kindle while I sip wine. 

Here are just a bunch of random little details that are hovering around in my mind right now.  I bought some more stickers.  (I tape them onto my back windows because I have a leased car so I can’t put any bumper stickers on it.)  These are my two favorites from the Rock For Life website and since they’re only a $1.00 apiece, I bought them both!


I’ve had the second one on my car for awhile, but it ripped and fell off and I just got around now to buying the replacement.  

I found the following quote when I was reading Les Miserables and I thought it was worth repeating:  “The most divine of human generosities: the expiation for others.” – Les Miserables. 




I learned a new word today.  It’s: encomium.  And it means a formal expression of high praise.  I’ll have to find the proper setting to use it because I like it already.  I like words with some bite to them, and encomium has it.  They used it in the book I have been reading lately on my Kindle.  The book is called His Majesty’s Dragon, and I highly recommend it.  It starts out with the usual premise of a man who finds a dragon’s egg and the when it hatches, they bond, etc etc… But the writing is superb.  The author is very good at putting emotions into words without seeming cheesy.  The dragon and his handler have to join the war that is being fought in Britain at the time, and it’s mostly about their adventures training for and in the battles.  It’s a very good novel, especially if you love dragons like I do.  I think my love affair with dragons started in 8th grade when I read The Hobbit, with Smaug the dragon.  Ever since then, I’ve loved any kind of novel about these mythical creatures.  They can be written in so many ways!  There are evil, treasure hoarding dragons who plunder villages, or warrior dragons who fight stunning aerial battles, or brave, strong, true dragons who love their handlers and just want to help them.  There’s nothing like a good dragon tale.  Okay, I’m going to stop sounding like an adolescent boy now.

More after my weekend at the beach!!  And hopefully some pictures too.

If you read TIME Magazine, maybe you should read this article too

June 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

You know, in the interest of parity.  Or fairness.  If anyone cares about that.

“It would probably be too much to ask that Time magazine run a cover story on the bold statements and concrete actions that Pope Benedict has taken to address the clergy sexual abuse crisis. No self-respecting journalistic enterprise wants to be separated from the pack when it comes to covering a controversial news story, which means it must always follow the herd, even when the evidence points elsewhere.

But the Time magazine June 7 cover story is a particularly frustrating example of a media enterprise playing to prejudices with half-truths even to the point of severely misrepresenting the story.

“Why Being Pope Means Never having To Say You’re Sorry: The sex abuse scandal and the limits of atonement” is the provocative headline splashed across the cover of Time and over an image of the back of Pope Benedict’s mitered head.

Lest we have any doubts where this is heading, the lead sentence of the story manages to drag in the Inquisition: “How do you atone for something terrible, like the Inquisition?”

The gist of the story is that Cardinal Ratzinger wasn’t so hot on apologizing for the Inquisition, and he isn’t really doing enough to apologize for the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Time magazine wants the Pope to offer a personal mea culpa, particularly for his handling of a case in Germany when he was archbishop of Munich, and more generally for the fact that he “was very much part of a system that had badly underestimated and in some cases enabled the rot of clergy abuse that spread through the church in the past half-century.”

The story, written by Jeff Israely (reporting from Rome) and Howard Chua-Eoan, while appearing to be about the sexual abuse crisis, is really a subtly written assault on the papacy itself, making the following case:

  1. For the past two centuries, the Vatican has centralized power and authority over the Church, including the declaration of papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council.
  2. This centralization is how it has managed to control its docile flock even as it has lost temporal power.
  3. At stake in the sexual abuse crisis is the prestige and power of the papacy and the Church’s own authority.
  4. There needs to be some sort of acceptance of personal guilt on the part of Pope Benedict for his actions, despite all he has done to address the crisis.
  5. Such an admission of guilt and apology would call into question, however, the “theological impregnability of the papacy” and hasten other changes in the Church that will diminish its size and authority.

The provocative headline of the article  – “Why Being Pope Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry” — makes more sense in this narrative because it yokes the claim of infallibility to the current crisis, making the papacy the center of the abuse story.

The fact that the Pope has apologized repeatedly thus becomes irrelevant for Time magazine — despite the obvious contradiction of the headline — because the apologies are just a public relations strategy to head off a greater challenge.

In laying out this political analysis of the last 200 years of Church history, the article also serves to bolster the case of those lawyers seeking damages from the Vatican for sexual abuse cases that occurred in the United States. Since the Vatican was so centralized and domineering, the question of its liability for the handling of individual local cases becomes more plausible.

Thus, after recounting the many positive steps the Pope has taken, Time still concludes that he is hedging: “He assigned wrongdoing not to the church but to its servants.” This, the magazine suggests, is to protect the Church from legal liability. “The consequences of sin are subject to divine salvation, but the consequences of crime lie within the purview of human judges and entail courts of law, prison, public humiliation and the loss of property.”

Time quotes an Irish theologian: “This very centralized church [tightly managed out of Rome] has only really been the case since the end of the 19th century.”Here it ties everything back to the First Vatican Council and its statement on papal infallibility. In keeping with the heavy editorializing of the entire story, it sums up Vatican I as a “stage-managed” council that used a “suspect majority of bishops” to approve infallibility, thus allowing the Roman Curia to become “ever more centralized and domineering.”

While the article dismisses “a purportedly impromptu crowd of 150,000 people” who showed up to cheer the Pope one Sunday (although no one claims it was impromptu), it lauds plans for a “Reformation Day” in October being organized by victims of clergy sexual abuse too “pressure the Vatican to act” and to “take back” the Church.

The story gets so many details wrong that defenders of Pope Benedict in some ways don’t know where to start. Infallibility has nothing to do with the story of sexual abuse. The centralization of authority is more stereotype than truth, as witnessed by the diversity of Catholic voices, the independent actions of many bishops, the rise of the national bishops’ conferences and on and on. If anything, what is frustrating to many Catholics and puzzling to non-Catholics who hold a simplistic view of papal authority is that the Pope cannot just rule by arbitrary decree. (It is ironic that this same misunderstanding permeates the controversy surrounding Pope Pius XII and the struggle with Nazism.)

The real story is this: Pope Benedict is aware of the scale and the scope of the crisis worldwide. He has taken decisive actions (such as the removal of the founder of the Legion of Christ). He has intervened strongly in Ireland, with a remarkably honest and plain-spoken letter to the Irish Catholics, a visitation of top prelates to study the root causes of the crisis and how it was handled, the acceptance of several resignations by bishops, and a high-level meeting with Irish prelates at the Vatican. He has quite clearly led the way in encouraging local bishops’ conferences to address their scandals head on, and he has laid out the language for understanding the crisis: Endorsing the search for truth, calling for penance, not blaming the media or enemies outside the Church, but pointing to the enemies within.

Mistakes have been made. Grievous mistakes. Mistakes were made by bishops, by priests, by psychiatrists and police and judges and yes, even by well-intentioned and grief-stricken relatives. The cost of these mistakes is very high, and the Church will have to pay these costs. But efforts to make Pope Benedict part of the problem rather than part of the solution would be an even bigger mistake, for it is he who is providing real leadership on this issue. It is Benedict who is refusing to circle the wagons and understands the spiritual as well as the canonical and civil issues at stake. It is Benedict who is championing the necessary reform and renewal that the scandals demand.”

In Memory

June 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  John Donne

I have to attend a viewing tonight.  A childhood friend of mine has passed away.  We were about the same age.  While Jaci was much closer to him than I was, I still have those blurred childish memories of Jason.  I don’t know what to do with them.  Every life, and therefore, inevitably, death, is a story.  Jason’s life is not my story.  It touches on mine for years in my childhood and now briefly again tonight, in a somber room thick with grief.  And yet I don’t think it will be the last brush.  I’ve kept Jason in my prayers for years and therefore I have the hope that, while I might not have been able to help him in life’s struggles, I have aided in my own feeble human way his soul’s journey to God.  I will meet him after death, in heaven in front of all the angels and the saints, and say hello again, old friend.  As St. Therese of Avila said, “Hope, oh my soul, hope.”

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