Tag: Catholic Church

SPIRITUALITY The ‘Secret Code Of Catholic’

SPIRITUALITY The ‘Secret Code Of Catholic’

What’s the name of that screwball comedy? The one with the two desperados? That one. Anyway, they’re in mortal danger. One guy makes a quick Sign of the Cross in a desperate plea for heavenly assistance. The other guy looks at him, thinks for a second, and then traces a huge Star of David on his chest.

The Sign of the Cross means something. And everyone knows it. It means belonging to something greater than yourself. Something extraordinary.

Many of our Catholic-isms go way back to the early days of our faith. Ever hear an Irish biddy say, with a trace of the word sod in her accent, “The Good Lord willing’?” She got it from St. James, who popularly wrote:

Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit’ — you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow.You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Rather you should say, ‘If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that (James 4:13-15).

Then there are my Syrian Christian neighbors, who punctuate all their conversations with “Thanks, God,” just as St. Paul told the Thessalonians in his first letter to them: “In all situation give thanks” (5:18).

How about us? Do we bear any traces of our membership in the body of Christ? Do we value our Catholic-isms — or do they embarrass us? Do we even understand them?

Catholic-isms are not just quaint and quirky. When you consider that Catholics believe that we are, body and soul, members of Christ’s body, they make sense. We don’t merely have faith in our inner thoughts. We have it in our arms and our legs, our ears and our lips, our hands and our knees. We do and say things to show our faith. We speak faith, and we act faith. Whether we realize it or not, people notice. My sister was not conscious of her Catholic-isms; they were just part of her. They’d been passed down much the way a person’s language and accent comes down from generation to generation.

We would not respect a person who was ashamed of his race or his people. So we shouldn’t bury our Catholic-isms as if they are an embarrassment. Do we say grace in restaurants, or are we more concerned with blending into sameness with those around us? If our Protestant friends unashamedly ask us to pray with them, do we confidently make the Sign of the Cross? Do we make a habit of thanking God in conversation so it’s as natural as saying hello?

As our culture grows more secular, it may not be easy to spot the Secret Code of Catholic. I spied it recently in a documentary called Living on One Dollar. It tells the story of four college guys who set out to experience and document third-world poverty in rural Guatemala. The young filmmakers never mention the religion of the people they had adopted as neighbors for a summer. There was only the telltale Spanish language to give away the fact that missionaries had once lived among them — missionaries who not only shared their poverty for a summer but for a lifetime in order to give these children of God the Catholic faith.

The film bore no trace of such a history — except one that slipped in by accident. A young village woman spoke of her hope to earn enough money through her weaving to go to nursing school. Then she added with a little smile, “God willing.” Those who speak the Secret Code of Catholic know that this means she is depending on assistance from above.

The lack of faith that surrounds us tends to make us self-conscious about performing our little Catholic-isms, but it is all the more reason to make the Secret Code of Catholic truly part of us. Nothing attracts attention — in a good way — like a sincerely held belief. If nothing else, it provokes curiosity. And it can show a longing in others to belong to something greater than themselves and lets them know who they can request about it.

All these little visible signs in the Secret Code of Catholic were created to be seen and heard so that Catholicism would be known and no longer be a secret. Let us open a window for others so that they can visit that other world, and possibly they might even come to live there.

Corpus Christi: An Opportunity To Carry The Living Christ Out Into The World

Corpus Christi: An Opportunity To Carry The Living Christ Out Into The World

In as much as it is popular parlance to explain certain events or places as heaven on earth, I find this to be a hard sell. After all, the world can be a cruel and unforgiving place, full of many who detest the very idea of heaven, life eternal, and true forgiveness.

This however, is a cynicism which cannot be allowed to persist, for there is indeed one thing upon this earth which is always and forever perfect, made manifest everyday all across the world: the Lord’s body and blood are consecrated every day in every country in the world. It is in celebration of this perfection that, on the day of Corpus Christi, we parade this unblemished article through the streets. This was, however, not always the case.

Corpus Christi itself is a feast day with its roots in the medieval period and has its particular origins in one woman’s desire to have more time in the year to show on the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Juliana of Liege was, like many women in mid-12th century Liege (present-day Belgium), a fervent devotee to the blessed body and blood of Christ.

Moreover, this aspect of the Christ only received specific attention during the Lenten season, and Juliana felt that such an important part of the Catholic faith as the Eucharist deserved another feast day. Throughout her early life, she received dreams she took to be prophetic, of a full moon blemished by darkness. Though she spoke with few people about these visions, she interpreted the moon to be the Church, and the dark blemish a visualization of the shame of giving so little devotion to the blessed body and blood of Jesus.

Definitely, St. Juliana would become the canoness of her abbey, and confessed her visions to a priest. The priest relayed this details to local intellectuals, who agreed with her sentiment and start to lobby among the local clergy for such a feast day to be instituted, as in those days feast days could be set by the bishops, not needing direction from Rome.

It did not take long for the tradition to catch on, spreading particularly following her death, and formal papal recognition of the new feast came in 1264 with the bull Transiturus de mundo. Since that time, the feast has only grown to hold a prominent place in the Catholic liturgical year, a time outside of Lent to reflect upon the most crucial element of every Mass: the body and blood of Christ himself.

Corpus Christi is traditionally celebrated the Thursday after the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (the Sunday after Pentecost). In the United States, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) is observed on the following Sunday after Trinity Sunday.

Corpus Christi is then a privilege for us to carry the Living Christ out into the world for all to see. This being such a momentous event reflective not only of our faith but the Catholic family as a whole, it has become customary to dress well for Eucharist procession; Sunday best no matter the day.

Heads are to remain bare, and people walk in pairs so that both order and respect might be maintained. If you are taking part in a procession this year, be mindful not to appear ostentatious or immodest, as the true star of the show will be up front. The monstrance containing the Eucharist takes precedence above all, though the ornateness and pomp of your particular Eucharistic container may vary from the elaborate, star-like designs of old to the more modern, simplistic creations of our time.

Carrying Christ through the streets in celebration of his life, resurrection, and infinite grace, we publicly testify to our faith in life everlasting and victory over death.

In a secular age which would rather see such ideas cast aside, our public witness is all the more important. To those who live in a utopian, whishing fantasy of mankind’s perpetual growth, who delude themselves into thinking that perfection upon this Earth is possible, it is crucial to show them that one thing which is truly perfect.

When we walk with Christ among the wider world, we believe in two things above all else: that we as a human race and the world we inhabit are flawed, and that there is one perfect being which can save us from death, one of the imperfections our first parents brought upon our race.

This feast of Corpus Christi, let us walk confidently in the knowledge that we, Christ True Church, are blessed with a gift beyond value, and have truly found heaven on earth.

The Faithful Are NOT To Use the Orans Posture During the Our Father

The Faithful Are NOT To Use the Orans Posture During the Our Father

A discussion that is common in Catholic parishes between the more orthodox members of the parish and the more “progressive” members is whether or not the faithful should use the Orans Posture during the Our Father. When such a question comes up, the obvious solution is to go to the rubrics. Unfortunately, in this case, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) is relatively silent on the topic. Because of the GIRM’s silence, many people have taken this to mean that the faithful may do whatever they want. However, this is not the case. In the document, Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests, put out by the Vatican on August 15, 1997, we read,

“In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to “quasi preside” at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity” (ICP Practical Provisions 6 §2).

What the above statement means is that we may not say the Eucharistic prayers along with the priest — believe it or not, I see people mouthing the words along with the priest every week. More importantly to this topic, this also means the faithful may not use the same gestures that are reserved for the priest celebrant.

As mentioned above, the GIRM is silent with regard to the posture of the faithful during the Our Father, however, the Sacramentary (the book of prayers for Mass used by the priest) states that the celebrant is to pray the Our Father with hands extended. Looking back at ICP, the faithful are NOT to use gestures or actions proper to the priest celebrant. Using this argument, one would think that the rubrics could be used to appeal to the faithful. Unfortunately, many of the faithful view the rubrics as another set of rules and those of us who wish to enforce the rubrics are no better than the Pharisees.

In that regard, let us look instead to another reason why the Orans Posture (and subsequently, holding hands) is not an appropriate gesture for the faithful during the Our Father. The Our Father takes place during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This time of prayer and offering is directed to God (as is the entire Mass, but more specifically during the Liturgy of the Eucharist). As it is directed toward God, the extending and/or holding of hands creates a horizontal emphasis on the prayer, as opposed to the vertical emphasis that it demands. Many people who prefer hand holding or the Orans Posture argue that the Our Fatheris a community prayer, and as such holding and/or extending hands is a visible sign of that community. However, the Our Father is a community prayer, not because we hold or extend our hands, but because we pray it together as the Body of Christ.

On September 3, 1958 the Sacred Congregation for Rites issued a document titled De musica sacra et sacra liturgia(Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy). This document stated, “Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all” (DM Prayers and Hymns § 32).

It was at this time that the faithful were given permission to pray the Our Father with the priest. However, the faithful maintained the same posture as before – standing, with their hands folded in prayer. Prior to this Instruction, the priest prayed the Our Father on behalf of the faithful. The Orans Posture is representative of praying on behalf of others. The next time you are at Mass, watch the priest’s gestures closely. Anytime he offers prayers on behalf of the faithful, he uses the Orans Posture. Anytime he is offering other prayers, his hands are folded together. Having a better understanding of what particular gestures mean will lead to a better understanding of the Liturgy.

American journalist Hunter S. Thompson was dead on when he said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.” We are talking about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass here. The Eucharist, “the source and summit of the Christian Life” (LG 11) is consecrated here. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords makes Himself present during the Mass. It is of the utmost importance that we treat the Mass with the respect it deserves. This is not the time nor the place to get creative and inject one’s own style and preferences.

Source: Catholic365

Here Are 10 Facts About the Catholic Church That Will Fascinate You

Here Are 10 Facts About the Catholic Church That Will Fascinate You

1.     The highest crime rate in the world is found in Vatican City. With a population of about 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is more 100 per cent, per capita. Although the fact is startling it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million new comers annualy. Majority of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other inconsiderable offences done by outsiders.

2.    The Catholic Church is made up of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and in as much as  they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church.

3. The ONLY Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history was the Roman Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their lineage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison.

4.    Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book ever printed was the Catholic Bible.

5.    The Catholic Church is solely suitable for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have taken away some books of the Bible because some of the verses were not in agreement with their theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender with respect to this, removing Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. He also made an effort to take away James and Revelations, but this was not accepted by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of “inputting” the books, but despite this familiar belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them.

6.  How many saints are realized by the Catholic Church? There does not seem to be an official number, but it exceeds 10,000. Of course, any person who enters heaven is a saint, by definition, so it is certain the number of actual saints in existence is much greater than the number acknowledged by the Church.

7.    Any Catholic may execute an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. In such a case, the originality of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized, that they desire the baptism. There are definite guidelines for such routines that Catholics should adhere to. Anyone wishing to be ready for such a case should refer to the catechism for a deeper comprehension of this allowance. Usually, such practices ought to be left to trained clergy.

8.    About 15 percent of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only healthcare, education and social services available to people.

9.   The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must show good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are selected are given a private audience with the pope along with their families. In outermost circumstances, they are considered to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506.

10.  The Catholic Church consumes more money than Apple supplys. Disbursement by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in turnover.

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