The Value of the Mass

The Value of the Mass
Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Amazing Post

I wanted to share this link with all of you. If you haven't checked out the blog Unam Sanctam Catholicam, you need to. Especially this post. The blogger over there is currently reading "Pope John's Council" by Michael Davis. He does an excellent job of commenting on the first two chapters. Check it out!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Years Almost Here

Well, 2008 is almost here. We get to look forward to a year of political lies through presidential campaigning. But before we have to deal with all of that, we get to enjoy some parties remembering the good times of 2007. I know that I will.

A big part of these parties is almost always alcohol. To some, drink is a demon. To others, drink is a blessing to enjoy good times. What makes the difference? Well, in one word, abuse. It's important to remember this year that alcohol is only a blessing to a point. Formerly managing a liquor store, I've seen many times when drinking has crossed the line from being a blessing to a curse, from being a friend to lift spirits (no pun intended) to being an agent of death. I'm blogging this simple message to ask all of you out there to drink responsibly and to listen to your friends. If they say you may have a problem, you may want to listen to them, because there are other blessings you can enjoy to ring in the new year besides alcohol.

May God bless you all this year. Cheers!
(BTW, my drink of choice and recommendation: A Martini made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, a drop of extra dry vermouth garnished with a lemon or orange twist)

I Was There

I just found a clip on youtube for the Rorate Mass broadcast on EWTN. I was lucky enough to go to that Mass. I'm not sure if I'm in the clip, but if you haven't seen it yet, enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Changing the Face of the Liturgy in Rome

I'm not sure how many of you are taking notice, but the face of the high altar at St. Peter's in Rome is quickly changing. These changes include the movement of the altar cross from the edge of the altar to the center as well as the addition of the 7th candle.

"So what?" you might be asking. Well, these changes, although seemingly small at St. Peter's, indicate a whole new mindset at the Vatican concerning liturgy. As a matter of fact, from a liturgists point of view, the Pope has stopped saying Masses versus populum and is now saying Mass ad orientem.

"But Zach, the pope hasn't switched directions when saying Mass!" Well, as far a his physical orientation, no he hasn't. This is because the nave of St. Peter's faces west (when walking toward the altar.) This set up is the same in all of the Roman basilicas. However, the changes the pope has made are the same changes that your parish priest would make if he would start using the high altars. Let me explain. The difference is in emphasis. The versus populum orientation was adopted in the Mass so that people have "access" to the Mass and can see what is going on at the altar. The focus of Mass being said ad orientem is the priest facing God to address him in prayer and to face the rising Son of God. The emphasis has once again been taken up at the Vatican. This is shown by the placement of the candles and altar cross in the traditional layout. The pope is no longer concerned (or at least seems to be) with being able to face the people during Mass or the people seeing the action at the altar. He now seems to be concerned with doing his duty at the altar. Namely, offering sacrifice.

If you still don't understand the significance of these actions by the pope, I would suggest reading the popes book "The Spirit of the Liturgy" as well as the great liturgical treasure "Reform of the Roman Liturgy" by Msgr. Claus Gambier.

God Bless.

Back from a Merry Christmas

Well, the rush of Christmas is over and everything is slowing down again. I got to spend this Christmas with my mom and was able to attend a beautiful Mass a midnight at my former home parish of St. Vincent de Paul in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

If you ever go through Mt. Vernon, St. Vincent's is quite a church to visit. The current church was built in 1923 and is in English Gothic design. Unfortunately, the high altars suffered the same fate as many others after Vatican II, as well as the votive stands. However, all of our beautiful murals, statues, and windows survived. The windows in the church depict the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of the rosary as well as the death of St. Joseph. The St. Joseph window, in my opinion, is the most beautiful. There are also 8 statues in the church (the Sacred Heart, two of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Martin of Tours, St. Theresa, and St. Anthony) as well as 3 statues on the outside lawn of the church (The Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Victory and the Blessed Mother.) The murals are amazing as well, although I can't describe them with words, you'll just have to go see the church!

The Mass at midnight was very good as well. There is a great calming effect at St. Vincent's. The church offers a great silence and place for prayer. Also, to me, there is something special about Mass at midnight on Christmas. I can't think of any good reason to go to another Christmas Mass other than the one at midnight. (I'm not saying other people don't have good reasons to go to others though).

All of these things made for a great Christmas for me. Even without the presents, lights, and candy, just the midnight Mass is the highlight of Christmas for me and makes all of the panic worth it.

May God bless you this Christmas season.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

My dear friends,

I haven't done a lot of blogging lately. With my new job and the joy of Christmas upon us I have been very busy. I have been thinking about this season that is readily upon us. What a great meditation this is. Remember that soon we will remember the day that our creator entered the created world for love of us. A child, so small and meek was almighty God. What a great mystery that the weight of all of creation rested on the shoulders of a babe. As we remember such a joyous day I urge you to give thanks for all God has given you. If He has given you great blessings such as family and friends be sure to spend time with them. If He has given you crosses, remember that those too are blessings, for even the blessed babe of Bethlehem was born to carry a cross.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas season I promise to post more after Christmas. In the meantime I leave you with these tidings of comfort and joy for the season.


Merry and Blessed Christmas

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tradition: Theology not Novelty

In the last few weeks I have noticed a trend among certain traditionalist circles to love tradition for the "novelty" of it. That is, to dedicate themselves to tradition for the sake of dedicating themselves to something old. This is the wrong attitude to have when committing yourself to the traditional form of the Mass.

Our dedication to the tradition of the Church, especially the Mass, must be a theological one and not a nostalgic or for the sake of something old. These are merely novelties. It is no better, in my opinion, to go to the traditional Mass for this reason than for a priest or parish council to introduce folk, rap, or rock music into the Novus Ordo. The way I look at it there is no difference.

We have to remember that the traditional Mass is the foundation witness to our belief as Catholics. The elements of sacrifice and external reverence serve to remind us and to witness to the world our belief in the redemptive nature of the sacrifice of Calvary, the divinity of Christ and his real and substantial presence in the Eucharist. This is not merely a novelty and should not be treated as such.

Yes, it's easy to romanticize about medieval monks in a great monastery or a knight prostrating himself before a grand high altar and pretend that we still live in that age. This, however, is nothing but fantasy and to treat the Mass as such is a great farce. It is an easy trap that I'm finding more and more people falling into. I'm not saying that it's necessarily an evil to call to mind the pious images of the monk, or knight. It is a reality that at the traditional Mass we do worship with them in mind, body, and spirit. It is the same Mass. However, these images should bring to mind the reasons why these thought are pious. It is because these people believed in Christ, His Church, and the power of His sacrifice on the altar.

In short, it's important to remember why the tradition of the Church, especially in the Mass, is important. It's not because we love novelty, it's because we love our faith.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Back From Thanksgiving (for a while)

Well, it's been a while since I've gotten back from Thanksgiving. I figure I would post about it. I don't think it's any secret now that I've been visiting the seminary for the FSSP in Denton. Thanksgiving made my second trip. I have to say that that seminary is absolutely wonderful. What a place of prayer. Absolutely everything revolves around Christ. The seminarians lives are so filled with inner joy that it's indescribable. Unlike the Josephinum, where seminarians seem to have nothing but contempt for everything they do, the seminarians in Denton know exactly why they're there. Prayer proceeds everything and life is structured to where the seminarians lives revolve around the seminary life and the seminary life revolves around Christ and his church. It was also nice to see priests teaching the classes. The interaction between the priests and the students was a lot different than what I was used to. The seminarians really trust the priests they have contact with. There is great honor given to the sacred priesthood there and thus great honor and trust is given to every individual priest.

I've spent a total of 3 weeks (my first trip and my most recent) with the Fraternity and I absolutely love it. I only hope my application process goes well. I'll leave that one up to God though. Boy, discernment can be difficult.

As for the trip itself, it went wonderful. For anybody who's wondering, the trip from Columbus to Denton is 17 hours one way. On our way back, we stayed in Chicago with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (see link to side). They were very hospitable and even the short time we stayed with them was very tranquil. The brothers and priest there showed nothing but kindness and hospitality to us.

We also got a chance to go to downtown Chicago. For those of you who have never been to Chicago, it's wonderful and worth the trip. The pizza alone is worth the trip. I would suggest the place near the base of the Sears tower with the famous stuffed pizza. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of that place, but it's gooooooooood! I would also recommend going to the top of the Sears tower. What a view! It's was absolutely awesome! It's also $22 so be prepared.

When leaving we visited St. John Cantius church. It's right outside of downtown and is absolutely breathtaking! Unfortunately we only saw the church (like that's unfortunate!) and didn't get a chance to talk to the brothers or stay there for a Mass.

Lastly, on this trip I'm only left with this last advice... don't go to Toledo. Worst part of the trip!