Saturday, February 26, 2011

At the sight of the wolves, they do not run

St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions,
pray for the missionaries in Libya!

Everyone is evacuating from violence-torn Libya, but the missionaries stay. "Bishop Sylvester Magro, Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, said that the principal concern of the Catholic Church 'is to be close to the sick and suffering, so our contribution to the events is invaluable because of our closeness to the people.'” These words remind me of Jesus who, as the Good Shepherd, does not flee at the sight of the wolves. God bless the missionaries!

For the full article, follow the link: Amid violent protests, Catholic missionaries continue their work in Libya :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Prayer to the Divino Rostro

The Feast of the Holy Face of our Lord will be on Shrove Tuesday (March 8, 2011). I would like to share this prayer to the Divino Rostro which is very much venerated alongside the Virgin of Penafrancia in the Bicol region.

Prayer to the Divino Rostro

O Jesus, in your bitter Passion, You became a man of sorrows, in Your disfigured Face, I see Your infinite Love.

I am consumed with the desire to love You and make You loved by all. I venerate Your Sacred Face because because it is the human expression of the Face of the Father.

The tears on Your eyes are the pearls which I desire to offer to God in expiation for my sins and the spiritual salvation of sinners.

O Jesus, Your adorable Face ravishes my heart. Gaze into my eyes and touch my heart. And set me on fire with Your love, so that my only desire will be to contemplate Your glorious Face in heaven.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The End of Orientation

Those who argue in defense of Mass versus populum say that the priest facing the people better express the centrality of Christ and his Sacrifice in the life of the Christian people. However, ad orientem shows that the ultimate direction of our worship is the Father Almighty.

The Latin theological tradition views the liturgical re-presentation of Christ’s
sacrifice (however conceived) as an offering of the whole Christ, Head and
members, to the Father through (and with) the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the
Roman Canon as well as in the other Eucharistic Prayers of the modern Roman
Rite, the First Person of the Trinity, God the Father, appears as both the
starting point (principium a quo) and the end (terminus ad quem) of the
Eucharistic action, while Christ, the incarnate Son, appears there as High
Priest, through whose mediation the Father has been gracious to us and we render
praise and glory to Him. In contrast, but not in disagreement, with the Western
structure of liturgical prayer, the traditional Eastern liturgical prayer ends
with the words: “For unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship, to the
Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of
ages. Amen.” From this I reason that the celebration of Mass facing ad orientem
symbolizes a movement not only toward the “east” of Christ, but also toward the
Father through, with, and in Christ (“Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso...”).

For the whole article, follow the link The End of Orientation

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On the Subservience of Reform to the Development of the Liturgy

In November 1955, Worship published an article by Bugnini entitled "Why a Liturgy Reform?" It may be said to articulate some of the rationale behind the decree Cum Nostra. However, Bugnini also enunciated principles he regards as applicable for a general reform. He asserts:

"Liturgical reform is something that is needed if the Liturgy
is to preserve its vitality and splendour...

"The act of the Church [the liturgical rites]...bounded by
time, by space, by the ministers who perform it, is necessarily linked in its
exercise to the changeableness of human matters.

"On this account the Liturgy in its structure has required a
corpus of formulas, gestures, rites, and ceremonies which make of it a living
organism, exposed like all organisms to outside influences, to luxuriant
vitality and, sometimes, to decay."

Bugnini's opening sentence betrays his agenda. He is writing in the "age of reform." As Crichton related, pressure was being applied to achieve reform at this time. And, according to Bugnini, reform is a necessity. Yet, while one must accept that liturgical reform is indeed part of the life of the Church, surely reform must be subservient to the development of the liturgy, in which there is a dialogue between Tradition and adaptation, wherein it is Tradition that must be persuaded. This distinction is important.
Bugnini rightly notes the changeableness of the human elements of the Liturgy, but his account is defective. He does not give any indication that liturgical elements of human origin, the Roman Canon for example, are integral parts of liturgical Tradition that have never been regarded as chageable. His account of the nature of objective liturgical Tradition is therefore limited. We also note that in his account of the organic nature of the Liturgy (he does not speak of liturgical reform as organic), Bugnini proffers the possibility, popular in his circles, that the Liturgy may be decayed.
A. Reid OSB, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, 2005, 214-215.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On the New Italian churches

Sandro Magister has this article on Modern Church Architecture in Italy

ROME, February 14, 2011 – The three images juxtaposed above depict a detail of the wooden door of the Roman basilica of Saint Sabina, from the 5th century; the interior of the church of Saint Stephen in the Round in Rome, also from the 5th century; and the design of a church inaugurated in Milan in 1981, the parish of God the Father.

The question must be asked: are modern buildings like the third one depicted above in continuity or in rupture with the architectural, liturgical, and theological tradition of the Church?

Various modern churches are constructed in the form of a circle. Just as it is the circle that characterizes the two ancient examples of sacred art reproduced above. But is this enough to guarantee continuity with tradition?

Or are aesthetic criteria sufficient to judge the quality of a new church?

At this start of the new year, a controversy over this has exploded in Rome and Italy. And not only among the specialists. The newspaper of the Holy See, "L'Osservatore Romano," has entered the fray, and on several occasions has severely criticized some of the most famous examples of new sacred architecture sponsored by the Italian episcopate.


It was started by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the pontifical council for culture, with a "lectio magistralis" at the architecture faculty of the University of Rome "La Sapienza," reproduced in its entirety in the January 17-18 issue of the Vatican newspaper.

Ravasi came out swinging against those modern churches "in which we find ourselves lost as in a conference hall, distracted as in a sports arena, packed in as at a tennis court, degraded as in a pretentious and vulgar house."

No names. But on January 20, again in "L'Osservatore Romano," the architect Paolo Portoghesi took direct aim at the three churches that had won the national contest announced by the Italian episcopal conference in 2000, built in Foligno by Massimiliano Fuksas, in Catanzaro by Alessandro Pizzolato, and in Modena by Mauro Galantino.

Portoghesi is himself a world-famous "superstar": the Grand Mosque of Rome is one of his designs. For some time he has criticized some of the new churches built by trendy architects and praised by the hierarchy. The most famous and talked about of these include the church built by Renzo Piano in San Giovanni Rotondo, over the tomb of Padre Pio, and the one built by Richard Meier in the Roman neighborhood of Tor Tre Teste.

This time, in "L'Osservatore Romano," Portoghesi mainly goes after the church of Jesus the Redeemer in Modena, designed by Galantino. He acknowledges its aesthetic virtues, its harmony of form, its conceptual cleanness. He also acknowledges the architect's intention to "give more dynamism to the liturgical event."

But then he asks: "Where are the sacred signs that make a church recognizable?" On the outside – he observes – there are none, except for the bells, "which, however, could also be found in a city hall." While on the inside, "the iconological role is assigned to a 'garden of olives' set up in a little enclosure behind the altar, and to the 'waters of the Jordan' reduced to a little trough of standing water hemmed in between two walls and ending at the baptistry."

But the worst, in Portoghesi's view, appears during the celebration of the Mass:

"The community of the faithful is divided into two sections facing each other, and in the middle a big empty space with the altar and the ambo at opposite ends. The two sections facing each other and the wandering of the celebrants between the two ends threaten not only the traditional unity of the praying community, but also what was the great achievement of Vatican Council II, the image of the assembly as the people of God on its journey. Why look at each other? Why not look together toward the fundamental places of the liturgy and the image of Christ? Why are the places of the liturgy, the altar and the ambo, on opposite ends instead of being together? Trapped in the pews, divided into sectors like the cohorts of an army, the faithful are forced, while remaining immobile, to turn their heads to the right, then to the left. The figure of the Crucifix is placed on the side of the altar, in correspondence with the section on the left, with the inevitable result that many of the faithful cannot see it without craning their necks."

Portoghesi quotes Benedict XVI, and then continues:

"It is to be hoped that these timely statements from the chair of Saint Peter will make liturgists and architects understand that re-evangelization also passes through the churches with a small 'c', and indeed requires the creative effort of innovation, but also an attentive consideration of tradition, which has always been not mere conservation, but the handing down of a heritage to be brought to fruition."

And he concludes:

"The new church of Modena is a glaring demonstration of the fact that the aesthetic quality of the architecture is not enough to make a space a true church, a place in which the faithful may be helped to feel like living stones of a temple of which Christ is the cornerstone."


These criticisms were answered, in "Corriere della Sera" on February 8, by the architect Galantino and Bishop Ernesto Mandara, responsible for new churches in the diocese of Rome.

Galantino defended his architectural decisions, maintaining that he wanted to arrange the faithful "as around a table, conceptually reconstructing the last supper." And he recalled that he had developed his reflections in the 1980's in Milan, with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini.

(An aside. The Milanese church in the illustration at the top of this page is one of the products of that climate. Planned by the architects Giancarlo Ragazzi and Giuseppe Marvelli, it was expressly conceived as "a place of encounter and prayer for the believers of all religions," devoid of specific signs both on the outside and on the inside. Movable walls can divide the interior into three compartments: the middle one for Catholic rites, and the two sides intended for Jews and Muslims. The current pastor is laboriously restoring the church to entirely Catholic use, with two crosses on the outside, with stained glass and Christian images on the inside, and with a large Christ on the cross above the altar.)

Bishop Mandara also defended his actions and those of the Italian episcopal conference:

"Probably if we look at the past we find examples of unsuccessful buildings that lend support to Cardinal Ravasi, but I am deeply satisfied with the results of recent years. The churches that have been built express very well both the sense of the sacred and that of hospitality."

On February 9, "L'Osservatore Romano" reported both of the statements of Galantino and Mandara. But it also gave another opportunity to Portoghesi, who said:

"After the Council, there were many attempts to leap forward, in various directions. The church has lost its specificity, it has become a building like the others. But recognizability is a fundamental reality, a stage of that re-Christianization of the West of which the pope speaks. As for the orientation of liturgical prayer, the people of God on its journey toward salvation cannot be static, it moves in a direction; the ideal would be to orient the church to the east, where the sun rises. We must not be afraid of that modernity which the Church itself has contributed to creating, every generation has the duty of reinterpreting the content of the past, but considering tradition as an element of strength to draw upon."

Not only that. On February 9 and the following day, "L'Osservatore Romano" returned to the issue with two erudite contributions from two experts, both intended to demonstrate the distinctive characteristics of the traditional architecture of Christian churches.


The first of the two statements is by Maria Antonietta Crippa, a professor of architecture at the Policlinico di Milano.

It shows how the preeminence given by Christian architecture to churches in the form of a Latin cross is inspired both by the classical period (Vitruvius, with the analogy between the proportions of the body and of the temple) and above all by the vision of the Church as the body of Christ, and of Christ crucified.

But together with the square, the circle also has a place in this architectural tradition. According to the medieval authors, the Christian churches "have the form of a cross to show that the Christian people are crucified to the world; or of a circle to symbolize eternity."

Or even of a cross and a circle at the same time. As happened in the 16th century with the prolongation of the nave of the new basilica of Saint Peter, originally with central symmetry in Michelangelo's design.


The second and even more important contribution, in "L'Osservatore Romano" on February 10, is from Timothy Verdon, an American art historian and priest, a professor at Princeton and director of the office for sacred art of the archdiocese of Florence.

His article is reproduced in its entirety below. And it shows how the first great churches in Rome were built, in the 4th century, precisely by adapting for Christian use two models of classical architecture: the longitudinal one of the basilica and the circular one, with central symmetry.

In Jerusalem, the church of the Holy Sepulcher built by the emperor Constantine combines both models. But also in Rome, the first great church with central symmetry, that of Saint Stephen in the Round from the 5th century – the interior of which can be seen in the illustration at the top of this page – rises from a huge rectangular courtyard.

In any case, the churches with central symmetry are not devoid of decoration, much less do they make the assembly of the faithful fold back on itself. The faithful enter them as on a path of initiation, up to the column of light that is at the center of the building and is Christ "lux mundi."

That Christ who in the contemporaneous door of Saint Sabina – see the illustration – appears at the center of the celestial circle and receives the "oriented" prayer of the woman below him, the Church crowned as his bride.

This is the great architectural, liturgical, and theological tradition of the Christian churches. Of yesterday, today, and forever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Akathist to Our Lady of Lourdes

Fr. Mark Kirby has this Akathist hymn in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Akathist to Our Lady of Lourdes

Kontakion 1

To you, our Champion Leader and Mother of Christ our God, do we, your children, sing a hymn of praise and thanksgiving for your appearance and miracles that you continue to send down on us as showers of Divine Grace at Lourdes. As through the waters of Baptism we were made new in Christ, so through the waters that gushed forth from the grotto of your appearance we are enlivened by the Grace of God, as we sing:

Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Life-giving

Ikos 1

At Lourdes, you appeared as a new Forerunner, O Most Holy Mother of God, telling us to make straight the way of the Lord Jesus and washing us in the miraculous laver of the waters that you caused to pour out upon us. You anoint us with it, have us drink it, and transform us thereby, making us fertile in faith, good works and communion with God in Christ, as we sing:

Rejoice, new Noah, through whom the Holy Spirit moves over the waters of regeneration!
Rejoice, New Elias, causing the clouds to drop saving Waters on the parched earth of our hearts!
Rejoice, New Moses, sending refreshing drink from the dry rock!
Rejoice, New Baptist and Forerunner, for you call all to repentance in the water of heavenly unction!
Rejoice, for you invite us to a feast where the thirst of all is quenched!
Rejoice, for as our loving Mother, you wash away the dirt of our sins!
Rejoice, for you anoint us with the Gift of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, for you gladden our hearts by turning our sorrows into gladness!
Rejoice, for as at Cana in Galilee, the Lord Jesus grants your entreaties on our behalf!
Rejoice, for you came to remind us to do all He tells us!
Rejoice, for you teach us to pray for the living springs that God will cause to rise up within us!
Rejoice, for your love for us is like the trickling of droplets from the mountains that fall into the River of Life, leading to the Divine Ocean!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 2

O Most Holy Mother of God, you appeared to your servant, Bernadette, in a grotto and asked her to return there fifteen times. Like St Andrew of old, only she could see your miraculous and light- filled manifestation, singing the praises of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everyone who saw the Divine transformation in the face of your servant, however, could plainly see who it was that she beheld, and they all cried:

Ikos 2

You are a Mountain Uncut, O Virgin Mother, from Whom came the Cornerstone! You are the densely wooded Mount Thaeman from whom the Prophet announced the coming of the Messiah. Through your prayers and intercession, make soft the hardness of our hearts, so that we may sing:

Rejoice, Holy Mountain, pointing the way to Heaven!
Rejoice, O Rock Unquarried!
Rejoice, Hilltop in which God Himself is pleased to dwell!
Rejoice, High Place, leading all to your Son!
Rejoice, Marble Throne on which the Lord Jesus sits as King!
Rejoice, densely wooded fulfillment of prophecy, revealed in the gentle breeze!
Rejoice, for you come to soften the hardness of our hearts!
Rejoice, for you attune our spiritual hearing to the Voice of God!
Rejoice, for you write the Laws of God on the stone tablets of our spirits!
Rejoice, for you dash our sins on the rocks!
Rejoice, for you have power to move the mountain of our unbelief!
Rejoice, for, like Moses, you came down from the Lord's Mountain to crush idols!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 3

You appeared to your servant, Bernadette, in a robe of white, with a white veil, girdled with a blue sash, O Holy Mother of God. Roses shined at your feet and you held a prayer cord with gold chain on your arm on which we say your Psalter, your Rule of Prayer, revealed to a monk of the Thebaid long ago. As we meditate on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of your Son, in union with you, we sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

The Angel Gabriel of old appeared to you to announce that you would become the Mother of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus. As the Mother of God, you are the Mother of His Body that is the Church and so nurture us all on the Milk of His Grace. Singing the Angelic hymn of your praise, we glorify Christ singing:

Rejoice, who said, 'May it be so according to your word!'
Rejoice, whose soul magnifies the Lord!
Rejoice, who gave birth to Christ at Bethlehem!
Rejoice, whose soul was pierced with a sword of sorrow!
Rejoice, for your Son teaches in the Temple!
Rejoice, for He is the Son of the Father, in Whom He is well-pleased!
Rejoice, for your Son agonizes over our salvation in the Garden!
Rejoice, for He accepts the Cup of suffering through scourging, mocking and carrying His Cross!
Rejoice, for from the Wounded Side of your Crucified Son flows Blood and Water!
Rejoice, for your Son has risen from the dead and ascended to the Right Hand of the Father!
Rejoice, for He sends into the world the Comforter, the Spirit of Peace!
Rejoice for He has taken you into His Kingdom and has crowned you as our Holy
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 4

After repeated entreaties from your servant Bernadette, you revealed your name to her saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception." Not understanding what this meant, your servant joyfully repeated this so as to remember to tell the priest, who at first refused to believe in your appearance to her. Upon hearing the poor and simple girl repeat this name, the priest humbly cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

O Most Immaculate Mother of God, the Holy Spirit sanctified you at the moment of your Conception in the womb of your mother, Saint Anne. Not even a shadow of an imperfection dared approach her who was to serve in the dread mystery of the Incarnation of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as deigned by God, the Father of Lights. Praising your holy parents, Joachim and Anne, we sing:

Rejoice, Ever-Immaculate Virgin Mary!
Rejoice, Most Immaculate Mother of God the Word!
Rejoice, Ever Pure Vessel into which the Bread of Heaven deigned to make His abode!
Rejoice, for a great Sign appeared in Heaven!
Rejoice, for you are the Woman clothed with the Sun!
Rejoice, for the Lord crowns you with stars!
Rejoice, for the moon is at your feet!
Rejoice, for you have crushed the head of the serpent of old!
Rejoice, for the Rod of Jesse has conquered him!
Rejoice, Holy Temple of the Spirit!
Rejoice, for you are highly favoured by God!
Rejoice, for you held in your arms Him Who holds the universe!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 5

O Holy Virgin Mother, you bade your servant, Bernadette, to "Go, drink and wash in the fountain." As she searched for the spot, she soon found a spring flowing from the same rock in which you appeared. Although the people thought her a fool, they soon came to acknowledge your servant to be a fool for Christ's Sake, and yours, singing: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

You also invite us to come, drink and wash in the fountain of your miraculous water, O Mother of God. Ailments are cured, sight is restored, cancers are healed and souls rancid with the stench of great sinfulness are washed clean in your source of heavenly refreshment. And what can we ever do or say to thank you for all your love for us? Accept our cries of wonder and gratitude, as we sing:

Rejoice, Holy Physician, applying needful remedies for all our ailments!
Rejoice, for you cure the blind!
Rejoice, for those in sin have seen a great Light!
Rejoice, for the despairing obtain new hope!
Rejoice, for those stricken with cancers are made whole!
Rejoice, for sinful stains are washed away!
Rejoice, for with you nothing is impossible!
Rejoice, for we hurry at your command to "Come, drink and wash!"
Rejoice, for we come to you to fill the empty vessels of our souls!
Rejoice, for your Son forgives us our sins!
Rejoice, for you forbid us to worry, but command us to pray!
Rejoice, for demons are seized with dread at the flowing Rivers of Grace!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 6

You asked your servant, Bernadette, O Most Holy Theotokos, to have a chapel built where you appeared to her. Weeping tears of compunction, she held a lit candle in her hand as a sign of her enduring faith and trust in your intercession as she prayed and joyfully praised you. Favouring the praise that comes from God, rather than that that comes from people, she set out courageously on her mission, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

"The Lady of the Grotto has ordered me to tell the priests that she wishes a chapel built at Massabieille!" cried your servant. "She is a very beautiful Lady who appeared to me on the rock." Not yet knowing your name, Bernadette could not tell the priest who asked her. Praising thy great spiritual beauty, we join with her in acclaiming you, singing:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Rejoice, Mother of His Church!
Rejoice, Virgin before, during and after His Birth!
Rejoice, Mother of God the Word!
Rejoice, Most Immaculate Theotokos!
Rejoice, Queen of heaven and earth!
Rejoice, our Holy Protection!
Rejoice, our Defender!
Rejoice, Jar of the Heavenly Manna!
Rejoice, Ark of the New Covenant!
Rejoice, who prays ceaselessly for the salvation of our souls!
Rejoice, the Joy of all our Joys!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 7

Your servant, Bernadette endured many calumnies from those who refused to
acknowledge the presence of the Mother of Christ among them. She rejoiced at having been found worthy to suffer for the Name of Christ and your name, O Most Holy Mother of God! Pray for us that we may also be found worthy to bear reproach for the sake of our Lord Jesus, as we sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

As Christ sent His Apostles into the world, so too did you send your servant, Bernadette,and those that would follow her to witness to repentance and prayer, O Holy Mother of God. Intercede for us that we may have the grace to bear God in our bodies and perform the works of light and children of the light so that people may see and glorify God in Heaven, as we sing:

Rejoice, for these things have not been revealed to the wise of this world, but to children!
Rejoice, for Christ bids the little children to come to Him!
Rejoice, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven!
Rejoice, for blessed are those when men say all manner of evil about them for the sake of Christ and yours!
Rejoice, for great is their reward in Heaven!
Rejoice, for so were the Prophets and Apostles treated!
Rejoice, for no student is greater than his Master!
Rejoice, for there is much suffering in the world!
Rejoice, for Christ has overcome the world!
Rejoice, you promise to make us happy not in this world, but in the next!
Rejoice, for we run to our reward with the feet of athletes!
Rejoice, for who may separate us from the love of God in Christ?
Rejoice, O Radiant Foundation All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 8

More and more people came to the Grotto to see your servant, Bernadette. Although you were invisible to their eyes, it was enough for all to see your Light shining on her innocent face, in the fullness of heavenly joy and happiness. Intercede for us, O Most Holy Mother of God, that we may also bear the imprint of your heavenly Light and Peace, bringing your blessing to everyone we meet and to every place we visit, singing:

Ikos 8

"Acquire the Spirit of Peace, and a thousand souls will be converted around you!" cry the Saints. And where better to acquire it, if not from the Spouse of the Holy Spirit? May your miraculous water from Lourdes be to us a true inner anointing so that the waters quietly running within us may moisten the spiritual dryness of the world, as we sing:

Rejoice, leading us to Lourdes as to another Mount Tabor to see your Son transfigured!
Rejoice, for it is good for us to be at the Grotto!
Rejoice, for we desire our souls to be tents in which your Son and you might dwell!
Rejoice, for you restore calmness to the turbulent waves of our lives!
Rejoice, for you bid the storms besetting us, "Peace, be still!"
Rejoice, for we ask you to save us as we sink in our disbelief!
Rejoice, for your Radiance outshines that of the sun!
Rejoice, for in your brightness all is made clear!
Rejoice, for you dispel our gloom with the beams of your joyful mercy!
Rejoice, for you lift our spirits on high!
Rejoice, for you anoint us with water as with the Oil of Gladness!
Rejoice, for you cool our passions and satisfy our spiritual thirst!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 9

A rosebush hung from the grotto of your apparitions at Lourdes, Mother of God, a fitting tribute heralding the presence of the Rose of Sharon! Its thorns remind us of the pain and suffering we have in this life, while its aromatic flower signify the joys of heaven that we obtain through your intercession and guidance, as we always sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

You are the New Staff of Aaron, O Lady of the Grotto, that budded forth the Author of Life, Christ our Saviour. You are the King's Daughter who is led into His Chambers and all your beauty is within. We praise your fruitfulness and cry:

Rejoice, Enclosed Garden of Mystical Delights!
Rejoice, O Flower of Sharon, perfuming all with heavenly myrrh!
Rejoice, O Lily of the Valley, anointing us with the grace of holiness!
Rejoice, O wondrous Rose, in which the Divine Word became Flesh!
Rejoice, O Marigold, filling our poverty with holy virtues!
Rejoice, Violet of Modesty, handmaid of the Lord!
Rejoice, Snowdrop of Holy Purity!
Rejoice, Holy Lavender, drying the effluvium of our sins!
Rejoice, Divine Thistle, nourishing us with the Milk of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, Sacred Hyacinth, knitting our lives to conform to your Son's commands!
Rejoice, Sweet Bee Balm, leading us to the land of Milk and Honey!
Rejoice, Morning Glory, our Mantle of Protection!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 10

You appeared one final time to your servant, Bernadette, on your feast of the Protection of Mount Carmel, O Mother of God, thereby showing yourself to be a constant source of protection to her and all of us throughout our lives. Cover us with your Mantle always and may we ever live beneath its protecting wings, singing: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

Your mantle of Holy Protection was prefigured in the Cloak of Elias the Prophet, O Lady of the Grotto. He it was who established a chapel in honour of the "Messiah to come" on Mount Carmel, the fruitful Mountain that prefigured your coming. His mantle was rent in two as he ascended on fiery chariots to heaven and came to rest on Eliseus, his disciple. May we always find comfort and help in your mantle of Protection, as we sing:

Rejoice, Garment without seam!
Rejoice, Robe of salvation!
Rejoice, Mantle of protection!
Rejoice, who, like Elias, brings us to heaven with the two-part cloak!
Rejoice, covering us with the wings of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, our defender in the day of battle!
Rejoice, for your Grotto has become another Mount Carmel!
Rejoice, for in it we find the Sword of the Spirit and the Helmet of Salvation!
Rejoice, for you turn away the darts of the evil one cast against us!
Rejoice, you are a fruitful Vine on which grew the Cluster of Grapes exuding the Mystic Wine!
Rejoice, for the Oil of Divine Grace is poured over us as over the beard and down to the edges of the garments of Aaron!
Rejoice, for we are invincible under the covert of the wings of your Protection!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 11

Your servant, Bernadette, witnessed to your visitation all the days of her life, O Mother of God. She suffered greatly in both body and soul. She drew her strength from her prayer to you and her close union with your Son, remembering always your promise that she would not be happy in this life, but in the next. We also ask for the grace to be happy with you in the Kingdom of your Son, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

"You will not allow your Holy One to see corruption!" sang the Psalmist. The body of your servant, Bernadette, is still incorrupt, bearing silent witness, even now, to the transfiguring power of the rays of Grace emanating from your hands, O Holy Mother of God, as we exclaim:

Rejoice, bestowing on us the Gifts of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, sanctifying us in His Grace!
Rejoice, Vessel through which the Comforter pours on us His deifying power!
Rejoice, for your Grotto at Lourdes has become another Mount Tabor!
Rejoice, for you are a Cloud in which we see Christ, the Word of God!
Rejoice, for your Radiance fills the earth!
Rejoice, Rainbow of the New Covenant, heralding an enduring Testament of
Rejoice, for we are transfigured in Christ Who took flesh from you!
Rejoice, for we participate in His Body in Holy Communion!
Rejoice, for, through you, we shall be as gods!
Rejoice, God has made us a little lower than the Angels!
Rejoice, for, in you, we have become partakers in the Divinity of Christ!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 12

O Most Holy Theotokos and Lady of the Grotto! Pilgrims from the far corners of the earth attend your Shrine and come to drink and wash at the New Siloam at which they find health in both body and soul. Anoint us also with your miraculous waters and may we become bedewed with the heavenly moisture that dries out the effluvium of our sinfulness and sorrows, as we sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

May the drinking and anointing of your holy and miraculous water at Lourdes, O Lady of the Grotto, make us fruitful in Christ, helping us imitate the Wise Virgins who presented themselves to the Bridegroom, when He came unexpectedly, with lamps filled with good Oil. May we prepare all our lives to greet Him when he comes, singing:

Rejoice, our Good Defense at the awful judgment Seat of Christ!
Rejoice, for you are a New Jacob's Ladder, leading us to Heaven!
Rejoice, for you are a Mountain which we climb to meet God!
Rejoice, for you rain down on the earth the waters of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, for you wash away our sins, though they be as scarlet!
Rejoice, for you make our souls as white as snow!
Rejoice, for you are a Good Mother to all your children!
Rejoice, for you help us stand upright in the life in Christ!
Rejoice, for you hold us by the hand as our constant Guide!
Rejoice, for you protect us from all dangers and temptations!
Rejoice, for you indicate to us the Divine Sun of salvation!
Rejoice, for you are the Star of the Sea!
Rejoice, O Radiant Fountain All Immaculate, bedewing our souls with Lifegiving

Kontakion 13

O Most Holy Theotokos, Lady of the Grotto! Accept from us this hymn of praise and thanksgiving to you for your constant Motherly care for us, your children. And as at Lourdes you brought great consola tions to us through your miraculous streams of holy water, so always intercede for us as we take refuge in you. Ever sprinkle and bedew us with these lifegiving droplets and we will always sing of your glory and invoke your aid, O Lady of the Grotto, crying: Alleluia (Kontakion 13 is read three times).

Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1 are repeated here.

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

May your Holy Water that flows from your miraculous Grotto at Lourdes, O Virgin
Mother, be for us who partake of it and who are anointed by it, a pledge of your constant intercession for and assistance to us! May it be a constant reminder to us of our calling as followers of Christ that we received in the waters of our Baptism. And may it serve to enlighten our spiritual eyes, bring health to body and soul, and strengthen us always. With you, may we always glorify your Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, together with His Father, Who is without beginning, and His Most Holy and Good and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages! Amen!

Follow the link: Akathist to Our Lady of Lourdes

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On the Propriety of the Malong in the Liturgy

I chanced upon a televised Misa ng Bayang Pilipino this morning. I noticed that in the effort to be inculturated, the servers and also the choir members wore malongs over secular clothes. These were worn like sashes of a beauty pageant. My questions are: 1) Is the malong a Filipino clothing? Some say that it is clothing used in Mindanao. If it were so, why use it in a Mass celebrated in Luzon? This "inculturation" is not really speaking of the culture of the assembly gathered for that Mass! (2) If it is so, is it really worn over shirt and long pants? As far as I know, the men wearing it should drape the cloth around their waists and the women should drape themselves with it so that they can be covered from breast down. (3) Is the malong appropriate for Christian worship?

My point is: if ever we want to use local clothing in the liturgy for the sake of inculturation, let us choose the appropriate ones and wear them correctly!

Forty Hours: Our Response to the Crises

Fr. Mark Kirby of Vultus Christi has made the appeal for the Forty Hours Devotion as a response to the crises that beset us the world over. His quote from Pope Paul III tells us why this devotion is truly urgent today:

"Since Our beloved son the Vicar General of the Archbishop of Milan at the prayer of the inhabitants of the said city, in order to appease the anger of God provoked by the offences of Christians, and in order to bring to nought the efforts and machinations of the Turks who are pressing forward to the destruction of Christendom, amongst other pious practices, has established a round of prayers and supplications to be offered both by day and night by all the faithful of Christ, before our Lord's Most Sacred Body, in all the churches of the said city, in such a manner that these prayers and supplications are made by the faithful themselves relieving each other in relays for forty hours continuously in each church in succession, according to the order determined by the Vicar . . . We, approving in our Lord so pious an institution, confirm the same by Our authority . . . ."

Follow the link: Forty Hours: An Appeal

Friday, February 4, 2011

Collapsing Churches in Egypt

With the present crisis in Egypt, we cannot help but be concerned about the Christians there should the Muslim Brotherhood succeed in holding the reins of government. I am concerned that many people in media do not find this possibility as an alarming situation. Should Egypt turn into an Islamic Caliphate, the persecution of Christians will intensify. May God forbid this! Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, by the mystery of your temporary dwelling in Egypt, come to the aid of your suffering people! St. Catherine of Alexandria, pray for the Christians in Eygpt!

On the total dedication of the Consecrated Life

With the dancing nuns still fresh in our memory, it is good to consider the Holy Father's homily las February 2, 2011, the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord:

"...the evangelical icon of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple manifests the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life dedicated totally to the search of the face of God, of his signs, of his will; a life dedicated to listening and to proclaiming his Word.

"'Faciem tuam, Domine, requiram': thy face, O Lord, do I seek" (Psalm 26:8). Hence, the consecrated person witnesses the joyful and laborious commitment, the assiduous and wise search of the divine will" (cf. Congress for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, Instruction The Service of Authority and Obedience. Faciem tuam Domine requiram [2008], No. 1).

Dear brothers and sisters, be assiduous listeners of the Word, because every wisdom of life is born of the Word of the Lord! Be scrutinizers of the Word, through Lectio Divina, because consecrated life "is born from listening to the Word of God and accepting the Gospel as its norm of life. To live following the chaste, poor and obedient Christ is in this way a living "exegesis" of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, in the strength of which the Bible was written, is the same who illumines the Word of God to men and women founders with new light. From it flows every charism and every rule is an expression of it, giving origin to itineraries of Christian life marked by evangelical radicalism" (postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini," No. 83).

Today we live above all in the most developed societies, a condition often marked by a radical pluralism, by the progressive marginalization of religion from the public sphere, by a relativism that touches fundamental values. This calls for our Christian witness to be luminous and consistent and for our educational effort to be ever more attentive and generous. In particular your apostolic action, dear brothers and sisters, must become a life commitment, which accedes with persevering passion, to wisdom as truth and beauty "splendor of the truth." Be able to orient your life with wisdom, and with trust in the inexhaustible possibilities of true education, and the intelligence and the heart of men and women of our time to the "good life of the Gospel."

Follow the link: ZENIT - Pope's Homily on Day for Consecrated Life