Hierarchic Veneration

The archangels preside over all the angels which interact with us here on earth. Each of us has a kind guardian angel to guide and help us to do good. Our guardian angels look to the Archangels as their models and guides. The Archangels did the great work of guiding the heroes of the history of salvation, which we read about in the Bible.

But the Archangels would not want us to forget that they themselves stand below countless hosts of higher angels. These celestial choirs sing the praises of God perpetually in heaven.

So we venerate the angels and archangels; the angels and archangels venerate the cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, virtues, principalities, and powers.

Today we keep a special feast for the Archangels. But, of course, as we discussed a little bit on Sunday: every Mass makes a feast for us in communion with the angels. The angels celebrate the perfect liturgy of heaven, and we praise and worship God fittingly to the extent that we participate in what they always do.

__________________________
N.B. We can look forward to more extensive references to the multiple orders of angels in the revised translation of the Missal. The translation we have been using often elides references to the various orders.

Summary of SCG 3.59

Thanking the good Lord for 41 years which have passed in what seems like a quarter of an hour, I offer you this loose paraphrase of the Angelic Doctor:

Our minds desire to know and understand. We will not be satisfied until we know and understand everything. In heaven, we will.

Except…

We cannot know and understand God Himself, His goodness, His power. He is infinite–beyond the measure of our minds. We cannot know why He made the world, you, me. We cannot understand His reasons for treating us with mercy.

So, yes: Our desire to know and understand outstrips all our other desires and defines who we really are. We can, with the help of God, clear away all our silly penchants for anything less than the truth. Then the desire to know, which moves beneath our fleeting appetites, will propel us to God.

But our acquiring minds do not move at the absolute center of our existential gravity.

In heaven, may it please Him we get there, we will delight in understanding why shrimp swim the ocean waters, why Mars has two moons, why so-and-so did such-and-such.

But the whys and wherefores will have an end. One thing, however, will have no end: our adoration of the infinite Love behind it all, Whom we will never understand.

Desire for knowledge runs pretty deep. Worship of the One Who blows our minds–that runs even deeper.

…Thank you very much for all the kind birthday wishes. The kudos there are really due to my mommy.

Altars, Pagan and Christian

First of all, let me say this: To see LeBron get sat-down was…SWEET!

…At Holy Mass, after Communion, when the deacon or priest cleanses the chalice, he says this prayer quietly to himself:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munera temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.

The translation of this Latin sentence which appears in the current English Sacramentary is an utter mush.

But soon we will have a new English-language Missal! This is how the prayer will be translated:

What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity.

Beautifully put. Speaking of well-written sentences: I have seen Hamlet many times. I have seen all the movies, and I have seen it on stage probably a half-dozen times.

The other night I saw the best Hamlet I have ever seen. At the Folger Shakespeare Library. (Not the Folger Shakespeare Theatre Company downtown, which is to be avoided like a noxious cesspool.)

The Hamlet at the Library was great. Seeing it restored my faith in the art of Thespis. Ophelia stole the show. The play made sense to me in a new way–as the story of ruined love. Do whatever you can to get a ticket.

…Here is a short Ascension Day homily:

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by hands, but heaven itself, that He might now appear before God on our behalf. (Hebrews 9:24)

St. Paul traveled the world to teach the Good News. When he went to the pagan city of Athens, he observed the many shrines to the many pagan gods. This moved him to explain the difference between pagan worship and Christian worship.

Continue reading “Altars, Pagan and Christian”

Perfect Offering

Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord.
–Malachi 3:4

Today is a great day to say Holy Mass. One of the prayers the priest prays today includes:

“You have given us this memorial [the Mass] as the perfect form of worship.”

He gave us the Mass on Holy Thursday, of course–so why do we say this prayer right before Christmas?

It is true that the Mass was instituted in the springtime of our Lord’s 33rd year on earth.

But the preparations for the Holy Sacrifice began long before that…

It started in the Garden of Eden, when God made us with a desire for Himself. He made us want to offer something to please Him. He made us religious.

He called Abraham to offer a sacrifice. He gave the Israelites the Passover and all the sacrifices of the Temple.

The holy Victim of the Mass is the Incarnate Word of God. The Word became incarnate on Annunciation Day, when the Blessed Virgin said yes to the Archangel. There would be no Mass without that day.

And Christmas is a special day for priests to reflect on our role in the Mass. We priests get to cradle Christ in our hands at the altar, like the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph did on Christmas.

So Christmas is the perfect day for priests to give thanks to God for the Holy Mass…

Jeremy Lin
…Unusual Wednesday noon game today for the Hoyas.

Harvard is by no means an easy opponent.

They have a Chinese-American phenom. They beat Boston College and almost beat Connecticut.

Hoyas need to bounce back from Saturday’s bone-cruncher with a solid win. Root hard, people! Chvotkin has the call on AM 980…

…I was thinking about ‘favorite Bible verses.’ Here is an encore presentation of one of the funniest comedy routines ever: