Monday, July 28, 2008

Syriac Orthodox Qurbana in English

What follows are two snippets from the Qurbana, the Mass or Divine Liturgy, in English, from a Syriac Orthodox mission in New York City. The first includes the Oriental Orthodox version of the Trisagion, near the beginning of the liturgy. The second begins with the Sursum Corda and ends shortly after the Words of Institution over the chalice. The anaphora is that of St. James. The priest apparently offers the post-sanctus portion of the anaphora during the chanting of the sanctus.

Terry Mattingly on preaching to the choir

Or, more exactly, Terry Mattingly on Fr. John F. Kavanaugh on preaching to the choir.

"Preaching to a tempting choir"

"Sunday of Sorrow" in Knoxville (Updated)

Please continue to pray. Two people are dead, several others seriously injured, and many people, including children, are needlessly and seriously traumatized, the result of a man opening fire with a shotgun in a Knoxville Unitarian-Universalist congregation Sunday morning.

"Sunday of Sorrow"

The suspect, a 58-year-man, is described by his neighbors as a "nice guy", but one who had issues with religion. The suspect's first name is Jim. He needs our prayers as well.

"Suspect was 'nice guy"

Or maybe, not such a nice guy:

"Accused church shooter threatened to kill wife, himself"

"Police: accused shooter hated liberals, expected to be killed"

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tragedy in Knoxville (Updated)

Please pray for all involved. At least one man is dead, a new foster father, and eight others were seriously wounded.

The death of a second victim has now been confirmed, and the identity of the suspect has been released. For the latest on this horrendous event, go here.

The 16-year-old foster son of one the dead speaks of his foster father, Greg McKendry, calling him "an absolute hero":

"Church remembers victim as generous 'wonderful' man"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Passing the peace: It ain't half-time, folks

British Traditionalist Roman Catholic Ttony, whose blog is called “The Muniment Room”, relates here that a priest is thinking of founding a “Society of Pope Paul VI” in order to perpetuate the current Novus Ordo celebration of the Mass in the face of “the reform of the reform” in Roman Catholic matters liturgical. One of the practices apparently at issue is the celebrant leaving the altar to greet congregants at the exchange of the peace. Reading this inspired me to describe how the peace is exchanged in the Qurbana, the Divine Liturgy or Mass, of the ACCA:

First, just before the beginning of the Anaphora, or Eucharistic Prayer, the celebrant offers a prayer for peace. The following, from the Liturgy of St. James, is typical:

"O LORD and God of all, account us unworthy ones to be worthy of this salvation, that freed from guilt and united in love we may greet one another with a kiss of peace and offer to † Thee glory and thanks and to Thine Only-begotten Son and Thy Living Holy Spirit, One God, in both worlds unto the Aeon of aeons."

The congregation responds: "Amen. Barekhmar!"

“Barekhmar” means, “Master, bless”.

The celebrant then takes “the peace of Christ” from the gifts upon the altar and from the altar itself, making the sign of the cross upon the corporal. This is called “taking power from the Mysteries”. He then turns to the congregation and blesses them, saying

“Peace be † with all of you”

The congregation responds: “And with thy spirit.”

The celebrant then turns to the deacon, taking the deacon’s hands between his, and repeats this exchange with the deacon alone. The deacon then goes to the congregation and “passes the peace,” as above to one member of the congregation, who then does the same with the person next to him, who then repeats the same exchange with the person next to him, and so on. Thus, the peace of Christ is passed, from one member to another, one by one, throughout the congregation. Finally, the deacon receives the peace from the last member of the congregation, and returns it to the celebrant, who returns it to the gifts and altar, thus completing the circuit. The celebrant then begins the anaphora with the three-fold dialogue. All of this is done “decently and in order” and the congregation has expressed its mutual reconciliation, indicating that all are one with the celebrant in offering the Holy Sacrifice. The celebrant, however, does not need to leave the altar and “the passing of the peace” is not turned into “half-time”. (If there is no deacon, a server takes the role of receiving the peace from the celebrant and delivering it to the congregation.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beyond words...(Updated)

"A Minnesota professor and science blogger has said he will personally desecrate the Eucharist and publish photos of the desecration on the internet if any of his readers acquire a consecrated Host and mail it to him. “I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare,” he has written.

"Paul Zachary Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris, made the threat while commenting on a University of Central Florida incident in which a student senator stole and held hostage a consecrated Host from a June 29 Mass."

"Minnesota professor encourages theft and desecration of Eucharist"

I am reminded of the words of Pope Paul VI, of blessed memory: "If you knew what the Mass really is, you would die for it."

Alice's comment, below, is very well taken, and I should have said the same thing initially. Indeed, let us all pray for Myers and all who are like him. Let us also persevere in repentance, as called for in the following from an RC priest:

"A Priest's perspective on desecrating the Eucharist..."

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

"...the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God..." I Peter 4:17a (RSV)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A.W. Tozer, an Evangelical Saint...

The illustrious Aiden Wilson Tozer was a pastor and writer of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, one of the churches of my youth. However, like C.S. Lewis (and long before both, St. Isaac of Nineveh), his influence reaches far beyond the boundaries of his particular tradition and denomination. I am convinced that had Tozer lived a few more years, been born a few year later, he, like Peter Gillquist, Jack Sparks, Gordon Walker, Scott Hahn, Thomas Howard, Frank Schaeffer, etc. would have been led by the Lord to Christian Orthodoxy, in one form or another. Tozer was certainly familiar with the medieval Christian mystics and was unafraid to quote them in his writings. In googling him for a reason unrelated to this post, I found the following, a prayer he offered (in private) on the day, in 1920, when he was ordained to the ministry of the C&MA.

"For Pastors only: A Prayer by A.W. Tozer"

May our Lord raise up many more like him!

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008

To my fellow-citizens and to all who aspire to U.S. citizenship, Happy Independence Day!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all... are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - U.S. Declaration of Independence

Read it all

I graduated from high school 32 years ago, back in 1976, when the U.S. was celebrating its bicentennial. The motto of my graduating class: "Our Heritage is Freedom".

I would contend that most of the national debate in this country, going back to its very beginning, has had to do with the meaning of this one word: "freedom": specifically, such debates (including the Civil War) have often dealt with the question of how to resolve situations in which my "freedom" conflicts with your "liberty" or vice-versa. Such conflict, of course, is inevitable, and exposes the major flaw in contemporary libertarianism. The playing fields of power, whether political or economic, must be kept more-or-less level, and in the final analysis, only government can accomplish this. This is accomplished, within the U.S. government itself, by the checks-and-balances imposed by the consitutionally-mandated separation of powers between three co-equal branches, the legislative, executive, and judicial ("three co-equal": where have we heard that kind of language before?).

Finally, after you've read the Declaration of Independence, you would do well to acquire and read a book called Habits of the Heart. The major theme in this book concerns four traditions that lie at the foundation of the United States: Christian communalism (represented by the Puritan founders of Massachusetts); Enlightenment republicanism (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et. al.); "Utilitarian individualism" (Franklin and other entrepreneurs); and "Expressive individualism" (represented, somewhat later, by Walt Whitman). The book is largely about how each of these orientations continues to affect our lives, both as persons and as a society.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Saints, Beati, and Venerable Servants of God

I love the Saints. Right down to this very day, this very moment, they witness to the fact that God has not given up on us, that the Holy Spirit remains active in the here-and-now, bringing the redemption, forgiveness, and healing of the Divine Son to all who will receive it via the Church, His Mystical Body and Bride. Thus, the Saints of all ages remain signs of hope, and none more so than those who were our contemporaries: "God IS with us" and because of that, because God is manifested in the Saints, they too are with us, praying for us before the Throne of Grace and even, perhaps carrying out missions here on earth. Consider, for example, the various apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, or the reported interventions of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, who stated, "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth". Further, their diversity, including the various traditions out of which they come, witness to the possibility of the return of the divided Churches and ecclesial communities to full communion with each other. Regardless of tradition, all Christians can embrace the sanctity manifested in people coming from traditions other than their own.

As with so much else, the Roman Church is very organized when it comes to identifying those with the potential to be recognized as Saints. For non-martyrs, the process is three-fold. The first phase investigates whether or not the potential Saint lived a life of "heroic virtue". Generally, this process cannot be initiated until five years after the person has departed this life (and never before his or her repose). A positive determination of this by the Pope results in the person being declared a "Servant of God" and being given the title "Venerable". The second and third phases, resulting in the title "Blessed" and "Saint" respectively, each require that a miracle be attributed to the person's heavenly intercession. These miracles usually take the form of a medical cure from a serious illness which cannot be explained by medical science and for which the intercession of the potential Saint was sought.

Which brings me to the following: According to Zenit, a Rome-based RC news agency, the Pope has accepted the validity of a miracle brought about by the intercession of Blessed Father Damien, a nineteenth century Belgian priest who ministered to lepers in what was then the Kingdom of Hawaii. Thus, Fr. Damien will soon be recognized as a Saint by the universal Roman Church. Another miracle has been attributed to the intercession of the Servants of God Louis Martin and Marie-ZĂ©lie Guerin Martin, St. Therese's parents, so they will become known as "Blessed". Here is the Zenit article: "Miracle attributed to St. Therese's Parents: Heroic Virtue Recognized in Italian Youth Who Died in 1990".

It is this last potential Saint that I really want to focus on. Her name is Chiara Luce Badano. She was born in 1971, the only child of a truck driver and his wife, a devout couple who had been unable to conceive during their previous eleven years of marriage. Involved with one of the "new movements" of the RCC, called Focolare, also known as "the Work of Mary," Chiara was diagnosed as a teenager with terminal cancer and died on October 7, 1990, a few weeks before her nineteenth birthday. I urge you to read the article linked to her name above, found on a Focolare website. She is indeed an example for all, young or not-so-young, who aspire to follow the forsaken Christ crucified.

"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ya gotta love them Brits...

"British student gets credit for expletive on exam"

Assignment for potential commenters: Discuss, in less than 500 words, but in more than two, the connections between this and the current mess in the Anglican Communion.

Oh, and yes, expletives WILL be deleted.