Dives in Misericordiae 7d: An Intimate Culmination

Divine_Mercy_Sanctuary_in_Vilnius4St John Paul reminds us that God’s initiative is responsible for the return to the original condition and intent of his creation of human beings.

The Paschal Mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify (us), to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in (people) and, through (people), in the world.

Consider this curious question after reading: Do you think Christ crucified is heard by non-believers?

The suffering Christ speaks in a special way to (people), and not only to the believer. The non-believer also will be able to discover in Him the eloquence of solidarity with the human lot, as also the harmonious fullness of a disinterested dedication to the cause of (people), to truth and to love.

No doubt St John Paul is attuned to some people who are attracted to Jesus and to Christianity through the Cross. But I wonder about most people. Gandhi, I recall, was inspired by the Beatitudes. But to play skeptic on that, I would wonder if most Christian sympathizers and seekers would find the Jesus that aligned with moral therapeutic deism or some similar thought. Certainly, if Jesus saved one’s life personally, there would be devotion or some natural connection. But I think the Cross is often times off-putting, even to believers. Nevertheless, Good Friday is indeed a gate into God’s mercy and the love of God among the Persons and for us:

And yet the divine dimension of the Paschal Mystery goes still deeper. The cross on Calvary, the cross upon which Christ conducts His final dialogue with the Father, emerges from the very heart of the love that (people), created in the image and likeness of God, has been given as a gift, according to God’s eternal plan. God, as Christ has revealed Him, does not merely remain closely linked with the world as the Creator and the ultimate source of existence. He is also Father: He is linked to (us), whom He called to existence in the visible world, by a bond still more intimate than that of creation. It is love which not only creates the good but also grants participation in the very life of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For (the one) who loves desires to give (oneself).

Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Posted in Dives in Misericordiae | Leave a comment

PS 99: Paschal Candle

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check all of Paschale Solemnitatis on this site, among many on the internet. Do not neglect the Paschal Candle once the Vigil is over:

99. The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer.

I think I would include the days of the Easter Octave as well as all Sundays and Ascension. Would you include daily Masses from week 2 on? Can you think of other liturgies outside of Mass at which the lighting of the candle would be appropriate?

After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate that the death of a Christian is his own passover. The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season. (104 Cf. Roman Missal, Pentecost Sunday, final rubric; The Roman Ritual, Rite of Baptism for Children, Christian Initiation, General Introduction, n. 25)

In places that keep a book of the dead during November, or on the All Souls observance, what then? Should the prohibition on lighting remain in force?

Posted in Paschale Solemnitatis | 1 Comment

Laudato Si 13: The Pope’s Appeal

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Pope Francis devotes the final four paragraphs (13-16) of the introduction to a personal appeal. First, there is gratitude for those who work for the challenge of a better stewardship of the natural environment:

13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

And he acknowledges that young people (and of course many people older) seek to have the suffering of people and the environment relieved. And doubtless, many people of all ages have labored long and hard in order that we might achieve some measure of fruitfulness on this issue.

Posted in Laudato Si | Leave a comment

Tales From The Money Pit

I never liked the Tom Hanks/Shelley Long farce. Even before I bought my first house. I don’t like when misfortune piles up on the unsuspecting.

I thought today was going to be a simple day. Long day, but simple. Took some vacation to clear things from sunrise to sunset. After the former, I started noticing the butterflies outside our bedroom window. Rather than take out all the wildflowers behind the house, I opted to keep the milkweed. The young miss attempted to sow wildflowers last summer, inspired by her environmental science course. We also had some nettles, which were attracting even more Red Admirals. So I saluted, and set to hacking out fledgling maple trees and fixing up the peripherals: hoses, burn chamber, and the deck.

By mid-morning, the sun was getting too high. My wife was up and we made a run to the hardware store to pick up a neat appliance which does a fabulous job on tar paper under carpeting. We had just emptied the bedroom, and I was about to unpack my new toy when I went to the basement to retrieve a claw hammer to deal with an odd nail or two.

It’s never a good sound to hear splashing liquid in one’s basement. The young miss had run a load of wash while we were out. And Gambit was spooked as I was. Double hit: wash water spurting up out the drain pipe and toilet backed up in the neighboring downstairs bathroom. I hate it when sewage takes a wrong turn and thinks my basement is a treatment plant.

That only set us back a few hours. Four loads on the wet vac to clean up. Then the repair crew arrived. Later they offered to have a look at a slow draining sink upstairs. Turned out the sink drainpipe was mostly being held together with a clog. They ran their rooter, and the pipe fell apart. It’s plumber time! But not till tomorrow.

As of 8pm, the bed is still disassembled. My wife is mopping the floor with a vinegar solution after the steam treatment and my scraping and sanding of the window. I made tomato/spinach/black bean burgers for the young miss and me. Wife settled for PB&J and a pepsi. I think a nice beer would go down well for me about right now. But ice tea will have to do. I think anything with alcohol content would put me out at this point. And I’m too pooped for a liquor store run at this point.

Good news is we got everything on today’s checklist punched out. And a few more things. Bad news is we’ll have to delay listing the home a day or two into the weekend. I don’t see us being ready by Thursday to receive potential buyers. Come by Sunday or Monday.

Posted in My Family | 7 Comments

Palliumania, Part 1

palliaToday’s feast of Peter and Paul is a big thing in Rome. And for the world’s newest archbishops. There’s a change in procedure on the docket for this year. The pallium, that woolen badge of an archbishop’s office, was blessed in Rome today. The conferral of it will be conducted in the home diocese of the archbishop. A good explanation is here.

It is the responsibility of the Nuncio to determine with the Metropolitan Archbishops the most opportune date, circumstances and manner to publicly and officially invest him with the pallium by mandate of the Holy Father, and with the participation of the Suffragan Bishops of that particular Province (ecclesiastically geographic area).

The pallium ceremony will continue to symbolize communion between the See of Peter and the Successor of the Apostle and those who are chosen to carry out the episcopal ministry as Metropolitan Archbishop of an Ecclesiastical Province, and it will encourage the participation of the local Church in an important moment of its life and history.

Seems like a good development to me. What do you think would be the best way to carry that out in the archdiocese? Is the Eucharist a given? Evening Prayer? Some special feast of the archdiocese, perhaps its patron? Any readers hear of any plans for part two in your archdiocese?

Posted in bishops, Liturgy | 6 Comments

Dives in Misericordiae 7c: The Fullness of Mercy

Divine_Mercy_Sanctuary_in_Vilnius4Encountering the Lord in the Garden of Olives, accompanying him before the Sanhedrin and Pilate, and standing before the Cross is more than a reenactment of history. It’s not a you-are-there moment. That is why the attraction to the gruesome is misplaced, I think. Instead, perhaps we might consider ourselves witnesses to the love of the Father and Son, and invited into the grace of that relationship.

Christ, as the man who suffers really and in a terrible way in the Garden of Olives and on Calvary, addresses Himself to the Father- that Father whose love He has preached to people, to whose mercy He has borne witness through all of His activity. But He is not spared – not even He-the terrible suffering of death on the cross: “For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin,”(2 Cor 5:21) St. Paul will write, summing up in a few words the whole depth of the cross and at the same time the divine dimension of the reality of the Redemption.

We are reminded of this each Ash Wednesday. And it leads us to a deeper understanding of God. Mercy gives us a glimpse into the mind of God. Let’s attend to how justice and love fit into this seeing:

Indeed this Redemption is the ultimate and definitive revelation of the holiness of God, who is the absolute fullness of perfection: fullness of justice and of love, since justice is based on love, flows from it and tends towards it. In the passion and death of Christ-in the fact that the Father did not spare His own Son, but “for our sake made him sin”(Ibidem)- absolute justice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the passion and cross because of the sins of humanity. This constitutes even a “superabundance” of justice, for the sins of (people) are “compensated for” by the sacrifice of the Man-God.

What do you make of this superabundance? Justice that transcends sin to the point that love overwhelms.

Nevertheless, this justice, which is properly justice “to God’s measure,” springs completely from love: from the love of the Father and of the Son, and completely bears fruit in love. Precisely for this reason the divine justice revealed in the cross of Christ is “to God’s measure,” because it springs from love and is accomplished in love, producing fruits of salvation. The divine dimension of redemption is put into effect not only by bringing justice to bear upon sin, but also by restoring to love that creative power in (people) thanks also which (we) once more (have) access to the fullness of life and holiness that come from God. In this way, redemption involves the revelation of mercy in its fullness.

This would seem to suggest that mercy is not a one-time event on Calvary, but something that draws us into this certain “fullness of life” as a new way of life. The alternative is that Good Friday remains comfortably distant, that the Paschal Mystery has little impact in our lives beyond piety, a history lesson, or an image to behold.

Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Posted in Dives in Misericordiae | Leave a comment

PS 97-98: Easter Day

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check the full document Paschale Solemnitatis on this site, among many on the internet. We’re now done with considerations of the Easter Vigil (PS 77-96), so we turn out attention to the next morning:

97. Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. It is appropriate that the penitential rite on this day take the form of a sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon “Vidi aquam”, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. The stoups at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water.

Remember this sprinkling on Easter morning takes place after the homily. It would seem the proper order would have the penitential rite omitted from the introductory rites.

98. The tradition of celebrating baptismal Vespers on Easter Day with the singing of psalms during the procession to the font should be maintained where it is still in force, and as appropriate restored. (Cf. GILH. 213)

Some places celebrate Mass in the evening, but yes, this would be a good tradition to restore. I wonder how religious communities celebrate this. If I lived close to a monastery, I think I’d prefer to visit and have someone else be responsible for this last Easter liturgy. What about you?

Posted in Paschale Solemnitatis | 3 Comments