Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul and the "Year of Saint Paul"

On Friday, June 29, we shall celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. This solemn feast is of particular significance this year because on June 28, the Holy Father Benedict XVI will be announcing at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls a forthcoming special "Year of Saint Paul" (2008-2009) for the Universal Church to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the apostle's birth.

Hopefully, this special year to honor the memory and legacy of the great Apostle to the Gentiles will bring about a renewal in the Church's ecumenical and missionary efforts-two seemingly contradictory endeavors-yet come to think of it, two complementary facets of the Church's presence in the world.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Latin Mass Coming Again Soon

Code: ZE07060404
Date: 2007-06-04

Tridentine Mass Document Coming Soon

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2007 ( Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says the waiting is nearly over for the much-discussed papal document that will reportedly liberalize the use of the Tridentine Mass.

The Vatican secretary of state said this in an interview with the Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Sunday.

"I believe that we will not have to wait much longer for its publication," Cardinal Bertone said.
"The Pope is personally interested in seeing this happen. He will explain it in an accompanying letter, hoping for a serene reception."


The Holy Father first mentioned restoring Latin in the liturgy in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis wherein he endorsed the suggestion made by the Synod that particularly at large international gatherings, the use of Latin be restored except for the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful. (no. 62)

Later on during his Apostolic Journey to Brazil last May, he expressed his intention to liberalize or make more accessible the pre-conciliar Tridentine liturgy, due significantly to certain groups in the Church pushing for its restoration. We must remember that the Tridentine liturgy was not suppressed by the New Order of Mass and continued to coexist with the latter although in a more limited way.

Already, many concerns are beings raised. Especially in these parts of the world like ours in the Philippines where there are many uneducated, even illiterate people who cannot even understand English, there many real complications that can arise. Rich and lettered people, with some primer or refresher Latin course, can easily go to Latin liturgies and be able to participate actively and intelligently in them (a key Vatican II precept we must never abandon!). Apparently, the poor and unlettered people will be easily left behind.

Hence, the Church will be visibly divided in what is supposed to be one of the most visible if not the most significant expression of its unity: the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Nevertheless, we must remain open even as we try to discuss and discern the possible impact and implications of these developments not only for our liturgy but for our life as Church, universal and local.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Yesterday we celebrated the great mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, our One God in Three Divine Persons.

In the Old Testament (which I am going to teach this year) very strong emphasis is given on the truth that there is only one God. Surrounded by a culture that venerated many false gods, Yahweh revealed himself to Israel as the one true God, offering an intimate relationship of love to his chosen people. They no longer had to chase after many gods, appeasing and placating them with their offerings and incantations. Instead, they were to enter into Yahweh's covenant: "I will be your God and you shall be my people."

In the New Testament, Jesus reveals God as Trinity. This One God, this "I" after all is not just a single, isolated person but a community of eternal love: the Father eternally loving the Son, the Son eternally beloved by the Father and the Holy Spirit, the love between them so strong it is indeed another substance, another person. When God invites us to a relationship of love, he is inviting us to enter into this communion of the Trinity, to share in his divine life of love.

And so we praise, adore and love with all our hearts and minds the Most Blessed Trinity, our One God of eternal love, Three Divine Persons inviting us to partake in their perfect and eternal communion.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is not and will be forever! Amen.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Saint Justin, Martyr

Saint Justin, martyr is one of the prominent Christian apologists of the first Christian century. By apologist we mean not one who frequently makes apologies but one who is able to give sound and concrete illustrations of one's faith to non-believers as well as to believers. He is one who knows the faith well and is able to explain it to anyone, to show to them that the faith although beyond reason is also reasonable.

To non believers, an Apology would hopefully allay their apprehensions about the Christian faith and may even contribute to their conversion. To believers, this would hopefully help clarify their faith and strengthen it.

Liturgists, especially historians of the liturgy, owe to his witness one of the earliest accounts of Christian worship from his First Apology. Here he details the basic order of how the early Christians celebrated the Eucharist and other liturgical forms:

Chapter LXV.—Administration of the sacraments.
But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.

Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to "so be it".

And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

Chapter LXVI.—Of the Eucharist.

And this food is called among us Εuχαριστiα [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.

For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christians.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost.

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.

And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.