Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday

From Daniel Mitsui.

The Reproaches (Improperia)
1 and 2: My people, what have I done to you
How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you out of Egypt,
from slavery to freedom,
but you led your Savior to the cross.
2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!

1: Holy is God!
2: Holy and strong!
1: Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!
1 and 2: For forty years I led you
safely through the desert.
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.
Repeat "Holy is God..."
1 and 2: What more could I have done for you.
I planted you as my fairest vine,
but you yielded only bitterness:
when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink,
and you pierced your Savior with a lance.
Repeat "Holy is God..." 
1: For your sake I scourged your captors
and their firstborn sons,
but you brought your scourges down on me.
(Repeated throughout by Choir 2)
2: My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you from slavery to freedom
and drowned your captors in the sea,
but you handed me over to your high priests.
2: "My people...."
1: I opened the sea before you,
but you opened my side with a spear.
2: "My people...."
1: I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud,
but you led me to Pilate's court.
2: "My people...."
1: I bore you up with manna in the desert,
but you struck me down and scourged me.
2: "My people...."
1: I gave you saving water from the rock,
but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.
2: "My people...."
1: For you I struck down the kings of Canaan.
but you struck my head with a reed.
2: "My people...."
1: I gave you a royal scepter,
but you gave me a crown of thorns.
2: "My people...."
1: I raised you to the height of majesty,
but you have raised me high on a cross.
2: "My people...."

Father Fournier: A True Son of St. Louis

Father Jean-Marc Fournier brave priest who saved the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns from the burning Notre Dame de Paris. From The Daily Mail:
A French priest who helped the wounded in the Bataclan terror attack on Paris and who survived an ambush in Afghanistan also emerged as a hero of the Notre Dame fire today. Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, rushed straight for the relics housed in the cathedral to rescue the the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns relics from the blazing building on Monday night. It was feared that both religious artifacts would be lost as flames engulfed the medieval building, but Father Fournier made sure they were taken to safety. Four years ago he also comforted the wounded after the worst terrorist attack on Paris this century when 89 people were massacred at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in 2015. (Read more.)

From Aleteia:
The hero firefighter chaplain who saved the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament from Notre Dame Cathedral has given more details about the daring rescue. Father Jean-Marc Fournier spoke with a reporter from France’s KTO Catholic channel, explaining that when he retrieved Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, he blessed the church with the Eucharist: “Here I am completely alone in the [nave of the] cathedral, in the middle of burning debris falling down from the ceiling, I call upon Jesus to help us save His home.”

“I did not want to simply leave with Jesus: I took the opportunity to perform a Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.”
(Read more.) Share

Tacitus on the Crucifixion

From Aleteia:
In A.D. 88, at the age of 22, Tacitus “became a praetor and a member of the priestly college that kept the Sibylline Books of prophecy and supervised foreign-cult practice,” the Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us. Might it be that without his religious duties in the Roman Empire, Tacitus might have ignored the troublesome prophet in Palestine? He even wrote about Jesus’ crucifixion and Pontius Pilate’s role in his death. Then again, there were Christians living in Rome, and a historian like Tacitus, born 25 years after the crucifixion, would have wondered who these people were and why they believed the way they did. Tacitus refers to the Christians of Rome in the context of the great Roman fire of A.D. 64. (Read more.)

The Family and the Cross

From Finer Feminity:
Each of us is condemned to death. Let’s face it. There is no use in being afraid of facts. We may turn our backs, but the facts won’t go away. The sensible thing, the honest thing, and in the long run by far the pleasantest thing, is to see life clearly as it really is, to accept its conditions, and then to make the most of it.

Every parent, it seems to me, ought to make the effort of profoundly realizing that the moment a child is born, the child starts to grow away from its father and mother. The child, indeed, begins to die, even in the instant that it begins to live. By honest facing of such realities, we can make realities serve us, make them stimulate us rather than terrifying us into inaction-or wrong action.

It is simply a fact of family life that children are made to serve God, not to serve parents. And parents are made to serve God, not to serve children. These are happy facts; not unhappy facts. And understand, I am only trying to get the emphasis right, because it is the emphasis that is at the root of all happiness, and all true success.

Much of every child’s service of God will consist in being good to his parents. And much of each parent’s service of God will consist in being good to the children. But as I said, the emphasis must be right, because if it isn’t, we will all harm one another instead of helping one another.

Dreadful damage is done to children by parents who act on the unspoken assumption that children exist to serve parental comfort or parental ambitions. And dreadful damage is done to children who are allowed to grow up supposing that their parents exist to serve them. Corrosive family unhappiness is rooted in such errors.

We must get clear in our heads and hearts, from the beginning, that if God sends us a child, he sends us someone who is made to serve Him- to take up his cross and follow Christ. We ought not to shy away from that word…cross. God sends no cross that we cannot carry; and most of our crosses are small ones. The point is to trust Christ and follow Him; He will not let our backs be broken. (Read more.)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Holy Thursday

Let us prepare for the Last Supper with Our Lord. Dom Gueranger writes of the Mass of the Lord's Supper in The Liturgical Year, Vol. VI:
The Mass of Maundy Thursday is one of the most solemn of the year; and although the feast of Corpus Christi is the day for solemnly honouring the mystery of the holy Eucharist, still, the Church would have the anniversary of the last Supper to be celebrated with all possible splendour. The colour of the vestments is white, as it is for Christmas day and Easter Sunday; the decorations of the altar and sanctuary all bespeak joy, and yet, there are several ceremonies during this Mass; which show that the holy bride of Christ has not forgotten the Passion of her Jesus, and that this joy is but transient. The priest entones the angelic hymn, Glory be to God in the highest! and the bells ring forth a joyous peal, which continues during the whole of the heavenly canticle: but from that moment they remain silent, and their long silence produces, in every heart, a sentiment of holy mournfulness. But why does the Church deprive us, for so many hours of the grand melody of these sweet bells, whose voices cheer us during the rest of the year? It is to show us that this world lost all its melody and joy when its Saviour suffered and was crucified. Moreover, she would hereby remind us, how the apostles (who were the heralds of Christ, and are figured by the bells, whose ringing summons the faithful to the house of God), fled from their divine Master and left Him a prey to His enemies.

"And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer." Luke 22:43

History of Notre Dame de Paris

From National Geographic:
One witness of the construction of the Basilica of Saint-Denis was the 12th-century Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully. He admired the work of the pioneering architects, who were building in the new Gothic style of soaring ceilings and abundant light. Sully decided to create a rival structure in the heart of Paris itself: a cathedral that would be the wonder of Christendom and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 
The times smiled on Sully’s project. This stage of the high Middle Ages was marked by an economic boom in Europe, especially in France. With the generous financial backing provided by the crown, Sully contracted an architect (whose identity is unknown) to design the new church in 1160. Its construction required demolishing various houses in the cramped medieval neighborhood and two existing churches on the Île de la Cité that had, in their own day, been built over an ancient pagan temple. The first stone was laid in June 1163, in a lavish ceremony attended by Pope Alexander III. (Read more.)

 Reflections from Tom Piatak and Andrew Klavan, HERE and HERE. Share

A New Wave of Terror?

I hope not. From The Sun on April 14, 2019:
Chilling documents detail plans for terror attacks in Europe, funded and controlled by ISIS leaders. Details of the plans to "spread horror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah" were discovered on a hard drive dropped by a militant in the Syrian desert earlier this year. Despite the murderous group being "eliminated" from Syria last month, the documents reveal how ISIS continues to run international networks, move fighters over borders, pay for operations and plan bank robberies, vehicle attacks, assassinations and computer hacking. The documents, unearthed by the Sunday Times, show how operations abroad will be directed by ISIS member Abu Khabab al-Muhajir. They say he controls an ISIS cell in Russia and two in Germany. Another group will be based in north-eastern Syria under separate command. The aim would be to first steal money by "hacking banks" or "bank robberies" and then carry out attacks including vehicle-ramming operations. The letter, signed by six ISIS commanders and addressed to the jihadists' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, refers to the Paris attacks of 2015 and the "Manhattan attack" in October 2017 as inspiration. Transnational networks from Germany to Russia and Syria would help with the flow of fighters and money across borders, the letters show. (Read more.)

American Catholics and Our Persecuted Brethren

From The Catholic Herald:
Nearly half of American Catholics say global persecution of Christians is “very severe,” a 16 percent increase from a year ago, according to a new survey commissioned by the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Despite this increase in awareness, the American Catholics surveyed ranked human trafficking, poverty and the refugee crisis as more urgent problems than the global persecution of Christians, the study says.

“It is heartening to see that U.S. Catholics have a growing awareness of and concern about the persecution of Christians,” said George Marlin, chairman of ACN-USA, in a March 19 statement.
“It is telling that human trafficking, poverty and the refugee crisis get more attention from U.S. Catholics than the persecution of Christians,” he added, saying that the survey “strongly suggests that the U.S. Catholic Church, both at the parish and diocesan levels, should get more engaged with the global persecution of Christians around the world.” (Read more.)