Reading Fr. Z’s blog (WDTPRS) I came across this awesome video which explains the chapel veil. Quick note: chapel veil is used here as a blanket term and covers hats, mantillas, headscarves, etc. Anyways, enjoy the video!
I was at Adoration a few nights ago and I was reflecting on something that happened when I was eleven or twelve. At that time my mom was expecting her sixth baby and she was having a few health problems, so of course, our whole family started praying for her and the unborn baby. Her health problems became a bit more serious and I got really angry at God. First I thought He didn’t care about our family and He was just ignoring our requests, but over time I became more angry and quit believing in Him. I ended up getting very depressed. I kept the hurt inside of me and put on a happy face when I had to, but when I was alone I cried everyday and wanted to die. When my baby sister was born about four months later, I felt that maybe there was hope. All glory be to Him who knew that my conversion would have to be based in the intellect! I found my little sister to be truly miraculous. Anyone who has seen a newborn baby has likely marveled at the tiny fingers and toes, and this was true for me as well. Deep down I knew that something so small and perfect had to have been created; it could not have happened randomly or by mistake. In this way my belief in God was restored. God moved my soul in many little ways that summer until finally, about a year after I originally denied Him, I committed my life to serving Him alone.
Anyways, as I was reflecting on this a few nights ago I realised something. Jesus KNEW that I would deny Him when He offered up His Body and Blood at the Last Supper and on Calvary, yet He suffered it anyways. I was absolutely blown away by this thought. Love like this is powerful and basically impossible to comprehend! Just thought I would share this little thought with everyone….God bless!
A bit of back-story first: a few weeks ago we moved our laying hens into their movable summer coop, which we tow ahead every few days. It allows them more fresh grass to eat than they would get at their winter coop. Around the summer coop we set up an electric fence which keeps the coyotes at bay. In a nearby pen, we also keep several llamas and alpacas. Due to their hatred of anything dog-like, they will chase coyotes away as well. However, we had a small problem with our chickens this year.
Chickens are creatures of habit, and shortly after we moved them out of the winter coop, three or four hens decided they wanted to go back. So they hopped over the electric fence and started on their way. We had already closed up the winter coop by that time, so they ended up living on whatever they could find around the barnyard. Now for the interesting part.
As I was heading out on my walk today I heard one of these chickens making a good deal of noise in the llama and alpaca pen. I walked a little closer to the fence so that I could find out what the matter was. I saw a coyote running away with a chicken in his mouth, and a llama chasing him. Once the coyote saw me climbing over the fence, he dropped the chicken and ran off with a little clump of feathers in his mouth. Sadly, the damage had already been done and the chicken was dead.
So what did I see in all this that made me want to tell you about it? Permit me to use a little analogy scenario. Say the summer coop, guarded by the electric fence, are the Catholic Church and Her teachings. The chicken is a soul and the winter coop is its former way of life; that is, before making its home in the Church. The llama is this soul’s guardian angel and the coyote is the devil (hey, its just an analogy!). When a soul ignores the Church’s teachings and hops over them as though they are only optional, it’s aim (though seemingly unintentional) is to go back to it’s old way of life. The soul can try to make do and live the best it can, but nonetheless, outside the Church it is far more weak and vulnerable. It’s guardian angel can only protect it from so much before the devil claims it for himself.
The chicken’s story had a rough ending: it is dead and nothing can bring it back. But for Catholics who have left the Church there is still a chance; they can still come home and make peace with God. Please, if you are a Catholic who has been away from the Church for a long time, know that God still loves you and wants you to belong to His son’s one flock. God bless you!
“Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.”
Joel 2:13, NIV
A couple weeks ago my family and I went to Mass on Sunday morning as we normally do. However, even before we got to the church I had a feeling that the homily would have nothing or little to do with that Sunday’s readings. And sure enough, that is just what happened.The priest, who is retired and was just filling in that Sunday, managed to spend the whole seven minutes or so talking about mothers. He basically gave us a shallow sort of reflection on what mothers do (“She laughs with us, she cries with us, she is always there when we need her,” and so on). That was it! Did it slip his mind that it was Good Shepherd Sunday as well? There are a wealth of topics that develop from that one simple part of the Gospel. There is the matter of Christ as guiding Shepherd and Head of the Church; the matter of heretics or schismatics being outside the fold and the importance of being in the fold; the matter of one fold, one Shepherd, one Church; and I’m sure there are more topics out there that I am unaware of.
I don’t want to sound like some disparaging, mom-hating nutbar; that is certainly not my aim with this post, but the few points that I listed above are important issues in the Church today. Catholics don’t always understand that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church, so priests need to give the flock, “the milk of grace, of doctrine, and of guidance.” Catholics cannot survive on Wonderbread homilies alone. Our souls need real food to grow properly. Yes, moms rock and I appreciate my own mother very much, but can we keep the focus on God instead of ourselves? I mean:
Oh, and the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion helped the priest hand out carnations to all the mothers before the end of Mass. Anyhoo…on that happy note, enjoy your day and God bless you!
Or for that matter, liberal Catholic, charismatic Catholic, or any of the other labels that Catholics these days give to themselves.
The word “catholic” means universal, but why does the Church today seem so divided? In almost any given parish you’ll have Catholics who are somewhat charismatic and some who lean towards the traditional side. You’ll have some who practice NFP and others who use artificial birth control. You’ll have some who want to be holy and others who just want to be good. This seems wrong. If we really are the universal Church, then shouldn’t we be, I don’t know, maybe more “universal”? When Catholics need to put an adjective in front of their religion just to describe what they believe, you know something isn’t quite right.
In this post I don’t want to pose the question, “Why is it like this?”, but I want to simply point out that as the universal Church, we should be more united in practice and belief. Take these two pictures as an example.
These are both considered Catholic Masses.
In my humble opinion, we need to stop focusing on the “feeling” of unity and become more united in actual belief and practice of our holy Faith. A new evangelization and conversion needs to happen within the Church before we can focus on the evangelization of the world. God bless you all.
Let’s get something straight here: the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord, right? Right. And we receive the Eucharist at Mass, right? Right again. And because we love Him and want to show reverence for Him, we should handle the Eucharist as much as possible before consuming it, right? Uh…
Where I live, there is no real problem with Communion on the tongue versus Communion on the hand. All the priests we have had in the past fifteen years have been okay with either way of receiving. This is good, as I have read that in other parishes, some people are even refused Communion by the priest when they want to receive on the tongue (by the way, it is against canon law for a priest to do this). So how, after several hundred years of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, did the Church gradually slide into receiving mostly on the hand?
Well, for starters, it was one of several liturgical changes that were made shortly after the Second Vatican Council (a great article to read can be found here). It started in Holland and although the pope, Paul VI didn’t originally want to, he granted them permission and the Holy See established seven regulations regarding Communion on the hand. In the late 70’s, Communion on the hand came to America.
Now before I start ranting, let me just say that I have nothing against the people who receive Holy Communion on the hand. However, I have many objections to the practice of it.
1. It does not foster an attitude of love and reverence towards Our Lord.
To quote the afore-mentioned article:
In 1950, 87% believed in the Real Presence. Today, that number has plummeted to a mere 34%.
I’m not saying that the reception of Holy Communion on the hand is the only reason for this statistic. There are a host of other reasons for it. But I think that this is one of them. Out of respect for Christ, we should refrain from handling the Eucharist more than we actually need to. This is God we’re talking about, people! Don’t tell me that receiving on the tongue is too good for Him.
2. It is more likely that the Eucharist will be dropped or abuses may occur.
When the Eucharist is placed in a person’s mouth, the physical aspect of digestion begins once the saliva touches it (remember the soda cracker science project back in grade three?). Soon, the sacramental presence is completely dissolved. When the Eucharist is received on the hand, the communicant has to place it in their mouth, but here is the problem: many choose to take their time in doing so. When the rules for receiving Communion on the hand were layed out, part of it was that the Eucharist was to be placed in the mouth while still standing in front of the priest. However, many begin walking away before consuming it, and this can lead to problems. There are a number of satanic cults that use the Eucharist in their ceremonies, and the reception of Communion on the hand makes it easy for anyone to walk up in the line, take it, and put it in their coat pocket when they get back to the pew. My second cousin from Ontario was telling me how when he was serving a high school Mass, he had to tell a classmate to consume the host as he had tried to walk back to his seat with it.
As for dropping the Eucharist, this can happen under either method. Heck, the day of my First Communion I ended up dropping the host and I was receiving on the tongue (thankfully, it was saved by the wonderful altar-boy with the paten). I learned that the tongue has to be out a certain distance, but once you know that, you know it for life.
3. It can foster dislike or hatred towards Catholics who prefer to receive on the tongue.
This isn’t really a big one where I come from, but in other places it can be. Sometimes people who kneel and receive on the tongue, pray the Rosary daily, or attend Mass during the week are seen as “tradsters”, “old-school Catholics”, or sometimes “rad-trads”. Along with poor catechesis, it is one of the things that breeds resentment between Catholics who want to be good and Catholics who want to be holy. There is a difference, you know, but that is for another post.
4. Many saints throughout the ages have shown support for Communion on the tongue.
St. Hippolytus: “The Body of Christ is meant to be eaten by the faithful, not to be treated with irreverence.”
St. Basil the Great: “The right to receive Holy Communion in the hand is permitted only in times of persecution.”
St. Thomas Aquinas: “The dispensing of Christ’s Body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because He consecrates in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His Body at the Supper, so also He gave It to others to be partaken of by them. Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ’s body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people’s gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated, hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone to touch it, except from necessity, for instance if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency.”
Blessed (soon to be saint) John Paul II: “In some countries the practice of receiving communion in the hand has bee introduced… However, cases of deplorable lack of respect toward the Eucharistic species have been reported, cases which are imputable not only to the individuals guilty of such behavior, but also to the pastors of the Church who have not been vigilant enough regarding the attitude of the faithful towards the Eucharist.”
“There is an apostolic letter on the existence of a special valid permission for this [Communion in the hand]. But I tell you that I am not in favor of this practice, nor do I recommend it.”
So there you have it: four reasons for Communion on the tongue. In my opinion, it seems pretty clearly spelled out. Saints and holy people have encouraged it, and because it has been almost discontinued in the United States and Canada, irreverence and abuse levels have risen. Reception of Holy Communion on the tongue is a little way of expressing true love and adoration for God, which in turn, makes us holier.
I have decided my position. I leave it to you to decide your’s based on the points presented.
Learning about new saints is a fun little pursuit of mine. I try to learn a good deal about the saints because while their lives were not perfect examples, they show us how to rise above the cultural and secular expectations and become holy. That is my ideal.
Anyways, my latest “find” is the Canadian nun and mystic known as Blessed Dina Belanger. You can read her whole story here (the site I have linked to is devoted to the stories of mystics and is faithful to the Magisterium). I find her story interesting for a number of reasons:
1. She was Canadian, like me.
There aren’t a lot of saints (or beatified persons) who were born and raised in Canada, so I find the stories familiar, in a way. When they mention the cold of a winter night or a city in a nearby province, I can sort of see the story playing out in my mind. It becomes familiar in that way and I don’t forget it.
2. She had a temper, also like me.
Just getting it out there: I had an awful temper when I was younger. As a baby I would scream for quite a long time without quitting, and as I got older (being the oldest) I got a little spoiled. So now I also have a holy person that I can relate to in this respect.
3. She chose “death rather than defilement”.
When she was admitted to the Sodality of Our Lady she took the motto “Death rather than defilement”. This shows what a strong will she had, just like many of the other young saints of the Catholic Church. And finally…
4. She was a pianist.
There have been many saints and holy people who have played an instrument or sung a good deal during their life, but I think Bl. Dina Belanger is different. She didn’t just play piano for a few years. She persevered and became a very accomplished pianist (I can say this as a pianist who has read about her credentials. St. Cecilia is invoked as the patron saint of musicians, but I think that if she is ever canonised, Bl. Dina Belanger ought to be the patron saint of pianists. Just my two cents. ;)
So may God bless you and Blessed Dina Belanger pray for you!