What I’m up to these days…

Final exams are finished, thanks be to God!

However, I can’t make the trek back home yet, as my practicum project has a Christmas Eve service that I need to be at. So in spite of the fact that I’ll be going home ON Christmas Day, I’m enjoying the break and the time to relax by myself for now. I’ve got a knitting project on the go, as well as some books to read. One is a biography of St. Jean Marie Vianney by Francis Trochu and the other is a book on the Eucharist entitled Jesus:  Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano Manelli. In addition to his own personal thoughts, he uses many quotes from the saints and Scripture to emphasize the beauty and greatness of this sacrament. An excerpt (from page 37):

When Jesus is mine, the whole Church rejoices:  the Church in Heaven, in Purgatory, and on earth. Who can express the joy the angels and saints feel at every Holy Communion worthily received? A new current of love enters Paradise and a new delight comes to the blessed spirits every time a creature unites himself devoutly to Jesus, to possess Him and be possessed by Him. A Holy Communion is of much greater value than an ecstasy, a rapture, or a vision. Holy Communion transports the whole of Paradise into my poor heart!

I’ve been taking this book to Mass with me and spending some time prior to Mass reading and reflecting on God’s Love of mankind. In Advent and at Christmastime we remember how God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to become Man and die for our sake. Jesus’ meekness at His birth in Bethlehem was only the beginning of His life of humility, and that humility is likewise made manifest in the Eucharist. The Son of God, King of Heaven and Earth, and Messiah of God’s people becomes present on our altars at Mass and even more! He enters our very selves when we receive Him in Holy Communion. Truly, He is Emmanuel.

I’m not even halfway through this book, but I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a terrific read for anyone who wants to grow closer to Our Lord through reflection and meditation on the love of God. The Mystical Body and Blood of Our Lord is the nearest to Heaven that we can get during our life on earth, so I encourage you to think about this next time you receive Holy Communion.

Until next time, peace be with you and God bless!

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Why there should be no such thing as a Traditional Catholic

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 … Continue reading

The case for Communion on the tongue

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.

God bless!

My new patron saint

Dina_Belanger

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!

Make 2014 a year for learning!

bookstack

While I was reading my daily dose of Catholic blogs over on Big Pulpit, I came across something cool. Please note, I’m only saying its cool because I’m one of those scholarly young Catholics who like to read more about the Catholic faith (and because Vatican II fascinates me 😉 ). Nonetheless, its good for all Catholics to try and learn more, and what better time than the new year!

The cool thing I found was a reading plan that takes you through all of the Vatican II documents in fifty-two weeks. Each reading is a few paragraphs long (be warned: parts of it can be a little difficult to understand) and you only have to do one reading per day. You can find these documents online, or you can use the handy-dandy link I have included below.

For the reading plan, click here.

For links to the documents, click here.

May God bless each and every one of you!

Another anniversary…

Today is another special day for me. Not only is the Solemnity of All Saints; its my anniversary with Jesus.

On October 31, 2010, after almost a year of doubt and disbelief in God, I was struck by how much He loved me, even when I didn’t deserve it. I decided to come back into the fullness of the faith and follow Jesus. So the very next morning I started out by praying the Rosary and asking Mary to pray for me, and almost every day since then I have prayed the Rosary. I also promised God that I would remain pure according to my state in life, practice virtue (especially charity), and I would always strive to do His Will. As time went on, I gradually started adding more and more prayers to my daily routine, so that now I pray and read the Bible for almost an hour a day.

After a few months of praying a daily Rosary and a couple of other prayers, I started to see changes in myself. I went to Confession more frequently. Before that decision to follow Jesus, I would only go to Confession two or three times each year, but once I saw myself for who I truly was (a sinner), I realized how much I needed His mercy. Another effect was the desire to learn more about my faith. A new family had started attending Mass at our parish, and I learned that they attended Mass in Latin occasionally. Prior to that, I had never even heard of such a thing! So I looked through all of the Catholic books on our bookshelf, researched on the computer, and found a few answers. One of the websites where I found the most information is Catholic Answers Forum. I met lots of wonderful people on this forum who attend the Latin Mass and could give me a few answers to my questions. Soon, I saw that there were many other things that I didn’t know about the Catholic faith, like that the USA has more holy days of obligation than Canada, and that Saint Therese’s parents were beatified. I will freely admit, though, I still have lots to learn.

God has greatly blessed me, both in the past three years and on this special day. He gave me the life and strength to rise early and praise Him, the sunrise this morning was absolutely glorious, and most importantly, He has given me the hope of seeing Him in heaven someday. Praise the Lord!

Homeschooling, Catholicism, and Self-Control

Well, today concludes our second full week of homeschooling. Everything has been going pretty smoothly: the kids have been pretty good at helping out with keeping the living room tidy and giving me a hand with kitchen clean up, the meals have been on time (mostly), and laundry isn’t piling up yet. The schooling part has been going well, too. The 10 year old has memorized a Tim Horton’s commercial, the 8 year old has learned that two plus four is NOT seven, the six year old has learned that lots of the male saints are shown as being bald, and the three year old has learned to make the sign of the cross. Oh yes, and they have learned a few academic things, too. 🙂 I’ve learned a few things in the past two weeks as well; and that will be the main focus of this post.

Controlling yourself can be such a pain. Yes, that’s what I learned. In the schedule that I made for our homeschool year, I wrote down that I would be waking up at 5:45 to do my own schoolwork before all of the kids woke up. Things such as this always look so much easier on paper. I found it quite hard to wake up at that time, and I still do, but knowing that there is a good reason to get up helps motivate me. I have discovered that you can still see the stars quite clearly at 5:45, so I can see part of God’s beautiful creation before moving into the business of the day. Waking up at that time also helps me to work on self-control.

Self-control, painful as it is to build up, is a great virtue. It combats most of the seven deadly sins with great effectiveness. It is especially helpful in eradicating gluttony, sloth, and lust. Once these sins have been weeded out, it becomes easier to grow in holiness and love of God. That is why self-control is so important in the life of a Christian.

Well, that’s my post for this week. Now that my life isn’t quite so busy I will be posting more frequently on here. Until the next post, God bless!

More on Humility

I was looking through my journal a couple of nights ago and I found this little tidbit that I had written last fall.

“Humility is a noble virtue; a true prize.

To gain it, you must deeply love Christ and all other people above yourself.

To keep it, you must practice it always [without ceasing].

Always search for ways to show humility.

The dictionary says the humility is humbleness; a modest view of one’s [puny] importance.

If we are to be humble [as children of God], then we must practice humble works! Scrub floors and toilets; do dishes and fold laundry! And whilst you are in the midst of these things, the Lord will show you the way to humility.

God bless!