Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Believing is Doing

The Holy Eucharist: this is what I firmly and truly believe!
It is the opening of 40 Hours at the London Oratory, the majesty, the drama, the beauty says eloquent not just what I can express with words but what gets my heart racing, what opens up my heart to God. Words fail but the Liturgy expresses something deeper than words. Words define and confine but liturgical actions enable Cor ad Cor Loquitur, heart speaking to heart, or 'actual participation'. Words are cheap and easy but what we do shows what is our heart, what makes it pulse.
This is 'living Tradition', this where we find the Church's faith presented, it goes deeper than some theology manual or even some service book, it is the doing, and this case the lavish doing.

What we do demonstrates what we believe.
I was told of 40 Hours being conducted in a parish where Sister went to the tabernacle took out the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle and placed it on the altar between two oil lamps, 'because they don't make a mess like candles', not genuflecting because it wasn't the custom, somehow I don't believe that, it affronts and diminishes my faith.


Pelerin said...

That is indeed magnificent Adoration speaking to the heart. I wish I had known about it. Until I saw that video on Fr Z's blog this morning and later looked up details, I had no idea it was an annual Lenten devotion in Brompton Oratory.

In one of the Paris churches which has weekly Adoration I was somewhat shocked once to see that the Monstrance is in the shape of an ancient Egyptian ankh and two stubby candles are deemed sufficient on the altar. I know the ankh symbolises 'Life' but surely it is hardly a Christian symbol? (Riposte Catholique has a photo of it also querying its relevance)

Incidentally over fifty years ago in Brighton during Lent all the churches here took turns in having Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the day. (It may even have been the 40 hours but I did not know anything about that devotion then.) Seeing the banks of candles in each church together with the devotion of those present I visited remained fixed in my memory. Here was indeed something very special.

If a non-Catholic entered this Paris church and saw the ankh and the two stubby candles I don't think they would look twice whereas if the Blessed Sacrament was exposed between a bank of candles, this would appeal to their senses and hopefully make them enquire further. I really cannot understand all this downplaying of the Faith.

victoria said...

It is obvious to me that the "downplaying of the Faith" has been the name of the game since VII. The infiltrators have been doing everything possible to make people lose the faith. There is evidence now of their systematic effort to promote the loss of vocations to the priesthood. The ultimate goal is to stop the belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. It is just a symbol. How many in the hierarchy really believe in Transubstantiation?

Calvin James Montgomery said...

Reverend and Dear Father

Allow me to ramble here, just for a while if I may?

In all my 28 years on this earth, I have never experienced a 40hours devotion, needless to say, one hardly hears of Benediction here.

I fear the loss of faith here in my own country has much to do with the politicising of the Church in South Africa since the late 1980's, here we give public funeral ceremonies to communist 'nuns' who fought in the struggle.

All this provided, in my opinion the perfect opportunity in weakening a relatively young mission country for the establishment of the liberal ideologies that were celebrated in persons like the late Denis Hurley OMI, Archbishop of Durban, council father and member of the original ICEL commission which brought us the now thankfully defunct English translation of the Roman Missal.

His cousin, currently the Bishop of Rustenburg takes stabs at the more traditionally minded folk, like myself, all the while promoting the use of condoms in a vain attempt to curb the spread of aids among the local communities.

The years prior to and leading up to the council were some of the Glory day's of the Church here in South Africa where instead of going to bioscope on a Friday evening, Benediction and Rosary was first preference among the then younger crowd. The Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Johannesburg was a highlight of the Archdiocese in those years, schools, parish sodalities from all parishes serving all races, united in prayer before the most blessed Sacrament is now sadly a thing of the past stopped in the mid 1980's, just when our country and our people needed prayer and divine grace the most. To appreciate what Eucharistic devotion was once like in my own country I have to watch old cine films, filmed by my late Granddad so as to understand visually one of the reasons why he converted from low church Anglicanism.

Today, for most African Catholics its about Toitoi'ing for Justice and Peace, where Christ the prince of peace is hardly given a mention or in the more affluent parishes where he doesn't really feature if at all and sermons with hints of liberation, protestant theology, Karl Marx, Ubuntu, female ordination the esoteric and the sort are the name of the Sunday Mass.

I chose a while back to attend Mass and the Sacraments at a Parish not canonically recognised by the Archdiocese, but a Parish where the catechism is taught, where the Corpus Christi procession, the same one my Granddad loved, is solemnly held each year, where Christ in the blessed Sacrament is loved and adored, Our Lady of Sorrows SSPX.

If only we had more priest's like you, if only we had more Oratorians, if only...

God Bless you for your own priestly witness, even though sometimes dear Father it means sharing our Lords cross. May he reward you richly.

I'm done waffling now

Calvin James Montgomery
South Africa

David O'Neill said...

When one sees priests & religious (never mind laity) passing the tabernacle with barely a nod of the head we must either assume the belief in the Real Presence is no longer there or that Man now believes that he is equivalent to God & any form of acknowledgement is, therefore, totally unnecessary

Mary Kay said...

I was very touched by your post, Father, and the comment by Calvin James Montgomery. I hope you will both pray for my family---I believe sometimes that we take for granted even the little we have. We have a lovely SSPX chapel here in the midst of a very secular west coast, USA. I assure you both of my prayers.

JARay said...

It may have been on this blog, but never mind, a priest friend was visiting New Zealand and he called into Arrowtown. There he found a "nun" who made it quite clear to him that she ran the parish and did not want interfering, visiting priests from Australia offering to say Mass in her chapel.
"Wimmin" priests?!!!!

Robert said...

Thanks for sharing Father. Very beautiful. Everything one could hope for in our adoration of God. I know it's rarely used, but I wish we had a full video in high def of a Sarum Use High Mass. I know Fr. Sean Finnegan has one, but the quality is not the greatest. Maybe you can convince him to have one in the same Oratory. Hint!.

John Nolan said...

Sarum Use at the Oratory, which is more Roman than Rome? Hardly. It worked at Merton College, though, and probably would at Westminster Cathedral.

Gregkanga said...

Very few Catholics would understand that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is Christ's prayer. That it is in the Mass that his virginal love for the Father, and for all mankind attains its highest expression, his poverty reaches complete self-emptying, and his obedience the giving of his life. As a result, they do not see it as the source, center and summit of the Church's Faith. And, because of the lack of catechesis, neither do they understand what this mean for Catholics in pursuit of holiness. What you describe in the last paragraph of your post, is child's play compared to the 'help yourself' policy which most dioceses in Australia have for extraordinary ministers of holy communion.

viterbo said...

The 40 hours, indeed the 'Blessed Sacrament', don't exist in most of the Catholic brand parishes overseen by the Novus Ordo. Outside of the SSPX, many would be hard put to find a 40 hours or even 'holy hour'. What there is, is a mess of feminists - of both sexes - making up mess, uh, mass, off the cuff every Sunday while 'father' does the same with his 'ain't the world great and sin is just hangin' on to stuff' oprah-sermons; his sermon about about making little wrist beady things to make up new age mantras like 'let go' so you don't have to bother with rosaries anymore was a classic (it's not his fault he was one in a line of beat of the age priest-dudes). Then miraculously this week or that week, the old tabernacle is on this or that side of the table/altar that gets moved aside for dancing girls or for some other 'educational' cause. The Sacred Heart (consecrated in days gone by and the meaning of which is also long gone)is obscured every mass so that a screen can roll down with hymns written by the lgbt for the glbt to be intoned in blancmange pop sounds while the wine and the round hosts are swished and handled and pushed at you by advocates of distopia, as someone plays, 'Nature Enter Me', or maybe 'Clair de Lune'. Then, if you dare, after the ordeal, to kneel and try to catch one minute of silent prayer in all this social sympathy Kraft timpani, you are not permitted even that. The Novus Ordo is neither a place to pray, a place to worhsip, nor a place to receive any sacramental ministry (the freudian 'confessional' lounge is proof of that'). It wasn't designed to be. I knew someone who was refused baptism by a Novus Ordo priest at the London Oratory on the grounds that they didn't have a British Passport - who knew Christ has so many passport issues? That same priest was working to permit a woman (without a British passport) going through a divorce with her orthodox husband to enter the Church without difficulty. She ended up eloping with a teacher from a girls school in some Soho hippie mass she met at the Oratory. Such is the Novus Ordo. Everyone goes through rounds of life, - birth, coming of age, marriage, parenthood, sickness, death, but the Novus Ordo is designed to dissolve the meaning of them all into blanchmange. If one is blessed to have a priest, why is he reluctant to minister? To take confession? To called the confessed to the Eucharist? To even have a 'sanctuary' in his church? To seek and convert and confirm converts? In the SSPX and 'Old' Rites, the sheep are dear and crucial and souhgt after and loved as if their souls mattered, which, of course, they do. To me the Novus Ordo is a queer Calvinist construction at its heart. Not saying this infects all priests, but on odds, for sure because it is the very bearaucracy of it.

Catherina of Siena said...

Viterbo, I can't see what Calvin has to do with the awful masses that you have described here. In which country do you live? I was raised in a Reformed church with its many Calvinist practises, and I can assure you Calvin would have puked at what you described.

Now that I am a Catholic however I can see some rather surprising cross-fertilization in the NO Mass, but never have I experienced the stuff that sound like a horror movie in my neck of the woods. (The music is rather third rate though, actually extremely third rate). But there is still much reverence and we are even allowed to kneel and receive on the tongue.

Embajador en el Infierno said...

Many thanks Father for the video. Could anyone please identify for me the different musical pieces played and sung throughout it?. Many thanks in advance.

Pelerin said...

I have been looking up the meaning of the ankh symbol. Apart from recognising it as an ancient Egyptian symbol I knew very little more and have been shocked at what I have found. It has been variously described as satanic, evil, the main symbol of vampirism, pagan sun worshipping symbol, symbol of the sun god Ra, and even a fertility symbol and representation of reincarnation.

Apparently it was also used by the CND.

How it can be used as a Monstrance to hold the Blessed Sacrament I fail to understand. However I suppose some people would argue that the magnificent traditional 'sun-burst' Monstrances could be seen as worshipping the sun so perhaps I am reading too much into the symbol of the ankh?

Thomas said...

I think, perhaps, it can be too easy to get caught up in all the internet reports and blog chatter about goings on in the Church and lose perspective. There is a Holy Hour with confessions every Saturday in two neighbouring parishes near me, and my local parish has Exposition all day during one weekday (not with quite the splendour in the video, but worthily nonetheless). The Rosary is recited publicly in my local parish and several other parishes nearby. There are good local choirs who sing in beautifully in both Latin and English. Sunday liturgies are reverently celebrated by hard working priests who are evidently both spiritual and pastoral. Yes, there are some things I could wish were otherwise about our parish liturgies, but they are nothing like the lurid accounts of the "Novus Ordo" one can sometimes read online.