Monday, December 31, 2012

Purificators - Shroud of Turin

One does not think of the gravity of sacrilege one can commit when it comes to improper use and cleansing of a purificator that was used during Holy Mass. For one thing, it has CHRIST'S BLOOD ON IT (it's not a "symbol"; He's the real deal!), and another, people (including priests) don't seem to think about this very much. The custom of purificators in the United States has turned into a napkin for the chalice. Can't bare to share germs with anyone else! That'd be a sacrilege.... (note the sarcasm)

There are several points to cover when it comes to proper usage of a purificator. I'll start with the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (note the "extraordinary" part. They're NOT SUPPOSE to be a part of everyday, or even every Sunday, liturgy). There has been such a poor teaching correlation between what people are suppose to learn in Sunday school and how that transcribes to proper implication of said beliefs during the Holy Mass that to go through all the topics would be the end of my blog. I would have nothing more to say! But alas, I'll try to stay on topic.

To properly use a purificator (that is, if Holy Communion is being distributed in both kinds. More on that later...), the ExMHC must fold the purificator over the "pointer" of the left hand with the middle finger on the outside as a resting place for the purificator. The thumb, when purificator is not being used, must be on the outside of the purificator. When the purificator is being use, the thumb goes under the cloth where the point finger is and uses the two fingers in a pinching fashion that directly wipes the Blood of Christ in the exact same place very time. A properly used purificator should not look like you used it to stop a nose by bleeding everywhere (sorry for the poor mental image) but as if you merely pricked a finger and were holding a cloth in the same position while you waited for the blood to clog. You must use as little area space of the purificator as possible! You do not wish to be ideally touching the Blood of Christ only to then scratch your nose, wipe your hand against your pants, or any other form of touching that would then leave Christ's Blood on something! If you are to administer the sacred chalice at Holy Mass, you MUST, under all circumstances, pay the UTMOST attention to how you use the purificator and what the Precious Blood touches. No exceptions! To do anything other than that in full knowledge would damage your soul and you would be in need of a Sacramental Confession (sorry for not using "reconciliation". I guess the word "confession" is too pre-conciliar.)!

Priests...don't think you're out of the clear on this topic. Everything I've just said applies to you. I'm not being pretentious. I care for all immortal souls. You too must pay strict attention to how you use the purificator, where you place the purificator after using it (make sure the Precious Blood isn't touching the corporal directly), and how you cleanse the sacred vessels after administering Holy Communion. When cleansing the sacred vessels, you must fold (without your hands touching the Precious Blood, of course) the purificator in such a way as to be able to cleanse the sacred vessels without putting the Precious Blood back onto the sacred vessels. If you do not think of how you are using the purificator, you could, and probably are, very well be counteracting your very purpose of trying to purify the sacred vessels. 

Now some of you priests might be thinking, "Well Chase, the sacred vessels will always have microscopic particles of Christ's Body and Blood in it's pores. Why be so 'nit-picky' about it?"

The very idea that a priest would ever ask that question should be a vital sign for  the priest to reconsider and reassess what he truly believes is the Most Holy Eucharist. You are touching THE ALMIGHTY ONE! By carelessly using the purificators like a napkin at your local Denny's on the sacred vessels that are use to transport CHRIST HIMSELF is sacrilege. Be AWARE! Re-train all your ExMHC's! Make sure everyone KNOWS! It could mean the very difference between receiving Our Lord in the state of grace or the state of mortal sin!

Most of you who read this will probably think I'm some kind of crazy, closeted sedevacantist who just wants to make the Catholic Church back to the way it was prior to Vatican II. I'll admit - there are many aspects of the Catholic Church prior to Vatican II that I truly desire for the Church today. For one, it's consistency in all liturgical actions in how we, as a Church, truly believe, think, and pray. If we are being authentically Catholic in everything we do, I'm sure the Church Militant will find a way to correct itself. It's already happening.

You're probably asking to yourself by now, "Why does the title also say something about the Shroud of Turin. None of this had anything to do with that."

You're wrong. The Shroud of Turin has everything to do with this. The Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth by which Our Lord was wrapped in within the tomb. This burial cloth touch the Precious Body of Christ! The cloth has stained on it the Precious Blood of Christ. Let me ask you this. How would you treat the Shroud of Turin? As the most important relic of Christian civilization that touched the Crucified and Resurrected Christ on it? Or a napkin from Denny's?

Pray. Discern. And most of all, love Our Lord!

There is, however, a method of using the purificator that will never touch the Precious Body or Blood of Christ. I'll save that topic for another day. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day Two - St. Stephen's Day

Today is the Second Day of Christmastide - St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen was the First Martyr of Christ's Church as depicted in the Acts of the Apostles. He was a deacon of the Church, and in depictions of his martyrdom, is always wearing a dalmatic (the outer garment of a deacon - Don't worry! We'll go over vestments one day). I would say more about St. Stephen, but other than what is in Acts of the Apostles, nothing else is really known about the First Martyr.  

(stain-glass window of St. Stephen being martyred at my old parish prior to converting to the Catholic Church, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (very Anglo-Catholic).)

St. Stephen, first martyr of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, pray for us sinners here one earth! Amen.


Along with this being St. Stephen's Day, in the traditional English carol of the "Twelve Days of Christmas", today is the day of "two turtle doves". The Twelves Days of Christmas was a carol that had hidden within it's texts Catholic catechism, for in England during the 19th century, Catholicism was still incredibly frowned upon in a hostile Anglican society. The "two turtle doves" represent the Old and the New Testament!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

St. Padre Pio's Meditation on Christmas

Nothing can surpass this. I'm so happy I chose St. Pio to be my confirmation saint!


Far into the night, at the coldest time of the year, in a chilly grotto, more suitable for a flock of beasts than for humans, the promised Messiah – Jesus – the saviour of mankind, comes into the world in the fullness of time.

There are none who clamour around him: only an ox and an ass lending their warmth to the newborn infant; with a humble woman, and a poor and tired man, in adoration beside him.

Nothing can be heard except the sobs and whimpers of the infant God. And by means of his crying and weeping he offers to the Divine justice the first ransom for our redemption.

He had been expected for forty centuries; with longing sighs the ancient Fathers had implored his arrival. The sacred scriptures clearly prophesy the time and the place of his birth, and yet the world is silent and no one seems aware of the great event. Only some shepherds, who had been busy watching over their sheep in the meadows, come to visit him. Heavenly visitors had alerted them to the wondrous event, inviting them to approach his cave.

So plentiful, O Christians, are the lessons that shine forth from the grotto of
Bethlehem! Oh how our hearts should be on fire with love for the one who with such tenderness was made flesh for our sakes! Oh how we should burn with desire to lead the whole world to this lowly cave, refuge of the King of kings, greater than any worldly palace, because it is the throne and dwelling place of God! Let us ask this Divine child to clothe us with humility, because only by means of this virtue can we taste the fullness of this mystery of Divine tenderness.

Glittering were the palaces of the proud Hebrews. Yet, the light of the world did not appear in one of them. Ostentatious with worldly grandeur, swimming in gold and in delights, were the great ones of the Hebrew nation; filled with vain knowledge and pride were the priests of the sanctuary. In opposition to the true meaning of Divine revelation, they awaited an officious saviour, who would come into the world with human renown and power.

But God, always ready to confound the wisdom of the world, shatters their plans. Contrary to the expectations of those lacking in Divine wisdom, he appears among us in the greatest abjection, renouncing even birth in St. Joseph's humble home, denying himself a modest abode among relatives and friends in a city of Palestine. Refused lodging among men, he seeks refuge and comfort among mere animals, choosing their habitation as the place of his birth, allowing their breath to give warmth to his tender body. He permits simple and rustic shepherds to be the first to pay their respects to him, after he himself informed them, by means of his angels, of the wonderful mystery.

Oh wisdom and power of God, we are constrained to exclaim – enraptured along with your Apostle – how incomprehensible are your judgements and unsearchable your ways! Poverty, humility, abjection, contempt, all surround the Word made flesh. But we, out of the darkness that envelops the incarnate Word, understand one thing, hear one voice, perceive one sublime truth: you have done everything out of love, you invite us to nothing else but love, speak of nothing except love, give us naught except proofs of love.

The heavenly babe suffers and cries in the crib so that for us suffering would be sweet, meritorious and accepted. He deprives himself of everything, in order that we may learn from him the renunciation of worldly goods and comforts. He is satisfied with humble and poor adorers, to encourage us to love poverty, and to prefer the company of the little and simple rather than the great ones of the world.

This celestial child, all meekness and sweetness, wishes to impress in our hearts by his example these sublime virtues, so that from a world that is torn and devastated an era of peace and love may spring forth. Even from the moment of his birth he reveals to us our mission, which is to scorn that which the world loves and seeks.

Oh let us prostrate ourselves before the manger, and along with the great St. Jerome, who was inflamed with the love of the infant Jesus, let us offer him all our hearts without reserve. Let us promise to follow the precepts which come to us from the grotto of Bethlehem, which teach us that everything here below is vanity of vanities, nothing but vanity.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Message

Tomorrow, being the Fourth Sunday in Advent, proposes a complication among faithful Catholics who abide by the Church's rule of law - Christmas is coming soon, so lots of time at church! In the next couple of days, we will be thrown into the next busiest time of the liturgical year than Holy Week itself - the transition from Advent to Christmas. Christmas Eve is the day after the Fourth Sunday in Advent with the Twelve Days of Christmas following the next day. On top of that, the feast days of many of important saints (Saint Stephen, the Holy Innocents, Mary Mother of God (Theotokos), etc, etc, etc. To add to all of this, Epiphany is just around the corner. 

As the Advent Season ends and the Twelve Days of Christmas begin, I ask that through all the holiday celebrations, the arguments with distant cousins you dare only see at your grandmother's, the necessary usage of "fat pants" due to the amounts of food consumed, the merriment of the season, that you truly reflect upon the coming and birth of the Second part of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Son, the Incarnate Word, Christ the Lord. But do not just reflect upon his most sacred birth but his passion as well! 

Why, you might ask, would I say you should reflect upon the Passion of Christ during this most festive season? It was because of that act on Calvary that Our Lord and Savior came to earth to be born. Our blessed Lord came to this earth to be crowned His dutiful crown that was necessary for the salvation of all man-kind in all ages. When we go to mass on Christmas Eve and Day, the entire life of Christ is so vividly brought to the forefront of any learned Catholic - Christ's birth, life, ministry, Passion, and His resurrection. To not reflect on the totality of Christ's life, particularly His Passion, would be in disconnect to Christ's full purpose of His most sacred birth! It is "Christ-Mas(s)" after all! ;D

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Maniples DO in fact Matter!

To start off this blog, it would only be appropriate to talk about maniples, and for those who aren't acquainted with the term, don't worry, you will know more about the maniple than you will ever want to know by the end! This beautiful liturgical vestment worn by bishops, priests, and deacons for well over one and a half thousand years has been carelessly thrown aside, thought of as too "clerical", and all for false pretenses. The instruction of Tres Abhinc Annos of 1967 never abolished maniples as modernists in the liturgy would assume or say! It merely made the wearing of the maniple not an obligation. This decision I think is irresponsible, for through said allowances, modernists have been able to adapt their own liturgical theology within the Mass!

Here is exactly what the document has to say about the maniple:

"The maniple is no longer required
(Sacred Congregation of Rites, Tres Abhinc Annos, no. 25)

I'm sure this was much more eloquently stated in Latin to somehow mean that the maniple was ABOLISHED...oh wait, only the English language can somehow incorrectly translate Latin - HELLO...original English translation of the Mass of Paul VI, anyone?!

So what does this mean for all of us closeted or non-closeted traditional liturgists (this, of course, can include priests, deacons, bishops, etc. :D) This means that if anyone states that maniples were somehow abolished, suppressed, or in any other term, "gotten rid of", you can, with ease and delight in your heart, point them in this direction. You can, in perfect conformity to the Second Vatican Council, purchase vestments that have maniples included in them for your priests (and you deacons, priests, and bishops, you can WEAR them) without worrying about "Church of the Nice" down the street telling you that you aren't allowed to. Always do so with charity!

Now why all this fuss about maniples? It's just a piece of fabric as liberal liturgists might think it were! For the priest with obsession compulsion disorder who like things balanced and equal, I'm sorry, but you can't have one on both arms!

Here's an official article from the Vatican website talking about the liturgical vestments. You will see over time me going over a few of the lesser used vestments. It may seem redundant, but not everyone likes reading the official Vatican website. It might make their hair curl... (maniples are in section 5)

Here's an excerpt from the website that has the vesting prayers:

""Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris" (May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow in order that I may joyfully reap the reward of my labors).
As we see, in the first part the prayer references the weeping and sorrow that accompany the priestly ministry, but in the second part the fruit of the work is noted. It would not be out of place to recall the passage of a Psalm that may have inspired the latter symbolism of the maniple.
The Vulgate renders Psalm 125:5-6 thus: "Qui seminant in lacrimis in exultatione metent; euntes ibant et flebant portantes semina sua, venientes autem venient in exultatione portantes manipulos suos" (They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds, but coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their maniples)." (End)

Need I say more? The prayers are rooted in Sacred Scripture and the history and tradition of the Church has upheld this liturgical vestment since it's creation. The mentality that the priesthood is NOT a call to sacrifice (or shall I rephrase it to participating in the one true sacrifice on Calvary through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the re-presentation of Calvary itself), to labor for the Lord whilst weeping, is ridiculous and has gratefully gone "out of fashion". Priests are once again realizing that the totality of their call as a priest to not be a leader of "happy-fun-time worship" at "Church of the Nice", but a true call to joyfully sacrifice for the people of God! 

In order to make Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church be a foundation by which people live their lives, we must not break from the prayers and traditions that millions of deacons, priests, and bishops from across the centuries used on a daily basis! All of the liturgical prayers and traditions (though the congregation might not see you physically praying! Apparently, liturgical prayer is suppose to always be in front of the people. Can't let them think you're doing something that'll separate you from them!) of the Church, whether spoken formally to the people or to God, are the culmination of what the Church believes and teaches! Why leave something out for the sake of convince? 

Here's some liturgical "eye candy" to gaze upon while you reflect:

Pope Benedict XVI, then as Cardinal Ratzinger (wearing a maniple)
At the Consecration, where Our Blessed Lord transformed mere bread into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity (priest is wearing a maniple)

"Mea cupla, Mea cupla, Mea maxima culpa"
(priest is wearing a maniple)