Notes on Trinity Sunday

I am grateful to Archbishop Gullickson (whose blog you should read) for posting on Twitter a link to this article with some historical notes on the provenance of Trinity Sunday:

Non Est Authenticum: The Micrologus on the Feast of the Holy Trinity

The article is somewhat scholarly and technical; to summarize, the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity is neither of ancient nor of Roman origin, and several saints, scholars, and other authorities – among them Popes – criticized its introduction into the liturgical calendar as a sort of redundancy.

After all, the entire Mass is Trinitarian in nature; think, for example, of the concluding formula for many of our prayers: “Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” Think also of the conclusion of the Eucharistic prayer: “Through him [Christ], and with him, and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, for ever and ever. Amen.” Recall the conclusion of the Gloria: “…you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.”

The redundancy, so to speak, of this feast is even more evident when you consider another feature of liturgy – that is, of the liturgy of the Extraordinary Form: the Preface of the Holy Trinity (reproduced in English below) was used on many Sundays and weekdays throughout the year. In short, folks were used to hearing the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity in clear and compact distillation on a regular basis.

That extremely beautiful preface, in the newer form of the Mass, has been relegated to just this one Sunday of the year now. In this regard, it makes more sense now than before to have a specific feast dedicated to the Holy Trinity, to give this dogma greater emphasis and give us greater cause to reflect on it, since we no longer have the benefit of meditating on a very theologically-dense preface frequently throughout the year (though, those who attend the Extraordinary Form still do). Here is that preface:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
For with your Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit
you are one God, one Lord:
not in the unity of a single person,
but in a Trinity of one substance.
For what you have revealed to us of your glory
we believe equally of your Son
and of the Holy Spirit,
so that, in the confessing of the true and eternal Godhead,
you might be adored in what is proper to each Person,
their unity in substance,
and their equality in majesty.
For this is praised by Angels and Archangels,
Cherubim, too, and Seraphim,
who never cease to cry out each day,
as with one voice they acclaim…

A great product of the “mutual enrichment” of the two liturgical forms that Pope Benedict XVI foresaw taking place might be a permission given to let us use this preface on ferial days through the year (i.e., of Ordinary Time), among the various options provided for the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

There are many jokes and laments on this feast day about the heretical homilies that so many end up hearing, as priests and deacons strive to teach on this dense subject (or some, I suppose, just “phone it in” and repeat pious old stories that are in fact heretical); perhaps if we all had more frequent opportunities to contemplate this sacred mystery liturgically, we might not be so prone to the errors that are now so common!

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BLESS me, Father…

It occurred to me today to ask other priests this question (in the event that there may be some priests among my readership): when the penitent says to you, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”, do you actually give them a blessing?

I think of all the times I’ve been to confession, where the priest did nothing at that moment. Not the end of the world, to be sure – but in light of my last post about blessings, I think it could help…

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For Priests: Blessings in the Communion Line

There have been plenty of discussions online and elsewhere about whether blessings should be given in the communion line to those who are not receiving for one reason or another. I do not intend to address that concern here. My decision has been to give blessings in Ordinary Form Masses to those who approach with arms crossed over their chest or who otherwise indicate that they are not receiving communion.

What I do intend to address here is a little insight I had about the intention that I should possibly have when giving these blessings. This may be of interest to other priests (and deacons and seminarians).

Recently I had occasion to brush up a little on the theology of sacramentals. Blessings are one of the sacramentals of the Church. Blessings also come in many different forms and can be given to persons, objects, and places. Here is a basic introduction to what sacramentals are, on the EWTN web site.

One aspect of the theology of sacramentals is that they obtain actual graces from God for the recipient (in the case of a blessing) or those who use them (e.g., praying with a blessed rosary, which is a sacramental, vs. praying with one that is not blessed). “Actual grace” is divine help to cause us to grow in sanctifying grace or to get back in it if we have lost it through mortal sin.

The efficacy of sacramentals depends in part upon the disposition of both the minister and the recipient. If the priest himself is in the state of grace, is recollected and prayerful (as opposed to doing things in a mechanistic and rote way), and so forth, then the sacramental that he celebrates will be more fruitful for its recipient(s). If the recipient, for his or her part, is disposed to receive the graces that come through that sacramental, then it will be more effiicacious for him or her also.

And here is where I had my insight: by blessing people who approach me in the communion line, they stand to receive actual graces from that blessing. I should therefore form the intention that in giving such blessings, I desire that God give the recipients the particular actual graces of conversion and salvation that they need. It’s very easy for a priest just to give a blessing without thinking about why he is given it: we’re asked to give blessings all the time, and in the communion line, especially, with the rapid-fire succession of people, one can become mechanistic in what one does.

Therefore, priests and deacons might form the following virtual intention or similar: In blessing those who approach me in the communion line, I ask that God grant them the graces needed to be rightly disposed to receive Holy Communion fruitfully and worthily in the future, whether that be through the resolution of a marriage situation, a lifestyle change, victory over sin, better preparation for Mass, or any other reason.

Most priests have seen how those who come up for blessings often appear to have a willingness and openness to receive that divine assistance. Through the sincere smiles, the peaceful countenance, and other body language that we see, it is clear that many people deeply appreciate this gift. And given our theology of sacramentals, that willingness and openness stand to help them in fact to receive a benefit. But the disposition of the minister matters: the intention that we bring to it – I think! – can help.

A disclaimer: we should, of course, never assume that someone who goes for a blessing needs to go to confession. They might not have kept the Eucharistic fast. They might not be feeling very well. They might have been very distracted during Mass and feel like they are not ready to make a sacramental communion. They might have an unresolved dispute with a loved one and do not feel they can make a sincere communion. There are many possible reasons why someone might not receive; we should not make assumptions!

Perhaps ordained ministers who form the above virtual intention may never have knowledge in this life of how it made their blessings more efficacious and fruitful for those who approached in the communion line. But we will find out in heaven. And, I think, we should form this intention, for we know that God hears the prayers of his ministers, that God likes our prayers to be specific, and that the Church’s sacramentals are powerful means of actual grace, intended to help us participate more fruitfully in the sacraments.

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Arnaud Beltrame, Great Hero

I apologize for the radio silence of recent months — it’s not that I haven’t had ideas of things to post about, it’s just that I usually do not have the time to do so or, when I do, I can’t remember what I wanted to post about…

I found the story of Arnaud Beltrame, the gendarme in the south of France who gave his life to save a hostage during yesterday’s terrorist attack on a supermarket there, so incredibly inspiring and edifying. Cardinal Sarah has done a great service in sharing the testimony of a priest who knew Arnaud and his fiancée personally, and thanks to the good offices of RC, I am sharing that story here in English translation (with some small corrections).

Perhaps we will see a cause for canonization at some point for this great hero. Many immediately noted that his heroic act was similar to St. Maximilian Kolbe’s — and Pope Francis formally added that category to the Church’s law on canonization last year.

Here is the very edifying story posted by Cardinal Sarah on his Facebook:

A picture taken in 2013 in Avranches and obtained from La Gazette de la Manche local newspaper on March 24, 2018 shows French Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame who was killed after swapping himself for a hostage in a rampage and siege in the town of Trebes, southwestern France, on March 23.<br /> Beltrame, 45, was among a group of officers who rushed to the scene in Trebes, near Carcassone, on March 23 after a gunman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, stormed a supermarket and fired at shoppers. Beltrame offered to take the place of a woman the gunman had taken hostage and was shot. He died on March 24 of his wounds, becoming the gunman's fourth victim. / AFP PHOTO / LA GAZETTE DE LA MANCHE / -

ARNAUD BELTRAME:
An heroic Christian officer who gave his life to save others

Witness by a canon of the Abbey of Lagrasse (Aude, France), on the day of his death, March 24, 2018

It was in a chance encounter during a visit to our abbey, an historical monument, that I made the acquaintance of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Marielle, whom he had just married civilly on August 27, 2016. We became friends very quickly and they asked me to prepare them for their religious wedding which I was to celebrate near Vannes on the coming 9th of June. So we spent many hours over the past almost two years working over the fundamentals of married life. I had just blessed their house on December 16, and we were finalizing their canonical marriage dossier. Arnaud’s very beautiful declaration of his intention came to me four hours before his heroic death.

This young couple came to the abbey regularly to attend the Masses, offices, and teaching sessions, in particular taking part in the Our Lady of Cana small-group. They were part of the team for Narbonne. They came again just last Sunday.

Intelligent, athletic, talkative, and lively, Arnaud spoke freely about his conversion. Born in a nominally Catholic family, he experienced a genuine conversion around 2008, at the age of 33. He received his first communion and confirmation after two years of catechumenate, in 2010.

After a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d’Auray in 2015, where he asked the Virgin Mary that he might meet the right woman, he came into contact with Marielle, whose faith is profound and reserved. The engagement was celebrated in Brittany, at the Abbey of Timadeuc at Easter 2016.

Enthusiastic about being a gendarme, he had always cherished a passion for France, its greatness, its history, its Christian roots – which he rediscovered through his conversion. In offering himself at the site of the hostage-taking, he was likely moved with passion by his heroism as an officer, since for him, to be a gendarme meant to protect. But he knew the extraordinary risk he was taking.

He also knew the promise of religious marriage that he made to Marielle, who already is civilly his spouse and whom he loves tenderly: I am a witness to that. So? Did he have the right to take such a risk? It seems to me that only his faith can explain the folly of the sacrifice which today has become the admiration of all. He knew, as Jesus said to us, that “no man has greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). He knew that if his life was beginning to belong to Marielle, it also belonged to God, to France, to his brethren in danger of death. I think that only a Christian faith motivated by charity could ask of him such a superhuman sacrifice.

I was able to be with him at the hospital at Carcassonne around 9:00 last night. The gendarmes and the doctors or nurses made it possible with remarkable consideration. He was alive but unconscious. I was able to give him the Sacrament of the Sick and the Apostolic Pardon for those in danger of death. Marielle made the responses for those beautiful liturgical rites. It was Passion Friday, just before the opening of Holy Week. I had just prayed the office of None and the Stations of the Cross for his intention. I asked the nursing staff if he might have a medal of Our Lady, that of Rue du Bac [the Miraculous Medal]. Understanding and professional, a nurse attached it at his shoulder.

Because he was unconscious, I was not able to marry them, as one article mistakenly has said. Arnaud will never have children according to the flesh, but I believe his striking heroism will inspire numerous imitators, ready to give themselves for France and her Christian joy.

* * *

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Thank You

As we continue our Advent preparation and near the feast of Christmas, my heart is filled with gratitude for so many things, including you, those who read my blog. I have not been able to post much over these past couple of years (when I was in Rome for further studies, I had a lot more “leisure”, alas), but the blog continues to have good traffic, and it is clear to me that the Lord is still guiding many people toward it to learn about the things I have posted or find answers to their questions.

Several of you have bought me books from my wish list, for which I am most grateful. Several of you have corresponded with me also, either through comments or through email. This blog is an outlet for my creativity and to hand on what I have learned. Often I am overwhelmed with my workload and the last thing I can think of is what to blog about; sometimes, things “bubble to the surface” and I feel moved to share in one way or another.

I am offering Mass this evening for all of my “followers” or readers, and your special intentions. Thank you!

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Sermon on Fatima

I took the time last night to listen to a great sermon by Fr. Thomas Dufner of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which Fr. Z had posted on his blog. Click here to listen to it:

> A strong sermon with food for thought

Fr. Dufner has a skill for synthesizing a wide range of topics and managing to touch upon practically all of our modern ills in the course of a few minutes, within a focused and well-composed homily. In the above-linked sermon, he speaks about the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady’s message, and its implications for us today. Well worth 18 minutes of your time.

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Images above Altars

I’ve been on my annual retreat this week, which I am making in a beloved city in Mexico. During this time I have been sharing some photos on social media. One, in particular, generated some comment:

The Shrine of the Congregation of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Some have wondered not only how there could be such a big Mexican flag above the altar, but also why there should be an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe directly above, with the large crucifix only on the side.

With regard to the Mexican flag, it is important to note that the national identity of many historically-Catholic nations is closely tied with a certain image of Our Lady. In Mexico, it’s Our Lady of Guadalupe, whom Mexicans consider their “Queen and Empress”. The inscription around the arch above the altar says “Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of Mexico, Pray for Your Nation”. Then, the tympanum immediately above the image has the quotation from Psalm 147: “Non fecit taliter omni nationi“, reminding us that it was because of Our Lady of Guadalupe — a singular grace from God not given to any other nation — that the Catholic faith took root in Mexico (and thus, in a real way, united the country).

The national identity of Poland, for example, is very closely connected with the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. There are other examples. In any case, this concept may be a bit challenging for those of us who are from a religiously and culturally diverse nation like the United States of America. In the case at hand, the flag in the sanctuary should not be viewed as a political statement, but as a prayer request to Our Lady to watch over the nation and keep it in the faith.

But what about this issue of having an image of Mary with no crucifix above the altar?

First of all, historically, there would have been a crucifix there as well. Notice that the tabernacle has a flat surface on top. When this was a proper high altar (the altar now has been disconnected from it), there would have been a crucifix on the tabernacle, which the priest would have gazed upon according to the rubrics at various points during the Mass. The people, of course, would have seen it also and thus been reminded of the sacrifice of Christ being celebrated on the altar.

In this case, the church was “re-ordered” at some point according to the “Spirit of Vatican II”, and so the altar was detached, Mass began to be celebrated facing the people, and thus there wasn’t as much need to keep a crucifix on top of the tabernacle (though it would still be a lovely thing to have there). Instead, they set up the large one which is on the left there. In the current legislation for the Mass we read:

308. Likewise, either on the altar or near it, there is to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, a cross clearly visible to the assembled people. It is desirable that such a cross should remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations, so as to call to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord.

So everything here is above board, even if, often, we are accustomed to seeing the crucifix in the center of the sanctuary and above the altar.

For cross-reference, take note of these other historic churches which had an image of something other than the crucifix prominently displayed above the altar – but with a smaller crucifix for priest and people to look upon still there as well.

First there is the Sistine Chapel, which we know has the incredible Last Judgment scene by Michelangelo frescoed on the entire wall behind the altar. But here is a shot of the atlar, with crucifix set up in front of this scene:

Photo taken by yours truly.

Then there is the famous high altar in Notre Dame de Paris, with the stunning pietà sculpture on it. But note in this photo that there is also a crucifix there:

By Abelmontf – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21389892

And finally, the chapel of Our Lady of Humility in the Casa Santa Maria residence in Rome (where most American priests who are in Rome for further studies live), with its image of Our Lady of Humility and other paintings prominently displayed above the altar — but if you look closely, there is a crucifix that surmounts the beautiful tabernacle:

Photo by yours truly.

There are countless other examples. The bottom line is: it’s perfectly fine, and quite customary actually, to have an image of a saint, of the Blessed Mother, or of Our Lord that is other than the crucifixion above the altar. But traditionally, there is a crucifix there as well. And if there is not a crucifix front-and-center, then it should still be displayed near the altar in a way that the faithful in attendance can see it.

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Why Do Some Sign Themselves during the Penitential Rite?

It is fairly common to see people making the sign of the cross when the priest says the words, “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.” Yet, that sign of the cross is not indicated in the rubrics of the Mass and never has been in the history of the Novus Ordo (i.e. since 1969). So where does it come from?

I believe that this is a carryover from the older form of the Mass — what we now call the Extraordinary Form. When the priest and servers (or deacons) are saying the “Prayers at the Foot of the Altar” in the old Mass, it is then that the “penitential rite” takes place. The priest recites the confiteor prayer (I Confess); then the servers or deacons do so. After they have done so, the priest says:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus et, dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam.

May almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and lead you to everlasting life. (The translation is slightly loose, to make it match up better with what we currently say.)

At that point, however, the priest and ministers do not make any gestures like signs of the cross. It is immediately after that they do so. The next thing the priest says is:

Indulgentiam, + absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

May the + almighty and merciful God grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.

It is while the priest is saying those last words that he signs himself.

The “Misereatur vestri” prayer was brought into the new Mass, but the one that immediately follows it, “Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem” was not. Yet — I opine — the gesture that accompanied it was. Not officially, but through popular piety. Many people remembered it and got in the habit of making the sign of the cross when the priest recited the so-called “absolution” in the new penitential rite.

So this gesture is not in the rubrics of the “new Mass”; it doesn’t even quite go with the prayer that it accompanies, historically speaking. But I would say that it is meaningful to many, and a harmless thing to do.

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Something You (Sometimes) See in Seminary Chapels

I’m visiting Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans at present, and noticed an interesting detail in their chapel. It is surely not an accident that there are four steps leading up to the main sanctuary level, then three steps from there up to the high altar. Here is a photo:

Traditionally, there were seven “steps” in the ordained hierarchy of the Church. A man was ordained into each of these steps. The first five steps (see list below) were sacramentals of the Church; the last two are part of the sacrament of Holy Orders.

The seven orders were/are:

  1. Porter
  2. Lector
  3. Exorcist
  4. Acolyte
  5. Subdeacon
  6. Deacon
  7. Priest

These were divided into two classes: minor orders (the first four) and major orders (the last three). In 1972, Pope Paul VI greatly simplified this traditional arrangement, clarifying that the sacrament of Holy Orders consisted of deacons, priests, and bishops; he effectively abolished the orders of porter, exorcist, and subdeacon; and he made lectors and acolytes “ministries” that men in the Church may receive. On Fr. Carota’s old blog (may he rest in peace), he has a more extensive explanation: click here.

Because of this hierarchical arrangement, which was of very ancient origin and use in the Church, it was not uncommon that seminary chapels had four steps leading up onto the main sanctuary level and then three more steps leading up to the high altar. The priest, deacon, and subdeacon (in a Solemn High Mass, at least) stood on those upper steps, ministering at the altar. Access to the sanctuary was limited only to those who were clergy (clerics); i.e. those who had received one of the steps or ranks listed above.

It some seminary chapels there are even the names of each rank engraved or appliqued onto the faces of the steps. Here is a photo I took about five years ago in the gorgeous main chapel of Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago:

If you click to enlarge you might be able to make out the names more clearly; they are inscribed in Latin, starting with Porter (Ostiarius) on the bottom step and leading up to Priest (Sacerdos) on the very top step in the back.

Of course, when these chapels were built there was not a detached “table” altar marooned in the middle of the sanctuary and interrupting the visual and liturgical flow.

Interestingly, although Pope Paul VI technically abolished the classic ranking of orders in 1972, it has never fully gone away, and probably cannot ever. The various traditional institutes (such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, and the Institute of the Good Shepherd) still confer all the minor and major orders on their members. I believe the Eastern Churches still maintain these rankings also. While it may not be a very high priority for the Holy Father or anyone in the Vatican to think about at present, it is plausible that the classic ranking could be brought back on a full scale some day. We will see.

In any case, the foregoing is an example of one of the many ways that our Catholic faith was built into our places of worship in the past. It is to be hoped that we all could re-appropriate these rich traditions of symbolism and start incorporating them anew in the churches we renovate or build.

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Is the daily Rosary a guarantee of heaven?

Are we guaranteed to go to heaven simply by praying the Rosary faithfully each day?

Depending on which quotations (prooftexts?) you read from the saints, you might be led to think that. Many publications quote such things precisely to encourage the frequent prayer of the Holy Rosary. And indeed, I think it is correct to say that if you pray the Rosary with a sincere heart, as part of a heartfelt life of devotion and loving service of God, it will certainly obtain for you many special graces, among which may be that of final perseverance. But be on guard against anyone who offers the daily Rosary as a talisman or magic formula!

While researching this topic, I came across a chapter of True Devotion to Mary that is very relevant to the question at hand:

Presumptuous devotees

97. Presumptuous  devotees are sinners who give full rein to their passions or their love of the world, and who, under the fair name of Christian and servant of our Lady, conceal pride, avarice, lust, drunkenness, anger, swearing, slandering, injustice and other vices. They sleep peacefully in their wicked habits, without making any great effort to correct them, believing that their devotion to our Lady gives them this sort of liberty. They convince themselves that God will forgive them, that they will not die without confession, that they will not be lost for all eternity. They take all this for granted because they say the Rosary, fast on Saturdays, are enrolled in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary or the Scapular, or a sodality of our Lady, wear the medal or the little chain of our Lady.

When you tell them that such a devotion is only an illusion of the devil and a dangerous presumption which may well ruin them, they refuse to believe you. God is good and merciful, they reply, and he has not made us to damn us. No man is without sin. We will not die without confession, and a good act of contrition at death is all that is needed.  Moreover, they say they have devotion to our Lady; that they wear the scapular; that they recite faithfully and humbly every day the seven Our Fathers and seven Hail Marys in her honour; that sometimes they even say the Rosary and the Office of our Lady, as well as fasting and performing other good works.

Blinding themselves still more, they quote stories they have heard or read – whether true or false does not bother them – which relate how people who had died in mortal sin were brought back to life again to go to confession, or how their soul was miraculously retained in their bodies until confession, because in their lifetime they said a few prayers or performed a few pious acts, in honour of our Lady. Others are supposed to have obtained from God at the moment of death, through the merciful intercession of the Blessed Virgin, sorrow and pardon for their sins, and so were saved. Accordingly, these people expect the same thing to happen to them.

98. Nothing in our Christian religion is so deserving of condemnation as this diabolical presumption. How can we truthfully claim to love and honour the Blessed Virgin when by our sins we pitilessly wound, pierce, crucify and outrage her Son? If Mary made it a rule to save by her mercy this sort of person, she would be condoning wickedness and helping to outrage and crucify her Son. Who would even dare to think of such a thing?

99. I declare that such an abuse of devotion to her is a horrible sacrilege and, next to an unworthy Communion, is the greatest and the least pardonable sin, because devotion to our Lady is the holiest and best after devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

I admit that to be truly devoted to our Lady, it is not absolutely necessary to be so holy as to avoid all sin, although this is desirable. But at least it is necessary (note what I am going to say), (1) to be genuinely determined to avoid at least all mortal sin, which outrages the Mother as well as the Son; (2) to practise self-restraint in order to avoid sin; (3) to join her confraternities, say the Rosary and other prayers, fast on Saturdays, and so on.

100.  Such means are surprisingly effective in converting even the hardened sinner. Should you be such a sinner, with one foot in the abyss, I advise you to do as I have said. But there is an essential condition. You must perform these good works solely to obtain from God, through the intercession of our Lady, the grace to regret your sins, obtain pardon for them and overcome your evil habits, and not to live complacently in the state of sin, disregarding the warning voice of conscience, the example of our Lord and the saints, and the teaching of the holy gospel. (Source)

The daily Rosary? Yes! But as true devotees – not as presumptuous servants!

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Prayers Please

I would sure appreciate any prayers you can spare for two special intentions. Thank you!

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Walking the Road to God

A kind reader sent me a book called Walking the Road to God that I had had on my wish list. The author, Father Lawrence Carney, went to the same seminary as me, a year ahead of me. I remember him well as a seminarian (though I haven’t seen him since) – and I recall how I was edified by his simplicity of life and strong faith. He is the real deal. So when I heard about his book and the interesting new endeavor that he is pursuing, I was glad to learn more about it.

Father Carney was ordained a diocesan priest in Wichita, Kansas, but in recent years has been chaplain for the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Gower, Missouri (with the permission of his bishop). Each day, after fulfilling his duties to them, he goes and walks the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri, wearing his cassock and a Roman hat called a “saturno”. While walking he carries a crucifix and a rosary, while praying for the souls who will see him and talk to him along the way. The book that he wrote documents many of his experiences in this rather unique apostolate.

Jim & Joy Pinto recently had Father Carney on their show, At Home with Jim & Joy, and I recommend that in addition to considering Father’s book, you also take the time to watch this interview:

In the interview, Father talks about how he wishes to start a religious order of priests who will offer beautiful liturgy in the city and then walk the streets to draw people to God. They will be called the Canons Regular of St. Martin of Tours. Unfortunately there is no mailing address provided for Father, but they do give his email: frcarney@gmail.com.

Take a look at his book, at this interview, and consider supporting Father Carney in his work! I also recommend that you get this book for priests and seminarians you know.

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