So run that you may obtain

Brethren, know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty; I so fight, not as one beating the air: but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all in Moses were baptized; in the cloud and in the sea; and all did eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the same spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ). But with the most of them God was not well pleased.

Epistle for Septuagesima Sunday, 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5; quoted from The Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance).

I have heard this reading a hundred times but its meaning finally became clear to me today at Mass. In short, St. Paul is saying that although we’re all members of Christ’s Church, that’s not enough. All of the Israelites walked through the Red Sea when it parted, nevertheless most of them were not pleasing to God. They were grumblers and complainers and turned to idolatry at the first opportunity. Most of us Catholics do not please God. We need to be not merely “in the race,” but run as if to win it. Not merely be in the Church, but be among the few in the Church with whom God is well pleased.

And how do we run as if to win the race? By chastising our bodies and bringing them into submission, just as an athlete disciplines his body by training hard and restricting his diet.

Mass roundup

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Holy Thursday commemorates not only the beginning of Jesus’ Passion, but also the institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In recognition of Holy Thursday, then, here is a roundup of past posts concerning the Mass:

Nothing if not a sacrifice

The Mass saves

What is the point of Communion?

Manners and the Mass

Manners and the Mass, Part 2

How Jesus saves us

Bid these offerings be brought by thy holy angel

My prayer be an incense offering

Draw near in obedience

The Mass in literature, Part 1

The Mass in literature, Part 2

The Mass in literature, Part 3

Agnus Dei

Asperges me, Domine

And with regard to Jesus’ washing of the feet, which also is commemorated on Holy Thursday:

Serve as I have served you

A blessed Holy Triduum to all!

Christian warfare

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GRANT US, O Lord, to enter upon the duties of our Christian warfare with holy fasts, that, being about to fight against the spirits of wickedness, we may be fortified by the help of self-denial. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Ash Wednesday, The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

They did eat, and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved.

Communion Antiphon for Quinquagesima Sunday (Ps. 77:29-30), The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

Merry Christmas

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As we look forward, O Lord,
to the coming festivities,
may we serve you all the more eagerly
for knowing that in them
you make manifest the beginnings of our redemption.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Roman Missal, Offertory for the Vigil of Christmas.

Sing we now of Christmas,
Noel, sing we here!
Hear our grateful praises
to the babe so dear.
Sing we Noel, the King is born, Noel, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we now Noel!

“Sing We Now of Christmas”, French Traditional.

Come butler, come fill us a bowl of the best,
Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest.
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small,
To the devil go butler, bowl and all!

“Wassail! Wassail! All Over the Town”, English Traditional.

Agnus Dei

I think this melody for the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God, from the traditional Latin Mass, is particularly beautiful:

The text in English:

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Of shunning and forgiveness

In my Latin-English missal from 1956, the Gospel for today is Matthew 18:15-22:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

Gospel for Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent, The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

In the new Missal, the Gospel for today begins with verse 21 and goes through verse 35, in order to associate the idea of forgiving your brother 490 times with the parable of the unforgiving servant (“‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’”). Which makes sense.

But I very much like the combination of confronting your brother with his sin, and having nothing more to do with him if he refuses to listen not only to you, but even to the Church; with forgiving your brother virtually an unlimited number of times. The fact that Jesus addresses these two issues one right after another, is a good underscore to the fact that there is no conflict between the two: Don’t tolerate unrepented sin in the Church, but also be ready to forgive sin at the drop of a hat.

The Church welcomes sinners, not because it tolerates sin, but for the purpose of bringing them to repentance. According to Jesus those who refuse to repent should be to us “as a Gentile and a tax collector”. But those who do repent, like the Prodigal Son should be welcomed back with open arms, not once, not twice, but as many times as they choose to return.

Please help Richard Sullivan follow God’s call by donating to his fundraiser HERE

Deliver me by Thy most sacred Body

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O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God: Who by the will of the Father, with the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, hast by Thy death given life to the world, deliver me by this Thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil. Make me always cling to Thy commands, and never permit me to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen.

Prayer for Fidelity, The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

Calicem salutaris

“What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given me? I will take the Chalice of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising will I call upon the Lord and I shall be saved from my enemies.

“May the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep my soul unto life everlasting. Amen.”

The Priest’s Communion, The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.

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My prayer be an incense offering

My prayer be an incense offering in Thy sight, my uplifted hands, as an evening sacrifice. Set, O Lord, a watch over my mouth, and a guard over the door of my lips. Permit not my heart to turn to evil, seeking pretexts for wickedness, with men who work iniquity. (Incensations of Offerings.)

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Behold the Bread of Angels,
made the Food of wayfarers,
Truly the bread of children,
not to be given to the dogs.

O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God: Who by the will of the Father, with the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, has by Thy death given life to the world, deliver me by this Thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my sins and from every evil. Make me always cling to Thy commands, and never permit me to be separated from Thee. Who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen. (Prayer For Fidelity.)

Quoted from The New Roman Missal (Fr. Lasance), 1956.