Posts Tagged With: Meditations

Pro Multis: For All or For Many?

Can you believe it’s almost been a year since we started the new translation of the Mass? “And with your spirit!” I was so distressed when we first began because I had just gotten the hang of the old translation. I even had the creed down by heart. Now, I’m pretty much in step with the new translation, but I couldn’t say the creed to save my life! I keep meaning to sit down with it and go over it one bite at a time, but, well,….I haven’t!

I’m so very glad for the new translation. It has given us a far more robust liturgy and forced us to think about the words we are saying instead of just going on autopilot. For your pleasure, some highlights of the new translation and my scattered thoughts on them.

Mea Culpa!

Quite possibly my favorite change of the Mass is the Penitential Rite. For those of you who don’t know/don’t remember, it went from this…

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

To the much more penitential…

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

It’s like the most divine poetry! “I have greatly sinned!….through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!” {exclamation points added at the full discretion of the convert} Far, far better than “I have sinned through my own fault,” don’t you think? However, when one ponders the original latin…

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátæ Maríæ semper Vírgini, beáto Michǽli Archángelo, beáto Ioánni Baptístæ, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Páulo, ómnibus Sanctis, et vobis, fratres: quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo, et ópere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Virginem, beátum Michǽlem Archángelum, beátum Ioánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Páulum, omnes Sanctos, et vos, fratres, oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.

…one does have to wonder if the original translators were phoning it in the day they translated “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa” to “my bad.”

The same logic must have applied when translating “Et cum spiritu tuo” to “Right back atcha.”

I’m Not Worthy!

In Communion, there’s just something about “Behold the Lamb of God!” It demands our attention so much more urgently than merely stating “This is the Lamb of God.” Behold! Look! See! This is the one who takes away the sins of the world! Drop what you’re doing and behold! Also, saying “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” doesn’t quite inspire the same kind of deep contemplation as “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.” My dwelling place is not worthy of Your presence and yet You have chosen to make me Your dwelling place? Lord, I’m not worthy! But in a word, He can heal, not only this broken, disposable body of mine, but my eternal soul. In a word! I’m not worthy, Lord!

For All or For Many?

I’ve gotten carried away, I’m afraid, and nearly forgotten why I started this post in the first place. Perseverance is about to pay off for you, dear reader, because you’ve just read an inexcusably long introduction to a much better post!

One of the changes in the mass that has stood out to me like a sore thumb is during the Consecration of the Eucharist. Of course, I could have done some research, or even just, I don’t know, read one of the many guides to the new translation of the Mass I bought/was given. Instead, I just waited around until the ever insightful Dr. Taylor Marshall proactively explained it all.

I am, of course, referring to the change from this…

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.  It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.  Do this in memory of me.

…to this…

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. 

Specifically the change from “for all” to “for many.” Dr. Marshall, as always, goes into great detail on his blog. The difference is chilling, even a year later.

It’s not “for all,” it’s “for many.” All won’t be saved. We must testify, we must pray for the souls of those who reject Christ. It’s only a difference of a single word, but there is an endless chasm between the two.

 

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Meditating on the Beatitudes: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

This is the third in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. –Matthew 11:29

Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke. –Matthew 21:5

But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4

“I’m going to make sure they know they can’t treat me like this!”

“They aren’t going to push me around like this anymore!”

“I’m going to tell them that this is how it’s going to have to be….or else!”

Such are the inner ramblings of Rebecca. That’s how our society trains us to be, isn’t it? Assert yourself, stand up for yourself, and don’t be submissive. That would make you a doormat. You don’t want to be a doormat, do you?

I get so frustrated at work. Sometimes I think that if you come into work every day with diligence and dedication, you’re just setting yourself up to be taken advantage of. I took a vacation last month and was out of work for two weeks. When I came back, The CellPhone Store was a mess. The demo phones hadn’t been cleared or checked. Some of them weren’t even charged in the two weeks I was gone. The daily sales paperwork was a mess every day. All the little things I did every day hadn’t been done. So, right off the back, I’ve got lots of catching up to do. And yet there were employees at the store every day I was gone, getting paid, but not keeping things up around the store.

“You’re going to have to let everyone know that I’m not the only one getting paid around here!” I shouted at my boss. “I know exactly what they were thinking when they left all those messes–‘Whatever, Rebecca will clean it up.’ Well, not anymore!” I was determined to set things straight. I wasn’t some spineless wimp who was going to clean up after everyone.

Then, I remember, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.”

What does it mean to be meek? It’s not just about submitting my will to others. It means to submit myself to God’s will. To know that whatever happens, His will will overcome. These little trifles don’t matter. In the moment, I get so upset, but even if I am picking up the slack for everyone else at work, what does it really hurt? I’m here to work, and to serve my bosses as if I were serving God. What impact does this have on eternity? Because that’s where my eyes should be, on the eternal. The impact will either be my co-workers seeing that I serve without complaint, that I place others first, or that I wear a crucifix on my neck and spew venom when I don’t get my way. What’s more important? Standing up for myself or putting others before myself as a tiny little sacrifice to show them God’s love?

Why do I want my way? We are so slow at work during the day that there’s plenty of time for me to take care of odds and ends around the store. Even if I take care of everything, I’ll still have time here and there to get online and goof off. When I stop and think about it, I’m not being dealt such an unfair hand. I have a job after all, and bring in money to keep us fed. Getting worked up and angry never helps. Forcing someone else to bend to my will never creates respect or love. When I let my hot temper get the better of me, I never look back and remember how it was the best solution possible, I think of how ashamed I am that I let anger dictate my actions. I’m just so hot-headed, I don’t have it in me to be meek and gentle when things get bad.

Once again, God demands something from me and I don’t have it in me. So I’ll have to ask for grace again.

Lord, help me to be meek, to place others before myself. Keep me from thinking so much of myself. Help me to serve.

 

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Meditating on the Beatitudes: Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

This is the second in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted.

I’ve got to admit, I wanted to have this up two days ago. However, I ended up typing out the Beatitude, staring at it, and wondering: what’s so great about mourning? I kept thinking about Aunt Sarah’s funeral. We kept saying it was wonderful that she was finally with God, at rest. Why is mourning a blessing?

So, I took advantage of a great technological advancement (which I highly recommend). I pulled up the Bible online and searched for the word “mourn.” I think this is a great way to get more information on a topic because you can literally see every instance the word is mentioned in the Bible. I know that sometimes a particular word isn’t used, so it’s not a definitive topical resource, but it’s pretty awesome!

For the word “mourn,” the #3 result was quite enlightening…

And the Lord said to Samuel: How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? –1 Samuel 16:1a

Ah-ha! I kept thinking of mourning as being about death. However, what if mourning isn’t about death, but about loss and love?

Samuel didn’t mourn because Saul was dead (he wasn’t), he mourned because he loved Saul. He believed in Saul’s ability to lead Israel as God’s chosen King. However, because  Saul chose to defy God, Saul was lost to Samuel. Samuel saw someone he loved turn his back on God. He watched Saul’s life spiral out of control.

Sound familiar? I’ve watched people I love deny God, renounce their faith, turn to drugs, consume themselves with chasing after wealth and other pleasures. As we go down separate paths, my heart aches. I mourn.

To mourn a loss, you have to love. There are no two ways about it. I certainly don’t mourn the loss of the job I hated or the apartment that was too small. Not all loss is mourned. It’s only when we are attached to someone that we mourn their exit from our lives, in whatever form that exit takes. When we mourn, it means we opened ourselves up, loved someone, believed in their potential, wanted the very best for them. We mourn because we’ve lost someone we held close to our heart.

This is why those who mourn are blessed. Because they have loved and hoped and believed despite the fact that the one they held so dear could and would be lost. You can never really lose what you haven’t loved. For those who open their hearts up, dare to love, see the best and greatest in another, even though they know they could very possibly be cast aside; when the one they loved and believed in chooses to walk away, they will be comforted.

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Meditating on the Beatitudes: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

This is the first in a series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What does it mean to be poor in spirit? I’ve been thinking a lot about poverty and extravagance. Sts Clare and Francis seem to be helping me along in my journey. I hear a lot of churches preaching the gospel of “health and wealth” but I find it difficult to believe that God would have us so consumed with something as uninspired as money.

In the rosary meditation, The Rosary is a PlaceFr. Groschel reminds us during the 3rd Joyful Mystery that God chose for His Son to be born poor, and to remain poor for His entire life. Jesus was born with the barest of necessities on hand. Throughout His ministry, He carried nothing with Him. He had no great home or carriage. Jesus lived in the lowest poverty. When Jesus preformed great miracles to feed the multitudes, did He provide an extravagant feast? No, simple fish and loaves. The example we were given is a simple life without extravagance.

Most of us remember the parable of the sower:

The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. –Luke 8:5-8a

Something remarkable about this passage is that there is no judgement made about the seed itself. There is no good seed, no bad seed. All of the seed is the same stock, out of the same bag. It’s where the seed lands that determines its fruitfulness. Bad seed? No such thing. The problem is bad soil.

The meaning of this parable isn’t left up to interpretation. Jesus spells out exactly what each fate represents. I want to draw your attention in particular to the seed that fell among thorns:

And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. –Luke 8:14

The seed that fell among thorns is not merely distracted by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, they are choked. This is why we fast, to distance ourselves from excess and overindulgence so to we might breathe. It is not evil to be comfortable or to have money, but to make this the cornerstone of one’s life is, to use the words of our Savior, to plant yourself among thorns.

For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition. For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.   –1 Timothy 6:9-10

I don’t know how so many of our flock have the notion that God wants nothing more than to stuff our checking accounts. Don’t get me wrong, God will provide for our every need, to be sure. However, it is the idea that God’s will for us is wealth that I take issue with. This idea is treacherous. It creates an idea that we should seek money instead of the Kingdom of God. This is a very grave lie. If our lives are caught up in seeking wealth, we are not seeking after God.

Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul.  –St. Anthony of Padua  

Letting go of the things that seem to give us comfort, gives us no choice to to fly into the arms of Christ for our comfort. Giving up the things of this world reminds us of the things our souls truly long for. It’s so easy, so dreadfully easy to get caught up in chasing after things that pass away. Oh, I wish I had a nicer car, I wish I had a nicer house, I wish I had a newer wardrobe, I must have new shoes, I’ve got to get a bigger diamond, I want, I wish, I need, I must! These are the things that feed “self” but starve the soul.

And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.   –Luke 9:23

Today, rather than going to God with a list of what I must have here on earth, perhaps I can ask God to give me what I need for Heaven and nothing more. Today, rather than tying myself to the earth chasing after things that will rot and choke, I will spend time just being with God and not asking for anything but the grace to live with less.

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