Sunday, September 09, 2007

Doc Majic: Larry Alan Barnes


Larry Alan Barnes, 56, Stillwater, died in his home Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2007. A memorial service will be Saturday at 2 p.m. in the First Baptist Church, Seventh and Duncan, with Dr. Tim Walker officiating.

He was born Dec. 1, 1950, in the Stillwater Municipal Hospital. He attended the First Baptist Church with his family, and at age eight, accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and was baptized by the Rev. Richard Peterson.

He began school at the age of four in the pre-school and kindergarten program of the home economics department at Oklahoma A. & M. College. He attended Westwood and Will Rogers Elementary schools, was a Cub Scout and later a member of Boy Scouts Troop 20 at the First Presbyterian Church. He attended junior high and high school where he was first chair clarinet in both the concert and marching bands. He played the electric organ in a band during his high school years called “The Evolutions.” He lettered in golf and was a varsity scholar at C.E. Donart High School.

He was a member of the National Honor Society and won the Outstanding Electronics Award given by the U.S. Air Force at the 1967 Regional Science Fair for the Van de Graaff Generator he constructed. He graduated from C. E. Donart High School in May of 1969 and attended Oklahoma State University from 1969 to 1972 where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He later graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., with a bachelor’s degree in science. He then moved to Portland, Ore., where he attended Western States Chiropractic College and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a doctorate chiropractic degree.

He moved to southeastern Colorado, a state he dearly loved, where he opened his chiropractic office. He later practiced in Lees Summit, Mo., where he became involved with prayer counseling in his church.

His hobbies, other than music, were racquetball, gardening, cooking and antique furniture. He was an avid fan of the Denver Broncos and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. He moved back to Stillwater in 2005 to be near his family. He loved animals, especially his little dog “Yoda”.

He was serious by nature, but enjoyed teasing his sister, Bev; brother, Rob and nephews and friends. He was a loving, compassionate son, brother, uncle and friend, and he will be truly missed by all.

He was predeceased by paternal grandparents, Jesse Clyde and Lillie Lawless Barnes of Stillwater and maternal grandparents, Charles O. and Jennie Stephens Nuckolls of Tulsa.

He is survived by his parents, Bob and Betty Barnes; sister, Beverly Campbell and her husband, Jim; a brother, Robert Warren “Rob” Barnes and friend, Molly Stebens, and her daughter, Kimberly; nephews, Bryce Campbell, Scott Campbell and wife, Cambria, and their daughter, Callie Grace and Todd Campbell and wife, Autumn, all of Stillwater; cousins, Debbie Garden, Steve and Jackie Nuckolls, Mark and Dovie Nuckolls and their families, all of Tulsa and numerous other cousins and friends.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Youth Fund in the First Baptist Church, CASA or any organization which benefits children.

Goodbye Doc. We mourn losing you, but we celebrate your life and your afterlife in Christ.

CASA for Kids

Address: 315 West 6th, Suite 205Stillwater, OK 74074
Contact: Mikki Couch (Executive Director)
Phone:(405) 624-2242
Fax:(405) 624-2250
Preferred Partner: National CASA
Interest Area: Children & Youth, Crisis Support

Monday, May 14, 2007

The mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle; when 24 hours in a day are not enough; remember THE MAYONNAISE JAR AND TWO CUPS OF COFFEE:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The
students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like
your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

So...Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Play With your children. Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. "Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Bodhicea, thanks for sharing this!

Friday, April 13, 2007

It is not all about you!


“We live in a society where individual ego is at the forefront.” Does that quote sound familiar to you? It should, if you pay attention to the Geico “caveman” commercials. I have found it to be rather ironic in hidden truth.

All too often, we place more significance on our own egotistical needs. Our belief system is the only true one. Our race or class is the only one that should benefit from public attention. Our own learning far exceeds other’s learning. Our misfortunes are far worse than our neighbors.

I do not feel this egotistical bent has enhances our society. I see it as a carryover from the “Me First!” generation. Their tender childrearing (insert sarcastic rolling of the eyes here) has left us with adults who are spoiled, selfish, narcissistic jerks with nothing better to do in life than gain material goods while throwing away anything that seems unwanted or broken.

Disposable marriages, disposable friendships, disposable jobs – let’s recycle it all and acquire something new. Time-honored traditions are worthless to such persons. Surly if the Christ were a modern American, he would have appointed an underling to take his place on the cross. After all, what’s in it for Him?

When it comes to chat rooms or other “socializing places of interest”: please remember that you are not the most important thing in the world. You are not entitled to anything. Even your salvation is a gift from God and not an entitlement. We (you and I) do not deserve it. We did nothing to earn such a gift. It is freely given out of love.

You are also not entitled to have the whole world hang on your every word. In the grand scheme of things, your opinions matter little to an all-powerful God. Your actions and your treatment of the sacredness of His Word (your Holy bible) will determine your outcome. Do you plant seeds or do you burn fields in your own self-righteous angry wake?

The man who mocks deserves mocking in return.
The man who attacks deserves to be attacked.
The man who damns has only his own damnation to face.
~ but ~
The man who forgives needs never dwell on past harms, as he has pardoned them.
The man who praises God never stops to collect his own praises.
The man who loves deserves to be loved.

Americans are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are not entitled to take the lives of others, remove the liberties of others, or take away the happiness of others. To do so is selfish and egotistical.

Live and let live. Do no harm. Let go and let God. Get over yourself: it is not all about YOUUUUU.

~ Autrice

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mass Part 1: What is mass?


I've had several folks ask me about Mass... so here is a brief overview of what it is, why we celebrate it, and what books or instruction we use. Instead of pulling up documents that are heavily laden with terms that most nonCatholics won't understand, I used Wikipedia:

Mass is the term used to describe celebration of the Eucharist in the Western liturgical rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The term is derived from the late-Latin word missa (dismissal), a word used in the concluding formula of Mass in Latin: "Ite, missa est" ("Go, it is the dismissal") For the celebration of the Eucharist in Eastern Churches, including those in full communion with the Holy See of Rome, other terms, such as the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Qurbana, and the Badarak are normally used.

Council of Trent reaffirmed traditional Christian teaching that the Mass is the same Sacrifice of Calvary offered in an unbloody manner: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner... this sacrifice is truly propitiatory" (Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio, c. 2, quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1367). The Council declared that Jesus instituted the Mass at his Last Supper: "He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught."

The Roman Catholic Church sees the Mass as the most perfect way it has to offer latria (adoration) to God. It is also Catholic belief that in objective reality, not merely symbolically, the wheaten bread and grape wine are converted into Christ's body and blood, a conversion referred to as transubstantiation, so that the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity, is truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the Eucharist

The Roman Missal contains the prayers and rubrics of the Mass. Before the 1970 revision of the Roman rite of Mass (see
Mass of Paul VI), the Missal contained not only the prayers of the Mass itself, with the prayers for each day of the calendar, but also the scriptural readings for each day.

In the United States and Canada, the English translation of the Roman Missal is at present called the

Lectionary presents passages from the Bible arranged in the order for reading at each day's Mass. Compared with the scripture readings in the pre-1970 Missal, the modern Lectionary contains a much wider variety of passages.
A Book of the Gospels called the Evangelary is recommended for the reading from the Gospels, but the Lectionary may be used in its place.

Time of Celebration of Mass
Before the liturgical reforms of
Pope Pius XII from 1951 to 1955, it was forbidden, except for Midnight Mass on Christmas night, to begin Mass more than one hour before dawn or more than one hour after midday. In the Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus (1953) and the Motu Propio Sacram Communionem (1957) Pius XII permitted the celebration of Mass at other times. There are no longer any time limits. Furthermore, since the Second Vatican Council, the time for fulfilling the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation now begins on the evening of the day before (in theory, after First Vespers), and most parish churches do celebrate the Sunday Mass also on Saturday evening. By long tradition and liturgical law, Mass is not celebrated at any time on Good Friday (but Holy Communion is, since the reform of Pope Pius XII, distributed to those participating in the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord with hosts consecrated at the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday) or on Holy Saturday before the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

In addition, before Pope Pius XII, the Eucharistic Fast (to which the priest too was bound) extended from the midnight before Mass was celebrated, thus making it impractical to celebrate Mass much after noon anyway. Pius XII reduced the fast from food and alcohol to three hours, reduced the fast from non-alcoholic beverages to one hour, and excluded water from fast regulations. Pope Paul VI in 1964 reduced the fast to one hour before receiving communion.

Priests and bishops are required, from the time of their ordination as deacons, to celebrate the
Liturgy of the Hours daily, but are not obliged to celebrate Mass daily. "Apart from those cases in which the law allows him to celebrate or concelebrate the Eucharist a number of times on the same day, a priest may not celebrate more than once a day" (canon 905 of the Code of Canon Law), and "a priest may not celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so" (canon 906).

Priests may be required by their posts to celebrate Mass daily, or at least on Sundays, for the faithful in their pastoral care. The bishop of a diocese and the pastor of a parish are required to celebrate or arrange for another priest to celebrate, on every Sunday or
Holy Day of Obligation, a Mass "pro populo" - that is, for the faithful entrusted to his care.

For Latin-Rite priests, there are a few general exceptions to the limitation to celebrate only one Mass a day (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 204). By very ancient tradition, they may celebrate Mass three times at Christmas (the Midnight Mass or "Shepherd's Mass", the Dawn Mass and the Day Mass, each of which has its own readings and chants).

On All Souls' Day they may also, on the basis of a privilege to all priests by
Pope Benedict XV in August 1915, celebrate Mass three times, but not immediately one after the other; only one of the three Masses may be for the personal intentions of the priest, while the other two Masses must be applied, one for all the faithful departed, the other for the intentions of the Pope. A priest who has concelebrated the Chrism Mass, which may be held on the morning of Holy Thursday, may also celebrate or concelebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper that evening. A priest may celebrate or concelebrate both the Mass of the Easter Vigil and Mass during Easter day (the Easter Vigil "should not begin before nightfall; it should end before daybreak on Sunday"; and may therefore take place at midnight or in the early hours of Easter morning). Finally, a priest who has concelebrated Mass at a meeting of priests or during a pastoral visitation by a bishop or a bishop's delegate, may celebrate a second Mass for the benefit of the laity.

In addition to these general permissions, the Local Ordinary may, for a good reason, permit priests to celebrate twice (they are then said to "binate," and the act is "bination") on weekdays, and three times ("trinate," and "trination") on Sundays and Holy Days (canon 905 §2). Examples would be: if a parish priest were to need to celebrate the usual, scheduled daily Mass of a parish, and a funeral later in the morning, or three Masses to accommodate all of the parishioners in a very populous parish on Sundays. In particularly difficult circumstances, the Pope can grant the diocesan bishop permission to give his priests faculties to trinate on weekdays and quadrinate on Sundays.
In many countries, the bishop's power to permit bination and trination is widely availed of, so that it is common for priests assigned to parish ministry to celebrate at least two Masses on any given Sunday, and two Masses on several other days of the week. Permission for quadrination has been obtained in order to cope with large numbers of Catholics either in mission lands or where the ranks of priests are diminishing.

Special Masses

Nuptial Mass and other Ritual Masses
A Nuptial Mass is simply a Mass within which the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is celebrated. Other sacraments too are celebrated within Mass. This is necessarily so for the sacrament of Orders, and is normal, though not obligatory, for the sacrament of Confirmation, as well as that of Holy Matrimony. Unless the date chosen is that of a major liturgical feast, the prayers are taken from the section of the
Roman Missal headed "Ritual Masses". This section has special texts for the celebration within Mass of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Orders, and Holy Matrimony, leaving Confession (Penance or Reconciliation) as the only sacrament not celebrated within a celebration of the Eucharist. There are also texts for celebrating within Mass, Religious Profession, the Dedication of a Church, and several other rites.

If one of a couple being married in a Catholic church is not a Catholic, the rite of Holy Matrimony outside Mass is to be followed. However, if the non-Catholic has been baptized in the name of all three persons of the
Trinity (and not only in the name of, say, Jesus, as is the baptismal practice in some branches of Christianity), then, in exceptional cases and provided the bishop of the diocese gives permission, it may be considered suitable to celebrate the marriage within a Mass, except that, according to the general law, Communion is not given to the non-Catholic (Rite of Marriage, 8).

Mass Part 2: What goes on during Mass?


Structure of the present form of the Roman Rite of Mass

(For earlier forms, see
Pre-Tridentine Mass and Tridentine Mass.)
Within the fixed structure outlined below, the Scripture readings, the antiphons sung or recited during the entrance procession or communion, and the texts of the three prayers known as the collect, the prayer over the gifts, and the postcommunion prayer vary each day according to the liturgical season, the feast days of titles or events in the life of Christ, the feast days and commemorations of the saints, or for Masses for particular circumstances (e.g., funeral Masses, Masses for the celebration of Confirmation, Masses for peace, to begin the academic year, etc.).

Pre-Mass procedures
A bowl of
holy water is kept near each entrance to the church. As parishioners enter, they dip their fingers into the water and then make a sign of the cross. This action reminds participants that through baptism they have become members of the Church. Following this, it is customary to genuflect or bow by the side of a pew in the direction of the tabernacle holding the Blessed Sacrament (consecrated Eucharist) before sitting or kneeling, and taking time to recollect thoughts before entering into the sacred action of the Mass. If the Blessed Sacrament is not present in the sanctuary, it is not necessary or customary to genuflect.

Introductory rites
After an entrance hymn or the recitation of an antiphon, Mass begins with all making the large
Sign of the Cross (the fingertips of the right hand touch in sequence the forehead, breast, left shoulder and right shoulder), while the priest says the Trinitarian formula, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", to which the people answer: "Amen." Then the priest "signifies the presence of the Lord to the community gathered there by means of the Greeting. By this Greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 50). The greetings are derived from the beginnings of the Pauline epistles.

Then the priest invites those present to take part in the
Act of Penitence, of which the Missal proposes three forms, the first of which is the Confiteor. This is concluded with the priest's prayer of absolution, "which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance" (GIRM 51). "On Sundays, especially in the Season of Easter, in place of the customary Act of Penitence, from time to time the blessing and sprinkling of water to recall Baptism may take place" (GIRM 51).

"After the Act of Penitence, the
Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is ordinarily done by all, that is, by the people and with the choir or cantor having a part in it" (GIRM 52).

Gloria in Excelsis Deo is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. ... It is sung or said on Sundays outside the Seasons of Advent and Lent, on solemnities and feasts, and at special celebrations of a more solemn character" (GIRM 53). In accordance with that rule, the Gloria is omitted at funerals and is considered optional at weddings. It is also omitted for ordinary feast-days of saints, weekdays, and Votive Masses. It is also optional, in line with the perceived degree of solemnity of the occasion, at Ritual Masses such as those celebrated for Marriage("Nuptial Mass"), Confirmation or Religious Profession, at Masses on the Anniversary of Marriage or Religious Profession, and at Masses for Various Needs and Occasions.

"Next the priest invites the people to pray. All, together with the priest, observe a brief silence so that they may be conscious of the fact that they are in God’s presence and may formulate their petitions mentally. Then the priest says the prayer which is customarily known as the
Collect and through which the character of the celebration is expressed" (GIRM 54).

The Liturgy of the Word
On Sundays and solemnities, three Scripture readings are given. On other days there are only two. If there are three readings, the first, except during
Eastertide, is from the Old Testament (a term wider than Hebrew Scriptures, since it includes the Deuterocanonical Books), and the second is from the New Testament, reserving for the final reading a passage from one of the Gospels.

lector who proclaims the one or two readings that precede the Gospel reading begins each with the phrase "A reading from ..." (e.g. "A reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians") and, if following the Roman Missal and a Lectionary that is faithful to it, concludes the reading with "This is the Word of the Lord." (Some Lectionaries give instead: "The Word of the Lord.") The congregation responds: "Thanks be to God."

The first reading is followed by a
Responsorial Psalm, a complete Psalm or a sizeable portion of one. A cantor, a choir or a lector leads, and the congregation sings or recites a refrain.

On certain occasions, a sequence is sung or recited, normally by a deacon, but in other cases by another appropriate minister. Then, before the Gospel reading, the congregation rises and sings the
Alleluia or, in Lent, a less joyful acclamation, such as "Praise and honor to you, Lord Jesus Christ", and remains standing during the Gospel procession (if there is one)and the reading of the Gospel. If the acclamation is not sung, it may be omitted, but most often it is in fact recited. The Gospel is read by a deacon or, if none is available, by a priest; never by a lay person. Before reading the Gospel, a deacon asks for the priest's blessing. A priest asks for the blessing of a bishop, if a bishop is celebrating the Mass; otherwise, he bows to the altar and says a silent preparatory prayer. Then the deacon or priest gives the liturgical greeting, "The Lord be with you", to which the people respond: "And also with you." The Gospel reading is then preceded by the phrase, "A reading from the Holy Gospel according to (the name of the evangelist)", to which the congregation responds: "Glory to you, Lord." At the same time, all trace a small cross on forehead, lips, and breast. If incense is used, the Book of the Gospels is then incensed. To conclude the Gospel reading, the priest or deacon proclaims: "This is the Gospel of the Lord" (again, Evangelaries not in harmony with the Missal give: "The Gospel of the Lord."), and the congregation responds: "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ." The priest or deacon then kisses the book, saying inaudibly: "May the words of the gospel wipe away our sins." If a bishop is the presider, the Gospel Book may be taken to the bishop to kiss, saying the same prayer. The bishop may then impart a blessing to the assembly with the book.

A bishop, priest or deacon may then give a homily, a
sermon that draws upon some aspect of the readings or the liturgy of the day. The homily is obligatory on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and is highly encouraged for other days.

On Sundays and solemnities, all then profess their Christian faith by reciting or singing a creed. Traditionally the
Nicene Creed is used at Mass, but since the promulgation of the 2002 edition of the Roman Missal, the Apostles' Creed may be used instead, especially, since it was originally a baptismal creed, during Eastertide. It is also common for the Apostles' Creed, which is the shorter of the two, to be used in Masses with a high proportion of children.

The Liturgy of the Word concludes with the General
Intercessions or "Prayers of the Faithful." The priest speaks a general introduction, then a deacon or someone else, even a lay person, presents some intentions for prayer, to which the congregation responds with a very short prayer such as: "Lord hear our prayer", and finally the priest says a concluding prayer.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Eucharistic Liturgy begins when bread and wine are brought to the
altar, either in a procession or simply from a nearby credence. The unleavened wheaten bread is placed on a paten, and the grape wine, mixed with a little water, is put in a chalice. A linen corporal is spread over the centre of the altar and, as the priest places, first the bread, and then the wine, on the corporal, he says a silent prayer over each individually. If this rite is unaccompanied by singing, he is permitted to say these two prayers aloud, in which case the congregation responds each time: "Blessed be God forever." Then the priest washes his hands, to signify the need for purity on the part of those approaching the central part of Mass.

The congregation, which has been seated during this preparatory rite, rises, and the priest gives an exhortation to pray: "Pray, brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father." The congregation responds: "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his Church." The priest then pronounces the variable prayer over the gifts that have been set aside.

The Eucharistic Prayer then begins with a dialogue between priest and people. This dialogue opens with the normal liturgical greeting, but in view of the special solemnity of the rite now beginning, the priest then exhorts the people: "Lift up your hearts." The people respond with: "We lift them up to the Lord." The priest then introduces the great theme of the Eucharist, a word originating in the Greek word for giving thanks: "Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God," he says. The congregation joins in this sentiment, saying: "It is right to give him thanks and praise."

The priest then continues with one of many Eucharistic Prayer prefaces, which lead to the
Sanctus acclamation: "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of power and might, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory, Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest."

In some countries, including the
United States, the people kneel immediately after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus. However, the general rule is that they kneel somewhat later, for the Consecration, when, according to Catholic faith, the underlying reality or substance of the bread and wine is converted into the body and blood of Christ (see Transubstantiation).

The Eucharistic Prayer includes the
Epiclesis, through which the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts that have been set aside may become Christ's body and blood and that the Communion may be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.

The central part is the
Institution Narrative and Consecration, recalling the words and actions at his Last Supper, which he told his disciples to do in his memory, thus instituting the Mass.

Immediately after the
Consecration and the showing to the people of the consecrated elements, the priest invites the people to proclaim "the mystery of faith", and the congregation joins in reciting the Memorial Acclamation. The Roman Missal gives three forms for this acclamation. (A fourth, added in the 1973 English translation, is unlikely to be kept in the forthcoming revision of that translation.)

The Eucharistic Prayer also includes the
Anamnesis, expressions of offering, and intercessions for the living and dead.

It concludes with a
doxology, with the priest lifting up the paten with the host and the deacon (if there is one) the chalice, and the singing or recitation of the Amen by the people. The unofficial term "The Great Amen" is sometimes applied to this Amen.

The Communion Rite
All together recite or sing the "
Lord's Prayer" ("Pater Noster" or "Our Father"). The priest introduces it with a short phrase and follows it up with the prayer: "Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." The people then add the doxology: "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever."

Next comes the
rite of peace (pax). After praying: "Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: 'I leave you peace, my peace I give you.' Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever ", the priest wishes the people the peace of Christ: "The peace of the Lord be with you always." The deacon or, in his absence, the priest may then invite those present to offer each other the sign of peace. The form of the sign of peace varies according to local custom. A handshake is common in many countries, including the United States. In India a person will give the sign of peace by joining his or her hands and bowing to another. In the Philippines the sign of peace is usually a smile and a polite nod.

While the
"Lamb of God" ("Agnus Dei" in Latin) litany is sung or recited, the priest breaks the host and places a piece in the main chalice; this is known as the rite of fraction and commingling.

If extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are required, they may come forward at this time, but they are not allowed to go to the altar itself until after the priest has received Communion (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 162). The priest then presents the transubstantiated elements to the congregation, saying: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." Then all repeat: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." The priest then receives Communion and, with the help, if necessary, of extraordinary ministers, distributes Communion to the people, who generally approach in procession. Before receiving, each communicant is supposed to make a sign of reverence, such as a bow. The distributing minister says: "The body of Christ" or "The blood of Christ", according as the element distributed is the consecrated bread or the consecrated wine, or: "The body and blood of Christ", if both are distributed together (by
intinction). The communicant responds: "Amen." Catholic Eucharistic theology points out that, because Christ is not now divided, whoever receives only the bread that has become his body also receives his blood, together with his soul and divinity.

While Communion is distributed, an appropriate song is recommended. If that is not possible, a short
antiphon is recited before the distribution begins.

"The sacred vessels are purified by the priest, the deacon, or an instituted acolyte after Communion or after Mass, insofar as possible at the credence table" (GIRM 279). Then the priest concludes the Liturgy of the Eucharist with the Prayer after Communion, for which the people are invited to stand.

Concluding rite
After the Prayer after Communion, announcements may be made. The Missal says these should be brief. The priest then gives the usual liturgical greeting and imparts his blessing. The liturgy concludes with a dialogue between the priest and congregation. The deacon, or in his absence, the priest himself then dismisses the people. The Latin formula is simply "
Ite, missa est", but the 1973 English Missal gives a choice of dismissal formulas. The congregation responds: "Thanks be to God." The priest and other ministers then leave, often to the accompaniment of a recessional hymn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Response to a comment on judgement


The following is a fantastic email from Jigs, who was unable to respond to the recently posted
'Mt. Saint Caffiena: Do you think God tells us to judge others?' as the comment moderation is set very high. I apologize to Jigs... and to those who would love to comment, but do not have a Google account. We have been refusing anonymous comments due to a group of so-called Christians from AOL chat room Life - Beliefs Christian, who have been flooding my comments section with hateful posts about my family.

Jigs, you're a wise person... you said this better than I ever could. Thanks for taking the time to email your opinion to me. The Spirit moves you.





I have been reading your blog and want to make a comment but am unable to as I don't have a Google account. I enjoyed reading your profile and research and want to thank you for sharing. What you stated is true and seems simple enough but preconceived notions are hard to break.

I felt the need to respond to Millie. If you read this and believe it is worth adding to your blog, I thank you. If not, all is well.

The following is a response to Millie's comments regarding judgment.

Saying someone is a lost soul is judging the condition of another's soul and goes against the scriptures Thane posted. Who is without sin? "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." -1Jn1:8 and "Let love be without hypocrisy." -Romans 12:9 Whether we are Christian or not, sin separates us from God.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) does not say to "Go forth and preach to lost souls." What it does say is that we are to go forth and spread the Good News of the Gospel of Christ. No "tough love" mentioned.

During the time of the Apostles most had not heard of Jesus. They (the Apostles) were not concerned over who was "lost" and who was "saved", as so many today are and make this the center of their Gospel message. The Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and wanted to share God's Love with anyone who would listen. We do well to remember this when we place ourselves in a position as to represent the Almighty.

Sharing the Good News should not occur as a consequence of a private judgment of another's salvation but as a love for all people.

Sacred Scripture tells us, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,...For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." -Jn 3:16-17

If the Son did not judge while He was here, who are we that we think we can? Are we above Jesus? Did not Satan want to be above God? These are things we should ask ourselves before we succumb to the sin of judging the condition of another's soul. Jesus spoke of discerning the difference between good and bad fruit (work), thoughts and speech, but I don't ever remember Him saying that he turned over the judging of another's soul to anyone. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;" -Jn 16:8 He's still the only Just Judge and we're still only his ambassadors.

All of us can enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus and come to a better understanding of the lessons taught in Sacred Scripture if we have a mind open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a heart filled with [unconditional] love. Let's try it.



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday... the start of Lent


Since Lent begins today, I thought I'd give a little information about this season. The following stuff is by Fr. Mick, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He sums things up really well...

Ash Wednesday - Our Shifting Understanding of Lent

Those who work with liturgy in parishes know that some of the largest crowds in the year will
show up to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Though this is not a holy day of obligation in our tradition, many people would not think of
letting Ash Wednesday go by without a trip to church to be marked with an ashen cross on their foreheads. Even people who seldom come to Church for the rest of the year may make a concerted effort to come for ashes.

How did this practice become such an important part of the lives of so many believers? Who came up with the idea for this rather odd ritual? How do we explain the popularity of smudging our foreheads with ashes and then walking around all day with dirty faces? Those who do not share our customs often make a point of telling us that we have something on our foreheads, assuming we would want to wash it off, but many Catholics wear that smudge faithfully all day.

Ashes in the Bible

The origin of the custom of using ashes in religious ritual is lost in the mists of pre-history, but we find references to the practice in our own religious tradition in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26).

The prophet Isaiah, on the other hand, critiques the use of sackcloth and ashes as inadequate to please God, but in the process he indicates that this practice was well-known in Israel: "Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: that a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?" (Is 58:5).

The prophet Daniel pleaded for God to rescue Israel with sackcloth and ashes as a sign of Israel's repentance: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dn 9:3).

Perhaps the best known example of repentance in the Old Testament also involves sackcloth and ashes. When the prophet Jonah finally obeyed God's command and preached in the great city of Nineveh, his preaching was amazingly effective. Word of his message was carried
to the king of Nineveh. "When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes" (Jon 3:6).

In the book of Judith, we find acts of repentance that specify that the ashes were put on people's heads: "And all the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord" (Jdt 4:11; see also 4:15 and 9:1).

Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish Independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: "That
day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes" (1 Mc 3:47; see also 4:39).

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the use of sackcloth and ashes as signs of repentance: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes" (Mt 11:21, Lk 10:13).

Ashes in the History of the Church

Despite all these references in Scripture, the use of shes in the Church left only a few records in the first millennium of Church history. Thomas Talley, an expert on the history of the liturgical year, says that the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. Before that time, ashes had been used as a sign of admission to the Order of Penitents.
As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. At the beginning of the 11th century, Abbot Aelfric notes that it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a
ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes.

Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.

At first, clerics and men had ashes sprinkled on their heads, while women had the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Eventually, of course, the ritual used with women came to be used for men as well.

In the 12th century the rule developed that the ashes were to be created by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. Many parishes today invite parishioners to bring such palms to church before Lent begins and have a ritual burning of the palms after Mass.

The Order of Penitents

It seems, then, that our use of ashes at the beginning of Lent is an extension of the use of ashes with those entering the Order of Penitents. This discipline was the way the Sacrament of Penance was celebrated through most of the first millennium of Church history. Those who had committed serious sins confessed their sins to the bishop or his representative and were assigned a penance that was to be carried out over a period of time. After completing their penance, they were reconciled by the bishop with a prayer of absolution offered in the midst of the community.

During the time they worked out their penances, the penitents often had special places in church and wore special garments to indicate their status. Like the catechumens who were preparing for Baptism, they were often dismissed from the Sunday assembly after the Liturgy of the Word.

This whole process was modeled on the conversion journey of the catechumens, because the Church saw falling into serious sin after Baptism as an indication that a person had not really been converted. Penance was a second attempt to foster that conversion. Early Church fathers even called Penance a "second Baptism."

Lent developed in the Church as the whole community prayed and fasted for the catechumens who were preparing for Baptism. At the same time, those members of the community who were already baptized prepared to renew their baptismal promises at Easter, thus joining the catechumens in seeking to deepen their own conversion. It was natural, then, that the Order of Penitents also focused on Lent, with reconciliation often being celebrated on Holy Thursday so that the newly reconciled could share in the liturgies of the Triduum. With Lent clearly a season focused on Baptism, Penance found a home there as well.

Shifting Understanding of Lent

With the disappearance of the catechumenate from the Church's life, people's understanding of the season of Lent changed. By the Middle Ages, the emphasis was no longer clearly baptismal. Instead, the main
emphasis shifted to the passion and death of Christ. Medieval art eflected this increased focus on the suffering Savior. Lent came to be
seen as a time to acknowledge our guilt for the sins that led to Christ's
passion and death. Repentance was then seen as a way to avoid punishment for sin more than as a way to renew our baptismal commitment.

With the gradual disappearance of the Order of Penitents, the use of ashes became detached from its original context. The focus on personal penance and the Sacrament of Penance continued in Lent, but the connection to Baptism was no longer obvious to most people. This is reflected in the formula that came to be associated with the distribution of ashes: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return." This text focuses on our mortality, as an incentive to take seriously the call to repentance, but there is little hint here of any baptismal meaning. This emphasis on mortality fit well with the medieval experience of life, when the threat of death was always at hand. Many people died very young, and the societal devastation of the plague made death even more prevalent.

Ash Wednesday After Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) called for the renewal of Lent, recovering its ancient baptismal character. This recovery was significantly advanced by the restoration of the catechumenate mandated by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (1972). As Catholics have increasingly interacted with catechumens in the final stage of their preparation for Baptism, they have begun to understand Lent as a season of baptismal preparation and baptismal renewal.

Since Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, it naturally is also beginning to recover a baptismal focus. One hint of this is the second formula that is offered for the imposition of ashes: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel." Though it doesn't explicitly mention Baptism, it recalls our baptismal promises to reject sin and profess our faith. It is a clear call to conversion, to that movement away from sin and toward Christ that we have to embrace over and over again through our lives.

As the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday calls us to the conversion journey that marks the season. As the catechumens enter the final stage of their preparation for the Easter sacraments, we are all called to walk with them so that we will be prepared to renew our baptismal promises when Easter arrives.

The Readings for Ash Wednesday

The readings assigned to Ash Wednesday highlight this call to conversion. The first reading from the prophet Joel is a clarion call to
return to the Lord "with fasting, and weeping and mourning." Joel reminds us that our God is "gracious and merciful...slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment," thus inviting us to trust in God's love as we seek to renew our life with God. It is important to note that Joel does not call only for individual conversion. His appeal is to the whole people, so he commands: "Blow the trumpet in Zion,
proclaim a fast, call an assembly; gather the people, notify the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast." As we enter this season of renewal, we are united with all of God's people, for we all share the need for continued conversion and we are called to support one another on the journey. Imitating those who joined the Order of Penitents in ages past, we all become a
community of penitents seeking to grow closer to God through repentance and renewal.

With a different tone but no less urgency, St. Paul implores us in the second reading to "be reconciled to God." "Now," he insists, "is a very
acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." The time to return to the Lord is now, this holy season, this very day.

The Gospel for Ash Wednesday gives us good advice on how we are to act during Lent. Jesus speaks of the three main disciplines of the season: giving alms, praying and fasting. All of these spiritual activities, Jesus teaches us, are to be done without any desire for recognition by others. The point is not that we should only pray alone and not in community, for example, but that we should not pray in order to be seen as holy. The same is true of fasting and works of charity; they do not need to be hidden but they are to be done out of love of God and neighbor, not in order to be seen by others.

There is a certain irony that we use this Gospel, which tells us to wash our faces so that we do not appear to be doing penance on the day that we go around with "dirt" on our foreheads. This is just another way Jesus is telling us not to perform religious acts for public recognition. We don't wear the ashes to proclaim our holiness but to acknowledge
that we are a community of sinners in need of repentance and renewal.

From Ashes to the Font

The call to continuing conversion reflected in these readings is also the message of the ashes. We move through Lent from ashes to the baptismal font. We dirty our faces on Ash Wednesday and are cleansed in the waters of the font. More profoundly, we embrace the need to die to sin and selfishness at the beginning of Lent so that we can come to fuller life in the Risen One at Easter.

When we receive ashes on our foreheads, we remember who we are. We remember that we are creatures of the earth ("Remember that you are dust"). We remember that we are mortal beings ("and to dust you will return"). We remember that we are baptized. We remember that we are people on a journey of conversion ("Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel"). We remember that we are members of the body of Christ (and that smudge on our foreheads will proclaim that identity to others, too).

Renewing our sense of who we really are before God is the core of the Lenten experience. It is so easy to forget, and thus we fall into habits of sin, ways of thinking and living that are contrary to God's will. In this we are like the Ninevites in the story of Jonah. It was "their wickedness" that caused God to send Jonah to preach to them. Jonah resisted that mission and found himself in deep water. Rescued by a large fish, Jonah finally did God's bidding and began to preach in Nineveh. His preaching obviously fell on open ears and hearts, for in one day he prompted the conversion of the whole city.

From the very beginning of Lent, God's word calls us to conversion. If we open our ears and hearts to that word, we will be like the Ninevites not only in their sinfulness but also in their conversion to the Lord.

That, simply put, is the point of Ash Wednesday!

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, the all-holy one, who gives us life and all things. As we go about our lives, the press of our duties and activities often leads us to forget your presence and your love. We fall
into sin and fail to live out the responsibilities that you have entrusted to those who were baptized into your Son.

In this holy season, help us to turn our minds and hearts back to you. Lead us into sincere repentance and renew our lives with your grace. Help us to remember that we are sinners, but even more, help us to remember your loving mercy.

As we live through this Ash Wednesday, may the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet that we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring us refreshed and renewed to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.

We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Lawrence E. Mick is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He holds a master's degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame. He is author of over 500 articles in various publications. His latest books are Forming the Assembly to Celebrate Eucharist and Forming the
Assembly to Celebrate Sacraments (Liturgy Training Publications).

The above is for informational and discussion purposes only.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Free time


So what are you doing with your free time, other than prayer? I'm enjoying one of my favorite things: OPERA!

I'm a huge fan of Joan Sutherland.

The first and third clips below are from her later years, when age had matured her voice into a rich ink grade port. Dame Sutherland has been singing since the 1940's.

This YouTube journey began because I was trying to find a clip of Les Oiseaux Dans la Charmille for my friend Michael. I never dreamed that fans would have found old recordings of Dame Sutherland's voice and published them to the web. Heaven!

The first clip is her version of this very complex song. The vibrato is a fanciful technique that many modern opera singers can't pull off with style. Dame Sutherland is a true coloratura soprano, a mistress of opera who's as at home with Les Oiseaux as she is with the role of Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflote. She has a high range and can pull off elaborate ornamentation and embellishment, including running passages and trills.

Joan Sutherland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do you think God tells us to judge others?


I thought I'd tackle Romans 2:1-16, since it seems like a lot of people are really into this trend of judging others.

Paul starts right off the bat in the first verse in this letter to the Romans...

Romans 2:1 "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

It's pretty cut and dry. It goes back to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

We can't judge others if we are stained with sin. We can judge actions, and when we do, we are telling ourselves "this is not something I should do!" We can't pass judgement on other people, tho. That is God's job. We fall into sin when we put ourselves in God's place. Paul explains this in the next few verses.

Romans 2:2-4 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

Paul is saying 'Look, God is gonna judge these people! But, you can't do his job!' What about verse 4? God is kind, tolerance and patient, and we are to follow that example. It is God's mercy that leads us to salvation. When we judge others, we are not showing them mercy. They will not repent because of bashing or harsh words. If we want to lead people to Christ, we need to give them the same mercy he does. When we judge harshly, and spew forth 'the bible tells me to judge you and your sin!', we are insulting God and his gift of mercy towards us!

What happens to Christians who judge and bash? Paul explains that, too

Romans 2:5-8 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Paul is clearly saying 'you are pissing God off when you judge others and insult his gift of mercy!' Yes, God will punish those who are self-seeking, and who reject the truth and follow evil. Do you think Paul is talking about the 'judged sinners' in those verses? Nope. Paul is talking about those who judge others... they are self-seeking, meaning that they are glorifying themselves and not God... and they are rejecting the truth... which is that God is all about mercy. It is an evil heart that makes someone think they are above God. Paul says there will be wrath and anger. This could apply to God's wrath and anger... but think about one thing: when you damn another person, things get ugly. There is wrath and anger between you and the person you accuse. Where is God's gift of mercy??? It's been lost.

Paul adds in the next verses...

Romans 2:9-11 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

Pretty cut and dry. And nope, God doesn't show favoritism... Jew and Gentile alike are held the same. Paul continues....

Romans 2:12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

That's also pretty basic. It applies to sinner and saints alike... saved and unsaved... Jew and Gentile... male and female... Christian or not Christian.

Paul explains it even more sternly...

Romans 2:13-16 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Paul is verbally spanking the early church! Knowing clobber and bash verses from the bible is not going to get your sorry butt into heaven. If you don't walk your talk, you are pretty dead in the law... a Pharisee who sits around saying 'look how holy I am because I know the law!!!' If Gentiles could gain God's grace by their actions, then who were the early Christian Jews to judge them for not being born Jewish? Actions speak louder than words, as far as God is concerned.

Now, the letter to the Romans was Paul's way of barking at the early church there to stop bashing the poor Gentiles and Jews who did not believe. He was saying 'Hey, why would anyone want to follow Jesus when his followers are making asses of themselves by judging everything based on what they think is God's truth???' But, his lesson to the church in Rome can be applied to all Christians. We can't judge someone as sinners just because our personal belief is that wine is of the devil. We can't damn them because our personal belief is that being gay is a sin. We can't harass them just because our personal belief is that children born out of wedlock are manifestations of antichrists. Our personal beliefs don't matter when it comes to what God says. All we're doing when we judge others is attacking them for not fitting our personal doctrine. That's why it's important to leave the judgement up to God.