Saturday, August 24, 2013

Did you know Benedict changed the Baptismal rite? [For the better]

Conspiracy theories anyone?

In one of the deeply kept secrets of the papal transition, Benedict XVI changed the words of the baptismal rite and the change was promulgated by Francis.  No longer does the church welcome the newly baptized into the "Christian community," but rather into the "Church of God."

Sandro Magister explains in "Vatican Diary / Pope Benedict's Parting Shot:"

This more precise language make sense in terms of the Vatican II theological terminology, on which see the late Father Richard John Neuhaus's essay: "The One True Church."

Monday, August 05, 2013

"Like the Dewfall"

In the Second Eucharistic Prayer, the priest calls on the Lord to "Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ."  One does not have to be a fan of the Second Eucharistic Prayer, or even of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, to appreciate this beautiful image, pregnant with biblical allusions.    

Consider today's readings.  In the Old Testament reading we hear the Israelites complaining they have only manna to eat and we learn that:

At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell." (Numbers, 11:9)

In the gospel reading, Jesus feeds the five thousand (not to mention the women and children) with the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.  Christ blessed the bread, the manna from Heaven, and fed His people.  Thus we saw how we come to be fed "the bread of angels."  That last phrase is from St. Thomas Aquinas' Lauda Sion Salvatorem, the sequence for Corpus Christi.

How often do we long for the "meat," and the "
fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic" (Numbers, 11:5) rather than the bread of angels?  Are we sometimes like those Philippians whom Paul tearfully bemoaned, whose "god is their belly?" (Philippians, 3:19)?

The Second Eucharistic Prayer is based on the second century Apostolic Conventions of St. Hyppolytus and Aquinas' Corpus Christi liturgy is one of the crowning achievements of Western civilization.  Hyppolytus was the first anti-pope, but was reconciled to Pope St. Pontian when both were martyred by their exile to the salt mines of Sardinia.  Thomas Aquinas, theologian, liturgist, and mystic, is called "the Angelic Doctor."