J.R.R. Tolkien on the Eucharist

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J.R.R. Tolkien“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death. By the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste -or foretaste- of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.

The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.

Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter to his son. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” among other books.

Popular Catholic Media

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Here were voted some of the most popular Catholic Media venues for 2013:

Best Catholic Facebook Page Catholic Memes – https://www.facebook.com/CatholicMemebase

Best Catholic BlogFr. Z’s Blog – http://wdtprs.com/blog/

Best Catholic WebsiteDivine Office – http://divineoffice.org/

Best Android appLaudaute – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aycka.apps.MassReadings&hl=en

Best Catholic ios appDivine office – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/divine-office-audio-prayer/id301349397?mt=8

Best Catholic Twitter on TwitterThe Holy Father – https://twitter.com/Pontifex






Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI Highlighted his Pastoral, Scholarly, Holy Life, Says Cardinal Dolan

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Timothy Cardinal DolanCardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013.

Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan

The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.

Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened – Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany, and Spain.

He delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.

Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.

He unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed. That message is for eternity.

He spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.

Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.


Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28

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Pope Benedict XVIVatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he expected a conclave of cardinals to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation and a new pope elected before Easter Sunday on March 31.

Here is the pope’s announcement:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


The Pope has joined Twitter

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The Pope’s first tweet will come on December 12th. He signed up for Twitter with the handle @pontifex (latin for “bridge builder,” meaning pope). The  December 12th start is meant to coincide with the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Tweets from @pontifex will be in English, but will be mirrored via separate accounts in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic, and French.

From the official announcement:

The Pope’s presence in Twitter will represent his voice as a voice of unity and leadership for the Church but it will also be a powerful invitation to all believers to express their ‘voices’, to engage their ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ and to share with them the hope of the Gospel that speaks of God’s unconditional love for all men and women.

In addition to the direct engagement with the questions, debates and discussions of people that is facilitated by new media, the Church recognizes the importance of new media as an environment that allows to teach the truth that the Lord has passed to His Church, to listen to others, to learn about their cares and concerns, to understand who they are and for what they are searching. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge (Message, 2012). It is for this reason that it has been decided to launch the Pope’s Twitter channel with a formal question and answer format. This launch is also an indication of the importance that the Church gives to listening and is a warranty of its ongoing attentiveness to the conversations, commentaries and trends that express so spontaneously and insistently the preoccupations and hopes of people.

So, if you’ve got Twitter, follow @pontifex!

The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament

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This has been available for a couple of years now, but I just learned about it.  It sounds totally awesome.  One woman that was speaking about it said that listening to it, hearing an actor read Jesus’ words, it was like listening to Jesus give a homily and she didn’t want to stop listening.  It’s available on CD and via MP3 download.

There’s also an app.

It’s available for any device you might have.  iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook and PC.  There’s a free app that includes a searchable Bible with the Old and New Testament, and it includes the audio version of the book of Mark for free.  If you get the paid app, it includes the entire audio New Testament.  That app is $19.99.

From their website: The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by award winning internationally-renowed actors including: Neal McDonoughKristen BellSean Astin, Michael YorkBlair UnderwoodMalcolm McDowellStacy KeachBrian CoxJulia OrmondJohn Rhys-Davies and many more. The Truth & Life audio New Testament is a first of its kind dramatized audio Bible from the RSV-CE

From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond… over 70 actors, 20 audio engineers in 10 studios over 3 continents contributed to the creation of this unique audio New Testament.

More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project.

The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours in length.

Visit Truth & Life App to learn more!

The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) – Mass Change Updates

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The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest)

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, Heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
You take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us;
You take away the sin of the world,
receive our prayer;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One;
you alone are the Lord.
You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God, the Father.

Focus on the Change by Fr. James Chelich
The Latin word, Gloria, means “glory” or “glory be given to…”  The Gloria is an ancient Greek Christian hymn.  It has been used in prayer and worship other than the Mass (i.e. Morning Prayer) in both the Roman and Byzantine traditions.*

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will!  The opening verse is the song of the angels at the birth of Jesus. (Luke 2:14)

The remaining verses were added later, and portions of them can be traced back to the 3rd and 4rth centuries.  Most of the lyrics of this ancient hymn, proclaiming the names and titles of God and Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, are drawn directly from the Scriptures:

Lord God (Exodus 20:7; Amos 5:1-3)
Heavenly King (Psalm 24)
Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
Father (Matthew 6:6-13)

Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:28)
Begotten Son (Hebrews 1:5)
Lord God (John 20:28)
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)

Son of the Father (John 3:16)
Only Son (coming from the Father) (John 1:14, 18)
Seated at the Right Hand of the Father (Mark 14:60-62)

Holy One (John 6:69)
Lord (Acts 2:36)
(Son of the) Most High (Luke 1:32; Luke 8:28)

* The Roman tradition is the manner of prayer and order of worship in the western Christian Church centered on Rome.  The Byzantine tradition is the manner of prayer and order of worship in the eastern Christian Church centered on Byzantium, later known as Constantinople and today called Istanbul.

The New Roman Missal
The Nicene Creed
Part 1 – The Creed and “I believe…”
Part 2 – …consubstantial with the Father
Part 3 – Was incarnate of the Virgin Mary
Part 4 – of all things visible and invisible
Part 5 – the only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages
Part 6 – he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.
Part 7 – who has spoken through the Prophets.
Part 8 – I confess; I look forward to

The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest)

The Nicene Creed – Changes #8 – I confess; I look forward to

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This Week’s Focus on the Change by Fr. James Chelich

“I confess” “I look forward to”

“Confess” means get your faith out of the enclosure of your mind and give it expression in word, action and in your very being.  We are to do more than simply believe in our Baptism, we are to “confess it.”  Your Baptism should be expressed in the things you do, and in the woman or man you are striving to be.  Saint Paul writes:

Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.  As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.  Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:4, 10-11)

Confessing our Baptism is living our lives in a way that becomes an invitation for others to try it on themselves.

“Look forward to,” is again a stronger expression than simple, “I believe.”  “I believe,”  can easily reduce itself to an intellectual proposition: “Yeah, I think that’s an interesting idea.  I’m willing to accept that it might happen.  If it did, it would be OK with me.”

“Look forward to,” makes us think about how we are living our lives day to day: Are we living them in a way that truly is looking forward to “resurrection and the life of the world to come?”  Do our priorities and choices indicate that we are looking forward to “resurrection and the life of the world to come?”

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The Nicene Creed – Changes #7 who has spoken through the Prophets

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This Week’s Focus on the Change by Fr. James Chelich

“who has spoken through the Prophets.”

The power of God (the Holy Spirit) moves out across the landscape of human history (as it moves out over the landscape of universal time and space) unfolding the will of the Father and fulfilling the Word of the Father.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit who laid hold of the minds of the prophets and moved them to speak.  It was the Word of God that was spoken by the prophets when the Holy Spirit moved them.  It was the mind and saving plan of the Father that the Word of God revealed through the words of the prophets when the Holy Spirit moved them to speak.  Always keep in mind, God is a unity of three Divine Persons and acts as a unity of three Divine Persons.  There is no one “Person” in the Blessed Trinity who acts independent of or contrary to the others.  When we think of how prophecy begins, with a person being moved by God to speak, we naturally (humanly) think of the Holy Spirit as the first agent, although all three Divine Persons are involved simultaneously.

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