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There is an amazing treasure north of Chicago in the village of Mundelein: the Liturgical Institute.

They offer graduate degrees in liturgy (MAL, MALS, STL & STD), unique liturgical conferences, unique lectures on the subjects of liturgy, beautiful liturgies, a beautiful campus and a publishing company that provides books on liturgy that are profound and refreshing.

PLEASE help me get their facebook page to 1,000 likes. We need to support these institutions. They are influencing those in academia and those in the pew. PLEASE CLICK HERE to get to their facebook page. Then consider what you may do to promote the page. If you care about liturgical renewal then care about this! Let us get them to 1,000 likes!

January 2014: Pope Francis and Baptism

Over the last few weeks Pope Francis has had numerous teachings on the Sacrament of Baptism:

“Therefore, it is not a mere formality! A baptized child is not the same as an child who is not baptized; a baptized person is not the same as one who has not received baptism. It is an act that touches the depth of our existence. We are immersed in that inexhaustible fount of life that is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love of all history; and thanks to this love we are able to live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but rather in communion with God and with our brothers”. -January 8th, 2014 

“These children are a link in a chain. You, as parents, have a son or a daughter to baptise, but a some years from now they too will have a child to baptise, then a grandchild… And this is the chain of faith! What does this mean? I want to say only this: you are those who will transmit the faith, you are the transmitters. You have the duty of transmitting faith to these children. It is the most beautiful inheritance you can offer them: faith! Only this. Today, take this thought home with you. We must be transmitters of faith. Think of these, think always about how you can transmit faith to your children”. -January 12th, 2014

The People of God is a People of disciples―because we receive the faith―and a missionary People―because we pass on the faith. This is what makes Baptism in us: it gives us Grace and transmits the faith. All of us in the Church are disciples, always and for our entire lives; and we are all missionaries, each in the place that the Lord has assigned us.”

“Members of the clergy were expelled and thousands of faithful were killed. There was no priest left in Japan; all of them were expelled. The community retreated into hiding, keeping their faith and prayer hidden. When a child was born, the mother or father baptized them, since all the faithful can baptize under particular circumstances. When, after two and a half centuries, 250 years later, the missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians came out of hiding and the Church could flourish. They had survived through the grace of their Baptism! This is great: the People of God pass on the faith, baptizing their children and carrying on. They had maintained, even in secret, a strong communal spirit because Baptism had made them to become one body in Christ. They were isolated and hidden but were always members of the People of God, members of the Church. We can learn so much from this story!” -January 15th, 2014

Baptism and Friendship with God

On January 8th, 2006 Benedict XVI taught,

And if we can say that love and truth are sources of life, are life itself – and a life without love is not life – we can say that this companionship with the One who is truly life, with the One who is the Sacrament of life, will respond to your expectation, to your hope.

Yes, Baptism inserts us into communion with Christ and therefore gives life, life itself. We have thus interpreted the first dialogue we had with him here at the entrance to the Sistine Chapel.

Now, after the blessing of the water, a second dialogue of great importance will follow. This is its content: Baptism, as we have seen, is a gift; the gift of life. But a gift must be accepted, it must be lived.

A gift of friendship implies a “yes” to the friend and a “no” to all that is incompatible with this friendship, to all that is incompatible with the life of God’s family, with true life in Christ.

Consequently, in this second dialogue, three “noes” and three “yeses” are spoken. We say “no” and renounce temptation, sin and the devil. We know these things well but perhaps, precisely because we have heard them too often, the words may not mean much to us.

If this is the case, we must think a little more deeply about the content of these “noes”. What are we saying “no” to? This is the only way to understand what we want to say “yes” to.

Siouxland Book Launch Prayer (2013)

One of my deacon aspirants led prayer at the book launch. Thanks David!

Heavenly Father, you give us the privilege today to gather in celebration with Brandon and his family and friends in the launch of his book The Holy and Divine Encounter. We pray that this work will help the People of God participate more authentically at Mass, with a better understanding of the prayers and symbols of the liturgy. Through this we may better celebrate the sacrifice of your Son in the Eucharist. May this work and others draw us all into the kingdom where you live and reign with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. -David Penton

B16: On the Liturgical Symbols of Pallium & Fisherman’s Ring

At the Mass of the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI taught on April 24th, 2005:

Dear friends! ….My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history. Instead of putting forward a programme, I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry; both these symbols, moreover, reflect clearly what we heard proclaimed in today’s readings.

The first symbol is the Pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the Bishops of Rome have worn since the fourth century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. God’s yoke is God’s will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found – this was Israel’s joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: God’s will does not alienate us, it purifies us – even if this can be painful – and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history. The symbolism of the Pallium is even more concrete: the lamb’s wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race – every one of us – is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all – he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. What the Pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the Pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherd’s mission, of which the Second Reading and the Gospel speak. The pastor must be inspired by Christ’s holy zeal: for him it is not a matter of indifference that so many people are living in the desert. And there are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God’s darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth’s treasures no longer serve to build God’s garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction. The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance. The symbol of the lamb also has a deeper meaning. In the Ancient Near East, it was customary for kings to style themselves shepherds of their people. This was an image of their power, a cynical image: to them their subjects were like sheep, which the shepherd could dispose of as he wished. When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, himself became a lamb, he stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed. This is how he reveals himself to be the true shepherd: “I am the Good Shepherd . . . I lay down my life for the sheep”, Jesus says of himself (Jn 10:14f). It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God’s sign: he himself is love. How often we wish that God would make show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet, we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

The second symbol used in today’s liturgy to express the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry is the presentation of the fisherman’s ring. Peter’s call to be a shepherd, which we heard in the Gospel, comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: “and although there were so many, the net was not torn” (Jn 21:11). This account, coming at the end of Jesus’s earthly journey with his disciples, corresponds to an account found at the beginning: there too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: “Master, at your word I will let down the nets.” And then came the conferral of his mission: “Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men” (Lk 5:1-11). Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel – to God, to Christ, to true life. The Fathers made a very significant commentary on this singular task. This is what they say: for a fish, created for water, it is fatal to be taken out of the sea, to be removed from its vital element to serve as human food. But in the mission of a fisher of men, the reverse is true. We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendour of God’s light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world.

Ignatius to Ephesus: Assemble often for the Medicine of Immortality

Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

…breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when you assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, both in heaven and earth, is brought to an end. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

Ignatius of Antioch: Unity with your Bishop

Wherefore it is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

Especially [will I do this ] if the Lord make known to me that you come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that you obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind… -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. -Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians

Heirs in Christ by Baptism

But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. -Titus 3:4-7

Titus appoints leaders

Paul appoints Titus as a leader and Titus is to appoint presbyters/bishops to head up other communities.  You don’t see people starting their own churches.

For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious. For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents. -Titus 1:5-9