Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Dominican

Père Garrigou-Lagrange on Psalmody

One of my great heroes is Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange who is the author of  The Three Ages of the Interior Life. The following selection is from that great work and was posted by Fr. Mark at Vultus Christi. The bold headers were provided by Fr. Mark.

The Psalmody of the Divine Office: The Great Prayer of the Church

One of the greatest means of union with God for the religious soul is the psalmody, which in religious orders is the daily accompaniment of the Mass. The Mass is the great prayer of Christ; it will continue until the end of the world, as long as He does not cease to offer Himself by the ministry of His priests; as long as from His sacerdotal and Eucharistic heart there rises always the theandric act of love and oblation, which has infinite value as adoration, reparation, petition, and thanksgiving. The psalmody of the Divine Office is the great prayer of the Church, the spouse of Christ; a day and night prayer, which ought never to cease on the surface of the earth, as the Mass does not.

A School of Contemplation, of Self Oblation, of Holiness.

For those who have the great honor to take part in the chant, the psalmody should be an admirable school of contemplation, of self oblation, of holiness. That it may produce these abundant fruits, the psalmody should keep what is its very essence; it ought to have not only a body which is well organized according to harmonious rules, but also a soul. If it ceases to be the great contemplative prayer, it gradually loses its soul and, instead of being a soaring, a rising toward God, and a repose, it becomes a burden, a source of fatigue, and no longer produces great fruits. Therefore we shall discuss briefly first of all deformed and materialized chant, then true psalmody, which is a deliverance, like the chant of the Church, above all the noises of earth.

Deformed Psalmody: A Body Without a Soul

Deformed psalmody is a body without a soul. Generally, it is marked by unseemly haste, as if undue haste, which, according to St. Francis de Sales, is the death of devotion, could replace true and profound life. The words of the Office are badly pronounced without rhythm or measure. The antiphons, which are often beautiful, are poorly said and become unintelligible, the hymns even more so. The lessons which are not punctuated as they should be, are read as one would read the most indifferent or even the most boring passages, when, as a matter of fact, they are concerned with the splendors of divine wisdom or what is most beautiful in the lives of the saints. People wish to save time, four or five minutes which they will devote to worthless trifles, and they lose the best of the time given by God. Father de Condren used to say: “If a master spoke to his servant as a number of people speak to God while saying the Divine Office, the servant would think that his master was insane to be jabbering in such fashion.”

As a result of haste, the psalmody of which we are speaking is mechanical and not organic; just as in a body without a soul, the members are no longer vitally united, but only placed together. The Office becomes a series of words following one another. The great meaning of a psalm is no longer comprehended; to one who is trying to grasp this meaning and to follow it, this mechanical chant brings fatigue and is an obstacle to true prayer.

Is this manner of chanting a lifting of the soul toward God? Perhaps, but it is a uniformly retarded elevation, like the movement of a stone that has been thrown into the air and tends to fall back; whereas true prayer ought, like a flame, to tend spontaneously toward heaven.

Remedies

What remedies can be applied to this evil? The remedy is to be found in recalling the rules for the chant. But this remedy is not effective if it alone is applied. The evil is deeper, and we must go to its roots. In reality, there is only one truly effective remedy that makes possible the utilization of the others: namely, the restoration of the spirit of prayer. Similarly, in order to restore functions to a body without a soul, life would have to be restored to it.

When the Heart Disengages from Choral Prayer

Deformed psalmody shows us that, for a soul which has no personal life of prayer, the recitation of the Office becomes altogether material, a wholly exterior worship. Not possessing the habit of recollection, this soul is assailed by thoughts foreign to the Office; its work, studies, or business affairs keep returning to its memory, and at times even thoroughly vain thoughts come. The most interior persons sometimes experience this distress. But in the case of those we are speaking of, it is a habitual state of negligence, and in them distraction does not remain in the imagination; it invades the higher faculties. How can anyone in this state taste the divine words of the psalms, the prophets, the Epistles, the most beautiful pages of the fathers and of the lives of the saints which are daily offered to us in the Divine Office? All these spiritual beauties remain unperceived like colorless and insipid objects. The great poetry of the Psalmist and the most profound cries of his heart become spiritless and monotonous.

Routine Mummifies the Liturgy

One day in choir, St. Bernard saw above each religious his guardian angel who was writing down the chant. The manner of writing differed greatly, however: some wrote in letters of gold, others in silver, while still others wrote with ink or with colorless water; one angel held his pen poised and wrote nothing. Routine mummifies the most profoundly living passages and reduces them to mechanically recited formulas. This manner of chanting is nothing but practical nominalism, a sort of materialism in action. The higher faculties do not live in a prayer made thus; they remain somnolent or scattered. A person may still hear the symphony of the Office, more beautiful than the most famous symphonies of Beethoven, but for lack of an interior feeling, he can no longer appreciate it. Often the Divine Office is studied from the historical point of view, or from the canonical point of view of strict obligations, and these distinctions are held to; but it is especially from the spiritual point of view that it must be considered and lived.

Contemplative Chant

What should the contemplative chant be? This chant is distinguished precisely by the spirit of prayer, or at least by the aspiration which inclines us to it, which desires it, seeks it, and at length obtains it. We are thus shown how much the contemplation of the mysteries of faith is in the normal way of sanctity: this contemplation alone can give us in liturgical prayer the light, peace, and joy of the truth tasted and loved, gaudium de veritate.

The spirit of prayer, more intimately drawn from mental prayer, is lost as soon as one hurries to finish daily prayer, as if it were not the very respiration of the soul, spiritual contact with God, our Life, It was in the spirit of prayer that the psalms were conceived without it, we cannot understand them or live by them. “As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God.”

The Pauses: Vital Rest Between Aspiration and Respiration

If the psalmody has this spirit, then in place of mechanical haste, which is a superficial life, we find profound life for which we do not need continually to recall liturgical rules, for these rules are merely the expression of its inner inclinations. Then, without excessive slowness the words are well pronounced, undue haste is avoided, and the pauses, serving as a vital rest between aspiration and respiration, are observed. The antiphons are tasted, and the soul is truly nourished with the substance of the liturgical text.

Psalmody and Mental Prayer

Whoever has the duty of reading the lessons, which are often most beautiful, should look them over ahead of time in order not to spoil their meaning. He who reads the lessons well avoids a too evident expression of his personal piety, but the great objective meaning of Scripture explained by the fathers remains intelligible, and here and there he grasps its splendors in the midst of its divine obscurities. No effort is made to save four or five minutes, and he ceases to lose the precious time given by God. He is even led at the end of the chant to prolong prayer by some moments of mental prayer, like the religious in bygone days who, at night after Matins and Lauds, spent some time in profound recollection. Many times in the history of their lives mention is made of these secret prayers, of this heart to heart conversation with God in which they often received the greatest lights, which made them glimpse what they had sought till then during hours and hours of labor. When this spirit of prayer prevails, real life begins, and one understands that mental prayer gives the spirit of the chant; whereas the psalmody furnishes to mental prayer the best possible food, the very word of God, distributed and explained in a suitable manner, according to the cycle of the liturgical year, according to the true time, which coincides with the single instant of immobile eternity.

A Lifting Up of the Soul Toward God

Such prayer is no longer mechanical, but organic; the soul has returned to vivify the body; prayer is no longer a succession of words; we are able to seize the vital spirit running through them. Without effort, even in the most painful hours of life, we can taste the admirable poetry of the psalms and find in them light, rest, strength, renewal of all energies. Then truly this prayer is a lifting up of the soul toward God, a lifting up that is not uniformly retarded, but rather accelerated. The soul burns therein and is consumed in a holy manner like the candles on the altar.

The Angelic Doctor Moved to Tears

St. Thomas Aquinas deeply loved this beautiful chant thus understood. It is told of him that he could not keep back his tears when, during Compline of Lent, he chanted the antiphon: “In the midst of life we are in death: whom do we seek as our helper, but Thou, O Lord, who because of our sins art rightly incensed? Holy God, strong God, holy and merciful Savior, deliver us not up to a bitter death; abandon us not in the time of our old age, when our strength will abandon us.” This beautiful antiphon begs for the grace of final perseverance, the grace of graces, that of the predestined. How it should speak to the heart of the contemplative theologian, who has made a deep study of the tracts on Providence, predestination, and grace!

The Spiritual Anemia of the Theologian

The chant, which prepares so admirably for Mass and which follows it, is one of the greatest means by which the theologian, as well as others, may rise far above reasoning to contemplation, to the simple gaze on God and to divine union. The theologian who has spent a long time over his books in a positive and speculative study of revelation, in the refutation of numerous errors and the examination of many opinions relating to the great mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Eucharist, the life of heaven, needs, after such study, to rise above all this bookish knowledge; he needs profound recollection, truly divine light, which is superior to reasoning and gives him the spirit of the letter which he has studied. Otherwise he grows spiritually anemic and, because of insufficient contact with the light of life, he cannot give it adequately to others. His work remains too mechanical, not sufficiently organized and living, or it may be that the governing idea of his synthesis has not been drawn from a high enough source; it lacks amplitude, life, radiation, and little by little it loses its interest. The theologian needs often to find the living and splendid expression of the mysteries that he studies in the very words of God, such as the liturgy makes us taste and love: “Taste, and see that the Lord is sweet.” (3)

The word of God, which is thus daily recalled to us in prayer,is to its theological commentary what a simple circumference is to the polygon inscribed in it. We must forget the polygon momentarily in order to enjoy a little and in a holy manner the beauty of the circle, which the movement of contemplation follows, as Dionysius used to say. This is found during the chant, if mechanical haste is not substituted for the profound life which ought to spring from the fountain. The body of the chant must be truly vivified by the spirit of prayer.

Worthy Choral Prayer Attracts Good Vocations

There is great happiness in hearing the Divine Office thus chanted in many monasteries of Benedictines, Carthusians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans. This prayer attracts good vocations, whereas the other, because it is materialized, drives them away. When we hear the great contemplative prayer in certain cloisters, we feel the current of the true life of the Church; it is its chant, both simple and splendid, which precedes and follows the sublime words of the Spouse: the Eucharistic consecration. We are made to forget all the sorrows of this world, all the more or less false complications and all the tiresome tasks imposed by human conventions. God grant that the chant may ever remain thus keenly alive day and night in our monasteries! It has been noticed that when it ceases at night in those convents where it should go on, the Lord raises up nocturnal adoration to replace it, for living prayer ought not to cease, and prayer during the night, by reason of the profound silence into which everything is plunged and for many other reasons, has special graces of contemplation: Oportet semper orare.

Holy Repose

The chant thus understood is the holy repose which souls need after all the fatigues, agitations, and complications of the world. It is rest in God, rest that is full of life, rest which from afar resembles that of God, who possesses His interminable life tota simul, in the single instant which never passes, and which at the same time measures supreme action and supreme rest, quies in bono amato.

A Cure for Pious Sentimentality

We may define the mutual relations of mental prayer and the Divine Office by saying that from mental prayer the Office receives the habit of recollection and the spirit of prayer. On the other hand, mental prayer finds in liturgical prayer an abundant source of contemplation and an objective rule against individual illusions. The Divine Office cures sentimentality by continually recalling the great truths in the very language of Scripture; it reminds presumptuous souls of the greatness and severity of divine justice, and it also reminds fearful souls of infinite mercy and the value of the passion of Christ. It makes sentimental souls live on the heights of true faith and charity, far above sensibility.

It will suffice here to recall one example among many: the tract from the Mass for Quadragesima Sunday taken from psalm 90: “He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders: and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night, of the arrow that flieth in the day. . . or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. . . . For He hath given His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. . . . He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him and I will glorify him. I will fill him with length of days; and I will show him My salvation.”

All the Ages of the Spiritual Life

The liturgy recalls all the ages of the spiritual life by the joyful mysteries of the childhood of the Savior, by His passion, and by the glorious mysteries; it thus gives true spiritual joy which enlarges the heart: “I have run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou didst enlarge my heart.” It prepares the soul for the more intimate and silent prayer of meditation.

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. To his intercession and works, I owe a great deal. It is through his works that my mind found a framework through which I can view the world. Through his intercession, I continue to pursue the face of our Lord in Scripture.  I hope one day through prayer and study I can be described like his order’s founder, Father Dominic:

…as it were, received into his blood and marrow the riches of Sacred Scripture, and especially of Paul.” (Pope Benedict XV, Fausto Appetente Die, 1921.)

So, how do we celebrate the feast of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas? I thought we could listen to a homily by Fr. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., dean  of the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. His homily is a great tribute to the sanctity of St. Thomas and the intellectual knowledge that flowed from it.

For more on St. Thomas, check out Catholic Online.

Additionally, you can find a number of his works at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.


St. Thomas, ora pro nobis!

Litany of the Saints: Order & Beauty Revealed

One of the most moving points during an ordination is when the ordinandi lay prostrate at the foot of the altar offering their lives in service to the People of God. During this period, the Bishop, priests, deacons, seminarians, religious and lay faithful, pray to God  for the ordinandi by chanting the Litany of the Saints. The reasoning is so they might be strengthened by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task(s) that is(are) being set before them.

The moment (which lasted a little over eight minutes for mine) is solemn. It is a profound sung silence. It is a moment, when through prayer, it would seem that eternity and time both are in snych with each other. For the wives, it is here where the impact of the commitment and the reality of ordination suddenly rushes in upon them.

It is the moment most people remember. It is also the moment that brings about the most questions. The most frequent question afterward is, “How do you decide the organization of the Litany.” And, is there a definite organization. So, I thought we would examine the deep beauty and organization of the Litany of the Saints.

Introduction to a Litany

Fr. John Hardon, S.J. in his Modern Catholic Dictionary proposes a very helpful description and definition of the Litany of the Saints:

Believed to be the most ancient of the litanies used in the Church. Already prescribed by Pope Gregory the Great in 590 for a public procession of thanksgiving at the end of a plague that had devastated Rome. In a somewhat different form, it was mentioned by St. Basil in the fourth century. Called the Litany of the Saints because it is made up of petitions addressed to various saints of different classes, and to Mary, the Queen of the Saints. In its present form, after invoking forty-eight individual saints and thirteen groups of saints, the litany begs for deliverance from a dozen evils and makes some thirty intercessions, including “that you would deign to humble the enemies of Holy Church” and “grant peace and unity to all Christian people.

Litany of the Saints: General Organization

Immediately in the description, one can see that in general, there is a definite organization:

  • Invocation of the Blessed Trinity
  • Invocation of Mary, Queen of Saints
  • Invocation of forty-eight individual saints organized into thirteen groups
  • Intercession against about twelve human deprivations or evils
  • Intercession for thirty needs or areas that require grace
  • Intercession for unity of mind and heart manifested through peace among the People of God

Litany of the Saints: Particular Organization

Litanies always open with the Kyrie Eleison formula directly addressed to the Blessed Trinity. The invocation is for the Godhead to grant grace and mercy to those praying the litany. Immediately following is the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a highlight upon the title, Queen of All Saints. Sometimes in the abbreviated form we only hear Mary, Mother of God. Naturally, her angelic court is addressed prior to the company of saints.

Hierarchy of the Saints of God

The organization is done by categories with internal ecclesial hierarchical rankings:

  1. Apostles
  2. Evangelists
  3. Disciples
  4. Commemoration of the Holy Innocents
  5. Martyrs (St. Stephan the proto-martyr is first)
  6. Confessors arranged by their rank in life
    1. Popes
    2. Doctors
    3. Bishops
    4. Abbots
    5. Priests
    6. Monks
  7. Virgins

The most interesting section of the litany is the Confessors. This section typically includes the patron(s) of the diocesan and local Church, founders of orders, local saints and even former bishops of the diocese who are unknown outside the immediate area. St. Sylvester is usually the first saint named within the Confessors, except when the local patron is placed on top. During the Diocese of Arlington Diaconate ordination, all the patron parish saints were included in this section for the ordiandi. Unfortunately, the hierarchy is not strictly followed, not to mention abbreviated forms for the sake of time, which contributes to confusion.

Following the patrons come the Fathers of the Church (Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory, Jerome), then bishops and so forth. In some litanies the confessors section is divided into two sections in accordance to their rank:

  1. Bishops and priests (top section)
  2. Monks and hermits (bottom section)

Last but not least are the Virgins. Of interest, are the virtues who later began saints: Faith, Hope and Charity – daughters of St. Sophia.

If you attend enough liturgies where the litany is chanted or recited you will notice the great variety. Even with the variety there is always an intrinsic unity found in the structure. If you are looking for absolute lack of deviation you will have to go to parishes run by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). They have mandated and regularized the Litany of Saints within their own territories and order.

The Litany of the Saints is a beautiful prayer to remind us of the unity with the family of God who have gone before us. We should every once in a while break in out and pray it with our families and friends. It is a good reminder that not only are we not alone but,

since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us cast aside every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us (Hebrews 12:1)

All holy men and women of God…ora pro nobis!

Devilish Beatitudes

Had to re-post this from the English Dominican Studentate blog Godzdogz. To be honest, this is a great mediation for the new year:

If the Devil were to write his Beatitudes, they might go something like this …

Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week in church – they are my best workers.

Blessed are those who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked – I can use them.

Blessed are the touchy, with a bit of luck they may stop going to church – they are my missionaries.

Blessed are those who are very religious but get on everyone’s nerves – they do my work for me.

Blessed are the troublemakers – they shall be called my children.

Blessed are those who have no time to pray – they are easy prey for me (geddit?).

Blessed are the gossipers – for they are my secret agents.

Blessed are those critical of church leadership – they are following my example.

Blessed are the complainers – I’m all ears for them.

Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other people – I’ve got you!

Learning for the Dominicans

if today was not Sunday, the universal Church would be celebrating the Memorial of St. Dominic Guzman, founder of the Order of Preachers. This is how Blessed Cecilia describes him:

“This was St Dominic’s appearance. He was of middle height and slender figure, of handsome and somewhat ruddy countenance, his hair and beard of auburn, and with lustrous eyes. From out his forehead and between his eye brows a radiant light shone forth, which drew everyone to revere and love him. He was always joyous and cheerful, except when moved to compassion at anyone’s sorrows. His hands were beautiful and tapering; his voice was clear, noble, and musical; he was never bald, but kept his religious tonsure entire, mingled here and there with a few grey hairs.” (From the Legend of St. Dominic by Bl. Cecilia Cesarini)

This simple mendicant’s work forever influenced the Church. He also gave us through his own witness a template for gestures during prayer.  The following are called The 9 Ways of Prayer by St. Dominic. For more of an explanation go to St. Dominic Biographical Documents.

To all in the Dominican family, thank you for your outstanding serve to the Trinity, our Lady and the Church. Many blessings!

The Litany of the Dominican Rite

Community Prayer: The Dominican Way

When we think of community prayer we should immediately thing of those prayers done in common by the faithful for a singular intention or devotion. Among the community prayers the Church has given us, the rosary stands above the rest as an individual and community prayer. A prayer that the Order of Preachers have been credited with advancing throughout the world.

Yesterday, April 29, we celebrated the feast of the Dominican Tertiary St. Catherine of Siena. Today, April 30, we celebrate the feast of the Dominican elevated to the throne of Peter, Pope St. Pius V. Both were dedicated to the reform of the Church: one encouraging her Pope to return to Rome and the other, implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent.  In addition to being a reformer, Pope St. Pius V is also known as “the rosary pope” for the victories won against the Turks through his encouragement that Europe and the soldiers pray the rosary for victory. Besides being great reforms and excelling in holiness they both share the same spiritual father St. Dominic.

An additional type of community prayer includes litanies.  In light of our two saintly Dominicans, we should add to our armament the efficacious Dominican litany.

The use of the Dominican Rite Litany of the Saints is explained by the following historical episode:

Innocent IV (born around 1200 and Pope from June 25, 1243) became a foe of the Order when the Dominican community in Genoa, the Pope’s home town, would not give him their Priory and its land for a castle he wanted to build there to protect his relatives from his enemies. Angered by what he considered to be Dominican ingratitude in the face of favors he had granted the Order, Innocent now acceded to the long standing demands of some of the secular clergy who were upset by the Friars’ popularity in the pastoral ministry, in preaching, and in university teaching.

Thus on May 10, 1254, the Pope placed some restrictions on the apostolate of the Dominicans in the French town of Saint-Quentin, and then began limiting the activities of the Other French Priories. On June 4 he in effect expelled the Dominican professors from the University of Paris. This new animosity on the part of the Supreme Pontiff frightened the Friars, who began to say the Litany of the Saints for a deliverance from what they saw as the impending suppression of the whole Order.

On Nov. 21, 1254, Innocent IV signed a decree rescinding all the privileges of the Order of Preachers, and instead forbidding all Dominicans to receive any lay person in their churches on Sundays and Holidays, to preach in their churches on other days before the Solemn Mass in the local diocesan parish church, to preach in an episcopal town if the bishop was to preach there that day, and to hear anyone’s confession without the permission of the penitent’s pastor. A Cardinal who supported the Pope in this affair had even further restriction to suggest to Innocent.

On the day the latter signed the aforementioned decree, the said Cardinal tumbled down some stairs and shortly thereafter died of the injuries. The Pope himself, on that very same day, Nov. 21, 1254, after signing the decree, suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed. Sixteen days later, On Dec. 7, 1254, Pope Innocent IV died. The new Pope, Alexander IV, restored all its privileges to the Order on Dec. 22, 1254, thirty-one days after their suppression and on the 38th anniversary of the Order’s approval by Honorius III on Dec. 22, 1216.

As a result of the foregoing, the saying arose, “Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans.”

This Litany is therefore recommended as a Novena in especially critical circumstances.

The Dominican Rite Litany

Lord have mercy.
R/ Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.
R/ Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.
R/ Lord have mercy.

Christ hear us.
R/ Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy.
R/ God the Father of heaven, have mercy.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy.
R/ God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy.
R/ God the Holy Spirit, have mercy.

Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy.
R/ Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy.

Holy Mary,
R/ Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you holy angels, and archangels,
All you holy orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you holy patriarchs and prophets,
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Thaddeus,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Mark,
St. Luke,
All you holy disciples of our Lord,
All you Holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Clement,
St. Cornelius,
St. Cyprian,
St. Laurence,
St. Vincent,
St. Denis with your companions,
St. Maurice with your companions,
St. Januarius with your companions,
Sts. Fabian and Sebastian,
Sts. Cosmas and Damian,
St. Thomas [… Becket],
St. Peter [Martyr],
St. John [of Cologne] with your companions,
St. Dominic [Ibanez] with your companions,
St. Ignatius [Delgado] with your companions,
All you holy martyrs,
St. Silvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Pius [V],
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Hilary,
St. Martin [of Tours],
St. Nicholas,
St. Antoninus,
Holy Father Dominic,
Holy Father Dominic,
St. Albert [the Great],
St. Thomas [Aquinas],
St. Vincent [Ferrer],
St. Hyacinth,
St. Raymond [of Penafort],
St. Louis [King of France],
St. Anthony [of the Desert],
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard [of Clairvaux],
Holy Father Francis,
St. Martin [de Porres],
St. John [Macias],
All you holy confessors,
St. Ann,
St. Mary Magdalene,
St. Martha,
St. Felicity,
St. Perpetua,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Ursula with your companions,
St. Catherine [dei Ricci],
St. Rose [of Lima],
St. Agnes [of Montepulciano],
St. Catherine [of Siena],
St. Margaret [of Hungary],
All you holy virgins and widows,
All you saints,

Be merciful.
R/ Spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful.
R/ Graciously hear us, O Lord.
From eternal damnation,
R/ O Lord, deliver us.
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the scourges that threaten our sins,
From the snares of the devil,
From all uncleanness of mind and body,
From anger, hatred and all ill-will,
From unclean thoughts,
From blindness of heart,
From lightning and storm,
From plague, famine and war,
From the scourge of earthquake,
From all evil,
Through the mystery of your holy incarnation,
Through your passion and cross,
Through your glorious resurrection,
Through your wonderful ascension,
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
On the day of judgment,

We sinners,
R/ Beseech you, hear us.
That you would give us peace,
R/ We beseech you, hear us.
That your mercy and love would preserve us,
R/ We beseech you, hear us.
That you would direct and defend your Church,
That you would preserve our apostolic prelate [the Pope]
and all the orders of the Church in holy religion,
That you would preserve our bishops and prelates
and all the congregations committed to them in your holy service,
That you would humble the enemies of holy Church,
That you would give peace and true concord and victory to our civil rulers,
That you would preserve the whole Christian people redeemed by your blood,
That you would recall to the unity of the Church all who are in error,
and lead all unbelievers to the light of the Gospel,
That you would give eternal happiness to all our benefactors,
That you would rescue our souls and those of our kinsfolk from eternal damnation,
That you would preserve the fruits of the earth,
That you would turn towards us the eyes of your mercy,
That you would make our worship a reasonable service,
That you would raise our minds to heavenly desires,
That you would regard and relieve the misery of the poor and captives,
That you would visit and comfort our homes and all who dwell therein,
That you would protect and keep this state and all its people,
That you would lead to a safe haven all the faithful travelling by land or sea,
That you would instruct us in a good life,
That you would give eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That you would hear us,
Son of God,

Son of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
R/ Have mercy on us.

Let us pray.
Almighty and provident God,
through the intercession of Blessed Mary,
the Queen of Heaven and Earth,
and of all the angels and saints,
whom we have just invoked,
we earnestly beg you to bless,
guide and support our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
R/ Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE SPIRITUAL WELFARE AND SUCCESS OF THE LOCAL BISHOP

Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, You instituted Your Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, and founded it upon the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, priests and deacons, who trace their ordinations back to the Apostles. Be mindful of Your promise that the gates of hell, with its double curse of sin and ignorance, would not prevail against Your Church, built upon the head of the Apostolic College, Peter and his successors. Deign now to send Your Holy Spirit to guide our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in his appointment of bishops in our beloved United States of America, laboring under vice and error. Send the Paraclete especially to our bishop of the Diocese of Boise, the Most Rev. Michael Driscoll, in such wise that he may continually grow in his love of the true faith, in his ability to communicate it, and in his zeal to provide well for its growth in our midst. Supported by the prayers of all the Angels and Saints whom we have just invoked, we offer this plea most earnestly to You, Lord Jesus, Who live and reign forever and ever.
R/ Amen.

The Virtue of Spiritual Reading

To some, spiritual reading is an activity to be separate from prayer while others, say the Augustinians and Dominicans, spiritual reading is a prayer.  All will admit that there is the ever-present danger of seeking information and knowledge out of curiosity or for its own sake. The mature Christian understands that spiritual reading advances us in love of God by getting to Him through theology and His closest friends – the saints. With that being said, St. Alphonsus Liguori provides a fantastic reflection entitled, On Spiritual Reading.”  May this brief instruction inspire us to take up this discipline to assist us in running the race so as to win the crown of glory.

On Spiritual Reading

by St. Alphonsus Liguori

To a spiritual life the reading of holy books is perhaps not less useful than mental prayer. St. Bernard says reading instructs us at once in prayer, and in the practice of virtue. Hence he concluded that spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won. We cannot always have access to a spiritual Father for counsel in our actions, and particularly in our doubts; but reading will abundantly supply his place by giving us lights and directions to escape the illusions of the devil and of our own self-love, and at the same time to submit to the divine will. Hence St. Athanasius used to say that we find no one devoted to the service of the Lord that did not practice spiritual reading. Hence all the founders of religious Orders have strongly recommended this holy exercise to their religious. St. Benedict, among the rest, commanded that each monk should every day make a spiritual reading, and that two others should be appointed to go about visiting the cells to see if all fulfilled the command; and should any monk be found negligent in the observance of this rule, the saint ordered a penance to be imposed upon him. But before all, the Apostle prescribed spiritual reading to Timothy. Attend unto reading. Mark the word Attend, which signifies that, although Timothy, as being bishop, was greatly occupied with the care of his flock, still the Apostle wished him to apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time.

The reading of spiritual works is as profitable as the reading of bad books is noxious. As the former has led to the conversion of many sinners, so the latter is every day the ruin of many young persons. The first author of pious books is the Spirit of God; but the author of pernicious writings is the devil, who often artfully conceals from certain persons the poison that such works contain, and makes these persons believe that the reading of such books is necessary in order to speak well, and to acquire a knowledge of the world for their own direction, or at least in order to pass the time agreeably. But I say that, especially for nuns, nothing is more pernicious than the reading of bad books. And by bad books I mean not only those that are condemned by the Holy See, either because they contain heresy, or treat of subjects opposed to chastity, but also all books that treat of worldly love. What fervor can a religious have if she reads romances, comedies, or profane poetry? What recollection can she have in meditation or at Communion? Can she be called the spouse of Jesus Christ? Should she not rather be called the spouse of a sinful world? Even young women in the world that are in the habit of reading such books are generally not virtuous seculars.

But some one may say, What harm is there in reading romances and profane poetry when they contain nothing immodest? Do you ask what harm? Behold the harm: the reading of such works kindles the concupiscence of the senses, and awakens the passions; these easily gain the consent of the will, or at least render it so weak that when the occasion of any dangerous affection occurs the devil finds the soul already prepared to allow itself to be conquered. A wise author has said that by the reading of such pernicious books heresy has made, and makes every day, great progress; because such reading has given and gives increased strength to libertinism. The poison of these books enters gradually into the soul; it first makes itself master of the understanding, then infects the will, and in the end kills the soul. The devil finds no means more efficacious and secure of sending a young person to perdition than the reading of such poisoned works.

Remember also that for you certain useless books, though not bad, will be pernicious; because they will make you lose the time that you can employ in occupations profitable to the soul. In a letter to his disciple Eustochium, St. Jerome stated for her instruction that in his solitude at Bethlehem he was attached to the works of Cicero, and frequently read them, and that he felt a certain disgust for pious books because their style was not polished. He was seized with a serious malady, in which he saw himself at the tribunal of Jesus Christ. The Lord said to him: “Tell me; what are you?” “I am,” replied the saint, “a Christian.” “No,” rejoined the Judge, “you are a Ciceronian, not a Christian.” He then commanded him to be instantly scourged. The saint promised to correct his fault, and having returned from the vision he found his shoulders livid and covered with wounds in consequence of the chastisement that he had received. Thenceforward he gave up the works of Cicero, and devoted himself to the reading of books of piety. It is true that in the works like those of Cicero we sometimes find useful sentiments; but the same St. Jerome wisely said in a letter to another disciple: “What need have you of seeking for a little gold in the midst of so much mire,” when you can read pious books in which you may find all gold without any mire?

As the reading of bad books fills the mind with worldly and poisonous sentiments; so, on the other hand, the reading of pious works fills the soul with holy thoughts and good desires.

In the second place, the soul that is imbued with holy thoughts in reading is always prepared to banish internal temptations. The advice that St. Jerome gave to his disciple Salvina was: “Endeavor to have always in your hand a pious book, that with this shield you may defend yourself against bad thoughts.”

In the third place, spiritual reading serves to make us see the stains that infect the soul, and helps us to remove them. The same St. Jerome recommended Demetriade to avail herself of spiritual reading as of a mirror. He meant to say that as a mirror exhibits the stains of the countenance, so holy books show us the defects of the soul. St. Gregory, speaking of spiritual reading, says: “There we perceive the losses we have sustained and the advantages we have acquired; there we observe our falling back or our progress in the way of God.”

In the fourth place, in reading holy books we receive many lights and divine calls. St. Jerome says that when we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us. St. Ambrose says the same: “We address him when we pray; we hear him when we read.” In prayer, God hears our petitions, but in reading we listen to his voice. We cannot, as I have already said, always have at hand a spiritual Father, nor can we hear the sermons of sacred orators, to direct and give us light to walk well in the way of God. Good books supply the place of sermons. St. Augustine writes that good books are, as it were, so many letters of love the Lord sends us; in them he warns us of our dangers, teaches us the way of salvation, animates us to suffer adversity, enlightens us, and inflames us with divine love. Whoever, then, desires to be saved and to acquire divine love, should often read these letters of paradise.

How many saints have, by reading a spiritual book, been induced to forsake the world and to give themselves to God! It is known to all that St. Augustine, when miserably chained by his passions and vices, was, by reading one of the epistles of St. Paul, enlightened with divine light, went forth from his darkness, and began to lead a life of holiness. Thus also St. Ignatius, while a soldier, by reading a volume of the lives of the saints which he accidentally took up, in order to get rid of the tediousness of the bed to which he was confined by sickness, was led to begin a life of sanctity, and became the Father and Founder of the Society of Jesusóan Order which has done so much for the Church. Thus also by reading a pious book accidentally and almost against his will, St. John Colombino left the world, became a saint, and the founder of another religious Order. St. Augustine relates that two courtiers of the Emperor Theodosius entered one day into a monastery of solitaries; one of them began to read the life of St. Anthony, which he found in one of the cells; so strong was the impression made upon him, that he resolved to take leave of the world. He then addressed his companion with so much fervor that both of them remained in the monastery to serve God. We read in the Chronicles of the Discalced Carmelites that a lady in Vienna was prepared to go to a festivity, but because it was given up she fell into a violent passion. To divert her attention she began to read a spiritual book that was at hand, and conceived such a contempt for the world, that she abandoned it and became a Teresian nun. The same happened to the Duchess of Montalto, in Sicily. She began also by accident to read the works of St. Teresa, and afterwards continued to read them with so much fervor, that she sought and obtained her husbandís consent to become a religious, and entered among the Discalced Carmelites.

But the reading of spiritual books has not only contributed to the conversion of saints, but has also given them during their whole life great aid to persevere and to advance continually in perfection. The glorious St. Dominic used to embrace his spiritual books, and to press them to his bosom, saying, “These books give me milk.” And how, except by meditation and the use of pious books, were the anchorets enabled to spend to many years in the desert, at a distance from all human society? That great servant of God, Thomas a Kempis, could not enjoy greater consolation than in remaining in a corner of his cell with a spiritual book in his hand. It has been already mentioned in this work that the Venerable Vincent Carafa used to say that he could not desire a greater happiness in this world than to live in a little grotto provided with a morsel of bread and a spiritual book. St. Philip Neri devoted all the vacant hours that he could procure to the reading of spiritual books, and particularly the lives of the saints.

Oh! How profitable is the reading of the lives of the saints! In books of instruction we read what we are bound to do, but in the lives of the saints we read what so many holy men and women, who were flesh as we are, have done. Hence, their example, if it produce no other fruit, will at least humble us and make us sink under the earth. In reading the great things that the saints have done, we shall certainly be ashamed of the little that we have done and still do for God. St. Augustine said of himself: “My God, the examples of Thy servants, when I meditated on them, consumed my tepidity and inflamed me with Thy holy love.” Of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure writes: “By the remembrance of the saints and of their virtues, as if they were so many stones of fire, he has inflamed with new love for God.”

St. Gregory also relates that in Rome there was a beggar called Servolus; he was afflicted with infirmities, and lived on the alms that he collected: he gave a part to the poor, and employed the remainder in purchasing books of devotion. Servolus could not read, but he engaged those whom he lodged in his little house to read for him. St. Gregory says that by listening to these spiritual readings Servolus acquired great patience and a wonderful knowledge of the things of God. Finally, the saint states that at death the poor man besought his friends to read for him; but before breathing his last he interrupted the reading, and said: “Be silent, be silent, do you not hear how all paradise resounds with canticles and harmonious music?” After these words he sweetly expired. Immediately after his death a most agreeable odor was diffused over the room, in testimony of the sanctity of the beggar, who left the world poor in earthly goods, but rich in virtue and merits.

But to draw great fruit from spiritual reading:

It is, in the first place, necessary to recommend yourself beforehand to God, that he may enlighten the mind while you read. It has been already said, that in spiritual reading the Lord condescends to speak to us; and, therefore, in taking up the book, we must pray to God in the words of Samuel: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. Speak, O my Lord, for I wish to obey Thee in all that Thou wilt make known to me to be Thy will.

In the second place, you must read not in order to acquire learning, nor to indulge curiosity, but for the sole purpose of advancing in divine love. To read for the sake of knowledge is not spiritual reading, but is, at the time of spiritual reading, a study unprofitable to the soul. It is still worse to read through curiosity. What profit can be expected form such reading? All the time devoted to such reading is lost time. St. Gregory says that many read and read a great deal, but, because they have read only through curiosity, they finish reading as hungry as if they had not been reading. Hence the saint corrected a physician called Theodore for reading spiritual books quickly and without profit.

To derive advantage from pious books it is necessary to read them slowly and with attention. “Nourish your soul,” says St. Augustine, “with divine lectures.” Now to receive nutriment from food, it must not be devoured, but well masticated. Remember, then, in the third place, that to reap abundant fruit from pious reading, you must masticate and ponder well what you ready; applying to yourself what is there inculcated. And when what you have read has made a lively impression on you, St. Ephrem counsels you to read it a second time.

Besides, when you receive any special light in reading, or any instruction that penetrates the heart, it will b e very useful to stop, and to raise the mind to God by making a good resolution, or a good act, or a fervent prayer. St. Bernard says, that it is useful then to interrupt the reading, and to offer a prayer, and to continue to pray as long as the lively impression lasts. Let us imitate the bees, that pass not from one flower to another until they have gathered all the honey that they found in the first. This we should do, although all the time prescribed for the reading should be spent in such acts; for thus the time is spent with greater spiritual profit. Sometimes it may happen that you draw more fruit from reading a single verse than from reading an entire page.

Moreover, at the end of the reading you must select some sentiment of devotion, excited by what you have read, and carry it with you as you would carry a flower from a garden of pleasure.

Prayer

Our Lady of the Cathusians

My Lord, I thank Thee for so many helps and lights that Thou gives me, in order to make me a saint, and to unite me always more closely to Thee. When will the day arrive on which I shall see myself freed from all earthly affections, and entirely united to Thy heart, which is so enamored of my soul! I hope for all things from Thy infinite mercy. My Jesus, I cannot bear to see myself any longer ungrateful to Thy love, as I have hitherto been. Create a clean heart in me, O God. Lord give me a new heart that will think only of pleasing Thee. This desire that Thou gives me makes me hope for Thy grace. My God, I believe in Thee, and for Thy faith I would give my life a thousand times. I hope in Thee through the merits of Jesus Christ; without them I should be lost. O Sovereign Good, I love Thee; and for the love of Thee, I renounce all things, and embrace every pain and every cross that Thou wishes to send me. I have offended Thee, but I feel more sorrow for having offended Thee, than if I had suffered every other misfortune. I now sigh only for Thy grace and love. My God assist me, have mercy on me.

Holy Virgin, assist me by thy prayers, which obtain from God whatever thou asks. My Mother, recommend me to thy Son; do not forget me.

Help us all out…

Tell us what your favorite spiritual reading is.  In fact, recommend a book to us.

Dominican Rite: Confession

The following article was written by Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. which was found on the Dominican Liturgy blog.  Enjoy!

Sacraments other than Mass in the Dominican Rite

I. The Sacrament of Penance (Confession)
In the wake of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which allowed for pastoral purposes celebration not only of the Mass but of the other sacraments, I have been asked a number of times by friars whether the Dominican Rite had its own particular forms for the sacraments. This is an interesting question, and I think readers here would find it interesting.

The Dominican Rite is a monastic rite and, as such, does not have forms for Baptism, Confirmation, Orders, or Matrimony. Dominican friars, like other religious, are assumed to be adults, and they are celibates, so there is no need for Baptism, Confirmation, or Matrimony. When they become bishops they canonically cease to be members of the Order, so Dominican bishops use the Roman rituals. If a friar is serving in a parish or other place where baptisms are performed, marriages witnessed, or an emergency Confirmation of an infant must be done, they would use the Roman rituals. We do have a form of the Missa Pro Sponsis in our missals, but its readings and collects are borrowed from the Roman Rite and it is a post-Tridentine addition. It is used with the customary forms for marriage.

Aside from the Mass, two sacraments were, and are, regularly performed in monasteries: Penance (Confession) and Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick). So the Dominican Rite has its own forms for those sacraments and these were also used in pastoral service to non-Dominicans. Both, like the Dominican Mass, represent ritual practice of the thirteenth century rather than the fifteenth- century usages codified in the Roman Rite after the Council of Trent.

Penance According to the Dominican Rite

The major external difference between the Roman and Dominican rites of Penance is in vesture. Roman priests traditionally heard confessions in cassock and surplice wearing a purple stole. Dominicans heard (and may still hear) confessions wearing the habit (which is white) and the cappa (the black cape), without a stole. The traditional explanation of the absence of the stole is that the scapular (a white apron-like part of the habit) is considered a stole. I think this story unlikely. The lack of church vestments in our rite is probably a vestige of the early medieval practice of using vestments only during administration of Public Penance on Holy Thursday. “Private” sacramental penance was not usually administered with external formalities at the time of the foundation of the Order. The black cappa was penitential enough.

The formula of Dominican Rite Penance is different in text and form from that of the traditional Roman Rite. As not all readers may be familiar with the older Roman form, I will describe it. In the modern period, both rites began with the penitent confessing his or her sins and then proceeded to the absolutions.

The Roman “Common Absolution” began with an invocation of God’s mercy (Misereatur tui) similar to the priest’s prayer in the modern Penitential Rite at Mass. He then raised his right hand and prayed a two-part absolution prayer. The first part invoked God’s pardon, absolution, and remission of sins in the third person; the second part, the formal absolution, is in first person and first absolved the penitent from excommunication, suspension (if in orders), and interdict, and then from sins with a single Sign of the Cross. The priest then added the prayer Passio Domini Nostri, which remains an option in the new Rite of Reconciliation.

In the Dominican form, the priest began by absolving the penitent from excommunication, suspension (if a cleric), and interdict, explicitly stating that this restored the penitent to the communion of the faithful. Putting this first reflects the ancient practice that only those in full communion can pray with the faithful or receive ecclesiastical sacraments and rites. So it begins the rite as a whole. The Dominican priest then recited the Misereatur in a form identical to that used during the Dominican Prayers at the Foot of the Altar.

In thirteenth-century practice, this Misereatur prayer probably followed a ritual now absent from the rite. It was very common for priests to help penitents make confession by using a Formula Confessionis in question and answer form: “Did you take the Lord’s name in vain?” “Did you commit adultery” etc. Priests can still do this today, if the penitent seems to have trouble identifying sins; and it is often used when a penitent makes a general confession. What today is relatively uncommon, seems, from my research, to have been nearly universal in the 1200s. After confessing their sins, penitents said a Confiteor (or some other formula of contrition) to which the priest added the Misereatur prayer, which normally followed it, as at Mass.

The priest then pronounced the Absolution. The Dominican form, in comparison to the Roman, because it lacks the absolution from censures, focuses more directly on sins and judgment. This is a remarkable prayer and incorporates not only the typical thirteenth-century focus on God’s mercy, but also an explicitly eschatological dimension. Here is my translation of the Dominican formula:

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, through his most gracious mercy, absolve you; and by his authority, through which I act, I absolve you of all your sins, so that you be absolved both here and before the tribunal of Our Lord, the same Jesus Christ, and so that you might have eternal life and live forever. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Spirit. Amen.

Here, for comparison, is the parallel prayer in the Roman Ritual:

May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and by his authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication, suspension, and interdict, to the extent of my power and your need. Finally I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Note also the triple blessing in the Dominican form, something used in the Roman rite of Penance only by bishops. The Dominican, like the Roman, then concluded with the prayer Passio, which in the Dominican form mentions St. Dominic along with the Virgin, intentions as well as actions, and concludes with a final blessing in the name of the Trinity. Both the Dominican and Roman rituals provided shortened versions for use when penitents were many and a brief absolution for emergencies.

By analogy, in my opinion, as the use by Roman priests of older sacraments is now permitted for pastoral need, this form of absolution might be used by Dominican priests who have permission to use the Dominican Rite. I hope in another posting to discuss the Dominican form of Extreme Unction.

Those interested in seeing the whole formula in the original Latin may find it on the sidebar of this blog, “Dominican Liturgy,” to the left of this post under “Domincan Rite Resources.”
II. Viaticum: Communion of the Dying

As explained earlier, the rituals for the Sacraments in the Dominican Rite, our Rite is a monastic rite and presupposes the context of a religious house (which is commonly referred to by Dominicans as a “convent” even when it is a house of men) for the celebration of the sacraments. In the case of Confession and Mass, there is nothing particularly “monastic” about the rituals that make them more difficult to perform in a parochial or extra-conventual context than their parallels in the Roman Rite. This is not the case for the Dominican rituals for Viaticum and for Extreme Unction, what is called in the new Roman rite the “Anointing of the Sick.” These rituals in our Rite properly require the presence of a choir of the friars and a sizable group of ministers. As the rite includes processions and music, it is not surprising that it is found in the Processionarium, which collects music for processions and other rites that are not part of Mass or Office.

In their complexity these rituals reflect those of the Italian/Roman family of liturgical books that I examined in chapter 10 of my Cities of God: the Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 (University Park PA: Penn State Univ. Press, 2005)–See link on left sidebar. Italian/Roman books of that period envision the presence of a choir and sometimes as many as seven priests. In contrast, however, the Ambrosian books of the period envision no music and could be used by a single priest. This rite also had only two anointings, not seven, just like the modern Roman rite for anointing the sick. The evidence from saints’ lives, chronicles, synodalia, and other sources suggests that in the high middle ages, most lay people did not receive Extreme Unction. The rites of dying focused on Confession and Viaticum. Anointing seems to have been in great part a ritual for religious and for clerics living in community. The development of the Tridentine form of the Roman ritual in the later middle ages, which dropped the music and complex ceremonies so that a single priest could perform it, finally made it available to the laity on a wide basis. The rites I will now explain were pretty much exclusively used with in the monastery. Dominican priests engaged in pastoral work with the laity in the modern period used the Roman Ritual, with its simplified rite, when attending the dying at home or in the hospital.
The term “Last Rites” refers to a complex of three separate rituals, Confession, Communion as Viaticum, and Anointing (or in the modern order: Confession, Anointing, and Viaticum). The old and new Roman rituals include a form for administering all three ceremonies in a single ceremony. This continuous rite was, and is, commonly used. The Dominican “Last Rites,” as they are preserved in our Processionale, appear as separate ceremonies. It is not assumed that they will take place in a single event. I have already discussed the Dominican form of Penance, the first rite of the “Last Rites.” A sick friar or nun would have confessed, as did the laity, in a private ceremony using the forms I have previously described. When it appeared that the illness was terminal, but while the sick were still well enough to receive Communion, the next rite was final Communion (Viaticum).
When Viaticum was to be administered, the bell for Office was wrung in a special way to indicate that the brothers should assemble in the sacristy for the procession. The friars then went in procession to the tabernacle in this order: two acolytes in surplice carrying lighted processional candles, two friars without surplice holding a lantern and a bell, a friar with the holy water, a friar with cruets and lavabo bowel, friars of the community, friars with candles to escort the sacrament, umbrella or canopy bearer(s), the prior (or, if absent, a senior priest) wearing surplice with stole and humeral veil. All knelt. The prior removed the ciborium or pyx and covered it with his humeral veil. The umbrella or canopy was arranged over him and the candle-bearers around him. The procession then went to the sick room, singing the Gradual Psalms in tono directo.
On arrival at the sick room, the prior said Pax huic domui, and, after the response, intoned the Asperges, which was sung by the friars as he sprinkled the room. This ended, the verses and collect of this rite were sung. The prior then urged the sick friar to be reconciled to any present whom he had offended and to forgive any who had offended him. This done, the sick friar then recited the Confiteor in the Dominican form, with the prior pronouncing the Misereator and Absolutionem. The formula Ecce Angus Dei and Domine non sum dignus was not used as it was not a Dominican practice, although it was added to our Communion Rite at Mass in 1958, one of a number of Romanizations during the 1950s. It was not added to the Viaticum rite.
The prior then presented the Host to the sick friar and asked him: Credis quod hic sit Christus Salvátor Mundi? He responded: Credo. The prior then gave him Communion using the Dominican Viaticum formula: Corpus Dómini nostri Iesu Christi custódiat te, et perdúcat ad vitam ætérnam. The friar with the cruets washed the prior’s fingers and the ablution was given to the sick friar to consume. The prior sang the collect Exaudi nos. The community then returned in procession to the sacristy, with umbrella or canopy folded, escort candles extinguished and no bell-ringing (unless there were additional Hosts to return to the tabernacle first).
The same ceremony was used in houses of nuns, with the priest chaplain as the celebrant. In contrast, ordinary Communion of the Sick, even in the monastery, used a much simpler form of the rite. A single priest came with the host preceded by a one acolyte, reciting (not singing) alternately the psalm Miserere. The question Credis was omitted and the normal Communion formula of our Rite (which omits the phrase et perducat from the Viaticum formula) was used.
Later, when the sickness became critical, it was time for Extreme Unction.
III. Extreme Unction: Anointing of the Dying

Like the Rite of Viaticum, the ritual of Extreme Unction in the Dominican Rite begins with the assembly of the community in the sacristy for the procession to the room where the sick friar is dying. The procession consists of the Holy Water bearer, two candle-bearing acolytes in surplice, a lantern bearer and a friar with a hand-cross, then comes the sacristan with the Oleum Infirmorum and a case containing six wool or cotton balls or six strips of linen. Last comes the celebrant followed by the community in order of seniority.

At the sick room the celebrant gives the greeting and sprinkles Holy Water during the singing of the Asperges, as for Viaticum. This complete, he intones the collect Domine Deus, qui per Apostolum tuum Iacobum. This prayer is also found in the old Roman ritual of Extreme Unction (with minor differences of phrasing), but in that rite it follows the Pater Noster after the anointings. As the prayer summarizes the institution of the rite in the Epistle of James, it serves as a scriptural warrant for the rite about to be preformed. In an interesting parallel the Epistle passage itself is now used at this point in the modern Roman ritual. As in Viaticum, the dying friar asks and gives pardon for offenses given or received from community members. He then recites the Confiteor to which the celebrant gives the usual absolutions. The celebrant then offers the dying friar the Cross to kiss. This is a ceremony absent from the Tridentine Roman form, although nearly universal in the high middle ages––it was probably also in the Roman ceremony before its simplification. After the veneration of the Cross, the celebrant intones the antiphon: Intret orátio mea in conspéctu tuo: inclína aurem tuam ad preces nostras, Dómine. The friars of the convent chant the Seven Penitential Psalms. The anointing itself is performed during the chanting of these psalms.

The Dominican, like the old Roman, practice, consists of seven anointings: first the five senses, then the hands and feet (which, although requiring a anointing on both extremities, were considered single anointings for formula purposes). As in the Roman ritual, priests are anoninted on the back of the hands, others on the palms. This is so as not to “repeat” the anointing on the palms that priests receive at ordination. As the celebrant finishes each anointing, an appointed friar uses a different one of the cotton balls or linen strips to clean away the Holy Oil. They will be burned after the rite and the ashes put down the sacrarium in the sacristy, practice also part of the old Roman rite. When the celebrant has finished, the sacristan washes his hands. The formulas used during for the Dominican anointings parallel the Roman ones, differing only in minor vocabulary choices or word order. In only one case is there a significant difference of meaning: the Dominican anointing of the mouth mentions the sin of taste (gustum) but not of that of speech (locutionem). This shorter form is probably the older one and focused, in parallel to the other formulas, on the corporal sense anointed alone. But the both sets of formula are so close that they certainly derive from a common ancestor.

When the community finished chanting the Penitential Psalms, the antiphon was sung again, and the Pater Noster was recited silently. After a series of verses and responses slightly shorter than the Roman use, the celebrant sings seven collects: Quaesumus Omnipotens Deus; Respice Domine; Deus qui facturae; Deus infirmitatis; Deus qui humano; Virtutum caelestium; and Domine sancte Pater. The Roman ritual has here only the three collects: Domine Deus (which opens the Dominican Rite ceremony); Respice Domine, and Domine Sancte Pater; all of which have minor verbal differences from the Dominican forms but clearly go back to a common source. The seventh collect finished, the priest imparts an absolution using a long prayer, absent from the Roman version, beginning Dominus Iesus Christus qui dixit discipulis suis. The community then leaves in procession to return to the sacristy. As with Viaticum, the same forms were used in convents of nuns when the priest chaplain administered Last Rites to a sister.

Those who know the old Roman ritual of Extreme Unction will notice that the Dominican form is shorter because it lacks a number of Roman elements: two of the three long Roman collects after the Asperges; the reading of Matthew 8: 5-10, 13; the Litany before the anointing; and the final blessing. In spite of these differences, both rites are clearly members of the same liturgical family and resemble and share prayers with the high medieval Italian/Roman forms of the rite I have studied. In practice, they differ most conspicuously in the absence of the Dominican chanted psalms and external formalities from the Roman. This difference, however, is late medieval. In the thirteenth century, Italian/Roman versions of the ceremony would still have assumed music and external formalities.

As I wrote earlier, a number of elements from the old Dominican rite of Extreme Unction, including the kissing of the Cross, were approved in the 1970s for use in the context of the new Roman Rite of Anointing of the Sick. Unfortunately, no consolidated Latin ritual, much less a translation, has ever been prepared to facilitate this, so the practice remains very uncommon. As with the form of Absolution in Confession, however, Dominicans with permission from their provincials to celebrate the traditional Dominican Rite would also be able to use this older form of the sacrament, should pastoral circumstances warrant it.

This concludes my series on the Sacraments for which the Dominican rite has its own rituals. As I wrote at the beginning of the series, when friars began to serve in parishes in the early modern period, they used the Roman ritual for baptisms and marriages; and Dominican bishops used the Roman forms for Confirmation and Holy Orders.

Salve Regina

The Salve Regina is an 11th Century hymn dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Liturgically, this is one of the four hymns used for for Compline. The singing of the Salve Regina after Compline in honor of the Virgin Mary is one of the oldest traditions in the Dominican Order, dating back to the first generations of Dominican friars. In fact, the Church’s practice of singing the Salve (or some other Marian antiphon) after Compline grew out of this early Dominican practice. During Easter and until Pentecost, the Regina Caeli is the prescribed Marian hymn.   But more importantly, today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Let us take a moment to thank our Lady and Queen:

O Holy and most Amiable Lady, Mother of our Divine Lord.  Thank you for your total gift of self to become the living tabernacle, foreshadowed by the Ark of the Covenant, and realized in your Fiat. Gather us into your grace-filled arms and arrange our prayers into a bouquet of roses your Son cannot refuse.  Teach us to love Jesus with reckless abandon that He might invite us to participate in the eternal exchange of Trinitarian love for all eternity.

Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us!

Let’s end our day with this beautiful hymn the Salve Regina.  If you have not heard the Dominicans chant the Salve Regina at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, you are in for a treat.  Below is a video of the Dominicans chant the more traditional Salve Regina:

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

This cannot be said better than Fr. Cole.  Enjoy!

St. Joseph Role in the Spiritual Life

By Fr. Basil Cole, OP

The week of October 15, 1989, I was very nervous because I was teaching a new course on the mission of St. Joseph at the Angelicum in Rome. My sacred sources were “dated,” since nothing significant about Joseph had been written by the papal magisterium in many years, although some significant works had been penned by the Dominicans, Frs. Timothy Sparks, O.P. and James Davis, O.P. and the Jesuit, Fr. Francis Filas, S.J. My anxiety turned to joy, however, when at the end of the week, Pope John Paul II promulgated his Apostolic Letter, Redemptoris Custos (hereafter RC) or in English, Guardian of the Redeemer, which was rich in content and even solved several disputes among the Fathers of the Church and theologians that had occurred over the centuries concerning the life and virtues of Joseph. Today, some eighteen years later, RC remains largely unknown throughout the Catholic world, much like St. Joseph himself. Here I will attempt to give a few insights into this apostolic letter so that others may be prompted to seek it out and read it. Further, I will try to show how integrating devotion to Joseph in one’s prayer life will help us progress in the spiritual life.1

Introductory considerations

St. Thomas Aquinas gives us three very important theological principles that can help in interpreting not only the life of St. Joseph, but also the lives of the saints as well. The first is that when God chooses someone for a special mission in the Church, he always prepares that person with many graces, and sometimes gifts of nature to fulfill that task (ST III 98, 5 ad 3). From this we may draw the conclusion that since Joseph was to be the head of the Holy Family, a ministry much higher than being a priest or pope because Joseph was immediately in charge of Christ himself and married to Mary, he had to be capacitated with exceptional graces for these purposes. It is argued by many Josephine scholars that Joseph, while not immaculately conceived, was sanctified in the womb by the grace of God like John the Baptist and Jeremiah.

The second insight of Aquinas that helps us understand Joseph’s holiness is that the more one approaches the principle of grace, the more one receives the effects from that principle (ibid., 5; see also II-II 1, 7 ad 4). In Joseph’s case, this would mean receiving an ocean of grace because Joseph lived with Jesus, the head of the mystical body as well as Mary, the Queen of heaven and earth, the sinless one. From this it follows that Joseph would have been inundated with grace throughout his life thus enabling him to live and merit not only his own salvation but also the salvation of others. This is the source of his special role in heaven as patron of the Universal Church.

As a third rationale, St. Thomas teaches that the virtue of devotion, an aspect of the virtue of religion being a willingness to serve God more readily, comes about as a result of meditation and contemplation. Principally pondering and gazing concerns itself with the divine nature itself as containing the infinite attributes and properties of the three-personed God (ST II-II 82, 3 ad 2). Secondarily, however, devotion arises from thinking lovingly on Jesus Christ, and his life and death. Therefore, reflecting on the mystery of Joseph aids one to think about Christ, and then helps one grow in devotion to the Triune God.

From these three Thomistic keys, we can more easily understand why Joseph is so important in understanding the nature of the hypostatic order, or that personal assumption of the Second of the Blessed Trinity in a marriage.

Joseph the unknown

Throughout the pope’s teaching on St. Joseph in RC, it becomes clear and evident that the Holy Father, John Paul II, interprets Matthew and Luke as history, not merely memories of a community that has embellished the life of Joseph. While it is certainly true that very little is said about Joseph in the Gospels and he does not personally utter a word in the gospels, it is reasonable to conclude that the authors, both human and divine, wanted to communicate the “good news” of Jesus Christ and thus did not focus excessively on the persons who helped shape his early life. Nevertheless, the Holy Father is convinced that reflecting on Joseph’s role in salvation history the whole church “will be enabled to discover ever anew her own identity within this redemptive plan, which is founded on the mystery of the incarnation.”

The hypostatic union of the Redeemer was intrinsically dependent upon Mary’s consent and very body, for the Word assumes a true human nature in her womb. Therefore, we can say it was also extrinsically necessary, given God’s chosen plan of salvation, that the incarnation depend upon someone who would act as a loving father for the God-man and a loving husband for the Mother of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the consequences of all this so very wonderfully:

531 During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labour. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God, [221] a life in the community. From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was “obedient” to his parents and that he “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” [222]

532 Jesus’ obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. The everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: “Not my will . . .” [223] The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed. [224]

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life: The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus — the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us . . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character . . . A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the “Carpenter’s Son”, in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work . . . To conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern their brother who is God. [225]2

Was Mary unwedded when she conceived the Word incarnate?

Quite often preachers today speak of Mary as an unwedded woman because she was only engaged to Joseph at the time of her consent at the annunciation. The Pope in paragraph 18 accepts the common teaching of some Jewish historians that marriage had two stages: the legal and true marriage would be celebrated, and after a certain period of time, the wife would come to her husband’s home. With this understanding, Joseph is seen already to be Mary’s husband at the time of her pregnancy. Betrothal did not mean “merely engaged” but legally married. This will be very important when it comes to the question of Joseph’s doubt.

The problem of Mary’s pregnancy

Theologians have often wondered how Joseph discovered Mary’s pregnancy. The Holy Father clearly opts for the notion that it was “visible to the people and to Joseph.” If so, why does he choose to “divorce her quietly?” Much ink has been spilled over this question; some even opined that Mary had committed adultery! John Paul however teaches that Joseph “decided to draw back so as not to interfere in the plan of God which was coming to pass in Mary” (20). Therefore, in order to allay the personal anguish of Joseph who knew something was beyond his comprehension, it was necessary that he too receive, like Mary, a personal annunciation: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21). Matthew then recounts that Joseph did “as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife” (Matt. 1:24). The Holy Father indicates that this was Joseph’s clearest “obedience of faith” and the pope references this to Romans and the Second Letter to the Corinthians.

It becomes evident, after a minimum of reflection, that Joseph is the first “to share in the faith of the mother of God and in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation” (5b). In the same paragraph, RC asserts that “the incarnation and the redemption constitute an organic and indissoluble unity.” What this will mean is that somehow, yet in a more distant but still real way, Joseph also saved us under Christ even though he was not present for the saving action of Christ’s passion and death.

It is also clear that Joseph is not a foster father in the strict sense, but rather he is adopted by God himself to be the juridical father of Jesus. This is why RC teaches that it would be wrong to assert that Joseph is merely an apparent or substitute father (21a): “Rather, it [his fatherhood] is one that fully shares in authentic fatherhood and the mission of a father in the family” (ibid.). Moreover, the Pope, citing a discourse of Paul VI reminds us that although Joseph did not give his genetic makeup to his Son through authentic conjugal intercourse, he nevertheless gave Jesus “by a special gift from heaven, all the natural love, all the affectionate solicitude that a father’s heart can know” (8c). In other words, his fatherly authority over Jesus required a corresponding love. Parenthetically, since Joseph had this special ministry over Jesus, one can easily conclude that his ministry was higher than that of the ecclesiastical hierarchy for Joseph was head of the Head of the mystical body and Mary Mother of the Church. God on earth obeyed him and was in part formed by him.

Concerning Joseph’s relationship to his virginal wife, RC has some very important words to say about marital love, which deserves to be cited in full:

“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife” in to his home (Mt 1:24); what was conceived in Mary was “of the Holy Spirit.” From expressions such as these are we not to suppose that his love as a man was also given new birth by the Holy Spirit? Are we not to think that the love of God which has been poured forth into the human heart through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rm. 5:5) molds every human love to perfection? This love of God also molds — in a completely unique way — the love of husband and wife, deepening within it everything of human worth and beauty, everything that bespeaks an exclusive gift of self, a covenant between persons, and an authentic communion according to the model of the Blessed Trinity.

“Joseph . . . took his wife; but he knew her not, until she had borne a son” (Mt 1:24-25). These words indicate another kind of closeness in marriage. The deep spiritual closeness arising from marital union and the interpersonal contact between man and woman have their definitive origin in the Spirit, the Giver of Life (cf. Jn 6:63). Joseph, in obedience to the Spirit, found in the Spirit the source of love, the conjugal love which he experienced as a man. And this love proved to be greater than this “just man” could ever have expected within the limits of his human heart (19b&c).

What the Holy Father has asserted is really an exposition of St. Thomas’s dictum that grace builds upon nature, and does not destroy, but perfects it. The Pope asserts that the most chaste Joseph had all the affection of a husband for his virginal wife, just as he earlier asserted he had all of the affection of a father for a Son, who was not his own. Only the grace of the Holy Spirit can accomplish this in a person. This obviously gives us a powerful incentive to pray more often to the Holy Spirit and learn to depend upon him more than self.

What about Joseph’s faith?

The document makes mention that “Joseph is the first to share in the faith of the Mother of God and that in doing so he supports his spouse in the faith of the divine annunciation . . . It is a path along which — especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost — Mary will precede in a perfect way” (5b). Likewise, “from the beginning, Joseph accepted with the ‘obedience of faith,’ his human fatherhood over Jesus. And thus, following in the light of the Holy Spirit who gives himself to human beings through faith, he certainly came to discover ever more fully the indescribable gift that was his human fatherhood” (21 b). More profoundly, the Holy Father sees Joseph’s faith as absolutely fundamental in his life:

One can say that what Joseph did united him in an altogether special way to the faith of Mary. He accepted as truth coming from God the very thing that she had already accepted at the Annunciation. The Council teaches: “The obedience of faith’ must be given to God as he reveals himself. By this obedience of faith man freely commits himself entirely to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals,’ and willingly assenting to the revelation given by him.” (DV 5) This statement, which touches the very essence of faith, is perfectly applicable to Joseph of Nazareth.

Was Joseph married before his marriage to Mary?

The idea that Joseph was married before he entered into a marriage with Mary has its origin in apocryphal or false gospels. Portraying Joseph as an old widower made it easier for ordinary people to understand how he would keep Mary’s virginity intact. Also, a second marriage would help interpret the texts in the New Testament that indicate that Jesus had brothers. These ideas were popular throughout the early and medieval Church as seen in the various mystery plays where Joseph is portrayed as a grumpy old man sometimes given to drink. Similarly, he is often depicted in art as an old man.

It was the teaching of Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure among others that Joseph made a vow of virginity together with Mary, implying that he was neither married before nor had other children. Rather, early on in the history of theology, a lesser-known idea emerged from biblical study that in Jewish times, it was quite common to call one’s cousins “brothers and sisters.”

While RC does not answer our question explicitly, it does assume that Joseph was not previously married, and even more, that he was truly a virgin. Here RC makes its own the words of Paul VI:

We see that at the beginning of the New Testament, as at the beginning of the Old, there is a married couple. But whereas Adam and Eve were the source of evil which was unleashed on the world, Joseph and Mary are the summit from which holiness spreads all over the earth. The Savior began the work of salvation by this virginal and holy union, wherein is manifested his all-powerful will to purify and sanctify the family that sanctuary of love and cradle.

Again quoting Paul VI, RC states of the dedication to the Virgin Mary:

The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah’s coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life. It was from this interior life that “very singular commands and consolations came, bringing him also the logic and strength that belong to simple and clear souls, and giving him the power of making great decisions — such as the decision to put his liberty immediately at the disposition of the divine designs, to make over to them also his legitimate human calling, his conjugal happiness, to accept the conditions, the responsibility and the burden of a family, but, through an incomparable virginal love, to renounce that natural conjugal love that is the foundation and nourishment of the family” (26a).

The infancy narratives

It was rather fashionable in previous decades to claim that the infancy narratives were merely creative accounts of the faith communities of the various evangelists thus explaining the variations among Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Biblical exegetes would often claim that these narratives were similar, if not identical, to the first three chapters of Genesis, and as a literary form were part myth — part history. Nevertheless, RC adopts these narratives as historically true, namely, the census, the birth, the circumcision, the conferral of the Name, Presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and Jesus’ stay in the temple, and the support and education of Jesus at Nazareth. No one can be accused of strict fundamentalism in accepting these ideas as history given the text of RC. When a Pope interprets sacred Scripture in a non-solemn way, one can presume that such an interpretation is safe to follow, since he possesses a higher light than a theologian’s light of the science of theology.

Conclusions for spirituality

While RC reminds us that there is a kind of primacy of the interior life, it clearly indicates that for Joseph he was “in daily contact with the mystery ‘hidden from ages past,’ and which ‘dwelt’ under his roof . . .” (25a). If each act of Christ’s human actions caused grace for us either by merit or by a certain efficacy, then floods of graces had to be given to Joseph, not only for his mission as minister to Jesus and Mary, but also for his daily spiritual life in general. Joseph’s fatherly love was also influenced by Jesus’ filial love, which in turn prevailed upon the fatherly affection of Joseph. Each minute spent with Jesus was like receiving a continuous Holy Communion. Thus, Joseph’s contemplative love of divine truth overflowed into his life of selfless love for his wife and son, and reciprocally, his mission-driven life overflowed into his contemplative life.

Because of these factors, Josephologists assert that St. Joseph deserves not simply dulia or the ordinary respect and reverence due to the saints and angels but proto-dulia because he is probably the highest of the saints and angels, after his wife, by reason of his closeness to Jesus and Mary. In some sense, all holiness of the New Covenant flows from this marriage as the recipient of the Incarnation. In some ways Joseph participates in the dignity of Jesus and Mary, which in turn evoked many graces for his life. Leo XIII wrote in the encyclical letter Quamquam Pluries that Joseph protects and defends “with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ” (28b). Given the fact that he guided and protected the holy family, the logic of things is such that in heaven he would do precisely the same for the mystical body of Christ on earth.

Therefore, the more we love, revere and honor him, the more we dispose ourselves to receiving many graces from his Son through Mary. Just as Jesus and Mary depended upon him, we by praying to Joseph imitate them. His intercession for us increases as we love him, and so he facilitates our growth in the life of the Spirit making it somewhat easier as we surrender to his role here as our patron. Devotion to him does not lessen our love for Mary and Jesus, but rather supplements and increases it. True devotion to Joseph does not end with him, but rather offers us new possibilities of loving his Son and Mary even more. RC reminds us that the great mystic, St. Teresa of Jesus, promoted devotion to St. Joseph precisely because she wanted to become an authentic contemplative (25a).

Every Catholic is called to develop the contemplative dimension of the Christian life. Perhaps most of us will never become mystics who experience many of the truths of faith but we can all become ordinary contemplators of our faith with the help of reason and grace, and grow more deeply in union with Jesus according to our specific vocations. St. Joseph is just one of those foundations that will enable us to grow toward a deeper Christ centered spirituality.

End notes

  1. Revised version of an earlier article Pope John Paul and Saint Joseph: Guardian of the Redeemer, in The Dominican Torch, 4:1 Winter, (2006): 14-18.
  2. 221 Cf. Gal 4:4; 222 Lk 2:51-52; 224 Cf. Rom 5:19; 225 Paul VI at Nazareth; 5 January 1964: LH, Feast of the Holy Family, OR.

Reverend Basil Cole, O.P., is currently a member of the pontifical faculty at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., where he teaches spiritual and moral theology. He is the author of The Secret Enemies of the Priesthood (Alba House, 2006). His last article in HPR appeared in December 2004.

© Ignatius Press

Homiletic & Pastoral Review. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, March 2007: Pages: 56 – 62