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This conversion story is a pretty long read but worth it. Its the story of Gloria Polo a wife, mother and dentist from Bogota, Columbia who was struck and killed by lightning on May 5, 1995. She details her afterlife experiences, what she learned about the life she had been living and her return to the physical life.
Here are some excerpts:
I said the same thing about my legs, because I knew I had spectacular legs, nice abdominal muscles… But in an instant, I saw with horror how my whole life had been only a continual and useless care of the body… Because this was the center of my life: love for my body. And now, I no longer had a body! In the place of the breasts I had startling holes, especially the left one, which was practically gone. The legs were a sight to be seen, like fragments, but without flesh, black as coal. Note: the parts of the body that I took care of and esteemed the most, were the ones that were completely burned and literally without flesh.
Then, I saw the Most Blessed Virgin prostrated, when the priest elevated Our Lord in the Host, during the Mass that was celebrated for the soul of my cousin. The Virgin Mary interceded for me! Prostrated at the feet of Our Lord, she gathered all the prayers that the people of my land made for me, and she presented them to Him.
Oh, brothers, what sadness! What a great pain! How the devil makes us see things! … As if it were nothing, as if it were something without importance! … As if an abortion provoked the most natural thing in the world! On the contrary, stupid people feel bad! That sex is to be consumed, without remorse, without fault!
Never, never, did I have love, nor compassion, for the neighbor, for my brothers outside. I never thought, in the most absolute way, about the sick, about their solitude, about children without a mother, about the orphans… With so many babies who suffer, so much suffering, I could have said: Lord, let me accompany them in their pains… And instead: no. Nothing! My heart of rock never remembered the sufferings of others. The worst thing was that I never did anything for love of neighbor!
Read the rest here.
Pardon me dear “ministers of sacred music”, but what makes you think that I’ve shown up early for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in order to listen to you serenade me with some ditty from the repertoire of so called “sacred music” that is the Holy Grail of Catholic Hymnody however it is labeled whether it be Breaking Bread, or Heritage Missal or Gather or some other variation? And why do you think that I would be interested in watching you as you prepare for your performance (because that’s what it is) even though you be positioned so close to the altar that it is impossible to miss any of your antics if one so much as opens ones eyes or raises ones head?
What’s that you say? Hmm, yes…good point. I see. Most of the congregation has come as if to a social event and they expect to be entertained musically by yourselves or verbally by the clever words of the celebrant as if they were at a night club or social club. Yes, I also see that the irreverence and casual attitude of the priest also lends itself to the style of music that you consider appropriate for this sacred gathering.
I guess I owe you an apology. I suppose you can assume nothing other than this meeting is just a get together to slap each other on the back and pretend that you’ve fulfilled your obligation and its clear sailing here on out to eternal happiness,
So if a man is to leave his mother and father and he and his wife become one flesh, can the same correlation be drawn with Christ and his Church? You need not look far to find the analogy of the Church as the bride of Christ. If Christ is espoused to the Church, is not the Vicar of Christ, as the representative of Christ on earth, also espoused to the Church in much the same way?
And if a man and a woman become one flesh and that union is indissoluble in the eyes of God and the Church, and if neither party can of their own free will break the bond because they no longer feel the love, or can no longer tolerate the other person or for whatever reason, couldn’t that correlation be extended to the office of the Pope and his relationship with the Church? And if that is the case, can a pope voluntarily vacate the Chair of Saint Peter? No matter the gravity or the enormity of the circumstances, the office of the papacy is for life and if such is the case, did Benedict XVI “divorce” himself from the Church? And that being the case, is Bergolio living in an adulterous relationship with the Church? If the marriage bond is unbreakable in the eyes of the Church and of God, we have a “step-father” as the pope and one who appears to be a hireling at that.
There seems to be some question as to what predestination is. This quote from “The Mystical City of God” might add some clarity.
The predestined were chosen by free grace, and the foreknown were reprobated with exact justice. All that was convenient and necessary for the conservation of the human race and for obtaining the end of the Redemption and the Predestination, was preordained, without interfering with the free will of men; for such ordainment was more conformable to God’s nature and to divine equity. There was no injustice done to them, for if with their free will they could sin, so also could they abstain from sin by means of grace and the light of reason. God violated the right of no one, since He forsook no one nor denied to any one that which is necessary. Since his law is written in the hearts of men, nobody is excused for not knowing and loving Him as the highest Good of all creation.
Mary of Agreda. Mystical City of God: Full Edition (Kindle Locations 1505-1510). Stella Maris Media. Kindle Edition.
Rubrics for the singing of the Traditional Latin Mass
Let us review some terms and basic rubrics for the Traditional Latin Mass, also known in modernist terms as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. There is charity in truth and there is peace and unity in truth. There is no charity in silence and appeasement.
Read Mass or Missa Lecta
Commonly referred to as “Low” Mass, the Mass is more properly referred to as a “Read Mass.” This comes from its Latin name, Missa Lecta. The Mass, in history, would have always been Solemn (see below), but as parishes and villages developed away from monasteries and cathedrals; and as mendicant Orders journeyed to preach, priests would desire to offer the Holy Sacrifice for themselves and the souls they found on their journeys. The Missa Lecta was developed for this purpose. It is a quiet and contemplative Mass with one server only, though two can be “tolerated.” The Mass is entirely in Latin, though, in accord with the legitimate Law as prescribed by Pope Benedict XVI, in Universae Ecclesiae the Lesson(s), Epistle and Gospel may be said in the vernacular from an approved translation at the time (1962) from the Altar without first being read in Latin. There is normally no music permitted.
Read Mass with Music
Music is not permitted in a Read Mass except in specific circumstances. In fact, a more proper word than permitted would be tolerated, in its classic sense. One may have an organ prelude or postlude and organ music at the Offertory or during Communion in those times of the year where organ music is not prohibited. No solo organ music is permitted in the Mass during Advent, except on Gaudete Sunday or in the season of Lent on Laetare Sunday. No solo organ music is permitted under anytime at a Requiem Mass. Organ music may be used at a Requiem Mass only to support the singing and only if absolutely necessary to even do that. Music or, hymn sinning may be used at a Read Mass in the following manner. A hymn may be sung as a processional and the recessional and these may be in the vernacular. A Latin hymn may be sung at the Offertory and the Communion but it may not be the text of the Proper of the Mass which must be read by the priest aloud and heard by the faithful in attendance. A hymn may be sung in the vernacular at the Offertory and Communion provided it is connected with the liturgical action. For example, the Offertory hymn could be, “See Us Lord, About Your Altar,” or, “Lord, Accept the Gifts We Offer.” At Communion, the hymn, if in the vernacular, must be a hymn to the Blessed Sacrament or be a hymn of Thanksgiving. The Gloria and Credo cannot be sung at a Read Mass. A Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei may be sung if it is short, for example, Mass XVI or Mass XVIII, never Mass IX per se. All singing must conclude so that the action of the Priest is not delayed and the audible texts are not covered by music. The Priest does not sing the Collect or Postcommunion nor any other oration, nor does he chant in any way the salutations, nor do the people respond in chant. These are only said.
Sung Mass—or Missa Canata or Solemn Mass—Missa Solemnis
All Propers must be sung, there are no exceptions. The Epistle and Gospel must be sung, there are no exceptions. All salutations and response are sung, there are no exceptions. If the priest cannot sing the melismatic tones of the Lesson, Epistle or Gospel, then he can chant them recto tono, on the same note. If the Schola cannot manage to sing the Proper chants with the melisma, then it is permissible to sing them in psalm tone, or recto tono. They can also be sung in Polyphony when considered appropriate. At the Offertory and Communion, Latin motets or hymns can also be sung, but only after the Proper Antiphon.
The musical rubrics apply to a Requiem Mass as to the degree above.
Holy Mother Church has determined the above rubrics in order to ensure the proper dignity of the Mass. When we work within the Laws of the Church, there is peace and understanding and serene contemplation of the holy actions taking place before us.
When we deviate from these for pastoral or other reasons or through pressure, we create confusion and disunity and distress and these are not from the Holy Spirit; we insert our own desired into the liturgy, where it does not belong. None of us are masters of the Liturgy of God, we are the servants. We must do our work in truth and humility, we must submit to the mind of the Church and we must reject any inculturation and pastoral provision that deviates from the truth.
At no time is a guitar permitted during a Traditional Latin Mass. (emphasis mine)
There is no evidence that Fr. Franz Gruber, S.J. ever permitted Stille Nacht on guitar at a Midnight Mass due to a broken organ. This is “fake news.”
At no time is it permitted to sing anything in the vernacular in a Sung or Solemn Mass. Any reference to what occurred between the great wars in Europe in Germany, Belgium or Holland should be understood in the context of dissent and diabolical disorientation that lead to the complete upheaval of the holy liturgy.
Lest one doubt the above. Be assured that every educated Catholic in proper Church music and liturgy according to its venerable tradition is aware of these rubrics and knows where to find the sources. Let those who labour for the love of true worship of the LORD in the timeless liturgy understand the need to maintain consistency, peace and serenity in the work before us. This peace and serenity can only be achieved if we work within that which we are given. By humbling ourselves to the timelessness, we will achieve peace in our work. It is when deviations occur that we bring disunity and cognitive dissonance to the holy work before us.
Una Voce Toronto
This is excerpted from an April, 2016 post at Roman Catholic Man. The quoted data is from a 2002 survey of the Index of Leading Catholic Indicators. I venture that things have only gotten worse since then.
In 1965, only one percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend. Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept Church teaching on contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good Catholic without going to Mass on Sundays. By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a ‘symbolic reminder’ of Jesus.
Froim the Catholic Herald:
Musicam Sacram, the Holy See’s Instruction on liturgical music, was promulgated 50 years ago yesterday. It is very much a fruit of Vatican II, whose most significant musical legacy was the introduction of “vernacular” musical styles and instrumentation. In theory, this was just a possibility, reserved for very special circumstances. In practice, it basically amounted to actively encouraging the vernacular, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
and also from Musicam Sacram:
“Anything done in churches, even if only for experimental purposes, which is unbecoming to the holiness of the place, the dignity of the liturgy and the devotion of the faithful, must be avoided”.
The use of other instruments may also be admitted in divine worship, …, provided that the instruments are suitable for sacred use, or can be adapted to it, that they are in keeping with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.
… the use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
Have you stopped by our local parish recently or, for that matter, any church in the diocese?
During Lent, from early childhood until just a few years ago, I practiced a religious observance of the Stations of the Cross. Our family attended Stations of the Cross when I was a youngster still at home and as our kids were growing up. It seems fitting to lament the reasons that that observance has fallen by the wayside in these last few years. I could accuse myself but I don’t think that would be fair since I still very much desire to accompany the Lord in the journey leading to His Passion and Death.
The Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori was always (at least if my memory serves me correctly) the method followed in our local parish on Friday evenings during Lent. There is no better method for meditating on the agonies and sufferings that Christ and His Mother endured in His Passion and Death. However, since Vatican II (and arguably as a result of Vatican II) that method of following the Way of the Cross has fallen into infrequent if not total disuse. It has been replaced with socially acceptable versions of the Stations that celebrate our own journeys through life with little mention of the actual Passion of the Lord. We are admonished to “walk with our fellow man” or “see the suffering of Christ in the poor”. These may be worthy admonitions but let’s save them for the intercessory prayers at Novus Ordo Masses and concentrate on the Sacrifice our Lord made at Calvary. And the addition of a 15th station in order to mention the Resurrection distracts from the Lenten spirit and puts the horse before the cart. We can celebrate Christ’s rising from the dead on Easter Day and during the following season.
I doubt whether anything will change. The dumbing down of the liturgy has lead to an across the board desacralization of all things liturgical. From the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to our private devotions, its all about us these days.
Vox Cantoris offers an analysis of the document published concerning liturgical music renewal which I commented on in a previous post. He offers a more knowledgeable and erudite commentary. We both reach the same conclusion.
There is quite a list of signatories. I find it strange that these people, with this mildly worded document, are attempting to rectify the music situation in the Church that has been in steady decline since Vatican II and shows no signs of reversal no matter who laments the current liturgical music crisis or the means they utilize in their attempts.
It will take a papal decree from the likes of a Pope St. Pius X to force the Church back to its liturgical roots. There doesn’t appear to be anything on the horizon.