Thursday, October 24, 2013

St. Francis Parish Magazine November 2013

St. Francis Parish Magazine
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November 2013: All Saints-All Souls-Christ the King
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Respice finem: Look to the end!

The month of November, liturgically speaking, should cause us ‘to look to the end’ – respice finem. All Souls Day: to look to death, the end of our life in this world. All Saints Day: to look to the goal of our life, the end for which we have been made, to become holy. Christ the King: the end towards which all things are ordered and directed, Jesus Christ the King of All Things.




THE SAINTS

Dom Hubert van Zeller O.S.B.

THE ideal of the Christian soul is that God's will should stand for so much in his life that in following it he comes to resemble Christ with whom his whole purpose is identified. The saint may never rest in anything short of that. To stop short is to restrict the response to grace, and for sanctity the response must be as complete as it is constant.

Does this mean that the saint never sins? No, it means that the saint never tires of trying not to. Does it mean that the saint is always at the top of his power in the activity of loving God? No, it means he is always wanting to be.

Sanctity is a condition of heart which may fail again and again in its ideal but which is in constant renewal. Its uninterrupted purpose of wanting God expresses itself in acts, and, when fully informed by grace, becomes itself an act. It is like the numberless photographs of a film becoming a single moving picture: the acts of perfection are so continuous in the soul of the saint as to become an ever-present activity, and so a habit.

For the ordinary Christian as for the saint, God is the ideal. The Catholic who goes to Mass on
Sundays will admit that, when you get down to it and face the essentials, it is God alone that
matters. The saint knows this too, but will not let it rest at that. The saint takes that one single piece of truth and expands it to its fullest implication.

To one man God is the terminus a quo and ad quem; to the other God is the sum of his happiness. To one man God is the means of his attaining to heaven when he dies; to the other He is the whole end of his desire whether in this life or the next. One man will allow that God has first claim on him but at the same time allows other claims which he wants to see satisfied in his life; another man has God's claim always before his eyes and takes care that there should be no room in his life for any other. The saint is the one whose allegiance is habitually single.

Though the saint, unlike the other man, has nothing in his life that is not God's, he is not on that account forever preoccupied with the thought of what, in order to maintain that state, he may next be called upon to renounce. Saints are not people who are constantly discovering new things to give to God, new horrors to inflict upon themselves, new worlds to conquer for Him. They are people who let God take, who let Him arrange the matter of suffering, who let Him do the conquering.

The real reason why grace holds undisputed sway over the soul of the saint is not so much that the soul is empty of attachments and self-interest as that it is full of the desire to love.
What makes the saint different from the ordinary man is simply this: he is possessed by the will of God not only because he has offered himself to fulfill it as perfectly as he can but because it is for him the only reality There are many who offer themselves to fulfill God's will, but few to whom it is the whole significance of life.

It is because the essential difference between the saint and the rest of men is something interior, something confined to a way of looking at God and the things of God, that you can know the saint only in some of his acts. The external effects of a man's attitude of mind can help you to form a judgment- you know the tree by its fruits-but they do not give the whole
story. You come to think of the essence of sanctity in terms of the external: you become so fascinated by the manifestations of sanctity that you forget what they come from.

Acts of sanctity do not spring from heroism but from grace.  Heroism is a quality which we can grasp, which has a ring about it, which we know to be connected with fixity of purpose, so we look for it in the saint. The operation of grace in the soul holds less interest for us (but nothing except grace can make a man a saint. Neither knowledge nor zeal nor industry nor endurance can make a man a saint. But it is either knowledge or zeal or industry or endurance that we recognize about the saints. So we mistake the cause and effect. Because we can imagine types of sanctity, reconstruct the specific sanctity of individual saints, know all about the various signs of sanctity, we tend to miss the actual sanctity that is being lived in the world around us. This would not matter so much if it did not lead us to regard saints as belonging to a different dimension of spirituality from the one to which we are trying to accustom ourselves.

We have to be constantly reminding ourselves that the prepared environment of the saints is the same as the prepared environment in which we have to live out our own lives. And that the whole thing depends upon whether we meet it surrendering at every point to the action of grace which is our only sanctity or whether we insist on hewing out a sanctity of
our own which is no sanctity at all.

Saints are not those who have won their way to the topmost pinnacles: they are those who have lost their way in the back streets, following after Christ whom they are always just missing. But they have not in fact missed Him, for He lost all and they bear their loss with Him.

So saints do not become saints by being either successful or unsuccessful. They become saints by being united to Christ. It is only then that they become themselves. God meant them to become saints all along, and until they do they fall short of their own identity.


THE DEPARTED

Hugh Ross Williamson

Our thought is on Communion, which once those we loved shared with us, and because of that Communion we can, as in no other way, still commune with them. "Since their life is plunged deep in the interior of God; since He is their home, their food and, as our prayer so touchingly expresses it, their sleep, if we identify ourselves more closely with Him "as we are about to do when we receive his body " we shall enter into their life, and the converse broken off on the visible plane will be resumed in a more living fashion in the silent commerce of souls," says Zundel. "They are in God, the very heart of love. God has not taken them from us: He has hidden them in His heart that they may be closer to ours."

The very fact that we pray for our dead assumes that they can benefit from our prayers. Otherwise it is a vain, sentimental self-indulgence whose only effect can be to harm ourselves. But there is no known time when Christians have not so prayed. The doctrine was part of the Church's inheritance from Judaism and still, in the reading for anniversary masses for the dead, the faithful are reminded how, a hundred years before Christ, Judas Maccabeus sent a great sum of money to Jerusalem for sacrifices on behalf of his dead soldiers who had died in sin " doing therein very well and honestly in that
he was mindful of the resurrection; for if he had not hoped that they which were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead; and also in that he perceived that they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins."

In the synagogue worship which Christ attended, prayers for the dead were in use and He Himself, during his ministry, categorically contradicted the Sadducees, who denied survival. "God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living; ye therefore do greatly err." He told the parable of Dives and Lazarus which at least implies a state of consciousness after death in some way dependent on conduct during life. And on the Cross, he promised the penitent thief: "To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Inscriptions in the catacombs such as "Intercession has been made for the soul of the dear one departed and God has heard the prayer and the soul has passed into a place of light and refreshment": the testimony of Tertullian: "We offer oblations for the dead, as birth-day honors": the rules of
St. Cyprian, the explanations of St. Clement of Alexandria, and the Liturgy itself, leave no doubt of the beliefs and practices of the early Church. There is, indeed, only one writer, Arius, who opposes such prayers and offerings; and, as he also denied the divinity of Christ and founded a schism of his own, even his testimony is valuable.

When we consider, on the one hand, the moral imperfections of so many Christians at death and, on the other, the impossibility of , seeing God 'without sanctification,' as Hebrews puts it, we are forced to believe in a life beyond the grave which includes a disciplinary purgation of character while the soul awaits the final judgment and its
reuniting with the body.

Yet, having insisted on this, it is necessary to insist equally strongly that we know nothing at all of the nature of the purgatorial state. The Church, always careful to make no dogmatic definition on the subject, even went out of her way at the Council of Trent to reprove those who tried to terrify the faithful with fearsome imaginary pictures. Bishops and clergy were bidden" to exclude from their preaching difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification and from the discussion of which there is no increase either of piety or of devotion." And a ' place of refreshing, light and peace,' as our prayer has it, can still be a state of purgation, since the motive behind the purgation is our own love. Refreshed, we can. see the sins that in our tiredness we did not think of as sins; light illumines the dark comers; in peace we dare relinquish the possession of our souls.
 



CHRIST THE KING

Bede Griffiths

Christ is the Head not only of all mankind but of the whole physical universe; all things, in St. Paul's words, are to be gathered to a head in him. When he assumed a human nature, he assumed the whole universe in a certain sense into himself. For by the incarnation the whole universe is brought into organic relation with Christ and raised to a new mode of existence in him. When we assisted at mass we were assisting at the mystery of the "new creation," by which the whole world is destined to be transformed, passing from its present mode of extension in time and space into the eternal order of being in God. The creation was revealed for what it is, a symbol of the eternal reality manifested in time, a process of "becoming" always moving towards its realization in the order of absolute being, where each creature will participate according to its capacity in the divine glory. But still more intimately we were assisting at the return of mankind to its lost unity. Through the sacrifice of Christ man- kind which had been divided by sin was restored to unity, and the sacrifice of the mass was the means by which this unity was being achieved. Sin operates constantly as a force by which mankind is being divided, husband against wife, parents against children, class against class, and nation against nation. The sacrifice of Christ was the supreme power acting against this power of sin and drawing men into the unity of his Church.

Note: This year All Saints Day falls on Friday. You can meet your obligation by attending the following Sunday after All Saints. However, if you do come to Mass on Friday November 1st you will have a chance to experience the Extra-Ordinary From, the Mass as it was celebrated for the greater part of Christian history. But more importantly than that, you will experience the silence of the ‘old’ Mass, what Charles Harris describes as ‘fearful and awe-inspiring . . . full of fear and dread’ . . an atmosphere of mystical awe. St. Francis is the only Anglican Parish in our diocese and city to offer the Extra-Ordinary Form of the Mass weekly.

Liturgical Silence: an Anglican View
(from an article by by Peter Kwasniewski
at New Liturgical Movement: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org)

A friend of mine sent me a fascinating essay, “Liturgical Silence” by Charles Harris, from an Anglican collection of studies called Liturgy and Worship (1932), ed. W. K. Lowther Clarke. I was so taken with it that I decided to present a summary with generous quotations and some applications to our present liturgical life

Harris first talks about the psychology of silence, saying: 

[T]he effect of silence (or of subdued or whispered speech) is to lull the outward senses into a receptive condition; to induce tranquillity, repose, and inward peace; to relax the tension of the nervous system; and gradually to induce a state of restful waiting upon God, which opens the ‘subconscious’ or ‘unconscious’ mind to the influence of grace and religious suggestion. (775)

In second place, Harris attempts to locate the origin of the transition from a spoken Anaphora (Canon of the Mass) to a partially or completely silent one.  

At an early but undetermined date, it gradually became customary, both in the East and in the West, to recite certain of the most solemn Eucharistic prayers, particularly the greater part of the Canon, in a very low or inaudible voice. Such recitation was termed ‘mystic’ (mystikos), an epithet which sufficiently indicated its significance. … It evinced just such an overpowering sense, not merely of humility, but even of ‘abjection’ and ‘nothingness,’ as befits a creature admitted to the immediate presence of its Creator.  (775)

Almost as an aside, Harris dares a general judgment about the character or feel of Catholic worship as compared with Protestant:

There are obvious disadvantages, both of a devotional and of an intellectual kind, in the silent recitation of the Canon or Anaphora. On the other hand, it can hardly be denied that the ‘mystic’ prayer of the celebrant has been a prime factor in creating that thrilling atmosphere of rapt adoration which has been the distinctive feature of Catholic worship throughout the ages; and which the more intellectual, instructive, and ‘edifying’ worship of modern Protestants seems unable to evoke.  (776)

If we do not encounter the living God in prayer and go out of ourselves to worship Him in spirit and in truth, we will be hopeless when it comes to living a Christian life in the workaday world.

Third, Harris argues that the silent or ‘mystic’ recitation of the Anaphora (Canon of the Mass) is bound up with an ever more heightened emphasis, in liturgical texts as in preaching, on the awesome reality of the divine mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood entrusted to the Church.

Harris argues that the Liturgy of St. James, bearing within itself the early liturgy of Jerusalem, already substantially existed in its present form as early as 348, and places its composition at 330-335 because of its allusions to Nicene Christology.

An atmosphere of mystical awe pervades the whole of this Liturgy. The worshippers are said to be ‘full of fear and dread’ while they offer ‘this fearful and unbloody sacrifice,’ which is further described as a ‘fearful and awe-inspiring (phriktēs) ministration.’ After consecration, the elements are spoken of as ‘hallowed, precious, celestial, ineffable, stainless, glorious, terrible (phoberon), dreadful (phrikton), divine (theon).’  (777)

The Liturgy of St. Basil, attributed with good reason to the saint (ca. 330-379) himself, is no different:

A sense of ‘numinous’ awe pervades this Liturgy, which speaks of the Mysteries as not only ‘divine, holy, spotless, immortal, heavenly, and quickening’; but also as ‘tremendous’ or ‘fearful’ (phrikton, literally ‘to be shuddered at’).  (778)

In terms of witnesses of universal practice in the early Church, we have a stunning homily from a Nestorian source, Narsai, of the late fifth century (Narsai died in 502), who tells us in Homily 17 that after the Sursum corda and before the Sanctus,

all the ecclesiastical body now observes silence, and all set themselves to pray earnestly in their hearts. The Priests are still, and the deacons stand in silence . . . the whole people is quiet and still, subdued and calm . . . Deep silence and peaceful calm settles on that place: it is filled and overflows with brightness and splendour, beauty and power.  (779)


Harris concludes this treatment of oriental liturgies by noting that the practice of the silent or ‘mystic’ recitation of the Anaphora (Canon) was the established and official use of all rites by the close of the eighth century—and this, in spite of the fact that the Emperor Justinian attempted, in 565, to prohibit the practice by imperial decree. Lastly, Harris, having summarized the Anglican tradition’s emphasis on the spoken vernacular word, makes a practical proposal for the Anglican Church, of which he is a member, with a view to recovering something of the mystical dimension that had been lost.

An audible voice need not be a loud voice. It is possible to obtain the full ‘mystical’ effect of silence by reciting the Canon in a very low and subdued voice, fully audible to every careful listener in the church, and yet expressive and suggestive of the deepest religious awe.

THE PARISH ANNUAL MEETING

As is our custom, the Parish Annual Meeting will be on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Sunday, November 24th, following the Sung Mass. This is the time that we elect new vestry members and delegates to Diocesan Convention, the budget for the next year is presented, we take accounting of parish membership and Mass attendance, baptisms, confirmations, marriage, transfers in and out, the deaths of members of the parish. We also hear reports from various parish groups, Sunday School, Austin Street, Altar Guild, Servers’ Guild, Ushers and so forth. A light meal will be served.


CALENDAR

All Saints: November 1st
Mass according to the Extra-Ordinary Form
6:45 AM

All Souls: November 2nd
Mass 7:00 AM

The External Solemnity of All Saints
Sunday November 3rd
Low Mass 8:00 AM
Solemn High Mass 10:15 AM

Solemnity of Christ the King: November 24th
Low Mass: 8:00 AM
Solemn High Mass 10:15 AM
Parish Annual Meeting following.

Thanksgiving Day: November 28th
Mass: 10:00 AM

The First Sunday of Advent:
December 1st

The Conception of Our Lady: Monday: December 8th
Mass 6:45 AM

The Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord
Jesus Christ: Tuesday December 24th
Low Mass 6:30 PM
Solemn High Mass 10:00 PM


The Nativity of Our Lord: Wednesday: December
Low Mass 10:00 AM

Holy Innocents: Anglicans for Life Mass:
Mass 7:00 AM
Baby Shower and Reception in the Evening
(details to be announced)


Novena to Christ the King
Recite One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be per day followed by the Novena Prayer:

O Lord our God, You alone are the Most Holy King and Ruler of all nations.
We pray to You, Lord, in the great expectation of receiving from You, O Divine King, mercy, peace, justice and all good things.
Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth.
Guard us we pray Most Faithful One.
Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment
Forgive us, O Sovereign King, our sins against you.
Jesus, You are a King of Mercy.
We have deserved Your Just Judgment
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We trust in Your Great Mercy.
O most awe-inspiring King, we bow before You and pray;
May Your Reign, Your Kingdom, be recognized on earth.
Amen.

    Novena to All Saints

    My heavenly brothers and sisters, from those most renowned to those of greatest obscurity, I come before you now in all humility and commend myself, and all who are dear to me, to your intercession.

    Pray for us always, that we may awake each day with a burning desire for the Lord whose Face you behold, that we will maintain an intimate personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior and Head, and that we will not hesitate to proclaim God’s greatness to others, and love them as the Lord loves us.

    As you offer your continual praise before the throne of God,   I raise my heart to you now to implore your powerful intercession for these special needs:  (………).

    I am confident that your prayers on our behalf will be graciously heard by our loving and merciful Lord.  By his grace, may we someday join you in the glory of the Father’s house.


To be said daily for the Faithful Departed

Psalms 130. De profundis.

OUT of the deep have I called unto thee, O LORD; * Lord, hear my voice.
2 O let thine ears consider well * the voice of my complaint.
3 If thou, LORD, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, * O Lord, who may abide it?
4 For there is mercy with thee; * therefore shalt thou be feared.
5 I look for the LORD; my soul doth wait for him; * in his word is my trust.
6 My soul fleeth unto the Lord before the morning watch; * I say, before the morning watch.
7 O Israel, trust in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, * and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel * from all his sins.

Rest eternal grant unto them * Let light perpetual shine upon them.
May they rise in glory!


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