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By Ben Yanke on December 1, 2013
When I look at the history of the church, particularly the liturgical and musical history, I am always fascinated.
The first Sunday of Advent is one of those instances that intrigues me. Keep in mind that it is the liturgical “new year,” so on the First Sunday of Advent, we go back to the front of the book.
In the 1908 Graduale Romanum (the book of chants for the choir), the front of that book contains an interesting piece of art/music:
This is what is called a trope: an added text on top of the normal text. As you can see at the end of the music, it contains the text “Ad te levavi,” which is the first words of the introit for the first Sunday of Advent, meaning this was intended to be sung directly before the introit, flowing right into it. Check out the fascinating translation of this text:
When the most holy Gregory poured out prayers to the Lord that He might surrender to him from above a musical gift in song, then the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove and enlightened his heart to such a degree that at last he began to sing saying thus: [Unto you, O Lord...and continuing with the rest of the introit].
Whether or not you think it’s appropriate for this to be sung in a liturgical context, I still find it fascinating, and a great way to frame the chants of the Mass, and the importance of preserving our Catholic music as an integral part of our tradition.
By Ben Yanke on November 27, 2013
Let me remind you of who this country elected.
The video below shows President Obama’s true flippant attitude on religion. He sees religion as nothing more than a joke to giggle about while mocking. He just did it this morning, check out the footage:
And he did it again in 2012, last year.
It’s not funny, Mr. President.
But to add insult to injury, listen to his words from 2012. He gives the turkey a special dispensation. Now it could be argued that he’s using it in the general term. But combined with the blasphemous hand in blessing, does it surprise you to think that the use of the word seems to almost be used in a mockingly Catholic context?
Remember, this is coming from the president who mandates the country to pay for contraception when the only major institution standing in his way is the Catholic Church.
Put the pieces together, people. This President not only attacks religion, but mocks it at the same time.
In that vein, let me kindly remind you of rule 5 from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (which Obama has religiously followed): “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Go research and look at some of the other rules, and check out Saul Alinsky while you’re at it. Scary stuff.
By Ben Yanke on November 25, 2013
Bishop Morlino had another killer homily yesterday!
This time, he had several great points:
First, he mentions how important the creed is, and how it’s often misunderstood. People sometimes try and shorten it our get out of it because they claim they don’t understand it. However, the “point” is not to understand it. It’s heavenly language, the language of the saints and angels. We can’t say we fully understand it.
In fact, it’s that way with the rest of the Mass as well! It’s not supposed to be easily understandable!
Then he continues on to say that because of that, it’s also important that it be sung, and expresses quite strongly that parishes should really begin to learn to sing the creed, following the year of Faith.
He also talks about some interesting symbolisim in the eastern rites that is worth hearing. Check it out, and the rest of the homily here at Isthmus Catholic, as well as many of his other homilies, and read the sections I found interesting below:
Now, the Nicene creed falls right in the middle of the liturgy, as it were. The creed is a response of faith to the word that we have heard, but it is also the perfect introduction to the mysticism of the liturgy, into which we are about to enter after the creed.
After the creed, we begin our movement toward the invitation of the priest: “Lift up your hearts,” and that means we are mystically lifted up to heaven, to participate in the one eternal worship, led by the one eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father.
The creed is our “Yes” to the faith that we have heard in the scriptures, proclaimed so beautifully. The creed is also the transition of entrance into what is mystical. How does that work? That mystical part?
We’ve been through a rough time with the creed in the last 50 years. The creed was often looked upon as too long – people can’t understand it – let’s substitute for it another shorter creed, or let’s renew our baptismal promises instead – let’s find an end-run around the creed, because it’s too long and nobody understands it.
That is, unfortunately, overly superficial. The whole point of the creed is to spell out in words the mysteries of our Faith. The creed is not meant to be understood. The creed is an instrument of mysticism that the Lord gives to us. How? Everything we say in the creed is true. And we do not understand what we say in the creed, yet God gives us the mystical gift to proclaim as true that which we do not understand. The angels and saints in heaven understand the mysteries expressed in the creed. We, here in the church militant, do not. We don’t understand, we’re not meant to understand.
What a mystical gift it is to be able to proclaim what is true, even though we don’t understand it. And when we proclaim what is true, we are stating what the saints and angels in heaven understand, and that we don’t understand yet.
When we proclaim the words of that creed, we are speaking the language of heaven, here on earth. We’re anticipating the fullness of the kingdom where Christ alone is the center of all, where Christ is everything for everyone. The creed, appreciated, is a mystical moment, and it’s best when we sing it; so I hope, following the year of faith, many participate in singing the creed more frequently, because the words are mystical, and since the words properly belong to the angels and saints, and not to us, they’re better sung, so that they’re slowed down and appreciated.
The creed is heavenly speak. It’s the anticipation of the kingdom where Christ is the king, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given the mystical gift to proclaim true what we can not understand. That really is mystical. And so we should never be looking for ways to take an end-run around the creed, because it’s too long, and especially because we don’t understand it.
Some people in recent times have had the idea that the language that we speak at the liturgy should be more like the language that we speak when we’re having a nice pizza. Some people say that since we never say “The sausage and the cheese are consubstantial,” we shouldn’t say it in church either.
The very fact we never say that when we’re having a pizza is the reason why we should have it in church, because the Mass is not a pizza party.
Oh yeah. Proud to call this man my ordinary.
NB: Some of his wording didn’t make as much sense transcribed onto paper from his homily, so I cleaned it up with a few very, very minor edits for clarity (mainly grammatical and reworking syntax so it “reads”). In any case, refer to the audio here for his final and authoritative teaching, though this transcription gives you a very close idea of what he said, nearly word for word.
- Words from the Bishop: Don’t Eject God From the Schools, Then Ask Where He Was
- Bishop Morlino at it Again!
- Bishop Morlino to Catechumens: This isn’t the Religion of our Time, It’s a Battleship
- Our Shepherd on the Manner of Receiving Communion
- Bishop Morlino’s Message to Educators
- Words from the Bishop: Is there room in the inn for the church today?
By Ben Yanke on November 24, 2013
This year of Faith, we have had a focus on the new evangelization, as well as evangelization through beauty, particularly beauty in the liturgy. But today, the final day of the Year of Faith, you can sum it up with our creed, sung in the liturgical language of our church, by Byrd, and sung beautifully by the Tallis Scholars.
By Ben Yanke on November 22, 2013
Madisonians: want to join the Diocese in your celebration for the end of the Year of Faith? Bishop Robert Morlino will be celebrating two diocesan Masses: one on Saturday evening, 5:00pm (tomorrow!), and one on Sunday morning, 11:00am. The Saturday Mass is a “White Mass,” while the Sunday morning Mass is the official diocesan Mass for the conclusion of the year of Faith.
Also, this will be the Solemnity of Christ the King (OF).
Both are at St. Patrick’s in downtown Madison, one of the sites in the Cathedral Parish.
I will be at one or both of them, and I hope to see you there!