Friday, December 28, 2018

Lighting the Lamps of the Worldwide Remnant (by Michael J. Matt)



lamp lighter 3

Excerpt from Lighting the Lamps of the Worldwide Remnant (by Michael J. Matt)
It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now, our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. (Romans 12:11)

PUT ANOTHER WAY, the night is always darkest before the dawn. So, for heaven’s sake, don’t give up now!

The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans could be retitled the Epistle of St. Paul to the Traditionalists, so relevant is it to our situation. In the previous chapter of Romans, in fact, we find the Pauline inspiration for the very name of this newspaper: Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace.

..Now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. How can this be when everything is blowing up around us— Rome is losing the Faith, the world is devouring itself, God seems to have grown silent in His heaven? Our salvation is imminent?

Is this faith, or presumption?

We see the lamps Sir Edward Grey saw from his office window back in 1914, and they’re still going out, not just all over Europe but the whole world.
“Will we see them lit again in our life?”

Indeed, will we?

My dear friends, I think I can be the bearer of good news this Christmas: the remnant foretold by St. Paul is revealing itself in our own day all over the world.
There was a time not so long ago when I accepted that on faith alone; but in recent years that has all changed.Something is happening. . . something big, which I know I've not seen before.

In the face of a new pagan empire where darkness covers the earth, the lamps of the little remnant of Christian believers who refuse to abandon the old Faith, are being lit once again.

In my nearly thirty years here at The Remnant, I’ve never seen so many signs of darkness being dispelled, and of scales being removed from Catholic eyes.




So many people are waking up to the true and evil spirit of the revolution in the Catholic Church that we must allow for the very real possibility that God Himself, in His mercy, is intervening on behalf of his Church by removing the blindfold from a faithful remnant.

And this should come as no surprise to true believers. That evil cannot sustain itself and darkness begets darkness has been demonstrated again and again in 2000 years of Christian history.

Christianity not only illuminated Europe, but it was the light of the whole world.
The lumen Christi, even on a purely human level, fostered happiness, family, color, wonder, joy and everything that makes life livable. (Have you ever met a truly joyful atheist? Me, neither.)

The culture established by the children of God gave birth not only to the most celebrated civilization of all time but also inspired such elevation of the human spirit that the greatest architects, artisans, sculptors, painters, musicians and poets that ever lived couldn’t help but devote their lives to painting and carving and singing and writing about it, about Christ, about His mother, about the Redemption of Man.

And what, one might ask, do the anti-Christians have to offer as an alternative?
Without Christianity everything falls back into darkness and nothingness, and we can see that reflected all over the world today, even in the “art” and "music" they produce.

Without Christ the world stops breathing, black become the predominant color, sentiments of abuse and perversion dominate the thoughts of poets and musicians alike. Without Christ, humanity has no destiny and even children lose the will to live.

Why? Because there is no meaning to life without God—every civilization in history knew this. Ours denies it altogether, which is madness, which is why we’re tearing ourselves apart; which is why the family is on life support; which is why suicide becomes a way of life, with some 47,173 Americans taking their own just last year, and another 1,300,000 attempting to do the same; which is why abortion is the leading cause of death of our babies.

The future of their precious new world order is being aborted, dying before it had the chance to get old.

In Modernity's hellish prison, of course the lamps of Christendom’s remnant are being lit again, and sooner than when we believed. 

There is no alternative to Life other than death, to Light other than darkness. If you want to escape the death and darkness of Modernity, sooner or later you’ll turn back to the lumen Christi, the Via, the Veritas and the Vita.

For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness.

The “enlightened” new world can mock the sons of Christendom all they want, but who was it that built the most magnificent cathedrals and the greatest empires in human history?

Who composed the most beautiful music ever written?
Who penned poetry surpassed by none, and fashioned a rule of law that lifted mankind up from the depths for a thousand years?
Who was it that developed science and philosophy?
Whose navigators discovered the New World?
Who crowned theology queen of the sciences?

— And what, pray tell, have the “enlightened” conquerors of the Cross done so far? The only thing they know how to do—kill everything in sight. They’ve engineered the most efficient killing machines in history, in fact.

They’ve become proficient at exterminating millions of babies.
They’ve perfected euthanasia, making it terrifyingly painless for the living and the dying.
The hopelessness of their anti-religion has given rise to the highest suicide rates in recorded history.
The anti-Christians are slaughtering themselves before our eyes.

So, yes, light your lamps, little remnant, and take heart. They crucified Christ once before, but He rose from the dead and conquered them all. And so it will be with His Mystical Body, and soon.

source

Ah, but they might also feed us to the lions.

Indeed, they might, but we know how that ends. Two thousand years ago they tried that, and we’re still lighting little vigil candles to the holy memory of Agnes, Barbara, Lucy—the little heroes whose lamps in pagan darkness set the world on fire for Christ and finally toppled the mighty Roman Empire.

So, even in persecution--perhaps especially-- Christians win. It has been thus ever since Jesus walked the earth.

Herod’s soldiers, swords red with the blood of the innocent, desperate to kill the Baby, managed instead to turn even history itself against their king—one of world’s most notorious villains.

But Christ lived on.

Similarly, papal efforts to kill the old Faith today have succeeded in waking a worldwide remnant of believers, convincing them to stand and fight for Tradition.




Christ will not be mocked, and neither will His Church.

From Washington to Brussels, the twisted totalitarianism of the new-world pagans is prompting millions to rise up against their new pagan Rome, unsure and tentative, to be sure, but on their feet at last, eyes wide open.

Invasions of new barbarian hordes, marching beneath the crescent, inadvertently remind fallen Christians of the Cross they’ve abandoned, prompting some of them at least to hoist the national colors of Christendom once again, in desperate attempt to prop back up that which devils toppled centuries ago.

And then there’s the Novus Ordo, which is “novus” no more, as Catholic Tradition storms back on the field, becoming new again.

Never, friends, in the history of this traditional Catholic counterrevolution has there been a moment like this. Fifty years after the close of the Council, hundreds of thousands of Catholics are returning to their knees, to the rails of the altar, to the confessionals, to the old Latin Mass—the evil spirit of Vatican II having proven itself no match for Catholic Tradition on the rise.

Even the secular world, whether it knows it yet or not, seems to be growing vaguely aware of the star rising over Bethlehem again. From Brexit in the UK, to the pro-hearth-and-home presidential victories in Hungary, Brazil, Poland, and even Russia, to the witch hunt against Donald Trump in America—the winds of change are putting the New World Order on notice: We’ve had enough of you. Go back to Hell, where you came from!

How can we not see the hand of God in this gradual awakening?

And, again, at the same time, the worldwide Catholic remnant is growing stronger than ever. The old Faith has survived. And the Child of Bethlehem will have the last word, even as the Immaculate Heart of His Mother will triumph in the end.

And what is beyond doubt now is that, whatever it is, we will not be alone in this last stand. We’re blessed with new allies all over the world this Christmas, and for that we thank the Child King of Bethlehem.

...Please, do not give up hope. Together this Christmas let’s resolve to keep the lamps of the little remnant burning bright throughout the whole world. We need each other, and it’s clear to me that God in his Providence is seeing to it that we will indeed have each other, that we will not be alone, and that there will be a remnant left standing when this is over.

After all, I can see your lamp from here.

Pray for us, even as we—my wife and children—pray for you every night during our family rosary. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Christ is born! 




Saturday, December 22, 2018

A puppy by the roadside

Image result for little puppy alone

I really, desperately wanna go home.
If there ever is <Home>.

[Re-blog] Did Pope Francis just compare Archbishop Viganò to Judas in his Christmas address?

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St Isaiah the Prophet


Isaiah 5:20-25

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; 
that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, 
and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, 
and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward, 
and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, 
and the flame consumeth the chaff, 
so their root shall be as rottenness, 
and their blossom shall go up as dust: 
because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, 
and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, 
and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, 
and hath smitten them: 
and the hills did tremble, 
and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. 
For all this his anger is not turned away, 
but his hand is stretched out still.



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VATICAN CITY, December 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When Pope Francis gave his annual Christmas address to the Vatican’s Curia today, he returned to a theme many associate with his response to revelations by Archbishop Carlo Viganò: that of the “Great Accuser.”

In his speech, Pope Francis focused on two “afflictions” he said the Church had experienced this year because of “some sons and ministers of the Church.” The first affliction was “abuse,” both sexual abuse and abuse of power, that “clerics and consecrated persons” had inflicted on others. Pope Francis condemned this abuse, using King David, who lusted after Bathsheba and put her husband in harm’s way, as a symbol for such priests and religious.

The second affliction the pontiff addressed was “the infidelity of those who betray their vocation, their sworn promise, their mission and their consecration to God and the Church.”

Reference to a sworn promise might or might not have been an allusion to Archbishop Viganò’s “oath of pontifical secret” which the whistleblower took when he joined the Vatican’s diplomatic corp. However, Pope Francis swiftly moved to themes very much on his mind after the Vatican whistleblower’s stunning August testimony that the pontiff had known about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s predatory behavior but promoted him anyway.

According to Francis, these disloyal, promise-breaking clerics “hide behind good intentions in order to stab their brothers and sisters in the back and to sow weeds, division and bewilderment. They always find excuses, including intellectual and spiritual excuses, to progress unperturbed on the path to perdition.”

On September 3, after the world waited for the Holy Father to address Viganò’s allegations, Pope Francis preached a homily in which he said silence was the only response to “people lacking good will, with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction.”

In his Christmas speech to the Curia, Francis cited Saint Augustine to underscore that these disloyal, promise-breaking clerics were bishops.

This [behavior] is nothing new in the Church’s history,” Francis said. “Saint Augustine, in speaking of the good seed and the weeds, says: ‘Do you perhaps believe, brethren, that weeds cannot spring up even on the thrones of bishops? Do you perhaps think that this is found only lower down and not higher up? Heaven forbid that we be weeds!… Even on the thrones of bishops good grain and weeds can be found; even in the different communities of the faithful good grain and weeds can be found.’”

Archbishop Viganò is only one of a number of bishops, including cardinals, who have questioned the decisions of Pope Francis’ pontificate. However, it was after Viganò’s testimony concerning the pontiff and McCarrick that Francis gave a series of homilies referencing “the Great Accuser.” Today the Holy Father stated, without explanation, that Augustine’s words helped us to realize that the “Great Accuser” is the one who brings division and doubt.

They help us realize that the Tempter, the Great Accuser, is the one who brings division, sows discord, insinuates enmity, persuades God’s children and causes them to doubt,” Francis said.

He then levelled a charge similar to one left-wing media began circulating after Viganò’s testimonies: that there is money behind the disturbance. The New York Times erroneously reported that American Catholic philanthropist and Napa Institute founder Tim Busch had a hand in Viganò’s initial declaration, and the false story was widely reported. In his Christmas speech, Francis mentioned a cash payment:

Behind these sowers of weeds, we always find the thirty pieces of silver. The figure of David thus brings us to that of Judas Iscariot, another man chosen by the Lord who sells out his Master and hands him over to death.”

Was Pope Francis comparing himself here, as he seemed to do in this autumn’s “Great Accuser” homilies, to the Savior and his subordinate, Viganò, to Judas? The pontiff refers to Judas as “another man” who “sells out his Master.” To which man, then, is he comparing Judas?

Astonishingly, Francis compares his Biblical symbol for clerical sexual abusers with his Biblical symbol for clerical oathbreakers and concludes that the latter group is worse. David, symbol of clerical rapists, repented but Judas, symbol of clerical promise-breakers, came to a horrible end.  

David the sinner and Judas Iscariot will always be present in the Church, since they represent the weakness that is part of our human condition,” Francis said.

They are icons of the sins and crimes committed by those who are chosen and consecrated. United in the gravity of their sin, they nonetheless differ when it comes to conversion,” he continued.

David repented, trusting in God’s mercy; Judas hanged himself.”

If Judas is Francis’ symbol for Viganò, this juxtaposition can only be described as a stunning denouncement, suggesting that Francis believes the Vatican whistleblower is worse than a child rapist.

The pontiff then concluded that the “spiritual corruption” he had described as the second affliction was “worse than the fall of the sinner.” Quoting his own Gaudete in Exsultate, he states that it was worse than this descent into sin because “it is a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness. Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, ‘for even Satan appears as an angel of light’...”

Francis then referred to King Solomon’s sad rift with almighty God while reflecting that David, whom the pontiff had made his symbol for clerical sexual abusers, “was able to make up for his disgrace.”

The vagueness of this attack on the second of the “afflictions” is in contrast to the clear attack on the perpetrators of clerical abuse but quite similar to the obscurantism of the Holy Father’s homilies following the virtual bombshell of Archbishop Viganòs testimony.






Today, the Virgin comes to the cave (اليوم العذراء): Byzantine Hymn


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Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


κα επεν ατος γγελος Μ φοβεσθε· δο γρ εαγγελίζομαι μν χαρν μεγάλην, τις σται παντ τ λα,τι τέχθη μν σήμερον Σωτήρ, ς στιν Χριστς Κύριος, ν πόλει Δαυείδ.

 .فَقَالَ لَهُمُ الْمَلاَكُ: «لاَ تَخَافُوا. فَهَا أَنَا أُبَشِّرُكُمْ بِفَرَحٍ عَظِيمٍ يَكُونُ لِجَمِيعِ الشَّعْبِ:  أَنَّهُ وُلِدَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ فِي مَدِينَةِ دَاوُدَ مُخَلِّصٌ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ الرَّبُّ.




اليوم العذراء تأتي الى المغارة، لتلد الكلمة الذي قبل الدهور، ولادة لا تفسّر ولا ينطق بها، فأفرحي أيتها المسكونة اذا سمعتي، ومجدي مع الملائكة والرعاة الذي سيظهر بمشيئته طفلاً جديدا وهو الهنا قبل الدهور

alyawm aleadhra' tati 'iilaa almghart, litalada alkalimat aldhy qabl aldahwira, wiladatan la tfssr wala yantiq biha, fa'afrahi 'ayatuha almaskunat 'iidha smeti, wamajdi mae almalayikat walrueat aldhy sayazhar bimushyiatih tflaan jadidaan wahu alhuna qabl alduhur.

Today, the Virgin comes to the cave, to give birth to the Word which is before the ages, a birth that is not interpreted or uttered, and rejoicing, O world, if you hear me, and my glory with the angels and shepherds.





Folquet de Marseilles bemoans the corruption of the Church, 
with the clergy receiving money from Satan (miniature by Giovanni di Paolo), 
Canto 9. Paradiso (Dante) source

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tokyo Priests Forbid Kneeling For Holy Communion [CM Report]


TOKYO PRIESTS FORBID KNEELING FOR HOLY COMMUNION


Two priests in Japan defy Rome and local bishops — but demand obedience from parishioners


TOKYO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Parishioners have been warned by two priests at a parish in Tokyo not to kneel for Holy Communion. In so doing, they're knowingly opposing the directives from Rome and from their own bishops' conference.

The parishioners informed ChurchMilitant.com that they're too scared to kneel. One parishioner, Neil Day, said:

The situation is extremely volatile. If anyone kneels in front of either Fr. Grimm or Fr. Russell, they will be refused. The reactions of these two priests tends to be extremely rude where Fr. Grimm actually physically grabbed a woman by the arm to try and force her to stand.

For more than three years, Fr. Russell Becker, O.F.M., pastor of Franciscan Chapel Center in Tokyo, has been denying Holy Communion to those who kneel — in defiance of Rome and the Japanese bishops' conference (CBCJ). For the past several months, his assistant, Fr. Bill Grimm, a visiting priest from Thailand, has been doing likewise.

Both Rome and the Japanese Bishops' Conference (CBCJ) said communicants have the option to kneel for Communion. But when a parishioner brought this fact up, the Fr. Grimm responded, "[It] is not valid for you to decide to overrule the pastor when it comes to the administration of the sacraments at the Chapel Center."

Parishioners have documentation as far back as December 2015 of several instances of this ongoing abuse of power by both priests.

According to eyewitnesses, in January, Fr. Becker refused to give a parishioner Holy Communion because he was kneeling. After Mass the pastor reprimanded the parishioner for kneeling, and when he disagreed, Fr. Becker told him to leave the parish and never come back. The parishioner has since left the parish.
On another occasion last December, Fr. Grimm refused to give Holy Communion to a woman who knelt to receive. When she remained kneeling, he attempted to pull her up by the elbow. Failing to do so, he reportedly stormed away, saying that the "Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan" has banned the distribution of Holy Communion to those who kneel.

But in February, after parishioner Neil Day contacted Fr. Grimm with documentation from the CBCJ over communicants' right to kneel, the priest admitted in the correspondence that the CBCJ "allows for kneeling as an exception." He added, "That exception is not recognized at the FCC [Franciscan Chapel Center]."

The same day, the priest listed reasons for refusing to obey the mandate of the CBCJ to allow communicants to kneel. "The flow of traffic makes kneeling dangerous to other people" and "those who insist upon kneeling usually make a big show of doing so."

He then went on to admonish Day:

Might I recommend that until you have a couple of graduate degrees in theology, are ordained, have been appointed pastor by the archbishop and have decades of experience that you have the humility to assume that men who have those qualifications might actually know what they are about.

As reported by ChurchMilitant.com last November, a parish bulletin in Tokyo's St. Ignatius Church was directing communicants to stand when receiving Holy Communion.

ChurchMilitant.com has been informed by sources in Tokyo that after reporting on the restrictions, St. Ignatius has subsequently relaxed its restrictions and now gives Communion to those who kneel.

Our report noted the CBCJ in their 2014 document referred to the universal option of kneeling granted by Rome in "Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani" (GIRM), which universally regulates rubrics for all Latin Rite Masses. Paragraph 160 of this document states, "Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel."

The CBCJ then quoted verbatim from yet another source, namely "Redemptionis Sacramentum," Rome's binding instruction produced by the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW), which governs the GIRM. The CBCJ quotes paragraph 90 of this document, writing, "However, It is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ's faithful solely on the grounds that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling."

In an interview discussing paragraph 90 of "Redemptionis Sacramentum," Cdl. Francis Arinze, prefect of the CDW, said,

The main point that we are making there is that the people are free. Even if the bishops have chosen standing, those who want to kneel are free to kneel. And no one has the right to say to them you are disobedient ... which means then that a Catholic, who is not forbidden to receive Communion, should not be denied just because the Catholic prefers to kneel.


Later in the same interview, Cdl. Arinze added, "Some people just punish others at the very supreme moment of receiving Holy Communion; they begin to give orders."

But at the Franciscan Chapel Center, Fr. Becker and Fr. Grimm are still denying Holy Communion to those who kneel, in spite of being made aware of Church law.

To learn more about problems with Communion in the hand, watch this episode of "Sleight of Hand: Reception Deception—Where Faith Goes Actions Soon Follow."



Why Does The Act Of "Kneeling" Matter For Reverent Christian Worship?


source

The Theology of Kneeling


From Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy

There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling. “It doesn’t suit our culture”, they say (which culture?) “It’s not right for a grown man to do this — he should face God on his feet”. Or again: “It’s not appropriate for redeemed man — he has been set free by Christ and doesn’t need to kneel any more”.

If we look at history, we can see that the Greeks and Romans rejected kneeling. In view of the squabbling, partisan deities described in mythology, this attitude was thoroughly justified. It was only too obvious that these gods were not God, even if you were dependent on their capricious power and had to make sure that, whenever possible, you enjoyed their favor. And so they said that kneeling was unworthy of a free man, unsuitable for the culture of Greece, something the barbarians went in for. Plutarch and Theophrastus regarded kneeling as an expression of superstition.

Aristotle called it a barbaric form of behavior (cf. Rhetoric 1361 a36). Saint Augustine agreed with him in a certain respect: the false gods were only the masks of demons, who subjected men to the worship of money and to self-seeking, thus making them “servile” and superstitious. He said that the humility of Christ and His love, which went as far as the Cross, have freed us from these powers. We now kneel before that humility. The kneeling of Christians is not a form of inculturation into existing customs. It is quite the opposite, an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God.

Kneeling does not come from any culture — it comes from the Bible and its knowledge of God. The central importance of kneeling in the Bible can be seen in a very concrete way. The word proskynein alone occurs fifty-nine times in the New Testament, twenty-four of which are in the Apocalypse, the book of the heavenly Liturgy, which is presented to the Church as the standard for her own Liturgy.

On closer inspection, we can discern three closely related forms of posture. First there is prostratio — lying with one’s face to the ground before the overwhelming power of God; secondly, especially in the New Testament, there is falling to one’s knees before another; and thirdly, there is kneeling. Linguistically, the three forms of posture are not always clearly distinguished. They can be combined or merged with one another.

Prostration

For the sake of brevity, I should like to mention, in the case of prostratio, just one text from the Old Testament and another from the New.

In the Old Testament, there is an appearance of God to Joshua before the taking of Jericho, an appearance that the sacred author quite deliberately presents as a parallel to God’s revelation of Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Joshua sees “the commander of the army of the Lord” and, having recognized who He is, throws himself to the ground. At that moment he hears the words once spoken to Moses: “Put off your shoes from your feet; for the place where you stand is holy” (Josh 5:15). In the mysterious form of the “commander of the army of the Lord”, the hidden God Himself speaks to Joshua, and Joshua throws himself down before Him.

Origen gives a beautiful interpretation of this text: “Is there any other commander of the powers of the Lord than our Lord Jesus Christ?” According to this view, Joshua is worshipping the One who is to come — the coming of Christ.

In the case of the New Testament, from the Fathers onward, Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives was especially important. According to Saint Matthew (22:39) and Saint Mark (14:35), Jesus throws Himself to the ground; indeed, He falls to the earth (according to Matthew). However, Saint Luke, who in his whole work (both the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles) is in a special way the theologian of kneeling prayer, tells us that Jesus prayed on His knees. 

This prayer, the prayer by which Jesus enters into His Passion, is an example for us, both as a gesture and in its context. The gesture: Jesus assumes, as it were, the fall of man, lets himself fall into man’s fallenness, prays to the Father out of the lowest depths of human dereliction and anguish. He lays His will in the will of the Father’s: “Not my will but yours be done”. He lays the human will in the divine. He takes up all the hesitation of the human will and endures it. 

It is this very conforming of the human will to the divine that is the heart of redemption. For the fall of man depends on the contradiction of wills, on the opposition of the human will to the divine, which the tempter leads man to think is the condition of his freedom. Only one’s own autonomous will, subject to no other will, is freedom. “Not my will, but yours . . .” — those are the words of truth, for God’s will is not in opposition to our own, but the ground and condition of its possibility. Only when our will rests in the will of God does it become truly will and truly free.

The suffering and struggle of Gethsemane is the struggle for this redemptive truth, for this uniting of what is divided, for the uniting that is communion with God. Now we understand why the Son’s loving way of addressing the Father, “Abba”, is found in this place (cf. Mk 14:36). Saint Paul sees in this cry the prayer that the Holy Spirit places on our lips (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6) and thus anchors our Spirit-filled prayer in the Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane.

In the Church’s Liturgy today, prostration appears on two occasions: on Good Friday and at ordinations. On Good Friday, the day of the Lord’s crucifixion, it is the fitting expression of our sense of shock at the fact that we by our sins share in the responsibility for the death of Christ. We throw ourselves down and participate in His shock, in His descent into the depths of anguish. We throw ourselves down and so acknowledge where we are and who we are: fallen creatures whom only He can set on their feet. We throw ourselves down, as Jesus did, before the mystery of God’s power present to us, knowing that the Cross is the true burning bush, the place of the flame of God’s love, which burns but does not destroy.

At ordinations prostration comes from the awareness of our absolute incapacity, by our own powers, to take on the priestly mission of Jesus Christ, to speak with His “I”. While the ordinands are lying on the ground, the whole congregation sings the Litany of the Saints. I shall never forget lying on the ground at the time of my own priestly and episcopal ordination. When I was ordained bishop, my intense feeling of inadequacy, incapacity, in the face of the greatness of the task was even stronger than at my priestly ordination. 

The fact that the praying Church was calling upon all the saints, that the prayer of the Church really was enveloping and embracing me, was a wonderful consolation. In my incapacity, which had to be expressed in the bodily posture of prostration, this prayer, this presence of all the saints, of the living and the dead, was a wonderful strength — it was the only thing that could, as it were, lift me up. Only the presence of the saints with me made possible the path that lay before me.

Kneeling Before Another

Secondly, we must mention the gesture of falling to one’s knees before another, which is described four times in the Gospels (cf. Mk 1:40; 10:17; Mt 17:14; 27:29) by means of the word gonypetein. Let us single out Mark 1:40. A leper comes to Jesus and begs Him for help. He falls to his knees before Him and says: “If you will, you can make me clean”. It is hard to assess the significance of the gesture. What we have here is surely not a proper act of adoration, but rater a supplication expressed fervently in bodily form, while showing a trust in a power beyond the merely human.

The situation is different, though, with the classical word for adoration on one’s knees — proskynein. I shall give two examples in order to clarify the question that faces the translator.

First there is the account of how, after the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus stays with the Father on the mountain, while the disciples struggle in vain on the lake with the wind and the waves. 

Jesus comes to them across the water. Peter hurries toward Him and is saved from sinking by the Lord. Then Jesus climbs into the boat, and the wind lets up. The text continues: “And the ship’s crew came and said, falling at His feet, ‘Thou are indeed the Son of God'” (Mt 14:33, Knox version). Other translations say: “[The disciples] in the boat worshiped [Jesus], saying . . .” (RSV). Both translations are correct. Each emphasizes one aspect of what is going on. The Knox version brings out the bodily expression, while the RSV shows what is happening interiorly. It is perfectly clear from the structure of the narrative that the gesture of acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God is an act of worship.

We encounter a similar set of problems in Saint John’s Gospel when we read the account of the healing of the man born blind. This narrative, which is structured in a truly “theo-dramatic” way, ends with a dialogue between Jesus and the man He has healed. It serves as a model for the dialogue of conversion, for the whole narrative must also be seen as a profound exposition of the existential and theological significance of Baptism.

In the dialogue, Jesus asks the man whether he believes in the Son of Man. The man born blind replies: “Tell me who He is, Lord”. When Jesus says, “It is He who is speaking to you”, the man makes a confession of faith: “I do believe, Lord”, and then he “[falls] down to worship Him” (Jn 9:35-38, Knox version, adapted). Earlier translations said: “He worshiped Him”. In fact, the whole scene is directed toward the act of faith and the worship of Jesus, which follows from it. Now the eyes of the heart, as well as of the body, are opened. The man has in truth begun to see.

For the exegesis of the text it is important to note that the word proskynein occurs eleven times in Saint John’s Gospel, of which nine occurrences are found in Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well (Jn 4:19-24). This conversation is entirely devoted to the theme of worship, and it is indisputable that here, as elsewhere in Saint John’s Gospel, the word always has the meaning of “worship”. Incidentally, this conversation, too, ends — like that of the healing of the man born blind — with Jesus’ revealing Himself: “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26).

I have lingered over these texts, because they bring to light something important. In the two passages that we looked at most closely, the spiritual and bodily meanings of proskynein are really inseparable. The bodily gesture itself is the bearer of the spiritual meaning, which is precisely that of worship. Without the worship, the bodily gesture would be meaningless, which the spiritual act must of its very nature, because of the psychosomatic unity of man, express itself in the bodily gesture.

The two aspects are united in the one word, because in a very profound way they belong together. When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless. On the other hand, when someone tries to take worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man. Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man. That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon.

In saying this, we come to the typical gesture of kneeling on one or both knees. In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the verb barak, “to kneel”, is cognate with the word berek, “knee”. The Hebrews regarded the knees as a symbol of strength, to bend the knee is, therefore, to bend our strength before the living God, an acknowledgment of the fact that all that we are we receive from Him. In important passages of the Old Testament, this gesture appears as an expression of worship.

At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon kneels “in the presence of all the assembly of Israel” (II Chron 6:13). After the Exile, in the afflictions of the returned Israel, which is still without a Temple, Ezra repeats this gesture at the time of the evening sacrifice: “I . . . fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God” (Ezra 9:5). 

The great psalm of the Passion, Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), ends with the promise: “Yes, to Him shall all the proud of the earth fall down; before Him all who go down to the dust shall throw themselves down” (v. 29, RSV adapted). The related passage Isaiah 45:23 we shall have to consider in the context of the New Testament. The Acts of the Apostles tells us how Saint Peter (9:40), Saint Paul (20:36), and the whole Christian community (21:5) pray on their knees.

Particularly important for our question is the account of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. The first man to witness to Christ with his blood is described in his suffering as a perfect image of Christ, whose Passion is repeated in the martyrdom of the witness, even in small details. One of these is that Stephen, on his knees, takes up the petition of the crucified Christ: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (7:60). We should remember that Luke, unlike Matthew and Mark, speaks of the Lord kneeling in Gethsemane, which shows that Luke wants the kneeling of the first martyr to be seen as his entry into the prayer of Jesus. Kneeling is not only a Christian gesture, but a christological one.

The Name Above All Names

For me, the most important passages for the theology of kneeling will always be the great hymn of Christ in Philippians 2:6-11. In this pre-Pauline hymn, we hear and see the prayer of the apostolic Church and can discern within it her confession of faith in Christ. However, we also hear the voice of the Apostle, who enters into this prayer and hands it on to us, and, ultimately, we perceive here both the profound inner unity of the Old and New Testaments and the cosmic breadth of Christian faith.

The hymn presents Christ as the antitype of the First Adam. While the latter high-handedly grasped at likeness to God, Christ does not count equality with God, which is His by nature, “a thing to be grasped”, but humbles Himself unto death, even death on the Cross. It is precisely this humility, which comes from love, that is the truly divine reality and procures for Him the “name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil 2:5-10).

Here the hymn of the apostolic Church takes up the words of promise in Isaiah 45:23: “By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear'”. In the interweaving of Old and New Testaments, it becomes clear that, even as crucified, Jesus bears that “name above every name” — the name of the Most High — and is Himself God by nature.

Through Him, through the Crucified, the bold promise of the Old Testament is now fulfilled: all bend the knee before Jesus, the One who descended, and bow to Him precisely as the one true God above all gods. The Cross has become the world-embracing sign of God’s presence, and all that we have previously heard about the historic and cosmic Christ should now, in this passage, come back into our minds.

The Christian Liturgy is a cosmic Liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture — the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of life of the cosmos.

There is much more that we might add. For example, there is the touching story told by Eusebius in his history of the Church as a tradition going back to Hegesippus in the second century. 

Apparently, Saint James, the “brother of the Lord”, the first bishop of Jerusalem and “head” of the Jewish Christian Church, had a kind of callous on his knees, because he was always on his knees worshipping God and begging forgiveness for his people (2, 23, 6). Again, there is a story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but most strikingly, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical.

But I do not want to go into more detail. I should like to make just one more remark. The expression used by Saint Luke to describe the kneeling of Christians (theis ta gonata) is unknown in classical Greek. We are dealing here with a specifically Christian word. With that remark, our reflections turn full circle to where they began. 

It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically
necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let all mortal flesh be silent (Σιγησάτω πᾶσα σάρξ): Byzantine Chant and Its Spirituality

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He only is my rock. Psalm 61:2a (LXX), Meteora Monasteries source




Greek

Σιγησάτω πσα σάρξ βροτεία
κα στήτω μετ φόβου κα τρόμου,
κα μηδν γήινον ν αυτ λογιζέσθω·
γρ Βασιλες τν βασιλευόντων
κα Κύριος τν κυριευόντων,
προσέρχεται σφαγιασθναι
κα δοθναι ες βρσιν τος πιστος·
προηγονται δ τούτου ο χορο τν γγέλων
μετ πάσης ρχς κα ξουσίας, τ
πολυόμματα Χερουβείμ,
κα τ ξαπτέρυγα Σεραφεμ
τς ψεις καλύπτοντα,
κα βοντα τν μνον:
Αλληλούïα.

English


Let all mortal flesh be silent,

and stand with fear and terror;
and let it ponder nothing earthly-minded;
For the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
comes forth to be slaughtered
and given to the faithful as heavenly feast.
The hosts of Angels precede Him;
the Principalities and the Authorities;
the many-eyed Cherubim
and the six-winged Seraphim,
veiling their faces, and crying the hymn:
Alleluia

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Immutability of God and Eschatological hope, picture

A Cleansing of the Church (by Michael Voris, S.T.B)


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Michael Voris, Darken by the Smoke of Satan (source)

If there is ever going to be a cleansing of the Church, her much longed-for restoration, there is one simple fact that needs to be understood.

In her human agency, the institution, the man part of the Church, it operates as an international organized crime syndicate that has access to enormous amounts of money from multiple sources, flies under the cover of being "religious" and under that cover has been unexamined and unchecked for the past half-century. Now there it is. Pope Paul VI didn't realize the half of it when he said back in 1972 that the smoke of Satan has entered. The smoke of Satan has almost completely engulfed the entire sanctuary, and if you love the Church, you will do something about it.

Since the news about McCarrick broke back in June, life has completely been turned upside down here at Church Militant. We are now constantly on the phones and in private meetings exchanging notes and intel with state and federal prosecutors and investigators and clergy and insiders poring in loads of info. To a man, they all are coming to the realization that this evil monster that has seized operational control of the Church is far-flung and motivated by sexual and financial corruption on a scale that staggers even these veterans.

It's so big, so grandiose, so enormous, that they can't even get their brains around it, let alone figure out which legal avenues to pursue — cut in short, the deeper they dig, the deeper the hole becomes.

The Dark Side has taken over the day-to-day function of the Church, and it's been this way for a very long time now.

Sometimes it becomes manifest in the homoclergy scandal and the resulting bankruptcies and billions in payout and hush money — not to mention the cover-up and deceit, the uppermost weapon of the Father of Lies, who too many clergy serve.

All of that, of course, has raised this to a whole new level of exposure and brought in the federal and state investigations, some of which we here at Church Militant are being brought in on.

There is also massive beyond imagining financial corruption, hiding of assets, collecting of billions of dollars in archdiocesan fund-raising campaigns across the nation. And those are just a couple of the evils on a natural level.
On a supernatural level, it's far worse. Saint Paul said when one part of the body is hurting, all the other members hurt as well.

In the Universal Church — the Catholic Church — present in every nation, Satan has brought about such a moral rot, a loss of supernatural faith among huge numbers of leaders, that the entire worldwide Church is suffering immensely
The loss of faith, the homosexual predation of not just minors, but also adult males, the lies, the deceit, the cover-up, the lack of transparency, the authoritarian approach, the unaccountability and most sickening of all, what the faithful cry to Heaven for justice for — all of it wrapped up in a cloak of religiosity and spirituality.

The Faith has been devastated around the world with phony catechesis, false ecumenism, a near destruction of the liturgy and sacramental as well as devotional life — an entire gutting of what it even means to be Catholic.
We don't know if this is the Great Apostasy that Heaven warned about through the saints and Scripture, but if this isn't it, we'd sure hate to contemplate what it would look like.

There is a corrupt, organized criminal syndicate running the Church, putting itself in place for decades now, a criminal syndicate that would make the mafia blush with shame.

It's high time that faithful Catholics wake up to this — the laity — and begin to affect change.

Leaders must be confronted. Their bad and sometimes evil actions and decisions must be challenged openly, in public. They must be directly reminded that their first and only duty is the care and salvation of souls.

They must become transparent and they must be held to account for bad priest appointments — looking the other way with the homoclergy in their diocese who are corrupting souls, and sometimes even bodies, of innocent victims.

You priests out there, why were you ordained in the first place? Stand up and fight. What happens to you will happen to you, but you will gain Heaven.
You seminarians, realize that if and when you get ordained, your first duty will be to push back against all of this in no uncertain terms, and likewise, whatever happens, happens. You will secure your salvation. We laity must support them in this — with our prayers obviously, but also how we direct our money.

Satan has built up an empire within the Church, and it is showing itself now as far more formidable and corrupting than anyone at first could have imagined — now it's all coming clear.

2018 has been the year of discovery. 2019 will be the year of action.