Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Confirmation - notes

Is Confirmation necessary for salvation?

-debatable; theological debate
-might say that it is necessary for those who have been offered it

- the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church says this:
“It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed." (CCC, # 1285)
-Confirmation completes baptism
-“seals” the gifts of baptism
-sends us on our journey; missionary
-“receive the Holy Spirit”

“The 1st Confirmation” – Pentecost (fifty days after Resurrection / Passover - feast of weeks)
- Acts 2:1-13
- Jesus had promised that the Father would send the Spirit
-“the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” - John 14:26

- Acts 8
- the Apostles, began to impart the gift of the Spirit through the laying on of hands
-Peter and John went to Samaria where the people “had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (16-17)

Did the early Church celebrate Confirmation as we do??

-yes, with external signs (oils, the laying on of hands) and with the bishop as celebrant
-no, because it was celebrated with baptism as a “double sacrament”

Conf. completes bapt., seals gifts of HS, indelible character
-Bishop couldn’t be present at all baptisms
-huge number of baptisms, growing number of rural parishes, growth of dioceses (among other reasons)
-West separated the 2 in order to reserve Conf. to the bishop
- East kept them as one; priests did Conf.

Did the early Church Fathers distinguish between Baptism and Confirmation:

- St. Hippolytus of Rome (235 AD) mentions the following rites of
- Imposition of hands by the Bishop and prayer
- anointing with consecrated oil - this unction must be distinguished from the baptismal unction performed by the priest after Baptism - together with imposition of hands and the simultaneous pronouncement of a Trinitarian form of blessing
- signing of the forehead and the kiss of peace.
(St. Hippolytus may have studied under St. Iraneus, who studied under St. Polycarp, who studied under St. John the Apostle)

What about the oils used in Confirmation?
- “Christ” = anointed one ; Christian = anointed one
- very early in the Church, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands
- continues in both East and West
- East: “chrismation”
- West: “Confirmation” (ratification of Baptism and strengthening / fulfilling baptismal grace)

- Chrism oil is used in Baptism – priesthood of Christ as p,p,k

- from OT and other ancient symbolism, oil:
- is a sign of abundance and joy
- cleanses (before or after a bath) and limbers (athletes, e.g.)
- is a sign of healing since it soothes bruises and wounds
- makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength

- those who are anointed at Baptism are cleansed and strengthened
- those who are anointed at Confirmation are consecrated to Christ and share more deeply in his mission

Confirmation seals us as Christ’s and helps us to DO God’s Will

Confirmation brings a greater familiarity with the Holy Spirit, particularly, who can be a powerful presence in our lives
- gifts of the Holy Spirit (+ charisms; 1 Cor 12; healing, prophecy, miracles, tongues)
- fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Baptism - notes

Here are my notes from a talk I gave recently on the Sacrament of Baptism at the parish at which I'm stationed this summer. It's part of a summer series on the sacraments. I will post notes from talks on the other sacraments in the coming weeks. Please feel free to ask questions if something is unclear. Hope everyone is having a good and safe summer!!

Can someone get to Heaven without being baptized?

Jesus – to Nicodemus (‘see the kingdom of God’...need to be ‘born from above’)

“In all truth I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit” - John 3:5

“whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned” – Mark 16:16

Does baptism in the Spirit only occur through water?

By desire – the good thief on the cross, e.g.
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”
“in truth I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” – Lk 23:42-43

By blood – sharing in Jesus’ baptism by blood
“The cup that I shall drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I shall be baptized, you shall be baptized” – Mk 10:39

Is baptism symbolic only??

- sacraments – confer the grace they signify
- no Scriptural references to baptism (or any of the sacraments) being symbolic only

“’You must repent,’ Peter answered, ‘and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” -Acts 2:38

“every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ” –Gal 3:27

“when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life” – Rom 6:4

Baptism prefigured in OT

- 2 Kings 5:14
Naaman immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, “and his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.”

- Isaiah 44:3
“I shall pour out water on the thirsty soil and streams on the dry ground. I shall pour out my spirit on your descendants” (water and Spirit)

- Ezekiel 36:25-27
“I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you”

- Noah’s ark, as described by Peter – 1 Peter 3: 19-22
“ In (Noah’s ark), only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water. It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now
– not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

OT purification rites = almost always limited to external ‘bodily’ purity
- Ark shows the limits of the saving waters of the old covenant

-Baptism = no limits of the saving waters of the new covenant

The spiritual life begins with baptism

- Rom 6:4 - by baptism, “we too should begin living a new life”
Heaven on Earth, fullness of life

- Col 2:9 – “you have been buried with him by your baptism…you were dead, because you were sinners and uncircumcised in body; he has brought you to life with him”

- baptism and all of the sacraments are not just about getting to Heaven when our bodies die, but also about getting to Heaven on Earth

- die to self, sin
- experience the fullness of Christ on Earth in the Church (sacraments)
- Eucharist, Confession, etc.

What do we receive at Baptism?
- Life in Christ

- Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
“Baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”
- real (vs Protestants – merely symbolic)

- Faith
-“for all of you are children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus, since
every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ”
– Gal 3:26-27

- forgiveness of sins
- “by Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin”
- concupiscence remains (the inclination toward sin)

- gifts of the Holy Spirit
- wisdom, knowledge, understanding, reverence, fear of the Lord,
right judgement, courage

- incorporation into the Church, the Body of Christ
- “for by one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body” – 1 Cor 12:13
- all the baptized share in the common priesthood of Christ

- “but you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” – 1 Pet 2:9
- baptized to be priest, prophet, and king

- “Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.” – CCC, # 1269

- "’Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church" and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.’” – CCC, # 1270

- an indelible spiritual mark
- “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.” (CCC, # 1272)

- “do not grieve the holy Spirit who has marked you with his seal, ready for the day when we shall be set free” – Eph 4:30

- "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life." – St Ireneaus
- die with the seal of baptism = enter eternal life

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Parts of the Mass" - III

The following is part 3 (of 3) of the "parts of the Mass". Please see the introduction to the other parts for more information.
72. At the Last Supper Christ instituted the Paschal Sacrifice and banquet by which the Sacrifice of the Cross is continuously made present in the Church whenever the priest, representing Christ the Lord, carries out what the Lord himself did and handed over to his disciples to be done in his memory. For Christ took the bread and the chalice and gave thanks; he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take, eat, and drink: this is my Body; this is the cup of my Blood. Do this in memory of me." Accordingly, the Church has arranged the entire celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in parts corresponding to precisely these words and actions of Christ:

At the Preparation of the Gifts, the bread and the wine with water are brought to the altar, the same elements that Christ took into his hands.

In the Eucharistic Prayer, thanks is given to God for the whole work of salvation, and the offerings become the Body and Blood of Christ.

Through the fraction and through Communion, the faithful, though they are many, receive from the one bread the Lord's Body and from the one chalice the Lord's Blood in the same way the Apostles received them from Christ's own hands.

The Preparation of the Gifts
73. At the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist the gifts, which will become Christ's Body and Blood, are brought to the altar. The offerings are then brought forward. It is praiseworthy for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful.

76. The priest then washes his hands at the side of the altar, a rite that is an expression of his desire for interior purification.

The Prayer over the Offerings
77. Once the offerings have been placed on the altar and the accompanying rites completed, the invitation to pray with the priest and the prayer over the offerings conclude the preparation of the gifts and prepare for the Eucharistic Prayer. The people, uniting themselves to this entreaty, make the prayer their own with the acclamation, Amen.

The Eucharistic Prayer
78. Now the center and summit of the entire celebration begins: namely, the Eucharistic Prayer, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he unites the congregation with himself in the prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the meaning of the Prayer is that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice. The Eucharistic Prayer demands that all listen to it with reverence and in silence.

79. The chief elements making up the Eucharistic Prayer may be distinguished in this way:

Thanksgiving (expressed especially in the Preface): In which the priest, in the name of the entire holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks for the whole work of salvation
Acclamation: In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus.
Epiclesis: In which, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ's Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in Communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.
Institution narrative and consecration: In which, by means of words and actions of Christ, the Sacrifice is carried out which Christ himself instituted at the Last Supper, when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, gave them to his Apostles to eat and drink, and left them the command to perpetuate this same mystery.
Anamnesis: In which the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ the Lord through the Apostles, keeps the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven.
Offering: By which, in this very memorial, the Church—and in particular the Church here and now gathered—offers in the Holy Spirit the spotless Victim to the Father.
Intercessions: By which expression is given to the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the entire Church, of heaven as well as of earth, and that the offering is made for her and for all her members, living and dead, who have been called to participate in the redemption and the salvation purchased by Christ's Body and Blood.
Final doxology: By which the glorification of God is expressed and is confirmed and concluded by the people's acclamation, Amen.

The Communion Rite
80. Since the Eucharistic Celebration is the Paschal Banquet, it is desirable that in keeping with the Lord's command, his Body and Blood should be received by the faithful who are properly disposed as spiritual food. This is the sense of the fraction and the other preparatory rites by which the faithful are led directly to Communion.

The Lord's Prayer
81. In the Lord's Prayer a petition is made for daily food, which for Christians means preeminently the eucharistic bread, and also for purification from sin, so that what is holy may, in fact, be given to those who are holy.

The Rite of Peace
82. The Rite of Peace follows, by which the Church asks for peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament.

The Fraction
83. The priest breaks the Bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, of the living and glorious Body of Jesus Christ. Communion

84. The priest prepares himself by a prayer, said quietly, that he may fruitfully receive Christ's Body and Blood. The faithful do the same, praying silently.The priest next shows the faithful the Eucharistic Bread, holding it above the paten or above the chalice, and invites them to the banquet of Christ. Along with the faithful, he then makes an act of humility using the prescribed words taken from the Gospels.

85. It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the priest himself is bound to do, receive the Lord's Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the instances when it is permitted, they partake of the chalice (cf. below, no. 283), so that even by means of the signs Communion will stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated.

88. When the distribution of Communion is finished, as circumstances suggest, the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately. If desired, a psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the entire congregation.

89. To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the entire Communion Rite, the priest says the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.

90. The concluding rites consist of
Brief announcements, if they are necessary;
The priest's greeting and blessing, which on certain days and occasions is enriched and expressed in the prayer over the People or another more solemn formula;
The dismissal of the people by the deacon or the priest, so that each may go out to do good works, praising and blessing God;
The kissing of the altar by the priest and the deacon, followed by a profound bow to the altar by the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Parts of the Mass" - II

The following is part 2 (of 3) of the "parts of the Mass". Please see the intro notes from last week's post.

55. The main part of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of the readings from Sacred Scripture together with the chants occurring between them. The homily, Profession of Faith, and Prayer of the Faithful, however, develop and conclude this part of the Mass. For in the readings, as explained by the homily, God speaks to his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation and offering them spiritual nourishment; and Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word.

56. During the Liturgy of the Word, it is also appropriate to include brief periods of silence, accommodated to the gathered assembly, in which, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared. It may be appropriate to observe such periods of silence, for example, before the Liturgy of the Word itself begins, after the first and second reading, and lastly at the conclusion of the homily.

The Biblical Readings
57. In the readings, the table of God's word is prepared for the faithful, and the riches of the Bible are opened to them. Hence, it is preferable to maintain the arrangement of the biblical readings, by which light is shed on the unity of both Testaments and of salvation history. Moreover, it is unlawful to substitute other, non-biblical texts for the readings and responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God.

58. In the celebration of the Mass with a congregation, the readings are always proclaimed from the ambo.

59. By tradition, the function of proclaiming the readings is ministerial, not presidential. The readings, therefore, should be proclaimed by a lector, and the Gospel by a deacon or, in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant. If, however, a deacon or another priest is not present, the priest celebrant himself should read the Gospel. Further, if another suitable lector is also not present, then the priest celebrant should also proclaim the other readings.

60. The reading of the Gospel is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy itself teaches that great reverence is to be shown to it by setting it off from the other readings with special marks of honor: whether the minister appointed to proclaim it prepares himself by a blessing or prayer; or the faithful, standing as they listen to it being read, through their acclamations acknowledge and confess Christ present and speaking to them; or the very marks of reverence are given to the Book of the Gospels.

The Responsorial Psalm
61. After the first reading comes the responsorial Psalm, which is an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word and holds great liturgical and pastoral importance, because it fosters meditation on the word of God.The responsorial Psalm should correspond to each reading and should, as a rule, be taken from the Lectionary.

62. After the reading that immediately precedes the Gospel, the Alleluia or another chant indicated by the rubrics is sung, as required by the liturgical season. An acclamation of this kind constitutes a rite or act in itself, by which the assembly of the faithful welcomes and greets the Lord who is about to speak to them in the Gospel and professes their faith by means of the chant. It is sung by all while standing and is led by the choir or a cantor, being repeated if this is appropriate.

The Homily
65. The homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended, for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.

66. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate. After the homily a brief period of silence is appropriately observed.

The Profession of Faith
67. The purpose of the Symbolum or Profession of Faith, or Creed, is that the whole gathered people may respond to the word of God proclaimed in the readings taken from Sacred Scripture and explained in the homily and that they may also call to mind and confess the great mysteries of the faith by reciting the rule of faith in a formula approved for liturgical use, before these mysteries are celebrated in the Eucharist.

The Prayer of the Faithful
69. In the Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in a certain way to the word of God which they have welcomed in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is fitting that such a prayer be included, as a rule, in Masses celebrated with a congregation, so that petitions will be offered for the holy Church, for civil authorities, for those weighed down by various needs, for all men and women, and for the salvation of the whole world.

70. As a rule, the series of intentions is to be
For the needs of the Church;
For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
For those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
For the local community.

Nevertheless, in a particular celebration, such as Confirmation, Marriage, or a Funeral, the series of intentions may reflect more closely the particular occasion.