Catholicism 101

Wed

01

May

2019

Be “Vigil-ant”: Explaining the Church’s Longest Mass

by Adriana Watkins

 

It’s a Saturday night in early spring, and a few hundred Catholics are crowded around a fire pit outside the church doors. Don’t be fooled; you won’t find marshmallows or hot dogs at this family gathering. Instead, you’ve stumbled upon the beginning of the Easter Vigil, the lengthiest Mass in the Catholic Church—and undoubtedly the richest, the most profound, and the most anticipated, the crown of the year.

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Wed

01

May

2019

Holy Oils: Explaining the Chrism Mass

Sean P. Cardinal O'Malley Blesses the Sacred Chrism (OLIVIA COLOMBO | THE TORCH)
Sean P. Cardinal O'Malley Blesses the Sacred Chrism (OLIVIA COLOMBO | THE TORCH)

by Mathieu Ronayne

 

Time seemingly stands still during Holy Week. We anticipate the climax of our faith as we celebrate Christ’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, His Passion and Crucifixion on Good Friday, and His Resurrection in the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses. Between Palm Sunday and the Paschal Triduum, one can unknowingly overlook a more subtle, yet important, facet of Holy Week: the celebration of the Chrism Mass. 

 

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Wed

01

May

2019

Double Effect: Save, Kill, or Both?

by Lourdes Macaspac

 

If, in the process of self-defense one kills another, would that be a sin? St. Thomas Aquinas discussed this issue in the Summa Theologica (II-II, Q. 64, A.7). In this text, the origins of the principle of double effect are found. This principle recognizes that, when dealing with issues of morality, there may be beneficial as well as harmful (though unintended) side-effects. So, when is an action that has the potential to lead to negative effects justifiable? The principle considers four conditions: 1. The act itself must be indifferent, if not good; 2. The action itself should be the direct and immediate cause of both effects; 3. Bad intentions must be absent, and the harmful effect should be avoided, if possible; 4. The good effect must be, by reason, proportionately equal to or greater than the bad effect.

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Wed

01

May

2019

Hymns Fit for the Queen

The Coronation of the Virgin by Paolo Veronese (1555)
The Coronation of the Virgin by Paolo Veronese (1555)

by Gerard DeAngelis

 

“It is not by isolated, extraordinary acts that we show love.” St. Therese of Lisieux says, “Rather, frequent, small acts of love are the true substance of any real charity”: for friend, for spouse, for God. In fact, grand acts of love are impossible if they are not preceded and nourished by the building blocks of frequent, daily renewals of devotion.

 

It is only fitting, then, in our devotion to the Queen of Heaven—the shortest, easiest, and surest way to her Son—that we stalwartly commit ourselves to small renewals of our love for her. Practices such as saying a daily Rosary, reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, “The Angelus,” or “Regina Coeli,” praying the Litany of Loreto, and many other devotions serve as brilliant examples of how to in small ways tell our Queen, “I love you.” One traditional and beautiful way we can continue to foster love for Our Lady is through the recitation or singing of the four seasonal Marian antiphons.

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Wed

27

Mar

2019

Jesus, the Perfect Husband: One May be Called to Marry Christ

Jessica Hayes, seen here promising virginity during the Rite of Consecration of Virginity. Photo: Today's Catholic / Joe Romie
Jessica Hayes, seen here promising virginity during the Rite of Consecration of Virginity. Photo: Today's Catholic / Joe Romie

by Lourdes Macaspac

 

If you question today’s version of “love”—if you question whether modern marriages are capturing the essence of the matrimonial sacrament—you are not alone. Many young people scorn how culture and media greatly shape, and even dictate, our definition of love as something that never seems to reach deeper than hormones and neurological processes. Even in this environment, there is a kind of love that many people may not have considered. If called to consecrated virginity, a vocation less well known or understood than other, a woman may marry Christ.

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Wed

27

Mar

2019

Every Knee Shall Bow: Exploration of Posture in Prayer

by Alex Wasilkoff

 

This article is the second part of an ongoing series of articles exploring the postures of prayer used during Mass. Part I, on Standing, can be found here.

 

The practice of kneeling is often maligned—even banished—from Mass in certain places. However, kneeling is perhaps one of the most important Christian postures of prayer. As noted in last month’s article, “Standing Fast in Prayer,” the position of one’s body is an important part of prayer, especially liturgical prayer. In Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict writes, “[Kneeling] is an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God.”

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Wed

27

Mar

2019

Thomas Asks: Livin’ On a Prayer

by Gerard DeAngelis

 

The life of a Christian is essentially meaningless without prayer. Not only is the end of prayer the same as our final Christian end—union with God—but any exterior works we do are empty without a firm interior life, which is impossible without prayer. To get a better grasp of this essential Christian practice, let us review five common questions answered about prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiæ, secunda secundæ, question 83:

 

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Wed

27

Mar

2019

Cornerstone: On Almsgiving

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, depicted in this sculpture by Rudolf Moroder, was renowned for her acts of almsgiving.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, depicted in this sculpture by Rudolf Moroder, was renowned for her acts of almsgiving.

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

During Lent, Christians are called to intensify their penance, which chiefly includes fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Penance, then, is a rededication to the Double Commandment, to love God and to love our neighbor. We recognize that we have failed to fulfill both ends of the commandment, or at least that we have room to grow in both areas, and so we fast so as to gain spiritual discipline, we pray in order to grow closer to God, and care for our neighbors. When thinking about almsgiving, we might often forget that care for the poor is included in the love due to our neighbor. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cautions against loving only those who love you back, or in some sense can reciprocate your love. To stop at this point would be to do nothing beyond what everyone else does (Mt. 5:46).

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