13 August 2015

St. Hippolytus of Rome, priest, martyr


Today is the feast of St. Hippolytus of Rome, who has the dubious distinction of being the first Anti-Pope, but so beloved by both factions that he was quickly raised to the altars after his death as a martyr. His memorial is optional on the Roman calendar, which is a shame, because, first, there is value in celebrating the holiness of a man who divided the Church and then repented to be reconciled with Her, but also because St Hippolytus is attributed with writing what has become probably the most commonly used Eucharistic canon, Eucharistic Prayer II.

 The Anaphora of Hippolytus, which became the basis for the prayer, is found in Chapter IV of The Apostolic Tradition, a work attributed to Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition's purpose is a guide to recently ordained bishops, and the prayer is included as a guiding example to these bishops, who were expected to compose their Eucharistic prayers extempore. However, even in its own time, the prayer must have been recognized for its quality, for it became the backbone of most of the major Western Eucharistic prayers, including the Roman Canon which is Hippolytus' Anaphora with centuries of accretions and revisions.

 Just prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Anaphora of Hippolytus had been rediscovered, its significance quickly established, and the text itself praised. As the Council Fathers revised the Mass for the Norvus Ordo and decided to include alternative Eucharistic prayers, the Anaphora of Hippolytus was immediately put forth for inclusion and was subsequently the only text that received unanimous approval. The Anaphora was revised to fit the pattern the Fathers declared proper to the Eucharistic prayer for the Roman Mass. Most notably  §  V of the text (below) which contains the Epiclesis, the prayer for the Holy Spirit's consecration of the gifts, was moved before the Institution Narrative. The Epiclesis was embellished with phrases from the 7th/8th century Gothic Missal; "sending down your Spirit like the dewfall" comes from this source. And the Words of Consecration themselves were revised, in keeping with the idea that the words should be identical across all the Eucharistic Prayers.

 Eucharistic Prayer II is probably frequently used for its brevity (it seems especially popular at Daily Masses), flexibility—with no prescribed Preface, unlike E.IV—and ease of use for the Celebrant because it does have its own Preface (reflected in § I. of Hippolytus' Anaphora) printed with the prayer in the Missal, which means less flipping of pages. But the prayer also has a simplicity and directness that encapsulates the meaning of the Eucharistic Prayer as thanksgiving, sacrifice, and the hopes we hang upon its infinite graces and power. If the Roman Canon represents the full glory and beauty of God's Church, Eucharistic Prayer III the Universal offering of Salvation to Mankind, and IV the full history of salvation, then II is a Eucharistic prayer of humility; stripped of all our posturing and bombast, it is the language God's children--simple fishermen, sinning tax collectors, adulterers and harlots--before the Lord giving thanks that his sacrifice has made us worthy to stand before him and minister to him.

And that's who Hippolytus was, a saint who knew he was a sinner, who longed to serve his God and rose to that occasional when called by some to be Christ's Vicar, stepping down humbly when the Church declared his election an error, who lived a faithful life and died a martyr's death.

Heavenly Father, may your servant remain our protector and guide, worthy of imitation and one who left us with poetry of faith worthy to give you worship, through Christ our Lord. Amen



The Anaphora of Hippolytus of Rome
     All should give the kiss of peace to whoever has become a bishop, honouring the dignity he has received. The deacons should give him the offering, and as he and all the priests extend their hands over it, he offers thanks, saying:
I
                    The Lord be with you.
     All replyAnd with you.

                    Lift up your hearts.
                    We have raised them up to the Lord.

                    Let us give thanks to the Lord.
                    It is right and fitting.

     He continues:
II
                    We give you thanks, O God, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, whom in these days you have sent to save and redeem us, and to show us your will. He is your Word, inseparable from you, through whom everything was made. In your goodness, you sent him from heaven to be a virgin’s son. Conceived in her womb, he took flesh and was revealed as your Son, born of the virgin and the Holy Spirit.

III
                    In carrying out your will, and forming for you a holy people, he stretched out his hands as he suffered, to free from suffering those who had faith in you. When be allowed himself to be given up to suffer, so that he could conquer death and break the bonds of sin in crushing the power of bell, and so lead the just to the light, make a covenant with them and manifest the resurrection, he took bread, and giving thanks to you, said: Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you. He did the same with the cup, saying: This is my blood which is poured out for vou. When you do this, do it in memory of me.

IV
Remembering therefore his death and resurrection, we offer you this bread and cup, thanking you for holding us worthy to stand in your presence and to serve you as priests.

V
We ask you to send your Holy Spirit down upon the offerings of your holy Church. Gathering together all those who receive these mysteries, grant that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit, and their faith may thus be strengthened in your truth.

VI
So may we praise and glorify you, through your Son Jesus Christ. Through him be honour and glory to you, the Father, Son, with the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church, now and always. Amen.

27 March 2015

Link: Holy Renaissance on the Biblical Foundation of the Papacy

Anglican Decline and Its Biblical Remedy by By Tyler Blanski.

This is really good. It is perhaps the best summary of the Biblical foundation for both Apostolic succession and the primacy of Peter that I've read. At least, I can never recall having been excited to read this topic before, and this was captivating, told with a dramatic flair.
By now my friends—most of them wiser and more learned than myself—are raising their eyebrows. I nervously tap my tobacco pipe and press on.
The argument is well laid out and its basic thread I've read before. But there are bits that just grab me to make me think this over in new ways.
“The New Testament lies hidden in the Old,” wrote St. Augustine, “and the Old is unveiled in the New.” It could also be said that the Church lies hidden in Israel and Israel is unveiled in the Church. Raymond Brown says: “The kingdom established by David was a political institution to be sure, but one with enormous religious attachments (priesthood, temple, sacrifice, prophecy)…. It is the closest Old Testament parallel to the Church.”
 But there are surprises, like the connection of the end of Chapter 9 in Matthew's Gospel and the beginning of Chapter 10 linked to the restoring of the scattered tribes of Israel. The use of the image of Denethor from Lord of the Rings to explain the chamberlain in the Davidic Kingdom, and Peter in the Heavenly Kingdom. And ultimately, what could be considered a dry argument for the papacy becomes no less that submission to our Lord and King.
King Jesus deserves our total obedience. If the Kingdom of God is nothing less than the gathered tribes of Israel then I don’t see how we can justify being out of communion with Christ’s appointed “prime minister,” the keeper of the keys, Peter and his successors. King Jesus deserves our total allegiance. Schism is sin, no matter how eloquent our excuses. To those scattered national churches and independent provinces who remain out of communion with the pope, St. Paul’s question is a challenge: “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13).

10 December 2014

The best gift EVER: The Immaculate Conception


Almighty God, Omnipotent and Infinitely Wise, had to choose his Mother. What would you have done, if you had had to choose yours? I think that you and I would have chosen the mother we have, filling her with all graces. That is what God did.
—St. Josemaria Escriva

09 December 2014

Go find roses in the snow!


 St. Juan Diego, oremus!

O God, who by means of Saint Juan Diego showed
the love of the most holy Virgin Mary for your people,
grant, through his intercession,
that, by following the counsels our Mother gave at Guadalupe,
we may be ever constant in fulfilling your will.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

31 July 2014

Our Lady of Ashes: St Ignatius de Loyola, Oremus!

Our Lady of Ashes: St Ignatius de Loyola, Oremus!: Today is the feast day of Saint Ignatius de Loyola , founder of the Society of Jesus ( Societas Iesu ) , commonly known as the Jesuits. ...

St. Augustine on Today's Gospel

Gospel for Wednesday of the 17th Week of Ordinary Time

Imitating the Lord’s patience
Our Lord was an example of incomparable patience. He bore with a “devil” among his disciples even to his Passion (Jn 6,70). He said: “Let them grow together until the harvest lest you uproot the wheat when you pull out the weeds” (cf. Mt 13,29f.). As a symbol of the Church he preached that the net would bring back to shore, namely the end of the world, every kind of fish, both good and bad. And he made it known in various other ways, whether openly or in parables, that there would always be a mixture of good and bad. But nevertheless he stresses that we have to protect the Church’s discipline when he says: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother” (Mt 18,15)… 
Yet today we see people who think of nothing but stern commandments, who order that troublemakers be reproved, « not giving what is holy to the dogs », « treating like the publicans » anyone who despises the Church, cutting off the scandalous member from the body (Mt 7,6 ; 18,17 ; 5,30). Their stormy zeal so troubles the Church that they pull out the weeds before their time and their blindness makes of them enemies of the unity of Jesus Christ…  
Take care not to let these presumptuous thoughts enter our hearts, trying to separate ourselves from sinners so as not to be soiled by contact with them, wanting to form a band of pure and holy disciples. We will achieve nothing but breaking up our unity under the pretext of not associating with the wicked. To the contrary, let us remember the parables of Scripture, their inspired words, their striking examples, where we are shown that, until the end of the world and the day of judgement, the bad will always be mingled amongst the good in the church without their participation in the sacraments being harmful to the good so long as these latter have not played a part in their sins. 
—Saint Augustine, On Faith and works, ch. 3-5 

Commentary selected by dailygospel.org

27 July 2014

Thoughts from the Vine lunch


(1) There is no reason that Holiness cannot be the next worldwide revolution. St. Francis was one man whose holiness inspired a whole continent. What could God do with a small group of men and women today who wholeheartedly abandoned themselves to His will in a similar spirit?

(2) The only thing standing between myself and holiness is myself. But I can never overcome myself; after all, I know all my own moves ...Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? [Rom 7:15-24]

But what if the antagonist-self, faced not protagonist-self, but Christ? What if I crucified myself with Christ so that it was no longer I, but Christ in me? [Gal 2:19-20]

Surely He who has conquered and overcome the world [Jn 16:33] can conquer antagonist-me.

So, Foolish Self, pick up your cross and follow Him whose victory over sin has swallowed up death and gives the victory to us [1 Cor 15:54-57] victory over self, victory over the world, and whose reward is Holy Beatitude in heaven for eternity.