Theology on Tap (twice)

Every other Thursday evening I go to Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, to lead a Bible study for the Campus Catholic Ministry there. I also try to show up for other events when I can, such as their Wednesday night dinners.

Yesterday they took a “field trip” to Cherry Hill, NJ, for a Theology on Tap presentation by Fr. Rob Sinatra, for the diocese of Camden. (We’re in the diocese of Trenton.) It was an enjoyable and educational evening, on the topic of “Why We Do What We Do” during Lent, putting great emphasis on the three traditional lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

In March and April, I will be driving out to Harleysville, PA, for the Theology on Tap events of the Metanoia Young Adults of Montgomery County. In March, it will be to get a lay of the land (and to listen to Fr. Dennis Gill’s presentation on the liturgy), and in April it will be to give my own presentation on “The Apostolate of the Laity”. Information about this talk will be forthcoming.

Lenten Lament: Parce Domine

They may not be up-beat, but they are definitely some of my favorite chants. I’m talking about the traditional Latin chants used in the Roman Rite during the penitential and preparatory season of Lent. I call them “Lenten laments”, and I would like to share a few of them with you over these next 40+ days. (Hey, it might get me to blog more frequently… what bloggers do you know who are giving up not blogging for Lent?)

For each lament, I’ll provide the Latin text, a rather literal translation, and then my attempt at a flowing translation (either one that rhymes or that adheres to the meter of the Latin… maybe both).

The first lament of the season is Parce Domine. This chant, “Spare, O Lord”, comes from Joel 2:17, which you probably recall hearing on Ash Wednesday:

Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'”

Here is the chant (an antiphon with verses) in Latin:

R. Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo; ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.
(Spare, Lord, spare your people; lest you be angry with us forever.)

1. Flectamus iram vindicem, ploremus ante Judicem;
clamemus ore supplici, dicamus omnes cernui.
(Let us bow before the avenging wrath, let us weep before the Judge;
let us cry out with words of supplication, let us speak, all falling prostrate.)

2. Nostris malis offendimus tuam Deus clementiam;
effunde nobis desuper remissor indulgentiam.
(By our wickedness we have offended your clemency, God;
pour forth pardon on us from above, forgiver.)

3. Dans tempus acceptabile, da lacrimarum rivulis
lavare cordis victimam, quam laeta adurat caritas.
(Giving us an acceptable time, grant, in the rivers of our tears,
to wash [our] hearts’ sacrifice, enkindled by joyful charity.)

4. Audi, benigne Conditor, nostras preces cum fletibus
in hoc sacro jejunio fusas quadragenario.
(Hear, benign Creator, our prayers, with lamentations,
poured forth during this holy fast of forty days.)

5. Scrutator alme cordium, infirma tu scis virium;
ad te reversis exhibe remissionis gratiam.
(Kind searcher of hearts, you know [our] bodily weaknesses;
to those returning to you, show the grace of forgiveness.)

Here is my translation which can be sung to the Latin chant’s melody:

R. Spare Thy people, Lord; spare thy people kneeling here before Thee;
lest Thy anger stay upon us forever.

1. To our knees we fall before Thy wrath, weeping tears of true contrition;
crying out in supplication, we call to Thee with sorrowful hearts.

2. By our sins we have offended Thee, transgressing upon Thy mercy;
pour down upon us from on high Thy gracious pardon, merciful One.

3. Cleanse the off’ring of our hearts, O Lord, in our tears and Thy charity:
now is the day of salvation, now is a most acceptable time.

4. O benign Creator, hear our prayers, bend Thine ear to our lamentations,
in this season of penitence, this holy Lent of forty days.

5. O, provident searcher of the heart, Thou Who know’st our ev’ry weakness;
grant Thy grace of forgiveness to those returning unto Thee.

Holding hands during the Our Father… a “Protestant infiltration”?

It seems I comment on blogs far more than I write my own blog posts, so I’m going to start linking to comments I’ve made that I think would have been good stand-alone blog posts.

This afternoon, Fr. Z shared a link to an article by Ray Burke on the web site of the National Catholic Register in which Burke laments liturgical abuses he was subjected to during the Christmas season. The one which Fr. Z drew attention to was the holding of hands during the Our Father; he provides this excerpt from Burke’s article:

In the end, I have decided to begin using a particular phrase in response to questions about my expressed dismay at this madness: “Because I am not a protestant.” The implication is clear. Here’s how it looks in a real dialogue: “Why don’t you hold hands at the Our Father?” “Because I am not a protestant.”

I do not usually hold hands during the Our Father. But I would certainly never say draw a connection between my not being a Protestant and my not holding hands, because there is simply no connection there. Burke evidently sees a connection.

Burke claims that “Hand-holding during the Our Father … is forbidden on the basis that we are not allowed to add or change the Mass.” But if that is the case, then holding the hand of your spouse or child as you sit in your pew to listen to the readings and homily is forbidden. Now, the priest is not permitted to require (or invite) the congregation to hold hands before the Our Father, but the spontaneous holding of hands by the congregation is an entirely different matter.

One commenter on Fr. Z’s web site (“acardnal“) called hand-holding during the Our Father “a Protestant infiltration.” I disagree. So as not to make this a full-fledged blog post of its own, I invite you to read my response and the one that follows it.

Scriptural index to the Divine Office?

Does anyone know of a Scripture index to the Divine Office? I would like to look up a Scripture verse and know if there are any hours on any days that use that verse.

The closest I’ve come is to simply search universalis.com (for example) for a phrase like “1 John 2” in Google, and then comb through the results, but I imagine the Divine Office web sites out there have their information stored in a database, and it would be great to have access to such an index at a very high level.

If one does not exist, I am MORE than happy to develop one. I just need people who have access to the complete Divine Office (I only have the single volume “Christian Prayer” edition) to supply the information. 🙂

The Holy Spirit: “Paraclete” and “Advocate”

Today’s Catechism readings (243-248) describe the Holy Spirit as the “Paraclete” and “Advocate” sent by Jesus Christ. What do these two words mean?

“Paraclete” is the Greek word, and “advocate” is the Latin word, for this particular role of the Holy Spirit in our lives of faith. I happen to like etymologies (the study of the origin and development of words), because I find that knowing where a word comes from helps to understand the word more deeply.

“Advocate” comes from the preposition/prefix ad- (meaning “towards”) and vocate (from the verb vocare, “to call”). We get the word “vocal” from vocare.

“Paraclete” comes from the prefix para- (meaning “beside; near”) and clete (from the verb kalein, “to call”). We get the words “ecclesial” (church-related) and “epiclesis” (part of the Eucharistic Prayer) from the Greek verb kalein.

Both of these words, in Latin and Greek, mean “to call [someone] to [one’s] side.” An advocate or a paraclete is someone you call to yourself, often to speak for you. They are similar to intercessor (“one who goes” [cedere] “between” [inter-]).

This is why Jesus says He will send the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit comes to our aid, comes to our side. The Holy Spirit is in the business of being close to us!

Catechism Community Commentary

Do you have a burning question about something in the Catechism? Or do you have some insight about a paragraph in the Catechism that you wish you could share with others? Well, now you can ask that question and share that insight in a forum dedicated to just that purpose.

The Catechism Search Engine (powered by the @CatechismAPI) is now open for user registration. You can register in just a few seconds — provide your name, email address (for confirmation purposes), a username, and a password — and then you can leave comments on individual paragraphs of the Catechism. Anyone can see and read them, but you must register to write comments.

Two books on the Mass and the new translation

If you’re still looking for good resources on the Mass and the new English translation that we’ve been using for almost a year now, I think you would appreciate my two books on the topic.  I have a series, Praying the Mass, that looks at the whole Mass (and not just the changes in translation) from the perspective of the congregation (volume 1, The Prayers of the People) and from the perspective of the priest (volume 2, The Prayers of the Priest).  Both books go over the gestures, postures, and words that make up the liturgical prayer of the Mass, and both books have questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter.

A third volume is in the works, The Eucharistic Prayers, that looks at each of the ten Eucharistic Prayers in the English translation of the Roman Missal.

You can find these books on Amazon (here and here), or you can buy them directly from me.

My new home

After six and a half years at Blogger (thecrossreference.blogspot.comthis was my first post), I’ve decided to transition to WordPress, hosting my blog on here at the Catholic Cross Reference.  The whole web site, this blog included, is meant to be a resource for studying the Catholic faith so as to better live in constant reference to the cross of Christ.  This web site seeks to bring together scripture, the liturgy, and catechesis; to that end, this blog will be home to articles on the following topics:

  • the Sunday Bible readings
  • general Bible study resources
  • links between the liturgy and life
  • reflections on the prayers of the Mass
  • analysis of magisterial documents

I hope to have series of blog posts on particular topics; I was somewhat successful with that in the past, but I think shorter posts on a more frequent basis will go a long way to achieving this goal.

The first series on this blog will be (at least) weekly posts with content for the Salvation History religious education class I am teaching for sixth graders at my parish, St. Hedwig’s in Trenton, NJ.

There will soon be links to my various search engine projects, just below the header image.

I thank you for your readership, I welcome your comments, and I beg your prayers!

“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21)