Speak Lord: Call us, your children…

Eucharist

The Second reading on Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Easter, comes from the 1st letter of St John. It calls us to be awake and alert to all God has done for us.

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.

1 John 3:1-2

As with most families what helps us to be who we are and to become who we are to become happens as we share in the family meals and the family stories. These can limit us and constrain us, or open our hearts, minds and lives to the newness that is available to us.

  • At Mass are you closed down or opened up by what takes place?
  • How can you better play your part in helping that sacrament of word and symbolic action more fully engage you and others, and help you to the newness and the dignity proper to the children of God?

Photograph of station of Mystery of Institution of the Eucharist, Medjugorje. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and see: less is more

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‘Less is more’ is a saying adopted by and associated with the German-American minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

It is maybe odd to invoke the phrase in consideration of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Many monotheists and Unitarians think that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, ‘the three in one’, diminishes God, betrays the One in proposing the Three. For them more is less.

They, mostly, cannot take seriously the (necessary and orthodox) Christian insistence that in speaking of Trinity, the insistence on the One God is as unnegotiable, and irreducible ‘fact’ about God as is is the Three-ness.

Though the analogy should not be pushed too far (!), in the exquisite work of Mies van dear Rohe, the detail is seen all the more potently because of the simplicity and clarity of design, so too in the uniqueness of the One God does the beauty of threeness, diverse in unity, united in diversity, manifest itself. The doctrine is response to God’s self-revelation, not wretched human invention. The doctrine inevitably resists logic and defies our understanding for it seeks to respond to that which God is, and the who, what, and why of God always will cause human thought to stumble and falter, and finally for human tongues to fall silent.

Which is why the simplicity of the Entrance Antiphon so commends itself for our attention as we seek to live from yesterday’s celebration of Mass.

So simply, so respectfully and carefully, does it name the threeness of the one God, and thank him for his greatest gift to us, his merciful love.

Blest be God the Father,
and the Only Begotten Son of God,
and also the Holy Spirit,
for he has shown us his merciful love.

Image found here.

 

Speak Lord: Speak of your glory, help us to praise your glory.

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You are blest, Lord God of our fathers.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
Blest your glorious holy name.
To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest in the temple of your glory.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest on the throne of your kingdom.
To you glory and praise for evermore.

You are blest who gaze into the depths.
To you glory and praise for evermore.
You are blest in the firmament of heaven.
To you glory and praise for evermore.

Daniel 3:52-55

  • For what do you give glory to God?
  • Why?

This song, this prayer, is  that of the three young men  condemned to death by Nebuchadnezzar but preserved by God from the heat of the furnace into which they were cast. The passage is a part of the Bible in the Catholic tradition, but not in the Protestant tradition. The text is in the ancient Greek Septuagint but not the Masoretic text which is the basis of the Jewish Bible today.

A fuller version of the song is regularly used in the Church’s morning prayer on significant feast days, such as this Sunday, Trinity Sunday.

O all you works of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.
And you, angels of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, the heavens of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
And you, clouds of the sky, O bless the Lord.
And you, all armies of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, sun and moon, O bless the Lord.
And you, the stars of the heavens, O bless the Lord.
And you, showers and rain, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, all you breezes and winds, O bless the Lord.
And you, fire and heat, O bless the Lord.
And you, cold and heat, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, showers and dew, O bless the Lord.
And you, frosts and cold, O bless the Lord.
And you, frost and snow, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, night-time and day, O bless the Lord.
And you, darkness and light, O bless the Lord.
And you, lightning and clouds, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

O let the earth bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, mountains and hills, O bless the Lord.
And you, all plants of the earth, O bless the Lord.
And you, fountains and springs, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, rivers and seas, O bless the Lord.
And you, creatures of the sea, O bless the Lord.
And you, every bird in the sky, O bless the Lord.
And you, wild beasts and tame, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, children of men, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

O Israel, bless the Lord, O bless the Lord.
And you, priests of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
And you, servants of the Lord, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

And you, spirits and souls of the just, O bless the Lord.
And you, holy and humble of heart, O bless the Lord.
Ananias, Azarias, Mizael, O bless the Lord.
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.

Let us praise the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit:
To him be highest glory and praise for ever.
May you be blessed, O Lord, in the heavens:
To you be highest glory and praise for ever.

Daniel 3:57-88,56

Taste and see: with whom did you worship?

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The Church teaches that Christ is present in our celebration of Mass in various ways, really present in diverse ways.

Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross”, but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20) .

Sacrosanctum concilium 7 (Sacrosanctum concilium is the Latin title of Vatican II’s teaching document on the Liturgy, the worship of the Church)

Sometimes we focus almost exclusively on the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic species – the Bread and Wine that is his Body and Blood, his very self and life offered us as food and drink.

Maybe the most scandalous presence of the Lord is in the gathering of the Church – the Lord present in this one, that one, each one who are members of the Body of Christ.

How and as whom did the Lord make himself present to you in the gathering for Mass on Sunday? A child? An elderly person? Someone filled with joy? Someone who seemed on the point of tears? Who?

What do you learn from His presence in them, as them?

Gandhi taught: ‘If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further’ Maybe he would have been delighted (and perhaps surprised) to know how literally the Church can take that.

Image found at http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/thinking-about-body-of-christ.html