Tag Archives: Mass

A Reflection on Day 9: Crossing Paths

On day 9 I was praying that my path would cross with the Muslim pilgrim if only for a brief moment. Although my interiority felt as arid as the terrain, I persisted in prayer, hoping I would see this pilgrim again.  Last evening Tom and I went to the church for Mass. We arrived early so we could pray the Rosary. The church was empty. I walked around and as I was walking up the aisle the Muslim pilgrim was there praying. He acknowledged my presence with a smile and the aridity of the day dissipated with a profound joy inundating my soul. The Lord answered the desire of my heart and prayer in a place I would least expect. Whether our paths cross again is not important; however I pray that the spiritual longing in his heart for truth will come to fulfillment in Christ. There are so many who make the Camino and for a variety of motivations that are not explicitly spiritual; however I believe the Lord is at work in their soul in a special way on the Camino. Perhaps that is the real miracle of Santiago.

Camino Day 1, to Roncesvalles

A great day. We walked about 17 miles with incredible elevations. We were above the clouds. The scenery was beyond what I imagined. What a challenge to hike over the mountains but what a reward to conclude with the Song of Roland.

There was a pilgrim Mass.  After the post communion prayer they invited the pilgrims to come to the altar for a blessing. Then they dimmed the lights and focused on Mary and sang the Salve Regina.

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The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi

On Sunday, June 22nd, after the 11 am Mass, there will be our annual Corpus Christi procession when we will process the Most Blessed Sacrament through the neighborhood to affirm the faith of the ancient Christian church, that is the real and substantial presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The procession with conclude with Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  This is a wonderful opportunity to extend an invitation to those you know who would like to join us in this public manifestation of the faith.  The parish joins with Catholics throughout the world in a procession that affirms our ancient faith. On Thursday the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession in Rome, and our Holy Father, Pope Francis held Mass and led in Adoration.

Although we affirm the ancient faith, our Solemnity is a gift from the 12th century.  Juliana of Reinnes (1192-1258) according to Adrian Nocent, “she saw a lunar disk surrounded by rays of dazzling light; on one side of the disk, however, there was a dark spot that spoiled the beauty of the whole. The Lord revealed to her that the dark spot meant the Church still lacked a solemn feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Our procession will certainly not be of the magnitude of the procession in Rome, however our procession will be an expression of the  faith of a people who believed in the words of the Preface that “bathed in the sweetness of your grace, we may pass over to the heavenly realities here foreshadowed.”  As we prepare to celebrate this Sunday, may the words of the post communion prayer be on our lips:  Grant O Lord, we pray, that we may delight for all eternity in that share in your divine life, which is foreshadowed in the present age by reception of your precious Body and Blood Who live and reign forever.

Ecce panis Angelórum,
Factus cibus viatórum:
Vere panis fíliórum,
Non mittendus cánibus.
Corpus Christi Procession, July 2014. The monstrance is carried under the canopy, escorted by the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

Corpus Christi Procession, June 2014. The monstrance is carried under the canopy, escorted by the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

New Liturgical Movement included this photograph among its photoposts of Corpus Christi processions around the world, Part 1 and Part 2.

Praying Through Distractions to Stillness of Heart

Sometimes people tell me, a little apologetically, that they felt distracted at Mass, to which I respond, of course you are and so am I sometimes! However, I use even distractions to call me to the Mass. For example: when I hear the door opening during the Mass it distracts me; however I pray through the distraction and thank the Lord another person comes to worship. When I hear the crying of a child I pray that this child will be reared to love the Holy Mass and be a disciple. When someone wanders in and is somewhat nonchalant in his or her attitude, I pray that this might be the moment that they will respond with deeper devotion to the Lord who is searching for them, in the depth of their heart. Even distractions that are inevitable can be invitations to pay closer attention to what is going on at the altar.

All the rustlings and noises and so forth teach me an important aspect of the Augustine doctrine of the Totus Christus:  the whole Christ, head and members. Christ is alive in the hearts of a living humanity coughing and sneezing and crying and bumping around.  He has gathered a mass of humanity in his presence to invite them to divine communion in the Sacrament of the altar.

If you find yourself distracted during Mass, what can you do? If the distraction is someone else, pray for that person. If the distraction is your wandering thoughts, try to turn your attention to the beautiful words of the Mass. If you can’t concentrate on the words, then you can look at the beautiful surroundings and thank God that he gave us the saints of the ages, depicted in paint, statues, and stained glass. If we can’t think high uplifted thoughts then we can simply rest in the heart of Christ, thankful that he comes to us in the Sacrament of the altar.

There is a little book called Meditations Before Mass, by Msgr. Romano Guardini, in which he speaks of stillness and distractions. He says “Men live, and living things move; a forced outward conformity is no better than restlessness. Nevertheless, stillness is still, and it comes only if seriously desired.” So we pray through the inevitable distractions in order to cultivate within our soul the stillness Romano speaks of. “We must learn and practice the art of constructing spiritual cathedrals,” he says, and “Something of eternity is deep within us… this seed of eternity is within me, and I can count on its support.” Saint Frances de Sales also speaks of gently leading ourselves back, rather than becoming impatient with ourselves.

We pray that stillness be cultivated within our soul as we witness the awesome sacrifice of the Mass, and thus enter into the heart of Christ.