Reception of the Eucharist

December 27th, 2008

I was reminded recently of the prevailing ignorance of liturgical symbolism, and the relation of the liturgical rubrics to this symbolism, by an argument I had recently with a priest, who was defending the practice of those who receive communion coming up and taking the chalice from the altar, after having received the Sacred Body from the priest, as well as the practice of handing the chalice from one person to another.

Both of these practices are explicitly forbidden by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, as well as by the document on practices and abuses in the Liturgy, Redemptionis Sacramentum.

“The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves, and, still less, to hand them from one to another” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 160; Cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, n. 94).

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Redemptionis Sacramentum: On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

The reason for the practice is a simple one. The priest represents Christ giving his Body and Blood to his Mystical Body, the Church, to the faithful who receive it. The faithful are in the position of recipients: they receive Christ’s Body and Blood from Christ, and this should be represented also in the form by which they receive.

Spoof of anti-religious advertisment

December 9th, 2008

life of an atheist
This photo was a response (thanks to Ignatius Insight) to the anti-religious advertisement campaign developed in London, with ads reading “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

It is taken for granted, of course, by the original ad, that the existence of God is a cause for worry rather than peace and happiness. A propos of this, see these reflections on Paul’s teaching on predestination as a cause of joy in St. Paul.

Free Catholic Books Search Engine

December 9th, 2008

This site mostly aims to make available Catholic books, or notes and reviews on Catholic books that are not available elsewhere. But naturally, some people come to this site looking for certain particular Catholic books that are not available on this site–recently, for example, someone came looking for children’s books and missals. To help with this, we’ve added a custom engine to search for free catholic books. We plan to add a second search that will include both free Catholic books and books that are only available for purchase.

Chesterton and Soloviev

September 28th, 2008

Two new books are now available here on this site: Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, and A Short Tale of The Anti-Christ by Vladimir Soloviev. Thanks for the suggestions. (Update: a few mistakes in Soloviev’s work have been corrected; the Tale of the Anti-Christ also has shown a remarkable popularity–I would not have expected so many were looking for this book.)

My vocation is Love!

September 18th, 2008

“At last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love!… In the heart of the Church, I will be Love!”

Is this discovery of St. Thérèse simply the common vocation of all of us, or has St. Thérèse found her own special vocation? Or are both true? Is it both her special vocation and the common vocation of us all? This essay on the words “My Vocation is Love” argues that it is both: the special vocation of St. Thérèse consists in giving herself entirely to that which is our common vocation–to live in love.

Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine

September 17th, 2008

From St. Robert Bellarmine’s The Ascent of the Mind to God:

“O Lord, sweet and gentle and full of mercy,” who, beginning to taste even a little bit of the sweetness of your fatherly rule, would not serve you with their whole heart? What do you command your servants, Lord? “Take my yoke upon you,” you say. And what kind of yoke is yours? “My yoke,” you say, “is sweet, and my burden light.” Who would not most gladly beat that yoke which does not discourage, but nourishes, and that burden which does not weigh down, but refreshes? Rightly therefore you added: “And you will find rest for your souls.” And what is that yoke which does not tire us, but brings rest? It is that first and greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart.” For what is easier, sweeter, more pleasing, than to love goodness and beauty and love, all which you are, O Lord God?Do you also promise, to those who keep your commandments, a reward above much good, and sweeter than the honeycomb? Indeed you promise a reward, and a most full reward, as your Apostle James says: “The Lord has prepared a crown of love for those who love him.” And what is the crown of love? Truly a greater good than we can even think or desire; for thus the blessed Paul cites Isaiah: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Truly therefore in keeping your commandments there is a great reward. Nor is it only beneficial for man not for God who commands) to keep that first and greatest commandment, but also all the other commandments perfect, adorn, instruct, enlighten, and finally make good and blessed the one who obeys them. Wherefore if you are wise, understand that you have been created for the glory of God and your eternal salvation, that this is your end, this the center of your soul, this the treasure of your heart. If you arrive at this end you will be blessed, if you fall away from you you will be miserable.

Hence you should esteem that as truly good, which leads you to your end, and that as evil, which makes you fall away from your end. Prosperous and adverse things, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honor and dishonor, life and death should in themselves neither be sought nor shunned by a wise man. But if they lead to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, they are good and should be sought, while if the hinder it, they are bad and should be shunned.

Holiness of Life

August 22nd, 2008

We’ve added a new book by St. Bonaventure: Holiness of Life. In addition, for this book and for the books by St. Alphonsus Marie de Liguori, we’ve added versions in DJVU format. DJVU is a format developed for scanned images such as books, and is generally several times as small as PDF for the same quality. Try it out!

Works by Alphonsus Liguori

August 21st, 2008

We’ve added a set of works by Saint Alphonsus Marie de Liguori. These books have not been proofread and converted to HTML format. They are scanned PDFs of the originally published books, and are therefore quite large (30+ Megabytes). A few of the works by Alphonsus Marie Liguori included are The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, The Way of Salvation and of Perfection, The Holy Eucharist, and the saint’s Letters.

Aquinas' Summa

August 18th, 2008

We’ve just added a new translation of selected questions from the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas. These questions are selected to be the most important articles pertaining to the topic of virtue, vice, and gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Summa.

The goal of the translation is to be as easy to read as possible, while remaining entirely faithful to what St. Thomas himself says, rather than replacing it what some other teaching that seems to be simpler than his. In a few cases, when an article seems difficult to understand, or worded in an unnecessarily complicated manner, we’ve added a paraphrase after an article. For the longest articles, we’ve added outlines.

New website for Paths of Love

August 16th, 2008

A new website has just been launched for the book Paths of Love: On the Discernment of Vocation. Related texts, commentary of the author, and readers’ comments and reviews of the book will in the future be posted there. If there is sufficient interest, a discussion page will also be set up on that website.