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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-04-17

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Here is Bulletin_2016-04-17

General Comments

1. Resurrection: The “blue screen of death” (BSOD) has been vanquished (at least for now) and late yesterday my wife and I celebrated the resurrection of my laptop.

Lesson Learned: Never follow the recommendations of Microsoft (MS). You may think you have installed Windows 10 over Windows 8.1 successfully, but weeks down the line, you may find yourself facing the BSOD. Microsoft and PC repair companies may take my security, time and money, but they will never take my soul – providing I go to Confession and repent of my foul mood, colorful sailor’s language, and earnest desires for MS programmers to spend eternity in a very warm place.

2. Double-Dog Dare: To date, we have no responses on our double-dog dare to attend the “April 10 Conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical”. So, we will not have the opportunity to treat anyone at Copper Fox Distillery or Rudy’s Pizza. Nevertheless, there was one valued reader who contacted us and provided useful comments and encouragement. That reader is now included in our daily Rosary intentions for two weeks.

Commentary

The Good Shepherd: The following comment was not, we repeat, not in this week’s bulletin at St. Peter’s, nor do we expect it to be in the bulletin any time soon. Nevertheless, it is good to know that in many parishes throughout our diocese, even within the Beltway, there are priests willing to lead their flocks toward the Father.

IN TESTIMONIUM…

On Wednesdays and First Saturdays, on Holy Thursday and on Corpus Christi, we gather at the altar to adore Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. When the priest or deacon leads prayers at Exposition and Benediction he is kneeling in front of the altar.

Try to imagine for a moment how it would look and how you would feel if the priest or deacon were to kneel behind the altar at Exposition and Benediction. When I try to image that it seems awkward.

When the priest or deacon is facing the same direction as most of the congregation, is it not clearly symbolic of his leading the Christian people toward God?

Cardinal Ratzinger would agree. In his book Spirit of the Liturgy (published in 2000 by Ignatius Press) there is a chapter entitled “The Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer”. In it he says:

after the Council (which says nothing about “turning to the people”) new altars were set up everywhere, and today celebration versus populum really does look like the characteristic fruit of Vatican II’s liturgical renewal. In fact it is the most conspicuous consequence of a re-ordering that not only signifies a new external arrangement of the places dedicated to the Liturgy, but also brings with it a new idea of the essence of the Liturgy.

Needless to say, he considers the “new idea” to be mistaken. Instead of conceding these changes as permanent he insists:

A common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of accidentals, but of essentials. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come.

At the same time he suggests (back in the year 2000) that this takes time, admitting that “nothing is more harmful to the Liturgy than constant changes, even if it seems to be for the sake of genuine renewal.” His initial suggestion for immediate implementation was the placement of a significant cross in the middle of the altar to serve as a reference point.

The next modest correction that can be taken without any further rebuilding would be for the priest and deacon to stand at the front of the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer, similar to how they lead prayers at Adoration. This is what St. John has been doing on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday for many years. I would like to know your thoughts about our doing that more of the time.

God bless you!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard
Fr.Pollard@StJohnCatholicMcLean.org

Consider this Sunday’s Gospel:

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

The Good Shepherd “leads”, the Good Shepherd leads his sheep to the Father. We at St. Peter’s desire eternal life and to know the Father. To this end, the Church gives a shepherd to individual flocks. Yet, not all the shepherds are dedicated to this mission. They have other concerns, concerns more of this world than the next. They would rather save the world than save souls, man’s impact on the climate is more threatening than Satan’s hunger for souls.

As Venerable Fulton Sheen has said: “Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved. There can be no world peace unless there is soul peace.”

Since June of 2014, my wife and I have found little peace of soul at St. Peter’s. Meanwhile, the shepherd is in town with his climate cronies, drinking the intoxicating brew served at the bar of social justicism.

“Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved. There can be no world peace unless there is soul peace.”

 

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