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Credo

What is this Catholic faith of ours? What does it mean to be Catholic? It is history, beauty and majesty. It is a love story between God and man. It is not the mundane entertainment of the world nor is it some abstract concept of our intellect. It is a real covenant relationship, a way of life lived to the fullest. It isn’t the way of death, some sterile, modern standard that is pressed upon us day in and day out, no it is life- defying death. Jesus spoke of this saying:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” -John 10:10.

Too many people look at our faith as a set of rules and doctrines. They don’t realize that these rules and doctrines are actually a deposit of rich treasure, lovingly passed down by the apostles, and those saints and martyrs before us, originating from Christ’s undying love for us. Our doctrines and expressions are a gift, a sweet yoke. Not like the yoke of the world which burdens and destroys us. We must cast that yoke off and leave it behind. Then we can truly understand the Church’s wisdom, which is as a fount from heaven.

We worship in a liturgy because creation is liturgy, love is a liturgy. It is an act of giving and receiving and then giving again. It is speaking and being spoken to. God has always spoken to us in the law of gift. Moved by love, He spoke and all things in the universe were made and He pronounced them good. Each person, created in God’s image is a gift to be given. Christ offers us the gift of His very flesh and blood. He makes His life our own and we, enraptured by this act of love, can do nothing but adore and cry out “Amen!!”

Catholicism is a wedding, lasting throughout the ages. It is a lush garden where souls are planted and tended, where men become saints. God’s only son, the loving Bridegroom leapt down from heaven and became flesh to rescue us, to deliver us from sin and death. He gave all he had, his very life, for us. When water and blood poured from the side of the crucified Christ, a bride was taken and many sons and daughters were born anew from this union. We become God’s own sons and daughters. Because of this new identity:

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” –Psalm 92-12

In this family of the Catholic Church, we have a foretaste of our promised inheritance. As a wedding gift, He bestowed the Holy Ghost, the spirit of God, so that in a spirit of hope, charity and self-sacrifice, we may show others this Kingdom of God. The husband and wife reveal God’s covenant with man, made from the beginning. The priest’s celibacy shows his mystical marriage with the Church, the chosen Bride. Nothing like this has ever happened! Through the sacraments, which are seven jewels of great price, God makes us partakers in His Divine Life. Everything that belongs to God now belongs to His people.

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” – Song of Solomon 6:3

What we see in the visible Church points to a wondrous, unseen reality. Our communion here on earth is united to a greater communion in heaven, those who have fought and loved before us. Out of their sacrifices, modeled after the One Sacrifice of Christ, comes our power and strength. We are weak and have nothing in this world for our treasure is elsewhere.

The Catholic faith proclaims the forgiveness of sins, that when Jesus climbed up on that rugged cross, He undid the sin of Adam and reopened the gates of paradise. And how immense is God’s love that when a priest says “I absolve you from your sins” that through the blood of Christ, we are washed clean. Our faith is one that believes second chances are possible!

“Love covers a multitude of sins” – 1 Peter 4:8

This is our faith, why add or take anything away from it? Why not love and cherish it as Christ loved and cherished us? Catholicism is the pure water in which we have been reborn. It is the Precious Blood we drink. It is God’s Holy Spirit moving and breathing within us. It is the anticipation of life and resurrection and of every good thing in the world to come.

Good News.

The Lord is great and so merciful beyond measure! He truly gives good things to those who ask! For a long time, there is something I kept silent, perhaps believing that it was “too good to be true” But my heart has known it for quite some time, the Lord has finally entrusted a priest to me, as my spiritual son.

Last year, I attended a religious retreat during which Our Lord did extensive work on my soul, painful and extensive work within the period of three days. If one looks at a former entry in this blog, dating from June 10, 2013 (http://catholicwvengeance.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/a-retreat/) you will see my thoughts and reflections on this retreat, which I often describe as “like Holy Week” because during this time, I began to crucify the old self and let the new woman be resurrected. And let me tell you, it was long time coming. I met a young priest on this retreat who was newly ordained. He opened my heart to God’s love and after I left, his kindness left an impression in my mind, so much like the kindness of Christ Himself. Well, I went home and promptly took up the Divine Office again. Chanting it it with others, every morning and evening also left an impression, that this rhythmic prayer unified with the whole Church could be a means to taste heaven and intercede for others. Every now and then, I offered Lauds or Vespers for this kindly young priest. Nothing more.

Then came the soft, voice of the Lord saying “Pray for him”. So I started offering more prayers. However, myself being so stubborn in nature and skeptical to an infuriating degree, I grew slack. Let me tell you now, that when God wants something done, He WANTS it done. I learned that quick. He began urging me to pray for this priest, even at night and even in my dreams! If I did not stop whatever I was doing and pray for this priest, anxiety would well up in me so that I could think of nothing else but this poor man stumbling into some sin because of my negligence. So, by the grace of God, I “adopted” our kindly young priest in question, envisioning him as an innocent child yet with the power to call Christ down from heaven, who needs help in this great vocation. Not that I by my own power can help him, but Our Lord, He delights in hearing me ask for His help.

Recently, due to my horrible pride, and the attacks of the Devil (I never underestimate that dirty rat anymore) I nearly rejected my own spiritual son. I said “This is too good a thing to happen to me,” “He doesn’t even know me”, “He probably doesn’t even want my help.” And the worst one: “What use is it?” Going to adoration on a sunny Friday afternoon, seeing my Lord there, sitting silently with me, it made those thoughts go away. For so long, I had wanted God to outright say “Okay, Rachel this is your spiritual son. Yes, I gave him to you, here he is.” Yet, He never used words. The warmth and peace of His presence simply confirmed it.  This priest needs me, he needs my prayers. At last, at last this wonderful thing has happened. A beautiful soul, a priestly soul, has been put into my clumsy hands for special care! It is such good news that I had to tell others! What amazes me that the one whom God gave me at first as a brother and a father, was now given to me as a son, that I may be taught how to love. He truly is a compassionate God who meets all needs for all people! Every moment when I suffer, either from a headache or a hard day at work, I think of this priest and offer it up for him.

And Our Lord is still fond of waking me at night and asking for a few Hail Mary’s on his behalf. Blessed Mary, who is mother to all priests, is such a strong advocate for both of us. I entrust this priest to her because she can watch over him at all times. Such tenderness, that I feel for this spiritual son of mine, she is the one who taught it to me first. The Devil be driven far from him, I pray, and may his priesthood bear much fruit and may every blessing which is given to me, be also given to him.

 

 

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There is nothing on earth or in the heavens that compares to the greatness of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, In the outpouring of this Divine Love, all the earth’s nations are as naught, regarded as rust on the scales. The great cities would not suffice to fuel it’s flames and men, princes of men are just a breath!

No treasure has been, is, or will be greater than this precious medicine of souls, this balm of the True Savior. But a drop suffices to cleanse away all sins- a world of sins. But a drop is worth more than all the priceless gems of the earth or mounds of purest gold.

Oh most priceless Sacrament, Sacrament of Sacraments! My hands are not worthy to touch thee, my eyes not worthy to see nor my tongue worthy to taste.

Yet, Oh God, You have let the heavens rain down the Just One and Your mercy pour like the dew-fall. Like a torrent has Salvation come. Oh, how the heavens tore open and from the side of Your Only Begotten, came our only life!!

Vesperam Sanctorum.

 

Okay, so some of you are still thinking that the Catholic religion is so uncool, what with the emphasis on light, good and purity. Yes, we advocate and love those things but we boast of a both/and religion instead of the standard either/or you get from a lot of Christianity. You think that we don’t celebrate Halloween, that we loath black, ghostly garb, consider skulls satanic and fear blood and death? Well I am here to say you’re dead wrong. Maybe you had us confused with the Jehovah’s Witnesses who hate holidays? Let me set the record straight on how we Catholics do Halloween and cherish it’s gothic awesomeness.

 

1)      What’s in a name?

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The word Halloween comes from “Hallows Eve” which is a distortion of the name for a Catholic holy day called “All Hallows Eve.” Back then “hallow” used to mean sacred and was an ideal description for the dead. For centuries, devout Catholics chose the last day of October to commemorate all the faithful departed. We singled out a day to celebrate death. Whether we borrowed some customs from the Pagans is debatable as we’re the only Christian group old enough to have lived side-by-side with them. Jack-o-lanterns, incense and funeral dirges were commonplace in the authentic Catholic celebration of the departed and we are still bringing it out today.

 

2)      The Haunting.

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Poltergeists, demons, spirits? There’s a ring of truth to all those movies portraying Catholic priests as number-one fighters of evil spirits. Catholic religious imagery pervades exorcist movies, vampire novels and tales of the netherworld gone wrong. In days of old, priestly exorcists combatted the demons which haunted man- and this very day, the Vatican trains exorcists to do battle with things that go bump in the night.

 

3)      The Catecombs.

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Think Christians are squeamish of blood and death? Yeah right… In the Roman Empire when Christians risked gruesome death by crucifixion, burning alive and mauling by wild beasts, Catholics crept out in the dead of night to celebrate the burial of these martyrs. Going forth in dark cover, Catholic Christians gathered at the tombs of their dead to hold votive Masses. They anointed and dressed the bodies then held communion atop the very tomb in which they were buried. Catholics were the first to bring picnics to graveyards and they weren’t afraid. Their oral traditions, passed down grisly pictures of saints being beheaded, deacons grilled alive and apostles that were skinned like rabbits. To this day, the Roman catacombs stand as testament that Catholics do not fear death and in fact, celebrate in its midst.

 

4)      Black Mass.

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Characteristic of the gothic look is black garb. Black is the color of defiance. In defiance of death, which claims all men, devout Catholics gather for All Soul’s Mass. Candles pierce the dark in remembrance of life so easily snuffed-out and a priest in black vestments leads a most-solemn Mass. Like a good mother, Mother Church mourns her dead sons and daughters. She does so not in hiding, not with shallow joy that tries to forget, but in blackness amidst the strains of heady chant. No one on earth can listen to the chant “Dies Irae”- whether by monks or Mozart- and not ponder death’s grim finality, the dust in which we all must lay.

 

5)      Gargoyles.

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Who doesn’t love those cute monsters with twisted faces and grey features? Truly, the hideous gargoyle was a staple of Medieval, Catholic architecture. Some say the artists carved them to relieve boredom, others that they were only waterspouts. Nonetheless, the stony gargoyles with their toothy grins, bat-like wings and bulbous eyes served as reminders for the demons who remained outside the church’s sacred space. At best, they were dark, angelic protectors of the sanctuary. Either way, these draconic figures haunted cathedral portals, hallways and sanctuaries, threatening to do untold things to irreverent passerby.

 

6)      Trick or Treat.

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For Catholics, life doesn’t end with death. After  this remains either heaven or hell. While hell is a horrible, dark place, most Catholics depend on Christ’s mercy to get them to the heavenly realm. Needless to say, this mercy was bought by blood, pain and death. Yet, the Christian’s last word is not about blood, pain and death but a tremendous feast held in heaven. “You shall eat and drink in the Kingdom of heaven” Christ promises. Catholics fully believe this. Having survived the trials, temptations and evils of this world, they prepare to enter the next. All Hallows Eve is all about honoring the dead- and feasting. This is why you sometimes see food and wine left at graves. Heaven is the destination of the dead, the place of final rest and so they, at last, partake in the joy of the blessed!

In my little Catholic world, the only types of liturgy I hear about are the Ordinary Form (or Novus Ordo) and the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine Mass). I have gone to both and assessed the pros and cons of each. Needless to say, though I strongly praise and advocate the Tridentine Mass, I’m a person who believes in the Ordinary Form, that if done correctly, reverently and with use of Latin and chant, that it can altogether rock. In my current location however, the parish Mass is subject to corny hymns, improvisations, omissions and the dreaded laundry-list of announcements before the dismissal.  Going to parish after parish in my region, I found nearly identical issues. Without relief, I sighed in my Babylonian exile and longed for the green pastures of beauty, mystery and liturgical heaven on earth.

Facebook is nifty for meeting random people who share the same obscure interests as you do. During a venture, searching out a Latin Mass that wasn’t a gazillion miles away, I met a guy from the same area who knew about a neat, little church, of the Anglican Ordinariate, located in Orlando. For those who don’t know, the Anglican Ordinariate is basically composed of former Anglicans who’ve had enough funny stuff and re-entered into full communion with Rome. Hallelujah! That’s awesome enough, right?

We met up (after I made sure he wasn’t a Nigerian prince trying to get my credit-card number), combined gas monies and embarked on our way. I’d never been to an Anglican-Use Mass before and didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that they used “high-English”, so in a Homer Simpson moment, my mind envisioned some frilly-collared priest reciting Shakespeare…

Incarnation Catholic Church is rather small, with brick walls and a red, painted door. It sits on green grass beside a school and playground. Inside is old architecture, exposed wood rafters, a communion rail and tall wooden, high-altar standing against luscious stained-glass. First catching my eye was the image of Mary knelt down, holding baby Christ in her arms, a bright, evening star above and these words below: “Lumen de Lumine.” -“Light of Light”. Then the tabernacle greeted me, restfully gleaming from its place behind the altar- as if Our Lord was quietly whispering, “Welcome to My house.” I automatically knew this was going to be an awesome church. The priest said Mass, all spoken and without hymns because daily Masses here, as in the Latin Rite, are low-key. When the moment of consecration took place, the priest turned towards the altar and all the stained glass, beseeching God. He lifted the host and chalice high, beneath the light of that glassy, evening star. After receiving communion, silently kneeling at the rail, in rapt contemplation, I knew I would return.

There is no pretention in the Anglican-Use Mass. English elegance and simplicity combine well with Latin mystique and splendor. In Chicago, we would say they’re “keepin it real.” Kind of like that quaint taco-stand on the South Side, crafted with perfection: you know Jose was born in America but he serves it “autentico”. There’s a world of difference between the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and street-food but sometimes, we must use earthly things to describe that which is heavenly.  One can tell from the air of solemnity, you’re there to ponder divine things. The words are lofty, wrought with “thee’s” and “thou’s” enough to make a KJV-only Baptist jealous. Truly, the prayers are poetry raised heaven-ward. Latin-Mass lovers would find themselves home at an Anglican-Use liturgy, not because of Latin (although that varies- the second Mass I attended there had the consecration and last Gospel in Latin) but because that old-world fear of God is present, a tangible encounter with something bigger and older than yourself.

I encourage people who are interested in more traditional liturgy or maybe just something different to check this out. Maybe you are like me, loving the Ordinary Form but lamenting over its execution in the local parishes, looking to jar your earthly senses into heaven? Maybe you’re an Anglican who’s searching for something more consistent, ancient and unified? You may even be a Tridentine-Mass only person who’s temporarily trapped in Central Florida, feeling misunderstood because you miss kneeling and pretty vestments. Maybe you are craving a quiet retreat? If so, Incarnation Catholic Church in College Park, Orlando might be just the place for you! Check out their website, visit and ye now come back.

 

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See Incarnation Catholic Church at theparish.org

There is hardly a lesser agony than that which one feels when wrestling with God- hiding from God, fighting with God. When one says “I will only serve on my terms”, it is futile, like kicking against the pricks. Anyone who wrestles with God becomes broken. The will, the intellect and the pride become broken and they must be.

I remember a time during my summer retreat when I wrestled with God. I felt an emptiness like no other. I rubbed myself raw saying “no” to Him for a whole day and only when I said “yes” were the terrible pain and emptiness allayed. Instead , immense peace. The same thing happened in early October when I harbored fears about God calling me to celibacy. Indeed my greatest fear was being “alone” and not having someone and I believed as such, I was entitled to marriage and family- that God shouldn’t take it away. Every-time I said “no” it felt as though I were being stabbed through the heart and when I said “yes”, such peace!

However, it isn’t God who hurts us. We hurt ourselves like a bird beating it’s wings against a screen, trying to get outside. The Lord tells us the way to go, a little to the left, maybe up or down or yes, even backwards. How we human creatures love going our own way! We fight against God’s direction, pound and yell at Him in utter resistance. This causes us such agony!

The agony you are causing yourself can come to an end when you bow down your will and self-love before God and let the Divine Physician come in. A doctor cannot do his work unless a patient lets him and sometimes if there is too much resistance, the soul goes comatose, asleep with anesthesia. Don’t think that God will not allow you to feel as though you’re dying so that He can work. Sometimes we are so stubborn and willful, we will only hear Him in our sleep!

The Master’s words will go unheard unless we stop churning and pounding with rage and be willing to wake from the sleep of sadness. Let Him quiet you in the oceans of distress. Stop and know that God is He who is- and you are he who is not.

The Meaning of Man

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Love is bitter passion,

a crucifixion is love.

No benefice to man arrives without suffering.

Elixirs, useless should not the sweat of doctors fall into them.

Gold, dross should not the fire of a smith sear it.

Verses, naught without the poet’s tears.

Gardens, barren without the winter’s frost.

How is there a wedding without the bridegroom?

How is there a Mass without the Christ?

Oh, it is of blood and Christ that all love sings!

 

Let me sing of the bridegroom and the priest.

One wraps a bed of roses round his heart,

the other round his feet.

One requires an ass to bear his tokens of love,

the other rides an ass unto his love.

The young groom cries: “I shall be one with her!”

The acolyte says: “I shall be one with all!”

The sons of a groom are honor,

sons of a priest are woe

for the Good Lord deigned one to give life

that the other may sanctify it.

 

Adam was a sinner and so are his children.

The groom needs law and the priest, mercy.

Abraham was a patriarch and so, his children.

The groom’s seed yields flesh and the priest lends spirit.

David was king and so will be his children.

The bridegroom rules his house and the priest, his flock.

Zadok was a priest and so are his children.

The bridegroom offers his blood and the priest, his cross.

Isaiah was a prophet and so, his children.

Both bridegroom and priest foreswear vows.

Eve comforted the stricken Adam and so the wife, her husband.

Mary endured the crucified Christ and so the mother of a priest.

How the wife’s marriage-bed is veiled in purpled silk,

the holy altar swaddled in gold.

 

Hear the story of the pelican.

Who, in winter lost, suffers not her children to starve.

Whose breast is pierced that they may drink her blood,

her death-throes giving life.

 

The father is a warrior, bearing the standard of sacrifice.

He is the pelican with bleeding heart.

 

The husband bleeds in his heart,

the priest, from his hands,

The husband suffers old age,

the priest lost souls.

A marriage unconsummated mourns virginity,

the priest consummates and rejoices in virginity.

For Holy Church is a woman of women

while an earthly wife shall never satisfy.

 

The lyre sings sweetly for a lover.

Chant rings out while asleep.

The marriage bed must be left for toil and work,

whereas the altar bears testimony forever.

Death dissolves husband and wife

but the love of Christ for Church is eternal.

 

A husband bleeds in his heart,

the priest, from his hands.

The husband’s cup flows with wine,

it inflames his lust.

The priest’s chalice holds blood,

it destroys his self-will.

This is the way of man, why for God made him.

Unhappy is the man who lives for himself.

Gracious a man who gives his life in sacrifice.

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Sooner or later, every Catholic “goth” chick will pick up devotion to the Mother of Sorrows. Perfect right? While I wrote some poetry about Our Lady at Calvary, weeping over the crucified Christ, early on in my spiritual journey, it wasn’t until recently that a true devotion emerged. If you venture to read my earlier post “The Mother of a Priest” (June/17/2013), you will learn how a friend’s crisis urged me to cling closely to Our Lady, especially in her sufferings. Now, my love can do nothing but continue and grow for Our Lord’s dear mother as she stood by His side- even at the hour of His bloody execution. How tearful and resolute, she watched her priestly son offer sacrifice!

I am not a mother, nor have I ever been, so it wouldn’t be accurate to say I know the feeling of losing a child. Nor can I imagine the torment of it. However, I have seen things and people that I deeply loved be destroyed, get violently taken from me. I have seen close friends and family suffer. I know that feeling, watching, just wishing you could do something…anything- to take their pain away. I know well this powerlessness, this bleeding compassion, such grave heart-ache.  And if there isn’t some kind of suffering right before me, I can imagine it.

I can’t decide which was more agonizing for our Blessed Mother, seeing the cruel torments inflicted on her son or knowing He so passionately loved these tormentors. That same mankind who, blind to grace, lacking love for God and utterly ungrateful, actually took enjoyment at the victim’s suffering. “He has come to save you, to give you eternal life, to heal you, to deliver you from your demons,” she must have thought, “and here you spit and mock him!” Certainly she may have cried unto the crowd: “Yes, your hatred crushes me- yet even moreso His love!”

This was the High Priest of the New Covenant. Mary clad him in the fair vestments of human flesh. Her lullabies were hymns. She offered the first-fruits of her maternity: warmth and milk to His infancy. Patience and wisdom in tender childhood. Rightfully would a priest lament, should his sacred offering be torn from his hands and desecrated or his holy vessel cast upon the ground.  Would he not rend his garments at seeing the temple destroyed? How much more did Mary lament seeing the immaculate Lamb of God stripped, broken, abused and rejected! How sharply she mourned, seeing the precious temple, born from her womb, destroyed! That men crucified His Only Son was such blasphemy that God Almighty rent the skies in two, snuffed out the sun and draped Calvary in darkness.

Mary spent her whole life preparing that offering, dressing him in garments of virtue, perfuming him with goodly faithfulness. Yet surely, did she know?

Yes, she reckoned the words of Simeon: “This child is set for the fall, as a sign of contradiction and a sword your own heart shall pierce.” She knew it, expected the day, the hour when her dearest son would appear as Messiah- and subsequently fall to dismay. Yet nothing could prepare for the flowing blood, the wounds and tears more bitter than gall. Her pondering heart could not bear the sentence, the scourging, the crown of spines pressed down, the rough, wooden cross and the cold nails. Thus, like Abel, she surrendered her choicest lamb to the cruel altar. Here, commenced the world’s most heart-wrenching liturgy. When Jesus cried out “My God, why hast thou forsaken,” Mary remembered the angel’s greeting “The Lord is with thee.” When her precious son, at last, bowed His head and said “Consummatum est”, she raised her arms, having given everything, and answered: “Fiat.”

But the most beautiful thing about Mary’s sorrow was that it came with true victory. No temporary grief over some earthly loss, her tears conquered evil; they erased the sinful pride of Eve and consecrated womanhood forever. They also consecrated manhood- for at Calvary, Mary showed herself mother to all who would call themselves disciples of Christ. Given the good water of such perfect tears, the bloody cross became a tree of life. At this altar, John the Beloved, made the first act of ministerial priesthood. Taking Jesus’s dead, broken body from the gruesome wood, he laid it like a precious host in Mary’s hands.  There, she also showed herself the mother of all priests.

Words cannot describe what an epic mother Mary was. It is with good reason that Scripture describes in few words her espousal to God. Her betrothal sealed in tears and blood; she emerges as the joyful daughter of Zion, the desired beauty of ages. Christ wore a ring of thorns and she, the wedding-band of blackest sorrow. In a heavenly place no longer sorrowful, Mary still desires we recall and venerate her sorrow, offered alongside the Savior’s passion. The poor, virgin-girl from Nazareth has left us with a resounding declaration that all human weakness can be sanctified, united to His suffering. Her example gives strength to Christians everywhere.

By her great pain, Mary stood as advocate of those in pain, bringing forth her Son’s healing balm. By wretchedness, Mary became a refuge of sinners; ever-beseeching executioners lay down their wicked instruments and turn to God. She cleansed Calvary’s hill with tears, saying to the dust: “From this garden, man will be created again.”

A warrior in her feminine way, Mary Most-Sorrowful drew that sword from her own heart and handed it to Christ so He may at last slay the Serpent! How the black rosebud, bowing her head, bloomed forth the white lily! Weeping, did Mother Mary bury her most-precious wheat and rejoicing, she carried back the Easter sheave.

 

So heartily, I end:

Virgin Most-Sorrowful,

Remove from us the dark veil of sin

so we may greet your Son’s dawning light.

O Widow Un-widowed,

Keep vigil when we lack strength.

Mother of Mercy,

Hold your silver lamp against the night.

O Moon,

Shine upon our graves, guide in death’s grim hour

and hush the avenging angel.

Mother Most-Sorrowful,

Black Rose of Calvary,

pray for us.

Crucifixion with sun and moon.

Crucifixion with sun and moon.

 

You believe in the God who created the heavens and the earth. So let us remember that when He had created all things, He declared them to be “good.” Let us remember Our God, who after He created man and woman, declared them to be : “Very good.” Why very good? The universe, the earth, sea, beasts and birds, they were good. The sun and moon, night and day, they were good. But man, he was pronounced “very good.” Stooping down, God then crafted the jewel of His creation: the woman. He made her man’s helpmate, his spouse, mother, sister and daughter. Then truly, did God say “It is very good”!

The man was made like the sun at day, providing by his guiding light and strength, creating life in his rays or subjecting it to burning heat. No corn gives ears without the sun nor do trees put forth their roots. Yet the sun is charged to rule half the day and the moon rules the other. Thus, woman is made like the moon, cradling life in her silver beacon, nurturing, killing nothing. Lilies do not bloom without the moon nor does corn lay down its seed. Without the moon, seas cannot rise and feed the earth. See how both sun and moon are needed and not one has greater importance than the other? The same with man and woman!

What if the moon decided she should be like the sun? Should she try to rule the day, giving light and burning rays? What if she busied herself with furrows instead of the sea? Would not everything die? With great reason did God give half the day to the sun and half to the moon for if only sun, the earth would bake and wither and if only moon, growth would cease and the seas flood.

Remember that God fashioned man like the sun and woman like the moon. Therefore each holds partial rule. Adam was given Kingship and Eve was made Queen. In the King is creation, justice, force and command. In the Queen is nutrition, mercy, reason and intercession. One does not take place of the other. Or is God’s work deficient in some way?  Maybe you admit this scheme of things… but still you claim that such was the old world and in the new world, Christ sees no difference between man and woman and in their terms of service. Let me instruct you…

When Saint Paul says in his letter “There is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, man or woman…” he means their station before God. No longer does the Jew stand greater chance of salvation or the freeman or the man. All are free to partake in Christ’s Passover, in His new life and in His salvation. Things of status or cleanliness do not matter anymore but one’s purity of heart and perseverance in faith. Moreso, all can take the Holy Eucharist- provided they are free from grave sin.

In the heavenly liturgy, just as in Eden, there is surely distinction. While both Adam and Eve join in hymns to God, Adam must give the offering. Recall how the fathers offer sacrifice- not the mothers. Though the mother prepares the table and candles, she touches not the Paschal lamb. Thus why the risen Christ says to Mary “Touch me not” and to Thomas, “Put your hand into my side.”

Maybe you still say, “Look how women were superior disciples of Christ.” This, I concede to you. Besides John the Beloved, Our Lord had no more loyal friends than Mary Magdalene and Mary, his mother. Indeed the Samaritan woman posessed greater faith than Thomas who claimed he would die with the Lord. Martha had more charity than Philip who said the thousand could not be fed. If anyone should have been charged with offering Christ’s Eucharist, it should have been Mary, his mother of matchless faith. Yet, he did not take her into the Upper-room.

Being an apostle doesn’t make one more holy. We see the example of Judas who betrayed and Peter who fled. Women were charged with spreading Christ’s words and deeds, asked to witness miracles, give prayer and sanctify their households. They were not told “Do this in memory of me.”

From Genesis to Revelation, men are chosen to stand in the person of God. In the Old Covenant; fathers of great dynasties gave mediation and in the New; chaste eunuchs. Women have always stood by man’s side, at the foot of the cross, at the side of the altar, offering goodly prayers, their undying devotion and sanctity.

Keep in mind that a bishop, no matter how holy he may be, can never offer motherhood to God. He can never offer a womb or a fairness like the moon. He lacks the jewel of creation, which is to be a mother, daughter and sister. Man stands in the person of Christ but woman, she spreads her arms in the venerable person of Mary. Christ was the Lamb of God but Mary was the Ewe. Man offers sacrifice but woman offers her glory which reflects like moonlight, a glory never to be stolen away or diminished.

 

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