Our Priest in his homily referred to the Angels as "reflections of God" and made the comparison to the facets of a diamond; God being the diamond, and the angels his facets. Does this sound right?
No, it does not. Angels do reflect God's glory, as do all creatures to some degree. But angels are creatures, distinct from God, they are not a part (or facet) of God.
Some sympathy for the preacher may be in order however. Sometimes analogies go wrong in live preaching. I suspect what Father meant to say was that angels reflect God's glory in different ways. The Seraphim are the "burning ones" before the Throne of God manifesting God's fiery glory and love, the Cherubim manifest God's glory and will toward creation, and so forth.
I rather doubt Father thinks of angels as part of God. I think his analogy slipped or morphed and that by facets he does not mean to imply the angels are of the same substance as God, but rather, that they reflect his glory differently as facets or a gemstone reflect different qualities.
If no soul may see God unless it has been purified which is why we must go to Purgatory before Heaven; and if Purgatory ends on Judgment Day, what happens to the souls of the people who are still alive on Judgment Day? How are their souls purified?
Actually, we don't know if purgatory ends on Judgment Day. It could, arguably, continue for some "time" thereafter. Then again, maybe not, perhaps the Last Judgment ushers in a quick searing purification and purgatory passes away with the current heavens and earth.
But perhaps a more fundamental "answer" to your question is to say that there are just some things we don't know. Good Theology must recognize its limits, being content to accept that there are many things God has not revealed. And even in those things He has revealed, we must humbly admit that the mysteries about God and creation have depths beyond our capacity to fully comprehend.
Why was the acclamation "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" eliminated from the new Roman Missal? It went from being the most popular of the memorial acclamations to becoming non-existent.
The acclamation you cite was a loose translation of the first acclamation Mortem tuam annuntiamus Domine.... Which is now rendered more faithfully as, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.”
There were some requests to retain the "Christ has died" version since it was so familiar, but those requests were not heeded.
The essential problem with that rendering of the acclamation was that it addressed Christ in the third person, speaking about him as if he were not present. All the memorial acclamations speak directly to Christ in the grammatical second person "You" for he is present on the altar, after the consecration, e.g. “We proclaim YOUR death, O Lord ... Save us savior of the world, for by YOUR death ... etc. Hence the acclamations speak directly to Jesus, not about him.
The old familiar acclamation Christ has died...could not withstand this critique and was dropped. Of itself it is a valid acclamation, and can be used in songs, or in other settings, but it is not suited to the moment just following the consecration when the faithful are invited to speak TO Christ in the grammatical second person "you," for He is present.
It all started more than 67 years ago with Luigi Gedda, an Italian Catholic doctor, political activist, and influential lay leader. In a Marian Year, Gedda, then president of the association Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action), convinced his friend Pope Pius XII to recite the midday Angelus publicly from the window of his private study.
So, on Aug. 15, 1954, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Pius XII addressed Catholics in Rome and around the world over Vatican Radio, inviting them to join him “in the pious greeting to the Mother of God.”
This was the beginning of a papal custom that takes place every Sunday and Marian solemnity, when the pope appears at the window of his library in the Apostolic Palace at noon to lead the faithful gathered below in St. Peter’s Square in praying the Angelus in Latin.
The Angelus has its roots in a medieval practice of praying the Hail Mary three times in a row, as recommended by St. Anthony of Padua. In the 1200s, a group of Franciscans proposed that the practice be done in the evening after praying Compline (Night Prayer), as a way of meditating on the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation. A bell would be rung to remind the friars and others that it was time to pray the Hail Marys. Over the centuries, the three Hail Marys began to be prayed also in the morning and at midday.
Today, the prayer also includes words from the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God, and a closing prayer. Evidence of the modern iteration is found as early as the 1500s, in a book called the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was printed in Rome during the reign of Pope Pius V, and a handbook for Catholics published in Antwerp in 1588.
At the Vatican, many offices have the custom of pausing work every day to pray the Angelus together at noon.
During the Easter season, the Angelus is replaced with the Regina Coeli (“O Queen of Heaven”), a Marian antiphon prayed or sung during Easter.
Over the years, popes have used the moment before the recitation of the Marian prayer to give a short catechesis, message, or appeal.
Pope Francis does not visit the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, located outside Rome, but the popes who did would recite the Angelus from the palace during their period of rest.
At certain points during the COVID-19 pandemic, to avoid crowds of people gathering in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said the prayer via live video from inside his study.
The Angelus is broadcast live around the world and streamed on the internet. The bells of St. Peter’s Basilica always ring at noon, right before the pope appears at the palace window for this custom honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Original sin is based on the belief that Adam and Eve are the parents of all mankind. Where and when did they live?
The nature of your question asks the Genesis account to be what it really is not, namely, a scientific and strictly historical account of creation. It proposes to be neither of these. Rather it is more of a poetical account of God’s creative act.
Hence the chronological dating of Adam and Eve to, say, 6,000 BC, based on Genesis is not possible.
The account does seem to locate the Garden in Mesopotamia, but here too we need not presume this is meant as a precise map but could be more allegorical.
What we must hold is that God created everything out of nothing and guided all the stages of creation, even unto this day. Catholic teaching does prefer to see Adam and Eve as directly created by God and as actual, historical persons.
The Old Testament mentions that many Patriarchs had numerous wives. The Lord says to David via Nathan: I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms (2 Sam 12:8). How are we to understand polygamy and when did God forbid it?
When God first established marriage, it is clear that his vision was that: a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Hence there is one man, with one wife, and the two are stably united by “clinging” to one another as the text says. Hence divorce and multiple wives were not part of God’s design of marriage.
However, on account of human sinfulness, and out of fear that men would kill their wives to be free to marry another, Moses allowed divorce. It is also clear that the customs of the Ancient Near East also infected Israel’s notion of marriage and that many, at least wealthier men and patriarchs, did often take more than one wife. Thus we see that sin corrupted what God intended and that, for a time, God overlooked this sinful behavior.
However, we ought not equate the mere reporting of sinful behavior with approval of it. For, while the polygamy of the Patriarchs is reported, so is all the trouble it caused wherein brothers of different mothers contended and even killed one another. For example, there are terrible stories told of the sons of Gideon, and also the sons of Jacob, to mention but two. The well-known story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers emerges from the internecine conflicts of brothers of different mothers. Hence while reporting polygamy, the Bible also teaches of the evil it brings forth.
Gradually God led the ancient Jews from approving of polygamy such that, by the time of Jesus, it was rare. As for divorce, Jesus sets it aside by teaching the people at that time although Moses allowed divorce due to their hard hearts, it was not this way at the beginning and it was now time to return to God’s original plan (cf Matt 19:4, 8) and that we should not separate what God has joined.
As for Nathan saying that God gave David his many wives, this can be understood as the ancient tendency to stress God as the primary cause of all things. It does not necessary mean that God actively wanted and approved of polygamy, only that he is the first cause of everything that exists and happens.
As the days of Holy Week move forward, various events occur that directly lead to what will take place on Good Friday. Among these events was the fateful betrayal of Jesus by one of his own disciples.
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)
This action by Judas earned him the title of “spy” by medieval Christians, in accord with the traditional definition of the English word, “one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information.”
From Wednesday onward, Judas secretly watched for a chance to turn Jesus over to the chief priests, and so many Christians labeled this day as “Spy Wednesday.”
In the same vein various cultures reflected the somber mood of this day by calling it “Black Wednesday” or “Wednesday of Shadows,” which also corresponds to the liturgical rite of Tenebrae that is celebrated on this day.
It is also called “Silent Wednesday,” as the Gospels do not record any activities in the life of Jesus. The only event is the secret meeting of Judas with the chief priests.
Wednesday’s events usher in the final days of Jesus’ life on earth and directly lead to the sacrifice of Jesus on Good Friday.
No priest or Deacon could be at the burial of my husband at a National Military Cemetery, though he did have a Catholic Funeral Mass. Should the grave be blessed?
The priest or deacon at the burial should bless the gravesite. If for some reason this did not happen, it can be done at a later time. Hence, it may be good for you to ask a priest or deacon to come and pray the prayer of blessing with holy water.
This is especially the case in non-Catholic cemeteries and military cemeteries. In Catholic cemeteries the bishop has already generally consecrated the ground. But in non-Catholic settings this is not the case.
Be assured, that the grave was not blessed, in no way affects your husband’s status with God. But it is our Catholic custom that burial sites should be blessed.
A related pastoral problem is that many cemeteries, especially national cemeteries, make it increasingly difficult for us to fulfill this custom. For it is often the case that people are not able to go to the actual gravesite, but are moved off to a separate chapel or pagoda somewhere nearby. This makes it difficult for the clergy to know where the gravesite is, and bless it. Perhaps the National Conference of Bishops can most effectively address this problem since it is a national trend.
At the local nursing home, a religious Sister, wearing a traditional full habit, conducts a communion service. During communion the non-Catholics are also brought forward and she traces the cross on their forehead and says God bless you. Is this allowed?
The conferral of a blessing, even with the sign of the cross, is not forbidden to the non-ordained in all circumstances. For example, parents should be encouraged to bless their children, even trace the cross on their forehead. In some settings and cultures, elders often bless youngsters. Laypeople even bless themselves whenever they make the sign of the cross.
However, in the liturgical setting you describe, some parameters should be observed. The moment of the distribution of Holy Communion, at a Mass or communion service, is not really the moment for people to seek other sorts of blessings. In a Mass, the priest will surely give the general blessing at the end of the liturgy with the sign of the cross over the whole congregation. Hence, all those present will in fact receive a blessing.
There are however pastoral concerns of how best to deal with a practice that has become widespread, and is not done in bad faith. Frankly, most pastors overlook the practice and when requested, confer blessings in the communion line. Even if they do dissuade their parishioners from the practice, many visitors still often come forward requesting blessings. Thus, the matter may better be resolved at the diocesan or national level.
While the situation you describe is wrong, Sister is probably trying to make the best of a difficult situation wherein people expect such blessings, even if they are not Catholic. Finding a teachable moment to gently instruct the faithful is not always easy given the presence of many visitors.
Nevertheless, the goal to move toward is to teach that the distribution of Holy Communion is not really the time to seek other blessings. An additional confusion is created when, though priests and deacons are present at Masses, laypeople at other communion stations are often giving out what appear to be priestly blessings. Finding a gentle way to clear up the confusion becomes increasingly important.
Why does the modern Church not have deaconesses? (Scripture and some of the Fathers mention them.) It seems they would fill a void, given the shortage of priests.
The references to deaconesses in the early Church are complicated, and much debated. St. Paul does speak of certain women as having a ministry of service. And, in his discussion about deacons, in 1 Timothy 3:11, Paul does say, “The women too…. “
But what he means here is unclear. Does it mean that women were ordained deacons? Or, is he referring to the wives of deacons? And even if they were deaconesses, did they receive the ministry by the laying on of hands? It seems not. Though Acts 6:6 mentions the first deacons having hands laid on them, there is no reference to this in terms of the women.
In the Greek text of the New Testament, the word diakonia can refer to the office of deacon (diakoni), or more generically to a ministry (diakonia = ministry) of service.
Some speculate that an essential task of deaconesses was to attend the baptism of women, since baptisms were conducted dis-robed. For modesty’s sake women conducted the baptisms of women.
At the end of the day however we are left with a great deal of speculation, if we simply examine the scriptural text. But, we do not simply attend to the Scriptural text. We also look also to the practice of the early Church. And regarding this, there is no evidence, that the clerical office of deacon was ever conferred on women by the laying on of hands.
There is little doubt that women can and do serve in many capacities in the Church today. It is true that women can provide great service (diakonia) to the Church. But it does not follow that they must be ordained to the clerical state of deacon to do so.
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