Monday, September 26, 2011

The Revisions of the Mass

As most of you know on the first Sunday of Advent, in November, we in the English speaking world will begin to have a little different Mass experience than what we have lived.  Many of the words spoken over the last forty-something years will change.  They will actually be much closer to the words spoken by those before that time, only in English. 

Robert and I will be presenting some of the new responses expected of the laity to our 10th grade Faith Formation class.  We thought sharing the information with whomever wanted to read it here might be helpful.  The lessons are a blending of information from three different sources: Magnificat Roman Missal Companion, Dr. Edward Sri's CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media entitled "A Walk Through the New Mass Translation" and Jimmy Akin's book Mass Revision; How the Liturgy is Changing and What It Means for You.

Each week we will be covering a little at a time up until just before Advent begins.  The lessons are written for 10th grade students so enjoy the ease of understanding.  We hope this helps you as the reader to be excited about entering into Mass at a deeper level.  That opportunity is exactly what the new translation offers. 

Week 1
Reasons for the Change

1)  Latin is the language of the Church. The new translation is a more accurate translation of the original Latin and therefore brings us closer to the heart of the Church.  It also brings us into a closer unity with Catholics around the world because we will now be speaking and praying what they have been speaking and praying all along. The original English translation after Vatican II aimed at more of a spirit of the Latin rather than a literal translation. This new translation brings us closer to the words originally spoken before Vatican II, only in English.


2) The new translation will give us a deeper, richer meaning to the words spoken in the Mass.  In the first English translation we lost some of the adjectives that were written in the Latin for a purpose.  This lends a more heartfelt response when our response is complete.  It turns our family picnic into a heavenly banquet.  (Not to say the Mass was done incorrectly before, only to say now we will experience a deeper, richer flavor.) 

3) The new translation, like the Latin before, refers to Scripture in many ways.  Many of those references had disappeared.  Example:  We currently use the words before leaving our pews to receive the Eucharist, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed."  The new response, which is the correct translation of the original Latin, will be, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."  I won't explain this here because we will dive in deeper on a later date, but in using it as an example of Scripture, we find this in Matthew 8:8 when the Roman Centurion asked Christ to heal his sick servant.  There are other places where our response leads us back to Scripture and we'll see those in the upcoming posts. 

4)  One more reason for change is simply the correction of inaccurate translation altogether, words left out or added that were not in the original Latin.  Example:  In the Nicene Creed we currently say "We believe."  The Latin is credo.  The literal translation of that word is "I believe."  I used this as an example in our class which is about half Hispanic and half Anglo.  I asked some of the Hispanic students how we begin The Creed.  One girl said I only know it in Spanish.  I told her that was fine and asked how it is said.  She told us it begins, "creo", which is the Spanish word for "I believe."  I looked at Robert and said, "It was even translated correctly in Spanish."  This is another example of one of the changes we'll be making and we'll discuss it in a later post. 

This is not an exhaustive list of the reasons why our missal is changing, but the more obvious and useful to a class of 10th grade students. 

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.  It would be great to have discussions about this wonderful change in our Mass that will only bring us closer to Christ in the Eucharist and to his flock, the Church.

God's blessings!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Catholicism and Bodybuilding: Friends or Foes?

"The Church, without any doubt whatever, approves of physical culture, if it be in proper proportion" Pope Pius XII

The current culture of bodybuilding and hyper-fitness is ravaged by narcissism and egos big enough to pay back our nation's debt. Part of the problem of the current culture is that it decided to choose the incorrect ideologies for the sport at its beginnings. Many faith-filled people on the outside looking in would write off the sport entirely, something i can't say that I would fault them for. But the sport and the heart of the lifestyle does have good within it. Many bodybuilders, Mike Mentzer for example, have endeavored to bring philosophy, reason and intelligence into the sport but the mainstream bodybuilding media saw him and most like him as a kook. Bodybuilding in its truest and purest form is about beauty and discipline. Beauty of the body and and discipline of the will. As creatures of God we are meant to realize our full human potential. We have a vast array of talents and abilities that our loving Creator infused into us, reasoning, logic, sympathizing, and (by far the most important) holiness, are all given to us as goals to be achieved in order to become more and more worthy of heaven. Physical fitness and health are also God-given and therefore meant to help us get to heaven.

I think first I need to explain what kind of bodybuilding I am speaking of. The freakish bodybuilders of today do not exhibit the beauty of the body. Grace, athleticism, and proper proportion have all but left the current Mr. Universe competitions or most any other bodybuilding competitions. What was meant to portray the human body at its physical peak has become the slanderous and outrageous need for more size, most of the time at the expense of actual health. While I am not for the displaying of male or female bodies for people to gawk at, reaching your physical pinnacle is a beautiful and wonderful thing. The sport of bodybuilding has taken a very ugly turn to the immodest. When I speak of bodybuilding please do not think that the current ogres of the fitness world define the true heart of the sport, the philosophy behind the mud is golden. The ancient Greeks as well as the great artists like Michelangelo had a much better understanding of the role of human physical beauty and the need to try for the best.
“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates

In all things we are meant to strive to be the absolute best we can be. Knowledge of truth, love of God, and love of neighbor are not only supposed to be the desires of our hearts we were made to strive for perfection in all of these divine and beautiful things. And such it is with the body, we are meant to want to be beautiful or handsome. The true philosophy and heart of what bodybuilding is has nothing to do with men in Speedos chock full of injected testosterone and human growth hormone. What real bodybuilding is about is the striving for perfection. Being that we are all made up of a mind, a soul, and a body, and true balance derives from the continual up-reach towards heaven of all three, our bodies must be on that celestial ladder just as much as our minds and souls should be. Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen once said, 'Peace is not a passive, but an active virtue.' Our bodies will never have peace unless we are actively pursuing the peace we crave which will only come about when we have full control of our passions and a healthy and active exercising life can help us achieve that temperance. "For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body"- Ephesians 5:29

There are numerous stories of young men that were living a life of debauchery and crime and through the lifestyle of bodybuilding were able to get out of the rut that their sins had placed them in. "The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back." - Henry Rollins (Former Competitive Bodybuilder) If we as Catholics were able to harness that ability of weight lifting to help young men and women to continually strive for a life of perfection, not only in their bodies, but in their souls and minds, we could have a generation of balanced and value-hearted individuals. We should never idolize physical perfection but, "I think the time is right for a "theology of bodybuilding" as well: for greater appreciation and deeper understanding of the body's capacity for strength, endurance, and robust fitness, to serve as a dynamo of charity toward our neighbor and for the greater glory of God." - Dr. Kevin Vost, Fit for Eternal Life. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati's motto, 'Verso l'alto' meaning 'to the top' applied not only to be able to climb mountains but to strive for Christian perfection in all things should be the motto for anyone wanting to try out bodybuilding.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lover/Fighter: Opposite Ends, Same Man

The old saying, 'I'm a lover not a fighter' tells me two things of the person who said it. First, the man who dares to say such a thing has no idea what love is, you cannot be a lover without being a fighter. Secondly, it says to me that the man cannot be trusted, because he doesn't even have the sand to let someone know that he will protect and sacrifice for the woman who possesses his heart. Men seem to hear a word like love and do one of two things, they either stray away or embrace the incorrect ideology of love. Masculine love is portrayed today by the dimwits that disgrace the big screen. Men so 'in touch with their feminine side' that if another man was to cross the line of respect owed to his love, his first reaction is to blame the woman. Whatever happened to showing your affection to your wife by letting other men know that she is yours and anyone who dares to treat her with disrespect would have to answer to you. A real man knows that he must fight and eventually die (die to self) for the love of his life. Jesus fought and died for His bride, The Church, and has given us men the ultimate example of a lover and a fighter, same man different temperaments.

Men should never be afraid to woo their wives and show them the love and affection that they deserve as the fairer and more beautiful of God's creation. Nor should he be afraid to be called to arms for her honor. Men have two sides of the same coin, depending on the situation will depend on whether he says, "Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night" (Romeo and Juliet) or 'Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue; And shield thee, and save thee, or perish there too' (Thomas Moore, Irish Melodies) A woman wants a man to fight for her, and every man wants a woman to fight for. A committed, long-lasting relationship requires the fighting spirit; selflessness, focus, and keeping the love alive during hard times are difficult endeavors, but attainable with the right frame of mind. True love does not consist in pleasure seeking or that 'feeling' you get in the pit of your stomach, true love is sacrificial and role fulfilling. Jason Evert put it this way in his book 'Pure Manhood'-'If I don't suffer for her sake, she will suffer for mine. If a man says he loves a woman, but has no desire to protect her body or soul, then his "love" is only for pleasure.'

Historically men were expected to show a certain amount of honor to a woman before he could even court her. In the days of knights and chivalry if a man was to commit any dishonorable act towards a woman he was banished from the town. In the days of the duels men used to fight until injury or death for the heart of a woman. In the little towns of Europe up until the 1920's the entire family of the girl would go on the first several dates with the couple. Even up to the 1950's in 'Beaver Clever America' a boy wouldn't dream of approaching a woman before asking her father first. But in our very confused and 'lack of honor' days we have no clue what it means to court a woman or to treat her with respect.The attitude of 'can't we all just get along' has ruined the true fighting spirit of entire generations.Young men grow up as sexual deviants prowling after and misusing the very thing that makes women so wonderfully made. The fighting spirit for a woman's heart has become the fighting spirit for a one night stand. If men desire to fight for honor and a life worth living, they do so by fighting for the love of a woman worth fighting for. The fight I speak of has nothing to do with the material world, although if it does a man must be ready to take a stand, the fight I am speaking of is the fight for self-discipline and virtue.

The bombardment of pornography and contraception has caused men to lose their fighting hearts, these self-effacing evils lead a man to think not with his soul, but with his lower and more animalistic nature. Evils like contraception and abortion are the pinnacle example of cowardice among men. Telling your wife that you love her but not enough to keep her safe from harm or to have children with her should be looked upon as the ultimate dishonor for a man. Men are meant to fight for their wives souls, and to force or coerce them into immorality because of your own selfishness is like letting Satan himself into your home. Our wives give us married men purpose and vision, so I ask you gentlemen, would you fight, would you die for your wife? 'Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.' Ephesians 6:13