Mary, my Mother: Mother of the Church

The Mother of God of Tenderness

How strange to think that man who is far estranged from our creator is instructed by our Lord to address the Creator God as Father or Abba (affectionate name like daddy). It is a revelation that was only hinted at in the Old Testament:

Do you thus repay the Lord,
    O foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your
father, who created you,
    who made you and established you? __ Deuteronomy 32:6

But our Lord, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Son of God has bid us pray, Our Father Who art in Heaven . . .

Until that time we were as orphans in the spiritual realm. Just one thing among all the things that were created by His mighty hand. That he had a special plan and special love for man we knew and yet knew not why: for he had promised a savior and had given us His Law through Moses to make us aware of what the nature of sin was and how easily we fall prey to its lure when we use nothing but our free will and our rational minds. Guilty of sin we awaited this Messiah to rescue us from the sin we were accused of by the Law of Moses.

By God’s Grace we were sent a Savior Who bore to us the message that we were meant to be other sons of God by adoption and that He was all too ready to suffer and die an ignominious death to atone for our every sin. That we could die to our sins and be raised up to life with Him and be with our Lord and Savior, likened as brothers and sisters in the spiritual world was the promise of the Grace contained in His new invitation to be Baptized into this Heavenly family. By what good and meritorious work did we deserve such attention and such a loving invitation?

For God loved us without reservation and had made us in His image and likeness and by this love and care has given us the gift of Human Dignity that no man and no society can ever strip from us. That our own Lord would become incarnate of a created woman and take to Himself the fullness of our human nature together with His Divine Nature is both an honor and a frightening condemnation of how sinfully we have besmirched and sullied our nature: especially after receiving this verification of the dignity and magnitude of what our humanity was meant to be and to what end God has made us. He made us for Himself, just as sure as our natural parents had made us for themselves. And His unconditional Love is superior to the best father and mother that we might encounter in the natural world. A burden of love has been thrust on our shoulders and the depth of the Commandment in the Old Law to love, honor and obey our fathers and mothers is but a shadow of what is commanded of us in relation to the True Father and Mother. To love them as did Christ, our Eldest Brother in everything but sin, is our challenge and our duty as sons and daughters of God.

So when Christ, from the agony of the Cross, gives His mother Mary to John, who was the only Apostle present to represent the Church, and likewise announces that John, and thereby the Church, is now a son of Mary, our orphaned souls have been adopted in entirety. We have a heavenly family and are no longer simply members of a human family on earth. We have the spirit of adoption into the Supernatural world and Divine Family that endures forever: God our Father, Mary our Mother, Christ our Brother and Savior and their abiding Love of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. Where Satan is present as our accuser, the Holy Spirit is there to oppose Him and Christ is there to intercede on our behalf. And our Mother has a superabundance of a natural mother’s love. She is an advocate for us that begs with Christ to intercede on our behalf and to plead Her Son’s Sacrifice to the Father.

Once we were natural beings with natural parents and brothers and sisters. Now our souls, that were abandoned as orphans, are beckoned to a Holy Family that wishes to adopt our souls into communion with the Communion of Saints and with the Triune God. Together with them we reach the potential that God had intended and we consummate the love that God had for us from all time.

Barnhardt on Why Priests Must Be Men

WHY PRIESTS MUST BE MEN PART 1 OF 3
POSTED BY ANN BARNHARDT – JANUARY 19, AD 2013 11:21 PM MST
I was planning for this to be the last essay I ever wrote, and since we’re into “any day now” territory, and since I’ve had just about enough of these lesbian pagan witch nuns and their “female ordination” horse diarrhea, I’m dropping the bomb. And yes, it’s a bomb. I’ve delayed on writing this particular essay because it is really, really hardcore. Very, very advanced stuff. At least it is today. Five hundred years ago it was probably common knowledge, but today I don’t think there are very many people who understand this concept. I explained it to a traddy-inclined seminarian recently, and even he didn’t know. And, all of the essays I see around the blogosphere being written about “female ordination” (there’s no such thing) never get anywhere near this concept, instead relying almost exclusively on the “Our Lord only ordained men in the Upper Room” argument, which is true, but it is lacking. WHY did Our Lord only ordain men? A two year old sees the need for that corollary to be answered. You can’t just leave it hanging. WHY is the ordained priesthood, now and forever, exclusive to men?Not only does this question have an answer, it is an incredibly beautiful answer that needs to be shouted from the mountaintops in this time like never, ever before. The answer involves the concepts of gender, marriage and sexuality; the very areas of culture under profound, direct demonic attack; the very areas of culture upon which civilization lives or dies. And the answer resides, as it has for 1980 years, in the Mass.First, let’s talk about gender. God, in Himself, contains both masculine and feminine. GASP! God contains a feminine nature? Of course He does. Goodness. If God possessed no feminine nature, then that would mean that women contained a nature that was completely outside of God. How could God create something which He Himself did not contain? Well, you might say, God doesn’t have an evil nature, but evil exists. No. Evil is merely the absence of good. Evil is not extant, just as cold is the mere absence of heat, and darkness is the mere absence of light. Femininity is an extant nature. Femininity is NOT the absence of masculinity. Femininity is an existential reality unto itself, and therefore God contains it in Himself.Let’s define masculinity and femininity with two axioms:

The essence of masculinity is INITIATION.

The essence of femininity is RESPONSE.

In all aspects of life, from sociology to courtship to sexual intercourse itself, men are vocationally the initiators – or at least they SHOULD BE. Men lead. Men make decisions. Men command armies and wage war. Men initiate courtship. Men are the head of the household. Even the male anatomy is initiatory. The man introduces his body into that of his wife.

Females are the receptors and responders in human existence. Females listen, and respond. Females follow. Females render assistance and are responsive helpmates. Females respond, in the affirmative or the negative, to the courtship advances of men. Females receive the love of their husbands and respond by submitting themselves to their husbands. The female anatomy is a physical receptacle for the body of her husband, which then returns to him from the same physical space the fruit of their mutual love – a child.

God the Father gives Himself fully to God the Son. God the Son fully receives the love of God the Father and then fully returns it. This intercourse of infinite love being perpetually given, received and returned yields a third – God the Holy Ghost. Thus, God, in His infinite capacity as both INITIATOR and RECEIVER/RESPONDER within Himself, clearly contains BOTH masculine and feminine nature. God isn’t like men and women. Men and women are like God – created in His image, both male and female.

So why do we call God “He” exclusively? Because in the God-man relationship, God is the INITIATOR and mankind is the RESPONDER. The relative disproportion here is so great that it can be said to be practically infinite. God created and perpetuates in existence the entire universe JUST SO MAN CAN EXIST. God became incarnate JUST SO THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND MAN COULD BE RESTORED. God died on the Cross JUST SO HIS LOVE FOR MAN COULD BE MANIFESTED TO THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE EXTENT. God comes to us in the Eucharist SO THAT WE NEED NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM HIM. Initiation, initiation, initiation.

Every man’s life is nothing more than responding to desperate, pleading love overtures and nuptial initiation of God. We either say yes, or we say no. And like the Gentleman He is, He never coerces. He is there, infinitely powerful, infinitely virile and infinitely reaching out to us, but at the same time infinitely meek (meekness is power under control, remember), infinitely gentle and patiently persistent in His advances.

BUT, there is exactly ONE MOMENT wherein God, so utterly consumed and infinitely condescending in His love for mankind, actually goes so far as to permit man to take the role of initiator (masculine), and God Himself voluntarily, for just a moment, RESPONDS TO THE INITIATING ACT OF MAN. Yes, God makes His feminine nature manifest before mankind. That moment of total condescension of God to man is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, specifically at the moment of consecration of the Host and the Chalice.

In the traditional, pre-Vatican II rites, such as the Tridentine, Ambrosian, and Byzantine rites, at the moment of consecration, when the priest, in an act of masculine initiation, is calling God to the altar, both at the consecration of the Host and at the consecration of the Chalice, the priest MUST bend over the altar, stare intently at the Host or the Chalice, and rest his elbows on the altar. In this posture, and this posture only, does the priest then say the words that actually effect the change of the bread and the wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

I was received into the Church at Easter 2007 in a Novus Ordo parish. I found and attended a Tridentine Mass for the first time in July of 2008. At the first Tridentine Mass I attended I was lost had my nose in the missal and missed the consecration. I didn’t see it. I was looking down, and only looked up at the elevation when the server rang the bell. At the SECOND Tridentine Mass I attended, I resolved to LOOK and SEE the Mass and not worry so much about the missal that Sunday. When I saw the priest bend over and put his elbows down on the altar, hoo boy, I was never looking back. By the grace of God I instantly recognized what was happening, and a whole lot of Catholic theology fell squarely into place.

WHY PRIESTS MUST BE MEN PART 2 OF 3
POSTED BY ANN BARNHARDT – JANUARY 19, AD 2013 11:17 PM MST
The priest puts his elbows down on the altar because the altar is A MARRIAGE BED, and the act of consecration is the consummation of the nuptial union between God and man, but in that moment the condescension of God is so utterly complete that God becomes, just for a moment, the feminine responder to the masculine initiating action of man who says the words of consecration. The priest lovingly holds the Host in his hands beneath him atop the supernatural marriage bed of the altar, leans over, looks intently at the Host and whispers, “HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM / This is My Body,” and then with the Chalice, “HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI / For this is the Chalice of My Blood.” And then, in the hands of and lying completely vulnerable to man in the supreme act of loving response, is Our Lord, physically present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.So, for the sake of clarity, YES, the consecration of the Host and Chalice in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a direct analogue to sexual intercourse between husband and wife. There. I said it. That wasn’t so difficult, now was it? Goodness. In fact, the consecration is the GREATER REALITY, and the marital act between husband and wife is the LESSER REALITY which reflects and points to the greater reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And, it works both ways. After the consecration, Our Lord goes right back to being the masculine initiator and the priest and the faithful become the normal relative feminine in relation to God in our nature as human beings as we RECEIVE Our Lord by taking Him physically into our bodies in the Eucharist, of which the marital embrace is also an image, only with the gender roles the other way.The nuptial nature of the Mass was known immediately to the Apostles at the Last Supper. In the ancient Jewish tradition, at marriage feasts, the husband and wife would each take a piece of bread, and each would take turns holding the bread up, saying, “Eat this. This is my body,” and then hand-feeding the piece of bread to the spouse. Where do you think the tradition of the bride and groom feeding each other a piece of the wedding cake at the reception comes from? So when Our Lord said, “This is My Body,” the Apostles all instantly understood the mystical nuptial act that was going on, because they had seen it before at their own weddings and/or weddings they had attended.Do you now see why sexual morality is so utterly, critically important, and why the Church has always, and must continue to always preach the extreme importance of sexual morality? Do you now see why sexual perversion is so damaging to mankind? Do you now see why marriage is truly, truly SACRED and not a mere point of civil contract law? Do you see why divorce is evil? Do you see why divorce and remarriage is intolerable? Do you see why sex outside of marriage is gravely sinful? Do you see why masturbation is gravely sinful? Do you see why sodomy and all of the other sexual perversions are so evil that they literally destroy entire civilizations? Do you see why contraception is evil?

Sex between a husband and wife is so incredibly important, so incredibly beautiful and so incredibly sacred not solely because it is the means of creating new life, but first because it is the mystical image of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of God’s infinite love for man. It is one of the most important ways by which humankind can understand the Trinity, and understand the mystical union between God and His Church, and between God and men as individuals.

Oh, and do you now see why the priest must, must, must be a man? In order for this moment of loving condescension of God to man to happen, the human initiator must be a man, leaning over and atop his God who responds and lays in perfect receptivity upon the altar. There must always be that contrast, that juxtaposition of masculine and feminine. If God is going to condescend all the way to the feminine in that moment, then there cannot be a female at the altar, because a woman cannot be the image of the masculine, no matter how tight she wears her crewcut, or how butch her comportment.

Do you think I’m making this up? Take a look at this picture. This is the Baldachin over the Papal Altar at St. Peter’s Basilica. Many large basilicas and cathedrals built before the Church was infiltrated in the 20th century have baldachins. Do you know what a baldachin is? A baldachin is a bed canopy. And sure enough, there it is, right over the Altar – the marriage bed of God and man.

Continued ….

WHY PRIESTS MUST BE MEN PART 3 OF 3
POSTED BY ANN BARNHARDT – JANUARY 19, AD 2013 11:15 PM MST
Now for you Catholics who go to a Novus Ordo or “new Mass” parish. Watch your priest at Mass. Watch him at the consecration. Does he put his elbows down? Nope. What is he doing with the Host, and with his eyes? In the last Novus Ordo Mass I saw, the priest held the Host out in front of him, waving it like he was offering it to the people, did NOT look at the host, but rather looked OUT AT THE PEOPLE in full Broadway performance mode as he said the words of consecration. That is like a man who is in the midst of the marital act with his wife talking on the phone to someone else whilst looking at himself in a mirror. Are you squirming? Good. You should be, because it is absolutely awful. If a man doing such a vulgar and narcissistic thing to his wife is disgusting, think how much more disgusting it is when these priests do this to Our Blessed Lord in these Novus Ordo Masses.The rubric of the elbows-down posture was intentionally stripped from the Mass by the Communist-homosexualist infiltrators in the 1960’s because they hated Our Lord, His Church, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, His Real Presence in the Eucharist, and specifically because of the connection to the marital act. The infiltrators had as a goal the total destruction of sexual morality, because that is the fastest and surest way to demoralize and then destroy a culture. The Communist-homosexualist infiltrators of the Church wanted to convince everyone that sex was no big deal, and if sex is no big deal, then it really can’t be connected to the concept of “sin”, and thus DO WHAT YOU WANT! Contracept! Sleep around! Be a sodomite! Abuse yourself! Hey, it’s not like what you do in private behind closed doors actually matters, right? Wrong. Our entire civilization is going to crash and burn first and foremost because of what people have done “in private behind closed doors”, namely making a complete mockery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.Your Novus Ordo priest almost certainly knows nothing about any of this because he was never taught the theology of the Mass in seminary. In fact, as far as I can tell, today’s Novus Ordo priests aren’t taught much of anything in seminary aside from Marxism and pop psychology. The good ones have to self-teach, and even sneak around in order to learn the Traditional Rites. The Novus Ordo priests today are taught a load of Protestant nonsense about the Mass being a MEAL, wherein WE gather around THE TABLE and WORSHIP OURSELVES by eating a symbolic MEAL. Wrong, Father Jazzhands. The altar isn’t a table. It’s a bed, complete with bed linens. And it is NOT SYMBOLIC. The meal aspect is deeply subordinated first and foremost to the SACRIFICIAL aspect, followed by the nuptial aspect. The meal motif is, by far, the least important – but then non-important, pedestrian and even trivial is EXACTLY what the infiltrators want the Mass to be.If you try to explain this to Father Jazzhands, good luck. You will get a very odd look, and then be dismissed. He doesn’t want to hear anything about this, because it messes with his narcissistic Communist-homosexualist neo-pagan worldview. Same with the Superfun Rockband Church™ denizens and their for-profit macchiato-sipping insipidity. And the lesbian pagan witch nuns? Those sick broads are so far gone, they aren’t even in the same galactic cluster. The vast majority of them self-excommunicated themselves decades and decades ago. I just wish that Rome would make it official.

Finally, to the idiots who read me just because they hate me so much. I delayed writing this piece for YEARS because of you. I would think to myself, “I can’t talk about that, because if some Jimmy Swaggart-cultist drooling mouth-breather reads it, he’ll say that I said that Catholicism is a sex cult or some slack-jawed imbecility like that.” Well, I’m done letting the slack-jawed mouth-breathers dictate the level of discourse. I’m sick of having to not discuss lofty ideas because we all have to pander to the lowest common denominator, which in this culture is about as low as humanity can possibly go. How would I feel if someone said to me, “I have some incredible information that could potentially change your life and make the difference between heaven and hell for you, but I can’t tell you because a stupid person might overhear and misunderstand it.” If that was the standard, the world would be silent.

Nope. No more. You stupid people, by all means, send me as much hate mail as you would like. Tell me what a nympho-pervert, or an under-sexed harpy I am. Go ahead. I’ll cherish every one.

To the priest and seminarian readers, put your elbows down, gentlemen, and take good care of Him up there.

And you MUST explain this to people. Like the Ethiopian with St. Philip, how will they ever know unless someone explains it to them? Stop being afraid and TELL THEM.

Here is an instructional video showing the details of the consecration in the Tridentine Rite, just so you can clearly see it.

Catholic New World – The Cardinal’s Column – The wrong side of history

God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression.

There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.” The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters. The Synod on the New Evangelization is taking place in Rome this month because entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history. This October, let’s pray the rosary so that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen the bishops and others at the synod as they deliberate about the challenges to preaching and living the Gospel at this moment in human history.

via Catholic New World – The Cardinal’s Column – The wrong side of history.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo: Gregorian Chant

SONGS FOR THE SPIRIT: SUNDAY SYMPHONY

Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
Laudámus te,
benedícimus te,
adorámus te,
glorificámus te,
grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis,
Deus Pater omnípotens.
Dómine Fili Unigénite, Iesu Christe,
Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,
qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis;
qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram.
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.
Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu solus Altíssimus,
Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíritu: in glória Dei Patris. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Te Deum laudamus!: Fr. Perrone: Dissent almost always involves ‘below the belt issues’…

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fr. Perrone: Dissent almost always involves ‘below the belt issues’…

Fr. Eduard Perrone during Benediction
at the outdoor Grotto

The conference for the 13th Call to Holiness has ended. Photos will be processed and up soon.  Today, there is an orchestra Mass (Solemn High EF Mass) at 9:30am at Assumption Grotto for Pentecost. There will be a tour at the Detroit Institute of Arts led by Johnette Benkovic after the Mass and there may be openings yet.

In his June 12, 2011 pastor’s column, Fr. Perrone talks about truth, and dissent, referring to a Scriptural passage that captures it better than any commentary can.

PENTECOST is often said to be the birthday of the Church. It marked the day when the Holy Spirit was first received, having been sent by the Father and by Christ at the Father’s right. Our Lord had promised the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church as the One who assures that the Church remain in truth. The Church–the Catholic Church–has this guarantee of infallibility so that its authoritative decisions cannot err in faith or in moral truth. It is this very reliability, this certainty that the Church has–that its teachings are entirely without error–which gives us the confidence to put our wholehearted trust in them. And so, it is not because the Church’s doctrines seem ‘right’ or merely only ‘best’ that we adhere to them, but because they have the confirmation of divine authority behind them.

How utterly ironic it is then that there are those allegedly within the Church who invoke the Holy Spirit, petitioning Him to reverse what He had formerly revealed in the Catholic Church, as if He had erred in the past or possibly that He had made provisional teachings He meant to change in time. In either, there’s a clear case of blasphemy. If God can’t be trusted with telling unerring and permanent truth, then truth itself is–truth to tell–a lie. The contradiction is inescapable.

By the time you get this the 2011 Call to Holiness (CTH) Conference will have ended. The purpose of CTH from its inception has been to propagate the truth of Christ as the Church has received it: faithfully and entire. This initiative was necessitated by the organized efforts of said Catholics who wanted the Church to depart from truth and make it adopt beliefs and practices that are secular, sinful, and agreeable to the baser tendencies of fallen human nature. In short, the dissenters from Catholic truth (such as the American Catholic Council, Call to Action) want falsehood to be declared as if true. Can a more perverse proposal be made? Recall that original sin began with a deception and that Christ named Satan The Father of Lies. Such reflection however seems never to have been made by objectors to the Catholic faith, they who would prefer truth to conform to their wish and will. I’d like to offer some lines from Saint Peter’s Second Epistle (chapter 2) for meditation by anyone who may ever have harbored doubts about the veracity of Catholic teaching. I myself would never be so bold as to ascribe the following passage directly to our contemporary dissenters from Catholic teaching were it not God’s own word:

False teachers will secretly bring in destructive heresies…bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their lewdness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled…They will exploit you with false words. Those who indulge in lust and despise authority, bold and wilful, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct… they will be destroyed… They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation… They have eyes for adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. Accursed children!… For them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. Uttering loud boasts of foolishness, they entice with lewd passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. If, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become for them worse than the first. It would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the commandment given to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: The dog returns to his vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Dissent from the Catholic faith has almost always involved the ‘below the belt’ issues, seeking the freedom to divorce, to use contraception, to have abortion, to engage in any and all sexual practices, to receive Communion without any conditions, to abolish priestly celibacy. It is to these specific ends (cf. the lewd things in Saint Peter’s Epistle above) that they want changes in Church structure and hierarchy. It’s not a power struggle against ecclesiastical authority pure and simple but wanting the controls so as to declare that what isn’t true be true. The Apostle foresees a terrible future for people who hold such opinions and who persuade others to adopt them.

Our Pentecost prayer would be adroitly aimed for the enlightenment of those who have been deceived and for the conversion of those who have wittingly disabused them.

Fr. Perrone

Te Deum laudamus!: Fr. Perrone: Dissent almost always involves ‘below the belt issues’….

An article from last year with some interesting insight from Fr. Perrone.

The Normalization of the Abnormal: Common Denominators

However we may want to dismiss it, our society and now a complicit government is on a quest to normalize abnormal behavior. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss just a few of the “newly constituted norms” that many have embraced whether in a Christian church or even if they are completely un-churched. Although there are many other examples, I think that the sexual variety of long standing taboos in society are in many ways responsible for the crumbling of other social norms; replaced, as always by an abnormality. So the issues that quickly come to mind are the following: sex outside of marriage, contraception, homosexuality and the use of infanticide as a viable contraceptive.

There are common denominators in all of these actions, which I will point out as we go along. So the first taboo to fall was the rejection of marriage and the adoption of cohabitation and sexual recreation outside of marriage as well. For Christians this is known to be forbidden and expressed often within the Bible. But for those who are not Christian, they may want to try to use a little bit of logic when evaluating the issue. The purpose of marriage and its institution as a sacrament was to be a holy bond between two individuals of the opposite sex, so that the two become one and that their cooperation with one another would bring into this world new family member to share in the joys and anticipation of a heavenly end to which each and every soul is ultimately called. It is called a sacrament in the Catholic Church because the two individuals are making a sacred vow to one another; a vow to live a chaste and holy life dedicated to the premise of bringing new life into the world and to the giving of themselves unrestrictedly to whatever is necessary to bind their family in a bond of sacrificial love. The Holy Spirit is called on to bless the marriage and to give grace to the new “person” to help them live a life worthy of their call. To abrogate the vows of marriage and simply chase one’s lustful desires is to make a mockery of the true intent of the marital covenant. It was intended to be an exchange of persons; I am yours and you are mine. Anything less than this selfless exchange is a vulgar perversion of Holy Matrimony. Note the selfishness attached to these acts outside of marriage: a rejection of all consequences, commitments and responsibilities. It is a pure act of placing oneself at the center of one’s life.

Contraception is much the same. Many delude themselves into thinking that contraception is not the outright infanticide that constitutes abortion and therefore find nothing morally reprehensible in it. However, many abortifacient drugs are precisely that; inducing abortion at an early stage of pregnancy. Other types of contraception separate the sexual act from the procreative act which, though not technically abortive in nature, is still a barrier between the self-giving of the partners and the action of God in producing more souls; denying his command to “be fruitful and multiply.” God is a self giving God and is always productive in all His actions. His words do not come back to him void. To deny His desire to be part of one’s marriage and participate in the creation of new life is an affront to His will and to His natural law. The most common reasons for contraception these days seem to be for recreational sex and for married couples who do not want the financial responsibility of raising a child. Though natural family planning is a viable alternative to placing a barrier between the procreative act and the action of God, it is rarely practiced even by so-called “Catholics in good standing.” Another common denominator is the rejection of consequences, commitments and responsibilities; a selfish act that has taken the Catholic view of sex as being a holy act, and perverting it into something mundane. Once again we place God in second place and our desire for worldly comforts as the more important criteria for our family planning choices. Besides, it is so easy now and inexpensive as well.

The taboo against homosexuality has latched onto the coattails of unproductive sexual activity and now has entered the social conversation and activism that even includes our governing bodies. In a homosexual relationship there is absolutely no ability to open the sexual act to the procreative. In the natural order of things the mouth was made for eating and the rectum as a sewer pipe to excrete the toxins and waste from the body. Now to remotely think that this activity is in keeping, not only with Biblical writing, but with Natural Law is preposterous. You do not make love to organs that are not made for reproductive purposes. The homosexual lobby has had much success with “educators,” Hollywood elites and now with our law makers; the usual argument is one centered on love, discrimination and equal rights. No matter how compassionate they might frame their argument, the natural law is written on each man’s heart and he knows, at an instinctive level, that these acts are highly disordered. The same sex attraction is one that in many ways could be called narcissism on steroids: making love to oneself or at least to the image and likeness of oneself. Once again we see the selfish disregard for God, for the family and for one another; each partner seeking only to find sexual pleasure for themselves. There is no mutual giving in their acts, only taking.

Lastly, is the intrinsic evil of abortion; which today has practically become a sacrosanct sacrament of self-worship. It is the worship of a person’s choice whether to end the life of the child for their personal reasons, known only to themselves. Choice trumps life. And since Roe v. Wade approximately 60 million children have been denied life in order to triumphantly and defiantly exercise their right of choice. Line up these 60 million babies to be viewed by America and let’s see what the reaction might be among our citizens. But, no, these deaths are quietly and secretly dealt with so that no one sees the mayhem and destruction of human life that takes place in the quiet dark corners of our abortion mills. This is the ultimate form of selfishness because in order to satisfy our decision of what is best for us as an individual is paid for with the life of an innocent victim – a child who did nothing to deserve the death sentence. What crime did the child commit, I might ask? His bad luck, as they might call it, was to be created in the womb of someone who is irresponsible, selfish and lacks the ability to make a commitment to the child.

So the common denominator is obvious: it is a life of selfishness and self-centeredness that trumps any call to be responsible in this life and any call of God to center their journey on the final end of all men and women. For we were made for Him alone and we best start learning to repeat with Our Lord’s Mother, “be it done unto me, according to thy Word” instead of putting our wants, lusts and desires ahead of His. What has been mischaracterized as a “war on women” is in all actuality their “war on God” and nothing good will come of it. Do you really think that God will be the loser in the end? Our elected government leaders better start understanding Who they are really fighting. It isn’t just another political party they’re attacking and they will be held accountable for their actions.

Passing On the Deposit of Faith

For the Catholic there is what is known as the Deposit of Faith which is considered that which cannot be altered, or omitted by the Church. Although our understanding of the contents may be expanded and explained in an organic growth of the Church’s understanding, the substance itself must never be changed. This Deposit of Faith is all that the Church was given by Christ and His Apostles as a deposit to be presented to Him at His Parousia (the second coming): so that we may not be guilty of the stern warning of Christ, “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Indeed the Church is responsible for keeping this faith incorrupt whether by word (Holy Scripture) or by Holy Tradition. She is accountable to God for passing this faith on, spotless and undefiled.

I was thinking of Paul’s verse in I Corinthians 9:24, “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? ” It seems to me to paint a picture that may help non-Catholics understand the necessity of this mission to carry forth this Deposit of Faith completely intact.

A Modern Parable might then be constructed as follows:

If there were a great relay Race that were to be run by mankind where a Baton would be passed from father to son until the Judge decided the Race was done, we would expect that the rules would be fair and that a handicap would be given to those in need to compensate for their disadvantage.

At the start of the Race mankind would let the Apostles and those who were converted to the faith at Pentecost carry the Baton until their death. They would all receive the Holy Spirit which could then be passed on to their sons in faith via the Baton. It is a standard Baton with a miraculous property such that it can be multiplied and handed on to many more people than those who start the race and it remains exactly the same no matter how many times this reoccurs. This Baton is measured and weighed for its content before the Race and thereby the Judge can examine the Baton once again at the finish.

Some over the ages will drop their Batons or quit the Race. Others will stoop to pick up something that may look somewhat similar to the Baton but is much lighter in weight, with some of the content gone missing. That is obviously an unfair advantage to those who traded the original for a lighter replica.

If we are to be judged by the Judge at the end of this Great Race, how will He handicap those who have been handed a lighter replica as opposed to those who have succeeded in passing on the Original? Though we do not know the mind of the Judge, it is suspected that if rewards are being given as trophies to those who finish the Race, the more Glorious Awards might go to those who present the Baton intact.

So it is with the Church. Our aim is to pass on the Baton from generation to generation completely intact with nothing added and nothing removed. It might be a somewhat relevant analogy up to a point.

The “Seamless Garment” – Are You Kidding?

President Barack Obama and Senator Ted Kennedy

After pondering great posts concerning the abortion problem in this country on Biltrix and 8 Kids and a Business, I am drawn again to wonder, from my foundational view, where the Church is in this cultural war. Not that the official voice of the Church isn’t plain on the subject because it certainly is. Abortion is a grave mortal sin and we need to eradicate this barbaric practice.

However, it always seems somewhat contradictory when we see high profile people (think Pelosi, Biden or the late Senator Ted Kennedy) who push to keep abortion legal, treated as Catholics in good standing. The man in the street sees this as an enigma not to mention a scandal of the highest order. When discussing this with people in the Church they often argue that it is the hope that keeping them in the Church will allow them to hear the message that may eventually bring about a change of heart. Though I accept the idea of the Church being the best place for these people to learn the teachings of the Church, do we never use the “big stick” anymore; that of excommunication?

I don’t have access to the degree of grace given to our priests and bishops so I cannot tell them or you if they are acting under this grace. I can only tell you what an ordinary lay Catholic sees in this hypocrisy.

For instance, we claim that we are against abortion, same sex marriages and the loss of religious liberty. However, the number of priests that actually preach against these things or lead their parishioners to action is a noticeable minority. When it comes to voting for a candidate that is for these things, the common reply is that there are more than these few social issues to consider. Many love to use the horrid “seamless garment” argument of the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago. It is a scandal that this argument has been used to equate socialist government programs not only as a substitute for our individual charity but to elevate these programs to equal importance with abortion. Do they not understand that 60 million babies have died in the supposed safety of their mother’s womb? Besides the loss of their lives, do they not know that these 60 million babies were denied 2 things that we feel all individuals are entitled to in life: baptism and a funeral?

It is my contention that the reason we don’t see this as a holocaust of unprecedented proportion is because we never see their caskets or go to a funeral for any of these little ones. If we could see the number of these deaths it would change more than a few minds and hearts. But alas, these evil deeds are hidden from our eyes, our minds and our hearts by throwing their tiny bodies and body parts into a hazardous waste disposal unit. Evil loves to hide in the shadows and hates to have their deeds recognized for what they are.

So for this layman, I have difficulty in understanding why, after 20 years of being a Catholic, I can count on 2 hands the number of actual homilies given on this Sin of sins. It is also amazing how little interest our priests have shown in organizing the parishioners to act or to vote out candidates who support such barbarism. Where are the excommunications? Where is the Catholic Will to eliminate this scandalous affront to human life? I hear the official words but I see little support in the ranks of the bishops or priests that is truly and effectively trying to bring this sad chapter of moral depravity to a close. The Holy Spirit must be telling them something He is not telling the rest of us; because I cannot understand the lack of fortitude we have shown. I and many other Catholics are ashamed at the polls of supposed Catholic “faithful” that record their intention to vote for pro-abortion candidates in the coming election. How can that be?

Is our rhetoric about these objective evils merely that: rhetoric? I pray it is more than that and that someday God will forgive the complacency we have shown. In my mind, no peace will be found in this country until we end the war on the unborn. Why would God hear our prayers when we can’t hear the cries of the poorest of the poor: the helpless and hopeless plight of our own children?

The Lamb of God Theme: Fifth Model

Lamb of God

The Lamb of God

Abridged from a work by: Rev. Msgr. Donald C. Hamburger

Model Five: The Scapegoat Sacrifice – Leviticus 16:20-22 – During the 40 Years in the Desert (Exodus)

The Book of Leviticus: The name “Leviticus” was bestowed on the third book of the Pentateuch by the ancient Greek translators because a good part of this book consists of sacrificial and other ritual laws prescribed for the priests of the tribe of Levi.

Leviticus brings in the idea of the “scapegoat:” (Lev. 16:20) and shows that the Lamb of God was used for many, many purposes of purification in the Old Testament by the law and the statute of God. None were so bad who could not be purified and none were so good that did not need to be purified by the blood of the Lamb.

Vicarious Model: Leviticus brings us the “Expiatory Model.” Although Abraham used a substitute animal for a sacrifice, it was not until centuries later that we find a clear-cut account of Yahweh assigning the Scapegoat Sacrifice. In this He designed for the Israelites a vicarious sacrifice in which a designated animal is sacrificed as a substitute and bears away the sins of the people. “We heard with our own ears, O God, our fathers have told us the story of the things you did in their days, you yourself, in days long ago.” (Ps. 44)

Time and Setting: The story was handed down by word of mouth. It was to Moses that God spoke after He had disciplined two of Aaron’s sons. So apparently, it was in the 13th century B.C. as the Israelites were approaching the Promised Land.

Name: From these Jewish antiquities we gain a new word: “Scapegoat.” It came to mean “a person or thing bearing blame for others,” in addition to its religious connotation.

The Prescribed Sacrifice: In Lev. Ch. 16 we read that God decreed the following: The priest was to select two goats and to cast lots. One was then signified to be sacrificed in the usual way on the altar, but the other to be used as a “scapegoat.” Placing both hands on its head, the priest prayed that all the sinful faults and transgressions of the Israelites were to be visited upon the beast. An attendant would then lead the “scapegoat” out into the wilderness where it would be left to die at the teeth of wild beasts or by dashing off a cliff to its death. The death of the scapegoat would thus destroy the sins and transgressions which had been placed upon it.

The laying on of hands was a symbolic representation of the transferring of sin and guilt to the animal that was to be sacrificed; which vicariously had to suffer instead of the man. This day came to be called “The Day of Atonement” or Yom Kippur in the Hebrew.

“Expiate” is a word we do not use much today but it comes from two Latin words; ex – meaning ‘out’ and piare – seeking to appease. Therefore, it is to purify with a sacred rite. Hence: to make complete satisfaction for (atonement for) as to expiate sin. The adjective “expiatory” means “having power, or the intention to make expiation; an atoning of sin.”

Vicarious comes from the Latin, vicis, to change the place or office of one person as assumed by another; such as vice-president. Hence for our purpose: performed or suffered by one person with results accruing to the benefit or advantage of another; substituted for, as a vicarious sacrifice.

Thus the scapegoat was made a vicarious sacrifice by God’s decree in that the Israelites use it as an expiatory sacrifice to atone for their transgressions and sins.

The animal, of itself, was not equal in value to be a substitute for all of them or for even one of them. To help clarify this difference, consider a story from one of Hitler’s death camps. St. Maximillian Kolbe, while in one of these camps, stepped forward to ask the guards selecting their quota of victims for the day, to let him take the place of one of those who had been marked for death. The reason he gave was that the man had a wife and children whereas he had none. The sacrifice was accepted and Fr. Maximillian was sent to his death “in place of” the other prisoner. Maximillian, then, was a vicarious sacrifice because it was one man substituted for the other (one man for another man).

Our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit attested to Jesus becoming our “Scapegoat.” This took place when John the Baptist baptized Him in the river Jordan. The Baptizer admitted he recognized these heavenly signs and so called Him the “Lamb of God!”

Note the similarities peculiar to God’s rubrics (directions) in Leviticus 16 and to the Lamb’s sacrifice at Calvary.

  1. Although the other sacrifices were to be offered by Aaron in the temple, this one was to be outside in the wilderness! So too was Jesus taken outside the walls of the city to Golgotha to be sacrificed! “Jesus died outside the gate, to sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the insult which he bore. For here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come. Through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge his name.” (Heb. 13:12)
  2. As God chose which one of the goats was to be the Scapegoat, so Jesus was designated by God, the Father. “Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
  3. As the sins of all the Jewish people were laid upon the Scapegoat, so the sins of all mankind were placed on Jesus for our redemption. St. Peter wrote, “In His own body He brought your sins to the Cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24)  During the liturgy when the priest calls upon the Holy Spirit to make our gifts Holy, he is to place his hands out (in the “scapegoat” sign) together with thumbs crossed, as if placing his hands on the head of a scapegoat. In this way he asks God to place on Him, who will soon be present during the consecration, the sins of the people who have gathered so that He might take their sins away.
  4. As this was to be an “everlasting ordinance” for the Jews, so Jesus at the Last Supper gave to the Apostles and to all of mankind a new and everlasting covenant which is to be offered in commemoration by the Apostles and their successors. This makes it possible for the ordinance of Leviticus to be carried out forever, though the Jewish sacrifices ended with the destruction of the Temple around A.D. 70.
  5. John the Evangelist was given a new Revelation of that commemoration appearing in the form of a Lamb standing before the throne of God in Heaven (Cf. Apoc. 5:6-9); standing as though slain, taking the scroll from ‘Him who sat upon the throne’ and all the living creatures in heaven and on earth were saying, “To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honor, and glory, and power, forever and ever.” (Cf. Apoc. 5:13) Is it any wonder that the rubric of the Traditional (Tridentine) Mass called for the server to ring the bells after the epiclesis and immediately after the consecration?

Importance to the Jews: That the Israelites held Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to be of the greatest importance can be judged from the following:

  • It was the only day of the year that the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies: otherwise, he was forbidden under penalty of death.
  • The High Priest must wear sacred vestments.
  • A ritual bath was required by the High Priest prior to his entering the Holy of Holies.
  • At the time of our Lord it was considered one of the major feasts, along with Passover and Pentecost.
  • To this day the Jewish people have preserved a celebration of Yom Kippur as one of their High Holy Days.

Yom Kippur is the annual cleansing of the faults of the Chosen People; John the Baptist’s “Lamb of God” continually offers Himself as atonement for the sins of all peoples who will but believe.

Importance to Catholic Christians: Because of the Incarnation, Jesus is seen as the Scapegoat Sacrifice par excellence. In One Divine Person He embodies the perfect vicarious victim offered in expiation of the sins of all mankind, even Original Sin. He is that Promised One of Genesis 3:15 even more than could have been imagined at the time it was written.

Mary in her perfection made her supreme act of faith by replying to Gabriel’s startling message: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)  John the Evangelist sums it up in the Prologue of his Gospel: “ . . . the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-14)

One Divine Person Who shares His Divine Nature with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in love and in obedience to His Father’s will, assumed our nature through Mary. Thus His Precious human Blood was sacrificed in expiation of our sin; a sacrifice offered by a Divine Person, Jesus Christ, and of infinite merit; a victim designated and chosen by His Father for our redemption. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” a victim pointed out by John the Baptizer: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world . . . this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

The Liturgical Application: After I learned of the “Scapegoat Sacrifice,” I more fully realized the copious meaning that a single, quiet, liturgical gesture could contain. When I was ordained in 1946 the offerings of the people were represented on the altar by the bread and the wine signified by the Latin word “Oblata.” Over them, the priest stretched his two open hands extended flatly with the thumbs crossed, right over left, as he prayed.

In this prayer he again referred to the “oblation” and then, made the sign of the cross five times with his right hand: once for each of the principle wounds in the Body of Christ on the Cross – the hands, feet and side.

This ceremony – the laying on of hands – is still indicated by the 1970 rubrics in all four Eucharistic prayers. The silent gesture expresses the sacrificial elements indicated by the “Scapegoat Model” and embodies a deeper mystical meaning.

Reverend Nicholas Gihr sums it up nicely:

“In the Mosaic worship the laying on of hands was a symbolic representation of the transferring of sin and guilt to the animal that was to be sacrificed, which vicariously had to suffer death instead of man. Here in the Holy Mass the laying on of hands has a similar object, and, therefore, in a visible and energetic way it deeply fixes the sacrificial character of the Eucharist, for it shows that Christ on the altar, in our place, for our sake, and on account of our sins offers Himself; — and, moreover, it indicates that we should unite ourselves with His Sacrifice, offering ourselves in it and along with it.” __ Pg. 626, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Lamb of God Theme: Third Model

Lamb of God

The Lamb of God

Abridged from a work by: Rev. Msgr. Donald C. Hamburger

Model Three: Abraham and Isaac – Genesis 11:26 & 22:1-19 – Prehistory

The psalmist sang of Abraham who probably wandered this world about the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C. “The princes of the peoples are assembled with the people of Abraham’s God. The rulers of the earth belong to God, to God who reigns over all.” (Psalm 47).

The Messenger: As we read the story of Abraham and Isaac, we are  impressed by the similarities to the story of Jesus, the Son of God, the son of Mary, even before His birth! As Mary, the virgin wife of Joseph, received word from the archangel, Gabriel, so did Sara, the barren wife of Abraham, overhear the joyful news given by God’s messenger to Abraham: “I will surely return to you at this time next year and Sara your wife shall have a son.” (Gen 18:10)  And they called him Isaac.

Joy: The root of the name, Isaac, contains the idea of ‘laughter,’ ‘joy,’ ‘pleasure.’ In my later years, one of my favorite Christmas hymns has become, “Joy to the World!” Both these babies brought joy into their family circles and it was extended down though the centuries.

The Test: Surely, Abraham is one of the most severely tested of all God’s human creatures. At an age when both Abraham and his wife were beyond their child bearing years, God promised offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky. Then after Isaac was born and grew to adolescence, God asked Abraham to take him out to a mountain and sacrifice him. This surely seems to be a contradiction.  How can God ask this of him? Abraham tries to solve the puzzle by thinking Ishmael will be the son who will give him numerous progeny, but God corrected him. Then after God did keep his promise by letting Sara bear a son, Isaac, God asks Abraham to take him to the mountain and sacrifice him. What a test! How can this be?

Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Abraham exemplify the ideal trust that God wants us to have in Him. They show what it is to be a “Servant of God.” In Isaiah we shall see reference made to the Redeemer as the “Suffering Servant of God,” Jesus, the perfect Exemplar. Read Psalm 21 in its entirety.

Indeed it was this very promise of numerous offspring that made the test that Abraham was given so great. I think it is next to that given Mary at the time of the annunciation. Mary countered Gabriel’s proposal with her promise to God: “How can this be since I know not man?” (Luke 1:34) Perhaps this was Mary’s way of testing the messenger; for if he were from God would he not know of this promise she had made? Her reply to Gabriel’s answer makes it seem plausible! “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:38) Mary’s reply as given in some translations is a nice play on words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” John’s prologue in a way pays respect to Mary, the Seat of Wisdom: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And we saw His glory – glory as of the only begotten of the Father – full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

The Resurrection: Mary’s Son, Jesus, arose from the dead according to the scriptures: The firstborn from the dead.

To further illustrate Abraham’s closeness to God, let me tell you that there are some scholars who see a precursory faith in the ‘resurrection’; for Abraham’s acquiescence to God’s request for the sacrifice of his only son Isaac  was miraculous then but even now, many years later, it may even be more so. These scholars believe that Abraham might have reasoned thus: ‘Could not the God who gave Isaac to us in such a marvelous way, also raise him from the dead if I obediently sacrifice him?’ Therefore, God could still carry out His promise of prodigious progeny – as numerous as the stars in the heavens! Abraham might have been given the gift of grace to see that the same God, who is the author of life, is also the one who can raise the dead to life. At any rate, I like to see in Abraham a man of faith second only to Mary; Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother in His humanity of the Only Begotten of the Father.

Consider the portent for my theme, “The Lamb of God,” in the similarities at the time of the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham and that of Jesus on the wood of the cross in His time!

Numerous Offspring: Abraham’s offspring, Isaac, was to carry out the promise given to his father through the blessing given to his mother, Sara: “I will bless her, and will also give you a so by her . . . and she shall be the mother of nations; kings of peoples shall descend from her.”

Mary’s Son, however, was destined to become the King of kings and Lord of all – whose followers became even more numerous, because they include all of Abraham’s offspring and all true believers. Paul later writes to the Galatians: “Therefore the man of faith shall be blessed with faithful Abraham.” (Gal. 3:9)  And in the same chapter he concludes: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are the offspring of Abraham, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29)

Preferred Animals:  In our consideration of the Lamb of God theme, we will come to see that the early followers of the True and Only God came to realize somehow that the “Lamb” was a preferred animal of sacrifice. Perhaps it was because the lamb was, to them, so lovable, as we see expressed by the prophet Nathan in the story to David (Cf. 2 Sam. 12:1-5). This would make the sacrifice more poignant. Or, maybe it was because the lamb was easily acquired from the sheep which these nomadic people kept for food, for clothing, and for tent making.

First offered by Abel centuries before, now it has become the expected sacrifice as shown by Isaac’s question, “But where is the lamb?” and Abraham’s answer, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the holocaust, my son.”

Substitute Animal: Now we are introduced to their discovery of a substitute animal. In this story of Abraham and Isaac, the “absence” of a bloody sacrifice (when God’s messenger stopped Abraham’s descending knife) was replaced by Abraham’s substitution of the ram caught in the bush!

Later, we will see that God Himself assigns a “scapegoat sacrifice” (Lev. 16:20-22) and today the Jews still celebrate a feast when it is used: their great feast of the atonement, Yom Kippur.

The sacredness in which the Hebrews held the blood of animals easily leads one to perceive the connection which the children of Abraham gave to substituting the blood sacrifice of an animal in place of a sinner – a vicarious victim.

This substitute animal is found in the rich analog of the sacrifice of Abraham. Although ready and willing to obey God’s command, Abraham was accepted in spirit and then given a substitute animal which was caught in the bushes. These two elements, the shedding of blood and the use of a substitute animal, are important to keep in mind as we continue with the unfolding revelation by God to man of His choice of the way He wanted us to do things.

Just as Abel’s sacrifice has received “pride of place” by being used for centuries in the Canon of the Mass, even now, as it has been incorporated into the text of Eucharistic Prayer #1, so too has both Abraham’s sacrifice and his faith been enshrined therein:

“Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith . . .”

The new Catechism tells us (#72) that “God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants.” Here there was not only the shedding of blood to ratify the covenant but it was human blood of the male children in circumcision.

First, consider that John the Baptist called Jesus the Lamb of God at the beginning of His public life. Second, when Jesus wished to give the Apostles at the Last Supper a “new covenant,” He provided His Precious Blood by using His Divine Power as the act we now know as “transubstantiation.” Third, Jesus in a bloody death was truly the Lamb furnished by God in the Sacrifice of Redemption, thus carrying out the promise made to Adam and Eve at the beginning (Gen. 3:15).

God advanced His revelation of the Lamb of God theme in this “model.” Now we move on to the time of Moses in the next “model.”

Epilogue: Thus Abraham is like to Abel “whose heart was right.” And fulfills Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians for worthy reception of the Lamb: “Let a man prove himself . . . for he who eats and drinks unworthily . . . eats and drinks judgment to himself.” (I Cor. 11:29)