Sacramentals are “sacred signs instituted by the Church that dispose people to receive the chief effects of the sacraments and they make holy various occasions in human life (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy). [Read more…]
Archives for July 2001
The Morning Offering is a great prayer to start each day. [Read more…]
Giving thanks to God for our food is a common Catholic tradition. The Grace Before Meals prayer below is the standard bearer for saying grace among Catholics.
Grace Before Meals
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.
Grace After Meals
We give Thee thanks for all your benefits, O Almighty God, Who lives and reigns forever;
and may the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.
The Hail, Holy Queen is a powerful and inspiring prayer that is prayed at the end of praying the Rosary. Below you will find the prayer in english and latin and some history.
The Hail, Holy Queen Prayer
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blesses Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Salve Regina, Hail Holy Queen in Latin
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ, Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte; Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende. O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
About the Hail, Holy Queen
For centuries Catholics have prayed or sung the Hail, Holy Queen at the end of evening prayer and also at the end of the Rosary. We don’t know exactly who composed this prayer, but it most likely came from a monastic religious order. Its current form comes from a Marian hymn from the 12th century Abbey of Cluny.
Catholics regard Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to be the Queen of Heaven. This is one of her titles and it comes from the book of revelation. It also comes from the ancient jewish practice of there being a queen-mother as the queen of Israel. In other words, the Queen of Israel was the King’s mother not his wife.
In Luke 1:46, Mary says “My soul magnifies the Lord” which Catholics take to mean that in honoring Mary and in asking her intercession we are honoring God all the more. She is truly the Mother of Mercy as Jesus is Divine Mercy incarnate.
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done unto me according to your word.
And the Word became flesh.
And lived among us.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: O Lord, it was through the message of an angel that we learned of the incarnation of your Son Christ. Pour your grace into our hearts, and by his passion and cross bring us to the glory of his resurrection. Through the same christ, our Lord.
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
and ever shall be world without end.
Hail Mary, full of grace;
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. [Read more…]
Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
In the Old Testament, when God established His Covenant with the nation of Israel, He provided for a living, continuing authority in the Mosaic priesthood (see 2 Chr 19:11; Mal 2:7.) This authority did not end when the OT Scripture was written; rather, it continued as the safeguard and authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture. When Christ established His Church, the New Israel, He set up a living, continuing authority to teach, govern, and sanctify in His name. This living authority is called “Apostolic” because it began with the twelve Apostles and continued with their successors. It was this Apostolic authority that would preserve and authentically interpret the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This same Apostolic authority determined the canon of the Bible, and will preserve the teachings of Jesus Christ in all their fullness, and uncorrupted from error, until the end of time.
Among the twelve Apostles St. Peter is clearly the head. Know Matthew 16:13-19 well: ” And so I say to you, you are Peter [Rock], and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter, which mean “rock.” Our Lord says this rock will be God’s way of preserving the Church from corruption until the end of time.
Our Lord knew St. Peter would be dead by 70 AD Therefore Christ must have intended the office of Peter to last until the end of time. St. Peter is given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven.” This is an awesome gift. To nobody else does Christ give this ruling power. Reflect on this unique privilege. Why would Jesus would give this tremendous authority to St. Peter and not intend for it to be passed on? If he early Christians needed an authoritative leader, later Christians would need one even more. After all, many of the early Christians heard the Gospel from Christ Himself and knew the Apostles personally. After all the Apostles died, the Church would have even greater need of the power of the keys when enemies would try to corrupt the teachings of Christ.
Although all the Apostles as a group were given the power to “bind and to loose” in Mt 18:18, St. Peter received this power individually at the time he was given the “keys.” Jesus would not have guaranteed to back up the doctrinal teachings of St. Peter and his successors unless He was also going to protect them from teaching false doctrine in their official capacities as Shepherds of the Church. Read Lk 22:31-32 and John 21:15-17. In the passage from St. Luke, Jesus prays that Peter’s faith would not fail; Peter in turn would strengthen the other disciples. In the passage from St. John, Jesus clearly makes Peter the shepherd of His Church. So St. Peter is the rock on which Christ builds His Church. He is given the “keys of the Kingdom” and he is made shepherd of Christ’s flock: solid biblical evidence that Jesus made St. Peter the first Pope.
Now you might be saying, “where does the pope play into all of this?” Well, the popes are Christ’s vicars, the visible and earthly heads of Christ’s Church while Christ is the invisible and supreme head. Read Acts 15. This gives an account of the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem. Called at the request of St. Paul, this council met to decide whether Gentiles had to follow the Law of Moses as well as the Law of Christ. Notice that there was much discussion among the Apostles and presbyters. However, after Peter spoke, the assembly fell silent. His statement ended the discussion. This council obviously considered St. Peter’s authority final. Some may claim that Acts 15 shows that James, not Peter, was the head of the Church. Since James the Lesser (not James, the brother of John) gives the concluding remarks at the council of Jerusalem and also recommends some marriage and dietary regulations for the Gentiles, they conclude that James must be the head of the Church. All I can do is tell those people to read the Gospels, where St. Peter is unmistakably presented as a leader among the Apostles, whereas James the Lesser is not.
Read the first twelve chapters of Acts, which describe the early Church in Jerusalem. Every chapter (except 6 and 7, which describe Stephen’s martyrdom) shows St. Peter in a leadership position while St. James appears only briefly, and never in a leadership role. In Galatians 1:18-19, we are told that Paul went to Jerusalem after his conversion specifically to confer with Peter. He stayed with Peter 15 days. In contrast, Paul visited James only briefly during this time. At the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, it was St. Peter’s statements that settled the serious doctrinal dispute that was the reason for the council. As we saw earlier, St. Peter’s statements silenced the assembly of presbyters and the Apostles (including St. James). We know from Church history that St. James was the Bishop of Jerusalem and, as Acts 21:15-25 describes, he was concerned for Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who felt their ancient customs threatened by the great number of Gentile converts. This background explains why St. James made the concluding remarks at the council and asked Gentiles to respect certain Jewish practices. People are grasping at straws when they claim that Acts 15 proves that James, instead of Peter, was the head of the Church.
Some have also cited 1 Peter 5:1 numerous times to claim that Peter was not the head of the Church. They note that Peter, in addressing some elders (Church leaders), calls himself a fellow elder. They therefore conclude that Peter had no more authority than any other elder. But this is just like the President of the United States saying, “My fellow Americans.” This would certainly not indicate that the President has no more authority than an ordinary citizen. As an Apostle, St. Peter certainly considers his authority to be greater than that of an ordinary elder. After all, St. Peter goes on to admonish these “fellow elders” (1 Pet 5:2-4) as one having authority over them. In calling them fellow elders, St. Peter is simply acknowledging the obvious: like himself, they are also Church leaders. To insist that Peter, as an Apostle, had no greater authority than an ordinary elder, shows how little is appreciated about what Scripture says about the great office of Apostle.
Many people quote Gal 2:11-14 as well, attempting to show that Peter was not infallible and that Paul did not consider him the head of the Church. This position is not supportable. First of all, if they think Peter was not infallible, why do they accept his two letters as inspired and, therefore, infallible? We must accept that all the Apostles were infallible. After the Apostles, the popes individually and the bishops as a group in union with the pope, are infallible. St. Paul correcting St. Peter for weak behavior is no different from St. Catherine of Siena correcting weak popes in the Middle Ages. There was no doctrine involved. St. Peter himself had settled the doctrinal point at the Council of Jerusalem. St. Paul corrected St. Peter for being unwilling to confront the Judaizers from Jerusalem. Remember, St. Paul was among those who fell silent at the Council of Jerusalem once St. Peter spoke.
The early Church always accepted the Bishop of Rome as head of the Church. In about 80 AD, the Church at Corinth deposed its lawful leaders. The fourth bishop of Rome, Pope Clement I, was called to settle the matter even though St. John the Apostle was still alive and much closer to Corinth than was Rome. St. Irenaeus, who was taught by St. Polycarp (a disciple of St. John the Apostle), stresses that Christians must be united to the Church of Rome in order to maintain the Apostolic Tradition. He then lists all the bishops of Rome up to his time. St. Irenaeus presents this teaching as something taken for granted by orthodox Christians. For 250 years the Roman Emperors tried to destroy Christianity through persecution. In the first 200 years of Christianity, every Pope but one was martyred; the Romans certainly knew who was the head of the Church! A Roman Emperor’s greatest fear was a rival to the throne. Nevertheless, the emperor Decius (249-251 AD), one of the harshest persecutors of the early Christian Church, made the following remark, “I would far rather receive news of a rival to the throne than of another bishop of Rome.” Decius said this after he had executed Pope Fabian in 250 AD.
Suppose that the owner of a company had called all the employees together and announced that he was going to be gone for a while. During his absence, he was going to give the keys of the company to Billy Bob and that whatever Billy Bob commanded would be backed by him. Would you have any doubt that Billy Bob was going to be in charge of the company while the boss was away? Of course not! Then why is it so hard for some to accept that this is exactly what is described in Mt 16:13-19?
Let us first begin explaining where the pope, his authority, and his power came from by using the word of God itself, the Holy Bible. Catholics mainly use Matthew 16:13-19 to prove the establishment and the existence of the papacy.
The Gospel According to Matthew is a very prestigious book in the fact that no other was so frequently quoted in the non-canonical literature of earliest Christianity. This gospel was believed to have been written in Greek. We also use the support of other verses such as John 1:42 as I will demonstrate for you soon. Here is what Matthew 16:13-19 says:
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Phillipi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'”
One of the first and important things that is noticed is that Simon is the first one to answer Jesus’ question. He confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. What does Jesus do next? He blesses Simon telling him that Simon knows this because God, the Father who is in heaven, has revealed it to him.
We can easily see that Simon has been especially favored by God because it was to Simon that that it was revealed that Jesus is the Lord.
Immediately after that Simon is renamed Peter. Now, name changes in the Bible aren’t done for nothing. God changes people’s names for a very good reason. When God changes someone’s name it signifies a change in their status. For example Abram’s name is changed to Abraham. Abram means “exalted father” whereas Abraham means “father of a multitude”.
Another example is the change from Jacob “supplanter” to Israel “God prevails”. We see that Simon’s name is changed to Petros meaning “rock” not “stone”. Therefore Matthew 16:18 is read as this: “And upon this Rock (Peter) I will build my church.”
Over the past few centuries many people have twisted the meaning of the passage due to their lack of understanding the translation and the Greek language. They say that the word used for “rock” in “upon this rock I will build…” is not Petros, but petra, a Greek word that has the meaning of “rock” and only “rock”.
Their argument is that if Jesus had intended to make Simon the Rock then Jesus would have called Simon Petra and not Petros. Since Jesus did rename Simon, Petros, Jesus must have meant that Simon is not the Rock, but a “stone” or a “little pebble” just like all of us Christians are called in 1 Peter 2:4-5:
“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious; and like living stones (Greek: lithoi) be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
In this passage it is apparent that each Christian is a “stone” a lithos (singular of lithoi) not Petros.
We look to another passage in support of the significance in renaming Simon to Peter (Petros). Our example is John 1:42:
“Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas.'”
Kephas is Aramaic for the word Rock and it only means rock. It has no other meanings. Neither the Greek equivalent Petros nor, with one isolated exception, Kephas is attested as a personal name before Christian times.
So, why here does it say Kephas instead of Petros?
Why does Jesus rename him differently?
It turns out that Jesus did not rename him differently. Jesus spoke Aramaic and not Greek. Sure you could say that Jesus is God and knows all languages so therefore he could have spoken what he wanted to. Well, the problem with that is Jesus had a mission to accomplish.
Jesus needed to be able to teach people in a language they understand; in a language that his disciples spoke and that language was Aramaic and not Greek. When translating occurred for the Gospel of John, the translator obviously decided to leave it untranslated in the text.
Now that we have a better understanding of languages and the original translation we can go ahead and tie Matthew 16:18 (Petros) and John 1:42 (Kephas) together to clarify upon whom the church was built.
Since the Aramaic Kephas means “rock” and “rock” only; it could not possibly ever mean “stone”. From this evidence we can conclude that Jesus must have meant that when he renamed Simon, Peter, he meant to apply the title “Rock”, petra, to him. The reason Jesus could not have named Simon petra, however, is very clear.
Jesus would have been giving Simon a feminine name because it has a feminine ending. petra is a feminine noun. It would not be appropriate to give a male person a female name. So Jesus switches the ending -a to -os so the Greek word “Rock” could be applied to Simon.
Again, we know that Jesus means to call Peter “Rock” and not “Stone” because in Aramaic he calls him Kephas, which can only mean “Rock” and not Evna, which is the Aramaic name for “Stone,” and because he could have called him Lithos instead, the Greek word for stone which already possesses a male ending.