Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Sleeper Awakes

After an extended silence, I am reawakening this blog. My silence was partially due to writer's block. More of the silence had to do with an examination of my past six and a half decades. This sort of contemplation will keep anyone silent for the duration.

Since one of my annual efforts has been presenting an Ordo Calendar for the year, I plan to post listings of the Propers for some of the less common celebrations in my Ordo.

I have posted the Ordo Anno 2010 on Lex Orandi for your comments and consideration.

Your comments and/or questions about this proposed series are welcomed and invited.

May you have Peace, Joy and Blessings from Our Lord as we begin a New Year.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pentecost and the Proclamation of the Gospel

There is a curious, and perhaps little known, custom pertaining to the proclamation of the Gospel during the Pentecost Mass. As you may recall, the Apostles, being drunk with new wine, were going about babbling in many odd languages,

It has been a long-time custom in the Western Church, especially at Papal Masses, to always proclaim the Holy Gospel in Latin and in Greek. Hence, at Pentecost, it has also been the custom to proclaim the Holy Gospel in as many other languages as are spoken by, and understood by, the members of the congregation. The reason being so that "each, in his own language, hears the Gospel proclaimed to him."

In my time, I have only heard this done a very few times. It is, however, a very significant reminder that the Gospel is to be preached to all nations. I understand that this might make the Service a bit longer than usual; but to hear the Gospel of Pentecost read out in Latin, Greek, English, German, French, Italian, Danish, etc., leaves a lasting impression on you. Although we are many, we are still one in the Lord.

It may be too late to try this this year; but keep it in mind for next year.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Again with St. Francis

With my last post I received a comment that said "I'm gratified when I hear Lutherans giving thanks to the Creator for these non-human and yet very much alive blessings of creation who love us and serve us as the Lord made them to do."

In this post I mentioned a Prayer Card that I happened to find which was a "Prayer for My Pet." Of course, St. Francis was on the face of this card. A while later, one of our customers asked if we could locate a source for a book that she wanted to buy. The title of this book is For God's Creatures Great & Small. It is published by Regina Press, (C) 2006, ISBN: 0-88271-226-8.

This book was inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Francis had much love for animals with a special fondness for birds. He liked to refer to animals as his brothers and sisters. Legend has it that wild animals had no fear of Francis and even came to him seeking refuge from harm. After his death in 1226, Francis was declared a saint by Pope Gregory IX.

This little book contains "Prayers for Our Pets and Other Animals." In it is a Prayer of Welcome for New Pets", "A Blessing for Pets", a "Prayer for a Sick Pet", " A Petition for a Pet Who Has Grown Old", "Get Well Wishes for a Pet", "A Prayer for a Lost Pet", "A Blessing Over a Pet's Food", "A Prayer of Forgiveness for Pet Accidents", "An Animal Litany", and even "A Goodbye Service for a Deceased Pet." I guarantee, if you read this little book, you will become misty-eyed. If you do not, I would question your humanity.

Now, before you get all uppity, remember the canticle (Benedicite Omnia Opere Domini) that says "Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise him and magnify Him forever." Now, if these creatures were created to praise God; should we not keep them in our own prayers? If you have read my post "A Strange and Special Angel," you already know my answer.

Any of my readers that might be curious about the "Prayer for My Pet" card, or about this small book; let me know. If you cannot locate a source for either of them, I can point you in the right direction or get them for you.

Fr. Hollywood, I await your comment.

Monday, May 04, 2009

MyThanks to You and a Reference to St. Francis

I wish to extend my thanks to all who offered prayers for my recovery from my fall. Your prayers and mine have been answered. Four days after my surgery I was home. My "Strange and Special Angel" was ready to take care of me, something that he took great joy in doing. On April 13 I was back at work. On April 29, my surgeon declared me fit to return to work (never mind that I had already been working for three weeks).

This past Sunday, my Pastor was commenting on my miraculous recovery; adding that after my demise, they might need to check the state of my remains. He did, however, amend that to observe that the state of my angel's remains might be of more interest. Sainthood in either case seems to be highly unlikely.

Concerning the Saints, however, working at a Catholic book store guides my attention to many curious coincidences. While browsing our collection of Holy Cards for a customer, I discovered one for St. Francis. This one is imprinted with a "Prayer for my Pet." I will be the first to admit that this prayer includes nothing that I have not said many times over as long as my Bear has been with me.

"In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the universe You blessed us with all living creatures. We especially thank You for giving us our pets who are our friends and who bring us so much joy in life. Their presence very often helps us get through trying times. Kindly bless my pet. May my pet continue giving me joy and remind me of Your power.

"May we realize that as our pets trust us to take care of them, so we should trust You to take care of us, and in taking care of them we share in Your love for all Your creatures. Enlighten our minds to preserve all endangered species so that we may continue to appreciate all of Your creations.

"Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen."

With respect to Fr. Eckhartd ("I Will Consider My Cat"): The death of a pet is sometimes "Ho,Hum," and at other times quite traumatic. I can't explain it; but it happens. My current "angel" decided to go home with me even if I was not so sure I really wanted him. I am greatful for his choice. He has been my companion, guardial angel and life saver for six years. Enjoy the pets that come your way; but cherish the pets that are determined to adopt you even if you do not agree. These are God's gifts to you. I know I will feel the loss of my Bear whenever it happens.

(The Grammarian, XIV): I know that I should not revise an existing text to fit my own sensibilities; but I have a personal problem with the inclusion of "endangered species" at the conclusion of the prayer on the card mentioned above. Are these not already included among "all your creations?"

Reverend Fathers and Brothers, forgive me for rambling. I do appreciate the prayers that have been offered by all those, known and unknown to me, who have been answered by our Lord, who has granted me a gracious recovery. I always remember you all in my prayers.

May the peace and blessing of Our Lord be always with you.

Dcn. Muehlenbruch

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Strange and Special Angel

A dog may be a strange disguise for an angel; but I do not doubt that this is my angel.

Last Saturday, March 28, I fell down the steps to my basement. I could have been out cold for a hour. I woke up to my Bear licking my face as fast and careful as he could. He did not stop until I started to move. I have been told that I might not have survived, if he had not got me moving.

I managed to climb the steps on my elbows and called for aid. The fall caused some spinal cord damage. I have lost some mobility in my right arm and hand. Three vertebrae (C5,6,7) were fused.

I returned home on Friday, April 3. My angel was waiting for me. This was the best medicine and therapy that I could receive.

Bear has been my companion and bodyguard for 6 years. This is a job he volunteered for when he insisted on my taking him home. That, however, is a story for another time. He still takes his job seriously. He follows me everywhere I go, and sleeps beside me when I am in bed. Recovery will be faster, now that my angel is taking care of me.

Our God uses all of His creation to sustain and protect us. His Angels are His Ministers of Grace and Mercy. Why should it seem strange that He would clothe an angel in the form of a dog? In this case, at least, Man's Best Friend is an angel sent by God to protect me. Of this I am certain, and for this I am thankful.

I welcome your comments re. my angel. In your devotions, include a prayer for my continued recovery.

God's Peace, and His Angels, be with you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Do not be quick to assume that March 25 is the singular commemoration of the Annunciation, even though this Feast is listed only one time in the calendar.

The Angelus Domini, shortened to "the Angelus," is the ringing of the church bell -- in three groups of three chimes with a pause in between each group, followed by 9 consecutive strokes -- at 6AM, Noon, and 6PM roughly, and its associated prayers, which spring from the monastic practice of praying the tres orationes at Matins, Prime and Compline. While the monastics said their prayers at the sound of the Angelus Bell, the faithful would stop what they were doing and say 3 Hail Marys in honor of the Incarnation. Later, since at least A.D. 1612, verses were added to these Hail Marys such that we get the form of the Angelus we have today.

Fr. Martin had some problems with the second half of the Ave Maria; but I present the following in English and in Latin. I also direct your attention to Fish Eaters.com who have more information concerning the Angelus.

The Angelus Prayers (Edited)

(3 bells)

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And dhe conceived of the Holy Spirit.

All. Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed it the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.


V.Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

(3 bells)

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

(3 bells)

V. Let us pray: Pour Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as we have known the Incartation of Thy Son by the message of an Angel, so by His cross and passion we mey come to the fulnes of His Resurrection: through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord,... Amen.

(9 bells)

A note concerning the ringing of the bell:
Although the rubric indicates that the bell concluding the Angelus is struck 9 times, I recall that at St. Augustine's House (Lutheran) the final bell was struck 33 times to mark the years of Our Lord's life among men.

So, you see that the Annunciation is not a singular, annual, commemoration; but that it has been and is commomemorated a minimum of 945 times each year.

And, in spite of the web site lamenting that the Angelus is not commonly rung these days, I hear the Angelus bell of a neighborhood Roman parish ringing three times each day.

Blessed is Mary's Virgin womb, that bore the Son of the Eternal Father; and blessed are the breasts that nursed Christ, Our Lord

Monday, February 23, 2009

Memento homo, quia pulvus es, et in pulverem reverteris..

Remember, man, that you are dust; and unto dust you shall return.

Rose Monday (February 23) is past. Carnival (Fasching) has ended. Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras - Fastnacht is here. Tomorrow, February 25 is Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). The Lenten Fast (Fastenzeit) begins.

Fasting usually involves abstinence, you give up something. You do not eat meat, you give up chocolate, you give up your favorite adult beverage or anything else that you enjoy during the rest of the year. Blessed Martin Luther even stated that fasting and bodily preparation are a fine outward training; but, in addition to fasting, have you ever considered adding something to your Lenten regimen?

For some years now it has been my practice to include the praying of the Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays in addition to the praying of the Divine Office. Do not think that this is something far removed from Lutheran practice. It is not uncommon to find the Stations in Lutheran Churches where the Stations are prayed during Holy Week.

But I do have a request for my readers. I am interested to know if your congregations include the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday and, if so, how do you include it. How do you incorporate it into the Divine Service? Is it before, during or after the beginning of Mass? Are the ashes blessed? Are they imposed at the Communion rail or at some other location?

I am just gathering information for my own consideration. I am curious to learn if this is an old or new practice within the Lutheran Church in America.

Meanwhile, there is still time to grab that last Danish, or to finish off that last batch of French fries or potato pancakes.

Now, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the great Paschal Feast; let us follow in the footsteps of our Lord as He submits to the will of His Father to Redeem mankind by the shedding of His Presious Blood upon the cross for our salvation.