Saturday, 12 October 2019

Synod 2020. Number 19. Muddling the Mystery


Tomorrow we celebrate Synod Sunday here in the Archdiocese of Liverpool - the presentation of the four "Themes" on which we are to submit proposals. It's rather a pity that it comes on the same day as Cardinal Newman's canonization - as both subjects could certainly fill a Sunday.

The four themes are:

All called and gifted by God
Sharing the mission of Jesus
How we pray together
Building community, nurturing belonging

A little nebulous to my way of thinking and despite some references to the loss of transcendence in the liturgy and a nod to those who are "attached to the Extraordinary Form" in the presentation to the Synod members at the last meeting when these themes were revealed, the direction of travel seems clear. The language, presentation and mind-set all encourage a further travelling on a now well-worn path that has led to the need for an "emergency Synod" in the first place. Certainly there are those among my fellow priests and among the laity who do not see that "more of the same" is going to solve any of our problems or inspire any new evangelisation. However, we continue to take part in the hope that those with some different ideas from the formularies of the last forty years which have led us to this dire state in the Church might still get a look in.

I might translate the themes from secularese into the ecclesial thus:

The call to sanctity and participation in Christ's priestly, prophetic and kingly offices  (Catechism 1694 ff & 897ff )

Mission - a requirement of the Church's Catholicity (Catechism 894ff)

Praying like the Apostles (Catechism 1124ff)

How to belong to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church  (Catechism 748ff)

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The main focus of this blog has always been liturgical, so I would like to focus there. I suppose that comes under the heading of "How we pray together". I have just started reading Cardinal Sarah's new book, "The day is now far spent". As you might expect from him, it pulls no punches. On page 43 he quotes Romano Guardini in his book "Meditions before Mass" (one of the most important thinker of 20th century Catholic life) at some length, speaking of transcendence; the altar as both table and threshold:

"the altar, a threshold that creates first the border between the realm of the world and the realm of God...  That is why it is not fitting for the priest celebrant to stand 'on the other side of the altar', as though he were taking the place of God. In doing do he is like a screen that hides the Transcendence of God. He is a veil that hides the majesty of God. Thus, instead of looking at God, the faithful look at the priest. And he, by his movements, gestures, and many words, muddles the mystery, hides the divine Transcendence."

I don't think I've ever come across a better description of what we have done to our liturgical worship over recent years than that: we have muddled the mystery. At a plain and simple level but also understanding musterion in its biblical sense: which we might call the administration of the sacred secret.

As the next part of the Synod process we are all called upon to proffer proposals based on the four themes. I would encourage everyone to think boldly in suggesting these, to the revolutionary even. Not in the sense of mimicking the fashionable and passing revolutions of the secular world but the truly revolutionry that is of Our Lord and His Church. The great thing is that you don't have to scour your imaginations or the world's philosophies or ape the latest PC policies, all these truly revolutionary idea and practices are there in the fullness of the Church's teaching, in our very own Tradition (including the Bible). All we have to do is hold them up once more before the world and renew them in our own practice.

On the liturgical front a renewal of the sense of the sacred and transcendent might be helped by such practices as restoring the altar rail, guardian of the altar, that threshold Heaven. Cardinal Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has mandated this in all the churches in his diocese.

Restoring the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue. Some diocese have encouraged this practice, which is, after all, the norm.

Encouragement to receive Holy Communion kneeling. Cardinal Sarah notes in his book, "We will rediscover the sense of human greatness if we agree to acknowledge God's transcendence."

Encouragement to apply the Church's norms on music and Latin in the liturgy. This is mandated by the Second Vatican Council. "Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 54) Gregorian chant has a "foremost place" in the celebration of the Mass (Sac Conc 114-117).

Let us NOT continue the work of the Reformation by negating the role of the priest in the liturgy and replacing it with overblown ministries for the laity. This undermines the true, best and most noble and most essential call of the laity. "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will." (Catechism 898) Surely, it is in this challenge that we have abandoned our Tradition, the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism to most disastrous effect. It is so much easier to send someone on a course, dress them up in a fake stole and give them a "ministry" than it is to ask them to challenge those in their workplace and families to direct their affairs according to God's will.

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I don't mean that the Archbishop should mandate all theses things tomorrow (although by doing so he would only be putting into practice what is laid down in black and white in the Church's documents and is presently often ignored). All these things could be encouraged by word and example (in the Cathedral, for example) and by the kind of resources provided by the various departments of the Archdiocese.

We are muddling the mystery because we are saying one thing - in our mandate from our Tradition, from the Second Vatican Council, from the Catechism and from our liturgical directives - but doing something quite different in practice.

A muddle indeed.


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Masses for the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven


Masses at St Catherine's for the Holy Day of Obligation tomorrow,
Thursday 15th August.

9.30am: said Mass in English

7pm Missa Cantata
Sung Mass in the Traditional Form

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

G. K Chesterton. Do you follow him?


It's been in the news this last couple of days that Peter Doyle, the Bishop of Northampton, has come to the conclusion that he will not support the cause of Chesterton on the road to sainthood.

His reasons do not seem very well founded, at least to me.

1. That there is no local cultus.

Well, I've been on pilgrimage twice to his grave in Beaconsfield and there is no shortage of others who do so, including an annual 27 mile pilgrimage by the Chesterton Society each July.
I suppose a Cultus requires followers. 
A cursory glance at a very modern indicator shows that one Facebook Chesterton page has 69,731 followers. By the way, the Diocese of Northampton has 419 followers. So perhaps its just a case of the Diocese is not all that it might be in engaging with the modern world and what is popular - like Chesterton. 
Perhaps anyone who has a devotion to him could write (politely) to the Bishop of Northampton, letting him know that they follow him, as it were.

2. That there is no pattern of personal spirituality.

One of the reasons I read Chesterton is that there is indeed a truly Catholic spirituality revealed in his stories and poems, in his observations and witticisms. Their beauty is that they are often couched in the sharp observation of everyday life and the foolishness of the world.

3. That the issue of his anti-Semitism is a real obstacle.

This canard has been debunked by any number of Chesterton scholars.(See the link below).

Anyway, there is a press release from Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Society of G K Chesterton, which eloquently answers all these points in detail and is well worth reading.

Chesterton may be an unusual candidate for sainthood but surely, that's the point.

There is also a very Chestertonian and common-sense response from Charles Coulombe, who I met again recently at the Chavannes Studium Conference, which you can find here: 
For those with  a dry sense of humour, you can read an alternative account at Eccles and Bosco:


Picture from my own pilgrimage to Chesterton's grave.


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Synod 2020. Number 18. Liturgical reform - I did it my way.


Our Liverpool Archdiocese Synod "listening period" is now over. From all the talk and opinions that have been recorded, themes are now to be distilled and from those themes that have emerged, the proposals - about five, I think - will be put forward at the Synod and voted on.

I've said several times that the liturgy should be among the concerns that garner the Synod's attention, if for no other reason than the vast majority of practicing Catholics experience the Church for only an hour a week and that Mass is likely to be the most formative - and perhaps only - gathering and expression of Faith they experience on any regular basis. Yes, hopefully many of them are doing all sorts of other things in prayer and charity to live out that Faith that also contribute to and form their Christian lives but that hour remains the source and summit. 

Hence, what they experience and learn, what comfort and challenge they receive there is of the first importance. Thus, I hope the Synod will not ignore it. Particularly because it has become so varied, so encrusted with add-ons you will not find in the Missal or its instructions. All of which distort or even change completely what is the possession of the Church, the gift that no Catholic should be denied when they come to Mass. I love the music of old blue-eyes above but the second Vatican Council nowhere suggests my penchant for stylish crooning should be fulfilled during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (any more than someone else's love of balloons, campfire songs, modern dance, indulging the children's drama group or relating the football scores).

We have a series of talks to give some further food for thought (which I hope might be rich, nourishing meals and not McDonald's nougats). I don't know many of the speakers but Bishop Philip Egan should provide at least one good meal.

On the subject of the liturgy, some musings with great merit about not doing it "my way" but the Church's way can be found at Fr Hugh's blog: Dominus Mihi Adjutor. And another post HERE. As Fr Hugh is now local to the Archdiocese, perhaps his excellent insights could be drawn on for the Synod in some way. Completely unrelated, I had been discussing one of the things he mentions just recently - the issue of the quality of training for the various lay ministries in the liturgy routinely seen in most of our parishes (the legitimate ones, rather than those expanded on merely ideological grounds! - which is another subject of concern altogether!)

For some further food for thought, you might also be interested in Alcuin Reid's recent paper for the Association of Church Music of America: Reflections on authority in the liturgy today.


Monday, 24 June 2019

Synod 2020. Number 17. Latin Mass in the Archdiocese


I attended a Synod listening session for those involved with the Latin Mass Society yesterday, which took place at St Anthony's Church in Liverpool, where the Traditional Mass is celebrated each Sunday. Interestingly, many members were just as interested in the quality and faithfulness of the liturgy in the Ordinary Form of the Mass as something that the Synod could tackle, having found, like me, that many celebrations play fast and loose with the rubrics (to say the least!) Many members also attend the Ordinary Form - either on special occasions or some more regularly and are involved in their local parish.

One theme that did emerge was the hurt and isolation those attached to the celebration of the Church's ancient liturgy have often experienced at the hands of parish priests and bishops - and for those of us who are priests, by the seminary authorities as well. That has changed to some extent, generally under Pope Benedict's pastoral care and in the diocese under Archbishop Malcolm's pastoral care. Though I should highlight "to some extent". Part of that "extent" is that those who are attached to the traditional Rites have been part of the consultation process. I hope that those voices will not be too small or quiet to be edited out by the algorithms of the collating process!

One of the members, Mr Neil Addison,  in consultation with others, produces the submission below, which I think is excellent. 

SUBMISSION TO SYNOD 2020
FROM THE LATIN MASS SOCIETY, LIVERPOOL ARCHDIOCESE 

INTRODUCTION 

The Latin Mass Society (LMS) in Liverpool Archdiocese would like to take this opportunity to thank Archbishop Malcolm and the Archdiocese for the invitation to participate in a ‘Listening Group’ as part of the preparations for Synod 2020. We are grateful for the support the Archdiocese gives to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Rite (Extraordinary Form) and we wish to express our particular thanks to the many Priests of the Archdiocese who celebrate the Extraordinary Form. We are very aware of the many demands on their time in particular those Priests running Parishes who have to ‘fit in’ celebrations in the Extraordinary Form with their other commitments to Parishioners who expect celebrations in the Ordinary Form. Our prayers and our thanks go to all of them.

QUESTION 4 

We move immediately to answering Question 4 of the Synod Questions. The topic that should undoubtedly be on the Synod Agenda is ‘The Liturgy’, when we say this we do not only refer to Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form but to the celebration of the Liturgy in the Ordinary Form. The importance of the Liturgy in the Mission of the Church cannot be overstated as Pope Bendict said in Utrecht 19 March 2011 "we encounter, especially through the sacred liturgy, the True, the Beautiful and the Good.” and Pope Francis said 0n 14th February 2019 “The liturgy is in fact the main road through which Christian life passes through every phase of its growth,”. Pope Francis has in addition warned against those for whom Christianity becomes ‘a sort of NGO stripped of Luminous mysticism’1 

The Liturgy in whatever Form or language it celebrated should always be an experience of Holiness celebrated with dignity. It is the experience of the LMS that good and holy liturgy can draw people into the Church whilst poor rushed or undignified Liturgies can drive them away. The subject of the Liturgy and how it is celebrated is therefore important and should play a prominent part in the discussions of the Synod 

One practical suggestion that we would make to improve the quality and holiness of celebrations of the Liturgy is that the Archdiocese should positively encourage Diocesan Priests to study and learn to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. We do not make this suggestion as a merely self interested means of obtaining additional celebrations of the Extraordinary Form, we make it as a positive proposal to improve the quality and holiness of celebrations of the Liturgy in the Ordinary Form. It is the invariable experience of the LMS that Priests who learn the Extraordinary Form of the Mass say that the experience has had positive effects on how they say and approach celebrations in the Ordinary Form. His Holiness Pope Benedict often emphasised the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’ when talking about the changes brought into the Church by the Second Vatican Council and this is particularly evident when comparing the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass. Learning the Extraordinary Form assists Priests to understand more deeply the meanings and significance of the various parts of the Mass especially the consecration and increased knowledge of the Extraordinary Form will lead to a greater holiness and dignity in the celebration of Mass in the Ordinary Form. 

Regarding training in the Extraordinary Form the LMS offers training courses and the FSSP has generously offered to provide training at St Mary’s in Warrington. The FSSP
also publishes excellent training DVD’s and Videos. The LMS both nationally and locally will be delighted to assist in any way Priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form 

SERVICES WITHOUT PRIESTS 

We are sure that under some title or other the subject of Services without Priests or ‘Lay Led’ Services will be discussed by the Synod. We are concerned that increasing suggestions that Lay people could substitute for Priests risks becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. There is a danger that utilising Lay People to carry out priestly functions traps the Church in a Catch 22 situation where there is less incentive for any man to offer themselves for the Priesthood because the functions of the Priesthood can seemingly be carried out by anyone. 

We would particularly deprecate any suggestion that there should be a use of Extraordinary Ministers of Communion to carry out Eucharistic Services where pre consecrated hosts are distributed. To carry out such services is in our view demeaning to the sacred role of the Priest and more importantly it demeans the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist should be given only in the context of Holy Mass or when the recipient is ill and unable to attend Church, to do otherwise ignores the importance of Holy Communion being seen and experienced in the context of Holy Mass and the consecration, that is the Historic practice and tradition of the Church which should be preserved and defended. 

If there are concerns that increasingly Churches will not be able to have a celebration of Mass regularly then in our view that problem cannot be addressed by creating artificial ‘mini Masses’ instead we we would recommend a greater emphasis on historic forms of worship and praise which can be properly be led by lay people without infringing on the unique role of the Priesthood. Merely because a Church cannot have a Mass does not mean that it cannot be a centre for prayer and adoration. The Church has a rich heritage of prayer and we recommend increased emphasis on the use of the Divine Office, The Stations of the Cross, Novenas, the Holy Rosary and Eucharistic adoration all of which can be and should be part of the life of any Church building, such prayers and worship are rich in meaning and devotion and they do not in any way interfere with or attempting to duplicate the role of the Priesthood 

FUTURE PLANS FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE 

In its plans for the future we would ask that the Archdiocese consider increasing the availability of the Extraordinary Form in particular through the Traditionalist Orders namely the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), both orders are well established in the North West and the FSSP is already incardinated in the Archdiocese in St Mary’s Church Warrington. 

We would suggest that the experience in St Mary’s shows that parishioners used to the Ordinary Form can very quickly become used to and actively involved in the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form. We would suggest that the Archdiocese consider giving another Church to a Traditionalist Order perhaps one more centrally located in Liverpool with access to parking and/or the Merseyrail system. 

Another or additional possibility is to invite a Traditionalist Order to have a Priest based in the Cathedral itself with the role of celebrating Mass and Benediction in the Cathedral and in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the City Centre. We suggest that regular celebrations of Mass in the Extraordinary Form could prove popular with Students in the University since it is our experience that the Traditional Mass is particularly attractive to young people a point that was made by His Holiness Pope Benedict in his Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ 

We would suggest that thought be given to inviting the Fathers of the Oratory to establish an Oratory in Liverpool. The Oratorians have a fine reputation for the quality and holiness of their celebrations of the Liturgy both in the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form and we are sure that an Oratory in Liverpool would be an asset to the Archdiocese 

SYRO MALABAR CATHOLIC CHURCH 

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Archdiocese for its decision to give a Church to the Catholics of the Syro Malabar Rite. This is an ancient and respected rite of the Church and it is heartening that the Archdiocese has taken steps to ensure that this rite continues for the benefit of the Syro Malabar Community in Liverpool. As the Second Vatican Council put it in ‘Orientalium Ecclesiarium’ “practices sanctioned by a noble antiquity harmonize better with the customs of the faithful and are more likely to foster the good of souls” 

A principle which the LMS would say applies as much to the historic Latin Rite as as much as it does to Eastern Rites.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Chartres Pilgrimage 2019

 Setting off from Chavagnes College.

I took part in the Paris - Chartres Pilgrimage last week. Only writing about it now that I have some energy after the rigours of the walk. There are a few photos below but to be honest, I didn't take many. There just isn't the time whilst walking and keeping up the pace with the Chapter you are with and when you come to a halt overnight, I was too tired to bother! Putting up the tent and getting something to eat rather take priority. I'm definitely not as young as I thought I was - there is a reason the vast majority of people walking are young. Having said that, I was offering my pilgrimage for my parish; most especially for all those who are lapsed - who live so near the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in His Church and yet never - or rarely - bother to come and visit Him. 


I had the privilege of walking with the Chapter from Chavagnes International College. It was from there we set off the day before and camped overnight on the outskirts of Paris. I was made an honorary scout for the duration - hence the hat!

Former Chaplain of the School and present parish priest of Glastonbury, Fr Bede Rowe, returns every year as Chaplain to the Chapter. His leading of the singing kept us all going through many a tough hour.

 An early morning start. Reveille at 5am!

Mass on Pentecost Sunday.

A small portion of the 14,000 who walked this year.

Scout anthem at the end of Mass.

I spotted quite a few musical instruments, including bagpipes, but the guitars were strictly for around the camp fires, where choruses properly belong. 


Many people carry banners, flags and statues along the route. 


One of our lunch stops. The semi-recumbent position was the only one allowed by aching limbs by this time.


 
A lot of scouts walk the pilgrimage and what a great example they are.
Very proud of their faith and willing to proclaim it.

Not only scouts. This Guide troupe was amazing. Very smart all the way through and some of the girls were very young. I don't know how they kept going.

Meeting new people and sharing the Faith is all part of the Pilgrimage as well.

Journey's end in sight.

It was an amazing experience to be with so many young people who are full of faith and willing to give up so much time and put so much effort into this pilgrimage. I counted three hundred priests and seminarians at the final Mass in Chartres Cathedral. It took ten minutes for us to process in (video footage here). Mostly young men. 
A reminder that all these young people, committed to the Faith, were all there on a Pilgrimage conducted entirely with the Traditional Form of the Mass. I think that speaks for itself. If only the rest of the Church would listen to what it is says.




Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Ascension Thursday Masses


Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven
A Holyday of Obligation

Mass at 9.30am

Missa Cantata at 7pm

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An article from Dr Adam DeVille from "Catholic World Report" - some thoughts on the Ascension.


I was on sabbatical last year, and as I finished three books, several international lectures, and a bunch of other projects, my superego relentlessly pursued me with the question: “Are you doing enough?”
This wretched question led me to return often to dwell on an overlooked part of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae. Often described as little more than a letter about abortion, it is in fact a wide-ranging analysis of many interlocking cultural developments, not the least of which is the one coming back to my mind for some time now: his strong and repeated denunciations of late-modern capitalist “idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency” (no.12).
This was a theme he returned to repeatedly in the letter, later writing of how “the values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one’s own material well-being. The so-called ‘quality of life’ is interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency” (no.23). Noting in the same paragraph how this ideology of efficiency is used to justify not only abortion and euthanasia, but also the reduction of all forms of life on this planet, which “are considered not for what they ‘are,’ but for what they ‘have, do and produce’” (no.23).
As we come to the end of the Paschal cycle, and enter into two major feasts that are often quickly rushed by—Ascension especially, but also Pentecost—I am struck by the contrast between cultural demands and ideas of “efficiency” on the one hand, and the lavish excessiveness of a gracious God on the other. If God were “efficient,” it seems neither feast need exist.
An efficient God would have ended with Easter—the queen of festivals indeed! Who could need or want more than that—to have death, our last and greatest enemy, destroyed? It would have been quite enough for Him to rescue us from death. That would be to right the balance lost with the fall, when death entered the world through sin. He need not have done more if we take a balance-sheet approach to salvation.
But God is not content with merely satisfying some soteriological “debt” as it were. He does not merely restore us to life on earth, but takes us from earth into heaven, so that human nature is thereby exalted beyond even that of the angels. At His Ascension we enter into the very life of God. But even this is not enough for Him insofar as it remains an eschatological promise and prospect. He wants to give us more gifts now, and His distribution system is not what Amazon or Walmart would consider efficient in the least.

If the late pope’s use of “efficiency” has been on my mind, then it has this month been paired antinomically with the word “excessive,” which was often used by and about the work of the late Jean Vanier, who died at the beginning of May and who has long been a hero to me since I was first enraptured by his Massey Lectures on CBC Radio in Canada in the 1990s. In a 2002 interview with the Catholic Herald, he spoke very powerfully of the excessive love of God: “There’s something in the Gospel message so simple, so loving, so extraordinary, so excessive,” he explains,
because everything Jesus does is done to excess. At Canaan, he gives an excessive amount of wine. When he multiplies the bread, he does an excessive amount. To love our enemies is an excess of love. When you are hit on one cheek, turn the other. Everything is excessive, because love can not be otherwise than excessive.
These themes of efficiency and excess came together this past Sunday when in the Byzantine tradition we read the gospel of the man born blind. In thinking on this gospel, and its placement just before Ascension and Pentecost, it seems to me that the Eastern Church is suggesting to Christians that we all need to be cleansed of our blindness in order to see aright in general terms, but also and especially in terms of the mysteries of the two great feasts before us. For without having our sight cleansed and purified by the Lord, how can we truly see the import of a man being taken beyond the clouds and back home to heaven whence He shall send the Holy Spirit, which appears as fire that burns but does not consume?
Seeing any of that in purely human terms, we understand none of it. Which of us, standing there as the apostles did, would in fact be able to see at all through our tears? Of all the Vesperal stichera throughout the year, none sticks in my mind so much as this deeply affecting and profoundly human one from the eve of the Ascension when we are told that as
the apostles saw You ascending upon the clouds, a great sadness overcame them; they shed burning tears and exclaimed: O our Master, do not leave us orphans; we are Your servants whom You loved so tenderly.
The only way they can endure the trauma of this second loss of our beloved, and so recently recovered, Jesus is to end, as this stichera does, by beseeching the Lord for consolation through the One rightly called Comforter: “Since You are most merciful, send down upon us Your all-holy Spirit to enlighten our souls, as You promised.”
Thus does the tradition directly link the departure of Christ at His Ascension with the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And when the Spirit comes, He does not stint on spreading Himself everywhere. In the troparion (roughly equivalent to a collect) for Pentecost Monday (the Byzantine tradition having retained the octave, as the Western liturgical reforms, guided by notions of “efficiency,” have not), which becomes a prayer recited daily in the minor and major hours, the Church prays thus:
Heavenly King, Advocate, Spirit of Truth,
who are everywhere present and fill all things,
Treasury of Blessings, Bestower of Life,
come, and dwell within us;
cleanse us of all that defiles us,
and, O Good One, save our souls.
At Matins on Pentecost, the Byzantine tradition says that only now does God rest, as it were, from His supererogatory labors, for it is here that Easter’s overcoming of death reaches its consummation:
Come, O faithful, let us celebrate the feast of the Fiftieth Day: the day which concludes the Feast of feasts; the day on which the pre-ordained promise is fulfilled; the day when the Comforter descends upon the earth in tongues of fire; the day of the disciples’ enlightenment. They are revealed as initiated into the heavenly mysteries, for truly the light of the Comforter has illumined the world.
We who live here and now remain initiates into the heavenly mysteries—an act of divine generosity so excessive it overwhelms us, and the only way we can receive it is by daily petition to have our sight healed, our hearts enlarged, and our minds renewed so that we may live wildly inefficient lives of excessive, extravagant love. As we move forth into Ascensiontide and then Pentecost, let us never forget these beautiful words of St. Augustine: 
“Our entire task in this life, dear brothers, consists in healing the eyes of the heart so that they may be able to see God."