Tagged: learn something

Vatican II: Optatam Totius and Presbyterorum Ordinis

Hello! Welcome to the third section of a debriefing on the Second Council of Vatican.

There are documents available on the Vatican website for all of this. That’s where I found the first-hand resources.

I took a week off on what I hoped to be a month long, every Wednesday type series. My apologies for previewing it too soon. Sometimes I just need a break, and apparently the blog is the first thing that gets tossed off the list.

Anyway, last week’s posts were so well read, I love that. I’m so glad people are finding my 5 ways posts so helpful. I specifically went with five instead of 10 for two reasons: they’re easy to write! and they’re easy to read. You’re welcome.. to you and myself. Haha.

learn something

Today’s post includes two decrees from Vatican II: Optatam Totius and Presbyterorum Ordinis

Priestly training and ministry and the life of priests

Optatam Totius, on priestly training, was a quick read. It was also the first document since starting this series that I didn’t really find that relevant to me. There are a lot of great things in it, though.

The principal contributors to this are the families which, animated by the spirit of faith and love and by the sense of duty, become a kind of initial seminary, and the parishes in whose rich life the young people take part.”

Pope Paul VI was talking about fostering vocations at home, in the home. It starts with the parents and family life.

This is key, and it’s important to remember that you might have a priest in one of your sons. (Or a nun in your daughters!)

About the task men are at seminary for:

They are therefore to be prepared for the ministry of the word: that they might understand ever more perfectly the revealed word of God; that, meditating on it they might possess it more firmly, and that they might express it in words and in example… having become the servants of all, they might win over all the more.”

Pope Paul VI also said that all candidates have to be throughly examined so that we have priests that can be priests and take on the full responsibilities.

At the end of the decree, Pope Paul VI writes:

The Fathers of this holy synod have pursued the word begun by the Council of Trent. While they confidently entrust to seminary administrators and teachers the task of forming the future priests of Christ in the spirit of renewal promoted by this sacred synod…”

Presbyterorum Ordinis is a much longer document and took me a lot longer to get through.

It’s not that it’s difficult to understand, it’s just dense. Full of things that take a lot of time to think about.

Here are my key take aways:

In (Christ) all the faithful are made a holy and royal priesthood…” but “… not all members have the same function.”

God gives priests a special grace to be ministers of Christ among the people.”

It’s God who chooses the priests who serve us, not the bishops, not the popes. It’s God. It’s something we should (I should) probably remember when we’re criticizing the priest who serves our parish.

The purpose, therefore, which priests pursue in their ministry and by their life is to procure the glory of God the Father in Christ.”

This is also something easy to forget. Priests have a purpose… glorifying God. They do that through ministering to others.

This decree is so wonderful! It’s something I’d love to talk to my priest about some time.

Their ministry itself, by a special title, forbids that they be conformed to this world; yet at the same time, it requires that they live in this world among men.”

There’s a huge emphasis in this decree on the Eucharist as “the source and apex of the whole work of preaching the Gospel.”

Pope Paul VI and the Council are adamant that priests celebrate Mass frequently and reverently.

The Most blessed Eucharist contains the entire spiritual boon of the Church.”

Priests, likewise, must instruct their people to participate in the celebrations off the sacred liturgy in such a way that they become proficient in genuine prayer… they must train the faithful to sing hymns and spiritual songs in their hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I could just pull about a million quotes from this decree all day long.

Priests therefore, as educators in the faith, must see to it either by themselves or through others that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free.”

Really, this decree goes into how priests are pulled in all directions, and they should turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for intercession.

They should respect the bishops and the Church’s hierarchy.

They should continue to study, always.

They should respect the gifts of the laity.

They should remain faithful to their vows.

The daily celebration of Mass is strongly urged, since even if there cannot be present a number of the faithful, it is still an act of Christ and the Church.”

With enthusiasm and courage, let priests propose new projects and strive to satisfy the needs of their flocks.”

And continue to pray, always.

Priests should all the more humbly and steadfastly pray with the Church for that grace of fidelity, which is never denied those who seek it, and use all the supernatural and natural aids available.”

And while I am not a priest, you reading this are probably not a priest, I think it’s important for us laity to read things like this decree. It reminds us the pressures on priests, on their role in the Church, on the importance of their job and on fostering vocations in others.

I was once – always – discerning entering religious life. I had a male friend tell me that I shouldn’t “give up” on “traditional” life, that I’d be a good mom and wife.

Well I would like to agree with him about me being a good mom and wife, I don’t think entering a religious life is “giving up” anything. It’s taking on so much more! A life ABSOLUTELY FULL of prayer, of working for others constantly, of being with Christ in adoration constantly.

Yes, being a mom is full of these things too. Both paths are so important for the world. Neither is giving up anything.

God bless.

Check out these Vatican II posts:

Nostra Aetate

Dei Verbum

Introduction to Church Councils


Learn something: Rosh Hashanah

learn something

(In this case, learn something about the Jewish roots of our Catholic faith.)

Rosh Hashanah starts this evening, Sept. 4.

For why Jewish feasts and celebrations start at sun down the evening “before” the day, go here.

Stay here to learn more about the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh hashanah, and it’s importance to Catholics.

New year

First, yes, Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of the new year… but not the Hebrew new year.

In fact, when the Israelites (the precusor of the Jews as we currently think of them) were in the Babylonian exile and Rosh Hashanah fell on the first day of the Babylonian new year.

“The first day of Tishri” Tishri being the first month in the Babylonian calender, but the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar.

According to Biblical Perspectives, the Hebrew religious and civil calendars began at different times, kind of like the fiscal new year in the United States.

If you’ve read some of the Old Testament, you’re probably familiar with all the number symbolism. Seven represents the Sabbath, the day God rested after creating the world.

So to, God created a Sabbath on the seventh month of the year.

Leviticus 23:34 says, “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a solemn rest, a memorial proclamation with a blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.”

A blast of trumpets! That’s where another name for the celebration comes from the. The Feast of Trumpets.

Apples and honey

Like most holidays, there are foods and traditions that go along with Rosh Hashanah, which by the way, I was taught to pronounce as “row sha-shan-ah.” Think of the sh of Rosh and the Ha of Hashanah going together as the first two… syllables. Row, shah-shan-ah. The shah-shan-ah goes fast off the tongue.

Anyway, yes, apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. I don’t know where I learned this, but it’s such a simple beautiful way to express this.

Instead of champagne or sparkling grape juice for my (eventual) kids, I should give them apples with honey.

There is also the traditional blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn. It’s kind of like a trumpet… only way cooler.

Challah bread is often served to represent the cycle of the year like a ring.

(That’s the breaded bread.)

Catholic Connection

Old Testament traditions are still our traditions.

We may not celebrate our sabbath on Saturday, we may eat pork… but we still believe in the truth in the Old Testament.

Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe (the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) are a very somber, serious, almost meditative time. It’s similar to a goal-planning, examination of conscience period for Jews.

We can practice that as well.

Professors take sabbaticals. We should probably examine how we’ve been doing on an annual basis. Maybe this is something to do in January, or in fall when school starts or in the spring when we’re cleaning house.

Yes, the nightly examination is good, but looking back at a year may help. Are there trends that we can only see over a long period of time? Probably.

There’s no formula for this, at least not that I know of.

But the feasts and memorials in the Old Testament and Israelite traditions shouldn’t be disregarded. They hold value for us as Catholics.

Shanah Tovah!

God bless.

Seven Quick Takes Friday (Vol. planning)

quick takes

— 1 —

I have big goals (again) for this blog.
I even wrote a post calendar… for the rest of the year.
Right now my goal is small (didn’t I just say big?). I have FOR SURE one post a week.

— 2 —

I have a lot of “learn something” posts planned and document reviews.
But I also want to add in some personal things like… tomorrow’s post about five strategies I use to focus during prayer.
I know those are helpful when I read posts like that from others.

— 3 —

I started running again on Aug. 1.
I’m not following a training plan now, like I was earlier this year when I did Couch to 5K.
I’m just going out, running some, walking some, running some.
I try to hit around 30 minutes.

— 4 —

Next week, though, I think it is. Maybe the week after.
I’m starting a training plan through Run Keeper.
It’s the run for fat loss program. I’ll see how it goes.
It continues the run every other day thing that I’ve been doing the last 16 days.
It should work.

— 5 —

I have a chili and cheesecake weekend planned for this weekend.
I haven’t had much time alone since I moved on Aug. 1, so this will be my catch up time.
I’m going to start chili cooking early in the morning. Then I’m going to make a cheesecake.

Then I’m going to have a run.
But mostly eat chili and cheesecake intermittently throughout the day while watching romantic comedies.

— 6 —

And also finishing unpacking.
It’s a working/cheesecake weekend 🙂

— 7 —

The garden is still growing great.
I got four tomatoes and two cucumbers at once this past week.
And one string bean… what?

Have a great weekend!
God bless.

Read posts from people who are serious about their blog scheduling and planning at Conversion Diary!

Learn something: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Learn something

In case you aren’t aware, tomorrow, Aug. 15, 2013, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Yes, that’s a Holy Day of Obligation.

What’s it all about, anyway?

The beginning

In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote Munificentissimus Deus, defining the Dogma of the Assumption.
It’s really the go-to guide for this feast.

Pope Pius XII said, “Since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege.”
This isn’t something new that Pope Pius XII thought would be a great idea. Cool! Let’s make a new feast day for Mary and make it a Holy Day of Obligation!
No, this has been a tradition in the Church throughout the world since “ancient times.” When the Church talks about “ancient times,” you know it’s pretty serious.

Pope Pius XII continued, “The fact that holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which ‘the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes.'”
There are even traditions that most (read: me) Catholics don’t follow… a fast before the feast day? What a great idea! I wish we hadn’t given that up. I may try that today (Wednesday). Except… usually, I fast breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner. I should work on that and what a great time to start.

There’s more from Pope Pius XII:
“The Holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful.”
ALREADY KNOWN by Christ’s faithful. It was already in our (Catholics) corporate knowledge. It was just something that made sense to us. Of course. Mary’s body was not corrupted. She was just lifted up into Heaven. This makes perfect sense.

Our beliefs

Pope Pius XII explains exactly what we know in our hearts.
“She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not the subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.”
Now, if you haven’t got to that part about the bodily assumption of all humans… go check out your copy of the Catechism. That’s right. We aren’t going to be angels. We’re going to be humans, perfected in Heaven. We’ll be near Christ in our human bodies, in the same way Mary is now.

Just like not bearing sin, she’s the the forerunner. She does it before us (and with us, of course). You can’t get any closer to Christ than Mary is. She’s there, walking in his footsteps. She walks so close behind her rabbi, she’s covered in the dust from his sandals.
Let me break down this quote.

ENTIRELY UNIQUE – she’s the only one that not only had an Immulate Conception, was chosen (AND ACCEPTED) and was taken up to Heaven. The only one. She’s special.
NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW – that’s right, those biological laws. she wasn’t subject to them. She didn’t have to die. God spared her from that, because she, too, sacrificed her only son.
END OF TIME FOR REDEMPTION – the rest of us have to wait until Christ returns. and oh, what a wait. Mary didn’t have to wait. She didn’t have to be away from Jesus.

Pope Pius XII said, “The august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes.”
I had to look up august in this sense. It means marked by majestic dignity. Is there any better way to describe Mary? Majestic dignity.

St. Robert Bellarmine said, “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the though that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”


St. Peter Canisius, the Vatican’s secret agent, said, “This teaching (of the Assumption) has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary’s body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic.”
WOW. St. Peter Canisius thinks this doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is pretty serious stuff.
And we should, too.

Pope Pius XII tells us, “Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, WE MUST BELIEVE (emphasis mine) that he really acted in this way.”
Now, Mary sits “in splendor at the right hand of her Son,” Pope Pius XII said.
Wait, the right side? So Jesus is in between Mary and God. Interesting.
It’s like… A HOLY FAMILY. Wow.

I’ll let you know how my fast goes… if it goes. Maybe I’ll give up coffee.
Yes. I’ll start with abstaining from coffee. And add on.

God bless.

Check out other learn something posts:

Missing Mass


Mary, Queen of Heaven

Learn something: Mary, Queen of Heaven

Learn something

Queen of Heaven

Why is Mary the Queen of Heaven?


Mary. Our Queen and Queen of Heaven.


Our Blessed Virgin has a lot of titles. Our Lady of Good Help, Throne of Wisdom, Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Peace, Our Lady of Mount Carmel… the list is nearly never ending.


Maybe those titles will be other posts. I do love the Blessed Virgin Mary. She really is the model for following Christ. She was there every step of the way.


But… QUEEN of HEAVEN. What does that mean? Where does that title come from?


First: Queen.

Why is Mary our queen?


She was crowned after she was assumed into Heaven.

They don’t crown just anybody. They crown those worthy of being called King and Queen.


Diego Velazquez (link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diego_Vel%C3%A1zquez_012.jpg) painting of the crowning of the Blessed Virgin.


There are so many paintings of this. Beautiful.

We can look at all these, and just imagine that Heaven is SO MUCH BETTER than all of that. So much better.

And we can’t even imagine it. We can only know that we’ll be WITH CHRIST. There’s nothing better than that.


And we get to be with Mary.


Sometimes, when I really start thinking about my Catholic faith and our church, it just blows my mind. Our traditions and beliefs are so beautiful and wonderful I don’t know why anyone would want to practice any other religion.

Clearly, it happens, but why????? I can’t begin to answer it.

I’ve never thought about leaving the Church. I’ve had moments of not being as faithful as I am now (am I’m still not super concrete in my faith), but I’ve never thought about leaving.


ANYWAY. Back to Mary, our Queen.


Think about when Jesus was a child. Mary was there, leading him, teaching him, correcting him.

All that time, she knew, he knew, Joseph knew, that Jesus was going to go through trials but eventually overcome them and become king.

Mary played a vital role in Jesus’ life. And that’s why she should play a vital role in our lives.

It doesn’t mean we need to develop a devotion to the Blessed Rosary, though that’s a good thing that I sometimes think I should return to.

It doesn’t mean that we need to forget about our other devotions, but Mary is a huge advocate for us.


Imagine if your mom asks you to do something. She’s usually right, huh? Yes. Of course, she’s right. She’s your mom.

And you just have to do what she says, right? And it works out, right?

Moms are amazing.


Mary is even more amazing. She talks to Jesus. About us! About what we ask her.


She’s the Queen because she has power. She’s not a god. No. We don’t worship her, no. I’m not even going to really get into that. There are answers to that complaint elsewhere on the Internet that would do it better than I can do.


Mary intercedes for us with Jesus, she doesn’t do it for us.

But she’s strong and can talk to Jesus for us.


Joseph does the same thing.

But there can only be one King, and that is Jesus.

Not that Joseph isn’t an amazing intercessor as well, but let’s not get off-topic which I am so prone to do.



So by bearing Christ, she became our mother, by being crowned in Heaven, she became Queen.


Queen of HEAVEN, though.

That’s tricky.


So, the Queen of England only has power in England and the Commonwealth (I think that’s what all the countries are called when grouped together).

The Queen of Heaven, though, she has power everywhere.


There are some references to Mary, Queen of Heaven AND EARTH, but I haven’t read anything definitive on that.

But those in Heaven all have influence on what happens on Earth. They all can intercede for us if we ask.


Mary’s power extends to EVERYTHING. Heaven. Earth. Universe.


That’s not to hard to understand, I don’t think.


Mary, then, is Queen, and she should be treated like a Queen.

When we ask Mary to intercede for us, we should do so like we talk to our own Mom when we want something.

No, be respectful and honest with the Blessed Virgin. She has earned that dignity.



In 1946, Pope Pius XII sent the encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae to all the Bishops.

He referred to Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” in the letter.

“For a long time past, numerous petitions (those received from 1849 to 1940 have been gathered in two volumes which, accompanied with suitable comments, have been recently printed), from cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests, religious OF BOTH SEXES, associations, universities and innumerable private persons have reached the Holy See, all begging that the bodily Assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin should be defined and proclaimed as a dogma of faith.”

He asks the Church to respond to his question:

“We earnestly beg you to inform us about the devotion of your clergy and people (taking into account their faith and peity) toward the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. More especially we wish to know if you, Venerable Brethren, with your learning and prudence consider that the bodily Assumption of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith.”


It’s interesting how Catholic dogma is adopted sometimes.

And it’s cool that the Church keeps great records.


In Bendito seja, Pope Pius XII said, “He, the Son of God, relects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Matyrs in the unspeakable work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father]. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.”


In 1954, Pope Pius XII wrote Ad caeli Reginam, proclaiming the Queenship of Mary:

“From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”


Can’t put it any better than that.


God bless.