SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr John Zuhlsdorf

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September 29, 2020
On October 7 1571 a Christian navy routed the seemingly unstoppable forces of Islam in a massive battle in the Ionian Sea’s Bay of Patras, near Lepanto. The commander of the Catholic fleet, Juan of Austria, had a statue of Our Lady on the quarterdeck of his flagship and the sailors prayed the Most Holy
September 04, 2020
Our month named “seventh” of the year, September, is now our ninth month ever since an ancient Roman reform of the calendar that added January and February. September ushers in the beginning of meteorological autumn in the northern hemisphere, spring in the southern. During September we Roman Catholics honour beautiful saints, ancient and modern: for
August 23, 2020
Let’s look at the Collect for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time: Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis, da populis tuis id amare quod praecipis, id desiderare quod promittis, ut, inter mundanas varietates, ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia. In the 1962 Missale Romanum we use it on the 4th Sunday
August 16, 2020
The Collect for the 20th Ordinary Sunday, found also in the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary, is in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost. Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti, infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum, ut, te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.
August 09, 2020
This Sunday’s Latin Collect, for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, was not in previous editions Missale Romanum before the 1970 Novus Ordo. It has roots, however, in the 9th century Sacramentary of Bergamo.  COLLECT (2002 MR): Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, quem paterno nomine invocare praesumimus, perfice in cordibus nostris spiritum adoptionis filiorum, ut promissam hereditatem
August 06, 2020
While we worship our Triune God, we venerate our human and angelic family in the Church Triumphant. There is no one more august to whom we offer praise than the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The months of June and July are respectively dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and
August 02, 2020
The Collect for the 18th Ordinary Sunday was not in any previous edition of the Missale Romanum. The ancient Veronese Sacramentary has a close cousin used by our ancestors. Our modern version simplified the grammar. I found similar vocabulary in the works of Cicero (d BC 43 – Ep. ad fam. 2.6.4), in the writings
July 26, 2020
On the 17th Ordinary Sunday the Collect for Holy Mass once again presents us with military imagery. At this time of the year Holy Mother Church seems to be trying to make a point: we are pilgrim soldiers marching through this world and we had better be disciplined if we are going to attain our
July 17, 2020
Last year I wrote about the Collect for the Novus Ordo’s 16th Ordinary Sunday. But this time I have a little more room and, after all, repetita iuvant. Our prayer has an antecedent in a 9th century manuscript, the Sacramentarium Bergomense. Hence, this oration probably has its roots in the forerunners of the Ambrosian Rite of Milan:
July 10, 2020
Special veneration of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord is by now a long-standing tradition during the month of July. It was by the shedding of Christ’s Blood that we are redeemed. The smallest of drops of the Precious Blood of Christ is our sinful race’s ransom, and now our guerdon unto hope for
July 09, 2020
Last weekend in these United States, most normal Americans celebrated Independence Day, that is our independence from – well, the British Empire. We Americans wanted our freedom, we had a nasty fight about it, we won, and the rest is history. We have now a republic, if we can keep it, as Benjamin Franklin quipped.
June 28, 2020
At work in the Novus Ordo Collect for this 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, new to editions of the Missale but originally from the 9th-century Sacramentarium Bergomense, are themes of divine adoption and the splendor of truth. The prayer connects being wrapped up in error to separation from God, and divine adoption to the light