SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Fr John Zuhlsdorf

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April 02, 2020
With Palm Sunday we initiate Holy Church’s final self-emptying before her liturgical death with the Lord during the Sacred Triduum and her resurrection with Him at Easter. At the Lord’s arrival in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, the people waved branches and sang Ps 118, about the coming of a Davidic Priest-King-Messiah, as they
March 26, 2020
In our older, Roman tradition this Fifth Sunday of Lent is called Passion Sunday. “Passiontide” begins. We veil images and statues in our churches to commence a deepening liturgical sensory deprivation, our liturgical dying, until we arrive at the still, silent darkness before the Vigil of Easter. Then a sudden spark brings back the light
March 19, 2020
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is nicknamed from the beginning of the first chant of Mass, the Introit: Laetare … Rejoice! It’s a glimpse of the destination of our march up Lent’s mountain, Easter. You may hear more music, see some flowers, and have rosacea (not, I hope, baby-rattle pink) vestments. That’s the beginning of
March 12, 2020
As mentioned last week, during Lent there is a special prayer at the end of Holy Mass, the Oratio Super Populum, or Prayer Over the People. In this time of greater spiritual combat Father begs an additional blessing over you. In the Novus Ordo, these prayers are also on Sundays. Here is the Oratio for
March 05, 2020
During Lent, a season of greater spiritual combat, we have a special prayer at the end of Holy Mass, the Oratio Super Populum, or Prayer Over the People. In the Traditional Latin Mass, we receive these lovely orations each weekday. Paul VI had expunged them with the Novus Ordo, but Benedict XVI restored them in
February 27, 2020
Traditionally, each day of Lent has an assigned Roman Station, a church where the faithful would gather for Mass after a procession. On Lent’s 1st Sunday we are at St John Lateran, the Mother Church of the City (Rome) and the World, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. The traditional Collect for this Sunday
February 20, 2020
Acknowledging that this Sunday is, traditionally, Quinquagesima, and that Lent is around the corner, let’s peek at the Collect for the upcoming Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time.    Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, semper rationabilia meditantes, quae tibi sunt placita, et dictis exsequamur et factis. A biblical source for part of the oration could be John
February 13, 2020
In the traditional Roman calendar Pre-Lent is under way. This Sunday is Sexagesima. In the newfangled calendar it is the 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time. The upcoming Collect is founded on a prayer from the 8th-century, Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis: Deus, qui te in rectis et sinceris manere pectoribus asseris, da nobis tua gratia tales exsistere,
January 23, 2020
Our Collect for the 3rd Ordinary Sunday in the Novus Ordo was in the 1962 Missale Romanum and the 8th-century Liber sacramentorum Engolismensis for Sunday in the Octave of Christmas. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, dirige actus nostros in beneplacito tuo, ut in nomine dilecti Filii tui mereamur bonis operibus abundare. Beneplacitum means “good pleasure, gracious purpose”.
January 16, 2020
Fifty years ago, Paul VI implemented a new form of the Roman Missal, a departure from the tradition of centuries not just in forms and gestures, but also in the content of our prayers. Vatican II required that in the liturgical reform nothing should be changed that wasn’t truly for the good of the people
January 09, 2020
Both East and West have calendar issues. In the Eastern Churches, some follow the old Julian calendar and some the newfangled 16th-century Gregorian. In the Western Church some follow the Roman Rite’s traditional calendar while others that of the novel Novus Ordo. At no time of year are these differences more pronounced than the time
January 02, 2020
The ancient Church gave much greater importance to the feast of Epiphany than to the relative latecomer Christmas. “Epiphany” is from the Greek for a divine manifestation or revelation. There are many “epiphanies” in Scripture, such as when God spoke to Moses in the burning bush. The Latin Church’s antiphons for Vespers reflect the tradition
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