Bloggerhood Etc. 3/2/15

Oren with his wife and kids.

Photo from A Blogger and a Father

This is a hard place to start, but the only place I can start. The Dad Bloggers community lost a friend and colleague on Saturday when Oren Miller passed away after a ten-month fight against cancer. I didn’t know Oren beyond the words in his blog and on the Dad Bloggers Facebook page, so I’m not one to write a tribute. I’ll leave that to his closest friends. But I can share the gift he left us.

Biggest Loss. A Blogger and a Father by Oren Miller. His words will be missed.

Best Advice.Unity, not Uniformity” by Rita Ferrone at Commonweal.

Best Prayer.God Have Mercy on Us” by Matthew Paul Turner.

Best Interview.Sarah Bessey – A Faith, Art, and Motherhood Interview” by Jerusalem Greer.

Best Story.The Girl Who Gets Gifts from Birds” by Katy Sewall at BBC News Magazine.

Most Outrageous.The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit” by Conor Friedersdorf at CityLab.

Best Special Needs Post.Dirty Bird” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Compliment.What One Courageous Dad Taught Me at Dad 2.0 Summit” by Christian Toto at Daddylibrium.

Best Reflection.This is How We Survive the Winter” by Addie Zierman at How to Talk Evangelical.

Best Question.Would Headlights Work at Light Speed?” by Vsauce (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of next week’s candidates, check out my new Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Bloggerhood Etc. 2/17/15

Bare tree against blue sky.

Photo: Cara Strickland

Best Parenting Post.Outsmarted By A Three Year Old; Tales of a Manipulative Child and a Manipulated Father” by Joe Ellis Gage at Fatherhood Stories.

Best Confession.I Almost Didn’t Vaccinate Our Kids” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Special Needs Post.In Defense of Monsters” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Most Honest.What I Didn’t Resolve in January” by Cara Strickland at Mudroom.

Best Profile. “The Plane Builder of South Sudan” by Jason Caffrey at BBC News Magazine.

Best Question.Is Liturgy Magic? A Response to Peter Leithart’s Puritan Sacramentalism” by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick in Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy.

Best Letter.Dear Scarlett, all I knew to do was to kiss your face (a letter to my daughter)” by Natalie Trust.

Best Interview.‘Every Person Is a Gift From God,’ Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli; Ancona-Osimo, Italy” by Jim McDermott in America.

Best Story.Solving a Lingering Mystery from Cheryl Strayed’s Wild” by Katie Calautti at Vanity Fair.

Best Video.The One Ring Explained” by CGP Grey (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of next week’s candidates, check out my new Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Triduum, a Liturgical Drama in Three Acts

Truddum Triptych

A Triduum Triptych by Stephen Crotts (via Facebook)

Beginning tonight, churches throughout the world will reenact the greatest drama in human history. Like many great dramas, this one will be presented in three acts. But unlike most dramas, which are presented in one showing, this drama will be spread out over three nights. Perhaps it is too great a story to fit in one night.

(Note: I’m using the Catholic liturgies for these three nights as my example. Many Anglicans and Lutheran churches will also observe the Triduum in a similar way, with a few small differences.)

The Paschal Triduum.

Act One: Holy Thursday evening.

Foot washing at last supper

Duccio di Buoninsegna The Washing of Feet (1308 – 11)

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins as usual, with a sung Introit (extolling the glory of the Cross) or a Hymn. The Gloria is sung for the only time during Lent—excluding the Feasts of the Annunciation and Saint Joseph—and church bells are rung. After this, the bells (and organ, if the church has one) are silenced until Easter eve.

The readings at the Liturgy of the Word describe the original Passover celebration (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14), recount the institution of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and retell the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 13:1-15). After a brief homily, the priest removes his chasuble and washes the feet of twelve parishioners—standing in for the apostles—following Jesus’ example.

The Eucharist follows. After communion, the Reserved Sacrament is carried in procession out of the church and to an Altar of Repose where the faithful wait with Jesus—whom Catholics believe is truly present—for at least the hour that the disciples couldn’t manage. There is no recessional or closing hymn. The altar is stripped privately in silence.

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The Crowd of Witnesses

Crowd in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis’ first Angelus blessing March 17. (Photo: Joshua J. McElwee/NCR)

I hate crowds.

I hate being in the middle of a mass of people. I hate standing in long lines. I hate traffic jams. And I hate elevators most of all.

Maybe it’s because I’m claustrophobic. Or because I’ve lived in big cities most of my life. But I would rather be in a big, open space, either by myself or with a few people, with room to stretch out and breathe.

I hate crowds. With one exception.

As much as I love praying alone in a beautiful old church, I love it even more when I’m surrounded by people at Mass. I love joining my prayers with others and I love seeing the long lines leading up to the altar as each member of the Body of Christ takes a turn receiving the Body of Christ.

And in my imagination I can see all the people in all the churches in the world united with Christ. One Bread, One Body.

And that unity goes beyond the Mass. When I say the familiar prayers with my family or I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, trying to time my prayers to coincide with the monks at Mt. Angel Abbey (as much as my schedule allows) I know that I am part of that great cloud of witnesses.

That great crowd of witnesses. In heaven and on earth. The Communion of Saints.

That’s the one crowd I want to be in.

Five Minute Friday

Note: This Five Minute Friday post was delayed one day due to circumstances beyond my control, but since I usually take longer than five minutes to write these posts, consider it a Six-Minute Saturday.

Mandatum Makes it Mandatory

Foot washing at last supper

Duccio di Buoninsegna The Washing of Feet (1308 – 11)

I hate to begin the Triduum—the three days from Holy Thursday to Easter tracing the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ—with a criticism, but this is one of those predictable times of the year when the self-appointed “liturgy police” miss the point. For example . . .

First, let it be remembered that the foot-washing thing during Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Last Supper is an OPTION.  Many problems (and violations of law and good taste and common sense) could be avoided by choosing NOT to do it.  All manner of absurdities are inflicted on God’s people because of this option.

Yes, Father Z, it is an option, but it is an option that should be exercised in the correct way. To suggest, because of some abuses, that it should be moved to the Chrism Mass or dropped altogether seems to miss the point of Christ’s “mandatum” or mandate from which the common name Maundy Thursday derives.

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. —John 13:34, NAB

Jesus has just washed his disciples feet, showing them in a dramatic fashion the self-denying love he wishes the disciples to show one another as well.

And though the foot-washing itself is not the commandment, it is an expression of that commandment and thus an option that should be exercised by the celebrant at the Holy Thursday Mass.

To question its inclusion is to question Christ, who washed his disciples feet at the Last Supper.

To question the inclusion of women is to question our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who included two women among the twelve juvenile prisoners whose feet he washed today at a private Holy Thursday Mass.

Yes, Father Z, you are correct in saying we should pay very close attention to what the prayer says.

But St. Paul was also correct when he wrote that “the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6).

So to you and to Dr. Peters and to the many others “gnat strainers” who think they’re more Catholic than the Pope and more Christian than Christ, I say to try and be a little less like Peter when he refuses his Lord’s request saying “You will never wash my feet,” and more like Peter’s successor who takes his Lord’s message to heart in humbling himself before the least among us knowing that they are Christ.

For as Christ told Peter “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”

I pray that those who still don’t get it will eventually understand.

(Hat tip to Millennial Journal)