And as it begins the local parish has removed its statues of the Holy Family
in favor of this voluptuous felt offering.
We often think of Baptism as "washing away Original Sin" and Confirmation as a "strengthening" (confirmo in Latin means "I strengthen") in the Church Militant.
Baptism is actually prefigured in the Great Flood and in the Parting of the Sea by Moses. It is the washing away of sin, to be sure, but it is, more importantly, the crossing over into a new and renewed creation, the new promised land and the new Jerusalem which is the Church (and which the old covenant and the old Jerusalem anticipated). We enter the Church in Baptism ("baptism" means "plunging" in Greek, hence when one is "baptized into Christ" one is plunged into the body of Christ, the Church) we enter into something pure and our sins are washed away as a consequence.
Confirmation, or Chrismation, is a similar story. The anointing with oil is actually an Old Testament style anointing to the priesthood. In this case it is the anointing into a priestly group of people (1 Peter 2:9—that passage Luther so abused). In the ancient days the priests came from the Levites. Christ has transformed all members of the Church into members of a new type of people that has this priestly charism, that is, the power and ability to spread the Gospel, which is of course not the same as Holy Orders. It is perhaps a very small participation in Christ's priesthood in spreading the Gospel. The priests and bishops in Holy Orders have a much stronger participation since they have the power to confect the Sacraments. Either way it is a very real participation in the Divine Life. Because it is a joining to a new people, Confirmation was always done in tandem with Baptism: one entered into the new creation and the new people of God at the same time. As infant Baptism (which was always done) became the norm the Byzantines Confirmed infants and the Romans reserved it for the bishop to do. There is, in both the traditional and Novus Ordo Roman books, a remnant of Confirmation of infants: the priest anoints the baptized child with Chrism saying nothing. Thankfully we do confer Confirmation after Baptism with converts now.
Also at Confirmation one receives the Holy Spirit. Because one enters into a priestly people one must receive the Holy Spirit to be guided in truth (1 John 2:20). The traditional Roman rite loses sight of this. The form in the Roman rite is "I sign you with the sign of the Cross and strengthen you with the chrism of salvation in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The Byzantine rite, which the new Roman books copied in this case, is far clearer "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit" which really means "Be sealed with the gift that is the Holy Spirit."
Makes me wish I appreciated my own Confirmation more!
|Very organic liturgy with Fr Quintin Montgomery-Wright|
source: Jean Erik Pasquier's Daily Life series, 1986
"Fr. Montgomery was an amazing fellow. He had stacks and stacks of vestments, and did the liturgy the old Norman way, like Sarum. There were little blue dalmatics for altar boys, and I often sang as a coped Ruler at Sunday Mass at Le Chamblac. He vested on the Lady chapel altar (the church's south transept). The Judica me psalm was said at the Lady altar and in procession. He likewise said the Prologue of St John on the way from the high altar back to the Lady chapel. At the time, I though he was just being odd, but this was the medieval and pre-Tridentine way of celebrating."
"The ruinous failing of the ideologues who call themselves libertarians is their fanatic attachment to a simple solitary principle-that is, to the notion of personal freedom as the whole end of the civil social order, and indeed of human existence. The libertarians are oldfangled folk, in the sense that they live by certain abstractions of the nineteenth century. They carry to absurdity the doctrines of John Stuart Mill (before Mill's wife converted him to socialism, that is)."
"Because genuine libertarians are mad-metaphysically mad. Lunacy repels, and political lunacy especially. I do not mean that they are dangerous; they are repellent merely, like certain unfortunate inmates of “mental homes.” They do not endanger our country and our civilization, because they are few, and seem likely to become fewer. (I refer here, of course, to our homegrown American libertarians, and not to those political sects, among them the Red Brigades of Italy, which have carried libertarian notions to grander and bolder lengths.) There exists no peril that American national policy, foreign or domestic, will be in the least affected by libertarian arguments; the good old causes of Bimetallism, Single Tax, or Prohibition enjoy a better prospect of success than do the programs of libertarianism. But one does not choose as a partner even a harmless political lunatic."
"The first Whig was the devil, Samuel Johnson informs us; it might be truer to say that the devil was the original libertarian. “Lo, I am proud!” The perennial libertarian, like Satan, can bear no authority temporal or spiritual. He desires to be different, in morals as in politics. In a highly tolerant society like that ofAmerica today, such defiance of authority on principle may lead to perversity on principle, for lack of anything more startling to do; there is no great gulf fixed between libertarianism and libertinism."
Felix de Valois, who afterwards took the name of Felix, was born (in the year 1127) of the same family of the de Valois which in after times became Kingly. From his earliest childhood he gave tokens, especially by his pity toward the poor, of the holiness of his coming life. When he was still a little lad he distributed money to the poor with his own hand, with the seriousness of an old man. When he was a little bigger he used to send them dishes from the table, and took especial delight in treating poor children with the most toothsome of the sweetmeats. As a boy he took clothes off his own back more than once, to cover the naked. He begged and obtained from his uncle Theobald, Earl of Champagne and Blois, the life of a felon condemned to death, foretelling to him that this blackguard cut-throat would yet become a man of most holy life which did indeed come to pass as he had said.
After a praiseworthy boyhood, he began to think of withdrawing from the world in order to be alone with heavenly thoughts. But he first wished to take orders, to the end that he might clear himself of all expectation of succeeding to the crown, to which, in consequence of the Salic Law, he was somewhat near. He became a Priest, and said his first Mass with deep devotion. Then, in a little while, he withdrew himself into the wilderness, where he lived in extreme abstinence, fed by heavenly grace. Thither, by the inspiration of God, came the holy Doctor John de la Mata of Paris, and found him, and they led an holy life together for several years, until they were both warned of an Angel to go to Rome and seek a special Rule of life from the Pope. Pope Innocent III. while he was solemnly celebrating the Liturgy received in a vision the revelation of the Order and Institute for the redemption of bondsmen, and he forthwith clad Felix and John in white garments marked with a cross of red and blue, made after the likeness of the raiment wherein the Angel had appeared. This Pope also willed that the new Order should bear, as well as the habit of three colours, the name of the Most Holy Trinity.
When they had received the confirmation of their rule from Pope Innocent, John and Felix enlarged the first house of their Order, which they had built a little while before at Cerfroi, in the diocese of Meaux, in France. There Felix wonderfully devoted himself to the promotion of Regular Observance and of the Institute for the redemption of bondsmen, and thence he busily spread the same by sending forth his disciples into other provinces. Here it was that he received an extraordinary favour from the blessed Maiden-Mother. On the night of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the brethren lay all asleep, and by the Providence of God woke not to say Mattins. But Felix was watching, as his custom was, and came betimes into the Choir. There he found the Blessed Virgin in the midst of the Choir, clad in raiment marked with the Cross of his Order, the Cross of red and blue; and with her a company of the heavenly host in like garments. And Felix was mingled among them. And the Mother of God began to sing, and they all sang with her and praised God; and Felix sang with them; and so they finished the Office. So now that he seemed to have been already called away from glorifying God on earth, to glorify Him in heaven, an Angel told Felix that the hour of his death was at hand. When therefore he had exhorted his children to be tender to the poor and to slaves, he gave up his soul to God (upon the 4th day of November) in the year of Christ 1212, in the time of the same Pope Innocent III., being four-score-and-five years old, and full of good works.