Our Lady's Promise Apostolate Blog


The spiritual reason chalices are made from precious metal

July 7, 2017

The sacred cup used at Mass is extraordinary because of the heavenly mystery it holds.

While it’s true that Jesus likely used a humble clay cup at the Last Supper, similar to what is found in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the chalice used at Mass is not meant to be a direct imitation of that first chalice.

Christopher Carstens explains in his book Mystical Body, Mystical Voice: Encountering Christ in the Words of the Mass how the Mass is more a heavenly banquet than a re-enactment of an ordinary Passover meal.

Does it matter that Christ may not have used a “precious chalice” at the Last Supper? That he used a chalice is imperative for the Church and her re-presentation of his sacrifice; and while it may be that the chalice was not outwardly precious, it was made precious by its contents. For while the Mass and its Eucharistic prayer hearken back to actions of Christ in the upper room some two thousand years ago, that historical action currently exists in heavenly splendor, which is why it can be made present to us at all. The cup of the first Paschal meal in time is now furnished with divine splendors and is “the chalice of great joy, of the true feast, for which we all long,” and it is this divine chalice that our sacramental chalice emulates.

The Mass is viewed in Catholic theology as the “wedding feast of the Lamb” found in the book of Revelation. It is meant to remind us of and draw us toward our heavenly home and the place where we will encounter the Bridegroom in all of his glory.

Even more so, the Mass it not simply a reminder of heaven, it is where “heaven and earth kiss.” The sacrifice of the Mass brings us into contact with the divine and literally raises us up into heaven.

The Eucharistic Banquet is no ordinary meal.

For this spiritual reason, as well as for practical purposes, the bishops of the United States have put forth the following regulation regarding the material of the “precious chalice”:

328. Sacred vessels should be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, they should generally be gilded on the inside.

329. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials which in the common estimation in each region are considered precious or noble, for example, ebony or other harder woods, provided that such materials are suitable for sacred use. In this case, preference is always to be given to materials that do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels that are intended to hold the Hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and others of this kind.

330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have a bowl of material that does not absorb liquids. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.

332. As regards the form of the sacred vessels, it is for the artist to fashion them in a manner that is more particularly in keeping with the customs of each region, provided the individual vessels are suitable for their intended liturgical use and are clearly distinguishable from vessels intended for everyday use.

So Indiana Jones may have been correct to choose the “cup of the carpenter,” but the Mass we celebrate is much more than a meal with a carpenter and his close friends. It is the place where we come to the table of the Lord to be fed a “heavenly manna” that is called the “bread of angels.”

 

Holy smoke! Why the Church uses incense at Mass

July 7, 2017

Its spiritual purpose is rich in meaning, and incense has been used in divine worship for thousands of years.

The Catechism reminds us that prayer involves much more than our soul, “Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays” (CCC 2562).

For this reason the Church’s public forms of worship contain numerous elements that are visible and engage our bodily senses. The Catechism teaches us that,  “In human life, signs and symbols occupy an importan...


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Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

April 25, 2017

Humans have kept animals around for centuries. At first it was for hunting purposes, pest control, and general working tasks. It did not take long, however, for animals to start being bred and kept as companions. According to a 2015–2016 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, around 79.7 million households in America are home to a pet. It is clear animals hold a special place in our hearts. So when they die, as with our loved ones of the human variety, of course we want to ...


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The Fasting Rule of the Orthodox Catholic Byzantine Church

January 15, 2017
The Church's traditional teaching on fasting is not widely known or followed in our day. For those Orthodox Christians who are seeking to keep a more disciplined fast, the following information may be helpful.

Though the rules may appear quite strict to those who have not seen them before, they were developed with all of the faithful, not only monks, in mind. (Monks do not eat meat, so rules regarding the eating of meat cannot have been written with them in mind. Similarly rules reg...


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Simple Rule of Prayer

January 15, 2017

The holy Apostle Paul has told each of us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Most of us know that we are far from achieving this goal: to pray without ceasing, we must first at least pray frequently; and to pray frequently most of us must first pray regularly — according to some rule.

The Church gives us many helpful rules of prayer. Most prayer books include useful sets of morning and evening prayers, prayers at mealtimes, and so on.

The following short rule is som...


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10-Tips-for-Better-New-Year's-Resolutions

January 2, 2017

1. Be honest. Know yourself. What is your strongest virtue? What is your worst vice? Therefore, tailor your resolution so it strengthens your good side and fights your bad one. A one-size fits all resolution is useless.

2. Be specific. Don't use generalities. They don't work. For example, if you need to be more humble, just saying "I am going to be more humble," is useless. You need to zero in on one situation where you need to practice humility and resolve to improve in that one s...


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Byzantine Catholic Rule of Prayer

December 19, 2016

One of the most common questions we receive at byzcath.org is from those seeking to start and keep a daily rule of prayer. Since a prayer life is something that can really only be undertaken and kept under the guidance of one’s spiritual father (or mother) we are always hesitant about making suggestions along these lines. Always we respond that the individual should contact his spiritual father for guidance. All too often, however, the inquirer responds with...
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Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Communion is Unambiguous

December 14, 2016

The Church teaching that the divorced and civilly remarried may not receive Holy Communion remains unchanged.

I have received, from many of God’s faithful, requests for advice on how to understand the growing storm in the Church on the subject of marriage — and in particular on the subject of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. There are theologians and canonists who are better able to speak to the details and to the possible scenarios ...


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In the Midst of Much Blood, God Extended a Rose – A Meditation on Guadalupe and Mother Mary

December 14, 2016


dec12-blog

I’d like to reflect this evening on the first reading from today’s Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away...


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Why Do So Many Miss Experiencing Jesus in Our Parishes and How Can We Change This?

November 12, 2016

st-john-lateran-basilica-in-rome

We were blessed this past weekend to have Sherry Weddell, author of Forming Intentional Disciples, visit the Archdiocese of Washington and speak to priests and lay leaders. Her work is a great blessing to the Church in calling us back to “job one,” which is to make disciples. In Catholic parishes evangelization is too often relegated to committees or tossed into the “we’ll get to that next year” file. Weddell’s mission is to c...


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Pax et Bonum!


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