Tag Archives: Mercedarian

The Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) Take a peek inside the Love that is the Holy Trinity

Catholic Mass                  en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

I attended Christmas Day Mass at 8 a.m. in my church; Sacred Heart in Pinellas Park, FL. We have a Mercedarian priest, Father Mike Donovan, who has been with us for several months and he was the celebrant. Father used the Roman Canon in this Mass. (Canon is the word used that refers to the fundamental part of the Mass that occurs between the Offertory and before Communion).

Before 1970, the only canon used during the Mass was the Roman Canon. Today’s standard missalettes carry six Canons; Eucharistic Prayers I thru IV and two Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation. The altar missal used by the priest has nine;  (the ones mentioned and there are three for children’s Masses). It seems the one most commonly used today is Eucharistic Prayer II.

The Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) was put in place by Pope St. Gregory I in the seventh century. It remains virtually unchanged to this day. However, since the new versions of the Eucharistic Prayers were included in the Novus Ordo Mass, it seems that Eucharistic Prayer I is rarely used. I do not know why this is, but it certainly has withstood the test of time.

In the Roman Canon, there is a rare beauty captured by the words written, and these words create visuals that can carry us to a different place. If you focus, listen, and read quietly along with the priest, you may actually get a tiny glimpse into heaven itself. Just let yourself feel the words grab you, and transport you to a different realm.

When you “arrive” you may be able to peel back the veil and take a peek behind it. You might watch as the greatest love story ever told or imagined is taking place.  It is the story of the perfect LOVE that exists within God and among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit Who is God. This is about the most profound mystery of our faith and how this perfect LOVE is about to be shared with us. It is the greatest of gifts imaginable, and all of us who choose to accept it are about to receive it.  But how does the Canon of the Mass take us there?

I have before me a copy of the Breaking Bread Missalette for 2018. I also have a copy of the St. Joseph Daily Missal from 1956. One is post-Vatican II; the other is pre-Vatican II.  The Roman Canon is the same in both. So let me share just one of the visuals I have mentioned. First we should all be aware that all of the canons are directed to God the Father.

We believe that through the consecrated hands of the ordained priest, Jesus is going to sacrifice Himself to His Father for us. The Father will accept this Gift of His Son’s human life and return His Risen Son back to us in Holy Communion. This is the Great Mystery of our Faith.

I will only mention a few words from this magnificent, 7th-century document that I believe capture it all. After the words of consecration are said, and the Body and Blood of Jesus are on the altar, we all recite the mystery of faith. Then the priest continues with:

Therefore, O Lord  (referring to the Father) as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord, WE, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim,  the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.

We move down and read of Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, and the offering of the priest, Melchizedek. So try to picture what happens next when God the Father hears our prayer:

In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God; Command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your  divine majesty, so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar, receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, and may be filled with every grace and blessing

(Through Christ our Lord. Amen).

As we watch the angel take our gifts up to heaven and then return them to us from our Father, we finish with the following words (how many of us really think about them) before the Communion Rite begins:

Through Him , and with Him, and in Him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever. AMEN.

All the Eucharistic Prayers are beautiful but I must admit, I do love #1 the most.

                                          ©Larry Peterson 2018

Meet the Saint who Was “Not Born”; He is also the Patron of Childbirth and Pregnant Women. His name is St. Raymond Nonnatus

St. Raymond Nonnatus; Mercedarian: orderofmercy.org

                                                                                                                       By Larry Peterson

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, more commonly known as the Mercedarians, was founded in the year 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco. His purpose was the redemption of Christians captured and imprisoned by the Muslims. To become a Mercedarian requires an additional commitment on the part of those wanting to join the order. It is known as the “fourth ” vow.

In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Mercedarians also vow to willingly trade their life for another who is in danger of losing their faith. What follows is a brief visit into the life of one of the original Mercedarians, St. Raymond Nonnatus.

Raymond came into the world in the year 1204. His birth was anything but normal. His mother died while she was giving birth to her son. His father is credited with saving the baby’s life. I cannot imagine what this man was going through or the emotions that were flooding him. His wife had died before his eyes, yet he had the presence of mind to remove his unborn child from her womb with his own dagger.

He and his wife had agreed on naming the child,  Raymond. This was done by the child’s dad. However,  the last name of Nonnatus may seem a bit strange. That is because it is Latin and it means, “not born.” Raymond became known as the child who was “not born.”

Raymond’s father owned several farms, and he wanted Raymond to manage one of them. But Raymond was obviously drawn to religious life. He possessed a deep devotion to God and the Blessed Virgin. Nearby was the ancient chapel of St. Nicholas, and he would frequent there to pray and meditate. Eventually, his father realized that his son would not be a sheep-herder or farmer and gave in to the boy’s wishes to join the Mercedarians in Barcelona

Raymond’s life was now on track for him to fulfill his God-given destiny. Empowered by his father’s permission, Raymond told the Mercedarians that he had personally taken a vow of perpetual virginity and was determined to join the Mercedarian order. He was accepted and (this is not definite) it is said that St. Peter Nolasco, the founder of the Mercedarians, is the one who presented Raymond with the Order’s habit. The young man was probably ordained a priest in his early twenties although there is some uncertainty as to the exact date.

In 1224, Father (aka Friar) Raymond began his first redemption journey to Valencia which had been conquered by the Moors. Raymond Nonnatus managed to gain the freedom of  233 captive Christians. He was just beginning his work.

In 1226,  he traveled to Algiers, in Northern Africa. Offering to remain behind as a replacement prisoner for the Moors, he managed to free another 140 captives. Three years later he went back to Algiers again. This time he was accompanied by his friend, Friar Serapion.

Friar Serapion, after having fought alongside Richard the Lion-Hearted during the Crusades,  became a Mercedarian. He had decided he would rather surrender his life for captives rather than kill infidels. The two of them managed to free 150 captives from slavery on that journey. In 1232,  Raymond and Serapion managed to free 228 captives from the prisons and dungeons of Tunis.

St. Raymond’s last redemption was in 1236. It was in Algiers again, and this visit is not known for the number of freed prisoners. Rather, it is known as the torture Raymond was forced to endure. Having exhausted all funds, Raymond stayed behind as a hostage. He spent his time in the dungeons preaching the message of Jesus and Christianity. This flew into the heart of the Muslim teachings, and his captors would have none of it.

Raymond was taken away, and they used a searing iron to bore holes through his upper and lower lips. Then they placed a padlock through the holes in an attempt to keep the suffering man quiet. The padlocks remained in place for eight months at which time ransom was received for Raymond’s release. He was returned to Spain in 1239.

Raymond Nonnatus died toward the end of August, 1240; the exact day is unknown. He was 36 years-old. Tradition has it that the town, the local count, and the friars all claimed his body. They resolved the dispute by placing Raymond’s body across the back of a blind mule. The mule was let loose and wherever it stopped would be Raymond’s burial place.

The mule ambled slowly to the chapel where Raymond Nonnatus had prayed so frequently as a teenager. That is where he was buried and many miracles at the site have been attributed to his intercession.

St. Raymond Nonnatus was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander VII in 1657. He is the patron saint of childbirth, children, and pregnant women. He is also patron for priest defending the seal of confession.

St. Raymond Nonnatus, please pray for us and all of the unborn.

copyright©LARRY PETERSON 2018