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November 18, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. When giving Communion, our pastor has started dipping the Host in the Precious Blood and giving it to the communicant. To me this is irreverent and creates a very soggy Host. Is this practice within the rubrics of the Mass? — C.M., Minnesota.
A. Yes, it is, and it is called Communion by intinction. Some years ago, this practice was abused when communicants took the Host themselves and dipped it into the chalice. This was called self-intinction, and it is prohibited. Here is what the U.S. bishops said about self-intinction in the document entitled This Holy and Living Sacrifice: Directory for the Celebration and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds:
“The chalice may never be left on the altar or another place to be picked up by the communicant for self-communication (except in the case of concelebrating bishops and priests), nor may the chalice be passed from one communicant to another. There shall always be a minister of the cup (n. 46). . . .
“However, if Communion is given by intinction, the communicant may never dip the Eucharistic Bread into the chalice. Communion under either the form of bread or wine must always be given by a minister with the usual words” (n. 52).

Q. When praying the Our Father, there is a line I do not understand — “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Can you explain the meaning of these words? — T.E.X., Washington State.
A. “Thy Kingdom come” means that we must continue to work and pray that the Kingdom of God, which has been coming since the Last Supper and is now in our midst in the Holy Eucharist, will attain its fullness. The phrase refers primarily to the coming of the Lord at the end of time, and we are called to take an active part in the ongoing war between good and evil and to assist others to achieve holiness so that they will be ready to meet God when the Kingdom does reach its fulfillment.
“Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” means that just as the angels and saints obey the will of God in Heaven, so we on Earth must do the same. We saw in the fall of the bad angels what happens to those who think that they can disobey God and “do their own thing.” Jesus gave us a great example of humble obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane where He was tempted to shy away from the Cross, but instead proclaimed, “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
We are obligated to pray for and witness to others. St. John Chrysostom said that Jesus “commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For He did not say ‘thy will be done in me or in us’ but ‘on Earth,’ the whole Earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and Earth no longer differ from Heaven.”

Q. At Mass this weekend we were introduced to 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. The song is featured on the playlist of local Christian radio stations. Is it proper to take music selections from Christian catalogs when there are so many Catholic hymns available? — M.S., via e-mail.
A. You are correct that, with so many Catholic hymns available, it is neither necessary nor proper to select music from Christian catalogs. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that “great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of peoples and abilities of each liturgical assembly (n. 40)….The main place should be given, all things being equal, to Gregorian Chant, as being proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other kinds of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of the faithful” (n. 41).

Q. Every time I hear the reading from Ephesians 5 about wives being subordinate to their husbands, I get upset. What was St. Paul thinking when he wrote those words? — M.C., Virginia.
A. He was not thinking what you are thinking, although there is no question that men over the centuries have used these verses to put women down and treat them as slaves, but it was wrong and sinful for them to do so. In his 1995 Letter to Women, Pope St. John Paul said that he was “truly sorry” for this mistreatment of women and that the time had come to set “women free from every kind of exploitation and domination” (n. 3).
In his 1988 apostolic letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem), the Holy Father said that St. Paul knew that his way of speaking, “so proudly rooted in the customs and religious traditions of the time, is to be understood and carried out in a new way: as a ‘mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ’” (cf. Eph. 5:21). John Paul went on to say:
“This is especially true because the husband is called the ‘head’ of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give ‘himself up for her’ (Eph. 5:25) and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the ‘subjection’ is not one-sided but mutual” (n. 24).
St. John Paul also said that “the awareness that in marriage there is mutual ‘subjection of the spouses out of reverence for Christ,’ and not just that of the wife to the husband, must gradually establish itself in hearts, consciences, behavior, and customs. This is a call which from that time onward does not cease to challenge succeeding generations; it is a call which people have to accept anew.”
He said that “all the reasons in favor of this ‘subjection’ of woman to man in marriage must be understood in the sense of a ‘mutual subjection’ of both ‘out of reverence for Christ.’ The measure of true spousal love finds its deepest source in Christ, who is the Bridegroom of the Church, His Bride” (Ibid.).
St. Paul never said that wives were inferior to their husbands. What he said was that wives should put themselves under the mission of their husbands, which is to serve them in the same way that Christ serves the Church. Husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the Church, i.e., by giving themselves up for their spouses, just as Christ sacrificed Himself for His spouse, the Church. Thus, the true meaning of this passage is that Christian marriage symbolizes the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church. Could Paul have used another analogy that would have conferred higher praise on husbands and wives?
For additional insights into this controversial passage, see Christopher West’s book Good News About Sex & Marriage. West said that in light of this interpretation, “What woman would not want to receive this kind of love from her husband? What woman would not want to be subject to her husband if he truly took his mission seriously to love her as Christ loved the Church? So often it’s husbands who want their wives to take this Scripture passage to heart. I think it’s we men who need to take it to heart first” (p. 62).

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