Reparation for Liturgical Abuse

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Dear Apostoli Viae and other Catholic Family,

As we head into Lent, my heart is drawn to deep gratitude for the glory of our tradition, our liturgy, and our faithful priests and bishops. I am grateful that Lent is beginning this week, and I am looking forward to the splendor of the Easter season that follows. I am especially grateful for courageous priests and bishops who offer faithful liturgical leadership that can and will draw our hearts more deeply into the heart of God. Stephanie and I were both blessed by this kind of faithful liturgy during our recent event in Virginia. It was moving to see reverence beautifully expressed by both clergy and laity in two parishes, both of which were Novus Ordo parishes that had and used their altar rails.

At the same time, I am deeply grieved by the constant liturgical abuses that Our Lord and His bride suffer every day around the world which comes both through the clergy and the laity throughout the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The worst of this abuse occurs when the laity receive Communion in a state of mortal sin. With respect to God, this is a sacrilege similar to dumping the Body or Blood on the floor and trampling Him underfoot. Scripture reveals that approaching the sacrament in a state of mortal sin results in the horror of “eating and drinking damnation.” (I Corinthians 11:27) Reflecting on this vital issue of our faith leads me to propose to you something that we can all do together, either in part or whole, that militates against these grave sins against our Lord.

For a number of years I have daily undertaken two penitential practices in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that I would ask you to prayerfully consider adopting during Lent this year (and maybe even beyond Lent as a permanent offering). One practice offers reparation for abuses by the laity and the other for abuses perpetrated by clergy, along with intentions for the protection of faithful clergy. Here are a few proposals that you can undertake in whole or in part:

  • For Abuses by the Laity: As an act of reparation and petition, inconspicuously kneel on the floor, rather than a kneeler, during all appropriate times in the Mass and before and after during preparation and thanksgiving. This quiet and humble kneeling draws us to a deeper expression of humility, and the pain or discomfort is then offered for reparation of the sins of irreverence or sacrilege. Here are a few examples of common abuses that require reparation:
    • Receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin.
    • Irreverence in reception of the Eucharist.
    • Disrespect or usurpation of the place of the priest through liturgical posture, prayers, or roles.
    • Talking before, during, or after Mass about things unrelated to the Mass and disturbing those who desire to prepare, pray, worship, and offer thanksgiving.
    • Clapping during the Mass.
  • For Abuses by the Clergy: Pray the Litany of the Most Blessed Sacrament (composed by St. Peter Julian Eymard) after the reception of Holy Communion. I have found that this beautiful litany is easily prayed after the reception of Communion even in small parishes if one is seated near the front. If it can’t be completed by the time of the dismissal, it can be finished after Mass during the traditional time of thanksgiving.

Offered in thanksgiving for the gift of receiving the Lord in the Eucharist, for reparation for offenses against the Blessed Sacrament, restoration of reverence and faithful liturgy and teaching, deep faith in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and for the protection and promotion of holy and faithful laity, priests, religious, and bishops.

Lord, have mercy.                    R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.                 R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.                    R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.                         R. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,      R. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R.
God the Holy Spirit, R.
Holy Trinity, one God, R.
Jesus, Eternal High Priest of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, R.
Jesus, Divine Victim on the Altar for our salvation, R.
Jesus, hidden under the appearance of bread, R.
Jesus, dwelling in all the tabernacles of the world, R.
Jesus, really, truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, R.
Jesus, abiding in Your fullness, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, R.
Jesus, Bread of Life, R.
Jesus, Bread of Angels, R.
Jesus, with us always until the end of the world, R.
Sacred Host, summit and source of all worship and Christian life, R.
Sacred Host, sign and cause of the unity of the Church, R.
Sacred Host, adored by countless angels, R.
Sacred Host, spiritual food, R.
Sacred Host, Sacrament of love, R. 
Sacred Host, bond of charity, R.
Sacred Host, greatest aid to holiness, R.
Sacred Host, gift and glory of the priesthood, R.
Sacred Host, in which we partake of Christ, R.
Sacred Host, in which the soul is filled with grace, R.
Sacred Host, in which we are given a pledge of future glory, R.

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. (3 Times)

For those who do not believe in Your Eucharistic presence,
  R. have mercy, O Lord.

For those who are indifferent to the Sacrament of Your love,
  R. have mercy on us. 

For those who have offended You in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar,

  R. have mercy on us.

That we may show fitting reverence when entering Your holy temple, R. we beseech You, hear us.
That we may make suitable preparation before approaching the Altar, R.
That we may receive You frequently in Holy Communion with real devotion and true humility, R.
That we may never neglect to thank You for so wonderful a blessing, R.
That we may cherish time spent in silent prayer before You, R.
That we may grow in knowledge of this Sacrament of sacraments, R.
That all priests may have a profound love of the Holy Eucharist, R.
That they may celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in accordance with its sublime dignity, R.
That we may be comforted and sanctified with Holy Viaticum at the hour of our death, R.
That we may see You one day face to face in Heaven, R.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
  R. spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
  R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
  R. have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, 
  R. all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.

Let us pray: Most merciful Father, You continue to draw us to Yourself through the Eucharistic Mystery. Grant us fervent faith in this Sacrament of love, in which Christ the Lord Himself is contained, offered and received. We make this prayer through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Many believe the sexual and power abuse crises we face today are rooted in the sexual drive and ambition of the perpetrators. These are only symptoms. The root issue is unbelief and the failure to orient our hearts and minds to the reality of the One who has given all for us and does so through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If, by His grace, we can heal the liturgy, the healing of the Church will follow.

If you decide to join me in these offerings of reparation, I have no doubt that God’s grace and forgiveness will pour out on His people and that we will contribute to a lessening of these abuses and the triumph of the glory and joy that is faithful Catholicism.

Be holy. Be a light to the world.

Yours in Christ,

Dan Burke
Unum est Necessarium


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