How did Christ ride a Donkey AND a Colt (at the same time?)

The Mystical Sign of Christ riding a Donkey and a Colt

For years I was confused by Saint Matthew’s description about Palm Sunday: we read that Christ rode a female donkey and her baby colt.

However, in Mark, Luke, and John, we read that Christ rode a donkey without any mention of the her colt. For some reason, I had imagined that Christ rode the she-donkey and the little colt at the same time – wide straddling both. This seems ridiculous, but I didn’t know how else to visualize what Matthew was describing.

jesus-christ-riding-into-jerusalem-for-passover

I finally found clarity while reading Cornelius a Lapide’s commentary on the passage. According to Lapide, Christ first rode the ass up and down the mount and then transferred and rode the colt into the city.

There is a practical reason for this. The she-ass would be stronger and more able to go up and down the terrain. Next, the colt would be able to bring him into the city easily.

Yet there is a mystical signification is this as well. The she-ass and her colt signify “the two sorts of people of which the world is made up—the Jews, accustomed to the yoke of the Mosaic law, who were represented by the ass; and the Gentiles, living up to this time without the Law of God, and who were denoted by the colt.”

The she-ass represents Mother Israel who has been burdened with the Law of Moses. Saint Peter our first Pope described the Mosaic Law as “a yoke…which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10, D-R).

The young colt represents the new and untrained Gentiles – the wild olive branch that the Apostle describes as the Gentiles.

Christ our Lord rode both to signify that both the Jews and the Gentiles were called to be Christophoroi – Christ-bearers.

Question: Now it’s your turn: How did we carry “Christ to the world” in our age. What is the humble donkey or colt in our lives that communicates Christ’s Gospel to others? Please leave a comment. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Here’s Thomas Aquinas on why Christ rode a donkey on Palm Sunday. 

Get Dr. Marshall’s book Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages for free by clicking here.

How NOT to do Meatless Fridays in Lent (Plus 12 Meatless Meal Ideas)

I had the best Fish Friday of my entire life on the first Friday of Lent this year. I was blessed to lead a retreat for the Bishop’s Servers of the Diocese of Shreveport, and the bishop and I caught a couple of catfish whoppers (see pic below).

Fishing with a bishop (successor of the apostolic fishermen) and landing monster catfish: Thank you Lord!

But Louisiana catfish are not necessary for a great Fish Friday. Here are some great ideas on how to keep “meatless Fridays” in Lent, and how NOT to do meatless Fridays:

Taylor Marshall w Big Catfish

[I’ve discussed the theological reasons for why we Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays in another post: Please read “Why is Fish Okay But Not Meat.”]

Before creating an intentional plan for “Friday fare” or “fish Fridays,” Joy and I would just sort of wing it: “Oh it’s Friday. Shucks. Mmmm. I guess we’ll have to order some cheese pizzas.” Even worse, we’d remember after the fact. I’d order a chicken sandwich at lunch and then suddenly remember.

This is playing defense. You want to plan offense. Defense reacts. Offense creates a clear strategy. You need to make a plan. Write it down and post it on the fridge.

Today’s post focuses on the practical aspect. How do you and/or your family keep meatless Fridays?

It seems like such a chore. However, with some creativity, it can become an act of penance and a family tradition. And when your conference of bishops restores the custom, you’ll already be accustomed to the laudable and ancient practice. I’ve listed some suggestions below.

Why Do Christians Worship on Sunday and Not Saturday Like Jews?

NSTI Student Member Paul C asks:

I also hope Taylor could address Seventh Day Adventism in a video.

My in-laws are Adventists and a few are curious about Catholicism. At family get-togethers I’ve gotten questions, such as, wasn’t Constantine the founder of the Catholic Church? and, didn’t a Pope change the Sabbath day in order to attract converts from followers of a Sunday pagan ritual? They’ve been taught a lot of misinformation!

Clearly Constantine was not the founder of Catholicism. See our video(s) on Constantinian era on this.

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Regarding Sunday, it goes back to the Apostles:

And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight,” (Acts 20:7).

Here Saint Paul is breaking bread (Eucharist) and preaching on Sunday.

Paul preaching on Sunday

Saint Paul also recognizes Sunday as the day of Christian gathering here:

On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.” (1 Cor. 16:2). So the offering was taken on Sunday – during Liturgy.

The Jews kept Saturday (last day of week) because they looked forward to Messiah. Christians keep Sunday (first day of the week) because we look back to the Messiah.

Moreover, Christ rose again from the dead on Sunday and the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost on a Sunday. Christ is King of the New Creation and so Sunday, the day of creation is the day of His worship.

Seventh Day Adventists are thus Judaizers and they do not understand the fulness of Christ’s fulfillment of not only the Old Law, but the Old Creation. If you want to see study how Christ fulfills the entire Old Testament (including an appendix list of over 300 prophecies), see my book The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity.

Crucified Rabbi Look Inside

Catholic Webinar Invite: History and Theology of Catholic Advent with Dr. Taylor Marshall

Advent season is here, but so many of us are unsure about what it means, how to explain “Advent” to our friends/family, and what to do keep a “holy Advent.” Here’s a class to help you:

DISCOVER THE HISTORY & THEOLOGY OF ADVENT
In this Catholic Webinar, I will explain:

  1. the earliest historical records about Advent
  2. the ancient relationship between Advent and Lent
  3. why Advent went from 5 to 4 Sundays around AD 1000
  4. the theology of “delayed gratification” as it relates to Advent & the Eucharistic Fast
  5. practical tips on how to celebrate Advent (especially important for families)

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Please join me for my Catholic Webinar on the “History and Theology of Advent”. It’s free and open to the first 1,000 registrants.

 

Please click here or below to register:

Register here button

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Catholic Halloween and the New Evangelization

Is Halloween the Devil’s Day? Let’s break it down and see how Satan is trying to steal our Catholic holidays. Ready?

As you know, Halloween is short for All-Hallows-Even. “Even” or “Eve” refers to the evening before the day.

halloween saint

Christmas Eve is the night before December 25. Similarly, Hallows Eve is the night before November 1, the Catholic festival of All Saints.

This holy day of obligation was once known as “All Hallows” since “hallow” is a more ancient form of “holy.” For example, “hallowed by thy name” means “holy is thy name.”

All Saints = All Hallows. In fact, November 1 was once called “Hallowmas.” For those linguists out there, hallowed comes from the Old English word haligra which fell out of use before AD 1500. Those who know German will recognize it’s similarity to heiliger.

Is Halloween the Devil’s Day? Is it Evil?

There are some Christians who have written off Halloween per se as some sort of diabolical black mass.  This interpretation usually includes a legend of how the Catholic Church conspired with druids to corrupt Europe, or some other nonsense.

To be clear, it’s the vigil of a Christian holy day: All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints Eve. Has it been corrupted by our culture and consumer market? You bet. But they have also attempted to redefine “marriage,” Easter, Christmas, St Valentines, and increasingly Ash Wednesday.

Yes, Christmas has also been derailed by the culture. Does that mean that we’re going hand over Christmas? No way! Same goes for Halloween. The Church does not surrender what rightfully belongs to her – she wins it back!

Hell is on defense since Jesus Christ came. It’s the “gates of hell.” Gates are defensive. We are supposed to be storming the gates of hell. The sacrament of Confirmation commissions us as soldiers.

Pandaemonium: Here’s your Greek word of the week

The word Pandaemonium derives from Greek “παν”, meaning “all” and “δαιμόνιον”, meaning “little devil.” Pandaemonium means “All Devils.”

John Milton imagined Pandaemonium as the capital city of Hell in Book I of his Paradise Lost (1667).

Milton was an Arian, but his Paradise Lost is a pretty cool book. If you’re a Member of NSTI, you should read it and let me know if you think his Arianism bleeds through the pages. Also, check out Milton’s Satan Trinity.

The Devil would love to take over the feast day “All Saints” and rebrand it as “All Devils” or “Pandaemonium.” Are we going to let him? Hell no [pun intended]. All the Saints are ready for battle.

Watch Dr. Taylor’s Youtube Video: Dracula vs. the Eucharist.
How do All the Saints hear us from Heaven? Free mp3 from Dr Taylor answering this question: Click here to listen (mp3).

Let’s take back the entire “Hallow Triduum” of:

  1. Halloween (Oct 31)
  2. All Saints Day (Hallowmas Nov 1)
  3. All Souls Day (Nov 2)

Celebrate Hallows Eve, but clarify “We don’t celebrate it by glorifying the demonic.” Dress your children as saints and be counter-cultural. Be leaven in the lump. Salt in the world. Be hallowed.

Oh, and don’t forget All Hallows (Nov 1) is a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s a mortal sin not to attend Holy Mass on this day (unless it is lawfully transferred by the bishops).

Don’t forget to read my 10 Tips for a Catholic Halloween by clicking here.

And share it on Facebook with all your friends by clicking here:

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You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation with Dr Marshall

This Thursday night at 8pm I’ll be hosting another free Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation from a biblical, traditional, and Catholic point of view. If you’ve ever had questions or confusions about the End Times of the Book of Revelation, you won’t want to miss this Catholic Webinar Event.

YOU WILL DISCOVER:

  • Why the Book of Revelation was written
  • a Catholic interpretation of Revelation based on Scripture, Tradition, and Church Fathers
  • the Virgin Mary in Revelation 12
  • the Mark of the Beast and 666 from a Catholic view point of view
  • EVERYONE THAT ATTENDS WILL RECEIVE a FREE pdf worksheet of the Webinar. Dr Marshall will make available his 16 part series on Catholic Revelation.
  • Register to reserve your spot by clicking here.

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Photos: Happy 2030th Birthday to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Yesterday was the feast day of the Birth of our Blessed Virgin Mary (it’s 9 months after the feast of her Immaculate Conception on Dec 8).

Our family usually has a birthday cake and sings Happy Birthday. Here’s this years cake:

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Close up #nofilter:screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-11-39-25-am

As you know from my other posts, I believe that Christ was actually born on Dec 25 1BC (there is not year zero) and I’ve written a small book on why that’s the case and how Josephus made an error on the death of Herod.

So if traditions states that Mary was 14 around the birth of Christ, that means that this year she turns 2030 years old (or 2031 if she was 15). Happy birthday Blessed Mother!

Godspeed,

Taylor

Catholic Video: What is the Historical Date of Mary’s Assumption?

In what year did Christ raise and elevate the body of His Blessed Mother into Heaven? Some say in the AD 40s or 50s. I argue based on data in the New Testament that Mary was assumed in AD 63. Please watch the video lesson that I’ve prepared on this topic for NSTI.

[If you don’t see the video in your browser or email, click here to begin watching.]

This is lesson 7 of Church History: Module 2 – Redemptive History: Christ of the Covenants. To sign up and watch the rest of the lessons and modules in this Catholic Church History Course (and earn a Certificate), please visit: New Saint Thomas Institute’s Certificate in Catholic History:

Question: Do you agree that dating the Dormition/Assumption to AD 63 makes the most sense? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

And here are some interesting resources for you as we celebrate Our Lady’s Dormition and Assumption:

  1. Did the Virgin Mary Die? The Answer May Surprise You (The majority tradition in Catholic history is that Our Lady did experience the separation of body and soul.)
  2. Audio: Mary as Assumed in Revelation 12 Podcast: Our Lady of the Apocalypse
  3. Did Christ receive an assumption or ascension or both?
  4. The year of the assumption according to Maria Agreda
  5. The Assumption of Saint Joseph – A forgotten tradition
  6. If you deny the Assumption – You have fallen away!
  7. Saint Gregory of Tours on the Assumption
  8. The Assumption of Mary in the Book of Psalms
  9. Does the Rosary Pre-Date Dominic?
  10. Mary’s Special Role over Purgatory
  11. Mary’s Empty Tomb Information
  12. Did Pope Pius XII Teach that Mary died? Yes he did

Enjoy!

to Jesus through Mary,
Taylor Marshall

Did the Virgin Mary Give the Rosary to St Dominic

Did Mary give the Rosary to Saint Dominic? Is it a historical fact?

Catholic tradition states the Blessed Virgin Mary directly and personally instituted the Holy Rosary through Saint Dominic. A previous post described the traditional account of “How Mary Gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic.”

In this second post we examine the historical-critical objection claiming that the Rosary was an organic development of medieval piety and that Mary did not directly give the Holy Rosary to St Dominic.

Dominic Receiving Rosary

I believe this modern claim is incorrect and too simplistic. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that Mary gave the Holy Rosary to Saint Dominic. Here’s why…

Which is MORE Traditional: Mass ad orientem or versus populum?

And the Roman Ciborium in Roman Architecture

Ever since Cardinal Sarah’s ad orientem endorsement, and subsequent slap down by voices in the Holy See, there is debate on both sides favoring ad orientem celebration of the Holy Mass.

My goal here is show that both ad orientem AND versus populum are part of the ancient Roman Rite – and to show how the ciborium/baldacchino is a determining factor in the architecture governing each. Before we get started, let’s define vocab and issue a clarification to the liturgical police on each extreme:

Defining Terms of the Debate

ad orientem: Latin for “to the East.” For those new to the debate, ad orientem refers to the priest celebrating Mass on the same side of the altar as the people. People wrongfully call this “priest with his back to the people.”

versus populum: Latin for “toward the people.” This refers to the priest celebrating Mass on the opposite side of altar so that he is facing the people in the nave.

ad Deum: People wrongfully use ad Deum (Latin for “toward God”) as a synonym for ad orientem. I dislike this usage because it’s confusing and it presumes that versus populum is not ad Deum or “toward God.” When Pope Boniface VIII celebrated Holy Mass in AD 1300 at Old Saint Peter’s Basilica versus populum, he was celebrating Mass ad Deum (to God). It’s blasphemous to say otherwise. A valid Mass is always ad Deum no matter where the priest stands.

ciborium: Usually this refers to the precious vessel that holds the hosts during Mass. It can also roofed baldacchino that stands over the altar.

Showing My Liturgical Preference Cards Up Front

When writing about liturgy, everyone wants to size you up and classify you: Is he trad, is he liberal, is he reform-of-the-reform, whatever. So here is my perspective. I prefer the EF Latin Mass and I’m a member of a FSSP parish. But I attend the so-called Novus Ordo for daily Mass – and I usually attend the Novus Ordo when I travel. I have attended the Novus Ordo in Saint Peter’s Rome. I’ve attended the EF Latin Mass in Saint Peter’s in Rome. I received Jesus Christ and for this I’m grateful.

I can serve the EF. I’m good at Latin and I understand most of it in the Mass. I can listen to the Epistle and Gospel in Latin and understand it.

I love ad orientem. I find priests smiling over the altar as distracting. Personally, I find the priest facing with the congregation more Christocentric. For me, the elevation is more dramatic and devltional ad orientem. Silent canon makes more sense ad orientem, in my opinion. All pluses from my point of view.

Conclusion: I like the Latin Mass, but I never make a stink of it. I’m not exclusivist.

Talking Latin Mass Will Always Get You Judged…

I almost hate writing about anything Latin Mass because it gets me labeled by both extremes in the Church. So let me just issue a clarification:

For liturgical progressives who want to judge me: I don’t believe that attending the EF Latin Mass is a statement or that it means that one is “rad trad” or hates his local bishop or the Pope. Far from it. I love the Ordinary Form of the Mass. I attend it daily. I love my local bishop and pray for him daily. I love the Holy Father and pray for him daily and was even honored to shake his hand recently when he kissed my baby. I know that these hostile elements can exist in the “trad movement” but I’m not into that. So if you want to lump me in with the “mean Latin Mass haters,” you’re wrong.

For Traddies who want to judge me: I don’t think that Latin EF Mass and ad orientem is divinely mandated liturgy, nor do I think it’s always the best. If you think for saying this, I’m a Freemason, heretic, idolator, New World Order-ist, Novus Ordo-ist, Neo-Catholic – you’re incorrect and I’ll ignore your comments.

Both Versus Populum and Ad Orientem in the Roman Tradition

I just got back from Rome. If you’ve been there, you know already that the major churches in Rome have always had the priest facing the people over the altar (photos at the end of the post):

  • St Peter’s
  • St Paul’s outside the Walls
  • St John Lateran
  • St Mary Major
  • St Clement’s
  • St Maria in Trastavere

Why? Because versus populum was part of the ancient Roman tradition. Where there was space and a big budget (as in these important Roman churches), they worked it versus populum. However, this elegant arrangement usually requires the presence of a ciborium (a stone canopy or baldacchino) over the altar.

trastevere

Where there isn’t space to do it right (that is, no ciborium over altar), they worked ad orientem with dignity.

Those that study the issue know that it has to do with whether a Roman ciborium/baldacchino can be built over the altar. Generally speaking, if there is a ciborium, it’s versus populum. If not, there’s ad orientem.

There is a Roman way of doing versus populum and Pope Benedict pointed that out: screens and/or baldacchino, candles on the altar (causing visual disruption), and especially a crucifix in the middle. The silent canon especially balances out versus populum and the attention on the priest.

My personal preference would be that everything should be ad orientem – unless you can install a ciborium/baldacchino over the altar – ideally with a sunken confessio for relics under the altar. If not, it should be ad orientem.

The problem, in my unimportant layman’s point of view, is that parishes in the 1950s-1980s plunged into versus populum altars without understanding the ancient Roman requisites for such people-facing altars. So now we have a churches where the altar lacks dignity and is often dwarfed by “the presiders chair” and the ambo. The ciborium canopy magnified the dignity of the altar within the versus populum context. We need to rediscover this feature of Roman liturgy and architecture. We need to start building a ciborium canopy over the altar.

Photos of Examples of Versus Populum with Proper Ciborium

Here are photos of the churches above showing how the ancient Roman versus populum worked with the ciborium canopy or baldacchino:

Here’s Pope Pius XII celebrating versus populum…but under the baldacchino with candle and crucifix “obstruction.”

saint peter's versus

Here’s the Pope’s cathedral Saint John Lateran. Note the amazing baldacchino which contains the skulls of Saint Paul and Saint Peter behind the gold grating above the altar:

st john lateran versus

Here’s my favorite church Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome. Historic versus populum, but with a baldacchino. This church is so God-honoring. Beauty. Truth. Goodness. I try to attend Sunday Mass here (Ordinary Form) whenever I can:

trastevere

And here’s San Clemente in Rome. Small church with versus populum with a modest baldacchino:

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I could also include Saint Mary Major and Saint Paul’s outside the Walls. The point is, if you’re going to do versus populum, you need a baldacchino/ciborium over the altar. If not, ad orientem tends to be the “traditional” way to construct a church.

Comments

Question: I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Do you have a preference? How is your parish set up? Do you like it or not? How could we improve our altars using the Roman churches as models? You can leave a comment by clicking here.