Saturday, November 10, 2007

On Blog Names...

When I created this blog back in 2003, I left it open so that I could change its name freely if ever I so desired. Funny thing is, the more I blog, the more I find deeper meaning in the title I chose.

Now, I'm told that I am a fairly consistent person, not prone to acting on impulse or making rash decisions about important things. Thus, I never struggled much with finding a consistent voice, or with constantly reinventing my blog identity. And my blog has never been particularly controversial (as in, I am neither an angry Catholic nor an angry Protestant), and so naturally I don't have throngs of angry readers or nasty comments.

In the course of these years, I have unpacked the depth of my blog title in the various (and all encompassing) subjects of my various posts. Ultimately, I believe this has reflected something important, not just concerning my personality, but also concerning my spiritual life.

Ad Altare Dei is taken from the the fuller verse, Introibo ad altare dei (English: I will go to the altar of God), which is taken from Psalm 43:
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people;
from deceitful and unjust men
deliver me!

For thou art the God in whom I take refuge;
why hast thou cast me off?
Why go I mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh send out thy light and thy truth;
let them lead me,
let them bring me to thy holy hill
and to thy dwelling!

Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise thee with the lyre,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
Of course, this particular part of Psalm 43 is recalled during the start of the Traditional Latin Mass during the prayers at the foot of the Altar.

I chose the title originally because it stuck out as something meaningful, many Catholics were familiar with it, and it was in Latin. Pretty shallow. Of course, a few people (wrongfully) assumed that my choosing this particular title meant that I despised the "Novus Ordo" missae, which was and is most certainly not the case.

I began to find Ad Altare Dei, and indeed the whole of Psalm 43, increasingly meaningful and applicable to the growth of my spiritual life. I began to see it as something that reflected my whole journey as a follower of Christ, including my participation in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. My life is thus a continual turning toward Christ, who stands as both High Priest and as Victim, to Christ who offers and is offered at God's holy altar. It is also therefore a turning away from sin. This is what conversion means. I am also strengthened by that grace that springs forth from that most sacred place.

So then, just as a priest quotes Psalm 43, Introibo ad altare Dei, when standing at the foot of the Altar, so this prayer has become not only the prayer of my blog, but the prayer of my life. And my understanding of my life, my mission, and my apostolate continues to unfold before me.

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