Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Five Blog Posts of 2014

It was a busy year here at AdoroErgoSum. As it's that time of year where everyone copts out of producing new content and instead reflects on what was popular over the last year, I present, for your review, the Top Five AdoroErgoSum blog posts of Anno Domini 2014, if you missed one, or if you feel the urge to reread one, just like on the heading:

5. Benedict XVI Meeting with Latin Mass Advocates

Back in September our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, had a private audience with two of the major supporters and promoters of the "Traditional Latin Mass" (what Benedict calls the forma extraordinaria or extraordinary form of the Latin Rite of the Mass). Benedict, of course, was a a great friend of the vetus ordo (old order) of the Mass, not as something that would supplant the Mass of Paul VI (novus ordo/ forma ordinaria), but as the primary means through which his "Reform of the Reform of the Liturgy" would be accomplished. I attend a parish where, each week, we celebrate Mass in both the vetus ordo and the novus ordo and I can attest from personal experience that attending (and celebrating for father) the older form of the Mass "rubs off" on what we expect from the new form. Our novus ordo looks and feels more like a TLM than like the novus ordo in most other parishes I've attended. I believe, with Benedict, that the future of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be in a reformed novus ordo, one that is in continuity with the Mass of the ages, and one that is rid of some of the unfortunate accretions of the last fifty years.

2014 was the year of Pope Francis (as was 2013, when he was elected and named "Man of the Year" by just about everyone). The ongoing media narrative of "Francis the revolutionary who will change the Catholic Church" continued unabated, as I imagine it will in 2015. Winston Churchill famously began a speech, "never was so much owed by so many to so few." I think we can safely paraphrase the British Bulldog when we speak of our Holy Father thus, "never has someone been so misunderstood by so many by so few." Such, I suppose, is the necessary result of having reporters cover the Catholic Church who know nothing about Catholicism or Church history. I've often had occasion to compare the knowledge of your average religion reporter to the New York Times hiring a sportswriter who has never watched a baseball game and expecting great Yankees coverage. Such a situation lead me to come up with the top six reasons Pope Francis is completely and constantly understood back in January, reasons which still hold true almost a year on.

In March we took a moment to lift our eyes from the temporal order, where it is all to easy to keep them forever locked as if this world wasn't passing away before them, to gaze with the great Saint Faustina at the hereafter. Known primarily for her devotion to the Divine Mercy, an often overlooked aspect of the teaching of this great saint is the reality of hell. Indeed St. Faustina has privileged to see the very pits of hell, which she didn't find empty (sorry Von Balthasar), but rather found teeming with the damned. Her vision of hell ought to propel us ever more closely into the arms of the All Merciful One and inspire us to bring as many souls there with us.

My second most popular post of the year was one written only a couple weeks ago and was prompted by a great article at Aleteia on the sorry state of music most Catholics endure each week at Mass. We often wonder why ex-Catholics have become the second largest religious group in the country, weak homilies and second rate music are two of the most important and least discussed reasons. The Catholic Church is the repository of the greatest musical tradition in the history of the world. Bar none. We have Mass settings written by the greatest musical minds in humanity has yet produced, but instead of being lifted to the Face of God by truly sacred music, we get, week in and week out, second rate sixties folk rock with vaguely worded and semi-heretical words added in. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, called for Gregorian Chant, Polyphony, and the organ to dominate our musical experience at Mass. Instead we've received acoustic guitars, tambourines, and inferior vocal performances which leave 90% of the typical congregation silent in the pews. This post serves as a call to action for Catholics to demand, politely of course, that our musical patrimony be restored to us.

And the Number One most popular post of 2014 was...

At the beginning of August we looked at the Congregation for Divine Worship's call for a reformation of the sign of peace at Mass. What was meant to be a sacred gesture (sacred being something set apart from the common, profane world) has turned into a "meet and greet" of hand shaking and back slapping. Such isn't the point of the sign of peace and is better suited to before or after Mass outside of the sanctuary. Perhaps the most important reminder from the Vatican on this score is that the sign of peace is completely optional. Father doesn't have to ask us to exchange a sign of peace with each other at every Mass or at any Mass. In fact, soon after this document was released, our pastor dropped the sign altogether for about a month and then reinstituted it. Unfortunately, at least in our parish, the reinstituted sign of peace looks just as it did before we dropped it. Here's to hoping father drops it altogether in 2015.

I hope you all enjoyed your 2014 and are making some great plans for a happy and holy 2015. God bless!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Should "the Sign of Peace" be Moved to the End of Mass?

Yesterday, Crisis Magazine published a thought provoking article on the current placement of the "Sign of Peace" in the forma ordinaria of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As our liturgical worship determines our beliefs (lex orandi, lex credendi), I thought it would be worth drawing attention of my readers to this important question once again.

In the Crisis piece, Gerald T. Mundy lays out why exactly the current placement is more than a bit problematic (enough so that Pope Benedict called on the Congregation for Divine Worship to look into moving or eliminating the Sign of Peace)
Rather than reminding the faithful that they are sharing in a solemn sacrifice and preparing to participate communally in worship (lex orandi), and in the Supper of the Lord, receiving His very body and blood as did the apostles on the night that they were told He was to become the Passover Paschal Lamb, the gesture of peace in its current place obliterates the reverence of the moment.
And, worse yet, it blurs the real distinction between what happens in a Catholic Mass and at a Protestant Sunday gathering,
the gesture of peace in its current place maims the Catholic teaching of the sacrificial purpose of the Mass. Evangelical Protestants and so-called charismatic Catholics similarly view worship as celebratory fun full of pomp, whistles, vocal affirmation, clapping, and music that mirrors that which is played at dance parties. The Catholic Mass, however, is not a celebration, nor it is a weekend party filled with bread, wine, and good company. Catholics gather to venerate the Eucharistic sacrifice upon the altar.
 And, if you haven't been sold on the why the sign of peace ought to be moved yet, Mundy ends his piece thus,
For at the Last Supper, when Jesus told his followers most dear that he was to die the next day, his apostles upon hearing this did not smile, hug, shake hands and break into song at the prospect of their divine rabbi’s forthcoming bloody and inhumane sacrifice. Remember, the Lord’s hands with which he raised the bread and chalice in the Upper Room would be nailed heinously to a cross, his digestive tract pierced with a spear to ensure bodily death. He looked up to heaven that evening and asked that they eat and drink in his memory. One would think that such a Lord would deserve rightful due, and that the gestures would be saved for either the conclusion of, or following, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (read the whole thing there it is worth your time)
The vision of acting as most Catholics do during the sign of peace at the foot of the Cross or in the Upper Room ought to be enough to convince all but the most determined liturgical deconstructionist of the need for once more rethinking the placement of this gesture.

Where ought it be moved to? Mundy suggests the end of the Mass would be better time, perhaps right before or immediately after the Ite, missa est. Such a placement would eliminate the distractions currently caused, but would run afoul of the liturgical theology that suggests the sign of peace fulfills Jesus' commandment in Matthew 5,
If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath any thing against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. (v. 23-24)
which will surely be one of the counter arguments against moving the sign of peace to the end of the Mass. Perhaps, then, a better placement for the sign would be at the beginning of the Mass, maybe immediately following the Confiteor (which might then be brought back to each and every Mass). It is at this moment that our attention is turned toward our fellow worshippers both in Heaven and on Earth. It is then that we seek to be "reconciled to (our) brother" so as to worship with a clean conscious. Perhaps, then would be a good time to symbolically offer the forgiveness to our neighbors that they have just asked us for by offering them a sign of peace. 

Either way the current placement of the sign of peace does seem to be a distraction from the principal action of the Mass, the re-presentation of Christ's once for all sacrifice on Calvary. Of course, as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council declared,
Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church... no other person even if he be a priest may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22)
So we'll just have to wait for the Congregation to take another look at the matter.

Read the whole article there: The Liturgical 'Sign of Peace': Move or Remove?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Is Being Habitually Late Sinful?

Is Tardiness a Sin (and a Mortal Sin at That)?

For any act to rise to the level of a mortal sin (the only kind of sin that has to be confessed) it has to involve grave matter (i.e. the act must violates one of the ten commandments). Which commandment would being habitually late violate? None that I can think of. Someone might object that lateness can be a symptom of selfishness, which is sinful, but it also might not be a symptom of selfishness. Our recently canonized pope, John Paul II, was known for being habitually late and was known for being incredibly selfless. Jason Everett, in his book Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves writes of the Pontiff that,
his patience often tried the patience of others. He was chronically late because he'd often spend more time with individuals than anyone had anticipated. One priest who assisted him said, "To him the value of the present person always outweighed the value of where we were going, because we'd get there eventually." As a result, appointments would not infrequently being two hours later than expected.

Thus St. John Paul's chronic lateness was actually caused by his lack of selfishness. Truth to be told, I'm trying to work on being less concerned with all the things I have to do or times I have to be doing things and more focused on the person or task at hand. In other words, I'm seeking to be much less worried about timeliness, a worry that was widely unknown to pre-modern man, but that permeates life in the modern world, thanks to the invention of (and our enslavement to) the clock. Our medieval forbearers, some of whom are the greatest of saints, managed to live without constantly checking the time. A vague idea of time, based on the hours of the Church (i.e. her prayer life), sufficed. The idea of being 15 minutes late was unknown and such fussy exactitude would have been incomprehensible.

That isn't to say lateness is a virtue (although it can be if motivated by the right reasons as was the case for St. John Paul), but it is to say it isn't necessarily a sin. Of course, lateness could be sinful, depending on why we are late and what we are late to. Missing the beginning of a movie because we stopped to help a homeless man find shelter is virtuous, even if our lateness inconveniences other people we were planning on seeing the movie with. Showing up twenty minutes into Mass because our favorite movie was playing on TV, on the other hand, is sinful (and perhaps even mortally so).

Of course, most of the times we are late will fall outside of such clear cases, but each case has to be weighed on its own merits, which is enough to prove that tardiness itself isn't sinful - we don't have to inquire further into a case of adultery to see if it is sinful, it always is as adultery itself is a mortal sin.

That isn't to say there might not be social or economic repercussions to being habitually tardy. Showing up for work each morning twenty minutes late might not be sinful, but it might cost you your job.

That being said, if being late is the worst sin someone is worried about, he is living a much holier life than most of us.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Lady of... Anime?

Saw this image over at Saint Peter's List on Facebook (you can follow them there, if you don't already),

Virgin Mary Anime

Under the image, St. Peter's List asked,
Listers, what do you think? Given the fact the Faithful have spent the last fifty years fighting off hideous works of "modern" art in our sacred spaces, it sometimes appears difficult to know how to even approach modern depictions of holiness that are of quality. What do you think of this modern depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe? Does it inspire in you the same reaction a traditional painting of Our Lady would? What purpose could it serve? - New evangelization on social media or more than that? 
To which I offered an important distinction (one which is also important in music and architecture), the distinction between truly sacred art and merely religious art. We've recently called for a restoration of sacred music at Mass (here: Why Do We Catholics Settle for Subpar Music at Mass), the same important, albeit often overlooked distinction needs applied here. Sacred art, music, and architecture is set off from the world by being different, by being holy. A church should look like a church, it should be immediately recognizable as a Catholic church even without a sign announcing it as such. A church that looks like this,

Ugly Catholic Church
L'Église Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay in Nevers, France
isn't using a sacred architectural vocabulary, rather it is seeking to emulate secular architecture (and the ugliest secular architecture at that!). Compare that with something instantly recognizable precisely because it is making use of a separate sacred architectural vocabulary, something like

Catholic Church
St Nicolay Catholic Church (Kiev)

Musically the same distinction is helpful. Matt Maher makes great religious music, i.e. secular sounding music that has religious lyrics and meaning. I enjoy listening to his songs, but they aren't sacred, they don't belong at Mass. The difference between religious music,

and sacred music,

is apparent not from the words, but from the very sound of the music. The music isn't something borrowed from the secular word with religious lyrics added, it is something that is separate, that itself speaks of God and Catholic worship, even if you have no idea what the words mean.

With this basic distinction in mind, we can immediately eliminate the anime Blessed Mother as sacred art. It clearly doesn't belong in a church as an object of public devotion, but that doesn't mean there isn't a role for such images at all. Matt Maher's music has a role in the life of Catholics who enjoy it (myself included). Buildings like L'Église Sainte-Bernadette can make nice parish halls (maybe), but they are not useful in the public sacred life of the Church (i.e. they aren't sutiable for use in the celebration of the Holy Mass.

The question, then, is whether Our Lady of Anime can be the All the People Say Amen of Marian art. I tend to come down on the positive side here. I can imagine an entire anime cartoon (or comic book or whatever forum anime is usually presented in) detailing the life of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin and the conversion of the Aztec Empire from demon-worship to the Holy Faith. I can also imagine such images piquing the curiosity of teens (or other lovers of anime) in the Catholic Faith and the Blessed Mother. In this way, such art could play an evangelical and catechetical role, even if it is entirely unsuitable for a sacred role in the life of the Church.

For the image to play such a role, I might suggest that dress being loosened up a bit and, of course, it doesn't compare to the miraculous original image,

Blessed Virgin Mary

but it might just have a role to play somewhere in the life of some Catholics.

What do you think? Is there any role for anime or other modern-style depictions of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints in the Church? Could they be an aide to the New Evangelization? Or are they an unfortunate attempt to be "hip," an attempt that ought to be abandoned as too worldly? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Power of the Name of Jesus

As we've reached the half way point of Advent and near the high holy day of Christ's Mass, I thought it might be a good time to stop for a moment with the carols and elves, the shopping mall Santas and Charlie Brown specials, and take a moment together to reflect on the Holy Name of the one we adore as God, the one who deigned to take on the flesh of a babe in swaddling clothes to redeem the world (that means you and me).

Sadly, the Holy Name is more frequently heard in these latter days as a thoughtless curse, truly "taken in vain." But such needn't, indeed can't, dull our minds to the awesome power of those most holy syllables: Je-sus.

Among the great saints known for their devotion to the Holy Name, perhaps none stands out as exemplary more than San Bernardino di Siena who crisscrossed Italy in the early fifteenth century preaching against vice, stirring up faith, and displacing the local warlike factions' symbols with the Holy Name, as represented by a symbol of his own devising.

As eloquent as San Bernardino's life and words are, I thought we'd turn today to another great saint, one perhaps more familiar, a doctor of the Church - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux for some deeper insight on this particular devotion.
The name of Jesus is more than light; it is also food. Do you not feel increase of strength as often as you remember it? What other name can so enrich the man who meditates? What can equal its power to refresh the harassed senses, to buttress the virtues, to add vigor to good and upright habits, to foster chaste affections?
And yet it is even more powerful than that,
It is a medicine. Does one of us feel sad? Let the name of Jesus come into his heart.... Does someone fall into sin? Does his despair even urge him to suicide? Let him but invoke this life-giving name and his will to live will at once be renewed. The hardness of heart that is our common experience, the apathy that bred of indolence, bitterness of mind, repugnance for things of the spirit - have they ever failed to yield in the presence of that saving name? The tears damned up by the barrier of our pride - how have they not burst forth again with sweeter abundance at the thought of Jesus' name? And where is the man, who terrified and trembling before impending peril, has not been suddenly filled with courage and rid of fear by calling on the strength of that name? Where is the man who tossed on the rolling seas of doubt, did not quickly find certitude by recourse to the clarity of Jesus' name? Was ever a man so discouraged, so beaten down by afflictions, to whom the sound of this name did not bring new resolve? In short, to all the ills and disordered to which the flesh is heir, this name is medicine. For proof we have no less than his own promise: "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me" (Ps. 49:15). 
On the Song of Songs, vol 1, sermon 15, no. 6

Which is exactly why he goes on to say (which is featured in the sidebar of this very blog),
Write what you will, I shall not relish it unless it tells of Jesus. Talk or argue about what you will, I shall not relish it if you exclude the name of Jesus. Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song in the heart. 
So let not the Holy Name be a course word for you or those around you. It is the name of our Lord and King. It is the name at which every knee shall one day bow (yes, that means you too atheists). Bow your head reverent, if discreetly, when His name is mentioned (especially at Mass, as was the traditional practice before Vatican 2). Call on the Holy Name whenever you are in distress or need. And join with me in praying for the reparation of the blasphemy our culture mistakes for sophistication or humor,
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gaudete Sunday!

It's taken a lot of learning, and I'm still really bad at it sometimes, but over time I have learned to trust more and more in the Lord, seeking the peace which Christ wants for us. For it is Christ who, even when we are sailing on rough seas, bids us "habete fiduciam ego sum nolite timere" (Matt 14:27).  Nolite timere, be not afraid. The Lord tells us we must habete fiduciam, have faith, because ego sum, I am - He is. 

Thus, we need not fear, no matter what troubles assail us, for He has promised us His presence - "lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world" (Matt 28:20). For, "if God be for (us), who can be against (us)?" (Rom 9:31). With Christ by our side we need not fear the world. We need "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul" (Matt 10:28). We need not concern ourselves with those trails and tribulations which plague this life. No matter how bad things may get, no matter how dark things may seem, yes even if we should find ourselves walking through the "valley of the shadow of death" (Ps 23:4) we know to still nolite timere as He is there with us crying out "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani - My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me." (Matt 27:46).

No, instead, we take up the challenge of Saint Paul, "gaudete in Domino semper" - rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4). Rejoice. Always. Even when times are tough we are to Rejoice! Why? How? Because He is Risen! (Matt 28:6). What more cause of rejoicing do we need?

But we also are challenged another way by St. Paul, "gaudete in Domino semper" - rejoice in the Lord always. In the Lord. Even when times are good and we lose ourselves in our riches and the comforts of this world, we are to rejoice in the Lord. He is to be our center. In good times and bad. When we feel close to him and when we feel distant. Semper. Always.

These things we need to keep in mind today, Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice Sunday, and not just this Sunday, but throughout the Christmas season - indeed, throughout the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why an Infinite Regress Into the Past Isn't Possible

Yesterday on my Google+ page (follow me there if you don't already) I posted a link to an article from Reduction into Modernism explaining the first cause argument (Atheists: Infinite Regress is Impossible!). Said post was followed by the following conversation with an atheist on the possibility of an infinite regress that I thought it might be beneficial to share here.

Solamon Grundy
9:15 AM
I read it and discussed at length with the author. Why do you understand infinite regress to be impossible?

How many items are there in an infinite series?

Solamon Grundy
9:33 AM
A infinite.

And if I asked you to count each of those items when would you finish?

Solamon Grundy
9:40 AM

Personally never. For a being that can't die, a infinite amount of time.

Would even the being who couldn't die ever finish?

Solamon Grundy
9:50 AM

You're right, he'd never stop counting. He wouldn't finish.

If we met someone who had finished counting our series of items, what would we then know about the series of items?

Solamon Grundy
9:54 AM

We wouldn't meet that someone.

Or, if we did, we'd know the series wasn't infinite, right?

Solamon Grundy
10:01 AM

Nathan Barontini
10:07 AM

if instead of an infinite series of items to count we had an infinite number of causes leading up to event x, when would event x happen?

Solamon Grundy
10:09 AM
When ever on the timeline of infinite events it lies.

Nathan Barontini
10:11 AM
If I said I'd pay you a million dollars after an infinite series of events passed, would I ever pay you the million?

Solamon Grundy
10:11 AM

No, because the infinite series would never come to completion.

Nathan Barontini
10:12 AM
So it would never fall on the timeline? It would never happen?

Solamon Grundy
10:14 AM
Right, because the infinite series would never finish, which is what you are getting at right?

Nathan Barontini
10:15 AM


Solamon Grundy
10:16 AM

There is no point infinite. There is no point of completion.

Solamon Grundy
10:26 AM

Is there anymore to this?

Nathan Barontini
10:28 AM

Sure. If I'm sitting here writing you a check for a million what do we know about the series of events preceding it?

Solamon Grundy
10:34 AM
Yeah, I get that, but now isn't a completion infinity. Our universe isn't point infinite because that doesn't exist. Infinity is an abstract concept to describe something as without limit, so framing an event on a limitless series as the limit is nonsensical.

Nathan Barontini
10:41 AM
Sure, but the question here is whether a limitless series of events is even possible. As we saw I'd never have to write you a check if we were waiting for a limitless series of events to pass first. Is my writing you a check a unique circumstance or would the same hold true for any other event? Say I tell my wife I'll take her to the movies after I finish a limitless list of chores first or my boss tells me I can pick up my paycheck after I work a limitless number of hours would I ever go to the cinema or get paid?
Read more

Solamon Grundy
10:45 AM
Again, you're framing it as finishing.

Solamon Grundy
10:48 AM
Think of that guy who never dies, or that guy who you already accept as possible, the God that is eternal. Say God counts forever. Even he will never finish an infinite set, but there is no number on that infinite set that he won't reach, correct?

Nathan Barontini
10:57 AM
It's not just impossible to count to infinity (to complete a limitless series), it's equally impossible to count from negative infinity to one (to reach any number on the timeline from infinity). Let's leave aside the hypothetical examples. If an infinite number of events had to pass before you were born would you ever have been born?
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Solamon Grundy
11:03 AM
How do you count from negative infinity? What do you start with, it's a concept, not a point.

Please consider the God question I just asked.

Solamon Grundy
11:04 AM
These are all hypothetical examples. You can't just throw away the one's that hurt your point.

Nathan Barontini
11:06 AM

You tell me, would even God reach one if He has to count an infinite series of numbers first? An infinite regress (ie an infinite series of past completed events) is what we are considering, not an infinite future.

Solamon Grundy
11:09 AM
Given an infinite dimension of duration, like time, which you are accepting if you believe anything is eternal or everlasting, it is just like an infinite future.

Nathan Barontini
11:24 AM
Is it? Let's say I have two challenges for you. First, is to count from one to five on a timeline that stretches from one to infinity. Could you do that? Second, is to count an infinite series of numbers to reach five on a timeline that ends at five. Are both equally possible tasks?
Thus the conversation ended, but I think the point was clear enough. If an infinite series of events, causes, numbers, etc have to pass before any event, that event can never in principal come to pass. If we know a certain event did come to pass, we then also know only a finite number of event, causes, etc proceeded that event. Thus, if something, anything, is caused today we know it could in principal only have been proceeded by a finite number of causes. Any finite number of things begins with a first in the series. Thus there must be a first cause that is itself uncaused (lest it not be the first cause). This first cause is what we theists call God.

Therefore, we either have nothing ever being caused (which is absurd) and atheism being true or we have things being caused (which is self evidently true) and God.

Solamon Grundy, before breaking off the conversation, touched on a separate issue - the relation between God and time. He seemed to be suggesting that an eternal being, God, would have lived through an infinite past number of days. Such, of course, isn't what theists believe at all about the relationship between God and time. No one presents this quite as elegantly as Frank Sheed in Theology and Sanity,
What then is time?... Time... is the duration of that which changes; time... is the measurement of the changes of the universe.... Where nothing changes, there is nothing for time to measure. Where nothing changes, time has no possible meaning. Thus time and the universe started together. God is infinite and therefore changeless.... The universe He created is a changing universe. And because change belongs to it and not to God, time belongs to it and not to God.... time is the ticking of the universe. 
Thus the phrase "before the universe was created" has no meaning at all. Before is a word of time, and there could be no time before the universe. To say "before the universe" means when there wasn't any "when"; which is to say that it doesn't mean anything at all. ...
Apply all this to the consideration of one further absurdity that tends to shadow the back of our minds, even when in the front of our minds we are by way of knowing better. It is the vague feeling we have that eternity had been going on for some time before God decided to create the universe. In light of what we have said, this is seen to be sheerly meaningless, for it brings time into eternity. We must not think of God creating the universe after a certain amount of eternity had rolled by, because there are no parts in eternity, and it does not roll by. This mental monstrosity is perhaps related to the picture of God as an old man. But God is not only not an old man, He is not even an old God. He is not old at all. For "old" simply means that one has lived through a long time; and there is no time to God. (pp. 66-68)
God, then, hasn't lived through an infinite number of "past days" or for a limitless time. Rather He lives in one present, changeless "now," an eternal instant which has no beginning, middle, or end - that doesn't have any time to it at all, but that stands apart from and outside of all time (which has no meaning where nothing changes). God then isn't an exception to the impossibility of an infinite regress rule (which would itself be impossible), but stands in a qualitatively different relationship to time altogether (one which doesn't require the passing of time at all).

The whole article at Reduction into Modernism is worth checking out.