Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Eighth Day

From Abbot Gueranger:
Let, then, the week with its Sabbath pass by; what we Christians want is the eighth day, the day that is beyond the measure of time, the day of eternity, the day whose light is not intermittent or partial, but endless and unlimited. Thus speak the holy Fathers, when explaining the substitution of the Sunday for the Saturday. It was, indeed, right that man should keep, as the day of his weekly and spiritual repose, that on which the Creator of the visible world had taken his divine rest; but it was a commemoration of the material creation only. The Eternal Word comes down in the world that he has created; he comes with the rays of his divinity clouded beneath the humble veil of our flesh; he comes to fulfil the figures of the first Covenant. Before abrogating the Sabbath, he would observe it as he did every tittle of the Law; he would spend it as the day of rest, after the work of his Passion, in the silence of the sepulchre: but, early on the eighth day, he rises to life, and the life is one of glory.
'Let us,' says the learned and pious Abbot Rupert, 'leave the Jews to enjoy the ancient Sabbath, which is a memorial of the visible creation.... But our Sabbath has been transferred from the seventh to the eighth day, and the eighth is the first. And rightly was the seventh changed into the eighth, because we Christians put our joy in a better work than the creation of the world.... Let the lovers of the world keep a Sabbath for its creation: but our joy is in the salvation of the world, for our life, yea and our rest, is hidden with Christ in God.'

The mystery of the seventh followed by an eighth day, as the holy one, is again brought before us by the number of weeks which form Eastertide. These weeks are seven; they form a week of weeks, and their morrow is again a Sunday, the glorious feast of Pentecost. These mysterious numbers-which God himself fixed when he instituted the first Pentecost after the first Pasch-were adopted by the Apostles when they regulated the Christian Easter, as we learn from St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Isidore, Amalarius, Rabanus Maurus and from all the ancient interpreters of the mysteries of the holy Liturgy. 'If we multiply seven by seven' says St. Hilary, 'we shall find that this holy season is truly the Sabbath of sabbaths, but what completes it and raises it to the plenitude of the Gospel, is the eighth day which follows, eighth and first both together in itself. The Apostles have given so sacred an institution to these seven weeks that, during them, no one should kneel, or mar by fasting the spiritual joy of this long feast. The same institution has been extended to each Sunday; for this day which follows the Saturday has become, by the application of the progress of the Gospel the completion of the Saturday, and the day of feast and joy.'
From the Easter Sermon by Saint John Chrysotom:
 Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first. To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
  Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hades when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaias foretold this when he said, "You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with. It was in an uproar because it is mocked. It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed. It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated. It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive. Hell took a body, and discovered God. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see. O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?  Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Pearl of York

Stephanie Mann discusses the martyrdom of St. Margaret Clitherow, saying:
When these activities were discovered, St. Margaret was arrested and put on trial. Because she would not plead the judge proclaimed this sentence:
You must return from whence you came, and there, in the lowest part of the prison, be stripped naked, laid down, your back on the ground, and as much weight laid upon you as you are able to bear, and so to continue for three days without meat or drink, and on the third day to be pressed to death, your hands and feet tied to posts, and a sharp stone under your back. . . .

Ten days were allowed to pass between her sentencing and execution. On the day of her execution she was calm and forgiving. When asked to pray for the Queen, she asked God to turn Her Majesty to the Catholic faith. They placed the board upon her and the hired executioners placed the huge stones upon her. Within a quarter of an hour she was dead. The sheriffs left the body under the door from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon. They then buried her body in some waste ground, where they hoped it would never be found.
More HERE.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Holy Grail of Pope Francis

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
From Father Angelo:
The same silversmith collaborated with Cardinal Bergoglio in designing another chalice, embossed with the image of Our Lady Undoer of Knots, which the Cardinal presented to Pope Benedict shortly after he ascended to the Chair of St. Peter.

It is quite interesting that that this Argentinian pope should have a personal attraction to the German devotion.  It provides a kind of link between the two successors of St. Peter, of which there are others.

Even Our Lady of Lujan and the Undoer of Knots are connected by a common thread. The title “Undoer of Knots” is a reference to the teaching of St. Irenaeus in which he compares and contrasts Eve and Mary. In respect to the Fall and Redemption both are betrothed and yet virgins.  One union of man and woman delivers death, the other life.  In one case, faithlessness and disobedience brings destruction.  In the other, faith and obedience brings regeneration:
And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.
(Read more.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Bishop in White

Pope Francis at his Inaugural Mass on March 19, 2013
And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. ~Sr. Lucia, from the third part of the Secret of Fatima

The Keys of the Kingdom

 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 16: 18-19)
"Lowly yet Chosen" just like Mary and Joseph. To quote the Catholic World Report:
From the Vatican Information Service, here are details about the symbols found on Francis’ coat of arms:
The shield has a bright blue background, at the centre top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS christogram on it representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the H, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is a star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. To the right of the star is a nard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family. 

Francis’ papal motto, displayed with the coat of arms, is also the same as the one he used as a bishop; it is “miserando atque eligendo,” which in Latin means “by having mercy, by choosing him.” It is taken from a homily of the Venerable Bede on the call of St. Matthew: “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him: Follow me.” Vatican Radio explains the significance of this passage to the Holy Father: 

This homily, which focuses on divine mercy and is reproduced in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Saint Matthew, has taken on special significance in the Pope's life and spiritual journey.

In fact it was on the Feast of Saint Matthew in 1953 that a young, seventeen-year-old Jorge Bergoglio was touched by the mercy of God and felt the call to religious life in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

(Read entire article.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Prayer for the Pope

Monsignor John T. Myler sent me a link to this wonderful prayer:
Prayer for a Pope Who is “Both …”

...both Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier:
         both reformer and missionary,
         both visionary and evangelizer...

...both Peter and Paul:
         both in the heart of the Church
         and the court of those yet to hear and believe...

...both urbi et orbi:
         both to the See of Rome and to all the world,
         to both hemispheres - north and south... 

... both Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes:
         the Vicar of Christ, Who is both
         "the light of all nations" and Who shares
         in both "our joys and our hopes",
         "our griefs and our anxieties"...

... both in continuity and in reform:
         both "father and teacher", just as the Church is
         both Mater et Magistra -
         from both Scripture and Tradition
         - the one font of Truth -
         to live both great commands:
         love of both God and neighbor.

... both priest and prophet,
    both servant and leader,
    at both altar and table, both Priest and Victim,
         both Source and Summit -
         offering sacrifice and sacrament
         for both men and women, both young and old,
         with both saints and sinners
         worshipping in both Spirit and Truth;

         calling for conversion of both heart and mind,
         to cleanse the cup both inside and out,
         both poor in spirit and rich in mercy,
         like the wise man of the Gospel
             who brings forth from the storeroom
             graces from the One
             both ever ancient and ever new...

... with keys for both the kingdom here
         and the kingdom to come,
         both still and still moving,
         by both word and deed,
         in both speaking and listening ...

... for both health and long life...

... for both courage in Jesus
    (whose Company he keeps)
         and consolation from the Mother
               also "Miserando atque eligendo" --
               both "lowly but chosen"...

... both in the burden of the Cross now carried
    and in the hope of the Resurrection to be shared;

... blessings both now and forever.  Amen.
By Monsignor John T. Myler


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Benedict and Francis: The Law and the Prophets

Nolite tangere christos meos et in prophetis meis nolite malignari. (I Par. 16:22, The Vulgate)

A superb, must-read post by Fr. Angelo. To quote:
The Catechism also teaches us that all the baptized participate in the triple office of Christ as priest, prophet and king (783).  However, priests, especially bishops who have the fullness of the priesthood and most especially the pope as the Vicar of Christ and Head of the apostolic college, have a mandate to exercise these three offices in a particular way.  These offices are the proper functions of the Holy Father and the bishops: the priest sanctifies by offering sacrifice; the prophet teaches by delivering God’s message; and the king governs by shepherding God’s people after the heart of Christ (cf.,  Jer 3:15).

But I believe there is a different but complimentary distinction that needs to accompany this tripartite distinction of office, and that is the twofold distinction of the Law and the Prophets, roughly corresponding to the dogmatic and pastoral teaching of the pope and the bishops.  The Prophetic Office actually encompasses both the teaching of the general principles of the faith (the law/dogma) and its practical application (the prophets/pastorality).  The first is protected by the guarantee of infallibility, the second is not.  And although clearly pastoral teaching must be subordinated to dogmatic teaching, neither can be dispensed with, and both involve faith, even if in some measure the latter involves human faith.

I think it is particular unhelpful and even “unhealthy” to minimize the legitimate and necessary role of the pope as prophet in the second sense, namely, in the role as Universal Shepherd (Pastor) of the Church.  Here I am not criticizing the conscientious objector, or the theologian acting in good faith, and with the urgency and necessity of a well-formed and sincere conscience, when this has to do with non-infallibly taught doctrinal and pastoral teaching that does not seem to be reconcilable with previous magisterial teaching, and when such objections are expressed directly to the magisterium itself.  Public dissent from magisterial teaching, on the other hand, causes immediate scandal to the faithful.  But the know-it-all zealotry has another deleterious effect: the cultivation of a habit of mind that reduces almost every aspect of faith to a calculation of human judgment. (Read entire post.)

Also, Francis on Francis.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

May God bless and protect Our Holy Father Pope Francis! This is a happy day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Saints Perpetua and Felicity

The detailed account of their sufferings is one of the earliest and most highly authenticated testimonies from the early Church. The martyrs, two young mothers and their friends, faced their ordeal with courage and joy.

Now dawned the day of their victory, and they went forth from the prison into the amphitheatre as it were into heaven, cheerful and bright of countenance; if they trembled at all, it was for joy, not for fear. Perpetua followed behind, glorious of presence, as a true spouse of Christ and darling of God; at whose piercing look all cast down their eyes. Felicity likewise, rejoicing that she had borne a child in safety, that she might fight with the beasts, came now from blood to blood, from the midwife to the gladiator, to wash after her travail in a second baptism. And when they had been brought to the gate and were being compelled to put on, the men the dress of the priests of Saturn, the women the dress of the priestesses of Ceres, the noble Perpetua remained of like firmness to the end, and would not. For she said: For this cause came we willingly unto this, that our liberty might not be obscured. For this cause have we devoted our lives, that we might do no such thing as this; this we agreed with you. Injustice acknowledged justice; the tribune suffered that they should be brought forth as they were, without more ado. Perpetua began to sing, as already treading on the Egyptian's head. Revocatus and Saturninus and Saturus threatened the people as they gazed. Then when they came into Hilarian's sight, they began to say to Hilarian, stretching forth their hands and nodding their heads: You judge us, they said, and God you. At this the people being enraged besought that they should be vexed with scourges before the line of gladiators (those namely who fought with beasts). Then truly they gave thanks because they had received somewhat of the sufferings of the Lord.

[....]

But for the women the devil had made ready a most savage cow, prepared for this purpose against all custom; for even in this beast he would mock their sex. They were stripped therefore and made to put on nets; and so they were brought forth. The people shuddered, seeing one a tender girl, the other her breasts yet dropping from her late childbearing. So they were called back and clothed in loose robes. Perpetua was first thrown, and fell upon her loins. And when she had sat upright, her robe being rent at the side, she drew it over to cover her thigh, mindful rather of modesty than of pain. Next, looking for a pin, she likewise pinned up her dishevelled hair; for it was not meet that a martyr should suffer with hair dishevelled, lest she should seem to grieve in her glory. So she stood up; and when she saw Felicity smitten down, she went up and gave her her hand and raised her up. And both of them stood up together and the (hardness of the people being now subdued) were called back to the Gate of Life. There Perpetua being received by one named Rusticus, then a catechumen, who stood close at her side, and as now awakening from sleep (so much was she in the Spirit and in ecstasy) began first to look about her; and then (which amazed all there), When, forsooth, she asked, are we to be thrown to the cow? And when she heard that this had been done already, she would not believe till she perceived some marks of mauling on her body and on her dress. Thereupon she called her brother to her, and that catechumen, and spoke to them, saying: Stand fast in the faith, and love you all one another; and be not offended because of our passion.
 (Image)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hidden in the Sacred Heart of Jesus

From Fr. Mark:
Devotion to the Sacred Heart, thus understood, is a manifestation in the Church of the Holy Spirit, "helping us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rom 8:26).5 The Sacred Heart is, in the life of the Church, the organ by which "the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom 8:27).
Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "We see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus' prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him".6

This is the prayer of the Sacred Heart, the prayer that filled the days and nights of Jesus' earthly life, the prayer that suffused his sufferings and ascended from the Cross at the hour of his death, the prayer that with him descended into the depths of the earth, the prayer that continues uninterrupted in the glory of his risen and ascended life, the prayer that is ceaseless in the Sacrament of the Altar....

The prayer of the Heart of Christ at the hour of his sacrifice passes entirely into the heart of the Church, where it is prolonged and actualized "from the rising of the sun to its setting" (Mal 1:11) in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the mystery of the Eucharist.

Cardinal Ratzinger asks if, after the once-for-all Pasch of Jesus, anything more is needed. "After the tearing of the Temple curtain and the opening up of the heart of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified, do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols? Yes, we do need them, precisely so that, through the 'image', through the sign, we learn to see the openness of heaven. We need them to give us the capacity to know the mystery of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified".14

It is through the liturgy, first and above all, that we pass over into the prayer of the Sacred Heart, the word to the Father forever inscribed in his pierced side. (Read entire post.)
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