Saturday, November 28, 2020

Advent Begins

From Fr. Mark:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
In less than four weeks time we will be singing the opening antiphon of First Vespers of Christmas: Rex pacificus magnificatus est, cujus vultum desiderat universa terra, “The King of Peace is magnified, whose countenance the whole world desires [to see]“. Christ is the King of Peace. At His birth the choirs of angels filled the skies over Bethlehem, singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will” (Luke 2:14). The angels knew that the Son of God had come to establish peace between heaven and earth. Whereas Adam’s sin had set earth against heaven, and caused heaven to weep over the sin that devastated the face of the earth, Christ, by His coming, fulfilled the psalmist’s prophecy that earth would be be inhabited by peacemakers, and that He would give peace to all who would welcome Him into their hearts and allow Him to rule over them as King. “The meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace” (Psalm 36:11). (Read more.)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

In Thanksgiving to God

From a homily by Fr. Mark:
   The Mayflower Puritans, you will remember, fled Europe to put far behind them, once and for all, altar and priest, chalice and paten, saints, feast-days, and every Popish trapping and Romish invention.  The Puritans of Plymouth and of New Haven deemed the Mass an abomination.  They judged even the Protestantized Communion Service of the Church of England by far too Catholic.  The Puritans grasped the link between thanksgiving and fruitfulness but, having rejected the Mass, they had no way to express it sacramentally.  The Thanksgiving festival emerged in a Eucharistic void, in a culture bereft of altar and of priest.  The Puritans of Plymouth and of the New Haven Colony would be horrified to see their “Thanksgiving” observed today in a Papist nunnery with the Romish Sacrifice of the Mass!

     For our part, being incurably Papist and given to everything Romish, Thanksgiving Day falls within the greater Catholic rhythm of a life measured by thy Holy Sacrifice.  We live from Mass to Mass, from one Great Thanksgiving to another.  To be Catholic is “always and everywhere to give thanks.”  To be Catholic is to live eucharistically, drawn into the prayer of Christ to the Father and the fruitfulness that comes from the Holy Spirit.

     The Eucharistic life is a ceaseless thanksgiving; it is thanksgiving, semper et ubique, always and everywhere.  Saint Benedict teaches us the same thing: to bless always giving primacy to the praise of God, to forswear grumbling and murmuring, so as to enter, day after day, into the thanksgiving of Christ to the Father.

     We go the altar today, as we did yesterday and as we will tomorrow: to enter into the Great Thanksgiving of Christ our Eternal High Priest.  We go to the altar because there is no other way for us to be fruitful, no other way to bear “fruit that will abide” (Jn 15:16).  May he take us to himself, and draw us after him, beyond the veil (cf. Heb 6:19), into the presence of the Father.  There it is always Thanksgiving; there is made ready for us a feasting that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Cor 2:9), the wedding feast of the Lamb (cf. Rev 19:9). (Read entire homily.)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Octave Day of All Saints

From Dom Gueranger at Sensus Fidelium:

How could we more appropriately conclude the teachings of this Octave, than by quoting the words used by the Church herself in today’s Liturgy? “Strangers as we are and pilgrims on the earth, let us fix our hearts and our thoughts on the day which will give to each of us a home, and restore us to Paradise. Who, that is on a voyage, would not hasten to return to his country! Who, that is on the way home, would not eagerly desire a favorable wind, that he might the sooner embrace his dear ones! Parents, brothers, children, friends in multitudes impatiently await us in our heavenly fatherland; blessed crowd! already secure of their own eternal happiness, they are solicitous about our salvation. What joy for them and for us, when at length we see them and they may embrace us!

“How great the delight of that heavenly kingdom: no more fear of death; but eternal and supreme happiness! Let all our earnest desires tend to this: that we may be united with the Saints, that together with them we pay possess Christ.”

These enthusiastic words, borrowed from St. Cyprian’s beautiful book “On Mortality,” are used by the Church in her second Nocturn; and in the third she also gives us the strong language of St. Augustine, consoling the faithful, who are obliged still to remain in exile, by reminding them of the great beatitude of this earth: the beatitude of those who are persecuted and cursed by the world. To suffer gladly for Christ, is the Christian’s glory, the invisible beauty which wins for his soul the good pleasure of God, and procures him a great reward in heaven.

He that hurteth, let him hurt still, says our Lord; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is just, let him be justified still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Patience, then, Christians! Patience, all who are now despised, for time is short; the fashion of this world passeth away! It is in the light of our Baptism that we must look upon those foolish men, who think themselves strong, because they are violent; who call themselves wise, because pleasure is their only law. When the Man-God, with the spirit of his mouth, shall take vengeance on Satan their leader, their lot will be the indignant sentence heard by the Prophet of Patmos: Without are dogs, murderers, every one that loveth and maketh a lie. Meanwhile the whole creation, which they made the unwilling slave of their corruption, will answer to their disgraceful fall by a triumphant song of deliverance. Itself will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth. It will partake of the glory of the children of God, delivered like itself, and will be worthy to contain the new Jerusalem, the holy city, where in our flesh we shall see God; and where, seated at the right hand of the Father in the Person of Jesus Christ, our glorified human nature will enjoy forever the honors of a bride. (Read more.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Election Day

 Let us join in giving thanks to God for His mercies to our country, which we have enjoyed and hope to continue to enjoy. In times of scandal and fraud, the only recourse left to honorable souls is hope and trust in God. Let us thank God for the victory which belongs to President Trump even though scoundrels are trying to steal it. The American people have chosen. We trust in the judgments of God. From Psalm 117, according to the Vulgate:

Confitemini Domino. The psalmist praiseth God for his delivery from evils: putteth his whole trust in him; and foretelleth the coming of Christ. Alleluia.

[1] Give praise to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. [2] Let Israel now say that he is good: that his mercy endureth for ever. [3] Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. [4] Let them that fear the Lord now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. [5] In my trouble I called upon the Lord: and the Lord heard me, and enlarged me.

[6] The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me. [7] The Lord is my helper: and I will look over my enemies. [8] It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. [9] It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes. [10] All nations compassed me about; and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.

[11] Surrounding me they compassed me about: and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them. [12] They surrounded me like bees, and they burned like fire among thorns: and in the name of the Lord I was revenged on them. [13] Being pushed I was overturned that I might fall: but the Lord supported me. [14] The Lord is my strength and my praise: and he is become my salvation. [15] The voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tabernacles of the just.

[16] The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength: the right hand of the Lord hath exulted me: the right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength. [17] I shall not die, but live: and shall declare the works of the Lord. [18] The Lord chastising hath chastised me: but he hath not delivered me over to death. [19] Open ye to me the gates of justice: I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord. [20] This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it.

[21] I will give glory to thee because thou hast heard me: and art become my salvation. [22] The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner. [23] This is the Lord's doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes. [24] This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. [25] O Lord, save me: O Lord, give good success.

[26] Blessed be he that cometh in the name Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. [27] The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar. [28] Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, and I will exalt thee. I will praise thee, because thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. [29] O praise ye the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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