Saturday, March 26, 2022

Novena to Blessed Karl of Austria

In honor of the anniversary of the holy Emperor's death on April 1, octave day of the Annunciation.
O Blessed Emperor Karl, you accepted the difficult tasks and burdensome challenges that God gave you during your life. In every thought, decision and action you trusted always in the Holy Trinity. We pray to you to intercede for us with the Lord our God to give us faith and courage, so that even in the most difficult situations of our earthly lives we may not lose heart, but continue faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Ask for us the grace that our hearts may be moulded into the likeness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Help us to work with compassion and strength for the poor and needy, to fight with courage for peace in our homes and in the world, and in every situation to trustingly place our lives in the hands of God, until we reach Him, as you did, through Christ our Lord.


On Blessed Karl's surprising connection to Fatima, HERE.

Theological Significance of Act of Consecration Explained

 From Vatican News:

The Heart of Mary is the heart of God. We must think that Mary is the one who shared her only Son with the Father. That Son was loved immensely by the Father and the Mother, as John Paul II and Paul VI and the whole tradition have reminded us. Mary opened up for us the way to love, who corresponded, more than any other creature, to God's immense love. So we are all called to conform ourselves to this Heart in order to be able to love Jesus in others. We are convinced that true peace does not come from the United Nations, from weapons, or from the politics of States, but only from God. Therefore, if we want to create peace, we must conform our hearts to the one who loved God and who loves the Church and our brothers and sisters, that is, to Mary. Therefore, this is the Immaculate Heart of Mary: a heart that loves immensely, giving itself to all of us. Therefore, if we really want to create peace, we must start from our hearts conformed to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Read more.)


 "Terra del Cielo" in the Italian version  or "Earth of Heaven" is NOT a pagan reference but from the Byzantine tradition. In the English version it is "Queen of Heaven" since that is a title with which we are familiar. From the National Catholic Register:

An official at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication has offered an explanation of the “Earth of Heaven” reference in some non-English translations of Pope Francis’ consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In an editorial published by Vatican News on March 25, Andrea Tornielli, the dicastery’s editorial director, described the Byzantine-Slavic origins of the title “Earth of Heaven.”

“The expression ‘Earth of Heaven’ is taken from a Byzantine-Slavic monastic hymn, and it poetically signifies the union of heaven and earth that we can contemplate in Mary assumed bodily into Heaven,” Tornielli said.

The Vatican official’s explanation came after some Catholics raised concerns about the inclusion of the phrase in the Italian and Spanish translations.

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, alluded to the concerns on translation in a social media post.

“There are questions about some translations in other languages. We must ensure that all translations are accurate & honor Mary, Queen of Heaven,” he wrote on Twitter on March 24.

Tornielli also offered details about some of the other Marian titles and devotions from different parts of the world. 

One line in the consecration refers to Mary as the “living fountain of hope” and asks her to “water the dryness of our hearts.” According to Tornielli, this is taken from a quotation from St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s prayer, “Virgin Mother, Daughter of your Son,” found in the last canticle (XXXIII) of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

The consecration prayer references Mary, Undoer of Knots, a Marian devotion close to Pope Francis’ heart.

It also directly quotes Our Lady of Guadalupe’s words to St. Juan Diego: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” (Read more.)


Entire Act of Consecration, in every language, HERE.

UPDATE: From Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

In the Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the expression “terra del Cielo” [from the Italian original] has been translated into the Romance languages (Portuguese, Spanish, French) in the same way. In German, it has been translated: “Du Irdische im Himmel” (i.e., You are the earthly one in Heaven). In many Slavonic languages, and in Russian, it has been translated: “heavenly earth”; in Slovak: “earth from heaven”; and in Polish: “earth of heaven.” And as you note, in English it has been translated “Queen of Heaven,” when a more accurate rendering would be “Heaven’s earth” or, more literally, “earth of Heaven.”

While there is an evident discrepancy in the translations, the expression “heaven’s earth” [terra del Cielo] is not it itself heretical or Pagan. One should not immediately see in this expression a parallel to Pachamama but interpret it in an objective, benevolent, and Catholic way, which is possible. There are traditional Catholic Marian poems and songs with quite similar expressions like “Mary is the heavenly garden” or the “garden of Heaven.” Let us consider how the expression accords with Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, and the Liturgy:

Sacred Scripture

The expression “earth of heaven” or “heaven’s earth” can be interpreted in a manner consistent with Sacred Scripture. It can have the meaning of “new earth” used in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1-2 and is consistent with the Old Testament prophecy that we see fulfilled in Mary: “Let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth” (Isaiah 45:8).

Church Fathers and Doctors

We also find similar expressions in the Church Fathers. St. Ephrem the Syrian wrote: “The virgin earth of old gave birth to the Adam who is lord of the earth, but today another virgin has given birth to the Adam who is Lord of heaven” (Hymns on Nativity, 1:16). Here, virginity is compared to earth; the “virgin soil” chosen by God to bring forth the first Adam is a type of Mary, the virgin earth who gave birth to Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Later, St. John Chrysostom would say:

The word Eden signifies virgin land. Now such was that region in which God planted paradise. … Now this virgin (earth) is a type of the Virgin. For as that land, without having received any seed, blossomed forth for us paradise; so too Mary, without having conceived of man, blossomed forth for us Christ (De mutatione nominum, 2, 3-4).

Likewise, St. John Damascene said: “The gates of paradise open and receive the God-bearing earth, on which Christ, the tree of eternal life originated” (Homily 3 on the Dormition of St. Mary). And in an eleventh century hymn composed by St. Peter Damian in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saint exclaims “Es et terra cœlestis,” i.e., “and you are the heavenly earth” (Rhythmus de S. Maria virgine).

Byzantine Liturgy

According to an article published on March 23, 2022, in the Vatican newspaper, The Osservatore Romano, the expression “terra del Cielo” is “taken from a Byzantine-Slavic monastic hymn, and poetically signifies the union of heaven and earth that we can contemplate in Mary, who is also assumed into Heaven with her body.” The Byzantine liturgy does, in fact, contain expressions similar to “Heaven’s earth.” Of Mary it is said: “I am the untilled earth” (Byzantine Liturgy, Octoechos [Book of Hymns], voice 8, Sunday, hymn 6), meaning, “I am the heavenly earth”, “the virginal earth,” the “paradisiac earth.” And elsewhere she is praised as “Blessed earth, blessed Bride of God, earth untilled and saving the world” (Canon for Holy Communion, Ode 1, Theotokos). (Read more.)


UPDATE: Okay, people can stop sending me links to Dr. Marshall's "Terra del cielo" lecture. I am content with Bishop Schneider's explanation, not that I doubted the Holy Father's choice of words. For that matter, I could mention any number of titles which we use for Jesus and Mary that were also designations of pagan deities, including "Queen of Heaven," "Morning Star" and " King of kings." Some people choose despair and darkness, and there seems to be no way to help them.


The entire Consecration ceremony on March 25, 2022, Solemnity of the Annunciation, at St. Peter's Basilica can be seen here:

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Glory of St. Joseph

Here is a beautiful meditation given by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira:
Saint Joseph—prince of the House of David, prince of a royal family that, although dethroned and decadent, was at its apogee because from it was born the Hope of the Nations—knocks at the door and is rejected! But in this rejection is his first glory....He took the first step of his martyrdom: he led Our Lady to a cave suitable only for animals, where the Child Jesus was born.

To this glory—which was certainly a negative one—were added many others: the glory of being considered a person of no consequence although all public honors were due him; the glory of taking upon himself all the humiliation, all the ignominy and all the weight of the opprobrium that was to fall upon Our Lord. From the very beginning, he had the special bliss of being refused for his love of justice and his grandeur of soul. (Read more.)

St. Joseph's Life of Faith

The following is an excerpt from Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D: 
St. Joseph's whole life may be summed up as a continual adherence to the Divine plan, even in situations which were very obscure and mysterious to him. In our life, too, there is always some mystery, either because God is pleased to work in a hidden, secret manner or because His action is always incomprehensible to our poor human intelligence. Therefore, we need that glance of faith, that complete confidence which, relying on the infinite goodness of God, convinces us that He always and in all circumstances wills our good and disposes everything to that end. Only this loving trust will permit us, like Joseph, always to say yes to every manifestation of the divine will, a humble, prompt, trustful yes, in spite of the obscurities, the difficulties, the mystery.... (p. 1131)

Friday, March 18, 2022

All the Bishops

 Let us remember that when Our Lady appeared in 1917, "the Ukraine" was part of Russia as one of the Tsar's dominions. It is being singled out among the former provinces of Russia by the Holy Father because it is the only one being bombed. As Our Lady said on July 13, 1917:

If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. (Read more.)


From Vatican News:

In response to questions from journalists, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, has confirmed, “Pope Francis has invited the bishops of the whole world, along with their priests, to join him in the prayer for peace and in the consecration and entrustment of Russia and of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

The Pope will make the prayer in the afternoon of Friday, 25 March – the Solemnity of the Annunciation – in St Peter’s Basilica, on the occasion of the Celebration of Penance, scheduled to begin at 5 pm. The same act, on the same day, will be undertaken by all the bishops of the world. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will perform the act of consecration at Fatima as the envoy of the Pope.

In the apparition of 13 July 1917 in Fatima, Our Lady had asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation on the First Saturdays, stating that if this request was not granted, Russia would “spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church,” and “the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

After the apparitions of Fatima there were various acts of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: on 31 October 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world, and on 7 July 1952 he specifically consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Apostolic Letter Sacro vergente anno, in view of the difficult situation of Christians forced to live in an atheistic communist regime.

Later, Pope St Paul VI in 1964, and Pope St John Paul II in 1981, 1982, and 1984 renewed this consecration of the whole human race. The consecration in 1984 took place March 25, in St Peter’s Square; on that occasion, St John Paul II, referring specifically to Our Lady's request at Fatima, and in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world, entrusted all peoples, and “in a special way... those men and nations who are in special need of this entrustment and consecration,” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In June 2000, when the Holy See revealed the third part of the so-called secret of Fatima, the then-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, pointed out that Sister Lucia had personally confirmed that the act of consecration performed by John Paul II in 1984 corresponded to what Our Lady had asked.

And now this year, on March 25, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia together with Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in communion with bishops from all over the world. (Read more.)


More HERE. And HERE.


Meanwhile, the pilgrim Virgin of Fatima is now in Ukraine at the request of the Archbishop. From CNA:

A special statue of Our Lady of Fatima has arrived in Ukraine, ahead of Pope Francis’ consecration of the country and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“The Center of the Shrine of Fatima (Portugal) provides us with an official copy of the Statue of the Mother of God of Fatima, to ask God for protection and peace in Ukraine and the world in her presence,” the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Lviv announced on Facebook Wednesday. 

The church will house the statue from March 17 to April 15, the post read. After departing from Portugal, the statue visited Krakow, Poland, before continuing to Lviv.

The statue comes at the request of Archbishop Ihor Vozniak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It is one of 13 official copies of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that travel worldwide. Carved in 1920, sculptor José Ferreira Tedin created the original statue with the help of Sister Lucia, one of the three children at the Marian apparitions in Fatima in 1917. (Read more.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Annunciation Novena

The Annunciation by John William Waterhouse
 It begins today. On March 25, 2022, the solemnity of the Annunciation,  Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and the Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us remember that when Our Lady appeared in 1917, "the Ukraine" was part of Russia as one of the Tsar's dominions. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 15, 1917. He returned to Tsarskoe Seloe where his children were recovering from measles. The family began to pray the Akathist hymn to Our Lady every day. In less than two months, on May 13, Our Lady appeared at Fatima. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady revealed the three secrets, including the request for the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A year and three days later, the Russian Imperial family were murdered in Ekaterinburg.
I greet you, Ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Throne of Grace, miracle of Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity and Queen of the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners! Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me from your dear Son the favor I request in this novena:

(mention your request).

Obtain for me also, Queen of heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and Protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory. Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death. Amen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The Virtues and the Gifts


From Catholicism:

The gifts of the Holy Ghost resemble the infused virtues in a number of ways. Both are operative habits which have God as their efficient cause and the perfection of man as their final cause. Both reside in the human faculties and have right behavior as their material object.

Where they differ is in their motor cause, their mode of action, and their exercise. The virtues are put in motion by natural reason aided by faith and grace, thus making the resulting act “my act.” The gifts, on the other hand, are put in motion directly by the Holy Ghost and will only operate if He so deigns. They are more “His act,” although, by our cooperation with Him, they are truly free and meritorious acts. The mode of the virtues is a human mode of action, whereas the gifts operate in a divine mode. Finally, the virtues are actively exercised by the soul, whereas, the soul is passive under the influence of the gifts, albeit with the necessary conscious assent of the intellect and free cooperation of the will. “Such are the principal differences between the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The first one establishes the radical and specific differences between the virtues and the gifts; the others are logical consequences of the first one.”[1]

The virtues and the gifts are both necessary elements of the supernatural life (necessary, in fact, for salvation), the former perfecting the faculties of man so that we may live rightly as sons of God, the latter perfecting the virtues themselves so that we may perform their corresponding acts with ease and facility. Each gift perfects one (or more) infused virtue, either because they reside in the same faculty (as faith and knowledge in the intellect) or because, while residing in different faculties, they regulate the acts of those virtues (as temperance and fear).

Father Aumann organizes his subject matter as St. Thomas does, by treating the gifts in connection with the virtues to which they are allied. I shall approach it from the opposite direction, summarizing the gifts in the traditional order and connecting the virtues with them. And since the divine Artist made icons of these virtues and gifts in the saints, I will assign to each gift a saint who exemplifies it. (Read more.)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

His Words Matter

 From Corpus Christi Watershed:

Only a very foolish person would change or “modernize” the words of Saint Robert Southwell, whose lengthy hymn is a brilliant treatise on Transubstantiation. We must remember that the Anglicans were vehemently opposed to Catholic doctrines, especially the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and (in particular) the doctrine of Transubstantiation. After the time of King Henry VIII—in both England and its American Colonies—religious oaths were required to hold a rank in the military or government. (Read more.)

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