Sunday, March 27, 2022

Laetare Sunday

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. (Psalm) Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. Gloria Patri.
Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Psalm) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.
It is Laetare Sunday. Here is a meditation from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B.:
This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her lenten mournfulness; the chants of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the deacon resumes his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; and instead of purple, rose-coloured vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practised in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church's motive for introducing this expression of joy into today's liturgy is to encourage her children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy season. The real mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice!...
The blessing of the golden rose is one of the ceremonies peculiar to the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is called on this account Rose Sunday. The thoughts suggested by this flower harmonize with the sentiments wherewith the Church would now inspire her children. The joyous time of Easter is soon to give them a spiritual spring, of which that of nature is but a feeble image.
 Hence, we cannot be surprised that the institution of this ceremony is of a very ancient date. We find it observed under the pontificate of St. Leo IX (eleventh century); and we have a sermon on the golden rose preached by the glorious Pope Innocent III, on this Sunday, and in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. In the middle ages, when the Pope resided in the Lateran palace, having first blessed the rose, he went on horseback to the church of the Station. He wore the mitre, was accompanied by all the Cardinals, and held the blessed flower in his hand. Having reached the basilica, he made a discourse on the mysteries symbolized by the beauty, the colour, and the fragrance of the rose. Mass was then celebrated.
After the Mass, the Pope returned to the Lateran palace. Surrounded by the sacred college, he rode across the immense plain which separates the two basilicas, with the mystic flower still in his hand. We may imagine the joy of the people as they gazed upon the holy symbol. When the procession had reached the palace gates, if there were a prince present, it was his privilege to hold the stirrup, and assist the Pontiff to dismount; for which filial courtesy he received the rose, which had received so much honour and caused such joy. ~ Dom Gueranger's The Liturgical Year, Vol. V
Papal Golden Rose (14th century)

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.
Amen.

 

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:

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Annunciation

The Annunciation by Arthur Hacker

The solemnity of the Annunciation is today. Prayer is not magic. A consecration is not magic. Our Lady is mother, not a high school algebra teacher. Russia is finally going to be mentioned by name in a consecration to the Immaculate Heart. Let us the Church militant, united with the Church triumphant and Church suffering, pray for a shower of grace upon the world. Once the prophet Elias prayed for rain to end Israel's drought, and the rain came.

 Here is a reflection from Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, OCD:
The Angel's explanation does not prevent future events and circumstances from remaining hidden and obscure to Mary. She finds herself face to face with a mystery, a mystery which she knows intuitively to be rich in suffering; for she has learned from the Sacred Scriptures that the Redeemer will be a man of sorrows, sacrificed for the salvation of mankind. Therefore, the ineffable joy of the divine maternity is presented to her wrapped in a mystery of sorrow: to be willing to be the Mother of the Son of God means consenting to be the Mother of one condemned to death. Yet Mary accepts everything in her fiat: in the joy as well as in the sorrow of the mystery, she has but one simple answer: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."

 Here is the text of the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which the Holy Father is making today

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26.) In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat," on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope,” water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Of His Kingdom There Shall Be No End

A meditation on the Annunciation by Father Thomas de Saint-Laurent:
God chose the Archangel Gabriel from among the princes of the celestial court who remained constantly before the throne of the Almighty. He entrusted to him the most important and glorious assignment ever confided to a creature, the mission of announcing to the Virgin the awesome mystery of the Incarnation. All Heaven now looked upon that simple house of Nazareth, where a profound peace reigned. Joseph probably rested from his hard labor. In the adjoining room, his virgin spouse was praying. The angel appeared and respectfully bowed before his Queen. His countenance resplendent with supernatural joy, he said to her, “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”18 Saint Gabriel uttered but the strictest truth. At the moment of Mary’s conception, divine grace flooded her magnificent soul. Ever since then, this grace had grown ceaselessly in proportions far surpassing our feeble understanding. Now, at this moment, the adorable Trinity wanted this already extraordinary holiness to shine with even greater brilliance: Our Lady would shelter in her womb the very Author of grace.

Yet, the Archangel’s salutation troubled the Immaculate Virgin. By divine enlightenment she had long understood the immensity of God and the nothingness of creatures. In her prodigious humility, she considered herself the lowliest of creatures and thus wondered at receiving such praise. She pondered what hidden meaning could be shrouded in such words.

Seeing this most incomparably perfect of all creatures with such a humble opinion of herself, the celestial ambassador exulted with admiration. “Mary,” he said to the trembling Virgin, “fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.”19

Then slowly, majestically, in the name of the Eternal God, he communicated his sublime message: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”20
These words were far too clear to Our Lady for any hesitation in grasping them. She immediately understood the incomparable honor reserved for her. It seems that she experienced no hesitation on account of her virginity. Indeed, it would be a gratuitous insult to her intelligence to suspect her of such ignorance. She was aware of the prophecy of Isaias that the Emmanuel would be born of a virgin. Rather, she simply sought to know how God, so rich in miracles, would accomplish such a marvel. “How shall this be done,” she asked the angel, “for I know not man?”21 “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. Therefore, the child which shall be born of thee shall be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who is called barren; for nothing shall be impossible with God.”22 Profound silence filled that small room in Nazareth, one of those dramatic silences wherein the world’s destiny hangs in the balance.

The angel had ceased speaking and Mary was quiet. How many thoughts crowded in upon her! In her mind’s eye, she saw the resplendent crown divine motherhood would place on her head, yet she remained too profoundly humble for any complacency about this singular grandeur. She saw the indescribable joys that would surely fill her heart when holding her dear treasure against her bosom, her Jesus, both God and infant. Yet again, her self-mortification would not allow that she be guided by the allure of joy alone, even the most holy of joys.

She also saw the awful martyrdom that would rend her soul. Through Holy Scripture she knew that the Messias would be delivered to His death like a tender lamb to the slaughter. She foresaw and heard the mournful cry: “I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.”23 Yet, such was her fortitude that she would not allow future sorrow to dishearten her. Above everything, she saw the extremely lofty, fatherly, and holy will of God. She owed obedience to Him; she did not hesitate.
The Immaculate Virgin at last broke the solemn silence. The angel waited to receive her consent in the name of the Holy Ghost. In accepting, she pronounced one of those sublime expressions that only the genius of humility can find. It was the most simple and modest formula of a soul completely submissive to the will of God: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”24 At that, the grandest of all miracles took place. From the very flesh of the Immaculate Virgin, the Holy Ghost formed a small human body. To this body He joined a human soul; to this body and soul He united the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Word of God. (Read entire post.)

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Passion of Saint Joseph

 From Catholicism:

It has always been believed that Saint Joseph died some time before Our Lord’s Passion. The Virgin-Father of Our Lord breathed forth his last surrounded by Jesus and Mary, and thus became the patron of a holy death. Whereas the most holy Virgin was predestined to participate directly and most closely in the Passion of Our Lord — so much so that she earned the title Co-Redemptrix — not so, Saint Joseph. To speak, then, of “The Passion of Saint Joseph” is to consider something other than the great carpenter’s direct participation in the events of Good Friday.

While his body and soul awaited their reunion — the former in the tomb and the latter in the Limbo of the Just — Saint Joseph’s foreknowledge and influence both made him an indirect but very real participant in the drama of our redemption.

To Saint Joseph was given a foreknowledge of Our Lord’s Passion. In 1956, the Patriarch himself revealed this to the visionary, Sister Mary Ephrem Neuzel, as part of the revelations of Our Lady of America:

“My heart suffered with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Mine was a silent suffering, for it was my special vocation to hide and shield, as long as God willed, the Virgin Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men.

“The most painful of my sorrows was that I knew beforehand of their passion, yet would not be there to console them.

“Their future suffering was ever present to me and became my daily cross. I became, in union with my holy spouse, coredemptor of the human race. Through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary I cooperated, as no other, in the salvation of the world.”

If his foreknowledge of Our Lord’s terrible sufferings made him participate actively, albeit indirectly, in the Passion, his influence made him also a unique passive participant. For potencies that Saint Joseph had carefully fashioned for many years were put into act long after his death as his son “trod the winepress alone” (Is. 63:3).

Parents often observe each other’s features in their offspring. “You look just like your mother when you do that,” or some such thing, is commonly uttered — evoking either a pleasant or a painful correspondence between spouse and child. Jesus, naturally, looked very much like Mary, having received, as He did, all of His genes from her, and none from her husband.[1]

But genes are not all that goes into a child. Whether we call it education, discipline, or training, the multi-faceted art of child-rearing impresses as much or more of the parent onto the child as do the data contained on the double helix of DNA. Personality or temperament are already determined at birth (of this I am reasonably confident), but character is formed by upbringing. As Saint Joseph was truly father to Our Lord in every conceivable way other than the strictly biological, he was, with Mary, responsible for Jesus’ upbringing, that is, the formation of His very unique character. As a father in Israel, he had the duty to foster an environment of respect, love, piety, and religious observance in the home. Head of the Jewish “domestic Church” of the Holy House, he dutifully performed certain household religious ceremonies at which Jesus assisted. As a poor artisan, Joseph also had the duty of teaching Our Lord a trade, and that an arduous one. In this light, we can consider what Saint Paul meant when he wrote to the Hebrews that “whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Finally, as the male parent of the Boy, Saint Joseph was particularly responsible for imparting the masculine character that the Son of God would bring to His mission to save our race.

In a word, Our Lord’s practice of manly virtue was an icon that had been painted by Saint Joseph. (Read more.)


 (Image source)

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Third Sunday of Lent

It is Scrutiny Sunday.To quote:

In order that we may understand the full force of the warning conveyed to us by the Church in this Gospel, we must keep before us the great reality that this is the acceptable Time. In every part of the world, there are conversions being wrought; millions are being reconciled with God; divine Mercy is lavish of pardon to all that seek it. But will all persevere? They that are now being delivered from the power of Satan—will they all be free from his yoke when next year’s Lent comes around? A sad experience tells the Church that she may not hope so grand a result. Many will return to their sins, and that too before many weeks are over. And if the Justice of God overtake them in that state—what an awful thing it is to say it, yet it is true;—some, perhaps many, of these sinners will be eternally lost! Let us, then, be on our guard against a relapse; and in order that we may ensure our Perseverance, without which it would have been to little purpose to have been for a few days in God’s grace—let us watch, and pray; let us keep ourselves under arms; let us ever remember that our whole life is to be a warfare. Our soldier-like attitude will disconcert the enemy, and he will try to gain victory elsewhere.

The Third Sunday of Lent is called Oculi from the first word of the Introit. In the primitive Church, it was called Scrutiny Sunday, because it was on this day that they began to examine the Catechumens, who were to be admitted to Baptism on Easter night. All the Faithful were invited to assemble in the Church, in order that they might bear testimony to the good life and morals of the candidates. At Rome, these examinations, which were called the Scrutinies, were made on seven different occasions, on account of the great number of aspirants to Baptism; but the principal Scrutiny was that held on the Wednesday of the Fourth Week. We will speak of it later on.

The Roman Sacramentary of St. Galasius gives us the form in which the Faithful were convoked to these assemblies. It is as follows. “Dearly beloved Brethren: you know that the day of Scrutiny, when our elect are to receive the holy instruction, is at hand. We invite you, therefore, to be zealous and to assemble on N., (here, the day was mentioned), at the hour of Sext; that so we may be able, by the divine aid, to achieve, without error, the heavenly mystery, whereby is opened the gate of the kingdom of heaven, and the devil is excluded with all his pomps.” The invitation was repeated, if needed, on each of the following Sundays. The Scrutiny of this Sunday ended in the admission of a certain number of candidates: their names were written down and put on the Diptychs of the Altar, that they might be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. The same also was done with the names of their Sponsors.

The Station was, and still is, in the Basilica of Saint Laurence outside the walls. The name of this, the most celebrated of the Martyrs of Rome, would remind the Catechumens that the Faith they were about to profess would require them to be ready for many sacrifices. (Read entire post.)

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.)


Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Lorica of Saint Patrick

Here is Fáed Fíada, "The Cry of the Deer" or "St. Patrick's Breastplate," a prayer attributed to the great Apostle of Ireland. 
 I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation. I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Visions of St. Patrick

Saint Patrick had many visions during his life. He once spent forty days and forty nights in deep prayer on a mountain, in imitation of Moses. According to New Advent:
His only shelter from the fury of the elements, the wind and rain, the hail and snow, was a cave, or recess, in the solid rock; and the flagstone on which he rested his weary limbs at night is still pointed out. The whole purpose of his prayer was to obtain special blessings and mercy for the Irish race, whom he evangelized. The demons that made Ireland their battlefield mustered all their strength to tempt the saint and disturb him in his solitude, and turn him away, if possible, from his pious purpose. They gathered around the hill in the form of vast flocks of hideous birds of prey. So dense were their ranks that they seemed to cover the whole mountain, like a cloud, and they so filled the air that Patrick could see neither sky nor earth nor ocean. St. Patrick besought God to scatter the demons, but for a time it would seem as if his prayers and tears were in vain. At length he rang his sweet-sounding bell, symbol of his preaching of the Divine truths. Its sound was heard all over the valleys and hills of Erin, everywhere bringing peace and joy. The flocks of demons began to scatter, He flung his bell among them; they took to precipitate flight, and cast themselves into the ocean. So complete was the saint's victory over them that, as the ancient narrative adds, "for seven years no evil thing was to be found in Ireland." The saint, however, would not, as yet, descend from the mountain. He had vanquished the demons, but he would now wrestle with God Himself, like Jacob of old, to secure the spiritual interests of his people. The angel had announced to him that, to reward his fidelity in prayer and penance, as many of his people would be gathered into heaven as would cover the land and sea as far as his vision could reach. Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would not suffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax his penance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:
  • many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession;
  • whoever in the spirit of penance would recite his hymn before death would attain the heavenly reward;
  • barbarian hordes would never obtain sway in his Church;
  • seven years before the Judgment Day, the sea would spread over Ireland to save its people from the temptations and terrors of the Antichrist; and
  • greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.
Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasing prayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penitential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized.
Saint Patrick, although he did not die for the faith, came very close to red martyrdom.
He tells us in his "Confessio" that no fewer than twelve times he and his companions were seized and carried off as captives, and on one occasion in particular he was loaded with chains, and his death was decreed. But from all these trials and sufferings he was liberated by a benign Providence. It is on account of the many hardships which he endured for the Faith that, in some of the ancient Martyrologies, he is honoured as a martyr.
The reward of his sufferings was an extraordinary vision that was granted him before he died.
He saw the whole of Ireland lit up with the brightest rays of Divine Faith. This continued for centuries, and then clouds gathered around the devoted island, and, little by little, the religious glory faded away, until, in the course of centuries, it was only in the remotest valleys that some glimmer of its light remained. St. Patrick prayed that the light would never be extinguished, and, as he prayed, the angel came to him and said: "Fear not: your apostolate shall never cease." As he thus prayed, the glimmering light grew in brightness, and ceased not until once more all the hills and valleys of Ireland were lit up in their pristine splendour, and then the angel announced to St. Patrick: "Such shall be the abiding splendour of Divine truth in Ireland."
Many in Ireland said, after Saint Patrick passed from this world, that the night was no longer as dark as it had been before.

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Second Sunday of Lent

The Transfiguration by Alexander Ivanov

  Moses and Elias witness the Transfiguration.

The Gospel is from St. Matthew 17:1-9. This momentary vision of Christ, in his glory, was given in order to strengthen the three principal Apostles to face the trials to their faith, which the sufferings and crucifixion of their beloved master would bring on them. For the very same reason it is retold to us today, in the early part of Lent, to encourage us to persevere in our Lenten mortification. It reminds us that, very soon, the Easter bells will be ringing out their message of joy once more. If we are sharers with Christ in his sufferings, we shall be sharers with him in his glory as St. Paul reminds us.
This is a truth we all too easily forget, namely, that we cannot and do not get to heaven in a limousine. Our spell on earth is the chance given us by our heavenly Father to earn an eternal reward. This reward surpasses even the wildest imagination of man. We could never earn it, but God accepts the little we can do and provides the balance of his infinite mercy. And yet there are many, far too many, who refuse even that little bit that is asked of them, and are thus running the risk of not partaking in God's scheme for their eternal happiness.
And are they any happier during their few years on this earth by acting thus towards the God of mercy? Can they, by ignoring God and their duties towards him, remove all pain, all sorrow, all sufferings, from their daily lives? Death, which means a total separation from all we possessed and cherished in this world, is waiting around the corner for all of us. Who can face it more calmly and confidently —the man who is firmly convinced that it is the gateway to a new life, and who has done his best to earn admission through that gateway, or the man who has acted all his life as if death did not exist for him, and who has done everything to have the gate to the new life shut forever in his face?
Illnesses and troubles and disappointments are the lot of all men. They respect neither wealth, nor power, nor position. The man who knows his purpose in life, and is ever striving to reach the goal God's goodness has planned for him, can and will see in these trials of life the hand of a kind father who is preparing him for greater things. His sufferings become understandable and more bearable because of his attitude to life and its meaning. The man who ignores God and tries to close the eyes of his mind to the real facts of life has nothing to uphold him or console him in his hours of sorrow and pain. Yet, sorrow and pain will dog his footsteps, strive as he will to avoid them, and he can see no value, no divine purpose in these, for him, misfortunes.
Christ has asked us to follow him, carrying our daily cross, and the end of our journey is not Calvary but resurrection, the entrance to a life of glory with our risen Savior. The Christian who grasps his cross closely and willingly, knowing its value for his real life, will find it becomes lighter and often not a burden but a pleasure. The man who tries to shuffle off his cross, and who curses and rebels against him who sent it, will find it doubles its weight and loses all the value it was intended to have for his true welfare. (Read entire post.)

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Novena to St. Joseph

Today begins the nine-days of intensive prayer to Saint Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the patron and protector of fathers and of families, and of the dying. The month of March is dedicated to Saint Joseph. Let us beg his direct intercession. His intercession is powerful; all those who have experienced his intervention know what I am talking about. Really, he will help in any dire situation. I love Saint Joseph. Here is a novena prayer:
Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for Me.
Here is another little prayer as well:
Dear Saint Joseph, you who have the power to render possible that which seems impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress. Take this important and difficult affair under your particular protection that it may end happily.
Dear Saint Joseph, all our confidence is in you. Let it not be said we have invoked you in vain. Since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.
Divine Providence did provide. Divine Providence can provide. Divine Providence will provide. 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.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Novena to St. Patrick

Today begins the novena to Saint Patrick, Apostle of the Irish. 
Say once a day for 9 days, especially beginning on 8 March and ending on 16 March, the eve of the Feast of St. Patrick. (From Fish Eaters) 
Blessed saint Patrick, glorious Apostle of Ireland, who didst become a friend and father to me for ages before my birth, hear my prayer and accept, for God, the sentiments of gratitude and veneration with which my heart is filled. Through thee I have inherited that faith which is dearer than life. I now make thee the representative of my thanks, and the mediator of my homage to Almighty God. Most holy Father and patron of my country, despise not my weakness; remember that the cries of little children were the sounds that rose, like a mysterious voice from heaven, and invited thee to come amongst us. Listen, then, to my humble supplication; may my prayer ascend to the throne of God, with the praises and blessings which shall ever sanctify thy name and thy memory. May my hope be animated by the patronage and intercession of our forefathers, who now enjoy eternal bliss and owe their salvation, under God, to thy courage and charity. Obtain for me grace to love God with my whole heart, to serve him with my whole strength, and to persevere in good purposes to the end, o faithful shepherd of the Irish flock, who wouldst have laid down a thousand lives to save one soul, take my soul, and the souls of my countrymen, under thy special care. Be a father to the Church of Ireland and her faithful people. Grant that all hearts may share the blessed fruits of that Gospel thou didst plant and water. Grant that, as our ancestors of old had learned, under thy guidance, to unite science with virtue, we too, may learn, under thy patronage, to consecrate all Christian duty to the glory of God. I commend to thee my native land, which was so dear to thee while on earth. Protect it still, and, above all, direct its chief pastors, particularly those who teach us. Give them grace to walk in thy footsteps, to nurture the flock with the word of life and the bread of salvation, and to lead the heirs of the Saints thou hast formed to the possession of that glory which they, with Thee, enjoy in the kingdom of the Blessed: through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
V. Pray for us, O glorious saint Patrick. R. And obtain for us the intention of this Novena.

Monday, March 7, 2022

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. (Read more.)
 (Image)

Sunday, March 6, 2022

First Sunday of Lent

Ary Scheffer's The Temptation of Christ

From Dom Gueranger:

Lent solemnly opens today. We have already noticed that the four preceding days were added since the time of Gregory the Great, in order to make up Forty days of fasting. Neither can we look upon Ash Wednesday as the solemn opening of the Season, for the Faithful are not bound to hear Mass on that day. The Holy Church, seeing her children now assembled together, speaks to them, in her Office of Matins, these eloquent and noble words of St. Leo the Great: “Having to announce to you, dearly beloved, the most sacred and chief Fast, how can I more appropriately begin, than with the words of the Apostle (in whom Christ himself spoke), and by saying to you what has just been read: Behold! now is the acceptable time; behold! now is the day of salvation. For although there be no time which is not replete with divine gifts, and we may always, by God’s grace, have access to his mercy—yet ought we all to redouble our efforts to make spiritual progress and be animated with unusual confidence now that the anniversary of the day of our Redemption is approaching, inviting us to devote ourselves to every good work, that so we may celebrate, with purity of body and mind, the incomparable Mystery of our Lord’s Passion.

“It is true, that our devotion and reverence towards so great a Mystery should be kept up during the whole year, and we ourselves be, at all times, in the eyes of God, the same as we are bound to be at the Easter Solemnity. But this is an effort which only few among us have the courage to sustain. The weakness of the flesh induces us to relent our austerities; the various occupations of every-day life take up our thoughts; and thus, even the virtuous find their hearts clogged by this world’s dust. Hence it is, that our Lord has most providentially given us these Forty Days, whose holy exercises should be to us a remedy, whereby to regain our purity of soul. The good works and the holy fastings of this Season were instituted as an atonement and obliteration of the sins we commit during the rest of the Year.

“Now, therefore, that we are about to enter upon these days, which are so full of mystery, and were instituted for the holy purpose of purifying both our soul and body, let us, dearly beloved, be careful to do as the Apostle bids us, and cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and the spirit: that thus the combat between the two substances being made less fierce, the soul, which, when she herself is subject to God, ought to be the ruler of the body, will recover her own dignity and position. Let us also avoid giving offence to any man, so that there be none to blame or speak evil things of us. For we deserve the harsh remarks of infidels, and we provoke the tongues of the wicked to blaspheme religion, when we, who fast, lead unholy lives. For our Fast does not consist in the mere abstaining from food; nor is it of much use to deny food to our body, unless we restrain the soul from sin.” [Fourth Sermon for Lent] (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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