Quinquagesima Sunday – Missa ‘Esto Mihi’ – Link to LIVE EF Mass 10:30 am EST

7 February 2016

“When He drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side.–Luke 18: 35

Quinquagesima Sunday

Dominica Quinquagesima ~ II. classis

Missa ‘Esto Mihi’

 

2nd Class

Violet

[STATION AT ST. PETER’S (VATICAN)]

Propers follow the link below for Extraordinary Form Mass offered LIVE online by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

 

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LIVE Link to the Quinquagesima Sunday Mass at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, Sarasota, Florida: Please click HERE

“The LIVE Mass that streams to LIveMass.net is actively taking place in Sarasota, Florida. At all times the screen will remain blank until ten minutes before the scheduled Mass. Mass times are Sunday (Low Mass) at 8:30 a.m. EST. The High Mass is at 10:30 a.m. EST. All other times the screen will remain blank. The Daily Mass schedule is Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. EST and Tuesday and Friday evening an additional daily Mass at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Recollection of the Confraternity of Saint Peter takes place also on the 2nd Friday of the month at 6:30 P.M. EST.” from the website of livemass.net

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INTROIT ¤ Ps. 30. 3-4

Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias: quoniam firmamentum meum, et refugium meum es tu: et propter nomen tuum dux mihi eris, et enutries me. — In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum: in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Esto mihi . . . Be Thou unto me a God, a Protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for Thou are my strength and my refuge: and for Thy Name’s sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me. — (Ps. 30. 2). In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice, and save me. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — Be Thou unto me a God, a Protector . . .

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said.

COLLECT.–We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear our prayers: and releasing us from the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord . . .

EPISTLE ¤ I Cor. 13. 1-13

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

[The faith of which St. Paul speaks is as naught wihout charity: “If I should have faith capable of removing mountains, and have no charity, I am nothing.” The merits of our works, as well as the light which illuminates our souls, are in proportion to our charity.]

Brethren, If I speak wih the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge: and if I should have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should disribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: Charity envieth not, dealing not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 76. 15, 16

Tu es Deus qui facis mirabilia solus: notam fecisti in gentibus virtutem tuam. V.: Liberasti in brachio tuo populum tuum, filios Israel et Joseph. Thou art the God that alone doest wonders: Thou hast made Thy power known among the nations. V.: With Thine arm Thou hast delivered Thy people, the children of Israel and of Joseph.

TRACT ¤ Ps. 99. 1, 2

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra: servite Domino in laetitia. V.: Intrate in conspectu ejus, in exsultatione: scitote, quod Dominus ipse est Deus. V.: Ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos: nos autem populus ejus, et oves pascuae ejus. Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. V.: Come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: know ye that the Lord He is God. V.: He made us, and not we ourselves: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

GOSPEL ¤ Luke 18. 31-43

† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

[Pope St. Gregory the Great says: “The man born blind of whom the Gospel tells is surely the human race. Ever since man was turned out of Paradise in the person of our first father, he has now known the light of heaven, and therefore has suffered through being plunged into the darkness of condemnation.”]

At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve men and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scouged Him, they will put Him to death, and he third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of those things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.1 And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight, they faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 118. 12, 13

Benedictus es, Domine, doce me justificationes tuas: in labiis meis pronuntiavi omnia judicia oris tui. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy justifications: with my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of Thy mouth.

SECRET.–May these Offerings, we beseech Thee, O Lord, cleanse us from our sins: and hallow the bodies and minds of Thy servants for the celebration of this Sacrifice. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of . . .

 

PREFACE

Preface of the Most Holy Trinity

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo, et Spiritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitate substantiae. Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione verae, sempiternaeque Deitatis, et in personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in majestate adoretur aequalitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim: qui non cessant clamare quotidie, una voce dicentes: It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

COMMUNION ¤ Ps. 77. 29, 30

Manducaverunt, et saturati sunt nimis, et desiderium eorum attulit eis Dominus: non sunt fraudati a desiderio suo. They did eat, and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved.

POSTCOMMUNION.–We beseech Thee, almighty God, that we, who have received this heavenly food, may be safeguarded by it against all adversity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

 

Pre-Lent – Quinquagesima: Introit from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.


Quinquagesima: “When He drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side.”Luke 18: 35

7 February 2016

From the blog, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Quinquagesima Sunday
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


“For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon:and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death.”–Luke 18: 31.

The Gospel of today refers to the preparation of the Church for the great festival of Easter. This time of Lent was especially instituted in order that we might have a time, in which to meditate, with more than ordinary seriousness, on the passion of Christ. All those who, believing in Christ, obey this invitation of the Church, feel their hearts filled with bitterness and aversion for the ungrateful Jews; but how few consider that when they, as Christians, sin, they become more guilty towards the Redeemer than were even the Jews!

This we will understand if we refer the words we have just read: “He shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and put to death” to the life of a Christian sinner. O Mary, refuge of sinners, pray for us that we may recognize the foulness of sin, and from today banish every trace of it from our hearts! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Christ prophesied of Himself: “The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles.” This complaint is also directed to the Christian sinner. Each sin is treachery. A child of the Church who commits sin is a traitor to Christ, as Judas was; for at baptism he swore to be true to God; and, in addition to this, he has, perhaps, received Him frequently in holy Communion. A sinner is a traitor to Christ; for if he be a child of the Church, he generally prays and lives outwardly as though he were a genuine follower of Christ. He becomes a hypocrite, confessing with his lips love for God above all else, and outwardly seeking only to know and fulfill His holy will, while all the time he is acting exactly the opposite. Thus his whole life is a life of treachery.

Christ prophesies of Himself: “The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and scourged.” Every sinner scourges the Lord anew! St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that the Lord once appeared in Rome to a great sinner in the form of a young man. The woman rejoiced at His coming; but when she asked Him who He was, the figure of the youth changed, and Christ the Redeemer stood before her crowned with thorns, and His body lacerated by scourging. “Do you know Me?” asked He, the Lord. “Behold how I have suffered for and through you. When will you cease to scourge Me?” The woman, weeping bitterly, cast herself repentantly at the feet of Christ, and abandoned her evil ways.

This vision concerns not only this one sinful woman, but all sinners, and to each Christ addresses the sad question: “Do you know Me?” And to each the Apostle says: “Whoever sinneth, crucifies Christ in his heart.” The sinner revives the passion of our Lord; he scourges Him anew.

Men who live in the state ot mortal sin are generally guilty not only of one sin, but of many, both in number and kind. A man offending God by impurity is likewise often angry, envious, full of hatred towards others, and intemperate. He braids all these sinful fetters into a lash with which he scourges the Lord in his heart.

Even to a single sin several guilty acts may concur. Thus the seducer offends not only in deed, but also in thought and word; then how long, how broad, how sharp the lash becomes with which he scourges Jesus!

And not only this, but he gives scandal by his sinful life, and is the cause that others offend God and scourge Jesus by their sins of thought, word and action. We can understand how the number of these scourges is increased, if we but consider how those corrupted by one sinner lead others into the path of evil, and these again others, and so on, God only knows how long, even to the end of time.

Have you ever thought of this dreadful lash with which you yourself have scourged Jesus by your sins, and by the scandal you have given? Has not Christ the right to address the same words to you which He spoke to the sinner in Rome: “Do you know Me?”

Behold how I am scourged by the number and greatness of you sins! Oh, cease to scourge Me with your countless sins! Christ prophesies further: “The Son of man shall be mocked.” The sinner mocks and derides Christ as God and as Redeemer. To comprehend this, we need only think of the Lord’s prayer, and then consider how the sinner derides God when he repeats it!

He calls God “Father,” and yet, as Christ says, he is born, through sin, of his father, the devil! He says with his lips: “Hallowed be Thy name,” and desecrates it daily by sin! He prays with the mouth: “Thy kingdom come,” and yet destroys it in his heart by sin, and in the hearts of others by his vicious life and the scandal which he gives!

He prays: “Thy will be done,” and follows only his own sinful inclinations, and this with an ingratitude, a wickedness that is worse than that of the devil, because his soul has been redeemed with the blood of Christ.

He asks: “Give us this day our daily bread,” and works as hard as though he thought there was no God, and every man had to take care of himself. He gives no thought to nourishing his soul by the frequent reception of holy Communion; he lives for this earth only, and cares nothing for heaven. He prays that God may forgive him as he forgives others, and yet he refuses to pardon; what mockery!

He entreats: “Lead us not into temptation,” and does not avoid, but seeks temptation. He begs God to deliver him from evil, and remains voluntarily in a state of sin, which is the source of all evil.

Lastly.–The Son of man is, according to the prophecy of Christ, to be crucified. Every Christian who sins crucifies the Lord in his heart. He crucifies Jesus, and can not prevail upon himself to take Him from the cross of sin. The three nails which fastened the Lord to the cross are: Custom,–the forgetfulness of eternity,–the example and society of others! These are the three obstacles which generally prevent the conversion of a sinner.

Divine grace, however, is all powerful; may its triumph be celebrated, and may every sinner now present profit by it, in order that the Lord may, during this Lent, arise in his heart; and, celebrating Easter within it, dwell therein from this day on for evermore! Amen!

“When He drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side.–Luke 18: 35

Today’s Gospel, besides relating to us the prophecy of Christ concerning His approaching sufferings, speaks also of a “blind man who sat by the way side begging.” It might at first sight appear that there is no connection between these two circumstances, and yet there is.

This blind man, begging by the way-side, personates the sinner. No one is able to restore to him his sight but He Who came into the world to suffer and die for sinners. The particular fact to which I wish to draw your attention today is: The blindness of sinners. I desire the more particularly to speak of this blindness as we live in a century which boasts of its enlightenment, and of its progress in art and science.

It is true that in a temporal point of view we have reason to marvel at the inventive genius of men, but at the same time we have no less reason to wonder that these same men should be so blind and grow daily more so in regard to everything that concerns their future life.

O Mary, thou first bright beam of Christ, the rising Sun, pray for us that we may receive light to see the misery of that blindness with which sin encompasses men! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

At the siege of Assisi by the Turks, when the latter were attacking the cloister in which St. Clair and her sisters lived, the saint had the Host brought before the gates of the convent and cried to the Lord for help. Christ heard her prayers, and while the Turks were scaling the walls of the convent, they were suddenly struck with blindness and precipitated to the ground.

Blindness, spiritually considered, is the state in which all sinners live, especially those who, though belonging to the Church of Christ, conduct themselves like heathens. Let us draw a comparison; a blind man does not perceive that the rays of the sun descend upon the face of the earth; the darkness of night surrounds him. The sinner passes his days in spiritual blindness. He who looks with his physical eyes upon the world, sees the wonders of the wisdom, power and kindness of God. He recognizes how Providence cares for everything, preserves every thing, and leads all things to the end for which He has destined them.

And when we look about us with a heart filled with love for God, how many causes greet our sight to love, honor, worship and serve Him! The divine attributes become clearer to us, if we think of all that God has done for mankind by the work of Redemption. What proofs of His Wisdom, Power and Goodness we have in the creation of divine grace! But of all this the Christian sinner seems to see nothing. For him it is night, as it was night for Judas when, on the evening of holy Thursday after having unworthily partaken of the Lord s supper, he went away and betrayed Christ.

The Catholic sinner confesses with his lips all the tenets of his faith, but they do not influence his life; he remains in utter darkness, and in the light of faith lives like a blind heathen. This is especially the case if he has never been thoroughly instructed in his faith. Oh! how many spiritually blind people there are in this enlightened century, even among the children of the Church. Whatever may be the size of an object the blind can not see it. So it is with the spiritually blind. The truth of faith stands in its eternal grandeur before the eyes of his mind, but he does not see it, he does not deign to regard it.

A blind man knows nothing of the beauty of colors, nor of the harmony which unites all things in nature and forms of them one great picture. Thus it is with one who is spiritually blind, it is as if he had no perception of the beauty of true holiness and of a virtuous life.

He experiences no longing after perfection, and regards all aspirations to a higher life as unfeasible. He is hardly aware that there have been saints upon earth. He never raises his eyes to these glorious stars in the firmament of the Church, and if he does accidentally, these far-off luminaries, these worlds of holiness, appear but points of light, and it never occurs to him, while contemplating them, that they shine for his illumination.

The blind man does not become convinced of the existence of a thing until his hands have felt it. Thus one spiritually blind believes only that which he can seize, so to say, with his hands; he thereby dishonors his intellect and reason.

A blind man passes the most costly diamonds, the most brilliant jewels, and stretches out his hands towards a pebble which lies in his path. He is incapable of earning his livelihood, and would starve; if no one took care of him. Thus, one spiritually blind starves mentally, though he is in the midst of plenty and could gather with every breath merits of incomparable worth for the life to come. He is heedless of this fact, and wastes the precious time of his life in groping about in the darkness until the approach of that night when no one can work.

A blind man is unaware of the abyss that yawns at his feet; one step more and he will be precipitated into its measureless depth. If he is in danger, he does not perceive it, and would not leave his place if a wild beast came rushing towards him ready to tear him to pieces. Thus with the man spiritually blind. He must, as a Christian, be aware that the dangers besetting salvation are manifold, and he must know what Christ has said about the broad path leading to destruction and the torments awaiting the sinner, yet he never gives a thought to his danger, and is not concerned even if he is reminded of it.

A blind man, when threatened with some calamity, does not see the means of escape even if they are within his reach. This is exactly the case with one who is spiritually blind. He does not perceive that sureness which the Catholic faith imparts, but wanders about without a guide; or if, retaining the appearance of a Christian, he seems to perceive the light of revelation, he nevertheless sits motionless, like an owl on a withered branch, turning his eyes in every direction, but seeing nothing in the clear light of the sun.

Large numbers of these night-birds, of these spiritual owls, are to be found in the streets of cities. A true conversion to God by His preventing grace will restore the sight to these blind men when, on some occasion in their lives, the Lord passes by, and they perceive His presence by the grace that arouses their conscience.

It is especially on great festivals of the Church, in Missions and Jubilees, that the sinner feels the approach of Jesus, and is moved to follow him like others. Well for him if he then open his heart to the light of faith streaming upon him, or, should this light be still flickering in his heart, well for him if he endeavor, with the help of grace, to revive its feeble flame.

Christ said to the blind man: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Sinners, and all ye who are spiritually blind, take this admonition to heart, reanimate your faith, and you will see clearly the path of salvation. Then will you make rapid progress upon this path, and one day behold Jesus and understand the miracle which His power and love hath wrought to enlighten and save you. Amen!

“Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way-side begging.” Luke 18: 35.

The holy time of Lent is approaching, and the Church endeavors to prepare the hearts of her children for this solemnity. She would have us not only believe that Christ came into the world in order to save us by His bitter passion and death, but also wishes us to use strenuous endeavors to make His merits our own. Unfortunately the words of Christ to the Apostles, or rather what the Gospel says in regard to their mental condition, may be applied to many children of the Church: “They understood none of these things.”

The principal cause of this intellectual blindness is the state of sin which prevents them from understanding the true import of religious truths. We have a picture of this pitiable state in the blind man who sat by the way-side begging. The sinner is blind; we considered this truth last year on this Sunday. Today I say: he is also a beggar. I shall endeavor to show you the truth of this comparison, and to draw thence some important lessons.

O Mary, restorer of divine grace, pray for us that we may turn to God, and, forsaking the misery of sin, grow rich in merit as true children of God! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

St. Chrysostom, commenting on the parable of the prodigal son, says that the unfortunate young man feels particularly one circumstance of his miserable condition, which sinners, whom he represents, seldom take into consideration.

This circumstance is, that he served as a swine-herd, and without stated wages. He was hungry, but had nothing to eat. With how little would he have been satisfied! He craved the insipid husks which the swine devoured, yet no one offered them to him. Sinner, does your master give you bread ? Do you not serve him without recompense? Are you not obliged to beg your food of the swine?

Yes; even so! The master whom the sinner serves in capacity of swine-herd, is Satan! He serves him without stipulated wagers. There is no doubt of it. For what can Satan promise man in return for the slavish service of sin? He possesses nothing, nor does he rule the world. But even were he to promise something, the sinner could not be certain of his wages; for “Satan” according to the testimony of Holy Writ, “is a liar, and the father thereof.” All reward is uncertain, even the very husks of enjoyment which man receives from the indulgence of his passions. How often is sin the cause even of man’s temporal misery! How often does it not weary him of life, and hurl him into the suicide’s grave!

But even if all the enjoyment of the world were the sinner’s, his heart, created for God, would remain empty and sigh with Solomon: “Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,” except to serve God, to love Him, and possess Him. Oh! that the sinner would bear this in mind, and say to himself like the prodigal son: I am the son of a rich father; “the hired servants in my father s house have plenty of bread, and I here perish with hunger.”

Sinner, miserable beggar, are you not ashamed of yourself? Why do you not cease begging? God alone can give you that which you ask of human creatures. He alone can satisfy the longing of your heart. Men are poor themselves, and can give you nothing for food save husks, which can not allay the hunger of your soul.

We will see the truth of this if we consider the intrinsic value of those goods which the heart of man yearns to possess. First, man desires an occupation by which to earn a living; then he wants this occupation to be profitable enough to enable him to amass wealth. To succeed in this he becomes a beggar–begs of men. And yet what would it avail him were he to gain all the gold of the earth? It is but dust, and he can not take it with him to the other world. More over, he often receives for his labor only poor wages, and frequently the harder he labors the less he is repaid.

How many such beggars are there in this world! If they did for God and heaven only a tenth part of what they do for the world they would become, as Thomas a Kempis says, great saints, and immensely rich in the goods of heaven.

Yes, thou blessed Thomas, if men would do but a hundredth part of what they do for the world, what a great number of saints we would possess. But as it is, they are indolent in the service of God, and go begging, ask for wealth, honor, and renown. And how soon death deprives them of all they have gained by begging, while whatever is done for the service of God is gathered and kept for evermore in heaven!

The human heart craves not only possessions but also esteem, and what will not a sinner do to win distinction? and what will he not endure not to be disgraced before man or to gain his good graces? And yet of what worth is the honor bestowed by man? It is like vapor, which rapidly dissolves. Yet how many sycophants there are upon earth! Of those, however, who serve Him, God says: “Whosoever shall glorify me, him will I glorify.” A holy life renders us an object of admiration even to the angels, and secures for us a throne in the kingdom of God.

Ambitious human creatures, why do you not think of this? why do you persist in asking man for what God will give you bountifully, if you only live in such a manner upon earth as to be worthy to be called His child?

The human heart does not alone desire the possession of wealth and honor, but it also craves enjoyment and the sinner goes begging to human creatures for it. But all in vain! St. Augustine rightly says: “Thou, O Lord, hast created our heart for Thee, and it can not rest, until it rests in Thee!”

The joy which man seeks from his fellow-man, how unsatisfactory and empty, how frivolous, and often debasing! The sinner deservedly merits the reproach of the Apostle: And what benefit did you derive from that of which you are now ashamed?

On the other hand, how great the enjoyment which God prepares for those who serve Him, and who unite themselves to Him in prayer! As we read in the lives of the saints, they enjoy a foretaste here below of the bliss which awaits them in eternal life.

How vain, then, for man to beg created beings to fill the void in his heart, for he can receive nothing from them which is capable of satisfying his craving; on the contrary, after he has emptied the cup of sensual pleasures, he is forced to sigh with bitterness and repentance: O joy! why hast thou deceived me?

Well for him if he feels his misery, and turns to the One Who alone is able to give all that the heart desires. Many will endeavor to silence him, when his soul sends forth her first cry to God, as the beggar was hushed in today’s Gospel; but if casting off all fear of men he heeds them not, he will be heard, and filled with the riches of the children of God. Those who love Jesus and follow Him will give thanks and honor to God for the grace bestowed upon them.

God grant that during this Lent all begging sinners, all spiritually blind, may have the happiness to sigh from the depth of their heart: Jesus, Thou hast cured me of my blindness, and delivered me from my misery! Now I see Thee and follow Thee, and I am rich through Thee, O my Lord and my all! Amen!


Happy Candlemas! The Fortieth Day of Christmas

2 February 2016

2 February 2016

Posted on 2 February 2013 Anno Domini by Fr.John Zuhlsdorf at his blog,
What Does the Prayer Really Say?

Today is the final “peak” arising from the liturgical cycle of Advent/Christmas/Epiphany. Today, called in the traditional way and according to the older Roman calendar the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Church would cease to sing the Marian antiphon associated with Christmas,

It is forty days since Christmas.

In the physical world, we in the Northern hemisphere are beginning to notice more and more the growing of the light of day. The seemingly endless darkness of the short days has finally in a noticeable way been attenuated. I have noticed in the last couple days that the birds have broken their silence and are beginning to sing in a different way, even though winter here as far from over. Today’s feast is also about light, in the broader symbolic sense.

This feast has its name from the Blessed Virgin, because the Law in Leviticus required her to go to the temple for purification after giving birth. The Lord did not need to be baptized by John in the river, for He had nothing to repent. Mary did not need purification, for she was spotless. But they desired to fulfill the Law. This feast also reminds us of the beautiful tradition of the “Churching” of women after childbirth, a special blessing given by the Church, which has alas fallen into desuetude. “Churching” was done in honor also of this moment in the life Christ’s Mother.

This is, however, really a feast in honor of the Lord: He is being offered to the Father in a foreshadowing of His greater Sacrifice for our salvation. The theme of offering, of sacrifice draws our eyes away from looking back at Christmas and Epiphany forward to the Passion and Easter.

You remember the story from the Gospel, in Luke 2. Mary and Joseph come to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the Law. Firstborn males had to be dedicated to the Lord. The old woman Anna and the old man Simeon had the special grace from the Lord to have their dearest desires fulfilled before they died: to see the Messiah. It is in this moment that Simeon makes the prophecy about the sacrificial sufferings Mary will endure and he speaks his great Nunc dimittis, which Holy Church sings in the darkness at the end of the day for Compline.

In the traditional Roman liturgy today in larger churches there would be a special blessing of candles and a procession before Mass would begin. The chants sung for the rite contain many references to light. Also, a lighted candle is to be held during the reading of the Gospel and during the Roman Canon. The candle brings to mind also our baptism.

In a way, the faithful really ought to have candles at all Masses. But now, in High Masses, the “touchbearers” fulfill this role for the congregation. Remember that the next time you see the candles come in: that’s you up there.

Remember: Holy Church gives us candles so that we will use them.

For the rest of the post, click HERE

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From the blog, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Candlemas

Luke ii. 29: “No Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy Word, in peace. Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, . . . a Light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people, Israel.”

The angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

We wait along the penance-tide
Of solemn fast and prayer,
Whilst song is hushed, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
Old Simeon’s tapers shine.

And while the sword in Mary’s soul
Is driven home, we hide
In our own hearts, and count the wounds
Of passion and of pride.

And then for eight long weeks and more,
We wait in twilight grey,
Till the High Candle sheds a beam
On Holy Saturday.

And still, though Candlemas be spent,
And alleluias o’er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store.

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This great solemnity, which closes the holy season of Christmas, has been established in commemoration of the two last mysteries of our Saviour’s Birth and Infancy.

The most pure and beautiful Virgin, in obedience to the law, presented the child Jesus in the temple, offering a couple of turtle-doves for her purification, and five sicles as a ransom for her first-born, Jesus. On this day is fulfilled the prophecy of Aggeus concerning the Messiah, Agg. ii. 8: “Yet one little while . . . and I will move all nations: and the Desired of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory.” This day St. Simeon and holy Anna, full of the Holy Ghost, recognise our Lord and welcome Him into the temple, as the Salvation, the Light, and the Peace of the world.

Wax candles are solemnly blessed on this day, in commemoration of our Lord, whom they represent as the Light of the world: “Three things,” says St. Anselm of Canterbury, “may be considered in the blest candle: the wax, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on the top, is His Divinity.” These blest candles are to be carried in procession, in remembrance of that wondrous procession made in the temple by our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Simeon, and holy Anna. They should also be kept, to be used by the faithful either on land or sea, and especially to be lit near the bed of a dying Christian, as a symbol of the immortality merited for us by Christ, and as a pledge of the protection of our Lady.

 

 

A Prayer for Candlemas Day

images-29
Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the true Light
enlightening every soul born into this world.
Today we celebrate the feast of Candlemas.
Before Holy Mass,
the priest blesses the candles,
whose wax is the humming summer’s work of countless bees.
The flames of these candles
will shed their light upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice.
Help us to realize,
this day and every day,
that our own humdrum daily work,
if it is done for love of You,
and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
will be a supernatural work,
and will shine brightly before You for all eternity.
Help us realize, too,
each time we see the blessed candles at Holy Mass,
or at the bedside of the sick,
that they are a symbol of Yourself,
the Light shining in the darkness of this world.
Help us to live in that Light,
to make it our own,
and to kindle it in the souls of others,
increasing the area Of light
and lessening the darkness in the World This,
dear Lord, help us do,
through the merits of Your own dear mother, Mary,
who did everything for love of
You, from the moment she brought You into this world
till the day she joined You in the realms of light at her death.
Then we, too, working for You,
shall be light-bearers who will help to spread Your kingdom on earth,
and increase the number of those who dwell in heaven,
the city of eternal light.

Amen.

Source: Catholic.org


h/t: @RoomDesign3 on Twitter. Thanks.


Sexagesima Sunday – Dominica Sexagesima – Missa ‘Exsurge’ – Link to LIVE EF Mass

31 January 2016

Image Credit: Catholic Resources.Org – Sexagesima Sunday – Luke 8:4-15

Purple

2nd Class

[STATION AT ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS]

Propers follow the link below for Extraordinary Form Mass offered LIVE online by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

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LIVE Link to the Sexagesima Sunday Mass at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, Sarasota, Florida: Please click HERE

“The LIVE Mass that streams to LIveMass.net is actively taking place in Sarasota, Florida. At all times the screen will remain blank until ten minutes before the scheduled Mass. Mass times are Sunday (Low Mass) at 8:30 a.m. EST. The High Mass is at 10:30 a.m. EST. All other times the screen will remain blank. The Daily Mass schedule is Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. EST and Tuesday and Friday evening an additional daily Mass at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Recollection of the Confraternity of Saint Peter takes place also on the 2nd Friday of the month at 6:30 P.M. EST.” from the website of livemass.net

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INTROIT ¤ Ps. 43. 23-26
Exsurge, quare obdormis, Domine? exsurge, et ne repellas in finem. Quare faviem tuam avertis, oblivisceris tribulationem nostram? adhaesit in terra venter noster: exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos, et libera nos. — Deus, auribus nostris audivimus: patres nostris annuntiaverunt nobis. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Exsurge, quare . . . Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. — (Ps. 43. 2). We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? . . .

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said.

COLLECT.–O God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do: mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

EPISTLE ¤ II Cor. 11. 19-33; 12. 1-9
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

[St. Paul tells of his shipwrecks and perils inthe sea, all the torments he endured for the Name of Christ. Let us “therefore glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in us.”]
Brethren, You gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in the past. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea: in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glroy, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. For such a one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: my grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 82. 19, 14
Sciant gentes, quoniam nomen tibi Deus: tu solus Altissimus super omnem terram. V.: Deus meus, pone illos ut rotam, et sicut stipulam ante faciem venti. Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy Name: Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth. V.: O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.

TRACT ¤ Ps. 129. 1-4
Commovisti, Domine, terram, et conturbasti eam. V.: Sana contritiones ejus, quia mota est. V.: Ut fugiant a facie arcus: ut liberentur electi tui. Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. V.: Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved. V.: That they may flee from before the bow: that Thine elect may be delivered.

GOSPEL ¤ Luke 8. 4-15
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

[Jesus, in the boat, on the shores of the lake of Galilee, preaches the parable of the sower.]
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: The sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell away among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 16. 5-7
Perfice gressus meos in semitis tuis, ut non moveantur vestigia mea: inclina aurem tuam, et exaudi verba mea: mirifica misericordias tuas, qui salvos facis sperantes in te, Domine. Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be not moved: incline Thine ear, and hear my works: show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.

SECRET.–May the Sacrifice offered to Thee, O Lord, ever quicken us and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .


PREFACE

Preface of the Most Holy Trinity
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo, et Spiritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitate substantiae. Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione verae, sempiternaeque Deitatis, et in personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in majestate adoretur aequalitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim: qui non cessant clamare quotidie, una voce dicentes: It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:


COMMUNION
¤ Ps. 42. 4
Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. I will go in to the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.

POSTCOMMUNION.–We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God, to grant that they whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments, may worthily serve Thee by lives well-pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .

Pre-Lent – Sexagesima: Introit from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Thanks to our good friend, Deo Volente (@UsusAntiquiorMd on Twitter) at his blog, The Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland for the source information on the Propers and music.


This Week: Sexagesima: “The seed is the Word of God.” – Luke 8

30 January 2016

From the blog, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Sexagesima Sunday

“The seed is the Word of God.”–Luke 8

Every Gospel which the Church reads or expounds to the faithful during the ecclesiastical year, points to a dogma or duty intimately connected with our life as children of the Church and of God. This is the case in today’s Gospel, which contains a special admonition.

Christ speaks of hearing the divine Word. He refers to the fruit which it should, but unfortunately seldom does, produce. Christ also explains the reasons and circumstances which prevent the word of God from exercising the desired influence upon the lives of the children of the Church.

Let us meditate today upon the explanations which the Lord himself gives us on this subject. O Mary, thou who didst hear the Word of God as it should be heard, and who didst “keep that Word, pondering it in thy heart,” grant that the same Word may also bear fruit in our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

The first cause which Christ assigns why the Word of God bears not fruit, is contained in the words: “Some fell by the wayside.” The trodden path represents the hearts of those who, despising the truths and laws of faith, pass their days in blindly following the example of others and in thinking only how they may render their lives as easy as possible. To this class belong not only numberless irreligious, but also many of the faithful who in their daily actions differ little from the irreligious.

Though, at times they hear the Word of God and at moments are conscious that their lives are not what faith demands, and though they frequently resolve to change their conduct, still the habit of a lax life has so grown upon them that the seed of the Word of God can not take root and will soon be trodden upon, owing to the wrong use they make of their lives, a use which, in the course of time, has become a second nature to them.

The example of others, too, prevents them from making promises of reformation or from keeping those which they may have made. They recognize during a sermon the necessity of caring above every thing else for their salvation, and of profiting by the graces which God bestows upon them; they harbor for the hour the most earnest resolve of changing their conduct and living as true Christians by attending for the future to prayer, the hearing of Mass, the reading of good books, and the frequent reception of the holy Sacraments. And yet they never do so. The next day they neglect as usual their morning prayers, and proceed as heedless as ever to their work. And why? Because they have grown accustomed to this manner of life, and do as others with whom they dwell. They could conveniently hear Mass during the week, but do not. They are not in the habit of doing so, and others are negligent about it. They made the resolution to receive the blessed Sacrament every month but neglect to do as they resolved. Why? They are not in the habit of going so frequently to holy Communion, and others have not this habit.

Human considerations, fear of man, combine to keep them back and pluck, so to say, the seed of a holy life from their hearts. They fear the displeasure of man more than that of God. The seed of the divine Word bears not for them the fruit of eternal life.

“Some fell upon a rock and withered away.” Herein lies the second cause which prevents the Word of God from bearing fruit within us. The stones with which our hearts are filled prevent it from taking root. And what stones are these? They are the different habitual sins, those sins and temptations to which man has become a slave, which he can not resist, and the inclination to which has, so to say, become petrified.

Pride, avarice, anger, envy, enmity, intemperance, unchastity, all become through habit impenetrable rocks to the Word of God. It is true that even souls hardened in sin sometimes feel the influence of the divine Word which calls upon them to change their lives, and they resolve to follow the call; but the slightest temptation withers this frail blossom of an awakened conscience, and the seed of God’s Word dies with it.

The third cause which prevents the seed of the divine Word from bearing fruit are the thorns which, as our Lord says, “growing up with the good seed, choked it.” These thorns are our immoderate cares for earthly prosperity. The experiences of all ages of the world shows this to be the case. Men occupied with temporal cares heed not the warning of God’s words, and forget that which should be their principal pursuit. These anxious people listen not to the warning of Christ: “What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Their maxim seems to be: Of what use is heaven to me, if in caring for it I suffer temporal losses. They heed not the words of Christ: “Seek first the kingdom of God,” but seem to say: Seek first happiness upon earth, we will gain heaven any way.

I here is one circumstance in today’s Gospel to which St. Gregory the Great refers when he says: Temporal goods may be compared to thorns. Children of men, you will not assent to this, but Christ Himself has said so, and who dares to contradict Him? To you they seem rather a velvet lawn upon which you can rest, yet your own experience must teach you the truth of the words of Christ. Confess, do not thoughts of how to win a fortune torment you day and night? And if you are in the possession of wealth, does not the fear that you may lose or employ it disadvantageously take away your rest? And lastly, how grieved you are when you lose it! You would give your share of heaven to regain it!

Ah! truly among temporal possessions there are thorns which stifle; the seed of the divine Word. Hence examine yourself earnestly and faithfully! Child of the Church, have you not contracted the habit of living, as most men do, after the example of the children of the world? Are there no stones in your heart, no sins which have become habitual?

Do not temporal cares choke the growth of your good resolutions to lead an edifying life, and do not they lessen your anxiety to obtain all which may help you to it?

Remove from your heart this dust, these stones, these thorns; and, no doubt, the Word of the Lord will bring forth fruit for the Life to come thirty, sixty, nay a hundred-fold! Amen!


“But that which fell on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart,
hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.”–Luke 8

As Christ Himself compares the Word of God to seed which brings forth fruit for eternal life, it becomes most important for us to meditate well on all that He has said, in order that we may derive the benefit from it to which He refers in the parable.

Most ardently do I desire that this be the case today; for what greater wish can a preacher have than that the Word which he proclaims may not be lost, but that it bear fruit; nay more, that it bear good fruit threefold, sixfold, a hundred-fold for the life to come.

Consider with me the causes on which, according to Christ’s own testimony the fructifying influence of the divine Word depends; then you will in future hear sermons with greater profit.

Mary, thou whom the Lord calls blessed, because thou not only didst hear the Word of God, but also kept it in thy heart, that it might bring forth fruit, pray for us, that we, thy children, may follow in thy footsteps! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Those who bring forth fruit are they who hear the Word of God with a good and perfect heart. And who are these? I answer: They are those of whom the angels at the birth of Christ sang: “Peace to men of good will.” They are those who are really filled with the desire to hear the Word of God, to understand it and to benefit by it. But of how many can this be said? The majority hear the Word of God, but the soil of their hearts is not prepared to receive the seed; it is neglected, not tilled. They evince neither the spirit of Christian self-abnegation in receiving the divine Word, nor the willingness to act in accordance with its precepts at any cost.

They listen not to a sermon with the sincere desire of profiting by it and deriving the assistance necessary to change and sanctify their lives. They listen to it as coming from a human being, and are more desirous of hearing a well-ordered speech than of being impressed and improved.

Were it otherwise, how soon men would reap the benefit of the sermons which they hear! The instruction heard on Sunday would remain in the memory all week long, and with it the determination to keep the resolution then taken of leading a life pleasing to God.

A true cry of the heart is: O God, enlighten me, strengthen me, that Thy Word may not be lost upon me, and speak Thou Thyself to my inmost soul, Thou who searchest the heart and mind, in order that Thy Word may bring forth fruit for heaven!

Secondly, it is necessary that we should not only hear the Word of God, but take it to heart, or as Christ says, that we should keep it, that is, meditate upon it and put it in practice. We must not be satisfied with merely receiving God’s Word and taking no further notice of it, like a man who, according to St. James, looks into a mirror, and then goes away, presently forgetting what manner of man he is.

How many while listening to the Word of God feel in themselves the weaknesses which the preacher blames, or feel their obligation to serve God in earnest! Yet this impression lasts only during the sermon, and no sooner have they left the church than all is forgotten.

No! the seed must not remain on the surface; it must sink deep into the soil, take root, grow and bring forth fruit. That is to say, the Word of God must take root in our heart by the practical application of its teachings. How many are satished with merely understanding the meaning of a sermon or seizing the importance of the subject treated, without applying its lessons to their lives! They leave the church, and perhaps during the entire week never think once of what they heard. Hence the little fruit which accrues to them.

Thirdly, Christ admonishes us to bring forth fruit in patience. What an important admonition! No doubt patience is an indispensable condition, that the seed of the divine Word may give life to our hearts. “In patience,” says the Lord, “you shall possess your souls.” The Holy Ghost assures us through St. James that: “Patience hath a perfect work.”

Our life is a trial in this vale of tears. The parable in today’s Gospel says so plainly. Cast your eyes upon a field, and observe the manner in which it is tilled. First, the husbandman scatters the seed, which quietly falls wherever he throws it. It lies upon the ground and is covered with earth, or perhaps is trodden into the soil. There it lies patiently until it decays. The new germ then bursts forth and lifts its head higher and higher until it is rocked by the winds of heaven; it is refreshed by the dew and the rain and the sunshine; it is beaten by storms and hail and snow; it suffers all and grows on, bearing in time blossoms and fruit, and bending at last its head under the weight of its own product. Then it is cut, threshed and ground, and serves as nourishment to man and beast.

What a beautiful symbol of patience a virtue so necessary for the soul in which the seed of the divine Word shall fructify!

There are two more virtues whose influence is necessary, and these two are humility and unceasing thought of heaven. They give us strength to bring forth fruit in patience for eternal life.

In regard to the humility with which we should hear the Word of God, I need only remark that if we wish it to bear fruit for the salvation of our soul, the more humble we are the greater will be our desire to be instructed in sermons. The proud do not feel the need of instruction; they think they possess sufficient knowledge.

The more humble a Christian is, the less danger there is of his receiving the Word of God as though it were only the word of man. The humble hearer does not criticise the delivery of a sermon, and still less does he apply it to others instead of to himself.

Of not less importance is the second virtue of which I spoke, namely, the constant remembrance of heaven. Without doubt, the thought of the inexpressible reward that is prepared for those who have served God faithfully in this world, acts as a powerful stimulus in the practise of virtue. It not only gives us courage to do violence to ourselves, but makes this violence unnecessary by infusing into our hearts a holy eagerness to reach our blessed home.

Oh, were we thoroughly humble and had heaven continually before the eyes of our mind, then indeed the seed of the divine Word would be like unto the manna which fell from heaven in the wilderness, and would nourish us in this desert of life, and bear abundant fruit for eternity! Amen!

“And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up,
yielded fruit a hundred-fold.”–Luke 8.

Not I–without divine grace, and not divine grace without me, but I with divine grace,” thus speaks St. Bernard, paraphrasing the great Apostle of the Gentiles. We find in these words the cause why the divine Word does not bear fruit in all children of the Church in the same proportion. The principal reason lies in the different degrees of co-operation. Jesus points most distinctly to this difference in another place, when He speaks of the seed which yielded fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold.

What is meant by thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold? Let me explain this to you today. Listen to me attentively, reflect with me and you will understand our Lord’s meaning.

Mary, thou who didst willingly receive and faithfully guard, as no other mortal did, the Word of God, pray for us, that we may receive divine grace to follow thy example in hearing the Word of God and keeping it! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

And the seed bore fruit thirty-fold. What hearers of the divine Word are meant by those in whom the seed produced fruit thirty-fold? Who are they in whom it produced sixty, and who are they who gained a hundred-fold? We will readily understand this if we consider the meaning of Christian justice, and if we reflect on the different states or conditions in which the soul of man may be constituted.

First, then, we have souls who are in the state of disgrace, either because they voluntarily continue to live in irreligion or unbelief, or because, though believing children of the Church, they remain guilty of mortal sin.

“Avoid evil,” is the fundamental principle of all justice, and the first condition necessary to gain salvation. As long as man remains in the state of mortal sin, the seed of the divine Word falls in vain upon his heart.

They, however, who are in the state of sin, and who by hearing the Word of God receive light and strength to be converted and lead for the future a sinless and God-fearing life bear fruit thirty-fold. The divine Word offers to every sinner this advantage, if he hear it not as proceeding from man, but as coming as it really does from God.

As soon as a person is truly converted, and sincerely confesses his sins, he begins to fulfill his duties as a Christian, and by prayer and other religious exercises brings forth fruit for heaven. But this fruit is still meager and largely mixed with the cockle of venial sins and imperfections. Such newly-converted persons frequently lack determination, not only in avoiding temptation to sin, which may again rob them of divine grace, but also in seeking after perfection and in keeping themselves free from every voluntary venial sin. They are satisfied with fulfilling those duties which they dare not neglect without offending God mortally. They think not of practising the virtue of Christian zeal with earnestness, but remain content with that degree of fidelity which merely saves them from the guilt of a grave sin of omission, although Christ calls those who are instant in the practice of virtue eight times blessed. They are unconcerned about it so long as no one can say to them: “You are a bad Christian.” They do not trouble themselves to attain that degree of holiness which our vocation as children of the Church demands. The Word of God bears fruit in these thirty-fold but not sixty-fold. To gain the latter, the Christian must earnestly endeavor not only to avoid mortal sin, but also every voluntary venial sin, every little imperfection. In those who strive after this, the Word of God brings forth fruit sixty-fold.

A Christian, who is careful to avoid every venial sin and every imperfection, is more inclined to listen to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. He becomes more pleasing to God, and feels a stronger desire and a more courageous determination to fulfill His will whenever manifest. All his actions are adorned with a purer intention, because he returns the love of God with an unselfish affection. His works have more merit in the eyes of the Almighty and his reward is very great. In him the seed bears fruit sixty-fold.

Who are those in whom the Word of God brings forth fruit a hundred-fold? I answer: They are those who, not content with avoiding offense to God, either mortal or venial, or with fulfilling His holy will chiefly to escape the punishment of hell or purgatory, but who, impelled by the love of God, not only walk but run with winged speed in the high path of Christian perfection. These are the souls who for love of God not only fulfill the duties of their station and do good whenever an occasion presents itself, but who strive to make all their actions as perfect as possible, performing them through motives the purest and best, that is only to please God and glorify the Redeemer. They not only seize the opportunity which their station in life offers them, but they search for occasions and means to sanctify their life, edify the good, and awaken to the truth the souls slumbering in irreligion and unbelief.

The lives of the saints evidence to us what salutary fruit for eternal life a soul can bring forth if, instead of opposing the influence of divine grace, she cooperates with determination, strength, alacrity and pure love of God. There are saints who, though dead, continue to produce the fruit of virtue through the zeal of others, and this not only in the place where they lived, but over the entire world.

As an example, look at the Apostles who scattered the seed of faith throughout the world, and thus extended the Church of God. Their words are still producing fruit. The same may be said of those apostolic men who have confined their labors and preaching to certain nations as Patrick, Remigius, Boniface, Xavier, and others.

In like manner we may speak of the different founders of religious orders. The fruit of their saintly zeal still continues, after centuries have elapsed, in the good which is still accomplished by their followers and for which they no doubt are rewarded in heaven. We need only mention St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic and St. Ignatius, whose sons in Christ work to this day all over the globe in the vineyard of the Lord.

The saints will tell us on the day of judgment what great fruit the seed of holy faith and the divine Word planted by them have brought forth in the hearts of men; for, the greatest part of their work is still unknown to us. They were humble, and did not boast of their deeds, and their holy thoughts, words, wishes and acts are treasures hidden in eternity.

Imitate the saints, and listen to the Word of God; keep it, as they did, deep in your heart, and it will fructify and bring forth fruit a hundred-fold for the life to come! Amen!


Thomas Aquinas and the the Flying Nun

30 January 2016

Originally published:
January 28, 2013, Anno Domini
by Father Dwight Longenecker at his blog,
Standing on My Head

In a nearby convent there was a nun who had taken to levitating during mystical prayer. The people were, of course, stupefied by this astounding miracle and were flocking to see the flying nun. The novices in Thomas’ friary were just as excited as the others and dragged the great philosopher off to see the floating sister. Thomas joined the crowd and gazed up at this amazing sight. Then, when the brothers asked him what he thought he said, “I didn’t know nuns wore such big boots.”

It’s a good response to the mystical, the marvelous, the magical, the miraculous and the mysterious. On the one hand he didn’t deny that such things could happen. He didn’t dismiss the supernatural, but neither was he that impressed by it. For Thomas Aquinas a floating nun didn’t prove anything except that you can’t prove anything. In other words, the whole world is far more mysterious and strange than we thought it was. Those who would make out that the world runs on fixed and unchangeable principles have got it wrong. The cosmos is more flexible than we thought. Reality is rubbery.

Thomas’ response to the flying nun shows us the proper response to the supernatural. Faced with apparitions of Mary? Incorrupt bodies of saints? Inner locutions? the gift of bi-location? Eucharistic miracles? Reading souls? Speaking in tongues, miraculous healings? Fatima? Flying nuns? We should just shrug and say, “Hmm. That’s interesting. I’m not surprised. Weird things happen.”

We don’t use these things as proof of the Christian faith, but we do use them as evidence that there is more out there than the cynics, the atheists and the materialists have accounted for. They may one day be able to give a “scientific explanation” for the things we consider miracles. That’s okay. All we were saying in the first place is that things are not always what they seem, that the cosmos has room for surprises and the very laws that govern the universe are not quite as solid as we like to think.

However. However. My other favorite story about the fat philosopher is the one told at the end of his life. He had written volumes of his great philosophical and theological work. He was one of the greatest minds the world has ever seen. Even atheist philosophers grant that Thomas Aquinas was one of the most brilliant thinkers ever. But at the end of his life he had a mystical experience. He never said what he saw, but he did, from that point on, not write another word and said, “All that I have written seems like so much straw to me compared to what I have seen.”

There is the proper balance between the intellectual and the mystical.When he saw the floating nun his intellect sorted the experience and filtered it. He did not exclude it, but fit the unexplainable into the rest of his philosophy. It was extraordinary, but not overwhelming. His openness to the supernatural, however, allowed that mystical experience whereby he was able to validate all that he had written and put it on one side.
This is also where we should be in our relationship between the mystical, the supernatural and the miraculous and the rational and intellectual. The two work together–neither being so rational as to exclude the miraculous nor being so credulous as to nullify rationality.
Faith and Reason working together–like two legs pedaling a bike– or like two wings whereby we fly.


Feast of the Angelic Doctor: a Podcast by @FatherZ

28 January 2016

Reposted from WDTPRS.com

PODCAzT 141: Two Prayers of St. Thomas Aquinas

Posted on 28 January 2016 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

AquinasIn the post-Conciliar, Novus Ordo calendar today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274). Let’s hear two prayers from the Angelic Doctor, his Prayer Before Mass and Communion and his Prayer After Mass and Communion in both Latin and English.

To listrn to Father Zuhlsdorf’s podcast and see a relic of the Angelic Doctor Click HERE


† A Prayer or Blessing against Storms †

22 January 2016

Editor’s Note: With storms in our forecasts often causing loss of life, injury and loss of home and property, we thought we would feature this post previously published.

While praying this prayer, note that the Crosses featured in the prayer are a direction to bless oneself with the Sign of the Cross wherever indicated. Our Always Catholic Prayer Warriors which include Religious as well as our staff here, praying for our readers intentions.

Jesus Christ The King of Glory has come in Peace. † God became man, † and the Word was made flesh. † Christ was born of a Virgin. † Christ suffered. † Christ was crucified. † Christ died. † Christ rose from the dead. † Christ ascended into Heaven. † Christ conquers. † Christ reigns. † Christ orders. † May Christ protect us from all storms and lightning † Christ went through their midst in Peace, † and the word was made flesh. † Christ is with us with Mary. † Flee you enemy spirits because the Lion of the Generation of Judah, the Root David, has won. † Holy God! † Holy Powerful God! † Holy Immortal God! † Have mercy on us. Amen!


“Till We Have Built Jerusalem…”

19 January 2016

by David L. Alexander posted at his blog,
Man with Black Hat
originally published: 12 January 2014 Anno Domini

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

It has been the dream of devout Catholics, convinced by the knowledge that the western world is seeing a repeat of Rome before the fall. With a culture becoming increasingly hostile, not only to Catholicism, but to Christianity in general, even the very idea of faith in God over that of Mammon, they are torn between the call to be a witness to the world, and to shut themselves in isolated places, away from the maddening crowd.

Continue after the jump>> HERE

History of the Forty Days of Christmas

17 January 2016

Adapted from The Liturgical Year
by Abbot Gueranger
24th Day of Christmas

nativityWe apply the name of Christmas to the 40 days which begin with the Nativity of Our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year; as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view the whole 40 days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which She received the glad tidings from the Angels (Luke 2:10) on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing 4000 years. The custom of celebrating the Solemnity of Our Savior’s Nativity by a Feast or commemoration of 40 days’ duration is founded on the Holy Gospel itself; for it tells us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, after spending 40 days in the contemplation of the Divine Fruit of Her glorious Maternity, went to the Temple, there to fulfill, in most perfect humility, the ceremonies which the Law demanded of the daughters of Israel, when they became mothers.

Purification_BVMThe Feast of Mary’s Purification is, therefore, part of that of Jesus’ Birth; and the custom of keeping this holy and glorious period of 40 days as one continued Festival has every appearance of being a very ancient one, at least in the Roman Church. And firstly, with regard to Our Savior’s Birth on December 25, we have St. John Chrysostom telling us, in his Homily for this Feast, that the Western Churches had, from the very commencement of Christianity, kept it on this day. He is not satisfied with merely mentioning the tradition; he undertakes to show that it is well founded, inasmuch as the Church of Rome had every means of knowing the true day of Our Savior’s Birth; since the acts of the Enrollment, taken in Judea by command of Augustus, were kept in the public archives of Rome. The holy Doctor adduces a second argument, which he founds on the Gospel of St. Luke, and he reasons thus: we know from the sacred Scriptures that it must have been in the fast of the seventh month (Lev. 23, 24 et seq.) that the Priest Zachary had the vision in the Temple; after which Elizabeth, his wife, conceived St. John the Baptist (the ‘seventh month’ corresponded to the end of our September and beginning of our October). Hence it follows that the Blessed Virgin Mary having, as the Evangelist St. Luke relates, received the Archangel Gabriel’s visit, and conceived the Savior of the world in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, that is to say, in March, the Birth of Jesus must have taken place in the month of December.

But it was not till the fourth century that the Churches of the East began to keep the Feast of Our Savior’s Birth in the month of December. Up to that period they had kept it at one time on the 6th of January, thus uniting it, under the generic term of Epiphany, with the Manifestation of Our Savior to the Magi, and in them to the Gentiles; at another time, as Clement of Alexandria tells us, they kept it on the 25th of the month Pachon (May 15), or on the 25th of the month Pharmuth (April 20). St. John Chrysostom, in the Homily we have just cited, which he gave in 386, tells us that the Roman custom of celebrating the Birth of Our Savior on December 25 had then only been observed ten years in the Church of Antioch. It is probable that this change had been introduced in obedience to the wishes of the Apostolic See, wishes which received additional weight by the edict of the Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian, which appeared towards the close of the fourth century, and decreed that the Nativity and Epiphany of Our Lord should be made two distinct Festivals. The only Church that has maintained the custom of celebrating the two mysteries on January 6 is that of Armenia; owing, no doubt, to the circumstance of that country not being under the authority of the Emperors; as also because it was withdrawn at an early period from the influence of Rome by schism and heresy.

The Feast of Our Lady’s Purification, with which the 40 days of Christmas close, is in the Latin Church of very great antiquity; so ancient, indeed, as to preclude the possibility of our fixing the date of its institution. According to the unanimous opinion of Liturgists, it is the most ancient of all the Feasts of the Holy Mother of God; and as Her Purification is related in the Gospel itself, they rightly infer that its anniversary was solemnized at the very commencement of Christianity. Of course, this is only to be understood of the Roman Church; for as regards the Oriental Church, we find that this Feast was not definitely fixed to February 2 until the reign of the Emperor Justinian, in the sixth century. It is true that the Eastern Churches had previously to that time a sort of commemoration of this Mystery, but it was far from being a universal custom, and it was kept a few days after the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity, and not on the day itself of Mary’s going up to the Temple.

But what is the characteristic of Christmas in the Latin Liturgy? It is twofold: it is joy, which the whole Church feels at the coming of the divine Word in the Flesh; and it is admiration of that glorious Virgin, Who was made the True Mother of God. There is scarcely a prayer, or a rite, in the Liturgy of this glad Season, which does not imply these two grand Mysteries: an Infant-God, and a Virgin-Mother. For example, the magnificent Anthem, Alma Redemptoris, composed by the Monk Herman Contractus, continues up to the very day of the Purification to be the termination of the Divine Office. It is by such manifestations of Her love and veneration that the Church, honoring the Son in the Mother, testifies Her holy joy during this season of the Liturgical Year, which we call Christmas.

Our readers are aware that, when Easter Sunday falls at its latest—that is, in April—the Ecclesiastical Calendar counts as many as six Sundays after the Epiphany. Christmastide (that is, the 40 days between Christmas day and the Purification) includes sometimes four out of these six Sundays; frequently only two; and sometimes only one, as in the case when Easter comes so early as to necessitate keeping Septuagesima, and even Sexagesima Sunday, in January. Still, nothing is changed, as we have already said, in the ritual observance of this joyous season, excepting only that on those two Sundays, the fore-runners of Lent, the vestments are violet, and the Gloria is omitted.

Although our Holy Mother the Church honors with special devotion the Mystery of the Divine Infancy during the whole season of Christmas; yet She is obliged to introduce into the Liturgy of this same season passages from the holy Gospels which seem premature, inasmuch as they relate to the active life of Jesus. This is owing to there being less than six months allotted by the Calendar for the celebration of the entire work of our Redemption: in other words, Christmas and Easter are so near each other, even when Easter is as late as it can be, that Mysteries must of necessity be crowded into the interval; and this entails anticipation. And yet the Liturgy never loses sight of the Divine Babe and His incomparable Mother, and never tires in Their praises, during the whole period from the Nativity to the day when Mary comes to the Temple to present Her Jesus.

candlemas

Source: SalveMariaRegina.info


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