#AshWednesday by Rev. James Luke Meagher, 1883 A.D.

1 March 2017

O God, Who by sin art offended and by penance pacified: mercifully regard the prayers of Thy suppliant people and turn away the scourge of Thy wrath, which we deserve for our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

(Roman Breviary)

Fałat_Julian,_Popielec

The fast of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts till Easter Sunday. During this time there are forty-six days, but as we do not fast on the six Sundays falling in this time, the fast lasts for forty days. For that reason it is called the forty days of Lent. In the Latin language of the Church it is called the Quadragesima, that is, forty. St. Peter, the first Pope, instituted the forty days of Lent. During the forty-six days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, we are to spend the time in fasting and in penance for our sins, building up the temple of the Lord within our hearts, after having come forth from the Babylon of this world by the rites and the services of the Septuagesima season. And as of old we read that the Jews, after having been delivered from their captivity in Babylon, spent forty-six years in building their temple in place of the grand edifice raised by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians, thus must we rebuild the temple of the Holy Ghost, built by God at the moment of our baptism, but destroyed by the sins of the past year. Again in the Old Testament the tenth part of all the substance of the Jews was given to the Lord (Exod. xxli. 29). Thus we must give him the tenth part of our time while on this earth. For forty days we fast, but taking out the Sundays of Lent, when there is no fast, it leaves thirty-six days, nearly the tenth part of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. According to Pope Gregory from the first Sunday of Lent to Easter, there are six weeks, making forty-two days, and when we take from Lent the six Sundays during which we do not fast, we have left thirty-six days, about the tenth part of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year.

The forty days of fasting comes down to us from the Old Testament, for we read that Moses fasted forty days on the mount (Exod. xxiv. et xxxiv. 28). We are told that Elias fasted for forty days (III. Kings xix. 8), and again we see that our Lord fasted forty days in the desert (Math. iv.; Luke ix). We are to follow the example of these great men of the old law. But in order to make up the full fast of forty days of Moses, of Elias and of our Lord, Pope Gregory commanded the fast of Lent to begin on Ash Wednesday before the first Sunday of the Lenten season.

Christ began his fast of forty days after his baptism in the Jordan, on Epiphany, the twelfth of January, when he went forth into the desert. But we do not begin the Lent after Epiphany, because there are other feasts and seasons in which to celebrate the mysteries of the childhood of our Lord before we come to his fasting, and because during these forty days of Lent we celebrate the forty years of the Jews in the desert, who, when their wanderings were ended, they celebrated their Easter, while we hold ours after the days of Lent are finished. Again, during Lent, we celebrate the passion of our Lord, and as after His passion came His resurrection, thus we celebrate the glories of His resurrection at Easter.

During the services of Lent we read so often the words: “Humble your heads before the Lord,” and “let us bend our knees,” because it is the time when we should humble ourselves before God and bend our knees in prayers. After the words, “Let us bend our knees,” comes the word, “Arise.” These words are never said on Sunday, but only on week days, for Sunday is dedicated to the resurrection of our Lord. Pope Gregory says: “Who bends the knee on Sunday denies God to have risen.” We bend our knees and prostrate ourselves to the earth in prayer, to show the weakness of our bodies, which are made of earth; to show the weakness of our minds and imagination, which we cannot control; to show our shame for sin, for we cannot lift our eyes to heaven; to follow the example of our Lord, who came down from heaven and prostrated himself on the ground in the garden when in prayer (Matt. xxvi. 39); to show that we were driven from Paradise and that we are prone towards earthly things; to show that we follow the example of our father in the faith, Abraham, who, falling upon the earth, adored the Lord (Gen. xviii. 2). This was the custom from the beginning of the Christian Church, as Origen says: “The holy prophets when they were surrounded with trials fell upon their faces, that their sins might be purged by the affliction of their bodies.” Thus following the words of St. Paul: “I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephes. iii. 14),” we prostrate ourselves and bend our knees in prayer. From Ash Wednesday to Passion Sunday the Preface of Lent is said every day, unless there comes a feast with a Preface of its own. That custom was in vogue as far back as the twelfth century.

At other times of the year, the clergy say the Office of Vespers after noon, but an ancient Council allowed Vespers to be commenced after Mass. This is when the Office is said altogether by the clergy in the choir. The same may be done by each clergyman when reciting privately his Office. This cannot be done on the Sundays of Lent, as they are not fasting days. The “Go, the dismissal is at hand,” is not said, but in its place, “Let us bless the Lord,” for, from the earliest times the clergy and the people remained in the church to sing the Vesper Office and to pray during this time of fasting and of penance.

We begin the fast of Lent on Wednesday, for the most ancient traditions of the Church tell us that while our Lord was born on Sunday, he was baptized on Tuesday, and began his fast in the desert on Wednesday. Again, Solomon began the building of his great temple on Wednesday, and we are to prepare our bodies by fasting, to become the temples of the Holy Ghost, as the Apostle says, “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (I. Cor. iii. 16)?” To begin well the Lent, one of the old Councils directed all the people with the clergy to come to the church on Ash Wednesday to assist at the Mass and the Vesper Offices and to give help to the poor, then they were allowed to go and break their fast.

The name Ash Wednesday comes from the ceremony of putting ashes on the heads of the clergy and the people on this day. Let us understand the meaning of this rite. When man sinned by eating in the garden the forbidden fruit, God drove him from Paradise with the words: “For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return (Gen. iii. 19).” Before his sin, Adam was not to die, but to be carried into heaven after a certain time of trial here upon this earth. But he sinned, and by that sin he brought upon himself and us, his children, death. Our bodies, then, are to return to the dust from which God made them, to which they are condemned by the sin of Adam. What wisdom the Church shows us when she invites us by these ceremonies to bring before our minds the dust and the corruption of the grave by putting ashes on our heads. We see the great men of old doing penance in sackcloth and ashes. Job did penance in dust and ashes (Job ii. 12). By the mouth of His prophet the Lord commanded the Jews “in the house of the dust sprinkle yourselves with dust (Mich. i. 10).” Abraham said, “I will speak to the Lord, for I am dust and ashes (Gen xviii. 27).” Joshua and all the ancients of Israel fell on their faces before the Lord and put dust upon their heads (Joshua vii. 6). When the ark of the covenant was taken by the Philistines, the soldier came to tell the sad story with his head covered with dust (I Kings iv. 12).

When Job’s three friends came and found him in such affliction, “they sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven (Job ii. 12).” “The sorrows of the daughters of Israel are seen in the dust upon their heads (Lam. ii. 10).” Daniel said his prayers to the Lord his God in fasting, sackcloth and ashes (Dan. ix. 3). Our Lord tells us that if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the miracles seen in Judea, that they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes (Matt. xi. 21; Luke x. 13). When the great city will be destroyed, its people will cry out with grief, putting dust upon their heads (Apoc. xviii. 19). From these parts of the Bible, the reader will see that dust and ashes were used by the people of old as a sign of deep sorrow for sin, and that when they fasted they covered their heads with ashes. From them the Church copied these ceremonies which have come down to us. And on this day, when we begin our fast, we put ashes on our heads with the words, “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return (Gen. iii. 19).”

In the beginning of the Church the ceremony of putting the ashes on the heads of the people was only for those who were guilty of sin, and who were to spend the season of Lent in public penance. Before Mass they came to the church, confessed their sins, and received from the hands of the clergy the ashes on their heads. Then the clergy and all the people prostrated themselves upon the earth and there recited the seven penitential psalms. Rising, they formed into a procession with the penitents walking barefooted. When they came back the penitents were sent out of the church by the bishop, saying : “We drive you from the bosom of the Church on account of your sins and for your crimes, as Adam, the first man was driven from Paradise because of his sin.” While the clergy were singing those parts of Genesis, where we read that God condemned our first parents to be driven from the garden and condemned to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, the porters fastened the doors of the church on the penitents, who were not allowed to enter the temple of the Lord again till they finished their penance and came to be absolved on Holy Thursday (Gueranger, Le Temps de la Septuagesima, p. 242). After the eleventh century public penance began to be laid aside, but the custom of putting ashes on the heads of the clergy became more and more common, till at length it became part of the Latin Rite. Formerly they used to come up to the altar railing in their bare feet to receive the ashes, and that solemn notice of their death and of the nothingness of man. In the twelfth century the Pope and all his court came to the Church of St. Sabina, in Rome, walking all the way in his bare feet, from whence the title of the Mass said on Ash Wednesday is the Station at St. Sabina.

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The Mystery of Lent
from the Liturgical Year, 1870

Lent is filled with mystery. During the Septuagesima Time the number seventy recalls to our minds the seventy years of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, where, after having purified themselves from their sins by penance, they returned again to their country and to their city of Jerusalem, then they celebrated their Easter. Now the holy Church, our Mother, brings before our minds the severe and mysterious number forty, that number which, as St Jerome says, is always filled with self-denial and with penance (In Ezech., c. xxix). When the race became corrupt, God wiped out the sin of man by the rain of forty days and forty nights upon the world, but after forty days Noah opened a window in the ark and found the water gone from the earth. When the Hebrews were called from the land of Egypt for forty years they fasted on manna, wandering in the desert, before they came to the promised land. When Moses went up the Mount of Sinai, for forty days and nights he fasted from food before he received the law graven on tablets of stone. When Elias came near to God, on Horeb, for forty days and nights he fasted (St. Augustine Sermon). Thus these two, the greatest men of old, whom the hand of the Lord hath raised up to do His mighty will, Moses on Mount Sinai, Elias on Mount Horeb, what do they figure but the law and the prophecy of the Old Testament pointing to the fast of forty days and nights of our Lord in the desert? Like shadowy forms they prefigured the Son of God, Who first established Lent when the Christians, His disciples, fast, following the example of our Master, when they keep the Lenten Services of the Church.

Let us follow our Lord in His Lent in the desert. “At that time,” says the Gospel. When? The moment after his baptism, to show that the Christian after baptism must prepare for a life of self denial. When? Thirty years before, on the same day, the three Magi adored him, a little child in the manger. When? One year from that day, at his mother’s request, he changed the water into wine. At that time, by contact with his most holy body, the waters of the earth received the power of washing the souls of men from sin in baptism. St. John the Baptist had preached penance from the banks of the Jordan. Now Christ was to preach penance from the sands of the desert. John had lived in fasting on locusts and wild honey from his twelfth year (Math. iii. 4). He alone was worthy of baptizing our Lord. Now Christ is led by the Spirit into the desert. By what spirit? By the Holy Spirit, to show that those who fast and do penance during Lent are led by the Holy Ghost. To show that the Church was led by the Holy Ghost in commanding all her children to fast during Lent. Into the desert He is led by the Holy Spirit, with the burning sun of Judea above His head by day, and the parched sands beneath His limbs by night; into the desert He is led, where the hot air burns His hallowed cheek, and the burning sands give way beneath His feet; into the desert He is led, where below Him stretches the Dead Sea, beneath whose stagnant, slimy waters lie the remains of Sodom, Gomorrah, Salem and the cities of the plains destroyed by God for their sins. Here comes our Lord to do penance and to fast for the sins of mankind. Here comes our Savior to keep the first Lent.

Not far from the banks of the Jordan rises a mountain harsh and savage in its outlines, which tradition calls the Lenten mountain (Gueranger, Le Careme, p. 46). From its rugged heights flow down the streams which water the plains of Jericho. From its rocky sides is seen the valley of the Dead Sea. From its inhospitable crags stretches out the gloomy expanse of that spot where once the five smiling cities of the plains sat amid the fertile land, but now, of all places of the earth, marked with the curse of God for the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. There came the Son of God to establish Lent. There came the Savior to show by penance how to gain our everlasting crown by fasting for our sins. There, deep amid the desert fastness, in a cave formed by the ancient upheaval of the mountain, there He found a home. There He fasted forty days and forty nights. No water cooled His burning tongue, no food repaired His weakening strength. The wild beasts of the wilderness were His companions. The heat of the simoon from the burning desert poisoned the air He breathed. The hot sands burned His feet. The rocks became His bed. Such was the beginning of the Christian Lent.

“After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry;” for His nature was human, like ours. “And the tempter came.” He prepared Himself for temptation by fasting, to show us that we must prepare ourselves by fasting for the temptations of this life, to show that by fasting and by penance we are to overcome the enemies of our salvation. He was not hungry till at the end of His forty days of fasting, to show that He was God, for no one can fast for that time without being hungry. At the end of forty days He was hungry, to show that He was man, with all the weakness of our nature. Our nature had been badly hurt by Adam eating the forbidden fruit. Christ came to restore our nature to its lost inheritance in heaven, and He begins His public life by fasting. And now, at the end of that fast, the devil, who was the cause of our fall, found Him weak and hungry. He came to tempt Him in the desert, as he came to tempt our first parents in the garden. Let us draw near and see the temptation of our Lord.

The devil had seen Him baptized in the Jordan, he had heard the words of the holy Baptist point Him out as the “Lamb of God.” He had heard the words of the Father in heaven call Him His beloved Son. He had seen the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, with outspread wings overshadow Him. He says to himself, “Can this be the Son of God, this weak and hungry Man?” The demon is in doubt. He comes near to the person of Jesus Christ. He could not enter into His members as he can in ours, and tempt Him. He could only tempt Him from without, as he tempted our first parents from without. Coming near, he says, “If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.” Mark well the words. It is a temptation of pride. “If thou be the Son of God,” here is a chance to show your power. Long before the same demon came to our Mother Eve, and said, “In what day soever you shall eat thereof … you shall be as gods.” The temptation of pride. Thus He was tempted by being asked to eat, like our parents in the garden. Thus He was tempted by pride, as our mother Eve was tempted of old.

This life is a continual battle against temptation, and the Church, made up of the clergy and of the people, is like a great and powerful army in ceaseless battle array against our enemies. For that reason Lent is called the fighting time of the Church. For that reason, in the offices of the breviary we say the psalms, wherein is recalled that battle of the Christian against his old enemies, the powers of hell.

We are coming near to the sad sight of the death of our Lord. We are to see that rage of the Jews against Him which ended by His death on the cross. The Church prepares us beforehand, by celebrating certain feasts on each of the Fridays of Lent, which are like so many preparations for the tragedy of Good Friday. The Friday following the first Sunday of Lent we celebrate the memory of the holy Lance and Nails which pierced His Sacred Flesh; or, in some cases, the feast of the Crown of Thorns He wore upon His head. The Friday of the second week we say the office of the Linens, which Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped around His body when dead and laid in the tomb. On the third Friday we commemorate the memory of the five Wounds of our Lord; while the offices of the fourth Friday are devoted to the memory of the most precious Blood shed for our redemption (Brev. Rom.).

During the early ages of the Church, Lent was the time when the catechumens, that is, the newly converted Christians, prepared for baptism by fasting and by penance, before they were washed from their sins by the waters of regeneration on Holy Saturday. For many months they had been instructed for that holy rite by the saints of old, and in the Lenten Season they redoubled their penance and their prayers. Again, Lent was the time when the public penitents, those who were guilty of great sins, purged themselves from their crimes by public penance. From Ash Wednesday, when they were driven from the church, like Adam from Paradise, in sackcloth and in ashes, in tears and in fasting, they wept at the doors of the churches, till received again into the bosom of their mother, the Church, by confession and Communion on Holy Thursday. Because the people are no more saints like those of the early ages, although the Church in her motherly indulgence has changed these laws, still their traces are found in the ceremonies and the services of the Latin Rite.

Prayer

O my God! who art all love, I thank Thee for having established the fast of Lent to purify my conscience, to strengthen my virtue, and to make me worthy of approaching Thy holy table. Grant me the grace to keep the fast as a Christian. I am resolved to love God above all things, and my neighbor as myself for the love of God; and, in testimony of this love, I will join fasting with prayer and alms. Amen


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Ash Wednesday: Missa ‘Misereris Omnium’ Link to LIVE EF Mass 9AM EST with Propers

1 March 2017


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

LIVE Link to the Ash Wednesday 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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Ash Wednesday

Purple

1st Class Feria

[STATION AT ST. SABINA]

Blessing of the Ashes

Before the Mass, the ashes obtained by burning the branches of olive and other trees blessed the preceding year, are now blessed. When None has been said in choir, the priest, vested in alb, stole, and purple cope, stands at the epistle corner of the altar, on which is placed a vessel containing the ashes to be blessed. The choir sings the following antiphon:

ANTIPHON ¤ Ps. 68.17

Exaudi nos, Domine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua: et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum repice nos, Domine. — Salvum me fac, Deus: quoniam intraverunt aquae usque ad animam meam. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Exaudi nos, Domine . . . Hear us, O Lord, for Thy mercy is kind: look upon us, O Lord, according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies. — (Ps. 68. 2). Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — Hear us, O Lord, for Thy mercy is kind . . .

Afterwards the priest, standing at the epistle side, without turning towards the people, with his hands joined, says:

V.: Dominus vobiscum. V.: The Lord be with you.

R.: Et cum spiritu tuo. R.: And with thy spirit.

Oremus. — Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, parce paenitentibus, propitiare supplicantibus, et mittere digneris sanctum Angelum tuum de caelis, qui bene†dicat, et sancti†ficet hos cineres, ut sint remedium salubre omnibus nomen sanctum tuum humiliter implorantibus, ac semetipsos pro conscientia delictorum suorum accusantibus, ante conspectum divinae clementiae tuae facinora sua deplorantibus, vel serenissimam pietatem tuam suppliciter, obnixeque flagitantibus: et praesta per invocationem sanctissimi nominis tui; ut quicumque per eos aspersi fuerint, pro redemptione peccatorum suorum, corporis sanitatem, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R.: Amen. Let us pray. — O almighty and everlasting God, spare those who are penitent, be merciful to those who implore Thee; and vouchsafe to send Thy holy Angel from heaven, to bless † and hal†low these ashes, that they may be a wholesome remedy to all who humbly implore Thy holy Name, and who accuse themselves, conscious of their sins, deploring their crimes before Thy divine mercy, or humbly and earnestly beseeching Thy sovereign goodness: and grant through the invocation of Thy most holy Name that whosoever shall be sprinkled with them for the remission of their sins may receive both health of body and safety of soul. Through Christ our Lord.

R.: Amen.

Oremus. — Deus, qui non mortem, sed paenitentiam desideras peccatorum: fragilitatem conditionis humanae benignissime respice; et hos cineres, quos causa proferendae humilitatis, atque promerendae veniae, capitibus nostris imponi decernimus, bene†dicere pro tua pietate dignare: ut, qui nos cinerem esse, et ob pravitatis nostrae demeritum in pulverem reversuros cognoscimus; peccatorum omnium veniam, et praemia paenitentibus repromissa, misericorditer consequi mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R.: Amen. Let us pray. — O God, who desirest not the death, but the repentance of sinners, look down most graciously upon the frailty of human nature; and in Thy goodness vouchsafe to bless † these ashes which we purpose to put opon our heads in token of our lowliness and to obtain forgiveness: so that we who know that we are but ashes, and for the demerits of our wickedness are to return to dust, may deserve to obtain of Thy mercy, the pardon of all our sins, and the rewards promised to the penitent. Through Christ our Lord.

R.: Amen.

Oremus. — Deus, qui humiliatione flecteris, et satisfactione placaris: aurem tuae pietatis inclina precibus nostris; et capitibus servorum tuorum, horum cinerum aspersione contactis, effunde propitius gratiam tuae benedictionis: ut eos et spiritu compunctionis repleas, et quae iuste postulaverint, efficaciter tribuas; et concessa perpetuo stabilita, et intacta manere decernas. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R.: Amen. Let us pray. — O God, who art moved by humiliation, and appeased by satisfaction: incline the ear of Thy goodness to our prayers and mercifully pour forth upon the heads of Thy servants sprinkled with these ashes the grace of Thy blessing: that Thou mayest both fill them with the spirit of compunction, and effectually grant what they have justly prayed for: and ordain that what Thou hast granted may be permanently established and remain unchanged. Through Christ our Lord.

R.: Amen.

Oremus. — Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Ninivitis in cinere et cilicio paenitentibus, indulgentiae tuae remedia praestitisti: concede propitius; ut sic eos imitemur habitu, quatenus veniae prosequamur obtentu. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R.: Amen. Let us pray. — O almighty and everlasting God, who didst vouchsafe Thy healing pardon to the Ninivites doing penance in sackcloth and ashes, mercifully grant that we may so imitate them in our outward attitude as to follow them in obtaining forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord .. .

R.: Amen.

The priest then sprinkles the ashes thrice with holy water, singing the anthem Asperges me . . . and incenses them thrice. After which, having first received the ashes on his own head, from the highest in dignity of the clergy, he proceeds to place them, in the form of across, on the heads or foreheads of the clergy and people, saying to each:

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris. (Gen. 3. 19) Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

Meanwhile the choir sings the following anthems and responses:

ANTIPHON ¤ Joel 2. 13

Immutemur habitu, in cinere et cilicio: ieiunemus, et ploremus ante Dominum: quia multum misericors est dimittere peccata nostra Deus noster. Let us change our garments for ashes and sackcloth: let us fast and lament before the Lord: for plenteous in mercy is our God to forgive our sins.

ANOTHER ANTIPHON ¤ Joel 2. 17

Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini, et dicent: Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo: et ne claudas ora canentium te, Domine. Between the porch and the altar, the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare Thy People: and close not the mouths of them that sing to Thee, O Lord.

RESPONSE ¤ Esther 13; Joel 2

R.: Emendemus in melius, quae ignoranter peccavimus: ne subito praeoccupati die mortis, quaeramus spatium poenitentiae, et invenire non possimus. * Attende, Domine, et miserere: quia peccavimus tibi. R.: Let us amend for the better in those things in which we have sinned through ignorance; lest suddenly overtaken by the day of death, we seek space for repentance and are not able to find it. * Attend, O Lord, and have mercy: for we have sinned against Thee.

V.: Adiuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter honorem nominis tui, Domine, libera nos. * Attende, Domine. V.: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. * Attende . . . V.: (Ps. 78. 9). Help us, O God, our savior: and for the glory of Thy Name, O Lord, deliver us. * Attend, O Lord . . . V.: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. * Attend . . .

When all have received the ashes, the priest says:

V.: Dominus vobiscum. V.: The Lord be with you.

R.: Et cum spiritu tuo. R.: And with thy spirit.

Oremus. — Concede nobis, Domine, praesidia militiae christianae sanctis inchoare ieiuniis: ut contra spiritales nequitias pugnaturi continentiae muniamur auxiliis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R.: Amen. Let us pray. — Grant us, O Lord, to begin with holy fasts the campaign of our Christian warfare: that, as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial. Through Christ our Lord.

R.: Amen.

 

 

Holy Mass

INTROIT ¤ Wisdom 11. 24, 25, 27

Misereris omnium, Domine, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti, dissimulans peccata hominum propter poenitentiam et parcens illis: quia tu es Dominus Deus noster. — Miserere mei, Deus, miserere mei: quoniam inte confidit anima mea. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Misereris omnium, Domine . . . Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made, overlooking the sins of men for the sake of repentance, and sparing them: because Thou art the Lord our God. — (Ps. 56. 2). Have mery on me, O God, have mercy on me: for my soul trusteth in Thee. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord . . .

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said until Maundy Thursday.

COLLECT

Praesta Domine fidelibus tuis: ut ieiuniorum veneranda solemnia, et congrua pietate suscipiant, et secura devotione percurrant. Per Dominum . . . Grant, O Lord, to Thy faithful people, that they may undertake with fitting piety the venerable solemnities of fasting, and complete them with steadfast devotion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

EPISTLE ¤ Joel 2. 12-19

Lesson from the Prophet Joel.

Lectio Ioelis Prophetae.

[Almighty God is rich in mercy and clemency to those who are converted to Him in fasting, in weeping and in mourning.]

Haec dicit Dominus: Convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro, in ieiunio, et in fletu, et in planctu. Et scindite corda vestra, et non vestimenta vestra, et convertimini ad Dominum Deum vestrum: quia benignus et misericors est, patiens, et multae misericordiae, et praestabilis super malitia. Quis scit, si convertatur, et ignoscat, et relinquat post se benedictionem, sacrificiam, et libamen Domino Deo vestro? Canite tuba in Sion, sanctificate ieiunium, vocate coetum, congregate populum, sanctificate Ecclesiam, coadunate senes, congregate parvulos, et sugentes ubera: egrediatur sponsus de cubili suo, et sponsa de thalamo suo. Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini, et dicent: Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo: et ne des haereditatem tuam in opprobrium, ut dominentur eis nationes. Quare dicunt in populis: Ubi est Deus eorum? Zelatus est Dominus terram suam, et pepercit populo suo. Et respondit Dominus, et dixit populo suo: Ecce ego mittam vobis frumentum, et vinum, et oleum, et replebimini eis: et non dabo vos ultra opprobrium in gentibus: dicit Dominus omnipotens. Thus saith the Lord: Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your heats and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but He will return and forgive and leave a blessing behind Him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather together the people, sanctify the Church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed and the bride out of her bride chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people; and give not Thine inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for His land, and hath spared His people. And the Lord answered and said to His people: behold I will send you corn and wine and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations: saith the Lord almighty.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 56. 2, 4

Miserere mei, Deus, miserere mei: quoniam in te confidit anima mea. V.: Misit de coelo, et liberavit me: dedit in opprobrium conculcantes me. Have mercy on me, O Lord, have mercy on me: for my soul trusteth in Thee. V.: He hath sent from heaven and delivered me: He hath made them a reproach that trod upon me.

TRACT ¤ Ps. 102, 10

Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, quae fecimus nos: neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis. V.: Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum antiquarum, cito anticipent nos misericordiae tuae: quia pauperes facti sumus nimis. O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V.: (Ps. 78. 8, 9) O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, let Thy mercies speedily prevent us: for we are become exceeding poor.

V.: Adiuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter gloriam nominis tui, Domine, libera nos: et propitius esto peccatis nostris, propter nomen tuum. [Here kneel.]

V.: Help us, O God, our Savior: and for the glory of Thy Name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy Name’s sake1

GOSPEL ¤ Matth. 6. 16-21

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

† Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum.

[It is not our garments that we shuld rend as a sign of sorrow, as the Pharisees did, but rather our hearts, for it is not to men that we should appear to fast, but to our Father, who sees into the secret place of our souls, and who will repay us.]

In illo tempore: Dixit Iesus discipulis suis: Cum ieiunatis, nolite fieri sicut hypocritae, tristes. Exterminant enim facies suas, ut appareant hominibus ieiunantes. Amen dico vobis, quia receperunt mercedem suam. Tu autem, cum ieiunas, unge caput tuum, et faciem tuam lava, ne videaris hominibus ieiunans, sed Patri tuo, qui est in abscondito: et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in erra: ubi aerugo, et tinea demolitur: et ubi fures effodiunt, et furantur. Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in caelo: ubi neque aurugo, neque tinea demolitur; et ubi fures non effodiunt, nec furantur. Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum. At that time Jesus said to His disciples: When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their face, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay Thee. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 29. 2, 3

Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me, nec delectasti inimicos meos super me: Domine, clamavi ad te, et sanasti me. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me, and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me: O Lord, I have cried to Thee, and Thou hast healed me.

SECRET

Fac nos, quaesumus Domine, his muneribus offerendis convenienter aptari: quibus ipsius venerabilis sacramenti celebramus exordium. Per Dominum . . . Fit us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to offer worthily these gifts, by which we celebrate the opening of this venerable Mystery. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

PREFACE

Preface for Lent

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui corporali ieiunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem maiestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti iubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione 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 by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ¤ Ps. 77. 29, 30

Qui meditabitur in lege Domini die ad nocte, davit fructum suum in tempore suo. He that shall meditate day and night on the law of the Lord, shall bring forth his fruit in due season.

POSTCOMMUNION

Percepta nobis, Domine, praebeant sacramenta subsidium: ut tibi grata sint nostra ieiunia, et nobis proficiant ad medelam. Per Dominum . . . May the Sacraments we have received afford us help, O Lord, that our fasts may be pleasing unto Thee, and profitable unto us for healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth . . .

PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE

Oremus. Humiliate capita vestra Deo. — Inclinantes se, Domine, maiestati tuae, propitiatus intende: ut qui divino munere sunt refecti, caelestibus semper nutriantur auxiliis. Per Dominum . . . Let us pray. Bow down your heads before God. — Look graciously, O Lord, upon us who bow down before Thy majesty: that we who have been refreshed by Thy divine Gift may ever be sustained by Thy heavenly aids. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . . .

Indulgence of 500 days. — Plenary, under the usual conditions, if this invocation is daily recited during a month.


Traditional Fasting and Abstinence Guidelines for Lent

1 March 2017

eatmorefishthumbnailFrom the Traditional Blog, “Salve Regina” we have the Rules for Fasting from the Traditional Calendar…

Fasting Guidelines from the calendar predating Vatican II

I often see people asking about the pre Vatican II fasting guidelines(not mandatory according to the current guidelines. For informational purposes only) on discussion forums. From the New Marian Missal, published by Angelus Press, here they are for the US:

“Abstinence: All Catholics seven years and older are obliged to observe the Law of Abstinence.
On days of complete abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are not permitted at all. On days of partial abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat ar permitted once a day at the principal meal.

Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas, and on Holy Saturday. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the Vigil of Pentecost.

Fasting: All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first year to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to observe the Law of fast. The days of fast are the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas. Only one full meal is allowed on a day of Fast. Two other meatless meals are permitted. These meals should be sufficient to maintain strength in accordance with each one’s needs. Both of these meals, or collations, together, should not equal one full meal.

It is permissible to eat meat at the principle meal on a Fast Day except on Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and the Vigils of Immaculate Conception, Christmas, and Holy Saturday.

Solid foods between meals is not permitted. Liquids, including coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are allowed.

In connection with problems arising from the Laws of Fast and Abstinence, a confessor or priest should be consulted. Dispensations may be granted for a serious reason concerning health or the ability to work.”

Thanks to Salve Regina

Here is the Calendar for Lent according to the Pre-Vatican II guidelines: Click HERE


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

26 February 2017

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!


Bishop McElroy has embraced the “Spirit” of #SaulAlinsky

24 February 2017

Bishop Robert McElroy: his transformation into a partisan political agent of PICO
by Barona at his blog, Toronto Catholic Witness

Bishop Robert McElroy, who in early November, 2016 rigorously enforced political neutrality (even after Hilary Clinton came out in the final debate to openly underscore her unchanging militant support of partial-birth abortion) in his diocese.

His Excellency wrote in part to parishes, after a priest warned the faithful about voting for pro-abortion candidates:

“Let me stress again that while we have a moral role to play in explaining how Catholic teaching relates to certain public policy issues, we must not and will not endorse specific candidates, use parish media or bulletins to favor candidates or parties through veiled language about selectively chosen issues, or engage in partisan political activity of any kind.”

The above Tweet for the Bishop’s Diocesan Twitter account leaves no doubt that the emphasis is on not getting involved in partisan politics.

However, once McElroy’s candidate(?) Hillary Clinton, was trounced by Donald Trump, the erstwhile prelate reversed his position and since late November has become a political agitator: in his words, he has become a “disruptor”.

At this very moment the United States is on the verge of exploding in violent insurgency. That a bishop calls for action and disruption without any call to ensure protest is peaceful is disgraceful.

PLEASE click HERE for the REST OF THE STORY!

Bishop McElroy, are these YOUR WORDS? @DioceseSanDiego

22 February 2017

Bishop McElroy: His Address to the “World Meeting of Popular Movements” is an act of heresy and apostasy!
by Barona at his blog, Toronto Catholic Witness

Let us review the speech given to the “World Meeting of Popular Movements”. His speech is not reflective of a Catholic bishop, but that of a secular politician. His words could be those of a freemason. Our Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned only ONCE and that is conjunction with other false “faiths”, including the “prophet” Mohommed (whom the Catholic Church has always taught and continues to teach is a precursor of the Antichrist).
McElroy’s speech is nothing but “horizontal Christianity;, a false, secular, humanistic ideology that uses a few Christian words to trap the unwary. It is very interesting that this political speech was given before a number of extremely well paid lay “luminaries”, who draw enormous salaries as professional “do-gooders”. An example of a luminary was Carolyn Woo who was paid in excess of $2 million working for Catholic Relief Services. This organization, run by the USCCB, has received literally billions of US taxpayers money. They are but one of many. Follow the money dear reader and you will begin to understand why these apostate do-nothing bishops can rage over “immigration”, yet remain virtually silent on the horror of our time: abortion. (Toronto Catholic Witness remarks in RED)

MODESTO, Calif., Feb. 18, 2017 – The Most Rev. Robert W. McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today delivered the following comments at the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements [funded by the Nazi-collaborating Jewish billionaire and vehement hater of the Catholic Church, George Soros. Nothing like taking money from the Jewish High Priest to re-crucify Christ in His Church] during a panel discussion on the barriers marginalized people face in housing and work.

Certainly a blistering expose of an apostate Bishop. One of many. Please click HERE to go to Toronto Catholic Witness for the rest of this explosive essay.

 



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

19 February 2017

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 online by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

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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.

After Mass is finished, the recorded Mass is available at this link. 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

19 February 2017
    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!


A Valentine from Always Catholic…

14 February 2017

“My vocation is to become Love itself…” Saint Therese of Lisieux

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Saint Valentine Kneeling in supplication, a painting by David III Teniers.1638-1685

 At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury’s time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

Saint Valentine’s Day

The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. Both the French and English literatures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain allusions to the practice. Perhaps the earliest to be found is in the 34th and 35th Ballades of the bilingual poet, John Gower, written in French; but Lydgate and Clauvowe supply other examples. Those who chose each other under these circumstances seem to have been called by each other their Valentines. In the Paston Letters, Dame Elizabeth Brews writes thus about a match she hopes to make for her daughter (we modernize the spelling), addressing the favoured suitor:

And, cousin mine, upon Monday is Saint Valentine’s Day and every bird chooses himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion.

Shortly after the young lady herself wrote a letter to the same man addressing it “Unto my rightwell beloved Valentine, John Paston Esquire”. The custom of choosing and sending valentines has of late years fallen into comparative desuetude.

APA citation. Thurston, H. (1912). St. Valentine. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 14, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15254a.htm
MLA citation. Thurston, Herbert. “St. Valentine.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 14 Feb. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15254a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Paul Knutsen.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Let’s put the Saint back in Saint Valentine’s Day!

14 February 2017

From the blog: Women for Faith & Family

Cupids. Candy. Flowers. Lacy hearts. Strange, isn’t it, that the best known Christian saint on the secular calendar — a holiday devoted to romantic love — is a martyr for the Christian faith?

Saint Valentine did “die of love”, to be sure — but not of the romantic sort! Strange, also, considering its enormous popularity, that this saint’s feast no longer appears on the Church’s calendar. (Officially, February 14 marks the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodias, 9th century missionaries to the Slavs.)

How did the “Saint” disappear from Valentine’s Day? Can we “re-Christianize” the celebration of this popular holiday? Who is Saint Valentine, anyway?

There are at three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, mentioned in the early martyrologies for the date of February 14th.

One is described as a priest in Rome, another a bishop (of Interamna, the modern Terni). Both apparently were martyred in the second half of the third century and buried at different places on the Flaminian Way outside of Rome. The third St. Valentine was martyred in Africa with a number of companions.

Almost nothing is known about any of these early Christian men — except that they died for the love of Christ!

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ’s side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
Amen

The popular customs connected with Saint Valentine’s Day’s probably originated in medieval Europe. At that time, when “courtly love” was in flower, there was a common belief in England and France that on February 14th, precisely half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair.
Thus, we read in the 14th century English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Parliament of Foules”:

For this was on Seynt Valentynes’ day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate. (Chaucer’s original spelling).

This belief about “love-birds” is probably the reason Saint Valentine’s feast day came to be seen as specially consecrated to lovers, and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lover’s tokens. The literature of the fourteenth and fifteenth-century in both France and England contain allusions to this practice.

This association with romantic love, along with the medieval revival of interest in classic literature, no doubt led to the “paganizing” of this martyr’s feast, so that the Roman god, Cupid (the counterpart of Eros in Greek mythology), supplanted the saint in the celebration of the feast. In Roman mythology, Cupid, the son of Venus, was a winged immortal who had the mischievous habit of shooting invisible arrows into the hearts of mortals, which inflamed them with blind and helpless passion — for the next person they might see.

The Golden Legend, a medieval book of stories about saints, says that Valentine, a priest, was imprisioned by the emperor Claudius II for leading people to Christ. While Valentine was being interrogated by a Roman officer, the priest preached Christ as the “one and only Light”. The officer, who had a blind daughter, challenged Valentine to pray to Christ for her cure. The girl was cured, and the entire family were converted to Christianity.
According to legend, while awaiting execution, he wrote notes of instruction, affection and encouragement to the Christian community in Rome, which were secretly delivered by a boy who visited him in prison.

It is ironic that a Roman Christian who died defending the faith is now chiefly associated with a pagan god, Cupid!

More great Saint Valentine’s Day info here


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