Let’s Do Ember Days… why not?

16 September 2014

Posted by Sofia Guerra
17 September 2014 Anno Domini

The Why of Ember Days…

The Ember days which follow the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross coincide with the onset of autumn and the harvest. This year the dates are September 17, 19 and 20th.

This is from the site, Fisheaters which is one of our favorite traditional Catholic blogs/sites. Fisheaters is really a top shelf reference site for all things Roman Catholic.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

All things have their season,
and in their times all things pass under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal.
A time to destroy, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather.
A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to get, and a time to lose.
A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew.
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
A time of war, and a time of peace.

Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons 1 that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote.

These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day. Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:

Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.

Which means:

Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost,
are when the quarter holidays follow.

The post that follows is an extraordinary piece from Michael P. Foley dated 2008.

This essay will make you LOVE being Catholic and will always celebrate Ember Days after this, right?

THE GLOW OF THE EMBER DAYS
By Michael P. Foley

A potential danger of traditionalism is the stubborn defense of something about which one knows little. I once asked a priest who had just finished beautifully celebrating an Ember Saturday Mass about the meaning of the Ember days. He replied (with an impish twinkle in his eye) that he hadn’t a clue, but he was furious they had been suppressed.

Traditionalists, however, are not entirely to blame for their unfamiliarity with this important part of their patrimony. Most only have the privilege of assisting at a Sunday Tridentine Mass, and hence the Ember days—which occur on a weekday or Saturday—slip by unnoticed. And long before the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of these observances had atrophied.

So why care about them now? To answer this question, we must first determine what they are.

The Four Seasons

The Ember days, which fall on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week, occur in conjunction with the four natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September Embertide, also called the Michaelmas Embertide because of their proximity to the Feast of St. Michael on September 29.1 Winter, on the other hand, brings the December Embertide during the third week of Advent, and spring brings the Lenten Embertide after the first Sunday of Lent. Finally, summer heralds the Whitsun Embertide, which takes place within the Octave of Pentecost.

In the 1962 Missal the Ember days are ranked as ferias of the second class, weekdays of special importance that even supersede certain saints’ feasts. Each day has its own proper Mass, all of which are quite old. One proof of their antiquity is that they are one of the few days in the Gregorian rite (as the ’62 Missal is now being called) which has as many as five lessons from the Old Testament in addition to the Epistle reading, an ancient arrangement indeed.

Fasting and partial abstinence during the Ember days were also enjoined on the faithful from time immemorial until the 1960s. It is the association of fasting and penance with the Embertides that led some to think that their peculiar name has something to do with smoldering ash, or embers. But the English name is probably derived from their Latin title, the Quatuor Tempora or “Four Seasons.”2

Apostolic and Universal

The history of the Ember days brings us to the very origins of Christianity. The Old Testament prescribes a fourfold fast as part of its ongoing consecration of the year to God (Zech. 8:19). In addition to these seasonal observances, pious Jews in Palestine at the time of Jesus fasted every Monday and Thursday—hence the Pharisee’s boast about fasting twice weekly in the parable involving him and the publican (Lk. 18:12).

Early Christians amended both of these customs. The Didache, a work so old that it may actually predate some books of the New Testament, tells us that Palestinian Christians in the first century A.D. fasted every Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because it is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it is the day He was crucified.3 The Wednesday and Friday fast were so much a part of Christian life that in Gaelic one word for Thursday, Didaoirn, literally means “the day between the fasts.”

In the third century, Christians in Rome began to designate some of these days for seasonal prayer, partly in imitation of the Hebrew custom and partly in response to pagan festivals occurring around the same time.4 Thus, the Ember days were born. And after the weekly fast became less prevalent, it was the Ember days which remained as a conspicuous testimony to a custom stretching back to the Apostles themselves.5 Moreover, by modifying the two Jewish fasts, the Ember days embody Christ’s statement that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Mt. 5:17).6

Usefully Natural

This fulfillment of the Law is crucial because it teaches us something fundamental about God, His redemptive plan for us, and the nature of the universe. In the case of both the Hebrew seasonal fasts and the Christian Ember days, we are invited to consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator. The four seasons, for example, can be said to intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is “the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter.”7

This is significant, for the Ember days are the only time in the Church calendar where nature qua nature is singled out and acknowledged. Certainly the liturgical year as a whole presupposes nature’s annual rhythm (Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, Christmas with the winter solstice, etc.), yet here we celebrate not the natural phenomena per se but the supernatural mysteries which they evoke. The Rogation days commemorate nature, but mostly in light of its agricultural significance (that is, vis-à-vis its cultivation by man), not on its own terms, so to speak.8

The Ember days, then, stand out as the only days in the supernatural seasons of the Church that commemorate the natural seasons of the earth. This is appropriate, for since the liturgical year annually renews our initiation into the mystery of redemption, it should have some special mention of the very thing which grace perfects.

Uniquely Roman

But what about Saturday? The Roman appropriation of the weekly fast involved adding Saturday as an extension of the Friday fast. And during Embertide, a special Mass and procession to St. Peter’s was held, with the congregation being invited to “keep vigil with Peter.” Saturday is an appropriate day not only for a vigil, but as a day of penance, when our Lord “lay in the sepulchre, and the Apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.”9 It is this Roman custom, incidentally, which gave rise to the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” According to the story, when Sts. Augustine and Monica asked St. Ambrose of Milan whether they should follow the weekly fasts of either Rome or of Milan (which did not include Saturdays), Ambrose replied: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I do.”10

Solidarity of Laity and Clergy

Another Roman custom, instituted by Pope Gelasius I in 494, is to use Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it was quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. This allows the entire community to join the candidates in fasting and in praying for God’s blessing upon their vocation, and not just the community in this or that diocese, but all over the world.

Personally Prayerful

In addition to commemorating the seasons of nature, each of the four Embertides takes on the character of the liturgical season in which it is located. The Advent Ember days, for example, celebrate the Annunciation and the Visitation, the only times during Advent in the 1962 Missal when this is explicitly done. The Lenten Embertide allows us to link the season of spring, when the seed must die to produce new life, to the Lenten mortification of our flesh. The Whitsun Embertides, curiously, have us fasting within the octave of Pentecost, teaching us that there is such a thing as a “joyful fast.”11 The Fall Embertide is the only time that the Roman calendar echoes the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, the two holidays that teach us so much about our earthly pilgrimage and about Christ’s high priesthood.12

The Ember days also afford the occasion for a quarterly check-up of the soul. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (d. 1298) lists eight reasons why we should fast during the Ember days, most of them concerning our personal war against vice. Summer, for example, which is hot and dry, is analogous to “the burning and ardour of avarice,” while autumn is cold and dry, like pride. Jacopo also does a delightful job coordinating the Embertides with the four temperaments: springtime is sanguine, summer is choleric, autumn is melancholic, and winter is phlegmatic.13 It is little wonder that the Ember days became times of spiritual exercises (not unlike our modern retreats), and that folklore in Europe grew up around them affirming their special character.14

Even the Far East was affected by the Ember days. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora.

Dying Embers

While the Ember days remained fixed in the universal calendar as obligatory (along with the injunction to fast), their radiating influence on other areas of life eventually waned. By the twentieth century, ordinations were no longer exclusively scheduled on Ember Saturdays and their role as “spiritual checkups” was gradually forgotten. The writings of Vatican II could have done much to rejuvenate the Ember days. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy decrees that liturgical elements “which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers” (50).

But what came instead was the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship’s 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, where we read:

On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public thanks (45).

In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions…the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan for their celebration (46)

Happily, the Ember days were not to be removed from the calendar but tweaked by national bishops’ conferences. There were, however, several shortcomings with this arrangement. First, the SCDW treats Rogation and Ember days as synonymous, which—as we saw in a previous article15—they are not. The Ember days do not, for example, pray for “the productivity of the earth and for human labor” in the dead of winter.

Second, by calling for an adaptation to various regions, the SCDW allowed the Ember days to take on an indeterminate number of meanings that have nothing to do with nature, such as “peace, the unity of the Church, the spread of the faith, etc.”16 Unlike the organic development of the Ember days, which preserved its basic meaning while taking on others, the 1969 directive has no safeguards to keep newly assigned meanings from displacing the Embertides’ more fundamental purpose.

Third, the national bishops’ conferences were supposed to fix the dates of the Ember days, but none, as far as I can tell, ever did.

Dead Embers & Lively Debates

In the wake of this ambiguity and indirection, the Ember days disappeared from the celebration of the Novus Ordo, and at one of the worst possible times. For just as the Church was letting its liturgical celebration of the natural slip into oblivion, the West was going berserk over nature.

Ever since the publication of Machiavelli’s Prince in the sixteenth century, modern society has been predicated on a technological war against nature in order to increase man’s dominion and power. Nature was no longer a lady to be wooed (as she had been for the Greeks, Romans, and medieval Christians); she was now to be raped, beaten into submission through evermore impressive technological advances17 that would render mankind, in Freud’s chilling words, “a prosthetic god.”

While there were some strong reactions against this new attitude, the modern hostility to the God-given only expanded as time went on, growing from a war on nature to a war on human nature. Our current preoccupations with genetic engineering, sex “changes,” and same-sex “marriage”—all of which are attempts to redefine or reconfigure the natural—are examples of this ongoing escalation.

The environmental movement that began in the 1960s has helped bring to light the wages of ruthlessly exploiting nature, and thus today we have a renewed appreciation for the virtues of responsible stewardship and for the marvels of God’s green but fragile earth. Yet this same movement, which has served in many ways as a healthy reawakening, is peppered with absurdities. Often the same activists who defend endangered tadpoles go on to champion the annihilation of unborn babies. Recently, after liberalizing their abortion laws, Spain’s socialist government introduced legislation to grant chimpanzees legal rights in order “to preserve the species from extinction”—this in a land with no native ape population.18

Contemporary environmentalism is also sometimes pantheistic in its assumptions, the result being that for many it has become a religion unto itself. This new religion comes complete with its own priests (climatologists), its own gospels (sacrosanct data about rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers), its own prophets (Al Gore, who unfortunately remains welcome in his own country), and, most of all, its own apocalypticism, with the four horsemen of deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, and fossil fuels all leading us to an ecological Doomsday more terrifying to the secular mind than the Four Last Things.19

Conclusion

My point is not to deny the validity of these anxieties, but to lament the neo-pagan framework into which they are more often than not put. Modern man is such a mess that when he finally recovers a love of nature, he does so in a most unnatural manner. Both the early modern antipathy to nature and the late modern idolatry of it stand in dire need of correction, a correction that the Church is well poised to provide. As Chesterton quipped, Christians can truly love nature because they will not worship her. The Church proclaims nature’s goodness because it was created by a good and loving God and because it sacramentally reflects the grandeur of God’s goodness and love.
The Church does this liturgically with its observance of the “Four Seasons,” the Embertides. Celebrating the Ember days does not, of course, provide ready solutions to the world’s complicated ecological difficulties, but it is a good refresher course in basic first principles. The Ember days offer an intelligent alternative to pantheist environmentalism, and they do so without being contrived or pandering, as a new Catholic “Earth Day” or some such thing would undoubtedly be.

It is a shame that the Church unwittingly let the glow of Embertide die at the precise moment in history when their witness was needed the most, but it is a great boon that Summorum Pontificum makes their celebration universally accessible once again. What remains is for a new generation to take up their practice with a reinvigorated appreciation of what they mean. At least then we’ll know why we are so furious.

Michael P. Foley is an associate professor of patristics at Baylor University. He is the author of Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Music, Vows, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services (Eerdmans) and Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (Palgrave Macmillan).

_______________________________
NOTES: This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4; web publication at RORATE CÆLI authorized by author and periodical. Images related to the First and Second Lessons and to the Gospel of Ember Saturday in September: in the first image, Aaron and Moses offer a holocaust to the Lord.

1.Officially, they fall on the first [full] week after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14).
2. Another theory is that “Ember” comes from the Old English, ymbren, meaning time or season.
3. The one reason stated by the Didache is more polemical: Christians fast on different days in order to be different from the “hypocrites,” i.e., the Pharisees (8.1).
4.Cf. Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, 1958), 31-32.
5.Weiser does claim, however, that voluntarily fasting or abstaining on Wednesdays was still alive in some areas when he was writing (1958). Of course, the other remnant of the weekly fast is Friday abstinence from flesh meat.
6.Technically, neither Jewish fast was part of the Mosaic Law, though both were, I would argue, part of the Mosaic way of life.
7.From a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas.
8.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
9.Jacopo de Voragine, “The Ember days,” in The Golden Legend.
10.Cf. Michael P. Foley, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 148-49.
11.The medievals called this the jejunium exultationis—the fast of exultation.
12.There are relevant readings from the Old Testament and from the Letter to the Hebrews that are used throughout the year in both the 1962 and 1970 lectionaries, but the September Embertide is the only time that these readings are used in order to coincide with the autumn festivals of Sukkot and Yom Kippur. Again we see the principle of fulfillment rather than abolition liturgically enacted.
13.Cf. The Golden Legend, Volume 1, “The Ember Days.”
14.In the Middle Ages, the Ember days were kept as holydays of obligation, with rest from work and special acts of charity for the poor, such as feeding and bathing them. There was also an old superstition that the souls in Purgatory were temporarily released from their plight in order to thank their relatives for their prayers and beg for more.
15.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
16.Response to the query “How should rogation days and ember days be celebrated?” (http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=5932, retrieved 2/20/08).
17.Cf. The Prince, ch. 25.
18.“Spain to Recognize Rights of Apes?” Catholic World News, 6/27/08, http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=59360.
19.This is not a parody. Cf. Peter Montague, “The Four Horsemen—Part 1,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly, #471, 12/7/95 (http://www.ejnet.org/rachel/r
September 18, 20, and 21 (the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after September 14 – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) and the days are marked by fasting, abstinence, prayer and Masses particular for the day.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Genesis 8:22 “All the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, night and day, shall not cease.”

Michaelmas
Embertide

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, are known as “Michaelmas Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of Autumn (September, October, November). The Lessons focus on the Old Covenant’s Day of Atonement and the fast of the seventh month, but start off with this prophecy from Amos 9:13-15:

Behold the days come, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains shall dop sweetness, and every hill shall be tilled. And I will bring back the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the abandoned cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them; and shall make gardens and eat the fruits of them; and I will plant them upon their land: and I will no more pluck them out of their land which I have given them; saith the Lord thy God.

Like all Embertides but Whit Embertide, the Lessons end with the story of the three boys in the fiery furnace, as told by Daniel.

The Gospel readings recount how Jesus exorcised demons from a possessed boy and tells the disciples about fasting to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 9:16-28), forgave Mary Magdalen (Luke 7:36-50), and healed the woman on the sabbath after telling the parable of the fig tree (Luke 13:6-17).

The Natural Season

Psalm 144:15-16
“The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord:
and thou givest them meat in due season.
Thou openest thy hand,
and fillest with blessing every living creature.

Oh, delicious Autumn! Trees lavish with spice colors… the earthy smell of their leaves burning in hypnotic flames… the rich colors of grapes, apples, pumpkin, and squash, of gold and scarlet flowers… the invigorating air inviting warm sweaters… The season is marked by a bounty that lends itself well to some wonderful holidays, especially Martinmas and the secular American and Canadian Thanksgivings (the fourth Thursday in November and October 2, respectively). This delightful poem, written in an old Hoosier dialect by James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916), conveys the feeling of Autumn so well:

When the Frost is on the Pumpkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bare-headed, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pitcur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries –kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below — the clover overhead!
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is getherd, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ‘s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage, too!
I don’t know how to tell it — but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me
I’d want to ‘commondate ‘em — all the whole-indurin’ flock —
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

In the midst of this beautiful time, things wizen and seem to begin to die. The air grows cooler, the earth stiffens, the trees tire of holding their leaves. And during this waning we remember our dead — on 1 November, the victorious dead (All Saints, or All Hallows Day), and on 2 November, the dead being purified (All Souls Day). These Days of the Dead begin with the eve of All Hallows, or “Hallowe’en,” an unofficial evening of remembering the frightening fate of the damned and how we can avoid it. There can’t be a more appropriate time for such a night than Autumn, when foggy mists are likely, and bonfires helpful.
Thank you once again, to Fisheaters

Note: Fasting and Abstinence:

The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on an Ember Friday.)

As always, such fasting and abstinence has a greater purpose. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, through these activities, and through prayer, we use the Ember Days to “thank God for the gifts of nature, . . . teach men to make use of them in moderation, and . . . assist the needy.”

With the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, the Vatican left the celebration of Ember Days up to the discretion of each national conference of bishops. They’re commonly celebrated in Europe, particularly in rural areas.

In the United States, the bishops’ conference has decided not to celebrate them, but individual Catholics can and many traditional Catholics still do… (About.com Catholicism)

Since Ember Days were mandatory from the days of Pre-Vatican II, but are now finally seeing a resurgence, (THANK YOU LORD!) we must state that this is NOT MANDATORY according to the new guidelines but all reprinted here is from the Traditional Calendar of the 1962 Missal. We, however, are still scratching our heads at ACBlog as to the “wisdom” behind the decision to leave these practices up to the local Bishops Conferences. We’re just sayin’…

From yet another great Traditional Blog, “Salve Regina” we have the Rules for Fasting from the Traditional Calendar…

Pre Vatican II Fasting Guidelines
I often see people asking about the pre Vatican II fasting guidelines 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.”


September 15th, The Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary

15 September 2014

(Roman Breviary)

O God, at whose passion, as foretold by Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of glorious Mary, Virgin and Mother: grant, in Thy mercy, that we who honor the memory of her sorrows may gain the happy fruit of Thy passion: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

Amen.


The Church twice commemorates the sorrows of its heavenly Mother. The Friday of Passion week, since the 15th century, has also been dedicated by the universal Church to Her Compassion. Why is this so? To understand this double liturgy, we must know that Mary is also the Mother of the Mystical Body. The present feast was instituted by Pius VII after his return from his captivity and exile, which lasted from 1809 to 1814. Christ no longer suffers, and for Our Lady also, all suffering as we understand it has ceased. Nonetheless, the prophet Jeremias in his Lamentations, asks: “To whom shall You be compared, O Virgin? Your affliction is like the ocean.”

Mary’s great sorrows began at the prediction of Simeon that a sword would transpierce Her heart. Soon afterwards, She was obliged to flee with the newborn Infant, already object of a fatal search. She lost Him in the temple for three inexpressibly painful days; She met Him on the road to Calvary, and the sight indeed pierced Her heart. She saw Him die, heard His final cry, and witnessed the opening of His side with the effusion of His last drops of blood, mingled with water; She received in Her arms the inert body of the most beautiful of the sons of men. Finally, She was obliged to depose Him in a tomb, leave Him there and return with Her adopted son, John, to a deicidal Jerusalem.

The Queen of Martyrs has never ceased to encourage Her children on earth to bear their own crosses, which complement the Passion of Christ. He suffered first the ordinary contradictions of life; for three years He was taunted and regarded as a menace by those who should have recognized Him and His mission. He knew hunger, cold and fatigue; He slept so heavily in a boat amid a tempest, that we can only suppose He was exhausted. He knew what it was to be abandoned in need and to lose, to the empire of various passions, followers He had called His. Christ is our forerunner in all human sorrows and difficulties. Mary, as His Mother, offered to God with Him all the afflictions of His earthly life, and She continues to offer those of the Church, for its sanctification, for the souls in Purgatory and the salvation of souls.

Sermon on Our Lady of Sorrows
Fr. Francis Cuthbert Doyle, 1896

I. One of the Wise Man’s most pathetic exhortations is, that a son should never forget the travailing and the sorrows of his mother. In order, therefore, that we may bear in mind the bitter anguish which lacerated our Lady’s heart, we must reflect today upon that scene of woe in which her seven-fold sorrow culminated, in which the waters rose up around her, and closed over her head in a sea of anguish, such as never before flooded the heart of mortal man.

Jesus hung on the Cross, the outcast of His nation–a mark at which the vile rabble, and their still viler leaders, hurled their bitter taunts, and aimed their clumsy scorn. A galling wreath of thorns circled His head; His eyes were filled with blood; His hands and feet nailed tightly down to the cruel wood. The wickedness of a sinful world pressed heavily upon Him, and its ponderous weight well-nigh crushed Him Who upholds the universe. During His death agony, men scoffed and jeered at Him, taunting Him with impotence, and blaspheming Him most vilely; and all the while there stood by that death-bed of shame, Mary His Mother! He was Her Child; her blood flowed in His veins; her heart beat in unison with His. Those sacred features, now so sadly bruised and disfigured, were the exact counterpart of her own. That head, now crowned with thorns, had often nestled in her bosom. That tongue which now and then spoke through the darkness, had been taught by her to lisp its first accents. Between Him and her there had passed all that interchange of fond affection and tender love which takes place between a mother and the child of her bosom. Add to this the intense love with which she loved Him as her God, and we may truly say, there never could be love between mortal man and God greater than the love which existed between Jesus and Mary.

If, then, the natural effect of love is union, and if the greater the love the closer the union, we may form some idea of the agony which the sufferings of Jesus caused her heart. The thorns which made His temples throb with acute pain were as a circle of fire upon her brow. The nails which pierced His hands and feet fastened her also to His Cross. The foul language, the revilings, the scoffings, the blasphemies uttered against Him, were as a hail of fire upon her heart. Verily she was filled with His reproaches, and the revilings of them that reproached Him fell upon her. To what shall we compare her, or to what shall we liken the sorrow of this Virgin daughter of Sion? It is great as the sea. Who shall heal it? ‘O! all you that pass by the way, attend and see if there be sorrow like unto her sorrow.’

II. As we look at that ocean of sorrow, the bitter waters of which inundate her soul, we are forced to acknowledge that human words are but faint and inadequate symbols by which to indicate its depth and its breadth. Yet, though we may not be able to do this, we may at least turn our eyes with compassionate tenderness upon her, as she stands beneath the Cross, to see how she bears herself under its crushing weight, that so we also may learn how to suffer.

There are some to whom misfortune deals a blow so terrific that they are stunned and dazed by it. The insensibility which its violence produces, shields them from feeling the poignancy of the pain. It was not so with Mary. Though the magnitude of her grief surpassed all other human sorrows, yet she did not allow it so to master her as to make her swoon away, and thus be unable to feel the keenness of the sword which wounded and tortured her. Her grief, being calm and self-possessed, was on that very account all the more terrible, all the more bitter, because her mind fully adverted to all the circumstances which aggravated and brought it home more closely to her heart. Not one circumstance of those three cruel hours, during which the Saviour of the world slowly died before her eyes upon His Cross of shame, escaped her notice. Her chalice was indeed a deep and bitter one, but she drained it to the very dregs. She stood beneath that Cross!

Yet she was neither hard nor insensible. She sighed and wept, and would not be comforted; but her grief did not overwhelm her. Strong men had fled away from that spectacle. Some had turned away their eyes, that they might not witness the terrible anguish which that mutilated Victim endured. But Mary stood by Him to the end, and her tearful eyes looked up into His pallid face as it sank in death upon His breast.

O broken-hearted Mother! by the grief which then wrung thy maternal heart, by the fidelity which made thee stand by the Cross of Jesus, and bravely associate thyself with Him in His hour of ignominy and of pain, pray for us to God, that our hearts may be torn with true contrition for our sins. Mayest thou stand by us in the last hour of our life, and give us courage to pass through the portals of death to the feet of Our Judge.

III. From the sorrows of the most holy Mother of God, learn that all sorrow is the effect of sin. The first tears that ever dropped from the eyes of man were wrung from him by the bitter loss which he sustained on account of sin; and every tear that has since fallen, and gone to swell the tide of human woe, has had its origin in sin. Mary had never been guilty of sin. But sin seized upon and murdered her only Child; and therefore sin made her weep, we might almost say, tears of blood, upon the place dyed with the blood which she had given to Jesus Christ.

Look back at your life, and call to mind the numberless times in which you have sinned against your Lord. Each of these sins had its share in causing Mary’s bitter tears. They helped to strike down that thorny wreath upon the brow of Jesus; to wield the cruel scourge; to dig through the delicate hands and feet; to murder Him upon the Cross. They gave nerve to the executioner’s arm, and malice to the hypocritical Scribe, and words of scorn to the rabble that screamed and yelled around the Cross.

When, therefore, you contemplate the sorrows of our dearest Mother, fall upon your knees before her, look up into the face of your Saviour, smite your breast, ask pardon for having been the cause of His and of her sufferings; and promise that by resisting evil for the future, and by living a holy life, you will endeavour to blot out the evil of the past. If the merciful but just hand of God should chastise you for your sins by sending you sorrow to wring your heart with anguish, and to draw bitter tears from your eyes–Oh! lift up those eyes to the Cross on which Jesus hangs, beneath which Mary stands, and learn patiently to bear the trial. Weep with her over the work which your hands have done. Those tears are a sweet balsam to the wounds of Jesus; they are a consolation to the heart of His Mother; they are a health-giving fountain which will wash away the filth of sin, ‘and heal the stroke of its wound.’


Hymn: Our Lady’s Compassion–The Foot of the Cross

John xix. 26: “He saith to His Mother: Woman, behold thy son.
After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother.”

Called to my dying Saviour’s feet,
What patron of His Cross so meet
As Thou, whom thence He deigned to greet,
My Mother!

Sorrow with sorrow loves to dwell,
Mourners their tale to mourners tell;
Who loves the Cross should love thee well,
My Mother!

Who loves the Cross from sin will flee,
And seek on Calvary to be
With Magdalene, and John and thee,
My Mother!

How couldst thou see thy Son Divine,
His head in agony incline?
Was ever anguish like to thine,
My Mother!

How couldst thou hear in patient mood
The fierce and frantic multitude,
Fling on His ear its taunting rude,
My Mother!

And think how once thine arms around
His infant form in rapture wound,
When all thy hopes with bliss were crowned,
My Mother!

Ah! couldst thou fain forget the past,
Nor with its memories contrast
This woe–the worst, but not the last,
My Mother!

The crib where first He drew His breath,
The deep repose of Nazareth,
Oh! how unlike this bitter death,
My Mother!

Not from soft couch or gorgeous throne,
But from His bed of suffering lone,
Did Jesus give thee to His own,
My Mother!

When wave on wave of sorrow rolled,
‘Twas then our loving Lord consoled
His mourning son, and said, “Behold
Thy Mother!”

 

http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com


Exaltation of the Holy Cross – In Exaltatione Sanctae crucis – Missa ‘Nos Autem Gloriari’- Livestream Mass & Propers 10:30am EST

14 September 2014

exaltation of the holy cross

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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 Palm Sunday Mass at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, Sarasota, Florida: Please click HERE

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Exaltation of the Holy Cross
In Exaltatione Sanctae crucis
Missa ‘Nos Autem Gloriari’
2nd Class
Red
[Gloria & Creed; Preface of the Holy Cross; (No Commemoration of the 14th Sunday after Pentecost); 2nd Vespers of the Holy Cross]

Chosroes, king of Persia, carried away the relic of the True Cross to Persia; but Heraclius, ascending to the throne of Judea, defeated Chosroes and himself carried the Cross to the Basilica on Calvary A.D. 629.

INTROIT ¤ Gal. 6. 14
Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Iesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra: per quem salvati, et liberati sumus. — Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Nos autem gloriari . . . But it behooves us to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection: by whom we are saved, and delivered. — (Ps. 66. 2). May God have mercy on us and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — But it behooves us to glory . . .

COLLECT
Deus, qui nos hodierna die Exaltationis sanctae Crucis annua solemnitate laetificas: praesta quaesumus; ut cuius mysterium in terra cognovimus, eius redemptionis praemia in caelo mereamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, filium tuum . . . O God, Who on this day dost gladden us by the yearly feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who on earth, acknowledge the Mystery of Redemption wrought upon it, may be found worthy to enjoy the rewards of that same Redemption in heaven. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

EPISTLE ¤ Phil. 2. 5-11
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.
Lectio Epistolae beati Paulo Apostoli ad Philippenses.
[The triumph of the Redeemer of the world, Our Lord Jesus Christ, must be preceded by "His humiliation unto death, even the death of the cross."]

Fratres: Hoc enim sentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Iesu: qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est esse se aequalem Deo: sed semetipsum exinanivit formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo. Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum: et donavit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen: [Here all genuflect.] ut in nomine Iesu omne genu flectatur celestium, terrestrium, et infernorum: et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Iesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris. Brethren, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name which is above all names: [Here all genuflect.] that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

GRADUAL ¤ Phil. 2. 8, 9
Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. V.: Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi Nomen, quod est super omne nomen.
Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulcea ferens pondera: quae sola fuisti digna sustinere Regem coelorum, et Dominum. Alleluia. Christ became obedient for us unto death: even the death of the cross. V.: Wherefore God also hath exalted Him, and hath given a Name which is above every name.
Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the load that hangs on thee: thou only wast worthy to bear up the King and Lord of heaven. Alleluia.

GOSPEL ¤ John 12. 31-36
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
† Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Ioannum.
[The Son of Man must be lifted up.]

In illo tempore: Dixit Iesus turbis Iudaeorum: Nunc iudicium est mundi: nunc princeps huius mundi eiicietur foras. Et ego si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. (Hoc autem dicebat, significans qua morte esset moriturus.) Respondit ei turba: Nos audivimus ex lege, quia Christus manet in aeternum: et quomodo tu dicis: Oportet exaltari Filium hominis? quis est iste Filius hominis? Dixit ergo eis Iesus: Adhuc modicum lumen in vobis est. Ambulate dum lucem habetis, ut non vos tenebrae comprehendant; et qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit quo vadat. Dum lucem habetis, credite in lucem, ut filii lucis sitis. At that time: Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews, Now is the judgement of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself. (Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.) The multitude answered Him, We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is the Son of Man? Jesus therefore said to them, Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light; that you may be the children of light.

OFFERTORY
Protege, Domine, plebem tuam per signum sanctae Crucis, ab insidiis inimicorum omnium: ut tibi gratam exhibeamus servitutem, et acceptabile fiat sacrificium nostrum. Alleluia. By the sign of the holy Cross, O Lord, protect Thy people from the wiles of all our enemies that we may be able to do Thee worthy service, and that our sacrifice may be well-pleasing in Thy sight. Alleluia.

SECRET
Iesu Christi Domini nostri corpore et sanguine saginandi, per quem Crucis est sanctificatum vexillum: quaesumus Domine Deus noster; ut, sicut illud adorare meruimus, ita perenniter eius gloriae salutaris potiamur effectu. Per eumdem Dominum . . . We who are about to feed on the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom the banner of the holy Cross was sanctified, beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that since we have been found worthy to venerate that same holy sign, it may be ours to enjoy forevermore the salvation secured for us by its triumph. Though the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE
Preface of the Holy Cross

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui salutem humani generis in ligno crucis constituisti: ut, unde mors oriebatur, inde vita resurgeret: et qui in ligno vincebat, in ligno quoque vinceretur, 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 is 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 didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross; that whence death came, thence also life might arise again, and that he, who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: 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
Per signum Crucis de inimicis nostris libera nos, Deus noster. By the sign of the Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O Thou our God.

POSTCOMMUNION
Adesto nobis, Domine Deus noster, et quos sanctae Crucis laetari facis honore, eius quoque perpetuis defende subsidiis. Per Dominum nostrum . . . Be present with us, O Lord our God, and do Thou, who makest us to rejoice in honor of the holy Cross, defend us evermore by its help. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .


Exaltation of the Holy Cross: Devotions and Writings

13 September 2014

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Cross, whereon the Lamb of God was offered for the sins of the world,
Deliver and save us.

Hope of Christians,
Save us, O Holy Cross*

Pledge of the resurrection from the dead,*
Shelter of persecuted innocence,*
Guide of the blind,*
Way of those who have gone astray,*
Staff of the lame,*
Consolation of the poor,*
Restraint of the powerful,*
Destruction of the proud,*
Refuge of sinners,*
Trophy of victory over hell,*
Terror of demons,*
Mistress of youth,*
Succor of the distressed,*
Hope of the hopeless,*
Star of the mariner,*
Harbor of the wrecked,*
Rampart of the besieged,*
Father of orphans,*
Defense of widows,*
Counsel of the just,*
Judge of the wicked,*
Rest of the afflicted,*
Safeguard of childhood,*
Strength of manhood,*
Last hope of the aged,*
Light of those who sit in darkness,*
Splendor of kings,*
Civilizer of the world,*
Buckler impenetrable,*
Wisdom of the foolish,*
Liberty of slaves,*
Knowledge of the ignorant,*
Sure rule of life,*
Heralded by prophets,*
Preached by apostles,*
Glory of martyrs,*
Study of anchorites,*
Chastity of virgins,*
Joy of priests,*
Foundation of the Church,*
Salvation of the world,*
Destruction of idolatry,*
Stumbling-block of the Jews,*
Condemnation of the ungodly,*
Support of the weak,*
Medicine of the sick,*
Health of the leprous,*
Strength of the paralytic,*
Bread of the hungry,*
Fountain of those that thirst,*
Clothing of the naked,*

Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who wast offered on the cross for the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

V. We adore the, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because through Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Let us Pray:

O God, Who, for the redemption of the world, wast pleased to be born in a stable, and to die upon a cross; O Lord Jesus Christ, by Thy holy Sufferings, which we, Thy unworthy servants, devoutly call to mind, by Thy holy Cross, and by Thy Death, deliver us from the pains of hell, and vouchsafe to conduct us whither thou didst conduct the thief who was crucified with Thee. Who livest and reignest eternally in heaven. Amen.

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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

This festival was instituted in commemoration of the day on which the holy Cross of Christ, was, with great solemnities, brought back to Jerusalem. Chosroes, king of Persia, had invaded Syria with a powerful army, and had conquered Jerusalem, the capital. He caused the massacre of eighty thousand men, and also took many prisoners away with him, among whom was the Patriarch Zachary. But more painful than all this to the Christians was, that he carried away the holy, Cross of our Saviour, which, after great pains, had been discovered by the holy empress, St. Helena. The pagan king carried it with him to Persia, adorned it magnificently with pearls and precious stones, and placed it upon the top of his royal throne of pure gold. Thus was the holy Cross held in higher honor by the heathen king, than Martin Luther would have manifested; for, in one of his sermons, he says of it: “If a piece of the holy Cross were given to me and I had it in my hand, I would soon put it where the sun would never shine on it.”

Heraclius, the pious emperor, was greatly distressed at this misfortune, and as he had not an army sufficiently large to meet so powerful an enemy, he made propositions for peace. Chosroes, inflated by many victories, refused at first to listen to the emperor’s proposal, but at length consented, on condition that Heraclius should forsake the faith of Christ and worship the Sun, the god of the Persians. Indignant at so wicked a request, the emperor, seeing that it was a question of religion, concerning the honor of the Most High, broke off all negotiation with his impious enemy. Taking refuge in prayer, he assembled all the Christian soldiers of his dominions, and commanded all his subjects to appease the wrath of the Almighty, and ask for His assistance, by fasting, praying, giving alms and other good works. He himself gave them the example. After this, he went courageously, with his comparatively small army, to meet the haughty Chosroes, having given strict orders that his soldiers, besides abstaining from other vices, should avoid all plundering and blaspheming, that they might prove themselves worthy of the divine assistance.

Taking a crucifix in his hand, he animated his soldiers by pointing towards it, saying they should consider for whose honor they were fighting, and that there was nothing more glorious than to meet death for the honor of God and His holy religion. Thus strengthened, the Christian army marched against the enemy. Three times were they attacked by three divisions of the Persian army, each one led by an experienced general; and three times they repulsed the enemy, so that Chosroes himself had at last to flee. His eldest son, Siroes, whom he had excluded from the succession to the throne, seized the opportunity, and not only assassinated his own father, but also his brother, Medarses, who had been chosen by Chosroes as his associate and successor. To secure the crown which he had thus forcibly seized, Siroes offered peace to Heraclius, restored to him the conquered provinces, and also sent back the holy Cross, the patriarch Zachary, and all the other prisoners of war. Heraclius, in great joy, hastened with the priceless wood to Jerusalem, to offer due thanks to the Almighty for the victory, and to restore the holy Cross, which the Persians had kept in their possession during fourteen years, to its former place.

All the inhabitants of the city, the clergy and laity, came to meet the pious emperor. The latter had resolved to carry the Cross to Mount Calvary, to the church fitted up for its reception. A solemn procession was formed, in which the Patriarch, the courtiers and an immense multitude of people took part. The clergy preceded, and the emperor, arrayed in sumptuous robes of state, carried the holy Cross upon his shoulder. Having thus passed through the city, they came to the gate that leads to Calvary, when suddenly the emperor stood still and could not move from the spot. At this miracle, all became frightened, not knowing what to think of it. Only to St. Zachary did God reveal the truth. Turning to the emperor the patriarch said: “Christ was not arrayed in splendor when He bore His Cross through this gate. His brow was not adorned with a golden crown, but with one made of thorns. Perhaps, O emperor, your magnificent robe is the cause of your detention.”

The pious Heraclius humbly gave ear to the words of the patriarch, divested himself of his imperial purple, and put on poor apparel, he took the crown from his head and the shoes from his feet. Having done this, the sacred treasure was again laid on his shoulder: when, behold! nothing detained him, and he carried it to the place of its destination. The holy patriarch then deposited the Cross in its former place, and duly venerated it with all who were present. God manifested how much He was pleased with the honor they had paid to the holy Cross of Christ, by many miracles wrought on the same day. A dead man was restored to life by being touched by the sacred wood; four paralytic persons obtained the use of their limbs; fifteen who were blind received sight; many sick recovered their health; and several possessed were freed from the devil by devoutly touching it.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

I. The Cross on which Christ had died was raised and greatly honored by all the faithful. I suppose that if you possessed a particle of the true Cross, you would greatly honor and cherish it. But why do you not love and honor that cross, those trials which God sends you? They are, in a spiritual sense, a particle of the Cross of Christ, which will be most beneficial to you, if you bear it patiently. Christ, the Lord, called His crucifixion an exaltation, saying: “The Son of Man must be exalted; “because by it He was exalted in heaven and on earth, as He bore His sufferings and His death out of love for His heavenly Father and for the salvation of men. You also will be exalted in heaven, if, in carrying your cross, you follow the example of Christ. Many carry their crosses, like the thief on the left of Christ, with murmuring and impatience, others, like the one on His right, with patience and resignation, knowing that they deserve them. Jesus carried His Cross not only with patience, but, according to the words of the Apostle, with joy, although He was innocent. With whom do you carry yours? With whom will you carry it in future? If you carry it with the first, you will not be exalted, but precipitated into the depth of hell.

Devotions to the Holy Cross

 

By the sign of the holy Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O our God.
(Indulgence of 3 years)

The Cross is my sure salvation.
The Cross it is that I worship evermore.
The Cross of our Lord is with me.
The Cross is my refuge.

Saint Thomas Aquinas
(Indulgence of 300 days)

“Take Up Thy Cross”

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me.”

Charge not thyself with the weight of a year,
Child of the Master, faithful and dear;
Choose not the cross for the coming week,
For that is more than He bids thee seek.

Bend not thine arms for tomorrow’s load;
Thou may’st leave that to thy gracious God.
Daily only He said to thee,
“Take up thy cross and follow Me.”

 

The Cross Our Badge

We Catholics have a great share in this Exaltation of the Cross. It is our special trust, our badge, our glory. Like the first Christians, it is ours to honor, to use, to be known by. Those who have fallen from the true faith have laid it aside as childish and not fit for the mature. But the Gospel was preached to the childlike, and the Kingdom of Heaven reserved for them. So we will keep our childlike ways, and loyally use the sacred sign. We will make it with reverence, with confidence, with joy. And the day will come when we who are signed with the Sign of the Cross upon our foreheads will go forth to meet our Redeemer, and He will acknowledge us to be His own. Like Constantine, by that sign we shall conquer.

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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
from the Liturgical Year, 1903

“Through thee the precious Cross is honoured and worshipped throughout the world (Cyrill, Alex. Hom. iv. Ephesi habits.).” Thus did St. Cyril of Alexandria apostrophize our Lady on the morrow of that great day, which saw her divine maternity vindicated at Ephesus. Eternal Wisdom has willed that the Octave of Mary’s birth should he honoured by the celebration of this Feast of the triumph of the holy Cross. The Cross indeed is the standard of God’s armies, whereof Mary is the Queen; it is by the Cross that she crushes the serpent’s head, and wins so many victories over error, and over the enemies of the Christian name.

By this sign thou shalt conquer. Satan had been suffered to try his strength against the Church by persecution and tortures; but his time was drawing to an end. By the edict of Sardica, which emancipated the Christians, Galerius, when about to die, acknowledged the powerlessness of hell. Now was the time for Christ to take the offensive, and for his Cross to prevail. Towards the close of the year 311, a Roman army lay at the foot of the Alps, preparing to pass from Gaul into Italy. Constantine, its commander, thought only of revenging himself for an injury received from Maxentius, his political rival; but his soldiers, as unsuspecting as their chief, already belonged henceforward to the Lord of hosts. The Son of the Most High, having become, as Son of Mary, king of this world, was about to reveal himself to his first lieutenant, and, at the same time, to discover to his first army the standard that was to go before it. Above the legions, in a cloudless sky, the Cross, proscribed for three long centuries, suddenly shone forth; all eyes beheld it, making the Western sun, as it were, its footstool, and surrounded with these words in characters of fire: IN HOC VINCE : by this be thou conqueror! A few months later, 27th October 312, all the idols of Rome stood aghast to behold, approaching along the Flaminian Way, beyond the Bridge Milvius, the Labarum with its sacred monogram, now become the standard of the imperial armies. On the morrow was fought the decisive battle, which opened the gates of the Eternal City to Christ, the only God, the everlasting King.

“Hail, O Cross, formidable to all enemies, bulwark of the Church, strength of princes; hail in thy triumph! The sacred Wood still lay hidden in the earth, yet it appeared in the heavens announcing victory; and an emperor, become Christian, raised it up from the bowels of the earth (Ap. Graec. Menae. in profesto Exaltationis).” Thus sang the Greek Church yesterday, in preparation for the joys of today; for the East, which has not our peculiar Feast of the 3rd of May, celebrates on this one solemnity both the overthrow of idolatry by the sign of salvation revealed to Constantine and his army, and the discovery of the holy Cross a few years later in the cistern of Golgotha.

But another celebration, the memory of which is fixed by the Menology on the 13th September, was added in the year 335 to the happy recollections of this day; namely, the dedication of the basilicas raised by Constantine on Mount Calvary and over the holy Sepulchre, after the precious discoveries made by his mother St. Helena. In the very same century that witnessed all these events, a pious pilgrim, thought to be St. Silvia, sister of Rufinus the minister of Theodosius and Arcadius, attested that the anniversary of this dedication was celebrated with the same solemnity as Easter and the Epiphany. There was an immense concourse of Bishops, clerics, monks, and seculars of both sexes, from every province ; and the reason, she says, is that the Cross was found on this day; which motive had led to the choice of the same day for the primitive consecration, so that the two joys might be united in one.

Through not being aware of the nearness of the dedication of the Anastasia, or Church of the Resurrection, to the feast of the holy Cross, many have misunderstood the discourse pronounced on this feast by Sophronius, the holy patriarch of Jerusalem. “It is the feast of the Cross; who would not exult? It is the triumph of the Resurrection; who would not be full of joy? Formerly, the Cross led to the Resurreotion; now it is the Resurreotion that introduces us to the Cross. Resurrection and Cross: trophies of our salvation (Sophron. in Exaltat. venerandae Crucis)!” And the Pontiff then developed the instructions resulting from this connection.

It appears to have been about the same time that the West also began to unite in a certain manner these two great mysteries; leaving to the 14th September the other memories of the Holy Cross, the Latin Churches introduced into Paschal Time a special feast of the finding of the Wood of Redemption. In compensation, the present solemnity acquired a new lustre to its character of triumph by the contemporaneous events which, as we shall see, form the principal subject of the historical Legend in the Roman Liturgy.

About the end of the reign of the Emperor Phocas, Chosroes king of the Persians invaded Egypt and Africa. He then took possession of Jerusalem; and after massacring there many thousand Christians, he carried away into Persia the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which Helena had placed upon Mount Calvary. Phocas was succeeded in the empire by Heraclius; who, after enduring many losses and misfortunes in the course of the war, sued for peace, but was unable to obtain it even upon disadvantageous terms, so elated was Chosroes by his victories. In this perilous situation he applied himself to prayer and fasting, and earnestly implored God’s assistance. Then, admonished from heaven, he raised an army, marched against the enemy, and defeated three of Chosroes’ generals with their armies.

Subdued by these disasters Chosroes took to flight; and, when about to cross the river Tigris, named his son Medarses his associate in the kingdom. But his eldest son Siroes, bitterly resenting this insult, plotted the murder of his father and brother. He soon afterwards overtook them in flight, and put them both to death. Siroes then had himself recognized as king by Heraclius, on certain conditions, the first of which was to restore the Cross of our Lord. Thus, fourteen years after it had fallen into the hands of the Persians, the Cross was recovered; and on his return to Jerusalem, Heraclius, with great pomp, bore it back on his own shoulders to the mountain whither our Saviour had carried it.

This event was signalized by a remarkable miracle. Heraclius, attired as he was in robes adorned with gold and precious stones, was forced to stand still at the gate which led to Mount Calvary. The more he endeavored to advance, the more he seemed fixed to the spot. Heraclius himself and all the people were astounded; but Zacharias, the bishop of Jerusalem said: Consider, O emperor, how little thou imitatest the poverty and humility of Jesus Christ, by carrying the Cross clad in triumphal robes. Heraclius thereupon laid aside his magnificent apparel, and barefoot, clothed in mean attire he easily completed the rest of the way, and replaced the Cross in the same place on Mount Calvary, whence it had been carried off by Persians. From this event, the feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross, which was celebrated yearly on this day, gained fresh lustre, in memory of the Cross being replaced by Heraclius on the spot where it had first been set up for our Saviour.

Prayer:

The victory thus chronicled in the sacred books of the Church, was not, O Cross, thy last triumph; nor were the Persians thy latest enemies. At the very time of the defeat of these fire-worshippers, the prince of darkness was raising up a new standard, the Crescent. By the permission of God, whose ensign thou art, and who, having come on earth to struggle like us, flees not, before any foe, Islam also was about to try its strength against thee: a twofold power, the sword and the seduction of the passions. But here again, alike in the secret combats between the soul and Satan, as in the great battles recorded in history, the final success was due to the weakness and folly of Calvary.

Thou, O Cross, wert the rallying-standard of all Europe in those sacred expeditions which borrowed from thee their beautiful title of Crusades, and which exalted the Christian name in the East. While on the one hand thou wert thus warding off degradation and ruin, on the other thou wert preparing the conquest of new continents; so that it is by thee that our West remains at the head of nations. Through thee, the warriors in those glorious campaigns are inscribed on the first pages of the golden book of nobility. And now the new orders of chivalry, which claim to hold among their ranks the elite of the human race, look upon thee as the highest mark of merit and honour. It is the continuation of today’s mystery, the exaltation, even in our times of decadence, of the holy Cross, which in past ages was the standard of the legions, and glittered on the diadems of emperors and kings.

It is true, men have appeared in France, who have made it their aim to overthrow the sacred sign, wheresoever our fathers had honoured it. This invasion of the servants of Pilate into the country of the Crusaders was inexplicable, until it was discovered that they were in Jewish pay. These, as St Leo says of the Jews in today’s Office, see in the instrument of salvation nothing but their own crime (Homily of the 3rd Nocturn ex Leon. Serm. viii de Passione); and their guilty conscience makes them hire, to pull down the holy Cross, the very men whom they formerly paid to set it up. The coalition of such enemies is but one more homage to thee! O adorable Cross, our glory and our love here on earth, save us on the day when thou shalt appear in the heavens, when the Son of Man, seated in his majesty, is to judge the world!

Source: http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com


My Day in NYC – 9/11/2001 via Douglas Turnbull (@TurnbullDJTX)

11 September 2014

dougs testimony picGood friend and baby brother in Christ, Douglas Turnbull was working in NYC on September 11, 2001. Here is a video of his experience that day.
Please watch this as it gives a testimony to someone who was there and witnessed the events. It could have been you It could have been me. Never forget.


@ManwithBlackHat Reflects On The Morning Of 9/11

11 September 2014

Reprinted from 9/11/11 from David Alexander
at his blog, “Man with Black Hat”

Last Sunday, a lead editorial in the Washington Post lamented the attention given to what happened in New York City on September 11, 2001, at the expense of the tragic scene on the same day in Washington, as a jet plane crashed into the west wall of the Pentagon, claiming 184 victims.

In history books, documentaries and news accounts and across popular culture, the shift toward an almost exclusive focus on the New York part of the 9/11 story has been steady and relentless. Amid hundreds of hours of programming in this week’s many television tributes, there are only nominal mentions of the Pentagon attack.
………………………………………………………..

The rest of David’s story is HERE, where you can read about the morning of 9/11. I called him at work to alert him about the plane headed his way. We all know about that plane which was headed for the area of the White House. It wound up in a field in PA because of a group of American heroes. Not only was the White House spared, but my friend David was able to return home in one piece that night. Deo Gratias.

Thank you,

Sofia


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