This feast was celebrated in the East as early as the third century and it spread to the West towards the end of the fourth century. The word “Epiphany” means “manifestation.” As at Christmas it is the mystery of a God Who makes Himself visible, but it is no longer only to the Jews that He shows Himself: “It is to the Gentiles on this day that God reveals His Son” (Collect). And Isaias in a grand vision perceives the Church under the figure of Jerusalem, where “the kings and the nations abound, the multitude who inhabit the borders of the sea and the strength of the Gentiles. They come from afar with their numerous caravans, singing the praises Of the Lord and bringing Him gold and frankincense” (Epistle) “The kings of the earth shall adore God, and all nations shall serve Him “‘(Offertory).
While at Christmas we extolled the union of the divinity with the humanity of Christ, so the Epiphany celebrates the mystic union of the souls of men with Jesus. The liturgy of this day commemorates a triple manifestation of the glory of Christ. To the worshipping Magi He appears as King of our hearts; in the Waters of the Jordan He is declared the Son of God, and at Cana He demonstrates His power over the elements. “Today the Church is united to her heavenly Spouse, for Christ has washed away her sins in the Jordan the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal nuptials, and the guests drink with joy the water changed into wine. Alleluia.”
At St. Peter’s, where are the relics of the Church’s first visible head, the liturgical celebration of the entry of the Gentiles into the Church takes place. “In the adoring Mass,” says Pope St. Leo the Great, “let us acknowledge the first-fruits of our own calling and faith; and let us commemorate with hearts full of joy the foundations of this our blessed hope. For from this moment we have begun to enter our Heavenly patrimony.”
Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
Historical Feast of Saints Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar,
INTROIT: Malachias 3: 1
Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus: et regnum in manu ejus, et potestas, et imperium. (Ps. 71: 2 ) Deus, judicium tuum regi da: et justitiam tuam Filio regis. V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Repeat Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus…
Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion. (Ps. 71: 2) Give to the king Thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s Son Thy justice. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Repeat Behold the Lord the Ruler is come…
Oremus. Deus, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum gentibus stella duce revelasti: concede propitious; ut, qui jam te ex fide cognovimus, usque ad contemplandam speciem tuae celsitudinis perducamur. Per eumdem Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
The Lord be with you. R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. O God, Who on this day, didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles by the guidance of a star: graciously grant, that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be led on even to contemplate the beauty of Thy Majesty. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
Forever and ever.
EPISTLE: Isaias 60: 1-6
Lectio Isaiae Prophetae. Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem: quia venit lumen tuum, et Gloria Domini super te orta est. Quia ecce tenebrae operient terram, et caligo populos: super te autem orietur Dominius, et Gloria ejus in te videbitur. Et ambulabunt gentes in lumine tuo, et reges in eplendore ortus tui. Leva in circuitui oculos tuos, et vide: omnes isti congregatisunt, venerunt tibi: filii tui de sunt, venerunt tibi: filii tui de longe venient, et filiae tuae de latere surgent. Tunc videbis, et afflues, mirabitur et dilatabitur cor tuum, quando conversa fuerit ad te multitude maris, fortitude gentium vemaris, fortudo gentium venerit tibi. Inundatio camelorum operiet te, dromedarii Madian et Epha: omnes de Saba venient aurum et thus deferentes et laudem Domino annuntiantes.
Lessons from Isaias the Prophet. Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising. Life up thy eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together: they are come to thee; thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of the sea shall be converted to thee, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, a=the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
GRADUAL: Isaias 60: 6, 1
Omnes de Saba venient, aurum et thus deferentes, et laudem Domino annuntiantes. V. Surge, et illuminare, Jerusalem: quia Gloria Domini super te orta est.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Matthew 2: 2) Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente, et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominium. Alleluia.
All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord. V. Arise and be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Matthew 2: 2) We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Matthew 2: 1-2
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum.
R.Gloria tibi, Domine
Cum natus esset Jesus in Bethlehem Juda in diebus Herodis Regis, ecce Magi ab Oriente venerunt Jerosolyman, dicentes: Ubi est qui Vidmus enim stellam ejus in Oriente, et venimus adorare eum. Aduiens autem Herodes rex, turbatus est, et omnis Jerosolyma cum illo. Et congregans omnes principes sacerdotum, et scribas populi, sciscitabatur ab eis, ubi Christus nasceretur. At illi dixerunt ei: In Bethlehem Judae. Sic enim scriptum est per Prophetam: Et tu Bethlehem terra Juda, nequaquam minima es in princibus Juda: ex populum meum Israel. tunc Herodes, clam vocatis Magis, diligenter didcit ab eis tempus stellae, quae apparauit eis: et mittens ilos in Bethlehem dixit: Ite, et interrogate cillgenter de puero et cum inventertis, reuntiate mihi, ut et ego audissent regem abierunt. Et ecce stella, quam viderant in Oriente, antecedebat eos, usque dum veniens, staret supra, ubi erat puer. Videntes autem stellam, gavisi sunt gaudio mango valde. Et intrantes domum, invenerunt puerum cum Maria matre ejus (here genuflect) et procidentes adoraverunt eum. Et apertis thesauris suis obtulerunt in munera, aurum, thus, et myrrham. Et response accepto in somis, ne redirent ad Herodem, per aliam viam ad Herodem, per aliam viam reverse sunt in regionem suam.
Laus tibi Christe.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
R. Glory to Thee, O Lord
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda in the days of King Herod, behold there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him. And king Herod hearing this was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the Prophet: And thou Bethlehem, the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them: and sending them into Bethlehem said: Go and diligently inquire after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again that I also may come and adore Him. Who having heard the king went their way. And behold the star, which they had seen in the East, went before them until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary His mother, (here genuflect) and falling down they adored Him. And opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.
Praise be to Christ
Return to the ORDINARY OF THE HOLY MASS THE CREDO
OFFERTORY: Psalms 71: 10-11
Reges Tharsis et insulae munera offerent: reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent: et adorabunt eum omnes reges terra; omnes gentes servient ei.
The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts: and all kings of the earth shall adore Him: all nations shall serve Him.
Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, dona propitious intuere: quibus non jam aurum, thus, et myrrha profetur; sed quod eisdem muneribus declaratur, immolator, et sumitur Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster. Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
Graciously look down, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon the gifts of Thy Church by which gold, frankincense and myrrh are no longer laid before Thee; but he is sacrificed and received who by those very gifts was signified, Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
Forever and ever.
PREFACE For the Epiphany of Our Lord
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
R.Habemus ad Dominum.
Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
R. Dignum et justum est.
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi simper, et ubique gratias agree: Domine sancta, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Quia cum Unigenitus tuus in substantia nostrae mortalivatis apparuit, nova nos immortalitatis suae luce reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia celestis exercitus, hymmum gloriae tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes. SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS…
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
R.We have lifted them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is meet and just.
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: for when Thine only-begotten Son was manifested in the substance of our mortal flesh, with the new light of His own Immortality He restored us. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
For the Epiphany of Our Lord
Communicantes, et diem sacratissimum celebrantes, quo Unigenitus tuus in tua tecum gloria coaeternus, in veritate carnis nostrae visibiliter corporalis apparuit; sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis ejusdem gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis ejusdem Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis ejusdem gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis ejusdem Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, Iacobi, Ioannis, Thomae, Iacobi, Philippi, Bartholomaei, Matthaei, Simonis, et Thaddei: Lini, Clet, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Ioannis et Pauli, Cosmae et Damianis: et omnium Sanctorum tuorum; quorum meritis, precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protentionis tuae muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Communicating, and keeping this most holy day on which Thine only-begotten Son, who is coeternal with Thee in Thy glory, showed Himself in true flesh and with a visible body like unto us; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION: Matthew 2: 2
Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente, et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.
We have seen His Star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Oremus. Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut quae solemni celebramus officio, purificatae mentis intelligentia consequadmur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus,
Per omnia saecula saeculorum.
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that by a purified mind we may attain to the understanding of that which we solemnly celebrate. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
For ever and ever.
There are seven Archangels in all, but only the three mentioned in Sacred Scripture are commemorated liturgically; St. Gabriel’s Feast is on 24 March, and St. Raphael’s Feast is on 24 October (the Guardian Angels are remembered on 2 October. The other archangels, whom we know from the Book of Enoch, are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeramiel.) Today, though, we honor St. Michael the Archangel, whose very name in Hebrew means, “Who is Like God.” St. Michael is described in the Golden Legend, written in A.D. 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, thus:
For like as Daniel witnesseth, he shall arise and address in the time of Antichrist against him, and shall stand as a defender and keeper for them that be chosen. [Daniel 10:13, 12]
He also fought with the dragon and his angels, and casting them out of heaven, had a great victory. [Apocalypse 12:7-9]
He also had a great plea and altercation with the devil for the body of Moses, because he would not show it; for the children of Israel should have adored and worshipped it. [Jude 1]
He received the souls of saints and brought them into the paradise of exultation and joy.
He was prince of the synagogue of the Jews, but now he is established of our Lord, prince of the church of Jesu Christ.
And as it is said, he made the plagues of Egypt, he departed and divided the Red Sea, he led the people of Israel by the desert and set them in the land of promission, he is had among the company of holy angels as bannerer. And bearing the sign of our Lord, he shall slay by the commandment of God, right puissantly, Antichrist that shall be in the Mount of Olivet. And dead men shall arise at the voice of this same archangel. And he shall show at the day of judgment the Cross, the spear, the nails and the crown of thorns of Jesu Christ.
Expounding on St. Michael’s final victory over the Antichrist, the Golden Legend continues:
The fourth victory is that the archangel Michael shall have of Antichrist when he shall slay him. Then Michael, the great prince, shall arise, as it is said Danielis xii.: “He shall arise for them that be chosen as a helper and a protector, and shall strongly stand against Antichrist.” And after, as the Gloss saith: “Antichrist shall feign him to be dead, and shall hide him three days,” and after, he shall appear saying that he is risen from death to life, and the devils shall bear him by art magic, and shall mount up into the air, and all the people shall marvel and worship him. And at the last he shall mount up on the Mount of Olivet, and when he shall be in a pavilion, in his siege [seat], entered into that place where our Lord ascended, Michael shall come and shall slay him. Of which victory is understood, after St. Gregory, that which is said in the Apocalypse. The battle is made in heaven.
This word of the treble battle in heaven is expounded of the battle that he had with Lucifer when he expulsed him out of heaven, and of the battle that he had with the devils that torment us.
St. Michael is our warrior against the Evil One, and is the one we call on in times of temptation, especially with our Prayer to St. Michael:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
This great champion of Israel has made many important appearances throughout the years. In A.D. 590, during the reign of Pope Gregory, a great pestilence swept through Rome.
During a procession and litanies led by the Holy Father there, St. Michael appeared over the Castel Sant’Angelo — a building which was in Normandy, France formerly Hadrian’s tomb, but which was converted to papal use, connected to the Vatican by a long tunnel. A statue of St. Michael sits atop the building today.
Mont St. Michel was built to St. Michael’s honor off the coast of Normandy, France. Our warrior Saint is said to have appeared there in 708 to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches.
He also, along with SS. Margaret and Catherine, appeared to St. Joan of Arc (d. 1431) when she was thirteen years old, encouraging her to assist Charles VII in defeating the English. She later told her judges, “I saw them with these very eyes, as well as I see you.”
St. Michael is patron of knights, policemen, soldiers, paramedics, ambulance drivers, etc., and also danger at sea, for the sick, and of a holy death. He is usually depicted in art carrying a sword and/or shield, battling Satan.
At this time of year, the Aster (Aster nova-belgii) blooms, and it has become known as the Michaelmas Daisy . The Michaelmas Daisy comes in many colors, from white to pink to purple. An old verse goes:
The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.
(The Feast of SS. Simon and Jude is 28 October) An old custom surrounds Michaelmas Daisies; one plucks off the petals one by one thus: pull a petal while saying “”S/he loves me,” then pull of the next while saying “S/he loves me not,” and repeat until all petals are gone. The words one intones while pulling off the last petal lets one know if one’s love is requited.
As to foods, geese were, at least at one time, plentiful during this time of year, so roast goose dinners are traditional (eating them on this day is said to protect against financial hardship, according to Irish and English folk belief). It was also the time (at least in Ireland) when the fishing season ended, the hunting season began, and apples were harvested, so eating apples today with that goose would be a nice touch.
Roast Goose with Apples (serves 8)
1 13-lb. goose, giblets and neck discarded (you’ll need 1 lb per person)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 golden delicious apples, peeled, each cut into 6 wedges
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup calvados (apple brandy)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Rinse goose inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Using knife, cut small slits all over goose; place garlic slices into slits. Place goose on rack, breast side down, in large roasting pan. Roast goose 2 hours 45 minutes, basting occasionally with drippings and removing excess fat; reserve 6 tablespoons fat. Turn goose over. Roast until brown and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting occasionally with drippings, about 45 minutes longer. Meanwhile, toss apples and lemon juice in large bowl. Pour 6 tablespoons goose fat into 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer apples to baking dish; toss apples in goose fat. Add sugar, Calvados and cinnamon to apples; toss. Bake apples alongside goose until very tender and golden, about 1 hour. Serve goose with caramelized apples and a Bordeaux wine.
When you cut up your apples, cross-section a few and show your children how the 5 seeds inside the 5-pointed star found inside represent the Five Wounds of Christ. Another fun thing to do with apples is to make those little apple dolls that always resemble old people:
Peel an apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples work well), cutting away any bruises (some people say to core the apple, others say not to. Experiment for yourself). Carve as life-like a face as possible into the apple (don’t cut too deeply so as to avoid rotting). Don’t forget the little things that make a face so human — the little lines running from nose to mouth, the hollows of the eyes, the depressions caused by cheekbones, etc. Depending on the “skin” tone desired, soak the carved apple for about 45 minutes in a mixture of lemon juice (or cider vinegar) and water (the longer you soak, the lighter the “skin” tone will be).
Hang the apple up in the dryest, darkest room of your home. Come back in 3 to 4 weeks to see what you have! (Hallowe’en would be perfect time for the unveiling!) It should have shrunk by about two thirds its original size, darkened some, and show the wizened features of an old woman or man. When thoroughly dry, decorate using very diluted food colorings for rouge; corn silk, cotton, or yarn for hair; cloves or food colorings for eyes; fabric triangles for scarves, etc. Secure onto a “body” made of a bottle, styrofoam cone, wooden dowel, etc., and make clothes as desired.
For the Irish, the next food du jour is St. Michael’s Bannock, a scone-like bread, cooked in a frying pan.
St. Michael’s Bannock
1 1/3 C. barley flour
1 1/3 C. oat meal
1 1/3 C. rye meal
1 C. flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 scant tsp baking soda
2 1/2-3 C. buttermilk
3 TBSP honey or brown sugar
1 C. cream
4 TBSP melted butter
Mix the barley flour, oat meal, and rye meal. Add flour and salt. Mix the soda and buttermilk (start with the 2 1/2 C) and then add to the dry mixture. Stir in honey. Turn out onto floured board and mix (as with all breads, don’t over-mix), adding more buttermilk if too dry, or more flour if too sticky).
Divide dough in half, and roll each, on a floured board, into an 8″ circle (about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick). While heating a lightly greased skillet, mix the eggs, cream, and melted butter. Spread onto one of the bannocks and place the bannock, egg-side down, in the skillet and cook til the egg-side is browned. Put the egg mixture on the top side, flip the bannock and cook ’til the second side is golden. Repeat this application of the egg wash and flipping and cooking until each side has been cooked three times. Do the same with the second bannock. Serve warm with butter and honey.
According to an old Irish folk tale, blackberries were supposed to have been harvested and used up by this date, too, since it is told to children that when Satan was kicked out of Heaven, he landed in a bramble patch — and returns each year to curse and spit on the fruits of the plant he landed on, rendering them inedible thereafter. So a dessert with blackberries would be perfect.
Blackberry Crumble (serves 4)
2 cups washed blackberries (thawed if frozen)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Put blackberries in a 1-quart baking dish with half of the sugar. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cream butter, remaining sugar, flour, and salt together; sprinkle over berries. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold with cream, ice cream, or dessert sauce.
Finally, I have to tell you about a charming Bavarian Michaelmas tradition from Augsburg, as described by Dorothy Gladys Spicer’s “The Festivals of Western Europe” (1958):
On September 29, Saint Michael’s Day, the city of Augsburg holds an annual autumn fair to which hundreds of peasants from far and near come for trade and pleasure. Chief among the day’s attractions is the hourly appearance of figures representing the Archangel and the Devil. The figures are built in the foundation of Perlach Turm, or Tower, called Tura in local dialect. This slender structure, which rises to a height of two-hundred-and-twenty-five-feet and stands next to the Peter’s Kirche, north of the Rathaus, originally was a watch tower. In 1615 the watch tower was heightened and converted into a belfry.
Almost a hundred years earlier the group depicting the saint and the devil had been installed in the tower’s understructure. Annually on his feast day the archangel’s armor-clad figure, holding a pointed spear, appeared whenever the tower bell struck, and stabbed at the devil writhing at his feet.
During World War II the historic figures–the delight of generations of fair-goers–were destroyed. Since then a new group has been made and installed. Today, as for over four centuries, spectators continue to gather about the Tura and to watch breathlessly the symbolic drama of Michael, head of the Church Triumphant, dealing death blows to the dragon which brings evil and destruction to the world of men.
Note: “Michaelmas” is pronounced “MICKel-mus.”
Today is also one of the 4 English “Quarter Days,” days which fall around the Equinoxes or Solstices and mark the beginnings of new natural seasons (i.e., Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall) and which were used in medieval times to mark “quarters” for legal purposes, such as settling debts. The other days like this are: Lady Day (the Feast of the Annunciation) on March 25, the Feast of St. John on June 24, and Christmas on December 25.
The Festival of Corpus Christi by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877
The same reason which caused the Festival of the Holy Trinity, induced the Catholic Church to institute the festival of Corpus Christi, which we celebrate today. She requires that we shall confess and renew today the faith which we have in the Blessed Eucharist, and that we bestow all possible honors upon the Most Holy Sacrament and give due thanks to our Saviour for its institution. In order that this just requirement of the Church may be more fully complied with, we shall here give some explanation of the above reasons. In regard to the first reason, the following are the facts, which the church especially desires to call to our memory by this joyous festival. Our dear Saviour, on the same evening when His bitter suffering for the redemption of man began, instituted the Blessed Eucharist, out of His immeasurable love for us. In it He is truly and substantially present with body and soul, with flesh and blood, as God and Man, under the form of bread and wine. Under the form of bread, not only His holy body, but also His holy blood is present; because a living body cannot exist without blood. Hence he receives it, who partakes of holy communion only in the form of bread, not less than he who receives it in two forms, as the priests, when they say holy Mass. The latter partake of holy communion under two forms, in order that the passion and death of our Saviour, during which His blood flowed from His wounds, might be more vividly represented.
From the moment that the priest speaks the prescribed holy words, in the name of Christ, over the bread and wine, the Lord is present in the Holy Sacrament. Bread and wine change their substance miraculously into the true body and blood of the Saviour, in such a manner, that all that remains of the bread and wine is their form, color and taste. The presence of Christ lasts so long as the bread and the wine are unconsumed. It is further to be considered that our Lord is present in a small host as well as in a large one, as well in a portion of a host as in a whole one. Hence he who receives an entire host, has no more than he who receives only a part of one, the latter has just as much as the former. The same is the case with those who by inadvertence receive more than one Host, while others receive only one. It is only to be remarked that in case a consecrated Host is broken or divided, the holy body of the Saviour is not broken nor divided, but the form of the bread only: even as Christ will not again die, so his holy body can neither be broken nor divided. All these points are articles of faith in the Catholic Church, and are explained in sermons, in religious instructions and in many books, and are especially demonstrated by the word of God. All true Catholics believe this without any doubt, as the Almighty, who is eternal and infallible truth, has revealed it, and as that Church assures us, which on account of the assistance of the Holy Ghost, promised to her by Christ, cannot err.
Those who are not Catholics teach in many points quite differently. They especially reject the real presence of Christ in the form of bread and wine, and also the transubstantiation of these latter into the real body and blood of the Lord. They maintain it to be impossible that bread and wine can be changed into the body and blood of Christ, or that Christ can be really present at the same time, in so many different places, in so small a compass as the holy Host. If we ask them why they consider it impossible, they answer: “because we cannot conceive, cannot comprehend, how it can be possible.” But if they believe impossible all which they cannot understand, they must, besides many other articles of faith, reject the creation of the world; the humanity and resurrection of Christ; the Holy Trinity; because all these are just as inconceivable for the mind of man, as the transubstantiation of the bread and wine and the substantial presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It matters not in articles of faith whether we are able to comprehend them or not so long as they are revealed by God.
That which the Almighty has revealed must be true, whether I can understand it or not: for He is omniscient, hence infallible, and cannot be deceived, while our understanding can as easily be deceived as our senses. God is truth: therefore can not deceive. He is omnipotent; hence He can do more than the human mind can comprehend. “With God all things are possible,” said Christ Himself. “Let us admit that God can do more than we are able to fathom,” says St. Augustine, while St. Cyril of Alexandria writes; “The Lord says by the prophet Isaias: ‘My counsel is not like yours, neither are my ways like your ways: for as the heaven is above the earth, so are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.’ Cannot therefore the works of Him, who stands so high above us in wisdom and power, exceed in their greatness the limits of our understanding?”
The same is taught by all the Holy Fathers. They also refer to many occurrences in nature, which, although we cannot comprehend them, nevertheless take place. They speak of the creation of the world, and say, if we believe that God created a whole world out of nothing, how can we hesitate to believe that He can change bread and wine, or that He can be present in that form? The water at Cana was changed into wine: why then should He not possess the power to transform bread and wine into His holy body and blood? Truly, whoever believes that God is omnipotent, infallible and infinite, cannot doubt this article of faith. We Catholics believe so, and hence we cannot doubt any of the above mentioned points of the true faith. This faith we this day renew and confess publicly. The Catholic Church requires it, and has for this reason instituted today’s Festival. She further demands that we unanimously, bestow today all possible honor upon the Blessed Sacrament, and that we praise and glorify with all the powers of our soul, the Saviour therein concealed. And is not this justly demanded of us? of us who firmly believe that our Lord is present in His double nature as God and as man, in the Blessed Sacrament? All honor, all praise belongs to the true God.
King David, in the Old Testament, bestowed great honor upon the Ark of the Covenant, in which a part of the manna was preserved, as Holy Writ relates. The manna of the Old Testament was only a feeble type of our Most Holy Sacrament, as Christ Himself teaches: hence we owe so much greater honor to it. The wise man said, many thousand years ago: “Glorify the Lord, as much as you can . . . Bless ye the Lord, exalt Him as much as you can.” (Eccl. xliii.) As we are assured by our faith that our God and Lord is truly and substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, it is natural that we honor, praise and glorify Him with all our strength. We are bound to do this not merely today, but during the whole year. Who is there, however, that can say of himself that he has not sometimes been remiss in this sacred duty? Hence the Holy Church requires that we, remembering our duty this day, kindle anew our zeal, if it has abated, and thus with united hearts, honor, praise and exalt the Most Holy Sacrament. For this purpose she has also ordained that the Blessed Sacrament shall be carried through the streets in solemn processions.
Everything connected with this ceremony is intended to honor our Lord in every possible manner. The Church tries, by this public manifestation, to atone somewhat for the many and great wrongs to which the Blessed Sacrament is so frequently subjected by heretics as well as by Catholics. One cannot, without horror, think how this sacred mystery has been assailed and dishonored in centuries gone by, and down to our days. A pious Christian dares not even relate the wrongs done to it, which are great enough to deserve hell. And what does our Saviour, concealed in the Blessed Sacrament, suffer from those who believe in his presence? The irreverence and levity with which many Christians conduct themselves in presence of the Blessed Eucharist, tend to dishonor and disgrace our Saviour. The unworthy communions which unhappily take place, offend Him in a most grievous manner. The misuse of the body, especially of the tongue and mouth, which are so often sanctified by partaking of the true body and blood of Christ, cannot but excite the wrath of the Lord. For these, as well as other wrongs done to the Blessed Sacrament, the Church of Christ seeks to make amends by these solemn processions, and by all the other pious exercises she has ordained for this festival and during the whole octave. Hence, every pious Christian should be solicitous to conform to the ordinances of the Church, and not only assist in the procession and all other devout exercises, but also endeavour to contribute to render them what the Church desires.
Those who are not Catholics disapprove of every thing that we do today in honor of the blessed Sacrament, and accuse us of idolatry, as we according to them, worship bread. They say also that all that we do in this regard cannot be agreeable to God, because it was not ordained by Him. We, Catholics, are, however, not disturbed by this, for we know that we do not worship bread, but Him whom three wise men worshipped in the manger, namely, Jesus Christ, true God and Man. We know also that though what we do this day in honor of the blessed Sacrament is not especially and expressly ordained in Holy Writ, still we are assured that a voluntary worship of it is in accordance with reason and the laws of God, pleasing and agreeable to His Majesty. And this is made clear to us from the above-mentioned example of the three Wise Men, and from the acts with which King David honored the Most High, on the solemn return of the Ark of the Covenant; not to mention that Christ gave us a general command to worship God, in the words: “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matth. iv.) This command we fulfil today by our actions, as they all aim at one end, namely, the honor of the Lord, who is concealed in the Blessed Sacrament. The more we are blamed and derided by the heretics for our adoration of the Holy Eucharist, the more fervent should we become in our zeal. When King David was derided by Michol, on account of his devotion at the return of the Ark of the Covenant, he said: “Before the Lord who chose me . . . . I will both play and make myself meaner than I have done, and I will be little in my own eyes.” (II. Kings vi.)
We will still add in a few words, what the true Church further demands of us. We today give humble thanks to the Lord for the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. This is no more than our duty: for if we are obliged to thank God for the smallest benefit He confers upon us, we are surely under much greater obligation when the benefit is great and of especial importance. Who can tell, who can comprehend the greatness of the benefit, which Christ our Saviour and Lord bestowed upon us by the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. It is as great as it is unfathomable: great as He who devised it; as Christ our Lord, true God and man, the King of all Kings, the Lord of all who reign. Great and inconceivable is the miracle by which the substance of bread and wine is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, and the miraculous presence of the Lord in the form of bread and wine. St. Thomas of Aquinas calls the Blessed Sacrament a miracle, and the greatest that Christ ever wrought.
Inexpressibly great must have been the love which induced the Saviour not only to institute it at the time He chose for it, namely, the evening before His Passion. Since the world was created, there has never been found a parent willing to nourish his children with his own body, much as he may have loved them. Such excess of love Christ alone manifested. “Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end,” writes St. John (John, xiii.). Already had He loved them and had given them many indubitable proofs of His love; but at the end of His life, He gave them one which surpassed all others, namely, having nourished them with His own body and blood, He instituted a sacrament, by means of which all the faithful might partake of this divine food. And when did He institute this? St. Paul writes: “In the night when He was delivered into the hands of the embittered Jews.” The last night of His life was approaching, and the time when his enemies would seize Him, scourge Him most cruelly, crown Him with thorns, and nail Him like the greatest malefactor to the Cross. All this was known to the Lord. He knew also the wrong which would be done to Him in the Blessed Eucharist to the end of time: and yet this was not sufficient to prevent Him from instituting it.
Truly, a love which surpasses all the bounds, not only of human, but angelic understanding. Love seeks to be always with the loved ones and to enjoy their presence. Jesus Christ, who out of love to us had descended from heaven upon earth, had remained with us for 33 years: and it was the will of His heavenly Father that, after having accomplished our Redemption, He should return to heaven. This also took place; but His infinite love for us found a means by which He will remain with us in the world until the end of time. This means is the Blessed Sacrament, which He instituted before the commencement of His bitter passion. In it He is God and Man, as He is in heaven, truly and substantially present in every Church where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. By this same blessed Sacrament, He unites Himself most closely with us, when we partake of it, because He gives Himself to us as food, and nourishment. And this union with us is, according to the opinion of the Holy Fathers, a still greater proof of His love for us, than His presence in the Sacrament. It is the property of love to unite closely those who love one another: can there be a more intimate union than ours is with Christ, by virtue of the Holy Sacrament?
When Christ became man, He united His divine nature, in an incomprehensible manner, with humanity. When we partake of the Blessed Eucharist, He unites His divine and human natures with our nature, although not in the same manner as when He became Man. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood,” says He, “abideth in me, and I in him.” (John, vi.) How wonderful a union! How incomprehensibly great a love!
Besides the love which induced our Lord to institute the Most Holy Sacrament, the end for which He instituted it, and with which we have already become partly acquainted, is also great and most excellent. Our adorable Saviour would leave us in it an eternal memorial of His love and of His bitter passion and death, as His own words make clear to us: “Do this for a commemoration of me.” (Luke, xxn.) He desired to remain constantly with us, in order that we might, in all our cares, go to Him with greater confidence, and opening our hearts to Him, request and receive from Him, comfort, strength and help. It was His wish that His holy flesh and blood should nourish and strengthen our souls. This was the intention, the end and aim of our Lord in instituting the Most Holy Eucharist. As the religion He founded is holy and most perfect, and as no true religion can exist without sacrifice, He would leave us for evermore the most divine sacrifice, namely, His own flesh and blood that we might sacrifice it in holy Mass in honor of the Majesty of God, as a thanks-offering for all graces and benefits bestowed upon us; for the pardon of our sins, for the obtaining of new grace, and for the comfort of all, living and dead. How high, how admirable an end and aim! Had Christ been willing to remain among us, in the Blessed Eucharist, only in one place on earth, in order that we might there lay our burdens more trustingly at His feet, He would then have conferred on us a favor, which we could never sufficiently esteem, and for which we could never be sufficiently thankful. How much greater, therefore, is the grace that He dwells among us in so many different places of the world, to nourish our souls and to serve as sacrifice, and this not once only, but as often as we desire. How inexpressibly great a favor! How wonderful an invention of truly Divine love!
Just as great and excellent are the results of the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lord expressed it all in a few words when He said: “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” (John, vi.) Which means: Whoever worthily partakes of this holy Sacrament, shall receive the special grace of God to preserve the life of his soul, or to remain in the sanctifying grace of God, and hence obtain life everlasting. By virtue of this Sacrament, man receives strength to abstain from sin, to resist temptation and to serve the Most High with constant fidelity. Therefore it is called by the Council of Trent, a medicine, by the strength of which we are freed from our daily iniquities, and protected and guarded against great crimes. “This divine mystery,” says Albert the Great, “strengthens man in grace and succors him when he is in danger of committing sin.” The pious Thomas a Kempis writes: “This most holy and venerable Sacrament conduces to the well-being of body and soul. It is the remedy for spiritual weakness. It heals the wounds of vice, it keeps within bounds all evil inclination, it conquers temptations, gives more abundance of grace, multiplies virtue, strengthens faith, augments hope, and inflames love.”
Other teachers say, that Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament under the form of a bodily food, that we might more easily perceive its effects. For, as bodily food preserves the life of the body, renews strength, refreshes man: thus is the spiritual life of the soul preserved by the holy Eucharist, the soul is strengthened, and all the inner faculties of man inflamed with new zeal in the service of the Almighty. The true Church has not hesitated, for causes already mentioned, to call it a pledge of future glory, so that those who worthily partake of Holy Communion, receive, so to speak, an assurance of eternal salvation. I say, who partake worthily of the Holy Communion; for, one who receives it when not in the state of grace, will not only fail to share in the benefits it imparts, but becomes guilty of eternal punishment, according to the words of St. Paul: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (i Cor. xi.) that is, as St. Chrysostom and other holy fathers teach, damnation.
Whoever reflects on what we have said, cannot but come to the conclusion, that the Lord, by instituting the Blessed Eucharist, has bestowed upon us an inexpressibly great gift. Hence, it is only our duty to give Him our most humble thanks, to which effect the Church has ordained today’s festival, demanding of us to give thanks to the Lord for the institution of this Blessed Gift.
So much for the reason which gave rise to the ordinance of the festival of Corpus Christi. Only one point must I yet touch upon, to confirm the true faith and at the same time give an instruction. The non-Catholics maintain that we act wrongly in not administering the Blessed Sacrament in two forms, as Christ our Lord instituted it and commanded it to be partaken of in such a manner. To this I answer, Luther himself more than once said that the real Blessed Eucharist was to be found in the Catholic Church; and that it mattered not whether it is administered under one form or under two. It is true that Christ instituted it in two forms, but that He commands all to receive it in two forms is false. From the act of the institution of the Eucharist this cannot be proved: for, Christ instituted and adminstered it after washing his disciples’ feet. He gave it only to the men, the strong, and this after they had partaken of supper, and yet the non-Catholics do not say that it is a commandment to wash the feet before Holy Communion, or administer it only to men, the strong, and after supper. The non-Catholics may rest assured that we are more favored when we partake of Holy Communion in one form than they, even if they received it in a hundred: for we receive under one form really the flesh and blood of Christ, while they, under two forms, neither partake of the Saviour’s holy flesh nor of His blood, because they possess no priests to whom Christ gave power to consecrate.
You have considered the aim and end of today’s festival and also the reasons that gave rise to it: hence, prepare your devotions accordingly. First, exercise yourself today in the virtue of faith. Confess to God and the whole world that you believe everything that God the Lord has revealed of the Blessed Eucharist, and which His true Church explains to you; and that you will believe it for no other reason than because the infallible truth has revealed it. Confess openly, that you willingly give your reason up in the service of the Almighty. Oppose, in advance, all temptations by which the Evil One might endanger the peace of your soul, during your life, or while on your death-bed in regard to the Blessed Eucharist or other articles of faith. Manifest openly the faith which you bear in your heart and be not ashamed of it in the presence of heretics. Hence, accompany the procession today with due reverence, and assist, today and always, in all public devotions ordained in honor of the Holy Eucharist. In the churches where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, show your faith in the presence of the Lord by your modesty and reverence. Whoever is wanting in this is wanting also in faith.
Secondly, endeavor especially today to honor, with every power of your soul, the Most Holy Sacrament, but let not your devotion cease with this day: continue in it as long as your life lasts. Accompany the Holy Eucharist devoutly when it is carried in processions; frequently visit the churches where it is kept; worship it in deepest humility. Assist at Holy Mass, if possible, daily. Receive the Holy Communion as often as your confessor will permit; but always with a heart purified and adorned by exercises of virtue. Take time for devotions before and after Holy Communion. Guard yourself in the presence of the Holy Sacrament, from everything that might be displeasing to Him who is concealed in it: as, unrestrained roving of the mind and eyes; the volubility of the tongue; irreverent manner, &c. Take care that you do not, by using indecent language, soil your tongue, which has been purified by partaking of the Holy Sacrament. Before all things, however, take care that you do not receive the Holy Eucharist while a mortal sin weighs upon your soul, for this would be the greatest insult, the most frightful disgrace to your loving Jesus, and to you it might bring eternal damnation. Beg your Saviour also to pardon every irreverence of which during your past life, you have been guilty in presence of the Blessed Sacrament, or in your Communions. To this end, offer to Him everything that is done in the whole world today and during the entire Octave, to His honor and glory, and make the firm resolution to amend all your faults by redoubled zeal in honoring the holy Sacrament.
Thirdly: In consideration of the infinite benefit which our Lord has conferred upon us in instituting the Blessed Eucharist, return Him your most fervent thanks. Give thanks to Him that He made you a member of that Church, which alone is in possession of the Blessed Eucharist. Thank Him also that He gives you time and opportunity to partake frequently of the Holy Sacrament. And as everything connected with it is great and holy, so on your side, all in regard to it should be great and holy. Great must be your faith in the real presence of Christ; great your zeal to worship Him; great your reverence for the church in which He dwells; great your devotion to Him in the Sacrament; great your preparation to receive it. Let all the powers of your mind be directed towards one end: cleanse your soul from every stain of sin, and adorn it most beautifully by exercises of virtue, to make it a fit dwelling for your Saviour. When King Solomon was about to erect a temporal dwelling for the Most High, he collected gold and silver, precious stones and other treasures, saying: “I have prepared, according to my strength, all that is necessary for the dwelling of my Lord.” Why? He gives his reason in the following words: “For, it is a great work, because we erect a house, not for man, but for God.” (I. Par. 29.) Through Holy Communion, your soul becomes a much more real temple of God than the Temple which Solomon erected: hence your care in preparing this dwelling should be much greater than that of Solomon. Finally, great should be your solicitude, after Holy Communion, to remain with Christ in your heart, and to thank, praise and love Him. Oh! exert all the powers of your soul; “for it is a great work!”
Litany of the Blessed Sacrament
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us. *
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, *
God, the Holy Ghost, *
Holy Trinity, one God, *
Living Bread, that camest down from heaven, *
Hidden God and Saviour, *
Wheat of the elect, *
Wine of which virgins are the fruit, *
Bread of fatness and royal dainties, *
Perpetual Sacrifice, *
Clean Oblation, *
Lamb without spot, *
Most pure Feast, *
Food of Angels, *
Hidden manna, *
Memorial of the wonders of God, *
Supersubstantial Bread, *
Word-made-Flesh, dwelling among us, *
Sacred Host, *
Chalice of benediction, *
Mystery of faith, *
Most high and most adorable Sacrament, *
Most holy of all sacrifices, *
True propitiation for the living and the dead, *
Heavenly antidote against the poison of sin, *
Most stupendous of all miracles, *
Holy commemoration of the Passion of Christ, *
Singular pledge of Divine Love, *
Gift of God, exceeding all fulness, *
Affluence of Divine bounty, *
Overflow of Divine liberality, *
Most august and holy Mystery, *
Medicine of immortality, *
Awful and life-giving Sacrament, *
Bread-made-Flesh by the omnipotence of the Word, *
Unbloody Sacrifice, *
Our Food and our Guest, *
Sweetest banquet, at which angels minister, *
Sacrament of piety, *
Bond of unity and charity, *
Priest and Victim, *
Offerer and Oblation, *
Spiritual sweetness, tasted in its very source, *
Refreshment of holy souls, *
Viaticum of those who die in the Lord, *
Pledge of future glory, *
Spare us, O Lord,
Graciously hear us, O Lord
From an unworthy reception of Thy Body and Blood,
Deliver us, O Lord. **
From the lust of the flesh, **
From the lust of the eyes, **
From the pride of life, **
From every occasion of sin, **
Through the desire wherewith Thou didst long to eat this pasch with Thy disciples, **
Through that profound humility wherewith Thou didst wash their feet, **
Through that ardent charity whereby Thou didst institute this DivineSacrament, **
Through Thy Precious Blood, which Thou hast left us on our altars, **
Through the five Wounds which Thou didst receive for us in this Thy most holy Body, **
Beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve and increase our faith, reverence and devotion toward this admirable Sacrament,
We beseech Thee, hear us. ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to conduct us, through a true confession of our sins, to frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to deliver us from all heresy, perfidy, and blindness of heart, ***
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to impart to us the precious and heavenly fruits of this most Holy Sacrament, ***
That Thou wouldst confirm us in Thy grace, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us from all snares of the enemy, ***
That at the hour of death Thou wouidst strengthen and defend us by this heavenly Viaticum, ***
That Thou wouldst preserve us unto eternal life, ***
Son of God, ***
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Thou hast given them Bread from Heaven,
R. Containing in Itself all sweetness.
Let us pray:
O God, Who in this wonderful Sacrament has bequeathed to us a perpetual memorial of Thy Passion: grant us the grace, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the Sacred Mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever feel within us the fruits of Thy redemption. Who livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen.
Indulgenced Prayers to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament
O sacrament most holy! O sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.
(Indulgence 100 days, once a day)
I adore Thee at every moment, O living bread of heaven, great sacrament! Jesus, heart of Mary, I pray you, bless my soul. Holiest Jesus, my Saviour, I give Thee my heart.
(Indulgence 100 days, three times a day)
An Act for Spiritual Communion
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
My Jesus, I believe that thou art in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love thee above all things, and in my soul I desire thee. Since I cannot receive thee now sacramentally, come at least spiritually to my heart. I embrace thee as already there and unite myself wholly to thee; do not permit that I may ever be separated from thee. Jesus, all my good and all my love, Wound, inflame this heart of mine, that it may all and always burn for Thee.
(An Indulgence of 60, once a day)
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
O Virgin Mary, our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, thou glory of the Christian people, joy of the universal Church, salvation of the whole world, pray for us, and awaken in all believers a lively devotion toward the Most Holy Eucharist, that so they may be made worthy to partake of the same daily.
As I have said before, I make chicken and andouille gumbo (or turkey!) throughout the year. But seafood gumbo is reserved for special occasions, like Christmas. One reason that we save the seafood gumbo for special occasions is that it is so expensive to make. But now I think I have found a variation of seafood gumbo that I can make more often. It’s a Louisiana favorite: Shrimp & Okra Gumbo. It’s still more expensive than chicken & andouille, but it’s not too expensive. I was able to pick up some fresh Gulf shrimp today for $4.75 / pound. Not bad.
But what makes gumbo a gumbo? Well, as all good cajuns and creoles know, a gumbo always starts with a roux, which is equal parts flour and oil. Roux has two purposes: it colors the gumbo and it thickens it. And since gumbos are always thick and rich, rouxs are oh so important.
But, I have to tell you that making a roux is an act of love. It takes time.
If you ask several different cooks from south Louisiana how long it takes to make a roux, you’ll get answers that range from “two beers” to “two Bloody Marys” to “two sides of a Louis Armstrong album.” Everybody has a different approach. But since it is so easy to burn a roux, you can’t leave it. I used to take the easy road… I’d keep the burner on medium-low. But that took WAY too long. Like four beers too long. And since that’s not good for your health, I had to make a change. Now I make my rouxs at medium-high heat and it usually takes about 15 minutes. A roux for a gumbo has to be the color of dark chocolate. You want to take it to the gates of burndom and then add the “trinity.”
You’ll hear lots of Louisiana cooks talking about the “trinity.” They’re not talking theology. Down here, when it comes to cooking, the trinity means onions, green bell peppers, and celery… The basic ingredients to lots of Cajun dishes.
OK. Gotta state this up front: Okra is slimy.
Some cooks want to “cook the slime out” of the okra before adding it to the gumbo. But, here’s the deal… Okra is an excellent thickener. Even if you try to “cook the slime out” before adding it to the gumbo, it doesn’t matter. Adding it raw is just the same. The “slime” will “cook out” after being added to the gumbo. In this recipe, I do “brown” the okra before adding it to the gumbo (in bacon grease, which is like a gift from heaven!), but that’s just because I wanted to bathe the okra in the delicious goodness of bacon. Everything – and I do mean everything – tastes better with bacon!
Editor’s Note: for the recipe you gotta click HERE to go to Jeff’s site The Catholic Foodie!
You know, every year during Mardi Gras season, not only do I make lots of king cakes, but I also talk about them a lot on the Catholic Foodie podcast. I tweet pictures of the kings cakes that I make, and I post those pictures on Facebook too. And every year folks contact me to ask for my king cake recipe. Finally, I am making my king cake recipe available to readers of the Catholic Foodie.
I did not invent this king cake recipe from scratch. It’s based on a recipe by Chef Emeril Lagasse. I have tweaked it to our liking, and our family and friends love it.
I hope that you like it too.
I need to confess up front that I am a stickler for ingredients. I always use the best ingredients I can find… Kerrygold butter, King Arthur flour, local farm eggs, etc. I encourage you to do the same. Use the best ingredients you can find. It really does make all the difference!
And since Mardi Gras is a season, you could make a few (or several!) king cakes before Mardi Gras day. Experiment. Make this king cake recipe your own. And if you find something that you really like, please let me know about it!
Continue after the jump>>> and clickHERE for the King Cake Recipe!
THE BEST OF THE REST…Fat Tuesday’s supper right here with a few more goodies from CatholicFoodie.com at Chez ACBlog in Madison, Wisconsin…Happy Mardi Gras!
INSTRUCTION FOR THE FEAST OF THE HOLY TRINITY, by Leonard Goffine, 1871
This festival comes just after Pentecost, because as soon as they were instructed and consoled by the Holy Ghost, the apostles began in the name of the Holy Trinity openly to teach and to preach that which Christ had taught them.
Why is this festival celebrated?
That we may openly profess our faith in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the first of Christian truths, the foundation of the Christian religion, and the most sublime of all our mysteries; and that we may render thanks to each of the three Divine Persons for that which they have done for our salvation; for the Father has created us, the Son has redeemed us, and the Holy Ghost has sanctified us.
In praise and honor of the most Holy Trinity, the Church sings in the Introit of this day’s Mass: Blessed be the Holy Trinity and Undivided Unity, which we honor, having seen the shining of its glory. (Tob. xii.) O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! (Ps. viii. 1.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and Eternal God, who hast given to Thy servants, that in the profession of the true faith they may know the glory of the Eternal Trinity, and in the power of that glory adore its unity: grant, that by our firmness in this same faith, we may be protected from all adversities. Through, &c.
EPISTLE. (Rom. xi. 33 – 36.) O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and recompense shall be made Him? For of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things: to Him be glory forever. Amen.
EXPLANATION. St. Paul’s wonderment, in this epistle, is caused by the inscrutable judgment of God in rejecting the Jews and calling the gentiles. The Church avails herself of these expressions of St. Paul, to express her reverential astonishment at this incomprehensible mystery of the most Holy Trinity, which surpasses our understanding, and yet is the worthy object of our faith, our hope, and our love. But although neither angels nor men can fathom and comprehend this mystery, and although he who tries to comprehend it, must fear of being overcome by it, it cannot be difficult for the sound human intellect to believe it, since it is indubitably and evidently revealed by God, and we in many natural and human things accept for true and certain much that we cannot comprehend. Let us submit our intellect, therefore, and yield ourselves up to the faith; as there was indeed a time when men were martyred, when even all ages and conditions preferred to die rather than for one instant let this faith go, so let us rather wait until our faith is changed to contemplation, until we see the Triune God, face to face, as It is, and in the sight of that countenance become eternally happy. There should all our hopes, wishes, and desires be directed, and we should cease all fruitless investigations, endeavoring by humble faith and active love, to prove worthy of It’s blissful contemplation; for if we do not love Him who is our all, our last end and aim, and lovingly desire Him, we will have no hope of one day possessing Him.
ASPIRATION. O incomprehensible, Triune God! O Abyss of wisdom, power, and goodness! To Thee all glory and adoration! In Thee I lose myself; I cannot contain Thee, do Thou contain me. I believe in Thee, though I cannot comprehend Thee; do Thou increase my faith; I hope in Thee, because I have promised myself all good from Thee; do Thou enliven my hope; I love Thee, because Thou art worthy of all love; do Thou inflame ever more my love, that in Thy love I may live and die. Amen.
GOSPEL. (Matt, xxviii. 18 – 20.) And Jesus coming spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold. I am with you all days even unto the consummation of the world.
EXPLANATION. As God, Christ had, from all eternity, all and the same power that His Father had; as man, He has this same power by the union of His divinity with His humanity, and on account of the infinite merits of His passion. In virtue of this power, He said to His apostles, before the ascension, that, as His Heavenly Father had sent Him, even so He sent them to all nations, without exception, to teach all that He had commanded, and to receive them, by means of baptism, into the Church; at the same time He promised to be with them to the end of the world, that is, that He would console them in sufferings, strengthen them in persecution, preserve them from error, and always protect them and their successors, the bishops and priests, even unto the consummation of the world.
ASPIRATION. Be with us, O Lord, for without Thee our pastors cannot produce fruit, nor their hearers accomplish any thing from their words. Be with us always, for we always need Thy help. All power is given to Thee, Thou hast, then, the right to command, and we are bound to obey Thy commands, which, by Thy Church, Thou hast made known to us. This we have promised in baptism, and now before Thy eyes, we renew those vows. Grant, now, that those promises which without Thee we could not have made, and without Thee cannot keep, may be fulfilled in our actions. Leave us not to ourselves, but be Thou with us, and make us obedient to Thee, that by cheerful submission to Thee, we may receive happiness.
INSTRUCTION ON THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS
All the dignities and graces which we receive in holy baptism, God secures to us for the future, but only on the condition that we keep our baptismal vows. Every Christian in baptism makes a bond with God through the mediation of Christ who has sealed it with His blood. This bond consists on man’s part in the promise to renounce forever the devil and all his works, and all his pomps, that is, constantly to suppress the threefold lust of the eyes, the flesh, and the pride of life, by which the devil leads us to sin, and to believe all that God has revealed, and that His holy Church proposes to our belief, and diligently and properly to make use of all the means of salvation flowing from the Church. On God’s part this bond consists in cleansing us from all sin, in bestowing all the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in adopting us as His children, and in the assurance of the inheritance of heaven. This bond should last till death; it is never broken by the infinitely true and faithful God, but so often by weak and fickle man, who is too often inclined to break it, and should, therefore, in compliance with the desire of the Church, often remind himself of it, and from time to time renew it in the sight of God. This should be particularly done before receiving the holy Sacrament of Confirmation, before first Communion, on the vigils of Easter and Pentecost, at the blessing of baptismal water, on the anniversaries of baptism and confirmation, before making any solemn vow, before entering into matrimony, when in danger of death. This renewal of baptismal vows can be made in the following manner: Placing ourselves in the presence of God, we kneel down, fold our hands, and say with fervent devotion:
I believe in God the Father, Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
I renounce the devil, all his works, and all his pomps.
Christ Jesus! With Thee I am united, to Thee alone I cling, Thee only will I follow, for Thee to live, for Thee to die is my desire. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
DOCTRINE OF THE THREE IN ONE GOD
What is God?
God is of Himself the most perfect being, the highest, best good, who exists from all eternity, by whom heaven and earth are created, and from whom all things derive and hold life and existence, for of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things. (Rom. xi. 36.)
What is the Blessed Trinity?
The Blessed Trinity is this same one God who exists in one single nature and substance, and at the same time in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Is each of these three persons God?
Yes, because each of them has the divine nature and substance.
Are they not three Gods?
No, because all three of these persons have one and the same divine nature and substance.
Is any one of these three persons older, mightier, or greater than the others?
By no means, for they are all three from eternity entirely equal to each other in the divine omnipotence, greatness, and majesty, and must, therefore, be equally adored and venerated.
Ought one to give himself up to the investigation of the most Blessed Trinity?
No; “for,” says the saintly Bishop Martinus, “the mystery of the Trinity cannot be comprehended by the human intellect, no one however eloquent of tongue could exhaust it; if entire books were written about it, so that the whole world were filled with them, yet the unspeakable wisdom of God would not be expressed. God who is indescribable, can in no way be described. When the human mind ceases to speak of Him, then it but begins to speak.” Therefore the true Christian throws his intellect under the feet of faith, not seeking long to understand that which the human mind can as little comprehend, as a tiny hole in the sand can contain the immeasurable sea. An humble and active faith will make us worthy some day in the other world, to see with the greatest bliss this mystery as it is, for in this consists eternal life, that by a pious life we may glorify and know the only true God, Christ Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Ghost.
INSTRUCTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, on which is celebrated the Feast of the most Holy Trinity.
The Introit of this day’s Mass is an encouragement to confidence in God’s mercy: Lord, I have trusted in thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation, I will sing to the Lord who giveth me good things. How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me? Unto the end? How long dost thou turn away thy face from me? (Ps .xii. 1-6.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, the strength of such as hope in Thee: mercifully hear us calling on Thee: and since mortal weakness can do nothing without Thee, grant us the assistance of Thy grace; that in observing Thy commandments, we may please Thee both in will and action. Throu.
EPISTLE. (John iv. 8 – 21.) Dearly Beloved: God is charity. By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by Him. In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because He hath first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. My dearest, if God hath so loved us: we also ought to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and His charity is perfected in us. In this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us: because He hath given us of His spirit. And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world; whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in Him, and He in God, and we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity; and He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in Him. In this is the charity of God perfected in us, that we may have confidence at the day of judgment: because as He is, we also are in this world. Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity. Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us. If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother: he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother.
EXPLANATION. Stronger motives for the love of God and of our neighbor than these cited by St. John, who, because of his ardent love of God, was named the “loved disciple”, cannot be brought. If we but consider and reflect upon them, it is impossible to resist his words. We should be induced to love our neighbor by the love, which God has for him, for whatever God loves is certainly worthy of our love; and we cannot love God, when we do not love our neighbor. “Since your neighbor,” says St. Augustine, “is your brother, and yet you do not love him, how can you love God whose commandment you thus reject?”
GOSPEL. (Luke vi, 36 – 41.) At That Time: Jesus said to His disciples: Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall be given into your, bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete, withal it shall be measured to you again. And He spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? do they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye; but the beam that is in thy own eye, thou considerest not? or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seeest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye.
Be ye merciful as your Father also is merciful!
If we would be children of the Heavenly Father, we must imitate Him in mercy and goodness; and as He lets His sun shine on the good and the bad, and allows the dew of His grace to fall alike on the just and the unjust, even so must we love not our friends merely, but our enemies also.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged; condemn not, and you shall not be condemned!
Two kinds of judgments are here forbidden by Christ: the rash or presumptuous, and the arrogant judgment. The rash judgment, which is usually a groundless suspicion, is forbidden, because by it the love and honor of our neighbor is injured, for no one can look into the heart, and see the motive of another’s omissions and commissions; of these no one but God can judge, who tries the heart and reins, and knows the intention. The arrogant judgment, is even more to be condemned, and is when one judges another, without any right, as his superior, to do so. By both of these judgments man usurps a right of God, as St. Dorotheus says, takes vengeance from God, and robs himself of all divine protection. “A double, yes, a triple sin it is,” says St. Chrysostom, “to judge another, and without pity draw the beam from his eye.”
Forgive, and you shall be forgiven!
Christ says by this, that we shall receive forgiveness from God for the injuries we have committed against Him, only upon the condition that we from our hearts forgive others their injuries to us. “For,” says St. Chrysostom, “how canst thou raise thy hand to heaven, or move thy tongue and ask forgiveness, when thou wilt not forgive? When thou wishest, that God forgive thy sins, He will not do it, because thou hast an angry feeling towards thy brother.”
Give, and it shall be given to you!
We are poor and greatly need, that God should give to us; and, therefore, like petitioners, we say every day: “Give us this day our daily bread. But God answers us: Give, and it shall be given to you. You are my poor and you have other poor among you, do you then to these poor, as you would that I should do to you. The goodness and love of God should always be our model, although we can never reach it, for between our love and goodness, and the love and goodness of God, there is a manifest difference. We can give but little, while God gives much, but for the little which we give to the poor, God gives us a good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. The promise give, and it shall be given to you applies also to all other works which we do for the love of God, for He rewards everything, even the slightest thing done in His name, with infinite bounty and richness, here upon this earth with new graces and benefits, and with eternal glory in heaven.
Can the blind lead the blind?
By these words the Saviour teaches, that no one should rebuke or reproach his neighbor for faults from which he himself is not free, for as the disciple is not above the master, the master ought certainly to be perfect; that one blind person shall not lead another, that the advice may not be required: Cast first the beam, that is, the great faults, out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take the mote, that is, the small faults, out of thy brother’s eye. The blind who leads another and falls into the ditch, is also he who is led by his carnal desires, and does not permit himself to be led by the light of faith, and guided by the hand of divine grace. This is the most dangerous and most fearful blindness, because it inevitably leads to destruction.
ASPIRATION. O that I had been always good and merciful to my neighbor, that I might also, one day, find grace with God! O that I had never rashly judged any one, that I might, one day, be not strictly judged and condemned by God for my sins! Ah, my God! I regret from my heart these wrongs, and hope forgiveness for them from Thee, as I also from my heart forgive those who have offended me! Enlighten my blindness, O Lord, that I may guard against such sins in future, and not follow the desires of the flesh, that I may find the right path to heaven, and by a good example lead others there. Amen.