Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Most Profound Reflection On Antonin Scalia, Anywhere.

16 February 2016

Neither Tarnished Nor Afraid

by David L Alexander at his blog, “ManwithBlackHat”
16 February 2016 A.D.

scalia david“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”

Raymond Thornton Chandler (1888-1959)

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For the rest of this extremely thoughtful essay please click Here


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent

16 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent


Christ underwent every kind of suffering

Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

“Every kind of suffering.” The things men suffer may be understood in two ways. By “kind” we may mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would not have become him. But if by “kind” we mean the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind of suffering, as we can show in three ways:

1. By considering the men through whom He suffered. For He suffered something at the hands of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women as the story of the servant girl who accused St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

He suffered, too, from His friends, the men He knew best, for Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him.

2. If we consider the things through which suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends who deserted Him, and in His good name through the blasphemies uttered against Him. He suffered in the respect, in the glory, due to Him through the derision and contempt bestowed upon Him. He suffered in things, for He was stripped even of His clothing; in His soul, through sadness, through weariness and through fear; in His body through wounds and the scourging.

3. If we consider what He underwent in His various parts. His head suffered through the crown of piercing thorns, His hands and feet through the nails driven through them, His face from the blows and the defiling spittle, and His whole body through the scourging.

He suffered in every sense of His body. Touch was afflicted by the scourging and the nailing, taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench of corpses as He hung on the cross in that place of the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers, and He saw the tears of His mother and of the disciple whom He loved. If we only consider the amount of suffering required, it is true that one suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have sufficed to redeem the human race from all its sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter, it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the kinds of sufferings.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Monday After First Sunday of Lent

15 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


Christ had to be tempted in the desert

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

1. It was by Christ’s own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall with stand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.

2. We say with St. Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man’s own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil’s constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God’s children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil’s delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – First Week: Sunday

14 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


First Sunday of Lent:It was fitting that Christ should be tempted

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil. Matt. iv. i.

Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That He might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, ” That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of Him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by His own, in the same way that He had come to overcome our death by His death.”

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, “The devil’s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace.” Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, “Christ gave Himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by His help but by His example too.”

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15).


First Sunday of Lent: Missa ‘Invocabit Me’ Link to LIVE EF Mass 10:30 EST

14 February 2016

 

Image Credit: ferrebeekeeper – “The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain” by Duccio di Buoninsegna

First Sunday of Lent
Dominica I in Quadragesima
Missa ‘Invocabit Me’
1st Class
Violet

[STATION AT ST. JOHN LATERAN]

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

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

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INTROIT ¤ Ps. 90. 15, 16

Invocabit me, et ego exaudium eum eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum: longitudine dierum adimplebo eum. — Qui habitat in adiutorium Altissimi: in protectione Dei coeli commorabitur. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Invocabit me, et . . .

He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days. — (Ps. 90. 1). He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High: shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven. V.: Glory to the Father . . . — He shall cry to me . . .

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said.


COLLECT

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam annua Quadragesimali observatione purificas: praesta familiae tuae; ut quod a te obtinere abstinendo nititur, hoc bonis operibus exsequatur. Per Dominum . . .

O God, who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly observance of Lent: grant to Thy household, that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, we may achieve by good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

EPISTLE ¤ II Cor. 6. 1-10

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

Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

[Lent, with its feastdays and prayers, is the acceptable time, the time of salvation. St. Paul exhorts us that we receive not the grace of God in vain.]

Fratres: Exhortamur vos, ne in vacuum gratiam Dei recipiatis. Ait enim: Tempore accepto exaudivi te, et in die salutis adiuvi te. Ecce nunc tempus acceptablie, ecce nunc dies salutis. Nemini dantes ullam offensionem, ut non vituperetur ministerium nostrum: sed in omnibus exhibeamus nosmetipsos sicut Dei ministros, in multa patientia, in tribulationibus, in necessitatibus, in angustiis, in plagis, in carceribus, in seditionibus, in laboribus, in vigiliis, in ieiuniis, in castitate, in scientia, in longanimitate, in suavitate, in Spiritu Sancto, in caritate non ficta, in verbo veritatis, in virtute Dei, per arma iustitiae a dextris, et a sinistris: per gloriam et ignobilitatem: per infamiam, et bonam famam: ut seductores et veraces: sicut qui ignoti, et cognoti: quasi morientes, et ecce vivimus: ut castigati, et non mortificati: quasi tristes, semper autem gaudentes: sicut egentes, multos autem locupletantes: tamquam nihil habentes, et omnia possidentes.

Brethren, We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left: by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 90. 11-12

Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te, ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis. V.: In manibus portabunt te, ne unquam offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum.

God has given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. V.: In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

TRACT ¤ Ps. 90. 1-7, 11-16

Qui habitat in adiutorium Altissimi, in protectione Dei coeli commorabitur. V.: Dicet Domino: Susceptor meus es tu, et refugium meum: Deus meus, sperabo in eum. V.: Quoniam ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium, et a verbo aspero. V.: Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi, et sub pennis eius sperabis. V.: Scuto circumdabit te veritas eius: non timebis a timore nocturno. V.: A sagitta volante per diem, a negotio perambulante in tenebris, a ruina et daemonio meridiano. V.: Cadent a latere tuo mille, et decem millia a dextris tuis: tibi autem non appropinquabit. V.: Quoniam Angelis suis mandavit de te, ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis. V.: In manibus portabunt te, ne unquam offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum. V.: Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem. V.: Quoniam in me speravit, liberabo eum: protegam eum quoniam cognovit nomen meum. V.: Invocabit me, et ego exaudiam eum: cum ipso sum in tribulatione. V.: Eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum: longitudine dierum adimplebo eum, et ostendam illi salutare meum.

He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. V.: He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. V.: For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. V.: He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. V.: His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. V.: Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. V.: A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. V.: For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. V.: In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. V.: Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample underfoot the lion and the dragon. V.: Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known my Name. V.: He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. V.: I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I will show him my salvation.

GOSPEL ¤ Matth. 4. 1-11.

† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
† Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum.

[It was in the desert that Satan, wishing to know if the Son of Mary was really the Son of God, tempted our Lord. The devil seeks to tempt us by the lustful desire of the flesh, by the pride of life, and by the lustful desire of the eyes, or avarice.]

In illo tempore: Ductus est Iesus in desertum a Spiritu, ut tentaretur a diabolo. Et cum ieiunasset quadraginta diebus, et quadraginta noctibus, postea esuriit. Et accedens tentator, dixit et: Si Filius Dei es, dic ut lapides isti panes fiant. Qui respondens, dixit: Scriptum est: Non in solo pane vivit homo, sed in omni verbo, quod procedit de ore Dei. Tunc assumpsit eum diabolus in sanctam civitatem, et statuit eum super pinnaculum templi, et dixit ei: Si Filius Dei es, mitte te deorsum. Scriptum est enim: Quia Angelis suis mandavit de te, et in manibus tollent te, ne forte offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum. Aid illi Iesus: Rursum scriptum est: Non tentabis Dominum Deum tuum. Iterum assumpsit eum diabolus in montem excelsum valde: et ostendit et omnia regna mundi, et gloriam eorum, et dixit ei: Haec omnia tibi dabo, si cadens adoraveris me. Tunc dicit ei Iesus: Vade Satana: scriptum est enim: Dominum Deum tuum adorabis: et illi soli servies. Tunc reliquit eum diabolus: et ecce Angeli accesserunt, et ministrabant ei.

At that time Jesus was lead by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written: That He hath given His Angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone Satan! for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 90. 4, 5

Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi Dominus, et sub pennis eius serabis: scuto circumdabit te veritas eius. The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.

SECRET

Sacrificium quadragesimalis initii solemniter immolamus te, Domine, deprecantes: ut cum epularum restrictione carnalium, a noxiis quoque voluptatibus temperemus. Per Dominum . . . We solemnly offer to Thee, O Lord, the Sacrifice of the beginning of Lent, beseeching Thee: that while we restrain our carnal feasting, we may abstain also from harmful pleasures. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE
Preface for Lent

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui corporali ieiunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem maiestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti iubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes:

It 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 by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ¤ Ps. 90. 4, 5

Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi Dominus, et sub pennis eius serabis: scuto circumdabit te veritas eius. The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.

POSTCOMMUNION

Tui nos, Domine, sacramenti libatio sancta restauret: et a vetustate purgatos, in mysterii salutaris faciat transire consortium. Per Dominum . . .

May the holy reception of Thy Sacrament, O Lord, refresh us, that cleansing us from our old life, it may make us to pass into the fellowship of the saving Mystery. Through our Lord . . .

 

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Thank you to Deo Volente for his hard work at his blog, Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland.


First Sunday in Lent by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

14 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Then Jesus said to him: Be gone, Satan!”–Matt. 4 : 10.

There is but one evil, and that is sin. This evil has many different paths by which it approaches us. These paths are called temptations. It is true that of themselves temptations can not injure us. On the contrary, Holy Writ says: “Blessed is the man that endureth, for when he hath been proved he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love Him.” All depends upon our withstanding them, and to be able to do this we must heed the admonition of Christ, we must watch and especially guard ourselves against those temptations through which Satan most frequently approaches man.

There are in particular three temptations to which today’s Gospel refers, and to which a large portion of mankind fall victims; the three temptations, namely, with which Satan dared to tempt Christ, our Lord, Himself.

Let us see, today, what sort of temptations these are. Mary, thou mighty stronghold against the hosts of the tempter, give us thy assistance, that we may come forth victorious from the fight! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

And the tempter approaching Him, said: “Command that these stones be made bread!” To what temptation do these words refer? I say to that temptation with which Satan assaults man when he enters upon life–the immoderate care for the goods of this world. It is the temptation of excessive labor, and anxiety after a business profession in order to gain a position in society. Yes, for a great number, even for many who otherwise seem to live piously, this is the net which entangles them in numberless temptations.

This regard for the world frequently causes men to forget their last aim and end. Instead of thinking only of what is requisite; for salvation, and pursuing it with their whole heart and the entire strength of their will, they live altogether for earthly things, and think seriously of nothing else. This worldly care extinguishes all their longing after perfection, and causes them to neglect those means of divine grace which are placed within their reach.

The man who is a prey to this inordinate care begins the day without prayer, and without a right intention; he neglects Mass, pious reading, and the holy Sacraments. His excuse is that his business leaves him no time for devotion, while in his intercourse with the world temptations approach him by countless roads. He hopes to satisfy the cravings of his heart with temporal wealth and pleasures; he expects to change the hard and tasteless stones of worldly enjoyment into bread which will nourish his soul but he is mistaken.

These perverse sentiments of the heart open wide the gate to all kinds of temptations; egotism, envy, anger, enmity, intemperance, deceit and injustice enter, and the wretched man endeavors to serve two masters, God and the world. But the world, at last, completely ensnares him, and, instead of conquering temptation, he is vanquished by it.

Satan said to Jesus after he had carried Him to the pinnacle of the temple: “Cast thyself down !” To what temptation do these words refer? To that dangerous state of the heart which causes man through presumption to fall a victim of his own foolhardiness.

And how? He neither fears God, nor the possibility of committing sin; he trusts in himself too much, and thinks that there is no danger of his swerving from the right path, and, while thus feeling secure, instead of avoiding temptation, he runs into it.

To this class of tempted persons belong those who are satisfied with being nominal children of the true Church, and who think that, because they are members of that Church out of whose pale there is no salvation, they will, without doubt, gain heaven. In a word, they are strangers to that fear of which St. Paul speaks when he says: “Work your salvation with fear and trembling.” To such people Satan need not go, they themselves seek him!

To this class belong also those who, in the selection of their place of business or their home, pay no attention to facilities for hearing Mass and receiving the Sacraments.

Finally, to this class belong those who are addicted to drinking, visiting bar-rooms, gambling; those who think only of pleasure, frequent dangerous company, read immoral books, and imagine that all this, in reality, has no evil consequences, and will not lead them into sin. Woe to these! They love the danger and will perish in it.

Lastly, Satan showed to Christ from the summit of a mountain all the kingdoms of the world, and said to Him: “All these will I give Thee if, falling down, thou wilt adore me.” What temptation is this? It is the temptation of self-love, of vanity, of pride in all its forms, a sin which deprives even virtuous actions of their merit. It is that self-adoration which causes man, even in a life devoted to piety, to seek more his own honor than the honor of God.

And yet how small, how trivial, is the honor which the world can give to man. Even were it to bestow all its glory and applause; how infinitely small would this be, when compared to God and the kingdom which He has promised and will give us! Those who are convinced of this truth will doubtless meet the tempter with an energetic: “Be gone!”

But it is in this determination, in this energy, that man is most deficient. Were this not the case, did he not waver, Satan would not hope, by again and again renewing his temptations, to succeed in the end; he would not even dare to tempt us. He knows well that he can do us no harm by tempting us, provided we remain firm, but that, on the contrary, he would only give us occasions to merit and adorn our crown of victory with jewels of virtue. St. Ignatius says: “Courage on our part discourages Satan.” If, however, he sees that we are in the least inclined to yield, then he is most persevering, and, tempting us again and again, attacks us on all sides and in all possible ways. Perceiving that he does not succeed in one attempt and through the instrumentality of one person, he makes a second attempt and seeks more efficient auxiliaries. He knows from experience how to undermine the foundation of great virtues and destroy them.

The one thing which frightens him and causes him to retreat is a decided: “Be gone!” In order, however, to feel strong and resolute, we must think daily and continually on the certainty of death, and on judgment, which one day will decide whether we are to dwell for evermore in heaven or in hell. If in temptation we turn to our crucified Saviour, and, making the sign of the cross, call on Jesus with the lips and the heart, Satan will flee, victory will be ours, and angels approaching us will console us with sweet thoughts of heaven! Amen!

“And the tempter coming, said to Him.”–Matt. 4 : 3.

God wills that all men should be saved, as St. Paul assures us, and Lent reminds us emphatically of the truth of these words. Many of the mysteries of the life of Christ, to which the Church refers during Lent in the Gospels at Mass, are evidences that Christ came into the world to teach men how to live in order to gain salvation, especially the mysteries of His apostolic life, which ended with His suffering and death upon the cross.

God, it is true, allows Satan to tempt us, but only in order to prove our fidelity, and to recompense us the more in the world to come. If men fail in this trial of liberty, then they have not employed the means God offers them to issue victorious from the strife. What means are these? A glance at the manner in which the: Church observes Lent will answer this question.

Mary, Mother of the elect, pray for us that we may be of the number of those who stand victoriously the test of temptation! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

At the commencement of Lent the Church puts ashes upon the heads of her children, saying: “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and that into dust thou shalt return.” The Church desires to keep the thought of the certainty and proximity of death alive in the hearts of her children. One of the chief reasons why so many souls, though ransomed by the blood of Christ, are lost, is their incomprehensible forgetfulness of death. If all men possessed that consciousness of death of which the Apostle speaks, and remembered its certainty, its nearness, they would never be lost for eternity. What is it that generally leads men into temptation and takes from them all strength and courage to withstand it?

His sinful inclinations, his desire for the goods, honors, and pleasures of this world, together with the forgetfulness of the certainty and nearness of death. Oh, that all men would each morning put ashes on their heads in spirit, and repeat the words of the Church on Ash Wednesday: Remember that thou art dust, and that to dust thou shalt return. Think that this day is perhaps your last! How many of those who in the morning go bright and happy to their labor, are brought home at night corpses! If this should be the case with you, what then? As ashes placed upon burning coals deaden and even extinguish their glow, so this recollection will reduce and stifle the fire of passion.

If men would occasionally take a solitary ramble in some cemetery, and thus awaken within themselves the recollection of the certainty and nearness of death, they would gain strength for the fight against temptations of selfishness, ambition, and worldliness. How wealth, honors, and pleasures lose their attraction in the silent cities of the dead! Smoke they are and vapor, viewed from the brink of the grave.

Is it not astonishing to see how anxious men are to render their condition in life as favorable to ease and comfort as possible, how careful they are to evade anything that might endanger their welfare in this world? They never give a thought to the shortness and uncertainty of this life, to the dangers that always hang over their heads; they do not consider that daily and hourly men die, and that soon they, too, must say to themselves: My turn has come.

They hear and know that nothing is so sure, nothing as inevitable as death, and yet as a saint of latter times, the blessed Hofbauer, whose canonization is now in progress, said: “Men know that they must die, and yet they do not believe it, but live as if this life were the only one they would ever possess, the only one for which they need care. Hence their negligence in all that pertains to their salvation, and hence also their eternal destruction.”

The Church requires her children during Lent to mortify themselves by observing the laws prescribed for this season. She not only demands of them to abstain from meat and partake of only one meal a day, but she desires above all to awaken and strengthen in their hearts the spirit of self-abnegation. Holy Writ says: “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” To conduct it properly and victoriously we must follow the admonition of Christ and mortify our selves.

The second cause of so many being lost is the want of the true spirit of repentance, and self-humiliation. Christ sent His Apostles as missionaries into the world with this message: Tell the people that if they do not repent they shall all perish. And St. Paul says: “And they who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with its vices and concupiscences.” Man craves happiness; while here below he wishes to enjoy the pleasures of an earthly paradise, and hopes one day to share, besides, the joys of heaven.

How many there are to whom the reproach of the Apostle may be justly addressed: “Whose god is their belly!” The desire of pleasure and excitement leads man into temptation, and causes him to indulge sinful inclinations, to commit mortal sin, and so lose eternal life.

The Church exhorts her children to live in retirement and meditation during Lent, and to devote more time to prayer and religious exercises. Why are so many souls lost even among the children of the Church? I answer, because they have not the spirit of prayer and contemplation, because they have not recourse to pious books for holy thoughts. Men live thoughtlessly, and do not take time to say a daily prayer or think with recollected minds of God and the eternal truth of His Word. They do not reflect or meditate upon what they believe. They do not reduce to practice the teachings of their faith, but live, although members of the Church, like Pagans. It is for this reason that Christians as well as heathens are lost. Jeremias has said: “With desolation is the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart.” Would to God that this reproach could not be referred to Christians!

St. Teresa says: “I fear not for a soul who prays.” But how few really pray while they are going through their devotions! Only too many deserve the reproach of the Lord: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” We either pray not at all, or fail in the manner, frequency, and perseverance of our aspirations to God, especially in time of temptation. Hence so many are powerless to resist the attacks of passion, and miserably fall.

The Church desires that her children, during Lent, should frequently and attentively hear the word of God and endeavor to profit by it. All, however, do not listen to her. But too many read their reproach and their condemnation in the words of Christ to the Jews. Christ Himself reproaches them, saying: “You hear not the words of God, because you are not of God.”

There are many Christians who, throughout the year, never hear a sermon, or who, if they hear one, listen to it not as to the word of God, and as if God Himself were addressing them, but regard it merely in its human element; hence their indifference to profit by it for the life to come, and hence also their eternal destruction.

The Church wishes her children to meditate, especially during Lent, upon the passion and death of Christ, in order that the love of the cross may fill their hearts. Christ says: “He who will follow me must take up his cross daily;” and the Holy Ghost: “In your patience you shall possess your souls.”

How many Christians neither love nor esteem the cross! yet they must endure the trials and afflictions of life. Their aversion to suffering only makes their burden heavier and more irksome. Murmuring against the decrees of Providence, they carry their cross as did the thief who was crucified at the left of our Lord. They forget that they can only enter the abode of the blessed by following Christ who walked before us the road of the cross to open for us the gates of heaven. Hence their weakness and faithlessness under trials and tribulations; hence, too, their eternal destruction.

The Church further desires her children during Lent to confess their sins and receive the Most Blessed Sacrament devoutly and worthily. That all do not comply with this wish, is evident from the fact, that the Church, to our great shame, has been obliged to give the following precept: “Confess your sins at least once a year to a priest duly authorized, and receive holy Communion at Easter or thereabout.”

They are in the greatest danger of making it the occasion of still greater evil. People who can only be prevailed upon by the most positive order to have recourse to the Sacraments, run a great risk of receiving them unworthily. Human respect may drive them to the confessional and the holy table:, but the chances are that they return from them more wicked, more laden with guilt than before.

Were the children of the Church to receive the Sacraments frequently and worthily, the consoling words of Christ would be fulfilled in them: “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life;” he “abideth in Me and I in him.” Yet how many men neglect to receive the blessed Sacrament, or else receive it without preparation or unworthily. This is the cause of the loss of many souls among Christians. Therefore, let us live, not only during Lent, but all our days, in the spirit in which the Church observes Lent, and let us practise those pious exercises which she recommends in order that after the Good-Friday of our life here below, we may celebrate Easter in the joys of life everlasting! Amen!


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Day Four

13 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


4th Day of Lent: Saturday: The Grain of Wheat

Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone.–John xii. 24.

We use the grain of wheat in two ways, for bread and for seed. Here the word is to be taken in the second sense, grain of wheat meaning seed and not the matter out of which we make bread. For in this sense it never increases so as to bear fruit. When it is said that the grain must die, this does not mean that it loses its value as seed, but that it is changed into another kind of thing. So St. Paul (i Cor. xv. 36) says, That which then thou sowest is not quickened, except it die first.

The Word of God is a seed in the soul of man, in so far as it is a thing introduced into man’s soul, by words spoken and heard, in order to produce the fruit of good works, The seed is the Word of God (Luke viii. II). So also the Word of God garbed in flesh is a seed placed in the world, a seed from which great crops should grow, whence it is compared in St. Matthew’s Gospel (xiii. 31, 32) to a grain of mustard seed.

Our Lord therefore says to us, “I came as seed, something meant to bear fruit and therefore I say to you, Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone” which is as much as to say, “Unless I die the fruit of the conversion of the Gentiles will not follow.” He compares Himself to a grain of wheat, because He came to nourish and to sustain the minds of men, and to nourish and sustain are precisely what wheaten bread does for men. In the Psalms it is written, That bread may strengthen man’s heart (Ps. ciii. 15), and in St. John, The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world(John vi. 52).

2. But if it die it bringeth forth much fruit (John xii. 25). What is here explained is the usefulness of the Passion. It is as though the gospel said, Unless the grain fall into the earth through the humiliations of the Passion, no useful result will follow, for the grain itself remaineth alone. But if it shall die, done to death and slain by the Jews, it bringeth forth much fruit, for example:

(i) The remission of sin. This is the whole fruit, that the sin thereby should be taken away (Isaias xxvii. 9). And this is the fruit of the Passion of Christ as is declared by St. Peter, Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust that he might offer us to God (i Pet. iii. 18).

(ii) The conversion of the Gentiles to God. I have appointed you that you shall go forth and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain (John xv. 16). This fruit the Passion of Christ bore, if I be lifted tip from the earth, I will draw all things to myself (John xii. 32).

(iii) The fruit of Glory. The fruit of good labours is glorious (Wis. iii. 15). And this fruit also the Passion of Christ brought forth; We have therefore a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the blood of Christ: a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh (Hebr. x. 19).


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Day 3

12 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

3rd Day of Lent: Friday: The Crown of Thorns

Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and see king Solomon in the diadem, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart.–Cant. iii. n.

This is the voice of the Church inviting the souls of the faithful to behold the marvellous beauty of her spouse. For the daughters of Sion, who are they but the daughters of Jerusalem, holy souls, the citizens of that city which is above, who with the angels enjoy the peace that knows no end, and, in consequence, look upon the glory of the Lord?

1. Go forth, shake off the disturbing commerce of this world so that, with minds set free, you may be able to contemplate him whom you love. And see king Solomon, the true peacemaker, that is to say, Christ Our Lord.

In the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him, as though the Church said, “Look on Christ garbed with flesh for us, the flesh He took from the flesh of His mother.” For it is His flesh that is here called a diadem, the flesh which Christ assumed for us, the flesh in which He died and destroyed the reign of death, the flesh in which, rising once again, He brought to us the hope of resurrection.

This is the diadem of which St. Paul speaks, We see Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour (Heb. ii. 9). His mother is spoken of as crowning Him because Mary the Virgin it was who from her own flesh gave Him flesh.

In the day of His espousals, that is, in the hour of His Incarnation, when He took to Himself the Church not having spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), the hour again when God was joined with man. And in the day of the joy of his heart. For the joy and the gaiety of Christ is for the human race salvation and redemption. And coming home, He calls together His friends and neighbours saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost (Luke xv. 6).

2. We can however refer the whole of this text simply and literally to the Passion of Christ. For Solomon, foreseeing through the centuries the Passion of Christ, was uttering a warning for the daughters of Sion, that is, for the Jewish people.

Go forth and see king Solomon, that is, Christ, in His diadem, that is to say, the crown of thorns with which His mother the Synagogue has crowned Him; in the day of His espousals, the day when He joined to Himself the Church; and in the day of the joy of His heart, the day in which He rejoiced that by His Passion He was delivering the world from the power of the devil. Go forth, therefore, and leave behind the darkness of unbelief, and see, understand with your minds that He who suffers as man is really God.

Go forth, beyond the gates of your city, that you may see Him, on Mount Calvary, crucified.


If You’re Catholic, Doritos Are Nacho Chip… via @ESWesthoff

11 February 2016

Elizabeth Westhoff at Virtual Vestibule, Archdiocese of St Louis
February 10, 2016

For the last several years, Frito-Lay, the company that owns Doritos, has sponsored the Crash the Super Bowl contest. Consumers are invited to create their own Doritos ads and at least one fan-made commercial is guaranteed to air during the Super Bowl. Over the years Doritos offered bonus prizes ranging from $400,000 to $1,000,000 making the Crash the Super Bowl contest the largest online video contest in the world.

During this year’s Super Bowl, a Crash the Super Bowl Doritos commercial aired that riled up both the pro-life and the pro-abortion factions.

doritos-superbowl-commercial-2016-social-300x160If you haven’t seen it, a mother is lying on an exam table looking at the ultrasound image of her baby while the baby’s father is standing alongside crunching on the contents of a bag of Doritos.

The next thing we see is the father waving a chip in front of the ultrasound image of the baby who, in turn, darts after the chip, eventually rocketing out of the womb in an attempt to grab the snack.

Click HERE for the rest…

lizzieElizabeth Westhoff is known for her dedication to the faith along with her incredible humor and wit. As Director of Marketing and Mission Awareness for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Elizabeth’s role is constantly evolving, using the tools of an ever changing world to share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys staying up to date on Catholic social teachings, news and pop culture.


@CatholicLisa and Her “Come to Jesus Moment” (in a good way hah!)

11 February 2016

Ash Wednesday: The Anniversary of my Conversion to Christ
by Lisa Graas at her blog, LisaGraas.com

holy mass lisaToday is Ash Wednesday, a very special day for all Catholics but even more special for me personally because it is the anniversary of my conversion to Christ. It was on this day in 1991 that I came to know that Jesus Christ truly is God, the Son of God the Father, conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit. It was this day, in short, that everything suddenly made sense to me.

For some people, the Bible is just a collection of stories that may or may not be true. That is what it meant to me for the first two decades of my life. Though my parents were devout Christians who believed in Sola Scriptura, I was not so sure. I wanted to believe, but contrary to what some people think, wanting to believe is not nearly enough. True belief comes only with conviction, and this conviction was sorely lacking in me in my early years. I wanted to believe…but I didn’t. I remained unconvinced.

Because I wanted to believe, I read my Bible a great deal. My parents had assured me that if I read it enough, belief would come. I trusted them and gave it everything that I had, but there was one thing that was a stumbling block to me. That was in the sixth chapter of John.

Please CLICK HERE to finish her story…

WE LOVE YOU LISA!!!


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