Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Special Gift for our Readers: Easter Litany and Sermon from the 18th Century

27 March 2016

Christ the ResurrectionSistine Chapel

A Litany for Easter

Let us sing Allelujahs to the King of Glory, Who, having laid down His life for our redemption, is now risen to the life immortal.

Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour, Who hath redeemed His people, and is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.

Praise Our Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.

Let those speak who have been redeemed by Our Lord: who have been delivered by Him out of the hands of the enemy.

That sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, straitened with poverty, and bound in irons.

And in their tribulation they cried to Our Lord: and He delivered them from all their calamities.

And He brought them out of darkness, and out of the shadow of death, and broke asunder their chains.

Let them praise Our Lord for His wonderful deeds to the sons of men.

For He hath made the brazen gates fly in pieces, and hath broken the iron bars.

My soul, bless Our Lord: O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy greatness wonderfully to appear.

Thou hast put on majesty and glory: Thou art clothed with light as with a garment.

By the strength of Thy arm Thou hast dispersed Thy enemies: Thy youth is renewed as that of an eagle.

A voice of joy and of salvation is heard in the tents of the just.

The stone, which the builders rejected, is made the cornerstone.

This is the work of Our Lord, and it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day which Our Lord hath made: let us triumph and rejoice therein.

Make this a day of solemnity; because Our Lord is exalted above His enemies.

Sing to Our Lord a new canticle: let His praise be celebrated in the assembly of saints.

Come, let us rejoice in God our Saviour: because He hath redeemed His people:

And is risen triumphant over the powers of hell.

 

Jesus, Redeemer of mankind,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, Who hast cleansed us by Thy Blood,
Have mercy on us.

Jesus, the Conqueror of sin and death,
Have mercy on us.

We sinners: Beseech Thee, hear us.

That we may put off the old man with his acts,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may not be conformed to this world,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may deny ourselves all ungodliness and worldly desires,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That we may live soberly, justly, and piously,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That being dead to sin, we may live to justice,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

That rising with Thee, our Redeemer, we may sin no more.
We beseech Thee to hear us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Let us pray:

O God, Who on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son hast overcome death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: do Thou follow with Thine aid the desires which Thou dost put into our minds and by Thy continual help bring the same to good effect. Through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

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The Resurrection of Christ
Sermon by the Rev. Thomas F. Burke, C.S.P.

I. No other fact has been such a power in the world as that which we commemorate today, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the annals of religion and its progress, in the records of faith and its victories, in the history of morality and its advancement, in the story of charity and its achievements, there has been no factor so influential. It is bound up most intimately and closely with human life. Even those who deny it as a myth are living today under conditions which would not exist had not centuries of Christian people believed in this great fact.

The Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith, because it is the proof supreme of His Divinity. Throughout His whole life, indeed, Christ was the revelation of God unto man.” God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.” The greatness, the beauty, the holiness, the majesty, the love, the mercy, the justice of God were manifested in the human life and actions of our Divine Lord upon earth. When an afflicted woman touched the hem of His garment and He cured her of her sickness; when the blind man cried out to Him, “Lord, that I may see,” and He gave him sight; when a ruler begged that his child might not die, and Jesus infused new vigor and health; when a sister and again a mother were in grief over the loss of a loved one, and He called the dead back to life; when a thief dying on a cross sought for pardon, and Jesus washed away the guilt of sin– in these and in many other instances He gave proof that He was divine.

All these, however, are subordinate to the one grand, triumphal fact which is the corner-stone of Christianity, and upon which all the rest of the structure depends–the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. So could the Apostle say: “If Christ be not risen from the dead, vain is our preaching, vain is your faith.”

He who admits the Resurrection must hold to Christ’s Divinity, and consequently to His divine right to be the Guide and Teacher of man. On the other hand, he who denies the Resurrection will not hesitate to sacrifice altogether belief in the divine prerogatives and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

II. Relying upon the Gospel narrative, my dear brethren, and upon the innumerable references throughout the New Testament, we must conclude that no fact in the world’s history is more incontestably established than the Resurrection of Christ; and yet we are brought face to face with the denial of this, by some at least.

The New Testament gives us evidence after evidence of the Truth, God Himself foretold His resurrection. The spirit of prophecy rested upon Him, and at times, for the sake of His followers, He lifted the veil that hangs beyond and revealed the vision, dimly it may have been, of future triumph and glory. When some would ask Him for a sign. He spoke of the sign of Jonas the prophet: ” For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt. xii. 40).

When about to go up to Jerusalem for the last time. He foretold what would happen to the Son of man: “The scribes and Pharisees . . . shall deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day he shall rise again” (Matt. xx. 18, 19).

At the time of His glorious transfiguration, when His favored Apostles would have rushed through the world proclaiming the miracle, “he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead” (Mark ix. 8).

Again, “Destroy,” said He, “this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of His body” (John ii. 19, 21).

These are but examples of His declarations to the effect that His suffering would be followed by joy, His night by day, His death by victory. His words were so understood and acted upon by the rulers of the Jews. “Sir,” they said to Pilate “we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead” (Matt. xxvii. 63, 64). The Jews therefore were prepared for any trickery.

The lifeless body was placed in the tomb; a special detachment of Roman soldiers, with instructions to more than ordinary watchfulness, was placed on guard and the tomb itself was officially sealed. Despite these measures, defying the seal of Rome and its Roman guardians, Christ rose triumphantly from the dead. On the very day of His resurrection He appeared unto the repentant and the rejoicing Mary Magdalen. Then to Peter, His chosen vicar, and to John, His especially beloved. In the evening of the same day He walked with two of His followers to the town of Emmaus, and later appeared unto His assembled Apostles.

After the first day, at least six separate appearances are recorded. As before His death, now after His resurrection, He conversed with His Apostles, spoke to His disciples, ate and drank with them. He brought certainty to the doubting Thomas, the sceptic apostle whose fault begot those consoling words, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” Upon a mountain in Galilee, in the midst of five hundred people, beside the sacred shores of the Lake of Tiberias, He appeared and spoke the words of light before which all lingering shadows of doubt were dispelled, and the flower of hope was newborn.

In reality, my dear brethren, if there be one fact in history which is better entitled to credit than any other, I do not hesitate to say that that fact is the glorious resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. Never, no, never, within the memory of man was any transaction transmitted through every successive generation, from the period of its occurrence to the present day, amid such a blaze of evidence. It is attested by the positive and unexceptionable testimony of persons of the highest integrity, who were themselves eyewitnesses of it, who saw Jesus dead, and who afterward beheld Him alive; who beheld Him not once or twice only, but frequently; not transiently, but for a considerable time; who not only beheld Him but who heard Him, conversed with Him, touched Him, ate and drank with Him, and had every imaginable certainty, both of the reality and identity of His person which it was possible for the evidence of the senses to convey, and who proved, moreover, their honesty and sincerity by that best of arguments, the shedding of their blood.

Had Christ not risen from the dead, there would be no Christianity. Had not Christ risen from the dead, the preaching of the Apostles would have been vain, and the people’s faith would ‘have been vain. A vain preaching and a vain faith would have failed long since. Nineteen centuries would not have passed to find that preaching and hope as strong as ever. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been annihilated in the ten great persecutions which the power of mighty Rome concocted for its destruction. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have succumbed to the efforts of him who when dying was forced to cry out: ” Galilean, Thou has conquered.” Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been swept from the face of the earth in the avalanche of paganism that from the north broke through the gates of the empire. Had it been a vain preaching, the third, second, yes, the first century would have stood beside its grave.

III. Yet in the light of these evidences, there are those today who deny the Resurrection. Upon theoretical grounds they declare its impossibility, because they hold that miracles in general are impossible. It is a question of fact more than theory. They would say: ” God cannot interfere with the established laws of the universe and the decrees of nature.”

God cannot interfere? What kind of a God? An impotent abstraction of the mind? But God is more than this. He is a reality, a personality. We are free agents. Our freedom is a perfection. If there be a God, He too must be free, and this implies the right and the power to make exceptions to His own laws.

IV. We can see that loss of faith in the Resurrection has brought with it the loss of belief in Jesus Christ, God and man, and is leading to the entire giving up of faith in God and the life to come. What is the cause of this ? One cause is disbelief in the records of the Resurrection, disbelief in the Scriptural account. Now, I maintain that the only place where belief in the Scriptures is securely retained, and the only place therefore where the fact of the Resurrection is safely guarded, is within the Catholic Church. She is the bulwark of the Resurrection. She is the one living witness of the fact that Christ rose from the dead.

Look about the world Today and you will find no body of people among whom there is the same respect, the same reverence, for the Scriptures as among the members of the Catholic Church. You will find no other church that holds with the same steadfastness to the sacredness of their character.

While among Christians outside the Catholic Church the principle of private interpretation of the Scriptures has led men to believe what they like, and has opened the way not only to difficulty but no doubt, she has stood in calm serenity and has held to her position as the teacher of men, the authoritative interpreter of Scriptures, appointed by Jesus Christ. While outside of her fold men are gradually coming to look upon the Scriptures as any other literature, she has unflinchingly declared them to be supreme over all other writings, to be the inspired truth of God. While at the best many will accord them only the credence given to human history, with its liability to prejudice and error, she proclaims them to be without error, because they are a Divine record of facts, stamped with the seal of heaven itself. While among skeptics the Scriptures are considered to be only a legendary legacy of bygone days, she, filled with the consciousness of her identity through the ages, can tell the world Today, as she has told it through nineteen centuries, “I know that these things are true.” And when, as the time goes on, amid those who have sacrificed belief in the Divine character of the Scriptures, they shall lose for them even the regard that is paid to human documents, she will stand, as heretofore, their staunchest defender.

V. Church of Christ, Thou art the one witness upon earth Today of the Resurrection. Thou alone hast breasted the storms of the centuries. Thou canst thus speak to the world: “Before Rationalism was, I am; before the Unitarian and the Socinian, I am; before Renan and Strauss, I am. Nations have lived and died; people have risen and fallen: ages have come and gone, I have witnessed their coming and their going. I have stood firm and unshaken amidst the storms of persecution, the assaults of infidelity, the ravages of licentiousness. I can carry the mind back to the time when the ‘smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon and camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian Amphitheater.’ I have witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome. I have witnessed the formation of the Christian nations of Europe; I have seen the savage civilized, the barbarian educated, the wild warrior subdued. I can link the twentieth century with the first. I have witnessed many of the events recorded in the New Testament. I am the living witness of all Christian ages, and I bear my testimony unto this day that Christ has risen.”

VI. Today, then, is the day of Christ’s triumph, the day of the Church’s rejoicing, that Church to which has been committed the preaching of the faith founded on His Resurrection. On the day of His death the world triumphed. Beside the cross the voice went up: “Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again: save thyself, come down from the cross.” Even then a word would have brought an army of smiling angels bearing fiery swords; even then a word would have struck down His persecutors; even then, did He desire it, that scene of death and defeat could have been changed into a heavenly victory. He could, but He would not, for then He was suffering for a guilt that was not His own. On the morn of the Resurrection another voice spoke. When the holy woman arrived at the tomb, an angel clothed in white stood before them and cried out, ” He is risen, he is not here.”

“Vah, . . . save thyself, come down from the cross.”

And the triumphant answer rolls on through the centuries: “He is risen, He is not here.”

Through the world it echoes: “He is risen, as He said.” It is the foundation of Christianity. The Apostles preached it and they knew whereof they spoke.

He is risen! It is confusion to the deniers of Christ’s Divinity, for, well founded as it is, it cannot be reasonably denied.

He is risen! It is the sign of Faith, inspiring that belief without which there is no salvation.

He is risen’ It is the promise and the hope of our resurrection upon the last day.

As we take a broad general view of the centuries, we seem to be standing in the nave of some vast cathedral. Over the distant altar we can see the inscription, ” He is risen, as he said.” From within this cathedral there issues forth the Christian song of triumph. Within its confines are gathered the hosts of witnesses from all times. We hear again the Evangelists chanting solemnly the simple story of Easter morn. We hear the whole body of the Apostles taking up the refrain and sounding it into all their followers. We hear St. Paul reiterating the sacred words and proclaiming that there is no Christianity without faith in the Resurrection. We hear the witnesses of the first centuries, the martyrs, clothed in blood-red garments, telling how with their life they bore testimony to the Resurrection of Christ. We hear Athanasius, the Saint of the Divinity, using the fact of the Resurrection against his adversaries; we hear his followers, the defenders of Christianity, smiling in their turn with the unanswerable argument of the Resurrection. From each century a song, and all unite in one grand symphony. The mighty anthem goes up; the song of triumph cleaves the sky: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”

And if by some miraculous power it were given us to look into the court of heaven; if for a moment, on this day, the eternal gates were lifted, we could hear issuing forth the song of the myriad angels, companions of those who stood within the tomb, the song of heaven’s triumph: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”

Right, then, is it that the Church on earth should on this day, above all others, rejoice. She sings today the triumph of her Founder. She chants today the glory of the Son of God. Our hearts, our wills, our minds, our souls are with her. The faith which springs up lively within our souls, the fountain of justification; the hope that inspires us in consequence of the great fact we commemorate; the charity towards God and man which is to be found only in the Christian heart; the joy that is the fruit of all these; the joy of sympathy with Jesus Christ the Victor, the Conqueror–all these are summed up in that cry which our beloved Church in her raptures of love repeats again and again: Resurrexit sicut dixit,” He said He would arise, and He has Risen.”


Good Friday – Extraordinary Form – Video and Online Missal

25 March 2016


Ordo Missae for Good Friday
from Sancta Missa.org.
Feria VI In Parasceve begins on page 265.


Editor’s Note: Thank you to cathcom (Sacramental Films) on You Tube


Exceeding Humility and Beauty of Mary at her Annunciation: Hail, Full of Grace!

25 March 2016

Annunciation Main Page

Annunciation Main Title

Exceeding Humility and Beauty of Mary
at her Annunciation.–Hail, Full of Grace!

Luke i. 28: “And the Angel said unto her, Hail, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women.”

The day is o’er, the moon serenely beaming
In silver light hath field and forest drest–
A thousand twinkling stars are gently gleaming–
The world is hushed and all is laid to rest.
Hail, full of grace! hail, full of grace!

Save one, who wakeful in her lonely dwelling,–
Of Juda born, a stem of Jesse’s rod,–
A Virgin pure, all others far excelling,
Uplifts her heart in tranquil prayer to God!
Hail, full of grace! hail, full of grace!

Divider Sidebar

Thirty Days Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
in Honor of the Sacred Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

[By the devout recital of this prayer for the above space of time, we may hope to obtain our lawful request. It is particularly recommended as a proper devotion for the time of Lent, and on the Fridays throughout the year.]

Ever glorious and blessed Mary, Queen of virgins, Mother of mercy, hope and comfort of all dejected and desolate souls; through that sword of sorrow which pierced thy tender heart, whilst thine only Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord, suffered death and ignominy on the cross; through that filial tenderness and pure love He had for thee, grieving in thy grief, whilst from His cross He recommended thee to the care and protection of His beloved disciple, St. John–take pity, I beseech thee, on my poverty and necessities; have compassion on my anxieties and cares; assist and comfort me in all my infirmities and miseries. Thou art the mother of mercies, the sweet consolatrix and refuge of the needy and the orphan, of the desolate and the afflicted. Look, therefore, with pity on a miserable, forlorn child of Eve, and hear my prayer; for since, in just punishment of my sins, I am encompassed with evils, and oppressed with anguish of spirit, whither can I fly for more secure shelter, O amiable mother of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, than to thy maternal protection? Attend, therefore, I beseech thee, with pity and compassion, to my humble and earnest request.

I ask it through the infinite merits of thy dear Son; through that love and condescension wherewith He assumed our nature, when, in compliance with the divine will, thou gavest thy consent; and whom, after the expiration of nine months, thou didst bring forth from the chaste enclosure of thy womb, to redeem the world and to bless it with His presence. I ask it through that anguish of mind wherewith thy beloved Son, my dear Savior, was overwhelmed on Mount Olivet, when He besought His eternal Father to remove from Him, if possible, the bitter chalice of His future passion. I ask it through the threefold repetition of His prayer in the garden, from whence afterwards, with dolorous steps and mournful tears, thou didst accompany Him to the doleful theatre of his sufferings. I ask it through the stripes and wounds of His virginal flesh, occasioned by the cords and whips wherewith He was bound and scourged, when stripped of His seamless garment, for which His executioners afterwards cast lots. I ask it through the scoffs and ignominies by which He was insulted; the false accusation and unjust sentence by which He was condemned to death, and which He bore with heavenly patience. I ask it through His bitter tears and bloody sweat: His silence and resignation; His sadness and grief of heart.

I ask it through the blood which trickled from His royal and sacred head, when struck with the sceptre of a reed, and pierced with the crown of thorns. I ask it through the excruciating torments He suffered when His hands and feet were fastened with large nails to the tree of the cross. I ask it through His vehement thirst and bitter drink of vinegar and gall. I ask it through His dereliction on the cross,when He exclaimed “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I ask it through the mercy extended to the good thief, and through His recommending His precious soul and spirit into the hands of his eternal Father before He expired, saying, ” All is finished.” I ask it through the blood mixed with water, which issued from His sacred side, when pierced with a lance, and whence a flood of grace and mercy hath flowed to us. I ask it through His immaculate life, bitter passion, and ignominious death on the cross, at which nature itself was thrown into convulsions by the bursting of rocks, the rending of the veil of the Temple, the earthquake, and darkness of the sun and moon. I ask it through His descent into hell, where He comforted the saints of the Old Law with His presence, and led captivity captive.

I ask it through His glorious victory over death, when He arose again into life on the third day; and through the joy which His appearance, for forty days after, gave thee, His blessed mother, His apostles, and the rest of His disciples; and when, in thy presence and in theirs, He miraculously ascended into heaven. I ask it through the grace of the Holy Ghost, infused into the hearts of His disciples when he descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues, and by which they were inspired with zeal in the conversion of the world when they went to preach the Gospel. I ask it through the awful appearance of thy Son at the last dreadful day, when He shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire. I ask it through the compassion He bore thee in this life, and the ineffable joy thou didst feel at thy assumption into heaven, where thou art eternally absorbed in the sweet contemplation of His divine perfections. O glorious and ever blessed Virgin, comfort the heart of thy supplicant, by obtaining for me:

[Here mention or reflect on your lawful request, under the reservation of its being agreeable to the will of God, who sees whether it will contribute towards your spiritual good.]

And as I am persuaded my divine Savior honors thee as His beloved Mother, to whom He can refuse nothing, let me speedily experience the efficacy of thy powerful intercession, according to the tenderness of thy maternal affection, and His filial, loving heart, who mercifully grantest the requests and compliest with the desires of those who love and fear Him. O most blessed Virgin, besides the object of my present petition, and whatever else I may stand in need of, obtain for me of thy divine Son, our Lord and our God, lively faith, firm hope, perfect charity, true contrition, a horror of sin, love of God and my neighbor, contempt of the world, and patience and resignation under the trials and afflictions of this life. Obtain likewise for me, O sacred Mother of God, the great gift of final perseverance, and grace to receive the last Sacraments worthily at the hour of my death. Lastly, obtain, I beseech thee, for the souls of my parents, brethren, relations, and benefactors, both living and dead, life everlasting. Amen.

Meditation on the Annunciation

Mary’s life as Joseph’s Spouse was no less one of devotion and recollection and prayer than her life in the Temple. In their little cottage her time was spent, when her household duties were done, in fervent prayer to God. Thus she is said to have been occupied when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. Mary’s prayers and Mary’s longing desires had moved the Heart of God to send a Redeemer for mankind! O omnipotent efficacy of earnest desire and persevering prayer!

The message the Angel brought bewildered the chaste and humble maiden. Her first thought was one of fear–fear lest the privilege announced to her should be purchased at the cost of her Immaculate virginity: she would not sacrifice this even to be Mother of the Messias: anything rather than forfeit that priceless jewel!

But God, who sent an Angel to comfort Christ in His Passion, reassured Mary by the Angel’s voice: Fear not, thou hast found grace with God. Because thou dost esteem thyself the most unworthy, God will exalt thee to a dignity which seems almost beyond the power of God to confer: He will make thee the Mother of His Son. O wondrous dignity of true humility!

Meditation on the Annunciation

Mary’s life as Joseph’s Spouse was no less one of devotion and recollection and prayer than her life in the Temple. In their little cottage her time was spent, when her household duties were done, in fervent prayer to God. Thus she is said to have been occupied when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. Mary’s prayers and Mary’s longing desires had moved the Heart of God to send a Redeemer for mankind! O omnipotent efficacy of earnest desire and persevering prayer!

The message the Angel brought bewildered the chaste and humble maiden. Her first thought was one of fear–fear lest the privilege announced to her should be purchased at the cost of her Immaculate virginity: she would not sacrifice this even to be Mother of the Messias: anything rather than forfeit that priceless jewel!

But God, who sent an Angel to comfort Christ in His Passion, reassured Mary by the Angel’s voice: Fear not, thou hast found grace with God. Because thou dost esteem thyself the most unworthy, God will exalt thee to a dignity which seems almost beyond the power of God to confer: He will make thee the Mother of His Son. O wondrous dignity of true humility!

Mary, it was thy lowliness,
Well pleasing to the Lord,
That made thee worthy to become
The Mother of the Word.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Wednesday in Holy Week

23 March 2016

“Spy Wednesday”
Wednesday in Holy Week
16 April 2014 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday in Holy Week

Three things are symbolised by the washing of the Feet

He putteth “water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded–(John xiii. 5).

There are three things which this can be taken to symbolise. 1. The pouring of the water into the basin is a symbol of the pouring out of His blood upon the earth. Since the blood of Jesus has a power of cleansing it may in a sense be called water. The reason why water, as well as blood, came out of His side, was to show that this blood could wash away sin.

Again we might take the water as a figure of Christ’s Passion. He putteth water into a basin, that is, by faith and devotion He stamped into the minds of faithful followers the memory of His Passion. Remember my poverty, and transgression, the wormwood and the gall (Lam. iii. 19).

2. By the words and began to wash it is human imperfection that is symbolised. For the Apostles, after their living with Christ, were certainly more perfect, and yet they needed to be washed, there were still stains upon them. We are here made to understand that no matter what is the degree of any man’s perfection he still needs to be made more perfect still; He is still contracting uncleanness of some kind to some extent. So in the Book of Proverbs we read, Who can say My heart is clean I am pure from sin (Prov. xx. 9).

Nevertheless the Apostles and the just have this kind of uncleanness only in their feet.

There are however others who are infected, not only in their feet, but wholly and entirely. Those who make their bed upon the soiling attractions of the world are made wholly unclean thereby. Those who wholly, that is to say, with their senses and with their wills, cleave to their desire of earthly things, these are wholly unclean.

But they who do not thus lie down, they who stand, that is, they who, in mind and in desire, are tending towards heavenly things, contract this uncleanness in their feet. Whoever stands must, necessarily, touch the earth at least with his feet. And we, too, in this life, where we must, to maintain life, make use of earthly things, cannot but contract a certain uncleanness, at least as far as those desires and inclinations are concerned which begin in our senses.

Therefore Our Lord commanded His disciples to shake off the dust from their feet. The text says, “He began to wash,” because this washing away on earth of the affection for earthly things is only a beginning. It is only in the life to come that it will be really complete.

Thus by putting water into the basin, the pouring out of His blood is signified, and by His beginning to wash the feet of His disciples the washing away of our sins.

3. There is symbolised finally Our Lord’s taking upon Him the punishment due to our sins. Not only did He wash away our sins but He also took upon Himself the punishment that they had earned. For our pains and our penances would not suffice were they not founded in the merit and the power of the Passion of Christ. And this is shown in His wiping the feet of the disciples with the linen towel, that is the towel which is His body.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Monday in Holy Week

21 March 2016

Monday in Holy Week

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday in Holy Week

It is necessary that we be wholly clean

1. If I wash thee not, thou shaft have no part with me (John xiii. 8). No one can be made a sharer in the inheritance of eternity, a co-heir with Christ, unless he is spiritually cleansed, for in the Apocalypse it is so stated. There shall not enter into it anything defiled (Apoc. xxi. 27), and in the Psalms we read, Lord who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle? (Ps. xiv.) Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord; or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart (Ps. xxiii. 3, 4).

It is therefore as though Our Lord said, If I wash thee not, thou shalt not be cleansed, and if thou art not cleansed, thou shalt have no part with me.

2. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head (John xiii. 9). Peter, utterly stricken, offers his whole self to be washed, so confounded is he with love and with fear. We read, in fact, in the book called The journeying of Clement, that Peter used to be so overcome by the bodily presence of Our Lord, which he had most fervently loved, that whenever, after Our Lord’s Ascension, the memory of that dearest presence and most holy company came to him, he used so to melt into tears, that his cheeks seemed all worn out with them.

We can consider three parts in man’s body, the head, which is the highest, the feet, which are the lowest part, and the hands which lie in between. In the interior man, that is to say, in the soul, there are likewise three parts. Corresponding to the head there is the higher reason, the power by means of which the soul clings to God. For the hands there is the lower reason by which the soul operates in good works. For the feet there are the senses and the feelings and desires arising from them. Now Our Lord knew the disciples to be clean as far as the head was concerned, for He knew they were joined to God by faith and by charity. He knew their hands also were clean, for He knew their good works. But as to their feet, He knew that the disciples were still somewhat entangled in those inclinations to earthly things that derive out of the life of the senses.

Peter, alarmed by Our Lord s warning (v. 8), not only consented that his feet should be washed, but begged that his hands and his head should be washed too.

Lord, he said, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. As though to say, “I know not whether hands and head need to be washed. For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified (i Cor. iv. 4). Therefore I am ready not only for my feet to be washed, that is, those inclinations that arise out of the life of my senses, but also my hands, that is, my works, and my head, too, that is, my higher reason.”

3. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean (John xiii. 10). Origen, commenting on this text, says that the Apostles were clean, but needed to be yet cleaner. For reason should ever desire gifts that are better still, should ever set itself to achieve the very heights of virtue, should aspire to shine with the brightness of justice itself. He that is holy, let him be sanctified still (Apoc. xxii. 11).


Saint Patrick’s Snakes ツ

17 March 2016

Some yuks for ya on such a great day to be Roman Catholic…and oh yeah, Irish too!


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Laetare Sunday – The Fourth Sunday of Lent

6 March 2016

15 March 2015 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Laetare Sunday – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Christ by His Passion opened to us the gates of Heaven

We have a confidence in the entering into the holies by the blood of Christ.–Heb. x. 19.

The closing of a gate is an obstacle hindering men’s entrance. Now men are hindered from entrance to the heavenly kingdom by sin, for Isaias says, It shall be called the holy way : the unclean shall not pass over it (Is. xxxv. 8).

Now the sin that hinders man’s entrance into heaven is of two kinds. There is, first of all, the sin of our first parents. By this sin access to the kingdom of heaven was barred to man. We read in Genesis (iii. 24) that after the sin of our first parents God placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubim and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. The other kind of hindrance arises from the sins special to each individual, the sins each man commits by his own particular action.

By the Passion of Christ we are freed not only from the sin common to all human nature, and this both as to the sin and as to its appointed penalty, since Christ pays the price on our behalf, but also we are delivered from our personal sins if we are numbered among those who are linked to the Passion by faith, by charity and by the sacraments of the Faith. Thus it is that through the Passion of Christ the gates of heaven are thrown open to us. And hence St. Paul says that Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by His onw blood entered once into the holies, having obtained a redemption that is eternal (Heb. ix. 11).

And this was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, where we read (Num. xxxv. 25, 28), the man-slayer shall abide there, that is, in the city of refuge, until the death of the high priest, that is anointed with holy oil. And after he is dead, then shall the man-slayer return to his own country.

The holy fathers who (before the coming of Christ wrought works of justice earned their entrance into heaven through faith in the Passion of Christ, as is written, The saints by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice (Heb. xi. 33). By faith, too, it was that individuals w r ere cleansed from the sins they had individually committed. But faith or goodness, no matter who the person was that possessed it, was not enough to be able to move the hindrance created by the guilty state of the whole human creation. This hindrance was only removed at the price of the blood of Christ. And therefore before the Passion of Christ no one could enter the heavenly kingdom, to obtain that eternal happiness that consists in the full enjoyment of God.

Christ by His Passion merited for us an entrance into heaven, and removed what stood in our way. By His Ascension, however, He, as it were, put mankind in possession of heaven. And therefore it is that He ascended opening the way before them.


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