Monthly Archives: February 2017

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

26 February 2017

From the blog, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Quinquagesima Sunday
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


“For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon:and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death.”–Luke 18: 31.

The Gospel of today refers to the preparation of the Church for the great festival of Easter. This time of Lent was especially instituted in order that we might have a time, in which to meditate, with more than ordinary seriousness, on the passion of Christ. All those who, believing in Christ, obey this invitation of the Church, feel their hearts filled with bitterness and aversion for the ungrateful Jews; but how few consider that when they, as Christians, sin, they become more guilty towards the Redeemer than were even the Jews!

This we will understand if we refer the words we have just read: “He shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and put to death” to the life of a Christian sinner. O Mary, refuge of sinners, pray for us that we may recognize the foulness of sin, and from today banish every trace of it from our hearts! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Christ prophesied of Himself: “The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles.” This complaint is also directed to the Christian sinner. Each sin is treachery. A child of the Church who commits sin is a traitor to Christ, as Judas was; for at baptism he swore to be true to God; and, in addition to this, he has, perhaps, received Him frequently in holy Communion. A sinner is a traitor to Christ; for if he be a child of the Church, he generally prays and lives outwardly as though he were a genuine follower of Christ. He becomes a hypocrite, confessing with his lips love for God above all else, and outwardly seeking only to know and fulfill His holy will, while all the time he is acting exactly the opposite. Thus his whole life is a life of treachery.

Christ prophesies of Himself: “The Son of man shall be delivered to the Gentiles and shall be mocked and scourged.” Every sinner scourges the Lord anew! St. Alphonsus Liguori tells us that the Lord once appeared in Rome to a great sinner in the form of a young man. The woman rejoiced at His coming; but when she asked Him who He was, the figure of the youth changed, and Christ the Redeemer stood before her crowned with thorns, and His body lacerated by scourging. “Do you know Me?” asked He, the Lord. “Behold how I have suffered for and through you. When will you cease to scourge Me?” The woman, weeping bitterly, cast herself repentantly at the feet of Christ, and abandoned her evil ways.

This vision concerns not only this one sinful woman, but all sinners, and to each Christ addresses the sad question: “Do you know Me?” And to each the Apostle says: “Whoever sinneth, crucifies Christ in his heart.” The sinner revives the passion of our Lord; he scourges Him anew.

Men who live in the state ot mortal sin are generally guilty not only of one sin, but of many, both in number and kind. A man offending God by impurity is likewise often angry, envious, full of hatred towards others, and intemperate. He braids all these sinful fetters into a lash with which he scourges the Lord in his heart.

Even to a single sin several guilty acts may concur. Thus the seducer offends not only in deed, but also in thought and word; then how long, how broad, how sharp the lash becomes with which he scourges Jesus!

And not only this, but he gives scandal by his sinful life, and is the cause that others offend God and scourge Jesus by their sins of thought, word and action. We can understand how the number of these scourges is increased, if we but consider how those corrupted by one sinner lead others into the path of evil, and these again others, and so on, God only knows how long, even to the end of time.

Have you ever thought of this dreadful lash with which you yourself have scourged Jesus by your sins, and by the scandal you have given? Has not Christ the right to address the same words to you which He spoke to the sinner in Rome: “Do you know Me?”

Behold how I am scourged by the number and greatness of you sins! Oh, cease to scourge Me with your countless sins! Christ prophesies further: “The Son of man shall be mocked.” The sinner mocks and derides Christ as God and as Redeemer. To comprehend this, we need only think of the Lord’s prayer, and then consider how the sinner derides God when he repeats it!

He calls God “Father,” and yet, as Christ says, he is born, through sin, of his father, the devil! He says with his lips: “Hallowed be Thy name,” and desecrates it daily by sin! He prays with the mouth: “Thy kingdom come,” and yet destroys it in his heart by sin, and in the hearts of others by his vicious life and the scandal which he gives!

He prays: “Thy will be done,” and follows only his own sinful inclinations, and this with an ingratitude, a wickedness that is worse than that of the devil, because his soul has been redeemed with the blood of Christ.

He asks: “Give us this day our daily bread,” and works as hard as though he thought there was no God, and every man had to take care of himself. He gives no thought to nourishing his soul by the frequent reception of holy Communion; he lives for this earth only, and cares nothing for heaven. He prays that God may forgive him as he forgives others, and yet he refuses to pardon; what mockery!

He entreats: “Lead us not into temptation,” and does not avoid, but seeks temptation. He begs God to deliver him from evil, and remains voluntarily in a state of sin, which is the source of all evil.

Lastly.–The Son of man is, according to the prophecy of Christ, to be crucified. Every Christian who sins crucifies the Lord in his heart. He crucifies Jesus, and can not prevail upon himself to take Him from the cross of sin. The three nails which fastened the Lord to the cross are: Custom,–the forgetfulness of eternity,–the example and society of others! These are the three obstacles which generally prevent the conversion of a sinner.

Divine grace, however, is all powerful; may its triumph be celebrated, and may every sinner now present profit by it, in order that the Lord may, during this Lent, arise in his heart; and, celebrating Easter within it, dwell therein from this day on for evermore! Amen!

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

Today’s Gospel, besides relating to us the prophecy of Christ concerning His approaching sufferings, speaks also of a “blind man who sat by the way side begging.” It might at first sight appear that there is no connection between these two circumstances, and yet there is.

This blind man, begging by the way-side, personates the sinner. No one is able to restore to him his sight but He Who came into the world to suffer and die for sinners. The particular fact to which I wish to draw your attention today is: The blindness of sinners. I desire the more particularly to speak of this blindness as we live in a century which boasts of its enlightenment, and of its progress in art and science.

It is true that in a temporal point of view we have reason to marvel at the inventive genius of men, but at the same time we have no less reason to wonder that these same men should be so blind and grow daily more so in regard to everything that concerns their future life.

O Mary, thou first bright beam of Christ, the rising Sun, pray for us that we may receive light to see the misery of that blindness with which sin encompasses men! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

At the siege of Assisi by the Turks, when the latter were attacking the cloister in which St. Clair and her sisters lived, the saint had the Host brought before the gates of the convent and cried to the Lord for help. Christ heard her prayers, and while the Turks were scaling the walls of the convent, they were suddenly struck with blindness and precipitated to the ground.

Blindness, spiritually considered, is the state in which all sinners live, especially those who, though belonging to the Church of Christ, conduct themselves like heathens. Let us draw a comparison; a blind man does not perceive that the rays of the sun descend upon the face of the earth; the darkness of night surrounds him. The sinner passes his days in spiritual blindness. He who looks with his physical eyes upon the world, sees the wonders of the wisdom, power and kindness of God. He recognizes how Providence cares for everything, preserves every thing, and leads all things to the end for which He has destined them.

And when we look about us with a heart filled with love for God, how many causes greet our sight to love, honor, worship and serve Him! The divine attributes become clearer to us, if we think of all that God has done for mankind by the work of Redemption. What proofs of His Wisdom, Power and Goodness we have in the creation of divine grace! But of all this the Christian sinner seems to see nothing. For him it is night, as it was night for Judas when, on the evening of holy Thursday after having unworthily partaken of the Lord s supper, he went away and betrayed Christ.

The Catholic sinner confesses with his lips all the tenets of his faith, but they do not influence his life; he remains in utter darkness, and in the light of faith lives like a blind heathen. This is especially the case if he has never been thoroughly instructed in his faith. Oh! how many spiritually blind people there are in this enlightened century, even among the children of the Church. Whatever may be the size of an object the blind can not see it. So it is with the spiritually blind. The truth of faith stands in its eternal grandeur before the eyes of his mind, but he does not see it, he does not deign to regard it.

A blind man knows nothing of the beauty of colors, nor of the harmony which unites all things in nature and forms of them one great picture. Thus it is with one who is spiritually blind, it is as if he had no perception of the beauty of true holiness and of a virtuous life.

He experiences no longing after perfection, and regards all aspirations to a higher life as unfeasible. He is hardly aware that there have been saints upon earth. He never raises his eyes to these glorious stars in the firmament of the Church, and if he does accidentally, these far-off luminaries, these worlds of holiness, appear but points of light, and it never occurs to him, while contemplating them, that they shine for his illumination.

The blind man does not become convinced of the existence of a thing until his hands have felt it. Thus one spiritually blind believes only that which he can seize, so to say, with his hands; he thereby dishonors his intellect and reason.

A blind man passes the most costly diamonds, the most brilliant jewels, and stretches out his hands towards a pebble which lies in his path. He is incapable of earning his livelihood, and would starve; if no one took care of him. Thus, one spiritually blind starves mentally, though he is in the midst of plenty and could gather with every breath merits of incomparable worth for the life to come. He is heedless of this fact, and wastes the precious time of his life in groping about in the darkness until the approach of that night when no one can work.

A blind man is unaware of the abyss that yawns at his feet; one step more and he will be precipitated into its measureless depth. If he is in danger, he does not perceive it, and would not leave his place if a wild beast came rushing towards him ready to tear him to pieces. Thus with the man spiritually blind. He must, as a Christian, be aware that the dangers besetting salvation are manifold, and he must know what Christ has said about the broad path leading to destruction and the torments awaiting the sinner, yet he never gives a thought to his danger, and is not concerned even if he is reminded of it.

A blind man, when threatened with some calamity, does not see the means of escape even if they are within his reach. This is exactly the case with one who is spiritually blind. He does not perceive that sureness which the Catholic faith imparts, but wanders about without a guide; or if, retaining the appearance of a Christian, he seems to perceive the light of revelation, he nevertheless sits motionless, like an owl on a withered branch, turning his eyes in every direction, but seeing nothing in the clear light of the sun.

Large numbers of these night-birds, of these spiritual owls, are to be found in the streets of cities. A true conversion to God by His preventing grace will restore the sight to these blind men when, on some occasion in their lives, the Lord passes by, and they perceive His presence by the grace that arouses their conscience.

It is especially on great festivals of the Church, in Missions and Jubilees, that the sinner feels the approach of Jesus, and is moved to follow him like others. Well for him if he then open his heart to the light of faith streaming upon him, or, should this light be still flickering in his heart, well for him if he endeavor, with the help of grace, to revive its feeble flame.

Christ said to the blind man: “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Sinners, and all ye who are spiritually blind, take this admonition to heart, reanimate your faith, and you will see clearly the path of salvation. Then will you make rapid progress upon this path, and one day behold Jesus and understand the miracle which His power and love hath wrought to enlighten and save you. Amen!

“Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way-side begging.” Luke 18: 35.

The holy time of Lent is approaching, and the Church endeavors to prepare the hearts of her children for this solemnity. She would have us not only believe that Christ came into the world in order to save us by His bitter passion and death, but also wishes us to use strenuous endeavors to make His merits our own. Unfortunately the words of Christ to the Apostles, or rather what the Gospel says in regard to their mental condition, may be applied to many children of the Church: “They understood none of these things.”

The principal cause of this intellectual blindness is the state of sin which prevents them from understanding the true import of religious truths. We have a picture of this pitiable state in the blind man who sat by the way-side begging. The sinner is blind; we considered this truth last year on this Sunday. Today I say: he is also a beggar. I shall endeavor to show you the truth of this comparison, and to draw thence some important lessons.

O Mary, restorer of divine grace, pray for us that we may turn to God, and, forsaking the misery of sin, grow rich in merit as true children of God! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

St. Chrysostom, commenting on the parable of the prodigal son, says that the unfortunate young man feels particularly one circumstance of his miserable condition, which sinners, whom he represents, seldom take into consideration.

This circumstance is, that he served as a swine-herd, and without stated wages. He was hungry, but had nothing to eat. With how little would he have been satisfied! He craved the insipid husks which the swine devoured, yet no one offered them to him. Sinner, does your master give you bread ? Do you not serve him without recompense? Are you not obliged to beg your food of the swine?

Yes; even so! The master whom the sinner serves in capacity of swine-herd, is Satan! He serves him without stipulated wagers. There is no doubt of it. For what can Satan promise man in return for the slavish service of sin? He possesses nothing, nor does he rule the world. But even were he to promise something, the sinner could not be certain of his wages; for “Satan” according to the testimony of Holy Writ, “is a liar, and the father thereof.” All reward is uncertain, even the very husks of enjoyment which man receives from the indulgence of his passions. How often is sin the cause even of man’s temporal misery! How often does it not weary him of life, and hurl him into the suicide’s grave!

But even if all the enjoyment of the world were the sinner’s, his heart, created for God, would remain empty and sigh with Solomon: “Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,” except to serve God, to love Him, and possess Him. Oh! that the sinner would bear this in mind, and say to himself like the prodigal son: I am the son of a rich father; “the hired servants in my father s house have plenty of bread, and I here perish with hunger.”

Sinner, miserable beggar, are you not ashamed of yourself? Why do you not cease begging? God alone can give you that which you ask of human creatures. He alone can satisfy the longing of your heart. Men are poor themselves, and can give you nothing for food save husks, which can not allay the hunger of your soul.

We will see the truth of this if we consider the intrinsic value of those goods which the heart of man yearns to possess. First, man desires an occupation by which to earn a living; then he wants this occupation to be profitable enough to enable him to amass wealth. To succeed in this he becomes a beggar–begs of men. And yet what would it avail him were he to gain all the gold of the earth? It is but dust, and he can not take it with him to the other world. More over, he often receives for his labor only poor wages, and frequently the harder he labors the less he is repaid.

How many such beggars are there in this world! If they did for God and heaven only a tenth part of what they do for the world they would become, as Thomas a Kempis says, great saints, and immensely rich in the goods of heaven.

Yes, thou blessed Thomas, if men would do but a hundredth part of what they do for the world, what a great number of saints we would possess. But as it is, they are indolent in the service of God, and go begging, ask for wealth, honor, and renown. And how soon death deprives them of all they have gained by begging, while whatever is done for the service of God is gathered and kept for evermore in heaven!

The human heart craves not only possessions but also esteem, and what will not a sinner do to win distinction? and what will he not endure not to be disgraced before man or to gain his good graces? And yet of what worth is the honor bestowed by man? It is like vapor, which rapidly dissolves. Yet how many sycophants there are upon earth! Of those, however, who serve Him, God says: “Whosoever shall glorify me, him will I glorify.” A holy life renders us an object of admiration even to the angels, and secures for us a throne in the kingdom of God.

Ambitious human creatures, why do you not think of this? why do you persist in asking man for what God will give you bountifully, if you only live in such a manner upon earth as to be worthy to be called His child?

The human heart does not alone desire the possession of wealth and honor, but it also craves enjoyment and the sinner goes begging to human creatures for it. But all in vain! St. Augustine rightly says: “Thou, O Lord, hast created our heart for Thee, and it can not rest, until it rests in Thee!”

The joy which man seeks from his fellow-man, how unsatisfactory and empty, how frivolous, and often debasing! The sinner deservedly merits the reproach of the Apostle: And what benefit did you derive from that of which you are now ashamed?

On the other hand, how great the enjoyment which God prepares for those who serve Him, and who unite themselves to Him in prayer! As we read in the lives of the saints, they enjoy a foretaste here below of the bliss which awaits them in eternal life.

How vain, then, for man to beg created beings to fill the void in his heart, for he can receive nothing from them which is capable of satisfying his craving; on the contrary, after he has emptied the cup of sensual pleasures, he is forced to sigh with bitterness and repentance: O joy! why hast thou deceived me?

Well for him if he feels his misery, and turns to the One Who alone is able to give all that the heart desires. Many will endeavor to silence him, when his soul sends forth her first cry to God, as the beggar was hushed in today’s Gospel; but if casting off all fear of men he heeds them not, he will be heard, and filled with the riches of the children of God. Those who love Jesus and follow Him will give thanks and honor to God for the grace bestowed upon them.

God grant that during this Lent all begging sinners, all spiritually blind, may have the happiness to sigh from the depth of their heart: Jesus, Thou hast cured me of my blindness, and delivered me from my misery! Now I see Thee and follow Thee, and I am rich through Thee, O my Lord and my all! Amen!


Bishop McElroy has embraced the “Spirit” of #SaulAlinsky

24 February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE click HERE for the REST OF THE STORY!

Bishop McElroy, are these YOUR WORDS? @DioceseSanDiego

22 February 2017

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

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

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

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

 



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

19 February 2017

Image Credit: Catholic Resources.Org – Sexagesima Sunday – Luke 8:4-15

Purple

2nd Class

[STATION AT ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS]

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

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

“The LIVE Mass that streams to LiveMass.net is actively taking place in Sarasota, Florida. At all times the screen will remain blank until ten minutes before the scheduled Mass.

After Mass is finished, the recorded Mass is available at this link. Mass times are Sunday (Low Mass) at 8:30 a.m. EST. The High Mass is at 10:30 a.m. EST. All other times the screen will remain blank. The Daily Mass schedule is Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. EST and Tuesday and Friday evening an additional daily Mass at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Recollection of the Confraternity of Saint Peter takes place also on the 2nd Friday of the month at 6:30 P.M. EST.” from the website of livemass.net

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INTROIT ¤ Ps. 43. 23-26
Exsurge, quare obdormis, Domine? exsurge, et ne repellas in finem. Quare faviem tuam avertis, oblivisceris tribulationem nostram? adhaesit in terra venter noster: exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos, et libera nos. — Deus, auribus nostris audivimus: patres nostris annuntiaverunt nobis. V.: Gloria Patri . . . — Exsurge, quare . . . Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end. Why turnest Thou Thy face away, and forgettest our trouble? our belly hath cleaved to the earth: arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. — (Ps. 43. 2). We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — Arise, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? . . .

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said.

COLLECT.–O God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do: mercifully grant that by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversities. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

EPISTLE ¤ II Cor. 11. 19-33; 12. 1-9
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

[St. Paul tells of his shipwrecks and perils inthe sea, all the torments he endured for the Name of Christ. Let us “therefore glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in us.”]
Brethren, You gladly suffer the foolish: whereas yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak according to dishonor, as if we had been weak in the past. Wherein if any man dare (I speak foolishly), I dare also. They are Hebrews, so am I. They are Israelites, so am I. They are the seed of Abraham, so am I. They are the ministers of Christ (I speak as one less wise), I am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in stripes above measure, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times did I receive forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was in the depth of the sea: in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren: in labor and painfulness, in much watching, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides those things which are without, my daily instance, the solicitude for all the Churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is scandalized, and I am not on fire? If I must needs glroy, I will glory of the things that concern my infirmity. The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever, knoweth that I lie not. At Damascus the governor of the nation under Aretas the king, guarded the city of the Damascenes, to apprehend me: and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and so escaped his hands. If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not, or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth, such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth: that he was caught up unto paradise, and heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. For such a one I will glory: but for myself I will glory nothing but in my infirmities. For though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me, or anything he heareth from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should exalt me, there was given me a sting of my flesh, and angel of Satan, to buffet me. For which thing, thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me. And He said to me: my grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 82. 19, 14
Sciant gentes, quoniam nomen tibi Deus: tu solus Altissimus super omnem terram. V.: Deus meus, pone illos ut rotam, et sicut stipulam ante faciem venti. Let the Gentiles know that God is Thy Name: Thou alone art the Most High over all the earth. V.: O my God, make them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind.

TRACT ¤ Ps. 129. 1-4
Commovisti, Domine, terram, et conturbasti eam. V.: Sana contritiones ejus, quia mota est. V.: Ut fugiant a facie arcus: ut liberentur electi tui. Thou hast moved the earth, O Lord, and hast troubled it. V.: Heal Thou the breaches thereof, for it has been moved. V.: That they may flee from before the bow: that Thine elect may be delivered.

GOSPEL ¤ Luke 8. 4-15
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

[Jesus, in the boat, on the shores of the lake of Galilee, preaches the parable of the sower.]
At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: The sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell away among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.

OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 16. 5-7
Perfice gressus meos in semitis tuis, ut non moveantur vestigia mea: inclina aurem tuam, et exaudi verba mea: mirifica misericordias tuas, qui salvos facis sperantes in te, Domine. Perfect Thou my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps be not moved: incline Thine ear, and hear my works: show forth Thy wonderful mercies, Thou who savest them that trust in Thee, O Lord.

SECRET.–May the Sacrifice offered to Thee, O Lord, ever quicken us and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .


PREFACE

Preface of the Most Holy Trinity
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo, et Spiritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitate substantiae. Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione verae, sempiternaeque Deitatis, et in personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in majestate adoretur aequalitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim: qui non cessant clamare quotidie, una voce dicentes: It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:


COMMUNION
¤ Ps. 42. 4
Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. I will go in to the altar of God, to God who giveth joy to my youth.

POSTCOMMUNION.–We humbly beseech Thee, almighty God, to grant that they whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments, may worthily serve Thee by lives well-pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .

Pre-Lent – Sexagesima: Introit from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Thanks to our good friend, Deo Volente (@UsusAntiquiorMd on Twitter) at his blog, The Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland for the source information on the Propers and music.


This Week: Sexagesima: “The seed is the Word of God.” – Luke 8

19 February 2017
    From the blog, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

    Sexagesima Sunday

    “The seed is the Word of God.”–Luke 8

    Every Gospel which the Church reads or expounds to the faithful during the ecclesiastical year, points to a dogma or duty intimately connected with our life as children of the Church and of God. This is the case in today’s Gospel, which contains a special admonition.

    Christ speaks of hearing the divine Word. He refers to the fruit which it should, but unfortunately seldom does, produce. Christ also explains the reasons and circumstances which prevent the word of God from exercising the desired influence upon the lives of the children of the Church.

    Let us meditate today upon the explanations which the Lord himself gives us on this subject. O Mary, thou who didst hear the Word of God as it should be heard, and who didst “keep that Word, pondering it in thy heart,” grant that the same Word may also bear fruit in our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

    The first cause which Christ assigns why the Word of God bears not fruit, is contained in the words: “Some fell by the wayside.” The trodden path represents the hearts of those who, despising the truths and laws of faith, pass their days in blindly following the example of others and in thinking only how they may render their lives as easy as possible. To this class belong not only numberless irreligious, but also many of the faithful who in their daily actions differ little from the irreligious.

    Though, at times they hear the Word of God and at moments are conscious that their lives are not what faith demands, and though they frequently resolve to change their conduct, still the habit of a lax life has so grown upon them that the seed of the Word of God can not take root and will soon be trodden upon, owing to the wrong use they make of their lives, a use which, in the course of time, has become a second nature to them.

    The example of others, too, prevents them from making promises of reformation or from keeping those which they may have made. They recognize during a sermon the necessity of caring above every thing else for their salvation, and of profiting by the graces which God bestows upon them; they harbor for the hour the most earnest resolve of changing their conduct and living as true Christians by attending for the future to prayer, the hearing of Mass, the reading of good books, and the frequent reception of the holy Sacraments. And yet they never do so. The next day they neglect as usual their morning prayers, and proceed as heedless as ever to their work. And why? Because they have grown accustomed to this manner of life, and do as others with whom they dwell. They could conveniently hear Mass during the week, but do not. They are not in the habit of doing so, and others are negligent about it. They made the resolution to receive the blessed Sacrament every month but neglect to do as they resolved. Why? They are not in the habit of going so frequently to holy Communion, and others have not this habit.

    Human considerations, fear of man, combine to keep them back and pluck, so to say, the seed of a holy life from their hearts. They fear the displeasure of man more than that of God. The seed of the divine Word bears not for them the fruit of eternal life.

    “Some fell upon a rock and withered away.” Herein lies the second cause which prevents the Word of God from bearing fruit within us. The stones with which our hearts are filled prevent it from taking root. And what stones are these? They are the different habitual sins, those sins and temptations to which man has become a slave, which he can not resist, and the inclination to which has, so to say, become petrified.

    Pride, avarice, anger, envy, enmity, intemperance, unchastity, all become through habit impenetrable rocks to the Word of God. It is true that even souls hardened in sin sometimes feel the influence of the divine Word which calls upon them to change their lives, and they resolve to follow the call; but the slightest temptation withers this frail blossom of an awakened conscience, and the seed of God’s Word dies with it.

    The third cause which prevents the seed of the divine Word from bearing fruit are the thorns which, as our Lord says, “growing up with the good seed, choked it.” These thorns are our immoderate cares for earthly prosperity. The experiences of all ages of the world shows this to be the case. Men occupied with temporal cares heed not the warning of God’s words, and forget that which should be their principal pursuit. These anxious people listen not to the warning of Christ: “What will it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Their maxim seems to be: Of what use is heaven to me, if in caring for it I suffer temporal losses. They heed not the words of Christ: “Seek first the kingdom of God,” but seem to say: Seek first happiness upon earth, we will gain heaven any way.

    I here is one circumstance in today’s Gospel to which St. Gregory the Great refers when he says: Temporal goods may be compared to thorns. Children of men, you will not assent to this, but Christ Himself has said so, and who dares to contradict Him? To you they seem rather a velvet lawn upon which you can rest, yet your own experience must teach you the truth of the words of Christ. Confess, do not thoughts of how to win a fortune torment you day and night? And if you are in the possession of wealth, does not the fear that you may lose or employ it disadvantageously take away your rest? And lastly, how grieved you are when you lose it! You would give your share of heaven to regain it!

    Ah! truly among temporal possessions there are thorns which stifle; the seed of the divine Word. Hence examine yourself earnestly and faithfully! Child of the Church, have you not contracted the habit of living, as most men do, after the example of the children of the world? Are there no stones in your heart, no sins which have become habitual?

    Do not temporal cares choke the growth of your good resolutions to lead an edifying life, and do not they lessen your anxiety to obtain all which may help you to it?

    Remove from your heart this dust, these stones, these thorns; and, no doubt, the Word of the Lord will bring forth fruit for the Life to come thirty, sixty, nay a hundred-fold! Amen!


    “But that which fell on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart,
    hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.”–Luke 8

    As Christ Himself compares the Word of God to seed which brings forth fruit for eternal life, it becomes most important for us to meditate well on all that He has said, in order that we may derive the benefit from it to which He refers in the parable.

    Most ardently do I desire that this be the case today; for what greater wish can a preacher have than that the Word which he proclaims may not be lost, but that it bear fruit; nay more, that it bear good fruit threefold, sixfold, a hundred-fold for the life to come.

    Consider with me the causes on which, according to Christ’s own testimony the fructifying influence of the divine Word depends; then you will in future hear sermons with greater profit.

    Mary, thou whom the Lord calls blessed, because thou not only didst hear the Word of God, but also kept it in thy heart, that it might bring forth fruit, pray for us, that we, thy children, may follow in thy footsteps! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

    Those who bring forth fruit are they who hear the Word of God with a good and perfect heart. And who are these? I answer: They are those of whom the angels at the birth of Christ sang: “Peace to men of good will.” They are those who are really filled with the desire to hear the Word of God, to understand it and to benefit by it. But of how many can this be said? The majority hear the Word of God, but the soil of their hearts is not prepared to receive the seed; it is neglected, not tilled. They evince neither the spirit of Christian self-abnegation in receiving the divine Word, nor the willingness to act in accordance with its precepts at any cost.

    They listen not to a sermon with the sincere desire of profiting by it and deriving the assistance necessary to change and sanctify their lives. They listen to it as coming from a human being, and are more desirous of hearing a well-ordered speech than of being impressed and improved.

    Were it otherwise, how soon men would reap the benefit of the sermons which they hear! The instruction heard on Sunday would remain in the memory all week long, and with it the determination to keep the resolution then taken of leading a life pleasing to God.

    A true cry of the heart is: O God, enlighten me, strengthen me, that Thy Word may not be lost upon me, and speak Thou Thyself to my inmost soul, Thou who searchest the heart and mind, in order that Thy Word may bring forth fruit for heaven!

    Secondly, it is necessary that we should not only hear the Word of God, but take it to heart, or as Christ says, that we should keep it, that is, meditate upon it and put it in practice. We must not be satisfied with merely receiving God’s Word and taking no further notice of it, like a man who, according to St. James, looks into a mirror, and then goes away, presently forgetting what manner of man he is.

    How many while listening to the Word of God feel in themselves the weaknesses which the preacher blames, or feel their obligation to serve God in earnest! Yet this impression lasts only during the sermon, and no sooner have they left the church than all is forgotten.

    No! the seed must not remain on the surface; it must sink deep into the soil, take root, grow and bring forth fruit. That is to say, the Word of God must take root in our heart by the practical application of its teachings. How many are satished with merely understanding the meaning of a sermon or seizing the importance of the subject treated, without applying its lessons to their lives! They leave the church, and perhaps during the entire week never think once of what they heard. Hence the little fruit which accrues to them.

    Thirdly, Christ admonishes us to bring forth fruit in patience. What an important admonition! No doubt patience is an indispensable condition, that the seed of the divine Word may give life to our hearts. “In patience,” says the Lord, “you shall possess your souls.” The Holy Ghost assures us through St. James that: “Patience hath a perfect work.”

    Our life is a trial in this vale of tears. The parable in today’s Gospel says so plainly. Cast your eyes upon a field, and observe the manner in which it is tilled. First, the husbandman scatters the seed, which quietly falls wherever he throws it. It lies upon the ground and is covered with earth, or perhaps is trodden into the soil. There it lies patiently until it decays. The new germ then bursts forth and lifts its head higher and higher until it is rocked by the winds of heaven; it is refreshed by the dew and the rain and the sunshine; it is beaten by storms and hail and snow; it suffers all and grows on, bearing in time blossoms and fruit, and bending at last its head under the weight of its own product. Then it is cut, threshed and ground, and serves as nourishment to man and beast.

    What a beautiful symbol of patience a virtue so necessary for the soul in which the seed of the divine Word shall fructify!

    There are two more virtues whose influence is necessary, and these two are humility and unceasing thought of heaven. They give us strength to bring forth fruit in patience for eternal life.

    In regard to the humility with which we should hear the Word of God, I need only remark that if we wish it to bear fruit for the salvation of our soul, the more humble we are the greater will be our desire to be instructed in sermons. The proud do not feel the need of instruction; they think they possess sufficient knowledge.

    The more humble a Christian is, the less danger there is of his receiving the Word of God as though it were only the word of man. The humble hearer does not criticise the delivery of a sermon, and still less does he apply it to others instead of to himself.

    Of not less importance is the second virtue of which I spoke, namely, the constant remembrance of heaven. Without doubt, the thought of the inexpressible reward that is prepared for those who have served God faithfully in this world, acts as a powerful stimulus in the practise of virtue. It not only gives us courage to do violence to ourselves, but makes this violence unnecessary by infusing into our hearts a holy eagerness to reach our blessed home.

    Oh, were we thoroughly humble and had heaven continually before the eyes of our mind, then indeed the seed of the divine Word would be like unto the manna which fell from heaven in the wilderness, and would nourish us in this desert of life, and bear abundant fruit for eternity! Amen!

    “And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up,
    yielded fruit a hundred-fold.”–Luke 8.

    Not I–without divine grace, and not divine grace without me, but I with divine grace,” thus speaks St. Bernard, paraphrasing the great Apostle of the Gentiles. We find in these words the cause why the divine Word does not bear fruit in all children of the Church in the same proportion. The principal reason lies in the different degrees of co-operation. Jesus points most distinctly to this difference in another place, when He speaks of the seed which yielded fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold.

    What is meant by thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold? Let me explain this to you today. Listen to me attentively, reflect with me and you will understand our Lord’s meaning.

    Mary, thou who didst willingly receive and faithfully guard, as no other mortal did, the Word of God, pray for us, that we may receive divine grace to follow thy example in hearing the Word of God and keeping it! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

    And the seed bore fruit thirty-fold. What hearers of the divine Word are meant by those in whom the seed produced fruit thirty-fold? Who are they in whom it produced sixty, and who are they who gained a hundred-fold? We will readily understand this if we consider the meaning of Christian justice, and if we reflect on the different states or conditions in which the soul of man may be constituted.

    First, then, we have souls who are in the state of disgrace, either because they voluntarily continue to live in irreligion or unbelief, or because, though believing children of the Church, they remain guilty of mortal sin.

    “Avoid evil,” is the fundamental principle of all justice, and the first condition necessary to gain salvation. As long as man remains in the state of mortal sin, the seed of the divine Word falls in vain upon his heart.

    They, however, who are in the state of sin, and who by hearing the Word of God receive light and strength to be converted and lead for the future a sinless and God-fearing life bear fruit thirty-fold. The divine Word offers to every sinner this advantage, if he hear it not as proceeding from man, but as coming as it really does from God.

    As soon as a person is truly converted, and sincerely confesses his sins, he begins to fulfill his duties as a Christian, and by prayer and other religious exercises brings forth fruit for heaven. But this fruit is still meager and largely mixed with the cockle of venial sins and imperfections. Such newly-converted persons frequently lack determination, not only in avoiding temptation to sin, which may again rob them of divine grace, but also in seeking after perfection and in keeping themselves free from every voluntary venial sin. They are satisfied with fulfilling those duties which they dare not neglect without offending God mortally. They think not of practising the virtue of Christian zeal with earnestness, but remain content with that degree of fidelity which merely saves them from the guilt of a grave sin of omission, although Christ calls those who are instant in the practice of virtue eight times blessed. They are unconcerned about it so long as no one can say to them: “You are a bad Christian.” They do not trouble themselves to attain that degree of holiness which our vocation as children of the Church demands. The Word of God bears fruit in these thirty-fold but not sixty-fold. To gain the latter, the Christian must earnestly endeavor not only to avoid mortal sin, but also every voluntary venial sin, every little imperfection. In those who strive after this, the Word of God brings forth fruit sixty-fold.

    A Christian, who is careful to avoid every venial sin and every imperfection, is more inclined to listen to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. He becomes more pleasing to God, and feels a stronger desire and a more courageous determination to fulfill His will whenever manifest. All his actions are adorned with a purer intention, because he returns the love of God with an unselfish affection. His works have more merit in the eyes of the Almighty and his reward is very great. In him the seed bears fruit sixty-fold.

    Who are those in whom the Word of God brings forth fruit a hundred-fold? I answer: They are those who, not content with avoiding offense to God, either mortal or venial, or with fulfilling His holy will chiefly to escape the punishment of hell or purgatory, but who, impelled by the love of God, not only walk but run with winged speed in the high path of Christian perfection. These are the souls who for love of God not only fulfill the duties of their station and do good whenever an occasion presents itself, but who strive to make all their actions as perfect as possible, performing them through motives the purest and best, that is only to please God and glorify the Redeemer. They not only seize the opportunity which their station in life offers them, but they search for occasions and means to sanctify their life, edify the good, and awaken to the truth the souls slumbering in irreligion and unbelief.

    The lives of the saints evidence to us what salutary fruit for eternal life a soul can bring forth if, instead of opposing the influence of divine grace, she cooperates with determination, strength, alacrity and pure love of God. There are saints who, though dead, continue to produce the fruit of virtue through the zeal of others, and this not only in the place where they lived, but over the entire world.

    As an example, look at the Apostles who scattered the seed of faith throughout the world, and thus extended the Church of God. Their words are still producing fruit. The same may be said of those apostolic men who have confined their labors and preaching to certain nations as Patrick, Remigius, Boniface, Xavier, and others.

    In like manner we may speak of the different founders of religious orders. The fruit of their saintly zeal still continues, after centuries have elapsed, in the good which is still accomplished by their followers and for which they no doubt are rewarded in heaven. We need only mention St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic and St. Ignatius, whose sons in Christ work to this day all over the globe in the vineyard of the Lord.

    The saints will tell us on the day of judgment what great fruit the seed of holy faith and the divine Word planted by them have brought forth in the hearts of men; for, the greatest part of their work is still unknown to us. They were humble, and did not boast of their deeds, and their holy thoughts, words, wishes and acts are treasures hidden in eternity.

    Imitate the saints, and listen to the Word of God; keep it, as they did, deep in your heart, and it will fructify and bring forth fruit a hundred-fold for the life to come! Amen!


A Valentine from Always Catholic…

14 February 2017

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

…………………………………………………………………………………..

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

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

Saint Valentine’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 February 2017

From the blog: Women for Faith & Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More great Saint Valentine’s Day info here


“The Mystery of Septuagesima” from Dom Gueranger’s “The Liturgical Year”

12 February 2017

Septuagesima

Overview

Theme:
Babylonian Captivity,

Man’s Fallen State

Color:
Purple

Mood:
Penance

Symbols:
chains, tears, Jeremias

Length:
Septuagesima Sunday to Shrove Tuesday

Septuagesima1 and Lent are both times of penance, Septuagesima being a time of voluntary fasting in preparation for the obligatory Great Fast of Lent. The theme is the Babylonian exile, the “mortal coil” we must endure as we await the Heavenly Jerusalem. Sobriety and somberness reign liturgically; the Alleluia and Gloria are banished

The Sundays of Septugesima are named for their distance away from Easter:

The first Sunday of Septuagesima gives its name to the entire season as it is known as “Septuagesima.” “Septuagesima” means “seventy,” and Septuagesima Sunday comes roughly seventy days before Easter. This seventy represents the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity. It is on this Sunday that the alleluia is “put away,” not to be said again until the Vigil of Easter.

The second Sunday of Septuagesima is known as “Sexagesima, which means “sixty”. Sexagesima Sunday comes roughly sixty days before Easter.

The third Sunday of Septuagesima is known as “Quinquagesima,” which means “fifty” and which comes roughly fifty days before Easter.

Quadragesima means “forty,” and this is the name of the first Sunday of Lent and the Latin name for the entire season of Lent.

Throughout this short Season and that of Lent (next Season) you will notice a deepening sense of penance and somberness, culminating in Passiontide (the last two weeks of Lent), that will suddenly and joyously end at the Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday when the alleluia returns and Christ’s Body is restored and glorified.

“The Mystery of Septuagesima”
from Dom Gueranger’s “The Liturgical Year”

The season upon which we are now entering is expressive of several profound mysteries. But these mysteries belong not only to the three weeks which are prearatory to Lent: they continue throughout the whole period of time which separates us from the great feast of Easter.

The number seven is the basis of all these mysteries. We have already seen how the holy Church came to introduce the season of Septuagesima into her calendar. Let us now meditate on the doctrine hidden under the symbols of her liturgy. And first, let us listen to St. Augustine, who thus gives is the clue to the whole of our season’s mysteries. ‘There are two times,’ says the holy Doctor: ‘one which is now, and is spent in the temptations and tribulations of this life; the other which shall by then, and shall be spent in eternal security and joy. In figure of these, we celebrate two periods: the time before Easter, and the time after Easter. That which is before Easter signifies the sorrow of this present life; that which is after Easter, the blessedness of our future state… Hence it is that we spend the first in fasting and prayer; and in the second we give up our fasting, and give ourselves to praise.’

 Jeremias lamenting the destruction of Ierusalem -Rembrandt


Jeremias lamenting the destruction of Ierusalem -Rembrandt

The Church, the interpreter of the sacred Scriptures, often speaks to us of two places, which correspond with these two times of St. Augustine. These two places are Babylon and Jerusalem. Babylon is the image of this world of sin, in the midst whereof the Christian has to spend his years of probation; Jerusalem is the heavenly country, where he is to repose after all his trials. The people of Israel, whose whole history is but one great type of the human race, was banished from Jerusalem and kept in bondage in Babylon.

Now, this captivity, which kept the Israelites exiles from Sion, lasted seventy years; and it is to express this mystery, as Alcuin, Amalarius, Ivo of Chartres, and all the great liturgists tell us, that the Church fixed the number of seventy for the days of expiation. It is true, there are but sixty-three days between Septuagesima and Easter; but the Church, according to the style so continually used in the sacred Scriptures, uses the round number instead of the literal and precise one.

The duration of the world itself, according to the ancient Christian tradition, is divided into seven ages. The human race must pass through the seven ages before the dawning of the day of eternal life. The first age included the time from the creation of Adam to Noah; the second begins with Noah and the renovation of the earth by the deluge, and ends with this the vocation of Abraham; the third opens with this first formation of God’s chosen people, and continues as far as Moses, through whom God gave the Law; the fourth consists of the period between Moses and David, in whom the house of Juda received the kingly power; the fifth is formed of the years which passed between David’s reign and the captivity of Babylon, inclusively; the sixth dates from the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and takes us on as far as the birth of our Saviour. Then, finally, comes the seventh age; it starts with the rising of this merciful Redeemer, the Sun of justice, and is to continue till the dread coming of the Judge of the livng and the dead. These are the seven great divisions of time; after which, eternity.

In order to console us in the midst of the combats, which so thickly beset our path, the Church, like a beacon shining amidst the darkness of this our earthly abode, shows us another seven, which is to succeed the one we are now preparing to pass through. After the Septuagesima of mourning, we shall have the bright Easter with its seven weeks of gladness, foreshadowing the happiness and bliss of heaven. After having fasted with our Jesus, and suffered with Him, the day will come when we shall rise together with Him, and our hearts shall follow Him to the hightest heavesn; and then after a brief interval, we shall feel the Holy Ghost descending upon us, with His seven Gifts. The celebration of all these wondrous joys will take us seven weeks, as the great liturgists observe in their interpretation of the rites of the Church. The seven joyous weeks from Easter to Pentecost will not be too long for the future glad mysteries, which, after all, will be but figures of a still gladder future, the future of eternity.

Having heard these sweet whisperings of hope, let us now bravely face the realities brought before us by our dear mother the Church. We are sojourners upon this earth; we are exiles and captives in Babylon, that city which plots our ruin. If we love our country, if we long to return to it, we must be proof against the lying allurements of this strange land, and refuse the cup she proffers us, and with which she maddens so many of our fellow captives. She invites us to join in her feasts and her songs; but we must unstring our harps, and hang them on the willows that grow on her river’s bank, till the signal be given for our return to Jerusalem. She will ask us to sing to her the melodies of our dear Sion: but how shall we, who are so far from home, have heart to ‘sing the song of the Lord in a strange land’? No, there must be no sign that we are content to be in bondage, or we shall deserve to be slaves forever.

These are the sentiments wherewith the Church would inspire us during the penitential season which we are now beginning. She wishes us to reflect on the dangers that beset us; dangers which arise from ourselves and from creatures. During the rest of the year she loves to hear us chant the song of heavne, the sweet Alleluia; but now, she bids us close our lips to this word of joy, because we are in Babylon. We are pilgrims absent from our Lord, let us keep our glad hymn for the day of His return. We are sinners, and have but too often held fellowship with the world of God’s enemies; let us become purified by repentance, for it is written that ‘praise is unseemly in the mouth of a sinner.’

The leading feature, then, of Septuagesima, is the total suspension of the Alleluia, which is not to again be heard upon the earth until the arrival of that happy day, when having suffered death with our Jesus, and having been buried together with Him, we shall rise again with Him to a new life.

The sweet hymn of the angels, Gloria in excelsis Deo, which we have sung every Sunday since the birth of our Saviour in Bethlehem, is also taken from us; it is only on the feasts of the saints which may by kept during the week that we shall be allowed to repeat it. The night Office of the Sunday is to lose also, from now till Easter, its magnificent Ambrosian hymn, the Te Deum; and at the end of the holy Sacrifice, the deacon will no longer dismiss the faithful with his solemn Ite, Missa est, but will simply invite them to continue their prayers in silence, and bless the Lord, the God of mercy, who bears with us, notwithstanding all our sins.

After the Gradual of the Mass, instead of the thrice repeated Alleluia, which prepared our hearts to listen to the voice of God in the holy Gospel, we hsall hear but a mournful and protracted chant, called, on that account, the Tract.

That the eye, too, may teach us that the season we are entering on is one of mourning, the Church will vest her ministers (both on Sundays and on the days during the week which are not feasts of Saints) in the sombre purple. Until Ash Wednesday, however, she permits the deacon to wear his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; but from that day forward, they must lay aside these vestments of joy, for Lent will then have begun and our holy mother will inspire us with the deep spirit of penance, but suppressing everything of that glad pomp, which she loves at other seasons, to bring into the sanctuary of her God.

Footnotes:
1 Like Time after Epiphany and Time after Pentecost, this Season is known as “Ordinary Time” in the new calendar.

Thank you to Fisheaters a site where you can find All Things Catholic and traditional. Wonderful site.


Dom Guéranger, O.S.B. – The History of Septuagesima

11 February 2017

Posted by David Werling at the blog, “Ars Orandi”

 

From

The Liturgical Year

by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

THE HISTORY OF SEPTUAGESIMA

The season of Septuagesima comprises the three weeks immediately preceding Lent. It forms one of the principal divisions of the liturgical year, and is itself divided into three parts, each part corresponding to a week: the first is called Septuagesima; the second Sexagesima; the third, Quinquagesima.

All three are named from their numerical reference to Lent, which, in the language of the Church, is called Quadragesima, that is, Forty, because the great feast of Easter is prepared for by the holy exercises of forty days. The words Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, and Septuagesima, tell us of the same great solemnity as looming in the distance, and as being the great object towards which the Church would have us now begin to turn all our thoughts, and desires, and devotion.

Now, the feast of Easter must be prepared for by forty days of recollectedness and penance. Those forty days are one of the principal seasons of the liturgical year, and one of the most powerful means employed by the Church for exciting in the hearts of her children the spirit of their Christian vocation. It is of the utmost importance that such a season of grace should produce its work in our souls—the renovation of the whole spiritual life. The Church, therefore, has instituted a preparation for the holy time of Lent. She gives us the three weeks of Septuagesima, during which she withdraws us, as much as may be, from the noisy distractions of the world, in order that our hearts may be more readily impressed by the solemn warning she is to give us at the commencement of Lent by marking our foreheads with ashes.

This prelude to the holy season of Lent was not known in the early ages of Christianity: its institution would seem to have originated in the Greek Church. Besides the six Sundays of Lent, on which by universal custom the faithful never fasted, the practice of this Church prohibited fasting on the Saturdays likewise; consequently their Lent was short by twelve days of the forty spent by our Saviour doing penance in the desert. To make up the deficiency, they were obliged to begin their Lent so many days earlier, as we will show in our next volume.

The Church of Rome had no such motive for anticipating the season of those privations which belong to Lent; for, from the earliest antiquity, she kept the Saturdays in Lent (and as often during the rest of the year as circumstances might require) as fasting days. At the close of the sixth century, St. Gregory the Great alludes, in one of his homilies, to the fast of Lent being less than forty days, owing to the Sundays which come during that holy season. “There are,” he says, “from this day (the first Sunday of Lent) to the joyous feast of Easter, six weeks, that is forty-two days. As we do not fast on the six Sundays, there are but thirty-six fasting days… which we offer to God as the tithe of our year.”

It was, therefore, after the pontificate of St. Gregory, that the last four days of Quinquagesima week were added to Lent, in order that the number of fasting days might be exactly forty. As early, however, as the ninth century, the custom of beginning Lent on Ash Wednesday was of obligation in the whole Latin Church. All the manuscript copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary, which bear that date, entitle this Wednesday In capite jejunii, that is to say, the beginning of the fast; and Amalarius, who gives us every detail of the liturgy of the ninth century, tells us that it was, even then, the rule to begin the fast four days before the first Sunday of Lent. We find the practice confirmed by two Councils, held in that century. But, out of respect for the form of divine service drawn up by St. Gregory, the Church does not make any important change in the Office of these four days. Up to the Vespers of Saturday, when alone she begins the lenten rite, she observes the rubrics prescribed for Quinquagesima week.

Peter of Blois, who lived in the twelfth century, tells us what was the practice in his days. He says: “All religious begin the fast of Lent at Septuagesima; the Greeks, at Sexagesima; the clergy, at Quinquagesima; and the rest of Christians, who form the Church militant on earth, begin their Lent on the Wednesday following Quinquagesima.” The secular clergy, as we learn from these words, were bound to begin the lenten fast somewhat before the laity; though it was only by two days—that is, on Monday, as we gather from the Life of St. Ulric, bishop of Augsburg, written in the tenth century. The Council of Clermont, in 1095, at which Pope Urban II presided, has a decree sanctioning the obligation of the clergy to begin abstinence from flesh-meat at Quinquagesima. This Sunday was called, indeed, Dominica carnis privii, and carnis privium sacerdotum, that is, priests’ carnival Sunday; but the term is to be understood in the sense of the announcement being made, on that Sunday, of the abstinence having to begin on the following day. We shall find, further on, that a like usage was observed in the Greek Church on the three Sundays preceding Lent. This law, which obliged the clergy to these two additional days of abstinence, was in force in the thirteenth century, as we learn from the Council held at Angers, which threatens with suspension all priests who neglect to begin Lent on the Monday of Quinquagesima week.

This usage, however, soon became obsolete; and in the fifteenth century, the secular clergy, and even the monks themselves, began the lenten fast, like the rest of the faithful, on Ash Wednesday.

There can be no doubt that the original motive for the anticipation—which, after several modifications, was limited to the four days immediately preceding Lent—was to remove from the Greeks the pretext of taking scandal at the Latins, who did not fast fully forty days. Ratramnus, in is Controversy with the Greeks, clearly implies it. But the Latin Church did not think it necessary to carry her condescension farther, by imitating the Greek ante-lenten usages, which originated, as we have already said, in the eastern custom of not fasting on Saturdays.*

Thus it was that the Roman Church, by this anticipation of Lent by four days, gave the exact number of forty days to the holy season, which she had instituted in imitation of the forty days spent by our Saviour in the desert. Whilst faithful to her ancient practice of looking on the Saturday as a day appropriate for penitential exercises, she gladly borrowed from the Greek Church the custom of preparing for Lent, by giving the liturgy of the three preceding weeks a tone of holy mournfulness. Even as early as the beginning of the ninth century, as we learn from Amalarius, the Alleluia and Gloria in excelsis were suspended in the Septuagesima Offices. The monks conformed to the custom, although the Rule of St. Benedict prescribed otherwise. Finally, in the second half of the eleventh century, Pope Alexander II enacted that the total suspension of the Alleluia should be everywhere observed, beginning with the Vespers of the Saturday preceding Septuagesima Sunday. This Pope was but renewing a rule already sanctioned, in that same century, by Pope Leo IX, and inserted in the body of Canon Law.

Thus was the present important period of the liturgical year, after various changes, established in the cycle of the Church. It has been there upwards of a thousand years. Its name, Septuagesima (seventy), expresses, as we have already remarked, a numerical relation to Quadragesima (the forty days); although, in reality, there are not seventy but only sixty-three days from Septuagesima Sunday to Easter. We will speak of the mystery of the name in the following chapter. The first Sunday of Lent being called Quadragesima (forty), each of the three previous Sundays has a name expressive of an additional ten; the nearest to Lent, Quinquagesima (fifty); the middle one, Sexagesima (sixty); the third, Septuagesima (seventy).

As the season of Septuagesima depends upon the time of the Easter celebration, it comes sooner or later according to the changes of that great feast. January 18 and February 22 are called the “Septuagesima keys,” because the Sunday, which is called Septuagesima, cannot be earlier in the year than the first, nor later than the second, of these two days.

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*The Gallican liturgy had retained several usages of the oriental Churches, to which it owed, in part, its origin; hence, it was not without some difficulty that the custom of fasting and abstaining on Saturdays was introduced into Gaul. Until such time as the Churches of that country had adopted the Roman custom, in that point of discipline, they were necessitated to anticipate the fast of Lent. The first Council of Orleans, held in the early part of the sixth century, enjoins the faithful to observe, before Easter, Quadragesima (as the Latins call Lent), and not Quinquagesima, “in order,” says the Council, “That unity of custom may be maintained.” Towards the close of the same century, the fourth Council held in the same city, repeats the same prohibition, and explains the intentions of making such an enactment, by ordering that the Saturdays during Lent should be observed as days of fasting. Previously to this, that is, in the years 511 and 541, the first and second Councils of Orange had combated the same abuse, by also withdrawing from the faithful the obligation of commencing the fast at Quinquagesima. The introduction of the Roman liturgy into France, which was brought about the by the zeal of Pepin and Charlemagne, finally established in that country the custom of keeping the Saturday as a day of penance; and as we have just seen, the beginning Lent on Quinquagesima was not observed excepting by the clergy. In the thirteenth century, the only Church in the patriarchate of the west, which began Lent earlier than the Church of Rome, was that of Poland: its Lent opened on the Monday of Septuagesima, which was owing to the rite of the Greek Church being so much used in Poland. The custom was abolished, even for that country, by Pope Innocent IV in the year 1248.

(Images of the beautiful vestments in this post, courtesy Michele Quigley, who restored them.)

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Thank you to our good friend, Deo Volente at his blog, Traditional Latin Mass in Md for this post.


Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

11 February 2017

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Lourdes

Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest your shining with life, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child, St. Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” A thousand times we congratulate you upon your Immaculate Conception. And now, O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, you know our wants, our troubles, our sufferings deign to cast upon us a look of mercy.

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. We come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain for us, O loving Mother, the granting of our request.

(state your request)

Through gratitude for your favors, we will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that we may one day share your glory.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your divine son while upon earth. You have the same influence now in Heaven. Pray for us; obtain for us from your Divine Son our special requests if it be the Divine Will. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

Source: EWTN.com

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