Thought for the day:

"Give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to mine end, without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee,
good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life."
St. Thomas More

THREE THINGS

"Three things are necessary for the salvation of man; to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do."
St. Thomas Aquinas

Eternity

All souls owe their eternity to Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many have turned their back to him.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

St. Mark, Evangelist



St. Mark, Evangelist (by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870)
The Cycle of holy mother Church brings before us today, the Lion, who, together with the Man, the Ox and the Eagle, stands before the Throne of God (Ezechiel, i. 10). It was on this day, that Mark ascended from earth to heaven, radiant with his triple aureola of Evangelist, Apostle, and Martyr.

As the preaching made to Israel had its four great representatives, Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Daniel; so, likewise, would God have the New Covenant to be embodied in the four Gospels, which were to make known to the world the Life and teachings of his divine Son. The Holy Fathers tell us, that the Gospels are like the four streams which watered the Garden of pleasure (4 Gen. ii. 10), and that this Garden was a figure of the future Church. The first of the Evangelists, the first to register the actions and words of our Redeemer, is Matthew, whose star will rise in September; the second is Mark, whose brightness gladdens us today; the third is Luke, whose rays will shine upon us in October; the fourth is John, whom we have already seen in Bethlehem, at the Crib of our Emmanuel.

Mark was the beloved disciple of Peter; he was the brilliant satellite of the Sun of the Church. He wrote his Gospel at Rome, under the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles. The Church was already in possession of the history given by Matthew; but the Faithful of Rome wished their own Apostle to narrate what he had witnessed. Peter refused to write it himself, but he bade his disciple take up his pen, and the Holy Ghost guided the hand of the new Evangelist. Mark follows the account given by Matthew; he abridges it, and yet he occasionally adds a word, or an incident, which plainly prove to us that Peter, who had seen and heard all, was his living and venerated authority. One would have almost expected, that the new Evangelist would pass over in silence the history of his master's fall, or, at least, have said as little as possible about it; but no, the Gospel written by Mark is more detailed on Peter's denial than is that of Matthew; and as we read it, we cannot help feeling, that the tears, elicited by Jesus' look, when in the house of Caiphas, were flowing down the Apostle's cheeks, as he described the sad event. Mark's work being finished, Peter examined it and gave it his sanction; the several Churches joyfully received this second account of the mysteries of the world's redemption, and the name of Mark was made known throughout the whole earth.

Matthew begins his Gospel with the human genealogy of the Son of God, and has thus realised the prophetic type of the Man; Mark fulfils that of the Lion, for he commences with the preaching of John the Baptist, whose office as precursor of the Messias, had been foretold by Isaias, where he spoke of the Voice of one crying in the wilderness, as the Lion that makes the desert echo with his roar.

Mark having written his Gospel, was next to labour as an Apostle. Peter sent him, first, to Aquileia, where he founded an important Church: but this was not enough for an Evangelist. When the time designed by God came, and Egypt, the source of countless errors, was to receive the truth, and the haughty and noisy Alexandria was to be raised to the dignity of the second Church of Christendom, the second See of Peter, Mark was sent by his master to effect this great work. By his preaching, the word of salvation took root, grew up, and produced fruit in that most infidel of nations; and the authority of Peter was thus marked, though in different degrees, in the three great Cities of the Empire: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch.

St. Mark may be called the first founder of the Monastic life, by his instituting, in Alexandria itself, what were called the Therapeutes. To him, also, may be justly attributed, the origin of that celebrated Christian school, of Alexandria, which was so flourishing, even in the 2nd Century.

But glorious as were these works of Peter's disciple, the Evangelist and Apostle Mark was also to receive the dignity of Martyr. The success of his preaching excited against him the fury of the idolaters. They were keeping a feast in honour of Serapis; and this gave them an opportunity which they were not likely to lose. They seized Mark, treated him most cruelly, and cast him into prison. It was there that our Risen Lord appeared to him, during the night, and addressed him in these words, which afterwards formed the Arms of the Republic of Venice : "Peace be to thee, Mark, my Evangelist!" To which the disciple answered : "Lord" for such were his feelings of delight and gratitude, that he could say but that one word, as it was with Magdalene, when she saw Jesus on the morning of the Resurrection. On the following day, Mark was put to death by the pagans. He had fulfilled his mission on earth, and heaven opened to receive the Lion, who was to occupy near the throne of the Ancient of days the place allotted to him, as shown to the Prophet of Patmos, in his sublime vision (Apoc. iv.).

In the 9th Century, the West was enriched with the Relics of St. Mark. They were taken to Venice; and, under the protection of the sacred Lion, there began for that City a long period of glory. Faith in so great a Patron achieved wonders; and from the midst of islets and lagoons there sprang into existence a City of beauty and power. Byzantine Art raised up the imposing and gorgeous Church, which was the palladium of the Queen of the Seas; and the new Republic stamped its coinage with the Lion of St. Mark. Happy would it have been for Venice, had she persevered in her loyalty to Rome, and in the ancient severity of her morals!



Prayer:
Thou, O Mark, art the mystic Lion, which, with the Man, the Ox and the Eagle, art yoked to the chariot whereon the King of kings pursues His triumphant course through the earth. Ezechiel, the Prophet of the Ancient Testament, and John, the Prophet of the New Law, saw thee standing nigh the Throne of Jehovah. How magnificent is thy glory! Thou art the historian of the Word made Flesh, and thou publishest to all generations His claims to the love and adoration of mankind. The Church reveres thy writings, and bids us receive them as inspired by the Holy Ghost.

It was thou that, on the glad Day of Easter, announcedst to us the Resurrection of our Lord: pray for us, O holy Evangelist, that this divine Mystery may work its effects within us; and that our hearts, like thine own, may be firm in their love of our Risen Jesus, that so we may faithfully follow Him in that New Life, which He gave us by His Resurrection. Ask him to give us His Peace, as He did to His Apostles when He showed Himself to them in the Cenacle, and as He did to thyself when He appeared to thee in thy prison.

Thou wast the beloved disciple of Peter; Rome was honoured by thy presence: pray for the successor of Peter, thy master; pray for the Church of Rome, against which the wildest storm is now venting its fury. Pray to the Lion of the Tribe of Juda: He seems to sleep; and yet we know that He has but to show Himself, and the victory is gained.

Apostle of Egypt! what has become of thy flourishing Church of Alexandria, Peter's second See, the hallowed scene of thy Martyrdom? Its very ruins have perished. The scorching blast of heresy made Egypt a waste, and God, in his anger, let loose upon her the torrent of Mahometanism. Twelve centuries have passed since then, and she is still a slave to error and tyranny: is it to be thus with her till the coming of the Judge? May we not hope that the great movement now preparing may be the dawn of her conversion? Pray, we beseech thee, for the countries thou didst so zealously evangelize, but whose deserts are now the image of her loss of Faith.

And can Venice be forgotten by thee, O thou her dearest Patron? Her glory is fallen, it may be for ever; but her people still call themselves thine, as did the Venetians of old. Let her not swerve from the Faith; bless her with prosperity; obtain for her that she may be purified by her trials, and return to the God Who has chastised her in his justice. A nation that is loyal to the Church must prosper: let, then, Venice return to her former fidelity to Rome, and reject the evil counsels that are now proposed to her; and who knows but that the Sovereign Ruler of the world, being appeased by thy powerful intercession, may make thy Venice what she was before she rebelled against the Holy See, and tarnished the glories she won at Lepanto!



Monday, April 24, 2017

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen


SAINT FIDELIS of SIGMARINGEN
Martyr
(1577-1622)

Saint Fidelis was born of noble parents at Sigmaringen in what is now Prussia, in 1577. In his youth he frequently approached the Sacraments, visited the sick and the poor, and spent many hours before the altar. For a time he followed the legal profession and was remarkable for his advocacy of the poor and his respectful language towards his opponents.

Finding it difficult to be both a rich lawyer and a good Christian, Fidelis entered the Capuchin Order and embraced a life of austerity and prayer. Hair shirts, iron-pointed girdles, and disciplines were penances too light for his fervor. At Weltkirchen, where he was Superior of the convent during an outbreak of the plague, he devoted himself indefatigably to the care of the sick soldiers and citizens. Animated by a desire for martyrdom, he rejoiced at being sent with several fellow Capuchins on a mission to Switzerland, which the newly-founded Congregation of the Propaganda named him to preside. There he braved every peril to rescue souls from the errors of Calvin.

When preaching one day at Sevis he was fired at by a Calvinist, but fear of death could not deter him from proclaiming divine truth. After his sermon, when leaving the city he was waylaid by a body of his enemies, who attacked him and tried to force him to embrace their so-called reform. But he said, "I came to refute your errors, not to embrace them; I will never renounce Catholic doctrine, which is the truth of all ages, and I fear not death." On this they fell upon him with their daggers; and the first martyr of the Propaganda, losing his life for Christ, went to find in heaven the veritable life his Master promised to all who are losers for His sake.


Our Risen Lord would have around Him a bright phalanx of martyrs.  Its privileged members belong to the different centuries of the Church's existence.  Its ranks open today to give welcome to a brave combatant, who won his palm, not in a contest with paganism, as those did whose feasts we have thus far kept, but in defending his mother, the Church, against her own rebellious children.  They were heretics that slew this day's martyr, and the century that was honored with his triumph was the seventeenth.

Fidelis was worthy of his beautiful name.  Neither difficulty nor menace could make him fail in his duty.  During his whole life, he had but the glory and service of his divine Lord in view:  and when the time came for him to face the fatal danger, he did so, calmly but fearlessly, as behooved a disciple of the Jesus who went forth to meet his enemies.  Honor, then, be today to the brave son of St. Francis, who confronted the Saracens, and was a martyr in desire!

Protestantism was established and rooted by he shedding of torrents of blood; and yet protestants count it as a great crime that, here and there, the children of the True Church made an armed resistance against them.  The heresy of the 16th was the cruel and untiring persecutor of men, whose only crime was their adhesion to the old Faith--the Faith that had civilized the world.  The so-called 'Reformation' proclaimed liberty in matters of religion, and massacred Catholics who exercised this liberty, and prayed and believed as their ancestors had done for long ages before Luther and Calvin were born.  A Catholic who gives heretics credit for sincerity when they talk about religious toleration, proves that he knows nothing of either the past or the present.  there is a fatal instinct in error, which leads it to hate the Truth; and the True Church, by its unchangeableness, is a perpetual reproach to them that refuse to be her children.  Heresy starts with an attempt to annihilate them that remain faithful; when it has grown tired of open persecution it vents its spleen in insults and calumnies; and when these do not produce the desired effect, hypocrisy comes in with its assurances of friendly forbearance.  The history of Protestant Europe, during the last three (five) centuries, confirms these statements; it also justifies us in honoring those courageous servants of God who, during that same period, have died for the ancient Faith.

Reflection. We delight in decorating the altars of God with flowers, lights, and jewels, and it is right to do so; but if we wish to offer to God gifts of higher value, let us, in imitation of Saint Fidelis, labor to save souls who would be lost; that is to offer Him the ornaments of paradise which He so ardently longs to acquire.

Prayer from the Liturgical Year, 1877

How truly couldst thou, O Fidelis! say with the Apostle: I have finished my course (II. Tim. iv. 7)! Yea, thy death was even more beautiful than thy life, holy as that was. How admirable the calmness wherewith thou receivedst death! how grand the joy wherewith thou didst welcome the blows of thine enemies,--thine, because they were those of the Church! Thy dying prayer, like Stephen's, was for them; for the Catholic, while he hates heresy, must love the heretics who put him to death. Pray, O holy Martyr, for the children of the Church. Obtain for them an appreciation of the value of Faith, and of the favour of God bestowed on them when he made them members of the true Church. May they be on their guard against the many false doctrines, which are now current through the world. May they not be shaken by the scandals which abound in this our age of effeminacy and pride. It is Faith that is to bring us to our Risen Jesus: and He urges us to it by the words he addressed to Thomas: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed (St. John, xx. 29)!

Of this number we wish to be; and therefore is it, that we cling to the Church, the sovereign mistress of Faith. We wish to believe her, and not Human Reason, which has neither the power to fathom the Word of God, nor the right to sit in judgment over it. Jesus has willed, that this holy Faith should come down to us bearing on itself the strengthening testimony of the Martyrs; and each age has had its Martyrs. Glory to thee, O Fidelis, who didst win thy palm by combating the errors of the pretended Reformation! Take a Martyr's revenge, and pray without ceasing, to our Jesus, that He would bring all heretics back to the Faith and to union with the Church. They are our Brethren by Baptism; pray for them, that they may return to the Fold, and that we may one day celebrate with them the true Paschal Banquet, wherein the Lamb of God gives Himself to be our food, not figuratively, as in the Old Law, but really and truly, as becometh the New Covenant. Amen
 


 
 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Low Sunday-Sunday after Easter

LOW SUNDAY--Quasimodo Sunday


This Sunday is called 'Low Sunday.' It is apparent that this name signifies the octave of the Easter celebrations, and because it is on a lower scale than the Highness of last Sunday. We hear about 'Doubting' Thomas. He didn't believe the Apostles when they said they had seen our Lord Jesus, he just didn't believe them. Jesus wouldn't do a miracle for Herod, and He won't do one now just to make us believe. The following Sunday, Thomas did see and then believed. Jesus told him: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed. blessed are they who have not seen and have believed."



According to our beloved Abbot, Gueranger:
'Such is the great Truth, spoken by the lips of the God-Man: it is a most important counsel, given, not only to Thomas, but to all who would serve God and secure their salvation. What is it that Jesus asks of His disciple (Thomas)? Has He not heard him make profession that now, at last, he firmly believes? After all, was there any great fault in Thomas' insisting on having experimental evidence before believing in so extraordinary a miracle as the Resurrection? Was he obliged to trust to the testimony of Peter and the others, under penalty of offending his divine Master? Did he not evince his prudence, by withholding his assent until he had additional proofs of the truth of what his brethren told him? Yes, Thomas was a circumspect and prudent man, and one that was slow to believe what he had heard; he was worthy to be taken as a model by those Christians who reason and sit in judgment upon matters of Faith. Jesus is merciful, and has condescended to the weakness of His disciple as to accept the condition on which alone he declares that he will believe: now the disciple stands trembling before his risen Lord...This stubbornness, this incredulity, deserves a punishment: the punishment is, to have these words said to him: "Thomas! thou hast believed, because thou hast seen! Blessed are they who believe and have not seen."
Then was Thomas obliged to believe before having seen? Yes, undoubtedly. Not only Thomas, but all the Apostles were in duty bound to believe the Resurrection of Jesus even before He showed Himself to them...'

(I myself have often wondered about what Thomas received as a punishment, as it were. He wasn't present on Easter Sunday evening, when the others had Jesus breathe on them and give them the power to forgive or bind sins by the Holy Spirit. Did he, as a kind of punishment, have to wait until Pentecost to receive these gifts? Just wonderin')

Our belief has not been perfect at all times. After hearing about an Apostle, Thomas, let us strive to do better. As our beloved Abbot states: 'Let us go to our Jesus, and say to Him: 'Thou art my Lord and my God! But alas! I have many times thought and acted as though thou were my Lord and my God in some things, and not in others. Henceforth I will believe without seeing; for I would be of the number of those whom thou callest blessed!'
NOTE TO SELF:
We believe first, and then we see things more clearly. It's like our Blessed Mother says in her Magnificat, when she states: "My soul magnifies the Lord". Meaning: If we look closer at her, maybe we can see clearer things concerning her son, Christ.

My Lord and my God, help my unbelief.



Also, on this, which is called a Greater Double rite; it is such a solemn day, that NO feast, however great, is supposed to be kept on it. 'Mercy Sunday'? Could it be that JP2 bypassed the Church Canons and history when he started this, just as he did when he started the 'Luminous' mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of our Blessed Mother Mary. I think she knew what she was doing and how she wanted it said; far better than the Holy Father; when she asked for this devotion to begin in the 13th century. JPII knows better now, wherever he ended up, doesn't he?

We used to participate in this Novena. However, upon reading that NO feast can be held in place of 'Low Sunday' no matter how great we are told it is, I began to wonder if this novena was all that good. NOTE!: all of these intentions which are prayed for during this novena are prayed for on Good Friday. Well, they USED to be. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the prayers for the conversion of the Jews are conveniently missing in the novena. The prayers during this novena are, basically, good. We desperately need to pray for all to convert; and come to the entire Truth, throughout the world.

I guess we are to accept them as they are, instead of fulfilling our Lord's command to convert them and everyone else on the planet. Maybe we should all get together and sing 'Everything is Beautiful'. Maybe this would satisfy our Lord?! The perpetrators will find out some day when they go before the Divine Judge as to whether they have served Him well or not. Final thoughts: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!


Another take on this Sunday, but saying the same thing.



Image above: St. Augustine presents himself as a catechumen to be baptized by the Bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose, during the Easter Vigil, 387 AD.


Pastor's Corner for Low Sunday (2014)

“Lo and behold” must have been the instinctive reaction of St. Thomas. This man who appears before my eyes, whom my finger and hands are touching and scrutinizing, this is my Rabboni, Jesus! Thanks to this special apparition of the risen Christ to his faithless apostle, Thomas the incredulous was suddenly converted. “My Lord and my God”: he saw a man and he believed God. He was instantaneously turned into a real “apostle”, who was to carry the Good News of Christ. And this conversion would lead him to the bottom tip of India, converting souls by the thousands to the King of Glory!

“Low” is a comparative term which qualifies it relatively to what is “high”! The high Sunday is Easter, certainly the greatest of all liturgical feast. Christ’s resurrection in the flesh was probably the most unbelievable dogma for the Western pagan world, as St. Paul soon found out in Athens, which used to be the center of Western wisdom. The risen Christ is the foundation of our faith: “If Christ has not risen from the dead, our faith is vain!” (On a side note; back when I was still new to the Church in the early 80's, we had a priest, on Easter Sunday, tell us that the stories in the Bible were just that, stories! I didn't know that much about the Catholic Faith then and didn't say anything. Now, I would stand up and say this verse from St. Paul. This priest has moved up in the diocese, but I don't know where. He definitely needs prayers. Or, better yet, a board upside his head. Just sayin') The fact of Easter being a Sunday is also the main reason for moving the day of worship from the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday.

“Low” is probably said also of the end of the octave of the white catechumens parading in their bright and splendid garments of the faith, not unlike newborns. Low is said of them because it is the day when the neophytes (literally "new plants") shed their new skin and are considered now ordinary Christians, lost in the mass of God’s chosen ones.


Oremus pro Regnante Pontifice!

Oremus pro Sancta Ecclesia Catholica!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easter Saturday


The seventh day of the gladdest of weeks has risen upon us, bringing with it the memory of the Creator's rest, after the six days of creation. It also reminds us of that other rest, which this same God took in the tomb; like a warrior, who, when sure of the victory, calmly reposes before the final combat with the enemy. Our Jesus slept His rest in the sepulchre, after permitting death to vanquish Him: but when He awoke by His Resurrection, what a victory over the tyrant! Let us, today, visit this Holy Sepulchre and venerate it: it will speak to us of Him we love, and make or love the warmer. Here, we shall say to ourselves, here rested our dear Master, after He had died for us! Here was the scene of the glorious victory, when He arose again, and this, to, for us!

We think about this Sepulchre today and every day, and the prayers for today sum it up for us.


Church of the Holy Sepulchre--Jerusalem


The CAPITULA:

O Christ, the Son of God, thou rest of our souls, Who didst observe the repose of the Sabbath by resting in the tomb, that thou, Who on this day didst heretofore rest from all the work of thy creation, mightest also on the same rest in the sepulchre; hereby truly keeping holy that day, whose evening is the beginning of our first day of the Sabbath, which is likewise the eighth day; that thou, Who commanded light to shine forth out of darkness, mightest, by thy Resurrection, appear in the flesh: so direct the course of our lives in the path of all holiness, that in these seven days of the world's duration, on each of which the Lamb is slain and the Pasch is celebrated for us, we may live in such wise as to secure our salvation, and may daily be found worthy to celebrate the true Pasch, pure from the leaven of malice: that thus, by a holiness pleasing to thee, we may so rest on this day from all our works, that we may deserve to receive the glory of the Resurrection, on the eighth, that is, the eternal day.

I also found in the propers of this day another hymn concerning the Holy Sepulchre, comparing it to the Virginal womb of our Blessed Mother:

Be glad, my soul, and sing the wonders of the glorious sepulchre, whence came thy Christ, as, heretofore, from the womb of His Virgin Mother. Thus was it foretold by the truthful prophets.

He was conceived in the pure womb of a Virgin Mother; so, too, He was buried in a tomb, wherein no other man had been placed; from both He comes the glorious Jesus, as Infant first, and then as man.

The Mother, after long ages of hope, brings Him forth created in mortal Flesh; the tomb, though none had hoped it, restores Him clad in immortality: Mary wrapped Him in swathing-bands; the sepulchre held Him in the winding-wheet.

He is born, for the world's salvation, from the womb of His Mother; He rises from the tomb, after our salvation has been wrought: the Mother nursed Him for the Cross; the tomb, for glory.

O thrice holy sanctuary! beautified with the Blood of the Lamb of God! let earth, and sea, and heaven, venerate thee. How strange to call that a sepulchre, whence life was born!

Glory and honour be, for ever, to the most high God! To the Father, Son, and Holy Paraclete, one praise and power, for everlasting ages. Amen.



I would like to insert some words from St. Augustine, concerning this whole week and our thoughts that should be in our minds:

"As yet, we see not Christ; but we see the Church: therefore let us believe in Christ. The Apostles, on the contrary, saw Christ; but they saw not the Church except by Faith. They saw one thing, and they believed another: so, likewise, let us do. Let us believe in the Christ, Whom as yet we see not; and by keeping ourselves with the Church which we see, we shall come at length to see Him, Whom as yet we cannot see."


And, lastly, let us turn to the Blessed Mother, for this is her day. Let us congratulate her upon the Resurrection of her divine Son, in the words of this devout Sequence, taken from the ancient missals of the churches of Germany:

Give praise, O Mother, to thy risen Jesus, Who reigns triumphant over the prince of death. Cease thy mourning: for Jesus, the fruit of thy womb, is restored to life, and visits thee.

His death was thy cross; His Passion, the sword that cruelly pierced thy Heart: but now, sing a hymn of joy, and be glad, because of His Resurrection.

He was crucified; but now He is risen from the tomb, and has taken thee to His heavenly court: pray to Him for us, we beseech thee, that we may rise from our sins to everlasting joy. Amen.



I'm going to add something here; the Hail Mary in Aramaic:

When Jesus lived here on earth He spoke Aramaic, the language common in Galilee then. It was an old Semitic tongue, related to Hebrew. It's considered traditionally as one language, but it may also be thought of as "a group of closely related languages."

Modern Aramaic is used today by scattered groups in Western Asia, including Christians, Jews and Muslims. It's kept in the form of Syriac by certain Christians. The Syriac pronunciation is presented here.

Shlom lekh bthoolto Mariam - Hail, O Virgin Mary
maliath taibootho - full of grace
moran a'amekh - the Lord is with thee
mbarakhto at bneshey - blessed art thou among women
wambarakhoo feero dabkharsekh Yeshue -
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

O qadeeshto Mariam - Holy Mary
yoldath aloho - Mother of God
saloy hlofain hatoyeh - pray for us sinners,
nosho wabsho'ath mawtan. - now, and at the hour of our death.
Amin - Amen

_________________________________________

Another version of the words, titled Shlomlech (AveMaria, Hail Mary in Aramaic), as sung by Magda El-Roomy - My Marionite Heritage

šlom-lék Mar-yam - Hail Mary
mal-yat tay-boo-to - full of grace
moran a-mék - the Lord is with thee
mbar-ra-to at bné-šé - blessed art thou among women
wam-ba-ra-koo fee-ro dkar-sék Yé-sooا - and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Mort Mar-yam - Holy Mary
é-méh da-lo-ho - Mother of God
ek-ka-šaf hlo-fayn - pray for us
hnan ha-to-yé - sinners,
ho-šo wab-šoا-to - now, and at the hour
dmaw-tan - of our death
A-meen. - Amen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

St. Anselm


SAINT ANSELM
Archbishop of Canterbury
(1034-1109)
Today is the day we honor yet another Bishop and Doctor of the Church. He was a martyr, also, at least in desire and in merit too. When we think about Anselm, we picture to ourselves a man in whom are combined the humility and meekness of the cloister (since he was a monk), and with the zeal and courage of the episcopal dignity; a man who was both a sage and a saint; a man whom it was impossible not to love and respect. We need more like him today, if you ask me. I like his writings. He puts things so simply, yet with a force to be reckoned with, just as our Lord did. As Bishop, his whole life was spent in fighting for the liberty of the Church. Though gentle as a lamb by nature, he was all energy for this great cause. He used to say: "Christ would not have His Spouse be a slave; there is nothing in this world that God loves more than the liberty of His Church." There was a time when the Son of God allowed Himself to be fettered with bonds in order that He might loosen us from the chains of our sins; but now that He has risen in triumph from the dead, He wills that His Spouse should be, like Himself, free.

As our beloved Abbot Gueranger states: 'St. Anselm would have abominated all such theories such as progress and modern society; he knows that there is nothing on earth equal to the Church; and when he sees the world convulsed by revolutions; he knows that all comes from the Church having been deprived of her rights. One of these is that she should not only be recognized, in the secret of our conscience, as the one only True Church, but that, as such, she should be publicly confessed and outwardly defended against every opposition or error. Jesus, her divine Founder, promised to give her all nations as her inheritance; He kept His promise, and she was once the queen and mother of them all. But nowadays, a new principle has been asserted, to the effect that the Church and all sects must be on an equal footing as far as the protection of the State goes. The principle has been received with acclamation, and hailed as a mighty progress achieved by modern enlightenment: even Catholics, whose previous services to religion had endeared them to our hearts and gained our confidence, have become warm defenders of the impious theory.'
Keep in mind that these books (The Liturgical Year) were written over a hundred years ago. Seems like nothing changes, doesn't it? We have leaders today who spit out this same nonsense to us; this tripe; and expect us to say: "Yum"! Don't eat this tripe, and don't drink the grape-flavored drink(cruel-aid).






Saint Anselm of Canterbury - More Quotes (exercising your mind):
'I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me, so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins, that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. I am not attempting, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that "unless I believe, I shall not understand." (Isaiah 7:9)'

"I have written the little work that follows . . . in the role of one who strives to raise his mind to the contemplation of God and one who seeks to understand what he believes."

"My God, I pray that I may so know you and love you that I may rejoice in you. And if I may not do so fully in this life let me go steadily on to the day when I come to that fullness . . . Let me receive That which you promised through your truth, that my joy may be full."

"God often works more by the life of the illiterate seeking the things that are God's, rather than by the ability of the learned seeking the things that are their own."

"No created being has anything from itself. For how could a thing which does not exist from itself have anything from itself? Moreover, if there is not anything except the One Who has created and the things created by Him, it is clear that nothing at all can exist except the One Who has created and what He has created."
De Casu Diaboli I. 1085-90.


"[The Devil] freely lost the will which he had. And just as he received the possession of it for as long as he had it, so he was able to receive the permanent keeping of what he deserted. But because he deserted, he did not receive. Therefore, that which he did not receive to keep because he deserted it, he did not receive not because God did not give it, but, rather, God did not give it because he did not receive it."
De Casu Diaboli III. 1085-90.

"Then, since [Satan] cannot be called just or unjust merely because he wills happiness or merely because he wills what is fitting (for he would will these of necessity), and since he neither can nor ought to be happy unless he wills to be happy and wills justly, it is necessary for God to make both wills so agree in him that he wills to be happy and wills justly.."
De Casu Diaboli XIV. 1085-90.

"Since we believe that God is truth, and since we say that truth is in many other things, I would like to know whether in whatever things it is said to be we ought to affirm that truth is God. For in your Monologion, by appealing to the truth of a statement, you too demonstrate that the Supreme Truth has no beginning and no end:"
DeVeritate I. 1080-86.

"By whose evil will it is committed (concipitur), it ought not to be. In this way, then, the Lord Jesus ought not to have undergone death because He alone [among men] was innocent; and no one ought to have inflicted death upon Him; nevertheless, He ought to have undergone death because He wisely and graciously and usefully willed to undergo it."
DeVeritate VIII. 1080-86.


"Let us see, then, how extensive the truth of signification is. For there is a true or a false signification not only in those things which we ordinarily call signs but also in all the other things which we have discussed. For since someone should do only what he ought to do, then by the very fact that someone does something, he says and signifies that he ought to do it. Now, if [morally speaking] he ought to do what he does, he speaks the truth. But if [morally speaking] he ought not [to do what he does], he speaks a lie."
DeVeritate IX. 1080-86.

"0 Lord: my heart is made bitter by its own desolation; sweeten it by Your consolation. I beseech You, 0 Lord, that having begun in hunger to seek You, I may not finish without partaking of You. I set out famished; let me not return still unfed."
Prologion, I. 1077/78.

"To what was I aspiring?, for what do I sigh? I sought after good things and, behold, [here is] turmoil. I was striving unto God but collided with myself."
Prologion, I. 1077/78.

"So even the Fool is convinced that something than which nothing greater can be thought is at least in his understanding; for when he hears of this [being], he understands [what he hears], and whatever is understood is in the understanding. But surely that than which a greater cannot be thought cannot be only in the understanding. For if it were only in the understanding, it could be thought to exist also in reality."
Prologion, II. 1077/78.

"Hence, something than which a greater cannot be thought exists so truly that it cannot even be thought not to exist. And You are this , 0 Lord our God. Therefore, 0 Lord my God, You exist so truly that You cannot even be thought not to exist. And this is rightly the case. For if any mind could think of something better than You, the creature would rise above the Creator and would sit in judgment over the Creator; something which is utterly absurd. Indeed, except for You alone, whatever else exists can be thought not to exist. Therefore, You alone exist most truly of all and thus most greatly of all; for whatever else exists does not exist as truly [as do You] and thus exists less greatly [than do You]. Since, then, it is so readily clear to a rational mind that You exist most greatly of all, why did the Fool say in his heart that God does not exist? Why , except because [he is] foolish and a fool!"
Prologion, III. 1077/78

"Yet, it is also just that You punish those who are evil. For what is more just than for those who are good to receive good things and for those who are evil to receive bad things? But, then, how is it just for You to punish those who are evil and likewise just for You to spare them? Do You justly punish them in one respect and justly spare them in another? For when You punish those who are evil, it is just because suits their merits. But when You spare them, it is just, not because [sparing them] suits their merits but because it befits Your goodness. For in sparing them, You are just in Yourself but are not just from our viewpoint, even as You are merciful from our viewpoint but are not merciful in Yourself. For in saving us whom You could justly damn, You are just not because You requite us as we deserve but because You do what befits You as supremely good, even as You are merciful not because You experience any emotion but because we experience the effect [of Your mercy]. So, then, without inconsistency, You both punish justly and spare justly."
Prologion, X. 1077/78.

"How vast that Truth is in which resides everything that is true and outside of which there is only nothing and what is false! How immense that Truth which beholds in one spectrum all created things and beholds by whom, through whom, and in what manner [all things] were created from nothing! What purity, what simplicity, what assurance and splendor are present there! Surely, [these] surpass what can be understood by any creature."
Prologion, XIV. 1077/78.

"Amidst Your blessedness and light, 0 Lord, You are still hidden from my soul. Therefore, my soul still dwells in darkness and in its own unhappiness. For it looks in all directions but does not see Your beauty. It listens but does not hear Your harmony. It fills its nostrils but does not smell Your fragrance. It tastes but does not savor Your succulence. It feels but does not detect Your softness. For in Your ineffable manner, 0 Lord God, You have these [features] within You; and You have bestowed them, in their own perceptible manner, upon the things created by You. But the senses of my soul have been stiffened and deadened and impaired by the old-time infirmity of sin."
Prologion, XVII. 1077/78.


"Therefore, since it is certain that if compared with one another all good things are either equally or unequally good, it is necessary that all things are good through something which is understood to be identical in different goods; although at times, ostensibly, some things are said to be good through something else."
Monologion, Chapter one. 1075/76.

"Just as something has been found to be supremely good inasmuch as all good things are good through some one thing which is good through itself, so it follows necessarily that something is supremely great inasmuch as whatever things are great are great through some one thing which is great through itself. I do not mean great in size, as is a material object; but that the greater the better or more excellent it is; as in the case of wisdom. Now, since only what is supremely good can be supremely great, it is necessary that something be the greatest and the best, i.e., the highest, of all existing things"
Monologion, Chapter two. 1075/76.


"But to question whether or not [the rational soul] will enjoy Supreme Beatitude endlessly would be very foolish. For while enjoying this Beatitude, [the soul] cannot be tormented by fear or deceived by a false security. Nor having experienced the need of this Beatitude can [the soul] keep from loving it. Nor will Supreme Beatitude forsake [a soul] which loves it. Nor will there be anything more powerful which will separate it and the soul against their wills. Therefore, any soul which once begins to enjoy Supreme Beatitude will be eternally happy."
Monologion, Chapter seventy. 1075/76.

"[And, most clearly, this Spirit is the one] from whom alone good fortune is to be hoped for, to whom alone flight from adversity is to be taken, and of whom alone supplication is to be made for anything whatsoever. Truly, then, this Spirit not only is God but is the only God; ineffably Three and One."
Monologion, Chapter eighty. 1075/76.


Our beloved Abbot Gueranger ends with this:

'Obtain for us, O holy Doctor, that 'our Faith,' like thine, 'may seek understanding.' Nowadays, there are many who blaspheme what they know not (Jude 10); but there are many also who know little or nothing of what they believe. Hence arise a deplorable confusion of ideas, compromises are made between Truth and error, and the only True doctrines are despised, scouted, or at least undefended. Pray to our heavenly Father, O Anselm, that He would bless the world with holy and learned men, who may teach the path of Truth, and dispel the mists of error; that thus the children of the Church may not be led astray.'
Like I said at the beginning, these books were written over a hundred years ago, but seem to be written today, which is experiencing so much turmoil.

And, please pray for my life-long friend Rick, who has his birthday today. Pray for his conversion. He won't know what hit him!

Easter Friday

The following is totally from 'The Liturgical Year', by the Abbot Gueranger, which is from the 1920's, but published in English in 1949. This man has given us a treasury of devotions, as well as something for every day of the year. Even has the saints we honor on their days, according to the 'Old' calendar. This calendar has soooo much more than the 'new', and is a better way to learn about the Faith that comes to us from Jesus and the Apostles. All should try to get this 15 volume set, if at all possible. This Abbot has to be a saint (in my opinion), for he has given so much. Anyway, here goes:


'This is the sixth day of the creation. Upon it, the hand of the Son of God formed the body of man out of the slime of the earth, into which He breathed a living soul. This was the creature that was to be the King of the visible creation. A simple command of the divine Word had sufficed to call form the earth all the animals that live upon it; but when, towards the close of this great day, the Creator said: "Let us make man to Our image and likeness," He did more than merely command, He seems to have deliberated: He deigned to become the artificer of His work. Let us adore this His sovereign goodness towards our race, and ever gratefully honour the Friday of each week, as the day whereon the Son of God completed the work He began on the Sunday by the creation of Him Who was to be Master and Lord of the world. Nor is this the only mystery that should make Friday dear to us. It was on this same day that the divine Word, having taken upon Himself the flesh He Himself had made, died upon the Cross, that He might save His rebellious and lost creature man. O sacred day! Day that didst witness both our creation and our redemption! Thou speakest to us of the Son of God, and of His love for us, even more sweetly than of His power! Let us express all this by reciting the following devout prayer, which the Mozarabic Liturgy uses on the Friday of Easter Week:


CAPITULA (a collection of short, isolated statements of Doctrine organized by topic)

O God, Son of God, Who, in the sixth age of the world didst, by thy Blood, redeem man Whom thou hadst formed out of nothing, on the sixth day, and who, though created in goodness, fell into evil, but has now risen regenerated unto what is more perfect; grant that we may so truly prize the mystery of our redemption, that we may forever glory in thy death and Resurrection: and that thou, Who, in the time of our salvation, didst succour the world and conquer our death by thine own, mayst deliver us from the eternal damnation of the Judgment.


Today let us hearken to the Church of Armenia celebrating the Resurrection. (Let's also remember this area of the world during the strife which is occurring there these days, for many Christians are being slaughtered each day.  But, thanks to our illustrious media, Not a word.) For thirteen centuries she has sung the following stanzas, which is from the Charagan, which is a hymn book. The sentiment is the same as we find expressed in other Liturgies; but there is, moreover, the style peculiar to the Armenian character. The reader will be pleased with the fragrance of antiquity which he will find in these verses, whose vigorous and solemn lyric beauty surpasses that of the liturgical compositions of the Greek Church.
Today, the immortal and heavenly Bridegroom rose again from the dead! To thee the glad tidings, O Church, His spouse on earth! Bless thy God, O Sion, with a joyous voice.

Today, the ineffable Light of light enlightened thy children. Be thou enlightened, O Jerusalem! for Christ, thy Light, has risen!

Today the darkness of ignorance is dispelled by the triple light: and the light of knowledge has risen upon thee, it is Christ rising again from the dead.

Today is our Pasch, by the sacrifice of Christ; let us keep the feast with gladness, being renewed from the oldness of sin: and let us say: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

Today a bright angel came down from heaven, struck the guards with fear, and said to the holy women: "Christ hath risen again from the dead!

Today the great tidings were given to our first parent, Adam: Arise, thou that sleepest! Christ, the God of our fathers, hath enlightened thee."

Today the tidings told by her daughters, who brought their perfumes to the tomb, sounded in the ears of Eve: "We have seen Him risen, Who is thy resurrection, Christ, the God of our fathers."

Today the angels came down from heaven, saying to men: "The Crucified hath risen, and hath raised you up with Himself."

Today, O Christ, by thy holy Resurrection, thou didst change the mournful Pasch of Israel into the Pasch that saves souls.

Today thou, O Lamb of God, didst give us thine own saving Blood for the blood of irrational lambs that were slain.

Today, in place of the ransom of the first-born, thou, the first-fruits of life among them that sleep, the first-born among the dead--didst redeem the captives.

Today the angels of heaven rejoice together with men; and coming down from heaven, they say to the world: "Be glad! today Christ hath risen again from the dead!"

Today the angel that sat upon the rock and kept guard spoke with a loud voice to the holy women that had come with their spices, and bade them be messengers to the disciples: "Be glad! today Christ hath risen again from the dead!

Today, he that is the Rock of Faith, and John, the beloved, ran to Jesus' sepulchre, and said, when they saw it: "Christ hath risen again form the dead!"

Today let us also be bright in the joy of this feast. God is reconciled with us; let us embrace each other with love, and say with one voice: "Christ hath risen again from the dead!"'

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Thursday

As you know, Jesus has been appearing to those whom He loves, to make sure they know that He is indeed alive and well. I'm sure He appeared to His Mother first and foremost. He appeared to the Apostles, and to Mary Magdalene.

According to 'The Liturgical Year', 'today's Station is in the basilica of the twelve Apostles; and, instead of putting before us any of the apparitions related by the Gospels as having been made to His Apostles by our Saviour, after His Resurrection, the Church reads to us the one wherewith Magdalen was honored. Why thus apparently forget the very heralds and ambassadors of the New Law? The reason is obvious. By thus honoring her, whom our Lord selected as the Apostle of His Apostles, the Church would put before us, in their full truth, the circumstances of the day of the Resurrection. It was through Magdalene and her companions that the apostolate of the grandest mystery of our Jesus' life upon earth began; they have every right, therefore, to be honored today in the basilica which is sacred to the holy Apostles.

God is all-powerful, and delights in showing Himself in that which is weakest; He is infinitely good and glorious in rewarding such as love Him. This explains how it was that our Jesus gave to Magdalen and her companions the first proofs of His Resurrection, and so promptly consoled them. They were even weaker than the Bethlehem shepherds; they were, therefore, the objects of a higher preference. The Apostles themselves were weaker than the weakest of the earthly powers they were to bring into submission; hence, they too were initiated into the mystery of Jesus' triumph. But Magdalen and her companions had loved their Master even to the Cross and in His tomb, whereas the Apostles had abandoned Him; they therefore had a better claim than the Apostles to Jesus' generosity, and richly did He satisfy the claim...

...We must not be surprised that women were the first to form, around the Son of God, the Church of believers, the Church resplendent with the brightness of the Resurrection: it is the continuation of that divine plan, the commencement of which we have already respectfully studied. It was by woman that the work of God was marred in the beginning; he willed that it should be repaired by woman. On the day of the Annunciation, we found the second Eve making good by her own obedience the disobedience of the first; and now, at Easter, God honors Magdalen and her companions in preference even to the Apostles. We repeat it: these facts show us not so much a personal favor conferred upon individuals, as the restoration of woman to her lost dignity. St. Ambrose states: "The woman was the first to taste the food of death; she is destined to be the first witness of the Resurrection. By proclaiming this mystery, she will atone for her fault; therefore is it that she, who heretofore had announced sin to man, was sent by the Lord to announce the tidings of salvation to men, and to make known to them His grace."

'The Liturgical Year' is a great way to learn of the people, places, and things concerning events from the beginning of the world, right up to and through the history of the Church from its' beginnings. Above is only a small portion of today's readings. However, I would like to end with a Sequence that was composed in honor of Mary Magdalen in the Middle Ages, and sung by our forefathers during the Easter octave. It is exquisite in its' simplicity, and expresses a tender devotion towards this favored penitent, whose name is inseparable from the mystery of the Resurrection, and who was so dear to our blessed Lord that He chose her to be the first to announce to the Apostles and mankind the tidings of His victory over death:


Christ, now changed from a lamb to a lion, rises with his trophy, the glorious conqueror.

By His death, He conquered death: by His death, He opened heaven's gate.

This is the Lamb that hung upon the Cross, and redeemed the whole flock.

There was none found to condole with Him, save Magdalen, who pined with burning grief.

Tell us, O Mary! what sawest thou, when looking at the Cross of Christ?

"I saw my Jesus stripped, and raised on the Cross, by the hands of sinners."

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou, when looking at the Cross of Christ?

"His head crowned with thorns, His face disfigured with spittle and blows."

Tell us, Mary what sawest thou, when looking at the Cross?

"His hands pierced, His side wounded by a spear, and a fount of living water gushing from the wound."

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou, when looking at the Cross?

"He commended Himself to His Father; He bowed down His head; He gave up the ghost."

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou, after losing Jesus?

"I kept close to His weeping Mother, and returned with her to the house: I prostrated myself on the ground, and compassionated both Son and Mother."

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou, after losing Jesus?

"An angel thus spoke to me: 'Weep not, Mary! For Christ hath truly risen.'"

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou, after losing Jesus?

"I saw many proofs and signs of the Resurrection of the Son of God"

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou on the way?

"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ; I saw the glory of Him that had risen. I saw the angels that were the witnesses; I saw the winding-sheet and the cloths. Christ, my hope, hath risen! He shall go before you into Galilee."

It behooves us to believe the single testimony of the truthful Mary, rather than the whole wicked host of the Jews.

We know that Christ hath truly risen from the dead. Do thou, O Conqueror and King! have mercy upon us. Amen.
Is that beautiful or what?



She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the name 'Magdalen' because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords' Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus' empty tomb. Fourteen years after Our Lord's death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars - along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius ("the man born blind"), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72 (which, by the way, is the same age as when our Blessed Mother died). St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments.

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us in our disbelief.