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.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Rogation days

For the first three days of this week, we are in what are called rogation days, which, apparently, are for us to show the world that we are Christians.

CHECK THIS OUT! '...Heresy is now in possession of whole countries, that were once faithful to the Church. In others, where heresy has not triumphed, religious indifference has left the majority of men with nothing of Catholicity but the name, seeing that they neglect even their most essential obligations without remorse. Among many of those who fulfill the precepts of the Church, truths are diminished. The old honesty of faith has been superseded by loose ideas and half-formed convictions. A man is popular in proportion to the concessions he makes in favor of principles condemned by the Church. The sentiments and actions of the saints, the conduct and teaching of the Church, are taxed with exaggerations, and decried as being unsuited to the period. The search after comforts has become a serious study; the thirst for earthly goods is a noble passion; independence is an idol to which everything must be sacrificed; submission is a humiliation which must be got rid of, or, where that cannot be, it must not be publicly acknowledged. Finally, there is sensualism, which, like an impure atmosphere, so impregnates every class of society, that one would suppose there was a league formed to abolish the Cross of Christ from the minds of men...The sins of men are increasing both in number and in enormity. The picture we have just drawn is sad enough; what would it have been, had we added such abominations as these, which we purposely excluded: downright impiety; corrupt doctrines, which are being actively propagated throughout the world; dealings with satan, which threaten to degrade our age to the level of pagan times; the conspiracy organized against order, justice, and religion, by secret societies?...'

It is hard to believe that this was written 95+ years ago by Our Abbot Gueranger. It's as if it was written today. This is why we are to do penance these days of Rogation; to try to appease our God from all of these things, and to ready ourselves for the Ascension of our Lord, and then the coming of the Holy Ghost.




Instructions Concerning the Processions on Rogation Days
by By Leonard Goffine, 1871

What are processions?

Rocessions are the solemn, public marching together of a number of persons, which in the Catholic Church are instituted according to the very earliest directions of the fathers, partly to encourage the piety of the faithful, partly in remembrance of graces received, in thanksgiving for them, or to obtain the divine assistance, and refer to the great mysteries of salvation. Those who take part in them with true piety, will reap salutary harvests of Christian virtue from them.


Are processions something new?

No, they were the custom in the very earliest centuries of the Church, as testified by the acts of the martyrs, of Cyprian, Lucius, Boniface, and the fathers of the Church, Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gregory, and others. They are also founded on Scripture. Thus King David caused the ark of the covenant to be carried in solemn procession to Jerusalem (ii. Kings vi.), and the same thing did Solomon, his son, when he placed the ark in the new temple, (iii. Kings viii.)

The ancients used to call the going out or going forth from Church procedere, "going away," hence the word procession, going out, marching about.


What do processions signify?

To the faithful they are a powerful incentive to fervor in prayer; when hundreds, even thousands of faithful praise God aloud, or cry to Him for help and mercy, must not even the coldest heart be roused to vivid, fervent devotion, since Christ has promised to be present even where two or three are assembled together in His name? Processions are a figure of the pilgrim life of the Christian upon earth; we are strangers here below, and wanderers, our journey stretches from this valley of tears to the heavenly Sion; and the procession therefore at the end goes into the house of God; our journey leads over the thorny ways of life, and the procession therefore marches in the open air, where the pilgrim is exposed to all kinds of weather; processions are an open acknowledgment that to the Almighty God alone praise, thanks, and adoration are due, while they are a public profession of our faith in Christ, the Crucified; they are a solemn thanksgiving for being permitted to profess Christ, our Lord, before the whole world, as also for all the graces obtained through Him; they are a public testimonial of our faith in the one, holy, Catholic Church, whose members are united by the same bond of faith, and who form under their head, Christ, one family in God. Therefore the marching from one Church to the other, the bending of the banners in mutual salutation when parts of the processions meet each other. Finally, they are a sign of the triumph of Christian faith over the darkness of heathenism. If processions are solemnized with such intentions, with order and dignity, with fervent devotion in the light of faith, they are indeed, under the direction of a worthy priest, pleasing spectacles for angels and men, soon silencing the sneers and derision of faithless men.


Why are banners and the cross carried in processions?

The cross signifies, that we are assembled, as Christians, in the name of Jesus, who was crucified, in whose name we begin and end our prayers, through whose merits we expect all things from the Heavenly Father, and whom we must follow all through our journey to heaven; the red and white banners indicate, that we must walk in all innocence under the banner of Christ, and fight unto death against sin, against the world and the devil, and be as ready as once were the martyrs to give our life for our faith; the blue banners show, that we must walk the road of self-denial and mortification, with really humble and penitent feelings for our sins. The banners are also emblematic of Christ's victory over death and hell, and of the triumph of His religion over the pagans and Jews.


Why do we go around the fields in processions?

To beg the merciful God to bless the fields with His fatherly hand, give and preserve the fruits of the earth, and as He fills the animals with blessings, and gives them food at the proper time, so may He give to us also our necessary food.


What is the origin of the processions on St. Mark's day and in Holy Cross Week?

The procession on St. Mark's day was instituted even before the time of Pope Gregory the Great (607) who, however, brought them into fervent practice, "in order," as he says, "to obtain in a measure forgiveness of our sins." The same pontiff introduced another procession called the "sevenfold procession," because the faithful in Rome took part in it in seven divisions, from seven different Churches, meeting in the Church of the Blessed Virgin. It was also named the "Pest procession," because it was ordered by St. Gregory to obtain the cessation of a fearful pestilence which was at that time raging in Rome, and throughout all Italy, which so poisoned the atmosphere, that one opening his mouth to gape or sneeze would suddenly fall dead (hence the custom of saying "God bless you", to one sneezing, and the sign of the cross on the mouth of one who gapes). In this procession the picture of the Blessed Virgin which according to tradition was painted by St. Luke, was carried by order of the Pope, that this powerful mother might be asked for her intercession, after which the pestilence did really cease. It is said, that the processions in Rogation Week owe their establishment to St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne in France; in the neighborhood of which city there were, in the year 469, terrible earth-quakes which caused great destruction, the fruits perished, and various plagues afflicted the people; the saintly bishop assembled the faithful, recommended them to the aid of the merciful God, and led them in procession around the fields. Such processions spread over France, and gradually throughout the Christian Church; they are held in order to obtain from God the averting of universal evils, such as war, famine, and pestilence, and are, at the same time, a preparation for the Ascension of Christ, who is our most powerful mediator with His Father, and whom we should especially invoke during these days.


With what intentions should we take part in the processions?

With the intention of glorifying God, of thanking Him for all His graces, and to obtain aid and comfort from Him in all our corporal and spiritual needs; with the view of professing our faith openly before the whole world, and with the sincere resolution of always following Christ, the Crucified, in the path of penance and mortification. He who entertains other intentions and takes part, perhaps, for temporal advantages, or for sinful pleasures, or to avoid labor, &c, sins against God and the Church, which weeps over such abuses and condemns them.



Rogation Monday

Lesson i. Ch. 11, 5-13:

At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: Which of you shall have a friend and shall go to him in the middle of the night and say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves. And so forth.
Homily of St. Ambrose, Bishop Book 7 on Luke, Ch. 11

This passage gives occasion for another teaching: that at every moment, not only by day, but by night as well, prayer should be offered up. For you see how he who went at midnight to beg three loaves of his friend, and persisted in asking, was not disappointed in what he asked. What are these three loaves, but the food of heavenly mysteries? And this food, if you love the Lord your God, you will merit to obtain, not only for yourself alone, but for others also. For who is more of a friend to us, than he who delivered up his body for us?

R. Let those now say, who have been redeemed, alleluia, * By the Lord, alleluia, alleluia.

V. Whom he has rescued from the hand of the enemy, and has gathered them out of the lands. By the Lord.



From him at midnight David begged bread, and received it. For he was asking this, when he said: I rose at midnight to give praise to thee. Even so did he obtain those loaves which he has set before us as our refreshment. He was asking this when he said: Every night I will wash my bed. For he was not fearful of waking him who does not sleep. And therefore, bearing in mind what is written, persevering in prayer by day and by night, let us beg forgiveness for our sins.

R. Sing to the Lord, alleluia: * Pour forth a psalm unto him, alleluia.

V. Bring to the Lord glory and honor, bring to the Lord glory for his name. Pour.
For if David, a man so holy, and one who was occupied with the affairs of his kingdom, gave praise to the Lord seven times a day, and never missed the morning and evening sacrifices; what ought we to do, who should beseech him all the more earnestly, because we transgress the oftener, by reason of the weakness of our flesh and of our mind, that when, weary of our journey, and tired by the affairs of the world and the winding paths of this life, the bread of refreshment, which strengthens the heart of man, may not fail us? The Lord teaches us to be watchful, not only at midnight, but at almost every moment. For he comes at the evening hour, and in the second watch, and in the third: and he is accustomed to knock. Blessed therefore are those servants whom, when the Lord shall come, he shall find watching.

R. I will declare thy name to: my brethren, alleluia: * In the midst of the congregation will: I praise thee, alleluia, alleluia.

V. I will give praise to thee, O Lord, among the people, and; I will sing a psalm to thee among the nations. Glory be to the Father.











 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5th Sunday after Easter


This Sunday we hear from St. James. He is the Apostle who tells us that "Faith without good works is dead." Today he tells us: "For is a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer; he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was."

(We don't want to become like that guy. Pay attention!)

True piety, as St. James here says, consists not only in knowing and recognizing the word of God, but in living according to its precepts and teachings; in subduing the tongue, the most dangerous and injurious of all our members; in being charitable to the poor and destitute, and in contemning the world, its false principles, foolish customs and scandalous example, against which we should guard, that we may not become infected and polluted by them. Test thyself, whether thy life be of this kind.

Then, in the Gospel of St. John, we hear Jesus telling us to ask the Father in His Name anything and it will be granted. This, of course, depends if that request is going to help our soul, and its' deliverance to eternal life. Just think, ask. And, remember, sometimes God says NO. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

A--ask
S--seek
K--knock

ASK. Get it?

We always ask in the Name of Jesus, and finish our prayers with His Name. By this is meant praying with confidence in the merits of Jesus. St. Cyril says: "Who, being God with the Father, gives us all good, and as mediator carries our petitions to His Father." The Church, therefore concludes all her prayers with the words: "Through our Lord, Jesus Christ." It means also that we should ask that which is in accordance with the will of Christ, namely, all things necessary for the salvation of our soul; to pray for temporal things merely in order to live happily in this world, is not pleasing to Christ and avails us nothing. St. Augustine says: "He who prays for what hinders salvation, does not pray in the name of Jesus." Thus Jesus said to His disciples: Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; "...because," as St. Gregory says, "they did not ask for that which conduces to eternal salvation." (And, remember this, that sometimes God says "NO", because He knows what is good for our souls. He doesn't 'un'-answer prayers!)

Consider this, child of God, when you pray. Pray as a child of the Lord should. When you have committed sin, make your peace with God. Pray as His child in the state of sanctifying grace; and pray with undivided trust in the name of God the Father, and your prayer will be heard! Amen!

But those also, who, if they do not live in mortal sin, still commit venial sins without number, should pray above all: "Lord, wash me clean, and cleanse me from every stain of sin."

If heretofore this has not been in your thoughts while you prayed, then you have not prayed in the name of the Son, the Saviour of the world; you have not prayed for anything.

Do we wish our prayer to be a true prayer, pleasing to God, and worthy to find a hearing? then we must pray in the state of grace, that we may have the right to call God our Father, as the first word of Our Lord's Prayer reminds us to do. In other words, our heart must be a temple of God, in which the Holy Ghost dwells, and into which He has poured out His love. It must be a heart inflamed with the fire of divine love through the Holy Ghost.

I (Fr. Xavier Weninger) recall once more the reply of the venerable Armella. When asked: "How do you occupy yourself so long in prayer?" She answered: "I love." Ah, indeed! were our hearts inflamed with the love of God as was the heart of a Teresa, a Xavier, a Francis of Assisi, an Ignatius, how would we then pray! It would no longer surprise us that the saints experienced such sweetness in prayer, and raised them from the earth--had, even on earth, a foretaste of heavenly bliss.

It is narrated in the life of St. Peter Regala, that on a certain occasion, whilst he was alone in the choir buried in prayer, a flame burst through the roof towards heaven. People thought that the monastery was on fire. They ran to the choir and beheld a visible flame, which, rising from the heart of the praying saint, made its way through the roof towards heaven an image and a sign of the love of God burning in his bosom. But even if we withdraw our minds from this extraordinary phase in the lives of the saints, whose prayer was an outpouring of their love for God, we may learn how important and necessary this condition of love of God is for every real, effective and acceptable prayer from the very nature of prayer.

For what is the nature and meaning of prayer? It is a raising of the heart to God, a colloquy with God, a union with God by praising Him, thanking Him. begging Him. In each of these aspects our love of God is an essential condition of true prayer.



With these things in mind, here is a prayer to the Holy Ghost that we should learn by heart. It's short, so even us old people, with our limited memory, can learn it.

HOLY GHOST, GOD OF LIGHT, REALLY AND TRULY IN MY SOUL, GIVE ME THY BLESSED LIGHT, THAT I MAY SEE ALL THINGS CLEARLY.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

St. Bernardine of Siena


St. Bernardin of Sienna, Confessor
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
St. Bernardin, of whom the Roman Martyrology says that he was a light to all Italy, by his teachings and his holy example, was born at Massa, in the republic of Sienna, in the year 1380. He became an orphan early in life and a pious aunt took charge of him and educated him in the fear of the Lord. His only pleasure in boyhood consisted in praying, studying and going to Church. He used to repeat to other boys the sermons that he had heard with so much ability that he even astonished older people. All his words and actions evinced great inclination to retirement and a truly angelic purity. No indecent word was ever heard to pass his lips, and he was so well known for his modesty, that when his school-mates conversed in too unrestraineded a manner and only saw Bernardin far off, they immediately interrupted their conversation, saying: "Hush hush! Bernardin is coming." A grown man, who was not ashamed to speak indecently, he slapped in the face. Against another, who persisted in indecent discourse, he assembled all his young companions and pelted him with dirt until he was obliged to flee from the town. Diana, his aunt, had a very pious daughter, named Tobia, whom Bernardin sometimes visited in order to receive religious instructions. One day, he told her he had fallen deeply in love with a most bealitiful virgin, and that he had no peace day or night, unless he had paid her a daily visit. The pious Tobia, not a little shocked at this speech, said nothing, but followed him when he left the house, to ascertain who this virgin was, and where she lived. She soon saw, to her great comfort, that it was no other than the Virgin Mother, of whom an exceedingly beautiful image stood on one of the city gates. To her Bernardin went daily to say his prayers on bended knees. He confessed also, later, to Tobia, that it was she, the Blessed Virgin, to whom he was thus devoted and whom he daily requested to guard him from all danger and keep him spotless and pure. To this end he also fasted every Saturday and did other good works.

When he had reached his twentieth year, he nursed, during four months, in the hospital, persons who were infected with a frightful pestilence, and also persuaded others fearlessly to follow his example. Two years later, he distributed his fortune among the poor, and entered the Seraphic order of St. Francis, to which he was called in a vision. Two years after he had taken the vows, his superior appointed him preacher, which duty he discharged almost to his death. He generally preached daily, sometimes oftener, and always with such zeal and fervor that he was called the Apostle of Italy. Everywhere the people desired to hear him, and he had to go from one town to another. The number of those who came to listen to his sermons was often so large, the churches could not contain them, and he had to preach in the open air. He spoke fearlessly and with great success against public abuses and vices. In a certain town he represented so energetically the evils which arose from the use of dice and immoderate card-playing, that no one could be found in the whole city who would touch either dice or cards. A tradesman, who had earned his living by making such articles, complained to the Saint that he had thus lost his livelihood. Bernardin, admonishing him to trust in God, advised him to paint, or represent in some other manner, the holy Name of Jesus and put it up for sale as the Saint, in many of his sermons recommended, his hearers to honor and invoke this holy Name, which he himself always carried with him upon a tablet. The tradesman followed the advice, and afterwards said that he had gained more by it than formerly by his dice and cards. Besides his sermons, St. Bernardin did much good in the cloisters. He restored among their occupants the first rules of the Seraphic founder and wonderfully increased the number of the members.

To relate all the virtues of this Saint would fill volumes. Among them shone most brilliantly, his humility, his patience and purity. Three important bishoprics were offered to him: one of them even by the Pope: he, however, firmly refused these dignities, saying, that he believed he could do more good by preaching. More than once he was accused of heresy to the authorities and even to the Pope. Those, whose vices he attacked in his sermons, slandered and persecuted him most violently, but without being able to disturb him or make him impatient. He refuted the false accusations and left the rest to God. The first time he walked in the streets of Sienna with his beggar's bag, some boys ran after him and his companion, deriding them and pelting them with mud and stones. His companion began to murmur, but the Saint said: "Brother, let the children enjoy themselves; they assist us thus in earning by patience the kingdom of God." When he was gathering alms at Sienna, a noble lady called him into her house. The Saint, of course, supposed that she [would bestow upon him a rich alms, but was soon convinced that he had been mistaken. The impudent woman dared to make shameless advances to the chaste man, threatening him that in case he refused to comply with her wishes, she would call loudly for help and say that he wished to do violence to her. Bernardin became pale with fear, and not knowing how to-escape the danger, he raised his eyes to heaven and begged for help. Suddenly he drew out a sharp scourge, which he carried with him and applied it so well upon the indecently clothed woman, that she quickly changed her mind. In this manner he saved his purity.

We pass in silence many other examples of his virtues, as obedience, mortification, love of God and his neighbor, fervor in prayers, and devotion to the Virgin Mother. We will only say a few words of his happy end. He was on his way to Naples, where he was going to preach. Not far from the town of Aquila, a serious illness seized him. St. Celestine, the Guardian Saint of the town, appeared to him and informed him that his last hour was approaching. Bernardin was rejoiced at this message, and after having received the Holy Sacraments with great devotion, he requested to be laid on the floor which was strewn with ashes. Raising his eyes to heaven, with a cheerful countenance, he gave his soul into the hands of Him whom he had so constantly served upon earth, and whom he had so zealously endeavored to make known. He was canonized six years after his death, on account of the many miracles which God wrought by his intercession.


Practical Considerations

I. St. Bernardin was an enemy of indecent discourse. Therefore not only did he never utter an immodest word, but he prevented others from so doing. He endeavored earnestly to work out his own salvation. If you are as earnest, follow his example. In our time nothing is more common than to speak without shame or restraint of what is impure. Hence it is that works of iniquity become so prevalent that hell will be filled with those who perpetrate them. St. Gregory, who compares unchaste discourse with pestilence, was right in saying, that most people who go to eternal destruction, are brought to it by the vice of impurity. This he verifies by the words of the Gospel: "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left" (Math, xxv.). Why, asked the holy Father, are all the damned called by the name of goats? For no other 'reason than to show that most people are damned for the vice of lust, of which that animal is the type. Whoever earnestly desires to be placed "on His right hand," must shun this vice. And that he may be able to shun it, he must guard himself against every indecent word; for evil words lead to evil works, besides being in themselves sinful. Licentious young men discontinued their conversations as soon as they saw St. Bernardin. Should not the thought of the presence of the Most High, of Him who has the power to send you to eternal destruction, produce the same effect upon you?

II. St. Bernardin preached most energetically against gaming with dice and cards. The holy Fathers have done the same. St. Cyprian maintained that gambling was an invention of the devil, and said: "Thou, who playest with dice, callest thyself a Christian, which however, thou art not. Thou canst not be a friend of Christ, when thou hast contracted friendship with His enemy." It is true, that, in itself, playing with dice and cards is no sin; but it is also true that we commit sin when we play immoderately, or with evil intentions, or are led to neglect the duties of our station. It is also true that such gambling gives opportunities for other sins, as lying, defrauding, stealing, quarreling, cursing and blaspheming, as experience unhappily teaches. And who dares to say that one can waste so much valuable time in gambling, without committing sin, or without being obliged to render one day an account of it before the judgment-seat of the Almighty? St. Anthony says, "Oh how will they render an account of their time, who have been occupied whole days and even whole nights in gambling: not only losing their own time, but being instrumental to the loss of it which others sustain?" Happy they, who on their deathbed can exclaim with, the holy Sara: "Never have I joined myself with them that play (Job iii.).

Friday, May 19, 2017

St. Pudentiana, Virgin




 St. Pudentiana, Virgin

(by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870)

This same nineteenth of May has another glory attached to it, (besides St. Peter Celestine, and I decided to post her instead); it is the day on which died the noble virgin Pudentiana. That name carries us back to the very first Age of the Christian Church. She was a daughter of a wealthy Roman, called Pudens, who was a kinsman of the Pudens spoken of by St. Paul, in his second Epistle to Timothy (II. Tim. iv. 21). She and her sister Praxedes had the honour of being numbered among the earliest members of the Church, and both of them consecrated their virginity to Jesus Christ. Upon their father's death, the two sisters distributed their fortune to the poor, and devoted their whole time to good works. It was the eve of the Persecution under Antoninus. Pudentiana, though scarcely sixteen years of age, was ripe for heaven, and winged her flight to her Divine Spouse, when the storm was at its height. Her sister survived her many years: we shall commemorate her saintly memory on the 21st of July.

Pudentiana's house, which, in her grandfather's time, had been honoured by St. Peter's presence, was made over, by the holy virgin herself, to Pope Pius the First, and the divine mysteries were celebrated in it. It is now one of the most venerable Churches of Rome, and is the Station for the Tuesday of the third week of Lent.

Pudentiana is a tender floweret offered to our Risen Jesus by the Roman Church. Time has diminished naught of the fair lily's fragrance; and pure as her very name, her memory will live in the hearts of the Christian people, even to the end of the world. The eulogy passed upon her by the holy Liturgy is but a commemoration; and yet it says so much, and will say it each year, as long as time itself shall last.

The virgin Pudentiana was daughter of the Roman (Senator) St. Pudens, who was converted to the Faith by the apostles SS. Peter and Paul.  Having lost her parents, and being most exemplary in her practice of the Christian Religion, she sold, with her sister St. Praxedes' consent, her possessions, gave the money to the poor, and devoted herself to fasting and prayer. It was through her influence, that her whole household, which consisted of ninety-six persons, was baptised by Pope Pius. In consequence of the decree issued by the emperor Antoninus, which forbade the Christians to offer sacrifice publicly, Pope Pius celebrated the holy mysteries in Pudentiana's house, and the Christians assembled there to assist at the celebration. She received them with much charity, and provided them with all the necessaries of life. She died in the practice of these Christian and pious duties, and, on the fourteenth, of the Calends of June (May 19), was buried in her father's tomb, in the Priscilla Cemetery, which is on the Salarian Road.

Prayer:
Like the dove of Noe's Ark, that found not where to rest her feet on the guilty earth, thou tookest thy flight, O Pudentiana, and restedst in the bosom of Jesus, thy Spouse. Thus will it be at the end of the world, when the souls of the Elect shall have been reunited to their bodies: they will fly, like eagles to their King, and will cluster around him, as the object of all their desires (St. Matth. xxiv. 28). They will flee from this sinful earth, as thou didst from the abominations of Pagan-Rome, that was drunk with the blood of the Martyrs (Apoc. xvii. 6). We celebrate thy departure, dear youthful Saint, with a feeling of hope for our own future deliverance; we honour thy reaching thy Jesus, and we long to be there, together with thee. Oh! get us detachment from all transitory things, intenser love of the New Life which came to us with Easter, and indifference as to what concerns that other lower life, which is not that of our Risen Lord. Thou wast a daughter of the holy Church of Rome; pray, then, for thy mother. She is suffering now, in the days of Pius the Ninth, as she did during the pontificate of Pius the First. After having reigned over Christian nations for centuries, she is now abandoned and disowned by the very people that owe all they have to her, and yet are now turning her own blessings against her. Use thine influence, O Pudentiana! assist and protect thine and our dearest mother.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hope for the Future?

I found this at a site I frequently visit, saintlouiscatholic.blogspot.com      I think it's worth reading.  Maybe there is hope for the future.


In Partibus Infidelium
The Remnant has published a great piece by Anthony Mazzone that pretty much covers all the good and bad of the current situation from a traditionalist, i.e., Catholic, perspective. I thought I would post just a few excerpts, but the whole piece is quite readable. 

It begins by describing the bizarro world in which we live-- inside the Church and inside the body politic:

The Catholic Church is the safe Inn to which our Lord the Good Samaritan has carried wounded humanity. But it continues in a state of accelerating decomposition. To Traditionalists at least it’s obvious that this crisis is not limited to liturgy or even governance, but is a deeper one of purpose and identity. Unfortunately the faithful members of the Church, too, are further divided into tribes: mainstream Novus Ordo, Reformers of the Reform, traditionalists who hold to the 1962 Roman Missal and those who hold to the 1920 Roman Missal with or without the changes in the 1950’s. Can’t we just pray together? Hell’s bells, we can no longer even say the rosary together. Some Catholics will insist on publicly reciting the Luminous Mysteries because they are new, while others resist for basically the same reason.

Switching realms, it sometimes looks as if Christians have lost every battle in the sphere of public life and morality. Oh, if we only had one more Republican Congressman, one more conservative Supreme Court Justice, we will be able to turn things around! I’m sorry, but what ails us as a country simply isn’t curable by politics. The political scientist Harold Lasswell has defined politics as being about “who gets what, when, how.” While this is not an Aristotlelian definition, I think it is true.
The point I am making is that you are not alone in feeling you are riding a roller coaster in Bizarro World. Things have been wrong for so long that we are forgetting what is normal. It is not normal for laymen to parse the spontaneous utterances of a Pope to divine their implications, much as Roman augurs read the flights of birds. It is not normal that the liturgy is among Catholics not an expression of unity but a constant cause of strife and division.
Dioceses that had been lost to the Muslim conquests or had otherwise ceased to be functional have long been characterized as being in partibus infidelium, "in the realm of the unbelievers." We are all living in partibus infidelium now. We can’t escape the fact that any contemporary defender of the mos maiorum (“the way of the ancestors”) is by definition a heretic regarding the naturalistic dogmas of the day.

I realize none of the above is less than obvious. But what is the Catholic response?


Let’s remind ourselves that God, from all eternity, has chosen precisely this moment in history for each one of us to be alive. There is nothing arbitrary in this. Now it’s our turn to respond to the demands of our time as the saints taught us to do: by remaining stubborn rosary counters and rigid restorationists, and doing so not only with hope but with high spirits.
    “You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds....What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can."  -  St. Thomas More
This puts me in mind of the Western Rebellion that Michael Davies wrote about some years ago. Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, completed the first Book of Common Prayer at the end of 1548. The Act of Uniformity of 1549 mandated its use, while the Chantries Act among other things denounced “vain opinions of purgatory and masses.” The response was a massive armed uprising that began in Cornwall and spread to the rest of the West. The Cornishmen took up arms to “keep the old and ancient religion as their forefathers before them had done…” In their list of demands, the leaders of the rebellion stated: “We will have our old service of Matins, Mass, Evensong and Procession in Latin, not in English, as it was done before.” They wished their priest to revert to “his old popish attire and sayeth Mass and all such services as in times past accustomed.”  The rebellion was eventually crushed by a brutality I pray we will never witness in our own country.
    “Tradition does not mean a dead town; it does not mean that the living are dead but that the dead are alive. It means that it still matters what Penn did two hundred years ago or what Franklin did a hundred years ago; I never could feel in New York that it mattered what anybody did an hour ago.” G.K. Chesterton

We are here, where we are, alive at this moment, for a reason-- God's reason, perfectly conceived. So rejoice:


So I suggest we have reason to rejoice now, for a great treasure that was for all practical purposes lost has been found. This treasure is simply the Gregorian Roman liturgy, the most ancient of all rites, which had been handed down virtually without molestation until the present time. This most sublime cultural treasure of the West, the channel of grace to generations, was nearly obliterated by a Church hierarchy which ruthlessly brought all its might and authority to bear against it. Make no mistake: it was a close thing for a while, a true near death experience. However a small group of clergy and laity (whom we now identify as traditionalists), refused to allow the Traditional Latin Mass it to die. Because of them, our Roman Missal, Pontifical, Breviary and all the venerable Roman liturgical books did not become extinct, and with the help of God will not only survive but outlast whatever it is that passes for Western liturgy these days. It would have seemed inconceivable only a short time ago, but now there are over thirty institutes of various types dedicated to the traditional liturgy. There are a small number of personal parishes that use only the traditional liturgy, and increasing numbers of priests being trained to celebrate it. This is not meant to imply that we should be complacent when told: “You got your old Mass now, so shaddup.” No, that’s not enough. It will not be “enough” until the traditional Roman liturgy is installed in every Latin Rite Church in the world along with the rest of the liturgical books, functioning within a society that acknowledges the sovereignty of Christ as King.
Here is something else to be happy about: as Father Time marches on, Vatican Council II is rapidly fading in the rear view mirror along with love beads and psychedelic rock. With its roots in the revolutionary atmosphere of the 1960’s it has become totally outdated, simply not responsive to the problems of the Church today. The documents retain a sort of paradigmatic presence, an incantatory value both to progressives and neo-Catholics who invoke them for essentially the same purpose: a harbinger for a springtime that never comes or a talisman to conjure a blissful future that is always out of reach. Well, no matter how thin you slice it, it’s still baloney.
There is a useful Americanism known as “Plan B.” When you think about it, doesn’t that describe salvation history? God’s original Plan was for mankind to live sinless and without disease of body or soul in the Garden of Eden. But the Fall destroyed that original state of being. It necessitated the implementation of an alternate program, “Plan B,” which is redemption through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This changed everything, even the meaning of virtue and vice. For example Adam did not have to work, was never intended to weary body and soul for the sake of subsistence. But now a person who avoids work is not a virtuous pre-lapsarian Adam, but simply a bum. Similarly, to call someone a “hard worker” is considered high praise, turning the effects of a curse into a blessing.
Going further, human beings were likewise never meant to sin. So aren’t we all creating our own Plan B whenever we seek mercy through Confession, whenever we respond generously to the needs of others who suffer the effects of the Fall? Endless repetition of the mantra of “mercy” should not harden us to Our Lord’s commission to show benevolence to all living creatures. Of course this is not mercy on the cheap without repentance and rehabilitation. I’m speaking of mercy that arises from the awareness that life itself is hard: hard for all of us in varying degrees. The people we encounter while walking on the street, with whom we interact at the grocery store: we don’t know what burdens these children of God might be bearing. Why not treat everyone with the respect due to their inevitable sufferings, their inherent human dignity? Why pile burdens, even minor ones, upon one another when life on earth itself is quite efficient in doing so? What this means is that at all times we should try to follow the most difficult advice of the Cure of Ars: “Never do anything you cannot offer to God.”


 "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph." These words of Our Lady of Fatima guarantee the triumph of good over evil. Whether this triumph is synonymous with the eschaton or else a intervening period of peace is not definitively known.  But if, as most believe, this triumph of the Immaculate Heart is a temporal period of peace prior to the events of the second coming, what will this look like? I think Mazzone's description would fit very well, for whatever happens in the natural or political order, what does a triumphant Church Militant look like?


Patient reader, whether you buy into the Benedict Option, become a hermit in the woods, move to a traditionalist stronghold in Idaho, choose life in the big city or the suburbs—whatever is best for you—you will still be living in partibus infidelium . Those Rossinian moments will just keep on coming. You are going to continue to wake up every morning to a culture increasingly irrational and decadent, to the sleazy self-serving behavior of our political and social leaders, to a Church hierarchy that lurches between crackpot social theories and Teilhardian poppycock. But do not be disheartened by verbal snakes on a plane! We are going to win this war.
This is what I believe: the traditional liturgy will be universally restored as the primary liturgical form and norm of our faith; the misbegotten Roman Missal of 1970 will become a historical aberration, a curiosity available only in research libraries. Pontiffs will pass down what they have received, prudently govern the Church, and won’t dare disrupt our piety. Our prelates will be holy and modest but have iron in their spines. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if you interject at this point “Do you really know what you’re talking about? Maybe you should just keep quiet.” How can I be so sure? Because I am convinced that this is what Christ our King wants. To adapt an old phrase: “If the King ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” From the Preface of the Mass on the Feast of the Sovereignty of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme King: He will grant us: “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
In conclusion, I can leave you with no better advice than that given after every sermon by Msgr Vincent Giammarino, who was pastor of St Michael’s Church in Atlantic City in the 1950s:
    “My dear good people: Do what you have to do, When you’re supposed to do it, The best way you can do it,   For the Love of God. Amen.”


AND, the Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin,  Robert Morlino,  wants the faithful to start to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, probably starting in the fall.  May God bless him abundantly for this courageous act.