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

Rights of Man?

"The people have heard quite enough about what are called the 'rights of man'. Let them hear about the rights of God for once". Pope Leo XIII Tamesti future, Encyclical

Eternity

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


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sst. Vincent de Paul


Today is the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul. Following is a short synopsis of his life. And, My wife and I have a relic of his, given to us her father who worked for the local St. Vincent de Paul after he had volunteered for them over 30 years.  It was given to him by a very pious priest who actually still believed in intercession and miracles. We shall definitely ask his powerful intercession in our daily duties.


SAINT VINCENT de PAUL
Founder of the Lazarist Fathers
and the Daughters of Charity
(1576-1660)


Saint Vincent was born in 1576 near Dax, south of Bordeaux, of a poor family which survived by means of their labor. It seemed that "mercy was born with him." When sent by his father to the mill to procure flour, if he met a poor man coming home, he would open the sack and give him handfuls of flour when he had nothing else. His Christian father was not angry; seeing his good dispositions, he was sure his son should become a priest, and placed him as a boarding student with a group of religious priests in Dax. Vincent made rapid progress, and after seven years of studying theology at Toulouse and in Saragossa, Spain, was ordained a priest in 1600. He always concealed his learning and followed the counsel of Saint Paul who said, "I have wanted to know nothing in your midst but Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ crucified." (Protestants definitely miss this point, since they have removed Him from their cross. They don't seem to understand that all time from the beginning is present at all time to Him, and that we must continue to remember His suffering always until our demise.)

His charity embraced the poor, the young and the aged, the provinces desolated by civil war, Christians enslaved by the infidels. The poor man, ignorant and degraded, was to him the image of Him who became as "a leper and no man." "Turn the medal," he said, "and you will see Jesus Christ." He went through the streets of Paris at night, seeking the infants and children left there to die - three or four hundred every year. Once robbers rushed upon him, thinking he carried a treasure, but when he opened his cloak, they recognized him and his burden, an abandoned infant, and fell at his feet. Not only was Saint Vincent the providence of the poor, but also of the rich, for he taught them to undertake works of mercy. When in 1648 the work of the foundlings was in danger of failure for want of funds, he assembled the ladies of the Association of Charity, and said, "Compassion and charity have made you adopt these little creatures as your children. You have been their mothers according to grace, when their own mothers abandoned them. Will you now cease to be their mothers? Their life and death are in your hands. I shall take your votes; it is time to pronounce sentence." The tears of the assembly were his only answer, and the work was continued.

St. Vincent offers his opinion:

"What is done for charity's sake is done for God. It is not enough for us that we love God ourselves; our neighbor also must love him; neither can we love our neighbor as ourselves unless we procure for him the good we are bound to desire for ourselves--viz., divine love, which unites us to our Sovereign Good. We must love our neighbor as the image of God and the object of His love, and must try to make men love their Creator in return, and love one another also with mutual charity for the love of God, Who so loved them as to deliver His own Son to death for them. But let us, I beg of you, look upon this Divine Savior as a perfect pattern of the charity we must bear to our neighbor."
 
                        St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of Charity (painting from 1907) And again, who went through suffering, taking, through a fraudulent account, being able to take the place of a galley slave who was in chains. Remember, St. Vincent was a pitiless foe to heresy, and NOT just a patron saint to the poor. He would not rest until he had obtained either the banishment or the chastisement of the perpetrators of the heresy. He was one of the first to denounce and prosecute the pernicious error of Jansenism. Never, perhaps, were these words of Holy Scripture better verified: The simplicity of the just shall guide them; and the deceitfulness of the wicked shall destroy them. Though this sect expressed, later on, a supreme disdain for Monsieur Vincent, it had not always been of that mind. Vincent said to a friend: "I am most particularly obliged to bless and thank God, for not having suffered the first and principal professors of that doctrine, men of my acquaintance and friendship, to be able to draw me to their opinions. I cannot tell you what pains they took, and what reasons they propounded to me; I objected to them, amongst other things, the authority of the Council of Trent, which is clearly opposed to them; and seeing that they still continued, I, instead of answering them, quietly recited my Credo; and that is how I have remained firm in the Catholic Faith." (Something to always remember)

The Priests of the Mission or Lazarists, as they are called, and thousands of the Daughters of Charity still comfort the afflicted with the charity of their holy Founder. It has been said of him that no one has ever verified more perfectly than Saint Vincent, the words of Our Lord: "He who humbles himself shall be exalted, and he that exalts himself shall be humbled..." The more Vincent strove to abase himself in the eyes of all, the more God took pleasure in elevating him and bestowing His blessings on him and on all his works. He died in 1660, in an old age made truly golden by his unceasing good works.

Most people who profess piety ask advice of directors about their prayers and spiritual exercises. Many of these are 'legends in their own mind'. Few inquire whether they are not in danger of damnation from neglect of works of charity. But then, since we are told that everybody goes to heaven, why bother? Let us never forget the terrible foretold words of the Final Judge:

"Depart from me, workers of  iniquity; I was hungry and  you did not feed Me; I was without shelter, you did not take Me in...; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me, etc." (Cf. Matt. 26:31-46)



From the Pen of Saint Vincent de Paul:



Every time that some unexpected event befalls us, be it affliction, or be it spiritual or corporal consolation, we should endeavor to receive it with equanimity of spirit, since all comes from the hand of God.


He who submits himself to God in all things is certain that whatever men say or do against him will always turn to his advantage.


After knowing the will of God in regard to a work which we undertake, we should continue courageously, however difficult it may be. We should follow it to the end with as much constancy as the obstacles we encounter are great.


We should never abandon, on account of the difficulties we encounter, an enterprise undertaken with due reflection.


We should be cordial and affable with the poor, and with persons in humble circumstances. We should not treat them in a supercilious manner. Haughtiness makes them revolt. On the contrary, when we are affable with them, they become more docile and derive more benefit from the advice they receive.


That which we suffer in the accomplishment of a good work, merits for us the necessary graces to insure its success.


W
e ought to have a special devotion to those saints who excelled in humility, particularly to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who declares that the Lord regarded her on account of her humility.


The continual labors and cares of St. Vincent had only one aim: the spiritual welfare of others and the prevention of all offences to God. He declaimed against those who incited others to sin and vice, and thus led them to eternal destruction. He fully comprehended the truth of the words of St. Dionysius the Areopagite: "Among all divine works none is more divine than laboring with God for the salvation of souls." Have you no opportunity to perform a work which is so agreeable in the sight of the Lord? Think well, and do not neglect it. St. Vincent was also convinced that among all evil works, there is none more evil and displeasing to God than when we incite others to sin and thus assist the devil in gaining souls. Those who do this are called by the Holy Fathers of the Church messengers, representatives, vicars of the devil, because they are sent and incited by him to execute his plans for the destruction of men. They are his vicars, because they do that which is really the devil's work. Still more severely speaks St. James of Nisibis: "All those," says he, "deserve the name of devils, who prevent others from keeping those commandments, which appear hard to keep, and who advise them to follow the devices of the flesh." He means to say that such people may be regarded as real devils; but I add that they are worse, more hurtful and more to be feared than the devils themselves, as many a person whom Satan cannot tempt, is incited to sin by their flatteries, promises, and still more by their bad example, and, hence is led to destruction. If you, therefore, desire to be a representative of the devil, or his vicar, you ought to be informed that his abiding place belongs also to you. According to the words of Christ, hell is prepared for the devil and his angels: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels " (Matth. xxv.). Angel means a messenger, a representative. For you and your equals, as angels and messengers of the devil; for you, deceiver, as a representative of the devil, for you is hell, and in hell the eternal fire, if you do not leave your wicked ways. Endeavor to repair the evil you have occasioned, and do penance. What will you do?



Novena Prayer in Honor of
St. Vincent de Paul
O glorious Saint Vincent, heavenly patron of all charitable associations and father of all who are in misery, whilst thou wast on earth thou didst never cast out any who came to thee; ah, consider by what evils we are oppressed and come to our assistance! Obtain from thy Lord help for the poor, relief for the infirm, consolation for the afflicted, protection for the abandoned, a spirit of generosity for the rich, the grace of conversion for sinners, zeal for priests, peace for the Church, tranquillity and order for all nations, and salvation for them all. Yea, let all men prove the effects of thy merciful intercession, so that, being helped by thee in the miseries of this life, we may be united to thee in the life to come, where there shall be no more grief, nor weeping, nor sorrow, but joy and gladness and everlasting happiness. Amen


(Indulgence of 300 days; plenary indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions, for the daly devout recitation of this prayer. --Pius IX., Nov. 23, 1876)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

St. Camillus de Lellis

 
 
 
SAINT CAMILLUS of LELLIS
Founder of the Servants of the Sick
(1549-1614)


 Saint Camillus was born in the kingdom of Naples in the year 1549. His early years gave no indication of his future sanctity. At the age of nineteen he entered into military service with his father, an Italian noble, against the Turks. After four years of hard campaigning he found himself, through his violent temper, reckless habits, and inveterate passion for gambling, a discharged soldier in bad health, and in such straitened circumstances that he was obliged to beg in the streets. Finally he found work as a laborer for a Capuchin convent which was being built. A few words from a Capuchin Friar brought about his conversion; the following day he cast himself on his knees, seeing himself clearly by a divine illumination. He prayed, "Forgive, Lord, this wretched sinner! and give him time to do penance!" And he resolved to become a religious.
 
 

He served the Capuchin Fathers, working in the garden, sweeping the convent, washing the dishes, until he could be received as an aspirant. Thrice he begin his novitiate with them, but each time an obstinate ulcer on his leg forced him to leave. God had other designs for him. He went to Rome for medical treatment, and there took Saint Philip Neri as his confessor. He entered, as a servant, the hospital of San Giacomo. The carelessness of the paid personnel and nurses towards the suffering patients inspired him with the thought of founding a Congregation of voluntary servants of the sick, to minister to their wants without thought of remuneration. He recalled the Cross of Our Lord, thinking, "If they wore it on their breast, the sight of it would sustain them, encourage them, reward them." He spoke of this intention to the most pious ones among his companions, who joined him with enthusiasm. They set up an oratory in a little room where they retired to read and pray. They met great obstacles; their oratory was closed when they were suspected of wanting to control the hospital. But eventually Saint Camillus was ordained priest in 1584 and founded his Congregation with only two co-workers, at the chapel of Our Lady of Miracles. They continued to serve in the large Holy Spirit Hospital, and in 1586 his community, the Servants of the Sick, was confirmed by the Pope.

Its usefulness was soon felt, not only in hospitals, but in private houses. Summoned at every hour of the day and night, the devotion of Camillus never grew cold. With an inexhaustible tenderness he attended to the needs of his patients. He wept with them, consoled them, and prayed with them. During a famine in 1590, the poor were reduced to eating dead animals and often raw herbs; about sixty thousand died during that winter, which was exceptionally cold. Saint Camillus procured bread and clothing and went out to distribute them in Rome to all who needed them. Never did he refuse what was asked, giving away his cloak more than once, and the last sack of flour in the storeroom. But God always provided for the Brothers when they had nothing more to give.

Saint Camillus knew miraculously the state of the souls of his patients; and Saint Philip saw Angels whispering to two Servants of the Sick who were consoling a dying person. One day a sick man said to the Saint, "Father, may I beg you to make up my bed? it is very hard." Camillus replied, "God forgive you, brother! You beg me? Don't you know yet that you should command me, for I am your servant and slave!" The Saint founded houses of what had become his Order in several cities - Milan, Bologna, Genoa, Florence, Ferrare and others, and sent out his religious when a pestilence afflicted Hungary and surrounding regions. Several of his religious died on that occasion.

In his hospital he was heard to say, "Would to God that in the hour of my death one sigh or one blessing of these poor sick creatures might fall upon me!" His prayer was answered. He was granted the same consolations in his last hour, which he had so often procured for others. It was in the year 1614, and on the feast of Saint Bonaventure, to whom he had a great devotion, that he died as he had foretold, having the full use of his faculties, as the priest was reciting the words of the ritual, "May Jesus Christ appear to thee with a mild and joyful countenance!"


St. Camillus was for sometime in his youth, addicted to gambling, and on account of it, not only his fortune had suffered, but also his health. This fault he corrected later, and weeping over it as long as he lived, he spent his remaining years in prayer and constant works of Christian charity. Playing is in itself no sin, if it is honest, not overstepping proper bounds, and is not done with sinful intentions. But it is also sure that by play we can commit not only venial, but mortal sin: first, if the play is dishonest, or such as gives occasion to mortal sin: secondly, if we give too much time to play, like it immoderately, or make a habit of it, neglecting, in consequence of it, the duties of our office, or station in life: or if by it we do considerable damage to our temporal affairs; thirdly, when we play only because we do not love to work, or from an unbounded love of money or from any similar cause ; fourthly, when we know that play will lead us to cursing, blaspheming, lying, & c; finally, when we tempt others to dishonest or otherwise sinful plays.

If you have done wrong in such a manner, correct it earnestly while time is left you: it will otherwise harm you more than you imagine. St. Francis Borgia used to say that play carried with it a three-fold injury: for we lose by it, first our money, secondly, our time; thirdly, our devotion and recollection. There may be some who do not lose money, but only time, which in itself is more unpardonable and injurious than if we lost all that we possess. This alone should prevent you from play: for, according to the words of St. Anthony: "As no temporal good is more precious than time, hence no loss can be greater, nor do us more harm." To this must be added the loss of devotion or recollection. Those who play are not devout. They prefer the game to devotional exercises, as experience teaches; and their conscience is generally soiled with many sins to which play either gives indirect occasion, or which occur during it. How terrible a damage for soul and body! Can the gain which we seek in gaming ever be a recompense for all this?.

St. Camillus thought, while afflicted with his painful malady, of the torments of hell and by this eased his suffering. Follow his example. If you have to suffer, think of hell which you have oftener deserved than the Saint, and give thanks to God that He so graciously punishes you in this world, when He in accordance with divine justice, might have punished you so much more terribly. If your trials are hard to bear, say to yourself: "All my suffering is not yet that of hell: my pains are as nothing compared with the pains of hell." If your afflictions last long, cheer yourself with the thought: "My sorrows do not last as long as those of the damned in hell: my grief will end, but that of the damned never ends.

How would those condemned rejoice and give thanks to God if their torments were not greater and lasted not longer than mine! "If you think and speak thus, no impatience will overpower you, much less will you begin to murmur and complain. One ought to give thanks to the Almighty," says St. Jerome, " and say always: "Praised be the Most High! I recognize that I suffer much less than I deserve. My suffering is small in comparison with my sins."

Reflection: Saint Camillus venerated the sick as living images of Christ, and by ministering to them in this spirit did penance for the sins of his youth. He led a life precious in merit, and from a violent and quarrelsome soldier became a gentle and tender Saint.



"Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Time off

I haven't been posting much these days, since I have in the hospital.  However, Mrs. 'Conscientious' has filled in nicely.  I had some ready to go, and she, being not that sure of herself on the computer, graciously filled in and got the latest posts out.  I thank her immensely.  What a good little trooper!

Monday, July 16, 2018

OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL

This is a 'bonus' post for this date, but a very important one.
 

This is the day when we honor our Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It's NOT just 'Our Lady of Saturdays'. Mt. Carmel is a mountain in Israel. The Prophets Elias and Elisha, as well as Jeremiah, went to this mountain to pray and get guidance. They received visions of a cloud when they were there. I'm thinking, that Our Mother was already chosen to conquer the wicked serpent in the book of Genesis, that maybe somehow, her spirit was in this cloud, since she had not been born yet. Our Lady appeared there in person as well in later years. She gave the Brown Scapular to a Simon Stock, an Englishman, in the 13th century. It was given to strengthen those who had built a shrine on Mt. Carmel, and become monks there. This scapular is described as two pieces of wool attached with a double cord, which goes around the neck. It usually has a picture of Our Lady on it as 'Our Lady of Mt. Carmel'. It also has this promise which our Blessed Mother gave to Simon Stock; that "Whosoever dies wearing this scapular will not suffer eternal fire." Pretty neat, huh? There is also what is called the 'Sabbantine' privilege, which comes from the word 'sabbath', which to us is Saturday. She promised that on the first Saturday after our death, that she would herself come to purgatory and take us to eternal happiness.  (I've read that Our Lady, on these Saturdays, sends angels into Purgatory to pick out the ones who are wearing the Scapular)  She will strengthen us also by our wearing of the Scapular. I like that. We need all the help we can get. Of course, we have to be in the state of grace to receive this privilege. This only makes sense. (I wear mine thinking of this: Imagine two people on either side of you giving you a hug, their arms intertwining. Now, picture these two people as being Jesus and His Mother! That's how I look at it.)

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us and for the Church

At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.


Some more thoughts:



Prayer of Petition Our Lady of Mount Carmel


The introductory paragraph of this prayer is attributed to Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265), an English Carmelite who is famed for his part in the propagation of the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.


O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure Virgin, assist us in our necessity. O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that thou art our Mother!



Prayer to the Queen of Carmel:

O glorious Virgin Mary! Queen of Carmel, Mother of God and of poor sinners; special Protectress of all those who wear thy holy Scapular, I supplicate thee, by the glory that has been accorded thee by the Incarnate Word in choosing thee for His Mother, to obtain for me the pardon of my sins, amendment of my life, salvation of my soul, consolation in my pains, and in particular the grace I now ask, provided it be conformable to the will of thy divine Son. Amen.



Here is something I found concerning Our Lady at Mt, Carmel:


The Festival of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877
Carmel is a mountain, lying between Judea and Syria, of which one part belonged to the tribe of Manasses, the other to the tribe of Aser. The prophet Elias wrought, on Mount Carmel, the great miracle which is circumstantially related in the third Book of Kings, 18th chapter, when he, to prove that the God of Israel, whom he worshipped, was the true God, called down fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Upon this mountain, according to the Breviary, some pious nun, who had been converted to Christianity, built a church or chapel, dedicated to the Most Pure Virgin, in which they frequently assembled for prayer; and they were called "Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel." There exists, at the present day, in the Catholic Church, a celebrated religious Order, whose members take their name from this mount, and hence are called "Carmelites," or "Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel." This religious Order was spread many centuries ago, not only in the Holy Land, but also in other countries. Among other things we read that St. Louis of France, on his return from Syria, brought some of these religious with him into his kingdom, and assigned them a dwelling near Marseilles. The Holy Mother who was especially honored by these religious, imparted also especial graces to them, and protected them miraculously in the greatest need and danger.

Among these graces is to be counted the following: The holy man, Simon Stock, who had, during many years served the Lord in England, as a hermit, desired most fervently to be admitted into the Carmelite Order, when he heard that the latter were spreading all over Europe. His desire was complied with, and he endeavoured with such zeal to reach the height of perfection, that after a few years he was deemed worthy to be chosen general of the whole Order. As such, he one day poured out his whole heart, with child-like confidence, before an image of the Blessed Virgin, requesting her to bestow upon his holy Order some especial favor. The Divine Mother appeared to him, and, as it is said in the Roman Breviary, bestowed upon him the habit of the Holy Scapular, that his Order might be thus distinguished, from all others and protected from all evil. Swanington, the companion of the blessed man, relates that Simon informed him of the apparition in the following words: "The Blessed Virgin appeared to me with a large suite; she held the habit in her hand and said, 'This shall be thy privilege and that of all Carmelites. Those who die, with sorrow for their sins and in the true faith, and clad in this habit, shall not suffer eternal fire.'" Others say that the Divine Mother bestowed the scapular upon the blessed man with these words: "Take, my son, this scapular, as a sign of thy Order, an emblem of salvation. They who die in it, repenting of their sins, shall not suffer the eternal fire." This consoling apparition and promise gave rise to the confraternity of the scapular, which is now spread over the whole of the Catholic world, with the papal approbation and the grant of many indulgences. It is a consoling belief, which rests upon the words of the Breviary, that the members of this association, who endeavor to live according to its rules, enjoy the special protection of the Blessed Virgin at the hour of death, and are speedily delivered from purgatory, and taken into their heavenly home. Pope Benedict XIV treating of the Festivals of the Blessed Virgin, says that Pope Paul V had made a decree, by which he sanctioned the pious belief that the Blessed Virgin would help her clients after death, by her intercession, especially on Saturdays, as this day is consecrated to her by the Holy Church, provided they had died in the grace of God, and had endeavored to follow the rules of the association. The heretics at different periods attacked this pious belief with lies and blasphemies, and ridiculed those who wore the blessed scapular; nor have they discontinued to do this in our day. Some Catholics, though Catholics only in name, agree with them, and reject the revelation of Simon Stock, as a pious fable, or a tale without any foundation. They look upon the promise made to him as something which does not harmonize with the Catholic faith; they are not even ashamed to say that it opens a path to evil; for, if we thought that we can escape hell by wearing a scapular, nothing would be more likely than that we should plunge into all possible vices and continue in them, in the belief that we cannot go to eternal destruction, by reason of our being members of that association.

To this and other such reasonings I will answer only this: As far as the comforting revelation of the blessed Simon Stock is concerned, it is, of course, not an article of faith, as those contained in Holy Writ; but it is not, therefore, only a fable or unfounded tale. It was related by trustworthy men, examined by many historians, and verified by several Popes. Those who doubt it, or denounce it as false, without sufficient cause, act unreasonably. There are thousands of facts, not contained in Holy Writ, which are incontestable on account of the testimony of trustworthy men. Among this number is the one above related. And if, notwithstanding this, a heretic thinks it a fable or an unfounded tale, let him give his reasons for rejecting it; for, a mere contradiction of a fact does not refute it. Respecting the gracious promise of the Blessed Virgin, that he who wears the habit, or blessed scapular, shall escape the fire of hell, it is beyond all doubt that we cannot understand it in such a manner that every one shall most certainly escape the fire of hell and go to heaven, simply because he wears a scapular, no matter how vicious his conduct might be. No, those who would judge in the sense of the Catholic Church, are not allowed to understand the promise in this manner. For, not to mention that, according to the teachings of the Holy Church, we cannot possess in this world, without a divine revelation, an infallible assurance of our future salvation, the Gospel of our Lord declares plainly that to escape hell and gain salvation much more is necessary than the wearing of a scapular. True faith, holy baptism, strict observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, the avoidance of sin, the practice of good works, and, finally penance when we have committed sin; these are the conditions which, according to the teachings of Christ, are necessary for our salvation, and without which all other merits, whatever they may be, are not sufficient to open for us the gates of heaven.

To elucidate the case before us still more, let us suppose that some one, either out of pious simplicity or want of instruction, carried constantly a consecrated Host with him. Now the question arises, will this person escape hell on account of it and surely gain salvation? Can he, because he carries a consecrated Host with him, not commit a mortal sin? Can he, for the same reason, not die in sin and be condemned? From the answer that must necessarily follow, we may draw the conclusion, that the words of the above promise are not to be understood as if every one who wears a scapular must surely be saved, and cannot be condemned, notwithstanding his living a bad life. Just in the same manner are some of the words of Holy Writ to be understood, for instance, where it is said that alms free men from death, that is, from eternal damnation. God, in consideration of alms, gives especial graces to man, in order that he may avoid sin, do penance, and hence not go to destruction. In the same manner, any one who, out of veneration to the Queen of Heaven, wears the scapular, and carefully observes the rules of the association, will, by her intercession, receive the grace to live piously, to escape hell, and to gain heaven. In one word, to wear the scapular, and by so doing to manifest an especial devotion to the Blessed Virgin, will assist us to gain life everlasting. But it is far from being sufficient to open heaven for us, if it is not accompanied by those means which Christ announced as necessary for the salvation of our souls.

The above is surely a proof that devotion to the scapular in no way leads to a wicked life, as the heretics pretend. No Catholic has ever thought of teaching that we gain heaven by merely wearing the scapular; while it is quite certain that the doctrines of heresy lead straightway to sin and vice. For, if any man believes, according to the teachings of the heretics, that faith alone saves, that he is sure of salvation and cannot lose it, if he only believes; or that no transgression of the Commandments can harm him, if he only accepts with a believing mind the grace of Christ, as the catechism of Calvinists teaches; what can follow but that he should plunge into sin and vice, partly because, according to his ideas, he cannot be condemned, partly on account of his wrong opinion, that faith alone saves. The Catholic Church is far from such doctrines. She does not teach that the wearing of a scapular, or any similar observance, is sufficient for our salvation, but that the wearing of a scapular, if it is done piously, assists us to gain salvation, as God, in consequence of it, will bestow upon us many graces through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, which otherwise He might not grant. The Evil One, who knows the great benefits which result from all pious associations, and especially from the veneration of the Mother of our Lord, incites the heretics to reject or to blaspheme them. He also incites Catholics to place more faith in them than they ought to do, and to pay more attention to what is merely an aid than to what is really necessary.

Thus it happens that many think it a greater sin to eat meat on Wednesday, which is forbidden by the rules of the association of the scapular, than to eat meat on the days of abstinence commanded by the Church. A true Catholic ought first to obey the commandment of God, or of the Church, and do all that is absolutely necessary to gain salvation, and after this, what is useful and beneficial. That which aids him to gain salvation he should not neglect, but at the same time he should be careful not to think that he will gain heaven if he omits that which is most needful. Let this suffice for your instruction, and to refute the wicked and the ignorant.

In conclusion, as far as the use of the scapular is concerned, it would be very wrong for a Catholic to despise it. He should, on the contrary, learn to esteem it highly. We find, in many books, instances of miracles which have been wrought on those who have worn it piously. They have been miraculously protected in dangers by fire and water; in battle it has been a shield which averted the strokes of the enemy; in sickness, a life-giving remedy. And who can count the number of hardened sinners, for whom the Divine Mother has obtained grace to do penance, and thus to escape hell, in consideration of the devotion which they manifested to her by wearing the scapular? Hence, whether you are numbered among the sinners or the righteous, let the beneficial use of the scapular be recommended to you. Evince, by wearing it, your devotion towards her who faithfully aids her children in life and in death.

THUS:To escape hell and gain salvation ought to be the end and aim of all our devotions, of all our actions. You must then employ those means which are indispensable to save your soul and to escape hell. These are: Keeping the true faith; observing the commandments of God and of the Church; worthily receiving the sacraments; avoiding sin; doing penance and other good works; and practicing patience in trials and suffering. If you neglect these means, then everything else is insufficient to lead you to heaven, or save you from eternal destruction. For this reason it is necessary that you prefer the good works commanded by God and the Church to those which are voluntary. It is according to the teachings of the heretics not to do any good works that are not commanded by God: and that those good works which one does voluntarily are not pleasing in the sight of the Lord. But on the other hand, it is also a deceit of the wicked enemy of man, if we practice only voluntary good works, and leave undone those which are commanded us, or if we rather do the former than the latter. Those which are commanded have always to precede the others, and we must be much more careful in practicing those than all others.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

8th Sunday after Pentecost

Redde rationem villicationis tuae"
"Give an account of thy stewardship,"--Luke, xvi. 2



This Sunday is the 8th Sunday after Pentecost. We will hear about being a good and faithful steward of our assets. I always think about the poor widow, who gave a small pittance, but it was a big portion of what she owned. And, Jesus commented that this woman was richer than all the others who pitched into the alms box, probably from an excess. We WILL be held accountable for what we do with what we have. Some people, even family members, decide that they don't want to know more about the Faith, because they don't think they will be held accountable for what they don't know. This isn't a very good excuse. God will, in turn, demand of them why they didn't want to know about Him. We are all held accountable for our actions. And, we will be held accountable all by ourselves; mommy and daddy will not be there to soothe things over.


The Particular Judgment


 This takes place at the moment of death--"It is appointed unto man once to die, and after death, the judgment" (Heb. ix. 27). There is a similarity between the end of the world and the death of the individual: (a) both are certain--"my words shall not pass" (Luke xxi. 33) (b) the time of both is uncertain--"the day and the hour no man knoweth" (Matt. xxiv. 36); (c) both are accompanied by temptations and tribulations--"there shall arise false Christs," etc., "the sun shall be darkened," etc. (Matt. xxiv. 24, 29). The similarity between the particular and the general judgments: (a) it is the same person with his whole life who is judged in both cases; (b) the sentence is irrevocable in both cases.




St. Vincent de Paul, whose post follows this, offers his opinion:

"What is done for charity's sake is done for God. It is not enough for us that we love God ourselves; our neighbor also must love him; neither can we love our neighbor as ourselves unless we procure for him the good we are bound to desire for ourselves--viz., divine love, which unites us to our Sovereign Good. We must love our neighbor as the image of God and the object of His love, and must try to make men love their Creator in return, and love one another also with mutual charity for the love of God, Who so loved them as to deliver His own Son to death for them. But let us, I beg of you, look upon this Divine Savior as a perfect pattern of the charity we must bear to our neighbor."

Now, I'm going to let our beloved Abbot Gueranger explain it. He does a far better job at than I do. He's commenting on the readings from St. Paul to the Romans, which we have been hearing over the last few weeks:

'...man, unaided by grace, is incapable of producing perfect justice and absolute good. Experience has proved it, the fathers will, later on, unanimously assert it, and the Church, in her Councils, will define it. True, by the mere powers of his fallen nature, man may come to the knowledge of some truths, and to the practice of some virtues; but, without grace, he can never know, and still less observe, the precepts of even the natural law, if they are taken as a whole.

From Jesus and Jesus alone, comes all justice. Not only is supernatural grace in the sinner's soul, wholly from Him; but even that natural justice, of which men are so proud, and which they say is quite enough without anything else, soon leaves one who does not cling to Christ by Faith and love. Our modern world has a pompous phrase about 'the independence of the human mind'; let those who pretend to acknowledge no other but that, go one with their boasting of being moral and honest men; but, as to us Christians, we believe what our mother the Church teaches us; and, agreeably to such teaching, we believe that 'a moral and honest man'; that is to say, a man who lives up to all the duties which nature puts upon him, can only be such here below by a special aid of our Redeemer and Saviour Christ Jesus. With St. Paul, therefore, let us be proud of the Gospel; for, as he calls it, it is the power of God, not only to justify the ungodly, but also to enrich souls, that thirst after what is right, with an active and perfect justice. 'The just man liveth by faith' says St. Paul; and according to the growth of his faith, so is his growth in justice. Without faith if Christ, the pretension to reach perfection in good, by one's own power and works, produces nothing but the stagnation of pride and the wrath of God.'



GOSPEL (Luke XVI. 1-9.)

At that time, Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me my stewardship? To dig, I am not able: to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty, Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the Lord commended the unjust steward, for as much as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generations than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

God is represented by the rich man; the steward is man, to whom God has confided the various goods of soul and body, of grace and nature: faith, intellect, memory , free will; and five senses, health, strength of body, beauty, skill and power over others, time and opportunity for good, temporal riches, and other gifts. These various goods of soul and body God gives us not as our own, but on loan to us to be used for His honor and the salvation of man. He will therefore demand the strictest account of us if we use them for sin, luxury, seduction, or oppression of others.
________________________________________________________________________________

'This Gospel reading is perhaps the most perplexing of all the Sunday Gospels. The faithless steward, accused of mismanagement, is praised by his master for preparing himself, and making friends with, “the Mammon of iniquity” by means of a fraudulent contract. Our Lord here is not condoning the fraud of the steward. Rather, the "point" of the parable is that providing for one’s future deserves praise. The lesson we are to learn is to use presently all the talents we have at our disposal so as to prepare for ourselves riches for heaven.
'
(St. Jerome’s Letter to Algasia, #121, n. 6)

More Gueranger:'For the fool, as well as for the wise man, the day will come when his soul will be required of him; and when the rich man, as well as the poor, will be brought before his Maker, exactly as he was on the day of his first entrance into the world, and it will be said to him: "Give an account of thy stewardship!" At that dread hour, the rule observed for the judgment will be that which our Lord revealed to us during His mortal life; "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required; and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more." Woe to the steward who, disregarding the trust assigned to him, has done just what his own whim suggested with the goods of which he was only the dispenser! When the light of eternity shall be upon him, he will understand the error of his foolish pride. He will see the shameful injustice of a life which the world perhaps thought a very decent one, but which was spent without the slightest regard to God's intentions in giving him the riches of which he boasted. He will then be entirely deprived of them all; neither will it be then in his power to make a better use of them for the future---that is, a use more in accordance with the designs of God. If he might, at least, make some restitution for the goods he has abused! If he might sue for aid from those with whom he lived upon earth! But, NO! when time is over, labor is over too. He has nothing to show for all his riches; he is powerless; and when he goes before that dread tribunal, where every man is afraid that he cannot put his own accounts right, whom can he get to help him?'

We should remember these words spoken by our Lord: "Come to me, all ye who labor, and I will give you rest."

'Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.'
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Not only are we incapable, of ourselves, of doing any good work, but, without the help of grace, we cannot even have a thought of supernatural good. Now, the surest means for obtaining the help that is so needed by us to acknowledge humbly before God that we depend entirely upon Him; it is what the Church does in the Collect for this Sunday:

Grant us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the spirit of always thinking what is right; and grant us mercifully the spirit of doing it: that we, who cannot subsist without Thee, may live according to Thee.


"You are not a master, but a steward over the things committed to you; and therefore you are to render an account of them." I will place before your eyes today the rigor of this judgment, which shall be passed on each of us on the last day of our life."
(St. Bonaventure)



Strengthen me, O Lord, that I may not live according to the desires of the flesh; but resist them firmly by the power of Thy Spirit, that I may not die the eternal death.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

St. Bonaventure, Doctor/Cardinal


 
 
Today we honor another great DOCTOR of the Church, St. Bonaventure. He lived in the supposed 'dark ages', at the time that included St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Dominic, St. Francis. Dark ages, indeed?! Following is the story of this Saint, written in the 19th century.

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Cardinal
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

The Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, was born in 1221,at Balneoregio, in the State of Tuscany. His parents were very distinguished people, not only on account of their nobility and great riches, but still more for their piety and virtues. When scarcely four years old, Bonaventure became dangerously sick and the physicians despaired of his life. His mother appealed to St. Francis of Assisi, who was still living at that period, begging him to obtain, by his prayers, her son's life from God. She promised to bring him up to the honor of the Almighty, and in the course of time to consecrate him entirely to His divine service in the Order founded by St. Francis. The latter prayed for the sick child and the malady was subdued. In regard to this miracle the holy man cried: "O Buona Ventura! " which means, "Oh happy event!" and from that time they called the child, so miraculously cured, Bonaventure, although at the baptismal font it had received the name of John.

Arrived at the period when reason awakens, Bonaventure heard of the promise his mother had made in regard to him and fulfilled it by entering joyfully into the Order of St. Francis. After having finished his probation, he went to Paris to devote himself to study, and his progress in learning was as great as his advancement in virtue, especially in humility, constant self-denial, perfect obedience, great love of his crucified Lord, and ardent devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He meditated daily on the passion and death of Christ, and spent as much time as he could in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He seldom received Holy Communion, especially when he himself said Mass, without shedding many tears. His innocence he preserved inviolate. The celebrated Doctor Alexander of Hales, under whom Bonaventure studied, used to say, that it seemed to him that he had not committed any sin in Adam; so strictly did he control his inclinations, so great were his virtue and his piety.

Before he was thirty years old, his superiors appointed him to teach theology in the University of Paris, which he did with immense success. There he and and St. Thomas of Aquin received the title of "Doctor", the highest dignity conferred upon Theologians. At the age of 35 years, he was elected General of the whole Seraphic Order, and his election was confirmed by Pope Alexander, who had presided over the assembly. When once installed in his new functions, he was as zealous to preserve the rule of the holy Founder, as he had previously been earnest in declining the dignity. He made the most wholesome regulations, and led all those under him by word and example to great sanctity. During eighteen years he administered his office, with so much wisdom, mildness and strength of character, that he was loved and esteemed by all, and venerated as the second Founder of the Order.

Although occupied with such constant and important labors, he never neglected his devotional exercises or his studies. We possess this day a great many theological works of great learning written by this holy man. Among others, he wrote a book to refute those who slandered the Mendicant Orders, which he entitled: "A Defense of the Poor." He proves in this book the temporal as well as spiritual benefits of such orders. He also wrote several most learned and eloquent books in praise of the Blessed Virgin, whose honor he desired to further to the best of his ability, and whom, from childhood, he had greatly venerated. At one time, when answering somebody, concerning his devotion to the Queen of Virgins, said with his gentle expression: "If anyone prefers otherwise, I will not contend with him, provided he say nothing to the detriment of the Venerable Virgin, for we must take the very greatest care, even should it cost us our life, that no one lessen in any way the honor of our Lady." There is also extant from his pen, the life of St. Francis, Founder of the Seraphic Order. Whilst he was writing this work, St. Thomas Aquinas came to pay him a visit. Hearing in what Bonaventure was occupied, he declined disturbing him, and left with the words: "Let us leave one Saint to work for another."

St. Thomas so highly esteemed Bonaventure, that he did not hesitate to call him a Saint while he was still alive. This holy man was greatly astonished that Bonaventure, being so much occupied with his duties, yet found time to write so many books of such profound learning, and one day asked him where his library was. Bonaventure pointing to a crucifix, said: "This is the library, wherein I find all that I teach to others." Before he began to study, or whenever a doubt or a difficulty during study embarrassed him, he fell down before the Crucifix and humbly prayed for Divine assistance. He said more than once, that by this means, he had obtained more knowledge and wisdom than by all his industry. Not content with all this, the holy man preached publicly in all the places which he visited in the exercise of his functions, exhorting sinners to repentance and the pious to be constant in good works; by which he converted, in a most remarkable manner, the most hardened sinners.

He wrote a treatise, Incendium amoris, where he teaches how to get to true Wisdom: "I offer this book not to philosophers, not the worldly-wise, not to great theologians perplexed with endless questions, but to the simple and ignorant who strive rather to love God than to know much. It is not by disputing, but by activity, that we learn to love. As to those men full of questions, superior in every science, but inferior in the love of Christ, I consider them incapable of understanding the contents of this book; unless putting away all vain show of learning, they strive, by humble self-renunciation, prayer, and meditation, to kindle within them the divine spark, which, inflaming their hearts and dispelling all darkness, will lead them beyond the concerns of time even to the throne of peace. Indeed, by the very fact of their knowing more, they are better disposed to love, or, at least, they would be if they truly despised themselves and could rejoice to be despised by others."

The fame of his great knowledge and holiness, which spread all over the country, was of great benefit to him in his missionary work; whence he received the title of Seraphic Doctor, by which he is still known in our days. Bishops and prelates of the Church honored the Saint still more than other people of a lower degree. Pope Clement IV, desired to reward him for his many services to the Church with the Archbishopric of York; but the holy man throwing himself at his feet, begged so earnestly to be spared the burden of this honor, that the Holy Father acceded to his request. After the death of this Pope, the Cardinals, assembled at Viterbo, could not agree in the election of a new head of the Church, and they at last determined to leave the choice to Bonaventure, promising to accept as Pope, whomsoever he thought deserving to receive the highest of earthly dignities. This was surely the greatest sign of honor which they could confer upon the Saint.

Bonaventure, after having prayed to God, said that, in his opinion, Theobald, archdeacon of Liege, who was not even present, was most worthy to be raised to the Pontifical Throne. The cardinals received his decision and Theobald became the head of Christ's Church. This Pope, who took the name of Gregory X, sent afterwards the hat and insignia of a Cardinal to Bonaventure, nominating him Bishop of Albano, and commanding him at the same time, to obey without any opposition. The papal Nuncios who were to convey this news to the Saint, found him occupied in washing the dishes in the kitchen. He listened with unfeigned surprise to their message, and as he saw that, this time, there was no escape left, he obediently submitted, but nevertheless he finished his humble occupation. The Pope, calling him to Rome, took him to Lyons where a general Council was held, during which he gave new proofs of his great learning, and of his unwearied zeal in promoting the welfare of the holy Church.

It pleased the Almighty, to call His faithful servant, in the midst of his pious labor, and after a short illness, to receive his eternal reward. He died in 1274, only fifty-three years of age. The Pope and all the bishops deeply lamented his early death, but God immediately honored him by many miracles. One hundred and sixty years later, when on account of the erection of a new Church, the relics of the Saint were exhumed, it was found that the flesh of the body was entirely consumed, the head excepted, of which the hair, teeth, tongue, eyes and ears, lips and cheeks, were as perfect as though he had still been living. The head, therefore, was preserved in a rich shrine, and the rest of the body laid into a coffin. After many years, when the Huguenots or Calvinists took possession of Lyons, they publicly burned the body of the Saint and threw the ashes into the river. The holy head, however, was saved from their rage by the care of a priest, who, though most cruelly tortured, to make him confess where the relic was kept, preferred to bear the suffering rather than reveal where the precious treasure was concealed.

O, Seraphic Doctor, lead us in our search of that same Divine Wisdom.


Quotes from St. Bonaventure

"Verily, great is Our Lord's mercy! That we, through fear of our divine Judge, depart not forever from Him, He gave us His own Mother for our advocate and mediatrix of grace."

"God might have created a more beautiful world; He might have made heaven more glorious; but it was impossible for Him to exalt a creature higher than Mary in making her His Mother."

"Of Mary's plenitude, we have all received; the captive liberty, the sick health, the sad consolation, the sinner pardon, the just grace. Therefore, the Church invokes Mary as the mother of mercy, the heath of the sick, the comforter of the afflicted, the refuge of sinners, the help of Christians, in a word, as the cause of our joy."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

St. Pius I, Pope

 
 
We've had 12 Popes named Pius, and today is the first one of that esteemed name, St. Pope Pius I. Pius I, born in the State of Venice, succeeded Saint Hygin in the year 142 as the ninth successor to Saint Peter, during the reign of the emperor Antoninus the Pious. Throughout his pontificate he took great care to make the religion of Christ flourish, and published many beautiful ordinances for the utility of the universal Church. In his decrees he was severe towards blasphemers and with the clergy who showed negligence for the divine Mysteries of the altar. Saint Pius ordained that Easter be celebrated on a Sunday; in this way the custom which the Apostles had already observed became an inviolable law of the Church.

His pontificate was marked by the efforts of various heretics in Rome, among them the gnostics Valentinian, Cerdon, and Marcion, to sow their errors in the Church's center. The last-named, when excluded from communion by Saint Pius, founded the heretical group which bears his name. St. Justin and other Catholic teachers assisted the Pontiff in defending Christian doctrine and preserving it from corruption. After having governed the Church for fifteen years St. Pius I obtained the crown of martyrdom by the sword, in the year of Our Lord 150.


St. Pius I (140-155) was born in the city of Aquilea, He succeeded St. Hyginus (136-140) in the Apostolic See.  He was a friend of St. Polycarp of Smyrna and St. Justin the Apologist (this doesn't mean he apologizes for anything, but explains the Faith to those who don't know it), who fought against the Gnostic heresy that was contaminating the Church. St. Pius I demanded the highest respect for the consecrated species of Bread and Wine in the Eucharist. He made a special decree prescribing that if a negligent priest would let even a drop of the Precious Blood fall on the ground he would have to make 40 days of penance. If the Precious Blood would be spilled on the Altar and not onto the ground, the penance would be between 3-9 days, depending upon the quantity spilled.

One of the places where St. Peter and St. Paul used to work, the palace of St. Pudentiana, was transformed by Pope Pius I into a church. After governing the Catholic Church for 15 years, St. Pius I suffered martyrdom under Marcus Aurelius. 



Comments of Prof. Plinio:

One can see that St. Pius I was a Pope who carried out his functions during the period of the Roman persecutions. Thus he counts among those first Popes who were associated with the admirable work of the internal organization of the Church. This is a very important point that historians and scholars habitually overlook.


St Pius I
St. Pius I
During the persecutions, even when she was being stepped on and wounded, even when she was pouring out blood in all her parts, the Catholic Church continued to organize herself. After Constantine’s decree that gave liberty to the Church, she came out of the catacombs, and one could admire her full and perfect organization: she had a Hierarchy, an exact Church Law, all her structures had been made, her liturgy defined, and a wealth of doctrine established. This means that from the time that St. Peter and St. Paul arrived in Rome until the moment the Church left the catacombs, an enormous work of organization had been carried out.

The Catholic Church appeared as the first entity in History claiming a universal character. Until then, this idea was absurd. All the existent religions and other organizations were limited by borders of State. The Church claimed this universality naturally, wisely, and with good sense. She emerged from the catacombs already with her universal character and carried on naturally because everything was already prepared for that.

This means that even while she was suffering persecutions, she was not obsessed by them. At the same time, she was serenely constructing her magnificent structure. One might think that the development of the body of the Church would need to be made in peace and tranquility, that persecuted men could never do such a thing. But the opposite is true.

Throughout that period, those very men who were threatened, persecuted, at constant risk of being brought before the Roman tribunals and receiving their martyrdom, never ceased thinking, praying, and making the Church more perfect – here a point of doctrine was polished, there a part of the liturgy was improved, over there a new custom was being established. Considering this serenity and calm, one is reminded of the serenity and calm of the martyrs in the arena. That tranquility before death was present at the tragic moment when they were facing beasts and tortures. This was a consequence of a state of spirit fostered by the Catholic Church that kept them in a constant state of confidence and calm. This also explains why they were able to calmly and serenely construct, stone by stone, the extraordinary institution that they built.

Emperor Constantine

A precious cloth representing Emperor Constantine, whose famous decree gave liberty to the Church. She emerged from the catacombs with an established structure and organization
The contemplative state also was born in the Church as another consequence of the persecutions. Many Catholics, fleeing the persecutions of the pagan Roman Empire, found refuge in the desert. There they began to dwell in isolation, living lives of prayer and sacrifice, which became the eremitic life of contemplation.

Here, then, one sees the admirable panorama of the life of the Church at that time: The great ever growing number of martyrs, the apostolate of the Church extending to all corners, her spirit of recollection giving rise to a flourishing contemplative state. It was an admirable growth and development.

Behind all those initiatives was the presence of the Holy Ghost. The Roman Catholic Church is more than a society of defined persons – the Pope, Bishops, Clergy, and faithful. This is the human element of the Church. But there is also that which is called the spirit of the Church. This spirit is the continuity in the Church of a determined mentality, a determined wisdom, a determined Faith, and a determined virtue, which exists not by a work of man, but by a supernatural factor: this is the action of the Holy Ghost. By means of this action, good Catholics everywhere in all centuries understood each other, knew each other, and supported each other. They had a single mentality, and when they died, others came and succeeded them with the same spirit.

Today the faithful who understand and love this same institution, virtue, and tradition have this spirit and represent this continuity. You have certainly seen a fire burning at night, when the flames are more easily seen. Once in a while, a spark shoots out from the fire, flies high above it, and then falls again into the bosom of the burning wood. Those good Catholics of whom I spoke are like those sparks in the fire. Amid the present crisis of the Church, those sparks shine with the light of the Church, with the light that the Church had before the Council, and they fly up and they will return their light and their very existence to her after her restoration. I hope we make up part of these Catholics. Our joy is to be a part of the Catholic Church. Anything good in us comes from our belonging to her, which is a Temple of the Holy Ghost.

There is a certain analogy between the faithful of the time of St. Pius I and today’s faithful. Today’s good Catholics do not suffer a bloody persecution. Instead they face a bloodless persecution and are maltreated in many ways. Our Lady helps them, and they continue on, stone by stone constructing their work in that same spirit, until that moment Our Lady will choose for her glorification, and the Reign of Mary will be established. Then future Catholics will see that even amid the worse torments in History, which is the present day crisis, the Church continued to live, to progress, to give good fruit, and, moreover, she continued to be herself.