Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Prayer to the Sacred Heart


We are approaching the end of the month of July, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this burning love for humanity, we have a refuge and a home. No man turning in this time of distress to the Sacred Heart will be rejected.


May Thy Heart dwell always in our hearts!
May Thy Blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!
O sun of our hearts, Thou givest life to all things by the rays of Thy goodness!
I will not go until Thy Heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!
May the Heart of Jesus be the King of my heart!
Blessed be God. Amen.


Written by Saint Francis de Salle.


Let us not approach this devotion without discerning that this love certainly cost something. This Sacred Heart beating with love for man and his salvation, was pierced with a lance and scorned by men. Such is our Redeemer.

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day


Saint Bonaventure.

'When we pray, the voice of the heart must be heard more than that proceeding from the mouth.'

Comment: Prayer is not the mere verbalising of pre-written formulae, but the cry of the child of God to his gracious Father. It is a cry of confidence from the very depths of our nature, a longing for the Good, for the Supreme Beauty, our only End and our purpose. Without this intimate communication in the Spirit, no man can be saved, how can we regain the divine likeness, when the very archtype is foreign to us?

Commemoration of Saint Paul - 3 Cl.


Apostle

Saul of Tarsus was first a great persecutor and made havoc of the infant Church. Miraculously converted, he began his three great Apostolic Voyages and wrote his Epistles. After a captivity of two years in Caesarea, he came to Rome and travelled to that part of the Church situated beyond Italy. He was beheaded A.D. 65.

Collect:

O God, who by the preaching of blessed Paul the Apostle, didst teach the multitude of the Gentiles: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who celebrate his heavenly birthday, may also experience his patronage.

'For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.'

What could we suffer for the Faith that this divine Apostle did not? Who has sweated, toiled, been mocked, or shed his blood like Paul? Who has loved his own people as much as this man, who was willing to even suffer condemnation if the Jews would turn back to their God?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul


Today, let us worship the blessed Trinity, imitating the faith and virtues and beseeching the intercession of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul.
Upon hearing a short sermon from a priest today on this glorious and joyful occasion, two elements come to my mind which we must consider now more than ever.
First of all, even though these great men are acknowledged in the Confiteor, where we confess our sins before them, and plead for them to pray for us to God, we rarely pray or have a devotion to them outside of the divine liturgy. Why do we forget what these princes of the Church did for us? I am writing in Scotland in the 21th century, and I uphold the Catholic Faith which concerns the Logos Who descended to the earth 2000 years ago. We have received this great grace by the sweat, toil and blood of these men who were sent out by Christ to the nations. It is not a doctrine of man that we cling to or proclaim. It was through a revelation that the Rock, Peter exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, when the rest of his companions uttered the rumours of the crowd. Later, the Divine Apostle, Paul converted to the true faith through the gracious mercy of Jesus, Who spoke with him on the road to Damascus.
We do not profess one faith that is as valid as any, but one which comes from Christ Himself Who founded His Church to perpetuate the incarnation and bring the redemption wrought by His Precious Blood to all nations.
Saint Paul characterised the missionary zeal that we must all have for the Catholic Faith. Essentially our religion has universality and rationality, as we worship the Logos through Whom all things have their being. The Faith must not be confined to one area, to one nation, to one language, but to all men descended from Adam. Let us cast aside the false notion of ''religious liberty'', no one has a right to simulate worship in a manner contrary to what the good Lord has revealed. It is a great act of charity to pray for the salvation of others, and as all grace for salvation comes through the Church, let us not neglect to bring souls to our Mother Church to be nourished and quickened.
Second, there is a great crisis within the human element of the Church. Liberals (who used to be called 'heretics') are 'rewarded' for their creativity with honours, bishops sleep on their thrones while souls perish, priests are more concerned about social justice programmes, and dissent is rampant. With Saint Peter, the foremost of the Apostles, the Rock, the safeguard of the Faith, let us cling to the truth handed onto the saints once for all. The Holy Father has much to suffer and he has been abandoned by his clergy. May His Holiness continue to feature in our prayers, as we pour forth our supplications for the victory of the Holy Catholic Church. By holy living, devout reception of the Sacraments and great hope in the Blessed Mother, may we become channels of grace to bring as many men as possible into the fold. This can only occur through clinging to the true Faith with love, this truth and no other can set us free.

Glory be to the holy Trinity, and honour to the Divine Apostles. Amen.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Birthday of Saint John the Baptist


Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel!

Today, we venerate the memory and beseech the intercession of blessed John the Baptist, the servant of God and the forerunner of the Messias. Today's world needs a new messenger of the Good News, in this time of unbelief and hardness of heart. All of the baptised are called to go forth, announcing the Just Judgement of God, and by living a disciplined life, built upon faith which is strengthened by the grace of the Sacraments, men will be converted to the truth. Those who live in such a manner will give great glory to the Blessed Trinity and shall flourish like the palm-tree, shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.
Evil is practised and defended under the cover of law, let us therefore imitate the heroic virtues of blessed John, offering a sacrifice of praise to the Lord who has visited His people and shown forth His mercy to sinners. God pre-ordains all things to His glory in His wisdom, and invites fallen man to share in His divine nature and participate in the communion of love. Before He formed us in the womb, He knew us, He has consecrated us to His service to root up, and to pull down, and to waste and to destroy, and to build, and to plant. Let us enlighten men in the truth, who is Christ, loosening their bonds through faithfully adhering to the salvation purchased for us by the Precious Blood on Calvery.
If such a mission had to be undertaken, this is the appropriate moment. Souls walk idly into destruction and Hell. Our pastors are oblivious to the dangers of sin and its unchecked reign in men's souls. Yet, through the grace of Jesus and the loving protection of our Blessed Mother, we can bring men to our Father's house.
Brethren, let us then prepare the path for the return of our Lord, to whom be the glory and the power for ever. Amen.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga - 3 Cl.


Confessor.

He is the patron of Catholic youth. Amid the seductions of court the young prince, full of merits and virtues, kept his first innocence by marvels of mortification. He entered the Society of Jesus in Rome at the age of sixteen, and died there seven years later a victim to the plague, June 21, A.D. 1591.

Collect:

O God, the Giver of heavenly gifts, who in the angelic youth Aloysius didst unite a wonderful innocence of life with an equal spirit of penance: grant through his merits and prayers, that we, who have not followed his innocence, may imitate his penance. Through our Lord...

'My hope, O Lord, from my youth: by Thee have I been confirmed from the womb...'

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Pope Quote Of The Week


Pope Paul VI

"Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Living Heart of each of our parishes,"

Comment: Upon entering a protestant church, one is immediately confronted with an emptiness. For all the devotion and sincerity of that community, the words of St. Mary Magdelene must resound in our souls,'they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have put Him' (Jn 10:13). Removed from the 'worship space, the human person takes centre stage, a charicature of true worship, a void leading to death.

...of the Greek Variety


Saint Cyril of Jerusalem on offering the Mass for the dead:

'We pray for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and all who have fallen asleep before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is present. By offering our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we offer Christ's sacrifice for the sins of all, and so render favourable for them and for us, the God who loves mankind'

Whether Men Are Predestined By God?

First Part, Question 23, First Article:

The Catholic Faith not only proclaims God as creator of all that exists, visible and invisible but that He in His wisdom orders everything to His glory. Through the Word in the Spirit, the Father sustains all being and offers mankind the possibility of sharing in the divine life. Yet human persons are not mere objects brought into existence, such as rocks or desks, but contain intelligence and the capacity of loving, resulting from being formed in the image of God. A stone can only be moved from the outside, it can not resist beyond its weight. However, the offer of freedom in the case of mankind, involves his assent in faith, a handing over to the Lord of his entire being. Therefore, it is appropriate that we ask, does God predestinate men?

Let us commence this discussion with a quotation from the Divine Apostle, Paul in his Letter to the Romans: 'Whom He predestined, them He also called.' (8:30)
Accordingly, it is proper to the wisdom and justice of God that He guides all of His creation including that of mankind to His honour. Now, what is the purpose of His ordering, this predestination? Saint Thomas responds, 'it belongs to providence to direct things towards their end...'. As I have continually stated in my regular and diverse meditations that I have written up so far for Filioque, man in the very depths of his soul has a longing for God. Anything other than the Creator and he will groan for satisfaction, disgusted with the various delights that he has constantly latched on to and cast aside in vexation. His nature can only be fulfilled, brought to its 'end' by returning to its origin. A pursuit and hunger that is insatiable by the delectation of the senses, but which must stretch out of itself to embraces the One, yet at the same time delves into the true nature of man. This is we can properly call our true end, eternal life and the vision of He who is, the source of all being and the fountain of delight.

Yet, the Angelic Doctor states that, 'the end towards which created things are directed by God is twofold' and the end that I have very briefly set forth 'exceeds all proportion and faculty of nature'. This is what I meant when I described the human person stretching forth of his whole being, a prostration at the feet of his Lord, a renunciation of self leading to a recovery of the true self in Christ. Man must be called into this relationship through grace, faith is only initiated by the Most High. Man on his own can do nothing. The blessed vision of Him will satisfy every longing, every thirst for love and peace, which the world cannot dispense. Man is lifted out of time, out of necessity and tribulation into the ever-giving Trinitarian life.
On the other hand, the second end is 'proportionate to created nature, to which end created being can attain according to the power of its nature'. Now, it would be foolish to assert that such an end, brings about an 'emancipation' from God, as the human being posseses only that which is given to him from above. All human efforts in the natural sphere only occur by the gracious action of the Lord to bring us into existence and bestow upon us certain faculties and capabilities. Here we must remember that as a result of the Fall, man's intellect is darkened and its will divided, leading to many errors and misjudgements. Man, through the power granted it, is able to attain a certain degree of happiness and joy of its own nature and striving, however, it is necessary to state that the longing for the Good remains. The human person can feast upon earthly, ephemeral felicity, although such an end is not what the Lord has brought us out of nothing for. We are not mere animals.
'If a thing cannot attain to something by the power of its nature, it must be directed thereto by another'. Such is the case with eternal life.
Through sin, a great gulf exists between man and his God, that we cannot traverse through our own efforts. An arrow, although capable of flying, must be launched by the archer so that it may pierce the target. No matter the quality of material that it comprises, it cannot rise off the ground and assault the mark. Man is directed by His creator, who knows the secret pursuit of the heart and the deepest dimensions of nature. Namely towards fulfillment which is to know the true God and the one He sent, Jesus.
The Dominican continues, 'The reason of that direction pre-exists in God; as in Him is the type of the order of all things towards an end, which we proved above to be providence'. As the Lord is not constrained by time, but exists in the ever-present, eternal 'now', set before Him is the actions of all His works, and through His Word, He brings all to their pre-ordained end. 'Now the type in the mind (that is His plan) of the doer of something to be done, is a kind of pre-existence in him of the thing to be done'. Before I was conceived in my mother's womb, God from all eternity foresaw my existence and the form and pattern of my life, He knew my actions as efficient causes. Such prescience therefore does not put to flight free will.

Therefore, it is right to say that man is predestined by God.

Saint Juliana Falconieri - 3 Cl.


Virgin.

The noble daughter of the illustrious family of Falconieri founded at Florence the Order of the Mantellati, attached to the Order of Servites. She received Viaticum miraculously at the moment of her death, A.D. 1340.

Collect:

O God, who didst vouchsafe wondrously to solace blessed Juliana, Thy virgin, in her last sufferings with the precious body of Thy Son: grant we beseech Thee, that, by her intercession and merits, we too in our mortal agony may be strengthened by the same Sacrament, and so be brought to our heavenly country. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth...

'The daughters of the King are in thine honour, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing surrounded with variety'

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day


Saint Jerome:

'At the very time when Mass is said for those souls for whom it is being offered, all their pains are lifted.'


Comment: Let us not neglect to have the Holy Sacrifice offered for those who have departed this mortal realm. These souls certainly need prayers and penances to alleviate their pains in order to bring them to the vision of He who is. By this act of charity, let us call to mind the truth that we are but dust and ashes and we too will one day lie in a coffin before the Altar.

Preparation For Holy Communion


Let us have frequent recourse to this Sacrament, containing all heavenly delights and all that is necessary for salvation. Upon the Holy Altar is spread out a feast beyond compare, which gratifies not the senses but cures the soul of all ill. From the reception of this most blessed Sacrament, saints are made, demons put to flight, glory is given to the Undivided Trinity.

Thomas a Kempis writes beautifully:

''I implore Thy mercy, and beg Thee to give me the special grace, that I may be wholly dissolved in Thee, lose myself in love of Thee, and never seek any other joy. For this most lofty and most excellent Sacrament is the health of body and soul, and the cure of all spiritual weakness. By its power vices are rooted out, the passions curbed, temptations lessened or overcome, grace poured in greater plenty into the soul, virtue already implanted is increased, faith is confirmed, hope strengthened, charity brightened and widened.'' (Imitatio Christi)

Lord, we are not worthy that you should enter our roof, but purify us of all defilement that we make a house fitting for the King of kings.

Prayer

Lord Christ, may those nails which held thee fast to the Cross, pierce my heart to repentance.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Saint Gregory Barbarigo - 3 Cl.


Bishop, Confessor.

Cardinal Archbishop of Padua, died in 1697 with the reputation of another Charles Borromeo, renowned like him for his wonderful zeal in every kind of labour for the clergy and faithful, but especially the poor, of his diocese.

Collect:

O God, Thou wert pleased to have blessed Gregory, Thy Confessor and Bishop renowned as one who cherished his flock and loved the poor: in Thy mercy see that we extol his merits and imitate his charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ...

'Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth...'

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

O Altitudo...!

At the moment, I am reading Gerald Bonner's little book called 'Freedom and Necessity' which concerns an outline (or at least the professor's interpretation) of St. Augustine's doctrine on human freedom, grace and predestination.

He quotes from the saint and states that this doctrine is horrifying although essentially the same as one passage of St Paul:

'Two little children are born. If you ask what is due, they both cleave to the lump of perdition. But why does its mother carry the one to grace, while the other is suffocated by its mother in her sleep? Will you tell me what that one deserved which was borne to grace, and what that one deserved whom its sleeping mother suffocated? Both have deserved nothing of good but the potter hath power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another into dishonour...' (Sermon 26)

Such thinking is certainly considered terrifying today, but we must not allow our preconceived notions of love and justice to cloud our apprehension of the truth.
The Doctor of Grace admitted, a child that dies without undergoing the laver of regeneration can not therefore experience the beatific vision, but may receive the mildest of punishments. God certainly allowed one to die and one to live, which is due to His inscrutable wisdom and this is done for His greater glory. If we have to conjecture about such topics let us answer thus:

If that child who was tragically suffocated by it's mother were to be born, it may grow up to commit grave iniquity and accordingly suffer greater torment in Hell. Now, as God orders all creation to His preordained plan in His unsurpassed knowledge, He may allow this to happen to preserve the child from acting in that manner. A state of the mildest punishments is better than not to exist at all.

This logic may be considered draconian or hideous, yet its an attempt (however feeble) to defend God's justice and love.

Also, the saint believed that in some mysterious manner, according to the unity of the human race, all men were present in Adam's loins and therefore guilty of his sin which is transmitted to them.

Random Thought

Far from abolishing free will, grace enables it.

“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” - St. Augustine of Hippo.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The 'Reality' of Evil


I found this quotation concerning a pagan myth from my reading of Saint Gregory of Nyssa in his 'Oratio Catechetica':

'...the bitch looking into the water at the shadow (reflection) and letting go its real food, as she opens her mouth to swallow the shadow of food and so remains hungry'

He continues, 'In a similar fashion, the mind, being cheated of its desired for that which is really good, was carried away to what is unreal through the deception of the counsellor and inventor of evil, by having been persuaded that that truly is beautiful, which is the opposite of beautiful...'

Monday, 14 June 2010

Many Confess, Few Repent...


I would like to share this article with you, with I believe is very necessary for our times. It is from an Eastern 'Orthodox' source, but it contains many truths that we must meditate on and actualise in our lives.

http://preachersinstitute.com/2010/02/many-confess-few-repent/

The essence of the Priesthood - Modern Requirements


It is with a touch of irritation that I write this piece, and a sense of bemusement. At the end of this week, I had read from Father Zuhlsdorf that the great Saint John Vianney will not, as promised, be proclaimed as patron of all priests. It has been 'explained' that the Cure D'ars is not sufficiently representative of the form of life conducted by the 21st century priesthood. Did the man who became a Victim for our Lord, through offering the clean oblation, who spent many hours in a cramped confessional, who converted his town and its environs and put Satan to flight, not approach the sanctity necessary to inspire us all? Or did the Frenchman not engage in the adequate quantity of social justice and equality schemes?
Such absurdity begs the pertinent question what is the essence of the priesthood? A sense of novelty pervades our culture, where an item or an aspect must appeal to whims and sentiments. Yet, what we lack is not a treasure, but a sufficient reverence and consideration for the many great gifts we have been given. In our fickleness we have cast aside pearls and taken up in eagerness what truly belongs to the swine.
Let us therefore turn to the teaching of the Church, who is 'the pillar and foundation of truth' (1 Tim. 3:15), which will preserve us from modernist innovations and from being tossed about 'by every wind of doctrine' (Eph. 4:14). The great Council of Trent condemned the heretical position of the 'reformers' that, 'there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel'. It must be noted that the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass is given first place, and not the evangelizing of peoples, although this certainly flows out from the efficacy of the Oblation upon the Altar.

Day by day, the priest ascends to the place of sacrifice accompanied by the Immaculate Mary and surrounded by the angels. At the foot of the Altar, he confesses his sinfulness, humbling himself before the congregation and pleading for mercy from the Eternal Father. No man is worthy of such a dignity that surpasses the angels, and no man can take such a calling upon himself (Heb. 5:4). Saint John Chrysostom writes accordingly, 'The work of the priesthood is done on earth, but it is ranked among heavenly ordinances. And this is only right, for no man, no angel, no archangel, no other created power, but the Paraclete Himself ordained this succession' (On the Priesthood). What a truly awesome sight it would have been to be present when holy Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume an animal, yet the priest of our Lord Christ, calls down the Source of all life, the Holy Spirit to bless this offering (Veni Sanctificator omnipotens aeterne deus: et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini praeparatum), so that it may be borne by the hands of the angels to the sight of His Divine Majesty. For many epochs, men could not even offer a sacrifice worthy of a single life, but now, according to the condescension of the Word, a sacrifice is offered that is worthy of God.

The priest, a man taken from many to confect the Eucharist, for the praise and glory of His name and the good of all holy mother Church, must recognise His unworthiness to stand in the Person of Christ. As he is called to offer the perpetual yes of the Son to the Heavenly Father, the priest must be conformed more closely than all to the Lord. From the very moment of His incarnation in the terrestrial paradise that is the womb of the Mother of God, grace flowed by His divine Person to His Sacred Humanity, consecrating Himself to the High Priesthood whereby He offers Himself. Priest and victim. Accordingly the ordained must himself, although sinful and erring, live the life of a continual oblation before God. He must in his own person become the offering at the altar. Christ was and remains (Hebrews 7:25) the eternal high priest of our religion, showing His precious wounds before His Father, from which out poured blood which cries out for forgiveness more than Abel's (Heb 12:24). We have been released from the snare (Ps 124:7), even though we were 'children of wrath by nature'(Eph 2:3) worthy of the fiercest punishment. However, through the ineffable mercy of our Good Lord, a sacrifice of propitiation has been offered sufficient for the salvation of all.

The ministerial and sacramental priesthood of the New and Everlasting Covenant is called to perpetuate the Pure Offering predicted in Micah 1:11 to acknowledge the greatness of God's Most Holy Name. Above the head of the priest after each consecration, the Sacred Victim is held aloft for our adoration, and 'our eyes are on the Lord our God till He show us His mercy' (Ps 122:2). His whole life must be dedicated to this offering, his heart lifted up (Sursum corda)to his treasure in Heaven. He is however not alone, the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, constantly remains with him, as He did with our Lord Jesus, bestowing grace upon him. The priest must turn to the help of Christians, the Mother of God, whose mantle protects the priests of her Son in a most special manner. For her to reject His priests, would be to reject her Son. He is required to humbly plead for all men, most especially those under the care of Mother Church, for whom the Sacrifice in the first place is offered for. Yet, his prayers are not restricted to those under his care, but must extend to all men, of whatever nation, culture or language, most importantly for the salvation of their souls. No social justice programme can more effectively live the sojourn of the Saviour on earth who set aside the glory due to His Person and humbled Himself (Philipians 2:6-7), who came to die. Social justice which has its place can only ever free man from economic burden but abandons him still to sin and slavery to corruption. It has been said that if they had been four more men of the holiness of Saint John Vianney on this earth, Satan would have been completely powerless, simply because of the efficacy of the prayers poured out from such a tender, loving heart.
Such truths that I have outlined, however uncultured they may be stated, with poor rhetorical skill, should astound all of us. It is most likely that the profound nature of the priesthood is an aspect (in fact, it is the actual reality) of Holy Orders that few Catholics even recognise, beyond a mere notion of a social worker in robes. It is a deplorable fact, yet, we have lost the realisation of the gift and the glory that is the priesthood.
We have now come to the conclusion of the year of the priesthood that our beloved Holy Father in his wisdom had called, but prayers are more than ever needed for our pastors. At the end of their lives, they will be called to account for the souls entrusted to them, and such a burden is terrifying responsibility. Let us therefore venerate our priests as Christ Himself.
Much more could be written concerning the Sacred Priesthood, including the Sacrament of Penance, his prayer, celibacy, Marian devotion, yet I will leave such components to those qualified to do so.
May the grace of our Lord Christ be with you all. Glory be to thee, our God, glory be to thee and praise to His spotless Mother.

Random Thought

For many epochs, man could not even offer a sacrifice worthy of his own life, yet now, he offers a Sacrifice worthy of God.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Fruits of Lectio Divina

The reading is taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews 4:1-11.

The Divine Apostle states that the promise made to the Jewish people remains and that we who are Christians, are being called to the land that was announced to the Blessed Patriarchs. The institution of the New Covenant made effective by the most precious blood of the Lamb was not brought about simply by God in haste after His previous attempts to convert man to Him had proven unsuccessful. From all eternity, the Heavenly Father had preordained His ineffable plan for the creation and subsequent redemption of man, to glorify His Sacred Name and unite the human race in grace to the divine trinitarian life.
Throughout time, seeds of truth were sown in the field of the world to predispose man to embrace with his whole being the Word Himself come down from heaven. This seed-bearing Word (logos spermatikos) led man to come to divine truth in a gradual manner whereby the human intellect would have the capacity to accept. Yet, if our heart's are hardened, the generous mercy of God will prove futile in relation to our souls, which will whither under a curse and be thrown outside among the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Let not earthly cares arise in our souls, corruptible treasure is no riches at all!
It is a law of this world that no man can enter into rest unless he has toiled or overcome something. Even though man is unworthy of such a blessed inheritance, he must work through love founded upon faith, to manifest wilfully man's natural desire to possess the Good. He must cast off disordered love for apparent goods to attain to the Summum Bonum.
If one returns to the Old Testament, the reason that a particular generation of Jews in the desert did not set foot on that blessed soil was that they refused to trust. They rallied against Moses, the Servant of the Lord, thereby disparaging the goodness of their Creator who had brought them out from the land of sin by the hand of Moses. 'Why O Moses, have you brought us to rot in the desert? Yes, we were slaves in a foreign land, yet we knew what to expect. We were fed, watered, clothed. But, we now suffer in misery, confounded in a land of no direction.'
They refused to work, to toil in darkness, to trust fully in the goodness of God, even though all appeared hopeless. Without hope, man is suffocated by the cares, exertions and tribulations of the current ages, but with faith, that is seeing with the mind of God, all is bearable and can not endured with patience.
Man will often sacrifice for peace in this world, yet what will we cast off in order to inherit the kingdom of the saints in light? Will we run this race, under the mantle of the Blessed Mother, or will be lost through disobedience?
For us Catholic Christians, who have been so greatly blessed, a worse condemnation is laid up for us if we neglect the graces to bring us to life.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day


Saint Albert the Great:


"Do this in remembrance of me." Two things should be noted here. The first is the command that we should use this sacrament, which is indicated when Jesus says, "Do this." The second is that this sacrament commemorates the Lord's going to death for our sake. This sacrament is profitable because it grants remission of sins; it is most useful because it bestows the fullness of grace on us in this life. "The Father of spirits instructs us in what is useful for our sanctification." And his sanctification is in Christ's sacrifice, that is, when he offers himself in this sacrament to the Father for our redemption to us for our use. Christ could not have commanded anything more beneficial, for this sacrament is the fruit of the tree of life. Anyone who receives this sacrament with the devotion of sincere faith will never taste death. "It is a tree of life for those who grasp it, and blessed is he who holds it fast. The man who feeds on me shall live on account of me." Nor could he have commanded anything more lovable, for this sacrament produces love and union. It is characteristic of the greatest love to give itself as food. "Had not the men of my text exclaimed: Who will feed us with his flesh to satisfy our hunger? as if to say: I have loved them and they have loved me so much that I desire to be within them, and they wish to receive me so that they may become my members. There is no more intimate or more natural means for them to be united to me, and I to them. Nor could he have commanded anything which is more like eternal life. Eternal life flows from this sacrament because God with all sweetness pours himself out upon the blessed.''

Commemoration of Ss. Primus and Felician


Martyrs:

Primus and Felician were brothers. After suffering the most cruel torments for the Faith they were beheaded at Rome, A.D. 286.

Collect:

Ever make us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, honour the festival of Thy holy Martyrs Primus and Felician: and through their prayers may we obtain the gift of Thy protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth...

'This is the true brotherhood which overcomes the wickedness of the world; it followed Christ, holding fast to the noble kingdom of heaven.'

Wisdom of Christ - Part 3


It is not only through an intuitive vision of God that man may come to an apprehension of truth. As such a blessed state is closed off to men in this valley of tears, man must reach knowledge in another manner suitable to his condition.
The Angelic Doctor rightly states that the angels as personal pure spirits, attain knowledge, not solely through the Word, but, by 'a later knowledge whereby they know things in the things' own natures'. We human beings obtain truth concerning the external world through the senses. Our eyes, ears, hands etc, are instruments whereby one may be informed about sensible reality, where the actual forms of another person or item, are abstracted from their concrete existence and placed within the active intellect. For us, the presence of the active intellect enables the 'potential intellect' to comprehend the nature of material realities, appraise situations and engage in deductive reasoning. Those items that take their place around us, live, move and interact are true substances created by God, and, although but mere shadows compared to the deity, are not phantoms that dupe man to believe falsely that this world of the senses is real.
As the angels are not of a material, corporal nature, their knowledge can not be attaining through bodily functions, but rather is infused by the divine light. 'As God brings things into existing, so also He imprints the natures or likenesses of things in the angelic intellect'.
However, as mere material knowledge will not sustain a human soul, and as it's intellect is incapable through its own strength and powers to procure veracity, special revelation is required to raise us up.
It is fitting that no perfection according to the human soul should be found lacking in Christ's soul, other forms of knowledge must be accredited to Him therefore, in addition to the beatific vision. The first is appropriately titled 'experiential', whereby our Divine Redeemer as true man, deficient in nothing according to the flesh, apprehends truth through the instruments of the senses, just as His brothers, who are of the same stock as Him.
Second, His Eternal Father deposited within His soul, a knowledge so that His Son may 'know all the things that the natural knowledge of a human being can reach', so that He who is the Word who sanctifies should lack no perfection. As Jesus was perfect from His very conception in the womb of the Most Holy Mother, it is erroneous to believe that His intellect, albeit created, was lacking in human excellence. Before an intelligible form is abstracted and comprehended, the intellect remains potential until it is actualised, which is contrary to the nature of so great a Redeemer, the dispenser of all graces.
From this, it was necessary that He through all things were reconciled, whether in heaven or earth should receive in His incarnational mode of existence a third kind of knowledge. Such knowledge is of the mysteries of grace. As He came to redeem, to offer a propitiatory sacrifice, and to teach men to live in accordance with God's will, He must have understood His mission. Faith for the human person is the adherence of the intellect to a truth revealed by God on His divine authority, therefore the created intellect has the potential to grasp this truth, however it must be actualised by the Lord from on high. 'The light of the active intellect brings the human intellect into actuality to know natural things (through the senses), and the human intellect acquires knowledge of the mysteries of grace by the divine light (that is, by the gracious revelation by God).
It follows that knowledge of such things must exist in Christ in a preeminent manner, surpassing all men, but remaining within the created faculty of a human being.
We read in the Sacred Scriptures that 'Jesus grew in wisdom and stature' (Lk. 2:52), however this must be understood in reference to His experiential knowledge, whereby over the course of His blessed life on earth He came into contact with sensibly perceptible things, by the assumption of a body of flesh.

Such a question, however articulately answered by the Dominican falls short terribly of the truth concerning the ineffable hypostatic union, therefore let the Christian soul rest in awe with an 'O Altitudo'...

...of the Greek Variety


Saint Basil the Great:

''It has seemed to me to be desirable to send a letter to the bishop of Rome, begging him to examine our condition, and since there are difficulties in the way of representatives being sent from the West by a general synodical decree, to advise him to exercise his own personal authority in the matter by choosing suitable persons to sustain the labours of a journey,--suitable, too, by gentleness and firmness of character, to correct the unruly among us here; able to speak with proper reserve and appropriateness, and thoroughly
well acquainted with all that has been effected after Ariminum to undo the violent measures adopted there."
(Epistle 69)

I have often read claims that in the early Church, the Bishop of Rome, exercised mere 'first among equals' status, and that the Greek Fathers certainly upheld this view. So here, which goes along rather nicely with a previous quotation from Saint Maximus the Confessor, one of the Holy Hierarchs professes belief in the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Short Reflection For Trinity Sunday


I had intended to write up a short meditation on the Blessed Trinity for last Sunday, however, a series of Internet and laptop charger difficulties impeded my enthusiasm. I do not wish, in fact, would not dare to attempt to write something lofty on such a sublime mystery but I believe that it will be beneficial, at least for myself, to note such initial thoughts.

In the realm of empirical scientific studies, one can approach nature, or a phenomenon with a desire to expose its hidden truths, whereby one can then manipulate what one unearths in order to exert mastery. A chemical may be mixed, poured, drank. A rock may be kicked, prodded, or broken in many pieces. Such a method or approach is not possible when we consider the Blessed Trinity.
Instead of idly jabbing at an item of matter, attempting to comprehend its nature. One must rather embrace what God wishes to disclose about Himself. In this manner of revealing truth concerning the inner-trinitarian life, man is utterly helpless before the Divinity. His accumulated knowledge and his technology falls to the earth, completely incapable of rising to to a mystery that the greatest of the angels must prostrate themselves silently before. Let us not forget, although the Trinity may be expressed using human language and categorisation, our thoughts and words fall so short of reality, that they could be designated as lies. It must not be forgotten however, that man by his reason alone can reach the conclusion that God exists, is good, is infinite, is uncreated et cetera. Yet even such descriptions stumble to express who God actually is.

I wish to conclude with a pertinent quote from The Imitation of Christ:

“What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity?”

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day



St. Peter Chrysologus

"He is The Bread sown in the virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the Sepulchre, placed in the Churches, and set upon the Altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful."

Comment: Let us not neglect this Heavenly Bread, which contains all graces to bring us to our inheritance. It is truly Christ Himself.

Tantum Ergo

As this Sunday, we celebrated the 1 class Feast of Corpus Christi, below I have attached a most beautiful renditions in two versions of Saint Thomas' Tantum Ergo. This, which is usually sung at Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, is the last two verses of Pange Lingua.



The Latin original text is especially beautiful:

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

An English translation may be rendered thus:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen.


Before our senses appear a mere piece of bread, yet It contains an inexhaustable trove of treasures. Surrounding the Sacred Host, countless angels prostrate themselves before their Lord and Creator, and man, sinner as he is, under a veil gazes on his Redeemer. Let us place our hopes in our Eucharistic Lord, who through His ineffable goodness has humbled Himself once more to take His place on our Altars for our benefit and for the Glory of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity. If only we were to know the mercy of God in this Sacrament, we would tarry no longer, languishing in worthless pursuits but would kneel before in adoration our Crucified Messiah.

Saint Josemaria Escriva wrote:

''When you approach the tabernacle remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.''

First Solemn High Mass of Fr. Simon Harkins - Photos

On Saturday, I had the grace and privilege of attending the first Solemn High Mass of Father Simon Harkins FSSP at our cathedral in Edinburgh. His Eminence, our Archbishop was in attendance and preached the sermon on this most joyous of occasions. Also present at St. Mary's were a number of seminarians from both FSSP seminaries, Wigratzbad, Germany and Denton, USA along with their rectors, Very Rev. Fr. Josef Bisig and Very Rev. Fr. Franz-Karl Banauch, and a few members of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer from up north.

I here reproduce only a few images of the Mass, and ask you to click on the links given here. As I did not capture these moments, I believe that it will be more in accordance with justice to bring you to those who took time to do so.

http://benedictoblate.blogspot.com/2010/06/first-solemn-high-mass-in-presence-of.html
http://papastronsay.blogspot.com/



Random Thought

Our lives must be grounded upon faith, directed by hope and animated by charity.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

SSPX District Superior's Letter

''My dear brethren,
The Papal visit to Fatima this 13th May would provide the providential occasion for Benedict XVI to make the long-awaited consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, although, to correspond to Our Lady’s request, it must be performed in union with all the bishops of the world. We may ask why it is that Russia, as opposed to some other nation, has to be consecrated specifically to the Holy Mother of God. The answer is quite simply that this vast country has been chosen as the means for punishing all those nations, which have been unfaithful to God’s Law, and hence it must be converted if the peace of Christ is to be given to the world and indeed to the Church.
Until its consecration and conversion have taken place, Russia will continue to spread its errors throughout the world. These errors have been classified under four headings: The First Error consists in Russia’s schism, dating back to the great schism of 1054, with the refusal of the primacy and the authority of the pope, and the consequent rejection of the dogma that outside the Church there is no salvation. The Second Error is that of atheistic Communism which reduces man to a mere economic unit, a means of production, at the service of the all-powerful state. This intrinsically perverse system denies God’s existence and condemns man to an inhuman existence in a totalitarian regime. The Third Error consists in Communism’s new fa├žade, that of Globalism and a so-called universal democracy founded upon Marxist Communism. ‘Each element of the perestroika program is essentially founded on the idea that more socialism is needed.’ [Mikhail Gorbatchev, 1987] The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was destined to absorb all the nations of the world into an entity without borders. Globalism and the idea of a global planet have now replaced the USSR but to the same end. As Communism denied social differences, so is globalism working to suppress national differences. The Fourth Error is that of Ecology or religious Globalism. ‘The present ecological crisis presents an opportunity to create an ecumenical theology, founded upon a sentiment of respect to a renewed environment, which could serve as a common denominator and a rallying-point for cooperation among the principle religions.’ [State of the World forum, 1996, founded by Gorbatchev] Ecology is thus the common denominator which the new world religion uses so as to dilute all religions. Ensuing from this is a new morality which is defined by its ‘respect for nature.’
The recent election campaigns of the major parties in this country have echoed all these errors with their Godless view of society, with their euro-socialist policies, and with their ecological hype with its new morality which is so opposed to the Catholic family. Hence the importance of the consecration of Russia and its conversion to the Catholic Faith, so that it will one day be at the service of Christ and His Church, a light to overcome the darkness. To this end the Rosary Crusade has been a resounding success with over 19 million Rosaries recited for this intention between May 2009 to March 2010!! The official tally from this country came to 218,645, as of the deadline last Easter Sunday, although I continue to receive returns at the time of writing. Deo Gratias et Maria!
Let us continue to watch andpray for we know not how long the errors of Russia will go onscourging this sinful world.
For other news:
I have been away for most of April preaching retreats to our Oblate Sisters at Saint Saviour’s House in Bristol, followed by a kind invitation from the superior of the U.S. District, Father Arnaud Rostand, to preach the priests’ retreat there from 12-17th April. This took place in Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat House in Phoenix, Arizona, and was attended by thirty-two Fathers. The retreat was based upon the life and times of a colourful nineteenth-century English prelate, Bishop Peter Baines ( 1786-1843), and allowed us to draw a number of considerations and lessons for our own priestly lives and ministries. It was good to have been able to renew acquaintances with confreres stationed in the USA and Canada, not least with those who had spent time working on the British mission over the past number of years. After the retreat I had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon, some three hours drive away from Phoenix, with Father Robert MacPherson. We were both amazed by the beauty and scale of this natural wonder, which reflects thepower and majesty of the Creator, and to learn subsequently how its formation bears convincing testimony to the deluge at the time of Noah. I hope to include an article on this subject in a future issue of Mater Dei. Another powerful force of nature, that of the erupting volcano in Iceland, caused a ten day delay in my return flight from Houston to London, and so it was that I used the time spent in Texas as a fewdays of annual leave whilst celebrating daily Mass for our appreciative faithful in Spring, North Houston, at the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel. I returned on 30th April to an overflowing in-box and so I shall appreciate your patience as I try to catch up with things! For information with regard to the various forthcoming pilgrimages— Chartres, Glastonbury, Compostella, Canterbury, Walsingham—please refer to the various notices found elsewhere in this newsletter. Each of these are an occasion of grace and represent providential opportunities for introducing new-comers to the Catholic Faith.
With every good wish and blessing in Jesus and Mary,
Father Paul Morgan, Superior

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Saint Angela of Merici - 3 Cl.


She adopted the rule of St. Francis, and later founded the Order of the Ursulines uniting 'evangelical poverty to the merit of virginity'. She died A.D. 1540.

Collect:

O God, who through blessed Angela didst cause a new society of holy Virgins to grow up within Thy Church: grant through her intercession that we may lead lives of angels, so that shedding all earthly interests we may be found worthy to enjoy everlasting hapiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son who livest and reignest...

'For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.'

Tuesday - The Holy Angels


''As creatures of a spiritual nature, the angels are endowed with intellect and free will, like human beings, but in a degree superior to them, even if this is always finite because of the limit which is inherent in every creature. The angels are therefore personal beings and, as such, are also "in the image and likeness" of God. Sacred Scripture also refers to the angels by using terms that are not only personal (like the proper names of Raphael, Gabriel, Michael) but also "collective" (like the titles seraphim, cherubim, thrones, powers, dominions, principalities), just as it distinguishes between angels and archangels. While bearing in mind the analogous and representative character of the language of the sacred text, we can deduce that these beings and persons are as it were grouped together in society. They are divided into orders and grades, corresponding to the measure of their perfection and to the tasks entrusted to them.''
(Pope John Paul II, Angels Participate in the History of Salvation)

Sacred Heart of Jesus


This month of June, we must recall even more devoutly the Sacred Heart of our Lord symbolising His divine love for sinful humanity. Our Lord gains nothing from our worship of Him, but it is truly His gift to us to render Him the homage of our entire being. Let us turn to our Redeemer, even though we have offended Him most greviously, as He is most tender and forgiving. In a revelation from our Loving Master to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, He made these promises to those who practice devotion to His Sacred Heart:

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.

A Man After My Own Heart


Lacking employment, one is confronted with one's own self. It often occurs to me that if it weren't for people, I would certainly be living as a saint. Yet, I struggle very often to live with my own failing and countless deficiencies. When one is bored with one's own company and irritated at frequent blunders, a serious amount of self-correction (brought about by the divine light) is a mandatory solution.
Recently I have been privileged to spend a certain amount of time grappling with the Greek Fathers, whose intellectual and rhetorically merits vastly outweigh my own. However that is no shame. Reading from Gregory of Nazianzus (The Theologian) I found in Oration 42:

'..this is simply my temperament: on most subjects, I do not agree with the crowd, nor can I endure walking the same path as they do. That may be rash or ignorant, but it is nevertheless the way I habitually feel. The things that others enjoy annoy me, and I delight in what is annoying to others. So that I would not be astonished if I were to be locked up as a trouble-maker, or considered an idiot by the crowd.'


This is a consolation in my often irascible attitude to certain people or issues. But one must improve. I often like to reflect on the fact that if Jerome became a saint, I should certainly have a decent chance...

Laptop 'Issues' - Some thoughts for Reflection

On Sunday, of the Holy Trinity, I had planned to write up some meditations on this site, but alas, my laptop charger wished to stall my eager nature and my willing typing. In a sense, this interruption may block my writing something rash about the sublime mystery that is the Sacred Triad. I had a number of ideas to write on concerning the Godhead, yet I believe it would be expedient if I were to take another few days of reflection in case I write something contrary to the Faith out of lack of reverence because of my hasty manner.

I am internally debating whether to write about:

1) The Persons addressed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and their 'function' in the liturgy.
2) The relevance of the Trinity for the average laymen.
3) How the 'Paschal Mystery' reveals the immanent Divine life.
4) or...why I shouldn't dare to write on such a profound truth that my weak, polluted intellect can never hope to grasp without falling into innumberable sins.