Sunday, February 11, 2024

Dominica in Quinquagesima



(1 Corinthians 13:1-13) 

The merit of our good works, like the light which enlightens our minds, will be in proportion to the charity which we possess. Let us therefore, dispose our will to detachment from everything in it that is opposed to divine charity, so that having seen God "through a glass in a dark manner," by faith, here on earth, we may behold Him "face to face" in Heaven, in all the fullness of our love for Him.


(Luke 18:31-43) 

"The man blind from birth of whom the Gospel speaks", says St. Gregory in the Matins of today, "is most certainly the human race. Since its expulsion from Paradise in the person of our first parents, it has known nothing of the inspirations of supernatural light, and has moreover suffered from being plunged into darkness through its condemnation." It is Jesus Christ Who, by the merits of His Passion, must open its eyes as He did for the blind man of Jericho and at the same time, free it from the captivity of error and sin.

(St. Andrew Missal)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The controversial relics of San Romualdo

Ecco Le Marche

Our loyal readers will immediately recognize the name San Romualdo! How often did we mention this saint in our articles? The Saint was born between 951-953 in Ravenna, not exactly near Le Marche, especially at that time!

Around the age of 20 he converted to the Benedictine order, stayed in Spain, came back to Ravenna, and then eventually, around the Year 1000, ended up in Camaldoli, near Arezzo. There, he founded a branch of the Benedictines: the Camaldolese Order, to which he also added Eastern hermitage in addition to the Western Ora et Labora (pray and work). This union of Western and Eastern philosophy was reflected in the symbol of this Order: two doves drinking together from the same chalice.

The Camaldolese monks therefore often built hermit caves, or hermit buildings, in addition to ordinary monasteries. For example, the Eremo dei Frati Bianchi in Cupramontana, where the first monks lived in cliff dwellings.

An 18th century copy of the painting The Apparition by Andrea Sacchi (17th century in the Vatican Museums) hangs in the San Leonardo Church in Cupramontana. Here San Romualdo is depicted as an elderly man in his white habit.

Romualdo then moved regularly in Umbria and Le Marche, where he died in 1027 in the abbey of Valdicastro.

In addition, a small community took the name of this saint: Poggio San Romualdo

He was canonized in 1595. But already in 1480 his body was already important. Two monks from Ravenna tried to smuggle Romualdo’s body from the Abbey of Valdicastro back to his hometown. But during their stop in Jesi, their plan was discovered. From then on, a whole battle started between Fabriano (to which Valdicastro belonged) and Jesi, because relics or better still bodies of clerics who were venerated, always attracted many pilgrims and of course meant income!

In the end, Fabriano received almost all of the body, with Jesi receiving part of the arm that can be seen in the Cathedral of Jesi.

This is how Romualdo ended up in the San Biagio church of Fabriano (13th-18th century), which was then called the Chiesa dei Santi Biagio e Romualdo


Friday, February 2, 2024


 And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord ...

... whom you seek."
-- Mal 3:1-4

"My eyes have seen..Salvation!"
-- Luke 2:22ff

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 2:22-32
In that time, after the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord. And so on.

Homily on this passage by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. 2, Comm. on Luke II
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The birth of the Lord is attested not only by Angels and Prophets, and shepherds, but also by elders and just men. Every age, and both sexes, as well as the miracles of the events themselves, are here to strengthen our faith. A virgin conceiveth, a barren woman beareth, a dumb man speaketh, Elizabeth prophesieth, the wise man worshippeth, the unborn child leapeth, the widow praiseth, and the just man waiteth.
Well is he called just, who looked not for favour for himself, but for consolation for his people. He desired to be set free from the bondage of this frail body, but he waited to see the Promised One for he knew that blessed are the eyes that see Him. Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said: Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. Behold a just man, confined in the weary prison of the body, desiring to be dissolved and to begin to be with Christ. For to be dissolved and to be with Christ is much better. Phil. i. 23.

Whosoever will be dissolved and be with Christ, let him come into the Temple, let him come to Jerusalem, let him wait for the Lord's Christ, let him take hold on the Word of God, let him embrace it with good works, as it were with arms of faith and then let him depart in peace, for he shall not see death, who hath seen life. Behold how the Lord's Birth doth overflow with abounding grace for all, and prophecy is not denied to the just, but to the unbelieving. Behold, Simeon prophesieth that the Lord Jesus Christ is come for the fall and rising again of many; yea, He shall separate the just from the unjust by their deserts, and according as our work shall be, so shall the true and righteous Judge command us to be punished or rewarded.

N.B. Today we hold the blessed tapers alight in the holy liturgy of procession and Mass. As the lights and decorations of Christmas are put away for next year’s celebration of the Incarnation, we seek, behold and adore all the more intensely through faith the light of Christ truly present in our temples as the Holy Eucharist. And when we receive Him thus in a state of grace we become alight through the Truth we believe, embrace and live as Divine light amidst the darkness and sin of this passing world.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Cathedræ S. Petri and the “Keys of Peter”: To forgive sin, not to bless it

Perugino, Christ Giving the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter, Sistine Chapel, 1481-83, fresco, 10 feet 10 inches x 18 feet (Vatican, Rome) 

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 16:13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Commentary on Matthew xvi.
The Lord asketh His disciples who men say that He is, and He addeth, He, the Son of Man. Let us ever remember to hold fast this truth of our profession, namely, that the Son of God is the Son of Man also. Were He one and not the other, then were He no Saviour for us. The Lord then, having heard the various opinions of men, asketh, But Who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter had weighed the questions. The Lord had asked, Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? 

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 16:13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Commentary on Matthew xvi.
The Lord asketh His disciples who men say that He is, and He addeth, He, the Son of Man. Let us ever remember to hold fast this truth of our profession, namely, that the Son of God is the Son of Man also. Were He one and not the other, then were He no Saviour for us. The Lord then, having heard the various opinions of men, asketh, But Who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter had weighed the questions. The Lord had asked, Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? That He was Son of Man was sufficiently evident to all who looked upon His Body. But when He spake of His whole Self, and asked, Who do ye say that I am? He showed that the mind had something to grasp beyond That Which was seen, for Son of Man He was manifestly. What judgment did He wish them to give? I think it was not /that which He had owned concerning Himself. That something more, which He wished them to own, was a hidden thing, whereunto the faith of them that believed in Him was to reach.

Peter’s confession was followed by a proper reward for having seen the Son of God in the Son of Man. Blessed is this holy Apostle, in whose praise it is said that he saw with more than human eyes That Which was unseen, who gazed upon Flesh and Blood, and by the secret revelation of the Heavenly Father recognised the Eternal Son of God; who was the first thought worthy to acknowledge the Divinity of Christ. {Here, if necessary, the Lesson is divided.) God bless thee, O Peter, thou who by uttering for the first time the title of Divine honour, didst lay the goodly foundation of the Church! God bless thee, thou worthy rock whereon she is built, for ever triumphant over the infernal powers, the gates of hell, and the bands of death! God bless thee, happy door-keeper of heaven, to whose keeping are given the keys of the everlasting mansions, whose sentences on earth are already confirmed in heaven so that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 

N.B. The forgiveness of sins is the blessing of Christ in the Church through the ministry of priests in union with Peter’s successor.

The blessing of sin is a betrayal. A lie from the Evil One.

Scripture wherein Peter speaks to us a word for our time.

1 Pet 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in diverse temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now, though you see him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified;
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray.
O God, Who hast given unto thy Blessed Apostle Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the power to bind and to loose, loose us, we beseech thee, at his mighty intercession, from all the bands of our sins.
Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.
℟. Amen

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Sanctæ Familiæ Jesu Mariæ Joseph

12 Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience:
13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.
14 But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection:
15 And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.

17 All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter towards them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they be discouraged.

Lesson from the letter of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians
Col 3:12-21

From the Apostolic Letters of Pope Leo XIII
Breve « Neminem fugit » 14 junii 1892
When God in his mercy determined to accomplish the work of man's renewal, which same had so many long ages awaited, he appointed and ordained this work on such wise that its very beginning might shew to the world the august spectacle of a Family which was known to be divinely constituted; that therein all men might behold a perfect model, as well of domestic life as of every virtue and pattern of holiness: for such indeed was the Holy Family of Nazareth. There in secret dwelt the Sun of Righteousness, until the time when he should shine out in full splendour in the sight of all nations. There Christ, our God and Saviour, lived with his Virgin Mother, and with that most holy man Joseph, who held to him the place of father. No one can doubt that in this Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy intercourse, and its practices of godly piety, since the Holy Family was destined to be a pattern to all others. For that very reason was it established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, if he would but give heed to it, have before him a motive and a pattern for the good life.

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 2:42-52
And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not...
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and manAnd so on.

Homily by Saint Bernard

Learn, O man, to obey! Learn, O earth, to be subject! Learn, O dust, to submit! The Evangelist speaking of thy Creator saith: And he was subject unto them. And there is no doubt that this sheweth us that God was subject to Mary and Joseph. Shame on you, ye proud entities of dust and ashes! God abaseth himself, and dost thou, O creature sprung from the earth, exalt thyself? God maketh himself subject to man, and dost thou, who art always so eager to lord it over men, set up thyself to lord it over thy Creator? For as often soever as I desire pre-eminency over men, so often do I strive to excel God. For of him it was said: And he was subject unto them. If thou disdainest, O man, to follow the example of man, at least thou canst follow thy Creator without dishonour. If thou canst not, perchance, follow him whithersoever he goeth, deign at least to follow him in this thing wherein he hath emptied himself, and made himself of no reputation, for the sake of such as thou.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

In Epiphania Domini: “Ecce Magi ab Oriénte venérunt Jerosólymam”

 Léctio sancti Evangélii secúndum Matthǽum

Matt 2:1-12
Cum natus esset Jesus in Béthlehem Juda in diébus Heródis regis, ecce Magi ab Oriénte venérunt Jerosólymam, dicéntes: Ubi est qui natus est Rex Judæórum? Et réliqua.

From the Sermons of Pope St. Leo (the Great)

2nd for Twelfth-Day.
Dearly beloved brethren, rejoice in the Lord; again I say, rejoice. But a few days are past since the solemnity of Christ's Birth, and now the glorious light of His Manifestation is breaking upon us. On that day the Virgin brought Him forth, and on this the world knew Him. The Word made Flesh was pleased to reveal Himself by degrees to those for whom He had come. When Jesus was born He was manifested indeed to the believing, but hidden from His enemies. Already indeed the heavens declared the glory of God, and their sound went out into all lands, when the Herald Angels appeared to tell to the shepherds the glad tidings of a Saviour's Birth; and now the guiding star leadeth the wise men to worship Him, that from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, the Birth of the true King may be known abroad; that through those wise men the kingdoms of the east might learn the great truth, and the Roman empire remain no more in darkness.

Thus also we remark that afterwards the Redeemer was preached among the Gentiles not by Himself, but by His Apostles, even as, when a little Child, He is shown to them, not by the voice of angels, but merely by the vision of a star. When He Himself had begun to speak He was made known to us by speakers, but when He lay silent in the manger, by that silent testimony in heaven. But whether we consider the signs which accompanied His birth or His death, this thing is wonderful, namely, the hardness of heart of the Jews, who would not believe in Him either for prophesying or for miracles.

All things which He had made, bore witness that their Maker was come. Let me reckon them after the manner of men. The heavens knew that He was God, and sent a star to shine over where He lay. The sea knew it, and bore Him up when He walked upon it. The earth knew it, and quaked when He died. The sun knew it, and was darkened. The rocks and walls knew it, and rent at the hour of His death. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that were in it. And yet up to this very hour the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not acknowledge that He to Whom all nature testified is their God, and, being more hardened than the rocks, refuse to be rent by repentance.


Friday, January 5, 2024

In Vigilia Epiphaniae

Léctio sancti Evangélii secúndum Matthǽum

Matt 2:19-23
In illo témpore: Defúncto Heróde, ecce Angelus Dómini appáruit in somnis Joseph in Ægýpto, dicens: Surge, et áccipe púerum et matrem ejus, et vade in terram Israël. Et réliqua.

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. i., Comm. on Matth. ii.
From the words, they are dead, (in the Plural), which are used in this passage of the Gospel, we may understand that there were others beside Herod which sought the young Child's life probably the Priests and Scribes. And he Joseph arose, and took the young Child and His Mother. It is not written, He took his wife and child, but he took the young Child and His Mother; whence it is clear that the holy Evangelist willeth to imply that Joseph was not the father, but the Guardian of Jesus, not the husband, but the Betrothed of Mary.

But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither. There are some persons so grossly ignorant of history that they confuse themselves over the two Herods, as if the one mentioned here were the same who afterwards set our Lord at nought during His Passion, and they cannot understand how he should now be said to be dead. The Herod who was made friends with Pilate over Christ's death, was the son of the Herod who massacred the infants of Bethlehem, and the brother of Archelaus.

He shall be called a Nazarene. The Evangelist, in quoting these words, saith that they were spoken by the Prophets, (Plural). If he had been citing any one precise passage he would have said by the Prophet, in the Singular. But he is citing the sense of the Prophets, and not any individual passage in any of their writings. He seemeth to refer to the fact that in Hebrew the word Nazarene signifieth holy, and that Christ is the Holy One of God is the common declaration of all the Scriptures.