Saturday, June 15, 2024

"Depart from me": the Father comes ever closer to us in His Son

Dominica IV post Pentecosten

Luke 5:1-11


Today, Father's Day, we encounter in our Gospel God the Father – also in the 16 new priests ordained yesterday for the Archdiocese, along with thousands more during this season around the world.

We encounter the holiness of the Father in His Son as recounted by the Gospel today.

What is our response?

Is it like that of Peter? “Depart from me.”

God does the opposite: He comes ever closer.

In Jesus Christ we see the Father – the Holiness of the Father in the Son

In the priesthood of Jesus Christ, ordained men, Peter, the Apostles, their successors and all men who are priests, bring Him so close to us as to be our Food.

The Holy Eucharist is the Father’s response to our fear in which we might be moved to cry out in self loathing, “depart from me”.

What happens to you and me when we discover we are so very different and far from God?

He excites love in us where there was once even perhaps dread – dread to come into His presence knowing as we do so well our sinful nature.

But in Christ, who gives us the Father, we have a wonderful mystery and reality of the Father’s love.

Grace, both in mercy to forgive us and in the Eucharist to enable us to grow more and more supernaturally to His image and likeness.

The same holiness which in Christ caused Peter, the first pope, to seek escape is our antidote to distance from God which we discover in our repentance for and repugnance of sin. He makes us like Himself, so that we no longer seek escape. We seek Him. We can love in ourselves that which is of Him while growing more distant from the past, that in ourselves which once caused dread and loathing.

But for this to happen something is required of us. Peter's change of attitude was evident in his life.

"And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; henceforth you shall catch men'. And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all and followed Him."


Friday, June 7, 2024

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Among the wonderful developments of sacred teaching and piety, by which the plans of the divine Wisdom are daily made clear to the Church, hardly any is more manifest than the triumphant progress made by the devotion of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Very often indeed, during the course of past ages, Fathers, Doctors, and Saints have celebrated our Redeemer's love: and they have said, that the wound opened in the side of Christ was the hidden fountain of all graces. Moreover, from the Middle Ages onward, when the faithful began to show a more tender piety towards the most sacred Humanity of the Saviour, contemplative souls became accustomed to penetrate through that wound almost to the very Heart itself, wounded for the love of men. And from that time, this form of contemplation became so familiar to all persons of saintly life, that there was no country or religious order in which, during this period, witnesses to it were not to be found. Finally, during recent centuries, and most especially at that period when heretics, in the name of a false piety, strove to discourage Christians from receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the veneration of the most Sacred Heart began to be openly practised, principally through the exertions of St. John Eudes, who is by no means unworthily called the founder of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

But in order to establish fully and entirely the worship of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to spread the same throughout the whole world, God himself chose as his instrument a most humble virgin from the order of the Visitation, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who even in her earliest years already had a burning love for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and to whom Christ the Lord had very many times appeared, and was pleased to make known the riches and the desires of his divine Heart. The most famous of these apparitions was that in which Jesus revealed himself to her in prayer before the blessed Sacrament, shewed her his most Sacred Heart, and, complaining that in return for his unbounded love, he met with nothing but outrages and ingratitude from mankind, he ordered her to concern herself with the establishment of a new feast, on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi, on which his Heart should be venerated with due honour, and that the insults offered him by sinners in the Sacrament of love should be expiated by worthy satisfaction. But there is no one who knoweth not how many and how great were the obstacles which the handmaid of God experienced, in carrying out the commands of Christ; but, endowed with strength by the Lord himself, and actively aided by her pious spiritual directors, who exerted themselves with an almost unbelievable zeal, up to the time of her death she never ceased faithfully to carry out the duty entrusted to her by heaven.


At length, in the year 1765, the Supreme Pontiff Clement XIII approved the Mass and Office in honour of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus; and Pius IX extended the feast to the universal Church. From then on the worship of the most Sacred Heart, like an overflowing river, washing away all obstacles, hath poured itself forth over all the earth, and, at the dawn of the new century, Leo XIII, having proclaimed a jubilee, decided to dedicate the whole human race to the most Sacred Heart. This consecration was actually carried out with solemn rites in all the churches of the Catholic world, and brought about a great increase of this devotion, leading not only nations but even private families to it, who in countless numbers dedicated themselves to the Divine Heart, and submitted themselves to its royal sway. Lastly, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XI, in order that, by its solemnity, the feast might answer more fully to the greatly widespread devotion of the Christian people, raised the feast of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to the rite of a double of the first class, with an octave; and moreover, that the violated rights of Christ, the supreme King and most loving Lord, might be repaired, and that the sins of the nations might be bewailed, he ordered that annually, on that same feast-day, there should be recited an expiatory form of prayer in all the churches of the Christian world.

- From the Roman Breviary for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Most sublime of all mysteries: the Holy Trinity

The Feast of the Holy Trinity celebrates the foundation of our Catholic Faith, belief in the Triune God. From this truth springs the various sacraments for the sanctification and salvation of mankind, particularly of baptism.

This festival is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, because as soon as the apostles were instructed and consoled by the Holy Ghost, they began to preach openly that which Christ had taught them.

Why do we celebrate this festival?

That we may openly profess our faith in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the first of Christian truths, the foundation of the Christian religion, and the most sublime of all mysteries; and that we may render thanks, to the Father for having created us, to the Son for having redeemed us, and to the Holy Ghost for having sanctified us.

In praise and honor of the most Holy Trinity, the Church sings at the Introit of this day's Mass: 

INTROIT Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to him, because he hath shown his mercy to us: (Tob. XII.) O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is thy name in all the earth! (Ps. VIII. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Almighty, everlasting God, who hast granted to Thy servants, in the confession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of Thy, majesty, to adore the Unity: grant that, by steadfastness in the same faith, we may ever be defended from all adversities. Thro'.

EPISTLE (ROM XI. 33-36.) O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory forever. Amen.

EXPLANATION St. Paul's exclamations, in this epistle, are caused by the inscrutable judgment of God in rejecting the Jews and calling the Gentiles. The Church makes use of these words to express her admiration for the incomprehensible mystery of the most Holy Trinity, which surpasses our understanding, and yet is the worthy object of our faith, hope and love. Although neither angels nor men can fathom this mystery, it cannot be difficult for the sound human intellect to believe it, since it is indubitably and evidently revealed by God, arid we, in many natural and human things, accept for true and certain much that we cannot comprehend. Let us submit our intellect, there fore, and yield ourselves up to faith; as there was indeed a time when men were martyred, when even persons of all ages and conditions preferred to die rather than to abandon this faith, so let us rather wait until our faith is changed to contemplation, until we see the Triune God, face to face, as He is, and in the sight of that countenance become eternally happy. Thither should all our hopes, wishes,' and desires be directed, and we should cease all fruitless investigations, endeavoring by humble faith and active love, to prove worthy of the beatific vision; for if we do not love Him who is our all, our last end and aim, and lovingly desire Him, we will have to hope of one day possessing Him.

ASPIRATION O incomprehensible, Triune God! O Abyss of wisdom, power, and goodness! To Thee all glory and adoration! In Thee I lose myself; I cannot contain Thee, do Thou, contain me. I believe in Thee, though I cannot comprehend Thee; do Thou increase my faith; I hope in. Thee, for Thou art the source of all good; do Thou enliven my hope; I love Thee, because Thou art worthy, of all love; do Thou inflame ever more my love, that in Thy love I may live and die. Amen.

Feast of the Holy TrinityGOSPEL (Matt. XXVIII. 18-20.) At that time Jesus said to His disciples: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore; teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

EXPLANATION Christ being God had from all eternity the same power that His Father had; being man, He had this same power by the union of His divinity with His humanity, and on account of the infinite merits of His passion. In virtue of this power, He said to His apostles, before the ascension, that, as His Heavenly Father had sent Him, even so He sent them to all nations, without exception, to teach all that He had commanded, and to receive them, by means of baptism, into the Church; at the same time He promised to be with them to the end of the world, that is, that He would console them in suffering, strengthen them in persecution, preserve them from error, and always protect them and their successors, the bishops and priests, even unto the consummation of the world.

(See Instruction on the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church for the first Sunday after Easter.)

ASPIRATION Be with us, O Lord, for without Thee our pastors cannot produce fruit, nor their hearers profit anything from their words. Be with us always, for we always need Thy help. All power is given to Thee, Thou bast then the right to command, and we are bound to obey Thy commands which by Thy Church Thou bast made known to us. This we have promised in baptism, and now before Thee we renew those vows. Grant now that those promises which without Thee we could not have made, and without Thee cannot keep, may be fulfilled in our actions. Leave us not to ourselves, but be Thou with us, and make us obedient to Thee, that by cheerful submission to Thee true may receive happiness.



Monday, May 20, 2024

The Descent of the Holy Ghost: Meditation and Prayer

 




The Descent of the Holy Ghost

 

CONSIDERATION

Ten days after His Ascension, and on the fiftieth day after EasterJesus ful­filled the promise He had so often made to His Apostles of sending them His Holy Spirit. We read in the second chapter of the Acts that "when the days of the Pente­cost were accomplished, they were altogether in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with diverse tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak." It is in these few and simple words that St. Luke re­cords the great and mysterious event which substituted the Christian feast of Pentecost for the Jewish one; an event which changed the Apostles in one moment from carnal and ignorant into spiritual and eloquent men, eminent both in wisdom and holiness, gifted with an invincible zeal and courage, and thenceforward fully capable of executing their great commission of evan­gelizing mankind and changing the whole face of the earth.

APPLICATION.

We celebrate today the anniversary of this great event, and that not only by commemorating it as we commemorate our Lord's resurrection at Easter, but by seeking to renew it within ourselves. In this respect the feast of Pentecost differs from all others; for others are feasts of gratitude for past mercies, whereas in this we celebrate a mystery which is con­tinually renewed in the Church, and which will be renewed in the souls of the faithful, even to the end of the world. At this very day we may venture, according to the promise of Jesus Christ, to ask, and to expect with the same confidence as the Apostles, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon ourselves, and the communi­cation of His gifts. 

Already now, we can enjoy God through the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ within us - by the presence of His Spirit within us. We must enjoy the presence of God within us. And particularly through the sacraments, which maintain the presence of Our Lord within us - and especially the Holy Eucharist. That is the result of Pentecost.

It is a source of consolation which the pagans do not know, and that is why we must desire to be missionaries and want to spread around us the good news of the coming of our Lord amongst us; to want to communicate His Spirit through the sacrament of baptism to all souls who surround us - to all souls whom we know and who are still far away from our Lord Christ.

That is the missionary spirit of the Church. That was the missionary spirit of the apostles. See how they went out to cross the world – twelve apostles, a tiny and insignificant little group. They brought the fire of love to the four corners of the world. They transformed the world. That should also be our thought, our desire.

 Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

 


O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth, the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee, and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Dominica Pentecostes: “Veni Sancte Spiritus”



Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John

John 14:13-31
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: If a man love Me, He will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great
30th on the Gospels
Dearly beloved brethren, our best way will be to run briefly through the words which have been read from the Holy Gospel, and thereafter rest for a while quietly gazing upon the solemn subject of this great Festival. This is the day whereon "suddenly there came a sound from heaven," and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, and, for fleshly minds, gave them minds wherein the love of God was shed abroad and, while without "there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them," within, their hearts were enkindled. While they received the visible presence of God in the form of fire, the flames of His love enwrapped them. The Holy Ghost Himself is love whence it is that John saith "God is love." Whosoever therefore loveth God with all his soul, already hath obtained Him Whom he loveth, for no man is able to love God, if He have not gained Him Whom he loveth.

But, behold, now, if I shall ask any one of you whether he loveth God, he will answer with all boldness and quietness of spirit: "I do love him." But at the very beginning of this day's Lesson from the Gospel, ye have heard what the Truth saith: "If a man love Me, he will keep My word." The test, then, of love, is whether it is showed by works. Hence the same John hath said in his Epistle I. iv. 20, v. 3: "If a man say, I love God, and keepeth not His commandments, He is a liar." Then do we indeed love God, and keep His commandments, if we deny ourselves the gratification of our appetites. Whosoever still wandereth after unlawful desires, such a one plainly loveth not God, for he saith, Nay, to that which God willeth.

"And My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." O my dearly beloved brethren, think what a dignity is that, to have God abiding as a guest in our heart Surely if some rich man or some powerful friend were to come into our house, we would hasten to have our whole house cleaned, lest, perchance, when he came in, he should see aught to displease his eye. So let him that would make his mind an abode for God, cleanse it from all the filth of works of iniquity. Lo, again, what saith the Truth: "We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." There are some hearts whereunto God cometh, but maketh not His abode therein with a certain pricking they feel His Presence, but in time of temptation they forget that which hath pricked them and so they turn again to work unrighteousness, even as though they had never repented.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Sunday Gospel: “…whatsoever is asked, which tendeth not to salvation, is not asked in the Name of the Saviour.”

 From the Holy Gospel according to John

John 16:23-30
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Amen, Amen, I say unto you: Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
102nd Tract on John.
We have now to consider these words of the Lord "Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you." It hath already been said in the earlier part of this discourse of the Lord, for the sake of some who ask the Father in Christ's Name and receive not, that whatsoever is asked, which tendeth not to salvation, is not asked in the Name of the Saviour. By the words "In My Name" we must not understand the vocalization of letters and syllables, but the meaning of what is said, the honest and true meaning.
Therefore, whosoever thinketh of Christ as he ought not to think of the Only Son of God, such an one doth not ask anything in Christ's Name, although he do actually utter letters and syllables to that effect, because by these sounds he meaneth not the Real Christ, but a fancied being who hath no existence except in the speaker's imagination. But on the other hand, whosoever thinketh of Christ as he ought to think, the same asketh in Christ's Name, and receiveth, provided only it be nothing against his own everlasting salvation but if it is good for him to receive, he receiveth. Some things are not given at once, but kept over till a more fitting season. Such is the true interpretation of the words "He will give it you" namely, that those things will be given which are good for them to ask. All the Saints also are heard when they ask for themselves, but not necessarily when they ask for their friends, or their enemies, or others, even as it is written, not simply "He will give it" but "He will give it you."

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Patrocinii St. Joseph Confessoris Sponsi B.M.V. Confessoris



The feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, was originally called “the Patronage of St Joseph,” and fixed to the Third Sunday after Easter. It was kept by a great many dioceses and religious orders, particularly promoted by the Carmelites, before it was extended to the universal Church by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1847, and later granted an octave. When the custom of fixing feasts to particular Sundays was abolished as part of the Breviary reform of Pope St Pius X, it was anticipated to the previous Wednesday, the day of the week traditionally dedicated to Patron Saints. It was removed from the general Calendar in 1955 and replaced by the feast of St Joseph the Worker, one of the least fortunate aspects of the pre-Conciliar liturgical changes; the new feast itself was then downgraded from the highest of three grades (first class) in the 1962 Missal to the lowest of four (optional memorial) in 1970.

newliturgicalmovement.org/2024/04/the-so