Sunday, January 3, 2021

IHS: The Circumcision of the Lord and the Holy Name

  From the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Luke 2:21
In that time: when eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. And so on.

Homily by St. Bernard, Abbot (of Clairvaux)
1st on the Circumcision
Behold a mystery, great and full of wonder! The Child is circumcised, and His Name is called Jesus. Why are these two things thus mentioned together? It would seem that circumcision should rather be for the saved than for the Saviour; that the Saviour ought rather to be Circumciser than circumcised. But behold here the Mediator between God and men, how even from His childhood He joineth the things of the Highest to the things of the lowest, the things of God to the things of men. He is born of a woman, but her womb is made fruitful without the loss of the flower of her virginity. He is wrapped in swaddling-bands, but these swaddling-bands are a theme for the jubilation of angels. He is laid in a manger, but a bright star standeth in heaven over the place. So also in His circumcision, the ceremony gave proof of the reality of the Manhood which He had taken, and that Name which is above every name proclaimed the glory of His Blessed Majesty. As very son of Abraham He underwent circumcision; He assumed the Name of Jesus as very Son of God.
Why Jesus beareth not that Name as others have borne it before Him, as a vain and empty title. It is not in Him the shadow of a great Name, but the very meaning of that Name. That His Name was revealed from heaven, is attested by the Evangelist, where it is written, Which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb. After Jesus was born, men called Him Jesus, but angels called Him Jesus, before He was conceived in the womb. The One Lord is the Saviour of angels and of men; of men, since His Incarnation; of angels, from the beginning of their creation. His Name, saith the Evangelist, was called Jesus, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb. In the mouth therefore of two or three witnesses is every word established; and that word whereof the Prophet spoke as cut short, is set forth at length in the Gospel: the Word made Flesh.

And on the Circumcision

It is no wonder that it should be at His circumcision that the Name of Jesus (which is, being interpreted, Saviour) is given to the Child Who is born unto us, for it was then that He for the first time shed that sinless Blood Which is the mean whereby He hath chosen to work out our salvation. It is no matter for the speculation of Christians why the Lord Christ was pleased to be circumcised. He was circumcised for the same reason for which He was born, and for which He suffered. Neither one nor the other was for Himself, but all for the sake of the elect. He was not born in sin; He was not circumcised to separate Him from sin; neither did He die for sins of His own, but for ours. Which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb. The Angel indeed gave Him that title of Saviour, but not for the first time. Saviour is His Name from everlasting; He hath it of His own proper nature to save. This title He hath in Himself, not by the gift of anything that He hath made, be it man or Angel.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

“People Will Die” by Father Kevin M Cusick


Yes, they will. It’s impossible to be alive without suffering the risk of dying.


The COVID-19 phenomenon is not just about a disease. It’s also about exposing the maladies afflicting our society and our world. And in the Church as well. “People will die,” we’re told.
“People will die,” we’re told, if we don’t wear a mask, wash hands, anti-socially distance, and stay home. Some people, however, are dying because they are doing these things. COVID-19 is not the only threat humanity faces.
I haven’t heard the same morally superior individuals who are militant about masks warn that people will die because of riots. And people have died because of riots. I haven’t heard the same social justice warriors who harangue on and on about physical health say anything about the fact that people will die if a doctor suctions a living baby out of her mother’s womb.
And yet millions have died and are dying because of legalized child murder in our abortion mills every day. Yes, people will die. But the death of the body is not the only kind of death and it’s certainly not the worst sort of death.
People are dying in the vast wildfires on the West Coast. People are dying as a result of Hurricane Sally. Unprecedented areas of land in California have been consumed by flame and cadaver dogs are being led through the wreckage to find the dead. Over twenty inches of rainfall fell on the Florida panhandle and Alabama and the resulting loss of human life has yet to be fully revealed.
The risk of death begins the very moment we are born and doesn’t end until we die, when and where we do not know. 

Read the rest:

My latest column: “People Will Die”

 My latest column: “People Will Die”

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pretiosissimi Sanguinis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

“The statues of monarchs, mindless and speechless images though they be, have sometimes been an 
helpful refuge to men endowed with soul and reason, not because they are works of the brazier's skill, but because the likeness they bear is a King's. And just so did this unconscious blood deliver the lives of men, not because it was blood, but because it foreshadowed the shedding of the Blood of Jesus. On that night in Egypt, when the destroying Angel saw the blood upon the lintel and on the two side-posts, he passed over the door, and came not in unto the house. Even so now much more will the destroyer of souls flee away when he seeth, not the lintel and the two side-posts sprinkled with the blood of a lamb, but the mouth of the faithful Christian, the living dwelling of the Holy Ghost, shining with the blood of the True Messiah. If the Angel let the type be, how shall not the enemy quail before the Reality? Wouldest thou hear more of the power of that Blood I am willing. Consider from what source it welleth, from what fountain it springeth. Its fountain is the Heart of the Lord, pierced for us upon the Cross. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him but when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His Legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side, and forthwith came thereout Blood and Water, John xix, 32-34, whereof One is a figure of Baptism, and the other of the Sacrament of the Altar. One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side the veil of the Temple of His Body was rent in twain. John ii. 19-21, Matth. xxvii. 51. O how glorious is the treasure that is laid open to me therein How noble the riches that it is my joy there to have found!“

- St John Chrysostom

And so was it done concerning that Lamb: the Jews killed a sheep, and I have learned the value of the sacrament. From the Side flowed forth Blood and Water. I would not, O my hearer, that thou shouldest pass by the depths of such a mystery as this without pausing; for I have yet a mystic and mysterious discourse to deliver. I have said that the Water and Blood shewed forth symbolically baptism and the sacraments. For from these, holy Church was founded by the laver of regeneration, and the renovation of the Holy Ghost. Through baptism, I say, and through the sacraments, which seem to have issued from his Side. It was therefore out of the Side of Christ that the Church was created, just as it was out of the side of Adam that Eve was raised up to be his bride. This is the reason why Paul saith, no doubt in allusion to his Side: We are members of his Body, and of his bones. For even as God made the woman Eve out of the rib which he had taken out of the side of Adam, so hath Christ made the Church out of the Blood and Water which he made to flow for us out of his own Side. -On the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of the accomplishment of the redemption of mankind, as a fitting celebration of this ineffable blessing, Pope Pius XI decreed an extraordinary Jubilee. During that year the Supreme Pontiff, wishing that the fruits of the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb without spot, might redound more abundantly upon mankind and that the minds of the faithful be impressed with more vivid recollections of this same Blood as the price of their redemption, elevated the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ to the rank of a double of the first class, to be celebrated as such every year by the universal Church.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Festum Sanctissimi Corporis Christi

The immeasurable benefits, which the goodness of God hath bestowed on Christian people, have conferred on them also a dignity beyond all price. "For what nation is there so great, who hath gods so nigh unto them, as the Lord, our God, is unto us?" Deut. iv. 7. The Only-begotten Son of God, being pleased to make us "partakers of the Divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4, took our nature upon Him, being Himself made Man that He might make men gods. And all, as much of ours as He took, He applied to our salvation. On the Altar of the Cross He offered up His Body to God the Father as a sacrifice for our reconciliation He shed His Blood as the price whereby He redeemeth us from wretchedness and bondage, and the washing whereby He cleanseth us from all sin. And for a noble and abiding memorial of that so great work of His goodness, He hath left unto His faithful ones the Same His very Body for Meat, and the Same His very Blood for Drink, to be fed upon under the appearance of bread and wine.

How precious a thing then, how marvelous, how health-giving, how furnished with all dainties, is the Supper [of the Lord!] Than His Supper can anything be more precious? Therein there is put before us for meat, not, as of old time, the flesh of bulls and of goats, but Christ Himself, our very God. Than this Sacrament can anything be more marvelous? Therein it cometh to pass that bread and wine are bread and wine no more, but in the stead thereof there is the Body and there is the Blood of Christ; that is to say, Christ Himself, Perfect God and Perfect Man, Christ Himself is there, under the appearance of a little bread and wine. His faithful ones eat Him, but He is not mangled; nay, when [the veil which shroudeth Him in] this Sacrament is broken, in each broken piece thereof remaineth whole Christ Himself, Perfect God and Perfect Man. All that the senses can reach in this Sacrament, [look, taste, feel, smell, and the like, all these] abide of bread and wine, but the Thing is not bread and wine. And thus room is left for faith; Christ Who hath a Form That can be seen, is here taken and received not only unseen, but seeming to be bread and wine, and the senses, which judge by the wonted look, are warranted against error.

Than this Sacrament can anything be more health-giving? Thereby are sins purged away, strength renewed, and the soul fed upon the fatness of spiritual gifts. This Supper is offered up in the Church both for the quick and dead it was ordained to the health of all, all get the good of it. Than this Sacrament can anything be more furnished with dainties The glorious sweetness thereof is of a truth such that no man can fully tell it. Therein ghostly comfort is sucked from its very well-head. Therein a memorial is made of that exceeding great love which Christ showed in time of His sufferings. It was in order that the boundless goodness of that His great love might be driven home into the hearts of His faithful ones, that when He had celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and the last Supper was ended, "the Lord Jesus, knowing that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end," John xiii. 1, and instituted this Sacrament, this Sacrament, the everlasting "forth-showing of His death until He come again," 1 Cor. xi. 26, this Sacrament, the embodied fulfilment of all the ancient types and figures, this Sacrament, the greatest miracle which He ever wrought, and the one mighty joy of them that now have sorrow, till He shall come again, and their heart shall rejoice, and their joy no man take from them. John xvi. 22.

- From the Sermons of St. Thomas Aquinas 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Saint Margaret of Scotland

Margaret, of the royal house of England, was born in Hungary and 
 spent her childhood there as an unusually devout and pious girl. When her father was called to high office in his own country by his uncle, St. Edward, King of England, she went to England and then to Scotland. There, upon instructions from her mother, she married King Malcolm III. The country was blessed by her holy life and by her deeds of charity for the next thirty years. The austerity of her life was exceedingly great, and her charity towards her neighbour most ardent and zealous, especially for those in need, for whom she not infrequently exhausted the treasury. At length, having most patiently endured bitter sorrows and long illness, she rendered her soul to God on the 16th day of November. At the moment of her death her features, emaciated and pale, bloomed again with unusual beauty. On the authority of Clement X she was chosen Patroness of Scotland, and is honoured with great devotion throughout the world. 

- Roman Martyrology 

Let us pray.
O God, Who didst make Margaret, that blessed Queen, wonderful for tender love toward the poor, grant that her intercession and example may be effectual to gain for our hearts a thorough love toward thee.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.