Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Thoughts and meditations

The world gets old;

Only heaven is always new.


“Fear not, little flock”

 Luke 12:32-35

At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow, and Doctor of the Church.
Bk. iv. Ch. 54 on Luke xii.
The elect are called a little flock, perchance because the reprobate are far more in number than they, but, more probably, because they love to be lowly, since it is God's will that however much His Church should grow in numbers, she should grow with lowliness even unto the end of the world, and should enter lowly into that kingdom which is hers by His promise. That kingdom He promiseth to her here, when He biddeth her to seek only the kingdom of God, and, to comfort her in her travail, He doth so sweetly and so graciously say that her Father will give it to her.

Sell that ye have and give alms. Fear not, He saith, lest, while ye fight for the kingdom of God, ye should lack such things as are needful for this life, nay rather, sell even that which ye have, and give alms. This doth, whosoever for the Lord's sake leaveth all that he hath, and then worketh with his hands, that so he may have to eat, and withal to give alms. In this doth the Apostle boast himself, saying I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel, as ye yourselves know for these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak. Acts xx. 33, 34, 35.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dominica XXI: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants,"

 From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 18:23-35
At that time, Jesus spoke unto His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And so on.

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. III Comment. on Matth. XVIII
It is a way much in use with the Syrians, and especially with the inhabitants of Palestine, to illustrate their discourse with parables, that what their hearers may not be able to catch so easily when spoken plainly, they may lay hold on by dint of comparisons and examples. Thus it was that the Lord, by an allegory about a Royal master and a servant who owed him ten thousand talents, and who obtained by entreaty forgiveness of the debt, taught Peter how it was his duty to forgive his fellow-servants their comparatively trifling offences. For if that Royal master so readily forgave his servant his debt of ten thousand talents, should not his servants much more forgive lesser debts unto their fellows?

Let put this more clearly, let us take a case. If one of us were to commit adultery, or murder, or sacrilege, our sin, great like a debt of ten thousand talents, would be forgiven us in answer to prayer, if we also from our heart forgive our brethren their trespasses against us. But if we refuse to forgive a slight, and keep up unceasing enmity because of an unkind word, how just doth it appear that we should be cast into prison, and entail on ourselves, by the example of our own deeds, that our great debt should not be forgiven unto us.

“So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” God's awful purpose can be turned and changed but if we will not forgive unto our brethren small things, God will not forgive us great things. And if we forgive them, it must be from our hearts. Any one can say: I have nothing against such-an-one he knoweth what he hath done, and God will judge him for it I do not care what he doeth I have forgiven him. But the Lord maketh His sentence clear, and destroyeth such a mockery of peace as this, where He saith: "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Exaltation of the Holy Cross: “I will draw all men to Myself”


From the Holy Gospel according to John

John 12:31-36
At that time, Jesus said unto the multitudes of the Jews: Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great.
8th on the Lord's Passion.
Dearly beloved brethren, when we gaze upon Christ lifted up upon the Cross, the eyes of our mind see more than that which appeared before the wicked, unto whom it was said through Moses: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. Deut. xxviii 66. They saw in the crucified Lord nothing but the work of their own wickedness, and they feared greatly, Matth. xxvii. 54, not with that faith which giveth earnest of life by justification, but with that whereby the evil conscience is tortured. But our understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of truth, and with pure and open hearts we see the glory of the Cross shining over heaven and earth, and discern by inward glance what the Lord meant when His Passion was nigh at hand, and He said: Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things unto Me.

How wonderful is the power of the Cross! O how unutterable is the glory of the Passion, wherein standeth the Lord's judgment-seat, and the judgment of this world, and the might of the Crucified! Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! Thou didst spread out thine Hands all the day unto an unbelieving and gainsaying people, Isa. lxv. 2, but the world hath felt and owned thy Majesty! Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! All the elements gave one wild cry of horror at the iniquity of the Jews the lights of the firmament were darkened, day turned into night, earth quaked with strange tremblings, and all God's work refused to serve the guilty. Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! The veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, the Holy of Holies denied itself as a Sanctuary for the ministration of unworthy Priests, that the shadow might be changed for the substance, prophecy for realization, and the Law for the Gospel.

Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! That which was veiled under types and shadows in the one Jewish Temple, is hailed by the love of all peoples in full and open worship. There is now a higher order of Levites, a more honourable rank of elders, a Priesthood with an holier anointing. thy Cross is a well of blessings for all, and a cause of thanksgiving for all. Thereby for them that believe in thee, weakness is turned into strength, shame into glory, and death into life. The changing ordinance of diverse carnal sacrifices is gone; the one oblation of thy Body and Blood fulfilleth them all. For Thou art the Very Paschal Lamb, Which takest away the sins of the world, and art in thyself all offerings finished. And even as Thou art the One Sacrifice Which taketh the place of all sacrifices, so may thy kingdom be one kingdom established over all peoples

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

In Nativitate Beatæ Mariae Virginis: “Eve wept, but Mary laughed”

Dearly beloved brethren, the day for which we have longed, the Feast-day of the Blessed and Worshipful and Ever-Virgin Mary, that day is come. Let our land laugh and sing with merriment, bathed in the glory of this great Virgin's rising. She is the flower of the fields on which the priceless lily of the valleys hath blossomed. This is she whose delivery changed the nature that we draw from our first parents, and cleansed away their offence. At her that dolorous sentence which was pronounced over Eve ended its course to her it was never said: "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." 
Gen. iii. 16. She brought forth a Child, even the Lord, but she brought Him forth, not in sorrow, but in joy.

Eve wept, but Mary laughed. Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was big with gladness. Eve gave birth to a sinner, but Mary gave birth to the sinless One. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the foundress of sin, but Mary was the foundress of righteousness. Eve welcomed death, but Mary helped in life. Eve smote, but Mary healed. For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience and for Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith.

Let Mary now make a loud noise upon the organ, and between its quick notes let the rattling of the Mother's timbrel be heard. Let the gladsome choirs sing with her, and their sweet hymns mingle with the changing music. Hearken to what a song her timbrel will make accompaniment. She saith: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the lowliness of His hand-maiden, for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed for He That is Mighty hath done to me great things." The new miracle of Mary's delivery hath effaced the curse of the frail backslider, and the singing of Mary hath silenced the wailing of Eve.

- Saint Augustine 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Dominica XIV Post Pentecosten V: Traditional Latin Mass Sunday Gospel

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 6:24-33
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: No man can serve two masters. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. xiv.
"No man can serve two masters," and this is further explained "for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other." These words we ought carefully to weigh, for the Lord showeth straightway who be the two masters whom we have choice of: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Mammon is a term which the Hebrews are said to use for riches. It is also a Carthaginian word for the Punic for "gain" is "mammon.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

On the Assumption of Our Lady

 Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy


The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Mary and Assumption

Faith and victory

Earthquakes, of belief and societal order and civility

Calamities, physical and natural

Believing as did she we look up and beyond

To her: crowned with glory shared in and given by Her Son our Lord

We look beyond the tragedies and betrayals

The sin and death of this world

And see the promise, life and joy of the next

Our faith is for us

As for Her

A lodestar

A compass on storm-tossed seas

The goal of all our prayers and striving

The reason for and motive of our faith

In Christ

She shows us the way

In her assumption

We see and know already the redemption fulfilled for all

And now we go on

In prayer she accompanies


At the foot of the Cross, at every holy Mass, she prays with us

Carrying our crosses as she shared so greatly in His

Persevering despite worldly discouragement and temptation to despair

We trust

As she did

And we will triumph

As does she

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee

Pray for us now and at the hour of our death


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Gospel: Dominica IV post Pentecosten

 From the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Luke 5:1-11
At that time: As the people pressed upon Jesus, to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesareth. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. iv. on Luke v.
When the Lord wrought so many works of healing, neither time nor place could restrain the people from seeking health. Evening came, and they still followed Him He went down to the lake, and they still pressed upon Him and therefore He entered into Peter's ship. This is that ship, which spiritually up to this very hour, according to the expression of Matthew, is buffeted by tempests, but still, according to Luke, is filled with fishes, this signifying, that, for a while, to labour is present to the Church, but, hereafter, it shall be to rejoice. The fishes are they which swim in the troublous waters of human life. In this ship also spiritually doth Christ, for His disciples, still sleep, and still command; for He sleepeth for the lukewarm, and watcheth for the perfect.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Bishop: Catholics should not attend “Pride” events


Corpus Domini: the true and real Presence of Jesus Christ as Eucharist

 From the Sermons of St. Thomas Aquinas

17th or 57th of his Opuscula, or Lesser Works
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.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Dominica in Albis: "That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb"

     “When we hear this passage of the Gospel read, a question straightway knocketh at the door of our mind. How was it that the Body of the Risen Lord was a real Body, if It was able to pass through closed doors into the assembly of His disciples? But we ought to know that the works of God are no more wonderful when they can be understood by man's reason, and faith has lost her worth when her subject-matter is the subject-matter of human demonstration. Nevertheless, those very works of our Redeemer which are in themselves impossible to be understood, must be thought over in connection with other of His works, that we may be led to believe in things wonderful, by mean of things more wonderful still.

     “That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb without breaking the seal thereof. What wonder is it if that Body Which had come out of the Virgin's womb, without opening the matrix, albeit It was then on Its way to die, now that It was risen again from the dead and instinct for ever with undying life, what wonder is it, I say, if that Body passed through closed doors?”

- St Gregory the Great

- Homily by Pope St Gregory 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Emmaus: they recognized the risen Christ in “the breaking of the Bread”


     “And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus...”

                                                   - Luke 24:13-35

     “Dearly beloved brethren, ye hear, how that while two of His disciples walked together in the way, not believing in His Resurrection, but talking, together concerning Him, the Lord manifested Himself unto them, but yet held their eyes that they should not know Him. This holding of the eyes of their body, wrought by the Lord, was a figure of the spiritual veil which was yet upon the eyes of their heart. For in their heart they loved and yet doubted: even as the Lord drew near to them outwardly, but showed not Who He was. To them that talked together of Him, He revealed His immediate presence; but hid, from them that doubted, the knowledge of His Person.

     “Is He spoke to them; He rebuked the hardness of their heart; He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself: and, nevertheless, seeing that He was yet a stranger to faith in their hearts, He made as though He would have gone further. These words He made as though would here seem to mean He feigned, but He Who is simple Truth doth nothing with feigning: He only showed Himself to them in bodily manners, as He was towards them spiritually; but they were put to the proof whether, though they loved Him not yet as their God, they could love Him at least as a wayfarer.

     “But since it was impossible, that they with whom Truth walked, should be loveless, they asked Him as a wayfarer to take of their hospitality. But why say we that they asked Him, when it is written: And they constrained Him? From their example we learn that we ought not only to bid, but also to urge, wayfarers to our hospitable entertainment. They laid a table therefore, and set before Him bread and meat; and that God Whom they had not known in the expounding of the Holy Scripture, they knew in the breaking of bread. In hearing the commandments of God they were not enlightened, but they were enlightened in the doing of them: as it is written: Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Rom. ii. 13. Whosoever therefore will understand that which he heareth, let him make haste to practice in his works that which he hath already been able to hear. Behold, the Lord was not known while He spake, but He was contented to be known when He broke bread.”

                            - Pope St. Gregory the Great
     Our risen Lord, high Priest of the new and perfect covenant in His Blood, celebrated the holy Mass with the disciples from Emmaus and, because of their encountering with faith His true and real Presence in the Blessed Eucharist, they recognized Him in the breaking of the Bread.

This ancient epithet for the holy Mass indicates that those who today still faithfully offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass, instituted by the Lord on the first Holy Thursday, encounter Christ today in the breaking of the bread and thus remain faithful to Him in action as well as in word.

Those who, today, act with the utmost reverence for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist as taught by our holy tradition share in the same true Faith of those first disciples at Emmaus.

Happy Easter.
                                                       - FrC

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.