Saturday, July 22, 2023

Saint Mary Magdalene: Seeking the Lord amid the darkness of this world

Noli me tangere, Tiziano

1 In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.
2 I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.
3 The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?
4 When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.”

De Canticis Canticorum.
Song 3:1-4 

“Mary Magdalen, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, through love of the truth, washed away in her tears the defilement of her sins, and the words of the Truth are fulfilled which He spake Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much. She who had remained chilly in sin, became fiery through love. When even His disciples went away again unto their own home, Mary still stood without at the sepulchre of Christ, weeping. She sought Him Whom her soul loved, but she found Him not. She searched for Him with tears; she yearned with strong desire for Him Who, she believed, had been taken away. And thus it befell her, that being the only one who had remained to seek Him, she was the only one that saw Him. It is the truth that the backbone of a good work is perseverance.

 “At first when she sought Him, she found Him not; she went on searching, and so it came to pass that she found Him; and this was so, to the end that her longing might grow in earnestness, and so in its earnestness might find what it sought. Hence is it that the Bride in the Song of Songs saith as representing the Church: By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth. We seek on our bed for Him Whom our soul loveth, when, having got some little rest in this world, we still sigh for the Presence of our Redeemer but it is by night that we so seek Him, for though our mind may be on the alert for Him, yet still He is hidden from our eyes by the darkness that now is.

“But if we find not Him Whom our soul loveth, it remaineth that we should rise and go about the city, that is, by thought and questioning, go through the holy Church of the elect seek Him in the streets, and in the broad ways, that is, walk anxiously looking about us both in the narrow and the broad places, that if we can, we may find His footsteps there for there are some even of those who live for the world, from whom something may be learnt to be imitated by a godly man. As we thus go wakefully about, the watchmen, that keep the city, find us; the holy Fathers, who are the watchmen of the bulwarks of the Church, come to meet our good endeavours, and to teach us either by their words or by their writings. And it needeth but a little to pass from them, but we find Him Whom our soul loveth (a little we must pass,) for albeit our Redeemer in lowliness became a man among men, yet by right of His Divine Nature He is still above men.“

From the Sermons of Pope St. Gregory the Great.
25th on the Gospels. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

On “Spiritual Childhood” by St John Chrysostom

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

At that time, there were brought unto Jesus little children that He should put His Hands on them, and pray… and Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belong the kingdom of heaven…’ ” Matt 19:13-21 

“Wherefore did the disciples rebuke them that brought them From an idea of His dignity. What therefore did He To teach them to be lowly, and to be above the niceness of the world, He took the little children, and embraced them in His Arms, and declared that of such is the kingdom of heaven as also He had said above, xviii. 3, 4. And we also, if we would fain be heirs of the kingdom of heaven, let us seek with great earnestness this virtue. For this is the highest peak of philosophy, to be simple and wise this is the life of an Angel. The mind of a little child is free from all the diseases of the mind a little child keepeth no remembrance of injuries, but goeth unto such as have inflicted them, as if unto friends, and as if nothing had happened. Although his mother give him stripes, yet a little child ever seeketh her, and putteth her before all.

“If thou wert to show him a Queen adorned with her crown, he would not prefer her before his own mother, in raiment how faded soever, and he would rather see her, albeit unkempt, than the Queen in all her glorious apparel. For his use is to account of things whether they be his own, or of others, not by the standard of poverty and riches, but by that of love only. He seeketh no more than he needeth. When he is satisfied with milk, he leaveth the pap. The things that press upon us, such as the loss of money, and the like, do not press upon him, nor do the same transitory things that please us, please him, neither doth he gaze with admiration at loveliness of shape. Therefore Christ said: Of such is the kingdom of heaven, to make us do by force of will what little children do by nature.

“The Pharisees' usual springs of action were spite and vanity; therefore doth the Lord everywhere command His disciples to be simple, and in teaching the one, pointeth silently at the other class. Nothing breedeth pride so much as princedom and precedence. Since, then, His disciples were to receive much honour throughout all the world, He warneth their minds beforehand, and letteth them not stumble into the snare of men, nor go seeking for honours from the mob, nor put themselves forward before others. It is true, these may seem little things, but they give occasion for very great evils. It was when they were placed in these positions, that the Pharisees fell into their direst misfortunes from looking for salutations, and foremost or good places, they got into a keen desire of distinction, and from that into ungodliness.”

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Good Shepherd Sunday: The Good Shepherd Giveth His Life for His Sheep


“I am the good shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep,” and, “The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.” (Gospel)

Today is called "Good Shepherd Sunday". For, in the epistle, St. Peter himself, made by the risen Lord head and chief Pastor of His Church, tells us that Christ is the shepherd of our souls, which were like wandering sheep They are gathered round Him who came to give His life for them. The gospel relates the touching parable of the good shepherd who defends his sheep against the wolf, and protects them from death (Collect); and foretells that the heathen will come to join the Jews of the Old Law and to form with them one only Church and flock, under one shepherd.

These our Lord recognizes as His sheep and like the disciples at Emmaus, whose eyes were opened at the breaking of the bread, at the altar when the priest consecrates the Host which is the memorial of our Lord's passion, they acknowledge that Christ is "the Good Shepherd who gives His life that He may feed His sheep with His Body and Blood" (St. Gregory). Raising their eyes to Him (Offertory), they pour forth to Him their gratitude for His great mercy (Introit).

"It was in those days," says St. Leo, "that the Holy Ghost was bestowed upon all the apostles by our Lord's breathing upon them, and that the blessed apostle Peter, raised above the rest, having already received the keys of the kingdom, saw the care of the Lord's flock committed to his charge." This was the first step in the founding of the Church. Let us thus press round the divine Shepherd of our souls.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Dominica in Albis: “…our first duty is so to sanctify the mirth of these holy days”

Umbrian Master, St. Ambrose baptises St. Augustine, ca. 1510

The Feast of this day is the end of the Paschal solemnity, and therefore it is today that the Newly-Baptized put off their white garments: but, though they lay aside the outward mark of washing in their raiment, the mark of that washing in their souls remaineth to eternity. Now are the days of the Pass-over, that is, of God's Passing-over our iniquity by His pardon and remission; and therefore our first duty is so to sanctify the mirth of these holy days, that our bodily recreation may be taken without defilement to our spiritual cleanness. Let us strive that our relaxation may be sober and our freedom holy, holding ourselves carefully aloof from anything like excess, drunkenness or lechery. Let us try so to keep in our souls their Lenten cleansing, that if our Fasting hath left us aught yet unwon, we may still be able to seek it.

From the Sermons of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
1st Sermon for the Octave of the Passover, being the 157th for the Seasons.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Through the Resurrection, We Go from Earthly Darkness to Heavenly Dignity


Pope St. Leo, who reigned from 440 to 461, explains the effects that Christ’s Resurrection has on our souls. A particularly fitting meditation for Eastertide:

“The first man is of the earth earthy,” says the Apostle, “the second man is from heaven heavenly. As is the earthy, such also are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such also are they that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of the earthy, so let us also bear the image of Him Who is from heaven.” (I Cor. 15:47-49)

We must greatly rejoice over this change, whereby we are translated from earthly degradation to heavenly dignity through His unspeakable mercy, Who descended into our estate that He might promote us to His, by assuming not only the substance but also the conditions of sinful nature, and by allowing the impassibility of Godhead to be affected by all the miseries which are the lot of mortal manhood.

And hence that the disturbed minds of the disciples might not be racked by prolonged grief, He with such wondrous speed shortened the three days' delay which He had announced, that by joining the last part of the first and the first part of the third day to the whole of the second, He cut off a considerable portion of the period, and yet did not lessen the number of days.

The Savior's Resurrection therefore did not long keep His soul in Hades, nor His flesh in the tomb; and so speedy was the quickening of His uncorrupted flesh that it bore a closer resemblance to slumber than to death, seeing that the Godhead, Which quitted not either part of the Human Nature which He had assumed, reunited by Its power that which Its power had separated.

Let God's people then recognize that they are a new creation in Christ, and with all vigilance understand by Whom they have been adopted and Whom they have adopted. Let not the things, which have been made new, return to their ancient instability; and let not him who has put his hand to the plough (Lk. 9:62) forsake his work, but rather attend to that which he sows than look back to that which he has left behind. (Ph. 3:14)

Let no one fall back into that from which he has risen, but, even though from bodily weakness he still languishes under certain maladies, let him urgently desire to be healed and raised up. For this is the path of health through imitation of the Resurrection begun in Christ.

St. Leo the Great, Sermon on the Resurrection (Sermon 71)

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Instruction for Holy Thursday

Why is the Mass on Holy Thursday offered in the evening? What is the Mandatum? Why is the Blessed Sacrament translated to an altar of repose? Why is the high altar stripped? Fr. Goffine answers!

From The Church's Year, we reproduce the entry on the beautiful ceremonies of Holy Thursday.

What festival does the Church celebrate today?

The Catholic Church commemorates today the institution, by our Savior, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This commemoration she has celebrated from the first ages of Christianity.

What remarkable things did Christ perform on this day?

He ate with His apostles the Paschal lamb which was a type of Himself; it was eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; they ate it standing with clothes girded, and staff in hand, in remembrance of the hurried escape of the Jews from Egypt. (Exod. 12)

After having eaten the Paschal lamb, Our Lord with profound humility washed the feet of His apostles, exhorting them to practice the same humility and charity; afterwards, He gave them His Flesh and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine, for spiritual food and drink, thus instituting the Must Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the priesthood; for when He said to the apostles: Do this in commemoration of me, he ordained them priests.

After this He held His last discourse in which He particularly recommended brotherly love; said that beautiful, high-priestly prayer, in which He implored His Heavenly Father particularly for the unity of His Church.

He then went as usual to Mt. Olivet, where He commenced His passion with prayer and resignation to the will of His Father, suffering intense, deathlike agony, which was so great that He sweat blood. Here Judas betrayed Him into the hands of the Jews, by a treacherous kiss. They bound Him and led Him to the high-priests, Annas and Caiphas, where He was sentenced to death by the council, and denied by Peter.

The Introit of the Mass reads thus: We ought to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection: by whom we have been saved and delivered. (Gal. 6:14) May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. (Ps. 66:2)

COLLECT O God! from whom Judas received the punishment of his sin, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effects of Thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ at the time of His passion bestowed on each a different recompense of his merits, so having destroyed the old man in us, He may give us the grace of His Resurrection. Who liveth, etc.

What ceremonies are observed in this day's Mass?

The crucifix is covered with a white veil in memory of the sacred institution of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The priest comes to the altar robed in white vestments; the Gloria in excelsis is solemnly sung, accompanied by the ringing of bells, and all Christians are exhorted to render praise and gratitude to the Lord for having instituted the Blessed Feast of Love.

After the Gloria the bells are silent until Holy Saturday to indicate the Church's mourning for the passion and death of Jesus; to urge us also to spend these days in silent sorrow, meditating on the sufferings of Christ, and in memory of the shameful flight of the apostles at the capture of their master, and their silence during these days.

At the Mass the priest consecrates two hosts one of which He consumes at the Communion, and the other he preserves in the chalice for the following day, because no consecration takes place on Good Friday. [As of the Holy Week Reform, the priest does not consecrate another large host, because he uses one of the Hosts from the ciboria reserved at the altar of repose on Good Friday—Ed.] The officiating priest does not give the usual kiss of peace before Communion, because on this day Judas betrayed his master with a kiss.

After Mass, the consecrated host in the chalice [as mentioned above this is no longer done], and the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle [ciborium], are taken in procession to the sacristy or repository, in memory of the earliest times of Christianity, when the consecrated hosts for the communicants and the sick, were kept in a place especially prepared, because there was no tabernacle on the altar. Moreover it also signifies Christ's going to Mt. Olivet, where His Godhead was concealed. After the procession the priests with the choir say vespers in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament [Vespers is now omitted and Compline according to a special form is said in front of the stripped altar].

EPISTLE (I Cor. 11:20-32) Brethren, When you come together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord's supper. For every one taketh before his supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What! have you not houses to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God? and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke it, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also, the Chalice, after, he had supped, saying: This Chalice is the New Testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink it, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come.

Wherefore, whoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.

EXPLANATION The early Christians were accustomed after the celebration of the Lord's Supper, to unite in a common repast; those who were able furnished the food, and rich and poor partook of it in common, in token of brotherly love. This repast they called "Agape,” “meal of love.” At Corinth this custom was abused, some ate before Communion that which had been brought, became intoxicated, and deprived the poor of their share. The Apostle condemns this abuse, declaring it an unworthy preparation for Communion, and reminds the Corinthians of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament telling them what a terrible sin it is to partake of the body and blood of the Lord unworthily, for whoever does this makes himself guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and eats and drinks his own judgment, that is, eternal damnation. Therefore prove yourself, O Christian soul, as often as you communicate, see whether you have committed any grievous sin which you have not confessed, or for which you were not heartily sorry.

GOSPEL (John 13:1-15) Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. And when supper was done, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him: knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God: he riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments: and having taken a towel, he girded himself.

After that, he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel, wherewith he was girt. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter, and Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shaft know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee, not, thou shall have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord! not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him: therefore he said: You are not all clean.

Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that as I have done to you so do you also.

Why did Jesus wash the feet of His disciples?

To give them a proof of His sincere love and great humility which they should imitate; to teach them that although free from sin, and not unworthy to receive His most holy body and blood, their feet needed cleansing, that is, that they should be purified from all evil inclinations which defile the heart, and prevent holy Communion from producing fruitful effects in the soul.

Why is it that on this day in each church only one priest says Mass at which the others receive Communion?

Because on this day Christ alone offered the unbloody Sacrifice, and having instituted the Blessed Sacrament, fed with His own hands His disciples with His flesh and blood, it is therefore proper that in commemoration of this, the priests in one church should receive the Blessed Sacrament from the hands of one, according to the example of the apostles, but as a sign of the priestly dignity which on this day Christ gave to the apostles and their successors, each priest wears a stole.

Why art the altars stripped on this day?

To show that Jesus took off, as it were, at the time of His passion, His divine glory, and yielded Himself up in utter humiliation into the hands of His enemies to be crucified, (Phil. 2:6, 7) and that at the crucifixion He was forcibly stripped of His garments, which the soldiers divided among them, as foretold in the 21st Psalm, which is therefore said during this ceremony. The faithful are urged to put off the old sinful man with his actions, and by humbling themselves become conformable to Christ.

Why is it that spiritual superiors wash the feet of their subjects, as do also the Catholic princes the feet of twelve poor men?

To commemorate the washing of the apostles' feet by Christ, and to teach all, even the highest to exercise the necessary virtues of humility and charity towards all, even the lowest, according to the example given by Jesus. Princes and spiritual superiors therefore kiss the feet after washing them, and the pope presses them to his breast, giving to each person a silver and a gold medal, on which is pictured the washing of the feet by Christ. [As of Pius XII's Holy Week Reform (1955), this Mandatum rite is also observed in all parishes with twelve male parishioners having their feet washed by the celebrant of the Mass.]

What is Tenebrae, and what its meaning?

It is the office which the clergy say on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, accompanied by the lamentations of the Prophet Jeremias, and other ceremonies.

The word Tenebrae

Tenebrae means darkness, and represents the prayers formerly said in the dark hours of the morning. In the Tenebrae the Church mourns the passion and death of Jesus, and urges her children to return to God; she therefore makes use of those mournful words of Jeremias: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord, thy God!"

How should we attend the Church service on this day?

The Church commemorates on this day the institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; we should therefore consider with a lively faith that Jesus, our divine Teacher and Savior, is really and truly here present; we should adore Him as the Son of God, who became man to redeem us; should admire the love which determined Him to institute the Blessed Sacrament, that He might always be with us; and should thank Him for all the inestimable graces which we derive from this Sacrament.

REMARK In the cathedrals the holy oils which are used in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Extreme Unction, as also in consecrating baptismal fonts and altar stones, are blessed on this day. Let us thank Our Lord for the institution of these Sacraments at which blessed oils are used.

Source: Friends of Tradition

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Tuesday of Passion Week: “the Jews sought to kill Him”

By His own example when persecuted our Lord instructs us as to how to conduct ourselves in times of persecution. 

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John

John 7:1-13 
At that time: Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
28th Tract on John 
In this chapter of the Gospel, my brethren, our Lord Jesus Christ hath much commended Himself unto our faith, as touching His Manhood. At the same time, His words and works were alway such as to give us to believe that He is both God and Man, yea, that God Who made us, and that Man Who hath sought us, yea, God the Son, Who, as touching His Godhead, is alway with the Father, John i. 18; iii. 13, and, as touching His Manhood, hath been with us in time. Matth. i. 23. For He had not sought the work of His hands unless He had been made His own work. John i. 14. Keep this well in mind, and let your hearts never forget it, namely, that Christ was not made Man so as to cease to be God. He, Who made the Manhood, took It into that Godhead Which is His from everlasting to everlasting.

While therefore He lay hid in the Manhood, we must not think that He had suffered any lessening of power, but that He was giving example to our weakness. When He willed it, He was taken; when He willed it, He was put to death. John x. 18. But, since He was to have members, that is, His faithful people, who would not have that power over their lives which He, our God, had over His, He hid Himself, He concealed Himself, as if it were to escape being put to death, to show what should be done by those His members in whom He should dwell.
Christ is not the Head of His Church in such sense that He is not in her Body; but the whole Christ is in the Head, and the whole Christ is in the Body. That, then, which His members are is Himself, though That Which He is, That are not therefore His members. For if His members had not been indeed His Own, how had He said unto Saul, Acts ix. 4: Why persecutest thou Me? since Saul was not persecuting Him in Himself, but in His members, that is, in His faithful ones which were upon earth. He said not: Why persecutest thou My holy ones, nor: My servants, no, nor yet called He them by that more honourable name “My brethren”, but, “Why persecutest thou Me?”; that is, the members of My Body, whose Head I am.

Friday, March 24, 2023

The liturgical meaning of Passion Sunday

Image: An ancient mosaic in the Ravenna basilica depicting a crux gemmata, "jeweled cross".

Why will statues in churches be veiled starting this Sunday? Why is this Day of the Lord referred to as "Passion Sunday" and how does it serve as the gateway into Passiontide?

Nothing better to grasp the spirit of the Church than to turn to the liturgical texts. This is most true of Passiontide and Holy Week. The Church’s Year of Grace of Dr. Pius Parsch offers a few points of interest.
  • As the Church enters the period of mourning the divine Bridegroom, she puts on the widow’s garments. The commemoration of Christ’s suffering is expressed in various ways.
  • The last remaining traces of joy are eliminated: the Gloria Patri of the Introit, Lavabo and Breviary responsories. The omission of Psalm 42 at the foot of the altar, as in the Requiem Masses.
  • The prayers and readings relate the theme of suffering to that of baptism. A favorite contrast, the pagan Ninivites (catechumens) do penance while the Jews plan to kill Jesus. Jeremias, a type of Christ, laments over the Jews "who perfidiously leave their Lord, the fountain of living water."
  • One of the most striking changes in the Passiontide is that the crosses and statues are draped, as an outward sign of the Church’s inward sorrow. It is not difficult to understand why the wailing garments are placed over the statues, which could distract us from the meditations of the Passion.

It is however quite enigmatic for the Christians today to understand why the crosses have to be veiled. Why is not the sorrowful Crucifix visible to our eyes so as to draw tears of devotion? Just the contrary would be more intelligible.

In fact, this veiling of the Cross is a relic from an ancient practice. When crosses, without the corpus, shone glorious with gold and precious stones (the crux gemmata), there was deep meaning in the practice of veiling their brilliance during the days when the Bridegroom was taken away. The Church was putting on the widow’s weeds.

This tiny detail is a clear symbol of a very different approach between ancient and modern Christianity. Today, popular piety proceeds to review Holy Week historically; it pictures with great fidelity the various scenes of the "bitter passion," it dissects all the feelings and thoughts of our suffering Savior, it analyzes the virtues displayed by the Lord at every step. "How shall I imitate Him… what can I learn from Him?" are its most important questions. Suffering is the great motive for amendment: "He died on the Cross for me, and I have offended Him so deeply."

The ancient Christians followed a different course. Of course, it also put Christ’s suffering up front but it was aiming too at the purpose of the Passion. By His suffering, Christ redeemed us and made us children of God. And, on what apparently is the most tragic day of the whole year, on Good Friday, we lift our voices in jubilant song: "See, because of this wood joy has come into the whole world!" The early Christians were not so eager to speak of the bitter passion as of the beata passio, the happy or blessed passion.

Perhaps a harmonious blending of the two mindsets is achieved on Good Friday. On that day of the great Sacrifice of the High Priest, the Church abstains from offering the divine sacrifice: instead of the divine Action, the liturgy is mostly commemorative and historical. Yet, with this initial meditation of the historical passion of Our Lord, as the ceremony progresses, it has us rejoice before the unveiled cross, presented as the glorious trophy with the Redeemer having fulfilled His mission. The rite ends with a glorious, joyful song to the Cross, to the Lord’s resurrection:

Thy Cross, Lord, we adore!
We praise and acclaim Thy holy resurrection.
Behold, through the wood of the Cross
Joy has come into the whole world.

Source: "Friends of Tradition"

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Saint Simon of Trent


March 24th 2023, the 2nd day of the Moon, were born into the better life:  


At Trent, the holy child Simeon, most cruelly murdered by the Jews, and who afterwards shone with many miracles, [in the year 1475.] 

- Roman martyrology 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)

 The Multiplication of Loaves

The Introit, Communion and Tract speak to us of Jerusalem compared to Mount Sinai by St. Paul in the Epistle for today. There, will the Christian people best raise their song of joy:

This song of joy is "Laetare" (Introit, Epistle) on account of the victory won by our Lord on the cross at Jerusalem, and there most easily, will be roused the memory of the heavenly Jerusalem, whose gates have been opened to us by the death of Christ.

It is for this reason, that formerly on this day, it was the custom […] solemnly to bless a rose, the queen of flowers. For, as we are reminded by the forms used for the blessing, in the traditional practice of Christian iconography, heaven is usually represented by a garden beautiful with flowers. For this blessing rose-colored vestments were used, and on this day a priest may celebrate Mass and Office in vestments of this color. Hence this custom was extended to the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete or "rejoicing" Sunday... And in its turn Laetare, also "rejoicing" Sunday, is a halting place in the midst of the Lenten observance.

"Rejoice, rejoice with joy," we are told in the Introit, for having died to sin with our Lord during Lent, we are shortly to rise with Him by the Paschal confession and communion. The Gospel speaks at one and the same time of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, symbols of the Eucharist and of Baptism, which were formerly received on the same occasion at Easter, and in the Epistle allusion is made to our deliverance by the sacrament of Baptism, which the catechumens formerly received at this season. And if we have had the misfortune to grievously offend almighty God, we shall recover our freedom by means of our Easter confession.

Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, intercede for re-paganized Ireland

 Patrick, called the Apostle of Ireland, was born in Great Britain. The name of his father was Calphurnius, and that of his mother Conchessa. She is said to have been a relation of St. Martin, Bishop of Tours. When Patrick was a lad, he was several times taken prisoner by savages, and while being in their hands he was employed as a shepherd, he already showed marks of his saintliness to come. His spirit was filled with faith, and love, and fear of God, so that he would rise before the light, in snow, and frost, and rain, to make his prayers to God, being accustomed to address God in prayer an hundred times every day, and an hundred times every night. After being rescued from his third captivity, he was placed among the clergy, and for a long time exercised himself in sacred learning. To this end he travelled with much labour, through Gaul, Italy, and the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea, but at last being called of God to work for the salvation of the Irish, and, having received from the Blessed Pope Celestine a commission to preach the gospel, and likewise being consecrated a Bishop, he betook himself to Ireland.

Deus, qui ad prædicándam géntibus glóriam tuam beátum Patrícium Confessórem atque Pontíficem míttere dignátus es: eius méritis et intercessióne concéde; ut, quæ nobis agénda prǽcipis, te miseránte adimplére possímus.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.
℟. Amen. 

Let us pray.
O God, Who didst send forth thy Blessed Confessor and Bishop Patrick to preach thy glory among the Gentiles, mercifully grant unto us, for his sake and at his petition, whatsoever Thou commandest us to do, to have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wednesday, Lent III: You “pass over the commandments of God, in order to keep to the traditions of men.”

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 15:1-20 
At that time, scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying: Why do thy disciples trangress the tradition of the ancients? And so on.

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. ii Comm. on Matth. xv 
The stupidity of the Pharisees and Scribes is something extraordinary. They rebuke the Son of God because He doth not observe the traditions and commandments of men for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. It behoveth us to cleanse, not the hands of the body, but the hands of the soul, namely, our works, that we may do the commandments of God. But He answered and said unto them Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? He meeteth here their false accusation by a true. “How,” saith He, “do ye, who pass over the commandments of God, in order to keep to the traditions of men, hold that My disciples are to be rebuked, because they deem the tradition of the elders of little moment in comparison with the doing of what they know to be the Laws of God?”

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Tuesday, Lent III: “ if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him”

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 18:15-22 
At that time, Jesus saith to his disciples: “But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone.” And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
16th Sermon on the Words of the Lord, vol. x 
Why tell him his fault? Because he hath made thee smart by trespassing against thee? God forbid. If thou tell him his fault because thou lovest thyself, thou dost nothing. But if thou tell it him because thou lovest him, then dost thou do exceeding well. Hear now, in the words of the Gospel itself, for love of whom, thou oughtest to do it, of thyself, or of him. The Lord saith: If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Therefore it behoveth thee to do it for his sake, that thou mayest gain him; since, if thou so do, haply thou mayest gain him; whereas, if thou do it not, he may haply perish. Why then are there so many who reckon lightly of a trespass against their brother, and say I have done no great offence, for I have trespassed only against my fellow man? Deem it not light; thou hast trespassed, though it be against thy fellow man….

Therefore let no man deem it a light thing when he trespasseth against his brother. For the Apostle Paul saith in a certain place: When ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 1 Cor. viii. 12. We are all members of Christ. How dost thou not trespass against Christ, which trespassest against one of His members?