Random header image... Refresh for more!

INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for traditional latin mass

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass excite in your heart an ardent desire for heaven, with these words:

INTROIT Behold, O God, our protector, and look on the face of thy Christ:, for better is one day, in thy courts above thousands. How lovely are thy taber­nacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. (Ps. LXXXIII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Keep, We beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual favor; and because without Thee the weakness of man is ready to fall, may it be withheld by Thy aid from all. things hurtful, and devoted to all things profitable to salvation. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Gal. V. 16-24.) Brethren, Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh: for the flesh lusteth against ,the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunken­ness, revellings, and such like: of the which I foretell to you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mild­ness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.

What is it to walk in the spirit?

It is to obey the inspirations of the Holy Ghost always, and in all things. He who does this, says St. Paul, will not do the evil works of the flesh, which are here enumerated, but he will rather suppress and mortify all sensual desires, in this manner crucify his flesh together with its vices and lusts, and make himself worthy of the fruits of the Holy Ghost, which are also mentioned; he will belong to Christ, and secure for himself eternal happiness. On the contrary, he who lives according to the flesh, that is, gives way to the desires of the flesh, has no hope of salvation.

Is it not strange, that all Christians wish to belong to Christ and become heirs of His kingdom, but are unwilling to crucify the flesh and its lusts, though Christ says to all; If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt XVI. 24.)

ASPIRATION Intercede for me, O St. Paul, that God may give me grace to crucify my flesh with its lusts, that I may have part with thee in Christ:

GOSPEL (Matt. VI. 24-33.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air; for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment, why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labor not, neither do they spin; but I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is to-day, and to morrow is cast into the oven, how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous, therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that .you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What is meant by serving God?

Doing the will of God, or performing faithfully and zealously all that God asks of us according to our age and condition, and for love of Him.

Who are the two masters whom we cannot serve alike?

God and Mammon or riches, whereby also, the other goods and pleasures of the world are understood. These we cannot serve at the same time, because they command things diametrically opposed to each other; for instance, God prohibits usury, theft, deceit, &c.; to which the desire for wealth impels us. God commands that we keep holy Sundays and holy days, and devote them to His service; the desire for riches tempts man to omit religious worship and to seek temporal gain; it disturbs him even in church, so that he is only present with his body, but absent in mind with his temporal goods and business.

To whom can riches be useful?

To those who, like the saints, perform works of mercy with them, and thus lay up treasures for themselves in heaven.

Why does Christ call our attention to the birds of the air and the lakes of the field?

To, excite in us confidence in the providence of God, which preserves even the birds and the flowers. Surely, if God feeds the young ravens which cry to Him; (Ps. CXLVI. 9.) if He nourishes the birds which neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns; if He vests the flowers of the field so beautifully, how much more will He care for man whom He has made to His own image and likeness, and adopted as His child, if he only acts as such, keeps His commandments, and always entertains a filial confidence in Him.

Should we, therefore, lay aside all care and never work?

This does not follow from what has been said. Christ condemns only the superfluous cares, which cause man to forget God and to neglect the salvation of his soul. Besides, God has Himself ordered (Gen. III. 17-19.) that man should obtain the fruits of the earth with much labor, that he should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. St. Paul says: If any man will not work, neither let him eat. (II Thess. III. 10.)

What should preserve us from superfluous cares?

A firm and lively faith, that God can and will help us. That He can is evident, because He is almighty; that His will is certain, because He promises it in so many pas­sages of Holy Writ, and because He is infinitely faithful to all His promises. Christ encourages us to this lively confidence with these, words: All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive and they shall come unto you. Mark XI. 24.) Therefore the apostle also commands us to throw all cares upon the Lord, who provides for us. (I Pet. V. 7.) And why should God not care for us, since He sent us His Son and with Him all; for which reason St. Augustine says: “How can you doubt that God will give you good things, since He vouchsafed to assume evil for you!”

PRAYER O Lord Jesus! give me a firm confidence in Thy Divine Providence, and daily increase it in me, that when in necessity I may confidently believe if I seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, the rest shall be added unto me.

CONSOLATION IN POVERTY
Be not solicitous for your life. (Matt. VI. 25.)

If you were born in poverty, or accidentally, or through your own fault have become poor, be consoled, because God has sent you this poverty for your own good; for good things and evil, life arid death, poverty and riches are, from God. (Ecclus. XI-14.). Therefore receive it from the hand of God without impatience or murmuring, as a means by which He wishes to keep you from forgetting Him, which would, perhaps, happen if He were to bless you with temporal prosperity. Riches are a source of destruction for many. If you have brought poverty upon yourself by a licentious and sinful life, receive it in a spirit of penance as a just and salutary chastisement, and thank God that He gives you an opportunity to do penance for your sins. But if you have become poor through no fault of your own, be consoled by the example of the saints, of whom St. Paul says: they bear the unjust taking away of their goods with joy, because they know that a better and an unchangeable treasure is in store for them in heaven. (Hebr, X. 34.) But you should particularly take courage from the example of Christ who, being rich, became poor for us, (II Cor. VIII. 9.) and had not a place whereon to lay His head. (Matt. VIII. 20.)

In your distress say with job: The Lord gave and the Lord bath taken away: as it pleased the Lord, so it is done: blessed be the name of the Lord. Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. (Job. I. 21.) Fear not my son, says Tobias, we lead indeed a poor life, but we shall have many good things if we fear God, and depart from all sins, and do that which is good. (Tob. IV. 23.) To serve God and to be content with few things always brings rich reward, if not in this, at least in the next life. Therefore Christ promised the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit, that is, not only to the humble, busy also to the poor who imitate Christ in all patience and resignation. Follow, therefore, the poor Jesus, follow His poor mother, by imitating their example, and you will possess the kingdom of heaven.

INSTRUCTION CONCERNING USURY
You cannot serve God and Mammon. (Matt. VI. 24.)

Usury is to demand more than legal interest from our neighbor, to whom we have lent something, or who is otherwise indebted to us. Those are also commonly called usurers, who, in times of want, hoard up necessary food, such as grain, flour, &c., and only sell it at an exorbitant price; or who buy up all such articles to sell them to the needy for enormous prices. This is a grievous sin, and usurers are threatened with eternal death, for Christ ex­pressly prohibits lending with usury. (Luke VI. 34, 35.)

Usurers are the real leeches of the poor, whom they rob of their sweat and blood, and since they transgress the natural law, but still more the divine, which commands us to love our neighbor, and be merciful to the needy, they will surely not possess the kingdom of heaven. Would to God, the hard-hearted sinner might consider this, and take to heart the words of Christ: What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul (Matt. XVI. 26.)

September 14, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year, (Available from Angelus Press).

Pray today at the Introit of the Mass with the Church against her enemies: Have regard, O Lord, to thy conversant, and forsake not to the end the souls of thy poor: arise, O Lord, and judge thy cause, and forget not the voices of them that seek thee. O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture? (Ps. LXXIII.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Almighty and ever­lasting God, give unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dolt promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Gal. III. 16-22.) Brethren, To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many, but as of one: And to thy seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years doth not disannul, or make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise. But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why, then, was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one: but God is one. Was the law, then, against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the scripture hath con­cluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

EXPLANATION St. Paul in this epistle proves to the Galatians who were misled by false doctrines, and ad­hered too much to the Jewish Law, that they could be saved only through a lively faith in Christ, enriched by good works. Therefore he says that the great promises, made by God to Abraham, referred to Christ, through whom all nations of the earth, who would believe in Him, would be blessed and saved. (Gen. XII. 3., and XXII. 18.) The law, indeed, does not annul these promises, since it rather leads to their attainment, yet it must be placed after them because of their advantages, nay, even cease to exist, because the promises are now fulfilled, Christ, the promised Messiah, has really, appeared and liberated man, who could not be freed from their sins by the Jewish law.

ASPIRATION O, let us be grateful for this promise, yet more, how­ever, for the Incarnation of Christ, whereby this promise has been fulfilled.

GOSPEL (Luke XVII. 11-19.) At that time, As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee: and as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom, when, he saw, he said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return, and give glory to God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.

What may be understood by leprosy in a spiritual sense?

Sin, particularly impurity, by which the soul of man is stained much more than is the body by the most horrid leprosy: In the Jewish law (Lev. XIII. ) three kinds of leprosy are enumerated, viz: the leprosy of the flesh, of garments, and of houses. Spiritually, the impure are af­flicted with the, leprosy of the flesh, who easily infect others, and are therefore to be most carefully avoided. The leprosy of garments consists in extravagance of dress and scandalous fashions, whereby not only individuals, but also whole communities are brought to poverty, and many lose their innocence. The leprosy of houses, finally, is to be found in those places, where scandalous servants are retained, where nocturnal gatherings of both sexes are en­couraged, where, obscenities are indulged in, where unbe­coming dances and plays are held, and filthy actions per­formed; where married people allow themselves liberties in presence of others, and give scandal to their household, where they take their small children and even such as al­ready have the use of reason, with themselves to bed, where they permit children of different sexes to sleep together, &c. Such houses are to be avoided, since they are infected with the pestilential leprosy of sin, and woe to them who vol­untarily remain in them.

Why did the lepers remain standing afar off?

Because it was thus commanded in the law of Moses, (Lev. XIII. 46.) so that no one would be infected by them. From this we learn that we must carefully avoid scandalous persons and houses; for he who converses with lewd, vain and unchaste persons, will soon become like them. (Ecclus. XIII. 1.)

Why did Christ send the lepers to the priests?

This He did to show the honor due to the sacerdotal dignity and to the law of God: for it was commanded, (Lev. XIV.) that the lepers should show themselves to the priests, in order to be declared by them clean or unclean; He did it to try the faith, the confidence, and the obedience of these lepers: for Christ did not wish to heal them upon their mere prayer, but their cure was to cost them something, and they were to merit it by their cooperation. Their purification, therefore, was the reward of their obedience and faith. Further, Christ sent these lepers to the priests to show figuratively, as it were, that he who wishes to be freed from the leprosy of sin, must contritely approach the priest, sincerely confess his sins, and be cleansed by him by means of absolution.

Why did Christ ask for the others, who were also made clean?

To show how much ingratitude displeases Him. Although He silently bore all other injuries, yet He could not permit this ingratitude to pass unresented. So great, therefore, is the sin of ingratitude, hateful alike to God and man! “Ingratitude,” says St. Bernard,” is an enemy of the soul, which destroys merits, corrupts virtues, and impedes graces: it is a heavy wind, which dries up the fountain of goodness, the dew of mercy, and the stream of the grace of God.” “The best means,” says St. Chrysostom, “of preserving benefits, is the remembrance of them and gratitude for them, and nothing is more acceptable to God than a grateful soul; for, while He daily overloads us with innumerable benefits, He asks nothing for them, but that we thank Him.” Therefore, my dear Christian, by no means forget to thank God in the morning and evening, before and after meals. As often as you experience the blessing of God in your house, in your children, and your whole property, thank God, but particularly when you take in the fruits of the earth; (Lev. XXIII. 10.) by this you will always bring upon yourself new blessings and new graces. “We cannot think, say, or write anything better or more pleasing to God,” says St. Augustine, “than: Thanks be to God.”

ASPIRATION O most gracious Jesus! who, as an example for us, wast always grateful to Thy Heavenly, Father, as long as Thou didst live upon earth, grant, that I may always thank God for all His benefits, according to Thy example and the teaching of Thy servant St. Paul. (Col. III. 17.)

INSTRUCTION ON THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDER
Go, show yourselves to the priests. (Luke XVII. 14.)

Such honor did God show to the priests of the Old Law that He sent the; lepers to them, although they could in no wise contribute to the removal of leprosy. What honor, therefore, do the priests of the New Law deserve, who througu the sacerdotal ordination, gave not only re­ceived from God the power to free mankind from the leprosy of the soul, but also far higher privileges.

Is the priesthood a special and holy state, selected by God?

Yes; this is evident from the writings of the Old as well as of the New Testament, and is confirmed by holy, apostolic tradition. In the Mosaic Law God Himself selected a particular race – Aaron and his descendants-from among the tribes of Juda, to perform solemnly the public service, to pray for the people, and instruct them in matters of religion, (Exod. XXVIII. I.; Lev. IX. 7; King’s II. Z8.) but particularly to offer the daily sacrifices, (Lev. I. II; Num. XVIII.) for which offices they were consecrated by different ceremonies, ordained by God, which ceremonies lasted seven days. (Exod. XXVIII. 4. &c. ib. XXIX.) Besides these, God instituted a sort of minor priesthood, Levites, for the ser­vice of the temple and of God; (Num. III. 12; VIII. 6-18.) they were of the tribe of Levi, and received no land like the other tribes, but lived on the offerings and tithes, and were consecrated like the priests. (Num. XVIII. 21.; VIII. 66-26.) This priesthood, an emblem of the real priesthood of the New Testament, was not abolished by Christ, but He brought it to its fulfilment and completed it, since He did not come to take away, but fulfil the law. For this reason Christ selected twelve apostles and seventy-two disciples from among the faithful, at the commencement of His public life, and He said to them: I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit. (John XV. 16.) He gave them power to free man from sin, to sanctify, and reconcile him with God. (Matt. XVIII. Z8.) He commanded ahem -to preach His gospel to all nations, (Matt. XXVII. 18-20.) and to offer up His holy Sacrifice. (Luke XXII, 19.) Just as the apostles were chosen by Christ, so afterwards by the Holy Ghost. St. Paul was chosen to be an apostle, and he calls himself a minister of Christ and a dispenser of the mysteries of God, (I Cor. IV. I) and who together with Barnabas was ordained. (Acts XIII. 2, 3.) In the same manner the apostles chose their successors, and ordained them, (I Tim. IV, 14.; II Tim. I. 6.) and even appointed seven deacons, as assistants in the priestly office. (Acts VI. 1-3.) From these clear testimonies of holy Writ, it is evident that, as God in the Old, so Christ in the New Testament chose a particular class of men, and established certain grades among them, for the govern­ment of His Church, for the service of God, and the salvation of the faithful, as holy, apostolic tradition also confirms. Already the earliest Fathers, Ignatius and Clement, disciples of the apostles, write of bishops, priests, and deacons, who are destined for the service of God and the faithful. Subdeacons, ostiariates, lectors, exorcists, and acolytes, are mentioned by St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Justin, St. Cyprian, and many others, but particularly by the Council of Carthage in the year 398, which also gives the manner of ordaining priests.

The heretics, indeed, contend that the Roman Catholic Church robs the true believers of their dignity, since she grants the priesthood only to a certain class, and give as proofs of their assertion two texts, where St. Peter (I Pet. II. 9.) calls the faithful a kingly priesthood, and where St. John (Apoc. I. 6.) says that Christ made us kings and priests. But these texts speak only of an internal priesthood, ac­cording to which every Christian, sanctified by baptism, who is in the state of grace, and consequently justified, and a living member of Christ, the great High-Priest, should offer spiritual sacrifices,1 that is, good works, such as prayer, mortification, charity, penance &c., on the altar of the heart, as also St. Peter, (I Pet II. 5.) St. Paul, (Rom. XII. I.) and David (Ps. 1. 19.) teach. If the assertion of the heretics were true that all believers are priests, why did God in the Old Law institute an especial priesthood, why did Christ and the apostles choose suitable men for the service of God? If all believers must be priests, why are not all kings, since St. John says, that Christ has made us kings? God, on the contrary, severely punished those who presumed to arrogate to themselves a priestly office, as He did to King Ozias, who was afflicted with leprosy because he burnt incense in the temple, which the priests alone were permitted to do. (II Paralip. XXVI. 18. 19.)

Of course heretics must make this assertion; for since they say that Scripture is the only rule of faith, and that every one can explain it, for what purpose are preachers necessary? And since they have no sacrifice, and with the exception of baptism, no Sacraments, for what purpose should they want priests? But since the sacrifice of Jesus is to continue in the Catholic Church until the end of time, since all the Sacraments instituted by Christ are still dispensed by her, and the command of Christ to teach all nations, must be carried out by her, therefore, there must be priests chosen and destined, who will perform the ministry of the Lord, and these must not only be chosen, but also be consecrated for this by a special Sacrament.

What is Holy Order?

Holy Order is a Sacrament by which Bishops, Priests, &c. are ordained, and receive grace and power to perform the duties belonging to their charge.

What is the external sign, by which grace is communicated to the priests?

The imposition of the bishop’s hands, the presentation of the chalice with bread and wine, and the words by which power is given to offer the Sacrifice of . the New Law, changing, bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, and to forgive or retain sins. (Conc. Flor. in Decr. Eug. et Trid Sess. 14. C. 3. de poen. et Sess. 22. C. 1.)

When will Christ institute this Sacrament?

At the Last Supper, when, having changed bread and wine into His body and blood, He said: Do this, for a commemoration of me, and when after His Resurrec­tion He said to them: As the Father hath sent me, I also send you (to free man from sin and to sanctify him). When he had said this, he breathed on them: and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. (John XX. 21. 22.) The power to forgive and retain sins He gave them when He said: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John XX. 23.)

Has Holy Order always been regarded as a Sacrament in the Church?

Yes, for St. Paul admonishes his disciple Timothy (I Tim, IV. 14.) not to neglect the grace conferred upon him by the imposition of hands, and in another place he admonishes him, (II Tim. I. 6.) to stir up the grace which was in him by the imposition of his (St. Paul’s) hands. From this it follows, that St. Paul believed that the external sign of the imposition of hands of the bishops con­ferred a particular grace, wherein, indeed, the essence of a Sacrament consists. Therefore the Council of Trent (Sess. 23. de ord. can. 3.) declares those anathema, who contend, that Holy Order is not a real and true Sacrament, instituted by Christ, but only a human invention, or a certain form of electing the ministers of the Word of God and the Sacraments.

Are those called to the priesthood ordained at once?

No, they are not admitted to Holy Order until they have undergone a rigid examination regarding their voca­tion, moral conduct, and their knowledge of the sacred science.

How many degrees are there in Holy Order?

In Holy Order there are seven degrees: four lesser, and three greater. Of the lesser, the first is that of Porter, whose office is to keep the keys of the Church, sacristy, treasury, and to see that due respect is observed in the house of God: to him the bishop says, in his ordination: So behave yourself as to give an account to God of what is kept under your charge. 2. That of Lector; his office is to read aloud the lessons of the Old and New Testament, which belong to the divine office, and to instruct the ignorant in the rudiments of the Christian religion: the bishop gives him a book containing those things, and charges him faithfully and profitably to fulfil his office. 3. That of Exorcist; to him is given power to exorcise possessed persons: the bishop gives a book of exorcisms, and bids him receive the power to lay his hands on such as are possessed, whether baptized or catechumens. 4. That of Acolyte; his office is to assist the deacon and subdeacon at the altar; to carry the lights, to prepare the wine and water for consecration, and attend to the divine mysteries: the bishop gives him a wax candle, with two little cruets, bidding him light the candle, and serve wine and water in the cruets.

The first of the greater is the order of subdeacon; he serves the deacon; prepares the altar, the chalice, the bread, and the wine; he reads the epistle aloud at high Mass; the bishop before he ordains him declares that none are to receive this order, but those who will observe perpetual continency; he then gives him a chalice, paten, basin and towel, two little cruets, and the book of epistles; bids him consider his ministry, and behave so as to please God. The second of the greater orders is that of Deacon; his office is immediately to assist the bishop or priest at high Mass; and the administration of the sacraments. He reads the Gospel aloud at high Mass; he gives the cup when the sacrament of the Eucharist’ is given in both kinds; he may administer baptism, and preach the Gospel, by commission. To him the bishop gives a book of Gospels, with power to read it in the Church of God. The third is that of Priesthood, which has two degrees of power and dignity: that of bishops, and that of priests. The office of a priest is to consecrate and offer the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, under the forms of bread and wine; to administer all the sacraments, except Confirmation and Holy Order; to preach the Gospel, to bless the people, and to conduct them in the way to life eternal; as also to bless such things as are not reserved to the benediction of the bishop. The bishop, when he ordains a priest, anoints his hands with oil; he gives him the paten with bread upon it, and a chalice with wine, with power to offer sacrifice for the living and the dead; then hd lays his hands upon him and says: Receive the Holy Ghost, whose sins &c., and performs several other ceremonies.

Learn from this instruction to honor and respect the priests, whose dignity as representatives of God, and dispensers of His mysteries, surpasses all human dignity; upon whom a load, too heavy even for angels, as St. Chrysostom says, has been imposed, namely, the care of your immortal soul; who daily enter the sanctuary before the face of the Lord, to offer the immaculate Lamb of God for the forgiveness of our sins; to whom Jesus confided the merits of His most precious blood, in order to cleanse your soul therewith in the tribunal of penance, if you confess your sins contritely; of whom God will one day ask the strictest account. Honor, therefore, these ministers of God, pray daily for the assistance of heaven in their difficult calling; particularly on the Ember-days implore God, that He may send pious and zealous priests; and if, perhaps, you know a bad priest, do not despise his high dignity which is indelibly imprinted on him, have compassion on him, pray far him, and consider that Jesus has , said of such: “All things whatsoever they shall say to. you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not.” (Matt. XXIII. 3.)

1. See the Instruction on Sacrifice on the fifth Sunday after Pentecost, and on Rational Worship on the first Sunday after Epiphany.

September 6, 2019   No Comments

First Friday and First Saturday TLM’s for September

Image result for photos of the immaculate conception

The Traditional Latin Mass will be offered on

Friday, September 6th and Saturday, September 7th

at:

Church of the Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
602 West Avenue
Jenkintown, PA 19046
(215) 887-1501
Confession and Mass will be upstairs both Friday and Saturday.
First Friday, September 6th
Priest: Rev. Harold B. Mc Kale (Parish Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Location:  Church of the Immaculate Conception, Main Church

Time: 7:00 p.m., preceded by Confessions upstairs at 6:30 p.m.

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, offered in Reparation to The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
First Saturday, September 7th
Priest: Rev. Harold B. Mc Kale (Parish Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Location:   Church of the Immaculate Conception, Main Church

Time: 9:00 a.m., preceded by Confessions upstairs at 8:30 a.m.

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Maryoffered in Reparation to The Immaculate Heart of Mary.
For further information, contact Mark Matthews or Pamela Maran at (215) 947-6555.

September 5, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for traditional latin mass

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

The Church’s Year

The Introit of the Mass is the prayer of a troubled soul, entreating God for assistance against its enemies:

INTROIT Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me. (Ps. LXIX) Glory etc.

COLLECT Almighty and merciful God, of whose gift it cometh that the faithful do Thee homage with due and laudable service: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may run without stumbling to the attainment of Thy promises. Through etc.

EPISTLE (II Cor. III. 4-9.) Brethren, such confidence we have through Christ towards God: not that we are sufficient to think any thing of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God, who also hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth: but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

EXPLANATION St. Paul speaks in the epistle, from which this extract is taken, of the conversion of the Corinthians, which he accomplished not by his own ability, but with the help of God, who made him a minister of the New Testament, a teacher of the true religion of Christ. The New Testament by the grace of the Holy Ghost recalls the sinner from the death of sin, reconciles him to God, and thus enlivens and makes him pleasing to God; whereas the letter of the Old Law, which contains more eternal ceremonies and fewer commandments, changes not the man, but rather destroys him, that is, threatens with death the transgressor of the law instead of freeing him from sin and reconciling him to God, thus permitting him to die the eternal death. St. Paul preached the true religion of Christ, which vivifies, justifies, and sanctifies man. If the ministry of Moses was so glorified by God, that his countenance shone, when he returned from Mount Sinai, where God gave him the law, how much more dignified and glorious must be the ministry of the New Law. Learn from this to esteem the office of preaching, and be humble like St. Paul, who trusted not in himself but in God, to whom he ascribed all honor.

GOSPEL (Luke X. 23-37.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered rightly: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus: And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away; leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him: and the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him, and whatsoever, thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.

Why does Christ call His disciples blessed?

Because they had the happiness which so many patriarchs and prophets had desired in vain, namely: of seeing Him and hearing His teaching. Though we have not the happiness to see Jesus and hear Him, nevertheless we are not less blessed than the apostles, since Christ pronounces those blessed who do not see and yet believe. (John XX. 29.)

What, besides faith, is necessary for salvation?

That we love God and our neighbor, for in these two commandments consists the whole law. (Matt. XXII. 40.)

Who is our neighbor?1

Every man, be he an acquaintance or a stranger, poor or rich, of our faith or of another; for the Samaritan did not ask the one who had fallen among robbers: Who and whence are you? but considered him his neighbor, and proved himself as such by his prompt assistance.

How should we love our neighbor?

As we love ourselves, that is, we should wish him everything good, and when in necessity do to him as we would wish others to do to us, and, on the contrary, not wish nor do to him anything that we do not wish to be done to ourselves. In this way the Samaritan loved his neighbor, and in this he was far superior to the priest and the Levite.

How can we especially practice love for our neighbor?

By the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. [See instruction for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.] Besides which we must rejoice at the spiritual and corporal graces of our neighbor, which God communicates to him; we must grieve for his misfortunes, and, according to the example of St. Paul, (I Cor. I. 4.) have compassion for him; we must bear with the faults of our neighbor, as St. Paul again admonishes us: Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. (Gal. VI. 2.)

Why should we love our neighbor?

We should love him because God commands it; but there are also other reasons which should induce us to do so. We are not only according to nature brothers and sisters in Adam, but also according to grace, in Christ, and we would have to be ashamed before animals, if we would allow ourselves to be surpassed in the love which they bear one to another; (Ecclus, XIII. 19.) all our neighbors are the image and likeness of God, bought by the blood of Jesus, and are adopted children, called to heaven, as we are; the example of Christ, who loved us, when we were yet His enemies, (Rom. V. 10.) and gave Himself for us unto death, ought to incite us to love them. But can we be His disciples, if we do not follow Him, and if we do not bear in us the mark of His disciples, i. e. the love of our neighbor? (John XIII. 35.). Finally, the necessity of the love for our neighbor ought to compel us, as it were, to it; for without it, we cannot be saved. He that loveth not, says St. John, abideth in death, (I John III. 14.) and he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? (I John IV. 20.) because he transgresses one of the greatest commandments of God, and does not fulfil the law. (Rom. XIII, 10.)

What is necessary to make the love of our neighbor meritorious?

It must tend to God, that is, we must love our neighbor only in and for God, because God commands it, and it is pleasing to Him. For to love our neighbor on account of a natural inclination, or self-interest, or some other still less honorable reason, is only a natural, animal love, in no wise different from the love of the heathens; for the heathens also love and salute those who love and salute them in turn. (Matt. V. 46.)

PETITION. O my God, Father of mercy! give me a loving and compassionate heart, which will continually impel me to do good to my neighbor for Thy sake, so that I may merit the same from Thy mercy.

What is understood from this day’s gospel in a higher and more spiritual sense?

According to the interpretation of the Fathers, our father Adam, and hence the whole human race is to be understood by the one who had fallen among robbers. The human race, which through the disobedience of Adam fell into the power of Satan and his angels, was robbed of original justice and the grace of God, and moreover, was wounded and weakened in all the powers of the soul by evil concupiscence. The priest and The Levite who represent the Old Law, would not and could not repair this misfortune; but Christ, the true Samaritan, embraced the interests of the wounded man, inasmuch as He poured the oil of His grace, and the wine of His blood into the wounds of man’s soul, and thus healed him, and inasmuch as He led him by baptism into the inn of His Church, and there entrusted him to His priests for further care and nursing. Thank Christ, the good Samaritan, for this great love and care for you, and endeavor to make good use of His blessings by your cooperation.

 

INSTRUCTION ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF
EXTREME UNCTION
He bound up his wounds pouring in oil and wine. (Luke X. 34.)

The conduct of the Samaritan in regard to the wounded man may be viewed as a figure of the holy Sacrament of Extreme Unction, in which Christ, the true Samaritan, by means of the holy oil and the prayer of the priest, His representative, dispenses His grace to the sick for the welfare of the soul and often of the body, provided the sick place no obstacle in His way.

Is Extreme Unction a Sacrament?

Yes; because it was instituted by Christ, and by it grace is conveyed to the sick through an outward sign.

Did Christ institute this Sacrament?

He did, for He sent His disciples to anoint the sick with oil and heal them, as the Evangelist writes: Going forth they preached that men should do penance: and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark VI. 12,13.) We must believe that this unction was not invented by the apostles, but ordained by the Lord. This is confirmed by the Council of Trent, which says: (Sess. XIV. C. I.) “This sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord, as indicated by St. Mark, but recommended to the faithful and promulgated by the Apostle St. James, a relative of our Lord.” “Is any man,” he says, “sick among you? let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven. (James V. 14,15.) St. James could not have said this, if he had not known the institution and command of Christ: to it apostolic and uninterrupted tradition also gives testimony.

What is the external sign of this Sacrament?

The anointing with holy oil, which is blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, and the prayer of the priest.

What graces does this Sacrament produce in the sick man?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent enumerates the following: first, it remits sins, especially venial sins. Its primary object is not to remit mortal sin. For this the Sacrament of penance was instituted, as was that of baptism for the remission of original sin; secondly, it removes the languor and infirmity entailed by sin, with all other inconveniences. The time most seasonable for the application of this cure is, when we are visited by some severe malady, which threatens to prove fatal; for nature dreads no earthly visitation so much as death; and this dread is considerably augmented by the recollection of our past sins, particularly if the mind is harrowed by the poignant reproaches of conscience; for it is written: “They shall come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them.” A source of alarm still more distressing is the awful reflection, that, in a few moments, we shall stand before the judgment-seat of God, whose justice will award that sentence, which our lives have deserved. The terror inspired by these considerations frequently agitates the soul with the most awful apprehensions; and to calm this terror nothing can be so efficacious as the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. It quiets our fear, illumines the gloom in which the soul is enveloped, fills it with pious and holy joy, and enables us to await with cheerfulness the coming of the Lord; thirdly, it fortifies us against the violent assaults of Satan. The enemy of mankind never ceases to seek our ruin: and if it be possible to deprive us of all hope of mercy, he more than ever increases his efforts, when he sees us approach our last end. This Sacrament, therefore, enables the recipient to fight resolutely and successfully against him; fourthly, it effects the recovery of health, if advantageous to the sick person.

What intentions must the sick man have, in order to gain these graces?

Since the Sacraments work the more powerfully the better the preparation made by those who receive them, and since by this Sacrament those sins are remitted which we have forgotten, or have not sufficiently known, the sick man should, therefore, receive beforehand, if it be possible, the holy Sacrament of Penance and the blessed Eucharist; or if this cannot be done, he should make an act of perfect contrition, and have the wish to confess if possible. He should, therefore, not defer the reception of this Sacrament to the last moment, when the violence of sickness has already taken away the use of his reason and senses, but he should ask for this Sacrament whilst yet enjoying the use of reason, so that he may receive it with devotion and salutary result.

Is this Sacrament necessary for salvation?

No; yet we should not neglect in case of sickness to partake of the excellent fruits of this Sacrament since the Council of Trent teaches: “To despise so great a Sacrament would indeed be a great sin, an insult to the Holy Ghost.” (Sess. XIV. C. 3.)

Can we receive this Sacrament more than once?

We can receive it as often as we are in danger of death by sickness; but we must bear in mind that we can be anointed only once in the same sickness.

Why is this Sacrament called Extreme Unction?

Because among all the Sacraments which our Lord and Saviour ordained in His Church, this one is the last we are to receive. But from this it does not follow, as so many believe that one who receives this Sacrament must die soon, but it will rather become a means of salvation for their souls, and if it be for their eternal welfare, will also restore their bodily health.

What does the priest do when he enters the house of the sick person?

He wishes peace to the house, and prays that God may send His angels to protect its inmates, that He may drive away the enemy, console the sick, strengthen and give him health.

Why does the priest sprinkle the sick person with holy water?

To remind him that he should implore of God the forgiveness of his sins, with tears of contrition, in order to dispel the influence of the evil spirit.

Why does the priest exhort those present to pray while he administers the Sacrament?

That God may grant through their prayers whatever may contribute to the welfare of the sick man’s body and soul.

For what does the priest pray when he imposes his hands on the head of the sick person?

He begs that God, through the imposition of hands and by the intercession of all the saints, may take the sick person under His protection, and destroy the power of the devil, who attacks one particularly in the hour of death.

What does the priest say at the anointing with oil?

He begs that God, through this unction and through His gracious mercy, may forgive the sick person all the sins which he has committed with his five senses. At the same time the sick person should, in a spirit of humility and with a repentant and contrite heart, implore of God the forgiveness of all his sins.

Why does the priest present the sick person a crucifix to kiss?

To remind him that, like Jesus, he should suffer with patience, and place his whole confidence in the infinite merits of the Crucified, and be willing to suffer and die for love of Him. For this reason the crucifix ought to be presented often to the dying person.

What should the sick person do after he has received the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?

He should use all his remaining strength to thank God sincerely for the benefit he has received, commend himself to the wounds and the blood of Jesus, and meditate with quiet recollection on death and eternity.

How consoling does our holy Catholic Church appear in the continual use of this Sacrament! Having, like a tender mother, received man by holy Baptism under her maternal care; by holy Confirmation given him the necessary weapons against sin, heresy, and infidelity; by the holy Sacrament of Penance purified him from stains and sins; and by the blessed Eucharist nourished him with the bread of life, enriched him with virtues, and secured him against falling, she does not desert him even in the last, all-important moment of death. In that dangerous hour when the dying person, forsaken by all, often by his most intimate friends, or looked upon with fear, lies on his bed of pain, when behind him time ceases and before him a certain, though unknown eternity opens itself, when Satan brings all his resources into play, in order to ruin his soul, and the thought of the coming judgment makes the heart tremble, – in this terrible hour the faithful mother, the Catholic Church, does not abandon him; she sends the priest, her servant, like a consoling angel to his couch, to encourage the sufferer and strengthen the fearful with the divine word, to cleanse the sinner and reconcile him with God by the Sacrament of Penance, to fortify the weak and nourish him with the bread of life, to strengthen the combatant with the holy oil, thus providing him with all the means of grace which Jesus obtained for His Church, to conduct his soul before the face of the eternal Judge, there to find grace and mercy.

Considering this, dear Christian, should you not feel happy to be a member of this Church, should you not thank God continually, and adhere faithfully to a Church, in which it is indeed not so pleasant to live, as in the bosom of irreligion, but in which it is good to die!

  1. A detailed Instruction on the Love of God may be found under the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost. Here we treat only of the love of our neighbor.

 

September 1, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for traditional latin mass

 

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

The Church’s Year

At the Introit pray with the priest for brotherly love and for protection against our enemies within and without:

INTROIT God in his holy place; God, who maketh men of one mind to dwell in a house: he shall give power and strength to his people. Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; and let them that hate him flee from before His face. (Ps. LXVII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Almighty, everlasting God, who, in the abundance of Thy loving kindness, dost exceed both the merits and desires of Thy suppliants; pour down upon us Thy mercy, that thou mayest forgive those things of which our conscience is afraid, and grant us those things which our prayer ventures not to ask. Through…

EPISTLE (i Cor. XV. 1-10.) Brethren, I make known unto you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand: by which also you are saved: if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen by Cephas, and after that by the eleven. Then was he seen by more than five hundred brethren at once, of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God; but by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace in me hath not been void.

INSTRUCTION I. St. Paul warns the Corinthians against those who denied the Resurrection of Christ and exhorts them to persevere in the faith which they have received, and to live in accordance with the same. Learn from this to persevere firmly in the one, only saving Catholic faith, which is the same that Paul preached.

II. In this epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul gives us a beautiful example of humility. Because of the sins he had committed before his conversion, he calls himself one born out of due time, the least of the apostles, and not worthy of being called an apostle, although he had labored much in the service of Christ. He ascribes it to God’s grace that he was what he was. Thus speaks the truly humble man: he sees in himself nothing but weakness, sin, and evil, and therefore despises himself and is therefore willing to be despised by others. The good which he professes or practices, he ascribes to God, to whom he refers all the honor. Endeavor, too, O Christian soul, to attain such humility. You have far more reason to do so than had St. Paul, because of the sins which you have committed since your baptism, the graces which you have abused, and the inactive, useless life you have led.

ASPIRATION Banish from me, O most loving Saviour, the spirit of pride, and grant me the necessary grace of humility. Let me realize that of myself I can do nothing, and that all my power to effect any good, comes from Thee alone who alone workest in us to will and to accomplish.

GOSPEL (Mark vii. 3I-37.) At that time, Jesus going out of the coast of Tyre, came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coast of Decapolis. And they bring to him one deaf and dumb, and they besought him that he would lay his hand upon him. And taking him from the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue: and looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him, Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened: and immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. And he charged them that they should tell no man; but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it, and so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well: he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Whom may we understand by the deaf and dumb man?

Those who desire neither to hear nor to speak of things concerning salvation.

Why did Christ take the deaf and dumb man aside?

To teach us that he who wishes to live piously and be comforted, must avoid the noisy world and dangerous society, and love solitude, for there God speaks to the heart. (Osee ii. i4.)

Why did Christ forbid them to mention this miracle?

That we might learn to fly from the praise of vain and fickle men.

What do we learn from those who brought the deaf and dumb man to Jesus, and notwithstanding the prohibition, made known the miracle?

That in want and sicknesswe should kindly assist our neighbor, and not neglect to announce and praise the works of God, for God works His miracles that His goodness and omnipotence may be known and honored.

SUPPLICATION O Lord Jesus, who during Thy life on earth, didst cure the sick and the infirm, open my ears that they may listen to Thy will, and loosen my tongue that I may honor and announce Thy works. Take away from me, O most bountiful Jesus, the desire for human praise, that I may not be led to reveal my good works, and thus lose the reward of my Heavenly Father. (Matt. vi. I.) .


ON RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES

What are ceremonies?

Religious ceremonies are certain forms and usages, prescribed for divine service, for the increase of devotion, and the edification of our fellow-men; they represent externally and visibly the interior feelings of man.

Why do we make use of ceremonies in our service?

That we may serve God not only inwardly with the soul, but outwardly with the body by external devotion; that we may keep our attention fixed, increase our devotion, and edify others; that by these external things we may be raised to the contemplation of divine, inward things. (Trid. .Sess. 22.)

Are ceremonies founded on Scripture?

They are; for besides those which Christ used, as related in this day’s gospel, in regard to the deaf and dumb man, He has also made use of other and different ceremonies: as, when He blessed bread and fishes; (Matt. xv. 36.) when He spread clay upon the eyes of a blind man; (John ix. 6.) when He prayed on bended knees; (Luke xxii. q.i.) when He fell upon His face to pray; (Matt. xxvi, 39.) when He breathed upon His disciples, imparting to them the Holy Ghost; (John xx. 22.) and finally, when He blessed them with uplifted hands before ascending into heaven. (Luke xxiv. 30.) Likewise in the Old Law various ceremonies were prescribed for the Jews, of which indeed in the New Law the greater number have been abolished; others, however, have been retained, and new ones added. If, therefore, the enemies of the Church contend that ceremonies are superfluous, since Christ Himself reproached the Jews for their ceremonial observances, and said: God must be adored in spirit and in truth, we may, without mentioning that Christ Himself made use of certain ceremonies, answer, that He did not find fault with their use, but only with the intention of the Jews. They observed every ceremony most scrupulously, without at the same time entertaining pious sentiments in the heart, and whilst they dared not under any circumstances omit even the least ceremony, they scrupled not to oppress and defraud their neighbor. Therefore Christ says: God must be adored in spirit and in truth, that is, in the innermost heart, and not in external appearances only. -Do not, therefore, let the objections, nor the scoffs and sneers of the enemies of our Church confound you, but seek to know the spirit and meaning of each ceremony, and impress them on your heart, and then make use of them to inflame your piety, to glorify God, and to edify your neighbor.


INSTRUCTION CONCERNING THE ABUSE OF THE TONGUE

There is no member of the body more dangerous and pernicious than the tongue. The tongue, says the Apostle St. James, is indeed a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. (James iii. 5. 6.) The tongue no man can tame: an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father; and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. (ibid. iii. 8-10.) There is no country, no city, scarcely a house, in which evil tongues do not cause quarrel and strife, discord and enmity, jealousy and slander, seduction and debauchery. An impious tongue reviles God and His saints, corrupts the divine word, causes heresy and schism, makes one intemperate, unchaste, envious, and malevolent; in a word, it is according to the apostle a fire, a world of  iniquity. The tongue of the serpent seduced our first parents, and brought misery and death into the world. (Gen. iii.) The tongue of Judas betrayed Jesus. (Matt. xxvi. 49.) And what is the chief cause of war among princes, revolts among nations, if it is not the tongue of ambitious, restless men, who seek their fortune in war and revolution? How many, in fine, have plunged themselves into the greatest misery by means of their unguarded tongue? How can we secure ourselves against this dangerous, domestic enemy? Only by being slow to speak according to the advice of St. James, (i. 19.) to speak very few, sensible, and well-considered words. In this way we will not offend, but will become perfect. (James iii. 2.:) As this cannot happen without a special grace of God, we must according to the advice of St. Augustine beg divine assistance, in the following or similar words:

ASPIRATION O Lord, set a watch before my mouth, and a door round about my lips, that I may not fall and my tongue destroy me. (Ps. cxl. 3.)

August 22, 2019   No Comments

Doctor of the priesthood

Marcel Lefebvre, an associate pastor, missionary bishop, papal delegate, and superior general of a missionary congregation, was a man of action. His intellect, without being very speculative, was nevertheless imbued with doctrine. In forming priests, he taught the profound nature of the Catholic priesthood and spread its spirit and virtues.

Testimony of Fr. Victor-Alain Berto, the private theologian of Archbishop Lefebvre at the Second Vatican Council:

I say this in the presence of God: I had the very great and undeserved honor of being his theologian. Sworn confidentiality prevents me from speaking about the work that I did under him, but I betray no secret by telling you that Archbishop Lefebvre is a theologian, and by far superior to his own theologian, and God grant that all the [Council] Fathers might be theologians to the same degree as he is! He has a perfectly sure and refined theological habitus, to which his very great devotion to the Holy See adds that connaturality that allows him, even before discursive thinking intervenes, to discern intuitively what is and what is not compatible with the prerogatives of the Rock of the Church.

He in no way resembles those [Council] Fathers who, as one of them had the gall to boast publicly, used to take from the hands of a peritus [expert], in the car that was bringing them to St. Peter’s, the ‘ready-made’ text of their intervention in aula [in the Council Hall]. Not once did I submit to him a memorandum, a note, or an outline, without him reviewing, recasting, rethinking and sometimes rewriting them from start to finish, by his own personal, diligent work. I did not ‘collaborate’ with him; if the word were English I would say that I really ‘sublaborated’ with him [i.e., worked under his supervision], in keeping with my status as a private theologian and his honor and dignity as a Father of an Ecumenical Council, a Judge and Doctor of the Faith together with the Roman Pontiff.” (January 3, 1964)

 

August 21, 2019   No Comments

The Society of St. Pius X, a Work of the Church at the Service of the Truth

We mustn’t be surprised that we are unable to get along with Rome. It will be impossible so long as Rome does not return to the Faith in the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so long as she gives the impression that all religions are good. We disagree on a point of the Catholic Faith, as Cardinal Bea and Cardinal Ottaviani disagreed, and as all the Popes disagreed with liberalism.

Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference in Sierre (Switzerland) on November 27, 1988, quoted in L’Eglise infiltrée par le modernisme, Fideliter, 1993, p. 70-71.

“The problem will remain so long as the Society of St. Pius X does not adhere to the doctrinal declaration approved by Pope Francis and presented by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”[1] After quoting these words by Archbishop Pozzo[2], we remarked in our article that “the problem, therefore, is indeed, first and foremost, a doctrinal problem,” and that “in Rome’s own eyes, the canonical recognition depends on the resolution of this problem.”

Coming from Rome, this is nothing new. Archbishop Pozzo had already clearly voiced the same opinion in the beginning of the year 2017. “The reconciliation,” he said, “will occur when Monsignor Fellay formally adheres to the doctrinal declaration that the Holy See presented to him. This is also the necessary condition to then proceed to the institutional regularization with the creation of a personal prelature.”[3] These declarations, authorized on the whole, provide an opportunity to show exactly where the fundamental problem between the Holy See and the bishops and priests of the Society of St. Pius X lies. The explanation is simple: it is the Rome of today’s divergence from the Rome of all times and this divergence has to do with the way of understanding and presenting the doctrine revealed by God. That is why this problem can in no way be explained by the attitude adopted so far by Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X towards the Rome of today. Let us be clear, at the risk of provoking astonishment and incomprehension from more than a few in the Holy Church of God: the problem is not the Society of St. Pius X, it is the Rome of today, the Rome “of neo-Protestant and neo-Modernist tendencies”, as His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre liked to say, in somewhat convoluted terms. The problem today is the Rome of today, because in Rome the current members of the hierarchy, the Pope and the bishops, have adopted this new Protestant and Modernist tendency, and in so doing have broken away from eternal Rome. And this happened with Vatican Council II.

In the eyes of many who, despite their numbers, are not among the most clearsighted, the problem would at first sight seem to be that the Society of St. Pius X does not have a regular situation in the Church. To quote the exact words used by Archbishop Pozzo, the problem is supposedly that the priests and bishops of the Society of St. Pius X exercise their ministry “illicitly and illegitimately”. Consequently, the problem would come from the Society and its members, the Society first and not the Rome of today. But in reality, by the secretary of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission’s own admission, this supposed illegitimacy is but a consequence, and the fundamental problem lies in the doctrinal divergence that opposes the Society to the current representatives of the hierarchy, precisely because the latter claim to adhere to Vatican Council II. This divergence is therefore the cause, and the supposed illegitimacy but one of its possible effects. And as far as this divergence is concerned, the problem comes from the Rome of today. The Society’s situation is but the consequent effect. If the Society can potentially and apparently present a problem canonically or ecclesiastically speaking, this is first of all because the Rome of today presents a problem doctrinally speaking. For the effect proceeds from its cause. The Church being a supernatural society, the unity of Faith is necessarily at the principle and foundation of the unity of government[4] and that is why any divergence on the former level causes a divergence on the latter level. The supposed canonical irregularity is the effect that follows from the doctrinal divergence.

As for all effects, this one is to be judged in the light of its cause. This is an absolutely necessary principle that allows for no exception in any domain, for it is a metaphysical principle. If we wish to understand why, in the eyes of the Rome of today, the Society of St. Pius X remains in what they call an “illegitimate” situation, we have to start by understanding why this Rome of today is herself in rupture with the Rome of all times. This rupture is doctrinal. And the fundamental problem, of which the supposed illegitimacy of the Society is but a consequence on the canonical or ecclesial level, is the Rome of today’s acceptance on the doctrinal level of the reforms undertaken by Vatican Council II. The problem is not that the Society refuses the Council, for to remain Catholic and in the Church, one has no choice but to refuse such a Council. The problem is that the Rome of today accepts it, with no heed for her bimillenary Tradition. If we had to resort (with all the necessary precautions) to the eloquent and picturesque terms of a metaphor, we would say that the Society is in good health, and the Rome of today is sick. And when a sick man is in denial about his own illness, he almost inevitably accuses those in good health of being sick. But let’s move on.

The problem, therefore, is not, on the Society of St. Pius X’s side, what we might today call a problem of “ecclesiality”. The Society is and remains a work of the Church, a society that is fully part of the Church, so fully and so completely that it even represents one of the healthiest parts in the Church. Indeed, the Society is defined by goal and this goal is (Statutes, II, 1) “the priesthood” and therefore (Statutes III, 1) the works of priestly formation, which “will carefully avoid the modern errors, especially liberalism and all its substitutes.” The Society’s attitude towards the Rome of today follows immediately from this principle: to protect the Catholic priesthood from the modern errors and to protect also the Faith of the Church that it is the priesthood’s mission to preach for the sanctification of souls. This attitude – or this role – of the Society is absolutely vital since in the Holy Church the priesthood represents not only an indispensable principle, but a first principle. The priesthood is the very principle of the Church, for without it, the Church would cease to be what she is. The corruption of the first principle is the worst thing possible, and the defense of it is the most necessary and most urgent need. Insofar as the Rome of today is infected with these modern errors that corrupt the priesthood and the Church, it is the Society’s duty to act with regards to this present-day Rome in such a way as to neutralize these errors. This should be the profound explanation of the entire combat of the Faith waged by the Society so far. And the entire attitude of the Rome of today (ever since the Council) that considers the Society’s action illegitimate is but the other side of this combat being fought by the Society, the side of the men of the Church who currently hold the power in Rome. If the light disperses the shadows, the shadows try to smother the light, but never succeed. This defense of the Catholic priesthood that is the first principle and the common good of the entire Church, is a properly ecclesial goal, which makes the Society a work of the Church. The ecclesiality of the Society comes from this: it comes from the finis operis, the proper and specific object of the society founded by Archbishop Lefebvre and duly recognized as such by Bishop Charrière in 1970. No dent has since been made in this ecclesiality by the conciliar authorities, for no dent could be made. It is rather the ecclesiality of the members of the hierarchy that has become increasingly problematic since Vatican II and modernism that are destroying the current authorities.

The Society should therefore not set up as its absolutely first goal, that is, its principle of action, to seek to obtain canonical legitimacy that would supposedly remedy a lack of ecclesiality.[5] The question of the Society’s ecclesiality does not exist in reality. It only exists in the minds of some, who are not members or faithful of the Society in the Church, and who believe in good faith that the Society is “against the Pope” or “schismatic” or “not in full communion” or “not in a legitimate situation”. To express these things in the technical language of scholastic logic, we would say that the question does not arise of itself but accidentally. Some people make the mistake of believing that this question arises in reality and of itself; other make the diametrically opposite mistake of believing that it does not arise at all, not even in the minds of some and accidentally. The solution is to say that the question arises not in reality or of itself but in the minds of some and accidentally. This means that the Society does not need to have a guilt complex, or to suffer or make excuses for not being in the Church, (besides, “he who excuses himself, accuses himself”, as the French saying goes); it should rather maintain and assert that it is right and at the same time denounce the wrongs of the modernists; and it should do so in a pastoral and prudent way, taking into account the weakness of the ignorant, according the precept of the Apostle: “We that are stronger, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1).

The Society is perfectly legitimate and regular, for it is in the Church and of the Church, and that is absolutely certain and beyond doubt. Coming from the Rome of today, a canonical legitimation would add nothing, from this viewpoint, to the intrinsic goodness of the Society. It could only add a certain extrinsic goodness, to the extent that in the minds of many, it would put an end to a false and unjust opinion that is being encouraged to the detriment of the Society. The full importance of this should not be forgotten, but it is a different question, a secondary question in the eyes of the Society of St. Pius X’s founder. “What interests us first of all,” he used to say, “is to keep the Catholic Faith. That is our fight. So the canonical question that is purely exterior and public in the Church is secondary. What is important is that we remain in the Church… in the Church, that is to say, in the Catholic Faith of all times and in the true priesthood, and in the true Mass, and in the true sacraments, in the catechism of all times, with the Bible of all times. That is what interests us. That is what the Church is. Being recognized publicly is secondary. So we must not seek after what is secondary while losing that which is primary, that which is the first object of our fight.”[6] The full importance of this question, we repeat, must not be forgotten, and “secondary” does not mean “insignificant”; but to be answered fittingly, this significant question must remain in its proper place, that is, dependent upon the essential goal. And what we wish to do here is to show what the absolutely first goal of the Society is: the preservation of the Catholic priesthood, with as its necessary consequence the neutralization of all the harmful errors that are today causing its generalized corruption. Generalized corruption, for it is the corruption of the first principle of the Church, her hierarchical priesthood. These errors are serious in themselves, as are all errors, because they are a denial of divine truth; but they are even more harmful for the unprecedented reason that they are being spread to the entire Church by the hierarchy that has been won over to these errors and corrupted by them. Introduced with Vatican Council II into the ordinary preaching of the men of the Church, these errors have given birth to a new way of thinking and living that has progressively spread to all the members of the Church. The expression “conciliar Church” is meant to express this new situation as in a metaphorical ellipsis.[7]

We now speak of a “conciliar Church” as we have hitherto spoken of the “Rome of today”, and we could very well speak of a “conciliar Rome”. For, for the time being, we can no longer speak of the Church and Rome without distinctions.[8] The Church as God willed her is a supernatural society, that is to say, the ordered congregation of the baptized faithful who profess the same Faith and practice the same cult under the direction of the same hierarchy. The particular and complex situation in which we are living is that within this ordered congregation there is now another disordered congregation that is endangering the Catholic Faith and cult and using the bad influence of the members of the hierarchy to do so. If we spoke simply of the Church and Rome, we would be saying too little; if we spoke of two Churches or two Romes, we would be saying too much. The Church is one and there is one Rome, but at present there is a generalized cancer in Rome and in the Church. We speak of the conciliar Church and the Rome of today, distinguishing them from the Catholic Church and the Rome of all times, as a way of expressing this unprecedented situation in which the men of the Church are working from within to destroy the Church, working against her own living forces. Such is the mystery that appears for now as that of an “occupied Church” and consequently also of an “operation survival of Tradition”, the necessity and legitimacy of the latter coming from the reality of the former.

Let us return, then, to Archbishop Pozzo’s initial declaration: “The problem will remain so long as the Society of St. Pius X does not adhere to the doctrinal declaration approved by Pope Francis and presented by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” The secretary of the Pontifical Ecclesia Dei Commission gives in this phrase the profound reason for which the problem is ongoing: it will remain precisely as long as the Rome of today seeks to oblige the Society to adhere to Vatican Council II, and therefore it is the Rome of today that is the cause of the problem. For initially, the problem was not the refusal but rather the obligation to adhere: the obligation to adhere to errors that go against the truths revealed by God and already condemned by the Rome of all times.

Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize


[1] “Il problemi rimangono fintanto que la Fraternita San Pio X non adherera a la dichiarazione dottrinale approvata dal papa Francesco et presentata dalla Congregazione per la dottrina de la fede.”

[2] Cf. the article “Neither Schismatic nor Excommunicated”, in the July-August 2018 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[3] Cf. the article “For a Doctrinal Agreement” in the May 2017 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[4] Cf. the article “Unity or Legality?” in the May 2017 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[5] Cf. the article “For a Doctrinal Agreement” in the May 2017 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[6] Archbishop Lefebvre, Spiritual Conference in Econe, December 21, 1984. See the article “40 Years Earlier” in the December 2014 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[7] See the articles “Can We Speak of a Conciliar Church?” in the February 2013 issue of Courrier de Rome and “Unity and Unicity of the Church” in the September 2013 issue of Courrier de Rome.

[8] See the article “An Official Church?” in the May 2017 issue of Courrier de Rome.

August 21, 2019   No Comments

Dominican Nuns in Tuscany vs. the Vatican, with Help from the Locals

by Hilary White

a village on the edge of Tuscany that yet another religious house with the wrong sort of mindset was facing the now dreaded prospect of a Vatican “visitator.” The contemplative Dominican monastery of Marradi, the spiritual heart of the little mountain town for over four centuries, is threatened with forced closure by the Vatican, ostensibly because their numbers recently dropped below the Vatican’s prescribed minimum for “alive and vital autonomy.”

Local people, however, believe that this is a pretext, and the real reason is that the community has long withstood the general “liberal” trends that so dominate religious life in Italy and are now being aggressively imposed from Rome. A report from the ground says the superior elected by the community, Sister Maria Domenica, has already been removed from office by the Vatican’s visitators, who are currently trying to find a way to “take charge of the assets and business of the convent” and have demanded the handing over of documents detailing the monastery’s real estate assets.

The Dominican Monastery of the Holy Annunciation — occupying prime Tuscan real estate in the quaint medieval town — was built at local expense and has never been reliant either on the diocese or the Dominican Order for its maintenance.

Barbara Betti, a classical musician, friend of the nuns, and longtime resident of the town, wrote in an open letter addressed to the Vatican that Marradi was not going to sit still for the summary closure of its beloved monastery. Her letter appeared in the local Marradi newspaper and was picked up by the Italian traditional Mass website, Messa in Latino. She wrote: “Yesterday the ‘coadjutors’ arrived to take charge of the assets of the convent: and to forcibly remove the old nuns from their home and throw them in a nursing home — is this Christian?”

Betti described the Dominican Monastery of the Holy Annunciation as “the last bastion left in defense of our historical identity, of our Christian roots and of our morals.” The monastery was built at the expense of local people, she wrote, “for the perpetual spiritual protection of this community.”

Referring to the mass suppression of monastic life by Freemasonic governments through the whole of the 19th century, Betti warns that what these “failed to accomplish is now being done through recent Vatican decrees.”

Prior attempts to affiliate with a sympathetic community in another town have been nixed by Rome, and now “everything is moving with extreme speed to reach the closure of this convent.” But the Roman congregation — and their lawyers — may have bitten off a bigger mouthful than they can chew this time, with local residents making ready to fight Rome for their nuns.

Of great concern is the possible fate of two of the five nuns who are elderly and would have no choice but to be sent to a nursing home to be cared for by strangers, after a lifetime of religious devotion. “To take away the house, in the name of a vow of obedience to which the church itself no longer bears respect, is it moral? In a world where old means useless, are we still or are we no longer the defenders of the sacredness of the family?”

Betti writes, “Our silent sisters reside legally [1] in the municipality of Marradi; this is their residence and will be until the day they are recalled to the Father’s house. The commitment [establishing the monastery as a legal entity in the town] signed in 1898 states that only when the last of the sisters are gone will the building move to another owner.” In order to be able legally to seize the property, therefore, the Vatican officials must force the nuns to leave.

“Those who decided that this real estate should no longer belong to them took it for granted that nobody here, in Marradi, cared about them,” Betti adds.

She points out that the attempt by the Francis Vatican to evict the nuns from their legal home can succeed only if the nuns themselves cooperate with it. The dicastery pursuing such actions so far has expected — and in many cases has been getting — docile, nunny compliance in the destruction of their own religious life. But Betti writes that resistance, in this case, is not futile: “They cannot take them away against their will, which would be kidnapping, but they can scare them with the weight of failing in the obligation of obedience.”

She asks why the Romans are in “such a hurry.” Perhaps, she says, it is because the community has recently received two requests from Australia from potential candidates, meaning the pretext of the community being too small or not “viable” will soon not be applicable.

“Our monastery is not an empty shell spreading over the remains of a tradition and a historical identity this society wants to destroy. It is a living and active body.”

The Marradi convent is financially self-supporting with revenue from rents of properties acquired over the centuries as gifts and donations. Betti states, therefore, that the people of Marradi have a right to know what will happen to their monastery and “why the planimetric maps of this monastery have been requested and for what purpose.”

In 2015, the community celebrated its 440th anniversary with the public presentation to “a large crowd” of a book chronicling its history. Far from displaying a moribund resignation to their imminent extinction, the nuns recently launched a new website to appeal for vocations. Built at the expense of a local noble family, the monastery was started in 1575 by two Dominican nuns who came from Pratovecchio, Arezzo, a grassroots initiative that would be impossible today under the Vatican’s new rules.

The community has a history of considerable staying-power. Astonishingly, though the nuns were forced for a time to return to their families during the French invasions of Italy in the Revolutionary period, the community weathered the Napoleonic suppressions and those of his ideological successors in the Kingdom of Italy. After the monastic suppressions of 1866, the anti-Catholic, Freemasonic government of Italy seized part of their monastery, forcing the nuns to live in small quarters. The community avoided suppression – that was at first applied only to “useless” contemplatives — by teaching in the elementary school the government forcibly built on their property. The nuns endured and the community survived world wars, earthquakes, and other setbacks through the first half of the 20th century.

There are few left on any side of our Catholic debates who would maintain that the structures of the Church as we have known them are not under direct assault in the current pontificate. But while many are rightly worried about the coming attack on the priesthood at the Amazon Synod, little attention has been paid to the ongoing assault on female contemplative religious life.

These started immediately after the election of Pope Francis with the attack on the Franciscans of the Immaculate, and have culminated in the duo of documents by the pope and the Congregation for Religious [2]Vultus dei quaerere (July 2016) and its legislative sidekick Cor orans (April 2018). The situation in Marradi is another demonstration of the power granted to the Roman Curia by these two documents to either force compliance with the Bergoglian “New Paradigm” or dissolve any community that resists.

Aimed specifically at contemplative nuns, the two documents represent a significant rewriting of the basic premises behind the contemplative life, particularly in the areas of autonomy and self-governance, control of their own finances and assets, formation of novices and enclosure. It allows summary deposing of superiors, forcible imposition of new external governance who can forbid a community under its power to receive new candidates.

As Vultus dei quaerere itself puts it, those houses of contemplative nuns that survived the devastation of the post-Vatican II period, are to follow “the intense and fruitful path taken by the Church in the last decades, in the light of the teachings of [Vatican II] and considering the changed socio-cultural conditions.” And Cor orans is the muscle that will force the stragglers to do it.

At the end of July, a traditionalist Italian Catholic, “C” (whose name cannot, for the moment, be shared), who promotes traditional religious life, contacted the Marradi nuns about their situation. The sisters, C said, having seen what is going on, are not ready to lie down and accept the demise of their community and are open to receiving assistance from traditionalist friends and supporters.

C spoke to one local Marradesi who said there was openness in the monastery to the traditional rites of the Mass and Divine Office and that the bishop would likely not place any obstacles. “La Signora made very clear that the people of Marradi want the monastery to continue for centuries more as a place of prayer and nothing else.” Thus, despite the imminent threat from Rome, women — those with a little fighting courage — interested in contemplative religious life, including those attached to the “extraordinary form” of the liturgy, are indeed still encouraged to contact the sisters [3].

The publicity of Barbara Betti’s letter, C says, has “stirred up hornet’s nest of ecclesiatics,” but the community’s friends are “very ready to wage war to keep them not only off their own monastery but all the monasteries because they are destroying the Church.”

“La Signora” confirmed to C that the axe has fallen on the Marradi Dominicans not randomly, but comes directly from the upper leadership of the Dominican Order who delated the community to the Vatican, knowing the results. Like that of the French community of sisters recently dissolved by Rome, it confirms that Cor orans, as critics have predicted, is being used as a weapon by ecclesiastics in power machinations and to gain control of monastic assets.

In the case of the Little Sisters of Marie, Mother of the Redeemer, based in Toulouse, the bishop started the assault as retaliation when the sisters resisted his efforts to gain control over their nursing homes. Using the pretext of an “authoritarian” superior and the sisters’ restoration of a more “classical” form of habit, the bishop contacted the Congregation for Religious in Rome.

The un-habited religious imposed by Rome on the Little Sisters as superior — an academic and author of the book “Migrants, Francis, and us” — accused the sisters of “praying too much” and generally being too attached to previous forms of religious life. After two years of struggle, 34 of the order’s 39 sisters requested exclaustration — to be released from their vows and return to lay life.

In Marradi, having watched the assaults by Rome on the Franciscans of the Immaculate; the Little Sisters of Marie, Mother of the Redeemer; and a number of others, the local people are ready to fight. C writes, “The nuns are being well defended by the community. They have a lawyer and two good, hefty priests that have no qualms, it seems, about giving a dusting up to meanly intentioned persons.”

C particularly wanted the story of the community’s “defense committee” to be told to the world outside Italy. “It would be a very great service to all Christendom to add to this story how a community is defending their nuns! Catholic communities around the world need to know that they can and must help the poor religious that are getting dragged off by jackals and hyenas.”

The fight for the Marradi monastery might soon go international. C relates that, though no further details can be made public at the moment, we can report that a solution may be coming from “a contemplative order, based solely on the Latin Mass, (no Novus Ordo), which is presently in a neighboring E.U. nation but which seeks to have a base in Italy.”

“The nuns and their faithful defenders of Marradi would have no problem at all accommodating the Latin Mass. It has been re-iterated to me multiple times now that they (nuns and faithful) want one thing only: that their monastery remain a place full of holy praying,” C concluded.


[1] “Residenza” is an Italian legal concept that doesn’t really exist in the Anglo nations, but once established, it means that a person has an uncontestable legal right of abode in a particular municipality.

[2] Full name: Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

[3] N.B.: The sisters do not at this time have any upper age limit.


Image: Zebra48bo via Wikimedia Commons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Hilary White

After two dream-like years living in Norcia, the cradle of Western Monasticism, Hilary moved unexpectedly with her three cats to the area near Perugia, where she gardens a great deal and tries not to worry too much.

 

August 21, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

The Church’s Year (available from Angelus Press, q.v.)

At the Introit of the Mass pray with the Church for God’s help to guard us against our enemies:

INTROIT When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains forever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. (Ps. LIV.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty. power above all in showing pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures. Through etc.

EPISTLE (I Cor. XII. 2-11 .) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens; you went to dumb idols according as, you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith. Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in one Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning, of spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.

EXPLANATION The apostle here reminds the Corinthians of the great grace they received from God in their conversion, and urges them to be grateful for it; for while heathens, they cursed Jesus, but being now brought to the knowledge of the Spirit of God, they possess Christ as their Lord and Redeemer who can be known and professed only by the enlightenment of the Holy , Ghost. The holy Spirit works in different ways, conferring His graces on whom He wills; to one He gives wisdom to understand the great truths of Christianity; to another the gift of healing the sick; to another the gift of miracles and of prophecy; to another the gift of discerning spirits, to know if one is governed by the Spirit of God, or of the world, Satan and the flesh; to another the gift of tongues. The extraordinary gifts, namely, those of working miracles, and of prophesying &c. became rarer as the faith spread, whereas the gifts which sanctify man will always remain the same.,

[See Instruction on the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Pentecost.]

GOSPEL (Luke XDII. 9-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despisedothers. Two men went up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this Publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Christ make use of’ this parable of the Pharisee and the Publican?

To teach us never proudly to condemn or despise a man, even though he should appear impious, for we may be deceived like the Pharisee who despised the Publican, whom he considered a great sinner, while, in reality, the man was justified before God on account of his repentant spirit.

What should we do before entering a Church?

We should reflect that we are going into the house of God, should therefore think what we are about to say to Him, and what we wish to ask of Him. That we may make ourselves less unworthy to be heard, we should humble ourselves as did Abraham, (Gen. XVIII. 27.) remembering that we are dust and ashes, and on account of our sins unworthy o appear before the eyes of God, much less to address Him , for He listens to the prayers of the humble only, (Ps. CI, 18.) and gives them His grace, while He resists the proud. (James IV. 6.)

Was the Pharisee’s prayer acceptable to God?

No, for it was no prayer, but boasting and ostentation; he praised himself, and enumerated his apparent good works. But in despising others and judging them rashly he sinned grievously instead of meriting God’s grace.

Was the Publican’s prayer acceptable to God?

Yes, for though short, it was humble and contrite. He stood afar off, as if to acknowledge himself unworthy of the presence of God and intercourse with men. He stood with downcast eyes, thus showing that he considered himself because of his sins unworthy to look towards heaven, even confessed himself a sinner, and struck his breast to punish, as St. Augustine says, the sins which he had committed in his heart: This is why we strike our breast at certain times during Mass, for by this we acknowledge ourselves miserable sinners, and that we are sorry for our sins.

ON PRIDE AND VAIN GLORY

We should learn from this gospel that God looks upon the humble and exalts them, but is far from the proud. (Ps. CXXXVII. 6.) The Pharisee went to the temple entirely wrapt up in himself, and the good works which he thought he had performed, but returned empty and hated by God; the Publican, on the contrary, appearing before God as a public but penitent sinner, returned justified. Truly,. an humble sinner is better in the sight of God than a proud just man!

He who glories in his own good works, or performs them to please men, or to win their praise, loses his merit in the eyes of the most High, for Christ says: Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. VI. 1.)

In order that we may learn to despise vain glory, these doctrines should be well borne in mind. We should consider that it will happen to those who seek after vain glory, as to the man who, made many toilsome journeys on land and sea in order to accumulate wealth, and had no sooner acquired it than he was shipwrecked, and lost all. Thus the ambitious man avariciously seeking glory and honor will find, when dying, that the merit which he might have had for his good works, is now lost to him, because he did not labor for the honor of God. To prevent such an evil, strive at the commencement of every good work which you undertake, to turn your heart to God by a good intention.

But that you may plainly recognize this vice, which generally keeps itself concealed, and that you may avoid it, know that pride is an inordinate love of ostentation, and an immoderate desire to surpass others in honor and praise. The proud man goes beyond himself, so to speak, makes far more of himself than he really is, and, like the Pharisee, despises others; the humble man, on the contrary, has a low estimate of himself, looks upon himself as nothing and, like the Publican, despises no one but himself, and thus is pleasing in the sight of God.

ASPIRATION O God, who hearest the prayers of the humble, but dost resist the proud, I earnestly beseech Thee to give me an humble heart, that I may imitate, the humility of Thy only?begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby merit to be exalted with Him in heaven.

INSTRUCTION ON GRACE

In the epistle of this day the Apostle St. Paul speaks of the different gifts of the Holy Ghost which He distributes as He pleases. These extraordinary graces which the apostle mentions, are not necessary for salvation. But the Church teaches, that the grace of the Holy Ghost is
necessary for salvation, because without it we could neither properly believe, nor faithfully observe the commandments of God. For the holy religion of Jesus teaches, and experience confirms, that since the fall of our first parents we are weak and miserable, and of ourselves, and by our own strength, we cannot know or perform the good necessary for our salvation. We need a higher aid, a higher, assistance, and this assistance is called grace.

What, then, is grace?

Grace is an inward, supernatural gift which God through finite goodness, and in consideration of Christ’s merits, ants us to enable us to work out our salvation.

Grace is a gift, that is, a present, a favor, a benefit. t is an inward and supernatural gift; an inward gift, Because it is bestowed upon man’s soul to distinguish it tom external gifts and benefits of God, such as: food, clothing, health; grace is a supernatural gift, because it is above nature. In creating our souls God gives us a certain degree of light which enables us to think, reflect, judge, to acquire more or less knowledge: this is called natural light. In the same way He gives our souls the power in some measure to overcome sensual, vicious inclinations; this power is called natural power (virtue). To this natural light and power must be added a higher light and a higher power, if ‘man would be sanctified and saved. This higher light and higher power is grace. It is, therefore, called a supernatural gift, because it surpasses the natural power of man, and produces in his understanding and in his will wholesome effects, which he could not produce without it. For example, divine faith, divine love is a supernatural gift or grace of God, because man of his own power could never receive as certain God’s revelations and His incomprehensible mysteries with so great a joy and so firm a conviction, and could never love God above all things and for His own sake, unless God assisted him by His grace.

God grants us grace also through pure benevolence without our assistance, without our having any right to it; He grants it without cost, and to whom He pleases; but He gives it in consideration of the infinite merits of Christ Jesus, in consideration of Christ’s death on the cross, and of the infinite price of our redemption. Finally, grace is a gift of God, by which to work out our salvation, ,that is, it is only by the grace of God that we can perform meritorious works which aid us in reaching heaven. Without grace it is impossible for us to perform any good action, even to have a good thought by which to gain heaven.

From this it follows that with the grace of God we can accomplish all things necessary for our salvation, fulfil all the commandments of God, but without it we can do nothing meritorious. God gives His grace to all, and if the wicked perish, it is because they do not cooperate with its divine promptings.


How is grace divided?

Into two kinds, actual and sanctifying grace.

Actual grace is God’s assistance which we always need to accomplish a good work, to avoid sin which we are in danger of committing, or that grace which urges us on to good, and assists us in accomplishing it; for it is God, says the Apostle Paul, (Phil. II. 13.) who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish. If a good work is to be performed by us, God must enlighten our mind that we may properly know the good and distinguish it from evil; He must rouse our will and urge it on to do the known good and to avoid the evil; He must also uphold our will and increase our strength that what we wish to do, we may really accomplish.

This actual grace is, therefore, necessary for the just, that they may always remain in sanctifying grace, and accomplish good works; it is necessary for the shiner that he may reach the state of sanctifying grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It is the great benefit which God bestows upon us, when He sanctifies and justifies us; in other words: sanctifying grace is the love of God, given to us by the Holy Ghost, which love dwells in us and whose temple we become, or it is the advent and abiding of God in our hearts, as promised in the words of Jesus: If any one love me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. (John XVI. 23.)

He who possesses sanctifying grace, possesses the greatest treasure that a man can have on earth. For what can be more precious than to be beautiful in the sight of God, acceptable to Him, and united with Him! He who possesses this grace, carries within himself the supernatural image of God, he is a child of God, and has a right to the inheritance of heaven.

How is this sanctifying grace lost?

It is lost by every mortal sin, and can only be regained by a complete return to God, by true repentance and amendment. The loss of sanctifying grace is a fax greater injury than the lass of all earthly possessions. How, terrible, then, is mortal sin which deprives us of this treasure!

 

 

August 17, 2019   No Comments

Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 2019

Dear Friends of Sacred Music and Mater Ecclesiae,

This year on the Feast of the Assumption we will celebrate our 19th Annual Mass of Thanksgiving on Thursday, August 15, at 7 p.m. at The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Robert C. Pasley, KCHS, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae, will be the Celebrant.

The Solemn High Tridentine Mass will once again feature the Ars Laudis Festival Chorus and Orchestra. Dr. Timothy McDonnell, the conductor, says the centerpiece of the Mass of the Assumption 2019 will be Franz Joseph Haydn’s (1732-1809) so-called “Theresienmesse,” nicknamed for its unofficial dedicatee, the empress Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies, the consort of the last Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II.  Maria Theresa herself was an accomplished soprano, singing the soprano solos in performances of both The Creation and The Seasons at the Viennese court in 1801.  How this Mass in B-flat came to bear her name is unknown, and the original title of the work is simply “Missa.”

Mater Ecclesiae celebrates this feast each year by the use of the great treasury of Sacred Music, especially the beautiful polyphonic Masses that are very infrequently prayed in their proper place: the Sacred Liturgy. We want to foster a greater love for the great works of our Catholic heritage.

In order to sponsor such grand music we cannot depend on our little parish of 500 families. We need the help of everyone in the Delaware Valley who wants to foster excellent sacred music as well as support professional musicians who have been blessed by God with a magnificent talent. I, therefore, appeal to you for financial assistance. We need to raise at least $12,500.00. Any money that is raised over the amount needed will be put directly in the Sacred Music Fund.

To donate, click here for the Patron Donation Form, or send a check to Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church, 261 Cross Keys Rd., Berlin, NJ 08009-9431. When we receive the donation, we will send a letter acknowledging receipt that can be used for tax purposes. We will also put your name before the statue of Saint Jude, and specifically remember all the donors at our Perpetual Novena to St. Jude on Wednesdays starting August 22nd.

Parking at the Cathedral is available in the adjoining parking lot and at the underground garage at the Sheraton Hotel on 17th Street. More information is available at the Cathedral’s website here.

Click here for the donation form. Click here for the advertising form.

August 13, 2019   No Comments