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Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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

INTROIT I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them: and I will be their Lord for ever. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Ps. LXXVII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep us from all things that are hurtful; that we, being set free both in mind and body, may with ready minds accomplish whatever is Thine. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Ephes. IV. 23-28.) Brethren, Be re­newed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting, away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go clown upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, work­ing with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.

EXPLANATION St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to lay aside the- old man, like a worn out garment, and put on the new man, that is, to renew their internal and external life. This renewal according to his teaching takes place, when we by a true repentance put away our vices, shun all lies, anger, injustice, &c., and adorn our soul with virtues, and zealously seek after Christian justice and perfection. We have, perhaps, already sought to change our manner of living, for which a jubilee or some other particular solemnity of the Church gave us occasion, and at that time, perhaps, purified our soul by a general confession, making the firm resolution to live for God, and work out our salvation, we appeared converted, and to have become other men: but how long did this conversion last? Ah, how soon did we fall back into the old, sinful ways. And why? Because we lived in too great, deceitful security. We thought everything accomplished by the general confession; we were satisfied, and omitted to employ the means of remaining in the state of grace. We did not thank God for the grace of conversion; we did not ask Him for the grace of perseverance; we frequented evil company, and did not avoid dangerous occasions; we indulged in idleness and pleasures as before. How can it appear strange, if such a conversion is fruitless? Ah, we should remain in wholesome fear even after the remission of our sins. (Ecclus. V. 5.) Even if we could say that we have done everything, nevertheless we cannot be certain, whether we be worthy of hatred or love. (Ecclus. IX. 1.) We should, therefore, work out our salvation according to the advice of St. Paul (Philipp. II. 12.) in fear and trembling, and thus not fall into the old life of sin, losing the hope of a new conversion.

GOSPEL (Matt. XXII. 1-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected: and went their, ways, one to his farm, and another to his mer­chandise: and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard, of it; he was angry: and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they, that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together, all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to fee the guests; and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

REMARK Thir parable agrees in many respects with that for the second Sunday after Pentecost, and has the same meaning. See, therefore, the explanation of that gospel, as also of the feast of SR Catherine, to which Maybe added the following:

EXPLANATION In this parable the king is our Heavenly Father who has espoused His only-begotten Son to the Church, and on this occasion prepares the most sumptuous marriage-feast by giving the evangelical doctrine, the holy Sacraments, and the heavenly joys. The servants sent to invite the guests are the prophets, apostles and disciples of Christ. Those invited are the Jews who despised the honor and grace of the divine King, destined for them, abused and killed His servants, and were, therefore, cast aside and with their city Jerusalem, destroyed by the armies of their enemies, as a just punishment; in their stead the heathens and all those nations were called, who were on the broad road to destruction, and who now occupy the places of the unfortunate Jews at the marriage feast of the Church, and shall also occupy them in heaven. In the Jews to whom Christ addressed this parable, is verified that many of them, nay, all are called, but few chosen, because they would not heed the invitation.

APPLICATION We have the honor not only to be invited to this marriage-feast, but are in reality guests at it, because we are members of the Church of Christ by faith. “But the Christian,” says St. Gregory, “who is a member of the Church by faith, but has not charity, is like to a man who comes to the marriage-feast without the wedding garment.” With this garment which is charity, Christ was vested, when He came to celebrate the nuptials with His spouse, the Church, and by the bond of charity the Son of God also unites Himself with His elect. He clearly lets us know that charity is the wedding garment which should vest us. Those, therefore, who believe and are in the communion of the Church, but who do not preserve the grace of charity, are indeed in the wedding-chamber, but they are not adorned with the wedding garment. They are dead members of the Church, and shall not be admitted without this garment into the celestial marriage-feast in the triumphant Church, but rather be cast like that unfor­tunate guest into exterior darkness. This guest was silent, when asked by the king, why he had not .the wedding gar­ment. By this we see, that no one can excuse himself to God for not having charity, because every one can have it, if he asks it from God, and, as St. Augustine says, our heart is the workshop of charity, and every one who has a heart can practice it.

PRAYER I thank Thee, O Jesus, that Thou didst call me to the marriage-feast in Thy Church; give me the wedding garment of charity that I may be present at the celestial marriage-feat, and not be cast into exterior darkness.

INSTRUCTION CONCERNING HELL

Cast him into the exterior darkness. (Matt, XXII. 13.)

What is hell?

Hell is that place where the damned must suffer eternal punishment.

Is there a hell?

Yes; reason, holy Scripture and the Church teach us that there is a hell. Reason tells us that there is a just God who will punish sin. It is evident that all sins are not punished in this world; there must, therefore, be a place, where every mortal sin, not atoned for by sorrow and penance, will be punished, and this place is – hell. All nations from the beginning of the world, even those who had not the light of revelation, believed this.

But clearer still is the existence of hell shown by holy Scripture: The pious Job, (X. 22.) speaks of a region of misery and darkness, where the shadows of death and no order, but where eternal terror dwells. The Prophet Isaias (XXX. 33.) says that hell is deep and wide, and that the fire burning in it, is like a stream of sulphur, ignited by the breath of the Lord. Our Saviour expressly says that those who have done evil, shall go to everlasting torment, (Matt. XXV. 46.) that they shall be tortured by everlasting fire. (Matt. XXV. 41.) He makes mention of hell, and says that an inextinguishable fire burns there, and a worm which never dies, plagues the wicked. (Mark IX. 42. 43; Matt. X. 28.) All the Fathers of the Church teach and testify to the same doctrine. St. Augustine, among many others, says: “The infinite wisdom of God tells us that there is a hell, and the illimitable power of God it is that punishes the dam­ned in a wonderful, but real manner.”

Wherein do the pains of hell consist?

Sacred Scripture and the Church teach concerning the pains, of the reprobate in hell, that the damned burn there in an inextinguishable fire. (Mark IX. 45.) The holy doctors of the Church say, that this fire is never extinguished, and its smoke ascends or rises from century to century, “I see this fire,” says St. Gregory, “as if it were gifted with reason; it make a distinction between the guilty, and tortures the damned according to the nature of their sins.” This fire burns, but never consumes its victims; it commu­nicates, as Cassiodorus says, immortality to the reprobate and lets them suffer pain, which preserves them, like salt which penetrates the flesh and keeps it from corruption, as Jesus says: Every one shall be salted with fire. (Mark IX. q.8.) This fire does not shine, it leaves the reprobate in darkness, (Matt. VIII. 12.) and with this fire a never dying worm continually torments the damned. This worm is not only a bad conscience, say the holy Fathers, but particu­larly the privation of the Beatific Vision. Eternally will the thought torment the damned: I have lost God, the only true and highest Good, I have lost Him through my fault, I have lost Him for a brief pleasure, I have lost Him forever. In hell eternity devours all time; and if after millions and millions of years a damned soul wailingly asks his companion in misery: What time is it? he receives the answer: Eternity.

Who would not fear hell, and avoid sin which incurs eternal punishment, when he reflects upon this! Arid yet there are many, , upon whom the truth of the existence of a hell makes no impression, who even deny that there is such a place, and who say: God is love, He can have no pleasure in the torments of His creatures, He cannot eter­nally punish a sin which was committed in so short a time as is the life of man.” But those who speak thus, forget that God is just, that His love and mercy are indeed always ready to forgive the contrite and penitent, but that His justice must also be satisfied, when the sinner continually rejects the merciful love of God; they forget, that every grievous sin which man commits voluntarily and knowingly is an infinite, eternal insult, offered to God, which can only be atoned for by an eternal punishment. For the perverted and malicious will of a man, who dies in mortal sin, remains perverted and malicious forever, therefore he must also be punished eternally.

O my dear Christian, do not listen to such deceivers; for just on account of their sinful life, they fear hell and therefore they endeavor to free themselves from this fear by denying the existence of hell; but they cannot succeed; for Jesus, the Truth, has told us that there is a hell, and His word remains for all eternity. Endeavor rather by a pious life to escape hell, descend there in spirit frequently according to the advice of a saint, contemplate the torments of the damned, and let this reflection urge you to imitate Christ, who has promised the joys of heaven to all His faithful followers.

CONSOLING DOCTRINE ON THE JOYS OF HEAVEN

The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. (Matt. XXII. 2.)

Heaven is compared by Christ to a marriage-feast because we will there enjoy all imaginable pleasures in the most perfect union with God. In what these joys consist, fit. Paul could not describe, although he was wrapt into the third heaven and tasted these pleasures; he only said: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. (I Cor. II. 9.) Holy Writ, indeed, gives us many descriptions of the celestial joys, by comparing heaven to a paradise of bliss, sometimes to a precious pearl, or a treasure which neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves steal; again it represents heaven under the picture of a kingdom, a throne, a crown, whereby we are raised to the highest honor; at another time to the picture of a city which is built of gold, precious stones and pearls, lighted by the splendor of God, filled with magnificence and glory, and where the inhabitants enjoy undisturbed peace and security. These are only images or similitudes, which are taken from the most beautiful, most precious, and magnificent things of the earth, to teach us that heaven is as beautiful and pleasant a place, as we can wish and represent to ourselves, and that all possible beauty, agreeableness and joy may be found there in the highest and most perfect manner, free from evil, anxiety, disgust and fear of losing them.. In heaven we will possess God Himself, the source of all joy and bliss, and will enjoy His own happiness for all eternity. More is riot needed to give us the highest conception of heaven.

Who would not willingly despise the vain, short and im­perfect pleasures of this earth, whilst contemplating this indescribable bliss? Who would not willingly bear all the misfortunes. and misery of this world, when considering that the more .miserable we have been in this life the happier will we be hereafter. What would it avail us to have enjoyed all the pleasures of this world, if deprived of the pleasures of heaven, in, eternity!

ASPIRATION How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord, of hosts! my soul longeth fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. (Ps. LXXXIII. 2-3.) How do I loathe the world, when I contemplate heaven.

(St. Ignatius Loyola.)

October 12, 2017   No Comments

To the Roots, To the Heights: Discovering the Latin Mass (His)

From the Site, Whispers of Restoration.com

st__benedict_delivering_his_rule_to_the_monks_of_his_orderImage (c. 12th century): Saint Benedict of Nursia entrusting his Rule to the monks, with an exhortation to their central task of divine worship in the sacred liturgy: “Therefore let nothing be put before the Work of God” (RB 43).

As my own journey to the traditional rites has been largely the fruit of study, my account will take the decidedly less interesting and more scattered form of a timeline spanning the past twelve years, interspersed with questions I asked myself along the way, for the record.

  • Received great consolations in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, following grace of initial conversion as a young man. Continued in the Novus Ordo parish experience, raised by a faithful Catholic parents. Troubled by sporadic liturgical abuses, could not yet label them as such. Question: “If this is indeed the Incarnate Lord of Heaven and Earth, then why ____ [insert whatever example of irreverence]”?
  • Summorum Pontificum issued by Pope Benedict XVI, prompting the thought: “Two uses of one rite – interesting!” Had no direct experience of the Latin Mass, but a general notion that “little groups here and there” preferred it to the “normal Mass.”
  • College study-abroad program. Assisted at first Latin Mass: High Mass at the French Benedictine Abbey Le Barroux, on high feast of St. Benedict. Woah.
  • 1m2Mass with the monks brought keen and singular realization that I had been in heaven for the preceding three hours (or seconds)? Incomparable. Question: How long has this been going on, and where have I been? Growing theological interest in the rites, yet continued to view Traditional Latin Mass as something of a tourist attraction, an “event” with limited availability for special groups (monastic communities, for instance).
  • Began research on Catholic sacramentals in undergraduate theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Latin Mass rarely offered. In FUS program, the party line from many (though not all) professors regarding the current state of the Church was essentially: “The Second Vatican Council is an act of extraordinary magisterium consistent with tradition in the text of its decrees, although poorly implemented since that time – but thankfully, the Church has almost fully recovered by now; insert Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘hermeneutic of continuity‘.”
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    But it just… seems… discontinuous.
  • Question: “Where might I find this continuity in actual fact?” Seemed to find instead that change was everywhere visible, in every facet of Church life (sacred art, liturgy, canons, discipline, catechesis, etc). Cursory study of Vatican II texts was offered in course of study, but without great examination of their history or development – and rarely measured against previous magisterial teaching on certain subjects, most notably: ecclesiology, liturgy, and ecumenism.
  • Closer study of hagiography. Struck by continuity of belief and praxis even across multiple centuries and different cultures – nowhere more evident than in the Saints’ writings about Holy Mass… perhaps due to Church’s lex orandi having gone so long essentially unchanged, particularly after the codifications of the Council of Trent in the 16th century; following this Council, every Roman Catholic Saint across the globe had been formed in one, unified form of worship.

Latin Mass. Every saintly one of ’em.

  • Sensed that these Saints of prior ages would likely not feel quite “at home” in the contemporary Novus Ordo Missae. Question: Why is it even a possibility to look for a “more reverent” celebration of Mass – as though the Holy Sacrifice were something we make ourselves, rather than the Church’s worship? All the words, gestures, tone, and seemingly endless “options” in the Novus Ordo appear to hinder rather than foster that unity of belief and praxis that has ever been a Mark of this true Church… Come to find out this was by design. As in, committees sat down in the 60’s to create a rite that would be adaptable to the “needs of our own times” and the sensibilities of the local congregation – and they came up with the Novus Ordo.
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And this nonsense is still happening.
  • Question: “If liturgy could be impacted so dramatically, is there more? And if real continuity exists, why don’t I hear (from prof or pulpit) about Church teaching according to the First Vatican Council, or Pope AnybodybeforePaulVI?” Focused study on sacramentals revealed dramatic shift in postconciliar “reform” of these rites, too. Difficult to see anything but clear rupture with Catholic tradition in many of them, contra “hermeneutic of continuity” concept.
  • Married, started having children. Requested traditional rite of Baptism for our kids – it was awesome (more on that here). Drafted a little “read-and-follow-along” piece for those we invited to the Baptism, which generated profound conversations before and after among friends and family: “Wow, we never knew!” I know, neither did we! 
  • Pope Francis elected – odd papal remarks begin. Chalked these up to bad press at first, then some began to evidence clear contradiction to previous magisterium (false exegesis, repudiating need for conversion, etc.). Add a sequence of open heresies and scandals in immediate surround (not-so-Catholic schools, hospitals, parishes, etc.) amid little or no Church response, and I began to wonder if something significant might be amiss in the Church at large. More prayer for clarity.
  • Relocated for work. Found parishes swimming in liturgical abuses, heterodox preaching, banal decor, Disney music, and congregational irreverence to a sad degree. Parish-hopped and found a Byzantine monastic community (water in the desert), but this wasn’t quite… ours. We’re Roman for keeps, I suppose.
  • Found traditional Latin Mass community some drive away – unsure if we could make the haul each week, and the rite itself was still quite foreign… but here at last was a profound sense of worship in spirit and truth, and the congregation was clearly “all in,” down to the last child (and there were lots of those!). They got itQuestion: Why do I suspect that any child in here could recite the Ten Commandments backwards in Latin, but I have yet to attend a Novus Ordo Confirmation with a single confirmand able to name the Seven Gifts (or else it’s regarded as a huge achievement)?
  • Synod on the Family – seriously troubling direction, episcopal contradiction surrounding the documents, interpretation, and application. Growing conviction in prayer that Christ is trying to wake up his faithful, plus desire to DO SOMETHING… maybe permanent diaconate?
  • Investigated married diaconate through diocese. Surprised to find that Canon 277 is still in force (prescribing perfect and perpetual continence for all clerics) but isn’t exactly followed. Studied more on history and theology of the Sacrament of Orders as a whole, and found even more questionable changes per Vatican II – most striking to me being this quasi-invention of a non-continent, married diaconate. More study showed other striking shifts in canon law. Decided to put the lid back on that box. Forget diaconate, anyway.
  • Began regular family attendance at Latin Mass parish. Beautiful, Christ-centered liturgy, solid community, orthodox homiletics  – commute a pain but totally worth it. And the rite itself… wow. The more we pray it and learn it, the more we love it. Question: Just incidentally, why does there seem to be an inordinately high concentration of gallant and debonair gentlemen in here, both married and single? Does the Latin Mass attract and grow men as men?
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          “Happy the man whose strength is in Thee,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” (Psalm 84:5)
  • Heard news of Rome reaching some understanding with the Society of Saint Pius X, which I had previously perceived as being (not sure where I learned it) some kind of schismatic heretical sect. Learned that a formal recognition of the Society has been in the works for some time, pursued on understanding (read: admission?) that not all of the content of Vatican II need be regarded as binding. Question: Wait, what? So they may just be plain ol’ Catholic after all?
  • Amoris Laetitia promulgated, and bishops across the globe begin issuing “guidelines for pastoral implementation” of the document – many of which contain theory or praxis on the Sacraments that are clearly contrary to the Faith. Tragic implementation in some sectors. Pope Francis explicitly or implicitly confirms some of these interpretations/applications of the document. Question: Whaaaat? More prayer and fasting for the Holy Father and our bishops.
  • Closer dogmatic and historical study on fallout since Vatican II, trying to “see the form” of what precisely has gone wrong over the past five decades. Becoming more aware of the bigger picture – the trajectory of this crisis promises to be quite difficult, though our forebears have doubtless suffered through worse. O Lord, spare Thy Church.

In the midst of all this, our little family has found the heart of the Church opening up before us through regular attendance at a traditional Latin Mass parish (although I seriously dislike the couplet “traditional Catholic,” as if tradition were optional for Catholics). We are greatly consoled, reveling in the fullness of Christian life maintained in sacred liturgy, doctrine, and discipline: all of it has remained intact here, and beautifully so. The more we discover this lost patrimony and our rightful heritage, the more we become enamored of her beauty. Here is our true refuge.

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“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” (Psa 50:2)

Can’t resist some Eliot:

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is
…I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”
                                                                                          -Burnt Norton

For me, discovering the traditional rites has been a kind of homecoming to a country that I once learned of and was taught to look for, but had never really seen with my own eyes, much less lived with body, mind, and spirit. Now I rejoice in the midst like a child in the surf, wading in that “fullness of grace and truth” entrusted to the Church by Christ our Lord. These are divine treasures, begging to be shared.

Deo Gratias!


Spread the Traditional Rites at Your Parish!

The profound human integration and spiritual growth that has occurred for both my wife and I through worship according to the traditional rites has been truly amazing.

October 9, 2017   No Comments

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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

At the Introit of the Mass the Church prays for the peace which God has promised by His prophets:

INTROIT Give peace, O Lord, to them that patiently wait for thee, that thy prophets may be found faithful: hear the prayers of thy servant, and of thy people Israel. (Ecclus. XXXVI. 18.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. CXXI. 1.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O Lord, inasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please Thee, let Thy merciful pity rule and direct our hearts, we beseech Thee. Thro’.

EPISTLE (I Cor. I. 4-8.) Brethren, I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus, that in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge: as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ who also will confirm you into the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

EXPLANATION St. Paul shows in this epistle that he possesses true love for his neighbor, because he rejoices and thanks God that he enriched the Corinthians with different graces and gifts, thus confirming the testimony of Christ in them, so that they could without fear expect His arrival for judgment. – Do thou also rejoice, with St. Paul, for the graces given to thy neighbor, for this is a mark of true charity.

GOSPEL (Matt. IX. 1-8.) At that time, Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son; thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold, some of the Scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? whether it is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy): Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it feared, and glorified God who had given such power to men.

EXPLANATIONS

I. Those who brought this sick man to Christ, give us a touching example of how we should take care of the sick and help them according to our ability. Christ was so well pleased with their faith and charity, that He cured the man sick of the palsy, and forgave him his sins. Hence we learn how we might assist many who are diseased in their soul, if we would lead them to God by confiding prayer, by urgent admonitions, or by good example.

II. Christ did not heal the man sick of the palsy until He had forgiven him his sins, by this He wished to teach us, that sins are often the cause of sicknesses and other evils, by which we are visited, and which God would remove from us if we were truly repentant. This doctrine Jesus confirmed, when He said to the man, who had been sick for thirty-eight years: Sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. (John V. 14.) Would that this were considered by those who so often impetuously demand of God to be freed from their evils, but do not intend to free themselves from their sins, which are the cause of these evils, by a sincere repentance.

III. “He blasphemeth.” Thus thought the Jews, in their perverted hearts, of Christ, because they believed that He in remitting the sins of the sick man, usurped the rights of God and thus did Him a great injury; for it is blasphemy to think, say, or do any thing insulting to God or His saints. But these Jews did not consider that they by their rash judgment calumniated God, since they blasphemed Christ who by healing the sick man, and by numerous other works had clearly proved His God-head. If Christ so severely reprimanded the Jews, who would not recognize Him as God, for a blasphemous thought against Him, what will He do with those Christians who, though they wish to be adorers of God and His Son, nevertheless, utter blasphemies, curses, and profanations of the holy Sacraments?

IV. When Jesus saw their thoughts, He said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? This may be taken to heart by those who think that thoughts are free from scrutiny, and who never think to confess their evil and shameful thoughts. God; the most Holy and most just, will, nevertheless, not leave a voluntary unchaste, proud, angry, revengeful, envious thought unpunished, any more than an idle word. (Matt, XII. 36.) The best remedy against evil thoughts would be the recollection that God who searches the heart sees them, and will punish them.

PRAYER How great, O Jesus! is Thy love and mercy towards poor sinners, since Thou not only forgavest the sins of the man sick of palsy, but calling him son, didst console and heal him! This Thy love encourages me to beg of Thee the grace, that we may rise from our bed of sins by true penance, amend our life, and through the ways of Thy commandments enter the house of eternal happiness.

INSTRUCTION ON INDULGENCES

Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. (Matt. IX. 2.)

The same that Christ says to the man sick of the palsy, the priest says to every contrite sinner in the confessional, and thus remits the crime or the guilt of his sins, and the eternal punishment, by virtue of the authority given him by God. But since sins not only bring with them guilt and eternal punishment, but also temporal1 and indeed spiritual or supernatural punishment, such as, painful conditions of the soul, as well in this world as in purgatory, and natural ones, as: poverty, disease, all sorts of adversities and accidents, we should endeavor to liberate ourselves from them by means of indulgences.

What is an indulgence?

It is a total or partial remission of the temporal punishment which man would have to suffer either in this or the next life, after the sins have been remitted.

How do we know that after the remission of the sins there still remains temporal punishment?

From holy Scripture; for our first parents after the forgiveness of their sin, were still afflicted with temporal punishment. (Gen. III.) God likewise forgave the sins of the children of Israel, who murmured so often against Him in the desert, but not their punishment, for He excluded them from the Promised Land, and caused them to die in the desert. (Num. XIV.) Moses and Aaron experienced the same, on account of a slight want of confidence in God. (Num. XX. 12., Deut. XXXII. 51. 52.) David, indeed, received pardon from God through the Prophet Nathan for adultery and murder, (II Kings XII.) still he had to endure heavy temporal punishment. Finally, faith teaches us, that we are tortured in purgatory for our sins, until we have paid the last farthing. (Matt. V. 26.)

Did the Church always agree with this doctrine of Scripture?

Yes; for she always taught, that by the Sacrament of Penance the guilt and eternal punishment, due to sin, are indeed forgiven for the sake of the infinite merits of Jesus, but that temporal punishment still remains, for which the sinner must do penance. Even in the earliest ages she imposed great penances upon sinners for their sins which were already forgiven. For instance, murder or adultery was punished by a penance of twenty years; perjury, eleven; fornication, denial of faith or fortune-telling, by seven years of severe penance with fasting, etc. During this time it was not allowed to travel, except on foot, to be present at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or to receive the holy Eucharist. If the penitents showed a great zeal for penance and sincere amendment, or if distinguished members of the Church, particularly martyrs, interceded for them, the bishops granted them an indulgence, that is, they remitted the remaining punishment either totally or partially. In our days, on account of the weakness of the faithful, the Church is lenient. Besides the ecclesiastical, the spiritual punishments which would have to be suffered either here or in purgatory for the taking away of sins, are shortened and mitigated by indulgences through he treasure of the communion of saints.

Has the Church the power to remit temporal punishments, or to grant indulgences?

The Council of Trent expressly states, that the Church has power to grant indulgences, (Sess. 25.) and this statement it supports by the words of Christ. For as Christ protests: Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; so He also promised, that whatever the Church looses upon earth, is ratified and loosed in heaven. Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matt. XVIII. 18.) Even an apostle granted an indulgence. In the person and by the power of Christ, that his spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, (II Cor. II. 10.; I Cor. V. 4. 5.) St. Paul forgave the incestuous Corinthian, upon whom he had imposed a heavy punishment.

What is meant by saying, indulgences are granted out of the treasury of the saints or of the Church?

By this is meant that God, by the Church, remits the temporal punishment due to sin for the sake of the merits of Christ and the saints, and supplies, as it were, by these merits what is still wanting in our satisfaction.

What kinds of indulgences are there?

Two; plenary and partial indulgences. A plenary indulgence, if rightly gained, remits all ecclesiastical and temporal punishment, which we would otherwise have to expiate by penance. A partial indulgence, however, remits only so many days or years of the temporal punishment, as, according to the penitential code of the primitive ages of the Church; the sinner would have been obliged to spend in severe penance. Hence the name forty day’s indulgence, etc.

What is a Jubilee?

It is a plenary indulgence, which the pope grants to the faithful of the entire world, whereby all the temporal punishments of sin, even in cases reserved to the pope or the bishops, are remitted, and forgiven in the name of God, if the sinner confesses contritely and receives the holy Eucharist and has a firm purpose of doing penance.

What is required to gain an indulgence?

First, that we should be in the state of grace, and have already obtained, by true repentance, forgiveness of those sins, the temporal punishment of which is to be remitted by the indulgence; and secondly, that we should exactly perform the good works prescribed for the gaining of the indulgence.

Do indulgences free us from performing works of penance?

By no means: for there are few in the proper state to receive a plenary indulgence in its fulness, since not only purity of soul is necessary but also the inclination to sin must be rooted out, it therefore cannot be the intention of the Church to free us from all works of penance by granting us indulgences. She cannot act contrary to the word of Jesus: Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. Luke XIII. 3.) She rather wishes to assist our weakness, to supply our inability to do the required penance, and to contribute what is wanting in our penance, by applying the satisfaction of Christ and the saints to us by indulgences. If we, therefore, do not wish to do penance for our own sins, we shall have no part in the merits of others by indulgences.

Can indulgences be gained for the souls of the faithful departed?

Yes, by way of suffrage, so far as we comply with the required conditions, and thus beg of God, for the merits of His Son and the saints, to release the souls in purgatory. Whether God receive this petition or not, remains with Him, He will act only according to the condition of the deceased. We must, therefore, not depend upon the indulgences and good works which may be performed for us after death, but rather endeavor, during our life-time, to secure our salvation by leading a pious life; by our own good works and by the gaining of indulgences.

What follows from the doctrine of the Church concerning indulgences?

That an indulgence is no grant or license to commit sin, as the enemies of the Church falsely assert; that an indulgence grants no forgiveness of sins past or future, much less is permission given to commit sin; that no Catholic can believe that by gaming indulgences he is released from penance, or other good works, free from the fight with his evil inclinations, passions and habits, from compensating for injuries, repairing scandals, from retrieving neglected good, and glorifying God by works and sufferings; but that indulgences give nothing else than partial or total remission of temporal punishment; that they remind us of our weakness and lukewarmness which is great when compared with the zeal and fervor of the early Christians; that they impel us to satisfy the justice of God according to our ability. Finally, they remind us to thank God continually that He gave the Church a means in the inexhaustible treasure of the merits of Christ and His saints, to help our weakness and to supply what is wanting in our penance.

1. See Instruction on Satisfaction on the fourth Sunday in Advent.

2. The word jubilee signifies deliverance, remittance. With the Jews every fiftieth year was so called, and all the prisoners and slaves were to be set free in this year, according to the command of God, the inheritances which had been sold, restored to their masters, the debts cancelled, and the earth left untilled. This was a year of grace and rest for the Jews. This Jubilee of the Jews is a figure of the Catholic jubilee, in which the captives of sin and Satan are liberated, the debt of sin remitted, and the inheritance of heaven, which the sinner had sold to Satan, is restored to him.

October 7, 2017   No Comments

An avant-garde Bishop raises an English church to new life.

October 6, 2017   No Comments

First Friday and First Saturday Traditional Latin Mass Schedule for October 2017

The Traditional Latin Mass will be offered on

Friday, October 6th and Saturday, October 7th 

at:

Church of the Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(215) 884-4022

Please join us at this beautiful historic church.  Mass will be offered in the Main Sanctuary. 

First Friday, October 6th:
Priest: Rev. Thomas D. O’Donald (Parochial Vicar, St. Bede The Venerable Parish)
Location:  Church of the Immaculate Conception
Time: 7:00 p.m., preceded by Confessions at 6:30 p.m.

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of The Sacred Heart of Jesus with a Commemoration of St. Bruno, offered in Reparation to The Sacred Heart of Jesus.  (White Vestments)

First Saturday, October 7th:
Priest: Rev. Harold B. McKale (Parish Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church)
Location:   Church of the Immaculate Conception

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

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a Commemoration of St. Mark, offered in Reparation to The Immaculate Heart of Mary.  (White Vestments)

 

October 5, 2017   No Comments

To the Roots, To the Heights: Discovering the Latin Mass (Hers)

High Mass

From the Site, Whispers of Restoration.com.

I go to the Latin Mass.

I haven’t always – it’s been a year at least, or probably more, since I left behind the “Novus Ordo” Mass introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1969, before I was born.

And I have never been so at peace, so full of joy in my Catholic Faith and, more specifically, in my regular experience of prayer and worship.

But I am jumping ahead.

My family converted to Catholicism when I was seven years old, just in time for me to receive First Holy Communion with the other first graders. My mom was a vibrant convert and shared our new faith eagerly with my siblings and I. I recall the allure and mystery of late nights with mom, praying rosaries by candle light. I recall the respect she taught me when visiting convents or monasteries. I recall the echoes of chants in various abbeys. I recall my simple, childlike observation of the various forms of liturgy to which mom exposed us. While we were always parishioners at Novus Ordo parishes (the most reverent or “traditional” ones we could find), mom would often find a Latin Mass or Byzantine Liturgy within driving distance and take us to visit. So while I didn’t grow up with a regular exposure to the older rites, it was occasional and always accompanied with respect and appreciation.

If I had to describe my adolescent perception of the Latin Mass and the other liturgies of yesteryears, it would be akin to seeing a magnificent piece of art hanging in a museum. It was lovely and I liked looking at it, even being drawn in by it, but it stayed at the museum where one could visit from time to time. I never really considered that it might be a regular — or even, central — part of my worship of God. Somehow, I just accepted that while the oldest liturgies of the Catholic Church were unarguably more beautiful, more reverent, more worthy of an All Loving God, for some reason we just do things differently now.

I grew older. Life and its journey caused me to invest more intentionally into my Faith. My relationship with Christ and His Holy Church became more important to me, and the simplicities of my childhood began to be thrust into the light. I became like a child who, recognizing her parents’ continued love for her, also begins to recognize their shortcomings – and through that knowledge, matures into a fuller understanding of the true shape of things.

In these years of personal growth, I saw clearly that not all Catholic parishes are created equal. That is why, as children, we would follow mom from one site to another while she sought out the most orthodox celebration of the Eucharist she could find. I have clear memories of the many “trial” parishes, and sadly, of some of the more grievous offenses committed in them. Even as a young girl, I saw these differences between the various parishes. And as I grew, I saw that these differences could even be found within a single parish; the 8:00am Mass might be vastly different from the 10:00am, depending on who was celebrating or what choir was in rotation or what parishioners gravitated toward that mass. Everything depended on external and material circumstances; everything was hit or miss. And I began to see that it was frequently miss.

I sometimes struggled with the Catholic invitation to a New Evangelization, recognizing that it might involve inviting someone to Mass… If I found the world’s most Sacred Treasure ensconced in kitchy pseudo-art and liturgical music sounding like a Disney score, offered by ministers who half-joke their way through the rite and preach little of real substance, in the presence of a congregation that is largely tuned-out or plugged in (maybe they’re all following the readings on their devices?), how could I ever explain to my non-Catholic guest: “Look, this really is a divine mystery… just trust me, it’s a lot more special than it appears”?

Some years passed in this way. I left home for college and found that this game of hit-or-miss was present even at vibrantly Catholic universities. When I graduated, married, and began a family, the experience continued. Going to Mass remained something of a strategic feat of triangulating all the factors that would hopefully add up to a decently prayerful act of worship. But if you calculated wrong, if you weren’t able to line up the flashing light on the jackpot, you would find yourself in a Mass with that too-often ache in your chest as you wondered if this was really the best we had to offer Our Lord. Often, the thought was in the back of my mind: Why would Christ have instituted something that can be so easily botched?

As my husband and I continued having children, our desires in the Life of Christ became more focused: above all, we want to raise Saints. But as our fervor deepened alongside our love of these children springing up around us, our experience of the Sacraments grew worse: not only did it become more difficult to “line up” a moderately reverent celebration of Mass that focused on Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence rather than a funny, catchy, usually-semi-heretical homily as the “main dish,” but it grew increasingly discouraging to find so many priests declining to teach the Truth. In the many attacks on Holy Mother Church today, why is it almost impossible to find a shepherd who speaks out boldly, promoting the Truth of Christ and exhorting his flock to authentic holiness?

Driving home from these liturgical landslides time after time, we found ourselves feeling frustrated and disconnected…. And then ashamed for feeling that way, because isn’t this the Holy Mass, the greatest of all prayers, the prayer given to us by Christ Himself? Sunday afternoons were filled with burdened thoughts and irritated conversations, wishing that Mass that morning had been a more worthy – or at the very least, a less offensive – offering.

We flirted with a Latin Mass parish for some time, braving the hour-long drive with squawking toddlers and struggling to be fully present at the sacred mysteries (often out of earshot in the narthex). While we loved it and had such consolation from worshipping there (despite the squawkers), it still took a few more depressed Sunday-aftermaths at Novus Ordo parishes to finally make us commit to that long drive and the tackling of a daunting new missal.

And then it came: the deluge of the Glory of Christ.

This is what I had been missing all those years.

“How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God… For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” (Psa 84:2-3, 11)

The first lesson that struck me after leaving the Novus Ordo for the “Extraordinary Form” is that the Mass doesn’t depend on us. Yes, we are invited into actual participation, but this is primarily an interior one – for the Mass is fundamentally something done by and for God Himself, and given to us as a gift, not something that we fabricate ourselves. That is to say, it is something so much bigger than us, and we are so much littler than it.

The second major difference I have observed is the vast margin for error in the Novus Ordo, as compared with the Latin Mass wherein one finds almost no margin for error, because there is little allowance for personal interpretation or personal creativity in the rubrics – it is the prayer of Christ himself, not ours for the shaping. It is objective. It is clear. It’s beauty is it’s own, not something people add to, like putting accessories on a customized cake. My husband, proud of his German heritage, is fond of paraphrasing a line from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “The greatness of the liturgy depends on its unbeliebigkeit!” That is, its “unspontaneity.”

Noting this contrast begs the question: If we have the option of giving something to God that is “fool-proof” in its worthiness – a Mass that is the organic fruit of dogmatic decrees, Popes and Saints, and the prayer of the Church spanning centuries – as opposed to an “option-rich” missal crafted by committee in the 1960’s and 70’s, why would we not choose the former? Again, this is an act of highest worship for God, not for us.

I’m convinced that this is why even the most reverently celebrated, externally splendid Novus Ordo Mass cannot compare to the dignity of even a private (mostly silent) low Mass in the traditional form – this has certainly been my experience. Moreover, it is in this regular, committed devotion to the right worship of God in the Latin Mass, in a context of right relationship to Him, that I have experienced the most profound interior freedom. Since making this transition to the Latin Mass that is at once a “return to the roots” and a “journey to the heights,” my clarity of thought and prayer has increased profoundly; my desires and my purpose are more defined, more sure than at any other time in my life; my yearning for virtue in every form is magnified; my inner peace and joy is as a child again, because I have come to such greater understanding of who I am before my Father.

The Mass is the constant into which we are invited to enter, the stillpoint of the turning world; it is the constancy of the Father’s love for us, made manifest through the ages and presented in this highest form for our participation. As a mother whose sole concern is for the sanctification of my family, I choose to give to my children this constant, this immovable, timeless mystery through which every other mother of Saints has ushered her children from birth unto glory.

I am not a theologian or a Saint. I am not even a veteran mother; my days are full to bursting with crayons and messes and giggles and diapers. I am quite young. But I can write with a joyful assurance of the fruits found in the right worship of God: Never have I experienced such consolation in my Catholic roots.

And yes, I can understand the objections; I had many of them myself at one time:

  • But the Novus Ordo is totally valid!
  • I don’t understand all that Latin, and even if I did, I can’t hear it anyway!
  • I don’t feel like I have a place or a role in the old Mass!
  • I’ve been attending my parish for x years, how could I change now?
  • The Latin Mass just isn’t for me – it’s an aesthetics thing.

But that’s just it, fellow pilgrims: The Mass is not “for us.” It is for Him. And when we love someone, we want to give them the very best. I love my husband deeply, and while I could make him a bowl of cereal for dinner and it would “count” as dinner, I don’t. I do my very best to make him a tasty, nutritious meal. Why? Because it’s not about doing the bare minimum. It’s not about doing what “counts” or what’s “valid.” It’s not about “enough” – with God, it is never enough. It’s about offering to God the very highest form of worship we possibly can. If we have this option, why do anything less?

As a newcomer to these heavenly treasures, my reflections cannot claim the form of a philosophical treatise or even a rant of righteous indignation. I simply see now that the Latin Mass is for everyone, the heritage of all Catholics and very life-pulse of the Church, not a secret reserved for scholars, mystics, or antiquarians.

ba8473ca28b38e88148891e9384b4494
Exterior Mosaic at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Milwaukee

 

In the Old Testament, the prophet Haggai calls upon a “remnant” of people who must ascend to the mountaintop and rebuild the temple. My friends, the offering of Holy Mass by the Church Universal is the most important thing any of us will participate in during our lives. And if even a majority of Catholics will not respond to the call to make this the central reality of our lives and the very highest and noblest offering we can — the Mass of the Ages, the form offered and fundamentally unchanged in the Church for fourteen centuries — then let us together join that remnant who will do so, and ascend.

October 3, 2017   No Comments

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

Image result for traditional latin mass

 

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

At the Introit of the Mass the justice and mercy of God are praised:

INTROIT Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy. Blessed are the undefiled in the way; who walk in the law of the Lord. (Ps. CXVIII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Grant to Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to avoid the defilements of the devil, and with a pure mind to follow Thee, the only God. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Ephes. IV. 1- 6.) Brethren, I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

ADMONITION Implore God continually for grace to accomplish and make certain your vocation by practicing these virtues, recommended by St. Paul.

INSTRUCTION ON THE ONE ONLY SAVING FAITH

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. (Ephes. IV. 5. 6.)

These words of the great Apostle of the Gentiles show clearly, that it is not a matter of indifference, what faith or religion we profess. Yet in our times so poor in faith, we often hear the assertion from so-called enlightened men: “It is all the same to what religion we belong, we can be saved in any, if we only believe in God and live uprightly.” This assertion is impious! Consider, ..my dear Christian, there is but one God, and this one God has sent only one Redeemer; and this one Redeemer has preached but one doctrine, and has established but one Church. Had God wished that there should be more than one Church, then Christ would have founded them, nay, He would not have preached a new doctrine, established a new, Christian Church; for the Jews also believed in one God. But Jesus cast aside Paganism and Judaism, promulgated a new religion, and founded a new Church. Nowhere does He speak of Churches, but always of one Church. He says that we must hear this Church, and does not add, that if we will not hear this Church, we may hear some other. He speaks of only one shepherd, one flock, and one fold, into which all men are to be brought. In the same manner He speaks always of one kingdom upon earth, just as there is only one kingdom in heaven; of only one master of the house and one family, of one field and one vineyard, whereby He referred to His Church; of one rock, upon which He would build His Church. On the day before His death, He prayed fervently to His Heavenly Father, that all who believe in Him, might be and remain one, as He and the Father are one, and He gave His disciples the express command to preach His gospel to all nations, and to teach them all things, whatsoever He had commanded them. This command the apostles carried out exactly. Everywhere they preached one and the same doctrine, establishing in all places Christian communities, which were all united by the bond of the same faith. Their principal care was to prevent schisms in faith, they warned the faithful against heresy, commanded all originators of such to be avoided, and anathematized those who preached a gospel different from theirs. As the apostles, so did their successors. All the holy Fathers speak with burning love of the necessary unity of faith, and deny those all claim to salvation who remain knowingly in schism and separation from the true Church of Christ.

Learn hence, dear Christian, that there can be but one true Church; if there is but one true Church, it naturally follows that in her alone salvation can be obtained, and the assertion that we can be saved by professing any creed, is false and impious. Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life , speaks of but one Church , which we must hear, if we wish to be saved. He who does not hear the Church, He says, should be considered as a heathen and publican. He speaks furthermore of one fold, and He promises eternal life only to those sheep who belong to this fold, obey the voice of the shepherd and feed in His pasture. The apostles were also convinced that only the one, true Church could guide us to salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God, writes St. Paul to the Hebrews, (XI. 6.) and this faith is only one, he teaches the Ephesians. (IV. 5.) If the apostles had believed that we could be saved in any religion, they would certainly not have contended so strenuously for unity, they would not have declared so solemnly, that we should not belong to any other than to Christ alone, and that we must receive and obey His doctrine. As the apostles taught so did their successors and all the Fathers agree that there is no salvation outside of the true Church. St. Cyprian writes: “If any one outside Noah’s ark could find safety, then also will one outside the Church find salvation.” (De unit. eccl. c. 7.) From all this it follows, that there is only one true Church which insures salvation, out of which no one can be saved.

But which is this Church? The Roman Catholic, Apostolic Church, for she alone was founded, by Christ, she alone was watered with the blood of the apostles and of thousands of holy martyrs, she alone has the marks of the true Church of Christ, [see the Instruction for the first Sunday after Easter] against which He has promised that the powers of hell shall not prevail. Those who fell away from the Church three hundred years ago do, indeed contend that the Church fell into error and no longer possessed the true, pure gospel of Jesus. Were they right, Jesus might be blamed, for He established this Church, promising to remain with her and guide her through the Holy Ghost until the end of the world. He would, therefore, have broken His word, or He was not powerful enough to keep it. But who dare say this? On the contrary, she has existed for eighteen hundred years, whilst the greatest and most powerful kingdoms have been overthrown, and the firmest thrones crumbled away. If she were not the only true and saving Church, founded by Christ, how could she have existed so long, since Jesus Himself said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (Matt. XV. 13.) If she were not the Church of Christ, she would have been destroyed long ago, but she still stands today, whilst her enemies’ who battled against her have disappeared, and will continue to disappear; for the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, says our Lord. He has kept His promise and will keep it, notwithstanding all the oppositions and calumnies of her implacable enemies.

You see, therefore, my dear Christian, that the Catholic Church is the only true, the only saving Church; be not deceived by those who are neither cold nor warm, and who say: “We can be saved in any religion, if we only believe in God and live uprightly,” and who wish to rob you of your holy faith, and precipitate you into the sea of doubt, error, and falsehood. Outside of the Catholic Church there is no salvation; hold this firmly, for it is the teaching of Jesus, His apostles, and all the Fathers; for this doctrine the apostles and a countless host .of ‘the faithful have shed their blood. Obey the teaching of this Church, follow her laws, make use of her help and assistance, and often raise your hands and heart to heaven to thank God for the priceless grace of belonging to this one, true Church; forget not to pray for your erring brethren, who are still outside of the Church that the Lord may lead them into her, that His promise may be fulfilled: There will be one fold, and one shepherd.

GOSPEL (Matt XXII. 35-46.) At that time, The Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked him, tempting him: Master, which is the great commandment of the law? Jesus said to him: Thou shaft love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying: What think you of Christ; whose son is he? They say to him: David’s. He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord; saying: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word: neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

What is meant by loving God?

It means to find one’s pleasure, happiness and joy in God, because He is he highest and most perfect Good; to rejoice in His infinite majesty and glory; to direct one’s thoughts, words, and actions towards Him as our only end: to do His will in all things, an be prepared always rather to lose everything, even life itself, than His friendship.

What is meant by loving God with our whole heart, our whole soul, etc. ?

These different expressions all properly mean the same thing, namely, that we should cling to God with a true, sincere and heartfelt love, but by our heart our will may be understood, that power by which we wish God all glory, and desire nothing more than that He be known, loved, and honored by all men. The soul signifies the intellect by means of which we should endeavor to arrive at the knowledge and love of God, praise and glorify Him above all things. The mind may signify our memory, with Which we continually remember God and the innumerable benefits bestowed on us by Him, praise Him for them, thank Him, and always walk irreproachably before Him. Finally, we love God with all our strength, if we employ all the powers and faculties of our body in His service, and direct all our actions to Him as to our last end.

Is it true love, if we love God only because He is good to us?

This is grateful love, which is good and praiseworthy, but it is not perfect love, because the motive is self-love and self-interest.

What, therefore, is perfect love?

When we love God only because He is in Himself the highest Good, and most worthy of all love. In this manner we should endeavor to love Him; not through self-interest not through hope of reward, not through fear of punishment, but only because He, as the greatest Good, contains all goodness and, therefore, deserves to be loved only on account of Himself. Such love had St. Francis Xavier, which he very beautifully expressed in the following canticle, composed by himself:

O God, I give my love to Thee,
Not for the heaven Thou’st made for me,
Nor yet because who love not Thee
Will burn in hell eternally.
In dying throes on Calvary,
My Jesus, Thou didst think of me,
Didst bear the lance, the nails, the tree,
Rude scoffs, contempt and infamy,
And pangs untold, all lovingly, –
The scourge, the sweat the agony,
And death itself, -all, all for me,
A sinner and Thy enemy.
Why therefore, should not I love Thee,
O Jesus, dead for love of me?
Not that I may in heaven be,
Not that from hell I may be free;
Not urged by dread of endless pain,
Not lured by prize of endless gain,
But as Thou, Lord, didst first love me,
So do I love and will love Thee.
To Thee, my King, I give my heart,
For this alone t hat God Thou art.

Can fear exist with love?

Servile fear cannot, but filial fear may. Servile fear is rather a fear of punishment than a fear of offending God. Where such fear exists, love cannot dwell; for in love, writes St. Augustine, (in Joann. Tr. 9.) there is no fear, for perfect love casteth out fear. ( I John IV. 18.) Filial fear, on the contrary, is the fear of offending God. This fear leads to love and is also an effect of love; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Eccles. I. 16.) Let us cherish this fear, for it will drive away sin, as sentinels expel thieves; (Ecclus. I 16.) it will replenish us with joy, and gladness, and obtain for us in our last moments divine blessings and a holy death. (Ecclus.. I. 27.)

How may we obtain a perfect love of God?

By meditating on His infinite, divine perfections, such as His almighty power, His wisdom, His splendor, His beauty, etc.; by contemplating His boundless love for us, in the incarnation, sufferings, and death of His only-begotten Son; by frequently practicing this virtue; by fervent prayer; and by making acts of love, such as are found in good prayer-books.

When should we practice the virtue of love of Gods?

As soon as we have arrived at the age of reason; when the world, the devil and the flesh, endeavor to withdraw us from God, by their apparent goods and pleasures; when we have separated ourselves from God by mortal sin; when we receive the holy Sacraments, particularly holy Communion; when we receive a particular grace from God; when we use food and drink and other lawful enjoyments; when we contemplate God’s creatures; often during the day.; and especially in the hour of death.

[Concerning the love of our neighbor , see the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost].

Why is the commandment to’ love God and our neighbor’ called the greatest commandment?

Because in it are contained all the other commandments, for Christ says, in it consists the whole law. He who loves God with his whole heart, does not separate himself from God by infidelity, does not practice public or private superstition and idolatry; he does not murmur against God, does not desecrate the name of God by cursing and swearing; he does not profane the Sabbath, because he knows that all this is displeasing to God. On the contrary, he hopes in God, keeps Sundays and days of obligation holy, and observes all the commandments of the Church, because God wishes that we hear the Church; he honors his parents, inflicts no evil upon his neighbor; does not commit adultery, doe’s not steal, calumniates no one, does not bear false witness, does not judge rashly, is not envious, malicious or cruel, but rather practices the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; and all this, because he loves God and his neighbor.

What is the meaning of the question What think you of Christ?

Christ asked the Pharisees this question in order to convince them, from their own answer, that He was not only the Son of David, but that He as the only-begotten Son of God was the Lord of David and of all men from eternity. (Fs. II. 7.) , Unhappily, even today there are men who like the Pharisees deny the divinity of Christ, the Son of the living God, consider Him merely a very wise and virtuous man, and do not receive His doctrine, confirmed by so many miracles. Beware, my dear Christian, of these men who rob you of the peace of the soul, and the consoling hope of a future resurrection and eternal life, together with faith in Christ, the divine Redeemer. But if you believe Christ to be the Son of God and our Lord, Law­giver, Instructor, and Redeemer, follow His teaching, and do not contradict indeed what you profess with your lips.

PRAYER O most amiable Jesus! who hast admonished us so affectionately to love God an& our neighbor, pour the fire of Thy love into our hearts, that all our deeds and actions, x,11 our thoughts and words may begin and end with Thy love. Grant, that we may love Thee with all the powers of our body and. soul, ,and thereby be so united to Thee, that, like St. Paul, no temptation, no tribulation, no danger, not even death, may be able to separate us from Thee. Grant us also, that we may love our neighbors, friends, and enemies as ourselves for Thy sake, and thus be made worthy to possess Thee as our Redeemer and merciful judge.

September 29, 2017   No Comments

“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”

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FROM, WHISPERS OF RESTORATION BLOG

Can’t resist some Eliot:

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neiher from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is
…I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.”
                                                                                          -Burnt Norton

For me, discovering the traditional rites has been a kind of homecoming to a country that I once learned of and was taught to look for, but had never really seen with my own eyes, much less lived with body, mind, and spirit. Now I rejoice in the midst like a child in the surf, wading in that “fullness of grace and truth” entrusted to the Church by Christ our Lord. These are divine treasures, begging to be shared.

Deo Gratias!

September 29, 2017   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for traditional latin mass

 

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

At the Introit of the Mass implore with great confidence the mercy of God in the words of Ps. LXXXV.:

INTROIT Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day; for thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.

Bow down thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor. Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Let Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever precede and follow us, and make us continually intent upon good works. Through etc.

EPISTLE (Ephes. III. 13-21) Brethren, I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees. to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth:, to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

EXPLANATION In the epistle of the following Sunday St. Paul tells us, that he was at the time of writing this letter in prison at Rome, whither he was brought’ upon the false accusations of the Jews. From prison he wrote to the Ephesians, whom he had converted to Christianity, and who zealously obeyed his counsels, in order to confirm them in their zeal and to console them in their grief on account of his sufferings which he bore for Christ’s sake. These sufferings which I bear, he writes, redound to your honor, since I, your spiritual father, am considered by God worthy to suffer like His Son; yes, I thank the Father of our Lord Jesus for it, and beg Him on my knees, that He vouchsafe to strengthen you with His Holy Spirit, so that you overcome, your evil inclinations and passions, cleanse your hearts more and more, and sanctify your souls, that if you live thus according to your faith, you may be made the habitations of Christ. He begs God also to. give them a well-grounded charity, which not only loves God on account of the reward, but also on account of our sufferings, thus to become like to Christ, the Crucified. By this constant love for Jesus, even in adversities, we only comprehend with the saints the greatness of the love of Jesus, the Crucified; its breadth, since all the members of His body, all the powers of His soul were tormented with all sorts of tortures, on account of the sins of all men; the length, since He had all these sufferings for thirty-three years before His eyes, and bore them in His soul; the depth, since these tortures surpassed in intensity all which men ever suffered or will suffer; the height, since Christ on the cross saw, with the most perfect knowledge, the malice of each single sin, and the terrible insult offered to the sublime Majesty of God, and He bore the punishment for them in Himself and did penance for them. Other holy Fathers say that by these words the w hole mystery of our, redemption is to be understood, and, indeed, the breadth thereof is, that it is for all men; the length, that it lasts for all centuries and reaches into eternity; the height, that its contemplation takes us away from earth and raises us to heaven; the depth, that it even penetrates. the kingdom of the dead. By contemplating these mysteries we learn to know the infinite love of God, to love Him more and more, and thus make ourselves partakers of His graces. – Obey the teaching of this holy apostle, contemplate the suffering Saviour and His love, endeavor to become like to Him by suffering, and when you see how the Church, her ministers, ,the bishops and priests, are persecuted and in tribulation, be not disheartened, but consider that the discipleship of Jesus consists particularly in suffering, that therefore, the Church and her ministers -must suffer, since their Head, Jesus, has suffered. The holy Church has borne the crown of thorns of Jesus for eighteen hundred years and drank from His chalice; but like Jesus, her Head, she will triumph over all her enemies, and whilst these are hastening to destruction, she will continually live victorious until the end of time and will triumph eternally in heaven.

GOSPEL (Luke XIV. 1-11.) At that time, When Jesus went into the house of one of the chiefs of the Pharisees on the Sabbath-day to eat bread, they watched him. And behold there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace: but he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into, a pit, and, will not immediately draw him out on, the Sabbath-day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place: But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at the table with thee; because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Jesus eat with the Pharisees?

To take occasion, as St. Cyril says, to instruct them that it is allowed to heal the sick on the Sabbath, and to show how those who give invitations to a supper, and those who are invited, should conduct themselves. The Pharisees’ invitation to Jesus was not actuated by kindness, but by the desire to find something in His actions which they might criticise; Jesus; however, approaches them with meekness and endeavors to inspire them with a better intention. Beware of the spirit of criticisms and like Jesus make use of every occasion to do good, even to your enemies.

Who may be understood by the dropsical man?

The debauchees and misers; for the more a dropsical person drinks the more his thirst increases, so the debauchee never succeeds in satisfying his shameful lusts; the same is the case with the miser. And just as the dropsical are hard to cure, so the debauchee and miser are difficult to convert.

Why is covetousness classed among the seven deadly sins?

Because it is the root of many evils, (I Tim. VI. 10.) for it leads to usury, theft, ,to the employment of false weights and measures, to the suppression of justice in courts, to perjury, to the oppression of widows and orphans, nay, even to the denial of faith, as was the case with Judas. Therefore the apostle says: They that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition; and admonishes us: to fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. (I Tim. VI. 9, 11 .)

A powerful remedy against avarice is to consider that we are not owners of what .we possess, and can take nothing with us in death, but must render a strict account of the use we made of our riches. (I Tim. VI. 7.)

INSTRUCTION ON KEEPING SUNDAY HOLY

Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? (Luke XIV. 3.)

Why did Christ put this question?

Because the Jews, particularly the Pharisees, were so very superstitious in keeping the Sabbath, they would not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, while He healed on the Sabbath, which was really a good work. But, if the Jews were so conscientious, through superstition and hypocrisy, and considered the performing of an external good work on this day as a sin, some Christians, on the contrary, blinded by avarice and worldly pleasure, place themselves heedlessly, nay, insolently above the commandment to observe the Sabbath, and do not consider those things as wrong which are sometimes very grievous sins.

Consider, my dear Christian, you serve your body the whole week, you use all your powers for temporal business, to support yourself and your family, and God blesses you, if you work with a good intention. Now God chose one day in the week, Sunday, and in the year several other holidays, which you should devote to His service and the salvation of your soul; is it not, therefore, the greatest ingratitude to steal these days from God and your soul, and employ them to gain a transient good, or to indulge in vain, sinful pleasures? At certain times man gives rest to irrational animals, and you give the powers of your body and soul none of the rest they would and should find in quiet devotion, in prayer and meditation, in attending divine service, in receiving the holy Sacraments, &c. If you inquire whence come these shameful violations of Sundays and holidays, you will find that there is no other reason than love of gain and avarice, sinful love of pleasure, and often complete want of faith and confidence in God’s providence. We wish to become rich by all means, and we do not reflect that. this will not happen without the blessing of God, and that wealth is a net, in which thousands entangle themselves to their eternal, perdition. We wish to live merrily and enjoy ourselves, but we do not consider that our life is only a time of penance, to attain that eternally blissful rest, of which Sunday is an emblem. We spend Sundays and holydays in idleness, vain conversations, buying and selling, servile work, or in still worse things, without experiencing the slightest scruple. But God will cover the violators of His sacred days with confusion and shame, (Malach. II. 3.) and permit many temporal evils to come upon them, as proved by daily experience. The blessing of God can never rest upon those who never care for it, but rather make themselves unworthy to receive it, by violating days consecrated to God. Let this be a warning to you.

PRAYER O good Saviour! how manifest are meekness, and wisdom in all Thy words and actions! O, grant, that we may regulate all our actions in such a manner, that they may be acceptable to Thee and tend to the edification of our neighbor. Give us the grace to employ all the days, consecrated to Thee, for Thy honor and our salvation, that we may never raise ourselves above others, but follow Thee in all humility.

September 22, 2017   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Why I Learned the Traditional Latin Mass

 

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

The Introit of the Mass is a fervent prayer; which may be said in every necessity and adversity:

INTROIT Bow down thine ear, O Lord; to me, and hear me: save thy servant, O my God, that hopeth in thee: have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day. Give joy to the soul of thy servant: for to thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul. (Ps. IXXXV.) Glory etc.

COLLECT Let Thy continued pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend Thy Church: and because without Thee it cannot abide in safety, govern it ever by Thy gift. Thro’.

EPISTLE (Gal. V. 25, 26.; vi. I-Io.) Brethren, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let u5 not be made desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption: but he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail: for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

EXPLANATION This epistle is taken, like that of the Sunday before last, from the epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, in which St. Paul shows them the insufficiency of the Jewish law, and that they can only be saved by a lively faith in Christ, but now he admonishes them to the performance of good works. You now live, he tells them, in the Spirit, that is, the Holy Ghost animates your heart by His grace, enlightens, confirms, and inflames you, admonishes and teaches you, impels your heart to do good; you must, therefore, also regulate your external conduct accordingly, and in particular devote yourself to the practice of humility and charity, as the foundations of a truly spiritual life. Humility must teach and move you to think little of yourself, to avoid vain glory, and not to confide in your own strength. But charity should impel you to be meek and compassionate to all, even sinners, to correct them charitably, and lead them back to the path of virtue; since he who is harsh to the erring, despises and treats them roughly, is often permitted by God to fall into the same, nay, even into greater sins.

Particularly you must show your charity one for another, that one bears the burdens of the other: that you bear the faults and imperfections of others just as patiently as you wish others to bear with your own imperfections; thus you will fulfil the law of Christ, which commands us to love our neighbor; you will prevent many sins which are occasioned by considering yourself perfect, raising yourself above others, criticising their failings, and causing disturbance. True glory consists in knowing ourselves, our faults and evil inclinations, and in eradicating them. Be grateful to those who instruct you in the word of God, and give to them willingly of your earthly possessions. What you sow, you shall reap; if you only follow the dictates of the flesh, do not mortify yourself, do not correct your failings, and indulge your sinful appetites, you will one day reap death, destruction and damnation, whereas, on the contrary, if you follow the dictates of the Holy Ghost, you will reap of the Spirit of life.

Let us obey this doctrine, for it is of interest to us, and impress deeply on our heart that without mortification of body and soul we cannot be saved.

ASPIRATION. O. St. Paul! beg of God the grace for me, that I may always walk in humility, and the love of my neighbor, particularly in bearing with his imperfections and failings, and thus fulfil the law of Christ in this as in all things.

GOSPEL (Luke VII. 11-16.) At that time, Jesus went into a city called Naim: and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only, son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a great, multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, said to her: Weep not. And he came near, and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up,. and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all; and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up amongst us, and God hath visited his people.

Why did Christ show compassion to this widow?

To convince us that God takes sorrowful and destitute widows under His protection; and is to them a consoler and helper; and to teach us to do the same. Woe, therefore, to those who oppress them and cause them to weep. The tears and cries of widows will ascend to God, who will terribly punish the injuries inflicted upon them. (Exod xxii. 22. 23.)

Christ had still other reasons for compassion, for He saw in this deceased youth the death of sinners, and in the afflicted mother the pain which the Church experiences at the spiritual loss of so many of her children. Should this not also awaken our sympathy since it wad the principal cause which moved our Saviour to compassion. I£ we are faithful children of our mother, the Church, it is impossible for us not to share her sorrow, and we would surely not be her children, if we could contemplate without sorrow the multitude who daily die the death of sin, and thus separated from the living body of Christ, hasten to eternal destruction. O let us with the Church unceasingly, ask Jesus, that He raise sinners from their spiritual death, enlighten those in error so that all recognize the truth, find, and walk the path Which leads to life !

Why did Christ say to the widow: Weep not?

He wished to moderate her excessive sorrow, and to teach us that we should not mourn for the loss of our relatives, like the heathens who have no hope of resurrection to eternal life. (Thess. iv. I a.) Resignation to the will ofGod, with prayer and good works, will be of more use to the dead than many tears.

What else do we learn from this gospel?

That no one, however young and healthy, will escape death, wherefore we should always be prepared to die.

INSTRUCTION CONCERNING DEATH

IF there were locked up in prison several hundred persons, on whom sentence of death had irrevocably been pronounced, yet who knew not the day or hour of their execution; if one after the other, and often he who least expected it, were taken out to be executed; would not each one’s heart tremble, whenever the prison door opened? Now the irrevocable sentence of death is pronounced on us all; we are all locked up in our bodies, as in a prison; (Ps. cxiv. 8.) one after the other is called hence, yet we do not regard it. We live as though we could live forever; we think only of the body, but for the soul nothing is done, except that we load it with sins and vices.

Is this rational? The body will be food for worms, but the soul (without knowing when) will travel into the house of eternity, to which place she must bring treasures of good works, in order to live happy for ever. Who would, therefore, be so foolish as to care only for the body during life, and neglect the salvation of the soul?

O man, says St. Francis of Sales, (Phil. part. i. chap. 13.) represent to yourself in lively colors, that at your death the world will cease to exist with respect to you. In that last hour the pleasures, the vanities, the riches, the honors, the friendships, and all that was dear to you, will disappear before your eyes as so many shadows. O fool that I am! you will then say, for what trifles and fooleries have I lost all! On the contrary, piety, good works, penance, etc., will appear pleasant to you, and you will exclaim: O, why did I not travel on this blessed roadl Then the sins which you now consider as mere trifles, will seem to you like mountains, and all that you thought you had accomplished as, great things, with regard to piety, will seem to you very little.

What terrible fear will then seize your soul, when she must travel alone into the bottomless abyss of eternity which, as St. Bernard says, devours all possible, imaginable ages, and of which St. Gregory says, that we can easier say what it is not than what it is. What terrors will befall her, when she must appear before the tribunal of that God whom she never really loved and honored in her life-time and before whom she must now give the strictest account, and hear an irrevocable and just sentence!

Should not these thoughts make an impression upon you? How can you escape this terrible future? By living now, as you would wish to have lived at the hour of death. Die daily with St. Paul by crucifying the flesh and its lusts and by voluntarily withdrawing your heart from the world, its pomps and vanities, before death will do this by violence.

RESOLUTION O world! because I cannot know the hour, in which I must leave you, I will not be attached to you. O you dear friends and relatives, you, too, I will in future love only with a holy inclination, directed to God, which will not cease with death, but remain forever. O Lord! help me, that I may die totally to myself and the world, and live only for Thee, and partake of eternal happiness.

INSTRUCTION ON THE CEREMONIES USED AT FUNERALS

Behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and a great multitude of the city was with her. (Luke vii. 12.)

OF these people who accompanied the funeral of the youth, we should learn to pay the last honors to the dead, and follow their bodies to the grave. This is a meritorious work, one pleasing to God, if it be not performed from vanity and self-interest, but for love of God and the deceased, with the charitable intention of assisting him by prayers. Therefore those do very wrong, who from worldly motives either omit this good work entirely, or during the funeral procession indulge in idle talk and deny the deceased even a short prayer.

Why is a cross carried before the corpse?

By this is indicated that the deceased during life professed Christ, died believing in Him, and hoping for resurrection through Him.

Why are lighted candles carried before the bier?

To represent the desire of the Church that the deceased through the grace of God may be received into eternal light.This custom is very ancient; wax-candles and torches, together with prayer and great solemnity were made use of at the burial of St. Cyprian who was beheaded for Christ’s sake, in the year 258 after Christ. (Ruinart.)

Why are the coffin and the grave sprinkled with holy water?

In order, as St. Thomas of Aquin (Lib. iii. art. 21.) remarks, to implore God, on account of the prayers which the Church says when she blesses the water, that the souls of the faithful may be cleansed from all stains, and may receive consolation and refreshment in the tortures which they may still have to suffer.

Why are the body and the grave incensed?

By this the Church indicates that the deceased by his Christian vocation was a good odor of Christ, (ii Cor. ii. 14, 15.) and admonishes the faithful that their prayers should ascend like incense to heaven for the deceased.

Why are Psalms and other sacred canticles sung?

This is done to remind us of the teaching of St. Paul, (i Thess iv. 12.) not to be excessively sorrowful for the loss of the deceased, like the heathens who have no hope of eternal life. We also signify, thereby, that we congratulate the dead for the peace which they now enjoy. (Apoc. xiv. 13.) This custom, as St. Jerome shows, (Ep. 53.) is derived from the apostles, who interred St. Stephen, singing Psalms and hymns of praise.

Why are the bells rung?

To invite the faithful to the funeral and to pray for the dead who, during lifetime, was called very often by the same bells, prayed with and for us during religious worship, and who is not separated from us by death.

Why art the bodies of the faithful buried with the head towards the East, and those of the priests towards the West?

The faithful are buried towards the East, whence the sun rises, to indicate, that they are waiting for Christ who is called the Orient from on High, (Luke i. 78.) and whose voice they will hear at the end of the world, when He calls them to the resurrection; the priests towards the West, as a sign that on the day of judgment they will be placed opposite to the souls confided to them, to give an account of their charge and to bear judgment for or against them.

Why is a cross or monument erected aver the grave?

To show that the deceased was a follower of Christ, the Crucified, to admonish the passers-by to pray for him, and to remind us of the solemn moment of death.

Why is the body laid in consecrated ground?

This is done through reverence for the bodies of the dead which are, by baptism, temples of the Holy Ghost; to show that, even in death, they still belong to the communion of that holy Church, in which they were embodied during life by baptism, and to which they clung in faith even until death; to inspire the surviving with a holy fear lest they profane graves.

Why is the solemn funeral service of the Church denied to heretics?

Because they would not belong to the Church during life, and despised the holy customs and prayers of the Church for the dead. How should the blessing and prayer of the Church be useful in death to one who despised them during life.

Why does not the Church permit criminals and suicides to be buried on consecrated ground?

In order to express her horror for the crimes perpetrated by them, and to deter the faithful from committing similar actions.

September 16, 2017   No Comments