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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.

Tenth Sunday After PentecostGOSPEL (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 and 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 19, 2019   No Comments

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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

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 11, 2019   No Comments

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

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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.

October 5, 2019   No Comments

Notice from Pamela Maran Regarding First Friday and First Saturday TLM’s for October, 2019

Dear Friends,

I sent our announcement early this month, and so wanted to remind you that we will be having the Traditional Latin Mass on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. at Immaculate Conception in Jenkintown.
 
Friday’s Mass will be in the Church; there has been a change of plans for Saturday, and Mass will be held in the Chapel downstairs.  Confessions will be held upstairs both days, 30 minutes before Mass.
 
Pax tecum,
 
Pamela

October 3, 2019   No Comments

First Friday and First Saturday TLM’s for October, 2019

First Friday & First Saturday Traditional Latin Masses for Philadelphia.
Please remember that Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, N.J. also has these Masses, and for some is closer than Jenkintown. Check their site for specific information: http://www.materecclesiae.org/
Mass Schedule for October 2019:

The Traditional Latin Mass will be offered on

Friday, October 4th and Saturday, October 5th

at:

Church of the Immaculate Conception 
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
602 West Avenue
Jenkintown, PA 19046
(215) 887-1501
Confession and Mass will be upstairs both Friday and Saturday.
First Friday, October 4th
Priest: Rev. Harold B. Mc Kale (Parish Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Location:  Church of the Immaculate Conception, Main Church

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

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a Commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi, offered in Reparation to The Sacred Heart of Jesus.
First Saturday, October 5th
Priest: Rev. Harold B. Mc Kale (Parish Vicar, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church
Location:   Church of the Immaculate Conception, Main Church

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

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a Commemoration of St. Placidus and His Companions, offered in Reparation to The Immaculate Heart of Mary.
For further information, contact Mark Matthews or Pamela Maran at (215) 947-6555.

September 27, 2019   No Comments

Liturgical Notes on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels

The traditional title of today’s feast is “The Dedication of St Michael the Archangel”, a term already found in the 8th century Lectionary of Wurzburg, the oldest of the Roman Rite that survives, and in the ancient sacramentaries. The Martyrology erroneously refers this feast to the dedication of the famous shrine of St Michael on Mt Gargano in the Italian region of Puglia, following a medieval tradition attested by William Durandus at the end of the 13th century. In reality, the title comes from the dedication of a church off the via Salaria, about seven miles from the gates of Rome, sometime before the 7th century, and remained in use long after the basilica itself fell completely to ruin. The traditional Ambrosian liturgy, which borrowed the feast from Rome, has in a certain sense actually preserved the memory of its origin better than the Roman Rite itself; not only does it use the Roman name, but it also takes several of the Mass chants, as well as the Epistle and Gospel, from the common Mass for the dedication of a church.

The central panel of The Last Judgment, by Rogier van der Weyden, 1446-52, showing Christ above, and below, St Michael weighing the souls of the dead.

Despite the fact that the feast’s title refers specifically only to St Michael, September 29th is really the feast of all the Angels, as stated repeatedly in the texts of both the Office and Mass. The Introit is taken from Psalm 102, “Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders.”

This text is repeated in part in the Gradual.

The Communion is taken from the Old Latin version of the canticle Benedicite, “Bless the Lord, ye angels of the Lord: sing a hymn, and exalt him above all forever.”

The collect of the Mass makes no reference to St Michael at all: “O God, who in wondrous order assign the duties of Angels and of men: mercifully grant that our life on earth be guarded by those who continually stand in Thy presence and minister to Thee in heaven.”

The Lauds hymn of the Office speaks in its first stanza of all the Angels, and in the following three of Ss Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the only Archangels specifically named in the Bible. In the Greek version of the book of Tobias, however, St Raphael refers to himself as “one of the seven holy Angels, who present the prayers of the saints, and who go in before the glory of the Holy One.” (12, 15); this gave rise to a Byzantine custom of depicting seven Archangels standing together around the Lord. Many icons of this motif give names to the remaining four from various apocryphal sources; one is called Uriel, who is mentioned several times in the Book of Enoch which St Jude quotes in his epistle (verses 14-15). The names of the remaining three are not the same in all sources; in the 19th century Russian icon seen below, they are given as Jegudiel, Selaphiel and Barachiel.

In the Middle Ages, many places imitated the Roman custom of celebrating a second feast of St Michael, commemorating the famous apparition which lead to the building of the shrine on Mt Gargano. In northern Europe, however, we find instead the feast of “St Michael on Mount Tumba”, the Latin name of the celebrated Mont-St-Michel, as for example in the Use of Sarum. A votive Mass of all the Angels was already in use in the early ninth century, as attested by Alcuin of York, and is present among the votive Masses in every medieval missal. However, only very rarely does one find a feast of St Gabriel or of the Guardian Angels in the pre-Tridentine period; a Mass of St Raphael is sometimes found among the votive Masses especially to be said for the sick, but I have seen no reference to an actual feast day for him in the Medieval period.

In the year 1670, Pope Clement X added to the general Calendar of the Roman Rite a feast of the Guardian Angels, which had been granted to the Austrian Empire by Paul V at the beginning of the century. The feast was kept in some places on the first Sunday of September, but the common date, October 2, was chosen as the first free day after the feast of St Michael.

The Three Archangels and Tobias, by Francesco Botticini, 1470

Pope Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, took a particular interest in devotion to the Angels. At the end of 1917, he raised the feast of St Michael to the highest grade, double of the first class, along with the March 19 feast of St Joseph. In 1921, he added the feasts of Ss Gabriel and Raphael to the general Calendar, the former on the day before the Annunciation, the latter on October 24 for no readily apparent reason. The feast of St Michael’s Apparition was removed from the General Calendar in 1960; in the post-Conciliar liturgical reform, Ss Gabriel and Raphael have been added to September 29th, and their proper feasts suppressed.

September 27, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for padre pio mass

St. Padre Pio celebrating Solemn High 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 21, 2019   No Comments

Transmitting What We Have Received: An Interview with the SSPX Superior General, September 17, 2019, Source: fsspx.news

Interview with Father Davide Pagliarani Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Pius X

Rev. Fr. Superior General, a number of important events will take place before the end of the year, such as the Synod for the Amazon and the reform of the Roman Curia. They will have a historical impact on the life of the Church. In your opinion, what place do they occupy in Pope Francis’s pontificate?The impression that many Catholics are currently experiencing is that of a Church on the brink of a new disaster. If we step back a moment, the Second Vatican Council itself was only possible because it was the result of a decadence that affected the Church in the years before its opening: a dam broke under the pressure of a force that had been at work for some time. This is what makes the great revolutions successful, because legislators are only approving and sanctioning a situation that is already a fact, at least in part.

Thus, the liturgical reform was only the culmination of an experimental development that dated back to the interwar period and had already penetrated a large part of the clergy. Closer to home, under this pontificate, Amoris lætitia was the ratification of a practice that unfortunately already exists in the Church, especially with regard to the possibility of communion for people who live in a state of public sin. Today, the situation seems to be ripe for further excessively serious reforms.
Can you clarify your judgment on the apostolic exhortation Amoris lætitia three years after its publication?

Amoris lætitia represents, in the history of the Church in recent years, what the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are in the modern history of Japan: humanly speaking, the damage is irreparable. It is undoubtedly the most revolutionary act of Pope Francis and, at the same time, the most contested – even outside Tradition – because it directly affects marital morality, which has enabled many clerics and faithful to detect the presence of serious errors. This catastrophic document was wrongly presented as the work of an eccentric and provocative personality – what some want to see in the current pope. This is not true, and it is inappropriate to simplify the question in this way.
You seem to be implying that this consequence was inevitable. Why are you reluctant to define the current Pope as an original person?

In fact, Amoris laetitia is one of the results that, sooner or later, was to occur as a result of the principles laid down by the Council. Cardinal Walter Kasper had already admitted and stressed that a new ecclesiology, that of the Council, corresponds to a new conception of the Christian family.1

Indeed, the Council is first and foremost ecclesiological, that is, it proposes in its documents a new conception of the Church. The Church founded by Our Lord would simply no longer correspond to the Catholic Church. It is broader: it includes other Christian denominations. As a result, Orthodox or Protestant communities would have “ecclesiality” by virtue of baptism. In other words, the great ecclesiological novelty of the Council is the possibility of belonging to the Church founded by Our Lord in different ways and to different degrees. Hence the modern notion of “full” or “partial” communion, “with variable geometry,” one might say. The Church has become structurally open and flexible. The new modality of belonging to the Church, which is extremely elastic and variable, according to which all Christians are united in the same Church of Christ, is at the origin of the present ecumenical chaos.

Let us not think that these theological innovations are abstract, they have repercussions on the concrete life of the faithful. All the dogmatic errors that affect the Church sooner or later have an effect on the Christian family, because the union of Christian spouses is the image of the union between Christ and His Church. An ecumenical, flexible and pan-Christian church corresponds to a notion of the family in which the commitments of marriage no longer have the same value, in which the bonds between spouses, between a man and a woman, are no longer perceived or defined in the same way: they too become flexible.

A Pope Consistent with Vatican II’s Principles

Could you be more specific?

In concrete terms, just as the Church of Christ “pan-Christian” would have good and positive elements outside Catholic unity, so would there be good and positive elements for the faithful also outside sacramental marriage, in a civil marriage, and also in any union. Just as there is no longer any distinction between a “true” Church and “false” Churches – because non-Catholic Churches are good although imperfect – all unions become good, because there is always something good in them, if only love.

This means that in a “good” civil marriage – especially when it is concluded between believers – some elements of sacramental Christian marriage can be found. Not that the two should be put on an equal footing; however, civil union is not bad in itself, but simply less good! Until now we have been talking about good or bad deeds, life in grace or mortal sin. Now there are only good or less good actions left. To sum up, an ecumenical Church is an ecumenical family, that is, a family that is recomposed or “recomposable,” according to needs and sensitivities.

Before the Second Vatican Council, the Church taught that non-Catholic Christian confessions were outside the fold of the true Church, and therefore not part of the Church of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium (n. 8), opens a way to recognize them as partial realisations of the Church of Christ. The consequences of these errors are incalculable and still in full development.

Amoris lætitia is the inevitable result of the new ecclesiology taught by Lumen gentium, and also of the mad openness to the world advocated by the Pastoral Constitution on the Church In Today’s World, Gaudium et spes.2  And in fact, with Amoris lætitia, Christian marriage is more and more like marriage as modernity conceives it and profanes it.

Thus, Pope Francis’ objectively confusing teaching is not a strange aberration, but rather the logical consequence of the principles laid down at the Council. He takes these principles to their ultimate conclusions… for the moment.
Has this new doctrine on the Church manifested itself in a particular theological concept?

After the Council, the notion of the People of God replaced that of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is omnipresent in the new Code of Canon Law published in 1983. But a change occurred in 1985. It appeared that the term “People of God” was becoming cumbersome, because it allowed drifts towards liberation theology and Marxism. It has been replaced by another notion, also drawn from the Council: the ecclesiology of communion, which allows an extremely elastic belonging to the Church so that all Christians are united in the same Church of Christ, but more or less, which means that ecumenical dialogue has become like a conversation in Babel, as in the meeting in Assisi in 1986. Like the polyhedron that Pope Francis loves: “a geometric figure that has many different facets. The polyhedron reflects the confluence of all the diversities that, in it, preserve their originality. Nothing dissolves, nothing is destroyed, nothing dominates anything.”3
Do you see this same ecclesiological root at the origin of the reforms announced in the Instrumentum laboris of the next Synod on the Amazon, or in the project of reform of the Roman Curia?

Everything comes down, directly or indirectly, to a false notion of the Church. Once again, Pope Francis is only drawing the final conclusions from the principles laid down at the Council. In concrete terms, its reforms always presuppose a Church that listens, a Synodal Church, a Church that is attentive to the culture of peoples, their expectations and demands, especially human and natural affairs, specific to our time and always changing. The Faith, the liturgy, the government of the Church, must adapt to all this, and be the result of it.

The Synodal Church, which is always attentive, is the latest evolution of the Collegial Church, advocated by Vatican II. To give a concrete example, according to the Instrumentum laboris, the Church must be able to assume to itself elements such as local traditions on spirit-worship and Amazonian traditional medicines, which resemble so-called “exorcisms.” As these indigenous traditions are rooted in a soil that has a history, it follows that this “territory is a theological place, it is a particular source of God’s revelation.” This is why we must recognize the richness of these indigenous cultures, because “the non-sincere openness to the other, as well as a corporatist attitude, which reserves salvation only for one’s own faith, destroys this same faith”. It seems that instead of fighting paganism, the current hierarchy wants to assume it and incorporate its values. And the craftsmen of the next synod refer to these things as “signs of the times” – an expression dear to John XXIII – which must be examined as signs of the Holy Spirit.

The Church of Christ Is Not a Forum

And more specifically, what about the Curia?

For its part, the Curia’s reform project advocates a Church that resembles much more a human enterprise than a divine, hierarchical society, depositary of supernatural Revelation, with the infallible charism of guarding and teaching the eternal Truth to humanity until the end of time. As the text of the draft expressly states, it is a question of “updating (aggiornamento) the Curia,” “on the basis of the ecclesiology of Vatican II.” It is therefore hardly surprising to read from the pen of the group of cardinals in charge of this reform: “The Curia acts as a kind of platform and forum for communication between particular Churches and Bishops’ Conferences. The Curia gathers the experiences of the universal Church and, from these, encourages the particular Churches and the Bishops’ Conferences… This life of communion given to the Church is the face of synodality… The people of faith, the Episcopal College, the Bishop of Rome are all listening to each other, and they are all listening to the Holy Spirit… This reform is established in the spirit of ‘healthy decentralization’… The Synodal Church is ‘the People of God walking together’… The service provided by the Curia to the mission of the bishops and to the communio is not one of vigilance or control, neither one of decision-making as a higher authority[.]”4

Platform, forum, synodality, and decentralization: all this only confirms the ecclesiological root of all modern errors. In this amorphous magma, there is no longer any higher authority. It is the dissolution of the Church as Our Lord has established it. In founding his Church, Christ did not open a forum for communication or a platform for exchange; he entrusted Peter and his Apostles with the task of feeding his flock, of being columns of truth and holiness to lead souls to Heaven.
How can this ecclesiological error be characterized in relation to the divine constitution of the Church founded by Jesus Christ?

The question is vast, but Archbishop Lefebvre provides us with an answer. He said that the structure of the new Mass corresponded to a democratic Church, and no longer hierarchical and monarchical one. The synodal church of the Franciscan dream is truly democratic. He himself gave the image he had of it: that of an inverted pyramid. Could there be a clearer manifestation of what he meant by synodality? It is a Church that has been turned on its head. But let us insist, this is only a development of the seeds already planted at the Council.

 

Do you not think you are forcing your reading of the current reality, wanting to bring everything back to the principles of the Second Vatican Council, held more than 50 years ago?

It is one of Pope Francis’s closest collaborators who gives us the answer: Cardinal Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and coordinator of the “C6” group of cardinals. He says that, “After the Second Vatican Council, the methods and content of evangelization and Christian education change. The liturgy is changing… The missionary perspective changes: the missionary must establish an evangelizing dialogue… Social action changes, it is no longer only charity and the development of services, but also the struggle for justice, human rights and liberation… Everything changes in the Church according to the renewed pastoral model.” And he adds the following, to show in what spirit these transformations are being accomplished: “The Pope wants to bring the renewal of the Church to a point where it will become irreversible. The wind that pushes the sails of the Church towards the high seas of her profound and total renewal is mercy.”5
However, it cannot be denied that many voices have been raised against these reforms and it is reasonable to assume that this will continue in the coming months. How do you rate these reactions?

One can only rejoice at such reactions and at a progressive awareness on the part of many of the faithful and some prelates that the Church is approaching a new catastrophe. These reactions have the advantage and merit of showing that the voice that advocates these errors cannot be that of Christ, nor that of the Magisterium of the Church. This is extremely important and, despite the tragic context, encouraging. The Society of Saint Pius X has a duty to be very attentive to these reactions, and at the same time to try to avoid misguidedness and failure to achieve anything.

Conciliar Pluralism Renders Opposition Structurally Ineffective

What do you mean by that?

First of all, it should be noted that these reactions systematically come up against a brick wall and one must have the courage to ask why. To give an example, four cardinals had expressed their dubia about Amoris lætitia. This reaction had been noticed by many and hailed as the beginning of a reaction that would produce lasting results. In fact, the Vatican’s silence has left this criticism unanswered. In the meantime, two of these cardinals have died and Pope Francis has moved on to the other reform projects we have just mentioned. This means that attention is shifting to new subjects, leaving, by necessity, the battle over Amoris lætitia in the background, forgotten, and the content of this exhortation seems accepted de facto.

To understand the silence of the Pope, we must not forget that the Church that emerged from the Council is pluralistic. It is a Church that is no longer based on an eternal and revealed Truth, taught from above by Authority. We have before us a Church that is listening and therefore necessarily listening to voices that may differ from each other. To make a comparison, in a democratic system, there is always a place – at least apparent – for opposition. They are part of the system because they show that we can discuss, have a different opinion, that there is room for everyone. This, of course, can promote democratic dialogue, but not the restoration of an absolute and universal Truth and an eternal moral law. Thus, error can be taught freely alongside a real but structurally ineffective opposition which is unable to replace the errors with truth. It is therefore from the pluralist system itself that we must emerge, and this system has as its cause, the Second Vatican Council.
In your opinion, what should these prelates and faithful do who have at heart the future of the Church?

First of all, they should have the lucidity and courage to recognize that there is a continuity between the teachings of the Council, the popes of the post-conciliar era, and the current pontificate. Citing the magisterium of “Saint” John Paul II, for example, to oppose Pope Francis’s innovations is a very bad remedy, one that is doomed to failure from the outset. A good doctor cannot simply use a few stitches to close a wound without first evacuating the infection inside the wound. Far from despising these efforts, it is a matter of charity to indicate where the root of the problems lies.

To give a concrete example of this contradiction, it is sufficient to mention one name among others: that of Cardinal Müller. He is presently the most virulent opponent of Amoris lætitia, the Instrumentum laboris, and the Curia’s reform project. He uses very strong language, even talking about “breaking with Tradition.” And yet, this cardinal who has the fortitude to publicly denounce these errors is the same one who wanted to impose the acceptance of the whole Council and the post-conciliar magisterium on the Society of Saint Pius X (in continuity with his predecessors and successors at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). Regardless of the Society and its positions, Cardinal Müller’s criticism, which focuses only on the symptoms without going back to their cause, gives rise to a most damaging and illogical situation.

The Charity of Transmitting What We Have Received

It is often objected that the Society only knows how to criticize. What does it propose positively?

The Society does not criticize systematically or a priori. She is not a professional misanthrope. She has a freedom of speech that allows her to speak openly, without fear of losing benefits she does not have… This freedom is essential in the current circumstances.

The Society has above all a love for the Church and souls. The present crisis is not only doctrinal: seminaries are closing, churches are emptying, frequentation of the sacraments is falling dramatically. We cannot remain spectators, arms folded, and say to ourselves: “All this proves that Tradition is right.” Tradition has the duty of coming to the aid of souls with the means given to it by Divine Providence. We are not driven by pride, but by charity to “transmit what we have received” (1 Cor. 15:3). This is what we humbly strive to do through our daily Apostolic work. And, it is in the course of this work that we denounce the evils that afflict the Church as being necessary to protect the flock abandoned and dispersed by bad pastors.
What does the Society expect from the prelates and faithful who are beginning to see clearly, in order to give a positive and effective follow-up to their positions?

It is necessary for them to have the courage to recognize that even a sound doctrinal position will not suffice if it is not accompanied by a pastoral, spiritual and liturgical life consistent with the principles to be defended, because the Council has inaugurated a new way of conceiving the Christian life, consistent with its new doctrine.

If true Catholic doctrine is reaffirmed in all its rights, one must begin to live a real Catholic life in conformity with what one professes. Otherwise, this or that declaration will remain only a media event, limited to a few months, even a few weeks… In concrete terms, one must exclusively embrace the Tridentine Mass and all that it means; one must exclusively embrace the Catholic Mass and draw all the consequences from it; one must exclusively embrace the non-ecumenical Mass, the Mass of all time and let this Mass regenerate the lives of the faithful, communities, seminaries, and especially let it transform priests. It is not a question of simply restoring the Tridentine Mass because it is the best theoretical option; it is a question of restoring it, living it, and defending it until martyrdom, because only the Cross of Our Lord can rescue the Church from the catastrophic situation in which it finds itself.

Portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam!

The gates of hell will not prevail against her!

 

Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior General

Menzingen, September 12, 2019, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary

September 19, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Image result for traditional latin mass

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

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

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

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

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

What is it to walk in the spirit?

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

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

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

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

What is meant by serving God?

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

Who are the two masters whom we cannot serve alike?

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

To whom can riches be useful?

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

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

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

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

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

What should preserve us from superfluous cares?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 14, 2019   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What may be understood by leprosy in a spiritual sense?

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

Why did the lepers remain standing afar off?

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

Why did Christ send the lepers to the priests?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Holy Order?

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

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

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

When will Christ institute this Sacrament?

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

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

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

Are those called to the priesthood ordained at once?

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

How many degrees are there in Holy Order?

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

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

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

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

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