And we will not have you ignorant brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again: even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with Him. (1Thes:4:13-14)
One great miracle in the new creation of God is this, that death is changed to sleep; and therefore in the writings of the New Testament we do not read of the ‘death ‘ of the saints.
St. Paul in the text speaks of the saints unseen as of those that ‘sleep in Jesus’; and Christians were wont to call their burial-grounds cemeteries, or sleeping-places, where they laid up their beloved ones to sleep on and take their rest. Let us see why we should thus speak of those whom we call dead.
First, it is because we know that they shall awake up again. What sleep is to waking, death is to the resurrection. It is only a prelude, a transitory state, ushering in a mightier power of life; therefore death is called sleep, to show that it has a fixed end coming
Again, death is changed to sleep, because they whom men call dead do really live unto God. They were dead while they lived this dying life on earth, and dead when they were in the last avenues of death. But after they had once died, death had no more dominion: they escaped as a ‘bird out of the snare of the fowler’; the snare ‘was’ broken, and they were delivered.
It may sound strange to unbelieving ears to say that we are dead while we live, and alive when we die. But so it is. Life does not hang on matter, nor on organization of matter.
It is not as the harmony which rings out of a cunning instrument; but it is a breath, a spirit, a ray of the eternal being, pure, immaterial, above all grosser compounds, simple and indissoluble. In the body it is allayed and tempered with weakness, shrouded about with obstructions; its faculties pent up by a bounded organization, and its energies repressed by the ‘body of this death.’ It is life subjected to the conditions of mortality. But, once dead, once dissolved, and the unclothed spirit is beyond the affections of decay. There is no weakness, nor weariness, nor wasting away, nor wandering of the burdened spirit; it is disenthralled, and lives its own life, unmingled, and buoyant. When the coil of this body is loosed, death has done all and his power is spent; thenceforth and for ever the sleeping soul lives mightily unto God.
Those whom the world calls dead are sleeping, because they are taking their rest. ‘I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth. Even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours.’ Not as the heretics of old vainly and coldly dreamed, as if they slept without stir of consciousness from the hour of death to the morning of the resurrection. Their rest is not the rest of a stone, cold and lifeless; but of wearied humanity. They rest from their labours; they have no more persecution, nor stoning, nor scourging; no more martyrdoms; they have no more false witness, nor cutting tongues; no more bitterness of heart, nor iron entering into the soul; no more burdens of wrong, nor amazement, nor perplexity. Never again shall they weep for unkindness, and disappointment, and withered hopes, and desolation of heart. All is over now; they have passed under the share. The ploughers ploughed upon their back, and made long furrows; but it is all over, never to begin again.
They rest too from the weight of ‘ the body of our humiliation’ —from its sufferings and pains. Their last sickness is over. . . . Now is their weariness changed into refreshment; their weakness into excellence of strength; their wasting into a spirit ever new; their broken words into the perfection of praise; their weeping into a chant of bliss. And not only so, but they rest also from their warfare against sin, against all its strength, and subtilties, and snares. . . . There is no more inward struggle, no sliding back again, no swerving aside, no danger of falling; they have gained the shore of eternal peace. Above all they rest from the bufferings of evil in themselves. It is not persecution, nor oppression, nor the thronging assaults of temptation, that so afflict a holy man, as the consciousness that evil dwells in his own inmost soul. It is the clinging power of spiritual evil that sullies his whole being: it seems to run through him in every part; it cleaves to every movement of his life; his living powers are burdened and bruised by its grasp.
Evil tempers in sudden flashes, unholy thoughts shooting across the soul and kindling fires in the imagination, thoughts of self in holiest seasons, consciousness of self in holiest acts, in devoutness of spirit, earthliness of heart, dull musing heaviness in the life of God—all these burden even saints with an oppressive weight. They feel always the stretch and tension of their spiritual frame, as a man that is weary and breathless grappling with a foe whom, if he would live, he must hold powerless to the earth. But from all this, too, they rest. The sin that dwelt in them died, when through death they began to live. The unimpeded soul puts forth its new-born life, as a tree in a kindly soil invited by a gentle sky: all that checked it is passed away; all that draws it into ripeness bathes it with fostering power. . . .
Blessed and happy dead! In them the work of the new creation is well-nigh accomplished. What feebly stirs in us, in them is well-nigh full. They have passed within the veil, and there remaineth only one more change for them—a change full of a foreseen, foretasted bliss. How calm, how pure, how sainted, are they now! A few short years ago, and they were almost as weak and poor as we: harassed by temptations, often overcome weeping in bitterness of soul, struggling, with faithful though fearful hearts, towards that dark shadow from which they shrank as we shrink now. . . .
Let us be much in thought with them that are at rest. They await our coming; for without us they shall ‘not be made perfect.’ Let us therefore remember, and love, and follow them; that when our last change is over, we, with them, may ‘ sleep in Jesus.’
Cardinal H. E. Manning (1808-1892)
For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…
A pious woman, having one night received information that a poor person in the suburbs was lying in extreme necessity, and none of her domestics being within, sent her son with something for her relief. The boy, being very young, was greatly afraid going by himself to such a lonely place, until a page appeared, bearing a flambeau, and conducted him safely to his destination. His mother doubted not that it might be his good angel who had rendered him the charitable office.
These blessed spirits have often appeared visibly to man. The learned interpreter of the Holy Scripture, Cornelius a Lapide, supposes that after the resurrection they will sometimes assume bodies of exquisite beauty to recreate us. It is amazing to see them take every form to render services to us. They have appeared in various shapes, as pilgrims, etc., to serve and benefit man, who does almost nothing to testify his gratitude. If it were only at certain times they rendered us assistance, it would not be so wonderful; but to be conferring favors on us every moment we exist, is inconceivable—and it is this our good angel does for us.
If a prince of the royal blood came and spent some time in waiting on an humble peasant, in a poor cabin, every one would be amazed; but if this peasant was his enemy, one from whom he could expect nothing like gratitude—if, moreover, he not only passed some months with him, but even resolved on remaining in his service as long as he lived, notwithstanding all the vicious propensities and vile habits which he discovered in him, the wonder would be infinitely greater.
Yet it is in this manner, O my soul! thy good angel guards thee. It is thus, O ye whom I address! that the Holy Spirit, appointed to be your guardian, executes His commission. This amiable prince never quits us in this valley of tears.
The angels, says St. Augustine, enter and go forth with us—they have their eyes ever fixed on us, and on what we do. If we remain at home, they stay with us; if we walk out, they accompany us; let us go where we will, on land or at sea, they are always with us; they are no less present with the merchant in his counting-house, or the matron in the cares of her household, than with the recluse in his desert, or the religious in his cell.
O excessive bounty!—even while we sleep, they watch over us —they are always at our side—though we are sinners, and consequently their enemies—though our interior deformity is so great, that if we saw it we could not support the sight—though we spend our lives in sin, or in such frivolous occupations as certainly excite the pity of these blessed spirits—though we corrupt our best actions by numberless defects, they are never weary of our company.
Even after death, they visit us in purgatory, and render us in its flames very great consolations. Is not this to be our slaves? Where would we be able to find persons who would sacrifice their liberty so perfectly in the service of kings? O bounty of our God! the princes of paradise our slaves and servants! Well, indeed, did the holy Vincent of Caraffe say that the life of a Christian was a life of astonishment.
But the angels not only protect man, they also give their cares to everything that is destined for his service. According to St. Augustine, these blessed spirits preside over every animate and inanimate thing in this visible world.
The stars and the firmament have their angels—the fire, the air, the water, have their angels—kingdoms have their angels, as is seen in the Scriptures—provinces have their angels, for the angels who appeared to Jacob, says Genesis, were the guardians of the provinces through which he passed—towns and cities have their angels—altars, churches, nay, even particular families, have their angels.
Thus the world is full of angels, and it seems that the sweetness of divine Providence renders it necessary; for if, as some say, there be in the air so great a number of evil spirits, that if they were permitted to assume bodies, they would obscure the light of the sun, how could men be safe from their malicious arts, unless protected by the angels?
It is not for nothing that these blessed spirits are sent on earth. As each star has its peculiar influence, so each of the angels produces some particular good. We must be obdurate, indeed, if we are not touched by their services.
It is a great pity, that we seldom think but of sensible objects. In vain are we spoken to of spiritual things; we either understand them not, or forget them with facility. Whatever Eliseus might say to his servant of the protection of these blessed spirits, the poor man could not believe it, until God miraculously opened his eyes, and manifested them to him under visible forms.
If the same favor is not given to us, still have we not faith? and can we not behold with our interior eyes these amiable spirits, and acknowledge them as our greatest benefactors, and the faithful ministers of God alone, whom we adore, who is admirable in all His works, and deserves for them eternal, everlasting praise?
The Glories of the Catholic Church -The Catholic Christian Instructed in Defense of His Faith
A Complete Exposition of the Catholic Doctrine, Together With A Full Explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass Including the Triumphs of the Church in Every Age
The Ret. Henry A. Brann D. D.
Mary made it constantly the business of her life to labour for the end for which God had created her. In her parents’ house, in that of Nazareth, in Bethlehem, in Egypt, upon Calvary, always humble, recollected, modest, pious, she had but one view: the glory and love of her divine Son. Child of Mary, walk in the footsteps of your Mother; appreciate as she did according to their just value, all the perfidious joys and the false enjoyments of the world; seek and desire one thing only: to love God, and to serve Him faithfully all your days.
May Your Immaculate Heart, 0 Mary, be praised, blessed, honored, loved, and imitated, throughout the whole world.
THE CHILD’S MONTH OF MARY
BY AN UNWORTHY CHILD OF MARY.
In a statement given to a judge explaining why her daughter should no longer suffer, Charlotte said her daughter longed for peace.
After reading the heartbreaking words Justice Eleanor King at the High Court of Justice granted the request and Nancy died in hospital.
The ruling sets a precedent as it is the first time a child breathing on their own, not on life support and not suffering from a terminal illness, has been allowed to die.
In her summing up the judge said Charlotte’s love for her daughter is apparent and she had “great admiration” for her devotion to Nancy.
“The last day was the hardest of my life. It was absolutely horrifying. I miss my beautiful girl every day and although I know it was the right thing to do, I will never forgive myself. It shouldn’t have to be a mother’s decision to end their child’s life; doctors should be able to take that away from you.”
“Holy Mary, succor the wretched, encourage the faint-hearted, cheer the mournful.” (Antiphon of the “Magnificat” in the First Vespers of the Office of Our Lady.)
Affliction, the inseparable associate of man during his earthly pilgrimage, is the natural consequence of the ills that befall us, either from within or from without. Bereavement, loss of fortune, calumny, malpractices designed against us, are so many causes of exterior affliction. Sickness, temptation, trouble, and, above all, the thought of having offended God by sin, and the danger we run of offending Him again—these and such like things give rise in us to interior sufferings.
Earthly goods are all insufficient to console us in the midst of so many evils. They may assuage our bitterness in part, but when all is said and done, they leave nought but an aching in our hearts, and are powerless to fortify us against fresh miseries.
As an offset against the ills of life, the infinite goodness of God has prepared for us, in the ever present aid of the most Holy Virgin, a copious source of consolation, for which indeed we ought to be grateful. It is enough to have recourse to this Mother of mercy, to be assured of receiving from her a prompt relief in the pains of life, a balm for the wounded heart, a comfort in the woes and calamities which overwhelm us.
Just as Jesus Christ invited us to seek our consolation in Him, when He said: “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you,” (Mt:11:28) thus also Mary holds out to us, in the midst of the sorrows of this life, the most soothing comfort: “Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.” (Eccl:24:26)
Mary’s power to comfort the wretched arises mainly from this, that she above all others has known sorrow. As the inseparable companion of Jesus, during the thirty-three years of His mortal life, Mary partook of all His sufferings. With Him she felt the pinch of poverty, experiencing all manner of privations. The reproaches of them that reproached Jesus fell also upon her; (Ps:69:9) and when the disciples forsook their Divine Master one by one, Mary followed Him faithfully even to Calvary, there to drink with Him to the dregs His bitter chalice.
Even after the Saviour had ended His mortal life of labor and toil, Mary continued to live on and suffer, until it pleased God to call her to Himself.
Mary’s faith and constancy joined with her inviolable attachment to the teachings of her Son are in themselves a source of consolation to us. For, this divine Mother teaches us, by her example, never to despair of divine assistance. She animates us to persevere in our good undertakings, whatever difficulties may oppose us. By obtaining for us, through her mediation, a large share in the virtue of the cross, she changes our sorrows into liveliest joys, as formerly the wood pointed out by God to Moses changed the bitter waters of the desert into sweet. (Ex:15:25)
If we have recourse to Mary in time of affliction, not only shall we receive from her consolation in our pains, but we shall also learn by her example to value at their proper worth the crosses wherewith Our Lord is pleased to visit us.
The time of suffering is by far the most precious time of this life; for it is then that the opportunity comes of practicing the highest virtues. These virtues are: faith in the wise ordering of Divine Providence, trust in the assistance of Heaven, and charity, both toward God, who allows us to be afflicted, and toward our neighbor, who may perhaps be the cause of our sufferings. The time of afflictions is then most precious, though we, alas! oftentimes value it at so low a rate. “If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes.” (Lk:19:42)
Beware, O my soul, of ever murmuring or losing patience. Bear all things with peace and joy, in company with Jesus Crucified and His sorrowing Mother. Recall to mind these comforting words of Our Saviour: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Mt:5:5)
O most Holy Virgin, who art fitly called the Consoler of the Afflicted, obtain for me of Jesus Christ thy Son, the grace never to lose heart in the day of trouble, and to seek no comfort but in Jesus and thyself. Grant that I may ever have confidence in thy maternal heart pierced with the sword of sorrow, and that I may find therein my true and only consolation. Amen.
FLOWER OF PARADISE
-CONSIDERATIONS ON THE LITANY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN, ENRICHED WITH EXAMPLES DRAWN
FROM THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS
Very Rev. Alexis M. Lepicier, O.S.M.
Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall. — Prov, 16: 18
Pride is an inordinate esteem and love for one’s self, whose effect is to regard ourselves above all others, and to refer everything to ourselves, and nothing to God. Pride is offensive to God in that we give glory to ourselves for His gifts, instead of glorifying Him. Hence spring vanity and the inordinate desire for esteem and praise.—— St. John Baptist de la Salle
The proud man is like one tormented with a painful abscess; you cannot touch it with the end of a finger without extorting cries of pain.——Idem
“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” —C.S. Lewis
He that is proud eats up himself; pride is his glass, his trumpet, his chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, drowns the deed in the praise. — Shakespeare.
Of all the causes which conspire to blind man’s erring judgment, and mislead the mind, what the weak head with strongest bias rules, is pride — that never failing vice of fools. — Alexander Pope.
“You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud.” —St. Vincent de Paul
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. —Saint Augustine
Humility is the only thing that no devil can imitate. — St John Climacus
In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere and rush into the skies;
Pride still is aiming at the blessed abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods,
Aspiring to be gods, the angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel;
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Cause. — Alexander Pope
Climb not too high, lest the fall be the greater. — A Good Old Axiom.
And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. (Ps:72:8)
Jesus Christ Our Lord should reign over individuals as well as over households. However, this is not all: He must reign also over society at large, for the Father has promised to give him “the nations for His inheritance.” (Ps: 2:8) These, in fact, are the words which the prophet David, when raised on the wings of contemplation even unto the counsels of the Holy Trinity, heard proffered by the eternal Father to the Divine Word made man.
Jesus Christ was therefore constituted and proclaimed King of the Universe by the Father. But if He is a King, regal honors are due to Him; and hence Holy Church desires all Christian nations to offer Him those signs of public honor and worship which befit the King of kings and Lord of lords.
In these last unfortunate years the devil, the sworn adversary of the reign of Jesus over souls, has sought more than ever to banish this Divine King from society. By means of his evil followers, he strives to bring back the world to paganism or at least to naturalism, inspiring men with the spirit of revolt: “We will not have this man to reign over us. (Lk: 19:14) But we Christians, who love the reign of this Divine Sovereign and desire to extend it still further, will answer His adversaries with one voice : “ We will have God for our Father, we will have God for our King.”
It may be asked what sort of honor should be given to Jesus Christ by society. We answer briefly: we should first honor Him in his holy cross; and secondly in public prayer and adoration.
The cross is the glorious banner of our King, Jesus Christ. (1) It should be raised everywhere, because everywhere there are souls subject to Him. As we desire that society should return under the scepter of Our Redeemer, so also do we wish to see this adorable sign everywhere surrounded by love, respect and veneration.
(1) It is called thus in the liturgy of the Church. Hymn at Vespers on Passion Sunday
We wish to see it on the crowns of Kings and Princes, because even royal heads must bow to Jesus; on the facades of Houses of Parliament and Town Halls, so that the most vital interests of the nation may be seen by all to be placed under the protection of that holy symbol under which alone flourish justice and peace. We wish, too, that the cross should be erected in cemeteries, so that it may stretch its loving arms over the bowers of our dear ones. We wish to see it tower on the glittering summits of mountains, as a sign that Jesus rules over the whole world.
This sacred emblem is a profession of our faith and a protest against that lack of supernatural belief which threatens to corrupt the whole of society. With the spread of Christianity, this symbol of peace, love and sacrifice was erected everywhere: our forefathers who grasped its marvelous power and sublime significance wished every public monument to be adorned with it. But now an infernal tempest has arisen which well nigh is driving it out of modern society. Oh, let this holy symbol be put up again, not only on the altars of our churches, as a pledge of the bloodless Sacrifice which is unceasingly offered, but also on the arches of palaces, to recall the great of this world to virtue, and on the humble cottages of the poor, to teach them patience and resignation.
Herein falls an opportunity of mentioning the Confraternity of the Most Holy Cross, founded in the Middle Ages under the influence of that apostle of Jesus crucified, St. Philip Benizi. This Confraternity has produced signal fruits of sanctification in the course of ages. It is desirable that it should spread throughout the world to hasten the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
To Jesus, King of society, the homage of public praise and worship should also be offered. For it is not enough that individual Christians should raise their minds to the adorable Sovereign of our hearts in their homes or in church only. It is needful more over that the whole of society, led by its representatives, should bow before Him, and recognize Him as supremely their King and Sovereign. A prayer should be raised to our divine Lord before every social act that He may deign to protect and bless the whole nation and whatsoever is done to promote its welfare. It is not enough that men should be Christians in their private life only. Members of Parliament, heads of Municipalities, the ruler of the nation, must be Christians too, and openly so. For cities, counties and nations are all subject to the jurisdiction of Jesus Christ who has received power to its fullest extent from His divine Father. This power He possesses in all its manifestations, the power to rule and govern; the power to legislate and the power to judge. (Mt: 28:18)
In the first place those appointed to rule over cities or nations should put themselves under the guidance of Jesus Christ in all that concerns their office of governing others. They should order their actions so as to fulfill their obligations according to the maxims of the Gospel. If this is done, Jesus will reign effectively in Christian society. The Gospel, with that light of heavenly wisdom which irradiates its every page, should guide the leaders of this world. From that inspired book they will learn that the end to which society is destined is none other than eternal happiness, in pursuance of that great maxim: “Seek ye there fore first the kingdom of God and His justice and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt: 6:33)
Accordingly, the heads of society will behave themselves in all that concerns their offices as good and convinced Christians, seeking not only natural happiness, but above all that which is supernatural. Thus shall they make their people happy even in this life, for it is a law of God that grace does not destroy, but perfects, nature. There are eloquent proofs of this in those countries which are informed by Christian faith and enjoy not only the life of the soul but that of material prosperity as well. And who would not call that people blessed whose ruler, brought up in the school of Jesus Christ, governs his subjects in the spirit of meekness, charity and justice?
Those in power not only must derive inspiration from the rules laid down by Jesus Christ, but they must also see that the laws enacted for the good of society are derived from the commandments of God and the Church; of which there should to-day be a more open and detailed expression.
Nothing should be more sacred and august in a society than the laws by which it is governed. These laws bringing into harmony the mutual rights and duties of all members of the state, help to maintain that balance and right order which guards the liberty and assures the well-being of individuals and the nation. Now legislators must establish justice through Jesus (Prv: 8:15) and so it is natural that the power of enacting laws should fall under the divine authority of this amiable King and be based on the maxims of the Gospel.
Human laws if based on this immovable foundation, will become a pledge of happiness, a shield against foes, a ladder which leads safely to Heaven. A proof of this are those nations which flourished and prospered in the Middle Ages, under the guidance of an entirely Christian legislation drawn up in accordance with the maxims of the Gospel. On the other hand, what is more fickle, what is more inadequate, than a legislation which has no other basis than the will or caprice of men?
For; just as man s will is undependable and his aspirations are changeable, so laws of such a nature are made and unmade with equal facility. While they pretend, though even here they cannot succeed, to provide everything for this life, they end by being execrated by men who see themselves bitterly deluded in their aspirations..
To Jesus also, as King of human society, belongs the power to judge; that power, namely, which He displays in rewarding the good and punishing the evil. This power, properly speaking, belongs to God as supreme Lord and first Principle of all beings: but this same power the Father has delegated to Jesus Christ making Him, according to His Humanity, Judge of the living and the dead. (Acts: 10:42)
Now for judging rightly, three things are required: first, wisdom, which is the soul and form of judgment, for the judge should be as it were a living justice; secondly, zeal for what is right, so that he judge not for hate or envy, but for very love of justice; thirdly, the power of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Now Jesus Christ, as Man, first, is full of grace and truth ; besides, in Him all is holiness and righteousness and justice; finally, to Him was given all power in heaven and on earth.(Mt:28:18)
Nor of the judicial power of Jesus Christ can it be said (what is sometimes said of human justice) that it is terrifying to the poor and scorned by the rich. For the power of our divine Judge and Sovereign stretches equally over the whole universe, over men of every age and nation, and even over the angels. Over all men Jesus is appointed Judge because all are directed to eternal bliss and it is in His power to admit or reject them: over the angels, because they also receive through Him either an increase of glory or an accidental penalty.
From this we realize how misguided are they who fear more the false and vain criticism of this perverse world than the terrible judgments of our supreme Judge. At the lightning of His angry countenance, when the fatal sentence will be passed, they will realize, but too late, how baneful was their cowardice in refusing to follow the wise maxims of the Gospel, in not fearing and loving this just Judge, in not having recourse to Him to obtain mercy and pardon before the terrible day of the great account came to pass.
“Juste Judex ultionis, “Who just Judge of vengeance art,
Donum fac remissionis Thy forgiveness now impart,
Ante diem rationis.” Ere the accepted day depart.” (1)
Jesus Christ is therefore the Supreme King, Sovereign Lord of all societies; and as those who stand at the helm of nations have received power from Him to govern the people, to issue laws and to render justice; so there is no true authority or ruling power, legislative or judicial, which is not upheld and inspired by that of Jesus Christ.
It is useful to recall this truth in these our times when modern free-thought has made every effort to blot out this teaching, divesting princes of that halo which is a reflection of divine majesty; (2) and seeing in the origin, transmission and exercise of civil authority nothing but a simple expression of the will of the people. But not for all this has the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, laid down the power which He received from the Father over the nations of the earth: and the words of St. Paul remain forever: f In the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth and under the earth. (Phil: 2:10)
(1) Sequence in the Mass of the Dead.
2 In view of the grave errors which have arisen on the origin, nature and exercise of civil authority, it is well to be reminded of the celebrated Encyclical of Leo XIII: Diuturnum illud of June 29, 1881, in which this illustrious Pontiff establishes, against what some modern authors hold, the great principle that the right of governing, even in rulers popularly elected, is bestowed directly by God to whom belongs supreme and universal dominion: “Quo sane delectu (candidate rum) designantur principes, non conferuntur iura principatua.”
A striking instance of how the saints conceived the right of Jesus Christ to reign over society and over all nations is had in the beautiful episode that took place at the court of the king of France in the year 1429 shortly before the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc, saved that country from alien dominion and led Charles to Rheims, there to be solemnly crowned.
“Gentle Dauphin,” she asked him one day, in presence of the lords of the realm and of the nations, “will you promise to grant me what I shall ask you?” The king at first hesitated, but at last answered: “Certainly, Joan, ask me what you will.” “Gentle Dauphin,” she then said, “I ask you to give me your kingdom.” The king, stupefied at such a request, for a time remained silent. At last, however, bound by his promise and conquered by the super natural charm of Joan, he took his resolve: “Joan,” he said, “I give you my kingdom.”
But the Maid was not satisfied with these words, though uttered in the presence of many witnesses. She requested that a solemn act should be drawn up and signed by four royal notaries. This done, she looked at the king with a pitiful smile, saying: “There is the poorest of all the knights of France. I pity him.”
Being now herself sovereign and mistress of France, she did not stop here. Turning to the secretaries, “Write,” she said, “Joan gives the kingdom to Jesus Christ. And soon after: “Write again: Jesus gives the kingdom back to Charles.” (1)
Herein surely lies a great lesson. It implies that the kings of this world are but tributaries of Christ and it is their duty to give over to Him the scepter which they received either from their ancestors or by the election of the people. They should consider themselves as but the lieutenants of the King of kings, Jesus Christ. “They have called the people happy, that hath (the goods of this world): but happy is (only) that people whose God is the Lord.” (Ps:144:15)
(1) This particular detail of the life of Joan of Arc is historically founded on the deposition of the Duke of Alencon in the “Proces” III, 19. See L. Delisle. Nouveau temoignage relatif d la Mission de Jeanne d Arc.
JESUS CHRIST THE KING OF OUR HEARTS
ELEVATIONS ON THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Very Rev. Alexis M. Lepicier,O.S.M
Medicine of God and His Healing Angel, prince of the Guardian Angels and guide of travelers, promoter and protector of holy wedlock, — such are the gracious offices assigned in Holy Writ, according to the traditions of God’s chosen people and the Christians of the first centuries, to Raphael, Archangel; attracting us by his benignity, charming us, from the first age of Christian art to this present one, by the representations of his affable consideration for our humanity under its most engaging and its most pathetic aspects; for glorious as his presence must have been under all its manifestations, the glory was tempered to meet the fallen condition of our race.
Thus, while Michael was regarded by the Hebrews as the prince of the hosts of the Lord in heaven and on earth, to Raphael were committed those journeyings which make so significant a part of the story of God’s chosen people; going back even to the patriarch Abraham, who expresses this traditional belief in his instructions to the elder servant of his house who was over all that he had, when sending him to his own country, Ur of the Chaldees, to secure a wife for his son Isaac: ” The Lord God of heaven, who took me out of my father’s house and out of my native country, who spoke to me and swore to me, saying: To thy seed will 1 give this land; He will send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife for my son thence.” Again to Moses, setting forth on that journey of forty years through the desert: “Behold I send my angel before thee, to keep thee on thy journey and bring thee into the place which I have prepared”; and this promise was renewed immediately after the grievous fall of the Hebrews into idolatry at the foot of Mount Sinai. Still again, when, the desert passed, Moses, making request of the King of Edom to pass through his country to their promised destination, says: “The Lord sent our angel who hath brought us out of Egypt.”
In none of these instances is the name of the angel given, but Raphael has been regarded in every age as the guide of the Israelites to the Promised Land; and it was in accordance with this tradition as held by the Hebrew people that his office as guide of travelers was brought out in the Book of Tobias. According to Archbishop Kenrick — who, we may say here, is quoted as authority throughout the Roman Breviary translated out of Latin into English by John, Marquis of Bute — this book, named Tobias, was composed during the captivity of the Jews in Chaldee. Saint Jerome found a copy of it, which he translated from the Chaldean language into Latin with the aid of a Jew, who explained it to him in Hebrew. Hippolytus, a Roman of the early part of the third century, speaks of the prayer of Tobias and of Sara, and of the angel sent to heal them. It is also mentioned by Origen, who was a witness, so early as 254, to the belief of Christians; by Saint Basil in 379; Saint Ambrose, 397; Saint Jerome, 420; and before 430 by Saint Augustine. The Book of Tobias is included in the Canon composed in the Council of Hippo, and also in the Third Council of Carthage, at which Saint Augustine was present.
Coming to the New Testament, and to the fifth chapter of Saint John, we have an account of the miracle performed by our Lord upon the paralytic, preceded by a detailed account of the same at a pool in Jerusalem called Probatica in Greek, signifying sheepfold, because near a sheep market; in Hebrew, Bethsaida, or fishing pool, with its five porches. “In these,” the evangelist tells us,” lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered, waiting for the stirring of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pool and the water was stirred. And he that went down first into the pond after the stirring of the water was cured of whatever infirmity he suffered.” The Angel of the Probatica is understood to be the Angel Raphael, as the Healing Angel, his name signifying, strictly, the ” Medicine of God”; and it is under this aspect that he is regarded as the patron of physicians — of all who practice the benevolent healing art; while this is emphasized in all its lovely circumstances by the narrative of Tobias.
The devotional figures of Raphael often represent him in the dress of a pilgrim, girded, sandals on his feet, his hair bound with a fillet, the staff in his hand, and sometimes a water-bottle or a wallet slung from his belt. This, of course, indicates him as the Angel of the journey; but in other instances he carries a small casket, or box, in which is the gall or liver of the fish, as a protector against evil spirits, and also as a healing ointment, according to the angel’s directions to the young Tobias for the restoration of his father’s sight. He is thus represented in an exquisite picture by Pietro Perugino. His tunic is girded; his mantle, resting on one shoulder, is tucked under his belt; his left hand holds that of the young Tobias, while his right hand bears, with a gesture indicating advice or instruction, the casket with its precious ointment from the liver of the fish, taken at the very outset of their journey. The feet are unshod; all the draperies suggestive of peace; and the beautiful head — how can we describe it? The hair, parted on the forehead, falls in loose waves on the shoulders; the face is bent toward his young charge, their eyes upon each other, — in the Angel’s a look of the most tender, even solemn, solicitude, in the youth’s one of affectionate veneration; over the whole an air of angelic watchfulness, but also of angelic peace, which passes into the soul of him who meditates as he looks upon it; rich in its lessons of heavenly wisdom, consoling in its assurances of angelic love.
A charming composition gives us the return of Tobias, with the Angel Raphael, to his aged parents. In Bernardino Luini’s all the figures are half-length, but everything is told or suggested : the eager Anna pressing close to her returned son, devouring him with her happy eyes; the patient Tobias, patient in his blindness, both hands on his staff, listening to his beloved son, who is looking into his sightless eyes with tender compassion, while he tells the story of his journey, of the sojourn with their kinsman Raguel, — one hand laid on his breast, as if this recital were of the heart more than of the memory; while his left hand still holds that of his beloved guide, protector, friend, to whom he owes all the joy he is communicating to his dear ones, who have waited and watched so long for his coming.
And our Angel, our Raphael — his tunic is girded and tucked under his belt, as one who has fared swiftly on his way; one hand, as we have said, still in that of his young charge, the other raised slightly with a gesture as if every word spoken were his own, so lively is his sympathy, so personal his interest in every detail as it is related. The wings, unseen by those whom he has served, rise softly from his shoulders, over which the parted hair falls in beauty; the eyelids are lowered, as if he were still minding his charge; but on the lips is a gentle smile of satisfaction, remembering lovely things accomplished, — a smile such as only Luini or Leonardo da Vinci has ever left on paper or canvas. The gentleness of the joy, almost tearful, fills the heart with a gratitude which is called forth by heavenly favors, a sense of celestial benefactions.
Never has the fidelity of art to the Written Word, to the cherished oral traditions of thousands of years, been more beautifully exemplified than in the masterpieces we have cited; inspired as they have been by Raphael, that most gracious, most amiable of Archangels. “I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the Lord.”
The Three Archangels and the Guardian Angels in Art
Eliza Allen Starr (1899)
… But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.
And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times? (Mt:16:2-3)
Originally broadcast in 1954
“To sin is not so great an evil as “to persevere in sinning. To sin is an unhappy consequence flowing from the frailty of man, and the corruption of human nature; but a perseverance in sin is truly diabolical, and merits the fatal punishment inflicted on devils.”
St. John Chrysostom
In Baptism, when it is duly received, all sin and its penalties are remitted. For those who have never afterwards been guilty of mortal sin this Sacrament would be sufficient. But with most of us, and especially with those who were baptized as infants, post-baptismal sin is both frequent and often most serious.
Grievous, or mortal sin cuts the soul off from God, destroys all grace, and renders the soul displeasing to God; and no works done in this state can be acceptable to Him. Since this is so, it is evident that the great majority of Christians would be lost through their forfeiture of baptismal grace if no remedy were provided. For the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is efficacious only in souls that are free from mortal sin, and therefore no benefit can be obtained from it by those who have lost the first grace. On this account our Blessed Lord, of His infinite love, has instituted in His Church the Sacrament of Penance as the means whereby all sin committed after Baptism may be remitted to those who are penitent.
Penitence, repentance, or penance (for the three words indicate one and the same thing) is the translation of the Greek word metanoia, which signifies a change of mind and heart and life, manifested by some external act. Penance is both a virtue and a Sacrament.
As a virtue it has existed since the time of Adam, for from the beginning of the world the virtue of penitence has worked among men. It is an interior disposition of the soul towards God, and from the beginning of the world the Holy Ghost, Whose office it is to “convince the world of sin” (S. John xvi. 8), has convinced sinners of their transgressions, converted them to penitence, and through penitence has made them Saints.
But while this virtue of penitence works also in the Christian Church, our Blessed Lord has added to it a Sacrament. He has taken the penitence which was working in the world before His Advent, and for us Christians has incorporated it in a visible sign by which He communicates forgiveness of sins, and the grace of penitence to those who seek it rightly.
This He did on that most solemn occasion when He first appeared to His assembled Apostles after His Resurrection. So desirous was He to impart to His Church this great gift by which man might be loosed from sin, that immediately after He had won the power of Absolution for the Church by His Death and Resurrection He bestowed it upon her. He had promised the gift before His Passion, when He said, ” Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven ” (S. Matt, xviii. 18). Then, having made satisfaction for the sin of all the world, He imparted the power of Absolution to His Apostles when He breathed on them, and said unto them, ” Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained ” (S. John xx. 22, 23). A safeguard against self deceit regarding one’s spiritual state.
Thus we see that on the first Easter night Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance, in order that men might have something more than their self-assurance on which to depend for the hope of Absolution. The Pharisee in the Temple said, “God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are,” that is, he absolved himself. But that absolution was not ratified in Heaven. So it is with many now; they absolve themselves, they forget their sins and constantly deceive themselves with the idea that God also forgets them. No state can be more delusive or more fatal; and it is to guard us against this danger that our Lord instituted a Sacrament in which to assure us by a judicial act that we are absolved in the name and by the power of Jesus Christ, by one who is His authorized representative.
Catholic Faith and Practice – Volume 1
Alfred Garnett Mortimer – 1897
A majestic Jesus with the halo of divinity and a well-defined Sacred Heart gives a clear blessing; To the right a worker-like Jesus without a defined halo and without a heart makes a gesture more like a “hello” than a blessing
Consider the true image of Christ Our Savior. Probably the most symbolically rich and accurate representation of Him, besides the Crucifix, is the image of the Sacred Heart, because the image of Our Lord with the Sacred Heart summarizes the whole theology of Redemption.
They pierced His Hands, His Feet and His Sacred Heart; the crown of thorns encircles the Heart, which burns with love for man. This was the price He paid, the sacrifice He made for our redemption. He offered Himself because of His burning love for us despite the fact we are ungrateful creatures who rebelled against our Creator. Think about it. He created us and then we nailed Him to a cross even though He was God and completely innocent of any guilt. So, the Sacred Heart encapsulates all this.
In the images of the Sacred Heart, He points to this symbolic font of love and mercy for us. The devotions to the Sacred Heart always suppose reparation for our sins. We are sinners, we must make reparation. Despite the promises from Our Lord and the fact that He paid an infinite price for our Redemption, we must make reparation. We should always do penance for our sins and make various kinds of reparation.
Now, consider the image of Our Lord representing the Divine Mercy. It is an imitation of the Sacred Heart without the heart. When you pay attention, you notice that in the image there is no heart. There are simply rays coming out of a point above His waist. This symbolizes the error of the Divine Mercy devotion. It preaches that we can expect an unconditional mercy with no price to be paid whatsoever, with no obligations whatsoever. This is not the message of Christ.
Christ is merciful. Time and time again, His mercy pardons our repeated sins in the Sacrament of Penance, always taking us back no matter how bad our sins are. And what happens in the Sacrament of Penance? The very name of the Sacrament tells us exactly what happens: to be effective the Sacrament supposes penance. Not only are you there at the Sacrament recognizing your full submission to the Church and your dependence on the Sacraments for forgiveness, but you walk out of the confessional with an imposed penance.
You are also often reminded from this pulpit that you must not only fulfill that penance, but you must continually do penance, your own penance. You don’t just say a decade of the Rosary and say, “Well, I’ve done my penance. Now, I can go merrily on my way.” You must always have the spirit of penance for your past sins; you must live with it.
The central error of the Divine Mercy is that it promises lots of spiritual rewards with no requirement of penance, no mention of reparation, no mention of any condition.
Unfortunately, this corresponds very much with what Pope John Paul II wrote in the Encyclical Dives in misericordia. I do not recommend reading it to any of you, except the most prepared, because it has many misleading things. It re-echoes this mercy with no price, gifts from heaven with no requirements, God’s mercy with no mention of penance or reparation for sin whatsoever.
Anticipating that encyclical Pope John Paul II already in 1978, the very first year of his pontificate, set in motion the canonization of Sr. Faustina and the institution of a Divine Mercy Sunday feast. As I said before, both Sr. Faustina’s writings and the very idea of having a Divine Mercy feast day had been prohibited and condemned by two previous Popes.
Pius XII … placed this devotion, including the apparitions and the writings of Sr. Faustina on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of Prohibited Books).
Next, came other prohibitions made by Pope John XXIII. Twice in his pontificate, the Holy Office issued condemnations of the Divine Mercy writings.
Not once, but twice under Pope John XXIII, this particular devotion was condemned through the Holy Office. The first condemnation was in a plenary meeting held on November 19, 1958. The declaration from the Holy Office issued these three statements about this devotion:
- There is no evidence of the supernatural origin of these revelations….
- No feast of Divine Mercy should be instituted….
- It is forbidden to disseminate the images and writings propagating this devotion under the form received by Sr. Faustina.
Read more at:
IMAGO SACRA MILLE GRATIARUM VALET (A holy picture is worth a thousand graces)
Sacramentals are religious objects that the Church gives us to increase our devotion. The two most common sacramentals are the Sign of the Cross and holy water, but the rosary, scapulars, holy cards, and statues are sacramentals, too. Through them, we keep our thoughts on God, thus obtaining grace. Baltimore Catechism No. 2 -Lesson Twenty-Seventh
Of the real history of St. Luke we know very little. He was not an apostle; and, like St. Mark, appears to have been converted after the Ascension. He was a beloved disciple of St. Paul, whom he accompanied to Rome, and remained with his master and teacher till the last. It is related, that, after the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, he preached the Gospel in Greece and Egypt; but whether he died a natural death, or suffered martyrdom, does not seem clear. The Greek traditions represent him as dying in peace, and his death was thus figured on the ancient doors of San Paolo at Rome. Others affirm that he was crucified at Patras with St. Andrew.
There is some ground for the supposition that Luke was a physician. (Col: 4:14) But the pretty legend which makes him a painter, and represents him as painting the portrait of the Virgin Mary, is unsupported by any of the earlier traditions. It is of Greek origin, still universally received by the Greek Church, which considers painting a religious art, and numbers in its calendar of saints a long list of painters, as well as poets, musicians, and physicians. In the west of Europe, the legend which represents St. Luke as a painter can be traced no higher than the tenth century; the Greek painters introduced it; and a crude drawing of the Virgin discovered in the catacombs, with an inscription purporting that it was “one of seven painted by Luca,” confirmed the popular belief that St. Luke the evangelist was meant. Thus originated the fame of innumerable Virgins of peculiar sanctity, all attributed to his hand, and regarded with extreme veneration. Such ancient pictures are generally of Greek workmanship, and of a black complexion.
In the legend of St. Luke we are assured that he carried with him everywhere two portraits, painted by himself; one of our Saviour, and one of the Virgin; and that by means of these he converted many of the heathen, for not only did they perform great miracles, but all who looked on these bright and benign faces, which bore a striking resemblance to each other, were moved to admiration and devotion. It is also said, that St. Luke painted many portraits of the Virgin, delighting himself by repeating this gracious image; and in the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata, at Rome, they still show a little chapel in which, “as it hath been handed down from the first ages, St. Luke the Evangelist wrote, and painted the effigy of the Virgin-mother of God.”
On the strength of this tradition, St. Luke has been chosen as the patron saint of painters. Academies of art are placed under his particular protection; their chapels are dedicated to him, and over the altar we see him in his charming and pious avocation, that of painting portraits of the Blessed Virgin for the consolation of the faithful.
The devotional figures of St. Luke, in his character of evangelist, represent him in general with his gospel and his attendant ox, winged or unwinged, but in Greek Art, and in those schools of Art which have been particularly under the Byzantine influence (as the early Venetian), we see St. Luke as evangelist young and beardless, holding the portrait of the Virgin as his attribute in one hand, and his gospel in the other. A beautiful figure of St. Luke as evangelist and painter is in the famous “ Heures d’Anne de Bretagne.” In an engraving by Lucas van Leyden Netherlands, 1494-1533, executed as it should seem in honor of his patron saint, St. Luke is seated on the back of his ox, writing the gospel; he wears a hood like an old professor, rests his book against the horns of the animal, and his inkstand is suspended on the bough of a tree. But separate devotional figures of him as patron are as rare as those of St. Matthew.
St. Luke painting the Virgin has been a frequent and favorite subject. The most famous of all is a picture in the Academy of St. Luke, at Rome, ascribed to Raphael. Here St. Luke, kneeling on a footstool before an easel is busied painting the Virgin with the child in her arms, who appears to him out of heaven sustained by clouds: behind St. Luke stands Raphael himself looking on. Another of the same subject, a very small and beautiful picture, also ascribed to Raphael, is in the Grosvenor Gallery. In neither of these pictures is the treatment quite worthy of that great painter, wanting his delicacy both of sentiment and execution. There is a most curious and quaint example in the Munich Gallery, attributed to Van Eyck – here the Virgin, seated under a rich Gothic canopy, holds on her lap the Infant Christ, in a most stiff attitude; St. Luke, kneeling on one knee, is taking her likeness. There is another, similar in style, by Aldegraef, in the Vienna Gallery. Carlo Maratti represents St. Luke as presenting to the Virgin the picture he has painted of her.
Sacred and Legendary Art – Volume 1
Mrs. Jameson (Anna), Estelle May Hurll – 1897
The grace of God is a treasure above all price: there is nothing so desirable. The Holy Ghost calls it an infinite treasure, because it is by the grace of God we are elevated to the dignity of friends of God, so that Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, hesitates not to address, by the title of friends, those who are in grace. Accursed sin destroys this precious friendship, and renders the soul an object of hatred instead of love. What should the person do, then, who by sin has lost this precious gift?
He should seek a mediator who will procure his pardon, and put him in possession of the forfeited blessing. “Console yourselves, then, sinners,” says St. Bernard, “since God has given you His Son as mediator. But what! you imagine that this merciful Saviour is harsh and rigorous; you obstinately figure to yourselves as terrible, amiability itself. Ah, people of little faith, learn that Jesus has nailed your sins to His cross, and redeemed you in His blood. Well, if the majesty of Jesus terrifies you, because He is God as well as man, remember that Mary, a pure creature, is your advocate with Him; recur to her—she is, my dear children, the ladder of sinners, by which they ascend again to the height of grace. Mary is all my confidence—Mary is the foundation of my hope.”
Hear how the Holy Ghost makes Mary speak in the Canticles: “I am the defense of those who recur to me—my mercy is to them an impregnable tower, and hence the Lord has established me a mediatrix of peace between Him and sinners.” “This powerful mediatrix,” says Cardinal Hugo, “procures peace for those who are at war; by her, pardon is granted to the guilty, salvation to the lost, and mercy to those who are in despair. Mary is also compared to the pavilions of Solomon, where they only spoke of peace, in preference to the tents of David, where there was only question of war, that we may learn she never treats of vengeance against sinners, but of reconciliation and pardon.”
The dove which returned to the ark with the green olive branch (Gn:8:8-11) was a figure of Mary. “O blessed Virgin,” says St. Bonaventure to her, “you are that faithful dove, who, after the sad shipwreck of the universe, have borne our Lord Jesus Christ, the sacred olive branch, the sign of mercy; and as peace was given to earth by you, it is through you that sinners continue to be reconciled with God.”
The rainbow which St. John saw encompass the throne of the Eternal (Rv:4:3) was also an emblem of the holy Virgin, as she is always present to mitigate the sentences pronounced against sinners. It was Mary God had in view when he said to Noah, “I shall place in heaven a sign of peace, and in beholding it, I shall remember the perpetual alliance I have made with men.”
The principal office given to Mary, when she appeared on earth, was to raise man from sin, and to reconcile him with God. “Pascc hoedos tuos” (Feed your goats) said the Lord in creating her. (Song of Solomon:1:8) We know that sinners are designated by the goats, as the just are by the sheep. “The goats,” says William of Paris, “are confided to you, O Mary, that you may transform them into sheep,” thus, while they deserved to be sent to the left hand, they shall, through your intercession, be placed at the right. Here we may observe that God does not command Mary to feed all the goats indiscriminately, but her own goats (Pasce hoedos tuos), for she does not save all sinners, but those who serve and honor her; as to those who are not devout to her, who never beg her aid to arise from their sins, she will not recognize them as her flock, and the left hand will be their station on the great day of the Lord.
A gentleman whose sins were so enormous that he despaired of their remission, was advised by a good religious man to recur to the blessed Virgin. In compliance with this advice he went to a celebrated oratory in the city, consecrated to our Lady, and had no sooner cast his eyes on the image of the holy Virgin than he felt a great sentiment of confidence. He prostrated himself, then, to kiss the feet of the image, when lo! the hand was moved toward him, and on it he saw these words, “I shall save thee from those who afflict thee.” The heart of the poor sinner was so filled with contrition for his sins, and love for Jesus and Mary, that he died on the spot.
“I am the loadstone of hearts,” says Mary to St. Bridget; “as the loadstone has the property of attracting iron, thus I attract hearts hardened as adamant, to give them to God.” This prodigy we daily witness: we often see in our missions that many sinners, who remained insensible at other sermons, become moved at that on the clemency of the holy Virgin.
“Mary,” says St. Chrysostom, “has been elected from all eternity as Mother of God, that she may save by her mercy those to whom her Son’s injustice cannot grant pardon.” “Yes,” adds St. Anselm, “Mary has been raised to her eminent dignity, rather for sinners than for the just, and since she is indebted to the guilty for her glorious maternity, how can I despair of pardon, however enormous my crimes may be?”
The Church, in the prayers for the vigil of the Assumption, teaches that this glorious Queen has been assumed into heaven, to intercede confidently for us (fiducialiter). Hence she is styled by St. Justin the arbiter of our lot; “As an arbiter decides,” says he, “between two parties, thus Jesus permits His Mother to decide between Him and us.”
“What!” says Abbot Adam, “can he fear to perish who has Mary for his Mother and advocate?” “Will you, holy Virgin,” adds the same saint, “refuse to implore your Son for another son, or to demand of the Redeemer the pardon of the redeemed? No, certainly; for you are not ignorant that the same God who has rendered His Son a mediator between Him and man, has made you advocate between the Judge and criminals.”
The Glories of the Catholic Church – The Catholic Christian Instructed in Defence of His Faith
Rev. Henry Athanasius Brann (1895)
Therefore, heresy is so-called from the Greek word meaning choice, by which each chooses according to his own will what he pleases to teach or believe. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not themselves of their own will choose what they would believe, but faithfully transmitted to the nations the teaching received from Jesus Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema. – Bishop Saint Isidore of Seville, Spain
The letter below was written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria (296 AD – d. 2 May 373) to the early Christians of the 4th century who refused to accept the Arian heresy, Christians who had lost their Church buildings to the heretics, but Christians who kept the faith.
“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises — but you have the apostolic faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the faith? The true faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle — the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the faith?
True, the premises are good when the apostolic faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …
You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the faith which has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and if an execrable jealously has tried to shake it in a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis.
No one, ever, will prevail against your faith, beloved brothers, and we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.
Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church but in reality they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.
Even if Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”
(Coll. Selecta SS. Eccl. Patrum. Caillu and Guillou, Vol. 32, pp 411-412)
O Lord! all our ills come from not fixing our eyes on Thee: if we looked at nothing else but where we are going we should soon arrive, but we fall a thousand times and stumble and go astray because we do not keep our gaze bent on Him Who is the “Way”. It looks so new to us that one would suppose no body had walked in it before. Indeed, this is a grievous pity: one would think we were not Christians at all, nor had ever read the Passion in our lives. Lord have mercy on us — we are touched in a point of honour! If people tell us not to notice it, we at once call them unchristian — I laugh, or I grieve sometimes, at what I hear of such foibles in the world, as I do at my own foibles in religion. To be undervalued in the least is unbearable to us: we at once cry out: “We are not angels, nor saints!” That is true enough. God deliver us, my daughters, when we fall into any imperfection, from saying: ‘We are not angels! We are not saints!’ Although we are not, still, it is the greatest help to believe that, with the aid of God, we can be if we strive our hardest. There is no fear of His failing to do His part if we do ours.
Since we came here for nothing else, let us put our hands to the plough, as they say. Let there be nothing which we know would further our Lord’s service that we dare not undertake with the assistance of His grace. I wish such audacity to exist in this house — it always increases humility. Ever nourish this holy daring, for God aids the valiant and is no respecter of persons.” Both to you and me He will give the help needed.
The Way to Perfection
St. Teresa of Ávila
“I shall not give the Church’s destroyers an easy conscience by handing over to them what belongs only to God, to the Faithful, to the Church of all time (1976)
We believe and accept our faith as the only true faith in the world. All this confusion ends up in compromises, which destroy the Church’s doctrines, for the misfortune of mankind and the church alike.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, interview, 1978)
“We know now with whom we have to deal. We know perfectly well that we are dealing with a “diabolical hand” which is located at Rome, and which is demanding, by obedience, the destruction of the Church! And this is why we have the right and the duty to refuse this obedience… I believe that I have the right to ask these gentlemen who present themselves in offices which were occupied by Cardinals… “Are you with the Catholic Church?” “Are you the Catholic Church?” “With whom am I dealing?” If I am dealing with someone who has a pact with Masonry, have I the right to speak with such a person? Have I the duty to listen to them and to obey them?” (Archbishop Lefebvre, 1978, Ordination Sermon, “Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre”, Vol. 2, p.209, Michael Davies)
I have preached and done what the Church has always taught. I have never changed what the Church said in the Council of Trent and at the First Vatican Council. So who has changed? It is the enemy, as Pope St. Pius X said, the enemy who is working within the Church because he wants the Church to be finished with her tradition.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Homily, Venice, April 7, 1980)
“Yes, I am a rebel. Yes, I am a dissident. Yes, I am disobedient to people like those Bugninis. For they have infiltrated themselves into the Church in order to destroy it. There is no other explanation.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference on the Infiltration of modernism in the Church, Montreal Canada, 1982)
We therefore choose to keep it and we cannot be mistaken in clinging to what the Church has taught for two thousand years. The crisis is profound, cleverly organized and directed, and by this token one can truly believe that the master mind is not a man but Satan himself. For it is a master-stroke of Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience […] St. Thomas Aquinas, to whom we must always refer, goes so far in the “Summa Theological” as to ask whether the “fraternal correction” prescribed by Our Lord can be exercised towards our superiors. After having made all the appropriate distinctions he replies: “One can exercise fraternal correction towards superiors when it is a matter of faith.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, “Open Letter to Confused Catholics”, 1986)
You are working to dechristianize society and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them.” (Archbishop Lefebvre to Cardinal Ratzinger, 1987)
“The See of Peter and the posts of authority in Rome are being occupied by anti-Christs, the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord is being rapidly carried out even in His Mystical Body here below… This is what has brought down upon our hearts persecution by the Rome of the anti-Christs. This Rome, Modernist and Liberal, is carrying on its work on the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord, as Assisi and the confirmation of the liberal theses of Vatican on Religious Liberty prove…” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Letter to the future Bishops, Aug 29, 1987)
“Rome has lost the Faith, my dear friends. Rome is in apostasy. These are not words in the air. It is the truth. Rome is in apostasy… They have left the Church… This is sure, sure, sure.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Retreat Conference, September 4, 1987)
The pope said that it was necessary to accept humanist ideas, that is was necessary to discuss such ideas; that it was necessary to have dialogs. At this stage, it is important to state that dialogs are contrary to the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Dialogs presuppose the coming together of two equal and opposing sides; therefore, in no way could (dialog) have anything to do with the Catholic faith. The Spotlight, a weekly newspaper in Washington, D.C., in its issue of July 18, 1988
“And we must not waver for one moment either in not being with those who are in the process of betraying us. Some people are always admiring the grass in the neighbor’s field. Instead of looking to their friends, to the Church’s defenders, to those fighting on the battlefield, they look to our enemies on the other side. “After all, we must be charitable, we must be kind, we must not be divisive, after all, they are celebrating the Tridentine Mass, they are not as bad as everyone says” —but THEY ARE BETRAYING US —betraying us! They are shaking hands with the Church’s destroyers. They are shaking hands with people holding modernist and liberal ideas condemned by the Church. So they are doing the devil’s work.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Address to his priests, Econe, 1990)
Auxilium Christianorum, ora pro nobis
Exsurge, Domine, nolite tardare, hereditatem tuam destruitur.
Come, O Lord, do not delay for your inheritance is being destroyed.
A link to Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing In The Catholic Church Since The Apostle’s Time by Fr. Peter Carota
Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.
Rise, Peter, and fulfill this pastoral office divinely entrusted to you as mentioned above.
Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth…
For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves. Finally, let the whole church of the saints and the rest of the universal church arise. Some, putting aside her true interpretation of Sacred Scripture, are blinded in mind by the father of lies. Wise in their own eyes, according to the ancient practice of heretics, they interpret these same Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands, inspired only by their own sense of ambition, and for the sake of popular acclaim, as the Apostle declares. In fact, they twist and adulterate the Scriptures. As a result, according to Jerome, “It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man’s, or what is worse, the devil’s.”
Let all this holy Church of God, I say, arise, and with the blessed apostles intercede with almighty God to purge the errors of His sheep, to banish all heresies from the lands of the faithful, and be pleased to maintain the peace and unity of His holy Church.
Pope Leo X
Condemning The Errors Of Martin Luther
Bull issued June 15, 1520
“Turn not thy face away from me, O my God, but look upon me with pity and compassion,”
We feel assured that if our Heavenly Father but turns His face towards us, His hands will be stretched forth to save us. If His face bends above us, it is because His Heart is inclined to receive us.
A truly noble and most touching devotion is that of the Holy Face of Our Lord. We cannot meditate on the mysteries of our rosary without contemplating our Lord’s beautiful humanity, and prostrating ourselves before it, as we behold it everywhere manifesting His ineffable divinity.
In the first joyous mystery, as in the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Face is hidden from the eyes of man, yet from the bosom of the Virgin Mother, as from the tabernacle, went forth the radiance of its glance to illumine the world, and to show it where to find peace and joy. Mary, Queen of Charity, wends her way over the hills of Judea for the Visitation of Saint Elizabeth, and carries with her the Holy Hidden Face. Vain and worthless the deed of charity or the word of kindness that has not the face of Jesus hidden within it.
Multitudes of meritorious deeds are done with unmeriting zeal; the Holy Face is not stamped upon them; the effigy of the world is there instead, and the Supreme Judge renders to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; when He finds the supernatural motive He beholds upon the coin of human acts the face of His Son, and then does he render to God the things that are God’s, and to the child of God, eternal merit.
The shepherds of Judea and the wise men from afar enter the stable at Bethlehem, and behold! they find between them and the majesty of the Divinity only an infant’s face. What a subject for meditation is that soft, dimpled cheek, that small, but nobly arching-brow, that quivering baby mouth, those infantine but farseeing eyes! The face of a babe screening the beatific vision of a God! Not less deep are the thoughts awakened, as we contemplate Holy Simeon gazing upon that same dear little face, on the occasion of the Presentation, or as we, with Mary and Joseph, discover the divine Boy disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, while they, astounded at the wisdom of His answers, gaze with awe upon His face, failing to see the Supreme Giver of the Law in this its youthful interpreter.
Thus the beads have slipped through our fingers, and the Hail Mary has dropped from our lips, while our eyes have been fixed on the Holy Face in its beauty. In the next five mysteries we behold it in its disfigurement; bathed in a bloody sweat; beaten and spit upon; mantled with a blush of shame, in the scourging; haggard with pain, in the crowning with thorns; bent toward earth in the weary way to Calvary; turned heavenward, in the crucifixion, and again earthward, when the cross stands erect. What food for devout thought and tender meditation. No trace here of Bethlehem’s innocent loveliness, or of Nazareth’s boyish beauty; no promise, but faith in His wood, of the glory of the Resurrection. Divinity veiled by a face of flesh was wonderful indeed, but Divinity, veiled by a wounded, disfigured, bloodstained face—even more by a livid, dead face—this is almost inconceivable, yet before the crucifix we bow and express our faith, while our soul is filled with fear at the thought of what we creatures dare to do before the Face of our God. How shall we dare to behold that Holy Face that brought salvation to us, and we turned away and fell in love with death, and kissed deformity and sins? Sore need we have to say our rosary, and to prostrate ourselves, in each of its mysteries, at the feet of Him whom we entreat to turn towards us His Holy Face.
A Dominican Sister (1892)
“We are at the end of a tradition and a civilization which believed we could preserve Christianity without Christ, religion without a creed, meditation without sacrifice, family life without moral responsibility, sex without purity and economics without ethics. We have completed our experiment of living without God…” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1933)
..with the atom. It says to man: “God made me. He put atomic fission in the universe. That is how the sun lights the world. The great power which the Omnipotence has locked within my heart was made to serve you for peaceful purposes: to light your cities, to drive your motors, to ease the burdens of men. But instead, like Prometheus, you have stolen this fire from heaven and used it for the first time to destroy noncombatants. You did not first use electricity to kill a man, but you first used atomic fission to annihilate cities. For that reason, I shall turn against you, make you fear what you should love, make millions of hearts shrink in terror from your enemies, doing to you what you have done to them, and turn humanity into a victim of Frankenstein, cowering in bomb shelters from the very monsters you have created.”
It is not that God has abandoned the world, but that the world has abandoned God and cast its lot with nature divorced from Nature’s God. Man throughout history has always become wicked when, turning his back on God, he identified himself with nature. The new name for nature is Science. Science rightly understood means reading the Wisdom of God in Nature, which God made. Science wrongly understood means reading the proofs of the Book of Nature while denying that the Book ever had an Author. Nature or Science is a servant of man under God; but divorced from God, Nature or Science is a tyrant, and the atom bomb is the symbol of that tyranny.
Since man trembles before Nature without God, the only hope for mankind must be found in nature itself. It is as if God in His Mercy, when man turned his head away from the heavens, still left hope for him in the very nature toward which he now lowers his eyes. There is Hope and a great Hope, too.
The Hope is ultimately in God, but people are so far away from God they cannot immediately make the leap. We have to start with the world as it is. The Divine seems far away. The start back to God must begin with nature. But is there anything unspoiled and unshattered in all nature with which we can start the way back? There is one thing, which Wordsworth called our “tainted nature’s solitary boast.” That hope is in The Woman. She is not a goddess, she is not divine, she is entitled to no adoration. But she came out of our physical and cosmic nature so holy and good that when God came to this earth He chose her to be His Mother and the Woman of the world.
It is particularly interesting that the theology of the Russians, before they were overwhelmed by the cold heart of the anti-God, taught that when the world rejected the Heavenly Father, He sent His Divine Son, Jesus Christ to illumine the world. Then they went on to predict that, when the world would reject Our Lord as it has done today, on that Dark Night the light of His Mother would arise to illumine the darkness and lead the world to peace. The beautiful revelation of Our Blessed Mother at Fatima in Portugal from April to October, 1917, was another proof of the Russian thesis that, when the world would fight against the Savior, He would send His Mother to save us. And her greatest Revelation took place in the very month the Bolshevik Revolution began.
What was said on those occasions is too well known to be repeated. Our present concern is with the Dance of the Sun which took place on October 13, 1917. Those who love the Mother of Our Lord need no further evidence of this event. Since those who unfortunately do not know either would take proof only from those who reject both Our Lord and His Mother, I offer this description of the phenomenon by the atheist editor of the anarchist Portuguese newspaper O Seculo, who was one among the 70,000 who witnessed the incident that day.
It was “a spectacle unique and incredible. . . . One can see the immense crowd turn toward the sun which reveals itself free of the clouds in full noon. The great star of day makes one think of a silver plaque, and it is possible to look straight at it without the least discomfort. . . . The astonished eyes of the people, full of terror, with heads uncovered, gaze into the blue of the sky. The sun has trembled, and has made some brusque movements, unprecedented, and outside of all cosmic laws. According to the typical expressions of the peasants ‘the sun danced.’ The sun turned around on itself like a wheel of fireworks, and it fell almost to the point of burning the earth with its rays … It remains for those competent to pronounce on the danse macabre of the sun, which today at Fatima has made Hosannas burst from the breasts of the faithful and has naturally impressed even freethinkers and other persons not at all interested in religious matter.”
Another atheistic and antireligious sheet, O Ordem, wrote: “The sun is sometimes surrounded with crimson flames, at other times aureoled with yellow and at still others, red; it seemed to revolve with a very rapid movement of rotation, apparently detaching itself from the sky, and approached the earth while radiating strong heat.”
Why should Almighty God have chosen to verify the 1917 message of Our Lady about the end of World War I, about the beginning of World War II in 1939 if men did not repent, through nature’s one indispensable light and heat? We may only conjecture.
There are three possible ways of interpreting the Miracle of the Sun. The first is to regard it as a warning of the atomic bomb, which, like a falling sun, would darken the world. It conceivably might be a portent of the day when man, Prometheus-like, would snatch fire from the heavens and then rain it down as death on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
On the other hand, it could be seen as a sign of hope, namely, that the Woman who came out of nature is mightier than the forces of nature. The atomic bomb explodes through fission, or one atom rending and tearing another atom. But atomic fission is the way the sun lights the world. God put atomic fission in the universe; otherwise we would not have discovered it.
At Fatima, the fact that Mary could take this great center and seat of atomic power and make it her plaything, the fact that she could swing the sun “like a trinket at her wrist,” is a proof that God has given her power over it, not for death, but for light and life and hope. As Scripture foretold: “And now, in heaven, a great sign appeared; a woman clothed with the sun.” (Rev. 12:1)
There is a third way of viewing the Miracle of the Sun and that is to regard it as a miniature and a cameo of what may yet happen to the world, namely, some sudden cataclysm or catastrophe which would make the world shake in horror as the 70,000 shook at Fatima that day. This catastrophe would be a precocious or uncontrolled explosion of an atomic bomb which would literally shake the earth. This is not beyond the realm of possibility. Einstein and Lindbergh in their scientific writings have mentioned it as a danger. But better than either testimony is the address the Holy Father gave at the opening session of the Pontifical Academy of Science on February 21, 1943 two years before the first atomic bomb was dropped.
Since atoms are extremely small it was not thought seriously that they might also acquire practical importance. Today, instead, such a question has taken an unexpected form following the results of artificial radioactivity. It was, in fact, established that in the disintegration, which the atom of uranium undergoes when bombarded by neutrons, two or three neutrons are freed, each launching itself – one being able to meet and smash another uranium atom. From special calculation it has been ascertained that in such a way (neutron bombardment causing a breakdown in the uranium atom) in one cubic meter of oxide power of uranium, in less than one one-hundredth of a second, there develops enough energy to elevate more than sixteen miles a weight of a billion tons: a sum of energy which could substitute for many years the action of all the great power plants of the world.
Above all, therefore, it should be of utmost importance that the energy originated by such a machine should not be let loose to explode but a way found to control such power with suitable chemical means. Otherwise there could result, not only in a single place but also for our entire planet, a dangerous catastrophe.
On October 13, 1917, believers and unbelievers prostrated themselves upon the ground during the Miracle of the Sun, most of them pleading to God for Mercy and Forgiveness. That whirling sun, which spun like a giant wheel and thrust itself to the earth as if it would burn it with its rays, may have been the harbinger of a world spectacle that will draw millions to their knees in a rebirth of faith. And as Mary revealed herself in that first Miracle of the Sun, so may we look forward to another revelation of her power when the world has its next rehearsal for the Dies Irae.
Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is actually a petition to a Woman to save man from nature made destructive through the rebellious intellect of man. At other moments in history, she was a Mediatrix of Her Divine Son for man; but here she is a Mediatrix for nature. She seizes the original atomic power which is the sun and proves it is hers to use for peace. And yet it is not apart from man that she would save him from nature, as it was not apart from her free consent that God would save humanity from sin. Man must cooperate through penance.
At La Salette, Our Lady asked for penance. At Lourdes, three times the Blessed Mother said: “Penance, penance, penance.” At Fatima, the same penitential antiphon is struck time and time again. The atom will not destroy man, if man will not destroy himself. An atom in revolt is only a symbol of man in revolt. But humanity in repentance will purchase a nature in complete control.
Like the threatened destruction of Nineveh, the threat of another World War is conditional. The Blessed Mother revealed at Fatima in 1917 that World War I would end in another year. If men repented, she said, a great era of peace and prosperity would come to the world. But if not, another World War, worse than the first, would begin in the reign of the next Pontiff (Pius XI).
The Civil War in Spain in 1936 was thus looked upon by Heaven as the curtain raiser and the prologue of World War II. This war would be the means by which “God will punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.
“To prevent this I come to ask the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first Saturdays. Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If my requests are not granted, Russia will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have to suffer much, and various nations will be annihilated.”
There then comes a missing paragraph, which the Church has not yet given to the world. It probably refers to these times. Then, as if to indicate that it will be a Time of Trouble, comes the concluding paragraph: “In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Repentance, prayer, sacrifice – these are conditions of peace, for they are the means by which man is remade. Fatima throws a new light on Russia, for it makes a distinction between Russia and the Soviets. It is not the Russian people that must be conquered in war; they have already suffered enough since 1917. It is Communism that must be crushed.
This can be done by a Revolution from within. It is well to remember that Russia has not one, but two atomic bombs. Her second bomb is the pent-up sufferings of her people under the yoke of slavery, and when that explodes it will be with a force a thousand times greater than that which comes from the fission of an atom! We need a revolution, too, as well as Russia. Our revolution must be from within our hearts, that is, by the remaking of our lives. As we proceed with our Revolution, the Revolution in Russia will grow apace.
O Mary, we have exiled Your Divine Son from our lives, our councils, our education and families! Come with the light of the sun as the symbol of His Power! Heal our wars, our dark unrest; cool the cannon’s lips so hot with war! Take our minds off the atom and our souls out of the muck of nature! Give us rebirth in Your Divine Son, us, the poor children of the earth grown old with age! “Advance Woman, in Thy Assault upon Omnipotence!” Shame us all into enlisting as Your warriors of peace and love!
The World’s First Love
By FULTON J. SHEEN
The humble Virgin of Nazareth, Mary, being the nearest and most intimately united to God, is, of all His creatures, the most holy. A closer union with God never existed, nor could there be a more perfect one than that which resulted from the divine maternity.
Notwithstanding Mary’s intimate relationship with God, her divine motherhood, it would have availed her but little had she not carried Jesus Christ in her heart, even more than in her chaste womb. She shunned the world, abhorred sin, and lived only for Jesus. All her days were passed in the practice of virtue. With greater reason than Saint Paul could she exclaim: “And I live, now, not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gall. 11—20).
She was holy in her eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet; she was godly in her thoughts, desires, words, heart, and in all the powers of her soul; she was saintly in all her movements, all her actions; in a word, she was holy in both body and soul.
Jesus was, by nature, impeccable, Mary having been preserved by a special dispensation of divine grace from the blight of the original defilement, was exempt from any actual stain, even from the least imperfection. Jesus dwelt in Mary’s immaculate womb for nine months, was nourished at her breasts in infancy, and spent thirty of the thirty-three years of his life under her roof. Mary took part in His labors and shared in His joys and ignominies.
From the blessed moment of her conception, super eminent beauty graced her pure soul. In her tender infancy she consecrated herself to God, Whom she loved with an affection beyond that of all creatures capable of serving Him. She had no thought, no desire, save that of honoring Him. She performed no duty, she undertook no task but what tended to His greater glory. Her mind was in perfect harmony with His mind; her heart pulsated only in union with that of her Creator; her soul was filled with joyous rapture in her ecstasy of devotion to Him. Never for one moment in her life did she displease Him in thought, word or deed.
She knew not evil; no shadow of sin ever obscured her life, no stain of any kind ever darkened her soul. She not only lived, but died for love of God, for it was her excessive love to be dissolved and be with Him that caused her soul to wing its flight to his bosom, and the sweet embrace of her divine Son, Jesus.
Like Him, she was tried; nevertheless, her sorrows drew her closer to God, to whom she had recourse for help and consolation. In the spirit of her divine Son, Jesus, who exclaimed, “Not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark XIV— 36), did she humbly submit to God’s holy will in these words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy word” (Luke 1—38).
Though she understood not the words spoken to her by the holy man Simeon, concerning her divine Son, her love for, and her confidence in her Maker was such, that, albeit, at almost every step in life, her heart was transfixed with a sword of sorrow, her mind and heart were at all times one with that of God. “Be it done unto me according to Thy word,” came forth every moment from her pure and holy soul.
She was humble, like the meek and humble Jesus, and the Lord “hath regarded the humility of His handmaid” (Luke I—48). Her devotion for Jesus was like that of St. Peter; her charity, like that of St. John; her obedience, like that of Abraham; her patience, like that of Isaac; her resignation, like that of Jacob; her immaculateness excelled the chastity of all the Angels and Saints; her constancy was like that of Josue; her goodness, like that of Samuel; her tenderness, like that of David, and her abstinence, like that of Daniel.
Responding faithfully to every requirement of a perfect life, of exalted sanctity, she is indeed that Holy Mary of whom it is said in the inspired volume: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women” (Luke I—28).
The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: As Set Forth in Her Litany
By Cornelius Joseph O’Connell (1914)
In the 126th Psalm, King David warns us, “Unless the Lord builds the house: they labor in vain that build it.” Houses must be built on foundations that are slide-rule perfect, lest they tilt. King David’s teaching, of course, goes beyond houses. He means that without grace, whatever we do is in vain.
Philosophy is like this, and especially so. There must be no flaws, it must be perfect. In his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul’s words about philosophy are interesting in this regard:
“Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ” (2:8).
Writing about the mentality that overthrew the Middle Ages, Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira noted that by the 15th century, “The appetite of men for earthly pleasures [was] transformed into a burning desire. ” They were increasingly attracted to “a life filled with delights of fancy and the senses.”
The professor went on to say what happened when this mentality penetrated the intellectual sphere:
“This moral climate produced clear manifestations of pride, such as a taste for ostentatious and vain disputes, for inconsistent tricks of argument and for fatuous exhibitions of learning. It encouraged old philosophical tendencies, over which Scholasticism had already triumphed.”
Now then, it matters nothing whether it be “old philosophical tendencies” or new ones that lead men into error. Scholasticism’s foundation was slide-rule perfect, and therefore blocked the program of Progressivism. It had to go, and in the wake of Vatican II it was replaced with something new. Why, exactly, was Scholasticism perfect? And what, exactly, took its place?
It was perfect because it brought “harmony between the laws of being and the laws of thought. Objectivity of our knowledge in the light of being.”
Important words, these. When we examine a thing, we do so as it exists in being. The method of this examination must be divorced from the clutter of our subjective thoughts. Any method of inquiry that seeks the truth must place the object first, and this is exactly what Scholasticism does. For this reason Pope St. Pius X said that Catholicism cannot be understood scientifically without utilizing the major theses of St. Thomas Aquinas, the father of Scholasticism.
The philosophy of John Paul II, known as Phenomenology, replaced Thomism, and locked Catholics globally into the progressivist New Church. Its method directly violates the principle of placing the object first, by taking “consciousness as its starting point, as Descartes did.” This is a problem of vital concern, because “for knowledge to be objective it is essential that things, not thoughts, be known first.” Whereas, “phenomenology sees reality as essentially relative and subjective.”
Fr. Karol Wojtyla wrote his philosophical doctoral dissertation on Max Scheler, an associate of Edmund Husserl. About Husserl the following was written:
“Existentialism is a philosophical movement characterized by an emphasis on subjectivity. It was inspired mainly by the German philosophers Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. It, like the rest of the pus-filled growth on the back of philosophy called post-Modernism, should be disregarded by any philosophy that has a desire to know what is true and what is false.”
To repeat, a house built on a bad foundation will end up tilting. This means tearing the building down and beginning over. Phenomenology begins with self, which was the temptation of Lucifer. When God commanded adoration and reverence from the angelic realm, it caused a temptation for Lucifer, for he “was divided in his will between himself and the infallible truth of the Lord. Simply put, Lucifer violated the rule later codified by St. Thomas Aquinas, whereby focus on the object must be pure; it must not become entangled with self.
The house of God has been tilted for a long time. The progressivist New Church has to come down, its existentialist foundation has to be jack-hammered and buried in the hinterland.
Ninety years ago on July 13, 1917, Our Lady of Fatima warned us that “several nations will be annihilated.” Perhaps the present foundation and its tilted house must wait until then to be removed. In the Reign of Mary, her children will return to consulting the slide-rule to check its calculations, returning the foundation of St. Thomas Aquinas to its rightful place in the Catholic Church.
This article from The Washington Daily News reported the details of the death of Pope Pius XII and reflected on the highlights of his 19-year reign as Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. His last words were, “Pray,” he said. “Pray that this regrettable situation for the church may end.”
Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Oct. 9, 1958 (UPI) –The church bells of Rome signaled today the start of nine days of official mourning for Pope Pius XII who died peacefully this morning in his summer palace at the age of 82.
Signs of mourning were donned throughout the Catholic world. Messages of condolences poured in from political and religious leaders of all denominations, for the late Pope was not only the spiritual and temporal head of Roman Catholicism but a diplomat and statesman of universal standing.
The body of the late Pope Pius XII, austere and kindly of face even in death, still lay in the room where he died at 3:52 a.m. (10:52 p.m. EDT) yesterday after a second stroke and heart and lung complications.
Later in the day, it was to be moved from the plain bedchamber on the second floor of the papal summer palace into the hall of the Swiss Guards. There Pius XII will lie in state until 2 p.m. (9 a.m. EDT) tomorrow when the body will be transported to Rome.
Vatican embalmers prepared the Pope’s body for the nine days of solemn ceremony before it is laid to rest in the grottoes of St. Peter’s Basilica close to the tomb of the first pope, St. Peter.
In the room where the Pope died, his body lay on a shiny brass bed. It was dressed in flowing white robes, topped by the ermine-lined scarlet “mozzetta” or cape. The top of the head was covered by a scarlet camauro, also trimmed with white ermine, which fitted closely around the ears and left only the face exposed.
In the Pope’s hands, clasped on his breast, were the small crucifix and the rosary he held when he died.
Only the communists showed no regrets. He had fought them bitterly, and for hours Moscow Radio did not even mention his death. During the final hours of his illness Russia jammed news bulletins on his condition.
In Rome where the solemn ceremonies will be held bells tolled in pre-dawn darkness and the altars of the city’s many churches were draped in purple, the sign of mourning. Italy declared three days of mourning and closed schools and places of entertainment.
The Pope had been unwell for a week and his final illness came at 8:30 a.m. Monday when he suffered a stroke, which left him paralyzed and weak. He received the last rites of the church but appeared to be making a recovery.
Then yesterday he was felled by a second stroke and the Vatican announced to the world there was little hope for his recovery. In mid-afternoon the doctors reported a grave cardio-pulmonary collapse. At 3 p.m. doctors abandoned hope. Just before sundown, pneumonia set in. Doctors brought in oxygen and blood plasma.
The end followed swiftly. Prof. Antonio Gasbarrini, one of the four doctors, signaled that death was near. All gathered at the bed–the family and the high papal officers. They recited prayers for the dying. There was a choked, rasping sound from the patient.
Sister Pasquilina, the faithful housekeeper for more than two decades, gently wiped the unconscious Pope’s lips with water during the recital of the prayers.
At one point she took the crucifix, which had been resting on the Pope’s chest and put it near his mouth.
At 3:52 a.m. Prof. Gasbarrini put a stethoscope to the Pontiff’s chest, felt the pulse, turned and said: “E morto”–he is dead.
Msgr. Tardini repeated the words: “E morto.” And then in a break from tradition intoned the inspiring “Magnificat”:
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.
“My spirit doth rejoice in Him…”
All present slowly filed past the Pope’s deathbed – the noble guards, the Swiss guards and gendarmes on duty.
Msgr. Angelo Dell-Acqua, Vatican assistant Pro-Secretary of State, moved into the adjoining chapel and recited the first funeral Mass.
The Pope, a statesman and diplomat, was a man of many firsts. He was the first to use radio and television; the first to use a typewriter; the first to use a plane–he was known as the “Flying Cardinal” when he visited the United States 22 years ago.
His formal title was:
“Bishop of Rome
“Vicar of Christ.
“Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of The State of Vatican City.”
To Catholics he was the dauntless champion of mankind’s spiritual glory. To non-Catholics he was a statesman, a world leader who sought to prevent World War II through personal intervention, a man who fought against communism.
His death ended one of the most notable pontificates in the 19 centuries of the church. He was looked upon as a saint, and his early canonization was regarded as certain.
The church has reported that on the morning of Dec. 2, 1954, while suffering a serious illness, he saw “the sweet person of Jesus Christ at his bedside” while he was reciting the prayer, “Anima Christi.” Another apparent miracle attributed to him was the vision of the revolving suns, which appeared to him in the Vatican gardens during the 1950 holy year–a vision said to be similar to the one of Fatima.
The Pope’s last words before lapsing into unconsciousness showed that the church was foremost in his mind.
“Pray,” he said. “Pray that this regrettable situation for the church may end.”
Pope Pius XII was an implacable foe of communism, and the last half of his reign was devoted to a relentless struggle against its “cruel and bloody irony.”
But he served through an era that knew no peace, when the bloody World War II was succeeded by the “cold war,” the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, and the persecution of Christianity by the communists.
Though saddened by this struggle, the Pope remained convinced of the eventual victory of good over evil.
Extract from: The Washington Daily News, Thursday, October 9, 1958
On the sixth day of creation God formed man out of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and gave him a companion, Eve, whom He drew in a wondrous manner from the side of the sleeping Adam.
By so doing, God willed that couple to be the source of the human race, which was to be propagated by successive generations; and, in order that His wise designs might be the better accomplished, He endowed the union of man and woman with the qualities of unity and perpetuity.
Christ Himself taught that, by its very institution, marriage should be between two only ; that the two became one flesh, and that the marriage tie was so close that no man could loose it. (Mt:19:5-6)
But the primitive perfection of marriage gradually became corrupted even among God’s own chosen people. Moses permitted them, on account of the hardness of their heart, to give a bill of divorce.
“If a man take a wife, and have her, and she find not favor in his eyes, for some uncleanness: he shall write a bill of divorce, and shall give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.” (Dt: 24:1)
Among the Gentiles every sort of abomination prevailed, so that woman was degraded from being the man’s companion to being his drudge or his toy, and children became the mere chattels of their parents. These evils, however, were not to be without a remedy. Jesus Christ, Who restored man’s dignity and perfected the Mosaic law, took marriage under His special care. He deigned to be present at the wedding feast at Cana, and made it the occasion of His first miracle.
He reproved the Jews for their corrupt practices regarding marriage, and particularly forbade divorce. But He did far more. He raised matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament, thereby giving it the power to confer upon those who receive it the grace required by their state, and making it a figure of the union between Himself and His Church.
“Husbands, love your wives,” says St. Paul to the Ephesians “as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it. … Men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. . . . No man ever hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church; because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church.” (Eph:5:22-32)
A Manual of Catholic Theology based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik,”
by Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas B. Scannell
Benziger Bros. -1908