29 March 2011

St. Peter of Verona

St. Peter Martyr enjoins the onlooker to silence. by Fra Angelico

The following is a New Advent entry on St. Peter of Verona:
Born at Verona, 1206; died near Milan, 6 April, 1252. His parents were adherents of the Manichæan heresy, which still survived in northern Italy in the thirteenth century. Sent to a Catholic school, and later to the University of Bologna, he there met St. Dominic, and entered the Order of the Friars Preachers. Such were his virtues, severity of life and doctrine, talent for preaching, and zeal for the Faith, that Gregory IX made him general inquisitor, and his superiors destined him to combat the Manichæanerrors. In that capacity he evangelized nearly the whole of Italy, preaching in RomeFlorence, Bologna, Genoa, and Como.Crowds came to meet him and followed him wherever he went; and conversions were numerous. He never failed to denounce the vices and errors of Catholics who confessed the Faith by words, but in deeds denied it. The Manichæans did all they could to compel the inquisitor to cease from preaching against their errors and propaganda. Persecutions, calumnies, threats, nothing was left untried.
When returning from Como to Milan, he met a certain Carino who with some other Manichæans had plotted to murder him. The assassin struck him with an axe on the head with such violence, that the holy man fell half dead. Rising to his knees he recited the first article of the Symbol of the Apostles, and offering his blood as a sacrifice to God he dipped his fingers in it and wrote on the ground the words: "Credo in Deum". The murderer then pierced his heart. The body was carried to Milan and laid in thechurch of St. Eustorgio, where a magnificent mausoleum, the work of Balduccio Pisano, was erected to his memory. He wrought many miracles when living, but they were even more numerous after his martyrdom, so that Innocent IV canonized him on 25 March, 1253.

Saint Peter Martyr, pray for us.+
I wanted to just add that on his feast day, priests can bestow blessings on water invoking St. Peter Martyr, although, I am not sure of the particular form for this blessing, and it may involve also a relic of his.  The holy water is then referred to as, "St. Peter Martyr Water".  Also, there is a traditional blessing on small wooden crosses that one could make from all natural materials even just found outside, such as small twigs and twine.  Again, however, I am unaware of the form and rubrics and it may also require a St. Peter Martyr relic.  These are used for protection around the home, very much like palm crosses or St. Benedict medals, placed at the furthest corners of a residence (either/or both inside and outside).  This blessing can also be in addition to something with another but different blessing, such as to palm crosses.

Love Note to a Heretic


Dear Obstinate, Lost One,
Portion of Rembrant's The Prodigal Son

Just a now I heard a man blast you for sewing hurt with your words.  He said that you called people like us  "terrorists" who although have clarity on liturgical issues, are lacking in charity.  I am sorry you have seen it that way.  Aren't we all "lacking in charity", to one degree or another, as we are meaning to grow more like Christ?

Somehow, many people like me have given you the impression that we love the liturgy as an end to itself, as a type of cultural identity.  I can only speak for myself, and that is not the case for me.  The liturgy is a means for one to be united to Christ, and he gave it to us through the Holy Ghost for that purpose.  Now, I know you can say the same about anything else, but let's not get into that now.  My concern is to make known my love now, since we never know how much time we have left here.

While you have brought me great pain from your actions, both directly and indirectly --- by causing others that I love deeply much pain and confusion, and even distrust in the Church and even in God Himself, I separate your actions from the person.  It is this person, this lost family member, that I feel a sadness for the separation and wish you to come back home to the Church.  You, like me, were made in the image of my Beloved, and were given a soul to live in an eternity.

God knows I would willing give my (natural) life for you to come back.  Why?  Because the farther off one is, the more glory it bring to God when he returns, and rightfully so.  What great supernatural humility it would require!  Go to Mary and she will suit you with the graces of the Holy Ghost to find your way back.  

Until then, I will not call you insults or threaten you, and nothing you can say or do can discourage me for I am armed by the grace of Christ, through the love of his holy, Virgin Mother.  What may appear now as a battle, is only for a short time, and the greater the fight the greater the promise for victory.  Why would I give up happiness in this life to save the soul of the one that has hurt so many?   The greatest suffering known to man was borne by our sins, taken on willingly by Jesus, in order that among us many might be saved. You, most especially, who are so far away even while in the Visible Body of the Church, my family here on earth, would give him glory should you repent and turn back to him.  Out of love for him, I would sacrifice for you to come to the Mystical Body of Christ and win heaven, should it please the Lord.  He is my example, and I remember every day that he suffered and died out of love for me.  May the same remembrance be increased in every moment I obey his holy will.  Though he will probably not ask me to become a martyr, I gladly enjoin every suffering caused by your misunderstanding, to his holy Cross.

May you find that true charity resides in God and God alone, and that we love our neighbor out of love of Him who loved us first, and gives us the ability to love as He loves.

Anonymous Catholic

26 March 2011

The Christian Seder Meal: A Violation of the 1st Commandment

Do you know the meaning behind these symbols?
I hear this way too frequently, "We're celebrating with the having a seder meal." If you attempt to tell such confused, but often pious Catholics, they get very defensive saying that they have done it before, or other people they know and respect do it, or even that their church pastor encourages this.  They may even infer that you are being prejudiced against the Jews.

Here's a good, concise response which spells it all out:

Here's also an interesting article that speaks of all the disappointed Catholics from one parish that celebrated the seder (insert raised eyebrows here) meal for 20 years.  The parish priest and bishop ADMIT that this was meant not to be a teaching instrument but an actual religious ceremony.  The parish had received letters from Jews saying that this was offensive to them.  Do you want to know why?   Catholics celebrating the seder meant to them that these people, ignorant of the significance of the seder, were using it in the opposite way to say that Jesus was the Messiah.   Besides the fact that this is pure irony, the seder meal is blasphemous.

More of The Catholic Faithful posts on topic of "Jews"*
(*a very non-prejudice view, with only the facts, written by a Jewish descendant -- just ask my Jewish dad.)  


Seder Meals Violate the 1st Commandment

It is blaphemous to promote the Seder Meal because it is the celebration of the Messiah not yet come.  That is NOT what Catholics celebrate in Lent.  We celebrate the Messiah that hasn't yet come LITURGICALLY, which is not the same as denying that Christ has come, in fact.  This very form of worship of the Seder Meal represents the denial of Christ coming and hinges upon still being in the desert in reality, and not spiritually.  They do not practice this believe that they are in a spiritual need for a greater devotion to Christ, but rather, it essentially denies him as the Messiah.

Introit for the 3rd Sunday in Lent

I found this video of the Introit for the 3rd Sunday in Lent:

Lent - Third Sunday: Introit Oculi Mei from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Russian Orthodox Church: Yes to Cooperation, No to Compromise

From a statement of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokalamsk published in Russia Today (h/tAd Orientem):

Bishop Hilarion commented on his statement to RG as follows.
“The idea of a strategic alliance with the Catholics– is an old idea of mine. It came to me when the Catholics were electing the new Pope. Although I would like to point out that what I am suggesting is, in essence, the direct opposite of Uniatism, which is a way toward a rapprochement based on doctrinal compromises. In our point of view, the policy of Uniatism had suffered complete failure. Not only did it not bring the Orthodox Christians and Catholics closer together, it actually distanced them. And Uniatism, as is currently recognized by both Orthodox believers and Catholics, is not the path toward unity.

‘‘I, on the other hand, am asking to – without any doctrinal compromises and without attempts to artificially level our dogmatic differences, the teachings about the Church and about the superiority of the Universal Church, without the claims to resolve all of the existing problems between us – act as allies, at the same time, without being a single Church, without having a single administrative system or common liturgy, and while maintaining the differences on the points in which we differ.

‘’This is especially important in light of the common challenges that face both Orthodox and Catholic Christians. They are first and foremost the challenges of a godless world, which is equally hostile today to Orthodox believers and Catholics, the challenge of the aggressive Islamic movement, the challenge of moral corruption, family decay, the abandonment by many people in traditionally Christian countries of the traditional family structure, liberalism in theology and morals, which is eroding the Christian community from within. We can respond to these, and a number of other challenges, together.

‘’I would like to stress, once more, that there are well-known doctrinal differences between the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, but there are also common positions in regard to morality and social issues which, today, are not shared by many of the representatives of liberal Protestantism. Therefore, cooperation is first and foremost necessary between the Orthodox and Catholic Christians – and that is what I call a strategic alliance.

‘’The Church is not ready to make any compromises. And I am not calling for compromise, but on the contrary, to uncompromisingly defend our positions.Within the framework of the Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, my position is often the toughest. Meanwhile, the documents that are drafted there, are the most often contested by the ROC delegations. There have been instances when we were forced to walk out of sessions as a sign of disagreement with what was happening. We always very firmly oppose attempts to erode the differences that exist between us.

‘’We don’t need any compromises. We need cooperation and collaboration. And within the framework of the theological commission, we could discuss the differences that exist between us not in order to find a compromise, but in order to clarify our differences and the things we have in common. It could so happen that in the course of discussion we realize that in some doctrinal aspects we are actually closer than seemed to be before – and this will be a rapprochement. But just the opposite could happen: we may see the differences that we have never noticed before.

‘’The theological dialogue should be allowed to take its course; it may or may not lead to some results. Meanwhile, cooperation that is built on a systematic basis and that is founded on the fact that we share many of the same tasks and challenges should be developed at the same time.”


I actually can respect the fact the the Russian Orthodox Church wishes not to compromise on dogmatic differences.  They're still very wrong (see * below), but I can respect that he is promoting the need for us to focus on the threats of secularism and Islam.

He can get away with saying that because in the past few decades, for the most part, the Church hasn't always been towing the hardline in public support of its dogmas.  The head of the Russian Orthodox ends up doing a PR spin that makes us look like patsies.

Side bar on Dogmatic Differences:
The Western Catholic Church can never compromise anyway, on the three main dogmatic differences.  It is ridiculous to say, for instance, that Jesus's Incarnation would somehow be limited by the Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception, any more than he'd be limited if the Blessed Virgin was purified at the conception of Jesus.  It makes no sense that the blessed womb of the Virgin Mother of God would be less sacred and pure than the pure soil which made the first man.   They say the Immaculate Conception is not biblical, while it's reasonable, and yet their concept is not biblical.

Purgatory is biblical, it's just not used as a word.  Why do people expect to say exact words for everything from different cultures?  It doesn't always happen in modern cultures, why do they suppose it has to be so with cultures thousands of years apart?

Likewise, the filioque is also biblical.  Jesus says he comes to us through the Father, and that he  sends the Paraclete -- the expression of the love of God the Father and God the Son.


A person's devotion to the Blessed Mother is demonstrated by the holy prudence, charity, obedience, meekness and humility, since these virtues were demonstrated by her most prominently.  

We cannot say that we love the Lord if we do not love the woman chosen for all eternity to be his Holy Virgin Mother.  We cannot say that we love the Blessed Virgin if we choose to trust more in ourselves than in Christ.  If we do not avoid unnecessary near occasions of sin, then we cannot be children of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces.  We must instead say as our Blessed Mother for our role model on how to truly love Jesus with our hearts, "Fiat! Be it done unto me according to Thy will."

25 March 2011

St. Bernard on the Annunciation

This is an excerpt from a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by St. Bernard (Hom. 4, 8-9: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 [1966], 53-54) and used in the Roman Office of Readings on December 20, in the fourth week of Advent, but it is also a great reading for the Solemnity (Feast) of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25. Bernard dramatically celebrates Mary's Fiat, or statement of consent in response to the announcement by the archangel Gabriel, behold the handmaiden of the Lord; "let it me done to me according to your word."

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving.Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

More on St. Bernard
Also: Gabriel Appeared

23 March 2011

On 'Rejecting "sacramentalism"'

 In a recent article, the Southern Baptist Church said that it was rejecting "sacramentalism" and lumping Catholics with non-Christians and secular Americans.  They, of course, ignore that "sacramentalism" is all over both the Old and New Testament.

"Though opposed to movements toward federation or organic union, Southern Baptists are committed to work with other evangelical denominations in common causes, and count all those who know the Lord Jesus as Savior to be true Christians and our true brothers and sisters. While we differ on important issues such as church government and the nature of the ordinances * (*i.e. opposing all sacramentalism), we nonetheless consider these brothers and sisters to be true Christians with whom we can work toward legitimate spiritual ends (i.e., evangelism and missions).

"Though considering  non-Christians and the Roman Catholic Church  to be the objects of our spiritual concern and evangelistic mission, we are nonetheless committed to work with “all men of good will in any good cause.” Thus, we can work with secular Americans and Roman Catholic  leaders  in common cause for the abolition of abortion, the defense of marriage, and in contending for religious liberty, these offered as examples only."

See article in its entirety here:


Christianity, that is, true Christianity --- the way it was and still is intended by God, is meant to be sacramental.  Jesus turned bread into his very flesh, for instance, yet any Christian who says otherwise, is like the apostles when they took off and left Jesus the first time.  He did not follow them, but then they eventually came back.  John 6:60 - 65  It is interesting to point out that the Greek word Jesus used  for the very word, to "eat" his flesh, was similar to the word we have in English today, to 'masticate'.  This was Jesus's way of clarifying that this was not to be considered as a symbol, but for those who wished to follow that they must actually consider that this bread was his flesh to be physically consumed, albeit, in an unbloodied manner.  The bread would remain the presence of bread, but become his flesh as the new Pascal Lamb, to be truly consumed, joining to his Sacrifice on the Cross, his consummation of death on the Cross.

And see who the Holy Ghost says was the only Apostle not to accept this doctrine?  It was none other than Judas.

Eco-Friendly Lent


The following is No Joke:

Some Lenten Resources...

Here are just a few of my favorite, online Lenten resources which may be of interest to you:

Some of you may already know of Audio Sancto.  It is basically a repository for some of the very best homilies on the Internet.  There are categories off to the right, side margin, and there you will also find the Lenten Missions category.

Please pray a Hail Mary for the priests with every download.

That name I used for that link above says it all.  How cool is that?  Some of those books are out of print, so count yourself very fortunate.  My recommendations: Dignities and Duties of the Priesthood, and The Glories of Mary (this book you really should own as a reference as well).  I've not yet read it, but I would also recommend The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ.  I would recommend Preparation for Death and Victories of the Martyrs, but they are not yet available online.  Victories of the Martyrs is awesome, especially the martyrs of Japan, which was one of St. Alphonsus favorite examples of martyrdom and may soon be yours as well.

I most highly recommend the very short treatise, Conformity (Uniformity) to God's Will.   It is a short treatise that is a MUST READ and pass on to all your Catholic family and friends.  Better yet, buy the little pocket versions for like $5, published by Tan Publishers.  It's very handy.  Even St. Alphonsus had this, his own work, read to him at his death bed.

This is actually "Catholic Books Online" --- miscellaneous collections free to the public.  Not all of them are Lenten themed.  I recommend, the The Four Last Things, a medieval classic by Fr. Martin Von Cochem, O.S.F.C., and Four Last Things by Abbe A. Michel, from 1929.  This one is a more theologically indepth view, but never-the-less, is quite useful.  For instance, towards the beginning of the treatise it describes the psychology of one who is condemned.

Also recommended:

These are not all Lenten in theme, but they are useful in growing in knowledge of the faith:  Pro Ecclesia
There you will find everyone from Michael Davies to the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  These are free downloads for your edification.

Music-wise, I highly recommend Tomas Luis Victoria's Requiem as sung by the Choir of the Westminster Cathedral, but you'll have to get that from the library or the store.

Also, there is a great book, The Sadness of Christ, written by St. Thomas Moore just while he was awaiting his execution.  It is surprisingly modern in the way that it reads, as if he is talking straight to you, it has that personal of a tone to the work.


Also for your Lenten pleasure, I will be publishing a more thorough 'analysis' of the Triduum liturgies of Lent.  These are, for those of you who do not know, comprised of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil.  I've posted about these before, if memory serves, but it was not a very thorough description.  There are so many intricate details that relate to the traditions, rubrics, music, history and theology of Catholicism that it is important to go through as many of them as possible.  This analysis will again be based on the "old" liturgical rite, still in use today but not known yet again as the "norm" but rather the "Extraordinary Form", sometimes (now incorrectly) known as "the Tridentine Rite".  My goal is to give you enough knowledge of these so that you will attend these yourself and see first-hand why it is the most beautiful thing on the face of the earth.


21 March 2011

Vere Languores Nostros

I'm not sure if I've posted this last year, but I've never seen this particular rendition, and it is worth sharing big time.  This is absolutely amazing.  Listen to these incredibly, well-defined dynamics, even within a single phrase.  It's so seamless and perfect* (*never mind the little boys moving about and scratching their heads, just listen to their singing).

Some note on this music:
A 4-voice (SATB) motet composed for Maundy Thursday. The Latin text comes from the Service ofTenebrae (III Responsory of I Nocturn). English Translation: ´Surely, he has borne our grieves, and has carried our sorrows; by his suffering we have been healed. Sweet wood, sweet iron, bearing a sweeter burden; you only were deemed worthy to uphold the heavenly King and Lord.´

The last line is very much like the last line of the chorus part of the Gregorian chant within the liturgy of Good Friday at the Adoration of the Cross.  It is taken from the Pange Lingua, composed by St. Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitiers.  (Interesting note: the Ave Maris Stella is also often attributed to him.)

Here is the Latin of the chorus portion of the Crux Fidelis:

Crux fidelis, inter omnes arbor una nobilis,
nulla talem silva profert flore, fronde, germine,
dulce lignum dulce clavo dulce pondus sustinens.

FAITHFUL Cross! above all other, one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom, none in fruit thy peers may be; sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!

You can see the similarities in Victoria's Vere Languores as compared to the portion of the Crux Fidelis.

Here is a more popularized version of "Vere Languores" as composed by Antonio Lotti.  I'm sorry I can't find one that has male voices that is worth sharing.  (Please comment and share the link if you find a strong, male or mixed choir performance on YouTube of Lotti's version.) This is a young, female choir, but they do a decent job with it:

The translation for this version is taken straight from Isaias/Isaiah 53:4:
" Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows"

Naming of the Catholic Church

I hear this so often, it is bizarre.  It must be due to the fact that so few Catholics know even basic things about the faith, that Protestants and others outside the Church accuse the Catholic Church of having artificially began a long time after the Apostles by the Roman Emperor Constantine.  

While I a don't recommend Catholic Answers as a resource in general, this particular video makes some of the basic points in response to, "Wasn't the Catholic Church started by the Emperor Constantine?"

Another point to make is that St. Ignatius of Antioch used the word to help Christians discern which churches were authentically Christian.  He used two Greek words, "kato" and "licas" to describe that the Church's teachings were handed down by the Apostles from God the Son, and could not be altered, and that they were therefore, true for all peoples, all places, and for all times.

20 March 2011

2nd Sunday in Lent

Here are some brief quotes on today's liturgical readings (in the traditional Latin Rite Mass) from Fr. Gabriele of St. Mary Magdalene:

"In ecstasy before the vision on Thabor, Peter cried out with his usual eagerness, "it is good for us to be here," and offered to make three tabernacles:  one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elias.  But his proposal was interrupted by a voice from heaven:  "this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him!"  and the vision disappeared.

Spiritual consolations are never and end in themselves, and we should neither desire them nor try to retain them for our own satisfaction.  Joy, even that which is spiritual, should never be sought for itself.  Just as in heaven, joy will be the necessary concomitant of possessing God, so too on earth, it should be nothing but a means, enabling us to give ourselves with greater generosity to the service of God.  To Peter, who wanted to stay on Thabor in the sweet vision of the transfigured Jesus, God Himself replied by inviting him to listen to and follow the teachings of His beloved Son.  The ardent Apostle would soon learn that following Jesus meant carrying the Cross and ascending Calvary with Him.

God does not console us for our entertainment but rather of our encouragement, for our strengthening, for the increase of our generosity in suffering for love of Him.

The vision disappeared; the Apostles raised their eyes and saw nothing "nisi solum Jesum" save Jesus alone, and with "Jesus alone," they came down from the mountain."

"It is precisely at such times (when God removes temporal consolations, helps, friendships --even spiritual one ---, understanding, esteem, encouragement --- even from Superiors) that we can prove to God more than ever-- by deeds and not by words only---that He is our all and that He alone suffices.  On these occasions the loving soul finds itself in a position to give God one of the finest proofs of its love: to be faithful to Him, to trust in Him, and to persevere in its resolution to give all, even if, by removing His gifts, He has left it alone.  The soul may be in darkness, that is, subject to misunderstanding, bitterness, material and spiritual solitude combined with interior desolation.  The time has come to repeat, "Jesus alone," to come down from Thabor with Him, and to follow with Him the Apostles even to Calvary, where He will suffer, abandoned not only by men, but even by His Father."

Pope Benedict XVI on Knowing the Will of God

19 March 2011

Antiphon for Divine Office on Feast of St. Joseph

Feast of St. Joseph, March 19
This is the antiphon for the 1st Class Feast of St. Joseph, March 19.  Each phrase is a wonderful meditation on the Christ child and the life of his foster father, St. Joseph.  It is sung in the liturgy of the Divine Office and is said by the priest before the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on that day, both in the Roman Catholic Rite.  This is a very ancient Gregorian hymn.  
The video below is not a great rendition, but I could not find any other audios of this on the internet for years, and wanted there to be one out there for those who wished to learn it.

My favorite aspects of this meditation is the fact that the more you consider these phrases, the more deeply your heart becomes convicted of the holiness of the man chosen by God to be the foster father of God the Son.   We should consider the honor that God has given to St. Joseph, who preserved himself in perfect purity of heart, body and therefore, of soul, even while he was conceived in concupiscence.  St. Joseph was able to meet the duties of his state chosen for him by God in as magnificent a fashion as the very magnificence of his state.  We can each strive to imitate St. Joseph by being attentive to the presence of Christ in our hearts in our daily lives, as we bear witness by our actions in how we protect the sanctity of Christ, His Bride the Church, the Sacraments and life itself, especially that life made in God's own image.

We can be a small imitation of Joseph when:
  • We 'hear' God in the Word of God.
  • We 'see' God in the Holy Eucharist.
  • We 'embrace' God in our hearts by holy obedience and diligence to our work and duties of state.
  • We 'kiss' God by charity of reverence to holy reverence to Him and all things belonging to Him, and by loving our neighbor for love of Him.
  • We 'clothe' Christ by protecting our own purity (through temperance) and to the degree that we are able, guarding the purity of others (through modesty).
  • We 'guard' Christ by knowing his teachings that have been handed down by him to and through the apostles and defending the teachings of His Holy Bride.  Also, we guard him by honoring him in the Most Blessed Sacrament through reverence in our deportment and worship, and by making everything we do ordered to him that we may receive him worthily.

The 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. Joseph
  • The doubt of Saint Joseph (Matthew 1:19) and the Message of the Angel (Matthew 1:20)
  • The poverty of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:7) and the Birth itself (Luke 2:7)
  • The Circumcision (Luke 2:21) and the Holy Name of Jesus (Matthew 1:25)
  • The prophecy of Simeon that many would be lost (Luke 2:34) and his prophecy that many would rise (Luke 2:34)
  • The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:14) and the Overthrow of idols (Isaias 19:1
  • The return from Egypt (Matthew 2:22) and Life with Mary and Jesus (Luke 2:39)
  • The loss of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:45) and Finding Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46)

13 March 2011

Caccini's Ave Maria Sung by Andrea Bocelli

Below is a performance by Andrea Bocelli, a famous practicing Catholic with a great love and respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  This song was written by Guilio Caccini (1551 - 1618), who composed at the tail end of the Renaissance, the cusp of the Baroque period.  While it does not have the complexity and solemnity of some of the most notable polyphonic music most prominent from the Renaissance, it does have a simplicity that is elegant and suitable for listening outside of the Mass.  ENJOY!

Click "Follow" on the right, and stay tuned throughout Lenten themed music and reflections.  

Also see: Sumi Jo Sings Caccini

Thoughts on Quinquagesima Sunday and the First Sunday in Lent

Holy fear is the beginning of wisdom.  Therefore, we should all have holy fear that we are not as wise as we need to be, that we do not see ourselves as God sees us.  We should plead to God for these graces.  God, Who has made us rational creatures with souls, must begin with humility and supernatural understanding in order to begin the path toward glorifying Him.

Quinquagesima Sunday
How often do each of us cry out in our prayers with all our heart, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me...Lord, that I may see"?   Jesus allowed the blind man to grow fervent in his prayers by allowing the man to follow him and beg him for this gift of physical sight, as an example to the rest that followed him.   Our Lord heard that there was silence even in the hearts of those following him, that they were not crying out of the depths of their souls that they may see with spiritual eyes.   They were so satiated by their senses, thinking only of the things of this life and not of the eternal, that Jesus used a blind man to humble them.

"At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve and said to them:  Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of man.  For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again.  And they understood none of those things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.  Now it came to pass, when He drew night to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging.  And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant.

And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  And he cried out, saying:  Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.  And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace.  But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.   And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto Him.  And when he was come near, He asked him, saying:  What wilt thou that I do to thee?  But he said:  Lord, that I may see.  And Jesus said to him:  Receive thy sight, thy faith hath made thee whole.  And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God.  And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God."  -- Gospel reading of Quinquagesima Sunday. :Luke 18:31-43

THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING comes from another gift; that of purity.  Purity disposes a soul the ability to receive the gift of understanding.  One can grow in purity by asking for this grace, and abiding in it through moderation of the senses, prayer of quiet (daily), daily recitation of the rosary and penance and mortification.  Mortification of the senses, in particular, of taste, is and has always been the ordinarily most effective means towards active purification.

Fasting and other abstinence from foods that we particularly like, even foods that are good for us, can help us better dispose ourselves to receiving this gift of 'sight'.  This gift of understanding helps us to better know, love and serve God.

First Sunday in Lent*
The more one craves created goods the less they crave God the Creator.  The more one craves God, the less they crave created goods, and the freer they become to know, love and chose the good, and He who is Goodness Itself.

"Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish!" -- Jesus Christ

Fasting and abstinence are the penances that give voice to our soul's craving of being ever more united to Jesus and his Mystical Body.  These proactive, little sufferings both cry out to the Lord and dispose us to receive his graces when he responds.

"Brethren:  We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain.  For he saith;  In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee.  Behold, now is the acceptable time..." --- Epistle for First Sunday in Lent (in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite), II Cor. 6:1-10.

Penance, particularly fasting and abstinence, and more over, fasting and abstinence during the time of Lent (when certain graces are more readily and abundantly given to those fortunate souls who abide in the Church and Christ's command for us to do penance), not only disposes us to God's graces, but strengthens us in natural virtues to resist temptations.   Our own wilderness lies within our very own selves to the degree that we suffer from the slavery due to both illicit and licit passions to which we have disordered attachments.  

Temptations do not only come to us as things that are objectively sinful, but also in things that are lawful, but misused or used as an end to themselves.  We must recognize that we are to continue to make conversion of our own hearts through purifying our disordered appetites.   

Lord, hold before our eyes the remembrance that you permitted yourself to be tempted, although exteriorly, that we may will ourselves to become interiorly strengthened spiritually by this time of fasting and abstinence.  This fight is the preparation for the battles that you have already chosen for us, so that we may endeavor to "win the crown".   

Blessed Mother of God, pray on our behalf to your Son, that we may not fail our Lenten service, that we shall put our trust in God and in His promise that He will command His angels to watch over us and keep us on the narrow path chosen for each of us.

Let us, therefore, accept that battle.  May we come to have hearts so full of the Immortal Goodness of the one, true God that all earthly joy is bitter without Him, that we should long less for them and more for the Creator than created goods.  And, let us also trust in Him, that through any bitterness we do not lose any of the fight, but recognize Christ's willingness to be small for our sakes, especially in Holy Communion which strengthens us for the battle.

THE Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust;  His truth shall compass thee with a shield.

WE solemnly offer to Thee, O Lord, the Sacrifice of the beginning of Lent, beseeching Thee:  that, while we curtail our eating of meat, we may abstain also from harmful pleasures.  Through our Lord.

--Same as the Offertory--

MAY the holy reception of Thy Sacrament, O Lord, so restore us that we may be purified from our former ways and join the company of the redeemed.  Through our Lord.

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D., a most famous student of the late, great, Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, wrote in Divine Intimacy, "Nunc coepi --- "now have I begun," or rather:  "now I begin"; let us repeat it humbly, and may the experience of our past failures make us place our trust in God alone."

Let us say to each of our souls with our whole hearts, minds, and bodies: "Nunc coepi..."

Fake Christians / Fake Catholics

One who has the supernatural faith in Christ cannot believe that truth is subjective, or that it cannot be known.  Christ, Truth Incarnate, came, suffered and died that we might have Truth live within us.  The false belief that truth is subjective denies that Christ is God the Son.  

One who believes that Christian "unity" means anything other than those who profess to love Christ should be in the one, true, holy and apostolic church as the (ordinary) means for salvation, are fake Christians, or otherwise to be known as fake Catholics.  Christ sent us the Paraclete on Pentecost, that his Bride might be united to Him in the Mystical Body, giving his Authority to the Apostles and through their successors through the means he gave to them.  Anyone who denies this denies Christ as God, Truth Incarnate, and implies rather that he is a liar. God never intended his Church, which came about through the Sacrifice of His only Son, to be united to, and therefore eventually indoctrinated and led by, false doctrines.  Also, God the Father never intended that His Holy Bride would begin by the Holy Ghost that She might have teachings that would be in error and passed on in darkness.  Novelty is false because the teachings were handed down already, and there was never, nor will there ever be, a second Pentecost.

Let us be peacemakers in this short life, but it must start with the one true God and God alone.  Whenever one sells out his faith for human respect, he denies the truth of Christ's Passion and Resurrection, and sells his inheritance "for a plate of lentils".  

Truth cannot be united to a lie, for when the smallest lie enters into even a large portion of truth, the whole becomes a lie.  There are no half-truths in the one, true religion, only what was give to us by God the Father, by the actions of grace from Christ's suffering, death and resurrection, and the Holy Ghost's subsequent beginning of the Church.  One God.  One Truth exists in one, true Church.  Suggest that one aspect of dogma can be sacrificed or even appear to be lessened for the sake of "unity" that places man at the level of God (or above, for that matter), then be aware that you deny God the Holy Ghost, who has given you to the Truth at your Baptism.

Those who insist in your human respect, who would, if given the choice, rather live in this life forever than be united to Christ for eternity, admit that your faith is only on the natural level and wounded mortally, since there is no imperfection in God and no disunity in Himself, Truth Incarnate, for you have sinned against the graces of your Baptism.  For this, God has removed from the supernatural life of faith since your Baptism.  All the wounds now that must be recovered can only begin to heal once you turn back to the Mother of God, and through her only Son, Jesus Christ, by way of the Apostolic succession, give you back to her son in the Sacrament of Penance.

Do you, who lives quietly and contently in heresy, believe that the truth cannot be known, as if God, Himself, is powerless to the confusion sown by the devil, and perpetuated by rebellious men?  Do you not know that those who profess to be Christian yet are not Catholic, are taught to hate and distrust the teachings of the Bride of Christ?   Do you think that the Church's infallible teachings, including Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, is somehow flawed in the same way as if Her dogmas came of man and not God?  

Then, know this, that you, above all others, place the Cross of Suffering on Jesus Christ, and hammer in the nails to keep him there as long as you remain united to heresy and not to the fullness of the faith.

You see the Church's Visible Body as a mangled corpse for all to see, that she is nothing to look upon, but to only deride and distrust.  She, the Bride of Christ, denied as the Truth of God Incarnate was denied, ridiculed and disrespected in the same way as was Christ on the Cross.  What is it she can learn from man, especially any man who has separated from her?   She was not made by man, but lives visibly by the appointment of JESUS and its Life is Christ's Mystical Body, which lives in His children through the means He has appointed --- the Sacraments.  Deny any one part, and you deny the whole, because you would have to deny the Whole is, in fact, whole, and is something less than given to us by God.

We Catholics learn from Christ through what he has handed down through the Apostles, not by listening to heretics.   Does this sound hateful?   Nothing is more hateful than to not wish your brother be converted to the Truth.  Firstly, however, you must wish it for yourself.

May we each pray that God will send of graces of understanding, leading us on to the one true, holy path of obedience to Christ in his Church, since his Holy Bride is here, on earth, and we have just a short opportunity to come to him through her.