Introduction

This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

Related website: http://www.liturgialatina.org/





Sunday, 3 September 2017

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Continuing with the reading of the sapiential books which began last Sunday (first Sunday of August) the Church orders the Book of Ecclesiastes to be commenced in the breviary lessons on the second Sunday of August.

"Vanity of vanities," says the sacred author, " and all is vanity. There is no remembrance of former things : nor indeed of those things which hereafter are to come, shall there be any remembrance within them that be in the latter end. I have seen all things that are done under the sun: and behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit. The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite " (1st Nocturn)



"As soon," says St. John Chrysostom, "as Solomon was enabled to perceive the divine Wisdom, he uttered this sublime exclamation, worthy of heaven itself: 4 Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.' You, in your turn can bear a like witness, if you will. It is true that Solomon in past ages was not bound, to seek wisdom so diligently as we, since the Old Law did not regard the enjoyment of superfluities as vanity, though none the less, men could see that they were worthless and deserving of contempt. But we are called to more perfect virtues, scale loftier heights, and give ourselves to nobler practices. In a word, what can we say, but that we are commanded to regulate our conduct after the pattern of heavenly virtues which have nothing fleshly about them and are entirely spiritual" (2nd Nocturn).

These heavenly virtues are principally the theological ones, " faith, hope and charity", for which we ask God in the Collect, so that we may love what He commands (Collect). Moreover, for this reason, the Church takes for to-day's Epistle a passage from St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, the subject of which is faith in Jesus Christ, a faith which works by charity and which makes us, like Abraham of old, put our hope in this divine Redeemer. For it is by this faith, manifested in good works and trust in God, that souls, covered with the leprosy of sin, are cured, as we are reminded in to-day's Gospel. The ten lepers, who in some sense stand for the transgressions of men against the ten commandments, see from afar their divine Healer, and put their trust in Him. " Master, have mercy on us." Their faith issues in works, for when our Lord puts them to the test, telling them : "Go show yourselves to the priest," they obey without hesitation and are cured on the way. But the cure is only confirmed in the case of one of them who returns to Jesus to express his thanks. " And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God ; and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks." And Jesus said to him: "Arise, go thy way, for thy faith hath made thee whole."

Hence we learn that it is faith in Christ that saves souls. For here is St Augustine's interpretation of this gospel in the homily for to-day : " Our Lord does not say of those men who were freed from leprosy that they were cured, but purified ; for leprosy alters the colour of the skin without, generally, taking away the integrity of the senses and members of the body.

It is not, therefore, absurd to see in the lepers, a type of those who, being without the science of the true faith, profess the changing doctrines of error. For they do not conceal their ignorance, but bring it out into the light, making it pass for superior knowledge and showing it off in boastful talk. Now there is no false doctrine which does not contain a mixture of truth. These truths and errors, mingled haphazard, in a single discussion or narrative, are like differences of colour appearing in the same body, and represent leprosy which covers human bodies with spots, forming with the sound parts, diversity of colour.



This sort of leper the Church is bound to exclude, so that, if possible, seeing themselves thrust far from her, they may set themselves to call, with loud cries upon Christ, like the ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voices saying: c Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.'

Now if our Lord worked cures in person He leaves to the Church the task of spreading His doctrine and instructing, both by word and pen. Thus St. Paul was sent to Ananias to receive, from the duly constituted priesthood of the Church, the sacrament of faith. And later, the Apostle will go uj) to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus so that by jointly professing the doctrine of the faith before the congregation by this very reunion they might show that they had one single doctrine, excluding every kind of variation. It is about this that St Paul wisely warns the Corinthians : " I beseech you brethren, that you all speak the same thing " (Matins).



The Gospel narrative also foretells the rejection of the Jews who were ungrateful toward Him who came to cure them, while the Gentiles have been faithful. For among the ten lepers, nine were Jews and only one was not, and it was to this single Samaritan who came to thank our Lord that He said : " Thy faith hath made thee whole," showing that it is not only to the children of Abraham by blood that this promise has been made, but also to those who are his children because they share his faith in Jesus Christ, for it is by this faith that the promise of eternal life which was made to Abraham is extended to all nations. So the prayer after the third prophecy on Holy Saturday reminds us that God " by the paschal sacrament (Baptism)" made His servant Abraham, according to His oath, " the father of all nations", while the fourth prayer adds : " Grant that all the nations of the world may become the children of Abraham, and partake of the (lost) dignity of the people of Israel."



The Gentiles occupy the place of the Jews. " The nine," says St. Augustine, " swollen with pride, thought they would humiliate themselves by giving thanks, whereas by not doing so they are reproved and rejected from the unity which exists in the number ten (there were ten lepers), while the only one who thanks is praised by the only Church In the same way the Jews by their pride lost the kingdom of heaven in which dwells the greatest unity; while the Samaritan by submitting to the King, by his act of thanksgiving has preserved the unity of the kingdom by his devotion full of humility" (Matins)

The Jews will enter the kingdom of heaven all together at the end of time, believing in our Lord at last, after finding that they have been deceived in following Antichrist, a fact which is alluded to in the Introit, which contains a prayer that their exclusion from the Church may not be irrevocable: " Have regard, O Lord, to Thy covenant and forsake not to the end the souls of Thy poor: ... O God, why hast Thou cast us off unto the end : why is Thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of Thy pasture ? " And again, the Church beseeches almighty God "to look with favour upon His people, and appeased by their oblation, forgive them their sins " (Secret).



As for the Gentiles, they say to the Lord that all their hope is fixed on Him (Offertory), for He is to become their refuge from generation to generation (Alleluia), feeding them with food from heaven as He did the Hebrews in the wilderness, and giving them the manna which contains in itself all sweetness (Communion).



Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum et animas pauperum tuorum ne derelinquas in finem: exsurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam, et ne obliviscaris voces quaerentium te. * Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem: iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuae tuae?
Have regard, O Lord, to Thy covenant, and forsake not to the end the souls of Thy poor: arise, O Lord, and judge Thy cause, and forget not the voices of them that seek Thee. * O God, why hast Thou cast us off unto the end: why is Thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of Thy pasture?
(Psalm 73:20,19,23,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei, et caritatis augmentum: et, ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod praecipis.
Almighty and everlasting God, grant unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity : and that we may obtain what Thou dost promise, make us love that which Thou dost command.
(Collect)



Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore: Dum iret Jesus in Jerusalem, transibat per mediam Samariam et Galilaeam. Et cum ingrederetur quoddam castellum, occurrerunt ei decern viri leprosi qui steterunt a longe: et levaverunt vocem, dicentes: Jesu praeceptor, miserere nostri. Quos ut vidit, dixit: Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Et factum est, dum irent, mundati sunt. Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quia mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum, et cecidit in faciem ante pedes ejus, gratias agens: et hic erat Samaritanus. Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nonne decem mundati sunt? et novem ubi sunt? Non est inventus qui rediret, et daret gloriam Deo, nisi hic alienigena. Et ait illi: Surge, vade; quia fides tua te salvum fecit.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, as Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee: and as He entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom when He saw, He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God: and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return, and give glory to God, but this stranger. And He said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.
(Gospel: St Luke 17:11-19)



Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quod mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magmficans Deum, alleluia.
And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God, alleluia.
(Antiphon at the Magnificat: Luke 17:15)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

To-day if this Sunday is the nearest to August 1st the Church begins to read in the divine office the proverbs of Solomon.

These proverbs are useful "to know wisdom and instruction, to understand the words of prudence; and to receive the instruction of doctrine, justice, and judgment and equity: to give subtilty to little ones, to the young man knowledge and understanding" (1st Nocturn).

Solomon was only a type of Christ, the Incarnate wisdom, as indeed, we read in to-day's Gospel: "Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear and have not heard them " "Blessed," says St. Bede, "are the eyes that can recognize the mysteries of the Lord; of whom it is said 'Thou hast revealed them to little ones'." Blessed are the eyes of these little ones, to whom the Son has vouchsafed to reveal Himself and the Father. Here is a doctor of the law who, tempting our Lord, asks Him questions about eternal life (Gospel). But the snare that he spread for Jesus Christ shows how true were the words our Redeemer had just uttered, when He said to His Father: "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them to little ones " (2nd Nocturn).

"The fear of the Lord," says Solomon, "is the beginning of wisdom ... If sinners shall entice thee consent not to them. If they shall say: 'Come with us, let us hide snares for the innocent without cause: let us swallow him up alive like hell, and whole as one that goeth down into the pit. We shall find all precious substance: we shall fill our houses with spoils.' My son, walk not with them: restrain thy foot from their paths. For their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood. So the ways of every covetous man destroy the souls of the possessors" (1st Nocturn).

It was thus that the demons acted with regard to the first man, for when Adam fell into sin they stripped him of all his goods and covered him with wounds. For original sin deprives man of all the gifts of grace and wounds him in his very nature. His intelligence is less alert and his will weaker, for the concupiscence which reigns in his members carries him towards evil. To make him feel his impotence, for as St. Paul says, our sufficiency is from God (Epistle), almighty God instituted the Mosaic Law which gave him the commandments that faith enabled him to fulfil, but without supplying the sacramental help we enjoy in the New Dispensation.

Then man, understanding that he needs the divine assistance in order to be healed, to will what is good, to obtain it and to persevere in it to the end, looks towards heaven and cries: "Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed who seek my soul" (Introit). "O Lord the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day, and in the night before Thee" (Alleluia).

God resolved to come to man's assistance, and since the priests and Levites of the Old Law could not help him, He sent Jesus Christ, who according to St. Gregory's teaching, made Himself man's neighbour, clothing Himself with our humanity that He might heal it (3rd Nocturn). This is what the Epistle and Gospel tell us. The Law of Sinai, engraven as St. Paul explains, with letters upon stones, was a ministration of death, for as we have seen, it did not supply the strength necessary to perform what it commanded. Thus in the Offertory we see how Moses had to intercede with almighty God to appease His anger, provoked by the sins of His people. The law of grace was a ministration of justification, for the Holy Ghost, who was sent to the Church at Pentecost, the day on which the Old Law was abrogated, bestows the strength to observe the precepts of the decalogue and of the Church. As St. Paul says: "The letter killeth but the spirit quickeneth" (Epistle). The Gospel gives practical proof of this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the face of the impotence of the priesthood of the Old Law, represented by the priest and the Levite, the Good Samaritan, that is our Lord Himself sets up a new law, different to the first and comes Himself to the help of man. Physician of our souls, He pours into our wounds the ointment of His grace, the oil of His sacraments and the wine of His Eucharist. Therefore, in a style full of imagery, the liturgy sings the loving kindnesses of God, who has made the earth bring forth bread that strengthens man, wine that rejoices his heart and oil that makes his face cheerful (Communion). As the Gradual says: "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall ever be in my mouth."

What God has done for us, we should do for our neighbour, following the example set us by the divine Samaritan. "There being," says St. Bede, "no closer relationship than that of head and members, we should love him who is the imitation of Christ; we should be ready to render him every service both spiritual and temporal of which he has need." Neither the Mosaic Law nor the Gospel separate love towards God from that which we should have for our brethren, a love supernatural in its origin, since it is the gift of the Holy Ghost, and supernatural in its object, which is God in the person of our brethren. The neighbour of this wounded Jew was not, as the Jews thought, one connected with him by the tie of blood, but he who charitably bent over him to give him aid. That sense of union in Christ, which goes so far as to make us love those who hate us and pardon those who do us wrong, because God is in them or at least should be, is the true love of our neighbour. Made, by grace, partakers of the divine nature, we ought to imitate our heavenly Father, who appeased by the prayer of Moses, a type of our Redeemer, could only heap blessings upon the people who had offended Him (Offertory, Communion).

United with Christ, let us bend with Him over our suffering neighbour. This will be the best way to become, by divine mercy, qualified to serve almighty God in a fitting and laudable manner and raised up by His grace, we may run without hindrance, toward the heaven He has promised us (Collect). "Our Lord," says the Venerable Bede, "affirms in the clearest way that there is only one love, and that it must not only be expressed in words but shown forth by good deeds. It is this that leads to eternal life" (3rd Nocturn).

Deus, in adjutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina: confundantur et revereantur inimici mei, qui quaerunt animam meam. * Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant: qui cogitant mihi mala.
Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul. * Let them be turned backward and blush for shame, who desire evils to me.
(Psalm 69:2-4 from the Introit of Mass)

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cujus munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur; tribue quaesumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.
Almighty and merciful God, of whose gift it cometh that Thy faithful people do unto Thee true and laudable service; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may run without hindrance toward the attainment of Thy promises.
(Collect)

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them ; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting Him, and saying : Master, what must I do to possess eternal life ? But He said to him : What is written in the law? how readest thou ? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said to him: Thou hast answered rightly : this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus : And who is my neighbour ? And Jesus answering, said : A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead: and it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way, and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion, and going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him : and the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said : Take care of him, and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among robbers ? But he said : He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him : Go and do thou in like manner.
(St Luke 10:23-37)

Sunday, 20 August 2017

11th Sunday after Pentecost

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

In to-day's liturgy the Church teaches us that almighty God gives divine aid to those who ask for it with confidence.

It was owing to his prayer that Ezechias recovered from a mortal disease and that his people were delivered from their enemies, and it was through His prayer on the cross that Jesus rose from the dead (Epistle), and that He raises His people to a new life by baptism of which the cure of the deaf-mute, due also to our Lord's prayer (Gospel) was a type.

Since it was by the power of the Holy Ghost that our Lord drove out the evil spirit from the deaf-mute and that priests in Christ's name expel the devil from the soul of the baptized, we can understand how the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost is connected with the Paschal Mystery, in which we celebrate, after the resurrection of Christ, the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Church, and when catechumens are baptized with water and the Holy Ghost, so that as St Paul teaches, being buried with Christ they may also rise with Him.

The kingdom of the ten tribes (Israel) lasted about two hundred years (938-726) and had nineteen kings, almost all of whom did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Then God, to punish them, delivered their country into the hands of their enemies. In 722, B.C., Salmanasar besieged Samaria and led Israel captive into Assyria, their place being taken by heathen who themselves became half converted to Israel's God. These were called Samaritans, from Samaria itself.

The kingdom of Juda lasted about three hundred and fifty years (938-586), and had twenty kings. Once only was the royal house on the point of extinction, when it was saved by the priests who hid Joas in the temple in the time of Athalia. Many of these kings were wicked, others, like Solomon ended badly, but four of them, namely, Josaphat, Joathan, Ezechias and Josias, were, up to the very end, great servants of God.

In the divine office for this week we read of Ezechias, the thirteenth king of Juda. " He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign : and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem." It was in the sixteenth year of his reign that faithless Israel was led into captivity. "King Ezechias," says Holy Scripture, " trusted in the Lord God of Israel: so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Juda, nor any of them that were before him ... wherefore the Lord also was with him: and in all things to which he went forth he behaved himself wisely "

When Sennacherib, king of Assyria, wished to take Jerusalem, Ezechias went up to the temple, and there addressed a prayer to God as pure as any prayer of David or Solomon. Thereupon the prophet Isaias told Ezechias to fear nothing for God would protect his kingdom; and the angel of the Lord struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp, so that Sennacherib, terrified, returned by forced marches to Niniveh, where he perished by the sword. When He had annihilated the kingdom of impenitent Israel, God granted more than a hundred years more of national survival to repentant Juda.

However, Ezechias fell seriously ill and Isaias told him that he was going to die; whereupon, addressing almighty God, the King said: " I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is pleasing before thee " (Magnificat antiphon). Then Isaias was sent by almighty God to Ezechias with this message : " I have heard thy prayer and I have seen thy tears: and behold I have healed thee. On the third day thou shalt go up to the temple of the Lord."

As a matter of fact Ezechias was cured and reigned for another fifteen years. This cure of the king, who escaped from the kingdom of death on the third day, is a type of the resurrection of our Lord. For the Epistle to-day the Church has chosen a passage where St Paul reminds us that " Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day," and that it is by our faith in this doctrine that we shall be saved, like the apostle himself.

For the same reason the Introit is from Psalm LXVII, in which the same apostle sees a prophecy of the ascension (Ephesians 4:8), which is the complement of our Lord's resurrection, as we say in the Credo : " He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead : He ascended into heaven." The Offertory is from Psalm XXIX which is also applied by the Church to our Lord's ascension, and in which the psalmist actually says : " Thou hast healed me." In its turn the Gradual, speaks of Him whose flesh has " flourished again ".

It was owing to the prayers which Ezechias poured forth to God, and to the tears which he shed on his death-bed, that he was restored to life, " Ezechias was visited by sickness," says St. Jerome, " and was told that he was going to die, so that, turning to the Lord, he might ward off His decree. Therefore the king shed many tears " (2nd Nocturn).

In the same way it was by His prayer " offered with a strong cry and tears " on the cross (Gradual), that Christ obtained His resurrection. Further, as it was due to the prayers of Ezechias that the people of Juda were delivered from the attacks of Sennacherib, so it was through our Lord's prayers that the true people of God were delivered, for, in the words of the Easter Preface, He " by dying hath taken away the sins of the world, and by rising again hath restored our life ". Since it is by baptism that we are buried with Christ and that we rise again with Him to a new life, to-day's Gospel is that of the cure of the deaf-mute, which, while reminding us of the cure of Ezechias, puts before our eyes a rite used by the Church herself in Holy Baptism. Jesus puts his fingers into the ears of the deaf-mute to show that it is by the Holy Ghost " the finger of God " that He drives out the evil spirit; He touches the tongue of the man with saliva to show that He is going to loose his tongue that it may utter words of wisdom; and He raises His eyes to heaven and groans to make it clear that it is from God that He expects the cure of the afflicted man, as the answer to His prayer.

"He raised His eyes to heaven," says St Gregory in effect, "and groaned, not because He thought it necessary to groan, He who Himself gave what He asked, but to teach us to groan to heaven to Him who reigns in heaven, that He may open our ears by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by saliva from His mouth, that is, by the knowledge of His divine word, may loose our tongue that it may be able to preach the truth " (3rd Nocturn).

Therefore, speaking by the power of God, our Lord says: "Ephpheta, which is, be thou opened: and immediately the ears of the deaf-mute were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed." So, in baptism, the priest, having put a little salt, representing wisdom, into the child's mouth, in Christ's name and by the power of the Holy Ghost, commands the unclean spirit to withdraw from the baptized person. Then he takes a little saliva and touches the ears and the nostrils of the child with it, saying, like our Lord : "Ephpheta," open your heart to the things of faith. And the soul passes shortly after from the death of sin in which it lay buried, and which made it deaf and dumb in the supernatural world, and rises to a new life.

By restoring to us the divine life, baptism unites us with our Lord's resurrection of which the cure of Ezechias was a type. Therefore " all rejoice in God their helper, and sing aloud to the God of Jacob " (Alleluia) who, " out of the abundance of " His " loving kindness ", is wont to go beyond the hopes and desires of the suppliant, and to pour forth His mercy upon them (Collect), by distributing to us in abundance the fruits of the Holy Ghost (Communion).

Deus in loco sancto suo: Deus qui inhabitare facit unanimes in domo: ipse dabit virtutem, et fortitudinem plebi suae. * Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant, qui oderunt eum a facie ejus.
God in His holy place; God who maketh men of one mind to dwell in a house; He shall give power and strength to His people. * Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.
(Psalm 67:67,2 from the introit of Mass)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuae et merita supplicum excedis et vota: effunde super nos misericordiam tuam; ut dimittas quae conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non praesumit. 
O almighty and eternal God, who in the abundance of Thy loving kindness art wont to give beyond the deserts and desires of those who humbly pray; pour down upon us Thy mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and granting us those blessings which we dare not presume to ask.
(Collect)

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.
In illo tempore: Exiens Jesus de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilaeae, inter medios fines Decapoleos. Et adducunt ei surdum et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum. Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus: et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus: et suspiciens in caelum, ingemuit, et ait illi: Ephphetha, quod est adaperire. Et statim apertae sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguae ejus, et loquebatur recte. Et praecepit illis, ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis praecipiebat, tanto magis plus praedicabant: et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes: Bene omnia fecit: et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Mark.
At that time, Jesus going out of the coasts of Tyre, came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring to Him one deaf and dumb, and they besought Him that He would lay His hand upon him. And taking him from the multitude apart, He put His fingers into his ears, and spitting, He touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, He groaned and said to him : Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened : and immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. And He charged them that they should tell no man : but the more He charged them so much the more a great deal did they publish it; and so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; He hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. 
(St Mark 7:31-37)


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

The liturgy for this Sunday seeks to impress upon us the true notion of Christian humility, which consists in attributing to the grace of the Holy Ghost whatever sanctity we may have attained; for our acts can only be of a supernatural character, if they are inspired by the Holy Ghost whom our Lord sent down upon His apostles on the day of Pentecost and whom He never ceases to give to those who ask.

Our salvation is an impossible task if we try to accomplish it alone, for left to ourselves, we are but weak and sinful. It is almighty God to whom we are indebted when we avoid sin, gain pardon, forsake wrongdoing and do good, for none can even utter our Lord's name by an act of supernatural faith, affirming His divinity and kingship, except by the Holy Ghost (Epistle).

Therefore pride is God's enemy, since it claims for itself the gifts which the Holy Ghost alone distributes to such as He will, and so by making us think that we are sufficient in ourselves, it hinders the manifestation of the divine power in our souls. How can God forgive us (Collect), if we will not confess our guilt? How can He have compassion on us, and show us His mercy (Collect) if we have within us no acknowledged wretchedness upon which His divine heart can have pity?

On the contrary, the humble man is glad to acknowledge his nothingness, knowing that on this condition alone will the power of Christ come into his heart.

The Church develops these thoughts to-day because the Breviary lessons for this week supply two examples, one of pride, the other of great humility. After the figure of Elias, contrasting so strongly with Achab and Jezebel, of whose terrible punishment we read in the divine office, that of the young Joas stands out in powerful opposition to Athalia. The daughter of Achab and Jezebel, quite as wicked as her mother, Athalia had married Joram the king of Juda, and as he died shortly after, the queen found herself mistress of the kingdom of Juda, and to secure her position had almost the whole family of David massacred. However Josaba, the wife of the high priest Joiada, took Joas, the youngest of the royal family, from his cradle, and hid him in the temple.

For six years Athalia ruled the country and set up altars of Baal right in the very temple courts. In the seventh year the high priest, surrounded by determined men, showed them Joas, then seven years old, and told them to form a bodyguard round the royal child, and to kill anyone who attempted to break through their ranks. Then when the people crowded into the temple court at the hour of the prayer, Joiada brought forward Joas and anointed and crowned him in sight of the whole multitude, amidst applause and cries of "Long live the King."

Athalia, hearing all this outcry, left her palace and went into the court. Seeing the young king seated on the tribunal surrounded by the chief men of the nation, amidst the shouts of the people, accompanied by the sound of trumpets, she rent her clothes and cried: "Treason and plot!" At the high priest's command she was put out of the sacred precincts, and brought to the threshold of her palace, where she was killed. Then the crowd rushed into the temple of Baal where they did not leave one stone upon another.

Meanwhile the king, Joas, sat on the throne of David, his grandfather, and reigned forty years in Jerusalem, where he worked at repairing and beautifying the temple (Alleluia, Communion). Holy Scripture gives him this excellent praise: "Joas did that which was right before the Lord." These words form the Magnificat Antiphon for the first Vespers of this Sunday, echoed by that of the second Vespers, taken from to-day's Gospel: "This man went down into his house justified rather than the other, because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "Those who exalt themselves," says St. Augustine, "are known by God from afar. From far off He looks upon the proud but forgives them not." On the other hand, the humble, like the publican, confess themselves guilty. " He struck his breast, he chastised himself, therefore God forgave the man who acknowledged his wretchedness. For why is it surprising that God no longer sees him as a sinner, when he himself acknowledges that he is one? He stands afar off, this publican, but God sees him from close at hand" (Matins)

In the same way the lowly-minded boy, Joas, was accepted of God, because his attitude before Him was what it should be. "He did that which was right before the Lord." On the contrary, Athalia was proud and wicked. She did not do what was right before the Lord, and she despised and insulted those who did their duty, for pride towards God always shows itself by contempt towards our neighbour. Pascal says that there are two kinds of men, saints who think themselves guilty of every fault and sinners who believe themselves guilty of none. The first are humble and God will exalt them with glory; the second are full of pride, and He will humble them by chastisement.

"God," says St. Chrysostom, "drowned the world, caused Sodom to be burned by fire, and the sea to swallow up the army of the Egyptians for it is He who has stricken the guilty with all the blows which have fallen upon them, and will do so still more. But, you say, God is merciful. Then are all these things merely words? Does the rich man who despised Lazarus receive no punishment? Are the foolish virgins in no way rejected by the bridegroom? Will not he who was at the wedding feast with soiled garments in no wise perish, bound hand and foot? Will not he who exacted the last farthing from his companion be delivered to the tormentors? Do you think that God will confine Himself to threats? To me it seems easy to prove the contrary and we may judge beforehand what God will do in the future, from what He has said and done in the past. Let us then have constantly in mind the dread tribunal, chains fastened for fall eternity, outer darkness, gnashing of teeth and the gnawing and poisonous worm" (2nd Nocturn).

This will be the best way to foster in ourselves that humility which makes say with the Church: "When I cried to the Lord He heard my voice, from them that draw near to me; and He humbled them, who is before all ages and remains forever" (Introit). "Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of Thy eye: let Thy eyes behold the things which are equitable" (Gradual.) "To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded" (Offertory).

Cum clamarem ad Dominum, exaudivit vocem meam, ab his, qui appropinquant mihi: et humiliavit eos qui est ante saecula, et manet in aeternum: jacta cogitatum tuum in Domino, et ipse te enutriet. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam, et ne despexeris deprecationem meam: intende mihi, et exaudi me.
When I cried to the Lord He heard my voice, from them that draw near to me; and He humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains for ever: cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. * Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me and hear me.
(Psalm 54:17,18,20,23,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui omnipotentiam tuam parcendo maxime et miserando manifestas: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam; ut ad tua promissa currentes, caelestium bonorum facias esse consortes.
O God, who dost manifest Thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; increase Thy mercy towards us, that we, seeking the way of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures. 
(Collect)

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers; as also is this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 
(St Luke 18:9-14)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

9th August, St John Mary Vianney, Confessor

St. John Mary Vianney, Confessor

John-Baptist-Mary Vianney was born at Dardilly near Lyons (France) on May 8th, 1786. After many difficulties, he received holy priesthood in August 1815. He was parish priest of Ars for nearly forty-two years: he became a model for all his brethren in the sacerdotal ministry by his pastoral zeal, and by the unflagging ardour of his prayer and penance. Sitting up to sixteen hours a day in the confessional, he healed souls and sometimes bodies as well. His simple catechism preaching touched the hearts of grown ups as well as those of children. Meanwhile, he chastized his body as an act of reparation and impetration for sinners. He died on August 4th, 1859; he was beatified in 1905 by Pope Pius X, who had been a parish priest, and canonized by Pius XI in 1925.

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, qui beatum Joannem Mariam, pastorali studio et jugi orationis ac poenitentiae ardore mirabilem effecisti: da, quaesumus, ut ejus exemplo et intercessione, animas fratrum lucrari Christo, et cum eis aeternam gloriam consequi valeamus.
Almighty and merciful God, who didst bestow upon blessed John Mary wonderful pastoral zeal and a great fervour for prayer and penance ; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his example and intercession we may be able to gain the souls of our brethren for Christ, and with them attain to everlasting glory.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08326c.htm

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

8th August, SS. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, Martyrs

SS. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, Martyrs

St. Cyriacus, a deacon of the Roman Church under Popes Marcellinus and Marcellus, was put to death in 303, during the persecution of Diocletian. He had twenty-two Christian companions, among whom were Largus and Smaragdus. St. Cyriacus is one of the "14 Auxiliary Saints."

Timete Dominum, omnes sancti ejus, quoriiam nihil deest timentibus eum: divites eguerunt, et esurierunt: inquirentes autem Dominum non deficient omni bono. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
Fear the Lord, all ye His saints ; for there is no want to them that fear Him: the rich have wanted and have suffered hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good. * I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be always in my mouth.
(Psalm 33:10-11,2 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos annua sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Cyriaci, Largi et Smaragdi solemnitate laetificas: concede propitius: ut, quorum natalitia colimus, virtutem quoque passionis imitemur.
O God, who dost gladden us by the yearly festival of Thy holy martyrs Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus; in Thy loving kindness, make us, we beseech Thee, to imitate the fortitude with which suffered the holy men whose feast-day we are celebrating.
(Collect)

Monday, 7 August 2017

7th August, St Cajetan, Confessor

St. Cajetan, Confessor

St. Cajetan founded the first Congregation of Clerks Regular who endeavour to imitate the manner of life of the apostles (Collect). Trust in God, which the Gospel recalls, was their great law; they therefore refrained from begging alms and waited until the faithful brought them help of their own accord. They are also called Theatines.

This saint's zeal for others' salvation caused him to be called the Hunter of Souls. It was said that he was an angel at the altar and an apostle in the pulpit. He died at Naples on August 7, 1547.

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beato Cajetano Confessori tuo apostolicam vivendi formam imitari tribuisti: da nobis, ejus intercessione et exemplo, in te semper confidere, et sola caelestia desiderare.
O God, who didst bestow upon blessed Cajetan, Thy confessor, to live a life of an apostle; grant, we beseech Thee, that by his intercession and example, we may always trust in Thee and desire only heavenly things.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03145a.htm