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.

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Monday, 1 September 2014

The Fourteen Auxiliary Saints

The Fourteen Auxiliary Saints

The name of "Auxiliary Saints" is given to a group of fourteen saints particularly noted for the efficacy of their intercession. They were often represented together. They are to be recognized:

1. St. George (April 23), by the dragon he strikes down. He is invoked against herpetic diseases. He is, with St. Sebastian and St. Maurice, the patron of soldiers.

2. St. Blaise (February 3), by his two candles crossed. He is invoked against diseases of the throat.

3. St. Erasmus (June 2), by entrails wound round a windlass. He is invoked against diseases of the stomach. He is the patron of mariners and seamen.

4. St. Pantaleon (July 27), by his nailed hands. Invoked against consumption. He is, with St. Luke and SS. Cosmas and Damian, patron of medical men.

5. St. Vitus (or Guy) (June 15), by his cross. Invoked against chorea (St. Vitus's dance), lethargy, the bite cf venomous or mad beasts.

6. St. Christopher (July 25), by the Infant Jesus he bears. He is invoked in storms, tempests, plagues, and for the avoidance of accidents in travelling. (Blessing of motorcars.)

7. St. Denis (October 9), by his head which he holds in his hands. Invoked for people possessed of devils.

8. St. Cyriacus (August 8), by his deacon's vestments. Invoked against diseases of the eye and diabolical possession.

9. St. Acathius (May 8), by his crown of thorns. Invoked against headaches.

10. St. Eustace (September 20), by his stag and hunting equipement. Invoked for preservation from fire, eternal or temporal.

11. St. Giles (September 1), by his Benedictine cowl and his hind. Invoked against panic, epilepsy, madness, nocturnal terrors.

12. St. Margaret (July 20), by the dragon she keeps in chains. Invoked against pains in the loins and by women about to become mothers.

13. St. Barbara (December 4), by her tower and the ciborium surmounted by a sacred host. Invoked against lightnings and sudden death. Patron of miners and artillery men.

14. St. Catharine (November 25), by her broken wheel. "The wise counsellor" is invoked by students, Christian philosophers, orators, barristers, etc.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

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.

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)

31st August, St. Raymund Nonnatus, Confessor

St. Raymund Nonnatus, Confessor

The Church solemnized on January 23 and 31, the feasts of St. Raymund of Pennafort and St. Peter Nolasco, who founded the Order of our Lady of Ransom. She honours to-day St. Raymund Nonnatus, who was one of its glories. On September 24, she will celebrate the apparition of Mary herself, who was the foundress of this religious family.

St. Raymund had never known his mother of whom he was prematurely deprived by death. He implored the Virgin to adopt him as her son. Mary herself one day revealed to him that to please her he was to devote himself to the ransoming of captives (Collect). He immediately renounced worldly riches, and determined only to use them to help his neighbour (Epistle), he enrolled himself in the Order of our Lady of Ransom and was sent to Africa with the mission to ransom Christians who had fallen into the hands of the Mohammedans. He delivered a great many and gave himself up as a hostage so as not to expose to apostacy those who remained behind unransomed. His mouth was closed with a padlock which cruelly pierced his lips, and he was thrown into a narrow cell. He died in 1240.

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 in liberandis fidelibus tuis ab impiorum captivitate, beatum Raymundum Confessorem tuum mirabilem effecisti: ejus nobis intercessione concede: ut, a peccatorum vinculis absoluti, quae tibi sunt placita, liberis mentibus exsequamur.
O God, who didst bless holy Raymund, Thy confessor, with wondrous success in delivering Thy faithful held in bondage by the infidels: give ear to his prayers, and vouchsafe to us, together with freedom from the slavery of sin, the grace, readily to perform whatsoever we know to be pleasing to Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday, 29 August 2014

29th August, St Sabina, Martyr

St Sabina, Martyr

"At Rome," says the Roman Martyrology, "the birth in heaven of St Sabina, martyr, who was struck by the sword under the Emperor Hadrian and won the palm of martyrdom (127)."

Me exspectaverunt peccatores, ut perderent me: testimonia tua, Domine, intellexi: omnis consummationis vidi finem: latum mandatum tuum nimis. * Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: The commandment is exceeding broad. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:95-96,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui inter cétera poténtiae tuae mirácula etiam in sexu frágili victóriam martýrii contulísti: concéde propítius; ut, qui beátae Sabinae  Martyris tuae natalítia cólimus, per ejus ad te exémpla gradiámur.
O God, who among the wonders of Thy power hast granted even to the weaker sex the triumph of martyrdom: mercifully grant that we who celebrate the heavenly birthday of blessed Sabina Thy martyr may, through her example, advance nearer to Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

28th August, St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

St. Augustine, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

Augustine was born in 354 at Tagasta near Algiers. His mother, St. Monica taught him early to pray. Although he had received with delight her holy teaching, he went headlong into the gravest disorders. Carthage not offering him a theatre worthy of his genius, he went to Rome and obtained the post of master of rhetoric at Milan. "My iniquities," he confesses, "were like a snowball growing in size as it rolls." His desolate mother prayed to God incessantly with tears, still following the steps of her son. St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, received him kindly and enlightened him in divine knowledge. One day, inspired by heaven, he opened the Epistles of St. Paul and read: "Wallow not in debauchery and impurity; but clothe yourselves in our Lord Jesus Christ." His irresolution immediately ceased and at 33 years of age, on Easter eve, 387, he was baptized.

Seven months after this great happiness, St. Monica died asking her son to "remember her at the altar of God". Augustine, becoming a priest, offered the Holy Sacrifice for her. "Lord," he often said, "have mercy on my mother; she was good, she pardoned easily, pardon her also her sins."

Made bishop of Hippo, at the age of 41 (Alleluia, Communion), he began from that moment to live canonically, that is to say, in common with his clerks. [The word canon, canonicus, derived from Kanon, in the sense of clerks attached to a church with a stipend for their subsistence. To live canonically was to live in common. Later on it meant to lead a regular life, under a rule.] This community gave bishops and priests to many churches, and thus the institute of St. Augustine spread little by little in Africa and more specially in Gaul. The rule of St. Augustine, which makes him one of the four great founders of religious orders, is drawn from the 211th epistle which he wrote for nuns and which later on was adapted for men.

[The best known Augustinian Orders are: the Canons Regular of St. Augustine and the Hermits of St. Augustine. The Canons founded many Congregations: that of Windeshem, with the mystic writers John Ruysbroeck and Thomas a Kempis; the Lateran Congregation which has monasteries in England, France, BelgIum and America. The Hermits have now in Europe, Mexico and the Philippine Islands, more than 60 monasteries, 280 mission stations, with more than 2000 members. - date c. 1950]

Owing to the sublimity of his knowledge and the ardour of his love this saint was also one of the four great doctors of the West.

He died in A.D 430, after an episcopate of 36 years, reciting the Penitential Psalms.

In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus: stolam gloriae induit eum. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and He filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Ecclesiasticus 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Adesto supplicationibus nostris, omnipotens Deus: et quibus fiduciam sperandae pietatis indulges, intercedente beato Augustino, Confessore tuo atque Pontifice, consuetae misericordiae tribue benignus effectum.
O almighty God, attend to our supplications, and by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy confessor and bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thy wonted mercy to those, to whom Thou givest firm trust in Thy loving kindness for which we hope.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

28th August, St Hermes, Martyr

St. Hermes, Martyr

"At Rome," says the Roman Martyrology, "the triumph of St. Hermes, a very eminent personage, who, after having been some time in prison was beheaded with several other saints under the Judge Aurelian, as related in the acts of Pope St. Alexander (of about 133)."

Laetábitur justus in Dómino, et sperábit in eo: et laudabúntur omnes recti corde. * Exáudi, Deus, oratiónem meam, cum déprecor: a timóre inimíci éripe ánimam meam.
The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him: and all the upright of heart shall be praised. * Hear, O God, my prayer when I make supplications to Thee: deliver my sould from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:11,2 from the Introit of Mass) 

Deus, qui beatum Hermetem Martyrem tuum virtute constantiae in passione roborasti: ex ejus nobis imitatione tribue; pro amore tuo prospera mundi despicere, et nulla ejus adversa formidare.
O God, who didst endow blessed Hermes, Thy martyr, with the virtue of constancy in suffering, grant us in imitation of him to despise worldly prosperity for the love of Thee, and to fear no temporal adversity.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

27th August, St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor

St. Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor

The Church, having just celebrated the feast of the Assumption, venerates on this day a saint who had a special devotion to our Lady. St. Joseph Calasanctius was born in Aragon, of a noble family, and from his youth showed his charity towards children. While studying theology at Valencia, he had to defend himself against the enticements of a powerful and noble lady and made a vow to enter into Holy Orders. Having become a priest, he was apprised by divine revelation that he was destined to teach and to train children, especially those of the poor (Offertory). He founded, in consequence, the Order of the Poor Clerks regular of the Pious Schools of the Mother of God (Collect). Like Jesus he let little children come to him (Communion) and taught them to fear God (Introit). Wherefore the Gospel repeats the consoling words of the Master: "Whosoever shall receive one of these little ones in My name, receiveth Me."

"What is there greater," writes St. John Chrysostom, "than to discipline minds, than to form tender youths to good habits? God has shown us that their souls are worthy of such zeal and of such solicitude that for them He did not spare His Son." (Lessons of the third nocturn at Matins.)

St. Joseph Calasanctius died in 1648 at the age of 92.

Venite, filii, audite me: timorem Domini docebo vos. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
Come, children, hearken to me : I will teach you the fear of the Lord. * I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be ever in my mouth
(Psalm 33:12,2  from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui per sanctum Josephum Confessorem tuum, ad erudiendam spiritu intelligentiae ac pietatis juventutem, novum Ecclesiae tuae subsidium provenire dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; nos, ejus exemplo et intercessione, ita facere et docere, ut praemia consequamur aeterna.
O God, who by means of holy Joseph, Thy confessor, hast vouchsafed to provide Thy Church with fresh help, for training the minds of the youth in knowledge and piety; grant, we beseech Thee, that through his example and intercession, we may so live and so teach, as to deserve an eternal reward.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: