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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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

There is one ruling thought throughout to-day's liturgy, namely, that we may destroy sin within us by deep repentance and by asking almighty God to give us His strength that we may fall no more. Through Baptism we have died to sin and in the Eucharist we are given the heaven-sent energy necessary that we may persevere in the path of virtue.

The Church still wholly penetrated with the thought of the two Sacraments that she has conferred at Easter and Pentecost, loves to speak of them throughout the "Time after Pentecost" and if she does so to-day it is because the Breviary lesson, with St. Ambrose's commentary on it, gives her an excellent opportunity. In the form of a parable the lessons of the first Nocturn relate the gravity of David's fault. For in spite of his deep piety, this great king had let sin enter into his heart. Wishing to marry a young woman of great beauty, by name Bethsabee, he had given orders that her husband Urias should be sent into the hottest part of the battle which was being fought against the Ammonites, so that he might be killed, and being thus rid of him David married Bethsabee, by whom he had a son.

Then the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to speak to him by a parable: "There were two men in one city, the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many sheep and oxen. But the poor man had nothing at all but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up, and which had grown up in his house together with hia children, eating of his bread and drinking of his cup, and sleeping in hin bosom and it was unto him as a daughter. And when a certain stranger was come to the rich man he spared to take of his own sheep and oxen, to make a feast for that stranger, who was come to him: but took the poor man's ewe and dressed it for the man that was come to him." And David's anger being exceedingly enkindled against that man, he said to Nathan: As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this is a child of death." And Nathan said to David: "Thou art the man. Thou hast killed Urias the Hethite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife when thou couldst have chosen a wife among the maidens of Israel. Therefore ... thus saith the Lord: Behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thy own house."

And David said to Nathan: "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David: "The Lord also hath taken away thy sin. Thou shalt not die. Nevertheless because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, for this thing, the child that is born to thee shall surely die."

Sometime after the child died, and David went to bow down with contrite and humble heart singing psalms (Communion) of penance, in the house of the Lord.

"David," says St. Ambrose, "that great and glorious king, could not keep upon his soul even for a short time, the sin which burdened his conscience but by a prompt confession, accompanied by unbounded contrition, he freed himself from it at the feet of the Lord, who, moved by such unmeasured grief, forgave him. Other men, when the priests have occasion to reprove them, aggravate their sin, seeking either to deny or excuse it, and they experience a greater fall in the very act by which it was to be hoped they would rise again. The saints of the Lord, burning to continue the holy war and to finish the course of their salvation, if they chance to fall, less by determination to sin than by natural frailty, rise again with greater zeal for the contest, and urged on by the shame of their fall, they make up for it by a harder fight. So their fall, instead of to some extent keeping them back, has only served to spur them on and to make them go forward more quickly" (2nd Nocturn).

We can, therefore, understand the choice of the Epistle in which St. Paul speaks of our death to sin. In baptism we were buried with Christ, and our old man was crucified with Him, that we might die to sin. And just as our risen Lord went forth from the tomb, so we must set out on a new life, a life for God in Jesus Christ (Epistle). And when we have the misfortune to fall back into sin, we must ask God to be favourable to us and to deliver us (Verse of the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Secret), restoring to us the grace of the Holy Ghost, since from Him comes every perfect gift (Collect.) Then we approach the altar (Communion) there to receive the Eucharist, whose heavenly efficacy will strengthen us against our enemies (Postcommunion), and maintain our fervour (Collect), for it is the Lord who will be the strength of His people and rule them forever (Introit).

Therefore the Church has chosen for the Gospel, the account of the multiplication of the loaves, a type of the Eucharist, our viaticum. It is this second multiplication of loaves which is a more striking figure of the Eucharist, since it was performed with loaves made of wheat, the element used in the Sacrament, while in the first, barley loaves were employed. Further, in the catacombs we never see more than seven baskets, while in the first multiplication there were twelve. (See the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday in Lent.)

By identifying us with the Victim of Calvary, Holy Communion not only completes the effects of baptism within us by making us die with our Lord to sin, but makes us find at the Holy Table the strength we need to prevent us from falling back into sin and to "perfect our goings in the paths" of the Lord (Offertory).

It is in this sense that St. Ambrose comments thus on the Gospel: "After the woman, a figure of the Church, was cured of the issue of blood, the food of heavenly grace was dispensed. The right order of the mystery was kept. First a medicine is provided to cure wounds by the remission of sins, and then the food of the heavenly table is served in abundance. Our Lord said: "If I shall send them away fasting to their home they will faint by the way." Full of goodness. He maintains the strength of those who follow Him. If anyone faint it is not our Lord's fault, but that of the man himself.

Christ has set within us fortifying agencies; the food He gives is strength and vigour, so, if through negligence, you have lost the strength you received, you must not blame the heavenly nourishment, which nevers fails, but rather yourself. Was it not through the sustenance given him, when he was about to fall by the way, that the holy Elias walked forty days after the angel's visit?

If you have preserved the nourishment you received, you will journey for forty years, emerging at last from the land of Egypt to come to the boundless land promised to our forefathers, flowing with milk and honey" (Third Nocturn).

Dominus, fortitudo plebis suae, et protector salutarium Christi sui est: salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae, et rege eos usque in saeculum. * Ad te, Domine, clamabo, Deus meus, ne sileas a me: ne quando taceas a me, et assimilabor descendentibus in lacum.
The Lord is the strength of His people, and the protector of the salvation of His anointed: save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thy inheritance, and rule them for ever. * Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not Thou silent to me, lest if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
Psalm 27:8-9,1 from the introit of Mass; The verse Salvum fac occurs in the Te Deum where we pray almighty God to keep us from sin.)

Deus virtutum, cujus est totum quod est optimum: insere pectoribus nostris amorem tui nominis, et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum; ut, quae sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietatis studio, quae sunt nutrita, custodias.
O God of all power and might, who art the giver of all good things; implant in our hearts the love of Thy name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness and by Thy mercy keep us in the same.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Mark.
At that time, when there was a great multitude with Jesus, and had nothing to eat, calling His disciples together, He saith to them : I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat; and if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way : for some of them came from afar off. And His disciples answered Him : From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? And He asked them : How many loaves have ye? Who said : Seven. And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, He broke and gave to His disciples to set before the people. And they had a few little fishes, and He blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat, and were filled; and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets: and they that had eaten were about four thousand : and He sent them away.
(St  Mark 8:1-9)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

This Sunday's liturgy is concerned with the forgiveness of injuries and like last Sunday, is made up of two elements, i.e. the reading of the history of David which is continued in the Breviary and that of a passage of one of the epistles of St. Peter the Apostle whose feast is kept about this time. In fact the week beginning with the seventh Sunday after Pentecost was called the week after the feast of the Apostles.

[According to an ancient source the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost having been transferred to the Mass of the first Sunday, a general displacement would have followed affecting all the Sundays from the fifth to the twenty-third, so that the Gospel for the fifth Sunday which dealt with St. Peter would have become that of the fourth, and so on. And then the Epistle and Gospel of the fifth Sunday would have called attention to St. Peter. But other sources weaken the testimony for the universality of this use. The present order of the Roman Missal goes back to St. Gregory the Great.]

When David had gained his victory over Goliath the Israelites went back victorious to their towns and villages singing to the accompaniment of instruments, "Saul slew his thousands and David his ten thousands."

Angered at this and with jealousy eating into his heart, Saul exclaimed: "They have given David ten thousands, and to me they have given but a thousand, what can he have more than the kingdom?" "And Saul did not look on David with a good eye from that day forward" as if he guessed that David had been chosen by God. And jealousy turned him into a criminal. Twice while David was playing the harp to calm Saul's fit of madness he threw his javelin at him and twice David nimbly stepped aside while the javelin stuck quivering in the wall. Then Saul sent him into the battle, hoping that he would be killed, but David returned at the head of his armies, victorious, safe and sound (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Postcommunion).

After this Saul became desperate and hunted David up and down the kingdom and one night he went into a cave, very deep and dark, in the recesses of which David happened to lie concealed. One of David's companions told him that it was the king; that the Lord was about to deliver him from his enemy's hand and that the moment had come to strike him dead with his spear. David, however replied that he would never lay his hand upon the Lord's anointed, and contented himself with secretly cutting off the hem of Saul's robe, after which he left the cave.

At sunrise, from a safe distance, he showed Saul the piece he had cut off and Saul wept and cried: "My son David, you are better than I." Again, on another occasion, David came across Saul fast asleep at night with his spear stuck in the earth close to his pillow and did no more than take the spear and Saul's drinking vessel with it. And Saul blessed him again, however, without slackening in his pursuit.

Later on the Philistines recommenced the war and Israel being defeated, Saul killed himself by "throwing himself on his sword ". When David learned of Saul's decease, far from rejoicing, he rent his garments and had the Amalekite killed who brought the news while carrying Saul's crown and claiming for himself the fictitious merit of having slain David's enemy. David sang a dirge for Saul: "Ye mountains of Gelboe, let neither dew nor rain come upon you, neither be they fields of first-fruits: for there was cast away the shield of the valiant, the shield of Saul as though he had not been anointed with oil. ... Saul and Jonathan, lovely and comely in their life, even in death they were not divided."

"Why," asks St. Gregory, "did David, who had not even rendered evil for evil, utter this curse upon the mountains of Gelboe, when he learned that Saul and Jonathan had fallen in the fight? In what sense have the mountains of Gelboe been guilty of the death of Saul, that receiving neither dew nor rain, all their verdant vegetation should be turned into barrenness, in accordance with this imprecation?"

Saul whose anointing in no way prevented his death is a type of our Mediator in His death, and the mountains of Gelboe, whose name means watercourses, stand for the Jews with their proud hearts who dissipate themselves in a stream of worldly ambitions The King the true anointed one, lost the life of his body among them, wherefore wholly deprived of the dew of grace they remain in a state of barrenness. These proud souls bring forth no fruit, for they remain faithless to the Redeemer's coming, and while the Church, from the beginning, has shown herself prematurely fertile by the multitude of nations she has brought forth, it is with difficulty that in the last days she will garner some Jews, gathered like a late harvest or like fruit out of season (2nd Nocturn).

From all these considerations there stands out a great lesson of charity, for as David spared his enemy Saul and rendered him good for evil, so God forgives the Jews, since in spite of their unfaithfulness, He is always ready to welcome them into the kingdom of which Christ their Victim is King. Hence we can understand the reason for the choice of to-day's Epistle and Gospel, which proclaim the great duty of the forgiveness of injuries, "Be ye all of one mind in prayer, not rendering evil fo evil, not railing for railing," says the Epistle. And the Gospel adds: "If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar and there, thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother and then coming, thou shalt offer thy gift."

David, having been anointed king by the elders of Hebron, took the citadel of Sion, which thus became his city, and put the Ark of God in the sanctuary there (Communion). This was the reward for his great charity, a virtue indispensable if the worship offered by men in the holy places is to be acceptable to God (Ibid.). It is for this, reason that the Epistle and Gospel call our attention to the fact that it is especially when we meet in prayer that we must be unite in heart. [It is the Liturgy which has added the words "in oratione" (in prayer), which are not found in St. Peter, at the beginning of the Epistle, to explain the last words of the Gospel and to connect these two parts of the Mass with each other.]

Certainly, as the history of Saul and to-day's Mass show, divine Justice has its rights, but if it utter a final sentence, it is only after almighty God has exhausted in vain, all the means suggested by His love.

The best way to come to the possession of charity is to love God, to desire the good things of eternity (Collect), and the possession of happiness in heavenly places (Communion), where entrance is only to be had through the continual practice of this fair virtue.

Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam, qua clamavi ad te: adjutor meus esto, ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus. * Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea, quem timebo?
Hear, O Lord, my voice with which I have cried to Thee: be Thou my helper, forsake me not, nor do Thou despise me, O God my Saviour. * The Lord is my light, and my salvation, whom shall I fear.
(Psalm 36:7,9,2. from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti: infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum: ut te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.
O God, who hast prepared for those who love Thee such good things as eye hath not seen; pour into our hearts such love towards Thee, that we loving Thee above all things, may , obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples : Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the. kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgement. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother: Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say: Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother ; and then gift.
(St Matthew 5:20-24)

Friday, 17 June 2016

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

FRIDAY AFTER THE OCTAVE OF CORPUS CHRISTI - Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Protestantism in the sixteenth century and Jansenism in the seventeenth had attempted to spoil one of the essential dogmas of Christianity, namely the love of God for all men.

It became necessary that the Spirit of love, which directs the Church, should by some new means counteract the spreading heresy, in order that the Spouse of Christ, far from seeing her love for Jesus diminish, should feel it always increasing.

This was made manifest in Catholic worship, which is the sure rule of our faith, by the institution of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Yet in early Middle-Ages, the Doctors and Saints used to see in the wound of Jesus' side the source of all graces. St. Bonaventure invites us "to enter this wound and to dwell in the quiet of this Heart" (Third Nocturn).

The two Benedictine virgins, St. Gertrude and St. Mechtilde, in the thirteenth century, had a clear vision of the grandeur of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. St. John the evangelist, appearing to the former, announced to her that "the meaning of the blessed beating of the heart of Jesus which he had heard while his head rested on His breast, was reserved for the latter times when the world grown old and cold in divine love, would require to have its fervour renewed by means of this mystery of burning love".

This Heart, say these two Saints, is an altar on which Christ offers Himself to the Father as a perfect and most acceptable victim. It is a golden censer from which rise towards the Father as many clouds of incense as there are kinds of men for whom Christ suffered. In this Heart the praise and thanks we give to God and all our good works are ennobled and become acceptable to the Father.

But in order to make this worship public and recognized, Providence first raised up St. John Eudes, who in 1670 composed an Office and a Mass of the Sacred Heart for the so-called Congregation of the Eudists. Providence then chose one of the spiritual daughters of St. Francis of Sales, St. Margaret-Mary Alacoque, to whom Jesus showed His Heart at Paray-le-Monial, on June 16th, 1675, Sunday after Corpus Christi, and asked her to institute a feast of the Sacred Heart on the Friday following the Octave of Corpus Christi.

Lastly, God employed for the propagation of this devotion, Blessed Claude de la Colombiere. He belonged to the Company of Jesus " the whole of which inherited his zeal in the propagation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart ".

In 1765, Clement XIII gave his approbation to the feast and the Office of the Sacred Heart, and in 1856 Pius IX, extended it to the universal Church. In 1929 Pius XI composed a new Mass and Office for this feast and gave it a privileged Octave of the third Order.

The solemnity of the Sacred Heart sums up all the phases of the life of Jesus recalled in the liturgy from Advent to the Feast of Corpus Christi.

It constitutes an admirable triptych giving us in abridgment all the mysteries, joyous, sorrowful and glorious, of the Saviour's life devoted to the love of God and men. This feast is indeed placed on a height fr m which may be contemplated the redeeming labours of the Saviour on earth and the glorious victories He will, by the working of the Holy Ghost, achieve in souls until the end of the world.

Coming after the feasts of Christ, this feast completes them, concentrating them in one object which is materially Jesus' Heart of flesh, and formally the unbounded charity symbolised by this Heart. This solemnity therefore does not relate to a particular mystery of the Saviour's life, but embraces them all; indeed the devotion to the Sacred Heart celebrates all the favours we have received from divine charity during the year (Collect), and all the marvellous things that Jesus has done for us (Introit, Tract, Alleluia). It is the feast of the love of God for men, a love which has made Jesus come down on earth for all by His Incarnation (Epistle), which has raised Him on the Cross for the Redemption of all and which brings Him down every day on our altars by transubstantiation, in order to make us benefit by the merits of His death on Calvary.

These three mysteries, which manifest to us the divine charity in a more special way, sum up the spirit of the feast of the Sacred Heart. It is " His love which forced Him to put on a mortal body" (Hymn at Matins). It is His love which willed that the Sacred Heart should be pierced on the cross (Gospel and Communion), in order that from the wound should flow a spring (Preface) we might draw from joyfully (f at 2nd Vespers), whose water cleanses us from our sins in baptism and whose blood nourishes bur souls in the Eucharist. And as the Eucharist is the continuation of the Incarnation and the sacrifice of Calvary, Jesus asked that the feast should be placed immediately after the Octave of Corpus Christi.

As these manifestations of Christ's love only show the more the ingratitude of men who only answer by coldness and indifference (Offertory) this solemnity has a character of reparation (Collect) demanded of us by the wounded Heart of Jesus and by His immolation in the Crib, on the Cross and on the Altar.

Let us learn from the Heart of Jesus, whose gentle and humble love turns no one away, and in it we shall find rest for our souls (Alleluia).

Cogitationes Cordis ejus in generatione et generationem: ut eruat a morte animas eorum et alat eos in fame. * Exsultate, justi, in Domino, rectos decet collaudatio.
The thoughts of His Heart are to all generations: to deliver their souls from death and feed them in famine. * Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright.
(Introit from Psalm 32:11,19,1)

Deus qui nobis in Corde Fllii tui, nostris vulnerato peccatis, infinitos dilectionis thesauros misericorditer largiri dignaris; concede, quaesumus, ut illi devotum pietatis nostrae praestantes obsequium, dignae quoque satisifactions exhibeamus officium.
O God, who in the Heart of Thy Son, wounded by our transgressions, dost mercifully vouchsafe to bestow upon us the infinite wealth of Thy love; grant, we beseech Thee, that revering it with meet devotion, we may make a worthy reparation for our sins.

Dulcis et rectus Dominus, propter hoc legem dabit delinquentibus in via. * Diriget mansuetos in judicio, docebit mites vias suas.
Alleluia, alleluia. * Tollite jugum meum super vos et discite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis Corde, et invenietis requiem animabus vestris. Alleluia.
The Lord is sweet and righteous: therefore He will give a law to sinners in the way. f. He will guide the mild in judgment: He will teach the meek his ways. (Gradual Psalm 24:8-9)
Alleluia, alleluia. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. Alleluia. (St Matthew 11:29)

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
In illo tempore: Judaei, quoniam Parasceve erat, ut non remanerent in cruce corpora sabbato, erat enim magnus dies ille sabbati, rogaverunt Pilatum ut frangerentur eorum crura et tollerentur. Venerunt ergo milites, et primi quidem fregerunt crura et alterius qui crucifixus est cum eo. Ad Jesum autem cum venissent, ut viderunt eum jam mortuum, non fregerunt ejus crura: sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua. Et qui vidit testimonium perhibuit: et verum est testimonium ejus. Et ille scit quia vera dicit, ut et vos credatis. Facta sunt enim haec ut Scriptura impleretur : Os non comminuetis ex eo. Et iterum alia Scriptura dicit: Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.

Continuation of the holy Gospel, according to St. John.
At that time, the Jews, (because it was the Parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath-day (for that was a great Sabbath-day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came, and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of Him. And again another Scripture saith: They shall look on Him whom they pierced.
(St John 19:31-37)

Improperium exspectavit Cor meum et miseriam, et sustinui qui simul mecum contristaretur et non fuit; consolantem me quaesivi et non inveni.
My heart hath expected reproach and misery: and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.
(Offertory: Psalm 68:21)

Ad Jesum autem * cum venissent, ut viderunt eum jam mortuum, non fregerunt ejus crura, sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua.
But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.
(Antiphon at the Magnificat: St John 19:33)

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Thursday, the Octave Day of Corpus Christi

Thursday, the Octave Day of Corpus Christi

To resist the attacks of renewed heresies against the Holy Eucharist and to revive in the Church a zeal which had somewhat grown cold, the Holy Ghost inspired, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the solemnity of Corpus Christi.

In 1208 the blessed Juliana of Mount Cornillon, near Liege, saw in a vision the full moon with an indentation indicating that a feast was missing in the liturgical cycle. The Eucharist, instituted on Maundy-Thursday, had not in effect been celebrated with all the desired pomp, the Church's thoughts being absorbed by the passion of the Saviour. It was thought that immediately after Paschaltide a feast with an octave should be established. As the Last Supper took place on Thursday, the Bishop of Liege instituted in 1246 this solemnity in his diocese on the Thursday which follows the octave of Pentecost. In 1264, Pope Urban IV extended this feast to the whole world. Let us venerate the Eucharist, the greatest of the miracles performed by the Holy Ghost.

Mass as on the day of the feast.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Exsultate Deo adjutorio nostro; jubilate Deo Jacob.
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Rejoice unto God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob.
(Psalm 80:17,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari; ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus.
O God, who in this wonderful sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy passion, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within us the fruit of Thy redemption.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

15th June, SS. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, Martyrs

SS. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, Martyrs

Vitus, also called Guy, belonged to an illustrious Sicilian family. His father, learning that he had been baptized, delivered him to the judge Valerian to be scourged, but he was struck blind. The prayers of the saint obtained his recovery but did not convert him. Vitus was then saved from his father's cruelty by Modestus his tutor and by Crescentia his nurse who took him to another part of the country. There his holiness became so famous that Diocletian had recourse to him to deliver his son who was tormented by the devil. Guy healed him (Gospel). But the ungrateful prince having failed to induce the saint to worship the false gods, caused him to be arrested with Modestus and Crescentia. They were plunged into a cauldron of molten lead and flaming resin and were then quartered. After having tested them like gold in the furnace (Epistle), God delivered them from all these sufferings (Introit) and rejoiced them by giving them a place of honour at the heavenly banquet (Gradual). They died in 303. St. Vitus is one of the fourteen auxiliary saints.

Let us have recourse to St. Guy, to be preserved from the bite of mad dogs and from the sad disease which bears his name. He will obtain for us great docility towards the Holy Ghost, in order that we do good in all liberty, humility and charity (Collect).

Multae tribulationes justorum, et de his omnibus liberavit eos Dominus: Dominus custodit omnia ossa eorum: unum ex his non conteretur. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
Many were the afflictions of the just, and out of all these the Lord hath delivered them: the Lord keepeth all their bones; not one of them shall be broken. * I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be always in my mouth.
(Psalm 33:20-21,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Da Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, sanctis Martyribus tuis Vito, Modesto atque Crescentia intercedentibus, superbe non sapere, sed tibi placita humilitate proficere: ut, prava despiciens, quaecumque recta sunt, libera exerceat caritate.
Grant to Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Thy holy martyrs, Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, not to be proud-minded, but to make progress by humility pleasing unto Thee; that despising what is evil, she may exercise with an eager love the things which are right.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

14th June, St Basil the Great, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

St. Basil the Great, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

St. Basil was born at Caesarea in Cappadocia. After having completed his studies at Constantinople and Athens with his intimate friend Gregory of Nazianzen, he renounced the world, left his family (Gospel), and embraced monastic life in the province of Pontus. Like fully seasoned salt (Gospel), he gave to his teaching the full flavour of the Gospel and nourished with holy truth the people of Caesarea committed to his care (Communion).

He was the author of the famous rule which bears his name; it was praised by St. Benedict and is still observed by the monks of the East. The Holy Ghost filled him with His divine wisdom and with intelligence (Introit): when, therefore, he wrote against those who rebelled against the sound doctrine (Epistle), he attacked the Arians, who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and prepared the triumph of orthodoxy over the error of the Macedonians by firmly establishing the Catholic dogma regarding the Holy Ghost.

He is one of the four great Doctors of the East. He died in 379.

Let us ask St. Basil to fill us with his faith in the divinity of the third Person of the Holy Trinity, and to deliver us from sin (Offertory) which hinders the working of the Holy Ghost in our souls.

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)

Exaudi, quaesumus, Domine, preces nostras, quas in beati Basilii Confessoris tui atque Pontificis solemnitate deferimus: et, qui tibi digne meruit famulari, ejus intercedentibus meritis, ab omnibus nos absolve peccatis.
Graciously hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers we offer to Thee on this festival day of blessed Basil, Thy confessor and bishop : he deserved to render Thee a worthy service ; may his merits appeal to Thee to absolve us from all our sins. Through our Lord.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Most Pure Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart: The Most Pure Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The liturgical worship of "the most pure Heart of Mary" was suggested by the Fathers who commented the Canticle of Canticle; it was first joined to that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the XVIIth century, by St John Eudes; however, it was only at the beginning of the XIXth century that Pope Pius VII allowed some places to keep a feast in its honour, on the Sunday after the octave of her Assumption. Pius IX granted it a proper Mass and Office (Mass Omnis gloria). In other places it was kept on the Sunday or rather (since the present edition of the Roman Missal, made in 1920 in the spirit of Pius X) on the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

See also 22nd August.

These are the characteristics of the heart of our blessed Lady which we set forth from the texts of the Mass:

1. All her holiness proceeds from her heart (Introit).
2. Her grief when she lost the child Jesus in the Temple (Gospel).
3. Her heart is filled with the love of God (Epistle, Secret, Communion).
4. Mary's heart is pure, therefore is it pleasing to God (Collect, Gradual).
5. Her heart is courageous (Offertory).
6. Mary's intercession (Postcommunion).


Omnis gloria ejus filiae Regis ab intus; in fimbriis aureis circumamicta varietatibus: adducentur Regi virgines post eam, proximae ejus afferentur tibi. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
All the glory of the King's daughter is from within with borders of gold; and clothed about with varieties: after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbours shall be brought to thee. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Introit, Psalm 44:1)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in Corde beatae Mariae Virginis dignum Spiritus sancti habitaculum praeparasti: concede propitius; ut ejusdem Purissimi Cordis festivitatem devota mente recolentes, secundum Cor tuum vivere valeamus. 
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the heart of the blessed Virgin Mary didst prepare a dwelling worthy of the Holy Ghost; grant in Thy mercy, that we who with devout minds celebrate the festival of that most pure heart, may be able to live according to Thine own heart.

Lectio libri Sapientiae. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum, ut signaculum super brachiurn tuum: quia fortis est ut mors dilectio, dura sicut infernus aemulatio: lampades ejus, lampades ignis atque flammarum. Aquae multae non potuerunt exstinguere caritatem, nec flumina obruent illam: si dederit homo omnem substantiam domus suae pro dilectione, quasi nihil despiciet eam.
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm: for love is strong as death: jealousy is hard as hell; the lamps thereof are fire and flames. Many waters cannot quench charity; neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.
(Epistle: Canticles 8:6-7)

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. In illo tempore: Dixit Mater Jesu ad illum: Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic? Ecce pater tuus et ego dolentes quaerebamus te. Et ait ad illos: Quid est quod me quaerebatis? Nesciebatis quia in his, quae Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse? Et ipsi non intellexerunt verbum, quod locutus est ad eos. Et descendit cum eis, et venit Nazareth: et erat subditus illis. Et mater ejus conservabat omnia verba haec in corde suo.
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke. At that time: The mother of Jesus said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart.
(Gospel: Luke 2:48-51)

13th June, St Antony of Padua, Confessor

St. Anthony of Padua, Confessor

"Always present and living in the Church, the Holy Ghost raised up, in the thirteenth century, the sons of Dominic and of Francis" writes Dom Gueranger. "These new hosts, organized for new needs, threw themselves into the arena, pursuing heretics, thundering against vice, mixing with the people whom they enrolled in crowds in their third orders, the assured refuge of Christian life. Of all the sons of the patriarch of Assisi, the best known, the most powerful before God and men, is Anthony, whose feast we are celebrating."

Born at Lisbon, of noble parents, he despised all riches (Gospel). Full of the Holy Ghost, who transformed the apostles, he entered the religious host so as to be able to fight for the faith and to be ready when the Master came (Gospel).

Living a retired life in Tuscany, he gave himself up to divine contemplation (Introit); he then received the mission to preach the Gospel. The wisdom of his doctrine and his eloquence caused him to be called the Ark of the Testament and the Hammer of Heretics. A year before his death he came to Padua where, loaded with merits, he died at the age of thirty five in 1231, and was established by Jesus over all His riches (Communion).

Remembering how Anthony recovered, by divine intervention, a sacred book that had been stolen from him, let us ask this saint not only to make us recover earthly and perishable things, but also to obtain for us the spiritual help by which we may deserve to enjoy eternal riches (Collect).

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)

Ecclesiam tuam, Deus, beati Antonii Confessoris tui solemnitas votiva laetificet: ut spiritualibus semper muniatur auxiliis, et gaudiis perfrui mereatur aeternis. 
May the votive solemnity of blessed Anthony, Thy confessor, give joy to Thy Church, O God; that it may be ever defended by spiritual assistance and deserve to possess eternal joys.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi

Second Sunday after Pentecost

(Wherever the solemn celebration of Corpus Christi is observed on the Sunday, one high Mass is celebrated as on the feast itself, with commemoration and last Gospel of the second Sunday. After this Mass the procession takes place.)

For the feast of Corpus Christi, the Church has chosen the Thursday between the Sunday on which she speaks of God's mercy towards men and the consequent duty of fraternal charity among Christians (First Sunday after Pentecost), and this Sunday when she resumes the same thread of thought (Epistle) and presents the Kingdom of Heaven in the form of the Parable of the Supper (Gospel). (This Mass was in existence, composed of its present parts before Corpus Christi was instituted.)

Nothing could be more appropriate to the Blessed Eucharist, as the banquet where all souls are united by love to Christ their Spouse and to all the members of His mystical body; no time could have been chosen better than when the history of Samuel is being read in the breviary; Samuel who was consecrated to God from his earliest childhood to dwell near the Ark of the Lord and to become priest in the sanctuary of the Most High.

In the liturgy for this season we see how this young child, offered to God by his mother, served the Lord in the Temple with a pure heart and nurtured himself on God's truth.

"In those days," the breviary tells us, "the word of the Lord was precious ... there was no manifest vision"; for Heli was at the same time proud and weak; and his two sons Ophni and Phinees were faithless to God and slack in His service. Yet at that very moment the Lord revealed Himself to the child Samuel, for as our Lord tells us, He reveals Himself to "little ones", and hides Himself from the proud.

"It is to the humble," says St. Gregory, "that the secrets of the divine plan have been revealed, and that is why Samuel was called as a child." (Commentary on Kings.) God foretold to Samuel the punishment which would fall on Heli and his house, and as a matter of fact soon after, the Ark was taken by the Philistines, Heli's two sons were killed and Heli himself died. Moreover almighty God had withheld his revelations from the high priest, because he and his sons made too little of heavenly joys, symbolized by "the great supper" spoken of in to-day's Gospel, and were more attached to the delights of the body than of the soul.

Applying to them a passage from St. Gregory in to-day's homily we may say that they "had reached a state in which they had lost all appetite for interior joys, for the very reason that they had held aloof from them and had long lost the habit of relishing them. Since they were not willing to enjoy interiorly the sweetness offered them, they loved the hunger that came upon them from without."

Heli's sons had in fact been taking the meats offered to God and eating them themselves and Heli, their father had let them go their own way. It was in divine consolations alone that Samuel, who had always lived with Heli in the Temple, found his delight. The food of which he partook was that supplied by God Himself, When He told him His secrets in contemplation and prayer. "The child slept, which means," says St. Gregory, "that his soul was at rest without care for earthly things." The saint explains in his commentary on to-day's Gospel that "the joys of the body which kindle in us beforehand an ardent desire for their possession, soon bring disgust upon him who tastes them, by the very fact of his satiating himself with them, while on the contrary, spiritual joys arouse contempt before they are possessed, but stir up desire for them when once they have been obtained; so that he who has tasted them is the hungrier, the more he is fed."

And this explains how souls who find all their delight in the pleasures of this world refuse to share in the banquet of the Christian Faith, wherein the church nourishes all with the teaching of the Gospel. "Taste and see," continues St. Gregory, "that the Lord is sweet. By these words the Psalmist expressly tells us: You do not know His sweetness if you do not taste it, but touch the food of life with the palate of your heart, that experiencing His graciousness you may be able to love Him.

"Man lost these delights when he sinned in paradise, out of which he came when he had closed his lips to the food of eternal sweetness. It follows from this that having been born in the pains of this exile, we reach such a state of disgust with our life here below, that we no longer know what we ought to desire." (Matins).

But by the grace of the Holy Ghost, "we have passed from death unto life", (Epistle), so that, like humble little Samuel, we, the weak, the poor and the lame of the Gospel should seek our joys near our Lord's tabernacle and in intimate communion with Him. We must avoid pride and earthly things that we may be instructed in the fear and love of Gods Holy Name (Collect), and thus constantly directed by Him "our life on earth may more and more be likened to that of heaven," that "it may be vouchsafed to us who have received the sacred gifts, that the more often we assist at the celebration of these divine mysteries, the more surely they may avail to the salvation of our souls" (Postcommunion).

Factus est Dominus protector meus, et eduxit me in latitudinem: salvum me fecit, quoniam voluit me. * Diligam te, Domine, virtus mea : Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus.
The Lord became my protector, and He brought me forth into a large place: He saved me, because He was well pleased with me. * I will love Thee, O Lord my strength: the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge, and my deliverer.
(Psalm 17:19-20,2 from the introit of Mass)

Sancti nominis tui, Domine, timorem pariter et amorem fac nos habere perpetuum: quia numquam tua gubernatione destituis, quos in soliditate tuae dilectionis instituis. 
Grant, O Lord, that we may have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name; for Thou never failest to direct and govern by Thy grace, those whom Thou bringest up in the steadfastness of Thy love.

Second Collect of Corpus Christi: Deus qui nobis.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this parable : A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. And he sent his servant, at the hour of supper, to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a farm, and must needs go out, and see it, I pray thee hold me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them; I pray thee hold me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house being angry, said to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind and the lame. And the servant said : Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. But I say unto you, that none of these men that were invited shall taste of my supper.
(St Luke 14:16-24)

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Third Sunday after Pentecost

To-day's liturgy proclaims God's mercy to men. Like our Lord, who came "not to call the just, but sinners", the Holy Ghost who carries on Christ's work in our hearts comes to set up the kingdom of God in sinful souls. This is the Church's teaching in breviary and missal to-day.

The breviary lessons are concerned with the history of Saul. After Heli's death the Israelites obeyed Samuel like a new Moses but when he became old they asked for a king. There was living, at that time, in the tribe of Benjamin a man named Cis, who had a son called Saul. No boy in Israel was his equal in appearance. His father's asses having gone astray, Saul went to look for them and coming to Ramatha, where Samuel lived, he said to himself: " The man of God will tell me where I shall find them". No sooner was he in Samuel's presence, than God told the latter that this was the man whom He had chosen to reign over His people. Samuel told Saul that the asses he had lost three days ago had been found. The next day Samuel took a horn of oil and having poured it on Saul's head, kissed him and said: "Behold the Lord hath anointed thee to be prince over His inheritance : and thou shalt deliver His people out of the hands of their enemies that are round about them." "Saul," says St. Gregory, "was only anointed with a little vessel of oil because lie was to be rejected in the end." For since the vessel contained but a little oil, Saul received little, and he adds elsewhere: "In every respect Saul represents the obstinate and the proud." St. Gregory says that Saul, who was sent by his father "to look for the lost asses, is a type of our Lord whom His Father sent to seek lost souls". He goes on to say that enemies are round about as blessed Peter said: "Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about." Saul was anointed to deliver his people from the enemies who were attacking them, but Christ the Anointed in the highest sense, came to deliver us from the devils who seek our destruction. This enables us to understand the choice of the epistle and Gospel of this Mass. The gospel shows us the lost sheep and the Good Shepherd seeking it, placing it on His shoulders and returning with it to the fold. It is one of the oldest representations in Christian iconography found in the catacombs. The epistle explains the dangers to which men, expressed by the lost sheep, are exposed. "Watch because your adversary whom resist ye, strong in faith" (Epistle). He will shelter you from the attack of your enemies (Gradual), who is the protector of all who hope in Him (Collect), and who never forsakes them that seek Him (Offertory) Remembering Saul's fate who, at first little in his own eyes, afterwards became puffed up with pride on account of his royal dignity, disobeyed God and would not acknowledge his faults, let us "humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God" (Epistle), saying: "O my God, look upon me and have mercy ... in Thee I put my trust; let me be not ashamed (Introit): and since without Thee nothing is strong, nothing is holy, make us in such manner to use temporal goods, that we lose not those which are eternal (Collect). Give us, then, an immovable constancy in the midst of temptation of every kind (Epistle).


Respice in me, et miserere mei, Domine: quoniam unicus, et pauper sum ego: vide humilitatem meam, et laborem meum: et dimitte omnia peccata mea, Deus meus. * Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam.
Look Thou upon me, O Lord, and have mercy on me; for I am alone and poor. See my abjection and my labour; and forgive me all my sins, O my God. * To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.
(Introit: Psalm 24:16-18,1-2)

Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus aeterna.
O God, the protector of all that trust in Thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, multiply Thy mercies upon us; that having Thee for our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not those which are eternal.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore: Erant appropinquantes ad Jesum publicani, et peccatores, ut audirent illum. Et murmurabant pharisaei et scribae, dicentes: Quia hic peccatores recipit, et manducat cum illis. Et ait ad illos parabolam istam, dicens: Quis ex vobis homo, qui habet centum oves: et si perdiderit unam ex illis, nonne dimittit nonagintanovem in deserto, et vadit ad illam, quae perierat, donec inveniat eam? Et cum invenerit eam, imponit in humeros suos gaudens: et veniens domum, convocat amicos, et vicinos, dicens illis: Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni ovem meam, quae perierat? Dico vobis, quod ita gaudium erit in caelo super uno peccatore poenitentiam agente, quam super nonagintanovem justis, qui non indigent poenitentia. Aut quae mulier habens drachmas decem, si perdiderit drachmam unam, nonne accendit lucernam, et everrit domum, et quaerit diligenter, donee inveniat ? Et cum invenerit, convocat arnicas et vicinas, dicens: Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni drachmam, quam perdideram? Ita dico vobis: gaudium erit coram Angelis Dei super uno peccatore poenitentiam agente.
Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, the publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus to hear Him: and the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. And He spoke to them this parable, saying: What man is there of you that hath a hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders rejoicing, and coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost? I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. Or what woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost? So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
(Gospel: Luke 15:1-10)

Quae mulier * habens drachmas decern, et si perdiderit drachmam unam, nonne accendit lucernam, et everrit domum, et quaerit diligenter donec inveniat?
What woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it?
(Antiphon at the Magnificat, St Luke 15:8)

12th June, SS. Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius, Martyrs

SS. Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius, Martyrs

These saints, Roman soldiers, noble by birth and illustrious by their virtues, became Christians under Diocletian. Arrested and cast into prison, they were condemned to death and beheaded. Their bodies were thrown to the wild beasts who respected them; they were buried with honour by the Christians.

Intret in conspectu tuo, Domine, gemitus compeditorum: redde vicinis nostris septuplum in sinu eorum: vindica sanguinem sanctorum tuorum, qui effusus est. * Deus, venerunt gentes in haereditatem tuam: polluerunt templum sanctum tuum: posuerunt Jerusalem in pomorum custodiam.
Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbours sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy saints, which hath been shed. * O God, the heathens are come into Thy inheritance: they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit.
(Psalm 78:11-12,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Basilidis, Cyrini, Naboris atque Nazarii, quaesumus, Domine, natalitia nobis votiva resplendeant: et, quod illis contulit excellentia sempiterna, fructibus nostrae devotionis accrescat.
O Lord, may the keeping of this festival of the heavenly birthday of Thy holy martyrs, Basilides, Cyrinus, Nabor and Nazarius, shed brightness on our lives; and may the eternal glory granted them, be increased by the devout service we pay Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

12th June, St. John of San Facondo, Confessor

St. John of San Facondo, Confessor

St. John was born at San Facondo in Spain and his youth was spent in a Benedictine monastery. Favoured by the Holy Ghost with a marvellous gift for peace-making (Collect), from childhood he exhorted other children to concord. During the civil war he preached peace in Salamanca and succeeded in putting an end to factions there.

He distributed his rich revenues among the poor (Epistle) and devoted his time to works of charity, to prayer and to the contemplation of divine wisdom (Introit).

In order to be ready when the Master came to fetch him (Gospel) he entered the Order of St. Augustine, where he was distinguished for his extraordinary devotion during Holy Mass. He died in 1470, crying out: "Lord, I place all my confidence in Thee at this last hour, and into Thy hands I commit my soul."

Let us ask the Holy Ghost, author of peace and source of divine charity, to fill us with the love and spirit of reconciliation of which St. John gave us the example, so that we may never be separated from Jesus (Collect).

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, auctor pacis et amator caritatis, qui beatum Joannem Confessorem tuum mirifica dissidentes componendi gratia decorasti: ejus meritis et intercession concede; ut, in tua caritate firmati, nullis a te tentationibus separemur.
O God, the author of peace, and lover of charity, who didst adorn blessed John, Thy confessor, with a wonderful grace for reconciling those at variance; grant by his merits and intercession, that, being established in Thy charity, we may not by any temptations be separated from Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

The leading thought in to-day's liturgy is again that of trust in God in the midst of struggles and trials. This thought springs from the reading of the story of David in the Breviary as well as from an incident in the life of St. Peter whose feast is close at hand, these being the two elements very different in themselves, from which are drawn the various parts of the Mass.

When almighty God had rejected Saul because of his pride, He told Samuel to anoint as king, the youngest son of Jesse, still a young boy. Samuel anointed him in the midst of his family, while from that day the spirit of God departed from Saul and descended upon David.

Soon after, the Philistines wishing to renew the war, assembled their army on the slope of a mountain while Saul drew up his in a similar position, in such a way that they were separated only by a valley with a mountain stream. From out of the Philistines' camp came the giant, Goliath, having "a helmet of brass upon his head and he was clothed with a coat of mail. And he had greaves of brass on his legs and a buckler of brass covered his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred sides of iron. And standing he cried out to the bands of Israel and said to them: "Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul? Choose out a man of you and let him come down and fight hand to hand. If he be able to fight with me and kill me we will be servants to you; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, you shall be servants, and shall serve us." And Saul and all the Israelites hearing these' words of the Philistines were dismayed and greatly afraid."

For forty days the Philistine came forward morning and evening, renewing his challenge which not one had the courage to accept. At this juncture young David visited Saul's camp, where his brothers were, and hearing Goliath and witnessing the terror of Israel cried out full of faith: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, who hath dared to curse the army of the living God?" Let not any man's heart be dismayed in him. I, thy servant, will go and will fight against the Philistine." And Saul said to David: "Go, and the Lord be with thee."
Then David, taking his staff and sling, crossed the bed of the stream and choosing five smooth stones went boldly forward to meet the Philistine Goliath, who seeing a mere lad coming towards him exclaimed with great contempt: "Am I a dog that thou comest to me with a staff?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And David said to the Philistine: "I came to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel which thou hast defied. And all this assembly shall know, that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for it is His battle and He will deliver you into our hands."

Then Goliath rushed on David, who hastily loading his sling with one of the stones he had brought, swung it round so that the stone buried itself in the giant's forehead, while he fell like a log, face downwards, on the earth. David leapt towards him and drawing his victim's sword from its sheath gave him his death blow, cutting off his head and holding it up for the Philistines to see; the result being that the latter fled in confusion, while the Israelites, raising a war cry, pursued them with great slaughter.

"The Children of Israel," says St. Augustine, "had been for forty days face to face with the enemy. By these forty days, because of the four seasons and four quarters of the world, is represented this present life during which the Lord's people are never without the necessity of fighting a Goliath and his army, that is the devil and his angels. None the less, they would never gain the victory, if Christ, the true David, had not come down to earth with His staff, i.e. the mystery of His Cross. For David, a type of Christ, stepped from the ranks, took his staff in his hand and went forth against the giant so that in his person we see prefigured what came to pass later on in the case of our Lord Himself. For Christ, the true David, who came to fight the spiritual Goliath, that is the devil, Himself carried His cross. Observe, my dear brethren, the precise spot where Goliath was struck by David. It was on his forehead where he had not the sign of the cross. In the same way that the staff represented the cross, so the stone which struck Goliath was a figure of Christ, our Lord" (2nd Nocturn).

The army of Israel is the Church who endures the humiliations inflicted upon her by her enemies. She groans while waiting for her deliverance (Epistle). She asks the Lord who is "a refuge of the poor in tribulation" (Alleluia), and who is "a refuge" and "deliverer " (Communion) to come to her assistance, lest the enemy say: "I have prevailed against her" (Offertory). With confidence she cries: "Help us O Lord our Saviour, and for the honour of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us" (Gradual). "The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. My enemies that trouble me have themselves been weakened and have fallen" (Introit).

It is that under the guidance of Providence, that the Church renders "glad service" to God "in peace" (Collect). This is also clear from the Gospel, chosen because of the near approach of the feast kept on the twenty-ninth of June; in fact a Gospel book (Evangeliarium) of Wurtzburg actually calls this Dominica ante natalem Apostolorum (Sunday before the heavenly birth-day of the Apostles).

It was from Peter's boat that our Lord chose to preach; it was Simon Peter that He told to launch out into the deep, and it was he who, at the Master's word of command, laid down the nets which became so full that they broke. Finally, it was Peter who overcome with astonishment and fear, adored His Master and was chosen by Him as a fisher of men.

"St. Matthew," St. Ambrose tells us, "describes this boat as tossed by the waves, while St Luke describes it as full of fish; here we have a picture of the Church's vicissitudes in her early days and of her wonderful prosperity later on. The vessel which carries divine Wisdom and which is wafted by the wind of Faith runs no danger. What indeed can it fear, when for its pilot it has Him who is the very strength of the Church? Peril is encoutered when Faith is rare; but here there is safety since love is perfect (3rd Nocturn).

Commenting on a Gospel which is very similar to this, in which St, John records a miraculous draught of fishes which took place after our Lord's resurrection, St. Gregory writes: "What does the sea represent, if not the present age in which the changes and chances of this mortal life are like waves which unceasingly dash and break against each other? Of what is the firm ground of the shore a figure if not the permanence of eternal rest? Because the disciples were still surrounded by the waves of this mortal life, they toiled on the sea; and as our Redeemer had put off the corruptibility of the flesh after His resurrection, He stood on the shore."

Again in St. Matthew, our Lord compares the Kingdom of heaven to "a net cast into the sea and gathering together all kinds of fishes. Which, when it was filled they drew out; and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good fishes but the bad they cast forth.

In the same way Baptism was represented in the Catacombs by a fisher drawing a fish out of the water. Here then, is the function of the Church whose head is Peter, "to fish for men", to free souls from the dangers they encounter in the world represented by the sea. "Certainly a new method of fishing", says St. John Chrysostom. "For fishers drew their fish from the water to kill them, but we cast our nets into the water and those whom we take are made alive." And St. Gregory says, in to-day's homily: "The apostles' nets do not destroy those whom they catch, but preserve them, bringing them from the bottom of the abyss to the light; raising to the heights those who are tossed about in the lowest depths."

In St Peter's bark, tossed by the angry waves and the storms of this world, let us put all our trust in Christ. Through His Church He will save us from the attacks of "the strong man armed", who is the devil, and as by David He saved the hosts of Israel, when they defied the giant Goliath.

Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea, quem timebo? Dominus defensor vitae meae, a quo trepidabo? qui tribulant me inimici mei, ipsi infirmati sunt, et ceciderunt. * Si consistent adversum me castra: non timebit cor meum.
The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? My enemies that trouble me have themselves been weakened and have fallen. * If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. 
(Psalm 26:1-3 from the introit of mass)

Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine: ut et mundi cursus pacifice nobis tuo ordine dirigatur; et Ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione laetetur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Thee, that Thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in quiet devotion.

Continuation of the Holy Gospel, according to St. Luke.
At that time, when the multitude pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Genesareth. And He saw two ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets; and going up into one of the ships that was Simon's, He desired him to draw back a little from the land: and sitting He taught the multitudes out of the ship. Now when He had ceased to speak, He said to Simon: Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon, answering, said to Him: Master, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing, but at Thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes; and their net broke: and they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them; and they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus's knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of fishes which they had taken: and so were also James and John the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things they followed him. 
(St Luke 5:1-11)

Saturday, 11 June 2016

11th June, St Barnabas, Apostle

St. Barnabas, Apostle

The Church, founded by Jesus and filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, was to spread throughout the world. When St. Paul, after his long retreat in Arabia, came to Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion, and wished to submit to the approval of Peter the mission to the Gentiles committed to him by the Master Himself, it was St. Barnabas who presented him to the apostles.

"A good man and full of the Holy Ghost" (Epistle), St. Barnabas evangelized, during twelve years, with St. Paul, the pagans in the island of Cyprus and in a great number of towns and countries (Gradual). Wherefore the Church honours him as an apostle and the liturgy applies to him the words of Jesus announcing to the twelve that having been established as princes over the whole earth (Offertory), they would be seated on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Communion). Having separated from St. Paul, he returned to Cyprus where the Jews of Salamis plotted against him. Remembering then the words of the Master who sent His apostles like sheep in the midst of wolves (Gospel), he said to the faithful: "The wolf only attacks the shepherd first to throw himself next upon the flock. Be firm in the faith." The Holy Ghost dictated to him the words he had to say to the Jews (Gospel): but they stoned him as a blasphemer. He was buried with the Gospel of St. Matthew which he had copied with his own hand. His name is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass immediately after that of St. Matthias (second list).

Let us imitate the apostolic spirit of St. Barnabas whose soul was all inflamed with the Holy Ghost.

Mihi autem nimis honorati sunt amici tui, Deus: nimis confortatus est principatus eorum. * Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me: tu cognovisti sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.
To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honourable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened. * Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me; Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up.
(Psalm 138:17,1-2 from the Introit of Mass).

Deus, qui nos beati Barnabae Apostoli tui meritis et intercessione laetificas: concede propitius; ut, qui tua per eum beneficia poscimus, dono tuae gratiae consequamur. 
O God, who givest us joy by the merits and intercession of blessed Barnabas, Thy apostle, mercifully grant that we, who beg blessings of Thee through him, may obtain them by the gift of Thy grace.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday, 10 June 2016

10th June, St Margaret of Scotland

St Margaret, Queen of Scots

Margaret, queen of Scotland, was descended from the English kings by her father and from the Caesars by her mother. Like the prudent woman, mentioned in the Epistle, she was made still more illustrious by the practice of Christian virtues.

Filled with the fear of God (Introit), she subjected herself to fearful mortifications and by her example she brought the King, her husband, to a better life and her subjects to more Christian morals. She brought up her eight children with such piety that several of them led a life of high perfection. Nothing, however, was more admirable in her than her ardent charity towards her neighbour (Collect). She was called the mother of orphans and the treasurer of the poor of Jesus Christ. Such was the price at which she bought the precious pearl of the Kingdom of Heaven (Gospel).

Purified by six months of bodily suffering, she gave up her soul to God in 1093 at Edinburgh. The holiness of her life and numerous miracles wrought after her death have made her worship celebrated in the whole world. She was chosen by Clement X as patron of the Scottish nation over which she had reigned for thirty years.

Let us admire the work of the Holy Ghost in the soul of the holy queen whom He chose for the furtherance of Christ's Kingdom in Scotland and let us invoke her for the return of Scotland to Roman unity.

Cognovi, Domine, quia aequitas judicia tua, et in veritate tua humiliasti me: confige timore tuo carnes meas, a mandatis tuis timui. * Beati immaculati in via, qui ambulant in lege Domini.
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgements are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me: pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgements. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:75 and 120:1 from the Introit of Mass).

Deus, qui beatam Margaritam reginam eximia in pauperes caritate mirabilem effecisti: da; ut ejus intercessione et exemplo, tua in cordibus nostris caritas jugiter augeatur.
O God, who didst imbue the blessed queen Margaret with  a spirit of singular charity towards the poor: grant that, through her prayers and example, Thy love may ever grow in our hearts.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Corpus Christi

Feast of Corpus Christi

After the dogma of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the dogma of the Incarnation of our Lord, in celebrating with the Church the greatest of all sacraments, summing up the whole life of the Redeemer, giving infinite glory to God and applying the fruits of the Redemption at all times to ourselves (Collect).

It was on the cross that our Lord redeemed us and the Holy Eucharist, instituted on the night before our Lord's Passion, remains its memorial (Collect). The altar is the extension of Calvary; the Mass "shows the death of the Lord " (Epistle). (The celebration of the Mass has the same value as the death of Jesus Christ on the cross," St. John Chrysostom.)

Jesus is there in the state of a victim, for the words of the double consecration mean only that the bread is changed into the Body of Christ and the wine into His Blood. On account of this double action with different effects, which constitutes the sacrifice of the Mass, we are entitled to speak of our Lord's Presence under the appearance of bread as that of the Body of Christ, although, since He can die no more, the whole Christ is there contained; similarly we may speak of the Presence under the appearance of wine as that of His Blood, although He is contained there whole and entire.

Through His priests, our Lord Himself, the principal Priest of the Mass, offers in an unbloody manner His Body and Blood which were really separated on the Cross, but on the altar only in a representative or sacramental sense, the matter and words used and the effect produced being different in the two consecrations. Besides, the Eucharist was instituted under the form of food (Alleluia), that we may be united with the Victim of Calvary, so that the Sacred Host becomes the "wheat " which feeds our souls (Introit).

Moreover, Christ, as the Son of God, receives the eternal life of the Father; in the same way Christians share in that eternal life by uniting themselves to Christ through the Sacrament which is the symbol of unity (Secret), and this possession of the divine life, already realized on earth through the Eucharist, is the pledge and the beginning of that in which we shall fully rejoice in heaven (Postcommunion). As the Council of Trent puts it: "That same Heavenly Bread that we eat now under the sacred veils, we shall feed upon in heaven without veil."

We should regard the Mass as the centre of all Eucharistic worship, seeing in Holy Communion the means instituted by our Lord to enable us to share more fully in this divine Sacrifice. In this way our devotion to our Lord's Body and Blood will effectively obtain for us the fruits of His Redemption (Collect).

Concerning the procession which regularly should follow the Mass, we remember how the Israelites revered the Ark of the Covenant which was the Presence of God among them. When they carried on their victorious marches, the Ark went before, born by the Levites in the midst of a cloud of incense, accompanied by the sound of musical instruments and of the songs and shouts of the multitude

We Christians have a treasure far more precious, for in the Eucharist we possess God Himself. Let us feel a holy pride in forming His escort and extolling His triumphs, while He is in our midst.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Exsultate Deo adjutorio nostro; jubilate Deo Jacob.
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Rejoice unto God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob.
(Psalm 80:17,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari; ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus.
O God, who in this wonderful sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy passion, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within us the fruit of Thy redemption.

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this Bread shall live for ever.
(St. John 6:56-59)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

9th June, SS. Primus and Felician, Martyrs

SS. Primus and Felician, Martyrs

Primus and Felician were Romans. Brothers by blood, they became brothers still more when, having been called to bear much fruit (Offert ofory), they confessed their faith in Jesus Christ. Accused and arrested under Diocletian and Maximian, they were, in spite of their great age, cast into prison.

The Holy Ghost filled them "with His virtue and His strength " (Offertory). Giving them the breast-plate of justice and the impenetrable shield of equity (Epistle), He made them experience how sweet is the yoke of the Lord, which they had taken upon themselves, and how light is His burden (Gospel).

The constancy of Felician was first put to the test. Nailed by his hands and feet to the trunk of a tree, he remained hanging there for three days, without eating or drinking. They then tried to make his brother believe that he had sacrificed to the idols, but Primus declared that he knew Felician was happy in the midst of his sufferings and that he would remain united to him in martyrdom. "This is," as the Alleluia sings, "the true brotherhood which has triumphed over the criminal world." The praetor then ordered that molten lead should be poured into his mouth, in the presence of his brother.

They were led to the amphitheatre, but the lions who were to devour them crouched at their feet. Finally they were beheaded (286).

Their names live as centuries roll on (Introit), for they have received in heaven, from the hand of the Lord, a kingdom of glory and a crown of sparkling beauty (Epistle).

Let us join in heart, the faithful of Rome who, on this day, honour the precious remains of these two martyrs at the Church of St. Stephen on Mount Coelius.

In Paschal Time:

Sancti tui, Domine, benedicent te: gloriam regni tui dicent, alleluia, alleluia. * Exaltabo te, Deus meus Rex: et benedicam nomini tuo in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Let the saints bless Thee, O Lord; they shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, alleluia, alleluia. * I will extol Thee, O God my King: and I will bless Thy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever.
(Psalm 144:10-11,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Fac nos, quaesumus, Domine, sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Primi et Feliciani semper festa sectari: quorum suffragiis protectionis tuae dona sentiamus.
Make us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever to celebrate worthily the feast of Thy holy martyrs Primus and Felician: and by their loving intercession ever to feel Thy protection.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: