Introduction

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

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





Sunday, 27 August 2017

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 20 August 2017

11th Sunday after Pentecost

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

9th August, St John Mary Vianney, Confessor

St. John Mary Vianney, Confessor

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

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

SS. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, Martyrs

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

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

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

Monday, 7 August 2017

7th August, St Cajetan, Confessor

St. Cajetan, Confessor

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

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

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

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

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

7th August, St Donatus, Bishop and Martyr

St. Donatus of Arezzo, Bishop and Martyr

Donatus, bishop of Arezzo in Tuscany, was arrested under Julian the Apostate. He was beheaded in A.D 361.

Sacerdotes Dei, benedicite Dominum: sancti et humiles corde, laudate Deum. * Benedicite, omnia opera Domini, Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord; O ye holy and humble of heart, praise God. * All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
(Daniel 3:84,87,57 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, tuorum gloria sacerdotum: praesta, quaesumus; ut sancti Martyris tui et Episcopi Donati, cujus festa gerimus, sentiamus auxilium.
O God, the glory of Thy priests, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience the help of Thy holy martyr and bishop Donatus, whose festival we celebrate.
(Collect)


From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatus_of_Arezzo


High altar of Arezzo Cathedral, called the Arch of St Donatus.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

To-day's liturgy lays stress on the terrible punishments which will one day be inflicted on those who have denied Christ. They will all perish and not one of them will enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who have been faithful to Him through all the adversities of this life, will also one day, be saved from the hands of their enemies and will follow him into heaven, whither he went at His Ascension, whose feast the Church celebrates at Paschaltide. These thoughts about God's justice are suggested on this ninth Sunday after Pentecost by the story of the prophet Elias which the Church reads in the Breviary at this time.

After Solomon's death the twelve tribes of Israel were divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Juda. The second of these consisted of the tribes of Juda and Benjamin, with Jerusalem as capital, while the first was composed of the remaining ten tribes, having for its capital Sichem, then Samaria.

To this latter kingdom belonged the prophet Elias, who dwelt in the desert of Galaad in Samaria. A man of great virtue and austere life he wore a tunic woven of camel's hair and a leathern girdle. " With zeal, zealous for the Lord God of Hosts", he left the desert three times to convey the divine warnings to Achab, the seventh king of Israel and the queen, Jezebel, who seduced the people into idolatry ; to secure the death of the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal whom he had put to confusion on Mount Carmel, and to foretell to the king who had taken Naboth's vineyard for himself, that he would die bathed in his own blood, and to the queen, who had been Achab's evil genius, that her blood would flow on the spot where Naboth's flowed, while dogs should devour her flesh.

For these reasons Elias was persecuted by the Israelites and by Achab and Jezebel, and was obliged to flee to Mount Horeb to escape death. Later on, when Ochozias Achab's son had become king, Elias advised him not to consult Beelzebub the god of Accaron as he intended but rather the God of Israel.

Upon this Ochozias sent him a captain of fifty soldiers to summon him to come down from the mountain and to account for his words, but Elias answered: " If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume thee, and thy fifty." And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and the fifty that were with him (Breviary).

Still later, Elias set out towards the Jordan with Eliseus, and when they had crossed the river, a fiery chariot and horses separated them from each other, while Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven. Then Eliseus took up Elias's mantle that had fallen from him, and received a double portion of his spirit, while all Elias' disciples exclaimed: "The spirit of Elias hath rested upon Eliseus."

On one ocassion, when Elias was on his way up to Bethel he was mocked by some small boys, crying: "Go up, thou bald head. Go up, thou bald head." And Elias cursed them in the name of God whom they had offended, "and there came forth two bears out of the forest and tore them two and forty boys."

All his life, Elias, with his words of fire, championed the rights of almighty God. Much later John the Baptist "came forward in the spirit and power of Elias", clad like him, and like him dwelling in the desert; defending, with the same impassioned voice, the same rights of God, and foretelling the separation which Christ, who was at hand, would make between the chaff and the wheat. " He will gather the wheat into his barns, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." " Elias," says St. Augustine, " was a type of our Redeemer and Lord. Elias suffered persecution from the Jews; our Lord, the true Elias, was despised and rejected by this same people. Elias left his own country; Christ forsook the synagogue and made welcome the Gentiles " (2nd Nocturn).

_Continuing the comparison, we may say that God rescued Elias from his enemies by raising him into the sky; and in the same way he took Christ from among His enemies, by making Him go up to heaven on Ascension Day. "Deliver me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from them that rise up against me." (Alleluia).

Elias, carried away in a chariot of fire, was in the language of the Fathers, the type of Jesus ascending to heaven. The Gradual uses the same verse of the eighth psalm which the liturgy employs on Ascension Day. " O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth. Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens." The Introit adds : " Behold God is my helper and the Lord is the protector of my soul. Save me, O God, by Thy name and deliver me by Thy strength." This triumph of Christ over those who hated Him, typified by that of Elias over his despisers, will be ours also, if we do not "tempt Christ", that is, if we avoid idolatry, impurity, and murmuring (Epistle), remaining faithful to grace. For if our Lord continues to be offered up on our altars to "make His work to avail on our behalf " (Secret), and if "eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, we abide in Him and He in us" (Communion), it is in order that "united" to Him (Postcommunion) we may faithfully keep His judgments which are "sweeter than honey" (Offertory).

St. Paul indeed, tells us: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it" (Epistle). Let us therefore, beseech the Lord that His merciful ears "may be open to the prayers" of His suppliants and, in order that to those who seek He may surely give that for which they ask, He may make us to ask only for those things which are well-pleasing to Him (Collect).

But divine justice is not content with protecting the just against their enemies and with rewarding them for their fidelity; it punishes also those who do evil. Elias threatened the faithless kingdom of Israel and made fire from heaven to fall on his enemies (Breviary). The Israelites who tempted Christ by their murmurings perished by fiery serpents (Epistle), and Jerusalem, over which our Lord wept and whose punishment he foretold for its rejection of Himself, was destroyed by war and fire (Gospel). Three and twenty thousand of the children of Israel, we read, perished in one day through fornication and many were destroyed because of their murmuring. " Now," St. Paul tells us, " all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction " (Epistle).

More than a million Jews perished at the destruction of Jerusalem because they had rejected the Messias, and in the Gospel (see the first Sunday of Advent and the twenty-fourth after Pentecost), our Lord always compared this tragic ending to the catastrophies which will mark the end of all time when God will come to judge the world by fire

At that moment, the divine judge will accomplish the separation of the good from the evil, rewarding the first and banishing from the kingdom of God all who have denied Him by their unbelief or their sin, just as He drove from the Temple, the type of the Church on earth and in heaven, the traffickers who had transformed that house of God into a den of thieves (Gospel). " Turn back the evils upon my enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord my protector " (Introit). For then the time of mercy will have passed, and that of justice only will remain. " Wherefore," says the apostle, " he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall " (Epistle).

Ecce Deus adjuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animae meae : averte mala inimicis meis, et in veritate tua disperde illos, protector meus, Domine. * Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac : et in virtute tua libera me.
Behold God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul: turn back the evils upon my enemies, and cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord my protector. * Save me, O God, by Thy name, and deliver me in Thy strength.
(From the Introit of Mass, Psalm 53:6-7,3)


Pateant aures misericordiae tuae, Domine, precibus supplicantium: et ut petentibus desiderata concedas; fac eos, quae tibi sunt placita, postulare.
Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy suppliant people; and that Thou mayest grant them their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please Thee. Through our Lord.
(Collect)

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it saying : If thou also hadst known, and that in this day, the things that are to thy peace : but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side; and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them : It is written, My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And He was teaching daily in the temple.
(St Luke 19:41-47)

6th August, SS. Sixtus II, Felicissimus and Agapitus, Martyrs

SS. Sixtus II, Felicissimus and Agapitus, Martyrs

Pope St. Sixtus II was martyred in the third century, during the cruel persecution of Valerian, with his two deacons, Felicissimus and Agapitus. His name is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass among the popes (first list).

Laurence, his first deacon, seeing him led to death, exclaimed: "Why do you abandon me, Father, you who never offer the holy sacrifice without your deacon? " "You will follow me in three days," replied Sixtus. The anniversary of the martyrdom of St Laurence will be solemnized in three days.

Sapientiam sanctorum narrent populi, et laudes eorum nuntiet Ecclesia: nomina autem eorum vivent in saeculum saeculi. * Exsultate, justi, in Domino: rectos decet collaudatio.
Let the people show forth the wisdom of the saints, and the Church declare their praise: and their names shall live unto generation and generation. * Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright.
(Ecclesiasticus 44:15,14 and Psalm 32:1 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos concedis sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Xysti, Felicissimi et Agapiti natalitia colere: da nobis in aeterna beatitudine de eorum societate gaudere.
O God, who grantest us to celebrate the heavenly birthdays of Thy holy martyrs N. and N., vouchsafe that we may enjoy their fellowship in everlasting bliss.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14031c.htm

6th August, The Transfiguration of Our Lord

The Transfiguration of Our Lord 


The feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus had long been solemnized on August 6, in different churches of the East and West. To commemorate the victory which arrested, near Belgrade in 1456, the invading tide of Islam, and which was announced at Rome on August 6, Callistus III extended the feast to the whole Church.

It is the feast of many churches under the title of St. Saviour. This is why Pope St Pius X raised it to the rank of double of the second class, for it is the old title of the Cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran, formerly called the Basilica of St. Saviour (see November 9th).

Illuxerunt coruscationes tuae orbi terrae: commota est, et contremuit terra. * Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.
Thy lightnings enlightened the world : the earth shook and trembled. * How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.
(Psalm 76:19 and 83:2-3 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui fidei sacramenta, in Unigeniti tui gloriosa Transfiguratione, patrum testimonio roborasti, et adoptionem filiorum perfectam, voce delapsa in nube lucida, mirabiliter praesignasti: concede propitius; ut ipsius Regis gloriae nos coheredes efficias, et ejusdem gloriae tribuas esse consortes.
O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration of Thine only-begotten Son didst confirm the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of the fathers, and who by Thy voice from the shining cloud, didst in wondrous manner foreshow the perfect adoption of sons : make us, in Thy loving kindness, we beseech Thee, as co-heirs with Him who is the King of glory, and in that very glory call us in the end to share.
(Collect)


Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
At that time: Jesus taketh Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as snow. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with Him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here; if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid: and Jesus came and touched them, and said to them: Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.
(St Matthew 17:1-9)

The Hymn 'Quicumque Christum Quaeritis' from Vespers.

All ye who seek, in hope and love,
For Christ our Lord, look up above!
Where, traced upon the azure sky,
Faith may a glorious form descry.

Lo! on the trembling verge of light
A something all divinely bright!
Immortal, infinite, sublime!
Older than chaos, space, or time!

Hail, thou, the Gentiles' mighty Lord!
All hail, O Israel's King adored!
To Abraham sworn in ages past,
And to his seed while earth shall last.

To thee the prophets witness bear;
Of thee the Father doth declare,
That all who would his glory see,
Must hear and must believe in thee.

To Jesus, from the proud conceal'd,
But evermore to babes reveal'd,
All glory with the Father be,
And Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15019a.htm

Saturday, 5 August 2017

5th August, Our Lady of the Snows

The Dedication of the Church of our Lady of the Snow

This church was built at Rome, on Mount Esquiline, in the fourth century during the pontificate of pope Liberius. In the middle ages a graceful and popular tradition ascribed its foundation to a noble patrician who, having been favoured with a vision of Mary, caused it to be erected on a spot covered by a miraculous fall of snow.

This sanctuary was rebuilt in the following century and dedicated by Sixtus III in 432, to Mary, whom the Council of Ephesus (431) had just proclaimed the Mother of God. The mosaics of the triumphal arch glorify this divine maternity, and the representations of the two cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, recall the birth of Christ in the city of David, and that of the Church in the Cenacle of the Last Supper. These mosaics were restored in 1931-1934. The Basilica is also called St. Mary of the Crib, because portions of the crib are preserved there.

St. Mary's, called Major, because it is the largest and most important of the churches dedicated to the blessed Virgin, is a patriarchal basilica. The great nave is formed by two rows of forty-four columns of white marble and the ceiling is covered with the first gold brought from America.

In this church, whose dedication is solemnized on this day, takes place the inauguration of the liturgical year on the first Sunday in Advent, there are held the Stations at Christmas, on the feast of St. John, at Easter, on Rogation Monday, and on all Wednesdays in Ember Weeks.



Salve, sancta parens, enixa puerpera regem: qui coelum, terramque regit in saecula saeculorum. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Hail holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King who ruleth heaven and earth for ever and ever. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my words to the King.
(Sedulius, and Psalm 44:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Concede nos famulos tuos, quaesumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et, gloriosa beatae Mariae semper VĂ­rginis intercessione, a praesenti liberari tristitia et aeterna perfrui laetitia.
Grant us Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, to be delivered from present sorrows and to enjoy everlasting gladness.
(Collect)

From the Roman Breviary:
When Liberius was supreme Pontiff, a certain John, a Roman Patrician, and his wife, of equally noble race, since they had had no children whom they might leave as heirs to their estates, devoted their inheritance to the most holy Virgin Mother of God, continually begging of her, with the most earnest prayers, that she would make known to them, by some means, in what pious work in particular she wished them to expend the money. The Blessed Virgin Mary graciously heard their heartfelt prayers and vows, and acknowledged them by a miracle.
Therefore, on the Nones of August (August 5), at which date the most intense heats usually occur in the City, a part of the Esquiline hill was covered with snow during the night. That same night, the Mother of God urged John and his wife separately, in their dreams, to build, upon that spot which they should see was sprinkled with snow, a church which should be dedicated to the name of the Virgin Mary; for it was in this manner that she wished to become their heiress. John related this to Pope Liberus, who declared that the same thing had happened to himself in a dream.
He went, therefore, with a solemn procession of priests and people to the snow-clad hill, and marked out the plan of a church on that site, which was built with the money of John and his wife ; it was afterwards restored by Sixtus III. At first it was called by various names: the Liberian basilica, S Mary at the Crib. But, since there were already many churches in the City with the name of the holy Virgin Mary, and, as this basilica surpasses all the other basilicas named after her, both by the strangeness of that miracle, and by its own grandeur; that its supereminence may likewise be indicated in its title, it is called the church of St Mary Major. A commemoration of this dedication is celebrated by a yearly feast that is named after the snow, which on this day so miraculously fell.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11361c.htm


Friday, 4 August 2017

4th August, St Dominic, Confessor

St. Dominic, Confessor

The Church of France was ravaged by the heresy of the Albigenses who, not satisfied with teaching false doctrine, pillaged the churches and massacred the priests. In 1215, Innocent III saw in a dream the tottering walls of St. John Lateran, held up by the powerful shoulders of a friar. This friar was St. Dominic whose preaching defended Catholic doctrine against the new heresies (Epistle). Before his birth, his mother had in a vision her child in the shape of a little dog holding in its mouth a torch which was to set the world on fire.

Called Dominic, because his parents attributed his birth to the prayers of the holy Benedictine abbot Dominic of Silos, he truly belonged to the Lord, as his name suggests. Born in Spain, of the noble family Gusman, he distinguished himself by his purity as is signified by the lily he holds (Alleluia) and his white habit.

Having witnessed the many evils caused by the heretics in the south of France, he founded to oppose them the Order of the Friars Preachers (Communion), whom he armed with the shield of truth to teach doctrine and the sword of the word to preach it.

The Dominicans number many saints of both sexes who, like their founder, ardently studied the Word of God in the Gospel, which as St. Dominic says is the book of truth and "the book of charity".

[The Order of the Friars Preachers has given to the Church 4 popes: Blessed Innocent V St. Pius V, Benedict XI, Benedict XIII; numerous cardinals, bishops, doctors, preachers and illustrious writers. It numbers 11 saints and 4 women saints, 268 beatified men and 24 beatifled women, of whom 300 martyrs. The census of the Order in 1935 showed that there were 6000 Friars. The Dominican nuns in the Second Order and in the Third Order amount to 40,000.]

This saint loved our Lady in a special manner and preached the devotion to the Rosary. He died on August 6, 1221.



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 Ecclesiam tuam beati Dominici Confessoris tui illuminare dignatus es meritis et doctrinis: concede; ut ejus intercessione temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis, et spiritualibus semper proficiat incrementis.
O God who, by the merit and teaching of blessed Dominic, Thy confessor, hast been pleased to enlighten Thy Church: grant that through his prayers, she may not be deprived of temporal help, and may continually advance in spiritual growth.
(Collect)

From the Roman Breviary:
Dominic was born at Calaruega, in Spain, of the noble family of Guzman, and attended to his liberal and theological training at Palencia; and since he made very great progress in his studies, he became first a regular canon of the church of Osma, and thereafter the founder of the order of Friars Preachers. While his mother was with child, she dreamt she was carrying in her womb a little dog, holding a torch in his mouth, with which, as soon as he should come forth into the light, he would set fire to the world. This dream signified that he would enkindle Christian piety among the nations by the splendour of his holiness and his teaching. The event confirmed the truth of this; for he both fulfilled the prophecy in his own person, and it was thereafter implemented by the members of his order.
But his capacity and courage were in the highest degree conspicuous in overthrowing the heretics who were attempting to corrupt the people of Toulouse with their baneful errors; in which transaction he spent seven years. Thereafter he came to Rome for the Lateran Council, together with the bishop of Toulouse, that the order which he had founded might be confirmed by Innocent III. While this matter was receiving thorough consideration, Dominic, on the advice of the Pope, returned to his disciples, that he might select a rule for his order. On his return to Rome, he obtained the confirmation of the order of Preachers from Honorius III, the immediate successor of Innocent. And in Rome itself he founded two monasteries, one for men, the other for women. He likewise raised three dead persons to life, and performed many other miracles, in consequence of which the order of Preachers began to spread abroad in a wonderful manner.
But, when by his efforts monasteries were now being built in every part of the world, and countless men began to lead a holy and religious life, in the year of Christ 1221, he fell sick of a fever at Bologna. When he realized that he was about to die of this disease, he summoned the brethren and the disciples of his rule, and exhorted them to innocence and purity of life. Finally, he left unto them by will, as if in a definite inheritance, the virtues of charity, humility, and poverty; and while the brethren were praying round him, at the words: Come to his aid, ye Saints of God, come to meet him, ye Angels, he fell asleep in the Lord on the eighth of the Ides of August (August 6). Thereafter, Pope Gregory IX reckoned him among the number of the Saints.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05106a.htm

Thursday, 3 August 2017

3rd August, The Invention of St Stephen

The Finding of the body of St Stephen, the First Martyr


The Church solemnizes on December 26 the feast of St. Stephen, and on January 2 the octave of this saint. She holds the Station on Passion Friday in the Church dedicated to St. Stephen, on Mount Coelius, at Rome. On August 10 she will celebrate the feast of St. Laurence whose "remains more precious," say the writers of the first centuries, "than gold and precious stones "are with those of the deacon Stephen, which had been translated from Palestine to the capital of the Christian world.

To-day's Mass commemorates the miraculous finding by a priest of these relics at Kapher-Gamala on December 5, A.D. 415 (Collect). Except the Collect it is the same as that on December 26, the date of the translation of these remains from Kapher-Gamala to Jerusalem. For Gamaliel, the teacher of St. Paul, so much esteemed among the doctors of Israel that at his death it was declared that "the glory of Israel had disappeared", had buried twenty miles from that town, at his country house, the holy Martyr Stephen, Nicodemus and his own son Abibas. He himself was buried there. These precious relics, long ignored, were miraculously discovered and wrought numerous cures.

The Introit and the Epistle recall how Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, convicted the Jews of error, and how they, hating Christ as their fathers hated him (Gospel), seized Stephen and stoned him to death.

Let us honour St. Stephen, and imitating his prayers for his persecutors (Epistle, Communion), let us learn by his example to love our enemies (Collect).

Sederunt principes, et adversum me loquebantur: et iniqui persecuti sunt me: adjuva me, Domine Deus meus, quia servus tuus exercebatur in tuis justificationibus. * Beati immaculati in via, qui ambulant in lege Domini.
Princes sat, and spoke against me : and the wicked persecuted me: help me, O Lord my God, for Thy servant was employed in Thy justifications.* Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.  (Psalm 118:23,86, 23, 1 from the Introit of Mass)

Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine, imitari quod colimus: ut discamus et inimicos diligere; quia ejus inventionem celebramus, qui novit etiam pro persecutoribus exorare Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to imitate what we revere, that we may learn to love even our enemies: for we celebrate the day of the finding of his body, who could even plead on behalf of his persecutors with Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Collect)

Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Stephen: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14286b.htm

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

2nd August, St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr

St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr

Of Roman birth, St. Stephen I governed the Church under the Emperors Valerian and Gallienus. In spite of the most violent persecutions he regularly celebrated the holy Mysteries and held councils in the crypts of the martyrs. He forbade the re-christening of Christians baptized by heretics. In 257 towards the end of the Mass he was saying, he was surprised by the persecutors and beheaded while he sat on his pontifical chair.

Sacerdotes ejus induam salutari, et sancti ejus exsultatione exsultabunt. * Memento, Domine, David: et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall rejoice with exceeding great joy. * O Lord, remember David and all his meekness.
(Psalm 131:16, 1 from the introit of Mass)

O God, who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of blessed Stephen Thy martyr and bishop, mercifully grant that we may rejoice in his protection whose birthday we celebrate.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14288a.htm

2nd August, St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor

In 1696, God raised up St. Alphonsus. This Neapolitan nobleman, well known as a barrister, soon renounced his prospects of a brillant career, to devote himself exclusively to the service of God, with the sole desire of pleasing Him (Epistle, Offertory).

The Spirit of the Lord is upon him consecrating him and sending him to preach the Gospel to the poor" (Introit). "He has been sent from above, to bring the people to penance" (Alleluia). With that object in view he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Collect) whose members he sent, following the Saviour's example, into the country, to the towns and villages to announce the kingdom of God (Gospel).

He vowed never to lose a moment of his time and never in the whole of his life did he commit a mortal sin.

He wrote religious works filled with profound learning and piety and is therefore honoured by the Church as a Doctor. Emphasizing the importance of prayer in the divine plan, he condenses all his treatise on grace in one sentence: "He who prays is saved, he who does not pray is damned."

St. Alphonsus was forced to accept the bishopric of "St. Agatha of the Goths", near Naples. He died at the age of 91 in 1787 - The Benedictine Pope Pius VII commanded three fingers of his right hand to be sent to Rome. "Let them come to Rome," he said, "those holy fingers which have written so well for the glory of God, of the Virgin Mary and of religion."

[The Redemptorists, founded in 1732 and approved in 1749, numbered in 1933, 6318 religlous. They have three canonized saints: St. Alphonsus, their founder, St. Clement-Mary Hofbauer, and St. Gerard Majella. The latter, justly called the wonderworker for his miracles were innumerable. They number 8 venerables and 12 servants of God whose cause has been introduced at Rome. They have given to the Church several cardinals and bishops and a host of men illustrious by their preaching and writing.]


Spiritus Domini super me: propter quod unxit me: evangelizare pauperibus misit me, sanare contritos corde. * Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, wherefore He hath anointed me, to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me, to heal the contrite of heart. * Attend, O My people, to My law: incline your ear to the words of My mouth.
(St Luke 4:18 and Psalm 77:1 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui per beatum Alphonsum Mariam, Confessorem tuum atque Pontificem, animarum zelo succensum, Ecclesiam tuam nova prole fecundasti: quaesumus; ut ejus salutaribus monitis edocti, et exemplis roborati, ad te pervenire feliciter valeamus.
O God who, through the burning zeal for the salvation of souls of blessed Alphonsus Mary, Thy confessor and bishop, didst enrich Thy church with fresh offspring: grant, we beseech Thee, that imbued with his wholesome doctrine, and strengthened by his examples, we may, by Thy grace, come happily unto Thee.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01334a.htm

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

August - Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
(Pope Pius XII)

Queen of the Holy Rosary,
Help of the Christians,
Refuge of the human race,
Conqueress in God’s battlefields,
To You and to Your Immaculate Heart
In this tragic hour of human history
We entrust and consecrate ourselves,
And the Holy Church.
She is the Mystical Body of Your Jesus,
Suffering and bleeding in so many parts
And tormented in so many ways,
We consecrate to You the whole world torn by bitter strife
And consumed by the fire of hatred
The victim of its own wickedness.
Look with compassion to all material and moral destruction
To the suffering and fears of fathers and mothers
Of husbands and wives, of brother and sisters and innocent children.
Look at the many lives cut down in the flower of youth
So many bodies torn to pieces in brutal slaughter
So many souls tortured and troubled
And in danger of being lost eternally.
Oh, Mother of Mercy, obtain peace for us from God!
Obtain especially those graces, which can convert human hearts quickly.
Those graces, which can prepare, establish and insure peace.
Queen of Peace, pray for us;
Give the world at war the peace for which all are longing,
Peace in Truth, Justice and the Charity of Christ.
Give them peace of the arms and peace of mind,
That in tranquillity and order
The Kingdom of God may expand.
Grant Your protection to infidels
And to those still walking in the shadow of death;
Give them peace and permit that the sun of truth may raise upon them;
And that together with us
They may repeat before the Only Saviour of the World:
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on earth among men of good will.
Give peace to the people separated by error and schism,
Particularly those, who have special devotion to You
And among whom there was no home
Where Your venerable Icon was not honoured,
Though at present it may be hidden
In the hope for better days.
Bring them back to the One Fold of Christ,
Under the One True Shepherd.
Obtain peace and complete liberty for the Holy Church of God,
Check the spreading flood of neo-paganism,
Arouse within the faithful love of purity
The practice of Christian life and apostolic zeal,
So that the people who serve God,
May increase in merit and number.
All of humanity were once consecrated to the Heart of Your Son.
All our hopes rest in Him, Who is in all times
Sign and pledge of victory and salvation.
Forever we consecrate ourselves to You
And to Your Immaculate Heart,
Oh, Mother and Queen of the World!
May Your love and patronage hasten the victory of the Kingdom of God,
May all nations, at peace with each other and with God, proclaim You Blessed
And sing with You from one end of the earth to the other,
The eternal Magnificat of glory, love and gratitude
To the Heart of Jesus, in which alone,
They can find Truth, Life and Peace.

1st August, St Peter ad Vincula

St. Peter's Chains

The Church venerates on this day in the basilica of St. Peter "ad vincula " on Mount Esquiline at Rome, the chains with which the prince of the apostles was fettered (Collect, Epistle). This church where the Station is held on the Monday of the first week in Lent and on the Monday in the octave of Pentecost, was built over the baths of Trajan and restored towards the middle of the fifth century by the princess Eudoxia, whence the name of Eudoxian basilica sometimes given to it. It was dedicated on this day.

The date of August 1 was chosen so as to substitute a solemnity in honour of the apostle, Bishop of Rome and head of the Church (Alleluia, Gospel, Communion) for the pagan festival which used to be kept at Rome in honour of the Emperor Augustus.

[As a compliment to the Emperor Augustus they gave his name to the sixth month of the year formerly called Sextilis, for in old Rome the year began in March. The word August comes from Augustus as July from Julius Caesar. The following months kept their denominations of seventh (September), eighth (October), ninth (November) and tenth (December).]

The chains of St. Peter are in two portions, one having eleven links of lengthened shape to bind the hands, and the other twenty-three links, to the last of which are fixed two half circles to hold the neck. The popes used to send, as a rich present, a few particles of the filings of these chains enclosed in a golden key. They symbolize the power of the keys by which Peter unbinds from sin.

They were also put into rings or crosses to preserve from dangers (Collect). On the same day the Church honours St. Paul. There are preserved with St. Peter's chains four links of the chains which bound his arms during his captivity at Rome.

Nunc scio vere, quia misit Dominus Angelum suum: et eripuit me de manu Herodis, et de omni exspectatione plebis Judaeorum. * Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me : tu cognovisti sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.
Now I know in very deed, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. * Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up.
(Acts 12:9 and Psalm 138:1-2 from the introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatum Petrum Apostolum, a vinculis absolutum, illaesum abire fecisti: nostrorum quaesumus, absolve vincula peccatorum; et omnia mala a nobis propitiatus exclude.
O God, who didst loose the blessed apostle Peter from his bonds and didst send him forth unharmed; loose, we pray Thee, the chains of our sins, and in Thy great mercy keep us from all evil.
(Collect)

Commemoration is made of St. Paul, by the Collects of the Mass of June 30th.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Peter: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm


1st August, The Holy Machabees, Martyrs

The Holy Machabees, Martyrs

The seven Machabees, who were brothers, were martyred with their mother under Antiochus Epiphanes. Their relics are kept at Rome in the church of St. Peter's Chains.

Clamaverunt justi, et Dominus exaudivit eos: et ex omnibus tribulationibus eorum liberavit eos. * Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore: semper laus ejus in ore meo.
The just cried, and the Lord heard them: and delivered them out of all their troubles.* I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be always in my mouth.
(Psalm 33:18,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Fraterna nos, Domine, Martyrum tuorum corona laetificet: quae et fidei nostrae praebeat incrementa virtutum; et multiplici nos suffragio consoletur.
Be it ours, O Lord, to rejoice in the triumph of the holy brethren, Thy martyrs: on our faith may it bestow a crown of virtues, and may it be our comfort, that it has added many saints to the number of our advocates.
(Collect)

Here is the Breviary reading for the Holy Machabees. It is taken from Discourse 20 on the Machabees from St Gregory Nazianzen.

Sermon of St Gregory Nazianzen.
What of the Machabees? For this festal day is celebrated in their name by this present assembly. Although by many they are not held in honour, because they did not enter on the conflict after Christ, yet they are worthy to be honoured by all, because they showed courage and constancy in defence of the the laws and institutions of their fathers. For if they suffered martyrdom before the Passion of Christ, what would they have done, if they had suffered persecution after Christ, and if they had had, as a model to be imitated, His death, which He accepted for our salvation? For if they showed such and so great a courage, when they had no example before them, would they not have been even more courageous in the battle, if they had had that example before their eyes? There is even a certain mystical and hidden reason, which seems highly probable to me, and to all who love God, that none of them who suffered martydom before the coming of Christ could have attained to it without faith in Christ.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09493b.htm