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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Thursday 11 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 8

by St Alphonsus Liguori



Cardinal Bona asks, wherefore it happens that so many souls, after so many Communions, make so little advance in the way of God? and he answers: 'The fault is not in the food, but in the disposition of him who eats it; that is to say, in the want of due preparation on the part of the communicant. Fire soon burns dry wood, but not that which is green, because the latter is not fit to burn. The Saints derived great profit from their Communions, because they were very careful in their preparation for it. There are two principal things which we should endeavour to obtain in order to prepare ourselves for Holy Communion. The first is, detachment from creatures, by driving from our heart every thing that is not of God and for God. Although the soul may be in a state of grace, yet if the heart is occupied by earthly affections, the more there is of earth in the soul, so much less room will there be for Divine love. St. Gertrude once asked our Lord what preparation He required of her for Holy Communion, and Jesus answered her: 'I require none other from thee, but that thou shouldst come to receive Me void of thyself.' The second thing that is necessary in order to reap great fruit from Communion is, the desire to receive Jesus Christ with the view of loving Him more. Gerson says that at this banquet none are satiated but those who feel great hunger. Hence St. Francis of Sales writes, that the principal intention of a soul in receiving Communion should be to advance in the love of God. 'He' (says the Saint) 'should be received for love, who out of pure love alone gives Himself to us.' And therefore Jesus said to St. Matilda: ' When thou art going to communicate, desire all the love that any soul ever had for Me, and I will receive it according to thy desire, as if it were thine own.'

It is also necessary to make a thanksgiving after Communion. There is no prayer more dear to God than that which is made after Communion. We must occupy this time in acts of love and prayers. The devout acts of love which we then make have greater merit in the sight of God than those which we make at other times, because they are then animated by the presence of Jesus Christ, who is united to our souls. And as to prayers, St. Teresa says that Jesus, after Communion, remains in the soul as on a throne of grace, and says to it: 'What wilt thou that I should do for thee?' Soul, I am come from heaven on purpose to bestow graces upon thee; ask Me what thou wilt, and as much as thou wilt, and thou shalt be heard. Oh, what treasures of grace do they lose who pray but a short time to God after Holy Communion!


O God of love, dost Thou, then, so much desire to dispense Thy favours to us, and yet are we so little anxious to obtain them? Oh, what sorrow we shall feel at the hour of death, when we think of this negligence, so pernicious to our souls! O my Lord, forget, I beseech Thee, all that is past; for the future, with Thy help, I will prepare myself better, by endeavouring to detach my affections from every thing that prevents me from receiving all those graces which Thou desirest to bestow upon me. And after
Communion I will lift up my heart to Thee as much as I can, in order to obtain Thy help, that I may advance in Thy love, - oh, grant me grace to accomplish this, O my Jesus, how negligent have I hitherto been in loving Thee! The time which Thou in Thy mercy mayest yet allot to me in this life, is the time, to prepare myself for death, and to make amends by my love for the offences I have committed against Thee. I will spend it entirely in lamenting my sins and in loving Thee. I love Thee, my Jesus, my Love; I love Thee, my only Good; have pity on me, and do not forsake me. And thou, O Mary, my hope, do not cease to help me by thy holy intercession!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 7

by St Alphonsus Liguori



When Jesus comes to the soul in the Holy Communion, He brings to it every grace, and specially the grace of holy perseverance. This is the principal effect of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, to nourish the soul that receives. It with this food of life, and to give it great strength to advance unto perfection, and to resist those enemies who desire our death. Hence Jesus calls Himself in this Sacrament Heavenly Bread: "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever" (St. John vi. 51, 52). Even as earthly bread sustains the life of the body, so this heavenly bread sustains the life of the soul, by making it persevere in the grace of God. Therefore the Council of Trent teaches, that Holy Communion is that remedy which delivers us from daily faults and preserves us from mortal sins. Innocent III. writes, that Jesus Christ by His Passion delivers us from sins committed, and by the Holy Eucharist from sins which we might commit. Therefore St. Bonaventure says, that sinners must not keep away from Communion because they have been sinners; on the contrary, for this very reason they ought to receive it more frequently; because 'the more infirm a person feels himself, the more he is in want of a physician.'


Miserable sinner that I am, O Lord, wherefore do I lament my weakness when I consider my many falls from grace? How was it possible that I should have resisted the assaults of the devil while I stayed away from Thee, who art my strength? If I had oftener approached the Holy Communion, I should not have been so often overcome by my enemies. But in future it shall not be so: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever." No, I will no longer rely on my own resolution. Thou alone art my hope, O my Jesus; Thou wilt give me strength, that I may no more fall into sin. I am weak; but Thou, by the Holy Communion, wilt make me strong against every temptation: "I can do all things in Him who strengthened me." Forgive me, O my Jesus, all the offences I have committed against Thee, of which I repent with my whole heart. I resolve rather to die than ever to offend Thee again; and I trust, in Thy Passion, that Thou wilt give me Thy help to persevere in Thy grace to the end of my life: "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever." And with St. Bonaventure I will say the same to thee, O Mary, my Mother: 'In thee, O Lady, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded for ever.'

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 6

by St Alphonsus Liguori



"Jesus knowing that His hour was come" (St. John xiii. 1). This hour, which Jesus called 'His hour,' was the hour of that night in which His Passion was to begin. But why did He call so sad an hour His hour?

Because this was the hour for which He had sighed during His whole life, having determined to leave us in this night the Holy Communion, by which He desired to unite Himself entirely with the souls whom He loved, and for whom He was soon to give His Blood and His Life. Behold how He spoke on that night to His disciples: "With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you." By which words He would express to us the desire and anxiety that He had to unite Himself with us in this Sacrament of love. "With desire have I desired;" these words, said St. Laurence Justinian, were words which came from the Heart of Jesus, which was burning with infinite love: 'This is the voice of the most ardent charity.' Now the same flame which burnt then in the Heart of Jesus, burns there at present; and He gives the same invitation to all of us to-day to receive Him as He did then to His disciples: "Take ye and eat; this is My Body" (St. Matt. xxvi. 26). And to allure us to receive Him with affection, He promises Paradise to us: "He that eateth My flesh hath everlasting life" (St. John vi. 55). And if we refuse to receive Him, He threatens us with death: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, you shall not have life in you" (St. John vi. 54). These invitations, promises, and threats, all arise from the desire of Jesus Christ to unite Himself to us in the Holy Communion, through the love that He bears us. 'There is not a bee,' said our Lord to St. Matilda, 'which seeks the honey out of the flowers with such eagerness of delight, as I have to enter into the souls that desire Me.' Jesus, because He loves us, desires to be loved by us; and because He desires us, He will have us desire Him. 'God thirsts to be thirsted after,' writes St. Gregory. Blessed is that soul that approaches the Holy Communion with a great desire to be united to Jesus Christ.


My adorable Jesus, Thou canst not give us greater proofs of Thy love, to show us how much Thou lovest us. Thou hast given Thy life for us; Thou hast bequeathed Thyself to us in the Holy Sacrament, in order that we may come and nourish ourselves with Thy flesh; and Thou art most anxious that we should receive Thee. How, then, can we behold all these proofs of Thy love, and not burn with love for Thee? Begone, ye earthly affections, begone from my heart; it is you that hinder me from burning with love for Jesus as He burns with love for me. And what other pledges of Thy love can I expect, O my Redeemer, than those which Thou hast already given me? Thou hast sacrificed Thy whole life for the love of me; Thou hast embraced for my sake a most bitter and infamous death; Thou hast for my sake reduced Thyself almost to annihilation, by becoming food in the Holy Eucharist in order to give Thyself entirely to us. O Lord, let me no longer live ungrateful for such great goodness. I thank Thee for having given me time to bewail the offences I have committed against Thee, and to love Thee during the days that remain to me in this life. I repent, O Sovereign Good, for having hitherto despised Thy love. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness ! I love Thee, O Infinite Treasure! I love Thee, O Infinite Love, who art worthy of infinite love! Oh, help me, my Jesus, to discard from my heart all affections that are not directed to Thee; so that from this day forward I may not desire, or seek, or love any other but Thee. My beloved Lord, grant that I may always find Thee, grant that I may always love Thee. Do Thou take possession of my whole will, in order that I may never desire any thing but what is pleasing to Thee. My God, my God, whom shall I love, if I love not Thee, who art the Supreme Good? I do indeed desire Thee, and nothing more. O Mary, my Mother, take my heart into thy keeping, and fill it with pure love for Jesus Christ.

Monday 8 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori, Day 5

by St Alphonsus Liguori



St. Dionysius the Areopagite says that the principal effect of love is to tend to union. For this very purpose did Jesus institute the Holy Communion, that He might unite Himself entirely to our souls. He had given Himself to us as our Master, our Example, and our Victim; it only remained for Him to give Himself to us as our Food, that He might become one with us; as food becomes one with the person that eats it. This He did by instituting this Sacrament of love: 'The last degree of love' (says St. Bernardine of Sienna) 'is when He gave Himself to us to be our food; because He gave Himself to be united with us in every way, as food and he who takes it are mutually united.' So that Jesus Christ was not satisfied with uniting Himself to our human nature; but He would, by this Sacrament, find a way of uniting Himself also to each one of us, so as to make Himself wholly one with him who receives Him. Hence St. Francis of Sales writes: 'In no other action can our Saviour be considered more tender or more loving than in this, in which He, as it were, annihilates Himself, and reduces Himself to food, that He may penetrate our souls, and unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful.' Because Jesus loved us ardently, He desired to unite Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist, in order that we might become the same thing with Him; thus writes St. Chrysostom: 'He mingled Himself with us, that we might be one; for this belongs to those who love greatly.' Thou wouldst, in short, O God of love, that our hearts and Thine should form but one heart. ' Thou wouldst that we should have one heart with Thee,' said St. Laurence Justinian. And Jesus Himself said this: "He that eateth My flesh abideth in Me, and I in him" (St. John vi. 57). He, therefore, that communicates, abides in Jesus, and Jesus abides in Him; and this union is not of mere affection, but it is a true and real union. As two wax tapers, when melted, says St. Cyril of Alexandria, unite themselves together into one, so he that communicates becomes one with Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore, imagine, when we communicate, that Jesus Christ says to us that which He said one day to His beloved servant, Margaret of Ypres: 'Behold, O my daughter, the beautiful union between Me and thee; come, then, love Me, and let us remain constantly united in love, and never more be separated.'


O my Jesus, this is what I seek of Thee, and what I will always seek for from Thee in the Holy Communion: 'Let us be always united, and never more be separated.' I know that Thou wilt not separate Thyself from me, if I do not first separate myself from Thee. But this is my fear, lest I should in future separate myself from Thee by sin, as I have done in times past. O my blessed Redeemer, permit it not: 'Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.' As long as I am alive, I am in danger of this; oh, through the merits of Thy death, I beseech Thee let me die, rather than repeat this great injury against Thee. I repeat it, and pray Thee to grant me Thy grace always to repeat: ' Suffer me not to be separated from Thee; suffer me not to be separated from Thee.' O God of my soul, I love Thee; I love Thee, and will always love Thee, and will love Thee alone. I protest before heaven and earth that I desire Thee alone, and nothing but Thee. O my Jesus, hear me; I desire Thee alone, and nothing but Thee. O Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for me now; and obtain for me the grace never more to separate myself from Jesus, and to love only Jesus.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori, Day 4

by St Alphonsus Liguori



"Jesus, knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end" (St. John xiii. 1). Jesus knowing that the hour of His death was come, desired to leave us, before He died, the greatest pledge of His affection that He could give us; and this was the gift of the Most Holy Sacrament: "He loved them to the end;" which St. Chrysostom explains, 'He loved them with extreme love' He loved men with the greatest love with which He could love them, by giving them His whole Self. But at what time did Jesus institute this great Sacrament, in which He has left us Himself ? On the night preceding His death: "The same night in which He was betrayed" (writes the Apostle), "He took bread; and giving thanks, broke and said, Take ye and eat; this is My Body" (1 Cor. xi. 23, 24). At the very time that men were preparing to put Him to death, He gave them this last proof of His love. The marks of affection which we receive from our friends at the time of their death, remain more deeply impressed on our hearts; for this reason did Jesus bestow on us this gift of the Blessed Sacrament just before His death. With reason, then, did St. Thomas call this gift 'a sacrament and pledge of love;' and St. Bernard, ' the love of loves;' because in this Sacrament Jesus Christ united and accomplished all the other acts of love which He had shown us. Hence St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi called the day on which Jesus instituted this Sacrament, 'the day of love.'


O infinite love of Jesus, worthy of being loved with a like infinite love! Thou, my Lord, dost love men so much; how is it, then, that men love Thee so little in return? What more couldst Thou do to make Thyself loved by them? O my Jesus, Thou art so amiable and so loving; make Thyself, I pray Thee, known; make Thyself loved. When shall I love Thee as Thou hast loved me? Oh, discover to me more .and more the greatness of Thy mercy, in order that I may burn ever more and more with Thy love, and always seek to please Thee. O beloved One of my soul, would that I had always loved Thee! Alas, there was a time when I not only did not love Thee, but despised Thy grace and Thy love! I am consoled by the sorrow which I feel for it, and I hope for pardon through Thy promise to forgive him that repents of his sins. To Thee, O my Saviour, do I turn all my affections; help me, through the merits of Thy Passion, to love Thee with my whole strength. Oh, that I could die for Thee, as Thou didst die for me! O Mary, my Mother, do thou obtain for me the grace from henceforth to love God alone.

Saturday 6 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 3

by St Alphonsus Liguori



The love of Jesus Christ was not satisfied with sacrificing for us His Divine Life in the midst of a sea of ignominies and torments, in order to prove to us the affection that He bore us; but besides all this, in order to oblige us to love Him more, on the night before His death He would leave us His whole Self as our food in the Holy Eucharist. God is omnipotent; but after He has given Himself to a soul in this Sacrament of love, He has nothing more to give her. The Council of Trent says, that Jesus, in giving Himself to us in the Holy Communion, pours forth, as it were, all the riches of His infinite love in this gift: 'He has, as it were, poured forth the treasures of His love towards man.' How would that vassal esteem himself honoured, writes St. Francis of Sales, were his prince, whilst he was at table, to send him a portion of his own dish; and what would it be if this portion were a piece torn out from his own arm? Jesus in the Holy Communion gives us for our food, not only a portion of His own meal and of His most Sacred Flesh, but all His Body: "Take and eat, this is My Body." And together with His Body He gives us also His Soul and His Divinity; so that, as St. Chrysostom says, our Lord, in giving Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament, gives us all that He has, and nothing more remains for Him to give us: He gave all to thee, and left nothing for Himself.' O wonderful prodigy of Divine love, that God, who is the Lord of all, makes Himself entirely ours!


O my dear Jesus, what more canst Thou do to make us love Thee? Oh, make us understand what an excess of love Thou hast shown us in reducing Thyself to food, in order to unite Thyself thus to us poor sinners! Thou, therefore, my dear Redeemer, hast had so much affection for me, that Thou hast not refused to give Thyself again and again entirely for me in the Holy Communion. And yet I have had the courage to drive Thee so many times away from my soul! But Thou canst not despise a humble and contrite heart. Thou didst become man for my sake, Thou didst die for me, Thou didst even go so far as to become my food; and what more can there remain for Thee to do to gain my love? Oh, that I could die with grief every time that I remember to have thus despised Thy grace! I repent, O my Love, with my whole heart, for having offended Thee. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O Infinite Love! I desire nothing but to love Thee, and I fear nothing but to live without Thy love. My beloved Jesus, do not refuse to come for the future into my soul. Come, because I would rather die a thousand times than drive Thee away again, and I will do all I can to please Thee. Come and inflame my whole soul with Thy love. Grant that I may forget every thing, to think only of Thee, and to aspire to Thee alone, my Sovereign and my only Good. O Mary, my Mother, pray for me; and by thy prayers make me grateful for all the love of Jesus towards me.

Friday 5 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 2

by St Alphonsus Liguori



St. Teresa said, that in this world it is impossible for all subjects to speak to the king. As for the poor, the most they can hope for is, to speak with him by means of some third person. But to speak with Thee, O King of Heaven, there is no need of third persons; for every one that wishes can find Thee in the Most Holy Sacrament, and can speak to Thee at his pleasure and without restraint.

For this reason, said the same saint, Jesus Christ has concealed His majesty in the Sacrament, under the appearance of bread, in order to give us more confidence, and to take away from us all fear of approaching Him. Oh, how Jesus seems continually to exclaim from the altar: "Come to Me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you" (St. Matt. xi. 28). Come, He says, come, ye poor; come, ye infirm; come, ye afflicted; come, ye just and ye sinners, and you shall find in Me a remedy for all your losses and afflictions: such is the desire of Jesus Christ; to console every one who has recourse to Him, He remains day and night on our altars, that He may be found by all, and that He may bestow favours upon all. Hence the Saints experienced in this world such pleasure in remaining in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, that days and nights appeared to them as moments. The Countess of Feria having become a nun of the order of St. Clare, was never wearied of remaining in the choir in sight of the tabernacle: being asked one day what she was doing so long before the Most Holy Sacrament, she answered with surprise: 'What do I do before the Blessed Sacrament? what do I do? I return thanks, I love and I pray!' St. Philip Neri being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, exclaimed: 'Behold my love, behold all my love!' Ah, if Jesus were thus our whole love, days and nights in His presence would appear also to us as moments.


O my Jesus, from this day forward I also hope to say always to Thee, when I come to visit Thee on Thy altars: 'Behold my love, behold all my love!' Yes, my beloved Redeemer, I will love none other but Thee; I desire that Thou shouldst be the only love of my soul. I seem to die of sorrow when I think that hitherto I have loved creatures and my own pleasures more than Thee, and have turned my back upon Thee, the Sovereign Good. But Thou wouldst not have me lost, and therefore hast Thou borne with me with so much patience; and instead of chastising me, Thou hast pierced my heart with so many darts of love, that I could no longer resist Thy kindness, but have given myself up to Thee; I see that Thou wouldst have me to be entirely Thine. But since Thou wouldst have it to be so, do thou make me so Thyself; for it is Thou who must do it. Do Thou detach my heart from all earthly affections and from myself, and grant that I may seek none other but Thee, that I may think of none but Thee, that I may speak of none but Thee, and that I may only desire and sigh to burn with love for Thee, and to live and die for Thee alone. O love of my Jesus, come and occupy my whole heart, and expel from it all other love but that of God! I love Thee, O Jesus in the Sacrament, I love Thee, my Treasure, my Love, my All. O Mary, my hope, pray for me, and make me belong entirely to Jesus.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Meditations for the Octave of Corpus Christi by St Alphonsus Liguori - Day 1

by St Alphonsus Liguori



Our most loving Redeemer, knowing that He must leave this earth and return to His Father as soon as He should have accomplished the work of our redemption by His death, and seeing that the hour of His death was now come, - "Jesus knowing that His hour was come, that He should pass out of this world unto the Father" (St. John xiii. 1), - would not leave us alone in this valley of tears, and therefore what did He do? He instituted the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, in which He left us His whole Self. "No tongue," said St. Peter of Alcantara, "is able to declare the greatness of the love that Jesus bears to every soul: and therefore this Spouse, when He would leave this earth, in order that His absence might not cause us to forget Him, left us as a memorial this Blessed Sacrament, in which He Himself remained; for He would not that there should be any. other pledge to keep alive our remembrance of Him than He Himself." Jesus, therefore, would not be separated from us by His death; but He instituted this Sacrament of Love, in order to be with us even to the end of the world: "Behold I am with you even to the consummation of the world" (St. Matt, xxviii. 20). Behold Him, then, as faith teaches us, - behold Him on so many altars shut up as in so many prisons of love, in order that He may be found by every one that seeks Him. But, O Lord, says St. Bernard, this does not become Thy majesty. Jesus Christ answers, It is enough that it becomes My love.

They feel great tenderness and devotion who go to Jerusalem and visit the cave where the Incarnate Word was born, the hall where He was scourged, the hill of Calvary on which He died, and the sepulchre where He was buried; but how much greater ought not our tenderness to be when we visit an altar on which Jesus remains in the Most Holy Sacrament! The Ven. Father John Avila used to say, that of all sanctuaries there is not one to be found more excellent and devout than a church where Jesus is sacramentally present.


O my beloved Jesus, O God, who hast loved men with such exceeding love! what more canst Thou do to make Thyself loved by these ungrateful men? Oh, if men loved Thee, all the churches would be continually filled with people prostrate on the ground adoring and thanking Thee, and burning with love for Thee at seeing Thee with the eyes of faith hidden in a tabernacle. But no; men, forgetful of Thee and of Thy love, are ready enough to court a man from whom they hope for some miserable advantage, while they leave Thee, O my Lord, abandoned and alone. Oh, that I could by my devotion make reparation for such ingratitude! I am sorry that I also have hitherto been like them, careless and ungrateful. But for the future I will not be so any longer, and I will devote myself to Thy service as much as I possibly can. Do Thou inflame me with Thy holy love, so that from this day forth I may live only to love and to please Thee. Thou deservest the love of all hearts. If at one time I have despised Thee, I now desire nothing but to love Thee. O my Jesus, Thou art my Love and my only Good, 'my God and my All.' Most holy Virgin Mary, obtain for me, I pray thee, a great love for the Most Holy Sacrament.

Sunday 31 May 2015

31st May, The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954.  In his Encyclical letter of that year 'Ad Coeli Reginam' he pointed out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power.

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis Reginae: de cuius solemnitate gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei. Alleluia, alleluia. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary, our Queen, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and join in praising the Son of God. Alleluia, alleluia. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Introit for Mass, Psalm 44:2, with the Pian Psalter replaced by the usual Vulgate translation)

Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine: ut, qui solemnitatem beatae Mariae Virginis Reginae nostrae celebramus; ejus muniti praesidio, pacem in praesenti et gloriam in futuro consequi mereamur.
Grant, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to those who are celebrating this solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary our Queen: that safe in her protection we may deserve to enjoy present peace and future glory.
(Collect from Mass)

Link to the Encyclical Letter Ad Coeli Reginam:

31st May, St Petronilla, Virgin

St Petronilla, Virgin

Aurelia Petronilla was the spiritual daughter of the Prince of the Apostles in the first century. God delivered her, by sudden death, from the snares laid to imperil her virginity. Her body rests in the Basilica dedicated to St. Peter who had taught her the faith.

Vultum tuum deprecabuntur omnes divites plebis: adducentur regi virgines post eam: proximae ejus adducentur tibi in laetitia et exsultatione. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea regi.
All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing.  * My heart hath spoken a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:13-16,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Hear us, O God our Saviour; that as we rejoice in the festivity of blessed Petronilla Thy virgin, so we may learn therefrom loving devotion towards Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

31st May, St. Angela Merici, Virgin

St. Angela Merici, Virgin

Born at Desenzano, on the Lake of Garda, of pious parents, Angela, from her childhood, ever tried to please Jesus, the Spouse of her soul (Epistle, Gospel, Communion). She adopted the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis and united evangelical poverty to the merit of virginity. She "loved justice and hated iniquity" (Introit) and subjected her body to the severest austerities to atone for the sins of the world. "The disorders of society," she used to say, "are caused by those in families; there are few Christian mothers, because the education of young girls is neglected." In consequence of a vision she successfully formed, in 1535, in the Church, a new society of holy virgins (Collect). Its object being the Christian education of youth, she placed it under the patronage of St. Ursula, the chief of an army of virgins. She died in 1540 at Brescia with the name of Jesus on her lips.

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui novum per beatam Angelam sacrarum virginum collegium in Ecclesia tua florescere voluisti; da nobis, ejus intercessione, angelicis moribus vivere; ut, terrenis omnibus abdicatis, gaudiis perfrui mereamur aeternis.
O God, who through blessed Angela didst cause a new society of holy virgins to flourish in Thy Church; grant through her intercession, that living angelic lives, and by detaching our hearts from earthly joys, we may merit to enjoy those that are eternal.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Saturday 30 May 2015

Whit Saturday

Ember Saturday after Pentecost

Station at St. Peter's

"The Gift of Holy Fear, or the Fear of God, is actually the foundation of all other gifts. It drives sin from the heart, because it fills us with reverence either for the Justice of God or for the divine Majesty." (Rev. M. Meschler S.J., Ibid., p. 271.)

After swelling the ranks of her children during the night of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost to-day is about to supply the Church with the priests who are to be her ministers of grace all over the world, for He will pour out His Spirit upon her servants as Joel prophesied He would upon the apostles (First Lesson.) Very appropriately, therefore, the church appointed for the Station this day is the basilica of St. Peter, the pastor of the fold, and the Gospel tells of a cure worked by Jesus in the house of Simon.

The priest, as the minister of Christ, devotes himself to the healing of souls consumed by the fever of sinful passions.

As it has already been pointed out, the Mass on the Saturday in Ember Weeks has five Lessons with Collect and Tract between the Introit and the Epistle. The fifth Lesson never varies: it is the record of the miraculous preservation of the three young Hebrew men in the furnace, followed by an extract from their canticle of praise and thanksgiving. The Collect of the Mass is based upon this Lesson, and beseeches the divine goodness that we may not be consumed by the flame of vice.

In the Sacrament of Holy Orders the priest receives a large outpouring of the divine Spirit (Epistle) that will enable him to preach the kingdom of God (Gospel).

The Second, Third and Fourth Lessons refer to the harvest, and to the offerings of the first-fruits of the earth, for Ember Weeks were instituted with the object of obtaining the divine blessing on each of the several seasons as they came in.

Having entered the promised land, the Israelites offered its first-fruits to God.

Let us, having entered the Church by baptism, offer to almighty God the first-fruits of all that we do, through the supernatural influx of the Holy Ghost into our souls. Let us pray to God that He may increase our faith in Christ (Epistle and Gospel), and fill our hearts with His holy love (Epistle).

Caritas Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris, alleluia: per inhabitantem Spiritum ejus in nobis, alleluia, alleluia. *  Benedic, anima mea, Domino: et omnia quae intra me sunt, nomini sancto ejus.
The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, alleluia : by His Spirit dwelling in us, alleluia, alleluia. * Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless His holy name.
(Romans 5:5 and Psalm 102:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Mentibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, Spiritum Sanctum benignus infunde: cujus et sapientia conditi sumus, et providentia gubernamur.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully pour into our souls Thy Holy Spirit, by whose wisdom we were created and by whose providence we are governed.

Friday 29 May 2015

Whit Friday

Ember Friday after Pentecost

Station at the Church of the Twelve Apostles

"The Gift of Piety awakens in our souls an inclination and readiness to glorify God as our Father and to have a filial confidence in Him." (Rev. M. Meschler, S, J. ibid., pp. 275-276.)

The Station takes place in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, who were the embodiment of the early Church, of which the Holy Ghost was the soul.

The bountiful harvest of the fruits of the earth which the Church now asks of God at the beginning of summer is emblematic of the wealth of spiritual blessings which the Holy Ghost lavishes on our souls in these days (Epistle). And it was for this reason that the Liturgy filled the mouths of the children newly born into the Church by Baptism with hymns in praise of God (Introit, Offertory) and of the Spirit of the Lord "so good and sweet within us" (Alleluia).

The Gospel recounts the wonders that Jesus worked by the power of the Holy Ghost in healing the sick, and more particularly the man with the palsy, whose sins He remitted at the same time that He restored him to health.

The Church, built up by the Holy Ghost (Collect), follows in a very special way the example of the divine Master at this season, for at Pentecost she receives in abundance Him, who is the remission of all sins (Post-communion for Tuesday), and she exercises the power given her by our Lord when He said to her in the person of the apostles: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them."

Let us beseech the Holy Ghost to help us in our weakness (Postcommunion) by protecting us against the attacks of our enemies (Collect).

Repleatur os meum laude tua, alleluia: ut possim cantare, alleluia: gaudebunt labia mea, dum cantavero tibi, alleluia, alleluia.  In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum: in justltia tua libera me, et eripe me.

Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, alleluia; that I may sing, alleluia; my lips shall rejoice when I sing to Thee, alleluia, alleluia. * In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be put to confusion: deliver me in Thy justice, and rescue me.
(Psalm 70:8,23,1-2 from the Introit of Mass)

Da, quaesumus, Ecclesiae tuae, misericors Deus: ut Sancto Spiritu congregata, hostili nullatenus incursione turbetur.
Grant unto Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that being gathered within the fold of the Holy Spirit, she may not be troubled by attack from the foe.

29th May, St Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, Virgin

St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, Virgin

Born at Florence (1566) of the illustrious Pazzi family, St. Mary Magdalen, at the age of 10, consecrated her virginity to Christ, whom she chose as her spouse (Epistle, Gospel, Communion). Wherefore God loved her with a love of preference (Introit), and made her one of the virgins who form His court of honour (Offertory).

She took the Carmelite habit (1584) and subjected herself to frightful mortifications. The Holy Ghost, who, from heaven, sent Jesus risen again to her, inflamed her with such love that she had to pour fresh water on her burning breast.

She would bitterly deplore that the infidels and sinners were in the way to perdition and offered to endure any torments for their salvation. Her motto was "Suffer and not die." She died in 1607 and her body which she mortified in every way has remained incorrupt to our day.

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, virginitatis amator, qui beatam Mariam Magdalenam Virginem, tuo amore succensam, caelestibus donis decorasti: da; ut, quam festiva celebritate veneramur, puritate et caritate imitemur.
O God, the lover of virginity, who hast enkindled in the heart of blessed Mary Magdalen, thy virgin, a burning love for Thee, and adorned her with heavenly gifts: grant that we who celebrate her festival may imitate her in purity and love.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Thursday 28 May 2015

28th May, St Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop, Confessor

St. Augustine of Canterbury, Archbishop, Confessor

The Cycle celebrates to-day the feast of another son of St. Benedict who, filled with the Holy Ghost, like the apostles, was sent to Great Britain by St. Gregory (596), with forty monks of his community, in order to convert to Christ the people of that country (Collect).

Wherefore the Gospel recalls the seventy-two disciples whom Jesus sent to preach the kingdom of God, and the Epistle alludes to the apostolate of St. Paul who was busy night and day preaching the Gospel of God.

Received by King Ethelbert, at Canterbury, the capital of his kingdom, Augustine built a monastery there and later on established there his episcopal seat (Introit). The example of his life, added to his preaching and miracles, brought the King over to the true faith, and St. Augustine baptized over ten thousand Anglo-Saxons one Christmas Day. This "Apostle of England" died in 604.

Let us ask through the intercession of St. Augustine to bring back erring hearts to the unity of Christian truth (Collect).

Sacerdotes tui, Domine, induant justitiam, et sancti tui exsultent: propter David servum tuum, non avertas faciem Christi tui. * Memento, Domine, David et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for thy servant David's sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. * O Lord, remember David and all his meekness.
(Psalm 131:9-10,1 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui Angloram gentes praedicatione et miraculis beati Augustini Confessoris tui atque Pontificis, verae fidei luce illustrare dignatus es: concede; ut, ipso interveniente, errantium corda ad veritatis tuae redeant unitatem, et nos in tua simus voluntate concordes.
O God, who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Augustine, Thy confessor and bishop, didst vouchsafe to enlighten the English nation with the light of the true faith; moved by his prayers, vouchsafe that the hearts of those who have gone astray may return to the unity of Thy truth, and that we may ever be of one mind in doing Thy will.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Whit Thursday

Thursday after Pentecost

Station at St. Laurence-without-the-Walls

"The Gift of Knowledge is a supernatural light of the Holy Ghost which shows us the credibility and acceptability of revealed truths, even for reasons which are based only on the order of creation". (Rev. M. Meschler, S.J., Ibid., p. 241.)

The Station on this day takes place in the church dedicated to St. Laurence the deacon, whose soul was so consumed with the fire of the Spirit of love that he scarcely felt the flames torturing his body.

"When you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you," Jesus said to His apostles, "you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts of the Apostles 1:8.)

The Mass of to-day tells us how Philip the deacon, filled with the Holy Ghost, preached the Gospel in Samaria, where he worked many miracles (Epistle). And the Gospel reminds us that Christ, in conferring on His apostles the power of healing the sick, commanded them to preach everywhere the Kingdom of God.

"Filled with the Holy Ghost, the Apostles spoke the wonderful works of God" (Communion) and filled the whole earth with the marvellous operations of the Divine Spirit (Introit, Alleluia).

And what the Church did in her earliest days she continues to do through the centuries during the festivities of Pentecost, when the light of the Holy Ghost illumines in a very special manner the souls of the faithful (Collect).

Let us beseech God to grant us the gift of the Holy Ghost, that we may ielish what is right and ever rejoice in His holy consolations (Collect).

Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia: et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant, qui oderunt eum, a facie ejus.
The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, alleluia: and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.
(Wisdom 1:7 and Psalm 67:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui hodierna die corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere.
O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people by the light of Thy Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and ever rejoice in His holy consolation.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Ember Wednesday after Pentecost

Ember Wednesday after Pentecost

Station at St. Mary Major

"The Gift of Fortitude is a permanent power which the Holy Ghost communicates to our will to assist us in overcoming the difficulties which might deter us in the practice of what is right." (Rev. M. Meschler, S.J., Ibid., p. 260.)

The Ember Days always fall during the octave of Pentecost. The Church then offers up to God the first-fruits of the new season, and prays for the priests who, on the coming Saturday, are about to receive the Holy Ghost in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

The Station on Ember Wednesday was always held at St. Mary Major. It was at the feet of the Blessed Virgin, whom the Holy Ghost filled with His grace in the Cenacle, that the newly baptized gathered together. The Liturgy reminded them of the miracle of Pentecost (Lesson) and the marvels wrought by the Apostles, as a result of which the number of those who believed in the Lord was greatly increased (Epistle).

Moved by the Holy Ghost the Catechumens also believed in Jesus: they turned to Him, and Jesus gave them to eat of the bread that would make them live for ever (Gospel).

Let us implore the divine Consoler to enlighten, us always more and more and to place us in full possession of the truth." (Collect)

May God protect the Church, as of old He protected His chosen people.

Deus, dum egredereris coram populo tuo, iter faciens eis, habitans in illis, alleluia: terra mota est, caeli distillaverunt, alleluia, alleluia.* Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant, qui oderunt eum, a facie ejus.
O God! when Thou didst go forth in the sight of Thy people, making a passage for them, dwelling among them, alleluia, the earth was moved and the heavens dropped, alleluia, alleluia. * Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.
(Psalm 67:8,9,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Mentes nostras, quaesumus, Domine, Paraclitus, qui a te procedit, illuminet: et inducat in omnem, sicut tuus promisit Filius, veritatem.
May the Holy Comforter, who proceedeth from Thee, enlighten our minds, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and lead us into all truth, even as Thy Son hath promised.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Four Prayers to St Philip Neri (by JHN)

For the Octave Day of St Philip Neri

These four Prayers to St. Philip form "Part of a Novena to St. Philip," which ends abruptly at the end of the fourth day's prayer, to which for the sake of uniformity the Invocations at the conclusion have been added. [W.N.]


O my dear and holy Patron, Philip, I put myself into thy hands, and for the love of Jesus, for that love's sake which chose thee and made thee a saint, I implore thee to pray for me, that, as He has brought thee to heaven, so in due time He may take me to heaven too.

Thou hast had experience of the trials and troubles of this life ; thou knowest well what it is to bear the assaults of the devil, the mockery of the world, and the temptations of flesh and blood. Thou knowest how weak is human nature, and how treacherous the human heart, and thou art so full of sympathy and compassion, that, amidst all thy present ineffable glory and blessedness, thou canst, I know, give a thought to me.

Think of me then, my dear St. Philip, be sure to think of me, even though I am at times so unmindful of thee. Gain for me all things necessary for my perseverance in the grace of God, and my eternal salvation. Gain for me, by thy powerful intercession, the strength to fight a good fight, to witness boldly for God and religion in the midst of sinners, to be brave when Satan would frighten or force me to what is wrong, to overcome myself, to do my whole duty, and thus to be acquitted in the judgment.

Vessel of the Holy Ghost, Apostle of Rome, Saint of primitive times, pray for me.


O my dear and holy Patron, Philip, I put myself into thy hands, and for the love of Jesus, for that love's sake which chose thee and made thee a saint, I implore thee to pray for me, that, as He has brought thee to heaven so in due time He may take me to heaven also.

And I ask of thee especially to gain for me a true devotion such as thou hadst to the Holy Ghost, the Third Person in the Ever-blessed Trinity; that, as He at Pentecost so miraculously filled thy heart with His grace, I too may in my measure have the gifts necessary for my salvation.

Therefore I ask thee to gain for me those His seven great gifts, to dispose and excite my heart towards faith and virtue.

Beg for me the gift of Wisdom, that I may prefer heaven to earth and know truth from falsehood :

The gift of Understanding, by which I may have imprinted upon my mind the mysteries of His Word:
The gift of Counsel, that I may see my way in all perplexities:

The gift of Fortitude, that with bravery and stubbornness I may battle with my foe:

The gift of Knowledge, to enable me to direct all my doings with a pure intention to the glory of God:

The gift of Religion, to make me devout and conscientious:

And the gift of Holy Fear, to make me feel awe, reverence and sobriety amid all my spiritual blessings.

Sweetest Father, Flower of Purity, Martyr of Charity, pray for me.


O my dear and holy Patron, Philip, I put myself into thy hands, and for the love of Jesus, for that love's sake which chose thee and made thee a saint, I implore thee to pray for me, that, as He has brought thee to heaven, so in due time He may take me to heaven also.

And I beg of thee to gain for me a true devotion to the Holy Ghost, by means of that grace which He Himself, the Third Person of the glorious Trinity, bestows. Gain for me a portion of that over-flowing devotion which thou hadst towards Him when thou wast on earth; for that, O my dear father, was one of thy special distinctions from other saints, that, though they all adored supremely and solely the Holy Ghost as their one God, yet thou, like Pope St, Gregory, the Apostle of England, didst adore Him not only in the unity of the Godhead, but also as proceeding from the Father and the Son, the gift of the Most High and the Giver of life.

Gain for me, O holy Philip, such a measure of thy devotion towards Him, that as He did deign to come into thy heart miraculously and set it on fire with love, He may reward us too with some special and corresponding gift of grace. O Philip, let us not be the cold sons of so fervent a Father. It will be a great reproach to thee, if thou dost not make us in some measure like thyself. Gain for us the grace of prayer and meditation, power to command our thoughts and keep from distractions, and the gift of conversing with God without being wearied.

Heart of fire, Light of holy joy, Victim of love, pray for me.


O my dear and holy Patron, Philip, I put myself into thy hands, and for the love of Jesus, for that love's sake which chose thee and made thee a saint, I implore thee to pray for me, that, as He has brought thee to heaven, so in due time He may take me to heaven also.

Thou art my glorious protector, and, after Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, canst do most for me in life and death. In thy labours thou didst follow thy Lord and Saviour, and in thy hidden life and hidden virtues, in thy purity, humility, and fervour, art nearest to Mary and Joseph of all saints. I have long dedicated myself to thee, but I have done nothing worthy of thee, and I am ashamed to call myself thine, because thou hadst a right to have followers of great innocence, great honesty of purpose, and great resolution, and these virtues I have not.

Thou, Philip, hast no anxiety about thyself, for thou art already in heaven, therefore thou canst afford to have a care for me. Watch over me, keep me from lagging behind, gain for me the grace necessary to keep me up to my duty, so that I may make progress in all virtues, in the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity; in the four cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance; moreover in humility, in chastity, in liberality, in meekness, and in truthfulness.

Director of souls, Patron of thine own, who didst turn so many hearts to God, pray for me.

Litany of St Philip Neri (by JHN)

Litany of St. Philip

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, Pray for us
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
St. Philip,
Vessel of the Holy Ghost,
Child of Mary,
Apostle of Rome,
Counsellor of Popes,
Voice of Prophecy,
Man of primitive times,
Winning Saint,
Hidden hero,
Sweetest of Fathers,
Flower of purity,
Martyr of charity,
Heart of fire,
Discerner of spirits,
Choicest of priests,
Mirror of the divine life,
Pattern of humility,
Example of simplicity,
Light of holy joy,
Image of childhood,
Picture of old age,
Director of souls,
Gentle guide of youth,
Patron of thy own,
Who didst observe chastity in thy youth,
Who didst seek Rome by divine guidance,
Who didst hide so long in the Catacombs,
Who didst receive the Holy Ghost into thy heart,
Who didst experience such wonderful ecstasies,
Who didst so lovingly serve the little ones,
Who didst wash the feet of pilgrims,
Who didst ardently thirst after martyrdom,
Who didst distribute the daily word of God,
Who didst turn so many hearts to God,
Who didst converse so sweetly with Mary,
Who didst raise the dead,
Who didst set up thy houses in all lands,

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Remember thy Congregation.
R. Which thou hast possessed from the beginning.

Let us pray.
O God, who hast exalted blessed Philip, Thy Confessor, in the glory of Thy saints, grant that, as we rejoice in his commemoration, so we may profit by the example of his virtues, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Whit Tuesday

Tuesday after Pentecost

Station at St. Anastasia's

"The Gift of Counsel is a light given by the Holy Ghost, by means of which our practical intellect sees and judges rightly both what should be done in individual cases and the best means to do it." (Rev. M. Meschler, S.J., Ibid., p. 254.)

The Church continues to address herself to the new-born children she has acquired through Baptism. In former times she brought them together on this day in the Church of St. Anastasia, where also was celebrated the Mass at dawn on Christmas Day.

The Introit reminded them of the great blessing of their Christian calling.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism the power of the Holy Ghost had come down upon them and had purified their hearts (Collect), for "the Holy Ghost is Himself the remission of sins " (Postcommunion).

In the Sacrament of Confirmation they had, like the Disciples of Samaria of old, been filled with the power of the Spirit (Epistle).

In the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist they had eaten the Bread of Angels (Offertory).

So like faithful sheep of the divine Shepherd (Gospel), they entered the fold, that is the Church, by Him who is "the door" of the fold, and hearkened always to the teaching of the Holy Ghost (Alleluia) imparted to them by the ministers of the Church. Let us pray to God that our souls may be renewed in the Holy Ghost (Postcommunion).

Accipite jucunditatem gloriae vestrae, alleluia: gratias agentes Deo, alleluia: qui vos ad caelestia regna vocavit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei.

Receive the most sweet gift which shall be your glory, alleluia: giving thanks to God, alleluia, who hath called you to the heavenly kingdom, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. * Attend, O My people, to My law: incline your ears to the words of My mouth.

(4 Esdras 2:36-37 and Psalm 77:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Adsit nobis, quaesumus, Domine, virtus Splritus sancti: quae et corda nostra clementer expurget, et ab omnibus tueatur adversis.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the power of the Holy Ghost may abide in us; may it mercifully cleanse our hearts, and defend us from all danger.

26th May, St Philip Neri, Confessor

St. Philip Neri, Confessor

St. Philip, born at Florence in the sixteenth century, left everything to serve the divine Master (Gospel), and founded the Congregation of the Oratory.

The Holy Ghost had inflamed him with such love for God (Introit, Alleluia, Secret), that the palpitations of his heart bent two of his ribs (Communion).

He would spend whole nights in the contemplation of heavenly things and the Spirit of Truth "taught him true wisdom" (Epistle). His conversations with Jesus filled him with such intense joy that he exclaimed: "Enough, Lord, enough!"

He had an especial ministry to young men: "Amuse yourselves," he said to them, "but do not offend God."

He died in 1595 on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Like St. Philip, with our hearts full of a holy and loving joy, let us run in the way of the commandments of God (Collect).

Caritas Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris, per inhabitantem Spiritum ejus in nobis. Alleluia, alleluia. * Benedic, anima mea, Domino: et omnia quae intra me sunt, nomini sancto ejus.
The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by His Spirit dwelling within us, Alleluia, alleluia. * Bless the Lord, O my soul; and let all that is within me bless His holy name.
(Romans 5:5 and Psalm 102:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatum Philippum Confessorem tuum, Sanctorum tuorum gloria sublimasti: concede propitius; ut cujus solemnitate laetamur, ejus virtutum proficiamus exemplo.
O God, who hast exalted blessed Philip, Thy confessor, in the glory of Thy saints: grant in Thy mercy, that we who rejoice in his festival, may profit by the example of his virtues.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

26th May, St Eleutherius, Pope and Martyr

St. Eleutherius, Pope and Martyr

St. Eleutherius governed the Church during the period that followed the persecution of the Emperor Commodus. Faith, at the time, made great progress in the whole world. After a pontificate lasting fifteen years, he died in 185 and was buried on the Vatican Hill near the body of St. Peter.

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Thou hast protected me, O God, from the assembly of the malignant, alleluia: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity, alleluia, alleluia. * Hear, O God, my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee: free my soul from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:3,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Be mindful of our weakness, O almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Eleutherius Thy martyr and bishop may protect us.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Monday 25 May 2015

Whit Monday

Monday after Pentecost

Station at St. Peter's Chains

"The Gift of Understanding enlightens us by shedding a clear, searching and extraordinary light on the meaning of revealed truth, and by giving us a certitude that what God has revealed bears such and such a sense and no other". (Rev. M. Meschler. S.J. Ibid., p. 385.)

The Church extends the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles (Collect) over eight days. In the Epistle we see the Head of the Church (in whose church the station is held) giving testimony to Jesus Christ before the Jews and the Gentiles. Whosoever believeth in Me shall not perish," said our Lord, "for God sent His Son that the world may be saved by Him" (Gospel). And as St. Peter says, "Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins through His name" (Epistle). All men, without exception are called to believe in Jesus Christ, to be baptized in His Name, to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in which the Holy Ghost is given, and the Eucharist where our Divine Redeemer feeds souls with the finest of heavenly wheat (Introit).

May Jesus and the Holy Ghost, of whom we have received testimony from the lips of Peter, head of the Church, defend us against our enemies and give us peace (Collect, Postcommunion).

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

Deus, qui Apostolis tuis sanctum dedisti Spiritum: concede plebi tuae piae petitionis effectum: ut, quibus dedisti fidem, largiaris et pacem. 
O God, who didst send the Holy Ghost to Thine apostles, grant to Thy people the fruit of their loving prayers; that Thou mayest bestow peace upon those to whom Thou hast given faith.

Novena in Preparation for the Feast of St Philip Neri. Day 9.

May 25 - Philip's Miraculous Gifts

Philip's great and solid virtues were crowned and adorned by the divine Majesty with various and extraordinary favours, which he in vain used every artifice, if possible, to hide.

It was the good-pleasure of God to enable him to penetrate His ineffable mysteries and to know His marvellous providences by means of ecstasies, raptures, and visions, which were of frequent occurrence during the whole of his life.

A friend going one morning to confession to him, on opening the door of his room softly, saw the Saint in the act of prayer, raised upon his feet, his eyes looking to heaven, his hands extended. He stood for a while watching him, and then going close to him spoke to him - but the saint did not perceive him at all. This state of abstraction continued about eight minutes longer; then he came to himself.

He had the consolation of seeing in vision the souls of many, especially of his friends and penitents, go to heaven. Indeed, those who were intimate with him held it for certain, that none of his spiritual children died without his being certified of the state of their souls.

Philip, both by his sanctity and experience, was able to discriminate between true and false visions. He was earnest in warning men against being deluded, which is very easy and probable.

Philip was especially eminent, even among saints, for his gifts of foretelling the future and reading the heart. The examples of these gifts which might be produced would fill volumes. He foretold the deaths of some; he foretold the recovery of others; he foretold the future course of others; he foretold the births of children to those who were childless; he foretold who would be the Popes before their election; he had the gift of seeing things at a distance; and he knew what was going on in the minds of his penitents and others around him.

He knew whether his penitents had said their prayers, and for how long they were praying. Many of them when talking together, if led into any conversation which was dangerous or wrong, would say: "We must stop, for St. Philip will find it out."

Once a woman came to him to confession, when in reality she wished to get an alms. He said to her: "In God's name, good woman, go away; there is no bread for you" - and nothing could induce him to hear her confession.

A man who went to confess to him did not speak, but began to tremble, and when asked, said, "I am ashamed," for he had committed a most grievous sin. Philip said gently: "Do not be afraid; I will tell you what it was" - and, to the penitent's great astonishment, he told him.

Such instances are innumerable. There was not one person intimate with Philip who did not affirm that he knew the secrets of the heart most marvellously.

He was almost equally marvellous in his power of healing and restoring to health. He relieved pain by the touch of his hand and the sign of the Cross. And in the same way he cured diseases instantaneously - at other times by his prayers - at other times he commanded the diseases to depart.

This gift was so well known that sick persons got possession of his clothes, his shoes, the cuttings of his hair, and God wrought cures by means of them.


Philip, my holy Patron, the wounds and diseases of my soul are greater than bodily ones, and are beyond thy curing, even with thy supernatural power. I know that my Almighty Lord reserves in His own hands the recovery of the soul from death, and the healing of all its maladies. But thou canst do more for our souls by thy prayers now, my dear Saint, than thou didst for the bodies of those who applied to thee when thou wast upon earth. Pray for me, that the Divine Physician of the soul, Who alone reads my heart thoroughly, may cleanse it thoroughly, and that I and all who are dear to me may be cleansed from all our sins; and, since we must die, one and all, that we may die, as thou didst, in the grace and love of God, and with the assurance, like thee, of eternal life.

25th May, St. Gregory VII, Pope and Confessor

St. Gregory VII, Pope and Confessor

Born at Soana in Tuscany, Hildebrand became a monk in the famous Benedictine monastery of Cluny, on which, at the time, depended two thousand monasteries. He soon became prior, and was later elected abbot of the Monastery of St.Paul-without-the-Walls, and made a cardinal of the Roman Church. At the death of Alexander II, he was elected pope and took the name of Gregory VII. Thus entrusted with the government of  the house of God (Gospel, Communion), he participated in the full priesthood of Jesus (Introit, Epistle).

At a time when the bishops, mostly simoniacal, were the dependants of lay princes, he strove with such constancy to defend the liberty of the Church (Collect) that, as we are assured, no pontiff since the time of the apostles undertook more labours for her or fought more courageously lor her independence.

While he was saying Mass, a dove was seen to come down on him: the Holy Ghost thereby bore witness of the supernatural views that guided him in the government of the Church. Forced to leave Rome, he died in Salerno in 1085, saying those words, the first of which are from Ps. xliv: "I have loved Justice and have hated iniquity: that is why I die in exile."

Following the example of St. Gregory, let us overcome with courage all adversities (Collect).

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento Domine David et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince; that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclus. 45:30 and Psalm 131:1. From the Introit at Mass).

Deus in te sperantium fortitudo, qui beatum Gregorium, Confessorem tuum atque Pontificem, pro tuenda Ecclesiae libertate, virtute constantiae roborasti: da nobis, ejus exemplo et intercession, omnia adversantia fortiter superare.
O God, the strength of all that put their trust in Thee, who for the defence of the liberty of Thy Church didst fill blessed Gregory, Thy confessor and bishop, with the virtue of constancy: grant that, helped by his prayers and example, we, too, may bravely overcome all adversity.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

25th May, St. Urban I, Pope and Martyr

St. Urban I, Pope and Martyr

This holy pope is believed to have been the same Urban who baptized Valerian, husband of St. Cecilia, Tiburtius, brother of Valerian, and Maximus, their gaoler, whom we honoured on April 14th. St. Urban was martyred in 230.

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Thou hast protected me, O God, from the assembly of the malignant, alleluia: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity, alleluia, alleluia. * Hear, O God, my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee: free my soul from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:3,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui beati Urbani Martyris tui atque Pontificis solemnia colimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus, adjuvemur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who keep the festival of blessed Urban, Thy martyr and bishop may be helped by his intercession with Thee.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Sunday 24 May 2015


From the St Andrew's Daily Missal.

Doctrinal note for Pentecost

Easter and Pentecost, with the forty-eight days between them, used to be regarded as a single feast of fifty days (the word Pentecost is from the Greek, and means the fiftieth day), on which was kept, first the triumph of Christ, then His entry into His glory, and finally, on the fiftieth day, the anniversary of the Church's birth.  "To-day the Christian Church is born" (St. Augustine, sermon for Pentecost).

The Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost, are all part of the Paschal mystery. As St. Augustine says, Easter was the beginning of grace, and Pentecost is its crown, since the Holy Ghost then completes the work accomplished by Christ. And the Ascension, in its place in the centre of the triptych of Paschaltide, is the meeting place of these two feasts. By His resurrection our Lord has restored to us our rights to the divine life4, and at Pentecost He applies them to our souls by communicating to us His Holy Spirit, the "Giver of Life."

To do this, He must first take possession of the kingdom He has won, for as St. John says, "As yet the Spirit was not given," for Jesus was not yet glorified. For the Ascension of our Redeemer is the official recognition of His rights of conquest; so far as His humanity is concerned it puts the crown on His redemptive work, and it is for the Church the fount of her holiness and her very life.

"The Ascension," writes Dom Gueranger, "is the intermediate mystery between Easter and Pentecost. On the one hand it completes Easter by setting up the God-Man on the right hand of the Father as the conqueror of death and Head of the Church; and on the other, it brought aboui the mission to the earth of the Holy Ghost." "Our glorious mystery of the Ascension," he writes again, forms the boundary line between the two reigns of God in the New Dispensation on earth: the visible reign of the Son of God and the visible reign of the Holy Ghost" " If I go not," said our Lord to His apostles, "the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you." The Incarnate Word has finished His external mission among men, and now the Holy Ghost is about to begin His; for the Father has not only sent us His Son Incarnate to gather us to Himself, but also the Holy Ghost, " Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son", and who appeared in the world under visible signs: tongues of lire and a mighty wind. "The Father," says St. Athanasius, "does everything by the Word, in the Holy Ghost." Even when the omnipotence of the Father is manifested to us in the creation of the world, we read in Genesis that the Spirit of God moved over the waters to render them fruitful.

Again, when the wisdom of the Word is displayed to us, we are beholden it all to the Holy Ghost. It is He "who spake by the prophets"; it was His power that overshadowed the Virgin Mary and made her the Mother of Christ. Finally, it was He, who in the form of a dove descended upon our Lord at His Baptism, led Him into the desert and guided Him through the whole of His public ministry.

But more especially, when He filled the apostles with light and strength 011 the Day of Pentecost, did the Spirit of holiness inaugurate the dominion which he was going to exercise over souls. It was " with the Holy Ghost 1 hat the Church was baptized in the Cenacle and it was His life-giving hreath that came to give life to the mystical Body of Christ, which He had organized after His resurrection. So it was that our Lord breathed on His apostles, and said to them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost... Whose •ins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them'." And we know that the Holy Ghost is called "the Remission of Sins," and that baptism, whose purpose is to purify our souls from their sins, is given " with water and the Holy Ghost". " Go out of him, unclean spirit ", says the priest who Imptizes, " and give place unto the Holy Ghost the Paraclete." By His Ktace this divine Spirit heals and raises up our souls ; He rescues man from that death from which man cannot rescue himself. Thanks to Him, ouls are raised to the supernatural state and His supernatural influence can quicken all their thoughts and acts. For " as the life of the body springs from the union of body and soul, in the same way the life of the soul springs from the union of the soul with the Spirit of God by sanctifying grace" (St. Irenaeus and St. Clement of Alexandria) ; and St. Thomas adds : " Man receives grace through the Holy Ghost9."

Grace implies the raising to the supernatural level of our whole being; and to quote the Angelical Doctor again : " A certain participation in the divinity on the part of the reasonable creature." Much more than this, where grace is, there is its divine Artificer, which is why the Church calls the Holy Ghost " the sweet Guest of our souls". He who makes our uetions fruitful by " His intimate working".

It is the purpose of this Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of the formation of the apostles and the Church, in our Lord's words : " He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you10", and this He does, not only by enlightening the mind, but also by purifying and warming the heart. While the Church gives Him the title of " the Light of Hearts", often during this week she alludes to that purifying and enkindling of the will which permits the intelligence to contemplate the truth with vivid clearness.

" Every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved; but he that doth truth cometh to the light that his works may be made manifest11.»

The Holy Ghost comes to give testimony to Christ, as the Master Himself foretold, and He gives this testimony not only interiorly by the action of grace in men's hearts, but exteriorly also, through the medium of the visible hierarchy. And so it is that constantly throughout the week, the liturgy speaks at one and the same time of the infusion of the grace of the Holy Ghost, and of the preaching of faith in Christ The testimony of the Holy Ghost in the soul echoes that which our Lord bears to Himself through the Church, so that to deny the divinity and the resurrection of Christ as taught by the Church, is a sin against the Holy Ghost, and one which carries its sentence of condemnation within itself; such a one, as our Lord said, is already judged1.

From this Holy Spirit, all down the ages, will spring that wonderful doctrinal and mystical force which was personified in the Cenacle by Peter and Mary. The Holy Ghost who once inspired the sacred authors, secures to the Pope and to the Bishops grouped around him, that doctrinal infallibility which enables the teaching Church to continue the mission of our Lord. From the Holy Ghost the sacraments instituted by Christ receive their efficacy.

Further, outside the hierarchy, the Holy Ghost raises up faithful souls, who yield themselves with docility to His sanctifying work. This sanctity, which is the triumph of love in the hearts of men, is justly attributed to the third person of the Holy Trinity, who is the personal love of the Father and the Son. For the will is holy when it wills nothing but good. Hence the Spirit is called holy since He proceeds eternally from the divine Will, with which goodness is one and the same thing. And so it is He who makes us holy by closely uniting our will to God's Thus, after the Holy Ghost, the Credo speaks to us of the holy Church, the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, which is the fruit of holiness and its manifestation in our bodies, and finally of eternal life, which is the plenitude of holiness in our souls.

This supernatural life especially fills our souls at Pentecost, which reminds us of the taking possession of the Church by the Holy Ghost, and which therefore, year by year, strengthens more and more God's reign within our souls.

Therefore, at Pentecost we celebrate not only the coming of the Holy Ghost, but also the entry of the Church into the heavenly world2, for as St. Paul says, " In Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father8".

Thus, the anniversary of the Mosaic Law on Sinai becomes, for all Christians, that of the institution of the New Law, by which we receive no more " the spirit of bondage ", but " the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba: (Father)4". The Mosaic Law pointed out what had to be done but did not supply help for doing it easily ; the Holy Ghost, on the contrary, while making known the Law of the Gospel, gives also abundant graces to practice it, for love is the secret of obedience.

Pentecost is not merely an anniversary, it is also a life, the descent into our hearts of the Holy Ghost. And devotion to the Holy Ghost is the measure of our sanctity.

Historical note for Pentecost

Before His ascension into heaven, our Lord charges His apostles " that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father6", the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. On their return from the mount of Olives, the disciples, numbering about one hundred and twenty, went back to the Cenacle, where they all " were persevering in one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus'".

After this novena, the most solemn ever made, occurred the miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit, which by divine Providence, coincided with the Jewish feast of Pentecost among the Israelites. This " most solemn and most holy day7 " was the anniversary of the promulgation of the Law on mount Sinai. Consequently a considerable number of foreigners who had flocked to Jerusalem from all parts, were witnesses of the coming of the Holy Ghost.

" It was nine o'clock in the morning, when suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire; and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled

1. St. Mark m, 28.

2. " Unless a inan be born of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (St. John in, 6.) — 3. Ephesians n, 18. — 4. Romans vin, 15. — 6. Acts I, 4.

6. Acts i, 14. — 7. Leviticus ran, 21.

with the Holy Ghost and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak1."

Thus, " endued with power from on high2," the Church began at Jerur-snlem the work of the Apostolate entrusted to her by her divine Lord. Peter, the chief of the apostles, first addressed the assembly, and become already a " fisher of men8", brought by the first cast of his net, about ihree thousand converts into the infant Church. On the following days the twelve met in the Temple under Solomon's porch, and like their divine Master, preached the Gospel and healed the sick. Thus, " the multitude of men and women who believed in the Lord, was more increased4".

Subsequently, spreading in all directions outside Judea, the apostles went forth to proclaim Christ and to give the Holy Ghost to the Samaritans 1 and then to the Gentiles everywhere4.

Liturgical note for Pentecost

On the fiftieth day after the passing over of the destroying angel and the crossing of the Red Sea, to the Hebrews encamped at the foot of Sinai, almighty God with great solemnity promulgated His Law. The Jewish feasts of the Passover and Pentecost, which recalled these two events, were the most important in the year.

Sixteen centuries later, the feast of the Passover was marked by the death and resurrection of Christ, and that of Pentecost (fifty days after, as the name implies), by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles These two feasts, having become Christian in character,are the most ancient of the liturgical cycle, which owes its origin to them. They bear the names respectively of White and Red Easter. Wherefore, after Easter, Pentecost, is the greatest feast of the whole year, having an equally privileged vigil and oetave. The book of the Acts of the Apostles is read, for this is the season which commemorates the foundation of the Church, of whose beginnings this sacred book gives an account, and this custom is modelled on what takes place in Easter Week.

It is an entirely new life that is beginning, therefore it is suitable that t he new writings should be read. Besides, the New Testament puts the Old in its true light by showing that everything that it contained was only of the nature of a type. So in the Mass for Pentecost and throughout the octave, the Old and the New Law, Holy Scripture and Tradition, the Prophets, the Church Fathers and the Apostles echo the Master's words. Like the different pieces of a mosaic, all these parts group themselves in such a way as to bring before the mind a wonderful picture portraying the action of the Holy Ghost down through the centuries of the world's life. To place this magnificent masterpiece in still clearer relief, the liturgy surrounds it with all the external pomp of its sacred ceremonies and symbolic rites.

The priest is clothed in red vestments which recall the tongues of fire and serve as a symbol of that testimony of blood which men will have to bear to the Gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost. Formerly, in certain churches, while the Veni Sancte Spiritus was being sung, a shower of red roses was let fall from the roof, while a dove flew about over the heads of the faithful. Hence the pleasing name of the Easter of Roses by which Pentecost was known in the thirteenth century. Sometimes, to add another feature to the attempt to give a scenic character to the ceremonial, a trumpet was sounded during the Sequence as a reminder of the trumpet of Sinai or the mighty sound in the midst of which the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.

In this way the Christian was immersed in the distinctive atmosphere which is a characteristic of Pentecost, thus receiving a new outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Lest anyone should allow himself to be distracted from the contemplation of this mystery, it is celebrated throughout the entire octave, to the exclusion of any other feast. Thus is clearly expressed the Church's intention that during these eight days we should choose for our spiritual reading and meditation subjects connected with Pentecost For example what an excellent preparation for Holy Communion and what an appropriate thanksgiving is to be found in the Sequence, whether said or sung, forming as it does, one of the most beautiful pieces of Christian poetry.

With the Mass and the midday Regina Coeli on Ember Saturday ends Paschaltide, which began with Mass on Holy Saturday.