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.