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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Wednesday 9 August 2017

9th August, St John Mary Vianney, Confessor

St. John Mary Vianney, Confessor

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Tuesday 8 August 2017

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

SS. Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, Martyrs

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

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

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

Monday 7 August 2017

7th August, St Cajetan, Confessor

St. Cajetan, Confessor

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

7th August, St Donatus, Bishop and Martyr

St. Donatus of Arezzo, Bishop and Martyr

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

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

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

From Wikipedia:

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

Sunday 6 August 2017

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

SS. Sixtus II, Felicissimus and Agapitus, Martyrs

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

6th August, The Transfiguration of Our Lord

The Transfiguration of Our Lord 

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

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

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

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

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

The Hymn 'Quicumque Christum Quaeritis' from Vespers.

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

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Saturday 5 August 2017

5th August, Our Lady of the Snows

The Dedication of the Church of our Lady of the Snow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Friday 4 August 2017

4th August, St Dominic, Confessor

St. Dominic, Confessor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Thursday 3 August 2017

3rd August, The Invention of St Stephen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Stephen:

Wednesday 2 August 2017

2nd August, St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr

St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Tuesday 1 August 2017

August - Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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

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

1st August, St Peter ad Vincula

St. Peter's Chains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Peter:

1st August, The Holy Machabees, Martyrs

The Holy Machabees, Martyrs

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

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

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

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

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

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Monday 31 July 2017

31st July, St Ignatius Loyola, Confessor

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Confessor

Ignatius was born in Northern Spain, in 1491. He was the eleventh child of the Lord of Loyola, and at the age of fifteen, came as page to the court of king Ferdinand V.

His ardent and martial nature caused him to choose a military career. At the siege of Pamplona, he was severely wounded in the leg. During his long convalescence, in the absence of books of chivalry for which he had a passion, they gave him the lives of Jesus Christ and of the saints to read. This reading was for him a revelation. It dawned on him that the Church also has her army which, under the orders of the representative of Christ, fights to defend here below the sacred interests of the God of hosts.

[To the three religious vows St. Ignatius adds a fourth by which the members of the Society of Jesus bind themselves to go wherever the Pope will send them for the salvation of souls.]

He then laid down his sword at the feet of the Virgin, in the famous Benedictine Abbey at Montserrat, and his generous soul, once enamoured of worldly glory, now only longed for the greater glory of the King whom henceforth he will serve (Collect). Throughout the night of March 25, when the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word is solemnized, after confessing his sins he kept his knightly vigil, and the Mother of God armed him for Christ and the militant Church, His spouse. Soon he became General of the Society of Jesus, raised by Providence to combat Protestantism, Jansenism and returning paganism.

On the mountain the sons of Benedict, as a prelude to the liturgy in heaven, will continue the solemn celebration of the divine offices which Ignatius will recommend to the faithful, and whose sacred melodies he never heard without tears; and he, sacrificing himself to his mission, goes down into the plain to oppose with his valiant troops, the attacks of the hostile army whose violent onslaughts are always directed against his Institute (Epistle). Wherefore, to preserve in his sons the intense interior life required by the militant activity to which he devotes them, St. Ignatius subjects them to a strongly organized hierarchy and teaches them, in a masterly treatise highly approved of by the Church, his spiritual exercises which have sanctified thousands of souls. It has been affirmed that it was the practice of the Exercitatorium of the Benedictine Cisneros, abbot of Montserrat in 1500, which inspired him with the idea. Guided by grace, he realized it however at Manresa in a different and very personal way.

[The third of the eighteen rules made by St. Ignatius, as the crowning of the Spiritual Exercises, "that we may have the true sentiments of the orthodox Church," recommends to the faithful the Canticles of the Church, the psalms and the different canonial hours at their appointed times. And at the head of this book, in order to enable one to draw most profit from these Exercises, he rules in his twentieth note that he who can do so is to choose, for the duration of the Exercises, a dwelling whence he may easily go to the offices of Matins and Vespers, as well as to Mass " (Liturgical Year : July 31th, St. Ignatius of Loyola).]

St. Ignatius arms his sons giving them for their shield the name of Jesus (Introit), for their breastplate the love of God which the Saviour came to enflame on earth (Communion) and whose symbol, the Sacred Heart, they gloriously bear in the folds of their flag; and for their sword, preaching, writing, teaching and all other forms of apostolate.

[When he sent missionaries abroad he used to say to them: " Go, my brothers, Inflame the world and spread everywhere the fire which Jesus Christ came to kindle on the earth" (Communion).]

It was in a Benedictine monastery in Spain that at the feast of the Annunciation, St. Ignatius first used these arms; in a chapel of the Benedictine Abbey of Montmartre that on the Feast of the Assumption in 1534 and later on at the altar of the Virgin of the Basilica of St. Paul-without-the-Walls, served by Benedictines, that was born the Society of Jesus, that noble chivalry of Christ, and lastly it was the Benedictine Pope Pius VII, a native of Cesena and a monk of its abbey, who in 1814 re-established it in all its rights. It is therefore God Himself who unites at the feet of the Blessed Virgin these two Orders which powerfully help the Church, for Martha and Mary, action and contemplation, both contribute, by different means, to the glory of God. The mottoes of these two religious families are alike: " In all things God be glorified! I.O.G.D." and: "To the greater glory of God! A.M.D.G."

Not to do anything except for the glory of God and to do everything for His greater glory is the perfection of holiness. It is the end of the creation, the end of man's elevation to a supernatural life, the end indeed of the evangelical precepts which cause generous souls to renounce, by vow, things that are lawful, in order to devote themselves more freely to the interests of God, and to render to Him in its entirety the accidental glory He had been deprived of by man's use of unlawful things.

Benedict has filled Europe with his missionary monks whose principal work is to praise God, and Ignatius with his priest-apostles (Gospel) who make manifest their interior life by their untiring activity.

From Montserrat, twelve monks with their Superior started with Christopher Columbus for the new Continent. From Lisbon, started Francis Xavier who first evangelized Japan and China. It is the same tree of the love of God which, on different branches, bears the same fruit.

On July 31, 1556, St. Ignatius died pronouncing the name of Jesus, and his society spread throughout the world. It numbers nowadays forty four provinces, and several hundreds of colleges.

[The Society of Jesus numbers 23 canonized saints, 142 beatified, 3 venerables and over 100 whose 29 causes are being discussed. It had in 1934 24,270 members : there were 24,000 at the time of the suppression. It has given to the Church illustrious prelates and a large number of apostles, learned men, educators and influential men, as is proved by the numerous congregations or religious associations which have imbibed the spirit of the Pounder, and by the many pious institutions under the direction of the sons of St. Ignatius. The Apostleship of Prayer for instance, is believed to number some 30 millions associates.]

May we obtain by the intercession of St. Ignatius so to be sanctified in truth (Secret) by the sacred mysteries of Mass and Communion, the source of all holiness, that with the help of this saint, we may after his example, so combat evil on earth, as to be crowned with him in heaven (Collect).

In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, caelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum: et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris. * Gloriabuntur in te omnes, qui diligunt nomen tuum: quoniam tu benedices justo.
In the name of Jesus let every knee bow, of things in heaven, on earth and under the earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. * All they that love Thy name shall glory in Thee: for Thou wilt bless the just.
(From the Introit of Mass, Philemon 2:10-11 and Psalm 5:12-13.)

Deus, qui ad majorem tui nominis gloriam propagandam, novo per beatum Ignatium subsidio militantem Ecclesiam roborasti: concede; ut, ejus auxilio et imitatione certantes in terris, coronari cum ipso mereamur in caelis.
O God, who for the spreading of the greater glory of Thy name didst, by means of blessed Ignatius, strengthen Thy church militant with a new army; grant that by his aid and by his example we may so fight on earth as to become worthy to be crowned with him in heaven. Through our Lord.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Sunday 30 July 2017

30th July, SS. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

SS. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

Abdon and Sennen, born in Persia "were arrested and taken to Rome under the Emperor Decius. They were scourged with cords weighted with lead and beheaded" (Roman Martyrology). This was in the middle of the third century (A. D. 254).

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

Deus, qui sanctis tuis Abdon et Sennen ad hanc gloriam veniendi copiosum munus gratiae contulisti: da famulis tuis suorum veniam peccatorum; ut Sanctorum tuorum intercedentibus mentis, ab omnibus mereantur adversitatibus liberari.
O God, who didst endow Thy holy martyrs Abdon and Sennen with abundant gifts of grace that they might come to their present glory; forgive the sins of Thy servants, that the merits of Thy saints pleading on their behalf, they may deserve to be delivered from all adversity.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Saturday 29 July 2017

29th July, SS. Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, martyrs

SS. Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, martyrs

"Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men - when we can do it - is no less a sin than to encourage them." Pope St. Felix III.

The holy Pontiff Felix III is a Pope of the fourth century. He was martyred in Tuscany in the time of the Arians (A.D. 365). He is sometimes referred to as Pope Felix II - there was a Pope Felix II in the earlier part of the fourth century, who is usually regarded as an antipope, and this causes confusion in enumeration.

Simplicius and Faustinus, denounced as Christians to the persecutors, were put to death at Rome under Diocletian A.D. 304. Beatrice, their sister, was arrested and strangled in prison. Leo II placed the relics of these three martyrs in a church at Rome dedicated in their names.

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

Praesta, quaesumus, Domine: ut, sicut populus christianus Martyrum tuorum Felicis, Simplicii, Faustini et Beatricis temporali solemnitate congaudet, ita perfruatur aeterna: et, quod votis celebrat, comprehendat effectu.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that as Christian people rejoice in being able to celebrate the temporal solemnity of Thy martyrs Felix, Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice, so they may also rejoice thereat in life eternal and receive the fruit of the sacrifice which they offer.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
On St Felix:
On the Antipope Felix II:
On SS Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice:

Sunday 5 March 2017

1st Sunday in Lent

1st Sunday in Lent

Station at St John Lateran

Originally the forty days of penance were counted from this Sunday. The liturgical gathering of the "station" takes place to-day, as it was since the fourth century, at Saint John Lateran, which is the patriarchal basilica of the Bishops of Rome. At its first consecration, it was dedicated to "Saint Saviour," a name which calls to mind the Redemption accomplished by our Blessed Lord.

Immediately after His baptism, our Lord began to prepare for His public life by a fast of forty days in the mountainous desert which stretches between Jericho and the mountains of Judea. It was there that He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether the son of Mary was in reality the Son of God (Gospel).

As in the case of Adam, he adresses his first attack to the senses. Our Lord is hungry and the tempter suggests to Him that He should turn stones into bread. In the same way he tries, during these forty days, to make us give up our fasting and mortification. This is the concupiscence of the flesh.

The devil had promised our first parent that he should be as God. Now he takes our Lord to the pinnacle of the Temple and tries to induce Him to let Himself be carried by the angels through the air amidst the applause of the crowds below. Satan tempts us by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and meditation on God's word. This is the pride of life.

Finally, just as he had promised Adam a knowledge which like that of God Himself, should enable him to know all things, so Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him ruler over all created things if He will fall at his feet and worship him. In the same way the devil seeks to attach us to temporal goods, when we ought, by alms and works of charity, to be doing good to our neighbour. This is the concupiscence of the eyes or avance.

Since the "word of the Spirit is the word of God", our Lord made use of the ninetieth psalm against Satan, and this is the theme of the whole Mass and is found again and again in the office of the day. "His truth shall cover thee with a shield," says the psalmist. This psalm is, therefore, the ideal psalm for Lent as a special time of warfare against the devil. Again, the eleventh verse, "He hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways," recurs in Vespers like a refrain during the whole season. We find the entire psalm in the Tract, which reminds us of the old custom of singing psalms during certain parts of the Mass. Some of its verses make up the Introit with its verse, the Gradual, the Communion and the Offertory, which last was fonnerly composed, in to-day's mass, of three verses instead of one, following the order of the threefold temptation as recorded in the Gospel.

Side by side with this psalm the Epistle, certainly dating from the time of Saint Leo, sounds one of the characteristic notes of Lent. There Saint Paul borrows a text of Isaias: "In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee." "Behold," says the apostle, "now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation" (Epistle and first nocturn). On this Saint Leo comments: "Although there is no season of the year which is not rich in divine gifts and in which we by God's grace do not find immediate access to His mercy; nevertheless at this time when the return of the day on which we are redeemed summons us to fulfill all the duties of Christian piety, the souls of Christians must be stirred with more zeal for spiritual progress, and possessed of a very great confidence in almighty God. In this manner, with pure souls and bodies, shall we celebrate this mystery of the Lord's Passion, sublime beyond all others. True, we ought always to be in the divine presence, just as much as on the Easter feast. But because this spiritual vigour is the possession of only a few, while, on the one hand, the weakness of the flesh leads to any very severe observance being relaxed, and on the other, the varied occupations of this life share and divide our interest, it necessarily happens that the dust of the world soils the hearts even of religious themselves. This divine institution has been planned with great profit to our salvation in a manner that the exercises of these forty days may help us to regain the purity of our souls, making up, in a way, for the faults of the rest of the year, by fasting and pious deeds. However, we must be careful to give no one the least cause of complaint or scandal, so that our general behaviour may not be inconsistent with our fasting and penance.. For it is useless to reduce the nourishment of the body unless the soul departs from sin" (Second nocturn).

In this "acceptable time" and in these "days of salvation" let us purify ourselves with the Church {Collect), "in fastings, in chastity," by zeal in hearing and meditating on the word of God and by charity unfeigned (Epistle).

Invocabit me, et ego exaudiam eum: eripiam eum et glorificabo eum: longitudine dierum adimplebo eum. * Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi; in protectione Dei coeli commorabitur.
He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days. * He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most high, shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven. (Psalm 90:15-16 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam annua quadragesimali observatione purificas: praesta familiae tuae, ut quod a te obtinere abstinendo nititur, hoc bonis operibus exsequatur.
O God, who purifiest thy Church by the yearly observation of Lent: grant that what thy children endeavour to obtain of thee by abstinence, they may put in execution by good works.

A cunctis nos, quaesumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis Apostolis Tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N., et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem, ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia Tua secura Tibi serviat libertate.
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N., and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
(For the intercession of the Saints)

Omnipotens sempiterna Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris quos tuos fide et opera futuros esse praenoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut, pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel praesens saeculum adhuc in carne retinet, vel futurum jam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuae clementia omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur.
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all whom Thou foreknowest shall be Thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech Thee that all for whom we have resolved to make supplication whether the present world still holds them in the flesh or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all Thy saints, obtain of Thy goodness and clemency pardon for all their sins.
(For the Living and the Dead)

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
At that time, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards hungry. And the tempter coming, said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said: It is written, “Not by bread alone doth man live, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him into the holy city, and set him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, “He hath given his Angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him: It is written again, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt! adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan, for it is written: “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve.” Then the devil left him; and behold Angels came and ministered to him.
(St Matthew 4)

Monday 27 February 2017

27th February, St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Confessor

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Confessor.

St. Gabriel of the Seven Sorrows, born in 1838 at Assisi, the little Italian town made famous by St. Francis, was miraculously guided by our Blessed Lady into the Passionist Congregation, and during his short life upon earth he became a veritable apostle of her Sorrows. His spirit of penance and self-denial, his heroic humility, and his true devotion to our Lord's Sacred Passion quickly raised him to a high degree of sanctity. In 1862, only in the twenty-fourth year of his age, his heavenly patroness came to call him to eternal happiness. The many miracles that bore witness to his holiness, led to his speedy canonization by Pope Benedict XV (1920) and Pope Pius XI extended his feast to the whole Church (1932).

Oculus Dei respexit illum in bono, et erexit eum ab humilitate ipsius et exaltavit caput ejus; et mirati sunt in illo multi, et honoraverunt Deum. * Quam bonus Israel Deus his, qui recto sunt corde.
The eye of God hath looked  upon him for good, and hath lifted him up from his low estate, and hath exalted his head; and many have wondered at him, and have glorified God. * How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart!
(Ecclesiasticus 11:13 and Psalm 72:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beatum Gabrielem dulcissimae Matris tuae dolores assidue recolere docuisti, ac per illam sanctitatis et miraculorum gloria sublimasti: da nobis, ejus intercessione et exemplo; ita Genitricis tuae consociari fletibus, ut materna ejusdem protectione salvemur.
O God, who didst teach blessed Gabriel diligently to ponder the sorrows of Thy most sweet Mother, and who hast exalted him to the glory of sanctity and the working of miracles; grant us, through his intercession and example, so to mourn with Thy Mother, that we may be saved through her maternal care.

From Wikipedia:

Sunday 26 February 2017

Quinquagesima Sunday

Quinquagesima Sunday

Station at St Peter's

In the same way that the first three prophecies of Holy Saturday, with their accompanying prayers, are concerned with Adam, Noah and Abraham, so during the Septuagesima season, our attention is called in Missal and Breviary to these same patriarchs, known respectively by the Church, as the father of the human race, the father of future generations and the father of those who believe.

Adam, Noah and Abraham were types of Christ in the paschal mystery, a fact which we have already shown to be true in the case of the first two, in our notes on Septuagesima and Sexagesima Sunday. That it is true of Abraham also, we shall see to-day.

In the Ambrosian Liturgy, Passion Sunday was called "Abraham's Sunday" and the "Response of Abraham" was read in the Office for that day; in the Roman Liturgy also, he is still the subject of the Gospel for Passion Sunday. "Abraham your father," says our Lord, "rejoiced that he might see my day, he saw it and was glad ... Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am." God had indeed promised Abraham that the Messias should descend from him, and he was overwhelmed with great joy, when by faith he contemplated beforehand the day of the Redeemer's coming. Again, when this was fulfilled, he still contemplated it with a fresh joy in Limbo, where he was waiting with the just men of the Old Law for Jesus to come and deliver them after His Passion. When the three weeks of the Septuagesima Season were added to Lent, Quinquagesima became the Sunday on which the liturgy is devoted to Abraham, so that in the lessons and responses for to-day the whole history of the Patriarch is described.

With the desire of forming a people who should be specially His own in the midst of the idolatrous nations of the world (Gradual and Tract), almighty God chose Abraham as its head and gave him his name which means Father of many nations. "And He took him from Ur in Chaldee, and kept him from harm in all his wanderings." By faith, St. Paul tells the Hebrews, Abraham, when the call came, "obeyed and went into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing whither he went." It was by faith, that he obtained the land of Canaan, where he lived more than twenty-five years as a stranger; that in his old age he became the father of Isaac and did not hesitate to offer him in sacrifice at God's command, although he was his only son in whom lay all his hope that the divine promises concerning a numerous posterity for himself would be fulfilled." Accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Whereupon also he received him for a parable." Indeed, it was as a type of Christ that Isaac was chosen "to be the most glorious victim of his father," that he carried the bundle of wood on which he was about to be sacrificed, just as our Lord carried the Cross on which he merited glory by His Passion; that his place was taken by a ram caught by its horns in a thicket of brambles, just as, according to the Fathers, Jesus the Lamb of God had His sacred head entangled in the thorns of His Crown; and above all that, being miraculously delivered from death he was in some sense restored to life to proclaim that Christ having been put to death should rise again.

Thus, by his faith, Abraham, who without hesitation believed in what was to come to pass, contemplated from afar our Lord's triumph on the Cross and rejoiced in it. It was then that God confirmed the promises to him: "Because thou hast not spared the only-begotten son for my sake, I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore." It was Christ who fulfilled these promises by His Passion. As St. Paul says: "Christ hath redeemed us ... (for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree), that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus"; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith, that is the Spirit of adoption which has been promised to us. It is for this reason that in the prayer which follows the lesson about Abraham on Holy Saturday, almighty God is addressed as "the supreme Father of all the faithful, who all over the world multipliest the children of Thy promise by diffusing the grace of Thy adoption: and by this Paschal Sacrament makest Thy servant Abraham, according to Thy oath, the father of all nations".

In reality it is by baptism with water, which was formerly administered at Easter, and of the Holy Ghost suggesting Pentecost, that having been made children of Abraham we enter upon the inheritance promised to us, that is the Church, the Heavenly Jerusalem, of which the Holy Land was a type. The Church prays on Holy Saturday: "Grant that all the nations of the world may become the children of Abraham, and by holy adoption, multiply the sons of the promise." We can see from this why to-day's station is made at St. Peter's, since the prince of the apostles was chosen by Christ to be the Head of the Church in a still more excellent sense than Abraham, "the father of all them that believe."

Faith in Christ, dead and risen again, is the subject of the Gospel, that faith by which Abraham merited to become the Father of all nations and which enables us to become his children. We read how Christ foretold His Passion and His victory and how He restored the sight of a blind man, and told him: "Thy faith hath saved thee." On this St. Gregory comments: "This blind man recovered his sight under the very eyes of the apostles so that to have seen deeds wrought by the divine power might strengthen the faith of those who could not yet grasp the message that a heavenly mystery was revealed to the world. Indeed it was necessary, that when later they should see our Lord die in the very way foretold by Him, they should have no doubt at all that He must also rise from the dead."

In the epistle, in its turn, Abraham's faith is set forth in all its merit, and we are told what our own faith should be like. "So faith also," writes St. James, "if it hath not works, is dead in itself. Wilt thou know that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou, that faith did cooperate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?"

A man is not saved by being a son of Abraham according to the flesh but by being Abraham's son by means of a faith like his. So St. Paul writes: "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision (to be a Jew) availeth anything, nor uncircumcision (to be a Gentile), but a new creature." "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness ."

If the custom of allowing ourselves a little relaxation of spirit, before undertaking the Lenten penance which binds us all, is of liturgical origin, let us not forget that the Church condemns all excess. To atone therefore, for those sins, that are committed, let us make a solemn adpration of the Blessed Sacrament, beside saying this prayer of reconciliation known as the Forty Hours' prayer , which was instituted either by S. Anthony-Mary Zaccaria (+ 1539); or by the Capuchin Father Joseph a Ferno (about 1636), a prayer richly indulgenced by Pope Clement XIII (1765). [This devotion orginated from the 40 hours Jesus passed in the tomb. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was included but at a later date, and regulated by Clement XI in 1705.]

Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, et in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias : quoniam firmamentum meum, et refugium meum es tu: et propter nomen tuum dux mihi eris, et enutries me. * In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum : in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me.
Be Thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me : for Thou art my strength and my refuge : and for Thy Name's sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me. * In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded : deliver me in Thy justice, and save me.
(Psalm 30:3-4,2 from the Introit)

Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi.
Do Thou, we beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully hear our prayers, that we being loosed from the bonds of our sins, may by Thee be defended against all adversity.

A cunctis nos, quaesumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semperque Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N., et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem: ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate.
Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin-Mother of God, of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, of Blessed N. and of all the Saints, grant us, in thy mercy, health and peace; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem. and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death, and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things. And this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, that when he drew nigh to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way-side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people when they saw it, gave praise to God.
(St Luke chapter 18:31-43)

Friday 24 February 2017

24th February, St Matthias, Apostle

St Matthias, Apostle

St. Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles (Epistle), says that the prophet had Judas in view when he declares "that his episcopate would pass into other hands." It is the Lord Himself who showed the one He had chosen to be associated with the eleven apostles (Epistle).

It is to St. Matthias that He confided the secrets made known to Him in the bosom of His Father (Gospel). Wherefore this holy apostle shares the glory " of the princes whom God has established over souls" (Offertory) and " He shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel " (Communion). Since their infidelity, indeed, "their house has become deserted " (Epistle) and the kingdom of heaven is transferred to the Gentiles who do penance. His name figures in the Canon of the Mass (second list).

Let us ask "God, who has included blessed Matthias in the college of the apostles, to grant us through his intercession" (Collect) that we may "atone for our sins" (Secret), so as to obtain "peace and pardon" (Postcommunion).

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

Deus, qui beatum Matthiam Apostolorum tuorum collegio sociasti: tribue, quaesumus; ut ejus interventione, tuae circa nos pietatis semper viscera sentiamus.
O God, who didst associate blessed Matthias to the company of Thine apostles, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his intercession, we may ever experience Thy tender mercy towards us.

Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.
In those days, Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren said (now the number of persons together was about hundred and twenty): Men and brethren, the Scripture must needs be fulfilled which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus; who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity; and, being hanged, burst asunder in the midst; and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the same field was called in their tongue Haceldama, that is to say, the field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. Wherefore of these men who have companied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day wherein He was taken up from us, one of these must be made a witness with us of His resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And praying they said : Thou Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen, to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
(Acts of the Apostles 1:15-26)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: