The Foster-Father of the Son of God

A Blessed Feast of St. Joseph to all!

Ite Ad Joseph!

“Those who give themselves to prayer should in a special manner have always a devotion to St. Joseph; for I know not how any man can think of the Queen of the angels, during the time that she suffered so much with the Infant Jesus, without giving thanks to St. Joseph for the services he rendered them then.”  ~St. Teresa of Avila

“He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: ‘Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.’”   ~St. Bernardine of Siena

“The Lord has arrayed Joseph, like with a sun, in all which the saints possess together in regard to light and splendor.”  ~St. Gregory of Nazianzus

“Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”    ~St. Thomas Aquinas

“We should, indeed, honor St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honor him by calling him father. The Holy Scriptures speak of him as the father of Jesus. ‘His father and mother were marveling at the things spoken — concerning Him’ (Luke 2:33). Mary also used this name: ‘in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee’ (Luke 2:48). If, then, the King of Kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to endeavor to honor him as much as we can.”   ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind.”   ~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“Since we all must die, we should cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death. All Christians regard him as the advocate of the dying who had honored him during their life, and they do so for three reasons: First, because Jesus Christ loved him not only as a friend, but as a father, and on this account his mediation is far more efficacious than that of any other Saint. Second, because St. Joseph has obtained special power against the evil spirits, who tempt us with redoubled vigor at the hour of death. Third, the assistance given St. Joseph at his death by Jesus and Mary obtained for him the right to secure a holy and peaceful death for his servants. Hence, if they invoke him at the hour of death he will not only help them, but he will also obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary.”  ~St. Alphonsus Liguori

“The children of the world are ignorant regarding the privileges and rights which the Most High has conferred on my holy spouse, and the power of his intercession with the Divine Majesty and with me. But I assure you, my daughter, that in Heaven he is most intimate with the Lord, and has great power to avert the punishment of Divine justice from sinners. In all trials seek his intercession, because the Heavenly Father will grant whatever my spouse asks.”   ~Ven. Mary of Agreda


The dolors of Her Heart

Image result for our lady of sorrows

Make reparation to Our Lady of Sorrows for the crimes and sacrileges committed against Her and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“All the fatherless, motherless, sonless, husbandless, and wifeless griefs that ever tore at the hearts of human beings were now bearing down on the soul of Mary. The most any human being ever lost in a bereavement was a creature, but Mary was burying the Son of God. It is hard to lose a son or a daughter, but it is harder to bury Christ. To be motherless is a tragedy, but to be Christless is hell. In real love, two hearts do not meet in sweet slavery to one another; rather there is the melting of two hearts into one. When death comes, there is not just a separation of two hearts but rather the rending of the one heart. This was particularly true of Jesus and Mary. As Adam and Eve fell through the pleasure of eating one apple, so Jesus and Mary were united in the pleasure of eating the fruit of the Father’s will. At such moments, there is not loneliness but desolation – not the outward desolation such as came through the three days’ loss but an inner desolation that is probably so deep as to be beyond the expression of tears. Some joys are so intense that they provoke not even a smile; so there are some griefs that never create a tear. Mary’s dolor at the burial of Our Lord was probably of that kind. If she could have wept, it would have been a release from the tension; but here the only tears were red, in the hidden garden of her heart! One cannot think of any dolor after this; it was the last of the sacraments of grief. The Divine Sword could will no other thrusts beyond this, either for Himself or for her. It had run into two hearts up to the very hilt; and when that happens, one is beyond all human consolations. In the former dolor, at least there was the consolation of the body; now even that is gone. Calvary was like the bleak silence of a church on Good Friday when the Blessed Sacrament has been removed. One can merely stand guard at a tomb.”   ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Also, let us remember to honor St. Patrick, whose Feast it is to today and pray to him to intercede for the conversion of Ireland back to the Faith.

-Damsel of the Faith

He fasted for our salvation

Fasting can save a people. A nation. By prayer & fasting, the people of Nineveh were saved from God’s wrath on their city. Esther fasted to save her people from destruction. Casting out today’s demons can only be done through prayer and fasting – penance, penance, penance…

Damsel of the Faith

Fasting can save a people. A nation. By prayer & fasting, the people of Nineveh were saved from God’s wrath on their city. Esther fasted to save her people from destruction. Casting out today’s demons can only be done through prayer and fasting – penance, penance, penance. Our Lord Jesus Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days, doing penance to His own body, for our sake, to atone for the sins we all would commit until the end of time. Christ’s life was a continual martyrdom, culminating in the Crucifixion.

Penance to the body shows our willingness to atone for our sins so that the God of Justice will have mercy for the crimes committed against Him. By dying to self, we learn to live for Him, the reason that we were born into the world – to know, love, serve and live for God, in the battleground of…

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The Martyrs of Bosnia


The following is from Catholic Family News & is a must read, recounting the evil of the communist agenda, as shown in the torture of these great priests and brothers.

During the Turkish domination of Bosnia-Herzegovina, twelve Franciscan friars of Herzegovinian origin, came from Kresevo in Bosnia, deciding to construct a monastery in their land of origin, as a sign of faith, choosing to do so in Široki Brijeg.

Establishing themselves in this small village, and after having bought a large plot of land at a high price, they began to construct a church dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The work to build the monastery soon began, and then a building to use as a seminary.

Nearby they erected a scholastic center which included a gymnasium where the friars taught the young generations of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A house for borders from far away was also built. And so the place became a Christian cultural center, and the shrine transformed into a symbol for Herzegovina. Exactly 100 years later, the monastery was devastated and destroyed.

It happened in this way: on February 7, 1945, the Communist party members decided to destroy from the Christian symbol from its foundations, and to uproot the Catholic Faith, kindness and the recognition of the Franciscan friars from the hearts of the people.

They arrived at three in the afternoon, finding 30 religious in the monastery; many of them were professors in the gymnasium adjacent to the monastery.

The communists said: “God is dead, there isn’t a God, there’s not a Pope, there’s not a Church, there’s no need for you, go back to the world and work.”

They tried to persuade the friars, with threats and blasphemies, to take off the religious habit. They responded: “We are consecrated religious, we cannot take our habits off.”

Then, an angry soldier took the Crucifix and threw it out on the ground. “There,” he said, “now you can choose either life or death.”

Each of them knelt, embracing and kissing Jesus, holding the Cross to their breast, all of them saying like Saint Francis: “My God and my All.”

As mentioned, some of the Fathers were very famous professors, they had written many school books and manuals.

But they didn’t embrace their books and say: “You are everything for me.” No! They embraced Jesus, the Master! Full of hate and malice, the persecutors then took the friars one by one, taking them out of the convent, and killing them; they then doused the bodies with gasoline and burned them.

The Friars went to their death praying and singing the Litany of Our Lady.

These things have been to testified to, by the soldiers who had been part of the execution squad.

One of the soldiers was shocked by the heroic behavior of the Friars. He recounted: “Ever since I was a little boy at home, I always heard from my mother that there is a God, that God exists. Lenin, Stalin, Tito had always affirmed the contrary and did everything to instill in us that there is no God, that He doesn’t exist!

When life’s circumstances brought me to the martyrdom of Široki Brijeg and I saw how the Friars faced death, praying and blessing their persecutors, begging God to pardon the sins of the executioners, then my mother’s words rang clear, and I thought: my mom was right, there is a God, God does exist!”

Today, that soldier converted, and has a priest-son and a daughter who is a religious.

In their fury, they ravaged and wiped out the writing on the stone placed above the main entrance of the friary, on which was written the Name of God and the dedication to the Assumption of Our Lady.

Today the dedication is no longer legible, but the blood of the Martyrs has written it even more deeply in the hearts of the people, and brilliantly shines in the eyes of the Lord.

A dedication can be erased, it can be burned, destroyed, ruined, but the Faith cannot be taken from the heart of the Church.

To this day, Our Lady is lived, honored and celebrated with great love, at the Shrine.

The shrine is the largest in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina: it is a symbol, a sign. The communists had thought that by destroying the “sign,” the Faith would be finished too. Instead, the Faith has grown and developed under the mantle and protection of Our Lady.

Our Franciscan Martyrs had also grown and lived enveloped by Our Lady’s mantle. The bodies of the 30 witnesses of the Faith were left hidden in the earth for years and years; one could not name them or commemorate them in any way.

But the blood of the Martyrs cried out and was an example for everyone, and so new vocations flowered in hearts, the Church and Faith grew like a thriving tree.

At the time, I was four years old, and I remember how often my parents told us of what had happened to the Friars. And this was also the case in many families of my peers. The desire to imitate our Martyrs and ourselves become friars grew more and more.

Our Martyrs are witnesses to the Faith, witnesses to the love of God and neighbor. The 30 Franciscans didn’t become martyrs by chance, or by accident; they offered their lives and testified to the Faith consciously and with great joy.

This is very important. As the Church has always done and taught, so did they forgive their enemies, pray for their persecutors and bless their killers.

In the same way as Maximilian Kolbe and many others! Among the various Martyrs, the only difference is that of the means and method of martyrdom, but all have always manifested a great ardor and love: the love which burns hate, which burns and destroys violence, and everything changes and transforms into joy, a celebration, in the victory of Our Lord’s grace.

The Church takes life from the blood of her martyr-sons. These will always remain a great (source of) strength of the Church.

We who live in this place, and you who come here as pilgrims, we can reflect a little on the worth of our Faith and examine how much our Faith is important to us; how I am ready to give my life for my God, what I can do for my Jesus, what my Christ and His Cross and my Christian vocation mean to me.

A week after the massacre at Široki Brijeg, the communists went to Mostar and found seven friars in the monastery.

Although they knew what had happened in Široki Brijeg, they had decided not to escape, but to remain in the friary.

One of them was Father Leon-Grgo Petrovic, doctor of Theology, born in Klobuk in 1883. He, as Franciscan provincial, had the grace to consecrate all of his friars, who he felt were in danger at the beginning of the war, to Our Lady.

Now we can see how that consecration flourished. The devotion to Our Lady, that beautiful flower offered to the Blessed Virgin, bloomed on the day of the massacre, February 7, 1945.

As God the Father sent His Son to die, for the salvation of the whole world, and Jesus remained obedient, accepting the sacrifice of Himself, so our Martyrs offered their own lives and blood for the salvation of men, for peace, for our conversion.

They were immolated for the peace and good of the whole Church. I now want to present to you our Friars who became mature through martyrdom – some were only 20 years old – and who were capable of giving witness for Christ, and to demonstrate Who Christ was for them, for us.

With love and veneration, I give you their names…

The Martyrs of Široki Brijeg

Friar Bruno Adamcik, with degrees in philosophy and music from Bratislava, was 37 years old when he went to the glory of Heaven.

Friar Marko Barbaric, 80. Devoted to Our Lady, he had a reputation for sanctity among the students and seminarians, who witnessed that while walking in the park, he often spoke with the birds. These, as soon as they saw him, hastened to greet him and perched themselves on the hand he extended to them. He had lost his memory and was unaware of the war. On that February 7, 1945 he was in his cell, sick with typhus. The Communist officials ordered that he also be brought out, and so he was carried outside on a blanket. Then he was killed and thrown in the fire.

Friar Jozo Bencun, 76. He had been pastor in Humac and Široki Brijeg.

Friar Marko Dragicevic, 43. With degrees in history, Greek and Latin, he could not think of any of his students failing, so he found ways to bring out their positive sides.

Friar Miljenko Ivankovic, 21. He was very devout and humble. Today his brother and nephew are Franciscans.

Friar Andrija Jelcic, 41. He had been Father Guardian of Široki Brijeg. He built the church in Capljina. The people remember him as being a good shepherd and a true father.

Friar Rudo Juric, 21. A cleric in simple vows.

Friar Fabijan Kordic, 55. Very pious and good, he made habits for the brothers, and prepared himself to receive the habit which never wears out: that of martyrdom.

Friar Viktor Kosir, 21. When all the youngest seminarians, although not wishing to leave the monastery were commanded by the Rector to return to their own villages, knowing well that the Communists were coming to kill them, Friar Viktor resisted more than the others, but obediently returned home. There, he stayed only a few hours, despite his parents’ pleas, who heard the rumble of the airplanes who were bombing. He died with the others, as he desired. His mother had another son, and gave him the same name. However she often cried, looking at the picture of her dead son. The little one calmed her, telling her that he would take his brother’s place. Today, in fact, he is a Franciscan priest who exercises his ministry especially in the confessional.

Friar Tadija Kozul, 36. Professor of philosophy, Greek and Latin, a teacher of the clerics who loved him very much and preferred to die together, rather than leave him.

Friar Krsto Kraljevic, 50. He had been a great example to the people, in how he carried his cross of sickness, in this way preparing his soul for martyrdom.

Friar Stanko Kraljevic, 74. Preacher, professor, formator of clerics in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Zarko Leventic, 26. He confessed the sick, and bringing them the Eucharist, fell ill with typhus. He was also taken out of bed and killed. Chaplain in Široki Brijeg.

Friar Bonifacije Majic, 62. Professor and catechist, he got up during the night to fix the boys’ sheets. He was very loved by the people as a friar, professor and pedagogist.

Friar Stjepan Majic, 20, he had finished the novitiate and pronounced temporary vows shortly before.

Friar Arkandeo Nuic, 49. Graduated from the Sorbonne (University of Paris) he taught Latin, Greek, German and French. He was called the “little sheep of God” for his meekness.

Friar Borislav Pandzic, 35. Professor of Religion, he was a friar of true and simple Franciscan life.

Friar Kresimir Pandzic, 53. He had several degrees and had been provincial for three years. Professor of classical languages and director of the school, very active, he demanded the best of his students. He had great duties, but always remained humble.

Friar Fabijan Paponja, 48. Responsible for the boarding school, he was very tenderhearted toward his students, to whom he always gave little gifts.

Friar Nenad Venancije Pehar, 35. Professor of philosophy. Loved by his students because he did not differentiate between them.

Friar Melhior Prlic, 53. A laybrother and carpenter. He was respectful of the Rule, never absent from community prayer, much loved by the other brothers.

Friar Ludovik Rados, 20. He had just finished the novitiate and made temporary vows.

Friar Leonard Rupcic, 38. Professor of French, he gave such an example of humility and goodness that his students were more embarrassed when they hadn’t studied, than with any other professor.

Friar Mariofil Sivric, 32. Chaplain and teacher, as well as vicar of the friary. He was a classic example of a humble brother faithful to his Franciscan vows.

Friar Ivo Sliskovic, 68. After having worked in various parishes, he came to Široki Brijeg to spend the last years of his life.

Friar Kornelije Susac, 20. In temporary vows.

Friar Dobroslav Simovic, 38. Having become a doctor of Theology in Paris, he was then a seminary professor, he wrote a dissertation in French on the Our Father.

Friar Radoslav Vuksic, 51. He studied in Vienna, and was then a professor of mathematics and physics, besides being director of the gymnasium for six years. Ex-Yugoslavia had decreed that teachers also be examined by the government of Belgrade. When Friar Radoslav appeared before his examiners, they were stupefied by the Friar’s wisdom and culture. One of his students, today a famous philosopher in America, wrote that he was the most intelligent man and professor he had ever encountered.

Friar Roland Zlopasa, 33. A philosophy professor who taught more by his life, than with words. Known for his profound meditations.

Friar Leopold Augustin Zubac, 55. An excellent priest and professor, assistant at the hydro central which produced electric energy, constructed by the Friars for their needs, and those of the surrounding area.



Notre Dame de Paris is crumbling


Notre-Dame Cathedral close up and Seine River


Is this not a sign of the crisis in the Church, that the greatest church in all of Christendom is in danger of collapse just as every facet of true Catholicism has crumbled?

With its construction started nearly a millenium ago, France’s most famous cathedral has withstood invasions, wars, and revolution. Now weather and grime are its greatest enemies.

200 keys. That was the capacity a priest’s belt needed to have in order to access all the stairwells, corridors, and rooms of Notre Dame de Paris. And so, it was not until a few years ago – when all the locks in the cathedral were standardized – that many of the resident priests of the archdiocese of Paris were able to fully inspect the cathedral for the first time in more than a century.

What they found was disheartening. The most public parts of the cathedral and its exterior had shown obvious states of decay, but closer inspection revealed stone walls held up by 100 year-old planks of wood, interior supports with rot, and nearly impassible stairwells. France’s most beloved and visited church was just a few short years from serious, irreparable damage.

A Silent Victim of Abuse

Construction started on the cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Mother in 1163, and was completed within about a century. Its French Gothic building techniques – like most of the great cathedrals of the time – was designed to last a thousand years. And, like its stone sisters throughout Europe since the mid-1200s, it has witnessed a history of violence.

The invading Hugenots were the first to deface portions of its walls. Various fires throughout the 16th and 17th centuries weakened its mortar and beams, with hasty repair techniques causing almost more damage. Two world wars took their toll, and the French Revolution invited sacreligious revelers to break away large portions of its statuary – though mostly isolated to past monarchs’ figures.

But it is a more subtle, almost invisible violence that is to blame for the current state of Notre Dame; weather and soot.

Over the centuries, wind and rain have weakened the exterior construction. Further, coal soot from the industrial revolution (and recently, more modern forms of pollutants) when mixed with this moisture, accelerated the process. This slow, chemical decomposition of the stones and ancient mortar did what no Hugenots or revolutionaries bothered to do – weakened the famous flying buttresses and towers to the point of near collapse.

A Hunchback’s Blessing and Curse

Though the condition of the cathedral is dire today, it is not a new state of affairs. After the French Revolution, Notre Dame lay in disrepair, with the faithful no longer attending to her as they once lovingly had. Then in 1831, Victor Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The main figure in the novel, deformed Quasimodo, lived in the bell towers, with the cathedral taking on the role of another character. Hugo spoke of the “mutilations, amputations, dislocations of the joints” that could be found in the stones then. “Beside each wrinkle on the face of this old queen of our cathedrals,” he wrote, “you will find a scar.”

The beloved French writer’s words stirred up the passions – if not the Faith – of the French people, and various campaigns throughout the latter half of the 19th century were undertaken to restore Notre Dame’s “mutiliations” and “scars.” However, the effort, for its good intentions, was only a short-term postitive step. In fact, it has been an ironic reality that the repairs caused more harm than good. Low-quality stone and even cement was used in these restoration efforts, since France at the time could not produce the quantities of high-grade material that the job required.

Now, 200 years later, this 19th century construction is crumbling, leaving the higher-quality Gothic work underneath behind, and even more exposed. During a recent visit, Time magazine’s writers described what they saw:

Chunks of limestone lay on the ground, having fallen from the upper part of the chevet, or the eastern end of the Gothic church. One small piece had a clean slice down one side, showing how recently it had fallen. Two sections of a wall were missing, propped up with wood.”
The famous gargoyles, carved as various devils and creatures, and placed on the outside of the cathedral to signify the outside sinfulness of the world (and serving as rain spouts) are jarring to see. These artistic figures, due to their cantilevered position, are disintegrating even more obviously from the elements. Many are completely destroyed, cleaved off the walls like icebergs, replaced simply with pipe and sometimes PVC material. The ones that remain are almost unrecognizable – more grotesque than their artisans could have imagined when they carved these demons – necrotic nubs of stone jutting out from the cathedral. “They are like ice cream in the sun, melting,” says Michel Picaud, head of the nonprofit Friends of Notre Dame de Paris.
Who is to pay for the repairs?

The question of Notre Dame’s repairs has bedeviled the archdiocese. Under the strict secular laws of post-revolutionary France, the government owns the cathedral. The archdiocese is allowed to use it for free, in perpetuity.

Recently, the archdiocese asked the goverment to support the vital repairs on the property it owns. The government refused. It states that it already gives €2 million ($2.28 million) a year for this purpose, but this amount only covers basic upkeep. The repairs needed, including removing past restorative efforts, and replacing them with proper materials and techniques, will cost many times more that amount. And Notre Dame is crumbling more every day.

The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris has agreed to help shoulder the burden. Michel Picaud, recently estimated the costs at a total of €100 million, noting that the work needs to be carried out within the next six to ten years. With funds not forthcoming from the goverment, and unlikely to come from the dwindling Catholic population of France, Picaud also set up a second non-profit organization in the United States last fall in order to reach its fundraising target. André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame cathedral believes the bulk of the money will need to come from the Americans, millions of whom know Notre Dame and who are less hesitant than the French about giving money to the church. “People don’t want to give money because of laïcité,” he says, referring to the strict secularism that infuses French law.

Admission Fees to the House of God

With these fundraising drives ongoing, further sources of revenue are being explored. Edouard de Lamaze, says churches that are in need of repair should charge an entrance fee. He is president of the Religious Heritage Observatory, which has the daunting mission to save France’s nearly 120,000 historic churches.

France must start charging for tourist visits of some religious buildings – notably the cathedrals as happens in Spain, for example, or the U.K. The cathedrals are places of worship but they are not only places of worship. They are also places of history. And it is right and proper that tourists’ entrance fees be used to maintain them.”
Admission fees from the 13 million visitors each year would certainly help. But the idea of paying to enter a sacred place is anathema to most Catholics in France, and the opposition has been fierce from clergy and conservative lawmakers.

The Conference of French Bishops has rejected the idea of making visitors pay, saying it doesn’t want money to come between people and God. Nathalie Goutlet, a French senator, took to Twitter recently: “to make people pay to enter cathedrals is a violation of the 1905 law (separating Church from State) and a violation of equality before the law.” Eric Ciotti, a Right-wing opposition MP, wrote: “Our cathedrals are sacred places, open to all and guardians of our identity! They must thus escape the commercialisation of our society!”

The pastors have not been silent, with Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, saying: “…more than ever we need places of silence, beauty (that are) free of charge, open to all.”

A point of consideration to the contrary: One notes that realistically, the vast majority of the 13 million entering Notre Dame each year do not visit for prayer, but tourism. If you have visited a famous cathedral in Europe, you know that they resemble museums with talking, selfies, and pictures taken – in reality, they are not “places of silence” as Fr. Grosjean states. And those who do actually visit to pray – ostensibly Catholics – have a duty in any regard to support the financial well-being of the Church. Would it be wrong to require a small admission of €1-2 per person to the main cathedral, leaving a side chapel freely open for adoration?

Mr. Luis De la Serna, founder of Regina Pilgrimages, which organizes trips accompanied by Society of St. Pius X priests, has a wealth of experience visiting cathedrals and shrines throughout Europe and the Holy Land:

As fewer Catholics attend Mass, there is less income for the historical churches, thereby making it impossible to pay for all the necessary maintenance and repairs for these old buildings. So if French Catholics are not financially supporting their churches, how else can they be preserved? A small, reasonable alms per visitor, which is to be solely for the benefit of the church, would help ensure their preservation and enjoyment for years to come.”
A Cathedral Reflecting its Church

The story of Notre Dame cathedral, as well as its many sister cathedrals throughout Europe, sadly mirrors the Catholic Church as a whole.

This grand building has stood resolute throughout past centuries’ conflicts which shook it directly. And if damage was sustained, the faithful and the government stepped up to rebuild.

But Notre Dame’s greatest test proves to be today’s subtle erosion of its mortar and foundation, while her people watch in apathy.

Sources: / KERA / Time / France24 /


Lent – The badge of Christian warfare

Damsel of the Faith


The Church was founded to guide, guard & give life to the weak, while its detractors are left confounded in the supernaturality of an institution that will not fail. What wonder is it that the love of God is so great, to bring us to a state of grace, so that we would be able to brace for many a trial and tribulation brought on to us by Satan, the demon that hates us for being citizens of the kingdom and nation of God?  As we journey through Lent, we use the weapons of the Church which are our badge of Christian warfare – the Sacraments and devotions – to fight Satan and our evil inclinations.

“The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice…

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Medieval Lenten penances



Compared to the Early Church, modern Catholics have no notion of penance and what it entails. By relaxing the need for penanace, the Church seems to leave Our Lord to suffer alone, when He desires that we partake in his passion.

Read the following excerpt but I strongly suggest you read the entire article here:

Today’s Latin Catholics would be well-served to review the norms of early Christians as they prepared for Easter.

The Lenten fast for Latin Catholics living in the years of the third millennium of Christianity often means swapping out the lunchtime burger for a Filet-o-Fish, and attending Stations of the Cross sporadically. But the Church has, up to the time of major reforms in the 1960s, encouraged its children to not do the bare minimum, but to immerse themselves in the spirit of Lenten penance.

The requirements and practices during the first millennium after Our Lord were extraordinarily stringent by today’s terms, having been relaxed bit by bit, until they are almost nonexistent today. Archbishop Lefebvre noted this in a letter written to faithful in 1982:

The faithful who have a true spirit of faith and who profoundly understand the motives of the Church…will wholeheartedly accomplish not only the light prescriptions of today but, entering into the spirit of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will endeavor to make reparation for the sins which they have committed and for the sins of their family, their neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.”
Today, only the Eastern Christian churches (many of which are not in communion with Rome) practice austerity during Lent, albeit unevenly. For instance, meat, fish, dairy, and oil are generally prohibited during the Lenten season, though there are few restrictions on the amount of Lenten-approved food that may be consumed. Moreover, certain fasting disciplines are subject to regional practice and cultural variations with local priests and bishops having more direct say in offering dispensations for those entrusted to their care.

Black Fasts and Watery Beer
We can learn much from our Latin ancestors’ observance of the Lenten Quadragesima and perhaps follow their example; if not entirely in practice, at least in spirit, as recommended by the Archbishop. In a recent post on his site, Dr. Taylor Marshall, a former Episcopalian priest who is now Catholic, collected the rules for Lenten penance as described by St. Thomas Aquinas:

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were “black fasts.” This means no food at all.
Other days of Lent: no food until 3pm, the hour of Our Lord’s death. Water was allowed, and as was the case for the time due to sanitary concerns, watered-down beer and wine. After the advent of tea and coffee, these beverages were permitted.
No animal meats or fats.
No eggs.
No dairy products (lacticinia) – that is, eggs, milk, cheese, cream, butter, etc.
Sundays were days of less liturgical discipline, but the fasting rules above remained.