Monthly Archives: December 2014

Circumcision of Our Lord

Taken from “The Liturgical Year” by Abbot Gueranger:

Our new-born King and Savior is eight days old today; the Star that guides the Magi is advancing towards Bethlehem, and five days hence will be standing over the Stable where our Jesus is being nursed by His Mother. Today the Son of Man is to be circumcised; this first sacrifice of His innocent Flesh must honor the eighth day of His mortal life. Today also a Name is to be given Him; the Name will be Jesus, and it means Savior. Mysteries abound on this day; let us not pass one of them over, but honor them with all possible devotion and love.

But this day is not exclusively devoted to the Circumcision of Jesus. The mystery of this Circumcision forms part of that other great mystery, the Incarnation and Infancy of our Savior—a mystery on which the Church fixes Her heart not only during this Octave, but during the whole forty days of Christmastide. Then, as regards Our Lord’s receiving the Name of Jesus, a special Feast, which we shall soon be keeping, is set apart in honor of it. There is another object that shares the love and devotion of the Faithful on this great Solemnity. This object is Mary, the Mother of God. The Church celebrates today the august prerogative of this Divine Maternity which was conferred on a mere creature, and made Her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man’s salvation.

The holy Church of Rome used formerly to offer two Masses on the first of January; one was for the Octave of Christmas Day, the other was in honor of Mary. She now unites the two intentions in one Sacrifice, in the same manner as, in the rest of the Day’s Office, She unites together the acts of Her adoration of the Son, and the expressions of Her admiration for and confidence in the Mother.

The Greek Church does not wait for this eighth day, in order to pay its tribute of homage to Her who has given us our Emmanuel. She consecrates to Mary the first day after Christmas, that is, December 26, and calls it the Synaxis (Liturgy)of the Mother of God, making the two days one continued Feast. She is thus obliged to defer the Feast of St. Stephen to December 27.

But it is today that we, the children of the Roman Church, must pour forth all the love of our hearts for the Virgin-Mother, and rejoice with Her in the exceeding happiness She feels at having given birth to Her and our Lord. During Advent we contemplated Her as pregnant with the world’s salvation; we proclaimed the glory of that Ark of the New Covenant, whose chaste womb was the earthly paradise chosen by the King of Ages for His dwelling-place. Now She has brought Him forth, the Infant-God; She adores Him, Him Who is Her Son. She has the right to call Him Her Child; and He, God as He is, calls Her in strictest truth His Mother.

Let us not be surprised, therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect wherewith the Church extols the Blessed Virgin and Her prerogatives. Let us on the contrary be convinced that all the praise the Church can give Her, and all the devotion She can ever bear towards Her, are far below what is due to Her as Mother of the Incarnate God. No mortal will ever be able to describe, or even comprehend, how great a glory accrues to Her from this sublime dignity. For, as the glory of Mary comes from Her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God Himself in order to measure the greatness of Her dignity. It is to God that Mary gave our human nature; it is God Whom She had as Her Child; it is God Who gloried in rendering Himself, inasmuch as He is Man, subject to Her: hence, the true value of such a dignity, possessed by a mere creature, can only be appreciated in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfections of the great God, Who thus deigns to make Himself dependent upon that favored creature. Let us therefore bow down in deepest adoration before the Majesty of our God; let us therefore acknowledge that we cannot respect as it deserves the extraordinary dignity of Her whom He chose for His Mother.

The same sublime mystery overpowers the mind from another point of view: what were the feelings of such a Mother towards such a Son? The Child She holds in Her arms and presses to Her heart is the Fruit of Her virginal womb, and She loves Him as Her own; She loves Him because She is His Mother, and a mother loves her child as herself—nay, more than herself. But when She thinks upon the infinite majesty of Him Who has thus given Himself to Her to be the object of Her love and Her fond caresses, She trembles in Her humility, and Her soul has to turn, in order to bear up against the overwhelming truth, to the other thought of the nine months She held this Babe in Her womb, and of the filial smile He gave Her when Her eyes first met His. These two deep-rooted feelings—of a creature that adores, and of a Mother that loves—are in Mary’s heart. To be Mother of God implies all this: and may we not well say that no pure creature could be exalted more than She? And that in order to comprehend Her dignity, we should first have to comprehend God Himself? And that only God’s infinite wisdom could plan such a work, and only His infinite power accomplish it?

A Mother of God! It is the mystery whose fulfillment the world, without knowing it, was awaiting for four thousand years. It is the work which, in God’s eyes, was incomparably greater than that of the creation of a million new worlds, for such a creation would cost Him nothing: He has but to speak, and all whatsoever He wills is made. But that a creature should become Mother of God, He has had not only to suspend the laws of nature by making a Virgin Mother, but also to put Himself in a state of dependence upon the happy creature He chose for His Mother. He had to give Her rights over Himself, and contract the obligation of certain duties towards Her. He had to make Her His Mother and Himself Her Son.

It follows from all this, that the blessings of the Incarnation, for which we are indebted to the love wherewith the Divine Word loved us, may and ought to be referred, though in an inferior degree, to Mary Herself. She is the Mother of God, because She consented to it, for God vouchsafed not only to ask Her consent, but moreover to make the coming of His Son into this world depend upon Her giving it. As this His Son, the Eternal Word, spoke His FIAT over chaos, and the answer to His word was creation; so did Mary use the same word FIAT: let it be done unto Me (Luke 1: 38). God heard Her word, and immediately the Son of God descended into Her virginal womb. After God, then, it is to Mary, His ever Blessed Mother, that we are indebted for our Emmanuel.

The divine plan for the world’s salvation included the existence of a Mother of God: and as heresy sought to deny the mystery of the Incarnation, it equally sought to deny the glorious prerogative of Mary. Nestorius asserted that Jesus was only man; Mary consequently was not Mother of God, but merely Mother of a Man called Jesus. This impious doctrine roused the indignation of the Catholic world. The East and West united in proclaiming that Jesus was God and Man, in unity of Person; and that Mary, being His Mother, was, in strict truth, Mother of God. This victory over Nestorianism was won at the Council of Ephesus. It was hailed by the Christians of those times with an enthusiasm of faith which not only proved the tender love they had for the Mother of Jesus, but was sure to result in the setting up of some solemn trophy that would perpetuate the memory of the victory. It was then that the pious custom began, in both the Greek and Latin Churches, of uniting during Christmas the veneration due to the Mother with supreme worship given to the Son. The day assigned for the united commemoration varied in several countries, but the sentiment of religion which suggested the Feast was one and the same throughout the entire Church.

The Child is circumcised: He is now not only a member of the human race; He is made today a member of God’s chosen people. He subjects Himself to this painful ceremony, to this symbol of one devoted to the Divine service, in order that He may fulfill all justice. He receives, at the same time, His Name: the Name is Jesus, and it means a Savior. A Savior! Then He is to save us? Yes; and He is to save us by His Blood. Such is the divine appointment, and He has bowed down His will to it. The incarnate Word is upon the earth in order to offer a Sacrifice, and the Sacrifice is begun today. This first shedding of the Blood of the God-man was sufficient to the fullness and perfection of a Sacrifice; but He is come to win the heart of the sinner, and that heart is so hard that all the streams of that Precious Blood, which flow from the Cross on Calvary, will scarcely make it yield. The drops that were shed today would have been enough to satisfy the justice of the Eternal Father, but not to cure man’s miseries, and the Babe’s Heart would not be satisfied to leave us uncured. He came for man’s sake, and his love for man will go to what looks like excess—He will carry out the whole meaning of His dear Name—He will be our Jesus—our Savior.

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Pope Pius XII (Dedicated to Christian Rosario)

This post is dedicated to my brother-in-arms and a very good friend of mine, Christian Rosario with the Crusade of Pope Pius XII:

https://crusadepiusxii.wordpress.com/ 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpbABwHxHvWuaggkklpuDkg/videos

He has a great love for Pope Pius XII, his favorite Pope, and dedicated his Crusade to him. Christian is dedicated to fighting Modernism in the Church and he is doing a most excellent job of it. Taking seriously his duty to fight as a member of the Church Militant, I consider him a fearless warrior, one who is very rare for one so young.  So, Christian, when you read this, keep up the good work, brother! Our Lord and Our Lady will bless you for it because you defended your Holy Mother, the Church, during Her most bitter and painful Passion. You spoke up when very few would. You were an Apostle of the Latter Days, one of those Our Lady of LaSalette called upon in these words: “Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends.”

Please pray for Christian, as he discerns a vocation to the Holy Priesthood.


These are videos of live footage of Pope Pius XII:

The glory of Rome:

On the current crisis engulfing the Church, Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, said:

“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul…. I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.

A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?”

This is indisputable proof that Pope Pius XII read the Third Secret of Fatima and that it referred to the dismantling of the Sacred Chapel – Here is the Third Secret of Fatima…

Various quotes of Pope Pius XII on the Holy Mass, the Church and the Priesthood:

“For nothing more glorious, nothing nobler, nothing surely more honorable can be imagined than to belong to the One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, in which we become members of one Body as venerable as it is unique; are guided by one supreme Head; are filled with one divine Spirit; are nourished during our earthly exile by one doctrine and one heavenly Bread, until at last we enter into the one, unending blessedness of heaven.”

“The Catholic Church herself is an historic fact. Like a great mountain-range she bestrides the history of the past two thousand years. Whatever may be the attitude adopted towards her, it is impossible to escape her.” 

“God has given to His Church a living teaching authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the teaching authority of the Church.” 

“God at the beginning of time endowed man’s body with most ample power to subject all creatures to himself, and to increase and multiply and fill the earth, so at the beginning of the Christian era, He supplied the Church with the means necessary to overcome the countless dangers and to fill not only the whole world but the realms of heaven as well.” 

“True Christianity today is not different from primitive Christianity … She remains what she has been since her foundation: always the same.”  

“What is the road which opens for us the way to Jesus Christ? … The answer, valid yesterday as it is today and for all time to come, is: the Church.”   

“Our Savior Himself sustains in a divine manner the society which He founded… He so sustains the Church, and so in a certain sense lives in the Church, that she is, as it were, another Christ. The Doctor of the Gentiles, in his letter to the Corinthians, affirms this when, without further qualification, he calls the Church ‘Christ,’ following no doubt the example of his Master who called out to him from on high when he was attacking the Church: ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

“As He hung on the Cross, Christ Jesus not only appeased the justice of the Eternal Father which had been violated, but He also won for us, His brethren, an ineffable flow of graces. It was possible for Him of Himself to impart these graces to mankind directly; but He willed to do so only through a visible Church made up of men, so that through her all might cooperate with Him in dispensing the graces of Redemption. As the Word of God willed to make use of our nature, when in excruciating agony He would redeem mankind, so in the same way throughout the centuries He makes use of the Church that the work begun might endure.”

“Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth, and therefore absolutely without error, carries out the commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the First Vatican Council teaches, ‘the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by his revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by his assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the apostles, or the deposit of faith.”

“We cannot refrain from again and again exhorting all to love holy Mother Church with a devoted and active love. If we have really at heart the salvation of the whole human family, purchased by the precious Blood, we must offer every day to the Eternal Father our prayers, works and sufferings, for her safety and for her continued and ever more fruitful increase. And while the skies are heavy with storm clouds, and exceeding great dangers threaten the whole of human Society and the Church herself, let us commit ourselves and all that we have to the Father of Mercies, crying out: ‘Look down, we beseech Thee, Lord, on this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be betrayed into the hands of evil men and to undergo the torment of the Cross.”

“The Church which He founded by His Blood, He strengthened on the day of Pentecost by a special power, given from heaven. For, having solemnly installed in his exalted office him whom He had already nominated as His Vicar, He had ascended into Heaven; and sitting now at the right hand of the Father He wished to make known and proclaim His Spouse through the visible coming of the Holy Spirit with the sound of a mighty wind and tongues of fire. For just as He Himself when He began to preach was made known by His Eternal Father through the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him in the form of a dove, so likewise, as the Apostles were about to enter upon their ministry of preaching, Christ our Lord sent the Holy Spirit down from Heaven, to touch them with tongues of fire and to point out, as by the finger of God, the supernatural mission and office of the Church.”

“In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of Holy Orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration. For they alone, in answer to an inward supernatural call, have entered the august ministry, where they are assigned to service in the sanctuary and become, as it were, the instruments God uses to communicate supernatural life from on high to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Add to this…the fact that they alone have been marked with the indelible sign ‘conforming’ them to Christ the Priest, and that their hands alone have been consecrated ‘in order that whatever they bless may be blessed, whatever they consecrate may become sacred and holy, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ Let all, then, who would live in Christ flock to their priests. By them they will be supplied with the comforts and food of the spiritual life. From them they will procure the medicine of salvation assuring their cure and happy recovery from the fatal sickness of their sins. The priest, finally, will bless their homes, consecrate their families and help them, as they breathe their last, across the threshold of eternal happiness.”

“They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive Holy Communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is a question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration.”

“The august Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Altar is, as it were, the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful: ‘as often as this commemorative Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered, there is wrought the work of our Redemption.’ This, however, so far from lessening the dignity of the actual sacrifice on Calvary, rather proclaims and renders more manifest its greatness and its necessity, as the Council of Trent declares. Its daily immolation reminds us that there is no salvation except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and that God Himself wishes that there should be a continuation of [Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross] ‘from the rising of the sun till the going down thereof’ (Mal. 1:11), so that there may be no cessation of the hymn of praise and thanksgiving which man owes to God, seeing that he required His help continually and has need of the Blood of the Redeemer to remit sin which challenges God’s justice.”

“The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior… But the chief element of divine worship must be interior.”

“While we stand before the altar, then, it is our duty so to transform our hearts, that every trace of sin may be completely blotted out, while whatever promotes supernatural life through Christ may be zealously fostered and strengthened even to the extent that, in union with the immaculate Victim Christ, we become a victim acceptable to the eternal Father. The prescriptions in fact of the sacred liturgy aim, by every means at their disposal, at helping the Church to bring about this most holy purpose in the most suitable manner possible. This is the object not only of readings, homilies and other sermons given by priests, as also the whole cycle of mysteries which are proposed for our commemoration in the course of the year, but it is also the purpose of vestments, of sacred rites and their external splendor. All these things aim at enhancing the majesty of this great Eucharistic Sacrifice, and raising the minds of the faithful by means of these visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of the sublime truths contained in this Eucharistic Sacrifice.”

“The Mass is the chief act of divine worship; it should also be the source and center of Christian piety.”

“The mystery of the most Holy Eucharist which Christ, the High Priest instituted, and which He commands to be continually renewed in the Church by His ministers, is the culmination and center, as it were, of the Christian religion.”

“It is an unquestionable fact that the work of our redemption is continued, and that its fruits are imparted to us, during the celebration of the liturgy, notable in the august Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Altar. Christ acts each day to save us, in the sacraments and in His holy Eucharistic Sacrifice. By means of them He is constantly atoning for the sins of mankind, constantly consecrating it to God. Sacraments and [the Eucharistic Sacrifice] do, then, possess that ‘objective’ power to make us really and personally sharers in the divine life of Jesus Christ. Not from any ability of our own, but by the power of God, are they endowed with the capacity to unite the piety of members with that of the head.”

All of Pope Pius XII’s beautiful Encyclicals can be found here:

http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/

Pope Pius XII was a truly Catholic Pope. May be intercede for the Church in crisis and for Christian Rosario. May he bless and protect Christian’s work for the Church.

~Damsel of the Faith

Communion in the hand

We would do well to meditate on this picture of the Blessed Virgin receiving Holy Communion from St. John.  Can anyone imagine for a moment Our Lady standing up and receiving Holy Communion in her hands as if her Son is just a cracker or ordinary bread?

The Holy Eucharist is God and should be treated as such. No soul will ever be able to understand that fact in this world. It is beyond our comprehension that God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, deigns to humble Himself and appear under bread and wine for our salvation. The lackluster attitude of Catholics pertaining to the Blessed Sacrament is a disgrace. And why does the Norvus Ordo Mass refer to the Eucharist as just “bread” AFTER the Consecration when they say “When we eat this BREAD and drink this Cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes”?  70% of Catholics don’t even believe that the Holy Eucharist is the real presence of Our Lord. They don’t believe because they are not taught. Catholic doctrine is no longer taught. In the Church today, it has been replaced with sentimental superficiality, Protestant nonsense.  For a soul to hear true Catholic doctrine is a miracle in the Church today. So, is it any wonder that Catholics file up for the Blessed Sacrament, receive Him in the hand and allow crumbs of His Body to fall to the ground, in turn to be trampled underfoot? That is the reality of the situation, whether one wants to believe it or not.  And even if weren’t, who in their right mind would ever approve of something that puts Our Lord’s Body in danger, as Communion in the hand does? Communion in the hand is the fruit of rebellion. It came forth from a hatred for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It simply cannot be explained in any other way. Our forefathers are surely rolling in their graves at the state of the Church. Our forefathers protected the Blessed Sacrament with their life and today, Catholics have no qualms about what they are doing. Rome does nothing. They allow it to happen, even within the walls of the Eternal City. They should be hearkening from the rooftops and condemning this practice of Communion in the hand for the evil that it is.  The Church is the custodian of the Blessed Sacrament.

May love of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament be returned to the Church! May Communion in the hand be abolished so that Our Lord’s Body will no longer be desecrated.

Our Lady weeps as she did at LaSalette because of the crimes and offenses committed against Her Son, especially within the bosom of the Church, from her Son’s own children.

Never receive Holy Communion in the hand. Do as our forefathers in the Faith did and receive the Eucharist properly – on the tongue and on your knees before the God of the Universe, for then people will know that you are true Christians, by your outward belief in your God.

~Damsel of the Faith

The glory of the Catholic Church in the Medieval Times:  The Crusades, Art and Architecture

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As the medieval times marched towards the creation of Western Civilization, the Catholic Church was the driving force behind all that was good at that time such as the Crusades, the wars fought in defense of the Church, as well as the art and architecture of that time which was the crowning glory of society and the Church.  Medieval comes from the latin word, “medium aveum” meaning the Middle Ages. The medieval times were a glorious era in the Church and the history of the world, but many refuse to see it and instead refer to these times as the dark ages.  In demonstrating the truth about the crusades, one should be able to see that they were just wars fought in defense of the Church and the Holy Land.  The medieval times was a major period in classical civilization, as shown through the art and architecture that came forth from that period. The Catholic Church was the driving force behind all of this good.  It was the Catholic Church that influenced men to join the Crusades and it was the Catholic Church that was behind the architectural beauty in the art and architecture of these medieval times.  All of these things existed for the greater glory of God and His Church.  By showing the proof of the good that came forth from the medieval times, one should be able to see that this was not a period of darkness, but of light.  The world that we experience owes a great deal to the medieval times because they contributed much to what is now the modern world.  The Medieval Ages were not the “Dark Ages” as supported by the truth of the Crusades, as well as the art and architecture that came out of the Catholic Church at that time which formed Western Civilization.

The Catholic Crusades were military wars, taken in defense of the Holy Land against rowenathe Moslems, in the name of the Church.  The truth of these battles is to be found with the Church. The Church has always been militant and at all times she has had valiant warriors to defend her. These warriors were knights of Christ and the Church.  “By translating the notion of a “holy warrior” into Christian terms, a succession of medieval popes and churchmen created the crusader, a “knight for Christ.”[1]   The Crusades were called at a time when the infidels i.e. the Mohammadens had taken control of the Holy Land.  There were four principal crusades. The First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095.  The First Crusade, from 1095-1099, established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and provided more lands for the crusaders.  To understand the important connection between the Crusades and the Catholic Church, one would do well to listen to the words of Pope Urban II, calling the crusaders to battle:  “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed your sins will be pardoned.”  Thus, the Crusades were Catholic in origin and fought in defense of Christ’s Church.  The Second Crusade, from 1147-1149 was called in response to the capture of Edessa by the Turks.  This Crusade was mostly a failure because only a few thousand crusaders escaped death at Asia Minor.  However, in the interval between the Second and Third Crusade, the two famous military orders were established, namely the Hospitallers and the Templars, whose duty was the care of sick and wounded crusaders, as well as the protection of the Holy Land.  Third Crusade failed in part because it resulted in the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187. This Crusade also marked the beginning of the Teutonic Knights.  “Finally, in failing to regain Jerusalem, the Third Crusade marks the beginning of forty years of almost continuous crusading from Europe.”[2]   The Fourth Crusade resulted in the capture of Constantinople instead of Jerusalem.  Thus, one can see that the objectives of the Crusades was the capture of the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem, from the occupation of the Moslems.   Finally, the Crusades gives one a perfect example of the Church Militant in action.  The duty of the Church Militant is to fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.  The militant crusaders fought the enemy, which were the Moslems.  Thus, the truth about the Crusades demonstrates that the Crusades were not the hallmark of the Dark Ages, but were rather the wars fought in the name of the Church that saved the Holy Land and Christendom.

[1]  “The Crusades and Medieval Christianity,” Utah State University, 2013, http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&civ/chapters/15crusad.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

[2]  Professor Ellis Lee Knox, “Results of the Third Crusade,” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).

The art of the medieval times was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church because it showed forth the glory of God in all aspects.  The Passion of Christ was a frequent focus of Italian painting and this was done with much emotion.  “…The episodes of the Passion are colored by painful emotions, such as guilt, intense pity, and grief, and artists often worked to make the viewer share these feelings. In this, they supported the work of contemporary theologians, who urged the faithful to identify with Christ in his sufferings that they might also hope to share his exaltation.”[3]   The artists wanted the viewer to meditate upon the event being portrayed in the picture, thus; medieval art provided much good for the Church.  “The climactic moment of the Passion story is the Crucifixion itself. Paintings of the subject were usually intended to foster meditation on Christ’s self-sacrifice, and they thus indicate his sufferings by showing him hanging heavily, with bowed head and bleeding wounds.”[4]   Many of the famous paintings that one can still see today are a cause for meditation upon the event they portray and thus; even art can lift one’s mind and soul to God.  “According to resolutions agreed at the Council of Trent in 1563, the Catholic Church reaffirmed the value of images in Christian devotion and the importance of the emotions in religious experience.”[5]   In addition to the Passion, the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary was another popular theme in religious art.  In Byzantine spirituality, she was central.  “Most images of the Virgin stress her role as Christ’s Mother, showing her standing and holding her son. The manner in which the Virgin holds Christ is very particular. Certain poses developed into “types” that became names of sanctuaries or poetic epithets. Hence, an icon of the Virgin was meant to represent her image and, at the same time, the replica of a famous icon original. For example, the Virgin Hodegetria is a popular representation of the Virgin in which she holds Christ on her left arm and gestures toward him with her right hand, showing that he is the way to salvation.” [6]   In Byzantine art, all manner of symbols were used to represent an aspect of virtue.  The color blue represented the Blessed Virgin.  The white lily was a flower used to represent the purity of Our Lady.  The rose represented Our Lady’s love for God.  The crown represents authority, exultation, triumph and grandeur and was always most fitting to adorn the head of the Queen of Heaven.  Therefore, art played a major role in the medieval times, especially in inspiring a greater love for God and the Church through meditation on the wonders of the Faith shown therein.

[3] Sorabella, Jean. “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm (accessed December 1, 2014).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

The greatest and most beautiful works of art in all of Christendom are found in the architecture, displayed most notably in the famous cathedrals of Europe.  The Gothic architecture flourished during the late middle ages.  The many great cathedrals of Europe attest to this.   Of course, it was the Catholic Church that was behind this architectural beauty that made Christendom so great.  “Gothic architecture and Gothic art are the æsthetic expression of that epoch of European history when paganism had been extinguished, the traditions of classical civilization destroyed, the hordes of barbarian invaders beaten back, or Christianized and assimilated; and when the Catholic Church had established itself not only as the sole spiritual power, supreme and almost unquestioned in authority, but also as the arbiter of the destinies of sovereigns and of peoples.”[7]   Chartres Cathedral is the finest example of the Gothic style of architecture.  Still standing tall and perfectly preserved, it proves the great influence the Catholic Church had over the great wonders of Christendom in the architectural beauty of the greatest churches.  What is most notable about the Gothic style is its tall structure, attained through the development of pointed arches and ribbed vaults.  High towers and arches also emphasize height.  All of this represents the might and glory of God.  The pointed arches reach towards Heaven, which these churches so gloriously represent and are instrumental in lifting one’s mind towards the Heavenly. Another cathedral that stands tall in honor of the Catholic Church is Notre Dame.  It’s the epitome of what Gothic architecture looks like.  One of the first Gothic Cathedrals, it has weathered many storms and today stands as a testament to the indestructible Catholic Faith, which it represents in its beauty, revealed most gloriously in the Gothic style of architecture.  Another popular style of architecture is that of the Romansque architecture.  This architectural style was most notably known for its semi-circular arches, which eventually evolved into the Gothic style of architecture.  This style is known for its thick walls, round arches, large towers, naves and high bell towers.  The churches were built in the shape of a cross which became known as the latin cross.  During this period, the construction work was sponsored by great monastic orders, such as the Cluniac order.  Some well-known churches of the Cluniac order are St. Martin in Tours, St. Sernin in Toulouse, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, all of which have great similarity in plan and design.  Hence, the architecture of the medieval times stands as a testimony to the grandeur of the so-called dark ages and the influence the Catholic Church had over this aspect of civilization.

[7] Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed December 2, 2014).

As proven, the Catholic Church had a major influence over all those crusaders who gave their lives in defense of the Church and all that was beauty in the art and architecture of those times.  Every knight of old who spilt their blood and turned the fields of the Holy Land red will testify to this truth –  the true darkness of their age was their enemy as they fought to civilize the barbarians who had invaded Jerusalem.  It was the Divine Potency that enabled the Templar to carry the cross into battle in defense God and the honor of his homeland.  The art expressed the cause, the architecture the conquest, as the whole drama unfolded throughout the land once trodden underfoot by One shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace.  And thus it was ever meant to be: just war.  The blows of Christ expressed in a human dimension that transcends time and place; the birth pains of an ever approaching cataclysmic Armageddon like conclusion of the passion of the human race, uniting the sufferings of the image He made, to the sufferings of His Christ for the redemption of the world as it groans towards a new day with the former passing away, creating the scars from the wounds formed by the whip in the athletic scourge’s hand; the sword in knight’s clenched fist, the whole Body of Christ must be redeemed, it seems.  What is left of Christendom today is the art and architecture from those so-called dark ages which stands as proof that the influence of the Catholic Church surpassed all times and places and shaped every facet of society, as only it should since the Catholic Church is the ruler of all peoples and nations.

~Damsel of the Faith

Bibliography

 Bréhier, Louis.  “Crusades.” In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm  (accessed September 23, 2014).

Carroll, Anne W.  Christ the King, Lord of History.  Charlotte: Tan Books, 2012.

Cram, Ralph Adams.  “Gothic Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06665b.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Lucas, Herbert.   “Ecclesiastical Architecture.”  In The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05257a.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Michuad, Fr. Joseph.  “The History of the Crusades.”  New York: A.C. Armstrong and Son, 1900.

Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.

Sorabella, Jean.  “The Crucifixion and Passion of Christ in Italian Painting.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pass/hd_pass.htm  (accessed December 4, 2014).

Knox, Professor Ellis Lee.  “Results of the Third Crusade.” History by Knox, http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu/crusades/3rd/17.shtml  (accessed November 26, 2014).

Merry Christmas!

“And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:

Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”   ~Luke 2: 6-20

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”  ~Isaiah 7:14

“And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.”  ~Matthew 1:21

“For a Child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.”  ~Isaiah 9:6

The great Solemnity of Christmas has arrived. The God of the Universe, the Word who became flesh, will be born tonight in the most humble abode, a stable.  This God came into the world to die and to save us all from sin.  This was His mission and life.  And when He was finished, He left us His Bride, the Holy Catholic Church, to continue His work of saving souls.  We have much to thank Our Lord for this Christmas.  Let us to so at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I wish all my readers a blessed, holy, happy and Merry Christmas!

~Damsel of the Faith

Jesus, Man of Sorrows from the Womb of His Mother

Taken from The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

Virum dolorum et scientem infirmitatem.

“A man of sorrows, acquainted with infirmity.”—–Isaiah 53:3

Thus does the prophet Isaias designate our Lord Jesus Christ “the man of sorrows;” yes, because this man was created on purpose to suffer, and from His infancy began to endure the greatest sorrows that any man ever suffered. The first man, Adam, enjoyed for some time upon this earth the delights of the earthly paradise; but the second Adam, Jesus Christ, did not pass a moment of His life without sorrows and anguish; for even from a child He was afflicted by the foresight of all the sufferings and ignominy that He would have to endure during His life, and especially at His death, when He was to close that life immersed in a tempest of sorrow and opprobrium, as David had predicted: I am come into the depth of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed Me. [Ps. 68:3]

Even from the womb of Mary, Jesus Christ accepted obediently the sacrifice which His Father had desired Him to make, even His Passion and death: Becoming obedient unto death. [Phil. 2:8] So that even from the womb of Mary He foresaw the scourges and presented to them His flesh; He foresaw the thorns, and presented to them His head; He foresaw the blows, and presented to them His cheeks; He foresaw the nails, and presented to them His hands and His feet; He foresaw the Cross, and offered His life. Hence it is true that even from His earliest infancy our blessed Redeemer every moment of His life suffered a continual martyrdom; and He offered it every moment for us to His eternal Father.

But what afflicted Him most was the sight of the sins which men would commit even after this painful redemption. By His Divine light He well knew the malice of every sin, and therefore did He come into the world to do away with all sins; but when He saw the immense number which would be committed, the sorrow that the Heart of Jesus felt was greater than all the sorrows that all men ever suffered or ever will suffer upon earth.

Affections and prayers

My sweetest Redeemer, when shall I begin to be grateful to Thy infinite goodness? When shall I begin to acknowledge the love that Thou hast borne me, and the sorrows Thou hast endured for me? Hitherto, instead of love and gratitude, I have returned Thee offenses and contempt; shall I then continue to live always ungrateful to Thee, my God, Who hast spared nothing to acquire my love? No, my Jesus, it shall not be so. During the days that may yet remain to me I will be grateful to Thee; and Thou wilt, I trust, help me to be so. If I have offended Thee, Thy sufferings and Thy death are my hope. Thou hast promised to forgive the penitent.

I repent with my whole soul of having despised Thee. Fulfill therefore, Thy promise, my Beloved, and forgive me. O dearest Infant, I behold Thee in the manger already nailed to Thy Cross; which is constantly present to Thee, and which Thou dost already accept for me. O my crucified Infant! I thank Thee for it, and I love Thee. Stretched upon this strawsuffering already for me, and preparing Thyself even now to die for this love of me, Thou dost command and invite me to love Thee: Love the Lord thy God. And I desire nothing more than to love Thee. Since, therefore, Thou willest that I should love Thee, give me all that love that Thou requirest of me; love for Thee is Thy gift and the greatest gift that Thou canst make to a soul. Accept, O my Jesus! for Thy lover a sinner who has so greatly offended Thee. Thou didst come from Heaven to seek the lost sheep; do Thou, therefore, seek me, and I will seek none other but Thee. Thou desirest my soul and my soul desires nothing but Thee. Thou lovest him that loves Thee, and sayest, Those that love Me I love. [Prov. 8:17] I love Thee, do Thou also love me; and if Thou lovest me, bind me to Thy love; but bind me so that I may never again be able to disengage myself from Thee. Mary, my Mother, do thou help me. Let it be thy glory also to see thy Son loved by a miserable sinner, who has hitherto so greatly offended Him.  

God sends His Son to die

Taken from The Mother of the Savior by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. P.:

Deus autem, qui dives est in misericordia, propter nimiam charitatem suam qua dilexit nos, et cum essemus mortui peccatis, convivificavit nos in Christo.

“But God [Who is rich in mercy] for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ.—–Eph. 2:4, 5

 Consider that sin is the death of the soul; because this enemy of God deprives us of Divine grace, which is the life of the soul. We, therefore, miserable sinners, were already by our sins dead and condemned to Hell. God, through the immense love which He bears to our souls, determined to restore us to life; and how did He do so? He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die, in order that by His death He might restore us to life.

With reason therefore does the Apostle call this work of love exceeding charity; too much love; yes, indeed, for man could never have hoped to receive life in such a loving manner if God had not found this means of redeeming him: Having obtained eternal redemption. [Heb. 9:12] All men were therefore dead—–there was no remedy for them. But the Son of God, through the bowels of His mercy, hath come down from Heaven, the Orient from on high, and has given us life. Justly, therefore, does the Apostle call Jesus Christ our life: When Christ shall appear, Who is your life. [Col. 3:4] Behold our Redeemer, clothed with flesh and become an infant, says to us: I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. [John 10: 10] For this end He accepted death, that He might give us life. It is but reasonable, therefore, that we should live only to God, Who has condescended to die for us: Christ died, that they who live may not live to themselves, but unto Him Who died for them. [2 Cor. 5:15] It is reasonable that Jesus Christ should be the only sovereign of our heart since He has spent his blood and his life to gain it to Himself: To this end Christ died and rose again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. [Rom. 14:9] O my God! who would be so ungrateful a wretch as to believe as an article of faith that God died to secure his love, and yet refuse to love Him, and, renouncing his friendship, choose voluntarily to make himself a slave of Hell?

Affections and prayers

O my Jesus! if Thou hadst not accepted and suffered death or me, I should have remained dead in my sins, without hope of salvation and without the power of ever loving Thee. But after Thou hast obtained life for me by Thy death. I have again any times voluntarily forfeited it by returning to sin. Thou didst die to gain my heart to Thyself, and I by my rebellion have made it a slave of the devil. I lost all reverence for Thee, I said that I would no longer have Thee for my master. This is true; but it is also true that Thou desirest not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live; and therefore didst Thou die to give us life. “I repent of having offended Thee, my dearest Redeemer; and do Thou pardon me through the merits of Thy Passion; give me Thy grace; give me that life which Thou hast purchased for me by Thy death, and henceforth mayest Thou have entire dominion over my heart. Never let the devil have possession of it again; he is not my God, he does not love me, and has not suffered anything for me. In past times he was not the true sovereign, but the robber of my soul; Thou alone, my Jesus, art my true Lord, who hast created and redeemed me with Thy blood; Thou alone hast loved me, and oh, how much! It is therefore only just that I should be Thine alone during the life that remains to me. Tell me what Thou wouldst have me to do; for I will do it all. Chastise me as Thou wilt; I accept everything Thou sendest me; only spare me the chastisement of living without Thy love; make me love Thee, and then dispose of me as Thou wilt. Most holy Mary, my refuge and consolation, recommend me to thy Son: his death and thy intercession are all my hope.