Monthly Archives: May 2015

Feast of the Holy and Undivided Trinity

Meditation from Fr. Prosper Gueranger:

The very essence of the Christian Faith consists in the knowledge and adoration of One God in Three Persons. This is the Mystery whence all others flow. Our Faith centers in this as in the master-truth of all it knows in this life, and as the infinite object whose vision is to form our eternal happiness; and yet, we only know it, because it has pleased God to reveal Himself thus to our lowly intelligence, which, after all, can never fathom the infinite perfections of that God, who necessarily inhabiteth light inaccessible (1 Tim. vi. 16). Human reason may, of itself, come to the knowledge of the existence of God as Creator of all beings; it may, by its own innate power, form to itself an idea of His perfections by the study of His works; but the knowledge of God’s intimate being can only come to us by means of His own gracious revelation. It was God’s good-pleasure to make known to us His essence, in order to bring us into closer union with Himself, and to prepare us, in some way, for that face-to-face vision of Himself which He intends giving us in eternity: but His revelation is gradual; He takes mankind from brightness unto brightness, fitting it for the full knowledge and adoration of Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. During the period preceding the Incarnation of the eternal Word, God seems intent on inculcating the idea of His Unity, for polytheism was the infectious error of mankind; and every notion of there being a spiritual and sole cause of all things would have been effaced on earth, had not the infinite goodness of that God watched over its preservation. Not that the Old Testament Books were altogether silent on the Three Divine Persons, Whose ineffable relations are eternal; only, the mysterious passages, which spoke of them, were not understood by the people at large; whereas, in the Christian Church, a child of seven will answer them that ask him, that, in God, the three Divine Persons have but one and the same nature, but one and the same Divinity. “When the Book of Genesis tells us, that God spoke in the plural, and said: Let Us make man to our image and likeness (Gen. i. 26), the Jew bows down and believes, but he understands not the sacred text; the Christian, on the contrary, who has been enlightened by the complete revelation of God, sees, under this expression, the Three Persons acting together in the formation of Man; the light of Faith develops the great truth to him, and tells him that, within himself, there is a likeness to the blessed Three in One. Power, Understanding, and Will, are three faculties within him, and yet he himself is but one being. In the Books of Proverbs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, Solomon speaks, in sublime language, of Him Who is eternal Wisdom; he tells us, and he uses every variety of grandest expression to tell us, of the divine essence of this Wisdom, and of His being a distinct Person in the Godhead; but, how few among the people of Israel could see through the veil? Isaias heard the voice of the Seraphim, as they stood around God’s throne; he heard them singing, in alternate choirs, and with a joy intense because eternal, this hymn: Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord (Is. vi. 3)! but who will explain to men this triple Sanctus, of which the echo is heard here below, when we mortals give praise to our Creator? So, again, in the Psalms, and the prophetic Books, a flash of light will break suddenly upon us; a brightness of some mysterious Three will dazzle us; but, it passes away, and obscurity returns seemingly all the more palpable; we have but the sentiment of the divine Unity deeply impressed on our inmost soul, and we adore the Incomprehensible, the Sovereign Being. The world had to wait for the fullness of time to be completed; and then, God would send, into this world, His Only Son, Begotten of Him from all eternity. This His most merciful purpose has been carried out, and the Word made Flesh hath dwelt among us (St. John, i. 14). By seeing His glory, the glory of the Only Begotten Son of the Father (Ibid), we have come to know that, in God, there is Father and Son. The Son’s Mission to our earth, by the very revelation it gave us of Himself, taught us that God is, eternally, Father, for whatsoever is in God is eternal. But for this merciful revelation, which is an anticipation of the light awaiting us in the next life, our knowledge of God would have been too imperfect. It was fitting that there should be some proportion between the light of Faith, and that of the Vision reserved for the future; it was not enough for man to know that God is One. So that, we now know the Father, from Whom comes, as the Apostle tells us, all paternity, even on earth (Eph. iii. 15). We know Him not only as the creative power, which has produced every being outside Himself; but, guided as it is by Faith, our soul’s eye respectfully penetrates into the very essence of the Godhead, and there beholds the Father begetting a Son like unto Himself. But, in order to teach us the Mystery, that Son came down upon our earth. Himself has told us expressly, that no one knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him (St. Matth. xi. 27). Glory, then, be to the Son, Who has vouchsafed to show us the Father! and glory to the Father, Whom the Son hath revealed unto us! The intimate knowledge of God, has come to us by the Son, Whom the Father, in His love, has given to us (St. John, iii. 16). And this Son of God, Who, in order to raise up our minds even to His own Divine Nature, has clad Himself, by His Incarnation, with our Human Nature, has taught us that He and His Father are one (St. John, xvii. 22); that they are one and the same Essence, in distinction of Persons. One begets, the Other is begotten; the One is named Power; the Other, Wisdom, or Intelligence. The Power cannot be without the Intelligence, nor the Intelligence without the Power, in the sovereignly perfect Being: but, both the One and the Other produce a Third term. The Son, Who had been sent by the Father, had ascended into heaven, with the Human Nature which He had united to Himself for all future eternity; and, lo! the Father and the Son send into this world the Spirit Who proceeds from them both. It was a new Gift, and it taught man that the Lord God was in Three Persons. The Spirit, the eternal link of the first Two, is Will, He is Love, in the divine Essence. In God, then, is the fullness of Being, without beginning, without succession, without increase, for there is nothing which He has not. In these Three eternal terms of His uncreated Substance, is the Act, pure and infinite. The sacred Liturgy, whose object is the glorification of God and the commemoration of His works, follows, each year, the sublime phases of these manifestations, whereby the Sovereign Lord has made known His whole self to mortals. Under the somber colors of Advent, we commemorated the period of expectation, during which the radiant Trinity sent forth but few of its rays to mankind. The world, during those four thousand years, was praying heaven for a Liberator, a Messiah; and it was God’s own Son that was to be this Liberator, this Messiah. That we might have the full knowledge of the prophecies which foretold Him, it was necessary that He himself should actually come: a Child was born unto us (Is. ix. 6), and then we had the key to the Scriptures. When we adored that Son, we adored also the Father, Who sent Him to us in the Flesh, and to whom He is consubstantial. This Word of Life, Whom we have seen, Whom we have heard, Whom our hands have handled (St. John, i. l) in the Humanity which He deigned to assume, has proved Himself to be truly a Person, a Person distinct from the Father, for One sends, and the Other is sent. In this second Divine Person, we have found our Mediator, Who has reunited the creation to its Creator; we have found the Redeemer of our sins, the Light of our souls, the Spouse we had so long desired. Having passed through the mysteries which He Himself wrought, we next celebrated the descent of the Holy Spirit, Who had been announced as coming to perfect the work of the Son of God. We adored Him, and acknowledged Him to be distinct from the Father and the Son, Who had sent Him to us, with the mission of abiding with us (St. John, xiv. 16). He manifested Himself by divine operations which are especially His own, and were the object of His coming. He is the soul of the Church; He keeps her in the truth taught her by the Son. He is the source, the principle of the sanctification of our souls; and in them He wishes to make His dwelling. In a word the mystery of the Trinity has become to us, not only a dogma made known to our mind by Revelation, but, moreover, a practical truth given to us by the unheard of munificence of the Three Divine Persons; the Father, Who has adopted us; the Son Whose brethren and joint-heirs we are; and the Holy Ghost, Who governs us, and dwells within us. Let us, then, begin this Day, by giving glory to the one God in Three Persons. For this end, we will unite with holy Church, who, in her Office of Prime, recites on this solemnity, as, also, on every Sunday not taken up by a feast, the magnificent Symbol, known as the Athanasian Creed. It gives us, in a summary of much majesty and precision, the doctrine of the holy Doctor, Saint Athanasius, regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation (It is a psalm or hymn of praise, of confession, and of profound, self-prostrating homage, parallel to the Canticles of the elect in heaven. It appeals to the imagination quite as much as to the intellect. It is the war-song of faith, with which we warn first ourselves, then each other, and then all those who are within its hearing, and the hearing of the Truth, Who our God is, and how we must worship Him, and how vast our responsibility will be if we know what to believe, and yet believe not.) Prayer:  O indivisible Unity! O Trinity distinct in one only Nature! Infinite God, Who hast revealed Thyself unto men! graciously bear with us, whilst we dare to make our adorations before Thee, and pour forth our heart’s thanksgiving, feeling ourselves overwhelmed by the brightness of thy majesty. O Unity divine! O divine Trinity! we have not, as yet, seen Thee; but we know that Thou art, for thou hast vouchsafed to reveal Thyself unto us. This earth, whereon we are living, has the mystery distinctly proclaimed to it, every day of its existence, that same august mystery, whose vision is the source of the happiness enjoyed by the Blessed, who are glorified, and are united with Thee in closest union. The human race had to wait long ages, before the divine formula was fully revealed; happy we, who live in its full possession, and can, and do, delightedly proclaim Unity and Trinity in Thine infinite Essence! There was a time, when an inspired writer spoke an allusion to this grandest of truths; but his words flashed across the minds of his hearers, as lightning traverses a cloud, and then leaves it darker than before. I have not learned Wisdom, said he, and have not known the science of saints. Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath held the wind (the storm) in His hands? Who hath bound up the waters together, as in a garment? Who hath raised up all the borders of the earth? What is His name? and what is the name of His Son, if thou knowest (Prov. xxx. 3, 4)? Thanks to Thine unbounded mercy, O Lord God! we now know thy name. Thou art called the Father; and He Whom thou begettest from all eternity is named the Word and Wisdom. We know, too, that from the Father and the Son, proceeds the Spirit of love. The Son, clad in our flesh, has dwelt on this earth, and lived amongst men; then came down the Spirit, and he abides for ever with us, till the destinies of the human race are accomplished here below. Therefore is it, that we dare to confess the Unity and the Trinity; for we have heard the divine testimony, and have believed; and, having believed, we have spoken, with all certainty (Ps. sxv. 10; 2 Cor. iv. 13). Accept, then, this our confession, O Lord, as thou didst that of thy brave virgin and martyr, Cecilia, who, when the executioner had thrice struck her neck with the sword, and her noble blood flowed in streams from her wound, expressed her faith, as she breathed forth her soul, and confessed, by the position of her hands, the Unity of thy Nature and the Trinity of thy Persons. The hymn of thy Seraphim has been heard here on earth: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts (Is. vi. 3)! We are but mortals; we are not Prophets, as was Isaias; and yet we have a happiness which he had not; we can repeat the song of those blessed Spirits, with fullness of knowledge, and can say unto Thee , “Holy is the Father, Holy is the Son, Holy is the Spirit!” Those same Seraphim flew with two of their wings; with two, they hid their face; and with two, they covered their feet. So is it with us: strengthened, as we are, by the divine Spirit, Who has been given to us, we strive to lighten the heavy weight of our frail mortality, and raise it aloft on the wings of desire; we hide our sins by repentance; and veiling the weakness of our intellectual vision beneath the cloud of Faith, we receive the light which is infused into our souls. Docile to the revealed word, we submit to its teachings; and it imparts to us, not merely a distinct, but even an enlightened knowledge of that Mystery, which is the source and center of all others. The Angels and Saints in heaven contemplate it with that inexpressible reserve, which the Prophet describes by saying, that they hide their face with their wings. We poor mortals have not, and cannot have, the sight of the great truth; but we have the knowledge of it; and this knowledge enlightens our path, and keeps us firm in the truth. We have a dread of presuming to be searchers of thy majesty, lest we should be overwhelmed by glory (Prox. xxv. 27); but, humbly treasuring up what heaven has vouchsafed to reveal to us of its secrets, we dare thus to address thee: Glory be to Thee, O divine Essence, that art but one! Thou art pure Act; thou art Being, necessary, infinite, undivided, independent, perfect from all eternity, peaceful, and sovereignly happy. In Thee we acknowledge, together with the inviolable Unity, which is the source of all thy perfections, Three Persons distinctly subsistent; but, in their production and distinction, the one same Nature is common to all; so that the personal subsistence which constitutes them, and distinguishes them one from the other, causes no inequality between them. O infinite blessedness in this life of the Three Persons! they contemplate in themselves the ineffable perfections of the Essence which unites them together, and the attribute of each of the Three, which divinely animates the Nature that nought can limit or disturb! O wonder of that infinite Essence, when It deigns to act outside Itself, by creating beings in its power and its goodness! the Three Persons work then together; so that the one which acts in a way which is His special attribute, does so in virtue of a will common to all. May a special love be given to that divine Person Who, in the act which is common to the Three, deigns to reveal Himself thus markedly to us creatures; and, at the same time, may thanks be given to the other Two, who unite, in one same will, with the Person Who vouchsafes to honour us with that special manifestation of Himself! Glory be to Thee, O Father, thou Ancient of days (Dan. vii. 9)! Thou art unborn, without beginning, but communicating, essentially and necessarily, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, the godhead which dwells in Thee! Thou art God, and Thou art Father. He Who knows Thee as God, and knows thee not as Father, does not know thee as thou art. Thou producest, thou begettest, but it is within thine own bosom that thou generatest; for nought is God, which is outside thyself. Thou art being, Thou art power; but Thou hast never been without a Son. Thou speakest to Thyself all thou art thyself; thou explainest Thyself; and the fruit of the fecundity of Thy thought, which is equal to Thyself, is a second Person coming forth from Thee: it is Thy Son, Thy Word, Thine uncreated Word. Once didst thou utter this Word; and thy Word is eternal as thou thyself art, and as is thy thought, of which that Word is the infinite expression. Like the sun which is visible to our eyes, and which has never existed, but what its own brightness has existed with it; this brightness is by the sun, it is with the sun; it emanates from it without lessening it, and it never exists as something independent of its source. Bear, O Father, with this weakness of our understanding, which borrows from the beings Thou hast created an image whereto to compare Thee. And so, again, if we study ourselves, whom thou hast created to Thine own likeness, we find that a thought of our own, that it may be something distinct from our mind, has need of a term, a word, to fix and express it. O Father! we have been brought to know thee by that Son Whom thou eternally begettest, and Who has vouchsafed to reveal Himself to us. He has taught us that thou art Father, and Himself Son; and that, nevertheless, thou art one with him (St. John, x. 30). When one of His Apostles said to him: Lord! show us the Father! He answered him: He that seeth me, seeth the Father (Ibid. xiv. 8, 9). O Unity of the divine Nature, whereby the Son, though distinct from the Father, is not less than the Father is! O delight of the Father in the Son, by Whom He has the knowledge of Himself! delight of intimate love, of which he spoke to His creature man, on the banks of Jordan, and on the top of Thabor (St. Matth. iii. 17; 2 St. Pet. i. 17)! O Father! we adore Thee, but we also love Thee; for a Father should be loved by His children, and we are Thy children. It is an Apostle that teaches us that all paternity proceeds from Thee, not in heaven alone, but on earth too (Eph. iii. 15). No one is Father, no one has paternal authority, be it in a family, or in the State, or in the Church, but by Thee, and in Thee, and in imitation of Thee. Nay more; thou wouldst have us not only be called, but really and truly be thy Sons (1 St. John, iii 1), not, indeed, by generation, as is thine Only Begotten Son, but by an adoption, which makes us Joint-heirs with Him (Rom. viii. 17). This divine Son of Thine, speaking of thee, says: I honour my Father (St. John. viii. 49); we, also, honour Thee, O sovereign Father, Father of infinite majesty! and, until eternity dawn upon us, we glorify Thee now from the depths of our misery and exile, uniting our humble praise with that which is presented to Thee by the Angels, and by the Blessed ones, who are of the same human family as ourselves. May Thy fatherly eye protect us, may it graciously find pleasure in us Thy children, whom, as we hope, Thou hast foreseen, whom Thou hast chosen, whom Thou hast called to the faith, and who presume, with the Apostle, to call Thee the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation (2 Cor. i. 3). Glory be to thee, O Son, O Word, O Wisdom, of the Father! Thou emanatest from His divine essence. He gave Thee birth before the day-star (Ps. cix. 3); and He said to Thee: This day have I begotten Thee (Ibid. ii. 7); and that Day, which has neither eve nor morrow, is eternity. Thou art Son, and Only Son; and this name expresses one same nature with Him Who begets Thee; it excludes creation, and shows Thee to be con-substantial with the Father, from Whom Thou comest forth, perfectly like Him in all things. And Thou comest forth from the Father, without coming out of the divine essence, being co-eternal with Thy source; for, in God, there is nothing new, nothing temporal. Thy Sonship is not a dependency; for the Father cannot be without the Son, any more than the Son can be without the Father. If it be a glory in the Father to produce the Son, it is no less a glory in the Son to be the exhaustive term to the generative power of the Father. O Son of God! Thou art the Word of the Father. Uncreated Word! Thou art as intimately in Him, as is His thought; and His thought is His being. It is in Thee that this His being expresses itself, in its whole infiniteness; it is in Thee that He knows Himself. Thou art the spiritual fruit produced by the divine intellect of the Father; the expression of all that He is, whether He keep Thee mysteriously in His bosom (St. John, i. 18), or produce Thee outside Himself. What language can we make use of, in order to describe Thee, and Thy glories, O Son of God! The Holy Ghost has vouchsafed to come to our assistance, in the writings which He has inspired: and it is with the very expressions He has suggested, that we presume thus to address Thee: Thou art the brightness of the Father’s glory; Thou art the figure of His substance (Heb. i. 3), Thou art the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty, and the image that reflects His eternal goodness? We presume, likewise, to say to Thee, what we are taught by the holy Church assembled at Nicea: Thou art “God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God.” And we add, with the Fathers and Doctors: “Thou art the torch eternally lit by the eternal torch. Thy Light lessens nought of that which communicates Itself to Thee; neither is Thy Light inferior in aught to that from which it is produced.” But when this ineffable fecundity which gives an eternal Son to the Father, and, to the Father and Son a third term, willed to manifest Itself outside the divine essence; and, not having again the power to produce what is equal to Itself, deigned to call forth from nothingness, intellectual and rational nature, as being the nearest approach to its author, and material nature, as being the least removed from nothingness then, O Only-Begotten Son of God! the intimate production of Thy Person in the Father’s bosom revealed itself by Creation. It is the Father Who made all things; but, it was in Wisdom, that is, in Thee, that he made all (Ps. ciii. 24). This mission of working, which Thou receivedst from the Father, is a consequence of the eternal generation, whereby He produces Thee from Himself. Thou camest forth from Thy mysterious rest; and creatures, visible and invisible came forth, at Thy bidding, out of nothing. Acting in closest union with the Father, Thou pouredst out upon the worlds thou createdst somewhat of that beauty and harmony, of which Thou art the image in the divine essence. And yet, Thy mission was not at an end when creation was completed. Angels and Men, who were intellectual and free beings, were destined for the eternal vision and possession of God. The merely natural order could not suffice for these two classes of thy creatures; a supernatural way had to be prepared for them, whereby they might be brought to their last end. Thou, O Only-Begotten Son of God! art this Way. By thyself assuming human nature, thou unitedst Thyself to Thine own work, Thou raisedst Angel and Man up to God, and, by Thy Human Nature, Thou showedst Thyself as the supreme type of the Creation, which the Father had effected by Thee. O unspeakable mystery! Thou art the uncreated Word, and, at the same time, thou art the First-born of every creature (Coloss. i. 15); not, indeed, to appear, until Thy time should come; and yet preceding, in the divine mind and intention, all created beings, all of which were to be created, in order that they might be Thy subjects. The human race, though destined to possess Thee, in its midst, as its divine intermediator, rebelled against its God by sin, and, by sin, was plunged into the abyss of death. Who could raise it up again? who could restore it to the sublime destiny it had forfeited? Thou alone, O Only-Begotten Son of the Father! It was what we never could have hoped for; but this God so loved the world, as to give his Only-Begotten Son (St. John, iii. 16), to be not only the Mediator, but the Redeemer, too, of us all. Thou, our First-born, askedst Thy Father to restore Thine inheritance unto Thee (Ps. xv. 5); Thou hadst to purchase back this inheritance. Then did the Father intrust Thee with the mission of Saviour to our lost race. Thy Blood, shed upon the Cross, was our ransom; and, by it, we were born again to God, and restored to our lost privileges. Therefore, O Son of God! we, Thy redeemed, glory in calling thee Our Lord. Having thus delivered us from death, and cleansed us from sin, Thou vouchsafedst to restore us to all the grand things we had lost; for, henceforth, Thou art our head, and we are Thy members; Thou art King, and we Thy happy subjects; Thou art Shepherd, and we the sheep of thy one fold; thou art Spouse, and the Church, our Mother, is Thy Bride; Thou art the living Bread come down from heaven, and we are Thy guests. O Son of God! O Emmanuel! O Son of Man! blessed be the Father that sent Thee; but blessed, also, be Thou, Who didst fulfill the mission He gave Thee, and Who hast been pleased to say, that Thy delights are to be with the children of men (Prov. viii. 31)! Glory be to thee, O Holy Spirit, Who eternally emanatest from the Father and the Son in the unity of the divine substance! The eternal Act, whereby the Father knows Himself, produces the Son, Who is the infinite image of the Father; the Father is full of love for this brightness which eternally proceeds from Himself; and the Son, contemplating the source whence He forever comes, conceives for this source a love as great as that wherewith Himself is loved. What language could describe this mutual ardour and aspiration, which is the attraction and tendency of one Person to Another in the eternally immovable Essence! Thou art this Love, O divine Spirit, that proceedest from the Father and the Son as from one same principle; Thou art distinct from both, and yet art the bond that unites them in the ineffable delights of the Godhead; thou art living Love, personal Love, proceeding from the Father by the Son, the final term which completes the divine Nature, and eternally perfects the Trinity. In the inaccessible bosom of the great God, Thy Personality comes to Thee both from the Father, of Whom Thou art the expression by a second production (St. John, xv. 26), and from the Son, Who, receiving of the Father, gives Thee of His own (Ibid. xvi. 14, 15); for the infinite Love which unites Them is of both Persons, and not of one alone. The Father was never without the Son, and the Son never without the Father; so likewise, the Father and the Son have never been without Thee, O Holy Spirit! Eternally have they loved; and thou art the infinite Love which exists between them, and to which They communicate Their Godhead. Thy Procession from both exhausts the productive power of the uncreated Essence; and thus are the divine Persons Three in number; all that is outside them, is created being. In the divine Essence, there is not only Power and Intelligence, but, also, and necessarily, there is Will, from which action follows. Will and Love are one and the same thing; and Thou, O divine Spirit, art this Will, this Love. When the glorious Trinity works outside Itself, the act conceived by the Father, and expressed by the Son, is accomplished by Thee. By Thee, likewise, the Love, which the Father and Son have for each other, and which is personised in Thee, is extended to beings which are to be created. It is by his Word that the Father knows them; it is by Thee, O divine Love, 0 Holy Spirit, that He loves them; and thus, all creation proceeds from the divine goodness. Emanating, as Thou dost, from the Father and the Son, thou art sent, by both, to us creatures; and yet so as not to lose thereby the equality thou hast, from all eternity, with Them. The Son, when sent by the Father, clad himself, once forever, with our human nature; and his Person, by the works which are peculiarly His own, is shown to us as distinct from that of the Father. So, likewise, O Holy Spirit! we recognize Thee as distinct from the Father and the Son, by Thy coming down to fulfill in our regard, the Mission given to Thee by both. It was Thou that inspiredst the Prophets (2 St. Peter, i. 21); Thou that overshadowedst Mary in the divine Incarnation (St. Luke, i. 35); Thou that restedst on the flower of Jesse (Is. xi. 2); Thou that leadedst Jesus into the desert (St. Luke, iv. 1); Thou that didst glorify Him by miracles (St. Matth. xii. 28). The Church, His bride, receives thee, and thou teachest her all truth (St. Joh, xvi. 13), and thou abidest in her, as her devoted friend, even to the very end of time (St. Joh, xiv. 16). Our souls are signed with Thy seal (Eph. i. 13; iv. 30), and Thou quickenest them with supernatural life (Gal. v. 25); Thou dwellest even in our bodies, making them Thy temple (1. Cor. vi. 19); in a word, Thou art to us the Gift of God (Hymn, Veni Creator), and the fountain springing up even into life everlasting (St. Joh, iv. 14; vii. 38, 39). May special thanks be given to Thee, O Holy Spirit, for the special works Thou accomplishest in our favour! And now, having adored each of the divine Persons, and blessed each for the favours He has bestowed upon this world, we again dare to fix our unworthy gaze upon that Trinity of Majesty which exists in the Unity of the divine Essence. O Sovereign Lord! we again confess what Thou hast taught us; but we confess it in the words of Thy servant Augustine: “They are not more than Three: One that loveth Him Who is from Him; and One that loveth Him from Whom He is; and One Who is that very Love (Non amplius quan tria sunt: unus diligens eum qui de illo est et unus diligens eum de quo est, et ipsa dilectio. S. Augutinus, De Trinitate, liv. vi. cap. 7).” But we have still a debt of gratitude to pay for that unspeakable favour of Thine, whereby, O blessed Trinity, Thou hast vouchsafed to mark us with the image of Thyself. Having resolved, from all eternity, to admit us into fellowship with thyself (1. St. John, i. 3), Thou hast prepared us for it, according to a type taken from Thine own divine Nature (Gen. i. 27). There are three powers in our one soul; this tells us that it was Thou gavest us our existence; and yet this likeness to Thyself, which is the glory of our natural being, was but a preparation for further purposes of Thy generous love towards us. After having bestowed upon us this natural being, it pleased Thee to decree, O sacred Trinity, that a supernatural one should also be imparted to us. When the fullness of time had come, the Father sends us his Son; and this uncreated Word brings light to our understanding: the Father and the Son send us the Spirit; and the Spirit brings love to our will: and the Father, Who cannot be sent, comes of Himself, and gives himself to our soul, giving her a power beyond her own strength. It is in holy Baptism, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is produced, in the Christian, this work of the Three divine Persons, which is so admirably in keeping with the faculties of our soul; and these faculties are but an outline of the masterpiece, which the supernatural action of God can alone complete. Blessed union! whereby God is in man, and man is in God! Union that brings us to adoption by the Father, to brotherhood with the Son, to our eternal inheritance! But, how has this indwelling of God in His creature been formed? Gratuitously, by God’s eternal love. And, how long will it last? For ever, unless man himself refuse to give love for love. Mortal sin admitted into the soul, the divine indwelling is at an end: the very moment that sanctifying grace is lost, the Three divine Persons Who had taken up their abode in that soul (St. John, xiv. 23), and were united with her, abandon her; God would be no longer in her, save by His immensity, but the soul would not possess Him as she did before. Then would Satan set up again his wretched kingdom within her, the kingdom of his vile trinity, Concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life (2 St. John, ii. 16)? Wo to the man, Who would dare to defy his God by such rebellion, and put evil in the place of infinite good! Hell and eternal torments are the consequences of the creature’s contempt of his Creator. God is a jealous God; if we drive Him from the dwelling of our souls, the deep abyss must be our everlasting abode. But is this rupture beyond the hope of reconciliation? Yes, as far as sinful man’s power is concerned; for he can never, of himself, recover his position with the blessed Trinity, which God’s gratuitous bounty had prepared, and His incomprehensible goodness achieved. But, as the Church teaches us, in her Liturgy (Collect for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost), God never shows his power more, than when He has pity on a sinner and pardons him; it is this powerful mercy of God which can work the prodigy of a reconciliation; and He really does work it, as often as a sinner is converted. When the august Trinity deigns to return into the soul of repentant man, the Angels and Saints in heaven are filled with joy, as the Gospel assures us (St. Luke, xv. 10); for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have testified Their love, and sought Their glory, by making him just, who had been a sinner; by coming again to dwell in this lost sheep; in this prodigal, who had, but a few days before, been tending swine; in this thief who, but just now, had been insulting on the Cross, together with his fellow culprit, the innocent Crucified. Adoration, then, and love, be to Thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, O perfect Trinity, that hast vouchsafed to reveal Thyself to mankind; O eternal and infinite Unity, that hast delivered our forefathers from the yoke of their false gods! Glory be to Thee, as it was in the beginning, before any creature existed; as it is now, at this very time, whilst we are living in the hope of that true life, which consists in seeing thee face-to-face; and as it shall for ever be, in those everlasting ages, when a blissful eternity shall have united us in the bosom of Thine infinite Majesty. Amen.


A Blessed Feast of the Holy and Undivided Trinity to all of my readers! Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

~Damsel of the Faith

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St. Joan of Arc

Today is the Feast of my heroine, St. Joan of Arc. Her story and life can be found here:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08409c.htm

I strive to follow her courageous and heroic example in doing my small part to fight the spiritual foes of our time, the Modernists who have infiltrated our Holy Church to destroy Her.

A Book Analysis I wrote on the “Personal Recollections of St. Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain:

In the story Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain, St. Joan, the heroine of the story, is granted the God-given mission of restoring the king of her country, France, to his rightful throne and saving France from the English.  St. Joan of Arc, great military leader of the French, was a simple, peasant girl who was called and guided by the Saints of God to lead the armies of France against the English during the Hundred Years War.  Easily obtaining the acclaim of all of France as a military heroine, she succeeded in victory, but it cost her martyrdom by being burned at the stake as a heretic.  Throughout the story, she never ceases to be a brave, courageous, religious and militant girl with the strength of a true soldier of extraordinary strength and fearlessness.  Throughout the story, St. Joan of Arc demonstrates the traits of simplicity, courage and piety.

As a peasant girl growing up in Domremy, Joan’s life was one of simplicity.  For example, her parents were simple laborers.  She helped them like any normal girl of her time, tending to her father’s animals.  In her childhood, she was light-hearted and even believed in fairies.  She was a bashful girl and was so easily embarrassed in the presence of strangers that she was nicknamed Bashful.  Compare this to her combat in war and one sees the simplicity of Joan of Arc before her transformation into a soldier.  She, who was not able to read, understood the complex arts of war, only through the grace and help of God.   She was simple in modesty of voice and manners. The simplicity of St. Joan of Arc proves that even the simplest peasant girl can confound the proud and do great things.

In addition to her simplicity, St. Joan of Arc was given extraordinary courage which was required of her to be victorious over the enemies of France.  First and foremost, her courage was seen in accepting the call of the Saints to lead the armies of France.  St. Joan knew that God was calling her and did not hesitate to obey Him, despite her simplicity, littleness and  ignorance of the ways of war.  Throughout the story, her courage proves that she is forgetful of herself and was only concerned about the preservation of her people, the king and her country. Once, she led an assault and made the Duke stand out of the way when cannon-balls were flying to save his life.  This proves that she was courageous because she did not fear for her own life, but instead put her own life at risk to save another.  Every battle of St. Joan required much courage.  Finally, her courage was shown most admirably when she was condemned, tortured and shamed at her trial.  She who was the heroine of France was humiliated to the level of a heretic and traitor.  Her courage won her the martyr’s crown.  Truly, courage was her greatest trait that saved her country and won her reward, martyrdom.

St. Joan’s simplicity and courage was joined with her Catholic piety which was demonstrated throughout her short life as a peasant and leader of the armies of France.  For example, her respect for the priesthood was shown when she stood with a reverent attitude, with her head down in reverence before great church dignitaries.  They stood before her as no friends, but wanted to hear the message that she had for the King alone.  Secondly, she obeyed the will of God for her, to lead the armies of France to victory.  She exhibited a submission to the will of God.  Her army was guided by God to victory.  Once, she rode to the cathedral to give thanks to God with the people following her example.  All throughout her life, she was nurtured in her Catholic faith and it alone gave her strength to accomplish the difficult tasks that God handed her.  Her Catholic piety was demonstrated in the banner that she carried into battle, depicting an image of Jesus and Mary.  Catholic piety or love of God and the Church was her primary strength, especially in her mission of saving France.

In conclusion, St. Joan is proven to be consistently courageous, simple and pious.  The extraordinary work required of her to save France and the Dauphin required extraordinary courage which God so generously endowed her with.  St. Joan’s simplicity kept her humble so as not to glory in her mission, which was extraordinary as it was great.  Most of all, her Catholic piety shown throughout the story proves her great love of God and the Church, which gave her the strength to fight to the death.  St. Joan of Arc is a witness of what a true, militant Catholic should be, for she displayed the Church Militant in action.


Personal Recollections of St. Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain, presents the theme that Christian warfare, driven by prayer and courage, is a duty for any good Catholic.  The main character, Joan, is a young peasant girl with a deep devotion to Christ and the Church who was called upon by God for a mission that required extraordinary courage.  Through internal conspiracies and fierce battles, she proved herself to be a courageous leader, endowed by God with wisdom and piety beyond her years.   She fought like any true soldier and her life is symbolic of the Church Militant.  Whether it was the victory at Patay or her final trial, her perseverance and courage was her crowning glory throughout the book.  Fueled by prayer as she was wont to do before every battle, God gave her the victory, just as He will a faithful Catholic with a similar devotion to God and prayer that she had.  She stood by her country and Faith, even at the cost of her life.   The matter of Christian warfare applies to a Catholic’s everyday life, for Christian warfare is to fight sin that comes from the world, the flesh and the devil with courage, grace and utmost devotion, just as Joan fought literal battles with the same.  Her example and virtues can be imitated by all.  For a young girl, she proves that the small do confound the proud, for humility is preferable over pride.  The last proof of her courage was in her martyrdom at the hands of her enemies.  This story encourages the practice of the virtues of prayer and courage, especially pertaining to the spiritual life and the dangers one has to face as a member of the Church Militant.


Let us ask the intercession of St. Joan of Arc that she would help us in the Church Militant to fight against sin, the principalities of this world, evil in the Church, innovation and error, the Modernists, and finally the deadly synthesis of all heresies itself, Modernism.

St. Joan of Arc, ora pro nobis!

~Damsel of the Faith

http://gloria.tv/media/ooyGqzULFNQ

Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church

Quotes from Pope Leo XIII on the Holy Catholic Church:

“The Catholic Church, that imperishable handiwork of our all-merciful God, has for her immediate and natural purpose the saving of souls and securing our happiness in heaven. Yet, in regard to things temporal, she is the source of benefits as manifold and great as if the chief end of her existence were to ensure the prospering of our earthly life. And, indeed, wherever the Church has set her foot she has straightway changed the face of things, and has attempered the moral tone of the people with a new civilization and with virtues before unknown. All nations which have yielded to her sway have become eminent by their gentleness, their sense of justice, and the glory of their high deeds.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfillment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate. For the only-begotten Son of God established on earth a society which is called the Church, and to it He handed over the exalted and divine office which He had received from His Father, to be continued through the ages to come. ‘As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you.’ ‘Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.’ Consequently, as Jesus Christ came into the world that men ‘might have life and have it more abundantly,’ so also has the Church for its aim and end the eternal salvation of souls, and hence it is so constituted as to open wide its arms to all mankind, unhampered by any limit of either time or place. ‘Preach ye the Gospel to every creature.’ Over this mighty multitude God has Himself set rulers with power to govern, and He has willed that one should be the head of all, and the chief and unerring teacher of truth, to whom He has given ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘Feed My lambs, feed My sheep.’ ‘I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.'”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ’s free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence… Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution – a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it’ (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own – ‘I will build my church;’ any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith. ‘In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them’ (S. Augustinus in Psal. liv., n. 19). And this indeed most deservedly; for they, who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not ‘bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ’ (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. ‘You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel’ (S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3).”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”, 1896 A.D.

“Christian faith reposes not on human but on divine authority, for what God has revealed ‘we believe not on account of the intrinsic evidence of the truth perceived by the natural light of our reason, but on account of the authority of God revealing, who cannot be deceived nor Himself deceive.’ It follows as a consequence that whatever things are manifestly revealed by God we must receive with a similar and equal assent. To refuse to believe any one of them is equivalent to rejecting them all, for those at once destroy the very groundwork of faith who deny that God has spoken to men, or who bring into doubt His infinite truth and wisdom. To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear. Christian usage attaches such value to this perfection of obedience that it has been, and will ever be, accounted the distinguishing mark by which we are able to recognize Catholics.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”, 1890 A.D.

“To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”, 1885 A.D.

“Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice – not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion – it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“The organization and constitution of Christian society can in no wise be changed, neither can any one of its members live as he may choose, nor elect that mode of fighting which best pleases him. For, in effect, he scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God.” ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. ‘The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him’ (John iii., 17). ‘For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved’ (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing therefrom. Wherefore, by the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times. To justify the existence of more than one Church it would be necessary to go outside this world, and to create a new and unheard-of race of men.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“Hence, as it is clear that God absolutely willed that there should be unity in His Church, and as it is evident what kind of unity He willed, and by means of what principle He ordained that this unity should be maintained, we may address the following words of St. Augustine to all who have not deliberately closed their minds to the truth: ‘When we see the great help of God, such manifest progress and such abundant fruit, shall we hesitate to take refuge in the bosom of that Church, which, as is evident to all, possesses the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession? In vain do heretics rage round it; they are condemned partly by the judgment of the people themselves, partly by the weight of councils, partly by the splendid evidence of miracles. To refuse to the Church the primacy is most impious and above measure arrogant. And if all learning, no matter how easy and common it may be, in order to be fully understood requires a teacher and master, what can be greater evidence of pride and rashness than to be unwilling to learn about the books of the divine mysteries from the proper interpreter, and to wish to condemn them unknown?’ (De Unitate Credendi, cap. xvii., n. 35). It is then undoubtedly the office of the Church to guard Christian doctrine and to propagate it in its integrity and purity. But this is not all: the object for which the Church has been instituted is not wholly attained by the performance of this duty. For, since Jesus Christ delivered Himself up for the salvation of the human race, and to this end directed all His teaching and commands, so He ordered the Church to strive, by the truth of its doctrine, to sanctify and to save mankind. But faith alone cannot compass so great, excellent, and important an end. There must needs be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Savior for ever. The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“And, since it was necessary that His divine mission should be perpetuated to the end of time, He took to Himself disciples, trained by himself, and made them partakers of His own authority. And, when He had invoked upon them from Heaven the Spirit of Truth, He bade them go through the whole world and faithfully preach to all nations what He had taught and what He had commanded, so that by the profession of His doctrine and the observance of His laws, the human race might attain to holiness on earth and never-ending happiness in Heaven. In this wise, and on this principle, the Church was begotten. If we consider the chief end of His Church and the proximate efficient causes of salvation, it is undoubtedly spiritual; but in regard to those who constitute it, and to the things which lead to these spiritual gifts, it is external and necessarily visible.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“Every one has to regulate his mode of conduct according to this constitution of the Church, which it is not in the power of any man to change.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“No better citizen is there, whether in time of peace or war, than the Christian who is mindful of his duty; but such a one should be ready to suffer all things, even death itself, rather than abandon the cause of God or of the Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“For beyond the mere name of Christian, beyond the mere profession of faith, Christian virtues are necessary for the Christian, and upon this depends, not only the eternal salvation of their souls, but also the peace and prosperity of the human family and brotherhood.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Exeunte Iam Anno”

“In these Our days it is well to revive these examples of Our forefathers. First and foremost, it is the duty of all Catholics worthy of the name and wishful to be known as most loving children of the Church, to reject without swerving whatever is inconsistent with so fair a title; to make use of popular institutions, so far as can honestly be done, for the advancement of truth and righteousness; to strive that liberty of action shall not transgress the bounds marked out by nature and the law of God; to endeavor to bring back all civil society to the pattern and form of Christianity which We have described.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“All, moreover, are bound to love the Church as their common mother, to obey her laws, promote her honor, defend her rights, and to endeavor to make her respected and loved by those over whom they have authority.    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“Whosoever departs from the Church wanders far from Christ.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“The essential beauty and comeliness of the Church ought greatly to influence the minds of those who consider it.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“The Catholic Church…alone has been committed the charge of handing down to all ages the benefits purchased for us by Jesus Christ.”    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Libertas Praestantissimum”

“That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendor and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned, and whose author and giver is the Holy Ghost.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Divinum Illud Munus”

“The Church is not an association of Christians brought together by chance, but is a divinely established and admirably constituted society, having for its direct and proximate purpose to lead the world to peace and holiness.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“It can never be that the Church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail. ‘For the Church, as the edifice of Christ who has wisely built ‘His house upon a rock,’ cannot be conquered by the gates of Hell, which may prevail over any man who shall be off the rock and outside the Church, but shall be powerless against it'”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“No gift of God either to individuals or to nations is greater than to receive by His grace the Catholic faith, and having received it, to keep it with perseverance. This gift contains an abundance of other gifts by means of which individual persons receive both eternal happiness in heaven and greatness and prosperity for their state on earth.”    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Quod Multum”

What are the greatest evils in the world?

Sin is the greatest evil in the world. And the Father of Sin is satan.  The greatest sins in the world today are abortion, contraception, adultery, sodomy, etc. Any true Catholic would be able to tell you this.  These are the greatest evils because they break the Law of God and send us to hell.

According to Pope Francis, the greatest evils in the world are poverty and human trafficking.

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/05/clarity-from-pope-francis-poverty.html

Could it be that these worldly problems stem from sin and its consequences?

Truly, this is the Church of man at work.  Where is the supernatural Faith in all of this?  Where is the mention of God and His Laws that are broken on a daily basis?  Where is the mention of the thousands of babies murdered everyday in the womb?  Where is our Pope, the man who should be admonishing the world for its crimes?  And with all of the Pope’s concern about poverty, we still haven’t heard a peep out of Rome about Ireland’s legalization of sodomite marriage this past weekend. Why is the Pope not crying from the Dome of St. Peter’s that Ireland will have to face the wrath of God for this travesty?  I can guarantee you if St. Patrick were here, that is exactly what he would be saying. That blessed land, that once great Catholic land, has been overrun by the new snakes – heretics and apostates, who believe that perversion constitutes a marriage.  Why is the Pope not the new St. Patrick, calling Ireland, and the world for that matter, back to the Faith? Indeed, Our Lady of Good Success was right when she spoke of this time and those who should speak, falling silent.  The Vicar of Christ and the Successors of the Apostles are silent on the evils afflicting the world and by their silence, give their approval.

“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 words of God from Holy Scripture on those who do evil:

“Therefore hath hell enlarged her soul, and opened her mouth without any bounds, and their strong ones, and their people, and their high and glorious ones shall go down into it.  And man shall be brought down, and man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be brought low.  And the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and the holy God shall be sanctified in justice.  And the lambs shall feed according to their order, and strangers shall eat the deserts turned into fruitfulness. Woe to you that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as the rope of a cart.  That say: Let him make haste, and let his work come quickly, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel come, that we may know it.  Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”   ~Isaiah 5: 14-20

Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.  And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”  ~Galatians 6: 7-10

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things.

Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.  (Take heed, Ireland.)

And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.”  ~Romans 1: 18-32

“And all things that are done, God will bring into judgment for every error, whether it be good or evil.”  ~Ecclesiastics 12: 14

“And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write, for these words are most faithful and true. And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. He that shall overcome shall possess these things, and I will be his God; and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  ~Apocalypse 21: 5-8

But he said that the things which come out from a man, they defile a man. For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.   All these evil things come from within, and defile a man.”  ~Mark 7: 20-23

We must pray that the Pope converts to the supernatural Faith, for it is obvious that his concern is for man and his comfort in the world, even if the world goes to hell, as long as they are comfortable, then it seems he has done his job.  Rather, the Pope’s duty is to save souls.  Please God, he will realize the gravity of the state of our world and Church and soon.  Rome lost the Faith long ago, but moreso today under the Pontificate of Pope Francis, who’s goal seems to be the establishment of the One World Religion, built up and propelled by worldly humanitarian goals as the new gospel.

There isn’t much time left before Our Lady lets go of the arm of Her Son.

~Damsel of the Faith

Pentecost- the Birthday of the Catholic Church

On this great Solemnity of the Birthday of our Holy Church, here is a meditation from Fr. Prosper Gueranger:

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has, at last, shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St. Luke says, are accomplished (Acts. ii. 1). We have had seven weeks since the Pasch; and now comes the day that opens the mysterious number of Fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the Creation of the Light, and by the Resurrection of Jesus; it is about to receive its final consecration, and bring us the fullness of God (Eph. iii. 19).

In the Fiftieth Day. Israel had passed the waters of the Red Sea, thanks to the protecting power of his Paschal Lamb! Seven weeks were spent in the Desert, which was to lead to the Promised Land; and the very morrow of those seven weeks was the day, whereon was made the alliance between God and his people. The Pentecost (the Fiftieth Day) was honored by the promulgation of the ten commandments of the Divine Law; and every following year, the Israelites celebrated the great event by a solemn Festival. But their Pentecost was figurative, like their Pasch: there was to be a second Pentecost for all people, as there was to be a second Pasch for the Redemption of the whole world. The Pasch, with all its triumphant joys, belongs to the Son of God, the Conqueror of death: Pentecost belongs to the Holy Ghost, for it is the day whereon He began His mission into this world, which, henceforward, was to be under His Law.

But, how different are the two Pentecosts! The one, on the rugged rocks of Arabia, amidst thunder and lightning, promulgates a Law that is written on tablets of stone; the second is in Jerusalem, on which God’s anger has not as yet been manifested, because it still contains within its walls the first-fruits of that new people, over whom the Spirit of love is to reign. In this second Pentecost, the heavens are not overcast, nor is the roar of thunder heard; the hearts of men are not stricken with fear, as when God spake on Sinai; repentance and gratitude, these are the sentiments which are now uppermost. A divine fire burns within their souls, and will spread throughout the whole world. Our Lord Jesus had said: I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled (St. Luke, xii. 49)? The hour for the fulfillment of this word is come: the Spirit of Love, the Holy Ghost, the eternal uncreated Flame, is about to descend from heaven, and realize the merciful design of our Redeemer.

Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims, who have flocked thither from every country of the Gentile world: they feel a strange mysterious expectation working in their souls. They are Jews, and are come from every foreign land where Israel has founded a Synagogue; they are come to keep the feasts of Pasch and Pentecost. Asia, Africa, and even Rome, have here their representatives. Amidst these Jews properly so called, are to be seen many Gentiles, who, from a desire to serve God more faithfully, have embraced the Mosaic law and observances; they are called Proselytes. This influx of strangers, who have come to Jerusalem out of a desire to observe the Law, gives the City a Babel-like appearance, for each nation has its own language. They are not, however, under the influence of pride and prejudice, as are the inhabitants of Judea; neither have they, like these latter, known and rejected the Messias, nor blasphemed His works whereby He gave testimony of His divine character. It may be that they took part with the other Jews in clamouring for Jesus’ death, but they were led to it by the Chief Priests and Magistrates of the Jerusalem which they reverenced as the holy City of God, and to which nothing but religious motives have brought them.

It is the hour of Tierce, the third hour of the day (Our nine o’clock. Acts, ii. 15), fixed from all eternity, for the accomplishment of a divine decree. It was at the hour of midnight, that the Father sent into this world, that He might take flesh in Mary’s womb, the Son eternally begotten of Himself: so now, at this hour of Tierce, the Father and Son, send upon the earth the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from them both. He is sent to form the Church, the Spouse and Kingdom of Christ; He is to assist and maintain her; He is to save and sanctify the souls of men; and this His Mission is to continue to the end of time.

Suddenly is heard, coming from heaven, the sound of a violent wind: it startles the people in the City, it fills the Cenacle with its mighty breath. A crowd is soon round the house that stands on Mount Sion; the hundred and twenty Disciples that are within the building, feel that mysterious emotion within them, of which their Master once said: The Spirit breatheth where He will, and thou hearest His voice (St. John, iii. 8). Like that strange invisible creature, which probes the very depth of the sea and makes the waves heave mountains high, this Breath from heaven will traverse the world from end to end, breaking down every barrier that would stay its course.

The holy assembly have been days in fervent expectation; the Divine Spirit gives them this warning of His coming, and they, in the passiveness of extatic longing, await his will. As to them that are outside the Cenacle, and have responded to the appeal thus given, let us, for the moment, forget them. A silent shower falls in the House; it is a shower of Fire, which, as holy Church says, “burns not, but enlightens, consumes not, but shines (Responsory for the Thursday within the Octave).” Flakes of fire, in the shape of tongues, rest on the heads of the hundred and twenty Disciples: it is the Holy Ghost taking possession of all and each. The Church is now, not only in Mary, but also in these hundred and twenty Disciples. All belong now to the Spirit that has descended upon them; His kingdom is begun, it is manifested, its conquests will be speedy and glorious.

But let us consider the symbol chosen to designate this divine change. He Who showed himself under the endearing form of a Dove, on the occasion of Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, now appears under that of Fire. He is the Spirit of Love; and love is not only gentle and tender, it is, also, ardent as fire. Now, therefore, that the world is under the influence of the Holy Ghost, it must needs be on fire, and the fire shall not be checked. And why this form of Tongues? To show that the heavenly fire is to be spread by the word, by speech. These hundred and twenty Disciples need but to speak of the Son of God, made Man, and our Redeemer; of the Holy Ghost, Who renews our souls; of the heavenly Father, who loves and adopts us as His children; their word will find thousands to believe and welcome it. Those that receive it, shall all be united in one faith; they shall be called the Catholic Church, that is, universal, existing in all places and times. Jesus had said: Go, teach all nations (St. Matth. xxviii. 19)!–the Holy Ghost brings from heaven both the tongue that is to teach, and the fire, (the love of God and mankind,) which is to give warmth and efficacy to the teaching. This Tongue and Fire are now given to these first Disciples, who, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, will transmit them to others: so will it be to the end of time.

An obstacle, however, opposes the mission at the very onset. Since the confusion at Babel, there have been as many languages as countries; communication by word has been interrupted. How, then, is the word to become the instrument of the world’s conquest, and make one family out of all these nations, that cannot understand each other? Fear not: the Holy Spirit is all-powerful, and has provided for this difficulty. With the other gifts, wherewith He has enriched the hundred and twenty Disciples, He has given them that of understanding all languages, and of making themselves understood in every language. In a transport of holy enthusiasm, they attempt to speak the languages of all nations their tongue and their ear take in, not only without effort, but even with charm and joy, this plenitude of word and speech which is to re-unite mankind together. The Spirit of love has annulled the separation of Babel; men are once more made Brethren by the unity of language.

How beautiful art thou, dear Church of our God! Heretofore, the workings of the Holy Ghost have been limited; but now, He breatheth freely where He willeth; He brings thee forth to the eyes of men by this stupendous prodigy. Thou art the image of what this earth was, when all its inhabitants spoke the same language. The prodigy is not to cease with the day of Pentecost, nor with the Disciples who are its first receivers. When the Apostles have terminated their lives and preaching, the gift of tongues, at least in its miraculous form, will cease, because no longer needed: but thou, O Church of Christ! wilt continue to speak all languages, even to the end of time, for thou art to dwell in every clime. The one same Faith is to be expressed in the language of every country; and thus transformed, the miracle of Pentecost is to be kept up forever within thee, as one of thy characteristic marks.

The great St. Augustine alluded to this, when he spoke the following admirable words: “The whole body of Christ, the Church, now speaks in all tongues. Nay, I myself speak all tongues, for I am in the body of Christ, I am in the Church of Christ. If the body of Christ now speaks all languages, then am I in all languages. Greek is mine, Syriac is mine, Hebrew is mine, and all are mine, for I am one with all the several nations that speak them (Enarratio in Psalmum cxlvii. vers. 14).” During the Ages of Faith, the Church, (which is the only source of all true progress,) succeeded in giving one common language to all the nations that were in union with her. For centuries, the Latin language was the bond of union between civilized countries. However distant these might be from one another, there was this link of connection between them; it was the medium of communication for political negotiations, for the spread of science, or for friendly epistolary correspondence. No one was a stranger, in any part of the West, or even beyond it, who could speak this language. The great heresy of the 16th century robbed us of this as of so many other blessings; it dismembered that Europe, which the Church had united, not only by her Faith, but by her language. But let us return to the Cenacle, and continue our contemplation of the wondrous workings of the Holy Spirit within this still closed sanctuary.

First of all, we look for Mary; for Her who now, more than ever, is full of grace. After those measureless gifts lavished upon her in her Immaculate Conception; after the treasures of holiness infused into her by the Incarnate Word during the nine months she bore Him in her womb; after the special graces granted her for acting and suffering in union with her Son, in the work of the world’s Redemption; after the favors wherewith this same Jesus loaded her when in the glory of His Resurrection; after all this, we should have thought that heaven had given all it could give to a mere creature, however sublime the destiny of that creature might be. But no. Here is a new mission opened for Mary. The Church is born; she is born of Mary. Mary has given birth to the Spouse of her Son; new duties fall upon the Mother of the Church. Jesus has ascended into heaven, leaving Mary upon the earth, that she may nurse the infant-Church. Oh! how lovely, and yet how dignified, is this infancy of our dear Church, cherished as she is, fed, and strengthened by Mary! But this second Eve, this true Mother of the living? must receive a fresh infusion of grace to fit her for this her new office: therefore it is, that She has the first claim to, and the richest portion of, the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Heretofore, He overshadowed her and made her Mother of the Son of God; now, He makes her the Mother of the Christian people. It is the verification of those words of the Royal Prophet: The stream (literally, the impetuosity) of the river maketh the City of God joyful: the Most High hath sanctified His own Tabernacle (Ps. xlv. 5). The Spirit of Love here fulfils the intention expressed by our Redeemer when dying on the Cross. Woman! said Jesus to her, behold thy Son! St. John was this son, and he represented all mankind. The Holy Ghost now infuses into Mary the plenitude of the grace needful for her maternal mission. From this day forward, she acts as Mother of the infant Church: and when, at length, the Church no longer needs her visible presence, this Mother quits the earth for heaven, where she is crowned Queen; but there, too, she exercises her glorious title and office of Mother of men. Let us contemplate this master-piece of Pentecost, and admire the new loveliness that beams in Mary from this second Maternity. She is inflamed by the fire of divine love, and this in a way not felt before. She is all devoted to the office put upon her, and for which she has been left on earth. The grace of the Apostolate is granted to her. She has received the tongue of fire; and although her voice is not to make itself heard in public preaching, yet will she speak to the Apostles, directing and consoling them in their labors. She will speak, too, to the Faithful, but with a force, sweetness, and persuasiveness, becoming one whom God has made the most exalted of His creatures. The primitive Christians, with such a training as this, will have a vigour and an energy enough to resist all the attacks of hell, and, like Stephen, who had often listened to her inspiring words, die Martyrs for the Faith.

Let us next look at the Apostolic College. The frequent instructions they have been receiving from their Lord, during the forty days after His Resurrection, have changed them into quite other men; but now that they have received the Holy Ghost, the change and conversion is complete. They are filled with the enthusiasm of faith; their souls are on fire with divine love; the conquest of the whole world, this is their ambition, and they know it is their mission. What their Master had told them, is fulfilled: they are endued with Power from on high (St. Luke, xxiv. 49) and are ready for the battle. Who would suppose that these are the men who crouched with fear, when their Jesus was in the hands of His enemies? Who would take these to be the men that doubted of His Resurrection? All that this beloved Master has taught them is now so clear to them! They see it all, they understand it all. The Holy Ghost has infused into them, and in a sublime degree, the gift of Faith; they are impatient to spread this Faith throughout the whole earth. Far from fearing, they even long to suffer persecution in the discharge of the office entrusted to them by Jesus that of preaching His name and His glory unto all nations.

Look at Peter. You easily recognize him by that majestic bearing, which, though sweetly tempered by deep humility, bespeaks his pre-eminent dignity. A few hours ago, it was the tranquil gravity of the Head of the Apostolic College; now, his whole face gleams with the flash of enthusiasm, for the Holy Ghost is now sovereign possessor of this Vicar of Christ, this Prince of the word, this master-teacher of truth. Near him are seated the other Apostles: Andrew, his elder brother, who now conceives that ardent passion for the Cross, which is to be his grand characteristic; John, whose meek and gentle eye now glistens with the fire of inspiration, betokening the Prophet of Patmos; James, the brother of John, and called, like him, the son of thunder (St. Mark, iii. 17), bears in his whole attitude the appearance of the future chivalrous conqueror of Iberia. The other James, known and loved under the name of Brother of Jesus, feels a fresh and deeper transport of joyousness as the power of the Spirit thrills through his being. Matthew is encircled with a glowing light, which points him out to us as the first writer of the New Testament. Thomas, whose faith was the fruit he took from Jesus’ Wounds, feels that faith now made perfect; it is generous, free, unreserved, worthy of the brave Apostle of the far East. In a word, all Twelve are a living hymn to the glory of the almighty Spirit, Whose power is thus magnificently evinced even at the onset of His reign.

The Disciples, too, are sharers, though in a less degree than the Apostles, of the divine gifts; they receive the same Spirit, the same sacred Fire, for they, too, are to go forth, conquer the world, and found Churches. The holy Women, also, who form part of the assembly of the Cenacle, have received the graces of this wondrous Descent of the Holy Ghost. It was love that emboldened them to stand near the Cross of Jesus, and be the first to visit His Sepulchre on Easter morning; this love is now redoubled. A tongue of fire has stood over each of them, and the time will come when they will speak, with fervid eloquence, of Jesus, to both Jews and Gentiles. The Synagogue will banish Magdalene and her Companions: the Gentiles of our western Europe will receive them, and the word of these holy exiles will produce a hundredfold of fruit.

Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews has collected round the mysterious Cenacle. Not only has the mighty wind excited their curiosity, but, moreover, that same divine Spirit, Who is working such wonders upon the holy assembly within, is impelling them to visit the House, wherein is the new-born Church of Christ. They clamour for the Apostles, and these are burning with zeal to begin their work: so, too, are all. At once, then, the crowd sees these men standing in its midst, and relating the prodigy that has been wrought by the God of Israel.

What is the surprise of this multitude, composed as it is of people of so many different nations, when these poor uneducated Galileans address them, each in the language of his own country? They have heard them speak before this, and they expected a repetition of the jargon now; when, lo! there is the correct accent and diction of every country, and with such eloquence! The symbol of unity is here shown in all its magnificence. Here is the Christian Church, and it is One, One though consisting of such varied elements: the walls of division, which divine justice had set up between nation and nation, are now removed. Here, also, are the heralds of the Faith of Christ: they are ready for their grand mission; they long to traverse the earth, and save it by the word of their preaching.

But, in the crowd, there are some who are shocked at witnessing this heavenly enthusiasm of the Apostles. These men, say they, are full of new wine! It is the language of rationalism, explaining away mystery by reason. These Galileans, these drunken men, are, however, to conquer the whole world to Christ, and give the Holy Ghost, with His inebriating unction, to all mankind. The holy Apostles feel that it is time to proclaim the new Pentecost; yes, this anniversary of the Old is a fitting day for the New to be declared. But, in this proclamation of the law of mercy and love, which is to supersede the law of justice and fear, who is to be the Moses? Our Emmanuel, before ascending into heaven, had selected one of the Twelve for the glorious office: it is Peter, the Rock on whom is built the Church. It is time for the Shepherd to show himself, and speak, for the Flock is now to be formed. Let us hearken to the Holy Ghost, Who is about to speak, by his chief organ, to this wondering and attentive multitude. The Apostle, though he speaks in one tongue, is understood by each of his audience, no matter what his country and language may be. The discourse is, of its own-self, a guarantee of the truth and divine origin of the new law.

The fisherman of Genesareth thus pours forth his wondrous eloquence: “Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and, with your ears, receive my words! For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the Prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids, will I pour out, in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.’ Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you also know. This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, by the hands of wicked men, have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell (the tomb), as it was impossible that He should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: ‘My flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not leave my soul in the Tomb, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.’ Ye men, Brethren, let me freely speak to you of the Patriarch David: that he died and was buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. Whereas, therefore, he was a Prophet, he spoke of the Resurrection of Christ; for neither was He ‘left in the Tomb,’ neither did his ‘flesh’ see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. Therefore, let all the House of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ this same Jesus, Whom you have crucified (Acts, ii. 14-36).”

Thus did the second Moses promulgate the New Law. How must not his hearers have welcomed the stupendous gift of this new Pentecost, which put them in possession of the divine realities foreshadowed by that figurative one of old! Here again, it was God revealing Himself to His creatures, and, as usual, by miracles. Peter alludes to the wonders wrought by Jesus, Who thus bore testimony of His being the Messias. He tells his audience, that the Holy Ghost has been sent from heaven, according to the promise made to this Jesus by his Father: they have proof enough of the great fact, in the gift of tongues of which themselves are witnesses.

The Holy Spirit makes His presence and influence to be felt in the hearts of these favored listeners. A few moments previous, and they were disciples of Sinai, who had come from distant lands to celebrate the by-gone Pasch and Pentecost; now they have faith, simple and full faith, in Christ. They repent the awful crime of His Death, of which they have been accomplices; they confess His Resurrection and Ascension; they beseech Peter and the rest of the Apostles to put them in the way of salvation: Men and Brethren! say they, what shall we do (Acts, ii. 37)? Better dispositions could not be: they desire to know their duty, and are determined to do it. Peter resumes his discourse, saying: “Do penance, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call (Ibid. 38, 39).”

The Jewish Pentecost pales at each word of the new Moses; the Christian Pentecost manifests itself with clearer light. The reign of the Holy Ghost is inaugurated in Jerusalem, and under the very shadow of that Temple which is doomed to destruction. Peter continued his instructions; but the sacred volume has left us only these few words, wherewith, probably, the Apostle made his final appeal to his hearers: “Save yourselves from this perverse generation (Acts. ii 40)!

Yes, these children of Israel had to make this sacrifice, or they never could have shared in the graces of the new Pentecost; they had to cut themselves off from their own people; they had to leave the Synagogue for the Church. There was a struggle in many a heart at that moment; but the Holy Spirit triumphed; three thousand declared themselves disciples of Christ, and received the mark of adoption in holy Baptism. Church of the living God! how lovely art thou in thy first reception of the divine Spirit! how admirable is thy early progress! Thy first abode was in the Immaculate Mary, the Virgin full of grace, the Mother of God; thy second victory gave thee the hundred and twenty Disciples of the Cenacle; and now, three thousand elect proclaim thee as their Mother, and, leaving the unhappy Jerusalem, will carry thy name and kingdom to their own countries. Tomorrow, Peter is to preach in the Temple, and five thousand men will enroll themselves as Disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Hail! then, dear creation of the Holy Ghost! Militant on earth; triumphant in heaven; beautiful, noble, immortal Church! all hail! And thou, bright Pentecost! day of our truest birth! how fair, how glorious, thou makest these first hours of Jesus’ Spouse on earth! The Divine Spirit thou givest us, has written, not upon stone, but upon our hearts, the Law that is to govern us. In thee, O Pentecost! we find realized the hopes foreshadowed in the mystery of the Epiphany; for though thyself art promulgated in Jerusalem, yet thy graces are to be extended to all that are afar off, that is, to us Gentiles. The Magi came from the East; we watched them as they visited the Crib of the Divine Babe, for we knew that we, too, were to have our season of grace. It was Thou, O Holy Spirit! that didst attract them to Bethlehem: and now, in this Pentecost of Thy power, Thou callest all men; the Star is changed into Tongues of Fire, and the face of the earth is to be renewed. Oh! grant that we may be ever faithful to the graces Thou offerest us, and carefully treasure the Gifts sent us, with Thee and through Thee, by the Father and the Son!

The mystery of Pentecost holds so important a place in the Christian dispensation, that we cannot be surprised at the Church’s ranking it, in her Liturgy, on an equality with her Paschal Solemnity. The Pasch is the redemption of man by the victory of Christ; Pentecost is the Holy Ghost taking possession of man redeemed. The Ascension is the intermediate mystery; it consummates the Pasch, by placing the Man-God, the Conqueror of death, and our Head, at the right hand of the Father; it prepares the mission of the Holy Ghost to our earth. This mission could not take place until Jesus had been glorified, as St. John tells us (St. John, vii. 39); and there are several reasons assigned for it by the Holy Fathers. It was necessary that the Son of God, Who, together with the Father, is the principle of the procession of the Holy Ghost in the divine essence, should also personally send this Divine Spirit upon the earth. The exterior mission of one of the Three Persons is but the sequel and manifestation of the mysterious and eternal production which is ever going on within the Divinity. Thus the Father is not sent either by the Son or by the Holy Ghost, because He does not proceed from them. The Son is sent to men by the Father, of Whom He is eternally begotten. The Holy Ghost is sent by the Father and the Son, because He proceeds from both. But, in order that the mission of the Holy Ghost might give greater glory to the Son, there was a congruity in its not taking place until such time as the Incarnate Word should be enthroned at the right hand of the Father. How immense the glory of Human Nature, that it was hypostatically united to the Person of the Son of God when this mission of the Holy Ghost was achieved! and that we can say, in strict truth, the Holy Ghost was sent by the Man-God!

This divine Mission was not to be given to the Third Person, until men were deprived of the visible presence of Jesus. As we have already said, the hearts of the Faithful were henceforward to follow their absent Redeemer by a purer and wholly spiritual love. Now, Who was to bring us this new love, if not He Who is the link of the eternal love of the Father and the Son? This Holy Spirit of love and union is called, in the Sacred Scriptures?, the “Gift of God (St. John, iv. 10);” and it is on the day of Pentecost that the Father and Son send us this ineffable Gift. Let us call to mind the words spoken by our Emmanuel to the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Sichar: If thou didst know the Gift of God (St. John, iv. 10)! He had not yet been given, He had not yet been manifested, otherwise than in a partial way. From this day forward, He inundates the whole earth with his Fire, He gives spiritual life to all, He makes His influence felt in every place. We know the Gift of God; so that we have but to open our hearts to receive Him, as did the three thousand who listened to St. Peter’s sermon.

Observe, too, the Season of the Year, in which the Holy Ghost comes to take possession of His earthly kingdom. Our Jesus, the Sun of Justice, arose in Bethlehem in the very depth of winter; humble and gradual was His ascent to the zenith of His glory. But the Spirit of the Father and the Son came in the Season that harmonizes with His own divine characteristic. He is a consuming Fire (Deut. iv. 24); He comes into the world when summer is in his pride, and sunshine decks our earth with loveliest flowers. Let us welcome the life-giving heat of the Holy Ghost, and earnestly beseech Him that it may ever abide within us. The Liturgical Year has brought us to the full possession of Truth by the Incarnate Word; let us carefully cherish the Love, which the Holy Ghost has now enkindled within our hearts.

The Christian Pentecost, prefigured by the ancient one of the Jews, is of the number of the Feasts that were instituted by the Apostles. As we have already remarked, it formerly shared with Easter the honor of the solemn administration of Baptism. Its Octave, like that of Easter, and for the same reason, ended with the Saturday following the Feast. The Catechumens received Baptism on the night between Saturday and Sunday. So that the Pentecost Solemnity began on the Vigil, for the Neophytes at once put on their white garments: on the eighth day, the Saturday, they laid them aside.

In the Middle-Ages, the Feast of Pentecost was called by the beautiful name of The Pasch of Roses, just as the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension was termed the Sunday of Roses. The colour and fragrance of this lovely flower were considered by our Catholic Forefathers as emblems of the Tongues of Fire, which rested on the heads of the hundred and twenty Disciples, and poured forth the sweet gifts of love and grace on the infant Church. The same idea suggested the red-coloured Vestments for the Liturgical Services during the whole Octave. In his Rational, (a work which abounds in most interesting information regarding the Medieval Liturgical usages,) Durandus tells us, that in the 13th Century, a Dove was allowed to fly about in the Church, and flowers and lighted tow were thrown down from the roof, during the Mass on Whit Sunday; these were allusions to the two mysteries of Jesus’ Baptism, and of the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost.

At Rome, the Station is in the Basilica of Saint Peter. It was but just, that special honour should be paid to the Prince of the Apostles, for it was on this day that his preaching won three thousand converts to the Church. Though the Station, and the Indulgences attached to it, are at Saint Peter’s, yet the Sovereign Pontiff and the sacred College of Cardinals solemnize today’s Service in the Lateran Basilica, which is the Mother Church of the City and the World.

Nothing is more glorious…

Quotes from Pope Pius XII on the Holy Church of God:

“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.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943

“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.'”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943

“For both the juridical mission of the Church, and the power to teach, govern and administer the Sacraments, derive their supernatural efficacy and force for the building up of the Body of Christ from the fact that Jesus Christ, hanging on the Cross, opened up to His Church the fountain of those divine gifts, which prevent her from ever teaching false doctrine and enable her to rule them for the salvation of their souls through divinely enlightened pastors and to bestow on them an abundance of heavenly graces.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943

“‘Christ loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish (cf. Eph. 5:25-27).'” ~Pope Pius XII, “Haurietis Aquas”, 1956

“Certainly the loving Mother [the Church] is spotless in the Sacraments by which she gives birth to and nourishes her children; in the faith which she has always preserved inviolate; in her sacred laws imposed on all; in the evangelical counsels which she recommends; in those heavenly gifts and extraordinary graces through which with inexhaustible fecundity, she generates hosts of martyrs, virgins and confessors. But it cannot be laid to her charge if some members fall, weak or wounded. In their name she prays to God daily: ‘Forgive us our trespasses;’ and with the brave heart of a mother she applies herself at once to the work of nursing them back to spiritual health.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943

“It is the will of Jesus Christ that the whole body of the Church, no less than the individual members, should resemble Him. And we see this realized when, following in the footsteps of her Founder, the Church teaches, governs, and offers the divine Sacrifice. When she embraces the evangelical counsels she reflects the Redeemer’s poverty, obedience and virginal purity. Adorned with institutes of many different kinds as with so many precious jewels, she represents Christ deep in prayer on the mountain, or preaching to the people, or healing the sick and wounded and bringing sinners back to the path of virtue – in a word, doing good to all. What wonder then, if, while on this earth she, like Christ, suffer persecutions, insults and sorrows.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943

“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.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943 A.D.

“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.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943 A.D.

“As the vastness of the charity with which Christ loved His Church is equaled by its constant activity, we all, with the same assiduous and zealous charity must love the Mystical Body of Christ. Now from the moment of His Incarnation, when he laid the first foundations of the Church, even to His last mortal breath, our Redeemer never ceased for an instant, though He was the Son of God, to labor unto weariness in order to establish and strengthen His Church, whether by giving us the shining example of His holiness, or by preaching, or conversing, or gathering and instructing disciples. And so We desire that all who claim the Church as their mother, should seriously consider that not only the clergy and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life, but the other members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ as well have, each in his degree, the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building up and increase of this Body.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943 A.D.

“If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ – which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church – we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression ‘the Mystical Body of Christ’ – an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. ‘Christ,’ says the Apostle, ‘is the Head of the Body of the Church.’ If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: ‘Though many we are one body in Christ.’ But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: ‘the Church is visible because she is a body. Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely ‘pneumatological’ as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond.”   ~Pope Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis Christi”, 1943 A.D.


Pope Pius XII, intercede for the Church that Her children will love Her more, will defend Her and Her Doctrine and will truly be the Church Militant again, fighting sin and Modernism.

~Damsel of the Faith

On the recitation of the Rosary to combat modern evils

During this month of May, the Month of Our Lady, I reproduce Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical “Ingravescentibus Malis”:

More than once have We asserted–and We recently repeated this in the Encyclical Letter Divini Redemptoris (Acta Ap. Sedis, 1937, vol. XXIX, p. 65)–that there is no remedy for the ever-growing evil’s of our times except a return to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to His most holy precepts.

Truly, only He “hath the words of eternal life” (Cf. John, VI, 69), and individuals and society can only fall quickly and miserably if they ignore the majesty of God and repudiate His Law.

However, anyone who studies with diligence the annals of the Catholic Church will easily recognize that the true patronage of the Virgin Mother of God is linked with all the annals of the Christian name.

When, in fact, errors everywhere diffused were bent upon rending the seamless robe of the Church and upon throwing the Catholic world into confusion, our fathers turned with confident soul to her “alone who destroys all heresies in the world” (Rom. Brev.), and the victory won through her brought the return of tranquility.

When the impious Mohammedan power, trusting in its powerful fleet and war-hardened armies, threatened the peoples of Europe with ruin and slavery, then–upon the suggestion of the Sovereign Pontiff–the protection of the heavenly Mother was fervently implored and the enemy was defeated and his ships sunk.

MARY SUPPLICATED BY FAITHFUL IN EVERY AGE

Thus the faithful of every age, both in public misfortune and in private need, turn in supplication to Mary, the benignant, so that she may come to their aid and grant help and remedy against sorrows of body and soul. And never was her most powerful aid hoped for in vain by those who besought it with pious and trustful prayer.

But also in our day, dangers no less grave than in the past beset civil and religious society.

In fact, because the supreme and eternal authority of God, which commands and forbids, is despised and completely repudiated by men, the result is that the consciousness of Christian duty is weakened, and that faith becomes tepid in souls or entirely lost, and this afterward affects and ruins the very basis of human society.

Thus on the one hand are seen citizens intent on an atrocious struggle among themselves because some are provided with abundant riches and others must gain bread for themselves and their dear ones by the sweat of their brows.

Indeed, as we all know, in some regions the evil has reached such a pitch that it seeks to destroy all private right of property, so that everything might be shared in common.

On the other hand, there are not lacking men who declare that they honor and exalt, above all, the power of the State. They say they must use every means to assure civil order and enforce authority, and pretend that only thus are they able totally to repulse the execrable theories of the Communists. However, they despise the light of evangelic wisdom and endeavor to revive the errors of the pagans and their way of life.

To this is added the clever and lamentable sect of those who, denying and hating God, declare themselves the enemies of the Eternal, and who insinuate themselves everywhere. They discredit and uproot all religious belief from souls. Finally, they trample on every human and Divine right. And while they cast scorn on the hope of heavenly reward, they incite men to seek, even by illicit means, false earthly happiness, and therefore drive them with brazen temerity to the dissolution of the social order, causing disorder, cruel rebellions and even the conflagration of civil war.

HOPE IN GOD MUST NOT GROW FAINT

Nevertheless, Venerable Brethren, though such great and numerous evils hang over us, and others still greater are to be feared for the future, we must not lose heart nor let the confident hope that rests solely on God become fainter.

He who “made the nations of the earth for health” (Cf. Wisdom I, 14), without doubt will not let those perish whom He has redeemed with His Precious Blood, nor will He abandon His Church.

But rather, as We said in the beginning, shall We beseech God through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin, so acceptable to Him, since, to use the words of St. Bernard: “Such is the will of God, Who has wished that we should have all things through Mary.” (Serm. in Nativ. B.M.V.).

PRAYER OF ROSARY OCCUPIES DISTINCT PLACE

Among the various supplications with which we successfully appeal to the Virgin Mother of God, the Holy Rosary without doubt occupies a special and distinct place.

This prayer, which some call the “Psalter of the Virgin” or “Breviary of the Gospel and of Christian life,” was described and recommended by Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, with these vigorous passages: “Very admirable is this crown interwoven with the angelic salutation which is interposed in the Sunday prayer, and unites with it the obligation of interior meditation. It is an excellent manner of praying . . . and very useful for the attainment of immortal life” (Acta Leonis, 1898, vol. XVIII, pp. 154, 155).

And this can well be deduced from the very flowers that form this mystic garland. What prayers in fact can be found more adaptable and holy?

The first is that which our Divine Redeemer Himself pronounced when His disciples asked Him; “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke XI, 1); a very holy supplication which both offers us the way–as far as it is possible for us–to render glory to God, and also takes into account all the necessities of our body and soul.

How can the Eternal Father, when prayed to with the very words of His Son, refuse to come to our aid?

The other prayer is the Angelic Salutation, which begins with the eulogies of the Archangel Gabriel and of St. Elizabeth, and ends with that very pious supplication by which we beg the help of the Blessed Virgin now and at the hour of our death.

To these invocations, said aloud, is added the contemplation of the sacred mysteries, through which they place, as it were, under our eyes the joys, sorrows and triumphs of Jesus Christ and of His Mother, so that we receive relief and comfort in our sorrows. Following those most holy examples, we ascend to the happiness of the heavenly country by steps of ever higher virtue.

ROSARY HEAVENLY SUGGESTION OF VIRGIN MARY

This practice of piety. Venerable Brethren, admirably diffused by St. Dominic, not without the heavenly suggestion and inspiration of the Virgin Mother of God, is without doubt easy for all, even for the ignorant and the simple.

But those wander from the path of truth who consider this devotion merely an annoying formula repeated with monotonous sing-song intonation, and refuse it as good only for children and silly women!

In this regard, it is to be noted that both piety and love, though always renewing the same words, do not always repeat the same thing, but always express something new issuing from the intimate sentiment of devotion. And besides, this mode of prayer has the perfume of evangelic simplicity and requires humility of spirit; and, if we disdain humility, as the Divine Redeemer teaches, it will be impossible for us to enter the heavenly kingdom: “Amen, I say to you, unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matth. XVIII, 3).

Nevertheless, if men in our century, with its derisive pride, refuse the Holy Rosary, there is an innumerable multitude of holy men of every age and every condition who have always held it dear. They have recited it with great devotion, and in every moment they have used it as a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight, to preserve the integrity of life, to acquire virtue more easily, and in a word to attain real peace among men.

ROSARY A DAILY PRACTICE OF LEARNED MEN

Nor are there lacking men famous as to doctrine and wisdom who, although intensely occupied in scientific study and researches, never even for a day fail to pray fervently on bended knee, before the image of the Virgin, in this most pious form.

Thus kings and princes, however burdened with most urgent occupations and affairs, made it their duty to recite the Rosary.

This mystic crown, then, not only is found in and glides through the hands of the poor, but it also is honored by citizens of every social rank. And We do not wish here to pass over in silence the fact that the Blessed Virgin herself, even in our times, has solicitously recommended this manner of prayer, when she appeared and taught it to the innocent girl in the Grotto of Lourdes.

Therefore why should We not hope for every grace if We supplicate Our Heavenly Mother in this manner with due disposition and holiness?

We desire very earnestly, Venerable Brethren, that the Holy Rosary should be recited in a special manner in the month of October and with increased devotion both in the churches and in homes.

And so much the more must it be done since the enemies of the Divine Name–that is, those who have rebelled against and denied and scorned the Eternal God–spread snares for the Catholic Faith and the liberty due to the Church, and finally rebel with insane efforts against divine and human rights, to send mankind to ruin and perdition. Through efficacious recourse to the Virgin Mother of God, they may be finally bent and led to penance and return to the straight path, trusting to the care and protection of Mary.

ROSARY’S POWER CITED BY EXAMPLES IN HISTORY

The Holy Virgin who once victoriously drove the terrible sect of the Albigenses from Christian countries, now suppliantly invoked by us, will turn aside the new errors, especially those of Communism, which reminds us in many ways, in its motives and misdeeds, of the ancient ones.

And as in the times of the Crusades in all Europe there was raised one voice of the people, one supplication, so it is today: in all the world, the cities and even the smallest villages, united with courage and strength, with filial and constant insistence, the people seek to obtain from the great Mother of God that the enemies of Christian and human civilization be defeated, and thus that real peace may shine again over tired and straying men.

If, then, all will do this with due disposition, with great faith and with fervent piety, it is right to hope that as in the past, so in our day, the Blessed Virgin will obtain from her divine Son that the waves of the present tempests be calmed and that a brilliant victory crown this rivalry of Christians in prayer.

ROSARY A SPUR TO EVANGELIC VIRTUE

The Holy Rosary, besides, not only serves admirably to overcome the enemies of God and Religion, but is also a stimulus and spur to the practice of evangelic virtues which it injects and cultivates in our souls. Above all, it nourishes the Catholic Faith, which flourishes again precisely in opportune meditation of the sacred mysteries, and raises minds to the truth revealed to us by God.

Every one can understand how salutary it is, especially in our times wherein sometimes a certain annoyance of the things of the spirit is felt even among the faithful, and a dislike, as it were, for the Christian doctrine.

Therefore, revive the hope of immortal welfare, while the triumph of Jesus Christ and of His Mother, meditated on by us in the last part of the Rosary, shows us Heaven open and invites us to the conquest of the Eternal Country.

Thus while an unbridled longing for the things of this earth has penetrated into the hearts of mortals and each one more ardently longs for the short-lived riches and ephemeral pleasures, all feel a fruitful call back to the heavenly treasures “where thieves do not break in and neither rust nor moth doth consume” (Matth. XII, 33), and to the wealth that will never perish.

And the charity which has been weakened and cooled in many, how can it fail to be rekindled into love in the souls of those who recall with a full heart the tortures and death of our Redeemer and the afflictions of His Sorrowful Mother?

From this charity towards God, then, there cannot but rise a more intense love of one’s neighbor if one dwells on the labors and sorrows that Our Lord suffered for all, reinstating the lost inheritance of the children of God.

DIFFUSION OF ROSARY MEANS INCREASE IN PIETY

Therefore see to it, Venerable Brethren, that such a fruitful practice shall be more diffused, more highly esteemed by all, and that common piety be increased.

Through your work and that of the priests who help you in the care of souls, its praises and advantages shall be preached and repeated to the faithful of every social class.

From it, the young will draw fresh energy with which to control the rebellious tendencies to evil and to preserve intact the stainless purity of the soul; also in it, the old will again find repose, relief and peace from their anxious cares. To those who devote themselves to Catholic Action may it be a spur to impel them to a more fervent and active work of apostolate; and to all those who suffer in any way, especially the dying, may it bring comfort and increase the hope of eternal happiness.

The fathers and mothers of families particularly must give an example to their children, especially when, at sunset, they gather together after the day’s work, within the domestic walls, and recite the Holy Rosary on bended knees before the image of the Virgin, together fusing voice, faith and sentiment. This is a beautiful and salutary custom, from which certainly there cannot but be derived tranquility and abundance of heavenly gifts for the household.

HOLY FATHER’S WORDS TO NEWLY WEDDED COUPLES

When very frequently We receive newly-married couples in audience and address paternal words to them. We give them Rosaries, We recommend these to them earnestly, and We exhort them, citing Our own example, not to let even one day pass without saying the Rosary, no matter how burdened they may be with many cares and labors.

For these reasons, Venerable Brethren, We have thought to exhort you earnestly, and through you, all the faithful, to carry out this pious practice. Nor do We doubt that you, listening, with your usual response to Our paternal invitation, will bring about abundant fruits once more.

And in addressing this Encyclical to you, another motive impels Us. We wish that, together with Us, Our many children in Jesus Christ shall unite and render thanks to the Mother of God for the better health We have happily regained.

This grace, as We have had occasion to write (Cf. Chirograph to Cardinal E. Pacelli, Osservatore Romano, 5th September 1937), We attribute to the special intercession of the Virgin of Lisieux, St. Teresa of the Child Jesus. But We know, though, that everything comes to us granted by Almighty God through the hands of Our Lady.

ASKS REPARATION FOR OFFENSE TO BLESSED MOTHER

And lastly, as there has been launched in the public press with rash insolence, a very grave injury to the Blessed Virgin, We cannot do less than profit by this occasion to offer, together with the Episcopate and the people of that nation which venerates Mary as “Queen of the Kingdom of Poland,” and with the homage of our piety, due reparation to the august Queen, and denounce to the whole world this sacrilege committed with impunity, as a painful and unworthy thing.

Meanwhile, with a full heart We impart to You, Venerable Brethren, and to the flock entrusted to the care of each of you, the Apostolic Blessing as an augury of heavenly graces and in token of Our Paternal benevolence.

Given at Castelgandolfo, near Rome, on the 29th of the month of September, on the Feast of the Dedication of St. Michael Archangel, in the year 1937, the sixteenth of Our Pontificate.

PIUS PP. XI.