Monthly Archives: April 2017

The solid Rock – the triumph of love born out of Faith

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“O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the whole world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It has subjected powerful kings to the rule of Christ; it has bound nations to his service. What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”
~the last sermon of St Fidelis of Sigmaringen before his martyrdom.

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Brazilian Priest charged with assault and attacked by State agent, for defending the Blessed Sacrament

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A horrific sacrilege such as this proves the fury of Satan at the true Catholic Religion and the Traditional Latin Mass. Please read this article and pray for the safety, protection and good name of this holy priest.

~Damsel of the Faith

http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3164-priest-charged-with-assault-for-defending-eucharist-during-traditional-latin-mass

Editor’s Note: We have received the following report from our Catholic brothers in the Archdiocese of Niterói (a municipality close to the City of Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, about a very serious incident that occurred last Ash Wednesday at São Domingos de Gusmão (Saint Dominic de Guzmán) parish church. We kindly ask you to read it and then meet our requests for Catholic action at the article’s conclusion. MJM

Last Ash Wednesday everything was ready for the celebration of the Holy Mass at São Domingos de Gusmão parish church. The faithful entered the church and prepared themselves to ask God’s Grace, receive the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads, listen to the exhortation to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”, and so enter into the Lenten Season. The service was a Traditional Latin Mass; the minister was a diocesan priest, Father Anderson Batista da Silva, who has celebrated the Vetus Ordo for a long time, even before the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.

The Mass had already begun when a man in his sixties entered the church and, from the outset, started to complain, out loud, about several issues (the rite, its duration, the Gregorian chant, etc.), thus, bothering those around him. At the time of Communion, as usual, the faithful formed a line towards the altar rail and, on their knees, started to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue, as required by the ancient practice of the Church-¾every faithful assisting the service was aware of this manner of receiving the Host, especially since because Father Batista explains the details of the traditional rite before it starts.

The angry man lined up for Communion and continued grumbling and moaning all the way to the Communion rail. At his turn, he refused to receive Communion on the tongue, demanding instead that Father Batista place the Host in his hand. Father Batista calmly explained to him that the prescribed manner of receiving the Sacrament according to the traditional rite is on one’s knees and on the tongue, and the matter was not for the faithful to decide upon.

However, the man did not accept the priest’s explanation and demanded out loud to be given the Communion in the hand. Probably, intending to avoid further disturbance at the service, the priest conceded and gave the Host in his hand. Then, he asked the man to consume the Host right away. However, with the Sacrament in his hand, the man closed it and refused to consume the Host in front of the priest, saying that the Host did not belong to the priest and that he had the right to make his Communion wherever he wanted.

He further shouted saying that this was not his religion and that this old Mass did not exist. At that moment, those who were near him – acolytes and other faithful alike – warned him that he could not leave the place with a consecrated Host.

Ignoring the warning, the man threatened those who surrounded him by saying that he would break through them. In a burst of anger, he shouted: “One, two, three”, and moved violently towards those who were surrounding him, as to push them down and leave the Church with the Blessed Sacrament.

At this point, the faithful tried to stop him and the man fell down on the floor. The acolytes and other faithful managed to immobilize him (without hurting him) and take him to a side room leading to the sacristy, where they were able to recover fragments of the Body of Christ that he had crushed in his hand.

Next, they moved away from the man without hurting him. The same could not be said of said man, who acted with extreme violence and started to kick the people around while staying on the floor. The faithful who had witnessed such a shameful spectacle remained at a distance, praying Hail Mary’s all the time. Father Batista looked terrified throughout the incident. He continued holding the Communion cup tight (he could not hold the Communion cup safely and interfere in the situation at the same time).

After that ghastly act of profanation and outrage, which disturbed the peace of all attendees (the ground where the fragments of the Host had been scattered had to be purified afterwards) and upon leaving the church, the man came back through the church’s main entrance and made threats. He said that he was an appellate prosecutor (a State agent) and would use his power to destroy the priest’s reputation. He said he was going to the police station to bring charges against Father Batista.

Father became visibly shaken by these events.

On the other hand, we, the faithful, thought that the matter would be forgotten in a few days and no more problems would arise. We were mistaken! We have just learned that criminal charges had been brought against Father Batista.

The content of the indictment, as far as we know and without having read the piece, would be an accusation made by that man (the actual aggressor and Eucharistic defiler) in the sense that he would have been grabbed and assaulted by the acolytes upon Father’s orders. Father would be guilty of inciting violence.

Criminal charges, threat of filing a legal proceeding and a promise to destroy his reputation: these are the rewards for not having prevented his acolytes and faithful from defending Jesus in the Eucharist. It is hard to conceive of such tortuous reasoning: the priest, probably considered as “retrograde” as the Tridentine rite, is now the defendant in the crime of assault and causing bodily injury.

* * *

This is the end of the report on the events that took place at São Domingos de Gusmão parish church last Ash Wednesday. We now present the requests we have mentioned at the beginning of this article.

Please offer prayers on Father Anderson Batista da Silva’s intentions. At this point, your prayers will be of great comfort and help. We cannot disregard the possibility of Divine intervention in this episode. Please, share your prayer intentions with The Remnant in the Letters to Editor or in the Comments section of RemnantNewspaper.com

Please write to the Archdiocese of Niterói (here or here, even in English) congratulating them for having such a pious priest among its ranks. Ask the diocese to protect and support Father Batista in view of any legal proceeding that might be filed against him. Pray for the Archdiocese of Niterói not to succumb to the threats of the aggressor and his social status (as he said, he is a State agent), but guide itself only for the zeal for the Eucharist

Please pray for this man who appeared at the parish church unexpectedly and caused so much harm, so that God may have mercy on him, and also that he may repent of the insults he has thrown at Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the irreverence towards the Traditional Catholic Mass, the outrage of trying to leave the Mass with the Eucharist in his hand, and the serious threats he is making against our good Catholic priest.

Bishop prepares for Easter by insulting the Church

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http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/dublin-archbishop-bashes-the-catholic-church-in-holy-week-homilies

As the Church prepared in holy expectation and joy for the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ by prayer and fasting, the bishop of Dublin, Ireland (whom we should regard as a snake that St. Patrick himself would drive out with his holy fury) hurled insults at the Church by calling it a “religion of fear” and the Faith that has sanctified generations of saints nothing more than a harsh, tyrannical beast that hated souls, instead of the Holy and spotless Bride of Christ, given the divine commission of saving souls from harsh torments of hell.

The Church forbids her children from doing that which will lead to their eternal damnation. Our “respectability” should consist of honor, reverence, adoration and respect of God and his teachings handed down to us through the Church, respect for the temples of our bodies and respect for our fellow man and his eternal salvation. The Bishop seems to be more interested in holding the hands of those on the way to hell than lifting up the downtrodden and the sinner up the stairway to Heaven.

Does the Bishop remember what happened to Sodom, for glorifiying in their “LGBT rights”?

“I wish to remind you, although you know all things, that (the) Lord who once saved a people from the land of Egypt later destroyed those who did not believe. The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”  ~Jude 1:5-7

God must have been “harsh,” “judgmental” and “hurtful” to Sodom and Gomorrah in destroying them by fire for their unnatural abominations. We must pray for Archbishop Martin and many, many others of like mind, that they will come back to right judgment; ultimately to reject Modernism, which is the fruit of all calamities currently present in the Church.  This should be our Easter prayer, during this most blessed season.

~Damsel of the Faith

 

 

 

He is risen! Alleluia!

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Our Lord Jesus Christ has risen just as he said! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

He is risen! Christ has triumphed over satan, sin and death. He has left us the means of salvation, the Church. He remains for a short while and then returns to Heaven, His mission in this world having been accomplished through His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Our Redemption has been accomplished.

Indeed, He is risen as he said! Alleluia! Come, Lord Jesus, renew the earth and restore Your Holy Catholic Church and make her triumphant over her enemies.

A Blessed, Holy and Happy Easter to all of our readers and followers!

~Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition

A traditional sermon by Fr. Thomas F. Burke, C.S.P.

I. No other fact has been such a power in the world as that which we commemorate today, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the annals of religion and its progress, in the records of faith and its victories, in the history of morality and its advancement, in the story of charity and its achievements, there has been no factor so influential. It is bound up most intimately and closely with human life. Even those who deny it as a myth are living today under conditions which would not exist had not centuries of Christian people believed in this great fact.

The Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith, because it is the proof supreme of His Divinity. Throughout His whole life, indeed, Christ was the revelation of God unto man.” God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.” The greatness, the beauty, the holiness, the majesty, the love, the mercy, the justice of God were manifested in the human life and actions of our Divine Lord upon earth. When an afflicted woman touched the hem of His garment and He cured her of her sickness; when the blind man cried out to Him, “Lord, that I may see,” and He gave him sight; when a ruler begged that his child might not die, and Jesus infused new vigor and health; when a sister and again a mother were in grief over the loss of a loved one, and He called the dead back to life; when a thief dying on a cross sought for pardon, and Jesus washed away the guilt of sin– in these and in many other instances He gave proof that He was divine.

All these, however, are subordinate to the one grand, triumphal fact which is the corner-stone of Christianity, and upon which all the rest of the structure depends–the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. So could the Apostle say: “If Christ be not risen from the dead, vain is our preaching, vain is your faith.”

He who admits the Resurrection must hold to Christ’s Divinity, and consequently to His divine right to be the Guide and Teacher of man. On the other hand, he who denies the Resurrection will not hesitate to sacrifice altogether belief in the divine prerogatives and the divine mission of Jesus Christ.

II. Relying upon the Gospel narrative, my dear brethren, and upon the innumerable references throughout the New Testament, we must conclude that no fact in the world’s history is more incontestably established than the Resurrection of Christ; and yet we are brought face to face with the denial of this, by some at least.

The New Testament gives us evidence after evidence of the Truth, God Himself foretold His resurrection. The spirit of prophecy rested upon Him, and at times, for the sake of His followers, He lifted the veil that hangs beyond and revealed the vision, dimly it may have been, of future triumph and glory. When some would ask Him for a sign. He spoke of the sign of Jonas the prophet: ” For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt. xii. 40).

When about to go up to Jerusalem for the last time. He foretold what would happen to the Son of man: “The scribes and Pharisees . . . shall deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day he shall rise again” (Matt. xx. 18, 19).

At the time of His glorious transfiguration, when His favored Apostles would have rushed through the world proclaiming the miracle, “he charged them not to tell any man what things they had seen, till the Son of man shall be risen again from the dead” (Mark ix. 8).

Again, “Destroy,” said He, “this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spoke of the temple of His body” (John ii. 19, 21).

These are but examples of His declarations to the effect that His suffering would be followed by joy, His night by day, His death by victory. His words were so understood and acted upon by the rulers of the Jews. “Sir,” they said to Pilate “we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead” (Matt. xxvii. 63, 64). The Jews therefore were prepared for any trickery.

The lifeless body was placed in the tomb; a special detachment of Roman soldiers, with instructions to more than ordinary watchfulness, was placed on guard and the tomb itself was officially sealed. Despite these measures, defying the seal of Rome and its Roman guardians, Christ rose triumphantly from the dead. On the very day of His resurrection He appeared unto the repentant and the rejoicing Mary Magdalen. Then to Peter, His chosen vicar, and to John, His especially beloved. In the evening of the same day He walked with two of His followers to the town of Emmaus, and later appeared unto His assembled Apostles.

After the first day, at least six separate appearances are recorded. As before His death, now after His resurrection, He conversed with His Apostles, spoke to His disciples, ate and drank with them. He brought certainty to the doubting Thomas, the sceptic apostle whose fault begot those consoling words, “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.” Upon a mountain in Galilee, in the midst of five hundred people, beside the sacred shores of the Lake of Tiberias, He appeared and spoke the words of light before which all lingering shadows of doubt were dispelled, and the flower of hope was newborn.

In reality, my dear brethren, if there be one fact in history which is better entitled to credit than any other, I do not hesitate to say that that fact is the glorious resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. Never, no, never, within the memory of man was any transaction transmitted through every successive generation, from the period of its occurrence to the present day, amid such a blaze of evidence. It is attested by the positive and unexceptionable testimony of persons of the highest integrity, who were themselves eyewitnesses of it, who saw Jesus dead, and who afterward beheld Him alive; who beheld Him not once or twice only, but frequently; not transiently, but for a considerable time; who not only beheld Him but who heard Him, conversed with Him, touched Him, ate and drank with Him, and had every imaginable certainty, both of the reality and identity of His person which it was possible for the evidence of the senses to convey, and who proved, moreover, their honesty and sincerity by that best of arguments, the shedding of their blood.

Had Christ not risen from the dead, there would be no Christianity. Had not Christ risen from the dead, the preaching of the Apostles would have been vain, and the people’s faith would ‘have been vain. A vain preaching and a vain faith would have failed long since. Nineteen centuries would not have passed to find that preaching and hope as strong as ever. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been annihilated in the ten great persecutions which the power of mighty Rome concocted for its destruction. Had it been a vain preaching, it would have succumbed to the efforts of him who when dying was forced to cry out: ” Galilean, Thou has conquered.” Had it been a vain preaching, it would have been swept from the face of the earth in the avalanche of paganism that from the north broke through the gates of the empire. Had it been a vain preaching, the third, second, yes, the first century would have stood beside its grave.

III. Yet in the light of these evidences, there are those today who deny the Resurrection. Upon theoretical grounds they declare its impossibility, because they hold that miracles in general are impossible. It is a question of fact more than theory. They would say: ” God cannot interfere with the established laws of the universe and the decrees of nature.”

God cannot interfere? What kind of a God? An impotent abstraction of the mind? But God is more than this. He is a reality, a personality. We are free agents. Our freedom is a perfection. If there be a God, He too must be free, and this implies the right and the power to make exceptions to His own laws.

IV. We can see that loss of faith in the Resurrection has brought with it the loss of belief in Jesus Christ, God and man, and is leading to the entire giving up of faith in God and the life to come. What is the cause of this ? One cause is disbelief in the records of the Resurrection, disbelief in the Scriptural account. Now, I maintain that the only place where belief in the Scriptures is securely retained, and the only place therefore where the fact of the Resurrection is safely guarded, is within the Catholic Church. She is the bulwark of the Resurrection. She is the one living witness of the fact that Christ rose from the dead.

Look about the world Today and you will find no body of people among whom there is the same respect, the same reverence, for the Scriptures as among the members of the Catholic Church. You will find no other church that holds with the same steadfastness to the sacredness of their character.

While among Christians outside the Catholic Church the principle of private interpretation of the Scriptures has led men to believe what they like, and has opened the way not only to difficulty but no doubt, she has stood in calm serenity and has held to her position as the teacher of men, the authoritative interpreter of Scriptures, appointed by Jesus Christ. While outside of her fold men are gradually coming to look upon the Scriptures as any other literature, she has unflinchingly declared them to be supreme over all other writings, to be the inspired truth of God. While at the best many will accord them only the credence given to human history, with its liability to prejudice and error, she proclaims them to be without error, because they are a Divine record of facts, stamped with the seal of heaven itself. While among skeptics the Scriptures are considered to be only a legendary legacy of bygone days, she, filled with the consciousness of her identity through the ages, can tell the world Today, as she has told it through nineteen centuries, “I know that these things are true.” And when, as the time goes on, amid those who have sacrificed belief in the Divine character of the Scriptures, they shall lose for them even the regard that is paid to human documents, she will stand, as heretofore, their staunchest defender.

V. Church of Christ, Thou art the one witness upon earth Today of the Resurrection. Thou alone hast breasted the storms of the centuries. Thou canst thus speak to the world: “Before Rationalism was, I am; before the Unitarian and the Socinian, I am; before Renan and Strauss, I am. Nations have lived and died; people have risen and fallen: ages have come and gone, I have witnessed their coming and their going. I have stood firm and unshaken amidst the storms of persecution, the assaults of infidelity, the ravages of licentiousness. I can carry the mind back to the time when the ‘smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon and camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian Amphitheater.’ I have witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of Constantinople, the conquest of Rome. I have witnessed the formation of the Christian nations of Europe; I have seen the savage civilized, the barbarian educated, the wild warrior subdued. I can link the twentieth century with the first. I have witnessed many of the events recorded in the New Testament. I am the living witness of all Christian ages, and I bear my testimony unto this day that Christ has risen.”

VI. Today, then, is the day of Christ’s triumph, the day of the Church’s rejoicing, that Church to which has been committed the preaching of the faith founded on His Resurrection. On the day of His death the world triumphed. Beside the cross the voice went up: “Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again: save thyself, come down from the cross.” Even then a word would have brought an army of smiling angels bearing fiery swords; even then a word would have struck down His persecutors; even then, did He desire it, that scene of death and defeat could have been changed into a heavenly victory. He could, but He would not, for then He was suffering for a guilt that was not His own. On the morn of the Resurrection another voice spoke. When the holy woman arrived at the tomb, an angel clothed in white stood before them and cried out, ” He is risen, he is not here.”

“Vah, . . . save thyself, come down from the cross.”

And the triumphant answer rolls on through the centuries: “He is risen, He is not here.”

Through the world it echoes: “He is risen, as He said.” It is the foundation of Christianity. The Apostles preached it and they knew whereof they spoke.

He is risen! It is confusion to the deniers of Christ’s Divinity, for, well founded as it is, it cannot be reasonably denied.

He is risen! It is the sign of Faith, inspiring that belief without which there is no salvation.

He is risen’ It is the promise and the hope of our resurrection upon the last day.

As we take a broad general view of the centuries, we seem to be standing in the nave of some vast cathedral. Over the distant altar we can see the inscription, ” He is risen, as he said.” From within this cathedral there issues forth the Christian song of triumph. Within its confines are gathered the hosts of witnesses from all times. We hear again the Evangelists chanting solemnly the simple story of Easter morn. We hear the whole body of the Apostles taking up the refrain and sounding it into all their followers. We hear St. Paul reiterating the sacred words and proclaiming that there is no Christianity without faith in the Resurrection. We hear the witnesses of the first centuries, the martyrs, clothed in blood-red garments, telling how with their life they bore testimony to the Resurrection of Christ. We hear Athanasius, the Saint of the Divinity, using the fact of the Resurrection against his adversaries; we hear his followers, the defenders of Christianity, smiling in their turn with the unanswerable argument of the Resurrection. From each century a song, and all unite in one grand symphony. The mighty anthem goes up; the song of triumph cleaves the sky: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”

And if by some miraculous power it were given us to look into the court of heaven; if for a moment, on this day, the eternal gates were lifted, we could hear issuing forth the song of the myriad angels, companions of those who stood within the tomb, the song of heaven’s triumph: Resurrexit sicut dixit, “He has risen, as he said.”

Right, then, is it that the Church on earth should on this day, above all others, rejoice. She sings today the triumph of her Founder. She chants today the glory of the Son of God. Our hearts, our wills, our minds, our souls are with her. The faith which springs up lively within our souls, the fountain of justification; the hope that inspires us in consequence of the great fact we commemorate; the charity towards God and man which is to be found only in the Christian heart; the joy that is the fruit of all these; the joy of sympathy with Jesus Christ the Victor, the Conqueror–all these are summed up in that cry which our beloved Church in her raptures of love repeats again and again: Resurrexit sicut dixit,” He said he would arise, and he has risen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ died


Today is Good Friday, the day of our salvation, the day God died to redeem sinful man. Let us spend this day in prayer and penance in thanksgiving to Our Lord for paying such a great price for our sins. Satan was defeated and the Kingdom of God established. Let us rejoice in that. Behold the wood of the Christ upon which hung the God of the Universe, paying a price for our crimes that we couldn’t pay.

A Holy Good Friday to all!

The following is a sermon by Bishop Ehrler, 1891:

“O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.” (Lament, i : 12.)

I present to your pitying contemplation, this morning, my dear brethren, the mightiest, the most profound sorrow that earth has ever witnessed. It is not merely a single affliction, (such as is often endured by the human heart), but the sum of all suffering and woe, that fullness of all sorrow, united and enclosed in a single heart, and that heart, the sacred heart of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! The King of martyrs, our divine Redeemer, appears, today, before our minds in bloody garments, saying to us: “Oh all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.” Who will refuse to compassionate Him, overwhelmed with the bitterest anguish for our salvation? Who can live through this day, of all others in the year, without being penetrated by the most profound and sincere compassion for the mangled and martyred Lamb of God?

Behold, how our holy Church, the Bride of the King of martyrs, laments for her beloved! She can not find words to express her deep, sharp pain. Clad in the garments of mourning, with anguish in her countenance, and tears in her eyes, she sits before the Cross of her Bridegroom, and tenderly bewails His sufferings and death. To each of her children she cries out, today; “Let tears, like a torrent, run down day and night; give thyself no rest, and let not the apple of thy eye cease. Arise, give praise in the night, in the beginning of the watches; pour out thy heart like water before the face of the Lord.” (Lament. 2: 18, 19.)

The bitter Passion of Jesus should always and continually engage the contemplation of our souls. Day and night, like the blessed in heaven, should we adore the wounds of our Redeemer; ever and always, should we weep with all holy souls over those sufferings which were borne for love of us. But today, my brethren, when all these agonies pass swiftly before our eyes, when the blood flows afresh, and the death-sweat oozes from his body, must not the stream of our tears, like a torrent, run down day and night? Ah! yes: the Passion and Death of our dear Redeemer reveal to us this Good Friday morning the greatest and deepest of all sorrows.

I. Because of the extreme torments suffered;
II. Because of the person who endured those torments; and
III. Because of the cruel cause of those torments.

I. Who can fathom the depths and the bitterness of the deep sea of human anguish? Who can count the tears that have been shed since the unhappy fall of Adam? Who can reckon the cries of woe and misery, of agony and despair, that have issued from the mouth of one single suffering man? Yet there has been no earthly sorrow which can even be compared with that of our Saviour. If all the pains and miseries of the whole earth were collected together and united in one great mass of anguish, the sufferings of our Redeemer would far outweigh them all. So immense, so profound, so overwhelming were they, that only the mighty heart of the God-Man could endure them.

1. The prophet Isaias beheld in a vision the future sufferings of the Messias, and saw the holy Victim covered with blood and wounds; but when he attempted to paint the picture of the King of Martyrs, O then, my brethren, he was bewildered by the terrible, the awe-inspiring apparition. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? He shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground; there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness; and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness that we should be desirous of him; despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity.” (Is. 53: 1-3).

“A worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people,” (Ps. 21 : 7.), our Lord Jesus Christ has suffered all the pains which the soul can suffer. He has borne the excess of mental sufferings, such as anguish and fear, sorrow and desolation, dejection and dereliction–all that can inflict torture upon the heart of man. He cries out: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” (Matt. 14: 34.); and then He sinks to the earth overcome by so fierce an agony that it forces a bloody sweat to issue from every pore of His sacred body. Each separate torment which He afterward endured in all the members of His body, He consented to suffer beforehand in His heart and soul. “Where is there a grief like unto my grief?”

2. Yes, my brethren, He suffered in every member of His sacred body. “From the sole of the foot to the top of the head, there is no soundness therein; wounds and bruises and swelling sores: they are not bound up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil.” (Is. 1 : 6.) His head is crowned with piercing thorns; His eyes are filled with blood that streams from His wounded brow; His cheeks are bruised by the blows of a wicked servant; His hands and feet are pierced through with cruel nails; His heart is opened with a spear; His shoulders are torn with terrible lashes, and all His wounds are inflamed and widened by the repeated taking-off and putting-on of his sacred garments. “Where is there any sorrow like to my sorrow?”

He endured every kind of affliction–His bitter chalice contained every form and species of woe. As a babe, He was repulsed by His own creatures, and forced to accept as a birth-place, a cold and miserable stable. As a helpless and harmless child, He was threatened with death, and obliged to flee from His own country into a distant and barbarous land. When grown to manhood, His chosen people, to whom He had shown naught but kindness, whom He had loaded with favors and benefits, despised and persecuted Him. They said: “He hath a devil,” and they sought to take His life. They tried to rob Him of His honor and reputation. He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, and sold by him for a contemptible sum of money, and this under the mask of friendship. He was deserted by His cherished disciples, who had sworn to follow Him unto death. He was bound with cords, and led forth like a criminal amid the wild clamor of His enemies. He was falsely accused, and dragged about from one tribunal to another. He was mocked and despised; a murderer and robber was preferred before Him. He was deprived of His clothing before the eyes of the whole people, and thus, stripped naked, was nailed to the cross: and even on the cross He was scoffed at and denied unto the end. Indifference and cowardice, human respect and treachery, hypocrisy, derision, malice, in fact, every kind of evil, had a share in His torments. “Where is there any sorrow like to my sorrow?”

He suffered from every class of men, priests and laymen, princes upon their thrones, and the scum of the people; strangers who knew Him not, and those of His own race; pagans who persecuted Him through ignorance, and Jews who had been instructed in the Law; soldiers hardened by cruel warfare, and judges who were appointed to protect the innocent; the ignorant who were the blind tools of the malignant Pharisees, and the learned who were filled with evil wisdom–all conditions of human society, all degrees of rank, became His enemies. He had not one executioner alone (as has the greatest criminal), but hundreds and thousands of them. “Where is any sorrow like unto my sorrow?”

He suffered throughout His whole earthly career, since no moment of it was free from pain and affliction. All the days of His life, the awful vision of His future sufferings stood out clearly before His omniscient eye, filling His soul with unspeakable woe and dread. Death itself did not put an end to the outrages heaped upon Him; for when He hung lifeless upon the cross, His enemies continued to wreak then vengeance upon His sacred remains. They pierced His side with a lance; they sealed up His grave and placed a watch upon it so that “that deceiver,” as they called Him, might not come forth from the tomb. Jesus, as St. John remarks, knew ” all things that were to come upon him.” (John 18:4.) “My sorrow is continually before me,” the Psalmist says in His person. (Ps. 37 : 18.) “My enemies have trodden on me all the day long; for there are many that make war against me.” (Ps. 55 : 3.)

3. Where is there sorrow equal to His sorrow? He suffered all these pains and sorrows from those who had been His friends, and for whose salvation He had descended from heaven to earth. His people, chosen before all the nations of the earth, whom He had led out of Egypt, fed with manna in the desert, opened the fountain of living water in the hard rock; whose enemies He had subdued, through whose cities, towns, and villages He went about blessing and doing good–this, His chosen people, prepared all these afflictions and humiliations for Him, their Messias. “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel hath not known me.” (Is. 1 :3.) “I have brought up children, and exalted them, but they have despised me.” (Is. 1 :2.) Hearing these lamentations of our outraged God, must we not again exclaim: What sorrow is like unto His sorrow!

4. He endured all these sufferings without the least alleviation. No earthly consolation was offered Him, for His disciples had all fled; no heavenly comfort was sent to lighten His pain. He offered Himself willingly to suffer, and He wished to drink the bitter chalice even to the dregs. For this reason, He refrained Himself as far as possible from the succors of His Divinity, so that He might be, as it were, abyssed in the very depths of sorrow. “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the Gentiles there was not a man with me.” (Is. 63 : 3.) “I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none. And they gave me gall for my food; and in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Ps. 68 : 21, 22.)

In heart-felt sympathy, my brethren, let us, today, contemplate this deep ocean of suffering, for to nothing else can the great and bitter sorrows of our Redeemer be compared. “Let tears like a torrent run down day and night: give thyself no rest, and let not the apple of thy eye cease.” The earth, the elements, and all inanimate nature once trembled on this day with grief and compassion for the mangled Lamb of God, and shall we, for whose salvation He was slain, alone remain indifferent? Let us fall upon our knees before our crucified Jesus,–let us venerate His sorrows, and detest with bitter tears the sins which caused His unspeakable sufferings.

II. Consider next, my beloved Christians, the dignity of the Person who endured those sufferings.

1. Who is this Man of Sorrows who appears before us, with torn and bleeding body and pierced heart?” Who is He that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra?” we ask in astonishment with the prophet Isaias. (Is. 63 :1.) “Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread the wine-press?” (Is. 63 : 2.) No human heart is strong or heroic enough to carry such a burden of sorrow, without being crushed, broken, annihilated! Ah, my beloved, the Man of Sorrows is the only-begotten Son of God–the strong and mighty Deity, who, for love of us, has borne all these torments; who in order to make satisfaction for our sins, took their crushing weight upon Himself and suffered in our stead. He, the Man of Sorrows, saw the want and misery of the earth, He saw the corruption of sin which had opened the abyss of hell, and closed the gates of heaven. From the throne of His heavenly glory, He looked down with grief upon the earth, and saw that only His own almighty hand could rescue it from its extreme and hopeless wretchedness. The prayers and sacrifices of centuries had been inadequate to appease the divine wrath. Neither Angel nor Archangel could make the requisite satisfaction to the offended majesty of God, or deliver the world from its impending ruin. Penetrated with an incomprehensible love, the Divine Word cries out to His heavenly Father: “Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not; but a body thou hast fitted to me . . . then said I, behold I come . . . that I should do thy will, O Lord!” (Heb. 10: 5-7.) “The Father did not lay the cross upon His Son without His consent,” says St. Cyril, “but the Son has given Himself for us on the cross, and the Father has agreed to it, so that the mystery of salvation might be accomplished.” (St. Cyril.)

2. The Man of Sorrows bore within Him a divine heart, and He suffered with the strength and supernatural power of a divine being. It is true that while He suffered intensely in His human nature, the divine nature was incapable of suffering, yet the divine, being united with the human nature, could not but sympathize with the sufferings of the latter. Indeed, Christ as God wished to sympathize with and share the sufferings of His humanity, so that, thereby, a sacrifice of infinite value might be offered to His Heavenly Father, as an infinite atonement for our sins. Where is there a sorrow like unto this sorrow?

Go through all the ranks of human beings, my dear Christians, and contemplate the misery which meets you on every side. Ponder well the greatest sorrow that has ever been the portion of any earthly creature, and you will acknowledge, after all, that it is only the suffering of a human heart. For all its depth and intensity it is only the trembling outcry and complaint of a finite human soul. But the sorrow which Jesus Christ endured, contains within its unfathomable depths–the unsearchable emotions of an incarnate God! Again: were it possible for the Angels of heaven to experience pain; nay, more, if they accepted it with the whole power of their angelic nature, the united sufferings of all that multitude of mighty spirits compared with those of our Redeemer, would be only as a soft sigh which trembles for a moment on the summer air. Where is sorrow like unto his sorrow?

3. Behold, again, this Man of Sorrows, and meditate upon the lessons of His wounds. Consider not merely that grand, divine Heart which bears human suffering with superhuman strength, but, if you would still further sound the depths of Christ’s excessive sorrow, contemplate, also, that sacred body which is led like a lamb to the slaughter. Not a human body formed from base and sinful dust of the earth is the body of Jesus Christ, but a miracle of the omnipotence and wisdom of God. It is a wonderful creation formed by the Holy Ghost in the immaculate womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Not merely royal blood flows through His veins, the tender plant from the root of Jesse, but this body is created by the divine operation of God Himself. As all the works of God are more perfect, the clearer and the more forcibly they show forth His power; as the manna which the Lord sent from heaven was sweeter and more exquisite than any earthly food; as the wine which our Saviour created at the marriage of Cana was finer than any juice of the vine; as Adam, the first man, had a most beautiful and perfect human body, because God Himself had formed it from the slime of the earth–so the body of Jesus Christ was more wondrously beautiful and perfect than that of any other human being. It was fine and delicate and perfect beyond all creatures, and formed with special capabilities for suffering. He was appointed to be the Lamb of God, to bear, and to take away, the sins of the world. According to the will of God, as well as through the nature of His holy body, the humanity of our Redeemer must have felt all His pains and sorrows much more keenly and intensely than could any other human body. The greatest and sharpest agony struggled and raged in the most sensitive and delicate of vessels; but through the will of God and the love of our Saviour, the vessel, not being able to break, endured and felt that extraordinary anguish to the bitter end. The fiercest fire, finding the most inflammable material, continues, without consuming or annihilating it, to feed upon it with ever increasing violence, as long as divine Justice requires the holocaust! Where is there a sorrow like unto this sorrow?

4. “Go forth, ye daughters of Sion; and see King Solomon in the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals.” (Cant. 3:11.) Behold your Bridegroom, who has delivered you through such exceeding sorrow, and has espoused Himself to your soul at such a great price! Not only will we fall down in adoration and extol the sufferings of our Redeemer, but lovingly we will raise up our eyes to the King and Bridegroom of our souls, and gratefully consecrate the love of our hearts to Him, the Incarnate God, who has given the whole of His divine and human nature to suffer for our redemption!

III. Come now, my dearly beloved, and descending once more into the deep abyss of our Saviour’s Passion, let us search with sincere earnestness for the cause of these terrible sufferings, this ineffable sorrow.

1. On account of our sins, my brethren, the Son of God came down from the glory of heaven. A great invalid lay suffering upon the earth, and a great Physician must needs appear to save and heal him. Love moved the good Samaritan Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, to take pity on sick humanity, and to offer to His heavenly Father the atonement for our sins. But was it necessary that our Saviour should suffer so much and so deeply? Would not a single sigh from his divine Heart have sufficed to appease the wrath of the Eternal Father? Certainly; one single drop of His precious blood was sufficient to cleanse the whole world from sin. A single work of our divine Saviour is everlasting and infinite in its redeeming power. Then, wherefore, has He borne the supreme measure of sorrow? Why did He wish to drain the bitter chalice to the dregs? It was to expiate our sins in general, as well as in particular. Every sin that has been or will be committed upon the earth He, in His character of Mediator, has atoned for. “Behold the man,” cried out Pilate, as he presented the scourged and bleeding Redeemer to the gaze of the Jewish people. “O, Pilate!” we must exclaim, “thou hast announced a deep truth!” Before us stands the Man who has taken upon Himself all the sins of the human race, and who bears them and atones for them in His own body. Before us stands the Man in whom we can see our sins and their punishment. “Surely He hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows; and we have thought Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed.” (Is. 53 : 4, 5.)

2. Contemplate, today, the sufferings of our Saviour, my beloved brethren, and see if there is one sin which He has not taken upon himself and expiated. Consider first, our individual sins, and in them you will recognize all the sins of the world. Faithless and ungrateful, humanity has turned away from the good God, and bartered His friendship and love for the miserable wages of sin. The disciples, fleeing, abandon their divine master; Judas betrays Him for thirty pieces of silver; His enemies take Him prisoner, and bind Him like a criminal; they drag Him from one tribunal to another. Behold the man who continues in his vices, who is not satisfied with one sin or one insult to the Lord! They weave a crown of thorns and press it upon His head; they place a reed in His hand, and clothe Him in a garment of mockery. Behold the man who raises his head proudly and haughtily, who would elevate his throne as high as the stars in heaven! They scourge Him with cruel lashes, until His sacred body, which is exposed naked to the gaze of the rabble, is covered with blood. Behold the man who shamelessly wallows in the lusts of the flesh, rejoicing in them, and defiling his body with the filth of iniquity. Pilate releases a murderer, and condemns innocence to death. Behold the man who, full of envy, and jealousy, grudges his neighbor his position, or his fortune. They pierce His hands and feet with cruel nails. Behold the man who misuses his members for sin, whose feet hasten upon the road to ruin, and whose hands are greedily stretched forth towards injustice. They give Him gall and vinegar to drink. Behold the man who indulges in gluttony, and gratifies all his sensual appetites! They mock Him in His sufferings, and cry out to Him: “If thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross!” Behold the man who, in his anger, knows no limit to his hatred and revenge! In death, they pierced His Sacred Heart; and at the same time they pierced the soul of the man who had given away his heart to strange gods. Behold the man of sin! Behold the man of punishment!” It is not the Redeemer and the Saviour,” each one of us might exclaim, “that hangs before me upon the cross, it is I myself whose sins he has borne and atoned for, it is the man of sin that is crucified in Him!”

“What was the cause of Thy suffering, O Son of God?” exclaims St. Anselm. “I was the scourge of Thy pain; I the cause of Thy death; I the sting of Thy torments; I the ground of Thy condemnation. O marvelous verdict, O mysterious dispensation! The wicked sin, and the just is punished; the guilty commit the offense, and the innocent atones for it; the master pays for what the servant has broken; God becomes surety for the debts of man.”

3. Wherein lies the cause of all these incomprehensible sufferings of our Saviour? He did not wish merely to bear all the sins of the world in His afflicted person, but, also, to make an everlasting and superabundant satisfaction for us, in order to lay up for us an everlasting and superabundant merit. “Christ has paid much more than we owed,” says St. Chrysostom; “as much as the ocean exceeds a drop of water, so much do Christ’s merits exceed our guilt.” (Hom. 20 in Epist. ad. Rom.) This superabounding merit of Christ does not merely blot out all the stains of sin and its punishment in us, but it, also, wins for us in the richest measure all the graces necessary to our souls for the gaining of everlasting life. As the good Samaritan did not merely raise up the wounded man from the wayside, and wash his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, but, also, out of love, placed him upon his horse, and brought him to an inn, and left money for his further care, so our Redeemer, the genuine Good Samaritan, does not simply heal the wounds of Our hearts through His atonement; but, also, gives us, through His holy Passion, all graces in the highest degree. He would reveal to the world His everlasting love and its great power; therefore has He suffered so much for us. As the loving pelican opens its breast and gives its own life-blood to feed its famishing brood, so does Jesus, our Pious Pelican, nourish and strengthen our souls with His own sacred Blood, the last drop of which He shed for us.

Today, then, my beloved brethren, let us descend into the holy mystery of the Passion of our Lord. And when we have gone down into the deep well whence such streams of suffering and sorrow burst forth, each one of us may strike his breast remorsefully, and cry out to himself in bitter sorrow: “Thou art the cause of all these innumerable sufferings of Thy Redeemer!” Our sins have prepared these pains for our loving Saviour. Therefore “let tears, like a torrent, run down day and night: give thyself no rest, and let not the apple of thine eye cease.” Today, at least, dear Christians, let us pour out our hearts like water before the face of the Lord. When King David learned and recognized of old the justice of God in his family, and when the punishing hand of the Lord was revealed to him, then that royal penitent “kept a fast, and going in by himself, lay upon the ground. And the ancients of his house came to make him rise from the ground, but he would not: neither did he eat meat with them.” (2 Kings 12: 16, 17.) So let us spend in the holy practice of prayer and penance this solemn day, in which the Justice and the Mercy of God have been so clearly revealed to us: and let us promise the Lord, my dear brethren, at the foot of His cross that, henceforth, we will never again renew His endless sufferings, and unspeakable sorrows, by any future relapses into sin. Amen.

“Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written.

The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lot. And the soldiers indeed did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.” ~John 19: 16-30

Passiontide & Holy Week

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For this Holiest of Weeks, wherein our salvation is accomplished and the Church born from the love of God, the following is a meditation from Fr. Gueranger. Let us reflect on the great mysteries of our salvation, the foundation of the Faith.

~Damsel of the Faith

The holy liturgy is rich in mystery during these days of the Church’s celebrating the anniversaries of so many wonderful events; but as the principal part of these mysteries is embodied in the rites and ceremonies of the respective days, we shall give our explanations according as the occasion presents itself. Our object in the present chapter, is to say a few words respecting the general character of the mysteries of these two weeks.

We have nothing to add to the explanation, already given in our Lent, on the mystery of forty. The holy season of expiation continues its course until the fast of sinful man has imitated, in its duration, that observed by the Man-God in the desert. The army of Christ’s faithful children is still fighting against the invisible enemies of man’s salvation; they are still vested in their spiritual armour, and, aided by the angels of light, they are struggling hand to hand with the spirits of darkness, by compunction of heart and by mortification of the flesh.

As we have already observed, there are three objects which principally engage the thoughts of the Church during Lent. The Passion of our Redeemer, which we have felt to be coming nearer to us each week; the preparation of the catechumens for Baptism, which is to be administered to them on Easter eve; the reconciliation of the public penitents, who are to be readmitted into the Church on the Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. Each of these three objects engages more and more the attention of the Church, the nearer she approaches the time of their celebration.

The miracle performed by our Saviour almost at the very gates of Jerusalem, by which He restored Lazarus to life, has roused the fury of His enemies to the highest pitch of frenzy. The people’s enthusiasm has been excited by seeing Him, Who had been four days in the grave, walking in the streets of their city. They ask each other if the Messias, when He comes, can work greater wonders than these done by Jesus, and whether they ought not at once to receive this Jesus as the Messias, and sing their Hosanna to Him, for He is the Son of David. They cannot contain their feelings: Jesus enters Jerusalem, and they welcome Him as their King. The high priests and princes of the people are alarmed at this demonstration of feeling; they have no time to lose; they are resolved to destroy Jesus. We are going to assist at their impious conspiracy: the Blood of the just Man is to be sold, and the price put on it is thirty silver pieces. The divine Victim, betrayed by one of His disciples, is to be judged, condemned, and crucified. Every circumstance of this awful tragedy is to be put before us by the liturgy, not merely in words, but with all the expressiveness of a sublime ceremonial.

The catechumens have but a few more days to wait for the fount that is to give them life. Each day their instruction becomes fuller; the figures of the old Law are being explained to them; and very little now remains for them to learn with regard to the mysteries of salvation. The Symbol of faith is soon to be delivered to them. Initiated into the glories and the humiliations of the Redeemer, they will await with the faithful the moment of His glorious Resurrection; and we shall accompany them with our prayers and hymns at that solemn hour, when, leaving the defilements of sin in the life-giving waters of the font, they shall come forth pure and radiant with innocence, be enriched with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and be fed with the divine flesh of the Lamb that liveth forever.

The reconciliation of the penitents, too, is close at hand. Clothed in sackcloth and ashes, they are continuing their work of expiation. The Church has still several passages from the sacred Scriptures to read to them, which, like those we have already heard during the last few weeks, will breathe consolation and refreshment to their souls. The near approach of the day when the Lamb is to be slain increases their hope, for they know that the Blood of this Lamb is of infinite worth, and can take away the sins of the whole world. Before the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, they will have recovered their lost innocence; their pardon will come in time to enable them, like the penitent prodigal, to join in the great Banquet of that Thursday, when Jesus will say to His guests: ‘With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer.’ [St. Luke xxii. 15.]

Such are the sublime subjects which are about to be brought before us: but, at the same time, we shall see our holy mother the Church mourning, like a disconsolate widow, and sad beyond all human grief. Hitherto she has been weeping over the sins of her children; now she bewails the death of her divine Spouse. The joyous Alleluia has long since been hushed in her canticles; she is now going to suppress another expression, which seems too glad for a time like the present. Partially, at first unless it be the feast of a saint, as frequently happens during the first of these two weeks. The same exception is to be made in what follows, but entirely during the last three days, she is about to deny herself the use of that formula, which is so dear to her: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. There is an accent of jubilation in these words, which would still suit her grief and the mournfulness of the rest of her chants.

Her lessons, for the night Office, are taken from Jeremias, the prophet of lamentation above all others. The color of her vestments is the one she had on when she assembled us at the commencement of Lent to sprinkle us with ashes; but when the dreaded day of Good Friday comes, purple would not sufficiently express the depth of her grief; she will clothe herself in black, as men do when mourning the death of a fellow-mortal; for Jesus, her Spouse, is to be put to death on that day: the sins of mankind and the rigours of the divine justice are then to weigh Him down, and in all the realities of a last agony, He is to yield up His Soul to His Father.

The presentiment of that awful hour leads the afflicted mother to veil the image of her Jesus: the cross is hidden from the eyes of the faithful. The statues of the saints, too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear. The interpreters of the liturgy tell us that this ceremony of veiling the crucifix during Passiontide, expresses the humiliation to which our Saviour subjected Himself, of hiding Himself when the Jews threatened to stone Him, as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday. The Church begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday. Thus it is that, in those years when the feast of our Lady’s Annunciation falls in Passion-week, the statue of Mary, the Mother of God, remains veiled, even on that very day when the Archangel greets her as being full of grace, and blessed among women.

Palm Sunday Meditations and Traditions

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Bishop Alphonso de Galeretta in the Traditional Rite of the blessing of Palms

Hosanna Filio David! It is a glorious day, but also a sober one, for Christ enters Jerusalem to be rejected by His own people and crucified.  The cheers of the crowd now will turn into hateful cries of “Crucify Him!” However, let us rejoice this Sunday in commemorating Our Lord’s triumphant return into Jerusalem!  At the same time, may our fervor grow all the greater as His Passion draws near!  Similarly, as the Church is drawing ever deeper into Her own passion, may we prepare for her glorious resurrection.  It is interesting how the events of Holy Week are reflected in the recent history of the Church.  During the 1940s and ’50s, the Church grew exponentially and obtained an almost unprecedented influence.  However, as it was in the time of Our Lord, many of those who claimed to follow her actually turned out to prove quite lukewarm.  The result? The beginning of the Church’s Passion at Vatican II.  Let us prepare and hasten the way then for the great and glorious restoration as she rises from these greatest of tortures!

From Fish Eaters (https://www.fisheaters.com/customslent11.html):

Today, this “Second Sunday of the Passion,” is the memorial of Christ’s “triumphant,” but misunderstood, entry into Jerusalem, the day that begins Holy Week. This entry into Jerusalem is seen as the prophetic fulfillment of Zacharias 9:9-10 :

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

Before the Mass is the Blessing of the Palms, which includes an Antiphon, Psalms, and Gospel reading. Then comes the Procession with hymns, when we carry the palms either around the church or outside, weather permitting, and then the Mass, during which there is a very long reading sung in 3 parts by 3 deacons (or priest and deacons such as the case may be) — a long recitation of the Passion, including Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27:1-60. Prepare for a very long Mass!

Carrying palms (or olive or willow branches, etc., if palms aren’t available) in procession goes way back into the Old Testament, where it was not only approved but commanded by God at the very foundation of the Old Testament religion. In the fall of the year, after the harvest, when the people gathered for the Feast of Tabernacles God said in Leviticus 23:40:

And you shall take to you on the first day the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook: And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.

Again we read of palms in the II Machabees 10:6-8:

And they kept eight days with joy, after the manner of the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long before they had kept the feast of the tabernacles when they were in the mountains, and in dens like wild beasts. Therefore they now carried boughs and green branches and palms, for him that had given them good success in cleansing his place. And they ordained by a common statute, and decree, that all the nation of the Jews should keep those days every year.

And in the 7th chapter of the Apocalypse, we see that those who were “sealed” are seen by John carrying palms:

Apocalypse 7:9-10:
After this, I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb.

The palms are blessed before the High Mass today. Vested in red cope and standing at the Epistle side of the Altar, the priest recites a short prayer, and then reads a lesson from the book of Exodus which tells of the children of Israel coming to Elim on their way to the Promised Land, where they found a fountain and seventy palm trees. It was at Elim that God sent them manna.

After a few verses from the New Testament, the priest reads the story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem the Sunday before His death, and about how the people put palms in the Savior’s path and sang hosannas because, ironically, they expected a temporal victory by the One they thought would be the great military leader who would conquer the Romans.

Then we pray, begging God that we may in the end go meet Christ, that we may enter with Him into the eternal Jerusalem. The following preface and prayers ask God to bless the palms, that they may be sanctified and may be a means of grace and divine protection to those who carry them and treasure them with faith.

The palms are distributed to the people at the Communion rail. The priest will press the palm against your lips so you can kiss it, and then kiss his hand. Alternatively, the palms may be handed out by the altar boys. In any case, Scripture and prayers follow, and then a procession of clergy, servers, and people through the church or outside around the church.

How to make palm Crosses to tuck behind
picture frames and hang on your wall

Palm Cross Drawings Copyright 2000 S. A. Keith of www.christiancrafters.com

Take a palm that is about 2 feet long and 1/2″ wide (if it tapers at the top, this is good!). Hold the palm upright, so the tapered end points toward the ceiling.
Then bend the top end down and toward you so that the bend is about 5 or 6 inches from the bottom of the palm.
About a third of the way from the bend you just made, twist the section you’ve pulled down to the right, forming a right angle.
About an inch and a half away from the “stem” of the cross, bend this arm of the palm back behind the palm so that it is now facing to your left. Make the bend at a good length to form the right arm of the Cross.

Folding that same section at a point that equals the length on the right side, bend it on the left side and bring the end forward over what is now the front of the cross.

From the very center of the Cross, fold that arm up and to the upper right (in a “northeast” direction) so that it can wrap around where the upright post of the Cross and the right arm intersect.
Fold this down and to the left behind the Cross…

…and then fold it toward the right so that it is parallel and under the transverse arms of the Cross.
Bring it up behind the Cross again, this time folding it up toward the “northwest” direction.

Tuck the tapered end into the transverse section you made in step 7…

…and pull through.

Turn the Cross over; this side will be the front. Trim the tapered end if necessary, remembering that the palm is a sacramental and any part you trim away should be kept and respected as a sacramental! Use that piece for burning during storms.