Category Archives: Sermons

The Epiphany

They are coming to worship him and offer him gifts. Let us do likewise.

Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition

The 12 days of Christmas culminates with the Feast of the Epiphany, the visit of the three wise men.  The gifts of the wise men manifests the divinity and royalty of Christ, even pointing to his death, as well. Christ is truly the newborn King, who is indeed God. Here is a meditation on the Feast of the Epiphany from Fr. Prosper Gueranger:

The Feast of the Epiphany is the continuation of the mystery of Christmas; but it appears on the Calendar of the Church with its own special character. Its very name, which signifies Manifestation, implies that it celebrates the apparition of God to His creatures.

For several centuries, the Nativity of our Lord was kept on this day; and when, in the year 376, the decree of the Holy See obliged all Churches to keep the Nativity on the 25th December, as Rome did–the Sixth of January was…

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Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

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A Blessed Feast of the Circumcision and Happy New Year!  You will find excellent meditations and instruction for this great feast attached below.

We hear much fuss made annually about “New Year resolutions”, only for them to be broken and given up on quickly.  For faithful Catholics, our New Year resolutions should be to correct our most significant vice and turn it into great virtue.  And if we happen to slip up a bit, we simply ask God’s forgiveness and continue!  A soldier does not abandon the fight at the first failing!  No, he rather places his trust in God and continues with an even greater strength!  Once this vice has become virtue, we will find our other faults going in the same direction and perfection will not be far away.

Being the 100th anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, some Catholics fear for a trying year in the Church and the world.  Certainly the current state of matters may not inspire much optimism.  However, we Catholics are not necessarily required to have the abstract feeling of “optimism”, but the great virtue of Hope.  While many in Rome continue to stray from the doctrines of the True Faith, Tradition is only ever the stronger for it.  There are more Traditional priests, religious, and laity than at any time since the Second Vatican Council.  There is even a certain, albeit smaller awakening in the “official” Church structures itself!  If good Catholics simply keep the True Faith with Charity and without going to compromises or “extremes”, then only the Modernists should have to worry.  Let us pray for their conversion.

The Damsel and I extend our prayers to our readers that they might have a truly Holy New Year.

From Fr. Leonard Goffine:

 

New Years Day

Why is this day so called?

Because the secular year begins with this day, as the Church year begins with the First Sunday in Advent.

What should we do on this day?

An offering of the new year should be made to God, asking His grace that we may spend the year in a holy manner, for the welfare of the soul.

Why do we wish each other a “happy new year“?

Because to do so is an act of Christian love; but this wish should come from the heart, and not merely from worldly politeness, otherwise we would be like the heathens (Mt. 5:47), and receive no other reward than they.

What feast of the Church is celebrated today?

The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, Who, for love of us, voluntarily subjected Himself to the painful law of the Old Covenant, that we might be freed from the same.

What was the Circumcision?

It was an external sign of the Old Law, by which the people of that day were numbered among the chosen people of God, as now they become, by baptism, members of the Church of Christ.

What is the signification of Circumcision in the moral or spiritual sense?

It signifies the mortification of the senses, of evil desires, and inclinations. This must be practiced by Christians now, since they have promised it in baptism which would be useless to them without the practice of mortification; just as little as the Jew by exterior Circumcision is a true Jew, just so little is the baptized a true Christian without a virtuous life. Beg of Christ, therefore, today, to give you the grace of the true Circumcision of heart.

PRAYER I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus, because Thou hast shed Thy blood for me in Circumcision, and beg Thee that by Thy precious blood I may receive the grace to circumcise my heart and all my senses, so that I may lead a life of mortification in this world, and attain eternal joys in the next. Amen.

[The INTROIT of the Mass is the same as is said in the Third Mass on Christmas.]

COLLECT O God, Who, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may feel the benefit of her intercession for us, through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest, etc.

[The EPISTLE is the same as is said in the First Mass on Christmas.]

GOSPEL (Lk. 2:21). At that time, after eight days were accomplished that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Why did Jesus submit to Circumcision?

That He might show His great love for us, which caused Him even at the very beginning of His life, to shed His blood to cleanse us thereby from all our sins. Furthermore to teach us obedience to the commandments of God and His Church, since He voluntarily subjected Himself to the Jewish law, although He was not in the least bound by it, which ordered that every male child should be circumcised on the eighth day after its birth (Lev. 12:3).

Why was He named Jesus?

Because Jesus means Redeemer and Savior, and He had come to redeem and save the world (Mt. 1:21). This is the holiest, most venerable, and most powerful name by which we can be saved.

What power has this name?

The greatest power, for it repels all attacks of the evil Spirit, as Jesus Himself says (Mk. 16:17). And so great is the efficacy of this most holy name that even those who are not righteous, can by it expel devils (Mt. 7:22). It has power to cure physical pains and evils, as when used by the apostles (Acts. 3:3-7), and Christ promised that the faithful by using it could do the same (Mk. 16:17).

St. Bernard calls the name of Jesus a “Medicine“; and St. Chrysostom says, “This name cures all ills; it gives succor in all the ailments of the soul, in temptations, in faintheartedness, in sorrow, and in all evil desires, etc.” “Let him who cannot excite contrition in his heart for the sins he has committed, think of the loving, meek, and suffering Jesus, invoke His holy name with fervor and confidence, and he will feel his heart touched and made better,” says St. Lawrence Justinian.

It overcomes and dispels the temptations of the enemy: “When we fight against Satan in the name of Jesus,” says the martyr St. Justin, “Jesus fights for us, in us, and with us, and the enemies must flee as soon as they hear the name of Jesus.”

It secures us help and blessings in all corporal and spiritual necessities, because nothing is impossible to him who asks in the name of Jesus, whatever tends to his salvation will be given him (Jn. 14:13).

Therefore it is useful above all things, to invoke this holy name in all dangers of body and soul, in doubts, in temptations, especially in temptations against holy chastity, and still more so when one has fallen into sin, from which he desires to be delivered; for this name is like oil (Cant. 1:2) which cures, nourishes, and illumines.

How must this name be pronounced to experience its power?

With lively faith, with steadfast, unshaken confidence, with deep­est reverence and devotion, for in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2:10). What wickedness, then, is theirs who habitually pronounce this name carelessly and irreverently, upon every occasion! Such a habit is certainly diabolical; for the damned and the devils constantly abuse God and His holy name.

Why does this name so seldom manifest its power in our days?

Because Christian faith is daily becoming weaker, and confidence less, while perfect submission to the will of God is wanting. When faith grows stronger among people, and confidence greater, then will the power of this most sacred name manifest itself in more wonderful and consoling aspects.

Prayer to Jesus in difficulties

O Jesus! Consolation of the afflicted! Thy name is indeed poured out like oil; for Thou dost illumine those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; Thou dost disperse the blindness of the soul and dost cure its ills; Thou givest food and drink to those who hunger and thirst after justice. Be also, O Jesus! my Savior, the phy­sician of my soul, the healer of its wounds. O Jesus! Succor of those who are in need, be my protector in temptations! O Jesus! Father of the poor, do Thou nourish me! O Jesus! joy of the angels, do Thou comfort me! O Jesus! my only hope and refuge, be my helper in the hour of death, for there is given us no other name beneath the sun by which we may be saved, but Thy most blessed name Jesus!

EXHORTATION St. Paul says: All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17). We should, therefore, follow the example of the saints, and continually say, at least in our hearts: “For love of Thee, O Jesus, I rise; for love of Thee I lie down; for love of Thee I eat, drink, and enjoy myself; for love of Thee I work, speak, or am silent.” Thus we will accustom ourselves to do all in the name of Jesus, by which everything is easily or at least meritoriously accomplished.

Prayer to be said on New Years Day

O God, Heavenly Father of Mercy, God of all Consolation! we thank Thee that from our birth to this day, Thou hast so well pre­served us, and hast protected us in so many dangers; we beseech Thee, through the merits of Thy beloved Son, and by His sacred blood which He shed for us on this day in His circumcision, to for­give all the sins which, during the past year, we have committed against Thy commandments, by which we have aroused Thy indig­nation and wrath against ourselves. Preserve us in the coming year from all sins, and misfortunes of body and soul. Grant that from this day to the end of our lives, all our senses, thoughts, words, and works, which we here dedicate to Thee for all time, may be directed in accordance with Thy will, and that we may finally die in the true Catholic Faith, and enjoy with Thee in Thy kingdom a joyful new year, that shall know no end. Amen.

Originally posted on sspx.org:

On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

December 31, 2015

Eight days after Our Lords birth, Jesus was circumcised according to the law of the Old Covenant, an event that is commemorated on January 1st.

In the Missale Romanum, January 1st is entitled In Octava Nativitatis Domini—or as rendered in English: “the Octave (Eighth) Day of the Nativity.” Not only does this day complete the Nativity Octave, but it also commemorates an important event in Christs infancy, His circumcision, as we read in the Gospel of St. Luke sung during the Mass:

And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb.”

This is also why the octave day is known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord.

We also read in the Gospel account that during Our Lords circumcision, the name He was given to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Annunciation, JESUS (meaning, “Yahweh saves”) was formally bestowed upon Him. However, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is not celebrated until the first Sunday after the Nativity Octave, which this year falls on January 3rd.

To commemorate the Octave Day in the Nativity of Our Lord—which also starts the secular calendar year—we offer some citations from Sacred Scripture about circumcision in the Old Covenant and a poem reflecting on this event in the redemptive life of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What does New Years Day mean for Catholics?>


The Old Covenant of Circumcision in Holy Writ

Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you shall be circumcised: And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock: And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant. Genesis 17:9-13

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying …If a woman having received seed shall bear a man child …on the eighth day the infant shall be circumcised. Leviticus 12:1-3


On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

Circumcised
on the eighth day,[1]
His meek parents
humbly obey
the law of Moses,[2]
the rite of Abraham,[3]
who rejoiced
to see His day,[4]
Infant King
does humbly subject
(He does not object);
for, after all,
He the King of kings
wrote the law,
which He came
not to abolish,
but to fulfill,[5]
He the Fullness,[6]
the Lamb of God,[7]
Son of Righteousness,
Whom the self-righteous
unrighteously did kill,[8]
the Good Shepherd,[9]
Who came
to seek and save
the lost,[10]
would on the eighth day,
His Precious Blood shed,
the price,
the cost,
the recompense
paid in full
for the guilty…
by His Innocence…
magnanimous
munificence!

Like Abraham,
who in humble obedience,
took his son Isaac
and raised the knife
in order to offer
the sacrifice
to God the Father,[11]
Saint Joseph,
son of David,[12]
Juda’s great King,
wields the knife
to his Divine Offspring;
though, in this case,
his hand
is not stayed,
and so,
the innocent Flesh
of the Word
is flayed;
the first dew drops
of our salvation
do lovingly pour
from the meek,
little Lamb, Who
just eight days before
from the virginal ewe
in the fullness of time,[13]
came into the world,
in coldness of clime;
sweet, little Babe,
Lamb without stain,
sheds His Pure Blood,
for the descendants
of Cain;
He, Who was born
to His own in disdain,[14]
outcast in animals’ stable,
offers His Blood,
despising the pain,
as did His ancestor Abel[15]

And so…
we remember
our Savior’s first wound,
which He did willfully suffer,
just eight days from leaving,
the Immaculate womb
of His most blessed mother;
meek Lamb,
so pure and undefiled,
tiny, sweet Innocent Child,
at the breast still,
for us, He did spill,
His Most Precious Blood…
Fount of our Redemption

And so…
let us
pause,
reflect,
meditate,
ponder…
O the pain!
the price,
the cost
of the Lamb,
Who came
to save His lost
sheep,
who did wander,
so far away…
our transgressions
cast into derision
and utter humiliation
the Son of God,
the Word Made Flesh,
the Virgin’s Pure Babe,
Whose Blood was shed
willingly,
lovingly,
by Him, the Incarnation,
our innocent Infant King…
in His Circumcision.


Footnotes

1 Luke 2:21.

2 Leviticus 12:3; John 7:22.

3 Genesis 17:10-12.

4 John 8:56.

5 Matthew 5:17.

6 Colossians 1:19.

7 John 1:29, 36.

8 John 11:49-53.

9 John 10:11, 14.

10 Luke 19:10.

11 Genesis 22:1-13.

12 Luke 2:4.

13 Galatians 4:4.

14 John 1:11.

15 Genesis 4:1-10.

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

 

 

 

 

An example of Bishop Fellay’s saintliness

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Bishop Fellay is such a saintly bishop and priest. Despite the pain of a broken foot, he keeps up his good cheer and is a saintly example of joyful suffering to all of the Faithful.  Read this story of a true shepherd of souls:

http://www.onepeterfive.com/bishop-bernard-fellays-authentic-catholic-witness/

On 4 November, 2016 – the day of the opening ceremony of the new seminary of the Society of St. Pius X in Dillwyn, Virginia – three little children were blessed to be confirmed by His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay. Everything surrounding this little ceremony – with some twenty priests, seminarians and different family members gathered around – turned an otherwise small event into something very big and holy. Each individual who was present there will no doubt count it as one of the great blessings of his life.

As with so many such blessings, it started with a cross. The confirmations were to start in the evening, at 6:30 pm, after the long opening ceremony for the seminary. The small group of families, sponsors, and seminarians was gathered around in the provisional chapel of the seminary (which shall one day be replaced by a larger, more beautiful church adjacent to the seminary) when suddenly a seminarian walked up the aisle, stood in front of the faithful, and told them that Bishop Fellay just had had an accident, and that he had injured his foot. Some medical experts were just then examining him, the seminarian said. We were to wait another thirty minutes in order to be further instructed. As it turned out, we waited an hour or so, not knowing whether the ceremony would take place at all.

It was around eight o’clock in the evening that the seminarian came one last time (after several updates) into the chapel. Since the bishop could not walk, we were invited upstairs to the private chambers of His Excellency so that he could help the Little Ones become Christian Soldiers. When all had gathered in a modest little room, Bishop Fellay came in to greet us. Nobody who was in that room is likely to forget what happened next: Bishop Fellay came in, with his as yet untreated foot – which turned out to have been seriously broken – on crutches, and with a big smile on his face! After first apologizing for the “inconvenience” (!) his injury had caused, Fellay then suddenly said, with an even bigger smile: “This is a very good sign! It is a very good sign, because it shows that the devil is very angry that these little children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation!”

The faithful present were astonished. How was it that this holy man smiled through the pain of a broken foot and yet rejoiced over obstacles put into his way? (One lady present said later that she had once had a broken foot; she confessed that she was not able to sleep all night because of how much it hurt.) And how was it that he ignored his suffering and did not allow such obstacles to hinder him from performing what might have otherwise be seen as only a small ceremony for just three children?

It was not much later that we were given a little more insight into Bishop Fellay’s deeply rooted conviction and principles. As soon as he was able to perform the ceremony – he had to be seated carefully – his eyes lit up even more. He completely focused his attention on the little children, looking only into their eyes – and quite intensely so – in order to explain to them the greatness of the Sacrament of Confirmation. His eyes were radiant and glowing when he explained to the children with words they could understand what they were about to receive. The warmth of his gaze toward the little ones was touching, as were his smile and tone of voice. It was quite a witness to us adults, seeing how a man of his stature paid no heed whatsoever to the adults around him, and how he gave his best to prepare the hearts of the little ones for the sacrament, and in a language that they might understand. Bishop Fellay had no prepared remarks, yet he cheerfully and with great concentration spoke for about twenty minutes or so, in what was for him a foreign language, and all without any sign of rushing or impatience. He was fully present for the children, acting as a supreme pastor for their souls.

Thankfully, I was able to record most of what His Excellency said. I received permission to make use of the transcript I have produced of those remarks in order to spread to as many Catholics as possible the radiant depiction of this channel of grace and a glimpse of the abundant graces we received that night in a bare room, in the twilight.  The words speak for themselves and will bring us all back to the foundations of our beloved Faith. Here now the transcript which I have produced to the best of my ability:

For the rest:  http://www.onepeterfive.com/bishop-bernard-fellays-authentic-catholic-witness/

~Damsel of the Faith

The Joy of Suffering

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It is certain that the present time is a time of much suffering.  One example that we have discussed very much on our blog has, of course, been the recent tragic natural disasters, the latest now being the great earthquakes in Italy.  As we know, however, the greatest example of suffering relevant to all good Catholics today is the great moral degradation of the world and the crisis of Faith in the Church. Everyone must also handle all of the little crosses that come our way every single day in this “vale of tears”.

Does this mean that we Catholics should put on a long face and mope around and complain that, “Oh, how things used to be so much better!”?  By no means!  As Fr. Paul O’Sullivan explains, God allows us to experience these sufferings that we may share a part in His Passion and be strengthened in Love!  By accepting God’s will in our trials, we will win the most glorious and beautiful crown of martyrdom!

I post the full article by Fr. O’Sullivan below.  May it be of much edification to our readers!

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

SUFFERING

How to Make the Greatest Evil in
Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness

by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear.

The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering.

This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers.

It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble.

The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.

SUFFERING IS NOT THE EVIL WE THINK IT IS

First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it.

Every act in Our Lord’s Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer.

God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?

SUFFERING IS THE GOLD IN OUR LIVES

Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes’ suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom.

Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people.

If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer.

GOD ALWAYS GIVES STRENGTH TO BEAR OUR SUFFERINGS

Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear.

Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.

HOW TO BEAR SUFFERING

Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience, our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby.

We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness.

An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity.

Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.

PENANCE

We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell.

Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, While at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

Let us remember clearly that:

1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit.

2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives.

3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him.

4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness.

5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord.

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them.

In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold.

It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation.

We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.

PRAYER

We have a great, great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important.

A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.”

He says, “I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians.”

We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us.

God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.

THE MEMORARE

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.

St. Anne, Mother of Our Lady

  

 

A meditation from Fr. Francis Xavier Weinger, 1877 on this Feast of St. Anne, the Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Grandmother of Jesus Christ:

St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin, was a native of Bethlehem, a city two miles distant from Jerusalem, frequently mentioned in Holy Writ. Having passed her youth in unstained purity, she was married to a man named Joachim, who was born at Nazareth in Galilee, with whom she lived in such love and harmony, and at the same time so piously, that one could justly say of them what St. Luke writes of Zachary and Elizabeth: “They were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.” They divided their income into three parts, the first of which was used for the honor of God and to adorn the Temple, the second to assist the poor, and the third for their own subsistence. They employed the day in prayer, work suitable to their station in life, and charitable deeds.

Their only grief was, that, although so long married, they had no issue; and a barren marriage was at that time considered a disgrace, nay almost a sign of a divine curse. Saddened by this sorrow, St. Anne, as well as her spouse, prayed with many sighs and tears, that God would take pity on them and remove the disgrace that was weighing them down. But when, after having prayed long and earnestly, they were not heard, they determined to bear patiently the will of the Almighty. As, however, St. Anne knew that God required continual prayer, and that He had not given to men a certain time to ask for grace, she ceased not to implore heaven with great confidence, for all that she believed was for His honor and her own salvation. Being one day in the Temple, she felt her distress so deeply, that she wept bitterly, but she remembered, at the same time, that there had been another Anne, spouse of Elcana, who had been afflicted as she was, but whose prayers God at last had answered, making her the mother of the great prophet Samuel. While thinking of this, she perceived in herself an invincible desire to beg the Lord for a like grace. Hence she repeated her prayer with earnest fervor, promising at the same time, that if God would grant her a child, she would consecrate it in the Temple to His divine service, as the above-mentioned Anne had done.

God answered the trusting, tearful prayer of His servant, and sent her, according to the opinion of the Holy Fathers, an angel, who announced to her that she would give birth to a child which, blessed among women, would become the mother of the long expected Saviour of the world. It is also believed that the angel told St. Anne the name which she should give to the blessed fruit of her womb. The same revelation was made to St. Joachim, and the happiness of both and their gratitude to the Almighty can be easily imagined. Their happiness was crowned when St. Anne gave birth to her who was elected by God from all eternity to become the mother of His only Son. Who can describe the joy with which Anne pressed her newborn child to her heart, or the solicitude and love with which she brought it up? The knowledge that her blessed daughter was chosen by God to so great a dignity was incentive enough to have nothing undone for her welfare. The mind of the blessed child was so far beyond her years, and her whole being so angelically innocent, that her education was an easy task, and St. Anne deemed herself the happiest mother in the world, because God had entrusted to her so priceless a child. The graces which, through the presence of the Blessed Virgin, she received from Heaven, cannot but have been innumerable. For if, in after times, the house of Elizabeth and Zachary was, by a visit from Mary, filled with heavenly blessings, who can doubt that St. Anne, who was the mother of the Blessed Virgin, was gifted with extraordinary graces?

Knowing, however, that Mary was not only a precious treasure lent her by heaven, but also had consecrated herself to the service of the Almighty, St. Anne did not fail to return to God what she had received from Him and to offer willingly what she had so willingly promised. Hardly had Mary reached the age of three years, when Anne and Joachim went with her to the temple at Jerusalem, and presenting her to the Priest, consecrated her through him to the Almighty. Nothing could have been more painful to the pious parents than to separate from so perfect a child; but as they were more zealous for the glory of God than for their own joy, even though it was so pious, they made this sacrifice without complaining. Thus Mary was received among the number of those who, under the direction of the priests, served God in the Temple, and were led in the path of virtue. After they had piously offered this agreeable sacrifice, the parents of the Blessed Virgin returned home, and spent the remainder of their days in good works, which were continued by St. Anne, when she became a widow by the death of her holy spouse. As she had been an example to the virgins before her marriage, as well as a perfect model of a wife, so also was she in her widowhood, a shining light, for all those qualities which St. Paul afterwards required of a Christian widow, in his first Epistle to Timothy. She went frequently to Jerusalem to see her holy daughter, and died, according to several authors, in the 79th year of her age. Mary, who at that time still lived in the temple, closed her eyes.

As one cannot give to the Blessed Virgin a higher title than to call her Mother of God, thus St. Anne cannot be more exalted than when she is called the mother of her who bore the Son of God. And for the very reason that she was chosen to be her mother, we must believe that the Almighty favored her here upon earth, with grace above all the Saints, and raised her to high glory in heaven. Hence we may rightly suppose, that her intercession with God is most powerful; and this is also testified by many examples.

Practical Considerations

When St. Anne perceived that, notwithstanding her many prayers, the Almighty gave her no issue, she submitted to His divine will, and bore her trial with patience. Thus also should Christian people act, when God proves them in a similar manner, for all He does is the best for them. He has His reasons for acting thus, and these reasons are just. Perhaps they would go to perdition if they had children, as many a parent sins greatly in regard to his children, and is condemned on their account. When St. Anne at length received from God what she had so constantly prayed for during many years, she gave due thanks to Him, educated her daughter piously, and early consecrated her to the service of Heaven. Thus should all Christian parents act. Their greatest care should be to teach their children early to serve God and bring them up for heaven. If one of their children has a calling for a religious life, they must not oppose it, nor, by any unrighteous means, keep the child from it. St. Anne deprived herself of the great comfort which her daughter’s presence gave her, when for the love of God, she consecrated her, by the hands of the priest, to the service of the Most High. Why shall not Christian parents do the same and willingly consecrate their child to God, to whom it belongs much more than to themselves? They may commit great sin, and may even draw upon themselves eternal condemnation, and may be the cause of their child’s destruction, if they oppose the divine call.

St. Anne prayed long, yet was not heard. She, however, complained not against God, but continued in her prayers with undiminished confidence until she at last received what she had asked. God has many reasons for not always hearing our prayers immediately. We sometimes pray when we are not in a state of grace; or we live in sin without repenting, or without the intention of bettering our life. In such cases, our prayers cannot be acceptable to God. We also sometimes pray without devotion and reverence. And can such a prayer have power? At another time, we pray only for things which God knows to be hurtful to us, although we may imagine that they are for our good. In such cases, God bestows a grace upon us by not hearing us. Often also the Almighty does not hear us, in punishment of our iniquities. We have so often offended Him, and have forfeited His grace, that we cannot reasonably expect that He should grant our request immediately. We have so frequently been deaf when God called to us; how can we ask that He should directly hear us? “What right have we,” asks St. Salvianus, “to complain, when God does not hear us, or, so to speak, despises our prayers when we have so often not listened to Him, and so frequently despised His laws? What is more just than that He should not listen to us, because we heard not Him, and that He should despise our prayers, as we did His laws?”

Further, God does not always hear us immediately, in order that we may pray more fervently and esteem so much more highly the favors He bestows. He does it also to try our patience and our trust in His mercy, or that we may be more deserving of His grace by continual prayers. Finally, besides other reasons, He may do it also to give us something better than we asked for. When all this is rightly considered, tell me, can you justly complain when the Almighty hears not your prayers immediately? Continue in them. Perform them in the right spirit, and you will experience the truth of the words of St. Bernard: “God either gives us what we ask, or something else, which is more useful to us.”

St. Anne, most blessed of Mothers for having bore, nourished and taught the holy Mother of God, ora pro nobis!

 

~Damsel of the Faith

The Blood of our Salvation

During this Month of the Precious Blood, I offer a meditation from a sermon by St. Augustine:

“A suggestive word was made use of by the Evangelist, in not saying: he pierced His side; or: he wounded; or anything like that, but: he opened; that therein might, as it were, be thrown open the door of life, from which have flowed forth the sacraments of the Church, without which there is no entrance into life that is truly life. The blood that was shed, was shed for the remission of sins. That water makes up the health-giving cup; and gives at the same time a bath and a draught. This was announced beforehand, when Noe was commanded to make a door in the side of the ark, through which the animals, not destined to perish in the flood, might enter, and by which the Church was prefigured. Because of this, the first woman was made from the side of the man while he slept, and she was called Life and Mother of the living. For the name signified a great good, before the great evil of her sin. This second Adam bowed His heads fell asleep on the cross, in order that from there a spouse might be formed for Him from that which He shed from His side as He slept. O death whereby the dead are raised anew to life! What is purer than this blood? What more health-giving this wound?

Men who were held in slavery under the devil served the devil and served the demons; but they have been redeemed from captivity. For they could sell themselves, but they could not redeem themselves. The Redeemer came, and paid the price; He shed His blood, and bought the world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and you will find out what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price. What is it worth? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations. Very ungrateful for their price or very proud, are they who say that the price is of such small worth as to buy only the Africans; or that they are so great, that it was given for them alone. Therefore let them not rejoice or be proud. What He gave, He gave for the whole world.

He had His blood, by which He redeemed us; and to this end He took blood, that He might shed it in order to redeem us. If you wish it, the blood of your Lord was given for you; if you do not wish it, it was not given for you. For perhaps you will say: My God had blood, with which He redeemed me, but now since He has suffered, He has given it all; what has remained to Him, that He may also give for me? This is a great thing, because He gave once, and He gave for all. The blood of Christ is salvation to him who wishes it, punishment to him who does not wish it. Why, therefore, do you hesitate to be set free from the second death, you who do not wish to die? By this you are set free, if you are willing to take up your cross, and follow the Lord; for He took up His cross and looked for His servant.”

Most Precious Blood of Jesus, cleanse the Church and the world!

~Damsel of the Faith

2016 Winona Ordinations Sermon

For my posts on the final Ordinations in Winona, go here and here.

Following up from my previous posts, here is the full transcript of Bishop Alfonso de Galaretta’s beautiful sermon for the final Ordinations in Winona, Minnesota.

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sermon-2016-ordinations-mass-16592

http://www.dici.org/en/documents/bishop-alfonso-de-galarreta-ordinations-sermon-winona-june-3-2016/

“Today is a day full of joy – of a noble, profound, Christian joy – as it brings us together around the altar and the sacrifice of Our Lord in order to confer the sacred orders of the priesthood and diaconate, on this feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our priestly ideal.

Sacerdos alter Christus – the priest is another Christ who, by means of the sacrament of the Eucharist, continues the presence and action of Our Lord, the Eternal High Priest. As a sacrament, the Eucharist perpetuates the Incarnation, the presence of Our Lord among us. As a sacrifice, it perpetuates the redemption, the cross of Our Lord.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the object of the preaching and apostolate of the priest. But it is also, at the same time, the form and model of priestly spirituality and activity. St. Paul wants us to know the inexhaustible treasures of wisdom, science, holiness, and charity that are hidden in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Priestly Heart of Jesus Tells us: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life”

Our Lord Himself reveals to us these treasures of His priestly Heart when He says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”[1] Not one way, or one truth, or one life, but the way, the truth, the life.

St. Augustine says that Our Lord is the Way as Man, and the Truth and Life as God. For that reason, Our Lord is, at the same time, the fatherland and our way to the fatherland.

Our Lord is the Way because nobody can go to the Father unless it is through Him. He is the Way because He is the High Priest who reconciles men with God. He is the only Mediator. He is the Way through His Priesthood, His Kingship, and His Church, the only Bride and Mystical Body of Christ, and there is no other way to attain God.

Our Lord is also the Truth, Wisdom incarnate, Light without darkness, without error or lies: “For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”[2] Our Lord died on the cross to give testimony to this truth. He is the source of all truth.

He is also the Life – Resurrection and Life: “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.”[3] Our Lord is the supernatural life of souls by His grace, His virtues and holiness, by His sacrifice, which is the source of all graces and holiness.

The proof that the priests is the apostle of the Heart of Jesus is given by the correspondence that exists between what Our Lord tells us and the powers received by the priest with the sacramental character and grace.

The priest has a triple power: potestas regendi, potestas docendi, potestas sanctificandi. The power to rule, to direct souls in the Way that is Our Lord Jesus Christ. The power to teach the truth, only the truth, the integral, supernatural truth. The power to communicate grace to souls and sanctify them in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the power to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

At the same time, a reflection of these three powers and their relation to the treasures of the Sacred Heart proves and explains why the solution to the present crisis of the Church resides in the Catholic priesthood, in its sanctity and fidelity.

The liberal, modernist spirit that has penetrated into the Church opposes Our Lord and His action.

Our Lord is the Way – but religious freedom dissolves the social Kingship of Christ. The Church is the only way of salvation, but the modernist spirit relativizes this and leads to religious indifferentism.

Today: Doctrinal Relativism Leads to Moral Relativism

The situation in the Church is clear: there is a doctrinal, dogmatic relativism, which in turn leads to moral relativism and ends into the acceptance and promotion of sin and scandal.

A clear example of this is the question of Communion to the divorced and supposedly “remarried.” There is a new attitude in the Church regarding these de facto, and even unnatural, unions. An unconceivable situation, directly opposed to Our Lord as the Life, the Truth, and the Way.

If ecclesiastical authorities have reached the point of calling evil good, it is because they have first called error truth. All this holds together – between all these things there is coherence, logic, causality.

Our Lord taught us that the tree is recognized by its fruits, and the good tree produces good fruits [4]. Therefore, if the fruit is bitter, corrupted, an incitement to sin, then most certainly the tree from which it comes is a bad tree. And if the tree is bad, it is because the seed was bad.

The problem we live today in the Church is not only one of consequences, but everything after the Council is the bad tree, and all of it is virtually contained in its seed, the Second Vatican Council.

If today we are faced with the scandal of Communion to the divorced and “remarried,” it is on account of post-conciliar legislation and practice, which allowed the inversion of the ends of marriage, weakened its indissolubility, and introduced personalism into it by inventing a new good of marriage: the personal good of the spouses.

All these doctrines, which for years now have been entering the Church, are contained in the Council, in Gaudium et Spes, which establishes these principles. And when the present Pope permits all these things, we see there only the homogenous development of error.

“If we have to choose between faith and a compromise, the choice is already made – no compromise!”

At the same time, we are amazed that there is no general reaction in the Church against these measures, that there is no group of bishops or cardinals who publicly oppose this scandal. This shows the gravity of modernism, which firstly disarms, and then makes the antibodies disappear.

While there are some improvements and a certain dissolution of this spirit, regarding us it is always the same: to be recognized we will have to accept the conciliar novelties…

Not long ago, Pope Francis felt obliged to correct Archbishop Pozzo’s words, stating that the recognition of the SSPX is possible, but only with the previous acknowledgment of Vatican II because “it has its value.” [5]

The hierarchical superior of Archbishop Pozzo, Cardinal Müller, explains [6] that to be Catholic one has to accept the Pope and the Council – religious liberty, ecumenism, etc., are doctrine, common doctrine, that is, doctrine of faith. He compares this with the case of the resurrection of Our Lord, a truth of faith, but one that has not been explicitly defined. And he concludes by saying that to demand the acknowledgment of the Council is not unreasonable and should not be an unsurmountable obstacle for the SSPX. In fact, this acknowledgment is precisely what will lead us to “full communion” – a communion in error. It is clear, then, that the condition is the acceptance of the Council and what came after the Council..

Therefore, it is also clear that the combat continues. As our Superior General, Bishop Fellay, has said, if we have to choose between faith and a compromise, the choice is already made – no compromise! [7]

God may certainly change the circumstances and put us in a different situation. That is our firm hope. But the present reality is what it is.

The Sacred Heart, a Heart of Reparation

Lastly, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also, essentially, the Heart of the Redeemer, a Heart of reparation. St. Margaret Mary says that Our Lord showed her that there are two sanctities, the sanctity of love and the sanctity of justice, and both are demanding and strict, each in its own way.

There is a double holiness and reparation, to justice and charity, and the priest must offer himself together with Our Lord for the redemption of men and in reparation. Our Lord Himself gave to His apostles this golden rule when He said: “For them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.”[8]

That must be our attitude towards those who are of the family of the Church, the authorities. That is the solution for those errors and weaknesses that we denounce. We have the key in our true identification with the priestly Heart of Jesus.

As St. John says, we must believe in love, in the love of Our Lord. We must trust in the powerful aid of His grace. We have to answer love with love, gift with our own gift, sacrifice with our own sacrifice. That is the way of redemption and restoration.

Let us go to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the heart of a Mother, full of love, goodness, mercy, constancy, and patience, as the love of a mother is. And Her heart is the surest, most perfect and shortest way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Amen.

Source: FSSPX/USA – Translation, subtitles and notes by DICI June 13, 2016)


[1] John 14:6

[2] John 18:37

[3] John 10:10

[4] See Matt. 7:16-17

[5] Interview with Pope Francis in La Croix on May 16, 2016:
“Q. Would you be ready to grant them a personal prelature?
Pope Francis: It is a possible solution, but first we have to establish a fundamental agreement with them. The Second Vatican Council has its value. We are moving forward slowly, with patience.”

[6] See Cardinal Müller’s interview in the June 2016 edition of Herder Korrespondenz, republished by the Austrian website Kathpress on Mai 24, and quoted by Edward Pentin in the National Catholic Register on the same day: “…Cardinal Müller, whose insistence on the SSPX adhering to the Council’s teaching is clearly more pronounced than that of the Holy Father, told Herder Korrespondenz that one cannot discount the Council as ‘only pastoral chatter’ just because it adopted no binding dogmas. The CDF prefect said that no pope has ever proclaimed Christ’s Resurrection as an ex cathedra [infallible] dogma, and yet it ‘belongs in the center of the creed, it is the foundation.’ ‘Key statements, even if they are not proclaimed ex cathedra [and thus infallible], are, for us Catholics, still essential,’ he said, adding that it is ‘not acceptable to take one and reject the other.’
“Cardinal Müller also said in the interview that one must not be fascinated by every homily from a bishop or pope. Only the magisterium, which is a declaration of faith, needs to be accepted, the cardinal stressed, according to the Kathpress report.
“‘Religious freedom as a fundamental human right and freedom to protect religion regarding the supernatural revelation in Jesus Christ are recognized by every Catholic without reservation’, he said in reference to the relevant Council declarations.
“The recognition of the Second Vatican Council is ‘not an unreasonably high hurdle’ to overcome, he said, adding that it was rather ‘the adequate remedy to enter into full communion with the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.’
“The CDF prefect further asserted that Pope Francis’ relationship to the SSPX does not differ from that of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. ‘He sees this and similar groups as Catholic, but still on the way towards full Catholic unity’.”

[7] Bishop Fellay’s interview in National Catholic Register, May 13, 2016:
“I do not seek this canonical regularization as an absolute. For me it is a given, a right to have it, but we’re not going to compromise, to hurt the faith, the discipline of the Church, to get that. We consider it as an injustice not to give it to us, and so we claim our point of view. That’s all. And so if we are put in a choice, let’s say, of between keeping the faith or making a compromise, it’s clear what we’re going to do. We’re not going to compromise.”

[8] John 17:19


God bless our new Priests and keep them steadfast in the Faith and Mass of All Time!

~Damsel of the Faith