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First Sunday of Lent

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Fr. Goffine’s instruction for the First Sunday of Lent:

INVOCABIT – This Sunday is called Invocabit, because the Introit of the Mass begins with this word, which is taken from the ninetieth psalm, wherein we are urged to confidence in God, who willingly hears the prayer of the penitent:

INTROIT – He shall call upon me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him, and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. (Ps. 90:15-16) He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most high shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. (Ps. 90:1) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT – O God who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly fast of Lent; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, by good works we may secure. Through our Lord, etc.

EPISTLE – (II Cor. 6:1-10) Brethren, we exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now, is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God; in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, by the armor of justice on the right hand, and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report, and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.

EXPLANATION – The Church very appropriately reads on this day this epistle of St. Paul, in which he exhorts the Christians to make use of the time of grace. A special time of grace is Lent, in which everything invites to conversion and penance, a time, therefore, in which God is ready to make rich bestowal of His graces. St. Anselm says, those do not use the grace who do not cooperate. Let us, therefore, follow St. Paul’s exhortation, and earnestly practice those virtues he places before us, and especially those of temperance, patience, chastity, liberality, love of God and of our neighbor. Let us arm ourselves with the arms of justice at the right and the left, that is, let us strive to be humble in prosperity and in adversity, confident of God’s help. Let us never be led from the path of virtue, by mockery, contempt, nor by persecution, torments, or death.

ASPIRATION – Grant, O Jesus, that we may always faithfully cooperate with Thy graces, and employ well the time Thou hast again given for our salvation.

GOSPEL – (Matt. 4:1-11) At that time, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming, said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written: He hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.

Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and said to him: All these will I give thee, if, falling down, thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus said to him: Begone, Satan, for it is written, The Lord thy God shall thou adore, and him only shall thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold, angels came, and ministered to him.

Instruction

I. Christ went into the desert by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost to prepare by fasting and prayer, for His mission, and to endure the temptations of Satan, that, as St. Paul says, He might be one tempted in all things such as we are, without sin, and so become for us a High Priest who knew how to have compassion on our infirmities, (Heb. 4:15) and to show us by His own example, how we should, armed with the word of God, as with a sword, overcome the tempter. (Eph. 6:17)—Let us, therefore, courageously follow Christ to the combat against all temptations, with His assistance it will not be hard to conquer them. He has certainly taught us to overcome the hardest ones: the lust of the eyes, of the flesh, and the pride of life, and if we overcome these, it will be easy to conquer the rest.

II. If Christ, the only Son of God, permitted Himself to be tempted by Satan, even to be taken up on a high mountain, and to the pinnacle of the temple, it should not appear strange to us, that we are assailed by many temptations, or that we should find in the lives of so many saints that the evil spirit tormented them by various images of terror and vexation. This we find in the history of the pious Job, where we also find at the same time, that the evil spirit cannot harm a hair of our head without God’s permission.

III. From the coming of the angels to minister to Christ, after He had conquered Satan, we see that all who bravely resist temptations, will enjoy the assistance and consolations of the heavenly spirits.

Instruction on temptation

“To be tempted by the devil.” (Matt. 4:1)

What is a temptation?

A temptation is either a trial for instruction and exercise in virtue, or a deception and incitement to sin. In the first sense, God tempts man; in the second, he is tempted by the devil, the world or bad people, and the flesh, by evil thoughts, feelings, words, or work.

By what are we principally tempted?

By our own evil concupiscence and inclination to sin which adhere to us through original sin, (Jam. 1:14) on account of which it is said, that the flesh lusteth against the spirit. (Gal. 5:17)

Does the devil also tempt us?

He does, and is therefore called, in this day’s gospel, the tempter. St. Peter teaches us this, having himself experienced it: Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring-lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8) Not all temptations are to be ascribed to the devil, however, they often come from our own corrupt nature, our own incautiousness, or looseness of our senses, by which we expose ourselves to the danger of falling into sin.

How does the devil tempt us to sin?

In a twofold manner: He incites the concupiscence of man to those sins to which he sees him inclined, and then seeks to blind and confuse his imagination, so that he neither reflects, nor properly sees the temporal injury, disgrace, and derision, nor the shamefulness of sin and its eternal punishment. Thus the devil seduced Eve, our first mother, and thus he tempted Christ, with whom he could not, of course, succeed, for He was incapable of sin. He tempts bad people to persecute us, or to try us by their wicked vanities, as he did by the friends of Job.

Can the devil force us to evil?

He cannot; “for as a chained dog,” says St. Augustine, “can bite none but those who go near him, so the devil cannot harm with his temptations those who do not consent to them. Like the dog he can bark at you, but cannot bite you against your will.” Not by force but by persuasion Satan strives to injure, he does not force our consent, but entreats it. Seek, therefore, to subdue your passions and your senses, especially your eyes, and you will either remain free from all temptations, or easily overcome them.

Does God also tempt us?

God does indeed tempt us, but not to sin, as St. James expressly teaches. (Jam. 1:13) God either Himself proves us by sufferings and adversities, or He permits the temptations of the devil or evil-minded people to give us opportunity to practice the virtues of love, patience, obedience, etc. Thus He said to the Jews through Moses: The Lord your God trieth you, that it may appear whether you love him with all your heart, and with all your soul, or no. (Deut. 13:3)

Does God permit us to be tempted by man also?

He does, and for the same reasons. Thus He permitted the chaste Joseph to be tempted by Putiphar’s wife; (Gen. 34:7) Job by his wife and his friends. (Job 2:9) But He never permits us to be tempted beyond our strength, but gives us always sufficient grace to overcome and even to derive benefit from the temptation. (I Cor. 10:13)

Are temptations pernicious and bad?

No; they are useful and necessary, rather. “Hard is the fight,” St. Bernard writes, “but meritorious, for although it is accompanied by suffering, it is followed by the crown;”

(Apoc. 3:12) and Origen says. (Libr. Num.) “As meat becomes corrupt without salt, so does the soul without temptations.” Temptations, then, are only injurious when consent is given, and we suffer ourselves to be overcome by them.

When do we consent to temptations?

When we knowingly and willingly decide to do the evil to which we are tempted; as long as we resist we commit no sin.

What are the best means of overcoming temptations?

Humility; for thus answered St. Anthony, when he saw the whole earth covered with snares, and was asked “Who will escape?” “The humble;” he who knows his own frailty, distrusts himself, and relies only on God who resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble; (Dam. 4:6) the fervent invocation of the Mother of God, of our holy guardian angels and patron saints; the pronouncing of the holy name of Jesus, making the sign of the cross, sprinkling holy water; the remembrance of the presence of God who knows our most secret thoughts, and before whom we are indeed ashamed to think or do that which would cause us shame in the presence of an honorable person; frequent meditation on death, hell, and eternal joys; fleeing from all those persons by whom, and places in which we are generally tempted; fervent prayers, especially ejaculations, as:

“Lord, save me, lest I perish! Lord, hasten to help me!” finally, the sincere acknowledgment of our temptations at the tribunal of penance, which is a remedy especially recommended by pious spiritual teachers.

PRAYER O Lord Jesus! who spent forty days in the desert without food or drink, and didst permit Thy self to be tempted by the evil spirit, give me, I beseech Thee by that holy fast, the grace to combat, during this holy season of Lent, under Thy protection, against intemperance, and to resist the suggestions of Satan that I may win the crown of eternal life. Amen.

 

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Ash Wednesday

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Damsel of the Faith

Instruction for Lent
by Leonard Goffine, 1871

Who instituted Lent?

According to the fathers of the Church, Justinus and Irenaeus, the fast before Easter was instituted and sanctified by Christ Himself; according to the saints Leo and Jerome, the holy apostles ordained it after Jesus’ example.

Why is the fast required, and why for forty days before Easier?

In imitation of Christ’s forty days’ fast for us; to participate in the fasting and sufferings of Christ, by voluntary mortification, as did St. Paul, who sought thus to fill up what was wanting of the sufferings of Christ (Col. i. 24.); that we may subject our flesh to the spirit, and mortify our evil desires; that we may lead a pure life, and thus prepare for the holy festival of Easter, and the reception of the divine Lamb, Jesus; and, finally, that we may render God satisfaction for our sins, and do…

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Mystical Body of the Antichrist

This was one of my most well-read posts. With the ever worsening crisis in the Church, I’d like to disseminate it again.

Damsel of the Faith

Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his book Communism and the conscience of the west, uttered this astounding Prophecy about the state of the Church in the future, which is now upon us.

We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces-theMystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest.

The False prophet will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit Church.

Christ’s Church the Catholic Church will be one; and the false Prophet will create the other.

The False Church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions, forming some type of global association.

A world parliament of Churches. It will be emptied…

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Hail, Emperor Charles

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From Dom Prosper Gueranger O.S.B.

Hail, O Charles, beloved of God, Apostle of Christ, defender of His Church, protector of justice, guardian of good customs, terror of the enemies of the Christian name!

The tainted diadem of the Caesars – purified by the hands of Leo – sits on your august forehead; the globe of the Empire rests in your vigorous hand; the ever-victorious sword in your combats for Our Lord is sheathed at your waist, and on your forehead the imperial anointing was added to the royal unction by the hand of the Pontiff who consecrated you and confirmed your authority. As the representative of the figure of Christ in His temporal Royalty, you desired that He would reign in you and through you.

Now God rewards you for the love you had for Him, for the zeal you displayed for His glory, for the respect and confidence you showed toward His Spouse. In exchange for an earthly kingship, transitory and uncertain, you enjoy now an immortal kingdom where so many million of souls, who by your hands escaped idolatry, today honor you as the instrument of their salvation.

During the days of celebration of the birth of Our Lord by Our Lady, you offered to them the gracious temple you built in their honor (the Basilica of Aix-la-Chapelle), and which is still today the object of our admiration. It was in this place that your pious hands placed the newborn garment worn by her Divine Son. As retribution, the Son of God desired that your bones should gloriously rest in the same place to receive the testimony of the veneration of the peoples.

O glorious heir to the three Magi Kings of the East, present our souls before the One who wore such a humble garment. Ask Him to give us a part of the profound humility you had as you knelt before the Manger, a part of that great joy that filled your heart at Christmas, a part of that fiery zeal that made you realize so many works for the glory of the Infant Christ, and a part of that great strength that never abandoned you in your conquests for His Kingdom.

O mighty Emperor, you who of old was the arbiter of the whole European family assembled under your scepter, have mercy on this society that today is being destroyed in all its parts. After more than a thousand years, the Empire that the Church placed in your hands has collapsed as a chastisement for its infidelity to the Church that founded it. The nations still remain, troubled and afflicted. Only the Church can return life to them through the Faith; only she continues to be the depositary of public law; only she can govern the powerful and bless the obedient.

O Charles the Great, we beseech you to make that day arrive soon when society, re-established at its foundations, will cease asking liberty and order from the revolutions. Protect with a special love France, the most splendid flower of your magnificent crown. Show that you are always her king and father. Put an end to the false progress of the faithless empires of the North that have fallen into schism and heresy, and do not permit the peoples of the Holy Empire to fall prisoner to them.

Thank you, Your Excellency

The Archbishop

Penned by Fr. Benoit de Jorna, then District Superior of France, published in Fideliter (September-October 1995) on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the Society of St. Pius X. Eternal thanks indeed be to the great Archbishop who saved the Traditional Faith.

In these days when we celebrate the twenty-five years of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, my thought turns to the great figure of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. These twenty-five years of life, after God, are certainly owned to him. On your behalf, I would like to express our gratitude.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having been the core of resistance to the destructive innovations during the Second Vatican Council.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having early supported by your authority Catholics who fought against progressivism, especially those of the Cite Catholique,1 a breeding ground for the future traditional resistance.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for resigning your office as Superior General of the Holy Ghost Father, so as not to condone in front of the Church the abandoning of the essence of religious life.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having, during the crisis of vocations, welcomed young people willing to give themselves to God, and putting aside your tranquil respite to guide and support them.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having, in 1969, left your peaceful retirement and founded age 65, a priestly society in the midst of the doctrinal, moral and liturgical debacle.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having clearly seen, at the publication of the New Mass, the immense devastation that this Mass would cause and having refused to condone it in any way.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having founded Econe, the seminary of the traditional priesthood, of the traditional Mass, of the traditional doctrine, the seminary of the hope for a renewal of the Church.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having traveled the world for years, preaching, giving confirmation, opening seminaries, priories and schools and supporting the priestly, religious and Christian life.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for your statement of November 21, 1974, which will remain a monument in the Church history.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having borne, for the Reign of Jesus, to be contradicted, defamed, attacked, betrayed, and finally condemned during the years 1974, 1975 and 1976.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for attempting everything possible to bring Conciliar Rome to the Catholic Truth, and further thanks to you for your clear-sightedness that has rescued us from its clutches before it was too late.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for having not wanted, at the end of your journey, to leave as orphans the priests and faithful and for having the courage to give us Catholic Bishops, despite the dangers.

THANK YOU, YOUR EXCELLENCY, for these twenty-five years and thank you for the years to come, which will exist because of your vision, of your courage and especially of your immense love of Jesus Christ.

1 A traditional Catholic organization found in 1946 by Jean Ousset, author of the book, Action: A Manual for the Reconstruction of Christendom.

Profound insights into the Epiphany

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Taken from Mary of Agreda’s “Mystical City of God,” we receive profound insights into the wise men’s meeting with the Holy Family.  A most beautiful must-read account, during this Epiphany-tide.

On leaving Jerusalem the Magi again found the star, which at their entrance they had lost from view. By its light they were conducted to Bethlehem and to the cave of the Nativity. Diminishing in size it hovered over the head of the Infant Jesus and bathed Him in its light; whereupon the matter of which it had been composed dissolved and disappeared. Our great Queen had already been prepared by the Lord for the coming of the Kings, and when She understood that they were approaching the cave, She requested Saint Joseph not to leave it, but to stay at Her side. This he did, although the sacred text does not mention it. Like many other things passed over in the Gospels, this was not necessary for establishing the truth of the mystery. Nevertheless, it is certain that Saint Joseph was present when the Kings adored the infant Jesus. The precaution of sending him away was not necessary; for the Magi had already been instructed that the Mother of the Newborn was a Virgin, and that He was the true God and not a son of Saint Joseph. Nor would God have permitted them to be led to the cave ignorant of such an important circumstance as His origin, allowing them to adore the Child as the son of Joseph and of a Mother not a Virgin. They were fully instructed as to all these things, and they were deeply impressed by the sacramental character of all these exalted and complicated mysteries. 

The heavenly Mother awaited the pious and devout kings, standing with the Child in Her arms. Amid the humble and poor surroundings of the cave, in incomparable modesty and beauty, She exhibited at the same time a majesty more than human, the light of Heaven shining in Her countenance. Still more visible was this light in the Child, shedding through the cavern effulgent splendor, which made it like a heaven. The three kings of the East entered and at the first sight of the Son and Mother they were for a considerable space of time overwhelmed with wonder. They prostrated themselves upon the earth, and in this position they worshiped and adored the Infant, acknowledging Him as the true God and man, and as the Savior of the human race. By the divine power, which the sight of Him and His Presence exerted in their souls, they were filled with new enlightenment. They perceived the multitude of angelic spirits, who as servants and ministers of the King of kings and Lord of lords attended upon Him in reverential fear (cf. Heb. 1:6). Arising, they congratulated their and our Queen as Mother of the Son of the eternal Father; and they approached to reverence Her on their knees. They sought Her hand in order to kiss it, as they were accustomed to do to their queens in their countries. But the most prudent Lady withdrew Her hand, and offered instead that of the Redeemer of the world, saying: “My spirit rejoices in the Lord and My soul blesses and extols Him; because among all the nations He has called and selected you to look upon and behold that which many kings and prophets have in vain desired to see (cf. Luke 10:24), namely, Him Who is the eternal Word Incarnate (cf. John 1:1-3, 14). Let us extol and praise His Name on account of the sacraments and mysteries wrought among His people; let us kiss the earth which He sanctifies by His Real Presence.” 

At these words of most holy Mary, the three kings humiliated themselves anew, adoring the Infant Jesus; they acknowledged the great blessings of living in the time when the Sun of justice was arising in order to illumine the darkness (cf. Mal. 4:2). Thereupon they spoke to Saint Joseph, congratulating him and extolling his good fortune in being chosen as the spouse of the Mother of God; and they expressed wonder and compassion at the great poverty, beneath which were hidden the greatest mysteries of Heaven and earth. In this intercourse they consumed three hours, and then the kings asked permission of most holy Mary to go to the city in order to seek a lodging, as they could find no room for themselves in the cave. Some people had accompanied them; but the Magi alone participated in the light and the grace of this visit. The others took notice merely of what passed exteriorly, and witnessed only the destitute and neglected condition of the Mother and Her husband. Though wondering at the strange event, they perceived nothing of its mystery. The Magi took leave and departed, while most holy Mary and Joseph, being again alone with their Child, glorified His Majesty with new songs of praise, because His Name was beginning to be known and adored among the Gentiles (cf. Ps. 85:9)…

Holy Conversation Amongst Themselves 

From the grotto of the Nativity, into which the three Kings had entered directly on their way to Jerusalem, they betook themselves to a lodging inside of the town of Bethlehem. They retired to a room where, in an abundance of affectionate tears and aspirations, they spent the greater part of the night, speaking of what they had seen, of the feelings and affections aroused in each, and of what each had noticed for himself in the Divine Child and His Mother. During this conference they were more and more inflamed with divine love, amazed at the majesty and divine effulgence of the Infant Jesus; at the prudence, modesty and reserve of His Mother; at the holiness of Her spouse Joseph, and the poverty of all three; at the humbleness of the place, where the Lord of Heaven and earth had wished to be born. The devout kings felt a divine fire, which flamed up in their hearts, and, not being able to restrain themselves, they broke out into exclamations of sweet affection and acts of great reverence and love. “What is this that we feel?” they said. “What influence of this great King is it that moves us to such desires and affections? After this, how shall we converse with men? What can we do, who have been instructed in such new, hidden and supernatural mysteries? O greatness of His Omnipotence unknown to men and concealed beneath so much poverty! O humility unimaginable for mortals! Would that all be drawn to it, in order that they may not be deprived of such happiness!”

During these divine colloquies the Magi remembered the dire destitution of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in their cave, and they resolved immediately to send them some gifts in order to show their affection and to satisfy their desire of serving them, since they could not do anything else for them. They sent through their servants many of the presents, which they had already set aside for them, and others which they could procure. Most holy Mary and Joseph received these gifts with humble acknowledgment and they made a return not of empty-worded thanks, as other men are apt to make, but many efficacious blessings for the spiritual consolation of the three Kings. These gifts enabled our great Queen to prepare for Her ordinary guests, the poor, an abundant repast; for the needy ones were accustomed to receive alms from Her, and, attracted still more by Her sweet words, were wont to come and visit Her. The Kings went to rest full of incomparable joy in the Lord; and in their sleep the angels advised them as to their journey homeward.

Second Encounter, Bestowal of the Gifts 

On the following day at dawn they returned to the cave of the Nativity in order to offer to the heavenly King the special gifts which they had provided. Arriving they prostrated themselves anew in profound humility; and opening their treasures, as Scripture relates, they offered Him gold, incense and myrrh (cf. Matt 2:11). They consulted the heavenly Mother in regard to many mysteries and practices of faith, and concerning matters pertaining to their consciences and to the government of their countries; for they wished to return well instructed and capable of directing themselves to holiness and perfection in their daily life. The great Lady heard them with exceeding pleasure and She conferred interiorly with the Divine Infant concerning all that they had asked, in order to answer and properly to instruct these sons of the new Law. As a Teacher and an instrument of divine wisdom, She answered all their questions, giving them such high precepts of sanctity that they could scarcely part from Her on account of the sweetness and attraction of Her words. However, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, reminding them of the necessity and of the will of the Lord that they should return to their country. No wonder that Her words should so deeply affect these Kings; for all Her words were inspired by the Holy Spirit and full of infused science regarding all that they had inquired and many other matters.

The heavenly Mother received the gifts of the Kings and in their name offered them to the Infant Jesus. His Majesty showed by signs of highest pleasure, that He accepted their gifts: they themselves became aware of the exalted and heavenly blessings with which He repaid them more than a hundredfold (cf. Matt. 19:29). According to the custom of their country, they also offered to the heavenly Princess some gems of great value; but because these gifts had no mysterious signification and referred not to Jesus, She returned them to the Kings, reserving only the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. In order to send them away more rejoiced, She gave them some of the clothes in which She had wrapped the Infant God; for She neither had nor could have had any greater visible pledges of esteem with which to enrich them at their departure. The three Kings received these relics with such reverence and esteem that they encased them in gold and precious stones in order to keep them ever after. As a proof of their value these relics spread about such a copious fragrance that they revealed their presence a league in circumference. However, only those who believed in the coming of God into the world were able to perceive it; while the incredulous perceived none of the fragrance emitted by the relics. In their own countries the Magi performed great miracles with these relics.

Departure and Legacy

The holy Kings also offered their property and possession to the Mother of the sweetest Jesus, or, if She did not wish to accept of them and preferred to live in this place, where her most holy Son had been born, they would build Her a house, wherein She could live more comfortably. The most prudent Mother thanked them for their offers without accepting them. On taking leave of Her, the three Kings besought Her from their inmost hearts not to forget them, which She promised and fulfilled; in the same way they spoke to Saint Joseph. With the blessing of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, they departed, so moved by tenderest affection that it seemed to them they had left their hearts all melted into sighs and tears in that place. They chose another way for their return journey, in order not to meet Herod in Jerusalem; for thus they had been instructed by the angel on the preceding night (cf. Matt. 2:12). On their departure from Bethlehem, the same or a similar star appeared in order to guide them home, conducting them on their new route to the place where they had first met, whence each one separated to reach his own country.

For the rest of their lives these most fortunate Kings lived up to their divine vocation as true disciples of the Mistress of holiness, governing both their souls and the people of their states according to Her teaching. By the example of their lives and the knowledge of the Messias, which they spread about, they converted a great number of souls to the belief in the true God and to the way of salvation. Finally, full of days and merits, they closed their careers in sanctity and justice, having been favored both in life and in death by the Mother of mercy. After dismissing the Kings, the heavenly Queen and Saint Joseph spent their time in new canticles of praise of the wonders of the Most High, conferring them with the sayings of the Scriptures and the prophecies of the Patriarchs, which they saw fulfilled one after another in the Infant Jesus. But the most prudent Mother, who profoundly penetrated into the deepest meaning of these high sacraments, remembered them all and treasured them up in Her bosom (cf. Luke 2:19). The holy angels, who were witnesses of these holy mysteries, congratulated their Queen, that Her most holy Son had been manifested and that His Majesty had been adored by men; and they sang to Him new canticles, magnifying His mercies wrought upon mankind…

Postscript: Concerning the gifts offered by the Magi, Mary and Joseph decided to divide them into three parts: one destined for the temple of Jerusalem, namely the incense and myrrh, as well as part of the gold; another part as offering to the priest, who had circumcised the Child, in order that he might use it for himself and for the synagogue or oratory in Bethlehem, and the third part for distribution among the poor. This resolve they executed with generous and fervent affection.

The Catholicity of the Church

The Catholic Church is the most unique institution that has ever existed. Only she claims to be the authentic Bride of Christ.  Through her, we live and have life in sanctifying grace, for it is to her that Our Lord left the means of salvation, which are found through the Sacraments.

“It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ’s free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence… Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution – a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it’ (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own – ‘I will build my church;’ any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”, 1896 A.D.

The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic; that is, universal. And justly is she called Catholic, because, as St. Augustine says, she is diffused by the splendor of one faith from the rising to the setting sun. Unlike states of human institutions of the sects of heretics, she is not confined to any one country or class of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female… Moreover to this Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time… She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood. This (note of catholicity), therefore, is to be taught as a most reliable criterion, by which to distinguish the true from a false Church.”   ~Catechism of the Council of Trent