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Ember Days

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http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/ember-days-opportunity-additional-sacrifice-and-spiritual-growth

What are Ember Days and what is their place in the life of the Church? The 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia explains,

The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The “Liber Pontificalis” ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week–these were formerly given only at Easter. Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Embner days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.

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The theology of Luther: “People of God”

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http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bugninis-principle-novus-ordo-missae-people-godhttp://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bugninis-principle-novus-ordo-missae-people-god

Archbishop Lefebvre expounds upon the theology that runs rampant in the Church today, that of the deification of the People of God, to the detriment of God who should rule and reign over all peoples of the earth. The true People of God should be led to heaven by the Church, instead of being coddled in comfort by the Church’s enemies hidden within.

Editor’s note:  The conference, entitled “The Church, The Priesthood, and the Tridentine Indult,” came on the heels of Pope John Paul II extending a limited indult for Catholic priests to say the traditional Latin Mass. In the portion of the conference contained below, the Archbishop critically examines the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI and the destructive theology which lies at the heart of it:

A Protestant Notion
Last year there appeared an enormous book of his [Archbishop Bugnini] on the liturgical reform, published posthumously, by one of his confreres. I recommend, if you ever come across this book, that you read the general principles. They are very instructive, and absolutely incredible—right in these general principles Archbishop Bugnini says, this liturgical reform is a profound one, aiming at restoring to its true place—for him, according to what he says—the People of God.

It is very curious to find here this notion of the People of God, which is in the new Code of Canon Law, published after the death of Archbishop Bugnini. He could not have gotten it from the new Code, so these ideas must have been around well before it. It is stupefying to read in the Documentation Catholique that the Lutheran-Catholic Commission of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, and thus an official Roman commission, said in effect that numerous points in the Council were drawn from the teachings of Luther, one of them being the notion of the People of God. They say it explicitly; so with this doctrine of the People of God, they are restoring the assembly to its true place, to give it an important role in the liturgy, implying that before the assembly did not exist, or that its role was minimal, that there was no participation; and that, now, thanks to the new liturgy, there is finally participation.

Practical Consequence: No Congregation, No Mass
There comes to mind an objection made by a certain Benedictine abbot at the conference which Archbishop Bugnini gave before 24 superiors of religious orders—I myself was present at this conference—at Rome, before the publication of the New Mass. When he introduced to us his “Normative Mass,” Archbishop Bugnini spoke to us precisely about this participation of the faithful, active participation, as if before Vatican II the faithful had never participated in the Mass. And so an abbot got up and said, “Father, if I understand correctly, we should not say private Masses any more, since there is no congregation, and thus no participation by the people in our Masses.” The response was, “Quite truthfully, we have not envisioned that.” Incredible! As he himself said, this idea has inspired the liturgical reform, an idea which reverses the roles, giving the greater role to the assembly, and no longer to the priest and the sacrifice, the Sacrifice of Our Lord.

Priestly Spirituality: Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
I have been asked to give you a few reflections on the spirituality of the priest. I cannot very well separate the spirituality of the priest from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

To my mind there are not two different kinds of priestly spirituality, there is only one: that of his Mass, that of the Sacrifice of Our Lord, because the priest is essentially the man of sacrifice. I would say there is a transcendental relation between the priest and the sacrifice, and between the sacrifice and the priest. One cannot imagine sacrifice without a priest, and the priesthood without sacrifice. And so there is a relation there that is more than essential, transcendental really, a relation that goes beyond even the essence of the priest. So, we must go back to the idea of the Sacrifice. One can say that our sacrifice, the sacrifice which Our Lord has put into our hands, the sacrifice which Our Lord has left us, is a thing without limit, inexpressible, so divine and mysterious is it, that it surpasses everything we can imagine.

 

 

The Martrydom of St. Lawrence

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Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., describes the scene of St. Lawrence’s Martrydom, that great saint that joyfully joked about his torture and joyfully went to his death rather than deny Christ.

The August sun has set behind the Vatican, and the life and animation which his burning heat, and had stilled for a time, began once more upon the seven hills. Lawrence was taken down from the rack about midday. In his prison, however, he had taken no rest, but wounded and bleeding as he was, he baptized the converts won to Christ by the sight of his courageous suffering. He confirmed their faith, and fired their souls with a martyr’s intrepidity. When the evening hour summoned Rome to its pleasures, the prefect recalled the executioners to their work, for a few hours’ rest ha sufficiently restored their energy to enable them to satisfy his cruelty.

Surrounded by this ill-favoured company, the prefect thus addressed the valiant deacon: ‘Sacrifice to the gods, or else the whole night long shall be witness of your torments.’ ‘My night has no darkness,’ answered Laurence. ‘and all things are full of light to me.’ They struck him on the mouth with stones, but he smiled and said: “I give Thee thanks, O Christ.’

The iron bed or gridiron with three bars was brought in and the saint was stripped of his garments and extended upon it while burning coals were placed beneath it. As they were holding him down with iron forks, Laurence said: ‘I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.’ The executioners continually stirred up the fire and brought fresh coals, while they still held him down with their forks. Then the saint said: ‘Learn, unhappy man, how great is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me refreshment, but they will be your eternal punishment. I call Thee, O Lord, to witness: when I was accused, I did not deny Thee; when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot coals I gave thanks.’ And with his countenance radiant with heavenly beauty, he continued: ‘Yea. I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou has deigned to strengthen me.’ He then raised his eyes to his judge, and said: ‘See, this side is well-roasted; turn me on the other and eat.’ Then continuing his canticle of praise to God: ‘I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that I have merited to enter into Thy dwelling place.’ As he was on the point of death, he remembered the Church. The thought of the eternal Rome gave him fresh strength and he breathed forth this ecstatic prayer: ‘O Christ, only God, O Splendour, O Power of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth, and builder of the city’s walls! Thou hast placed Rome’s sceptre high over all. Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manner, customs, language, genius, and sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire, and all discord and dissensions disappear in its unity. Remember thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together under the Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity. All its members in every place are united—a very type of Thy Kingdom; the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! may its royal head be bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come—an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and fasten them with bolts for ever.’

Thus he prayed, and with these words he breathed forth his soul. Some noble Romans who had been conquered to Christ by the martyr’s admirable boldness, removed his body; the love of the most high God had suddenly filled their hearts and dispelled their former errors. From that day the worship of the infamous gods grew cold; few people went now to the temples, but hastened to the altars of Christ. Thus Laurence, going unarmed to the battle, had wounded the enemy with his own sword.’ (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Volume 13, Time after Penteocost, Book IV, pp. 307-308.)

The grace of the Brown Scapular

 

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Those who die wearing the brown scapular as a faithful child of Mary shall not suffer eternal fire.

Taken from “The Litugical Year”:

“In the night between the 15th and 16th of July of the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel confirmed to her sons by a mysterious sign the right of citizenship she had obtained for them in their newly adopted countries; as mistress and mother of the entire religious state she conferred upon them with her queenly hands the scapular hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred fingers, the Mother of God said to him: ‘Whosoever shall die in this habit shall not suffer eternal flames.’ But not against hell fire alone was the all-powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother to be felt by those who should wear her scapular. In 1316, when every holy soul was imploring heaven to put a period to that long and disastrous widowhood of the Church which followed on the death of Clement V, the Queen of Saints appeared to James d’Euse, whom the world was soon to hail as John XXII; she foretold to him his approaching elevation to the Sovereign Pontificate, and at the same time recommended him to publish the privilege she had obtained from her Divine Son for her children of Carmel – viz., a speedy deliverance from purgatory. ‘I, their Mother will graciously go down to them on the Saturday after their death, and all whom I find in purgatory I will deliver and will bring to the fountain of life eternal.’ These are the words of our Lady herself, quoted by John XXII in the Bull which he published for the purpose of making known the privilege, and which was called the Sabbatine Bull on account of the day chosen by the glorious benefactress for the exercise of her mercy. We are aware of the attempts made to nullify the authenticity of these heavenly concessions; but our extremely limited time will not allow us to follow up these worthless struggles in all their endless details. The attack of the chief assailant, the too famous Launoy, was condemned by the Apostolic See; and after, as well as before, these contradictions, the Roman Pontiffs confirmed, as much as need be, by their supreme authority, the substance and even the letter of the precious promises. The reader may find in special works the enumeration of the many indulgences with which the Popes have, time after time, enriched the Carmelite family, as if earth would vie with heaven in favoring it. The munificence of Mary, the pious gratitude of her sons for the hospitality given them by the West, and lastly, the authority of St. Peter’s successors, soon made these supernatural riches accessible to all Christians, by the institution of the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, the members whereof participate in the merits and privileges of the whole Carmelite Order. Who shall tell the graces, often miraculous, obtained through this humble garb? Who could count the faithful now enrolled in the holy militia?”

When St. Padre Pio met Archbishop Lefebvre

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The mutual respect between these holy men was evident from their meeting. Read the details from the follow Society article:

http://sspx.org/en/padre-pio-and-archbishop-lefebvre

The lie

Available in the United States is a book entitled Padre Pio Gleanings by Pascal Catanco, which has been translated into English. On pages 58 and 59 one reads the following passage:

Among the many, many people who came to see Padre Pio was Archbishop Lefebvre who, later clinging stubbornly to Catholic Tradition, as he called it, questioned the authority of Vatican II and was removed from office by Pope Paul VI.

The archbishop had a meeting with Padre Pio in the presence of Professor Bruno Rabajotti. This witness reported that at a particular moment Padre Pio looked at Lefebvre very sternly and said:

Never cause discord among your brothers and always practise the rule of obedience; above all when it seems to you that the errors of those in authority are all the more serious. There is no other road than that of obedience, especially FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE MADE THIS VOW.

Padre Pio could give this advice because he had had to obey some rather questionable orders himself. His attitude was to put this in God’s hands because He would find a way for truth to triumph. It seems Archbishop Lefebvre did not see things in quite the same way even if he did respond to Padre Pio with: “I will remember that, Father.” Padre Pio looked at him intensely and, seeing what would soon happen, said:

No! You will forget it! You will tear apart the community of faithful, oppose the will of your superiors and even go against the orders of the pope himself and this will happen quite soon. You will forget the promise you made here today, and the whole Church will be hurt by you. Don’t set yourself up as a judge. Don’t take powers that do not belong to you and do not consider yourself as the voice of God’s People, as God already speaks to them. Do not sow discord and dissension. However, I know this is what you will do!

Unfortunately, the truth of Padre Pio’s prophecy is obvious to everyone.

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Archbishop Lefevbvre
and Padre Pio in the corridor
Padre Pio kissing
Archbishop Lefebvre’s ring
The truth
On August 8, 1990, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote a personal letter to a Society priest in France who had written to ask him about the meeting with Padre Pio. Here are extracts from the letter:

For several years now this slander, a fabrication from start to finish, has been circulating in Italy. I have already refuted it, but lies die hard; there is not one word of truth in the page of that magazine you photocopied for me.

The meeting which took place after Easter in 1967 lasted two minutes. I was accompanied by Fr. Barbara and a Holy Ghost Brother, Brother Felin. I met Padre Pio in a corridor, on his way to the confessional, being helped by two Capuchins.

I told him in a few words the purpose of my visit: for him to bless the Congregation of the Holy Ghost which was due to hold an extraordinary General my Chapter meeting, like all religious societies, under the heading of aggiornamento (up-dating), meeting which I was afraid would lead to trouble…

Then Padre Pio cried out. “Me, bless an archbishop, no, no, it is you who should be blessing me!” And he bowed, to receive the blessing. I blessed him, he kissed my ring and continued on his way to the confessional…

That was the whole of the meeting, no more, no less. To invent such an account as you sent me the copy of calls for a satanic imagination and mendacity. The author is a son of the Father of Lies

Thank you for giving me the chance to tell once more the plain truth.

Most cordially yours in Christo et Maria,

+Marcel Lefebvre

Nativity of Our Lady

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Here is a meditation for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Fr. Francis Xavier Weinger, 1876. Happy Birthday to Our Lady, the pure, holy, spotless and Immaculate Mother of God!

“What an one, think ye, shall this child be?”–Luke i, 66.

When St. John, the precursor of our Lord, first saw the light of day, and when his father’s tongue was loosed, as he wrote the name of the child, people wondered and said: “What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.”

This child was to be the forerunner of our Lord, of Him who is to be the Saviour of the world, to prepare for Him a way by which to enter the hearts of the children of men. Had the neighbors, when they first saw the child, but known his high vocation, they would have had every reason to congratulate him, and to be glad over his birth. I shall apply this text: “What an one, think ye, shall this child be?” to the birth of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of the Incarnate Son of God.

How many and how great reasons should have urged the people, who lived at the time of her birth, to congratulate the child, and to be glad. To them, however, these were not known. But we do know, and we, therefore, celebrate the memory of the happy occurrence of her nativity, as though this were the day on which our Blessed Lady first saw the light of day. It is in this spirit, as you are well aware, that the Church celebrates her feasts, and her prayer for today’s festivity confirms what I have just said. Be it then to her honor and to our consolation that I ask the question: what child is this that is born today? and what shall this child be? The answer to the two questions shall be the subject of my sermon.

And thou, Mother of God, obtain for us the grace to know thy Dignity and Power, and our hearts will be filled with festive joy! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God! The chief reason why a whole empire often rejoices at the birth of a child, is because this child is heir or heiress to the throne. Then it is, that days of jubilee are proclaimed throughout the land. Observe, then, the character of the child that is born today. This child is the future Queen of heaven and earth, the Ruler of the powers of Nature, the Mistress, not only of the visible world, but of those spacious realms of glory that loom up with dazzling brilliancy beyond the skies. Yea, more, she is Queen of the Angels, in the order of their choirs,–of Angels, of Archangels, of Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Thrones, Principalities, Seraphim, and Cherubim. All the Choirs of Angels are hovering around the cradle of this child, and pay homage to their Queen.

Yet, even now, at the first moment of her life, this child is full of grace, surpassing, by the splendor of her virtues, all the Choirs of Angels who may justly exclaim in their bewilderment of joy: “Who is she, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, the one chosen Mother of the Son of God?”Already in her mother’s womb she was endowed with the full use of reason, so that with every breath she could gain merits that surpassed those of the angels and saints, and these merits would go on increasing to the end of her life. What a glorious spectacle for the Angels to behold this child! and her name should be Mary, which signifies–the sea.

It was not without a special intervention of heaven that St. Joachim and St. Anna gave the child of grace this name. For as all the waters of the rivers flow into the sea, and the sea majestically flows over them all, so should every grace which God ever granted to Angels and Saints, and will ever grant them to the end of time, flow into the heart of Mary, and be inundated with the fullness of her grace. Yet, what do I say: this Child is pleasing in the sight of Angels. Rather let us consider, with what complacency the Blessed Trinity looks upon this Child. “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased,” thus resounded the voice of the heavenly Father on Mount Tabor. And today the voice of that same Father is heard over the cradle of the Blessed Virgin: “This is My beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” And the voice of the Son re-echoes: “This is My Mother, whom I have chosen from eternity, and in whom I am well pleased.” Beneath her heart I shall soon rest as God and man; shall first take substance from her. Her I shall afterwards embrace as My Mother, honor as my Mother, and glorify as My Mother. “This is My beloved spouse whom I have chosen from eternity, and in whom I am well pleased, My only spouse, immaculate.” Such are the words spoken by the Holy Ghost. And had a prophet been present at her birth, as at that of St. John, what might his prophecies have been? We know, for even then all that Scripture and tradition said of her dignity power, sanctity, and glory was fulfilled.

This child–such might have been the words of the Prophet–this child when scarcely three years of age shall consecrate herself, body and soul, to God in the temple. This child, as the virgin spouse of St. Joseph, shall receive the Angel’s salutation, and become the Mother of the Son of God. Being Mother to the Son of God, she shall nourish and nurse Him, live with Him for thirty years under the same roof, shall daily have His most holy example before her eyes; and, like Him, grow in age and wisdom and grace before God and men. She shall accompany Him on His apostolic journeys, hear His divine word, and witness all the wonders that He will work. She shall hear the cry of the people: “Blessed the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave thee suck.” And when the hour comes in which He will end the sacrifice of redemption on the cross, this child shall stand at the foot of the Cross, and there she shall hear the words of her dying Son: Woman, behold thy Son!

She shall remain on earth in the midst of the Apostles as their Queen, and as protectress of the Church, until saints of every rank shall have preceded her to heaven, and be ready to render her entry glorious. This child, when it shall have shone as the Mirror of Justice on earth, shall be taken, body and soul, glorified into Heaven Oh, what a day of triumph this shall be, when Christ shall embrace her as His Mother, lead her to her throne, where she remains seated forever, and enjoys the bliss and glory of her Divine Son. There she will entone that “Magnificat” which once on earth she sang in such rapturous tones of thanksgiving. There she will be our intercessor with Christ, recommending to Him each of her children, and showing herself the Mother of grace and of mercy, the refuge of sinners, the consoler of the afflicted, the restorer of the sick, our only hope after Christ our Lord.

The whole of Christendom, from its first beginning, and down through all succeeding ages, honored our Lady under all these titles. How many are the examples and witnesses that go to establish grounds for which the Church greets her with these titles, and that prove how accurately were fulfilled the words of the Queen of Prophets: “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed! ”

Let us think especially of the many shrines erected in her honor throughout Christendom, and of the enthusiasm with which Catholics fifteen hundred years ago received the decree of the Council of Ephesus, declaring that Mary is the Mother of God, and is to be honored and praised and venerated as such. Coming to our own days, think of the ever-memorable year 1854, in which Pius IX published the declaration that Mary was conceived without stain, exempt from the defilement of original sin. Then it was that the “Te Deum” resounded over the length and breadth of the earth. Look at the many shrines in Europe, where faith has fructified for nineteen hundred years. There is scarcely a province in which Catholics do not assemble at some shrine, and where we do not see countless memorials kept to testify that Mary has proven herself to be the refuge of sinners, the restorer of the sick, the help of Christians. But still more impressive and still more consoling it is for us, her children, to glance into the sanctuary of our own hearts, to look back upon our life-long pilgrimage, and to see how often we ourselves have experienced our dear Mother’s help and protection.

Let me ask the sinner: “Who has obtained for you the grace of conversion?” Oh, it is Mary! I cried to her for help. To her I owe this grace. And who, O grief-stricken soul! was it that consoled you when your father, mother, husband, or child were snatched away from you by death? You sought relief from Mary. She consoled you. And to whom do you acknowledge your thanks for the recovery from this or that sickness, for the rescue from this or that danger? You took refuge to Mary. She stood by you. Who is it that will be your consolation and hope on your deathbed? It is Mary, the Mother of a happy death.

And may she be such to us in truth. May she, by her assistance, complete, even unto the salvation of our souls, the work of grace begun in us, in order that we, who have presented our hearty congratulations at her cradle, may behold her throne of glory, and that when, through death, we shall be reborn unto life eternal, departing this world under her guidance and protection, we may forever share her happiness in heaven. Amen!

Beautiful creation of God – Lake Ponchartrain

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Water is an essential facet of life. Without it, we die, both physically and spiritually, for water is the matter of Baptism, that gives life to the soul, springing up to the eternal life of God.

“God is closer to us than water is to a fish.”  ~St. Catherine of Siena

“But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.”  ~John 4:14

 “He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”  ~John 7: 38

“You shall draw waters with joy out of the saviour’s fountains.”  ~Isaiah 12:3

“And every living creature that creepeth whithersoever the torrent shall come, shall live: and there shall be fishes in abundance after these waters shall come thither, and they shall be healed, and all things shall live to which the torrent shall come.”  ~Ezekiel 47:9

“And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”  ~Revelation 22: 1-2

~Damsel of the Faith