And Elias, the prophet, stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch (Ecclesiasticus. 48.1, DRV)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Perilous 'Catholic' Voyage


Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Our Lord promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against [His Church] (Mt. 16.18). However, it does not mean that the gates of hell - that is, the diabolical power or the whole strength of what Satan can do, either by himself or with his agents (visible and invisible) - can not assail her and history attests to this. But how far shall Our Lord permit the diabolical forces to assault His Church here on earth?

In our post, "The Great Tribulation," we pointed out the highest bulwark (cf., Sophonias 1.16) of the Church - the See of Peter - covered, eclipsed as it were, by the waves of the great tempest (today's Gospel, Mt. 8.23-27). Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat (Lk. 22.31). Satan succeeded to effect a seeming "dissolution of the Church" (St. Basil in a letter to St. Athanasius, in our post "The Great Tribulation") by a seeming "dissolution" of the highest authority in the Church. A "seeming dissolution"* for the ancient infernal serpent knew that he cannot overturn the Church from its foundation.
* "The Church attacking itself." - Pope Paul VI, in our post "Our Lady and the Diabolical Campaign")

The height of Satan's exploit of the weakness of Peter, probably that mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2.7) that was already working even when the Apostles were still around, was finally revealed by the heavens in the 1830s when Pope Gregory XVI, after examining papers from the 1789 revolutionaries which fell into his hands, addressed the bishops of the Catholic world on August 15, 1832 with the Encyclical "Mirari vos":

"Truly indeed we can say that this is the hour granted to the power of darkness to grind the elect as wheat [see the admonition of Our Lord to Peter in Lk. 22.31 above]... Evil comes out of Secret Societies [of the Freemasons], bottomless abyss of misery, which those conspiring societies have dug and in which heresies and sects have, as may be said, vomited as in a privy all they hold of licentiousness, sacrilege and blasphemy."

Eighteen days before his death on May 13, 1846, Pope Gregory put the "secret" papers, now known as the "Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita," in the hands of Jacques Cretineau-Joly, a French journalist and historian, which the latter published in 1859, at the behest of Pope Pius IX, in his 2-volume work "L'eglise Romaine en face de la Revolution" ("The Roman Church in the face of the Revolution"**). These same "secret" papers were contained in Msgr. George E. Dillon's book, "Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked," which Pope Leo XIII ordered to be prepared and published in an Italian version.
** Republished in Msgr. Delassus' work "The Anti-Christian Conspiracy" by Desclee de Brouwer in 1910, Vol. III, pp. 1035-1092.

The Successors of St. Peter mentioned had these "secret" papers published so that the plans of the Secret Societies of the Synagogue to subvert the Church might be made known to the whole of Christendom and thereby put the Church on guard as to prevent, then hopefully, such "universal catastrophe" - the equivalent of St. Matthew's great tempest in Greek - from taking place.

"The Permanent Instruction of Alta Vendita" in an outline

"From the start, the document tells a process that will take decades to accomplish. Those who drew up the document knew that they would not see its fulfillment. They were inaugurating a work that would be carried on by succeeding generations of the initiated. The 'Permanent Instruction' says, 'In our ranks the soldier dies and the struggle goes on.'

The 'Instruction called for the dissemination of liberal ideas and axioms throughout society and within the institutions of the Catholic Church so that the laity, seminarians, clerics and prelates would, over the years, gradually be imbued with the revolutionary principles.

In time, this mind-set would be so pervasive that priests would be ordained, bishops would be consecrated and cardinals would be nominated whose thinking was in step with the modern ['enlightenment'] thought rooted in the French Revolution's 'Declaration of the Rights of Man' and other 'Principles of 1789' (equality of religions, separation of Church and State, religious pluralism, etc.).

[And the ultimate aim?] Eventually, a Pope would be elected from these ranks who would lead the Church on the path of 'enlightenment' and 'renewal'. They stated that it was not their aim to place a Freemason on the Chair of Peter. Their goal was to effect an environment that would eventually produce a Pope and a hierarchy won over to the ideas of liberal 'Catholicism', all the while believing themselves to be faithful Catholics.

These [Popes] then would no longer [staunchly] oppose the modern ideas of the Revolution (as had been the consistent stand of [the Successors of St. Peter] from 1789 until 1958 - the death of Pope Pius XII - who [with one solemn infallible voice] condemned these liberal principles) but would [themselves circulate and preach though - and this is the diabolical trick - without the exercise of Papal Infallibility according to the grounds laid down by the First Vatican Council and yet to this effect under the pretext of an absolute 'obedience' to everything that the Pope says and does]. The end result would be a 'Catholic' clergy and laity marching under the banner of the 'Enlightenment', all the while thinking they are marching under the banner of the Apostolic keys" (J. Vennari, "'The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita': A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of the Catholic Church," Catholic Family News, February 1997, pp.2-3).

The Subversion of the Church through the Subversion of the Holy See According to the "Instruction":

"The task that we are going to undertake is not the work of a day, or of a month, or of a year; it may last several years, perhaps a century... [note the diabolical mind that planned and the spirit that persisted to sustain the anti-Catholic struggle that though calculated to even last for centuries yet sure of and categorical in its success!]

We do not intend to win the Popes to our cause, to make them neophytes of our principles, propagators of our ideas. That would we a ridiculous dream [as we already stated above, the ancient infernal serpent knew that he can never overturn the Church from her foundation]... That... would ruin us... What we must ask for, what we should look for and wait for... is a Pope according to our needs...

Now then, to assure ourselves a Pope of the required dimensions, it is a question first of shaping for this Pope a generation worthy of the reign we are dreaming of. Leave old people and those of mature age aside; go to the youth, and if it is possible, even to the children.

... You will contrive for yourselves, at little cost, a reputation as good Catholics and pure patriots. This reputation will put access to our doctrines into the midst of the young clergy, as well as deeply into the monasteries. In a few years, by the force of things, this young clergy will have overrun all the functions; they will form the sovereign's council, they will be called to choose a Pontiff who should reign. And this Pontiff, like most of his contemporaries, will be necessarily more or less imbued with the [revolutionary] Italian and humanitarian principles that we are going to begin to put into circulation. It is a small grain of black mustard that we are entrusting to the ground; but the sunshine of justice will develop it up to the highest power, and you will see one day what a rich harvest [referring to the New 'Catholic Church'] this small seed will produce.

... Let the clergy march under your standard, always believing that they are marching under the banner of the Apostolic Keys. You intend to make the last vestige of tyrants and the oppressors disappear; lay your snares like Simon Bar-Jona; lay them in the sacristies, the seminaries and the monasteries... we promise you a catch more miraculous... You will bring friends [like Bugnini, architect of the New "Mass" of Pope Paul VI, cf. our post "The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured in the Old Testament II"] around the Apostolic Chair. You will have preached [though of course without the exercise of Papal Infallibility as we have already noted above] a revolution in tiara and in cope, marching with the cross and the banner [as we have noted in our post, "On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply II," our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has yet to repudiate as totally absurd the effort to strike a point where the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the diabolical ideas of the Freemasons could be reconciled]." (in Mr. J. Vennari, ibid.).

In 1888, Pope Leo XIII received a vision which confirms the Synagogue-Masonic plot to use the Holy See itself, through the weakness of its occupants, in "preaching" - though, again for this is an important distinction, not in the official capacity as the Supreme Doctor and Pastor of the Universal Church exercising Papal Infallibility - the diabolical 1789 principles. This vision made the Pontiff compose a long Prayer to St. Michael - the short form of which was ordered to be recited at the end of the Traditional Low Mass in Latin but was suppressed after Vatican II. In the long version, Pope Leo calls the devil "this wicked dragon," and accuses Satan and his "apostate host" thus:

"These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions.

In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered."

This vision and the Pontiff's great alarm as to implore the aid of the Prince of the heavenly hosts for the Holy See help us better recognize the church of Pergamus in the Book of the Apocalypse (2.12-13) to be the church of Rome in particular (for the individual churches reproached by Our Lord in the Book  of the Apocalypse is also understood as the Catholic Church rebuked in her condition during this end-times period and during that period which shall precede the consummation): And to the angel [that is, in Scriptural language, the chief priest, cf. Malachi 2.7, or the bishop, cf. Acts 20.28: the episkopoi (Gk), episcopi (Latin)] of the church of Pergamus write: These things, saith He, that hath the sharp two edged sword: I know where thou dwellest, where the seat of Satan is: and thou holdest fast My Name, and has not denied my faith (cf., also our posts "The 'Great Tribulation'", and "On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply II").

The Lord seems to sleep as Peter has been voyaging on a path where his Lord and Master would never oblige Himself to be found at its end - the present ecumenical path of religious syncretism where those who serve the high altar of the Lord and the altar of Belial could worship in a way which pleases them as suits their present circumstances unmolested by threats of "anathema" and eternal damnation. "If the disciples," says a divine in the celebrated edition of the Douay-Rheims Version prepared by Fr. Haydock, "in [following] Our Lord Jesus Christ, if His presence did not free them from perils, to what frightful storms do those persons expose themselves, who undertake the voyage of the present life without Him?" Or, if we may here add, in saying "with Him, still" but dare to edit or revise the directions He has already laid? The heavens has warned us already through Our Lady in Her great apparition in Fatima, Portugal that the ultimate consequence of Peter who savourest not the things of God, but the things that are of men (Mt. 16.23) is the "annihilation of many nations" (cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II, and the Annihilation of Many Nations"- annihilation of many souls! Then already "late," as Our Lady points out, Peter will finally heed God's request to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart - a great number of souls will have already been lost and doomed to perdition.

"Faithful souls," says the same divine, "ought, from the example here [in today's Gospel] offered them, to rise superior to every storm and tempest, by invoking the all-powerful and ever ready assistance of heaven, and by always calling in God to their help before they undertake any thing of moment." And, if we may add, when God presents His assistance, as through His unsettling message and plan of action He coursed through Our Blessed Mother in Fatima, for example, we - especially when God raises us to commanding positions - must be ready to abandon our sufficiency and security in our grand plans of how things ought to turn about.

Relates posts: "The Year That Was 1929", "Papal Condemnation of Freemasons and their Doctrines", "Upheaval", and "Vatican II and Freemasonry on 'Religious Liberty'"

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Problem With the "Divine Mercy" Devotion


Feast of St. John Chrysostom

The Church, during the time of Pope John XXIII, prohibited with a decree on November 19, 1958 the "Divine Mercy" devotion as received by Sr. Faustina. The Holy Office condemned it, establishing that "the supernatural revelations made to Sr. Faustina is not evident."

The "devotion" graphically eliminates the Most Sacred Heart which the Chair of St. Peter had already presented as the true image of God's "Merciful Love" (St. Therese). The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, crowned with thorns, dripping with the Most Precious Blood, calls for a devotion of reparation as the successors to the Chair of St. Peter had consistently insisted (from the time of the institution of the Sacred Heart devotion) for the true God Whom an authentically orthodox Catholic Theology proclaims is the God of BOTH mercy AND JUSTICE - the divine justice must be satisfied also by reparation. The "Divine Mercy" devotion graphically eliminates therefore the Catholic concept of the "God of Justice" - demanding reparation and propitiation for sins - which forms a necessary part of the equation, so to speak, of who-the-true-God-is. And when the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) adopted the "New 'Catholic Theology'" (the New "Catholic" Orientation) with its new concept of 'god' (cf., our post "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'") - "only the [g]od of mercy" - it's no great surprise that Pope John Paul II, avowed advocate of Vatican II "norms and directives," defied the previous Papal ban, without satisfying the supernatural requirement, and even propagated the "devotion": for the New "Catholic" religion must have its fitting devotion! 

A true and solid devotion, since it touches on an orthodox and solid Spiritual Life, must be orthodox in doctrine, that is, in conformity with the Sacred Scripture and the traditional teachings of the Church. "Indeed," says Fr. Frederick Faber of the Oratorians, "a mistake in doctrine is doubly dangerous when it is worked up into the spiritual life." And the 'double danger' is that "it poisons everything, and there is no mischief which may not be predicted of the unfortunate soul which is the subject of it" (in the spiritual classic "Growth in Holiness," p.43)

The New 'Catholic Theology' "work[ing] up into the spiritual life" of Vatican II generation of Catholics through the "Divine Mercy Devotion"

On page 23 of the book "Divine Mercy in My Soul" (The Diary of Sr. Faustina): "... And the host came out of the tabernacle and came to rest in my hands and I... placed it back in the tabernacle. This was repeated a second time, and... it happened a third time." 

It is Protestant way to refer to the Sacred Specie as mere "host"; a Catholic soul with a reverential disposition towards the sacred would refer to It: "the Sacred Host." And there you have "Jesus Christ" wanting to rest in unconsecrated hands (and these same unconsecrated hands putting back the Sacred Host into the tabernacle) thereby contradicting "His" decrees* in the Sacred Scriptures that only the consecrated hands of an ordained priest may touch the sacred. The "Divine Mercy" devotion affords the priests of the New "Catholic" religion, the "Eucharistic lay ministers", and the faithful communicating standing and by the hands a fitting consolation that there is a 'god' of all mercy and tender compassion who will not condemn sacrilege!

* In 2 Kings [2 Samuel in Protestant versions] 6.6, we read God chastising Ocha with immediate death for he dared touch the Ark of the Covenant which contains the manna [a figure of our tabernacle with the real Manna - the Living Bread - reserved in it] with his unconsecrated hands - what more to touch the Sacred Host with unconsecrated hands! St. Paul the Apostle therefore points out: ... These things were done in a figure of us.... they are written for our correction... (1 Cor. 10.6,11).

See: "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gospel Commentary: Mt. 8.1-13


Third Sunday after Epiphany

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him (v. 1). While the Lord taught on the mount, the disciples were with Him, for to them it was given to know the secret things of the heavenly doctrine; but now as He came down from the mount the crowds, who had been altogether unable to ascent into the mount followed Him. They that are bowed by the burden of sin cannot climb to the sublime mysteries. But when the Lord came down from the mount, that is, stooped to the infirmity, and helplessness of the rest, in pity to  their imperfections, great multitudes followed Him, some for renown, most for His [saving] doctrine, some for cures, or having their wants administered to. Otherwise; by the mount on which the Lord sat is figured the Heaven, as it is written, “Heaven is my throne” (Is. 66.1). But when the Lord sits on the mount, only the disciples come to Him; because before He took on Him the frailty of our human nature, God was known only in Judaea (cf., Ps. 75.1); but when He came down from the height of his Divinity, and took upon Him the frailty of our human nature, a great multitude of the nations followed Him.

And, behold, there came a leper... (v.2): Among others who were not able to ascend into the mount was the leper, as bearing the burden of sin; for the sin of our souls is a leprosy. And the Lord came down from the height of heaven, as from a mountain, that He might purge the "leprousness" of our sin; and so the leper as already prepared meets Him as He came down. He works the cures below, and does none in the mount; for there is a time for all things under heaven, a time for teaching, and a time for healing. On the mount He taught, He cured souls, He healed hearts; which being finished, as He came down from the heavenly heights to heal bodies.

... and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, if Thou wilt, thou canst make me clean: He did not ask it of Him as of a human physician, but adored Him as God. For faith and confession make a perfect prayer; so that the leprous man in adoring fulfilled the work of faith, and the work of confession in words Lord, if Thou wilt... "He said not, 'If Thou wilt ask of God,' or, 'If Thou wilt make adoration to God;' nor did he say, 'Lord, cleanse me;' but if Thou wilt [leaving] all to Him, thereby making Him Lord and attributing to Him the [divine] power over all" (St. John Chrysostom). And thus he rewarded a spiritual Physician with a spiritual reward; for as physicians are gained by money, so He with prayer. We offer to God nothing more worthy than faithful prayer. In that he say, If thou wilt, there is no doubt that Christ’s will is ready to every good work; but only doubt whether that cure would be expedient for him, because soundness of body is not good for all. If thou wilt then is as much as to say, I believe that Thou willest whatever is good, but I know not if this that I desire for myself is good.

And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him... (v.3): For He was not only God, but man also, whence He wrought Divine wonders by touch and word; for as by an instrument so by His body the Divine acts were done.

immediately his leprosy was cleansed...Because he was not slow to believe, his cure is not delayed; he did not linger in his confession, Christ did not linger in His cure.

And Jesus said unto him, “See thou tell no man...""And in truth what need was there that he should proclaim with his mouth what was evidently shewed in his body?" (St. Jerome)

... shew thyself to the Priest... (v.4): He sends him to the Priests, first, because of His humility that He may seem to defer to the Priests; secondly, that when they saw the leper cleansed they might be saved, if they would believe on the Saviour, or if not that they might be without excuse; and lastly, that He might not seem, as He was often charged, to be infringing the Law" (St. Jerome). Or, He sends him to the Priests that they might know that he was not cleansed according to the manner of the Law, but by the operation of grace. 

By the leper is signified the sinner; for sin makes an unclean and impure soul; he falls down before Christ when he is confounded concerning his former sins; yet he ought to confess, and to seek the remedy of penitence; so the leper shews his disease, and asks a cure. The Lord stretches out His hand when He affords the aid of Divine mercy; whereupon follows immediately remission of sin; nor ought the Church to be reconciled to the same, but on the sentence of the Priest.

... and offer the gift that Moses commanded...:  "Should any be perplexed how, when the Lord seems here to approve Moses’ offering, the Church does not receive it, let him remember, that Christ had not yet offered His body for a holocaust. And it behoved that the typical sacrifices should not be taken away, before that which they typified was established by the testimony of the Apostles’ preaching, and by the faith of the people believing. By this man was figured the whole human race, for he was not only leprous, but, according to the Gospel of Luke, is described as full of leprosy. For all have sinned, and need glory of God (Rom. 3.23); to wit, that glory, that the hand of the Saviour being stretched out, (that is, the Word being made flesh), and touching human nature, they might be cleansed from the vanity of their former ways; and that they that had been long abominable, and cast out from the camp of God’s people, might be restored to the temple and the priest, and be able to offer their bodies a living sacrifice to Him to whom it is said, Thou art a Priest for ever (Ps. 109.4)" (St. Bede).

... for a testimony unto them: That should they afterwards seek to put him out, He might be able to say, You have received gifts on My cleansing, how do ye now cast Me out as a leper?

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion... (v.5): This centurion was the first-fruits of the Gentiles, and in comparison of his faith, all the faith of the Jews was unbelief; he neither heard Christ teaching, nor saw the leper when he was cleansed, but from hearing only that he had been healed, he believed more than he heard; and so he mystically typified the Gentiles that should come, who had neither read the Law nor the Prophets concerning Christ, nor had seen Christ Himself work His miracles. He came to Him and besought Him, saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously afflicted.

Mark the goodness of the centurion, who for the health of his servant was in so great haste and anxiety, as though by his death he should suffer loss, not of money, but of his well being. For he reckoned no difference between the servant and the master; their place in this world may be different, but their nature is one. Mark also his faith, in that he said not, "Come and heal him," because that Christ who stood there was present in every place; and his wisdom, in that he said not, "Heal him here on this spot," for he knew that He was mighty to do, wise to understand, and merciful to hearken, therefore he did but declare the sickness, leaving it to the Lord, by His merciful power to heal. And he is grievously afflicted; this shews how he loved him, for when any that we love is pained or tormented, thought it be but slightly, yet we think him more afflicted than he really is.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed... (v.8): "By declaring himself unworthy, he shewed himself worthy, not indeed into whose house, but into whose heart, Christ the Word of God should enter. Nor could he have said this with so much faith and humility, had he not borne in his heart Him whom he feared to have in his house. And indeed it would have been no great blessedness that Jesus should enter within his walls, if He had not already entered into his heart" (St. Augustine).

Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel (v.10): Andrew believed, but it was after John had said, Behold the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:36); Peter believed, but it was by reading the Scriptures; and Nathanael first received a proof of His Divinity, and then spoke forth his confession of faith.

... outer darkness... (v.12): "It is called, outer darkness, because he whom the Lord casts out leaves the light" (St. Jerome).

... there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: Thus in metaphor He describes the sufferings of the tormented limbs; the eyes shed tears when filled with smoke, and the teeth chatter together from cold. This shews that the wicked in hell shall endure both extreme cold and extreme heat: according to that in Job, Let [them] pass from rivers of snow to excessive heat (Job 24.19).

[Taken from St. Thomas Aquinas, "Catena Aurea"]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mary, Our Mediatress


Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle
(To Thee do we sigh, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.)

On the Necessity of Mary's Intercession for Our Salvation
by St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

That it is not only lawful but useful to invoke and pray to the Saints, and more especially to the Queen of the Saints, the most holy and ever-blessed Virgin Mary, in order that they may obtain us the divine grace, is an article of faith, and has been defined by general Councils, against heretics who condemned it as injurious to Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our only Mediator. But if a Jeremias after his death prayed for Jerusalem (2 Mach. 15.14); if the ancients of the Apocalypse presented the prayers of the saints of God (5.8); if a St. Peter promises his disciples that after his death he will be mindful of them (2 Pet. 1.15); if, in fine, the saints can pray for us, why cannot we beseech the saints, and especially Our Blessed Mother, to intercede for us? And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head (Heb. 12.1).

If we implore Our Blessed Mother to obtain us a favor, it is not because we distrust the divine mercy, but rather that we fear our own unworthiness and the absence of proper dispositions; and we recommend ourselves to Mary, that her dignity may supply for our lowliness. Hence, to invoke the aid of the Most Blessed Virgin is not diffidence in the divine mercy, but dread of our own unworthiness.

The intercession of Mary is necessary to our salvation - not absolutely, but morally. This necessity proceeds from the will itself of God, that all graces that He dispenses should pass through the hands of Mary. It is one thing to say that God 'cannot', and another that He 'will' not, grant graces without the intercession of Mary. We willingly admit that God is the source of every good, and the absolute master of all graces; and that Mary is only a pure creature, who receives whatever she obtains as a pure favor from God. We most readily admit as well that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator of justice, according to the distinction just made, and that by His merits He obtains us all graces and salvation; but we say Mary is the Mediatress of grace; and that receiving all she obtains through Jesus Christ Our Lord, and because she prays and asks for it in the Name of Jesus Christ, yet all the same whatever graces we receive, they come to us through her intercession. Hence the Holy Church, the ground and pillar of the truth (1 Tim. 3.15), applies the following passages to our Blessed Mother: In me is all hope of life and of virtue. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth (Ecclus 24.25). He who finds me finds life, and draws salvation from the Lord (Prov. 8.35).

Ave, gratia plena ("Hail, full of grace" - Lk. 1.28). St. Bernard says "that God has filled Mary with all graces, so that men may receive by her means, as by a channel, every good thing that comes to them." He says that "She is a full aqueduct, that others may receive of her plenitude." On this the Saint makes the following significant remark: "Before the birth of the Blessed Virgin, a constant flow of graces was wanting, because this aqueduct did not exist." But now that Mary has been given to the world, heavenly graces constantly flow through her on all.

St. Bonaventure: "As the moon, which stands between the sun and the earth, transmits to this latter whatever it receives from the former, so does Mary pour out upon us who are in this world the heavenly graces that she receives from the divine sun of justice. While the Church calls her felix coeli porta ("the happy gate of heaven") for as the same St. Bernard remarks: "As every mandate of grace that is sent by a king passes through the palace-gates, so does every grace that comes from heaven to the world pass through the hands of Mary." St. Bonaventure says Mary is called "the gate of heaven, because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her."

An ancient author, probably St. Sophronius in a sermon on the Assumption, published with the works of St. Jerome, says "that the plenitude of grace which is in Jesus Christ came into Mary, though in a different way," meaning that it is Our Lord, as in the head, from which the vital spirits (that is, divine help to obtain eternal salvation) flow into us, who are the members of His Mystical Body (cf. Col. 1.18); and that the same plenitude is in Mary, as in the neck, through which these vital spirits pass to the members.

And St. Bernardine of Sienna: "that as God was pleased to dwell in the womb of this Holy Virgin, she acquired, so to speak, a kind of jurisdiction over all graces; for when Jesus Christ issued forth from her most sacred womb, all the streams of divine gifts - of which Our Lord is the source - flowed from her as from a celestial ocean so that no creature has since received any grace from God otherwise than through the hands of Mary."

Friday, January 20, 2012

The "Little Way of Spiritual Childhood" of St. Therese: Humility (I)


The first characteristic of a child and that which first strikes us is his littleness. In the supernatural order we must likewise first of all recognize our littleness. Amen I say to you, unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18.3). This is the disposition that characterizes our true condition and puts us in our right place before God. To be little spiritually means to be humble. Littleness, however, implies a certain simplicity, an effective note of self-effacement in a pleasing and gracious manner. 

To a sister who asked Therese what she meant by remaining a little child before God, she answered: "It means that we acknowledge our nothingness, await everything from the good Lord, refuse to attribute to ourselves the virtues we practice, but believe that we are incapable of doing anything that is good." Note how this basic Christian disposition so opposes our response to the modern challenge: "Prove yourself."

It is primarily because humility puts us in our right place, in our true condition, that St. Therese makes humility the basis of her Way - in fact, of an authentic Spiritual Life: "It seems to me that humility is truth. I don't know whether I am humble, but I know I see the truth in all things."

To that first reason she added another, and one that is truly Theresian. It is the fact, namely, that "it is proper to divine love to lower itself; hence, the lower we are, the more we attract God;" on the contrary, when we lift ourselves up we go counter to that movement of love.

Finally, St. Therese practiced humility out of love, to prove her love: 

"To ravish Thee, quite little shall I remain;
Myself forgetting, I'll charm Thy loving Heart."

However, according to her, humility must not consist in the mere acceptance of our state of dependence and incapacity. We must love to see ourselves as we truly are. We must bear the imperfections that are inherent in our nature; be happy to see ever more clearly how wretched  is our condition; we must even will to become ever more little.

To discover those deficiencies in ourselves does not mean that we have created them. They were in us but we had failed to notice them. Our discovery of them has only given us a better understanding of our true condition. Now, the better we know ourselves, accepting to see ourselves as truly are, and the more truthful we are with ourselves, the more pleasing shall we be to God; and we shall also be more ready for the workings of God's merciful love.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

God's Business and Obedience


Feast of the Holy Family

The Boy Jesus was lost for three days. All through His infancy there was talk of contradiction, swords, no room, exile, slaughter, and now there was lost. In those three days, Mary came to know one of the effects of sin, namely, the loss of God. Though She was without sin, being full of grace (Lk. 1.28), nevertheless, She knew the fears and the loneliness, the darkness and the isolation which every sinner experiences when he loses God. He was Hers; that was why She sought Him. He was on the business of redemption; that was why He left Her and went to the Temple. She had her "dark night" of the body in Egypt; She would now have Her "dark night" of the soul in Jerusalem. Not only Her body, but also Her soul would have to pay dearly for the privilege of being His Mother. She would later suffer another three-day loss from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. This first loss was part of Her preparation.

And seeing Him they wondered (Lk. 2.48).

The fact that He was sitting in the midst of the doctors would indicate that they received Him not just as a learner, but as a doctor. In this Gospel account, there is a restraint concerning this scene which contrasts strongly with certain apocryphal writings. The "Gospel of Thomas", which belongs to the second century and which the Church does not accept to be canonical, describes Our Lord on this occassion as a professor. An Arabic gospel of a later period actually makes the instructions touch on metaphysics and astronomy. The revealed Gospels, however, always show powerful restraint to the point of understatement in the describing the the life of the Lord: And seeing Him they wondered.

They were probably astonished because of the learning which He displayed. The Psalmist tells that He had more understanding than His teachers because the testimonies of God were His study. I have understood more than all my teachers: because Thy testimonies are my meditation. I have had understanding above ancients: because I have sought Thy commandments (Ps. 118.99-100, chapter and verses division according to the Sacred Latin Vulgate Bible). 

How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business? (Lk. 1.49)

Our Lord's supreme business was to be a Savior; but for the moment, His business included obedience to His earthly guardians. The Divine Child was implying that there was something in history which ought to be known to His Mother and His foster father, something that justified His being where He was, and forbade their anxiety about Him. This was the first of many musts that Our Blessed Lord uttered during His life to indicate that He was under a mandate, under obedience to be a ransom. The very fact that He associated the word must with this Heavenly Father meant that Sonship implied obedience. At the age of twelve, He was girding Himself for something that would be irksome to His human nature, but His whole nature was bent on the accomplishment of a Divine must.

If there is anything that dispels the false assumptions of the enemies of Christ that His consciousness of a union with the Father developed gradually, it is in this text in which He, as a Boy of twelve, hinted at His mysterious origin and at the peculiar foster character of His father, as well as His perfectly conscious unity with the Godhead; the Divine constraints which swayed His life were already profoundly realized by Him. He often used the word must.

I must preach the kingdom of God (Lk. 4.43).
I must work the works of Him that sent Me (Jn. 9.4).
The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the ancients and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day rise again (Lk. 9.22).
The Son of man must be lifted up (Jn. 12.34).

He always talked as one under orders. Free from the compulsion of heredity, circumstances or family, this Boy of twelve said that He was bound by heaven's commission. Therefore He asked why they had searched for Him. He was surprised that any explanation other than that He was obeying His Father's will should even have occurred to them. The imperative of Divine Love was manifested in His I must. His plan was gradually revealed to the minds of men; but there was no gradual revelation in His mind, no new understanding, of why He had come as the Modernists impiously assert.

These are the first words of Our Lord. He spoke them in order to declare His mission and to affirm the primacy of the rights of God. When hardly an adolescent, Our Blessed Lord teaches us that God and the things of God must always come first. He must hold the first place in our lives, and we must obey Him regardless of all other considerations, even if it means sacrificing the rights of nature and of blood. Yielding to family, relatives, and friends is no longer a virtue - and may even be sinful - if it leads us away from the will of God or hinders its fulfillment (as in responding to God's call to a religious or priestly vocation, for example). But giving precedence to the rights of God does not imply that we neglect our duties toward our parents, friends, and neighbor.

And His Mother kept all these words in Her heart (Lk. 2.51).

The sword prophesied by Simeon was already coming to Mary before the Cross had come to Her Son, for She was already feeling the cutting separation. On the Cross He would, in His human nature, utter the cry of His greatest agony, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? But Our Blessed Mother uttered it while He was still a Boy. The most penetrating sorrows of the soul are those which God imposes, as Jesus imposed this one on His Mother. Creatures can hurt one another only on the outside, but God's purifying flame can enter their souls like a two-edged sword. Both His natures (divine and human) were teaching Her to prepare for His sorrowful life: His human nature by hiding the loveliness of His Face from Her during those three days, better called three "Nights;" His divine nature by proclaiming that the Father had sent Him to earth to do heaven's business, which was to open it to mankind by paying the debt of mankind's sins.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Blessed Sacrament: Crown of Catholic Triumph


Almost all the provinces of the Spiriual Life are pervaded by a so-called ‘holy discouragement.’ We are something more than dissatisfied, something less than disheartened. When we look at ourselves, at our defeats, nay, even our victories, we cannot help but be depressed. If we consider the multitude and weight and ubiquity of our temptations, the scene is little less disheartening, especially when we add the consideration of our invisible spiritual foes. So also the world, and its effect upon us and power over us, are all discouraging facts of our Christian warfare. Indeed in all things our very safety consists in being afraid, in a sense of inferiority, in a conviction that we are no match either for our own poor selves or for selves or for evils from without. Yet for all this we must be joyous, confident, secure; and as there are no fountains for these things either in self or circumstances, we can only find them in our Faith, and our Faith, preached in all the creation that is under heaven (Col. 1.23), is the victory which overcometh the world (1 Jn. 5.4). However, Faith is not the end; it must lead us to our hidden God dwelling in our midst, discerning the Body of the Lord (1 Cor. 11.29) – the Living Bread (Jn. 6.51) – reposing on the high altars (cf., Heb. 13.10) of the New Covenant.

The love of the Blessed Sacrament is the ground and royal devotion of Faith. And out of it there come three especial graces which are the very life and soul of an interior life:

An overflowing charity to all around us

The very joyousness of having Jesus with us, of being in actual and delighted possession of Him, renders us full of charity to others. Happy ourselves, we are anxious to make others happy also. To be full of charity is in itself a pain, if we have no vent by which we can pour out of our fullness over others. Something of this sort could be the reason why God created us, for Good is diffusive of Itself. And are we not created according to the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1.26)? Charity is the choicest as well as the most exuberant emanation from the Adorable Divine Host.

A thirst to sacrifice ourselves for God

Self-sacrifice is of the very essence of holiness. Love is impatient of secrecy, at least of being concealed from its object. It longs to testify itself, and the stronger and the purer it is, the more does it desire to testify itself in different and heroic ways. Nay, love needs self-sacrifice as an evidence to itself of its own earnestness and intensity. How little have we given up for our dearest Lord, and how we burn to sacrifice ourselves in some way for Him. Now devotion to the Blessed Sacrament has a special power to communicate this divine spirit. The Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice, as well as a sacrament; no wonder the spirit of sacrifice goes out from It, and is contagious of among loving souls. But it is not out of the meekness and sweetness and gentleness and bashful humility of love that this ardent desire of sacrifice arises; but out of love’s boldness, its victory, its warlike prowess, its sense of triumph.

A generous filial love of Holy Church

People, and even those who call themselves ‘Catholics’, often try to draw a distinction between what is spiritual and what is ecclesiastical in the Christian religion; and obviously for many purposes, and from many partial points of view, such a distinction is very capable of being drawn. But the two cannot be separated the one from the other; they lie together practically inseparable. Hence, there is no interior or mystic life, not even in the cloister, which is not distinguished by a vivid interest in the vicissitudes of the Church, an inveterate attachment to her external and ceremonial observances – accidentals that show what she is – and quite a supernatural sympathy with the fortunes of the Holy See. Love of God and love of Rome are inseparable. To obey the successors of Peter, who take the place of [the] ministry and apostleship (Acts 1.25) even to the consummation of the world (Mt. 28.20), for obedience to the faith (Rom. 1.5), is the same thing as to serve Jesus for Christ loved the Church [He Himself built on Peter (Cephas or "rock" in Aramaic, the original language spoken by Our Lord), Mt. 16.18], and delivered Himself up for it (Eph. 5.25).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Salvation in the Name of God


Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Whosoever that shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved
(Joel 2.32).

"The Name 'Jesus'"
by Abp. Fulton Sheen

The Name Jesus was a fairly common one among the Jews. In the original Hebrew, it was "Joshua". The angel told Joseph that Mary would bring forth a Son: and thou shalt call His name JESUS. For He shall save His people from their sins (Mt. 1.21). The first indication of the nature of His mission on earth does not mention His teaching; for the teaching would be ineffective, unless there was first salvation.

He was given another name at the same time, the name Emmanuel. Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Mt. 1.23). This name was taken from the prophecy of Isaias (7.14) and it assured something besides a Divine presence; together with the name Jesus, it meant a Divine presence which delivers and saves. The angel also told Our Blessed Mother: Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High... (Lk. 1.31,32). 

The title Son of the most High was the very one that was given to the Redeemer by the evil spirit which possessed the youth in the land of the Gergesenes. The fallen angel thus confessed Him to be what the unfallen angel said he was: What have I to do with Thee, Jesus the Son of the most High God? I adjure Thee by God that Thou torment me not (Mk. 5.7).

The salvation that is promised by the name Jesus is not a physical, economic, or social salvation, but rather a spiritual one. He would not save people necessarily from their poverty or physical pains and sufferings, but He would save them from their sins. To destroy sin is not to uproot the first causes of poverty. The name Jesus brought back the memory of their great leader, who had brought them out of Israel to rest in the promised land. The fact that He was prefigured by Joshua indicates that He had the soldierly qualities necessary for the final victory over evil, unwavering courage, resoluteness of will and unshakable devotion to the Father's mandate.

The people enslaved under the Roman yoke were seeking deliverance; hence they felt that any prophetic fulfillment of the ancient Joshua would have something to do with politics. Later on, the people would ask Him when He was going to deliver them from the power of Cesar. But here, at the very beginning of His life, the Divine Soldier affirmed through an angel that He had come to conquer a greater enemy than Cesar. They must still render to Cesar the things that were Cesar's; His mission was to deliver them form a far greater bondage, namely, that of Satan through sin. All through His life people would continue to materialize the concept of salvation and deliverance. The name Jesus or Savior was not given Him after He had wrought salvation, but at the very moment He was conceived in the womb of His Mother. The foundation of His salvation was from eternity and not from time.

By the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ... 
neither is there salvation in any other.
For there is no name under heaven given to men, 
whereby we must be saved.
That in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of those that are in heaven, 
on earth, and under the earth
(Acts 4.12; Philippians 2.10)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Circumcision and the Catholic Infant Baptism


Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

This is My Covenant which you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee in their generations: 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 (Gen. 17.10, 9,11-13).

Circumcision in the Old Testament was originally a rite of initiation to the life of the clan, Gen. 34.14-16. But in the above quoted passages, this circumcision of the flesh becomes the sign (like the rainbow, Gen. 9.16-17) to 'remind' God of His Covenant and man of his obligations deriving from his commitment to belong to God alone by membership in God's people. Thus, Abraham and his seed and their generations were to place themselves under the rule of the Lord as their King by obedience to His laws: The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed: that thou mayst love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul (Deut. 30.6).

Note how the observance of the Covenant was not limited only to men who were already capable of making a protestation of faith. God's Covenant with Abraham extended -restricted* though it might be - to male infants of eight days old.
* At the time of Abraham, "faith was on the wane, many being given over to idolatry" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologica," III, Q. 70, Art. 2) and wallowing in the basest condition idolatry could ever offer man - where his natural reason was clouded by the vehemence of carnal concupiscence even in regard to sins against nature (as the crime of perversion of the men of Sodom, Gen. 13.13; Gen. 19.4-5). Therefore, the Lord instituted circumcision "as a profession of faith and a remedy against carnal concupiscence" (St. Thomas Aquinas, ibid.).
But as all things happened to the Fathers of Old in figure (1 Cor. 10.11), circumcision was therefore a sign (Gen. 17.10), "although less clearly figurative" (St. Thomas Aquinas, ibid., Art. 1), of Baptism. You are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism... (Col. 2.11). Both OT circumcision and Christian Baptism symbolize a renunciation of the flesh with its sins.

The objection offered therefore by the "Bible-only" sectarians, to wit, that infants are not capable yet of professing the faith to receive Baptism, is denied. They must hold also the imposition by God of circumcision, a sign of His Covenant, on infants as superfluous, if not absurd, for St. Paul teaches, circumcision profiteth indeed, if thou keep the law (Rom. 2.25).  

Time and Eternity


The Circumcision of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill His divine plan; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted, continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in the degree of love which have reached now, in time. If we have attained a high degree of love, we shall be fixed forever in that degree of love and glory; if we possess only a slight degree, that is all that we shall have throughout eternity. No further progress will be possible when time has ended. We must give God every moment full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity. This is the best way to use the time given us by God. Charity allows us to adhere to God's will with submission and love and thus at the "evening of life" (St. John of the Cross) we shall have realized God's plan for us; we shall have reached the degree of love which God expects from each one of us: thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind (Mt. 22.37).

Eight days after the birth of the Divine Infant, He is already beginning His redemptive mission. He has not yet spoken; the world does not know Him; but He is already shedding His Blood for the salvation of mankind. Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful. 

A new year, a new life! A new life indeed! - for if we circumcise in ourselves the old man... corrupted according to the desire of error (Eph. 4.22) with his vices and passions, the "Christian" can grow in us; we can become new creatures, purified by the Blood of Christ, vivified and nourished by His grace through the Holy Eucharist, so that it may no longer be we who live, but Christ liveth in [us] (Gal. 2.2). The new year which begins today will acquire value only if lived in this light. Only by this daily circumcision of the heart will grace triumph in us, thus making the Christ-life an ever-increasing reality in us.

Jesus' humble submission to His Father's will, manifested by His obedience to the law*, is another lesson to be learned from today's Feast. 
* The law of circumcision, cf. Gen. 17.12-13, could in no way affect Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Holy One (Acts 3.15; Is. 43.3), but He willed to submit to it for as St. Paul says, it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren... that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2.17).
It is an invitation to us to be docile to God's will, whatever it may be - Our Lord's disposition: my meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me (Jn. 4.34). None of us knows what awaits us in this new year, but God knows. His will has already prepared our path; every detail of our life is already determined in His mind. Let us be ready to accept, or rather to embrace with courage and readiness, everything that God wishes or permits, certain that in His holy will we shall find our peace, our salvation, and our sanctification.

A blessed new year to all!

Related post: Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants? Cf., "Circumcision and the Catholic Infant Baptism"

Salvation is in the "Blood of the Lamb"

Apocalypse XIV now unfolding (cf., our posts "The Wine of the Wrath of God" and "After Pope Benedict XVI, the 'Last' Roman Pontiff?"). The divine chastisement of world-wide conflagration (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations") to annihilate the 'super-power' and cities and nations drunk with the wine of its immodesty, impurity, fornication, homosexuality, and blasphemies (Apoc. 14.8) is imminent - the close of our end-times period (distinct from the consummation of the world, Mt. 28.20).

They... have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb
(Apoc. 7.14) ... All things... are cleansed with Blood: and without shedding of Blood there is no remission (Heb. 9.22).

The Blood of the [Divine] Lamb can be availed of in the traditional Rite of the Sacrament of Penance (cf., our post "On Concealing Sins in Confession") and of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Traditional Latin Mass). Go to our traditional Catholic Mass Centers (links on the left-side bar of this site). Flee to the mountains... (Mt. 24.16).

See also the Messages and Appeals (on the upper right-side bar) of the Apocalyptic Woman in her title of Our Lady of Fatima.