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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Divine Farewell


Third Sunday after Easter

A little while, and now you shall not see Me; and again, a little while...  I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice...

Today's liturgy begins to direct our thoughts toward the coming Ascension of Jesus: ​A little while, and now you shall not see Me... because I go to the Father... ​ The Holy Gospel (Jn. 16.16-22) which relates this passage is taken from the discourse that Our Lord made to the Apostles at the Last Supper. His purpose was to prepare them for His departure, before He went to His Passion and Death; but the Church presents to us Our Lord's farewell today, before His Ascension.

Having accomplished His mission, Jesus must return to the Father Who sent Him and Whom Our Lord bid farewell. And see how His farewell to His Father meant the deepest sorrow and the greatest pain - the cost of what it takes to love God and us for God's sake. Now, ​the Beloved ​ warns us so that we shall not be scandalized when He would leave us for ​a little while​: ​You shall​ lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice​. 

​A little while​ ..., that is, our short lifetime. We only have a short lifetime but "this life is as precious as it is short," says St. Aphonsus Liguori, for, in every moment, if we spend it well in a greater and therefore a more perfect "communion of life" with Him through prayer (nourished by orthodox spiritual reading and moments of recollection), penance and mortification, worthy reception of the Sacraments - most especially Holy Communion, and a life of virtue - governed by the truths of our Faith and crowned with charity - then we will have proved to ​Our Beloved ​how dear He truly is in our hearts. That all these efforts were but our dear tokens of restlessness until that day, in the evening of our lives, when He comes,  to examine us in love, that we shall see Him "face to face" for the reward.

​You shall lament and weep​, for to enter more and more into a perfect "communion of life" with ​Our Beloved Crucified it must be by God's ways, not our ways. In God's short sensible 'absence', He has determined how are we to "walk securely [as we] journey through this dark night" (St. John of the Cross, "Ascent of Mt. Carmel," II, 6). Accordingly, we are "not [to be] united with God in this life through understanding, or through enjoyment, or through imagination, [or through feeling], or through any other sense," says our holy father John of the Cross, "but only faith, hope, and charity..." (ibid.). 

God shall deprive us then of all our too familiar human ways of seeing ourselves, others, and the world around us. God shall 'blind' us, so to speak, and blind us completely for "those who are not yet entirely blind will not allow a good guide to lead them," explains St. John of the Cross (II, 4). "Still able to perceive a little," continues the same Doctor of  Teresian Carmel, "they think that the road they see is the best, for they are unable to see other and better ones" (ibid.). The light of the Faith must, according to our holy father John of the Cross, "[nullify] the light of the intellect...  [which] knows only in the natural way, that is, by [the very limited] means of the senses " (II, 3). 

God shall also "draw [us] away from [all the imaginary] props and boundaries" (III, 16) by which we "evoke and  fashion" (ibid.) a 'form' of  the incomprehensible God. God must shatter that form which is not of Him, which the modern world delusively hoped for - if, after all, it can never escape the fact of God's existence - so that it may be able to live the way it pleases without anybody 'moralizing' over it, and which the Vatican of New 'Catholic' Orientation uses in presenting a 'relevant' Catholicism for its ecumenical overtures  (cf., our post "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'"). And how truly they, who would rather be so deluded, shall ​lament and weep ​on the appointed day while calling to the mountains, ​fall upon us, and to the hills: cover us​ (Lk. 23.30) when the true God shall come upon them as the terrible God of wrath!

And God shall annihilate all the affections even to the deepest recessions of the heart that are not of Him. And the chief of these affections are those ephemeral 'joys' based as they are on insecure foundations (as the passing goods that the world can offer and the pleasures of the flesh). God must so scrape off all these hardened dross that our hearts may beat only the beatings of His Heart (in Scholastic theological parlance, our "human and lowly will... changed into the divine will, made identical with the will of God" - St. John of the Cross, III, 16). What a Cross shall this entail, the Crucified shows us (cf., "Christian Love: Love of the Cross").

​But the world shall rejoice. ​The world (cf., our post "Catholic Unity...") rejoices and wants to rejoice at any cost, because it is immersed in the pleasures of this life, with no thought of what awaits it beyond - which even tries to repudiate this beyond. If it cannot escape the inevitable sufferings of life, it tries to stifle its sorrow in pleasure, by contriving to extract from every fleeting moment all the enjoyment possible. And since there is at the moment a seeming absence of God, a seeming internally-induced destruction of that Order constituted under the dominion of Christ the King - as the ​continual sacrifice ​(Dan. 12.11), upon which this divine Order rests, ​ has been ​taken away ​(ibid.) and replaced by ​the abomination of desolation (Mt. 24.15) to be the "norm" in the holy place (Mt. 24.15: 1 Machabees; cf., also "The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured in OT, II" ) - this ​world ​is boasting: "We have at last broken the bonds of the traditional Catholic Order asunder: and we have cast away its yoke from us" (cf., Ps. 2.3). Why doth the way of the wicked prosper: why is it well with all them that transgress, and do wickedly? Thou hast planted them, and they have taken root... (Jer. 12.1,2).

Then, as Our Lord said: ​​ So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you.

"O my Delight, Lord of all creatures and my God!
How long must I languish for Your presence?
O tedious, O painful, O dying life!
What lonely, hopeless solitude!
What then, O Lord, when , when.... 
What shall I do, my Sovereign Good. What shall I do?
... Ah! My God and Creator,
You wound and do heal;
You strike but leave no wound;
You kill to give more life!
... Let it be so, my God, because it is Your will;
I have no other will than to love You....
O my soul, submit to the will of Your God; it is best for you.
Serve Him and trust in His mercy;
when by penance you have won some little claim to pardon for your sins,
He will ease your pain.
Do not try to rejoice until you have suffered."
- St. Teresa of Jesus

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catholic Unity: "That they all may be one..." (Jn. 17.21)


Feast of St. Paul of the Cross

The "High-Priestly" prayer of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, ​that they all may be one...,​ is offered to be the justification for Vatican's endorsement of that "Ecumenical Movement" spearheaded by the "World Council of Churches" (cf., "Our 'Great Reversal'"). And the projected effect is like to this: ​Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths... I have chosen the way of truth... I have run the way of Thy commandments... Uphold me according to Thy word ​(Ps. 118. 105, 30, 32, 116). 

Now, if we are to examine: first, the consistent adverse judgment of the Church, prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), against this initiative which has sprung among the "Bible-only" fundamentalists, this will recall the observation made by Pope Paul VI on the condition of the Church after Vatican II: the madness of "the Church attacking herself" (cf., our post "Our Lady and the Diabolical Campaign") - the "New [Vatican II] Church" (as Hans Kung, the leading Vatican II 'theological expert', calls it;  in our post "The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II 'Catholicism'") 'contradicting' the "pre-Vatican II Church," a fact seized upon by the Sedevacantists to excuse their other extreme form of mutant Catholicism [that of a visibly headless Constantinian-Tridentine ultramontane Church, cf., our post "On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply (II)"]; to put it simply, the implication is that the "pre-Vatican II Church" got Jesus Christ wrong over the Johannine passage - the Church of the Constantinian-Tridentine ultramontane age against the desire of her Lord and Master; and, second, the context of the prayer of the Savior  and its consistency with the other Scriptural passages, especially the Apostolic Epistles (see our reply to a 'comment' below), dealing with those who ​wander out of the way of ... ​the traditions ​[Gk: "paradosis"] ... of the Apostles (Pr. 21.16; 2 Thess. 2.14; Ac. 2.42), then this would be madness much greater than in the first: Christ against His words and His Spirit Who spoke through the mouths of His Apostles.

From the context of the passage (Jn. 17.6-26), the object of Our Savior's prayer is unity in the Faith (​in truth​) while the subject is the first group of His disciples (​the words which Thou gavest Me, I have given to them... ​sanctify them in truth) and ​for them also who through their ​[the Apostles'] ​words shall believe in ​ [Him] - that is, Our Lord's prayer for that unity willed by God extends only therefore  to the Church of all time, to those who will owe their faith to the ​traditions ​ of the Apostles.

In fact, the Savior says ​I pray not for the world ​(v.9) which ​world refers here to that Scriptural sense of the world of sinners organized under the banner of Satan in opposition (whether this involves violent physical hostility or polemical attack) to God and His appointed Order of things under the dominion of Jesus Christ the King - the traditional Catholic order. For rebelling against the divinely constituted hierarchy of teaching authority in that Order of new creation in Christ, founded upon the Apostles (Eph. 2.20), the "Bible-only" fundamentalists, on the pretext that they would rather adhere to what they themselves would READ in the 'Bible', were only rightfully cast out into that erring world for they who ​will not HEAR the Church, let ​[them] ​be... as the heathen and publican ​(Mt. 18.17). In constituting the 'Bible' to be ​the pillar and ground ​ of their 'truth' ("sola scriptura") - the fundamental principle upon which is built the entire 'Protestant' opposition to Catholicism - these fundamentalists therefore contradict with a hard face the testimony of the tradition of the Apostles (​through their word...): ​the Church... the pillar and ground of the truth ​(St. Paul in his first Epistle to Timothy (3.15).  

In a passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we learn that the vineyard of the Lord can never be joined to those of self-appointed 'apostles' for the same High Priest Jesus Christ declares that ​every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up​ (15.13). And instead of affording the erring Christians an ecumenical condescension, the Good Shepherd bids thus: ​Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit​ (15.14). Hence the Holy See, prior to Vatican II, consistently refused to take part in the "Ecumenical Movement" that is sought to be terminated outside its sovereign dominion.

Moreover, Our Lord's prayer is the most efficacious so that the grant of His desired unity of all those baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Mt. 28.19) is not something of an ideal still to be realized but rather has already become a divine mark of His true Church since its foundation, growth, and expansion. All these were persevering with one mind... in the doctrine of the Apostles (Ac. 1.14; 2.42) - one faith (Eph. 4.5); On the first day of the week... we were assembled to break bread [for] we have an altar (Ac. 20.7; Heb. 13.10) - one same traditional Rite of worship on the same altar; and, since then, one flock, one shepherd (Jn. 10.16), being subject to the ancients... [whom] the Holy Ghost hath placed 'episkopos' [bishops] to rule the church of God (1 Pet. 5.5; Ac. 20.17,28) - one divine governance, prefigured in the hierarchy of Old. Towards this ancient universal (Catholic) communion has the succession of visible chief shepherds of Christ’s flock consistently admonished the “separated brethren” in the words of Our Lord and Master and Prince of pastors: How often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? (Mt. 23.27), being mindful of the Good Shepherd in another instance: He that is not with Me, is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth (Mt. 12.30).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The God of Intimacy


Good Shepherd Sunday

I know Mine, and Mine know Me​, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father ​ (Jn. 10.11,16, from today's Gospel). Although there is no question here of equality, but merely that of simple comparison, it is nevertheless very consoling and glorious for us to see how Jesus likes to compare His relations with us to those He has with His Father. At the Last Supper also, He said: ​As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you​, and again: ​as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us​ (Jn. 15.9-17,21). This shows that between us, the sheep, and the Savior, our ​Good Shepherd​ , there is not only a relation of acquaintance, but also one of love, and better still, of a communion of life, similar to that which exists between the Son and the Father. It is by means of the grace, faith, and charity which the ​Good Shepherd ​ acquired for us by His death, that we arrive at such intimacy with our God - so deep that it makes us share in His own divine life.

A close relationship of loving knowledge (with the Truth, that is, our Faith for its foundation: ​I will espouse thee to me in faith ​and thou shalt know that I am the Lord​, Osee 2.20) is here established between the ​Good Shepherd ​ and His sheep - one so intimate that the Shepherd knows His sheep one by one and can call them by name; and they recognize His voice and follow Him with docility. Each soul can say: "Jesus knows me and loves me, not in a general abstract way, but in the concrete aspect of my needs, of my desires, and of my life; for Him to know me and to love me is to do me good, to encompass me more and more with His grace, and to sanctify me. Precisely because He loves me, Jesus calls me by name: He calls me when in prayer He opens to me new [yet orthodox, of course] horizons of the spiritual life, or when He enables to know my sins, faults and weaknesses better; He calls me when He reprimands me or purifies me by aridity, as well as when He consoles and encourages me by filling me with new fervor; He calls when He makes me realize the need of greater generosity, and when He asks me for sacrifices or gives me joys, and still more, when He awakens in me a deeper love of Him especially by counting on me to share with Him, my ​Beloved​, the "burden of God".

The God of Liberality


Good Shepherd Sunday

The Liturgy today sums up in the gentle figure of the Good Shepherd all the Jesus has done for our souls. The shepherd is everything to his flock; their life, their sustenance, and their care is entirely in his hands, and if the shepherd is good, they will have nothing to fear under his protection, and they will want for nothing.

Jesus Christ is preeminently the Good Shepherd​ : He not only loves, feeds, and guards His sheep, but He also gives them life - at the cost of His own. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God comes to earth in search of men who, like stray sheep, have wandered away from the sheepfold and have become lost in the dark valley of sin. He comes as a most loving Shepherd Who, in order to take better care of His flock, is not afraid to share their lot. Today's Epistle (1 Pet. 2.21-25) shows Him to us as He takes our sins upon Himself that may heal us by His Passion: ​Who His own self bore our sins in His Body upon the tree that we, being dead to sin, should live to justice; by Whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls ​(1 Pet. 2.24-25).

The Savior said, ​I am the Good Shepherd, and I give my life for my sheep​ , and in Church's Divine Office for Paschal time His ministers chant many times: "The Good Shepherd is risen, He who gave His life for his sheep and Who died for His flock." What could be a better synthesis of the whole work of the Redemption? It seems still more wonderful when we hear the ​Good Shepherd​ declare: I am come that they may have life and may have it more ab​undantly ​(Jn. 10.10). In truth, He could well repeat to each one of us: ​What more could I have done for you that I have not done? ​ (Is. 5.4). Would that our generosity in giving ourselves to Him had no limits, after the pattern of His own liberality in giving Himself to us.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

God's Ways, Not Our Ways


Low Sunday

My Lord and my God! (Jn. 20.28)
In today's Gospel (Jn. 20.19-31), the Divine Savior had pity on the tottering faith of the Apostle Thomas - and on ours, too; and Our Lord allowed him not only to see Him, as He had allowed the others, but also to touch Him: Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side (v. 27), thereby permitting Thomas, the incredulous, to do what He had not permitted Mary Magdalen, the most faithful one. From this incident we derive a better understanding of God's ways.

Whereas He gives sensible consolations and more or less palpable signs of His presence to souls who are still wavering in the Faith, He often leads by very obscure paths those who have irrevocably given themselves to Him and on whose faith He can count. God is a Father. He never denies to any soul who seeks Him in truth and sincerity the necessary props to support its faith, but He often refuses to the strong what He grants to the weak. Is this not the Savior's own teaching: Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed? Blessed are they who, in order to believe in God, do not need to see Him or touch Him and do not require sensible signs, but who can unreservedly affirm: Scio cui credidi (I know whom I have believed, 2 Tim. 1.12), and I am sure of Him. Faith such as this is more meritorious for us, because, being founded solely on the word of God, it is entirely supernatural. It shows greater honor to God, because it gives Him full credence, without demanding any proof, and because it perseveres even in obscurity and in the midst of the most disconcerting events - even when it seems that heaven is closed and the Lord is deaf to our groanings (cf. also our post "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Victory Over Sin and Death").

Such a strong faith as this is certainly the fruit of divine grace, but we must prepare ourselves to receive it, both by asking for it in prayer, and by exercising ourselves in this same faith.

"O Lord, what is it to me whether I feel or do not feel, 
whether I am in darkness or in light,
whether I have joy or suffering, 
when I can be recollected in the light created in me by Your words?
I feel a kind of shame in differentiating between such matters,
and while I feel that I am still affected by them, 
I heartily despise myself for want of love,
but I quickly turn my gaze upon You, my Divine Master, to be delivered by You...
I will exalt You above Your sweetness and sensible consolations,
for I am resolved to pass by all else in order to be united with You."
- Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, C.D. of  the Teresian Carmel in Dijon, France

The "Pure Spiritual Milk" of Christians


Low Sunday

Today’s Liturgy is concerned in a very special way with the newly baptized, who, at the close of Easter week, laid aside the white garments which they had received at the baptismal font. It is actually to them that St. Peter addressed his affectionate recommendation which we read in the Introit of the Mass: As newborn babes, desire the pure spiritual milk that thereby you may grow unto salvation (2 Pet. 2.2). These words continue to express the maternal solicitude of the Church for the children whom she has regenerated in Christ : in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti (Mt. 28.19), and especially for the newly born. We, too, are the object of this solicitude. Although we were baptized as infants, we can say that every Easter regenerates us in Christ by means of our spiritual resurrection in Him. Therefore, we also must be like newborn babes in whom there is no malice, deceit, pride, or presumption, but only candor and simplicity, confidence and love. This is a wonderful invitation to the spiritual childhood which Our Divine Savior told us is an indispensable condition for attaining salvation: unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18.3).

Each wave of grace purifies and cleanses our soul from sin and its roots, giving us rebirth to a new life in Christ a pure, innocent lifewhich craves only the pure spiritual milk of the doctrine of Christ we receive through His Church (the pillar and ground of the truth, 1 Tim. 3.15) built on Cephas,* His love and His grace (through prayer and the reception of the Sacraments, particularly Penance and the Holy Eucharist).

* “Rock” plain and simple in the original Aramaic spoken by the Savior, without the gender distinctions we consider as in Greek or in Latin.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"My sacrifice and yours...": The Priesthood of the Ordained Christian "Minister" and that of the Laity


Feast of St. Justin Martyr
The most illustrious opponent of pagan philosophers

Mid-summer of 1916 in Fatima, Portugal, the angel returned and admonished Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta who lounged in the shade of a fig tree after returning early from the hills to shelter the sheep they tended in a barn: “What are you doing? Pray, pray very much! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have merciful designs concerning you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High!”

“How must we sacrifice?” Lucy asked. The angel replied: Offer God a sacrifice of anything you can as an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended, and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners. Draw peace upon your country by doing this... Above all, accept and endure whatever suffering the Lord sends you.”

The priesthood of the ordained minister with its propitiatory sacramental sacrifice.

In today’s Epistle (2 Pet. 2.1-10), the Word of God exhorts us: “Be you… as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” By “SPIRITUAL sacrifices” the angel teaches us: the sufferings and sacrifices we bear in our circumstances – and these are acceptable only to God BY Jesus Christ, that is, as we unite our sacrifices with the PROPITIATORY SACRAMENTAL sacrifice of our High Priest (Heb. 10.21), Our Lord Jesus Christ, on His high altar [cf., our post "We have an altar (Heb. 13.10): The Institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass"]: this is true and authentic Catholic "participation", not the Vatican II fad after the manner of the Lutherans or Anglicans and not the 'spirited' Pentecostals! Note, then, the distinction between the priesthood of the laity and the priesthood of the ordained ministers (the Levites, cf., Jer. 33.22) of the New Covenant who stand at the high altar before the face of God (cf., Ex. 33.11; 2 Par. 29.11) which our Holy Church teaches us through her Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the “Orate Fratres”: “Brethren, pray that MY sacrifice and YOURS may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.” – a distinction suppressed* in the ‘Novus Ordo Missae’ (the New Mass of 1969) “fabricated” (Card. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in Msgr. Gamber’s “The Reform of the Roman Liturgy” – French Ed.) by Annibale Bugnini (dismissed by Pope Paul VI for being a Freemason, cf., our post “The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured in OT (II)“).
* In the ‘Novus Ordo Missae’, the faithful are gathered around the “presider” facing them (as in a democratic assembly) in such a way as “to make it understood that the liturgy is an action of the entire people of God” (Bugnini, adopting the erroneous Protestant conception**) and not only properly of the priest.

** "The priest is not somebody who does things that the ordinary faithful don't do; he is not 'another Christ' (alter Christus), any more than any other baptized person."

No, this is not a 'Catholic' "Novus Ordo Missae" of 1969. This is a Protestant 'Commemorative Supper' held at St. Andrew's (Anglican) Cathedral Inverness in Scotland.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Victory Over Sin and Death


Easter Sunday

This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein (Ps. 117.24)

This is the most excellent day - the day of God - the happiest day in the whole year, because it is the day of triumph of our Crucified Lord. Christmas, too, is a joyous feast, but whereas Christmas vibrates with a characteristic note of sweetness, the Paschal solemnity resounds with the unmistakable note of triumph; it is joy for the triumph of Christ, for His victory. But this exceedingly great Christian joy of triumph we draw from those moments of seeming defeat of Christ when He uttered to the leaders of the Synagogue who came with Judas to apprehend Him: this is your hour, and the power of darkness (Lk. 22.53); and, at the peak of the Cross, repeating the Psalm of David (Ps. 21.2, DRV) which prophetically referred to the Crucified, though written a thousand years before: My God, My God , why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Mt. 27.46).

Let us first examine that hour of darkness. "This darkness," explains Archbishop Fulton Sheen, "not only signified that men were putting out the Light Who illumined every man coming into this world, but also that He was denying Himself, for the moment, the light and consolation of His Divinity. Suffering now passed from the body [the passion of being crucified] into the mind and soul... : My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me." Desolation and solitude was, according to the Archbishop, "the signal feature in the sufferings of Our Lord." "Sin," continues the Archbishop, "has physical effects, and these He bore by having His hands and feet excruciatingly pierced; sin has mental effects which He poured forth in the Garden of Gethsemane; sin also has spiritual effects such as a sense of abandonment, separation from God, loneliness. This particular moment He willed to take upon Himself that principal effect of sin which was abandonment.

Man rejected God; so now He willed to feel that rejection. Man turned away from God; now He, Who was God united personally with a human nature, willed to feel in that human nature that awful wrench as if He Himself were guilty... In that cry were all the sentiments in human hearts expressive of a Divine nostalgia: the loneliness of the atheist, the skeptic, the pessimist, the sinners who hate themselves for hating virtue, and of all those who have no love above the flesh; for to be without love is hell. It was, therefore, the moment when leaning on nails He stood at the brink of hell in the name of all sinners. As He entered upon the extreme penalty of sin, which is separation from God, it was fitting that His eyes be filled with darkness and His soul with loneliness....

Christ's cry was of abandonment which He felt standing in a sinner's place, but it was not of despair. The soul that despairs never cries to God. As the keenest pangs of hunger are felt not by the dying man who is completely exhausted but by the man battling for his life with the last ounce of strength, so abandonment was felt not only by the ungodly and unholy but by the most holy of men, the Lord on the Cross" (in "The Seven Words from the Cross").

The traditional liturgy of the Mass shows us this Paschal joy under two aspects: joy in truth (today's Epistle: 1 Cor. 5.7,8) and joy in charity (the Postcommunion). Joy in truth: According to the vibrant admonition of St. Paul, Let us celebrate the feast, not with the old leaven... but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. In this world there are many ephemeral joys, based on fragile, insecure foundations; but the Paschal joy is solidly grounded on the knowledge that we are in truth, the truth which Christ brought to the world - the Gospel He entrusted to the Catholic Church - and which He confirmed by His Resurrection. The Resurrection teaches us that our Faith is not in vain, that our hope is not founded on a dead man, but on a living one, the Living One "par excellence", Whose life is so strong that it vivifies, in time as in eternity, all those who believe in Him (cf., our post "'We have an altar' (Heb. 13.10): The Institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass").  I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live (Jn. 11.25). Joy in truth: for only sincere and upright souls who seek the truth of Christ, the Faith authored by Him (Heb. 12.2) and has since been already preached in all the creation that is under heaven (Col. 1.23) - the Catholic Faith - and still more, obey the truth (Gal. 3.1)  can fully rejoice in the Resurrection. We are sincere when we recognize ourselves for what we truly are before God, with all our sins and faults, imperfection and deficiencies, and need for conversion. From this knowledge of our miseries springs the sincere resolve to purify ourselves and let ourselves be purified (cf., passive suffering in our post "Christian Love: Love of the Cross") of the old leaven of the passions in order to be renewed completely in the Risen Christ.

The Gospel (Mk. 16.1-7) places before our eyes the faithful holy women who, at the first rays of the Sunday dawn, run to the sepulcher, and on the way, wonder: Who will roll back the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us? This preoccupation, although it is well justified on account of the size and weight of the stone, does not deter them from proceeding with their plans; they are too much taken up with the desire of finding Jesus! And behold! Hardly have they arrived when they see the stone rolled back.

"The greatest mental agony in the world," points out Archbishop Sheen, "and the cause of many psychic disorders, is that minds and hearts are without God. Such emptiness would never have a consolation, if [Our Crucified Lord] had not felt all of this as His own. From [that] point [last Good Friday] on , no atheist  could ever say in his loneliness that He does not know what it is to be without God! This emptiness of humanity through sin, though He felt it as His own, was nevertheless spoken with a loud voice to indicate not despair, but rather hope  that the sun would rise again and scatter the darkness" (in the same work quoted above).  

Now, we too have a keen desire to find the Lord; perhaps we have been seeking Him for many long years already. Further, this desire may have been accompanied by serious preoccupation with the question of how we might rid ourselves of the obstacles and roll away from our souls the stone which has prevented us thus far from finding the Lord, from giving ourselves entirely to Him - just as He did generously give Himself on the Cross - and from letting Him triumph in us through the Cross. Precisely because we want to find the Lord, we have already overcome many obstacles, sustained by His grace; divine Providence has helped us roll away many stones, overcome many difficulties. Nevertheless, the search for God is progressive, and must be maintained during our whole life. For this reason, following the example of the holy women, we must always have a holy preoccupation about finding the Lord, a preoccupation which will make us industrious and diligent in seeking Him, and at the same time confident of the divine aid, since the Lord will certainly take care that we arrive where our own strength could never bring us, because He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

A blessed Easter to all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"We have an altar" (Heb. 13.10): The Institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass


Holy Thursday


At last, the long-looked-for day has come when Our Lord is to fulfil the promise He made to the Jews that He would give us the living bread... of God (cf., Jn. 6.26-59 in our post “The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of theHoly Eucharist”): His FleshMeat indeed (Jn. 6.56). At the Last Supper, Our Savior took bread and blessed and gave to His disciples and said: “This IS My BODY.” Then taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: “...This IS My BLOOD...” (Mt. 26.26,28). Now in these words of the ‘consecration’ it is the same Almighty God, Jesus Christ, Who, in the beginning (Jn. 1.1; Gen. 1.1; cf., Col. 1.16), SAID: Be light made (Gen. 1.3); Who once changed water into wine; Who gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and life to the dead. When God speaks, whatever He commands does not entertain any impossibility and it is done in an instant. For He spoke and they were created: He commanded and they were made (Ps. 32.9). At the Last Supper, by the almighty power of His words alone, He instantaneously changed the substance of the bread into His Body and the substance of the wine into His Blood (the Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation) but without changing the sensible qualities or appearances of the bread and the wine. “In a word,” says Fr. Michael Muller, C.S.S.R., “whatever [the accidents] is capable of being perceived by the senses remains, but the substance, which is perceived by the understanding alone, and not by the senses, is changed.”

The Protestants confess, as Catholics do, that in God there are three Divine Persons; but, only Catholics truly believe and confess that the power of the Son of God is “supreme over all things... that His omnipotence can accomplish the great work which we admire and adore in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist” (the Roman Catechism or the Catechism of the Council of Trent). They also confess that he who believes in Jesus Christ hath everlasting life (Jn. 6.47) but only Catholics go as far as Jesus Christ would bid them: He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life (Jn. 6.55). Calvin said: “The bread signifies only the Body of Jesus Christ.” Luther said: “No, the bread and the wine, in the moment of their reception by the faithful, becomes, by the faith of the communicant, the Body and Blood of Christ.” But, according to the Protestants’ own criterion of “sola scriptura” (only what the Bible says) by which they acknowledge a teaching to be divine, nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures do we read “signifies” and nowhere do we read also that it is “in the moment of their reception... by the faith of the recipient.” The Eternal Word of God pronounces over the bread: This is My Body – and the same  the Catholic Church affirms; St. John Chrysostom, a great Father and Doctor of the Church: “Let us obey, not contradict God, although what He says may seem contrary to our reason and sight. His words cannot deceive, our senses our easily deceived.”

The sensists or the materialists object simply because they pretend that the world of reality encompasses only what their five senses could perceive and that the mind can rise no higher than the physical. And the Savior, after that He has already worked many incontrovertible miracles to prove that He is really present in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, is not going to win them to His love according to the diabolical demand that He prove Himself to be the Almighty by openly displaying, every time that the priest pronounces the words of consecration of Our Lord, His awesome and ‘cool’ miraculous powers – manifesting on the altar the sensible qualities of His glorious Body, bearing the marks of His wounds, His merciful countenance, and His radiant majesty. They are asking for that reward which God reserves for the blessed alone! Blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe (Jn. 20.29).    

Moreover, it is written of Our Lord Jesus Christ, being a High Priest over the house of God (Heb. 10.21): Thou art a priest for ever, according to the Order of Melchisedech (Ps. 109.4; Heb. 5.6). This day we see the fulfilment of this prophecy. Our Savior offers the sacrifice of Himself in an unbloody manner by means of the consecrated Bread and Wine which were prefigured by the bread and wine offered by Melchisedech, the Priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14.18). And since He is a priest for ever, this His unbloody offering of Himself is therefore a perpetual sacrifice. For this reason, Christians, according to the testimony of St. Paul the Apostle, have an altar (Heb. 13.10) on which the most holy of the sacrifices of the Lord by a perpetual right (Lev. 24.9) – the Living Bread, the Body of Our Savior Jesus Christ, prefigured by the loaves of proposition of Old – is continually offered, from the rising of the sun to the going down... in every place even among the Gentiles (Mal. 1.11), up to this our age through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The chalice of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the Body of the Lord? Therefore whosoever shall eat this Bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself... for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not DISCERNing the Body of the Lord (St. Paul the Apostle, 1 Cor. 10.16; 11.27-29).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Christian Love: Love of the Cross


Holy Week

"They SHALL look on Him Whom they pierced" (Jn. 19.37)
Love unites one person to another. In the Christian life, it is charity or the supernatural love that pours forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus into our hearts that alone can unite us fully to God. This supernatural love lays hold of our entire soul, intellect, heart (with all its affections,delights, and desires), will, activity, and delivers all unreservedly to God. Thus, the essence of love itself is devotedness. It is a firm determination of the will to give oneself up to another, and, if need be, to make the entire sacrifice of self to the other, preferring his good pleasure to that of self.

In this earthly life, in our present state of fallen nature where our tendencies have been disordered – seeking and pursuing our happiness in our self-worth, bodily fitness,  pleasures and comforts, and the best possible life the world can offer – we cannot love God with our whole mind, heart, soul and strength (Lk. 10.27) without suffering: without scraping off from our hearts all the hardened dross that has accumulated since the dawn of reason and which blocked the full reign of the Beloved Who does not tolerate half-measures: I would thou wert cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth (Apoc. 3.15,16; cf., also our post “The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II ‘Catholicism’”). Therefore, “O my God, I choose everything. I do not want to be a saint by halves. I am not afraid to suffer for You,” says our dear “Little Therese”.

The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love. Seen in this light, the Cross is certainly worthy of love; it is the outstanding means of our sanctification. Our union with God cannot be accomplished except through suffering. Now, friendship is the union, the blending of two souls into one: “One heart and one soul… the same likes and dislikes” (“Cor unum et anima una… unum velle, unum nolle”). Thus our friendship with God is a perfect union of all our faculties with Him; a union of our mind that subordinates our reason to Reason by patterning our thoughts after those of God – conforming our way of thinking to the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church and not to the novelties of a counterfeit ‘Catholicism’ which are in line with the principles of Masonic ‘Enlightenment’ (“liberty, equality, fraternity or brotherhood” and the unending ecumenical search for truth and meaning), the counterfeit ‘Christianity’ [the religious revolt of the 16th century: 'Protestantism', cf. our post "The Great Sign in Heaven"] of the Synagogue (service of one’s personal judgment, service of opinion: “FOR ME…”), and the maxims of the world (“My way”); a union of our will that causes us to embrace the divine will – which manifests itself through the Commandments of God and Laws of the Church, the will of our legitimate superiors (as long as it is not evil, not contrary to the Commandments of God and His irrevocable decrees, cf. our post "Obey God, rather than men," not contrary to Catholic Faith and Morals), our "duty of the present moment", all that affects the body (in health or sickness), and all that affects the soul (whether it be of joy or tribulation, of long or brief duration) – as our very own, a union of heart that prompts us to give ourselves to God as He has given Himself to us, My Beloved to me and I to him (Cant. 2.16); a union of activities that causes us to seek first and foremost the interests of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

Our holy father St. John of the Cross has explained all these means by which the soul is to be purified, scraped to the bottom in order to reach this summit of Calvary: this life of divine union. A program of total mortification is required to break all our bonds, for we have within us many obstacles which keep us from being entirely moved by God; and the accomplishment of this work is impossible without suffering. But active suffering, that is, the mortifications and penances inspired by our personal initiative or enjoined to us by the Holy Church, is not sufficient. We especially need passive suffering. In other words, the Lord Himself must ‘make us suffer’, not only in our body, but also in our soul, because we are so covered with rust, so full of miseries, that our total purification is not possible unless God Himself intervenes directly. To plunge us into passive suffering, is, therefore, one of His greatest works of mercy, a proof of His exceeding love.

When God acts in a soul this way, it is a sign that He wants to bring it to very high perfection. It is precisely in these passive purifying sufferings that the concept of the Cross is realized preeminently. In “The Living Flame of Love,” our holy father St. John of the Cross asks why there are so few souls who reach the plenitude of the spiritual life; and he answers: “It is not because God wants to reserve this state for a few privileged souls, but because He finds so few souls disposed to accept the hard task of purification.” These souls our holy father, in “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” likens to “children who kick and cry and struggle to walk by themselves when their mothers want to carry them.” Therefore, continues the eminent Doctor of Teresian Carmel in “The Living Flame of Love,” “He stops purifying them, and they condemn themselves to mediocrity and advance no farther.” It is impossible to become united to God without these spiritual sufferings, without bearing this ‘burden’ of God. Suffering and interior desolation alone enlarge the powers of the soul and make it capable of embracing God Himself.

“O souls that seek to walk in security and comfort in spiritual things! If you did but know how necessary it is to suffer and endure in order to reach this security!” (St. John of the Cross, “The Living Flame of Love”). Suffering is requisite not only of earthly love, not only for the good of the soul, but also that the soul  may be able to glorify God and prove its love for Him. It is not a question of attaining perfection in order to enjoy it – for the perfect soul never thinks of self – but that the soul may be wholly dedicated to the glory of God. It is in this sense that we read on the summit of the “Mount of Perfection” [from the illustration made by St. John of the Cross in his "The Ascent of Mt. Carmel"]: “Only the honor and glory of God dwell on this mountain.” Even as the Cross of Jesus was for Him the great means of rendering to the Father the glory that sinful man had refused Him since the first Man joined Satan in his pride: “FOR ME… MY WAY,” so should it be in regard to our cross: by means of suffering, we should expiate and repair our sins and faults and the sins and faults of others, in order to give God all the glory due Him.

In addition, as the Cross of Jesus was the supreme proof of His love for us, our cross, too, should be the finest proof of our love for Him. The Son of God has revealed His infinite love for us by His most generous sacrifice of Himself on the Cross – down to the last drops of His Most Sacred and Precious Blood; in like manner, the reality of our love is made apparent by the generous acceptance of sufferings out of love for Him.

The more God sanctifies us, the more He proves His love for us and gives us the opportunity of glorifying Him; but He sanctifies us only by means of the Cross – the great Cross of Jesus Christ through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass [this, the New 'Catholic Theology' of Vatican II current in 'modern' seminaries frowns upon] to which we must unite our little crosses [this is true and authentic Catholic "participation"; not the Vatican II fad after the manner of the Lutherans and the 'spirited' Pentecostals!].

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: "... The (sacrifice of the lamb) which you shall offer... everyday for THE PERPETUAL HOLOCAUST.... an oblation of most sweet odor to the Lord" (Num. 28.3,8). "For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until He come" (1 Cor. 11.26)."
Our sanctification then is proportionate to our generous experience of the “burden” of Our Beloved. Sufferings are, even in this sense, a proof of God’s love for us.

And let us also contemplate Our Sorrowful Immaculate Mother at the foot of the Cross. The sight of our Blessed Mother makes this lesson of the Cross less hard and less bitter; Her maternal example encourages us to suffer and makes the road to Calvary easier. God, Who had given Her His greatest gift of this divine Son, asked, on Calvary, for a return of His gift, and Our Blessed Mother offered the very center of all the affections of Her Immaculate Heart and of Her whole life – Jesus Christ – to the Father with all the love of Her Heart, in complete adherence and abandonment to the loving and saving designs of God. If we understood all this, how we should love the Crucified and His Cross!

For God so loved the world, AS TO GIVE His only begotten Son... to be a propitiation for our sins (Jn. 3.16; 1 Jn. 4.10) 

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.