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Saturday, December 26, 2015
A Christmas Sermon By St. Gregory of Nazianzus
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Christ is born, glorify Him. Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him. Christ on earth, be exalted. Sing to the Lord all the whole earth; and that I may join both in one word, let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope.

Again, the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar. The people who sat in the darkness of ignorance, let them see the great Light full of knowledge. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the truth comes in on them. Melchizedek is concluded. He who was without Mother becomes without Father (without mother of His former state, without father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all you people, because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, whose government is upon His shoulder (for with the cross it is raised up), and His name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father. Let John cry, prepare the way of the Lord; I too will cry the power of this Day. He who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride; let heretics talk until their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God - that putting off of the old man, we might put on the new; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful. For where sin abounded grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our master's; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.
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Profanation and Apostasy
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Guest Article written by David Martin

The holiday season with all its feasting and merry-making is an appropriate time to reflect on the profanation of the temple, which is the major issue facing the Church today. Desecration is rampant throughout the universal Church through the present frenzy of secular activity that is tearing the Church asunder.

Today’s “contemporary” pop liturgy, the use of lay Eucharistic ministers at Mass, and the widespread practice of receiving Communion in the hand are among the many abuses that are destroying the Faith. The Church has become a meeting place for heretics and a stomping ground for ecumenicists that are trying to merge the Catholic Church with other world religions, fulfilling St. John’s prophecy that the Holy City will be overrun by the Gentiles for a symbolic time of forty-two months. (Apocalypse 11:2)

The primary difference between the Church of yesteryear and that of today is that the former demonstrated a healthy cognition of the divine presence in the sanctuary. The Church before Vatican II conducted itself with reverence and respect, evidenced especially by the way Catholics were more observant of God’s laws and ordinances, both in their personal lives, and in the context of divine worship. The Church before the Council was more focused on the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, which in turn was reflected in the true charity and selfless giving that existed among the faithful.

Whereas the church in our time has largely turned its back on the divine presence and is taken up with  a new-found encounter with its “environmental” surroundings. Yea, the church today is abuzz with all manner of socialist, busy-body activity, only because the new makeshift procedures since the Council have brought about this unprecedented shift of focus where the emphasis today is on the community.

We might say that a new order of distraction prevails. The post-conciliar church is bent on appeasing itself with change, as opposed to the Church of old which labored to appease God with sacrifice. Divine worship has become cheap, superficial, and mechanical, where the congregation is wound up in robotic fashion to sit down, stand up, shake hands, and utter pre-constructed “psalms and responses,“ while the minds and hearts are blank! Very little heart and soul goes into today’s Sunday Mass worship.

This is lamentable when we consider that the Holy Eucharist is the very heartbeat of the Mystical Body, around which the entire church must revolve. Hence a true renewal is needed to place the church back into focus with its Head. Genuineness in worship means contrition and compunction of heart, and that the church go down on its knees before God in the Eucharist. Without this self-abasement before the King of kings, the mercy of God does not rest on His people. (Lk 1: 50)

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when He threw the money-changers out of the temple was significant in that it marked the only time in the Gospel when He became downright angry and even violent with the Jews. This was to serve as a lesson for all generations to come that the wrath of God is especially enkindled against those who abuse the House of God for their own selfish gain.

Christ indeed will come among us again to fling the wrongdoers from His House, but this time it won’t be just for matters of money, but for heresy and blatant betrayal of the Faith before the people. The Pharisees in purple hats will tremble and shake “because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaias 34:5)

Enough could not be done to sensitize ourselves to the horror of the present sacrilege and how it is re-crucifying Christ in His own House.  St. Padre Pio relates that when he was alone in the choir to pray, he observed a young monk who appeared to be dusting the candelabra near the altar. When he asked who he was, the monk answered: “I am a brother of yours that made the novitiate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the novitiate. Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar [didn’t genuflect], thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory.”

If this was the verdict for a simple monk who wasn’t quite perfect, what can we expect for a church today that has been turned into a socialist merry-go-round with the use of churches for concerts, plays, meetings, rehearsals, heretical talks, kiddie Masses, charismatic séances, and all manner of sham religious activity that has overrun the sanctuary and made the Holy Place a shambles?! Christ today is an outcast and exile in His own Church, crushed and buried under the sins of His people who neither reverence nor take notice of His physical and supernatural presence on the altar. The people stream into the church talking, laughing, and swinging to the beat of a new gospel (guitar Mass), while women come in half-dressed exposing the indecency of their flesh for their own gratification!

The worst of it is that the present-day profanation of the temple is carried on in the name of God,   which shouldn’t surprise us. The Pharisees condemned and crucified their Savior in the name of “God their father,” but Jesus told them who their father was, the devil, just as the devil is the father of those who seek to turn the Church into a humanist meeting hall. The modern day “renovation” of the Church is done to placate the complaints of those who protest, thus making the renovators protestors in the process. Thereby they display contempt and mockery for the Holy Place, as did the Pharisees who saw the temple as a forum to advance their own egoistic designs.

Unfortunately the Church’s mission has taken the brunt of this latter-day revolt. Pope Francis has emphasized how the Church must reach out and reinstate souls to the friendship of God, but how shall this be done if the church is serving to repel souls? Very few parishes today have kept their traditional beauty so as to attract conversions and vocations. The Church has been so discredited by all the ridicule that outsiders no longer take her seriously as in former times. If clergy and laity no longer believe that the Creator Himself dwells in the tabernacle in full Body and Spirit, how will outsiders ever believe this? If the church is not first enlightened from within, how shall it enlighten those from without? The Church has truly lost its magnetism, and is presently not effective in drawing souls to Christ.

Yea, the post-conciliar revolution is driving souls from the Church and bringing the scourge of God upon His people! The Blessed Virgin at Fatima warned of the divine scourge that was to come in the latter days, but this scourge will not be of little knots on a rope, but of boots, tanks, guns, and nuclear warfare over mankind. The chastisement indeed is coming, but the most painful part of it will be the devastating knowledge that it was justly due to man’s sins. In the final analysis the world will have learned that it was the profanation of the temple that incited God’s wrath and set in motion the great chastisement through which billions were lost.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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Sunday, December 20, 2015
Vigil of St. Thomas the Apostle
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From the Tridentine Rite Website:
The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle is of double rite and its liturgical colour is red. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies

Appropriated from Liturgia Latina:
Like nearly all the Feasts of the Apostles, that of St Thomas is preceded by a vigil which will enable our souls to prepare for it in a holy manner. The Gospel recalls the vocation of this great Apostle who had the happiness of hearing continually the word of Christ and enjoying His intimacy. "I have called you friends because I have made known to you all that I have heard from my Father." "God," adds the Epistle, "has chosen him from among all men. He has given him His commandments, the law of life and of instruction."

Wherefore the Offertory declares that he had been chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve princes who would govern His Church: "The Lord has crowned him with glory and honour and has given him authority over the works of His hands."

"The Lord," the Epistle also says, "has given him his share of inheritance among the twelve tribes." The country of the Parthians and Persians was allotted to St Thomas when the Apostles divided the world among themselves. Let us prepare for tomorrow's solemnity in union with the Holy Church.

Ego autem sicut oliva fructifera in domo Domini, speravi in misericordia Dei mei: et exspectabo nomen tuum, quoniam bonum est ante conspectum sanctorum tuorum. * Quid gloriaris in malitia: qui potens es in iniquitate?
But I, as a fruitful olive-tree in the house of the Lord, have hoped in the mercy of my God: and I will wait on Thy name, for it is good in the sight of Thy saints. * Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?  (Psalm 51:10-11,3 from the Introit of Mass)


Collect:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the solemn feast of Thine Apostle Thomas, which we anticipate, may  both increase our devotion and advance our salvation.
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Sermon by St. Alphonsus Liguouri for the 4th Sunday of Advent
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The Savior of the World, Whom, according to the Prediction-of the Prophet Isaiah, Men were One Day to see on this Earth ("and All Flesh shall see the Salvation of God"), has already come. We have not only seen Him conversing-among Men, but we have also seen Him Suffering and Dying for the Love of us. Let us, then, this morning, consider the Love which we Owe to Jesus Christ, at least through Gratitude, for the Love which He bears to us. In the First Point we shall consider the Greatness-of the Love which Jesus Christ has shown us; and in the Second we shall see the Greatness of our Obligations-to Love Him.




You may listen to the audio version here

First Point
On the Great Love which Jesus Christ has shown to us

"Christ", says Saint Augustine, "came on Earth that Men might Know how much God Loves them". He has come, and, to show the Immense Love which this God bears us, He has given Himself entirely to us, by Abandoning Himself to all the Pains of this Life, and afterwards to the Scourges, to the Thorns, and to all the Sorrows and Insults which He Suffered in His Passion, and by offering Himself to Die, Abandoned by all, on the Infamous Tree of the Cross. "Who Loved me, and Delivered Himself for me" - Galations 2:20.

Jesus Christ could Save us without Dying on the Cross, and without Suffering. One (1) Drop of His Blood would be Sufficient-for our Redemption. Even a Prayer, offered-to His Eternal Father, would be Sufficient; because, on-account-of His Divinity, His Prayer would be of Infinite (∞) Value, and would therefore be Sufficient-for the Salvation of the World, and of a Thousand (1000) Worlds. "But", says Saint Chrysostom, or another Ancient Author, "what was Sufficient for Redemption, was not Sufficient for Love". To show how much He Loved us, He Wished to shed not only a Part-of His Blood, but the Entire of it, by Dint-of Torrents. This may be Inferred-from the Words which He used on the Night before His Death: "This is My Blood of the New Testament, which shall be Shed for many" - Matthew 26:28.

The Words shall be Shed show that in His Passion, the Blood of Jesus Christ was Poured-forth, even to the Last Drop. Hence, when after Death, His Side was opened-with a Spear, Blood and Water came-forth, as if what then flowed, was All that remained-of His Blood. Jesus Christ, then, though He could Save us without Suffering, Wished-to embrace a Life of Continual Pain, and to Suffer the Cruel and Ignominious Death of the Cross. "He humbled Himself, becoming Obedient unto Death, even to the Death of the Cross" - Philippians 2:8.

"Greater Love than this no Man hath, that a Man lay down his Life for his Friends" - John 15:13. To show His Love for us, what more could the Son of God do, than Die for us? What more can One (1) Man do for Another, than give his Life for him? "Greater Love than this, no Man hath". Tell me, my Brother, if One of your Servants - if the Vilest Man on this Earth, had done for you what Jesus Christ has done, in Dying through Pain on a Cross, could you remember his Love for you, and not Love him?

Saint Francis of Assisi appeared to be unable to think of anything but the Passion of Jesus Christ; and thinking of it, he continually Shed Tears, so that by his Constant Weeping, he became nearly Blind. Being found one day, Weeping and Groaning at the Foot of the Crucifix, he was asked the Cause-of his Tears and Lamentations. He replied: "I Weep over the Sorrows and Ignominies of my Lord. And what makes me Weep still more, is that the Men for whom He has Suffered so much, Live in Forgetfulness of Him".

O Christian, should a Doubt ever enter your Mind, that Jesus Christ Loves you, Raise your Eyes and look-at Him, hanging-on the Cross. Ah! says Saint Thomas of Villanova, the Cross to-which He is Nailed, the 'Internal' and 'External' Sorrows which He endures, and the Cruel Death which He Suffers for you, are Convincing Proofs of the Love which He bears you. "Testis crux, testes dolores, testis amara mors quam pro te sustinuit". Do you not, says Saint Bernard, hear the Voice-of that Cross, and of those Wounds, crying-out to make you feel that He Truly Loves you? "Clamat crux, clamat vulnus, quod vere dilexit".

Saint Paul says that the Love which Jesus Christ has shown, in Condescending-to Suffer so much for our Salvation, should Excite us to His Love, more Powerfully than the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Painful Journey-to Calvary, the Agony of Three (3) Hours on the Cross, the Buffets, the Spitting in His Face, and all the other Injuries which the Savior endured. According to the Apostle, the Love which Jesus has shown us, not only Obliges, but in a certain manner 'Forces' and 'Constrains' us, to Love a God Who has Loved so much. "For the Charity of Christ presseth us" - 2Corinthians 5:14. On this 'Text', Saint Francis de Sales says: "We Know that Jesus, the True God, has Loved us so as to Suffer Death, and even Death on the Cross, for our Salvation. Does not such Love, put our Hearts, as it were, under a Press, to Force from them Love, by a Violence which is Stronger in proportion as it is more Amiable?".

So Great was the Love that Inflamed the Enamored Heart of Jesus, that He not only Wished to Die for our Redemption, but during His Whole Life, He Sighed Ardently for the Day on which He should Suffer Death, for the Love of us. Hence, during His Life, Jesus used to say: "I have a Baptism wherewith I am to be Baptized: and how am I Straitened (stressed), until it be accomplished?" - Luke 12:50. In My Passion, I am to be Baptized with the Baptism of My Own Blood, to Wash-away the Sins of Men. "And how am I Straitened?". How, says Saint Ambrose, explaining this 'Passage', am I Straitened (stressed) by the Desire of the Speedy Arrival of the Day of My Death. Hence, on the Night before His Passion He said: "With Desire I have Desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I Suffer" - Luke 22:15.

"We have", says Saint Lawrence Justinian, "seen Wisdom become Foolish, through the Excess of Love". We have, he says, seen the Son of God become, as it were, a Fool, through the Excessive Love which He bore-to Men. Such, too, was the Language of the Gentiles, when they heard the Apostles Preaching that Jesus Christ, Suffered Death for the Love of Men. "But we", says Saint Paul, " Preach Christ Crucified, unto the Jews indeed a Stumbling Block, and unto the Gentiles, Foolishness" - 1Corinthians 1:23. Who, they exclaimed, can Believe that a God, most-Happy in Himself, and Who stands in Need-of no one, should take Human Flesh and Die for the Love of Men, who are His Creatures? This would be to Believe that a God became Foolish, for the Love of Men. "It appears Folly", says Saint Gregory, "that the Author of Life should Die for Men". But, whatever Infidels may 'Say' or 'Think', it is of Faith that the Son of God has Shed all His Blood, for the Love of us, to Wash-away the Sins of our Souls. "Who hath Loved us, and Washed us from our Sins, in His Own Blood" - Revelation 1:5. Hence, the Saints were Struck Dumb with Astonishment, at the consideration-of the Love of Jesus Christ. At the Sight-of the Crucifix, Saint Francis of Paul could do nothing but exclaim, O Love! O Love! O Love!

"Having Loved His Own, who were in the World, He Loved them unto the End" - John 13:1. This Loving God was not content-with showing us His Love by Dying on the Cross for our Salvation; but, at the End of His Life, He Wished-to leave us His Own Flesh, for the Food of our Souls, that thus, He might Unite (1) Himself entirely to us. "Take ye, and eat. This is My Body" - Matthew 26:26. But of this Gift, and this Excess-of Love, we shall speak at another Time, in Treating-of the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Let us pass-to the Second Point.

Second Point
On the Greatness of our Obligation to Love Jesus Christ


He who Loves, Wishes to-be Loved. "When", says Saint Bernard, "God Loves, He Desires nothing else than to be Loved". The Redeemer said: "I am come to Cast Fire on the Earth; and what Will I, but that it be Kindled?" - Luke 12:49. I, says Jesus Christ, came on Earth, to Light-up the Fire-of Divine Love in the Hearts of Men, "What Will I, but that it be Kindled?". God Wishes nothing else from us, than to be Loved. Hence the Holy Church Prays in the Following Words: "We Beseech Thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may Inflame us with the Fire which Jesus Christ cast upon the Earth, and which He vehemently Wished to be Kindled". Ah! what have not the Saints, Inflamed-with this Fire, accomplished! They have Abandoned all things - Delights, Honors, the Purple and the Sceptre - that they might Burn with this Holy Fire. But you will ask what are you to do, that you too may be Inflamed-with the Love of Jesus Christ. Imitate David: "In my Meditation, a Fire shall Flame out" - Psalm 38:4. Meditation is the Blessed Furnace, in which the Holy Fire of Divine Love is Kindled. Make Mental Prayer every Day, Meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ, and Doubt-not, but you too shall Burn-with this Blessed Flame.

Saint Paul says, that Jesus Christ Died for us to make Himself the Master of the Hearts of All. "To this End, Christ Died and Rose again; that He might be Lord both of the Dead and of the Living" - Romans 14:9. He Wished, says the Apostle, to give His Life for All Men, without a Single Exception, that not even One (1) should live any longer for himself, but that all might live only to that God, Who condescended-to Die for them. "And Christ Died for All; that they also who Live, may not now Live to themselves, but unto Him Who Died for them" - 2Corinthians 5:15.

Ah! to correspond-to the Love of this God, it would be necessary that another God should Die for him, as Jesus Christ Died for us. O Ingratitude of Men! A God has condescended-to give His Life for their Salvation, and they will not even think on what He has done for them! Ah! if each of you thought frequently of the Redeemer, and on the Love which He has shown us in His Passion, how could you but Love Him with your Whole Hearts? To him who sees with a Lively Faith, the Son of God suspended by Three (3) Nails on the Infamous Gibbet, every Wound of Jesus 'Speaks' and 'Says': "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God". Love, O Man, thy Lord and thy God, Who has Loved thee so Intensely. Who can resist such Tender Expressions! "The Wounds of Jesus Christ", says Saint Bonaventure, "Wound the Hardest Hearts, and Inflame Frozen Souls".

"Oh! if you knew the Mystery of the Cross!", said Saint Andrew the Apostle to the Tyrant by whom he was Tempted to Deny Jesus Christ. O Tyrant, if you knew the Love which your Savior has shown you, by Dying on the Cross, for your Salvation; instead of Tempting me, you would Abandon all the Goods of this Earth, to give yourself to the Love of Jesus Christ.

I conclude, my most Beloved Brethren, by Recommending you henceforth to Meditate Every Day on the Passion of Jesus Christ. I shall be Content, if you Daily devote to this Meditation, a Quarter of an Hour. Let each, at least procure a Crucifix: let him keep it in his Room, and from time-to-time give a Glance at it saying: Ah! my Jesus, Thou hast Died for me, and I do not Love Thee! Had a Person Suffered-for a Friend, Injuries, Buffets, and Prisons, he would be Greatly Pleased to find that they were 'Remembered' and 'Spoken-of', with Gratitude. But, he should be Greatly Displeased, if the Friend, for whom they had been Borne, were Unwilling to 'Think' or 'Hear-of' his Sufferings. Thus Frequent Meditation on His Passion is very Pleasing-to our Redeemer; but the Neglect of it, greatly-provokes His Displeasure. Oh! how Great will be the Consolation which we shall receive in our Last Moments, from the Sorrows and Death of Jesus Christ, if during Life, we shall have Frequently Meditated on them, with Love! Let us not wait till others, at the Hour of Death, place in our hands, the Crucifix; let us not wait till they Remind us of all that Jesus Christ Suffered for us.

Let us during Life, embrace Jesus Christ Crucified; let us keep ourselves always United with Him. He who practices Devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, cannot but be Devoted to the Dolors of Mary, the Remembrance of which, will be to us a Source-of Great Consolation, at the Hour of Death. Oh! how 'Profitable' and 'Sweet', the Meditation of Jesus on the Cross. Oh! how Happy the Death of him, who Dies in the Embrace-of Jesus Crucified, accepting Death with Cheerfulness, for the Love of that God, Who has Died for the Love of us.
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An Excerpt: Fatima in Twilight
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From the words of Our Lady of Fatima said to Sister Lucia on “the last times” and the “last 2 remedies” God is giving to the world, reported by Fr. Augustine Fuentes:

"Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons."

“The *first* reason: ‘She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the FINAL battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Also, from now on we MUST choose sides. Either we are for God OR we are for the devil. There IS NO other possibility.’

“The *second* reason: ‘She said to my cousins as well as to myself, that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the LAST two remedies which signify that there will be NO OTHERS.’ "

“The third reason: ‘God always, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies. Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever… He offers us with a certain trepidation the LAST means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother ... if you despise and repulse this ultimate means we will NOT have any more forgiveness from Heaven because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the Sin against the Holy Spirit… This Sin consists of openly rejecting with full knowledge and consent, the salvation which He offers. Let us remember that Jesus Christ is a very good Son and that He does NOT permit that we offend and despise His Holy Mother’…”

(From the words from Fr. Fuentes, of his interview with Sr. Lucia on December 26th, 1957. Quoted in “Fatima in Twilight” by Mark Fellows. Copyright, 2003. “Twilight Begins,” pp. 145-146.)
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Friday, December 18, 2015
Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mass in Some Places)
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“Drop down the dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain the Just One! Let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior!” (Isaiah 48:8).

Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The history of this special feast is related by the great liturgist of the modern era, Dom Prosper Gueranger in his Liturgical Year. 

THIS feast, which is now kept not only throughout the whole of Spain but in many other parts of the Catholic world, owes its origin to the bishops of the tenth Council of Toledo, in 656. These prelates thought that there was an incongruity in the ancient practice of celebrating the feast of the Annunciation on the twenty-fifth of March, inasmuch as this joyful solemnity frequently occurs at the time when the Church is intent upon the Passion of our Lord, so that it is sometimes obliged to be transferred into Easter time, with which it is out of harmony for another reason; they therefore decreed that, henceforth, in the Church of Spain there should be kept, eight days before Christmas, a solemn feast with an octave, in honour of the Annunciation, and as a preparation for the great solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity.. In course of time, however, the Church of Spain saw the necessity of returning to the practice of the Church of Rome, and of those of the whole world, which solemnize the twenty-fifth of March as the day of our Lady’s Annunciation and the Incarnation of the Son of God. But such had been, for ages, the devotion of the people for the feast of the eighteenth of December, that it was considered requisite to maintain some vestige of it. They discontinued, therefore, to celebrate the Annunciation on this day; but the faithful were requested to consider, with devotion, what must have been the sentiments of the holy Mother of God during the days immediately preceding her giving Him birth. A new feast was instituted, under the name of ‘the Expectation of the blessed Virgin’s delivery.’

This feast, which sometimes goes under the name of Our Lady of O, or the feast of O, on account of the great antiphons which are sung during these days, and, in a special manner, of that which begins O Virgo virginum (which is still used in the Vespers of the Expectation, together with the O Adonaï, the antiphon of the Advent Office), is kept with great devotion in Spain. A High Mass is sung at a very early hour each morning during the octave, at which all who are with child, whether rich or poor, consider it a duty to assist, that they may thus honour our Lady’s Maternity, and beg her blessing upon themselves. It is not to be wondered at that the holy See has approved of this pious practice being introduced into almost every other country. We find that the Church of Milan, long before Rome conceded this feast to the various dioceses of Christendom, celebrated the Office of our Lady’s Annunciation on the sixth and last Sunday of Advent, and called the whole week following the Hebdomada de Exceptato (for thus the popular expression had corrupted the word Expectato). But these details belong strictly to the archæology of liturgy, and enter not into the plan of our present work ; let us, then, return to the feast of our Lady’s Expectation, which the Church has established and sanctioned as a new means of exciting the attention of the faithful during these last days of Advent.

Most just indeed it is, O holy Mother of God, that we should unite in that ardent desire thou hadst to see Him, who had been concealed for nine months in thy chaste womb ; to know the features of this Son of the heavenly Father, who is also thine; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which will give glory to God in the highest, and, on earth, peace to men of good-will. Yes, dear Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to satisfy thy desires and ours. Make us redouble our attention to the great mystery; complete our preparation by thy powerful prayers for us, that when the solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our hearts.
Remember to pray the O Antiphon for December 18th today during Vespers.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Advent Ember Fast Begins Today
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings.

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

Please click here for a special Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.  It is free.

Ember Days this December: 16, 18, and 19

From New Advent:
Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
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Sunday, December 13, 2015
Feast of St. Lucy
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Double (1955 Calendar): December 13

As we continue our Advent observance, we arrive at the Feast of St. Lucy which marks a milestone during the Advent season. St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, is an ancient martyr for the Faith.  FishEaters provides a nice explanation of the significance of this feastday:
St. Lucy (Santa Lucia) was a young Sicilian girl who vowed to live as a virgin in devotion to Christ. Her mother, however, arranged a marriage for her to a pagan suitor. To dissuade her mom by proof of a miracle, Lucy prayed at the tomb of St. Agatha that her mother's hemmhorage would stop. When the miracle happened, her mother agreed to leave aside the topic of marriage.

Lucy's suitor, however, had other plans, and revealed Lucy as a Christian. Authorities went to collect her, planning on forcing her into prostitution -- but they were unable to budge her, even after tying her to a team of oxen. She was then tortured by having her eyes torn out. They'd planned on torturing her by fire, too, but the fires kept going out. She was then killed by being stabbed in the throat with a dagger.

Because of the above, St. Lucy is the patron of those with eye problems, and is often depicted carrying her eyes (often on a plate), being tied to a team of oxen, with St. Agatha, or before her judges. Her relics lay in Syracuse for hundreds of years, were translated to Constantinople, and then to Venice where they may be venerated at the Church of San Geremia. Her head was sent to Louis XII of France, and reposes in the cathedral of Bourges.

Her name, "Lucia," means "Light," and light plays a role in the customs of her Feast Day. In Italy, torchlight processions and bonfires mark her day, and bowls of a cooked wheat porridge known as cuccia is eaten because, during a famine, the people of Syracuse invoked St. Lucy, who interceded by sending a ship laden with grain (much as St. Joseph also did for the people of Sicily).
Collect:

Hear our prayer, O God our Savior, and let us learn the spirit of true devotion from Your blessed virgin and martyr Lucy, as we joyfully celebrate her feast.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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John is the Voice - Jesus is the Word by St. Augustine
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John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever.

Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.

In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine.

When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say: The word ought to grow, and I should diminish? The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word, and has gone away, as though it were saying: My joy is complete. Let us hold on to the word; we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains? Where is John’s baptism today? It served its purpose, and it went away. Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate. It is in Christ that we all believe; we hope for salvation in him. This is the message the voice cried out.

Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ. The voice was thought to be the word. But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word. I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet. And the question came: Who are you, then? He replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord. The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence. Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying: “I speak out in order to lead him into your hearts, but he does not choose to come where I lead him unless you prepare the way for him”.

What does prepare the way mean, if not “pray well”? What does prepare the way mean, if not “be humble in your thoughts”? We should take our lesson from John the Baptist. He is thought to be the Christ; he declares he is not what they think. He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.

If he had said, “I am the Christ”, you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke. But he did not say it; he acknowledged what he was. He pointed out clearly who he was; he humbled himself.


He saw where his salvation lay. He understood that he was a lamp, and his fear was that it might be blown out by the wind of pride.
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Saturday, December 12, 2015
Should Catholics Try to Convert Jews?
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Guest Article By David Martin

Catholics should "not try to convert Jews," the Vatican has said in a recent document that attempts to nullify the Church's 2000 year policy on Jews. The December 10 statement from the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews says that Jews are exempt from any need to believe in Christ as the Messiah, on the grounds that God never annulled the old covenant with the Jewish people.

Entitled The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable, the document says that Jews have their own covenant with God without Christ. "The church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views," it says. "In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews."

What the Vatican is really saying is that Rome has no sense of love or duty toward the Jews, nor any sense of obedience to Christ's command that we extend the riches of Christ to them for their salvation. The Church's mission from the beginning is to convert infidels and Jews, but now Rome has denied Christ's commission to "teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" and to "teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19) This commission applies to all peoples without respect to race, color, creed, which is why the Church is called Universal or Catholic.

What we're really looking at is anti-semitism, since the document works against the peace and welfare of the Semitic peoples by teaching them to ignore their Maker on the cross. What does Rome have against the Jews? The Church's mission from the beginning is to extend mercy to the Jews, not to withhold it from them. Has Rome gone Nazi? Traditionally the Church had always sought to convert the Jews and all peoples, that they might come partake in the Lord's Banquet as His special guests, but now they're being told to stay in their own prison camp and starve! So much for the mercy of "inclusion."

What we are looking at too is heresy, since this document breaches the Church's infallible teaching that there exists no salvation outside the Catholic Church. "Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins." – Unam Sanctam, Papal Bull of His Holiness Pope Boniface VIII; November 18, 1302.

Again the Church teaches: "Those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock." – Cantate Domino, Papal Bull of The Council of Florence; His Holiness Pope Eugene IV 1438-1445.

The Vatican statement offers no justification for its heterodox position on Jews, other than to say that the question of how Jews can be saved while not believing in Christ "remains an unfathomable mystery in the salvific plan of God." Nay, there is no mystery. The sin of heresy has been committed in Rome. Jews or any grouping cannot be saved if, having been presented with the truth of the Catholic Faith, they refuse to believe in Christ as the Savior of the world.

The Vatican bases its statement on the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people, which is an error. It is true that the Jews were the chosen people of the Old Testament, but this was merely a figure of the chosen people to come in the New Testament—the Christians who adore Jesus Crucified in the Sacrifice of the Mass. God's covenant today is with the members of His Church who honor the Messiah, and not with those who "wag the head."

The document argues that modern Judaism is intertwined with Christianity, which is also an error. The synagogue is intertwined rather with the Masonic temple, for which reason it is sometimes called the Judaeo-Masonic synagogue. If Jews and rabbis today are defensive about being called "Jew," it is because of a deep-seated guilt that permeates the Jewish culture on account of the centuries-old consent to the perfidy of their forefathers who murdered the Christ.

Let's get it straight: the Pharisees and Jews who opposed Christ in His day were not Jews by conviction, but were renegades who had completely left the Jewish religion and who had broken the covenant. The true Jews of Christ's time were those who walked with Him into the New Testament, at which time Judaism was made forever null and void, symbolized by the fig tree that suddenly withered away on Christ's way up to Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:19)

Hence Judaism has not existed since the time of Christ, nor can it possibly exist from thence, no more than a seed can exist once it becomes a tree. The seed of Judaism grew into Christianity so that what remains today is not Judaism, but the legacy of the Pharisees who murdered the Christ.

The written form of the Pharisaic tradition is the Talmud, penned by the descendants of the Pharisees, which forms the backbone of modern Judaism and which hurls the most hateful and pornographic insults against Jesus Christ, even condemning Him to hell to boil in His own excrement. Obviously God has no covenant with this sort of thing, nor is this connected in any way with the Judaism of the Old testament.

That is to say that Judaism A.D. has no connection with Judaism B.C., since the very point of the Old Testament Judaism was to earnestly look forward to the coming of the Messiah, not to kill Him. There was nothing in the Psalms or prophets, or in any of the unwritten Jewish tradition that said "let us oppose the Christ when he cometh."

The argument that the Jews still await the coming of the Messiah holds no water. If they don't recognize the Messiah that their fathers hung on the cross 2000 years ago, they certainly won't recognize Him when he comes again. And besides it will be too late then.

They now have the chance to recognize the One True Messiah depicted bleeding on the cross above the altars of the Catholic Churches of the world. There exists no other Messiah, so it behooves the Jews to embrace this fact and to come to grips with it. We pray for their conversion, that they may be delivered from their curse and live in the friendship of their Creator from whom they've been estranged for 2000 years, save the converts.

As for the renegade bishops in Rome that are doing this terrible disservice to the Jews, let them cease from consorting with the synagogue just for gifts and its thirty pieces of silver. What we are seeing today in Rome is infidelity in all its various facets, whether it's dignifying divorce through "annulments," or granting sacraments to adulterers, and now this latest perfidy of betraying the Son of Man with a kiss.

The Vatican hierarchy needs to understand that the Jews are not special, which must be said of any grouping on earth. There is no respect to persons with God. Only the Catholic Church purchased by the Blood of Christ is special in God's eyes, being the Creator's gift to man, so let the clergy resume their missionary spirit and bring the truth of the One True Faith to all peoples without the fear of human opinion, remembering that "fear is not charity: but perfect charity casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) 
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Friday, December 11, 2015
Feast of St. Damasus I
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Pope St. Damascus I was born c. 306 to a pious family - the son of a priest in Rome.  He served as a deacon in his father's church for some time before becoming a priest and the assistant to Pope Liberius.  He was thereafter chosen as the 37th Pope of the Catholic Church.

During his reign he governed amind the violence from those who adhered to anti-pope Ursinus.  And at this time the Arian heresy grew in strength leading to schisms in Antioch, Constantinope, Sardinia, and Rome.  Yet it was - with great jubilation - that Christianity was declared the state religion of the Roman empire during his reign.

St. Damasus restored catacombs, shrines, and the tombs of martyrs, and wrote poetry and metrical inscriptions about and dedicated to martyrs.  He considered himself too unworthy to be buried near the martyrs who suffered so much for the Faith.

Ten of his letters, personal and pontifical, have survived.

Pope St. Damascus is famous for having commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Scriptures into Latin.  The letters from Jerome to Damasus are examples of the primacy of the See of Peter:
Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist
Collect:

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Damasus shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this confessor and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, December 7, 2015
Feast of St. Ambrose
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Double (1955 Calendar): December 7

Today is the feast of the great St. Ambrose, the famous bishop who baptized St. Augustine.  Known by some as St. Ambrose of Milan, to distinguish him from other saints by the name of Ambrose, the famous bishop of Milan was born to Roman nobility.  As is the case with many other saints, he was the friend and relative of other saints - he is the brother of St. Marcellina and St. Satyrus. 

St. Ambrose was a learned man having been educated in the classics, philosophy, poetry, and Greek.  St. Ambrose for a time served as the Governor of Milan.   Famously, when the bishop of Milan died, a great dispute arose over who should take his place.  St. Ambrose intervened in such a calm way that both sides were awed by his demeanor; so much so that he was chosen to be the new bishop - despite that he was at that time merely an unbaptized catechumen!  St. Ambrose resisted - citing his own unworthiness - but to finally calm the crowds, he agreed.

On December 7, 374 AD, St. Ambrose was baptized and on that same day ordained in the various orders of the Church including episcopal consecration.

As the newly consecrated bishop, he immediately gave all of his wealth to the poor.  St. Ambrose is regarded as a renown preacher and teacher and writer of liturgical hymns.  He remained steadfast against the heresy of the Arians and against the rampant paganism of the time. His preaching directly led to the conversion of St. Augustine of Hippo and it lead Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins. 

St. Ambrose was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298.  He is also known as the Honey Tongued Doctor because of his preaching ability.

St. Ambrose, pray for us!






Today is also the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception.

Prayer:

O God, may blessed Ambrose intercede for us in heaven as he once instructed Your faithful on earth and directed them in the way of eternal salvation. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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Sunday, December 6, 2015
St. Bernard: On the Three Comings of the Lord: An Advent Reflection
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We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.    

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself ways: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.    

Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.    

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.    

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
St. Cyprian: On Immortality - An Advent Meditiation
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Our obligation is to do God’s will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honours by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we would rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ.

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live for ever. Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God’s will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows it. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there the exultant assembly of prophets, there the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There in triumph are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.
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Monday, November 30, 2015
Catholic Christmas Shopping Alternatives
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This year, as a shopping alternative please consider the A Catholic Life Online Storefront!
I have created the storefront to be a one-stop shop for Catholic items, many of which are devoted to Traditional Catholicism.
Browse These Categories!

Traditional Theology
Traditional Liturgy
Traditional Architecture
Bibles
Missals
Devotionals
Traditional Breviaries
CDs
Music Texts

Additionally, please browse the listing of my books and CDs for sale (click here for the listing). But, please act fast as these items are on a first-come, first-serve basis! If you would any of these items, please email acatholiclife [at] gmail.com and we can then work out a payment arrangement.
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Sunday, November 29, 2015
Proper Reverence for a Dropped Eucharistic Host
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You may have seen it.  I at least have once in my life.  The Eucharistic Host - the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ - was dropped at Mass.  In my own experience, I saw the entire ciborium fall and with it our Lord's Body fell all over the ground.  You could hear gasps - shock - even a cry.  And those present remained kneeling in prayers of reparation to Almighty God in the sight of such a tragedy - despite its accidental cause.

A quick reminder for those unfamiliar with Catholic Theology who happen to read this post.  The Consecrated Host is Truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  It is not a symbol - it is really and truly Him.  It is Him.  It IS Jesus.

The Eucharist - Holy Communion - simply is Christ's body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. It is not a symbol of Christ, but rather, it is truly and really Jesus Christ! At the point in the Mass known as the consecration the priest, acting in persona Christi, will say "This is My Body, which will be given up for you" and "This is My Blood...". These were the words of Our Savior when He turned the bread and wine at the Last Supper into His Body and Blood, and, by the divine power of God in the priesthood, the bread and wine become Jesus Christ.

At the Consecration during the Mass everyone present except the celebrant should kneel in adoration because by God's divine power the bread and wine become His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. The bread and wine become Jesus Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity as Our Lord Himself taught in Sacred Scripture specifically at the Last Supper. The only thing remaining of bread and wine is the appearance of bread and wine (called the "accidents"). Jesus Christ gave this awesome power to His disciples, the first bishops who have passed this down through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Continuing reading the de-brief on The Eucharist
Absolute great care is taken to ensure that our Lord's True Presence in the Consecrated Host is protected.  A recent article by John Vennari of Catholic Family News summarized some of these:
This reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and even for the smallest particles, was incorporated into the traditional Mass — the Old Latin Mass — which contained strict rubrics on this point:

1) From the moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the Sacred Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together on each hand. Whether he elevates the chalice, or turns the pages of the missal, or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and his forefinger on each hand are closed. The thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host;

2) During Holy Communion, the altar boy holds the paten under the chin of those receiving Communion, so that the slightest particle does not fall to the ground. This paten is cleaned into the chalice afterwards;

3) After Holy Communion is distributed, the priest scrapes the corporal (the small linen cloth on the altar) with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle is left, it is collected and consumed by the priest;

4) Then, the priest washes his thumb and forefinger over the chalice with water and wine, and this water and wine is reverently consumed to insure that the smallest particle of the Sacred Host is not susceptible to desecration.

Communion in the hand and so-called Eucharist lay-ministers make a mockery of the Divine Truth that Our Lord is truly present in every particle of the Eucharist, and make a mockery of the holy rubrics used by the Church for centuries as a safeguard against desecration.

Great care should always be given to present the Body of our Lord from ever falling on the ground.  Yet, due to human error and despite precautions, it may happen.  What we do to respond to it shows our piety (or lack thereof). 

Mr. Vennari continues with a wonderful explanation of what should be done and the results it brings to those who witness such reverence:

The pre-Vatican II rubrics for when a Host is dropped, like the rubrics of the Latin liturgy, safeguarded the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament. The May 1949 American Ecclesiastical Review explained:

“This procedure requires that the spot on which the Sacred Host has fallen be purified, usually with a dampened purificator, and then scraped and the scrapings thrown into the sacrarium [small sink in sacristy that drains into ground under the church]. Authors, generally, in order to avoid delay in going on with the distribution of Holy Communion, interpret the fulfillment of the rubric to allow marking the spot on which the Sacred Host has fallen, either with a linen cloth or with the plate used with the cruets, the priest returning after Mass to purify the place in the manner prescribed in De defectibus.”

This strict procedure not only gives God the reverence that is His due, but profoundly impresses the spectator, as it impressed me at a young age.

The year was around 1965, I was a boy of about 7 years old. My father took me for Sunday Mass to the “Italian Parish”, Our Lady of Consolation in Philadelphia. The Mass was still in Latin, the sacred atmosphere still pervaded the church and the liturgy, though the first updrafts of change were in the wind.

During Communion time on this particular Sunday, the priest accidentally dropped a consecrated Host. We were sitting up front, and my father drew my attention to it.

The priest briefly interrupted the distribution of Communion to fetch a small white cloth which he placed over the Host on the floor. The distribution of Holy Communion resumed, with the priest and altar boy carefully stepping around the Veiled Guest.

My father purposely kept me after Mass so that I could see the purification rubric from the front pew.

All was done simply, quietly, for there was no talking in church whatsoever back then, in reverence to the Blessed Sacrament.

The priest and the altar boy approached the spot near the altar rail inside the sanctuary, the spot covered with a white cloth. The priest then dropped to his knees, lifted the veil, retrieved the Sacred Species and consumed it with dignity and decorum. Slowly, reverently, still on his knees, he then cleaned and purified the section of the floor where the Host had dropped.

He took his time. There was no rush. An air of solemnity, holiness and adoration pervaded his every move.

I was fascinated and edified by the procedure. I remember thinking to myself, “truly, the Sacred Host is the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” because the priest tended to It with awe-inspiring care and reverence.

It was the best catechism lesson on the Real Presence I ever had.
How does the traditional and reverent practice mentioned above compare with what takes place at most Novus Ordo parishes today?  Mr. Vennari concludes:
What do seven-year-olds now see? In modern parishes, under the lax rubrics of the New Mass, the priest simply picks up a dropped Host and moves on, as if he dropped some loose change. Particles are left to be stepped upon and desecrated. Before and after Mass, people prattle away in church as if they are socializing in the parish hall. Many modern priests and laity disregard their duty of silence before the Blessed Sacrament. They forget the stern warning of little Jacinta of Fatima, “Our Lady does not want people to talk in church”.

Where is this reverence and care for the Blessed Sacrament in the post-Conciliar Church with the introduction of Communion in the hand and the “anyone can handle it” attitude? How will our young people gain any understanding of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when He receives cavalier treatment from clergymen? How can reverence for the Eucharist be instilled in the Catholic faithful when they see It given in the hand as common foodstuffs, and distributed by ill-trained lay people who should not be handling the Blessed Sacrament in the first place?

It is no mystery why so many Catholics have lost faith in the Sacred Mysteries. Too many of our priests have abandoned the outward devotion necessary: 1) to give proper reverence to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; 2) to teach the people through example that the highest reverence must be shown to Our Lord Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

Yet, the post-Conciliar catastrophe will not go on indefinitely. Someday the Church will once again be blessed with a hierarchy that gives Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament the reverence due to the King of Kings.

In the meantime, let us resist sacrilegious innovations such as Communion in the hand and lay-Eucharistic ministers, encourage others to resist them, and cling to the Latin Tridentine Mass wherein the rubrics that safeguard the reverence to the Blessed Sacrament are meticulously preserved.

Today let us make reparation to the Lord for the neglect He experiences today from His own ministers and servants who neglect to give His True Body the Reverence due to Him - He who is truly Almighty God!
Act of Reparation to the Blessed Sacrament By St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Let me cry, let me weep bitter tears to God above,
For Jesus is abandoned in his Sacrament of love;
Forgotten and insulted in the dwelling of the Lord,
Derided and rejected where once he was adored.

The mansions of the nobles are all clean and set with care,
Yet the house of God's forgotten, its altars standing bare;
The floor is all broken, the roof lets in the rain,
The crumbling walls are marked with holes and every kind of stain.

The crucifix is broken, the pictures green with damp,
The altar cloths are rotting, no light burns in the lamp,
The missals torn and battered, the brasswork stained with rust,
The things of God are thrown about and scattered in the dust.

The ciborium is tarnished, the chalice turning black,
The monstrance, which is made of tin, is mouldy at the back;
From font right up to sacristy the picture is the same,
Such disorder in the house of God is our reproach and shame.

The pagans in their temples dare not spit upon the floor,
But in our church a crowd of dogs run in and out the door;
They bark and fight continually and fill the place with slime,
But no one cares enough of this to avenge the dreadful crime.

There is just one exception in all this sorry scene:
My Lord and Lady's special pew is always neat and clean;
And standing out in bright new paint upon the dingy wall
Their gaily-colored coat-of-arms looks down upon it all.

Above the Lord's own altar, instead of the Lord's own name,
The banners of his Lordship, a place of honor claim;
Both priest and mule are flaunting the badges of their thrall,
The former at the altar, the latter in his stall.

The houses of the nobles are so crowded and gay,
And fashionable young ladies are courted night and day;
But the Church of God's deserted, unless they condescend
To go to church for one short Mass they think will never end.

Behold the worldly cleric coming in with haughty face
How his lady friends admire him as he bows with courtly grace!
He bobs a genuflection, then seeks whom he should greet;
He strolls about and chatters as though walking in the street

Still worse, he has a snuff-box, which he opens with a jest,
And delicately takes a pinch, then passes around the rest
Puffed up with self-importance and with his graceful ways,
He squirms about and poses, making faces as he prays

Alas, it's often happened, the way to church he's trod
To pay reverence to Venus, to a goddess not to God;
Every thought and aspiration, every word and loving glance
Are but homage to a creature, a prayer to find romance

Behold upon the other side a sorry scene is played,
A shameless hussy sitting in all her fine brocade;
In her dainty little slippers and head-dress trimmed with lace,
Come simply to parade herself within the holy place

This empty-headed madam, with an impudence unknown,
Up to the very altar ostentatiously is shown,
And poses on a bench in front, so to be seen by all,
To captivate the eyes of men and hold their hearts in thrall

To think this devil's agent, while her knee to Jesus bends,
Must rob him of his glory and lead astray his friends!
The splendor of her finery the thought of Jesus harms,
Forgotten is the altar in the presence of her charms.

And if the time seems tedious, she always has her fan,
Her dog and gloves, to pass the time, and often her young man;
She'll read a bit, and roll her eyes, and fix her hat with care,
Then look around the chapel to see who's watching her

O strike them, God almighty, strike this ungrateful lot!
At least let them respect thee, if they will love thee not
Too long hast thou been patient; thy justice let them see;
Let fear replace that insolence with which they now mock thee

Thy glory has been ravished, dishonored is thy name,
Such sinners against thy majesty must bow their heads in shame
And yet restrain thy anger, at least a while I pray;
The greatness of their wickedness with greater good repay

Forgive them, dearest Jesus, for they know not what they do;
Remember thy great Passion, and have mercy on us too
And if we are unable to atone for all our guilt,
Accept our feeble homage, and treat us as thou wilt

We confess before thy altar that we are sinners still;
Thou canst punish us or spare us according to thy will
But remember thy great mercy and the tears that we have shed,
And hear our cries for pardon, for our hearts are full of dread.
 
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Saturday, November 28, 2015
Novena to our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
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It is customary to pray a Novena to the Immaculate Conception starting on November 29 and ending on December 7, the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 
Novena to the Immaculate Conception
Say once a day for nine days, starting on November 29 and ending on December 7
Immaculate Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin! Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined to become not only the Mother of God, but also the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man; penetrated therefore, with the most lively confidence in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena, and to obtain for us the graces and the favors we request. Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us, then, than angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue, that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought, word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we many recover by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin, and at length attain safety to that blessed abode of the saints, where nothing defiled can enter.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
V. Thou are all fair, O Mary.
R. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V. And the original stain is not in thee.
R. And the original stain is not in thee.
V. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem.
R. Thou art the joy of Israel
V. Thou art the honor of our people.
R. Thou art the advocate of sinners.
V. O Mary.
R. O Mary.
V. Virgin, most prudent.
R. Mother, most tender.
V. Pray for us.
R. Intercede for us with Jesus our Lord.
V. In thy conception, Holy Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father Whose Son thou didst bring forth.
V. O Lady! aid my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray
Holy Mary, Queen of Heaven, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and mistress of the world, who forsakest no one, and despisest no one, look upon me, O Lady! with an eye of pity, and entreat for me of thy beloved Son the forgiveness of all my sins; that, as I now celebrate, with devout affection, thy holy and immaculate conception, so, hereafter I may receive the prize of eternal blessedness, by the grace of Him whom thou, in virginity, didst bring forth, Jesus Christ Our Lord: Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, in perfect Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.
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Monday, November 23, 2015
The Holy Face Devotion is the Solution for France
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The following prayers are taken from the prayers of Sister Saint Pierre, Carmelite Nun of Tours, to whom Our Lord gave the messages of devotion to His Holy Face and the work of reparation. 
"The future of France depends on the work of reparation, [devotion to the Holy Face.] It is always shown to me [Sister Saint Pierre] as the means of salvation which God, in His infinite mercy, has designed for FRANCE."
[Taken from the Life of Sister Saint Pierre, 1884]

PRAYERS of the seer of the Holy Face, Sister Saint Pierre OCD, with imprimatur.

Arrest, O Divine Father, the instruments of thy justice, ready to strike us!

Behold the instruments of the most Sacred Passion of Jesus, red with his Adorable

Blood. May this sight change thy justice to mercy, and move thee to speak peace to France and the world.

Eternal Father, I offer thee all the glory that our Divine Saviour Jesus has rendered thee during the thirty years of his hidden and laborious life, and all the merits he has acquired for us from the moment of his Divine Incarnation until his evangelical Life. I make this offering for the honor and glory of thy Holy Name, in reparation for the indignities offered our Saviour; finally, for the wants of the Holy Church, the salvation of France, and the Work of Reparation.

Eternal Father, I offer thee the Holy Face of Jesus for the salvation of poor France. It is the golden coin which alone can cancel her debts.
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Sunday, November 22, 2015
Traditional Mass Propers: Last Sunday after Pentecost
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INTROIT
Jer. 29:11, 12, 14 Said the Lord: "I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon me and I will hear you, and I will bring you back from captivity from all places." Ps. 84:2. Lord, You have blessed Your land; You have restored Jacob from captivity. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O Lord, stir up the wills of the faithful that they may be more eager to seek the fruits of divine grace, and to discover in Your mercy greater healing for their sinfulness. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE
Col. 1:9-14
Brethren: Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God: Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and long-suffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.

GRADUAL
You have freed us from those who afflict us, O Lord, and You have put to shame those who hate us. V. In God we will glory all the day, and praise Your name forever.

Alleluia, alleluia! Ps. 129:1-2 V. Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer! Alleluia!



GOSPEL
St. Matthew 24:15-35

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: "When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child and that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.

"Then if any man shall say to you, 'Lo here is Christ,' or 'there': do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand. If therefore they shall say to you, 'Behold he is in the desert': go ye not out. 'Behold he is in the closets': believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east and appeareth even into the west: so shall also the cowling of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.

"And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And he shall send his angels with a trumpet and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. "And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors. Amen I say to you that this generation shall not pass till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass: but my words shall not pass."

OFFERTORY
Ps. 129:1-2
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer, out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.

SECRET O Lord, lend a responsive ear to our petitions. Receive the offerings and prayers of Your people, and turn the hearts of us all towards Yourself, so that we may be drawn from earthly desires to the joys of heaven. Through Our Lord . . .

COMMUNION
Mark 11:24
Amen I say to you, all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come to you.


POST COMMUNION - O Lord, cure the evil in our hearts by the healing power of the Sacrament we have received. Through Our Lord . . .

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945


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