Friday, February 27, 2015
The Sacred Lance and Nails (Friday after the 1st Sunday in Lent)
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The Sacred Lance and Nails of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Friday after the First Sunday of Lent
Mass Said in Some Places

Introit: Ps. xxi: 17-18 et 15
They have pierced my hands and my feet: they have numbered all my bones: and I am poured out as water [Ps. Ibid., 15] My heart has become like wax melting away within my bosom. Glory be.... They have pierced.
Collect
O God, who in assuming flesh was afflicted by the Nails, and didst will to be wounded by the Lance for the salvation of the world: grant, we beseech Thee; that we who solemnly venerate the Nails and Lance on earth, may enjoy the glorious triumph of victory in heaven. Thou who livest and reignest.....
A Reading From The Prophet Zacharia
xii: 10-11; xiii: 6-7
Thus saith the Lord: And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn. In that day there shall be a great lamentation in Jerusalem. And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand to the little ones: saith the Lord almighty.

Gradual: Ps. lxviii: 21-22
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak, I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, and I found none. Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Tract: Isaias: liii: 4-5
Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought Him, as it were, a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we were healed.
In Masses outside of Lent the tract is omitted and replaced by:
Alleluia, Alleluia. Hail, our King: Thou alone art merciful in spite of our errors: Obedient to the Father Thou wert led to be crucified, as a humble lamb to the slaughter. Alleluia

During Paschaltide:
Alleluia, Alleluia. Hail, our King: Thou alone art merciful in spite of our errors: Obedient to the Father Thou wert led to be crucified, as a humble lamb to the slaughter. Alleluia To Thee be glory, hosanna: to Thee be triumph and victory: to Thee be the highest praise and the crown of honor. Alleluia.
Gospel: John xix: 28-35

 The continuation of the holy Gospel according to John:
Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: «I thirst.» Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when He had taken the vinegar, said: «It is consummated.» And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. Then the Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that was a great sabbath day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken: and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true.
Credo
Offertory
Evil men rose up against Me: without mercy they sought to kill Me: they did not hesitate to spit in My face: with their lances they wounded Me, and they have struck all My bones.

Secret
Sanctify us O Lord, we beseech Thee, with this holy and immaculate evening sacrifice: which Thine only-begotten Son offered on the Cross for the salvation of the world. Thou who livest and reignest....
Preface of the Holy Cross
 It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should in all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. Who didst set the salvation of mankind upon the tree of the Cross, so that whence came death, thence also life might rise again, and that he who overcame by the tree might also be overcome on the tree; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominations adore, the powers are in awe, the virtues of highest heaven and the blessed seraphim unite in blissful exultation. With them we praise Thee; grant that our voices too may blend, saying in adoring praise

Communion Hymn
The looked upon Him whom they have pierced, when they shook the foundations of the earth.

Postcommunion:
Lord Jesus Christ, who didst spontaneously offer Thyself on the Cross as an immaculate holocaust to God the Father; we beseech Thee; that from this same sacrifice we may obtain Thine indulgence, and eternal glory. Thou who livest and reignest with the same God the Father....

Image Source: Flickr
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Lenten Ember Day Fast is Upon Us
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This Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mark the Lenten Ember Days.  I've written on the Ember days many times previously so I will not rehash the same information.  Instead I will offer a new reflection.

The Baltimore Catechism reminds us:
Q. 1342. When do fast days chiefly occur in the year?
A. Fast days chiefly occur in the year during Lent and Advent, on the Ember days and on the vigils or eves of some great feasts. A vigil falling on a Sunday is not observed.

Q. 1343. What do you mean by Lent, Advent, Ember days and the vigils of great feasts?
A. Lent is the seven weeks of penance preceding Easter. Advent is the four weeks of preparation preceding Christmas. Ember days are three days set apart in each of the four seasons of the year as special days of prayer and thanksgiving. Vigils are the days immediately preceding great feasts and spent in spiritual preparation for them.
In the Early Church, as in the practice still amongst some people in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, fasting is done on Wednesdays and Fridays.  It is done on Wednesdays in memory of our Lord’s betrayal by Judas and on Friday, since it was on Friday that Christ died.

Fasting in Lent is an ancient practice with mention of it going back to at least the 2nd century.  St. Athanasius in 331 wrote strongly in support of this fast of 40 days, which at that time was before the required and stricter fast of Holy Week. 

As of the reign of Pope St. Gregory the Great (590 – 604) there were six weeks of six days of fasting observed for Lent in Rome.  The result was 36 days of fasting.  As 40 is a Biblical number for fasting as observed in the Old Testament, the practice began of beginning Lent on the preceding Wednesday, that we know of as Ash Wednesday, in order for 40 days of Lenten fasting to be observed.

During this ancient time, the practice of fasting allowed only one meal a day to be eaten (as is the current practice); however, the meal was in these ancient times only to be eaten in the evening. 
These days were at one time observed with a strict fast no more than one meal, without meat, dairy, oil, or wine. In the 10th century the custom of taking the only meal of the day at three o'clock was introduced. In the 14th century the meal was allowed at mid-day, and soon the practice of an evening collation (snack) became common. A morning collation was introduced in the early 19th century.

In the early 1900s, the Law of the Church required fasting on all days of Lent but abstinence from meat was required only on Fridays and Saturdays.  However, a common practice called partial abstinence was observed, which permitted meat only once a day at the principal meal.  Unique exceptions to what constituted meat differed in certain countries (e.g. capybara meat is permitted in South American countries while other meat is forbidden).  In such a way, the uniqueness of an individual culture is retained and still yet forms part of the One Body of Christ.

In the early 1900s, as observed in the reading previously, there were additional days of fasting and/or abstinence in the year including the Ember Days, days of Advent, Rogation Days, Vigils of important feastdays, and the like.

Fridays and Saturdays in Advent were days of abstinence, and until early in the 20th century, the Fridays of Advent were also days of fasting.

Ember Days, as explained by the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia:

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.



If you are not already fasting for the 40 days of Lent, please do try to join in the traditional Ember Day Lenten Fast.
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Saturday, February 21, 2015
My Newest Book: Eschatology: The Catholic Study of the Four Last Things
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I am pleased to announce the publication of my 2nd book.  This book is entitled "Eschatology: The Catholic Study of the Four Last Things."  This book is something that I have been wanting to write since back in 2012.  I only began last year and am now pleased to announce its completion.
 
Eschatology is the study of the end of life, the end of time, and the Final Coming of Christ.  In Eschatology, Christian Theology focuses primarily on the “Four Last Things” that comprise its study.  They are Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. 
 
In addition to these areas, my new book on Eschatology explores as part of the five-part series on these topics, Purgatory, the place of temporary purification after death for souls that die in the state of grace (i.e. are destined for Heaven) but are not yet perfect and able to enter Heaven. 
 
My book is available as an online course through CatechismClass.com, as a paperback, and as an ebook.  I would much appreciate your support by ordering a copy!
 
 
Lulu.com, which is a distributor of the book, is running a sale.  Use Discount code DBS15 on the Lulu website to order the paperback and receive FREE SHIPPING.  Offer valid through February 25th only.
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Friday, February 20, 2015
Feast of the Crown of Thorns (Mass in Some Places)
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This reliquary contains the Crown of Thorns of our Lord as recovered by King St. Louis IX.

The Friday after Ash Wednesday in the Traditional Missal before 1955 has a "Mass in Some Places" that may be said.  This special Mass is for the The Feast of the Crown of Thorns.  The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes:

The first feast in honour of the Crown of Thorns (Festum susceptionis coronae Domini) was instituted at Paris in 1239, when St. Louis brought thither the relic of the Crown of Thorns, which was deposited later in the Royal Chapel, erected in 1241-8 to guard this and other relics of the Passion.  
The feast, observed on 11 August, though at first special to the Royal Chapel, was gradually observed throughout the north of France. In the following century another festival of the Holy Crown on 4 May was instituted and was celebrated along with the feast of the Invention of the Cross in parts of Spain, Germany, and Scandinavia. It is still kept in not a few Spanish dioceses and is observed by the Dominicans on 24 April.  
A special feast on the Monday after Passion Sunday was granted to the Diocese of Freising in Bavaria by Clement X (1676) and Innocent XI (1689) in honour of the Crown of Christ. It was celebrated at Venice in 1766 on the second Friday of March.  
In 1831 it was adopted at Rome as a double major and is observed on the Friday following Ash Wednesday. As it is not kept throughout the universal Church, the Mass and Office are placed in the appendices to the Breviary and the Missal. The hymns of the Office, which is taken from the seventeenth-century Gallican Breviary of Paris, were composed by Habert. The "Analecta hymnica" of Dreves and Blume contains a large number of rhythmical offices, hymns, and sequences for this feast.

I recommend the meditation on today's historic feast at The Guild of Blessed Titus from a 2013 post.  Also, the meditation shared on the Irish Dominican blog from 2010's Feast is also very worth reading this day as a source of meditation.

Prayer: 

Grant, we beg, almighty God: that we, who in memory of the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ do revere His thorny Crown on earth, by Him may deserve "to be crowned with glory and honour" (cf. Ps 8:6) in heaven: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth...
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Lent: Hold Fast to Strict Fasting for 40 Days
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"The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe." - Pope Benedict XIV, 1741

Our Lord tells us, as recorded in Scripture, "Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). And St. John the Baptist announced the coming of the Saviour with the ominous admonition, "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2).

With regard to prayer, St. Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17). And Our dear Lord advises us, "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23). Also He said, "If you abide in me [i.e., "live in Me," or "stay in the state of grace"], and my words abide ["live"] in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7). Further, Our Lord has said, "Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36). And in the Book of Judith we read, "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord." (Judith 4:11).

Our obligation to do apostolic work, no matter who we are, is seen in the general admonition of St. John the Baptist, ". . .make straight the way of the Lord . . ." (In. 1:23; Is. 40:3). The Church has used this counsel in her Advent liturgy, so we know it applies to all—at least to the extent that all must pray and do penance for the success of the Church's missionary activity, help support it financially—and wherever possible take an active part in the conversion or re-conversion of those we know.

The primary purpose of Lent, of course, is to help us become truly holy—and we should work toward this goal during Lent by extra prayer, penance, good works, almsgiving, attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments (the chief sources of grace).

As such, let us consider the following 20 PIOUS PRACTICES FOR CATHOLICS TO PRACTICE DURING LENT: Click here to continue reading...
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Flight into Egypt (Mass in Some Places)
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Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of The Flight Into Egypt.  In honor of this day, I share the following prayers and meditations in honor of this event in the life of our Blessed Mother Mary:

Flight Into Egypt by Jacob Jordaens

First Point

No sooner was Jesus born than He began to be persecuted by Herod, who then ruled over the Jews. This ambitious prince, hearing that the long-expected Messias was come into the world "to deliver His people, Israel," was seized with envy and alarm. He feared lest this Saviour should supplant him in his authority and usurp his throne; therefore he sought to destroy him whilst he was yet a helpless babe. When the wise men came to Jerusalem from the east, enquiring "Where is He who is born King of the Jews?" Herod, thinking the time had arrived to rid himself of his supposed rival, called them privately, and learned diligently of them at what time the star which guided them from the East had first appeared: then, sending them into Bethlehem, he said: "Go, and diligently enquire after the child; and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him." He hoped, by this deceitful stratagem, to obtain possession of our Lord. But, like all God's enemies, in the long run he deceived himself; for our Lord's "time was not yet come " to be betrayed and put to death.

After the wise men had found Jesus, adored Him and presented before Him their choicest gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they were warned by a token from God that they should not return to Herod. They therefore went back another way into their own country.

When the envious tyrant found that his impious plans were thus brought to nought, like Pharao, King of Egypt, he hardened his heart yet further, and formed the cowardly and savage design of slaying by the sword every male child in that part of the country from two years old and under. For he concluded from what the Magi had told him, that the Messias would surely be among the victims to his cruelty. But it is the extreme of folly for man to oppose the Creator and fight against his God. Here, again, Herod's wicked purposes are most wonderfully brought to nothing. He hoped by thus murdering all the male infants in and about Bethlehem, that Jesus would also be slain. But after the Magi had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying:

"Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell thee; for it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him."

And here let me contemplate the cause of Mary's second Dolour.

St. Joseph, obedient to the command of the Heavenly messenger, at once arose and hastened to the Blessed Virgin, telling her what had been made known to him. Then, indeed, it was that the second sword transfixed the heart of Mary. How bitter, exclaims St. John Chrysostom, must have been the pain which was excited in the heart of Mary when she heard of the exile of herself and Son!" And, indeed," says St. Alphonsus, "what greater tribulation could there be, than that a poor young mother should be forced to fly with her new-born babe far away from home, from friends to strangers, from the hallowed sanctuary of the Lord to the polluted temples of devils." It was at the dead of night that the Blessed Virgin heard from the lips of St. Joseph the afflicting news; and, to add to her grief and embarrassment, the journey to Egypt was very long and toilsome, nor had she the provisions to sustain them on it. Mary doubtless reflected upon all these difficulties; great indeed, therefore, must have been her distress. She feared for the safety of her Child--she trembled for her spouse--she trembled for herself; nevertheless, she was perfectly obedient to the voice of Heaven. Nor did she complain of her lot; but, seated upon an ass, with Jesus in her arms and Joseph by her side, she departed at once from Bethlehem.

Mary knew perfectly that the fruit of her womb was God. She knew that although His Divine Majesty had humbly clothed Himself with human nature, He had not therefore lost the attributes of the Deity. Hence she was well aware that He still held in His Omnipotent hand the slender thread of Herod's life, and that, did Jesus but will it, that impious tyrant would be deprived of throne and power and breath. She was not ignorant that, when "the earth was void and empty and darkness was upon the face of the deep," then by His Almighty word light was made, and "all things were created by Him and in Him"--moreover that, as the Apostle goes on to say, "by Him all things consist, and by His frown all would be destroyed." The same Omnipotence, she knew well, could laugh to scorn the kings of the earth, and that, should the sacred Humanity of her Child demand aid from the Eternal Father, He would give Him presently more than twelve legions of angels to sweep His enemies from the earth.

Therefore, when Joseph announced to her that they were to hasten with the Babe into Egypt in order to save His life, we may imagine her speaking such words as these: Why need we fear Herod's wildest attempts? Why fly from a power that cannot touch or harm us? What can man do against my Son? Is He not truly God? Moreover, has not His enemy been already twice defeated in His plans? Why not this time also? Let us then remain here in peace and confidence. But does the Blessed Virgin thus excuse herself from the toils and pains which the Heavenly message enjoined? Far from it! She knew that the Divine will is ever to be obeyed; she knew also that such was the desire of her Divine Child. Hence, on hearing from Joseph the message of the Archangel, she at once complied, and, without the delay of a moment, the Holy Family set out on their long journey of obedience--certain of the command, uncertain of its duration. This only did they know, that they were to remain in Egypt until the Archangel spoke again.


Let me here contemplate the prompt obedience of the Mother of God--how it puts to shame my past obstinacy and self-will.

Ten great commandments has my Creator given me. Do I fulfil them? Do I sincerely worship Him by faith, hope and charity? If not, my obedience is most unlike that of Mary. Do I ever take the name of the Lord, my God, in vain? If so, I am disobedient. Do I observe devoutly the Sabbath day? If not, I am not like Mary. Am I truly obedient to my parents, to my pastors, and other lawful superiors? If not, I am far indeed from being like Mary. Do I from time to time foolishly allow anger on my brow? Do I ill-treat my neighbour or ever seek revenge? Am I given to a life of debauchery, or to the sins of uncleanness? Do I wrong any one in his property by negligence, stealth, or fraud? Have I at any time robbed another person of his good name, or tarnished his character by unnecessary or lying informations? Have I ever desired my neighbour's wife, or envied his acquirements or his riches? Oh, if I have not kept the holy precepts which God has given me, surely I can claim no resemblance to her who, in obedience to the will of Heaven--despite the greatest inconvenience of time, of distance and fatigue--forsook her dearest friends, her much-loved home, to live in exile in an unknown land. Pray, then, my soul--pray fervently to this Holy Virgin, and cease not until she grants thy supplication, and obtains for thee from her Son the virtue of heroic obedience. Thus wilt thou be enabled to overcome all thy enemies; for, as Solomon testifies, "The obedient man shall speak of victory."

Second Point

Let me accompany this afflicted Mother into Egypt, and compassionate her on the long and cheerless journey thither. The distance from Bethlehem to Heliopolis, the city in which the Holy Family took refuge, was very great, and appears still greater when we consider the imperfect modes of conveyance then in use. It is commonly said to have been about four hundred miles, and was rarely accomplished in less than forty days. The way was rough, unfrequented, and wild; the season the very depth of winter. Neither hospitable house nor warm clothing defended from its severity this tender Virgin and her still more tender Child. No doubt she had frequently to contend with violent storms and winds, and vainly endeavoured to shield her infant from the snow or rain. Great indeed must have been her sufferings! I seem to see her from time to time fainting from sheer fatigue. Had she been as robust as other women, the severity of this journey might not have weakened her so greatly; but tradition tells us that she was of a most delicate frame; moreover, she was then very young, being no more than fifteen or sixteen years of age, and had but just become a mother. What added yet more to her sorrow was that no food remained either for St. Joseph or herself. The little provision which in their haste they had brought with them, must have been soon consumed, and perhaps for half the journey none could be procured. During that long and toilsome way, Mary had also to give nourishment to her Son. Alas! poor Mother! how must his piteous cries have pierced her heart! "What greater-pang," says St. Alphonsus, "can a mother suffer than to behold her child weak and hungry, and be unable to minister to its wants?"

Nor were these the only sufferings endured by the Blessed Virgin during the flight into Egypt. Those who travel now, even the poorest, can get some lodging, however humble, where they can rest at night and find a shelter from the wind and rain. But it was not so with the Mother of God. She was for nearly forty days exposed to the severities of the winter, with only the bare ground to sleep upon, and with no roof to shield her from the storm.

Oh! how can I pamper my body when I contemplate the Mother of the Most High vainly endeavouring each night to rest her wearied frame on the damp earth; in vain! for how could she possibly close her eyes in sleep, when she feared each moment lest some wild beast, or, still more terrible, some messenger from Herod might come to rob her of her child! Half of her perilous journey was through thick forests, half through the wilderness of Arabia. Whilst in the former, the falling of withered leaves, the rustling of shrubs, and the crackling of the branches of trees, sounded, most likely, to her attentive ear, like unto the near approach of robbers or the coming of ravenous wolves. When in the latter, she had to traverse over long tracts of sand, with no shelter whatever, and exposed completely to thirst, dust, excessive heat or excessive cold, according to the state of weather on each successive day. No doubt the drifting of the sands, the darkening of the sky, and the thick mists of noon and morning, must have alarmed her greatly lest some fierce hurricane might break out and destroy them in the wilderness.

But, oh! how far more must she have feared lest, on account of all these severities of the journey, she might lose her life's sole happiness, her darling Babe, lest He might die; "for Mary," says St. Bonaventure, "was not so much concerned for her own sufferings as for those of Jesus." She would keep her dear Son from danger of dew and cold, but how could she? She presses Him to her loving breast; but all in vain, for she herself is totally unprovided for the inclemencies of the weather. Had she the means, she would also comfort St. Joseph; but what help could she give him? She could administer nothing to him save encouraging words, and this no doubt she did, in spite of fatigue of body and of mental anguish. Hagar, in the desert of Beersheba, is a striking picture of the Blessed Virgin in her flight into Egypt. The Sacred Scripture tells us, in the 21st chapter of Genesis, that the water being exhausted, Hagar placed her son, Ismael, under a tree, and, withdrawing from him that she might not see him die, she abandoned herself to tears and groans until the angel came to console her. But Thou, O God, alone knowest how greatly Mary was convulsed with grief when she beheld the sufferings of her Child. I ask for grace to understand this great affliction, which even angels cannot comprehend without special light from Thee. Let this sorrow of thy daughter, O Heavenly Father, be deeply imprinted on my heart, that I may lovingly compassionate her who suffered with so much patience! This much, however, is granted me to know, that her affliction for her Divine Son must have almost infinitely surpassed in pain all the tears, groans, despair, and anguish of broken-hearted Hagar: since Mary fully understood that the life of Jesus was far more precious than the lives of all the children of Adam.

From the mournful journey of Mary with her spouse and child, through dark and wild woods, and through the Arabian desert, Christians are to learn, says Cornelius a Lapide, how to deport themselves during their long pilgrimage in this vale of tears. The world is the road to Heaven. But it is a very rough and dangerous path; experience teaches this to all. As I travel onwards, I am blown to and fro by contrary winds of temptation, while the rain of persecution and tribulation beats hard against me, or reproach, like snow, freezes my heart. Since such is indeed the case, I must never forget the afflicted Mother of God. She is patient under all her fatigues and sufferings. I must also be patient. She does not care for the severities of the season, nor should I be cast down by afflictions; I should courageously combat against them, asking the help of God's grace. She delays not on her journey, but makes it with great speed; neither should I, therefore, suffer the foolish toys of this world to stop my progress towards Heaven.

Oh! my soul, when, during thy exile here below, thou seemest rather to be struggling amidst tempests and whirlwinds than living in serenity, forget not Mary on her way to Egypt, if thou wouldst not be destroyed by the storms. If the strong winds of temptation blow, be not afraid, but look at Mary in the desert. If from time to time thou art beaten on all sides by the violent rain of pride, ambition, detraction, or jealousy, consider Mary in the desert. If the terrible thunders or the ravaging lightnings of anger, hatred, or revenge, disturb thy peace; or if despair, like a blight, withers the heart, think of the conduct of thy Mother in the woods and desert; see her patience, her faith, her unbounded hope, her entire reliance on the providence of God. If, my soul, the dust of imperfection or the gloom of the journey trouble or discourage thee, remember Mary on her way to Egypt. If the filth and mire of lust impede thee on thy way, do not forget Mary. In dangers, in anguish, anxiety, and doubt--in all thy troubles during thy pilgrimage towards Heaven, think of Mary in the desert. Let her sorrow there never depart from thy mind, thy heart, thy lips. Following her, thou wilt not go astray; praying to her, thou wilt not despair; led by her hand, thou wilt not fall to the ground; under her protection, thou needest not fear; she being leader, thou wilt not be fatigued; and by her gentle guidance thou wilt happily reach thy destination, where, with the holy angels, thou wilt praise her forever. (See St. Bernard, on the Name of Mary.)

Prayer

Behold, most afflicted Mother, thy humble client praying at thy feet. Here will I kneel, contemplating thy wonderful obedience and heroic patience: thy wonderful obedience in fulfilling so readily the onerous command of Gabriel, the Archangel; thy heroic patience in doing so without murmur or complaint. O Mary, dearest Virgin Mary, obtain for me, I beseech thee, these two beautiful virtues. Teach me also how to journey safely through this vale of tears. Comfort me in my sorrows, help me in my wants, and never suffer me to deviate from the right path, but as a star guides the mariner securely into port, so do thou, my protectress, conduct me safely to Heaven. Most sincerely do I compassionate thee in that indescribable woe which thou didst feel when in the dreary desert, and I devoutly beg of thee to stamp deeply on my heart thy second bitter Dolour, that with thee, dear afflicted Mother, I may suffer and weep here below, and be glad and rejoice with thee in Heaven. Amen.

Ejaculation.

Mary, O Dolorous Virgin, obtain for me holy patience and obedience, and safely conduct me through the perils of this world to Jesus, the haven of salvation.

Say "three Ave Marias in honour of all Mary suffered in Nazareth, for an increase of Hope."
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Sunday, February 15, 2015
Forgiveness Sunday
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Today is in the Byzantine Tradition is Cheesefare Sunday, in addition to being Forgiveness Sunday.  As the Orthodox Church website shares:
The Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent. During the pre-Lenten period, the services of the Church include hymns from the Triodion, a liturgical book that contains the services from the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the tenth before Pascha (Easter), through Great and Holy Saturday. On the Sunday of Forgiveness focus is placed on the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, an event that shows us how far we have fallen in sin and separated ourselves from God. At the onset of Great Lent and a period of intense fasting, this Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance.
Thus in honor of this day I publicly ask all of you for your forgiveness for anything that I may have done or said or written that has damaged our relationship or hurt you in any way.  God have mercy on me.  Forgive me, brethren!
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Monday, February 9, 2015
When Must a Catholic Obey the Pope?
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In today's world, we are faced with a dire situation that is virtually unprecedented in the history of the Church.  We need only look to Pope Francis' comments of late on how Catholics should not "breed like rabbits," his support for adulterers, his abuse of the Holy Thursday Liturgy during the Washing of the Feet, the grave controversies arising from last year's Synod on the Family regarding contraception and divorce, and much more.

The point of this post is not to discuss any of these issues.  But, in light of the above, if a Pope were to command us to do something contrary to the Deposit of the Faith, if he were to teach an error, if he were to abuse the Sacred Liturgy, or anything of the like, must we support him or even obey him?

In light of Cardinal Burke's recent comments, it is especially important for us to consider at this time when many bishops are even teaching things contrary to the Faith and are causing scandal.

Let's start with some important sources on the topic.  Even though these sources may be old, they are nonetheless relevant to this discussion and they hold weight because they encapsulate the authentic teaching of the Magesterium of the Church.

"...that it is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal custom of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed" -Pope Innocent III

"Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See- they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations." Melchior Cano, theologian of the Council of Trent

"We affirm without hesitation that all the striving of men will be vain if they leave out the Church." Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum #16
And let us not forget St. Robert Bellarmine:
“Just as it is lawful to resist the pope that attacks the body, it is also lawful to resist the one who attacks souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is lawful to resist him by not doing what he orders and preventing his will from being executed.”
The Church is not without some history on this matter.  Pope Vigilius for instance was a heretic who was excommunicated by the Second Council of Constantinople.  The Faithful were not only discouraged from following him; on the contrary, to follow him would have been a grave sin.

I am not alleging the current Pope to be a heretic.  It seems all to common that when anyone so much as questions the directives of the modern popes after Vatican II, that those with the questions are accused of such.  On the contrary, I am not.  However, the issue of the possibility of a heretic as Pope is relevant.  After all, if a Pope were to be a heretic, would he have to be followed?  Could a Pope even be a heretic?  Would he lose his right to rule or would it declare null and void all of his actions as if he were never a Pope?

The Remant published an article by Robert J. Siscoe in November 2014 on this very subject.  I quote:
“Indeed the Church has the right to separate herself from an heretical pope according to divine law. Consequently it has the right, by the same divine law, to use all means of themselves necessary for such separation…”

- John of St. Thomas

“The Church must render a judgment before the pope loses his office. Private judgment of the laity in this matter does not suffice.”

- Robert J. Siscoe

A recent article by Fr. James V. Schall S.J., which was re-posted as “the article of the week” on the popular Traditional Catholic website Rorate Caeli, has caused quite stir in some quarters. In the short article, which is titled On Heretical Popes, Fr. Schall briefly discusses the claims of heresy leveled against the post-Conciliar Popes, especially Pope Francis, and raises the question of whether a pope can fall into heresy, and, if so, how the Church would go about deposing him. The article was written in a very moderate tone, but the issues addressed were evidently too much for the extreme Left and their newly discovered Ultramontanism.

A writer at the ultra-liberal National Catholic Reporter reacted with outrage that Fr. Schall would dare mention such issues during the current Pontificate. He declared Fr. Schall’s article to be “irresponsible and inflammatory”, and suggested the only response to this “danger” is “to seek even harder to embrace Pope Francis and his effort to renew the Church.”

In light of recent events, even mainstream Catholics are beginning to openly ask if it is possible for a pope to be a heretic, and, if so, what means would the Church possess to remedy such a dangerous situation. For if Providence could permit a man to be raised to the Pontificate whose words and actions risked leading countless souls into sin and heresy, surely the Good God has likewise provided the Church with the means necessary to protect herself, and to remedy the dire situation. During the First Vatican Council, Bishop Zinelli, a Relator for the Deputation of the Faith (the body charged with explaining the meaning of the schemas to the Council Fathers), said the following about the hypothesis of an heretical Pope: “God does not fail in the things that are necessary; therefore, if He permits so great an evil, the means to remedy such a situation will not be lacking”. (1)

In this article, we will delve deep into the issues that were only touched upon by Fr. Schall. We will not only consider the possibility of a Pope falling into heresy, but, more importantly, the way in which an heretical Pope can be deposed. We will consider this complex and difficult question on both the speculative and practical level by consulting the theologians and canonists who have written on the subject over the centuries. We will employ the distinctions necessary to navigate through the minefield of possible errors that touch upon the issue of deposition, while carefully avoiding the heresy of Conciliarism.
 
And for those unfamiliar, the SSPX website has provided a translation for the words of Cardinal Burke that were referenced at the beginning of this article
Cardinal Burke: I cannot accept that Communion can be given to a person in an irregular union because it is adultery. On the question of people of the same sex, this has nothing to do with marriage. This is an affliction suffered by some people whereby they are attracted against nature sexually to people of the same sex.

Question: If perchance the pope will persist in this direction, what will you do?
Cardinal Burke: I shall resist, I can do nothing else. There is no doubt that it is a difficult time; this is clear, this is clear.
 
And so, we could summarize this question (When Must a Catholic Obey the Pope) by saying again the wisdom of Pope Innocent III, namely "...that it is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal custom of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed."  And furthermore, should a Pope teach anything contrary to the Deposit of Faith as our forefathers and their forefathers held to it, we should resist such a Pope and hold true to the same Faith that we have received (St. Paul: "Tradidi quod et accepi —I have transmitted to you what I have received").
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Feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria
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Double (1955 Calendar): February 9

St. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, was known as the Doctor of the Incarnation. He took a fearless stand against the Nestorian heretics who denied that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was made man. As the Pope's legate, Cyril presided over the third General Council, held at Ephesus in 431. The clear statements of this great council regarding the Incarnation defined that the Son of God is both God and man and that the Blessed Virgin, His Mother, is truly the Mother of God. Of St. Cyril it may be said, "Nations shall declare his wisdom, and the Church shall show forth his praise" (Eccli. 39:14).

The main impetus for the Council of Ephesus started not with discussions about the nature of Christ but about the title of Mary, the Blessed Mother.  In 428, the Patriarch of Constantinople died.  The choice among the clergy within Constantinople was splintered by factions so an outsider from Antioch, Nestorius, was chosen.  Nestorius at first seemed like an excellent choice as Patriarch of Constantinople.  He had a reputation for eloquence and was the head of a monastery in Antioch.  The Emperor of the East, Theodosius II, approved of him and Nestorius was installed on April 10, 428.  Around the end of the year, a priest that Nestorius had brought with him from Antioch began to preach that the Blessed Mother should not be called Theotokos (God Bearer) because God, being human, could not be born.  The people of Constantinople were upset that such a doctrine had won approval from their new Patriarch.   Theotokos was an ancient title of Mary.  St. John Chrysostom (a former Patriarch of Constantinople himself) had called Mary Theotokos  –
“It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word. True Theotokos we magnify you.”
Nestorius, unfortunately, agreed with the priest from Antioch.  He stated that Mary should rightly be called Christotokos or Christ-Bearer.  Nestorius began to preach against the title of Theotokos.  When monks from Constantinople protested, they were scourged and imprisoned for their Marian devotion.  Nestorius’ heresy was more serious than a debate about what to call the Blessed Virgin – he and his followers actually denied the Hypostatic Union.  The Hypostatic Union is the union between the Divine Nature of our Lord and the human nature He adopted for our salvation.  Nestorius treated Jesus as if He had two separate natures. 

Nestorius published his sermons, even sending them to Pope Celestine.  Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, also heard of the sermons and immediately warned the Egyptian desert monks of Nestorius’ errors.  In August, 430, Pope Celestine held a synod in Rome, condemning Nestorius teachings and ordered him to recant.  Pope Celestine appointed Cyril to carry out this sentence to Nestorius in Constantinople.  Before Cyril could arrive, Theodosius II, the Emperor of the East, convened a general Church council in Ephesus on June 7, 431 – Pentecost Sunday

We know many details of what happened at the Council of Ephesus.  First, the Nicene Creed was read out to the assembled Bishops.   Then, letters that Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople,  had written to each other when the dispute first started were examined.  Cyril’s letter was acknowledged as adhering to the faith while Nestorius’ letter was condemned as heretical.  We shall quote the later part of Cyril’s letter:
“But I turn to a subject more fitting to myself and remind you as a brother in Christ always to be very careful about what you say to the people in matters of teaching and of your thought on the faith. You should bear in mind that to scandalise even one of these little ones that believe in Christ lays you open to unendurable wrath. If the number of those who are distressed is very large, then surely we should use every skill and care to remove scandals and to expound the healthy word of faith to those who seek the truth. The most effective way to achieve this end will be zealously to occupy ourselves with the words of the holy fathers, to esteem their words, to examine our words to see if we are holding to their faith as it is written, to conform our thoughts to their correct and irreproachable teaching.

“The holy and great synod, therefore, stated that “ 1. the only begotten Son, begotten of God the Father according to nature, true God from true God, the light from the light, the one through whom the Father made all things, came down, became incarnate, became man, 2. suffered, rose on the third day and ascended to heaven.

 “We too ought to follow these words and these teachings and consider what is meant by saying that the Word from God took flesh and became man. For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and became flesh, nor that He was turned into a whole man made of body and soul. Rather do we claim that the Word in an unspeakable, inconceivable manner united to Himself hypostatically flesh enlivened by a rational soul, and so became man and was called son of man, not by God's will alone or good pleasure, nor by the assumption of a person alone. Rather did two different natures come together to form a unity, and from both arose one Christ, one Son. 
It was not as though the distinctness of the natures was destroyed by the union, but divinity and humanity together made perfect for us one Lord and one Christ, together marvellously and mysteriously combining to form a unity. So He who existed and was begotten of the Father before all ages is also said to have been begotten according to the flesh of a woman, without the divine nature either beginning to exist in the holy virgin, or needing of itself a second begetting after that from his Father. 
(For it is absurd and stupid to speak of the one who existed before every age and is coeternal with the Father, needing a second beginning so as to exist.) The Word is said to have been begotten according to the flesh, because for us and for our salvation He united what was human to himself hypostatically and came forth from a woman. For He was not first begotten of the holy virgin, a man like us, and then the Word descended upon Him; but from the very womb of His mother He was so united and then underwent begetting according to the flesh, making His own the begetting of His own flesh.

“In a similar way we say that He suffered and rose again, not that the Word of God suffered blows or piercing with nails or any other wounds in His own nature (for the divine, being without a body, is incapable of suffering), but because the body which became His own suffered these things, He is said to have suffered them for us. For He was without suffering, while His body suffered. Something similar is true of His dying. 
For by nature the Word of God is of itself immortal and incorruptible and life and life-giving, but since on the other hand His own body by God's grace, as the apostle says, tasted death for all, the Word is said to have suffered death for us, not as if He Himself had experienced death as far as His own nature was concerned (it would be sheer lunacy to say or to think that), but because, as I have just said, His flesh tasted death. So too, when His flesh was raised to life, we refer to this again as His resurrection, not as though he had fallen into corruption--God forbid--but because His body had been raised again.
“So we shall confess one Christ and one Lord. We do not adore the man along with the Word, so as to avoid any appearance of division by using the word "with". But we adore Him as one and the same, because the body is not other than the Word, and takes its seat with Him beside the Father, again not as though there were two sons seated together but only one, united with his own flesh. If, however, we reject the hypostatic union as being either impossible or too unlovely for the Word, we fall into the fallacy of speaking of two sons.
We shall have to distinguish and speak both of the man as honoured with the title of son, and of the Word of God as by nature possessing the name and reality of sonship, each in His own way. We ought not, therefore, to split into two sons the one Lord Jesus Christ. Such a way of presenting a correct account of the faith will be quite unhelpful, even though some do speak of a union of persons. For scripture does not say that the Word united the person of a man to Himself, but that He became flesh. The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that He partook of flesh and blood like us; He made our body His own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside His deity, or His generation from God the Father, but rather in His assumption of flesh remaining what He was.
“This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word or His godhead received the origin of their being from the holy virgin, but because there was born from her His holy body rationally ensouled, with which the Word was hypostatically united and is said to have been begotten in the flesh. These things I write out of love in Christ exhorting you as a brother and calling upon you before Christ and the elect angels, to hold and teach these things with us, in order to preserve the peace of the churches and that the priests of God may remain in an unbroken bond of concord and love.”

Prayer:

O God, You made Cyril, Your blessed confessor bishop, the invincible champion of the most blessed Virgin Mary's divine Motherhood. We firmly believe that she is truly the Mother of God. May her motherly protection save us through the prayers of St. Cyril. Through Our Lord . . .
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Saturday, February 7, 2015
More Older Catholic Books for Sale
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I'm once again offering a number of older, traditional Catholic books for sale.  All prices do include shipping.  If you are interested, please contact me at acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com.

"What Is the Index?" by Redmond  Burke, CSV, 116 pp., 1952, Bruce publ (on the Index of forbidden books, in good condition, $25 hb)

"The Church of Christ," by Sylvester Berry, DD, 544 pp., 1941, Herder publ. (good condition with clear tape on spine, hb.," $25)

"The Holy Use of Money," John Haughey, SJ, 244 pp., 1986 (very good condition on personal finances and Christian faith, hb $25)

"The Everyday Catholic," by Martin Harrison, OP, 376 pp,, 1954 ed. (good condition, on all aspects of the Faith in practice and doctrine, hb., $25)

"Evolution and Faith," by Bishop Hedley, 252 pp. 1931 (good condition, hb , $25, on science and faith)

"The Message of St. Frances," Agostino Gemelli, OFM, 179 pp., 1963 (in very good condition, hb., $25)

"One Shepherd, One Flock," by Oliver  Barres, 187 pp., 1956, Sheed and Ward publ., (very good condition, hb, $25)

"The Medieval Papacy in Action," Marshall  Baldwin, 112 pp., 1940 (good condition, hb, $25)

"St. Joseph and Daily Christian Living," by Francis Filas, SJ, 176 pp. 1961 (very good condition, hb, $25

"The Catholic Reformation," Pierre Janelle, 304 pp., 1963, Bruce publ. (very good condition, hb , $25)
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Catholic Study Lessons on Septuagesima
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In this period of Pre-Lent, we focus on the need for a Savior and recall the sin of Adam and Eve. 

This past Sunday, the Church began the season of Septuagesima.  Septuagesima is traditionally observed 2 and a half weeks before the start of Lent.  This time, informally called "Pre-Lent," is a time for us to focus on the need for a Savior.  It is a time for us to begin to prayer our souls, minds, and bodies for Lent.  It is a time to prepare a Lenten prayer schedule, so that we can determine which extra devotions and Masses we will go to in Lent.  It is a time to begin weaning ourselves from food so that we may more readily fast during Lent.

As we prepare to begin the discipline of Lent, which are traditionally 40 days of fasting and penance, I would like to recommend the series of lessons on Lent which CatechismClass.com is currently offering at a discount of 25%.

The series of lessons on Lent includes a lesson for all days during the week of Ash Wednesday and a weekly lesson for all weeks of the season.  This course also include lessons on all of the Sundays of Septuagesima.

Simply add the course to your cart and enter LENT2015 as a discount code.  You will save 25%.  I'm very happy to recommend this great, traditional program.

 Dead Christ Mourned by the Angels, Boston Museum

Importance of Lent

With regard to prayer, St. Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17). And Our dear Lord advises us, "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23). Also He said, "If you abide in me [i.e., "live in Me," or "stay in the state of grace"], and my words abide ["live"] in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7). Further, Our Lord has said, "Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36). And in the Book of Judith we read, "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord." (Judith 4:11).

Our obligation to do apostolic work, no matter who we are, is seen in the general admonition of St. John the Baptist, ". . .make straight the way of the Lord . . ." (In. 1:23; Is. 40:3). The Church has used this counsel in her Advent liturgy, so we know it applies to all—at least to the extent that all must pray and do penance for the success of the Church's missionary activity, help support it financially—and wherever possible take an active part in the conversion or reconversion of those we know.

The primary purpose of Lent, of course, is to help us become truly holy—and we should work toward this goal during Lent by extra prayer, penance, good works, almsgiving, attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments (the chief sources of grace).
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Top Five (5) Traditional Catholic Churches of Chicago
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Compared to all other cities in the United States, Chicago has more Tridentine Latin Masses each Sunday than anywhere else.  In fact, Chicago serves as an important base for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a traditional religious order that only offers the Traditional Mass, with most of their US apostolates in driving distance from Chicago.

In no particular order, here are the 5 Most Traditional Catholic Church of Chicago:

1. St. John Cantius (Diocesan)

St. John Cantius is known as one of the gems of Catholic Tradition in the Conciliar Church.  The building itself has a rich history - it was saved from near closing and has blossomed into a community of vibrant Faith, Tradition, and Devotion.  The building is known for its beauty, the Liturgies are among some of the most ornate in the City, and the use of Sacred Polyphany and Orchestral High Masses make this a truly unique parish of Chicago.









2. Shrine of Christ the King (ICKSP)

The Shrine, like St. John Cantius, was near closing - in fact, the Shrine of Christ the King was slated for demolition after a fire ravished the building.  As the neighbor decayed, the former St. Gelatius Church, which was home to the National Novena to St. Therese on each Tuesday of the week, was all but certainly lost.  In 2006, the building was entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King by then Cardinal of Chicago, Cardinal George.  As a result of the order's dedication, the building is being restored and the Faithful who attend the Shrine assist at one of the few locations to only offer Tridentine Masses - even during the Triduum.  The Order's use of traditions ranging from Candlemas Processions, Blessings of Wine on the Feast of St. John, Blessings of Epiphany Water, and the like make this one of the few places to regularly and publicly use the Rituale Romanum.  The vibrant parish life offers several weekly evening Masses as well as Masses in the evening usually on all 1st Class Feasts, which is a true rarity!  With powerful preaching and doctrinally sound catechesis, the Shrine of Christ the King has earned a place in our Top 5 List.

 Older Image: Source Unknown
 
Older Image: Source Unknown

 Older Image: Source Unknown
 
Solemn High Mass on Christmas Day

Blessing of Wine for Feast of St. John
 Blessing of the Wine on the Feast of St. John

3. St. Mary of Perpetual Help (Diocesan)

St. Mary of Perpetual Help is a remarkable structure visible from Interstate 55.  Its huge dome pierces the skyline of the south side of Chicago in the Bridgeport neighbor and calls all to honor Almighty God.  The Church offers a weekly Tridentine High Mass on Sundays at 8:30 AM, the earliest Tridentine High Mass offered on a Sunday in the city.  The inside of the Church is vibrantly beautiful with many statues, icons, and images.  The high altar of the Church is one of the most grand high altars in Chicago and made of some of the highest quality marble - only St. Adalberts Church might claim to have higher quality marble (though no Tridentine Mass is offered there).  St. Mary's offers Confession before each Mass that are infrequently attended making it quick and easy to obtain Confession - not a commonality in the more traditional Churches. With beautiful music and clear sermons, this parish could be much busier than it typically is.  It's a treasure and all Catholics of Chicago should make their way here for an 8:30 Sunday High Mass.

 Note: Low altar is removed for all Latin Masses.






4. St. Odilo/National Shrine of the Poor Souls (Diocesan)

As the National Shrine of the Poor Souls, the Faithful who attend Mass here receive a particular indulgence.  The Church, while featuring some model art and a "low altar", has some truly unique features - a life-sized and bloody depiction of our Lord after he was taken down from the Cross in a separate chapel.  The Church also has sevearl side altars and candles throughout in honor of the Poor Souls - you'll see Traditional Altar missals on them as well.  The Church offers a Sunday Tridentine Mass at 9:30 AM and has a very beautiful schola.  Only downsize - Confessions are not offered immediately before each Mass, like the other places on this list.  But don't let that stop you from making a visit to St. Odilo's and praying for the poor souls at the Sunday Latin High Mass.  And be ready for Fr. Brankin's inspiring, clear, and unabashedly Catholic sermons.  Of all of the sermons offered on a given Sunday at a Tridentine Mass, Fr. Brankin's are among the very best each and every week.






5. Our Lady Immaculate (SSPX)

The Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was the catalyst for Traditional Catholicism in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.  Without the Society, it is likely that the Tridentine Mass would have vanished from the earth.  This particular chapel of the Society is located near one of the Society's few priories - this prior is unique as it is the home of one of the four bishops of the Society - Bishop Tissier de Mallerais.  The Chapel itself is a former protestant building that has been turned into a Catholic Church.  It features an impressive high altar.  Unique among the churches of Chicago, it is the only one to regularly feature a blessing of religious articles after both Masses on the Second Sunday of the month.  So bring your candles, rosaries, images, and anything else that needs blessed.  The chapel also has monthly devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows and the pastor is not afraid to speak candidly on the crisis in the world and the need for Catholics to stand up for the Truth.  You won't hear any psedu-protestantism here.  This chapel is a home for unabasedly Catholic teaching and is home to a truly multicultural congregation of Caucasians, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and others - showing that the Church truly transcends cultures.  And yet, all come together and worship in a common tongue of Latin. 

 Image Source: FRANK PINC/Staff Photographer via oakpark.com

Image Source: SSPX Website
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Sunday, January 25, 2015
The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society
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The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society

I was recently contacted by the author of a new book entitled The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society. It's an interpretation of her vision of the last days. There are few books about St. Hildegard that are written from a Catholic perspective. Also the author admits, "Credible books on Catholic prophecy are few as they tend to collect and collate various prophecies, some anonymous, and over-speculate on their meaning. This book takes a single prophecy from an original manuscript and compares it to modern history. I uncover a remarkable resemblance between them."

Mr. Turner's work is insightful and compelling.  It is an easy read, taking only a few hours to get through.  The author approaches his work by presenting the facts, which do show a correlation between the visions of St. Hiledgard and the time leading up to the end of the world.  Most importantly, the author does not force these conclusions; rather, he presents objective facts and thereby after establishing facts does he then even attempt to draw a conclusion.

All in all, its a good book, presenting the facts which indicate that our world is in the midst of the prophecies of St. Hildegard on the last ages of the world.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Traditional Catholic Prayers for the Week (Octave) of Prayer for Christian Unity
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PRAYERS FOR THE CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE

January 18 through 25 Official Octave Prayer (to be recited daily)


ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may
be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. (John 17:21)

V. I say unto thee that thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock I will build My Church.

Let us pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, Who saidst untoThine Apostles peace I leave with you, My
peace I give unto you, regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and vouchsafe to grant
unto Her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will Who livest and reignest, God,
forever and ever Amen

First Day of the Octave (January 18th) The Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome.

Intention of the Day: the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of Christ.

Prayer for the Return of the Other Sheep

Priest: Let us pray: O God, in Thy mercy thou dost set aright those who have gone astray and
Thou dost save those whom Thou hast gathered together. We beseech Thee to pour down upon
all Christian people the grace of union with Thee, so that putting aside disunion and attaching
themselves to the true shepherd of Thy Church, they may be able to serve Thee humbly and
lovingly. Through Christ Our Lord. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Immaculate Virgin, who wast preserved by a singular privilege of grace
from original sin, look down with pity upon our separated brethren, who are still thy children,
and call them back to the Center of Unity. Many have, even from afar, preserved a most tender
devotion towards thee, O Mother; reward them for their devotion by obtaining for them the grace
of conversion. Victorious over the powers of hell from the very first moment of thine existence,
renew, now that the necessity is more urgent, thy triumphant progress, as in ages past. Glorify
thy Son, O Mother, by bringing back to the One Fold His straying sheep. And may it be thy
glory, O Virgin Mary, to banish error from the earth, to put an end to disunity and to restore
peace to the world. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles

Priest: O glorious St. Peter, as a reward for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and
sincere humility, and thy ardent love, thou wast singled out by Our Lord and endowed with most
special privileges. Thou wast also constituted Prince of the Apostles with primacy over the
whole Church, of which thou wert made the Rock and Foundation. Obtain for us, we pray, a
lively faith and an ardent zeal so that all of us will labor for the return of our separated brethren.
May the desire of Our Divine Redeemer, that there might be but "one Fold and one Shepherd,"
be for us, as it wast for thee, the inspiration to work and pray for the return of all those who are
still outside the Fold. Strengthened by Divine Grace, may they be led back speedily to the bosom
of our common Mother, the Catholic Church. People: Amen.

Second Day of the Octave (January 19th)

Intention of the day: The return of Oriental Separatists to Communion with the Apostolic See

Prayer for the Reunion of the East and West

Priest: Let us Pray. O Lord, Who hast united all nations in the confession of Thy name, we pray
Thee for the Christian peoples of the East. Mindful of the eminent place they have held in Thy
Church, we beg of Thee to inspire them to occupy it again, so as to form with us one single fold.
Grant that they, together with ourselves, may be penetrated with the teaching of those holy
doctors of theirs, who are also our Fathers in the Faith. Grant us that the spirit of peace and
charity, which is the mark of Thy presence among the faithful, may hasten the day in which their
prayers may be united with ours, so that every people and every tongue may acknowledge and
glorify Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Immaculate Virgin Mary, we thy servants and children, full of confidence in
thy powerful protection, humbly beseech thee to implore of the Holy Ghost the abundance of His
gifts for our brethren, the separated Christians of the East. Enlightened by His vivifying grace,
may they return to the bosom of the Catholic Church. We pray also that our Oriental brethren,
once more united to us by the indissoluble bonds of the same faith and the same charity, may,
with us, glorify by the practice of good works the most august Trinity, and at the same time pay
homage to thee, O Virgin Mother of God, full of grace, now and forever. Amen.
Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to the Fathers of the Eastern Church

Priest: O glorious martyrs, Saint Ignatius of Antioch and Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, and thou,
illustrious Doctors of the Church, Saint Athanasius, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil, who
worked and suffered so much for the purity of faith and the salvation of the souls entrusted to thy
paternal care, look down from heaven upon thy beloved Eastern countries, which, forgetful of
thy teaching and example, live now separated from the body of the true Church. By thy powerful
intercession, O holy Eastern Fathers, obtain for all separated Oriental Christians the grace to
return to the Center of Unity, and to form with us one and the same family, in Christ Jesus, Our
Lord. People: Amen.

Third Day of the Octave (January 20th)

Intention of the day: The conversion of the Anglicans.

Prayer for the Conversion of England

Priest: Let us pray. O Jesus, Good Shepherd, look down benignly upon the great and noble
English nation. Converted to Thee through the labors of St. Augustine and his companions, it
was for many centuries rich in fruits of faith and sanctity. So devoted was this nation to Thy holy
and Immaculate Mother that it was known throughout Christendom as the "Dowry of Mary."
When it was separated from Thee in cruel fashion, many hundreds of its people willingly shed
their blood in testimony of their loyalty to Thee and Thy Church. O Loving Shepherd of souls,
recall this great nation once more to the unity of Thy Church, and grant peace of soul to all those
now separated from Thy flock. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and
Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and
trust in thee. Through thee it was that Jesus our Savior and our Hope was given unto the world;
and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou
didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated
English brethren, that they may be united with us in the One True Fold. Pray for us all, dear
Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God together
with Thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to the English Martyrs

Priest: O Glorious Martyrs of England, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher and thy
companions, who, to sustain the voice of the Supreme Head of the True Church against the
decrees of your rulers, didst willingly and courageously suffer death, pray now that the great
nation to which thou didst belong may once more return to the bosom of the Church from which
it was so cruelly wrested. People: Amen.

Fourth Day of the Octave (January 21st)

Intention of the day: That the Lutherans and other Protestants of continental Europe may find their way back to Holy Church.

Prayer for the Conversion of Protestants

Priest: Let us pray. O most beloved Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast redeemed the world at the price
of Thy Most Precious Blood, look down in Thy mercy upon the Christian peoples of Europe,
who are still outside Thy Fold, and let the full blaze of the light of Thy truth shine upon them.
Multiply, O God, the true messengers of Thy Gospel, inspire them with fervor, make them
fruitful in good works, and bless with Thy grace their zeal and their labors, so that the separated
Christians of Europe may be fully converted to Thee, their Creator and Redeemer. Recall the
stray sheep to Thy Fold, and the wanderers to the bosom of Thy one true Church. Hasten, O
dearest Savior, the happy advent of Thy Kingdom on earth, draw all men to the treasures of Thy
Sacred Heart, so that all may share in the priceless benefits of Thy Redemption in the eternal
happiness of Heaven. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Mary, Mother of Mercy and Refuge of Sinners, we beseech thee to look
with pitying eyes upon the Protestant peoples of Europe. O Seat of Wisdom, enlighten their
minds, so that they may come to know that the Catholic Church is the one, True Church of
Christ. Complete their conversion by obtaining for them the grace to believe every truth of our
Holy Faith. Once more united to us by the bonds of divine charity, they will sing with us forever
thy glorious praises. "Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou alone hast destroyed all error in the whole
world." Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to St. Agnes on her feast

Priest: O singular example of virtue, glorious Saint Agnes, the lively faith that animated thee
from thy childhood rendered thee so acceptable to God that thou didst merit the crown of
martyrdom. Obtain for us, we pray, the grace to preserve entire in our hearts the Catholic Faith,
and to seek the conversion to the faith of our Christian brethren now separated from us, so that
all may become Christians not only in word but also in deed. Pray for us today that, as we
confess Jesus openly in the face of men, Jesus may give favorable testimony of us before His
Father in heaven. People: Amen.

Fifth Day of the Octave (January 22nd)

Intention of the Day: That Protestants in America may become one in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.

Prayer for the Conversion of America

Priest: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto all Thy servants, but especially to the people
of our own nation, the grace of being fully united to Thee in Thy Church. O Divine Redeemer, of
Whom the prophet sang "all the kings of the earth shall adore Him and all the nations shall serve
Him," extend Thy Kingdom over the entire human race, but especially over our own beloved
country. Grant in Thy mercy that the people of our land may be converted to Thee, and humbly
and lovingly serve Thee. This we ask, O Savior, through the intercession of Thy Immaculate
Mother, the benevolent patroness and protectress of our country. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: Most Holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother,
Immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look down kindly upon us poor sinners. We
now implore thy powerful patronage for all the people of our beloved land. The wicked serpent,
against whom the first curse was hurled, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy
children of Eve. O Blessed Mother, our Queen and our advocate, who crushed the head of the
enemy from the very first moment of thine existence, receive from us the prayers which we
implore thee to present at the throne of God. Pray that we may never fall into the snares laid out
for us, and that we may all arrive at the port of salvation. May the Church and Christian society,
now in so many dangers, sing once again the hymn of deliverance, of victory, and of peace.
Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to Saint John the Baptist

Priest: O most zealous messenger of God, Saint John the Baptist, while thou didst work no
miracles on others, thou didst draw after thee crowds, to prepare them to receive Our Savior
worthily and to listen to His heavenly teaching. This thou didst do sole!y by the example of thy
holy life and the practice of every good work. Pray that we also may receive the grace to lead
many souls to God, but, above all, the souls of those who are still outside the One Fold in our
own beloved country. People: Amen.

Sixth Day of the Octave (January 23rd)

Intention of the Day: The return to the Sacraments of lapsed Catholics.

Prayer for Lapsed Catholics:

Priest: Let us pray. O Almighty Father, Who desirest not the death of the sinner,but rather that he
be converted and live pour out upon us thy mercy and listen to the prayers of Thy servants.
Soften the hearts of those children of Thine who have strayed from the true paths, which Thou
didst establish for their salvation. They are now forgetful of their duties as Catholics and pursue
only the transitory pleasures of the world. Grant that they may speedily return to the practice of
every Christian virtue, so that their fives may shine with the integrity of faith, the fervor of piety,
and the ardor of charity. Restore all of them to Thy Sacraments and to the life of Thy grace,
through the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Thy Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ. People:
Amen

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Mother of Jesus Christ and our Mother, we pray thee to obtain for us the
grace of serving God faithfully in this world that we may have the happiness of loving Him
eternally in heaven. Hear the prayers that we address to thee, O Mother; defend us against the
enemies of our salvation, and against our own infirmities. Obtain for us pardon for our sins and
perseverance in the determination never to fall away again. We implore thee to take under thy
protection those who have abandoned the practice of their Catholic duties. May they be
converted again and become faithful servants of thy Son. O Mother of Mercy, be for us all "the
cause of our joy" and show unto us Jesus Christ, thy Son, as thy gift to us both for time and for
eternity. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to Saint Peter

Priest: O glorious Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles and firm foundation of the Church, obtain
for us a lively faith, which we may openly and fearlessly profess in its integrity and purity, even,
if need be, to the shedding of our blood. Obtain for us also a true love of our Holy Mother the
Church, and make us zealous in the fulfillment of our religious duties. We pray to you today to
intercede for those who have wandered from the Church which Christ established for their
salvation. May they receive from Almighty God, through your intercession, the grace to return
speedily to their Father's love, so that they may enjoy here on earth peace and tranquillity, and
one day attain everlasting happiness in heaven. People: Amen.

Seventh Day of the Octave (January 24th)

Intention of the day: Conversion of the Jews.

Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews:

Priest: Let us pray. O God, Who dost manifest Thy mercy and compassion towards all peoples,
have mercy upon the Jewish race, once Thy Chosen People. Thou didst select them alone out of
all the nations of the world to be the custodians of Thy sacred teachings. From them Thou didst
raise up Prophets and Patriarchs to announce the coming of the Redeemer. Thou didst will that
Thine only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior, should be a Jew according to the flesh, born
of a Jewish maiden in the Land of Promise. Listen to the prayers we offer Thee today for the
conversion of the Jewish people. Grant that they may come safely to a knowledge and love of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah foretold by their Prophets, and that they may walk with us in
the way of salvation. People: Amen.

Prayer of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion

Priest and People: God of all goodness and Father of mercies, we beseech Thee, through the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, and by the intercession of the Patriarchs and holy Apostles, to cast a
look of compassion upon the children of Israel, that they may be brought to the knowledge of our
only Savior, Jesus Christ, and may partake of the precious fruits of the Redemption. "Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do." Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."
Prayer to Saint Paul

Priest: O holy Apostle Paul of Tarsus, from thy glorious place in heaven, look down upon the
race thou didst love so well. True it is that many of them remained deaf to thy ringing words of
truth, and that some of them even stirred up persecution against thee and thy fellow believers, but
thou wert so devoted to thy people that thou didst will to become a castaway for the sake of their
conversion. Now that thou art glorious in heaven, obtain for thy brethren the grace of repentance
and conversion, so that they may finally take their rightful place in the great family of the
Catholic Church. People: Amen. Eighth Day of the Octave (January 25th)

Eighth Day of the Octave (January 25th) Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Intention of the day: The Missionary Conquest of the World for Christ.

Prayer for the Conversion of Our Brethren

Priest: Let us pray. Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers
have been created by Thee, and formed to Thine own image and likeness. Behold, O Lord, how
to Thy dishonor hell is being filled with these same souls. Remember, O God, that for their
salvation Thy Son Jesus Christ underwent a most cruel death. Do not permit, O Lord, that Thy
Divine Son be any longer despised by unbelievers; but be appeased by the prayers of the Saints
and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and forgetting their idolatry and unbelief,
grant that they may at last come to acknowledge Thy Son Jesus Christ, Who is our Salvation,
Life and Resurrection, through Whom we have been saved and redeemed; to Whom be glory
forever and ever. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Blessed Mother of God, whose stainless heart is full of mercy and
compassion, look down in pity upon those who have not yet heard the tidings of the Gospel.
Remember that they are the work of the hands of thy Son that they have been created in His
image and redeemed by His Most Precious Blood. Obtain for these poor brethren of ours the
knowledge of our Holy Faith, and the grace to love, embrace, and to practice it faithfully.
Intercede at the throne of the Most High, O Mother, that many more missionaries may be sent to
pagan lands, there to win souls for thy Divine Son. O Virgin Mother of God, pray that all of us
may soon be united in one and the same hope, and in one and the same love. Attentive to the
words of thy Divine Son, may we dwell in peace and happiness in the Church He instituted for
our salvation. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."
Prayer to Saint Paul

Priest: O glorious Saint Paul, from a persecutor of the Christian name thou didst become an
Apostle of burning zeal, and in order that Jesus Christ might become known to the furthermost
bounds of the earth, thou didst joyfully suffer imprisonment, scourging, stoning, shipwreck, and
every kind of persecution. Obtain for us now the grace to pray at all times for those who have not
as yet been blessed with the gift of faith. Help us to use all our strength for the conversion of
those who have not as yet heard the Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. People: Amen.
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