Friday, March 27, 2015
Baptized in Christ: A Catholic Study of the Sacrament of Baptism for Godparents and Parents
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CatechismClass.com proudly publishes a best-selling online Baptism Preparation Program, intended for godparents and parents of children to be baptized. We are excited to announce that this best-selling course is now also available in paperback format as well as in eBook format, for use on your Kindle, Nook, or alternative e-reader.
In this short book we will discuss the necessity for, Scriptures relating to, the history of, and the Rite for the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is the first Sacrament of the Faith, and it is the Sacrament by which a person becomes a Christian. It is truly a life-giving Sacrament since it is necessary for our salvation to receive it. Baptism was given to the Church as the Sacrament of initiation into the Faith and for the forgiveness of sins, both Original Sin and all personal sins. Through Baptism we are made sons and daughters of God, and God’s very life comes to dwell within us. It is through the graces of Baptism that we are given the foundations of virtue and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and it is through the graces of Baptism that we live as Christians at all. 

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Feast of our Lady of Sorrows in Lent
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Today, the Friday after Passion Sunday, is dedicated to the honor of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the Traditional Roman Catholic Calendar from before Vatican II).  This day is in addition to the honor given to our Lady and her Seven Sorrows in September's Feastday by this same name.


Today, the Friday after Passion Sunday (old calendar), Holy Mother Church asks us to recall the principle sorrows of Mary, our Sorrowful Mother. Rightly is our Blessed Mother called the Sorrowful Mother. She is indeed the Mother of Sorrows. She is the Queen of Martyrs. In fact, Her whole life was a martyrdom. The sufferings of the poor, for instance, She had to bear all through Her life. Mary was poor, as poor, perhaps poorer, than the poorest of us.

A thread of sorrow ran through all Her years in that She could see ahead to the time when Her only Son, now an Infant, now a little curly-headed Boy, now an obedient and respectful young Man, would have to die a most painful and disgraceful death.

And oh, Her sufferings during the Passion of Jesus, Her anguish as He carried His cruel cross, Her agony as She stood beneath that cross watching Him die. Who could ever measure Her grief or count Her tears?

It was most fitting that the woman whom God gave us for our heavenly Mother should be a Mother of Sorrows, a woman who had to suffer. As we all know, suffering is the lot of every human being. There is not, nor was there ever, a man, a woman, or a child but had to suffer. No person ever living that had not at least one sword in his or her heart, at least one sorrow, at least one affliction.

Sometimes we judge other people saying, "But so and so has no trials in his or her life?" How do we know that? Can we see into their interior? Most often we only see one side of the story. The fact is: Every human being has some sort of sorrow. Is it not consoling then that we children of Mary have for a Mother one who has borne a many-sworded sorrow? As children of Mary, we are all glad that we have such a Mother who suffered too; because only one who has suffered can rightly console, can satisfactorily comfort the sufferings of others. As Scripture says, '[God] comforts us in all our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation we have received from Him. As we have shared much in the sufferings of Christ, so through Christ do we share abundantly in His consolation.' (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Certainly Mother Mary shared in Christ's sufferings!

Yes, everyone has a cross. Bitter indeed are some of our crosses--death of dear ones, sickness, poverty, misunderstanding, difficulties in our home and in our work.

What is your cross? Thank God for it. Ask Our Lady to show you how to carry it. Our Blessed and Sorrowful Mother, She who sits at the side of Her divine Son, with whom She suffered here on earth, Mary is now in Heaven waiting to help you, waiting to console you, waiting to be a sympathetic Mother to you.

Next Friday (Good Friday) we will recall Her principle sorrows. She had many more, but Mother Church centers our attention on the seven swords that pierced Her tender Heart:

1. The prophecy of Simeon that a sword of sorrow would pierce Her Heart, was a bitter pain.
2. The flight into Egypt made Her experience the sadness of exile and the loss of Her home.
3. The three-day loss of Jesus made Her Heart ache with anxiety.
4. What anguish when She met Jesus on the way of the cross.
5. One would think Her Heart would break as She stood beneath the cross at Christ's death.
6. Only a mother who holds a dead child in her arms can know anything of Mary's grief as She held Jesus taken down from the cross.
7. Only a mother who puts a child to bed in a grave can understand at all how Mary felt at the burial of Jesus.

Mary, our Sorrowful Queen, reaches out Her sympathy and help to everyone who suffers. She, more than any other woman, knew the pang and pain of sorrow. We can go to Her and take others to Her also. We can then be Our Lady's consolers!

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
[Adapted from a homily by Rev. Arthur Tonne, O.F.M. accessed via here]
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Friday, March 20, 2015
Genuflections During the Mass: What the Traditional Latin Mass Teaches Us Through Action
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An ordinary Catholic will no doubt be familiar with genuflecting.  After all, everyone is supposed to genuflect towards to Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist while in the Church.  As the Eucharist should always be in the Tabernacle which rests in the center of the Altar, we will genuflect towards the Tabernacle before entering the pews and taking our seats.  If we ever cross the aisle, we genuflect toward the tabernacle again as we walk before the Presence of God.

In the context of the Tridentine Latin Mass, anytime the priest walks past the Tabernacle, he will genuflect.  The priests genuflect every single time he approaches the altar, removes the pall, replaces the pall, opens the tabernacle and opens the ciboria. This is done out of respect, reverence, and awe of the presence of the Triune God who is present in the Holy Eucharist.

SCOPE

Yet, the scope of this article is not to mention any of the above practices.  Rather, it is to comment on the sublime realities expressed during the Tridentine Mass when, several times through the year, the priest and people will genuflect together as certain words are read whether in the Epistle, Sequence, Tract, Gospel, or other place.  These special occurrences are worthy of meditation and consideration.

This article also is not to discuss the aspects of genuflection that occur often in the Tridentine Mass.  But for the benefit of those who are not not familiar, they include:

  1. During the Nicene Creed, all will kneel during the words "...and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man"
  2. During the Last Gospel of the Mass, all genuflect at the words "...and the Word became flesh"

What follows are the truly unique and special occasions when the Faithful will genuflect during the Readings of the Mass. Most of these occasions do not occur on Holy Days of Obligation (whether they be on a Sunday Mass or another day of required Mass attendance).  As a result, many Catholics - even those who attend the Tridentine Liturgy each Sunday - may not be aware of these.

GOSPEL OF WEDNESDAY IN 4TH WEEK OF LENT

In the Lenten Feria Mass for Wednesday in the 4th Week of Lent, there is a beautiful epistle in which a healing is recounted by one of the Old Testament Prophets.  Then the Gospel shares a similarly beautiful episode from the life of our Lord.  May we too fall down and adore the Lord:
John 9:1-38 
At that time Jesus, passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him: "Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" Jesus answered: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  
When he had said these things, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and spread the clay upon his eyes, And said to him: "Go, wash in the pool of Siloe," which is interpreted, 'Sent.' He went therefore and washed: and he came seeing. 
The neighbours, therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: "Is not this he that sat and begged?" Some said: "This is he." But others said: "No, but he is like him." But he said: "I am he." They said therefore to him: "How were thy eyes opened?" He answered: "That man that is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me: 'Go to the pool of Siloe and wash.' And I went: I washed: and I see." And they said to him: "Where is he?" He saith: "I know not." 
They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the sabbath, when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them: "He put clay upon my eyes: and I washed: and I see." Some therefore of the Pharisees said: "This man is not of God, who keepeth not the sabbath." But others said: "How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?" And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: "What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes?" And he said: "He is a prophet." 
The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, And asked them, saying: "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see?" His parents answered them and said: "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind: But how he now seeth, we know not: or who hath opened his eyes, we know not. Ask himself: he is of age: Let him speak for himself." 
These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say: "He is of age. Ask himself."
They therefore called the man again that had been blind and said to him: "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner." He said therefore to them: "If he be a sinner, I know not. One thing I know, that whereas I was blind. now I see." They said then to him: 
"What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes?" He answered them: "I have told you already, and you have heard. Why would you hear it again? Will you also become his disciples?" They reviled him therefore and said: "Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence he is." The man answered and said to them: "why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God and doth his, will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, he could not do anything." They answered and said to him: "Thou wast wholly born in sins; and dost thou teach us?" And they cast him out. 
Jesus heard that they had cast him out. And when he had found him, he said to him: "Dost thou believe in the Son of God?" He answered, and said: "Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?" And Jesus said to him: "Thou hast both seen him; and it is he that talketh with thee." And he said: "I believe, Lord." [here genuflect] And falling down, he adored him.
This is a powerful passage.  The words that we hear during the Gospel are not merely a story.  We too are called to have them transform us.  And like the man who was healed, we are also to be so moved by our Lord's miracles and teachings and all His virtues that we fall down and adore Him.

TRACT OF ASH WEDNESDAY

Throughout the Lenten Feria's there is often repeated the Tract of Ash Wednesday.  Again for those unfamiliar, this prayer is said right before the Gospel in place of the Alleluia.  Starting with Septuagesima Sunday (which is 3 Sundays before the First Sunday of Lent) and until Easter, the Alleluia is not permitted to be prayed.

This tract should also cause us to repent of our actions:
Ps. 102:10; 78:8-9
O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V. O Lord, remember not our iniquities of the past; let Your mercy come quickly to us, for we are being brought very low. (All kneel.) V. Help us, O God our Savior, and for the glory of Your name, O Lord, deliver us; and pardon us our sins for Your names sake.

ALLELUIA OF PENTECOST

Yet, not all of these instances of genuflections during the Readings occur during the somber time of Lent.  There is a point in the Pentecost Pascal Alleluia where genuflection occurs:
Alleluia, alleluia! V. Ps. 103:30. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth. Alleluia! (Here all kneel.) V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
There is often a connection with kneeling when one implores the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, the 3rd Person of the Most Holy Trinity.

EXALTATION OF THE CROSS

Even during the September 14th Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, you will find a genuflection occurring during the readings.  Like the aforementioned example occurring during Wednesday in the 4th Week of Lent, this occurs during the Readings. We too should feel moved as to fall down and adore the Lord's Holy Name.  A reading from the Epistle of the Mass:
Philipp. 2:5-11
Brethren: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause, God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names: [here all genuflect] That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

EPISTLE ON PALM SUNDAY

The Epistle of Palm Sunday is the very same one as for the Exaltation of the Cross. Thus, during this day, all genuflect as well.

GOSPEL ON PALM SUNDAY, HOLY TUESDAY, HOLY WEDNESDAY, & GOOD FRIDAY

In a most somber manner, on these days in which the 4 Gospel accounts of our Lord's Death are read, all genuflect when during the readings after His death occurs.  As we read in part on Good Friday:
...Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother: J. Woman, behold thy son. C. After that, He saith to the disciple: J. Behold thy mother. C.And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: J. I thirst. C. Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to His mouth. Jesus therefore, when He had taken the vinegar, said: J. It is consummated. C.And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost. 
Here all kneel and pause a few moments. 
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. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: you shall not break a bone of Him...

GOOD FRIDAY LITURGY

Many times on Good Friday the Faithful and the priest all genuflect.  This is not only during the Great Intercessions but also during the veneration of the Cross where at three times, all fall down and adore the Holy Cross of our Lord.

CARRYING OF THE PASCAL CALENDAR AT THE EASTER VIGIL

And in yet another example, all genuflect as the Pascal Candle is carried from the Holy Fire into the Sanctuary, when the Exultet will be chanted.

SUMMARY

The Sacred Liturgy offers a number of occasions of great meditation when we pray not only with our words but with our actions.  Man should not hate his body but rather should use it and embrace it.  We are a creation of God composed of both body and soul; and as such, we pray with our whole person.  It is therefore fitting we should embrace these moments in the Liturgy when we fall down and adore the mysteries of our God.  Such occasions are worth great meditation.
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The Precious Blood (Friday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent)
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Traditional Catholics will be familiar with the fact that the Feast of the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi) is kept on a separate date than the Feast of the Precious Blood.  The Feast of the Precious Blood is kept on July 1st.  However, there is also a Lenten Votive Mass that may be said on Friday after the 4th Sunday of Lent.  This was one of the Mass in Some Places that was part of the traditional Missal.

FEAST OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD.—For many dioceses there are two days to which the Office of the Precious Blood has been assigned, the office being in both cases the same. The reason is this: the office was at first granted to the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood only. Later, as one of the offices of the Fridays of Lent, it was assigned to the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent. In many dioceses these offices were adopted also by the fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1840). When Pius IX went into exile at Gaeta (1849) he had as his companion the saintly Don Giovanni Merlini, third superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. Arrived at Gaeta, Merlini suggested that His Holiness make a vow to extend the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire Church, if he would again obtain possession of the papal dominions. The pope took the matter under consideration, but a few days later sent his domestic prelate Jos. Stella to Merlini with the message: "The pope does not deem it expedient to bind himself by a vow; instead His Holiness is pleased to extend the feast immediately to all Christendom". This was June 30, 1849, the day the French conquered Rome and the republicans capitulated. The thirtieth of June had been a Saturday before the first Sunday of July, wherefore the pope decreed (August 10, 1849) that henceforth every first Sunday of July should be dedicated to the Most Precious Blood.

ULRICH F. MUELLER



 
July 1st:
The Precious Blood of Our Lord
1st Class
Introit: Apocalypse v: 9-10
Redemisti nos, Dómine, in sánguine tuo, ex omni tribu, et lingua, et pópulo, et natióne: et fecísti nos Deo nostro regnum. [Ps. lxxxviii] Misericórdias Dómini in ætérnum cantábo: in generatiónem et generatiónem annuntiábo veritátem tuam in ore meo. Gloria Patri. Redemísti nos. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue, and people and nation, and hast made us to our God a kingdom. [Ps. lxxxviii] The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever. I will show forth Thy truth with my mouth to generation and generation. Glory be.... Thou hast redeemed....
Collect:
Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui unigénitum Fílium tuum mundi Redemptórem constituísti, ac ejus Sánguine placári voluisti: concéde quæsumus, salútis nostræ prétium (solémni cultu) ita venerári atque a præséntis vitæ malis ejus virtúte deféndi in terris; ut fructu perpétuo lætémur in cælis. Per eúmdem Dóminum. O almighty and everlasting God, who didst appoint Thine only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and hast willed to be appeased by His blood; grant unto us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate (with solemn worship) the price of our redemption, and by its power be so defended against the evils of this life, that we may enjoy the fruit thereof for evermore in heaven. Through the same our Lord.
Epistle: Hebrews ix: 11-15
Léctio Epístolæ beáti Pauli Apóstoli ad Hebræos:
Fratres: Christus assístens póntifex futurórum bonórum, per ámplius et perféctius tabernáculum non manufác­tum, id est, non hujus creatió­nis neque per sánguinem hir­córum, aut vitulórum, sed per próprium sánguinem introívit semel in Sancta, ætérna re­demptióne invénta. Si enim sanguis hircórum et taurórum, et cinis vitulæ aspérsus, in­quinátos sanctíficat ad emun­datiónem carnis: quanto magis sanguis Christi, qui per Spíritum Sanctum semetípsum óbtulit immaculátum Deo, emmundábit consciéntiam nostram ab opéribus mórtuis, ad serviéndum Deo vivénti? Et ideo novi testiménti mediátor est: ut morte inter­cedénte, in redemptiónem eárum prævaricatiónem, quæ erant sub prióri testaménto, repromissiónem accípiant, qui vocáti sunt ætérnæ hereditátis: in Christo Jesu Dómino nostro.
A reading from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews:
Brethren: When Christ ap­peared as High Priest of the good things to come, He en­tered once for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this cre­ation, nor again by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean unto the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the Holy Ghost offered Him­self unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And that is why He is mediator of a new covenant; that whereas a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed un­der the former covenant, they who have been called may have eternal inheritance according to the promise, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gradual: 1 John v: 6,7-8
Hic est qui venit per aquam et sánguinem, Jesus Christus: non in aqua solum, sed in aqua et sánguine. Tres sunt, qui testimónium dant in cælo: Pater, Verbum, et Spíritus sanctus; et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt, qui testimónium dant in terra: Spíritus. aqua, et sanguis; et he tres unum sunt. This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. There are three in heaven who give testimony: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and these three are one.
Alleluia, Allelúja. Si testimónium hóminum accípimus, testimónium Dei majus est. Allelúja. Alleluia, Allelúja. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. Allelúja.
In votive Masses, after Septuagesima, the Allelúja verse is replaced by the Tract, as given below:
Tract: Ephesians i: 6-8 & Romans iii: 24-25
Gratificávit nos Deus in dilécto Fílio suo, in quo habémus redemptiónem per sánguinem ejus. Remissiónem peccatórum, secúndum divítas grátiæ ejus quæ superabundávit in nobis. Justificáti gratis per grátiam ipsíus, per redemptiónem, quæ est in Christo Jesu. Quem propósuit Deus propitiatiónem per fidem in sánguine ipsíus. God hath graced us in His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood. The remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which hath superabounded in us. Being freely justified by His grace, through the redemption, which is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in His Blood.
In Paschaltide, both Gradual and Tract are replaced by the Allelúja Verse:
Apocalypse v:9 & Exodus xii: 13
Alleluia, Allelúja. Dignus est Dómine, accípere librum et aperíre signácula ejus: quoniam occísus est, et redemísti nos, Deo in sánguine tuo.  Allelúja. Erit autem sanguis vobis in signum; et vidébo sánguinem, et transíbo vos: nec erit in vobis plaga dispérdens. Allelúja. Alleluia, Allelúja. Worthy art Thou, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: because Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in Thy Blood.  Allelúja. And the Blood shall be to you a sign: and I shall see the blood and pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you. Allelúja.
Gospel: John xix: 30-35
+ Sequéntia sancti Evan­gélii secúndum Joánnem.
In illo tempore: Cum accepísset Jesus acétum, dixit: «Consummátum est.»  Et inclináto cápite trádidit spíritum. Judæi ergo (quóniam Paracéve erat) ut non remanérent in cruce córpora sábbato (erat enim magnus dies ille sábbati), rogavérunt Pilátum, ut frangeréntur eórum crura, et tolleréntur. Venérunt ergo mílites: et primi quidem fregérunt crura, et altérius, qui crucifíxus est cum eo.  Ad Jesum autem cum veníssent, ut vidérunt eum jam mórtuum, non fregérunt ejus crura, sed unus mílitum láncea latus ejus apéruit, et contínuo exívit sanguis et aqua. Et qui vidit, testimónium perhibuit: et verum est testimónium ejus.

Credo.
+ The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John.
At that time, Jesus, when He had taken the vinegar, said: "It is consummated!" And bowing His head, he gave up the ghost. The Jews, therefore, since it was the Passover, in order that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, besought Pilate that the legs of those crucified 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 when they came to Jesus; when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who saw it has borne witness, and his witness is true.

Credo.
Offertory: 1 Corinthians x: 16
Calix benedictionis, cui benedícimus, none communicátio sánguinis Christi est? Et panis, quem frángimus, nonne participátio córporis Dómini est? The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord?
Secret:
Per hæc divína mystéria ad novi, quæsumus, testaménti mediatórem Jesum accedámus: et super altária tua, Dómine virtútum, aspersiónem sánguinis mélius loquéntem quam Abel, innovémus. Per eúmdem Dóminum. We pray that through these divine mysteries, we may draw near to Jesus, the mediator of the New Testament: and upon Thine altars, O Lord of Hosts, may we renew the sprinkling of that blood which pleadeth better than that of Abel. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ....
Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salutáre, nos tibi semper et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine, sancte Pater, omnípotens ætérne Deus: Qui salútem humáni géneris in ligno Crucis constituísti: ut unde mors oriebátur, inde vita resúrgeret: in quo ligno vincébat, in ligno quoque vincerétur: per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Per quem majestátem tuam laudant Angeli, adórant Dominatiónes, tremunt Potestátes. Cæli cælorúmque Virtútes, ac beáta Séraphim, sócia exsultatióne concélebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admítti júbeas deprecámur, súpplici confessióne dicéntes: 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: Hebrews ix: 28
Christus semel oblátus est ad multórum exhauriénda peccáta: secundo sine peccáto apparébit exspectántibus se in salútem. Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time He shall appear without sin to them that expect Him, unto salvation.
Postcommunion:
Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui unigénitum Fílium tuum mundi Redemptórem constituísti, ac ejus Sánguine placári voluísti: concéde quaésumus, salútis nostræ prétium solémni cultu ita venerári, atquae a præséntis vitæ malus ejus virtúte deféndi in terris; ut fructu perpétuo lætémur in cælis. Per eúmdem Dóminum. We who have been admitted to the holy table, have drawn waters with joy from the fountains of the Savior. May His Blood, we beseech Thee, be within us as a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life; Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, World without end. Amen.
  
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Friday, March 13, 2015
The Five Holy Wounds (Friday after the Third Sunday in Lent)
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The Five Holy Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Friday after the Third Sunday of Lent

Introit: Philippians ii: 8-9
Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself unto death, even unto death upon the Cross: Therefore God has also exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above all names. [Ps. lxxxviii: 2] I will sing the mercies of the Lord for all eternity: for generation after generation His truth will be in my mouth. Glory be.... Our Lord Jesus Christ....

Collect
O God, who through the passion of His only begotten Son, and the pouring out of His blood through the five Wounds, hast restored to human nature what was lost through sin: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who venerate the same Wounds and precious blood on earth may gain their fruit in heaven. Through the same....

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.

 Gospel: John xix: 28-35
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 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
May Thy majesty, we beseech Thee, O Lord, accept these gifts: in which we offer the Wounds of Thine Only-begotten, the price of our liberty. Through the same....

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:
They looked upon Him whom they had transfixed, even as the earth was shaken to its foundations.

Postcommunion:
Refreshed by these life-giving nourishments, we beseech Thee, O Lord, God: that the wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ which we honor today; may impress themselves upon our hearts, so that dying to sin we will have life. Through the same....
 
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Monday, March 9, 2015
St. Frances of Rome
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St. Frances of Rome (1384 - 1440) was born to wealthy parents, her mother a pious woman and her father, a strong willed man.  At the young age of 11 she wished to join religious life but her father had promised her in marriage and forced her to obey.  In those times, a father could sell his child into slavery or even order them killed (all legally).

The parties and raucous life caused Frances to collapse.  In fact, she was unable to move, walk, or speak for some time and appeared close to death.  It was through a miraculous vision that St. Alexis, who underwent a similar marriage trial appeared to her.  The saint asked Frances if she wished to die or leave.  Frances replied, "God's will is mine."  St. Alexis then replied to her, "Then you will live to glorify His Name." At that moment she was healed.

She spent a life in piety and charity.  Even with the ridicule of some of her family and admin wars and turbulent times, she remained steadfast in her Faith and charitable resolutions.  While her husband was still living, she founded an order of Oblates affiliated with the Benedictines; and when she became a widow she was elected superior of those religious women.

She died in 1440 after a holy life.

Prayer:

O God, among the many gifts of grace You bestowed on Your blessed servant Frances, You granted her an intimate friendship with an angel. May we be worthy of fellowship with the angels through her intercession. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Friday, March 6, 2015
Understanding the Precepts of the Church
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After several months of work, CatechismClass.com is pleased to announce the launch of their latest course: Understanding the Precepts of the Church.  I am pleased to have written this course.

This 7 part course will explain the Precepts of the Church as well as other responsibilities of Catholics, informally called Precepts too, such as “Working for the Evangelization of Souls.”

Catholics are bound to observe the laws of the Church, in addition to the Ten Commandments.  Many of these additional laws have been long established and observed by the Faithful for centuries.  All together, the Deposit of Faith, that which a Catholic must believe in order to truly be a Catholic, requires Catholics to observe the Precepts of the Church. 

While there are many courses and books on the Ten Commandments (The Commandments of God), there are very few resources on the Commandments of the Church, known as the Precepts of the Church. 

In this course I will cover:

1.       Why must we attend Mass on Holy Days? 
2.       How have the Holy Days of Obligation changed over the centuries? 
3.       Why do Holy Days differ country to country? 
4.       What are fast and abstinence days? 
5.       How is the Byzantine Fasting different from Roman Catholic Fasting? 
6.       What are the traditional days of Rogation Days, Ember Days, and Vigils all about? 
7.       Why must we received Holy Communion during Eastertide? 
8.       What is meant by “The Easter Duty”?  
9.       What period of time is this really since it is more than just the 50 Days of Easter? 
10.   Why must we confess our sins once a year? 
11.   What are the requirements for marriage in the Church? 
12.   Why is Invitro-Fertilization an attack on the marriage laws of the Church? 
13.   What must we do to evangelize souls? 
14.   And much, much more!

This course is available for only $19.95Click here to preview the lessons! 


Would you prefer the paperback? We are pleased to also make this course available on paperback.  For the same price as the online course, you can own this book.  Click here to learn more and buy the book!
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Feast of the The Holy Shroud (Friday after the Second Sunday in Lent)
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The Most Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Friday after the Second Sunday of Lent
Mass in Some Places
From the pre-1955 Missal 

Introit: Philippians ii: 8-9
Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself unto death, even unto death upon the Cross: Therefore God has also exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above all names. [Ps. lxxxviii: 2] I will sing the mercies of the Lord for all eternity: for generation after generation His truth will be in my mouth. Glory be.... Our Lord Jesus Christ....

Collect
O God, who hast left us a relic of Thy passion in the holy shroud in which Thy body, taken down from the Cross, was wrapped by Joseph [of Arimathea]: grant, we beseech Thee; that through Thy death and burial, we may be brought to the glory of resurrection. Thou who livest and reignest.....

A Reading From The Prophet Isaias
lxii: 11; lxiii: 1-7
Thus says the Lord God: Say to the children of Sion: Behold the Lord hath made it to be heard in the ends of the earth, tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy Savior cometh: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength. I, that speak justice, and am a defender to save. Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me: I have trampled on them in my indignation, and have trodden them down in my wrath, and their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, the year of my redemption is come. I looked about, and there was none to help: I sought, and there was none to give aid: and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me. And I have trodden down the people in my wrath, and have made them drunk in my indignation, and have brought down their strength to the earth. I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed upon us.

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: Mark xv: 42-46
 The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Mark:
At that time, when evening was now come (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead. And sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And Joseph, buying fine linen and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewed out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre.
Credo
Offertory: Leviticus xvi: 2 et 5
Aaron entered into the tabernacle in order to offer a holocaust upon the altar for the sins of the sons of Israel, clothed in a linen tunic..
Secret
May these offerings be acceptable to Thee, O lord.: Whose Son didst graciously stand forth in His glorious passion 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: Mark xv: 46
Joseph, buying fine linen and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen shroud.

Postcommunion:
Be satisfied, O Lord, with the holy offerings of Thy servant: we ask Thee; that the death of Thy Son in time, which mystery we venerate, may give us confident assurance of perpetual life. Thou who livest and reignest with the same God the Father....
 

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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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