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Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Hold Fast to Strict Lenten Discipline
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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
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Lenten Embertide Fast
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5)

Ember Days this Lent: February 29, March 2, March 3

From New Advent:

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

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

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

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
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Monday, February 27, 2012
Each Feria of Lent has a Proper Mass
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For those of you with Roman Catholic Daily Missals, you may have been surprised to see that each day of Lent has its own Mass propers - Introit, Collect, Scripture readings, Offertory, Communion, Post Communion, etc. Dom Guéranger explains.


From
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.


Each feria of Lent has a proper Mass; whereas, in Advent, the Mass of the preceding Sunday is repeated during the week. This richness of the lenten liturgy is a powerful means for our entering into the Church's spirit, since she hereby brings before us, under so many forms, the sentiments suited to this holy time... All this will provide us with most solid instruction; and as the selections from the Bible, which are each day brought before us, are not only some of the finest of the sacred volume, but are, moreover, singularly appropriate to Lent, their attentive perusal will be productive of a twofold advantage.

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HHS Mandate NOT About Religious Liberty
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This was written in response to an article in the Chicago Tribune.  Since this op-ed piece was not published, I'm publishing it here.



In response to Mr. Rex Huppke’s Article, “Contraception Debate Neglects Catholics at odds with Doctrine,” (published February 19, 2012) I have to object to several points of the article. As a traditional Roman Catholic, I must first point out the error in Mr. Fogarty’s words when he says, “Jesus gets in trouble for…breaking a lot of the rules of the Jewish church.”

As one familiar with the Scriptures should recall, Christ did not violate the laws of the Jewish religion. However, for some Jewish leaders concerned with only the letter of the law – instead of the spirit of the law – the Lord appeared to be in violation. In truth, since Christ is God, one can know that it is philosophically impossible for God to violate His own laws. And secondly, for Catholics familiar with the Scriptures, Christ showed how His actions were not in violation of the Law but instead a reflection of the true meaning of the law.

On to the more serious issue at hand, Mr. Huppke writes, “At the heart of this argument are issues of religious liberty…” This is again not quite right. While many are making this an argument for religious liberty, the actual argument is far more important for Catholics. Those Catholics who observe the Traditional Catholic Faith simply reject the notion of religious liberty all together.

The Church teaches that Jesus Christ, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the King of all peoples, all places, and all time. For many people, this doctrine stops there. Yet, if Christ is indeed king of all, then all peoples and nations should act in conformity with His divine law, even if they are not Catholics. One need only see how the moral code of many societies (e.g. forbidding killing, stealing, prostitution, etc) is a reflection of the Divine Law which also forbids such practices. To say that any nation has the right to violate Divine Law is a violation of the doctrine of Christ’s Kingship.

If Christ is King (which all Catholics are bound as a matter of dogma to believe), then all Catholics must respond to the HHS controversy by not seeking to stand up for religious liberty. Rather, these same Catholics should be fighting against the HHS mandate for the reason that it offends God, who is our Supreme King, Redeemer, and our ultimate Judge.

In the words of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, "How many of these missionaries sent by the Church during the course of centuries have been massacred, massacred because they said that Our Lord Jesus Christ should be the King of people, King of society?"
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Sunday, February 26, 2012
Stational Churches of Lent
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Our modern observance of the stational liturgy traces its roots back to the practice of the Bishop of Rome celebrating the liturgies of the church year at various churches throughout the city, a tradition dating back as far as the late second or early third century. One reason for this was practical: with the church in Rome being composed of diverse groups from many cultures, regular visits by the bishop served to unify the various groups into a more cohesive whole. Another reason, particularly following the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313 which permitted public worship, was to commemorate certain feast days at churches with a special link to that celebration. Therefore, Good Friday came to be celebrated at the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and Christmas at St. Mary Major, where a relic of the manger was venerated. In time, the original churches in the city, known as tituli (sing. titulus) because they often bore the name of the donor, took on an additional significance as the places that held the relics of the martyrs and the memory of the early history of the church in this city.1

As time passed the schedule of these visits, which had earlier followed an informal order, took on a more formalized structure. By the last half of the fifth century, a fairly fixed calendar was developed, having the order of the places at which the pope would say Mass with the church community on certain days throughout the year. In the weeks before the beginning of Lent, the three large basilicas outside the walls were visited, forming a ring of prayer around the city before the season of Lent began. During Lent, the various stations were originally organized so that the Masses were held in different areas of the city each day. During the octave of Easter the stations form a litany of the saints, beginning with St. Mary Major on Easter Sunday and continuing with St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Lawrence, the Apostles, and the martyrs.2

The liturgy of these Masses had several elements, many of which developed over time. According to the structure of the late first millennium, the people would gather in mid-afternoon with the pope at one church, known as the collectum. There, after some prayers, the group would move in procession to the statio, at which Mass would be said. The use of the term statio for this ending point has a connection with the practice of fasting on these days. The Christians of this time made a comparison of their fasting and prayer during Lent with the guard duty of soldiers, seeing their actions as something to be approached with a similar seriousness of purpose. The term statio came to be applied to the Eucharistic celebrations that took place on fast days. Later the term came to be used for all churches at which the major liturgical celebration in the city was to be held on a certain day.3

The order of the stations, originally organized in the fifth century, would undergo several changes over the following three centuries. The current order was essentially fixed by the time of the Council of Trent. Over the last several centuries, two of the original stations have been lost, although most older liturgical books still list their name as the station for their original day. The church of St. Augustine has taken the place of St. Tryphon, an older church which once stood on a nearby site. The second lost church is that of St. Cyriacus, which originally stood near the Baths of Diocletian. Having fallen into ruin, its stational day was transferred to Santa Maria in Via Lata, possibly because a monastery, also dedicated to St. Cyriacus, once stood behind this church. The other churches have not passed the centuries without their difficulties either: many have been destroyed and rebuilt; some fell into ruins, being saved only when on the verge of final collapse; all have been modified in various ways throughout the ages. Yet what remains through all the changes is the memory of those past Christians who worshiped at these places. While other cities, such as Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Milan once had similar stational liturgies, Rome is the only city in which these continue in some regular form. Therefore, just like the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the art of the early Christian era, the stational cycle comes down to us as a monument of the early church, a living connection to those days when the witness of the martyrs was still fresh and the echo of the apostles’ voices could still be heard in the city’s streets.
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1Pp. 147-153
2 Pp. 153-158
3 Pp. 143-144; 161-162

Source: Pontifical North American College

Stational Churches:

Please join me in spiritually journeying to each of the Stational Churches this Lent.  Please bookmark this post and refer back to it.

Ash Wednesday
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Saturday after Ash Wednesday

First Sunday of Lent
Monday in the First Week of Lent
Tuesday in the First Week of Lent
Wednesday in the First Week of Lent
Thursday in the First Week of Lent
Friday in the First Week of Lent
Saturday in the First Week of Lent

Second Sunday of Lent
Monday in the Second Week of Lent
Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent
Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent
Thursday in the Second Week of Lent
Friday in the Second Week of Lent
Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

Third Sunday of Lent
Monday in the Third Week of Lent
Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent
Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent
Thursday in the Third Week of Lent
Friday in the Third Week of Lent
Saturday in the Third Week of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent
Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Lent
Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent
Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent
Friday in the Fourth Week of Lent
Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent

Passion Sunday
Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent
Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Palm Sunday
Monday in Holy Week
Tuesday in Holy Week
Wednesday in Holy Week
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Saturday, February 25, 2012
Video: Interview with former Lutheran Pastor turned Catholic Priest
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Some of you may have seen this inspiring interview with Fr. Sandmark. For those of you who have not seen it, it is of great consolation.

On July 30, 2006, Sten Sandmark, a Swedish Lutheran pastor, abjured Protestantism in the church of St. Nicolas in Parish. In the summer of 2010, he was ordained a Catholic priest and offered, for the first time, valid Sacraments. He is a priest of the Society of St. Pius X. He reflects in this video on his conversion, on how the Novus Ordo Church did not want converts, on traditional Catholicism, and on Lutherans.
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Friday, February 24, 2012
Holy Communion in Lent: The Most Pleasing to God
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From
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

Of all the works whereby a Christian can sanctify the time of Lent, there is none so pleasing to God as to assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, in which is offered the Victim of man’s salvation. But now that his own unworthiness is more than ever evident to him, ought he to abstain from partaking, by Holy Communion, of this life-giving and purifying Host? Such is not our Saviour’s will. He came down from heaven, not to judge, but to save us. He knows how long and rugged is the road we have to traverse, before we reach that happy day, on which we shall rest with Him, in the joy of His Resurrection. He has compassion on us; He fears lest we faint in the way; and He, therefore, offers us the divine food, which gives light and strength to our souls, and refreshes them in their toil. We feel that our hearts are not yet pure enough; let us then, with a humble and contrite heart, go to Him, who has come that He may restore to our souls their original beauty. Let us, at all times, remember the solemn injunction which this Saviour so graciously deigned to give us: “Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, ye shall not have life in you.”

If, therefore, sin has no longer dominion over us; if we have destroyed it by true sorrow and sincere confession, made efficacious by the absolution of God’s priest: let us not deprive ourselves of the Bread of life, no matter how great soever our infirmities may seem; for it is for us that our Jesus has prepared the feast. If we feel that the chains of sin are still upon us; if by self-examination made with the light of the truth that is now granted to us, we discover in our souls certain stains, which the false principles of the world and too easy a conscience have hitherto made us overlook; let us lose no time, let us make a good confession: and when we have made our peace with the God mercy, let us approach the holy Table, and receive the pledge of our reconciliation.

Yes, let us go to Holy Communion, during this season of Lent, with the most heart-felt conviction of our unworthiness. It may be that hitherto we have sometimes gone with too much familiarity, on account of our not sufficiently understanding our nothing ness, our misery, and the infinite holiness of the God who thus unites Himself with His sinful creatures. Henceforth, our heart shall be more truthful; blending together the two sentiments of humility and confidence, we will say, with an honest conviction, those words of the centurion of the Gospel, which the Church puts upon our lips, when she is distributing to us the Bread of life: “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof; say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.”
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Thursday, February 23, 2012
St. Thomas Aquinas on Fasting
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The Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas


From the Summa Theologica (II, 2, Q 147, Art 1) of St. Thomas Aquinas writes the following words on Fasting.  Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and the start of the Great Fast.  Please join me in fasting for 40 days in observance of the traditional Lenten fast that took place for over a thousand years up until the Vatican Council in 1969.
Fasting is practiced for a threefold purpose:

First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh, wherefore the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 6:5-6): "In fasting, in chastity," since fasting is the guardian of chastity. For, according to Jerome, "Venus is cold when Ceres and Bacchus are not there," that is to say, lust is cooled by abstinence in meat and drink.

Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things: hence it is related (Daniel 10) of Daniel that he received a revelation from God after fasting for three weeks.

Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning." The same is declared by Augustine in a sermon: "Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one's flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity."
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Everything Lent
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Please bookmark this post and/or share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc using the links at the bottom of this post.  This post is a collection of all of my past posts for Lent.  This is meant to be a guide for you to find prayers, devotions, and liturgical information for this holy season.

Q: Why are the forty days called Lent?

A: They are called Lent because that is the Old English word for spring, the season of the year during which they fall. This is something unique to English. In almost all other languages its name is a derivative of the Latin term , or 'the forty days'. Lent is a time in the Church year lasting forty days (excluding Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday. It is a period of penance leading up to the joy of Easter.

Words to contemplate throughout Lent: "All things, even humiliation and death, help to save us."

General Lenten Information:

Ways to improve your Lent
The Origin of Lent
The Purpose of Lent according to Monsignor Massimo Camisasca
What should I give up for Lent?
Fasting and Abstinence Rules
Why do we fast? St. Thomas Aquinas Explains
The Real Presence Association's Suggestions for Lent
Should holy water be removed during Lent?
Book Recommendations
Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent) 
10 Traditional Catholic Charities: Almsgiving During Lent
Lenten Embertide Fast
Each Feria Day in Lent has a Proper Mass
Holy Communion in Lent: The Most Pleasing to God


Prayers:

Fat Tuesday Prayer
Ash Wednesday Prayer
General Lent Prayer
Prayer to Our Lord Jesus Crucified
Stational Churches
Prayer for Avoiding sin
Lenten Prayer II
Prayer before a Crucifix
Stations of the Cross
Prayer for the Grace of the Passion
Prayer in the Steps of the Passion
Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim
 
Pope Benedict XVI's words:

The 2007 Lenten theme and message
The 2006 Lenten theme and message
Our journey "in the shadows"
Ash Wednesday Audience

Ash Wednesday:

What is Ash Wednesday and what are the rules of this day?
Ash Wednesday Prayer
Ash Wednesday Traditional Mass Propers
 
Holy Week:

Top Ten Suggestions for Holy Week
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday Traditional Mass Propers
Spy Wednesday - Wednesday before Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday

Good Friday:

Good Friday information
Good Friday Prayer
Pope Benedict XVI's Good Friday service (2006)
Homily For Passion Sunday by Bishop Antoine Godeau
Good Friday Reproaches (Popule Meus) 
Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John (in Gregorian Chant)  

Traditional Good Friday Liturgy:  

Good Friday Liturgy - Part I
Good Friday Liturgy - Part II

Quotations/Letters/Documents:

"The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ"
Cardinal George of Chicago - his Lenten message (2006)
St. Benedict's Words on Lent
St. Leo the Great's Words on Lent
St. Leo the Great's Words on Charity
Advice from the St. Andrew Daily Missal
Pope Benedict XIV (1714) on the Strictness of Lent

Scripture:

Isaiah 53:11b-12
Isaiah 53:4-6

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Ash Wednesday Traditional Mass Propers
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Today's Mass embodies the spirit of Lent. All are reminded to be sorry for sin and to do penance, but not in a spirit of showy sadness or of inward despair. Rather, let the sincere and humble prepare with inner joy to celebrate their baptism in Christ. By living their baptismal promises, they enter more deeply into Christ's suffering. Knowing God's desire to forgive, to heal, and to share with all men His own divine life, we discipline our passions gladly and with confidence in victory. God gives the grace for every Lenten restraint. Therefore everyone should receive the blessed ashes, both as a means of grace and as a reminder to do penance unobtrusively, for personal sins and for the sins of all mankind.

Remember that today is a day of required fast and abstinence from meat.

Before the Mass, the celebrant vested in alb, purple stole, and cope, goes up to the altar for the blessing of the ashes.



THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ASHES

The celebrant stands and receives ashes on his head; he then distributes them to the clergy and the congregation, who kneel before him. He admonishes each one as he places ashes on his head:

Remember, man, that you are dust, and into dust you shall return.

THE MASS

INTROIT (Sap. 11:24, 25, 27)
You are merciful to all, O Lord, and hate none of the things that You have made. When men repent, You overlook their sins and pardon them; for You are the Lord our God.
Ps. 56:2. Have pity on me, O God, have pity on me, for my soul trusts in You.
V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT

O Lord, may the faithful begin the solemn season of fast with fitting piety, and may they continue through to its end with unwavering devotion. Through our Lord . . .

LESSON (Joel 2:12-19)

Now, therefore, saith the Lord. Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord's ministers, shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered, and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.

GRADUAL (Ps. 56:2, 4)

Have pity on me, O God, have pity on me, for my soul trusts in You. V. He has sent from heaven, and saved me; He has made them a reproach who trample upon me.

TRACT (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 name's sake.

GOSPEL (Matt. 6:16-21)

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, "And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.
"Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Ps. 29:2-3)

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have upheld me, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, I cried out to You and You have healed me.

SECRET

O Lord, make us truly fit to offer these gifts with which we commemorate the institution of this blessed Sacrament. Through our Lord . . .

COMMUNION ANTIPHON (Ps. 1:2-3)

He who meditates on the law of the Lord day and night shall bring forth his fruit in due season.

POSTCOMMUNION

O Lord, may this Sacrament which we have received make our fasting an acceptable offering to You and a healthful remedy to our souls. Through our Lord . . .

PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE

O Lord, look with mercy upon those who worship before Your majesty. May Your heavenly aid always strengthen those who have feasted upon Your divine Sacrament. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and rules with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012
20 Pious Practices for Lent: What Should I Give Up for Lent?
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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 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).

As such, let us consider the following 20 PIOUS PRACTICES FOR CATHOLICS TO PRACTICE DURING LENT:

1. Abstain from Meat

We should all know that Catholics are required to abstain from all meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.  This is the minimum requirement and violation of this law is a mortal sin and, if you die without Confession and Contrition, for this sin your soul will be damned. 

Yet, certainly we can do more than the simple minimum practice for Lent?  Traditional Catholics will still fast and partially abstain from meat on all weekdays of Lent unless a 1st Class Feast falls during the week (e.g. 1st Class Feast of St. Joseph on March 19).  By partial abstinence, a person is allowed to eat meat only at the major meal.

2. Fasting

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, all Catholics are bound under pain of mortal sin to fast.  Those between 18 and 59 years of age (Can. 1252), are also bound to fast on these two days . Only one normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. This is the minimum under the current Code of Canon Law.

What should a traditional, pious Catholic do?   All days of Lent but Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and 1st Class Feasts are days for us to fast and partially abstain from meat. If you fast all of these days, you will have fasted the 40 Days of Lent, as Christ did in the desert.

See laws of fasting and abstinence for more information.

3. Limit (i.e. Remove) your Television During Lent

Even if you have not read Television: The Soul at Risk (and I do highly recommend it), the television is by most accounts, an occasion of sin.  Limit your television to only a few hours a day for your entire family or - better yet - unplug it all together.  Television is a passive activity not only leading to obesity and passivity but allowing indecent speech and dress as well as suggestive dialogue and environments into our very hopes.  Unplug it for Lent.  And think about keeping it unplugged afterward.


4. Daily Rosary

If you are not praying the daily Rosary, you should be.  Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. These three shepherd children were given messages and a miracle was even performed there that was witnessed by thousands. In the miracle on Oct 13, 1917, the sun danced, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it. The sun then rose again in its original position. This event was witnessed be 70,000 thousands of people! It's been called, the Miracle of the Sun.

Before this on May 13, 1917, Our Lady told the 3 children (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco): "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." In an apparition on July 13, she requested devotion to her Immaculate Heart and Communions of reparation on the first Saturday of each month. In a September 13th apparition, she stressed the importance of the daily Rosary, and in her final apparition, she said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary."

So pray the Rosary daily - and use Lent to start if you need to.

5. Wear the Brown Scapular

First, if you were not traditionally invested in the Brown Scapular (or if you are uncertain), find a traditional Catholic priest to be properly enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular.  Recall that by the wearing of the Brown Scapular, Mary promises to pray for us at the hour of death. And more than that - intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace. And if we are in a state of mortal sin, she will intercede for us that sanctifying grace may come back into our soul before we die. Mary also promises that the Scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” Those are the two promises by Mary for those that wear the Scapular.

While those who wear the Scapular are required to fast on Wednesdays and Saturdays in addition to the daily prayer of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, priests nearly always dispense the Faithful to instead simply pray the Rosary Daily (See #4).

If you lost your Brown Scapular, simply purchase one online.  The Brown Scapular does not have to be blessed before it is worn, unlike most Sacramentals.

6. Saturday Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary

If you don't already, set aside the First Saturday of March (which this year falls during Lent) as a time for special reparation and prayers to the Mother of God.  See the post Saturday Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary for more ideas on how to sanctify this day.

7. Go to an extra Mass or more each week of Lent.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest prayer there is

8. Add a Holy Hour, once a week, twice a week, or each day. 

"If we really loved the good God, we should make it our joy and happiness to come and spend a few moments to adore Him, and ask Him for the grace of forgiveness; and we should regard those moments as the happiest of our lives." - St. John Vianney (on Adoration of Jesus in the Most the Blessed Sacrament)"

Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us." - St. Alphonsus Liguori


9. Pray for the Souls in Purgatory


We have an obligation to pray for our relatives and for anyone we may have harmed by our sins. A Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament after Mass is extremely efficacious for the Poor Souls and can lead to the gaining of a plenary indulgence—all other conditions for this being fulfilled.  


We should pray fervently and frequently for the souls in Purgatory.  Start by adding the St. Gertrude Prayer to your daily prayers

"ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER THEE THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THY DIVINE SON, JESUS, IN UNION WITH THE MASSES SAID THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TODAY, FOR ALL THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen." 

Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory every time this is said! This prayer has now even been "extended to living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives."

Additionally, it should be widely promoted for the Faithful to ask the clergy to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the intention of freeing the souls in Purgatory.  Many souls are released from Purgatory by the graces from the Mass.  Furthermore, we should seek to gain Indulgences for the souls in Purgatory.  The easiest way to do this is by obtaining an Enrichion of Indulgences which lists the indulgenced prayers and the conditions for obtaining the indulgence.

Furthermore, the souls in Purgatory are greatly aided when we offer our Holy Communions for them.  Make it a practice to offer your Holy Communion at least once weekly for the souls in Purgatory.

In the past I have reflected on Praying the Stations of the Cross - which also happen to have indulgences attached to them - and at this time I would also encourage you to pray the Stations for the souls in Purgatory.  Similarly, through almsgiving, penance, and fasting done with the intention of freeing souls in Purgatory, we can directly help the suffering souls in the Church Suffering.  And these souls, when freed from their purgation, shall certainly pray without ceasing for our salvation.

10. Pray for those in Danger of Dying

Such prayers should be offered to Our Lady to apply as she desires, for she sees clearly who really needs the extra graces at any given time.   

11. Pray for anyone you may have had the misfortune to lead into sin. 

Not only should you make prayers of reparation, but you must seek out these souls and seek to repair the damage.  Lent is an opportune time for this. 

12. Prayer for the End of Abortion

"From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a 'criminal' practice (GS 27 # 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life."

13. Go to Weekly Confession

Confession is the only means that our Lord instituted for the forgiveness of sins.   

14. Make an Examination of Conscience at Lunch and before Sleep

As recommended in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, make your examination of conscience at lunch and then again before sleep.  At lunch, reflect on your words, thoughts, and deeds (or lack thereof) for each hour of the day up until then.  If you have sinned, make a sincere Act of Contrition.  Remember to confess these sins at your next Confession.  In the evening, again make an examination of conscience on each hour of the day starting with lunch until the present moment.

15. Make Voluntary acts of Daily Penance

To Sr. Lucy of Fatima, Our Lord revealed that "The penance I now ask and require is that necessary for the fulfillment of My law and the performance of one's daily duties." 

16. Perform Good Works of Mercy

- Increase your donation at Church.
- Give to traditional monasteries and convents.
- Support good traditional Catholic schools.
- Support crisis pregnancy centers.
- Support local soup kitchens.
- Help those who are poor. 



17. Do Apostolic Work

- Take someone to Mass with you.
- Take someone to Confession with you.
- Invite someone to become a Catholic—start talking to him about it.  Buy him access to an online education course to instruct him in the teachings of the Faith.

- Get a priest to visit a fallen-away Catholic, especially an elderly one.
- Distribute Catholic books and booklets.
A list of recommended books is available here.

18. Perform 15 minutes of Spiritual Reading Daily


Read from the Bible Daily or the Lives of the Saints.  Or, check out my list of Recommended Books for Lent.


19. Consecrate Your Life Each Day to God


Each day of Lent, pray and renew both your Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and your Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


20. Talk as Little as Possible


Vain speech is of little avail for the eternal life.  During Lent, mirror the practices of the religious orders and speak only when necessary. As said in the Rule of St. Benedict, "Indeed, so important is silence that permission to speak should seldom be granted even to mature disciples, no matter how good or holy or constructive their talk, because it is written: In a flood of words you will not avoid sin (Prov 10:19); and elsewhere, The tongue holds the key to life and death (Prov 18:21). Speaking and teaching are the master's task; the disciple is to be silent and listen"


Conclusion


As you can see none of these practices included "giving up" candy, chocolate, dessert, et cetera.  There is a modern misconception that Lent is about dieting or about "giving up" time wasters in order to increase in productivity.  This is not further from the Truth.  For those of you out there who think Lent is about getting in shape and increasing efficient, "you have received your rewards" (cf. Matthew 6:5 ) and the discipline of Lent has done little to help your immortal soul.


So join me in sharing, bookmarking, and passing along these lists to your friend, relative and contacts.  Let us make this Lent one of mortification for the honor and glory of Almighty God and for the salvation of our souls.
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Traditional Mass Propers: Quinquagesima Sunday
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Vestments: Violet

INTROIT
Psalm 30: 3-4
Be Thou unto me a God, a Protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for Thou are my strength and my refuge: and for Thy Name's sake Thou wilt lead me, and nourish me. -- (Ps. 30. 2). In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice, and save me. V.: Glory be to the Father . . .



COLLECT - We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear our prayers: and releasing us from the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord . . .

EPISTLE
1 Corinthians 13: 1 - 13
Brethren, If I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge: and if I should have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: Charity envieth not, dealing not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

GRADUAL
Psalm 76: 15, 16
Thou art the God that alone doest wonders: Thou hast made Thy power known among the nations. V.: With Thine arm Thou hast delivered Thy people, the children of Israel and of Joseph.

TRACT
Psalm 99: 1, 2
- Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. V.: Come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: know ye that the Lord He is God. V.: He made us, and not we ourselves: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

GOSPEL
Luke 18: 31 - 43

At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve men and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and he third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of those things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight, they faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Commentary by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

The Church gives us today another subject for our meditation: it is the vocation of Abraham. when the waters of the deluge ahd subsided, and mankind had once more peopled the earth, the immortality, which had previously excited God's anger, again grew rife among men. Idolatry, too, into which the antediluvian race had not fallen, now showed itself, and human wickedness seemed thus to have reached the height of its malice. Foreseeing that the nations of the earth would fall into rebellion against Him, God resolved to select one people that should be peculiarly His, and among whom should be preserved those sacred truths, of which the Gentiles were to lose sight. This new people was to originate from one man, who would be the fathers and model of all future believers. This was Abraham. His faith and devotedness merited for him that he should be chosen to be the father of the children of God, and the head of that spiritual family, to which belong all the elect of both the old and the new Testament.

It is necessary that we should know Abraham, our father and our model. This is his grand characteristic: fidelity to God, submissiveness to His commands, abandonment and sacrifice of everything in order to obey His holy will. Such ought to be the prominent virtues of every christian. Let us, then, study the life of our great patriarch, and learn the lessons it teaches.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 118: 12, 13
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy justifications: with my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of Thy mouth.

SECRET - May these Offerings, we beseech Thee, O Lord, cleanse us from our sins: and hallow the bodies and minds of Thy servants for the celebration of this Sacrifice. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

COMMUNION
Psalms 77: 29, 30
They did eat, and were filled exceedingly, and the Lord gave them their desire: they were not defrauded of that which they craved.



POST COMMUNION - We beseech Thee, almighty God, that we, who have received this heavenly food, may be safeguarded by it against all adversity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Ceremonial Notes for Ash Wednesday
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Fasting of St. Charles Borromeo

With Ash Wednesday nearly here, I'm pleased that our friends over at Romanitas Press have put together serving notes for those saying the Traditional Latin Mass for Ash Wednesday.  Pass these documents along to any sacristans, servers, or priests that you think may benefit from this.
You can see my post on the Rules of Abstinence & Fasting for Ash Wednesday as well as the Mass Propers by clicking here.
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Friday, February 17, 2012
Extract from the Sermon of Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, for the feast of Candlemas, Feb 2nd (2012)
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"The Society of St. Pius X has been founded by the Church and in the Church, and we say this Society continues to exist, despite the fact that there is a pretense that it does not exist; that it was suppressed in 1976 (but obviously with total disrespect of the laws of the Church itself). And that's why we continue. And our dear Founder insisted many, many times on the importance of this existence of the Society. And I think, as time evolves, we must keep this in mind -- and it is very important that we keep this Catholic Spirit.

We are not an independent group. Even if we are fighting with Rome, we are still, so to say, with Rome. We are fighting with Rome; or, if you want, against Rome, and at the same time with Rome. And we claim and continue to say, we are Catholic. We want to stay Catholic. Many times I say to Rome, you try to kick us out. And we see it would be much easier for us to be out. We would have many more advantages. You would treat us much better! Look at the Protestants, how they open the churches to them. To us, they close them. And we say we don't care. We do things in front of God. We suffer from the Church, fine. We don't like that, of course. But we ought to stay there in the truth. And we have to maintain that we do belong to the Church. We are Catholics. We want to be and we want to stay Catholic, and it is very important to maintain that."

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How to Interpret Aristotle's Physics I.8
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Here is a presentation that I delivered over three years ago on the interpretation of Aristotle's Physics I.8.  Feel free to download or share.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012
Bishop Williamson Saying Mass in St. Louis, Missouri (March 2011)
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The following photos of His Grace saying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are taken from True Restoration.  Please see their album for more photos from this Mass.  If you are not already subscribed, His Grace publishes a weekly column delivered via email called Dinoscopus.  To learn more and subscribe for free, please see Dinoscopus.





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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Angelus Press 2012 Conference: October 19-21
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As reported on the SSPX.ORG website:
On the weekend of October 19 through 21, we will host our third annual Angelus Press Conference, with this year's theme on the Papacy. Located in the heart of the country, our annual conference in Kansas City draws not only some of the best thinkers and speakers in the Catholic world, but also hundreds of fellow Catholics eager to enjoy a weekend of doctrinal, theological, historical, and practical talks, but also a weekend of friendship and camaraderie.

We are pleased to announce that His Excellency, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, will be this year's keynote speaker and will also offer a Pontifical High Mass on the Sunday of the conference.
I will likely be in attendance at this year's Conference.   Recall that last year's Conference on the Kingship of Christ featured a Pontifical High Mass said by His Excellency Bishop Tissier.  Here are some of the photos from that Mass:



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Commemoration of Ss. Faustinus and Jovita
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Simple (1955 Calendar): February 15

Today is the Commemoration of Ss. Faustinus and Jovita, martyrs.  While the modernists in 1969 suppressed the veneration of these saints for historically unsound reasons (along with an obvious departure from the Faith passed down through the Traditions of the Church), traditional Catholics on this day recall their heroic martyrdom.

Born to the nobility in 2nd century Italy, St. Jovita was the younger brother of Saint Faustinus. St. Jovita was an ordained deacon and a zealous preacher in Brescia, Milan, Rome, and Naples. St. Faustinus was a priest.  Under the persecution of Emperor Hadrian, Ss. Jovita and Faustinus were condemned to die for adherence to the Catholic Faith. 

The two brothers were sent to the amphitheater to be devoured by lions, but four of those came out and lay down at their feet. They were left without food in a dark jail cell, but Angels brought them strength and joy for new combats. The flames of a huge fire respected them, and a large number of spectators were converted at the sight. Finally sentenced to decapitation, they knelt down and received the death blow.  Finally in the Year of Our Lord 120, the brothers were beheaded for the Faith of Christ and died as martyrs.  They have been venerated widely since ancient times.

The Roman Martyrology (as read at the Office of Prime) declares of them:
At Brescia, in the time of Emperor Adrian, the birthday of the holy martyrs Faustinus and Jovita, who received the triumphant crown of martyrdom after many glorious combats for the faith of Christ. 

Prayer:

We are made happy, O God, by the annual feast of Your holy martyrs Faustinus and Jovita. As we joyously remember the merits of these saints, may we also be inspired by their example. Through Our Lord...

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
New Blog Banner Unveiled
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Today I'm pleased to unveil this new blog banner in honor of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother.  The banner also displays the latin phrase "Salus animarum, suprema lex" which translates to: "The Salvation of Souls is the Supreme Law." 

You can see the evolution of this blog's banner by viewing the previous banner image and the image that preceded that one.

I'm very pleased with the newest banner image.
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St. Valentine's Day Prayer & History
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Simple (1955 Calendar): February 14

Happy St. Valentines Day to all!

On the Traditional Catholic Calendars, today is a day to Commemorate St. Valentine, priest and martyr.

Today, although many don't realize it, St. Valentine's Day is based on the life of St. Valentine, a Roman martyr who was beheaded in c. 269-273 AD. Emperor Claudius II declared that unmarried men were potential soldiers, so he outlawed marriage. However, St. Valentine abhorred his outrageous action and continued to marry young couples. Claudius attempted to convert St. Valentine to paganism, but St. Valentine resisted and attempted to bring Claudius to the Church and Jesus Christ. For this, the Emperor had St. Valentine beheaded.

In prison he helped the imprisoned soon-to-be martyrs. The jailer saw that Valentine was a man of learning, so he brought his daughter, Julia, to Valentine for lessons. Julia was a young girl, who had been blind since her birth. During the lessons, St. Valentine would read to her about the history of Rome. And, he taught her about God. The following is an account of St. Valentine that was emailed to me:

"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia asked one day.

"Yes, my child, He hears each one."

"Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"

"God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him," Valentinus said.

"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!" She knelt and grasped his hand.

They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentinus, I can see! I can see!"

"Praise be to God!" Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.

On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, "From your Valentine." His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. On each February 14, Saint Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world."

After her healing, the jailer too was converted to Christianity.

Prayer:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God: that we, who celebrate the heavenly birthday of blessed Valentine, Thy Martyr, may, through his intercession, be strengthened in the love of Thy name. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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Monday, February 13, 2012
Returned From SSPX Retreat
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 Our Lady Immaculate Church (SSPX), Oak Park, IL

I have just returned from my week-long retreat at the SSPX Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  The time was one of great consolation and some of the greatest graces that I have yet received. 

The retreat took place from February 6 - 11th although most of us arrived on Sunday evening prior.  Starting Monday morning we were fed three excellent meals a day and we lived in humble, though still very comfortable conditions.  The 80 degree weather certainly helped the experience (since I'm always a fan of escaping the 30 degree weather in Chicago).

Each day consisted of rising at 6:15 with optional Prime at 6:45.  Morning prayers followed at 7:00 AM and Mass was usually said at 7:30 (except for a special High Mass Wednesday evening said after each of us made our general Confessions in the morning).  The day consisted of approximately 5 - 6 conferences using the St. Ignatian model.  Each conference helped explain the mysteries of the Ignatian Spiritual exercises, and we then meditated on the mysteries for 20 minutes.  There was a daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament as well.  Compline was prayed together each evening at 8:30 PM and then all returned to their rooms.

The time was kept in prayerful silence and each of us maintained a contemplative and prayerful state of soul.  Yet even in the silence, one could feel the charity towards our neighbor.  Truly, this is how traditional communities like the Benedictines in Silver City live! With the Spiritual Exercises and frequent prayers - along with daily reception of the Most Holy Sacrament - it was one of the greatest sources of graces in my life.  In our general confessions, as we confessed all of the sins of our lives, I could not help but feel unbelievably sorrowful and humble in the presence of Almighty God.  Our Lord has given us through His Incarnation, Life, Passion, and Death an inexpressable and unrepayable model and source of grace.  I have updated my 2012 Catholic Resolutions in light of my retreat.

If you have never attended an Ignatian Retreat, you simply must attend one of these.  You can be certain that the Sacraments of the SSPX are licit and valid (unlike those in the Novus Ordo) and you can also be certain that they maintain true doctrine (unlike so-called "indult" Traditional Masses that still teach religious liberty, ecumenism, and other false doctrines).

And I must also mention that Bishop Fellay even joined us for lunch on Monday.  He was in town for Confirmations the previous day.  What an example of grace!  Just his very presence was a source of hope for the Church.  The Church is in Her passion.  She is suffering even to this day unlike anything She has ever suffered and few remain faithful to her.  Yet, just like our Lord in His Passion, those around us don't see the divinity in the suffering.  Few people on Calvary saw in the Dying Savior the Divinity of the Second Person of the Godhead.  And few today see through the modernist Church and her sins to the Catholic Church founded by Christ and still keeping the True Faith and the True Mass.

Deo Gratias for the SSPX.ORG!  Sign up for a retreat and/or please get a copy of "Christian Warfare."  This was the copy of the book that we used for all the prayers and Spiritual Exercises for the week.
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Sunday, February 5, 2012
Liturgical Changes for Septuagesima
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In the pre-1970 Roman Catholic liturgy, the Alleluia ceases to be said during today's Liturgy for Septuagesima. At first Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, two alleluias are added to the closing verse of Benedicamus Domino and its response, Deo gratias, as during the Easter Octave, and, starting at Compline, it is no longer used until Easter.

Likewise, violet vestments are worn, except on feasts, from Septuagesima Sunday until Holy Thursday. As during Advent and Lent, the Gloria and Te Deum are no longer said on Sundays. The readings at Matins for this week are the first few chapters of Genesis, telling of the creation of the world, of Adam and Eve, the fall of man and resulting expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and the story of Cain and Abel.

In the following weeks before and during Lent, the readings continue to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The Gospel reading for Septuagesima week is the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)

Image Source: Traditio Guam
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Saturday, February 4, 2012
Psalm 115: The Prayer of Offering of the Chalice
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I have believed, therefore have I spoken; but I have been humbled exceedingly.I said in my excess: Every man is a liar. What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things he hath rendered unto me? I will take the chalice of salvation; and I will call upon the name of the Lord. [This prayer is prayed at the Traditional Latin Mass as the priest raises the Chalice up in offering to God immediately after the water and wine have been comingled] I will pay my vows to the Lord before all his people: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

O Lord, for I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds: I will sacrifice to thee the sacrifice of praise, and I will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the sight of all his people: In the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

Psalm 115
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Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center February 5 - 11
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In the past I have mentioned the need for donations to help finish the construction of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Arizona.  Well, they are also home to a wonderful Ignatian Retreat House.  I will be going on the silent 5 day retreat and gone from February 5th through the 11th.  Please keep me in your prayers!

More information on the retreats through the retreat house are available here: Retreats through the SSPX.

If you would like for me to pray for your intentions during this time, please either comment below with your intentions or email them to me no later than Saturday.  I will bring all of these intentions with me and keep them in prayer.
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Friday, February 3, 2012
Susan Komen & Planned Parenthood
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Updated: Bowing to liberal pressures, it appears that Susan G Komen will reverse its decision and amends its rules to continue funding the abortion business of Planned Parenthood even when PP is under Congressional investigation.  This story is extremely fluid and changing by the minute.  The latest update from Rev. Pat Mahoney:
"Ok people "stop the presses" on the Susan G. Komen controversy. I have been on the phone with pro-leaders all day and this story is really "fluid" as they say here in D.C. This is what I am hearing. The Komen Foundation has said they will only honor the existing contracts they have for this year while revising grant applications for next year. However, it is there intention NOT to fund Planned Parenthood after their existing contracts with them expire. This is a fascinating story in which I am asking of you to diligently be praying about. I will keep you updated. Blessings."

Original Post (January 31): January The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has finally decided to stop its funding of Planned Parenthood, thus allowing for Catholics to support this organization in good conscience.  However, while we can fund Susan G. Komen for the Cure, we can not fund any of their affiliates. Below is what their Connecticut affiliate stated:
The decision regarding the funding of Planned Parenthood was made by Susan G. Komen for the Cure National Headquarters. Susan G. Komen for the Cure Connecticut enjoys a great partnership with Planned Parenthood, and is currently funding Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. We understand, and share, in the frustration around this situation. We hope that any investigation prohibiting Planned Parenthood from receiving Komen grants is promptly resolved.
Send a Letter/Email

Please take a few moments and send an email to news@komen.org thanking them for their decision.  A sample letter is below:
To whom it may concern:

I wish to express my deepest gratitude for Susan G. Komen for the Cure for de-funding Planned Parenthood.  As a Catholic unable in conscience to support an organization that in any way funds the largest abortion provider in the world, I have been unable to donate to your organization.  Now I can at last in good conscience donate to your work and participate in your Save Lids to Save Lives Campaign.  Please realize that if you resume any form of donations to Planned Parenthood, I will immediately end my support for your organization.


Sincerely,

Name
Sign a Thank You Petition

http://petitionwire.blugap.com/petitions/16

Facebook

Join the Facebook Group: Pro-Lifers Thanking Susan G. Komen
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