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Sunday, April 21, 2019
Certainty of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
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"'Christ who died on the cross, whose side was pierced with a lance, whose body lay cold and bloodless in the tomb, is risen from the dead; what we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands, we declare; we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard; by a man came death into the world, and by a man the resurrection of the dead; in Adam all died, in Christ all shall be made alive. God raised up the crucified Nazarene, of this we are all witnesses. He died according to the Scriptures. He appeared to Peter, and to James, and to all the Apostles; then He was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once. He ate and drank and conversed with us, and before our eyes, He was taken up into Heaven. Stephen saw Him standing at the right hand of God; in the splendor of celestial glory He appeared to Saul.'

"This is the unwavering testimony of the Apostles to the resurrection and glorified life of Jesus and to His never-ending influence on the fortunes of mankind. This faith is as strongly rooted in them as the consciousness of their own existence.

"If their testimony is not true, what testimony is true? If we doubt the simple, definite, unanimous story of the Evangelists, the blood-sealed testimony of the Apostles, can we believe anything? Must we not despair of ever attaining truth on testimony? If these were were deceived, then all the impressions registered by our senses, by sight, touch, and hearing, are illusions. It is an illusion when a thousand sane men and women see the sun shine at midday, when ten thousand heard the roar of the storm wind that uproots the giants of the forest. If these men deceived, then we are not sure of our lives in the company of our dearest friends. If the Resurrection of Jesus is not a fact, a reality, then all is a delusion and an idle dream."

Quoted from: Catholic Apologetics Book IV by Fr. John Laux
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Friday, April 19, 2019
Weep Not for Me But for Your Children
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And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over Me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children (Luke 23:27-28)

What did the words of our Lord mean?  Haydock's Bible Commentary provides the insightful meaning of these words:
If you knew the evils that threaten and must soon fall upon your city, upon yourselves, and upon your children, you would preserve your tears to deplore your own misfortunes. My death is for the good of mankind; but it will be fatal to your nation because you have been pleased to make it so. In the ruin of Jerusalem, which is at hand, happy shall they be who have no children. They shall save themselves the grief of seeing their sons and daughters perish miserably, and in some sort of suffering as many deaths as they have children to die. Calmet.
Yet, in a mystical sense, they also apply to us. Our Lord's death was the most efficacious death in the history of the world. But we live in a world that has divorced itself from God. Even the Church is undergoing an immense Passion and Trial in the world brought about by the sins of her members. We are right to weep and lament the Passion and cruelty inflicted on our Lord, but we should weep greater for souls who are actually lost and go to hell.

How much penance are we doing these days of the Triduum for souls that are far from God? Our Lady of Fatima has asked for penance repeatedly. Let us offer all of our sufferings and penances of these final hours of Lent for the conversion of souls and for reparation of sin.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Traditional Catholic Prayer for Vocations by Pope Pius XII
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Lord Jesus, High Priest and universal Shepherd, Thou hast taught us to pray, saying: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest" [Matt. 9: 38]. Therefore we beseech Thee graciously to hear our supplications and raise up many generous souls who, inspired by Thy example and supported by Thy grace, may conceive the ardent desire to enter the ranks of Thy sacred ministers in order to continue the office of Thy one true priesthood.

Although Thy priests live in the world as dispensers of the mysteries of God, yet their mission demands that they be not men of this world. Grant, then, that the insidious lies and vicious slanders directed against the priesthood by the malignant enemy and abetted by the world through its spirit of indifference and materialism may not dim the brilliance of the light with which they shine before men, nor lessen the profound and reverent esteem due to them. Grant that the continual promotion of religious instruction, true piety, purity of life and devotion to the highest ideals may prepare the groundwork for good vocations among youth.

May the Christian family, as a nursery of pure and pious souls, become the unfailing source of good vocations, ever firmly convinced of the great honor that can redound to our Lord through some of its numerous offspring. Come to the aid of Thy Church, that always and in every place she may have at her disposal the means necessary for the reception, promotion, formation and mature development of all the good vocations that may arise. For the full realization of all these things, O Jesus, Who art most zealous for the welfare and salvation of all, may Thy graces continually descend from heaven to move many hearts by their irresistible force; first, the silent invitation; then generous cooperation; and finally perseverance in Thy holy service.

Art Thou not moved to compassion, O Lord, seeing the crowds like sheep without a shepherd, without anyone to break for them the bread of Thy word, or to lead them to drink at the fountains of Thy grace, so that they are continually in danger of becoming a prey to ravening wolves? Does it not grieve Thee to behold so many unplowed fields where thorns and thistles are allowed to grow in undisputed possession? Art Thou not saddened that many of Thy gardens, once so green and productive, are now on the verge of becoming fallow and barren through neglect?

O Mary, Mother most pure, through whose compassion we have received the holiest of priests; O glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, perfect model of cooperation with the Divine call; O holy priests, who in Heaven compose a choir about the Lamb of God: obtain for us many good vocations in order that the Lord's flock, through the support and government of vigilant shepherds, may attain to the enjoyment of the most delightful pastures of eternal happiness.
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Saturday, April 13, 2019
Holy Week Reflection
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Guest Post by David Martin

Each year on Palm Sunday we commemorate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem when He cleansed the temple of the money changers and those who had sought to profane the temple with their worldly ways.

This pivotal Lent of 2019 is the appropriate time to bring it home and to reflect on how we can assist Christ in cleansing His temple, especially, on how we might encourage the good bishops to take the whip to those clerical clowns in the Eternal City that have sought to profane the temple with their perfidious errors and changes.

Unfortunately, the cult of Freemasonry exerts great control over the Church at this time, which accounts for the widely held error that the Church is an ongoing, evolutionary process that goes through phases of change over time. As these modernists see it, anything the Church holds to at any given point of its history is the result of a general consensus or “collective conscience,“ as if the Church were a democracy to decide doctrine, when in fact the matter of doctrine has already been decided for us from above.

That is to say, the Church is a Divine Monarchy ruled by the King of kings, “with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James: 1:17) As such, the doctrines of the Faith are not something that can change or develop but are eternally set in stone for our instruction. (Matthew 24: 35)
Lent is a time to cleanse ourselves and to return to the tradition of the Faith, but this applies especially to today’s Vatican hierarchy. It is high time that the Church’s ruling body clean house and take the whip to those money-changes, homosexuals, and heretics that are polluting the temple with their antics and doctrinal germs. It is time they go upon their knees and declare that we as Church have sinned in God’s eyes for allowing humanism, modernism, and change to defile Christ’s legacy.

Without this done, where is their Lenten penance? Their Holy Week solemnity is then reduced to an empty formality, and it is anticipated that this year’s ceremonies in Rome will be another farcical tool to advance Islam and political LGBT agenda. What next, will the pope wash the feet of gays and transgenders? Will the bishops stand by and watch the show or will they finally speak up to correct a situation that is offensive to God and destructive to His people?

Each year at the Easter Vigil we are asked, “Do you renounce Satan and all his pomps and all his works,” as we say, “I do.” Let Francis and his bishops live up to that this year by rejecting all that Satan has given them, i.e. Vatican II ecumenism, modernism, change, lest this year’s observance again be filled with empty pomp void of the work of God.

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Thursday, March 28, 2019
Mid-Lent Thursday Exhortation from the Mozarabic Rite
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Cathedral in Seville, Spain

Today, Thursday in the Third Week of Lent, is the happy mid-point of our Lenten observance. For those of us who are observing the time-honored custom of fasting, today is the 20th day of the Great Fast. We have 20 more days to persevere in penance to prepare ourselves for Holy Easter.

Have you grown lax? Have you not made as much spiritual progress as you hoped? Have you not done enough fasting, enough abstinence, enough penance, enough spiritual reading, enough extra praying, enough extra Masses, or enough almsgiving?

There is no reason to fret if you have grown lax. Now is the time for us to renew our vigor and march forward to Easter with greater resolve to make reparation for sins.

The Mozarabic Liturgy offers for us this day a beautiful exhortation that Dom Gueranger in his "Liturgical Year" shares in the Volume on Lent, Page 290:
Looking forward, dearly beloved brethren, to the hope of the Passion and Resurrection of the Son of God, as also to the manifestation of the glory of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: resume your strength and courage. Be not daunted by the labour you have to go through, but remember the solemnity of the holy Pasch, for which you are so ardently longing. One half of holy Lent is over: you have gone through the difficulties of the past, why should you not be courageous about the future fast? Jesus who deigned to suffer fatigue for our sake, will give strength to them that are fatigued. He that granted us to begin the past, will enable us to complete the future. Children! He will be with us to assist us, who wishes us to hope for the glory of His Passion. Amen.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Catholics Look to a Unified Ireland Post-Brexit
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While out celebrating the life and work of St. Patrick, I picked up a copy of The Irish Herald published on the West Coast (Volume 57, No. 07). As I sat drinking my Guinness I was rather intrigued by the headline story as Northern Ireland may not be as non-Catholic as Americans may think.  Here were some interesting excerpts from that piece:
Support for uniting Ireland has risen dramatically on both sides on the Irish border in large part because of the calamitous Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016. While jingoistic British politicians were urging their public to leave the European Union and enter the promised land of a 'free and independent' UK, precious little consideration was given to the impact such a move might have on either the south or the north of Ireland. The more things change the more they stay the same... 
Since the partition of Ireland in 1921, Catholics in the north have been subjected to human and civil rights abuses and have been treated as second class citizens. The GFA [Good Friday Agreement] was supposed to end all that but intransigence from the unionist body politic, notably from the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest unionist party, has prevented many important remedies contained in the GFA from becoming reality. 
In 1921 the Catholic population of the six counties that make up 'Northern Ireland' was a mere 35 percent, and it was that way by design. The partition was never supposed to end. The border, which has become the singular focus of the entire Brexit exercise, is proof of that. All 310 miles of it, winding it's way through farms, parishes and townlands, was drawn up in the way which would exclude the most Catholics. The intention was undeniable. Lord Carigavon the North's first Prime Minister proudly declared as his slogan: 'A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people.' 
But as they say, nothing lasts forever. Shifting demographics have put the unity question at the top of the agenda. In the last census Catholics (who predominantly favor a united Ireland) made up 45 percent of the population while Protestants (who tend to support the union with Britain) made up 48 percent. A deeper look into those statistics reveals that he protestant population will still makes up almost two thirds of those over 65, whereas in the younger age groups Catholics now make up the majority. 
'It's a massive demographic shift. In five to ten years there'll be a Catholic majority in Northern Ireland,' said Peter Shirlow, director of the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies. It will take a few more years for this overall majority to translate into an electoral majority, 'but a majority for a united Ireland is going to happen, (there is) no doubt about that,' added Shirlow.
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Monday, March 18, 2019
St. Joseph, First Among the Saints
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In honor of tomorrow's feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I wish to share an insight I recently learned on the unique position of Saint Joseph amongst the saints. 

Whereas among the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary is in a category to herself, after her comes St. Joseph as first among the saints. This position is not mere pious devotion but is based on the theological classification of St. Joseph with the word protodulia as Fr Broom explains:
The theologians classify the greatness of those in glory with the following titles: “Latria”, which means adoration that we give to the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Hyperdulia” given to the Blessed Virgin Mary means the highest veneration. “Dulia”, given to the saints, implies veneration. Finally, Glorious Saint Joseph is rightly given “Protodulia”, meaning that among the saints he is given first place; “Proto” means first!
St. Joseph is ranked even before the Apostles themselves! Fr. Broom continues:
Saint Bernadine of Siena expounds upon the reason for this theological hierarchy. In simple terms, this Franciscan Doctor of the Church asserts that God gives special graces commensurate or corresponding to the specific office or mission given to the individual. 
Husband and wife married sacramentally have the sacramental grace of Matrimony to grow in mutual love for each other as well as to procreate children for the Kingdom of God. Priests, through Holy Orders, can grow daily in sanctity by preaching the Word of God and administering with joy the Sacraments to the People of God. God gives graces corresponding to the state of life! 
Therefore, in the case of Glorious Saint Joseph, God entrusted this greatest of all saints with two sublime missions; one mission even greater than the other. First, St. Joseph God called to be the spouse (husband) of the Queen of the angels and saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary. How sublime!  
However, God the Father entrusted Glorious Saint Joseph with an even more exalted and sublime mission—namely, the Office of being the “Foster Father” of the Son of the living God, Jesus, and the Son of the eternal Father!!!! This is even more sublime, ineffable, beyond the ability of human words to express! 
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Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Lenten Ember Fast
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The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are the Lenten Ember Days - a time set aside for us to fast and abstain from meat. 

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 the Church asks for at this time. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and abstinence from meat. Even if the fasting is no longer required by the Church, since this Friday is during Lent, this is no exception to the requirement to abstain from meat on this Friday.

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 18, 2019
Feast of Blessed Fra Angelico
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Today is the anniversary of the death of Bl. John of Fiesole (commonly called Blessed Fra Angelico), the Angelic Dominican painter.  In the image above, Fra Angelico, who is the patron saint of artists, is overcome while painting the Crucifixion, while the angels look on in awe. Communicating truth through beauty is the whole point of picking up a paintbrush, practicing scales, putting on shoes for ballet, and the like. The artist sees this Beauty and desperately wants to communicate it.  In such a way, painters like Fra Angelico help us see what a true artist is meant to be and not what many modern "artists" claim.

Blessed Fra Angelico joined the Dominicans in Fiesole, Italy in 1407, taking the name Fra Giovanna. He was taught to illuminate missals and manuscripts, and he immediately exhibited a natural talent as an artist. Today his works can be seen in the Italian cities Cortona, Fiesole, Florence, and in the Vatican. His dedication to religious art earned him the title Angelico.  His body rests in a tomb at Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the Dominican Church of Rome.

Prayer:

O God, who called blessed John of Fiesole to seek your Kingdom in this world through the pursuit of perfect charity, grant, we pray, through his intercession that we may advance with joyful spirit along the way of love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Religious)
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Thursday, February 14, 2019
Review: Saint John of the Cross by Father Paschasius Heriz
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Published in 1919 and with an imprimatur and glowing review by Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, "Saint John of the Cross" by Father Paschasius Heriz is a true treasure. Fr. Paschasius of the Carmelite Community at the Catholic University of America was a scholar and an expert on the Carmelite order. I found the first edition of this book at a second-hand store and bought it.  Inside was a true treasure of immense spiritual wisdom as evident by the life and example of St. John of the Cross.


St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 in Spain near the city of Avila to a very pious mother named Catalina Alvarez. His mother was married to St. John's father who married her for her great piety and devotion. However, for doing so, his father lost all of his wealth as a noblemen and lived only a short time afterward. St. John of the Cross's mother raised her sons, three of them, in great poverty. St. John of the Cross had two brothers - Luis who died early in life and Francis, the eldest, who would be a great friend and brother to St. John. Francis would outlive St. John of the Cross.

As a young child, St. John had an accident where he nearly drowned by was saved by an apparition of the Mother of God. That event left an impression and a fervent devotion in him - a devotion that would last for the entirety of his life. In fact, as a young man who would be saved again from falling in a deep well again by the Mother of God to the astonishment of those around.

St. John spent his adolescent years in study and rigorous prayer and penance. He was known for his immense charity to the poor by his work at the hospitals. Around this time, he received a revelation from the Lord Himself who shared that He wished for the saint to become a religious and help restore ancient perfection to an Order in his Church.

St. John of the Cross was above all a humble man and his whole life he with fear for his sins and thought he could do little perfect. Yet, by all accounts of those around him, he lived an entirely unblemished life. His prayer routine was constant, he ate little, he inflicted physical punishment upon himself his entire life, and he wished to aspire to no great thing but to live humbly and in penance for sins.

At the age of 21, St. John entered the Carmelite Order by prompting from the Holy Ghost on February 24, 1563. At that time, he took the name John of St. Mathias, since he received the habit on the Feast of St. Mathias.  At the onset, St. John felt called to personally keep the ancient Rule of the Carmelites that was given by St. Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV. His superiors permitted him to do so. However, the Carmelites at that time instead kept a mitigated rule that was approved by Pope Eugenius IV. The mitigated rule allowed the consumption of meat, it did not require the fast that lasted from the Feast of the Holy Cross all the way to Easter and allowed the friars to wear shoes. Yet, St. John was called by God to observe this Rule and he did while at the Carmelite Monastery even though by doing so he was ridiculed and many days would go hungry as there were no special meals of food prepared for him. Yet, he continued to observe the ancient observance and would permit himself no excuse from any function at the monastery. At the age of 25, St. John was asked to prepare for the priesthood even though he felt far too unworthy to do so. Yet, he submitted - his whole life he submitted to his superiors - and was ordained. Feeling unworthy to offer the Mass, St. John prayed at his first Mass to preserve in purity his whole life and God answered Him at that Mass with a voice that said, "Thy prayer is granted."

The young St. John felt drawn to the Carthusian Order but he was asked by St. Teresa of Avila to help her in the restoration of the primitive Carmelite Rule of Life. He did so and received the habit of the primitive Order. Along with two other friars in 1568, Saint John renewed his solemn vows and renounced the mitigations of the rule sanctioned by Pope Eugenius IV. And they promised both Our Lord and Our Lady that they would live under the primitive rule until death. And in keeping with the custom which St. Teresa had for the sisters to change their names to avoid all connection with their family names, the saint changed his name to John of the Cross.

During the years that followed, again with the support of his superiors, St. John founded many monasteries with the approval of the Order and lived in one that was abject and completely impoverished. He chose the poorest and smallest room for himself. He read souls and counseled many nuns and friars. He is documented on several occasions to have performed exorcisms to have relieved possessed persons. And it was during this time he received many mystical experiences including trances and visions while in prayer or saying Holy Mass.

After nine years of his keeping the primitive Rule, St. John was forcibly arrested by the Carmelite Order which wished to suppress the keeping of the Primitive Rule. St. John underwent the punishment as a prisoner in a Carmelite monastery. There, the prior treated him with great irreverence, forbid him to say Mass, starved Him, refused to let him change his habit or bathe for the entire nine months of his imprisonment, and more. He was treated with the utmost contempt and St. John welcomed it all as a means to make reparation and penance. He longed to suffer and was the most docile and patient of sufferings; in fact, by the accounts were written, the patient endurance of his unjust torture resembled the patience of our Lord in His passion. Yet, after nearly a year, he received a vision from our Lady with the means to escape and he did so.

He spent the remaining years of his life in constant prayer and work for the Order. He served as Vicar-Provincial, he performed miracles, and he continued to found monasteries. This lasted for many years and then in 1587 Pope Sixtus V sanctioned separation of the friars of the reform from the friars of the mitigation. At last, in 1588 the first General Chapter of the Reform was held where St. John of the Cross was made the first Consultor and Prior of Segovia. Around this time he was in deep prayer when our Our Lord spoke to Him in a vision and asked, "John, what shall I give thee for all thou hast done and suffered for Me?" And after He asked three times, St. John responded, "To suffer and to be held in contempt for Thy sake." And his prayer was granted. In the ensuing years, he was relieved of all offices as superior, he spent his remaining years under a superior who was unkind and hateful towards him for having corrected a fault of his years before, and he died in humiliation. But St. John endured it all and desired the physical and spiritual torment he endured all for the graces and for the sake of God. At last, he died in December 1591 on a Saturday, the day dedicated to Our Lady, which was revealed to Him.

Miraculously, his body and his bandages gave forth a great perfume whose smell could not be contained. Great light filled his tomb just days after he died and his body was incorrupt. It was determined that some of his limbs were to go to some of the houses of the order so it was divided up. And the relics of his body brought many miracles to those who touched them.

Indeed, in life and in death, the life of St. John of the Cross, great father and founder of the Discalced Carmelites, is worth great meditation. I highly recommend "Saint John of the Cross" by Father Paschasius Heriz.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The 26 Holy Martyrs of Japan (Mass in Some Places)
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Reproduction of a painting of the 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki which originally appeared in the Church of Sao Paulo in Macau, China, now ruined.

February 13: Mass in Some Places

In the back of the Missal in some places on February 13th is the feastday of the Holy Martyrs of Japan. While we may be familiar with the story of St. Francis Xavier's missionary work in Japan or the miraculous appearance of Our Lady in Atika, less known is the story of these heroic martyrs.

The 26 Christian martyrs included Franciscans, Jesuits, and laypeople who were led from town to town and exposed to the insults of the people. They were crucified at Nagasaki and pierced by spears in 1597.

The imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal. However, the government increasingly saw Catholicism as a threat. Christianity was suppressed by the Japanese government at the onset of the 17th century despite the fact that there were as many as 300,00 Catholics in Japan by the end of the 16th century. These heroic martyrs died on February 5, 1597. By 1630, Catholicism had been driven underground. Two-hundred and fifty years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of "hidden Catholics" that had survived underground.

Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst consecrate the first fruits of the faith in Japan with the blood of the holy martyrs Peter Baptist, Paul, and their companions who died on the cross in imitation of Thee: grant that while celebrating their feast today, we may be spurred on by their example. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019
How to Pray the Servite Rosary Chaplet
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Today is the Feast of the Seven Founders of the Servite Order, and as such, it is an extremely appropriate day to pray the Servite Rosary.  Never heard of it?  Few have so the following is taken from a post on Happy Catholic with a great overview of how and why to pray the Servite Rosary.

Note: The Servite Rosary beads are not the same as the standard Dominican Rosary. So if you'd like to order one, you may find one on Amazon.

How to Pray the Servite Rosary Chaplet

1) Act of Contrition
2) Announce the First Sorrow. Our Father... then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow
3) Announce each respective Sorrow, pray the Our Father, then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow.
4) Finish with three Hail Marys for the Tears of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
5) Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father 6) Final prayer is: ' Virgin Most Sorrowful, Pray for Us' three times.

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

The First Sorrow

The Holy Prophecy of Simeon: The Blessed Virgin, filled with joy, presented her only son in the temple. How her heart must have broken to hear the prophetic words of Simeon as he foretold the suffering of the Savior and His mother.

The Second Sorrow

The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt: On a moments notice, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin must take the Infant Jesus on a perilous journey to evade Herod's men who hunted Him. They endured cold, hunger and many hardships as they made their way to a foreign land.

The Third Sorrow

Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem: The Virgin Mary understands firsthand the profound sorrow of losing a child. For three agonizing days St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother searched for twelve-year-old Jesus, before finding Him among the scholars in the temple.

The Fourth Sorrow

Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary: Jesus, battered and condemned to crucifixion, meets His mother, on the road to Calvary. He is beaten and indescribably defiled; her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags the cross on which He will be crucified.

The Fifth Sorrow

Mary stands at the foot of the cross: Mary stands near her dying Son, unable to minister to him as he cries "I thirst". She hears him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies. His last words, "Behold your mother," a gift for all of mankind, as His Beloved Mother becomes Mother of All Peoples.

The Sixth Sorrow

Mary holds the body of Jesus: The Pieta. The passion and death are complete, but for Our Lady, grief continues. She holds His body in her arms. Meditate on her tears.

The Seventh Sorrow

Mary places the body of Jesus in the tomb: The sun goes down on the most tragic day in history. As she awaits in faith the resurrection of her Son, Mary alone in sorrow, lays the body of her Son in the tomb.

The Promises of Praying the Servite Rosary

According to the visions of St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) our Blessed Mother promises to grant seven graces to those who honor her and draw near to her and her Son every day by meditating on her dolors (sorrows) and entering into her grief.

  • "I will grant peace to their families."
  • "They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries."
  • "I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work."
  • "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."
  • "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."
  • "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death-- they will see the face of their mother."
  • "I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."

St. Alphonsus Liguori testifies to complementary revelations given by Our Lord to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) where He further promises four special graces to those dedicated to the sufferings of the co-redeeming Mother:

  • That those who before death invoke the Blessed Mother in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
  • That He would protect in their tribulations all who remember this devotion, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death.
  • That He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven.
  • That He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, so that she might obtain for these souls all the graces she wanted to lavish upon them.
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Monday, February 11, 2019
Pope Francis: “Diversity of Religions” is “Willed by God”
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Image Copyright Holy See Press Office

Guest Post By David Martin

Pope Francis has incited more controversy by signing a joint statement with the head of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, which states that "diversity of religions" is "willed by God." 

The Pope signed the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” with Ahmad el-Tayeb, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on February 4. The event marked the high point of the pope’s three-day apostolic visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The document calls upon “all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations.”

By "human fraternity," the proponents of the document mean fraternity in the flesh. The only true fraternity is to extend the riches of the Catholic Faith to all peoples, outside of which there is no real fraternity. For it is only through conversion to the One True Church that we become brothers and sisters in Christ.

However, the passage inciting controversy reads:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.
Since when does God grant anyone the "freedom" to resist the truth and "do whatever thou wilt?" The Church has always admonished mankind "to adhere to a certain religion," i.e. the Catholic Church. This is not an "imposition" but a profession of the absolute truth that must be adhered to if man wishes to be saved. To say that this preaching "must be rejected" is to say that the Church for 2000 years was wrong.

Moreover, saying that “the diversity of religions” is “willed by God” has every appearance of heresy. The mission of the Church from the beginning is to bring the knowledge of God to the world and "teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19), that all peoples might leave their particular idols and creeds and be converted to the Catholic Church. The Church infallibly teaches that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church (extra ecclesiam nulla salus), so unless Francis means that this diversity of religion is permissively willed by God to elicit the Church's response to reach out and convert other religions, he is negating dogma and dignifying the errors of fake religion.

For to say that God willed diversity of religions in the ordained sense is to say that God engendered these religions, which is heresy. And since Francis obviously means that diversity of "color, sex, race and language are willed by God" in the ordained sense (which they are), we can only assume he means "diversity of religions" the same way.

Even if other religions agreed with Catholic teaching they could not coexist with the Catholic Church for the simple reason that Christ did not found them—they’re invalid and operate out of grace. The fact is that every world religion exists in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, which means the Catholic Church may never unite with them.

Francis has consistently urged the Church to ecumenically unite with other religions, so by “diversity of religions” we can safely infer that he is advocating post-Vatican II ecumenism, which is all about unity with man and not with God. Should the pope be using his position to advance this secular humanism?


Note: Cardinal Müller issues Manifesto of Faith: A quasi correction of Pope Francis’ pontificate
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Thursday, February 7, 2019
Visit to Mission San Luis Obispo
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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Mission San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, CA, which is located about equidistant from both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Here are some of the images I was able to capture this historic mission, which is completely free to visit, unlike many other missions.









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Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Ss. Vedast and Amand: The Forgotten Saints of February 6th
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Today in the Dominican Order for February 6th is celebrated the Memory of Ss. Vedast and Amand. As a side note, February 6th is also the day on which the Office of the Dead is prayed for the repose of the soul of parents of Dominicans who have passed away.

February 6th is in the Traditional Roman Rite the feastday of St. Titus who was assigned to February 6th in 1854. Before 1854, St. Titus' feast day was celebrated in a few calendars on January 4th. The feast of St Titus was added to the General Calendar only in 1854, as a kind of extension of the same general principle behind the addition of St Timothy to the Roman Calendar in 1568.

In the Dominican Rite - and the Sarum Rite likewise - February 6th was never modified to the feastday of St. Titus or even St. Dorothy, who is commemorated in the Roman Missal on February 6th.  Those rites have retained February 6th in honor of Ss. Vedast and Amand

So who were St. Vedast and St. Amand? St. Vedast (also called "Vaast") and St. Amand were both important founders of canonical communities in what is now northern France; their cultus was widely diffused throughout France and passed with the Normans into England which is why they are in Sarum.  St. Amand also Christianised Flanders in present-day Belgium.

Quoted from Catholic Online:
St. Vedast, a native of western France, is best-known as the catechist of Clovis, King of the Franks. Ordained at Toul, Vedast met Clovis when the king required a learned man to accompany him to Rheims after the battle of Tolbiac (496); upon their arrival, Clovis recommended his companion to Archbishop Remigius, who was to baptize the king after his wife, Clotilde had converted him to Christianity. The two clerics evangelized the Franks, and in 499, Vedast was named bishop of Arras and Cambrai, dioceses that had returned to paganism after the raids of Atilla. During his forty-year tenure, Vedast restored the faith of his people and the churches in which they worshipped.
St. Amand was a father of monasticism in ancient Belgium and a score of monasteries claimed him as founder. He found houses at Elnone (Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), near Tournai, which became his headquarters, St. Peters on Mont-Blendin at Ghent, but probably not St. Bavo's there as well; Nivells, for nuns, with Blessed Ida and St. Gertrude, Barisis-au-Bois, and probably three more. It is said, though possibly apocryphal, that in 646 he was chosen bishop of Maestricht, but that three years later, he resigned that See to St. Remaclus and returned to the missions which he had always had most at heart. He continued his labors among the heathens until a great age, when, broken with infirmities, he retired to Elnone. There he governed as Abbot for four years, spending his time in preparing for the death which came to him at last soon after 676. That St. Amand was one of the most imposing figures of the Merovingian epoch, is disputed by no serious historian; he was not unknown in England, and the pre-Reformation chapel of the Eyston family at east Hendred in Birkshire is dedicated in his honor.
The Collect from the Dominican Missal:

O God, You surround and shield us by the glorious witness of Your confessors Vedast and Amand; grant us to be made better by imitating them, and happier by their intercession, through our Lord...
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