Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Why Every Catholic Should Carry A Rosary
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The Rosary is regarded as the greatest prayer we can offer next to only the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort remarked, "The rosary is the most powerful weapon to touch the Heart of Jesus, Our Redeemer, who loves His Mother." 

Indulgence for Carrying the Rosary

There are many miracles associated with the Rosary and Heaven has asked us to offer Rosaries many times. But besides these reasons, the Church blesses the Rosary with various indulgences. A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary (i.e., 5 decades) is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association. A partial indulgence is granted for its recitation in all other circumstances.

In fact, beyond praying the Rosary, an indulgence may be gained for anyone who carries a properly blessed Rosary:

The faithful who devoutly carry about their person a Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary that has been properly blessed may gain an Indulgence of 500 days once a day, if they kiss the Rosary and at the same time devoutly recite these words of the Angelic Salutation: Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Taken from Pope Pius XII, Audience March 12, 1953

But it must be added that this requires the right intention as it is not magic. To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works. To gain indulgences, however, a capable subject must have at least the general intention of acquiring them and must fulfill the enjoined works in the established time and the proper method, according to the tenor of the grant. (1983 CIC 996 §1-2) 

An Example for Others

In addition to the indulgence, by carrying the Rosary on us, we will undoubtedly have times of taking it out of our pockets. This small act to show others our Catholic Faith can help bring about the respect and conversion of non-Catholics and can help subtly encourage fallen-away Catholics to return to practicing the Faith.

Start Today

If you do not carry the Rosary on you, make it a resolution to carry one in your pocket or bag at all times. And do not be afraid to take it out and pray it publicly.

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Monday, September 12, 2022
2023 Traditional Catholic Fasting and Abstinence Calendar
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As a follow-up to the significant research I have done in regard to Traditional (both Roman and Eastern) Catholic fasting and abstinence, I have put together a 2023 fasting and abstinence calendar for my own devotional purposes. This is a follow-up to a similar one I did in 2022.

Traditional Catholic Fasting Rules:

Fasting: Fasting refers to how much food we eat. It means taking only one meal during a calendar day. The meal should be an average-sized meal as overeating at the one meal is against the spirit of the fast. Fasting generally means that the meal is to be taken later in the day. Along with the one meal, up to two snacks (technically called either a collation or frustulum) are permitted. These are optional, not required. Added up together, they may not equal the size of the one meal. No other snacking throughout the day is permitted. Fasting does not affect liquids, aside from the Eucharistic Fast which is a separate matter.

Abstinence: Abstinence in this context refers to not eating meat. Meat refers to the fleshmeat of mammals or fowl. Beef, poultry, lamb, etc are all forbidden on days of abstinence. Abstinence does not currently prohibit animal byproducts like dairy (e.g. cheese, butter, milk) or eggs, but in times past they were prohibited. Fish is permitted along with shellfish and other cold-blooded animals like alligators. In times past, days of fast were always days of abstinence as well; however, not all days of abstinence were days of mandatory fasting.

Partial Abstinence: Partial Abstinence refers to eating meat only at the principal meal of the day. Days of partial abstinence do not permit meat to be eaten as part of the collation or the frustulum. Partial abstinence started only in 1741 under Pope Benedict XIV as a concession and as part of a gradual weakening of discipline. Beforehand, days of abstinence were days of complete abstinence.

Fasting, therefore, refers to the quantity of food and the frequency of eating. Abstinence refers to what may or may not be eaten.

Calendar Notes:

1. Partial Abstinence is a modern invention and is not part of this calendar. Abstinence is always full, never partial. 

2. All Days of Lent aside from Sundays are days of fasting and abstinence. Sundays are days only of abstinence.

3. For Lent only abstinence refers to all animal products (e.g. dairy, butter, eggs) in addition to meat. This includes Sundays.

4. January 22nd is in the USA only an obligatory day of penance for offenses against the dignity of human life.

5. This calendar keeps the 1954 Roman Catholic Calendar and the pre-1917 practice of anticipating Vigils on Saturday that fall on Sunday in a given year.

6. Major Fasts: Great Lent (March 2 - April 16), Apostles Fast (June 13 - June 28)Dormition Fast (Aug 1 - Aug 14)St. Martin's Lent (Nov 14 - Dec 24).

7. Dominican Specific Fasting Days: April 29, August 3, and October 6 are not on the calendar but will be observed by Dominican Tertiary per the 1923 Rule (the last one before Vatican II). Same with all Fridays of the year which Dominicans are asked to keep as days of fasting.

8. Days of fasting generally include all of the Major Fasts as noted above in addition to the following days when they fall outside of those periods: Ember Days, Vigils of the Apostles, and Vigils for Major Feasts. Rogation Days were often days of abstinence but not fast.

9. Saturday Abstinence used to be obligatory year-round with some exceptions for days "as often as no major solemnity (e.g. Christmas) occurs on Saturday, or no infirmity serves to cancel the obligation.” One exception granted in some places was for all Saturdays of the Christmas Season to be exempted.

10. Above all, this calendar goes far beyond the mere "minimums" which are virtually non-existent and attempts to present concrete ways for Catholics to actually fast in the manner as our forefathers did.

Not listed but certainly recommendable based on the Early Church's practice of Wednesday penance (and based on the wishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), would be to also observe abstinence year-round on Wednesdays (beyond the dates noted on the calendar). Such a practice would be commendable on all additional Wednesdays of the year with exceptions whenever either a Holy Day of Obligation, Former Holy Day of Obligation, or First Class Feast falls on Wednesday.

For those interested in understanding the various ways fasting and abstinence have changed over time, please explore the archives regarding fasting and abstinence. And for those looking for ideas on what to make to eat on fasting days, the Lenten Cookbook produced by Sophia Institute Press has a section on vegan recipes that is worth checking out.

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Friday, September 9, 2022
May A Catholic Pray for the Soul of HM Queen Elizabeth II?
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"It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins" (2 Maccabees 12:46).

There Is No Salvation Outside of the Church

The Church has always taught that there is no salvation outside of the Church (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus). This is a dogma of the Faith and must be believed. It has been affirmed by Popes and saints. For instance, Pope Eugene IV in Cantate Domino in 1441 AD declares:

"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pours out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remains within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church."

And St. Augustine earlier wrote: "No one can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Church, you can find everything except salvation. You can have dignities, you can have Sacraments, you can sing "'Alleluia,' answer 'Amen,' have the Gospels, have faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and preach it, too. But never can you find salvation except in the Catholic Church."

Praying for the Souls of Non-Catholics Is Not Contrary to Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

The Church encourages and allows private prayer for anyone, even those who died as non-Catholics since we do not know the state of their soul at the moment of death. Miraculous conversions have been won before by people who seemed to be unconscious but who, through miracles, were given the grace to choose the Faith at the moment of death. It does happen and thus we must pray for the salvation of all souls, especially for their conversion to salvation at the moment of death. And since God sees our prayers outside of time, we can pray for anyone's last-minute conversion, even long after their death. In effect, the soul will then truly die as a Catholic even if in the eyes of the world they appeared to die separated from the Faith. This is my particular prayer for Queen Elizabeth II.

The Church Permits Prayers for the Dead for Everyone

The Catholic Encyclopedia makes this clear:

"There is no restriction by Divine or ecclesiastical law as to those of the dead for whom private prayer may be offered — except that they may not be offered formally either for the blessed in heaven or for the damned. Not only for the faithful who have died in external communion with the Church, but for deceased non-Catholics, even the unbaptized, who may have died in the state of grace, one is free to offer his personal prayers and good works; nor does the Church's prohibition of her public offices for those who have died out of external communion with her affect the strictly personal element in her minister's acts. For all such she prohibits the public offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass (and of other liturgical offices); but theologians commonly teach that a priest is not forbidden to offer the Mass in private for the repose of the soul of any one who, judging by probable evidence, may be presumed to have died in faith and grace, provided, at least, he does not say the special requiem Mass with the special prayer in which the deceased is named, since this would give the offering a public and official character."

It is true that the offering of prayers and sacrifices for the souls of those in Hell is of no use. But since we do not know the state of a soul at death, we can nevertheless in an act of charity offer prayers for all of the departed. Only God judges the heart and knows the state of the soul at death (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7).

Requiem Masses Are Not Permitted for Non-Catholics

While we may and should pray for the salvation of all mankind, we do know that the public offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the souls of non-Catholics is not permitted. Canon 1240 in the 1917 Code explicitly forbid the privilege of ecclesiastical burial rites to anyone who died as a known member of a heretical sect. Even if this distinction is not mentioned in the modernist 1983 Code, we know the 1917 Code expressed the wisdom of centuries of Catholic dogma.

This is similarly affirmed, with the distinction of public versus private prayer, in the American Ecclesiastical Review from 1896 which answers the question of whether a priest may perform funeral rites over the dead by answering:

"No, a priest cannot lawfully perform the ceremony of burial for a deceased non-Catholic or one who, having been baptized a Catholic, has defected. The presence of a priest officiating at the burial cannot be construed as a civil function, for the act of consigning a person to his grave requires no authorized witness, like the contract of marriage. The burial service of the Catholic ritual is a religious function in which we cannot share with those who deny the truth of our faith and worship, for we should implicitly, by our service, sanction the protest of the deceased against the Catholic religion. Of course, there are cases where a priest may and should bury those who are not of his faith, just as he may pray for them privately." 

This is the distinction between public and private prayer. Hence, the words of Pope St. Gregory II in 731 AD are referring to public worship:

“You ask for advice on the lawfulness of making offerings for the dead.  The teaching of the Church is this – that every man should make offerings for those who died as true Christians [Catholics]… But he is not allowed to do so for those who die in a state of sin even if they were Christians.” 

Conclusion

May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. There is no salvation outside of the Church. But God alone knows the state of a soul at death. Thus in our charity and love for all man - since we desire all to be saved - we continue to pour forth private prayers for the conversion and salvation and mitigation of Purgatory for everyone, even those who in our eyes died outside the Church but who may have made a perfect act of contrition or who became Catholic by divine intervention right before the moment of God. 

God have mercy on them all, especially on the soul of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her ancestors. And may her heirs return the British Crown to public reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church and the See of Peter.

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Thursday, September 8, 2022
St. Adrian
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The Martyrdom of Saint Adrian by Adrien Sacquespee (1659, Oil on Canvas)

In addition to the Nativity of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, September 8th is the Commemoration of St. Adrian (also known as St. Hadrian). Around the year 303 AD, St. Adrian, a military officer at the imperial court, was executed at Nicomedia for his fidelity to Christ. And his feast has been celebrated since ancient times. The New Liturgical Movement, in writing about the Nativity of our Lady, shows that this day was celebrated in honor of St. Adrian for centuries:

The precise origin of the feast [of Mary's Nativity] is a matter of speculation, and the reason for the choice of date is unknown. It was celebrated at Constantinople by the 530s, when St Romanus the Melodist composed a hymn for it; by the seventh century, it had passed to the West, and Pope St Sergius I (687-701) decreed that it be should celebrated with a procession from the church of St Adrian (who shares his feast day with the Birth of the Virgin) to St Mary Major.

The following account of his life is taken from Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73)'s The Lives of the Saints, Volume IX: September. Published in 1866:

This saint was an officer in the Roman army, who, having persecuted the Christians in the reign of Maximian Galerius, was so moved by their constancy and patience, that he embraced their faith, and suffered many torments and a glorious martyrdom for the same at Nicomedia, about the year 306, in the tenth or last general persecution. His relics were conveyed to Constantinople, thence to Rome, afterwards into Flanders, where they were deposited in the Benedictin abbey of Decline, dedicated in honour of St. Peter, in the time of the first abbot, Severald. Baldwin VI., earl of Flanders, surnamed of Mons, because he married the heiress of that county, bought of a rich lord, named Gerard, the village of Hundelghem, in which stood a famous chapel of our Lady. The count founded there, in 1088, the town now called Geersbergen or Gerard’s Mount, on which, by a famous charter, he bestowed great privileges. Besides many pious donations made to that place, he removed this abbey of St. Peter, which has since taken the name of St. Adrian, whose relics, which it possesses, have been rendered famous by many miracles. Geersberg, called in French Grammont, stands upon the Dender, in Flanders, near the borders of Brabant and Hainault. St. Adrian is commemorated in the Martyrologies which bear the name of St. Jerom, and in the Roman, on the 4th of March, and chiefly on the 8th of September, which was the day of the translation of his relics to Rome, where a very ancient church bears his name.

Collect:

O Almighty God, grant that we who celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyr Adrian may be made stronger in our love of You through his intercession. Through our Lord . . .

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Thursday, August 18, 2022
St. Michael's Lent: The 40 Day Fast Before Michaelmas
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Why Have A Devotion to St. Michael?

The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in a 2006 book published by Tan Books answered this question well:

According to the great St. Alphonsus Liguori, veneration of the holy Angels, and particularly of St. Michael, is an outstanding sign of predestination. St. Lawrence Justinian says: "Although we must honor all the Angels, we ought to invoke in a very special manner the glorious St. Michael, as the Prince of all the heavenly spirits, because of his sublime dignity, his pre-eminent office and his invincible power, which he proved in his conflict with Satan, as well as against the combined forces of Hell." Again, the same Saint says: "Let all acknowledge St. Michael as their protector, and be devoted to him, for he cannot despise those who pray to him . . . But he guards them through life, directs them on their way and conducts them to their eternal home."

What is St. Michael's Lent?

St. Bonaventure records in his biography (written between 1260-1266) how St. Francis of Assisi, “was brought after many and varied toils unto a high mountain apart, that is called Mount Alverna. When, according unto his wont he began to keep a Lent there, fasting, in honor of St. Michael Archangel, he was filled unto overflowing, and as never before, with the sweetness of heavenly contemplation.”

The Little Flowers of St. Francis, a collection of stories about St. Francis that was compiled during the 13th century, records these words of St. Francis to his brothers, “My sons, we are drawing nigh to our forty days’ fast of St. Michael the Archangel; and I firmly believe that it is the will of God that we keep this fast in the mountain of Alvernia, the which by Divine dispensation hath been made ready for us, to the end that we may, through penance, merit from Christ the consolation of consecrating that blessed mountain to the honor and glory of God and of His glorious mother, the Virgin Mary, and of the holy angels.”

Fasting for St. Michael's Lent:

This fasting period begins on the Assumption (August 15) and ends on the feast of St. Michael (September 29). It excludes Assumption Day itself and all Sundays, which are never days of fasting although they may be days of abstinence if one so chooses to keep them as such.

Since this is a purely devotional fast, there is no historical basis to go off of, like we have with Lent, St. Martin's Lent, the Assumption Fast, etc. Using the standard for 1 meal, 1 frustulum, and 1 collation would be a good rule to follow here too.

I'd recommend adding, if you don't already, Wednesdays and Saturdays (in addition to Fridays) as days of abstinence.

Prayers for St. Michael's Lent

The SSPX Chapel in Oak Park, IL recently distributed an excellent brochure featuring prayers to say each day of St. Michael's Lent. Those prayers are available as a scanned PDF by clicking here. Print them off and plan to say them each day for this period of penance. May God through St. Michael drive out from his Church and from all baptized souls any taint from the evil one.

Resources:

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Effective Liturgical Catechesis
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What is Liturgical Catechesis

The Liturgy is the public worship of God using approved rituals. The Catholic Encyclopedia offers the following definition of Liturgy: "Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen… So in Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law." As the Baltimore Catechism #925 states: "God commanded ceremonies to be used in the old law, and 2. Our Blessed Lord Himself made use of ceremonies in performing some of His miracles."

But the Liturgy is itself also a highly effective means of transmitting the Catholic Faith to everyone - children, catechumens, and lifelong Catholics. Everyone can learn the Faith from true and pious liturgical acts since at their core they express the timeless, unchangeable Catholic Faith. Two of the primary means we have to learn the Faith through the Liturgy are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office.

The Mass in Liturgical Catechesis

The Mass is the center of our Catholic lives, including our prayer life. The Mass not only contains prayers but is the foundation of prayer. One can never attend Mass too often.

Quoting from John Senior's fantastic work The Restoration of Christian Culture, "Work is a physical necessity; if you don't work you don't eat. Prayer is a necessity of obligation; if you don't pray you will not enter the Kingdom. Prayer is a duty, an office; it is free, voluntary payment of the debt we owe to God for existence and grace. The Latin word for duty is officium, and the perfect prayer of the Church is its Divine Office; St. Benedict calls it the opus Dei, the work of God" (60).

John Senior continues, "I have cited the Latin for the meaning of many words not for the pretense of learning, but because their meaning is Latin. Latin is the language of the Roman Catholic Church; you can repudiate the tradition and overthrow the Church; but you cannot have the tradition and the Church without its language. And though the Second Vatican Council permitted the substitution of vernacular liturgies where pastoral reasons suggested their usefulness, it commanded that the Latin be preserved. The Catholic Faith is so intimately bound to the two thousand years of Latin prayers any attempt to live the Catholic life without them will result in its attrition and ultimate apostasy - which we have witnessed even in the few years of the vernacular experiment. We must return to the Faith of our fathers by way of prayer of our fathers" (60 - 61).

John Senior's works are beautifully said and express an absolute reality - the Church is timeless; she is outside of time. Only by restoring true Christian culture, as Senior explains throughout his book, will Christ again reign in our hearts, our homes, and our families. Christ must reign. And how can we bring about the reign of Christ without frequent prayer? Prayer is necessary. It is essential for the spiritual life. A life spent in good works of charity that has no prayer is a life built on bad soil. And no soul whose life is built in bad soil can inherit everlasting life.

Living a Catholic life means living for the Mass as the center of your life — your prayer life — your entire life.

The Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and for that reason, it is by definition efficacious. We are present at Calvary. Rather than merely remembering the life and death of Christ, we are present at it and partake of its eternal fruits which flow to us from the altar and during the Canon when the priest stands in the place of Christ and offers the Eternal Victim on the Altar to God. We can further receive grace by partaking of the Holy Eucharist if we are Catholics in the state of grace.

It was Pope St. Pius X who famously remarked:

The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.

Above all, to participate in the Holy Mass is not to be the loudest person, to say the responses out loud, to move around a lot, etc. To truly participate in the Mass is to be the most contemplative and aware of the presence of God and the offering of our Lord on the Cross. For that reason sometimes those who participate the most fully in the Mass are those who say the very least.

The Divine Office in Liturgical Catechesis

This prayer is actually Liturgy, which means it forms part of the official, public prayers of the Church. Because it is liturgy, we must approach it with respect and reverence, and follow the proper postures and guidelines, just as if we were attending the Liturgy of the Holy Mass.

This prayer is called the Divine Office which is contained in a series of books called the Breviary. At certain points throughout the day, all of the Church prays the same liturgy to God, and we are all united in this wonderful prayer. The purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify time and our day, making us constantly in prayer before the Father. 

Priests, deacons, monks, and nuns are required to pray these hours throughout the day. However, everyone is invited to pray these. Holy Mother Church encourages all of her faithful to regularly pray the Hours, especially in common (Code of Canon Law, Canon 1174.2).

The Divine Office is immensely helpful to a life of grace, and it is a great grace to be able to enter into the prayer of the Church before God. The main hours to pray are Lauds, Vespers, and Compline are the major hours.  Prime, Terce, Sext, and None are the little hours. Matins, the first hour, is often prayed very early in the morning or night and usually immediately precedes Lauds.  As a layman, you don't need to pray the Office perfectly. But it would be very worthwhile for you to unite your prayers to the Church's official Liturgy.  

An article from America Press Volume 27 written 1922 remarks, that the Divine Office, especially Vespers and Compline, along with the Solemn High Mass are powerful not only for the Faithful but for missionary work among Protestants. And similarly, they are highly effective for liturgical catechesis:

"But the most amazing thing of all is to see the way the most valuable instruments that the clergy have are left unused. The evening service, which could be made so attractive, is now usually a hit-or-miss compilation of private devotions made to serve a public need. The rosary, so strange to Protestants in any case, is recited in so rapid a manner that hardly a word is understood by the Protestant who is present. Even Benediction is often given in a slap-dash manner. From all this the Protestant forms the opinion that the great thing about Catholic prayer is to have it over as soon as possible. Can we blame him so much?

"In the average parish High Mass is very seldom sung except at a funeral. Yet many a soul has been converted by a High Mass. Even where High Mass or the Missa Cantata is the Sunday custom, the Proper of the Mass is left unsung and so the real teaching part of the service is not known by the poeple, and never is put before the truth-seeker at all. Yet the Missal is a storehouse of missionary material. What a splendid thing it would be if in every parish church it were possible to take one's Protestant friends to Solemn Mass or Vespers! What could be better adapted to attract Protestants than Compline properly changed? Why is it that with all the wealth of the liturgy at her disposal the Church in this country makes no effort to use it? Even in our cathedrals the Divine Office is not performed, nor a daily High Mass sung. Is it any wonder if the Protestant comes to think that the Catholic is weary of the worship of God? Music, art, the dramatic instinct, all these things could be used to advantage in this country."


How Many Hours A Day Should I Pray?

You might be concerned and ask "how many hours of prayer must I perform daily?" Quoting again from Senior on the topic, "The strictly cloistered monk and nun lead that life in the highest degree, but each of us in his station must pay his due. There are three degrees of prayer: The first, of the consecrated religious, is total. They pray always, according to the counsel of Our Lord. Their whole life is the Divine Office, Mass, spiritual reading, mental prayer... They pray eight hours, sleep eight hours and divide the other eight between physical work and recreation... The third degree is for those in the married state (or single life) who offer a tithe of their time for prayer — about two and a half hours per day — with eight hours for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining five and a half for recreation with the family" (62-63).

Make an effort — an obligation — pray the Divine Office and other pious devotions for 2 and a half hours each day. And no prayer is greater than the Mass. If possible, attend Holy Mass daily. We quote one final time from Senior who said, "Whatever we do in the political and social order, the indispensable foundation is prayer, the heart of which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the perfect prayer of Christ Himself, Priest and Victim, recreating in an unbloodly manner the bloody, selfsame Sacrifice of Calvary. What is Christian Culture? It is essentially the Mass" (16-17).

Conclusion

Liturgical Catechesis Program

The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief. If we pray a certain way, it shows in a powerful way what we believe. And conversely, irreverent Masses, hurried prayers, and parishes that never encourage the Divine Office or at least the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, fail in effective liturgical catechesis.

For parishes or individuals looking at better catechesis, please consider the wonderful programs of CatechismClass.com. The lessons are unwaveringly faithful to the Catholic Faith and highlight often the importance of liturgical catechesis and the Sacramental life. All adult-level lessons for instance incorporate the Divine Office. Pairing a truly exceptional program like those by CatechismClass.com with a Sacramental and liturgically-based prayer life can help establish a truly solid foundation of liturgical catechesis.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Continued Beautification of St. Joseph (FSSP) in Rockdale
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I had a chance to visit again this week St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rockdale, IL which is the FSSP Parish in the Diocese of Joliet. I was happy to see more beautification on the inside. Notably, there are now beautiful paintings of Ss. Peter and Paul on each side of the high altar. And the side altars are also much more beautiful and fitting for the Holy Sacrifice to be offered on them.

Below are some photos which I shared in December 2018 so you can see the transformation holistically as well as from 2018 to the present:


The newly painted church at end of 2018:




Image Sources: A Catholic Life Blog

The church when the FSSP came in 2013:


The church back in 1915 after its consecration:

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Friday, June 24, 2022
Do The Souls of Unborn Babies Go to Heaven?
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BREAKING NEWS TODAY: After nearly 50 years, Roe has been responsible for the deaths of over 60 million preborn American children. Today, the Supreme Court has finally overturned the grievous error of Roe v. Wade that has cost so many precious lives.

The Souls of Baptized Infants Go Directly to Heaven

With the exception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, all human persons are conceived with original on their souls. Such a view is a dogma of the Faith that must be believed: “Original sin is transmitted by natural generation.” The Catechism of St. Pius X therefore counsels, "There should be the greatest anxiety to have infants baptized because, on account of their tender age, they are exposed to many dangers of death, and cannot be saved without Baptism."

In the way in which God has created the world, it is necessary to receive Baptism in order to see God in Heaven. Seeing God and being present with Him in Heaven is the beatific vision. It is the greatest joy of Heaven. 

Of course, not everyone who is baptized will be saved. To be saved requires dying in the state of sanctifying grace. That is why we must work out our salvation our entire life and have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Confession so that we may be forgiven for our mortal sins and restored to sanctifying grace. Heaven is not possible for those who die without sanctifying grace in their souls.

Because a baby who was born and who was baptized cannot commit any actual sins, we know without any doubt that these children, if they die before they are old enough to know right from wrong, will go straight to Heaven. They are truly saints.

Do the Souls of Unborn & Therefore Unbaptized Babies Go to Heaven?

"Souls who depart this life in the state of original sin are excluded from the Beatific Vision of God" (Council of Florence: 1438 – 1445 AD).

Dr. Ludwig Ott, the famous theologian, in quoting the de fide dogma of the Council of Florence teaches:

The 2nd General Council of Lyons (1274) and the Council of Florence (1438-45) declared:  illorum animas, qui in actuali mortali peccato vel solo irginali decedunt, mox in infernum descendere poenis tamen disparibus puniendas (the souls of those who die in original sin as well as those who die in actual mortal sin go immediately into hell, but their punishment is very different).  D 464, 693.

The dogma is supported by the words of Our Lord: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" (John 3, 5).

The spiritual re-birth of young infants can be achieved in an extra-sacramental manner though baptism by blood (cf. the baptism by blood of the children of Bethlehem).  Other emergency means of baptism for children dying without sacramental baptism, such as prayer and desire of the parents or the Church (vicarious baptism of desire -- Cajetan), or the attainment of the use of reason in the moment of death, so that the dying child can decide for or against God (baptism of desire -- H. Klee), or suffering and death of the child as quasi-Sacrament (baptism of suffering -- H. Schell), are indeed, possible, but their actuality cannot be proved from Revelation.  Cf. D 712.

In the punishment of Hell theologians distinguish between the "poena damni," which consists in the exclusion from the Beatific Vision of God, and the "poena sensus" which is caused by external means, and which will be felt by the senses even after the resurrection of the body.  While St. Augustine and many Latin Fathers are of the opinion that children dying in original sin must suffer "poena sensus" also, even if only a very mild one (mitissima omnium poena: Enchir. 93), the Greek Fathers (for example, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Or. 40, 23), and the majority of the Schoolmen and more recent theologians, teach that they suffer "poena damni" only.  The declaration of Pope Innocent III, is in favour of this teaching:  Poena originalis peccati est carentia visionis Dei (= poena damni) actualis vero poena peccati est gehennae perpetuae cruciatus (= poena sensus).  D 410.  A condition of natural bliss is compatible with "poena damni."  Cf. St. Thomas, De malo, 5, 3; Sent. II d. 33 q 2 a. 2.

Theologians usually assume that there is a special place or state for children dying without baptism which they call limbus puerorum (children's Limbo).  Pope Pius VI adopted this view against the Synod of Pistoia.  D 1526.

Consequently, we must conclude that the souls of unbaptized and unborn children who die with original sin on their souls can not enter Heaven. But with St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Pope Pius VI, and others we can hope for an eternity of blessedness for them in the Limbo of the Infants (not to be confused with the Limbo of the Fathers where the Old Testament saints waited until Christ opened Heaven) which is a place of tranquility and peace even though they can never gaze on the face of God.  This is a place of perfect natural happiness - imagine a life of happiness on a place like earth. They will not suffer the flames of hell.

Can Unbaptized, Miscarried Babies Go to Heaven Through a “Vicarious Baptism”?

It is held as de fide doctrine that along with water Baptism there is a Baptism of Blood and a Baptism of Desire that are equal in merit to water Baptism. They remove original sin from a soul and save a soul from Hell and also open the possibility of Heaven to them.

Thomas Cardinal Cajetan, a leading figure in the Catholic Church against the Protestant Revolt, held the view that there may be reason to hope for a “vicarious” Baptism of Desire of miscarried babies whose parents had intended to baptize the child at birth. While the child died in the womb before baptism, he held the hope that in God’s mercy, the children would be spared even Limbo and admitted to the beatific vision of God for all eternity. 

The 1980 document by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith stated: “The Church has thus shown by her teaching and practice that she knows no other way apart from Baptism for ensuring children’s entry into eternal happiness.” For the souls of miscarried babies, we can assert that they are not in Hell since they had no actual sins on their souls. But whether or not mortal sin was removed in a manner as proposed by Cardinal Cajetan is a theory that we can certainly hope is the case. But it is not certain. 

Nevertheless, the parent or a priest should baptize the body of the miscarried child as soon as possible with the following formula: "If you are capable of being baptized, I baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." 

Do Aborted Babies Go to Heaven or Hell?

What does it mean for aborted children? We believe that in God's mercy these children will not suffer the pains of Hell, through no fault of their own, but they are nevertheless unable to go to Heaven since they were murdered with original sin still on their souls.

They will not be in pain. But they are not in Heaven. They will never see the face of God. They will never have a chance to enter Heaven. And since they were murdered by their own mother, there is no credible reason to hold that Cardinal Cajetan’s theory applies to them.

This sad reality is one of the many reasons that we must reject abortion completely - it deprives a human soul of Heaven. While the child will not suffer, he will never see God. And the guardian angel that God has appointed to guard that child weeps. Not only does the sin of abortion, which is the willful murder of a human being, cry out to Heaven for vengeance, but it also deprives a soul of seeing God forever. 

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Thursday, June 16, 2022
The Importance of Thanksgiving After Communion
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It is not enough to simply receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion and return to our pews as if nothing has happened. We must constantly live with gratitude in our hearts, especially in the 15 minutes after receiving Communion when the Lord’s Real Presence is still within our bodies. 

Pope St. Pius X gives the reason behind the necessity of thanksgiving after having received Our Divine Savior: “Since the sacraments of the New Law ... produce a greater effect in proportion as the dispositions of the recipient are better, therefore, one should take care that Holy Communion be...followed by an appropriate thanksgiving, according to each one’s strength, circumstances, and duties.”

Priests use a book called the Roman Ritual, which gives directions to priests and faithful alike concerning how to correctly receive the Sacraments. And it includes this important part on the Act of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion:

“Moreover, the communicants should be warned not to leave church right after receiving, nor to engage in idle conversation nor to violate custody of the eyes, and neither to begin at once the reading of prayers from a book nor to expectorate, lest the Sacred Species fall from the mouth. “Rather, as befits devotion they should spend some time in mental prayer, thanking God for this singular favor and at the same time for the Savior’s sacred Passion, in memory of which this mystery is celebrated and consummated

Thus, after Holy Communion, we need to speak with Our Lord personally and reflect on the depth of His love for us. 

Pope Pius XII in his encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy published in 1947 similarly said: 

“Such personal colloquies are very necessary that we may all enjoy more fully the supernatural treasures that are contained in the Eucharist and, according to our means, share them with others, so that Christ Our Lord may exert the greatest possible influence on the souls of all”.

The Holy Father continued:

“When the Mass is over...the person who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of thanksgiving; rather it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate union with the Divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence they have departed from the straight way of truth who, adhering to the letter rather than the sense, assert and teach that when the Mass has ended, no such thanksgiving should be added, not only because the Mass is itself a thanksgiving, but also because this pertains to a private and personal act of piety and not to the good of the community.”

Therefore, the necessity of making Acts of Thanksgiving is not just for us as individuals, but also for the good of the Church. And this allows us to perform our duties of charity towards our fellow men.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Respice, Domine Prayer
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A truly fitting prayer for Corpus Christi – and for any Thursday of the year – is the Respice, Domine which was composed by St. Cajetan. The Raccolta listed the following indulgences for this prayer:

i. A plenary indulgence to all the faithful who, being contrite, and having confessed and gone to Communion on the first Thursday in the month, shall on that day visit the Blessed Sacrament, either at Exposition time or when enclosed in the Tabernacle, and say there the following prayer, Respice, Domine.

ii. An indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines every Thursday in the year, to all who, after Confession and Communion, shall say the above prayer, on their knees, before the Blessed Sacrament.

iii. An indulgence of 100 days for saying it, with contrite heart, before the Blessed Sacrament, on any day whatever.

The Prayer:

Look down, O Lord, from Thy sanctuary, and from Heaven Thy dwelling-place on high, and behold this sacred Victim which our great High-Priest, Thy holy Child, our Lord Jesus, offers up to Thee for the sins of This brethren; and be appeased for the multitude of our transgressions. Behold the voice of the Blood of Jesus, our Brother, cries to Thee from the Cross. Give ear, O Lord! be appeased, O Lord! hearken, and do not tarry for Thine own sake, O my God, for Thy Name is invoked upon this city and upon Thy people; and deal with us according to Thy mercy. Amen.

Respice, Domino, de sanctuario tuo et de excelso coelorum habitaculo, et vide hanc sacrosanctam Hostiam, quam Tibi offert magnus Pontifex noster Sanctus Puer tuus Dominus Jesus pro peccatis fratrum suorum; et esto placabilis super multitudinem malitiae nostrae. Ecce vox Sanguinis fratris nostri Jesu clamat ad Te de Cruce. Exaudi, Domine; placare, Domine; attende, et fac, ne moreris propter temetipsum, Deus meus, quia nomen tuum invocatum est super civitatem istam, et super populum tuum; et fac nobiscum secundum misericordiam tuam. Amen.

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