Tuesday, August 31, 2010
October 31, 2010: Special Event at Institute of Christ the King in Chicago, IL

July 2010 Tridentine Mass at St. Agnes in New York City

The Tridentine Mass is said every Sunday at 11 p.m. at St. Agnes Church in New York City. The following two videos are from July 11, 2010. Please particularly note the beautiful paintings present in this fitting House of God.

I have posted a photo before of St. Agnes Church on my post dedicated to the errors of Centering Prayer.

The Gospel reading for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, given on Sunday, 11 July 2010.

Monday, August 30, 2010
Asperges Me

Before the principal celebration of Sunday Holy Mass, the Roman Catholic liturgy calls for a ritual sprinkling of the congregation with holy water, an act symbolic of the cleansing of their spirits to receive the Eucharist. During this liturgy act, in all seasons but Eastertide when the Antiphon is "Vidi aquam," the music chanted is the "Asperges me." The Holy Mass antiphon's texts are, in succession, "Asperges me," an invocation for the Lord's cleansing with the hyssop plant as used by the Israelites (Exod. 12:21-23; Lev. 14:4-6, 49-57)

Here is a video of a beautiful rendition of this prayer:

Here is a video of the Asperges me as performed in the context of a Mass:

In both of these videos note the importance of both the priest and the Faithful kneeling during the Glori Patri at mention of the Holy Trinity. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “The ceremony [of the Asperges me and the Vidi Aquam] has been in use at least from the tenth century, growing out of the custom of early antiquity of blessing water for the faithful on Sundays.”

Was the usage of the Asperges Me changed with the 1955 rubrics? No. As explained by a Fish Eaters poster named MagisterMusicae, "The text and rules for the Asperges did not change between 1945 and 1962. The only difference is that the in 1955 the Asperges was omitted for Palm Sunday (because of the blessing of the Palms). The Asperges is done a single time on Sunday preceding the Principal Mass (provided it is a Sung or Solemn Mass). It may not be duplicated unless local custom allows. This follows SRC Decrees 3268 and 4051."
Simultaneous Masses

The photo above comes from the blog Juventutem Argentina, which features a photograph from the Franciscans of the Immaculate.  You will notice that there are four Masses occuring simultaneously on separate altars in the Church.  Each priest is celebrating his own low mass and each priest is assisted by an acolyte.  In many respects, the silence and reverence in the low Mass has converted many souls from vices to love for Christ.

Long time readers of the blog will remember a video that I posted before of a Mass said by the Franciscans of the Immaculate.  View that video.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Today Holy Church recalls the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.
The beheading of St. John Baptist, who was put to death by Herod about the feast of Easter. However, his solemn commemoration takes place today, when his venerable head was found for the second time. It was afterwards solemnly carried to Rome, where it is kept in the church of St. Sylvester, near the Campus Martius, and honoured by the people with the greatest devotion.

Source: pre-1960 Martyrology
For information on this feastday, please see my post entitled Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Tridentine Latin Mass: Saint John Lateran Basilica on April 16, 2009

Highlights from the Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form, celebrated in Saint John Lateran Basilica, by the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate. All sacred music sung by the Friars and Sisters (Polyphony and Gregorian Chant) This is the first time that the Tridentine Mass has been celebrated in the pope's chair since Vatican II. Quite a magnificent site to behold!

Pray for the repose of the soul of Judy Ortego

In the Office for the Dead throughout the year
Oratio          Orémus.
Deus, qui inter apostólicos sacerdótes fámulos tuos pontificáli seu sacerdotáli fecísti dignitáte vigére : præsta, quæsumus ; ut eórum quoque perpétuo aggregéntur consórtio.
Collect          Let us pray.
O God, who didst cause thy servants, for whom we pray, to enjoy the dignity of the priesthood, and some to be bishops, after the order of thine Apostles : grant unto them, we beseech thee, finally to rejoice in the company of those Saints in heaven whose ministry they did sometime share on earth.
Deus, véniæ largítor et humánæ salútis amátor : quæsumus cleméntiam tuam  ; ut nostræ congregatiónis fratres, propínquos et benefactóres, qui ex hoc sæculo transiérunt, beáta María semper Vírgine intercedénte cum ómnibus Sanctis tuis, ad perpétuæ beatitúdinis consórtium perveníre concédas.
O God, who desirest not the death of a sinner but rather that all mankind should be saved : we beseech thee mercifully to grant that the brethren, kinsfolk, and benefactors of our congregation, who have passed out of this world, may by the intercession of blessed Mary Ever-Virgin and of all thy Saints come to enjoy with them everlasting blessedness.
Fidélium, Deus, ómnium cónditor et redémptor, animábus famulórum famularúmque tuárum remissiónem cunctórum tríbue peccatórum : ut indulgéntiam, quam semper optavérunt, piis supplicatiónibus consequántur : Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.
R.  Amen.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all them that believe : grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmaidens the remission of all their sins ; that as they have ever desired thy merciful pardon, so by the supplications of their brethren they may receive the same.  Who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R.  Amen.
St. Augustine of Hippo

Memorial (1969 Calendar): August 28
Class III (1962 Calendar): August 28
Double (1955 Calendar): August 28

Today is the feastday of St. Augustine, an illustrious and glorious Doctor of the Church. His conversion through the prayers of his mother, St. Monica, illustrates to all of us the necessity to never cease praying for the conversion of our family and friends - even after years of seemingly "unanswered" prayers.

Traditional (pre-1960 Martrology):
At Hippo in Africa, the birthday of St. Augustine, bishop and famous doctor of the Church. Converted and baptized by the blessed bishop Ambrose, he defended the Catholic faith with the greatest zeal against the Manicheans and other heretics, and after having sustained many other labours for the Church of God, he went to his reward in heaven. His relics, owing to the invasion of barbarians, were first brought from his own city into Sardinia, and afterwards taken by Luitprand, king of the Lombards, to Pavia, where they were deposited with due honours.

Traditional Matins Reading: 

Augustine was born at Tagaste in Africa of noble parents. As a child he was so apt in learning that in a short time he far surpassed in know ledge all those of his own age. When he was a young man he went to Carthage where he fell into the Manichæan heresy. Later on, he journeyed to Rome, and was sent thence to Milan to teach rhetoric. Having frequently listened to the teaching of Ambrose the bishop, he was through his influence inflamed with a desire of the Catholic faith and was baptized by him at the age of thirty-three. On his return to Africa, as his holy life was in keeping with his religion, Valerius the bishop, who was then renowned for his sanctity, ordained him priest. It was at this time that he founded a religious community with whom he lived, sharing their food, and dress, and training them with the utmost care in the rules of apostolic life and teaching. The Manichæan heresy was then growing very strong: he opposed it with great vigour and refuted one of its leaders named Fortunatus.

Valerius perceiving Augustine’s great piety made him his coadjutor in the bishopric. He was always most humble and most temperate. His clothing and his bed were of the simplest kind: he kept a frugal table, which was always seasoned by reading or holy conversation. Such was his loving kindness to the poor, that when he had no other resource, he broke up the sacred vessels, for their relief. He avoided all intercourse and conversation with women, even with his sister and his niece, for he used to say that though such near relatives could not give rise to any suspicion, yet might the women who came to visit them. Never, except when seriously ill, did he omit preaching the word of God. He pursued heretics unremittingly both in public disputations and in his writings, never allowing them to take foothold anywhere; and by these means he almost entirely freed Africa from the Manichees, Donatists and other heretics.

His numerous works are full of piety, deep wisdom and eloquence, and throw the greatest light on Christian doctrine, so that he is the great master and guide of all those who later on reduced theological teaching to method. 'While the Vandals were devastating Africa, and Hippo had been besieged by them for three months, Augustine was seized with a fever. When he perceived that his death was at hand, he had the penitential psalms of David placed before him, and used to read them with an abundance of tears. He was accustomed to say that no one, even though not conscious to himself of any sin, ought to be presumptuous enough to die without repentance. He was in full posses sion of his faculties and intent on prayer to the end. After exhorting his brethren who were around him, to charity, piety and the practice of every virtue, he passed to heaven, having lived seventy-six years, and thirty-six as bishop. His body was first of all taken to Sardinia, afterwards Luitprand, king of the Lombards, translated it to Pavia, where it was honourably entombed.

Plenary Indulgence at the Hour of Death

Funeral of St. Bonaventure in the presence of the Roman Pontiff

My Lord God, even now resignedly and willingly, I accept at Thy hand, with all its anxieties, pains, and sufferings, whatever kind of death it shall please Thee to be mine.

By a decree of the Congregation of Indulgences of 9 March 1904, His Holiness Pope Pius X, has granted a plenary indulgence at the moment of death to all the faithful who, on any day they may choose, will receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist and make this act for the love of God
Friday, August 27, 2010
The Latin Mass: Explained by RealCatholicTV

A video that is accurate for the most part although please note that some parts (e.g. the usage of the term "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist") are inaccurate.
Latin Mass Training Conference at Downside

The photographer Joseph Shaw shares these photos in August 2010 of a Latin Mass Training Conference at Downside.  Below are some of the photos in that set. 

2010 08 11_7412

2010 08 12_7279

2010 08 12_7292

2010 08 12_7307

2010 08 12_7317

2010 08 13_7211

2010 08 13_7223

2010 08 13_7227
Video: Final Profession of Br. Martin Mary, F.SS.R

Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Mrs. Valerie Potkins

The Transalpine Redemptorists recently posted photos of a Mass said for the repose of the soul of Mrs. Valerie Potkins.  Please pray for her soul.  I would particularly recommend these prayers from the Office of the Dead:

In the Office for the Dead throughout the year
Oratio          Orémus.
Deus, qui inter apostólicos sacerdótes fámulos tuos pontificáli seu sacerdotáli fecísti dignitáte vigére : præsta, quæsumus ; ut eórum quoque perpétuo aggregéntur consórtio.
Collect          Let us pray.
O God, who didst cause thy servants, for whom we pray, to enjoy the dignity of the priesthood, and some to be bishops, after the order of thine Apostles : grant unto them, we beseech thee, finally to rejoice in the company of those Saints in heaven whose ministry they did sometime share on earth.
Deus, véniæ largítor et humánæ salútis amátor : quæsumus cleméntiam tuam  ; ut nostræ congregatiónis fratres, propínquos et benefactóres, qui ex hoc sæculo transiérunt, beáta María semper Vírgine intercedénte cum ómnibus Sanctis tuis, ad perpétuæ beatitúdinis consórtium perveníre concédas.
O God, who desirest not the death of a sinner but rather that all mankind should be saved : we beseech thee mercifully to grant that the brethren, kinsfolk, and benefactors of our congregation, who have passed out of this world, may by the intercession of blessed Mary Ever-Virgin and of all thy Saints come to enjoy with them everlasting blessedness.
Fidélium, Deus, ómnium cónditor et redémptor, animábus famulórum famularúmque tuárum remissiónem cunctórum tríbue peccatórum : ut indulgéntiam, quam semper optavérunt, piis supplicatiónibus consequántur : Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.
R.  Amen.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all them that believe : grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmaidens the remission of all their sins ; that as they have ever desired thy merciful pardon, so by the supplications of their brethren they may receive the same.  Who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R.  Amen.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Papal Golden Rose

On August 23, 2010, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI gave the 11th Golden Rose of his pontificate to Mary at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Valley in Argentina.  This occasion is an appropriate time to examine the history and tradition of the Papal Golden Rose.

To explain this devotion we quote from texts in the public domain as follows.

The rose is blessed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lætare Sunday (hence also known as Rose Sunday), when rose-coloured vestments and draperies are substituted for the penitential purple, symbolizing hope and joy in the midst of Lenten solemnity. Throughout most of Lent, Catholics pray, fast, perform penance, and meditate upon the malice of sin and the terrible punishment it brings; Rose Sunday is an opportunity to look beyond Christ's death at Calvary and see Christ, the redeemer, risen in the first rays of the Easter sun, and rejoice. The shining golden flower shows forth Christ's majesty, appropriate because prophets called him "the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys."[1] Its fragrance, according to Pope Leo XIII "shows the sweet odor of Christ which should be widely diffused by His faithful followers" (Acta, vol. VI, 104), and the thorns and red tint refer to His Passion. See Isaiah 63:2: "Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress?"

The earliest roses were not blessed; instead, blessing was introduced to render the ceremony more solemn and induce greater reverence for it on the part of the recipient. According to Cardinal Petra (Comment. in Constit. Apostolicas, III, 2, col. 1), Pope Innocent IV (1245–54) was the first to bless it. However, others claim that Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), Pope Alexander III (1159–81) or Pope Leo IX (1049–55) was the first. It is said that Leo IX, in 1051, obliged the monastery (nuns) of Bamberg in Franconia, to furnish a Golden Rose to be blessed and carried on Lætare Sunday each year (Theop. Raynaud, De rosa mediana a pontifice consecrata, IV, 413). Pope Benedict XIV attests that the ceremony of blessing originated at the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century. Catalanus, papal master of ceremonies, believes that even the earliest roses were anointed with musk and balsam, but the blessing with prayers, incense, and holy water had its inception later on, sometime before pontificate of Pope Julius II (1503–13). Currently, the pope blesses the rose every year, but it is not always a new and different rose; the old one is used until it has been given away.

Originally (before the papacy moved to Avignon) the rose was blessed in the Hall of Vestments (sacristy) in the palace where the pope was; but the solemn Mass and the donation of the rose took place in the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (a figure, according to Pope Innocent III, of the heavenly Jerusalem). The blessing was followed by a solemn Mass sung either by the pope himself or the first Cardinal Priest. In the former case the rose was placed on a veil of rose-colored silk richly embroidered with gold; in the latter the pope held the rose in his hand, except while kneeling, or during the Introit, Confiteor, Elevation and the singing of "Laudemus in Domino". Rose in hand, the pope returned processionally to the Lateran Palace; the Prefect of Rome led his horse by the bridle and aided him in dismounting. Upon arrival, he gave the rose to the Prefect, as a recompense for these acts of respect and homage. Prior to 1305, the rose was given in Rome to no foreigner, except the Emperor on the day of his coronation. While residing at Avignon (1305–1375), the popes, unable to visit Roman churches and basilicas, performed many of their sacred functions, among them the blessing of the rose, in the private chapel of their palace (whence the origin of the Cappella Pontificia). On their return to Rome they (Sixtus V excepted) retained this custom.

The blessing of the rose now takes place in the Hall of Vestments (camera dei parimenti), and the solemn Mass in the papal chapel. The rose is placed on a table with lighted candles, and the pope, vested in alb and rose-colored stole and cope with precious mitre on his head, begins the ceremony with the usual versicles and the following poetical prayer:
"O God! by Whose word and power all things have been created, by Whose will all things are directed, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, Who art the joy and gladness of all the faithful, that Thou wouldst deign in Thy fatherly love to bless and sanctify this rose, most delightful in odour and appearance, which we this day carry in sign of spiritual joy, in order that the people consecrated by Thee and delivered from the yoke of Babylonian slavery through the favour of Thine only-begotten Son, Who is the glory and exultation of the people of Israel and of that Jerusalem which is our Heavenly mother, may with sincere hearts show forth their joy. Wherefore, O Lord, on this day, when the Church exults in Thy name and manifests her joy by this sign [the rose], confer upon us through her true and perfect joy and accepting her devotion of today; do Thou remit sin, strengthen faith, increase piety, protect her in Thy mercy, drive away all things adverse to her and make her ways safe and prosperous, so that Thy Church, as the fruit of good works, may unite in giving forth the perfume of the ointment of that flower sprung from the root of Jesse and which is the mystical flower of the field and lily of the valleys, and remain happy without end in eternal glory together with all the saints."
The prayer finished, the pope puts incense (handed by the cardinal-deacon) into the censer and incenses the balsam and then the musk, and afterwards puts the balsam and powdered musk into the tiny cup in the heart of the principal rose. He then incenses the rose and sprinkles it with holy water. It is then given to the youngest cleric of the Camera, who carries it in front of the pope to the chapel, where it is placed on the altar at the foot of the cross upon a richly embroidered silk veil, where it remains during the Mass sung by the first cardinal-priest. After the Mass, the rose is carried in procession before the pope to the sacristy, where it is carefully put away in a place set apart for it, until bestowed upon some worthy personage.

Zenit reports on the use of the Papal Golden Rose by Pope Benedict XVI as follows:

The Golden Rose is a papal decoration conferred on prominent Catholic personalities; it has gone through a significant evolution. Initially, kings and dignitaries received it, later it was conferred almost exclusively on queens and, more recently, on Our Lady. The distinction was created by Pope Leo IX in 1049.

In more recent times, after the Second Vatican Council, the papal decoration has become almost exclusively a gift from popes to Our Lady. This was the 11th Golden Rose that the Pontiff has given to Our Lady in the more than five years of his pontificate. The other 10 were given to the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Poland (2006), the Basilica of Aparecida in Brazil (2007), the Mariazell Basilica in Austria (2007), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (2008), Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Pompeii, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Europe in Gibraltar (2009), and the "Virgen de la Cabeza" (literally, Virgin of the Head) of the Diocese of Jaen, Spain (2009), the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta' Pinu (2010), and Our Lady of Fatima (2010).
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
First Solemn Mass of Fr. Aaron Huberfeld

On Sunday, August 22nd, Fr. Aaron Huberfeld, Canon of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, offered his first Solemn High Mass in the United States in Norwalk, CT.  The following photos are taken from The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny Blog. 

Feast of St. Bartholomew

Today is the Feast of the Holy Apostle, Bartholomew.  Today's Roman Martyrology writes of him:
The apostle St. Bartholomew, who preached the Gospel of Christ in India. Passing thence into the Greater Armenia where, after converting many to the faith, he was flayed alive by the barbarians, and having his head cut off by order of King Astyages, he fulfilled his martyrdom. His holy body was first carried to the island of Lipara, then to Benevento, and finally to Rome in the Island of the Tiber, where it is venerated by the pious faithful.
Source: Pre-1960 Martyrology

Read my prior post dedicated to St. Bartholomew for more information and prayers on this holy saint.  St. Barholomew, ora pro nobis!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Free the Monks & Free Enterprise: Saint Joseph Abbey v. Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors

Update: As of 10/23/2013, the monks have won their lawsuit!

Original Post: Under Louisiana law, it is a crime for anyone but a licensed funeral director to sell “funeral merchandise,” which includes caskets. To sell caskets legally, the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey would have to abandon their calling for one full year to apprentice at a licensed funeral home, learn unnecessary skills and take a funeral industry test. They would also have to convert their monastery into a “funeral establishment” by, among other things, installing equipment for embalming human remains.
Saturday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Just a few days ago I was surprised to see a Catholic posting a question on an online Catholic forum asking for more information on a Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary in which he was invited to attend. He was confused as to the reason that the priest intended to say Holy Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God when it was not a feastday dedicated to her.

To alleviate such confusion and to better educate the faithful on the concept of Saturday Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I offer this post as a reflection on the Saturday Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For more information on our Lady for other topics, such as apparitions, dogmas, prayers, etc., please see my post dedicated to our Blessed Lady.

Please also pick up a copy of my organization's newest book: To Mary our Morning Star: 10 Lessons in Mariology.

Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mass of the Assumption of Our Lady 2009 
Tridentine Mass celebrated by Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo, Parish of Our Lord of Divine Mercy, Sikatuna, Q.C., Philippines; Source: Flickr

The poster "jrny from FR" on Angelqueen explains the rubrics for the Saturday Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary as follows:
The Saturday Mass of the BVM is 4th. Class, not 3rd. Class. It is said on any Saturday of the year which otherwise would have been a 4th. class Ferial Day if it fell on Monday-Friday.This is the normal, "obligatory" Mass (i.e. the Mass of the day per the rubrics) on Saturdays of the 4th. class which means it is not a Votive Mass (a Mass proper said by choice as allowed), strictly speaking.
The Mass "Rorate" in Advent is a Votive Mass of the 3rd. class, but this differs from the above because this Mass can be said by choice (and not by assigned "obligation") on any day not ranked I or II Class during Advent.
The following text is of the propers of the Mass as said on those Saturdays and Votive Masses After Trinity Sunday until Advent (Salve of the Blessed Virgin). The other four versions have slight variations in the proper prayers and are grouped into the following categories: In Advent (Rorate Coeli of the Blessed Virgin), From the Epiphany to the Purification (Vultum Tuum of the Blessed Virgin), From the Purification until Shrove Tuesday (Salve of the Blessed Virgin), and In Eastertide (Salve of the Blessed Virgin)

If you are unfamiliar with the Traditional Latin Mass, consult my post on the Mass structure to best understand where the following prayers (the propers) fit into the unchanging prayers of the Mass.

INTROITSedulius; Ps. 44:2
Salve Sancta Parens, enixa purerpera Regem: qui coelum terramque regit in saecula saeculorum.(Psalm) Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea regi. Gloria Patri. Salve Sancta Parens, enixa purerpera...Hail, holy Parent, that didst bring forth the King Who ruleth heaven and earth for ever and ever.(Psalm) My heart hath uttered a good work: I speak of my works to the King. Glory be to the Father. Hail, holy Parent....

Concede nos famulos tuos, quaesumus, Domine Deus perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere, et gloriosa beatae Mariae semper Viginis intercessione, a praesenti liberari tristitia, et aeterna perfrui laetitia. Per Dominum nostrum.Grant  to us Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and through the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin may be delivered from present sorrow and possess eternal joy. Through our Lord.

EPISTLEEcclus. 24:14-16
Ab initio, et ante sawedcula cretat sum, et usque ad futurum saeculum non desinam, et in havitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi. Et sic in Sion firmata sum, et in civitate sanctificata similiter requievi, et in Jerusalem potestas mea. Et radicavi in populo honorificato, et in parte Dei mei haereditas illius, et in plenitudine sanctorum detentio mea.From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God his inheritance, and mine abode is in the full assembly of saints.

Benedicta et venerabilis es, Virgo Maria: quae sine tactu pudoris inventa es mater Salvatoris. Virgo De Genitrix, quem totus non capit oribis in tua se clausit viscera factus homo.Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary: who without loss of purity wert found to be the Mother of our Savior. Virgin Mother of God, He Whom the whole world cannot hold enclosed Himself in thy womb, and became man.

Alleluia, alleluia.  Post partum Virgon inviolata permansisti: Dei Genitrix intercdede pro nobis. Alleluia.Alleluia, alleluia.  After His birth a Virgin entire thou dost remain: O Mother of God, intercede for us.  Alleluia.

GOSPELLk. 11:27-28
In illo tempore: Loquente Jesu ad turbas, extollens vocem quaedam mulier de turba, dixit illi: Beatus venter qui te portavit et ubera, quae suxisti. At ille dixit: Quinimo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei, et custodiunt illud.At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.

OFFERTORYLk. 1:28,42
Ave Maria, gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui.Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Tua Domine, propitiatione et beatae Mariae sumper Virginis intercessione, ad perpetuam atque praesentem haec oblatio nobis proficiat proseperitatem et pacem. Per Dominum nostrum.By Thy gracious mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, may this offering be of avail to us for welfare and peace now and for evermore. Through our Lord.

PREFACEPreface of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Et te in Assumptione beatae Mariae semper Virginis collaudare, benedicere, et praedicare. Quae et Unigenitum tuum Sancti Spiritus obumbratione concepit: et virginitatis gloria permanente, lumen aeternum mundo effudit, Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: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: and that we should praise and bless, and proclaim Thee, in the Festivity of the Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin: Who also conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and the glory of her virginity still abiding, gave forth to the world the everlasting Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, and the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

Beata viscera Mariae Virginis, quae portaverunt aeterni Patris Filium.Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.

Sumptis, Domine, salutis nostrae subsidiis: da, quaesumus, beatae Mariae semper Virginis patrociniis nos ubique protegi : in cugus veneratione haec tuae obtulimus majestati. Per Dominum nostrum.O Lord, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who have received these aids unto salvation, may be always and everywhere protected by the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, in whose honor we offered this Sacrifice to Thy Majesty. Through our Lord.

First Saturdays Devotion

On Saturdays, Catholics traditionally have taken part in the "First Saturdays Devotion" which entails going to Mass and receiving Communion for the first Saturday of the month for 5 consecutive months in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This devotion is not to be confused with the First Friday's Devotion, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The First Saturday Devotion did not originate as part of the apparitions of our Blessed Lady in Fatima, but the devotion did quickly spread further following our Lady's series of appearances to the three shepherd children in 1917.

Our Blessed Lady's words to Sr. Lucia at Fatima:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
The First Saturday Devotion consists of offering the First Saturday of the month for five consecutive months in reparation for the many and grievous sins committed in our world. A further explanation of our Lady's request is below:
  • You must go to the Sacrament of Confession.  Your reception of the Sacrament may be 8 days before the Saturday as long as you stay in a state of grace.
  • You must receive the Holy Eucharist and as always, it must be in the state of grace or risk the most grievous sin of sacrilege
  • You must pray 5 decades of the Holy Rosary of our Lady, including the Fatima Prayer.  
  • Finally, the last requirement consist of "keeping Mary company" for 15 minutes while meditating on all of the Mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to her. This can be done by reading Scripture or other writings relevant to the Mysteries, meditating on pictures of the Mysteries, or simple meditation. Materials for meditation and education on each of the Rosary mysteries is available online.
Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

While the laity is not bound to pray the Divine Office, they are still encouraged to pray the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours).  To pray the Divine Office, I would highly encourage you to pray the 1962 Breviary or even the 1955 version as opposed to the modern version which I find lacking in the spiritual depth present in the earlier editions.

Since you are not bound under ecclesial law to pray the Office, you can and should start by praying the English version of the Breviary.  You can find various breviaries available for sale that will fulfill this purpose.  For centuries Catholics prayed most commonly not with personal prayers and devotion as such individual prayers originated from protestant individualism.  Instead, Catholics prayed the Liturgical texts of the Church (e.g. the Prayers of the Holy Mass, the Rosary, etc) daily and many were saved.  In our world we see the majority of mankind entrenched in sin and debauchery.  Let us pray for a return to our praying the Liturgical prayers of the Holy Church.  Pray the Daily Rosary as Mary has asked of us!

However, please also consider, in addition or instead of the standard Divine Office, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for your daily prayers!  The text is available in English and Latin online for free viewing though many prefer an actual physical copy.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a shorter form of the Divine Office in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has long been the Church’s daily liturgical prayer to Our Lady, and these hours of praise have been used by Priests, religious and the laity throughout the centuries. Lay people used to flock to the great Cathedrals to publicly recite The Little Office during the Middle Ages, and during the great persecution, when the practice of the Catholic Faith was illegal in Great Britain, Bishop Challoner commended The Little Office to his flock.

Through its psalms, antiphons, readings, responsorials, and prayers the Little Office stresses the role Our Lady played in salvation history, and how through her fiat the divine Word took flesh in her womb and achieved salvation for us all; and how Our Lord granted her the first fruits of the general resurrection in her holy and glorious assumption.

All Catholics are called to a consistent prayer life. For those who do not feel called to recite the Divine Office, but still wish to participate in the liturgical prayer of the Church, or for those who have a particular devotion to the holy Mother of God, there is no finer form of prayer than the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Green Scapular

    While certainly not only permitted for use on Saturdays, Saturday is an appropriate time to focus on the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin and on her great promises with the Green Scapular.  Many of you should be familiar with the Brown Scapular as you should have been invested in the Brown Scapular following your First Holy Communion.  I have written before on the merits of the Brown Scapular.  While they are not to be underestimated, I will not focus additional time on the Brown Scapular.  Instead, we focus in this post on the Green Scapular of our Lady.

    The website of Fish Eaters succinctly and accurately describes the Green Scapular of our Lady:
    In 1840, Mary appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu (a Seminary Sister of the Daughters of Charity) in Paris, France and commended the Green Scapular to her. It's known as "the Scapular of Conversion," and its promises are the strengthening of faith, protection against Satan, a happy death for Catholics, and, most of all, for conversion for those outside the Church. It's to be worn or carried by the faithful, or given to an unbeliever for their conversion.
    The following prayer is to be said daily by the wearer:
    Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death
    Latin version:

    Cor immaculatum Mariae, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae

    If the scapular is given to an unbeliever for their conversion, the person giving the scapular prays the prayer for them if the unbeliever does not want to pray the prayer himself. If the unbeliever does not want the scapular, it may be hidden in their vicinity and the prayers said for him. Enrollment in a Confraternity is not necessary for this scapular, but the scapular should be blessed by a priest before use.
    Saturday, August 21, 2010
    Institute of the Good Shepherd, July 2010 Ordinations

    The Institute of the Good Shepherd have some photos from recent ordinations in Courtalain (France) which occurred this month. A full photo gallery is available at the website of their seminary, the Seminaire Saint Vincent de Paul.

    Via Traditional Vocations Blog
    Traditional Confirmations by Alfonso de Galarreta, St. Jude Roman Catholic Church, 2010

    His Lordship Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta confers the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church.  The following photos are taken from the Flickr Photostream of Jim, the Photographer.  Following each photo is a short meditation with a link for more information on that verse.


    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace" (Source: Symbolism of a Bishop's Dress)


    The priest says, "Introibo ad altare Dei" (I will go up to the altar of God) to which the servers respond "Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem mean" (To God who giveth joy to my youth). Source: The Prayers of the Mass

    "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren" Source: Luke 22:32


    Almighty everlasting God, who once gave new life to these servants of yours by water and the Holy Spirit, forgiving them all their sins; send forth on them from heaven your Holy Spirit, the Advocate, along with His sevenfold gifts. Source: Confirmation Prayer via CatechismClass.com


    Fill them with the Spirit of holy fear, and seal them with the sign of the cross +of Christ, in token of everlasting life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Source: Confirmation Prayer via CatechismClass.com


    I seal you with the sign of the +cross; and I confirm you with the chrism that sanctifies; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Source: The Prayer of Confirmation
    Excerpt from Tra le Sollecitudini on Sacred Music by Pope St. Pius X

    On 22nd November, 1903, the Feast of St. Cecilia, St. Pius X issued his Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini on Sacred Music:

    22. It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.

    Via Traditional Vocations Blog
    Friday, August 20, 2010
    USCCB Approves New Translation of Roman Missal

    The new Translation of the Novus Ordo Missale will go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent 2011.  It is certainly a step back in the right direction but it certainly does not go far enough to conform with the Latin texts of the Mass.

    For information please see The New Translation of the Roman Missal: A Guide and Explanation

    A summary of those changes can be found on these past posts:
    Feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

    St. Bernard of Clairvaux 1090-1153 and William X 1099-1137 Duke of Aquitaine by Martin Pepyn (Pepin), 1575-1642

    For information on this holy saint, please see my past post dedicated to St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

    O God, Who didst give blessed Bernard to Thy people as a minister of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who have had him for our teacher on earth, may deserve to have him for our advocate in heaven. Through our Lord.

    Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010
    Consecration of the Seminary Chapel of Ss. Peter and Paul

    In the past I wrote an article outlining the rubrics for the Consecration of a Church as well as for the Consecration of a Paten and a Chalice.

    I wish to make available to my readers the following series of videos. These videos include commentary throughout by EWTN reporters allowing you to observe and better understand the ceremonies surrounding the Consecration of a Church. The following series of videos depict the Consecration of the Seminary Chapel of Ss. Peter and Paul in the Traditional Rite.

    Monday, August 16, 2010
    Sermon II on the Dormition of Mary By St. John Damascene

      Assumption of the Virgin by Francisco Camilo, 1666

    There is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy death of God's Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united would their praises be sufficient. She is greater than all praise. Since, however, God is pleased with the efforts of a loving zeal, and the Mother of God with what concerns the service of her Son, suffer me now to revert again to her praises. This is in obedience to your orders, most excellent pastors, so dear to God, and we call upon the Word made flesh of her to come to our assistance. He gives speech to every mouth which is opened for Him. He is her sole pleasure and adornment. We know that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt, and that in so doing we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh. It is fitting that we should exalt her who is above all created things, governing them as Mother of the God who is their Creator, Lord, and Master. Bear with me you who hang upon the divine words, and receive my good will. Strengthen my desire, and be patient with the weakness of my words. It is as if a man were to bring a violet of royal purple out of season, or a fragrant rose with buds of different hues, or some rich fruit of autumn to a mighty potentate who is divinely appointed to rule over men. Every day he sits at a table laden with every conceivable dish in the perfumed courts of his palace. He does not look at the smallness of the offering, or at its novelty so much as he admires the good intention, and with reason. This he would reward with an abundance of gifts and favours. So we, in our winter of poverty, bring garlands to our Queen, and prepare a flower of oratory for the feast of praise. We break our mind's stony desire with iron, pressing, as it were, the unripe grapes. And may you receive with more and more favour the words which fall upon your eager and listening ears.

    What shall we offer the Mother of the Word if not our words? Like rejoices in like and in what it loves. Thus, then, making a start and loosening the reins of my discourse, I may send it forth as a charger ready equipped for the race. But do Thou, O Word of God, be my helper and auxiliary, and speak wisdom to my unwisdom. By Thy word make my path clear, and direct my course according to Thy good pleasure, which is the end of all wisdom and discernment.

    Today the holy Virgin of Virgins is presented in the heavenly temple. Virginity in her was so strong as to be a consuming fire. It is forfeited in every case by child-birth. But she is ever a virgin, before the event, in the birth itself, and afterwards. To-day the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself, takes up her abode in the temple of God, not made by hands. David, her forefather, rejoices. Angels and Archangels are in jubilation, Powers exult, Principalities and Dominations, Virtues and Thrones are in gladness: Cherubim and Seraphim magnify God. Not the least of their Praise is it to refer praise to the Mother of glory. To-day the holy dove, the pure and guileless soul, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, putting off the ark of her body, the life-giving receptacle of Our Lord, found rest to the soles of her feet, taking her flight to the spiritual world, and dwelling securely in the sinless country above. To-day the Eden of the new Adam receives the true paradise, in which sin is remitted and the tree of life growl, and our nakedness is covered. For we are no longer naked and uncovered, and unable to bear the splendour of the divine likeness. Strengthened with the abundant grace of the Spirit, we shall no longer betray our nakedness in the words: "I have Put off my garment, how shall I put it on?" The serpent, by whose deceitful promise we were likened to brute beasts, did not enter into this paradise. He, the only begotten Son of God, God himself, of the same substance as the Father, took His ] human nature of the pure Virgin. Being constituted a man, He made mortality immortal, and was clothed as a man. Putting aside corruption, He was indued with the incorruptibility of the Godhead.

    Today the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles. Who would be wrong to call her heaven, unless indeed he truly said that she is greater than heaven in surpassing dignity? The Lord and Creator of heaven, the Architect of all things beneath the earth and above, of creation, visible and invisible, Who is not circumvented by place (if that which surrounds things is rightly termed place), created Himself, without human co-operation, an Infant in her. He made her a rich treasure-house of His all-pervading and alone uncircumscribed Godhead, subsisting entirely in her without passion, remaining entire in His universality and Himself uncircumscribed. To-day the life-giving treasury and abyss of charity (I know not how to trust my lips to speak of it) is hidden in immortal death. She meets it without fear, who conceived death's destroyer, if indeed we may call her holy and vivifying departure by the name of death. For how could she, who brought life to all, be under the dominion of death ? But she obeys the law of her own Son, and inherits this chastisement as a daughter of the first Adam, since her Son, who is the life, did not refuse it. As the Mother of the living God, she goes through death to Him. For if God said: "Unless the first man put out his hand to take and taste of the tree of life, he shall live for ever," how shall she, who received the Life Himself, without beginning or end, or finite vicissitudes, not live for ever.

    Of old the Lord God banished from the garden of Eden our first parents after their disobedience, when they had dulled the eye of their heart through their sin, and weakened their mind's discernment, and had fallen into death-like apathy. But, now, shall not paradise receive her, who broke the bondage of all passion, sowed the seed of obedience to God and the Father, and was the beginning of life to the whole human race ? Will not heaven open its gates to her with rejoicing ? Yes, indeed. Eve listened to the serpent, adopted his suggestion, was caught by the lure of false and deceptive pleasure, and was condemned to pain and sorrow, and to bear children in suffering. With Adam she received the sentence of death, and was placed in the recesses of Limbo. How can death claim as its prey this truly blessed one, who listened to God's word in humility, and was filled with the Spirit, conceiving the Father's gift through the archangel, bearing without concupiscence or the co-operation of man the Person of the Divine Word, who fills all things, bringing Him forth, without the pains of childbirth, being wholly united to God? How could Limbo open its gates to her ? How could corruption touch the life-giving body ? These are things quite foreign to the soul and body of God's Mother. Death trembled before her. In approaching her Son, death had learnt experience from His sufferings, and had grown wiser. The gloomy descent to hell was not for her, but a joyous, easy, and sweet passage to heaven. If, as Christ, the Life and the Truth says: "Wherever I am, there is also my minister," how much more shall not His mother be with Him? She brought Him forth without pain, and her death, also, was painless. The death of sinners is terrible, for in it, sin, the cause of death, is sacrificed. What shall we say of her if not that she is the beginning of perpetual life. Precious indeed is the death of His saints to the Lord God of powers. More than precious is the passing away of God's Mother. Now let the heavens and the angels rejoice: let the earth and men be full of gladness. Let the air resound with song and canticle, and dark night put off its gloom, and emulate the brightness of day through the scintillating stars. The living city of the Lord God is assumed from God's temple, the visible Sion, and kings bring forth His most precious gift, their mother, to the heavenly Jerusalem, that is to say, the apostles constituted princes by Christ, over all the earth, accompany the ever virginal Mother of God.

    It seems to me not superfluous to bring forward and insist on the past types of this holy one, the Mother of God. These types succinctly announced the Divine Child whom we have received. I look upon His Mother as the saint of saints, the holiest of all, the fragrant urn for the manna, or rather, to speak more truly, the fountain taking its rise in the divine and far-famed city of David, in Sion the glorious; in it the law is fulfilled and the spiritual law is portrayed. In Sion, Christ the Law-giver consummated the typical pasch, and God, the Author of the old and the new dispensation, gave us the true pasch. In it the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, initiated His disciples unto His mystical feast, and gave them Himself slain as a victim, and the grape pressed in the true vine. In Sion, Christ is seen by His apostles, risen from the dead, and Thomas is told, and through Thomas the world, that He is Lord and God, having in Himself two natures after His resurrection, and consequently two operations, independent wills, enduring for all ages. Sion is the crown of churches, the resting-place of disciples. In it the echo of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues, His fiery descent are transmitted to the apostles. In it St John, taking the Mother of God, ministered to her wants. Sion is the mother of churches in the whole world, who offered a resting-place to the Mother of God after her Son's resurrection from the dead. In it, lastly, the Blessed Virgin was stretched on a small bed.

    When I had reached this point of my discourse, I was obliged to give vent to my own feelings, and burning with loving desire, to shed reverent yet joyful tears, embracing, as it were, the bed so happy and blest and wondrous, which received the life-giving tabernacle and rejoiced in the contact of holiness. I seemed to take into my arms that holy and sacred body itself, worthy of God, and pressing my eyes, lips, and forehead, head, and cheeks to hers, I felt as if she was really there, though I was unable to see with my eyes what I desired. How, then, was she assumed to the heavenly courts? In this way. What were the honours then conferred upon her by God who commands us to honour our parents? The cloud which enclosed Jerusalem as with a net, by the divine commands, brought together eagles from the ends of the earth, those who are spread over the world, fishing for men in the various and numerous tongues of the spirit. By the net of the word they are saving men from the abyss of doubt and bringing them to the spiritual and heavenly table of the sacred and mystical banquet, the perfect marriage feast of the Divine Bridegroom, which the Father celebrates with His Son, who is equal to Himself and of the same nature. "Where the spirit is," says Christ the Truth, "there shall the eagles be gathered together." If we have already spoken concerning the second great and splendid coming of Him who spoke these words, it will not be out of place here by way of condiment.

    Eye-witnesses, then, and ministers of the word were there, duly ministering to His Mother, and drawing from her a rich inheritance, as it were, and a full measure of praise. For is it a matter of doubt to any one that she is the source of blessing and the fountain of all good? Their followers and successors also were there, joining in their ministry and in their praise. A common labour produces common fruits. A chosen band from Jerusalem were there. It was fitting that the foremost men and prophets of the old law, they who had foretold God the Word's saving birth of her in time, should be there as a guard of honour. Nor did the angelic choirs fail. They who obeyed the king heartily and consequently were honoured by standing near Him, had the right to serve as a body-guard to His Mother, according to the flesh, the truly blessed and blissful one, surpassing all generations and all creation. All those were with her who are the brightness and the shining of the spirit, with spiritual eyes fixed upon her in reverence, and fear, and pure desire.

    We hear divine and inspired words, and spiritual canticles appropriate to the parting hour. On this account it was meet to praise His boundless goodness, His immeasurable greatness, His omnipotence, the generosity surpassing all measure in His dealings with us, the overflowing riches of His mercy, the abyss of His tenderness; how, putting aside His greatness, He descended to our littleness with the co-operation of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Again, the supersubstantial One is supersubstantially created in the virginal womb. Being God He became man, and remains according to this union perfect God and perfect man, not giving up the substance of His Godhead nor ceasing to be of the same flesh and blood as we are. He, who fills all things and governs the universe with one word, took up His abode in a narrow place, and the material body of this blessed one received the burning fire of the Godhead, and as genuine gold it remained intact. This has taken place because God willed it, since His good pleasure makes things possible which could not happen without it. Then followed a strife of praise, not as if each was seeking to outdo the other--for this is vainglorious and far from pleasing to God--but as if they would leave nothing undone for the glory of God and the honour of God's Mother.

    Then Adam and Eve, our first parents, opened their lips to exclaim, "Thou blessed daughter of ours, who hast removed the penalty of our disobedience! Thou, inheriting from us a mortal body, hast won us immortality. Thou, taking thy being from us, hast given us back the being in grace. Thou hast conquered pain and loosened the bondage of death. Thou hast restored us to our former state. We had shut the door of paradise; thou didst find entrance to the tree of life. Through us sorrow came out of good; through thee good from sorrow. How canst thou who art all fair taste of death ? Thou art the gate of life and the ladder to heaven. Death is become the passage to immortality. O thou truly blessed one! who that is not the Word could have borne what thou hast borne?"

    All the company of the saints exclaimed, "Thou hast fulfilled our predictions. Thou hast purchased our present joy for us. Through thee we have broken the chains of death. Come to us, divine and life-giving receptacle. Come, our desire, thou who hast gained us our desire."

    And the saints standing by added their no less burning words: "Remain with us, our comfort, our sole joy in this world. O Mother leave us not orphans who have suffered on thy Son's account. May we have thee as a refuge and refreshment in our labours and weariness. Thou canst remain if thou so willest, even as thou canst depart hence. if thou departest, O dwelling-place of God let us go too, if we are thine through thy Son. Thou art our sole consolation on earth. We live as long as thou livest, and it is bliss to die with thee. Why do we speak of death? Death is life to thee, and better than life -- incomparably exceeding this life. How is our life -- life, if we are deprived of thee?"

    The apostles and all the assembly of the Church may well have addressed some such words to the blessed Virgin. When they saw the Mother of God near her end and longing for it, they were moved by divine grace to sing farewell hymns, and wrapt out of the flesh, they sighed to accompany the dying Mother of God, and anticipated death through intensity of will. When they had all satisfied their duty of loving reverence and had woven her a rich crown of hymns, they spoke a parting blessing over her, as a God-given treasure, and the last words. These, I should think, were significant of this life's fleetingness, and of its leading to the hidden mysteries of future goods.

    This, it appears to me, is what they did at once and unanimously. The King was there to receive with divine embrace the holy, undefiled, and stainless soul of His Mother on her going home. And she, as we may well conjecture, said, "Into Thy hands, O my Son, I commend my spirit. Receive my soul, dear to Thee, which Thou didst keep spotless. I give my body to Thee, not to the earth. Guard that which Thou wert pleased to inhabit and to preserve in virginity. Take to Thyself me that wherever Thou art, the fruit of my womb, there I too may be. I am impelled to Thee who didst descend to me. Do Thou be the consolation of my most cherished children, whom Thou didst vouchsafe to call Thy brethren, when my death leaves them in loneliness. Bless them afresh through my hands." Then stretching out her hands, as we may believe, she blessed all those present, and then she heard the words "Come, my beloved Mother, to thy rest. Arise and come, most dear amongst women, the winter is past and gone, the harvest time is at hand. Thou art fair, my beloved, and there is no stain in thee. Thy fragrance is sweeter than all ointments." With these words in her ear, that holy one gave up her spirit into the hands of her Son.

    What happens? Nature, I conjecture, is stirred to its depths, strange sounds and voices are heard, and the swelling hymns of angels who precede, accompany, and follow her. Some constitute the guard of honour to that undefiled and immaculate soul on its way to heaven until the queen reaches the divine throne. Others surrounding the sacred and divine body proclaim God's Mother in angelic harmony. What of those who watched by the most holy and immaculate body? In loving reverence and with tears of joy they gathered round the blessed and divine tabernacle, embracing every member, and were filled with holiness and thanksgiving. Then illnesses were cured, and demons were put to flight and banished to the regions of darkness. The air and atmosphere and heavens were sanctified by her passage through them, the earth by the burial of her body. Nor was water deprived of a blessing. She was washed in pure water. It did not cleanse her, but was rather itself sanctified. Then, hearing was given to the deaf, the lame recovered their feet, and the blind, their sight. Sinners who approached with faith blotted out the handwriting against them. Then the holy body is wrapped in a snow-white winding-sheet, and the queen is again laid, upon her bed. Then follow lights and incense and hymns, and angels singing as befits the solemnity; apostles and patriarchs acclaiming her in inspired song.

    When the Ark of God, departing from Mount Sion for the heavenly country, was borne on the shoulders of the Apostles, it was placed on the way in the tomb. First it was taken through the city, as a bride dazzling with spiritual radiance, and then carried to the sacred place of Gethsemane, angels overshadowing it with their wings, going before, accompanying, and following it, together with the whole assembly of the Church. King Solomon compelled all the elders of Israel in Sion to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, that is Sion, to rest in the temple of the Lord, which he had built, and the priests took the ark and the tabernacle of the testimony, and the priests and levites raised it. And the king and all the people sacrificed numberless oxen and sheep before the ark. And the priests carried in the ark of the testimony of God into its place, into the Holy of Holies, beneath the wings of the cherubim. So is it now with the dwelling-place of the true ark, no longer of the testimony, but the very substance of God the Word. The new Solomon, the Prince of peace, the Creator of all things in the heavens and on the earth, assembled together to-day the supporters of the new covenant, that is the Apostles, with all the people of the saints in Jerusalem, brought in her soul through angels to the true Holy of Holies, under the wings of the four living creatures, and set her on His throne within the Veil, where Christ Himself had preceded her. Her body the while is borne by the Apostles' hands, the King of Kings covering her with the splendour of His invisible Godhead, the whole assembly of the saints preceding her, with sacred song and sacrifice of praise until through the tomb it was placed in the delights of Eden, the heavenly tabernacles.

    Perchance, Jews also were there, if any, not too reprobate were to be found. It will not be beside the mark to mention here a thing that is asserted by many. It is said that when those, who were carrying the blessed body of God's Mother, had reached the descent of the opposite mountains, a certain Jew, the slave of sin, and pledged by his folly, imitated the servant of Caiphas, who struck the divine Face of Christ our Lord and Master, and made himself the devil's instrument. Full of wicked passion and malice, he rushed at that most divine tabernacle, which angels approached with fear, and impiously dragged the bier with both his hands to the ground. This was prompted by the envy of the arch enemy, but his labours were in vain, and he reaped a severe and fitting reminder of his deed. It is said that he lost the use of his hands, which had perpetrated his malicious deed, until faith moved him to repentance. The bearers were standing near. The wretched man placed his hands on the wondrous and life-giving tabernacle, and they again became sound. Circumstances had made him wise, as often happens. But let us return to our subject.

    Then they reached the most sacred Gethsemane, and once more there were embracings and prayers and panegyrics, hymns and tears, poured forth by sorrowful and loving hearts. They mingled a flood of weeping and sweating. And thus the immaculate body was laid in the tomb. Then it was assumed after three days to the heavenly mansions. The bosom of the earth was no fitting receptacle for the Lord's dwelling-place, the living source of cleansing water, the corn of heavenly bread, the sacred vine of divine wine, the evergreen and fruitful olive-branch of God's mercy. And just as the all holy body of God's Son, which was taken from her, rose from the dead on the third day, it followed that she should be snatched from the tomb, that the mother should be united to her Son; and as He had come down to her, so she should be raised up to Him, into the more perfect dwelling-place, heaven itself. It was meet that she, who had sheltered God the Word in her own womb, should inhabit the tabernacles of her Son. And as our Lord said it behoved Him to be concerned with His Father's business, so it behoved His mother that she should dwell in the courts of her Son, in the house of the Lord, and in the courts of the house of our God. If all those who rejoice dwell in Him, where must the cause itself of joy abide? It was fitting that the body of her, who preserved her virginity unsullied in her motherhood, should be kept from corruption even after death. She who nursed her Creator as an infant at her breast, had a right to be in the divine tabernacles. The place of the bride whom the Father had espoused, was in the heavenly courts. It was fitting that she who saw her Son die on the cross, and received in her heart the sword of pain which she had not felt in childbirth, should gaze upon Him seated next to the Father. The Mother of God had a right to the possession of her Son, and as handmaid and Mother of God to the worship of all creation. The inheritance of the parents ever passes to the children. Now, as a wise man said, the sources of sacred waters are above. The Son made all creation serve His Mother.

    Let us then also keep solemn feast today to honour the joyful departure of God's Mother, not with flutes nor corybants, nor the orgies of Cybele, the mother of false gods, as they say, whom foolish people talk of as a fruitful mother of children, and truth as no mother at all. These are demons and false imaginings. They usurp what they are not by nature to impose upon human folly. For how can what is bodiless lead the wedded life? How can that be god which, not being before, is present only after birth? That devils were bodiless is apparent to all, even to those who are intellectually blind. Homer somewhere testifies to the condition of the gods he honours:

    They eat not barley, and drink not ruddy wine,
    So they are bloodless and are called immortal.

    They eat not bread, he says, neither do they drink fiery wine. On this account they are anaemic, that is, without blood, and are called immortals. He truly and appropriately says, "are called." They are called immortals. They are not that which they are called. They died the death of wickedness. Now we worship God, not God beginning His being, but who always was and is above all cause and argument or created mind or nature. We honour and reverence the Mother of God, not ascribing to her the eternal generation of His Godhead. For the generation of God the Word was not in time, and was co-eternal with the Father. We acknowledge a second generation in His spontaneous taking flesh, and we see and know the cause of this. He who is without beginning and without body takes flesh for us as one of ourselves. And taking flesh of this sacred Virgin, He is born without man, remaining Himself perfect God, and becoming perfect man, perfect God in His flesh, and perfect Man in His Godhead. Thus, recognising God's Mother in this Virgin, we celebrate her falling asleep, not proclaiming her as God -- far be from us these heathen fables -- since we are announcing her death, but recognising her as the Mother of the Incarnate God.

    O people of Christ, let us acclaim her today in sacred song, acknowledge our own good fortune and proclaim it. Let us honour her in nocturnal vigil; let us delight in her purity of soul and body, for she next to God surpasses all in purity. It is natural for similar things to glory in each other. Let us show our love for her by compassion and kindness towards the poor. For if mercy is the best worship of God, who will refuse to show His Mother devotion in the same way? She opened to us the unspeakable abyss of God's love for us. Through her the old enmity against the Creator is destroyed. Through her our reconciliation with Him is strengthened, peace and grace are given to us, men are the companions of angels, and we, who were in dishonour, are made the children of God. From her we have plucked the fruit of life. From her we have received the seed of immortality. She is the channel of all our goods. In her God was man and man was God. What more marvellous or more blessed? I approach the subject in fear and trembling. With Mary, the prophetess, O youthful souls, let us sound our musical instruments, mortifying our members on earth, for this is spiritual music. Let our souls rejoice in the Ark of God, and the walls of Jericho will yield, I mean the fortresses of the enemy. Let us dance in spirit with David; to-day the Ark of God is at rest. With Gabriel, the great archangel, let us exclaim, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail, inexhaustible ocean of grace. Hail, sole refuge in grief. Hail, cure of hearts. Hail, through whom death is expelled and life is installed."

    And you I will speak to as if living, most sacred of tombs, after the life-giving tomb of our Lord which is the source of the resurrection. Where is the pure gold which apostolic hands confided to you? Where is the inexhaustible treasure ? Where the precious receptacle of God? Where is the living table? Where the new book in which the incomprehensible Word of God is written without hands? Where is the abyss of grace and the ocean of healing? Where is the life-giving fountain? Where is the sweet and loved body of God's Mother?

    Why do you seek in the tomb one who has been assumed to the heavenly courts? Why do you make me responsible for not keeping her? I was powerless to go against the divine commands. That sacred and holy body, leaving the winding-sheet behind, filled me full of sweet fragrance, sanctified me by its contact, and fulfilled the divine scheme, and was then assumed, angels and archangels and all the heavenly powers escorting it. Now angels surround me, and divine grace abounds in me. I am the physician of the sick. I am a perpetual source of health, and the terror of demons. I am a city of refuge for fugitives. Approach with faith and you will receive a sea of graces. Come, you of weak faith. All you that thirst, come to the waters in obedience to Isaias' commands, and you who have no money, come and buy for nothing. I call upon all with the Gospel invitation. Let him who longs for bodily or spiritual cure, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from misfortune, the possession of heaven, approach me with faith, and draw hence a strong and rich stream of grace. Just as the action of one and the same water acts differently on the earth, air, and sun, according to the nature of each, producing wine in the vine and oil in the olive-tree, so does one and the same grace profit each person according to his needs. I do not possess grace on my own account. A tomb given up to corruption, an object of sorrow and dejection, I receive a precious ointment, and am impregnated with it, and this sweet fragrance alters my condition whilst it lasts. Truly, divine graces flow where they will. I have sheltered the source of joy, and I have become rich in its perennial fountain.

    What shall we answer the tomb? You have indeed rich and abiding grace, but divine power is not restricted by place, neither is the Mother of God's working. If it were confined to the tomb alone, few would be the richer. Now it is freely distributed in all parts of the world. Let us then make our memory serve as a storehouse of God's Mother. How shall this be? She is a virgin and a lover of virginity. She is pure and a lover of purity. If we purify our mind with the body, we shall possess her grace. She shuns all impurity and impure passions. She has a horror of intemperance, and a special hatred for fornication. She turns from its allurements as from the progeny of serpents... She looks upon all sin as death-inflicting rejoicing in all good. Contraries are cured by contraries. She delights in fasting and continence and spiritual canticles, in purity, virginity, and wisdom. With these she is ever at peace, and takes them to her heart. She embraces peace and a meek spirit, and love, mercy, and humility as her children. In a word, she grieves over every sin, and is glad at all goodness as if it were her own. If we turn away from our former sins in all earnestness and love goodness with all our hearts, and make it our constant companion, she will frequently visit her servants, bringing all blessings with her, Christ her Son, the King and Lord who reigns in our hearts. To Him be glory, praise, honour, power, and magnificence, with the eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.

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