Friday, September 30, 2011
Video Conference by Fr. Arnaud Rostand on SSPX and Rome

USA District Superior, Fr. Arnaud Rostand, gave a short conference at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Kansas City, MO on September 26.  He outlines briefly the history of the Society of St. Pius X, the example and principles of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and the Society's continuing struggle to defend Catholic Tradition. Fr. Rostand also speaks about the supernatural attitude we should have regarding recent events between the SSPX and Rome.
SSPX Brothers Profess Religious Vows

The SSPX are proud to report that yesterday, on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, Br. Gabriel Mary pronounced his perpetual vows after nine years of religious life. Three others brothers renewed their vows for one and three years.

According to the Statutes written by Archbishop Lefebvre for the SSPX’s brothers, the brothers make their vows for one year, then twice for a three-year period, before being allowed to make their perpetual vows. The first religious profession takes place after a year of novitiate.

By this profession, the brother consecrates himself totally to God, binding himself by the religious vows of poverty, obedience and perfect chastity. During the solemn engagement ceremony, the celebrant reminds the religious: “Consider the dignity and the sublimity of the religious state…, recall the demands and the rewards of the perfect life.” Developing this sentiment during the ceremony’s sermon, Fr. Kenneth Dean emphasized: “The free will is not given up by the vows, but on the contrary is perfected.”

During the Offertory of the Solemn Mass and in front of the opened tabernacle, the brothers publicly gave thanks to the Most Adorable Trinity, then asked for the forgiveness of their sins and for an increase of charity towards God, followed by a fervent prayer to Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. Pius X. The brothers then solemnly made their vows “before God and the Church.”

Adding to the brothers’ ranks, on the eve of the feast of St. Michael, one postulant received the habit (black cassock and plain sash) and became a novice through the act of oblation he made. Presenting him a crucifix, the celebrant said:
Receive this Cross, a sign of the Passion of Jesus Christ so that it may be for you the foundation of faith, defense against adversity, and the everlasting standard of victory.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Prayer for Ember Saturday in September

The following is the Collect from the Mass on Saturday of Ember Days of September.  Oremus:
Almighty, everlasting God, you who cure our body and soul through healing self-denial, we humbly entreat your majesty to hear favorably the devout prayer of those who fast, and to grant us help for the present and the future.  Through our Lord...Amen.
Image Source: St. Mary's Galway
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Ember Days

The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are Ember Days and, as such, are days of penance.  Wednesday and Saturday are days of partial abstinence from meat while Friday is total abstinence (as usual).  

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

From New Advent:

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

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

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

From Catholic Culture:

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

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

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on Conformity to God's Will

It is a great satisfaction for me to report that, fourteen years from the foundation of the Society, its organization, its purpose―particularly sacerdotal―of forming priests shaped in the spirit of Our Lord, in the spirit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass―is finding its realization in the ministry, in the practice of the priestly life that you lead now, (…) which shows also your concern to keep up and to perfect your desire for holiness. This is our outstanding importance.

You see, I think that if difficulties have arisen, which we know, in the priesthood, and in the sphere of secular priests in particular, since the Council, and these difficulties have been a painful verification of something that was lacking in the formation of these priests, it is without doubt that they had lost at the same time the true notion of the priesthood in which they were clothed, and that they had not taken the means of keeping this desire to maintain their faith and their fervor…


…And then it is another great trial that we all suffer: the trial of the Church, because we finally have to recognize it, the exterior situation and in a certain way the juridical situation (at last juridical in the sense of purely literal law), well, now it is not normal, that is true. Thus we are not in a normal relation with the bishops, with the priests who are around us and who also have an apostolate―what apostolate?―but in the end, they are priests who are still in the parishes; the relations with them are obviously not the relations, which we normally should have had in the holy Church. So, no normal relations with the bishops, no normal relations with the priests who are around us, no normal relations with men religious or sisters, with a good part of the faithful, with Rome itself. It is an appalling, horrible trial, because it is abnormal. But the anomaly does not come from us. It is from them that it comes, from all those who have not followed the Tradition of the Church, who have themselves put themselves permanently outside all legality, outside the Faith, yes―even outside the Faith!

But however it may be, we are convinced of this, it is they who are wrong, who have changed course, who have broken with the Tradition of the Church, who have rushed into novelties, we are convinced of this. That is why we do not rejoin them and why we cannot work with them; we cannot collaborate with the people who depart from the spirit of the Church, from the Tradition of the Church. But that puts us in a very critical situation of breaking with that mass of Church people who are departing from the Tradition of the Church. That makes thus for an unlikely situation, assuredly unbelievable, that is at times for us a cause for sorrow, for a desire to see the Church rediscover her way, that is to say, her Tradition―at least not the Church, but the people of the Church―for a desire that the Church not be torn anymore as it is right now, and finally that her passion in some way end.

Source: Archbishop Lefebvre gave this address to the priests of the French District on December 13, 1984.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Excerpt from "The Restoration of Christian Culture"

I spent this weekend reading the majority of John Senior's fantastic work The Restoration of Christian Culture. I can not recommend it highly enough to my readers.  I'd like to share some of the passages from the book as well as some brief thoughts.

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 call 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.

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 divine 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).

To conclude with his words on our culture: "Our Lord explains in the Parable of the Sower that the seed of His love will only grow in a certain soil - and that is the soil of Christian Culture, which is the work of music in the wide sense, including as well as tunes that are sung, art, literature, games, architecture - all so many instruments in the orchestra which plays day and night the music of lovers; and if it is disordered, then the love of Christ will not grow.  It is an obvious fact that here in the United States now, the Devil has seized these instruments to play a danse macabre, a dance of death, especially through what we call the "media," the film, television, radio, record, book, magazine and newspaper industries.  The restoration of culture, spiritually, morally, physically, demands the cultivation of the soil in which the love of Christ can grow, and that means we must, as they say, rethink priorities" (21).
Saturday, September 10, 2011
St. Ambrose on the Blessed Virgin Mary

The first thing that inspires enthusiasm in learning is the greatness of the teacher. Who is greater than the Mother of God? Who is more glorious than the one whom Glory itself chose? Who is more chaste than the one who bore a body without contact with another body?

For why should I mention her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind. No guile stained her sincerity. She was humble in heart, serious in speech, prudent in mind, sparing of words, studious in reading. She put her hope not in riches but in the prayer of the poor. There was nothing gloomy in her eyes, nothing forward in her words, nothing undignified in her acts. There was not a foolish movement, not an unrestrained step. She was never irritable.

In this way her outward appearance itself became the image of her soul, the representation of what is approved. We ought to be able to recognize a well-ordered house on the very threshold: it should show at the very first entrance that there is no darkness hidden inside it. In the same way our soul, hindered by no bodily restraints, should shine forth like a lamp placed inside.

Source: St. Ambrose, Three Books on Virgins
Monday, September 5, 2011
First Mass of Fr. Augustine at St. Jude's Church in Philadelphia

St. Jude's Church near Philadelphia, PA joyfully celebrated the recent priestly ordination of one of its parishioners, Fr. Augustine, a Benedictine at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Monastery in Silver City, New Mexico.

Father celebrated a Solemn First Mass for his home parish on Sunday, June 26.  Below are some photos from that Mass.

O God, our heavenly Father, who lovest mankind, and art most merciful and compassionate, have mercy upon thy servants for whom I humbly pray thee, and commend to thy gracious care and protection. Be thou, O God, their guide and guardian in all their endeavors, lead them in the path of thy truth, and draw them nearer to thee, that they may lead a godly and righteous life in thy love and fear; doing thy will in all things. Give them grace that they may be temperate, industrious, dilligent, devout and charitable. Defend them against the assaults of the enemy, and grant them wisdom and strength to resist all temptation and corruption of this life; and direct them in the way of salvation, through the merits of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the intercessions of his Holy Mother and thy blessed Saints. Amen.

Let us pray for Fr. Augustine.

Source: SSPX.ORG
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Activities for our Baptism Anniversary

What activities should we, as Catholics, perform on the anniversary of our baptism?  Well, perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.  Do you even remember the date on which you were baptized?  You remember your birthday and secular holidays.  For those readers from the United States, I'm sure you can recall the secular meaning of July 4th, can you not?

Yet, why do you fail to remember heavenly occassions?  Have you failed to recall the date on which your soul was purchased from satan.  That's right, it has always been taught that we can not be saved without Baptism.  Before your Baptism your soul belonged to satan.  Whether you were baptized as a child or as an adult, you (or your parents on your behalf) made a series of promises to the Church and you are bound to keep your share of those promises.

Thus, your first responsibility is to find out when you were baptized - the month, day, and year.  Next, write this on your calendar each and every year.  On the anniversary of your baptism, you should renew your baptismal promises and re-read the Rite of Baptism.  To aid you in this, I share below the Rite of Baptism performed according the 1962 Rubrics, which are still used by traditional Catholics.  Even if you were baptized in a different Rite (after all, you might have been baptized in an Eastern Catholic Rite), this Rite (or a similar one) should be read each year on your Baptism as a reminder of the transformation in your soul on that day.  Your soul will never the be same.  If you go to Heaven or Hell, your soul - by Baptism - is marked.  There is a mark present on your soul in a real way so that in the life hereafter it will be visible - no matter if you go to Heaven or Hell.

We begin our examination of the Rite of Baptism.  The Traditional Baptismal Rite begins as follows:

1. The priest says the greeting: Peace be with you.

He then asks the name of the child (if several are to be baptized he asks the name of each one):

Priest: What is your name?
Sponsors: N.

{From the beginning the Church has proclaimed to men the good news of salvation in Christ. And from one who wants the benefit of the good news the response of faith is demanded. To ask for baptism is first of all to ask for the faith of the Church. In the following brief dialogue between priest and subject is summed up the chief content of Christian life, of which faith is the foundation, everlasting life the goal, and love of God and of neighbor the means. The priest's role in the sacrament is pointed up here, that of representative of Christ and the Church, the role he plays from start to finish of the sacramental action.}

P (to each): N., what are you asking of God's Church?

Sponsors: Faith.

P (to each): What does faith hold out to you?

Sponsors: Everlasting life.

Stop here. Before you were baptized, you (or your parents on your behalf) asked for what? They asked for Faith. Faith is necessary for salvation. Our Lord, in His divine will in ordering of the universe, has made it so that we (as humans) can not love that which we do not know. We must first know something in order to love it. By Faith, we know God and by knowing God, we can love Him. Recall it was He who first loved us, while we were yet sinners (and unborn). It was then that our Lord gave up His Divine life in upspeakable love for us. We ask, before our baptism, for Faith. Do you have Faith? Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in His Son, the Redeemer of the World, and in the Holy Ghost? Do you belief that our Lord was crucified for our sins and, in so doing, died for all mankind? Do you believe that He rose again from the dead physically and ascended psychically into Heaven? Do you believe in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist? Do you believe all that the Church of God teaches?

You asked for Faith. Do you have it? Do you frequently pray the Act of Faith, a prayer which we we ask God to increase our Faith? If not, add it to your daily morning prayers (that is, assuming that you are faithful in your obligation to pray every morning).

And, what does the Rite of Baptism tell us that Faith will give us? It says "Everlasting life". Without Faith, we can not love God. If we have no love for God, He does not dwell within us. And if our Lord does not dwell within us, we can not be saved and possess everlasting life.

The Rite of Baptism continues with the priest saying:

P (to each): If, then, you wish to inherit everlasting life, keep the commandments, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Now ask yourself, do you keep the Commandments? Can we say as the Psalmist proclaims, "Therefore have I loved thy commandments above gold and the topaz"? Do you love God more than men? Do you love God more than your family, your possessions, and even your own life? Our Divine Redeemer has said that "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).

Do you love God more than everything else in the world? And if you say yes, do your actions show it? "Faith without works is dead," says St. James.

I ask that you continue through this examination. Reference the Rite of Baptism and continue to search your own soul. If you find yourself in sin, go to Confession (assuming you have already been baptized in the Catholic Faith). Go to Confession to receive the pardon of Almighty God.

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