Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Rogation Day and Ember Day Manual

Last Friday was April 25th and the annual Major Rogation Day.  Today, I wish to provide a truly wonderful resource for you on the subject of these days in the Traditional Catholic Liturgical Year.  

Fr Christopher Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina has put together a truly beautiful and excellent illustrated guide explaining both the Rogations and Ember Days, with a number of very useful quotes from various liturgical sources. It can be downloaded from dropbox.

H/T New Liturgical Movement
Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.
Friday, April 25, 2014
The Canonization of Pope John XXIII: It's Implication on Vatican II

The Hijacking of St. John XXIII’s Ecumenical Council   

This is a Guest Post By David Martin
When the announcement was made on September 30, 2013, that Pope John XXIII was going to be canonized, glaring eyebrows went up in the Traditionalist camp. After all, saints are usually martyr figures that are persecuted for their uncompromising fidelity to the Faith, and Pope John is generally regarded as the flaming modernist who compromised the Church by convoking the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1962.

There is no disputing the disaster wrought by Vatican II and how it set into motion an insidious departure from tradition that has left the Holy City “half in ruins.” Even as we report on the canonization of John XXIII, the gale force of “his” conciliar tempest continues to uproot the Faith, blow apart revered Catholic practices, topple the Church's edifice, and spread doctrinal debris throughout the Church. So why the tribute? Should his “aggiornamento” be rewarded this way?
Pope John deserves tribute, but it’s important that people see his canonization in the right light and that they have the inside scoop on his true intentions for Vatican II, otherwise it will appear that heresy and modernism are being glorified. For he is known as the founding father of Vatican II, which is why modernists are now beaming over the prospect of his canonization, because their hope is to see Vatican II “canonized.” But the good Lord has His own reasons for glorifying His servant John, as we will see shortly.

Good Intentions

The fact is that Vatican II was started with the best of resolves. Pope John’s purpose for convening the Council was not to change the Church but to restate Holy Tradition, evidenced in his opening speech on October 11, 1962: “The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy.”
(John XXIII)

Without diluting the Faith, the pope was simply trying to adopt a more effective means of projecting the orthodox Faith to the modern world. His “update” did not include the watering down of doctrine or the alteration of liturgy, but consisted in utilizing the media and state-of-the-art technology to better project the light of tradition to a spiritually darkened world.

After all, there were dangers threatening the Faith at that time, especially the evils of evolution and abortion. Apostasy was forthcoming and man was already on the eve of forgetting his Maker, so the pope was making a special effort to dispel the ensuing darkness and uphold the orthodox Faith “with greater efficacy.”

To this end he and his best men worked arduously for almost three years to draft up the outline for the Second Vatican Council, known as the 72 schemas or schemata. According to the most conservative thinkers of Rome, the preparatory schemata were orthodox and worthy of use, but modernists were enraged that the Holy Father had put together the preparatory outline without conferring with them beforehand. Hence a decision was made before the Council to block Pope John’s plan for Vatican II.
Council Hijacked

According to Michael Davies and many others, a number of "suspect theologians" hijacked the opening session of the Council by seizing control of its drafting commissions, thus enabling them to scrap Pope John's plan and draft a new agenda of their own. A key instigator of the pack was Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx of the Netherlands, a known heretic who denied the historicity of the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Eucharist (Transubstantiation), and who had drafted and disseminated a 480-page critique aimed at rallying the progressive “Rhine bishops” to reject the original plan for Vatican II. The design of these progressivists was to revive Luther’s Reformation under the pretext of a renewal, something that Schillebeeckx openly confessed to.

Pope Benedict himself pointed out in 2013 how a “virtual council” had risen up to usurp the “real Council” at Vatican II, and lamented how “it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy.” (Benedict XVI, addressing the parish churches of Rome, February 14, 2013) This echoes the words of Paul VI who stated that the good efforts at Vatican II were hampered by “the devil” who came along “to suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council.” (June 29, 1972) Hence it is worth recounting the opening session so that we have a clearer perspective of what really took place at the Second Vatican Council.

At the center of the coup to overthrow the Council were Cardinals Alfrink, Frings, and Lienart      of the Rhine Alliance. A crucial vote was to be taken to determine the members of the conciliar drafting commissions when Cardinal Lienart, a 30th degree Freemason, seized the microphone during a speech and demanded that the slate of 168 candidates be discarded and that a new slate of candidates be drawn up. His uncanny gesture was heeded by the Council and the election was postponed. Lienart’s action deflected the course of the Council and made history, and was hailed a victory in the press. The date was October 13, 1962, the 45th Anniversary of Our Lady’s last apparition at Fatima. (Fr. Ralph Wiltgen, the Rhine Flows into the Tiber)

In his February 14, 2013, address to the clergy of Rome, Pope Benedict brilliantly recounts this incident at Vatican II: “On the programme for this first day were the elections of the Commissions, and lists of names had been prepared, in what was intended to be an impartial manner, and these lists were put to the vote. But right away the Fathers said: 'No, we do not simply want to vote for pre-prepared lists. We are the subject.' Then, it was necessary to postpone the elections, because the Fathers themselves…wanted to prepare the lists themselves. And so it was. Cardinal Liénart of Lille and Cardinal Frings of Cologne had said publicly: no, not this way. We want to make our own lists and elect our own candidates."

The above statement is of no small significance. Herein Benedict confesses that Lienart and his clique rejected the list of candidates that John XXIII had rightfully approved in an “impartial manner,” so that they in turn could create their own list and elect their own candidates in a partial manner. And that’s exactly what they did!

When the "election" resumed, a number of radical theologians were then appointed to chair the commissions, including Hans Kung, Karl Rahner, de Lubac, Schillebeeckx and others whose writings had been blacklisted under Pius XII. The liberals now occupied nearly 60% of the seats, giving them the needed power to steer the Council in their direction. Thereupon they proceeded to trash the pope’s carefully prepared agenda that had taken nearly three years to formulate.

Through deceitful promises and skillful use of the media, the Council approved their plan for a new Mass on December 7, 1962, known as the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” and this became the hub of the liturgical reform that was to set the Church on a new revolutionary course of change. The Constitution was principally the work of the infamous Annibale Bugnini whom the pope had earlier removed from two posts because of sinister activity. It in fact was the outgrowth of the one preparatory schema, drafted by Bugnini, which Vatican liberals had spared because of its designs for a new Mass. Note that Bugnini, and not the pope, was the author of the New Mass.

What is mind boggling is the dictatorial force wherewith the conciliar elite took the law into their own hands and were able to junk Pope John’s outline for Vatican II without a rebuttal. With the procedural rules laid down by the pope a mere one-third vote was needed to get the schemata passed, which in fact did pass by a 40% vote. But the Rhine fathers stirred up a ruckus and insisted that this minority vote not be honored in favor of the 60% vote against the schemata, even telling the pope, “This is inadmissible!” They abhorred the orthodoxy of the preparatory outline with its strict formulations and resented the idea of having it imposed upon them by a pope who “clung to the old absolute traditions.”

The pope, fearing a tumult, backed down and consented to let the Rhine fathers have their way against game rules. Though he had planned it differently, his strength failed him at this point, thus allowing the pirates of reform to wrest the Council from his hands. Hence the most meticulous and painstaking preparation ever undertaken for any council of Church history was suddenly dumped to the glee of this Council confederacy. Only the liturgical schema remained.

We gather that Cardinal Tisserant, the key draftsman of the 1962 Moscow-Vatican Treaty who presided at the opening session, was at the center of this coup to usurp the Vatican Council. According to Jean Guitton, the famous French academic, Tisserant had showed him a painting of himself and six others, and told him, “This picture is historic, or rather, symbolic. It shows the meeting we had before the opening of the Council when we decided to block the first session
by refusing to accept the tyrannical rules laid down by John XXIII.” (Vatican II in the Dock, 2003)

This story of what happened at Vatican II is well documented and has been told in great depth by the most qualified witnesses, including Father Ralph Wiltgen, Monsignor Bandas, Michael Davies, Cardinal Heenan and many others. Archbishop Lefebvre who was on the Central Preparatory Committee for checking and overseeing all the Council documents had this to say:

“From the very first days, the Council was besieged by the progressive forces. We experienced it, felt it…We had the impression that something abnormal was happening and this impression was rapidly confirmed; fifteen days after the opening session not one of the seventy-two schemas remained. All had been sent back, rejected, thrown into the waste-paper basket…The immense work that had been found accomplished was scrapped and the assembly found itself empty-handed, with nothing ready. What chairman of a board meeting, however small the company, would agree to carry on without an agenda and without documents? Yet that is how the Council commenced.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Open Letter to Confused Catholics, 1986)

And this is how the modern reform was born. Pope John’s agenda for Vatican II would never resurrect from that point, but would remain buried even to this day. The rebellious “virtual council” would now proceed to put together the Vatican II we know today, including its sixteen documents and its reform of liturgy. The documents would contain elements of orthodoxy here and there, but this would only be done for cosmetic purposes. Under the pretext of a “restoration” or “reform,” the documents would apologize for tradition and attempt to unite the Catholic Church with other world religions on secular terms. That is to say, the documents themselves, and not any misinterpretation thereof, would generate the problems ahead since they would largely be penned by Peter’s enemies, and not his friends. “By their fruits you shall know them.” (Mt. 7:20)

Pope John XXIII’s reluctance in releasing the Third Secret of Fatima in 1960 undoubtedly caused him unspeakable sorrow for the rest of his life, for he was now witnessing the tragic fulfillment of the Fatima Secret. The very forces of hell marched into Rome to take the Holy City captive, which was accomplished through the conciliar apparatus provided them by the rebellious Rhine fathers and their periti. This is not to say that the gates of hell had fully prevailed against the Church, but that we had arrived at that point in history when the Church would be handed over to the Gentiles, at which time “they shall tread the holy city under foot two and forty months.” (Apocalypse 11:2)

It is said that the pope was struck to the heart, and in great pain, so that the cancer he had earlier contracted was greatly augmented now, leaving him only eight months to live. On his deathbed he cried out: “Stop the Council, Stop the Council,” but his “trusty” aides made sure that this didn’t circulate to the other cardinals. The Council was already too well advanced, the liberals had put too much stock in their revolution, so they weren’t about to give up their fun at this point.

Fissure Created

Pope John certainly made some mistakes, he wasn’t perfect. Perhaps the biggest mistake he made was to convoke the Second Vatican Council, since it provided an opening for the hidden enemy to infiltrate the Church. According to Pope Paul VI, the Council of Vatican II was that “fissure” through which “the smoke of satan entered into the temple of God.” (June 29, 1972) Even the future Pope Paul was alarmed when he learned in January 1959 that Pope John had announced the upcoming Council, to which he responded: “This holy old boy doesn’t realize what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up!” Clearly he didn’t realize it.

Nay, the calling of Vatican II wasn’t too smart, but was a huge blunder which showed poor judgment and terrible foresight. We might even say the pope was playing Russian roulette with the Church, literally. Were not the representatives of the Soviet Union present at Vatican II with a plan to get their clenched fist agenda implemented in a spiritual way with “human rights” and the “empowerment of the laity?” Maybe Pope John should have heeded those prophets that had been forecasting disaster. Popes Pius X, XI, and XII had all refrained from calling a council, fearing it would hatch the very problems we have today. But the pope somehow believed it was now time for a Council.

However we have to remember that saints are not canonized for their smarts, talents, or administrative skills, but for their charity. And this, Pope John was loaded with. He was big hearted and wanted to extend the benevolence of God to all, and somehow was convinced that a united effort at the Vatican Council would avert the impending doom that hung over the world. Unfortunately his “virtuous fault” of refusing to see the evil in his fellow man blinded him to the reality of infiltrated Judases, and allowed these enemies to countermand and overrun him.

Pope John has sometimes been criticized for quietly lifting the ban on some of these suspect theologians whose activities were formerly restricted by Pius XII, but conservatives have faltered in not recognizing his good intentions. The traditional Monsignor Rudolph Bandas who was one of the brilliant and outstanding periti at Vatican II understood clearly how John XXIII was being overrun and abused, and had this to say: “No doubt good Pope John thought that these suspect theologians would rectify their ideas and perform a genuine service to the Church. But exactly the opposite happened. Supported by certain Rhine Council fathers, and often acting in a manner positively boorish, they turned around and exclaimed: ‘Behold, we are named experts, our ideas stand approved.”’

Pope John’s vision of Vatican II was truly noble and well intending, though he was naïve. This excerpt from his opening speech nicely reflects his pastoral spirit: “The great desire, therefore, of the Catholic Church in raising aloft at this Council the torch of truth, is to show herself to the world as the loving mother of all mankind; gentle, patient, and full of tenderness and sympathy for her separated children.”

Unfortunately this kind of talk made Vatican II progressives sick. The good pope didn’t realize he was going to get clobbered for this. The fact is that Pope John XXIII was viciously stabbed in the back by those he trusted. When they wanted their way with him they would crouch and kiss his ring, and in the next hour or minute they were plotting on how they would take Vatican II away from him.

For instance Monsignor Bugnini, a notorious Freemason and sweet-talker, assured the pope that he was most committed to fostering a deepened love and appreciation for the liturgy. So the pope blindly entrusted to him the task of heading the new Preparatory Commission on the Liturgy that was established on June 6, 1960, believing that a deepened love for the old Mass would result from this. But what he failed to realize is that Bugnini and his cohorts were secretly at work drafting up a new Mass for the Church which they were determined to get passed at Vatican II.

And it did pass with flying colors! The Bugnini Schema superseded all the other schemas and became the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on December 7, 1962. (Later called Sacrosanctum Concilium) This was the document that directly led to the implementation of the New Mass in the vernacular. Yet the pope in 1960 had no idea what Bugnini and his men were cooking up for the Council. The conservative Cardinal Heenan of Westminster even says in his autobiography that “Pope John did not suspect what was being planned by the liturgical experts.”

If it wasn’t bad enough that the good pope had to endure spiritual martyrdom from the devil and his agents, let us take a look at his actual death on June 3, 1963. The unofficial word is that Pope John XXIII was murdered. For when he began crying out from his deathbed to “Stop the Council,” his death suddenly ensued. Though he was ill with terminal cancer, he wasn’t supposed to die quite so soon. As they saw it, it was urgent that his outcry be silenced, so they gave him a little extra sedative to calm his nerves. We have to remember that euthanasia didn’t start with Obamacare, but existed in the hospitals even back then.

Needless to say, John XXIII was persecuted and laid low. The allegations from the Sedevacantist camp that he was a Freemason display ignorance and have contributed to his martyrdom of spirit. It was the Freemasons that generated the revolt at Vatican II, but a key part of their plan was to hide and shift the blame onto the pope in order to sell their revolution and smear the pope’s reputation. Pseudo traditionalists by their detraction have effectively and unknowingly assisted the Masonic plan to discredit the papacy in these latter times.
The Pope’s own Words

If nothing else convinces us of Pope John’s innocence, we turn to his own words: “I repeat once more that what matters most in this life is: our blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, and in the Gospel above all else the Our Father according to the mind and heart of Jesus, and the truth and goodness of his Gospel, goodness, which must be meek and kind, hardworking and patient, unconquerable and victorious.”

This angelic philosophy echoes what the saints of history have said concerning our purpose in life. Sanctity means being Christ centered with a burning aspiration to bring all men to the love and knowledge of God. With this very aspiration the pope in his opening speech at Vatican II expressed the intentions of the Council: “Its intention is to give to the world the whole of that doctrine which, notwithstanding every difficulty and contradiction, has become the common heritage of mankind—to transmit it in all its purity, undiluted, undistorted. It is a treasure of incalculable worth, not indeed coveted by all, but available to all men of good will.”

Are these the words of a Freemason, a Judas, a progressivist? Or are these rather the words of a  saint? Would that the pope and bishops of today would speak this way! The Church’s mission for 2000 years has been precisely to bring this deposit of Faith to mankind so that, if it were possible, the entire earth would be enkindled with its flame. The Traditional Roman Faith is that sacred legacy which God originally intended as “the common heritage of mankind,” though the Reformation did much to destroy this ecclesial unity, as did its reemergence at Vatican II.

What is needed today is a true renewal of Catholic tradition, so that the Mystical Body can once again be whole as in former times, with unity and soundness. What is needed is what John XXIII originally prescribed in his opening speech at Vatican II: “…that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives. What is needed is that this certain and immutable doctrine, to which the faithful owe obedience, be studied afresh.”

As John XXIII is raised to the altars of Holy Mother the Church this April 27, 2014, let us be encouraged to assume a new perspective of holy pontiff whereby we cease from blaming him for all the problems that have ravaged the Church since Vatican II. He made some mistakes which he had to pay dearly for. May he now be rewarded for all the good he proposed and all the evil he endured.

And especially, may we be resolved to assist him and his Maker in the cause of restoring the Holy Roman Catholic Church to its former glory. St. John XXIII, pray for us!
Major Rogation Day 2014

Today is April 25, the Feast of St. Mark, and the Major Rogation. In times past, fasting and penance were required, and the faithful would especially pray Litanies on this day.

Not until relatively recently, it was a requirement that this day was kept with two conventual Masses where choral obligation existed.  The first, post tertiam, was the festive Mass of St. Mark the Evangelist.  The second post nonam was the more penitential Mass formula of Rogation tide.  For those bound to the Divine Office, the Litany is still mandatory today.

What are Rogation Days?

Rogation Days are the four days set apart to bless the fields, and invoke God's mercy on all of creation. The 4 days are April 25, which is called the Major Rogation (and is only coincidentally the same day as the Feast of St. Mark); and the three days preceding Ascension Thursday, which are called the Minor Rogations. Traditionally, on these days, the congregation marches the boundaries of the parish, blessing every tree and stone, while chanting or reciting a Litany of Mercy, usually a Litany of the Saints. Continue Reading...


All we can do is worth nothing Unless God blesses the deed; Vainly we hope for the harvest-tide Till God gives life to the seed; Yet nearer and nearer draws the time, The time that shall surely be When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God As the waters cover the sea.

To the regular family prayers, which we say during the Easter season, we add the following:

Father:  Praise the Lord; for He is good.

Family: His mercy endures forever.

Father: We beseech Thee, Almighty God, that because of our afflictions we may rely on Thy goodness, and with Thy protection may be defended against all adversities.

Family: And I say to you; ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Alleluia.

Prayer Source: Family Customs: Easter to Pentecost by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1956
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Meatless Fridays during Eastertide

Today is Friday, the day in which we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned our glorious Lord to death on Good Friday - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat or rather to do some act of penance each Friday in the entire year. It was on this day of the week that our glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray the 3 o'clock Mercy Prayer. Please remember Our Lord's love and repent today.

Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.
Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Exsultet of the Easter Vigil: O Blessed Night! O Happy Fault!

From the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil evening ceremonies:
This is the night in which, destroying the chains of death, Christ arose victorious from the grave. For it profited us not to be born, if it had not profited us to be redeemed... O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from the tomb!
Felix Culpa!  O Happy Fault!  The Latin expression felix culpa derives from the writings of St. Augustine regarding the Fall of Man, the source of original sin: “For God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist.” (in Latin: Melius enim iudicavit de malis benefacere, quam mala nulla esse permittere.)

The phrase is sung annually in the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil: "O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem," ("O happy fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer.")

The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, cited this line when he explained that the principle whereby "God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom" underlies the causal relation between original sin and the Divine Redeemer's Incarnation, thus concluding that a higher state is not inhibited by sin. St. Ambrose also speaks of the fortunate ruin of Adam in the Garden of Eden in that his sin brought more good to humanity than if he had stayed perfectly innocent.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
America & the French Revolution docudrama

Dear Friend in the Faith,

I would love for you to know about a fascinating new film that we are trying to finish.  It is a docudrama called The Hidden Rebellion that showcases the brave defense of religious liberty by the Catholic farmers of Vendee during the French Revolution. Surprisingly, this story means a lot to America now…

The events were incredible – in both aggressiveness and forgiveness (you can see this in the trailer). These events help explain many things that are happening in our world today.
Powers in education and the media have scrubbed clean the French Revolution because they want to advance the same goal in America.

The new fact now is that historians are finding that the French Revolution was guilty of genocide on the Vendeans.  This will surely change many things in the public debate… But we must say it to a lot of people with the help of an attractive new film.

If we succeed in showing on the Big Screen the truth about what happened, I am sure that we will change many, many hearts...

If you feel that the defense of religious liberty is important, and you have an inkling that an attractive docudrama could be a wonderful tool in that defense, I would really appreciate it if you could make a small contribution.  In so doing, you will become an associate to this production.

This is a difficult month because I need to pay editors, music and graphics. I left my position as producer at the EWTN television network after 16 years to produce this show. Without help, the process will stop, and I will need to work on another production.

Don't allow this to happen! – because I think that we hold something very precious here. Please, help me create a docudrama in honor of all those faithful who died at the hands of the first atheistic state.
With gratitude, this Holy Week,

Daniel Rabourdin

Birmingham, AL
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The Capirote in Holy Week

For 500 years, the Spanish faithful have commemorated the Passion of Our Lord with marvelous public processions, ceremonies, and penance.  The stunning pasos of Our Lord and Our Lady continue to inspire souls to this day.  The following is taken from TFP Student Action's Website:

The video feature Holy Week processions from Spanish Culture:

In these videos is the very interesting use of the Capirote.  The Capirote is extremely foreign to Americans as its use by the anti-Catholic KKK has put the entire usage into a negative light.  The Capirote is simply a pointed hat that is used in Spanish culture during Holy Week. It is part of the uniform of some brotherhoods including the Nazarenos and "Phariseos."

Traditionally, during the celebration of the Holy Week in Mediterranean countries, "Penitentes" (i.e. people doing penance for their sins) would walk through streets with pointed hats. It was a way of self-injury; however, they covered their faces so they wouldn't be recognized.

The entire article on Holy Week in Seville, Spain, is well worth the read here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
Saturday of Lazarus

Today in the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church is commemorated one of their most important feastdays in the year: Lazarus Saturday. This feast commemorates the great miracle of our Lord when he raised Lazarus from the dead after Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days.

As Lent for the Eastern Catholics began a few days earlier than for Roman Catholics, Lazarus Saturday marks the end of Great Lent for them.  Holy Week is a separate week of penance and fasting for them outside of the Great Lent of forty days of fasting and penitence.

On Lazarus Saturday,  the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year, one that leads the faithful in remembrance of His suffering and death and concludes with the great and glorious Feast of Easter.

The Roman Catholic Church also, while not calling it Lazarus Saturday, recalls this miracle today as well. The Gospel reading for the Saturday in Passion Week (the Saturday before Palm Sunday) is the story of the Resurrection of Lazarus.
During Friday vespers the reading of Genesis (which began on the first day of Great Lent) is concluded with the description of the death, burial and mourning of Jacob (Genesis 49:33-50:26) and on Friday night, at compline, a Canon on the Raising of Lazarus by Saint Andrew of Crete is sung; this is a rare full canon, having all nine canticles.

The scripture readings and hymns for this day focus on the raising of Lazarus as a foreshadowing of the Resurrection of Christ and a prefiguring of the General Resurrection. The Gospel narrative is interpreted in the hymns as illustrating the two natures of Christ: his humanity in asking, "Where have ye laid him?" (John 11:34), and his divinity by commanding Lazarus to come forth from the dead (John 11:43). A number of the hymns, written in the first or second person, relate Lazarus' death, entombment and burial bonds symbolically to the individual's sinful state. Many of the resurrectional hymns of the normal Sunday service are sung while prayers for the departed, prescribed on Sundays, are permitted. During the divine liturgy, the baptismal hymn, "As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Romans 6:3) replaces the Trisagion indicating that this had been a day on which baptisms were performed [2] and in some churches nowadays adult converts are still baptized on this day.

Lazarus Saturday is the day when, traditionally, hermits would leave their retreats in the wilderness to return to the monastery for the Holy Week services. Although the forty days of Great Lent end on Lazarus Friday, this day is still observed as a fast day; however, the fast is mitigated to allow consumption of caviar, eggs being a symbol of the resurrection and prominent on Pascha, and fish eggs being a shadow thereof show the raising of Lazarus as a foreshadowing of Christ's Resurrection, as elucidated in the propers of the day.

The antiquity of this commemoration is demonstrated by the homilies of St. John Chrysostom (349 - 407), St Augustine of Hippo Regia (354 - 430), and others. In the 7th and 8th centuries, special hymns and canons for the feast were written by St. Andrew of Crete, St. Cosmas of Maium and St. John Damascene, which are still sung to this day.
One common tradition throughout Greece for the Saturday of Lazarus is the baking of Lazarakia. Lazarakia is a spice bread used to remember the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It has many sweet spices in it and is Lenten, meaning it has no dairy or eggs in it. Lazarakia comes in the shape of a man (which is supposed to be Lazarus). There is a mouth and cloves for eyes. Unlike Tsoureki, Lazarakia is not brushed with egg or butter to give it a gloss finish (to not break the fast). One recipe can be found here. "If you don't make a Lazaro, you won't have your full of bread" (“Λάζαρο δεν πλάσεις, ψωμί δεν θα χορτάσεις”), is a saying among some Greeks. Lazarakia should look like the Lazarus in the icon of his resurrection, bound like a dead man with a shroud.

On the island of Kos girls who are engaged make a Lazaro the size of a small child, filled with countless goodies and embroidered almost like the coils of the wedding, to send to the groom. The "Lazaroudia" in many households are filled with ground walnuts, almonds, figs, raisins, honey, extra spices and children eat it hot.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Requiem Aeternam: Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly

Aged 87, he died on April 9 in a San Diego hospital. Born in 1927, Cardinal Delly was ordained to the priesthood in 1952 and the episcopate in 1963. In October 2003 he was elected patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007.

May his soul rest in peace.  Requiem Aeternam.

De Profundis

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness, that You may be revered.
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord,
For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.
Source: Vatican Radio
10th Annivesary of My Baptism

Today, April 10th, is an important day in my life.  Today marks the 10th Anniversary of my Baptism at the Easter Vigil in 2004.  As I reflect on these past 10 years, I look back on the many successes and the many shortcomings in my Faith life.  I reflect on the nine years that A Catholic Life has been around and think of all of the people that I have met in the Faith along the way.  Truly the day of my Baptism was my rebirth and the start of a new life.  I would not be the person that I am today - by any stretch of the imagination - if April 10, 2004, did not happen.

We all should be thankful for our Baptism.  In a world that condemns God and rejects that which is holy, we have been called to holiness.  We are a people marked aside for God.  What would any of us be without the Faith?  Do we know our Baptism anniversaries and celebrate them each year?

Thank you for all of your support over these past 10 years.  I pray that I will be involved in strong Catholic education for many more years to come on A Catholic Life,, Holy Vocations, and the many other venues that God will put in front of me during my remaining years on this year.

Glory to Jesus Christ.  Glory to Him Forever.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Reflection for Passion Sunday

This Sunday, called Judica from the first word of the Introit, is also called Passion Sunday, because from this day the Church occupies herself exclusively with the contemplation of the passion and death of Christ. The pictures of Christ crucified are covered today in memory of his having hidden Himself from the Jews until His entrance into Jerusalem, no longer showing Himself in public. (John XI. 54.) In the Mass the Glory be to the Father, etc. is omitted, because in the person of Christ the Holy Trinity was dishonored. The psalm Judica is not said today, because on this day the high priests held council about our Lord, for which reason the Church in the name of the suffering Saviour uses these words at the Introit.

Why did Christ ask the Jews, which of them should convince Him of sin?

To show us that he who would teach and punish others, should strive to be irreproachable himself; and to prove that He, being free from sin, was more than mere man, and therefore, the Messiah, the Son of God, as He repeatedly told the Jews, especially in this day's gospel, and substantiated by His great and numerous miracles.

Why did He say: He that is of God, heareth the words of God?

To prove that the Jews on account of their stubbornness and unbelief were not the children of God, but of the devil. "Therefore," St. Gregory says, "let every one when he hears the word of God, ask himself, of whom he is. Eternal truth demands that we be desirous of the heavenly fatherland, that we tame the desires of the flesh, be indifferent to the praises of the world, covet not our neighbor's goods, and give alms according to our means. Therefore examine yourself, and if you find in your heart this voice of God, then you will know that you are of God."


When Christ told the Jews the truth, He received insults and calumny; they called Him a Samaritan, that is, an unbeliever, a heretic, one possessed of a devil. This was a terrible slander, and it must have pained Him exceedingly, but at the same time it is a great consolation to those who are innocently calumniated, when they consider that Christ Himself received nothing better. St. Augustine consoles such by saying: "O friend, what is there that can happen to you that your Saviour did not suffer before you? Is it slander? He heard it, when He was called a glutton, a drunkard, a heretic, and a rebel, a companion of sinners, one possessed of a devil; He even heard, when casting out devils, that He did so by Beelzebub, prince of devils." (Matt. IX. 34.) He therefore comforts His apostles, saying, If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt, X. 25.) Are the pains bitter? There is no pain so bitter that He has not endured it; for what is. more painful, and at the same time more ignominious, than the death of the cross? For think, says St. Paul, diligently upon him who endured such opposition from sinners against himself: that you be not wearied (by all contempt and calumny), fainting in your minds. (Heb. XII. 3.)

How and why did Christ defend Himself against those who slandered Hate?

Only by denying with the greatest modesty the things with which they reproached Him, saying that He had not a devil, that He was not a Samaritan, because He honored His Father not in their manner, but in His own. In repelling this calumny while He left the rest unanswered, Christ removed all doubt in regard to His divine mission, thus vindicating the honor of God, and securing the salvation of man. Christ thus teaches us by His own conduct to defend ourselves only against those detractions and insults which endanger the honor of God and the salvation of man, and then to defend ourselves with all modesty; by no means however to do it, if they injure only our own good name, for we should leave the restoration of that to God, as exemplified by Christ, who knows better than we how to preserve and restore it.

How had Abraham seen Christ's day?

In spirit, that is, by. divine revelation he foresaw the coming of Christ and rejoiced; also, he heard, by revelation from God, with the other just in Limbo, that Christ's coming had taken place, and derived the greatest comfort from it.

Why did Christ conceal Himself from the Jews, instead of taking vengeance?

Because the time of His death had not come; because He would show His meekness and patience and teach us that we should avoid our enemies rather than resist them or take vengeance on them; Christ wished to instruct us to avoid passionate and quarrelsome people, for it is an honor for a man, to separate from quarrels: but all fools are meddling with reproaches. (Prov. XX. 3.)

PETITION  When Thine enemies calumniated Thee, most meek Jesus, Thou didst answer them with tender words, and when they were about to stone Thee, Thou didst depart from them, whilst we can scarcely bear a hard word, and far from yielding to our neighbor, defend and avenge ourselves most passionately. Ah! pardon us our impatience, and grant us the grace to bear patiently the wrongs done us, and when necessary, answer with gentleness for Thy glory and the salvation of our neighbor.

Source: "The Church's Year" by Fr Leonard Goffine (19th Century)

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