Saturday, December 26, 2015
A Christmas Sermon By St. Gregory of Nazianzus

Christ is born, glorify Him. Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him. Christ on earth, be exalted. Sing to the Lord all the whole earth; and that I may join both in one word, let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope.

Again, the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar. The people who sat in the darkness of ignorance, let them see the great Light full of knowledge. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the truth comes in on them. Melchizedek is concluded. He who was without Mother becomes without Father (without mother of His former state, without father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all you people, because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, whose government is upon His shoulder (for with the cross it is raised up), and His name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father. Let John cry, prepare the way of the Lord; I too will cry the power of this Day. He who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride; let heretics talk until their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God - that putting off of the old man, we might put on the new; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful. For where sin abounded grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our master's; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.
Profanation and Apostasy

Guest Article written by David Martin

The holiday season with all its feasting and merry-making is an appropriate time to reflect on the profanation of the temple, which is the major issue facing the Church today. Desecration is rampant throughout the universal Church through the present frenzy of secular activity that is tearing the Church asunder.

Today’s “contemporary” pop liturgy, the use of lay Eucharistic ministers at Mass, and the widespread practice of receiving Communion in the hand are among the many abuses that are destroying the Faith. The Church has become a meeting place for heretics and a stomping ground for ecumenicists that are trying to merge the Catholic Church with other world religions, fulfilling St. John’s prophecy that the Holy City will be overrun by the Gentiles for a symbolic time of forty-two months. (Apocalypse 11:2)

The primary difference between the Church of yesteryear and that of today is that the former demonstrated a healthy cognition of the divine presence in the sanctuary. The Church before Vatican II conducted itself with reverence and respect, evidenced especially by the way Catholics were more observant of God’s laws and ordinances, both in their personal lives, and in the context of divine worship. The Church before the Council was more focused on the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, which in turn was reflected in the true charity and selfless giving that existed among the faithful.

Whereas the church in our time has largely turned its back on the divine presence and is taken up with  a new-found encounter with its “environmental” surroundings. Yea, the church today is abuzz with all manner of socialist, busy-body activity, only because the new makeshift procedures since the Council have brought about this unprecedented shift of focus where the emphasis today is on the community.

We might say that a new order of distraction prevails. The post-conciliar church is bent on appeasing itself with change, as opposed to the Church of old which labored to appease God with sacrifice. Divine worship has become cheap, superficial, and mechanical, where the congregation is wound up in robotic fashion to sit down, stand up, shake hands, and utter pre-constructed “psalms and responses,“ while the minds and hearts are blank! Very little heart and soul goes into today’s Sunday Mass worship.

This is lamentable when we consider that the Holy Eucharist is the very heartbeat of the Mystical Body, around which the entire church must revolve. Hence a true renewal is needed to place the church back into focus with its Head. Genuineness in worship means contrition and compunction of heart, and that the church go down on its knees before God in the Eucharist. Without this self-abasement before the King of kings, the mercy of God does not rest on His people. (Lk 1: 50)

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem when He threw the money-changers out of the temple was significant in that it marked the only time in the Gospel when He became downright angry and even violent with the Jews. This was to serve as a lesson for all generations to come that the wrath of God is especially enkindled against those who abuse the House of God for their own selfish gain.

Christ indeed will come among us again to fling the wrongdoers from His House, but this time it won’t be just for matters of money, but for heresy and blatant betrayal of the Faith before the people. The Pharisees in purple hats will tremble and shake “because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaias 34:5)

Enough could not be done to sensitize ourselves to the horror of the present sacrilege and how it is re-crucifying Christ in His own House.  St. Padre Pio relates that when he was alone in the choir to pray, he observed a young monk who appeared to be dusting the candelabra near the altar. When he asked who he was, the monk answered: “I am a brother of yours that made the novitiate here. I was ordered to clean the altar during the year of the novitiate. Unfortunately many times I didn’t reverence Jesus while passing in front of the altar [didn’t genuflect], thus causing the Holy Sacrament that was preserved in the tabernacle to be disrespected. For this serious carelessness, I am still in Purgatory.”

If this was the verdict for a simple monk who wasn’t quite perfect, what can we expect for a church today that has been turned into a socialist merry-go-round with the use of churches for concerts, plays, meetings, rehearsals, heretical talks, kiddie Masses, charismatic séances, and all manner of sham religious activity that has overrun the sanctuary and made the Holy Place a shambles?! Christ today is an outcast and exile in His own Church, crushed and buried under the sins of His people who neither reverence nor take notice of His physical and supernatural presence on the altar. The people stream into the church talking, laughing, and swinging to the beat of a new gospel (guitar Mass), while women come in half-dressed exposing the indecency of their flesh for their own gratification!

The worst of it is that the present-day profanation of the temple is carried on in the name of God,   which shouldn’t surprise us. The Pharisees condemned and crucified their Savior in the name of “God their father,” but Jesus told them who their father was, the devil, just as the devil is the father of those who seek to turn the Church into a humanist meeting hall. The modern day “renovation” of the Church is done to placate the complaints of those who protest, thus making the renovators protestors in the process. Thereby they display contempt and mockery for the Holy Place, as did the Pharisees who saw the temple as a forum to advance their own egoistic designs.

Unfortunately the Church’s mission has taken the brunt of this latter-day revolt. Pope Francis has emphasized how the Church must reach out and reinstate souls to the friendship of God, but how shall this be done if the church is serving to repel souls? Very few parishes today have kept their traditional beauty so as to attract conversions and vocations. The Church has been so discredited by all the ridicule that outsiders no longer take her seriously as in former times. If clergy and laity no longer believe that the Creator Himself dwells in the tabernacle in full Body and Spirit, how will outsiders ever believe this? If the church is not first enlightened from within, how shall it enlighten those from without? The Church has truly lost its magnetism, and is presently not effective in drawing souls to Christ.

Yea, the post-conciliar revolution is driving souls from the Church and bringing the scourge of God upon His people! The Blessed Virgin at Fatima warned of the divine scourge that was to come in the latter days, but this scourge will not be of little knots on a rope, but of boots, tanks, guns, and nuclear warfare over mankind. The chastisement indeed is coming, but the most painful part of it will be the devastating knowledge that it was justly due to man’s sins. In the final analysis the world will have learned that it was the profanation of the temple that incited God’s wrath and set in motion the great chastisement through which billions were lost.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Vigil of St. Thomas the Apostle

Vigil (1954 Calendar): December 20th

Today is an ideal day to fast and abstain in preparation for today's Feast of St. Thomas. For centuries, the vigil of the Apostles were days of penance and the feasts of the Apostles were Holy Days of Obligation!

Appropriated from Liturgia Latina:
Like nearly all the Feasts of the Apostles, that of St Thomas is preceded by a vigil which will enable our souls to prepare for it in a holy manner. The Gospel recalls the vocation of this great Apostle who had the happiness of hearing continually the word of Christ and enjoying His intimacy. "I have called you friends because I have made known to you all that I have heard from my Father." "God," adds the Epistle, "has chosen him from among all men. He has given him His commandments, the law of life and of instruction."

Wherefore the Offertory declares that he had been chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve princes who would govern His Church: "The Lord has crowned him with glory and honour and has given him authority over the works of His hands."

"The Lord," the Epistle also says, "has given him his share of inheritance among the twelve tribes." The country of the Parthians and Persians was allotted to St Thomas when the Apostles divided the world among themselves. Let us prepare for tomorrow's solemnity in union with the Holy Church.

Ego autem sicut oliva fructifera in domo Domini, speravi in misericordia Dei mei: et exspectabo nomen tuum, quoniam bonum est ante conspectum sanctorum tuorum. * Quid gloriaris in malitia: qui potens es in iniquitate?
But I, as a fruitful olive-tree in the house of the Lord, have hoped in the mercy of my God: and I will wait on Thy name, for it is good in the sight of Thy saints. * Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?  (Psalm 51:10-11,3 from the Introit of Mass)

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the solemn feast of Thine Apostle Thomas, which we anticipate, may both increase our devotion and advance our salvation.
Sermon by St. Alphonsus Liguouri for the 4th Sunday of Advent

The Savior of the World, Whom, according to the Prediction-of the Prophet Isaiah, Men were One Day to see on this Earth ("and All Flesh shall see the Salvation of God"), has already come. We have not only seen Him conversing-among Men, but we have also seen Him Suffering and Dying for the Love of us. Let us, then, this morning, consider the Love which we Owe to Jesus Christ, at least through Gratitude, for the Love which He bears to us. In the First Point we shall consider the Greatness-of the Love which Jesus Christ has shown us; and in the Second we shall see the Greatness of our Obligations-to Love Him.

You may listen to the audio version here

First Point
On the Great Love which Jesus Christ has shown to us

"Christ", says Saint Augustine, "came on Earth that Men might Know how much God Loves them". He has come, and, to show the Immense Love which this God bears us, He has given Himself entirely to us, by Abandoning Himself to all the Pains of this Life, and afterwards to the Scourges, to the Thorns, and to all the Sorrows and Insults which He Suffered in His Passion, and by offering Himself to Die, Abandoned by all, on the Infamous Tree of the Cross. "Who Loved me, and Delivered Himself for me" - Galations 2:20.

Jesus Christ could Save us without Dying on the Cross, and without Suffering. One (1) Drop of His Blood would be Sufficient-for our Redemption. Even a Prayer, offered-to His Eternal Father, would be Sufficient; because, on-account-of His Divinity, His Prayer would be of Infinite (∞) Value, and would therefore be Sufficient-for the Salvation of the World, and of a Thousand (1000) Worlds. "But", says Saint Chrysostom, or another Ancient Author, "what was Sufficient for Redemption, was not Sufficient for Love". To show how much He Loved us, He Wished to shed not only a Part-of His Blood, but the Entire of it, by Dint-of Torrents. This may be Inferred-from the Words which He used on the Night before His Death: "This is My Blood of the New Testament, which shall be Shed for many" - Matthew 26:28.

The Words shall be Shed show that in His Passion, the Blood of Jesus Christ was Poured-forth, even to the Last Drop. Hence, when after Death, His Side was opened-with a Spear, Blood and Water came-forth, as if what then flowed, was All that remained-of His Blood. Jesus Christ, then, though He could Save us without Suffering, Wished-to embrace a Life of Continual Pain, and to Suffer the Cruel and Ignominious Death of the Cross. "He humbled Himself, becoming Obedient unto Death, even to the Death of the Cross" - Philippians 2:8.

"Greater Love than this no Man hath, that a Man lay down his Life for his Friends" - John 15:13. To show His Love for us, what more could the Son of God do, than Die for us? What more can One (1) Man do for Another, than give his Life for him? "Greater Love than this, no Man hath". Tell me, my Brother, if One of your Servants - if the Vilest Man on this Earth, had done for you what Jesus Christ has done, in Dying through Pain on a Cross, could you remember his Love for you, and not Love him?

Saint Francis of Assisi appeared to be unable to think of anything but the Passion of Jesus Christ; and thinking of it, he continually Shed Tears, so that by his Constant Weeping, he became nearly Blind. Being found one day, Weeping and Groaning at the Foot of the Crucifix, he was asked the Cause-of his Tears and Lamentations. He replied: "I Weep over the Sorrows and Ignominies of my Lord. And what makes me Weep still more, is that the Men for whom He has Suffered so much, Live in Forgetfulness of Him".

O Christian, should a Doubt ever enter your Mind, that Jesus Christ Loves you, Raise your Eyes and look-at Him, hanging-on the Cross. Ah! says Saint Thomas of Villanova, the Cross to-which He is Nailed, the 'Internal' and 'External' Sorrows which He endures, and the Cruel Death which He Suffers for you, are Convincing Proofs of the Love which He bears you. "Testis crux, testes dolores, testis amara mors quam pro te sustinuit". Do you not, says Saint Bernard, hear the Voice-of that Cross, and of those Wounds, crying-out to make you feel that He Truly Loves you? "Clamat crux, clamat vulnus, quod vere dilexit".

Saint Paul says that the Love which Jesus Christ has shown, in Condescending-to Suffer so much for our Salvation, should Excite us to His Love, more Powerfully than the Scourging, the Crowning with Thorns, the Painful Journey-to Calvary, the Agony of Three (3) Hours on the Cross, the Buffets, the Spitting in His Face, and all the other Injuries which the Savior endured. According to the Apostle, the Love which Jesus has shown us, not only Obliges, but in a certain manner 'Forces' and 'Constrains' us, to Love a God Who has Loved so much. "For the Charity of Christ presseth us" - 2Corinthians 5:14. On this 'Text', Saint Francis de Sales says: "We Know that Jesus, the True God, has Loved us so as to Suffer Death, and even Death on the Cross, for our Salvation. Does not such Love, put our Hearts, as it were, under a Press, to Force from them Love, by a Violence which is Stronger in proportion as it is more Amiable?".

So Great was the Love that Inflamed the Enamored Heart of Jesus, that He not only Wished to Die for our Redemption, but during His Whole Life, He Sighed Ardently for the Day on which He should Suffer Death, for the Love of us. Hence, during His Life, Jesus used to say: "I have a Baptism wherewith I am to be Baptized: and how am I Straitened (stressed), until it be accomplished?" - Luke 12:50. In My Passion, I am to be Baptized with the Baptism of My Own Blood, to Wash-away the Sins of Men. "And how am I Straitened?". How, says Saint Ambrose, explaining this 'Passage', am I Straitened (stressed) by the Desire of the Speedy Arrival of the Day of My Death. Hence, on the Night before His Passion He said: "With Desire I have Desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I Suffer" - Luke 22:15.

"We have", says Saint Lawrence Justinian, "seen Wisdom become Foolish, through the Excess of Love". We have, he says, seen the Son of God become, as it were, a Fool, through the Excessive Love which He bore-to Men. Such, too, was the Language of the Gentiles, when they heard the Apostles Preaching that Jesus Christ, Suffered Death for the Love of Men. "But we", says Saint Paul, " Preach Christ Crucified, unto the Jews indeed a Stumbling Block, and unto the Gentiles, Foolishness" - 1Corinthians 1:23. Who, they exclaimed, can Believe that a God, most-Happy in Himself, and Who stands in Need-of no one, should take Human Flesh and Die for the Love of Men, who are His Creatures? This would be to Believe that a God became Foolish, for the Love of Men. "It appears Folly", says Saint Gregory, "that the Author of Life should Die for Men". But, whatever Infidels may 'Say' or 'Think', it is of Faith that the Son of God has Shed all His Blood, for the Love of us, to Wash-away the Sins of our Souls. "Who hath Loved us, and Washed us from our Sins, in His Own Blood" - Revelation 1:5. Hence, the Saints were Struck Dumb with Astonishment, at the consideration-of the Love of Jesus Christ. At the Sight-of the Crucifix, Saint Francis of Paul could do nothing but exclaim, O Love! O Love! O Love!

"Having Loved His Own, who were in the World, He Loved them unto the End" - John 13:1. This Loving God was not content-with showing us His Love by Dying on the Cross for our Salvation; but, at the End of His Life, He Wished-to leave us His Own Flesh, for the Food of our Souls, that thus, He might Unite (1) Himself entirely to us. "Take ye, and eat. This is My Body" - Matthew 26:26. But of this Gift, and this Excess-of Love, we shall speak at another Time, in Treating-of the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Let us pass-to the Second Point.

Second Point
On the Greatness of our Obligation to Love Jesus Christ

He who Loves, Wishes to-be Loved. "When", says Saint Bernard, "God Loves, He Desires nothing else than to be Loved". The Redeemer said: "I am come to Cast Fire on the Earth; and what Will I, but that it be Kindled?" - Luke 12:49. I, says Jesus Christ, came on Earth, to Light-up the Fire-of Divine Love in the Hearts of Men, "What Will I, but that it be Kindled?". God Wishes nothing else from us, than to be Loved. Hence the Holy Church Prays in the Following Words: "We Beseech Thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may Inflame us with the Fire which Jesus Christ cast upon the Earth, and which He vehemently Wished to be Kindled". Ah! what have not the Saints, Inflamed-with this Fire, accomplished! They have Abandoned all things - Delights, Honors, the Purple and the Sceptre - that they might Burn with this Holy Fire. But you will ask what are you to do, that you too may be Inflamed-with the Love of Jesus Christ. Imitate David: "In my Meditation, a Fire shall Flame out" - Psalm 38:4. Meditation is the Blessed Furnace, in which the Holy Fire of Divine Love is Kindled. Make Mental Prayer every Day, Meditate on the Passion of Jesus Christ, and Doubt-not, but you too shall Burn-with this Blessed Flame.

Saint Paul says, that Jesus Christ Died for us to make Himself the Master of the Hearts of All. "To this End, Christ Died and Rose again; that He might be Lord both of the Dead and of the Living" - Romans 14:9. He Wished, says the Apostle, to give His Life for All Men, without a Single Exception, that not even One (1) should live any longer for himself, but that all might live only to that God, Who condescended-to Die for them. "And Christ Died for All; that they also who Live, may not now Live to themselves, but unto Him Who Died for them" - 2Corinthians 5:15.

Ah! to correspond-to the Love of this God, it would be necessary that another God should Die for him, as Jesus Christ Died for us. O Ingratitude of Men! A God has condescended-to give His Life for their Salvation, and they will not even think on what He has done for them! Ah! if each of you thought frequently of the Redeemer, and on the Love which He has shown us in His Passion, how could you but Love Him with your Whole Hearts? To him who sees with a Lively Faith, the Son of God suspended by Three (3) Nails on the Infamous Gibbet, every Wound of Jesus 'Speaks' and 'Says': "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God". Love, O Man, thy Lord and thy God, Who has Loved thee so Intensely. Who can resist such Tender Expressions! "The Wounds of Jesus Christ", says Saint Bonaventure, "Wound the Hardest Hearts, and Inflame Frozen Souls".

"Oh! if you knew the Mystery of the Cross!", said Saint Andrew the Apostle to the Tyrant by whom he was Tempted to Deny Jesus Christ. O Tyrant, if you knew the Love which your Savior has shown you, by Dying on the Cross, for your Salvation; instead of Tempting me, you would Abandon all the Goods of this Earth, to give yourself to the Love of Jesus Christ.

I conclude, my most Beloved Brethren, by Recommending you henceforth to Meditate Every Day on the Passion of Jesus Christ. I shall be Content, if you Daily devote to this Meditation, a Quarter of an Hour. Let each, at least procure a Crucifix: let him keep it in his Room, and from time-to-time give a Glance at it saying: Ah! my Jesus, Thou hast Died for me, and I do not Love Thee! Had a Person Suffered-for a Friend, Injuries, Buffets, and Prisons, he would be Greatly Pleased to find that they were 'Remembered' and 'Spoken-of', with Gratitude. But, he should be Greatly Displeased, if the Friend, for whom they had been Borne, were Unwilling to 'Think' or 'Hear-of' his Sufferings. Thus Frequent Meditation on His Passion is very Pleasing-to our Redeemer; but the Neglect of it, greatly-provokes His Displeasure. Oh! how Great will be the Consolation which we shall receive in our Last Moments, from the Sorrows and Death of Jesus Christ, if during Life, we shall have Frequently Meditated on them, with Love! Let us not wait till others, at the Hour of Death, place in our hands, the Crucifix; let us not wait till they Remind us of all that Jesus Christ Suffered for us.

Let us during Life, embrace Jesus Christ Crucified; let us keep ourselves always United with Him. He who practices Devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, cannot but be Devoted to the Dolors of Mary, the Remembrance of which, will be to us a Source-of Great Consolation, at the Hour of Death. Oh! how 'Profitable' and 'Sweet', the Meditation of Jesus on the Cross. Oh! how Happy the Death of him, who Dies in the Embrace-of Jesus Crucified, accepting Death with Cheerfulness, for the Love of that God, Who has Died for the Love of us.
An Excerpt: Fatima in Twilight

From the words of Our Lady of Fatima said to Sister Lucia on “the last times” and the “last 2 remedies” God is giving to the world, reported by Fr. Augustine Fuentes:

"Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons."

“The *first* reason: ‘She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the FINAL battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Also, from now on we MUST choose sides. Either we are for God OR we are for the devil. There IS NO other possibility.’

“The *second* reason: ‘She said to my cousins as well as to myself, that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the LAST two remedies which signify that there will be NO OTHERS.’ "

“The third reason: ‘God always, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies. Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever… He offers us with a certain trepidation the LAST means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother ... if you despise and repulse this ultimate means we will NOT have any more forgiveness from Heaven because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the Sin against the Holy Spirit… This Sin consists of openly rejecting with full knowledge and consent, the salvation which He offers. Let us remember that Jesus Christ is a very good Son and that He does NOT permit that we offend and despise His Holy Mother’…”

(From the words from Fr. Fuentes, of his interview with Sr. Lucia on December 26th, 1957. Quoted in “Fatima in Twilight” by Mark Fellows. Copyright, 2003. “Twilight Begins,” pp. 145-146.)
Friday, December 18, 2015
Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mass in Some Places)

“Drop down the dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain the Just One! Let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior!” (Isaiah 48:8).

Today in the pre-1955 Traditional Catholic Missal is the Mass in Some Places (pro aliquibus locis) of The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The history of this special feast is related by the great liturgist of the modern era, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year. 

THIS feast, which is now kept not only throughout the whole of Spain but in many other parts of the Catholic world, owes its origin to the bishops of the tenth Council of Toledo, in 656. These prelates thought that there was an incongruity in the ancient practice of celebrating the feast of the Annunciation on the twenty-fifth of March, inasmuch as this joyful solemnity frequently occurs at the time when the Church is intent upon the Passion of our Lord, so that it is sometimes obliged to be transferred into Easter time, with which it is out of harmony for another reason; they therefore decreed that, henceforth, in the Church of Spain there should be kept, eight days before Christmas, a solemn feast with an octave, in honour of the Annunciation, and as a preparation for the great solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity.. In course of time, however, the Church of Spain saw the necessity of returning to the practice of the Church of Rome, and of those of the whole world, which solemnize the twenty-fifth of March as the day of our Lady’s Annunciation and the Incarnation of the Son of God. But such had been, for ages, the devotion of the people for the feast of the eighteenth of December, that it was considered requisite to maintain some vestige of it. They discontinued, therefore, to celebrate the Annunciation on this day; but the faithful were requested to consider, with devotion, what must have been the sentiments of the holy Mother of God during the days immediately preceding her giving Him birth. A new feast was instituted, under the name of ‘the Expectation of the blessed Virgin’s delivery.’

This feast, which sometimes goes under the name of Our Lady of O, or the feast of O, on account of the great antiphons which are sung during these days, and, in a special manner, of that which begins O Virgo virginum (which is still used in the Vespers of the Expectation, together with the O Adonaï, the antiphon of the Advent Office), is kept with great devotion in Spain. A High Mass is sung at a very early hour each morning during the octave, at which all who are with child, whether rich or poor, consider it a duty to assist, that they may thus honour our Lady’s Maternity, and beg her blessing upon themselves. It is not to be wondered at that the holy See has approved of this pious practice being introduced into almost every other country. We find that the Church of Milan, long before Rome conceded this feast to the various dioceses of Christendom, celebrated the Office of our Lady’s Annunciation on the sixth and last Sunday of Advent, and called the whole week following the Hebdomada de Exceptato (for thus the popular expression had corrupted the word Expectato). But these details belong strictly to the archæology of liturgy, and enter not into the plan of our present work ; let us, then, return to the feast of our Lady’s Expectation, which the Church has established and sanctioned as a new means of exciting the attention of the faithful during these last days of Advent.

Most just indeed it is, O holy Mother of God, that we should unite in that ardent desire thou hadst to see Him, who had been concealed for nine months in thy chaste womb ; to know the features of this Son of the heavenly Father, who is also thine; to come to that blissful hour of His birth, which will give glory to God in the highest, and, on earth, peace to men of good-will. Yes, dear Mother, the time is fast approaching, though not fast enough to satisfy thy desires and ours. Make us redouble our attention to the great mystery; complete our preparation by thy powerful prayers for us, that when the solemn hour has come, our Jesus may find no obstacle to His entrance into our hearts.

Gregory DiPippo adds from a 2020 Facebook Page:

The feast of Our Lady's Expectation (Expectatio Partus) is a Spanish feast, which derives ultimately from the Mozarabic custom of keeping the feast of the Annunciation on Dec. 18. Even though the Mozarabic liturgy had almost completely disappeared by the early 15th century, this particular feast was evidently popular enough that they decided to insert it into the local Uses of the Roman Rite. At Badajoz, Burgos and Segovia, it was just called "the Annunciation", in Avila, Braga, Seville, and Compostela "the Commemoration of the Annunciation", at Palencia, either just "the Annunciation" or "the repeated solemnity of the Annunciation", and at Valladolid, "the festivity of St Mary before Christmas."

In many pre-Tridentine Spanish Missals, the Mass on Dec. 18 was therefore just a repetition of the Mass of March 25, sometimes with a different Collect, sometimes also with a different Secret and/or post-Communion, and often with a Sequence. In some other places, however, the Mass for the Expectation was the same one included in the supplement "pro aliquibus locis" in many editions of the Roman Missal, which is Roman Mass of Ember Wednesday "Rorate caeli", remodeled as a festive Mass by using the prayers of March 25th and adding an Alleluja.

Remember to pray the O Antiphon for December 18th today during Vespers along with the following

O Virgo Virginum:

O Virgin of virgins! How shall this be? For never was there one like thee nor will there ever be. Ye daughters of Jerusalem, why look ye wondering at me? What ye behold is a divine mystery.


O God, Who didst will that at the message of an angel Thy word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary: grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Advent Ember Fast Begins Today

Ember Days this December: 16, 18, and 19

If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence. Please click here for a special PDF Ember Day Manual, including reflections for the Advent Ember Days.

From Angelus Press Daily Missal:

At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: after the First Sunday of Lent for spring, after Pentecost Sunday for summer, after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14th September) for autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for winter. They are intended, too, to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good priests. The Ember Days were until c. 1960 fastdays of obligation.

To-day the Church begins the fast of Quatuor Tempora, or, as we call it, of Ember days: it includes also the Friday and Saturday of this same week. This observance is not peculiar to the Advent liturgy; it is one which has been fixed for each of the four seasons of the ecclesiastical year. We may consider it as one of those practices which the Church took from the Synagogue; for the prophet Zacharias speaks of the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months.[1] Its introduction into the Christian Church would seem to have been made in the apostolic times; such, at least, is the opinion of St. Leo, of St. Isidore of Seville, of Rabanus Maurus, and of several other ancient Christian writers. It is remarkable, on the other hand, that the orientals do not observe this fast.

From the first ages the Quatuor Tempora were kept, in the Roman Church, at the same time of the year as at present. As to the expression, which is not unfrequently used in the early writers, of the three times and not the four, we must remember that in the spring, these days always come in the first week of Lent, a period already consecrated to the most rigorous fasting and abstinence, and that consequently they could add nothing to the penitential exercises of that portion of the year.

The intentions, which the Church has in the fast of the Ember days, are the same as those of the Synagogue; namely, to consecrate to God by penance the four seasons of the year. The Ember days of Advent are known, in ecclesiastical antiquity, as the fast of the tenth month; and St. Leo, in one of his sermons on this fast, of which the Church has inserted a passage in the second nocturn of the third Sunday of Advent, tells us that a special fast was fixed for this time of the year, because the fruits of the earth had then all been gathered in, and that it behoved Christians to testify their gratitude to God by a sacrifice of abstinence, thus rendering themselves more worthy to approach to God, the more they were detached from the love of created things. 'For fasting,’ adds the holy doctor, 'has ever been the nourishment of virtue. Abstinence is the source of chaste thoughts, of wise resolutions, and of salutary counsel. By voluntary mortifications, the flesh dies to its concupiscences, and the spirit is renewed in virtue. But since fasting alone is not sufficient whereby to secure the soul’s salvation, let us add to it works of mercy towards the poor. Let us make that which we retrench from indulgence, serve unto the exercise of virtue. Let the abstinence of him that fasts, become the meal of the poor man.’

Let us, the children of the Church, practise what is in our power of these admonitions; and since the actual discipline of Advent is so very mild, let us be so much the more fervent in fulfilling the precept of the fast of the Ember days. By these few exercises which are now required of us, let us keep up within ourselves the zeal of our forefathers for this holy season of Advent. We must never forget that although the interior preparation is what is absolutely essential for our profiting by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, yet this preparation could scarcely be real unless it manifested itself by the exterior practices of religion and penance.

The fast of the Ember days has another object besides that of consecrating the four seasons of the year to God by an act of penance: it has also in view the ordination of the ministers of the Church, which takes place on the Saturday, and of which notice was formerly given to the people during the Mass of the Wednesday. In the Roman Church, the ordination held in the month of December was, for a long time, the most solemn of all; and it would appear, from the ancient chronicles of the Popes, that, excepting very extraordinary cases, the tenth month was, for several ages, the only time for conferring Holy Orders in Rome. The faithful should unite with the Church in this her intention, and offer to God their fasting and abstinence for the purpose of obtaining worthy ministers of the word and of the Sacraments, and true pastors of the people.

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.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Feast of St. Lucy

Double (1955 Calendar): December 13

As we continue our Advent observance, we arrive at the Feast of St. Lucy which marks a milestone during the Advent season. St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, is an ancient martyr for the Faith.  FishEaters provides a nice explanation of the significance of this feastday:
St. Lucy (Santa Lucia) was a young Sicilian girl who vowed to live as a virgin in devotion to Christ. Her mother, however, arranged a marriage for her to a pagan suitor. To dissuade her mom by proof of a miracle, Lucy prayed at the tomb of St. Agatha that her mother's hemmhorage would stop. When the miracle happened, her mother agreed to leave aside the topic of marriage.

Lucy's suitor, however, had other plans, and revealed Lucy as a Christian. Authorities went to collect her, planning on forcing her into prostitution -- but they were unable to budge her, even after tying her to a team of oxen. She was then tortured by having her eyes torn out. They'd planned on torturing her by fire, too, but the fires kept going out. She was then killed by being stabbed in the throat with a dagger.

Because of the above, St. Lucy is the patron of those with eye problems, and is often depicted carrying her eyes (often on a plate), being tied to a team of oxen, with St. Agatha, or before her judges. Her relics lay in Syracuse for hundreds of years, were translated to Constantinople, and then to Venice where they may be venerated at the Church of San Geremia. Her head was sent to Louis XII of France, and reposes in the cathedral of Bourges.

Her name, "Lucia," means "Light," and light plays a role in the customs of her Feast Day. In Italy, torchlight processions and bonfires mark her day, and bowls of a cooked wheat porridge known as cuccia is eaten because, during a famine, the people of Syracuse invoked St. Lucy, who interceded by sending a ship laden with grain (much as St. Joseph also did for the people of Sicily).

Hear our prayer, O God our Savior, and let us learn the spirit of true devotion from Your blessed virgin and martyr Lucy, as we joyfully celebrate her feast.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
John is the Voice - Jesus is the Word by St. Augustine

John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever.

Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.

However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.
In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine.

When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say: The word ought to grow, and I should diminish? The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word, and has gone away, as though it were saying: My joy is complete. Let us hold on to the word; we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts.

Do you need proof that the voice passes away but the divine Word remains? Where is John’s baptism today? It served its purpose, and it went away. Now it is Christ’s baptism that we celebrate. It is in Christ that we all believe; we hope for salvation in him. This is the message the voice cried out.

Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John himself was thought to be the Christ. The voice was thought to be the word. But the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offence to the word. I am not the Christ, he said, nor Elijah, nor the prophet. And the question came: Who are you, then? He replied: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord. The voice of one crying in the wilderness is the voice of one breaking the silence. Prepare the way for the Lord, he says, as though he were saying: “I speak out in order to lead him into your hearts, but he does not choose to come where I lead him unless you prepare the way for him”.

What does prepare the way mean, if not “pray well”? What does prepare the way mean, if not “be humble in your thoughts”? We should take our lesson from John the Baptist. He is thought to be the Christ; he declares he is not what they think. He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.

If he had said, “I am the Christ”, you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke. But he did not say it; he acknowledged what he was. He pointed out clearly who he was; he humbled himself.

He saw where his salvation lay. He understood that he was a lamp, and his fear was that it might be blown out by the wind of pride.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Should Catholics Try to Convert Jews?

Guest Article By David Martin

Catholics should "not try to convert Jews," the Vatican has said in a recent document that attempts to nullify the Church's 2000 year policy on Jews. The December 10 statement from the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews says that Jews are exempt from any need to believe in Christ as the Messiah, on the grounds that God never annulled the old covenant with the Jewish people.

Entitled The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable, the document says that Jews have their own covenant with God without Christ. "The church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views," it says. "In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews."

What the Vatican is really saying is that Rome has no sense of love or duty toward the Jews, nor any sense of obedience to Christ's command that we extend the riches of Christ to them for their salvation. The Church's mission from the beginning is to convert infidels and Jews, but now Rome has denied Christ's commission to "teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" and to "teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19) This commission applies to all peoples without respect to race, color, creed, which is why the Church is called Universal or Catholic.

What we're really looking at is anti-semitism, since the document works against the peace and welfare of the Semitic peoples by teaching them to ignore their Maker on the cross. What does Rome have against the Jews? The Church's mission from the beginning is to extend mercy to the Jews, not to withhold it from them. Has Rome gone Nazi? Traditionally the Church had always sought to convert the Jews and all peoples, that they might come partake in the Lord's Banquet as His special guests, but now they're being told to stay in their own prison camp and starve! So much for the mercy of "inclusion."

What we are looking at too is heresy, since this document breaches the Church's infallible teaching that there exists no salvation outside the Catholic Church. "Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins." – Unam Sanctam, Papal Bull of His Holiness Pope Boniface VIII; November 18, 1302.

Again the Church teaches: "Those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock." – Cantate Domino, Papal Bull of The Council of Florence; His Holiness Pope Eugene IV 1438-1445.

The Vatican statement offers no justification for its heterodox position on Jews, other than to say that the question of how Jews can be saved while not believing in Christ "remains an unfathomable mystery in the salvific plan of God." Nay, there is no mystery. The sin of heresy has been committed in Rome. Jews or any grouping cannot be saved if, having been presented with the truth of the Catholic Faith, they refuse to believe in Christ as the Savior of the world.

The Vatican bases its statement on the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people, which is an error. It is true that the Jews were the chosen people of the Old Testament, but this was merely a figure of the chosen people to come in the New Testament—the Christians who adore Jesus Crucified in the Sacrifice of the Mass. God's covenant today is with the members of His Church who honor the Messiah, and not with those who "wag the head."

The document argues that modern Judaism is intertwined with Christianity, which is also an error. The synagogue is intertwined rather with the Masonic temple, for which reason it is sometimes called the Judaeo-Masonic synagogue. If Jews and rabbis today are defensive about being called "Jew," it is because of a deep-seated guilt that permeates the Jewish culture on account of the centuries-old consent to the perfidy of their forefathers who murdered the Christ.

Let's get it straight: the Pharisees and Jews who opposed Christ in His day were not Jews by conviction, but were renegades who had completely left the Jewish religion and who had broken the covenant. The true Jews of Christ's time were those who walked with Him into the New Testament, at which time Judaism was made forever null and void, symbolized by the fig tree that suddenly withered away on Christ's way up to Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:19)

Hence Judaism has not existed since the time of Christ, nor can it possibly exist from thence, no more than a seed can exist once it becomes a tree. The seed of Judaism grew into Christianity so that what remains today is not Judaism, but the legacy of the Pharisees who murdered the Christ.

The written form of the Pharisaic tradition is the Talmud, penned by the descendants of the Pharisees, which forms the backbone of modern Judaism and which hurls the most hateful and pornographic insults against Jesus Christ, even condemning Him to hell to boil in His own excrement. Obviously God has no covenant with this sort of thing, nor is this connected in any way with the Judaism of the Old testament.

That is to say that Judaism A.D. has no connection with Judaism B.C., since the very point of the Old Testament Judaism was to earnestly look forward to the coming of the Messiah, not to kill Him. There was nothing in the Psalms or prophets, or in any of the unwritten Jewish tradition that said "let us oppose the Christ when he cometh."

The argument that the Jews still await the coming of the Messiah holds no water. If they don't recognize the Messiah that their fathers hung on the cross 2000 years ago, they certainly won't recognize Him when he comes again. And besides it will be too late then.

They now have the chance to recognize the One True Messiah depicted bleeding on the cross above the altars of the Catholic Churches of the world. There exists no other Messiah, so it behooves the Jews to embrace this fact and to come to grips with it. We pray for their conversion, that they may be delivered from their curse and live in the friendship of their Creator from whom they've been estranged for 2000 years, save the converts.

As for the renegade bishops in Rome that are doing this terrible disservice to the Jews, let them cease from consorting with the synagogue just for gifts and its thirty pieces of silver. What we are seeing today in Rome is infidelity in all its various facets, whether it's dignifying divorce through "annulments," or granting sacraments to adulterers, and now this latest perfidy of betraying the Son of Man with a kiss.

The Vatican hierarchy needs to understand that the Jews are not special, which must be said of any grouping on earth. There is no respect to persons with God. Only the Catholic Church purchased by the Blood of Christ is special in God's eyes, being the Creator's gift to man, so let the clergy resume their missionary spirit and bring the truth of the One True Faith to all peoples without the fear of human opinion, remembering that "fear is not charity: but perfect charity casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) 
Friday, December 11, 2015
Feast of St. Damasus I

Saint Damasus I, (304-384). Roman pope (366-384). Engraving by Capuz. Colored. (Photo by: Prisma/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Semidouble (1954 Calendar): December 11

Today is the Feast of St. Damasus I, and the Church also commemorates today the Octave of the Immaculate Conception.

Pope St. Damasus I was born c. 306 to a pious family - the son of a priest in Rome.  He served as a deacon in his father's church for some time before becoming a priest and the assistant to Pope Liberius.  He was thereafter chosen as the 37th Pope of the Catholic Church.

During his reign, he governed amid the violence from those who adhered to anti-pope Ursinus.  And at this time the Arian heresy grew in strength leading to schisms in Antioch, Constantinople, Sardinia, and Rome.  Yet it was - with great jubilation - that Christianity was declared the state religion of the Roman Empire during his reign.

St. Damasus restored catacombs, shrines, and the tombs of martyrs, and wrote poetry and metrical inscriptions about and dedicated to martyrs.  He considered himself too unworthy to be buried near the martyrs who suffered so much for the Faith. Ten of his letters, personal and pontifical, have survived.

Pope St. Damascus is famous for having commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Scriptures into Latin.  The letters from Jerome to Damasus are examples of the primacy of the See of Peter:
Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Damasus was a Spaniard, a man of highest worth, and learned in the Scriptures. He called the first Council of Constantinople, in which he condemned the impious heresy of Eunomius and Macedonius. He also condemned the Council of Rimini, which had already been rejected by Liberius, inasmuch as it was in this assembly of Rimini, as St. Jerome tells us, that mainly by the craft of Valens and Ursacius, was published a condemnation of the faith which had been taught by the Nicene Council, and thus the whole world grieved to find itself made Arian.

He built two basilicas; one dedicated to St. Laurence, near Pompey’s theatre, and this he endowed with magnificent presents, with houses and with lands: the other, on the Ardeatine Way, at the Catacombs. The bodies of SS. Peter and Paul lay for some time in a place richly adorned with marbles; this place he dedicated, and composed for it several inscriptions in beautiful verses. He also wrote on virginity, both in prose and verse, and several other poems.

He established the law of retaliation for cases of false accusation. He decreed that, as was the custom in many places, the psalms should be sung in all churches in alternate choirs, day and night; and that at the end of each psalm, there should be added: ‘Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.’ It was by his order that St. Jerome translated the new Testament from the Greek text. He governed the Church seventeen years, two months, and twenty-six days; and five times during this period, he gave ordinations, in the month of December, to thirty-one priests, eleven deacons, and sixty two bishops, for divers places. Conspicuous for his virtue, learning, and prudence, and having lived little short of eighty years, he slept in the Lord, during the reign of Theodosius the Great. He was buried in the basilica which he had built on the Ardeatine Way, where also lay his mother and sister. His relics were afterwards translated to the church of Saint Laurence, called after him St. Laurence’s in Damaso. 


O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Damasus shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this confessor and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and to keep it under Your continual protection. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Monday, December 7, 2015
Feast of St. Ambrose

Double (1955 Calendar): December 7

Today is the feast of the great St. Ambrose, the famous bishop who baptized St. Augustine.  Known by some as St. Ambrose of Milan, to distinguish him from other saints by the name of Ambrose, the famous bishop of Milan was born to a Roman noble family.  As is the case with many other saints, he was the friend and relative of other saints - he is the brother of St. Marcellina and St. Satyrus.

St. Ambrose was a learned man having been educated in the classics, philosophy, poetry, and Greek.  St. Ambrose for a time served as the Governor of Milan.   Famously, when the bishop of Milan died, a great dispute arose over who should take his place.  St. Ambrose intervened in such a calm way that both sides were awed by his demeanor; so much so that he was chosen to be the new bishop - despite that he was at that time merely an unbaptized catechumen!  St. Ambrose resisted - citing his own unworthiness - but to finally calm the crowds, he agreed.

On December 7, 374 AD, St. Ambrose was baptized and on that same day ordained in the various orders of the Church including episcopal consecration.

As the newly consecrated bishop, he immediately gave all of his wealth to the poor.  St. Ambrose is regarded as a renowned preacher and teacher and writer of liturgical hymns.  He remained steadfast against the heresy of the Arians and against the rampant paganism of the time. His preaching directly led to the conversion of St. Augustine of Hippo and it lead Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins. 

St. Ambrose was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298.  He is also known as the Honey Tongued Doctor because of his preaching ability.

St. Ambrose, pray for us!

Today is also the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (a day of fasting and abstinence).


O God, may blessed Ambrose intercede for us in heaven as he once instructed Your faithful on earth and directed them in the way of eternal salvation. Through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Sunday, December 6, 2015
St. Bernard: On the Three Comings of the Lord: An Advent Reflection

We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.    

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself ways: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.    

Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.    

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.    

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
St. Cyprian: On Immortality - An Advent Meditiation

Our obligation is to do God’s will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honours by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we would rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ.

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live for ever. Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God’s will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows it. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there the exultant assembly of prophets, there the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There in triumph are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord’s command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that springs from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently.

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”