Wednesday, September 23, 2020
What is Better: Shared Days of Penance or Private Acts of Penance?

As mentioned in my articles on the catastrophic decline in fasting in the lives of Catholics, the notion of shared days of communal penance (e.g. abstinence on Fridays and shared days of fasting for Lent, Ember Days, and Vigils) has all but vanished. What is even more concerning than losing these traditions and connections with the Faith as it has been practised for centuries is that the Church has taught that days of communal penance are more efficacious than mere private penances. The trend to encourage private fasting and penances and reduce Church-wide fasting to only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday is deplorable.

As Dom Gueranger writes in his article on Ember Wednesday for September:

We have already spoken of the necessity of private penance for the Christian who is at all desirous to make progress in the path of salvation. But in this, as in all spiritual exercises, a private work of devotion has neither the merit nor the efficacy of one that is done in company with the Church, and in communion with her public act; for the Church, as bride of Christ, communicates an exceptional worth and power to works of penance done, in her name, in the unity of the social body.

He continues by quoting the following passage from Pope St. Leo the Great:

God has sanctioned this privilege, that what is celebrated in virtue of a public law is more sacred than that which depends on a private regulation. The exercise of self-restraint which an individual Christian practises by his own will is for the advantage of that single member; but a fast undertaken by the Church at large includes everyone in the general purification. God’s people never is so powerful as when the hearts of all the faithful join together in the unity of holy obedience, and when, in the Christian camp, one and the same preparation is made by all, and one and the same bulwark protects all...

Let us not only keep the traditional days of fasting as were known and practiced long before the 1900s but also work to restore their observance to the Universal Church. Then we can reap even greater merits.

Saturday, September 19, 2020
Vigil of St. Matthew

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): September 20

In addition to the Feast of St. Eustace, September 20th is also the Vigil of Saint Matthew. If this Mass is celebrated, the vestments are violet. Otherwise, the Vigil is commemorated at the Mass of St. Eustace.

Traditionally the feasts of all the apostles, which were Holy Days of Obligation in previous times, were preceded with a vigil. It has been kept in the Church from ancient times and is mentioned in the Martyrology of St. Jerome.

Today is a worthwhile day, in years when the Vigil does not fall on a Sunday, for us to fast and abstain from meat as we prepare to celebrate St. Matthew's feastday. In years when the Vigil falls on a Sunday, before the advent of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the fast would be anticipated on Saturday, the day prior.

Luke 5: 27-32 (the Proper Last Gospel today at the Mass of St. Eustace if a second Mass for the Vigil is not offered):

At that time, Jesus saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And, leaving all things, he rose up, and followed Him. And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house; and there was a great company of publicans, and of others, that were at table with them. But the pharisees and scribes murmured, saying to His disciples, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering, said to them, "They that are whole need not the physician: but they that are sick. I came not to call the just, but sinners, to penance."


Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the august solemnity of blessed Matthew, Thine apostle and Evangelist, to which we look forward, may increase both our devotion and our salvation. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God.

Image Source: Tridentine Mass Society of Madison

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Within the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

We are currently in the midst of another octave - the Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, another casualty in 1955 that few people know of or spiritually celebrate anymore. This was previously a Common Octave. In 1913, with the Divino Aflatu reforms, the Octave was downgraded to a simple octave, and the Octave Day itself, September 15th, was replaced by the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

By the 20th century, the Octave of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother had all but vanished as higher-ranking feasts were added to the calendar. The entire octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was impeded, but The Most Holy Name of Mary was celebrated during the octave and The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on the former octave day.

Brief History of Octaves:

By the 8th century, Rome had developed liturgical octaves not only for Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas but also for the Epiphany and the feast of the dedication of a church.

After 1568, when Pope Pius V reduced the number of octaves (since by then they had grown considerably), the number of Octaves was still plentiful.  Octaves were classified into several types. Easter and Pentecost had "specially privileged" octaves, during which no other feast whatsoever could be celebrated. Christmas, Epiphany, and Corpus Christi had "privileged" octaves, during which certain highly ranked feasts might be celebrated. The octaves of other feasts allowed even more feasts to be celebrated.

To reduce the repetition of the same liturgy for several days, Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X made further distinctions, classifying octaves into three primary types: privileged octaves, common octaves, and simple octaves. Privileged octaves were arranged in a hierarchy of first, second, and third orders. For the first half of the 20th century, octaves were ranked in the following manner, which affected holding other celebrations within their timeframes:
  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost
    • Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
      • Octave of Epiphany
      • Octave of Corpus Christi
    • Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
      • Octave of Christmas
      • Octave of the Ascension
      • Octave of the Sacred Heart
  • Common Octaves
    • Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
    • Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
    • Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    • Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
    • Octave of All Saints
    • Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
  • Simple Octaves
    • Octave of St. Stephen
    • Octave of St. John the Apostle
    • Octave of the Holy Innocents 
    • Octave of St. Lawrence
    • Octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Crown of Twelve Stars

All praise and thanksgiving; be to the ever-blessed Trinity, Who hath shown unto us Mary, ever-Virgin, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a mystic crown of twelve stars.
R. For ever and ever. Amen.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Father, Who elected her for his daughter.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Father, Who predestined her to be the Mother of His Son.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Father, Who preserved her from all stain in her conception.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Father, Who on her birthday adorned her with His choicest gifts.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Father, Who gave her Joseph for her pure spouse and companion.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Son, Who chose her for His Mother.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Son, Who became Incarnate in her womb, and abode there nine months.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Son, Who was born of her and was nourished at her breast.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Son, Who in His childhood willed that Mary should teach Him.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise is to God the Son, Who revealed to her the mysteries of the redemption of the world.
R. Amen. Ave Maria and Gloria Patri.

Let us praise and give thanks to God the Holy Ghost who made her His spouse.
R. Amen. Pater noster.

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, Who revealed to her first His name of Holy Ghost.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, through whose operation she became at once Virgin and Mother.
R. Amen. Ave Maria

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, through whom she became the living temple of the Most Holy Trinity.
R. Amen. Ave Maria.

Praise be to God the Holy Ghost, by whom she was exalted in Heaven high above all creatures.
R. Amen. Ave Maria and Gloria Patri.

For the Holy Catholic Church, for the propagation of the faith, for peace among Christian princes, and for the uprooting of heresies, let us say Salve Regina.

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Make me worthy to praise thee, O Holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thine enemies.

V. Blessed be God in his saints.
R. Amen

(100 days Indulgence)
Friday, September 4, 2020
Book Review - Oremus: A Treasury of Latin Prayers

I recently had the chance to review Oremus: A Treasury of Latin Prayers with English Translations (Latin and English Edition) after receiving a copy from the publisher. As a promoter of the Church's sacred language, I was happy to take a look.

The Positives:

  • Oremus features more than just standard prayers. This is not just a paperback with the Rosary prayers in Latin. The book has sections for morning prayers, evening prayers, Rosary prayers, prayers during Eucharistic Adoration, Prayers used in True Devotion by St. Louis de Montfort, the Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Marian prayers, Liturgical Sequences, and many other various prayers.
  • The back of the book ends with a number of Psalms in both English and Latin.
  • They have kept the Gallican Psalter and the Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate, which many Latinist and liturgists substantially prefer to the Nova Vulgata which was commissioned in 1907.
The Negatives:
Areas of Future Improvement:
  • When it comes to prayer books, I prefer hard copy that is durable and will last a long time. Think of the Raccolta, the Douay Rheims Bible, or other Catholic treasures that stand the passage of time. While the paperback is fine, it just does not have that traditional feel that I'd expect in a book. I don't think it would hold up if put to daily use without the spine and pages showing noticeable wear after only a few weeks.
  • I wish the prayers that carried indulgences were marked as such, especially if they referred to the Raccolta's listing.
Regardless if you choose to obtain this book, make it an effort to learn at least the basic prayers of our Faith in the Church's unifying and universal language. And after you master those, expand from there. While God of course hears us in any language, nothing can replace Latin as the unifying language - the counter to the Tower of Babel - which unites peoples from distance lands and various cultures into the one same expression of the Faith. The introduction to the book did give a nice explanation of why pray in Latin before starting on the prayers.

Thursday, September 3, 2020
Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima

I received a very interesting email from a kind reader regarding a new Confraternity which is promoting the message and requests of our Lady of Fatima. The message said in part:

I received information on the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima and think you might want to spread this on your blog.  It was started by Bishop A. Schneider and the membership requirements are things traditional Catholics already do: Confession once a month; daily rosary of 5 decades; one daily act of simple penance and the wearing of the Brown Scapular plus praying the Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia!  Hope you will consider including this. 

The Requirements (which are already what many of us already do):

The Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia:

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother. 

Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church. 

In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia. 

You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope: that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph, through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of the Christian life. 

O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our sweet Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer.        

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
A Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the self-same Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is one and the same Sacrifice. It is not the Sacrifice of Jesus recreated. It is not reenacted. It is not repeated. It is the same Sacrifice that takes place out of time.

This video is a powerful and beautiful illustration of this reality. This symbolism is shown below from "The Catholic Church Alone: The One True Church of Christ" by the Catholic Education Company, New York, page 551:

  • "When the priest kisses the altar, he is kissing Christ, *faithfully,* in contradiction to the kiss of betrayal by Judas." In a sense, the priest is making atonement for the betrayal of Judas.
  • "The priest reading the Introit represents Christ being falsely accused by Annas and blasphemed."
  • "The priest going to the middle of the altar and saying the Kyrie Eleison represents Christ being brought to Caiphas and these three times denied by Peter."
  • "The priest saying the 'Dominus vobiscum' represents Christ looking at Peter and converting him."
  • "The priest saying the 'Orate Fratres' represents Christ being shown by Pilate to the people with the words 'Ecce Homo.'"
  • "The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ being mocked and spit upon."
  • "The priest blessing the bread and wine represents Christ being nailed to the cross."
  • "The priest elevating the host represents Christ being raised on the cross."
  • "The priest goes to the Epistle side and prays signifying how Jesus was led before Pilate and falsely accused."
  • "The priest goes to the Gospel-side, where he reads the Gospel, signifying how Christ was sent from Pilate to Herod, and was mocked and derided by the latter."
  • "The priest goes from the Gospel side again to the middle of the altar - this signifies how Jesus was sent back from Herod to Pilate."
  • "The priest uncovers the chalice, recalling how Christ was stripped for the scourging."
  • "The priest offers bread and wine, signifying how Jesus was bound to the pillar and scourged."
  • "The priest washes his hands, signifying how Pilate declared Jesus innocent by washing his hands."
  • "The priest covers the chalice after the Offertory recalling how Jesus was crowned with thorns."
  • "The priest breaking and separating the host represents Christ giving up His spirit."

Share this symbolism with others! Click here for a PDF put together by the Fatima Center and share!


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