Saturday, January 23, 2021
The Value of the Rosary for the Souls in Purgatory
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Along with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing else of more benefit we can do for the Poor Souls than offering the Rosary for them while in the state of grace ourselves. The following is taken from The Purgatorian Manual:

"St. Dominic declares that the redemption of the holy souls from Purgatory is one of the principal effects of the Rosary. The Venerable Alanus writes that many of the brethren had appeared to them whilst reciting the Rosary, and had declared that next to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there was no more powerful means than the Rosary to help the suffering souls. 

"Also, that numerous souls were daily released thereby, who otherwise would have been obliged to remain there for years. St. Alphonsus Liguori therefore says: 'If we wish to be of material assistance to the souls in Purgatory, we must always recommend them in our prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and especially offer the holy Rosary for them.' Let us then frequently and with devotion recite the Rosary, which is so pleasing to our blessed Mother, recommended most especially by the Holy Church, discloses to us a rich source of grace, and is so efficacious in relieving the suffering souls and opening Heaven to them. 

"Should our labor prevent us from reciting the entire Rosary every day, let us, at least, say it in part. This simple homage to the Queen of Heaven will draw down great blessings upon us, and the holy souls will be wonderfully consoled and relieved, if this devotion be offered in their behalf."

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Monday, January 18, 2021
Solemn Mass & the Divine Office: Tools for Evangelization
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“Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God” (Rule of St. Benedict 43:3)

It is no surprise that I have for many years now strongly asserted the need to restore the Church to Her traditional Liturgy, Her soundness of doctrine without ambiguity, and Her devotions and cultural traditions that incorporate Faith in all the rudimentary ways of life. As the years have passed, I have also understood more now than before that to restore the Catholic Faith and all things in Christ - to use the words of St. Pius X - does not mean returning to the year 1962 or even the 1950s. 

The 1962 Liturgical Calendar, while vastly preferable to the 1969 Calendar used in the Novus Ordo, was transitional in nature and reflects a number of modernist elements that aided in the expunging of Catholicism from daily life. Likewise, the reduction in fasting and Holy Days of Obligation, which began several centuries ago, left the Church in the early 1900s with a mere shell of these former glorious customs. The words of Pope Benedict XIV remarking that the weakening of the Lenten fast from its form in the mid-1700s would be to the Church's utter detriment have come true.

For those Catholics who understand that we have lost a pearl of great price, restoring the Church and the work of God to the center of a Catholic's life is of primary importance. While I have strongly advocated for the observance of fasting as practiced even before the weakening changes in the 18th and 19th centuries, I have only recently understood the importance of restoring the public worship of God in grandeur and splendor (i.e. the Sunday Solemn High Mass) to every parish.

It should come as no surprise that the first and foremost way to restore the Catholic Faith is to abolish the Novus Ordo. The Novus Ordo is deficient in its Theology, reflecting a fundamental error that can not be rectified by merely turning the priest ad orientem, adding incense, incorporating Latin chants, and rearranging externals. At its core, the Novus Ordo prayers were written by a committee and they are a rupture from Tradition. The Novus Ordo and the purity of the Catholic Faith are irreconcilable.

But, simply returning to the mentality in America in the mid-1900s to offer only Low Masses is also not the answer. 

But why? As the Baltimore Catechism reminds us: "All Masses are equal in value in themselves and do not differ in worth, but only in the solemnity with which they are celebrated or in the end for which they are offered." While all valid Masses are truly Catholic and pleasing to God (i.e. efficacious since Christ the Lord is truly offered on the altar and the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present again), the varying degrees in solemnity are for our benefit. However, even a Low Mass is preferable to the Novus Ordo since the Mass said according to the older liturgical books is at its core Catholic, it is valid, and it is pleasing to God assuming the priest offers it with reverence and with due care.

The solemnity in which the Mass is offered distinguishes Masses into four categories as the Baltimore Catechism reminds us:

  1. When the Mass is sung by a bishop, assisted by a deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Pontifical Mass; 
  2. When it is sung by a priest, assisted by a deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Solemn Mass; 
  3. When sung by a priest without deacon and sub-deacon, it is called a Missa Cantata or High Mass;
  4. When the Mass is only read in a low tone it is called a low or private Mass.
In the decades before Vatican II, the trend intensified for parishes to merely offer Low Masses - even on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. The chants that were to accompany such sacred days were lost. The Faithful in the pews were also often robbed of the Divine Office which had ceased to be offered regularly even in cathedrals. Nowadays even in parishes that only offer the Tridentine Mass, it is exceedingly rare to find one that publicly offers the Divine Office in Latin using the traditional Divino Afflatu (pre-1955) liturgical books. Even the updated 1960 Divine Office is rarely ever publicly offered except in a few monasteries.


Solemn High Mass at St James London

Why has the Church ceased to offer Solemn Masses on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation? As an article from America Press Volume 27 written 1922 remarks, the Divine Office, especially Vespers and Compline, along with the Solemn High Mass are powerful not only for the Faithful but for missionary work among Protestants:

"But the most amazing thing of all is to see the way the most valuable instruments that the clergy have are left unused. The evening service, which could be made so attractive, is now usually a hit-or-miss compilation of private devotions made to serve a public need. The rosary, so strange to Protestants in any case, is recited in so rapid a manner that hardly a word is understood by the Protestant who is present. Even Benediction is oftne given in a slap-dash manner. From all this the Protestant forms the opinion that hte great thing about Catholic prayer is to have it over as soon as possible. Can we blame him so much?

"In the average parish High mass is very seldom sung except at a funeral. Yet many a soul has been coverted by a High Mass. Even where High mass or the Missa Cantata is the Sunday custom, the Proper of the Mass is left unsung and so the real teaching part of the service is not known by the poeple, and never is put before the truth-seeker at all. Yet the Missal is a storehose of missionary material. What a splendid thing it woulbe be if in every parish church it were possible to take one's Protestant friends to Solemn Mass or Vespers! What could be better adapted to attract Protesants that Compline properly changed? Why is it that with all the wealth of the liturgy at her disposal the Church in thsi country makes no effort to use it? Even in our catedrals the Divine Office is not performed, nor a daily High Mass sung. Is it any winder if the Protestant comes to think that the Catholic is weary of the worship of God? Music, arth, the dramatic instinct, all these things could be used to advantage in this country."

There is much value in the Low Mass. I do not intend to dissuade priests from offering the Low Mass early on Sundays and throughout the week. Aside from Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, I prefer the quiet and the stillness of an early morning Low Mass said quietly by a priest as the sun is rising. Years ago I read an article on this very topic by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski where he recounted a trip to a monastery where he experienced the beauty of monks offering private Low Masse in silence at the same time. This is a beautiful thing and this should not cease. In fact, silence is the language of God, as Dr. Kwaniewski has well remarked. However, despite this, he also wrote a fitting piece reflecting on the Problem of the Dominant Low Mass and the Rare High Mass. I would add to his work to also reflect that the rushed prayers of Rosary and Benediction in the evening, the absence of the Divine Office publicly chanted, and the lack of any regular Pontifical High Masses have hurt the missionary efforts of the Church and the ability to strengthen the devotion of lay Catholics.

Priests, please help us restore the sacred. Please offer Solemn High Masses and the Missa Cantata on Sundays and all Holy Days of Obligation (including the many former Holy Days like the feasts of the Apostles). Help us to experience Matins, Lauds, Prime, Vespers, or Compline. Help us to hear the chants of the liturgical year, experience the many blessings throughout the liturgical year from wine to herbs to throats to candles and cars, and help us to observe strict fasting. May all of this help restore in our own homes a Catholic ethos and may we slowly but surely restore our own families, homes, towns, governments, and nations as faithful servants of Christ the King.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021
First Sunday after Epiphany Mass Propers
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Note: This Mass is not offered on the First Sunday after Epiphany since 1921 when Pope Benedict XV instituted the Feast of the Holy Family for this date. As a result, this Mass is, in the rubrics in place up through 1954, normatively celebrated on the Monday following when it is still during the Octave of Epiphany. It is always a festal Mass pertaining to the Octave, in white, with Gloria, Credo, Preface & Communicantes of Epiphany. In the 1962 Missal, since the Missal does not retain the Octave of the Epiphany, this Mass is said on all Ferial Days occurring the first full week after Epiphany, whether before or after January 13. If before, it is celebrated in white with Gloria, but no Credo or proper Communicantes; if after, it celebrated as a green Per Annum Ferial Mass without Gloria. Thanks to Restore the 54 for this information.


"The Apostle invites us to make our offering to the newborn King, after the example of the Magi; but the offering which this Lord of all things asks of us is not anything material or lifeless. He that is Life gives his whole self to us; let us, in return, present him our hearts, that is, a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God; whose service may be reasonable, that is, whose obedience to the divine will may be accompanied by a formal intention of offering itself to its Creator. Here again, let us imitate the Magi, who went back another way into their own country — let us not adopt the ideas of this world, for the world is the covert enemy of our beloved King. Let us reform our worldly prudence according to the divine wisdom of Him, who may well be our guide, seeing he is the Eternal Wisdom of the Father. Let us understand, that no man can be wise without Faith, which reveals to us that we must all be united by love, so as to form one body in Christ, partaking of his life, his wisdom, his light, and his kingly character."

Vestments: White

INTROIT 
UPON a high throne I saw a Man sitting, whom a multitude of Angels adore singing together: Behold Him the name of whose empire is for ever. Ps. 99. 1. O sing joyfully to the Lord, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. ℟. Amen. — Upon a high throne …

COLLECT - WE BESEECH Thee, O Lord, of Thy heavenly goodness hear the prayers of Thy suppliant people: that they may both perceive what things they ought to do, and have the strength to do them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son …

Commemoration of the Epiphany - O God, Whose only begotten Son, hat appeared in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be inwardly made in a new form by Him Whose form we have known to be outwardly like ours. Who with thee liveth and reigneth...

EPISTLE
Romans 12: 1-5
BRETHREN: I beseech you, by the mercy of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another; in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL
BLESSED be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things from the beginning. Let the mountains receive peace for Thy people and the hills justice. 

Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 99.1.) Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
Luke 2: 42-52

WHEN JESUS was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 99:1-2
SING JOYFULLY to God, all the earth, serve ye the Lord with gladness: come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: for the Lord He is God.

SECRET - O LORD, may the Sacrifice we offer up to Thee, ever quicken and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son …

PREFACE (Preface of the Epiphany) - IT is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: for when Thine only begotten Son was manifested in the substance of our mortal flesh, with the new light of His own immortality He restored us. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army we sing a hymn to Thy glory, evermore saying: 

COMMUNION
Luke 2:48-49
SON, why hast Thou done so to us? Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. How is it that you sought me? did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?

POST COMMUNION - O ALMIGHTY God, we humbly beseech Thee, that Thou wouldst grant to those whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments that they may serve Thee worthily by a manner of life pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son …
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Catholic Resolutions 2021
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Each year I have made what I call "Catholic Resolutions."  These New Years Resolutions are not centered on losing weight, eating more vegetables, or securing a raise. I make resolutions for all facets of my life including these.  Rather, these resolutions each year are centered around my spiritual life.  I encourage all of you to make resolutions specifically geared toward improving your own Faith life and your own knowledge of the Faith.  One's spiritual health needs the same care - if not more - than our physical, financial, or professional health.

Ask yourself:
  1. Do I know the Faith that I profess to believe in?  If not, how can I learn more?  For example, CatechismClass.com has an ideal Adult Course just for this purpose.
  2. Am I truly living a Catholic life?  Am I learning more prayers?  Am I helping others to learn the Faith and live it out?  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?
  3. Do you struggle with certain sins or addictions? What actions do I need to take to really conquer them?
  4. Do you need to make more donations to Catholic organizations or pro-life charities?
  5. What is my dominant fault and how can I tackle it and grow in virtues?
  6. What additional days of penance can you observe as days of fasting and abstinence? Can you observe the vigils of the apostles as fastdays? What about all 40 days of Lent or the 40 days leading up to Christmas? There are many venerable ways we can practice penance this year and fulfill our Lady's call for "Penance, penance, penance."
This is the time of year to truly set Catholic Resolutions which will have eternal repercussions. When so many have already begun to set aside last week's New Years Resolutions, now is the time to actually make true and lasting Catholic Resolutions for the new year.

Some General Suggestions of Catholic Resolutions:
  1. Pray the Rosary every day, if you are out of the habit of it
  2. Pray Lauds, Vespers, and Compline (from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Divine Office) every day.
  3. Say a prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory every day, such as the St Gertrude Prayer. Getting a copy of The Purgatorian Manual: Containing Spiritual Reading and Prayers for Every Day of the Month is also an excellent idea.
  4. Attend Mass one day extra a week in addition to Sunday. And if you have fallen away from Mass, start going weekly again.
  5. Make it a habit to go to Confession every 2 weeks. Ensure that you are sincere and actually detest your sins and desire to amend your life.
  6. Fulfill the First Friday Devotion as well as the First Saturday Devotion
  7. Start wearing the Brown Scapular if you do not already. But ensure you are properly enrolled by a priest.
I encourage you to make Catholic Resolutions. What are yours? Share them below in the comments box.
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Friday, January 1, 2021
January: Month of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ
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In the Church, each of the twelve months in the year is dedicated to a particular facet of the Catholic Faith. However, the particular focus assigned to each month is not a dogmatic matter which has been defined by the Church’s solemn authority. Rather, these devotions have been practiced by the faithful and grown as popular piety. January is traditionally devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus.

On January 1st we recall our Lord's Circumcision and the giving of the divine name to Him 8 days after His nativity. We recall this in a special Feast of the Holy Name each year on the Sunday of January 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th, or when no Sunday occurs on these days, then the feast is celebrated on January 2nd.

The honor of God’s name is not merely an intellectual exercise. It necessitates real actions in our lives. One of the manifestations of this is the proper capitalization of God’s name as well as all pronouns (e.g. He, Him, His) that refer to God, or any of the three divine persons. Known as reverential capitalization, this practice used to be commonplace until continued liberalism in education began to erode at this practice. As Catholics, we do our part to honor God's holy name by always capitalizing it and all references to the Divine Name.

Similarly, the Church in her worship prescribes that the priest bow his head “when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.”  By extension, the faithful are admonished to also bow their heads whenever the Holy Name of Jesus is mentioned, even in casual conversation. Therefore, we should bow our heads during the Gloria Patri prayer whether during Mass, while saying the Rosary, or at the end of the Psalms in the Divine Office. While the bow of the head is required at the mention of “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ”, it is not required only at the mention of “Christ”, which is a title as opposed to being the Name of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made flesh.

The practice of bowing the head at the mention of His Name was formally written into the law of the Church at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274: 

“Those who assemble in church should extol with an act of special reverence that Name which is above every Name, than which no other under Heaven has been given to people, in which believers must be saved, the Name, that is, of Jesus Christ, Who will save His people from their sins. Each should fulfil in himself that which is written for all, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious Name is recalled, especially during the sacred Mysteries of the Mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head.” 

If you have not done so, that is a great resolution to make this year in honor of the Divine Name of our Lord. January is also a great month to daily pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus or the Chaplet of the Holy Name.

Prayer to Honor the Lord's Holy Name:

O God, Who didst constitute Thine only-begotten Son the Savior of mankind, and didst bid Him be called Jesus: mercifully grant, that we who venerate His holy Name on earth, may fully enjoy also the vision of Him in heaven. Through the same our Lord.

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