Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:



Saturday, July 27, 2013
St. Pantaleon
edit_button

Simple (1955 Calendar): July 27

St. Pantaleon is numbered in the West among the late-medieval Fourteen Holy Helpers and in the East as one of the Holy Unmercenary Healers.  He was a martyr of Nicomedia in Bithynia during the Diocletian persecution of 303 AD.

Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Martyr, died about 305. According to legend he was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia, and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Eubula. Afterwards he became estranged from Christianity. He studied medicine and became physician to the Emperor Maximinianus. He was won back to Christianity by the priest Hermolaus. Upon the death of his father he came into possession of a large fortune. Envious colleagues denounced him to the emperor during the Diocletian persecution. The emperor wished to save him and sought to persuade him to apostasy. Pantaleon, however, openly confessed his faith, and as proof that Christ is the true God, he healed a paralytic. Notwithstanding this, he was condemned to death by the emperor, who regarded the miracle as an exhibition of magic.

According to legend, Pantaleon's flesh was first burned with torches; upon this Christ appeared to all in the form of Hermolaus to strengthen and heal Pantaleon. The torches were extinguished. After this, when a bath of liquid lead was prepared, Christ in the same form stepped into the cauldron with him, the fire went out and the lead became cold. He was now thrown into the sea, but the stone with which he was loaded floated. He was thrown to the wild beasts but these fawned upon him and could not be forced away until he had blessed them. He was bound on the wheel, but the ropes snapped, and the wheel broke. An attempt was made to behead him, but the sword bent, and the executioners were converted. Pantaleon implored heaven to forgive them, for which reason he also received the name of Panteleemon (the all-compassionate). It was not until he himself desired it that it was possible to behead him.

The lives containing these legendary features are all late in date and valueless. Yet the fact of the martyrdom itself seems to be proved by a veneration for which there is early testimony, among others from Theodoret (Graecarum affectionum curatio, Sermo VIII, "De martyribus", in Migne, P.G., LXXXIII 1033), Procopius of Caesarea (De aedificiis Justiniani I, ix; V, ix), and the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (Acta SS., Nov., II, 1, 97). Pantaleon is venerated in the East as a great martyr and wonderworker. In the Middle Ages he came to be regarded as the patron saint of physicians and midwives, and became one of the fourteen guardian martyrs. From early times a phial containing some of his blood has been preserved at Constantinople. On the feast day of the saint the blood is said to become fluid and to bubble. Relics of the saint are to be found at St. Denis at Paris; his head is venerated at Lyons. His feast day is 27 July, also 28 July, and 18 February.

Source: Löffler, K. (1911). St. Pantaleon. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 25, 2013 from New Advent.
Read more >>
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Feast of St. Apollinaris
edit_button


Double (1955 Calendar): July 23

One of the first great martyrs of the church. He was made Bishop of Ravenna by St. Peter himself. The miracles he wrought there soon attracted official attention, for they and his preaching won many converts to the Faith, while at the same time bringing upon him the fury of the idolaters, who beat him cruelly and drove him from the city. He was found half dead on the seashore, and kept in concealment by the Christians, but was captured again and compelled to walk on burning coals and a second time expelled. But he remained in the vicinity, and continued his work of evangelization.

We find him then journeying in the province of Aemilia. A third time he returned to Ravenna. Again he was captured, hacked with knives, had scalding water poured over his wounds, was beaten in the mouth with stones because he persisted in preaching, and then, loaded with chains, was flung into a horrible dungeon to starve to death; but after four days he was put on board ship and sent to Greece. There the same course of preachings, and miracles, and sufferings continued; and when his very presence caused the oracles to be silent, he was, after a cruel beating, sent back to Italy. All this continued for three years, and a fourth time he returned to Ravenna.

By this time Vespasian was Emperor, and he, in answer to the complaints of the pagans, issued a decree of banishment against the Christians. Apollinaris was kept concealed for some time, but as he was passing out of the gates of the city, was set upon and savagely beaten, probably at Classis, a suburb, but he lived for seven days, foretelling meantime that the persecutions would increase, but that the Church would ultimately triumph. It is not certain what was his native place, though it was probably Antioch. He is believed to be one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ.

Prayer: 

O God, the Rewarder of faithful souls, who hast consecrated this day by the martyrdom of blessed Apollinaris, Thy priest; we beseech Thee: grant to us Thy servants, that the prayer of him whose holy festival we are keeping may obtain for us the forgiveness of our sins. Through... 

Source: Campbell, T. (1907). St. Apollinaris. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 23, 2013 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01616a.htm
Read more >>
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: 9th Sunday after Pentecost
edit_button


INTROIT
Ps. 53:6-7 Behold, God is my helper, and the Lord is the support of my soul. Turn back the evils upon my enemies, and in Your faithfulness to us disperse them, O Lord my protector. Ps. 53:3. O God, by Your name save me, and by Your might deliver me. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O Lord, let mercy attune Your ear to the prayers of Your people calling upon You. May they ask only what is pleasing to You, so that their requests may always be heard. Through our Lord . .

EPISTLE
I Cor. 10:6-13
Brethren: These things were done in a figure of us, that we should not covet evil things, as they also coveted. Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them, as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them that committed fornication: and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted and perished by the serpent. Neither do you murmur, as some of them murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them in figure: and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore, he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.

GRADUAL
O Lord our Lord, how glorious is Your name over all the earth! V. For Your splendor is exalted above the heavens.

Alleluia, alleluia! V. Ps. 58:2 Rescue me from my enemies, O my God, and defend me from my adversaries. Alleluia!


GOSPEL
Luke 19:41-47
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: "If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee: and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round and straiten thee on every side, And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee. And they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation." And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein and them that bought. Saying to them: "It is written: 'My house is the house of prayer.' But you have made it a den of thieves." And he was teaching daily in the temple.

OFFERTORY
Ps. 18:9, 10, 11, 12
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart, and His judgments are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; for Your servant observes them.

SECRET May we celebrate these sacred rites worthily, O Lord, for each offering of this memorial Sacrifice carries on the work of our redemption. Through our Lord . . .

COMMUNION
John 6:57
"He who eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me and I in him," said the Lord.


POST COMMUNION - O Lord, may the reception of Your Blessed Sacrament cleanse us from sin and unite us all in You. Through our Lord . . .

REFLECTION -

God is our Helper, and He will always come to our aid He will open the ears of His mercy to our prayers, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. Let us obey therefore with joy the precepts of the Lord; let us worthily attend In the temple the mysteries of the holy Mass, and partake of the Body of the Lord, the manna of our souls.

This day's liturgy puts before us in the Epistle and Gospel, the terrible punishments incurred by the Israelites on account of their immorality and irreligion. Twenty-three thousand Hebrews perished in one day on account of their lust; several were killed by serpents for having tempted God by complaining that they had no other food but manna ; many were killed by the destroying angel on account of their murmuring (Epistle), and over a million Jews perished when Jerusalem was destroyed for having rejected the Messiah. They were thrown out of the Kingdom of God as the sellers were driven from the temple which is its figure, for having transformed the house of prayer into a den of thieves (Gospel).

The Gentiles, called in their stead, must therefore be faithful to their vocation and take care not to fall in their turn (Epistle). Let them obey therefore with holy joy the commandments of the Lord (Offertory), let them worthily attend in the temple the Eucharistic mysteries in which the work of our redemption is daily enacted (Secret) and eat the flesh of Jesus which is the true manna of our souls (Communion).

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
Read more >>
Friday, July 19, 2013
Traditionalism Vs. Modernism
edit_button

Traditionalism Vs. Modernism.  Article by by Fr. Peter Carota

Anyone serious about discovering what the problem in the Catholic Church is today has to try to understand Modernism. It is very complex and difficult to understand. But I am going to try to delve into it a bit and continue to try to make it sensible to the average Traditional Catholic. I will not do this is one writing and it will not be easy to explain.

One definition of Catholic Modernism is the attempt to re-interpret the teachings of the catholic church by taking into account new philosophical and scientific thought and concepts. It has a lot to do with Darwin’s evolution and the evolution of truth. There by making ancient beliefs looked down upon and archaic (including catholic beliefs).

St. Pope Pius X promulgated his papal encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis directed against the heresy of Modernism on September 8, 1907.

Pope St. Pius the X then on September 1 1910 required that every bishop, priest, religious superior, seminarian and professors of Theology and Philosophy swear the oath against modernism.

The swearing of this oath was ended by the Pope Paul VI and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) in July 1967. Why was it abolished? To think that in the time of Pope St. Pius X in 1910, he found this oath necessary, and then all of a sudden in 1967 it is longer needed is preposterous. More than ever it was needed when all things were being re-evaluated and revolutionized.

A few things that are contained in the oath are:

“I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world……”

“I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport…”.

“I reject the method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See…”
“I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernist who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition….”

“I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way….”

One definition of “Catholic Modernism is the attempt to re-interpret the teachings of the catholic church by taking into account new philosophical and scientific thought and concepts.”

The Modernist and the Humanist worked hand in hand. As in the French Revolution, secularism was promoted and set religious teaching were seen as detriments to the advancement of science and human endeavors.

When Vatican II idealistically wanted to dialogue with “modern man” and be open to the world of science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology, much naiveté about the perfection of science and social sciences was accepted. When religious orders became involved in psychological experimentation much harm was done and many orders ceased from existing.

Another example of the church’s naiveté to modern social studies was the theory that sex abusers, once they had been in therapy, were able to go back to parishes and not repeat this crime. But over and over again the so called “healed abuser” continued to abuse in these other parishes.

So as you can see, tradition lovers have nothing in common with those who always want “the new”. Society and the Church have not evolved. We are still made up of sinners who want to promote their new agenda. Man is still the same, before and today. We need God’s grace to live a loving selfless life. More education is good, but it has not made the world a safer place to live in.

As we walk down the modernist world in the church and in society, things only get worse. More drugs, divorce, sexually transmitted disease, murders and theft.

As we walk up the Traditional path to heaven, there are happier families, a deeper experience of God, true intellectual development, and charity.

When will the modernist admit that all that is new is not always better and that Tradition has so much to teach us. It is like the youth that think they know everything and do not need parents and older people. What an illusion.

There is nothing wrong with good science and social science as long as it goes on proven facts, not theories. We can learn from un-bias studies. But Divine Tradition from heaven is by far more accurate and helpful for us to be happy healthy people. Thank God we are Traditional.
Read more >>
Prayer to St. Vincent de Paul
edit_button


Noble Saint Vincent de Paul,
beloved servant of the poor,
may we follow your example and do good works
among those whom society has abandoned,
enslaved, or forgotten.
Inspire us to feed the hungry,
to love a child,
to provide comfort and medicine to the sick,
to clothe those whose garments are threadbare,
and to offer hope and our Lord's words
to all who need respite.
Pray for us to our beloved God
that we may commit ourselves selflessly
to doing the same charitable acts
that you did all your life,
and intercede with him
that we may have the favor of his guidance
and strength and love upon this important and meaningful work.

Amen.

Read more >>
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
A Video Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
edit_button


"A Meditation on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" is not meant to be a mere inspirational drama, but a heartfelt prayer, a Catholic meditation.

It should be viewed as such: Focused. Silent. Penitent.

My sincere hope is that you will grow in your love for God, and your Faith will be strengthened.

SYMBOLISM

"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."

"The priest saying the Agnus Dei represents Christ being acknowledged on the cross as the Son of God by many bystanders."

"The priest saying the Last Gospel, which are the first words of the beloved disciple St. John, represents sending the Apostles into all parts of the world to preach the Gospel and preserving His Holy Church for all time."

PARTING THOUGHTS

From Calvary and the Mass, by Fulton J. Sheen

Christ's final words: "It is finished."

Too many of us end our lives, but few of us see them finished. A sinful life may end, but a sinful life is never a finished life.

Our Lord finished His work, but we have not finished ours. He pointed the way we must follow. He laid down the Cross at the finish, but we must take it up. He finished Redemption in His physical Body, but we have not finished it in His Mystical Body.

He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary;
we must finish the Mass.
Read more >>
Monday, July 15, 2013
Six Components of Liberal Catholicism that Seek to Destroy the Church: Part 3: Separation of Church and State
edit_button

We often hear of the phrase "separation of Church and State" spoken of with words of elation.  On the contrary, a Catholic must understand that the separation of Church and State is a modern assault on the Dignity of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingship which we all universally celebrate.  Perhaps no other modern idea is so falsely praised as is this erroneous one.

We can learn much by reading the noble words of Cardinal Pie:

"The main error, the capital crime of this century is the pretension of withdrawing public society from the government and the law of God... The principle laid at the basis of the whole modern social structure is atheism of the law and of the institutions. Let it be disguised under the names of abstention, neutrality, incompetence or even equal protection, let us even go to the length of denying it by some legislative dispositions for details or by accidental and secondary acts: the principle of the emancipation of the human society from the religious order remains at the bottom of things; it is the essence of what is called the new era." (Cardinal Pie, Pastoral Works, vol. VII, pp. 3, 100)

"The time has not come for Jesus Christ to reign? Well, then the time has not come for governments to last." (Cardinal Pie, meeting with Emperor Napoleon III)

"Jesus Christ has been constituted the King of kings. Yes, and the true glory, the true nobility of kings, ever since the preaching of the Gospel, is to be the lieutenants of Jesus Christ on earth. Would per chance the kings have been less great since the cross glitters on top of their diadems? Would the throne have been less famous, less secure since kingship is an emanation, a participation of the kingship of Jesus Christ?

"Jesus Christ has been constituted king, and the true dignity, the true liberty, the true emancipation of modern nations is to have the right to be governed in a Christian manner. Would per chance the nations have been falling from their glory? Would their fate have been less noble, less happy since the scepters to which they obey are bound to submit to the scepter of Jesus? Let us repeat it, my brethren: Christianity does not reach its full development, its full maturity, where it does not take on a social character. Such is what Bossuet expressed in this way : 'Christ does not reign if his Church is not mistress, if the peoples cease to pay to Jesus Christ, to his doctrine, to his law, a national homage.' When the Christianity of a country is reduced to the bare proportions of the domestic life, when Christianity is no longer the soul of public life, of public power, of public institutions, then Jesus Christ deals with this country in the manner he is there dealt with. He continues to give his grace and his blessings to the individuals who serve him, but he abandons the institutions, the powers which do not serve him; and the institutions, the kings, the nations become like shifting sand in the desert, they fall away like the autumn leaves which are gone with the wind." (Cardinal Pie, Works, vol. II, pp.259–60)

The Social and Political Doctrine of the Church (i.e. Doctrine of the Two Swords) was well understood by Catholic princes. The Union between Church and State, between the Priesthood and the Empire, was never stronger than during the Carolingian Dynasty, the second Frankish ruling dynasty (751-987 A.D.), founded by Pepin the Short, but named after his son, Charlemagne (Charles the Great). This Union and cooperation between the Church and Christian Princes continued during the Ottonian Saxon Dynasty (936-1024 A.D.), ruled successively by Otto Ist, Otto II, Otto III, and (Saint) Henry II. Pope Leo III restored the Western Roman Empire, when he crowned Charlemagne Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, in 800 A.D. In 962 A.D, Pope John XII restored the Roman Empire again, when he crowned Otto Ist Emperor. The actual term “Holy Roman Empire” dates from 1254 A.D.

The Doctrine of the Two Swords teaches us that Christ, being both God and man, is King of
the Universe, and as such, His Kingship, which includes both individual souls, as well the whole of society, should be officially recognized by all nations. Accordingly, His Spouse, Holy Mother Church, is Queen, while the Sovereign Pontiff exercises that Kingship on His behalf. He does so in two ways:]

1. He exercises a Direct Power in the Spiritual Field, by means of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy(bishops and priests);

2. He may apply an Indirect Power in the Temporal Field, which is entrusted to lay people,particularly to the natural leaders of men, such as emperors, kings, knights, heads of state, political leaders, magistrates, chiefs of tribes, heads of families. The Hierarchy doctrinally guide these natural leaders, but will admonish them, and even condemn them, if necessary, as they did to erring princes in past ages. By this Authority, and because Catholic leaders once respected this Indirect Power, past popes were able to depose the two above mentioned German Roman Emperors. This power was last used by Pope St Pius V, when he excommunicated Queen Elizabeth Ist, thereby relieving the English of all allegiance to her.

Bishop Williamson declares similar sentiments on the necessity of the primacy of the Catholic religion.  We conclude with this words from January 14, 2012:

Number CCXXXV (235)
14 January 2012

STATE  RELIGION III
To claim that States need not profess or protect the Catholic religion is a classic liberal error, and one of the major errors of Vatican II. Liberalism said, so to speak, “Let us not attack Catholicism head on, but let us divide and rule. Let us divide the individual   man from society by pretending that man is not a social animal, and then we can pretend that religion is purely an individual affair. This will enable us to take over society, and once we have made it liberal, we can turn it back on the individual as a mighty weapon to liberalize him too, because of course man is a social animal !   If any individual then wants not to be liberal, he will have great difficulty in resisting his society that we have liberalized.”  Not so ?  Look around !  Then let us answer   three more objections to the doctrine that, for the salvation of souls, every State should be Catholic.

Your Excellency, Our Lord himself said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. XXII, 21). Here Our Lord   is clearly separating Church from State. Therefore no State should get involved in Catholicism or any other religion Answer, no, Our Lord is not here separating Church from State !  He is making the common sense distinction   between what the individual owes to the State (taxes, etc.) and what he owes to God (worship). Our Lord is absolutely not saying that the temporal State owes nothing to the eternal God. In fact the State, as being the collective temporal authority of a collection of human beings, owes to God in its acts of authority what they owe to him as social beings, namely the social observance of his natural law, and to that Church which natural reason on its own can see to be true, as much social recognition and promotion as will not get in the way of the salvation of souls.

But discerning which is the true religion is something for the individual to do. How then can the State as State be obliged in principle to be Catholic ? Answer, the State is nothing but the moral (i.e. non-material) association in a political body of a greater or lesser number of physical (i.e. material) human beings. But every one of these human beings, merely by the upright use of his natural reason, whether or not he has the supernatural virtue of the Faith, is capable of discerning that God exists, that Jesus Christ is God, and that the Catholic Church is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ. If then any given State does not discern which is the true religion, that is not because its citizens cannot discern, but because for a variety of reasons they will not, or do not want to do so, by making an upright use of their God-given reason. In fact they can discern, and before God they will all bear a greater or lesser responsibility, perfectly measured by him according to their circumstances, for failing to do so.

But, your Excellency, if you insist on every State’s obligation to be Catholic, you are merely going to make a lot of martyrs for evil.  It is for the glory of God and the eternal salvation of souls that every State should be Catholic. To men therefore too ignorant or corrupt for this truth to do anything but alienate them, one may, without minimising the principle, hesitate to proclaim it, but that does not make it any less true. True principles are no less true for sometimes requiring in practice a measure of prudence in the way they are to be told. Surely readers of this “Commentary” can be told the whole   truth !

Kyrie eleison.
Read more >>
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: 8th Sunday after Pentecost
edit_button


INTROIT
Ps. 47:10-11 We have received Your kindness, O God, within Your temple. As Your name, O God, is known to the ends of the earth, so also shall Your praise be voiced to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is just in all things. Ps. 47:2. Great is the Lord, and worthy of all praise in the city of our god, upon His holy mountain. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O Lord, we cannot exist without You. Inspire us to think and act rightly, that we may always live as You would have us live. Through our Lord . . .

EPISTLE
Rom. 8:12-17
Brethren: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

GRADUAL
Be a God of protection to me, a place of shelter to give me safety. V. I have placed my trust in You, O God; let me never be put to shame.

Alleluia, alleluia! V. Ps. 47:2 Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise in the city of our God, upon His holy mountain. Alleluia!


GOSPEL
Luke 16: 1-9
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: "There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, 'What is this that I hear of thee? render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no longer steward.' "And the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do, seeing that my lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.' And calling to him each one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first, 'How much owest thou unto my lord?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said unto him, 'Take thy bond, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' Then said he to another, 'And how much owest thou?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He saith unto him, 'Take thy bond, and write fourscore.' "And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles."

OFFERTORY
Ps. 17:28, 32
You will save the humble, O Lord, but the eyes of the proud You will bring low, for who is God except You, O Lord?

SECRET Accept these gifts, which Your bounty makes it possible for us to offer You, O Lord. May the grace of this sacred rite sanctify our lives on earth and bring us to eternal happiness. Through our Lord . . .

COMMUNION
Ps. 33:9
Taste and see how good is the Lord; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.


POST COMMUNION - May this heavenly Sacrament bring us health of soul and body, O Lord, and make us feel the power of the sacred rite we have celebrated. Through our Lord . . .

REFLECTION -

The theme of the Eighth Sunday is to account for your stewardship before God and then man. In the Epistle we are reminded of our divine filiation, and Our Lord tells us in a parable in today's Gospel of the duties thereby entailed. We are the children of God, since we may say in all truth: Our Father (Epistle). God has given us life, "wherefore we must life according to His will" (Collect).

Just as this rich landowner who, before giving his son his share of the heritage, wishes to test his administrative capability, by entrusting to him things of little value, God, before making us His heirs in Heaven, has wished to test our fidelity by giving us the management on earth of both temporal and spiritual goods. But, like the steward mentioned by Jesus, we have been unfaithful, dissipating by sin the riches and talents which God entrusted to us.

Therefore, vying in zeal with the children of the world, the sons of light imitate the foresight of the steward who, by means of his father's riches, prepared friends unto himself. Turning to profitable use what God has given to us, let us do good, and especially by almsgiving let us secure the testimony which the poor will bear their benefactors at the moment when all will have to give an account of their stewardship to the divine Judge.We want to thank the Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for expediting these resources of the Propers.

Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
Read more >>
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Solemn Pontifical High Mass of the Extraordinary Form with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone
edit_button


P: In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I will go in to the altar of God.

R: To God, Who giveth joy to my youth.
Psalm 42
The priest and server say alternately:
P: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.
R: For Thou art, God, my strength; why hast Thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?
P: Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles.

R: And I will go in to the altar of God: to God Who giveth joy to my youth.
P: To Thee, O God, my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?
R: Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God.
P: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
P: I will go in to the altar of God.
R: To God, Who giveth joy to my youth.

P: Our help + is in the name of the Lord.

R: Who made heaven and earth.
P: In nomine Patris, + et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Introibo ad altare Dei. R: Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.



P: Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.
R: Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
P: Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
R: Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
P: Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea, et quare conturbas me?
R: Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
P: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto.

R: Sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
P: Introibo ad altare Dei.
R: Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
P: Adjutorium nostrum + in nomine Domini.
R: Qui fecit coelum et terram.
Read more >>
Marcel: A Poetic Tribute to a Catholic Bishop
edit_button

In Her mantle, kept to dwell, Our dear Lady blessed Marcel

The Queen lamenting, warned about; a time of scourges deserved
Perversions abound, Faith in doubt, Our Lord Jesus Christ not served
Alas, in sweetness, She points out, The Prelate of priesthood preserved
Forming men, loyal and devout; with venerable ways conserved.

The Lord’s precepts he kept well, was His faithful son, Marcel

The Holy Virgin in tears foretold; scarcely could one have conceived
Apostasy set forth so bold, that even Rome be deceived
But made in Athanasius mold; A Prelate who keeps Faith received
For all Tradition to uphold; confirming all Truth believed.

A Prince who the Church will tell, a good Pastor was Marcel

The Mother spoke in secret lock; in children’s ear was given
Ministers neglect Christ’s stock; from the path of Life are riven
One Shepherd who from harm does block; this Prelate leads sheep to Heaven
Generously he feeds the flock; by his staff are gently driven.

Source
Read more >>
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Conciliar Canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II?
edit_button

The following is taken from Traditional Catholic Remnant.
So it has been recently confirmed that two of the revolutionary Vatican II popes – John XXIII and John Paul II – will be “canonized” by Francis I this December. This news, especially the “canonization” of JPII, comes as no surprise, given the “saint factory” the conciliar church is. Of course two of the worst men to sit in the Chair of Peter are going to be given an honorary “seal of approval” by their modernist successors.

John XXIII reigned from 1958 to 1963. The first of the revolutionary popes, John XXIII was the one who called for a Second Vatican Council, which began in 1962. He died before its completion. There are rumors that he shouted on his deathbed “Stop the Council! Stop the Council!”. This theory leads some Traditionalists to believe that he wasn’t all that bad compared to his successors. However, while I would certainly hope that John XXIII repented of his wicked ways, this claim has never been proven. Thus, our opinion of him should remain that he was a horrible leader for the Church, and was likely a Masonic infiltrator. His successor, Paul VI (who is expected to be “beatified” by the conciliar church soon), who was even more diabolical than his predecessor, was likely an infiltrator as well.

John Paul II reigned from 1978 to 2005, making his reigns one of the longest in Church history. It was also one of the worst, and perhaps THE worst behind only Paul VI. His papacy included a covering up of a plethora of sex abuse cases, two blasphemous inter-religious meetings at Assisi, a phony so-called “third secret” of Fatima released in 2000, and of course, the “excommunication” of Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX. Despite his shameful reign, he’s on the way to “sainthood” nevertheless.

Given that Francis is simply another John XXIII or JPII himself, it’s not surprising that he’s cleared these two liberals to be “canonized”. And Paul VI will likely be next. These modernists need to be excommunicated, not “canonized”! How about Canonizing Archbishop Lefebvre instead? But no, instead he’s considered “excommunicated” while these conciliarists are on the way to so-called “sainthood”.

And while these two are on the way to “sainthood”, Popes who are TRULY worthy of Canonization – such as Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII – are ignored. Of course, these Popes had the true Catholic Faith, their Doctrine was undeniably Catholic and contrary to what these conciliarists teach. So to Canonize them would be contrary to their own beliefs, thus why they’re likely being snubbed.

What did Archbishop Lefebvre have to say about these conciliar Popes?

“We must not be afraid to affirm that the current Roman authorities, since John XXIII and Paul VI, have made themselves active collaborators of international Jewish Freemasonry and of world socialism. John Paul II is above all a communist-loving politician at the service of a world communism retaining a hint of religion. He openly attacks all of the anti-communist governments and does not bring, by his travels, any Catholic revival.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, “Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography” by Bishop Tissier, pp. 602-603)

The Archbishop’s words, as usual, are spot-on. Let us not be deceived by these conciliar popes, who are simply wolves in sheep’s clothing. I will conclude with the words of a Pope who was truly worthy of Canonization, the great Pope St. Pius X:

“They [modernists] want to be treated with oil, soap and caresses. But they should be beaten with fists. In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can.”
Read more >>
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Traditional Pontifical Mass by Msgr Grzegorz Balcerek
edit_button

Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form of The Roman Rite celebreted by Msgr Grzegorz Balcerek, auxiliary bishop of Poznan (Poland), Church of St. Anthony of Padua, June 14, A.D. 2009
Read more >>
Monday, July 8, 2013
Vatican Consecrated to Archangel Michael, the Defender of Tradition
edit_button

The statue was commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI prior to his resignation 
In the recent consecration of the Vatican to the Archangel Michael, Pope Francis declares:
"Michael struggles to restore divine justice and defends the People of God from his enemies, above all from the enemy par excellence, the devil. And St. Michael wins because in him, there is God who acts. Though the devil always tries to disfigure the face of the Archangel and that of humanity, God is stronger. It is His victory and His salvation that is offered to all men. We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life. We are accompanied and supported by the angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. 

 "In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him."
The following is written by David Martin on the occasion of this event:
The understanding of course is that Michael will win our battles only if we invoke him. Clearly Francis and Benedict realize that the Church is under siege and have invoked the special protection of this heavenly warrior during this "final battle between the Church and the anti-church." It seems that Benedict may have prompted this action, being in the know about the satanic infiltration of the Vatican, and no doubt he briefed Francis about the infernal state of affairs in Rome and conferred with him on the Third Secret of Fatima which prophesied this very blight to the Church. Hopefully the consecration to Michael is step-one to universally bringing back the St. Michael prayer after Mass.
 
If the restoration of the Holy Roman Catholic Church has failed to materialize as expected, it's because St. Michael has not been given his place of honor as the guardian of the Faith. For Michael is the highest guardian of Heaven whose mission is to lead the armies of God in their fight against satan, therefore the evil one was intent on reaching in and inscribing those infamous words in the 1964 Vatican II document, Inter Oecumenici, which ordered that the traditional prayer to St. Michael be "suppressed." (article 48) 
This was to prove fatal for the Church. For it was through the restraining force of this great Archangel that the influence of the devil was formerly held back through the ages and kept out of the Church (2 Thess. 2:6, 7). But by removing Michael from the liturgy, this opened the door to infiltration and gave the enemy easy access to enter. The devil wanted the lock off the gate so he could get in there and remodel the fort without interference from his archrival, Michael.  

And the rest is history. The Church since Vatican II has been without spiritual protection which is why it stands "half in ruins" today. Sacred chant has given way to strumming, prayer has given way to clapping, and the sacrosanct order of God has given way to the new liturgical merry-go-round that caters to the whims of the people.
But this latest move to restore St. Michael offers fighting help for the wearied bands and lays the groundwork for a true and lasting restoration. We may very well be witnessing the dawning of a great and glorious renewal for the Church as foretold in Holy Scripture: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come, such as never was from the time that nations began, even until that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the book." (Daniel 12:1)
The consecration of the Vatican to St. Michael truly constitutes a major building block towards restoration. But let us build on this. This is the time to fan the good flame and to start blowing away the smoke of satan that Pope Paul said had "entered into the temple of God." (June 29, 1972)
We pray that the cause of St. Michael continue to flourish and that traditional discipline be restored so that the Church Militant can again be girt with that brilliance and armor "wherewith it may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one."  (Ephesians 6:16)
Read more >>
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: 7th Sunday after Pentecost
edit_button


INTROIT
Psalms 46: 2 Clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. -- (Ps. 46. 3). For the Lord is most high, He is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. V.: Glory be to the Father -- Clap your hands, all ye nations . . .

COLLECT - O God, whose providence faileth not in its designs, we humbly entreat Thee, to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us all things which be profitable for us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity . . .

EPISTLE
Romans 6: 19-23
Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh; for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanliness and iniquity for iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting. For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, is life everlasting; in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL
Come, children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. V.: Come ye to Him and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.

Alleluia, alleluia. V.(Ps. 46. 2). O clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy. Alleluia.



GOSPEL
Matthew 7: 15-21
At that time: Jesus said to His disciples, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the eveil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not everyone that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

OFFERTORY
Daniel 3: 40
As in holocausts of rams and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs; so let our sacrifice be made in Thy sight this day, that it may please Thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in Thee, O Lord.

SECRET O God, who hast justified the variety of sacrifices of the Law by the perfection of this one Sacrifice: accept the Sacrifice of Thy servants who are dedicated to Thee, and sanctify it with a blessing like to that which Thou didst bestow upon the gifts of Abel, that what each one of us has offered to the honor of Thy Majesty, may profit us all unto salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

COMMUNION
Psalm 30: 3
Bow down Thine ear, make haste to deliver me.


POST COMMUNION - May Thy healing work, O Lord, both mercifully free us from our perversities, and lead us to those things which are right. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .
Read more >>
Saturday, July 6, 2013
First Saturday Devotion for July
edit_button

First Saturdays Devotion


On Saturdays, Catholics traditionally have taken part in the "First Saturdays Devotion" which entails going to Mass and receiving Communion for the first Saturday of the month for 5 consecutive months in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  This devotion is not to be confused with the First Friday's Devotion, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The First Saturday Devotion did not originate as part of the apparitions of our Blessed Lady in Fatima, but the devotion did quickly spread further following our Lady's series of appearances to the three shepherd children in 1917.

Our Blessed Lady's words to Sr. Lucia at Fatima:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
The First Saturday Devotion consists of offering the First Saturday of the month for five consecutive months in reparation for the many and grievous sins committed in our world. A further explanation of our Lady's request is below:
  • You must go to the Sacrament of Confession.  Your reception of the Sacrament may be 8 days before the Saturday as long as you stay in a state of grace.
  • You must receive the Holy Eucharist and as always, it must be in the state of grace or risk the most grievous sin of sacrilege
  • You must pray 5 decades of the Holy Rosary of our Lady, including the Fatima Prayer.  
  • Finally, the last requirement consist of "keeping Mary company" for 15 minutes while meditating on all of the Mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to her. This can be done by reading Scripture or other writings relevant to the Mysteries, meditating on pictures of the Mysteries, or simple meditation. Materials for meditation and education on each of the Rosary mysteries is available online.

Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

While the laity is not bound to pray the Divine Office, they are still encouraged to pray the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours).  To pray the Divine Office, I would highly encourage you to pray the 1962 Breviary or even the 1955 version as opposed to the modern version which I find lacking in the spiritual depth present in the earlier editions.

Since you are not bound under ecclesial law to pray the Office, you can and should start by praying the English version of the Breviary.  You can find various breviaries available for sale that will fulfill this purpose.  For centuries Catholics prayed most commonly not with personal prayers and devotion as such individual prayers originated from protestant individualism.  Instead, Catholics prayed the Liturgical texts of the Church (e.g. the Prayers of the Holy Mass, the Rosary, etc) daily and many were saved.  In our world we see the majority of mankind entrenched in sin and debauchery.  Let us pray for a return to our praying the Liturgical prayers of the Holy Church.  Pray the Daily Rosary as Mary has asked of us!

However, please also consider, in addition or instead of the standard Divine Office, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for your daily prayers!
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a shorter form of the Divine Office in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has long been the Church’s daily liturgical prayer to Our Lady, and these hours of praise have been used by Priests, religious and the laity throughout the centuries. Lay people used to flock to the great Cathedrals to publicly recite The Little Office during the Middle Ages, and during the great persecution, when the practice of the Catholic Faith was illegal in Great Britain, Bishop Challoner commended The Little Office to his flock.

Through its psalms, antiphons, readings, responsorials, and prayers the Little Office stresses the role Our Lady played in salvation history, and how through her fiat the divine Word took flesh in her womb and achieved salvation for us all; and how Our Lord granted her the first fruits of the general resurrection in her holy and glorious assumption.

All Catholics are called to a consistent prayer life. For those who do not feel called to recite the Divine Office, but still wish to participate in the liturgical prayer of the Church, or for those who have a particular devotion to the holy Mother of God, there is no finer form of prayer than the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Read more >>
    Friday, July 5, 2013
    SSPX 2013 Winona Priestly Ordinations
    edit_button


    Fulfilling the mission of the Society of St. Pius X - to form holy priests - 11 new priests were added to its company on Friday, June 21st, along with one Dominican for the Avrille (France) community.

    These young deacons were ordained to the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta during a beautiful 4-hour long ceremony that included the solemn Pontifical Mass. In attendance were 82 priests, many religious, and over 1,500 faithful, who travelled from all parts of the United States (and beyond) to witness this wonderful event for the Catholic Church, as well as to pray for the increased holiness of the ordinands.

    Also, not to be forgotten on that day, was the ordination of 6 subdeacons to the diaconate, though they are not shown in the image gallery below.

    Source: SSPX
    Read more >>
    How Could Christ Descend into Hell?
    edit_button

    Excerpted from: Got Questions?: Bible Questions Answered—Answers to the Questions People Are Really Asking by Michael Houdmann

    This notion of Jesus descending into hell causes confusion for a lot of Catholics. This confusion arises over the fact that most Catholics understand Hell to be a place of eternal punishment for unrepentant sinners. They rightfully reason that since Jesus was sinless, there could be no point of his going to Hell for himself, and since the punishment for others was eternal, there would be no point in his going there for others.

    The problem is of course with the word Hell itself. 

    This concept comes primarily from the Apostles' Creed, which states, “He descended into hell.” There are also a few Scripture lines which, depending on how they are translated, describe Jesus as  going to “Hell.” In studying this issue, it is important to first understand what the Bible teaches about the realm of the dead.

    In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is sheol. It simply means the “place of the dead” or the “place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek word that is used for Hell is “hades,” which also refers to “the place of the dead.” Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicate that sheol/hades is a temporary place, where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection and judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 gives a clear distinction between the two. Hell (the lake of fire) is the permanent and final place of judgment for the lost. Hades is a temporary place.

    Sheol/hades is a realm with two divisions (Matthew 11:23, 16:18; Luke 10:15, 16:23; Acts 2:27-31), the abodes of the saved and the lost. The abode of the saved was called “paradise” and “Abraham's bosom.” The abodes of the saved and the lost are separated by a “great chasm” (Luke 16:26). When Jesus ascended to heaven, He took the occupants of paradise (believers) with Him (Ephesians 4:8-10). The lost side of sheol/hades has remained unchanged.

    Jesus said to the thief beside Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus’ body was in the tomb; His soul/spirit went to the “paradise” side of sheol/hades. He then removed all the righteous dead from paradise and took them with Him to heaven. Unfortunately, in many translations of the Bible, translators are not consistent in how they translate the Hebrew and Greek words for “sheol,” “hades,” and “Hell.”

    When Jesus cried upon the cross, “Oh Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), it was then that He was separated from the Father because of the sin poured out upon Him. As He gave up His spirit, He said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). His suffering in our place was completed. His soul/spirit went to the paradise side of hades. He then awaited the resurrection of His body and His return to glory in His ascension.

    The point of this word construction in the Creed is to make us realize and recognize that Jesus, a man like us in all things except sin, died a man's death. Jesus was in exactly the same condition that any man finds himself in when he is certifiably dead. There was a real separation between the physical body and the spiritual soul.

    The fact that His body and soul did not reunite for three days is taken as further proof that He was not simply in a coma and not really dead, but that He was really and truly dead as all men die. It was not a case of Jesus' needing three days to clean out the paradise side of Hades. Rather we needed proof that He actually died, and almost everybody is willing to accept the fact that, even had He been buried alive, no man could survive three days without oxygen.

    The Creed continues with the statement that on the third day He rose from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead in the same body He died in. In John 2:19-20, Jesus said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews therefore said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But He was speaking of the temple of his body." Jesus prophesied that He would rise from the dead in the very body in which He died. Right now, in heaven, Jesus has that same physical body. After His resurrection He appeared to Thomas. "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." Notice that Jesus still retained the hole in His side where He was pierced. "but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water" (John 19:34).

    Though He was raised physically, His body was a glorified body. It was the same body, but it was different. 1 Cor. 15:42-44 says, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."

    We do not know exactly what a resurrected body is capable of accomplishing, but Jesus did appear in rooms unannounced. Perhaps we might have the same ability at our resurrection.

    The physical resurrection of Jesus is a very important doctrine. 1 Cor. 15:14 says, "and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." The reason it is so important is because Jesus' physical resurrection is the proof that death has been conquered and that we too will be physically resurrected. To say that Jesus did not rise from the dead is to say that death had victory over Him. If that were so, we would be without hope and sin would still have its power.

    Catholics make themselves present to the mystery of the resurrection when they pray the first glorious mystery of the most holy Rosary. As is the case with all the decades of the Rosary, Catholics are not merely engaging in an imaginative memory exercise. They are actually inserting themselves as participants in the ongoing and timeless event which the holy Gospel records for us in words.

    If we accept the event of the Ascension then we must embrace the words Jesus spoke on the occasion of that event. Those words are given to us in the form of a command. Let's read aloud the words of that Gospel passage which proclaims the Ascension of Christ: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
     
    The first thing we noticed about this passage is that although the words are meant for everyone in the church, they are first addressed to the apostles, the first bishops of the church that Jesus Christ founded. Jesus is commissioning them (and us, by way of our submission to them) to make converts of everybody in the world. This voluntary conversion is not to be done at the point of the sword but through the water of baptism. Everyone in the world is to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. These are Jesus his last words to us. They are His last will and testament. We inherit what He was given by the Father, that is, “all power in heaven and on earth.”

    He specifies what we are to do with our inheritance. Under the leadership of His bishops we are to convert the world. There is a codicil to this last will and testament and it is this: Under the leadership of His bishops we are to teach the whole world to observe not just some of, but all of that which He has commanded. Put in the simplest and briefest of terms, Jesus wants His bishops to tell everyone to: obey the pope, honor and venerate His mother, be baptized, receive holy Communion, go to Confession, get married and according to church law, perpetuate His Holy Thursday activity by Ordaining bishops and priests to say Mass, and Anoint the sick, and to be Confirmed and strengthened in the faith, and to love your neighbor as He has loved us.

    As Jesus returns to His Father through the Ascension, He invites us to become a new creation. As He has shared in our humanity, He invites us to share in His Divinity. Because of what Christ has done, we are no longer only or merely human. We share in His divine life in, with, and through the Church He founded on the rock called Peter. Jesus assures us that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. He promises us that no one comes to the Father except through him. He is the way. There is no other. Unless we observe all that He commanded, with heavy emphasis on the word all, we are not going to the Father.

    The Creed’s statement that Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father is simply an affirmation that all that He did to save us was acceptable to, and accepted by His father who is now our Father.  Abba Father!
    Read more >>
    Mirae Caritatis
    edit_button

    ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII 
    ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

    To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates,
    Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries,
    having Peace and Communion with the Holy See.
    Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

    To examine into the nature and to promote the effects of those manifestations of His wondrous love which, like rays of light, stream forth from Jesus Christ - this, as befits Our sacred office, has ever been, and this, with His help, to the last breath of Our life will ever be Our earnest aim and endeavour. For, whereas Our lot has been cast in an age that is bitterly hostile to justice and truth, we have not failed, as you have been reminded by the Apostolic letter which we recently addressed to you, to do what in us lay, by Our instructions and admonitions, and by such practical measures as seemed best suited for their purpose, to dissipate the contagion of error in its many shapes, and to strengthen the sinews of the Christian life. Among these efforts of Ours there are two in particular, of recent memory, closely related to each other, from the recollection whereof we gather some fruit of comfort, the more seasonable by reason of the many causes of sorrow that weigh us down. One of these is the occasion on which We directed, as a thing most desirable, that the entire human race should be consecrated by a special act to the Sacred Heart of Christ our Redeemer; the other that on which We so urgently exhorted all those who bear the name Christian to cling loyally to Him Who, by divine ordinance, is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life," not for individuals alone bur for every rightly constituted society. And now that same apostolic charity, ever watchful over the vicissitudes of the Church, moves and in a manner compels Us to add one thing more, in order to fill up the measure of what We have already conceived and carried out. This is, to commend to all Christians, more earnestly than heretofore, the all - holy Eucharist, forasmuch as it is a divine gift proceeding from the very Heart of the Redeemer, Who "with desire desireth" this singular mode of union with men, a gift most admirably adapted to be the means whereby the salutary fruits of His redemption may be distributed. Indeed We have not failed in the past, more than once, to use Our authority and to exercise Our zeal in this behalf. It gives Us much pleasure to recall to mind that We have officially approved, and enriched with canonical privileges, not a few institutions and confraternities having for their object the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Host; that We have encouraged the holding of Eucharistic Congresses, the results of which have been as profitable as the attendance at them has been numerous and distinguished; that We have designated as the heavenly patron of these and similar undertakings St. Paschal Baylon, whose devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist was so extraordinary.

    2. Accordingly, Venerable Brethren, it has seemed good to Us to address you on certain points connected with this same mystery, for the defence and honour of which the solicitude of the Church has been so constantly engaged, for which Martyrs have given their lives, which has afforded to men of the highest genius a theme to be illustrated by their learning, their eloquence, their skill in all the arts; and this We will do in order to render more clearly evident and more widely known those special characteristics by virtue of which it is so singularly adapted to the needs of these our times. It was towards the close of His mortal life that Christ our Lord left this memorial of His measureless love for men, this powerful means of support "for the life of the world" (St. John vi., 52). And precisely for this reason, We, being so soon to depart from this life, can wish for nothing better than that it may be granted to us to stir up and foster in the hearts of all men the dispositions of mindful gratitude and due devotion towards this wondrous Sacrament, wherein most especially lie, as We hold, the hope and the efficient cause of salvation and of that peace which all men so anxiously seek.

    3. Some there are, no doubt, who will express their surprise that for the manifold troubles and grievous afflictions by which our age is harassed We should have determined to seek for remedies and redress in this quarter rather than elsewhere, and in some, perchance, Our words will excite a certain peevish disgust. But this is only the natural result of pride; for when this vice has taken possession of the heart, it is inevitable that Christian faith, which demands a most willing docility, should languish, and that a murky darkness in regard of divine truths should close in upon the mind; so that in the case of many these words should be made good: "Whatever things they know not, they blaspheme" (St. Jude, 10). We, however, so far from being hereby turned aside from the design which We have taken in hand, are on the contrary determined all the more zealously and diligently to hold up the light for the guidance of the well disposed, and, with the help of the united prayers of the faithful, earnestly to implore forgiveness for those who speak evil of holy things.

    The Source of Life

    4. To know with an entire faith what is the excellence of the Most Holy Eucharist is in truth to know what that work is which, in the might of His mercy, God, made man, carried out on behalf of the human race. For as a right faith teaches us to acknowledge and to worship Christ as the sovereign cause of our salvation, since He by His wisdom, His laws, His ordinances, His example, and by the shedding of His blood, made all things new; so the same faith likewise teaches us to acknowledge Him and to worship Him as really present in the Eucharist, as verily abiding through all time in the midst of men, in order that as their Master, their Good Shepherd, their most acceptable Advocate with the Father, He may impart to them of His own inexhaustible abundance the benefits of that redemption which He has accomplished. Now if any one will seriously consider the benefits which flow from the Eucharist he will understand that conspicuous and chief among them all is that in which the rest, without exception, are included; in a word it is for men the source of life, of that life which best deserves the name. "The bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world" (St. John vi., 52). In more than one way, as We have elsewhere declared, is Christ "the life." He Himself declared that the reason of His advent among men was this, that He might bring them the assured fulness of a more than merely human life. "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly" (St. John x., 10). Everyone is aware that no sooner had "the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared" (Tit. iii., 4), than there at once burst forth a certain creative force which issued in a new order of things and pused through all the veins of society, civil and domestic. Hence arose new relations between man and man; new rights and new duties, public and private; henceforth a new direction was given to government, to education, to the arts; and most important of all, man's thoughts and energies were turned towards religious truth and the pursuit of holiness. Thus was life communicated to man, a life truly heavenly and divine. And thus we are to account for those expressions which so often occur in Holy Writ, "the tree of life," "the word of life," "the book of life," "the crown of life," and particularly "the bread of life."

    5. But now, since this life of which We are speaking bears a definite resemblance to the natural life of man, as the one draws its nourishment and strength from food, so also the other must have its own food whereby it may be sustained and augmented. And here it will be opportune to recall to mind on what occasion and in what manner Christ moved and prepared the hearts of men for the worthy and due reception of the living bread which He was about to give them. No sooner had the rumour spread of the miracle which He had wrought on the shores of the lake of Tiberias, when with the multiplied loaves He fed the multitude, than many forthwith flocked to Him in the hope that they, too, perchance, might be the recipients of like favour. And, just as He had taken occasion from the water which she had drawn from the well to stir up in the Samaritan woman a thirst for that "water which springeth up unto life everlasting" (St. John iv., 14), so now Jesus availed Himself of this opportunity to excite in the minds of the multitude a keen hunger for the bread "which endureth unto life everlasting" (St. John vi., 27). Or, as He was careful to explain to them, was the bread which He promised the same as that heavenly manna which had been given to their fathers during their wanderings in the desert, or again the same as that which, to their amazement, they had recently received from Him; but He was Himself that bread: "I," said He, "am the bread of life" (St. John vi., 48). And He urges this still further upon them all both by invitation and by precept: "if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world" (St. John vi., 52). And in these other words He brings home to them the gravity of the precept: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you shall eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you" (St. John vi., 54). Away then with the widespread but most mischievous error of those who give it as their opinion that the reception of the Eucharist is in a manner reserved for those narrow-minded persons (as they are deemed) who rid themselves of the cares of the world in order to find rest in some kind of professedly religious life. For this gift, than which nothing can be more excellent or more conducive to salvation, is offered to all those, whatever their office or dignity may be, who wish - as every one ought to wish - to foster in themselves that life of divine grace whose goal is the attainment of the life of blessedness with God.

    6. Indeed it is greatly to be desired that those men would rightly esteem and would make due provision for life everlasting, whose industry or talents or rank have put it in their power to shape the course of human events. But alas! we see with sorrow that such men too often proudly flatter themselves that they have conferred upon this world as it were a fresh lease of life and prosperity, inasmuch as by their own energetic action they are urging it on to the race for wealth, to a struggle for the possession of commodities which minister to the love of comfort and display. And yet, whithersoever we turn, we see that human society, if it be estranged from God, instead of enjoying that peace in its possessions for which it had sought, is shaken and tossed like one who is in the agony and heat of fever; for while it anxiously strives for prosperity, and trusts to it alone, it is pursuing an object that ever escapes it, clinging to one that ever eludes the grasp. For as men and states alike necessarily have their being from God, so they can do nothing good except in God through Jesus Christ, through whom every best and choicest gift has ever proceeded and proceeds. But the source and chief of all these gifts is the venerable Eucharist, which not only nourishes and sustains that life the desire whereof demands our most strenuous efforts, but also enhances beyond measure that dignity of man of which in these days we hear so much. For what can be more honourable or a more worthy object of desire than to be made, as far as possible, sharers and partakers in the divine nature? Now this is precisely what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, wherein, after having raised man by the operation of His grace to a supernatural state, he yet more closely associates and unites him with Himself. For there is this difference between the food of the body and that of the soul, that whereas the former is changed into our substance, the latter changes us into its own; so that St. Augustine makes Christ Himself say: "You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me" (confessions 1. vii., c. x.).

    The Mystery of Faith

    7. Moreover, in this most admirable Sacrament, which is the chief means whereby men are engrafted on the divine nature, men also find the most efficacious help towards progress in every kind of virtue. And first of all in faith. In all ages faith has been attacked; for although it elevates the human mind by bestowing on it the knowledge of the highest truths, yet because, while it makes known the existence of divine mysteries, it yet leaves in obscurity the mode of their being, it is therefore thought to degrade the intellect. But whereas in past times particular articles of faith have been made by turns the object of attack; the seat of war has since been enlarged and extended, until it has come to this, that men deny altogether that there is anything above and beyond nature. Now nothing can be better adapted to promote a renewal of the strength and fervour of faith in the human mind than the mystery of the Eucharist, the "mystery of faith," as it has been most appropriately called. For in this one mystery the entire supernatural order, with all its wealth and variety of wonders, is in a manner summed up and contained: "He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, a merciful and gracious Lord; He bath given food to them that fear Him" (Psalm cx, 4-5). For whereas God has subordinated the whole supernatural order to the Incarnation of His Word, in virtue whereof salvation has been restored to the human race, according to those words of the Apostle; "He bath purposed...to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in Him" (Eph. i., 9-10), the Eucharist, according to the testimony of the holy Fathers, should be regarded as in a manner a continuation and extension of the Incarnation. For in and by it the substance of the incarnate Word is united with individual men, and the supreme Sacrifice offered on Calvary is in a wondrous manner renewed, as was signified beforehand by Malachy in the words: "In every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a pure oblation" (Mal. i., II). And this miracle, itself the very greatest of its kind, is accompanied by innumerable other miracles; for here all the laws of nature are suspended; the whole substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and the Blood; the species of bread and wine are sustained by the divine power without the support of any underlying substance; the Body of Christ is present in many places at the same time, that is to say, wherever the Sacrament is consecrated. And in order that human reason may the more willingly pay its homage to this great mystery, there have not been wanting, as an aid to faith, certain prodigies wrought in His honour, both in ancient times and in our own, of which in more than one place there exist public and notable records and memorials. It is plain that by this Sacrament faith is fed, in it the mind finds its nourishment, the objections of rationalists are brought to naught, and abundant light is thrown on the supernatural order.

    8. But that decay of faith in divine things of which We have spoken is the effect not only of pride, but also of moral corruption. For if it is true that a strict morality improves the quickness of man's intellectual powers, and if on the other hand, as the maxims of pagan philosophy and the admonitions of divine wisdom combine to teach us, the keenness of the mind is blunted by bodily pleasures, how much more, in the region of revealed truths, do these same pleasures obscure the light of faith, or even, by the just judgment of God, entirely extinguish it. For these pleasures at the present day an insatiable appetite rages, infecting all classes as with an infectious disease, even from tender years. Yet even for so terrible an evil there is a remedy close at hand in the divine Eucharist. For in the first place it puts a check on lust by increasing charity, according to the words of St. Augustine, who says, speaking of charity, "As it grows, lust diminishes; when it reaches perfection, lust is no more" (De diversis quaestionibus, lxxxiii., q. 36). Moreover the most chaste flesh of Jesus keeps down the rebellion of our flesh, as St. Cyril of Alexandria taught, "For Christ abiding in us lulls to sleep the law of the flesh which rages in our members" (Lib. iv., c. ii., in Joan., vi., 57). Then too the special and most pleasant fruit of the Eucharist is that which is signified in the words of the prophet: "What is the good thing of Him," that is, of Christ, "and what is His beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect and the wine that engendereth virgins" (Zach. ix., 17), producing, in other words, that flower and fruitage of a strong and constant purpose of virginity which, even in an age enervated by luxury, is daily multiplied and spread abroad in the Catholic Church, with those advantages to religion and to human society, wherever it is found, which are plain to see.

    9. To this it must be added that by this same Sacrament our hope of everlasting blessedness, based on our trust in the divine assistance, is wonderfully strengthened. For the edge of that longing for happiness which is so deeply rooted in the hearts of all men from their birth is whetted even more and more by the experience of the deceitfulness of earthly goods, by the unjust violence of wicked men, and by all those other afflictions to which mind and body are subject. Now the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist is both the source and the pledge of blessedness and of glory, and this, not for the soul alone, but for the body also. For it enriches the soul with an abundance of heavenly blessings, and fills it with a sweet joy which far surpasses man's hope and expectations; it sustains him in adversity, strengthens him in the spiritual combat, preserves him for life everlasting, and as a special provision for the journey accompanies him thither. And in the frail and perishable body that divine Host, which is the immortal Body of Christ, implants a principle of resurrection, a seed of immortality, which one day must germinate. That to this source man's soul and body will be indebted for both these boons has been the constant teaching of the Church, which has dutifully reaffirmed the affirmation of Christ: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood bath everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (St. John vi., 55).

    10. In connection with this matter it is of importance to consider that in the Eucharist, seeing that it was instituted by Christ as "a perpetual memorial of His Passion" (Opusc. lvii. Offic. de festo Corporis Christi), is proclaimed to the Christian the necessity of a salutary self-chastisement. For Jesus said to those first priests of His: "Do this in memory of Me" (Luke xxii, 18); that is to say, do this for the commemoration of My pains, My sorrows, My grievous afflictions, My death upon the Cross. Wherefore this Sacrament is at the same time a Sacrifice, seasonable throughout the entire period of our penance; and it is likewise a standing exhortation to all manner of toil, and a solemn and severe rebuke to those carnal pleasures which some are not ashamed so highly to praise and extol: "As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, ye shall announce the death of the Lord, until He come" (1 Cor. xi., 26).

    The Bond of Charity

    11. Furthermore, if anyone will diligently examine into the causes of the evils of our day, he will find that they arise from this, that as charity towards God has grown cold, the mutual charity of men among themselves has likewise cooled. Men have forgotten that they are children of God and brethren in Jesus Christ; they care for nothing except their own individual interests; the interests and the rights of others they not only make light of, but often attack and invade. Hence frequent disturbances and strifes between class and class: arrogance, oppression, fraud on the part of the more powerful: misery, envy, and turbulence among the poor. These are evils for which it is in vain to seek a remedy in legislation, in threats of penalties to be incurred, or in any other device of merely human prudence. Our chief care and endeavour ought to be, according to the admonitions which We have more than once given at considerable length, to secure the union of classes in a mutual interchange of dutiful services, a union which, having its origin in God, shall issue in deeds that reflect the true spirit of Jesus Christ and a genuine charity. This charity Christ brought into the world, with it He would have all hearts on fire. For it alone is capable of affording to soul and body alike, even in this life, a foretaste of blessedness; since it restrains man's inordinate self-love, and puts a check on avarice, which "is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. vi., 10). 

    And whereas it is right to uphold all the claims of justice as between the various classes of society, nevertheless it is only with the efficacious aid of charity, which tempers justice, that the "equality" which St. Paul commended (2 Cor. viii., 14), and which is so salutary for human society, can be established and maintained. This then is what Christ intended when he instituted this Venerable Sacrament, namely, by awakening charity towards God to promote mutual charity among men. For the latter, as is plain, is by its very nature rooted in the former, and springs from it by a kind of spontaneous growth. Nor is it possible that there should be any lack of charity among men, or rather it must needs be enkindled and flourish, if men would but ponder well the charity which Christ has shown in this Sacrament. For in it He has not only given a splendid manifestation of His power and wisdom, but "has in a manner poured out the riches of His divine love towards men" (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euch. c. ii.). 

    Having before our eyes this noble example set us by Christ, Who bestows on us all that He has assuredly we ought to love and help one another to the utmost, being daily more closely united by the strong bond of brotherhood. Add to this that the outward and visible elements of this Sacrament supply a singularly appropriate stimulus to union. On this topic St. Cyprian writes: "In a word the Lord's sacrifice symbolises the oneness of heart, guaranteed by a persevering and inviolable charity, which should prevail among Christians. For when our Lord calls His Body bread, a substance which is kneaded together out of many grains, He indicates that we His people, whom He sustains, are bound together in close union; and when He speaks of His Blood as wine, in which the juice pressed from many clusters of grapes is mingled in one fluid, He likewise indicates that we His flock are by the commingling of a multitude of persons made one" (Ep. 96 ad Magnum n. 5 (a1.6)). In like manner the angelic Doctor, adopting the sentiments of St. Augustine (Tract. xxxvi., in Joan. nn. 13, 17), writes: "Our Lord has bequeathed to us His Body and Blood under the form of substances in which a multitude of things have been reduced to unity, for one of them, namely bread, consisting as it does of many grains is yet one, and the other, that is to say wine, has its unity of being from the confluent juice of many grapes; and therefore St. Augustine elsewhere says: 'O Sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of charity!' " (Summ. Theol. P. IIL, q. lxxix., a.l.). All of which is confirmed by the declaration of the Council of Trent that Christ left the Eucharist in His Church "as a symbol of that unity and charity whereby He would have all Christians mutually joined and united. . . a symbol of that one body of which He is Himself the head, and to which He would have us, as members attached by the closest bonds of faith, hope, and charity" (Conc. Trid., Sess. XIIL, De Euchar., c. ii.). 

    The same idea had been expressed by St. Paul when he wrote: "For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all we who partake of the one bread" (I Cor. x., 17). Very beautiful and joyful too is the spectacle of Christian brotherhood and social equality which is afforded when men of all conditions, gentle and simple, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, gather round the holy altar, all sharing alike in this heavenly banquet. And if in the records of the Church it is deservedly reckoned to the special credit of its first ages that "the multitude of the believers had but one heart and one soul" (Acts iv., 32), there can be no shadow of doubt that this immense blessing was due to their frequent meetings at the Divine table; for we find it recorded of them: "They were persevering in the doctrine of the Apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread" (Acts ii., 42).

    12. Besides all this, the grace of mutual charity among the living, which derives from the Sacrament of the Eucharist so great an increase of strength, is further extended by virtue of the Sacrifice to all those who are numbered in the Communion of Saints. For the Communion of Saints, as everyone knows, is nothing but the mutual communication of help, expiation, prayers, blessings, among all the faithful, who, whether they have already attained to the heavenly country, or are detained in the purgatorial fire, or are yet exiles here on earth, all enjoy the common franchise of that city whereof Christ is the head, and the constitution is charity. For faith teaches us, that although the venerable Sacrifice may be lawfully offered to God alone, yet it may be celebrated in honour of the saints reigning in heaven with God Who has crowned them, in order that we may gain for ourselves their patronage. And it may also be offered - in accordance with an apostolic tradition - for the purpose of expiating the sins of those of the brethren who, having died in the Lord, have not yet fully paid the penalty of their transgressions.

    13. That genuine charity, therefore, which knows how to do and to suffer all things for the salvation and the benefit of all, leaps forth with all the heat and energy of a flame from that most holy Eucharist in which Christ Himself is present and lives, in which He indulges to the utmost. His love towards us, and under the impulse of that divine love ceaselessly renews His Sacrifice. And thus it is not difficult to see whence the arduous labours of apostolic men, and whence those innumerable designs of every kind for the welfare of the human race which have been set on foot among Catholics, derive their origin, their strength, their permanence, their success.

    Continued...
    Read more >>

    Copyright / Disclaimer

    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. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. 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.”