Monday, March 31, 2014
Noah Movie: Masterwork of Global Indoctrination
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The following is a guest article.  The Noah movie was directed by an atheist who has produced the least Biblically accurate movie ever put on the big screen.
Darren Aronofsy's "Noah" is a masterwork of demonic deception wherein the meek and just Noah is portrayed as a radical, foul-mouth barbarian who spearheads the cause of Antichrist. In a word, the point of the movie is to say that the world in Noah's time was punished because man didn't bow to the environment as a globalist pagan. There is absolutely no reference made whatsoever to sin or the fact that man offended God, but rather that man didn't bow to the planetary idol and its prince, Lucifer. Noah's sons in the movie are not even portrayed as having wives as they are in the Bible, which shouldn't seem queer. This too is part of global agenda. The author truly shows ignorance, since man's idolatrous union with the flesh and the planet was the reason God destroyed the world in Noah's time, just as He will unleash His wrath soon upon humanity for this same reason. Ignorant man refuses to learn from his past.

What is interesting is that during the initial showing of the movie in Los Angeles on March 28, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck the area and sent Apocalyptic chills down movie goers spines. But what is even more interesting is that the quake hit right during the climactic scene in the movie which depicts the end of the world. Was God trying to tell the people something? Can viewers not open their eyes and see that using the name of God and His servants to advance global agenda is blasphemy of the most depraved order?

Yea, the people better take cover because the end is coming quickly. Not the end of the world, but the end of time as we know it (Mt. 24:21). God will spare the just as in Noah's time, but the wicked will be destroyed because of their ingratitude manifested by their having "worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (Romans: 1:25)

Article by David Martin
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Sunday, March 30, 2014
Recommended Book: Sacred Triduum Missal
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A traditional missal for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Holy Week according to the 1962 rubrics.

This book is very helpful if you do not have a 1958 or later missal which contains the revised rite of Holy Week of Pope Pius XII. Surprisingly, many people who do have the revised Holy Week in their missal, still like to use the Sacred Triduum Missal because the type is fairly large and the entire rite is laid out so that you do not have to flip back and forth.

This book contains the entire ceremonies for Holy Thursday evening, Good Friday's Solemn Liturgy and the Paschal Vigil with parallel Latin and English texts with rubrics in violet.

190 pages, softcover.  Order via Angelus Press.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014
Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Fr. Ottonello
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Father Ottonello 90th Birthday Mass May 24, 2013


Fr. Ottonello passed away yesterday, March 28th, at 1:00am this morning. May his soul rest in peace.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem. 

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.
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Friday, March 28, 2014
Indulged Prayer to the Cross for Fridays in Lent
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Prayer to the Glorious Cross:

I adore You, O glorious Cross, which was adorned with the Heart and Body of my Savior Jesus Christ, stained and covered with blood. I adore You, O Holy Cross, out of love for Him, Jesus, who is my Savior and my God.

(Pope Pius IX declared that reciting this prayer five times on Friday will free five souls from Purgatory and 33 souls by reciting it on Good Friday. This prayer should be recited before a crucifix with a contrite heart and praying a few minutes for the Pope).

Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified:

My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before you asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends. As I reflect upon your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning yourself: they have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones!
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Thursday, March 27, 2014
Nativity Stones: Own a Piece of the Cave of Bethlehem
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Nativity Stones Crosses are unique as we are the only ones selling a cross that contains a stone from the Cave of The Nativity in Bethlehem, the celebrated birth place of Jesus Christ. In the heart of each piece a one of a kind authentic Nativity Stone from one time excavation that took place in 1963.

I am pleased to say that I received my order last Sunday.  The item came in a beautiful package and after I took off the cover (see the photo below), it illustrated the beautiful cross necklace that features a piece of the Cave of Bethlehem.  Below it was a Booklet detailing the history and it also came with a rolled up letter of authenticity.

In year 2000 Nativity Stones were even honored with a plaque placed in the Vatican.  Each cross includes a numbered certificate of authenticity signed by the High Priest of the Church of the Nativity and a booklet telling the story.

To be able to hold next to our heart a piece of the Cave in which the Lord was born is truly priceless.

I would encourage all of you to check out their website and I happily endorse this.  They can be found at: http://www.nativitystonescollection.com/   Please feel free to use LIFE15 to save 15% on your order.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014
23rd Anniversary of the Death of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
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Today's the 23rd anniversary of the passing of His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to his eternal reward.  Requiescat in pace, Monseigneur.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.


"Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20)

"In the spiritual reality of the church, neither Marcel Lefebvre, nor his bishops and priests, nor the people who frequent the SSPX chapels suffered or suffer excommunication. I believe history will record that the intent to impose such an excommunication was invalid and illicit." - Father Malachi Martin
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Sunday, March 23, 2014
Traditional Mass Propers: 3rd Sunday of Lent
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 Vestments: Violet

INTROIT
Ps. 24:15-16
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall free my feet from the snare. Look upon me, and have pity on me, for I am alone and wretched. Ps. 24:1-2. I have lifted up my soul to You, O my God; in You I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT - O Almighty God, fulfill the petitions of the humble; and defend us with Your right hand of power. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE
Eph. 5:1-9Brethren: Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: Or obscenity or foolish talking or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know you this and understand: That no fornicator or unclean or covetous person (which is a serving of idols) hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light. For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth.

GRADUAL
Ps. 9:20, 4
Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your presence. V. When my enemies shall be turned back, they shall be weakened and destroyed before you.

TRACT
Ps. 122:1-3
- To You who are enthroned in heaven, have I lifted up my eyes. V. Behold, as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters. V. And as the eyes of a maid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes on the Lord, our God, until He have pity on us. V. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy.



GOSPEL
Luke 11:14-28

At that time, Jesus was casting out a devil: and the same was dumb. And when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes, were in admiration at it. But some of them said: "He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils." And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven. But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation; and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because you say that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth. But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself: and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: "Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the paps that gave thee suck." But he said: "Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it."

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

SECRET - May this offering cleanse us from our sins, O Lord, and may it sanctify Your servants in body and soul for the celebration of this sacrifice. Through Our Lord . . .



PREFACE (Preface for Lent) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION
Ps. 83:4-5
The sparrow has found herself a home, and the turtledove a nest in which to lay her young -- Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God! Blessed are they who dwell in Your house; they shall praise You forever and ever.

POST COMMUNION - O God, You have allowed us to share in this great Sacrament. In Your mercy free us also from all guilt and danger of sin. Through Our Lord . . .
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Sunday, March 16, 2014
Book Review: The Tree of Healing by Diana Tabbaa
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Recently I was privileged to review an absolute wonderful world of Catholic fiction, a genre I rarely read.  Entitled The Tree of Healing by Diana Gonzalez Tabbaa, the book is a Catholic work of fiction for young people, filled with quotes from Scripture, thirty-three color illustrations, and thirty-three poems.

It was a beautiful, moving book that was truly spiritually enriching and captivating. It is one of the best children's books for Catholic children that I have ever read. I am honored to recommend it and promote it to all of you. The book is highly interesting and deeply spiritual. It is a true work of art.

Filled with wonderful poems, insightful Scripture verses and imagery that brings a soul to weep for our Sorrowful Lord, and an interesting story, this is a book that I couldn't put down after I started it.  It's well worth the time and is absolutely perfect book, especially for Catholic children.  I'd love to see more homeschoolers use this book as literature in their reading programs, to see libraries add this to the shelves, and to see people read this book.

I would like to endorse this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.  

Book description:


Rose spends much of her time dwelling on her troubles. She lives in a state of worry and loneliness as her mother has been harsh and distant since the death of her father when she was an infant. One golden summer, as she leaves her childhood years, her grandmother and a heaven-sent friend teach her to bring everything in her life to God in prayer and to bring His Life into her own. She comes to know and trust Him deeply, especially when she discovers a carving made by her father in a great tree that forms the crucifix of a Rosary Garden. Hidden in its depths and unfolding in layers of mystery and beauty, signs of God's Love are continuously revealed to her. A Mary’s Garden that she plants reflects her own growth in a living faith that brings a garden of souls with her to God, including her mother.

Suitable for all ages, this timeless story of forgiveness and hope shows how suffering is transformed through union with Christ. Enriched with spiritual art, poetry, and quotes from Scripture, The Tree of Healing tells of the healing of one young girl and of all wounded humanity by the Sacrifice of Jesus on a new Tree of Life.



Author biography:

Diana González Tabbaa is the author and illustrator of The Tree of Healing, a spiritual work of fiction that includes numerous poems and drawings. Some of her art and poetry, which were previously published as ebooks, made the shortlist for the EPPIE (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) award for the Non-fiction/Philosophy category and were peer-nominated for the Indie (Independent e-Book) award for the Inspirational/ Metaphysical/ Spiritual category in 2002.
A Roman Catholic who loves the Traditional Latin Mass, wife, and mother of two, she holds a master’s degree in biology and works as a research associate in the field of molecular biology. She is a member of the Catholic Writers’ Guild.

Book Details:

The Tree of Healing by Diana Gonzalez Tabbaa
Publication Date:  Dec 25 2013
Copyright 2013
ISBN/EAN13: 1475101112 / 9781475101119

Ordering Information:
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Saturday, March 15, 2014
20th Anniversary of Altar Girls
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Today is the 20th Anniversary of the Church formally stating that girls can serve at the Mass. Yet, as those familiar with Catholic Tradition and those familiar with the effects of this know, altar serving should be for boys ONLY.

I recently say this insightful comment on Facebook:
"Regardless of what anyone contends this is not an issue of gender equality. Indeed, no one has a right to serve at the Mass. As a father of five, four of whom are girls, the equality argument rings hollow to me. To discuss altar girls under the banner of equality is to impose a false, secular, notion of participation into the sacred and eternal realm of the liturgy. We all participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, regardless of what our role is or isn’t."
For hundreds of years, the usage of altar servers has brought about countless priestly vocations. In the words of the Archbishop of Westminster, Bernard Cardinal Griffen, "To serve at the altar, as to sing in the choir, is next to the priesthood the highest privilege which a human can enjoy. He represents the faithful and takes a most intimate part in the rich treasures of the church's liturgy and ceremonial. Those sacred ceremonies should be carried out with devotion, dignity and attention to detail."

Traditionally, the role of altar server has always been reserved to males and rightfully so. By having males serve at the altar, a young man is better able to discern the priesthood since he is involved with the Liturgy. Personally, I support the return of an all-male group of altar servers for the entire Catholic Church. Some parishes are even returning to the practice of all-male altar servers.

Historically, the role of altar server has always been reserved to males. In the Encyclical Allatae Sunt on July, 26, 1755, Pope Benedict XIV stated in paragraph 29:

Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: "Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry." We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21."
In 1970 the Vatican condemned female altar serving in Liturgicae instaurationes as well as in 1980's Inaestimabile donum. Not until a circular letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to presidents of episcopal conferences on March 15, 1994, did the Vatican officially allow female altar serving.

Continue Reading on the History and Graces of Altar Serving... 

 

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Can Divorced and Remarried Catholics Receive Communion?
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What does the Church actually teach on the topic of Holy Communion and remarried-divorcees?

Fr. Knittel gives some clear answers.  The following is directly quoted from him and presented here for the benefit of my readers.  The original source can be found by clicking here.

Communion for Remarried Divorcees? 

The doctrinal crisis the Church is currently experiencing can be observed and measured on two levels. It is manifest first in the new general directions of the Second Vatican Council (religious liberty, ecumenism and collegiality) as well as in the liturgical reform of 1969. But it is also manifest on a concrete level in daily life when issues such the ordination of women, the lawfulness of contraception, the burial of suicides or the cremated, the personal character of the sacrament of Penance, etc., are called back into question.

Communion for remarried divorcees enters into the second category, as witnessed by the numerous interventions by Rome on this theme during the last 30 years.

After listing several arguments of activists in favor of Communion for the remarried and divorced, we will examine the crux of the question, before ending by responding to these arguments.

Objections

Arguments in favour of allowing the divorced and remarried to receive Communion refer 1) to the example of Christ, 2) to the teachings of St. Paul and 3) to the discipline of the Church.

  1. The Evangelists tell us that during Christ’s life on earth, He accepted to eat with sinners (Matthew 9:11), allowed Himself to be approached by a sinner during a meal (Luke 7:37) and spoke with the Samaritan woman who lived with a man who was not her husband (John 4:9; 18-27). It is surely contradictory that the Church should push remarried divorcees away from Christ by refusing them Communion.
  2. St. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for the divisions appearing in their brotherly agapes, “and one indeed is hungry and another is drunk” (I Cor. 11:20). Is it not contradictory to have invited people to a meal (here, the Eucharist) and not to let them take part (here, to receive Communion)?
  3. The Church discipline that deprived publicly recognized sinners of ecclesiastical burial (1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1240, paragraph 1, 6) was changed by decree of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith on September 20, 1973, stipulating, ”Funerals will not be forbidden for public sinners if they have given any signs of repentance before death and if there is no public scandal for the rest of the faithful.” 

Is it not then possible to change the discipline of Eucharistic communion in the same way, in favour of remarried divorcees?

The Teaching of the Church

Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead, because they establish or re-establish the life of grace in the recipient. The other sacraments are called sacraments of the living, because they increase grace in someone already in a state of grace.

The end of the sacraments is to give or increase grace in the recipient. The sacrament of the Eucharist allows the communicant not only to receive grace, but also the Author of all grace. The Eucharist is therefore a sacrament of the living that requires the one who receives it to be in a state of grace that he may also receive Christ. Such is the first condition for receiving this sacrament worthily and fruitfully.

The warning of St. Paul to the Corinthians emphasizes this condition:
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (I Cor. 11:27–29).
Do remarried divorcees satisfy these conditions for worthiness?

The Gospel records Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage:
For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (…) And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. (Mark 10:6–9; 11–12)
In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul compares the union of spouses in marriage with the union of Christ and His Church:
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife as himself: and let the wife fear her husband. (Ephesians 5:31–32)
Just there is only one Savior, Jesus Christ, and only one Church, the Catholic Church, and their union is indissoluble, so it is with marriage which is one (union of one man and one woman) and indissoluble (union forever).

Remarried divorcees are therefore living in a state opposite to that willed by Christ and explained by St. Paul. This permanent and public state of grave sin makes them unworthy to receive Communion and incapable of receiving its fruits ([Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas], III, q. 80, a. 4). If this state is known, the priest is bound to refuse them Communion publicly (III, q. 80, a. 6). If they succeed in receiving Communion nonetheless, they commit a mortal sin of sacrilege (III, q. 80, a. 4).

Solutions

In conclusion, let us respond briefly to the arguments set forth at the beginning.

  1. The contact with sinners that Christ authorizes in the Gospels have a very clear purpose: the cure of sinners and a call to conversion (Matthew 9:12–13), the forgiveness of sins (Luke 7:47–48), and the establishment of worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). Certainly, Jesus did not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but He instructed her to sin no more (John 8:11), for “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers… shall possess the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9)
  2. Christ instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist and taught the precept of fraternal charity during a meal. The Early Church had maintained the habit of uniting the celebration of the holy mysteries and the fraternal agape. In his reproaches to the Corinthians, St. Paul distinguishes between two kinds of abuse: lack of charity to one’s neighbor during the agapes (I Cor. 11:18–22) and receiving Communion unworthily during Mass (I Cor. 11:27–29).
  3. By denying ecclesiastical burial to remarried divorcees, the Church intended to emphasize their public state of mortal sin—a state that is in no way modified, improved, or corrected by the prayer of the Church—and contrast it with the sanctity of Christian marriage. The recent change of this disciplinary measure in no way changes the minimum requirements for a fruitful Communion, but it illustrates the relationship between relaxing discipline and questioning doctrine.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Lenten Ember Day Fast
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Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and partial abstinence.

Ember Days this Lent: March 12, 14 and15

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.


From Catholic Culture:
Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
How to Prepare for Lent
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Our Lord tells us, as recorded in Scripture, "Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). And St. John the Baptist announced the coming of the Saviour with the ominous admonition, "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2).





Dead Christ Mourned by the Angels, Boston Museum

Importance of Lent

With regard to prayer, St. Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17). And Our dear Lord advises us, "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23). Also He said, "If you abide in me [i.e., "live in Me," or "stay in the state of grace"], and my words abide ["live"] in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7). Further, Our Lord has said, "Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36). And in the Book of Judith we read, "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord." (Judith 4:11).

Our obligation to do apostolic work, no matter who we are, is seen in the general admonition of St. John the Baptist, ". . .make straight the way of the Lord . . ." (In. 1:23; Is. 40:3). The Church has used this counsel in her Advent liturgy, so we know it applies to all—at least to the extent that all must pray and do penance for the success of the Church's missionary activity, help support it financially—and wherever possible take an active part in the conversion or reconversion of those we know.

The primary purpose of Lent, of course, is to help us become truly holy—and we should work toward this goal during Lent by extra prayer, penance, good works, almsgiving, attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments (the chief sources of grace).

Fasting of St. Charles Borromeo, the Patron Saint of CatechismClass.com

Practices for Lent

As such, let us consider the following 5 PIOUS PRACTICES FOR CATHOLICS TO PRACTICE DURING LENT:

1. Abstain from Meat

We should all know that Catholics are required to abstain from all meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.  This is the minimum requirement and violation of this law is a mortal sin and, if you die without Confession and Contrition, for this sin your soul will be damned.

Yet, certainly we can do more than the simple minimum practice for Lent?  Catholics could go further and maintain the older discipline of fasting and partially abstaining from meat on all weekdays of Lent unless a 1st Class Feast falls during the week (e.g. 1st Class Feast of St. Joseph on March 19).  By partial abstinence, a person is allowed to eat mea t only at the major meal.
2. Fasting

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, all Catholics are bound under pain of mortal sin to fast.  Those between 18 and 59 years of age (Can. 1252), are also bound to fast on these two days . Only one normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. This is the minimum under the current Code of Canon Law.

What should a pious Catholic do?   All days of Lent but Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and 1st Class Feasts are days for us to fast and partially abstain from meat. If you fast all of these days, you will have fasted the 40 Days of Lent, as Christ did in the desert.

See laws of fasting and abstinence for more informatio n.

3. Limit (i.e. Remove) your Television During Lent

Even if you have not read Television: The Soul at Risk (and we do highly recommend it), the television is by most accounts, an occasion of sin.  Limit your television to only a few hours a day for your entire family or - better yet - unplug it all together.  Television is a passive activity not only leading to obesity and passivity but allowing indecent speech and dress as well as suggestive dialogue and environments into our very hopes.  Unplug it for Lent.  And think about keeping it unplugged afterward.

4. Daily Rosary

If you are not praying the daily Rosary, you should be.  Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. These three shepherd children were given messages and a miracle was even performed there that was witnessed by thousands. In the miracle on Oct 13, 1917, the sun danced, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it. The sun then rose again in its original position. This event was witnessed be 70,000 thousands of people! It's been called, the Miracle of the Sun.

Before this on May 13, 1917, Our Lady told the 3 children (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco): "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." In an apparition on July 13, she requested devotion to her Immaculate Heart and Communions of reparation on the first Saturday of each month. In a September 13th apparition, she stressed the importance of the daily Rosary, and in her final apparition, she said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary."

So pray the Rosary daily - and use Lent to start if you need to.

5. Wear the Brown Scapular

First, if you were not traditionally invested in the Brown Scapular (or if you are uncertain), find a Catholic priest to be properly enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular.  Recall that by the wearing of the Brown Scapular, Mary promises to pray for us at the hour of death. And more than that - intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace. And if we are in a state of mortal sin, she will intercede for us that sanctifying grace may come back into our soul before we die. Mary also promises that the Scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” Those are the two promi ses by Mary for those that wear the Scapular.

While those who wear the Scapular are required to fast on Wednesdays and Saturdays in addition to the daily prayer of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, priests nearly always dispense the Faithful to instead simply pray the Rosary Daily (See #4).

If you lost your Brown Scapular, simply purchase one online.  The Brown Scapular does not have to be blessed before it is worn, unlike most Sacramentals.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014
Five (5) Catholic Action Sites for Sunday
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In the past I have spoken at length on the importance of Sunday and the Top 10 Activities for Catholics to do on Sundays.  As I had mentioned, Sunday is a day of activism for the glory of God and His True Church.

But what does this look like on any given Sunday?  What are some concrete ways that we can be making a difference for the good of the Church and for society?

I present to you a list of some of the websites I routinely check each Sunday to find action items to address:

1. LifeSiteNews: This site is likely familiar to many of you as it includes a treasure trove of pro-life news.  I scan the articles and find situations to which I can make an impact.  For example, if there is an article about a pending piece of legislation, I will use that to write to my elected officials. 

2. American Life League: Like the item above, this site has great pro-life news and helps me stay informed and shows me action items that I can address.

3. Cardinal Newman Society: This organization is a tax-deductible institution focusing on keeping the Catholic Identity in Catholic schools and learning institutions.  I glance the news recaps to see if there are any so-called Catholic schools hosting pro-abortion speakers or anti-Catholic thought or heresy.  If so, they get a letter from me. 

4. TFP Student Action.  This organization defends Catholic values on campuses.  They have a great "Get Involved Page" and I check it regularly for new petitions, surveys, and ways to make my voice heard.

5. SSPX Headlines.  I check in each week to see the News Headlines for what is new in the realm of Traditional Catholicism.

And please remember to bookmark and participate in the activities I have listed on A Catholic Life's Take Action Page.
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Friday, February 28, 2014
Reflections and Prayers for Quinquagesima
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Note: This is taken from the SSPX Article entitled "Getting Ready for Lent"

What lessons does Fr. Goffine give us for this last Sunday before Lent? The connection of good works with charity and living the Faith, an explanation of the Gospel's narrative of Our Lord healing the blind man, and a short instruction on Lent.

Fr. Goffine provides us again with another important spiritual lesson from the sacred liturgy in The Church's Year concerning Quinquagesima Sunday, the last preparatory Sunday before the start of Lent.

In addition to commenting about the Quinquagesima Sunday propers, Fr. Goffine also gives an instruction about the forthcoming Lenten Season in preparation for the great feast of our redemption, Easter. To aid this penitential period, Angelus Press has compiled a list of suggested Lenten selections.

Pastor's Corner for Quinquagesima 

The Introit of this day's Mass is the sigh of an afflicted soul confiding in God:

INTROIT Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of refuge, to save me: for thou art my strength and my refuge: and for thy name's sake thou wilt be my leader, and wilt nourish me. (Ps. 30:3, 4) In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in thy justice, and set me free. (Ps. 30:2)

COLLECT O Lord, we beseech Thee, graciously hear our prayers, and unloosing the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord, etc.

EPISTLE (I Cor. 13:1-13) Brethren, if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not; dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; is not ambitious; seeketh not her own; is not provoked to anger; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part: but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

EXPLANATION In this epistle St. Paul speaks of the necessity, the excellence and the nature of true charity. He says that all natural and supernatural gifts, all good works, even martyrdom, cannot save us if we have not charity; because love alone can render our works pleasing to God. Without charity, therefore, though ever so many prayers be recited, fasts observed, and good deeds performed, nothing will be acceptable to God, or merit eternal life. Strive then, O Christian soul, to lead a pious life in love, and to remain always in the state of grace.

Can faith alone, as the so-called Reformers assert, render man just and save him?
Faith alone, however strong, though it could move mountains, without love, that is, without good works performed for love of God and our neighbor, can never justify or save us. For, when St. Paul says, that man is justified by faith without works, (Rom. 3:28; 11:6; Eph. 2:8, 9) he means to refer to those works which were performed by command of the law of Moses, and which, as they were external and without true charity, were of no avail; he did not refer to those works which are performed in a state of grace with a lively, love-inspired faith.

Therefore the same Apostle writes to the Galatians: (Gal. 5:6) Faith only availeth which worketh by charity; to Titus: (Tit. 3:8) It is a faithful saying: and these things I will have thee affirm constantly: that they who believe in God, may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and profitable unto men; and he exhorts the Colossians (Colos. 1:10) to be fruitful in every good work.

St. James confirms the same by saying: (James 2:17-24) So faith if it have not works, is dead in itself; by works man is justified and not by faith only. That this is the true doctrine of Christ is evident from His own words, when He says: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down and shall be cast into the fire." (Matt. 7:19) At the day of judgment Christ will demand good works from all men, (Matt. 25:35) and will not judge them only according to their faith, but by their good works, which true faith must always produce. (Apoc. 20:12)

Would Christ and His apostles demand good works, if faith alone be sufficient? "The devil's also believe and tremble," (James 2:19) they believe, but they are not saved, and their faith but increases their torments. Therefore, the assertion that faith without good works is sufficient for justification and salvation, is plainly against the doctrine of Christ and His Church, and must of necessity lead man to vice and misery, as shown by the history of the unhappy separation of the sixteenth century

Are good works available which are performed in the state of mortal sin?
Good works performed while in a state of mortal sin avail nothing in regard to eternal life, writes St. Lawrence Justinian, but aid in moderating the punishment imposed for disobedience and the transgression of God's commandments. They bring temporal goods, such as honor, long life, health, earthly happiness, etc.; they prevent us from falling deeper into sin, and prepare the heart for the reception of grace; so the pious person writes: "Do as much good as you can, even though in the state of mortal sin, that God may give light to your heart."

ASPIRATION O God of love, pour the spirit of true charity into my heart that, according to the spirit of St. Paul, I may endeavor to be always in a state of grace; that all my works may be pleasing to Thee, and meritorious for me.

GOSPEL (Luke 18:31-43) At that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon; and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.

Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Why did Christ so often foretell His passion to His disciples?

Because He wanted to show how great was His desire to suffer for us, for we speak often of that which we crave; and because He wished His disciples when they should see Him treated as a criminal and martyred, not to think evil of Him, or imagine themselves deceived, but remember that He had foretold all minutely that all happened of His own will.

Did not the disciples understand anything of what He predicted in regard to His future sufferings?

They may, certainly, have well understood He was to suffer, for which reason Peter tried to dissuade Him from it; (Matt. 16:22) but they did not comprehend why or for what He would suffer, or how He would rise again. All this the Holy Ghost gave them to understand, after it had come to pass. (John 14:26) The light of the Holy Ghost is of so much value, that without it even the clearest doctrines of faith are not understood.

Why does Christ so often call Himself the Son of Man?

He wished to show, in the Jewish way of speaking, He was also man, a descendant of Adam, and that we should be humble, and not seek or desire high titles.

Why did the blind man call Christ the Son of David?

Because, like all the Jews, he believed that the Messiah, according to humanity, would be of the house of David, as was promised. (Ps. 131:11)

Why did Christ ask the blind man: What wilt thou that I do to thee?

This He asked, not because He was unaware of the blind man's wish, but to enable him the better to prove his faith and hope that through Christ he would receive his sight; and to teach us how willing He is to help us, and how it pleases Him if we confidingly place our wants before Him. We should learn from this blind man, who would not be restrained by the passing crowd in his ardent and reiterated request, not to pay attention, in the work we have commenced, to human respect, or human judgment, but to persevere, and not allow ourselves to be led astray by the world's mockery or contempt. We should also learn to be grateful to God, and faithfully cling to Him, if He has once opened the eyes of our mind, and healed our spiritual blindness, which is far more deplorable than physical blindness, for nothing can be more miserable than not to see and understand God, not to know what is necessary for our salvation, and what is pernicious.

Why is this gospel read on this Sunday?

The Church wishes to remind us of the painful passion and death of Jesus, and to move us by the contemplation of those mysteries to avoid and despise the wicked, heathenish amusements of carnival, sinful pleasures which she has always condemned, because they come from dark paganism, and, to avert the people from them, commands that during the three days of carnival the Blessed Sacrament shall be exposed for public adoration, sermons given, and the faithful exhorted to have recourse at this time to the Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with the reception of which Pope Clement XIII. (Breve, June 23, 1765) connected a plenary indulgence. A true Catholic will conform to the desire of his holy Church, considering the words which St. Augustine spoke, at this time, to the faithful:

The heathens (as also the worldly people of our days) shout songs of love and merriment, but you should delight in the preaching of the word of God; they rush to the dramatic plays, but you should hasten to Church; they are intoxicated, but you should fast and be sober.

PRAYER O most benign Jesus! who didst so desire to suffer for us, grant, that we may willingly suffer for love of Thee; that we may hate and flee from the detestable pleasures of the world and the flesh, and practice penance and mortification, that by so doing we may merit to be released from our spiritual blindness to love Thee more and more ardently, and finally possess Thee forever.

Instruction on Lent

Who instituted Lent?
According to the fathers of the Church, Justin and Irenaeus, the fast before Easter was instituted and sanctified by Christ Himself; according to the saints Leo and Jerome, the holy apostles ordained it given by Jesus.

Why has the Church instituted this fast forty days before Easter?

To imitate Christ who fasted forty days; to participate in His merits and sufferings; to subject our flesh by voluntary mortification to the spirit, and to mortify our evil desires as did St. Paul; (Col. 1:24) to enable us to lead a pure life, and thus prepare for the holy festival of Easter, and the reception of the divine Lamb, Jesus: and, finally, to render God satisfaction for our sins, and do penance, as Pope Gregory says, for the sins of one whole year by one short fast, lasting only the tenth part of a year.

Was the fast of Lent observed in early times as in the present?

Yes, but more strictly; for the people of the early ages not only abstained from meat, but also from all that which is connected with it, such as eggs, butter, cheese, etc., even from wine and fish, although this was not the general command of the Church; they fasted all day, and only ate in the evening after vespers, in remembrance of which, vespers are now said before dinner time, because the Church, as a kind mother, now permits the supper to be changed into a dinner, and also allows something to be taken in the evening, that the body may not be too much weakened, and become unfit for labor.

How much does this ancient custom put to shame the Christians of today who think the fast in our times too severe! "But," asks St. Ambrose, "what sort of Christians are they? Christ, who never sinned fasted for our sins, and we will not fast for our own great and numerous offences?"

How should the holy season of Lent be spent?

As according to the teaching of St. Leo, the main thing in fasting is not that the body be deprived of food, but that the mind at the same time be withdrawn from wickedness, we should endeavor during Lent, not only to be temperate in eating and drinking, but especially to lead a modest life, sanctifying the days by persevering prayer and devoutly attending church.

Prayer at the beginning of Lent

Almighty God! I unite myself at the beginning of this holy season of penance with the Church militant, endeavoring to make these days of real sorrow for my sins and crucifixion of the sensual man. O Lord Jesus! in union with Thy fasting and passion, I offer Thee my fasting in obedience to the Church, for Thy honor, and in thanksgiving for the many favors I have received, in satisfaction for my sins and the sins of others, and that I may receive the grace to avoid such and such a sin, N. N. and to practice such and such a virtue, N. N.
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Book Review: This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History)
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The most contentious period of British History has always been that of the Protestant Reformation, imposed by sword and gibbet upon the ancient Catholic country by the Tudors, aided by abuses of Parliament and the history books of their followers. Among the worst of the earlier histories were the notorious quasi-propaganda narratives of John Foxe, Gilbert Burnet and David Hume. Of their collective accounts of Mary Tudor, William Cobbett remarked that ‘Her reign our deceivers have taught us to call the reign of ‘Bloody Queen Mary” while they have taught us to call that of her sister “Good Queen Bess.”’

In 2008, Bella d’Abrera began a modern objective restoration of the true historical balance of that period. Her first volume, The King with a Pope in His Belly dealt with Henry VIII himself. That work was followed in 2010 with Papists, Spaniards & Other Strangers, which concerned itself with the death of Henry, the brief reign of his son Edward VI, and the triumphant ascent to the throne of Mary Tudor in 1553

This third volume, This Sainted Queen (Revisiting History), continues by providing an unvarnished account of the enormously difficult task faced by Mary as she found herself obliged as the rightful Queen of England and Ireland, to restore the ancient faith and the social and governmental institutions that had slowly developed over a millennium and a half, in what was always Catholic England. It was now Mary’s turn to shine, and in this volume the author has attempted to return to the highest standards of objective historiographical method by striking the right balance in reporting equally both the villains and the saints of the tale. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence she cites against Cranmer et al, for example, is essential in redressing the balance of Reformation history for so long stacked in his and their favour.

I have been honored to receive an advanced copy of the book and can personally vouce for the great amount of scholarship in this work.  It is, while retaining a great degree of historical acuracy and scholarship, a simply wonderful and pleasant read. I'm happy to wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone wanting the true story of Queen Mary.

Rank: 5 out of 5.
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