Sunday, July 19, 2020
What is Christian Meditation?

What is Christian Meditation? How can a Catholic practice meditation? Is it allowed or encouraged? What exactly is it?

In the recent newsletter for St. Michael's Priory in Africa, Fr. Peter Scott wrote a very insightful article on meditation and how we must practice meditation - even as regularly lay people who are not priests or consecrated religious. The following is quoted from that newsletter:


If there is one devotional practice that Catholics fear most, it is meditation, also called mental prayer. They come up with a multitude of reasons why they consider that it is not for them. Some say that they do not even know what it is, let alone how to do it; others that they have distractions when they try; others that it is for religious and not for regular lay people; others that they are too busy to have time for it; others that they do not need mental prayer, for vocal prayers, such as morning and night prayers and assistance at Holy Mass suffice.

Yet, St. Alphonsus dares speak of the “moral necessity of mental prayer” for salvation, which, he affirms, flows from the absolute necessity of the prayer of petition for salvation. By this he means that we cannot go to heaven unless we ask for God’s forgiveness, grace and perseverance. Now, it is true that the prayers of the traditional Mass constantly petition God for forgiveness, grace and perseverance. However, does everyone pray the Mass as he ought? The patron saint of moral theologians goes on to explain that without mental prayer a person will not know what he needs to ask for. He will not be aware of his sins nor of what graces he needs, and of his desperate need for them. “He who neglects meditation will not know his spiritual wants, the dangers to which his salvation is exposed, the means which he must adopt to conquer temptations, or even the necessity of the prayer of petition for all men; thus he will give up the practice of prayer, and by neglecting to ask God’s graces he will certainly be lost.” (The Great Means of Salvation, p. 233). There must, therefore, be answers to the common objections against meditation.


Meditation is prayer that takes place wholly within the soul, and not with the lips, as opposed to vocal prayer, in which the spoken words are an expression of the sentiments in the depth of the soul. Deep down, it is nothing more or less than a conversation with God, with our Divine Saviour, with the Blessed Virgin and the saints. However, it is not just any conversation which is a true mental prayer. If a person talks to God to complain about his lot in life, or to talk about his friends and relatives, or to tell stories of some kind, he is not meditating. In order to lift the soul up and unite it to Almighty God, it must be a conversation founded on and filled with the consideration of the eternal truths that God has revealed to us, such as the Incarnation, the Passion, the Redemption and the four last things. It is precisely here that it is the exact opposite of the fake naturalistic meditations of eastern religions such as Buddhism and Yoga, which have as their absurd goal to empty the mind of everything and to discover nothingness.

Moreover, true mental prayer is what brings us into relation with Almighty God. It is not just an intellectual consideration and consequently, since we are all sinners, it must necessarily contain a profound awareness of our sins and contrition for them. It must consider our duties to God and how negligent we have been, and from this flows the petition that is a necessary part of meditation. When we meditate we repeatedly and constantly beg for the graces of which we are in need in order to accomplish God’s holy will. Moreover, meditation worthy of the name must draw us to grow in the love of God. Hence, it necessarily entails making resolutions, which we offer to the Good Lord, to express our homage and our determination to promote His glory, and to embrace our crosses. Meditation is consequently a conversation based upon a strong Faith, personal convictions, and the acknowledgment of our entire dependence on the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


The big objection that is made to meditation is that people say they do not know what to do or what to say. My answer is: Do you not know what to say to someone you love, especially if you have hurt him? We must first of all place ourselves in the presence of God, whom we love, and with whom we long to communicate. We can do this by reminding ourselves that God is everywhere, and especially in our souls, or we can picture to ourselves the sacred humanity of Christ. Then we continue by begging for God’s grace, for without it we cannot profitably consider divine truths. Then we rivet our attention on the chosen subject, seeking the enlightenment and understanding that will move our wills. Then we come to the acts of affection in our will, such as as the love of God, compunction for sin, compassion for our Divine Saviour, forgiveness of others and charity towards our neighbour. From these flow our resolutions, in the form of petitions, begging for the grace to be faithful to them.

Although great freedom is to be followed, out of fidelity to the inspirations of divine grace, there are nevertheless several methods of meditation that can help to give a more definite structure to our meditations, and make them easier. The oldest is that of meditative reading, the Benedictine method. A text, such as Sacred Scripture, is read very slowly, and during long pauses, the meaning and consequences are reflected upon, from which resolutions are drawn. The well known method of St. Ignatius is much more intricate. After the imagination is captivated by a familiar scene, the grace sought after is to be determined precisely.

Then memory, understanding and will are applied to each of the three points that make up the main body of the meditation. From these come the resolutions, which are expressed in the heart-to-heart colloquy with God the Father or our Divine Saviour.

St. Alphonsus points out the importance of repeated petitions in meditation. “In mental prayer it is very profitable, and perhaps more useful than any other act, to repeat petitions to God, asking, with humility and confidence, His graces; that is, his light, resignation, perseverance, and the like; but above all the gift of His holy love.” (Ib. p. 257). St. Francis de Sales gives special emphasis on resolutions, pointing out that these resolutions to be effective, must not be too general. He gives the example of the desire to pardon our enemies and to love them, but adds that it is of little consequence, unless a special resolution is added, such as: “I shall no longer be disturbed by that disagreeable word which my neighbour always says, or by the scorn directed to me by this or that person.” He then instructs us to conclude our meditation by offering God the good sentiments and resolutions inspired by God’s grace, together with the example of the virtues of Christ Our Lord, and finally by the petition that God might bless our resolutions and make us faithful to them. (Introduction to the Devout Life, II, Ch 6 & 7).

Meditation, therefore, requires a certain solitude, so that the soul can express itself and listen to the inspirations of grace. The fast-moving, hyperactive and materialistic modern life style, with its emphasis on success and production, engenders superficiality and makes mental prayer very difficult. A person must slow his mind down from all its exterior preoccupations, and then he can meditate. Our Divine Saviour speaks of this solitude when he says: “When thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to the Father in secret” (Mt 6:6). This solitude can also be found in a Catholic church, which is often the preferred place, because of the Real Presence and the silence that reigns.


Discouragement is one of the frequent reasons why many do not keep up their meditations. Overwhelmed by distractions, and sometimes even by desolation, they tell themselves that meditating is too difficult for them. It is certainly true that the real effort that it takes to stay focussed on the subject of our meditation is a real test of our love of God. Worldly imaginations, useless thoughts, emotional attachments continually creep in, even when they are not willed. The difficulty is in the weakness of our fallen nature. It struggles to lift itself up to spiritual realities. A method has to be applied to overcome these distractions. Firstly, there must be control of the imagination. The mental picture used for the meditation helps, but a conscious effort must also be applied to expel other imaginations. Whenever a soul realizes that he is distracted, he must firmly but gently rise above such thoughts and return to the subject of the meditation. A good way of passing this test of generosity is to repeatedly offer up requests and petitions to God for the graces that one desires. However, it is also necessary to make sure that the subject of the meditation is sufficiently prepared (the best is to do it the night before), and that the soul is recollected, that is in sufficient interior and exterior silence, and not too tired.

Desolation, or spiritual emptiness or dryness, often accompanies distractions, and makes a person think that he is wasting his time to attempt to meditate. This desolation can be a punishment for someone who is not making the correct effort, but most frequently it is a trial to test whether we are praying to the God of all consolation, or for the consolations of God. Desolation is a universal experience, and this is what St. Alphonsus has to say about it: “The time of dryness is the time for gaining the greatest rewards; and when we find ourselves apparently without fervour, without good desires, and, as it were, unable to do a good act, let us humble ourselves and resign ourselves, for this very meditation will be more fruitful than others” (Ib. p. 244). We must see such difficulties as a test of our love, and not at all a reason for us to abandon meditation.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Sts. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 18

It is rather remarkable when one considers the number of martyrs that the Church commemorates in the Liturgy; and yet, sadly so many were removed from the Universal Calendar as part of the modernistic changes to the Liturgy over the past few decades.

Yet for those who keep the traditional liturgy, we find in these heroes remarkable examples of courage, fortitude, and a willingness to suffer absolutely anything - including horrific tortures and death rather than compromise with error, encourage sin, give bad example, or engage in sexual sins. Most of the martyrs were murdered not because they were Christians (and Catholics of course) but because they refused to engage in adultery or drop offerings of incense grains in a bowl to statues. How many Catholics today would agree to such small matters with the intention of later confessing them? How many would actually rather die than drop a few grains of incense in a bowl and pretend to worship a dead statue as divine?

Willingness to suffer death - and a cruel torturous one at that - and a willingness to see one's own children tortured rather than commit the smallest mortal sin should excite in all of our hearts a desire for deeper conversion, more missionary endeavors, and a willingness to do the Lord's will in all things.

According to early chronicles, St. Symphorosa and her seven sons, whom she instructed in the Christian Faith, were martyred at Trivoli, near Rome, circa 120 AD during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. Their story comes just days after the feast of the Seven Holy Brothers, the sons of St. Felicitas.

From the Roman Martyrology:

At Tivoli, in the time of the emperor Adrian, St. Symphorosa, wife of the martyr St. Getulius, with her seven sons, Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justinus, Stacteus, and Eugenius. Their mother, because of her invincible constancy, was first buffeted a long time, then suspended by her hair, and lastly thrown into the river with a stone tied to her body. Her sons had their limbs distended by pulleys and bound to stakes, and terminated their martyrdom by different kinds of death. The bodies were subsequently taken to Rome, and were found in the sacristy of St. Angelo in Piscina,under the Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IV.


O God, who has granted us the grace to celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyrs Symphorosa and her sons, grant that we may also share their eternal happiness in heaven. through our Lord . . .
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Feasts of Single vs. Double Precept

Saint Wenceslas and Saint Ludmila during the Mass is a painting by Frantisek Tkadlik

Sadly, few Catholics observe Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation as days not only of obligatory Mass attendance but also as days of abstinence from all servile works. What is servile work? Mowing the lawn, shopping, painting the house, and other manual works are forbidden on these days by virtue of the Third Commandment. Looking at the Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas, there are only four exceptions to the prohibition on servile work on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation:
“We ought to know, however, that servile work can be done on the Sabbath for four reasons. The first reason is necessity. Wherefore, the Lord excused the disciples plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, as we read in St. Matthew (xii. 3-5). The second reason is when the work is done for the service of the Church; as we see in the same Gospel how the priests did all things necessary in the Temple on the Sabbath day. The third reason is for the good of our neighbor; for on the Sabbath the Saviour cured one having a withered hand, and He refuted the Jews who reprimanded Him, by citing the example of the sheep in a pit (“ibid.”). And the fourth reason is the authority of our superiors. Thus, God commanded the Jews to circumcise on the Sabbath.”
But, the Church's history on Holy Days of Obligation reveals an interesting distinction between full and half holy days, or feasts of double and single precept. In times past, Holy Days would often be referred to as days of single or double precept, with those of double precept requiring both hearing Mass and abstaining from servile works, whereas days of single precept would permit servile work.

The Catholic Encyclopedia provides a concise, high-level overview of Holy Days of Obligation from 1150 to 1791:
The Decree of Gratian (about 1150) mentions forty-one feasts besides the diocesan patronal celebrations; the Decretals of Gregory IX (about 1233) mention forty-five public feasts and Holy Days, which means eighty-five days when no work could be done and ninety-five days when no court sessions could be held. In many provinces eight days after Easter, in some also the week after Pentecost (or at least four days), had the sabbath rest. From the thirteenth to the eighteenth century there were dioceses in which the Holy Days and Sundays amounted to over one hundred, not counting the feasts of particular monasteries and churches. In the Byzantine empire there were sixty-six entire Holy Days (Constitution of Manuel Comnenus, in 1166), exclusive of Sundays, and twenty-seven half Holy Days. In the fifteenth century, Gerson, Nicolas de Clémanges and others protested against the multiplication of feasts, as an oppression of the poor, and proximate occasions of excesses. The long needed reduction of feast days was made by Urban VIII (Universa per orbem, 13 Sept., 1642). There remained thirty-six feasts or eighty-five days free from labour. Pope Urban limited the right of the bishops to establish new Holy Days; this right is now not abrogated, but antiquated. A reduction for Spain by Benedict XIII (1727) retained only seventeen feasts; and on the nineteen abrogated Holy Days only the hearing of Mass was obligatory. This reduction was extended (1748) to Sicily. For Austria (1745) the number had been reduced to fifteen full Holy Days; but since the hearing of Mass on the abrogated feasts, or half Holy Days, the fast on the vigils of the Apostles were poorly observed, Clement XIV ordered that sixteen full feasts should be observed; he did away with the half Holy Days, which however continued to be observed in the rural districts (peasant Holy Days, Bauernfeiertage). The parish priests have to say Mass for the people on all the abrogated feasts. The same reduction was introduced into Bavaria in 1775, and into Spain in 1791; finally Pius VI extended this provision to other countries and provinces.
The trend of removing this distinction between feasts of single and double precept accelerated under Pope Pius VI. As illustrated in the Irish Ecclesiastical Review, the reduction in Irish Holy Days, along with the distinction of double vs. single precept, led to a significant reduction in the rest that characterized Holy Days of Obligation. Days of Full Obligation were days of double precept:

Alas, this trend in the relaxation of discipline continued in America as well, ultimately leading to the 1911 changes under St. Pius X that reduced universal Holy Days to only 8, before they were increased to 10 under his successor. Gone was the distinction between feasts of single and double precept by the time of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

If more priests could encourage their parishioners to observe former Holy Days of Obligation, even devotional, as feasts of single precept, this could go a long way to helping rediscover the Catholic liturgical life. And for those able to do so, the observance of both Mass attendance and the sabbath rest on these former holy days (see here for the full list), should be commendable.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Sts. Nabor and Felix

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 12

While today is the Feastday of the St. John Gualbert, the liturgy also includes today the commemoration of Saints Nabor and Felix. If you have forgotten the incredible story of St. John Gualbert and his model of forgiveness, it is well worth reflecting upon today, especially during times of social unrest.

Sts. Nabor and Felix shed their blood for Christ in Milan around 303 AD. Butler's Lives of The Saints states:
St. Ambrose greatly praised these martyrs and multitudes of people flocked to Milan to venerate them. Late legends say that they were Moorish soldiers in the army of Maximian Herculeus, stationed at Milan, and that they were beheaded for their faith at Lodi; but these legends are imitated from those of the other soldier martyrs, such as St. Victor of Marseilles, and are historically worthless. The names of SS. Nabor and Felix occur in the canon of the Milanese Mass, and their cultus was widespread in northern Italy.

O Lord, may the prayers of Your holy martyrs Nabor and Felix always accompany us, just as we never fail to celebrate their birthday. Through our Lord . . .
Friday, July 10, 2020
Commemoration of Ss. Rufina and Secunda

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 10

Today is the Feastday of the Seven Holy Brothers. The Roman widow Felicitas and her seven sons were martyred around the year 162 AD for the Faith. Pope Gregory the Great said of her, "She was more than a martyr, for seeing her seven children martyred before her eyes, she was in some sort a martyr in each of them."

A century later, Rufina and Secunda, daughters of a wealthy Roman, refused to marry two suitors who had apostatized from the Christian religion. For this, they were scourged and beheaded. May these all too often forgotten martyrs intercede for us on this day of their commemoration.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII states:
Saints Rufina and Secunda, Roman martyrs, who according to the legendary Acts (Acta SS., July, III, 30-1) suffered in 287 during the Aurelian persecution. Their place of burial was at the ninth milestone of the Via Cornelia, as is stated in the Berne manuscript of the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 89). These martyrs are also recorded in the Itineraries of the seventh century as on the road just mentioned (De Rossi, "Roma sotterranea", I, 18283). Pope Damasus erected a church over the grave of the saints. The town on this spot named after St. Rufina became the see of one of the suburbicarian dioceses that was later united with Porto (cf. Allard, "Histoire des Persécutions":, III, 96).
And Butler's Lives of The Saints states:
According to their unhistorical "acts", these were sisters, daughters of Asterius, a man of senatorial rank in Rome. They were engaged to be married, the one to Armentarius, the other to Verinus, who were also Christians. But when the persecution of the Emperor Valerian fell upon the Church, these two men apostatized. The two girls refused to follow their example and fled secretly from Rome. Their flight being soon discovered, they were overtaken not far from the city and haled before the perfect, Junius Donatus. He imprisoned them with the object of making them apostatize, and when he found that they were unmoved either by arguments or threats, he ordered Rufina to be scourged; whereupon Secunda cried out, "Why do you judge my sister to honour and me to dishonour? Be pleased to beat us both together, for we declare that Christ is God." After they both had been tortured in divers ways, they were put to death by beheading. A pagan lady named Plautilla gave their bodies burial at a spot eleven miles from Rome on the Aurelian Way, and herself became a Christian from their example. The place where they lay was at that time called Silva Nigra, the Black Forest, but from these martyrs that name was changed to Silva Candida, the White Forest. A church was built over their tomb and a town grew up around it, which also was called Silva Candida, or Santa Rufina; it was made an episcopal see and became appurtenant to the cardinalate in after years. The relics of the martyrs were translated in 1154 to the Lateran basilica, near the baptistery of Constantine. The church dedicated in honour of SS. Rufina and Secunda in the City purports to be built over the site of their dwelling-house. Except their existence, their martyrdom and their early cultus nothing is certainly known of these maidens.

O Lord, we pay honor to the bravery of Your glorious Martyrs in bearing witness to You. Grant that we may feel the power of their intercession with You. Through our Lord . . .
Thursday, July 9, 2020
St. Veronica Giuliani

Today in some places is kept the feastday of St. Veronica of Giuliani. The following account of her holy life is taken from The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, OFM

Saint Veronica Giuliani was born of devout parents at Mercatello in Italy. As a child she, too, was of a devout disposition, but inclined to be quite irritable, and, as she herself admits, would stamp her feet at the least provocation.

Saint Veronica's mother died when Veronica was only four years old. In her last moments she assigned each of her five children to one of the five wounds of Christ and bade them take their refuge there whenever they were troubled. Veronica was the youngest. She was assigned to the wound in the side of our Lord, and from that time on her heart became more tempered.

Co-operating with the grace of God, her soul gradually went through a refining process by which she became an object of admiration in later years.

When Saint Veronica came of age, her father believed she should marry, and so he desired her to take part in the social activities of the young people. But she had been made aware of another call, and she pleaded so earnestly with her father that, after much resistance, he finally permitted her to choose her own state in life.

At the age of 17, then, the Saint Veronica Giuliani entered the convent of the Capuchin nuns at Citta di Castello in Umbria, where the primitive rule of St Clare was observed. Imbued with sincere humility she considered herself the lowliest member of the community. At the same time she greatly edified all by her obedience and love of poverty and mortification. Sometimes she was favored with interior conversations and revelations. She resolved that she would reveal all such matters to her superiors and her confessor; she had neglected to do that when she was still in the world, and as a result she had often been misled by the father of lies.

When Saint Veronica Giuliani had spent 17 years in various offices in her community, she was entrusted with the guidance of the novices. She endeavored to imbue them with the spirit of simplicity and to lay a firm foundation for humility. She directed them to the truths of the Faith and the rules of the order as their safest guides on the way of perfection, and warned them against reading idly speculative books as well as against everything unusual.

Meanwhile, extraordinary things were beginning to happen to Saint Veronica Giuliani. On Good Friday she received the stigmata, and later the Crown of Thorns was impressed on her head amid untold sufferings. She also experienced a mystical espousal, as she was given a mystical ring by Our Lord's own hand. One eye-witness said: "This ring encircled her ring finger as ordinary rings do. On it there appeared to be a raised stone as large as a pea and of a red color."

After careful examination of the matters, the bishop sent a report to Rome. Then Rome appointed a commission, which was to put her humility to the severest test, in order to determine whether she was an imposter, a person deluded by the devil, or a person favored by God.

Saint Veronica Giuliani was deposed from her office as novice mistress, and deprived of every suffrage in the community. She was even imprisoned in a remote cell. No sisters were permitted to talk to her, and a lay sister who was made her warden was ordered to treat her like a deceiver. Finally, she was even deprived of Holy Communion and was permitted to attend holy Mass only on Sundays and holy days near the door of the church.

At the conclusion of these trials, the bishop reported to Rome that she scrupulously obeyed every one of his ordinances, and showed not the least sign of sadness amid all his harsh treatment, but rather an inexpressible peace and joy of spirit.

The test had proved the admirable manifestations to be the work of God, but Veronica did not on that account deem herself a saint, but rather a great sinner, whom God was leading on the way to conversion by means of His holy wounds.

Having filled the office of novice mistress during a space of 22 years, Veronica was unanimously elected abbess. Only in obedience could she be prevailed upon to accept the responsibility.

Purified more and more by many sufferings, to which she added many austere mortifications, she went to her eternal reward on July 9, 1727, after spending 50 years in the convent.

Saint Veronica Giuliani was one of the rare saints who had received the stigmata. Whenever the wounds were opened, Fr. Salvatori recorded that "they emitted so delicious a fragrance throughout the whole of the convent that this alone was sufficient to inform the nuns whenever the stigmata had been renewed."

The saint's body remained incorrupt for many years until it was destroyed in a flood. Her bones are now kept in a composite figure of the saint, the skull of which is covered with wax. Her heart, though, is still incorrupt, and is kept in a separate reliquary.

Because of her heroic virtues and the many miracles that were continually being worked at her tomb, she was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.


Lord Jesus Christ, who didst miraculously imprint the marks of thy own suffering upon the blessed maid Veronica, grant in thy loving kindness that, by crucifying the flesh, we may become worthy to gain everlasting joys: thou who art God.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
St. Lawrence of Brindisi

Mass in Some Places (1954 Calendar): July 7
III Class (1962 Calendar): July 21

Before the changes to the Calendar of Saints in 1960 under John XXIII, the Feast of St. Lawrence Brindisi was kept in some places on July 7th. In 1960, after he was named a Doctor of the Church, his feast was moved to July 22nd. July 22nd was the Feast of St. Praxedes. After this change, as seen in the 1962 Missal, St. Praxedes was reduced to a Commemoration to make room for St. Lawrence's feastday. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was the last saint to be named a Doctor of the Church before Vatican II.

St. Lawrence acquired great fame for learning and eloquence. He labored with remarkable success in most parts of Europe preaching to Catholics, Protestants, and  Jews. When 80,000 Turks invaded Hungary in 1605, he inspired the united Christian armies of 18,000 men to the attack and led the charge while carrying a large cross. The Christian forces were victorious. He died in Lisbon in 1619 at 60 years of age.

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi (1559-1619) was an Italian Capuchin Franciscan. Lawrence could read and speak Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French fluently. Lawrence was ordained a priest at the age of 23. He was beatified in 1783 and canonized in 1881. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1959.


O God, who didst confer upon Thy Confessor and Doctor, blessed Laurence, a spirit of wisdom and fortitude in hard labors for the glory of Thy name and for the salvation of souls, grant us in the same spirit both to perceive where our duty lies, and to accomplish it through his intercession. Through our Lord . . .
Friday, July 3, 2020
Within the Octave of Ss. Peter and Paul

We are currently in the Octave of Ss. Peter and Paul. This is a Common Octave, meaning that the Mass and Office of Ss. Peter and Paul during the Octave days gives way to any feast day above the level of Simple. In practice, the only intra octave day where the Mass of Ss. Peter and Paul could be celebrated would be July 4th. The other intra octave days would be outranked by the liturgical feasts already on the Calendar of SaintsYet July 4th is Our Lady of Refuge in the Diocese of San Diego and in some places, such as Los Angeles and Brooklyn, it is the Commemoration of All Holy Popes.

Brief History of Octaves:

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

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

To reduce the repetition of the same liturgy for several days, Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X made further distinctions, classifying octaves into three primary types: privileged octaves, common octaves, and simple octaves. Privileged octaves were arranged in a hierarchy of first, second, and third orders. For the first half of the 20th century, octaves were ranked in the following manner, which affected holding other celebrations within their timeframes:
  • Privileged Octaves
    • Privileged Octaves of the First Order
      • Octave of Easter
      • Octave of Pentecost
    • Privileged Octaves of the Second Order
      • Octave of Epiphany
      • Octave of Corpus Christi
    • Privileged Octaves of the Third Order
      • Octave of Christmas
      • Octave of the Ascension
      • Octave of the Sacred Heart
  • Common Octaves
    • Octave of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM
    • Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph
    • Octave of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    • Octave of Saints Peter and Paul
    • Octave of All Saints
    • Octave of the Assumption of the BVM
  • Simple Octaves
    • Octave of St. Stephen
    • Octave of St. John the Apostle
    • Octave of the Holy Innocents 
Traditional Catholics still attached to the pre-1955 Missal will be familiar with the above list of Octaves. We can live out this forgotten Octave by adding to our daily prayers the Collect from Ss. Peter and Paul. And we can certainly pray a litany in honor of all holy popes.


O God, Who hast consecrated this day to the martyrdom of Thine apostles Peter and Paul, grant to Thy Church in all things to follow their teaching from whom it received the right ordering of religion in the beginning. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Prayer for the Restoration of the Roman Mass

O Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest and Immaculate Lamb of God, slain for us and for many on the altar of Calvary, and continually offered to Thy Heavenly Father in the clean oblation of Thy Eucharistic Sacrifice:

Grant, we beseech Thee, through the merits and prayers of Thy Saints Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas and Pius V, that the holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Mass, ratified, expounded and perpetuated by them respectively, may be rightly restored to the altars of Thy Church throughout the world; that once again this most awesome, majestic and perennial rite may offer infinite worship and homage to the Most Blessed Trinity; the fullest fruits and consolation and spiritual nourishment to the faithful; an impregnable defense and counterbalance against the rising tide of evil; and a sure termination of the anguish, fear, doubts and profanations occasioned by its unsanctioned abandonment and replacement.

O Holy Saints of the centuries, who sanctified and nourished your souls with the perennial Roman Mass, and Holy Martyrs who shed your blood for it, grant, we pray in desperation, that we will no longer be bereft of it, and that we will, as you, commit ourselves to the Mass at all costs and to the last breath of our lives.

O Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the Immaculate Eucharistic Victim, pray for us that we may bravely, prudently, diligently, and with sound doctrine and means pursue the rectification of the present encroachment on the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and secure with thy powerful maternal aid the restoration of our Roman Catholic Mass and the Reign and Order of the Kingship of Jesus Christ thy Son. Amen.
Commoration of Ss Processus and Martinian

The Martyrdom of St Processus and St Martinian by Valentin de Boulogne

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): July 2

Besides the feast day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, July 2nd is the Commemoration of Saints Processus and Martinian. According to tradition, these martyrs converted by St. Peter, were jailers of the Mamertine prison in Rome.

The Catholic Encyclopedia published in 1911 states:
They were publicly venerated in Rome from the fourth or perhaps the third century, although nothing further is known. A legend makes them the keepers of the prison of Sts. Peter and Paul (Lipsius, "Apokryphe Apostelgeschich. u. Apostellegenden", II, Brunswick, 1887, 92, 105 sqq., 110 sq.). It cannot be shown how the legend came to give them this identification. Pope Paschal I (817-24) translated the bones of the two martyrs to a chapel in the old basilica of St. Peter; they still rest under the altar dedicated to them in the right transept of the present St. Peter's. Their feast is celebrated on 2 July.
When the Visitation was added to the Calendar, the observance of their feast was reduced to a commemoration.


The glorious profession of faith of Your holy martyrs Processus and Martinian overshadows and protects us. May we profit by their example and rejoice in the assistance of their prayers. Through our Lord . . .
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