Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fr. Campbell's Sermon for Palm Sunday 2015


Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015

“Obedient Unto Death” (Phil.2:8)

As Jesus rides into Jerusalem to the hosannas of the crowd, He knows that their desire to make Him their King is motivated by expectations of earthly glory. As King, they expect, He would throw off the yoke of the Romans and restore Israel to the glory it enjoyed under David and Solomon. And so they shout, “Blessed is he who comes as king, in the name of the Lord” (Lk.19:38).

Jesus accepts their hosannas, for He is truly their King, but He must refuse an earthly crown, for His Kingdom is not of this world (Jn.18:36). Even after the Resurrection, and just before the Ascension, some of them were still asking, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b). But before receiving His Kingdom from the Father, He must go the way of humility and obedience, that of the Suffering Servant of the Lord.

Christ was always obedient to the will of the Father. His famous words during His agony in the garden were, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; yet not as I will, but as thou willest” (Mt.26:39b). He said to the Jews who opposed Him: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that of myself I do nothing: but that I preach only what the Father has taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I do always the things that are pleasing to him” (Jn.8:28,29).

Where can we look to find such evidence of obedience today, even among those who call themselves Christian? Like the Israelites who apostatized and adored the golden calf in obscene revelries at the foot of Mt. Sinai, many Christians have abandoned the true way and taken to themselves the false gods of pleasure, wealth and power. Their religion is a façade that will soon be torn away by a dose of reality. God’s judgment is near. 

We must turn now in obedience to Christ, Who considered the keeping of His commandments the test of true love: “If you love me, keep my commandments…” (Jn.14:15). The Kingdom of God is not a democracy. The will of God the Father is absolute, and the Son and the Holy Ghost are of one will with Him. The angels and the saints are in complete conformity to the holy will of God, and we must be also, especially in these times of disobedience.

The world in general takes after its father, the devil. It is characterized by disobedience. Disobedience is a far worse sin that most people think. Nothing takes us away from God more quickly. Even lesser sins of disobedience put us on dangerous ground. What was the sin of Lucifer, into which he was led by his pride? Disobedience! What was the sin of Adam and Eve? Disobedience! And the human race has been in disobedience and rebellion ever since.

On the other hand we have Jesus Christ – whom Isaiah called in prophecy, “the obedient Servant of God” – obedient to the Father’s will even unto death, death on a cross. Nothing is more Christlike than obedience.

Practice the virtue of obedience in imitation of Jesus Himself. The virtues must be practiced if we are to become His true disciples. This is especially true of obedience. This is not easy, because obedience is not valued by the world. The importance of obedience should be carefully explained to the children, with patience and kindness. They should know that they are expected to be obedient because Jesus was obedient.

We adults, too, should do a careful examination of conscience about obedience. It is up to us to give the example. The Commandments themselves accuse us, and our conscience condemns us. Unlike Jesus, Who prayed to the Father seeking His will, we make decisions and all kinds of plans without praying about them. God just might want to be consulted! And then we expect God to take the responsibility for the unhappy results. Jesus would never do that. His prayer was always, “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” If we are not to be hypocrites, we must mean what we say when we pray, as Jesus taught us, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though he was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross. Therefore God also has exalted him and has bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus is in the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:5-11).

St. Louis de Montfort and Our Lady as the Precursor of the Second Coming of Christ

St. Louis de Montfort lived about the same time as Madre Mariana de Jesus and wrote about the same time frame - OURS! The following extract is from his True Devotion to Mary.

Article Three

49. It was through Mary that the salvation of the world was begun, and it is through Mary that it must be consummated. Mary hardly appeared at all in the first coming of Jesus Christ, in order that men, as yet but little instructed and enlightened on the Person of her Son, should not remove themselves from Him in attaching themselves too strongly and too grossly to her. This would have apparently taken place if she had been known, because of the admirable charms which the Most High had bestowed upon her exterior. This is so true that St. Denis the Areopagite tell us in his writings that when he saw our Blessed Lady he would have taken her for a divinity, because of her secret charms and incomparable beauty, had not the faith in which he was well established taught him the contrary. But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Ghost in order that, through her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served. The reasons which moved the Holy Ghost to hide His spouse during her life, and to reveal her but very little since the preaching of the Gospel, subsist no longer.

Existence of This Function and Reasons for It 

50. God, then, wishes to reveal and make known Mary, the masterpiece of His hands, in these latter times:

§1. Because she hid herself in this world and put herself lower than the dust by her profound humility, having obtained from God and from His Apostles and Evangelists that she should not be made manifest.

§2. Because, as she is the masterpiece of the hands of God, as well here below by grace as in Heaven by glory, He wishes to be glorified and praised in her by those who are living upon the earth.

§3. As she is the dawn which precedes and reveals the Sun of Justice, who is Jesus Christ, she must be seen and recognized in order that Jesus Christ may also be.

§4. Being the way by which Jesus came to us the first time, she will also be the way by which He will come the second time, though not in the same manner.

§5. Being the sure means and the straight and immaculate way to go to Jesus Christ and to find Him perfectly, it is by her that the souls who are to shine forth especially in sanctity have to find Our Lord. He who shall find Mary shall find life (Prov. 8:35), that is, Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (Jn. 14:6) But no one can find Mary who does not seek her; and no one can seek her who does not know her; for we cannot seek or desire an unknown object. It is necessary, then, for the greater knowledge and glory of the Most Holy Trinity, that Mary should be more than ever known.
§6. Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and in grace, in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church; in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans, Jews and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall oppose them and to make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall battle for His interests.

§7. And lastly, Mary must be terrible to the devil and his crew, as an army ranged in battle, principally in these latter times, because the devil, knowing that he has but little time, and now less than ever, to destroy souls, will every day redouble his efforts and his combats. He will presently raise up cruel persecutions and will put terrible snares before the faithful servants and true children of Mary, whom it gives him more trouble to conquer than it does to conquer others.

II. Exercise of This Function

§In the struggle against Satan

51. It is principally of these last and cruel persecutions of the devil, which shall go on increasing daily till the reign of Antichrist, that we ought to understand that first and celebrated prediction and curse of God pronounced in the terrestrial paradise against the serpent. It is to our purpose to explain this here for the glory of the most holy Virgin, for the salvation of her children and for the confusion of the devil: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." (Gen. 3:15) 

52. God has never made and formed but one enmity; but it is an irreconcilable one, which shall endure and grow even to the end. It is between Mary, His worthy Mother, and the devil -- between the children and the servants of the Blessed Virgin, and the children and tools of Lucifer. The most terrible of ll the enemies which God has set up against the devil is His holy Mother Mary. He has inspired her, even since the days of the earthly paradise -- though she existed then only in His idea -- with so much hatred against that cursed enemy of God, with so much ingenuity in unveiling the malice of that ancient serpent with so much power to conquer, to overthrow and to crush that proud, impious rebel, that he fears her not only more than all angels and men, but in a sence more than God Himself. Not that the anger, the hateed and the power of God are not infinitley greater than those of the Blessed Virgin, for the perfections of Mary are lmited; but first, because Satan, being proud suffers infinitely more from being punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humilty humbles him more than the divine power; and secondly, because God has given Mary such great power against the devils that -- as they have often been obliged to confess, in spite of themselves, by the mouths of the possessed -- they fear one of her sighs for a sould more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her threats against them more than all other torments.
53.  What Lucifer has lost by pride, Mary has gained by humility. What Eve has damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent, has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him; Mary, in being perfectly faithful to God, has saved all her children and servants together with herself, and has consecrated them to His Majesty.

54. God has not only set an enmity, but enmities, not simply between Mary and the devil, but between the race of the holy Virgin and the race of the devil; that is to say, God has set enmities, antipathies and secret hatreds between the true children and servants of Mary and the children and slaves of the devil. They have no love for each other. They have no sympathy for each other. The children of Belial, the slaves of Satan, the friends of the world (for it is the same thing) have always up to this time persecuted those who belong to our Blessed Lady, and will in the future persecute them more than ever; just as Cain, of old, persecuted his brother Abel, and Esau his brother Jacob, who are figures of the reprobate and the predestinate. But the humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit, and so great a victory that she will go so far as to crush his head, where his pride dwells. She will always discover the malice of the serpent. She will always lay bare his infernal plots and dissipate his diabolical councils, and even to the end of time will guard her faithful servants from his cruel claw.

But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom whe will raise up to make war against him. They shall be lettle and poor in the world's esteem, and abased before all like the heel, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the hell is by the other members of the body.  But in return for this they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with God's assistance that, with the humility of her heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph. 

§2. In the formation of the apostles of the latter times

55. In a word, God wishes that His holy Mother should be at present more known, more loved, more honored than she has ever been. This, no doubt, will take place if the predestinate enter, with the grace and light of the Holy Ghost, into the interior and perfect practice which I shall disclose to them shortly. Then they will see clearly, as far as faith allows, that beautiful Star of the Sea. They will arrive happily in habour, following its guidance, in spite of the tempests and the pirates. They will know the grandeurs of that Queen, and will consecrate themselves entirely to her service as subjects and slaves of love. They will experience her sweetness and her maternal goodness, and they will love her tenderly like wee-belove children. They will know the mercies of which she is full, and the need they have of her help; and they will have recourse to her in all things, as to their dear advocate and Mediatrix with Jesus Christ. They will know what is the surest, the easiest, the shortest and the most perfect means of going to Jesus Christ; and they will give themselves to Mary, body and soul, without reserve, that they may thus belong entirely to Jesus Christ.

56. But who shall those servants, slaves and children of Mary be?  

They shall be the ministers of the Lord who, like a burning fire, shall kindle the fire of divine love everywhere.They shall be "like sharp arrows in the hand of the powerful" Mary to pierce her enemies. (Ps. 126:4).

They shall be the sons of Levi, well purified by the fire of great tribulation, and closely adhering to God (1 Cor. 6:17), who shall carry the gold of love in their heart, the incense of prayer in their spirit, and the myrrh of mortification in their body. They shall be everywhere the good odour of Jesus Christ to the poor and to the little while at the same time, they shall be an odor of death to the great, to the rich and to the proud wordlings.

57.  They shall be clouds thundering and flying through the air at the least breath of the Holy Ghost; who, detaching themselves from everything and troubling themselves about nothing, shall shower forth the rain of the Word of God and of life eternal. They shall thunder against sin; they shall storm against the world; they shall strike the devil and his cres; and they shall pierce through and through, for life or for death, with their two edged sword of the Word of God (Eph. 6:17), all those to whom they shall be sent on the part of the Most High. 

58. They shall be the true apostles of the latter times, to whom the Lord of Hosts shall give the word and the might to work marvels and to carry off with glory the spoils of His enemies. They shall sleep without gold or silver, and, what is more, without,= care, in the midst of the other priests, ecclesiastics, and clerics (Ps. 67:14); and yet they shall have the silvered wings of the dove to go, with the pure intention of the glory of God and the salvation of souls, wheresoever the Holy Ghost shall call them. Nor shall they leave behind them, in the places where they have preached, anything but the gold of charity, which is the fulfillment of the whole law. (Rom. 13:10).
59. In a word, we know that they shall be true disciples of Jesus Christ, walking in the footsteps of His poverty, humility, contempt of the world, charity; teaching the narrow way of God in pure truth, according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world; troubling themselves about nothing; not accepting persons; sparing, fearing and listening to no mortal, however influential he may be. They shall have in their moughts the two-edged sword of the Word of God. They shall carry on their shoulders the bloddy standard of the Cross, the Crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, the sacred Names of Jesus and Mary in their hearts, and modesty and mortification of Jesus Christ in their own behaviour.

These are the great men who are to come; but Mary is the one who, by order of the Most High, shall fashion them for the purpose of extending His empire over that of the impious, the idolaters and the Mohometans. But when and how shall this be? God alone knows.

As for us, we have but to hold our tongues, to pray, to sigh and to wait. (Ps. 39:2)

(The Psalms and many other quotes that St. Louis refers to in this extract will be very familiar to those who pray the Little Office of Our Lady!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Hymn from Matins of the Little Office for the Feast of The Annunciation / The Incarnation

The Hymn from Matins of the Little Office for the Feast of 
The Annunciation / The Incarnation

THE God whom earth, and sea, and sky
Adore, and laud, and magnify,

Who o’er their threefold fabric reigns,

The Virgin Mary’s womb contains.

The God whose will by moon, and sun,
And all things in due course is done,

Is borne upon a Maiden’s breast,

By fullest heavenly grace possessed.

How blest that Mother, in whose shrine
The great Artificer Divine,

Whose hand contains the earth and sky,

Vouchsafed, as in His ark, to lie.

Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
Blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;

From whom the great Desire of earth

Took human flesh and human birth.

To Thee be sung eternal praise,
O Virgin-born, through endless days;

Whom with the Father we adore,

And Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.

Visit Dr. Thomas Droleskey´s beautiful commentary for today at:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Man of Sorrows - Fr. Louis Campbell's Sermon for Passion Sunday

Passion Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Man of Sorrows (Is.53:3)

As we enter Passiontide, we witness Jesus being caught between apostate Jews, who constantly challenge His teachings and His authority to teach, and, and the pagan Romans, with whom they are collaborating. His constant adversaries, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, blasphemously charge that He is possessed by a devil.

Jesus reveals His true identity most clearly when He says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am” (Jn.8:58). He has taken to Himself the Name God revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai, “I am who am” (Ex.3:14). Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man! They take up stones to cast at Him, which is the punishment for blasphemy. They would soon call upon the Romans for His execution, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Lk.23:21).

What the Church is suffering now, and is about to suffer, parallels what Jesus suffered at the hands of the unbelieving Jews. In fact, the suffering and crucifixion of the Church has been foretold by the great saints and mystics, as well as by the Lord Himself:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also” (Jn.15:18-20).

The world indeed hates us! God’s holy Commandments are despised, and we will be expected to observe and live by the evil laws that replace them. All over the world governments and government agencies are preparing to declare marriage rights for same-sex couples, which would eventually bind states and churches to perform such marriages, and all citizens to accept them as legitimate. The supreme court of the United States intends to rule on this by late June of this year. This shows that there is a hidden hand in control, and that no country is truly independent. Children in the schools are being brainwashed to accept evil as good, and good as evil. We will all have to do that, or suffer the consequences.

The Church today, like her Lord, also finds herself “between a rock and a hard place”. On the one hand she faces the apostasy of her leadership. Francis, whom the world calls “Pope”, wants the Traditionalists, whom he considers to be stubborn and backward, to be shut down. In the meantime, he has incurred excommunication many times over, by taking part in Jewish worship services in their synagogues, and praying with Muslims in their mosques. Christian, Jew, Muslim, or whatever, it’s all the same to him. St. John the Apostle warns us that to take part in such meetings with unbelievers is to share in their evil works:

“For many deceivers have gone forth into the world who do not confess Jesus as the Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who advances and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, has not God; he who abides in the doctrine, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, or say to him, Welcome. For he who says to him, Welcome, is sharer in his evil works” (2Jn.7-11).

St. Paul also gives us warning:

“Do not bear the yoke with unbelievers. For what has justice in common with iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what part has the believer with the unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?... Wherefore, ‘Come out from among them, be separated, says the Lord, and touch not an unclean thing…” (2Cor.6:14:16a;17).

Then how could any true “Vicar of Christ” ever join in worship with Talmudic Jews, who believe that our beloved Jesus Christ, whom we adore as God, is a sinner and deceiver suffering in Hell for all eternity? And how could a true “Vicar of Christ” pray together with blasphemers who believe that Mary, the Most Pure and Holy Mother of God, was a sinner, no better than a streetwalker? Just as they hate Him, they hate her also.

She is our Mother too, whom we should defend with our last breath from those who commit such unspeakable blasphemies against her. Every day her shrines and statues are desecrated. Unbelievers, like those who work for Charlie Hebdo in France, do horrible and degrading caricatures of our Blessed Mother. The Muslims didn’t let them get away with doing that to their prophet. Can we stand by and see our Mother treated like this? Who will defend her now, if we don’t? God Himself was not willing to let her remain in this sinful world. He took her up into Heaven, body and soul, where she prays for us and pleads our cause. We must stand up for her now here on earth. This is not a call for thoughtless and imprudent action, but to wake up and come to the defense of your Mother!

This week we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation on Wednesday, and the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday. We are entering the most holy season of the Liturgical Year. The statues and pictures are veiled, so that we may concentrate on the mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, which Isaiah sees prophetically:

“Despised and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised. Whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities: he was bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace was upon him: and by his bruises we are healed” (ls.53:3-5).

(Posted with Fr. Campbell's permission)

Monday, March 16, 2015

VESPERS in the Little Office - The Bridegroom Comforts His Bride

In the evening of the day, after the day's work is done, and we are tired and weary, our tender Mother Church reminds us of God's love for His Immaculate Bride and encourages us by showing us the Triumph that awaits us after the Great Event. We have a duty to give glory to God via the Liturgy. Even if there were no priest offering Mass or praying the Divine Office, the laity could do its part by praying the Little Office.

Following are the Psalms of Vespers in the Little Office. The theme is the love God has for His Church and how He will destroy her enemies and restore her to her proper place. Christ the King reigns now, though he allows the enemy to persecute us as just chastisement for our sins. But after Our Lady intervenes at the command of Christ, all heresies will be destroyed and all things will be restored in Christ!

Psalm 109. Dixit Dominus
The Messiah, King and Priest, victorious over His enemies.

1 The Lord said unto my Lord * Sit Thou at My right hand.
2 Until I make Thine enemies * Thy footstool.
3 The Lord shall send forth the sceptre of Thy power out of Sion * rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.
4 Thine shall be dominion in the day of Thy power; amidst the brightness of the Saints * from the womb, before the day-star, have I begotten Thee.
5 The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent * Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.
6 The Lord upon Thy right hand * hath overthrown kings in the day of His wrath.
7 He shall judge among the nations; He shall fill them with ruins * He shall smite in sunder the heads in the land of many.
8 He shall drink of the torrent in the way * therefore shall He lift up His head.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus: THE Psalmist here speaks of the reign of Jesus Christ, of His eternal and temporal generation, of His Priesthood, and of His Passion. This Psalm must be understood literally of our Divine Saviour, since it is recorded in the Gospel that He applied it to Himself (Matt. xxii. 44) in order to convince the Jews that He was truly the Son of God: after drawing from them the avowal that the Messias must be the Son of David, He asked them how it was, then, David called Him his Lord: “The Lord said unto my Lord,” and thereupon followed up the argument by asking them how the same Messias Whom David called his Lord, was his Son: If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son?” The Jews did not answer that the Messias could not be the Lord of David, as true God; but they would not allow that Jesus was the Messias or Christ of Whom David had spoken. We Christians all believe that Jesus Christ was the true Messias. This ought to convince the Arians, who deny that Jesus Christ is true Son of God and true God as His Father: how in fact can they deny this verity, seeing that David called Him his Lord, Who was to be his Son?

Thus far St. Alphonsus

Christ the King hath overthrown kings in the day of His wrath! He shall smite asunder the heads in the land of many. The world has fought against Christ the King since Adam’s fall. But, after the Great Event, He shall have His vengeance. Amidst the brightness of those who have persevered through the Apostasy and remained faithful to the Church, He shall lay waste His enemies. He has allowed the weeds to remain in the midst of the wheat until it appeared that the wheat had disappeared and there was nothing left but weeds. But now He will separate the weeds and throw them into the unquenchable fire. The Lord shall send forth the scepter of His power out of [the Church]and shall rule. 

Psalm 112. Laudate, pueri
Glory to God, so infinitely great and so admirably condescending.

1 Praise the Lord, ye children * praise ye the name of the Lord.
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord * from this time forth forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same * the name of the Lord is worthy to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations * and His glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high * and regardeth the things that are lowly in heaven and on earth?
6 Who raiseth up the needy from the earth * and lifteth the poor out of the dunghill;
7 That He may set him with princes * even with the princes of His people.
8 Who maketh the barren woman to dwell in her house * the joyful mother of children.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The Psalmist invites the just to praise God for the care that He takes of all His creatures, even of the meanest. 

The Lord is sovereign, supreme over all the nations: His glory surpasses that of the heavens. Who can ever compare with the Lord our God, Whose goodness is such that, from the highest heaven where he dwells, He does not disdain to look upon the creatures that are the most lowly in heaven and on earth? He it is Who, beholding the spouse full of sadness in her house, at seeing herself barren, without offspring, makes her become the joyful mother of many children. This verse applies well to Jesus Christ, Who, when the Church was bereaved of children by the perversion of the Jews, made her, by His redemption, the mother of all the faithful. 

Thus far St. Alphonsus.

We, the children of Holy Mother Church, we, the poor, who are living in the midst of the dunghill of apostasy brought about once again by the machinations of the “perversion of the Jews” who have taken over the Vatican and the chanceries and every parish on earth; we the needy might well have wondered, if we had not the promise of Christ that the gates of hell would not prevail, whether the Church would be left childless, barren in the world. Christ Himself wondered if He would find faith on earth on His return. Our Mother has even been thrown from her house; all the structures of the Church, built by the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors are occupied by our enemies. But the Lord will make the “barren woman” to dwell in her house once more, the joyful mother of children. No longer will we occupy the dunghills, we shall be set with princes, the saints who have gone before us. Notice the antiphon for the time before Advent: His left hand is under my head, and His right hand shall embrace me. Christ King, embracing His spouse, the Church and lifting her up to be beside Him for eternity. No, this exile will not last forever. It will end in the flash of a lightning bolt, in the wink of an eye. The event will come as Our Lady promised. 

Psalm 121. Lætatus sum
Song of the pilgrims in honor of Jerusalem.

1 I was glad at the things that were said unto me * We will go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet were standing * in thy courts, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem, which is built as a city * that is in unity with itself.
4 For thither did the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord * the testimony of Israel, to praise the name of the Lord.
5 For there are set the seats of judgment * the seats over the house of David.
6 Pray ye for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem * and plenteousness be to them that love thee.
7 Let peace be in thy strength * and plenteousness in thy towers.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sake * I spake peace concerning thee.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God * I have sought good things for thee.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The joy of the Jews, on hearing that they are about to be released from the captivity of Babylon. Christians should by this Psalm enkindle anew their desires for heaven.

Thus far St. Alphonsus

How strongly we can understand the suffering of the Hebrews as they awaited the Messias; as they awaited their release from the captivity that was brought about by their own sins! We ourselves are suffering the same fate. We are exiled from our churches, we have lost everything from the top down: We have no pope, no bishops, almost no priests, hardly any Masses or Sacraments, the doctrine has been poisoned with the heresy of heresies – Modernism. And yet – we hope! We must hope! Especially since we know that we return to rest in the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church. We will go into the House of the Lord. Throughout the history of the Church, those called and chosen by God have ascended into heaven by being joined to the Mystical Body of Christ. We must pray – especially the Little Office and the Holy Rosary – for the things that are for the peace of the Church and those that love Her. We must pray for the salvation of our neighbors for the love of God. This is Charity. 

This is the second time this psalm is prayed, the first time being at the hour of sext. It must be very important to Holy Mother Church that we keep it in our hearts. It is terribly important that we nurture a strong desire to be with Christ. It is said in the lives of the saints that a certain person spent much time in purgatory because he did not have an intense desire to be with Christ! We must pray for the gift of a strong desire for the coming of Christ. It is easy to get used to anything, even living through the Apostasy because God has given us this strength so we can endure, but we must take care not to begin to take is as the way things should be. We must be glad at the very mention of the Holy Name of Jesus, at the word Catholic our heart should beat a little faster, our ears should perk up, we should be glad at the things that are said about the Faith, the Church, Our Lady and Our Lord. Let us not become lackadaisical but let our desire be for the courts of the Lord!

Psalm 126. Nisi Dominus
Man can do nothing without God’s help.

1 Unless the Lord build the house * they labour in vain that build it.
2 Unless the Lord keep the city * he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.
3 In vain do ye rise before the dawn * rise after ye have rested, O ye that eat the bread of sorrow!
4 For He hath given sleep to His beloved * Lo, children are a heritage from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb a reward.
5 As arrows in the hand of the mighty One * even so are the children of those that have been cast out.
6 Blessed is the man whose desire is satisfied with them * he shall not be confounded when he speaketh with his enemies in the gate.
Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus:  The Jews, on their return from Babylon, wish to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, but are hindered by the incursions of their enemies; the Psalmist exhorts them to trust in God.

After the Lord shall have given to His beloved, that is, to His people, sleep, viz., peace by means of the promised Redeemer. – Then shall appear the inheritance of Jesus Christ the Lord, an inheritance which shall consist in the multitude of the children born in His Church according to the prophecy: “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance (Ps. ii. 8.) – The recompense of Christ the Lord shall be the fruit of the womb, that is, these same children shall be the recompense of Jesus Christ according to another prophecy: If He shall lay down His life for sin, He shall see a long-lived seed.” (Is. liii. 10).  This is well expressed in the Greek version in this sense: The multitude of children shall be the inheritance of the Lord and the recompense of Jesus Christ, Who was properly the fruit of Mary’s womb. These children, tormented by persecutions, shall be against their enemies as so many arrows in the hand of a strong man. Blessed is the man who shall see his desire satisfied by the birth of so many children; he shall not suffer confusion when he shall have to treat with his enemies before the gate of the city, that is, according to Bellarmine, at the last judgment, which shall take place at the great gate, or at the assize of the whole world, when Jesus Christ shall confound the demons, who thought to drag the entire human race down to hell.

Thus far, St. Alphonsus.

We see this psalm also for a second time. The Church, then, wants us to recall that Her enemies shall not prevail. Consider the beauty of the Antiphon for the time before Advent: Now is the winter past, the rain is over and gone: arise, my beloved, and come. This should make our heart skip a beat! The winter refers to the time when the Church was in the darkness of the Apostasy, kicked out of our houses and living in the wilderness, in the cold, dark winter. But now, the winter is past, the Lord comes to lift us, to embrace us as was mentioned in the previous antiphon. The cold rain is gone, the eclipsed sun comes out again, Christ says to His Bride, “Arise, my beloved, and come!”

Psalm 147. Lauda, Jerusalem
Thanksgiving for the restoration of Jerusalem.

1 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem * praise thy God, O Sion.
2 For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates * He hath blessed thy children within thee.
3 He hath made peace within thy borders * and filleth thee with the fat of corn.
4 He sendeth forth His speech upon the earth * His word runneth very swiftly.
5 He giveth snow like wool * He scattereth the mists like ashes.
6 He sendeth His ice like morsels * who shall stand before the face of His cold?
7 He shall send forth His word, and shall melt them * His wind shall blow and the waters shall run.
8 He declareth His word unto Jacob * His justice and judgments unto Israel.
9 He hath not done in like manner to every nation * and His judgments He hath not made manifest to them. Glory Be.

St. Alphonsus: The Psalmist exhorts the people of God to thank Him for His benefits. This Psalm regards the Jews now returned from captivity, and in the sweet enjoyment of peace. 

[The Lord] covers the earth with ice as with pieces of crystal; how shall he who is exposed to such great cold be able to endure it? Then the Lord will issue another command and will cause the snow to melt, for He will send forth the South wind, and the snows will thaw into water.

Thus far St. Alphonsus.

In this psalm, the metaphor of an icy winter being warmed into spring which we saw in the previous antiphon is expanded upon. He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, He hath blessed thy children within thee. The Lord supported us during the frigid winter of our exile during the eclipse of the Church, when the warmth of the Sun was blocked and we lived only on Faith that the Sun was there, since the warmth of His rays were blocked by the false church which stood where it ought not to have been. He sustained us, even when we wondered, “How will we survive before the face of His cold?”  But, He sends forth His word and shall melt them, His wind shall blow and the [frozen] waters shall run. The Church shall come out from the eclipse and the brightness will once again warm the world. It will have been so long since She showed her face that people will not recognize Her and will ask, “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” The earth will be renewed and the mists of error, heresy, schism and apostasy will be scattered like ashes. 

¡Viva Cristo Rey!
¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The 40 Holy Martyrs - Do we love Christ and the Faith this much?


THE FORTY MARTYRS were soldiers quartered at Sebaste in Armenia, about the year 320. When their legion was ordered to offer sacrifice they separated themselves from the rest and formed a company of martyrs. After they had been torn by scourges and iron hooks they were chained together and led to a lingering death. It was a cruel winter, and they were condemned to lie naked on the icy surface of a pond in the open air till they were frozen to death. But they ran undismayed to the place of their combat, joyfully stripped off their garments, and with one voice besought God to keep their Ranks unbroken. "Forty," they cried, "we have come to combat: grant that forty may be crowned." There were warm baths hard by, ready for any one amongst them who would deny Christ. The soldiers who watched saw angels descending with thirty-nine crowns, and, while he wondered at the deficiency in the number, one of the confessors lost heart, renounced his faith, and, crawling to the fire, died body and soul at the spot where he expected relief. But the soldier was inspired to confess Christ and take his place, and again the number of forty was complete. They remained steadfast while their limbs grew stiff and frozen, and died one by one. Among the Forty there was a young soldier who held out longest against the cold, and when the officers came to cart away the dead bodies they found him still breathing. They were moved with pity, and wanted to leave him alive in the hope that he would still change his mind. But his mother stood by, and 'this valiant woman could not bear to see her son separated from the band of martyrs. She exhorted him to persevere, and lifted his frozen body into the cart. He was just able to make a sign of recognition, and was borne away, to be thrown into the flames with the dead bodies of his brethren.

I beg the 40 martyrs to pray for me, that I love Christ and His Holy Church as they did. I want to be ready for that moment when it all hangs in the balance and I have to decide if I am willing to sacrifice all for my Lord. Note that they did not just grudgingly "admit" that they were Christians; they ran to the frozen pond and cast off their clothes so that they could sooner be with Christ. They were eager to suffer for the Faith. They did not look for weasel words that could be taken two ways so they could not exactly deny the Faith, but not exactly offend anybody. 

What will I answer when people ask, "You don't really believe in Creation, do you?" Will I remain silent the next time somebody publicly criticises our Catholic Faith or mocks the Church and Her teachings? Will I mumble something to myself when someone says something in favour of legalising "Civil Unions" rather than pointing out that such unions are contrary to the law of God and His Church and the Natural Law as well?

Christ told us in the Gospel of this past Sunday, He who is not with me is against me. Dear Lord, I want to be with Thee, I want to profess my love for Thee and my loyalty to Thy Church. Make me a valiant Soldier of Christ as the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste were and through their intercession, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant me the Grace to persevere until the end. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Magnificat: Prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary - and of Holy Mother Church!

The “Magnificat” or Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary Luc. 1, 46–55

The Magnificat is one of the most beautiful and consoling prayers. It is wondrously appropriate to remember that Our Lady is a type of the Church. As such we can read this prayer as if it were being prayed by the Church Herself. Prayerfully and lovingly imagine the Church, after these long millennia of trial, struggle, suffering, and triumph singing in soft, loving tones, this hymn to Her heavenly Spouse – Christ the King.

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced * in God my Saviour.
Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid * for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me * and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation to generation * unto them that fear Him.
He hath shown might in His arm * He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat * and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things * and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant * being mindful of His mercy.
As He spoke unto our fathers * to Abraham and his seed forever.

Below is the commentary of the Church Fathers from the Catena Aurea 

 46. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord.
AMBROSE; As evil came into the world by a woman, so also is good introduced by women; and so it seems not without meaning, that both Elisabeth prophesies before John, and Mary before the birth of the Lord. But it follows, that as Mary was the greater person, so she uttered the fuller prophecy. 

BASIL; For the Virgin, with lofty thoughts and deep penetration, contemplates the boundless mystery, the further she advances, magnifying God; And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. 

GREEK EX. As if she said, Marvellous things has the Lord declared that He will accomplish in my body, but neither shall my soul be unfruitful before God. It becomes me to offer Him the fruit also of my will, for inasmuch as I am obedient to a mighty miracle, am I bound to glorify Him who performs His mighty works in me. 

ORIGEN; Now if the Lord could neither receive increase or decrease, what is this that Mary speaks of, My soul doth magnify the Lord? But if I consider that the Lord our Saviour is the image of the invisible God, and that the soul is created according to His image, so as to be an image of an image, then I shall see plainly, that as after the manner of those who are accustomed to paint images, each one of us forming his soul after the image of Christ, makes it great or little, base or noble, after the likeness of the original so when I have made my soul great in thought, word, and deed, the image of God is made great, and the Lord Himself whose image it is, is magnified in my soul.

 47. And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.
BASIL; The first-fruit of the Spirit is peace and joy. Because then the holy Virgin had drunk in all the graces of the Spirit, she rightly adds, And my spirit has leaped for joy. She means the same thing, soul and spirit. But the frequent mention of leaping for joy in the Scriptures implies a certain bright and cheerful state of mind in those who are worthy. Hence the Virgin exults in the Lord with an unspeakable springing (and bounding) of the heart for joy, and in the breaking forth into utterance of a noble affection It follows, in God my Saviour. 

THEOPHYL; Because the spirit of the Virgin rejoices in the eternal Godhead of the same Jesus (i.e. the Saviour,) whose flesh is formed in the womb by a temporal conception. 

AMBROSE; The soul of Mary therefore magnifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoiced in God, because with soul and spirit devoted to the Father and the Son, she worships with a pious affection the one God from whom are all things. But let every one have the spirit of Mary, so that he may rejoice in the Lord. If according to the flesh there is one mother of Christ, yet, according to faith, Christ is the fruit of all. For every soul receives the word of God if only he be unspotted and free from sin, and preserves it with unsullied purity. 

THEOPHYL. But he magnifies God who worthily follows Christ, and now that he is called Christian, lessens not the glory of Christ by acting unworthily, but does great and heavenly things; and then the Spirit (that is, the anointing of the Spirit) shall rejoice, (i.e. make him to prosper,) and shall not be withdrawn, so to say, and put to death. 

BASIL; But if at any time light shall have crept into his heart, and loving God and despising bodily things he shall have gained the perfect standing of the just, without any difficulty shall he obtain joy in the Lord. 

ORIGEN; But the soul first magnifies the Lord, that it may afterwards rejoice in God; for unless we have first believed, we can not rejoice.

 48. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

GREEK EX. She gives the reason why it becomes her to magnify God and to rejoice in Him, saying, For he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden; as if she said, "He Himself foresaw, therefore I did not look for Him." I was content with things lowly, but now am I chosen to counsels unspeakable, and raised up from the earth to the stars. 

AUG. O true lowliness, which has borne God to men, has given life to mortals, made new heavens and a pure earth, opened the gates of Paradise, and set free the souls of men. The lowliness of Mary was made the heavenly ladder, by which God descended upon earth. For whet does regarded mean but "approved;" For many seem in my sight to be lowly, but their lowliness is not regarded by the Lord. For if they were truly lowly, their spirit would rejoice not in the world, but in God. 

ORIGEN; But why was she lowly and cast down, who carried in her womb the Son of God? Consider that lowliness which in the Scriptures is particularly praised as one of the virtues, so called by the philosophers "modestia." And we also may paraphrase it, that state of mind in which a man instead of being puffed up, casts himself down. 

THEOPHYL, But she, whose humility is regarded, is rightly called blessed by all; as it follows, For, behold, from henceforth all shall call me blessed. ATHAN. For if as the Prophet says, Blessed are they who have seed in Sion, and kinsfolk in Jerusalem, how great should be the celebration of the divine and ever holy Virgin Mary, who was made according to the flesh, the Mother of the Word? 

GREEK EX. She does not call herself blessed from vain glory, for what room is there for pride in her who named herself the handmaid of the Lord? But, touched by the Holy Spirit, she foretold those things which were to come. 

THEOPHYL, For it was fitting, that as by the pride of our first parent death came into the world, so by the lowliness of Mary should be opened the entrance into life. 

THEOPHYL. And therefore she says, all generations, not only Elisabeth, but also every nation that believed.

49. For he that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name.

THEOPHYL. The Virgin shows that not for her own virtue is she to be pronounced blessed, but she assigns the cause saying, For he that is mighty has magnified me. 

AUG. What great things has He done to you; I believe that a creature you gave birth to the Creator, servant you brought forth the Lord, that through you God redeemed the world, through you He restored it to life. 

TITUS BOS. But where are the great things, if they be not that I still a virgin conceive (by the will of God) overcoming nature. I have been accounted worthy, without being joined to a husband, to be made a mother, not a mother of any one, but of the only-begotten Savior.

THEOPHYL; But this has reference to the beginning of the hymn, where it is said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. For that soul can alone magnify the Lord with due praise, for whom he deigns to do mighty things. 

TITUS BOS; But she says, that is mighty, that if men should disbelieve the work of her conception, namely, that while yet a virgin, she conceived, she might throw back the miracles upon the power of the Worker. Nor because the only-begotten Son has come to a woman is He thereby defiled, for holy is his name.

 BASIL. But holy is the name of God called, not because in its letters it contains any significant power, but because in whatever way we look at God we distinguish his purity and holiness. 

THEOPHYL; For in the height of His marvelous power He is far beyond every creature, and is widely removed from all the works of His hands. This is better understood in the Greek tongue, in which the very word which means holy, signifies as it were to be "apart from the earth."

50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

THEOPHYL; Turning from God's special gifts to His general dealings, she describes the condition of the whole hole human race, And his mercy is from generation to generation on them that fear him. As if she said, Not only for me has He that is mighty done great things, but in every nation he that fears God is accepted by Him. 

ORIGEN; For the mercy of God is not upon one generation, but extends to eternity from generation to generation. 

GREEK EX. According to the mercy which He has upon generations of generations, I conceive, and He Himself is united to a living body, out of mercy alone undertaking our salvation. Nor is His mercy shown indiscriminately, but upon those who are constrained by the fear of Him in every nation; as it is said, upon those who fear him, that is, upon those who being brought by repentance are turned to faith and renewal for the obstinate unbelievers have by their sin shut against themselves the gate of mercy. 

THEOPHYL. Or by this she means that they who fear shall obtain mercy, both in that generation, (that is, the present world,) and the generation which is to come, (i.e. the life everlasting.) For now they receive a hundred-fold, but hereafter far more.

51. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

THEOPHYL; In describing the state of mankind, she shows what the proud deserve, and what the humble; saying, He has shown strength with his arm, &c. i.e. with the very Son of God. For as your arm is that whereby you work, so the arm of God is said to be His word by whom He made the world 

ORIGEN; But to those that fear Him, He has done mighty things with His arm; though you come weak to God if you have feared Him you shall obtain the promised strength. 

THEOPHYL. For in His arm, that is, His incarnate Son, He has shown strength, seeing that nature was vanquished, a virgin bringing forth, and God becoming man. 

GREEK EX. Or she says, Has shown, for will show strength; not as long ago by the hand of Moses against the Egyptians, nor as by the Angel, (when he slew many thousand of the rebel Assyrians,) nor by any other instrument save His own power, He openly triumphed, overcoming spiritual enemies. Hence it follows, he has scattered, &c. that is to say, every heart that was puffed up and not obedient to His coming He has laid bare, and exposed the wickedness of their proud thoughts. 

CYRIL OF JERUS. But these words may be more appropriately taken to refer to the hostile ranks of the evil spirits. For they were raging on the earth, when our Lord's coming put them to flight, and restored those whom they had bound, to His obedience. 

THEOPHYL. This might also be understood of the Jews whom He scattered into all lands as they are now scattered.

52. He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

THEOPHYL; The words, He has showed strength with his arm, and those which went before, And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation, must be joined to this verse by a comma only. For truly through all generations of the world, by a merciful and just administration of Divine power, the proud do not cease to fall, and the humble to be exalted. As it is said, He has put down the mighty from their seat, he has exalted the humble and meek. 

CYRIL; The mighty in knowledge were the evil spirits, the Devil, the wise ones of the Gentiles, the Scribes and Pharisees; yet these He has put down, and raised up those who humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God; giving them the power of treading upon serpents and scorpions and every power of the enemy. The Jews were also at one time puffed up with power, but unbelief slew them, and the mean and lowly of the Gentiles have through faith climbed up to the highest summit. 

GREEK EX. For our understanding is acknowledge d to be the judgment-seat of God, but after the transgression, the powers of evil took their seat in the heart of the first man as on their own throne. For this reason then the Lord came and cast out the evil spirits from the seat of our will, and raised up those who were vanquished by devils, purging their consciences, and making their hearts his own dwelling place.

 53. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent empty away.

GLOSS. Because human prosperity seems to consist chiefly in the honors of the mighty and the abundance of their riches, after speaking of the casting down of the mighty, and the exalting of the humble, he goes on to tell of the impoverishing of the rich and the filling of the poor, He has filled the hungry, &c.

BASIL; These words regulate our conduct even with respect to sensible things, teaching the uncertainty of all worldly possessions, which are as short lived as the wave which is dashed about to and fro by the violence of the wind. But spiritually all mankind suffered hunger except the Jews; for they possessed the treasures of legal tradition and the teachings of the holy prophets. But because they did not rest humbly on the Incarnate Word they were sent away empty, carrying nothing with them neither faith nor knowledge, and were bereft of the hope of good things, being shut out both of the earthly Jerusalem and the life to come. But those of the Gentiles, who were roughs low by hunger and thirst, because they clung to the Lord, were filled with spiritual goods. 

GLOSS. They also who desire eternal life with their whole soul, as it were hungering after it, shall be filled when Christ shall appear in glory; but they who rejoice in earthly things, shall at the end be sent away emptied of all happiness.

54. He has received his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55. As he spoke to our fathers, Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

GLOSS. After a general mention of the Divine mercy and holiness, the Virgin changes the subject to the strange and marvelous dispensation of the new incarnation, saying, He has holpen his servant Israel, &c. as a physician relieves the sick, becoming visible among men, that He might make Israel (i.e. him who sees God) His servant. 

THEOPHYL; That is, obedient and humble; for he who disdains to be made humble, cannot be saved. 

BASIL; For by Israel she means not Israel after the flesh, whom their own title made noble, but the spiritual Israel, which retained the name of faith, straining their eyes to see God by faith.

THEOPHYL. It might also be applied to Israel after the flesh, seeing that out of that body multitudes believed. But this he did remembering His mercy, for He has fulfilled what he promised to Abraham, saying, For in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This promise then the mother of God called to mind, saying, As he spoke to out father Abraham; for it was said to Abraham, I will place my covenant, that I shall be your God, and the God of your seed after you. 

THEOPHYL; But by seed he means not so much those who are begotten in the flesh, as those who have followed the steps of Abraham's faith, to whom the Savior's coming was promised for evermore. 

GLOSS. For this promise of heritage shall not be narrowed by any limits, but to the very end of time there shall never lack believers, the glory of whose happiness shall be everlasting.