Sunday, June 26, 2011

FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI


FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI

Why is this day called Corpus Christi?

Because on this Thursday the Catholic Church celebrates the institution of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Latin term Corpus Christi signifies in English, Body of Christ.

Who instituted this festival?

Pope Urban IV, who, in the decree concerning it, gives the following explanation of the institution and grandeur of this festival: "Although we daily, in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass; renew the memory of this holy Sacrament, we believe that we must, besides, solemnly commemorate it every year, to put the unbelievers to shame; and because vie have been informed that God has revealed to some pious persons that this festival should be celebrated in the whole Church, we direct that on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost the faithful shall assemble in church, join with the priests in singing the word of God," &c. Hence this festival was instituted on account of the greatness of the divine mystery; the unbelief of those who denied the truth of this mystery; and the revelation made to some pious persons. This revelation was made to a nun at Liege, named Juliana, and to her devout friends Eve and Isabella. Juliana, when praying, had frequently a vision in which she saw the bright moon, with one part of it somewhat dark; at her request she received instructions from God that one of the grandest festivals was yet to be instituted the festival of the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. In 1246, she related this vision to Robert, Bishop of Liege, who after having investigated the matter with the aid . of several men of learning and devotion, among whom was Jacob Pantaleon, Archdeacon of Liege, afterwards Pope Urban IV. made arrangements to introduce this festival m his diocese, but death prevented his intention being put into effect. After the bishop's death the Cardinal Legate Hugh undertook to carry out his directions, and celebrated the festival for the first time in the year 1247, in the Church of St. Martin at Liege. Several bishops followed this example, and the festival was observed in many dioceses, before Pope Urban IV. in 1264 finally ordered its celebration by the whole Church. This order was confirmed by ClementV, at the Council of Vienna in 1311, and the Thursday after the octave of Pentecost appointed for its celebration. In 13 17, Pope John XXII. instituted the solemn procession.

Why are there such grand processions on this day?

For a public profession of our holy faith that Christ is really, truly and substantially present in this Blessed Sacrament; for a public reparation of all the injuries, irreverence, and offences, which have been and are committed by impious men against Christ in this Blessed Sacrament; for the solemn veneration and adoration due to the Son of God in this Sacrament; in thanksgiving for its institution; and for all the graces and advantages received therefrom; and finally, to draw down the divine blessing upon the people and the country.

Had this procession a prototype in the Old Law?

The procession in which was carried the Ark of the Covenant containing the manna, was a figure of this procession.

The Church sings at the Introit the words of David:

INTROIT He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia: and filled them with honey out of the rock. Allel. allel. allel. Rejoice to God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. (Ps. LXXX.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who under a wonderful sacrament hast left us a memorial of Thy Passion; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy body and blood, that we may ever feel within us the fruit of thy redemtion. Who livest etc.

EPISTLE (I Cor. XI. 23-29.) Brethren, I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat; this is my body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This Chalice is the New Testament in my blood: this do' ye; as often as you shall drink., for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until he come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink of the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

GOSPEL (John VI. 56?59.) At that time, Jesus laid to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed arid my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live forever.



[The explanation of the epistle and gospel is contained in the following instruction.]

The Jews, liberated by the powerful hand of God from Egyptian captivity, went on dry ground through the midst of the Red Sea, whose waters became the grave of their pursuer, King Pharao, and, his whole army. Having arrived in the desert called Sin they began to murmur against Moses and Aaron, their leaders; on account of the want of bread, and demanded to be led back to Egypt where there was plenty. The Lord God took pity on His people. In the evening He sent into their, camp great flocks of quails, which the Jews caught and ate, and on the morning of the next day the ground was covered with white dew, and in the desert something fine, as if pounded in a mortar, looking like frost on the earth, which as soon as the Jews beheld, they exclaimed in surprise: "Man hu?" "What is that?" But Moses said to them: "This is bread which the Lord has given you." And they at once began to collect the food which was white, small as Coriander seed, and tasted like wheat?bread and honey, and was henceforth called man or manna. God gave them this manna every morning, for forty years, Sabbaths excepted, and the Jews lived upon it in the desert, until they came to the Promised Land. This manna is a figure of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar which contains all sweetness, and nourishes the soul of him who receives it with proper preparation, so that whoever eats it worthily, dies not, though his body sleeps in the grave, for Christ will raise him to eternal life.

INSTRUCTION ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is that Sacrament in which under the appearance of bread and wine the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are really, truly and substantially present.

When and to what manner did Christ promise this Sacrament?

Instruction on the most Holy SacramentAbout one year before its institution He promised it in the synagogue at Capharnaum, according to St. John the Evangelist: (VI, 24-65.) When Jesus, near the Tiberian Sea, had fed five thousand men in a miraculous manner with a few small loaves, these men would not leave Him, because they marvelled at the miracle, were anxious for this bread, and desired to make Him their king. But Jesus fled to a high mountain, and in the night went with His disciples to Capharnaum which was a town on the opposite side of the sea; but a multitude of Jews followed Him, and He made use of the occasion to speak of the mysterious, bread which He would one day give them and all men. He first exhorted them not to go so eagerly after the perishable. bread of the body, but to seek the bread of the soul which lasts forever, and which the Heavenly Father would give them, through Him, in abundance. This imperishable bread is the divine word, His holy doctrine, especially the doctrine that He had come from heaven to guide us to eternal life. (Vers. 25-38.) The Jews murmured because He said that He had come from heaven, but the Saviour quieted them by showing that no one could believe without a special grace from His Heavenly Father (V. 43, 44.) that He was the Messiah, and had come from heaven. After this introduction setting forth that the duty of faith in Him and in His divine doctrine was a spiritual nourishment, Christ very clearly unfolded the mystery of another bread for the soul which was to be given only at some future time, and this the Saviour did not ascribe to the Heavenly Father, as He did the bread of the divine word, but to Himself by plainly telling what this bread was: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. (V. 51, 52.)

But the Jews would not believe these words, so clearly expressed, for they thought their fulfillment impossible, and said: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (V. 53.) But Jesus recalled not His words, answered not the Jews' objections, but confirmed that which He had said, declaring with marked emphasis: Amen, amen, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you., (V. 54.) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed; he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father bath sent me; and I live ,by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread; shall live forever: (V. 55-59.) Jesus, therefore, said distinctly and plainly, that at a future time He would give His own Body and Blood as the true nourishment of the soul; besides, the Jews and the disciples alike received these words in their true, literal sense, and knew that Jesus did not here mention His Body and Blood in figurative sense, but meant to give them His own real Flesh and Blood for food; and it was because they believed it impossible for Jesus to do this, and because they supposed He would give them His dead flesh in a coarse, sensual manner, that the Jews murmured, and even several of His disciples said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But Jesus persisted in His words: My flesh is meat indeed, &c., and calls the attention of His disciples to another miracle: to His future ascension, which would be still more incredible, but would come to pass; and by the words: It is the spirit which quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing, the words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life, (V. 64) He showed them that this mystery could be believed only by the light and grace of the Holy Spirit, and the partaking of His Bodes and Blood would not be in a coarse, sensual manner, but in a mysterious way. Notwithstanding this, many of His disciples still found the saying hard, and left Him, and went no longer with Him. (V. 67.) They found the saying hard, because, as our Saviour expressly said, they were lacking in faith. He let them go, and said to His apostles: Will you also go away? thereby showing that those who left Him, understood Him clearly enough, and that His words did contain something hard for the mind to believe. The apostles did not leave Him, they were too well assured of His divinity, and that to Him all was possible, as St. Peter clearly expresses: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that thou art Christ, the Son of God.

From the account given by St. John, it is plainly seen that Christ really promised to give us for our food His most precious Body and Blood, really and substantially, in a Wonderful, mysterious manner, and that He did not speak figuratively of faith in Him, as those assert who contemn this most holy Sacrament. If Jesus had so meant it, He would have explained it thus to the Jews and to His disciples who took His words literally, and therefore could not comprehend, how Jesus could give His Flesh and Blood to them for their food. But Jesus persisted in His words, that His Flesh was truly food, and His Blood really drink. He even made it the strictest duty for man to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood; (V. 54) He shows the benefits arising from this nourishment of the soul, (V. 55) and the reason why this food is so necessary and useful. (V. 56.) When His disciples left Him, because it was a hard saying, He allowed them to go, for they would not believe His words, and could not believe them on account of their carnal manner of thinking. This holy mystery must be believed, and cannot be comprehended. Jesus has then promised, as the Catholic Church has always maintained and taught, that His Body and Blood. would be present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Blessed Sacrament, a true nourishment for the soul, and that which He promised, He has really given.

When and in what manner did Christ institute the most holy Sacrament of the Altar?

At the Last Supper, on the day before His passion, after He had eaten with His apostles the paschal lamb, which was a prototype of this mystery. Three Evangelists, Matthew, (XXVI: 26?29.) Mark, (XIV. 22-25.) and Luke (XXII. 19-20.) relate in few, but plain words, that on this evening Jesus took into His hand bread and the chalice, blessed and gave both to His disciples, saying: This is my body, that will be given for you; this is my blood, which will be shed for you and for many. Here took place in a miraculous manner, by the all?powerful word of Christ, the mysterious transformation; here Jesus gave Himself to His apostles for food, and instituted that most holy meal of love which the Church says contains all sweetness. That which three Evangelists. plainly relate, St. Paul confirms in his first epistle to the Corinthians, (XI. 23-29. ,See this day's epistle) in which to his account of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament he adds: Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, (that is, in a state of sin) shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord . . . .eateth and drinketh judgment to himself. (V. 27-29.)

From these words and those of the three holy Evangelists already mentioned, it is clear that Jesus really fulfilled His promise, really instituted the most holy Sacrament, and gave His most sacred Body and Blood to the apostles for their food. None of the Evangelists, nor St. Paul, informs us that Christ said: this will become my body, or, this signifies my body. All agree that our Saviour said this is my body, this is my blood, and they therefore decidedly mean us to understand that Christ's body and blood are really, truly, and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine, as soon as the mysterious change has taken place. And this is confirmed by the words: that is given for you; which shall be shed for you and for many; because Christ gave neither bread nor wine, nor a figure of His Body and Blood, for our redemption, but His real Body, and His real Blood, and St. Paul could not assert that we could eat the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily, if under the appearance of bread and wine were present not the real Body and Blood of Christ, but only a figure of them, or if they were only bread and wine. This is also proved by the universal faith of the Catholic Church, which in accordance with Scripture and the oldest, uninterrupted Apostolic traditions1 has always believed and taught, that under the appearance of bread and wine the real Body and Blood of Christ are present, as the Ecumenical Council of Trent expressly declares: (Sess. XIII. C. I. Can. I. de sacros. Euchdr.) "All our ancestors who were of the Church of Christ, and have spoken of this most Blessed Sacrament, have in the plainest manner professed that our Redeemer instituted this wonderful Sacrament at the Last Supper, when, having blessed the bread and wine, He assured the apostles in the plainest and most exact words, that He was giving them His Body and Blood itself; and if any one denies that the holy Eucharist truly, really, and substantially contains the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of, our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore the whole Christ, and asserts that it is only a sign or figure without virtue, let him be anathema."

Did Christ institute this Sacrament for all time?

Yes; for when He had promised that the bread which He would give, was His flesh for the life of the world, (john. vi. ga.) and had said expressly that whosoever did not eat His Flesh and drink His Blood would not have life in Him, He, at the Last Supper, by the words: Do this for a commemoration of me, (Luke XXII. 19.) gave to the apostles and their successors, the priests, the power in His name to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood, also to receive It and administer It as a food of the soul, which power the apostles and their successors, the priests, have always exercised, (I Coy. X. 16.) and will exercise to the end of the world.

How long after the change does Christ remain present under the appearance of bread and wine?

As long as the appearances remain; this was always the faith of the Church; therefore in the primitive ages when the persecutions were raging, after the sacrifice the sacred body of our Lord was taken home by the Christians to save the mystery from the pagans; at home they preserved It, and received It from their own hands, as affirmed by the holy Fathers of the Church Justin, Cyprian, Basil, and others. But when persecution had ceased, and the Church was permitted to profess the faith openly, and without hinderance, the Blessed Sacrament was preserved in the churches, enclosed in precious vessels, (ciborium, monstrance, or ostensorium) made for the purpose. In later times it was also exposed, on solemn occasions, for public adoration.

Do we Catholics adore bread when we pay adoration to the Blessed Sacrament?
No; we do not adore bread, for no bread is there, but the most sacred Body and Blood of Christ, and wherever Christ is adoration is due Him by man and angels. St. Augustine says: "No one partakes of this Body until he has first adored, and we not only do not sin when we adore It, but would sin if we did not adore It." The Council of Trent excommunicates those who assert that it is not allowable to adore Christ, the only?begotten Son of God, in the Blessed Sacrament. How unjust are those unbelievers who sneer at this adoration, when it has never entered into the mind of any Catholic to adore the external appearances of this Sacrament, but the Saviour hidden under the appearances; and how grievously do those indifferent Catholics sin who show Christ so little veneration in this Sacrament, and seldom adore Him if at all!

Which are the external signs of this Sacrament?

The form and appearance, or that which appears to our senses, as the figure, the color, and the taste, but the substance of the bread and wine is by consecration changed into the real Body and Blood of Christ, and only the appearance of bread and wine remains, and is observable to the senses.

Where and by whom is this consecration effected?

This consecration is effected on the altar during the holy Sacrifice of the Mass (therefore the name Sacrament of the Altar), when the priest in the name and by the power of Christ pronounces over the bread and wine the words which Christ Himself pronounced when He instituted this holy Sacrament. St. Ambrose writes: "At the moment that the Sacrament is to be accomplished, the priest no longer uses his own words, but Christ's words therefore. Christ's words complete the Sacrament."

Is Christ present under each form?
Christ is really and truly present under both forms, in Divinity and Humanity, Body and Soul, Flesh and Blood. That Jesus is thus present is clear from the words of St. Paul: Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more. (Rom. VI. 9.) Because Christ dies no more, it naturally follows that He is wholly and entirely present under each' form. Hence the council of Trent says: "Whoever denies that in the venerable Sacrament, of the Eucharist the whole Christ is present in each of the forms and in each part of each form, where a separation has taken place, let him be anathema."

Then no matter how many receive this Sacrament, does each receive Christ?

Yes, for each of the apostles received Christ entirely, and if God by His omnipotence can cause each individual to rejoice at the same instant in the sun's light, and enjoy its entireness, and if He can make one and the same voice resound in the ears of all the listeners, is He not able to give the body of Christ, whole and entire, to as many as wish to receive It?

Is it necessary that this Sacrament should be received in both forms?

No, for as it has already been said, Christ is wholly present, Flesh and Blood, Humanity and Divinity, Body and Soul, in each of the forms. Christ promises eternal life to the recipient also of one form when He says,: I f any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world. (John. VI. 52.) The first Christians, in times of persecution, received this Sacrament only in the form of bread in their houses. Though in earlier times the faithful, like the priests, partook of the chalice, it was not strictly required, and the Church for important reasons has since ordered the reception of Communion under but one form, because there was danger that the blood of our Lord might be spilled, and thus dishonored; because as the Blessed Sacrament must always be ready for the sick, it was feared that the form of wine might be injured by long preservation; because many cannot endure the taste of wine; because in some countries there is scarcity of wine, and it can be obtained only at great cost and with much difficulty, and finally, in order to refute the error of those who denied that Christ is entirely present under each form.

Which area the effects of holy Communion?

The graces of this most holy Sacrament are, as the Roman Catechism says, innumerable; it is the fountain of all grace, for it ,contains the Author of all the Sacraments, Christ our Lord, all goodness and perfection. According to the doctrine of the?Church , there are six special effects of grace produced by, this Sacrament in those who worthily receive it. It unites the recipient with Christ, which Christ plainly shows when He says: He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him; (John VI. 57.) hence the name Communion, of which St. Leo writes: "The participation of the Body and Blood of Christ transforms ' us into that which we receive," and from this union with Christ, our Head, arises also a closer union with our brethren in Christ, into one body. (I Cor. X. 17.) It preserves and increases sanctifying grace, which is the spiritual life of the soul, for our Saviour says: He that eateth me, the, same also shall live by me. (John VI, 58.) It diminishes in us concupiscence and strengthens us against the temptations of the devil. St. Bernard says: "This holy Sacrament produces tow effects in us, it diminishes gratifiation in venial sins, it removes the full consent in grievous sins; if any of you do not feel so often now the harsh emotion of anger, of envy, or impurity, you owe it to the Body and Blood of the Lord:" and St. Chrystostom: "When we communicate worthily we return from the table like fiery lions, terrible to the devils." It causes us to perform good works with strength and courage; for be who abides in Christ, and Christ in him, bears much fruit. (John XV.) It effaces venial sin, and preserves from mortal sin, as St. Ambrose says: "This daily bread is used as a help against daily weakness: and as by the enjoyment of this holy Sacrament, we are made in a special manner the property, the lams of Christ, which He Himself nourishes with His own heart's blood, He does not permit us to be taken out of His hands, so long as we cooperate with His grace, by prayer, vigilance and contest. It brings us to a glorious resurrection and to eternal happiness; for he who communicates worthily, possesses Him who is the resurrection and the life, (John XI. 25.) who said: He that eatheth my flesh, and drinketh ? my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John VI, 55.) He has, therefore, in Christ a pledge, that he will rise in glory and live for ever. If the receiving of this Sacrament produces such great results, how frequently and with what sincere desire should we hasten ~ to enjoy this heavenly banquet, this fountain of all grace! The first Christians received it daily, and St. Augustine says: "Daily receive what daily benefits!" and St. Cyril: The baptized may know that they remove themselves far from eternal life, when they remain a long time from Communion." Ah, whence comes in our days, the indifference, the weakness, the impiety of so many Christians but from the neglect and unworthy reception of Communion! Christian soul, close not your ears to the voice of Jesus who invites you so tenderly to His banquet: Come to me all you who are heavily laden and I will refresh you. Go often, very often to Him; but when you go to Him, do not neglect to prepare for His worthy reception, and you will soon feel its effects in your soul.

In what does the worthy preparation for this holy Sacrament consist?

The worthy preparation of the soul consists in purifying ourselves by a sincere confession from all grievous sins, and in approaching the holy table with profound humility, sincere love, and with fervent desire. He who receives holy Communion in the state of mortal sin draws down upon himself, as the, apostle says, judgment and condemnation. The worthy preparation of the body consists in fasting from midnight before receiving Communion, and in coming properly dressed to the Lord's banquet.

The holy Sacrament of the Altar is preserved in the tabernacle, in front of which a light is burning day and night, to show that Christ, the light of the world, is here present, that we may bear in mind that every Christian congregation should contain in itself the light of faith, the flame of hope, the warmth of divine love, and the fire of true devotion, by a pious life manifesting and consuming itself, like a light, in. the service of God. As a Christian you must believe that under the appearance of bread Christ is really present in the tabernacle, and that He is your Redeemer, your Saviour, your Lord and King, the best Friend and Lover of your soul, whose pleasure it is to dwell among the children of men; then it is your duty often to visit Him in this most holy Sacrament, and offer Him your homage and adoration, "It is certain," says: St. Alphonsus Ligouri, that next to the enjoyment of this holy Sacrament in Communion, the adoration of Jesus in this Sacrament is the best and most pleasing of all devotional exercises, and of the greatest advantage to us." Hesitate not, therefore, to practise this devotion. From this day renounce at least a quarter of an hour's intercourse with others, and go to church to entertain yourself there with Christ. Know that the time which you spend in this way will be of the greatest consolation to, you in the hour of death and through all eternity. Visit Jesus not only in the church, but also accompany and adore Him when carried in processions, or to sick persons. You will thus show your Lord the homage due to Him, gather great merits for yourself, and have the sure hope that Christ will one day repay you a hundredfold.


1. Thus St. Ignatius, the Martyr, who was instructed by the apostles themselves, rebukes in these words those who even at that time would not believe in the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of the. Lord: "They do not believe that the real body of Jesus Christ our Redeemer who suffered for us and has risen from death is contained in the Sacrament of the Altar." (Ep. ad Smyr.) Thus St. Irenaeus who was a disciple of St. Polycarp, a pupil of St. John the Evangelist, writes: "Of the bread is made the body of Christ" (Lib. IV adv. haer.) In the same manner St. Cyril: "Since Christ our Lord said of this bread, This is my body, who dares doubt it? Since He said, This is my blood, who dares to say, it is not His blood?" (Lib. IV. regul. Cat.) and in another place: "Bread and wine which before the invocation of the most Holy Trinity were only bread and wine, become after this invocation the body and blood of Christ." (Cat. myrt. I.)

What can the unbelievers say to this testimony? Do they know the truth better than those apostles who themselves saw and heard Jesus at the Last Supper, and who taught their disciples that which they had seen and heard? All Christian antiquity proves the error of these heretics.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist



SAINT JOHN could not have had any greater panegyrist than Jesus Christ Himself, Who said: "There hath not risen, among them that are born of women [in the natural manner], a greater than John the Baptist" (Matthew 11:11). The Lord made him great, even from his mother's womb, by causing his birth to be foretold by an angel, by giving him his name, and by sanctifying him while yet in his mother's womb through the presence of Christ. To escape from the world and its allurements he withdrew to the desert, and there occupied himself only with God and with what concerned his vocation. His food was locusts and wild honey; his clothing a garment of camel's hair, fastened by a leathern girdle; his bed the hard ground. Thus he lived till his thirtieth year, in which, by the command of God, he was to proclaim the coming of the Messias, Whom he himself afterwards baptized and pointed out to men as the Lamb of God. With extraordinary zeal and earnestness he preached the necessity of true penance.

For having reproved Herod for living in adultery he was thrown into prison, and finally, at the instigation of Herodias, was beheaded.

We celebrate the day of his birth rather than that of his death, as is the case on most saints' days, because, while other saints arrive at sanctity only through long and difficult contests, John was already sanctified in his mother's womb.

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:
"The Lord hath called me by my name, from the womb of my mother, and hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

O God, Who, by the birth of John, made this day worthy to be honored by us, grant to Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and guide the minds of all the faithful in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord, etc.

Epistle: Isaias 49:1-3, 5-7

Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye peoples from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother He hath been mindful of my name. And He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow; in his quiver He hath hidden me. And He said to me: Thou art my servant Israel, for in thee will I glory. And now saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be His servant, that I may bring back Jacob unto Him, and Israel will not be gathered together, and I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength. And He said: It is a small thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold I have given thee to be the light of the gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation even to the farthest part of the earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, His holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of rulers: Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up and adore for the Lord's sake, because He is faithful, and for the holy One of Israel, Who hath chosen thee.

Explanation

This prophecy refers, it is true, to Christ, Whom God has made the head, teacher, ruler, and salvation of all nations. The greater part of it, however, may be applied to Saint John, as is evident from his life.

Gospel: Luke 1:57-68

Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had showed His great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her. And it came to pass that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called hIm by his father's name, Zachary. And his mother answering, said: Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing-table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbors; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill-country of Judea. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And Zachary, his father, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he prophesied, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people.

Explanation

The neighbors and kinsfolk of Elizabeth rejoiced with her at her happiness, and gave her joy. We too, in like manner, should be glad when anything good happens to our neighbor, and thank and praise God therefor.

Prayer

Saint John, blessed forerunner of Jesus Christ, mirror of true penance, burning and shining light, who by thy teaching and example didst show to men the way to Christ, I beseech thee, by thy penitential life, that thou wouldst obtain for me, from Him Whom thou didst point out as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, grace that, fearing God's wrath against the impenitent, I may at last do true penance for my sins, mortify my sinful flesh according to thy example, serve God in purity and sanctity, and finally, in the land of eternal happiness, follow forever the Lamb Who on the altar of the cross was slain for me. Amen.
--Goffine's Devout Instructions--

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Feast of the Holy Trinity (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

This festival is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, because as soon as the apostles were instructed and consoled by the Holy Ghost, they began to preach openly that which Christ had taught them.

Why do we celebrate this festival?


That we may openly profess our faith in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the first of Christian truths, the foundation of the Christian religion, and the most sublime of all mysteries; and that we may render thanks, to the Father for having created us, to the Son for having redeemed us, and to the Holy Ghost for having sanctified us.

In praise and honor of the most Holy Trinity, the Church sings at the Introit of this day's Mass:

INTROIT Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to him, because he hath shown his mercy to us: (Tob. XII.) O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is thy name in all the earth! (Ps. VIII. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Almighty, everlasting God, who hast granted to Thy servants, in the confession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of Thy, majesty, to adore the Unity: grant that, by steadfastness in the same faith, we may ever be defended from all adversities. Thro'.

EPISTLE (ROM XI. 33-36.) O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory forever. Amen.

EXPLANATION St. Paul's exclamations, in this epistle, are caused by the inscrutable judgment of God in rejecting the Jews and calling the Gentiles. The Church makes use of these words to express her admiration for the incomprehensible mystery of the most Holy Trinity, which surpasses our understanding, and yet is the worthy object of our faith, hope and love. Although neither angels nor men can fathom this mystery, it cannot be difficult for the sound human intellect to believe it, since it is indubitably and evidently revealed by God, arid we, in many natural and human things, accept for true and certain much that we cannot comprehend. Let us submit our intellect, there fore, and yield ourselves up to faith; as there was indeed a time when men were martyred, when even persons of all ages and conditions preferred to die rather than to abandon this faith, so let us rather wait until our faith is changed to contemplation, until we see the Triune God, face to face, as He is, and in the sight of that countenance become eternally happy. Thither should all our hopes, wishes,' and desires be directed, and we should cease all fruitless investigations, endeavoring by humble faith and active love, to prove worthy of the beatific vision; for if we do not love Him who is our all, our last end and aim, and lovingly desire Him, we will have to hope of one day possessing Him.

ASPIRATION O incomprehensible, Triune God! O Abyss of wisdom, power, and goodness! To Thee all glory and adoration! In Thee I lose myself; I cannot contain Thee, do Thou, contain me. I believe in Thee, though I cannot comprehend Thee; do Thou increase my faith; I hope in. Thee, for Thou art the source of all good; do Thou enliven my hope; I love Thee, because Thou art worthy, of all love; do Thou inflame ever more my love, that in Thy love I may live and die. Amen.

GOSPEL (Matt. XXVIII. 18-20.) At that time Jesus said to His disciples: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore; teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

EXPLANATION Christ being God had from all eternity the same power that His Father had; being man, He had this same power by the union of His divinity with His humanity, and on account of the infinite merits of His passion. In virtue of this power, He said to His apostles, before the ascension, that, as His Heavenly Father had sent Him, even so He sent them to all nations, without exception, to teach all that He had commanded, and to receive them, by means of baptism, into the Church; at the same time He promised to be with them to the end of the world, that is, that He would console them in suffering, strengthen them in persecution, preserve them from error, and always protect them and their successors, the bishops and priests, even unto the consummation of the world.


ASPIRATION Be with us, O Lord, for without Thee our pastors cannot produce fruit, nor their hearers profit anything from their words. Be with us always, for we always need Thy help. All power is given to Thee, Thou bast then the right to command, and we are bound to obey Thy commands which by Thy Church Thou bast made known to us. This we have promised in baptism, and now before Thee we renew those vows. Grant now that those promises which without Thee we could not have made, and without Thee cannot keep, may be fulfilled in our actions. Leave us not to ourselves, but be Thou with us, and make us obedient to Thee, that by cheerful submission to Thee true may receive happiness.

INSTRUCTION ON THE HOLY SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM


Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. XXVIII. 19.)

Is baptism a Sacrament?


Yes because in it the baptized person receives the grace of God by means of an external sign, instituted by Christ.

What is this external sign?


The immersion, or the pouring of water, accompanied by the words: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy ghost:"

What does the baptismal grace effect?


It removes original and actual sin; causing ,man to be spiritually born again, made a new creature, a child of God, and joint heir with Christ.

How many kinds of baptism are there?


There are three kinds: The baptism of desire, which consists in a heartfelt desire for the baptism of water, joined with a perfect love of God, or a perfect sorrow for sins committed, and with the purpose to obey all God's commands; the baptism of blood, which is received by those who suffer martyrdom for the true faith, without having received the baptism of water; the baptism of water, which is the Sacrament of Baptism.

What do the deferent ceremonies of this Sacrament signify?

They are the external signs of the effects which baptism produces inwardly upon the soul, and should impress us with deep reverence for this Sacrament.

Why is it customary to have a godfather or godmother?


That there may be a witness that the child has received baptism; that in case of the death of the parents, the sponsors may assume their place, and have the child instructed in the truths of religion. St. Augustine speaking of the duties of sponsors, very beautifully says: "They should use all care, often to admonish in true love their godchildren that they may strive to lead a pure life; they should warn them against all detraction, all improper songs, and keep them from pride, envy, anger, and revenge; they should watch over them that they may preserve the Catholic faith, attend the church services, listen to the word of God, and obey their parents and their pastors." Sponsors must therefore be true believers, and of unquestionable morality. No one, unless a Catholic can be chosen for a sponsor, because one who is not a Catholic would not instruct the child in the Catholic faith, or see that others do it; but would be more likely, as experience shows, to draw the child over to error.

What results from this sponsorship?


In baptism, as in confirmation, a spiritual affinity originates between, the sponsors, the one who baptizes or confirms, with the one baptized or confirmed, and with the parents, so that, by a decision of the Church a godfather or godmother cannot contract marriage with any of these parties, unless the impediment is removed by dispensation, that is, by a special permission received from a spiritual superior. But the sponsors have no spiritual relationship to each other.

Why has the Church instituted this spiritual relation?


From reverence for these holy Sacraments, and that by this spiritual bond the sponsors may be more closely connected with their godchildren, and be incited earnestly to discharge their obligation.

Why must the person to be baptized wait at the entrance of the church?


To indicate that until he has thrown off the yoke of sin, and submitted to Christ, and His authority, he is unworthy to enter, because baptism is the door of God's grace, to the kingdom of heaven, and the communion of saints.

Why does the person receive a saint's name?


That by this name he may be enrolled, through baptism, into the number of Christians whom St. Paul calls saints; that he may have a patron and intercessor, and that the saint, whose name he bears, may be his model and example, by which he may regulate his own life.

Why does the priest breathe in the face of the one to be baptized?


In imitation of Christ who breathed on His apostles when He gave them the Holy Ghost. (John XX. 22.) St. Chrysostom says that in baptism supernatural life is given to the soul as God imparted natural life to Adam by breathing on him.

Why does the priest impose his hand so many times upon the head of the person to be baptized?


To show that he is now the property of God and is under His protection.

What do the many exorcisms signify?


That the evil spirit who previous to baptism holds the person in bondage is now commanded in the name of God to depart, that a dwelling?place may be prepared for the Holy Ghost.

Why is the person so often signed with the sign of the cross?


To signify that through the power of Christ's merits and of His death on the cross, baptism washes away original sin; that the person is to be henceforth a follower of Christ the Crucified, and as such must fight valiantly under the banner of the cross, against the enemies of his salvation, and must follow Christ on the way of the cross even unto death.

What does the salt signify which is put into the person's mouth?


It is an emblem of Christian wisdom and of preservation from the corruption of sin.

Why are his ears and nose touched with spittle?


That as Christ put spittle on the eyes. of the man born blind, thus restoring his sight, so by baptism, the spiritual blindness of the soul is removed, and his mind receives light to behold heavenly wisdom. Also, as St. Ambrose says, the candidate is thus instructed to open his ears to priestly, admonitions, and become a sweet odor of Christ.

Why does the priest ask: "Dust thou renounce the devil; and all his works, and all his pomps?"


That the Christian may know that his vocation requires him to renounce and combat the devil, his works, suggtions and pomps. Thus St. Ambrose very beautifully addresses a person just baptized: "When the priest asked: `Dust thou renounce the devil and all his works,' what didst thou reply? `I renounce them.' `Dost thou renounce the world, its lusts and its pomps?' `I renounce them.' Think of these promises, and let them never depart from thy mind. Thou host given thy hand?writing to the priest,, who stands for Christ; when thou host given thy note to a man, a thou art bound to him. Now thy word is not on earth but preserved in heaven; say not thou knowest nothing of this promise; this exculpates thee no better than the excuse of a soldier who in time of battle should say he knew not that by becoming a soldier he would have to fight."

Why is the person anointed on the shoulder and breast with holy oil?


As SS. Ambrose and Chrysostom explain this is done to strengthen him to fight bravely for Christ; as the combatants of old anointed themselves with oil before they entered the arena, so is he anointed, on the breast, that he may gain courage and force, bravely to combat the world, the flesh, and the devil, and on the shoulder, that he may be strong to bear constantly and untiringly, the yoke of Christ's commands, and persue the toilsome course of life in unwavering. fidelity to God and His holy law.

Why are, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostles' Creed said at baptism?


That, when the child is a grown person an acknowledgment of faith may by this means be made m the face of the Church; when children are baptized, these prayers are said by the sponsors who are thus reminded to see that their godchildren are well instructed in these as in all other Christian truths.

Why does the priest expressly ask the person if he will be baptized?


Because as man, through Adam, of his own free will obeyed the devil, so now when he would be received among the number of Christ's children, he must, to obtain salvation, of his own free will obey the precepts of God.

Why is water poured three times upon the person's head?


This is done, as St. Gregory the Great writes, in token that man after this thrice-repeated ablution rises from the death of sin, as Christ, after His three days' burial, rose from the dead. (Rom. VI. 4.5.) In early times the candidate for baptism was immersed three times in the water. For many 'reasons this custom has been abolished.

Why is the person anointed on the top of the head with chrism?


This anointing is, so to speak, the crown of the young Christian. As in the Old Law the kings were anointed, (I Kings X. 1.) as Jesus is the Anointed One, and as the Apostle St. Peter calls the Christians a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy people, (I Peter II. 9.) so the baptized by means of this unction is embodied in Christ, the Anointed One, and participates in His priesthood and kingly dignity. What an exalted position is the Christian's! He is the anointed one of the Lord, and in a spiritual sense a priest, because he constantly brings himself to the Lord God as a pleasing sacrifice in prayer, mortification, &c. He is king when he rules over his inclinations, submits them to reason, and reason to the Lord. Besides this he is king by the claims which, through baptism, he possesses to the kingdom of heaven. Through the chrism he becomes the blessed temple of the Holy Ghost, the sacred vessel which in time, through communion, will contain the precious body and blood of Christ. How does he desecrate this temple when, by grievous sin, he tramples this exalted dignity under his feet and. stains the temple of the Holy Ghost, his soul!

What does the white robe signify?


The holy Fathers teach that this represents the glory to which by baptism we are born again; the purity and beauty with which the soul, having been washed from sin in the Sacrament of baptism, is adorned, and the innocence which the baptized should preserve through his whole life.

Why is a lighted candle placed in his hand?


It is an emblem of the Christian doctrine which preserves the baptized from the darkness of error, ignorance, and sin, illumines his understanding, and leads him safely in the way of virtue; it represents the flame of. love for God and our neighbor which the baptized should henceforth continually carry, like the five prudent virgins, (Matt. XXV. 13.) on the path to meet the Lord, that when his life is ended he may be admitted to the eternal wedding feast; it signifies also the light of good example which he should keep ever burning.

Who is the minister of this sacrament?


The ordinary minister is the priest of the Church; but in case of necessity any layman or woman, even the father or mother can baptize. Parents, however, should not baptize their own child unless no other Catholic can be procured. The reason why lay persons are permitted to baptize is that no one may be deprived of salvation.

What must be observed particularly in private baptism?


The person who baptizes must be careful to use only natural water, which must be poured on the child's head saying at the same time the words: I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; having at the same time the intention of baptizing as the Church does, in the manner required by Christ.

INSTRUCTION ON THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS


All the graces and dignities which we receive in baptism, God secures to us for the future, only on condition that we keep our baptismal vows. Every Christian in baptism makes a bond with God through the meditation of Christ who has sealed it with His blood. This bond consists, on man's part, in the promise to renounce forever the devil, all his works and all his pomps, that is, constantly to suppress the threefold lust of the eyes, the flesh and the pride of life, by which the devil leads us to sin, and to believe all that God has revealed, and all that His holy Church proposes to our belief, and diligently and properly to make use of all the means of salvation. On the part of God this bond consists in cleansing us from all sin, in bestowing the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in adopting us as His children, and. in the assurance to the inheritance of heaven. This bond will never be broken by God who is infinitely true and faithful, but it is often violated by weak and fickle man. In compliance with the desire of the Church we should often reflect upon it, and from time to time renew it in the sight of God. This should be done particularly before receiving the holy Sacrament of Confirmation, before first Communion, on the vigils of Easter and Pentecost, at the blessing of baptismal water, on the anniversaries of our baptism and confirmation, before making any solemn vow, before entering into matrimony and when in danger of death. This renewal of baptismal vows can be made in the following manner: Placing ourselves in the presence of God, we kneel down, fold our hands, and say with fervent devotion:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered for us.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
I renounce the devil; all his works and all his pomps.
Christ Jesus ! With Thee I am united, to Thee alone I cling, Thee only will I follow, for Thee I desire to live and die. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

DOCTRINE ON THE HOLY TRINITY


What is God?


GOD is the most perfect being, the highest, best Good, who exists, from all eternity, by whom heaven and earth are create, and from whom all things derive and hold life and existence, for of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things. (Rom. XI. 36.)

What is the Blessed Trinity?


The Blessed Trinity is this one God who is one in nature and threefold in person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Is each of these three persons God?


Yes, because each of them has the divine nature and substance.

Are they not three Gods?


No, because all three of these persons have one and the same divine nature and substance.

Is any one of these three persons older, mightier, or greater than the other?


By, no means, they are all three from eternity entirely equal to each .other in divine omnipotence greatness and majesty, and must, therefore, be equally adored and venerated.

Ought one to give himself up to the investigation of the most Blessed Trinity?


No; "For," says the saintly Bishop Martin, "the mystery of the Trinity cannot be comprehended by the human intellect, no one however eloquent can exhaust it; if entire books were written about it, so that the whole world were filled with them, yet the unspeakable wisdom of God would not be expressed. God who is indescribable, can in no way be described. When the human mind ceases to speak of Him, then it but begins to speak." Therefore the true Christian throws his intellect under the feet of faith, not seeking to understand that which the human mind can as little comprehend, as a tiny hole in the sand can contain the immeasurable sea. An humble and active faith will make us worthy some day in the other world, to see with ' the greatest bliss this mystery as it is, for in this consists eternal life, that by a pious life we may glorify and know the only true God, Christ Jesus His Son, and the Holy Ghost.


Goffine's Devout Instruction

Sunday, June 12, 2011

INSTRUCTION ON THE FESTIVAL OF PENTECOST (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

          
 
           June 12

What festival is this?                                
It is the day on which the Holy Ghost descended in the form of fiery tongues, upon the apostles and disciples, who with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were assembled in prayer in a house at Jerusalem. (Acts II.)
Why is this day called Pentecost?
The word "Pentecost" is taken from the Greek, and signifies fifty. As St. Jerome explains it, this was the last of the fifty days, commencing with Easter, which the early Christians celebrated as days of rejoicing at the resurrection of the Lord.
Why is this day observed so solemnly?
Because on this day the Holy Ghost, having descended upon the apostles, the law of grace, of purification from sin, and the sanctification of mankind, was for the first time announced to the world; because on this day the apostles, being filled with the Holy Ghost, commenced the work of purifying and sanctifying mankind, by baptizing three thousand persons who were converted by the sermon of St. Peter; and because on this day the Church of Jesus became visible as a community to the world, and publicly professed her faith in her crucified Saviour.
Why did the Holy Ghost descend on the Jewish Pentecost?
Because on their Pentecost the Jews celebrated the anniversary of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, and God would show by sending the Holy Ghost on this days that the Old Law had ceased and the New Law commenced. God also chose this time, that the Jews who on this day came together from all countries to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost, might be witnesses of the miracle, and hear the New Law announced by the apostles.
Why is the baptismal font blessed an the vigil of Pentecost, as on Holy Saturday?
Because the Holy Ghost is the Author of all sanctity and the Fountain of baptismal grace, and because in the Acts (i. 5.) the descent of the Holy Ghost itself is called a baptism.
In the Introit of the Mass the Church rejoices at the descent of the Holy Ghost and sings:
INTROIT The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, allel.; and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice, Allel., allel., allel. (Wisd. I.7.) Let God arise, and his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him, fly before his face. (Ps. 67.) Glory etc.
COLLECT God, who on this day didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit: grant us in the same spirit to relish what is right, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Thro'. — in the unity of the same, etc.
LESSON (Acts II. I-II.) When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place; and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them:. and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were. dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue: and they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? And how have we heard every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.
Why did the Holy Ghost come upon the apostles in the form of fiery tongues?
The appearance of fiery tongues indicated the gift of language imparted to the apostles by the Holy Ghost, and inflamed their hearts and the hearts of the faithful with the love of God and their neighbor.
Why did a mighty wind accompany the descent?
To direct the attention of the people to the descent of the Holy Ghost, and to assemble them to hear the sermon of the Apostle Peter.
What special effects did the Holy Ghost produce in the apostles?
He freed them from all doubt and fear; gave them His light for the perfect knowledge of truth; inflamed their hearts with the most ardent love, and incited in them the fiery zeal for the propagation of the kingdom of God, strengthened them to bear all sufferings and persecutions, (Acts V. 41.) and gave them the gift of speaking in various languages, and of discerning spirits.
GOSPEL (John XIV. 23-31,) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words: and the word which you have heard is not mine, but the Father's, who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you: but the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have ;told you before it came to pass, that when it shall come to pass you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath givers me commandment, so do I.
Why is the Holy Ghost expressly called "Holy," since this attribute is due to each of the divine persons?
Because He is the Author of inward sanctity and of all supernatural gifts and graces, and therefore to Him is especially ascribed the work of man's sanctification.
What does the Holy Ghost effect in man?
He enlightens him that he may know the truths of religion and salvation, and the beauty of virtue; He moves him to desire, to aim after and to love these things; He renews his heart by cleansing it from sin, and imparts to him the supernatural gifts and graces by which he can become sanctified, and He brings forth in him wonderful fruits of holiness.
What are the gifts of the Holy Ghost?
According to the Prophet Isaias they are seven: 1.The gift of wisdom, which enables us to know God, to esteem spiritual more than temporal advantages, and to delight only in divine things. 2. The gift of understanding, by which we know and understand that which our faith proposes to our belief; children and adults should pray fervently for this gift, especially before sermons and instructions in the catechism. 3.The gift of counsel, which gives us the knowledge necessary to direct ourselves and others when in doubt, a gift particularly necessary for superiors, for those about choosing their state of life, and for married people who live unhappily, and do not know how to help themselves. 4. The gift of fortitude, which strengthens us to endure and courageously overcome all adversities and persecutions for virtue's sake. 5. The gift of knowledge, by which we know ourselves, our duties, and how to discharge them in a manner pleasing to God. 6. The gift of piety, which induces us to have God in view in all our actions, and infuses love in our hearts for His service. 7. The gift of the fear of the Lord, by which we not only fear the just punishment, but even His displeasure at every sin, more than all other things in the world.
Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost?
As St. Paul (Gal. V.. 22-23.) enumerates them, they are twelve: 1. Charity. 2. Joy. 3. Peace. 4. Patience. 5. Benignity. 6. Goodness. 7. Longanimity. 8. Mildness. 9. Faith. 10. Modesty. 11. Continency. 12. Chastity. To obtain these fruits as well as the gifts of the Holy Ghost, we should daily say the prayer: "Come, O Holy Ghost, etc."
Why does Christ say: The Father is greater than I?
Christ as God is in all things equal to His Father, but as Christ was at the same time Man, the Father was certainly greater than the Man-Christ.
Why does Christ say: I will not now speak many things with you?
Christ spoke these words a short time before His passion, and by them He wished to say that the time was near at hand when Satan, by his instruments, the wicked Jews, would put Him to death, not because Satan had this power over Him, but because He Himself wished to die in obedience to the will of His Father.

Goffine's Devout Instruction

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Feast of the Ascension of the Lord (From Goffine's Devout Instructions)


At the Introit the Church sings the words which were spoken by the angels to the apostles and disciples, after the Ascension of our Lord: 
INTROIT Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? allel.: He shall so come as you have seen him going up into heaven. Allel., allel., allel. (Acts I. 11.), Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. (Ps. XLVI. 2.) Glory be to the Father, etc.
COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who believe Thy only begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into the heavens, may ourselves also in, mind dwell amid heavenly things. Through the same etc.
LESSON (Acts I. 1-11.) The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach , until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles ,whom he had chosen, he was taken up: to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the prom­ise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth: for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They, therefore, who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? But he said to diem: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his own power; but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold, two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand yon looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.
EXPLANATION This gospel of St. Luke addressed to Theophilus, a Christian of note in Antioch, contains an account of the life, sufferings, and death of Jesus up to the time of His ascension into heaven. The Evangelist con­tinues his account in the Acts of the apostles, in which he describes in simple words that which Jesus did during the forty days following His Resurrection, and the manner in which He ascended into heaven in the presence of His apostles. Rejoice that Christ today has entered into the glory gained by His sufferings and death, and pray: I rejoice, O King of heaven and earth, in the glory Thou bast this day attained in heaven. Sing to God, ye kingdoms of the earth: sing ye to the Lord: sing ye to God, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east. Give ye glory to God for Israel, his magnificence and his power is in the clouds. God is wonderful in his saints, the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people, blessed be God. (Ps.LXVII. 33 36.)
GOSPEL (Mark. XVI. 14-20.) At that time, Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. (And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned: And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick; and they shall recover.) And the Lord Jesus after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere, the Lord work-ing withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
The part of this gospel which is within the marks of parenthesis, is the gospel for the feast of St: Francis Xavier.

Why did Christ say to His apostles: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creatures?
To show that no one is to assume the office of preaching, but must look for his mission from the lawful pastors of the Church. And when Christ sends His apostles into the whole worlds to all nations without exception, He shows His willingness to save all men. If the designs of God are not fulfilled, the blame is not to be attributed to God, but to man, who either does not accept the doctrine of the gospel, or accepting, does not live in accordance with it, or else renders himself by his obduracy in vice, unworthy of the gospel.

Is faith without good works sufficient for salvation?

No, faith that is not active in love, not fruitful in good works, and therefore not meritorious, (Gal. V. 6.) is not sufficient for salvation. "Such faith," says St. Anselm, "is not the faith of a Christian, but the faith of the devil." Only he who truly believes in Christ and His doctrine, and lives in accordance with it, will be saved.

Is ours then the true faith since all the faithful do not work miracles; as Christ has predicted?
St. Gregory very beautifully replies to this question: "Because the Redeemer said that true faith would be ac­companied by miracles, you must not think that you have not the faith, because these signs do not follow; these miracles had to be wrought in the beginning of the Church, because faith in her had to be increased by these visible signs of divine power." And even now when such signs are necessary for the propagation of the faith, and victory over unbelief, God gives His faithful power to work them.
Are miracles wrought now in the Catholic Church?
Yes, for there have been at all times saints in the Church, who, as seen from their lives, have wrought miracles, on account of their faith, which even the heretics cannot deny; for instance St. Francis Xavier, who in the sight of the heathens, raised several dead persons to life. In a spiritual manner all pious Catholics still work such miracles; for, as St. Chrysostom says, "they expel devils when they banish sin, which is worse than the devil; they speak new tongues when they converse no longer on vain and sinful things, but on those which are spiritual and heavenly." "They take up serpents," says St. Gregory, "when by zealous exhortations they lift others from the shame of vice, without being themselves poisoned; they drink deadly things without being hurt by them, when they hear improper conversation without being corrupted or led to evil; they lay their hands upon the sick and heal them, when they teach the ignorant, strengthen by their good example those who are wavering in virtue, keep the sinner from evil, and similar things." Strive to do this upon all occasions, O Christian, for God willingly gives you His grace and you will thus be of more use to yourself and others, and honor God more than by working the greatest miracles.

Where and how did Christ ascend into heaven?
From Mount Olivet where His sufferings began, by which we learn, that where our crosses and afflictions begin which we endure with patience and resignation, there begins our reward. Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, because He is God, and now in His glorified humanity He sits at the right hand of His Father, as our continual Mediator.
In whose presence did Christ ascend into heaven?
In the presence of His apostles, and many of His dis­ciples, whom He had previously blessed, (Luke XXIV. 51.) and who, as St. Leo says, derived consoling joy from His ascension. Rejoice, also, O Christian foul, for Christ has today opened heaven for you, and you may enter it, if you believe in Christ, and live in accordance with that faith. St. Augustine says: "Let us ascend in spirit with Christ, that when His day comes, we may follow with our body.
Yet you must know, beloved brethren, that not pride, nor avarice, nor impurity, nor any other vice ascends with Christ; for with the teacher of humility pride ascends not, nor with the author of goodness, malice, nor with the Son of the Virgin, impurity. Let us then ascend with Him by trampling upon our vices and evil inclinations, thus build­ing a ladder by which we can ascend; for we make a ladder of our sins to heaven when we tread them down in combating them:"
ASPIRATION O King of glory! O powerful Lord! who hast this day ascended victoriously, above all heaven, leave us not as poor orphans; but send us, from the Father, the Spirit of truth whom Thou hast promised. Alleluia.
Why is the paschal candle extinguished after the gospel on this day?
To signify that Christ, of whom the candle is a figure, has gone from His disciples.

– Goffine's Devout Instructions

Fundraiser for Cataract Surgery

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...