Saturday, March 28, 2015

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

PALM SUNDAY


"The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem" -- by James Tissot
"The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem"
-- by James Tissot
March 29
Why is this day called Palm Sunday?
In memory of our Saviour's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when the multitude strewed palm branches before Him, for which reason the Church, on this day, blesses palms, and carries them in procession.

Why are palms blessed?

That those who carry them with devotion, or keep them in their houses, may receive protection of soul and body, as prayed for in the blessing; that those who carry the palms may, by means of the prayers of the Church, adorn their souls with good works and thus, in spirit, meet the Saviour; that, through Christ whose members we are, we may conquer the kingdom of death and darkness, and be made worthy to share in His glorious resurrection and triumphant entrance into heaven. St. Augustine writes of the palms: “They are the emblem of praise, and sign of victory, because the Lord by death conquered death, and with the sign of victory, the cross, overcame the devil, the prince of death." Therefore, preceded by the cross, we go in procession around the church singing hymns of praise; when we come to the church door, we find it locked; the priest knocks at it with the cross. Heaven was closed to us by the sin of Adam, and it is opened to us by reconciliation through Jesus on the cross.

To move us to compassion for the suffering Redeemer, the Church, in the person of Christ, cries in lamenting tones at the Introit:

INTROIT O Lord, remove not Thy help to a distance from me, look towards my defence: save me from the lion's mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. O God, my God! look on me, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O Lord! Remove not, &c. (Ps. XXI.)

COLLECT Almighty and everlasting God! who didst vouchsafe to send Thy Son, our Saviour, to take upon Him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of His patience, and be made partakers of His Resurrection. Through the same &c.

EPISTLE (Philip. II. 5-11.) Brethren, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery himself to be equal to God; but debased himself, taking the form of a servant, being made to the likeness of men, and in shape found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that the Lord, Jesus Christ, is in the glory of God, the Father.

INSTRUCTION In this epistle, the apostle urges us in a special manner to humility by which we are made like to Christ, our Lord, who putting off the majesty of His divinity, became man, and humbled Himself in obedience to the ignominious death of the cross. "Would that all might hear," exclaims St. Gregory, "that God resists the proud, and gives His grace to the humble! Would that all might hear: Thou dust and ashes, why dost thou exalt thyself? Would that all might hear the words of the Lord: Learn of me, because I am humble of heart. The only-begotten Son of God assumed the form of our weakness, suffered mockery, insult and torments for the purpose that the humble God might teach man not to be proud."

ASPIRATION Ah, that my sentiments were as Throe, O my Lord, Jesus! who so humbled Thyself and writ obedient to the most ignominious death of the cross. Grant me, I beseech Thee, O my Redeemer, the grace. diligently to follow Thee in humility.

Instead of the gospel of the Passion, that is, the history of the sufferings of our Lord according to St. Matthew, (Chaps. XXVI. XXVII.) is read in this day's Mass, and neither incense, nor lights are used, nor is the Dominus vobiscum said, thus signifying that Jesus, the Light of the world, was taken away by death, and that the faith and devotion of the apostles was shaken, and became almost extinct. When reading the History of the Passion at the words: and bowing his head, he gave up the ghost, the priest with all the congregation kneel and meditate for a short time on the great mystery of the death of Jesus, by which our redemption was effected.

At the blessing of the palms, the priest reads the following:

GOSPEL (Matt. XXI. 1-9.) At that time, when Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet; then he sent two disciples, saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately ye will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them to me; and if any man shall say any thing to you, say ye that the Lord bath need of them, and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done, that the word might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; and others cut down boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way; and the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem so solemnly and yet so humbly?

To show that He was the promised Messiah and King of the Jews, as foretold by the Prophet Zacharias, (IX 9.) and that He had come to conquer the world, the flesh and the devil, for which He used the weapons of meekness, humility, and poverty and therefore came seated not on a proud steed but like a poor person on the weak colt of an ass, entering Jerusalem in all humility, thus teaching us that meekness and indifference to earthly goods are our best weapons to gain victory over our enemies. Jesus entered Jerusalem so humbly to perfect the type of the Paschal lamb, for on this day the lambs which were to be sacrificed in the temple on the following Friday, were solemnly led into the city. Thus Jesus like a meek lamb, entered the city of Jerusalem to be sacrificed for us.

Why did the people meet Christ with palm branches?

This happened by the inspiration of God, to indicate that Christ, the conqueror of death, hell and the devil, would reconcile man with God, and open the heavenly Jerusalem to him, for the palm is the emblem of victory and peace. By this we learn also the inconsistency and mutability of the world; for the very people who on this day met Christ with palm branches exclaiming: "Hosanna to the Son of David," a few days later shouted: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" - Learn from this to despise the praise of the world, and be careful not to imitate the inconsistency of this people by crucifying Him again by sin (Heb. VI. 6.) after having received Him with joy in holy Communion.

How should we take part in the procession on this day?

With the pious intention of meeting Christ in spirit, with the devout people of Jerusalem, adoring Him, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna to Him who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna to the Highest!" and with the heart-felt prayer to Jesus for His grace, that with Him we may conquer the world, the flesh and the devil, and thus merit to be received into the heavenly Jerusalem.

PETITION O Jesus, Tree of Life! ever fresh and fruitful, grant that we may by love be like palms ever green, and by the practice of, good works blossom and bring forth fruit.


THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, CHAP. XXVI., XXVH.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified. Then were gathered together the chief priests and the ancients of the people into the palace of the high-priest, who was called Caiphas. And they consulted together, that, by subtilty, they might apprehend Jesus and put him to death. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest there should be a tumult among the people. And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman having an alabaster-box of precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it, had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. For she, in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she bath done, shall be told for a memory of her.

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, and said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed for him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him.

And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? But Jesus said: Go ye into the city to a certain man, and say to him: The master saith: my time is near at hand, I will keep the Pasch at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them, and they prepared the Pasch. Now when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples. And whilst they were eating, he said: Amen, I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me. And they being very much troubled, began everyone to say: Is it I, Lord? But he answering, said: He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of Man indeed froeth as it is written of him; but woe to that man, by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed: it were better for that man, if he had not been born. And Judas that betrayed him, answering, said: Is it I, Rabbi? He said to him: Thou hast said it. And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body. And taking the chalice he gave thanks: and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day, when I shall drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to Mount Olivet.

Then Jesus saith to them: All you shall be scandalized in me this night. For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. And Peter answering, said to him: Though all shall be scandalized in thee, I will never be scandalized. Jesus said to him: Amen, I say to thee, that in this night, before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. Peter saith to him: Though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner said all the disciples. Then Jesus came with them to a country place which is called Gethsemani, and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder, and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad.
Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here, and watch with me. And going a little further he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: O my Father! if it is possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep; and he saith to Peter: What! could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again he went the second time, and prayed, saying: O my Father! if this chalice cannot pass away except I drink it, thy will be done. And he cometh again, and findeth them asleep; for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them, he went away again, and he prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then he cometh to his disciples, and with to them: Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go; behold, he is at hand that will betray me.

As he yet spoke, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients of the people. And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he: hold him fast. And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, rabbi! And he kissed him. And Jesus said to him: Friend! whereto art thou come? Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus, and held him. And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword; and striking the servant of the high-priest, cut off his ear. Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place for all that take the sword shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of Angels? How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? In that same hour Jesus said to the multitude: You are come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to apprehend me. I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and you laid not hands on me. Now all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled away.

But they holding Jesus, led him to Caiphas, the high-priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off to the high-priest's palace. And going in, he sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests and whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death: and they found not, though many false witnesses had come in. And last of all, there came two false witnesses. And they said: This man said: I am able to destroy the temple of God, and in three days to rebuild it. And the high-priest rising up, said to him: Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high-priest said to him: I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man, sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high-priest rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed, what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy. What think you? But they answering, said: He is guilty of death.

Then they spit in his face, and buffetted him, and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ! who is he that struck thee? But Peter sat without in the palace, and there came to him a servant maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean. But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou sayest. And as he went out of the gate, another maid saw him, and she saith to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath: I do not know the man. And after a little while, they that stood by came and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them: for even thy speech doth discover thee. Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man.

And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which he had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. And going forth, he wept bitterly.

And when the morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people held a council against Jesus, to put him to death. And they brought him bound, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the ancients, saying: I have sinned, in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it.

And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed: and went and hanged himself with a halter. But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood. And having consulted together, they bought with them the potter's field, to be a burying-place for strangers. Wherefore that field was called Haceldama, that is the field of blood, even to this day.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter's field, as the Lord appointed to me.

And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost thou not hear how great testimonies they allege against thee?

And he answered him not to any word: so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas. They, therefore, being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ? For he knew that through envy they had delivered him up. And as he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent to him, saying. Have thou nothing to do with that just man. For I have suffered many things this day in a dream on account of him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask Barabbas, and make Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Which will you have of the two to be released unto you? But they said: Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They all say: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified. And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; having taken water, washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man: look you to it. And all the people answering, said: His blood be upon us, and upon our children. Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to them to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band. And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews!

And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head. And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him.

And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon; him they forced to take up his cross. And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is, the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink. And after they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots; that the word might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots. And they sat down, and watched him. And they put over his head his cause written: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Then were there crucified with him two. thieves; the one on the right hand, and the other on the left. And they that passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, thou who destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again, save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also, the chief priests with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: He saved others; himself he cannot save: if he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he will save him: for he said: I am the Son of God.

And the self-same thing the thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is: My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth for Elias. And immediately one of them, running; took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar; and put it on a reed and gave him to drink. And the others said: Stay, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him. And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two, from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent; and the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose: and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were greatly afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him; among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth. And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. And there was Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

And the next day, which followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate, saying: Sir, we have remembered that seducer said, while-he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. “Command, therefore, the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day; lest his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead. So the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said to them: You have a guard, go guard it as you know. And they departing, made the sepulchre sure, with guards, sealing the stone.

INSTRUCTION ON HOLY WEEK

Why is this week called Holy Week?

This week is called Holy Week because during it we celebrate the most holy mysteries of our religion, and in all her offices and ceremonies the Church refers in quiet mournfulness to the passion and death of our Redeemer.

What remarkable things did Christ do during the first four days of this week?

After He had entered the temple at Jerusalem on Palm Sunday amidst the greatest rejoicings of the people, and was saluted by the children with that cry of joy: "Hosanna to the Son of David," He drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and when He had spent the entire day in preaching and healing the sick, He went in the evening to Bethania, where He remained over night in Lazarus' house, because in Jerusalem no one wished to receive Him for fear of His enemies. The three following days He spent in Jerusalem, teaching in the temple, and passing the night in prayer on Mount Olivet. In His sermons during these days He strove especially to convince the Jewish priests, the Doctors of the Law and the Pharisees, that He was really the Messiah, and that they would commit a terrible sin by putting Him to death; that they would bring themselves and the whole Jewish nation to destruction. This ruin of the people He illustrated most plainly causing the fig-tree to wither under His curse, and by foretelling the destruction of the city and the temple of Jerusalem. He disputed with them, and confounded them, and brought them publicly to shame by parables, so that out of anger and hatred they with one mind determined to kill Him. The impious Judas aided the most in the execution of their design; through avarice he sold Him for thirty pieces of silver (about eighteen dollars in our money) to the chief priests, and the next day, Thursday, became His betrayer and delivered Him over into their hands.
-- Goffine's Devout Instruction





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

(also known as The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

"The Annunciation" -- by James Tissot


March 25
This feast is so called from the announcement to the Blessed Virgin, by the archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the mother of the Messias. In the Introit of the Mass the Church refers to this high dignity of Mary's: "All the rich shall entreat thy countenance; after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Prayer
O God, Who didst please that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be blessed by her intercession with Thee. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Epistle: Isaias 7:10-15
In those days the Lord spoke to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.
Instruction on the "Angelic Salutation" or "Hail Mary"

Why is this prayer called the "Hail Mary" or "Angelic Salutation"?
Because it begins with the words which the archangel Gabriel addressed to the Blessed Virgin when he announced to her that she should be the Mother of God.

Of what does the Angelic Salutation consist?
1. Of the words of the archangel Gabriel. 2. Of the words of Saint Elizabeth. 3. Of words which have been added thereto by the Catholic Church.

Which are the words of the archangel Gabriel?
"Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."

What is the meaning of these words?
The words "Hail Mary" indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words "full of grace" remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together, and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. "The Lord is with thee" - these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words "Blessed art thou among women" are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her.

Which are the words of Elizabeth, and what do they mean?
"And blessed is the fruit of thy womb" - the wordblessedis equivalent to praised. In saying these words, therefore, we desire that the fruit of Mary's womb, Jesus, may be worshipped and praised by all men.

Which are the words which the Catholic Church has added?
To the words "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb" she has added "Jesus," in order thereby to explain them, and to indicate that this prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus. Thereupon follow the words, "Holy Mary, Mother of G6d" pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."

What do these words mean?
With the words, "Holy Mary," we apply to her who is full of grace as our intercessor, and thereby are reminded to strive to imitate her holiness, if we would be sure of her intercession, and of being heard before God. We call her" Mother of God," because she brought forth Jesus, the Son-of God. Thereby we at the same time remind her that she is our mother also, and pray her to care for us as a mother j not as though we believed she could of herself help us, but with the design that she should offer to God her all-prevailing prayers for us j hence we sa.y, " Pray for us,;' adding, "sinners." By these words we remind Mary of our misery, al!d ourselves of our powerlessness for good, and of our guilti~ess in the sight of God, praying her to procure for us the grace of God to do true penance, to acquire virtues, and to gain true peace, and that" now," inasmuch as at every moment, and throughout our whole life, we have so many dangers to meet, so many virtues to gain; "and at the hour of our death," that we may overcome the temptations of the last de cisive hour, and stand complete victors before the throne of th~ etewal Judge. "Amen," so may it be, is, as it were, to repeat and make stronger the whole prayer.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
At that time the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.
Salutation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail, Mary, full of grace! I rejoice, and give joy to thee, that thou hast been chosen the Mother of the Most High, and the queen of heaven and earth. With thee is the Father Who begot, from all eternity, Him Whom thou didst bring forth as God-man in time; with thee is the Son, Whom thou didst bear, in thy virginal womb; with thee is the Holy Ghost, overshadowed by Whose power thou didst become the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Praised, therefore, be thou, thou blessed among women; thou daughter of the Most High; thou bride of the Holy Ghost; thou joy of heaven; thou ornament of the Church of God; thou honor of Christians. Oh, pray God for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Goffine's Devout Instructions


Monday, March 23, 2015

Prayers to Saint Michael the Archangel



Saint Michael Novena

(Say for nine consecutive days)

Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His Catholic people, I turn to thee with confidence and seek thy powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who hast made thee so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer.

Thou knowest the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate thy loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and thy great love for God and men. And since thou art God’s messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to thee this special request: (Here mention your request.)

Saint Michael, since thou art, by the will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in thy prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through thy powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death and reach Heaven where we may praise and love God with thee forever. Amen.



Michael, Michael of the Morning Prayer

Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away.
Amen.



Saint Michael Chaplet

This chaplet was given by Saint Michael to the Portuguese Carmelite nun Antonia d'Astonac. It was approved by Pope Pius IX. It starts with an act of contrition, then there are nine salutations, one for each choir of angels, each one followed by an Our Father and three Hail Marys. These are followed by four Our Fathers, honoring Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and the Guardian Angel. The chaplet concludes with a prayer to Saint Michael.

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

The Chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

(Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels)

1. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of
perfect charity. Amen.

2. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

3. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere
spirit of humility. Amen.

4. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and
overcome any unruly passions. Amen.

5. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and
temptations of the devil. Amen.

6. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into
temptation. Amen.

7. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of
obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all
good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.

9. By the intercession of Saint Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.

(Now pray one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, Saint Raphael and our Guardian Angel.)

Concluding Prayer

O glorious prince Saint Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious Saint Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.



Prayer to Saint Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him,
we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.




Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent

"He Who is of God Hears the Word of God"
-- by James Tissot

( JUDICA)

This Sunday, called Judica from the first word of the Introit, is also called Passion Sunday, because from this day the Church occupies herself exclusively with the contemplation of the passion and death of Christ. The pictures of Christ crucified are covered today in memory of his having hidden Himself from the Jews until His entrance into Jerusalem, no longer showing Himself in public. (John XI. 54.) In the Mass the Glory be to the Father, etc. is omitted, because in the person of Christ the Holy Trinity was dishonored. The psalm Judica is not said today, because on this day the high priests held council about our Lord, for which reason the Church in the name of the suffering Saviour uses these words at the Introit:

INTROIT Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. (Ps. XLII. 1. 3.)

COLLECT We beseech Thee, Almighty God, graciously to look upon Thy family; that by Thy bounty it may be governed in body, and by Thy protection be guarded in mind. Through, &c.

EPISTLE (Heb. IX. 11-15.) Brethren, Christ being come, a high-priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, by the Holy Ghost, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore he is the Mediator of the new testament; that by means of his death, for the redemption of those trangressions which were under the former testament; they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

EXPLANATION St. Paul here teaches, that Christ as the true high-priest of the New Testament, through His precious blood on the altar of the cross, has indeed rendered perfect satisfaction for sins, but that the sinner must also do his own part, by cooperating with Christ to make himself less unworthy of participating in His passion and merits, and to appropriate to himself its fruits. This is done when he diligently and devoutly assists at the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass, by which the fruits of the death on the cross are attributed to us; when, according to the will of the Church, he purifies his conscience by true contrition and confession; and when he seeks by trust in Christ's merits to render some satisfaction for his sins through voluntary penance and faithful following of Christ.

ASPIRATION Grant us, O meek Jesus, Thy grace, that through perfect sorrow for our sins and the exercise of good works we may become participators in the merits of Thy bitter passion.

GOSPEL (John VIII. 46-59.) At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me. But I seek not my own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you, if any-man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our Father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him; but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Why did Christ ask the Jews, which of them should convince Him of sin?

To show us that he who would teach and punish others, should strive to be irreproachable himself; and to prove that He, being free from sin, was more than mere man, and therefore, the Messiah, the Son of God, as He repeatedly told the Jews, especially in this day's gospel, and substantiated by His great and numerous miracles.

Why did He say: He that is of God, heareth the words of God?

To prove that the Jews on account of their stubbornness and unbelief were not the children of God, but of the devil. "Therefore," St. Gregory says, "let every one when he hears the word of God, ask himself, of whom he is. Eternal truth demands that we be desirous of the heavenly fatherland, that we tame the desires of the flesh, be indifferent to the praises of the world, covet not our neighbor's goods, and give alms according to our means. Therefore examine yourself, and if you find in your heart this voice of God, then you will know that you are of God."

CONSOLATION UNDER CALUMNY

When Christ told the Jews the truth, He received insults and calumny; they called Him a Samaritan, that is, an unbeliever, a heretic, one possessed of a devil. This was a terrible slander, and it must have pained Him exceedingly, but at the same time it is a great consolation to those who are innocently calumniated, when they consider that Christ Himself received nothing better. St. Augustine consoles such by saying: "O friend, what is there that can happen to you that your Saviour did not suffer before you? Is it slander? He heard it, when He was called a glutton, a drunkard, a heretic, and a rebel, a companion of sinners, one possessed of a devil; He even heard, when casting out devils, that He did so by Beelzebub, prince of devils." (Matt. IX. 34.) He therefore comforts His apostles, saying, If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matt, X. 25.) Are the pains bitter? There is no pain so bitter that He has not endured it; for what is. more painful, and at the same time more ignominious, than the death of the cross? For think, says St. Paul, diligently upon him who endured such opposition from sinners against himself: that you be not wearied (by all contempt and calumny), fainting in your minds. (Heb. XII. 3.)

How and why did Christ defend Himself against those who slandered Him?

Only by denying with the greatest modesty the things with which they reproached Him, saying that He had not a devil, that He was not a Samaritan, because He honored His Father not in their manner, but in His own. In repelling this calumny while He left the rest unanswered, Christ removed all doubt in regard to His divine mission, thus vindicating the honor of God, and securing the salvation of man. Christ thus teaches us by His own conduct to defend ourselves only against those detractions and insults which endanger the honor of God and the salvation of man, and then to defend ourselves with all modesty; by no means however to do it, if they injure only our own good name, for we should leave the restoration of that to God, as exemplified by Christ, who knows better than we how to preserve and restore it.

How had Abraham seen Christ's day?


In spirit, that is, by. divine revelation he foresaw the coming of Christ and rejoiced; also, he heard, by revelation from God, with the other just in Limbo, that Christ's coming had taken place, and derived the greatest comfort from it.

Why did Christ conceal Himself from the Jews, instead of taking vengeance?

Because the time of His death had not come; because He would show His meekness and patience and teach us that we should avoid our enemies rather than resist them or take vengeance on them; Christ wished to instruct us to avoid passionate and quarrelsome people, for it is an honor for a man, to separate from quarrels: but all fools are meddling with reproaches. (Prov. XX. 3.)

PETITION When Thine enemies calumniated Thee, most meek Jesus, Thou didst answer them with tender words, and when they were about to stone Thee, Thou didst depart from them, whilst we can scarcely bear a hard word, and far from yielding to our neighbor, defend and avenge ourselves most passionately. Ah! pardon us our impatience, and grant us the grace to bear patiently the wrongs done us, and when necessary, answer with gentleness for Thy glory and the salvation of our neighbor.

-- Goffine's Devout Instructions




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Lent



(LAETARE)

The Introit of this day's Mass, which begins with the word Laetare, is as follows:

INTROIT Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her; rejoice with joy you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Isai: LXVI. 10. 11.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. CXXI. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who justly suffer for our deeds may be relieved by the conso lation of Thy grace. Through etc.

EPISTLE (Gat. IV. 22-31.) Brethren, it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-woman and the other by a free-woman. But he who was of the bond-woman was born according to the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise: which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sina, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar: for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit, so also it is now. But what saith the scripture? Cast out the bond-woman and her son: for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman. So, then, brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.

EXPLANATION It was the common custom, in the days of the patriarchs, for a man to have more than one wife. This was permitted by God, partly because they and their descendants would hardly have been satisfied with one marriage, (Matt. XIX. 8.) partly because bigamy was a means of promoting the increase of the people of Israel, typical of the future increase of the children of God. Thus Abraham had two wives, who had each a son; of these Ismael was born to Abraham from his bond-woman Agar, in the natural way; the other, Isaac, the son of the free wife Sara, was born in a supernatural manner according to the promise, (Gen. XVIII. 11. 14. ) that she by the grace of God, although aged, would give birth to a son. These two women with their sons were types, as St. Paul says, of the two Testaments: Agar the bond-woman typified the Old, Sara, the free-woman, the New Testament; the son of Agar, the Jews, the son of Sara, the Christians; for the Jews, like Ismael, are descendants of Abraham by natural descent, but the Christians, like Isaac, by grace. The Old Testament gave birth only to servants; for the Jews obeyed the commandments of God through fear of punishment, and in hope of temporal reward; the New Testament, the Jerusalem from above. that is, the Christian Church, gives birth to children who willingly and through love obey the commandments of God. Although the Christian Church, the New Jerusalem, chosen from heathenism, was in the beginning barren, as was Sara, she gives birth, by the grace of God and through His apostles, to more children than the Jewish Church, which was so long the Church of God, that is, more were converted to Christianity from the Gentiles than from the Jews. The latter even hated and persecuted the Christians, as did Ismael his brother Isaac. For their hardness of heart they were cast out by God, like Agar and her son; that is, after the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews were dispersed to all parts of the world. Let us, therefore, give thanks to God, that through Jesus we have become the free children of our heavenly Father, who through love fulfil His holy will by which we shall be saved.

ASPIRATION Give me the grace, O Jesus, that by prayer and fasting, and patience in all adversities and persecutions, I may be made less unworthy of Thy passion; that I may not, one day, be cast out by Thee, but become worthy of Thy divine promise and Thy eternal consolation in the heavenly Jerusalem.

GOSPEL (John VI. 1-15.) At that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias; and a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes: but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down: in like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up, therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

Why did Christ try St. Philip?

To test his faith and confidence; to instruct us that before seeking supernatural means, we should first look for natural ways of providing; that the miracle of the multiplying of the loaves should be more marvellous to the people from having seen there was no provision; and that we may learn to trust in God, who is a helper in due time in tribulation. (Ps. IX. 10.)

What signs did Christ make use of in this miracle, and why?

According to St. Matthew (XIV. 19.) He lifted up His eyes to heaven, by which He showed that all good gifts come from above; He gave thanks, thus teaching us to give thanks to God for all His blessings. "The table," says St. Chrysostom, "that is approached and is left with prayer will never know want, but the more richly yield its gifts." He blessed the bread showing us that the divine blessing increases all things.

Why did Christ require them to gather up the fragments that were left?

That they should not be wasted or destroyed; that the greatness of the miracle should be made evident by the quantity of the fragments; and that we might learn to honor the gifts of God, even the most insignificant, and if we do not ourselves need them, give them to the poor.

Why did Christ, after this miracle, flee from the people?

Because after this miracle the people recognized in him the Messiah, and would have made Him king. He wished to teach us to flee from praise and honor, and in all our actions seek not our own, but God's glory.

CONSOLATION IN POVERTY

This gospel gives the account of Christ providing for those who followed and listened to Him, which is indeed consoling for the poor. God from the beginning of the world has always cared for His own. For the aid and comfort of His chosen people in time of famine God sent Joseph, the son of the Patriarch Jacob, in advance into Egypt: (Gen. XLV. 5.) for forty years He fed the children of Israel in the desert with bread from heaven; (Deut. VIII. 2. 3.) He fed the Prophet Elias by a raven; (III Kings VII. 6.) and thought of Daniel in the lions' den. (Dan. XIV. 37.) In the New Testament God shows His merciful care for His own, because in great need He fed them marvelously through angels, men, and even animals, as we frequently see in the lives of the saints. Truly has David said: God forsakes not the just, I have been young, and am now old: and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread, (PS. XXXVI. 25.) that is, one who sincerely serves Him, and seeks before all the kingdom o f God a n d His justice, as Christ commands. (Luke XII. 31.) Strive to be a faithful child, and you will have God for your father, and with King David you can cast your care upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. You must not think it is enough to pray and trust in God, He demands that you should use your strength to receive help, for if any man will not work, neither let him eat. (II Thess. III. 10.)

ASPIRATION In Thy omnipotence and goodness, O my God, I put my trust, firmly believing that if I fear Thee, serve Thee faithfully, and avoid evil, I shall not be abandoned in poverty, but receive many good things. Amen

-- Goffine's Devout Instructions







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