Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Béal na mBláth In the Year '22

Eighty-five years ago today, Michael Collins, driving force of Irish independence and first Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army was murdered in an ambush by the IRA. Collins had been instrumental in negotiating the treaty by which Britain recognized Irish independence within the Commonwealth and in urging Irish voters to accept the treaty. But the IRA and de Valera, demanding a complete break no matter what the realities, would not be satisfied with the results of the election, and began a civil war.

Collins, a native of Cork, was driving along rural areas in an inspection tour to gauge sentiment and to do some secret negotiation with the IRA. In fact, he was travelling under a guarantee of safe conduct from the IRA. In Bael na m Blath ("the Mouth of Flowers"), the small convoy was ambushed. Collins took cover behind his car. The attack lost steam, and Collins' guard began to take the initiative. Just then, Collins stood up to either order his men to go up into the hills after the attackers, or call on the partisans to surrender. He was shot through the head. Ireland was doomed to 50 years of corruption and stagnation under de Valera and his successors.

The story has a personal side for me. My grandfather (who was from Ennis, Co. Clare) had taken the British civil service exam with Collins and the two became friends. Granddad Fitzpatrick was a golf pro, but worked for the Royal Postal Service in Co. Clare as his day job. Collins took a job with the postal service in London. They went their separate ways during the Great War, with Collins agitating and becoming a leader in the Easter Rebellion. My grandfather joined his brothers in enlisting in the Connaught Rangers and fighting on the Western Front (and become a gas casualty at the 2nd Battle of Ypres). Collins negotiated the treaty that led to the recognition of the Irish Free State, and became a prime mover in its government, first Finance Minister, then Commander-in-Chief of the Army. My grandparents, from what I can gather, approved of the treaty (being from Clare and safely in the West, and not under any romantic delusions about "all or nothing"). After the treaty was approved, Collins sent my grandfather a signed photo clipped out of the newspaper of himself in his new uniform as Commander-in-Chief. Collins was murdered within ten days. Ten days after that, my grandfather and grandmother decamped for a new life in America, escaping an Ireland torn by civil war.


Traditional Feast Of the Immaculate Heart Of Our Blessed Lady

We love her so much, let's celebrate her Immaculate Heart twice this summer!

The Five First Saturdays

THE observance of the First Saturday in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is intended to console her Immaculate Heart, and to make, reparation to it for all the blasphemies and ingratitude of men. This devotion and the wonderful promises connected with it were revealed by the Blessed Virgin with these words recorded by Lucy, one of the three children to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared at Fatima, Potugal, in 1917:

I promise to help at the hour of death, with the graces needed for salvation, whoever on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall:
1. Confess and receive Holy Commtmion.
2. Recite five decades of the Rosary.
3. And keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on one or more of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.


O MOST holy Virgin and our Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of thine Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Moved by the ardent desire of loving thee as our Mother and of promoting a true devotion to thy Immaculate Heart, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet to prove the sorrow we feel for the grievances that men cause thee, and to atone, by means of our prayers and sacrifices, for the offenses with which men return thy tender love.
Obtain for them and for us the pardon of so many sins. A word from thee will obtain grace and amendment for us all.

Hasten, O Lady, the conversion of sinners that they may love Jesus and cease to offend the Lord, already so much offended and will not fall into Hell.

Turn thy eyes of mercy toward us that henceforth we may love God with all our heart while on earth and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. Amen.

NOTE: Confession during the week, preceding the first Friday, will suffice for the first Saturday, or conversely when Saturday is the first day of the month. The Rosary may be recited at any convenient time of the day, and the fifteen-minute meditation may be made at any time during the day on one or more of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. A sermon for the occasion may be substituted for the meditation. Meditation consists in thinking over the events as if one were present at the happenings mentioned in the mystery, or in considering what one would have done had he been present during the event considered in a particular mystery, all in the spirit of reparation to the Immaculate Heart.


QUEEN of the Most Holy Rosary, Refuge of the Human Race, Victress in all God's battles, we humbly prostrate ourselves before thy throne, confident that we shall receive mercy, grace and bountiful assistance and protection in the present calamity, not through our own inadequate merits, but solely through the great goodness of thy Maternal Heart.

To thee, to thy Immaculate Heart in this, humanity's tragic hour, we consign and consecrate
ourselves in union not only with the Mystical Body of thy Son, Holy Mother Church, now in such suffering and agony in so many places and sorely tried in so many ways, but also with the entire world, torn by fierce strife, consumed in a fire of hate, victim of its own wickedness.

May the sight of the widespread material and moral destruction of the sorrows and anguish of countless fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, and innocent children of the great number of lives cut off in the flower of youth, of the bodies mangled in horrible slaughter, and of the tortured and agonized souls in danger of being lost eternally move thee to compassion. O Mother of Mercy obtain peace for us from God, and, above all, procure for us those graces which prepare, establish and assure the peace.

Queen of Peace, pray for us and give to the world now at war, the peace for which all peoples are longing, peace in the truth, justice and charity of Christ. Give peace to the warring nations and to the souls of men, that in the tranquillity of order the Kingdom of God may prevail.

Extend thy protection to the infidels and to all those still in the shadow of death give them peace and grant that on them, too, may shine the sun of truth that they may unite with us in proclaiming before the one and only Savior of the World: "Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will."

Give peace to the peoples separated by error or by discord and especially to those who profess such singular devotion to thee, and in whose homes an honored place was ever accorded thy venerated image today, perhaps often kept hidden to await better days bring them back to the one fold of Christ, under the one true Shepherd.

Obtain peace and complete freedom for the Holy Church of God, stay the spreading flood of modern paganism; enkindle in the faithful the love of purity, the practice of the Christian life and an apostolic zeal so that the servants of God may increase in merit and in number.

Lastly, as the Church and the entire human race were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so that in reposing all hope in Him, He might become for them the sign and pledge of Victory and salvation; so we, in like manner, consecrate ourselves forever also to thee and to thine Immaculate Heart, our Mother and Queen, that thy love and patronage may hasten the triumph of the Kingdom of God and that all nations, at peace with one another and with God may proclaim thee blessed and with thee may raise their voices to resound from pole to pole the chant of the everlasting Magnificat of glory, love and gratitude to the Heart of Jesus, where alone they can find truth and peace.

Litany Of the Immaculate Heart
(For Private Use Only)

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, favorite Daughter of God the Father,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of God the Son,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, redeemed in a sublime
manner by the merits of thy Son, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother and
Model of the Church, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, excellent exemplar
in faith and charity, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who conceived the Word
of God in Thy heart before thy did in thy womb,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who gave precious Blood
to the Son of God in His human nature, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, conceived free of Original Sin,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who embraced God's saving will
with a full heart, impeded by no sin, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose sweet soul a
sword pierced beneath the Cross, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, given to us as Mother
by Jesus as He hung dying on the Cross,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who accepted us
as sons as thou stood beneath the Cross,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, all pure and holy,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, exalted by Divine grace
above all Angels and men, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of grace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the
promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, bearing with love for all thy children upon earth, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Show to Our Heavenly Father the Wound in the Heart of Thy Son
and at the same time offer again the sword that pierced thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as thou suffered by compassion with Thy Divine Son for the redemption of the world. By thy intercession, through the merits of Jesus Christ, bring us to salvation.

Act Of Consecration To the Immaculate Heart From The Raccolta

O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, I consecrate myself to thine Immaculate Heart.

I consecrate to thee my very being and my whole life; all that I have, all that I love, all that I am. To thee I give my body, my heart and my soul; to thee I give my home, my family, my country. We desire that all that is in me and around me may belong to thee, and may share in the benefits of thy motherly benediction. And that this act of consecration may be truly efficacious and lasting, I renew this day at thy feet the promises of my Baptism and my first Holy Communion. I pledge myself to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits a Catholic who is duly submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him. I pledge myself to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord's Day. I likewise pledge myself to make the consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all, Holy Communion, an integral part of my life, in so far as I may be able so to do. Finally, I promise thee, O glorious Mother of God and loving Mother of men, to devote myself whole-heartedly to the service of thy blessed cult, in order to hasten and assure, through the sovereignty of thine Immaculate Heart, the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of thine adorable Son, in my own heart and in those of all men, in our country and in all the world, as in Heaven, so on earth.

Consecration to the Immaculata by Saint Maximilian Kolbe

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners
and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire
order of mercy to thee. I, N. . . , a repentant sinner, cast myself at
thy feet humbly imploring thee to take me with all that I am and have,
wholly to thyself as thy possession and property. Please make of me,
of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity,
whatever most pleases thee.

If it pleases thee, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly
to accomplish what was said of thee: "She will crush your head,"
and, "Thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world."

Let me be a fit instrument in thine Immaculate and merciful hands for
introducing and increasing the maximum in all the many strayed and
indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed
Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever thou enters,
one obtains the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is
through thy hands that all graces come to us from the most
Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise thee O Sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thine enemies.

Invocations To the Immaculate Heart

Heart of Mary,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, like unto the Heart of Jesus,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, united to the Heart of Jesus,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Instrument of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Sanctuary of the Divinity,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Tabernacle of God Incarnate,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, always exempt from sin,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, always full of grace,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, blessed among all hearts,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Illustrious Throne of Glory,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Abyss and Prodigy of humility,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Glorious Holocaust of Divine Love,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, nailed to the Cross of Jesus,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Comfort of the Afflicted,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Hope of the Agonizing,
pray for us.
Heart of Mary, Seat of Mercy
pray for us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.
Almighty and eternal God, Who prepared a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, to grant unto us who devoutly keep this commemoration in honor of the same most pure Heart, the grace to order our lives according to Thine own Heart. Through Christ Our Lord.

Act Of Charity for the Holy Souls

Eternal Heavenly Father,
Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer Thee the most precious Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity of Thine Only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ,
With the merits and prayers of all Thy Saints,
And my whole self as victim-soul and holocaust,
In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
Offered throughout the world,
For all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
And for the souls of all poor sinners on earth,
Especially bishops, priests, and religious,
And those within my home and family,
According to Thy most holy Will,
In Jesus’ Name and in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever.

Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, pray for us.
Holy Angels and Saints of the Living God, pray for us.

The Chaplet Of the Two Hearts

There are 20 beads in 5 sets [One can use the regular Rosary, just going around twice on the decades, saying three Hail Marys on each bead], each consisting of 1 Our Father and 3 Hail Marys.

These are the meditations for the five sets:

1. In honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
2. In honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
3. The Passion of Our Lord.
4. The Sorrows of Mary.
5. In atonement to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

At the end on the medal say the prayer to the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary:

O United Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Thou art all grace, all mercy, all love. Let my heart be joined to Thine, so that my every need is present in Thine United Hearts. Most especially, shed Thy grace upon this particular need [mention it]. Help me to recognize and accept Thy loving will in my life.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Blessed Lady Of Knock

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Knock, one of the better-documented Marian apparitions of modern times.

In Knock, County Mayo, on August 21st, 1879, The Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of the parish church to 15 people over a period of 2 hours. Two ecclesiastical commissions have looked into the Knock apparition, and have endorsed it as authentic.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II said Mass in Knock. Knock has become, after Lourdes and Fatima, the most popular Marian pilgrimage site.

This is Knock's official website.

Lady of Knock

by Dana (Rosemary Scallon)

There were people of all ages
Gathered ‘round the gable wall
Poor and humble men and women,
Little children that thou called.

We are gathered here before thee,
And our hearts are just the same
Filled with joy at such a vision,
As we praise Thy name.

Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland,
All my cares and troubles cease
As we kneel with love before thee,
Lady of Knock, my Queen of Peace

Though thy message was unspoken,
Still the truth in silence lies
As we gaze upon thy vision,
And the truth I try to find.

Here I stand with John the teacher,
And with Joseph at your side
And I see the Lamb of God,
On the Altar glorified.


And the Lamb will conquer
And the woman clothed in the sun
Will shine Her light on everyone.

And the lamb will conquer
And the woman clothed in the sun,
Will shine Her light on everyone.



Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

From The Imitation Of the Sacred Heart, by Father Peter J. Arnoudt, S.J.


1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, so soon as thou hast gone into eternity, thou shalt find thyself before My Judgment-seat, to give an account of thy life, and to hear the decision of thy lot forever.

I Myself, the Searcher and Knower of hearts,-----to whom all power is given in Heaven and on earth,-----I will preside over this judgment.

All and everyone, whether they be willing or not, must make their appearance before Me, the Judge of the living and the dead, to receive the final sentence: nor is it possible thereafter to appeal to another tribunal.

What is just, I will judge: neither by gifts nor by promises will I be conciliated; nor shall the prayers of anyone change My Heart; neither will I be moved by repentance.

That day shall be a day of justice, not of mercy. Then shall each one receive according to his works.

2. What shall thy feeling be then, My Child, when thou shalt stand alone before the infinite Majesty, with naught except thy works alone, whether they be good or evil?

Then will the devil arise in judgment against thee, and accuse thee, ready to drag thee into Hell,

Thy Guardian Angel will stand up against thee, to bear witness to the truth of what is brought against thee.

Nay, even thy own conscience will accuse thee, and overwhelm thee with alarm, and dread, and terror.

Thus accused, with none to take thy defense, thou shalt wither away for fear; nor shalt thou dare to open thy mouth.

3. For all things, whether they be known or unknown, are in My sight; nor is there any thing hidden from My eyes.

Yet, searching, will search the heart, from the first dawn of its reason, even to the last breath of its life.

From it will I draw forth every evil, be it public or private: whether its own work, or that of another; whether great or small; whatever thou hast committed by thought, and word, and deed, and omission.

And not only of things evil, but also of those that are vain, or idle, or useless, will I exact an account.

Nay more, justice itself will I judge: I will weigh, in the scales of the sanctuary, even thy good deeds, and see what was wanting in them; either in the motive, in the manner of doing, or in the end intended, scrutinizing whether all was supernatural and perfect.

Then, many things, which, during life, appeared good, shall be found void and evil.

Then, the showy semblances of the virtues of the lukewarm, shall be seen as they are, and shall be cast aside, as dry stubble, fit only to be burnt.

And, searching still further, I will seek out the fruit of all the favors which I bestow, of all the graces, of all the means of salvation and perfection.

Yea, I will summon time itself against thee, and I will thoroughly investigate in what manner thou didst use it.

4. What shalt thou do then, O sinner, when even the just shall hardly be secure?

Above thee thou shalt descry a Heaven uncertain; below, the yawning abyss; at thy right, Angels as witnesses; at thy left, demons enraged; before thee, the supreme Arbiter of life and death.

5. Ah! My Child, now act with care, that thou mayst find safety then. Now it is easy, then it shall be impossible.

Follow now the invitings of My mercy, that thou mayst not then feel the severity of My justice.

Now withdraw thyself wholly from a depraved world, that then, with reprobate worldlings, thou
mayst not be forced to hear: Depart, ye accursed, into everlasting fire.

Now, untrammeled by aught of earth, follow thou the Saints, that with them, thou mayst be worthy then to hear: Come, ye Blessed of My Father, possess the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

6. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Lord! how much better it is, here to examine and judge myself strictly, that I may not be condemned before Thy Judgment-seat!

How much better, here to weigh well all my thoughts, and words, and deeds, that I may plainly see whether they are good, whether they are wholly according to Thy will, whether they shall be able to stand Thy searching, and deserve Thy approval!

At present there is still a remedy, then every effort shall prove unavailing: now mercy is still offered me, then justice will thunder forth: Give an account of every thing.

Lord, O Lord! if Thou wilt mark iniquities, who shall endure it? If Thou searchest also things indifferent, yea, even those that are good, who can stand before Thee?

O Jesus! although I am inwardly rejoiced that Thou, and none other, art to be my Judge, yet, when I reflect that I am obliged to give an account of matters so numerous and so dreadful, I tremble with fear.

For, on what can I rely, when even my good deeds must be mistrusted? On what shall I ground my hope? Behold! naught do I find, whereon to place a safe reliance, except on Thy Heart.

In this, therefore, will I hope: for, though It shall then be the Heart of my Judge, yet It will still remain the Heart of my Jesus, of One that loves them that love Him.

O my Jesus! be mindful of Thy word, in which Thou hast given me hope: for Thou hast said: Who loves Me, him also will I love.

If I love Thee, and am loved by Thee, then will I surely not fear to come and appear before Thee.

Lo, therefore, what I will do: I will love Thee, most lovely and most loving Jesus; I will love Thee with my whole heart, and love Thee all the days of my life.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Requiescat In Pace

I learned this morning of the death of Robert Novak, once half of the Washington insider reporting team of Evans and Novak, and once a regular on The McLaughlin Group, where he was dubbed "Bob No-Facts." He was always entertaining to watch. He was a staunch conservative, though out of line on the Iraq Campaign of the War On Moslem Terror. Much more interesting, though, is his journey from childhood Judaism to agnosticism to a conversion to the Church through Opus Dei (like Robert Bork, Senator Sam Brownback, and Newt Gingrich). He died of a brain tumor at the age of 78, and another elder statesman of the "Catholic and Conservative" world view has been silenced. Requiescat in pace.


Saint Jean Eudes

August 19th is the feast of this great Apostle of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady.

I had begun a serialization of his The Admirable Heart Of Mary, but the work came to a halt when I discovered that not all of this significantly large volume was already available on line, even in part, and that I would have to re-type virtually the whole book. Plus I had availability problems with the library copy I was using. Sloth on my part. Now I have no excuse, since I own the book itself. I hope to resume the serialization in the near future, and move on to his companion volume, The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Here is one of his prayers to the Sacred Heart:

Oh, how good and delightful it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!
Thy Heart, O good Jesus, is a precious treasure, a precious pearl
which we have found by digging the field of Thy Body.
Who will cast aside this pearl? Nay, rather I will give all I have,
I will exchange all my thoughts and desires and purchase it.
I will cast all my care on the Heart of the Lord Jesus and He will
provide for me without fail. I will adore in this temple,
this Holy of Holies, this Ark of the Testament, and I will praise the name
of the Lord, saying with David, "I have found my heart that I may pray
to my God. And I have found the heart of my King, my Brother, my Friend,
the benign Jesus, and why shall I not adore?" Assuredly I shall pray.
For His Heart is mine. I will say it boldly, for Christ is my Head,
is not what belongs to my Head mine? Therefore as the eyes of my corporal
head are truly my eyes, so is my spiritual heart my heart.
Therefore, it is well with me: truly I have but one Heart with Jesus
and what wonder that there should be but one heart with the multitude of believers.

And another:

O most benevolent
and most merciful
Heart of Jesus,
imprint in our hearts
a perfect image
of your great mercy,
so that we may fulfil
the commandment
You gave us:
"Be merciful
as your Father
is merciful".

Mother of mercy,
look upon
so much misery,
so many poor people,
so many captives,
so many prisoners,
so many men and women
who suffer persecution
at the hands of their brothers and sisters,
so many defenseless people
so many afflicted souls, so many troubled hearts.

Mother of mercy, open the eyes
of your clemency and see our desolation.
Open the ears of your goodness
and hear our supplication.

Most loving and most powerful advocate,
show that You are truly the Mother of Mercy. Amen.

And another to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady:

Hail Mary! Daughter of God the Father,
Hail Mary! Mother of God the Son,
Hail Mary! Spouse of God the Holy Ghost,
Hail Mary! Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity,
Hail Mary! Celestial Rose of the ineffable love of God.
Hail Mary! Virgin pure and humble, of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born and with thy milk to be nourished.
Hail Mary! Virgin of virgins,
Hail Mary! Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed,
Hail Mary! Lady most Blessed! unto whom all power in Heaven and earth is given,
Hail Mary! my Queen and my Mother! my Life, my Sweetness, and my Hope,
Hail Mary! Mother most Amiable,
Hail Mary! Mother most Admirable,
Hail Mary! Mother of Divine Love,
Hail Mary! IMMACULATE; Conceived without sin!
Hail Mary! Full of Grace! the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women! And blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, JESUS!

Blessed by thy Spouse, St. Joseph,
Blessed by thy Father, St. Joachim,
Blessed by thy Mother, St. Anne,
Blessed by thy Guardian, St. John,
Blessed by thy Holy Angel, St. Gabriel,

Glory be to God the Father, who chose thee,
Glory be to God the Son, who loved thee,
Glory be to God the Holy Ghost, who espoused thee,

Glorious Virgin Mary, may all men love and praise thee,
Holy Mary, Mother of God! pray for us and bless us, now and at death in the Name of JESUS, thy Divine Son!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

With the Greeks, this Sunday—their eleventh of Saint Matthew -- is called the Parable of the King, who calls his servants to account.1. In the western Church, it has gone under the name of Sunday of the deaf and dumb, ever since the Gospel of the pharisee and the publican has been assigned to the tenth. To-day's Mass, as we now have it, still gives evidence as to what was its ancient arrangement. Our commentary on to-day's liturgy will show us this very plainly.

In the years when Easter falls nearest to March 21 the Books of Kings are continued as lessons of Matins up to, but never beyond, this Sunday. The sickness of the good king Ezechias, and the miraculous cure he obtained by his prayers and tears, are then the subject of the first lessons of the night-Office.2


The learned and pious Abbot Rupert, writing on this Sunday's Mass previous to the change made in the order of the Gospel Lessons, thus explains the Church's reason for selecting the following Introit: 'The publican in the Gospel accuses himself, saying: "I am not worthy to lift up mine eyes to heaven." St. Paul, in the Epistle, does in like manner, and says: "I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." As, then, this humility, which is set before us that we may practise it, is the guardian of the union between the servants of God, because it keeps them from being puffed up one against the other,3 it is most appropriate that we should first sing the Introit, which tells us that God maketh men, in His house, abide together as though they were all but one soul.'4

The Collect which follows is most touching, when we see it in the light of the Gospel formerly fixed for this Sunday. Though that connexion has now been broken, yet the appropriateness is still very striking; for the Epistle, as Abbot Rupert was just telling us, continues to urge us to humility by proposing to us the example of St. Paul; the humility of the repentant publican has been anticipated. Our mother the Church is all emotion at beholding this publican, this object of contempt to the Jew, striking his breast, and scarce able to put his sorrow into words: she, with motherly tenderness, comes and takes up his faltering prayer, and gives it her own eloquence. Nothing could exceed the delicate way in which she asks of the Omnipotent that, in His infinite mercy, He would restore peace to troubled consciences, by pardoning them their sins, and granting them what they, poor sinners, are too afraid to presume to ask for.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuaelig; et merita supplicum excedis et vota: effunde super nos misericordiam tuam; ut dimittas quaelig; conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. Per Dominum.

In illo tempore: Exiens Jesus de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilææ inter medios fines Decapoleos. Et adducunt ei surdum et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum. Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus: et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus: et suspiciens in cœlum, ingemuit, et ait illi: Ephpheta, quod est, adaperire. Et statim apertæ sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguæ ejus, et loquebatur recte. Et præcepit illis, ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis præcipiebat, tanto magis plus prædicabant: et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes: Bene omnia fecit: et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.

Jesus is no longer in Judea; the names of the places mentioned in the beginning of to-day's Gospel tell us that the Gentile world has become the scene of the divine operations for man's salvation. What manner of man, then, is this who is led to the Saviour, and the sight of whose miseries makes the Incarnate Word heave a sigh? And what is the meaning of the extraordinary circumstances which produce the cure? A single word of Jesus could have done it all, and His power would have shone forth all the more brightly. But the miracle which is here related contains a great mystery; and the Man-God, who aims mainly at giving us a lesson by this His mercy, makes the exercise of His power subordinate to the teaching which He desires to convey to us.

The holy fathers tell us that this man represents the entire human race,32exclusive of the Jewish people. Abandoned for four thousand years in the sides, that is, in the countries of the north, where the prince of this world was ruling as absolute master,33 it has been experiencing the terrible effects of the seeming forgetfulness on the part of its Creator and Father, which was the consequence of original sin. Satan, whose perfidious craftiness caused man to be driven out of Paradise, has made him his own prey, and nothing could exceed the artifice he has employed for keeping him in his grasp. Wisely oppressing34 his slave, he adopted the plan of making him deaf and dumb, for this would hold him faster than chains of adamant could ever do. Dumb, he could not ask God to deliver him; deaf, he could not hear the divine voice; and thus the two ways forobtaining his liberty were shut against him. The adversary of God and man, satan, may boast of his tyranny. The grandest of all God's creations looks like a failure; the human race, in all its branches, and in all nations, seems ruined; for even that people which God had chosen for His own, and which was to be faithful to Him when every other had gone astray,35 has made no other use of its privileges than to deny its Lord and its King, more cruelly than all the rest of mankind.

What, then? Is the bride, whom the Son of God came to seek upon the earth -- is the society of saints, to be limited to those few who declared themselves His disciples during the years of His mortal life? Not so; the zeal of the newly formed Church, and the ineffable goodness of God, produced a far grander result. Driven from Jerusalem, as her divine Spouse had been, the Church met the poor captive of satan beyond the boundaries of Judea; she would fain bring him into the kingdom of God: and, through the apostles and their disciples, she brings him to Jesus, beseeching Him to lay His divine hand upon him. No human power could effect his cure. Deafened by the noise of his passions, it is only in a confused way that he can hear even the voice of his own conscience; and, as to the sounds of tradition, or the speakings of the prophets, they are to him but as an echo, very distant and faint. Worst of all, as his hearing, that most precious of our senses, is gone, so, likewise, is gone the power of making good his losses; for, as the apostle teaches, the one thing that could save him is faith, and faith cometh by hearing.36

Our Jesus groans when they have brought this poor creature before Him. He is grieved at seeing the cruelties the enemy has inflicted on this His own privileged being, this beautiful work, of which He Himself served as model and type to the blessed Trinity, at the beginning of the world.37 Raising up to heaven those eyes of His sacred Humanity —those eyes whose language has such resistless power—He sees the eternal Father acquiescing in the intentions of His own merciful compassion.38 Then, resuming the exercise of that creative omnipotence which, in the beginning, had made all things to be very good,39 and all His works to be perfect, 40 He, as God and as the Word,41 utters the mighty word of restoration: Ephpheta! Be thou opened! Nothingness, or rather (in this instance) ruin, which is worse than nothingness, obeys the well-known voice; the ears of the poor sufferer are opened, joyfully opened to the teachings, which his delighted mother the Church pours into them. She is all the gladder, because it is her prayers that have won this deliverance; and he, to whom faith comes now through hearing, finding that his tongue can speak, speaks, or rather sings, a canticle of praise to his God.

And yet, as we were observing, our merciful Lord, by this cure, aims not so much at showing the power of His divine word as at giving a glorious teaching to His followers; He wishes to reveal to them, under certain visible symbols, the invisible realities produced by His grace in the secret of the sacraments. It is for the sake of such teaching that the Gospel has mentioned such an apparently trifling detail as this—that when the deaf and dumb man was brought before Him, He took him apart—apart, so to say, from the multitude of the noisy passions and the vain thoughts42 which had made him deaf to heavenly truths. After all, would there be much good in curing him if the occasion of his malady were not removed, and he were to relapse perhaps that same day? So, then, having by this separation taken precautions for the future, Jesus inserts into the man';s ears His own divine fingers which bring the Holy Ghost,43 and make to penetrate right to the ears of his heart the restorative power of this Spirit of love. And finally, more mysteriously, because the truth which was to be expressed is more profound, He touches with the saliva of His sacred mouth that tongue which had become incapable of giving glory and praise; and Wisdom (for it is she that is here mystically signified) -- Wisdom, 'that cometh forth from the mouth of the Most High,'44 and flows for us from the Saviour's fountains45 as a life-giving drink 46 -- openeth the mouth of the dumb man, just as she maketh eloquent the tongues of speechless infants.47

Therefore it is that the Church -- in order to show us that the event recorded in to-day's Gospel is figurative, and regards not merely one individual man, but all of us -- has prescribed that the circumstances which accompanied the cure of this deaf and dumb sufferer shall be expressed in the ceremonies of holy Baptism. The priest, before pouring the water of the sacred font on the person who is presented for Baptism, puts on the catechumen's tongue the salt of wisdom, and touches his ears, saying: Ephpheta! that is, Be opened!48

There is an instruction of another kind included in our Gospel, and worthy of our notice, as closely bearing on what we have been saying regarding humility. Our Lord imposed silence on those who had been witnesses of the miraculous cure, although He knew that their praiseworthy enthusiasm could never allow them to obey Him. By this injunction, He wished to give a lesson to His followers, that if, at times, it is impossible to keep men from being in admiration at the works they achieve -- if, sometimes, the holy Spirit, in opposition to their wishes, forces them to undergo public applause for the greater glory of the God whose instruments they are -- yet must they always do all in their power to avoid being noticed; they must prefer to be despised,49 or, at least, not talked of; they must love to be hidden in the secret of the face of God;50 and, after the most brilliant, just as truly as they would after the most menial, duties, they must say from the heartiest conviction: 'We are unprofitable servants, we have but done what we ought to do.'51

It is again the hymn of the humble, whether delivered, or healed, or glorified, by God, which is sung in the Offertory.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?