Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

O most excellent, most glorious, most holy and ever inviolate Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Queen of the whole world and Mistress of every creature; thou forsakest no one, thou despisest no one, thou sendest away disconsolate no one who comes to thee with a pure and lowly heart; despise me not for my countless grievous sins, neither forsake me for my exceeding iniquities, nor for the hardness and uncleanness of my heart; cast me not away, who am thy servant, from thy grace and love.

Graciously hear me, a miserable sinner, trusting in thy tender mercy; come to my assistance, O most loving Virgin Mary, in all my tribulations, trial and necessities; obtain for me of thy dear Son, Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness and remission of all my sins, and the grace of fear and the love of thee; health likewise and chastity of body, and deliverance from all evils and dangers which beset both soul and body.

In my last moments do thou graciously assist me, and deliver my soul and the souls of my parents, brothers, and sisters and friends, kinsmen and benefactors, and of all the faithful Christians, both living and departed, from eternal darkness and from all evil, by the grace of Him whom thou didst bear in thy sacred womb for nine long months, and didst lay in the manger withTthine own pure hands, our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son who is blessed for ever.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

O God, Who didst will to hallow the standard of the life-giving Cross by the precious Blood of Thine only-begotten Son; grant, we beseech Thee, that they who rejoice in honoring the same holy Cross, may rejoice also in Thine ever-present protection. Through the same Christ our Lord.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saint Anne and Saint Joachim

This has apparently always been Saint Anne's Day, but Saint Joachim's has bounced all over the calendar over the centuries. His feast has been celebrated September 16, December 9, March 20, and on the Sunday after the Assumption. Finally, it has been joined to that of his spouse. This is another of those reforms of the calendar that actually makes sense (not all of them do).

This is a brief biographical sketch of the parents of Our Blessed Lady, but since the New Testament does not mention them, there is not much that has come down to us, except from dubious sources like the "Gospel of James."

Saint John Damascene had this to say about the blessed couple:

Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.

Joachim and Anne, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: "By their fruits you will know them." The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during, and after giving birth. She along for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body.

Joachim and Anne, how chaste a couple! While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is.

Saint Anne, please pray for us!
Saint Joachim, please pray for us!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Saint Christopher

It is unusual to observe the feasts of two major unrelated saints on the same day, but today is also the feast of one of the most popular saints, Saint Christopher, the Christ-bearer, who is the patron of travellers.

Those in charge of the reform of the calendar thought they were doing us a favor when they decided that Saint Christopher was legendary, and removed him from the Ordo. But Catholics in the pews, the real John and Mary Catholics, have rejected this "reform" and remain attached to Saint Christopher. His medals are still for sale in just about every Catholic gift shop. And he remains very popular.

Saint Christopher, pray for us!


Saint James the Greater

Click here to see my post from last year on one of my favorite saints.

And of all the places I would like to go for a pilgrimage, Santiago de Compostella is right up there, right after Rome. A while back, I managed to put together an excellent array of images of this outstanding pilgrimage center. Even I am still impressed with these photos from various online sources.

Now, let us revisit Saint James the Moor-Slayer and his relevance to our times.

July 25th is such an important day, and Saint James has become such an important symbol for the faith. In legend, St. James became the first apostle of Spain. In theory, his remains lie buried at Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela, "Iago" in Spanish meaning "James"). Santiago became the patron of Spain, and Compostela became the thrid most important pilgrimage place in Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome.

It was during the Reconquista, when Spain was painfully, bit-by-bit, inch-by-inch recaptured from the Moslems over a period of centuries, that St. James allegedly appeared leading the Catholic armies of Spain against the Moslems. That is how he got the title Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moor-Killer.

This July 25th, we are marking the anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, when the forces of Catholic Spain rallied again to end pagan depridation on the Catholic cultural heritage that is the strength of Spain. Members of my own Irish family played some small part fighting as soldiers in the cause of the Church in Spain in the 1930s.

Spanish nationalist coat of arms, including the Sacred Heart at the center

And today, all is not well again in Spain. It is not the enslaving Moors and the vile doctrines of armed Mohammedanism that are the greatest threat (though Spain, like the rest of Europe has too many Moslems living there and their birthrate is alarmingly high, threatening to overwhelm the native Catholic population and submerge Catholic Christendom into an Islamic state, if measures are not taken to stop the flow into Spain, and reverse it).

It is not the murderous Communists. Franco gave Spanish communism its richly-deserved death sentence in his 30 years in power.

It is the secularizing socialists, stripping Spain of all that is good and pure and pushing filth like gay "marriage," divorce, and abortion onto the Spanish people with the avidity of a drug pusher. And the Spanish people, degenerating from the solid examples of their fathers, are not blameless, since they elected this vile government that now misrules Spain.

And as Spain goes, so goes the US?

Spanish communists shooting at the Sacred Heart statue, which they later blew up, courtesy of Rorate Caeli

Catholic Spain needs a rallying point now. Carlist requites once went into battle against the communists and their thoroughly reprehensible international allies with the Sacred Heart, the Corazon Sagreda, pinned to their chests or in their berets. Why shouldn't the Sacred Heart again serve as a symbol for a revival of Catholic Spain?

And if the cause of Catholic revival is to take on specific meaning for Spaniards and others, why not a rallying cry: "For the Sacred Heart and Saint James!" "Por Corazon Sagreda et Santiago!"

But today, while Spain is a battlefield in the war with Islamofacism, the conflict between Christendom and Islamofacism is global. All of Christendom finds itself fighting against Islamofascism at almost every point of the globe where Islam and Christendom come into contact. The Sacred Heart is the traditional symbol of Catholic counter-revolution. But the Sacred Heart allied to the patronage of Saint James, who aided Spain in its battle against the Islamofacists of his day would be a very compelling and totally politically incorrect symbol of Christendom militant and unwilling to cave into the Mohammedans today.

In Afghanistan, we are still fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Iraq, we are fighting al Qaeda In Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Lebanon, Israel is fighting Hezbollah, and in Gaza, Hamas, both made up of militant Moslems, who, if they didn't have Israel to kick around, would be fighting us in Iraq. Even the supposedly "moderate" al Fatah Palestinian faction is part of the problem, allied as it is with Islamic Jihad and the Al Acqsa Martyrs Brigade. Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

Iran threatens to develop, and maybe use, nuclear weapons. Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In the Philippines, the Moro Liberation Front, essentially al Qaeda in the Philippines, is fighting the government, which is getting support from the US.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Pakistan, and Indonesia, and Malaysia, we see Moslem groups, either part of or inspired by al Qaeda, attacking western, and specifically Christian, targets. In Pakistan, they bomb Christian hospitals and schools. In Indonesia, they blow up western tourist resorts.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In every Western nation, growing Moslem minorities threaten the peace, and often serve as recruiting grounds for Moslem terrorists. Look at the rail bombing in Spain which drove the solid previous Spanish government from power, and brought in this "surrender-to-the-terrorists-and-subvert-traditional-Spain" socialist government. In the UK, last July's rail and bus bombs were the work of Moslem terrorists. Numerous plots, all involving Moslems, have been thwarted here in the US since September 11th. Even France, so accomodationist to every enemy, was targeted by Moslem extremists, which caused weeks of destructive rioting by Moslem youths in the suburbs of Paris last fall.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In every country of the West, the destructive forces of liberalism and socialism threaten the fabric of Christendom. Growing secularization and moral relativism, feminism and egalitarianism are destroying traditional Western culture, and Christendom along with it. Today, the US is poised to elect as president an individual who represents this threat in the most stark manner we have ever encountered, out of mere ennui with the necessary war we wage, and some legitimate frustration with high prices for oil-based products. It would be the most feckless and irresponsible abdication of responsibility and leadership that the US has perpretrated on the West since the bug-out from Vietnam, and the worst blow it has inadvertently struck at Christendom ever. And western elites think this is the greatest thing that could happen.

Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

SantIago Matamoros, pray for us!

Most Sacred Of Jesus, preserve us!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

If Today Were Not A Sunday...

It would be the feast of Saint Thomas a Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ. For those not familiar with it, you ought to be. It is the second most popular Catholic spiritual work, trailing only the Holy Bible. The little Confraternity of the Most Precious Blood edition illustrated by Ariel Agemian is with me always. If you can't find it, my Lectio Divina links certainly include it (first).

The Catholic Encyclopedia offers this biography of St. Thomas.

Book Four of The Imitation is a short treatise on receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a worthy manner. Read more about St. Thomas' devotion to the Blessed Sacrament here.

The Imitation was not St. Thomas' only published work. He also wrote On the Passion Of Christ, which makes excellent Lenten reading.

His Consolations For My Soul recently appeared in its first English translation, but I was severely disappointed with William Griffin's butchery of a translation. The translation is almost sacriligious. Would to Heaven that a skilled and faithful translator gets a hold of this work and releases a normative edition.


The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

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

THE Office for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, which began yesterday evening, reminded us, in its Magnificat antiphon, of a repentance which has never had an equal. David, the royal prophet, the conqueror of Goliath, himself conquered by sensuality, and from adulterer become a murderer, at last felt the crushing weight of his double crime, and exclaimed: ‘I do beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done foolishly!’ 1 Sin is always a folly and a weakness, no matter of what kind it may be, or who he be that commits it. The rebel angel, and fallen man, may, in their pride, make efforts to persuade themselves that, when they sinned, they did not act as fools, and were not weak; but all their efforts are vain; sin must ever have this disgrace upon it, that it is folly and weakness, for it is a revolt against God, a contempt for His law, a mad act of the creature, who, being made by his Creator to attain infinite happiness and glory, prefers to debase himself by turning towards nothingness, and then falls even lower than the nothingness from which he was taken. It is, however, a folly that is voluntary, and a weakness that has no excuse; for, although the creature have nothing of his own but darkness and misery, yet his infinitely merciful Creator, by means of His grace, which is never, wanting, puts within that creature’s reach divine strength and light. It is so with even the sinner that has been the least liberally gifted; he has no reason that can justify his offences. But when he that sins is a creature who has been laden with God’s gifts, and, by His divine generosity, been raised higher than others in the order of grace, oh! then the offence he commits against his benefactor is an injury that has no name. Let this be remembered by those who, like David, could say that their God has ‘multiplied His magnificence’ over them. 2 They may, perhaps, have been led by Him into high paths which are reserved for the favoured few, and may have reached the heights of divine union: yet must they be on their guard; no one who has still to carry with him the burden of a mortal body of flesh is safe, unless by exercising a ceaseless vigilance. On the mountains, as on the plains and in the valleys, at all times and in all places, a fall is possible; but when it is on those lofty peaks which, in this land of exile, seem bordering on heaven, and but one step from the ‘entrance into the powers of the Lord,’3 what a terrific fall when the foot slips there! The yawning precipices which that soul had avoided on her ascent are now all open to engulf her; abyss after abyss of crime she rushes into, and with a violence of passion that terrifies even them that have long been nothing but wickedness.

Poor fallen soul! pride, like that of satan, will now try to keep her obstinately fixed in her crimes: but, from the depths into which she has fallen, let her, like David, send forth the cry of humility; let her lament her abominations; let her not be afraid to look up, through her tears, at those glorious heights which were once her abode—an anticipated heaven. Without further delay, let her imitate the royal penitent, and say with him: ‘I have sinned against the Lord!’ and she will hear the same answer that he did: ‘The Lord hath taken away thy sin; thou shalt not die’; 4 and as with David, so also with her, God may still do grand things in her. David, when innocent, was a faithful image of Christ, who was the object of the love of both heaven and earth; David, sinner but penitent, was still the figure of the Man-God, as laden with the sins of the whole world, and bearing on His single self the merciful and just vengeance of His offended Father.

In the Mass of this Sunday, which they call the sixth of Saint Matthew, the Greeks read the account of the cure of the paralytic, which is related in the ninth chapter of that evangelist. The preceding chapter, with its episode of the centurion and the two possessed, had furnished them with the Gospels for their fourth and fifth Sundays.


It is difficult to see what connexion there is between the Mass and the Office of this Sunday, as they are at present arranged. Honorius of Autun and Durandus applied the Introit and the other sung portions which follow, to the in­auguration of Solomon’s reign. At the period when those two writers lived, 5 the Scripture lessons for this Sunday were taken from the first pages of the second Book of Paralipomenon, where we have the account of the glorious early days of David’s son. But, since that time, it has been the Church’s practice to continue the reading of the four Books of Kings up to the month of August, omitting altogether the two Books of Paralipomenon, which were but a practical repetition of the events already, related in previous lessons. So that the connexion suggested by the two writers just men­tioned has no foundation in the actual arrange­ment of to-day’s liturgy. We must, therefore, be satisfied with taking from the Introit the teaching of what it is that constitutes the Christian’s courage, viz., his faith in God’s power which is always ready to help him, and the conviction of his own nothing­ness, which keeps him from all presumption.


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