Saturday, July 01, 2006

From The Liturgical Year

On the Feast Of the Most Precious Blood

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB

JOHN the Baptist has pointed out the Lamb, Peter has firmly established his throne, Paul has prepared the bride; their joint work, admirable in its unity, at once suggests the reason for their feasts occurring almost simultaneously in the cycle. The alliance being now secured, all three fall into shade; whilst the bride herself, raised up by them to such lofty heights, appears alone before us, holding in her hands the sacred cup of the nuptial-feast.

This gives the key of today's solemnity, revealing how its appearance in the heavens of the holy liturgy at this particular season is replete with mystery. The Church, it is true, has already made known to the sons of the new covenant, in a much more solemn manner, the price of the Blood that redeemed them, its nutritive strength and the adoring homage which is its due. On Good Friday earth and heaven beheld all sin drowned in the saving stream, whose eternal flood-gates at last gave way beneath the combined effort of man's violence and of the love of the Divine Heart. The festival of Corpus Christi witnessed our prostrate worship before the altars whereon is perpetuated the Sacrifice of Calvary, and where the outpouring of the precious Blood affords drink to the humblest little ones, as well as to the mightiest potentates of earth, lowly bowed in adoration before it. How is it, then, that holy Church is now inviting all Christians to hail, in a particular manner, the stream of life ever gushing from the sacred fount? What else can this mean, but that the preceding solemnities have by no means exhausted the mystery? The peace which this Blood has made to reign in the high places as well as in the low; the impetus of its wave bearing back the sons of Adam from the yawning gulf, purified, renewed and dazzling white in the radiance of their heavenly apparel; the sacred Table outspread before them on the watcrs' brink, and the chalice brimful of inebriation-----all this preparation and display would be objectless, all these splendours would be incomprehensible, if man were not brought to see therein the wooings of a love that could never endure its advances to be outdone by the pretensions of any other.

Therefore, the Blood of Jesus is set before our eyes at this moment as the Blood of the Testament; the pledge of the alliance proposed to us by God; [Exod. xxiv 8; Heb. ix 20] the dower stipulated by eternal Wisdom for this Divine union to which He is inviting all men, and its consummation in our soul which is being urged forward with such vehemence by the Holy Ghost.

'Having therefore, brethren, a confidence in entering into the Holies by the Blood of Christ,' says the Apostle, a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil-----that is to say, His flesh-----let us draw near with a pure heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He is faithful that hath promised. Let us consider one another to provoke unto charity and to good works. [Heb. x 19-24] And may the God of peace Who brought again from the dead the great Pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Blood of the everlasting Testament, fit you in all goodness, that you may do His will: doing in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom is glory for ever and ever. Amen! [Ibid. xiii 20, 21]

Nor must we omit to mention here, that this feast is a monument of one of the most brilliant victories of holy Church in our own age. Pius IX had been driven from Rome in 1848 by the triumphant revolution; but the following year, just about this season, his power was re-established. Under the regis of theApostles on June 28 and the two following days, the eldest daughter of the Church, faithful to her past glories, swept the ramparts of the eternal city; and on July 2, Mary's festival, the victory was completed. Not long after this, a twofold decree notified to the city and to the world the Pontiff's gratitude and the way in whicp. he intended to perpetuate, in the sacred liturgy, the memory of these events. On August 10, from Gaeta itself, the place of his exile in the evil day, Pius IX, before returning to reassume the government of his States, addressing himself to the invisible Head of the Church, confided her in a special manner to His Divine care, by the institution of this day's festival; reminding Him that it was for His Church that He had vouchsafed to shed all His Precious Blood. Then, when the Pontiff re-entered his capital, turning to Mary, just as Pius V and Pius VIII had done under other circumstances, the Vicar of Christ solemnly attributed the honour of the recent victory to her who is ever the help of Christians; for on the feast of her Visitation it had been gained; and he now decreed that this said feast of July 2 should be raised from the rite of double major to that of second class throughout the whole world. This was a prelude to the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which the immortal Pontiff had already projected, whereby the crushing of the serpent's head would be completed.

The Church, formed by the Apostles from all the nations under Heaven, advances towards the altar of the Spouse Who hath redeemed her in His Blood, and in the Introit hails His merciful love. She, henceforth, is the kingdom of God, the depository of truth.

The Blood of the Man-God, being the pledge of peace between Heaven and earth, the object of profoundest worship, the centre of the whole liturgy, and our assured protection against all the evils of this present life, deposits, even now, in the souls and bodies of those whom it has ransomed, the germ of eternal happiness; The Church, therefore, in her Collect, begs of the Father, Who has given us His Only-begotten Son, that this Divine germ may not remain sterile within us, but may come to full development in Heaven. . . .

It was by His Own Blood that the Son of God entered into Heaven; this Divine Blood continues to be the means whereby we also may be introduced into the eternal alliance. Thus, the old Covenant, founded on the observance of the precepts of Sinai, had likewise by blood consecrated the people and the law, the tabernacle and the vessels it was to contain; but the whole was but a figure.

'Now,' says St Ambrose, 'it behoves us to tend to truth. Here below, there is the shadow; here below, there is the image; up yonder, there is the truth. In the law was but the shadow; the image is to be found in the Gospel; the truth is in Heaven. Formerly a lamb was immolated; now Christ
is sacrificed, but only under the signs of the mysteries, whereas in Heaven it is without veil. There alone, consequently, is full perfection unto which our thoughts should cleave, because all perfection is in truth without image and without shadow.' [Ambr. De Offic. I 48] There alone is rest: thither, even in this world, do the sons of God tend; without indeed attaining fully thereunto, they reach nearer and nearer day by day; for there alone is to be found that peace which forms Saints.

'O Lord God,' cries out in his turn another illustrious doctor, the great St. Augustine, 'give us this peace, the peace of repose, the peace of the seventh day, of that Sabbath whose sun never sets. Yea! verily the whole order of nature and grace is very beautiful unto Thy servitors, and goodly are the realities they cover; but these images, these successive forms, bide only awhile, and their evolution ended they pass away. The days Thou didst fill with Thy creations are composed of morning and of evening, the seventh alone excepted, for it declineth not, because Thou hast for ever sanctified it in Thine Own rest. Now what is this rest, save that which Thou takest in us, when we ourselves repose in Thee, in the fruitful peace which crowns the series of Thy graces in us? O sacred rest, more productive than labour! the perfect alone know Thee, they who suffer the Divine hand to accomplish within them the work of the six days.' [Aug. Confess. xiii 35-37; de Genesi ad_litt. iv 13-17; et alibi passim.]

And the Apostle goes on to say, interpreting by means of other parts of Scripture his own words, just read to us by holy Church, 'And therefore today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts.' [Heb. iii 7, 8, ex Ps. xciv] The Divine Blood has made us participators of Christ: it is our part not to squander, as though it were worthless, this immense treasure, this initial incorporation which unites us to Christ, the Divine Head; but let us abandon ourselves, without reserve, to the energy of this precious leaven, whose property it is to transform our whole being into Him. Let us be afraid lest we fall short of the promise referred to in toay's Epistle, that promise of our entering into God's rest, as St. Paul tells us. It regards all believers, he says, and this Divine Sabbath is for the whole people of the Lord. Therefore, let us make haste to enter in; let us not be like those Jews whose incredulity excluded them for ever from the promised land. [Heb. iii, iv]

The Gradual brings us back to the great testimony of the love of the Son of God, confided to the Holy Ghost, together with the Blood and Water of the Mysteries: a testimony which is closely linked here below with that which is rendered by the Holy Trinity in Heaven. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, sings the Verse. What is this but to say, once again, that we must absolutely yield to these reiterated invitations of love? None may excuse himself by pleading either ignorance or want of vocation to a higher state than that to which tepidity inclines him. Let us hearken to the Apostle addressing himself to all, in this same Epistle to the Hebrews: 'Yea, verily; great and ineffable are these things. But if you have become little able to understand them, it is your own fault; for whereas for the time you ought to be masters, you have need to be taught again what are the first elements of the words of God: and you are become such as have need of milk, though your age would require the solid meat of the perfect. Wherefore, as far as concerns us in our instructions to you, leaving the word of the elementary teaching of Christ, let us go on to things more perfect, not laying again the foundation of penance from dead works, and of faith towards God. Have you not been illuminated? have you not tasted also the heavenly gift? Have you not been made partakers of the Holy Ghost? What showers of graces at every moment water the earth of your soul! It is time that it bring in a return to God Who tills it. Ye have delayed long enough: be now, at last, of the number of those who by patience and faith shall inherit the promises, casting your hope like an anchor sure and firm, which entereth in even within the veil, where the forerunner Jesus has entered for us-----that is, to draw us in thither after Him. [Heb. v, vi passim.]

On Good Friday we heard for the first time this passage from the beloved disciple. The Church, as she stood mourning at the foot of the Cross whereon her Lord had just died, was all tears and lamentation. Toay, however, she is thrilling with other sentiments, and the very same narration that then provoked her bitter tears now makes her burst out into anthems of gladness and songs of triumph. If we would know the reason of this, let us turn to those who are authorized by her to interpret to us the burthen of her thoughts this day. They will tell us that the new Eve is celebrating her birth from the side of her sleeping Spouse; [ Aug. Horn. diei, ex tract. cxx: in Joan] that from the solemn moment when the new Adam permitted the soldier's lance to open His Heart, we became, in very deed, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. [Serm. II Nocturni] Do not be surprised if holy Church sees naught but love and life in the Blood which is gushing forth.

And thou, O soul, long rebellious to the secret touches of choicest graces, be not disconsolate; do not say: 'Love is no more for me!' How far away soever the old enemy may, by wretched wiles, have dragged thee, is it not still true, that to every winding way, perhaps even to every pitfall, the streamlets of this sacred fount have followed thee? Thinkest thou, perhaps, that thy long and tortuous wanderings from the merciful course of these ever pursuant waters may have weakened their power? Do but try; do but, first of all, bathe in their cleansing wave; do but quaff long draughts from this stream of life; then, O weary soul, arming thyself with faith, be strong, and mount once more the course of the Divine torrent; for, as in order to reach thee it never once was separated from its fountain-head, so likewise be certain that by so doing thou needs must reach the very source itself. Believe me, this is the whole secret of the bride-----namely, that whencesoever she may come, she has no other course to pursue than this, if she would hear the answer to that yearning request expressed in the sacred Canticle: 'Show me, O Thou Whom my soul loveth, where Thou restest in the midday!' [Cant. i 6] Indeed, by reascending the sacred stream, not only is she sure of reaching the Divine Heart, but moreover she is ceaselessly renewing, in its waters, that pure beauty which makes her become in the eyes of the Spouse an object of delight and glory to Him. [Eph. v 27] For thy part, carefully gather up today the testimony of the disciple of love; and congratulating Jesus with the Church, His bride and thy mother, on the brilliancy of her empurpled robe, [Prima ant. in Vesp.] take good heed likewise to conclude with St John: 'Let us then love God, since he hath first loved us.' [1 St. John iv 19]

The Church, whilst presenting her gifts for the sacrifice, sings how that chalice which she is offering to the benediction of her sons, the priests, becomes by virtue of the sacred words the inexhaustible source whence the Blood of her Lord flows out upon the whole world.

Ninety Years Ago Today

July 1st, 1916 was the first day of the British offensive on the Somme. For almost 2 years, the front line on the Western Front had been more-or-less frozen. Britain's new, bigger army of conscripts was training in preparation for an offensive that was to smash through the German lines, and restore mobility to military operations.

All these new, green troops were unleashed on the German front line on July 1st. The result: 57,740 total British casualties in one day – 19,240 of them killed. Thirty-two battalions lost more than 500 men each (including 20 New Army battalions of “Pals” or “Chums”). The experience of the "Grimsby Chums, or 10th Battalion, Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, is typical. All of that in one day, making all previous military debacles from Cannae to Breed's Hill to Isandlwana look tame.

Anthem for Doomed Youth, by Wilfred Owen (1917)

What passing bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in the eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

The Green Fields of France, sung by Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy
Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here dawn by your graveside,
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
When you joined the great fallen in nineteen sixteen,
I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean,
Or young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene.

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly.
Did they sound The Dead March as they lowered you down,
And did the band play The Last Post and chorus,
Did the pipes play The Flowers of the Forest.

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind,
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined.
Although you died back in Nineteen-sixteen,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen.
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed and forgotten behind the glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn, tattered, and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame.
The sun now it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze,
That makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still no-man's-land.
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand,
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.
Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why they died.
And did they believe when they answered the cause
Did they really believe that that war would end wars.
Well the sorrows, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying was all done in vain.
For young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again

If we wonder today why Europeans are gun shy, why their foreign policy would make the Vicar of Bray seem bold and decisive, why their culture seems to have become decadent and even degenerate, why homosexuality and libertinism seem rampant there, maybe we are seeing the cost paid in two world wars having a seriously enervating and demoralising effect on today's Europeans. It may be too much to suggest that only the timid and weak survived to mate and produce offspring. But it has often been said that the heart of Europe was bled white on the battlefields of the First World War.

And no greater shock came to the European social body than the British death toll on the first day of the Somme.

The Most Precious Blood Of Our Lord

Here is my post from last year with the Litany of the Most Precious Blood with illustrations.


Important feasts celebrated during July include:

July 1st The Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
July 2nd Traditional date for the Visitation
July 3rd St. Thomas, whose feast was formerly in December,
July 4th Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
July 6th St. Maria Goretti
July 9th Martyrs of Gorkum and Bl. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop
July 11th St. Benedict
July 16th Our Lady of Mount Carmel
July 17th Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne
July 22nd St. Mary Magdalene
July 24th St. Thomas a Kempis
July 25th St. James the Greater
July 26th SS. Anne and Joachim
July 29th St. Martha
July 31st St. Ignatius of Loyola

The monthly dedication for July is to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The published prayer intentions of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the month of July, 2006 are:

General: That all those who are in prison, and especially young people, may receive the necessary support from society to help them rediscover a sense to their own existence.

Missionary: That in the mission territories, different ethnic and religious groups may live in peace and together build a society inspired by hu­man and spiritual values.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Awful Crime Of Trying To Convert People

What terrible criminals these Missionaries Of Charity must be!

Just remember, the Faith has been persecuted more often than it has been protected by government. And what is against the law is not necessarily a sin. Remember what St. Patrick's Lorica prayer says about "black laws of pagandom and false laws of heretics."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What Kind of American English Do You Speak

Your Linguistic Profile:
60% Yankee
20% General American English
10% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I object to the absence of "tonic" as a choice for what you call a soft drink.

Saints Peter and Paul

The martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome during the reign of Nero. Saint Peter was crucified, at his own request upside-down, as he felt he was unworthy to die in exactly the same manner as Our Lord. Saint Paul was beheaded. This is a miniature that originally illustrated part of the Suffrages To the Saints devotion of a 15th Century French Book of Hours. And as far as I know, this is the only place this image appears on the internet.

In the Traditional Latin Rite, the Gospel for today is Matt. 16: 13-19.

13 And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of Man is?
14 But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answering said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Good Times Keep On Rolling

The Red Sox may regret the coming All-Star break, as they are playing very good ball, and it will be a shame to take a break from it. They have won 10 straight (though, ominously, such a great winning streak has set the Yankees back only 3.5 games), and face a schedule for the rest of the season which has them playing more home games than any other American League team (because they were rained out at home so often in May and early June). If they continue on the pace they have set so far this season, even with all their starting pitching woes, they could still win 101 games, their best in many years.

Tonight, Pedro Martinez starts for the Mets in Fenway.

New At Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group

Gelato recipes.

I've been on a gelato kick lately. The stuff is pricey ($4 for what could best be described as an overflowing Hoodsie size at Joey's Gelateria at Quincy Market Monday). But it is so good. For those on a budget, try Trader Joe's, which has some ready-made in the freezer chest.

At the Yahoo Group, I have added about a dozen promising gelato recipes to the Ice Cream subfile of the Recipes and Menus file. Flavors? Earl Grey Tea flavored gelato. Almond Amaretto gelato. Chocolate hazelnut gelato. How about an Orange Ragout with Dark chocolate gelato? All you need is a standard ice cream maker.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

He Gets It

See what the new Secretary for the Congregation For Divine Worship has to say about the reform of the reform.

Beatification Of Spanish Martyrs Opened

The Holy Father has officially opened the cause for beatification of 149 of those martyred by the Communists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

Spanish Nationalist poster: Note the centrality of the Sacred Heart

That Other New York Team Is In Town

The Red Sox, sporting a 2.5 game lead over the Yankees, take on the New York Mets in interleague play, at Fenway. This will be the much-ballyhooed return of ingrate Pedro Martinez to Boston.

It is also being billed as a preview of the 2006 World Series. Well, even with the Sox riding a 9-game winning streak, if it is to be that, they'd do well to get themselves more good starting pitching. The modern equivalent of Spahn, Sain, and Pray for Rain (Schilling, Wakefield and hope for a natural disaster) just won't cut it all the way to the end of October. In any case, it is 20 years (gosh, I was a 1L at BC Law School then!) since the Sox played the Mets in the 1986 World Series. Wouldn't it be a good idea to replay that match-up this October, and this time have Boston win, so, at least, Bill Buckner can take the dress off, come out of hiding, and resume his own identity?

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