Saturday, August 01, 2009

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

O HEART most pure of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
obtain for me from Jesus a pure and humble heart.

SWEET HEART OF MARY, be my salvation.

BLESSED VIRGIN, who didst keep in thy heart the
precious treasure of the words of Jesus thy Son and,
pondering over the sublime mysteries therein contained,
couldst only live for God, how I am confounded by the
coldness of my heart! Ah, dear Mother, obtain for me the
grace of meditating always on the holy law of God and of
seeking to follow thine example in the fervent practice
of all the Christian virtues.

SWEET HEART OF MARY, be my salvation.

Our Father once and Hail Mary seven times


Lammas and Saint Peter Ad Vincula 2009

Today is the feast of Saint Peter Ad Vincula. In Europe, it was celebrated as the first fruits of the harvest. "Lammas" probably comes from "Loaf Mass", and a ritual blessing of loaves of bread made from the first grain harvested was part of the Lammas rite. Harvest queens would be crowned in villages, and harvest suppers would be held.

The Feast of Saint Peter Ad Vincula is the Feast of Peter's Chains. Saint Peter, having been arrested, was held in custody, but miraculously was permitted to escape. Two links said to be from the chain that he was confined in are venerated at the church of Saint Peter Ad Vincula at Rome.

The Feast of Saint Peter's Chains was superimposed over the pre-Christian start of the harvest festivals (but with less success than with Christmas, Easter, and All Saints' Day). Though Lammas has lost much of its significance in the last hundred years, it has more cultural resonance than Saint Peter's Chains.

In Western Europe, the harvest is about 3 weeks earlier, on average, than in New England. We think of harvest time as September and October. But even in our own suburban gardens, aren't the first tomatoes ready about now? Raspberries and blackberries are a few days away. Sweet corn is about ready here. Apples will start ripening in a few weeks. Six weeks to fresh sweet cider!

While we are in agriculture mode, a rather rare thing for me, take a look at Mary Alexander's gardening tips.

Just because we are no longer an agricultural society does not mean that we need to lose touch with the traditional seasonal tempo of life.

This was also the beginning of the Autumn fair season. One still hears an Irish folk song called "The Oulde Lammas Faire."

At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle long ago
I met a pretty colleen who set me heart a-glow
She was smiling at her daddy buying lambs from Paddy Roe
At the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!
Sure I seen her home that night
When the moon was shining bright
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

At the ould Lammas Fair boys were you ever there
Were you ever at the Fair In Ballycastle-O?
Did you treat your Mary Ann
To some Dulse and Yellow Man
At the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

In Flander's fields afar while resting from the War
We drank Bon Sante to the Flemish lassies O!
But the scene that haunts my memory is kissing Mary Ann
Her pouting lips all sticky from eating Yellow Man
As we passed the silver Margy and we strolled along the strand
From the ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O!

Repeat Chorus
There's a neat little cabin on the slopes of fair Knocklayde
It's lit by love and sunshine where the heather honey's made
With the bees ever humming and the children's joyous call
Resounds across the valley as the shadows fall
Sure I take my fiddle down and my Mary smiling there
Brings back a happy mem'ry of the Lammas Fair

Repeat Chorus

For your edification in things edible and Irish, Dulse is a dried seaweed eaten as a vegetable, and Yellowman is a kind of toffee.

Think about it--there are 7 or 8 weeks to the Topsfield Fair and other fairs start before that. King Richard's Medieval Faire starts Labor Day weekend in . Many towns on the North Shore have their August festivals, probably the equivalent of the medieval fair near Lammas. Salem has its Heritage Days in August, a week-long festival of street fair, parade, and fireworks, along with ice cream "Scooper Bowls and Chowderfests. Beverly has Homecoming Week, and Newburyport has Yankee Homecoming this month.

Many towns in medieval and early modern Europe held large fairs on or near Lammas that brought people from far and near to the closest thing Europe then had to a mall. In medieval Europe, those fairs took on a much greater commercial significance than their descendants do today. The fairs were mobile, spending a few days in a given location (like a modern carnival).

The largest Lammas Fair that continues to this day is the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Lammas is the only resting point we have until the Feast of the Assumption in two weeks. It is our chance to assess how the summer is going, whether it will be an early autumn, or whether the heat will persist past Labor Day.

You don't need to be Haydn Pearson (The Countryman essayist in The New York Times 50 years ago) to notice that Autumn is on the way. Some sickly trees will start to change by the end of the month. In fact, I was shocked to see trees near the Prudential Center in Boston starting to turn yellow two weeks ago! Despite signs of the approach of fall, it may still be hot now and then, especially in early August. The "Dog Days," which began July 25th or so, may hold sway until the middle of the month. But the cooler days will start to be noticed more, especially after the fifteenth of August. By mid-month the growing shortness of the days will be evident.

With regard to the "Dog Days," a reader last year very helpfully sent this in for our edification (thank you very much!):

2) These Transitus days give us an extra bonus for feasting days of saints we love. St. Swithin's Feast is July 2, but "St. Swithin's Day" is July 15, his Transitus; and it is on the latter date that the weather depends. In France the weather saint is St. Medard (June 8), and the farmers know that "Quand it pleut a la saint-Medard, it pleut pour quarante jours plus tard."

3) In the USA, July 3 marks the beginning of Dog Days, and if it rains on this day, you'll have plenty of rain for the forty-day period of Dog Days. Plus the usual phenomena of dogs getting irritable and snakes biting more frequently, with especially powerful venom. My grandmother used to keep a dish filled with water in the yard for the dogs during Dog Days.

Autumn-themed decor started showing up in stores a few weeks ago. There were back-to-school displays (stacks of binders) in Walmart in June, a few days after school ended! And this past weekend (at the end of July!), I saw in a TJ Maxx/HomeGoods store a startling array of fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving decorative items. What, no Christmas decorations yet?

Unfortunately, I and my fellow ragweed allergy sufferers will start to be miserable in about 10 days, and will stay that way until the first hard frost in October. It has not bothered me as much in Salem or in Boston. Not much ragweed nearby to trouble me. But when I am in the suburbs, or in more rural areas, gosh do my sinuses act up!

May the Lord bless this harvest and provide ample food for all His people. As a practical matter, your local food pantry does not want you to bake a loaf of bread for them. But today, as we celebrate the harvest, it would be great to write a $10.00check to them, so they can buy bread for ten families for the week.

Bread For Lammas

Since this is the day to celebrate first fruits of the wheat harvest, why not share a few recipes for bread? After all, grains are the staff of life, and are basic to our culture, indeed to all human survival. And the Bible is full of references to bread and its liturgical significance.

Our Lord decided upon bread as the form His Body would take for us.

The liturgical readings at Mass at this time of year focus on grain, wheat, bread, and the harvest.

And I must admit a terrific fondess for breads. Indeed, you might say that my body has never met a carbohydrate it did not take a serious liking to, and invite to stick around for life in a pleasant spot around my middle.

I'll give three recipes for bread today, all of which I am fond of. All are for a 1 pound bread machine, which I use for most of my breads.

Chunky Chili Cornbread

1 1/4 cups water
1 egg
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Place the ingredients into the pan of a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set the pan in the machine and close the lid. Select the Dough cycle, and press start.
When the cycle is complete, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, and press out all of the air. Roll dough up into a tight loaf, and pinch the seam. Place into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Let rise for about 40 minutes, or until your finger leaves an impression when you poke the bread gently.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until nicely browned. When done, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Rosemary Bread

1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select white bread cycle; press Start.

Onion Sandwich Rolls

3/4 cup lukewarm milk
5 tablespoons lukewarm water
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup dried minced onion

Place the milk, water, butter, salt, sugar, onion powder, 3 tablespoons of dried onion, potato flakes, flour and yeast into the pan of a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and press Start.
When the cycle has completed, remove the dough from the machine, and knead on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 equal pieces, and form into balls. Gently flatten the balls until they are 4 inches in diameter. If they keep shrinking back, just let them relax for a minute before flattening. Place on a baking sheet, and cover loosely with a towel. Set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Whisk together the egg white and water in a cup. Brush over the tops of the risen rolls, and sprinkle with remaining minced onion.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Cool completely, then slice in half horizontally before using.


August 2009

August on Nantucket

Important feasts celebrated during August include:

1st St. Peter Ad Vincula (Lammas)
2nd St. Alphonsus Liguori
4th St. Dominic de Guzman
6th The Transfiguration
7th St. Cajetan
8th St. Jean Marie Vianney
9th St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
10th St. Lawrence
12th St. Clare of Assisi
15th Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
16th St. Stephen of Hungary
18th St. Jane Frances de Chantal
19th St. John Eudes
20th St. Bernard
22th The Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady(moved to the Friday after Sacred Heart)
24th St. Bartholomew
25th St. Louis of France
27th St. Monica (new date)
28th St. Augustine of Hippo
29th Martyrdom of John the Baptist
30th St. Rose of Lima

Note, August, especially early August, is one of the places where feasts in the traditional Ordo, and those of the new Ordo differ the most. I follow the traditional Ordo for the most part, though I acknowledge the changes made, and note new saints added to the calendar.

The First Saturday of August is today, Saturday August 1st.
The First Friday of August is Friday August 7th.

The monthly dedication for August is to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady.

August falls entirely within the Time After Pentecost. There are no embertides in August.

Since August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart, and the Feast of the Assumption (a holy day of obligation) falls on August 15th, it would be appropriate to make a novena to the Immaculate Heart beginning August 5th, and ending on the vigil of the Assumption:

Novena To the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate Heart of Mary, full of love for God and mankind,
and of compassion for sinners, I consecrate myself entirely to thee.
I entrust to thee the salvation of my soul. May my heart be ever
united with thine, so that I may hate sin, love God, and my
neighbor, and reach eternal life together with those whom I love.
Mediatrix of All Graces and Mother of Mercy, remember
the infinite treasure which thy Divine Son has merited by His
sufferings and which He has confided to thee for us, thy children.
Filled with confidence in thy motherly Heart, which I venerate
and love, I come to thee with my pressing needs.
Through the merits of thy loving Heart, and for the sake of
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obtain for me the favor I ask:
[Mention your request.]

Dearest Mother, if what I ask for should not be according to
God's Will, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater
benefit to my soul. May I experience the kindness of thy
motherly Heart and the power of thine intercession with Jesus
during life and at the hour of my death.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's published prayer intentions for the month of August, 2009:

That public opinion may be more aware of the problem of millions of displaced persons and refugees and that concrete solutions may be found for their often tragic situation.

That those Christians who are discriminated against and persecuted in many Countries because of the name of Christ may have their human rights, equality and religious freedom recognized, in order to be able to live and profess their own faith freely.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Litany In Honor Of the Most Precious Blood Of Jesus
For private recitation.

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 Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Blood of Jesus, the Son of the Eternal Father,
Cleanse us, O Precious Blood!
Blood of Jesus, formed by the Holy Ghost in the heart of the Virgin Mother,
Cleanse us, O Precious Blood!
Blood of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, Etc.
Blood of Jesus, of infinite majesty,
Blood of Jesus, of infinite worth,
Blood of Jesus, shed in the Circumcision,
Blood of Jesus, shed in the Agony on Mount Olivet,
Blood of Jesus, shed in the Crowning of Thorns,
Blood of Jesus, shed in the Scrourging,
Blood of Jesus, shed on the Way of the Cross,
Blood of Jesus, shed at the Crucifixion,
Blood of Jesus, shed at the opening of Thy Sacred Side,
Blood of Jesus, shed in love for mankind,
Blood of Jesus, shed in obedience to the Father,
Blood of Jesus, Sacrifice to Divine Justice,
Blood of Jesus, memorial of the bitter Passion,
Blood of Jesus, seal of the New and Eternal Testament,
Blood of Jesus, which formed the Church, our Mother,
Blood of Jesus, which ransomed us from the slavery of Satan,
Blood of Jesus, which reopened Heaven for us,
Blood of Jesus, which cries more loudly than the blood of Abel,
Blood of Jesus, which pacifies the wrath of the Father,
Blood of Jesus, which mitigates or averts punishments,
Blood of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Blood of Jesus, cleansing bath for the sinful soul,
Blood of Jesus, balsam for the wounds of the soul,
Blood of Jesus, source of peace and reconciliation,
Blood of Jesus, flowing in the Eucharistic Heart,
Blood of Jesus, imploring grace for us,
Blood of Jesus, flowing mystically in the Holy Sacrifice,
Blood of Jesus, inebriating drink of the children of God,
Blood of Jesus, healing drink of the sick and weak,
Blood of Jesus, refreshing drink of the banished children of Eve,
Blood of Jesus, love-potion of God-loving souls,
Blood of Jesus, celestial wine of Virgins,
Blood of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Blood of Jesus, source of love and mercy,
Blood of Jesus, source of life and holiness,
Blood of Jesus, medicine of immortality,
Blood of Jesus, reviled and despised,
Blood of Jesus, worthy of all praise,
Blood of Jesus, comfort of the Patriarchs,
Blood of Jesus, desire of the Prophets
Blood of Jesus, power and strength of the Apostles and Martyrs,
Blood of Jesus, sanctification of virgins and confessors,
Blood of Jesus, terror of evil spirits,
Blood of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
Blood of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Blood of Jesus, consolation and refreshment of the Poor Souls,
Blood of Jesus, key of Heaven,
Blood of Jesus, pledge of eternal blessedness,
Blood of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,
Blood of Jesus, the Lamb without spot or blemish,

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, O Lord.

V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.
R. And made us a kingdom to our God.
Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast given Thine only-begotten Son as a Saviour to the world, and Who didst will to be reconciled by His Blood, grant us, we beseech Thee, the grace so to honor the Price of our Salvation, and through its power to be protected against all the evils of the present life, that we may enjoy the fruit thereof forever in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.


Saint Ignatius Of Loyola

Founder of the Society of Jesus. Since I spent 7 years in a Jesuit school, though it was the very secular and very liberal Boston College, Saint Ignatius deserves a nod. He envisioned the Jesuits as much better than they have been in the last 50 years. And remember, the early Jesuits were the leaders in devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Of course, there is the old joke about two college students thinking about the priesthood, and examining orders they might join. One was reading about the Jesuits, and the Dominicans.

He said to his companion, "What is there to pick from between these two orders? They were both founded by Spaniards in pre-modern times to fight heresy through education and preaching. The Dominicans were founded to fight Albigensianism, and the Jesuits to fight Protestantism."

"So," his companion asked, "What is the difference between them?".

"Well, off the top of my head, all I can come up with is to ask, 'When was the last time you saw an Albigensian walking the streets?'."

Check out Catholic Tradition's page on Saint Ignatius.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saint Martha Of Bethany

Martha was the sister of Mary of Bethany, and of Lazarus. She was the one who fussed over cooking for Jesus and His Apostles, while her sister Mary sat and listened to the Lord's discourse. She complained that Mary was doing "nothing" while she was doing all the work. But Our Lord explained that Mary had chosen "the better part," and that Martha ought to be less concerned with the minutiae of entertaining than with listening to His message.

A listing of her patronage shows her connection to housekeeping and entertaining:
butlers, cooks, dieticans, domestic servants, homemakers, hotel-keepers, housemaids, housewives, innkeepers, laundry workers, maids, manservants, servants, servers, single laywomen, travellers.

She may have been a part of a mission to southern Gaul, where she may have died around 80 A.D.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saints Anne and 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.


The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

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

I the middle ages this Sunday was called the sixth and last Sunday after the Natalis of the apostles (that is, the feast of St. Peter); it was, indeed, the last for the years when Easter had been kept as late in April as was possible; but it was only the first after that feast of St. Peter when Easter immediately followed the spring equinox.
We have already noticed the variable character of this last portion of the liturgical cycle, which is the result of Easter being kept on a different day each year; and that in consequence of this variation this week may be the second in which the Sapiential Books are read, or, what is of more frequent occurrence, the Books of Kings may still be providing the lessons for the Divine Office. In this latter case it is the ancient temple raised by Solomon, the king of peace, to the glory of Jehovah, that engages the Church's attention to-day. We shall find that the portions of the Mass which are chanted on this Sunday are closely connected with the lessons read in last night's Office.

Let us, then, turn our reverential thoughts once more to this splendid monument of the ancient Covenant. The Church is now going through that month which immediately preceded the events so momentous to Jerusalem; she would do honour to-day to the glorious and divine past which prepared her own present. Let us, like her, enter into the feelings of the first Christians, who were Judas's own children; they had been told of the impending destruction foretold by the prophets, and an order from God bade them depart from Jerusalem. What a solemn moment that was, when the little flock of the elect, - the only ones in whom was kept up the faith of Abraham and the knowledge of the destinies of the Hebrew people - had just begun their emigration, and looked back on the city of their fathers, to take a last farewell! They took the road to the east; it led towards the Jordan, beyond which God had provided a refuge for the remnant of Israel. They halted on the incline of Mount Olivet, whence they had a full view of Jerusalem; in a few moments that hill would be between them and the city. Not quite forty years before the Man-God had sat down on that same spot, taking His own last look at the city and her temple. Jerusalem was seen in all her magnificence from this portion of the mount, which afterwards would be visited and venerated by our Christian pilgrims. The city had long since recovered from its ruins, and had, at the time we are speaking of, been enlarged by the princes of the Herodian family, so favourably looked on by the Romans. Never in any previous period of her history had Jerusalem been so perfect and so beautiful as she then was, when our fugitives were gazing upon her. There was not, as yet, the slightest outward indication that she was the city accursed of God. There, as a queen in her strength and power, she was throned amidst the mountains of which the psalmist had sung; her towers and palaces seemed as though they were her crown. Within the triple enclosure of the walls built by her latest kings, she embraced those three hills, the grandest, not only of Judea, but of the whole world: first, there was Sion, with its unparalleled memories; then, Golgotha, which had not yet been honoured on account of the holy sepulchre, and which, nevertheless, was even then attracting to itself the Roman legions, who were to wreak vengeance on this guilty land; and, lastly, Moriah, the sacred mount of the old world, on whose Summit was raised that unrivalled temple, which gave Jerusalem to be the queen of all the cities of the east, for as such even the Gentiles acknowledged her.

'At sunrise, when in the distance there appeared the sanctuary, towering upwards of a hundred cubits above the two rows of porticoes which formed its double enclosure; when the sun east his morning rays on that facade of gold and white marble; when there glittered the thousand gilded spires which mounted from its roof, it seemed, says Josephus, that it was a hill capped with snow, which gradually shone, and reddened, with the morning beams. The eye was dazzled, the soul was amazed, religion was roused within the beholder, and even the pagans fell down prostrate.' Yes, when the pagan came hither either for con­quest or for curiosity, if he ever returned, it was as a pilgrim. Full of holy sentiments, he ascended the hill; and, having reached the summit, he entered by the golden gate into the gorgeous galleries which formed the outward enclosure of the temple. In the court of the Gentiles he met with men from every country. His soul was struck by the holiness of a place where he felt that there were preserved in all purity the ancient religious traditions of the human race; and he, being pro­fane, stood afar off, assisting at the celebrations of the Hebrew worship, such as God had commanded it to be, that is, with all the magnificence of a divine ritual. The white column of smoke from the burning victims rose up before him as earth's homage to God, its Creator and Saviour; from the inner courts there fell on his ear the harmony of the sacred chants, carrying as they did to heaven both the ardent prayer of those ages of expectation and the inspired expression of the world's hope; and when, from the midst of the levite choirs and the countless priests who were busy in their ministry of sacrifice and praise, the high priest, with his golden crown on his head, came forth holding the censer in his hand, and entering himself alone within the mysterious veil which curtained off the Holy of holies, the stranger, though he had but a glimpse of all those splendid symbols of religion, yet confessed himself overpowered, and acknowledged the incomparable greatness of that invisible Deity, whose majesty made all the vain idols of the Gentiles seem to him paltry and foolish pretences. The princes of Asia and the greatest kings considered it an honour to be permitted to contribute, both by personal gifts of their own making and by sums taken from the national treasuries, towards defray­ing the expenses of the holy place. The Roman generals and the Cæsars themselves kept up the traditions of Cyrus8 and Alexander in this respect. Augustus ordered that every day a bull and two lambs should be presented in his name to the Jewish priests, and be immolated on Jehovah's altar for the well-being of the empire; his suc­cessors insisted on the practice being continued; and Josephus tells us that the beginning of the war was attributable to the sacrificers refusing any longer to accept the imperial offerings.

But, if the majesty of the temple thus impressed the very pagans right up to its last days, there were reasons for an intensity of veneration and love on the part of a faithful Jew, which he alone could realize. He was the inheritor of the submissive faith of the patriarchs; as such, he was well aware that the prophetic privileges of his fatherland were but an announcement to the whole world, that it was one day to be blessed with the more real and lasting benefits of which he, the Jew, possessed but a figure; he quite understood that the hour had come when the children of God would not confine their worship within the narrow limits of one mountain or one city; he knew that God's true temple was then actually being built up on every hill of the Gentile world; and that, in its im­mensity, it took in all those countries of the earth into which the Blood that flowed first from Calvary had won its way. And yet, we can easily understand what a sharp pang of anguish thrilled through his patriot heart, now that God was about to consummate, before the astonished universe, the terrible consumption of the ungrateful people, whom He had chosen for His portion, His inheritance. Who is there that would not share in the grief of these holy ones of Jacob, few in number as the ears of corn gathered by the gleaner, and now bidding an eternal farewell to that holy, but now accursed, city? These true Israelites might well weep; they were leaving for ever, leaving to devastation and ruin, their homes, their country, and, dearest of all, that temple, which, for ages, had sanctified the glory of Israel, and given Juda the right and title to be the noblest of the nations of the earth.

There was something even beyond all this: it was that their dear Jerusalem had been the scene of the grandest mysteries of the law of grace. Was it not in yonder temple that, as the prophets ex­pressed it, God had manifested the Angel of the Testament, and given peace? The honour of that temple is no longer the exclusive right of an isolated people; for the Desired of all nations, by His going into it, has brought it a grander glory than all the ages of expectation and prophecy have imparted, It was under the shadow of those walls that Mary—she that was to be the future seat of Wisdom eternal—prepared within her soul and body a more august sanctuary for the divine Word than was that whose cedared and golden wainscoting made it so exquisite a shelter for the infant maiden. Yes, it was there that, when but three years old, Mary joyously mounted up the fifteen steps which separated the court of women from the eastern gate, offering to God the pure homage of her immaculate heart. Here, then, on the summit of Moriah, began, in the person of their Queen, the long line of consecrated virgins, who, to the end of time, will come offering, after her, their love to the King. There, also, the new priesthood found its type and model in the blessed Mother, presenting in that holy temple the world's victim, Jesus, the new-born Child of her chaste womb. In that same dwelling, made by the hands of men; in those halls where sat the doctors, eternal Wisdom, too, seated Himself under the form of a child of twelve, instructing the very teachers of the Law by His sublime questions and divine answers. Every one of those courts had seen the Word Incarnate giving forth treasures of goodness, power, and heavenly doctrine. One of those porticoes was the favourite one where Jesus used to walk and the infant Church made it the place of its early assemblies.

Truly, then, this temple is holy with a holiness possessed by no other spot on earth; it is holy for the Jew of Sinai; it is holy for the Christian, be he Jew or Gentile, for here he finds that the Law ends, because here are verified all its figures. With good reason did our mother the Church, in her Office for this night, repeat the words which were spoken by God to Solomon: 'I have sanctified this house which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and my heart shall be always there.'

How, then, is it that dark forebodings are come terrifying the watchmen of the holy mount? Strange apparitions, fearful noises, have deprived the sacred edifice of that calm and peace which become the house of the Lord. At the Feast of Pentecost the priests, who were fulfilling their ministry, have heard in the holy place a commotion like that of a mighty multitude, and many voices crying out together: 'Let us go hence!' On another occasion, at midnight, the heavy brazen gate which closed the sanctuary on the eastern side, and which took twenty men to move it, has opened of itself. O temple, O temple, let us say it, with them that witnessed these threatening prodigies, why art thou troubled? why workest thou thine own destruction? Alas! we know what awaits thee! The prophet Zacharias foretold it when he said: 'Open thy gates, O Libanus, and let fire devour thy cedars!'

Has God forgotten His promises of infinite good­ness? No: but let us think upon the terrible and just warning, which He added to the promise He made to Solomon, when he had finished building the temple: 'But if ye and your children, revolting, shall turn away from following Me, and will not keep My commandments and My ceremonies which I have set before you, I will take away Israel from the face of the land, which I have given them; and the temple which I have sanctified to My name, I will cast out of My sight; and Israel shall be a proverb, and a by-word among all people. And this house shall be made an example of; every one that shall pass by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss, and say: 'Why hath the Lord done thus to this land, and to this house?'

O Christian soul! thou that, by the grace of God, art become a temple more magnificent, more beloved in His eyes, than that of Jerusalem, take a lesson from these divine chastisements; and reflect on the words of the Most High, as recorded by Ezechiel: 'The justice of the just shall not deliver him, in what day soever he shall sin ....

Yea, if I shall say to the just, that he shall surely live, and he, trusting in his justice, commit iniquity - all his justices shall be forgotten, and, in his iniquity, which he hath committed, in the same shall he die.'

With the Greeks, the multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes is the subject of the Gospel for this Sunday; they count it the eighth of St. Matthew.


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