Saturday, October 24, 2009

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Prayer to the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, show thy power with the signs of thy former victories, and from thy throne, from which thou bestowest pardon and graces, mercifully look upon the Church of thy Son, His Vicar on earth, and every order of clergy and laity, who are sorely oppressed in this mighty conflict.

Powerful Vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mercy, even though the hour of God's justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men.

For me who am the least of men, kneeling before thee in prayer, obtain the grace I need to live a holy life upon earth and to reign among the just in Heaven. Meanwhile, together with all faithful Christians throughout the world, I greet thee and acclaim thee as Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.


Novena For the Holy Souls In Purgatory Day 1

Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."


Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Act of Contrition, Hope and Confidence

O JESUS, loving Spouse of my soul, the longed-for moment draws near; the happy moment, in which I, Thy unworthy creature, shall receive the most Holy sacrament of Thy Body and Blood, as the most effectual remedy for all my miseries. For the love of Thee I grieve most bitterly for every one of my sins and for all my negligences, whereby I have offended Thy tender goodness, and defiled my soul, which Thou didst ransom with Thine Own most precious Blood. How shall I presume to receive Thee into a heart all surrounded with briers and thorns of earthly attachments, reeking with unwholesome vapors of worldliness and vain desires! But, my merciful Jesus, though I am sick of soul, I remember the words which fell from Thine Own gracious lips---that they who are whole need not the physician, but they who are sick---and this gives me confidence. Surely, my Lord, if any one has cause to trust Thee it is I! Others may have their innocence or their virtues to fall back upon, but I have Thy mercy, Thy great mercy only. I have made myself undeserving of it, but when hast thou ever treated me as I deserved? Where should I be now if justice and not mercy had had its way? Good Jesus, Who didst invite the blind and the lame, the poor and the needy, to Thy supper, behold, as one of them all, I will draw near to the most sacred feast of Thy Body and Blood, the banquet of the Angels, not in presumption, but with a contrite and humble heart, with lowly confidence, with hope in Thy goodness and mercy, with love in return for all Thy love, with fervent desire to please Thee, to live henceforth according to Thy Spirit, and in the imitation of the virtues of Thy Sacred Heart that I may praise and glorify Thee eternally.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hope For Anglicans

Every morning, as part of my prayers for the Holy Father, I pray that his pontificate will bring about the conversion of certain groups into full, complete, perfect, and lasting Communion with Holy Mother the Church. One of the groups I specify is the Traditional Anglican Communion, whose 600,000 members have been earnestly seeking full communion for years. I know a few members, and I know more earnest Christian Anglicans and Episcopalians who are disgusted with what has been happening in their church these 30 years and more and who probably won't be too far behind the TAC in exploring full communion with Rome.

This morning, we awoke to find that the Holy Father has been working earnestly on this, and has announced the creation of ordinariates for the Anglicans. This structure will allow them to retain non-heretical aspects of Anglican worship while incorporating them within the One, True, Universal, Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This is the Anglican-Use writ large.

God bless the Holy Father and may this initiative bear good fruit!

What, you ask, are the other groups whose conversion I ask for? They are the Pius X Society, the CMRIs and other sedevacantists, and all the Eastern Orthodox. Bring them all in, and we have immense re-inforcements on the right. And it looks that that is the strategy the Holy Father is following.


First Post For Hallowmas 2009

October 20th is when I begin to really get into Hallowmas mode, and I like to begin each year with a quotation from one of my favorite novels from my required reading at prep school.

"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare. But there be good and bad, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn't begun yet. July, well, July's really fine: there's no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June's best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September's a billion years away.

But you take October, now. School's been on a month and you're riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you'll dump on old man Prickett's porch, or the hairy ape costume you'll wear to the YMCA on the last night of the month. And if it's around October twentieth and everything smoky smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners."

From the Prologue to Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, published in 1962.

I just happened to remember that it is October 20th (that forgetfulness seems to hit me every year). Who can't remember feeling the way Bradbury describes as childhood Halloweens approached?

Ray Bradbury is very much a modern. But his work is not imbued with modernism. You might call his style modernity without modernism. His Fahrenheit 451, which I read eight years ago for the first time, is one of the most conservative statements in favor of classical learning and against the mainstream pseudo-culture of TV that you will find written in the 20th century.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and The Illustrated Man show us a most welcome positive view of small town America (with a twist, of course, this is fiction, and imaginative fiction at that). Bradbury's normative themes are refreshing and real and far more authentic to the human experience (while being faithful to the cultural tradition of which they are a part) than the works of hundreds of authors whose books cram the local Barnes & Noble or Borders.

The difference is that, in 100 years, no one will recall who these authors were, or why what they had to say. But people will still read Bradbury for pleasure.

Others achieve the same plateau of excellence: Tolkien, Lewis, Frost, O'Brian, O'Connor, Kirk, Hawthorne, Pope, Wodehouse, Waugh, Faulkner, Wolfe, O'Conner, maybe Rowling. Their stuff will stand the test of time. Not only is Bradbury a friend of what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things," and a friend of Kirk, but his work is part of that cultural patrimony we must pass down.

Bradbury has for me made October 20th a milestone, a day in which Halloween begins to be anticipated. Halloween, the eve of All Saints' and the build-up for the Catholic Day of the Dead, All Souls', has taken some hard knocks, mostly unjustified. Opportunistic modern wiccans and pagans, especially in Salem, have claimed as their own a holiday that has nothing to do with them and their New Age, and never did.

The celebration of the day is Celtic and Christian. It is the dying time of the year, with the harvest almost all in now, and even the green leaves of summer suddenly blazing into brilliant color and then dropping to the ground. The days are growing notably colder and shorter. It is the appropriate time to recall our dead, to think about, and to pray for the all the dead. The merry season of Christmas lies ahead. But, as the liturgical year winds down over the next 5 weeks, let us pause to recall death. It is the first of the Four Last Things, after all.

If part of thinking about it is reading old gothic ghost stories over a mug of mulled cider by candlelight in the privacy of one's study, or watching movies about ghosts, witches, vampires, werewolves, and monsters, or impressing the imagination of children by decorating a "haunted house" and handing out enough candy to make them spit out teeth the next day, or carving pumpkins in imitation of the Irish custom of the carved turnip of Jack of the Lantern, or burning leaves at night, there is no harm in it.

But the experience is made richer by remembering the saints of the Church on All Hallows' Day itself, and by praying for the dead, our dead, and the forgotten, unknown poor souls in Purgatory throughout November. And if dressing up as ghosts in bedsheets (I used the "Charlie Brown" costume once or twice as a kid) and going door to door like the people in Celtic villages who dressed up as those who had died during the year did to seek propitiary offerings, or those who, in Christian times, performed the luck-visit ritual of going a'souling, then it is a start.

The important thing is to get people to start to remember the dead. Then build on that foundation. Just getting them to think of the dead as something other than inventory for a graveyard and an object of horror is a necessary start. We will all die, and will want to be remembered and prayed for. Purgatory is no easy thing, if we are lucky enough to get there. So remember the dead, and pray for them, because in time you may be that poor forgotten soul in Purgatory, wishing someone would remember you in their prayers with a longing that we can scarcely conceive.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

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


THE Gospel of last Sunday spoke to us of the nuptials of the Son of God with the human race. The realization of those sacred nuptials is the object which God had in view in the creation of the visible world; it is the only one He intends in His government of society. This being the case, we cannot be surprised, that the parable of the Gospel, whilst revealing to us this divine plan, has also brought before us the great fact of the rejection of the Jews, and the vocation of the Gentiles, which is not only the most important fact of the world's history, but is also intimately connected with the consummation of the mystery of the divine union.

And yet, as we have already said, {The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost.} the exclusion of Juda is one day to cease. His obstinate refusal of the grace has caused it to be brought to us Gentiles by the messengers of God's loving mercy. But, now that the fullness of the Gentiles {Rom. xi, 25, 26.} has heard and followed the heavenly invitation, the time is advancing when the accession of Israel will complete the Church in her members, and give the bride the signal of the final call, which will put an end to the long labour of ages, {Ibid. viii. 22.} by the appearance of the Bridegroom. {Apoc. xxii. 17.} The holy jealousy, which the apostle was so desirous to rouse in the people of his race by turning towards the Gentiles, {Rom. xi. 13, 14.} will, at last, make itself felt by the descendants of Jacob. What joy will there be in heaven, when they, repentant and humble, shall unite before God in the song of gladness sung by the Gentiles, in celebration of the entrance of His countless Jewish people into the house of the divine banquet! That union of the two peoples will truly be a prelude to the great day mentioned by St. Paul, when, speaking in his patriotic enthusiasm of the Jews, he said: 'If their offence (i.e., their fall) hath been the riches of the world, and their diminution be the riches of the Gentiles, how much more the fullness of them!' {Ibid. 12.}

Now, the Mass of this twentieth Sunday after Pentecost gives us a foretaste of that happy day, when the new people will not be alone in singing hymns of praise for the divine favours bestowed on our earth. The ancient liturgists tell us that our Mass consists partly of the words of the prophets, giving to Jacob an expression of his repentance, whereby he is to merit a return of God's favours, and partly of inspired formulas, wherein the Gentiles, who are already within the hall of the marriage-feast, are singing their canticles of love. {BERNO AUG., v.; RUP., De Div. Off., xii. 20; DURAND., Ration., vi. 137.} The Gentile-choir takes the Gradual and Communion-anthem; the choir of the Jews, the Introit and Offertory.

The Introit is from the book of Daniel. {Dan. iii.} Exiled to Babylon with his people, the prophet---in that captivity whose years of bitterness were a figure of the still longer and intenser sufferings of the present dispersion---laments with Juda in that strange land, and, at the same time, instructs his people how they may be readmitted into God's favour. It is a secret which Israel had lost ever since his commission of the crime on Calvary; though, in the previous ages of his history, he knew the happy secret, and had continually experienced its efficacy. What it was, it still is and ever will be: it consists in the humble avowal of the sinner's falls, in the suppliant regret of the culprit, and in the sure confidence that God's mercy is infinitely above the sins of men, how grievous soever those may have been.

All things whatsoever thou hast done unto us, O Lord, thou hast done by a just judgment: for we have sinned, and disobeyed thy commandments: but glorify thy name: and deal with us according to thy great mercy.
Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory, etc. All things.

The divine forgiveness, which restores the soul to purity and peace, is the indispensable preparation for the sacred marriage-feast; for the wedding garment of its guests must, under pain of exclusion, be without a stain; their heart, too, must be without bitterness, lest it should cause the Bridegroom to be offended. Let us implore this precious pardon. Our Lord is all the more ready to grant it us, when we ask it through His beloved bride, the Church, our mother. Let us unite our voices with hers, and say her Collect.

Being appeased, O Lord, bestow pardon and peace upon thy faithful; that they being also cleansed from all their offences, may serve thee with a secure mind. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as on page 120.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians.
Chapter V.
Brethren: See, therefore, how you walk circumspectly, not as unwise, but as wise: redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore become not unwise, but understanding what is the will of God. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is luxury, but be ye filled with the holy Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord: giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God and the Father. Being subject one to another in the fear of Christ.

As the nuptials of the Son of God approach their final completion, there will be, also, on the side of hell, a redoubling of rage against the bride, with a determination to destroy her. The dragon of the Apocalypse, {Apoc. xii. 9.} the old serpent who seduced Eve, will cast out water, as a river, from his mouth {Ibid. 15.}---that is, he will urge on all the passions of man, that they may league together for her ruin. But, do what he will, he can never weaken the bond of the eternal alliance; and, having no power against the Church herself, he will turn his fury against the last children of the new Eve, who will have the perilous honour of those final battles, which are described by the prophet of Patmos. {Ibid. 17}

It is then, more than at all previous times, that the faithful will have to remember the injunction given to us by the apostle in to-day's Epistle. They will have to comport themselves with that circumspection which he enjoins, taking every possible care to keep their understanding, no less than their heart, pure, in those evil days. Supernatural light will, in those days, not only have to withstand the attacks of the children of darkness, who will put forward their false doctrines; it will, moreover, be minimized and falsified by the very children of the light yielding on the question of principles; it will be endangered by the hesitations, and the human prudence, of those who are called far-seeing men. Many will practically ignore the master-truth, that the Church never can be overwhelmed by any created power. If they do remember that our Lord has promised to uphold His Church even to the end of the world, {St. Matt. xxviii. 20.} they will still believe that they do a great service to the good cause by making certain politically clever concessions, not weighed in the balance of the sanctuary. Those future worldly-wise people will forget that our Lord needs no shrewd schemes to help Him to keep His promise; they will entirely overlook this most elementary consideration, that the co-operation which Jesus deigns to accept at the hands of His servants in the defence of the rights of His Church, never could consist in the disguising of those grand truths which constitute the power and beauty of the bride. They will forget the apostle's maxim, laid down in his Epistle to the Romans, that to conform oneself to this world, to attempt an impossible adaptation of the Gospel to a world that is unchristianized, is not the means for proving what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. {Rom. xii. 2.} So that it will be a thing of great and rare merit, in many an occurrence of those unhappy times, merely to understand what is the will of God, as our Epistle expresses it.

' Look to yourselves,' would St. John say to those men, 'that ye lose not the things which ye have wrought; make yourselves sure of the full reward,' which is given only to the persevering thoroughness of doctrine and faith! {2 St.John 8, 9.} besides, it will be then, as in all other times, that, according to the saying of the Holy Ghost, the simplicity of the just shall guide them, {Prov. xi. 3.} and far more safely than any human ingenuity could do; humility will give them wisdom; {Ibid. 2.} and, keeping themselves closely united to this noble companion, they will be made truly wise by her, and will know what is acceptable to God. {Wisd. ix. 10.} They will understand that, aspiring like the Church herself to union with the eternal Word, fidelity to the Spouse, for them as for the Church, is nothing else than fidelity to the truth; for the Word, who is the one same object of love to both of them, is, in God, no other than the splendour of infinite truth. {Ibid. vii. 25, 26.} Their one care, therefore, will ever be to approach nearer and nearer to their Beloved, by a continually increasing resemblance to Him---that is to say, by the completest reproduction, both in their words and works, of the beautiful truth. By so doing, they will be serving their fellow-creatures in the best possible way, for they will be putting in practice the counsel of Jesus, who bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and confide in Him for all the rest. {St. Matt. vi. 33.} Others may have recourse to human and accommodating combinations, fitted to please all parties; they may put forward dubious compromises, which (so their suggesters think) will keep back, for some weeks or some months perhaps, the fierce tide of revolution; but those who have God's spirit in them will put a very different construction on the admonition given us by the apostle in to-day's Epistle, where he tells us to redeem the time.

It was our Lord who bought time, and at a great price; and He bought it for us, that it might be employed by His faithful servants in procuring glory for God. By most men it is squandered away in sin or folly; but those who are united to Christ, as living members to the Spouse of their souls, will redeem it---that is, they will put such an intensity into their faith and their love that, as far as it is possible for human nature, not a moment of their time shall be anything but an earnest tribute of service to their Lord. To the insolent and blasphemous things which are then to be spoken by the beast, {Apoc. xiii. 5, 6.} these determined servants of God will give, for their brave answer, the cry of St. Michael, which he uttered against satan, the helper of the beast: {Ibid. 2.} `Who is like unto God?'

These closing weeks of the year used, in olden times, to be called ' Weeks of the holy Angel.' We have seen, on one of these Sundays {The Seventeenth.} how the liturgy formerly announced the great Archangel's coming to the aid of God's people, according to the prophecy of Daniel. {Dan. xii. 1.} When, therefore, the final tribulations shall commence; when exile shall scatter the faithful, and the sword shall slay them, {Apoc. xiii. 7, 10.} and the world shall approve all that, prostrate, as it then will be, before the beast and his image {Ibid. 3, 4, 8, 15.}---let us not forget that we have a leader chosen by God, and proclaimed by the Church; a leader who will marshal us during those final combats, in which the defeat of the saints {Ibid. 7.} will be more glorious than were the triumphs of the Church in the days when she ruled the world. For what God will then ask of His servants is not success of diplomatical arrangements, nor a victory won by arms, but fidelity to His truth---that is, to His Word; a fidelity all the more generous and perfect, as there will be an almost universal falling off around the little army fighting under the Archangel's banner. Uttered by a single faithful heart, under such circumstances, and uttered with the bravery of faith and the ardour of love, the cry of St. Michael, which heretofore routed the infernal legions, will honour God more than the blasphemies uttered by the millions of degraded followers of the beast will insult Him.

Let us be thoroughly imbued with these thoughts which are suggested by the opening lines of our Epistle. Let us also master the other instructions it contains, and which, after all, differ but little from those we have been developing. As the Gospel of the nuptials of the Son of God and the invitation to His divine banquet was formerly read on this day, our holy mother the Church appropriately points out in the Epistle the immense difference there is between these sacred delights, and the joys of the world's marriage-feasts. The calm, the purity, the peace of the just man, who is admitted into intimacy with God, are a continual feast to his soul; {Prov. xv. 15.} the food served up at that feast is Wisdom; {Ecclus. xxiv. 29.} Wisdom, too, is the beloved Guest, who is unfailingly there. {Wisd. viii. 16; Apoc. iii. 20.} The world is quite welcome to its silly, and often shameful, pleasures; the Word and the soul, which, in a mysterious way, He has filled with the holy Spirit, {Cant. i. 1.} join together to sing to the eternal Father in admirable unison; they will go on for ever with their hymns of thanksgiving and praise, for the materials of both are infinite. The hideous sight of the earth's inhabitants, who will then by thousands be paying homage to the harlot who sits on the beast, and offers them the golden cup of her abominations---no, not even that will interfere in the least with the bliss caused in heaven by the sight of those happy souls on earth. The convulsions of a world in its last agony, the triumphs of the woman drunk with the blood of the martyrs, {Apoc. xvii. 1--6.} far from breaking in on the harmony of a soul which is united with the Word, will but give greater fullness to the divine notes, and greater sweetness to the human music of her song. The apostle tells all this in his own magnificent way, where he says: ' Who, then, shall separate us
from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? or distress? or famine? or nakedness? or danger? or persecution? or the sword? It is written: For thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter {Ps.xliii. 22.}---but in all these things we overcome, because of Him that hath loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. {Rom. viii. 35--39.}

In the Introit, the Jewish people sang its repentance and humble confidence; and now, in the Gradual, we have the Gentiles proclaiming, in music taught them by the Church, how, in the delights of the nuptial banquet, their hopes have been realized, yea, and surpassed.


The eyes of all do hope in thee, Lord: and thou givest them meat in due season.
V. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest every living creature with thy
Alleluia, alleluia.
V. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing, and give praise to thee, my glory. Alleluia.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.
Chapter IV.

At that time: There was a certain ruler whose son was sick at Capharnaum. He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to him, and prayed him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore Said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders you believe not. The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die. Jesus saith to him: Go thy way, thy son liveth. The man believed the word which Jesus said to him, and went his way. And as he was going down, his servants met him: and they brought word, saying that his son lived. He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. The father there. fore knew that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him: Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.

The Gospel for to-day is taken from St. John; it is the first and only time during the whole course of these Sundays after Pentecost. It gives the twentieth Sunday the name of' the Ruler of Capharnaum.' The Church has selected this Gospel on account of its bearing a certain mysterious relation to the state of the world in those last days which the liturgy prophetically brings before us at the close of the year.

The world is drawing towards its end; like the ruler's son, it begins to die. Tormented by the fever of the passions which have been excited in Capharnaum, the city of business and pleasure, it is too weak to go itself to the Physician who could cure it. It is for its father---for the pastors, who, by Baptism, gave it the life of grace, and who govern the Christian people as rulers of holy Church---to go to Jesus, and beseech Him to restore the sick man to health. St. John begins this account {St. John iv. 46.} by mentioning the place where they were to find Jesus: it was at Cana, the city of the marriage-feast, where He first manifested His power {Ibid. ii. 11.} in the banquet-hall; it is in heaven that the Man-God abides, now that He has quitted our earth, where He has left His disciples deprived of the Bridegroom {St. Matt. ix. 15.} and having to pass a certain period of time in the field of penance. Capharnaum signifies the field of penance, and of consolation, which penance brings with it. Such was this earth intended to be, when man was driven from Eden; such was the consolation, to which, during this life, the sinner was to aspire; and, because of his having sought after other consolations, because of his having pretended to turn this field of penance into a new paradise, the world is now to be destroyed. Man has exchanged the life-giving delights of Eden for the pleasures which kill the soul, and ruin the body, and draw down the divine vengeance.

There is one remedy for all this, and only one: it is the zeal of the pastors, and the prayers of that portion of Christ's flock which has withstood the torrent of universal corruption. But it is of the utmost importance that, on this point, the faithful and their pastors should lay aside all personal considerations, and thoroughly enter into the spirit which animates the Church herself. Though treated with the most revolting ingratitude, and injustice, and calumny, and treachery of every sort, this mother of mankind forgets all these her own wrongs, and thinks only of the true prosperity and salvation of the very countries which despise her. {Allocutions of Leo XIII.} She is well aware that the time is at hand when God will make justice triumphant; and yet she goes on struggling, as Jacob did, with God, {Gen. xxxii. 24--28.} until the dawn of that terrible day,foretold by David and the sibyl. {The sequence Dies iræ.} At the thought of the pool of fire, {Apoc. xxi. 8.} into which her rebellious children are to be plunged, she seems to have almost forgotten the approach of the eternal nuptials, and lost her vehement longings as a bride. One would say that she thinks of nothing but of her being a mother; and, as such, she keeps on praying as she has always prayed, only more fervently than ever, that the end may be deferred (pro mora finis). {TERTULL., Apol. xxxix.}

That we may fulfil her wishes, let us, as Tertullian says, `assemble together in one body, that we may, so to speak, offer armed force to God by our prayers. God loves such violence as that.' {Ibid.} But that our prayer may have power of that kind, it must be inspired by a faith which is thorough, and proof against every difficulty. As it is our faith which overcometh the world, {1 St. John v. 4.} so it is, likewise, our faith which triumphs over God, even in cases which seem beyond all human hope. Let us do as our mother does, and think of the danger incurred by those countless men, who madly play on the brink of the precipice, into which, when they fall, they fall for ever. It is quite true they are inexcusable; it was only last Sunday that they were reminded of the weeping and gnashing of teeth, in the exterior darkness, which they will undergo that despise the call to the King's marriage-feast, {St. Matt. xxii. 13.} But they are our brethren, and we should not be quietly resigned to see them lose their souls. Let us hope against all hope. Did our Lord, who knew with certainty that obstinate sinners would be lost, hesitate, on that account, to shed all His Blood for them?

It is our ambition to unite ourselves to Him by the closest possible resemblance; let us, then, be resolved to imitate Him in that also, did occasion serve; at all events, let us pray without ceasing for the Church's and our enemies, so long as we are not assured of their being lost. Such prayer is never useless, never thrown away; for, come what may, God is greatly honoured by our faith, and by the earnestness of our charity.

Only, let us be careful not to merit the reproach uttered by our Redeemer against the halting {Heb. xii. 13.} faith of the fellow-townsmen of the ruler of Capharnaum. We know that our Jesus has no need to come down from heaven to earth, in order to give efficiency to the commands of His gracious will. If He deign to multiply signs and wonders around us, we will rejoice at them, because of our brethren who are weak of faith; we will make them an occasion for exalting His holy name; but we will lovingly assure Him that our soul has no need of new proofs of His power, in order to believe in Him!

The Jewish people, whilst enduring its well-merited captivity, and straying along the riverbanks of Babylon, has grown repentant, and, in our Offertory, joins our mother the Church, in singing the admirable hundred and thirty-sixth Psalm; there never was such a song of exile.


Upon the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept, when we remembered thee, O Sion!

The whole power of the God, who, with a word, cures both soul and body, resides in the mysteries which are about to be celebrated on our altar here. Let us, in the Secret, beseech Him, that their effects may tell on our hearts.


May these mysteries, O Lord, we beseech thee, procure us a heavenly remedy, and cleanse away the vices of our hearts. Through, etc.

The other Secrets, as on page 130.

The word, spoken of in the Communion-anthem as having raised man up from the abyss of his misery, is that of the Gospel, which calls mankind, saying: Come to the marriage! {St. Matt. xxii. 4.} But, although deified by his participation, here below, in the mystery of faith, man aspires to the perfect and eternal union, which is to be in the midday of glory.


Remember, O Lord, thy word to thy servant, by which thou gavest me hope: this hath comforted me in my distress.

A persevering fidelity in observing God's commandments is the best preparation a Christian can make for approaching the holy Table, as the Postcommunion tells us.


That we may be worthy of thy sacred gifts, O Lord, grant, we beseech thee, that we may always obey thy commandments. Through, etc.


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