Saturday, December 07, 2013
The Catholic Encyclopedia
The Golden Legend
This prayer of his is a weekly part of my prayer life, as I pray it before Mass, even though I only communicate sacramentally 2-3 times per year.
Saint Ambrose's Prayer Before the Most Blessed Sacrament
O loving Lord Jesus Christ, I a sinner, presuming not on my own merits, but trusting in Thy mercy and goodness, with fear and trembling approach the table of Thy most sacred banquet. For I have defiled both my heart and body with many sins, and have not kept a strict guard over my mind and my tongue. Wherefore, O gracious God, O awful Majesty, I, awretched creature, entangled in difficulties, have recourse to Thee the fount of mercy; to Thee do I fly that I may be healed, and take refuge under Thy protection, and I ardently desire to have Him as my Saviour, whom I am unable to face as my Judge.
To Thee, O Lord, I show my wounds, to Thee I lay bare my shame. I know that my sins are many and great, on account of which I am filled with fear. But I trust in Thy mercy, of which there is no end. Look down upon me, therefore, with the eyes of Thy mercy, O Lord Jesus Christ, eternal King, God and Man, crucified for men. Hearken unto me, for my hope is in Thee; have mercy on me, who am full of misery and sin, Thou who wilt never cease to let flow the fountain of mercy.
Hail, Victim of Salvation, offered for me and for all mankind on the gibbet of the cross! Hail, Noble and Most Precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away all the sins of the whole world! Remember, O Lord, Thy creature, whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy Most Precious Blood.
I am grieved because I have sinned. I desire to make amends for what I have done. Take away from me therefore, O most merciful Father, all my iniquities and sins, that, being purified both in soul and body, I may worthily partake of the Holy of Holies. Grant that my reception of Thy Body and Blood, which I purpose, unworthy though I am, may bring to me pardon for my sins, the perfect cleansing of my faults, the expulsion of all evil thoughts, and the renewal of pure feelings, the health and efficacy of good works, pleasing unto Thee, and a most strong protection both in soul and body against the snares of my enemies.
Saint Ambrose, please pray for us!
Friday, December 06, 2013
This is what The Golden Legend has to say about him.
The Saint Nicholas Center is your go-to resource on Good Saint Nicholas.
Wilson's Almanac also has a great deal of good material.
On the surface, the modern Dutch Sinterclaas looks more like the original bishop of Myra. That despite the fact that the Dutch are perhaps the most post-Christian culture in Europe.
Thomas Nast's 19th century American rendition.
Twentieth Century American artist Haddon Sundblom, working for the Coca Cola Company, helped establish the modern image of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus.
As did Norman Rockwell, working mostly for the Saturday Evening Post.
Efforts are made from time to time to update Saint Nicholas' garb and image, but they are rejected by children themselves. Ironically, the young are the ones who insist that Santa looks like this, and nothing else. You can put black boots on him, rather than brown (but they have to be the same style). You can put a strip of white fur down the front of his coat. Sometimes he can wear a harness with sleigh bells. And you can give him green mittens. But changes beyond that are rejected by children out of hand as unbecoming to Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.
Maybe Nast's/Sundblom's/Rockwell's vision has so much staying power because it is anchored in tradition. The red and white coat is an adaptation of a bishop's robes. The miter has become a fur hat.
Happy Saint Nicholas' Day!
Saint Nicholas, please pray for us!
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about the patroness of artillerists.
Happy Feast of Saint Barbara to all my gunner friends in the Royal Artillery, the Royal Irish Artillery, and those who have served and are serving in the Artillery branch of the United States Army
Saint Barbara, please pray for us!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Read what The Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about this great missionary and apostle.
BTW, his last name is properly pronounced in English "Zaahviar," or "Zaahviah" if you speak with with a Boston accent. It is never "ExAvier." The X is always pronounced like a Z. You can trust me on this one. I went to a prep school run by the Xaverian Brothers, and for 3 of my four years, my Latin class was held in Xavier Hall (and taught by a great Latin teacher, Brother Joseph Comber, CFX!).
Saint Francis Xavier, please pray for us!
Monday, December 02, 2013
The Catholic Encyclopedia on this Roman martyr.
Saint Vivian, please pray for us!
Sunday, December 01, 2013
From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:
Act Of Communion During Advent
It is true that everything in Advent is so arranged as to be a preparation for the coming of the Saviour at the feast of Christmas, and that the spirit of the faithful should be one of earnest expectation of this same Saviour; and yet, such is the happy lot of the children of the new Law, that they can, if they wish it, really, and at once, receive this God whom the Church is expecting; and thus, this familiar visit of Jesus will become itself one of the preparations for His great and solemn visit. Let those, then, who are living the life of grace, and to whom the glorious day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ will bring an increase of spiritual life, not omit to prepare, by Communion, for the reception they intend to give to the heavenly Spouse on the sacred night of His coming.
These Communions will be interviews with their divine Lord, giving them confidence, and love, and all those interior dispositions wherewith they would welcome Him who comes to load them with fresh grace, for this Jesus is full of grace and truth.
They will understand this better by reflecting on the sentiments which the august Mother of Jesus had in her blessed soul during the time which preceded the divine birth.
This birth is to be an event of more importance, both to the salvation of mankind and to Mary's own glory, than even that of the first accomplishment of the Incarnation; for the Word was made Flesh in order that He might be born. The immense happiness of holding in her arms her Son and her God, would make the sacred hour of Jesus' birth dearer and happier to Mary, than even that in which she was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, and received from Him the divine fruit of her womb.
During those nine months, when she knew that her Jesus was so undividedly hers, what must have been the happiness which filled her heart! It was a bliss which was a worthy preparation for that more blissful night of Bethlehem.
Christians! your Communions during Advent are to prepare you for your Christmas joy, by giving you something of the delight which Mary felt before the birth of Jesus.
ACT OF FAITH
Knowing that thou art about to enter under my roof, O eternal God, Jesus Son of the Father, I have need of all my faith. Yes, it is thou who art coming to me, thou who didst enter into Mary's virginal womb, making it the sanctuary of thy Majesty. Thou didst send thine angel to her, and she believed his word, when he said: 'Nothing is impossible to God: the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.' She believed, and then conceived in her chaste womb him who had created her.
Thou hast not sent an angel to me, O my Saviour, to tell me thou art coming into my heart. Thou hast spoken thyself, and thou hast said: 'I am the living Bread come down from heaven: he that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me and I in him.' Thou hast willed that these words of thine, spoken so many hundred years ago, should reach me by thy Church, that thus I might have both the certainty that they are thine, and the merit of bowing down my reason to the deepest of mysteries.
I believe then, O Jesus! Help the weakness of my faith. Enable me to submit, as Mary did, to thy infinite wisdom; and since thou desirest to enter under my roof, I bow down my whole being before thee, using her blessed words: 'May it be done to me according to thy word;' for how dare I, who am but nothingness, resist thee, who art all wisdom and power!
The Catholic Encylopedia on this heroic martyred priest.
Here is the text of Campion's Brag, his defense of the Faith against the English protestant establishment.
To the Right Honourable, the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council:
Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors, and adventured myself into this noble realm, my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful, and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course.
Wherefore, providing for all events, and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance, I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships to give it your reading, for to know my cause. This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labour. For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession. And to the intent that the whole matter may be conceived in order, and so the better both understood and remembered, I make thereof these nine points or articles, directly, truly and resolutely opening my full enterprise and purpose.
i. I confess that I am (albeit unworthy) a priest of the Catholic Church, and through the great mercy of God vowed now these eight years into the religion [religious order] of the Society of Jesus. Hereby I have taken upon me a special kind of warfare under the banner of obedience, and also resigned all my interest or possibility of wealth, honour, pleasure, and other worldly felicity.
ii. At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.
iii. My charge is, of free cost to preach the Gospel, to minister the Sacraments, to instruct the simple, to reform sinners, to confute errors—in brief, to cry alarm spiritual against foul vice and proud ignorance, wherewith many of my dear countrymen are abused.
iv. I never had mind, and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts.
v. I do ask, to the glory of God, with all humility, and under your correction, three sorts of indifferent and quiet audiences: the first, before your Honours, wherein I will discourse of religion, so far as it toucheth the common weal and your nobilities: the second, whereof I make more account, before the Doctors and Masters and chosen men of both universities, wherein I undertake to avow the faith of our Catholic Church by proofs innumerable—Scriptures, councils, Fathers, history, natural and moral reasons: the third, before the lawyers, spiritual and temporal, wherein I will justify the said faith by the common wisdom of the laws standing yet in force and practice.
vi. I would be loath to speak anything that might sound of any insolent brag or challenge, especially being now as a dead man to this world and willing to put my head under every man's foot, and to kiss the ground they tread upon. Yet I have such courage in avouching the majesty of Jesus my King, and such affiance in his gracious favour, and such assurance in my quarrel, and my evidence so impregnable, and because I know perfectly that no one Protestant, nor all the Protestants living, nor any sect of our adversaries (howsoever they face men down in pulpits, and overrule us in their kingdom of grammarians and unlearned ears) can maintain their doctrine in disputation. I am to sue most humbly and instantly for combat with all and every of them, and the most principal that may be found: protesting that in this trial the better furnished they come, the better welcome they shall be.
vii. And because it hath pleased God to enrich the Queen my Sovereign Lady with notable gifts of nature, learning, and princely education, I do verily trust that if her Highness would vouchsafe her royal person and good attention to such a conference as, in the second part of my fifth article I have motioned, or to a few sermons, which in her or your hearing I am to utter such manifest and fair light by good method and plain dealing may be cast upon these controversies, that possibly her zeal of truth and love of her people shall incline her noble Grace to disfavour some proceedings hurtful to the realm, and procure towards us oppressed more equity.
viii. Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness' Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed [revealed], and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation. Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven for you daily by those English students, whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over, but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes. And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.
ix. If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour. I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us his grace, and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.