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Monday, April 30, 2012
Catholicism in the Romantic Period of Music
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This post continues where Catholicism in the Classical Period of Music left off

By 1830, the style of music had shifted again and the style of the Romantic period came into full bloom.  Lasting for seventy years until 1900, the Romantic Period was a further departure from the unequivocal Catholic music of the past; though for the most part, the music of the period was still acceptable.  After 1900, music began to quickly swirl into a downward decline as evident in the Rite of Spring in 1913.

Below is a summary of several key figures from the Romantic period and with them, selections of music appropriate for a Catholic's ears.  Keep in mind this is just a small selection of the many composers of the period.

Franz Schubert - Mass in G

Franz Schubert, despite living a short life that ended before 1830, had a tremendous impact upon the Romantic movement.  Johannes Brahms, for example, helped champion the work of Schubert after Schubert's death.

The Catholic Encyclopedia writes of him:
During 1811 and 1812 he produced many instrumental pieces, also a "Salve Regina" and a "Kyrie". He left the Choir School in November, 1812, and took up work as a schoolmaster in order to avoid conscription. His "First Mass in F" was finished on 22 July, 1814, and performed by the Lichtenthal choir under the direction of Holzer. Competent critics have pronounced this mass as perhaps the most wonderful first work by any composer save the case of Beethoven's "Mass in C". Schubert conducted the second performance at the Augustinian church on 26 October, his brother, Ferdinand, presiding at the organ. During the same year he produced a symphony and a "Salve Regina";, as well as some songs and instrumental pieces.

His famous "Erl King", dates from November, 1815, as does his "Mass in G" — wonderful for a boy of eighteen. His compositions for 1816 include a "Salve Regina", a "Stabat Mater", a "Tantum Ergo", and a "Magnificat", as also two symphonies, and some delightful songs including the "Wanderer". He conducted the music at high Mass at the Alterehenfelder church on Easter Sunday, 1820, and in the same year produced an Easter cantata and an opera. His productivity from 1821 to 1824 was enormous, "Rosamunde" and his "Mass in A flat" being of permanent value. His glorious "Ave Maria" dates from 1825, apropos of which he writes that at the time he was filled with overpowering devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

The three Shakespearean songs of 1826 are still of interest. In 1827 he was gratified with a eulogy from the dying Beethoven, whom he visited in his last illness, and whose remains he followed to the grave. He subsequently wrote an opera, a number of songs, and the second part of the "Winterrreise". Early in June, 1827, he was elected a member of the musical society of Vienna, and in 1828, produced his marvelous "Symphony in C", his "Mass in E flat", an oratorio, a hymn to the Holy Ghost, a string quartet, a "Tantum Ergo" in E flat, and a lovely "Benedictus".

His last appearance in public was on 3 November, 1828, when he went to hear his brother's new "Requiem": he died a fortnight later, and his obsequies were celebrated in the little Chapel of St. Joseph in Margarethen. On 21 November, the body was interred at Wahring, close to the grave of Beethoven, and on 23 December his solemn month's mind was celebrated in the Augustinian Church, when a "Requiem" by Huttenbrenner was performed. The corpse was re-interred in the central cemetery, Vienna, on 23 September 1888. Schubert produced a phenomenal amount of music, his songs alone numbering about six hundred and three.
Schubert died at the young age of 31 in 1828.  Over the course of his life, Schubert composed 2 Masses, 8 1/2 symphonies (the final one was half finished at the time of his death), and hundreds of songs.     Below is a playlist featuring his Mass in G.



Sir Edward Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1

Despite living in England, Sir Edward Elgar was a Roman Catholic and not Anglican as many would incorrectly assume.  Edward was the fourth of seven children to William and Ann Elgar.  His mother, Ann, had converted to Catholicism shortly before Edward's birth, and Edward was baptised and brought up as a Roman Catholic, to the disapproval of his father, William.

For a number of years he was assistant to his father, William Elgar, as organist of St George's Roman Catholic Church, Worcester, and succeeded him for four years from 1885. During this period he wrote his first liturgical works for the Church, beginning with his three motets Op. 2 (1887) for four-part choir (Ave Verum Corpus, Ave Maria and Ave Maris Stella), and followed by a setting of Ecce sacerdos magnus for the entry of the Bishop on an official visit to St. George's in 1888.

Sir Elgar's wife was disinherited by her family for marrying a Roman Catholic.  But, Elgar remained a life long Catholic and a composer of beautiful music despite opposition.  He is well known and championed as the one to bring classical music back to England, since before him there were few prominent composers.  In fact, there had been a stretch of over a hundred years without such a prominent composer as Sir Edward Elgar in England.

Below is his well known Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.



Conclusion

The Romantic Period also saw a rise in humanism and secularism.  For example, Johannes Brahms allegedly believed in no religion and was at best partial to Martin Luther.  This period, despite some great performances, existed in a culture that had grown further and further away from God and from the Church.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Third Sunday after Easter: Reflection
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Our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered the chains of death.  For forty days we fasted and prayed during Lent and now we partake of the fifty days of celebration for Easter.  The Alleluia from the 1962 Missal so beautifully sings of the hope and victory still deserving to be proclaimed on the mountaintops: “Alleluia, Alleluia.  The Lord hath sent redemption to His people.  Alleluia.  It behooved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the death, and so to enter into His glory.  Alleluia.”

What is truly profound is that Jesus Christ really and physically rose from the dead! It is a historical event. Not just His soul rose, but also He bodily rose from the dead after dying on the Cross and descending into Hell. As is stated in the visions recorded in "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ", our Lord, at the instance of His death on the Cross, descended to the Limbo of the Fathers, Purgatory, and Hell.  In the Limbo of the Fathers, He preached to the patriarchs, prophets, and holy people that had died before Heaven was opened by His death (1 Peter 4:6). Included among these people was Adam and Eve. What many people are not taught is that the exact place of Jesus' Crucifixion on Mt. Calvary is exactly above the spot where the first Adam was interred.  The Body of the New Adam (Jesus) covered that of the Old Adam!  Jesus also went to Purgatory and gazed upon Hell.  According to "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ," Jesus spoke with Judas, who was in Hell.

According to the previously mentioned book, Jesus also commanded nearly 100 of the holy people in the Limbo of the Fathers to re-enter their bodies temporarily. He then commanded them to visit their relatives and preach the truth - that Jesus Christ was the salvation of the world. With the darkness and earthquakes too, many people were converted and believed after the Crucifixion. All of this took place roughly 1 hour after Jesus died on the Cross. Yet, the patriarchs, prophets, etc in their bodies did not look like Jesus's glorified bodies. They merely re-entered their bodies temporarily to fulfill the command of Jesus. Afterwards, their souls again left their bodies. On that day, the Limbo of the Fathers was forever closed. Heaven was opened by the death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ (CCC 1026).

Concerning Jesus, Scripture attests, "He is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:12). With His glorified Body, He is no longer bound by the limitations of time, space, or physics. As we believe as part of the Faith also, Mother Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven. They remain the only two people to have a glorified body. But we too shall follow! That is our hope! The very same Body we have now will be raised again at Judgment. For we, unlike Mary (e.g. Immaculate Conception) and Jesus, are sinners, so our Resurrection is yet to come. At the time of Judgment, all people will be united with their bodies. At that time, the prophets, patriarchs, saints, etc will all receive a glorified body.

Continue Reading...
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Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated Email Signature to WiseStamp
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As a blogger, few things bother me more than when the same bloggers who properly format their posts take little or no effort to format their emails.  Just like your blog, your email signature and email etiquette is an expression of you.  So the next time you write an email with typos, lack of a proper salutation or closing, or a properly formatted email signature, you are setting a bad image of yourself.

I have recently changed my email programs to have a more visually appealing signature.  If you have written me recently, you have undoubtedly seen it.  The program that I highly recommend is WiseStamp (http://tinyurl.com/wisestampemails).  WiseStamp will allow you to create both a personal and a business email signature that works in virtually any program (e.g. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, et cetera). 

Most importantly, you can properly format your signature and include links to the various social media platforms on which you are present.  This increases your brand awareness and leads to larger followings.  In my particular email signature (pictured below), I link to my profile on thirteen different social media sites and even include an RSS feed that displays the last post from my blog. 


For a paid subscription, you are eligible for enhanced features including setting certain signatures with certain emails, using a separate signature when replying or forwarding instead of the one sent with new messages, etc.  For only $36 a year, I highly recommend the purchase and setting all of your signatures (e.g. blogging, personal, business, family, et cetera) to WiseStamp.  But don’t take my word for it, please click here and download a version of WiseStamp now.
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Our Lady of Good Counsel (Mass in Some Places) Propers
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April 26th besides being the Feast of Ss. Cletus and Marcellinus (III Class), is dedicated to our Lady of Good Counsel in some parts of the world.

The devotion of Our Lady of Good Counsel originated at Gennazzano in Italy A.D. 1467. A picture of Our Lady originally at Scutari in Albania, was miraculously transferred to the Augustinian church, then in course of construction. This Church, in which is enshrined the miraculous picture, became a place of popular pilgrimage.


Introit - Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, in whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.  Alleluia, alleluia.  (Psalm) My heart hate uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.  Gloria Patri...Let us all...

Collect - O God, who didst give us the Mother of Thy beloved Son for our Mother, and wert pleased by a wondrous apparition to glorify a beauteous picture of her, grant, we beseech Thee, that ever hearkening to her counsels, we may be enabled to live according to Thy Heart, and happily to reach our home in heaven. Through our Lord . . .

SECRET - Sanctify, O Lord, the Sacrifice we bring; and by the most salutary intercession of Blessed Mary Mother of God, Mother of Good Counsel, grant that it may avail us unto salvation. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth . . .

POSTCOMMUNION - O Lord, may the venerable intercession of Thy glorious Mother, Mary ever Virgin, be our hope. May she who has showered upon us continual benefits ever make us see what it behoveth us to do, and strengthen us to fulfill the same: Who livest and reignest . . .
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Major Rogation Day (Greater Litanies): Fasting and Abstinence
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Today is April 25, the Feast of St. Mark, and the Major Rogation. While no longer required after Vatican II, Rogation Days can still (and should) be observed by the faithful. I encourage my readers to observe these days. Fasting and penance were required, and the faithful would especially pray Litanies on this day.

Not until relatively recently, it was a requirement that this day was kept with two conventual Masses where choral obligation existed.  The first, post tertiam, was the festive Mass of St. Mark the Evangelist.  The second post nonam was the more penitential Mass formula of Rogation tide.  For those bound to the Divine Office, the Litany was mandatory today.

What are Rogation Days?

"Rogation Days are the four days set apart to bless the fields, and invoke God's mercy on all of creation. The 4 days are April 25, which is called the Major Rogation (and is only coincidentally the same day as the Feast of St. Mark); and the three days preceding Ascension Thursday, which are called the Minor Rogations. Traditionally, on these days, the congregation marches the boundaries of the parish, blessing every tree and stone, while chanting or reciting a Litany of Mercy, usually a Litany of the Saints" (1)

More information:
Image Source: Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Pavlovich Bryulo, 1833



From
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
This day is honoured in the Liturgy by what is called Saint Mark’s Procession. The term, however, is not a correct one, inasmuch as a procession was a privilege peculiar to April 25 previously to the institution of our Evangelist’s feast, which even so late as the sixth century had no fixed day in the Roman Church. The real name of this procession is The Greater Litanies. The word Litany means Supplication, and is applied to the religious rite of singing certain chants whilst proceeding from place to place in order to propitiate heaven. The two Greek words Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy on us) were also called Litany, as likewise were the invocations which were afterwards added to that cry for mercy, and which now form a liturgical prayer used by the Church on certain solemn occasions.

The Greater Litanies (or processions) are so called to distinguish them from the Minor Litanies, that is, processions of less importance as far as the solemnity and concourse of the faithful were concerned. We gather from an expression of St. Gregory the Great that it was an ancient custom in the Roman Church to celebrate, once each year, a Greater Litany, at which all the clergy and people assisted. This holy Pontiff chose April 25 as the fixed day for this procession, and appointed the Basilica of St. Peter as the Station.

Several writers on the Liturgy have erroneously confounded this institution with the processions prescribed by St. Gregory for times of public calamity. It existed long before his time, and all that he did was to fix it on April 25. It is quite independent of the feast of St. Mark, which was instituted at a much later period. If April 25 occur during Easter week, the procession takes place on that day (unless it be Easter Sunday), but the feast of the Evangelist is not kept till after the octave.

The question naturally presents itself—why did St. Gregory choose April 25 for a procession and Station in which everything reminds us of compunction and penance, and which would seem so out of keeping with the joyous season of Easter? The first to give a satisfactory answer to this difficulty was Canon Moretti, a learned liturgiologist of the eighteenth century. In a dissertation of great erudition, he proves that in the fifth, and probably even in the fourth, century, April 25 was observed at Rome as a day of great solemnity. The faithful went, on that day, to the Basilica of St. Peter, in order to celebrate the anniversary of the first entrance of the Prince of the Apostles into Rome, upon which he thus conferred the inalienable privilege of being the capital of Christendom. It is from that day that we count the twenty-five years, two months, and some days that St. Peter reigned as Bishop of Rome. The Sacramentary of St. Leo gives us the Mass of this solemnity, which afterwards ceased to be kept. St. Gregory, to whom we are mainly indebted for the arrangement of the Roman Liturgy, was anxious to perpetuate the memory of a day which gave to Rome her grandest glory. He therefore ordained that the Church of St. Peter should be the Station on that auspicious day. April 25 comes too frequently during the octave of Easter that it could not be kept as a feast, properly so called, in honour of St. Peter’s entrance into Rome; St. Gregory, therefore, adopted the only means left of commemorating the great event.

But there was a striking contrast resulting from this institution, of which the holy Pontiff was fully aware, but which he could not avoid: it was the contrast between the joys of Paschal Time and the penitential sentiments wherewith the faithful should assist at the procession and Station of the Great Litany. Laden as we are with the manifold graces of this holy season, and elated with our Paschal joys, we must sober our gladness by reflecting on the motives which led the Church to cast this hour of shadow over our Easter sunshine. After all, we are sinners, with much to regret and much to fear; we have to avert those scourges which are due to the crimes of mankind; we have, by humbling ourselves and invoking the intercession of the Mother of God and the Saints, to obtain the health of our bodies, and the preservation of the fruits of the earth; we have to offer atonement to divine justice for our own and the world’s pride, sinful indulgences, and insubordination. Let us enter into ourselves, and humbly confess that our own share in exciting God’s indignation is great; and our poor prayers, united with those of our holy Mother the Church, will obtain mercy for the guilty, and for ourselves who are of the number.


A day, then, like this, of reparation to God’s offended majesty, would naturally suggest the necessity of joining some exterior penance to the interior dispositions of contrition which filled the hearts of Christians. Abstinence from flesh meat has always been observed on this day at Rome; and when the Roman Liturgy was established in France by Pepin and Charlemagne, the Great Litany of April 25 was, of course, celebrated, and the abstinence kept by the faithful of that country. A Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 836, enjoined the additional obligation of resting from servile work on this day: the same enactment is found in the Capitularia of Charles the Bald. As regards fasting, properly so called, being contrary to the spirit of Paschal Time, it would seem never to have been observed on this day, at least not generally. Amalarius, who lived in the ninth century, asserts that it was not then practiced even in Rome.

During the procession, the Litany of the Saints is sung, followed by several versicles and prayers. The Mass of the Station is celebrated according to the Lenten Rite, that is, without the Gloria in excelsis, and in purple vestments.

We take this opportunity of protesting against the negligence of Christians on this subject. Even persons who have the reputation of being spiritual think nothing of being absent from the Litanies said on St. Mark’s and the Rogation Days. One would have thought that when the Holy See took from these days the obligation of abstinence, the faithful would be so much the more earnest to join in the duty still left—the duty of prayer. The people’s presence at the Litanies is taken for granted: and it is simply absurd that a religion rite of public reparation should be one from which almost all should keep away. We suppose that these Christians will acknowledge the importance of the petitions made in the Litanies; but God is not obliged to hear them in favour of such as ought to make them and yet do not. This is one of the many instances which might be brought forward of the strange delusions into which private and isolated devotion is apt to degenerate. When St. Charles Borromeo first took possession of his see of Milan, he found this negligence among his people, and that they left the clergy to go through the Litanies of April 25 by themselves. He assisted at them himself, and walked bare-footed in the procession. The people soon followed the sainted pastor’s example. 
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Silencing Liberal Nuns is a Matter of Duty, not Oppression
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This was written in response to an article in the Chicago Tribune.  Since this op-ed piece was not published, I'm publishing it here.

In response to Ms. Schmich’s article, “After Vatican Scolds Group, Nuns’ Silence is Strategy,” I have to object to the very spirit of the article.  Nuns do not define Catholic doctrine and neither do the archbishops or Cardinals of the Church.  The Catholic Faith is not a democracy – it is handed down and preserved by Tradition for over 2,000 years.  Ms. Schmich seems to imply that the nuns are fighting with the men who “run the Church” in a quest to fight against old laws in an attempt to serve Christ.

This is utter garbage.  Nuns, priests, and laypeople are all called to defend and rise up to protect the timeless and unchanging Catholic Faith.  If anyone – nun, priest, bishop, layperson – teaches that which the Church forbids, then that person has placed themselves outside of the state of grace and outside of the Catholic Church, which we believe to be the only Church through which mankind can be saved.

Ms. Schmich seems to think this is a matter of democracy.  This is not.  This is a matter of fighting off a new era where heresies are welcomed and embraced now by even nuns and priests.  Faithful Catholics will not be silent.  We will fight on for the Church and for Christ, who is the True Head of the Visible Church on earth.
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Monday, April 23, 2012
3 Things You Must Do After Every Mass
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We should always seek to imitate the saints, who stand before the throne of Almighty God.

Rightfully so, we pay careful attention (or at least we should and must) to what we do before assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  We examine our conscience and go to Confession to receive forgiveness before receiving the august Sacrament of the Altar in Holy Communion.  We also should be praying the prayers to be said either before Mass or before Holy Communion.

Many of us undoubtedly arrive early to pray our Rosaries and even take part in other great devotions.  All of this is most worthy and certainly worthy of recognition.

My concern is not that we are doing too much to prepare for Mass.  Truly, how could we actually prepare enough to receive the Body and Blood of our Savior?  I am concerned that these same people who truly understand the importance of the Holy Sacrifice are neglecting to practice proper devotion after Holy Mass.

Thus, it is with these thoughts in mind that I present to you my post on 3 Things that You Must Do After Every Mass:
















1.OFFER AN ACT OF THANKSGIVING

As the priest prays before consuming the Sacred Blood of our Lord, "Quid retríbuam Dómino pro ómnibus, quæ retríbuit mihi? Cálicem salutáris accípiam, et nomen Dómini invocábo. Laudans invocábo Dóminum, et ab inimícis meis salvus ero."  In so doing, he prays, "What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given unto me? I will take the Chalice of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies."

Thus it is the priest who after consuming the Sacred Host renders in this moment of thanksgiving a humble prayer asking only for a further increase of grace.  In this instance, we see the revelation that our Lord Jesus Christ is our gift.  Truly no prayer is more appropriate at this time of thanksgiving than asking for a further increase of grace.  And who better to ask than He who is the fullness of grace.

Also recall that the priest prays silently after the Ite Missa Est (or in Septuagesima through Passiontide the Benedicámus Dómino) the following: "May the homage of my service be pleasing to thee, O holy Trinity; and grant that the sacrifice which I, though unworthy, have offered in the sight of thy majesty, may be acceptable to thee: and through thy mercy win forgiveness for me and for all those for whom I have offered it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

With these heartfelt sentiments we should similarly appropriate our Thanksgiving after Mass.  From what I have seen, Traditional Catholics have remarkable attention during Mass.  This is true with very few exceptions.  In one rare instance of departure from the norm, a traditional priest told the story of how a man from his congregation would customarily leave directly after receiving our Lord in Holy Communion.  That is to say, he left while Communion was still being distributed - before even the Ablutions and the Post Communion. 

So, one day, this priest instructed one of his altar servers to follow the man outside to his car while holding a candle the next time he left prematurely.  And, sure enough, the next time it occurred, the altar boy followed the man right to his car.  Undoubtedly more than a little upset, the man asked the priest why this had happened.  The priest replied to the man that he was a tabernacle and the presence of Christ truly was still present with him in those minutes immediately after receiving.

Needless to say, the man discontinued his practice of immediately leaving.  Now I am by no means claiming that Traditional Catholics typically are guilty of such.  However, with most High Masses lasting longer than 1.5 hours and with children fidgeting by the end of the Mass, there does seem to be a lack of attention for those important minutes after the Holy Mass has ended.

Even for those of us who understand the value of a proper thanksgiving, we must make the conscious effort to make our Thanksgivings worthy.  So if your children are fidgeting, instruct discipline in them so that they remain seated and in prayers of Thanksgiving as well.  Also, do not fear in making your Thanksgiving prayers while kneeling at the Communion rail or even a side altar.  Since our minds frequently wander, having our eyes fixed on a statue of the Good Shepherd, Sacred Heart, or our Lady will help keep our minds and words fixed appropriately on true sentiments of thanksgiving.

There are many prayers which you could say after the Holy Sacrifice.  While you certainly do not need to pray a pre-composed prayer, I do recommend the beautiful prayers after Mass mentioned in the Angelus Press Missal.  These are the ones that I use.  (See page 84 - 86 and 89 - 90).

And finally, recall the example of the saints.  It is said of St. Aloysius Gonzaga that he used to receive Communion once a week and that he was accustomed to spend three days in preparation before it and three days in thanksgiving after it. How did he manage to do this? Was he all the time prostrated before the Altar or reading a spiritual book? Not at all; he went wherever obedience called him, quietly performing his duties and keeping his heart lifted up to God. He offered up all his actions to Jesus Christ by way of thanksgiving, and he made now and then some short acts of faith, hope and charity, some acts of self-oblation or admiration or supplication. By this means, the angelic youth was enabled to walk continually with God; one Communion was the preparation for another; thus, he constantly advanced in purity of heart and in love for Jesus Christ.

Truly we have been given grace upon grace.
















2. Learn from the Sermon

Traditional Catholics especially are graced with many truly awe inspiring and theologically deep sermons.  If you are unaware, many great sermons are available for download and listening from Audio Sancto, and Alabama Catholic Resources has other good sermons. Bishop Robert Vasa also has a set of talks available for purchase.

While listening to sermons from these websites online, I have found myself taking notes and making plans to amend my life to be further in line with the sermon's message.  But, how often do any of us take careful notes during or immediately after Mass to record not only the central message of the sermon but also the parts that truly sounded in accord with the desires of our heart?

Although I have never been a fan of bringing pencil and paper to Mass, I do strongly encourage you to pay careful attention to the sermon and then record it immediately after Mass on paper.  Studies have shown that taking notes impresses the subject of the note further in our minds - after all, if it did not, what use would notes be for students?

We Traditional Catholics have been especially blessed with theological sound and inspiring sermons.  Let us not neglect this gift.  Take notes and learn from the sermon.






















 
3. Live the Catholic Faith

Ite Missa Est!  Behold, you are sent forth in the world!  The word missa comes from mittere, to send.  Thus, in this solemn dismissal of the faithful, the Mass eventually took its name.  As the Sacrifice of the Mass is finished, we are sent into the world to our own sacrifice and to prove ourselves sons of God and brothers of the Redeemer.  We are sent to our post on Calvary, to continue the work of Redemption as we "fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (1 Col 1:24b).

May we never neglect to offer daily acts of offering and thanksgiving while living daily lives in the state of grace and in Almighty God's service.
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Sunday, April 22, 2012
Traditional Mass Propers: Second Sunday after Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)
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Vestments: White


INTROIT
Psalms 32: 5, 6
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. -- (Ps. 32. 1). Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord . . .

COLLECT - O God, who, by the humility of Thy Son, didst lift up a fallen world, grant unending happiness to Thy faithful: that those whom Thou hast snatched from the perils of endless death, Thou mayest cause to rejoice in everlasting days. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

EPISTLE
I Peter 2: 21-25
Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile: when He suffered, He threatened not, but delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly: who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray: but you are now converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

GRADUAL
Luke 24: 35
Alleluia, alleluia. V.: The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread. Alleluia. V.: (John 10. 14). I am the good Shepherd: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me. Alleluia.

 
GOSPEL
John 10: 11-16

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

 
OFFERTORY
Psalms 62: 2, 5
O God, my God, to Thee do I watch at break of day: and in Thy Name I will lift up my hands, alleluia.

SECRET -
May this holy offering, O Lord, always bring to us Thy healing blessing: that what it represents in a Mystery, it may accomplish with power. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Easter) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, at all times to praise Thee, O Lord, but more gloriously especially this day when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the Lamb Who hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath destroyed our death: and by rising again hath restored us to life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

 

COMMUNION
John 10: 14
I am the good Shepherd, alleluia: and I know My sheep, and Mine know Me, alleluia, alleluia.

POST COMMUNION -
Grant unto us, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that having received the grace of a new life, we may ever glory in Thy gift. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
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Saturday, April 21, 2012
Catechism of St. Pius X on the Resurrection of Christ
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Catechism of St. Pius X:

1 Q: What are we taught in the Fifth Article: He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead?

A: The Fifth Article of the Creed teaches us that the Soul of Jesus Christ, on being separated from His Body, descended to the Limbo of the holy Fathers, and that on the third day it became united once more to His Body, never to be parted from it again.

2 Q: What is here meant by hell?

A: Hell here means the Limbo of the holy Fathers, that is, the place where the souls of the just were detained, in expectation of redemption through Jesus Christ.

3 Q: Why were not the souls of the Holy Fathers admitted into heaven before the death of Jesus Christ?

A: The souls of the holy Fathers were not admitted into heaven before the death of Jesus Christ, because heaven was closed by the sin of Adam, and it was but fitting that Jesus Christ, who reopened it by His death, should be the first to enter it.

4 Q: Why did Jesus Christ defer His own resurrection until the third day?

A: Jesus Christ deferred His own resurrection until the third day to show clearly that He was really dead.

5 Q: Was the resurrection of Jesus Christ like the resurrection of other men who had been raised from the dead?

A: No, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not like the resurrection of other men who had been raised from the dead, because He rose by His own power, while the others were raised by the power of God.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
SSPX Doctrinal Agreement or Not?
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In a letter dated April 17, 2012, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X Bishop Fellay responded to the request for clarification that had been made to him on March 16 by Cardinal William Levada concerning the Doctrinal Preamble delivered on September 14, 2011. 

As the press release dated today from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei indicates, the text of this response “will be examined by the dicastery (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) then submitted to the Holy Father for his judgement”

I will post updates as they surface and are confirmed.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Traditional Latin Mass In Honor of Blessed Karl of Austria in Aliquippa, PA
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Traditional Latin Mass In Honor of Blessed Karl of Austria

Sunday, 29 April 2012, 2:00 PM

St. Titus Church
952 Franklin Avenue
Aliquippa, PA 15001

Celebrant: Canon Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Veneration of the Relic of Blessed Karl

Free Luncheon and Conference after Mass on the life of Blessed Karl and his cause for sainthood.
Speaker: Brother Nathan Cochran, OSB, Delegate to the USA/Canada, Emperor Karl League of Prayers for Peace Among Nations

Sponsored by:
Knights of Columbus Woodlawn Council 2161
Traditional Latin Mass Guild
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Monday, April 16, 2012
Happy 85th Birthday to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
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Happy 85th Birthday to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI! If you have not read his "Introduction to Christianity" considering purchasing my special summary of the text.  You will receive the PDF version as well as an online version.

Book summaries should not be confused with book reviews.  CatechismClass.com's book summaries are approximate eight-page reports that present you with all the main points, highlights and arguments from a Catholic book.   CatechismClass.com does not offer judgment on the content in each book.  Instead, the ideas, commentary, viewpoints and arguments are presented just as the author has intended in his or her book.

Check out the summary on "Introduction to Christianity" now in honor of our Holy Father's Birthday and upcoming anniversary of election as the Head of the Universal Church (which is April 19th).
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Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Oath Against Modernism vs. The "Hermeneutic of Continuity"
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It can hardly be denied that the years following Vatican II have led to internal turmoil in the Church with grave consequences for the Church on Earth.


Some of you may have not yet read Mr. Vennari's piece entitled The Oath Against Modernism vs. The "Hermeneutic of Continuity." Since this piece quite succinctly illustrates the key distinction in Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate from a Traditionalist's views, it is well worth the read.  Emphasis below in bold.
The term “Hermeneutic of Continuity” came into vogue with the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI.

On December 22, 2005 in his speech to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI laid out what would be the program of his pontificate. Usually a Pope will do this in his first encyclical, but informed commentators at the time observed that Pope Benedict appeared to lay out the program for his pontificate in this December 22 address, and not his first encyclical.

In this speech, it is clear that the pivotal principle that would be the program for his pontificate is the Second Vatican Council.[1]

However, says the Pope, there has been a problem with the Council. Too many in the Church, he laments, approach the Council through a “hermeneutic of rupture”; and a “hermeneutic of discontinuity” with the past. (“Hermeneutic” basically means, “interpretation”. Thus, Pope Benedict says, many Catholics have approached the Council with an interpretation of rupture with the past.)

The proper way to approach the Council, he insists, is through a “hermeneutic of continuity”. His basic claim — and this has always been his claim as Cardinal Ratzinger — is that Vatican II did not constitute a rupture with Tradition, but a legitimate development of it. We can find this legitimate development if we approach the Council through a hermeneutic — an interpretation — of continuity.

This gives the impression to many that Pope Benedict XVI plans a restoration of Tradition in the Church.

But this is not the case. Yes, Pope Benedict issued the Motu Proprio freeing the Tridentine Mass. This was a matter of justice for which he deserves credit, and it is something we could have guessed he would do, even based on his statements as Cardinal Ratzinger.

But the hermeneutic of continuity does not signal a return to Tradition. Rather, it is another attempt, first and foremost, I believe, to save Vatican II.

Vatican II is still his pivotal principle. The so-called “hermeneutic of continuity” approach will give us nothing more than a new synthesis between Tradition and Vatican II — a synthesis between Tradition and Modernism — which is not a legitimate synthesis.

Keep Reading...
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Catholicism in the Classical Period of Music
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This article continues where Catholicism in the Baroque Period of Music left off.

By 1750, the style of music produced by the world's greatest composers began to shift noticeably.  Prior to this time, the composer was typically employed by a member of a royal family or the Holy Church.  Composers produced beautiful and uplifting music that transcended even themselves.

Yet, by 1750 the composer was now being seen as a celebrity in his own right.  By this time it was not uncommon for the composer to be a traveling entertainer across Europe and even the greater civilized world.  And with the transformation in image and style, so too the music shifted from primarily religious to secular music.

However, the secular music of the time still stands in stark contrast to the so-called "music" of the present era.  At least the music of the Classical composers could rightfully be said to still seek the Good, True, and Beautiful.  And many composers still found time to compose great musical treasures for the Church.  The Classical period lasted until approximately 1830.

Below is a summary of several key figures from the Classical period and with them, selections of music appropriate for a Catholic's ears.

JC Bach and CPE Bach - Assorted Works

The father of both JC Bach and CPE Bach was none other than the famous Baroque composer JS Bach.  JS Bach had over 20 children, many of which became musicians and went on to compose pieces in the Classical Period (1750 - 1830) that would also become quite famous.   CPE Bach (b 1714 - d 1788) wrote over 50 orchestral pieces and over 100 chorale pieces. 

Below is his Magnificat in D Minor.



Joseph Haydn- Assorted Works

Were it not for the following two composers, Joseph Haydn (b 1732 - d 1809) may have become the most renowned composer of the Classical period.  Over the course of his life, he composed 50 piano sonatas, 20 operas, and 104 symphonies.  Some of Haydn's most famous pieces include his Symphony #45 (Farewell Symphony), Symphony #94 (Surprise Symphony), Symphony #101 (Clock Symphony), and his 104th Symphony, one of the Lond Symphonies and his last one written.

He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these musical forms. 

It is inspiring to note that despite living in this Enlightenment period, Haydn was a devout Catholic who often turned to his rosary when he had trouble composing, a practice that he usually found to be effective. He normally began the manuscript of each composition with "in nomine Domini" ("in the name of the Lord") and ended with "Laus Deo" ("praise be to God"). 

Below is his The Heavens are Telling from the the Oratorio The Creation as sung by King's College, Cambridge.



Mozart and Beethoven- Assorted Works

What really could be said to add to the works of either Mozart or Beethoven?  Both are considered the two most well known composers in history.  Each has composed such a monumental number of pieces that to attempt a brief overview would do them both a great dishonor.  I simply wish to provide one video featuring Mozart's Coronation Mass and a second one featuring his Requiem Mass.  Both are among the great gems he has left to the Church.  May they be played for the honor of God in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass widely and often!



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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Easter 2012 Urbi et Orbi
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Image Source: Getty Images


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!

“Surrexit Christus, spes mea” – “Christ, my hope, has risen” (Easter Sequence).

May the jubilant voice of the Church reach all of you with the words which the ancient hymn puts on the lips of Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter the risen Jesus on Easter morning. She ran to the other disciples and breathlessly announced: “I have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:18). We too, who have journeyed through the desert of Lent and the sorrowful days of the Passion, today raise the cry of victory: “He has risen! He has truly risen!”

Every Christian relives the experience of Mary Magdalene. It involves an encounter which changes our lives: the encounter with a unique Man who lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth, who frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity. This is why Mary Magdalene calls Jesus “my hope”: he was the one who allowed her to be reborn, who gave her a new future, a life of goodness and freedom from evil. “Christ my hope” means that all my yearnings for goodness find in him a real possibility of fulfilment: with him I can hope for a life that is good, full and eternal, for God himself has drawn near to us, even sharing our humanity.

But Mary Magdalene, like the other disciples, was to see Jesus rejected by the leaders of the people, arrested, scourged, condemned to death and crucified. It must have been unbearable to see Goodness in person subjected to human malice, truth derided by falsehood, mercy abused by vengeance. With Jesus’ death, the hope of all those who had put their trust in him seemed doomed. But that faith never completely failed: especially in the heart of the Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Mother, its flame burned even in the dark of night. In this world, hope can not avoid confronting the harshness of evil. It is not thwarted by the wall of death alone, but even more by the barbs of envy and pride, falsehood and violence. Jesus passed through this mortal mesh in order to open a path to the kingdom of life. For a moment Jesus seemed vanquished: darkness had invaded the land, the silence of God was complete, hope a seemingly empty word.

And lo, on the dawn of the day after the Sabbath, the tomb is found empty. Jesus then shows himself to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to his disciples. Faith is born anew, more alive and strong than ever, now invincible since it is based on a decisive experience: “Death with life contended: combat strangely ended! Life’s own champion, slain, now lives to reign”. The signs of the resurrection testify to the victory of life over death, love over hatred, mercy over vengeance: “The tomb the living did enclose, I saw Christ’s glory as he rose! The angels there attesting, shroud with grave-clothes resting”.

Dear brothers and sisters! If Jesus is risen, then – and only then – has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world. Then he, Jesus, is someone in whom we can put absolute trust; we can put our trust not only in his message but in Jesus himself, for the Risen One does not belong to the past, but is present today, alive. Christ is hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution. And he is present as a force of hope through his Church, which is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice.

May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights. Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community. May the many refugees from that country who are in need of humanitarian assistance find the acceptance and solidarity capable of relieving their dreadful sufferings. May the paschal victory encourage the Iraqi people to spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development. In the Holy Land, may Israelis and Palestinians courageously take up anew the peace process.

May the Lord, the victor over evil and death, sustain the Christian communities of the African continent; may he grant them hope in facing their difficulties, and make them peacemakers and agents of development in the societies to which they belong.

May the risen Jesus comfort the suffering populations of the Horn of Africa and favour their reconciliation; may he help the Great Lakes Region, Sudan and South Sudan, and grant their inhabitants the power of forgiveness. In Mali, now experiencing delicate political developments, may the glorious Christ grant peace and stability. To Nigeria, which in recent times has experienced savage terrorist attacks, may the joy of Easter grant the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of all its citizens.

Happy Easter to all!

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Book Review: "Union of God: Letters of Spiritual Direction by Blessed Columba Marmion"
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With a heartfelt, genuine thankfulness, I wish to thank a friend of mine for having presented me with a copy of "Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction" by Blessed Columba Marmion.  In a beautiful expression of Divine simplicity and holiness, Blessed Marmion's words are refreshing to the souls of Catholics and, I might add, should be read by all seeking deeper union with He who is Divinity Itself.

Writing of Don Marmion, Dom Raymond Thibaut writes in the introduction, "He comes before us in the simple light for a very high and very humble human personality, and also in the splendor of that close union with God which was the secret of his fervent and enlightened zeal for souls" (xvii).

The very depth and breath of spiritual advice in this book is far too immense to describe in one blog post.  I would however like to summarize that Blessed Marmion draws from our childlike depends and love towards our Heavenly Father as a central tenet of his advice to souls.  Seek Jesus always - seek His Face through His Commandments and do all for the love of God.  In this is summarized all of Blessed Marmion's advice.

An excerpt from the book is available here: Blessed Columba Marmion on Living a Daily Catholic Life

I rate this book a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.
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Sunday, April 8, 2012
Traditional Mass Propers: Easter Sunday (THE SOLEMNITY OF SOLEMNITIES)
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Vestments: White



INTROIT
Psalm 138 18, 5, 6
I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia; Thou hast laid Thy hand upon me, alleluia; Thy knowledge is become wonderful, alleluia, alleluia. -- (Ps. 138. 1, 2). Lord, Thou hast searched Me and known Me; Thou knowest my sitting down and My rising up. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- I arose, and am still with Thee, alleluia . . .



COLLECT - O God, who, on this day, through Thine only-begotten Son, hast conquered death, and thrown open to us the gate of everlasting life, give effect by thine aid to our desires, which Thou dost anticipate and inspire. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .



EPISTLE
I Corinthians 5: 7, 8
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corithians.
Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

[Let us too partake of the Lamb of God with the azyma (unleavened bread) of a pure and holy life.] Brethren, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened: for Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

GRADUAL
Psalm 117: 24,1
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us rejoice and be glad in it. V.: Give praise unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.
Alleluia, alleluia. V.: (I Cor. 5. 7). Christ our Pasch is immolated.



SEQUENCE

Christians! to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful praises.

The Lamb the sheep redeemeth: Christ, who only is sinless, reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life contended in that conflict stupendous: the Prince of Life, who died, deathless reigneth.

Speak, Mary, declaring what thou sawest wayfaring.

"The tomb of Christ who now liveth: and likewise the glory of the Risen.

Bright Angels attesting, the shroud and napkin resting.

Yea, Christ my hope is arisen: to Galilee He goeth before you."

We know that Christ is risen, henceforth ever living: Have mercy, Victor King, pardon giving. Amen. Alleluia.



GOSPEL
Mark 16:1-7

At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe, and they were astonished. Who saith to them, Be not affrighted; ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here; behold the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples, and Peter, that He goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, as He told you.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 75: 9-10
The earth trembled and was still when God arose in judgment, alleluia.



SECRET - We beseech Thee, O Lord, accept the prayers of Thy people together with the Sacrifice they offer, that what has been begun by the Paschal Mysteries, by Thy working may profit us unto eternal healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Easter) - -It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, at all times to praise Thee, O Lord, but more gloriously especially this day when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the Lamb Who hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath destroyed our death: and by rising again hath restored us to life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:

SPECIAL FORM OF COMMUNICANTES (Communicantes for Easter) - Communicating, and keeping this most holy day of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; and also reverencing the memory, first, of the glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also . . .

SPECIAL FORM OF HANC IGITUR - We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family, which we make unto Thee on behalf of these whom Thou hast vouchsafed to bring to a new birth by water and the Holy Ghost, granting them remission of all their sins: and to dispose our days in Thy peace, preserve us from final damnation and rank us in the number of Thine Elect. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

COMMUNION
I Corinthians 5: 7, 8
Christ our Pasch is immolated, alleluia: therefore let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

POST COMMUNION - Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, that, by Thy loving kindness, Thou mayest make to be of one mind those whom Thou hast satisfied with the Paschal Sacraments. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .



Easter Sermon
By St. John Chrysostom


Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first. To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaias foretold this when he said, "You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
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Saturday, April 7, 2012
Lamentations of Holy Saturday
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Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began... ..He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him -- He who is both their God and the son of Eve.. "I am your God, who for your sake have become your son... ...I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead." [Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy Saturday, OR]
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Thursday, April 5, 2012
Book Review: Past Suspicion by Therese Heckenkamp
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I was recently given an opportunity to review Therese Heckenkamp's "Past Suspicion."  The basic storyline centers around Robin, a 17-year old young adult from upscale California.  In the course of the book we discover that Robin's controlling mother dies of cancer, leading to Robin's flight to live with her uncle in small town Wisconsin.

Despite knowing nothing about him, Robin develops an interest in her uncle's bookstore and begins working for him.  Saving her earnings from the store, Robin hoped to save enough money to return to California.  All the while, her uncle is fighting off reporters who want to do a piece on the history of the store. The story centers on the progress of the protagonist in developing and sustaining relationships with others around her.  Robin is forced to learn to trust others and live with her actions.

Despite my preference for non-fiction, this book offers a suspenseful and interesting story.  The entire book was written well - alternating between past and present.   I do recommend this book to anyone 12 and up.  You can read details and reviews at Amazon.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The Counsel of the Devil After the Victory of Christ on the Cross
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The following is taken from "The Mystical City of God, The Divine History and Life of The Virgin Mother of God" as revealed to Mary of Agreda.

he set about proposing to his fellow-demons new plans of his pride

As soon as Lucifer was permitted to proceed in these matters and arise from the consternation in which he remained for some time, he set about proposing to his fellow-demons new plans of his pride. For this purpose he called them all together and placing himself in an elevated position, he spoke to them: "To you, who have for so many ages followed and still follow my standards for the vengeance of my wrongs, is known the injury which I have now sustained at the hands of this Mangod, and how for thirty-three years He has led me about in deceit, hiding his Divinity and concealing the operations of his soul, and how He has now triumphed over us by the very Death which we have brought upon Him. Before He assumed flesh I hated Him and refused to acknowledge Him as being more worthy than I to be adored by the rest of creation. Although on account of this resistance I was cast out from heaven with you and was degraded to this abominable condition so unworthy of my greatness and former beauty, I am even more tormented to see myself thus vanquished and oppressed by this Man and by his Mother. From the day on which the first man was created I have sleeplessly sought to find Them and destroy Them; or if I should not be able to destroy Them, I at least wished to bring destruction upon all his creatures and induce them not to acknowledge Him as their God, and that none of them should ever draw any benefit from his works. This has been my intent, to this all my solicitude and efforts were directed. But in vain, since He has overcome me by his humility and poverty, crushed me by his patience, and at last has despoiled me of the sovereignty of the world by his Passion and frightful Death. This causes me such an excruciating pain, that, even if I succeeded in hurling Him from the right hand of his Father, where He sits triumphant, and if I should draw all the souls redeemed down into this hell, my wrath would not be satiated or my fury placated."

"Is it possible that the human nature, so inferior to my own, shall be exalted above all the creatures! That it should be so loved and favored, as to be united to the Creator in the person of the eternal Word! That He should first make war upon me before executing this work, and afterwards overwhelm me with such confusion! From the beginning I have held this humanity as my greatest enemy; it has always filled me with intolerable abhorrence. O men, so favored and gifted by your God whom I abhor, and so ardently loved by Him! How shall I hinder your good fortune? How shall I bring upon you my unhappiness, since I cannot destroy the existence you have received? What shall we now begin, O my followers? How shall we restore our reign? How shall we recover our power over men? How shall we overcome them? For if men from now on shall not be most senseless and ungrateful, if they are not worse disposed than we ourselves toward this Godman, who has redeemed them with so much love, it is clear that all of them will eagerly follow Him; none will take notice of our deceits; they will abhor the honors which we insidiously offer them, and will love contempt; they will seek the mortification of the flesh and will discover the danger of carnal pleasure and ease; they will despise riches and treasures, and love the poverty so much honored by their Master; and all that we can offer to their appetites they will abhor in imitation of their true Redeemer. Thus will our reign be destroyed, since no one will be added to our number in this place of confusion and torments; all will reach the happiness which we have lost, all will humiliate themselves to the dust and suffer with patience; and my wrath and haughtiness will avail me nothing."

"Ah, woe is me, what torment does this mistake cause me! When I tempted Him in the desert, the only result was to afford him a chance to leave the example of this victory, by following which men can overcome so much the more easily. My persecutions only brought out more clearly his doctrine of humility and patience. In persuading Judas to betray Him, and the Jews subject Him to the deadly torture of the Cross, I merely hastened my ruin and the salvation of men, while the doctrine I sought to blot out was only the more firmly implanted. How could One who is God humiliate Himself to such an extent? How could He bear so much from men who are evil? How could I myself have been led to assist so much in making this salvation so copious and wonderful? O how godlike is the power of that Man which could torment and weaken me so? And can this Woman, his Mother and my Enemy, be so mighty and invincible in her opposition to me? New is such power in a mere creature, and no doubt She derived it from the divine Word, whom She clothed in human flesh. Through this Woman the Almighty has ceaselessly waged war against me, though I have hated Her in my pride from the moment I recognized Her in her image or heavenly sign. But if my proud indignation is not to be assuaged, I benefit nothing by my perpetual war against this Redeemer, against his Mother and against men. Now then, ye demons who follow me, now is the time to give way to our wrath against God. Come all of ye to take counsel what we are to do; for I desire to hear your opinions."

Some of the principal demons gave their answers to this dreadful proposal, encouraging Lucifer by suggesting diverse schemes for hindering the fruit of the Redemption among men. They all agreed that it was not possible to injure the person of Christ, to diminish the immense value of his merits, to destroy the efficacy of the Sacraments, to falsify or abolish the doctrine which Christ had preached; yet they resolved that, in accordance with the new order of assistance and favor established by God for the salvation of men, they should now seek new ways of hindering and preventing the work of God by much the greater deceits and temptations. In reference to these plans some of the astute and malicious demons said "It is true, that men now have at their disposal a new and very powerful doctrine and law, new and efficacious Sacraments, a new Model and Instructor of virtues, a powerful Intercessor and Advocate in this Woman; yet the natural inclinations and passions of the flesh remain just the same, and the sensible and delectable creatures have not changed their nature. Let us then, making use of this situation with increased astuteness, foil as far as in us lies the effects of what this Godman has wrought for men. Let us begin strenuous warfare against mankind by suggesting new attractions, exciting them to follow their passions in forgetfulness of all else. Thus men, being taken up with these dangerous things, cannot attend to the contrary."

Acting upon this counsel they redistributed the spheres of work among themselves, in order that each squadron of demons might, with a specialized astuteness tempt men to different vices. They resolved to continue to propagate idolatry in the world, so that men might not come to the knowledge of the true God and the Redemption. Wherever idolatry would fail, they concluded to establish sects and heresies, for which they would select the most perverse and depraved of the human race as leaders and teachers of error. Then and there was concocted among these malignant spirits the sect of Mahomet, the heresies of Arius, Pelagius, Nestorius, and whatever other heresies have been started in the world from the first ages of the Church until now, together with those which they have in readiness, but which it is neither necessary nor proper to mention here. Lucifer showed himself content with these infernal counsels as being opposed to divine truth and destructive of the very foundation of man's rescue, namely divine faith. He lavished flattering praise and high offices upon those demons, who showed themselves willing and who undertook to find the impious originators of these errors.

Some of the devils charged themselves with perverting the inclinations of children at their conception and birth; others to induce parents to be negligent in the education and instruction of their children, either through an inordinate love or aversion, and to cause a hatred of parents among the children. Some offered to create hatred between husbands and wives, to place them in the way of adultery, or to think little of the fidelity promised to their conjugal partners. All agreed to sow among men the seeds of discord, hatred and vengeance, proud and sensual thoughts, desire of riches or honors, and by suggesting sophistical reasons against all the virtues Christ has taught; above all they intended to weaken the remembrance of his Passion and Death, of the means of salvation, and of the eternal pains of hell. By these means the demons hoped to burden all the powers and the faculties of men with solicitude for earthly affairs and sensual pleasures, leaving them little time for spiritual thoughts and their own salvation.

Lucifer heard these different suggestions of the demons, and answering them, he said: "I am much beholden to you for your opinions: I approve of them and adopt them all; it will be easy to put them into practice with those, who do not profess the law given by this Redeemer to men, though with those who accept and embrace these laws, it will be a difficult enterprise. But against this law and against those that follow it, I intend to direct all my wrath and fury and I shall most bitterly persecute those who hear the doctrine of this Redeemer and become his disciples; against these must our most relentless battle be waged to the end of the world. In this new Church I must strive to sow my cockle (Matth. 14, 25), the ambitions, the avarice, the sensuality, and the deadly hatreds, with all the other vices, of which I am the head. For if once these sins multiply and increase among the faithful, they will, with their concomitant malice and ingratitude, irritate God and justly deprive men of the helps of grace left to them by the merits of the Redeemer. If once they have thus despoiled themselves of these means of salvation, we shall have assured victory over them. We must also exert ourselves to weaken piety and all that is spiritual and divine; so that they do not realize the power the Sacraments and receive them in mortal sin, or at least without fervor and devotion. For since these Sacraments are spiritual, it is necessary to receive them with well-disposed will, in order to reap their fruits. If once they despise the medicine, they shall languish in their sickness and be less able to withstand our temptations; they will not see through our deceits, they will let the memory of their Redeemer and of the intercession of his Mother slip from their minds. Thus will their foul ingratitude make them unworthy of grace and so irritate their God and Savior, as to deprive them of his helps. In all this I wish, that all of you assist me strenuously, losing neither time nor occasion for executing my commands.''

It is not possible to rehearse all the schemes of this dragon and his allies concocted at that time against the holy Church and her children, in order that these waters of Jordan might be swallowed up in his throat (Job 40, 18). It is enough to state that they spent nearly a full year after the Death of Christ conferring and considering among themselves the state of the world up to that time and the changes wrought by Christ our God and Master through his Death and after having manifested the light of his faith by so many miracles, blessings and examples of holy men. If all these labors have not sufficed to draw all men to the way of salvation, it can be easily understood, that Lucifer should have prevailed and that his wrath should be so great, as to cause us justly to say with saint John: "Woe to the earth, for satan is come down to you full of wrath and fury!'' But alas! that truths so infallible and so much to be dreaded and avoided by men, should in our days be blotted from the minds of mortals to the irreparable danger of the whole world! Our enemy is astute, cruel and watchful: we sleepy, lukewarm and careless! What wonder that Lucifer has intrenched himself so firmly in the world, when so many listen to him, accept and follow his deceits, so few resist him, and entirely forget the eternal death, which he so furiously and maliciously seeks to draw upon them? I beseech those, who read this, not to forget this dreadful danger. If they are not convinced of this danger through the evil condition of the world and through the evils each one experiences himself, let them at least learn this danger by the vast and powerful remedies and helps, which the Savior thought it necessary to leave behind in his Church. For He would not have provided such antidotes if our ailment and danger of eternal death were not so great and formidable.

WORDS OF THE QUEEN. (The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain.)

This close imitation and living reproduction of Christ, confronting the demons in the first children of the Church, they feared so much, that they dared not approach and they precipitously fled from the Apostles and the just ones imbued with the doctrines of my divine Son. In them were offered up to the Almighty the first fruits of grace, and of Redemption. What is seen in the saints and in perfect Christians in those times, would happen in the present times with all the Catholics if they would accept grace and work with it instead of permitting it to go to waste, and if they would seek the way of the Cross; for Lucifer fears it as much now as in the times thou hast been writing of. But soon the charity, zeal and devotion in many of faithful began to grow cold and they forgot the blessings of the Redemption; they yielded to their carnal inclinations and desires, they loved vanity and avarice and permitted themselves to be fascinated and deceived by the false pretenses of Lucifer, obscuring the glory of their Savior and inveigling them into the meshes of their mortal enemies. This foul ingratitude has thrown the world into the present state and has encouraged the demons to rise up in their pride against God, audaciously presuming to possess themselves of all the children of Adam on account of this forgetfulness and carelessness of Catholics. They presume to plot the destruction the whole Church by the perversion of so many who have fallen away from it; and by inducing those who are in it, to think little of it, or by hindering them from producing the fruits of the blood and death of their Redeemer. The greatest misfortune is, that many Catholics fail to recognize this great damage and do not seriously think of a remedy, although they can presume that the times, of which Jesus forewarned the women of Jerusalem, have arrived; namely, those in which the sterile should be happy, and in which many would call upon the mountains and the hills to cover and fall upon them, in order not to see the devastation of wickedness cutting down the sons of perdition, the dried trees, barren of all the fruits of virtue.
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