Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heinrich Fries on the Pneumatological Church

When, after having returned to her senses, the Catholic Church begins the work of digesting and cataloging the events of what will be known as the Modernist Crisis so as to immunize herself against future outbreaks of this most pernicious of diseases, it will do well to remember the important role played by one particular actor: Heinrich Fries. 


Cardinal Kasper and Heinrich Fries

Heinrich Fries (1911-1998) was professor of Fundamental and Ecumenical Theology at the University of Munich, collaborated with both Karl Rahner and the young Joseph Ratzinger, and served as something of a mentor to his one-time student, Walter Kasper. An evaluation of the work of Heinrich Fries allows us to understand the Modernist's plans for Catholic ecclesiology - not to mention anything and everything Pope Francis says on the subject. Observe:
To believe in and understand the Church as work of the Spirit means to be mindful of its life and vitality, to protect it from narrowness and inflexibility, and from fear and faintheartedness as well as from dissolution and lack of orientation. It means, in addition, that its own renewal in the Church's constant task, a task that is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit as the soul of the community of believers. To believe in and understand the Church as work of the Spirit means to make a place in it for the new, the unexpected, the future, according to the injunction, "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thess. 5:19); it means, further, to acknowledge that the Spirit of God blows when and where and how it wills, that it cannot be preordained, or chained, or manipulated and regimented. Among the signs of the activity of the Spirit of the Church are the prophets in the Church, the charismatics, often too the uncomfortable critics who understand criticism as faithful engagement, the ones who push towards new turning points and leave their mark on history. (Heinrich Fries, Fundamental Theology, p. 502)
One could be forgiven for assuming that the above is a quote from Pope Francis. Indeed, the harmony between the thoughts of Pope Francis and the words of Heinrich Fries is so great that, under a different set of circumstances, the former could be accused of having plagiarized the latter. As it stands, we have to wonder whether Fries' Fundamental Theology has a place of honor in Pope Francis' personal library.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Eucharist: A Continuation of the Work of Salvation

Fifth in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist Continues the Work of the Salvation of the Human Race.


Adore Our Lord Jesus Christ truly present and living in person behind the Eucharistic veils; adore Him under His beautiful title of the Saviour of the Human Race, and in the persevering labor, in the actual occupation, in the supremely merciful and excellent work of your salvation, at which He labors perpetually and without ever taking any repose, in the Sacrament of the altar; for if He instituted the Eucharist for the glorification of His Father, He also instituted it, at the same time, for the salvation of men, which is the principal means of the glory of God. In the same way as the Son of God became man for us and for our salvation, so also for us and for our salvation did He institute the Holy Sacrament. And in the same way that He procured during His human life the salvation of men by His prayers, by His preachings, by His benefits and by His Passion, it is still by the same means that He applies Himself in the Sacrament to save us.

Contemplate Him with a very attentive love, engaged in this work. During His lifetime, He prayed at night, on the mountains and in solitary places; night and day His prayers ascend from the tabernacles which are placed everywhere throughout the world, like sentinels on watch towers charged with guarding the safety of cities.

Formerly, His preaching proclaimed the truth in regard to duties and virtues which sanctify; in the Sacrament, it is His state itself which preaches to the eyes and to faith the accomplishment of all duties, and which loudly teaches all virtues. Does not the state of Jesus in the Sacrament very loudly proclaim the adoration of God, obedience, dependence, humility, patience, devotedness?

During His lifetime, He gained souls for God by His good deeds; and does He not continue in the Sacrament to heal, to nourish, to console, to make souls live again? Then, He lavished blessings; now, He gives Himself!

Lastly, He redeemed the world by the shedding of His blood. And behold, the Sacrament is nothing more than the renewal of His passion and death, the perpetual and universal effusion of His blood; it is from the Eucharist as from their source that all the Sacraments derive their salutary virtues; it is by the prayer of the Eucharistic sacrifice that our prayers which obtain grace are rendered valid. All the instruments of salvation borrow their efficacy from the Eucharist.

And thus by His prayers, His state, His gifts, His sacrifice, the Eucharistic Christ labors for the salvation of the human race, and this admirable labor will end only with the last hour of the world, when the courageous, indefatigable and heroic Workman will have finished the labor and will have fully consummated the task which He accepted from His Father. Adore Him and contemplate Him and follow Him with the most sincere admiration in this labor of love.


Gratitude, with the joy and the happiness which accompany it, will overflow your heart if you give great attention to the fact that the Saviour comes to accomplish personally in each one of us this labor of the salvation of the human race by His Eucharist.

It is the individual application, repeated as many times as there are Christians to be saved, of all the elements of salvation. During His life, He prayed for all, and now, at the present day, He comes into every one of us and prays in him, with him; He comes to impress His teachings on the heart of each one of us by making us feed on the grace and the sap of His own virtues; He comes to us Himself, personally, entirely, sensibly to each of us, all the days of our life; He comes to die in the depths of the soul of each, shedding in us, together with His blood, all His merits, all His satisfactions. Every one can, every one ought to say: "I see the Saviour laboring directly for my salvation; I feel Him operating it in me, I am therefore really the object of His solicitude, of His labors; I may therefore be very certain to be saved if I lend myself to His operations."

Oh, the touching assurance, the convincing proof, the invincible demonstration of the love, of the ardent zeal with which the Saviour wills that I should be saved!

Consider and admire that you may render thanks giving for the beauty, the goodness, the merciful condescension, the indefatigable perseverance of the salutary labor which Jesus performs in you by His Sacrament, and you will be overwhelmed with gratitude for this too beneficent Saviour!


The Saviour addressed a severe reproach to the Jews of His day who resisted His advances and His persuasions, refusing the salvation which He offered them, condemning themselves thereby to eternal death, and to chastisement all the more terrible because they were rejecting the Saviour Himself at the very moment when He was bringing them salvation.

What must be said of those who resist the love, the advances, the solicitations, the sacrifices of the Saviour in the Eucharist?

He continues to remain in the midst of us, multiplying the places of His residence, and we ignore Him! He renews every,day upon a thousand altars at once, in an annihilation visible to all, the sacrifice of His life, and we are determined to take no account of it! He pursues us to such a degree as to make Himself, in order to penetrate into us and to gain us, the indispensable aliment of our life, the viaticum of our pilgrimage, the consolation of our trials, and the remedy of all our evils, and we reject Him with disdain and disfavor! And we condemn the Saviour to the torture of holding out throughout the long course of centuries His suppliant arms towards a people who refuse to cast themselves into them, therein to find life!

Ah, what a crime is this! What means this in gratitude, this inexplicable hardness, this unheard-of folly? The Saviour may well say of us as He did of the obstinate men of His day, and with still better reason: "If I had not come, their sin would have been less; but woe to those who have seen Me and who have not believed in Me!"

Let us make reparation by consoling the Saviour with our fidelity and our assiduity in using the graces of salvation which He offers to us in His Sacrament. Let us examine if practically the Eucharist occupies in our life the place which it ought to fill. Do we receive it often enough, and are we sufficiently prepared? Do we have recourse to it with sufficient confidence and promptitude? Do we live in such a manner that it may work in us our salvation in an efficacious manner?


Ask earnestly, first, for faith in the immense power of the Eucharist for the salvation of the world and for your own salvation; second, for grace to be faithful and assiduous in making use of the Eucharist frequently and fruitfully; third, for grace to make the obstacle disappear as quickly as possible: sin, ill-regulated affections, dangerous occasions, voluntary weaknesses which prevent the Sacrament of all holiness from sanctifying you in reality; fourth, that the Eucharist may be better known, more diffused, more utilized for the salvation of the world, which languishes without it.


Increase, if not in number, at least in fervor, your pious relations with the Eucharist.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Church Fathers on the Lenten Fast

Mosaic depicting the Temptation of Christ after His fast in the desert

St. Epiphanius (315 - 403)

"And in the days of the Paschal fast, when among us there are prostrations, purifications, afflictive sufferings, prayers, vigils and fastings, they [i.e. transgressors] from the morning feed themselves with flesh and wine, filling their veins, and deride us, laughing and mocking at such as celebrate the holy service of this season - so that he shows thereby his mind and his unbelief."

St. Gregory Nazianzen (329 - 390)

"We fast because we fasted not from the tree of knowledge, having been overcome thereby: for fasting was an old command, and coeval with us. It is the pedagogy of the soul, and the moderation of sensual delight; which is very meetly enjoined us, that what we lost by not observing that precept of fasting, we may recover again, observing it."

"By our passions, let us imitate His Passion."

"Christ fasted a while before His temptation; we, before the Paschal feast - the matter of fasting is the same. This hath in us the force of mortifying us with Christ, and is the purifying preparation to the feast. And He indeed fasted forty days; for He was God; but we proportionate this to our power, though zeal persuade some to leap even beyond their strength."

St. Basil the Great (330 - 379)

"For neither doth the spite of devils dare anything against him that fasteth. And the Angels, guardians of our life, do more studiously abide by such who have their souls purified by fasting."

"There are Angels who, in each church, register those who fast."

"Fasting is the beginning of penance or repentance, the continence of the tongue, the bridle of anger, the banishment of lust."

"Fasting is our assimilation unto the Angels, the temperament of life."

St. Ambrose (340 - 397)

"If any man desire to obtain the glory of the Gospel, and the fruit of the Resurrection, he ought not to be a transgressor of the mystical fast, which both Moses in the Law did, and Christ in His Gospel hath prescribed, by the authority of both Testaments, a space for the faithful striving of virtue."

"Not every hunger makes an acceptable fast, but that hunger which is undertaken from the fear of God. Consider: a Lent is fasted with us all days, except Saturday and the Lord's day."

"He that had no sin fasted a Lent, and wilt not thou who sinnest? He, I say, had no sin, but fasted for our sins."

"For so hath the Lord appointed, that as for His Passion we should mourn in the fasts of Lent, so for His Resurrection we should rejoice in the fifty days following. Therefore, we fast not in this fifty days, because in these the Lord is with us. We fast not, I say, the Lord being present; because He hath said, 'Can the children of the Bridegroom fast so long as the Bridegroom is with them?'"

St. Jerome (347 - 420)

"The Lord hath taught us that the fiercer sort of devils cannot be overcome but by prayer and fasting."

"The Lord Himself, the true Jonas, sent to preach unto the world, fasted forty days, and leaving us the inheritance of the fast, under this number prepares our souls for the eating of His Body."

"The Lord fasted forty days in the wilderness, that He might leave unto us the solemn days of the fasts."

St. Chrysostom (349 - 407)

"And the ground and teacher of all these things, fasting will be unto us; fasting, I mean, not that of most men, but that which is the true fast, viz. the abstinence not from meats only, but from sins. For the nature of fasting only is not sufficient to deliver such as betake themselves to it, except it be done agreeably to its law."

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Bloody Rise of the Anglican Church

Eighth in a Series on the Protestant Reformation

Fr. Charles Coppens, S.J.

Canterbury Cathedral
Most Anglicans take it for granted that their ancestors deliberately left the Catholic Church on account of its corruptions. They are much mistaken. In England, as in most other lands, the people were driven into the Reformation by fines, imprisonments, terrorism, the rack, the scaffold, and foreign soldiers; all this process was promoted by slanders, misunderstandings and all manners of deplorable deceptions. Look at the facts of history.

When Henry VIII died in 1547, the faith of the English people was still the same that it had been for nearly a thousand years, ever since St. Austin, with his monks, had brought it to them from Rome. True, the Pope was no longer acknowledged by the party in power to be the spiritual head of the Church in the realm; the King had usurped his place. But the people generally clung to the ancient doctrine as firmly as ever. Lingard writes:
To dispel these prejudices, Henry issued injunctions that the very name 'Pope' should be carefully erased out of all books employed in the public worship; that every schoolmaster should diligently inculcate the new doctrine on the children entrusted to his care; that all clergymen, from the bishop to the curate, should on every Sunday and holiday teach that the King was the true head of the Church, and that the authority hitherto exercised by the Popes was a usurpation, tamely submitted to by the carelessness or timidity of his predecessors; and the sheriffs in each county should keep a vigilant eye over the conduct of the clergy, and should report to the council the names, not only of those who might neglect these duties, but also of those who might perform them in deed, but with coldness and indifference.
A general espionage was organized to suppress all murmurings. Many priests and laymen were punished with death for resistance to this tyranny. In the north of England, the opposition was so vigorous as to lead to a succession of rebellions; but the Duke of Norfolk, with the aid of disciplined troops, put down the unorganized multitude.

When open opposition was suppressed, and the citizens were cowed by terror, the King drew up a brief summary of religious faith in six articles, the Bloody Six, as even Froude calls them, because those who denied any of them were burned at the stake. The Catholics who refused to take the oath of Henry's supremacy in spiritual matters were hanged and quartered. There was no free choice in those days in any country that is now Protestant.

After Henry's death, his son, Edward VI, a boy of nine years, succeeded him, with the Duke of Somerset as temporal and Cranmer as spiritual ruler during the minority. The latter had been till then a Protestant in secret; he now threw off the mask and imposed the Reformed doctrines on the realm. At his discretion, one law after another was enacted by parliament to change the religion of the people. The celibacy of the clergy was abolished. The Mass was at first retained "until a better order of service could be devised;" but Communion under both kinds was enjoined. The election of bishops was withdrawn from the deans and chapters and vested wholly in the crown. The Book of Common Prayer was completed and adopted by parliament in 1549, as having been "dictated by the aid of the Holy Ghost." All beneficed clergymen had to subscribe to this decree and use the new service instead of Holy Mass. The Six Articles of Henry were suppressed, and forty-two others substituted for them.

In all this change of religion, the people had no choice, nor the clergy either. Bishop Gardiner objected vigorously, saying we should obey God rather than man; he was sent to the Tower. The people rose in rebellion throughout the kingdom, but they were crushed with the aid of foreign troops. The Protestant historian Hallam writes:
The common people looked to their own teachers as guides in faith, and the main body of clergy were certainly very reluctant to tear themselves, at the pleasure of a disappointed monarch, in the most dangerous crisis of religion, from the bosom of Catholic unity.
And again:
This is a somewhat humiliating admission, that the Protestant faith was imposed upon our ancestors by a foreign army.
Edward died young, July 6, 1553. But his death was first kept secret till another Protestant could have been installed in his stead. Happily Mary, the legitimate heir, was notified by the Earl of Arundel. She at once unfurled her banner and the country rallied to her support. She who was dubbed by her enemies "Bloody Mary" spared Cranmer and other leaders of the plot for nearly two years before she consented to sign their death warrant; many she pardoned entirely. It was only after Wyatt's rebellion that she adopted really severe measures against the restless rebels who plotted for the restoration of Protestantism. In this, she followed the bad example of her enemies, of whom Hallam writes:
Persecution is the deadly sin of the Reformed churches, that which cools every honest man's zeal for their cause in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive.
Nearly the whole of English literature for three hundred years was a conspiracy to hide this truth.

Of course, Mary restored the Catholic religion, which was still that of eleven-twelfths of her subjects. She reinstated the Catholic bishops who had remained faithful; the married bishops and clergy retired or were removed. Cranmer had purposely so changed the forms of ordination for priests and consecration for bishops as to make these sacred Orders invalid. Of the men thus ordained, some were ordained anew in the proper manner, others retired among the laity, where they belonged.

Elizabeth I of England
The greatest difficulty in the way of reunion with Rome was the large number of influential men who had fattened on the Church property. Bishop Gardiner, Mary's lord chancellor, obtained from the supreme Pontiff leave for them to retain spoils; it was like throwing the cargo overboard to save the ship. Cardinal Pole, of the royal blood of England, was sent to his native country from Rome as legate of the Pope; everything was done that conscience allowed to restore peace to all. The entire nation was solemnly absolved in parliament of all censures incurred under Henry's and Edward's reign. Unfortunately for all concerned, Mary died in 1558, and was succeeded by Elizabeth, who had become a Catholic and had sworn to the sincerity of her conversion. But finding that the Pope would not acknowledge her legitimacy, she determined to follow her father's example and make herself the head of Church and state. She took up the Reformed doctrines as a matter of state policy, and by forty-four years of persecution she forced Protestantism on the English people.

She chose William Cecil as the principal instrument of her tyranny. The plan he devised was this: to forbid all Catholic sermons, to terrorize the clergy, to make them odious to the laity, to remove obnoxious magistrates, to restore the Edwardine liturgy, and to do all this cautiously under various false pretenses. He packed a new parliament, lords and commons, at the opening of which the Queen assumed the imperious tone of her father, stating she would do what she thought best, but would prefer to have their assent rather than to act without it. Next, she forced the parliament to abolish the Catholic religion. The convocation of the clergy and the faculties of the two great universities entered a vigorous protest against this apostasy. Thereupon, the two most influential bishops were sent to the Tower. The rest, though terrorized, did not yield, but their protest was simply ignored. All the acts of Henry and Edward abolished under Mary were re-enacted. The new worship was enforced under penalty of fines, confiscations and death. Under Henry, the articles to be believed were six; under Edward, these were abolished and forty-two others were put instead; under Elizabeth, there were thirty-nine, which remain to this day. They are sworn to by every Anglican clergyman in England; but half of these ministers do not believe in them. Only one bishop consented to take the oath required, that he might keep his see; all the others were deposed, many of them imprisoned. So many of the lower clergy withdrew that laymen, mostly mechanics, had to be employed in some places to read the service. Priests who said Mass in secret were hunted like wolves, and when found they were hanged, disemboweled while still alive, and their limbs exposed in public placed. The faithful who harbored them or who assisted them at Holy Mass were imprisoned and tortured to make them betray their friends. By such persecutions, continued under several reigns, Protestantism was gradually propagated among the English people. Once separated from Rome, private judgment gradually divided the nation into countless sects.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

His Eminence Cardinal Rodrigues M.
Being up-to-date on all things Catholic as they characteristically are, the good people over at Rorate Caeli recently published an excerpt from a presentation by Cardinal Oscar Rodrigues Maradiaga delivered in January 20, 2015 at Santa Clara University for the Markulla Center for Applied Ethics entitled The Church of Mercy with Pope Francis. Having read the full text of the essay from which the presentation was drawn - several times, in fact - it seems hard to overstate the importance of the message it contains. Never before, in my recollection, has a cardinal - particularly such an influential one (Rodriguez Maradiaga is co-ordinator of the "C9" Council of Cardinals, established by Pope Francis to facilitate a reform of the Curia) - spoken so plainly as to the direction Pope Francis wants to take the Catholic Church.

The portion quoted by Rorate Caeli is undoubtedly important, as it removes all doubt that Pope Francis wants to change the Church in a fundamental, essential and permanent way. But the real meat of Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga's essay - the part which explains what kind of change the Pope wants - is found a few paragraphs later, where he presents his analysis of the universal calamity which has followed in the wake of Vatican II and what he - and, more importantly, what Pope Francis - sees as the remedy: a fundamental change in the faith and spirituality of the Church. I quote:
Spirituality is not a science nor one more praxis in the Church. It is the "nourishment" of the pastoral, the theology and the community, whatever their "model" is. When this was forgotten by the process of ecclesial renovation, this caused "schizophrenia" in some Christians, which is one of the causes of many failures. In a short time, they progressed in all of the levels of the renovation. They changed many pastoral, theological, and disciplinary categories. The image and the mission of the Church changed. Likewise, its concept that related faith with history and society changed; therefore the social and political options became more important. In this context, there was no mystical renovation and it remained "traditional," consistent with another vision of the faith and of the mission, and inconsistent with the new ecclesial experiences. In this context, a spirituality does not motivate, it becomes irrelevant. It ends up being perceived as a useless appendix and ends up being abandoned, since a mystic that does not nourish the human experience stops having meaning; a spirituality that is foreign to the ecclesial model that is being lived leads to the crisis of the Christian "schizophrenia." Many abandonments of the ecclesial life, and even of the faith, are rooted there. The only answer is not in abandoning all mystic or reversing the renovation of the institutions or options (due to fear of a collapse of the Christian values), but in deeply renovating the faith and spirituality starting from love to reach mercy. That is what the Pope wants.
Make sure you understand what Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga is saying here. If necessary, re-read the paragraph. If you feel only slightly nauseated, you might have missed the point. Re-read it. If, on the other hand, you find yourself looking around for the horse that just kicked you in the guts, you're good to go.

To his credit, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga clearly understands that the 'Spirit of Vatican II' and its fruits are at odds with traditional Catholic mysticism, faith and spirituality. To continue to deny it at this stage, therefore, is an exercise in futility. In fact, he argues that this discrepancy is to blame for the abysmal plummet in church attendance and religious vocations. This, too, cannot be denied. Finally, he identifies the three options for overcoming this discrepancy:
  1. abandon mysticism and spirituality altogether;
  2. reverse the pastoral directives of the 'Spirit of Vatican II'; or
  3. fundamentally alter Catholic faith and spirituality so as to better jibe with the 'Spirit of Vatican II'.

If there was ever any doubt as to which option the Pope has selected, let it be henceforth abandoned. If you consider yourself a traditional Catholic, your faith and spirituality have just been declared "inconsistent with the new ecclesial experience," in a word, "irrelevant," and you, being ultimately responsible for the failure of Vatican II, persona non grata.

The days of being able to give the benefit of the doubt are over. The only ones who can't see the writing on the wall are the ones who are afraid to look.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Eucharist: A Rendering of Honor and Glory to God

Fourth in the Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist Renders Honor and Glory to the Divine Majesty.


Contemplate with a lively faith Jesus Christ Our Saviour upon the altar, hidden, annihilated beneath the veils of the Sacrament, therein adoring the majesty of His Father, rendering to Him all the homage contained in the most perfect religion. It is for this end, the first of all those which He proposed to Himself, namely, to glorify His Father by rendering to Him in perfection all the homage and service which the creature was incapable of rendering to Him, that the Word made Himself man; and it is for that end, above all others, that He made Himself a Sacrament. Doubtless, the Word became incarnate, died, and assumed in the Eucharist a new life for our salvation and for our eternal happiness, but above this motive there was another which moved Him: it was to honor the majesty of His Father, to render to Him all the homage, all the obedience, all the love which God deserves to receive from a reasonable creature. He says from the altar, as He did during His life, to those who ask of Him the reason of His mission, "I honor My Father, I glorify My Father."

See with what perfection Jesus renders to His Father the duty of adoration. To adore is to recognize with the mind, with the heart, with the will and by works, the excellence of God, that is to say, His supreme majesty, His independent being, His incomparable elevation above all things, in a word, His infinite perfections of greatness, of power, and of majesty.

No one knows, or sees, or comprehends all these perfections as Jesus does; they are manifest before His eyes. No one knows the Father except the Son, He said. And then what praises escape from His soul to the glory of the Father! He sees all, praises, reveres, honors, exalts all that is in the infinite divinity of His Father; He goes to Him as being His principle and supreme end, with all the strength of His soul acknowledging that He is the perfect happiness, the finished perfection of all creatures; and with all the power of His will He submits Himself to Him, gives Himself to Him, acknowledges and accepts all His rights over Him.

Oh, what a perfect adorer in spirit and in truth! God sees prostrate at His feet, immolated before Him, in order that He may render Him more honor and glory, His own Son, who is equal to Him in all things! How great is the glory which redounds to Him from the voluntary subjection of this King of kings, of this Lord of lords, true God of true God, annihilated before Him through love, that He may please and satisfy Him! Oh, all ye who surround the altar, behold clearly, with eyes of faith, Jesus Christ in His office of adorer, which He accomplishes in all its perfection, without exhaustion, without intermission; and offer to God His adoration, His praises, His love, to supply what is wanting in you for the adoring of God in spirit and in truth as you ought to adore Him, and as He deserves to be adored.


The second duty of religion consists in acknowledging by the act of thanksgiving the liberality of God, and all the benefits which the creature receives without ceasing from the inexhaustible Source of all good.

It is necessary, in order to accomplish this duty aright, to understand how good, beneficent, liberal and merciful is God, who owes nothing to any one, and who so lavishly distributes His gifts among all creatures.

It is necessary, moreover, to understand His gifts, their excellence, their value, their extent, and their number; gifts in the natural order, gifts in the supernatural order, gifts of grace here below, gifts of glory in heaven.

Lastly, it is necessary not to have any egotism, to attribute nothing to ourselves, as coming from ourselves, and faithfully to use all the gifts of God for His glory and according to His will.

Jesus alone is capable of paying to God the whole debt of the gratitude which He merits. He alone knows all His goodness, He alone has sounded the depths of His mercy, the riches of His treasures; He sees all His gifts in all creatures; He sees them in Himself also, incomparably more precious and more abundant in Him alone than in all other creatures put together. And He neither keeps nor attributes anything to Himself. "I seek not My glory, but the glory of the Father who has sent Me." "Wherefore do you call Me good? God alone is good."

Therefore from all our tabernacles rises towards God an incessant canticle of thanksgiving, and it is Jesus who chants it in the name of all the creatures of whom He is the Head, and all of whose graces are the fruit of His blood.

Give thanks with Jesus Christ; look at the gifts received by you; study their value; above all, look at the gift of gifts, the holy Eucharist, which sums up in it all the magnificent bounties of God, and give thanks in union with Jesus, striving to imitate His humility, His fidelity, His disinterestedness; for gratitude is humble, faithful, and disinterested.


Since sin entered into the world, it has not been possible to have any religion towards God which does not contain reparation and expiation of sin. But, in order to offer to God a reparation equal to the infinite offence of sin, there must be a victim of infinite price, and a priest whose holiness is also infinite.

This priest and this victim is Jesus Christ, our Lord. He offered Himself upon the cross, He offers and immolates Himself upon the holy altar as the victim of expiation destined to appease the anger of God, to satisfy His justice, and to obtain from His mercy pardon for the guilty.

What a holy priest, pure, innocent, without spot, devoured by zeal for the glory of God, devoted to the holiness of His name, to the establishment of His reign, and to the conversion, the sanctification of souls!

What a perfect and sweet victim, offering the most holy, the most perfect of lives to immolation, His royalty to humiliation, His glory to abjection, His sovereign rights to obedience, annihilating Himself wholly, and as it were burying Himself alive in death, enveloping Himself in the shroud of the sacramental species, and there, like a corpse, accepting all, submitting to all in silence and until the end of the world!

Penetrate into the tomb of the Sacrament where the living Christ lies, the glorious King of angels and of man. Behold Him adoring, appeasing, satisfying the justice of His Father, offering His past sufferings, His present humiliations, His poverty, His obedience, His love, to compensate for injuries, offences, revolts, crimes, ingratitude. Oh, if God be cruelly offended by man, how magnificently He is honored by the heroic Priest, and by the silent but indefatigable Victim of propitiation in the Sacrament!


It is the greatest and most indispensable duty of the religion which the creature owes to the Creator to confess its absolute dependence in regard to Him, and the necessity incumbent on it to await everything and to receive everything from His gratuitous liberality: prayer and supplication are the expression of this duty. Man refuses to render it, trusts to himself, to his strength and his gifts, and does not pray. But the Word became incarnate that He might pray to God, that He might offer Him the homage of dependence, that He might make the incense rise to Him of the humble and persevering prayer which is so pleasing in His eyes. He prayed on His knees, prostrate, humiliated, with sighs, with tears, day and night, and now our tabernacles are the sanctuaries of His prayer, which knows neither weariness nor interruption. He prays with all perfection, because He knows what are the designs of God in regard to all things, because He seeks nothing whatever except His glory, His will, His reign; because He is pure, holy, devoted, beloved by God His Father, who can refuse Him nothing.

Pray with this adorable pontiff of prayer; unite yourself with His intentions, clothe yourself with His disposition, and pray with Him, in Him, in His name.


Accustom yourself to consider Jesus Christ in the Sacrament in the holy and active functions of His relation towards His Father.

Vatican Airlines Beefs Up In-Flight Security

(Rome) Mistral Air has announced that it will be equipping all machines chartered by the Vatican with a new "No In-Flight Interview" signal.

The new symbol (center)

Representatives of the small Italian airlines informed reporters on Wednesday that the new signal, which is to join the familiar "No Smoking" and "Fasten Seatbelts" signs and remain illuminated at all times, would be installed immediately in all the machines in their fleet. While declining to comment on whether the change had been requested by the Vatican, a spokeswoman of the airlines reported that the cost of the refitting was being covered by a donor who wished to remain anonymous. In the unfortunate event of an interview occuring despite the new restriction, she said, rosaries would automatically drop from the overhead area.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blessed are the Rabbits

To all of the Catholic mothers and fathers who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church and taken on the sweet labor of bearing and rearing all the children with which God has seen fit to bless them, and who are perhaps troubled by the Pope's recent comments to the effect that we shouldn't "breed like rabbits," I offer you the following bouquet of consolation:

St. Catherine of Genoa, a fifth child
St. Thomas Aquinas, a sixth child
St. Therese of Lisieux, a ninth child
St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother, an eleventh child

Notable Mentions:

  • St. Joan of Arc, one of five children.
  • St. Bernadette of Lourdes, one of six children.
  • St. Francis de Sales, one of six children.
  • St. Charles Borromeo, one of six children.
  • St. Hedwig, one of eight children.
  • Pope St. Pius X, one of eleven children.
  • St. Casimir of Poland, one of thirteen children.
  • St. Louis de Montfort, one of eighteen children.


In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that the Holy Father has tempered somewhat the talk of "breeding like rabbits:" in his Wednesday audience, he praised "families who receive children as a real gift of God [who] know that every child is a benediction." Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo noted that the "breed like rabbits" remark was made by Pope Francis, Private Pastor - and not Pope Francis, Universal Pastor. I wonder which one is writing the upcoming encyclical....

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Religion of Peace: Freemasonry in Action

The Religion of Peace

While the most recent case of Islamic terrorism on European soil has once again provided us with a vivid example of Islam's propensity for bringing out the very worst in man, it simultaneously provides us with an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the concerted effort of global leaders to deflect all trace of culpability from the religion of Islam. Almost on cue, we heard phrases like:
  • "Islam is a religion of peace." (U. K. Prime Minister David Cameron)
  • "All of us recognize that this great religion, in the hands of a few extremists, has been distorted." (U.S. President Barack Obama)
  • "Those who commit such acts have nothing to do with Islam." (French President François Hollande)
  • "Authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence." (Pope Francis)

If you agree with this assessment - if you think that Islam really is a religion of peace, if you think that Islam is being distorted by a few extremists, if you think the Koran is actually opposed to violence, if you think there is no concerted effort by western politicians and media outlets to whitewash Islam - then I strongly suggest that you stop reading now, because chances are good that you're really going to dislike what's coming next.

For those of you who remain: Well done.

When a politician stands up and says that "Islam is a religion of peace," we often make the mistake of assuming that he's speaking to us, i.e. to members of the Christian West. He's not. We are not the target of this particular bit of propaganda, and - despite what certain conspiracy theorists might claim - he's not trying to make Islam more appealing to us. He's not even trying to prevent us from acting out in retaliation. While he certainly does not want us to do so, that's not the real reason for his many assurances that "Islam is a religion of peace." He's not talking to us at all. He's talking to them, i.e. to the millions of Muslims who live in our countries who call themselves Muslims and identify as such but know next to nothing about the Koran, who can't read Arabic, who rarely if ever visit a mosque, and who have never visited a Muslim-majority country. These individuals are the true target audience of the media propaganda slogan "Islam is a religion of peace." He's not insulting our intelligence, he's preying upon the ignorance of westernized Muslims in regards to their own religion. He's selling them what is ultimately a counterfeit Islam - a nebulously spiritualized secular humanism clothed in terms familiar to Muslims - and hoping to recruit them as allies in his war against the real Islam - the one that inspires men to murder, torture, rape and mutilate in the name of Allah.

But, you might ask, how could such a blatant deception ever hope to succeed? On its face, it seems almost farcical, not to mention hopelessly doomed to failure, as any of those nominal Muslims could very easily pick up a book - perhaps the Koran, perhaps a book of Hadith containing the words of Mohammed, perhaps the memoirs of any of his numerous companions - and learn what their religion actually teaches. There is 1,400-years-worth of literature written by Muslim scholars on the religion of Islam, much of which is freely available. Why on earth would they choose to believe these politicians - and the Muftis and Mullahs in their employ - over the very works they consider either divinely inspired or of impeccable authority?

That is an excellent question, gentle reader. Before we attempt to answer it, however, it is essential that we acknowledge that this strategy works. We know it works because it's already been done.

To us.

A century and a half ago, the Catholic Church was a virtual monolith of moral, social and economic arch-traditionalism. The Catholic man - and there were many in those days - prayed fervently for the social kingship of Christ to be publicly proclaimed, and worked vigorously to that end, in whatever station God had placed him. He was prepared to suffer greatly in giving witness to his faith in Christ and his loyalty to Christ's Church, and did so often. He prayed publicly for the conversion of all - of sinners, of Jews, of Pagans, of schismatics, heretics and apostates - to the One True Faith. He constructed great cathedrals of unparalleled beauty, gave generously to the poor and downtrodden, built hospitals, orphanages and schools at a rate outstripping that of any earthly government, and was regularly blessed with unparalleled fecundity of offspring. All these things made him dangerous in the eyes of the world - indeed, he was a subversive, a dissident, a troublemaker, for he was the sworn enemy of both the greedy capitalist and the covetous socialist, of both the intolerant fascist and the reckless libertarian, of both the dumb brute and the effeminate highbrow. And when he was refused political office, banned from worshiping in the public square and forced to live in the ghetto, then he strengthened his Catholic brethren from within the community, doubled his efforts in prayer and penance, and transformed the ghetto into an oasis of Catholic life. He bore the scorn, condemnation and persecution of morally corrupt parliaments and partisan presidents to which he was regularly subjected with heroic patience. He was a member of the Church Militant and very much at war with the world which rejected Christ and His Bride, the Catholic Church. He was, in short, radically Catholic.

Some will doubtless accuse me of looking at the past through rose-colored spectacles. Was there no corruption, no vice, no malfeasance in those days? Of course there was. We are sinners, all of us, in the eyes of God, and Catholics of any age are no exception. But I dare anyone to objectively compare the world of 1914 with the world of 2014 and conclude that we have, as a society, increased in moral goodness, in humanity, in beauty, in nobility, in freedom, in peace. On the contrary, everywhere traditional, radical Catholicism has retreated from the social domain, there moral depravity, inhumanity, ugliness, perversion, decadence, enslavement and war have taken root and thrived. When we hear the supposed custodians of culture praising the developments of the last 200 years as monuments to human progress and gushing with panglossianism in regards to the future, we must stop to ask exactly who is wearing the spectacles here.

As for the reasons for that retreat, we needn't look far. Authentic, radical Catholicism has been replaced with a pacified counterfeit Catholicism which differs from the counterfeit Islam being offered to so-called 'moderate' Muslims in nothing but the attenuated cultural packaging. It is, at its root, the very same nebulously spiritualized secular humanism - or, to use a term more familiar to traditional Catholics: it is the religion of the Masonic Lodge. As the infamous French Freemason Yves Marsaudon wrote some 50 years ago:
Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Israelites, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, free-thinkers, free-believers - to us, these are only first names. Freemasonry is the name of their family.
Some of you might be blissfully ignorant of the Catholic Church's long battle against Freemasonry. It might surprise you to learn that it was understood to pose such a terrible threat to true religion that no less than eight popes condemned it in the harshest of terms. In fact, it is still forbidden - on paper, at least - for a Catholic to be a member of a Masonic organization. Some of you might think that, if it existed at all, the effort by Masons to infiltrate the Catholic Church is a thing of the past. In a sense, you'd be right. Masons don't have to try infiltrate the Church any more, as proponents of this brand of spiritualized secular humanism hold key positions within the Catholic Church, and have done so for the last 50 years. These "agents of reform" have worked tirelessly to emasculate and corrupt the sensus fidei of the last three generations of Catholics so as to pacify them, to mollify them, to remove them as a threat to the World Order they are so feverishly working to bring about. As a result, vast segments of the Catholic population today are Catholic in nothing but name.

But, surely - you might object - surely someone would have noticed this. Surely one of these nominal Catholics would have picked up a book - perhaps the Bible, perhaps a work by one of the great Saints, perhaps a papal encyclical published before 1960 - and learned what the Catholic religion actually teaches. There is, after all, 2,000-years-worth of literature written by staunchly orthodox Catholic Fathers, Saints and Doctors, much of which is freely available. Why on earth would they choose to believe.... Oh, wait.

Which brings us back to our original question: Why would people choose a counterfeit over the real thing? The answer in both cases is the same: because they do not want the original. But - and this is key - the motivation in the two cases is diametrically opposite. Whereas "moderate" Muslims are eager to ignore the truth of Islam because they don't want the killing, the oppression, the barbarity, the cruelty, the misogyny - in short, the true face of radical Islam, "modern" Catholics are eager to ignore the truth of Catholicism because they don't want to be called to repentance, to mortification, to self-denial, to patience, to humility, to chastity, to charity - in short, the true face of radical Catholicism. In the former case, it is the vitality and strength of their humanity which blinds them to the truth; in the latter, it is the depravity and weakness of the same.

As for brushing up on authentic Catholic teaching regarding the nature of Islam or the person of Mohammed, I warmly recommend an article by Andrew Bieszad (MA in Islamic Studies from Hartford Seminary) entitled What Did the Saints Say about Islam? One of my personal favorites, St. Peter Mavimenus, tops the list. When asked to convert to Islam by a group of Muslims, he replied:
Whoever does not embrace the Catholic Christian faith is lost, like your false prophet Muhammad.
Unsurprisingly, that bit of wisdom cost him his head. I guess there were a few extremist Muslims distorting the peaceful message of Islam back in the 8th century, too.

Henry VIII and the Break with Rome

Seventh in a Series on the Protestant Reformation

Fr. Charles Coppens, S.J.

Henry VIII of England
England had been an integral portion of the Catholic Church since A.D. 596, at which date St. Austin, with his forty monks, arrived there on a mission from Pope Gregory the Great, and soon converted a large portion of the inhabitants. During the nine centuries that had since elapsed, piety had flourished in the land to such an extent that the country was fondly called by its people "the Dowry of Mary;" whereby they wished to signify that they were more devoted than most other nations to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is so near and dear to her Divine Son. All the cities and towns contained substantial churches, many of them costly and beautiful, and from all of them rose one concordant voice of worship; from every pulpit the same doctrine was taught; and few persons there were in whose mind and heart religion did not hold an honored place.

Monasteries dotted the land, more than twenty to a county, homes of prayer, of learning and labor, from whose portals streams of charity and consolation ever poured forth to all the needy and afflicted of the neighborhood. And England was happy, happy in the blessings of time and of eternity; it was "merry England" then, but it is so no more. The Kingdom was powerful and prosperous, having a full treasury, an industrious, intelligent and contented people, at the time when our story begins, namely in 1509, when Henry VIII, then a most promising youth of eighteen years, succeeded his father, Henry VII, whose many good qualities had been somewhat dimmed by his well-known avarice.

The new King soon became the idol of his people. High ran the universal joy, when, but two months after his ascension to the throne, he was solemnly united in the holy bonds of matrimony to the virtuous princess Catherine, a daughter of Ferdinand, King of Castile and Aragon.

With this affectionate wife, he lived seventeen years, during which she bore him three sons and two daughters; but all these died in their infancy, except the princess Mary, who was afterwards Queen of England. In his public life he was generally reputed to be a model ruler, a model man and a model Christian. He had entered the lists as a foremost champion of the Catholic faith, by publishing a book in defense of the Seven Sacraments against the attacks of Luther, and he had obtained from Pope Leo X, in reward of his zeal, the title of "Defender of the Faith," which he was to wear till death, but which the Kings of England have unjustly retained to the present day. But in his private life, Henry wanted one important virtue; he was all along very unfaithful to his stainless spouse. When he was thirty-five years of age, Queen Catherine being then forty-three, he allowed himself to become infatuated with a young lady of twenty-two, the coquettish Anne Boleyn, and he put no check on his criminal passion. Of course, he could not marry her during the life-time of his lawful wife. It was secretly suggested to him by some flatterers that, with his powerful influence at Rome, he might perhaps obtain a separation from her, on the plea that she had formerly been married to his elder brother Arthur. But the latter had died when a mere boy of fourteen, and the marriage had never been consummated. Besides, whatever impediment existed had been removed by a formal dispensation of the Church before Henry's marriage.

However, in 1527 the King undertook to plead that this dispensation was invalid, that therefore Queen Catherine was not his lawful wife, and that his delicate conscience did not allow him to live with her. How hypocritical was this pretense is shown to evidence by many facts; in particular by his conduct during the epidemic called "the sweating sickness," which then visited England, and soon entered the royal palace. While he saw the danger of death before him, he became very pious, he confessed his sins every day, and received Holy Communion once a week; and during this season of piety he resumed his marital relations with the Queen until the plague was gone. Then he banished Catherine, recalled Anne Boleyn, and urged the suit for the divorce with renewed energy. But the Supreme Pontiff, Clement VII, thought at the time in extraordinary need of Henry's help against powerful enemies, remained firm during the five years that the divorce suit lasted, and finally refused any further litigation in the matter.

In that situation of affairs, an unprincipled courtier, Thomas Cromwell, made a wicked suggestion to the King, advising him to throw off the yoke of Rome, and to declare himself the head of the Church within his own realm; he could then appoint his own ecclesiastical court to dissolve the marriage; many princes in Germany had thus made themselves independent in spiritual things, and they had reaped a rich harvest in appointing to themselves the lands and buildings of the churches and monasteries.

The King was delighted with this counsel. He at once made Cromwell a member of his privy council, and followed his advice in all its details. For three years, he had secretly been living in adulterous union with Anne Boleyn, when, in 1533, her condition of pregnancy made it imperative that some decisive step should be taken to prevent public disgrace. Therefore, he married her privately on January 25, but it was given out that the ceremony had taken place on Nov. 24, 1532, because the child was born on September 7, less than eight months after the real nuptials. This child of sin was Elizabeth, who in course of time did probably more harm to England than anyone else has ever done, for she was the principal cause of establishing Protestantism in that land.

To bring about the divorce from Catherine, Henry appointed Thomas Cranmer to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and made him the judge of the case, though the Pope had explicitly reserved the decision to himself. The servile court at last pronounced the sentence of divorce. Carnmer was well chosen for this disgraceful task, for he had himself, after ordination, secretly married a daughter of the Protestant leader, Osiander. Yet this is the infamous man who later on introduced the doctrine of the Reformers into England, and who composed the Book of Common Prayer.

On May 28, 1533, he solemnly declared that the King had been lawfully married to Anne Boleyn, and that he now confirmed the marriage by his pastoral and judicial authority, which he derived from the successors of the Apostles. And yet only four years later, May 28, 1537, this same man again openly and solemnly pronounced "in the name of Christ and for the honor of God," that this same marriage was an always had been null and void. For Henry had become suspicious of his new wife, he had consigned her to the tower and condemned her to death for adultery, and she was beheaded on the day after her divorce.

The Many Wives of Henry VIII
Only five months after this, on October 12, his third wife, Jane Seymour, brought forth his son, whe became later King Edward VI; the mother died in childbirth. His fourth wife was Anne of Cleves, but he soon divorced her, too, and he punished Cromwell with death for having promoted that marriage. He next espoused Catherine Howard, but her also he soon divorced, accusing her of adultery committed before her marriage, and he had her beheaded for constructive treason, as her supposed sin was called. His sixth wife, Catherine Parr, barely escaped the like fate for having presumed to differ from him on a religious question; but when the officers arrived to convey her to the tower, she had appeased his wrath by a most humble apology.

And yet this monstrous tyrant and scandalous adulterer is supposed by many simply folk to have been the chosen instrument of Providence for separating the English Church from dependence on the one pastor of the one fold. When a Pope is bad, he is an exception in his line; but with "Reformers," badness is the rule, and Christ assures us that the tree is known by its fruit.

When Cromwell had advised separation from Rome, in 1532, Henry had immediately accomplished the design. For he at once summoned a convocation of the clergy, and required of it a recognition of his supreme headship of the Church of England. The act was passed, with the clause added, "as far as the law of Christ will allow." By this clause, the terrified clergy tried to save their conscience; but it was ignored by the tyrant. At once, he appointed the layman Cromwell to be spiritual vicar-general of the realm, and thus he set him over all the bishops. Their powers were suspended, and each of them had to sue for faculties from the King to enable him to govern his flock. Bishops and parliament trembled before the tyrant, and became mere tools of his will. At his bidding, parliament passed bills for divorcing and beheading the Queens, for settling the succession to the throne as pleased him, for condemning anyone to death.

To resist his will was to court death, to court death requires a hero, and few courtiers of politicians are heroes. The lord-chancellor, Blessed Thomas More, and Blessed Cardinal Fisher, bishop of Rochester, boldly refused to take the oath of Henry's spiritual supremacy. They were cast into the Tower and beheaded for the faith. So were many religious and seculars, men and women. The religious houses were confiscated, first the smaller ones; these were charged with relaxation, but the larger ones were declared to be above reproach. Yet, soon after, the larger ones also were suppressed, and their land and treasure usurped to enrich the King and his flatterers, while the poor people who used to be supported by their charity were left to starve of want, and later on were branded with a red hot iron for begging their bread, or given over as slaves to whoever convicted them of vagrancy. It is hard to trace the finger of God in Henry's work, but it is easy to see in it the influence of the Devil, the world and the flesh.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Fr. Leonard Goffine


Let all the earth adore Thee, O God and sing to Thee: let it sing a psalm to Thy name (Ps. 65:4). Shout with joy to God all the earth, sing ye a psalm to His name: give glory to His praise (Ps. 65:1-2).


Almighty and eternal God, Who disposest all things in heaven and on earth: mercifully hear the supplications of Thy people, and give Thy peace to our times.

Epistle (Rom.12:6-16)

Brethren: We have different gifts, according to the grace that is given us: either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith, or ministry in ministering, or he that teacheth in doctrine, he that exhorteth in exhorting, he that giveth with simplicity, he that ruleth with carefulness, he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good: loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honor preventing one another: in carefulness not slothful: in spirit fervent: serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer: communicating to the necessities of the saints: pursuing hospitality: bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep: being of one mind, one towards another: not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits.


St. Paul in this epistle exhorts every Christian to make good use of the gifts of God; if one receives an office, he must see well to it, so that he can give an account to God of the faithful performance of his duties. He exhorts especially to brotherly love which we should practice by charitable works; such as, receiving strangers hospitably, giving alms to those who are in need, and to those who by misfortune or injustice have lost their property; he commands us, at the same time, to rejoice in the welfare of our neighbor, as we rejoice at our own good fortune, and to grieve at his misfortunes as we would over those which befall us.

Q. How is brotherly love best preserved?

A. By the virtue of humility which makes us esteem our neighbor above ourselves, consider his good qualities only, bear patiently his defects, and always meet him in a friendly, respectful, and indulgent manner. Humility causes us to live always in peace with our fellow men, while among the proud, where each wishes to be the first, there is continual strife and dissatisfaction (Prov. 13:10).


Grant us, O Lord, Thy grace, that according to Thy will, we may follow the instructions of St. Paul in regard to humility and love, have compassion upon all suffering and needy, think little of ourselves, and descend to the lowest, that we may, one day, be elevated with them in heaven.

Gospel (Jn. 2:1-11)

At that time there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus with to her: Woman, what is it to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine; and when men have well drank, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee: and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

Q. Why was Christ and His mother present at this marriage?

A. In order to honor this humble and God-fearing couple who, with faithful hearts, had invited Him and His mother to their wedding; to give us an example of humility; to assist them in their poverty, and save their good name by changing water into wine; to reveal His dignity as the Messiah to His disciples by this miracle; and to sanctify by His presence the marriages that are contracted in the spirit of the Church. Alas! How few marriages of our time could Jesus honor with His presence, because He is invited neither by fervent prayer, nor by the chaste life of the couple: He is excluded rather, by the frequent immorality of the married couple and their guests.

Q. Why was Mary interested in this married couple?

A. Because she is merciful, and the Mother of Mercy, and willingly assists all the poor and afflicted who fear God. From this incident, St. Bonaventure judges of the many graces which we can hope for through Mary, now that she reigns in heaven; "For," says he, "if Mary while yet on earth was so compassionate, how much more so is she now, reigning in heaven!" He gives the reason by adding: "Mary now that she sees the face of God, knows our necessities far better than when she was on earth, and in proportion to the increase of her compassion, her power to aid us has been augmented." Ah! why do we not take refuge in all our necessities to this merciful mother, who although unasked assists the needy?

Q. Why did Christ say to Mary: "Woman, what is it to me and to thee?"

This seemingly harsh reply of Christ was no reproach, for Mary had made her request only through love and mercy, and Christ calls those blessed who are merciful, but he wished to show that in the performance of divine work, the will of His heavenly Father alone should be consulted. He meant to remind her that He had not received the gift of miracles from her as the son of woman, but from His eternal Father, in accordance with whose will He would do that which she asked when the hour designed by God would come. Though the hour had not come, yet He granted the wish of His mother, who knew that her divine Son refused none of her requests, and so she said to the servants: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye." Behold the great power of Mary's intercession! Neglect not, therefore, to take refuge in this most powerful mother!

Q. What are we taught by the words: "My hour is not yet come?"

A. These words teach us that we should in all things await God's appointed time, and in things belonging to God and His honor, act only by divine direction, without any human motives.

Q. What does the scarcity of wine signify?

A. In a spiritual sense, the want of wine may be understood to signify the lack of love between married people, which is principally the case with those who enter this state through worldly motives, for the sake of riches, beauty of person, or who have before marriage kept up sinful intercourse. These should ask God for the forgiveness of their sins, bear the hardships of married life in the spirit of penance, and change the wrong motives they had before marriage; by doing so God will supply the scarcity of wine, that is the lack of true love, and change the waters of misery into the wine of patient affection.

Q. Why did Christ command them to take the wine to the steward?

A. That the steward, whose office required him to be attentive to the conduct of the guests, and to know the quality of the wine, should give his judgment in regard to the excellence of this, and be able to testify to the miracle before all the guests.


O my most merciful Jesus! I would rather drink in this world the sour wine of misery than the sweet wine of pleasure, that in heaven I may taste the perfect wine of eternal joy.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Eucharist: A Commemoration of Christ's Passion and Death

Third in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist Keeps the Remembrance of the Passion and Death of the Saviour alive in the World.


It is an article of faith that the Eucharist was instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ to perpetuate the memory of His passion and of His death, consequently of the love which made Him accept the one and the other for our salvation. "Do this for a commemoration of Me," the Saviour said when, as it were, annihilating under the appearance of bread and wine His body and His blood, and when burying Himself wholly in the shroud of the sacred species. St. Paul also said, according to the revelation which the Lord had made to him in person: "For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come."

It is in fact a matter of great importance that the memory of the death of Jesus should always be kept alive amongst men, because only by the invocation of the suffering Christ and the application of the merits of His death can we be saved. Besides, death embraced for those whom we love being the greatest proof of love, Jesus, who knows that our hearts cannot be really gained except by His love, wills that the testimony and the manifestation which He gave of it in His passion should always be present before our eyes.

The Eucharist then ought to repeat to all men in all centuries that Jesus suffered and died for them. How does it accomplish this mission? By showing the death of Jesus every day, as is done in the holy Mass, where the priest calls down from the height of heaven, by the all-powerful words of the consecration, the living and triumphant Christ, and encloses Him, as it were, devoid of movement, devoid of speech, and devoid of life, in the inert bonds of the Eucharistic species. Is not then the divine Saviour in a state like unto death? He is here, under the Eucharistic veils, in the perfect possession of His life of Man-God; faith teaches us that since His resurrection Christ can no more die. But what is it, then, to possess life and not to be able to perform any exterior act, not to be able to give any sensible proof of it? It is to be in a state similar to death, to be in the condition like unto a corpse. Such is Jesus in the Sacrament; as such He appears and shows Himself. In order to comprehend it, it is only necessary to believe and to see; to believe that, beneath the veils of the Sacrament, the Son of God, made man, resides, and to see that there is no trace whatever of anything which we call life. Neither freedom of motion to go from one place to another, nor to fly from His enemies; nor speech by which to converse with His friends, or to call for help when He is profaned, nor power to perform any exterior action, not even the form, or human appearance, which enables us to distinguish a human being - nothing!

He is given up, as He was during His Passion, to the will of those who keep Him in custody; in the chains of powerlessness; nailed upon the cross, unrecognizable, to such a degree that even His friends might say with the prophet, "I have seen the consecrated host, and nothing, nothing whatever has permitted me to distinguish it from another." Could the Saviour better perpetuate the memory of His passion and of His death on Calvary than by this state of death?

Adore, then, in the Sacrament, this divine, patient victim, this meek, crucified one; never look at the sacred host without recalling to yourself Jesus crowned with thorns, nailed upon the cross and expiring for love of us.


In recalling to mind the passion of the Saviour, the Eucharist by that very fact recalls also the memory of the infinite love which led Him to embrace it, the sweet patience with which He bore it, and the merciful pardon which He bestowed upon His executioners and upon all sinners in general.

This love, which led Him to embrace the dreadful torments of His passion and the ignominious death of the cross, when He had in His power a thousand other means wherewith to satisfy the justice of His Father - do you not see that same love shine with added splendor in the Eucharist, where Jesus, without being obliged to do so, but spontaneously and only for our good, delivers Himself up to us forever, wholly, without reserve and without condition? Do you not feel His tender, loving kindness pierce like a sunbeam through a cloud, rendering the Sacrament so healing to the distractions of your mind, the coldness of your heart, the irreverence of your dissipated senses, the tepidity of your whole life? And does He not there pardon all who betray Him, maltreat and profane Him, as He did Judas in the garden, Peter in the court of the Pretorium, and His executioners on Calvary? The silence of the host, so meek and so humble, is a prayer which continues throughout the ages the sublime pardon of Calvary: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Take delight in and enjoy the loving kindness of the Sacrament, that you may understand and find delight in the loving kindness of Jesus in His Passion.


In order to be assuredly convinced that the Eucharist perpetuates the passion and the death of the Saviour, see if Jesus be not in it the victim of the same treacheries, of the same violence, of the same humiliations. The sight will excite in your souls that compassion which the Saviour so greatly desires to receive from those for whose sake He gave Himself up.

Treason: - is it not betraying the Eucharist as Judas did, if it be received with a soul stained with mortal sin? Is it not to betray it like Peter, if it be disowned in the practice of life, whether it be in presence of a mocking glance, or whether it be to avoid an injury or a sacrifice? Violence: - tabernacles profaned, hosts trodden under foot, given up to the sacrilegious treatment of infidels, pierced or covered with filthy spittle; did Jesus endure more than this in His Passion? Humiliation: - the smiles of the incredulous, the blasphemies of the impious, the ignorance of so many Christians; the ingratitude of so many others, the scandalous falls of certain of His friends. Ignominies: - the guilty negligence, the habitual irreverence, the carelessness and impropriety which border upon contempt and too closely recall to mind Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate, the insulting genuflections of the Pretorium, the crown of thorns, and the reed; is not all this the Passion?

Henceforth let pious women still draw near and weep over the patient victim of the Sacrament; let Veronica wipe His face and lift Him up from His ignominy; let Simon help to carry His cross and let John stand at the foot of the cross; let Mary be there to compassionate Him and to suffer in her heart, through sympathy, all that He suffers Himself. The Saviour, continuing to endure the same Passion, is in need of the same sympathy.


The remembrance of the passion and of the death of the Saviour is holiness, is consolation, is strength, is salvation; but in order to be all this, it is requisite that the memory of it should be so profoundly impressed on the mind, so sufficiently present to the spirit, so powerful enough to attach us to Jesus Christ, as to make us hate sin and fly from the occasion of it.

It is in order to give to the mystery of His Passion all its efficacy that the Saviour perpetuates Himself in so loving a manner in the Eucharist. Ask the Sacrament, then, to produce in you this effect of its institution; ask it as the fruit of the Communion when you receive it, of the Mass when you assist at it, of the hour of adoration which you will do well often to renew, whilst feeling all its importance.


Apply, in your ordinary meditation, the circumstances of the Passion to the Eucharistic state of the Saviour, that you may derive more fruit from it.