Saturday, April 08, 2006

Alter Christus - Fulget Crucis Mysterium


Ever since the first Good Friday on Calvary, Christ's holy Cross dominates the world: it is the standard of the King, round which all Christians must rally to fight His battles, the throne from which He reigns and would draw all hearts to Him, the glowing furnace whence ever radiate the mystery and the lessons of His love...But perhaps we have grown so accustomed to it, that we easily pass by unheeding, and carry on our comfortable life undisturbed by the silent clamour of Christ's sacred Wounds.

May the liturgy of Passiontide, by setting again vividly before our eyes the drama of divine Love, add strength to what ought to be our habitual feelings at the sight of the crucifix... Let us reflect a while on some of those virtues of the holy Cross and see how far they inspire our life.

The contemplation of Christ's Passion and Death has filled all apostolic men with a consuming zeal for souls. There they have realized the value of souls, each one of whom could have exclaimed with St Paul: "Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me..." We too, if we will but read that lesson of our crucifix, will burn with a truly apostolic zeal.

Zeal for souls grew in us with the growth of our vocation: the nearer we drew to our sacerdotal ordination, the more we realized that we would soon cease to be our own and would begin a life dedicated entirely to Christ's work: "Ego elegi vos ut fructum afferatis". And in the first glow of our priestly fervour we exulted in the sublimity of our apostolic vocation: " est gratia haec...evangelizare investigabiles divitias Christi."

What has happened to that zeal of ours in the succeeding years of our ministry? Has it grown in intensity within our soul, manifesting itself externally by ever more intense apostolic labours? Or has it cooled down with the years as the monotony of our ministry dulled our interest in the work, and poor human nature reasserted her claims to ease and comfort; as the world and the devil insidiously tried to smother the flames enkindled in us by the Holy Spirit?

* Let me seek the answer to those questions at the foot of my crucifix by comparing my feelings with those of the crucified Master. See Him with His arms stretched out on the Cross and the Precious Blood flowing from all His wounds:

His eyes wander over centuries and He beholds - ­in my parish - a multitude of unregenerated pagans, Christians rending or disfiguring His Mystical Body by schism or sin, many of the flock so weak in their faith and cold in their love.

For each one of them He yearns and pleads and offers His life...

Has the "sitio" of the Sacred Heart found its way to my heart, and set it burning - habitually - with a like anguish for all those souls of whom God has made me the shepherd? A grace to be asked these days, to be asked every day of my priestly life.

That our zeal may be effective it must be accompanied by a constant spirit of sacrifice. "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit."

Thus did Our Lord speak of His own impending Passion, laying down at the same time the law of fecundity for all those to be associated with Him in the work of the Redemption.

This then is another great lesson we must always be learning from our meditations on the Sacred Passion. When we behold Christ, "the Man of Sorrows", and see to what extent He has suffered in mind and body and heart for those, and from those, He would redeem, shall we hesitate before the hardships and sufferings of our apostolic life: whether they come from our own physical or moral weaknesses or from disappointment at the slow response, the ingratitude, perhaps even the malice of those for whom we spend ourselves, or from the irksomeness of ever-pressing daily duties? . . . "Non est discipulus super magistrum...neque apostolus major est eo qui misit eum.". . .

If we are not ready to pay the price of fellowship and companionship with Christ in His quest for souls, we ought never to have become His priests! How can we hope to be co-saviours with Christ without being co-sufferers?

* When I make my Way of the Cross let me, at each station, contrast the sufferings of Christ and the way He bore them with my own trials and the way I behave under them.

And let me seek in His example the courage and strength ever to go on as He did, in a true spirit of sacrifice unmindful of self, "aspicientes in auctorem fidei et con­summatorem Jesum".

"Mysterium Crucis fulget." The more it does, before our gazing eyes and in the depth of our yearning hearts, the more it will transform our attitude towards suffering, adding joy and eager willingness to courage and strength.

By suffering for us, Christ has not abolished suffering; He has given it a meaning and a purpose. Suffering is no longer a pure evil, a sterile and hampering infliction. It is the way by which fallen man makes up for sin and proves the sincerity of his love; the means also of contributing to the redemp­tion of the world; and since Christ has borne it for us, our love for Him urges us on to suffer like Him and with Him...

It may suffice to have opened that vista before our meditating minds: we can go on contemplating there the end­less procession of Christ's Own, from the Apostles who "went rejoicing because they had been found worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus" to the countless apostolic souls of our own day who "rejoice in their sufferings and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ".

* Am I to be found in their rank? - "Caritas Christi urget nos."
Adapted from Alter Christus, Meditations for Priests by F.X. L'Hoir, S.J. (1958)
Meditation 16.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood.

More Notes (Part 4), Holy Thursday, The Procession to the Repository and Stripping the Altars

The following comes from The New Missal for Holy Week (1956) and is offered as background information on the Rites for Holy Week as restored by Pope Pius XII.





In antiquity, the Eucharist was reserved after Mass for aliturgical days, i.e., days on which Mass was not offered, but on which Communion was received publicly or privately. When Good Friday became the only aliturgi­cal day of the year, this reservation of the Eucharist be­came a special feature of Holy Thursday, and, in time, was preceded by a solemn procession appropriate to the com­memoration on that day of the institution of the Euch­arist.

The repository, then, is a tabernacle where the hosts, consecrated today for the communion service of Friday, are reserved. There after the transfer, the ministers kneel for a time in prayer. The public adoration of the Eucharist by the faithful continues, at least until mid­night. Then, the liturgical memorial of the institution of the Holy Eucharist concluded, our adoration at the re­pository on Friday concentrates on the memory of the Passion and the Death of Christ. Through the Eucharist, the Cross of Christ is not defeat but victory; it is "the blessed passion" (Canon). By offering Himself in the Eucharist at the Supper on Thursday, Jesus made of His death on Friday a triumph and an endless source of divine life to us.

The sacred ministers go to the altar. The celebrant puts incense in two censers; he kneels and incenses the Blessed Sacrament in the usual way. He puts on a white humeral veil and ascends the altar. There he receives from the deacon the ciborium containing the hosts to be used in Communion tomorrow evening, and covers it with the ends of the veil. (If there is more than one ciborium, the others remain on the corporal; after the solemn procession the celebrant, or another priest, will bring them to the reposi­tory. accompanied simply by two acolytes with lighted candles.)

During the procession the hymn
Pange Lingua is sung, as far as the words Tantum Ergo. The verses of the hymn are repeated, if necessary, until the sacred ministers reach the repository.

SING, my tongue, the Saviour's glory,
Of His Flesh the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined, for the world's redemp­tion,
From a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper
Seated with His chosen band,
He, the Paschal victim eating,
First fulfills the Law's command:
Then as Food to all His brethren
Gives Himself with His own hand.

Word made Flesh, the bread of nature
By His word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into His Blood He changes:
What though sense no change dis­cerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.
Upon reaching the repository, the celebrant places the ciborium on the altar. He then puts incense in the censer, and incenses the Blessed Sacrament. Meanwhile the people sing:

TANTUM ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio. Amen.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who reigns on high,
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty. Amen.

After the deacon has placed the ciborium in the tabernacle, all kneel for some time in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. At a given signal the sacred ministers and the servers rise, make a profound genuflection and return to the sacristy. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will con­tinue in all churches at least until midnight.


Like the transfer of the Eucharist to a repository, the re­moval of the altar linens after Mass was, at one time, the regular practice. Because the altar symbolizes Christ, when this ceremony was reserved to Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and so took on the severe note of the "stripping" of the altar, the Church appropriately recalled the accomplishment of the prophecy concerning Christ's passion: "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots" (Ps. 21).

The celebrant and the deacon put on violet stoles and, accompanied by the subdeacon and the servers, go to the main altar. The celebrant in an audible and clear voice recites the following antiphon:

Antiphon (Ps. 21, 19)

They divide my garments among them; and for my vesture they cast lots.

The clergy who are present recite Psalm 21 while the cele­brant and his ministers go to each of the altars, except that on which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, to remove the linen cloths.

When the altars have been stripped, all return to the main altar. The celebrant repeats the antiphon, and all return to the sacristy.

April 14 - A Closer Look at ‘The Passion’

Father John Bartunek, LC, author of "Inside the Passion," a behind-the-scenes look at the decisions Mel Gibson made for his film, "The Passion of the Christ," will speak at CBC High School, I-270 and Mason Road, on Good Friday, April 14.

A screening of the film will follow. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for registration and a continental breakfast, and the event is from 8 to 11:30 a.m.

Tickets are $15 per person. Advance registration is recommended.

Call Johnna Horn at (636) 697-1016 or e-mail johnnamjh

Source St Louis Review

For those who do not have Fr. Bartunek's book, I highly recommend it. I bought the book after seeing Father on EWTN discussing "The Passion" and his book... You won't be disappointed.

A Da Vinci Code Repository?

Another email I was asked to share was the following. Perhaps some may find it helpful.
My name is ___________, and I've been building a single-issue portal ( ) that's intended to help shed the light of day on all of the garbage surrounding the release of the Davinci Code movie on May 19. So much deception, so many lies - we just have to do what we can to fight this stuff. And I think the truth is our best weapon.

My goal is to provide a simple place to find reliable info on tDC from many angles, both the "best of" (in the columns on either side) and new stuff as it develops (in the middle column).

I'm getting ready to start sending it around to folks to start linking etc., so I'd appreciate any feedback or comments for improvement. I know I have a few entries that really need to be done right (FAQ, Free Resources, Heresies, and The Bible are next on my plate for example), but I'd appreciate any feedback on what is already there.

And if you like it ok then please pass it around & perhaps post on it, as you see fit. Pls let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

Thx & God bless!
There ya go...We know there is plenty of info out there and those who have a repository of links and information aer to be commended/

Why Does Sony Pictures Fear Free Publicity?

Some people have been critical of and complained about the efforts of Tradition Family Property to launch a protest and boycott of the "Duh Vinci Code" movie...

In a recent email, John Horvat of TFP has issued a response to those who say, “Don’t protest, you’re only giving them free publicity.”

Have you ever heard that line? As one who has been on the protest lines, I certainly have. Funny thing is you never hear this from the film producers.

The fact is film producers more often than not try to defuse controversy not fan it. Our story “Why Does Sony Fear Free Publicity?” outlines some of the incredible things that Sony Pictures is doing to avoid protest backlash. If it’s free publicity, they are certainly paying dearly for it! Click here for the full story.

The central issue in this whole Da Vinci Code debate is the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There have always been those who have denied this. I found a very beautiful passage from St. Ephrem about the Divinity and Humanity of Our Lord. His questions could not be more timely. Click here to read. I really recommend this.

We are happy to report an increasing number of organizers joining our efforts. We even have inquiries from Malta, Peru, Philippines and Canada. Read here about the efforts in Malta and the Philippines.

Until next time, I remain,

Yours in Jesus and Mary,
John Horvat

Prominent Historian Urges Church: "Speak the Truth in a Time of Evil"

From an an "Inside the Vatican" Newsflash!
Calling upon the Catholic Church to "speak the truth in a time of evil," leading British historian Michael Burleigh has spoken out about the grave threats now facing Western civilization, and exhorted the one religious institution he believes can help to "stand tall" and live up to its ideals.

Although Burleigh is at pains to stress he is not in a position to offer the Holy Father anything so presumptuous as formal ‘advice,’ he did, when asked, offer five suggestions he believes could strengthen the Church’s mission:

"First, the Church should stop apologizing for its past and vigorously defend the Christian heritage, especially the unique Catholic contribution to it. Engaging in repeated self-flagellation only serves to make the Church the doormat of history, and invites contempt. . .

"Second, the Church should never compromise its core teachings and essential beliefs. One of the most admirable qualities about the Church of Rome is its resistance to fads, unnecessary changes and spontaneous ‘innovation.’ I am not talking here about genuine progress , or about the authentic development of Christian doctrine, which has always been a part of Catholic orthodoxy--I’m talking about the constant, spurious demands to force the Church to re-invent itself--changes which, if accepted, would make the Catholic Church unrecognizable, a pale imitation of itself. The surest way for the Catholic Church to become irrelevant would be to follow the path of the Anglican Churches, and become a mere echo chamber of secular society. . .

"Third, the Holy See should step up its opposition to religious and political extremism a hundredfold. The Catholic Church, at its best, has always been universal and consistent in outlook, and Pope Benedict should continue that tradition. The selective moral indignation we see from such bodies as the World Council of Churches, who frequently condemn abuses by Western governments, but remain shamefully silent toward crimes by far worse Communist and Islamic regimes, has to be rejected. On the matter of human rights, there is an appalling hypocrisy out there, and Rome should expose it. . .

"Fourth, the Church should reach out to Christian intellectuals, and even secular intellectuals open to the Christian tradition, particularly in Europe. There is a great deal of criticism these days about the current cultural climate in Europe, and some of it is well-deserved. . .

"Finally, the Catholic Church should stick to proclaiming its principles in universal terms, and resist the temptation to try to micromanage the world’s affairs. The Vatican, for all its merits, is simply not equipped to deal with all the complexities of the modern world. Clergy are not especially qualified to talk about economics, diplomacy or military strategy and they should have the humility to listen to people who are qualified. The Church can never cede its authority over fundamental moral and religious teachings, but, when it comes down to more worldly issues, it needs the help and support of lay intellectuals and specialists. Incorporating and applying the truths which the Catholic Church believes in is a necessary but often-difficult, even perilous, task. . .
The article is here...

Gospel for Saturday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 11:45-56

The Sanhedrin Decides on the Death of Jesus

[45] Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary (Magdalene) and had seen what He (Jesus) did, believed in Him; [46] but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. [47] So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this Man performs many signs. [48] If we let Him go on thus, every one will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." [49] But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; [50] you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." [51] He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, [52] and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. [53] So from that day on they took counsel on how to put Him to death.

[54] Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

[55] Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. [56] They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That He will not come to the feast?"


45-48. Once again, as Simeon had predicted, Jesus is a sign of contradiction (cf. Luke 2:34; John 7:12, 31, 40; 9:16; etc.): presented with the miracle of the raising of Lazarus some people believe in Jesus (verse 45), and some denounce Him to His enemies (cf. verses 46-47)--confirming what is said in the parable of the rich man: "neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

"Our (holy) place": this __expression or similar expressions such as "the place", "this place", was used to designate the temple, the holy place "par excellence" and, by extension, all the Holy City of Jerusalem (cf. Maccabees 5:19; Acts 6:14).

49-53. Caiaphas held the high priesthood from the year 18 to the year 36 A.D. (cf. "The Dates of the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ" in "The Navarre Bible: St. Mark", p. 49). Caiaphas was the instrument God used to prophesy the redemptive death of the Savior, for it was one of the functions of the high priest to consult God on how to lead the people (cf. Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 23:9; 30:7-8). Here Caiaphas' words have a dual meaning: one, Caiaphas' meaning, is that he wants to put Christ to death, on the pretext that that will ensure the political peace and survival of Israel; the other, the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit, is the announcement of the foundation of the new Israel, the Church, through the death of Christ on the Cross (Caiaphas is unaware of this meaning). And so it happens that the last high priest of the Old Alliance prophesies the investiture of the High Priest of the New Alliance, which will be sealed in His own blood.

When the Evangelist states that Christ was going to die "to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (verse 52), he is referring to what our Lord had said regarding the salvific effects of His death (cf. John 10:14-15). The prophets had already announced the future assembly of Israelites faithful to God to form the new people of Israel (cf. Isaiah 43:5; Jeremiah 23:3-5; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:21-24). These prophecies are fulfilled by the death of Christ, who, on being raised up on the cross, draws and gathers together the true people of God, composed of all believers, whether Israelites or not. The Second Vatican Council uses this passage as a source when speaking of the universality of the Church: "All men are called to belong to the new people of God. This people therefore, whilst remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: He made human nature one in the beginning and decreed that all His children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one (cf. John 11:52). It was for this purpose that God sent His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things (cf. Hebrews 1:2), that He might be teacher, king and priest of all, the head of the new and universal people of God's sons" ("Lumen Gentium", 13).

In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom explained the catholicity of the Church using these words: "What is the meaning of `to gather into one those who are scattered abroad'? He made them one body. He who dwells in Rome knows that the Christians of India are his members" ("Hom. on St. John", 65, 1).

54. The time for Him to die has not yet arrived; therefore Jesus acts prudently, taking the steps anyone would take not to precipitate events.

55. Since the Passover was the most solemn Jewish feast, the people used to arrive in Jerusalem some days in advance to prepare for it by washings, fasts and offerings--practices established not by the Mosaic law but by popular piety; the rites of the Passover itself, with the sacrificing of the lamb, were a rite of purification and expiation for sins. The Passover of the Jews was a figure of the Christian Pasch or Easter, for, as St. Paul the Apostle teaches us, our paschal lamb is Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7), who offered Himself once and for all to the eternal Father on the cross to atone for our sins. (Pope) Paul VI recalled this happy truth of faith: "Gave Himself for me? But does there still exist a religion which is expressed in sacrifices? No, the sacrifices of the ancient law and pagan religions have no longer any reason to exist; but the world always needs a sacrifice, a valid, unique and perennial one, for the redemption of human sin [...]; it is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, which wipes out sin from the world; a sacrifice which the Eucharist actualizes in time and makes it possible for the men of this earth to take part in it" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Homily on Corpus Christ", 17 June 1976).

If the Jews prepared to celebrate the Passover with all these rites and ablutions, it is obvious what steps we should take to celebrate or participate in the Mass and to receive Christ--our Pasch--in the Eucharist. "On this earth, when we receive an important person, we bring out the best--lights, music, formal dress. How should we prepare to receive Christ into our soul? Have we ever thought about how we should behave if we could only receive Him once in a lifetime?" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 91).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gospel for Friday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 10:31-42

Jesus and the Father Are One (Continuation)

[31] The Jews took stones again to stone Him (Jesus). [32] Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone Me?" [33] The Jews answered Him, "We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because You, being a man, make Yourself God." [34] Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said you are gods'? [35] If He called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), [36] do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'? [37] If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; [38] but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father." [39] Again they tried to arrest Him, but He escaped from their hands.

[40] He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there He remained. [41] And many came to Him; and they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this Man was true." [42] And many believed in Him there.


31-33. The Jews realize that Jesus is saying that He is God, but they interpret His words as blasphemy. He was called a blasphemer when He forgave the sins of the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8), and He will also be accused of blasphemy when He is condemned after solemnly confessing His divinity before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:63-65). Our Lord, then, did reveal that He was God; but His hearers rejected this revelation of the mystery of the Incarnate God, refusing to examine the proof Jesus offered them; consequently, they accuse Him, a man, of making Himself God. Faith bases itself on reasonable evidence--miracles and prophecies--for believing that Jesus is really man and really God, even though our limited minds cannot work out how this can be so. Thus, our Lord, in order to affirm His divinity once more, uses two arguments which His adversaries cannot refute--the testimony of Sacred Scripture (prophecies) and that of His own works (miracles).

34-36. On a number of occasions the Gospel has shown our Lord replying to the Jews' objections. Here He patiently uses a form of argument which they regards as decisive--the authority of Sacred Scripture. He quotes Psalm 82 in which God upbraids certain judges for acting unjustly despite His reminding them that "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you" (Psalm 82:6). If this psalm calls the sons of Israel gods and sons of God, with how much more reason should He be called God who has been sanctified and sent by God? Christ's human nature, on being assumed by the Word, is sanctified completely and comes to the world to sanctify men. "The Fathers of the Church constantly proclaim that what was not assumed by Christ was not healed. Now Christ took a complete human nature just as it is found in us poor unfortunates, but one that was without sin, for Christ said of Himself that He was the one `whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world'" (Vatican II, "Ad Gentes", 3).

By using Sacred Scripture (cf. Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 4:1, 17) Jesus teaches us that Scripture comes from God. Therefore, the Church believes and affirms that "those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Holy Mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles, holds that the books of both the Old and New Testament in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:15-16) they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church. [...] Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scriptures must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation" (Vatican II, "Dei Verbum", 11).

37-38. The works which our Lord is referring to are His miracles, through which God's power is made manifest. Jesus presents His words and His works as forming a unity, with the miracles confirming His words and His words explaining the meaning of the miracles. Therefore, when He asserts that He is the Son of God, this revelation is supported by the credentials of the miracles He works: hence, if no one can deny the fact of the miracles, it is only right for Him to accept the truth of the words.

41-42. The opposition offered by some people (cf. John 10:20, 31, 39) contrasts with the way other people accept Him and follow Him to where He goes after this. St. John the Baptist's preparatory work is still producing results: those who accepted the Baptist's message now look for Christ and they believe when they see the truth of what the Precursor said: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:34).

Work done in the Lord's name is never useless: "Therefore, My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Just as the Baptist's word and example had the effect of helping many people later to believe in Jesus, the apostolic example given by Christians will never be in vain, even though the results may not come immediately. "To sow. The sower went out... Scatter your seed, apostolic soul. The wind of grace will bear it away if the furrow where it falls is not worthy.... Sow, and be certain that the seed will take root and bear fruit" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 794).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More Notes (Part 3), Holy Thursday, The Washing of the Feet

The following comes from The New Missal for Holy Week (1956) and is offered as background information on the Rites for Holy Week as restored by Pope Pius XII.





The washing of the feet is an impressive symbol of Christian charity which accomplishes the commandment of fraternal charity given us by our Lord in the Gospel just sung. The washing of the feet is also a symbol of the Sacrament of Penance which cleanses the sinner who has been unable to communicate and restores him to the fullest union with his brethren in the sacrifice of the Mass.

Because of the liturgical and instructive value of this cere­mony, the Sacred Congregation of Rites urges that, where it is at all possible, the washing of the feet take place after the homily. Formerly this ancient rite was held after Mass.

Chairs are placed in the middle of the sanctuary, or out­side the altar rail for the twelve men (or boys) who are to take part in the ceremony. The deacon and subdeacon go to meet the men where they are waiting and lead them to their places. Then they rejoin the celebrant at the bench, and remove their maniples. The celebrant also removes his chasuble and girds himself with a towel. Accompanied by servers carrying a pitcher of water and a basin, they proceed to the washing of the feet.

While the ceremony continues, the following antiphons are either sung or recited. As the washing of the feet comes to an end, if the antiphons have not been completed, those re­maining are omitted, and the eighth antiphon is begun.

Antiphon 1, Jn. 13, 34
"A new commandment I give you," says the Lord: "that you love one another as I have loved you." Ps. 118, 1. Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
The antiphon is repeated.

Antiphon 2, Jn. 13, 4, 5 and 15
After the Lord rose from the supper, he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples: he did this to give them an example. Ps. 47, 2. Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised: in the city of our God, on his holy mountain.
The antiphon is repeated.

Antiphon 3, Jn. 13, 12, 13 and 15
The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples, washed their feet, and said to them: "Do you know what I have done to you? I, the Lord and Master? I have given you an example that you should follow." Ps. 84, 2. You have favored, O Lord, your land: you have brought Jacob back from captivity.
The antiphon is repeated.

Antiphon 4, Jn. 13, 6-8
"Lord, dost thou wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him: "If I do not wash thy feet, thou shalt have no part with me." V. He came then to Simon Peter, and Peter said to him: "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him: "If I do not wash thy feet, thou shalt have no part with me. V. What I do thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know hereafter." "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him: "If I do not wash thy feet, thou shalt have no part with me."

Antiphon 5, Jn. 13, 13, 14
If I, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, how much the more ought you wash the feet of one another. Ps. 48, 2. Hear this, all you peoples: hearken, all who dwell in the world.
The antiphon is repeated.

Antiphon 6, Jn. 13, 35
By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another. V. Jesus said to his disciples: By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.

Antiphon 7, I Cor. 13, 13
Let faith and hope and charity abide in you, these three: and the greatest of them is charity. V. So there abide faith, hope and charity, these three: and the greatest of them is charity. Let faith and hope and charity abide in you, these three: and the greatest of them is charity.

Antiphon 8
Where there is charity and love, there God abides.
V. The love of Christ has made us all as one.
V. Let us exult in him and be happy.
V. Let us fear the living God and love him.
V. Let us love him sincerely and deeply.

Where there is charity and love, there God abides.
V. When we are gathered together as one,
V. Let us take care that there be no dispute among us;
V. Let there be an end to spiteful quarrels and to strife:
V. And may Christ, our God, be in our midst.

Where there is charity and love, there God abides.
V. Together with the saints, may we look
V. blissfully upon thy face, 0 Christ, our God­ -
V. that joy which is unmeasured and complete -
V. Forever and ever. Amen.

When the washing of the feet is concluded, the celebrant washes and dries his hands. The sacred ministers go to the bench and put on their maniples; the celebrant puts on his chasuble. They then return to the altar step. The celebrant says:

Pater Noster (he continues the prayer secretly)

V. And lead us not into temptation.
R. But deliver us from evil.
V. 0 Lord, thou hast ordered that thy commandments
R. be obeyed most carefully.
V. Thou didst wash the feet of thy disciples.
R. Do not disdain what thou thyself hast done.
V. 0 Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come to thee.
V. Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you).
R. Et cum spiritu tuo (And with thy spirit).

Let us pray:

BE present, we beg thee, 0 Lord, as we fulfill our office; and since thou didst condescend to wash the feet of thy disciples, disdain not that which thou thyself didst do, and which thou hast commanded us to do in turn. Just as we now wash away the dirt of our bodies, so mayest thou cleanse our souls of their sins. Graciously grant this, thou who dost live and reign as God. Forever and ever.

R. Amen.

The twelve men genuflect, bow to the celebrant, and return to their places.

After the washing of the feet, or, if this ceremony does not take place, immediately after the homily, the Mass con­tinues.

Holy Mass continues with the Offertory...


More later with "The Solemn Procession to the Repository" and "The Stripping of the Altars"

Gospel for Thursday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 8:51-59

Jesus Warns the Unbelieving Jews (Continuation)

(Jesus said to the Jews,) [51] "Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps My word, he will never see death." [52] The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and You say, `If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death.' [53] Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do You claim to be?" [54] Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. [55] But you have not known Him; I know Him. If I said I do not know Him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know Him and I keep His word. [56] Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see My day; he saw it and was glad." [57] The Jews then said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" [58] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." [59] So they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.


51-53. "He will never see death": our Lord promises eternal life to those who accept His teaching and remain faithful to it.

Sin, as the Fourth Gospel teaches, is death of the soul; and sanctifying grace, life (cf. John 1:4, 13; 3:15, 16. 36; etc.). Through grace we enter eternal life, a pledge of the Glory we shall attain beyond this earthly life and which is the true Life. Blinded by their hostility, the Jews do not want to listen to the Lord and therefore they fail to understand Him.

55. The knowledge our Lord is speaking about implies more than intellectual knowledge. The Old Testament speaks of this "knowing" in the sense of love, faithfulness, generous self-surrender. Love for God is a consequence of the certain knowledge we have of Him, and at the same time the more we love God, the better we get to know Him.

Jesus, whose holy human nature was intimately united (though not mixed) with His divinity in the one Person of the Word, continues to assert His singular and ineffable knowledge of the Father. But this accurate language of Jesus is absolutely incomprehensible to those who close themselves to faith: they even think He is blaspheming (cf. verse 59).

56. Jesus presents Himself as the fulfillment of the hopes of the Old Testament patriarchs. They had stayed faithful, eager to see the Day of Salvation. Referring to their faith, St. Paul exclaims: "These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13). The most outstanding of those patriarchs was Abraham, our father in faith (cf. Galatians 3:7), who received the promise of being father of an immense people, the chosen people from whom would be born the Messiah.

The future fulfillment of the messianic promises was a source of great joy for Abraham: "Abraham, our father, who was set apart for the future accomplishment of the Promise, and who hoped against hope, receives when his son Isaac is born the prophetic firstfruits of this joy. This joy becomes transfigured through a trial touching death, when this only son is restored to him alive, a prefiguring of the resurrection of the One who was to come: the Son of God, promised for the redeeming sacrifice. Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing the Day of Christ, the Day of Salvation: he "saw it and was glad" (Paul VI, "Gaudete In Domino", II).

Jesus moves on a plane superior to that of the patriarchs, for they only saw prophetically, from "afar", the day of Christ, that is, the actual event of the Redemption, whereas it is Christ who brings it to pass.

58. Jesus' reply to the skeptical remarks of the Jews contains a revelation of His divinity. By saying "Before Abraham was, I am" our Lord is referring to His being eternal, because He is God. Therefore, St. Augustine explains: "Acknowledge the Creator, discern the creature. He who was speaking was a descendant of Abraham, but that Abraham might be made, before Abraham He was" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 43, 17).

The Fathers recall, in connection with the words of Christ, the solemn theophany of Sinai: "I AM WHO I AM" (Ex 3:14), and also St. John's distinction in the prologue to his Gospel, between the world which "was made" and the Word which "was" from all eternity (cf. John 1:1-3). The words, "I am", used by Jesus so absolutely are the equivalent therefore, of His affirming His eternity and His divinity. Cf. note on John 8:21-24.

[The note on John 8:21-24 states:
21-24. At the outset of His public ministry, Jesus could be seen to have all the features of the promised Messiah; some people recognized Him as such and became His followers (cf. John 1:12-13; 4:42; 6:69; 7:41); but the Jewish authorities, although they were expecting the Messiah (cf. John 1:19ff), persisted in their rejection of Jesus. Hence the warning to them: He is going where they cannot follow, that is, He is going to Heaven, which is where He has come from (cf. John 6:41ff), and they will keep looking out for the Messiah foretold by the prophets; but they will not find Him because they look for Him outside of Jesus, nor can they follow Him, for they do not believe in Him. You are of the world, our Lord is saying to them, not because you are on earth but because you are living under the influence of the prince of this world (cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); you are his vassals and you do his deeds (cf. 8:44); therefore, you will die in your sin. "We are all born with sin", St. Augustine comments, "all by our living have added to what we were by nature, and have become more of this world than we then were, when we were born of our parents. Where would we be if He had not come, who had no sin at all, to loose all sin? The Jews, because they did not believe in Him, deserved to have it said to them, You will die in your sin" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 38, 6).

The salvation which Christ brings will be applied to those who believe in His divinity. Jesus declares His divinity when He says "I am He", for this _expression, which He repeats on other occasions (cf. John. 8:28; 13:19), is reserved to Yahweh in the Old Testament (cf. Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10-11), where God, in revealing His name and therefore His essence, says to Moses "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). In this profound way God says that He is the Supreme Being in a full, absolute sense, that He is dependent on no other being, that all other things depend on Him for their being and existence. Thus, when Jesus says of Himself, "I am He", He is revealing that He is God.]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The American TFP & the DaVinci Code Movie

Please prayerfully consider the following:
Dear Friends,

We are now 45 days away from the Premier of the Blasphemous movie "The DaVinci Code" and efforts are underway to organize and plan protests of reparation and defense of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Bride.

Sony Pictures is keeping a firm lid on which theaters will be showing the movie. They plan to reveal the locations only 2 weeks before the movie release in what appears to be an effort to inhibit protest planning. Later this week you will be able to read an article on the TFP website which will report that Sony Pictures has hired a renowned public relations firm to do 'damage control' after the movie is released against an expected hailstorm of protests.

The American TFP and its America Needs Fatima Campaign have been working since last year to organize peaceful protests in front of the theaters that show the movie around the nation. Their hope is to conduct at least 1000 protests nationwide. Here in St. Louis, our goal is to conduct a minimum of 20 protests during the first 10 days of the movie release.

Please visit the TFP webite and click on Protest Central for more information.

Would you like to participate? We are asking for your help. Are you willing to come to a protest at a local theater and make an act of reparation by praying the Rosary and singing hymns for 2 hours? Can you offer 1 night? 2? 5?

We are in the midst of a tremendous battle for souls. The proponents of The DaVinci Code are already succeeding in pulling unknowing and souls away from the Faith. We must take action now. Good Catholic action!

You are probably asking; "how can we take action when we don't even know where the movie will be showing?" It is best to assume it will be showing in all of the major theater complexes in the area.

Once we surmise that this movie is not going to 'go away' or be shown only at 3:00AM at a theater underneath the Eads Bridge, we can follow some very simple initial steps.

First. Pray. Pray that Our Lady will guide us in all of our efforts against this movie.

Next. Join the fight by spreading the word. Post news about the Protest on Blogs, in Church Bulletins, in book stores, amongst friends.

Do you know any priests who would be willing to participate? The presence of our Clergy is a true grace at these protests.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining this fight. Please call or email me to help mobilize our Soldiers. It is unfortunate that we must defend Holy Mother Church against this hateful attack, and however difficult we may find it, we must respond!

May Our Lady protect us and guide us. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

In Jesu et Maria,
Mark Serafino
The American TFP and its America Needs Fatima campaign is organizing 1,000 prayer vigils in front of theaters nationwide against The Da Vinci Code movie. The movie is scheduled to come out on May 19. If it follows the book's plot, millions of people may soon see scenes of 'Jesus' and 'Mary Magdalene' as husband and wife who had a baby.

Hundreds of protest groups are forming in all 50 states. Join or organize a prayer vigil in your area. TFP has a special support center to help you in every aspect of your action.

So please call toll-free at (866) 584-6012. Free signs and hand-outs are available. This network of prayer vigils are peaceful and public acts of reparation -- perhaps the most extensive public act of reparation ever in America. Join the growing anti-blasphemy crusade in America. Call (866) 584-6012 today.

5th Week of Lent - The Crucifixion

"It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God." St. John, 8:54.

"He was crucified." Creed.

The story is told of a French artist who was engaged to paint a picture of the crucifixion for a famous church. As he was given plenty of time, he spent more than a year working on and off at his task. To model one of the figures beneath the cross he chose a young French girl. When she came for the first time to the studio, the still uncompleted picture caught her eye and fancy. So much interest did she show, and so many questions did she ask, that it was impossible for the artist to paint her into the scene. She kept asking:
"Who is He? What has He done? Why must He suffer so? Why did they nail Him to a cross?"

The artist tried to parry her questions with as few words as possible. But the girl became still mote curious. Seeing that he could not go on until she knew the entire story, he blurted out: "I'll tell you all about it, but then you must promise to stop talking and look at me when I am trying to paint."

As briefly as possible he told her the story of the crucifixion. She hung on every word he uttered, and when he concluded, she asked in tears:"And did He do that for you? And did He do that for me?"

"Yes," he replied, "He did it for you and me, and for all of us."

"Oh," she exclaimed, "if He has done that for me, I always want to love Him. And you, how you must love Him, for you have known the story so long."

Long after she left, her words kept ringing in the artist's ear, "How you must love Him for you have known the story so long." From then on he put heart and soul into the picture.

Today we want to repeat that story for you, well-known as it may be. We do not love Him nearly enough for the length of time we have known the story. With too little love we mumble the words: "He was crucified."

The nailing to the cross is so gruesome and sickening that we would not be brought to speak of it, were it not that our Lord went through such terrible torture for us. It is love of His love that prompts us to speak of it this week.

Last week we followed our Lord to Calvary. There they stripped Him of His garments, especially of the woolen tunic which was imbedded in His wounds. The weight of the cross, the frequent falls, the rough pushing of the soldiers. the blood and perspiration has caked His clothing in His wounds. Every cut is opened afresh as they tear His tunic off. The most common opinion is that only a loin-cloth was left Him, but even this may have been taken from Him, leaving Him naked before those who went to see Him crucified.

Brutally they throw Him down on the cross. One soldier stretches His right hand, while another kneels on His arm. The sickening thud of ham­mer on nail as it drives through flesh and wood, makes the sensitive hold their, breath. You have stuck your finger with a pin or needle. Imagine having a spike driven through your hand. Next, they pull and rack Christ's left hand over to the place for the nail. Again the nauseating thump of the hammer, the tortured twisting of His muscles, the spurts of blood, and the groans of the sympathetic group with our Blessed Mother. Doctors tell us that the agony is so great when a nail is driven through the hand, that generally the victim swoons away.

Behold now the hands that had done nothing but good! Behold the hands that had soothed away fever and pain; the hands that had reached out to us from a cradle; the hands that had stroked the heads of the children; the hands that were raised in blessing and bounty; the hands that had broken the bread of the Eucharist! Behold those hands stretched wide to embrace the world in their love!

They turn to His feet, pull and stretch them. Again we hear the dull blows of the hammer as the nails sear their way through flesh and bone. How true the prophet's words in Psalm 21: "Many dogs have encompassed Me; the council of the malignant hath besieged Me. They have dug My hands and feet; they have numbered all My bones. They have looked and stared on Me."

O blessed, beautiful feet of Christ; feet that carried Him out to play; feet that carried Christ into the temple; feet that wore themselves weary for good; feet that sought out the sick and the sinner; feet that made a kneeling-bench for Magdalen; feet that walked in all the ways of mercy­ - those innocent feet are dug with nails, bleeding, twisting, wracked with pain.

Roughly the soldiers drag the bed of death with its pinned-on Victim to the hole cut in the rock. They raise Him up and with a jolt drop the heavy beam with its heavenly Load into the place prepared. They pound in wedges to keep it from reeling and rocking.

How terrible the torture of one crucified when the cross was raised, can be gathered from the testimony of historians who tell us that, often the nails tore through the flesh of hands and feet, and the arms and legs had to be tied to the beams.

Saints and privileged souls have had visions of the nailing to the cross. You and I need no vision. We have pictured that crucifixion in its stark, cruel reality, as history tells us the ruthless Romans always carried it out.

Yes, He went through it for you and me, for the artist and the girl model of our story, for all of us. With that young girl who was posing for a part in that scene we exclaim: "I shall always love Him." If you and I come to love Him just a tiny bit more, then the telling of this story was really worthwhile.
Adapted from Talks on the Creed
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1946)

Vatican to Send Greetings to National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Vatican To Send Greetings To 3rd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Apostolic Nuncio Brings Message to Washington Gathering

Washington, D.C. – The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast is pleased to announce that Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be attending the breakfast on Friday, April 7th to deliver a special greeting from the Vatican.

George W. Bush will be the special guest and is delivering remarks to the 3rd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Mass will be held Thursday evening, April 6 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick serving as principal celebrant and homilist. Mass will be followed by an evening reception.

The prayer breakfast will be held the following morning at the Hilton Washington Hotel beginning at 7:00 a.m. on April 7. The keynote speaker at the breakfast will be His Excellency Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.

EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Neil McDermott, O.P., who is responsible for reconstruction of Catholic schools in the New Orleans area, will also speak. Catholic Theologian Scott Hahn and Fr. Benedict Groeschel will give a talk following the breakfast.

Thursday, April 6 6:30 p.m.
Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral
1725 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington

Followed by reception

Friday, April 7 7:00 a.m.
Breakfast at Hilton Washington
1919 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.

Followed by educational program

Other notable attendees will include Senators Sam Brownback, John Cornyn, Rick Santorum, and Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson.

The annual event was created in 2004 in response to beloved Pope John Paul II’s appeal for a “New Evangelization,” and is a way to spread the Word of the Gospel.

For more information or a detailed schedule, log onto

More Notes (Part 2), Holy Thursday, The Mass of the Lord's Supper

The following comes from The New Missal for Holy Week (1956) and is offered as background information on the Rites for Holy Week as restored by Pope Pius XII.


Holy Week has a twofold aspect. It is the last stage of Lent, for Holy Thursday, the last of the ancient forty days, completed the preparation of the faithful, catechumens and penitents, for the celebration of Easter; as the week of the Passion, it is also an anticipation of the sorrowful days of the Passover. Holy Thursday is the transitional day which pos­sesses both of these aspects.

As the last day of the original Lent, Holy Thursday had a Mass for the reconciliation of penitents; as the last liturgical or Eucharistic day before Easter night, it has the Mass for the consecration of the holy oils; as the evening of the institution of the Holy Eucharist and of the beginning of the Passion, it has the Mass commemorating the Last Supper and the wash­ing of the feet.

The Mass for the reconciliation of the penitents, formerly celebrated on Holy Thursday, has a certain continuation in the law imposing annual confession on all Christians at Easter time. The new decree has recommended that the Easter con­fession find its place in the pastoral restoration of Holy Week.
"It is necessary to recall to the faithful that, during Holy Week, they should approach the Sacrament of Penance in time; . . . during all of Holy Week and especially Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the opportunity should be given to the faithful for the convenient reception of the Sacrament of Penance."
The ancient liturgy of reconciliation invites us to go to con­fession in good time so that we may participate in the Supper of reconciliation on Thursday; moreover, as penitents, we should be reconciled and restored to our baptismal dignity before the Sacred Triduum, so that the entire people of God may together celebrate the Christian Passover.

In Cathedrals, on the morning of Holy Thursday, a Chris­mal Mass is celebrated, in the course of which, the oils are consecrated, a last preparation for the conferring of baptism and confirmation at the Easter Vigil. There is special signifi­cance in the consecration of the oils on Holy Thursday, as the day commemorating the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The Paschal mystery is the source of all the Sacraments; these, in turn, enable us to enter into the passion and resur­rection of the Lord. But the Eucharist gives us the Lord's passion and resurrection in a unique fashion; consequently, all the other Sacraments prepare for the Eucharist and complete it. The consecration by the bishop, surrounded by his priests, of the oils to be used throughout the diocese during the year, for baptism, confirmation, holy orders and extreme unc­tion, is a striking manifestation of the basically paschal and eucharistic character of Christianity.

The Mass of Holy Thursday evening, like the liturgy of Good Friday, makes explicit that which is already contained in the Easter Vigil. In their unity, the services of Holy Thursday and Good Friday associate the unbloody sacrifice of the Last Supper with the bloody sacrifice of Calvary; they have a profound relation with the passover and develop in advance some aspects of the Eucharist of the Easter Vigil. For, "on the eve of his suffering", Christ ate the passover with his disciples, at once the last paschal meal of the old Law before the new Passover, and the anticipated celebration of the new Passover.

At this Mass of Holy Thursday, the Church observes an ancient communal aspect of the liturgy. All the priests of a parish assist at the Mass of a single celebrant and receive Communion from his hands. This symbolizes the fact that at the Last Supper, Christ alone, our great High Priest, conse­crated and offered; it demonstrates the unity of the priestly power which derives from the unique priesthood of Christ.

The communal character of the Eucharist is also shown on this evening in the permission granted to the people to sing psalms together as they go in procession to Communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity and of charity. "For you, although you are many, are one body, because you eat of one bread" (I Cor. 10, 17).

The Mass of the Lord's Supper is to be celebrated at a convenient time, between five and eight o'clock in the eve­ning. In addition to the Solemn Mass, one or two low Masses may be offered, with the permission of the Bishop, in each parish church between these hours.

The tabernacle should be empty. Ciboria are placed on the altar containing the hosts which are to be consecrated at this Mass for the Communion of the clergy and the people this evening and tomorrow evening. The celebrant does not consecrate a second large host, since at tomorrow's service he will communicate himself with one of the small hosts from the ciborium.

The celebrant and the sacred ministers put on white vest­ments. The clergy assist in surplice and white stole. As the procession moves through the church to the altar the choir sings the Introit:
Introit Gal. 6:14

GOD forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: He is our salvation, our life and resur­rection: through Him we have been saved and set free. (Ps. 66:2). May God have pity on us and bless us: may He let his face shine upon us and pity us. God forbid that we should glory.

When the celebrant intones the Gloria in excelsis the bells are rung and the organ accompanies the singing. From this time until the Mass of the Easter Vigil both bells and organ will be silent. (See the Ordinary, p. 56)

More on Holy Thursday will follow later tonight or tomorrow, including the Ceremony of the Washing of the Feet, as restored by Pope Pius XII.

Paris Hilton to star as Mother Teresa?

I'm not certain how much credence to give this but perhaps others may know more about it. I certainly hope and pray that this is a hoax:
News has been circulating around that Paris Hilton is supposed to play the role of Mother Teresa in director T. Rajeevnath’s “Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa.” This is a disgrace not only to Roman Catholics, but anyone with Christian values and decency. Hiltons first appearance on the “big” screen was in a self-made porno flick, produced by her boy friend. She is currently working on an album with the foul mouthed rap group 3-6-Mafia. We urge you to go to Paris Hilton’s website and tell her not to disgrace religion in order to grab another 5 minutes of fame. The meeting with Rajeevnath is scheduled for this month.

Paris Hilton Website:

Skip passed the “intro” and click on contact which will be to the left of the screen. List everything that is asked and select no “for please send information”. If you want her to contact you select “phone”, maybe she will have the courage to get some sense talked into her. Leave your “comment” and press “send”. After you have hit “send”, it will say “thank you for the message”.

Leave a comment at "The Missouri Conservative Times"

Sean Hurly

5th Week of Lent - Duties to Teachers

"It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God." St. John, 8:54.

Years ago a flying instructor in Kansas City, Missouri, went up with one of his students in a training plane. The student already had several lessons and was doing good work at the controls, so good that the instructor, seated in the cockpit, dropped off to sleep.

The student smiled. He kept flying until his instruction period was over and then gently landed the plane without disturbing his instructor who slept soundly on. The student rolled the plane into the hangar and walked off, leaving his teacher still sleeping.

Later the instructor awoke. He was startled to see no one at the con­trols. He could not hear the motor running. In his half-awake condition he concluded that the motor had quit in the air and the student had bailed out. The half-dozing instructor rolled over the side of the plane, pulled the rip cord of his parachute and landed on the concrete floor of the hangar. He broke his collar bone.

This fantastic and half-funny story offers many suggestions. I would point out one of them, the student's consideration for his instructor. The lad did not disturb him in his sleep.

Would that every student used such consideration and kept in mind that he has duties and obligations toward his teacher, which are similar to one's duties to parents.

Teachers are taking the place of parents. Father and mother have entrusted children to the care and instruction of men and women who have prepared themselves to teach and prepare them for life. Teachers take the place of parents at least for certain hours of the day, certain days of the week, certain years of one's life. Because they take the parent's place, one owes one's teachers the same duties one owes his father and mother, the duty of honoring, loving, respecting, obeying and appreciating them, and, as in the case of the young student pilot, of being considerate toward them.

1. God has promised to honor worthy teachers. "They that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that instruct many to justice as stars for all eternity." Daniel, 12 3. In a sense, everyone of us has been called to teach, in that we are to tell others and show others the glorious truths of our wonderful faith.

Pupils should honor their teachers for the knowledge and skill they have, for the sacrifice they make in classwork, and for the taxing efforts a teacher puts forth in preparing a pupil for life.

2. Respect is related to honor. It requires that we show reverence, courtesy and deference to those who are chosen to instruct us. Courtesy is an out­standing obligation toward our teachers, "Please" and "Thank you" must be part of our dealings with them. Courtesy demands that we listen to their explanations, that we accept corrections, that we do or say nothing that will make the teacher's task more trying.

This respect should not end with graduation. Nothing is more encour­aging, especially to a religious teacher, like the sisters and brothers who teach in school, than to have former students drop in or write an occasional note. Even an occasional gift to a former teacher would be a fine way of showing your respect.

3. Students have the further duty of obedience. As we are bound to obey our parents, so we are bound to obey our teachers. The rules of the class­room or school are not made to keep anybody from having a good time, but to keep order and quiet so that the pupils can learn as much as possible.

The great majority of teachers try to be reasonable. They try to make things as easy and pleasant as possible. Of course, they have their faults and short­comings, of which we will speak next week, but in general teachers are giving their all to prepare you to take the best possible place in life.

Who is the best coach for a football team? Is it one who allows the squad to run around wherever they want, to throw the football wherever and whenever they feel like it? Or, would it be the coach who insists on discipline, who makes every member of the team and subs do a certain thing at a certain time? You answer that question yourself. Then you will realize why a teacher has to have discipline and order in the classroom.

4. We must also be grateful to our teachers. Now and then thank your teacher for explaining some difficult problem. Now and then send her a birthday or Christmas card. Now and then show your appreciation by some remembrance.

The story is told of a great general of our Civil War who was traveling along a country road when he passed the home of a former teacher. He dis­mounted from his horse and strode up to the house. When his teacher answered the door, the general dropped down to his knees and told his old school master:
"I have to thank you for my success. I was a careless, lazy boy. You were strict with me, you corrected me, you even punished me. You did not let me rest until I mended my ways. I thank you for every harsh word, I thank you for every punishment, for I deserved every bit of it. I want to thank you for shaping my life."

That should be the sentiment of every student toward every teacher he ever had. And, by the way, that should be the feeling of every parent toward the teacher of his child. Back up the teacher. Honor the teacher. Uphold the teacher's decisions. If there is something wrong with the method or matter of the instruction, do not criticize the teacher in the presence of the children. Go have a quiet, intelligent talk with the teacher.

Jesus tells us that He does not glorify Himself. Neither does the true teacher. Jesus said His Father would glorify Him. May the good God reward and bless all our good teachers. And may you and I show our teachers the honor, respect, obedience and appreciation which they deserve.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (© 1948)

Dr. Edward Peters: The Catholic League vs. the City of San Francisco

Since 1948, the US Supreme Court has charted an ambiguous path with regard to the place of religion in the public sphere (see generally James Hitchcock, The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life, 2 vols., Princeton 2004). Still, most cases grant this much: according to the Constitution, government has no business interfering with religious beliefs or practices. Apparently, the San Francisco City Council thinks the Constitution is for little people.

This is a must read!


Italy Is Voting. Here’s the Stance of the Church’s Hierarchy

The pronouncements come from two addresses by the pope and his vicar, and three articles in “La Civiltà Cattolica.” A question: Can everything be voted on in a democracy?
by Sandro Magister

San Francisco's Hateful Anti-Catholic Resolution Prompts Lawsuit

From the Thomas More Law Center:
ANN ARBOR, MI – A virulently anti-Catholic resolution unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors condemning Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality and urging the Archbishop of San Francisco and Catholic Charities of San Francisco to defy Church directives prohibiting gay adoptions has prompted a federal lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and two San Francisco Catholic citizens, challenges the anti-Catholic resolution as a “startling attack by government officials on the Catholic Church, Catholic moral teaching and beliefs, and those who adhere to the tenets of the Catholic faith, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

The March 21, 2006 resolution alludes to the Vatican as a foreign country meddling in the affairs of the City and describes the Church’s moral teaching and beliefs as “insulting to all San Franciscans,” “hateful,” “insulting and callous,” “defamatory,” “absolutely unacceptable,” “insensitive[] and ignoran[t].” The resolution calls on the local Archbishop to “defy” the Church’s teachings and describes Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for safeguarding the doctrine on the faith and morals of the Church throughout the Catholic world, as “unqualified” to lead.

According to Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, “The demagoguery and virulent words of this resolution are reminiscent of the anti- Catholic bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan and the Know Nothings, which marred our Nation’s earlier history. San Francisco may as well have put up signs at the City limits: ‘Faithful Catholics Not Welcomed.”

Catholic doctrine proclaims that allowing children to be adopted by homosexuals would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. Therefore, such policies are gravely immoral and Catholic organizations must not place children for adoption in homosexual households.

The lawsuit claims that the First Amendment “forbids an official purpose to disapprove of a particular religion, religious beliefs, or of religion in general.” The lawsuit states that this “anti-Catholic resolution sends a clear message to Plaintiffs and others who are faithful adherents to the Catholic faith that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and an accompanying message that those who oppose Catholic religious beliefs, particularly with regard to homosexual unions and adoptions by homosexual partners, are insiders, favored members of the political community.”

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling this matter, commented, “Our constitution forbids hostility toward any religion. In total disregard for the Constitution, homosexual activists in positions of authority in San Francisco are abusing their authority as government officials and misusing the instruments of government to attack the Catholic Church. This egregious abuse of power is an outrage and a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Some Notes on the Restored Order of Service for Holy Week

The following comes from The New Missal for Holy Week (1956) and is offered as background information on the Rites for Holy Week as restored by Pope Pius XII.

"The liturgical rites of Holy Week, besides possessing a unique dignity, contain special sacramental power and efficacy for nour­ishing the Christian life."
-Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites regarding the restored Order of Service for Holy Week.

"The faithful should be taught the supreme value of the Sacred Liturgy, which, at all times, but especially in these days, by its very nature, far exceeds the value of other kinds of devotions and customs, however excellent they may be."
-Instruction accompanying the Decree, IV, 3.


In view of the fact that it is the intent of the Sacred Liturgy to provide an experience to be entered into, rather than a spectacle to be viewed, the "New Missal for Holy Week" aims at fostering devout and intelligent participation on the part of the laity. In order to attain this objective, those concerned with the preparation of this Missal have incorporated into it the following elements:

(1) A New Translation: With the exception of those pas­sages of the Old and New Testaments, which the liturgical text embodies without change or adaptation, the entire text has been newly translated by the editors. In the translation of the Ordinary of the Mass, the editors, with the permission of the Centre de Pastorale Liturgique, established in Paris, have used as normative the definitive French translation of B. Botte and C. Mohrmann.* The object has been to offer a more readable and more accurate text than is usually found in English. (* "L'Ordinaire de la Messe," Paris, 1953.)

The Scripture passages, referred to above, are reproduced by license of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D. c., which holds the copyright, from the new translation of the Old Testament (where available) and the New Testament, made by scholars of the Catholic Biblical Association.

(2) A Liturgical Commentary: The Commentary which introduces each of the major days, and the remarks which intro­duce each of the more important ceremonies provide a summary explanation of the meaning of the various rites, especially of those rites which have undergone change or modification. The biblical themes which are woven into the liturgy of these days have been given particular emphasis.

(3) A Full Description of the Ceremonies: Since the new Order of Service for Holy Week insists frequently that the cere­monies be carried out in full view of the people, it has been thought well to include a more than usually detailed account of the rubrics, so that the faithful can more readily follow the rites. It may be remarked here, that it has been supposed throughout that, in accord with the mind of the Sacred Congregation, the ceremonies are being solemnly celebrated. The reader is advised that, when the ceremonies are carried out by one priest, he performs most of the functions assigned to the deacon, subdeacon or lector.

Thus, the "New Missal for Holy Week" is presented in the hope that it will enable the faithful to appreciate the "unique dignity" and the "supreme value" of the liturgy of these great days, and thus to benefit the more from the "special sacramental power and efficacy" of the rites.


More on Holy Thursday, The Mass of the Lord's Supper, Station at St. John Lateran, follows tomorrow.

Gospel for Wednesday, 5th Week of Lent

From: John 8:31-42

Jesus Warns the Unbelieving Jews (Continuation)

[31] Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." [33] They answered Him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, `You will be made free'?"

[34] Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave of sin. [35] The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. [36] So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. [37] I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word finds no place in you. [38] I speak of what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."

[39] They answered Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, [40] but now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. [41] You do what your father did." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." [42] Jesus said of them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not on My own account, but He sent Me."


30-32. Of those Jews who do believe in Him Jesus asks much more than a shallow faith resulting from superficial enthusiasm: they should be true disciples; Jesus' words should imbue their whole life. That kind of faith will bring them to know the truth and to become really free persons.

The knowledge of the truth which Christ is speaking about is not just intellectual knowledge; it is rather the maturing in the soul of the seed of divine Revelation. That Revelation's climax is to be found in Christ's teaching and it constitutes a genuine communication of supernatural life (cf. John 5:24): He who believes in Jesus, and through Him in the Father, receives the wonderful gift of eternal life. Knowing the truth is, in the last analysis, knowing Christ Himself, God become man to save us; it means realizing that the inaccessible God has become man, our Friend, our Life.

This is the only kind of knowledge which really sets us free, because it removes us from a position of alienation from God--the state of sin and therefore of slavery to the devil and to all attachments of our fallen nature--and puts us on the path of friendship with God, the path of grace, of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the liberation we obtain is not just light which shows us the way; it is grace, which empowers us to keep to that way despite our limitations. "Jesus Christ meets the man of every age, including our own, with the same words: `You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free' (John 8:32). These words contain both a fundamental requirement and a warning: the requirement of an honest relationship with regard to truth as a condition for authentic freedom, and the warning to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world. Today also, even after two thousand years, we see Christ as the One who brings man freedom based on truth, frees man from what curtails, diminishes and as it were breaks off this freedom at its root, in man's soul, his heart and his conscience. What a stupendous confirmation of this has been given and is still being given by those who, thanks to Christ and in Christ, have reached true freedom and have manifested it even in situations of external constraint!" (John Paul II, "Redemptor Hominis", 12).

"Christ Himself links liberation particularly with knowledge of the truth; `You will know the truth and the truth will make you free' (John 8:32). This sentence testifies above all to the intimate significance of the freedom for which Christ liberates us. Liberation means man's inner transformation, which is a consequence of the knowledge of truth. The transformation is, therefore, a spiritual process, in which man matures `in true righteousness and holiness' (Ephesians 4:24). [...] Truth is important not only for the growth of human knowledge, deepening man's interior life in this way; truth has also a prophetic significance and power. It constitutes the content of testimony and it calls for testimony. We find this prophetic power of truth in the teaching of Christ. As a prophet, as a witness to truth, Christ repeatedly opposes non-truth; He does so with great forcefulness and decision and often He does not hesitate to condemn falsehood" (John Paul II, "General Audience", 21 February 1979).

St. Thomas Aquinas explains the meaning of these words of our Lord in this way: "In this passage, being made free does not refer to being freed of every type of wrong [...]; it means being freed in the proper sense of the word, in three ways: first, the truth of His teaching will free us from the error of untruth [...]; second, the truth of grace will liberate us from the slavery of sin: `the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death' (Romans 8:2); third, the truth of eternity in Christ Jesus will free us from decay (cf. Romans 8:21)" ("Commentary on St. John, in loc.").

"The truth will set you free. How great a truth is this, which opens the way to freedom and gives it meaning throughout our lives. I will sum it up for you, with the joy and certainty which flow from knowing there is a close relationship between God and His creatures. It is the knowledge that we have come from the hands of God, that the Blessed Trinity looks upon us with predilection, that we are children of so wonderful a Father. I ask my Lord to help us decide to take this truth to heart, to dwell upon it day by day; only then will we be acting as free men. Do not forget: anyone who does not realize that he is a child of God is unaware of the deepest truth about himself. When he acts he lacks the dominion and self-mastery we find in those who love our Lord above all else" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 26).

33-34. For centuries the people of Israel were ruled by other nations (Egypt, Babylon, Persia...), and now they were under the dominion of Rome. Therefore, the Jews thought that He was referring to political bondage or dominion--which in fact they had experienced but never accepted. In addition, since they belong to the people chosen by God, they regarded themselves as free of the moral errors and aberrations of Gentile nations.

They thought that true freedom was a matter of belonging to the chosen people. Our Lord replies that it is not enough to belong to the line of Abraham: true freedom consists in not being slaves of sin. Both Jews and Gentiles were subject to the slavery of original sin and personal sin (cf. Romans 5:12; 6:20 and 8:2). Only Christ, the Son of God, can liberate man from that sorry state (cf. Galatians 4:21-51); but these Jews do not understand the redemptive work which Christ is doing and which will reach its climax in His death and resurrection.

"The Savior", St. Augustine comments, "is here explaining that we will not be freed from overlords, but from the devil; not from captivity of the body but from malice of soul" ("Sermon", 48).

35-36. The words slave and son are reminiscent of the two sons of Abraham: Ishmael, born of the slave woman Hagar, who would be given no part in the inheritance; and Isaac, son of the free woman Sarah, who would be the heir to God's promises (cf. Genesis 21:10-12; Galatians 4:28-31). Physical descent from Abraham is not enough for inheriting God's promises and attaining salvation: by faith and charity one must identify oneself with Jesus Christ, the true and only Son of the Father, the only one who can make us sons of God and thereby bring us true freedom (cf. Romans 8:21; Galatians 4:31). Christ gives "power to become children of God [to those] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13). Thus, a person who identifies himself with Christ becomes a son of God and obtains the freedom proper to sons.

"Freedom finds its true meaning when it is put to the service of the truth which redeems, when it is spent seeking God's infinite Love which liberates us from all forms of slavery. Each passing day increases my yearning to proclaim to the four winds this inexhaustible treasure that belongs to Christianity: `the glorious freedom of the children of God!' (Romans 8:21). [...] Where does our freedom come from? It comes from Christ our Lord. This is the freedom with which He has ransomed us (cf. Galatians 4:31). That is why He teaches, `if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed' (John 8:36). We Christians do not have to ask anyone to tell us the true meaning of this gift, because the only freedom that can save man is Christian freedom" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 27 and 35).

37-41. Our Lord replies to the Jew's objection: yes indeed, they are Abraham's children, but only in a natural sense, according to the flesh; this is something which does not count any more; what matters now is acceptance of Jesus as the One sent by the Father. Jesus' questioners are spiritually very far away from being true children of Abraham: Abraham rejoiced to see the Messiah (cf. John 8:56); through his faith he was reckoned righteous (cf. Romans 4:1ff), and his faith led him to act consequentially (cf. James 2:21-24); this was how he attained the joy of eternal blessedness (cf. Matthew 8:11; Luke 16:24). Although those Jews "derived from him the generation of the flesh, they had become degenerate, by not imitating the faith of him whose sons they were" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 42, 1).
Those who live by faith, St. Paul says, are the true sons of Abraham and like him they will be blessed by God (cf. Galatians 3:7-9). In point of fact, the people who are arguing with our Lord have not only rejected His teaching: their own deeds indicate that they have a radically different affiliation: "You do what your father did" is a veiled accusation that they are children of the devil (cf. verse 44).

The false security Jews felt on the grounds of being descended from Abraham has its parallel in a Christian who is content with being baptized and with a few religious observances, but does not live up to the requirements of faith in Christ.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

5th Week of Lent - Why Christ Comes to Us

"Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep my word, he will never see death." St. John, 8:51.

Did you ever hear of the Boiler Kid? His real name was Fred Snite. A former student at Notre Dame University, young Snite was stricken with infantile paralysis while traveling in China many years ago. The doctors said he would live about a week. But he continued to live past those projections, living with unbeatable courage, living with a cheerfulness and hopefulness that have only one explanation. When asked the source of his strength and spirit, this brave young man gave the answer: "Daily Communion."

But why was he called the Boiler Kid? When paralysis made it impossible for him to use the muscles needed for breathing, made it impossible even to speak a single word, he was placed in an iron lung, which looks a great deal like a boiler. Only his head is free. His generous and devoted parents and friends gave him every help during the years he had to live in this 'boiler.'

For a long time he could not move or breathe or speak. What a miserable condition! In his helplessness, however, he had a hidden source of strength and power - Holy Communion. Only after several months was he able to utter a single word. Faintly and feebly but full of faith he uttered it. The one word was - "God."

With the gradual recovery of strength he could speak a phrase. And what do you think his first words were? One morning as the priest held up the Sacred Host before Holy Communion the Boiler Kid spoke from his heart the beautiful sentence: "0 God, how can I thank Thee for this Gift?"

Yes, how can anyone thank God for this Gift of Himself, the Gift that does so many wonderful things for us, as we see every day. Today we would like to mention more effects of Holy Communion.

1. The Bread of Angels gives us courage. Thousands of examples are at hand, both in Christian history - like St. Claire driving an attacking army from her convent with the Eucharist, like St. Thomas More of whom we heard last week, and in modern history - like Fred Snite, the Boiler Kid. Holy Communion gives moral and physical courage.

2. Receiving Holy Communion also takes away venial sin, if we have sorrow and repentance. Accidentally, it may take away mortal sin, and indirectly the temporal punishment due to sin.

3. Best of all, Holy Communion helps us to avoid sin. We can do what God wants when God is with us, in us. How much easier it is to be humble when the humble Christ comes into our hearts. How much easier it is to be kind when the kindly, gentle Christ dwells within us. How much easier obedience becomes when our obedient Lord lives in our hearts. How much easier are chastity, patience, unselfishness, when we receive the One who has all those virtues.

4. Communion repairs the ravages of sin. Every living thing needs continual repair. Repair means making good that which is damaged and lost. True medicine of the soul, Holy Communion repairs the wounds of sin, and makes us less likely to give in to sin in the future.

5. Heavenly Food that it is, Holy Communion also gives pleasure. As there is a pleasure in taking bodily nourishment, so there is a pleasure in receiving the Lord's Supper, a spiritual pleasure, the joy one has in meeting a Friend, the comfort of the sheep that is with the Shepherd. Frequent communicants know what the Psalmist meant when he sang: "Oh taste and see that the Lord is sweet." Ps. 33:9. There is the added sweetness of doing what God wants, the joy of pleasing Him.

6. Communion unites us with our Lord, as He Himself promised: "He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him." St. John, 6:57. Closer than two pieces of wax in a fire, closer than the water mingled with the wine at Offertory, you and Christ are melted together in Holy Communion. Ordinarily when you take food it becomes part of you. But when you take the Food of Angels you become part of the Food you have eaten, one with Christ. That makes your every thought, word and deed so much the more precious in the sight of God. It makes you more pleasing to our Blessed Mother, whose Son is now living within you.

No wonder Jesus told the Jews: "Amen, amen, I say unto you, if anyone keep my word, he will never see death." This week, reflect on these words spoken to us. We keep Christ's word by believing His word, His promise that He would come to us.

By keeping Christ's word, Fred Snite, the Boiler Kid, was helped in body as well as in soul. By keeping this word of Christ, by a deeper and more burning love of Christ in the Eucharist, by a more fervent and fre­quent receiving of Holy Communion, you and I will also be helped in soul and body.
Adapted from Talks on the Commandments, (1948)
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, O.F.M.