Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 26

God, to procure His glory, sometimes permits that we should be dishonored and persecuted without reason. He wishes thereby to render us conformable to His Son, who was calum­niated and treated as a seducer, as an ambi­tious man, and as one possessed.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 26, The Director

It sometimes happens that one is not sufficiently provided with spiritual aid; in that case, one must have patience. God needs no person; if He wishes to conduct the soul Himself from within, without exterior help, that should be easy to understand.

Does He not perhaps have as His purpose to show us that often we attach too much importance to direction or at least an excessive importance to a director?

If the Lord permits me to have at my disposal this great force of the spiritual life, I will thank Him for it and enjoy it. But then I will use this means offered only in God.

Addressing himself, not so much to the penitent as to the di­rector, M. Olier recommends him to avoid ties that are too natural, giving as a motive the necessity to fear "violating the faith of chastity."

This advice which is worth something to the director, helping him avoid a certain vain pleasure, as well as a loss of time, is equally valuable for the one directed.

I must have a great supernatural spirit to profit by what is told me, so that it soon becomes unnecessary to repeat it to me, for what good does such direction serve other than to give and regive to souls who do nothing with it, advice perpetually listened to, but never followed.

A saintly soul, Marie de Geuser, used to call her director her exterior Jesus Christ. He is just that. If this point is well under­stood, all is safe, and there is no risk to that "faith of chastity" to that delicate attention of avoiding every attachment even to holy things, of which M. Olier speaks.

"O my Savior, Interior Guide of souls, enlighten me and grant that I may use my exterior Jesus Christ as You wish."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Rosary for Truth, Minneapolis, September 2007 Schedule

Rosary for Truth
Schedule for September, 2007

The history of the Rosary shows how this prayer was used . . . at a difficult time for the Church due to the spread of heresy. Today we are facing new challenges. Why should we not once more have recourse to the Rosary?
- John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (2002), 17.
Schedule of Dates, Churches and Mass Times
Date, Mass Time, Church

Sept. 8 (Saturday) 4:30 p.m.
St. Thomas the Apostle
Rosary at 4:05 p.m.
2914 West 44 th Street, Mpls, 55410

Sept. 22 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m.
Church of Christ the King
Rosary at 4:35 p.m.
5029 Zenith Ave. S, Mpls, 55410

Sept. 29 (Saturday) 5:00 p.m .
St. Frances Cabrini
Rosary at 4:35 a.m
1500 Franklin Ave SE, Mpls

We invite you to pray the Rosary with us for a return to the Orthodox Tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and for the conversion of our brothers and sisters who are involved, whether by intent, deceit or ignorance, in disordered movements contrary to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church and Holy Scripture.

St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesian Church commanded, Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. . . . when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible. (Ephesians 5:11,13)

Our struggle is not against our brothers and sisters, but for their conversion in love, For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Together we can expose the works of darkness by bringing, through this mighty prayer, the light of truth and love in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our intent is to gather over a period of time at various churches in our Archdiocese approximately 25 minutes before Mass, quietly kneel and silently pray the most holy Rosary of the blessed Mother of God.

If you sense the Spirit of God prodding you then please join with us. Please carry your Rosary exposed so we can identify one another and sit together if you wish.

Please arrive 30 minutes before Mass is scheduled to begin.

Thanks to Peter C. for this update (and invitation) for our brothers and sisters in Minneapolis/St Paul to be part of this "Rosary for Truth" campaign.

Gospel for Saturday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Louis
Optional Memorial: St John Calasanz, Priest

Optional Memorial: Our Lady's Saturday

From: Matthew 23:1-12

Vices of the Scribes and Pharisees

[1] Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples, [2] "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; [3] so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. [4] They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. [5] They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, [6] and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, [7] and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. [8] But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. [9] And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven. [10] Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. [11] He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; [12] whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."


1-39. Throughout this chapter Jesus severely criticizes the scribes and Pharisees and demonstrates the sorrow and compassion He feels towards the ordinary mass of the people, who have been ill-used, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). His address may be divided into three parts: in the first (verses 1-12) He identifies their principal vices and corrupt practices; in the second (verses 13-36) He confronts them and speaks His famous "woes", which in effect are the reverse of the Beatitudes He preached in Chapter 5: no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven--no one can escape condemnation to the flames--unless he changes his attitude and behavior; in the third part (verses 37-39) He weeps over Jerusalem, so grieved is He by the evils into which the blind pride and hardheartedness of the scribes and Pharisees have misled the people.

2-3. Moses passed on to the people the Law received from God. The scribes, who for the most part sided with the Pharisees, had the function of educating the people in the Law of Moses; that is why they were said to "sit on Moses' seat". Our Lord recognized that the scribes and Pharisees did have authority to teach the Law; but He warns the people and His disciples to be sure to distinguish the Law as read out and taught in the synagogues from the practical interpretations of the Law to be seen in their leaders' lifestyles. Some years later, St. Paul--a Pharisee like his father before him--faced his former colleagues with exactly the same kind of accusations as Jesus makes here: "You then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, `The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you'" (Romans 2:21-24).

5. "Phylacteries": belts or bands carrying quotations from sacred Scripture which the Jews used to wear fastened to their arms or foreheads. To mark themselves out as more religiously observant than others, the Pharisees used to wear broader phylacteries. The fringes were light-blue stripes on the hems of cloaks; the Pharisees ostentatiously wore broader fringes.

8-10. Jesus comes to teach the truth; in fact, He is the Truth (John 14:6). As a teacher, therefore, He is absolutely unique and unparalleled. "The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: His silences, His miracles, His gestures, His prayer, His love for people, His special affection for the little and the poor, His acceptance of the total sacrifice on the cross for the redemption of the world, and His resurrection are the actualization of His word and the fulfillment of revelation. Hence for Christians the crucifix is one of the most sublime and popular images of Christ the Teacher.

"These considerations are in line with the great traditions of the Church and they all strengthen our fervor with regard to Christ, the Teacher who reveals God to man and man to himself, the Teacher who saves, sanctifies and guides, who lives, who speaks, rouses, moves, redresses, judges, forgives, and goes with us day by day on the path of history, the Teacher who comes and will come in glory" (John Paul II, "Catechesi Tradendae", 9).

11. The Pharisees were greedy for honor and recognition: our Lord insists that every form of authority, particularly in the context of religion, should be exercised as a form of service to others; it must not be used to indulge personal vanity or greed. "He who is the greatest among you shall be your servant".

12. A spirit of pride and ambition is incompatible with being a disciple of Christ. Here our Lord stresses the need for true humility, for anyone who is to follow Him. The verbs "will be humbled", "will be exalted" have "God" as their active agent. Along the same lines, St. James preaches that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). And in the "Magnificat", the Blessed Virgin explains that the Lord "has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree [the humble]" (Luke 1:52).
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, August 24, 2007

Light in the Liturgy

Chapter 10

This is a continuation from Chapter 9, The Sacred Vessels - Part 2.

Bear in mind that this was composed in 1939, well before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and some rubrics and requirements may have been modified...Other changes will be noted accordingly. Nevertheless, some may find the history fascinating.
X - Light in the Liturgy

Light, the most joyous, the most mysterious, and the most symbolic of all of the externals of Christian worship, was extensively employed in the religious ceremonial of many ancient peoples. The Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans used light and fire in their pagan practices. We recall the seven-branched candlestick containing lamps that burned continually before the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. The golden candlestick reminded the Jews that the Lord was their light and His Law their lantern.

There is little or no evidence, however, that there was any liturgical signifi­cance attached to the use which was made of lamps in early Christian times. The­ fact that Mass was celebrated at night and in the dark chambers of the catacombs made it necessary to carry lamps for the purpose of illumination. It is interesting­ to note that a great number of Roman terra cotta lamps found in the catacombs are decorated with religious symbols such as a figure of a saint, the sacred fish or Ichthys, or the monogram of Constantine.

LITURGICAL USE: It was only natural that the Church in time should employ light in her liturgy just as she adopted the use of color, incense, vestments, bells, music, and flowers - things indifferent in themselves, but a part of the universal language of mystical expression.

The custom of using light for purely liturgical purposes must have been fairly well established during the time­ of St. Jerome (d. 420), for he says:
"Apart from honoring the relics of the martyrs, it is the custom through all the churches of the East, that when the­ Gospels are read, lights are kindled, though the sun is already shining, not indeed to dispel darkness, but to exhibit a token of joy. . . and that, under the figure­ of bodily light, that light may be set forth of which we read in the psalter, 'Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths.'"

Multitudes of candles and lamps were a feature of the baptismal ceremony, which, in ancient times, took place on the vigils or eves of Easter and Pentecost. It is thought that some of the prayers used today for the blessing of the new fire ­on Holy Saturday were inspired by St. Jerome.

MASS OF THE CANDLES: The feast of the Purification, February 2, has been chosen by the Church for the solemn blessing and distribution of candles. The day is very appropriately called Candlemas - Mass of the Candles.

The ­procession, which is an essential part of the liturgical services of the day, rep­resents the presentation of Christ, "a light to the revelation of the Gentiles" (Luke 2:32), in the Temple at Jerusalem.

In former ages the Holy Father blessed candles which were distributed among the people taking part in the pro­cession or sent as presents to distinguished persons. This custom commemorated the offering of "a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24) by Joseph and Mary for the tempie.

Today representatives from many of the re­ligious orders offer candles to the Holy Father in a magnificent ceremony in the Vatican. For the first time in the history of the Church, Pope Pius XI sent one of these candles to the Apostolic Delegation to the United States in 1938. The candle was four and one-half feet high and was hand-illuminated in authentic colors. It bears the coat-of-arms of the Holy Father, the motto "E Pluribus Unum," and a rep­resentation of the Blessed Virgin, who, under the title of the Immaculate Concep­tion, is the patroness of the United States.

The faithful are accustomed to make gifts of candles for the altar on Candlemas day. Candles may be blessed at other times and the Ritual provides a less elaborate ceremonial for such occasions.

MATERIAL, USE, AND SYMBOLISM: The word "candle" comes from the Latin "candere," to burn.

Candles which are used for liturgical purposes should be made, at least in a greater part, of beeswax. The rubrics distinguish be­tween white or bleached candles made of refined wax, and the yellow or unbleached candles. The unbleached candles are used for funeral Masses and during Holy Week services, although white may be used.

Candles are used during the administration of all the sacraments except that of Penance, and they are placed in the hands of the dying. They are burned at Mass and at other church services, and at the imparting of certain blessings. Candles are lighted as an expression of joy, while sorrow is indicated in the Tenebrae services of Holy Week by extinguishing all the tapers until finally the last one, which represents our Lord, is hidden behind the altar.

Candles are also a symbol of the light of faith which we are commanded to let "shine before men" (Matthew 5:16). The life of a priest, which is one of voluntary sacrifice, has been compared to a burning candle; like a candle, it consumes itself in the ser­vice of God.

NUMBER OF CANDLES REQUIRED AT SERVICES: The number of can­dles required for divine services depends on the solemnity of the Mass and the dignity of the celebrant.

When a low Mass is offered by a priest, two candles are lighted, but four are required if the celebrant is a bishop.

At a Missa Cantata - a sung Mass celebrated by one priest - six candles are lighted; if it is a Requiem high Mass, at least four are necessary.

Six candles are required for a solemn high Mass.

At a pontifical high Mass celebrated by a bishop in his own diocese, seven candles are the rule. (The seventh candle symbolizes episcopal jurisdic­tion.)

At a pontifical high Mass offered by a bishop out of his own diocese, or at a Requiem pontifical high Mass, only six are used. At least six candles are lighted for private Benediction, that is, when the tabernacle door is opened so that the ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament can be seen; but twelve are necessary for solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

On solemn feasts, six candles are necessary for Vespers, but four will suffice on ordinary occasions. Bishops and certain other prelates use a reading candle called a bugia, set in a small candlestick with a short handle. The name comes from Bougie in Algeria where the wax for the candle was formerly obtained.

THE SANCTUARY LAMP: The burning sanctuary lamp together with the canopied tabernacle indicate that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved upon the altar. At least one lamp should burn continually before the tabernacle in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved; if there is more than one lamp burned, the number should be odd rather than even.

The sanctuary lamp is to be fed with olive oil or beeswax. If olive oil cannot easily be procured, the bishop may allow the use of other oils, which should be, as far as possible, vegetable oils. In cases of ex­treme necessity the bishop by special authority of the Holy See, may permit the use of an electric light in place of a burning lamp, a provision which was made in 1916 during the World War [WW 1].

The usual red glass is not a matter of canonica1 prescription. The older tradition was that the glass should be clear, but the Congregation of Sacred Rites tolerates the American custom of using red glass.

The present-day custom of burning vigil or votive lights before the shrine of a saint is a revival of a devotion that was well established in the Middle Ages.

Vigil means "watch." Vigils had their origin in the overnight services or "watches'. which were formerly held in preparation for certain feasts. Because of disorders and abuses they were transferred to the day preceding the feast. The candles or vigil lights which are burned in the votive stands are not blessed and are not sacramentals.

OLD ENGLISH CUSTOMS: The votive light seems to have been a favorite form of devotion in England during the time which is so often referred to as the "age of faith."

Votive comes from the Latin "votum," a vow. Old wills reveal the fact that it was customary to bequeath money, lands, and chattels for "lightes." We find such names as the "Jesus light," the "Rood light," "Lady­lighte," "the bachelor's light," the "maiden's light," and the "egg light," which was, no doubt, supported by contributions of eggs.

Money expended for candles was known as "wax-shot;" lands willed for the purpose were called "lamp-lands." Sheep, cows, and even hives of bees were given for the "lighte of our Ladye."

What ancient peoples made use of light in their religious ceremonies? How was light used by the Jews in their liturgy? Of what was the seven-branched candlestick a reminder? How was light used by the early Christians? Comment on the symbols which appear on the lamps found in the catacombs.

Why was the use of light a natural development of the liturgy? What does St. Jerome say about burning lights during the reading of the Gospel? Of what sacramental ceremony were lights a feature? Who is thought to have inspired the prayers for the blessing of the new fire?

On what day are candles solemnly blessed and distributed? What does the liturgical procession represent? How did the popes celebrate the feast in former ages? What is the procedure in Rome today? Describe the candle presented by the Holy Father to the Apostolic Delegation to the United States in 1938. What is the usual custom among the faithful in regard to gifts of candles?

Give the origin of the candle. Of what substance must candles used for litur­gical purposes be made? When are unbleached candles used? When are can­dles used in the liturgy? Comment on the symbolism of the candle.

What circumstances regulate the number of candles used in divine services? How many candles are required for a low Mass celebrated by a priest? A bishop?
How many for a Missa Cantata or high Mass? A Requiem high Mass? A ponti­fical high Mass celebrated by a bishop in his own diocese? A pontifical high Mass offered by a bishop outside his diocese? A Requiem pontifical high Mass? Private Benediction? Solemn exposition? Vespers on solemn feasts and on other occasions? What is a bugia and who may use it?

How is the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle indicated? What are the rules in regard to the sanctuary lamp? How is the lamp to be fed? When may an electric lamp be substituted? What about the color of the glass? What are vigil lights and how did they originate?

What does the word "votive" mean? Discuss the old English custom of main­taining votive lights.
Adapted from Altar and Sanctuary, An Exposition of the Externals of the Mass
by Angela A. Glendenin (© 1939)
Published by the Catholic Action Committee
The Catholic Action Series of Discussion Club Textbooks

Thoughts and Counsels - August 25

There is nothing more certain, nothing more agreeable, nothing richer than a good conscience.

-Ven. Bartholomew of Martyrs
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 25, Direction

There are some who easily accord too much importance to di­rection, there are others again who do not value it enough.

To those who minimize the utility of direction, one ought to re­call traditional doctrine. To be able to consult an experienced mas­ter at certain times and in certain states of soul means much, otherwise there would be according to St. John of the Cross, a grave risk of going backwards; of leaving the right path; of be­coming hesitant; or at least of suffering some setbacks in spiritual progress.

In not a few cases the tendency is to exaggerate the importance of direction. It is necessary then to listen to those who counsel moderation.

"Many souls suffer more from too much direction than from a lack of it," writes the Lazarite M. Portal. "I am not in favor of much direction," writes Dom Marmion, and he loves to cite the incident of that descendant of Thomas More, Lady Gertrude More, who when dying was visited by her director, the Benedictine, Dom Baker. When the abbess informed the patient of his visit she an­swered simply, wishing to indicate that God was giving her all strength and light, "I have no need of man."

I must remember that I should learn from my directors, as soon as possible, how to determine upon the right course of action my­self, not through pride and self-sufficiency, but through a judicious liberty of spirit, which does not hesitate in more difficult and deli­cate situations to seek counsel, to ask advice, or to make a mani­festation of conscience in all simplicity and modesty.

"Holy Spirit, You who are the interior Master, teach me to use as You desire those whom You have chosen as intermediaries for my soul in order to help it mount towards You, directly, courageously, peace­fully."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Charity and more...

As an aside to the recent post on Mother Teresa, it seems that Divine Providence permitted me to read shortly thereafter, a letter from St. Pio da Pietrelcina (Padre Pio).
It concerns Christian perfection and the virtue of Charity among other things - well worth the read.

The first virtue required by the person who is striving for perfection is charity. In all natural things, the first movement, the first inclination or impulse is to tend towards the centre, in obedience to a physical law. The same thing happens in the supernatural sphere: the first movement of our hearts is a movement towards God, which is nothing more than loving our own true good. With good reason Sacred Scripture speaks of charity as the bond of perfect harmony.

Charity has as its close relatives joy and peace. Joy is born of happiness at possessing what we love. Now, from the moment at which the soul knows God, it is naturally led to love Him. If the soul follows this natural impulse which is caused by the Holy Spirit, it is already loving the Supreme Good. This fortunate soul already possesses the beautiful virtue of love. By loving God the soul is certain of possessing Him. When a person loves money, honours and good health, unfortunately, he does not always possess what he loves, whereas he who loves God possesses Him at once.

This idea is not the product of my own mind but is to be found in Holy Scripture where we read: He who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (5). What does this scriptural passage mean to tell us? Does it not, perhaps, mean that the soul devoted to God out of love belongs entirely to God, while God gives Himself entirely to that soul?
. . .
It must be noted, however, that as long as we are wayfarers on this earth we can never be perfect, and hence we can never enjoy perfect peace. Trials and contradictions are so many and the conflicts by which the soul is harassed so numerous as to cause it agony at times, to the point at which life itself becomes unbearable. All this arises because the soul sees itself in danger of utter ruin.

Now, to stand up to such harsh trials the soul needs patience, a virtue which enables us to bear all adversity without giving in. Those who are striving for perfection must attribute great importance to this virtue unless they want their efforts to be completely wasted, for it is this virtue which maintains order in one's interior life.

Mother Teresa was human...

Time Magazine: Mother Teresa's crisis of faith

"Jesus has a very special love for for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand." — Mother Teresa to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, September 1979
A recent article in Time, in referring to a new book about Mother Teresa and her years of spiritual darkness, states:

Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God.

She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"

Says the Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America and the author of My Life with the Saints, a book that dealt with far briefer reports in 2003 of Teresa's doubts: "I've never read a saint's life where the saint has such an intense spiritual darkness. No one knew she was that tormented." Recalls Kolodiejchuk, Come Be My Light's editor: "I read one letter to the Sisters [of Teresa's Missionaries of Charity], and their mouths just dropped open. It will give a whole new dimension to the way people understand her."
Hopefully, this news of her intense spiritual darkness, which is not unheard of in the lives of many saints, can be used as a means to enlighten others that perseverance in living for Christ can strengthen and grow the virtues of faith, hope and charity, especially in periods of spiritual doubt or darkness.

It is undeniable that some will use these latest revelations to ridicule Mother Teresa, the faith (as we believe it), piety, virtue and religion in general - and for those, we should continue to pray. And when we might find ourselves, seemingly deserted and separated from God, suffering that horrible aridity and darkness which can appear so overwhelming at times, we can and should ask for the prayers of our saintly brothers and sisters who suffered this same darkness or worse, and who persevered - precisely because of their faith and their love of our Lord.

The Time article is here.

Joint sacramental confession? Dr Ed Peters Explains

Spouses should not attempt joint sacramental confession

The practice of spouses jointly celebrating the sacrament of confession recently garnered support from Catholic News Service veteran columnist Fr. John Deitzen. Provided that couples "approve and consider it helpful for their marriage", Deitzen holds that spouses may confess their sins in each other's presence and receive absolution. He notes only that each spouse would be bound by the seal of confession in regard to what he or she learned about the other.

I believe, however, that there are formidable canonical and practical objections to joint sacramental confession, and I set them out for consideration.

Read the rest at

Gospel for August 24, Feast: St. Bartholomew, Apostle

From: John 1:45-51

The Calling of the First Disciples (Continuation)

[45] Philip found Nathaniel, and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." [46]Nathaniel said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." [47] Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and said to him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" [48] Nathaniel said to Him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." [49] Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! [50] Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." [51] And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."


45-51. The Apostle Philip is so moved that he cannot but tell his friend Nathanael (Bartholomew) about his wonderful discovery (verse 45). "Nathanael had heard from Scripture that Jesus must come from Bethlehem, from the people of David. This belief prevailed among the Jews and also the prophet had proclaimed it of old, saying: `But you, O Bethlehem, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel' (Micah 5:2). Therefore, when he heard that He was from Nazareth, he was troubled and in doubt, since he found that the announcement of Philip was not in agreement with the words of the prophecy" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 20, 1).

A Christian may find that, in trying to communicate his faith to others, they raise difficulties. What should he do? What Philip did--not trust his own explanation, but invite them to approach Jesus personally: "Come and see" (verse 46). In other words, a Christian should bring his fellow-men, his brothers into Jesus' presence through the means of grace which He has given them and which the Church ministers--frequent reception of the sacraments, and devout Christian practices.

Nathanael, a sincere person (verse 47), goes along with Philip to see Jesus; he makes personal contact with our Lord (verse 48), and the outcome is that he receives faith (the result of his ready reception of grace, which reaches him through Christ's human nature: verse 49).

As far as we can deduce from the Gospels, Nathanael is the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of faith in Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God. Later on St. Peter, in a more formal way, will recognize our Lord's divinity (cf. Matthew 16:16). Here (verse 51) Jesus evokes a text from Daniel (7:13) to confirm and give deeper meaning to the words spoken by His new disciple.
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, August 23, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 24

Correction should be given calmly and with dis­cernment, at seasonable times, according to the dictates of reason, and not at the impulse of an­ger.

-Ven. Louis de Granada
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 24, Gathering Pearls

Until the very end of her life, St. Jane Frances de Chantal wished to apply herself to the lowliest tasks of the convent, as the rule prescribed for all the religious; for example to wash the dishes; to sweep the halls to serve in the refectory.

The evening before leaving Annecy for Moulins - she was then seventy years old, just four years before her death - she was sweeping the con­vent in obedience to the assignment given her that day. A sister who was waiting at the door with some urgent letters for the saint, seeing her gather the dust with remarkable solicitude grew slightly impatient, although she was truly edified, and remarked: "Well, Mother, it seems that you are finding pearls; you gather up that dust so carefully."

"I am piling up more than that," answered the saint, "if we knew what eternity is, we would esteem it a greater privilege to gather the dust in the house of God than pearls in a worldly home."

There is an old expression, gems in our crown. And the most brilliant diamonds are actions that are ordinary in appearance, but to which I apply myself with great love.

Perhaps it happens that when I am assigned certain occupations, above all material occupations, I think that I am treated badly; that I could do something else. Then let me recall St. Jane Frances de Chantal and her sweeping.

Great actions or small actions, all in the last analysis are only dust. Things vary only according to the idea I have of them. To write a letter, to prepare a spiritual conference, to decorate a chapel, to nurse an invalid, to prepare or give a class - all in the eyes of God, are nothing more than pick­ing up dust "with feathers tied together," as Mother de Chaugy used to say.

My God, teach me to see realities with Your eyes.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The Sacred Vessels - Part 2

Chapter 9

This is a continuation from Chapter 8, The Sacred Vessels - Part 1.

Bear in mind that this was composed in 1939, well before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and some rubrics and requirements may have been modified...Other changes will be noted accordingly. Nevertheless, some may find the history fascinating.
IX - The Sacred Vessels, Part 2

In the preceding chapter we have discussed the two sacred vessels which are consecrated: the chalice and the paten. We shall now consider those which are merely blessed, as well as other vessels and utensils used in the celebration of the Mass and in other divine services, which are neither consecrated nor blessed.

THE PYX: The two sacred vessels used for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament are the pyx and the ciborium. The name "pyx" was formerly given to any vessel used to reserve the Blessed Sacrament. During the Middle Ages it was customary to keep the golden cup or pyx in a silver dove which was suspended above the altar. The dove was usually covered with a silk canopy or veil. The eucharistic dove was a symbolic reminder to the faithful of the operation of the Holy Ghost in the act of consecration of the Mass.

Today the name "pyx" designates a small, box-like vessel resembling an ordinary watch case which is used to carry the Blessed Sacrament to the sick and dying. The pyx is usually made of gold or silver but copper is permitted by the Congregation of Sacred Rites. If silver or copper is used, the inside of the vessel is plated with gold. The pyx is formed of two hollow cups about two inches in diameter which are hinged together and fastened with a spring catch. The Ritual directs that a pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament must be carried in a burse, a silk-lined leather case.

THE CIBORIUM: While some writers trace the word "ciborium" to a Greek root meaning cup, it is generally understood to be derived from the Latin "cibus," which means food, because it suggests the "heavenly bread" which the ciborium contains. From our study of the altar we learned that in early Christian times, ciborium was the name which was applied to the canopy erected over the altar. Since the sixteenth century the liturgical use of the word denotes exclusively the vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle.

The ciborium resembles the chalice in shape, but the bowl is usually larger and is provided with a closely fitting cover surmounted by a cross or some other symbolic ornament. The bottom of the cup is slightly raised in the center so that the last particles may be more easily removed. Like the chalice and the paten the ciborium should be made of gold or silver. If silver or baser metals are used, the inside of the cup should be lined with gold. The ciborium is not conse­crated but is only blessed by a bishop, or, in this country [The U.S.] , by any priest authorized by the bishop. When the ciborium contains the Blessed Sacrament, it should be covered with a white veil or drapery of silk or cloth of gold.

THE OSTENSORIUM OR MONSTRANCE: Originally the name "ostensor­ium" and the kindred word "monstrance" were applied to all vessels made by gold­smiths which were fashioned for the purpose of venerating a sacred object, whether it be the consecrated Host or a relic of a saint. Modern usage, however, has limited the terms to mean a vessel or shrine intended for the public exposi­tion of the Blessed Sacrament, or for carrying It in procession with proper solemnity.

Normally the monstrance is made of gold or silver. The form in more common use today, that of a sun emitting rays on all sides, follows an instruction given by Pope Clement XI in 1705. The monstrance must be surmounted by a cross. The glass pyx in which the Blessed Sacrament is secured when it is placed in the monstrance is called a lunette or lunula, a "little moon." Since the lunula comes in close contact with the sacred Species, the metal framework should be plated with gold.

DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT: During the thirteenth century the intense desire of the people to "salute the body of the Lord," or "to see God," and to express their faith in the Real Presence, prompted St. Gregory X to make the major Elevation a part of the liturgy of the Mass.

Various devices were used to make the Host visible to every one in the church. Sometimes a black curtain was hung back of the altar, or lighted torches were held high by the deacon or the servers. The zeal to gaze upon the Host was not confined to the time of Mass. By the fourteenth century, in Germany, Belgium, and Hol­land, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the church all day long in a trans­parent monstrance. This custom led to the erection of sacrament houses in the most conspicuous parts of the churches, generally near the sanctuary. They were made of stone and beautifully carved. The monstrance was kept behind a locked door of lattice work, through which the consecrated Host could be dimly seen. Sacrament towers, erected on the Gospel side of the altar, were in use in some localities in Belgium and Germany until the middle of the nineteenth century.

MEDIEVAL TYPES OF MONSTRANCES: The introduction of the feast of Corpus Christi during the thirteenth century, with its liturgical procession, influenced the development of the monstrance. During the Middle Ages mon­strances were frequently designed along architectural lines, very much like the facade of a Gothic church, with an upright cylinder or crystal in which the sacred Host was held in a lunette.

In England the monstrance sometimes reproduced the figure of our Lord, the Host being inserted back of a crystal door in the breast.

In Spain there was a preference for monstrances of great size. The monstrance made for the Cathedral of Toledo is more than twelve feet high and was in the process of making for a hundred years. Two hundred and sixty statuettes adorn it, the largest of which is said to have been made of gold brought by Columbus from the New World.

The monstrance used for the Eighth National Eucharistic Congress in New Orleans in 1938 is forty-two inches high and was made from the gold and precious stones of jewelry given for that purpose. It represents the gifts of five thousand persons.

In the old monastery of St. Clare in Assisi there is still preserved the osten­sorium which St. Clare held in her hands when she confronted the Saracens who had come to plunder her convent. Although St. Clare was ill, she rose from her bed and took the vessel which enshrined the Blessed Sacrament in her hands and stood at her window against which a ladder had already been placed. History relates that when the invaders saw the sacred vessel they fell backward as if dazed, and fled in panic. St. Clare is always represented in art as holding a ciborium or a monstrance.

CRUETS AND THURIBLE: The cruets are the descendants of the amphorae, the large vase-shaped vessels in which the early Christians brought their offering of wine for the sacrifice of the Mass. When the practice of receeiving Holy Communion under both species was discontinued, and only a few ounces of wine were required for the celebration of the holy Sacrifice, small cruets for water and wine came into use. The cruets are usually made of glass, although gold, silver, and pewter are permitted. In case the cruets are made of metal they are marked with a V and an A to indicate the wine and the water.

The thurible or censer was also formerly a vase, with a perforated cover to emit the perfumed smoke of the burning incense. Later, chains were added to the vessel and to the cover for convenience in handling. The incense is kept in another vessel called a boat because of its shape. A spoon is used to transfer the incense to the burning charcoal in the thurible.

TEXTILE APPURTENANCES OF THE SACRED VESSELS: The Church shows her reverence for the Blessed Sacrament by veiling the sacred vessels at specified times during the Mass and other liturgical ceremonies. At a solemn Mass the subdeacon conceals the paten for a time under a silk humeral veil of the color of the day. In giving the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and in car­rying the Holy Eucharist in procession, the priest's hands are covered with a white silk humeral veil. When the ciborium contains the Blessed Sacrament, it is covered with a white silk drapery. When the chalice and the paten are not actually in use during the Mass they are hidden beneath the chalice veil. When any of the sacred vessels contain the Blessed Sacrament, whether in the taber­nacle, on the throne of exposition, or on the altar, they must always rest upon a corporal of white linen.

What sacred vessels were discussed in the preceding lesson? Name the two vessels used for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. How was the pyx formerly used and where was it kept? What was the symbolism of the eucharistic dove? How is the pyx used today? How must it be carried?

Why does the word "ciborium" suggest the purpose for which this sacred vessel is used? To what did the name formerly apply? What does it denote today? Describe the ciborium. Of what metals is it usually made? By whom may it be blessed? How should it be covered?

To what did the names "ostensorium" and "monstrance" formerly refer? What is the present-day use of the monstrance? Describe a monstrance. How is the sacred Host secured in the monstrance? What materials are used in the mon­strance and the lunula?

How did the people of the thirteenth century express their faith in the real presence? What devices were used to make the Host visible? How was the Blessed Sacrament honored outside of Mass? What was the purpose of sacrament houses and sacrament towers?

Why did the introduction of the feast of Corpus Christi influence the de­velopment of the monstrance? Describe the architectural type of monstrance; also the English style. Give some facts in regard to the Toledo monstrance; the New Orleans monstrance. Relate the story of St. Clare of Assisi.

What is the origin of the cruets? Why do we use small cruets today? Of what material are they made and how are they sometimes marked? Describe the thurible and the incense boat.

How does the Church show her reverence for the Blessed Sacrament? How is the paten concealed during solemn Mass? In giving Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and in carrying the Holy Eucharist in procession how are the priest's hands covered? When is the ciborium draped? When are the chalice and paten veiled during Mass? When must the sacred vessels rest on linen?
Adapted from Altar and Sanctuary, An Exposition of the Externals of the Mass
by Angela A. Glendenin (© 1939)
Published by the Catholic Action Committee
The Catholic Action Series of Discussion Club Textbooks

Public Schools Need Fear No Scandal or Lawsuits

State Supreme Court rules that a California law that opened the floodgate for sexual abuse lawsuits against Catholic dioceses does not apply to public entities.

Though a 2002 change to California law extended the time for filing sexual abuse civil lawsuits against entities such as the Catholic Church, it does not apply to public agencies, such as school districts, the California Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
Justice and equality for the Peoples' Republik of Kalifornia.

A report from California Catholic Daily here...

Gospel for Thursday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Rose of Lima, Virgin
Old Calendar: St. Philip Benize, confessor

From: Matthew 22:1-14

The Parable of the Marriage Feast

[1] And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, [2] "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, [3] and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. [4] Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' [5] But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, [6] while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. [7] The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. [8] Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. [9] Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' [10] And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

[11] "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; [12] and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. [13] Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' [14] For many are called, but few are chosen."

1-14. In this parable Jesus reveals how intensely God the Father desires the salvation of all men--the banquet is the Kingdom of heaven --and the mysterious malice that lies in willingly rejecting the invitation to attend, a malice so vicious that it merits eternal punishment. No human arguments make any sense that go against God's call to conversion and acceptance of faith and its consequences.

The Fathers see in the first invitees the Jewish people: in salvation history God addresses himself first to the Israelites and then to all the Gentiles (Acts 13:46).

Indifference and hostility cause the Israelites to reject God's loving call and therefore to suffer condemnation. But the Gentiles also need to respond faithfully to the call they have received; otherwise they will suffer the fate of being cast "into outer darkness".

"The marriage", says St Gregory the Great ("In Evangelia Homiliae", 36) "is the wedding of Christ and his Church, and the garment is the virtue of charity: a person who goes into the feast without a wedding garment is someone who believes in the Church but does not have charity."

The wedding garment signifies the dispositions a person needs for entering the Kingdom of heaven. Even though he belongs to the Church, if he does not have these dispositions he will be condemned on the day when God judges all mankind. These dispositions essentially mean responding to grace.

13. The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the doctrine of the "last things", one aspect of which is covered in this verse. Referring to the eschatological dimension of the Church, the Council recalls our Lord's warning about being on the watch against the wiles of the devil, in order to resist in the evil day (cf. Eph 6:13). "Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed (cf. Heb 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed (cf. Mt 25:31-46) and not, like the wicked and slothful servants (cf. Mt 25:26), be ordered to depart into the eternal fire (cf. Mt 25:41), into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth'" ("Lumen Gentium", 48).

14. These words in no way conflict with God's will that all should be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4). In his love for men, Christ patiently seeks the conversion of every single soul, going as far as to die on the cross (cf. Mt 23:37; Lk 15:4-7). St Paul teaches this when he says that Christ loved us and "gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Eph 5:2). Each of us can assert with the Apostle that Christ "loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20). However, God in his infinite wisdom respects man's freedom: man is free to reject grace (cf. Mt 7:13-14).
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, August 22, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 23

Let us remember that every act of mortifica­tion is a work for heaven. This thought will make all suffering and weariness sweet.

-St. Alphonsus

From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 23, On Being Grateful

Of the ten lepers that Jesus cured, only one thought of return­ing to thank Him. Saddened, Our Lord asked:
And were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine? (Luke xvii, 17.)

Gratitude is a rare virtue; it would almost seem that the little word "thank you" is one of the most difficult to pronounce.

I will try on my part to practice gratitude as well as I can.

Gratitude toward God. He has given me so much! I could, possibly, not have been born a Catholic; I could have been born blind, or paralytic, or I might not have existed at all. I do exist. I have been baptised. I am a religious. All that I have means so much. And it is from God that I have all; this all represents so much.

Gratitude toward my Institute. It accepted me; I could have remained in the world like so many others. Despite my faults, I was received; my Institute took care to form me, to prepare me spiritually and intellectually; to nourish me; to shelter me; to watch over me; to give me throughout life all that I need. It took months before I was useful for anything, but my Community trusted me. And now, in spite of my insufficiency, it keeps me; insufficiency in my work, or at any rate, insufficiency in my virtue.

Ought I not live in perpetual thanksgiving?

"O my God, be praised for all that you have given me; for not having cast me off despite my misery and my insignificance; be praised for having called me to the life not only of the body but also of the soul; be praised for having drawn me to the religious life and for having given me so much help in it. Up to my last breath may I have only one ambition - to serve; to repay sacrifice with sacrifice, love with love."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Campaign to Prohibit All Human Cloning in Missouri Launched Today

From Missourians Against Human Cloning:

A coalition of concerned Missouri citizens, doctors, and academics today launched the "Cures Without Cloning" initiative to prohibit human cloning in Missouri. Dr. Lori Buffa, of St. Peters, Missouri, filed proposed ballot language with the Secretary of State's office this morning.

"The Missouri Constitution currently allows for human cloning. It allows for the same cloning method that created Dolly the Sheep," said Dr. Buffa, who serves as chair of CWC. "This initiative will ensure this dangerous, unproven, unnecessary practice is prohibited, and allow us to focus on safe research that leads to lifesaving cures and treatments."

The initiative would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit the practice of human cloning, and would prohibit taxpayer funding of human cloning experiments. {click here to read the initiative - PDF}.

Missourians Against Human Cloning wholeheartedly supports this short, straightforward, scientifically accurate amendment for the following reasons:

The Cures Without Cloning Initiative will close the cloning loophole that currently exists in our Missouri Constitution.

The Cures Without Cloning Initiative will ensure that none of our tax dollars can be spent on human cloning experiments.

The Cures Without Cloning Initiative will allow researchers in our state to focus on the many avenues of ethical research that provide real cures and treatments and real hope for those suffering from diseases.

The Initiative does NOT:

prohibit stem cell research - this is not a stem cell issue, it is a human cloning issue

stop the search for cures and treatments to alleviate suffering

repeal Amendment 2

I hope that each of you will join in supporting this important initiative. It is not enough to file an initiative. Once the ballot title is certified by the Secretary of State, all of us who support this initiative will need to circulate petitions and secure the signatures to place this important legislation before the voters in 2008. The goal is to collect at least 200,000 signatures with a volunteer effort. This will take all of us working together to spread the word across our state. Please sign up today to help with this important effort.

Thank you,
Jaci Winship
Executive Director

More at Missourians Against Human Cloning here.

Please help out if you can for this worthwhile project to protect innocent human life and ensure that we have the very best in ethical medical treatment.

Gospel for August 22, Memorial: Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Wednesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 20:1-16

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

[1] "For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. [2] After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. [3] And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; [4] and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. [5] Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. [6] And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?' [7] They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.' [8] And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' [9] And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. [10] Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. [11] And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, [12] saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' [13] But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? [14] Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. [15] Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? [16] So the last will be first, and the first last."


1-16. This parable is addressed to the Jewish people, whom God called at an early hour, centuries ago. Now the Gentiles are also being called--with an equal right to form part of the new people of God, the Church. In both cases it is a matter of a gratuitous, unmerited, invitation; therefore, those who were the "first" to receive the call have no grounds for complaining when God calls the "last" and gives them the same reward--membership of His people. At first sight the laborers of the first hour seem to have a genuine grievance--because they do not realize that to have a job in the Lord's vineyard is a divine gift. Jesus leaves us in no doubt that although He calls us to follow different ways, all receive the same reward--Heaven.

2. "Denarius": a silver coin bearing an image of Caesar Augustus (Matthew 22:19-21).

3. The Jewish method of calculating time was different from ours. They divided the whole day into eight parts, four night parts (called "watches") and four day parts (called "hours")--the first, third, sixth and ninth hour.

The first hour began at sunrise and ended around nine o'clock; the third ran to twelve noon; the sixth to three in the afternoon; and the ninth from three to sunset. This meant that the first and ninth hours varied in length, decreasing in autumn and winter and increasing in spring and summer and the reverse happening with the first and fourth watches.

Sometimes intermediate hours were counted--as for example in verse 6 which refers to the eleventh hour, the short period just before sunset, the end of the working day.

16. The Vulgate, other translations and a good many Greek codexes add: "For many are called, but few are chosen" (cf. Matthew 22:14).
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, August 21, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 22

One of the most admirable effects of Holy Com­munion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to ap­proach this divine Sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.

-St. Ignatius
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 22, On Seeing God in Events

I understand well the devotion to the Providence of God, but do I know as well how to recognize this Divine Providence in all that happens to me? Is my spirit of faith deep enough to understand that nothing escapes God? Not that He wills directly and formally all that happens, as for example the actions of the wicked; but He permits it, and in this sense I ought to recognize His Divine Hand - and His Heart - even in painful events; in those which harm me; in the injustices which reign, and in the persecutions which rage.

"If God Himself appoints our masters," writes Pascal, in The Mystery of Jesus, "how necessary it is for us to obey them willingly. Unavoidable events and occurrences are infallibly from Him."

I surely may pray that certain events do not materialize. If inspite of my prayers, they do happen, then I must know how to recognize God in them; then arises the necessity of practicing patience, prudence, hope and charity. What is in truth an evil can become a good for me.

When Jane de Chantal was informed that her husband had been killed accidentally while hunting, she said, "This blow was struck from on high." That is the spirit of faith.

I will habituate myself always to look higher than the earth, beyond the hand that wounds me, to the heart which loves and only makes me suffer that I may mount to Him.

And if in the web of trifling events that envelop me, it pleases God to insert some rougher materials, which wound my soul or my body like a haircloth, I will thank God for having judged me worthy to unite myself more intimately thereby with Christ crucified, and to participate more fully in His redemptive suffering.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Altar and Sanctuary - An Introduction with Links

Note: The remaining chapters will be completed shortly...This should be of interest to all who have a love for the Jesus, His Church, the Holy Mass (both the "Extraordinary Form" and the "Ordinary Form", as well as a desire to understand how and why we have the externals we see in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Altar and Sanctuary, An Exposition of the Externals of the Mass
by Angela A. Glendenin (© 1939)
Published by the Catholic Action Committee
The Catholic Action Series of Discussion Club Textbooks


At a time when men are seeking some unifying principle on which a just social order may be builded, the Church emphasizes anew her strong and beauti­ful doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. From the distractions of a world intent upon things temporal, she calls her children to the contemplation of things eternal, inviting them to join in corporate worship before her altars - the Mysti­cal Body at prayer. Back into a world stricken and bewildered, she sends her militant sons and daughters to reestablish all things in Christ - the Mystical Body at work.

Members of the laity, therefore, who are eager to do their part in "this new day of Catholic Action," must direct their efforts towards the "pursuit of personal Christian perfection" before engaging in that "true apostolate in which Catholics of every social class participate." A better understanding and a deeper appreciation of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the central act of Catholic wor­ship, will lead to a more fruitful observance of the sacred mysteries of the Church, and help to develop that abundant interior life which is indispensable to the works of the active apostolate.

Altar and Sanctuary, an exposition of the externals of the Mass, was first published as a textbook for religious discussion clubs in the fall of 1932. Its extensive use by discussion groups throughout the United States and Canada during the past seven years, particularly by those which operate according to the simplified procedure recommended by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, indicates that it has been of service to young people and adults who engage in the cooperative study of their religion. Altar and Sanctuary now appears in a new and thoroughly revised edition. In content, arrangement, format, etc., it conforms in every detail to standards which have gradually developed out of the constructive thought and rich experience of the entire field.

Altar and Sanctuary is the first unit in a series of discussion-club textbooks which are being published by the Catholic Action Committee of the Diocese of Wichita. Praying the Mass, a study of the prayers and ceremonies of the holy Sacrifice; The Liturgical Year, an explanation of the cycles, seasons, and feasts of the ecclesiastical year; The Sacramentals, a study of the origin, nature, and proper use of the sacramentals; and Prayers, a study of prayers in common use in the Church, are also available. Additional textbooks will treat the history of the Mass, the ecclesiastical arts, and church history.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to His Excellency, the Most Rev. Aug. J. Schwertner, D. D., who has inaugurated an extensive discussion-club program throughout his diocese, and who has encouraged the development of this series of textbooks; to the author, Angela A. Clendenin, whose distinguished services in the cause of religion have merited for her the papal decoration "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice"; and to the entire band of lay apostles who are active in the ranks of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in the Diocese of Wichita. May God, "Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand," aid us, that "doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in Him Who is the Head, even Christ."

Rev. Leon A. McNeill, M. A. Diocesan Superintendent of Education

Feast of St. Dominic August 4, 1939


Chapter 1. The Christian Altar- Part 1

Chapter 2. The Christian Altar, Part 2

Chapter 3. The Sanctuary

Chapter 4. Altar Furnishings and Decorations, Part 1

Chapter 5. Altar Furnishings and Decorations, Part 2

Chapter 6. Church Linens, Part 1

Chapter 7. Church Linens, Part 2

Chapter 8. The Sacred Vessels - Part 1

Chapter 9. Sacred Vessels, Part 2

Chapter 10. Light in the Liturgy

Chapter 11. Liturgical Use of Color

Chapter 12. Vestments in the Liturgy

Chapter 13. Amice, Alb, and Cincture

Chapter 14. Maniple, Stole, and Chasuble

Chapter 15. Surplice, Cope, and Humeral Veil

Chapter 16. Dalmatic, Tunic, and Bishop's Insignia

Planned Parenthood Files Lawsuit Over Missouri Law

JEFFERSON CITY — An abortion rights group filed a federal suit Monday seeking to halt a new Missouri law, saying it creates unnecessary regulations designed solely to discourage a legal medical procedure.

The legislation, passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Matt Blunt, requires all clinics providing abortions to be registered as "ambulatory surgery centers." Critics say that classification is unnecessary, particularly for those centers that perform few surgical abortions or only administer abortions through medication.

"This law provides no change or improvement in women's health," said Michelle Trupiano, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
This group of murderers of the unborn want to perform medical operations without any sort of medical or govermental oversight. When in engaged in evil, many choose to keep that evil hidden.

The brief, filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, asks the U.S. District Court Missouri Western District to prevent the law from taking effect Aug. 28 until it can be reviewed by the courts.
Some are rightly concerned whether the law will be vigorously defended by Missouri's Attorney General, Jay Nixon:

Supporters of the law vow to defend it in court as a sensible safety measure. And in a political twist, some in [Gov.] Blunt's administration and Republicans say they would like someone other than Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon to defend the legislation, given that Nixon supports abortion rights.

In this case, the only parties who could be satisfied with Nixon's handling of the case would be Planned Parenthood and other peddlers of death. Missouri will be well served only if the defense can be given to a special counsel who understands what is at stake and is willing to defend the State's right to regulate those whose business is the killing of unborn babies.

The state's legal defense of the legislation falls to the attorney general's office. But the Missouri Republican Party has contended since last week that Nixon needed to step aside and assign the job to a special counsel.

State GOP spokesman Paul Sloca asserted, "Jay Nixon has proven time and time again that he is pro-abortion and willing to bow to the whims of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood."

Gospel for August 21, Memorial: St Pius X, Pope

Old Calendar: St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal, widow

From: Matthew 19:23-30

Christian Poverty and Renunciation

[23] Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." [25] When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" [26] But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [27] Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed You. What then shall we have?" [28] Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. [30] But many that are first will be last, and the last first."


24-26. By drawing this comparison Jesus shows that it is simply not possible for people who put their hearts on worldly things to obtain a share in the Kingdom of God.

"With God all things are possible": that is, with God's grace man can be brave and generous enough to use wealth to promote the service of God and man. This is why St. Matthew, in Chapter 5, specifies that the poor "in spirit" are blessed (Matthew 5:3).

28. "In the new world", in the "regeneration": a reference to the renewal of all things which will take place when Jesus Christ comes to judge the living and the dead. The resurrection of the body will be an integral part of this renewal.

The ancient people of God, Israel, was made up of twelve tribes. The new people of God, the Church, to which all men are called, is founded by Jesus Christ on the Twelve Apostles under the primacy of Peter.

29. These graphic remarks should not be explained away. They mean that love for Jesus Christ and His Gospel should come before everything else. What our Lord says here should not be interpreted as conflicting with the will of God Himself, the creator and sanctifier of family bonds.
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.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 21

He who knows well how to practise the exercise of the presence of God, and who is faithful in following the attraction of this divine virtue, will soon attain a very high degree of perfection.

-St. Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 21, Detachment from Family Ties

St. Jane Frances de Chantal realized that God wanted her in the religious state and her wise director, Francis de Sales entertained no doubt about the reality of her call.

The Saint had lost her husband, but she had children who had not yet reached majority. Without doubt she provided for their maintenance, but the poor little ones did not understand at all; they wished to keep their mother near them. In vain did she use her most convincing, tenderest, gentlest and sweetest arguments. They opposed her departure with tears. The eldest, when he saw his mother absolutely resolved to go on, threw himself across the doorway, so that the saint had to step over the body of her child to leave the house.

From other souls, too, God has asked sacrifices which at first sight seem almost inhuman, and which certainly required the spe­cial assurance of His Will. Consider the example of Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, whose son came repeatedly to the parlor creat­ing a scene, even going so far as to assemble his classmates to sur­round the convent walls of the Ursulines at Tour where his mother had entered, and to make an uproar. Or for example, Marie Reparatrice, Emilie d'Oultremont, who left her three sons to give herself to God.

God only permits these exalted examples to give to us who are called upon to make the lesser sacrifices, a true sense of detach­ment from our families. There must be nothing rude surely. The counsels do not suppress the commandments, and the vows of reli­gion certainly do not prevent a deep love for our parents. But love of family should never cause us to violate our rule, and all cor­respondence, visits, and alms received, must be according to the rule and the spirit of our Institute.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The Virgin

This is a painting hanging in my office that was acquired some time ago titled, "The Virgin," by Nellie A. Knopf (1875-1962). I assume that this is the title based on the writing on the back of the painting. It is painted on 12"x16" canvas board. The back has the writing "The Virgin - Cherubusco, Mexico City". There is no date.

Nellie Augusta Knopf was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Chicago, and was a student of John Vanderpoel and Frederick Freer. Despite becoming deaf from a childhood illness, she taught and lead the art department at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois from 1900 to 1943. She was a painter of mountain, pueblos, seascapes, and other outdoor scenes that brought her international recognition.

Sliding toward apostasy

Advocates Hail Lutheran Act on Homosexual Clergy Members

The country’s largest Lutheran denomination officially bars openly gay [homosexual] people from the ministry. But in a move that advocates for gay men and lesbians are hailing as a step toward changing that policy, the denomination is urging its bishops to refrain from disciplining gay members of the clergy who are in committed same-sex relationships.
Going beyond loving the sinner, many now wish to love the sin as well, or rather, deciding for themselves that sodomy and other deviant homosexual acts are not depraved and sinful but are manifestations of love and commitment.

Should the Bishops Sue the "Sexperts"?

From California Catholic Daily:
California's Dr. Judith Reisman urges bishops to take action against sex therapy experts who have advised the Church. And, if they don't, the laity should.

California-based lecturer and author, Dr. Judith Reisman (she holds a Ph.D. in Communications) has served as an expert witness in lawsuits involving sexual abuse. Her research paper, "Reliance of the Catholic Church on Sexuality Advisors Whose Moral Foundation Differs Markedly from that of the Church," was submitted to a select group of bishops in 2002, so far without official response. California Catholic Daily interviewed Reisman on Aug. 12.


You want the Church to sue the clinics where the priests and psychologists had been trained. Are there legal precedents ?

Yes, medical malpractice is one approach that immediately comes to mind. These “sexperts” held themselves out as authorities; bishops and vocations directors listened and commonly followed their directives. Yet, almost all of these "sexperts" built their therapies on the fraudulent research of Kinsey and his disciples.

Could the ordinary Catholic laity seek damages, for instance through a class-action suit?

I did speak with several attorneys who confirmed that the Catholic laity was empowered to seek such damages. As “the Church” the laity would have legal standing for redress of grievances, loss of religious trust and amity, and other claims due to the fraud and harms perpetrated by bogus sex experts.

That bishops were duped by such frauds and quacks is inexcusable...The fact that efforts have not been taken to hold these 'experts' accountable, likewise is inexcusable. It takes courage to fight evil and courage seems to be in short supply these days.

Gospel for Aug 20, Memorial: St Bernard, Abbott and Doctor

Monday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:16-22

The Rich Young Man

[16] And behold, one man came up to Him (Jesus), saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" [17] And He said to him, "Why do you ask Me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." [18] He said to Him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, [19] Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." [20] The young man said to Him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?" [21] Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me." [22] When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.


17. The Vulgate and other translations, supported by a good many Greek codexes, fill this verse out by saying, "One alone is good, God."

20-22. "What do I still lack?" The young man kept the commandments that were necessary for salvation. But there is more. This is why our Lord replies, "if you would be perfect..." that is to say, if you want to acquire what is still lacking to you. Jesus is giving him an additional calling, "Come, follow Me": He is showing that He wants him to follow Him more closely, and therefore He requires, as He does others (cf. Matthew 4:19-22), to give up anything that might hinder his full dedication to the Kingdom of God.

The scene ends rather pathetically: the young man goes away sad. His attachment to his property prevails over Jesus' affectionate invitation. Here is sadness of the kind that stems from cowardice, from failure to respond to God's calling with personal commitment.

In reporting this episode, the evangelists are actually giving us a case-study which describes a situation and formulates a law, a case-study of specific divine vocation to devote oneself to God's service and the service of all men.

This young man has become a symbol of the kind of Christian whose mediocrity and shortsightedness prevent him from turning his life into a generous, fruitful self-giving to the service of God and neighbor.

What would this young man have become, had be been generous enough to respond to God's call? A great apostle, surely.
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.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Meditation for August 20, On Belonging to Myself

To Pope Eugene IV, one of his monks who had been raised to the sovereign pontificate, St. Bernard wrote, "When you belong to the whole world, be then, at least, one of those to whom you belong. "

St. Bernard feared that Eugene IV, called to govern the Church, absorbed in the heavy and pressing affairs of the highest charge in the world, might forget something of the care of his interior life, and that is why he said to him, "Since you have to attend to all souls, do not forget to place in that number your own soul. You cannot say we if someone is missing. What a pity if that someone would be you!"

If by reason of any assigned office, I need not concern myself at all with my neighbor, the duty of belonging to myself in the sense that St. Bernard meant it is easier, but not less imperative.

If I must on account of my state concern myself with others, I must always solicitously guard against letting the care of others impinge upon the essential duties I have towards myself. Some souls find a certain amount of difficulty in striking the happy balance between the cares of the apostolate, or sometimes simply occupational duties, and the duty of prayer and religious recollection.

Above all if I am by nature active, I must be on my guard in this respect. I must thank God for the gift of activity that He has given me, but avoid using it out of season and to the detriment of those things which the interior exercises of my religious life demand.

"My God, teach me to belong to myself, not certainly by withdrawing into myself through an unreasonable selfishness, but the better to give myself to You; the better to give myself to You, first of all, in prayer, and become thereby the better able to give myself to others, since the greater my holiness, the more efficacious my work."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Thoughts and Counsels - August 20

Men can use no better arms to drive away the devil, than prayer and the sign of the cross.

-St. Teresa

From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

September 16- Credo Dinner with Dr William A Borst

Credo of The Catholic Laity

Is Proud to Present

Dr. Wm. A. Borst

Speaking on the Topic

“A Toxic Mixture of Catholic Apathy and Ignorance”

Credo is proud to welcome back to our lectern Wm. A. Borst Ph.D.

Dr. Borst has been writing the monthly newsletter for the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation since 2003. He also has a monthly column that appears in the St. Louis Review.

In 1986 he became involved in the Prolife movement and is a board member of Birthright St. Louis. Dr. Borst has also held several offices in the St. Louis Archdiocesan Prolife Committee and is currently the Respect Life Chairman at Annunziata Parish.

His talk will focus on the causes of apathy within the Catholic Church with a special emphasis on the failure of the Catholic University to properly prepare its students in the wisdom and defense of the Faith.

Dr. Borst has had a varied and interesting professional life. Called by some the George Will of St. Louis for his switch-hitting ability to converse and write on a high level on both current affairs and baseball. He has over 30 years experience in talk radio and instruction at the college level.

Books he has authored include “Liberalism:Fatal Consequences,” and “The Scorpion and the Frog: a Natural Conspiracy.” Taken in tandem the two volumes present a concise and profoundly accurate picture of the many aspects and forces that have infected America with its notorious culture war.

Signed copies of his two books will be available at the forum.

Join us for a delicious dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7750 Carondelet in Clayton at 6:00 p.m. Sunday September 16, 2007. Cost $ 20.00 per person. Free inside parking at the 7777 Bonhomme Garage. Use the Orange Level Bridge to the hotel.

Dinner menu selections are Sliced Roast Beef Bordelaise and Chicken Parmesan. These are served with Garden Salad, vegetables, dinner roll, beverage and dessert.

For more information, contact Howard Brandt at 314-894-6003 or email at

Make checks payable to: Credo of the Catholic Laity
C/O Howard Brandt Treasurer
4386 Honeydew Ln.
St. Louis Mo. 63128
(please indicate Entree selections with check)