Due to time constraints and family obligations we are putting up an older issue of our Gazette. We hope that you enjoy the month. God bless you and yours!
THE Introit of the Mass is: I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: in whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them: and I will be their Lord for ever. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Ps. Ixxvii.) Glory &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Almighty and merciful God, graciously keep us from all things that are hurtful; that we, being set free both in mind and body, may with ready minds accomplish whatever is Thine. Thro'.
EPISTLE. (Ephes. iv. 23 28.) BRETHREN, Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.
EXPLANATION. St. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to lay aside the old man, like a worn out garment, and put on the new man, that is, to renew their internal and external life. This renewal according to his teaching takes place, when we by a true repentance put away our vices, shun all lies, anger, injustice, and adorn our soul with virtues, and zealously seek after Christian justice and perfection. We have, perhaps, already sought to change our manner of living, for which a jubilee or some other particular solemnity of the Church gave us occasion, and at that time, perhaps, purified our soul by a general confession, making the firm resolution to live for God, and work out our salvation, we appeared converted, and to have become other men: but how long did this conversion last? Ah, how soon did we fall back into the old, sinful ways. And why? Because we lived in too great, deceitful security. We thought everything accomplished by the general confession; we were satisfied, and omitted to employ the means of remaining in the state of grace. We did not thank God for the grace of conversion; we did not ask Him for the grace of perseverance; we frequented evil company, and did not avoid dangerous occasions; we indulged in idleness and pleasures as before. How can it appear strange, if such a conversion is fruitless? Ah, we should remain in wholesome fear even after the remission of our sins. (Ecclus. v. 5.) Even if we could say that we have done everything, nevertheless we cannot be certain, whether we be worthy of hatred or love. (Ecclus. ix. i.) We should, therefore, work out our salvation according to the advice of St. Paul (Philipp. ii. 12.) in fear and trembling, and thus not fall into the old life of sin, losing the hope of a new conversion.
GOSPEL. (Matt. xxii. I 14.) AT THAT TIME, Jesus spoke to the chief priests and the Pharisees in parables, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants , to call them that were invited to the marriage, and they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. But they neglected: and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise: and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. But when the king had heard of it, he was angry: and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. And his servants- going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good; and the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests; and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: and he saith to him: Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
REMARK. This parable agrees in many respects with that for the second Sunday after Pentecost, and has the same meaning. See, therefore, the explanation of that gospel, at also of the feast of St. Catherine, to which may be added the following:
EXPLANATION. In this parable the king is our Heavenly Father who has espoused His only-begotten Son to the Church, and on this occasion prepares the most sumptuous marriage-feast by giving the evangelical doctrine, the holy Sacraments, and the heavenly joys. The servants sent to invite the guests are the prophets, apostles and disciples of Christ. Those invited are the Jews who despised the honor and grace of the divine King, destined for them, abused and killed His servants, and were, therefore, cast aside and with their city Jerusalem, destroyed by the armies of their enemies, as a just punishment; in their stead the heathens and all those nations were called, who were on the broad road to destruction, and who now occupy the places of the unfortunate Jews at the marriage feast of the Church, and shall also occupy them in heaven. In the Jews to whom Christ addressed this parable, is verified that many of them, nay, all are called, but few chosen, because they would not heed the invitation.
APPLICATION. We have the honor not only to be invited to this marriage-feast, but are in reality guests at it, because we are members of the Church of Christ by faith. "But the Christian," says St. .Gregory, "who is a member of the Church by faith, but has not charity, is like to a man who comes to the marriage-feast without the wedding garment." With this garment which is charity, Christ was vested, when He came to celebrate the nuptials with His spouse, the Church, and by the bond of charity the Son of God also unites Himself with His elect. He clearly lets us know that charity is the wedding garment which should vest us. Those, therefore, who believe and are in the communion of the Church, but who do not preserve the grace of charity, are indeed in the wedding-chamber, but they are not adorned with the wedding garment. They are dead members of the Church, and shall not be admitted without this garment into the celestial marriage-feast in the triumphant Church, but rather be cast like that unfortunate guest into exterior darkness. This guest was silent, when asked by the king, why he had not the wedding garment. By this we see, that no one can excuse himself to God for not having charity, because every one can have it, if he asks it from God, and, as St. Augustine says, our heart is the workshop of charity, and every one who has a heart can practice it.
PRAYER. I thank Thee, O Jesus, that Thou didst call me to the marriage-feast in Thy Church; give me the wedding garment of charity that I may be present at the celestial marriage-feast, and hot be cast into exterior darkness.
INSTRUCTION CONCERNING HELL.
Cast him into the exterior darkness. (Matt. xxii. 13.)
What is hell?
HELL is that place where the damned must suffer eternal punishment.
Is there a hell?
Yes; reason, holy Scripture and the Church teach us that there is a hell. Reason tells us that there is a just God who will punish sin. It is evident that all sins are not punished in this world; there must, therefore, be a place, where every mortal sin, not atoned for by sorrow and penance, will be punished, and this place is hell. All nations from the beginning of the world, even those who had not the light of revelation, believed this.
But clearer still is the existence of hell shown by holy Scripture. The pious Job (x. 22.) speaks of a region of misery and darkness, where the shadows of death and no order, but where eternal terror dwells. The Prophet Isaias (xxx. 33.) says that hell is deep and wide, and that the fire burning in it, is like a stream of sulphur, ignited by the breath of the Lord. Our Saviour expressly says that those who have done evil, shall go to everlasting torment, (Matt. xxv. 46.) that they shall be tortured by everlasting fire. (Matt. xxv. 41.) He makes mention of hell, and says that an inextinguishable fire burns there, and a worm which never dies, plagues the wicked. (Mark ix. 42. 43; Matt. x. 28.) All the Fathers of the Church teach and testify to the same doctrine. St. Augustine, among many others, says: "The infinite wisdom of God tells us that there is a hell, and the illimitable power of God it is that punishes the damned in a wonderful, but real manner."
Wherein do the pains of hell consist?
Sacred Scripture and the Church teach concerning the pains of the reprobate in hell, that the damned burn there in an inextinguishable fire. (Mark ix. 45.) The holy doctors of the Church say, that this fire is never extinguished, and its smoke ascends or rises from century to century. "I see this fire," says St. Gregory, "as if it were gifted with reason; it makes a distinction between the guilty, and tortures the damned according to the nature of their sins." This fire burns, but never consumes its victims; it communicates, as Cassiodorus says, immortality to the reprobate and lets them suffer pain, which preserves them, like salt which penetrates the flesh and keeps it from corruption, as Jesus says: Every one shall be salted with fire. (Mark ix. 48.) This fire does not shine, it leaves the reprobate in darkness, (Matt. viii. 12.) and with this fire a never dying worm continually torments the damned. This worm is not only a bad conscience, say the holy Fathers, but particularly the privation of the Beatific Vision. Eternally will the thought torment the damned: I have lost God, the only true and highest Good, I have lost Him through my fault, I have lost Him for a brief pleasure, I have lost Him forever. In hell eternity devours all time; and if after millions and millions of years a damned soul wailingly asks his companion in misery: What time is it? he receives the answer: Eternity. Who would not fear hell, and avoid sin which incurs eternal punishment, when he reflects upon this! And yet there are many, upon whom the truth of the existence of a hell makes no impression, who even deny that there is such a place, and who say: "God is love, He can have no pleasure in the torments of His creatures, He cannot eternally punish a sin which was committed in so short a time as is the life of man." But those who speak thus, forget that God is just, that His love and mercy are indeed always ready to forgive the contrite and penitent, but that His justice must also be satisfied, when the sinner continually rejects the merciful love of God; they forget, that every grievous sin which man commits voluntarily and knowingly is an infinite, eternal insult, offered to God, which can only be atoned for by an eternal punishment. For the perverted and malicious will of a man, who dies in mortal sin, remains perverted and malicious forever, therefore he must also be punished eternally.
O my dear Christian, do not listen to such deceivers; for just on account of their sinful life, they fear hell and therefore they endeavor to free themselves from this fear by denying the existence of hell; but they cannot succeed; for Jesus, the Truth, has told us that there is a hell, and His word remains for all eternity. Endeavor rather by a pious life to escape hell, descend there in spirit frequently according to the advice of a saint, contemplate the torments of the damned, and let this reflection urge you to imitate Christ, who has promised the joys of heaven to all His faithful followers.
CONSOLING DOCTRINE ON THE JOYS OF HEAVEN
The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son.
(Malt. xxii. 2.)
HEAVEN is compared by Christ to a marriage-feast, because we will there enjoy all imaginable pleasures in the most perfect union with God. In what these joys consist, St. Paul could not describe, although he was wrapt into the third heaven and tasted these pleasures; he only said: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. (i Cor. ii. 9.)
Holy Writ, indeed, gives us many descriptions of the celestial joys, by comparing" heaven to a paradise of bliss, sometimes to a precious pearl, or a treasure which neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves steal; again it represents heaven under the picture of a kingdom, a throne, a crown, whereby we are raised to the highest honor; at another time to the picture of a city which is built of gold, precious stones and pearls, lighted by the splendor of God, filled with magnificence and glory, and where the inhabitants enjoy undisturbed peace and security. These are only images or similitudes, which are taken from the most beautiful, most precious, and magnificent things of the earth, to teach us that heaven is as beautiful and pleasant a place, as we can wish and represent to ourselves, and that all possible beauty, agreeableness and joy may be found there in the highest and most perfect manner, free from evil, anxiety, disgust and fear of losing them. In heaven we will possess God Himself, the source of all joy and bliss, and will enjoy His own happiness for all eternity. More is not needed to give us the highest conception of heaven.
Who would not willingly despise the vain, short and imperfect pleasures of this earth, whilst contemplating this indescribable bliss?
Who would not willingly bear all the misfortunes and misery of this world, when considering that the more miserable we have been in this life the happier will we be hereafter. What would it avail us to have enjoyed all the pleasures of this world, if deprived of the pleasures of heaven in eternity!
ASPIRATION. How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. (Ps. Ixxxiii. 2 3.) How do I loathe the world, when I contemplate heaven. (St. Ignatius Loyola.)
Source: Goffine's Devout Instruction, Imprimatur 1896
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting"
(John 3, 14, 15).
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself" (John 12. 32).
I. Our Lord Jesus Christ became our Redeemer by fulfilling the figure of the brazen serpent erected by Moses in the desert, the sight of which cured those that had been bitten by the fiery serpents in punishment of their murmurs against God for having brought them into the desert. Our divine Saviour spoke the words of my text to Nicodemus three years before its accomplishment. When the time of the fulfilment of His prophecy was drawing near, Jesus was teaching in the temple. He had just spoken of
the grain of wheat which cannot become fruitful unless it first dies in the ground. Having said this, He addressed His heavenly Father in these words:
"Father, glorify Thy name"; Then "a voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and I will glorify it again. The multitude, therefore, that stood and heard, said that it had thundered. Others said:
"An angel hath spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said:
"This voice came, not because of Me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of the world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself" (John 12. 28-32).
II. How improbable did these last words then seem! Much more improbable did they appear a few days later, when Jesus was actually raised up on the cross between two thieves to die in infamy, accursed in Himself and in His memory! But as is customary with God, He always chooses the most inadequate and totally unsuitable means, from a natural aspect, to achieve most astounding and unexpected results, and therefore "Christ s infamy," thence forth became the powerful instrument to "draw all things to Himself !" A man's power does not survive him, for it is wholly extinguished in the tomb. But with Jesus Christ His power becomes manifest only in death. Whilst hanging on the instrument of death and infamy, He drew to Himself the good thief and the soldiers on guard. After His Resurrection and Ascension He began to draw all men to Himself, beginning with the poor and the lowly, and the illiterate, and continuing with the learned, the great and the powerful, until idolatry was extirpated and the world believed in Him. Later on, when the barbarians destroyed the Roman power and civilisation, He enabled His Church to humanize and christianize the barbarians, and to impart to them a more noble civilisation, the Christian civilization, the fruits and the benefits of which the world even now still enjoys. Ever since Jesus was lifted up on the cross, He has drawn to Himself
1. First, man's thought. All who embrace the faith He taught, submit their reason to the infallible guidance of His Church, and, on her authority, firmly believe mysteries in comprehensible to reason. No one else has ever been able thus to draw, subjugate and govern man's thought.
2. Secondly, man's will. For 1900 years hundreds of millions of freemen, cherishing liberty above every other natural possession, have had no other will than that of Jesus Christ, and have cheerfully submitted theirs to His laws, commands and restraints. With Him they become meek and humble of heart, deny themselves, joyfully take up His yoke on themselves, crucify their flesh and its lusts, chastise and subdue their bodies, lest they rebel against the will of Jesus Christ. In order to be wholly His, to devote themselves to His service, they heroically forsake all that is dear to them, parents, relatives, possessions, bright prospects and country, and embrace a life of poverty, chastity, obedience and labor among the poor, the heathen, the sick, and even among the very outcasts of society, for the love of Him who, from His cross draws to Himself their hearts, their chaste love and unreserved devotedness. These heroic souls can truly say with St. Paul: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross, and I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me." (Gal. 2. 19, 20).
3. Man's heart. Jesus lifted up on the cross has drawn and conquered man's love. Ever since then numberless pilgrims in all ages visit and venerate in the Holy Land every spot hallowed by His presence, especially His sepulchre. The Crusades of the Middle Ages fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias (n. 10):
"His sepulchre shall be glorious"; None of the great men whom the world has produced, have gained the love of mankind. The very idea that such men as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Plato, Demosthenes, Napoleon have any hold on the affections of mankind is enough to excite our laughter! But Jesus Christ "lifted up" has won the hearts of the best portion of mankind. The best, the purest, the most virtuous the world has ever produced have loved Jesus Christ crucified, with the tenderest and the most devoted love, more than their parents, more than their children, more than their dearest friends and companions, more than their own selves, and have ever been ready to sacrifice, for His sake, all their goods and their very life, as is evident from history itself. And even more, for they consider it the greatest honor and happiness to be accounted worthy of suffering and dying for the love of Jesus crucified! The very sight of the picture or representation of "Jesus lifted up on the cross," the crucifix, excites their tenderest love, for with how great fervor, ardor and devotedness do they not impress kisses on His sacred wounds! In fact, there is no love comparable in intensity, constancy and fruitful effects to the love of Jesus crucified "in the hearts He has drawn to Himself." That love draws tears of contrition and amendment from the sinner, imparts peace, consolation and cheerfulness to the suffering, to the sorely tried, and strength and constancy to the martyrs, to the penitents.
The martyrs consider it an honor, a happiness, surpassing all earthly honors and enjoyments, to suffer the most exquisite torments, the most cruel death for the love of Jesus crucified. Both the innocent and the penitent experience a heavenly sweetness in meditating, even for hours at a time, on the love of Jesus who, for their sake, endured so many insults and pains and was "lifted up" and died so ignominious a death.
And where is the dying Catholic who does not most willingly endure his great pains and accept his approaching death calmly and cheerfully in union with the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ crucified, and depart this life with love and confidence, whilst pressing to his lips the image of his crucified Saviour? The calm and consoling deaths of Catholics, sweetened by the love of Jesus crucified, are the admiration of non-Catholics, who know not how to account for them. They are, however, a clear proof of the fulfilment of our divine Saviour's prophecy: "And I, when I shall be lifted up, will draw all things to Myself."
4. Man's body. Man is naturally averse to bodily sufferings and mortifications, to deny his body the things it craves for. And, nevertheless, the love of Jesus, lifted up, after drawing men's hearts to Himself, induces them to become the declared enemies and tormentors of their flesh by fasting, abstinence, coarse food, numerous austerities and penances, and by making and faithfully keeping the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. For the love of Jesus crucified multitudes give up what is dearest to them; and all renounce many comforts and pleasures of life, and devote themselves to works of charity and zeal with self-sacrificing love. The sight of this made so deep an impression on the great Napoleon, that he did not hesitate to say:
"Unlike human conquerors, Jesus Christ conquers, not for a time, not merely a few nations, but the whole human race, and He will conquer it to the end of time. Jesus Christ conquers in every individual believer that which is most difficult to subjugate, his heart, his love! For His sake millions have joyfully undergone martyrdom, and still undergo the most painful privations. He will live forever in millions of hearts." And this in the hearts of the best, the purest, the noblest and the most enlightened of mankind ! This is evident from the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1875 and 1901.
Let us daily raise our eyes to Jesus. "lifted up" on the cross out of love of us, and allow Him to draw to Himself our minds, by practically adopting His teaching concerning the vanity of earthly goods, honors and pleasures; our wills, our hearts, our love, our bodies, by cheerfully denying ourselves, for His sake, whatever is displeasing to Him, by willingly making every sacrifice, however great, long and painful, if it proves necessary to manifest our love for Him, to serve Him faithfully, and thus to secure for our souls the benefits of the Redemption both in this life and in the next. Amen.
Source: Sermon Matters, Imprimatur 1915
"If any one love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema" (i Cor. 16, 22).
The motives for loving our divine Saviour are so great, so irresistible, that St. Paul does not hesitate to condemn to eternal perdition those who will not love Him, for they are guilty of the foulest ingratitude. The benefits conferred on mankind by Jesus Christ are so great and numerous, that our heart must be either of ice or of stone, if we can refrain from loving Him with all our heart. The principal motives for loving Him are drawn from:
I. HIS INCARNATION.
The Son of God, who is eternal, infinitely perfect, be came man by assuming our human nature, a body and soul like ours; He was born a helpless child in a stable, and led for thirty years the poor, obscure, laborious and humble life of a mechanic, unknown, unhonored by those He had come to save. And why did the Son of God so humble himself? For the salvation of sinful and ungrateful man kind.
II. His PASSION AND DEATH.
"Greater love than this no man hath, than that he lay down His life for His friends." (John 15. 13). For us, who were not His friends, but His enemies by our sins, He sacrificed everything, His goods, His body, His honor, all His blood, His very life on a gibbet of infamy! Could love go any further? And yet men instead of loving and thanking Him, continue to insult Him, hate and outrage Him daily, hourly!
III. THE BLESSED EUCHARIST.
What should astonish us even more than His sufferings and death for us ungrateful sinners, is the infinite, incomprehensible love He manifests to us in the Blessed Eucharist. His love for us is so great, that it would seem that He could not be happy without us. Love, intense love, tends to intimate union with the beloved, to remain constantly with the beloved, to become, as it were, one with the beloved. And this is what Jesus does most wonderfully in our regard in the Blessed Eucharist. In order to remain always near us, to be always among us, to unite Him self most intimately with us and, as it were, inseparably from us, He has, in some manner, humbled Himself in the Blessed Eucharist more than in the Incarnation, more even than in His ignominious death on the cross. In the Incarnation and on the cross Jesus hid only His divinity, but in the Eucharist He conceals even His humanity, and constantly exposes Himself to every kind of insult and outrage, such as want of faith, of reverence, indifference, insults and all kinds of profanation. And who are we, that He should so ardently desire our love? We are but poor, helpless, imperfect, miserable, sinful creatures. And it is out of His tender love of such wretched creatures, that the Son of God has, so to speak, exhausted His power and His love in the Blessed Eucharist! What more can we desire of Him? The great wonder in the Eucharist is not so much God's power, as His excessive and incomprehensible love for us miserable and ungrateful creatures !
IV. HOW WE SHOULD REPAY OUR SAVIOUR'S BOUNDLESS LOVE FOR US.
1. First, by an unlimited confidence in Him. In all that He has done for us, and in all the crosses and trials that beset our path in life, we should put all our trust in Him, for He seeks only our welfare. Therefore, whatever may happen to us, let us say, like the mother of Samson: "If the Lord had a mind to kill us, He would not have showed us all these things" (Judges 13. 23). Since His mercy and love in our regard have no bounds, our confidence in Him also should know no bounds.
2. We owe our divine Saviour our inmost gratitude. But how different is our conduct in His regard! We continue to offend Him daily, preferring our own ease and comfort, our worldly interests, the gratification of our passions to keeping His commandments, to seeking to please Him. Let us apply to ourselves the stinging rebuke Jesus addressed to the Jews who had taken up stones to stone Him to death: "Many good works have I shown you from My Father; for which of those works do you stone Me?" (John 10. 32).
3. We owe our divine Saviour the most tender and constant love. Our love for Jesus should be like that of the martyrs; sovereign, generous and self-sacrificing. Like them we should be ready to do all, to suffer all, to sacrifice all, even our very life, for His sake. We should so conduct ourselves as to be able to say with St. Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... I am sure that ... no creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"; (Rom. 8. 35-39).
4. Another means of repaying the love of the Son of God for us is daily to consider, to reflect on the ineffable love Jesus bore us in His humiliations, in His passion and death, and in all the gifts He has bestowed upon us, and to make frequent ejaculatory prayers, especially acts of sorrow for sin, of divine love, of gratitude.
5. Devout assistance daily, if possible, at holy Mass. Also frequent fervent holy Communion, even daily if it is in our power. A spiritual Communion renewed often during the day.
6. A daily visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament inwhich we should pour out our ardent love for Him. We should long to be often with Him, to remain in His presence as long as we can, where we can tell Him of our troubles, of our wants, of our love for Him, in the same manner as a little child tells these things to his mother. We are ignorant; but He will instruct us; we are weak, but He will strengthen us; we are sinful, but He will sanctify us; we are cold or lukewarm in the service of God, but He will inflame us with fervor and divine love, and enable us to serve Him faithfully to the end of our life.
Source: Sermon Matters, Imprimatur 1915
St. Matthew - known also by the name of Levi was believed to have been born at Nazareth, a "Hebrew of the Hebrews," and son to Alpheus and Mary, the kinswoman of the Blessed Virgin.
His calling was that of a publican or toll-gatherer to the Romans, a calling held in bad repute among the Jews, for they who practiced it were ordinarily covetous and extortioners, and commonly spoken of as thieves by even the Gentiles.
The Jews, too, felt bitterly aggrieved by the compulsory payment of the tribute-money; it seemed to them an infringement upon their liberty as a free-born people, the privileged people of Almighty God.
It would appear that Matthew was chiefly employed in collecting the duties or customs upon goods coming by the way of the Sea of Galilee, and also in taking the toll or tribute which passengers by water had to pay.
Here then by the seaside, according to St. Mark's account - Matthew, or Levi, dwelt, when our Divine Lord left Capharnaum to walk by the shore while He taught the people who crowded round Him; and seeing Matthew sitting in his custom-house, and said unto him, "Follow Me."
We may suppose that dwelling in Capharnaum, the scene of so many of Christ's miracles, Matthew had heard Him teach, had looked upon His face before that day, perhaps already he had felt drawn by the sweet attraction of the Saviour's look and tone, so that he the more readily became one of the disciples at the Divine call.
Until the Ascension, St. Matthew continued with the rest, but after that time for at least eight years he preached throughout Judea, living an austere life, for according to St. Clement of Alexandria, his usual diet was but herbs, roots, and berries.
Upon Matthew's preparing to commence his labours for the conversion of the Gentiles, the Jewish people begged that he would write out for them the story of Christ's life on earth, so that they might preserve it as a record of all he had preached to them, and in accordance with this desire the Gospel of St. Matthew was composed.
It is recorded that the Apostle converted multitudes by his preaching and his miracles from their idolatry, and then ordained spiritual pastors to watch over them and help them to "grow in grace," finishing his own course by martyrdom in the city of Nakabar.
the Gospel of St. Matthew was first written in Hebrew because originally intended for his own countrymen, but it was speedily translated into Greek.
The Evangelist was careful to prove in his Gospel narrative that Jesus came from the royal family of David, so that the Jews might be convinced, and thus the list of names in the first chapter. Many events are given in it which we do not find in the other Gospels, such as the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, and the slaughter of the Innocents.
When St. Matthew is represented as an Apostle, he generally appears as an aged man with a book in his hand, sometimes also with a purse or money-box, in reference to his worldly calling before the day when, by the seashore , he heard the words "Follow Me'" and rising up, quit the service of men for the service of a despised Saviour, yet the Lord of heaven and of earth.
Source: Stories of the Saints, 1874
A coloring picture for the children can be found below.
Congratulations to Holly, Teresa Eli, and Marlene on winning a copy of "Popular Instructions on the Bringing Up of Children." An email is on it's way to you
Sarah will be adding another saint costume for the 18" dolls. She will have them available to sell on her blog starting September 23rd. The horse will not be included.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST
"I judge not myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (I Cor. 2. 2).
What does all our knowledge, all our science amount to, if we do not know Jesus Christ? We may be well versed in poetry and literature, in mathematics, in philosophy, in the fine arts, in politics and the science of government, but if we lack the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified, we are like travelers without light, without means of conveyance, like pupils without a competent teacher. No study is more necessary to us than that of Jesus crucified. If we know Him, we know all it behooves us to know. The great apostle possessed a thorough knowledge of this all-important science, and labored with all his might to impart it to all mankind. By His ministry Jesus Christ is our Saviour, and by His conduct He is our Model. Therefore we should, first lovingly hope in Him, and secondly, imitate Him.
I. JESUS CHRIST is OUR SAVIOUR, OUR REDEEMER.
He alone deserves this title, for, says St. Peter, "there is no salvation in any other" (Acts 4. 12). He became our Redeemer, first, by making superabundant satisfaction for our sins and thereby freeing us from the slavery of Satan. Adam and his posterity had, through his sin, lost the divine grace and friendship and all right to heaven. Not even all creatures combined could have sufficiently atoned for that sin, or for any other sin. The only-begotten Son of God, infinitely holy and perfect, infinitely beloved by the Father, undertook to atone for the sins of the human race. Loving men, as it were, to excess, He took their punishment upon Himself. He assumed a body and soul like ours, was born, wept, labored and preached, underwent persecution; was betrayed into the power of His enemies, arrested, was struck and bruised, underwent unjust trials, was fearfully scourged, loaded with insults and mockery, abandoned by all, and even by His heavenly Father; and after shedding all His blood, He died the cruel and ignominious death of the cross, thereby appeasing the heavenly Father's wrath against mankind, expiating all their sins, subduing the powers of hell and opening heaven to men. Had Jesus Christ been only God, He could not have suffered all this; had He been merely man, all His sufferings and His death would have proved an insufficient atonement for the sins of men. What a terrible evil must sin be, since it required so great an atonement! The boundless humiliations and horrible sufferings of the Son of God made man tell us the infinite love God bears us, since "He did not spare even His own Son, but delivered Him for us" (Rom. 8. 32), as well as the infinite love of the Son of God for us in taking our sins upon Himself and expiating them at such a cost to Himself !
Secondly, Jesus Christ became our Redeemer by deserving for us the precious graces of salvation. "The law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John i. 17). We are all inclined to evil, and there is no crime so great, so abominable which we would not commit, were we not restrained by divine grace. Jesus Christ, by His passion and death, obtained for us all the graces we need to overcome temptation, the assaults of the world, of Satan and of our own passions, to bear every cross and trial, every suffering, to overcome every obstacle to our salvation, to practise even the most difficult acts of virtue and to sanctify ourselves by leading a holy life, so much so, that St. Paul declares: "Where sin abounded, grace abounded still more" (Rom. 5. 20); so much so that the greatest sinners can, by the graces Jesus has gained, be come great saints. "I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4. 13). The power of the sacraments, of prayer and of the other means of salvation, is derived entirely from the merits of Jesus Christ's passion and death.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ became our Redeemer, our Saviour by deserving heaven for us. Every one in heaven will enjoy perfect happiness according to his capacity, for Jesus Christ says : "In My Father s house there are many mansions. ... I go to prepare a place for you. ... I will come again to take you to Myself, that, where I am, you also may be" (John 14. 2, 3). Jesus Christ, although He is now in heaven, still performs the office of our High Priest, of our Advocate and Mediator, of our loving Father. By His Passion and death He acquired for us a right to heaven and its unspeakable happiness. This is another testimony of His love for us, since He wishes us to be where He is and to share His happiness and glory. How ardently, then, we should love Him and confide in Him! "Happy is the people whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 143. 15). Happy are we, if we lovingly trust in Him, but more happy still if we take;
II. JESUS CHRIST AS OUR MODEL.
All Christians are bound under pain of eternal damnation to imitate Jesus Christ as their Model. St. Paul expressly declares, that only those are saved who are "conformable to the image of the Son of God"; (Rom. 8. 29).
It behooves us, then, to imitate His charity, full of patience, meekness, compassion and zeal for our neighbor, His modesty, purity, love of prayer, His patience, His obedience and resignation to the divine will, and to practice self-denial and carry our cross after Him. The sources of sin in the world are, says the beloved disciple, "the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life"; (i John 2. 16). The conduct of Jesus Christ will teach us how to combat these sources of sin.
I. In the first place, the poverty practised by Jesus Christ teaches us contempt for mere worldly riches. We are destined to possess God Himself. By sin we lost God, but not our desire for perfect happiness. Men mostly seek this happiness in the acquisition, the accumulation and in the enjoyment of worldly goods. Our divine Saviour, how ever, on becoming man, chose a mother poor in this world's goods, a poverty-stricken place for his birth, a life of labor in poverty, and died bereft of every earthly possession. "The example of Jesus Christ,"; says St. Augustine, "is for us the most efficacious medicine for the cure of our attachment to earthly goods ; the avarice, or undue seeking of wealth which cannot be healed by the example and consideration of Christ s poverty, is simply incurable. "His example teaches the poor to be contented with their poverty for His sake, for "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5. 3).
2. Jesus Christ, by His humility teaches us the flight of worldly honors. He was humble in His Incarnation, in choosing a poor Virgin as His Mother, and a stable in an obscure town as His birth-place, in working as a poor carpenter, in allowing the devil to tempt Him, in His sufferings and ignominious death. Hence He says to us: "Learn of Me" not to create the world, to perform wonders or raise the dead to life, but "because I am meek and humble of heart" (Matt. n. 29). Hence St. Augustine says: "What can heal our pride, if the humility of Christ fails to do it?"
3. Jesus Christ by His sufferings condemns our sensuality and love of pleasure. (Enumerate here His hardships, labors and sufferings from His birth to His death.) "What can heal our sensuality and yearning after good cheer and pleasure, if the sufferings and austere life of Jesus Christ fail to do it?" "Christ," says the Prince of the apostles," died for us, leaving you an example, that you may follow His footsteps" (i Pet. 2. 21). On judgment day we shall all appear in presence of the poor, humble and suffering Jesus! Woe to us, if our life "is not found conformable to His! We shall be asked to show our charity and zeal towards our neighbor, our purity, our humility, obedience, detachment from worldly goods, honors and pleasures, our self-denial, meekness and patience, our for giveness of injuries. The blood He shed, His death, His infinite merits will not avail us, if we do not imitate Him, as was prescribed to us: "Look and make according to the pattern shown you in the mount" (Exod. 25. 40). To us He said: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14. 6).
Let us be true Christians, true disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. Let us love Him alone, and not the world nor its riches, honors and pleasures, for what has the world done for us, and what can it give us, when this life is over? Let us love and imitate Jesus Christ, our God, our Redeemer, our Benefactor who has suffered and died for us, and who alone can make us happy here and hereafter. Let us be ready to sacrifice all for His sake and thus become worthy of forever sharing His happiness and glory in heaven. Amen.
Source: Sermon Matters, Imprimatur 1897
With today being Friday the 13th and after having read the blog over at our dear friends, Sanctus Simplicitus I decided to share a little more on the sins against our Faith. We see much in the world today that deals with the occult and superstition and I thought the following would help to clarify our positions as Catholics. The following is taken from: Illustrated Example of the Commandments, Imprimatur 1897.
Superstition is another sin against faith. The gravity of this sin depends on the amount of knowledge which the superstitious person possesses, and on the more or less criminal end he wishes to attain. The most sinful form of superstition is witchcraft, which consists in invoking the help of the devil or some evil spirit in order to gain riches by digging for treasures, or to learn hidden things, or to do harm to any one. There have been persons who made a covenant with the devil, and gave themselves up to him, whether they really held intercourse with the Evil One or only had the intention of doing so, and who invoked his aid in order to obtain worldly goods.
There are also people who believe that their children or their cattle can be bewitched; that there are men who by an "evil eye" can harm our bodies. Those try to expel the witches by other superstitious remedies. Then there arises false suspicion, and the most hideous crimes are committed when people think they have found the witch. This mania was rife in Germany, especially, 200 years ago, (add another 100 years to that as this book is over 100 years old) and more so in the Protestant than in the Catholic states. Thousands of men, women, girls, and even children were accused of having caused misfortunes, for instance, hail-storms, diseases, cattle-plagues, bad seasons, etc. Confessions were extorted from them by the most horrible tortures, and afterwards they were given up to a most painful death, generally by burning. This deplorable superstition has not quite died out yet among the people. Poor old women, especially, are often suspected of being witches and made to suffer for it. This is a sinful folly. Holy Church furnishes the Christian with the arms with which he can combat witchcraft, incantation, and all influence of the Evil One. They are the sign of the cross, holy water, and blessed objects. Let the faithful, therefore, commend themselves, their bodies and their goods, to the protection of God and be in peace.
In modern times there has spread, especially among the higher classes of society, a new form of superstition, which we find already in the Old Testament visited with severe punishments. It consists in consulting the spirits of the dead in order to obtain news or any other kind of information from them. The persons who carry on such nonsense, as a rule, belong to a class who do not believe in anything supernatural, or in any mystery of religion,—in fact, have no religion at all. Of these the saying is true: "The most unbelieving are the most credulous." Fortune-Telling and Interpretation of Dreams.
God in His great wisdom has hidden coming events from us and has left us in uncertainty as to our future fate. He does not wish us to be cast down by impending misfortunes, or elated by anticipated success, We are to leave our life in the hands of God and work out our salvation. Therefore we sin against God by trying to lift the veil which covers the future, or by prying into things which God has thought good to hide from us. This is chiefly done by fortune-telling and interpretation of dreams. He who without having received a divine revelation takes upon himself to tell things which cannot be known according to the natural order, or attempts to inquire into those things, has his fortune told, or his dreams interpreted, and seriously believes in all this, sins grievously, and fortune-tellers and interpreters of dreams doubly so if they practise their craft for mercenary purposes.
Fortune-tellers pretend to gather their knowledge from the lines in the palm of the hand, as we find gypsies doing. Others pour melted lead into water and interpret the shapes it assumes; others again read the future in tea-leaves; one of the most common methods of finding out things which we are anxious to know is by cutting cards. All these things and others of the same class are opposed to the virtue of faith.
Or the idle custom of expecting help from things which neither by the will of God, nor by their natural power, nor through the prayers of the Church can help us. Thus, for instance, superstitious people fancy they can prophesy good or bad fortune from the cry of birds, the howling of dogs, the call of the cuckoo, the falling out of teeth, and other natural phenomena. Others claim that they have made themselves proof against blows, thrusts, and bullets. Or they use certain remedies against diseases—for instance, the wearing of papers on which certain words or ciphers are written; orthey suggest the use of natural remedies accompanied by extraordinary proceedings—for instance, throwing a remedy over one's shoulder into a stream at a certain phase of the moon in order to get rid of a fever or some other illness, and numberless follies of the same kind. This kind of cure they call "cure by sympathy."
There is an innocent kind of " sympathetic cure" in which neither anything forbidden nor foolish is employed. If we wish to try such a cure, we must formally protest to ourselves that we do not wish to obtain anything contrary to the will of God. It is likewise sinful to believe in lucky or unlucky days, and to model our conduct accordingly. So, for instance, Friday is supposed to be an unlucky day, in which one is not to do anything of importance. And yet Friday is the most blessed day of all, for it is the day of our Redemption. It is true that on Good Friday we are not to do anything contrary to the spirit of the Church, which recommends us to dwell on that day with special devotion on the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ.
There are also superstitious, and therefore sinful, prayers and books—for instance, such in which we are assured for certain that, as often as we recite them, a poor soul is set free, or that we are preserved from certain diseases, or that we cannot be lost if we say them every day. The prayers or the books in which these prayers are contained ought to be given to a priest or destroyed. On the contrary, it is not sinful, but rather praiseworthy, to wear objects blessed by the Church, especially scapulars and medals of Our Lady. For we do not ascribe any power to them, but by wearing them we place ourselves under the protection of our blessed Lady, whom we wish to honor, and in whose intercession we hope and trust.
Holy Scripture speaks in these words of the different forms of superstition: "Neither let there be found among you any one that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard, or any one that seeketh the truth from the dead. For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations He will destroy them" (Deut. xviii. 10-12).
"Learn not according to the ways of the Gentiles: and be not afraid of the signs of heaven, which the heathens fear" (Jer. x. 2).
"The hopes of a man that is void of understanding are vain and deceitful: and dreams lift up fools. The man that giveth heed to lying visions is like to him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind. Deceitful visions and lying omens and the dreams of evil-doers are vanity. For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them" (Ecclus. xxxiv. 2, 5, 7).
"Wizards thou shalt not suffer to live" (Exod. xx. 18).
"Sorcerers shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Apoc. xxi. 8).
King Saul had fallen away from the Lord, and God had withdrawn His grace from him. When he was going to war with the Philistines, this once courageous warrior was filled with fear, and went to Endor to an old woman who had the reputation of being able to conjure up the spirits of the dead. Of this woman Saul begged that she would call up the Prophet Samuel, in order that he might inquire of him. But when the woman began her foolery, God raised up the spirit of Samuel in reality, and he declared the will of God to Saul for his punishment, and foretold him that he should be defeated in the battle against the Philistines, and lose his life, and that the kingdom should be given to David (1 Kings xxviii. 16-19). After the death of Solomon ten tribes rebelled against his son, and God gave them Jeroboam for a king. But he did not walk before the Lord, and led his subjects also into idolatry. In order to deter them from going up to the Temple at Jerusalem, as it was commanded, he set up two golden calves, one at Dan and one at Bethel, on the confines of his country, and said:
"Behold thy gods, O Israel, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt'* (3 Kings xii. 28). And the people went to adore. But the Lord sent word to him through the Prophet Ahias: "Because thou hast made thee strange gods and molten gods, to provoke Me to anger, and hast cast Me behind thy back: therefore, behold I will bring evils upon the house of Jeroboam . , . and I will sweep away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as dung is swept away till all be clean" (3 Kings xiv. 9, 10). And the Lord did as He had threatened. Jeroboam was defeated by Abias, king of Juda, in a bloody battle. There fell wounded of Israel five hundred thousand valiant men, and Jeroboam lost many cities, which he never recovered (2 Par. xiii. 17). Ochozias, king of Israel, was grievously sick and sent to Accaron to consult the god Beelzebub on the issue of his sickness. But God sent Elias to meet the messengers and to say to them: ''Is there not a God in Israel, that ye go to consult Beelzebub, the god of Accaron ? . . . Go and return to the king that sent you, and you shall say to him : . . . Thou shalt not come down from the bed on which thou art gone up, but thou shalt surely die" (4 Kings i. 2-6). When St. Paul preached Jesus Crucified to the proconsul Sergius, Elymas the magician tried to turn away the procon ul from the faith. But Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, looking upon him, said: "O full of all guile and of all deceit, child of the devil, enemy of all justice, thou ceasest not to pervert the right ways of the Lord. And now behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a time. And immediately there fell a mist and darkness upon him [Elymas], and going about, he sought some one to lead him by the hand" (Acts xiii. 10, 11).
Thus God punishes all who do not put their trust in Him, and rebel against His commandments.
This post is dedicated to a faithful Catholic, Johny Maria who passed away on September 6, 2013. He had a great devotion Our Lady of Sorrows and because of his great love for our Lady changed his last name to Maria in her honor.
P. Eternal rest grant onto them O Lord,
R. And perpetual light shine upon them.
P. May they rest in peace.
THE HOLY NAME OF MARY
I. IN the year 1683 the Hungarians, having rebelled against the Emperor Leopold I, invited the Turks to come to their assistance, and help them to withstand the forces which their angry Sovereign had prepared to lead against them. In answer to their appeal, the Turks marshaled against the Empire an immense army, consisting of about two hundred thousand men, and after a short time actually laid siege to Vienna. Pope Innocent XL did everything in his power to stop this flood of barbaric invasion. But after his most strenuous efforts, only seventy-four thousand men could be gathered together under the standard of the Cross. Nevertheless, trusting wholly in God, and calling upon the powerful intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, the hero Sobieski led the Christian host against the Infidel, and gained a complete victory over the forces opposed to him. To commemorate so auspicious an event, Innocent instituted, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, a festival, which is called the feast of the Holy name of Mary.
You may, perhaps, be surprised that a festival should be instituted to do honour to her name, and may feel inclined to ask with our great Poet : What's in a name ? Let us try to see, in order that we may appreciate the piety and the wisdom which that act indicates. A name is, as it were, a compendious expression or term which embodies all that is good, or lovable, or odious in the person whom it serves to designate. When it is either whispered in our ear, or written before our eyes, it has a talismanic power, and conjures up before us him whom we love and respect, or him whom we despise and hate. We behold his wisdom, and his generosity, his fidelity, his strict integrity, his tender heart, his open hand in fine, all that makes our blood course quickly through our veins, and our eyes sparkle with pleasure when we call to mind his worth, and the many amiable qualities by which he has endeared himself to us. Or, it tells us of one who is base and mean, selfish, cruel, and vindictive, from whose detestable envy and malice we have suffered much. Then our cheeks either grow pale with fear, or burn with resentment when it is mentioned, and a vision is presented to our eyes, from which we turn away with horror and disgust.
Hence it is that there are names which, when uttered in the assemblies of men, will melt their hearts with tenderness, and bring the glow of honest pride to their cheeks ; they leap to their feet and applaud them to the echo. Again, there are other names, which are received with a loathing and detestation which it is fearful to witness. They raise a very storm of groans and hisses, and disclose to us hatred so intense, so concentrated, that our blood runs cold as we reflect upon it. From this, you see that there is a great deal in a name; and however men may sneer at us for honouring names, they themselves do that which they so foolishly deride. They honour the names of those whom they love, by giving them to their children, by calling their streets and their towns after them, by applying them as titles of distinction to those whose genius they admire. What is this but acknowledging that there is a great deal in a name, and that there are some names which deserve honour, and others which are to be held up to universal execration and scorn.
II. Mary's name is therefore held in high honour among us, and receives from us a reverence inferior only to that which we pay to the greatest of names the sacred and ever blessed name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For her name is to us all that the names of great heroes, statesmen, generals, and benefactors are to the nation at large, and a great deal more besides. What does it bring before us? It brings out before our mind's eye the image of her, whom Almighty God deemed worthy to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. We remember, as we fondly gaze upon her figure, that the Incarnate God, in the days of His mortal life, looked up to her, loved her, and obeyed her, just as we ourselves obeyed, loved, and reverenced our own dear mother, only with a degree of love of which our feeble natures are incapable. His lips have kissed her face; His arms have been twined round her neck; His head has nestled in her bosom. As then we love Him more than all else more than our life we must love what to Him is so surprisingly dear.
That name Mary tells us of one so faithful in her love to Our God, that she clung to Him in His ignominy and shame, and stood by Him as He hung upon His Cross. It puts before us the image of her, who, as the poet says, is "Our tainted nature's solitary boast." While, therefore, we deem her name so sweet, so lovable, so worthy of honour, we must not forget that it is a name of power with God, and of terror to all His enemies. She obtained from Him, in the days of His mortal life, all that she chose to ask; with much greater reason, therefore, will she be able to do so now that she reigns with Him in glory. She is the Woman who crushed the serpent s head, through the might of that all-powerful One, Whom she gave to the world, and consequently her very name must be a terror to the devils.
When, therefore, you are assailed by these enemies of your salvation, call upon that holy name ; it will remind them of the Almighty arm which crushed their strength, and ground it into dust beneath His chariot-wheels. It will bring before your mind a most sweet image of holy purity, of the tenderness and undying ardour of a mother s love. It will inspire your heart with unwavering fidelity to God. It will be to you a tower of strength against the face of your enemies.
III. Therefore, as men pay honour to the names of those whom they love, and manifest it in various ways, so also does God desire us to honour the name of His Mother. If you wish to know in what way you should do this, look around you, and see what men do to honour a name. If it is the name of the nation s hero, it is received with acclamations of applause and delight. If it is that of a beloved child, or of a revered parent, the eye kindles with love and the heart beats with pleasure when it is mentioned. People call their streets and their squares, their ships and even their societies by the name of him whom they love. If a suppliant ask them for a favour in the name of a child, or a father, or a dear friend, they will do deeds of mercy, out of the love which they bear to that child, or that father, or that friend. Their anger is appeased, their firmly-set purpose is changed, the treasury of their money is opened wide by the magical power which lies in the names of those whom they love.
Will it not be so, think you, with Our good God, if we make our petitions to Him in the name of her whom He loves so well ? Will He be able to refuse us anything, if we be lovers of that sweet Mother, and do her homage? Certainly not. We have not a God Who cannot feel as man feels. He has a human heart, and is touched by whatever appeals to human sympathies. He will love those who love His Mother, and be generous to those who strive to do her honour.
Therefore, always reverence that holy Mother, and hold her name in benediction. Bow your head slightly when it is mentioned ; utter it with respect; frequently use it, to recall to your mind an image of all that is most pure, most holy, most tender, and most endearing in human nature. Use it when harassed by temptation, when oppressed with gloom, when burdened with sorrow. Especially use it when you kneel to ask some favour from Jesus, the source of all grace. Remind Him of her who is your Mother and your advocate with Him. Ask that kind, good, merciful Jesus, through the love which He has for Mary, to grant your petition. By doing this, you perform an act pleasing to Him, because you acknowledge that you are unworthy even to approach to Him; that you do not dare to present your petition, unless it is signed with the name of her whose slightest wish He never refused to obey. In fine, cherish in your heart so tender a devotion to her, that, like those who love in this world, the name of your beloved Mother may be, metaphorically speaking, written upon your heart, and then it will rise frequently to your lips, and be pronounced with that respect and that love which are its due.
Source: Lectures for Boys, Vol I, 1896
Two coloring pictures for the children can be found below.
The great Christian city of Vienna was being attacked by the Turks, who were trying to destroy the religion of Jesus. The Turks had such a powerful army that Vienna was almost ready to surrender. It was then that the King of Poland, the famous John Sobieski, went to help the Christians of Vienna. He knew that if the Turks took Vienna, they would then pour into all of Europe to wipe out Christianity.
Before the battle, King John placed himself and his troops under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He begged her help and served Mass in a monastery nearby, while all his soldiers knelt in prayer. Then the commanding officer gave the signal for attack and the battle began. In no time, the Turks were put to flight, and the Christians had won a great victory!
In thanksgiving for this marvellous event, King John sent the conquered flag of the Turks to Rome, as a sign of homage to Mary. Pope Innocent XI showed the gratitude of all Christians to Our Lady by extending the celebration of the Feast of her Holy Name to the whole Church. Mary's name was given her by God. He Himself told her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, to call her Mary. The name "Mary" means "lady" or "queen." I t also means "star of the sea." What beautiful meanings! How perfect this name is for our Blessed Mother! She is truly our loving Queen and our Star. She will show us the wav to reach the blessed Kingdom of Heaven.
Today I will invoke the most holy Name of, Mary every time I feel tempted to do something wrong.
Source: Saints for Young People for Every Day of the Year, Imprimatur, no year listed
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THE LOVE OF GOD. (No. 2)
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind" (Luke 10, 27).
1. MEANING OF THIS COMMANDMENT.
The love of God is a gift of God conferred on us in baptism. He who loves God gives himself to God with all his heart as to the Supreme Good, so that by fulfilling His will he may please Him and be united to Him. "If any one loves Me," says our divine Saviour, "he will keep My word and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and will make our abode with him." (John 14. 23).
2. QUALITIES OF THE LOVE OF GOD.
In the first place, the love of God, as a theological or Christian virtue, is supernatural, otherwise it would have no relation to life everlasting; and therefore it must be based on motives of faith, and not on merely natural motives. Secondly, our love of God must be sovereign, or supreme; it must surpass all other love. God, being the Supreme Being, our Creator and our last end, requires us to give Him the very first place in our heart. "He that loveth his father and mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me" (Matt. 10. 37). We may love other things, but we must love God more than them, and prefer Him to all else. Perez de Gusman was defending a besieged city. Rather than betray his country he resolutely refused to surrender, although the besiegers, parading his captured son before the walls of the city, threatened to put him to death, unless Perez would surrender. In like manner, rather than offend God, we must make every sacrifice, even the most difficult and painful.
He who truly loves God is able to say with St. Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or the sword? ... I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, . . . nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, . . . nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Rom. 8. 35-39). Thirdly, our love of God should be efficient, that is, consist in acts or deeds, and not in mere words." He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me" (John 14. 21).
3. MOTIVES FOR LOVING GOD.
Many persons look upon God as a strict, stern and very unamiable old man. And, nevertheless, God is loveliness and lovableness itself, for, in the first place, He is the supremely perfect Good. We naturally love whatever is good, whatever is perfect. But all the goodness, all the perfections that shine forth in creatures, however great they may be, are a mere shadow compared to the absolute goodness and infinite perfections of God. He is supremely good, supremely perfect. He is so good and so perfect, that it is impossible for Him to be more good and more perfect than He really is. God first loved us, for He has loved us as long as He is, that is, from eternity! His love for us, moreover, has always been infinite or boundless, and without any merit or claim on our part. He is infinitely happy in Himself, and therefore has no need of us, nor of our love. And, nevertheless, what great and countless benefits has He not, out of His infinite goodness and love for us, lavished upon us! All that we have and all that we are, are His gratuitous gifts to us. He is our greatest Benefactor. "Let us, therefore, love God, because God hath first loved us" (i John 4. 19). For us He created heaven, He made us His children, and destined us, as His heirs, to share forever His own happiness. Thirdly, God, our Creator, our Sovereign Lord, demands our love; insists on it: "And now what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?"(Deut. 10. 12).
He promises heaven with all its endless joys to those who love Him, and threatens those who will not love Him with the everlasting fire of hell. Fourthly, we owe to God all our love for giving us His divine Son as our Redeemer, our Saviour ; and we owe all our love to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for becoming man, teaching us how to save our souls and suffering and dying for us on the cross to enable us to save our souls and merit the eternal reward of heavenly bliss. Could God do more for us to manifest His boundless love for us, sinners? Behold the crucifix! It tells us how much His love for us has cost Him! Look at the tabernacle, in which Jesus Christ, out of love for us, dwells among us as our best Friend, as the nourishment of our souls ! Look at heaven, where He has prepared for us ineffable and inconceivable enjoyments which will for ever satisfy all our desires ! And then tell me what more can God do for us to testify His excessive love for us and to win our love?
4. OUR LOVE OF GOD MAY BE EITHER PERFECT OR IMPERFECT.
It is perfect, if we love God for His own sake only, and not for our sake or benefit. Our love of God is imperfect, if there is any selfish motive in it; for instance,if we love God for His benefits towards us. Perfect loveof God has the power to obtain God's forgiveness for even
mortal sins, however numerous and heinous they may be, if it is joined to the resolution to confess them. The same effect is attributed to an act of perfect contrition, because perfect contrition necessarily includes perfect love of God.
5. WHEN SHOULD WE MAKE ACTS OF THE LOVE OF GOD?
It is customary for good Catholics to make daily at least once or twice the acts of faith, hope and charity. We make an act of the love of God explicitly when we say: "O my God, I love Thee" or use similar words ; but we make such acts implicitly, that is, when we say or do some thing that implies or includes the love of God; for instance, every time we pray devoutly, hear Mass, make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, make an act of patience or resignation to God's holy will in our trials, in time of sickness, and whenever we make a good intention, such as, "All for the love of Thee, O my God;" also when we show our grati tude towards God and thank Him for His benefits. We are obliged to make an act of the love of God, at least implicitly, whenever we receive a sacrament. We should especially make acts of the love of God in our dying moments; also whenever we are in danger of death.
6. HOW TO ACQUIRE AND INCREASE IN US THE LOVE OF GOD.
First, we should avoid sin and its occasion; not only mortal sin, but even all wilful venial sin. Secondly, we should faithfully and fervently perform all our religious duties; thirdly, go frequently to confession and holy Communion; fourthly, daily in the morning make a good intention to please God in all we do, and renew this good intention often during the day; fifthly, often reflect on God's goodness towards us and the motives we have for loving Him with all our heart; sixthly, bear all trials and sufferings with patience and resignation for the love of God;seventhly, frequently look at the crucifix and consider how much Jesus Christ has loved us; and finally, pray God to impart to us and increase in us His love, and daily make in our heart many acts of the love of God, and renew our resolution to suffer every pain and trial rather than offend God.
Source: Sermon Matter, Imprimatur 1915
INSTRUCTION ON THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY
OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Why does the Church celebrate this festival?
BECAUSE the day of the Blessed Virgin's birth is one of universal joy to the whole world.
Why does Mary's birth cause such great joy?
To this the Church answers beautifully in the antiphon of the Magnificat: "O Virgin, Mother of God, Thy birth has announced joy to the whole world, for from Thee has proceeded the Sun of Justice, Christ our Lord, who, by taking away the curse, has shed benediction and who, by confounding death, has given us everlasting life." This curse, caused by the sin of our first parents in paradise, burdened the whole earth and especially mankind, for "sin having come into the world by one man, it passed upon all, since all have sinned in this one."
It was in consequence of original sin that the human race was covered with such darkness as to ignore its Creator, whilst on the other hand it prostrated itself before creatures and adored idols of its own construction.
Finally, the hour of redemption had come. The infant was born, who was predestined by God to become the mother of the promised Saviour, and who was consequently to crush the head of the serpent. This festival ought then to spread joy through the world, since, after such ardent desires, salvation is at last about to appear! For Jesus, the Saviour, our Lord and God, the Light of the world, the Sun of Justice, is to come forth from Mary; that darkness which had overshadowed all nations, is about to disappear, the knowledge of God shall abound, the bonds of sin, in which mankind lay fettered, shall be loosed, the curse so long resting upon creation shall be taken away, in a word, the fulness of benediction shall reign upon earth. To-day even death is put to shame, for she is born, from whom shall come forth the Conqueror of death, who depriving it of its sting, shall guide us unto perpetual life. Such are the glorious hopes that Mary's birth awakens in us, promising at the same time the speedy fulfilment of them. Then, as St. Peter Damian says, "let us rejoice in Mary, the most blessed Mother of God, for she bears a new message unto
the world, being the beginning of man's salvation; let us rejoice in the day on which was born the Queen of the World, the Gate of Heaven, the Portal of Paradise, the Tent of God, the Star of the Sea and the Ladder of Heaven, upon which the Supreme King in infinite humility deigned to descend to us, and upon which we may rise from our dust to heaven. To-day the most glorious Virgin is born, from whom shall proceed, as a bridegroom from his chamber, the most beautiful of the sons of men; to-day she leaves her mother's womb, who deserves to be the temple of God."
At the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: Hail, holy parent, who didst bring forth the King, who rules heaven and earth for ever. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. (Ps. xliv.) Glory &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Vouchsafe, Lord, we beseech Thee, to us Thy servants, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as in the childbirth of the blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her Nativity we may obtain an increase of peace. Thro.' &c.
LESSON (Prov. viii. 22 35.) THE Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made anything, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made, The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived: neither had the fountains of waters as yetsprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: he had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present; when, with a certain law and compass, he enclosed the depths; when he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits; when he balanced the foundations of the earth. I was with him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times, playing in the world; and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.
EXPLANATION AND APPLICATION. Above all, this lesson is a eulogy on the divine, uncreated Wisdom, the eternal- Son of God, through whom all is made, arranged and provided, who rejoices at and loves His works, and invites man to love, follow and worship Him, whilst He extends to him temporal and eternal happiness in return. The Church, however, reads this lesson on this festival, because the most of it is also applicable to Mary. For, truly, she can be said to excel all creatures in holiness, and to enjoy a place nearer to God than any other being. And for this reason does the Church refer to her these words of the Wise Man: "I came out of the mouth of the most High, the first-born before all creatures." (Ecclus. xxiv. 5.)
For she is , as St. Richard says , the most worthy of all, and no one can ever arrive at the full measure of her purity or any of her supernatural gifts; nor, therefore, does any creature display the wonders of God's bounty in a degree equal to that of Mary. Do thou then, also, O pious soul, admire this masterpiece of the Almighty and rejoice in it. But let not mere admiration suffice; hear the words that Mary addresses to you in this lesson: "Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways," (Prov. viii. 32.) which means, follow her footprints, walking before God in humility, innocence and meekness as she has done. "Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door." (Id. 34.) According to St. Alphonsus, Mary addresses us thus: "Blessed is he who listeneth to my counsels, and tireth not at the gate of my mercy, invoking my intercession and aid. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord." St. Bonaventure also exclaims: "All ye who thirst for the kingdom of God, O hear what is promised you, namely, life and salvation, if ye but honor Mary." Therefore often make use of the following words of St. Chrysostom: "Hail Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, hail Heaven in which dwelleth God Himself, hail Throne of grace, whence God distributeth His graces unto us, oh, ever intercede for us with Jesus, so that owing to thy prayer we may obtain pardon of our sins and eternal happiness."
GOSPEL. (Matt. i. i 1 6.) THE book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas, and his brethren. And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram. And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon. And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abias. And Abias begot Asa. And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. Andjoram begot Ozias. And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias. And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon. And, after the transmigration ofBabylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobab'el. And Zorobab begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor. And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud. And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
Why does St. Matthew commence his gospel by enumerating Christs birth according to the flesh?
In order to confute those sectarians who affirmed that Christ's body was not real, but only a phantom. Hence it is that St. Matthew enumerates singly the forefathers from whom Christ descended according to His sacred humanity.
Why are even sinful women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ?
In order to show that Christ, who for the sake of sinners came down from heaven, disdained not to descend from such, in order to inspire all sinners with the hope of salvation and to take away the sins of all. Moreover, this is to teach us that we need not blush at the faults of parents or relatives, provided we do not share them; nor need we at all be ashamed of their humble condition, for true nobility is displayed in our own virtues and not in the deeds of our ancestors.
Why is Joseph's, and not Mary's^genealogy read?
Because it was customary among the Jews for wards to receive the name, and also to inherit the rights of their foster-fathers, such as Joseph was to Jesus; and Mary, being the only daughter of her father, and therefore sole heiress, was obliged to take a husband out of her own tribe and family, according to the law; (Num. xxxvi. 6.) hence it follows that Mary was of the tribe of David. St. Luke details this in chapter iii. (23-38.) of his gospel, where he gives Mary's genealogy, enumerating her ancestors from Adam to Heli, that is, Joachim, the father of Mary.
Why does St. Matthew not say, Joseph begot Jesus, but only mentions Joseph as Mary's husband?
To evince that Jesus was not begotten in Mary by Joseph, but supernaturally by the Holy Ghost.
Oh most pure and spotless Virgin! how beautiful and perfect thou art. Never hast thou suffered from a single stain. I desire that all the world should recognize thee as that perfect and spotless dove which thy divine bridegroom declares thee to be; as that closed up garden, the favorite dwelling-place of God; as that pure lily growing among thorns, that is, the children of Adam, who come into the world already sullied with sin and as enemies to God. I too am born a sinner, yea, after baptism I have voluntarily stained my soul by sins. Oh, then, Immaculate Mother, do thou assist me in recovering my innocence, so that Jesus, thy Son, may at the hour of my death receive me into the number of His elect. Amen.
Our September issue of the Gazette is available to download on our download page. Saint stories, coloring pictures, stories and lots of good Catholic information for children of all ages.
Appropriate prayers for anyone to say before and after Instruction. We use these before and after our school day.
O LORD God and heavenly Father, bestow upon us the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, that enlightened by Him, we may understand aright and keep in mind all that we may learn that is profitable to us, and may both begin and end all things well in Thy glory, and in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER AFTER INSTRUCTION
WE give Thee thanks, merciful God, for the instruction and direction which we have received. Grant us Thy grace that we may lay the lesson to heart and carry it into action, to Thy glory and our eternal welfare. Furthermore we pray Thee to pour forth Thy blessing upon our parents and superiors, our teachers and benefactors, and to recompense them abundantly for all the good which they have been the means of bringing to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER TO THE HOLY GHOST
COME, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them forever. Amen.
Source: The Catholic Girl's Guide, Imprimatur 1908
THE POPE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Pope Pius X
Pope Leo XIII died in 1903. In the conclave that followed, Joseph Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice, was elected Pope and chose the name Pius X. He was a holy man and had all the characteristics of a simple parish priest. All his life long he had loved the poor and had labored in their midst. He announces to the world that it would be his great ideal as Pope "to restore all things in Christ."
In order that Christ might live more fully in the hearts of his people, Pius X encouraged frequent Communion. Too many Christians had gotten the wrong idea that they were not good enough to go to Holy Communion very often. The Pope reminded them that it is the desire of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist to become our Daily Bread and that He invites sinners as well as saints to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. Through the Sacrament of the Altar they will receive the grace and strength to overcome temptation and lead holy lives.
Another wrong notion that had crept in was that one had to grow up before receiving Holy Communion, and all over the world children had to wait until they were over twelve years old before they came to the altar rail for the first time. Pius X insisted that they had a right to receive Holy Communion as soon as they had come to the age of reason and knew that our Lord is really and truly present in the Eucharist. He wanted the little ones to be united with Christ before their souls had been soiled by sin.
PRESERVING THE FAITH
Pius X was most zealous for the spread of Christian learning. In 1909 he founded a school in Rome for the study of the Sacred Scripture. It is known as the Biblical Institute. He appointed a commission of Cardinals to bring all the laws of the Church together in a new collection called "Code of Canon Law" and he gave to the Benedictines the task of preparing a better text of the Vulgate, or Latin Bible.
There were those who thought that the Church could make more progress in the world is she would only bring her teachings more in line with the ideas and notions of the day. They wanted to be modern and it was not long before they were teaching doctrines concerning God, our blessed Saviour and the bible that were altogether wrong. To recall them to their senses and to remind the world once more of the true teachings of the Church, Pius X wrote a great Encyclical against modernism and ordered that henceforth all priests must take an oath not to teach modernistic theories.
Source: Story of the Church, Imprimatur 1935
A file of Pope Pius X encyclical on Modernism is below as well as a coloring picture for the children.
Holy Mother Church
dedicates the month of January to the
Most Holy Name of Jesus
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