"Go, wing thy flight from star to star, From world to luminous world, as far As the universe spreads its
flaming wall: Take all the pleasures of all the
spheres, And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of Heaven is worth them all."
A blessed feast of St. Boniface to you all! Prayerfully you all had a wonderful Ascension Day and Sunday after the Ascension, its now just days away to Pentecost! How did 50 days pass by so quickly?
I managed to get some pictures of our last feast day, please forgive my horrible photography. We have a camera which my college photography instructor called a PHD... push here dummy. Well I'm afraid that about explains my photography skills ;) At any rate, a picture good or bad is still worth a thousand words. Our theme for the evenings meal was clouds and the sky. As usual the children are easily impressed and I always have too many things planned. Its after the feast that I'm reminded once again that God loves simplicity and that children do too! For dinner we had "Angel Hair" Chicken Alfredo which was white like heaven and a cloud! Also joining our feast was our typical green salad which graces our table almost nightly. Later someone mentioned we could have had cauliflower which is white too. Dessert was in abundance as it seems much easier to get white desserts rather than main dishes to look like clouds. We had white cloud cookies (a.k.a. meringues from Trader Joe's), Angel Food Cloud Cake and Cloud Parfaits. For drinks, the younger crowd had a sparking chardonnay grape juice (from Trader Joe's) and the older crowd had a nice white wine.
Earlier in the day we did the Ascension word search, the Ascension Maze and the Ascension coloring page
which were all shared on our previous post about Ascension day planning you can find in our archives. Still waiting for us, as we haven't had time for it yet, is a little cloud dough which I'm hoping will leave an 'impression' on our children as we demonstrate how our foot prints leave their impression just like Jesus' did as He ascended to heaven. Read the little story about that here, the impression of His feet are still there!
The youngest dinner guests....
How to make Cloud Parfaits:
Cloud Parfaits were fairly easy to make . Make blue Jell-o according to package instructions. Once it has cooled for 4 hours take a fork and scrape rows in the pan of jello and then scrape columns (or the other way around) so that you have little pebbles of jello. Place a bit of the jello in a container. I used a small bowl but a shot glass would have been great or a martini/margarita glass. Something tall rather than wide like I used would be best. Instead of a frozen whip cream we used Coconut Cream. We are dairy free around here so this was a great alternative and it made this dessert a little bit healthier ;) The coconut cream works best if in the refrigerator over night but this came direct off the shelve and it did just fine. Place the cream in a mixer making sure to not include the oil that is at the bottom of the can. Whip on medium speed for a few minutes. Now take about a tablespoon and make a small cloud up against the bowl. Repeat several times until you have as many clouds as you want and then layer some more blue jello on top of the clouds. If you have a tall glass you might be able to do this several times. I also found that one little box of jello didn't go far so if you have more than 3 hungry guests and especially if this is the only dessert I would suggest another box or two of jello.
Cloud Dough is sort of a cross between play dough and sand. It is crumbly like sand but if you squeeze it together it starts to look like play dough. Its easily made with just two ingredients. I doubled the recipe and used 12 cups of all purpose white flour and 2 cups of baby oil. Simply add the flour to a large mixing container and make a well. Then pour in the two cups of baby oil. I used a pastry mixer to get the oil in well and then dug in with my hands and started separating the clumps of dough so it looked more like sand and was more evenly mixed. This makes a great medium for sensory tables. One could build 'sand' castles and any other thing that you might do with a wet sand. This dough will not roll out like play dough but it gives way to other types of creations.
What exciting traditions did you start this year, or some favorites that you kept? Anything new that you read on the Ascension? This is your first year having an actual feast day celebration aside from our usual prayers and we really enjoyed it. We look forward to next year as these new things for us become tradition and we maybe add a few others!
"Let us ascend in spirit with Christ, that when His day comes, we may follow with our body. Let us do this by trampling on our vices and evil inclinations; thus building
a ladder by which we can ascend." - St. Augustine
Courtesy of Holy Card Heaven
Catholic Life or Feasts, Fasts and Devotions for the Ecclesastical Year
Our Lord remained forty days on earth after His Resurrection, to prove its truth, to encourage His Apostles, and to give them all the instruction necessary for the preaching of His Gospel and the organization of the infant Church. "And He led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up His hands He blessed them. And it came to pass, whilst He blessed them, He departed from them and was carried up to Heaven. And while they were beholding Him going up to Heaven, behold men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to Heaven? This Jesus Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into Heaven. And they, adoring, went back into Jerusalem with great joy" *(Acts i.).
*Immediately after the Gospel the Paschal candle is extinguished and removed to represent Christ's Ascension. We ought to-day to think of our Lord in Heaven as our Mediator; to beg a share in the blessing He gave His disciples; to encourage ourselves to serve God faithfully by the prospect of Heaven; to train ourselves to look on this world as a place of banishment, and to raise our hearts towards our heavenly country, where Christ as our precursor entered on this day. Every time we say "Our Father Who art in Heaven" we ought to think of our heavenly home, and to be determined to avoid everything that could prevent our reaching it.
There is in every human heart a craving for happiness. Men seek it by day and by night, yet are never satisfied, for all earthly happiness is limited both in measure and duration. It is strange that, though the heart is small, nothing but infinite happiness can satisfy it. That happiness - that satisfying happiness- will be found in Heaven, in the possession of a God Whose perfections are infinite. Surely this is worth striving for. "
Go, wing thy flight from star to star,
From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall:
Take all the pleasures of all the spheres,
And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of Heaven is worth them all."
Example. - Blessed Thomas More.
Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, having refused to take the Oath of Supremacy and to join the schism of Henry VIII., was imprisoned in the Tower of London. One day, standing at the prison window with his daughter, they saw three Carthusian monks led forth to execution for denial of the Supremacy. "See, Meg," exclaimed her father, "how these blessed men go forth to their deaths, as cheerful as bridegrooms to their marriage. Surely God thinketh not thy silly father worthy of so quick release." Some time after, his wife obtained leave to visit him. As she entered his chamber she saluted him thus: "What, Mr. More! I marvel that you, who are accounted a wise man, should play the fool, and choose to abide in this filthy prison among rats and mice, when you might be abroad at your liberty, if you would but do as the others have done. And, seeing that you have a right goodly house at Chelsea, I wonder why in God's name you tarry here longer." "Alice," replied Sir Thomas, "tell me this one thing: Is not this house as near Heaven as my own?" She then tried what affection could do. She begged him in the most moving accents not to abandon a wife who adored him, children to whom he was never so necessary as at present, his country, his fortune, and, in fine, his life, which was now at its brightest, only for himself. Sir Thomas then asked her how long she had thought he might live if set free. "At least twenty years and perhaps thirty," she replied. "Twenty or thirty years," replied the great man. "What is that, or even all time, compared with eternity?"
As it was felt that more would be gained by his recantation than by his death, many more attempts were made to shake his resolution; but all were fruitless. A few thoughts or prayers scratched on the walls of his dungeon, or written with coal on scraps of paper, have been preserved- e.g., "Who would save his life to displease God? If thou so savest thy life, how deadly wouldst thou hate it on the morrow, and feel heavy at thy heart that thou hadst not died the day before.
The moment approaches when thou shalt rejoice with Christ in the revelation of His glory." Early on the morning of July 6 he got word that he was to die at 9a.m. So joyously did he receive the news that he changed his apparel, putting on a silk gown, for he would fain go forth to his death as to a banquet. On his way to the block an acquaintance offered him a drink of wine, which he refused, saying: "Christ at his Passion drank no wine, but vinegar and gall." Arrived at the place of execution, he knelt down, said the Miserere, and having made some pleasant remarks, received the blow which ushered his soul into the presence of his Maker.
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Catholic Ceremonies and Explanation of the Ecclesiastical Year
From the French of Abbe Durand
Processions and Rogations- Plagues, ceaselessly recurring, desolated the Church in Vienne: droughts, earthquakes, fires, and the ravages of wild beasts. St. Mamertus, to appease heaven, ordered prayers, or rogations, sanctified by fasting and accompanied by a solemn procession. Copying those of the Ninivites, they were three days in duration, and the three days immediately preceding the feast of the Ascension were chosen. Is it not the Gospel of the last Sunday after Easter which says: "Ask and you shall receive"? St. Mamertus remembered this, and put under the protection of this solemn promise his celebrated institution, which the entire Church soon adopted. "It seemed," says Bossuet, "that the Church wished to lay upon JEsus Christ ascending into heaven all her desires, as the true Mediator for man with God." (Cateh. des Fetes.)
In the processions of the rogation-days, as in that of St. Mark, the Church prays for the fruits of the earth. Not to join therein is to affect a stupid independence: the rich as well as the poor, and more than the poor, because His domains are vaster; the city man as well as he who tills the fields, need God. (See what has been said of processions in general, page 89.) Editors note, this information is at the end of the article.))
The Ascension.- The fortieth day following His resurrection, Our Lord appeared a last time to His disciples, ate with them, led them to the Mount of Olives, and there, toward noon, arose into heaven in their presence: this is the mystery celebrated on this day. The paschal candle is extinguished after the gospel, to indicate that Jesus Christ, the true light, has left the earth.
CHAPTER VIII- PROCESSIONS
Image of Life.- Processions are a figure of our life here below. We put pass over the earth, "for we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come." (Heb. xiii.14.) Now is not this religious march a figure of our poor life? Each procession repeats to those who will hear the language of the liturgy: Life is a passage: it flows away as rapidly as the brook in the valley; it flies like the cloud in the heavens' it vanishes like the breath of a flower, fades like the smile of a child. In its course the procession advances by roads sometimes stony, sometimes smooth; here the sun's burning rays beat down, a little further great trees throw upon us their refreshing shade. These are truly like the changes of life, pain is succeeded by joy; joy again by sorrow; both are fleeting, for here everything passes away.
The processions do not return by the same road: does man see agin the years that are gone? They have disappeared, the days of childhood, those of youth, and in their turn follows old age, and eternity. We all have issued forth from the bosom of God, as the brook from its source, the ray from the sun. God is our beginning; He is also our end.Created for Him, our vocation is to go to Him; come forth from His bosom, after our pilgrimage we should re-enter there. Th church from which we go out and to which we return will remind us of our divine origin and our divine destiny. The recollection of grandeur should not alone present itself to us. Humanity, in the person of Adam and Eve, was driven from the earthly paradise and condemned to exile in this vale of tears; and we ourselves have many times, like other prodigals, left our Father's house. In leaving the church we will be reminded of the punishment of our first parents, and perhaps reproach ourselves for our ingratitude toward God.
The Position of the Cross.- Who will be the guide of humanity in the darkness and dangers of its pilgrimage? Jesus Christ, Whose glorious standard is carried at the head of the procession. We must follow after it if we would come to His kingdom. He who has always before him Jesus Christ crucified soon feels that in the shadow of the cross pains lose their bitterness and pleasures their seduction. The crucifix precedes us because Jesus Christ Himself has preceded us in the way of trial; His feet have been torn by the stones and the thorns, and He has left His blood on the sharp sides of the stones, on the piercing darts of the thorns; it is a divine balm which will heal all our wounds. What does it matter by what road the Lord wills us to march? Jesus has sanctified its pains in taking them upon Himself. He, the man of all sorrows, has preceded us in all suffering.
Order of the Procession.- Among the virtues there are two above all others recommended to us: humility and charity. The Church recalls their practice by the order followed in her processions. The most worthy come last, and the least wroth are at the head of the processor., according to the counsel of the Saviour: "And he that will be the first among you, let him be your servant." (St. Matt. xx. 27.) This is the procession's lesson of humility. The faithful who march two by two by this symbolic number figure the double charity recommended by Our Lord when He sent His disciples two by two to preach the Gospel. (St. Gregory, Homil., xvii.) The Church invites us to practice this virtue at the moment when the procession is leaving the sanctuary. "Do not forget," she says, "to walk in peace and harmony" ("Procedamus in pace"). How maternal, too, is the care of the Church. She puts her little children close to the cross, by the side of Him Who always kept His tenderest blessings, His sweetest caresses, for them.
The Sound of the Bells.- During the procession the ringing of bells repels the assaults of the evil spirits. The bell is the sacred trumpet of the Church militant; its peals remind us that life is the time of combat, and that "powers of the air" are our chief enemies. But what arms shall we use? Prayer. This is why during the course of the procession the sacred chants arise; we must oppose perpetual resistance to an enemy that never sleeps. "Watch, then, and pray," says the Church with Jesus Christ. "We ought always to pray, and not to faint." (St. Luke xviii. 1.)
Efficacy of Processions.- The common cause of our falls is forgetfulness of our destiny; strangers and travelers here below, we make of this earth a permanent dwelling-place. And when the Church wishes to call down upon her guilty children the pardon of heaven she commands processions, and God allows Himself to be disarmed. St. Anthony cites a memorable example of this. In the fourteenth century Europe, disturbed by the scourge of war, was miraculously restored to peace after solemn processions. The same saint tells us that the blessed Mother of God appeared to a peasant and told him that her Son was very angry with the world because of its crimes. In her merciful compassion for sinners she revealed to him this means as the best manner of appeasing the wrath of God. (III. Pars. Hist., c. iii.)
If we desire that processions may be efficacious with God, let us bring to them the dispositions of which we have spoken. Let us regard ourselves as strangers here below; nothing is ours, all belongs to God. As travelers, we are but passing over the earth; as pilgrims, the end of our journey is heaven. And when, overcome by the heat and fatigue at the end of the procession, we find again the holy place of rest and refreshment, let us think of how sweet it will be after the labors of this life are over to rest in eternal peace beneath the shadow of God.
More resources for the Rogation Days
For those of you with children, looking for a way to teach about the life of Our Lord , Holy Communion, First Confession and/or studies for lower elementary on the upcoming Lenten season...
we are working on a little project....
.... hop on over to Life of our Savior and ...
Life of the Soul pages, and let us know what you think.
The Liturgical Year - Paschal Time Vol. III
By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
For the third time, holy Church marshals her children in procession, and makes a solemn appeal to the divine mercy. Let us follow her sacred standard, and join her in invoking the intercession of the saints. The Litany, in which we pray to all the choirs of the heavenly Jerusalem, is both a magnificent and a powerful prayer: it is the Church triumphant uniting with the Church militant in praying for the salvation of the world.
O MARY! Mother of God, Virgin of virgins, miracle of divine power, exercise in our favour thy maternal mediation with Him, who, though God, is thy Son!
Michael the invincible, Gabriel, welcome messenger of our salvation, Raphael, affectionate physician of them that are suffering; Angels and Archangels who watch over us, and co-operate in the work of our salvation; all ye choirs of blessed spirits, who are waiting for your ranks to be filled up by the elect of earth: intercede for your brethren, your clients!
John the Baptist, precursor of the Lamb of God' Joseph, spouse of Mary Immaculate, and foster-father of the Son of God; patriarchs, the glorious forefathers of the human race, and ancestors of the Messiahs; prophets, who foretold His coming, and described the events of His life, that so the earth might recognize Him as its promised Redeemer: remember us who are living in this exile, through which you also passed!
Peter, universal pastor, that holdest the keys of the kingdom of heaven; Paul, apostle of the Gentiles, armed with the sword of the word, and immolated by the sword of martyrdom; Andrew, crucified like thy master; James the Greater, son of thunder, founder of the Catholic kingdom; John, the beloved disciple, the adopted son and guardian of Mary, evangelist and prophet; Thomas, apostle of the Indies, pierced to death by a spear; James the Less, surnamed the 'brother of the Lord'; Philip, who didst preach the Gospel to the Scythians, and wast crucified at Heirapolis; Bartholomew, the teacher and martyr of Armenia; Matthew, the evangelist, who didst carry the faith into the scorching regions of Ethiopia; Simon, by whose zeal Mesopotamia was led to the knowledge of Christ; Thaddeus, the courageous destroyer of the idols of Egypt; Mathias, chose to fill up the place of the traitor Judas, and well worthy of the honour; Barnabas, Paul's companion, of the apostle of the Gentiles, and historian of the Incarnate Word; Mark, disciple of Peter, under whose direction thou wrotest the Gospel of salvation: we devoutly honour you as our fathers in the faith; pray for and with us!
Disciples of our Lord, who, though not raised to the rank of apostles, were chosen by Him to be their fellow-labourers, and who, on the day of Pentecost, were filled with the Holy Ghost; dear Innocents of Bethlehem, first-fruits of the martyrs: deign to join us in our supplications!
Stephen the crowned, Laurence the brave and cheerful winner of immortal laurels, Vincent the victorious,- the glorious triumvirate of deacons; Fabian, pontiff designated by a dove sent from heaven; Sebastian, dauntless soldier of holy Church; John and Paul, Cosmas and DAmian, Gervasius and Protasius, brothers by nature and by martyrdom; oh! all ye holy martyrs, protect us under the shadow of your palms!
Sylvester, pontiff of peace; Gregory, vicar both of the meekness and of the authority of Christ; Ambrose, whose eloquence was sweet as honey, and whose courage was that of a lion; Augustine, doctor of doctors, and apostle of divine charity; Jerome inspired interpreter of the Scriptures; Martin thaumaturgus of the west, and Nicholas, wonder-worker in the east; holy pontiffs, holy doctors of the Church, lead back to Christ all His sheep that have gone astray.
Antony, the glory of the desert, and the conqueror of satan; Benedict, the Abraham of the new Testament, whose children are countless as the stars of heaven; Bernard, pillar of the Church, and favourite of the Mother of God; Dominic, preacher of the divine truth, and scourage of heresy; Francis friend of the spouse of poverty, crucified together with Christ; we honour you all; enkindle within our souls the desire of Christian perfection!
Priests of the Lord; holy monks, hermits, and confessors: pray for us who implore your aid!
Mary Magdalene, once a sinner, but afterwards a saint, whose devotedness to Jesus was so generous and fervent: obtain for us that compunction of heart, which makes amends for sin by love!
Agatha and Lucy, beautiful flowers of fair Sicily; Agnes who followest the Lamb whithersoever He goeth; Cicily, wreathed with thy roses and lilies, and queen of sweet melody; Catharine the wise virgin that confoundest the false wisdom of philosophers; Anastasia, the valiant woman that didst triumph over the trials of life and severity of tortures; oh! all ye holy virgins, spouses of Jesus, look with compassion on us who are dwelling in this land of exile!
All ye holy men and women, saints of God, who now reign in heaven above, think of us your brethren, who mourn in this vale of tears. We, too, are created for eternal happiness; and yet vanities of time engross our thoughts and affections. Make intercession for us, that, henceforth, we may walk worthy of God, who hath called us unto His kingdom and glory. (I Thess. ii.12)
The Litany is finished and for the third time, the holy Sacrifice is about to work reconciliation between our God and us His guilty children. Let us hope that He will make this year of peace and plenty; and next year, when the Church invites us to join her in this public supplication for pardon, may the number of those who respond to her call, be such as to merit an increase of every blessing!
The Mass is given above, page 144. Let us assist at it with a deep conviction of our own insufficiency to make atonement for our sins, and yet with a firm confidence in the infinite merits of the Paschal Lamb, our risen Jesus.
The ancient Church of Gual used to recite the following prayer on this third of the Rogation days. It will aid us to a spirit of penance.
It is truly meet and just, year most meet, that they who fast should seek thee alone, thee that art the teacher of abstinence, and the giver of eternal rewards to them that practise it. To them that fast, thou grantest that they, with faith ask of thee: thou cleanest them from the stains contracted by intemperate indulgence. It was thou that didst proclaim holy fasting by thy servant Moses, in the book of Leviticus, wherein thou commandedst that we should humble our souls, let we should be destroyed, as was the people that gave themselves up to excess in eating. Thine only-begotten Son sanctified this institution by himself fulfilling it, and, by his fast, opening to us the kingdom we had lost, and pardoning our sins. Do thou, therefore, graciously accept the fasts thou hast instituted, and, by them, absolve us from all our guilt.
The third morning of the Rogation days is over; the hour of noon has come, and from it we begin to count the hours of the last day which the Son of God is to spend upon earth in His visible presence. During these three days, we seem to have forgotten that the time of separation is close upon us; but not: the thought itself, and the humble supplications we have been presenting to heaven, in union with holy Church, have prepared us to celebrate the last mystery achieved by our Emmanuel on earth.
The disciples are all assembled in Jerusalem. They are grouped around the blessed Mother, in the cenacle, awaiting the hour when their divine Master is to appear to them for the last time. Recollected and silent, they are reflecting upon all the kindness and condescension He has been lavishing upon them during the last forty days; they are ruminating upon the instructions they have received from His sacred lips. They know Him so well now! They know in very deed that He came out from the Father. (St. John, xvii. 8.) As to what regards themselves, they have leared from Him what their mission is: they have to go, ignorant men as they are, and teach all nations; (St. Matt. xxviii. 19.) but (Oh sad thought!) He is about to leave them; yet a little while, and they shall not see Him! (St. John, xvi. 16.)
What a contrast between their sorrow and the smiling face of nature, which is decked out in her best, for she is going to celebrate the triumphant departure of her Creator! The earth is blooming with the freshness of her first-fruits, the meadows have put on their richest emerald, the air is perfumed with blossom and flower; and all this loveliness of spring is due to the bright sun that shines upon the earth to give her the gladness and life, and is privileged to be, both by its kingly splendour and the successive phases of its influence upon our glove, the grand symbol of our Emmanuel's passage through this world.
Let us go back in through to the dismal days of the winter solstice. The sun looked then so pallid; his triumph over night was slow and short; he rose, and sank again, often without our seeing him; his light had a certain timid reserve about it, and his heat was, for weeks, too feeble to rescue nature from the grasp of frost. Such was our divine Sun of Justice, when first He came on earth; His rays made but little way in the world's thick gloom; He kept His spendour in, lest men should be dazzled by too sudden a change from darkness to light. Like the material sun, He gained upon the world by slow advances; and even so, His progress was shrouded by many a cloud. His sojourn in the land of Egypt, His hidden life at Nazareth, were long periods during which He was wholly lost sight of. But when the time came for all magnificence, upon Galilee and Judea; He spoke as one having power (St. Matt. vii. 29), His works bore testimony to His being God (St. John, x, 25.), and the people hailed Him with the cry of 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'
He was almost at the zenith of His glory, when suddenly came the eclipse of His Passion and Death. For some hours, His enemies flattered themselves that they had for ever put out His light. Vain hope! On the third day, our divine Sun triumphed over this final obstruction, and now stands in the firmament, pouring out His light upon all creation, but warning us that His course is run. For He can never descend; there is no setting for Him; and here finishes the comparison between Himself and the orb of day. It is from heaven itself that He, our beautiful Orient, is henceforth to enlighten and direct us, as Zachary foretold at the birth of the Baptist (St. Luke, i, 79.). The royal prophet, too, thus exultingly sang of Him: 'He hath rejoiced, as a great, to run the way: His going out is from the highest heaven, and His circuit even to the summit thereof: and there is no one that can hid himself from His heat. (Ps. xviii. 6,7).
This Ascension, which enthroned our Emmanuel as the eternal center of light, was, by His own decree, to take place on one of the days of the month which men call May, and which clothes in its richest beauty the creation of this same God, who, when He had made it, was pleased with it, and found it very good (Gen. i. 31). Sweet month of May! Not gloomy and cold like December, which brought us the humble joys of Bethlehem; not lowering and clouded like March, when the Lamb was sacrificed on Calvary; but buoyant with sunshine, and flowers, and life, and truly worth to be offered, each year, to Mary, the Mother of God, for it is the month of her Jesus' triumph.
O Jesus! our Creator and our Brother! our eyes and heart have followed Thee from Thy first rising uon our world. We have celebrated, in the holy liturgy, each of Thy giant steps. But Thy very growth in beauty and brightness told us that Thou must one day leave us, to go and take possession of the place that was alone worthy of Thee, the throne at the right hand of Thine eternal Father. The spendour that has been on Thee since Thy Resurrection, is not of this world; Thou canst no longer abide among us. Thou hast remained here below, for these forty days, only for the sake of consolidating Thy work' and tomorrow the earth that has been blessed with Thy presence for three and thirty years, will be deprived of its privilege and joy. We rejoice at Thy approaching triumph, as did Thy blessed Mother, Thy disciples, Mary Magdalene and her companions; but we are sad at the thought of losing Thee, and Thou wilt forgive us. Thou wast our Emmanuel, our 'God with us'; henceforth, Thou art to be our Sun, our King, reigning from the throne of heaven, and we shall no longer be able to hear Thee, nor see Thee, nor touch Thee, O Word of life(I St. John, i.l.). Still, dearest Jesus, we say to Thee with all our hearts: Glory and love be to Thee, for Thou hast treated us with infinite mercy! Thou owedst nothing to us; we were unworthy of a single look from Thee; and yet Thou camest down to this sinful earth, Thou hast dwelt among us, Thou hast paid our ransom by Thy Blood, Thou hast re-established peace between God and man. Oh, yes! it is most just that Thou shouldst now return to Him that sent Thee (St. John, svi. 5.). The Church, Thy bride, consents to her exile; she thinks only of what is most glorious to her Jesus; and she thus addresses Thee, in the words of the Canticle: 'Flee way, O my Beloved! and be swift as the roe and as the young hart, and ascend to the mountians, where the flowers of heaven exhale their sweet fragrance (Cant. viii. 14.)!' Can we, poor sinners as we are, refuse to imitate this loving resignation of her, who is Thy bride, and our mother?
The Liturgical Year - Paschal Time Vol. III
By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur 1927
To-day, again, the great Litany, the supplication, procession re-appears in the streets of the city, and in the quiet lanes of the country. Let us take our share in this sacred rite; let us blend our voice with that of our mother, and join the cry that pierces the clouds: Kyrie elesion! Lord have mercy on us! Let us think, for a moment, of the countless sins that are being committed, day and night; and let us sue for mercy. In the days of Noe, all flesh had corrupted its way; (Gen. vi. 12) but men thought not of asking for mercy. The flood came, and destroyed them all (St. Luke, xvii. 27.), says our Saviour. Had they prayed, had they begged God's pardon, the hand of His justice would have been stayed, and the flood-gates of heaven would not have been opened (Gen. vii. 11.). The day is come, when not water as heretofore, but fire, is suddenly to be enkindled by the divine wrath, and is to burn the whole earth. It shall burn even the foundations of the mountians (Deut. xxx. 22); it shall devour sinners, who will be resting then, as they were in the days of Noe, in a false security.
Persecuted by her enemies, decimated by the martyrdom of her children, afflicted by numerous apostasies from the faith, and deprived of every human aid, the Church will know that the terrible chastisement is at hand, for prayer will then be as rare as faith. Let us, therefore, pray; that thus the day of wrath may be put off, the Christian life regain something of its ancient vigour, and the end of the world not be in our times. There are even yet Catholics in every part of the world; but their number has visibly decreased. Heresy is now in possession of whole countries, that were once faithful to the Church. In others, where heresy has not triumphed, religious indifference has left the majority of men with nothing of Catholicity but the name, seeing that they neglect even their most essential obligations without remorse. Among many of those who fulfill the precepts of the Church, truths are diminished (Ps. xi. 2). The old honesty of faith has been superseded by loose ideas and half-formed convictions. A man is popular in proportion to the concession he makes in favour of principles condemned by the Church. The sentiments and actions of saints, the conduct and teaching of the Church, are taxed with exaggeration, and decried as being unsuited to the period. The search after comforts has become a serious study; the thirst for earthly goods is a noble passion; independence is an idol to which everything must be sacrificed; submission is a humiliation which must be got rid of, or, where that cannot be, it must not be publicly acknowledged. Finally, there is sensualism, which, like an impure atmosphere, so impregnates every class of society, that one would suppose there was a league formed to abolish the cross of Christ from the minds of men.
What miseries must not follow from this systematic setting aside of the conditions imposed by God upon His creatures? If the Gospel be the word of infinite Truth, how can men oppose it without drawing down upon themselves the severest chastisements? Would that these chastisements might work the salvation of them that have provoked them! Let us humble ourselves before the sovereign holiness of our God, and confess our guilt. The sins of men are increasing both in number and in enormity. The picture we have just drawn is sad enough; what would it have been, had we added such abominations as these, which we purposely excluded: downright impiety; corrupt doctrines, which are being actively propagated throughout the world; dealings with satan, which threaten to degrade our age to the level of pagan times; the conspiracy organized against order, justice, and religion, by secret societies? Oh! let us unite our prayer with that of holy Church, and say to our God: From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Lord!
The Rogation days were instituted for another end besides this of averting the divine anger. We must beg our heavenly Father to bless the fruits of the earth; we must beseech Him, with all the earnestness of public prayer, to give us our daily bread. 'The eyes of all,' says the psalmist, 'hope in Thee, O Lord! and Thou givest them food in due season. Thou openest Thy hand, and fillest with blessing every living creature.' (PS. cxliv. 15,16)) In accordance with the consoling doctrine conveyed by these words, the Church prays to God, that He would, this year, give to all living creatures on earth the food they stand in need of. She acknowledges that we are not worth of the favour, for we are sinners. Let us unite with her in this humble confession; but, at the same time, let us join her in beseeching our Lord to make mercy triumph over justice. How easily could He frustrate the self-conceited hopes, and the clever systems of men! They own that all depends on the weather; and on whom does that depend? They cannot do without God. True, they seldom speak of Him, and He permits Himself to be forgotten by them; but "He neither sleepeth nor slumbereth, that keepeth Israel." (Ps. cxx.4.) He has but to withhold His blessing, and all their progress in agricultural science, whereby they boast to have made famine an impossibility, is of no effect. Some unknown disease comes upon a vegetable; it causes distress among the people, and endangers te social order of a world that has secularized itself from the Christian law, and would at once perish, but for the mercy of the God it affects to ignore.
If, then, our heavenly Father deign, this year to bless the fruits of the earth, we may say, in all truth, that He gives food to them that forget and blaspheme Him, as well as to them that make Him the great object of their thoughts and of their service. Men of no religion will profit by the blessing, but they will not acknowledge it to be His; they will proclaim more loudly than ever, that nature's laws are now so well regulated by modern science, that she cannot help going on well! God will be silent, and will feed the men who thus insult Him. but why does He not speak? Why does He not make His wrath felt? Because His Church has prayed; because He has found the ten just men(Gen. xviii. 32), that is, the few for whose sake. He mercifully consents to spare the world. He therefore permits these learned economists, whom He could so easily disconcert, to go on talking and writing. Thanks to this His patience, some of them will grow tired of their impious absurdity; an unexpected circumstance will open their eyes to the truth, and they will, one day, join us both in faith and in prayer. Others will go deeper and deeper into blasphemy; they will go on to the last, defying God's justice, and fulfilling in themselves that terrible saying of holy Scripture: "The Lord hath made all things for Himself; the wicked also for the evil day.' (Prov. xvi. 4.)
We, who glory in the simplicity of our faith, who acknowledge that we have all from God and nothing from ourselves, who confess that we are sinners and undeserving of His gifts, will as Him, during these three days, to give us the food we require; we will say to Him, with holy Church: That Thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth: We beseech Thee, hear us! May He have pity on us in our necessities! Next year, we will return to Him with the same earnest request. WE will march, under the standard of the cross, through the same roads, making the air resound with the same litanies. WE will do this with all the greater confidence, at the thought that our holy mother is marshaling her children in every part of Christendom, in this solemn and suppliant procession. For thirteen hundred years has our God been accustomed to receive the petitions of His faithful people, at this season of the year; He shall have the ame homage from us; nay, we will endavour, by the fervour of our prayer, to make amends for the indifference and ignorance which are combining to do away with old Catholic customs, which our forefathers prized and loved.
The Mass is on the same asa yesterday's page 144.
We offer our readers the following prayer, taken from the ancient Gallican liturgy, and composed at a period when the observance of the Rogation days was in its first fervour.
It is truly meet and just, that, in all contrition of heart, we should praise thee by our fast, O almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. Who, having come to teach us the hidden things of thy mysteries, revealed to us the symbol, shown to Noe, of the peaceful olive-branch borne in the dove's beak: it was the glorious figure of the beautiful tree of the cross. IT was in honour of Christ that the dove prefigured the cross, signifying that it was to be venerated by all men, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. We desire to be like this bird, by the innocence of our lives; we pray that we may be sanctified by that Spririt, of whom it was the figure. Therefore do we offer up our prayers in these three days of fasting and humiliation, carrying, at the head of the army of the faithful, the invincible standard of the cross, and singing psalms in praise of thy divine Majesty. We beseech thee, O almighty God, that thou receive all the prayers of thy people, and the sacred rites whereby they present them to thee. We also beseech thee so to sanctify them by this their fast, that they may deserve to be freed from all their sins.
A side note: Starting May 19th we will be taking a little blog vacation until the first of June (when the FREE PDF Holy Simplicity Planner is released!). In the next week and a half I'll be posting the last of the 50 Days of Easter blog series along with topics on Mary as May is dedicated to her and also the Ascention, Pentecost and Rogation days. Prayerfully I'll get it up before our little blog vacation starts! Thank you for your patience as I know there hasn't been as much on our blog latley due to the release of the Holy Simplicity Planner. God bless!
Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
By: Maria Von Trapp
In the weeks between Easter and the Ascension there are four days set aside where the Church has her children go out into the fields and pastures chanting the litany of All Saints and asking God's blessing for a good harvest and as protection against hailstorms, floods, and droughts. One day is the feast of St. Mark, April 25th, and the other three days are called "Rogation Days" and are the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preceding the Ascension, which always falls on a Thursday. We always make these outdoor processions up on our mountain. The very first hue of green is appearing in the meadows, the birds are singing in the woods again, and the whole atmosphere is one of spring and hope.
Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family
By: Maria Von Trapp
On Ascension Day begin the nine days of waiting and preparing, together with the Apostles and Mary, the coming of the Holy Ghost. These are the days when families should discuss the "Gifts of the Holy Ghost" and the "Fruits of the Holy Ghost" evening after evening. As I look back over the years I marvel at how different these discussions were every year, always full of surprises, partly because there were different people participating--guests of the family or new friends of the children--who do not ordinarily hear the workings of the "Gifts of the Holy Ghost" discussed around the family table. We devote one whole evening to each one of the gifts.
First is the Gift of Knowledge, offered to help us in our dealings with inanimate and animate created nature, with things and people. It teaches us to make use of them wisely, and to refrain from what is dangerous for us. As we consider a typical day, we discover that this gift is needed from the very moment of awakening, when we have to part from the created thing "bed." The younger ones discover that the Gift of Knowledge helps them to remember that they have to make use of such created things as the toothbrush and the shower. In fact, there is hardly a moment of the day in which we do not have to make decisions about using something or dealing with somebody, and when we do not need the immediate help from the Holy Spirit to carry us safely through the day.
The second evening is devoted to the Gift of Understanding, which is extended to us for the understanding, with mind and heart, of revealed truth as we find it in Holy Scripture and the liturgy, and in the breviary. This gift we need for our hours of prayer and meditation. It fulfills the Lord's promise: "The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things" (John 14:26).
The third evening is devoted to the Gift of Counsel, which helps us to distinguish, in every moment of our life, what is the will of God. This gift we also need when someone turns to us for advice. It is most necessary to parents and teachers, priests, and all persons in authority. But above all it should help us to make the right choices in everyday life--even in such minor matters as "Should I do my homework now or later? Should I see this movie or not?"
The Gift of Fortitude helps us to overcome our own will. This may start with such seemingly small matters as jumping out of bed the moment we had intended to do so; with giving up smoking or candies and cookies for certain times; with keeping silence when we might have a sharp answer ready; with doing little things for others at the cost of our own comfort; and it may lead to the ultimate test--aiding us in joining the thousands of contemporary martyrs who are called to lay down their life for God. Again, a gift that is needed throughout the day! The Gift of Piety does not sound particularly attractive, until we realize that it infuses our hearts with a special kind of love, directed toward everything belonging and related to God all persons consecrated to His service--the Holy Father in Rome, bishops and priests, missionaries, nuns, and lay brothers--and all things set aside for God only, such as church and altar, chalice and monstrance, vestments, and the sacramentals in our home--rosaries, holy water, medals. This precious gift also makes us eager to devote time to the service of God. It helps overcome morning laziness when it is time for Mass. It makes us want to visit our hidden God once in a while in church. In other words, it instills the interest for the supernatural in our souls. How could we do without it!
When we come to the Gift of the Fear of the Lord, there is always someone to raise the argument "This I don't understand. That is the spirit of the Old Testament, of the chosen people who were trembling before Jehovah so that they said to Moses, `You go up the mountain and talk with Him--we are afraid.' But the New Testament teaches us to say `Our Father,' and Our Lord says, `I don't call you servants any more, I call you friends!' One isn't afraid of one's father or one's friend! What do I need the Gift of Fear for?" It is then that something very tender and beautiful comes to light. If a person loves another one very much, you may often hear him say: "I'm afraid to wake him up, he needs his sleep"; or, "I'm afraid to disturb him." In other words, love is afraid to hurt the beloved one.
The Gift of Fear should lead us to a state of mind which makes us afraid to sin because it would hurt Him. The Gift of Wisdom, finally, seems to sum up all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, just as charity sums up all His fruits. If we ask throughout all our days for the other Gifts of the Holy Ghost and cooperate with them, if we examine our conscience every night about the use we made of them--wisdom will grow in our hearts. This wisdom has nothing to do with ordinary human intelligence, with knowledge learned in schools and from books. One doesn't even have to be able to read and write in order to become wise. Once in a while one meets an old lay brother or lay sister, an old farmer in the country, or some bedridden person, who may not be learned in the eyes of the world, but may impress us deeply by a true wisdom expressed in all simplicity.
At the end of the seventh day we have all renewed our conviction that we cannot lead a truly Christian life without the special aid of the Holy Ghost, that we have to ask for it as we start each day, and be faithful to it as we go through the day. Children, with the generosity of young hearts, are remarkably responsive to this suggestion. The eighth day of the novena is dedicated to the "Fruits of the Holy Ghost" as they are enumerated in St. Paul--especially the first three love, peace, and joy. On this day we always call to mind the admonition of one of our dearest friends, Reverend Father Abbot, to take the word of Our Lord literally, that "by their fruits thou shalt know them." In every individual soul, in every family or community we should watch whether the fruits are the fruits of the Holy Ghost, whether love, peace, and joy prevail. On the last day of the novena we meditate together on the two great hymns, "Veni, Sancte Spiritus" and "Veni, Creator Spiritus." Through our previous discussions, these texts are seen in a new light, and the repeated "Veni, veni" ("Come, Holy Ghost, come") really rises from longing hearts. And when, during High Mass on Pentecost Sunday, priest and community kneel down at the solemn text of the Gradual, "Veni, Sancte Spiritus," we feel the miracle of the first Pentecost repeated in our hearts, filled by the Holy Ghost in response to the intensity of our "Veni."
In the old country, ancient Pentecost customs are still alive. On the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday the young men go out with long whips, cracking them with special skill to produce a noise called "Pfingstschnalzen." This is followed by "Pfingstschiessen," done with the same ancient guns that are used for shooting on Easter and other festivities. In some valleys people walk barefoot up into the mountains through the dew, calling for the Holy Ghost. In the Alps, cattle decorated with wreaths and garlands are sent up to the high pastures, accompanied for a little way by most of the villagers. Many of the old churches throughout the Alps have a hole in the ceiling above the altar through which, on Pentecost Sunday, during High Mass the "Holy Ghost dove" is let down into the church. On Ascension Day, the statue of the Risen Lord is lifted on wires after the Gospel to disappear in the same opening, which brings the mystery of the day very close to all children, big and small. In some parishes the Risen Lord, at the end of the Mass, sends gifts down from heaven--apples and cookies and candies for the children, and flowers and green branches for the grownups, and everybody tries to take at least a leaf or a petal home. This brings us to the end of the holy Paschal season.
The octave day of Pentecost, known as Trinity Sunday, is dedicated to the Blessed Trinity. While in the first centuries the Easter Communion had to be received on Easter Sunday, the Church later extended "Easter Time," which now begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Trinity Sunday. Once a family has celebrated the year of the Church faithfully from the First Sunday in Advent, feasting and fasting together, until the fullness of the Holy Ghost crowns their efforts throughout the days of Pentecost, it will be a very happy family indeed. TO THEE, THE HOLY GHOST, WE NOW PRAY The text of this invocation of the Holy Spirit is by Berthold of Regensburg (d. 1272). The melody, inspired by the Gregorian "Veni Creator," goes back to the 13th century. Published in the oldest Catholic Hymn Book, of Michael Vehe, in 1537. Sing this hymn three times, each time a tone higher. To Thee, the Holy Ghost, we now pray, Firm of faith that we Thy will obey; When our hour comes, be Thou close beside us; Safely to our home with Thee above guide us. Kyrieleis.