" And none of you asketh me; Whither goest thou?"
-St. John xvi. 5.
+++ This is up a bit early as its a wonderful but long read, it will be bumped back up on the blog for Monday's post as well. +++
In searching for something to share on New Years Eve I came upon this WONDERFUL sermon from the Cure of Ar's sermon book. It is rather long for a blog post but it is worth its weight in gold. I hope you do take the time to read it and incase of of you have an easier time reading a printed version you may download the PDF to print HERE
. We wish you all a most blessed and prosperous new year and may we all know 'whither we are going'!
Sermons of the Cure of Ars
Sermons for all Sundays &
Feast Days of the Year
By: The Cure of Ar's Imprimatur 1901
An old Christian proverb says, beautifully and truthfully, "Begin with God and end with God, and yours will be the happiest live." Everyone who has honestly striven to verify this has had a thousand opportunities to experience the truth of this pious proverb.
I congratulate you, my dear friends, who have deemed it your sacred duty to begin every day with God. How serenely and with what satisfaction may you not look back upon the course of your life. And those of you also, my friends, I greet with joy, who began this year with God, and are now come here to end it with Him, who not only look up to the Almighty with grateful eyes, but also with a contrite heart, and who are convienced of the truth, that all is vanity except to love God and to serve Him, that we may live for ever more. All of us, my friends, who are gathered together at this holy hour, within these hallowed walls, carry within our souls the firm determination to close the year 1900 with God.
The end of the year is, and always will be, a solemn moment. The departure of a year is fraught with serious admonition. We take leave of father andm other, but in the hope of seeing them again; we leave a place to which we have become attached, which is endeared to us, and connected with indelible memories, but with the hope of one day returning to it; but the year, when it has passed away, is gone forever, and what it has taken away will never more return to us - those three hundred and sixty-five days of our existence have gone forever!
Now, let us look back, my friends, upon the year just ended. Can we look upon it with joyful hearts and a peaceful conscience; and can we welcome the coming yera with hearts nerved with courage and without dread of the future? Aye, but there is a strange pang in our soul, full of anxious foreboding and secret dread. The battle of human minds for truth and for falsehood is growing fiercer from hour to hour, and the foundation of human society is trembling and threatens to collapse. And in many a poor human heart there is a private sorrow, and in many a hosue the light of hope is gone out.
Very well, then, let us ask at this solemn hour, in this sacred place, where we stand in the real presence of Him in the most Holy Sacrament, and try to find out, "Why and how is all this happening so?"
And after we have asked this question from the bottom of our hearts and with honest sincerity, then we will try and solve the problem of "What is to be done" to enable us to begin the new year with hope and confidence?
Now join in with me in devout prayer. "I will continue, O Lord, in Thy most Holy name, O Lord of all times, Thou wonderful ruler of the fate of men and nations! O Lord Jesus Christ, Blessed through all eternity!"
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Saviour and our Redeemer, once addressed His disciples in these significant words: "But now I go to Him that sent me, and none of you asketh me: Whither goest Thou?"
We know whom Jesus meant; His Father by Whom He was sent upon this earth to redeem and to save mankind. Yea, His Father, whose image He was, for doth He not say, "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also"? And to Him He returned after accomplishing His work. "I go to Him that sent me."
We also go to our Father when our mission is fulfilled, and our task on this earth is finished. "We will come to Him, and make our abode with Him," saith Jesus. We also are created to then image and likeness of God, for did not God Himself say, when he created Adam, "Let us make man to our image and likeness?"
And when this temporal habitation, our body, breaks down and returns to the dust from which it came, that image, that likeness, our immortal soul, will also return from whence it came, will return to eternity - to God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost!
But now, dear friends, to reach the goal that we are striving for, to be sure that we may return to the Father's house with joyful hearts as God's own children, we must above all konw the way which will lead us there. The wayfarer who knows where the end of his journey lies will surely and carefully take the right path which will bring him happily to his destination.
It was 1900 years ago when the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. "He. the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (St. John). "He who laid down His life for us, and offered Himself on the cross as a sacrifice of propitiation," once day said in distinct and solemn tones, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me." Since then the way lies open before us, and no one can say truthfully, I know it not! let us at this moment raise our eyes to the realm above, and greet with holy reverence the millions of Saints who followed steadfastly and faithfully the way which the Redeemer had show them. The way is not one of ease and comfort, it demands the entire sacrafice of aGod-fearing heart; but it is the only way which leads to the Father, and those who followed it resolutely bedewed it with their tears, dyed it with their blood, and adorned it with the deeds of a living Christian faith. They alone found peace, and now shine in snowy garments with palms and crowns, like stars in heaven, and cry out to the Christian pilgrims the encouraging words, "Look up at us! regard us well! Behold@ This is thy reward if thou followest Jesus." But thousands upon thousands leave this path and nobody asketh, "Whither goest thou?"
Church & State
And herein, my dear friends, we find the first and the last reason for our moral degeneration, the reason for the dreadful errors into which human society plunges. For the wanderer, when once he has left the right path, will never be able to measure the mistakes into which he may be led, and he never knows how to avoid the misfortune which will meet him on the abyss that yawns at his very feet. As the liar is never at a loss to contradict truths with a new lie, nor to add to his another one, or ten others, if need be, even so has the original but ever watchful father of lies, the prince of this world since the days of Paradise, ever stood up, particularly against Christ and His Church. To accomplish his purpose he invented, about eighty years ago, a significant word of falsehood, full of meaning, which has since risen like a password from mouth to mouth. Its name is Progress.
A steadfast adherence to Christ and His Church, a faithful pursuance of the way we are taught, is what we call progress; but to them this is an old-fashioned and ridiculous thing, irreconcilable with the spirit of intelligence, and the exigencies of the spirit of the times, which can only be to the taste of ignorant poor people, or of men whose minds are steeped in monkish fanaticism and superstition.
Now, my ear people, give me your undivided attention. The subject is too serious and too important that we should not try to answer the question, "Whence comes this language which we hear everywhere, day in, day out, in high and low circles, in the houses of the rich, and the workshops of the poor, in mansions, and in huts, on the highways and byways? It certainly did not come to us over night, but it came to us, because millions are heeding the call of untruth and free thought, while nobody asketh "Whither goest thou?"
In the first place and above all it was the puffed up science of the philosophers, full of pride and devoid of faith, which opened up the way to hell. The authority of divine revelation has been set against modern philosophy in order to enkindle the flame of so-called enlightenment. After the foundation of positive Christianity had been undermined and the seed had been sown in the hearts of the young from the lecturer's platform, it was an easy matter to disturb even the historical foundation upon which rests a nation's fame and right.
They have made merry over the most sacred institutions, over the most revered customs and rites in Christian congregations and communities. They called them old-fashioned and contrary to the spirit of modern progress; they were abolished - new institutions were created, new laws were made - but all without faith, without God, without Christ. For the word which God Himself put into the mouth of the royal psalmist, "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that built it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it" (Psalm cxxvi.), this word of eternal truth has been long forgotten, has been scoffed at, and made a mockery of. And so, my dear friends, everything has become modern indeed - government, family life, education, matrimony - all has been modernized; in fact, all our thoughts and deeds have been changed in the progress of modernization. Need we, then, be surprised at what is happening before our very eyes? Is it not the fruit of that tree which falsehood has planted eyes? Is it not the fruit of that tree which falsehood has planted in the place of truth, and of whose fruit the children of the earth eat with such eagerness?
A horse which has thrown its rider and is running away, tries frantically to free itself of bridle and reins. Man, who wants to be free and untrammeled, tears asunder the last bond which holds him in check. Hence "Separation of State and Church," "Separation of School and Church," "Separation of Marriage and Church," separation of everything which stands in the way and might call to your mind the harassing question, "Whither goest thou?" O my dear JEsus, what hast Thou done to mankind that they put Thee aside with such ingratitude and such indifference? What has thou done done to human kind, my beloved Catholic Church, that they turn sullenly away from thee, and clamor for separation? Has not Christ saved the world? Has not Christianity destroyed the barbarity of paganism, spread culture and civilization over the world, sanctified matrimony and family life, taught us to know and practice all those virtues which bring peace to man and blessings to nations? Is not the Church the continued visible Saviour and Redeemer of the world, since He said explicitly to His apostles: "As the Father hath sent me, so I send you"? Is not the Church the standard-bearer of the conceptions of right, obedience, and love? Does the Church not assure every man his right, does she not demand obedience in the name of God, and by virtue of divine authority, whose first and last command is love?
Let us look at this a little closer. If modern governments imagine that they can govern man solely by their laws, let them take into consideration how long these people, after divesting themselves of all respect for divine authority, will have any respect for human authority. What weight will the oath have which even the modern state uses as the only decisive medium in judicial proceedings; what value, I ask will the oath have when it is shorn of its terrible consequences in eternity, when the civil government does not concern itself with the question whether man has faith or not? We have no expectation that modern progress will abolish poverty, or diminish the number of the poor; well then, tear out of the heart of the poor his living Christian faith, his belief in Him who was born a child of the poor, in the stable of Bethlehem, and lived all His life a poor man, so that we may learn to respect poverty and learn to suffer poverty with patience; subdue the Church of Christ which, in its chosen members, takes upon itself voluntary poverty, and bears it in humility before the world, and which has at the same time founded those innumerable benevolent institutions and associations for the relief of the sick, poor and the abandoned of this world, where we see them with touching devotion and heroic self-sacrafice soften the sufferings of the poor - yes, deprive the poor of their faith in their poor Jesus, take away from the Church her consoling and benevolent influence, and you will see, you rich and powerful of this world, how you will fare! the lust of the eyes and the lust of the felsh were at all time a source of moral ruin and great misery in this world. How sublime shines that ideal of chastity and virginity through the darkness of night! What aheavenly aroma arises from this sacred flower! Has not Christ taken His flesh from the ever Immaculate Virgin? Has He not Himself called holy virginity the highest gift of an elect soul? Is not the Church the abode and the champion of holy virginity, for, led by her hand, we see that land of saintly youths and maidens, before whom we stand with awe and reverence. Destroy the Church and you will destroy also this sacred ideal!
Then they want to withdraw the school from the influence of the Church; the school, they say, is an institution for instructing the young. But the school is by no means merely a place for instructing, but it is at the same time and pre-eminently the place for the education of the young. Our children take with them to school not only their intellects, but also their hearts and their souls, and the latter must receive quiet as much attention as the former. Just as conscientious parents will not be indifferent as to how and by whom their children receive instruction, as regards their intellects, they should also take a great interest in seeing that the right light shall shine into their hearts and souls. And this light is religion. The child's heart is naturally turned towards God, and is grateful to those who will lead it here. Oh, now touching is the sight of a child at prayer, and how close it draws to those who are teaching it to pray. It is, therefore, not only wrong but also ungrateful to try and take away the children from those who are constantly holding before the little ones all that is divine, great, and holy, and who instruct them at the same time in all they need to know for the fulfillment of their duties as good citizens. "I am not a school master, and cannot judge between the different methods of teaching," said the old Duke of Wellington in the House of Lords in London, "but that if religion is not made the foundation of teaching it will be your fault if in future the number of clever rogues in the world is largely increased."
In a nation, or a state, or a family, or community, where religion is despised and allowed to perish, there the process of disintegration will invariably occure. It was inthe year 1789 when this process was very evident in the State of France. After the holy Catholic faith had been derided and scoffed at for many years, in word and picture, in wiritings and plays, in public lectures and so-called clubs, and after unbelief and licentiousness had been given full sway, the French revolution broke out. All religion was considered a mortal crime. Priests were killed when they could not flee or hide themselves. Churches were robbed and desecrated; in some places the wickedness went even so far that a lewd woman was placed upon the altar, and mock ceremonies carried on before her as the goddess of reason. When the strong barriers, religion and conscience, which keep man from all wickedness, had been removed throughout the whole country, a new power, as it were, the raging of the devil, broke loose all over the land. Envy, hatred, and cupidity, in a degree as they had never been known to existbefore, exercised their power with reckless disregard and wild fury. People were slaughered by the thousands, by order of their own govern,net, in most cases without their having committed any offence. It was enough to be suspected of an attachment for the murdered royal family, or for the old order of things, or for religion, to be condemend to death on the guillotine. My friends! the world is round and there is nothing new under the sun; it has never been possible to gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles. What a man sows, that will he reap. We, also, shall have the same experience, we shall have to suffer for what we ourselves or for what others have sown in fatal self conceit; with us also the same causes will produce like results, and the laws of nature and necessity bearing the testimony of the history of 7,000 years, will be confirmed in the future as they have been in the past.
Let us then open our eyes; for it is high time that we awake from sleep. The enemy stands before us in full power, and it seems to me as if I could hear our Saviour repeat the words which he once spake in the garden of Gethsemani when he was taken prisoner: "This is your hour and the power of darkness."
We enter into a New Year; with its thousands of highways and byways, paths and roads, it lies before us. Oh ! let each one ask himself in earnestness and sincerity to-day, at this holy hour,
Whither goest thou?
There is only one sure way that leads to the Father, and thatis the way which Jesus and His representative on earth, the Church, teach us. Are we really still in the right path, or have we, also, already left it? Have we, perhaps, allowed them to lead us astray by that falsehood which ahs drawn os many from the right path, namely, that the war which progress has declared against darkness, as it is called, is not directed against Christianity and its Founder, but against the so-called Church?
Many a human heart is empty and desolate and icy cold, and in many a home the beacon of hope has gone out. Why, my dear friends? Let us be candid and do not let us put the blame too much on the world and on other people, but let us beat our own breasts and give a true and sincere answer to the question:
Whither goest thou?
For years you have lived happily with wife and child. The bread which you have had to ear, though by hard labor, you have eaten in the evening in blissful contentment in your family circle. But you have changed. You find too much constraint in your home, and your own are a burden to you. You are looking for distraction outside, and sullenly and with curses on your lips you go to your work. What has happened to cause this change?Be sincere! Have you not deserted your Master, and His way? Have you not fought shy of your Church and your prayers? Do you not pursue other ways now? Stop! Do not let the year glide into the sea of eternity without asking yourself honestly
Whither goest thou?
and tremble, for the end for you may lead to destruction.
And you, sons and daughters! Once you were good children and the joy of your parents! But it is otherwise now. Look! You are afraid of a glance from your father's eye, and you are cold towards your mother, and their teachings you call old-fashioned; in the faces of your parents there are lines of deep sorrow. And what has caused all this? Be sincere! You have left your Master and His way! You neglect your Church and your prayers, for you go quite another way. Bad books, which you know well how to procure; wanton speech, and lose principles in which you have indulged, have kindled the passions which were slumbering in your breast into a blazing flame.
Ah! Whither goest thou?
The new Year is coming, also for you. Do not begin it in the same way. Return to the right path, which your parents have shown you and which you used to follow with a clean heart and peaceful conscience, so blithe and happy. Follow your Master and your Mother Holy Church.
God's forbearance offers you another year. Will you again be indifferent ot this boundless love? Ah! lift up your eyes! Take the bandage from them. See, there is a cemetery, and they are digging a new grave. Perhaps they are digging it for you.
My dear friends! If we are to have peace and gladness in our hearts, in our families, yea, in the whole human society, there is only one sure way, since "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," which leads to this happiness, to peace, and, finally, to the Father. It is the way about which, my dear people, I have preached to you to-day, and which I will name to you once more with all the strength of my soul. "The way which Thou, O Jesus, hast taught us and Thy Church." Let us, all together, enter upon this solemn oath, that indeed we will do it in all sincerity. Upon this ground we will await thee, O New Yera, and with courage look forward to all that God in His eternal wisdom may determine upon for us. Amen!
All the Saints and Peter and Paul is devoted to the spread of the Roman Catholic Faith through the lives of the saints and by highlighting the places across the world that were graced by their presence.
" Education consists essential in preparing man for what he must be, and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created."
-Pope Pius XI
Today we are sharing a bit on the Church's teaching on education which also doubles as a blog hop post. Below the encyclical you will find some of our homeschooling plans for this year. God bless! ON CHRISTIAN EDUCATION RAPPRESENTANTI IN TERRA ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI DECEMBER 31, 1929
To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See and to all the Faithful of the Catholic World.
Venerable Brethren and Beloved Children, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
Representative on earth of that divine Master who while embracing in the immensity of His love all mankind, even unworthy sinners, showed nevertheless a special tenderness and affection for children, and expressed Himself in those singularly touching words: "Suffer the little children to come unto Me," We also on every occasion have endeavored to show the predilection wholly paternal which We bear towards them, particularly by our assiduous care and timely instructions with reference to the Christian education of youth.
2. And so, in the spirit of the Divine Master, We have directed a helpful word, now of admonition, now of exhortation, now of direction, to youths and to their educators, to fathers and mothers, on various points of Christian education, with that solicitude which becomes the common Father of all the Faithful, with an insistence in season and out of season, demanded by our pastoral office and inculcated by the Apostle: "Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine." Such insistence is called for in these our times, when, alas, there is so great and deplorable an absence of clear and sound principles, even regarding problems the most fundamental.
3. Now this same general condition of the times, this ceaseless agitation in various ways of the problem of educational rights and systems in different countries, the desire expressed to Us with filial confidence by not a few of yourselves, Venerable Brethren, and by members of your flocks, as well as Our deep affection towards youth above referred to, move Us to turn more directly to this subject, if not to treat it in all its well-nigh inexhaustible range of theory and practice, at least to summarize its main principles, throw full light on its important conclusions, and point out its practical applications.
4. Let this be the record of Our Sacerdotal Jubilee which, with altogether special affection, We wish to dedicate to our beloved youth, and to commend to all those whose office and duty is the work of education.
5. Indeed never has there been so much discussion about education as nowadays; never have exponents of new pedagogical theories been so numerous, or so many methods and means devised, proposed and debated, not merely to facilitate education, but to create a new system infallibly efficacious, and capable of preparing the present generations for that earthly happiness which they so ardently desire.
6. The reason is that men, created by God to His image and likeness and destined for Him Who is infinite perfection realize today more than ever amid the most exuberant material progress, the insufficiency of earthly goods to produce true happiness either for the individual or for the nations. And hence they feel more keenly in themselves the impulse towards a perfection that is higher, which impulse is implanted in their rational nature by the Creator Himself. This perfection they seek to acquire by means of education. But many of them with, it would seem, too great insistence on the etymological meaning of the word, pretend to draw education out of human nature itself and evolve it by its own unaided powers. Such easily fall into error, because, instead of fixing their gaze on God, first principle and last end of the whole universe, they fall back upon themselves, becoming attached exclusively to passing things of earth; and thus their restlessness will never cease till they direct their attention and their efforts to God, the goal of all perfection, according to the profound saying of Saint Augustine: "Thou didst create us, O Lord, for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it rest in Thee."
7. It is therefore as important to make no mistake in education, as it is to make no mistake in the pursuit of the last end, with which the whole work of education is intimately and necessarily connected. In fact, since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man's last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is "the way, the truth and the life," there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education.
8. From this we see the supreme importance of Christian education, not merely for each individual, but for families and for the whole of human society, whose perfection comes from the perfection of the elements that compose it. From these same principles, the excellence, we may well call it the unsurpassed excellence, of the work of Christian education becomes manifest and clear; for after all it aims at securing the Supreme Good, that is, God, for the souls of those who are being educated, and the maximum of well-being possible here below for human society. And this it does as efficaciously as man is capable of doing it, namely by co-operating with God in the perfecting of individuals and of society, in as much as education makes upon the soul the first, the most powerful and lasting impression for life according to the well-known saying of the Wise Man, "A young man according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it." With good reason therefore did St. John Chrysostom say, "What greater work is there than training the mind and forming the habits of the young?"
9. But nothing discloses to us the supernatural beauty and excellence of the work of Christian education better than the sublime expression of love of our Blessed Lord, identifying Himself with children, "Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name, receiveth me."
10. Now in order that no mistake be made in this work of utmost importance, and in order to conduct it in the best manner possible with the help of God's grace, it is necessary to have a clear and definite idea of Christian education in its essential aspects, viz., who has the mission to educate, who are the subjects to be educated, what are the necessary accompanying circumstances, what is the end and object proper to Christian education according to God's established order in the economy of His Divine Providence. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE ENCYCLICAL
Some of the text's we are using for our homeschool this year...
-The Living in God series is one of our favorite!!! Reprinted by Our Lady of Victory
a religion series that is set up similar to a reading primer but teaches the catechism using stories. This first book in the set is 1st grade level, we will also be using Living in God's Law for 2nd grade this year. A set of books worthy of any investment!Along with these books we will continue to follow the Liturgical Year as a way to learn all the aspects of the Holy Catholic Faith. Sunday's the kids learn their Catechism using some new reprints of the Baltimore Catechism from Refuge of Sinners Publishing.
Our plans are still formulating for reading as we just discovered both our students are dyslexic. if you have any tips for teaching kids with dyslexia please do pass them along! At this point we are going to use both the Little Angel Readers
along with All About Reading
(be for-warned with All About Reading, one of their readers has an image in it not sutible for children... we plan to cover this up or remove that one story. This program is not Catholic but suppose to help children with Dyslexia and other reading issues.) Hopefully between the two programs we get both a Catholic perspective and help with the reading issues. All about reading is a hands on approach using colored magnet tiles, a workbook with cutting and pasting and also flash cards along with the readers. I think so far my son enjoys the progress chart most because he can see what is left and what he has done. Its nice as a parent too because its all set up and easy to use.
With our little guys everything seems to be done hands on and the perfect math program has been Math On The Level.
This is a K-8th grade program that can be used with multiple chidlren. It features a 5-A-Day math review and hands on learning for each of the math subjects. We use living math books from livingmath.net
along with board games, and lots of other items we find on Pinterest
to teach math. This is one of the only math products that is not workbook based and can be tailored according to maturity of the child rather than grade level. When they need more practice there is no worry and when they are ready to move ahead then they move on ahead. It has been a real blessing to our family and worth every penny! We also use Catholic File folder games
to add a Catholic touch to our math program :)
Our plan this year was to use Founders of Freedom
, the 1st of a 5 vol history set. While it is aimed at a 4th grade level and both our boys are about 2nd grade I decided to make it a hands on approach and add living books. The project turned out to be larger than thought so we will see how it goes. If you would like to see the links and notes for each section, they will be logged away here on the site under Catholic History.
Its still in the works so please check back often to see if the password requirement has been removed.The Land of Our Lady series is a wonderful Catholic History series from the early 50's from Newman press. The books are set up with the history of a Catholic Hymn at the beginning of each chapter, questions at the end of each chapter
and a end of unit test. They are easily useable as is. They give a most wonderful Catholic perspective and they are worth every penny!
This year we will be using Science and Living in God's World 2
. Another wonderful Catholic book that has been reprinted (the whole set reprinted) and is available at Our Lady of Victory
. We will also be adding science experiments to the ones included in the book and some more living books on each of the subjects through out the book as time allows.
Last but not least we couldn't do our planning without our Holy Simplicity Planner
! Our planner was created so that we could plan our school year in tune with the Church's Liturgical year all in one place. Last week we shared a guest post over at Forever Always No Matter What
, for more details on the planner visit our planner page
Please make sure to share your homeschooling Curriculum plans at this years "Not" Back to School Blog Hop
, it goes on for four weeks. Next week everyone will be sharing their School Room set ups! We can't wait to see what you are up to this year!
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - July 16
The Liturgical Year- Time After Pentecost Vol. IV
By: Dom Gueranger
Towering over the waves on the shore of the Holy Land, Mount Carmel, together with the short range of the same name, forms a connecting link to two other chains, abounding with glorious memories, namely: the mountains of Galilee on the north, and those of Judea on the south.
'In the day of My love, I brought thee out of Egypt into the land of Carmel,' (Cf. Jerem. ii 2,7) said the Lord to the daughter of Sion, taking the name of Carmel to represent all the blessings of the Promised Land; and when the crimes of the chosen people were about to bring Judea to ruin, the prophet cried out: 'I looked, and behold Carmel was a wilderness: and all its cities were destroyed at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of the wrath of His indignation. (Ibid. iv 26). But from the midst of the Gentile world a new Sion arose, more loved than the first; eight centuries beforehand Isaias recognized her by the glory of Libanus, and the beauty of Carmel and Saron which were given her. In the sacred Canticle, also, the attendants of the Bride sing to the Spouse concerning His well-beloved, that her head is like Carmel, and her hair like the precious threads of royal purple carefully wove and dyed (Cant. vii 5).
There was, in fact, around Cape Carmel, an abundant fisher of the little shell-fish which furnished the regal colour. Not far from there, smoothing away the slopes of the hoble mountian, flowed the torrent of Cison, that dragged the carcasses (Judg. v 21) of the Chanaanites, when Debbora won her famous victory. Here lies the plain where the Madianites were overthrown, and Sisara felt the power of her that was called the Mother of Israel (Ibid. 7). Here Gedeom, too, marched against Madian in the name of the Woman terrible as an army set in array (Cant. vi. 3,9), whose sign he had received in the dew-covered fleece. Indeed, this glorious plain of Esdrelon, which streches away from the foot of Carmel, seems to be surrounded with prophetic indications of her who was destined from the beginning to crush the serpent's head: not far from Esdrelon, a few defiles lead to Bethulia, the city of Judith, type of Mary, who was the true joy of Isreael and the honour of her people (Judith xv. 10); while nestling among the northern hills lies Nazareth, the white city, the flower of Galilee (Hieron, Epist. xivi. Paulae et Eustochii ad Marcellam).
When Eternal Wisdom was playing in the world, forming the hills and establishing the mountians, she desitined Carmel to be the special inheritance of Eve's victorious daughter. And when the last thousand years of expectation were opening, and the desire of all nations was developing into the spirit of prophecy, the father of prophets ascended the priviledged mount, thence to scan the horizon. The triumphs of David and the glories of Solomon were at an end: the sceptre of Juda, broken by the schism of the ten tribes, threatened to fall from his hand; the worship of Baal prevailed in Israel. A long-continued drought, figure of the aridity of men's souls, had parched up every spring, and men and beasts were dying beside the empty cisterns, when Elias the Thesbite gathered the people, representing the whole human race, on Mount Carmel, and slew the lying prophets of Baal. Then, as the Scripture relates, prostrating with his face to the earth, he said to his servant: Go up, look towards the sea. And he went up and looked and said: There is nothing. And again he said to him: Return seven times. And at the seventh time: Behold, a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man's foot (3 Reg. xviii).
Blessed cloud! unlike the bitter waves from which it sprang, it was all sweetness. Docile to the least breath of heavenm it rose light and humble, above the immense havey ocean; and screening the sun, it tempered the heart that was scorching the earth and restored to the stricken world life and grace and fruitfulness. The promised Messiaas, the Son of Man, set His impress upon it, showing to the wicked serpent the form of the heel that aws to crush Him. The prophet, personifying the human race, felt his youth renewed; and while the welcome rain was already refersing the valleys, he ran before the chariot of the king of Israel. Thus did he traverse the great plain of Esdrelon, even to the mysteriously-named town of Jezrahel, where, according to Osee, the children of Juda and Israel were again to have but one head in the great day of Jezrahel (i.e., of the seed of God), when the Lord would seal His eternal nuptials with a new people (Osee i. II, and ii. 14-24). Later on, from Sunam, near Jezrahel, the mother whose son was dead crossed the same plain of Esdrelon, in the opposite direction, and ascended Mount Carmel, to obtain from Eliseus the resurrection of her child, who was a type of us all (4 Reg. iv. 8-37). Elias had already departed in the chariot of fire, to await the end of the world, when he is to give testimony, together with Henoch, to the son of her that was signified by the clourd (Apoc. xi 3,7); and the disciple, clothed with the mantle and the spirit of his father, had taken possesion, in the name of the sons of the prophets, of theaugust mountian honoured by the manifestation of the Queen of prophets. Henceforward Carmel was sacred in the eyes of all who looked beyond this world. Gentiles as well as Jews, philosophers and princes, came here on pilgrimage to adore the true God; while the chosen souls of the Church of the expectation, many of whom were already wandering in deserts and in mountians (Heb. xi 38), loved to take up their abode in its thousand grottos; for the ancient traditions seemed to linger more lovingly in its silent forests, and the perfume of its flowers fortokened the Virgin Mother. The cultus of the Queen of Heaven was already established; and to the family of her devout clients, the ascetics of Carmel, might be applied the words spoken later by God to the pious descendants of Reehab: There shall not be wanting a man of this race, standing before Me for ever (Jerem. xxxv. 19).
St. Simon Stock
At length figures gave place to the reality; the heavens dropped down their dew, and the Just One came forth from the cloud. When His work was done and He returned to His Father, leaving His blessed Mother in the world, and sending His Holy Spirit to the Church, not the least triumph of that Spirit of love was the making known of Mary to the new-born Christians of Pentecost. "What a happiness," we then remarked, "for those neophytes who were privileged avow the rest in being brought to the Queen of heaven, the Virgin Mother of Him who was the hope of Israel! They saw this second Eve, they conversed wither, they felt for her that filial affection wherewith she inspired all the disciples of Jesus. The liturgy will speak to us at another season of these flavoured ones (Paschal Time, Voll III. p 314). The promise is fulfilled to-day. In the lessons of the feast of the Church tells us how the disciples of Elias and Elisus became Christians at the first preaching of the apostles, and being permitted to hear the sweet words of the Blessed Virgin and enjoy an unspeakable intimacy with her, they felt their veneration for her immensely increased. Returning to the loved mountain, where their less fortunate fathers had lived but in hope, they built on the very spot where Elias had seen the little cloud rise up out of the sea, an oratory to the purest of virgins; hence they obtained the name of Brothers of Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel (Lessons of 2nd Nocturn).
In the twelfth century, in consequence of the establishment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, many pilgrims from Europe came to swell the ranks of the solitaries on the holy mountain; it therefore became expedient to give their hitherto eremitical life a form more in accordance with the habits of Western nations. The legate Aimeric Malafaida, partriach of Antioch, gathered them into a community under the authority of St. Berthold, who was thus the first to receive the tile of Prior-General. At the commencement of the next century, Blessed Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem and also apostolic legate, completed the work of Aimeric by giving a fixed Rule to the Order, which was now, through the influence of princes and knights returned from the Holy Land, beginning to spread into Cyprus, Sicily, and the countries beyond the sea. Soon, indeed, the Christians of the East being abandoned by God to the just punishments of their sins, the vindictiveness of the conquering Saracens reached such a height in this age of trial for Palestine, that the full assembly, held on Mount Carmel under Alan and Breton, resolved upon a complete migration, leaving only a few friars eager for martyrdom to guard the cradle of the Order. The very year in which this took place (1245) Simon Stock was elected General in the first Chapter of the West, held at Aylesford in England.
Simon owed his election to the successful struggle he had maintained for the recognition of the Order which certian prelates, alleging the recent decrees of the Council of Lateran, rejected as having been newly introduced into Europe. Our Lady had then taken the cause of the friars into her own hands, and had obtained from Honorius III the decree of confirmation, which originated to-day's feast. This was neither the first nor the last favour bestowed by the sweet Virgin upon the family that had lived so long under the shadow, as it were, of her mysterious cloud, and shrouded like her in humility, with no other bond, no other pretension than the imitation of her hidden works and the contemplation of her glory. She herself had wished them to go forth from the midst of a faithless people; just, as before the close of that same thirteenth century, she would command her angels to carry into a Catholic land her blessed house of Nazareth. Whether or not the men of those days, or the short- sighted historians of our own time, ever thought of it, the one translation called for the other, just as each completes and explains the other,and each was to be, for our own Europe, the signal for wonderful favours from heaven.
In the night between the 15th and the 16th of July in the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel confirmed to her sons by a mysterious sign the right of citizenship she has obtained for them in their newly adopted countries; as mistress the mother of the entire religious state she conferred upon them with her queenly hands the scapular, hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred finger, the Mother of God said to him:
"Whosoever shall die in this habit shall not suffer eternal flames."
But not against hell fire alone was the all-powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother to be when every holy soul was imploring heaven to put a period to that long and disastrous widowhood of the Church which followed the death of Clement V, the Queen of Saints appeared to James d'Euse, whom the world was soon to hail as John XXII; she foretold to him his approaching elevation to the Sovereign Pontificate, and at the same time recommended him to publish the privilege she had obtained from her Divine Son for her children of Carmel - viz. a speedy deliverance from purgatory.
"I, their Mother, will graciously go down to them on the Saturday after their death, all whom I find in purgatory I will deliver and will bring to the mountain of life eternal."
Pope John XXII
These are the words of our Lady herself, quoted by John XXII in the Bull which he published for the purpose of making known the privilege, and which was called the Sabbatine Bull on account of the day chosen by the glorious benefactress for the exercise of her mercy.
We are aware of the attempts made to nullify the authenticity of these heavenly concessions; but our extremely limited time will not allow us to follow up these worthless struggles in all their endless details. The attack of the chief assailant, the too famous Launoy, was condemned by the Apostolic See; and after, as well as before, these contradictions, the Roman Pontiffs confirmed, as much as need be, by their supreme authority, and the substance and even the letter of the precious promises. The reader may find in special works the enumeration of the many indulgences with which the Popes have, time after time, enriched the Carmelite family, as if earth would vie with heaven in favoruing it. The munificence of Mary, the pious gratitude of her sons for the hospitality given them by the West, and lastly, the authority of St. Peter's successors, soon made these spiritual riches accessible to all Christians, by the institution of the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, the members whereof participate in the merits and privileges of the whole Carmelite Order. Who shall tell the graces, often miraculous, obtained through this humble garb? Who could count the faithful now enrolled in the holy militia? When Benedict XIII, in the eighteenth century, extended the feast of July 16 to the whole Church, he did but give an official sanction the universality already gained by the cults of the Queen of Carmel.
The holy liturgy gives the following account of the history and object of the feast:
When on the holy day of Pentecost the apostles, through heavenly inspiration, spoke divers tongues and worked many miracles by the invocation of the most holy name of Jesus, it is said that many men who were walking in the footsteps of the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus, and had been prepared for the coming of Christ by the preaching of John the Baptist, saw and acknowledged the truth, and at once embraced the faith of the Gospel. These new Christians were so happy as to be able to enjoy familiar intercourse with the Blessed Virgin, and venerated her with so special an affection, that they, before all others, built a chapel to the purest of Virgins on that very spot of Mount Carmel where Elias of old had seen the cloud, a remarkable type of the Virgin, ascending.
Many times each day they came together to the new oratory, and with pious ceremonies, prayers, and praises honoured the most Blessed Virgin as the special protectress of their Order. For this reason, people from all parts began to call them the Brethren of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel; and the Sovereign Pontiffs not only confirmed this title, but also granted special indulgences to whoever called either the whole Order or individual Brothers by that name. But the most noble Virgin not only gave them her name and protection, she also bestowed upon blessed Simon the Englishman the holy scapular as a token, wishing the holy Order to be distinguished by that heavenly garment and to be protected by it from the evils that were assailing it. Moreover, as formerly the Order was unknown in Europe, and on this account many were importuning Honorius III for its abolition, the loving Virgin Mary appeared by night to Honorius and clearly bade them receive both the Order and its members with kindness.
The blessed Virgin has enriched the Order so dear to her with so many privileges, not only in this world, but also in the next (for everywhere she is most powerful and merciful). For it is piously believed that those of her children who, having been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular, have fulfilled the small abstinence and said the few prayers prescribed, and have observed chastity as far as their state of life demands, will be consoled by our Lady while they are being purified in the fire of purgatory, and will through her intercession be taken thence as soon as possible to the heavenly country. The Order thus laden with so many graces, has ordained that this solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin should be yearly observed for ever, to her greater glory.
Queen of Carmel, hear the voice of the Church as she sings to thee on this day. When the world was languishing in ceaseless expectation, thou were already its hope. Unable as yet to understand thy greatness, it nevertheless, during the reign of types, loved to clothe gratitude for benefits foreseen, it surrounded these with all the notions of beauty, strength, and grace suggested by the loveliest landscapes, the flowery plains, the wooded heights, the fertile valleys, especially of Carmel, whose very name signifies 'the plantation of the Lord. On its summit our fathers, knowing that Wisdom had set her throne in the cloud, hastened by their burning desires the coming of the saving sign: at length there was given to their prayers what the Scripture calls perfect knowledge, and the knowledge of the great paths of the holy clouds (Job xxxvii 16). And when He who maketh His chariot and His dwelling in the obscurity of a cloud had here in shown Himself, in a nearer approach, to the practiced eye of the father of prophets, when did a chosen band of holy persons gather in the solitudes of the blessed mountain, as heretofore Israel in the desert, to watch the least movements of the mysterious cloud, to receive from it their guidance in the paths of life, and their light in the long night of expectation.
O Mary, who from that hour didst preside over the watches of God's army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come down through thee, it is no longer the land of Judea alone, but the whole earth that thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings and abundance. Thine ancient clients, the sons of the prophets, experienced this truth when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant into other climes their customs and traditions; they found that even into our far West the loud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them. This feast, O Mother of our God, is the authentic attestation of their gratitude, increased by the fresh benefits wherewith thy bounty accompanied the new exodus of the remnant of Israel. And we, the sons of ancient Europe, we too have the right to echo the expression of their loving joy; for since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessing more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of hell and extinguishing the fire of purgatory.
Whilst, then, we join with them in thanksgiving to thee, deign thyself, O mother of divine grace, to pay our debt of gratitude to them. Protect them ever. Guard them in these unhappy times, when the hypocrisy of modern persecutors has more fatal results than the race of the Saracens. Preserve the life in the deep roots of the old stock, and rejoice it by the accession of the new branches, bearing, like the old ones, flowers and fruits that shall be pleasing to thee, O Mary. Keep in the hearts of the sons of that spirit of retirement and contemplation which animated their fathers under the shadow of the cloud; may their sisters, too wheresoever the Holy Spirit has established them, be ever faithful to the traditions of the glorious past, so that their holy lives may avert the tempest and draw down blessings from the mysterious cloud. May the perfume of penance that breathes from the holy mountain purify the now corrupted atmosphere around; and may Carmel ever present to the Souse the type of the the beauties He loves to behold in His Bride!
The Liturgical Year - Time After Pentecost Vol. 1
By: Dom Gueranger Imprimatur
The History of The Time After Pentecost-
Chapter the First
The Solemnity of Pentecost and its Octave are over, and the progress of the Liturgical Year introduces us into a new period, which is altogether different from those we have hitherto spent. From the very beginning of Advent, which is the prelude to the Christmas festival, right up to the anniversary of the descent of the Holy Ghost, we have witnessed the entire series of the Mysteries of our Redemption; all have been unfolded to us. The sequel of Seasons and Feasts made up a sublime drama, which absorbed our very existence; we have but just come from the final celebration, which was the consummation of the whole. And yet, we have got through but one ha1f of the year. This does not imply that the period we have still to live is devoid of its own special mysteries; but, instead of keeping U~ our attention by the ceaseless interest of one plan hurrying on its completion, the sacred Liturgy is about to put before us an almost unbroken succession of varied episodes, of which some are brilliant with glory, and others exquisite in loveliness, but each one of them bringing its special tribute towards either the development of the dogmas of faith, or the furtherance of the Christian life. That year’s Cycle will thus be filled up; it will disappear; a new one will take its place, bringing before us the same divine facts, and pouring forth the same graces on Christ’s mystical body.
This section of the Liturgical Year, which comprises a little more or a little less than six months, according as Easter is early or late, has always had the character it holds at present. But, although it only admits detached solemnities and Feasts, the influence of the moveable portion of the Cycle is still observable. It may have as many as twenty-eight, or as few as twenty-three weeks. This variation depends not only upon the Easter Feast, which may occur on any of the days between March 22nd and 25th of April, inclusively; but, also, on the date of the first Sunday of Advent, the opening of a new Ecclesiastical Year, and which is always the Sunday nearest the Kalends of December.
In the Roman Liturgy, the Sundays of this series go under the name of Sundays after Pentecost. As we shall show in the next Chapter, that title is the most suitable that could have been given, and is found in the oldest Sacramentaries and Antiphonaries; but it was not universally adopted by even all those Churches which followed the Roman Rite; in progress of time, however, that title was the general one. To mention some of the previous early names:- in the Comes of Alcuin, which takes us back to the 8th Century, we find the first section of these Sundays called Sundays after Pentecost; the second is named Weeks after the Feast of the Apostles (post Natale Apostolorum,); the third goes under the title of Weeks after Saint .Laurence (post Sancti Laurentii,); the fourth has the appellation of Weeks of the Seventh Month (September); and, lastly, the fifth is termed Weeks after Saint Michael (post Sancti Anyeh,), and lasts till Advent. As late as the l6th Century, many Missals of the Western Churches gave us these several sections of the Time after Pentecost, but some of the titles varied according to the special Saints honoured in the respective dioceses, and which were taken as the date-marks of this period of the Year. The Roman Missal, published by order of Saint Pius the Fifth, has gradually been adopted in all our Latin Churches, and has restored the ancient denomination to the Ecclesiastical Season we have just entered upon; so that the only name under which it is now known amongst us is, The Time after Pentecost (post Pentecosten.)
The Mystery of the Time After Pentecost - Chapter the Second
That we may thoroughly understand the meaning and influence of the Season of the Liturgical Year upon which we have now entered, it is requisite for us to grasp the entire sequel of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and company; we have witnessed her Services, and we have shared in them. The celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which produced in our souls the reality signified by the Rites of the Liturgy. At Christmas, Christ was born within us; at Passiontide, He passed on and into us his sufferings and atonements; at Easter, he communicated to us his glorious, his untrammelled life; in his Ascension, he drew us after him, and this even to heavens summit; in a word, as the Apostle expresses all this working,"Christ was formed in us.' But, in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that one might increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched. This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; he gave himself to us; he wishes to take up His abode within us, and to take our life of regeneration entirely into his hands.The liturgy of his Time after Penecost signifies and expresses this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ's, and under the direction of his Spirit.
Two objects here offer themselves to our consideration: the Church and the Christian soul. As to holy Church, the Bride of Christ, filled as she is with the Paraclete Spirit, who has poured himself forth upon her, and, from that time forward, is her animating principle,—she is advancing onwards in her militant career, and will do so till the second Coining of her heavenly Spouse. She has within her the gifts of Truth and Holiness. Endowed with Infallibility of Faith and Authority to govern, she feeds Christ's flock, sometimes enjoying liljert aud peace, sometimes going through persecutions and trials. Her divine Spouse abides with her, by his grace and the efficacy of his promises, even to the end of time; she 18 ln possession of all the favours he has bestowed upon her; and tile Holy Ghost dwells with her, and in her, for ever. A11 this is expressed by this present portion of the Liturgical Year. It is one wherein we shall not meet with any of those great events which prepared, and consummate~1 the divine work; but, on the other hand, it is a season when holy Church reaps the fruits of that holiness and doctrine, which those ineffable mysteries have already produced, and will continue to produce, during the course of ages. It is during this same season, that we shall meet with the preparation for, and, in due time, the fulfillment of, those final events which will transform our mother's brilliant life on earth into the triumphant one in heaven. As far, then, as regards holy Church, this is the meaning of the portion of the Cycle we are commencing.
As to the faithful soul, whose life is but a compendium of that of the Church, her progress, during the period which is opened to her after pentecostal feasts, should be in keeping with that of our common mother. Tho soul should live and act according to that Jesus, who has united himself with lier by mysteries she has gone through; she should governed by the Holy Spirit, whom she has received. The sublime episodes, peculiar to this second ~01 of the year, will give her an increase of light life. She will put unity into these rays, w though scattered in various directions, emanate frc one common centre: and, advancing from brightness brightness, she will aspire to being consummated in him whom she now knows so well, and whom death will enal)le her to possess as her own. Should it not te the will of God, however, to take her as yet to himself, she will begin a fresh year, and live over again those mysteries which she has already enjoyed in the foregoing first halves of the Liturgical Cycle, after which, she will find herself, once more, in the season that is under the direction of tho HoIy Gbost; till at last, her God will summon her from this world, on the day and at the liour which he has appointed from all eternity.
Between the Church, then, and the soul, during the time intervening from the descent of the divine Paraclete to the consummation, there is this difference—that the Church goes through it but once, whereas the Christian soul repeats it each year. With this exception, the analogy is perfect. It is our duty, therefore, to thank God for his providing thus for our weakness, by means of the sacred Liturgy, whereby he successively renews within us those helps, which enable us to attain the glorious end of our creation.
Holy Church has so arranged the order for reading the Books of Scripture during the present period, as to express the work then accomplished, both in the Church herself, and in the Christian soul. For the interval between Pentecost and the commencement of August, she gives us the Four Books of Kings.
111 Cor. iii. 18.
They are a prophetic epitome of the Church's history. They describe how the kingdom of Israel was founded by David, who is the type of Christ victorious over his enemies, and by Solomon, the king of peace, who builds a temple in honour of Jehovah. During the centuries comprised in the history given in those ]3ooks, there is a perpetual struggle between good and evil. There are great and saintly kings, such as Asa, Ezechias, and Josias; there are wicked ones, like Manasses. A schism breaks out in Samaria; infidel nations league together against the City of God. The holy people, continually turning a deaf ear to the Prophets, give themselves up to the worship of false gods, and to the vices of the heathen; till, at length, the justice of God destroys both Temple and City of the faithless Jerusalem: it is an image of the destruction of this world, when Faith shall be so rare, as that the Son of Man, at his second Coining, shall scarce find a vestige of it remaining.
During the month of August, we read the Sapiential Books, - so called, because they contain the teachings of Divine Wisdom. This Wisdom is the Word of God, who is manifested unto men through the teachings of the Church, which, because of the assistance of the Holy Ghost permanently abiding within her, is infallible in the truth.
Supernatural truth produces holiness, which cannot exist, nor produce fruit, where truth is not. In order to express the union there is between these two, the Church reads to us, during the month of September, the Books called Hagiographic; these are, Tobias, Judith, Esther, and Job, and they show Wisdom in action.
At the end of the world, the Church will have to go through combats of unusual fierceness. To keep us on the watch, she reads to us, during the month of October, the Book of Machabees; for there we have described to us the noble-heartedness of those defenders of the Law of God, and for which they gloriously die; it will be the same at the last days, when power will be "given to the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." (Apoc. xiii. 7.)
The month of November gives us the reading of the Pro1jhets: the judgments of God impending upon world which he is compelled to punish by destruction, are there announced to us. First of all, we have the terrible Ezechiel; then Daniel, who sees empire succeeding empire, till the end of all time; and, finally, the Minor Prophets, who for the most part, foretell the divine chastisements, though the latest among them proclaim, at the same time, the near approach of the Son of God.
Such is the Mystery of this portion of the Liturgical Cycle, which is called The Time after Pentecost. It includes also the use of green Vestments; for that colour expresses the hope of the Bride, who knows that she has been intrusted, by her Spouse, to the Holy Ghost, and that he will lead her safe to the end of her pilgrimage. St. John says all this in those few words of his Apocalypse: The Spirit and the Bride say: Come!(Apoc. xxii. 17.)