"Even if we open the heavens, and look into the Heaven of heavens, we shall find there nothing more holy, nothing greater than what Jesus Christ Himself has placed upon our altars." - St. Chrysostom. St. Imelda receives Our Lord
Catholic Life; or Feasts, Fasts, and Devotions of the Ecclesiastical Year+ Imprimatur 1908
These two words, Corpus Christi, mean Body of Christ. The feast kept on the first Thursday after the octave of Pentecost was established to commemorate and give thanks for that great mystery of love which Christ left us at His last supper, when, consecrating the bread and wine, He gave us His Body and Blood under those appearances, for the remembrance of His Passion, for the comfort of His Church, as an agreeable sacrifice to His Heavenly Father, and a most precious food to nourish our souls. Holy Thursday would seem at first sight to be the proper time for this celebration, but the Church, being taken up in contemplating the sufferings of her Spouse, thought fit to postpone the joyful commemoration for the institution of so amiable a mystery. We ought to celebrate this great feast and its octave by strengthening our faith in this mystery by receiving Holy Communion with unusual fervour; by taking part in the procession, if held in our locality; by contributing flowers, ect. for the decorations; and by frequent visits to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, to pour out our souls in acts of adoration, gratitude, love and petition for ourselves and others. We should try and go to Benediction also. This is a ceremony which gives us an opportunity of making public profession of our faith by acts of adoration. It excites us to an increase of love and confidence, by reminding us that it is for love of us that He dwells in our tabernacles.
When the priest makes the Sign of the Cross over us with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, let us beg God's grace and blessing on our souls, and particularly for strength to carry our cross after Him, and to fulfill the duties of our state in life. Practices like these will increase our faith and devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and we shall then experience the blessedness of conversing familiarly with Him as a friend, and we shall enjoy the peace which surpasseth understanding. "Jesu! Whom for the present veiled I see,
What I so this for, O, vouchsafe to me;
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding."
Example.- Corpus Christi in Paraguay.
The Christian converts of the Reductions of Paraguay, so flourishing in the eighteenth century, animated by the spirit of fervour which distinguished the early Christians, solemnized the Feast of Corpus Christi with all the pomp which their piety, aided by their resources, could suggest. They adorned the church and all the roads which the procession was to pass. Being only reclaimed savages, their decorations were entirely rustic; but they were in such variety and profusion as to vie with our most expensive ornaments at home. Waving palms, scented laurels and myrtles, blooming orange-trees, intermingled with wreaths and festoons of beautiful flowers and fruits, lined the streets, while triumphal arches spanned the larger spaces. The caciques furnished peacocks, parrots, and other birds of gorgeous plumage, which, tied by a string, flitted gaily over the heads of the precisionists. Here and there stags and wild beasts were tied to stakes, or caged. All kinds of creatures were brought to render homage to their Creator. The air was laden with perfumes from odoriferous herbs strewn on the way.
After Mass, at which nearly every one received Communion, the procession was formed in European fashion. A few companies of soldiers led the way, to the sound of many musical instruments unknown to us, and occasional discharges of musketry. Next came the men, afterwards the women. The viceregent, chiefs, captains, judges, other officials preceded or accompanied the Blessed Sacrament. Different choirs and bands alternated in sacred melodies, and pious enthusiasm pervaded the whole.
When the ceremony was over, the fowl, fruits, and vegetables were given to the strangers, or set aside for invalids. Those who came from a distance were hospitably entertained. Several conversations generally followed so edifying a spectacle.
"None but God, eternal and incomprehensible, who fills all things, can afford true comfort to the soul and true joy to the heart." - Thomas A. Kempis St. Paschal Baylon
PICTORIAL LIVES OF THE SAINTS WITH REFLECTIONS FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR
May 17.—ST. PASCHAL BAYLON.
FROM a child Paschal seems to have been marked out for the service of God; and amidst his daily labors he found time to instruct and evangelize the rude herdsmen who kept their flocks on the hills of Arragon. At the rage of twenty-four he entered the Franciscan Order, in which, however, he remained, from humility, a simple lay-brother, and occupied himself, by preference, with the roughest and most servile tasks. He was distinguished by an ardent love and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He would spend hours on his knees before the tabernacle—often he was raised from the ground in the fervor of his prayer—and there, from the very and eternal Truth, he drew such stores of wisdom that, unlettered as he was, he was counted by all a master in theology and spiritual science. Shortly after his profession he was called to Paris on business connected with his Order. The journey was full of peril, owing to the hostility of the Huguenots, who were numerous at the time in the south of France; and on four separate occasions Paschal was in imminent danger of death at the hands of the heretics. But it was not God's will that His servant should obtain the crown of martyrdom which, though judging himself all unworthy of it, he so earnestly desired, and he returned in safety to his convent, where he died in the odor of sanctity, May 15, 1592.
As Paschal was watching his sheep on the mountainside, he heard the consecration bell ring out from a church in the valley below, where the villagers were assembled for Mass. The Saint fell on his knees, when suddenly there stood before him an angel of God, bearing in his hands the Sacred Host, and offering it for his adoration. Learn from this how pleasing to Jesus Christ are those who honor Him in this great mystery of His love; and how to them especially this promise is fulfilled: "I will not leave you orphans: I will come unto you " (John xiv. 18) .Reflection
.—St. Paschal teaches us never to suffer a day to pass without visiting Jesus in the narrow chamber where He, Whom the heaven itself cannot contain, abides day and night for our sake.
This weeks Friday Fare..... Food for the Soul
ANECDOTES AND EXAMPLES FOR THE CATECHISM
By: Rev. Francis Spirago +Imprimatur 1908
Q.How many kinds of contrition are there?A. There are wtwo kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.
THE DISOBEDIENT BOYS
Contrition is either perfect or imperfect. A sick man sent his two boys to the apothecary for some medicine. On their way the lads fell in with a man who was leading a dancing bear, and they ran after him, forgetting the errand on which they were sent. Toward evening they remembered what their father had told them, bought the medicine, and hastened homward. When they got near the house, one of the boys began to cry, saying: "I am afraid to go in, for I am sure father will flog me." The other said: "We were very wrong to run off like that and displease our good father." The former of the two boys resembs the sinner who is sorry for his sin because he forsees that he will be punished by God. The latter is an example of asinner who has perfect contrition, who is sorry for his sin because he has thereby offended God. The repentance of the one arises from fear of God; that of the other from love of God.Q. What is perfect contrition?A. Perfect contrition is that which fills us with sorrow and hatred for sin, because it offends God, who is infinitely good in Himself and worthy of all love.
THE FIRE AT THE THEATER IN VIENNA
On the 8th of December, 1881, a fire broke out in the Ring Theater in Vienna, which spread with amazing rapidity. Every one made for the doors. Unfortunately the side doors, intended for the scape in caes of fire, were locked, so that over four hundred persons perished in the flames. A few more fortunate individuals made their way into a corridor; amongst these was a girl who had not long left school, and who remembered having while there heard the catechist say that if they were in danger of death they should make an act of perfect contrition. Thereupon she repeated aloud an act of contrition; after which, turning around, her hand came into contact with the latch of door behind her. The door yielded to a slight pressure, and all who were in the corridor gained access to a room from the windows of which they could attract the attention of the people in the street, and obtain rescue by means of a fire-escape. With the exception of these favored persons, very few of those who filled the theater at the time the fire broke out were rescued from death.Q. What is imperfect contrition?A. Imperfect contrition is that by which we hate what offends God, because by it we lose heaven and deserve hell or because sin is so hateful in itself.
THE ACCIDENT ON THE RHINE NEAR BINGEN
In the spring of the year 1900 a pleasure party, consisting of about thirty persons returning from an excursion, were being conveyed across the Rhine in a boat, when, just as they were halfway, they felt themselves sinking. The boat had sprung a leak and was beginning to fill with water. A priest who was in the boat immediately called upon the passengers to make an act of contrition and gave them the absolution. Only three persons were rescued: one of these was the priest in question. Such dangers are very often permitted by God to recall us to Himself, and rescue or disaster depends on whether or not the desired effect was produced.Q. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy confession?A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we should endeavor to have perfect contrition.
A CASE OF SUDDEN DEATH
It happened once that the father of a family broke a blood vessel. A messenger was instantly dispatched to summon a priest, but the nearest place where one was to be found was about four miles distant. Meanwhile the youngest child, who had recently made his first communion, perceiving that his father's life was fast ebbing away, took a crucifix down from the wall, and, holding it before the dying man's eyes, repeated aloud an act of perfect contrition. Tears filled the father's eyes; he expired before the priest arrived, but undoubtedly, on account of the real repentance he felt, he was safe for all eternity.
Q. Is it well to receive holy communion often?A. It is well to receive holy communion often, as nothing is greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all grace and the Source of all good.
A CRIMINAL CONDEMNED TO DIE OF STARVATION
Spiritual communion consists in the earnest desire to receive holy communion, and when the actual reception of the Blessed Sacrament is impossible, spiritual communions are advisable and are productive of grace. In the olden times a king once sentenced one of his subjects to be starved to death in punishment of a heinous crime. The condemned criminal besought the king to permit him to make his peace with God before paying the penalty of his sins. The king granted the desired permission, and a priest was conducted to the cell where he was confined. The man made his confession, and the priest was about to administer holy communion to him when the soldiers who were on guard in the cell interposed, saying that the man must not have anything given him to eat; he was condemned to die of hunger. The unhappy criminal fell on his knees, and exclaimed: "Lord Jesus, Thou art present here under the form of bread.I long for Thee, but I am not allowed to receive Thee. Come to me in an invisible manner; Thou who art almighty canst do this." This man had a heartfelt desire to receive holy communion. Such a lively desire is called spiritual communion. We should communicate spiritually, when we hear Mass, at the priest's communion.READ MORE ON PERFECT CONTRITION IN THE PAMPHLET- PERFECT CONTRITION THE GOLDEN KEY TO HEAVEN AVAILABLE AT ALL THE SAINTS BOOKS
"O Sacred Banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given."
- St. Thomas
From Catholic Life
This day is commemorative of the Last Supper, at which our Lord instituted the Blessed Eucharist. The Gospel says: "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat: This is My body. And taking the chalice He gave thanks: and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, for this is My blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. xxvi 26-28).
All ought to assist at Holy Mass to-day, and receive Holy Communion out of love to our Lord, Who gave Himself to us as a most previous legacy on the very eve of His death.
The circumstances under which He instituted the Blessed Eucharist reveal His unbounded love. He instituted It 'the same night in which He was betrayed" (I Cor. xi. 23), and therefore at the very time when the hatred of His enemies was at its highest pitch, and when they were actually making their preparations to put Him to death. He instituted It though He knew that there was a vile traitor among His chosen followers, and that many Christians would despise and dishonour Him in this Sacrament.
At Mass to-day the priest consecrates a host to be reserved for the priest's communion to-morrow, there being, properly speaking, no Mass on Good Friday. This host is carried in solemn procession to the Altar of Repose, where it is kept till brought back in procession to the principal altar the following morning.
No bells are rung from the Gloria in excelsis till the same time on Saturday, to express the deep sorrow of the Church for the death of her Spouse.
After Mass the altars are uncovered, to put us in mind how Jesus, Whom the altar represents, was stripped of His garments at the time of His Passion; and therefore, while the priest uncovers them, he says the twenty-first Psalm, which is a clear prediction of our Saviour's Passion. During the day devout worshippers are to be seen coming and going to pay their homage and adoration to the God of love, and to get in return the love of God.
These worshippers feel better than they can express the reality of the Divine Presence. If they are in grief, they find peace and consolation. If in danger and temptation, they feel, rather than hear, Him say, "It is I: fear not," and their troubled bosoms enjoy a calm which is a foretaste of Heaven. Above all, they feel that their love is not misplaced, that it is not fruitless, that it is not followed by the emptiness of heart which succeeds the outpourings of love on created objects.
"No art or eloquence of man
Can tell the joys of love;
Only the Saints can understand
What they in Jesus prove.
Come, then, dear Lord, possess my heart,
Chase thence the shades of night;
Come, pierce it with Thy flaming dart
And ever-shining light."
Gabriel Garcia Moreno
Example. - Don Garcia Moreno
Moreno was re-elected President of Ecuador in 1869. During his term of office marvelous improvements were witnessed everywhere- in schools, in hospitals, the army and navy, finances, roads, railways, and especially in maintaining peace.
His last autograph letter was to the Holy Father Pius IX., announcing his re-election and begging benediction. "I have," he wrote, "the more need of the Divine protection now, since the Masonic lodges of the neighboring states vomit out every kind of atrocious insult and infamous slander against me, and have actually taken means secretly to assassinate me. What a happiness it is for me, most Holy Father, to be hated and calumniated for the love of our Divine Redeemer! What an immense blessing would it be for me if your benediction obtained for me grace to shed my blood for Him Who, being God, yet deigned to shed His blood for us on the Cross."
On the first Friday in August he received, as was his custom, Holy Communion in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some hours later, as he was passing the cathedral, he entered, and remained some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. His assassins, three in number, were dogging his steps, and, becoming impatient at his remaining so long in church, they sent in word that some persons were waiting for him on important business.
He came out at once, and had already reached his palace when the first struck him with a heavy sword on the back of the neck. The President, fearless as ever, turned on the ruffian, when the two accomplices then rushed on him, and shot him many times with their revolvers and hacked him with their knives.
The troops, hearing the noise, rushed to the rescue, but it was too late. The President was mortally wounded. He was carried into the cathedral, where, after giving signs of consciousness and forgiveness of his assassins, he expired. His dying words were,
"GOD NEVER DIES!"
Great picture book!
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