"Now, during the season of Advent, our Lord knocks at the door of all men's hearts, at one time so forcibly that they must needs notice Him; at another, so softly that it requires attention to know that Jesus is asking admission. He comes to ask them if they have room for Him, for He wishes to be born in their house."
My apologies that this is up a day late, we are mostly moved into our new home and ready to start keeping Advent!
As most of you have probably noticed the Christmas music started about a month ago, and it is even more so now. Everyone is hauling Christmas tree's to their house to celebrate the birth of our Lord…. yet one, the most important thing, has not happened yet…. His birthday has not yet come!
This is a most important time in the Church, its a very special time of year. Not only are we anticipating the birth of our Lord with the four weeks of Advent but we are also at the start of a new Liturgical Year. Another year is given to us to work on our Salvation by following the Church and the Life of our dear Lord. To celebrate these two great events we are giving away several books! After today's post please make sure to enter to win one of the many prizes. May God bless you and your family during this season, and may the penances and waiting, and anticipation of the season bring you and yours to a most JOYFUL and GLORIOUS Christmas Season! May you all celebrate it to its fullest, during its 50 days starting on December 25th! God bless!
THE HOME, A LITTLE CHURCH
By: Rev. Edgar Schmiedeler, O.S.B. Ph.D.
+ Imprimatur 1950's
Religion is not only amateur for the Church. It is also, and very much so, a matter for the home. And it is in this regard that we are particularly interested here. It has always had a place on the home hearth. The old pagan Romans, for instance, had as their war-cry, "pro arise et focus," "for our altars and our hearthstones."
But particularly has religion had a place in the Christian home. Indeed, to such an extent has this been true that from early Christian times it has been looked upon as a Church in miniature. Thus, we find the term, "little Church," applied to it by St. John Chrysostom in one of the earliest centuries of the Church's existence. St. Augustine, who lived but shortly after, touched upon this same idea when, in addressing a group of fathers of families in his own Diocese of Hippo, he referred to them as bishops - "my fellow bishops."
Again, St. Benedict, almost a contemporary of both Saints Chrysostom and Augustine, referred to the monastic homes of his religious, as "the houses of God." And so in other ways was this view of the time expressed. The father was looked upon in a sense as a priest in the little church, the home. Evidences of religion were present within this actuary. Religious devotions within it, all the family members participating, were customary.
The history of the Middle Ages - the "Ages of Faith," as they ware called - shows the same picture of the Christian home. Family religious practices and customs were commonplace in the homes. They were the expected thing. AS a result, threw as little room for secularism in the homes of the time. Everywhere there was evidence of God and the things of God.
And we may well add that, if Catholics of our day wish to keep the spirit of secularism from their home, if they wish to make God honored and respected therein, they may well look again to those old and tried religious customs of the Christian Families of the past and reintroduce them, with adaptations suited to the times, into their own homes.
THE LITURGICAL YEAR ADVENT VOLUME
By: Dom Gueranger +Imprimatur 1927
Practice During Advent
If our holy mother the Church spends the time, of Advent in this solemn preparation for the threefold coming of JEsus Christ; if, after the example of the prudent virgins, she keeps her lamp lit ready for the coming of the Bridegroom; we, being her members and her children, ought to enter into her spirit, and apply to ourselves this warning of our Saviour: "Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands, and ye yourselves be like unto men who wait for their Lord!" (St. Luke xii. 35, 36) The Church and we have, in reality, the same hopes. Each one of us is, on the part of God, an object of mercy and care, as is the Church herself. If she is the temple of God, it is because she is built of living stones; if she is the bride, it is because she consists of all the souls which are invited to eternal union with God. If it is written that the Saviour hath purchased the Church with His own Blood (Acts xx.28) may not each one of us say of himself those words of St, Paul, 'Christ hasty loved me, and hath delivered Himself up for me' (Gal. ii. 29)? Our destiny being the same, them as that of the Church, we should endeavor during Advent, to enter into the spirit of preparation, which is, as we have seen, that of the Church herself.
And firstly, it is our duty to join with the saints of the old Law in asking for the Messias, and thus pay the debt which the whole human race owes to the divine mercy. In order to fulfill this duty with fervor, let us go back in though to those four thousand years, represented by the four weeks of Advent, and reflect on the darkness and crime which filled the world before our Saviour's coming. Let our hearts be filled with lively gratitude towards Him who saved His creature man from death, and who came down from heaven that He might know our miseries by Himself experiencing them, yes, all of them excepting sin. Let us cry to Him with confidence from the depths of our misery; for, notwithstanding His having saved the work of His hands, He still wishes us to beseech Him to save us. Let therefore our desires and our confidence have their free utterance in the ardent supplications of the ancient prophets, which the Church puts on our lips during these days of expectation; let us give our closest attention to the sentiments which they express.
This first duty complied with, we must next turn our minds to the coming which our Saviour wishes to accomplish in our own hearts. It is, as we have seen, a coming full of sweetness and mystery, and a consequence of the first; for the good Shepherd comes not only to visit the flock in general, but He extends His solicitude to each one of the sheep, even to the hundredth which is lost. Now, in order to appreciate the whole of this ineffable mystery, we must remember that, since we can be pleasing to our heavenly Father only inasmuch as He sees within us His Son Jesus Christ, this amiable Saviour deigns to come into each one of us, and transform us, if we will but consent, into Himself so that the henceforth we may live, not we, but He in us. This is, in reality, the one grand aim of the Christian religion, to make man divine through Jesus Christ: it is the task which God has given to His Church to do, and she says to the faithful what St. Paul said to his Galatians: 'My little children, of whom I am in labour again, until Christ be formed within you! (Gal. iv. 19)
But as, on His entering into this world, our divine Saviour first showed Himself under the form of a weak Babe, before attaining the fulness of the age of manhood, and this to the end that nothing might be wanting to His sacrifice, so does He intend to do in us; there is to be a progress in His growth within us. Now, it is at the feast of Christmas that He delights to be born in our souls, and that He ours out over the whole Church a grace of being born, to which, however, not all are faithful.
For this glorious solemnity, as often as it comes round, finds three classes of men. The first, and the smallest number, are those who live, in all its plenitude, the life of Jesus who is within them, and aspire incessantly after the increase of this life. The second class of souls is more numerous; they are living, it is true, because Jesus is in them; but they are sick and weakly, because they care not to grow in this divine life; their charity has become cold! (Apoc. ii. 4.) The rest of men make up the third division, and are they that have no part of life in them, and are dead; for Christ has said: "I am the Life." (St. John xiv. 6.)
Now, during the season of Advent, our Lord knocks at the door of all men's hearts, at one time so forcibly that they must needs notice Him; at another, so softly that it requires attention to know that Jesus is asking admission. He comes to ask them if they have room for Him, for He wishes to be born in their house. The house indeed is His, for he built it and preserves it; yet He complains that His own refused to receive Him; (Ibid. i. 11) at least the greater number did. 'But as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, born not of blood, no of the flesh, but of God." (Ibid. 12,13)
He will be born, then, with more beauty and lustre and might then you have hitherto seen in Him, O ye faithful ones, who hold Him within you as your only treasure, and who have long lived no other life than His, shaping your thoughts and works on the model of His. You will feel the necessity of words to suit and express your love; such words as He delights to hear you speak to Him .You will find them in the holy liturgy.
You, who have had Him within you without knowing Him, and have obsessed Him without relishing the sweetness of His presence, open your hearts to welcome Him, this time, with more care and love. He repeats His visit of the this year with an untiring tenderness; He has forgotten you past slights; He would 'that all things be new.' (Apoc. xxi.5.) Make room for the divine Infant, for He desires to grow within your soul. The time of His coming is close at hand: let your heart, then, be on the watch; and lest you should slumber when He arrives, watch and pray, yea, sing. The words of the liturgy are intended also for your use: they speak of darkness, which only God can enlighten; of wounds, which only His mercy can heal; of a faintness, which can be braced only by His divine energy.
And you, Christians, for whom the good tidings are as things that are not, because you are dead in sin, lo! He who is very life is coming among you. Yes, whether this death of sin has held you as its slave for long hears, or has but freshly inflicted on you the wound which made you its victim, Jesus, your Life, is coming: "why, then, will you die? He desireth not the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live." (Ezechiel xviii. 31,32) The grand feast of His birth will be a joy and mercy for the whole world; at least, for all who will give Him admission into their hearts: they will rise to lief again in Him, their past life will be destroyed, and where sin abounded, there grace will more abound. (Rom. v. 20)
But, if the tenderness and the attractiveness of this mysterious coming make no impression on you, because your heart is too weighted down to be able to rise to confidence, and because, having so long drunk sin like water, you know not what it is to long with love for the caresses of a Father whom you have slighted - then turn your thoughts to that other coming, which is full of terror, and is to follow the silent one of grace that is now offered. Think within yourselves, how this earth of ours will tremble at the approach of the dread Judge; how the heavens will flee from before His face, and fold up as a book; (Apoc. vi. 14) how man will wince under His angry look; how the creature will wither away with fear, as the two-edged sword, which comes from the mouth of his Creator (Ibid. i.16) pierces him; and how sinners will cry out, 'Ye mountains, fall on us! ye rocks, cover us!' (St. Luke xxiii. 30.) Those unhappy souls who would not know the time of their visitation (Ibid. xix. 44), shall then vainly wish to hid themselves from the face of Jesus. They shut their hearts against this Man-God, who, in His excessive love of them, wept over them: therefore, on the day of judgement they will descend alive into those everlasting fires, whose flame devoureth the earth with her increase, and burneth the foundations of the mountains. (Deut. xxxii. 22.) The worm that never diet (St. Mark ix.43), the useless eternal repentance, will gnaw them for ever.
Let those, then, who are not touched by the tidings of the coming of the heavenly Physician and the good Shepherd who giveth His life for His sheep, meditate during Advent on the awful yet certain truth, that so many render the redemption unavailable to themselves by refusing to co-operate in their own salvation. They may treat the Child who is to e born (Is. IX. 6) with disdain' but He is also the mighty God, and do they think they can withstand Him on that day, when He is to come, not to save, as now, but to judge? Would that they knew more of this divine Judge, before whom the very saints tremble! Let these, also, use the liturgy of this season, and they will there learn how much He is to be feared by sinners.
We would not imply by this that only sinners need to fear: no, every Christian ought to fear. Fear, when there is no nobler sentiment with it, makes man a slave; when it accompanies love, it is a feeling which fills the heart of a child who has offended his father, yet seeks for pardon; when, at length, love casteth out fear, (1 St. John iv.18) even then this holy fear will sometimes come, and, like a flash of lightning, pervade the deepest recesses of the soul. It does the soul good. She wakes up afresh to a keener sense of her own misery and of the unmerited mercy of her Redeemer. Let no one, therefore, think that he may safely pass his Advent without taking any share in the holy fear which animates the Church. She, though so beloved by God, prays to Him to give her this fear; and in her Office of Sext, she thus cries out to Him: 'Pierce my flesh with Thy fear." It is, however, to those who are beginning a good life, that this part of the Advent liturgy will be peculiarly serviceable.
It is evident, from what we have said, that Advent is a season specially devoted to the exercises of what is called the purgative life, which is implied in that expression of St. Joh, so continually repeated by the Church during this holy time: Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Let all, therefore, strive earnestly to make straight the path by which Jesus will enter into their would. Let the just, agreeably to the teaching of the apostle, forget the things that are behind, (Phil. iii.13) and labour to acquire fresh merit. Let sinners begin at once and break the chains which now enslave them. LEt them give up those bad habits which they have contracted. Let them weaken the flesh, and enter upon the hard work of subjecting it to the spirit. Let them, above all things, pray with the Church. And when our Lord comes, they may hope that He will not pass them by, but that He will enter and dwell within them; for He spoke of all when He said these words: "Behold I stand at the gate and knock: if any man shall hear My voice and open to Me the door, I will come in unto him," (Apoc. iii.20)
Liturgical Year / Advent Giveaway!
We are giving away three copies of the Advent Volume, from The Liturgical Year!
The name of Dom Gueranger, abbot of Solesmes, needs no recommendation. He has been long known, both in his own country and in England, by his pious and edifying works. The calendar of the Church renews before our spiritual and intellectual vision- it may almost be said before our eyes of sense- the supreme worship of the ever blessed Trinity, in the communion of the saints. Into this interior world of heavenly beauty, splendor, and peace, the liturgy of the Church admits us day by day. Read More about The Liturgical Year
Two copies of Catholic Life are up for grabs!! Catholic Life or Feasts, Fasts & Devotions of the Ecclesiastical Year
The book, which is here presented to the English-speaking public, is one of those works which possess a merit of their own. The general favor with which it has been received throughout Europe, and the high commendations bestowed upon it, leave no room for doubt that it will be equally welcomed in America, where it was originally composed. The circumstances under which it was begun are incidentally alluded to by the author, in the Epilogue. Read More Catholic Life
3 copies of our EBOOK Starting with Sunday Planner!!! Just released today!
+ Full Color Catholic Daily Planner + Double Spread Monthly Calendar with room for Notes + 8.5 in x 5.5 in. in size + Each week includes an inspirational quote from Thomas A. Kempis + Feast Day Reminders +Weekly Double Spread Pages with a weekly 'reminder' chart of common household duties and tasks. Read More about Starting with Sunday
3 copies of our EBOOK Liturgical Year Planning & Journaling Notebook!
A one of a kind planning and journal-ing notebook for the Catholic Liturgical Year! A simple way to plan a whole year's worth of Liturgical Feasts. A simple place to note all your plans down in one location with beautiful art work and Catholic quotes. The Liturgical year Planning and Journaling Notebook is plastic coil bound with 110 stock front and back cover, these are a soft cover notebook. These pages are also featured in our 2013/2014 Holy Simplicity Planner
, this notebook is especially for those who would like their planning pages separate from the planner or who may not have a use for an academic planner. Read More about the Liturgical Year Planning & Journaling Notebook
Advent is upon us and we are about to embrace the four weeks of waiting for the arrival of Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. The season in which God descended upon His people and became man. According to Dom Gueranger, in his book on Advent from the Liturgical Year
: “The name Advent (from the Latin word Adventus, which signifies a coming), is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honor of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance.”
There are ever so many traditions kept amongst God’s faithful during this most holy season. One of them is the study of the Root of Jesse, which is Christ’s ancestry. The Jesse Window, or rather, the Jesse Tree, as it is popularly known, ‘was a favorite subject of the glass painters of the 12th to the 16th centuries.’ It ‘was the representation of the genealogical tree springing from Jesse, father of David, with figures of David and others down to Christ,’ says the New Catholic Dictionary (Imprimatur 1929).
Many of you either purchased from us last year the Advent; God's Loving Promise Study Guide
or have heard about it. We are unable to carry that item any longer and hope that this post will serve as a replacement for that project many of you enjoyed.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” -Isaias XI:1
The Root of Jesse, the ancestry of Our Lord, is based on the stories of the Bible. A couple of wonderful articles on Catholics and the Bible can be found here in a previous blog post
. We have updated the original Jesse Tree Ornaments, from Advent; God's Loving Promise
, along with a shortened list of projects and readings from our Bible Stories for Children Unit Study
. Hoping that this mini unit will provide a wonderful way to learn the the ancestry of our Lord during the 26 (+/-) days of Advent. Things you will need:
- Bible Stories for Children By: A Catholic Teacher
- Anecdotes and Examples By: Spirago
- 26 Cut and Color Jesse Tree Ornaments
(one for each child)
- The study guide below OR Print out this PDF Version Scheduling your Jesse Tree Study:
Advent varies in the number of days depending on when the Feast of St. Andrew falls, thus many Jesse Tree kits and readings vary in their number and length of time. Our mini Jesse Tree unit consists of 26 chapters, in keeping with the way that the Bible Stories for Children Text is arranged. The last one ends with Christmas day. The easiest way to plan your unit study is to count, starting with Christmas, back 26 days, and that would be the day to start your unit. If it happens, that Advent has not started yet at that time, you can double up chapters or skip a chapter her and there to accommodate the year on the calendar. If you have any questions about planning please feel free to email us
Day 1- The Creation of the World
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 1-2
- Color Ornament #1
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: Stories to read on Creation:
Page 3 THE ASTRONOMER AND THE GLOBE
Page 39 THE ACORN AND THE PUMPKIN
Page 40 THE FIRMAMENT IS UPHELD BY DIVINE POWER
Page 41 PASTEUR’S EXPERIMENTS Stories about God:
Page 4 THE GODLESS INKEEPER
Page 19 THE KING AND THE PHILOSPHER
Page 21 THE MARVELS OF ASTRONOMY
Page 22 THE TWO SERVANTS WHO WERE LEFT WITHOUT SUPERVISION
Page 23 THE RESCUE OF TWO FUGITIVES Stories on Keeping Sunday Holy:
Page 389 A POST REFUSED
THE EXAMPLE OF COLUMBUS
Page 454 A PIOUS RAILWAY OFFICIAL
Page 455 THE EMPEROR JOSEPH II, PLOWING
Page 456 THE CONVERSION OF ST. COLUMBINUS MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 1'S UNIT
Day 2 - The Angels
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 3-4
- Color Ornament #2
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: Stories to read about Angels:
Page 40 PASTEUR’S EXPERIMENTS
Page 42 THE PROTECTION OF THE ANGELS
Page 43 THE SCHOOL CHILDREN IN A STORM
Page 44 POPE LEO CONFRONTS ATTILA
Page 45 THE SHEEP AND THE BIRDS
A FREE-THINKER’S FEARS
Page 46 TWO CHILDREN SAVED BY THEIR PIETY Stories on Pride:
Page 243 THE FROG THAT BURST
Page 245 THE PROUD BOOTMAKER Story on False Humility:
Page 513 THE GREATEST SINNER MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 2'S UNIT
Day 3 - The First Sin (Adam & Eve)
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 5-7
- Color Ornament #3
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: Stories to read about Adam and Eve
Page 47 THE HEN’S EGG
Page 48 THE DECISION GOES TO VIRTUE
Page 49 THE BUNCH OF GRAPES
Page 50 HAPPINESS ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN
WHO IS HAPPY BESIDES GOD
Page 51 THE WOODCUTTERS CONCEIT
Page 52 THE HEIRS OF AN ESTATE
Page 53 THE SPOTS OF INK ON A NEW DRESS
Page 54 THE SPRING AND THE STORM Stories on Mary Without Origional Sin:
Page 56 THE APPARITION AT LOURDES MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 3'S UNIT
Day 4 - The First Family
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 8-10
- Color Ornament #4
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On sin & its kinds:
Page 61 ONE OF THE EXCEPTIONS
Page 62 WHEN WILL THERE BE WAR AGAIN?
AN ARTIFICER IS INSTRUMENTAL IN HIS OWN DEATH
Page 63 THE BITER BITTEN
Page 64 RUDOLPH OF HAPSBURG REFUSES TO DRINK WATER
TAKEN FROM THE THIRSTY
Page 65 THE LADY WHO WOULD NOT PAY THE DRESSMAKER Stories on the 5th Commandment:
Page 479 ANDREAS HOFER SAVES HIS ENEMIES
Page 480 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS & THE OFFICERS
Page 481 THE DELAYED DISPATCH
Page 482 A ROYAL APOLOGY
THE THANKLESS SON & THE ADDER
Page 483 THE POOR YOUTH WITH SOUND LIMBS MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 4'S UNIT
Day 5- The Deluge
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 11-13
- Color Ornament #5
Day 6 - Abraham & Isaac
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 14-16
- Color Ornament #6
Day 7 - Rebecca at the Well
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 17-18
- Color Ornament #7
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Prayer
Page 356 THE EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN IN DANGER
Page 357 THE SERVANT WHO BURNED HER GLOVES
Page 358 GOD DEFENDS THE RIGHT
Page 359 FRANCIS I AFTER THE BATTLE OF LEIPZIG
THE GRATITUDE OF DOGS
Page 360 THE WALL OF SNOW
Page 363 THE GOOD EFFECT OF THE ROSARY
Page 366 “PIGS DO NOT PRAY.” On Marriage
Page 333 BISHOP HILARY’S ADVICE TO HIS DAUGHTER
Page 334 THE MARRIAGE FEAST AT CANA On Charity
Page 119 THE TWO RINGS
Page 120 RADETZKY AND THE BEGGAR
Page 203 ST. MARTIN DIVIDES HIS CLOAK MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 7'S UNIT
Day 8 - Esau & Jacob
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 19-20
- Color Ornament #8
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On the Church
Page 130 THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Page 131 THE CHARITABLE HERMIT
Page 132 A RAILWAY INSPECTOR AS SIGNALMAN On Revernce of God- 2nd Commandment
Page 438 THE LOYALTY OF THE INHABITANTS OF FREIBURG
Page 439 ST. IGNAITUS, BISHOP OF ANTIOCH
Page 441 REGULUS A MODEL OF HONOR
Page 442 A LESSON IN REVERENCE
Page 443 THE MONASTIC PUNSTER On Forgiveness
Page 264 WASHINGTON’S APOLOGY
Page 265 THE EMPORER FRANCIS I ESCAPES ASSASSINATION MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 8'S UNIT
Day 9 - The Story of Joseph
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 21-23
- Color Ornament #9
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On the 4th Commandment, Obedience
Page 463 THE EXAMPLE OF CORIOLANUS
Page 464 THE EXAMPLE OF PETER SIGMAIER
Page 465 CHILDREN MAY SOMTIMES TEACH THEIR PARENTS
Page 466 THE SON WHO LIBERATED HIS FATHER FROM SLAVERY On Theft, the 7th Commandment
Page 499 THE DEATH OF THREE ROBBERS
Page 500 A SPECIFIC FOR TOOTHACHE
Page 501 THE HIDDEN CASKET
Page 502 THE USURIOUS CORN MERCHANT
Page 503 A MILLONAIRE IN AN OMNIBUS MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 9'S UNIT
Day 10 - Story of Moses
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 24-28
- Color Ornament #10
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Baptism
Page 161 THE DEBTOR’S CHILD AND THE TWO LETTERS
Page 162 THE BAPTISMAL ROBE AS A SHROUD
Page 163 LOUIS XV AND HIS CHILDREN
Page 164 BAPTISM BY CHILDREN On the Commandments
Page 378 THE SAVAGE AND THE PIECE OF MONEY
Page 379 AN OLD MAN AT THE OLYMPIAN GAMES
THE SENTINEL ON GUARD AT POMPEII
Page 380 THE SON WHO RESCUED A SERVANT
Page 381 IN DEED AND IN TRUTH
THE INNOCENT SERVANT SELF-ACCUSED On Heaven
Page 581 CROWN OR SWORD?
Page 582 THE MONEY IN THE LABORER’S BOOTS
Page 583 THE SCIENCE OF THE CROSS MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 10'S UNIT
Day 11 - Entrance into the Promised Land
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 29-30
- Color Ornament #11
Day 12 - The Judges
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 31-32
- Color Ornament #12
Anecdotes & Examples- Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Confirmation
Page 174 A Martyr’s Fortitude
Page 175 St. Maurilius
Page 175 The Confirmations of St. Guthbert
Page 176 Holy Chrism Multiplied Miraculously
Page 177 The True Soldier of Jesus Christ
Page 178 The Chinese Child
Page 178 Prayer-book, Rosary, and Picture and Confirmation gift
Page 179 Caliqula’s Heart
Page 180 Our of Place On Temptation
Page 124 The Wooden Horse pf Troy
Page 126 The Fool Hardy Stag
Page 126 The Devil on the City Wall MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 12'S UNIT
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 33-34
- Color Ornament #13
Day 14- The Boy Samuel
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 35-37
- Color Ornament #14
Day 15- The Story of David
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 38-40
- Color Ornament #15
Day 16 - King Solomon
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 41-43
- Color Ornament #16
Day 17 - Roboam and Jeroboam
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 44-45
- Color Ornament #17
Anecdotes & Examples-Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Pride
Page 243 THE FROG THAT BURST
Page 244 A ROYAL VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF CORRECTION
Page 244 “I SAY MY PRAYERS, FATHER” On Kindness
Page 208 ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND THE FIRE
Page 262 THE EMPEROR FRANCIS 1 ACTS AS GUIDE
Page 263 A GENERAL ACTS AS SCRIBE On Peacemakers
Page 200 ST. FRANCIS OF SALES IN ROME
Page 201 ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA AND TWO VESSELS
Page 201 THE MONEY BAKED IN SMALL LOAVES
Page 484 A RIVER WASHES AWAY THE EARTH ON ONE SIDE,
AND CASTS UP ON THE OTHER MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 17'S UNIT
Day 18 - The Prophet Elias
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 46-49
- Color Ornament #18
Day 19- The Story of Tobias
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 50-53
- Color Ornament #19
Day 20 - Daniel in the Lions Den
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 54-55
- Color Ornament #20
Anecdotes & Examples-Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Prayer
Page 255 HOLY FATHER, PUT IN YOUR HAND
Page 267 THE RESULT OF 16 YEARS OF PRAYER
Page 356 THE EMPEROR MAXIMILLIAN IN DANGER
Page 357 THE SERVANT WHO BURNED HER GLOVES
Page 358 GOLD DEFENDS THE RIGHT
Page 359 THE GRATITUDE OF DOGS
Page 360 THE WALL OF SNOW
Page 361 THIRTEEN DAYS BURIAL
Page 364 “REPEAT THE ALPHABET”
Page 364 A SOLDIER NOT TO BE DETERRED FROM PRAYER BY RIDICULE
Page 365 THE BEGGAR-MAN AT THE ROYAL TABLE MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 20'S UNIT
Day 21 - The Prophet Jonas
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 56-58
- Color Ornament #21
Anecdotes & Examples-Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On Penance
Page 214 THE ANTS NEST
Pate 219 A WAGER ABOUT CONFESSION
Page 284 THE SORROW OF MAGDALEN On Mercy
Page 93 THE GOOD THIEF
Page 192 THE BREAD AND THE BUTTER
Page 198 BROTHER BOUNTY AND BROTHER PLENTY
Page 207 THE COUNTESS AS A MENDICANT
Page 210 BASLE SAVED BECAUSE OF AN EARTHQUAKE
Page 258 ST. JOHN OF GOD AND THE NOBLEMAN
Page 259 THE EMPEROR OF BRAZIL RAISES FUNDS FOR A HOSPITAL
Page 277 THE EMPEROR JOSEPH II IN THE CHARACTER OF A PHYSICIAN MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON OUR BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN UNIT STUDY, PLEASE SEE CHAPTER 21'S UNIT
Day 22- Queen Ester
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 59-61
- Color Ornament #22
Day 23- Judith the Brave Woman
Bible Stories for Children-
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- Color Ornament #23
Day 24- The Seven Machabees
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 64-65
- Color Ornament #24
Day 25- Judas Machabeus
Bible Stories for Children-
- Read Pages 66-67
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Day 26- The Nativity of Our Lord
Bible Stories for Children-
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Anecdotes & Examples-Read one or more of the following stories, as students disposition allows: On the Incarnation
Page 77 THE GENEROUS PRINCE
Page 78 A MODERN PAGAN
Page 79 THE JOINT DEBATE
Page 80 THE ARIAN EMPEROR & THE CROWN PRINCE
Page 81 KING CODRUS
Page 82 ST. MARGARET
Page 82 THE DIVINE MATERNITY OF MARY
Page 83 THE WORD OF GOD
Page 84 THE TEST OF THE ANGELS
Page 85 THE IRON & THE WOOD
Page 86 THE HOLY HOUSE OF NAZARETH MORE ACTIVITES FOR THIS CHAPTER MAY BE FOUND ON ON OUR CHRISTMAS PAGE
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Burial of De Soto
First we would like to announce the winner of the STarting with Sunday Catholic Day Planner Giveaway
! Congrats to ….. Claudia Salcido! Thank you to everyone who entered!
In another week our country recognizes "a civil holiday observed annually in the United States of America on the last Thursday in November", which we know as Thanksgiving. "The custom originated in 1621, when Governor Bradford of the Plymouth colony appointed a day for public praise and prayer after the first harvest, and the practice spread throughout the other New England colonies." (Catholic Encyclopedia 1912)
You might be asking what this has to do with the Catholic Pioneers of Florida? The Plymouth colony and the New England colonies were all Protestant (with the exception of a few Catholics in Maryland). Thus this civil holiday is Protestant in its history. This weeks Keeping It Catholic Monday
, we wanted to share about the Catholic Pioneers of Florida, which is the first location of a Catholic Thanksgiving (a.k.a. the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass). Though some of the history is little known, our country started out as a Catholic country with its Catholic Pioneers. CATHOLIC PIONEERS OF AMERICA
By: John O'Kane Murray, M.A., M.D.
HERNANDO DE SOTO - The Conqueror of Florida, and Discoverer of the Lower Mississippi - Died A.D. 1542
About twenty-seven years after the veteran Ponce de Leon had visited Florida, in search of the fabled fountain of youth, a more renowned pioneer stepped on its lonely shores, and struck boldly into the wilderness of north America. It was Hernando de Soto. He was born in Spain about 1501. Though of a noble family, the young cavalier began life with no fortune but his sword and buckler., His checkered career opens in the New World, where, as the companion of Pizarro and commander of a corps of cavalry, he rose to distinction, and had no small share in the conquest of Peru and the spoils that fell to the victors.
It will be remembered to the honor of De Soto that he gained the confidence and affection of the unhappy Inca Atahualpa; and, on finding, that during his absence from the camp, the monarch was put to death, he did not conceal his just indignation. "You have acted rashly," he said to Pizarro. "The Inca has been basely slandered. He should have been taken to Spain, and judged by the Emperor.
De Soto returned to his native land with wealth and reputation. Success of al kinds awaited him at home. He appeared at the Court of Charles V. with a magnificent retinue; and his commanding figure and attractive manners made him the "observed of all observers." He gained the favor of the Emperor. He married the daughter of a
distinguished nobleman, and might now have settled down to a life of ease and honor. But De Soto's imagination took fire whenever he thought of the New world, overhung as it was with countless wonders, and promises of wealth, adventure, and the spread of the Catholic Religion. He cast his eyes towards Florida. The various expeditions to that famous but unexplored land had hitherto failed, and he asked and obtained permission of Charles V. to undertake his conquest at his own risk and expense. He was appointed Governor of both Cuba and Florida.A well-equipped armament stood across the Atlantic, touched at Cuba, and on the 25th of May, 1539, De Soto landed at Tampa Bay, Florida, "with
six hundred and twenty chosen men, a band as gallant and well-appointed, as eager in pursuit and audacious in hope, as ever tod the shores of the New World. The clangor of trumpets, the neighing of horses, the fluttering of pennons, the glittering of helmet and lance, startled the ancient forest with unwonted greeting. "Amid this pom of chivalry, religion was not forgotten. The sacred vessels and vestments, with bread and wine for the Eucharist, were carefully provided; and De Soto himself declared that the enterprise was undertaken for God alone,
and seemed to be the object of his especial care." )Parkman) The conversion of the savages was considered a matter of first importance, and twelve priests accompanied the expedition.
The Governor took possession of the
country in the name of the Emperor Charles V. It is said he dreamed of nothing but success, and moved by the example of Cortes, sent most of his ships back to Havana. The savages did not like the new-comers and gave vent to their wrath in hideous yells and showers of arrows. But a well-directed charge of the cavalry gave fleetness to the heels of the greasy, loud-mouth warriors. The loss of a fine charger, however, warned the Spaniards that the Indian arrow was no mean weapon. The fatal shat had flown with such force as to pass through the saddle and bury itself between the ribs of the horse.
The work of exploration began, but from the outsider it was toilsome and perilous enterprise. The little army pushed patiently along towards the north. The line of march lay through a trackless wilderness covered by dense forests, and intersected by muddy rivers and vast swamps. On every side the savages proved hostile. The Spaniards were obliged to fight and push on while burdened down with a large stock of provisions and ammunition. A cannon was hauled through treacherous bogs (In some of the morasses they had traversed, the surface would appear like firm land, yet, on stepping upon it, would tremble for twenty or thirty paces around, and on being trodden by horses would give way, and plunge steed and rider into a suffocating quagmire, -Irving.) and tangled underood, with immense labor, and the care of scores of headstrong pigs must have added enormously to the difficulties of the dangerous journey.
When Sunday or some festival came, a halt was ordered. A temporary altar was erected, perhaps beneath some lordly tree which towered to the skies, like the steeple of the Gothic cathedral. Mass was celebrated, and the gallant De Soto and his cavaliers devoutly knelt on the grass around. Every religious practice was observed, and as the little army cut its way through the wilderness of Florida, the beautiful ceremonies of the Church were duly performed. The Governor used every effort to gain the friendship of the Indians. HE assured them that his mission was peaceful, and that all he desired was a passage through their territories. But in vain were his assurances. Full of hatred and suspicion, the dusky warriors would i.e. in ambush, discharge a volley of arrows, and then fly to the thicket of the woods. Thus the army was ever exposed to the attacks of lurking savages, and unceasing vigilance was necessary. The moment a Spaniard strayed fro mthe camp, he was likely to be shot down, and instantly scalped.
On one occasion De Soto's favorite dog- a splendid hound - made himself famous. Several Spanish soldiers and a band of Indians were talking in a friendly way on the banks of a river. But in an unguarded moment one of the treacherous savages truck a Spaniard with his bow, and plunged into the water. All his companions followed. The dog seemed to understand the whole affair, and in an instant rushed after the savages. He swam past the hinder most Indians until at length he came "to the one who had committed the assault, when, laying hold of him, he tore him to pieces."Ever skirmishing, and always on the march, De Soto held on his course towards the north of Florida. At one point an immense morass stopped his progress. It was surrounded by a thick forest of lofty trees and tangled underwood, and all points were guarded by hostile Indians. Bridges of trees, made with great labor, enabled the way-worn Spaniards to cross such portions as came above their middle. But every inch of this muddy route had to be won at the point of the sword; and it was only after a dreadful conflict of four days, in which all fought and many fell, that the troops found themselves safely across the great swamp.
After months of such toilsome marching, the cold weather came on. A halt was ordered at an Indian village called Apalachee, which stood on the site of Tallahassee, the present capital of Florida. And there, "in the midst of the wilderness, this band of adventurous Spaniards passed the winter together." The natives of this region proved to be large, fierce warriors; and in spite of the strict discipline of the camp, many a careless cavalier lost his life and scalp at the hands of prowling war-parties. De Soto left his winter quarters in March, 1540, and proceeded towards the north, earnestly bent on finding a rich region - some imaginary Peru or Mexico. "For month after onto, the year after year," writes Parkman, "the procession of priests and cavaliers, cross-bowmen, arquebusiers and Indian captives laden with the baggage, still wandered on through wild and boundless wastes, lured hither and thither by the ignis-fatuus of their hopes.
"They traversed great portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, everywhere inflicting and enduring misery, but never approaching their phantom El Dorado. At length, in the third year of their journeying, they reached the banks of the Mississippi, a hundred and thirty-two years before its second discovery by Marquette. One of their number describes the great river as almost half a league wide, deep, rapid, and constantly rolling down trees and driftwood on its turbid current. "The spaniards crossed over at a point above the mouth of the Arkansas. They advanced westward, but found no treasures - nothing, indeed, but hardships and an Indian enemy, furious, writes one of their officers, 'as mad dogs.' They heard of a country towards the north were maize could not be cultivated because the vast herds of wild cattle devoured it.
"They penetrated so far that they entered the range of the roving prairie-tribes; for, one day, as they pushed their way with difficulty across great plains covered with tall, rank grass, they met a band of savages who dwelt in lodges of skin sewed together subsisting on game alone, and wandering perpetually from place to place. Finding neither gold nor the South Sea, for both of which they had hoped, they returned to the banks of the Mississippi."
A short time before this an interesting religious ceremony occurred. The army halted at an Indian village, and the chief with a band of picked warriors came forth. "Seno" said he to De Soto "as you are superior to us in prowess and surpass us in arms, we likewise believe that your God is better than our god. These you behold before you are the chief warriors of my dominions. We implore you to pray to your God to send us rain, for our fields are parched for want of water!" De Soto replied that he and all his followers were sinners, but they would supplicate the God of mercy. A large pine cross was made, and raised on a high hill. The whole army formed in line, and marched in solemn processor towards the sacred emblem of man's salvation. The priests walked before, chanting the Litany of the Saints, while the soldiers responded. The chief took his place beside the Governor, and thousands of Indians crowded around. Prayers were offered up at the cross, and the imposing ceremony closed with the lofty strains of the Te Deum. Rain fell the next night, to the great joy of the Indians.
It is a pleasure to think that, over three centuries ago, the cross, the sign of our holy and beautiful religion, was planted by a famous Catholic pioneer on the banks of the Mississippi, and that its silent forests were awakened by the solemn hymn of praise and gratitude. The effect was vivid, but transitory. The "voice cried in the wilderness," and reached and was answered by every heart; but it died away and was forgotten, and was not heard again in that savage region for many generations. (Irving). Three years of unceasing toil, hardship, and disappointment now began to tell on the rugged farm of lofty spirit of De Soto. Assailed by fresh disasters, he was touched to the heart at the suffering of his diminished but faithful followers. A raging fever seized him, and his days drew rapidly to a close. But he met death like a fearless Catholic soldier. He made his will, bade an affectionate adieu to his officers and men, and having made a last humble confession, his soul calmly passed away, amid the tears of the whole army, on the 21st of May, 1542.
"And thus died Hernando de Soto," writes the historian of early Florida - "one of the boldest and bravest of the many brave leaders who figured in the first discoveries, and distinguished themselves in the wild warfare of the Western World. How proud and promising had been the commencement of his career - how humble and helpless its close! Cut off in the vigor and manhood of his days, he was but forty-two years old when he expired." He was a true knight, "without fear and without reproach."
As the hostile savage might dishonor the body of the Governor, if buried on land, his officers formed a new design. An immense oak was cut down. A space large enough for the body was scooped out of the trunk, and planks nailed over the opening. This was De Soto's coffin. At the dead of night, in the mist of silence, a few boats were rowed to the centre of the river, and slowly and sadly the rude coffin was lowered to its strange resting-place. As it sank, the sorrowing stream took the precious remains in pity to its breast. The discoverer of the great river slept beneath its waters. "His soldiers," writes Bancroft, "pronounced his eulogy; and the priests chanted over his body the first requiem that was ever heard on the waters of the Mississippi." (After more hapless wandering and disaster, the followers of De Soto built a few rude vessels and found their way to Mexico.)
PETER MENENDEZ- Founder of St. Augustine, The oldest city in the USA
Died A.D. 1574
Peter Menendez (Sometimes written Melendez), one of the greatest of Spanish naval commanders, was born in 1519, of an ancient family. His daring nature and fondness for the sea were traits of character that showed themselves at an early age. He was but a mere boy when he ran away from home, boarded a man-of-war, and soon had his first flows with the corsairs of Barbary.
He rose rapidly from one grade to another, until as Admiral Menendez, his achievements on the Mediterranean ands the Atlantic made his name famous. But while a career of flory seemed to open before him, the clouds of misfortune suddenly gathered overhead. His son sailed from Mexico in a vessel that perished on the coast of Florida. Shortly after, Menendez was cast into prison on some frivolous charge; and it was nearly two years before he found himself a free man again.
He at once sought the presence of Philip II. He had a petition to make,. He longed to seek for his lost son, who might still be alive. He desired to conquer, settle, and convert that wild Florida which had defied Ponce de Leon and Hernando de Soto. "The blindness of so many thousands of idolaters," he said to the King, "has touched me so sensibly, that of all employment with which your Majesty could hone me, there is not one to which I would not prefer that of conquering Florida, and peopling it with true Christians."
Menendez received his commission as Governor of Florida, and was getting an expedition ins readiness, when he learned that a party of French Huguenots, under Laudonniere and Reibault had already seized a foothold in his territory. He increased his forces, and sailed from Cadiz, in June, 1565. After a stormy passage that scattered his fleet, he touched the mouth of the St. John's River, in Florida. Near by lay Fort Caroline and the little French settlement.
The spanish Admiral gave unsuccessful chase to a number of French ships in the vicinity, and then sailed towards the south along the coast. He entered a small inlet, and threw up a rude fort. It was the foundation of St. Augustine - to-day the oldest town in this Republic. Then follows the woeful tale of blood and butchery. Menendez "marched against Fort Caroline, took it by surprised, and put the garrison to the sword, only Laudonniere and a few of his followers escaping. ribald and most of his men afterwards surrendered, and were massacred in cold blood; a remnant of the Frenchmen were capture and sent to the galleys." (Hassard.) "It was he," says Parkman, "who crushed French Protestantism in America."
For years St. Augustine remained the only European settlement within the present limits of the United States. It was the headquarters of missionary effort. The Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits toiled like apostles among the wild, dusky children of the everglades. Many watered the soil of Florida with their blood. Not a few were scalped, and eaten by the savages. Pope St. Pius V. took such interest in these early missions that he addressed a brief to Governor Menendez. "In the conversion of these Indians and idolaters," wrote the great Pontiff, "nothing is more important then to endeavor by every means to prevent the giving of scandal, through the vices and immoralities of such as go to those western parts. It is the key of this holy work, in which is included the whole essence of your charge."
The genius of Menendez was so highly appreciated at home, that when Spain meditated the invasion of England, he was summoned from the wilds of America to command the Invincible Armada. Amid the din of preparations, however, the founder of St. Augustine closed his eyes on this world, "at Corunna, still vigorous and unbroken by age, in the height of his glory, a brave, loyal, and disinterested naval commander, but hose fame is blemished by one act of blood. His death was a fatal blow to the Spanish colonization of Florida."
Fr. Andrew White Baptizing Indians
The Catholic Pioneers of America
By: John O'Kane Murray, M.A., M.D.
ANDREW WHITE, S. J. -APOSTLE OF MARYLAND- DIED A.D. 1657
One of the immortal pioneers of the Catholic Religion in America was the brave and good Father Andrew White. He was born at Londan in 1579. The gifted youth was forced to seek the fount of knowledge in a foreign land. It was a shameful period. Catholic schools were closed in Great Britain and Ireland, and all Catholics were forbidden to teach. A reward of city dollars was offered for the discovery of each Catholic school-master.
But by the zeal of the learned Catholic professors who had been banished from Oxford - and especially of the famous Cardinal Allen - an English college was established in 1568, at Douay, in France. For nearly two centuries and a half the Catholic students of the British Isles directed their steps to this renowned institution. There the flame of faith was nourished and the light of knowledge kept burring when all was bigotry and religious darkness in the once Catholic land of England - the home of the holy Bede, the great Alfred, and the dauntless Coeur de Lion. There were trained those bands of devoted priest who laid down their lives in laboring to restore the true faith among their unhappy countrymen. there our Catholic Bible was translated into English. There the pious and learned Alban Butler, author of the Lives of the Saints, received his education. And there likes the future Apostle of Maryland earnestly labored and studied to prepare himself for his high and holy calling.
Father White was elevated to the sacred dignity of the priesthood about the year 1605, and was at once sent to labor on the London mission. But as the penal laws were rigidly enforced, he had to temper his zeal with the greatest prudence. Nor did this suffice. In spike of all precautions he was discovered. Rewards, varying according to the rank of the victim, were offered for the discovery of Catholic ecclesiastics. At one period, the same price as offered for the head of a priest, and that of a wolf. Even Jews came from Portugal to hunt down Catholic priest in the British Isles, and found it a profitable business. Bribes were offered to all who would betray Catholics.
"They bribed the flock, they bribed the son,
To sell the priest and rob the sire;
Their dogs were taught alike to run
Upon the sent of wolf and friar."
In short, the fierce Mohawk, ranging the ancient forests of New York, was not more eager and skillful on the trail of an enemy, than was the fanatical and barbarous Government of England in its search after Catholic priest. And the humanity of the American Indian compares quite favorably with that of the Protestant Briton. The very year that Father White returned to England, the saintly poet and Jesuit, Southwell, was brutally trotted on the rack, ten different times, and finally executed with the most revolting cruelties. And all because - he was a Catholic priest!
We find the name of Father White in a list of frothy-seven priest, who, from different prisons, in f1606, were sentenced to perpetual banishment. He reached the Continent. He had hitherto been a secular priest, but now sought admission into the Society of Jesus; and after passing his novitiate of two years at Louvain, he obtained permission to return to his native land - although he was well aware that for the banished Catholic priest who returned to England the penalty was death.
It was a perilous mission, and the brave JEsuit was soon recalled, and appointed professor in a college of the Society at Seville. Father White was a ripe and finished scholar, and at various periods filled the chairs of Holy Scripture, Hebrew, and Theology in Span and Belgium. But he was now to pass from the halls of science to the wild woods of the New World.
During a visit to England, Father White had made the acquaintance of Lord Baltimore, who was then maturing his design of founding a Catholic colony in Maryland. The nobleman wished to place it under his spiritual care, and the Society of Jesus seconded his desires. Father White was appointed Superior, and with him were associated Father John Altham and two lay Brothers. The missionaries sailed in the expedition commanded by Governor Leonard Calvert, and reached the shores of Maryland in the spring of 1634. Governor Leonard Calvert
On the 25th of March, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Virgin, Father White celebrated, on St. Clement's Island, the first Mass ever offered up in that region, and at the conclusion of the sacrifice a large cross was erected. It was a real "cross in the wilderness." The Catholic Religion had come to stay in Maryland.
The savages gathered around. "It is pleasant," writes Father White, "to hear these natives admiring everything especially wondering where in the world a tree had grown large enough to be carved into a ship of such huge size; for they supposed it had been cut from a single trunk of a tree, like an Indian canoe. Our cannot filled them with astonishment."
For ten years this devoted priest labored with the zeal of an apostle, divine his time between the colonists and the Indians, and truly making himself all to all that he might gain all to Jesus Christ. The missionaries were invited to sit in the first Colonial Assembly, but earnestly desiring to be excused from taking part in secular concerns their request was granted.
Though nearly sixty years of age, Father White cheerfully began the tedious and difficult task of mastering the Indian languages; and then devoted himself to labor for the conversion of the Patuxents and Pascatoways. (The venerable Jesuit - thorough, hard-working student that he was- composed a catechism, grammar, and the dictionary in the language of the Maryland Indians.) The rivers often served as highways for the minister of God on his errand of peace and mercy. When this was the case, the daily life of joyful toil is this recounted by the Apostle of Maryland himself:
"We sail in an open boat - the Father, an interpreter, and a servant. In a calm, or with a head wind, two row, and a third steers the boat. We carry a basket of bread, cheese, butter, dried roasted ears of corn, beans, and some meal, and a chest containing the sacerdotal vestments, the slab or altar for Mass, the wine used in the holy sacrifice, and blessed baptismal water. In another chest we carry knives, combs, little bells, fishing-hooks, needles, thread, and other trifles, for presents to the Indians. We take two mats, a small one to shelter us from the sun, and a larger one to protect us from the rain/
"The servant carries implements for hunting and cooking utensils. We endeavor to reach some Indian village or English plantation by nightfall. If we do not succeed, then the Father secures the boat to the bank, collects wood, and makes a fire, while the other two go out to hunt; and after cooking our game, we take some refreshment, and then lie down to sleep around the fire. When threatened with rain, we erect a tend, covering it with our large mat. Thanks be to God, we enjoy our scanty fare and hard beds as much as if we were accommodated with the luxuries of Europe."
fOne of the most remarkable of Father White's dusky converts was Chilomacon, chief of the Pascatoways. This lord of the forest lived at Kittamaquindi, the principal village of the tribe. It was situated near the site of Washington. Chilomacon received the venerable JEsuit with extreme kindness, and made him reside in his own rude residence.
It seems that a remarkable dream, which he had some time previously, was the cause of the chief's kindness. He related, that in his sleep, he seems to see Father White and his fell missionary, while a voice whispered in his ear: "These are the men who from their souls love you and all your tribe. With them they bring those blessings by which, if you desire, you can be happy!" When he beheld the Jesuits he recognized them in a moment as the strange men who bore the rear blessing referred to in his dream.
On recovering from a severe illness, Chilomacon asked to be baptized. But the missionary told him that it was first necessary to be well instructed in the doctrines of the Catholic Religion. Never was there a more willing pupil. Father White daily instructed the chief and his wife and family - all attentive listeners.
Chilomacon was equally anxious for the conversion of his whole tribe. Convineced himself, he wished to make the truth known to others. He assembled his warriors, and in an eloquent appeal told them "that childish superstition had reigned too long in the wigwams of the Pascatoways. There was but one God who was worthy of the homage of brave men. He was the Creator of all things. He was the Great Spirit worshipped by the black-gowns. The herbs and the stones adored by the Indians were abut the humble work os His hands." To show contempt for their former idols, he took one and tossed it with his foot. The warriors applauded the language and bold action of their chief, and henceforth Christianity made rapid conquest of this tribe.
Chilomacon accepted Father White's invitation to visit the town of St. Mary's, and was delighted with the peace, happiness, and prosperity which he there beheld. He now eagerly begged to be baptized, and at length the day was fixed. The ceremony took place on the 5th of July, 1640, at his rude capital, in a chapel built of bark for the occasion. Governor Leonard Calbert, his secretary, and many of the principal inhabitants of the colony were present. Father White officiated. Chilomacon, his wife., their little son, and many of the chief men of his council were solemnly admitted into the Catholic Church by the regenerating waters of baptism. The chief assumed the name of Charles in horn of the English sovereign and his wife that of Mary. The other converts also received Christian names. In the afternoon Charles and Mary were married according to the rites of the Church. A cross of great size was then borne in procession by the chief, Governor Calvert, the secretary, and others, while two priests preceded them, chanting the Litany of the Most Blessed Virgin. Having reached a place prepared for its reception, the sacred emblem was erected with imposing ceremonies in commemoration of the important events which had just taken place.
Under the guidance of the Jesuit Fathers, the spiritual condition of the colony was admirable. A church was erected in the town of St. Mary's; and peace, happiness, and religion smiled on the quiet shores of the Chesapeake. "The religious exercises," says one of the Fathers, writing to Rome, "are followed with exactness, and the Sacraments are well frequented. By spiritual exercises we have formed the principal inhabitants to the practice of piety, and they have derived signal benefits from them. The sick and dying, whose number has been considerable this year, have all been attended, in spite of the great distance of their dwellings, so that not a Catholic died without having revived the benefits of the Sacraments." Such was the edifying piety and fervor of these good Catholic settlers, that many of the PRotestants, touched by their bright example, gladly embraced the faith of their forefathers.
But a cloud had arisen, and was hanging over the peaceful and prosperous colony. In 1644, the insurrection of Clayborne and his fanatical adherents passed over the fair Maryland like a devastating hurricane. Religion and its altars were ruthlessly overthrown, the Catholic inhabitants plundered, and their rights trampled upon. Even the verbal FAther White and his unoffendeing companions were seized, put in irons, and sent to England, where they had to undergo a long and painful imprisonment.
"Thristing for the salvation of his dear Mary-landers," writes Oliver, "he sought every opportunity of returning secretly to that mission; but every attempt proving ineffectual, he was content to devote his remaining energies to the advantage of his native country. In his old age, even to the end, he continued his custom of fasting on bread and water twice a week. Whilst a prisoner he was reminded by his keeper to moderate his austerities, and to reserve his strength for his appearance at Tyburn. 'You must know, replied Father white, 'that my fasting gives me strength to bear any kind of suffering for the love of Jesus Christ!' This truly great and good man died peaceably in London, on the 6th of January, 1657. From the comparison of various documents, I believe he was in his event-eighth year at the time of his death."
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The Beauties of the Catholic Church Click to read more about St. Augustine
By: Rev. F.J. Shadler Copyright 1881
Pastor- You were right, Simon, when at our last conference, you said that the Feast of All Saints transported us in spirit to the abode of the blessed. And it was probably the intention of the Church, in instituting this festival, that we should, on one day in the year, thoroughly forget the world and all things earthly, and, as it were, pay in spirit a visit to our beatified brothers and sisters. I have already told you that not all the names of the saints in heaven are contained in the calendar. Now, on this day we have an opportunity of showing our veneration to those whose names are unknown to us, but who, no less than those saints with whose names we are familiar, have fought the good fight, and have been admitted to the beatific vision of God. It would, indeed be deplorable if the majority, or rather all, of our ancestors, and those belonging to us, were not found among the saints in heaven. This day, then, is for us a beautiful Christian family festival, on which the spirit we visit, in the mansions of bliss, the members of our own families; and joy fills our hearts at the thought that those who, perhaps under our own eyes, have borne the heat and burden of the day, have toiled faithfully for heaven, placed their trust in God, and suffered for his sake, now rest from the hardships of this life, and enjoy their eternal inheritance. The occasion may suggest the through that while we still celebrate this feast on earth, at its next recurrence we may perhaps be numbered among the saints, provided we faithfully persevere in the service of God and the observance of his holy law. This day serves likewise, more than any other, to remind us that the saints were men like ourselves, born into this world, with the same proneness to sin. They belonged to the same state, age, and sex as ourselves' they had to sustain the same, perhaps even greater, trials and temptations than we do' they had to conquer the same evil inclinations and passions with ourselves; they encountered the same difficulties with the same divine grace given to us; perhaps their measure was even less; and yet they triumphed and won the crown of immortality. All this we might possibly forget, if we elaborated the feasts of saints of distant lands and foreign nations, or of very remote times; but nothing can bring these truths more vividly to our minds than the thought of our own departed kindred. Finally, this thought that so many among the saints were near and dear to us by state, age, sex, origin, and even family ties, will give us the greatest assurance that by their powerful intercession they will support our prayers. Though death has separated them from the affection for his son, the mother for her child, the husband for his wife, or the friend for his friend; we must with a far greater and purer love than they ever showed during their earthly lives.
Simon- Truly, this festival is calculated to call forth in us most consoling and edifying thoughts.
Pastor- And the more we give ourselves up to them, the greater fruit we shall derive from its celebration. Now, the following was the occasion of the institution of this festival. In Rome there stood a heathen temple originally erected in honor of Jupiter, but afterwards dedicated to all the gods, and hence it received the name of Pantheon. This master-piece of architecture is a half-blobe, its height being almost equal to its breadth; the diameter is one hundred and fifty-eight feet. It has neither pillar nor window, but only a large round opening in the centre at the top, which admits the light. The Emperor Theodosius, in the beginning of the fifth century, demolished all the temples of idols ind the East, while in the West the more remarkable were shut up, but permitted to remain standing as moments of the former magnificence of the empire. When idolatry has been long enough banished to make its revival improbably, these edifices were in some instances purified and converted into churches for the worship of the true God. Pop Boniface IV caused the Pantheon to be cleansed and opened, and in 607 dedicated it in honor of the Blessed Virgin and the martyrs, and, it is said, deposited within it twenty-eight wagon-loads of relics of the martyrs taken from the catacombs. At first the festival of All Saints was observed only in Rome, but through the efforts of Pope Gregory IV, in 834, its observance was extended to the whole Church.
Now let us turn our attention to the COMMEMORATION OF THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED, or All Souls' Day, immediately following the beautiful feast of All Saints. If in spirit we transport ourselves to the abode of the saints, we shall not find among them every one of those who, while on earth, lived for God, and gained for themselves eternal life. A great number of these, on being called hence, were not found sufficiently pure and holy to be admitted at once to the contemplation of the most pure and holy God. They are forced to tarry in the place of purification, until by suffering they shall have attained that perfection which they failed to acquire on earth, and which alone entitles them to the enjoyment of God. For them "night has come in which no man can work"; being no longer in the state of meriting, they are not able in the least to help themselves. Their only recourse is resignation, patience and hope. By the voice of the Church they appeal to us, their brethren, that by our prayers and good works, offered for them, we may shorten the time of their suffering, and hasten the moment of their admission to the rewards of heaven. Affection and piety should powerfully urge us to discharge towards them this religious duty. Those who suffer in purgatory are our fellow-men and fellow-Christians; and some of them are united to us by the tenderest bonds of nature. There we shall meet probably the great number of those who have lived with us, who departed this life under our own eyes, or were consigned to the earth in our presence. For how few, we fear, go hence possessed of such great sanctity that, without further penance, they can be admitted to the joys of the heavenly kingdom? In purgatory are probably many with whom we had frequent intercourse in life, many who, perhaps on our account, omitted many good deeds, or, through our fault, committed many sins, and who therefore, on our account, must atone and suffer for them. And perhaps they are our parents, our nearest relatives, our friends, to whom, in life we were devotedly attached, and to whom, we would have cheerfully rendered any service. Now, during their lives we could have rendered them no service, conferred upon them no favor, and shown them no mark of affection to be compared to the service we can render them now by our intercession for them after death. NEither are the souls suffering in purgatory ungrateful for our help; they will assuredly, by their own prayers, abundantly reward our kind acts, not only when they shall have entered the kingdom of God, and we in turn shall perhaps languish in the place of purification, but even now. For, having died in the grace of friendship of God, there is nothing to prevent their prayers for others, notwithstanding that they can do nothing for themselves. We are reminded of all this by the impressive solemnity of All Souls' day, which many hundred years ago was instituted for this purpose by the Church. And the circumstance that the memorial day of the souls departed immediately follows the feast of All Saints, contributes in no small degree to render this day most salutary and beneficial for them; for the more we had occasion on the preceding day in spirit to contemplate the joys and the happiness of the blessed in heaven, the deeper must be our grief that so many are still deprived of the enjoyment of this happiness, and we must feel ourselves greatly stimulated, by prayer and good works, and the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and the reception of the Most Holy Sacrament, speedily to gain for them the happiness for which they so earnestly long. "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins" (Mach. xii. 46.) This was the belief and practice even in the Old Testament.
Thomas- The prayers for the dead in the Catholic Church is another of those things on account of which I was much assailed by Protestants during my travels.
Pastor- For the tranquility of your mind let me inform you that, in the very earliest days of Christianity, it was customary to pray for the dead, just as we do to-day. The names of the dead were sent from one church and one monastery to another, and the prayers of the faithful were solicited for them during Mass, the names being read from the diptychs. And this is the origin of the "memorials," or printed cards or pious pictures, asking the prayers of the faithful for a person deceased, which in many localities even to-day, are distributed at funeral services, or sent to those at a distance. St. Chrysostom tells us that during Mass the deacon turned to the people, crying in a loud voice: "Let us also pray for those who have died in Christ"; and he says, moreover, that this was ordained by the apostles
, because they knew well that these would derive great benefit from it. (In cap. 1 Philip Hom. 3) Tertullian, who lived in the age next to that of the apostles, speaking of a pious widow, says: "She prays for the soul of her husband, and begs refreshment for him." (De Monogam., c. 10.)St. Augustine
says "that there can be no doubt that through the prayers and sacrifices of the Church, and alms deeds, God deals more mercifully with the departed than their sins deserve." (Confessions 1.g.) And this saint not only fervently prayed for his holy mother Monica, in order, as he declares, "to obtain the pardon of her sins," but he also beseeches God to inspire all those, for whom with voice or pen he labored, to remember his mother in their prayers. (Serm. 172, Enchirid.) It would take up too much time to quote upon this subject St. Cyprian, St. Cyril, Eusebius, St. Epiphanius, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Ephrem, and other ancient writers, to prove that the doctrine and practice of the Church regarding purgatory and prayers for the dead are the same to-day that they were in the first ages of the Church. Not only have the schisms preserved the practice of praying for the dead, but even the Jews, though now without temple and without an altar, faithfully cling to the pious custom of their fathers to offer up prayers for their deceased brethren. The doctrine of purgatory, and the practice of praying for the dead, is not only borne out by both the old and New Testament, and the unanimous teachings of all holy writers of every age, but is grounded in the very nature of rational man. The heart necessarily desires to relieve the distress and want of those whom it loves, and it is cruelty to forbid it to gratify this desire. Now, is that love, which made us capable of every sacrifice for those dear to us, suddenly extinguished in our breasts as soon as they close their eyes in death/ Is this temporary separation from those with whom one day we hope to be again united, to deaden and destroy the noblest sentiments and qualities of the soul? If we may pray for our friends while they are with us, why should it be wrong to pray for them when absent? :et those that will, deny themselves the comfort and consolation which we derive from the doctrine of the usefulness of prayer for the dead, by which we still continue to be united with those who "sleep in the Lord." :et us hold fast to the teachings of the Church, and, following her admonition, earnestly and fervently pray for the souls of our brethren in Jesus Christ, languishing in that prison from which there is no deliverance till the last farthing shall have been paid. Let us not forget that "a hard heart shall fare ill at the last day."
A belated All Souls' Day Giveaway!
Enter to win one of 3 copies of the Purgatory book
! A little pamphlet on the views of the Catholic Church regarding Purgatory as well as the history of the views and so forth.
Sermons of the Cure of ArsBy: Jean Batiste Marie Vianney - The Cure of Ars+Imprimatur 1901
TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
"No man can serve two masters." -St. Matt. vi. 24.
Jesus Christ said to us, my dear friends, that we cannot serve two masters - i.e., God and the wold. You cannot, he says, please both God and the world at the same time. No matter how you may try, you will never succeed. The reason is this, my good friends; they are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions. What God commands is the very opposite to that which the world promises; the former forbids what the latter allows and favors; the world offers you pleasure, honors and riches; God shows you only tears, repentance, and self-denial; the one leads you upon a - in appearance at least - flowery path, the other upon a thorny path. The one, which is the world, promises to let us enjoy everything we may wish for during this life (though it generally promises more than it can give); at the same time it hides from us the sufferings which await us during eternity. The other, which is Jesus Christ, does not promise us anything of all this, but merely tells us for our consolation that He will be with us and mitigate our sufferings: "Come to me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart; and you shall find rest to your souls."
These, then, my dear friends, are the two masters who demand our whole heart. To which of the two do you wish to belong? All that which the world offers you is only for the present time; fortune, pleasure, honors, will terminate with our life. But if we follow Jesus Christ, who heavily laden with his cross calls us, we shall soon see that the hardships in His service are not as great as we think. He will lead us, and aid us, and console us, and after our suffering, which lasts but a moment, He promises us a happiness which will last as long as He Himself. So as to let you see this clearer, I will show to you, my dear friends, that it is impossible to please God and the world. Either all for God or all for the world; there is no middle way.
It is certain, my friends, that Jesus Christ, while knowing full well that many would retire from the world to devote themselves entirely to Him, that would choose the follies of the cross to spend their life, like His, in sighs, in tears, and in penance to become worthy of the reward which He has promised them, He knew at the same time that many would dessert Him to devote themselves to the world, whose promises are never fulfilled and whose misery is carefully hidden. And that is the reason why He gave us only one heart, so that we could devote ourselves to one master. He tells us expressly that it is impossible to serve God and the world. So soon as we wish to please the one we shall become an enemy to the other.
You know, my dear friends, that the spirit of Jesus Christ is a spirit of the love of God. Now, how can you preserve this spirit when you keep in the company of those who will speak to you only of pleasures and honors, only to laud themselves and to boast of their pretended good qualities and of all they have done or not done? If you are in the company of such a one for any length of time you will become, without noticing it, as proud as he. If you hear somebody continually talk evil of his neighbor you will yourself, without noticing, get a wicked tongue, which carries to every place, wherever you may be, destruction of peace. You know that Jesus Christ, whom you have chosen as your Master, wishes you to keep your heart as pure as possible; but when you associate with the reprobate who does nothing but think and speak of the filthiest and most shameful things, you will become just as bad as he is. You know that your Lord wishes you to love and respect your religion and all that regards your religion, but if you have frequent intercourse with an impious person who scoffs at everything, despises and ridicules the Most Holy, how can you love your religion and fulfill her commandments if these blasphemies are ever dinned in your ears? How can we go to confession to a priest if some godless man has whispered a slander against a priest into our ear and tried to persuade us that it was true and that all priests are thus?
Ah! my good friends, woe to him who follows the world! He is lost! If you wish to be saved you must necessarily flee this world, as otherwise you would think and act like the world and find yourself among those who have been cursed by the Lord.
If you have any further doubts about it, just remember what all the saints did: they considered the world and its pleasures a plague, from which they fled. What else was the reason that the deserts became peopled with so many persons who had before lived in towns and villages, but that they dreaded the world and fled from it for fear that they might become infected and become imbued with the spirit? Yes, my friends,m let us flee from the world, or else we may perish with it. We must not be in accord with the world if we want to be saved. We must wage a continuous war with it; all the saints did that. We must renounce either heaven or the world.
To show you still better to which of the two parities you should belong, we will take a closer look at this world. It consists of three classes: the first is composed of those who are entirely for the world; the second are those who are entirely for God; and the last consists of those people who would like to belong to the world without ceasing to belong to God.
I said, my dear people, that one portion, - the larger, perhaps - is the one which is entirely for the world. To it belong all those who are content when they have suppressed every religious feeling and all thoughts of the life to come, who have done all they could to banish entirely from their mind the terrible thought of the judgement which will be theirs some day. They make use of their knowledge and oftentimes their wealth to draw as many people as possible to their way of thinking. They don't believe in anything, and they glory even in making themselves appear more godless and more profane than they really are, so as to better convince others not to believe the truths, but the falsehoods they have engendered in their hearts. Like Voltaire, who, at the banquet which he gave to his friends the unbelievers, rejoiced over the fact that of all those present, none believed in religion. And yet he himself believed in it, as was proved at the hour of his death. It was then that he eagerly called for a priest to help him to reconcile himself with his God. But it was too late. The good Lord whom he had reviled with such zeal, did to him as he had done to Antioch - He delivered him to the rage of the demons. But let us leave these infidels. You, my dear people, though you are not as good Christians as you ought to be, do not at least, thanks be to the Lord, belong to them.
But, you will ask me, who are those who belong now to God, now to the world? Let me explain, my good friends. Observe them, my dear listeners, from morning until night, from one year's end to the other. These people consider sunday merely as a day of rest and pleasure; they remain in bed longer than on week-days, and instead of turning their heat to God, never give Him a thought. Some think of the amusements they will have on this day - the Lord's day; some, of the visits they will pay to friends. Some will even omit their few morning prayers, thinking it will be time enough to say them in Church before Mass. But they have so much to do before going to Mass so that they arrive at church long after the commencement of Mass. Or the meeting of a friend or anything else that might happen is sufficient to keep them away altogether. Still, to keep up the appearance and to be considered by their neighbors and friends as Christians, they do go once in a while, but with what feelings of unrest and weariness! The only thought they have is:
"Oh, Lord! How long is it going to last? It's too long. I don't think I can go again."
Others, again, don't like the Word of God as pronounced from the altar, the Word of God that has converted so many sinners. They must get out, they say, to get fresh air; they feel depressed, uneasy; and no sooner is the end of the service approaching than they eagerly make for the door even before the priest has had time to leave the altar, and they are again all smiles and merriment. They are too tired to return to Vepers and Benediction. If you ask them why they don't go to Vespers they say:
"Oh, we can't be in church all day. We have other things to do."
These are the people that belong to the world without realizing the fact. But wait. Let us try to make them understand better; only as they are deaf it is very difficult to make them listen to the Word of Life, and as they are blind too, it will be more difficult to make them see their unhappy condition. They have left off saying grace before and after meals or to say the Angelus. And if they do they do it just as a matter of habit, without giving a thought to our dear Lord and His blessed Mother.
Do you know, my good friends, what kind of people these are? They are people who have not lost their faith altogether, who would not wish to give up everything, for they even blame those who absent themselves entirely from divine service; only they do not have courage to break with the world and turn to the good Lord. These people don't want to be damned, but they also don't like to be under any restriction. They hope to be saved without taking much trouble about it. They think God is merciful and certainly did not create them only to destroy them; that He will forgive them in His mercy; that it will be time enough later on to devote themselves to God alone and to rid themselves of their bad habits. If they do think once in a while of the poor use they make of their life, they sigh and maybe some of them will even shed a few tears.
Oh, my dear friends, what a miserable life do those people lead who want to belong to the world without ceasing to belong to God! Let us go into the matter a little further, and you will soon see how inconsistent their way of living is. One moment you will hear them pray to God and perhaps do an act of penance; the next moment you will hear them curse and swear and take the name of the Lord in vain if something goes against their will. This morning you saw them attend Mass and join in the praise of the Lord, and on the same day you will hear them using the most blasphemous language. The same hands which took the holy water and asked God to cleanse them from all sins are used for all kinds of sinful ways; the same eyes which have looked upon the Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament look later in the day at the most indecent objects, and with great pleasure at that. Yesterday you saw a man do an act of charity to his neighbor; to-day you can see him try to cheat him. A moment ago a mother prayed for all kinds of blessings for her children' now she overwhelms them with all sorts of maledictions because they have done something to displease her. Once moment she sends her daughters to church to confession; the next moment she lets them go to a dance. One day she will tell her daughter to be careful and danger of bad company, and the next she will let her be together with young men for hours at a time. Oh, my poor mother, you are of the world. You think you belong to God, by you are deceived. You belong to those of whom Jesus Christ has said: "Woe unto the world!"
Oh, poor world! How unhappy thou art! Continue in this way, and nothing but hell will be they lot. Some would like to make frequent use of the holy sacraments, or at least once a year, but they need a very easy confessor. If their confessor does not find their heart and mind in the right dispositions and refused them absolution, oh! then they are deeply offended and nothing is too bad to say of the poor priest, and yet they know in their own hearts that he cannot give them absolution in the state of sin they are in. Live on, O world! live on in this every-day manner, and you will see what you did not want to see. As if we could divide our heart into two parts! No, my friend: you either belong wholly to God or wholly to the world. You wish to make frequent use of the sacraments? Very well. Quit gambling, keep awy from indecent shows, and quit the saloon. To-day you are willing to approach the sacred tribunal of penance and to receive the Blessed Eucharist, the bead of angels, and in two or three weeks you spend the night in the company of drunkards who are crazed with liquor and, worse still, commit the most abominable acts of impurity. Go on, O world, go on! You will soon be in hell. There they will teach you what you should have done to reach heaven, which you have lost through your own fault.
No, my dear friends, do not let us deceive ourselves. We must sacrifice the world for Jesus Christ or we must sacrifice Jesus Christ for all that which we consider dearest on earth. Besides, there is not one among those attached to the world and who have tried to gain satisfaction from their animal or corrupt instincts - I say there is not one who has been deceived and who did not regret at the hour of his death to have loved the world. Yes, my friends, that is the time when we recognize the vanity and perishableness of all things. We would recognize it now if we would only reflect upon our past life; we would see of how little value life is.
And you, my dear people, you whose growing years are already beginning to bend your heads upon your breasts, you who in your young days chased after the pleasures of this would and thought you would never become tired of them; you have spent many years in the pursuit of these pleasures: dances, gambling, saloons, vanity formed your whole occupation. You put off the return to God again and again. Then when you reached a maturer age you thought of nothing but of accumulating a fortune. And so you have reached old age without having done anything for your salvation. And now, when you have returned from the follies of your youth, when you have ceased your efforts to make a fortune - now, you think, it is time to do better. Don't believe it, my friends. The infirmities of age which are bending you down, your children who despise you - all that will be a new obstacle to your salvation. You thought you belonged to God, and you find out now that you belong to the world, that is, to those who belong now to God and now to the world and who receive their final reward from the latter. You know well enough now that you are deceived if you follow the world. Now, my friends, if somebody deceives us we do not trust him any more, and we are right; but the world deceives us all the time and yet we love it.
At the age of fifteen we say farewell to the pleasures of childhood; we stop running after butterflies and building houses of cards. At the age of thirty we say farewell to the boisterous pleasures of impetuous young manhood; what we delighted in so much begins to weary us. Yes, my friends, we say daily farewell to something in this world. WE are like the traveler who delights in the beauties of the landscape though which passes: as soon as he sees it he must leave it. It is the same with all our possessions and our friends to whom we have such an attachment. And finally we reach the shore of eternity, into which everything passes like into an abyss. Then, my friends, the world disappears forever from our sight, and it is then that we shall recognize how foolish we were in following it. And all that has been told us about sins we will then recognize as being only too true.
"Oh," we shall say, "I have only lived for the world. I have in all my actions only sought the approval of the world, and not all my possessions and my friends of the world are nothing to me! Everything has passed away from my hands. And now I must return to my Creator."
Oh, my dear people, how consoling is this thought for those who have during their life only sought their God! And what despair does it bring to those who have lost sight of their God and the salvation of their souls!
no, my friends, do not let us deceive ourselves. Let us flee, or else we may run the danger of being lost. All our saints have fled and despised the world all their lives. Those who were obliged to live in it lived as if they were not in it. How many of the real great ones have left this world to live in solitude! Let us look at St. Arsenius, who was struck with the idea how difficult it was to obtain salvation in this world, and forthwith left the Emperor's courts to spend his life in the woods, to repent of his sins and do penance. Yes, my dear friends, if we flee from this world, at least as much as it is possible for us to do, we can not perish in this world. St. Augustine gives us a good example of this. He tells us that he once had a friend, a young man who led a perfectly good life. One day he was in the company of his fellow-students, who did not like it that he always lived and acted differently from them. They urged him to go with them to the amphitheater, where there was a prize-fight among men. As our young friend detested such shows, he resisted with all his might. Finally they urged him so much, that he consented with the words:
"Very well. I will go with you, but only my body will be there standing among you. My mind and yes will not partake in this horrible spectacle."So they led him forth, and, while the whole multitude went wild with barbarous delight, the young man took no part and kept his eyes shut. Would that he had also stopped his ears, for at a certain great noise curiosity got the better of him and he opened his yes. That was sufficient to ruin him. The more he say the more delighted was he, and after that there was no need of urging him to visit the place. HE was only too eager to go there and to induce others to go with him.
"Oh, mu Lord!" exclaimed St. Augustine, "who will lead him away from this abyss? The grace of God alone can do it!"
In conclusion, my dear friends, let me say to you: If we do not flee from the world and its pleasures, if we do not hide ourselves away as much as possible, then we run into our ruin and will be lost forever. If you want to belong entirely to God you must be prepared to be despised and rejected by the world. Blessed is he, my friends, who belongs to these, and who follows in the footsteps of the Lord with courage and carries his cross with patience. It is only by doing so that we may obtain happiness of reaching heaven. Amen.
"My house is a house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves." -Luke xix. 46
With a certain Pagan celebration around the corner we thought we would share a sermon this Monday about superstition and what the Holy Catholic Church teaches on the matter. Because it is longer than our usual posts, you may download a printable version of this Sermon on Superstition HERE
. May you all have a blessed Monday!
ON THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SUPERSTITION AND ITS MALICEHunolt's Sermons - Vol. 3 By: Father Francis Hunolt +Imprimatur James R. Ricard D.D. Translated from the Original German 1740
Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold therein; and in another passage it is added, that He made a scourge and drove them out with it. And with good reason too, for God was publicly dishonored in His own house; the holy place that was intended only for the humble adoration of the true God, was turned by the people into a market-place and a den of thieves. In spite of His meekness, our Lord could not tolerate this, and He was obliged to give expression to His anger and indignation. Our churches, my dear brethren, are far holier houses of God than the temple of Jerusalem was; but, alas, how often would it not be necessary for our Lord to take the scourge in His hand, and drive out those who dishonor them by all sorts of disrespectful conduct. It is not of that, however, that I mean to speak to-day. Besides the churches, God has another house on earth, namely the holy Catholic Church, in which alone He receives proper homage and worship throughout the world. But in many places even this house of God is turned into a den of demons, by those who mix up with the true Christian service of God all kinds of diabolical juggleries. I allude to the superstitious practices, which are indulged in the most general custom in different places, to the great dishonor of God. Oh, would that I had to scourge to drive away from the house of God, and if it were possible, from every country, and to banish forever, not men, but the superstitious practices of so many simple-minded ignorant and crack-brained people! Trusting in Thy help, O Jesus, which I beg of Thee through the merits of Thy Mother Mary, and the intercession of the holy angels guardian, I will at all events begin to speak against them.
Plan of Discourse.
And I will now explain the different ways in which superstition is practiced, and what kind of sin it is. Such is the whole subject of to-day's sermon, my dear brethren, ni the form of a catechitical instruction.
May all those who know that they are guilty of this great sin, get the grace to repent of it.
By superstitious practices, such as are in vogue amongst the people nowadays, I mean those vain practices by which some try to forecast the future, or use of certain means to a certain end; although the signs I observe and the means I use, have not of themselves any natural power to signify a future event, or to cause a certain effect, nor has any such power been given them by the Almighty God, nor by the Catholic Church through the prayers of the faithful, or in virtue of ecclesiastical ceremonies. In all such practices I am guilty of the sin of superstition; whether I use holy things, or things pertaining to devotion in them, or earthly and natural things; and whether the even or the effect follows, or not.
Alas, how common this vice is nowadays, especially amongst ignorant and uneducated people! Countless almost are the ways in which it is practiced every day; and as nearly every country has its particular language, dress and manners, so we find in almost every country special superstitious abuses. One thing I wish for to-day, and that is, to be able to describe the different superstitious customs at least of this country, so that I might place all their impious folly clearly before your eyes, and warn every one against them. For it is useless to preach in general terms against this vice; useless to cry out that superstition is a most grievous sin against the first commandment: "I am the Lord Thy God. Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me;" for what do ignorant people know about it? They acknowledge that it is true; but they do not know what superstition is. It is useless to try to explain to them, that superstition consists in using to a certain effect a means that has received no power from God or from the Church to produce that effect. You may tell them that a hundred times, and a thousand times at the the back of that, but they will be just as wise as before. How can I know, they say, what natural power this or that thing I make use of, has? It helps me to effect my purpose, and I want no more; how it does so, I to understand it. How difficult it is to persuade such people of the truth! Besides, since the superstitious means they use the devil and by self-interest, that they refuse to see anything wrong in them; nay, since sacred things, and apparently pious superstitious purposes, these people become so confirmed in their bad habits, that they not only refuse to see anything wicked in them, but actually look upon them as good and holy, and, as we shall see later on, build on them their hopes of salvation. Therefore, in order to do any good, one should be able to point out one custom after the other, and say, this is not lawful, that is superstitious, if you attempt such a thing, you commit a grievous sin, etc. But it is useless for me to desire knowledge of that kind. Therefore, I will speak of those things as far as I have read of them in books or heard of them from others or learned them in the course of my own experience. From what I mean to say, all who have a little common sense, will easily be able to see by comparison, whether certain customs of theirs are superstitious or not; or at least they might find reason to doubt whether they are good and lawful, so that they may seek experienced people about them, and thus avoid the danger of committing sin.
In the first place then, the sin of superstitious is committed when certain signs are looked on as portending a certain event. St. Augustine says of the converted Christians of his time, who had still some relics of paganism left: If two friends are walking together, and a dog runs between them, or a stone falls between them, or a child comes between them, they look at it as a sure sign that their friendship will soon be broken. If one sneezes when putting on his shoes in the morning, it is taken as a sign of an unlucky day, and he goes to bed again. He who stumbles on the threshold of the door when going out, must go back at once, or else some misfortune will happen to him. If a black dog runs into a house, it is a sign that some one in that house will soon die. If the salt-cellar is upset at table, something dreadful is sure to happen. These and countless similar, vain and foolish observations, continues St. Augustine, are in vouge, and they are all sins of superstition, inventions of the devil and relics of old heathenism and idolatry.
Are not the same vain observations prevalent amongst us Christians nowadays, my dear brethren? For instance, when people imagine that certain herbs have more virtue when plucked at night, at a certain hour, or on the feast of St. John; or when one is afraid to undertake a journey on a certain day, or to begin an important business, under the impression that it would be unlucky to do so? There are some who dare not spin or sew on Saturday or Thursday, because, as they say, it was on those days that the rope was made with which Judas hanged himself. It is looked on as certain that whatever is cut on ST. Abdon's day will never grow again. From eggs that are laid on Holy Thursday, come fowl that change their color every year. On Christmas night as onion is divided into twelve parts, and exactly as the clock strikes twelve a pinch of salt is placed on each part, to which is given the name of one of the months; according as the salt melts or remains dry, it may be seen what months in the coming year will be dry or rainy. On New Year's eve a straw rope is tied round the trees, and they are wished a happy and fruitful year; there is no doubt that after that they will bear abundance of fruit. Father Gobat testifies that in his time it was a common custom throughout Germany for young people who wished to get married, to take meal, water and salt, and make a loaf of it with their own hands, which they themselves had to bake and eat on the vigil of St. Andrew; they then said a few short prayers in the four corners of the room, and laid down to sleep; whoever they dreamt of during that sleep, was surely the person whom they were to marry. If two priests are saying Mass, and happen to elevate the Host at the same time, that denotes that some misfortune is about to occur. At certain seasons of the year the wold must not be named, or else he will come and devour the sheep; during that time he is called the monster. Some shepherds, in order to be perfectly safe, turn in a certain direction, and then the wolf cannot hurt their sheep. What is sown by the hand of an innocent child, grows best. If the bread has not been begged by the poor is purchased from them and given to hens, they will lay an egg every day. Medicine is never so likely to do a sick man good, after he has confessed and communicated; it should be given him before. To prevent a drying person from having a long agony, his bead must be so placed, that he see the planks of the floor in their length, and not cross-ways; for then the soul can leave the body without trouble. To find out which one of a married couple will die first, count the letters of their names and surnames, and the one who has an uneven number of letters will be the first to die. If you hear a noise in your left ear, it is a sign that some dear friend is speaking, or thinking of you;If thirteen sit down to table together, one of them will die before the end of the year. This foolish fancy has taken such hold of people who are otherwise sensible and well-educated, that if they happen to be one 0f the party of thirteen at table, they are not ashamed to stand up and go away, preferring to suffer hunger, rather than remain in such a case.
What foolish nonsense all this is! What connection there possibly between such signs, and the effects that are expected to follow them? What, for instance, to go according to what many otherwise intelligent people maintain to be true, is the reason that if thirteen sit down to dinner, one of them will die during the year? Why does not the same thing happen when thirteen horses or oxen are together in the same stable? Why does it no happen in those convents in which thirteen religious are living and eating the whole year round? It is all sheer nonsense; death is not influenced by a consideration of that kind; it comes, as Christ tells us, when we least expect it, and there for He warns us all: "Be you then also ready; for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come'" All who believe in those foolish things are guilty of sin. It is a strange thing to think that there are people who speculate curiously about the articles of faith, and begin to doubt them, because they cannot understand them; and yet the same people are so addicted to stupid superstitious, as would excite the laughter of any one who has a little common sense, and that no amount of argument can induce them to give up. How well the devil has succeeded in blinding those people! And men are to be found too, who fear neither God, man, nor devil, and who live as if they were determined to be damned; and yet they are salves to those vain observations. What folly that is!
Father Tamburini relates that in Sicily, where the belief holds regarding the thirteen at table, there were once thirteen canons of a cathedral who resolved to show how groundless that believe was, by sitting down to table together and enjoying themselves. But one of them did not like the business. You are too daring, he said to the others; if thirteen sit down together at table, one is sure to die during the year. I will have nothing to do with it; you may do as you like; but I will stay home. but, as it happened, the only one of the number who died during the year, was he who remained at home. Suppose, now, my dear brethren, that he had allowed himself to be persuaded to join the others, would not his death be attributed to the fact of his having been one of the thirteen guests, and so have confirmed the superstition? A holy and Christian fear of God, says the Holy Ghost, despises all vain fears; and he who loves God, says St. Augustine, will fear nothing in the world, so much as to offend God by sin.
What has been said hitherto is also to be understood of the folly of believing in dreams. For instance, if you dream that you have lost a tooth, some one of your friends will soon die. If you dream of a fish it is also a sign of death, and so forth. The Wise Ecclesiaasticus speaks against these superstitious observations, and calls them fancies of ignorant and foolish men: "The hopes of man that is void of understanding, are vain and deceitful; and dreams lift up fools. The man that giveth heed to lying visions, is like him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind." And again" "Deceitful divinations and lying omens, and the reams of evil-doers, are vanity ... Set not thy heart upon them; for dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them." In the Old Law God expressly forbade believing in vain dreams: "You shall not divine, nor observe dreams." But, it might be objected, there are many passages in the Sacred Scripture which show that the future is foretold in dreams, and those dreams actually came true. Thus, the Patriarch Joseph dreamt in his youth of his future exaltation; Pharao dreamt of the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine; Nabuchodonosor saw in his dream of a tall tree, the punishment of his sins, and in the dream of the statue, the succession of the four great monarchies. So also one of the Madianite soldiers prophesied the victory of Gideon from a dream he had' and many instances similar to these are related. Does it not follow then, that there is often reason for believing in dreams, and that what they protend, really happens? To this I answer in the work of Ecclesiasticus; after saying, "Set not they heart upon them." he adds. "Except it to be a vision sent forth from the Most High;" that is, unless God for some important purpose chooses to reveal something in a dream. All those dreams in the Holy Scripture that I have mentioned, were in reality so many revelations, and as such deserved to be believed in. It happens occasionally too in our own days, that god, by means of the holy angels, terrifies the sinner in a dream, so that he may be induced to repent at once, or that he gives the good some idea of the eternal glory that waits them. There is no doubt also, that people have often seen their dreams fulfilled. Thus Father Calinus writes of a young man in Rome, who dreamed that he had climbed upon a tree whose branches overhung the Tiber, and that he had fallen into the water, and was drowned. On the following day, he was standing on the bank of the river near the tree of which he had dreamt, and was relating to his companions the subject of the dream; then he boldly climbed up the tree, but lost his footing, and missed his hold of the branch; fell into the river, and was drowned.' I myself knew a man, who dreamt of the manner of his death, and told his companions about it next day, to his and their great amusement, but on the afternoon of that day, he died, fulfilling in his death all the circumstances foretold in his drew. but these effects are not to be attributed to the dream, but to other natural causes. The young ,an fell down from the tree, not because he dreamt that he would fall; but because he ventured into danger too boldly and lost his footing, and his hold of the branch. He was sensible enough in laughing at his dream; but fool-hardy in climbing up the tree. He should not have ventured so farm, not because of his dream, but because of the danger which he had no reason for encountering. Ordinary dreams are mere fancies, imaginary images depicted on the bring during sleep, which it would be most superstitious and sinful follow to believe in.
Further, those observations are also foolish and superstitious, which are taken of the hour of one's birth. He who is born in a certain month, at a certain hour, under a certain constellation, will be happy all his life; while he who is born in a different month, and at another hour, will be unhappy. Nay, from these observations predictions are made, as we see in some almanacs, as to who will be a priest, and who a layman, who will have a long, or a short life, who will diet from natural causes, or though violence, etc. Now, in God's name, what connection is there between those things? And yet there are people who believe so firmly in that nonsense, that they allow it to influence their mode of life; so that many make themselves quiet miserable through their excited imaginations, while others are so deeply impressed by the fear of misfortune, that they die in premature death. I knew a man, says Father Ambrose Cataneus, who when on his death-bed, could not be induced to make his confession because he believed, according to the scheme of his nativity, that he had still a long time to live; but death proved that the prophecy was a false one, for it came at once and hurried the soul into eternity. and in all probability into hell. A married woman once happened to read in a book on astrology belonging to her husband, which she had taken up through curiosity, that if a woman who was born on a certain day were to get married, she should die in child-bed; this made her so anxious and nervous, that, although she had given birth to all her children without difficulty, she died during her next pregnancy through the effects of too excited imagination. Such is the result of foolish superstitions. God is the Lord of Heaven and the Ruler of the stars, my dear brethren, and His inscrutable Providence has fixed the time and life and death for all of us. "My lots are in Thy hands," we must say with David' my happiness and my misfortune are in the Thy power, O Lord, do Thou with me as Thou pleases! But, some will say, if it is superstitious to observe signs and constellations, then it is superstition also for physicians to observe certain times and signs of the zodiac for blood-letting, or administering medicines' gardeners, too, are superstitious, because they go by weather, and whether it will be hot or cold, wet or dry on certain days, from the course of the sun and moon and other heavenly bodies. And yet who will dare to condemn them? O, my, dear brethren, it is a different thing altogether with those people; there is not the least doubt that the sun, the stars, and especially the moon have received from their Creator a certain influence on earthly bodies, and that they exercise that influence in a greater guard to the earth. Therefore all these observations are not superstitious, but are based on the natural properties of bodies, and are warranted by experience; although they are not always to be trusted in/ Vain observations, on the contrary, have no power of producing the effects attributed to them, either from nature, from God, or from the Church.
Many sins are also committed through diabolical superstition, either to recover what one has lost, or to keep possession of what one has. Besides consulting the false prophets, of whom we have already spoken, when anything is stolen, people are wont to tie a knot on a piece of grass or something similar, with the belief that they thus bind the thief. If an animal is lost, they pull the leg out of a chair, and call out the name of the animal though the hole, and then it is sure to come back on its own accord. If man's cattle or horses are dying, and he has reason to believe that their death is caused by witchcraft, he takes the heart of one of the dead animals, cooks it, and sticks i through with a form, until the witch, who he thinks, feels the pricking of the fork, is compelled to appear; the same thing is done when cows have been robbed of their milk through witchcraft. How, I ask, can those who are absent, feel the prick of the fork in that case, unless the devil has something to do with it? I have been told that it is a very common custom, when anything has been stolen, or any one has run away, to have a Mass said, which is called the bond-Mass, in the belief that the thief, or fugitive, if he has not already crossed a river, will not be able to go any father, and will be compelled to return, while the their will have to give back the stolen property. What nonsense that is? I wonder that a priest can be found to say Mass knowingly for such a purpose as that. The Mass is a most holy sacrifice, there is no doubt of that; but who has given it he power of stopping a their, or a runaway? and, if it has such power, why can it not be exercised on one side of a river, as well as on the other? The idea is evidently a superstitious one. It is a good thing to have a Mass said in honor of St. Anthony of Padua, in order to recover lost property, provided it is don with a devout and humble confidence that god, through the merits of His holy and faithful servant, will restore what we have lost, if it is good for us. But it would be superstitious to believe that the Mass would infallibly have that effect. The same is to be said of other superstitious devotions, of which I shall speak more fully on another occasion. Shepherds and huntsmen have special practices to their own, to further their interest; such as, for instance, having recourse to some superstitious rite to prevent another man's gun from going off; making the sign of the cross, and saying some words to prevent another from hitting what he aims at. They also know how to employ counter charms when anything is the matter with their own gun. All these things, and several more of the kind are to be found in those little books on the Black Art, which, as they contain nothing but superstition, deserve to be burnt.
Thirdly, superstition is practiced by using certain means to discover hidden treasure. The best known of these is the divining rod; it is made of hazel wood, and if carried about in the hand, is said to bend down of its own accord, and when it comes to the place in which there is water, gold, silver, or other metal hidden in the earth, Most theologians do not , as a general rule, condemn the use of this rod as superstitious, provided that no superstitious words or signs accompany the use of it; since the effect it produces, seems to be within the limit of natural powers, and the metal, which have a special sympathy of the hazel rod; justas the magnet attracts iron. Now it is the general opinion of the learned, and amongst them are St. Augustine, Layman, Suarez, Sanchez, and others, that we must not ascribe to the devil an effect that can easily be attributed to the forces of nature, although we cannot exactly say how those forces operate. But if, when these rods are being cut, or uesed, certain words are pronounced, or circumstances, observed which have no natural power to help in producing the effect desired, there is no doubt that the whole business is tainted with superstition; and that is generally the case nowadays. Besides, the use of this rod is superstitious when it is employed to discover not only water, or metals, but also clothing and other things; because it is impossible to believe that hazel rod has a sympathy for all sorts of things.
Fourthly, sins of superstition are most frequently committed in healing, or preventing the diseases of men and beasts. I will not say anything of those suspicious characters who go about healing wounds and diseases by all sorts of blessing and crosses who heal wounds of absent people by rubbing a sword with ointment, or tying it up, etc. These people belong to the false prophets of whom I have already spoken. To stop the flow of blood, two straws are placed on the ground in the form of a cross, and a drop of blood is allowed to fall on them; the flow of blood must at once cease. Warts are cured by making as many knots on a piece of thread as there are wards; the thread is then buried, and as the knots rot away in the ground, so do the warts fall off. To get rid of a tooth-ache, or of a fever, you must throw pebbles or peas into a well, and run away before you hear the splash they make when falling into the water. Fevers can also be curved by writing certain letters on a leaf of sage, and hanging it round the neck; or else it must be hung on the neck of a young frog, that one has come across by chance, but not looked for purposely; or else, according to a plan that is followed in other illnesses also, a copper coin is thrown into a dish, while the names of several saints are repeated; the saint whose name is being repeated when the coin falls out of the dish, is the one in whose honor a Mass is to be said. To get rid of a goiter, you must stand in the moon-light, place your hand on the goiter, and say: May what I feel, disappear., There are numberless other tomfooleries of that description, which I am actually ashamed to mention. We can only pity the blindness, folly and malice of the many who put their faith in such absurdities, to such a degree, that they do not see how impossible it is for the means they make use of to produce the effect required unless by diabolical intervention. And yet these customs obtain in Christian countries, in which sermons and instructions are so frequent! Would it not be enough to make our Lord weep, if He were to look down on many of our towns and villages, and see the number of ignorant, simple people, who are given to the practice of these superstitious absurdities?
The question now is, are those observations and practices grievous sins? There is no doubt of it, I answer, unless in the case of inculpable ignorance. do you wish to know what sort of sins they are? Try to recall what I said about those who consult false prophets to get advice from them and to be cured of their diseases; they are guilty of asking help from the devil, and there is no doubt that they commit a most grievous and intolerable sin. The same is to be said of all superstitious practices; because by them a secret contract is entered into with the devil, the sworn enemy of God and man; for since those observations, signs and usages have no power of themselves, or from God, or from the Church, to produce the effects intended, they must necessarily produce them by the aid of the devil, who makes use of them as a mean of deceiving souls. But, as a last objection, some one will say, how can there be a compact with the devil, since when I have recourse to them, I do not desire any help from him? Truly, I answer, when you know that these practices are superstitious, you do not expressly ask the devil to help you; but you do implicitly and by your acts. Two people go to take a walk out of town; on the way they get thirsty. Oh, they say, what a pity we haven to something to drink. A little further on they see a house with a garland of ivy, or a green bush hanging outside the door. Oh, they say, we are all right; we can get wine there. But how do they know that? How could the garland of ivy teach me that wine is to be had in the house? Certainly the garland has not that power itself: but since it has been once for all agreed upon that such a thing hung outside a door, is a sign that wine is to be had within, I know at once when I see it, what it means. It is the same, my dear brethren, with superstitious practices. The devil made an agreement once for all, with those agents of his who first began these practices; thus, for instance, he said, whoever shall gain these practices; thus, for instance, he said, whosever shall say such and such words, or do this or that in certain circumstances, shall be looked on by me as desiring my help. As soon therefore, as those words are spoken, or those actions performed the devil comes at once, as if at a given signal; just as a servant comes when his master whistles for him. Hence when I knowingly have recourse to such practices, it is the same as if I said: I know that whoever does this will be helped by the devil; I do it now in order to get help from him too. It is in this, according to St. Thomas, that the malice of superstition consists; and that is the reason why the evil spirit, who always grudges the Almighty the honor show in Him, and tries to deprive Him of it whenever he can, has introduced into the world os many different superstitious customs, and has taken such pains to keep depriving God of the adoration due to Him, gradually lessens by means of hypocritical piety, to commit other sins, to live on in the state of sin, and to die impenitent.
Hence if any of the clergy, who have the cure of souls, are here present, I would earnestly implore of them, for the sake of God's honor and glory, frequently to instruct their parishioners, in sermons and catechetical instructions on the grievousness and malice of this vice, to explain to them the different ways in which one can be guilty of it, and to deter them from it by threats of temporal as well as eternal punishment. I have another request to make of the ignorant and uninstructed, and that is, that if they have the least doubt in matters of this kind, they will not act until they have explained it to their confessor, or pastor. Finally, we must all profit by the warning that St. Paul addresses to the Galatians, regarding vain observations of certain times and days: "But now, after that you have known god, or rather are known by God: how turn you again to the weak and needy elements, which you desire to serve again? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest perhaps I have labored in vain among you."
In the same way, my dear brethren, should each one of us think; God has called me by His admirable light to the one truth Church, in which I must place all my confidence, and adore and love the God of infinite power, goodness and wisdom; I have been born of Catholic parents, in a Catholic country: shall I then be so superstitious, so foolish, so wicked, as to occupy myself with such nonsensical practices, and make common cause with the devil? No, I protest with St. Ambrose "Far from the servants of God be all superstition." I wish to serve God and to adore Him alone; not with lies and follies; but, as the Saviour says, in spirit and truth; that I may one day adore Him in that place where faith shall have an end, and I shall see Him face to face. Amen.
Mary Help of Christians
By: Rev. Bonaventure Hammer O.F. M.
and Rev. John J. Burke + Imprimatur 1909
The Catholic Church recognizes matrimony as a holy state. She recommends celibacy to those desiring greater perfection, and enjoins it on her priests because, as St. Paul says, "He who is unmarried careth about the things of the Lord."
It is said that the life of the priest is a hard, lonely one, and that it is unscriptural. Let us see. That his life is one of hardships is certain. His path is by no means one of roses; it is rather one covered with thorns. The young man knows this well before he enters it. With a full knowledge of its duties and responsibilities, he willingly enters the priesthood. He knows well that it is a life full of trials and crosses. He knows, too, that the whole life of Jesus Christ, from the stable of Bethlehem, to the cross on Calvary's heights, was one continuous trial, cross, mortification; and that the life of every follower, especially every minster, of Jesus Christ should be fashioned after that of his divine model. "If any man will come after Me," He says in the 16th chapter of St. Matthew, "let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The disciple, the minister of Christ, is not above his Master; and it is not becoming that the path of the disciple or minister should be covered with flowers while that of the Master was strewn with thorns and sprinkled with His own precious blood.
Yes, the priest's life is one of trials, crosses, and hardships. But the more trials he has to bear, the more crosses he has to carry, the more hardships he has to endure, the greater is his resemblance to his model, Jesus Christ; and if he bears those trials, crosses, and hardships, which he shares with his Master here, with a proper spirit, the more certain he is of sharing with Him a happy eternity hereafter.
But is the life of celibacy unscriptural? No. In fact, few questions are more clearly defined in Holy Scripture than that of religious celibacy. St. Paul, in the 7th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, says: "I would have you without solicitude. He who is unmarried careth for the things of the Lord, how he may please God; but he who is married careth about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is divided. And the unmarried woman and virgin thinketh about the things of the Lord, how she may be holy in body and spirit. But she that is married thinketh about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. Therefore," he concludes, "he that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well; and he who giveth her not doth better." Could language be clearer? Marriage is good; celibacy is better.
"He that is unmarried careth about the things of the Lord, how he may please God." This teaching of St. Paul is the teaching of the Church - that marriage is honorable, is good, but that there is a better, a holier state for those who are called by the grace of God to embrace it.
Religious celibacy is one of the principal reasons why the Catholic priest and missionary will risk all dangers, overcome all obstacles, face all terrors, and in time of plague expose himself to death in its most disgusting forms for the good of his fellow-man. All are acquainted with the noble examples of numbers of priests and Sisters of Charity who, at the risk of their own lives, voluntarily nursed the sick and dying during the yellow-fever scourge in the South a few years ago. Do you think they would have done so had they families depending upon them? No; they would have cared for the things of this world. Jesus Christ has said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man give up his life for his fellow-man." This the good priest is ever doing, ever ready to do. Although death stares him in the face, he never shrinks from his post of duty, never abandons his flock while there is a wound to heal, a soul to save.
When duty calls him, he is not afraid of death, because ST. Paul says: "He who is without a wife is solicitous about the things of the Lord."
"Blessed Mother and unspotted Virgin, glorious Queen of the world, may all experience thine aid, who celebrate thy solemnity of the most holy rosary."
-Antiphon of the Magnificat, Mass for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary
The Faith that Never Dies or
The Priest of God in the Catholic Home
By: Monseigneur De Segure, Thomas A Kemis, Rev. Jospeh Deharbe S.J. and "A Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict"
+Imprimatur Michael Augustinus Copyright 1900
It was an ancient custom in the East to offer crowns of roses to distinguished persons, and the early Christians loved to honor in this way the images of the Blessed Virgin and the relics of the martyrs. An illustrious bishop, St. Gregory of Naziazum, full of devotion toward the Mother of God, was inspired to substituted for the material crown of roses a spiritual crown of prayers, persuaded that it would be more acceptable to the Blessed Queen of the Church. With this idea that he composed a long series or crown of prayers, which comprehended the most glorious titles, the sweetest praises, and the most excellent prerogatives of Mary. In the seventh century St. Bridget, one of the patron Saints of Ireland, brought this pious thought to a greater perfection. She made the devotion introduced by St. Gregory available to all by substituting for the beautiful prayers he had composed the most popular and still more beautiful prayers of the Creed, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary. And in order to know by some material indication how many prayers had been recited, she adopted the custom of the Anchorites of Thebaid, and threaded the beads of wood or stone in the form of a crown. Rosary signifies crown of roses; and the prayers we daily recite form a wreath of spiritual roses with which in love we crown our Mother and our Queen.
The word chaplet means little crown. The Rosary of the Blessed Virgin is composed of five decades, each of which consists of ten Hail Mary's, preceded by one Our Father. St. Dominic, one of the greatest Saints of Christianity, and one of the most devoted servants of the Blessed Virgin, was specially instructed in this devotion by the Mother of God herself.
In saying the Rosary we repeat the Hail Mary more often than the Our Father, not, as has been said, because we honor the Blessed Virgin more than God, but because, being a devotion instituted in her honor, it is quite natural that the prayers it contains should be specially addressed to her. Everything in its time we might answer. The Rosary is not, as some unusually enlightened minds conceive, a devotion for women. First, I do not see in what men so greatly surpass women, either as regards the intellect, or, still more, as regards the heart. In many cases women are superior to men. And so the saying, "Good for women!" is worth nothing. And what is there in the chaplet that is not good for every one? Is it the Our Father which is not good enough for men? Was not Our Lord speaking to His own Apostles when He taught them this beautiful prayer? Or is it the Hail Mary which is beneath the mind of men? or the Creed at the beginning? or is it the sign of the Cross?
The greatest men of modern times have recited the Rosary with as much devotion as the simple women whom some, with remarkably advanced understandings, appear to disdain. St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Xavier, St. Vincent de Paul, Bossuet, and Fenelon are among the great number of those who have offered the Blessed Virgin this daily tribute of praise. St. Francis de Sales made a vow to recite the Rosary every day. IT must be a strange kind of pride which can despise a prayer so honored by such men as these.
The principal mysteries of our redemption, fifteen in number, are celebrated in this devotion; and the right way to which to recite the Rosary is to meditate during each decade on one of the mysteries in the life of Our Saviour, or His Holy Mother, and to ask God through the intercession of Mary for some virtue which we need, or which shines out more especially in the mystery we contemplate; or we may recite each decade for a special intention, to obtain some grace from God, the conversion of a friend, of a father, a mother, a child, for the cure of some disease, the success of some undertaking, or, in case of failure, for patience and resignation. A faithful daily recitation of the Rosary is sure to prove a great source of happiness.
A preacher of the last century was one day called in to hear the confession of a young man who had been seized by apoplexy. He found him quiet unconscious, and left in order to offer up for the dying man a votive mass of the Blessed Virgin. He had scarcely ended when a servant came to tell him that the master was able to speak. What was the surprise of the priest when, on reaching his new penitent, he found him penetrated with feelings of the deepest repentance, and offering his life to God in expiation for his sins! Profiting by these happy dispositions, he received his confession and administered the last sacraments. Not knowing to what his conversion was to be attributed, he quested him as to the cause. "Father," he answered, ""I can only attribute this grace to the fervor of your prayers and to those of my dear mother. When she was dying, she called me, and, speaking to me of the dangers by which my youth would be surrounded, she said, 'my only consolation, my son, is that I leave you under the protection of the Blessed Virgin; promise me to say the Rosary every day.' I promised, and I acknowledge that for ten years this has been the only religious act which I have practiced." On hearing this the confessor recognized the visible protection of the Blessed Virgin, which was clearly manifested in this most consoling death-bed, nor ceased until the sick man had breathed his last sigh.
Resources & Give Away!
A lovely and important sermon today, a bit longer than our usual Keeping it Catholic Monday posts, so if you would like to download and print today's blog please click here for the complete sermon in printable form.
Also for smaller children, a most excellent form of an Examination of Conscience and help to teaching them about this devotion is found in the With Jesus prayer book
. A lovely resource, very simple yet to the point.
Sermons for the Children of MaryBy: Rev. Ferdinand Callerio
+ Imprimatur by Michael Augustine
Archbishop of New York - New York, Jan. 5, 1898
THE CHILD OF MARY AND THE DAILY EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
Although all our spiritual exercises aim at the extirpation of vice and the acquisition of virtue, there is one which is pre-eminently useful and most efficacious in cleansing the soul from its vicious tendencies and causing it to produce the choicest flowers of virtue. Our soul is by nature a barren plot of ground wherein thorns and thistles grow and flourish. Now we know that if we want to have a well-kept garden, it is not enough once and for all to have the stones cleared away, the ground dug up, seeds sown, flowers planted out, and then to leave it alone; it will require continual attention, the young plants must be watered, the superfluous shoots must be cut off, and the weeds rooted up; so, in the same way, if we desire virtues to spring up in our heart, it will not suffice to eradicate our bad proclivities and subdue our passions, it will be necessary to watch over it with the utmost vigilance, lest our perverse propensities, the evil concupiscence of our fallen nature should again come to the fore. And for this no better means can be employed than the examination of our conscience, for by thus searching out daily the faults into which we fall, we shall discover the subtle snares of the devil, and then it will be far easier for us to combat them,and to effect a complete and radical reform of our interior life.
So true is this, that if there is one pious exercise from the practice of which the devil exerts himself most strenuously to deter us, by inspiring us with distaste and aversion for it, it is this whereof we are now speaking, for he is well aware of the salutary results produced in the souls of those who perform it regularly; nor can it be said that his efforts are futile, for not many Christians have the force to resist the temptation, and examine their conscience regularly every night.
I intend to-day, first to set before you the usefulness and the importance of daily examination of conscience, and then give some practical suggestions as to the manner of making it.
The examination of conscience consists in recalling to mind, at the close of the day, the number and nature of the faults we have committed during its course, in order to correct them. This definition is in itself enough to demonstrate both its ability and its necessity.
We are, as you know, God's creatures, intended to be happy with Him for all eternity, but only on the condition that we fulfill the duties He lays on us both towards Himself, our sovereign Lord, and towards our fellow-men; and on this will depend our admission to or exclusion from Paradise. Now how are we to know whether we fulfill those duties or not, unless we frequently and with careful attention, look into our own heart and scrutinize our actions, to see where we have failed - unless we grieve over our want of fidelity to God's commands, and resolve to do better in future? We have received, and constantly do receive, countless benefits from God, both for body and soul, of which we ought to make use to promote His glory and our own salvation. How can we know whether we make the right use of these graces, if we do not examine our actions and count up our loss and gain?
Any one who approaches the sacraments frequently, must of a truth necessarily examine his conscience tolerably often, at least whenever he goes to confession. But although I am far from wishing to underrate the value of this examination, for it suffices to preserve us from falling again into grievous sins, yet it certainly does not avail to keep the soul free from lesser transgressions of the law of God, from omissions of the duties of our state. It is not enough to cleanse the soul now and again, by a good confession, from vicious tendencies, from the stain of sins we have committed: we must by a careful examination of conscience return to clean the soil of our heart from the weeds which day by day spring up afresh, to quench the flame of passions which ever blaze out anew; unless we do this our soul will gradually become deteriorated, like a house which if left unrepaired by degrees becomes a ruin, or a plot of land, which without culture soon produces nothing but weeds, the number of our venial sins, whereof we are hardly aware, will increase; from the lesser we shall pass on to the greater; venial sins will grow to mortal. Many souls now groan despairingly in the lake of fire, because they would not take the trouble to search into their own heart, to scrutinize their conscience.
We find all the saints and spiritual writers urging strongly upon the faithful the duty and necessity of this pious practice, as the best means of advancing in what is good, and of avoiding evil. Nor do they inculcate it by their teaching only, it was their own constant and diligent habit, and the founders of orders made it obligatory upon their religious as being greatly conducive to a life of perfection. This was done in Syria by St. Basil, one of the first to give a rule to monks; St. Anthony in Egypt; St. Augustine in Numidia; later on in Europe by St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, and, not to mention others, by that great luminary of the Church, St. Ignatius. He practiced this pious exercise himself from the day when he consecrated himself to God until the day of his dearth, and he prescribed it to his followers, saying he could not understand how any one could aspire to sanctity who did not keep his eye fixed upon his own heart and examine his every action. Even the sages of antiquity recognized the value of this daily scrutiny; Pythagoras enjoined it on his disciples, and both Cicero and Seneca expressly state that at the close of each day they reviewed their words and actions during its course, allowing nothing to pass unnoticed, and resolving where they saw they had been at fault not to err in like manner again. Having seen how indispensable this daily examination is for the development of the Christian life, we will now pass on to the practical consideration of how it should be made.
There are two kinds of examination, the general and the particular; the former is concerning the faults committed during the day, the latter regards one virtue or vice only. This is why it is called the particular examen. We shall speak of the general examination as being of more consequence, and also because what is said of it can be applied to the other also.
The masters of the spiritual life tell us that if we would derive profit from this exercise we should, first of all, place ourselves in the presence of God and make an act of faith and adoration, thanking Him for the blessings we have received from Him, especially in the past day, and imploring light to discern the faults of which we have been guilty. We must then make a careful examination of conscience, not glossing over any sin into which we have had the misfortune to fall, however trifling it may appear. Having done this, let us make an act of contrition for our offenses against God, acknowledging and deploring our misery, but without allowing ourselves to be unduly depressed and despondent; and then firmly resolve not to commit any deliberate fault. In this, Rodrigues says, the greatest stress should be laid, for in our sorrow for sin and our determination to avoid it, consists in hope of amendment.
The three points for examination are these: our devotional exercises, the virtues of a Christian life, and the duties of our state. Let us begin by examining ourselves respecting our devotions, and ask ourselves: Have Isaid my accustomed prayers night and morning with attention and recollection? Have I made my meditation with the care so salutary an exercise demands, choosing the subject most suited to help me in the spiritual life? If I have been to communion, how did I prepare myself for it, and how did I make my thanksgiving? And my visit to the Blessed Sacrament? Have I frequently and fervently uttered ejaculatory prayers? Have I performed all the religious exercises enjoined on me, or which I have undertaken of my own accord, and how have I performed them?
With respect to the virtues becoming to the Christian, let us ask ourselves: What has been my conduct in regard to the mortification of my senses, both at home and abroad? Have I observed custody of the eyes, to avoid seeing anything that might be suggestive of evil, or have I let my wandering glances stray hither and thither? And if, perchance, I have heard profane or indecorous conversation, have I shown my disapproval, or laughed and made light of it? Have I been temperate in eating and drinking, or haveI thought only of pleasing my palate? Have I said what was untrue, or indulged in unseemly talk or jesting?
In regard to my exterior: Have I prided myself on any gift of God, spiritual or corporal, and delighted in the praise of men? Have I said anything to my own advantage, courting esteem and honor, or have I rather shunned them? Have I been haughty or arrogant towards my inferiors?
In regard to charity: Have I performed rash or uncharitable judgements of my neighbor? Have I stifled feelings of aversion, envy, jealousy, cultivating the opposite virtues? Have I shown kindness towards those who have injured me, or whom I dislike? Have I spoken bitterly, or angrily of my neighbors, ridiculed or slandered them? Have I complained of, and published the failings of any one, censuring his actions, placing an evil construction on them, instead of excusing and defending them as far as possible? HAve I repeated his speeches or complaints, thus creating discord instead of promoting harmony and peace? Have I been ready to forgive offenses, and render assistance, either temporal or spiritual, to my neighbor whenever occasion presented itself?
In regard to patience: Have I spoken impatiently, acted or spoken angrily? Have all my words and actions been meek and gentle?
In regard to obedience: How have I behaved towards my parents and superiors? HAve I been disobedient or disrespectful? Have I obeyed willingly, promptly, without questioning?
In regard to conformity to the will of God: Have I accepted the crosses laid on me as coming from the hand of God, and borne them without murmuring? Have I never grown restive under the burden of misfortune or sickness?
In regard to purity of intention: Have I said or done anything to win the esteem of men, to get my own way, or to satisfy some passion, instead of making the glory of God and my own salvation my only motive and aim?
Finally: Have I fulfilled exactly and conscientiously all the duties of my state of life, and performed my work without wasting time?
Such are the questions we should ask ourselves ever evening before retiring to rest. And for those who, being weary with the day's work, or pressed for time, should find this examination somewhat long, I will suggest a shorter and easier method. Let them pass in review each hour of the day, one after another, asking themselves what they have done or left undone; what they have thought or said; where they have been and with whom?
Thus if there has been anything wrong in the day, it will not escape notice; then ask forgiveness of God, determine to go to confession as soon as you can, and to avoid the same fault for the future.
Although the general examen is most profitable as a means of subjugating the passions and rooting out vicious proclivities from the soul, yet this work cannot be done all at once. The masters of the spiritual life counsel us, therefore, to direct our attention specially to one particular predominate fault. This is called the particular examen; and experience proves that if one fault is extirpated, the others will be more easily overcome.
Let the daily examination of your conscience, therefore, be your habitual practice, and you will see how rapid will be your progress toward perfection. Not only will you succeed in eliminating from your soul its faults and shortcomings, conquering them with facility, but you will render your heart pure and fair in God's sight. Do not lose heart if you fall again into the same sins: this is permitted in order that you may realize your own frailty, and learn to mistrust yourself. Persevere in the work with regularity and exactitude, and rest assured that your faults will shortly be conquered, the practice of virtue will become less difficult, and you will become model Christians, on whom Heaven will bestow its choicest gifts.