'It is to be a martyr, to suffer patiently, and with gratitude, the ills inseparable from our human existence, and which are common both to the just and to sinners, and we are not deprived of the glory which is attached to this title because we have not shed our blood in honour of Jesus Christ."
- St. Cyprian
Catholic Life Imprimatur 1908
There is one attribute common to all the human race, no matter what in life, age, or race they may be, and that is suffering. For such a common ill there must be palliatives, which, while not curing, render them more tolerable and meritorious. The remembrance of the patience of the Man-God in His unspeakable afflictions must always be our great solace; as also the thought that our night of suffering is the dawn of hope, and that suffering is a school in which we are taught to grow in holiness by God Himself; for the soul is purified in the furnace of affliction as precious metals are by fire. Our holy mother the Church, anxious to afford her children every help possible, proposes this month the consideration of the sorrows of our Blessed Lady, to show us that sufferings accompany the highest sanctity, and to point out to us a model for imitation. From the time of Simeon's prophecy - forty days after the birth of her Divine Son - her sufferings may be said to have lasted till her death. At times they were more intense, as when she had to fly with her Child to Egypt to save His life; when she lost Him for three days; at her meeting Him carrying His Cross; when she stood beneath the Cross and saw the soldier pierce His side with a lance; or when she laid Him in the sepulcher.
When we consider Who was the Son, who the Mother, and what the sufferings, we can easily understand why she is styled “Queen of Martyrs." Moreover, there were circumstances which increased her sufferings immensely, and which are apt to escape our notice; for example, she suffered from the thought that her sufferings were an additional cause of the pain to her Divine Son, Who loved her as no other son loved his mother; and then she was so helpless that she could not sooth His pains by such ordinary means as a cup of water or a caress. Thus, we can never consider the sorrows of Mary without coupling them with the sorrows of her Son. The two are so inseparably united that she is styled the co-redemptress of the world, and thus we can understand her deep sympathy and readiness to succour poor sinners. Only those who have suffered can measure the depths of others' woes, and sympathize with crushed and wounded hearts: and as no one, after Jesus, has suffered so much as our
Blessed Mother, so no one, after Jesus, can dry our tears, lighten our cross, or soothe our grief’s, like Mary. She will show us the value of sufferings, which detach us from the things of earth, make us desire heavenly goods, and increase our merit in Heaven by causing us to practice many virtues, especially patience, resignation, and sympathy for others. In our trials and sufferings, let us, in imitation of our Blessed Lady, perform our daily duties as if we were free from sorrow. Let us pray, making short, affectionate, frequent aspirations of resignation, love, and confidence. Let us forget our grief's by sympathizing with and helping those whose troubles are heavier than our own. "Gentle Mother, we beseech thee, By thy tears and troubles sore, By the death of thy dear offspring, By the many wounds He bore, Touch our hearts with that true sorrow Which afflicted thee of yore."
Example - St. Ignatius of Loyola
There is preserved at Saragossa, in Spain, a picture of Our Lady of Seven Dolours, which was much used by St. Ignatius. It is an ordinary print, representing Mary seated at the foot of the Cross, her heart pierced by a sword, her hands joined, and her head lowered. The features express profound affliction, combined with peace and resignation. The Saint held this picture in singular veneration. He wore it on his breast from the time of his conversion till his death, a period of thirty-five years. He assures us that he had received from God, by means of this devotion, extraordinary graces on all occasions. No wonder, then, that he was so full of tenderness for others. At the beginning of his stay in Paris, he had entrusted the little money he possessed to a young Spaniard, who, after spending part of it, ran away with the rest, leaving the Saint utterly destitute, and obliged to interrupt his studies in order to beg for his daily bread.
Some time afterwards, hearing that this youth was dangerously ill at Rouen, Ignatius instantly left Paris, and walked barefooted to that city - seventy miles - hardly stopping to rest on the way. He nursed the young man with tenderest care, collected money to pay his way home, and only left him when he was sufficiently recovered to proceed on his road towards Spain.
This Weeks Friday (Spiritual) Friday Fare
By: Thomas Aquinas Imprimatur 1937
Passion Friday - OUR LADY S SUFFERING IN THE PASSION
Thy own soul a sword shall pierce. Luke ii. 35. In these words there is noted for us the close association of Our Lady with the Passion of Christ.
Four things especially made the Passion most bitter for her. They refused Him even water, nor would they allow His His mother, who would most lovingly have given it, to help Him. Thirdly, the disgrace of the punishment, Let us condemn him to a most shameful death (Wis. ii. 20). Fourthly, the cruelty of the torment. O ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorroiv (Lam. i. 12).
(Serm.) The words of Simeon, Thy own soul a sword shall pierce Origen, and other doctors with him, explain with reference to the pain felt by Our Lady in the Passion of Christ. St. Ambrose, however, says that by the sword is signified Our Lady's prudence, thanks to which she was not without knowledge of the heavenly mystery. For the word of God is a living thing, strong and keener than the keenest sword (cf. Heb. iv. 12). Other writers again, St. Augustine for example, understand by the sword the stupefaction that overcame Our Lady at the death of her Son, not the doubt that goes with lack of faith but a certain fluctuation of bewilderment, a staggering of the mind. St. Basil, too, says that as Our Lady
stood by the cross with all the detail of the Passion before her, and in her mind the testimony of Gabriel, the message that words cannot tell of her divine conception, and all the vast array of miracles, her mind swayed, for she saw Him the victim of such vileness, and yet knew Him for the author of such wonders. (3 27 4 ad 2.)
Firstly, the goodness of her son, Who did no sin (i Pet. ii. 22). Secondly, the cruelty of those who crucified Him, shown, for example, in this that as He lay dying. Although Our Lady knew by faith that it was God s will that Christ should suffer, and although she brought her will into unity with God s will
in this matter, as the saints do, nevertheless, sadness filled her soul at the death of Christ. This was because her lower will revolted at the particular thing she had willed and this is not contrary to perfection. (i Dist. 48 q unica a 3.)
"All difficulties, temptations, sickness and humiliations become sweet and easy to endure, if one bears them in union with Our Lord." - Cure of Ars
Catholic Life - Imprimatur 1908
On this day the crucifixes, statues, ect., are veiled to express the deep mourning of the Church for the Passion and Death of her Spouse and Saviour. The whole of Lent is dedicated to our Saviour. The whole of Lent is
dedicated to our Lord's Passion, but the last two weeks are in a more particular manner consecrated to honour that mystery. All through the week, in the Mass and other off ices of the C h u r c h , t h e memory of His sufferings is daily renewed. We may consider Who He is that suffered, how much He suffered in various ways, from whom He suffered, for generosity, what meekness, what zeal for His Father's glory, what patience, what humiliations, what fortitude, and what obedience. These thoughts will come back to us again when we are suffering, and will prove a soothing balm. Five Paters and Aves in honour of the five bleeding wounds of our Lord, three hours' death agony on the cross, for all those in their agony, are suitable devotions at this time. Friday this week is specially devoted to the sorrows of our Blessed Lady - and favourite of Heaven, and at the same time the Queen of Martyrs. Who will not find comfort in considering that, as Mary's sufferings prepared her for her glorious place in Heaven, so our sufferings are so many jewels to enrich our crowns in eternity? The Stabat Mater read or sung this day (Friday) will help us to enter into the spirit of the Church.
'Thy Cross, dear Lord, our only stay,
We hail on this Thy Passion-day;
In loving hearts Thy grace increase,
And sinners from their guilt release."
Example - Execution of a Soldier
"On February 3, 1850, a soldier, Jean Guth, was condemned to death for the murder of his captain. On the morning of his execution, at about 3:30 a.m., I took him the Holy Viaticum. At four o'clock the prison van was at the door. He thanked the keeper for the kindness she had shown him. There were tears in many eyes. "Farewell, Guth," said the keeper; "die like a brave soldier and a good Christian." During the three hours and a half that the journey lasted his calmness never forsook him. God was with him in that hour. "Our Lord is with us, my child," I said to him, "Yes, yes," he answered, "I am quite content." And a moment afterwards "I hardly like to say so, but I feel as if I were going to a wedding. God has permitted it all for my good to save my soul. It is a great consolation to me that my poor captain died a Christian death. I shall see him again; he is praying for me." He recited the Rosary, his eyes fixed with love upon the crucifix. "My God has saved me," he said; "I believe that He will be very merciful to me. He went up to Calvary carrying His cross. I am with Him and, like Him, I will gladly submit to everything if they desire to bind me or bandage my eyes.... Soldiers are lost," he said again, "because they will not listen to you. Without you, without religion, the whole world would be lost."
We passed close to the barracks where he had committed his crime. He said a prayer for the captain. "I cannot conceive what possessed me," he exclaimed; "I did not desire his
death." And a minute after: "If by a single sin I could escape being shot, I would not commit it; that is what I feel. I have nothing left on earth; I am going home to God." At half-past seven we stopped in the plain of Satory, near Versailles.
It was the field of the military maneuvers. We descended. Guth was pale, but composed. An officer read his sentence. "I recognized the justice of my punishment," said the condemned; "I repent of my crime; I ask pardon from God, and I love Him with my whole heart." Then he knelt down. For the last time I gave him the crucifix to kiss. "Father," he repeated in a changed voice, "into Thy hands I commend my spirit.... I unite my death to that of Jesus my Saviour Farewell! farewell!" I embraced him.
He extended his arms in the form of a cross, and bent his head. An instant later human justice was satisfied, and the soul of the poor criminal, purified and transfigured by religion, entered into the bosom of Him Who pardons everything to the repentant sinner!" -Mgr. De Segur
For a Children's Sermon on Passion Sunday & Coloring Page please visit our blog post from last year titled
"Why the Robin's Breast is Red"
"May my Lord avert that it should ever come to pass that I should lose His people, whom He has gained at the ends of the earth." -St. Patrick
Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. 1894
March 17.—ST. PATRICK, Bishop, Apostle of Ireland.IF the virtue of children reflects an honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the Church of Ireland shone during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, in a village called Bonaven Taberniæ, which seems to be the town of Kilpatrick, on the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighboring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours.
In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snow, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to Him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master, St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. The Saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went; but the sailors, though pagans, called him back and took him on board. After three days’ sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often spoken to the company on the infinite power of God; they therefore asked him why he did not pray for relief. Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came info a country that was cultivated and inhabited.
Some years afterwards he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that He destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relatives and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations threw the Saint into great perplexities; but the Lord, Whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and_ such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. He gave freely of his own, however, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings, judging that necessary for the progress of the Gospel, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained up to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions.
A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. This tyrant, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where St. Patrick had been just conferring confirmation on a great number of neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after Baptism. Corotick massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. The next day the Saint sent the barbarian a letter entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want, but was only answered by railleries. The Saint, therefore, wrote with his own hand a letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; he declares, nevertheless, that he is established Bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, Whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us that Corotick was overtaken by the divine vengeance.
St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the Church which he had planted. St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his Council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a country of Saints.
Many particulars are related of the labors of St. Patrick, which we pass over. 'in the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Tara, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids, or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher; however, Patrick converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized the Icings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greatest part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick's Church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig; and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning, the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. He died and was buried at Down in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.
Ireland is the nursery whence St. Patrick sent forth his missionaries and teachers. Glastonbury and Lindisfarne, Ripon and Malmesbury, bear testimony to the labors of Irish priests and bishops for the conversion of England. Iona is to this day the most venerated spot in Scotland. Columban, Fiacre, Gall, and many others evangelized the "rough places" of France and Switzerland. America and Australia, in modern times, owe their Christianity to the faith and zeal of the sons and daughters of St. Patrick.
Reflection.—By the instrumentality of St. Patrick the Faith is now as fresh in Ireland, even in this cold nineteenth century, as when it was first planted. Ask him to obtain for you the special grace of his children—to prefer the loss of every earthly good to the least compromise in matters of faith.
Links & Resources
What is on our menu this year.....
For Breakfast the menu holds either: whole wheat sour dough pancakes
... perhaps in the shape of a Shamrock or whole wheat sour dough cinnamon roles... can you make a cinnamon role in the shape of a Shamrock? Perhaps we will just stick with the pancakes ;)
Served with bacon and eggs w/ veggies & seasonal fruit.
For dinner:Vegan (or not) Irish White Bean Cabbage Stew
- we might add some stew beef to it as part of our celebration!
Homemade Whole Wheat Sour Dough Bread, something similar to this recipe
but modified Colcanon Puffs
Desert is still undecided.... our default, Shamrock Sugar Cookies
We would love to share some more wonderful books with you, in honor of Passion Sunday we are giving away many titles on Our Lord's Passion, on Lent, on Confession and Christ's One True Church! Winners will be announced on the feast of that great Patron of the Universal Church, St. Joseph's Feast day.
Meditations for Lent
By: Thomas Aquinas
Fourth Monday - CHRIST BY His PASSION MERITED TO BE EXALTED
He became obedient unto death even to the death of the cross : for which cause God hath exalted him. Phil. ii. 8.
Merit is a thing which implies a certain equality of justice. Thus St. Paul says, To him that worketh the reward is reckoned according to debt (Rom. iv. 4). Now since a man who commits an injustice takes for himself more than is due to himself, it is just that he suffer loss even in what is actually due to him. If a man steals one sheep, he shall give back four as it says in Holy Scripture (Exod. xxii. i). And this is said to be merited inasmuch as in this way the man s evil will is punished. In the same way the man who acts with such justice that he take less than what is due to him, merits that more shall be generously superadded to what he has, as a kind of reward for his just will. So, for instance, the gospel tells us, He that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke xiv. 1 1). Now in His Passion Christ humbled himself below His dignity in four respects : (i) In respect of His Passion and His death, things which He did not owe to undergo. (ii) In respect to places, for His body was placed in a grave and his soul in hell. (iii) In respect to the confusion and shame that He endured. (iv) In respect to His being delivered over to human authority, as He said Himself to Pilate, Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above (John xix. n).
Therefore, on account of His Passion, He merited a fourfold exaltation. (i) A glorious resurrection. It is said in the Psalm (Ps. cxxxviii. i), Thou hast known my sitting down, that is, the humiliation of my Passion, and my rising up. (ii) An ascension into heaven. Whence it is said, He descended first into the lower parts of the earth : He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens (Eph. iv. 9, 10). (iii) To be seated at the right hand of the Father, with His divinity made manifest. Isaias says, He shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding high. As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and St. Paul says, He became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names (Phil. ii. 8, 9), that is to say, He shall be named God by all, and all shall pay Him reverence as God. And this is why St. Paul adds, That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (ibid. x). (iv) A power of judgment. For it is said, Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked. Cause and judgment thou shalt recover (Job xxxvi. 17). (3. 49. 6.)
Meditations for Lent
By: St. Thomas Aquinas
THE PASSION OF CHRIST HAS DELIVERED US FROM THE DEVIL
Our Lord said, as His Passion drew near, Now shall the princes of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself (John xii. 31, 32). He was lifted up from the earth by His Passion on the cross. Therefore by that Passion the devil was driven out from his dominion over men. With reference to that power, which, before the Passion of Christ, the devil used to exercise over mankind, three things are to be borne in mind. 1. Man had by his sin earned for himself enslavement to the devil, for it was by the devil's temptation that he had been overcome. 2. God, whom man in sinning had offended, had, by his justice, abandoned man to the enslavement of the devil. 3. The devil by his own most wicked will stood in the way of man s achieving his salvation. With regard to the first point the Passion of Christ set man free from the devil's power because the Passion of Christ brought about the forgiveness of sin. As to the second point the Passion delivered man from the devil, because it brought about a reconciliation between God and man.
As to the third point, the Passion of Christ freed us from the devil's power because in his action during the Passion the devil over-reached himself. He went beyond the limits of the power over men allowed to him by God, when he plotted the death of Christ, upon whom, since he was without sin, there lay no debt payable by death. Whence St. Augustine's words, "The devil was overcome by the justice of Christ. In Him the devil found nothing that deserved death, but, none the less, he slew him. And it was but just that those debtors that the devil detained should go free since they believed in Him whom, though he was under no bond to him, the devil had slain." The devil still continues to exercise a power over men. He can, God permitting it, tempt them in soul and in body. There is, however, made available for man a remedy in the Passion of Christ, by means of which he can defend himself against these attacks, so that they do not lead him into the destruction of eternal death. Likewise all those who before the Passion of Christ resisted the devil had derived their power to resist from the Passion, although the Passion had not yet been accomplished. But in one point none of those who lived before the Passion had been able to escape the hand of the devil, namely, they all had to go down into hell, a thing from which, since the Passion, all men can, by his power, defend themselves.
God also allows the devil to deceive men in certain persons, times and places, according to the hidden character of His designs. Such, for example, will be anti-Christ. But there always remains, and for the age of anti-Christ too, a remedy prepared for man through the Passion of Christ, a power of protecting himself against the wickedness of the devils. The fact that there are some who neglect to make use of this remedy does not lessen the efficacy of the Passion of Christ. (3. 49 2)
"Let us not speak ill of the Cross, it has been sent to us
to warn us, to detach us from the earth, to lead us to
our end. Let us leave it only to cast ourselves into God.
We have much need of suffering, let us suffer well."
~ Pere de Ravignan ~
"He who exerciseth himself devoutly in the Passion of our Lord shall find abundantly all that is useful and necessary for him." - A Kempis.
From Catholic Life- Holy Week
The Office of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings in Holy Week is called Tenebraæ (which signifies darkness), because in ancient times it was performed at midnight. In the sanctuary we notice a large triangular candlestick. The highest candle represents Jesus Christ, Who said of Himself, "I am the Light of the World," and the rest represent the Apostles and disciples, to whom He was pleased to communicate His own prerogative of being the Light of the world (Matt. v. 14).
These candles are successively extinguished during the Office to represent how the Apostles fled and disappeared at the time of our Saviour's Passion. Near the end the candle representing our Lord is not extinguished, but hidden behind or under the altar to represent His death. Immediately there is profound silence to signify the horror of the Redeemer's death, followed by noise representing the earthquake and the confusion the world was in at that time.
The candlestick itself represents the Blessed Trinity, and the triangular arrangement of the candles gives us to understand that the light of truth which shone to the world from the life and doctrine of Christ and His disciples was derived from the same Blessed Trinity, and was intended to proclaim God's glory.
"The earth is darkened - rent the Temple's veil;
Now do the hearts of men with terror quail:
Rend Thou my heart,
O God, in this dread hour;
Break it with sweet contrition's holy power."
Example. - Count Elzear
The devout Count Elzear, despite the purity of his life, was blamed, calumniated, and otherwise badly treated even by his own subjects. Being asked one day by his wife Delphina how he would bear with indifference so many insults, he replied: "Whenever I receive an injury from anyone, I immediately turn away my heart to consider the great affronts that were put upon the Son of God by His own creatures, and I say to myself: Even if they were to pluck thee by the beard, or to buffet thee, what would that be in comparison with what they Divine Lord endured with so much patience? Know, moreover, that sometimes in these cases I feel great movements of anger, but then I fix my mind directly upon some corresponding injury that Jesus Christ once endured; nor do I let it wander from this consideration until I find that the inclination to anger has entirely passed away."