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Category Archives: About the Roman Catholic Faith

ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH FOR ALL WHO ARE DEVOTED TO LABOUR 

Glorious St Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labour, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honour to employ and develop, by means of labour, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all, after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and death. Amen.

[300 days once a day. – Pius X, 23rd Nov. 1906]

– from: St Anthony’s Treasury

 

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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY

“IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, AND IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ONLY, THE ENDLESS INTRICACIES AND PHENOMENA RECORDED IN THE GOSPELS ARE REPRODUCED ON THE STAGE OF HUMAN HISTORY”

“…let it be observed that in Catholic Christianity alone is such a claim even made as that which has been described. It may be said, without the possibility of contradiction, that in not one of the great world-religions, in not one of the smallest and most arrogant sects, has the proclamation ever been made that the Founder lives in a mystical but absolutely real life in a Body composed of His followers. There have been mystical phrases used occasionally, in certain forms of Buddhism, for example, faintly suggestive of this presence of a Master with His disciples in a very intimate and transcendent manner; but never has it been asserted, in Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Confucianism, in any form of Protestantism, in any other creed, that the great bulk of the faithful compose a living organism whose dominating personality is Divine. Never, except in Catholic Christianity, has the assertion been solemnly made and deliberately acted upon – ‘I am the Vine – you are the branches’; ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me.’

THE FAITHFUL COMPOSE ONE SINGLE UNIFIED LIVING ORGANISM

It is sufficiently remarkable that the Catholic claim is an unique one. ‘I have read,’ says St Augustine, ‘all the sages of the world; and not one of them dares to say ‘Come unto Me.”I have looked, the Catholic may say today, upon all the Churches of the world, all the world-religions, and all the sects, and not one of them dares to take upon her lips the words of very Deity. Many say, ‘I possess the truth, I teach the way, and I promise the life’; but not one, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ None, except one, and that is the Catholic Church, claims to be actually Divine and to utter the Voice of God. The Anglicans dare not excommunicate for heresy; the Nonconformists do not wish to… There is but one body in the world, and that is the Catholic Church, which behaves, moves, and speaks as only a Society conscious of Divinity can behave, move, and speak.

THE CHURCH IS CONSCIOUS OF HER DIVINITY

But the significance of the uniqueness of this claim is multiplied an hundredfold if in any way it can be justified. If it can but be shown that the claim is a Catholic commonplace, that all the Church’s actions are based upon that supposition, that the success of her policy depends upon it, that the unique phenomena of her life spring from it, that, in fact, the very heart of her life is the very assertion itself; if, finally, that assertion made by her, and made by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, produces the same results, and those results impossible of production on any other hypothesis, then, so far as moral proof can go, the claim is vindicated.

If, in short, Jesus Christ has succeeded in producing such a Society as this, giving her a confidence that is more than human, and a success unparalleled in human history – if He is able to present to the doubter such a Body as this in which He lives, able to extend hands and side to the touch of scepticism, in proof that it is indeed Himself, risen again and again from what is more final even than death to all merely human energies, then it is hardly possible to imagine any other response but that which Thomas made – ‘My Lord and my God.’

“COME UNTO ME”

For the appeal of the Church is in its essence an extraordinarily simple and direct one. Certainly it is possible to state that appeal in elaborate and intricate terms, to describe, justify, and indicate by illustrations, metaphors, and the rest, until the case seems too utterly complicated to be true.

AS SIMPLE AS “MOTHER AND CHILD” 

Yet the appeal itself is as simple as that of a mother to a child. I believe there are very learned books written on the motherly and filial instincts; it is possible to describe a smile in terms of muscles and sinews, and to analyse tears into lime and hydrogen and other elements; yet for all that, smiles and tears are the simplest things we know. And the appeal of this intricate Society, claiming to possess as she does the wisdom of the Eternal and the Source of all love, is for all that as direct and as simple as the glance of a woman’s eyes into the eyes of her child. All the eloquence of her orators and the learning of her divines, and the elaborateness of her worship, may be summed up in that single sentence that can only adequately be pronounced by the lips of Divinity – ‘Come unto Me.’

THE EUCHARIST 

I treat of the Church from an aspect familiar to Catholics, and yet one that, it would seem, is almost entirely unknown to non-Catholics. One can find, in book after book, the most admirable treatises upon the Church as a human Society, as a worshipping Society, as a patroness and inspirer of art, as a form of pious Freemasonery, as a police force to keep the poor quiet, as a refuge for the ineffective, as the home of learning. Yet non-Catholics, as a rule, seem simply unaware that there is another point of view, infinitely more significant… from which that Society is regarded as the Body in which the Divine Being tabernacles among men; and that, in spite of the fact, that without this aspect, without at any rate the fact of this belief existing, the main phenomena of that Society’s history are inexplicable.

This is as wildly unscientific as to think that you have accounted for a Cathedral, if you leave out the worshippers’ belief in God. It is no explanation of the Cathedral to discourse about the Bishops, and the word ‘Cathedra’ as signifying his seat. A more fundamental point is, Why should there such a phenomenon as a Bishop at all? Polyphonic music may be characteristic of a Cathedral; but why should anyone take the trouble to sing? The architecture may be excellently Gothic; but why is there such a thing as architecture?

“THE CHURCH COMPOSED OF ALL AS ONE UNIT IN THE HIERARCHY ORDAINED FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL BY GOD IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD, THE HUMAN BODY IN WHOM THE SON OF GOD TODAY DWELLS AND SPEAKS”

Such commentators as these, on the subject of the Catholic Church, state, blandly, that she is the best organised Society upon earth; the most elaborate and august in her worship; the Mother of the noblest art; the most exclusive Society in one sense, and the most inclusive in another. Or, again, they denounce her as the masterpiece of Satan, or the monument of the keenest human ambitions; or the unhappy result of an elaborate series of social conditions; or as a fetish whose sanctity rests upon nothing but superstition or association or circumstance; and they seem even to be unaware that countless minds as shrewd as their own have, after an examination of the evidence all round, deliberately come to the conclusion that she is actually the Temple of God, actually the social, corporate, and human Body in whom the Son of God today dwells and speaks, and it is for this reason, beneath all the others, that she is what she is.

I am not complaining of their affirmations; I have no quarrel whatever with the lights they have thrown upon her history – even upon the less reputable parts of that history – her sins of ommission or commission, considered as a result of her extremely human humanity – I only protest against their ignorance of the fact that there is another point of view – their tacit assumption that phenomena which do not fall under their categories are not phenomena, and that any account given of her must be unreal and negligible, for the reason that it is in other terms than their own.

THE ONE AND UNIQUE ORGAN OF DIVINE REVELATION 

This, then, is my object in these pages, to speak of the Church on the hypothesis that she is the Body of Christ in very truth, that what she, as an organism, and not merely as a conglomeration of fallible and faulty units, does, says and lives, is the action, speech, and life of Jesus Christ. I am able to show a strong presumption that this is so – that the Life recorded in the Gospels is reproduced with inimitable fidelity in the life of the Church, and that the characteristics of that life are the characteristics of a Divine Life, I shall also have established a presumption that she is indeed what she claims to be – the one and unique organ of Divine Revelation. It is necessary therefore to keep this point of view in mind, at least as an hypothesis, throughout. Alexander VI may have been a very wicked man; that does not affect the argument. Catholics may, very often, be very stupid and unspiritual; that does not affect the argument. Transsubstantiation may be a very difficult doctrine; it may appear to some that the worship of Mary, as they understand it, is degrading, or the practice of confession humiliating; there may be excellent explanations for the miracles of Lourdes, or the ecstasies of St Teresa, or the predominance of the City of Rome – all this does not affect the argument in the very least.

It is necessary to remember that all these things may seem facts, and yet the Church may be the Body of Christ, and He its Soul and its Supreme Life. Sins of omission and commission on the part of Catholics, stupidities, misunderstandings, apostasies, ignoble and unfashionable circumstances, countless failures, tragedies, comedies and even screaming farces – these simply do not touch the matter at all. Our Lord was betrayed by one Apostle, repudiated by another, and forsaken by the rest; He was the fool of Pilate’s court, the butt and buffoon of Herod’s. Even when He lived on the earth in the Flesh, “His visae was more marred than any man’s, and His countenance more than the sons’ of men.’”
– By Msgr Robert Hugh Benson. [Headings in capital letters added afterwards.] This is an excerpt from Msgr Benson’s book “Christ in the Church”, B. Herder, 17 South Broadway, St Louis, MO, USA, 1913.

 

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O LOVING JESUS, CONCEALED UNDER THE FORM OF BREAD

O LOVING JESUS, CONCEALED UNDER THE FORM OF BREAD

ACT OF LOVE BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION 

O loving Jesus, concealed under the form of bread, thou art my hope, and thou art also my love; for how great, how unconquerable must have been thy love to induce thee, the Son of the Most High, the object of the adoration of Heaven, to descend from thy throne of eternal glory to this miserable earth to dwell among us and become our very own?

It did not satisfy thy love to remain as man among us for a few passing years: thou wouldst always remain with us. Thou wast not satisfied to shed thy Blood once for us in terrible suffering on the cross; thou wouldst have the sublime sacrifice daily offered for us. O love of my Saviour, unfathomable abyss, what must be the perversion and hardness of heart that cannot love thee in return! I love thee, my Jesus; at least I desire to love thee as fervently as thou meritest to be loved.

Inflame my cold heart with thy love and let thy holy fire never be extinguished; let this love be stronger in me than death; nothing henceforth shall separate me from thy love, O Jesus; neither life nor death, neither the world nor the flesh, neither affliction nor distress. In this love will I persevere to my last hour, and be thine, O Jesus, forever.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons Ltd., Leeds, 1916

 

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THE QUEEN STANDS AT YOUR RIGHT HAND, ADORNED IN A VESTURE OF GOLD

THE QUEEN STANDS AT YOUR RIGHT HAND, ADORNED IN A VESTURE OF GOLD

SHE IS A QUEEN INASMUCH THE ROYAL DIGNITY OF BOTH HER FATHER AND SON IS EXALTED IN THE SCRIPTURES 

Why do we not, after the example of Damascene, Athanasius, and others, address the most blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Queen, inasmuch as the royal dignity of both her father and Son is exalted in the Scriptures, which acknowledge David, her father, as a renowned king and her Son as the Lord of lords and King of kings who shall rule forever. She is a Queen, moreover, when considered in relationship to those saints who are like kings in the heavenly kingdom, along with Christ the Supreme King, inasmuch as they are coheirs of his, and, as it were, are seated on the same throne with him, as the Scriptures say. She is a Queen second to none of the elect, but so far superior to both men and angels that no one can be more exalted in dignity or more holy, for she alone has the same Son as God the Father, and no one is above her save God and Christ; while beneath her is everything else.

As the great Athanasius acutely observed: “Mary is to be considered nor only God’s mother, but properly and truly a Queen and the Mistress of his household because Christ, though born of this Virgin Mother, is still God and Lord and so also King. “In this manner, therefore, we may understand the saying of the Psalmist about this Queen: “The Queen stands at your right hand, adorned in a vesture of gold.” Mary is then rightly called not only the Queen of heaven, but also of all those who dwell therein, inasmuch as she is the Mother of the King of angels, and the beloved friend and spouse of the King of heaven. O Mary, most august Queen and ever a most faithful Mother, whom no one ever calls upon and goes unrewarded, and to whom all mankind is bound by the everlasting remembrance of your favours, again and again I pray and implore you, that you may be pleased to accept every expression of my devotion to you, and not regarding the smallness of my gift, may deign to measure it by the devoted will of the giver and so cause it to meet with the approval of your all-powerful Son.

– Sermon of Peter Canisius, Priest, “On the Incomparable Virgin Mary Mother of God”, Book 15, Ch. 13; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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MARK, DISCIPLE AND INTERPRETER OF PETER, WROTE A SHORT GOSPEL

MARK, DISCIPLE AND INTERPRETER OF PETER, WROTE A SHORT GOSPEL

AT THE REQUEST OF THE BRETHREN AT ROME

Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, according to what he had heard Peter announce, wrote a short Gospel at the request of the brethren at Rome. And when Peter heard this, he approved it, and gave it to be read in the Church by his authority. Then, taking the Gospel which he himself had produced, he went to Egypt, where he was the first to preach Christ at Alexandria, and founded a church there, with such learning and austerity of life, that he compelled all the followers of Christ to imitate him.

PHILO RECORDED WHAT HE HIMSELF HAD SEEN AND DONE AT ALEXANDRIA UNDER THE TEACHING OF MARK

Then Philo, most learned of the Jews, seeing the first Church of Alexandria still under Jewish influence, wrote a book concerning its usages, as it were in praise of his own nation. And as Luke relates that at Jerusalem the faithful had all things in common; so Philo records what he himself had seen and done at Alexandria under the teaching of Mark. He died in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, and was buried at Alexandria, being succeeded by Anianus.

– From the book of St Jerome, Priest, on Ecclesiastical Writers; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

A HOMILY BY ST GREGORY THE GREAT

(Luke 24:13-35)

You have heard, dearly beloved brethren, how the Lord appeared to two of the disciples as they were upon a journey. Although they did not as yet believe in him, at least they talked of him. He did not show himself to them in his true likeness, for then they would have recognised him. Therefore, that which the Lord was working outwardly with respect to their bodily eyes, was precisely what was taking place inwardly with regard to the eyes of their hearts. For inwardly they loved, and yet they doubted. Outwardly, the Lord was present with the., but did not show them who he was. Thus because they were speaking of him, he manifested his presence to them; but because they doubted, he hid the countenance they would have recognised.

HE TOOK UP WHAT THEY WERE SAYING 

Indeed, he took up what they were saying, rebuked the dullness of their understanding, and laid open those mysterious passages of the Sacred Scriptures that had been written concerning him. Nevertheless, because he was not yet present in their hearts by faith, he pretended he would go further. For indeed, the Latin word  fingere, to pretend, has also the meaning of componere, to fashion; hence, those who fashion clay are called figuli, potters. Therefore, he who is Truth itself, did nothing by duplicity but he showed himself to them in body, such as he appeared to them in mind. But they were to be tried, to see whether, though they did not yet love him as God, they would at least show a friendly feeling for him as a stranger.

“AND THEY CONSTRAINED HIM”

But since these men with whom the Truth was walking were not without charity, they invited him to their lodging as though he were indeed a stranger. But why should we say “invited,” since it was there written: “And they constrained him?” Without doubt, we are to learn from this example that strangers are not merely to be invited to share our hospitality, but even to be pressed to do so. And so they set the table for him, and offered him bread and meats: and then, in the breaking of bread, they recognised as God him whom they did not know when he explained the Sacred Scriptures. Therefore, in hearing the commandments of God, they were not enlightened, but in doing them they obtained light; for it is written: “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” Whoever, then, desires to understand the lessons he has heard, let him hasten to put in practice what he has already been able to hear. Behold, the Lord was not recognised while he was speaking, but was recognised when food was served to him.

– St Gregory the Great, Homily 23 on the Gospels; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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MATER DEI, MATER MEI – GOD’S MOTHER IS MY MOTHER

MATER DEI, MATER MEI – GOD’S MOTHER IS MY MOTHER

DO WE REALLY BELIEVE IT? 

Mary is our Mother. – Most of us realise this fact in a vague sort of way. We have heard it since we were old enough to remember. We have been accustomed to referring to Mary as our Blessed Mother.

Yet, do we really believe it? We have a mother who brought us into the world. Perhaps she is still living. If not, we probably have vivid memories of her. We can’t have two mothers, can we? Mary is our mother in a figurative sense, she is called our mother because she has taken such an interest in us.

That is the way many of us would express our thoughts on the matter if we should ever stop to analyse them.

This attitude, however, is not correct. We do have two mothers, a mother in the natural order and a mother in the supernatural order.

Mary is our mother in the supernatural order. She is really and truly our mother, just as much so as is our mother in the natural order.

MARY MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO RECEIVE SUPERNATURAL LIFE

A mother is one who gives life. Our earthly mother gave us our life in this world, our natural life. Mary has given us the life that elevates our life in this world and flowers in the next, our supernatural life.

After the sin of Adam, our souls were deprived of supernatural life. This life was restored through the Redemption of Christ and Baptism. Mary made it possible for us to receive this life. She did this at Nazareth, on Calvary and at our Baptism.

At Nazareth the angel Gabriel brought to Mary the most wonderful news that has ever been given to any human being. He told her that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God. Mary’s consent was needed, before the Incarnation could take place. She thought of us at that moment. By answering “No” she could have left us in death. By answering “Yes”she could give us life. She gave her consent and the Word was made Flesh. Our Redemption had been made possible.

ABOUT 34 YEARS LATER… 

About 34 years later Mary stood on the hill of Calvary beneath the cross on which her divine Son was giving His life for us. He was dying that we might be delivered from sin and death. Mary united her sacrifice with His. She thought of us, her children, at that moment. She bravely and generously offered her Son to the Father for our salvation. Never did any creature make such a sacrifice. And she did it for us. Mary, ever Virgin, experienced only joy when she brought Jesus into the world. When she gave us our spiritual birth, she underwent the most agonising sorrow.

Again at Baptism Mary gave us spiritual life. It was by her intercession that we had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Baptism fruitfully .

LIFE WITHOUT END

Because of Mary, then, we can hope to enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven. She has given us our life in the next world. This “is not a passing life like your terrestrial one, but a life without end,” says Father Emil Neubert, S. M., in My Ideal-Jesus, Son of Mary. “Not a life full of imperfections and anguish like our present existence, but a life incomparably happy; not a created life, human or angelical, but – and understand it well – a participation in uncreated life, in the very life of God, the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. And that is why this life will be endless and incomparably happy, because it is a sharing in the eternity and in the beatitude of God.”

So the life that Mary has given us is much greater than the life we are now living. She is truly our spiritual mother.

EACH OF US CAN REPEAT THIS TREMENDOUS TRUTH

St Stanislaus Kostka used to repeat with great happiness, “Mater Dei, Mater mei” – “God’s Mother is my Mother.” Each of us can repeat this tremendous truth.

Mary’s Immaculate Heart was fashioned by her Creator so that God made Man could receive the perfect love of the perfect mother. Mary loves us with the same Immaculate Heart.

Because she loves us so much, she watches over us always. She guards the supernatural life which she has given us. If we should lose our supernatural life by falling into mortal sin, she can obtain for us the grace to recover it…

“God’s Mother is my Mother.” What a world of meaning in those words! What a depth of consolation and hope! If we but heed her pleas, if we but join our prayers with hers, we need have no fears.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 

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