Fidelity to the Word
Our Lord and His Holy Apostles at the Last Supper


A blog dedicated to Christ Jesus our Lord and His True Presence in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist


Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all the ages of ages.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday of the Third Week in Lent

From Today's epistle:

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus: And Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was angry and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abana, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, His servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it: how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt he clean? Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times: according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and he was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, be came, and stood before him, and said: In truth, I know there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.

IV Kings 9-15

+++

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30
+++

And what is more pleasant than that yoke, what lighter than that burden? To be made better, to abstain from wickedness, to choose the good, and refuse the evil, to love all men, to hate none, to gain eternal things, not to be taken with things present, to be unwilling to do that to another which yourself would be pained to suffer.

- Saint Hilary of Poitiers

But how is Christ’s yoke pleasant, seeing it was said above, “Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life?” [Matthew 7:14] That which is entered upon by a narrow entrance is in process of time made broad by the unspeakable sweetness of love.

- Blessed Magnentius Hrabanus Maurus

Labels:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Third Sunday in Lent

Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians:

Brethren, Be ye followers of God, as most dear children: and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness. But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints: or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know you this, and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person, which is a serving of idols, hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness: but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth. [Ephesians 5:1-9]

+++

Wretched that I am, I remembered not that God seeth the mind and observeth the voice of the soul. Allying myself with sin, I said unto myself: God is merciful, and will bear with thee: and because I was not immediately smitten, I ceased not, but rather despised pardon, and exhausted the long-suffering of God.

Saint Peter [a.d. 260-311], bishop of Alexandria [300-311]
(as quoted by Saint John of Damascus [a.d. 676-749])

Sancte Petre et Sancte Joánnes, orate pro nobis.

+++

My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more: but for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee. Flee from sins as from the face of a serpent: for if thou comest near them, they will take hold of thee. The teeth thereof are the teeth of a lion, killing the souls of men. All iniquity is like a two-edged sword, there is no remedy for the wound thereof. [Ecclesiasticus 21:1-4]

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Annunciation Poem

From the Annunciation, by "Long Skirts" [Hilary Flanery]

“Blessed art thou…”
Gabriel hailed,
And at that moment
The enemy railed,

For he remembered,
The garden free,
‘Tween him and the woman
Enmity.

But who the woman?
God did not tell,
Then Gabriel’s “Ave”
Shook the depths of Hell.

(You can read the whole poem here)


The Annunciation

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second Sunday of Lent

1 Thessalonians 4:1-7

1For the rest therefore, brethren, we pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more.

2For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus.

3For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication;

4That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour:

5Not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God:

6And that no man overreach, nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified.

7For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

+++

Saint Philomena, virgin and Martyr, pray for us that through thy powerful intercession we may obtain that purity of mind and heart which leads to the perfect love of God. Amen.

+++

Help us, O merciful God and source of all that is good, to love Thy creatures in due measure, honorably according to Thy will, and to love Thee above all that Thou hast created. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Who reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday of Ember Week in Lent

Today's Gospel:

At that time there was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.

And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole?

The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me.

Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.

And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked.

And it was the sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, he said to me, Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place.

Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee.

The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole. [John 5:1-15]

+++

Omnipotent and eternal God, the everlasting Salvation of those who
believe, hear us on behalf of Thy sick servant, Rebecca, for whom we beg the aid of Thy pitying mercy, that, with her bodily health restored, she may give thanks to Thee in Thy church.

Through Christ our Lord,

Amen

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where have you set your heart?

Ecclesiasticus 5:1-10 (Douay Rheims)

1 Set not thy heart upon unjust possessions, and say not: I have enough to live on: for it shall be of no service in the time of vengeance and darkness.

2 Follow not in thy strength the desires of thy heart:

3 And say not: How mighty am I? and who shall bring me under for my deeds? for God will surely take revenge.

4 Say not: I have sinned, and whet harm hath befallen me? for the most High is a patient rewarder.

5 Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin:

6 And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins.

7 For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners.

8 Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day.

9 For his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee.

10 Be not anxious for goods unjustly gotten: for they shall not profit thee in the day of calamity and revenge.

Show with Haydock Commentary or the Latin Vulgate Bible
Bible passage courtesy of VeritasBible.com

Matthew 6:19-21 (Douay Rheims)

19 Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal.

20 But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.

21 For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

Show with Haydock Commentary or the Latin Vulgate Bible
Bible passage courtesy of VeritasBible.com

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quadragesima

Quadragesima, Latin for fortieth, signifies this first Sunday of Lent, which is 40 days before Good Friday, and is also a name for the whole season of Lent.

The number 40 in the Bible is associated with probation and purification, and with the time needed to accomplish some important part of God's plan.

Even when God chastises His people, He does not destroy them, and offers them hope of renewal if they will mend their ways.


Noah
After giving mankind three times forty years to repent from the great evil in which it had fallen (Genesis 6:3), God sent rain upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights to destroy the sinful, but He preserved a faithful remnant. (Genesis 7:12)

The waters of the great flood prefigured the waters of baptism (1 Peter 3:20-21).

Moses
When Moses had lived 40 years, he sought out his people. 40 years after that, God sent him back to Egypt to deliver his people out of bondage.

After the Israelites had spied out the promised land for 40 days (Numbers 13:25), and still feared to enter in despite God's promise, God made His people wander in the desert for 40 years. (Numbers 14:26-34, 32:6-15, Deuteronomy 8:2-10, Psalm 95:8-10).

Moses twice went up Mount Sinai and stayed there for 40 days each time to receive the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 24:12-18, 34:27-34, Deuteronomy 10:10)

When Moses came down from the mountain, people were afraid to approach him. His face shone because he had been talking with God.

During their time in the desert, God's people was nourished by manna (Exodus 16:35), prefiguring the Eucharist.

Elijah
Fed by an angel, Elijah was strengthened for a 40 day journey to the mountain that Moses had climbed, and there he also encountered the one true living God. (1 Kings 19:4-16)

Jonah
Jonah warned the people of the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh that they had 40 days to repent of their sins. (Jonah 3:4, 10) They listened and acted on what they heard, and God spared them.

(Years later, they fell back into sin and this time were destroyed).

Ezekiel
The prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side 40 days to represent 40 years of sin by Judah. (Ezekiel 4:6)


Our Lord and Savior
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights before he began his public ministry. (Matthew 3:13-4:11, Luke 4:1-12)

After His death and resurrection, our Lord appeared to His disciples for 40 days, speaking of things pertaining to God's kingdom. (Acts 1:2)


More occurences of the number 40:

Judges
Israel enjoyed 40 years of peace under the first of its judges, Othniel (Judges 3:11), and 40 years each again later under Debbora (Judges 5:31) and Gideon (Judges 8:28). In each case, Israel fell away from God's path and God's protection, and had to repent and then struggle against her enemies before there was peace. Under another judge, Ehud, the land of Israel had peace for twice forty years.

Yet another time when the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, He delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years, before giving them Samson to deliver them. (Judges 13)

One of the last of this group of leaders of Israel, Heli, judged his nation for 40 years. (1 Samuel 4:18) He began his years of service faithfully, but grew lax, and at the end of his years the high-priesthood was taken from his family and the ark of the covenant from Israel.

Saul
The first king of Israel reigned for 40 years. (Acts 13:21) He did not follow God's commands, so God's grace and blessing was withdrawn from him and his sons did not rule after him.

David
For 40 days, Goliath, champion of the Philistine army, challenged the Israelite army before David answered his challenge and defeated him. (1 Samuel 17)

King David ruled Judah for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4).

Solomon
David's son Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. (1 Kings 11:42)

Jehoash
King Jehoash, or Joash, repaired the temple and reigned in Jerusalem for 40 years. But after the death of the high priest, he strayed and worshipped other gods. After his death, he was not found worthy to be buried in the sepulchres of kings. (2 Kings 12, 2 Chronicles 24)

+++

God has a plan for us. He gives us time to do our part. His plan for us is repentance, and penance, and healing, and the enjoyment of His peace and blessing. It is today 40 days until Good Friday. These days are set aside so we can repair our lives, if we are not living them the way we should. I pray that you, dear reader, will use these days wisely. And that what you begin, you will also end well. May God bless you.
+++

Finally:

It is about 40 weeks from conception to birth of a baby.

40 days was the period required for purification after the birth of a baby boy (Leviticus 12:2,4), twice 40 days for after the birth of a baby girl. (Leviticus 12:5)

After our Lord's crucifixion, it was about 40 years until the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

It has been about 40 years since the Catholic Church started using corrupted translations of the Mass into English and other vernacular languages. That ends this year. Deo gratias.

May God uproot all that is flawed in us and raise us up to a new life in holiness.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Let us change our garments for ashes and sackcloth: let us fast and lament before the Lord: for plenteous in mercy is our God to forgive our sins. (Joel 2:13)

May you be blessed, dear visitor, and blessed neither too much nor too little, with compunction for your sins and hope in our Lord Who rules from age to age.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Saint John of God

The Catholic Encyclopedia website briefly summarizes his life: "Portuguese shepherd, soldier, bookseller, finally found his niche caring for the health of the poor in Granada, became de facto founder of a religious order, d. 1550."

Another article on his life begins: "From the time he was eight to the day he died, John followed every impulse of his heart. The challenge for him was to rush to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit gave him, not his own human temptations. But unlike many who act impulsively, when John made a decision, no matter how quickly, he stuck with it, no matter what the hardship."

Over the years of his life, John progressed from worldliness to compassion to deliberate, steadfast service to God to laying down his life in an attempt to save another.

He is famous for emerging unscathed from a burning hospital after first rescuing patients, then salvaging supplies.

+++

As John was preserved from the flames, O Lord, do Thou in Thy mercy likewise preserve us from the heat of our disordered passions and the destructive impulses of others. As John's will was brought into conformity with Thy will, do Thou likewise lift our hearts to Thee and direct our lives towards Thee. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord Who with the Holy Spirit reigns in Heaven with Thee, almighty Father, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 07, 2011

Shahbaz Bhatti

The only Christian in Pakistan's cabinet was assassinated last week for publicly opposing the unjust laws and threats of violence of radical Islam.

The last time a Christian Pakistani statesman was killed, Islamic groups praised the murder. This time they did not, so that is some progress. But not much. They still defend the killing of Salman Taseer two months ago for openly condemning Pakistan's "blasphemy" law. Shahbaz Bhatti was more careful in his criticism. Apparently not careful enough for the thugs whose bloodshed disgraces Pakistan. Will they be punished for their crimes?



May God have mercy on the soul of Shahbaz Bhatti, and comfort his family in this time of grief.

+++

Wisdom 3:1-9

1 But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them.

2 In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery:

3 And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace.

4 And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.

5 Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.

6 As gold in the furnace he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them.

7 The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.

8 They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.

9 They that trust in him, shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love shall rest in him: for grace and peace is to his elect.

Show with Haydock Commentary or the Latin Vulgate Bible
Bible passage courtesy of VeritasBible.com

Labels:

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Quinquagesima & Shrovetide

Quinquagesima arrives late this year, one day short of the latest it can arrive, March 7th. I'm reminded of how God delays the arrival of His justice, giving us time to turn to Him of our own free will, but He does not delay forever.

The days between today and Ash Wednesday are known as Shrovetide. Like today, they are days of voluntary penance. Being voluntary, they are disregarded, and many people go in the opposite direction with excesses of Carnival and Mardi Gras. People don't understand the purpose of freedom.

(Now, of course, there is very little in the way of mandatory self-denial during Lent, and even "mandatory" rules are matter of private conscience, so there is little excuse these days for self-indulgence before the supposed austerity of Lent).

A curious blindness has afflicted God's people since the early days of the Church. Sometimes we ourselves are the cause of this affliction, sometimes not, but regardless of the cause, we can always hope for a cure.

Calling people blind may sound somewhat harsh, but harshness is not intended. May all who wish it by the grace of God be made free and self-controlled, and no longer the puppets of their passions. Friend, Easter is the fiftieth day from today. Will the risen Christ our Savior find us then to be any better men than we are today?

Today's epistle:

Brethren, If I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge: and if I should have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: Charity envieth not, dealing not perversely, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I Cor. 13:1-13

Today's Gospel:

At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve men and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and he third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of those things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.1 And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto Him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight, they faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Luke 18:31-43

Prayers and thanksgiving for those Anglican priests who celebrate their last Mass as Anglicans today, before entering into the Catholic Church. May many follow you in and find unity and peace in the spotless bride of Christ.

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 04, 2011

God vs. Mammon

Today's Epistle:

Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? for he hath done wonderful things in is life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.

Ecclus. 31:8-11

In A Christmas Tale, Ebenezer Scrooge cherished the accumulation of wealth above all other considerations. But even a hard-hearted man is offered mercy, if he can endure it...

God of Mercy, free us from the chains that bind us.

Blessed Saint Casimir, constant in the midst of royal luxury, intercede for us so that by the Grace of God we may despise earthly things and ever aspire to those of heaven.

Labels: ,