Mortification in our spiritual life

Mortification in our spiritual life

By Fr. Martín HARRISON, O.P.

How we dread the word “mortification”!  It suggests terrifying penances, hair-shirts, plank-beds and other extraordinary hardships practiced by some saint; mark the word “extraordinary.”  Such penances are not for “ordinary” people like ourselves, but for those called by God to be out of the ordinary through the help of special graces.

Yet penance in some form or another we must do, since we are bound to mortify the flesh and its desires.  What does mortification really mean?  In a spiritual sense it may be defined as the act of subduing the passions and appetites of our lower nature by fasting or severities inflicted on the body, the act of subordinating all natural impulses to the influence of the Holy Spirit, in a natural sense it may denote being humiliated by circumstances, depressed by disappointments or vexations; but these are not penances in the strict sense, though they may be turned into true mortification by our method of acceptance.

Mortification essentially consists in self-denial: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself” (Mt 16, 24).  Self-denial means saying “NO” to self, which for most people is a difficult thing to do.  By sin our willpower was weakened; we became prone to evil finding it easier to give in to the desires of the flesh than to resist them.  Because of sin the soul lost its domination over the flesh, so that “the flesh, lusteth against the spirit” (Ga 5:17).

The chief work of mortification is to strengthen the will power and heal the wounds caused by sinBy denying self what is lawful, the will is strengthened to resist what is unlawful, and some measure of atonement is made.  Therefore penance is imposed as a strict duty.  Thus the Lenten and other fasts imposed by the Church consist in refraining from a certain amount of food, otherwise lawful, so denying to us the pleasure of satisfying hunger completely.  Too often these grave obligations of fasting are dismissed as impracticable because of hardship or inconvenience, before any attempt has been made to find out if they are really so.

It is difficult to understand how anyone can settle in conscience so grave an obligation in so casual a manner.  Certainly some are excused by the nature of the work they must do, or for other good reasons; but this does not free them entirely from all obligation of doing penance of another sort.  We are bound to deny self, and that is the essence of penance.  We need so much to be strengthened against temptations that only by denying lawful things to ourselves can we hope to be strong enough to deny the unlawful also.

It is difficult to understand how anyone can settle in conscience so grave an obligation in so casual a manner

Some pride themselves on their strength of will, but too often it is shown only in denying something to others rather than to themselves.  In reality such people are simply stubborn and actually weak-willed, since they are not able to say “NO” to self.

Let us test ourselves by the following questions:

1. — Do I always stick to my own opinions and insist on having my own way?

2. — Can I admit being in the wrong, or that I have made a mistake?

3. — Can I give in gracefully to the will of the majority?1

The answers to such questions as these, will soon prove whether we can say “NO” to self or if we are self-willed.

Mortification is necessary for all.  The wounds of nature demand an effort to strengthen the will against its propensity to evil; the more we indulge our natural desires, the stronger and more insistent they become in demanding satisfaction, the more difficult to resist their appeal.

However, it is not necessary to undertake special hardships or penances beyond those imposed under obligation by the Church.  Life itself provides a variety of opportunities for mortification that we cannot escape.  The pity of it, is that we endure without much or any spiritual profit much that might be mortification, because of the wrong attitude we adopt toward these various vexations.  We can make a virtue of necessity by accepting in a spirit of patience and humility the daily trials forced upon us.

[Some examples:]   Take any ordinary day in life:

— Probably we must get up earlier than we would wish, we should like to stay in bed much longer.  It is not easy to rise promptly; it demands self-denial.  How do we react?  Do we come down peevish and disagreeable, upsetting others by our grumbling and irritation?  If this is out reaction, then we have lost the chance of mortifying ourselves, instead of turning the necessity to spiritual profit by accepting it with patience.

— We have to go to work, oftentimes hard and disagreeable, to work with others who get on our nerves, to take orders given in an abrupt manner, and endure many other similar vexations that can be very irritating.  What is our attitude to such things?  They can all become occasions of mortification if accepted in a proper spirit.  Obedience to others, which is the submission of our own will to that of another, can be a very real and difficult penance.  Too often we can become impatient and disgruntled, resent the orders given to us: and miss the chance of being spiritually mortified under adversity.

Life is full of such opportunities: we make silly mistakes, are humiliated by others, meet with disappointments, hear slurs east or disparaging remarks made about us; accidents make us ludicrous and cause laughter and ridicule at our expense.  These things are certainly humiliating to our pride and self-conceit? but do we turn them to spiritual worth by a humble and contrite spirit in accepting them as mortifications?  If they simply cause us to become disagreeable and complain, there is no penance; they are lost to us entirely when they might have been real crosses born for the love of God, real penances accepted in a spirit of self-denial, some atonement for the sins we have committed.

We are told [by Holy Mother the Church] to perform the three good works: Prayer, Fasting, and Alms-deeds.  These can all form some kind of mortification for us:

By fasting we mean here self-denial in any form, the giving up of one’s desires and inclinations.  We are forced to this at times by circumstances, yet profit little because we accept grudgingly, with resentment and complaints about the hardness of our lot.

Prayer might find a larger place in our lives and provide penance at the same time.  For instance, we might give up an evening’s pleasure so that we may go to Benediction.  How many give up the Sunday evening to selfish comfort rather than go out to the evening service?  It may be cold and wet; it is so much pleasanter to sit reading by the fireside, or playing cards with friends.  The weather is so often an excuse to avoid going to church, but it would not prevent us from going out to the cinema or to a dance.  It is difficult to give up pleasure and comfort to go to church, hard to mortify our desires and say “NO” to self!  To give up our comforts can be a real mortification.

Alms-giving does not necessarily mean giving money away.  The best alms is to give happiness to others – any kind of action done for the love of God and our neighbor, any small service especially if it means self-denial, is acceptable to God as a mortification.  Our Lord went about doing good, never sparing Himself.  We, on the contrary, find doing good to others to be too much trouble and to cause too much inconvenience to ourselves.  We could make a point of doing at least one kind act a day to help another, as a mortification.  We could do much more to ease the burdens of others, to bring happiness or solace, and if this entails denying self and putting ourselves to some inconvenience so much the better, it will mortify us all the more.

There is no need to undertake extraordinary penances – life provides its own opportunities of mortifying self.  We do not know that Our Lady or St. Joseph ever did any special kind of penance, but they did accept the many trials and sufferings of life, grief, hardship, poverty, hard work, and such like, in a spirit of resignation to the will of God.  The early disciples do not seem to have done extraordinary penances, but we may note that St, Paul writes; “I chastise the flesh to bring it into subjection… lest perhaps I become a castaway (1 Co 9, 27).”   If St. Paul felt the need of “chastising the flesh,” how much more we, who do so little to atone for all the number of times we give way to our evil inclinations.   We must chastise the flesh by denying to it the satisfaction it demands, even in what is lawful, that we may strengthen ourselves to refuse all that is unlawful and to thrust down the inclinations and desires of unlawful passion, by denying the pleasure of lawful desires at times.  We must learn how to say “NO” to self.

To resume therefore, we cannot escape mortifications, even though we do not seek them.  Life will provide many opportunities of self-denial; let us see to it that these unavoidable vexations are all turned to profit for the soul by accepting them in a spirit of penance and humiliation for our many sins and as a means of strengthening our will-power against our proneness to evil.  If we would realize that hardship, sickness, poverty, disappointments, vexations, inconveniences, even the monotony of life, can all be spiritually useful and made profitable by a spirit of humble acceptance and mortification and for the love of God, we should be carrying out our obligation of doing penance lest we perish.

It is all a matter of will-power pitted against the fatal attractions of sin in which we prove so weak and easily overcome.

Only by denying self what is lawful, or accepting what we cannot escape as a means of self-denial, can we become strong in our resistance to what is unlawful, strong to resist the many temptations that beset us from the flesh, the world and the devil.

We must atone for sin by true repentance and by penance enjoined to the sufferings of Our Lord, that they may become an atonement for our many sins.

“Unless ye do penance, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lc 13, 5).

Taken from Credo, Fr. Martin Harrison O.P.

Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1954, pgs 141-145

November Lists of the Dead

November Lists of the Dead

Several of you have asked if we accept “November Lists of the Dead”.

This pious custom consists in giving a list of names of deceased loved ones to a priest, who will then keep the list on the altar each time he celebrates Mass throughout the month of November.

If you send us such a list, we will be happy to perform this duty to the Poor Souls.  To send us a list, simply visit our “Contact Us” page, and use the little form at the bottom of that page to send us a message.

Prayer for the souls in Purgatory is a devotion that has always been in honor in the Dominican Order.

Thank you!

Daphne Pochin Mould – convert from Anglicanism

Daphne POCHIN MOULD

(1920-2014)

converted from anglicanism

A Wicked Sheep

« I did not want to become a Catholic. My intention was to attack rather than to submit to the Church. I was not a lost sheep but a wicked and an obstinate sheep… »

Born in Salisbury (England) in 1920, Daphne Pochin Mould was a brilliant student of geology in Edinburg (Scotland).

From her Anglican upbringing she only retained the typical prejudices against the Catholic Church (superstition, intolerance, rigorism, triumphalism, etc.). A militant agnostic, she was convinced that religion was no more than a means of enslaving mankind.clip_image002

« I used to think that I had to attack the ignorance, the superstition and the cowardice of those who think that by believing in another world they can do away with the struggle against evil and error here on earth. »

In order to study how St. Columba of Iona converted Scotland at the end of the 6th century, she had to go to the Benedictine monastery in Fort Augustus. There, for the first time, she ran into a Catholic priest.

« I was never more scared in my life than on that day ».

While talking with the monk, Fr. Augustin, she discovered that the Faith was not what she had imagined it to be.

She used to see the Faith as an abdication of reason, as a flight from reality, as cowardice. Now she realized that Catholics have rational arguments!

The proof of the existence of God made by Fr. Augustin did not convince her immediately:  she found it too abstract, too philosophical, too different from the scientific method that she was used to.  But she had to admit that there are various ways of learning and methods of inquiry.  While the scientific method has its place, it does not solve the fundamental problems: the reason for our existence; the final end of man and the world; or the experience of beauty:

« In the Scottish mountains that were so rich in contrasts of form and colour, I saw the realization of beauty.  I was inspired with an increasing awareness that beyond the enchantment of the mountains there had to exist the last and ultimate beauty; that all the elements of truth that I reached by means of science pointed to a thing that was the Truth itself; that this ultimate Truth had to be crowned with beauty and transcendent splendour of which the sun illuminating the hills had already given me a foretaste. »

For the time being, Daphne decided to accept the existence of God as a « working hypothesis ».  She altered her view on the Church.  She no longer saw it as a force that obscures and oppressively exploits blind religiosity.  She finally understood that reality itself was in question:

« All of a sudden, I realized that the Church was all about God and that it was not simple emotionalism. The Church stood for truth and beauty, for penance and austerity, and even more, for the huge adventure of holiness. »

A Long Inquiry

It is good, grand, noble and generous, but is it true?  Is it not merely a huge illusion?

Daphne was still far from having the Faith.  To the question  «Would you like to become a Catholic? » she responded with a firm « Only if Catholicism is real! »  And she still had many objections.  But in fact her agnosticism no longer satisfied her.

The big question was Jesus Christ.  But before studying the life of Jesus Christ, Daphne felt turned off by miracles.  They revolted her and she bolted.  But after thinking about it, she had to admit that this passionate reaction was not reasonable.  She recognized that:

« It is more scientific to examine the possibility of a miracle than to refuse a priori to accept it.»

The methodical reading of the four Books of the Gospel was a veritable shock.  She had known only fragments of the Books.  She discovered in the entirety of the Books a doctrine that was so rich and so profound, and, at the same time, so simple and so balanced, that it was difficult to accept that an ordinary man – even a prophet or a saint – could have possibly authored it.

Must she thus admit that Jesus is God?  Daphne was not ready for that.  She was fascinated by His personality, but could not yet bring herself to that conclusion.

« I knew very well that to accept the truthfulness of the Gospel meant to accept Christ and Rome.  I had to give it a long thought. »

In the spring of 1950, Daphne embarked on a serious study of the history of the Church.  She was struck by the terrible crises that regularly oppressed the Church (persecutions, heresies, decadence or weakness of the clergy, etc). At least ten times the Church could have perished under the assaults of its enemies or from the vices of its own members (at times priests, bishops and popes!).  But each time, saints rose up, redressing the humanly desperate situation so that the Church rose up more alive than before.  And there were times when the leaders of the Church could have used their office to justify their errors doctrinally.  But it never happened.  The Infallibility of the Pope is certainly not a trivial claim!

A Conditional Prayer

Finally, Daphne had to recognize both the preeminence of Christ and of the Catholic Church.  But the big question still remained:  Is Jesus Christ truly God?   Daphne could not get past this hurdle:

« The more I thought about the historicity of the Gospels, the more I recognized the evidence that I had to accept Christ; this understanding revolted me violently.  Nonetheless, the natural beauty that I observed – the creation of God that I admired – all came from the same hand that had written the historical Gospels. »

« You need to pray »,  Fr. Augustin told her.  Daphne was deeply irritated by that.  What good would that action do?  Wasn’t she running the risk of falling into auto-suggestion and falsifying the scientific method?  She wanted to refuse to pray, but she felt herself (to be) mysteriously urged to attempt the experiment.  She prayed conditionally in order to appease her conscience.  After invoking God, she immediately added « if He exists » as a precaution in order not to rush the process.  Then she prayed for enlightenment.

She decided to attend Mass – as part of her study, without really participating – and she carefully compared the Roman Missal, which is the traditional Catholic rite of the Mass, to the Anglican ‘Prayer Book’.  She was impressed by the superiority of the former.  The traditional Catholic rite is somber and beautiful as well as dignified and precise.  She especially appreciated the Latin phrases that « always say the right word in the right place »:

« I thought back about the beauty of the mountains and the shores of the Hybrides; I had learned to identify supreme Truth with supreme Beauty; now the simple reading of the Missal left deep impressions.  If the Roman Church is capable of producing such liturgy, it is highly probable that it possesses the truth about God. »

Little by little, Daphne dropped all her objections.  But she still asked: do I truly have the Faith?

« I had always believed that Faith was a pious feeling, an emotional and a euphoric disposition, similar to a disposition created in us by music or by wine.  While I did not have any such feelings, I was pushed by a strong interior movement to take the decisive step to fully accept the Catholic Faith. »

Finally, Daphne Poncin Mould surrendered to Grace:

« He who has always lived in the Catholic Faith cannot imagine what this step means to an agnostic.  It is one thing to be intellectually convinced of the Truth held by Rome, it is altogether another to make the decision to become a Catholic. »

« To accept Roman authority, to confess that you will believe everything that the Church tells you to believe seemed a desperate step, a spiritual suicide.  I feared all authority.  I still had a profound attachment to Protestant individualism.  With this mindset, how could I possibly submit to an authoritative Church like Rome?

A Barrier Had Fallen

Daphne was condemned by her family (who no longer wanted to see her) and by her friends (who abandoned her).

She was received into the Catholic Church on November 11, 1950.  Her soul found peace and joy:

« My first impression was that the barrier between God and myself had fallen.  The second impression was that by becoming a Catholic, I had taken a step towards what was a beginning rather than an end.  I used to consider the Catholic Faith solely as a collection of beliefs, as a moral code; I had forgotten that the Faith was firstly and above all a contact with God, with the Being who is Infinite Love.  Such an adventure has no end.  I understood that the Catholic who attempts to understand God more deeply is never in danger of feeling restricted or limited.  We are made to contemplate God. »

She understood the need for Our Lady in order to be able to truly penetrate the mysteries of the Gospel, and so she applied herself to the Rosary:

« When I was received into the Church, I thought of God mainly in terms of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.  I did not have a true devotion to the Person of Christ.

Now as I read the Gospel, I found myself attracted to His Person and I prayed to Our Lady to help me to better know her Son. »clip_image002[5]

At the same time, Daphne discovered the real Church:

« The most amazing thing about the Church is the gentleness.  This gentleness comes from strength.  The Church is maternal but at the same time has the absolute certitude of possessing the Truth.  How far off were my ideas about the intolerance and violence of Papists! »

Bibliography :

Daphne Pochin Mould, The Rock of Truth

(an autobiography of her conversion), London, Sheet and Ward, 1953.

Francois Russo S.J. Le Roc de la certitude, Daphne Pochin Mould

(a French resume of the above work), Brussels, Foyer Notre-Dame, 1962.

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

The Rights of Truth, the “non-rights” of Error

[The report of R. P. Philippe C. S. S. R. November 30, 1922 to the Congress of the Apostolic League of Nations, which took place in Paris, and appeared in “La Documentation Catholique” of 24 March, 1923: No. 191]

If there is such a thing as a fundamental truth, it is certainly that of the rights of Truth and the non-rights of error.  It is astonishing that such a subject must even be dealt with, but the intellectual decadence of our times has reached the point that we no longer even wish to acknowledge Truth, but are willing to convince ourselves that Truth doesn’t even exist.  What is said about Truth must also be said of the authority which is based on the truth of the existence of the Supreme Being upon Whom we all depend.

By banishing in one fell swoop Truth and the authority of this Truth, the enemies of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church overthrow, upturn and destroy from top to bottom, not only Christian Order, but all order, be it simply natural, civil, familial, religious or any other.

Order based on nothingness cannot be sustained.  That is why we establish at one and the same time both the rights of Truth and the injustice of error.

We will not get involved here in overly speculative considerations.  Rather, we will limit ourselves to reproducing the simple facts of philosophy and theology.


1. Truth is the conformity of the intellect with the object

St. Thomas Aquinas concisely states the following: Veritas invenitur in intellectu secundum quod apprehendit rem ut est, et in re, secundum quod habet esse conformabile intellectui (Summa Theologica, I, q. 16, art. 5) : truth is in the intellect insofar as it grasps the object as it is.  Truth is in the object itself, insofar as being (that is, this object) can be intellectually reproduced.  In other words, for the intellect to possess the truth of an object (or to be true) that object must first exist, then the intellect must have perceived it just as it is, and intellectually reproduce it thus.  That is why St. Thomas says elsewhere : unumquodque inquantum habet de esse, tantum est cognoscibile (ibid. art. 3) for a thing to be known, it must exist, and can be known only insofar as it exists.

For Truth to exist in the intellect, it is therefore necessary for the intellect to reproduce intellectually (or by means of an intellectual image, if one prefers) objective reality in so far as it exists.  The latter is itself insofar as it reproduces the eternal concept of God who created it.  That is why St. Thomas defines Truth as follows:  Adaequatio rei et intellectus (ibid. art. 1), meaning by this that, in order to be true, the created object must correspond to the concept of the Divine Intellect and that the human intellect which possesses the Truth only possesses it insofar as it is intellectually in conformity with the object itself.

2. The object has the right to be known by the intellect precisely as it [i.e. the object] is

To assert that Truth alone has rights is to declare that the intellect, which is made to possess Truth, has the right not to be led into error.  It is to say, above all else, that the object which is known has the right not to be known other than as it actually is, as well as the right to be known just as it is.

The weakness of the human intellect can be such that it does not conceive the essence of a being in all of its perfection.  It remains no less a fact that whatever the intellect does in fact conceive must be in conformity with what is.

3. In error, nothingness takes the place of the object

What happens in the contrary situation when the intellect conceives, not in conformity with that which is, but with that which is not?  Its intellectual concept does not correspond to any existing reality, or, in the case of a partial error, it corresponds only partially to what that reality actually is.  As for the other part, it corresponds to nothing which is.

Who does not see the conclusion which must be immediately drawn from this?  An intellectual concept which does not correspond to any objective reality corresponds to nothing; that is to say, for it, nothingness has taken the place of the object.

4. Nothingness, therefore error, has no rights

Thus it is an obvious truth that nothingness (or non-being) cannot have rights, because it does not exist.

An intellectual concept which corresponds to no reality whatsoever cannot be the reproduction of a true reality.  Therefore, corresponding to nothingness (which has no rights), it participates in the non-rights of nothingness.

Thus, if the man whose intellect created these fictions and errors wishes to attribute to them rights which they cannot have, then these rights are the most fundamentally unjust that can possibly be.

5. To build on nothingness or error is disorder

What folly, then, to construct a life on nothingness! For this is what necessarily happens when, instead of taking Truth as the principle of this life, we choose error.  With nothingness as a guiding principle for all our acts, for all our feelings, for all our thoughts, what can there be that is true, just or well-founded in our lives?  Nothing.

Furthermore, if error is at the basis of social order, nothingness is the guiding principle of society, of governments, of the constitutions of peoples, of legislation and of everything else.  Let us say it again : what can be built on this?  What can be built on nothingness?  In a social order thus conceived, there can be neither Truth nor Justice nor Order.

Disorder is the inevitable result.

6. This is proven by experience

To better understand this phenomenon, let us see what practically remains as a guiding principle in both individual and social life wherever objective truth has disappeared :

* In the individual order, there remains only individual thought, captive to all of its fantasies.

* In the social order, there remains only collective thought, subject to every whim of the majority.

And when we have swept Truth aside, we have suppressed the Supreme Being who is the great guiding Truth of peoples and individuals.  When God has disappeared from the council of consciences and nations, when there are no more sanctions or responsibilities before the Eternal One, what is left to collective and individual human thought?  Logically, nothing.  In reality, though, in spite of everything, in spite of human fantasies and whims, there remain Eternal Truth and Eternal Justice which crush beneath all their weight those who, turning toward them, say: “You do not exist.”

7. Divine Truth always takes back its Rights

God proclaims these Rights and causes them to be respected by His Justice.

Oh Divine Truth!  It takes back its Rights – Rights which are marked with the seal of Infinity, with the seal of Eternity.  This God Whom man (in his folly) has desired to consign to nothingness in order to have nothingness as the principle of his life, is Creator.  Everything has been made by Him in the infinite splendour of His Beauty.  He reiterates all the conditions of Truth.  Furthermore, to the rights which He Himself has given to all Truth, He adds those with which He alone can be endowed because He alone is infinite, He alone is Creator.

How, then, can those who depend essentially upon Him rise up against Him and His Rights?  It is not astonishing that Eternal Truth which has been dumped on the scrap heap of nothingness surrounds itself with all the rigours of Justice in order to strike back.  Justice is the avenger of its Sister, Truth.

8. Divine Truth manifests itself in Christ

The Infinite goes even farther, so to speak.  God destines this creature for whom He has created Truth (in a word, this human being) to eternal happiness.  In order to lead him to this supreme end, He will become incarnate in the Person of His Word.  He will appear in this world, and, there again, He will manifest Himself as the Truth:  Ego sum Veritas!   Veritas et gratia per Jesum Christum factum est.   It is Truth which is tasked to lead man to his destiny, and see, therefore, what was required for this Truth to be realized in these conditions by Christ: nothing less than the Passion and Death of Christ.  This all-loving Master paid a great price for It, but after all It belongs to Him, It is identified with Him.  Behold this Truth, which is Christ and which has all the Rights of Christ, is launched into the world, bolstered by God’s own Authority.  It must enlighten consciences.  It must guide the social order.  Society must be impregnated with Christ because man, both as a citizen and as an individual, is a creature of God whose final end must be God and infinite beatitude.

9. God strikes those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ and His Church

What homage does man render, what homage does the citizen render, what homage do governments render to the Rights of Truth, to the Supreme Rights of God, to the Rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate?

Let us repeat it again: in order to establish nothingness (and consequently disorder in society and confusion among peoples) all the more securely as the guiding principle of peoples, they consign to this nothingness, with all the power their thought can muster, God and His Christ and the institution which continues Christ on earth: the Church.

Is it surprising then that God, seeing Himself despised in the very Truth which He has created, despised in Himself and in His Christ, is it surprising that He chastises peoples with the most dreadful scourges?  War and famine are minor things.  Confusion, upheavals in the political and economic order are a mild manifestation of the terrors which Divine Justice reserves for those who trample His Truth underfoot.

Let us endeavour to understand all this.  Especially let those to whom God has given the responsibility of governing society endeavour to penetrate themselves with these profound teachings and introduce them into the practical working-out of the social order for the good of humanity.  If this is done, both peoples and humanity will be saved.

Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith

Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith


A Sermon given in the Dominican Monastery of Avrillé (France)

“Thomas Aquinas was a light placed by Me over the Mystical Body of the Church in order to disperse the darkness of error.” 1

1. Saint Thomas, celestial patron of Catholic studies

On the feast of Saint Dominic, on August 4, 1880, and after having consulted the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Pope Leo III published the Brief, Cum hoc sit, designating St. Thomas the patron of universities, academies, Catholic colleges and schools. The feast was fixed on the 13th of November.2

The motives justifying the patronage of Saint Thomas for Catholic studies

This decision of the Pope, designating Saint Thomas patron of Catholic studies came immediately after his encyclical Aeterni Patris, dealing with the restoration of Catholic philosophy according to the principles of Saint Thomas Aquinas, written one year before, on August 4, 1879.  This patronage should have been its crowning point, and Leo XIII assigned three reasons for it.    Let us quote the Pope:

  1. The doctrine of Saint Thomas is so vast that it embraces, like an ocean, the entire wisdom of Antiquity.  Everything said in the past that was true, everything that was wisely discussed by the pagan philosophers and by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church as well as those superior individuals who existed before him; not only did he completely understand it, but he developed, completed and classified it with such an insight, with such methodical precision and with such a precise terminology, that he seems to have only left to his followers the ability to imitate him, while at the same time taking away their possibility of equaling him!”
  2. “There is yet a more important matter to consider: it is that his doctrine being formed and armed with principles containing a vast breadth of application corresponds to the necessities not only of one historical period but rather of all times and periods of history and is therefore very well suited to conquer the continually re-emerging errors.  Sustaining itself by its own strength, it remains invincible and causes a profound fear to its adversaries.  The perfect agreement between faith and reason [in the works of St. Thomas] must not be neglected, especially in regards to the judgment of Catholics.”
  3. “Finally, the Angelic Doctor, though great because of his doctrine, is no less great because of his virtue and holiness.  Consequently virtue is the best preparation for the work of the mind and the acquisition of knowledge; those who neglect virtue falsely imagine having acquired a solid and fruitful knowledge because ‘Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins’ (Wisdom 1:4).”

Furthermore, Pope Pius XI dedicated a very beautiful encyclical; Studiorum Ducem3, in order to demonstrate the link between ecclesiastical studies and holiness as exemplified by Saint Thomas.

Saint Thomas enjoyed a wisdom proportioned to his sanctity; furthermore he enjoyed a superior degree of sanctity which was especially true from the moment when the Angels bound his loins with the cincture of chastity.  The enlightenment of the intellect is, indeed, the special fruit of chastity while the result of impurity is to darken the mind.  Saint Thomas was so free from the fires of concupiscence that he was able to enjoy an understanding of divine things similar to that of the Angels who do not have a body.  That is why he is called the Angelic Doctor.

Saint Thomas is the fruit of the Dominican Order

At the same time, St. Thomas must not be separated from the religious order to which he belonged.  It was the soil of the Order of Preachers where he was allowed to show his true worth.  The necessary balance between the practice of the vows of religion, monastic observances, the choral singing of the divine office, and the contemplative study ordered to preaching for the salvation of souls: it is this entire wonderful ensemble that permitted him to develop his Angelic doctrine.  But, since a religious acts only out of obedience, Saint Thomas’ superiors must also be mentioned:

“Must we not acknowledge that they directed him as perfectly as possible in his scientific vocation?   For he was a superior intellect, a genius who during his period of development was not inhibited by his own brethren.   This is a

phenomenon rare enough throughout history even in Religious Orders to deserve to be mentioned and held up as an example.” 4

The Masters General under whose direction he lived his religious life5, and the great saint, Albert-the-Great (1206-1280) who directed him at Cologne are a few superiors of Saint Thomas who must be honored.

We can certainly claim that Saint Thomas is the most beautiful flower, the most beautiful fruit of the Order of Saint Dominic:  the Order whose mission in the Church is to spread the light of truth and combat error in order to save souls.

2. Saint Thomas Aquinas in today’s combat for the faith

Therefore, it is clear from all that has been said how important Saint Thomas is in the contemporary battle for the Faith.  Let us quote Archbishop Lefebvre:

“We do not have the right to contradict the spirit of the Church which has always relied on Saint Thomas throughout its history.  God, Himself, raised up this admirable Doctor and the Church and the Popes have confirmed it, always proclaiming the power of Saint Thomas in rejecting error and heresy.  Since our contemporary age is one replete with heresy, error and paganism, we do not have the right to neglect papal directives. […]  It is very unfortunate that in today’s Roman Universities every possible and imaginable theory is floated without any correction from the authorities.  This is unfortunately due to the infiltration of ecumenism into philosophy as well as the idea of the equality of every theory.  Thomism is considered like everything else – relative – it was a system that was good during a certain period of time but, now we need something else more suited to the needs of the time.  (Archbishop Lefebvre)”6

Study

Saint Thomas is the remedy for the malicious illness of our time – which is Modernism

None other than Saint Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi, written on the 8th of September, 1907, declares that the primary remediation for Modernism is the study of the philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas:

“Concerning the question of studies, We wish and order that Scholastic philosophy form the basis for the Sacred Studies. […] And when we prescribe Scholastic philosophy, We want to make it clear the We especially mean the philosophy left us by the Angelic Doctor. This is of paramount importance.”

Saint Pius X will again clarify his thought in his Motu Proprio Doctoris Angelici of June 29, 1914, concerning the study of the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

“It happened that since We said that the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas especially had to be followed without indicating that it had to be exclusively followed, a number of teachers convinced themselves that they were obeying Our desire, or at the very least, that it was not contradictory if they were to adopt indiscriminately what other scholastics taught about philosophy, even though it was directly in opposition to the principles of Saint Thomas.   But in doing this they were greatly deceived.  When we gave Our seminarians Saint Thomas as the sole leader of Scholastic Philosophy, it goes without saying, that we were talking especially about his principles upon which, as on its foundation, this philosophy rests. […] It is certainly not difficult to understand that if the doctrine of some author or some saint was ever recommended by Us or by Our predecessors with particular enthusiasm, […] it is not difficult to understand that they were recommended in so far as they were in agreement with the principles of Thomas Aquinas or at least they did not oppose his principles in the very least.”

Again, it is Saint Pius X who gives the reason for this:

We wanted to state to all those dedicated to teaching philosophy and sacred theology to be alerted that if they alienated themselves from Thomas Aquinas, in the slightest degree, especially in matters of metaphysics they would experience a tragic loss.”
 

Furthermore, the Church had taken precise measures concerning this matter.  The 1917 Code of Canon Law obliges seminary professors, as well as their students, to “adhere both in philosophy and theology to the method, doctrine and principles of Saint Thomas.” (C. 1366 # 2).  The Dominican Constitution even required professors, the Master of novices and the brothers during their course of study to take an oath to maintain that doctrine.   The doctrine of Saint Thomas is the Church’s doctrine, and the Church is suspicious of anyone straying from it.

The shipwreck of the Conciliar Church

Alienated from the Tradition of the Church, the intellect has no point of reference; it just wanders around (or it loses its way).  This is precisely the spectacle given by the Conciliar Church.

The new Code of Canon Law issued in 1983, does not even explicitly mention Saint Thomas when it comes to philosophical studies in the seminaries!   It only says:

“The philosophical formation ought to always relate to Tradition while at the same time keeping aware of on going philosophical research” (C. 251).

One cannot be more vague.

Let us also quote the incredible declaration of Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI:

“I had difficulty in understanding Saint Thomas Aquinas whose crystalline logic appeared much too enclosed on itself, too impersonal and too stereotyped.”7

At any other time in history, he would not have been ordained a priest.  And in our times, he became the Pope!

One must read the text of Saint Thomas

Following the thought of Saint Pius X we readily see that he insists on reading the text of Saint Thomas itself:

“It is absolutely necessary to return to the ancient custom which, should have never been abandoned, that there be courses taught on the Summa Theologica itself, for the obvious reason that this highly reasoned book renders the Solemn Decrees of the teaching Church and its Acts that naturally follow more easily intelligible.  Because in the wake of the most blessed saintly Doctor, the Church has never held a Council in which he himself were not present with all the richness of his doctrine.  It daily becomes clearer and the experience of so many centuries has made it known, how true the affirmation of Our predecessor John XXII8is right on: [Thomas] enlightened the Church more clearly than all the Doctors, and, in his books, man profits more in one year than if he spent his entire life span studying all the others.”

In addition to the necessity of reading the text of St. Thomas itself, two cogent things should be retained:

  • The Second Vatican Council is the only council which did not rely on the doctrine of the Angelic Doctor; hence the disaster that flows from this omission.
  • Saint Pius X links the study of St. Thomas, in our times, to none other than the Acts of the Holy See.  This is something that was sadly lacking to the Thomists in our times.  Leaning on the principles of the Angelic Doctor, the Popes – up to Pius XII included – assiduously studied modern errors and condemned them.  These lessons were too often ignored and the lack of knowledge of the pontifical texts is an important cause for the lack of reaction against these errors in the Church:  hence their triumph on the occasion of Vatican II.

That is why Archbishop Lefebvre, in order “to transmit in its entire doctrinal purity, as well as in all his missionary charity, just as Our Lord transmitted it to His Apostles as also the Roman Church transmitted it up until the middle of the XXth century,”9 inserted in the first year course on spirituality for the seminarians, courses on the Acts of the Magisterium concerning modern errors which he himself gave in the beginning10.

Preaching

The study of the doctrine of St. Thomas, in itself, ought to be the principal inspiration for preaching for priests.  It is very important to nourish the souls with this doctrine in order to sustain their contemplation and love of God.

Saint Thomas himself, as a true son of Saint Dominic, had consecrated himself to the salvation of souls.  Furthermore, it is Thomas himself who developed the logo for the Order of Preachers: “Contemplari, et contemplate aliis tradere,”:  to contemplate and transmit to others that which you have contemplated.

It would be a grave error and detriment for the faithful to think that Saint Thomas is only reserved for priestsIt would also be wrong to think that, for the faithful, it is only necessary to give moral exhortations or, what is worse, considerations that appeal only to feelings.

Let us quote again the Archbishop:

Let us not think that Saint Thomas is too much for the faithful and that he is distant from their faith, for this is not true and damaging to the faithful.  The philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas are truth.  Therefore let us not say that the truth explained in all its simplicity, and clarity, in addition to its profound logic, cannot be understood by the faithful.  That would be condescension on our part.  This would amount to abandoning and despairing of communicating to the faithful – a profound tragedy.  It goes without saying that one must know how to express and expose these admirable principles.”11

Father Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. tells of having known a little lay sister, who was a contemplative, and who did not possess any human culture to speak of but who had been interiorly enlightened by interior trials:

“She had discovered among the saints two great friends: Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great.  In spite of the fact that she lacked any philosophical or theological culture, she, nevertheless, loved to read how these saints prayed and furthermore, addressed them saying: “They are great Doctors of the Church and they enlighten the souls of those who entreat them for help.”  As a matter of fact, Father Garrigou-Lagrange continues to explain that it was St. Thomas who showed her where the obscure tunnel she was crossing would lead her!  And Saint Thomas enlightened many souls, as he had done to the little lay sister, if these poor souls appealed to him.”12

It was well known at Econe, that Msgr. Lefebvre came for a spiritual conference with a single volume of Saint Thomas, and he gave a commentary on an article of the Summa.  These formed the most pleasing lectures experienced by the Seminarians, and especially by the brothers!

It was not something rare, at the Monastery of Avrille, to be surprised to find our (now deceased) brother Marie-Joseph O.P. plunged into one of these same volumes.  He was particularly in love with the treatise on charity.

Conclusion

Let us ask of Our Lord what the Church makes us specially ask for in the Collect and the Postcommunion for the feast of Saint Thomas:

Da nobis et quae docuit, intellectu conspicere:

give us the grace to contemplate what he taught – that is, to nourish ourselves with his doctrine,

et quae egit imitatione complere; ut actus exterius piae operationis excrescent:

give us the grace to resemble him, in order that there may be an increase in our good works,

knowing that the first work of spiritual mercy consists in teaching souls the truth:

Docere ignorantes.


Ten aids to mental prayer

Ten aids to mental prayer

By Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard

(1858-1935)

Abbot of the French Cistercian Monastery of Sept-Fons

This text is an appendix of the book “The soul of the Apostolate”, which was a favorite book of Pope Saint Pius X. The good Pope said he left this spiritual masterpiece by his night stand, so he could read it in his bed.

Mental prayer is the furnace in which we go to renew the custody of the heart.  By our fidelity to our mental prayer all the other exercises of piety will be rekindled.  The soul will gradually acquire vigilance and the spirit of prayer, that is, the habit of having recourse to God more and more frequently.

Union with God in mental prayer will produce an intimate union with Him, even amongst the most absorbing occupations.

The soul, living thus in union with our Lord, by its vigilance, will attract more and more the gifts of the Holy Ghost and the infused virtues, and perhaps God will call it to a higher degree of mental prayer.

That excellent volume, “The ways of Mental Prayer” by Dom Vital Lehodey (Lecoffre, Paris), gives an exact account of what is required for the ascension of the soul by the different degrees of mental prayer, and gives rules for discerning, whether higher mental prayer is truly a gift of God or the result of illusion.

Before discussing affective mental prayer (the first degree of the higher classes to which God as a rule calls only the souls that have reached the state of vigilance by meditation),  Fr. Rigoleuc, S.J., gives in his fine book (Œuvres Spirituelles, Avignon, 1843, page 1 ff.) ten ways of discoursing with God – when after a serious effort, one finds it a moral impossibility to meditate on a subject prepared the night before.

I sum up the pious author:

1st Way. – Take a spiritual book (New Testament or “Imitation of Christ”) – read a few lines at intervals – meditate a little on what has been read, try to fix the sense and impress it on your mind.    Draw from it some holy thought, love, penance etc., resolve to practice this virtue when opportunity offers.

Avoid reading or meditating too much.  Stop at each pause as long as the mind find agreeable and useful converse.

2nd Way. – Take some text of Scripture or some vocal prayer – Pater, Ave, Credo, for instance – repeat it, stopping after each word, drawing from it various sentiments of piety on which you dwell as long as it pleases you.

At the end, ask God for some grace or virtue, according to the subject meditated upon.

You are not to stop on any word if it wearies or tires you, but if you find nothing more to think on, pass on quietly to another.  When you are touched by some good thought, dwell on it as long as it lasts without troubling to go any further.   Nor is it necessary to make fresh acts always, it is sometimes enough to keep in God’s presence, reflecting in silence on the words already meditated or in enjoying the feelings they have already produced in your heart.

3rd Way. – When the prepared subject matter does not give you enough scope, or room for free action, make acts of faith, adoration, thanksgiving, hope, love, and so on, letting them range as wide and free as you please, pausing at each one to let it sink in.

4th Way. – When meditation is impossible, and you are too helpless and dried-up to produce a single affection, tell Our Lord that it is your intention to make an act, for example, of contrition, every time you draw breath, or pass a bead of the rosary between your fingers, or say, vocally, some short prayer.

Renew this assurance of your intention from time to time, and then if God suggests some other good thought, receive it with humility, and dwell upon it.

5th Way. – In time of trial or dryness, if you are completely barren and powerless to make any acts or to have any thoughts, abandon yourself generously to suffering, without anxiety, and without making any effort to avoid it, making no other acts except this self-abandonment into the hands of God to suffer this trial and all it may please Him to send.

Or else you may unite your prayer with Our Lord’s Agony in the garden of desolation upon the cross.   See yourself attached to the Cross with the Saviour and stir yourself up to follow His example, and remain there suffering without flinching, until death.

6th Way. – A survey of your own conscience. – Admit your defects, passions, weaknesses, infirmities, helplessness, misery, nothingness. – Adore God’s judgments with regard to the state in which you find yourself. – Submit to His holy will. – Bless Him both for His punishments and for the favors of His mercy. – Humble yourself before His sovereign Majesty. – Sincerely confess your sins and infidelities to Him and ask Him to forgive you. – Take back all your false judgments and errors. – Detest all the wrong you have done, and resolve to correct yourself in the future.

This kind of prayer is very free and unhampered, and admits of all kinds of affections.  It can be practiced at all times, especially in some unexpected trial, to submit to the punishments of God’s justice, or as a means of regaining recollection after a lot of activity and distracting affairs.

7th Way. – Conjure up a vivid picture of the Last Things.  Visualize yourself in agony, between time and eternity – between your past life and the judgment of God. – What would you wish to have done?  How would you want to have lived?  – Think of the pain you will feel then. – Call to mind your sins, your negligence, your abuse of grace. – How would you like to have acted in this or that situation?  – Make up your mind to adopt a real, practical means of remedying those defects which give you reason for anxiety.

Visualize yourself dead, buried, rotting, forgotten by all.  See yourself before the Judgment-seat of Christ: in purgatory—in hell.

The more vivid the picture, the better will be your meditation.

We all need this mystical death, to get the flesh off of our soul, and to rise again, that is, to get free from corruption and sin.  We need to get through this purgatory, in order to arrive at the enjoyment of God in this life.

8th Way. — Apply your mind to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  Address yourself to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  With all the respect that His Real Presence demands, unite yourself to Him and to all His operations in the Eucharist, where He is ceaselessly adoring, praising, and loving His Father, in the name of all men, and in the condition of a victim.

Realize His recollection, His hidden life, His utter privation of everything, obedience, humility, and so on. – Stir yourself up to imitate this, and resolve to do so according as the occasions arise.

Offer up Jesus to the Father, as the only Victim worthy of Him, and by whom we offer homage to Him.   Thank Him for His gifts, satisfy His justice, and oblige His mercy to help us.

Offer yourself to sacrifice your being, your life, your work.  Offer up to Him some act of virtue you propose to perform, some mortification upon which you have resolved, with a view to self-conquest, and offer this for the same ends for which Our Lord immolates Himself in the Holy Sacraments.  – Make this offering with an ardent desire to add as much as possible to the glory He gives to His Father in this august mystery.

End with a spiritual Communion.

This is an excellent form of prayer, especially for your visit to the Blessed Sacrament.  Get to know it well, because our happiness in this life depends on our union with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

9th Way. — This prayer is to be made in the name of Jesus Christ.  It will arouse our confidence in God, and help us to enter into the spirit and the sentiments of Our Lord.

Its foundation is the fact that we are united to the Son of God, and are His brothers, members of His Mystical Body; that He has made over to us all His merits, and left us the legacy of all the rewards owed Him by His Father for His labors and death.  And this is what makes us capable of honoring God with a worship worthy of Him, and gives us the right to treat with God, and, as it were, to exact His graces of Him as though by justice.  – As creatures, we have not this right, still less as sinners, for there is an infinite disproportion between God and creatures, and infinite opposition between God and sinners.  But because we are united to the Incarnate Word, and are His brothers, and His members, we are enabled to appear before God with confidence, and speak familiarly with Him and oblige Him to give us a favorable hearing, to grant our requests, and to grant us His graces, because of the alliance and union between us and His Son.

Hence, we are to appear before God either to adore, to praise, or to love Him, by Jesus Christ working in us as the Head in His members, lifting us up, by His spirit, to an entirely divine state, or else to ask some favor in virtue of the merits of His Son.  And for that purpose we should remind Him of all that His well beloved Son has done for Him, His life and death, and His sufferings, the reward for which belongs to us because of the deed of gift by which He has made it over to us.

And this is the spirit in which we should recite the Divine Office.

10th Way. – Simple attention to the presence of God, and meditation.

Before starting out to meditate on the prepared topic, put yourself in the presence of God without making any other distinct thought, or stirring up in yourself any other sentiment except the respect and love for God which His presence inspires.  – Be content to remain thus before God, in silence, in simple repose of the spirit as long as it satisfies you.  After that, go on with your meditation in the usual way.

It is a good thing to begin all your prayer in this way, and worth while to return to it after every point. – Relax in this simple awareness of God’s presence. – It is a way to gain real interior recollection. – You will develop the habit of centering your mind upon God and thus gradually pave the way for contemplation. – But do not remain this way out of pure laziness or just to avoid the trouble of making a meditation.

Friends and Benefactors Letter number 22, May 2016 – Consoling Our Lord

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 22: May 2016

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Chrismal Mass on Holy Thursday

Consoling Our Lord

“And I looked for one that would grieve with me, but there was none: and for one that would console me, and I found none”. In the present time of the Church’s Passion, Our Lord renews this complaint from Psalm 68 (verse 21).  However, how can Our Lord, Who is gloriously reigning in Heaven, be sad and ask for consolers?

Saint Thomas Aquinas provides the answer when he explains the following expression of Saint Paul: “Sadden not the Holy Ghost” (Eph. 4: 30):

“How can this be said, since the Holy Ghost, being God Himself, cannot possess any passion (that is, emotion) or suffer sadness?  Answer: The Holy Ghost is “saddened” when the person in whom He dwells is afflicted, according to the words of Our Lord: “He who despises you, despises Me” (Luke 10:16).  Also, one can say that it is a metaphorical expression, as when one speaks of God’s “anger” in order to designate His avenging justice, which [for God] is not a passion (as it is in us), but a virtue.  Thus, it is said that God is saddened, when He withdraws from the sinner, as a saddened man takes leave of the person who has afflicted him.  As a result, the expression “sadden not the Holy Ghost” signifies: do not drive Him out of your soul by sin.”

Accordingly, we can say that Our Lord Jesus Christ is saddened insofar as the members of His Mystical Body are afflicted, as is presently the case of so many Catholics being persecuted under Islamic, Communist, and Hindu regimes.

Secondly, Our Divine Lord is saddened in the sense that the sins of men cause Him to turn away.  In the prayer of the Act of Contrition, do we not say that sin offends God, or displeases Him?  It is a way of saying that God acts toward the sinner in the same manner as someone who, upon receiving an offense, suffers grief and separates from the person who has given the offense.

Furthermore, Father Garrigou-Lagrange explains:

“If this is true of God considered in His Divine and purely spiritual nature, it is even truer when speaking of Christ’s holy soul […]:  His soul in fact is capable of feeling, and therefore Jesus is truly sensitive to the love which is due to Him, but which many refuse to give.”  [Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, in the preface to Élévations sur la prière au Cœur Eucharistique de Jésus – Elevations on the Prayer to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.]

Thus, because Our Lord Jesus Christ is “the Word made flesh” (something which cannot be said of the Father or the Holy Ghost), there is a third reason for His sadness:  while He was on earth, particularly during His agony in the Garden of Olives, Our Lord experienced a veritable sorrow:  “My soul is sorrowful even unto death (Mt 26:38)”.  Now, Our Lord was grieved by the sins of all men, including those being committed today.  Our Lord had a perfect knowledge of all these sins thanks to the “beatific vision” which He possessed from the moment of His conception.

When Our Lord asks us to console Him, He is asking us to comfort Him with respect to this triple sadness:  that of His Mystical Body, by consoling persecuted Christians;  the metaphorical sorrow of His Divinity offended by our sins, by doing penance;  and that of His Sacred Humanity, by sharing in the pains of His agony, especially through the practice of Holy Hours, but also through the meditation of the Rosary, attending Mass, and receiving Holy Communion in reparation:  “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men.  Make reparation for their crimes, and console your God”  (the angel to the three children of Fatima in 1916).

“We do not console someone effectively unless we participate in his sufferings;  thereby taking a portion of them upon ourselves.  It is certainly an admirable and touching condescendence of Almighty God – the God of all consolation, entirely sufficient to Himself – to want to be in need of us, the same as He chose to be in need of the consoling angel at Gethsemane.  This implies that we must have our share in the sufferings of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, participating, in a certain measure, in the sorrowful life that He led on earth, before we partake of His glorious life in heaven.” [Garrigou-Lagrange, work cited above, page 14.]

This was well understood by little Francisco of Fatima.  Sister Lucy wrote of him as “having no other thought than to console Our Lord and Our Lady, after seeing how sad they were in the visions.”   Sister Lucy writes further:

“One day, I asked him, ‘Francisco, what would you rather do: console Our Lord, or convert sinners so that there will be no more souls going to hell?’  He answered, ‘I prefer to console Our Lord.  Didn’t you see how Our Lady looked so sad last month when she told us that no one should offend Our Lord anymore, because He has already been offended too much?  I would like to console Our Lord and then afterwards convert sinners so that they will no longer offend Him’” (see the Sel de la Terre, #53, pp.232-233).

Today, more than ever, Our Lord is saddened:  by the persecution of Catholics everywhere in the world ─ including the more hidden, subtle persecution taking place in our formerly Christian nations, carried out by secularist propaganda, whose program is to instill atheism in the souls of men;  and by the worldwide revolt “against God and against His Anointed One” (Psalm 2:2) ─ including in His Church, where the modernists “prefer the fables of men” (2 Tim. 4:4) rather than Tradition.

Let us console Our Lord by our efforts to live a truly Catholic life, for example, by not wasting our time with audio-visual entertainments, or with other useless amusements, by fleeing excessive modern-day comforts that only make us soft and lazy, by reading a good catechism or other edifying books, etc.

Community Chronicle

December 31st: The community goes on pilgrimage to one of Anjou’s most hallowed sanctuaries: “Our Lady of Béhuard” situated on an island in the middle of the Loire River.  After Compline, a (growing) number of faithful join us in singing a Te Deum of thanksgiving (with a plenary indulgence).

January 16th:  Mr. François-Xavier Peron gives a conference for the faithful on Pope Francis’ revolutionary “Synod on the Family”.

January 16th – 17th:  Fathers Angelico and Marie-Laurent are in Alsace for a tertiary meeting, followed the next day by Sunday Mass and conferences for the faithful of the Combat for the Faith.  Regular tertiary meetings throughout the year give us the chance to provide Sunday Mass for a growing number of faithful in many different regions:  Paris, Brittany, Alsace, Lyons, Clermont-Ferrand… (Not all these meetings can be mentioned in this short chronicle.)

February 3rd – 4th:  Father Prior and Father Marie-Dominique preach the preparatory retreat to the seminarians of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort Seminary before their cassock-taking.

February 5thPontifical High Mass and imposition of the cassock by H.E Bishop Faure for six seminarians.

February 21stFathers Marie-Dominique and Reginald lead the boys of the Marian Congregation of our school on a pilgrimage to Pontchâteau, in Brittany, to pray at the famous Calvary of St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort.

February 27thFathers Angelico and Hyacinth-Marie are with the “Our Lady of Fatima Youth Club” for one of the regular outings in the countryside of Anjou.

March 7thFeast of St. Thomas Aquinas, light of the Church and glory of the Dominican Order!   The festivities include a Solemn High Mass and a conference on the method of St. Thomas.  We also have the joy of receiving the visits of Fr. McDonald, Fr. Bruno (U.S.M.L.), and Sr. Marie-Liesse (former SSSPX).

March 24th:  Holy Thursday.  For the first time at the Friary, we are graced with a Chrismal Mass, officiated by H.E. Bishop Faure.  At this Mass, the Bishop consecrates the Holy Oils necessary for the sacraments of Confirmation, Extreme Unction and Holy Orders (and solemn Baptisms) during the coming year.  What an eloquent demonstration of the importance and necessity of the recent episcopal consecrations!  Without Bishops, it is impossible for priests to continue their apostolate, and have their candidates ordained to the priesthood.

March 26th – 27th:  Easter Vigil.  The wind and rain seem to be stirred up by the devil (no doubt angered by the two adults to be purified in the waters of Baptism that night) in order to prevent the blessing of the new fire and the procession with the Easter candle.  Their efforts are to no avail, and the Vigil Mass is celebrated in presence of an unusually large and fervent crowd of faithful.

April 4th – 11th: Fr. Louis-Marie is in Rome for a pilgrimage with the senior class of Saint Thomas Aquinas Boys’ School.  It was an occasion for them to see up close the glories of Eternal Rome, as well as the miseries of Conciliar Rome…

April 12th:  Classes start back up for the schools, the clerical brothers and the seminarians.

April 17thFr. Marie-Laurent, accompanied by two seminarians, mans a booth at the annual assembly of the “French Renewal” patriotic movement, in Paris.  More and more people are worried about the world political situation; our presence at such gatherings allows us to help souls analyze current events under the light of the Faith.

May 5th:  Feast of the Ascension and annual gathering of the alumni of St. Thomas Aquinas Boys’ school.  What a consolation to witness the perseverance of former students, and hear them say “thank you” for the doctrine and apologetics courses they received!

May 13th-15th:  Fr. Angelico and Br. Louis-Bertrand are at Le Puy-en-Velay (France’s oldest Marian Shrine) for the Pentecost pilgrimage of the Combat for the Faith.  In his sermon during the Pontifical High Mass on Sunday, His Excellency Ferreira da Costa (Dom Thomas of Aquinas O.S.B.), recounted how the official recognition of the conciliar church led inevitably to the abandonment of the combat for the Faith in the Barroux monastery (France) and Campos (Brazil).  His conclusion: it is now up to us to continue the fight!

News from our work sites

The installation of the new library is progressing.  One by one, the donated movable bookshelves are being adapted by a local ironsmith to fit the rails on the floor.

A large part of the stone wall protecting the property having collapsed, “Eddy”, our maintenance man (a professionally trained mason), is doing a beautiful job in restoring it with the help of a few of the high school boys, happy to learn the trade.

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Stone wall under repair. In the foreground we see the beginning of the foundations of a future wood shop for the boys’ school.

 

A few overdue projects to accomplish:

-The paving of the parking lot and two entrance roads, which have been seriously deteriorated over the years by the steady increase of traffic (daily drop-offs and pick-ups for the school children, three Sunday Masses, as well as other various parish activities).

- New buildings for the Friary workshop.  For the moment, the lay brothers work in temporary barracks built by the US army in 1945, and we’re not sure how long they will remain standing. (A wood shop for the boys’ school is also planned).

-The refurbishing of the Chapter room; in particular, the installation of a worthy altar for the daily Masses which are celebrated there.

 

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www.dominicansavrille.us

 

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Couvent de la Haye-aux-Bonshommes

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62 Reasons to reject the new mass (“Novus Ordo Missae”)

62 Reasons to Reject the new mass (“Novus Ordo Missae”)

 NOTES OF THE EDITOR :

1.  These 62 reasons have been written by the priests of Campos (Brazil) before they dangerously accepted a canonical recognition by the conciliar Church.

The new mass can be valid when it is celebrated by a priest validly ordained, saying the prayers of the consecration on bread and wine with the intention to perform what the holy Church intends to perform.  It is not always the case.

But these 62 reasons show that, even validly celebrated, the new mass cannot be said to be good by itself.   By itself, it doesn’t objectively honor God as He should be honored ; and having been made with six Protestant pastors, it is dangerous for the Faith.

What is not good in itself cannot bear good fruit by itself.  If sometimes there are good fruit, it is only accidental ; and it is not a reason to attend it actively.

2.  Note: all quotes followed by an asterisk * are from the Letter of Cardinals A. Ottaviani and A. Bacci to Pope Paul VI, dated September 25, 1969 enclosing “A Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae.”

1. Because the New Mass is not an unequivocal Profession of the Catholic Faith (which the traditional Mass is), it is ambiguous and with a Protestant flavor.  Therefore since we pray as we believe, it follows that we cannot pray with the New Mass in Protestant fashion and still believe as Catholics!

2. Because the changes were not just slight ones but actually “deal with a fundamental renovation … a total change … a new creation.” (Msgr. A. Bugnini, co-author of the New Mass)

3. Because the New Mass leads us to think “that truths … can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever.” *

4. Because the New Mass represents “a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent” which, in fixing the “canons,” provided an “insurmountable barrier to any heresy against the integrity of the Mystery.” *

5. Because the difference between the two is not simply one of mere detail or just modification of ceremony, but “all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place (in the New Mass), if it subsists at all.” *

6. Because “Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment in the faithful who already show signs of uneasiness and lessening of Faith.”

7. Because in times of confusion such as now, we are guided by the words of our Lord: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Fruits of the New Mass are: 30% decrease in Sunday Mass attendance in U.S. (NY Times, 5/24/75), 43% decrease in France (Cardinal Marty), 50% decrease in Holland (NY Times, 1/5/76).

8. Because “amongst the best of the clergy the practical result (of the New Mass) is an agonizing crisis of conscience…”*

9. Because in less than seven years after the introduction of the New Mass, priests in the world decreased from 413,438 to 243,307 – almost 50%! (Holy See Statistics)

10. Because “The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition … do not seem to us sufficient.” *

11. Because the New Mass does not manifest Faith in the Real Presence of our Lord – the Traditional Mass manifests it unmistakably.

12. Because the New Mass confuses the REAL Presence of Christ in the Eucharist with His MYSTICAL Presence among us (proximating Protestant doctrine).

13. Because the New Mass blurs what ought to be a sharp difference between the HIERARCHIC Priesthood and the common priesthood of the people (as does Protestantism).

14. Because the New Mass favors the heretical theory that it is THE FAITH of the people and not THE WORDS OF THE PRIEST which makes Christ present in the Eucharist.

15. Because the insertion of the Lutheran :”Prayer of the Faithful” in the New Mass follows and puts forth the Protestant error that all the people are priests.

16. Because the New Mass does away with the Confiteor of the priest, makes it collective with the people, thus promoting Luther’s refusal to accept the Catholic teaching that the priest is judge, witness and intercessor with God.

17. Because the New Mass gives us to understand that the people concelebrate with the priest – which is against Catholic theology!

18. Because six Protestant ministers collaborated in making up the New Mass: George, Jasper, Shepherd, Kunneth, Smith and Thurian.

19. Because just as Luther did away with the Offertory – since it very clearly expressed the sacrificial, propitiatory character of the Mass – so also the inventors of the New Mass did away with it, reducing it to a simple Preparation of the Gifts.

20. Because enough Catholic theology has been removed that Protestants can, while keeping their antipathy for the True Roman Catholic Church, use the text of the New Mass without difficulty. Protestant Minister Thurian (co-consultor for the ‘New Mass’ project) said that a fruit of the New mass “will perhaps be that the non-Catholic communities will be ale to celebrate the Lord’s Supper using the same prayers as the Catholic Church.” (La Croix, 4/30/69)

21. Because the narrative manner of the Consecration in the New Mass infers that it is only a memorial and not a true sacrifice (Protestant thesis)

22. Because by grave omissions, the New Mass leads us to believe that it is only a meal (Protestant doctrine) and not a sacrifice for the remission of sins (Catholic Doctrine).

23. Because the changes such as: table instead of altar; facing people instead of tabernacle; Communion in the hand, etc., emphasize Protestant doctrines (e.g., Mass is only a meal; priest only a president of the assembly; Eucharist is NOT the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, but merely a piece of bread, etc.)

24. Because Protestants themselves have said “the new Catholic Eucharistic prayers have abandoned the false (sic) perspective of sacrifice offered to God.” (La Croix, 12/10/69)

25. Because we are faced with the dilemma: either we become protestantized by worshipping with the New Mass, or else we preserve our Catholic Faith by adhering faithfully to the traditional Mass, the “Mass of All Time.”

26. Because the New Mass was made in accordance with the Protestant definition of the Mass: “The Lord’s Supper or Mass is a sacred synaxis or assembly of the people of God which gathers together under the presidency of the priest to celebrate the memorial of the Lord.” (Par. 7, Intro. to the New Missal, defining the New Mass, 4/6/69)

27. Because by means of ambiguity, the New Mass pretends to please Catholics while pleasing Protestants; thus it is “double-tongued” and offensive to God who abhors any kind of hypocrisy: “Cursed be … the double-tongued for they destroy the peace of many.” (Ecclesiasticus 28:13)

28. Because beautiful, familiar Catholic hymns which have inspired people for centuries, have been thrown out and replaced with new hymns strongly Protestant in sentiment, further deepening the already distinct impression that one is no longer attending a Catholic function.

29. Because the New Mass contains ambiguities subtly favoring heresy, which is more dangerous than if it were clearly heretical since a half-heresy half resembles the Truth!

30. Because Christ has only one Spouse, the Catholic Church, and her worship service cannot also serve religions that are at enmity with her.

31. Because the New Mass follows the format of Cranmer’s heretical Anglican Mass, and the methods used to promote it follow precisely the methods of the English heretics.

32. Because Holy Mother Church canonized numerous English Martyrs who were killed because they refused to participate in a Mass such as the New Mass!

33. Because Protestants who once converted to Catholicism are scandalized to see that the New Mass is the same as the one they attended as Protestants. One of them, Julien Green, asks: “Why did we convert?”

34. Because statistics show a great decrease in conversions to Catholicism following the use of the New Mass. Conversions, which were up to 100,000 a year in the U.S., have decreased to less than 10,000! And the number of people leaving the Church far exceeds those coming in.

35. Because the Traditional Mass has forged many saints. “Innumerable saints have been fed abundantly with the proper piety towards God by it …” (Pope Paul VI, Const. Apost. Missale Romanum)

36. Because the nature of the New Mass is such as to facilitate profanations of the Holy Eucharist, which occur with a frequency unheard of with the Traditional Mass.

37. Because the New Mass, despite appearances, conveys a New Faith, not the Catholic Faith. It conveys Modernism and follows exactly the tactics of Modernism, using vague terminology in order to insinuate and advance error.

38. Because by introducing optional variations, the New Mass undermines the unity of the liturgy, with each priest liable to deviate as he fancies under the guise of creativity. Disorder inevitably results, accompanied by lack of respect and irreverence.

39. Because many good Catholic theologians, canonists and priests do not accept the New Mass, and affirm that they are unable to celebrate it in good conscience.

40. Because the New Mass has eliminated such things as: genuflections (only three remain), purification of the priests fingers in the chalice, preservation from all profane contact of priest’s fingers after Consecration, sacred altar stone and relics, three altar clothes (reduced to one), all of which “only serve to emphasize how outrageously faith in the dogma of the Real Presence is implicitly repudiated.” *

41. Because the traditional Mass, enriched and matured by centuries of Sacred Tradition, was codified (not invented) by a Pope who was a saint, Pius V; whereas the New Mass was artificially fabricated by six Protestant ministers and Msgr. Annibale Bugnini suspect of being a Freemason.

42. Because the errors of the New Mass which are accentuated in the vernacular version are even present in the Latin text of the New Mass.

43. Because the New Mass, with its ambiguity and permissiveness, exposes us to the wrath of God by facilitating the risk of invalid consecrations: “Will priests of the near future who have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus Ordo Missae with the intention of ‘doing what the Church does,’ consecrate validly? One may be allowed to doubt it!” *

44. Because the abolition of the Traditional Mass recalls the prophecy of Daniel 8:12: “And he was given power against the perpetual sacrifice because of the sins of the people” and the observation of St. Alphonsus de Liguori that because the Mass is the best and most beautiful thing which exists in the Church here below, the devil has always tried by means of heretics to deprive us of it.

45. Because in places where the Traditional Mass is preserved, the Faith and fervor of the people are greater. Whereas the opposite is true where the New Mass reigns (Report on the Mass, Diocese of Campos, Roma, Buenos Aires #69, 8/81)

46. Because along with the New Mass goes also a new catechism, a new morality, new prayers, new Code of Canon law, new calendar, — in a word, a NEW CHURCH, a complete revolution from the old. “The liturgical reform … do not be deceived, this is where the revolution begins.” (Msgr. Dwyer, Archbishop of Birmingham, spokesman of Episcopal Synod)

47. Because the intrinsic beauty of the Traditional Mass attracts souls by itself; whereas the New Mass, lacking any attractiveness of its own, has to invent novelties and entertainment in order to appeal to the people.

48. Because the New mass embodies numerous errors condemned by Pope St. Pius V at the Council of Trent (Mass totally in vernacular, words of Consecration spoken aloud, etc. See Condemnation of Jansenist Synod of Pistoia), and errors condemned by Pope Pius XII (e.g., altar in form of table. See Mediator Dei).

49. Because the New Mass attempts to transform the Catholic Church into a new, ecumenical church embracing all ideologies and all religions – right and wrong, truth and error – a goal long dreamt of by the enemies of the Catholic Church.

50. Because the New Mass, in removing the salutations and final blessing when the priest celebrates alone, shows a denial of, and disbelief in the dogma of the Communion of Saints.

51. Because the altar and tabernacle are now separated, thus marking a division between Christ in His priest-and-Sacrifice-on-the-altar, from Christ in His Real Presence in the tabernacle, “two things which of their very nature, must remain together.” (Pius XII)

52. Because the New Mass no longer constitutes a vertical worship between God and man, but rather a horizontal worship between man and man.

53. Because the New Mass, although appearing to conform to the dispositions of Vatican Council II, in reality opposes its instructions, since the Council itself declared its desire to conserve and promote the Traditional Rite.

54. Because the Traditional Latin Mass of Pope St. Pius V has never been legally abrogated and therefore remains a true rite of the Roman Catholic Church by which the faithful may fulfill their Sunday obligation.

55. Because Pope St. Pius V granted a perpetual indult, valid “for always,” to celebrate the Traditional Mass freely, licitly, without scruple of conscience, punishment, sentence or censure (Papal Bull Quo Primum)

56. Because Pope Paul VI, when promulgating the New Mass, himself declared. “The rite … by itself is NOT a dogmatic definition …” (11/19/69)

57. Because Pope Paul VI, when asked by Cardinal Heenan of England, if he was abrogating or prohibiting the Tridentine Mass, answered: “It is not our intention to prohibit absolutely the Tridentine Mass.”

58. Because “In the Libera nos of the New Mass, the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and all the Saints are no longer mentioned; her and their intercession thus no longer asked, even in time of peril.” *

59. Because in none of the three new Eucharistic Prayers (of the New Mass) is there any reference … to the state of suffering of those who have died, in none the possibility of a particular Memento, thus undermining faith in the redemptive nature of the Sacrifice. *

60. Because we recognize the Holy Father’s supreme authority in his universal government of Holy Mother Church, but we know that even this authority cannot impose upon us a practice which is so CLEARLY against the Faith: a Mass that is equivocal and favoring heresy and therefore disagreeable to God.

61. Because, as stated in Vatican Council I, the “Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter, that by His revelation they might make new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of Faith delivered through the Apostles.” (Dnz 3070)

62. Because heresy, or whatever clearly favors heresy, cannot be a matter for obedience. Obedience is at the service of Faith and not Faith at the service of obedience! In this foregoing case then, “One must obey God before men.” (Acts 5:29)

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Glorious Mysteries

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The Resurrection by Fra Angelico

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Glorious Mysteries

The Rosary is an admirable means of personal sanctification, but it is also a powerful weapon again the enemies of God and His Church.  From the defeat of the Cathars at the battle of Muret to the great victories (without a shot being fired!) against communism in Austria and Brazil in the 20th Century, and passing through the victories of Lepanto and Vienna against the Turks, and those against the Protestants in La Rochelle, the Most Holy Virgin has never abandoned Catholics when they have turned to her through her holy Rosary.  However, this ancient struggle between the “lineage of the serpent and the lineage of the woman” is renewed with each generation.

This struggle is perhaps nowhere more manifest at this time than in the past.  Although it is not the objective of the Confraternity to convey prayer intentions to the members, how can we keep quiet in the face of the drama that is now unfolding for our Catholic brothers being persecuted in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, as well as in China, Nigeria, India and elsewhere?  Through the Rosary, let us pray for the conversion of the Muslims, Jews, Protestants, communists, freemasons, and all those who are behind these persecutions.  Let us especially pray that the persecuted Catholics keep the faith and publicly profess it, even, if need be, at the price of their life.   We can hope that a host of these chosen souls have received the grace of martyrdom, are already in heaven tasting the delights of paradise, and that we whom they have left behind in this valley of tears, can join with them by meditating on the Glorious Mysteries, after having considered the Joyous and Sorrowful Mysteries.

(Remember: read one sentence before each “Hail Mary.”)

THE RESURRECTION

1.  Upon His death, Jesus’ soul descends into limbo to the joy of the just of the Old Testament.

2.  His lifeless body remains in the tomb, always united to the divinity, without the least corruption.

3.  On Easter morning, Jesus’ soul reunites with His body, never to be separated from it again.

4.  His body, brilliant with light, imprints a mysterious image on the holy shroud.

5.  At the same time, the earth is shaken and an angel rolls away the great stone that closed the tomb.

6.  Jesus leaves the tomb in all His glory and appears to the Roman soldiers, who are terrified.

7.  Jesus goes to visit the Blessed Virgin to announce His Resurrection to her.

8.  The Blessed Virgin is filled with joy, but is by no means surprised, nor troubled; she had been waiting for this moment since Good Friday.

9.  Jesus appears to St. Mary Magdalene and tells her, “do not touch me” to test her too sentimental love.

10.  Jesus appears several times to the Apostles and the disciples, but some are slow to believe.

THE ASCENSION

1.  At Jesus’ resurrection, many of the dead leave their tombs and roam around the city of Jerusalem.

2.  During the forty days, they visit their families to proclaim to them that Jesus is the Messiah announced by the prophets.

3.  Jesus appears only to His Apostles and disciples.

4.  Jesus “opens the minds” of His Apostles so that, little by little, they come to understand Holy Scripture.

5.  A little before ascending to heaven, Jesus orders His Apostles to “teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

6.  The nations must render public honor to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of society’s laws must be in harmony with His teachings.

7.  Jesus appears one last time in Jerusalem and eats with His Apostles.

8.  He promises to send them the Holy Ghost.

9.  He leads them to the Mount of Olives.

10.  Jesus raises His hands and blesses His Apostles, all while moving away from them up to heaven.

PENTECOST

1.  The Apostles are distraught.

2.  Everyone returns to the Cenacle to pray and wait for the Holy Ghost.

3.  The Apostles, the disciples and the holy women number about 120 persons.

4.  Matthias is elected to replace the traitor Judas.

5.  St. Peter says Mass each day. All receive communion and passes the day in prayer.

6.  During this time, an innumerable crowd of Jews from throughout the world is assembling in the city to celebrate the feast of the Jewish Pentecost.

7.  Suddenly, accompanied by the sound of trumpets, a violent wind opens the windows of the Cenacle.

8.  Tongues of fire descend upon the heads of the Apostles, and, in the blink of an eye, they understand all of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Immediately they descend into the street to announce to the crowd the forgiveness of their sins, upon the condition of doing penance and being baptized.

10.  Around 3,000 people ask to be baptized.

THE ASSUMPTION

1.  Each day more and more people ask for baptism so as to be saved, but the jealous Jews try to exterminate the Christians.

2.  St. Stephen, St. James the Lesser and many others are killed in hatred of the faith.

3.  Mary supports the nascent Church through her prayers.

4.  St. Luke questions the Blessed Virgin on the details of Jesus’ infancy.

5.  The Blessed Virgin receives daily communion at St. John’s Masses.

6.  She appears to St. James the Greater in Spain to encourage him.

7.  She enlightens and encourages all those who come to see her at St. John’s home.

8.  She so ardently desires to be with her divine Son, that her body can no longer retain her soul.

9.  Her soul and her body separate, but her body suffers no trace of corruption.

10.  A little afterward, her body rejoins her soul and the Blessed Virgin is assumed entirely into heaven.

THE CORONATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN

1.  At the moment of her Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin exceeded in grace all the angels and saints combined.

2.  During each moment of her existence, she made an act of love which multiplied in an extraordinary way the degree of grace in her soul.

3.  Thus, at the moment of her entry into heaven, the Blessed Virgin was raised in glory higher than one can imagine.

4.  Her glory is quasi-infinite; she touches the “confines of the divinity.”

5.  Our Lord places a mysterious crown on the head of His Blessed Mother.

6.  This crown symbolizes the total power with which the Blessed Virgin is invested from that point on.

7.  Jesus proclaims the Blessed Virgin, “Queen of Heaven and Earth.”

8.  All the angels and saints acclaim her as their queen and mistress.

9.  Jesus desires that all the graces that we receive pass through Mary’s hands.

10.  Mary now distributes all the graces that she has merited with and through Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Sorrowful Mysteries

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A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions (continued): the Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The world around us is moving further away from Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Everywhere anti-Christian governments reject not only the laws of the Church, but even the laws of nature, because they are a constant reminder of the author of nature, our Creator and God.  How can we not see the realization of Psalm 2: “The princes of the earth are gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ”?   What can we do against these powers that seem to hold everything in their hands: money, the media, parliaments, armies?   Well, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil.4:13)!  It pleased God to topple Goliath with a humble shepherd like David.   Our “sling” is the Rosary, and the “five smooth stones taken from the river bed” (I Kings 17) are the five Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious) upon which we meditate each day.   If we look, we’ll discover these mysteries hidden in the depths of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is nothing less than an impetuous torrent of love for God and man.

To restore the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, we all have something to do, a duty to perform according to each one’s state.  However, there is a duty that we all have in common: the regular prayer of the Rosary.  Have courage! “There is no problem, no matter how difficult, that we cannot resolve by praying the Holy Rosary” (Sister Lucy of Fatima).

Many of you have told us that you have enjoyed the meditations on the Joyful Mysteries according to the method of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort.  We continue here with the Sorrowful Mysteries, hoping that these examples will help you to compose meditations yourself using this method which is so practical and useful for dispelling distractions!   (Reminder: a sentence is read before each Hail Mary.)

THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN OF OLIVES

1:  On the eve of His Passion, Jesus celebrated the first Mass.

2:  Before leaving the world, He wanted to leave us a pledge of His love, by giving us the Eucharist.

3:  Jesus, troubled in spirit, said to the Apostles: “One of you shall betray Me.”

4:  St. Peter protested, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”

5:  After the Last Supper, Jesus takes Saints Peter, James and John to pray on the Mount of Olives.

6: The Apostles are not able to watch even one hour with Jesus.

7:  Jesus sees all the sins for which He is going to atone through His passion; His sweat becomes as drops of blood.

8:  Judas arrives and betrays Jesus through a sign of friendship.

9:  The Apostles are afraid and flee in all directions.

10:  Saint Peter denies Jesus three times.

THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR

1: Jesus is taken before the High Priest, where He is falsely accused, slapped and insulted.

2: The Jews drag Him before Pilate, because Pilate alone can declare the death penalty.

3: The crowd demands the release of Barabbas, a murderer.

4. Pilate does not find Jesus guilty of any crime, but he orders Him to be flogged to appease the Jews.

5: The soldiers first use a whip with metal balls at the end of the strips.

6: When Jesus’ body is swollen and red, they then change to a whip topped with tiny bones that tear the skin.

7: Jesus is covered with blood from head to foot. His skin is in shreds.

8: In this way, Jesus has atoned for our sins of sensuality.

9: “Sins of the flesh send the most souls to hell.” (Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta)

10: Lord, give us the courage to do a little penance.

THE CROWNING WITH THORNS

1:  Pilate asks Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Jesus answers, “I am King, but My kingdom is not of this world.”

2:  Jesus’ Kingdom “did not come from this world,” but it extends over this world.

3:  Jesus is King of all creation and He has the right to be recognized as such by all men and by all governments.

4:  He is King by nature, because He is the Creator; and He is King by conquest, because He has redeemed us.

5:  The soldiers mock the royalty of Jesus by putting on Him a purple robe, a reed scepter, and a crown of thorns.

6:  They spit on Him and beat Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

7: Jesus keeps quiet and offers His suffering for the very people who despise Him.

8:  Pilate presents Jesus to the Jews: “Behold the man.”

9: The Jews shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

10:  The high priests say: “We have no king but Caesar.”

THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS

1:  Jesus is condemned to death.

2:  Jesus takes up His cross with love.

3:  Jesus falls the first time.

4:  Jesus meets His Blessed Mother.

5:  Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross.

6:  St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

7:  Jesus falls the second time.

8:  Jesus consoles the women of Israel.

9:  Jesus falls the third time.

10:  Jesus is stripped of his garments.

THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS

1:  Jesus is nailed to the Cross.

2:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

3:  Jesus says to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he says to the beloved disciple, “Behold your mother.”

4:  “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”

5:  “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

6:  “I thirst.”

7:  “It is consummated.”

8:  Jesus dies, saying: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.”

9:  Jesus is taken down from the Cross.

10:  Jesus is buried.