Annunciation March 25

The AnnunciationAnnunciation_stained glass_Carl

The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke, i 26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i. e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother’s house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: “Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee.” Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of Godlike Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”

The angel to remove Mary’s anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: “And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in herold age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God.” Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.”

Since 1889 Holzmann and many Protestant writers have tried to show that the verses Luke i, 34, 35, containing the message of conception through the Holy Ghost are interpolated. Usener derives the origin of the “myth” from the heathen hero worship; but Harnack tries to prove that it is of Judaic origin (Isaias, vii, 14, Behold a Virgin shall conceive, etc.). Bardenhewer, however, has fully established the authenticity of the text (p. 13). St. Luke may have taken his knowledge of the event from anolder account, written in Aramaic or Hebrew. The words: “Blessed art thou among women” (v. 28), are spurious and taken from verse 42, the account of the Visitation. Cardinal Cajetan wanted to understand the words: “because I know not man”, not of the future, but only of the past: up to this hour I do not know man. This manifest error, which contradicts the words of the text, has been universally rejected by all Catholic authors. The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary twelve or fifteen years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents. The local tradition of Nazareth pretends that the angel met Mary and greeted her at the fountain, and when she fled from him in fear, he followed her into the house and there continued his message. (Buhl, Geogr. v. Palaest., 1896.) The year and day of the Annunciation cannot be determined as long as new material does not throw more light on the subject. The present date of the feast (25 March) depends upon the date of the older feast of Christmas.

The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.

St. Simon Of Trent March 24

St. Simon of Trent Italy, a 2 year old boy was tortured to death for Jesus by Jews on March 21, 1475.  He was canonized by Pope Sixtus V and his feast day is March 24th.  Even though he died so young, one of the popes called him “Our Big Brother”.  He is included in the Roman Martyrology.

StSimon3He was outside his parents home when he was abducted.  He was undressed, butchered, blood collected in a bowl.  They held his body in the form of a crucified Jesus and said: “take this crucified Jesus, just as our forefathers did once, so may all Christians by land and sea parish.” His body was thrown in a river, but God allowed his body to be found is buried in St. Peter’s Church in Trent, Italy.  God also allowed all the details to be found out and the assassins punished.

st-simon-of-trent-jewish-ritual-murder-catholicIn the official court hearings this testimony was given: “The Hebrews killed the little boy Simon, in order to obey rabbinical religious laws: their motive being to serve as most wicked piety and devotion by obtaining Christian blood for celebrating Passover”.  When the Jews protested that it was not true, Pope Sixtus IV again heard the case and found it all to be true.

jewish-ritual-murderThere are two other saint children martyred for Jesus by the Jews: St. William of Norwich 1137 and St. Christopher who was martyred on Oct 17, 1490 at La Guardia Spain.  He was canonized by Pope Pius VII.  St. Christopher’s death was the last straw that caused King Fernando and Queen Isabel to expelled the Jews from Spain.

Ariel Toaff, investigated the case of St. Simon to disprove it and then through his investigation was convinced of its truth.  He is a Jewish Professor of Medieval and Renaissance History at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, has written Wine and Bread: A Jewish Community in the Middle Ages (1989; translated into English and French), Jewish Monsters: The Imaginary Jew from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Age (1996).

St. Athanasius, Saint For Us Traditional Catholics

St. Athanasius (297-373) is the saint for us traditional Catholics today.  The reason I say this, is that he was banned from his diocese by the Church and emperors for at least five times.  He was the Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt for 46 years, but he also spent seventeen of these years in exile for defending Catholic truth.  He was constantly persecuted at the hands of the emperors and Church’s hierarchy for just defending the Divinity of Jesus against the Arian heretics.  Under the pressure of these heretics, even Pope Liberius excommunicated him.

athanasius-coverIt all began when he assisted the Patriarch Alexander, at the famous Council of Nicaea (325).  The Roman Emperor, Constantine, had called this council to settle conflicts in the Roman Empire concerning conflicts over Catholic dogma.  Here, Arius’ heretical teaching, (that Jesus was not consubstantial or co-equal with the Father), was condemned.  The confession of faith that came out of this council is known as the Nicene Creed, (defined at the council of Nicaea).  And this is why the word ‘consubstantial’ was recently re-inserted into the Nicene creed that we recite at every Sunday Mass.

The Arian heresy ‘denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of Deity.‘  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

Athanasius_monastery-studenica-frescoFrom this council on, Athanasius spent the rest of his life defending the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Trinity.  Because he (mostly alone) continuously stood up against the arianist who had infected almost all of the Catholic Church, the famous saying was penned; Athanasius contra mundum“, that is, “Athanasius against the world.  In the 400’s, Saint Jerome described this period as, “The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian“.

Today, we traditional Catholics, groan against the whole world and Church, because we find it almost filled with modernist and progressive heretics.

Athanasius_icon_17th centuryLet us not be discouraged.  Over and over again, God got St. Athanasius through his sufferings, false accusations and exiles.  It dearly cost St. Athanasius.  It will dearly cost us too.  But when all is said and done, it is in heaven where St. Athanasius is being rewarded by God forever.

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know and defend our Church’s dogma and history.  In the end, good always wins, even if it is not until heaven.

Bishop Bootkoski Statement On Patricia Jannuzzi

Here we go again.  Whenever we speak up against evil, we will be told by our Bishops and leaders; ‘Pope Francis reminds us: accept all, no harsh or judgmental statements’.  botkowGod help us if we may condemn sin and speak truth, (especially about sexual sins).  ‘It can alienate and divide us’.    These are harsh and judgmental.  It seems to me that Bishop is being judgmental of Patricia’s comments as being disturbing and to not reflect “Church teachings of ACCEPTANCE.’  Where do we find the teaching of the Church of acceptance of sin?

 

St. Gabriel Archangel March 24

St. Gabriel the ArchangelGabriel_Archangel_Polyptych of the Resurrection_TIZIANO Vecellio

“Fortitudo Dei”, one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible. Only four appearances of Gabriel are recorded:

  • In Dan., viii, he explains the vision of the horned ram as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, after whose death the kingdom will be divided up among his generals, from one of whom will spring Antiochus Epiphanes.
  • In chapter ix, after Daniel had prayed for Israel, we read that “the man Gabriel . . . . flying swiftly touched me” and he communicated to him the mysterious prophecy of the “seventy weeks” of years which should elapse before the coming of Christ. In chapter x, it is not clear whether the angel is Gabriel or not, but at any rate we may apply to him the marvellous description in verses 5 and 6.
  • In N.T. he foretells to Zachary the birth of the Precursor, and
  • to Mary that of the Saviour.

Thus he is throughout the angel of the Incarnation and of Consolation, and so in Christian tradition Gabriel is ever the angel of mercy while Michael is rather the angel of judgment. At the same time, even in the Bible, Gabriel is, in accordance with his name, the angel of the Power of God, and it is worth while noting the frequency with which such words as “great”, “might”, “power”, and “strength” occur in the passages referred to above. The Jews indeed seem to have dwelt particularly upon this feature in Gabriel’s character, and he is regarded by them as the angel of judgment, while Michael is called the angel of mercy. Thus they attribute to Gabriel the destruction of Sodom and of the host of Sennacherib, though they also regard him as the angel who buried Moses, and as the man deputed to mark the figure Tau on the foreheads of the elect (Ezech., 4). In later Jewish literature the names of angels were considered to have a peculiar efficacy, and the British Museum possesses some magic bowls inscribed with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac incantations in which the names of Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel occur. These bowls were found at Hillah, the site of Babylon, and constitute an interesting relic of the Jewish captivity. In apocryphal Christian literature the same names occur, cf. Enoch, ix, and the Apocalypse of the Blessed Virgin.

As remarked above, Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who “strengthened” Our Lord in the garden (cf. the Hymn for Lauds on 24 March). Gabriel is generally termed only an archangel, but the expression used by St. Raphael, “I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tob., xii, 15) and St. Gabriel’s own words, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God” (Luke 1, 19), have led some to think that these angels must belong to the highest rank; but this is generally explained as referring to their rank as the highest of God’s messengers, and not as placing them among the Seraphim and Cherubim (cf. St. Thomas, I, Q. cxii, a.3; III, Q. xxx, a.2, ad 4um). 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

Traditional Palm Sunday Priest’s Preparation

As we are busy priests getting ready for Palm Sunday, I will just give an outline to help us have a Holy Celebration of Palm Sunday.

ottawa palm sunday viNeeded:

  1. Credence table placed in front of Altar on Epistle side.
  2. Palms placed on table.
  3. Pitcher of water to wash hands after distributing palms.

Priest, with purple stole and cope

  1. Sings ‘Asperges Me’ and sprinkles faithful with Holy Water.
  2. Puts in incense in Thurible and bless it.
  3. Facing people behind credence table prays blessing of Palms.
  4. Sprinkles holy water on Palms.
  5. Incenses Palms.
  6. Distributes Palms to highest clergy first, altar boys, then people.
  7. People genuflect and kiss Palm and priest’s hand.

Then the priest goes to Gospel side and incenses and reads Gospel Mt. 21:1-9

Priest then puts more incense in thurible and says; Procedamus in pace. In nomine Christi.

Procession (with all bearing palms) begins with this order.

  1. Thurifer
  2. Cross bearer with two candle bearers.
  3. Clergy.
  4. Choir.
  5. People.

Process outside of church.

Once returning into church, the priest says a prayer.

Priest then goes to cedilla and changes into chasuble and maniple.

He begins Holy Mass without prayers at foot of altar.  There is also no last Gospel.

It is also very advisable to have the Gospel Passion printed up for the people who do not have missals to read along with the priest when he reads it in Latin.

The Family Under Attack Don Leone Ch. 12 c

41VAKxjdgfLFor a New Culture of Human Life

In the words of Paul VI, the Church ‘exists in order to evangelize’. An integral part of her Gospel is the Gospel of life. We are the people of life and for life and have been sent as a people and individually ‘to preach the Gospel of life, to celebrate it in the Liturgy and in our whole existence, and to serve it…’

In essence: ‘Jesus is the only Gospel: we have nothing further to say or any other witness to bear. To proclaim Jesus is itself to proclaim life.’ The Gospel of Life has ‘a marvellous newness since it is one with Jesus who ‘makes all things new’ and therefore ‘reveals the sublime heights to which the dignity of the human person is raised through Grace.’ As St. Gregory of Nyssa writes140: ‘Once [man] is adopted by the God of the universe as a son, …man surpasses his nature: mortal he becomes immortal…’ [Let us note that this Divine sonship refers to Supernatural Grace and not simply to humanity] This gives birth to gratitude and joy which impel us to share this message with all. The core of this Gospel is: ‘The proclamation of a living God who is close to us, who calls us to profound communion with Himself… It is the affirmation of the inseparable connection between the person, his life, and his bodiliness. It is the presentation of human life as a life of relationship, a gift of God, the fruit and sign of His love. It is the proclamation that Jesus has a unique relationship with every person… It is the call for a ‘sincere gift of self’. It entails that ‘human life, as a gift of God, is sacred and inviolable… Not only must human life not be taken, but it must be protected with loving concern. The meaning of life is found in giving and receiving love.’

The proclamation of the Gospel of Life falls especially to those who have a teaching ministry in the Church, above all the bishops, but also all theologians, pastors, teachers, and catechists. Sound doctrine must be taught in theological faculties, seminaries, and Catholic institutions, and without dissent, compromise, or ambiguity ‘which might conform us to the world’s way of thinking’.

The Gospel of Life must be celebrated by fostering a contemplative outlook, seeing in life ‘its deeper meaning… its utter gratuitousness, its beauty, and its invitation to freedom and responsibility… discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person His living image…perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter, dialogue, and solidarity’. It must be celebrated by celebrating the God of life, the God who gives life, in our prayer and in every person; by celebrating the Sacraments; by daily living filled with self-giving love for others, even to the point of heroism, to the total gift of self that manifests the mystery of the Cross. Special mention should be made here of the ‘brave mothers who devote themselves to their own families without reserve’.

The Gospel of Life must be served by works of charity to the suffering; by showing ‘care for all life and for the life of every-one’; by promoting ‘centres for natural methods of regulating fertility, marriage and family counselling agencies’, and centres to assist pregnant women and foster new life; by establishing communities for the afflicted and the elderly, hospitals, clinics, and convalescent homes, all of which acknowledge and understand suffering, pain, and death ‘in their human and specifically Christian meaning’. Such projects require the involvement of persons committed to the Gospel of Life in the spheres of health care, spiritual assistance, voluntary work, politics and the legislature. With regard to the growth of population there must be established ‘a true economy of communion and sharing of goods in both the national and international order. This is the only way to respect the dignity of persons and families, as well as the authentic cultural patrimony of peoples’. In fact ‘a family policy must be the basis and driving force of all social politics’.

‘Within the ‘people of life and the people for life’ the family has a decisive responsibility.’ It is called to ‘guard reveal and communicate love’ and to be ‘the sanctuary of life’. As the domestic church it is itself called to ‘proclaim, celebrate, and serve the Gospel of Life’, revealing in procreation that ‘human life is a gift received in order then to be given as a gift’. It proclaims this Gospel in the manner in which it raises and educates its children; it celebrates this Gospel in daily prayer and in the family’s daily life of love; it serves it by solidarity as regards adoption, by participation in social and political life, and by involvement with the elderly.

What is urgently required is a ‘great campaign in support of life’, starting from a formation of consciences on the worth of human life. To this end it is vital ‘to re- establish the essential connection between life and freedom’, to understand that ‘Love as a sincere gift of self is what gives the life and freedom of the person their truest meaning’; it is vital to acknowledge that man is ‘a creature to whom God has granted being and life as a gift and a duty’. A work of education is necessary, especially in sexuality and love, involving a training in chastity and responsible procreation and in the cultivation of an authentic understanding of suffering and death in the light of the Redemption, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

In short there must be an advance from having to being, from things to persons, from indifference and rejection to concern for, and acceptance of, others. Important roles must be taken by educators, intellectuals, those in the mass media, and by women promoting a ‘new feminism’, reconciling people with life, and bearing witness to love through their acceptance of every human being, which they have learnt in their experience of pregnancy. Women who have undergone an abortion are called to repentance and to seek God’s mercy; to an eloquent defence of everyone’s right to life; and to a renewed commitment to life by accepting the birth of other children or ‘by welcoming and caring for those most in need of some-one to be close to them’. Prayer and fasting are necessary for spreading the Gospel of Life, which is for all and is an indispensable condition for democracy and peace.

Conclusion

The Blessed Virgin Mary is ‘the one who accepted ‘Life’ in the name of all and for the sake of all’. ‘She is the incomparable model of how life should be welcomed and cared for.’ Just as the Church’s motherhood is achieved in tension with the forces of evil and darkness as we read in the book of Revelation, so the Blessed Virgin lived her motherhood amidst suffering. The ‘yes’ of the Annunciation culminates in Calvary where Mary becomes the mother of us all.

The child whom the dragon of Revelation wishes to devour is a figure of Christ and of every man, especially every helpless baby whose life is threatened, since, to repeat the phrase quoted at the beginning of the Encyclical, (regarding which, see note) ‘by his Incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every person’. For this reason ‘rejection of human life… is really a rejection of Christ… Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me’ (St. Mt 18.5). ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ (St. Mt.25.40).

‘The Angel’s Annunciation to Mary is framed by these reassuring words: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary’ and ‘With God nothing will be impossible’ (St. Luke 1 30,37)… Mary is a living word of comfort for the Church in the struggle against death.’ In fact the Church assures us that ‘The Lamb who was slain is alive, bearing the marks of His Passion in the splendour of the Resurrection… and proclaims, in time and beyond, the power of life over death.’ In our pilgrimage towards the New Jerusalem where ‘death shall be no more’ we look to Mary ‘who is for us a sign of sure hope and solace’.

Bible Readings Monday Passion Week

EPISTLE
Jon 3:1-10
And the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time saying: Arise, and go to Ninive, the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive, according to the word of the Lord: now Ninive was a great city of three days’ journey. And Jonas began to enter into the city one day’s journey: and he cried and said: Yet forty days and Ninive shall be destroyed. And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Ninive: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive, from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen, nor sheep taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water. And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.
GOSPEL
Jn. 7:32-39
The Pharisees heard the people murmuring these things concerning Him: and the rulers and Pharisees sent ministers to apprehend him. Jesus therefore said to them:”Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to Him that sent Me. You shall seek Me and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither you cannot come.” The Jews therefore said among themselves: Whither will He go, that we shall not find him? Will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles and teach the Gentiles? What is this saying that He hath said: You shall seek Me and shall not find Me? And: Where I am, you cannot come? And on the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him: for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.