Tuesday, October 28, 2014

26th October 2014, Feast of Christ the King

Last Sunday of October
26 October 2014
Feast of Christ the King

“The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and power and honour: to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever.” Rev. 5:12 & 1:6

Firstborn of All Creatures
Jesus is the firstborn of all creatures. He gives the Father the greatest glory as Man because He is true God and loves the Father infinitely as God, the Son. This is why the Father is so pleased with His Son. Christ is the King for all eternity because He has given Himself for our ransom and has won for us our eternal salvation: “The Lord will reign forever and will give his people the gift of peace.” Ps. 28: 10-11 Jesus Christ is the “Son of Man” as He is both God and man. He is the first-born of all creatures and as such He gives the Father the greatest glory. This is why He is the “King of Kings” and the “Lord of Lords.” He is Christ the King of all nations and tribes: “He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and invisible...” Col. 1: 13-16

He Has Redeemed Us
“(Jesus Christ) faithful witness, first-born of the dead and ruler of the Kings of the earth.” Rev. 1:5. Christ is the faithful witness who has given His life and “washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Rev. 1:5 All creation looks to Him as He is the “Alpha and Omega,” (Rev. 1:8) the beginning and the end of all things. All things are measured by His great sacrifice for He has conquered death and redeemed us of our sins. “To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” Rev. 1:6

Jesus Christ is King, Priest and Victim
The Preface for the Feast of Christ the King (Ordinary Form) echoes the theme of Christ’s Kingship: “that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: Who with the oil of gladness didst anoint Thine only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ as Priest for ever and King of all.” (Preface) Jesus is our eternal High Priest and King of Kings forever: “That offering Himself on the altar of the Cross a stainless Victim to appease Thee, He might accomplish the mysteries of man’s redemption...” (Preface) He is not only our King, but He is also our Priest who has sacrificed Himself for our sins. By His sacrifice, we are redeemed for His eternal kingdom in heaven: “and that subjecting all creatures to His sway, He might present to Thine infinite Majesty a universal and eternal Kingdom; a Kingdom of truth and life; a Kingdom of holiness and grace: a Kingdom of justice and peace.” (Preface) To obtain this Kingdom, St. Paul told us we must be “without spot or wrinkle.” (Eph. 5: 27)

Tragic Choice of Modern Man
The nations of the world tragically reject the Kingship of Christ with their immoral opposition to God’s Divine laws. Many nations today have legalized practices which are opposed to the Ten Commandments: abortion, divorce, contraception, same sex marriages, and euthanasia. With these sins against God’s Commandments, the world has chosen Satan, the Prince of this World, as their leader (king). This choice can only lead to tragedy for all of us in this world. People no longer believe in truth and think that they can do what they want; they no longer believe in the eternal truths of heaven, hell and judgment; they deny the Church’s teachings on life and marriage and fail to procreate the children that God wishes to give the world. “Without a deep reverence for the sacredness of life, humanity places itself on the path of self-destruction.” (Bishop Sean O’Malley of Fall River, Ma. USA, In Vitro Fertilization)


Christ the King Must Reign in Our World and in Us All
When Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his decree, “Quas Primas,” he wanted to remind us that Jesus Christ must reign as King in our minds, our hearts, and in our wills if we want peace and happiness in this world. “He must reign in our minds which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desire and love God above all things, and cleave to Him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls.”(#21) Jesus has created us, He has redeemed us, He has sanctified us with His Flesh and Blood, He governs us with love and protection, and He has prepared a place for us in His heavenly Kingdom if we are faithful to His commandments. He will come to judge us in His glory and power. If we choose Him as our King today, we need not fear that He will refuse us His kingdom in Heaven for all eternity.

Feast of All Saints
Saturday, 1 November 2014
The Bishops of England have mandated that when a Holyday of Obligation falls on Saturday, it will be celebrated on Sunday.

The Feast of All Souls,
Monday 3 November 2014

Souls in Purgatory: November is the month in which we remember the poor souls in Purgatory who cannot help themselves. They rely on us to shorten their time of purification. Saturday, 2 November 2013 is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed or All Souls Day. Mass is at 7:30 AM as usual.

All-Souls Lists: Please put the names of those who have died on the All-Souls list, and we will include them in our Masses during the month of November .

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix
First Saturday: 1 November 2014

10:00 First Conference:
Marian Vow of Total Consecration

11:30 AM - Holy Mass for the Solemnity

12:30 PM- Lunch (Bring your own); Tea supplied

1:45 PM- Quiet Time: Adoration, Confession, Rosary & Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:10 PM- Benediction
3:30 PM- Second Conference on the Church in these times.
4:15-4:30 PM- Tea and Departure

The Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (Our Lady) is to bring all souls to her Son, Jesus Christ, King of all creation. Our Lady will destroy all His enemies (Cf. Genesis 3:15), that is, Mary will crush under her heel all who are opposed to Christ by making laws contrary to His Commandments. On November 9, 1976 Karol Cardinal Wojtla, the future Pope John Paul II, spoke at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, Pa., USA: “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-gospel.”


The Five First Saturdays
Saturday, 1 November is the First Saturday of November. Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!








Saturday, October 18, 2014

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost 12th October

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
12 October 2014

“... that you lack no grace, while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 1: 7

Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book on the liturgy, The Liturgical Life Vol. 11, tells us that today’s readings contain a most important truth of the Second Coming of Christ. This truth filled the early Church with both hopeful joy and fearful anxiety: “The last coming of the Son of Man is no longer far off! The approach of that final event, which is to put the Church in full possession of her divine Spouse, redoubles her hopes; but the last judgment, which is also to pronounce the eternal perdition of so great a number of her children, mingles fear with her desire; and these two sentiments of hers will henceforth be continually brought forward in the holy liturgy. It is evident that expectation has been, so to say, an essential characteristic of her existence... This explains how it is that the apostles, the interpreters of the Church’s aspirations, are continually recurring to the subject of the near approach of our Lord’s coming. St. Paul has just been telling us, and that twice over in the same breath, that the Christian is who waiteth for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for the day of His coming... ‘The Lord delayeth not His promise, as some imagine; but dealeth patiently, for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance. But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence; and the elements shall be melted with heat; and the earth, and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up...’” Gueranger, p. 396-8 This is why St. Paul in today’s Epistle (I Cor. 1:4-7) wants us always to be ready: “... that you lack no grace, while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 1: 7 This is also why the Church includes in today’s Gospel (Mt. 9:1-8) Jesus’ miraculous cure of the paralytic whose bodily paralysis reveals the more important sickness of his soul: “Take courage, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Mt. 9:2 Only with the forgiveness of sins could the members of the early Church ever hope for eternal salvation at the Second Coming of Jesus.

“...he made an evening sacrifice to the Lord.”
These words of today’s Offertory Antiphon show how the preceding Epistle corresponds to the Gospel (Mt. 9:1-8). The Scribes and Pharisees have become evil in their role as the teachers of the Mosaic Law and have not taught the people truthfully. Quoting the Abbot Rupert, Dom Gueranger comments on their false teachings: “Let him not imitate those men, who unworthily sat on the chair of Moses; but let him follow the example of Moses himself, who in the Offertory and its verses, presents the heads of the Church with such a model of perfection. Pastors of souls ought, on no account to be ignorant of the reason why they are placed higher than other men: it is not so much that they may govern others, as that they may serve them.’” (Rupert, Div. Off., xii. 18) Although they were his successors, the Scribes and Pharisees lack the true spirit of Moses. This is why they reject Jesus and refuse to see how His miraculous cure of the paralytic is a sign that He is God and can forgive sins.

“Thy sins are forgiven thee...” Mt. 9: 2
The Church placed today’s Gospel on the forgiveness of sins in the Sunday following the Ember Days of September because this was the time for the ordination of priests who are the ministers of reconciliation. Only the hard-hearted Pharisees could find fault with Jesus in the tender account of this miracle in which He cures a paralytic: “And behold, they brought to him a paralytic lying on a pallet. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, ‘Take courage, son; thy sins are forgiven thee.’ And behold, some of the Scribes said within themselves, ‘This man blasphemes.’ And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you harbour evil thoughts in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sins’ Mt. 9:2-3 (In St. Luke’s Gospel (cf. Lk.5:18-26), the paralytic is let down from the rooftop by his four friends.) In his commentary on this passage, Dom Gueranger says: “From the very beginning of Christianity, heretics had risen up denying that the Church had the power, which her divine Head gave her, of remitting sin. Such false teachings would irretrievably condemn to spiritual death an immense number of Christians, who, unhappily, had fallen after their Baptism, but who, according to Catholic dogma, might be restored to grace by the sacrament of Penance. With what energy, then would our mother Church defend the remedy which gives life to her children! She uttered her anathemas upon, and drove from her communion, those Pharisees of the new law, who, like their Jewish predecessors, refused to acknowledge the infinite mercy and universality of the great mystery of the Redemption....The outward cure of the paralytic was both the image and the proof of the cure of his soul, which previously had been in a state of moral paralysis; but he himself represented another sufferer, viz., the human race, which for ages had been victim to the palsy of sin. Our Lord had already left the earth, when the faith of the apostles achieved this, their first prodigy, of bringing to the Church the world grown old in its infirmity. Finding that the human race was docile to the teaching of the divine messengers, and was already an imitator of their faith, the Church spoke as a mother, and said: ‘Be of good heart, son! Thy sins are forgiven thee!’ At once, to the astonishment of the philosophers and sceptics, and to the confusion of hell, the world rose up from its long and deep humiliation; and, to prove how thoroughly his strength had been restored to him, he was seen carrying on his shoulders, by the labour of penance and the mastery over his passions, the bed of his old exhaustion and feebleness, on which pride, lust, and covetousness had so long held him. From that time forward, complying with the word of Jesus, which was also said to him by the Church, he has been going on towards his house, which is heaven, where eternal joy awaits him! And the angels, beholding such a spectacle of conversion and holiness (cf. Lk. 5:26), are in amazement, and sing glory to God, who gave such power to men.” Gueranger, p. 404-5 How grateful we should be to God for forgiving our sins!

“...that you lack no grace, while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 4:7
Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen, OCD in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, sums up the great blessings which come from Jesus Christ: “Yes, every grace, every gift comes to us from Jesus, and through them our person and our life are sanctified. By means of sanctifying grace, He sanctifies our soul; through the infused virtues, He sanctifies our faculties; and by actual grace, He sanctifies our activity, enabling us to act supernaturally. Yet even this does not satisfy his liberality: He is not content with setting us on the road to God, supernaturalized by grace and the virtues, but He wishes to substitute His divine way of acting for our human way; therefore, He enriches us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which make us capable of being moved by God Himself. All this is the gift of Jesus to us, the fruit of His Passion....It seems as if Jesus, the true Son of God, is not jealous of His divinity or His prerogatives, but seeks every possible means to make us share by grace what He possesses by nature. How true it is that the characteristic of love is to give oneself and to place those one loves on a plane of equality with oneself!” Fr. Gabriel, p. 944-5 How true are the words of St. Paul in today’s Epistle: “... that you lack no grace, while awaiting the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 1: 7

“The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved” Part III
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice
The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church
“It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and waken them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned?
“Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you – for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter – but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty.
“Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine. They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, "The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls."
“Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, "Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom." Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence." (To be continued next week)









St. Teresa of Avila
Fifth the Centenary Celebrations
1515-2015
Exhibition of the Life & Works of St. Teresa
Cathedral of SS Mary & Boniface
Plymouth
Saturday, 4th October until Wednesday, 15th October
9:00 AM to 4 PM





19th Sunday After Pentecost 19 October 2014

19th Sunday After Pentecost
19 October 2014

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Mt. 22:14
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22:1-14), we see the continuation of Jesus’ parables in which He explains how the Kingdom of Heaven is made available to men, but they, for various reasons, do not accept the invitation of God. In today’s parable of the “Marriage Feast,” we see how the King gives a marriage feast for his son and invites guests to it. According to Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, OSB, this marriage feast by the king is actually the marriage feast of the Son of God who takes upon Himself a human nature. Pope St. Gregory the Great comments on the “Marriage Feast”: “...that the King made a marriage for His Son, in that, by the mystery of the Incarnation, He united the Church to Him. The womb of the Virgin was the nuptial-chamber of that Bridegroom, of whom the psalmist says (Ps. 18:6): ‘He hast set His tabernacle in the sun: and He, as a Bridegroom, cometh out of His bride-chamber.’” Gueranger, The Liturgical Life, Vol. 11, p. 419-20 In the Epistle to Ephesians, not in today’s Epistle (Eph.4:23-28), St. Paul writes about the Church being the bride of Christ: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and delivered himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water by means of his word; in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-7. The Church, that is all the souls united to Jesus Christ in baptism, is the bride of Christ who will be brought to the heavenly “marriage feast....without spot or wrinkle” at the end of their lives.

The Holiness of union with love in God
In his commentary on today’s Epistle Dom Prosper Gueranger writes in The Liturgical Life Vol. 11 about the holiness in the Blessed Trinity: “Let us call to mind how the holiness, which is in God, is His very truth living and harmonious, which is no other than the admirable concert of the Three divine Persons, united in love. We have seen that holiness, as far as it exists in us men, is also union, by infinite love, with the eternal and living Truth. The Word took a Body unto Himself in order to manifest in the Flesh this sanctifying and perfect truth ( cf. Jn. 1:14), of which He is the substantial expression ((cf. Heb. 1:3). His Humanity, sanctified directly by the plenitude of the divine life and truth, which dwell within Him (cf. Col. 2: 3, 9, 10), became the model, as well as the means, the way, of holiness to every creature ((cf. Jn. 14:6)....In Jesus, as the complement of His Incarnation, Wisdom aspires at uniting with herself all the members, also, of that human race, of which He is the Head (cf. Eph. 1:10), and First-born (cf. Col. 1:15-20); by Him the Holy Ghost, whose sacred fount He is (cf. Jn. 4:14), pours Himself out upon man, whereby to adapt him to his sublime vocation, and to consummate, in infinite love (which is Himself), that union of every creature with the divine Word. Thus it is that we verily partake of that life of God, whose existence and holiness are the knowledge and love of His own Word; thus it is that we are sanctified in truth (cf. Jn. 17:17) by the participation of that very holiness wherewith God is holy by nature.” Gueranger, p. 412

“...and put on the new man which has been created according to God in justice, and holiness of truth.” Eph. 4:23
St. Paul, in urging his followers to put on the new man in truth, shows us that the unifying principle in Jesus Christ for all of His members is the Holy Spirit of truth and love. Dom Gueranger comments on this unifying principle: “’May they all be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, said Jesus to His eternal Father, that they also may be one in us. I have given unto them the glory (that is to say, the holiness) which Thou hast given unto me, that they may be one as we also are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be consummated (that is, be made perfect) in unity.’” (cf. 17:21-28) ...By that sublime prayer, He explained what He had previously been saying: ‘I sanctified Myself for them, that they, also may sanctified in truth.’” (cf. Jn. 17:19) Gueranger, p.413

“...bond of peace”
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul writes about being faithful to one’s calling: “...with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love careful to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit.” Eph. 4:2-4 This unity of the Spirit is, according to Dom Gueranger, the principle for all: “It is the crowning of the sublimest vocations in the order of grace as well as the foundation and reason of all God’s commandments; so truly so, indeed, that, if we are commanded to abstain from lying, and to speak the truth to them that live with us, the motive is that we are members one of another.” Gueranger, p. 413-4 This is why St. Paul in today’s Epistle tells us: “Wherefore, put away lying and speak truth each one with his neighbour, because we are members of one another. ‘Be angry and do not sin.’ (Ps. 4:5); do not let the sun go down upon your anger: do not give place to the devil. He who was wont to steal, let him steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands at what is good, that he may have something to share with him who suffers need.” Eph. 4:25-8 Only those who keep “the bond of peace” with one another can belong to Christ and enter the heavenly “marriage feast.”

Heavenly Marriage Feast
Today’s Gospel is similar to the Gospel of Second Sunday after Pentecost (Lk. 14:16-24) which has “The Great Supper” to which many were invited. St. Matthew’s “Marriage Feast” is fuller in details with a revelation of the true aim of the Church. Dom Gueranger, in comparing the two gospels, says: “The certain man who made a great supper, and invited many, has become the King, who makes a marriage feast for His Son, and, in this marriage, gives us an image of the kingdom of heaven. The world’s history, too, has been developing, as we gather from the terms respectively used by the two Evangelists. Those who were first invited, and contented themselves with declining the kindness of the Master of the house, have grown in their impious ingratitude; laying hands on the messengers sent them by the loving kindness of the King, they treat them with contumely, and put them to death! We have seen the merited punishment inflicted on these deicides, by this Man, who was God Himself, the Father of Israel, now become King of the Gentiles: we have seen how He sent his armies to destroy them and burn their city. And now at last, in spite of the refusal of the invited of Juda, in spite of the treacherous opposition put them against the celebration of the nuptials of the Son of God, all things are ready for the marriage, and the banquet-hall is filled with guests.” Gueranger, p.417

Wedding Garment of Sanctifying Grace
The spiritual meaning of the “Parable of the Marriage Feast” contains the need for sanctifying grace to enter the heavenly “marriage feast.” All have been invited from the highways and crossroads of the land. When the King enters, he notices one without a wedding garment. This wedding garment signifies the need on the part of the soul to have sanctifying grace. In the spiritual sense, the man has not kept the “bond of peace” because he has not kept the Commandments and has offended God and his neighbour by his sins; therefore, the king has his hands and feet bound and casts him out into the darkness “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mt. 22:13 As we can see from today’s parable of the “Marriage Feast,” “...many are called, but few are chosen.” Mt. 22:14 All have the invitation, but not all accept the invitation. It is they who refuse to come either by rejecting Jesus Christ or by refusing to repent after disobeying God’s Commandments. We can be assured that we will be chosen for the heavenly “marriage feast” if we persevere in “the bond of peace” with love of God and our neighbour.

“The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved” Part III
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice
The Words of Holy Scripture
But why seek out the opinions of the Fathers and theologians, when Holy Scripture settles the question so clearly? Look in to the Old and New Testaments, and you will find a multitude of figures, symbols and words that clearly point out this truth: very few are saved. In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, "This ark was the figure of the Church," while Saint Augustine adds, "And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark." The Bible also tells us that only two Hebrews out of two million entered the Promised Land after going out of Egypt, and that only four escaped the fire of Sodom and the other burning cities that perished with it. All of this means that the number of the damned who will be cast into fire like straw is far greater than that of the saved, whom the heavenly Father will one day gather into His barns like precious wheat.
I would not finish if I had to point out all the figures by which Holy Scripture confirms this truth; let us content ourselves with listening to the living oracle of Incarnate Wisdom. What did Our Lord answer the curious man in the Gospel who asked Him, "Lord, is it only a few to be saved?" Did He keep silence? Did He answer haltingly? Did He conceal His thought for fear of frightening the crowd? No. Questioned by only one, He addresses all of those present. He says to them: "You ask Me if there are only few who are saved?" Here is My answer: "Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Who is speaking here? It is the Son of God, Eternal Truth, who on another occasion says even more clearly, "Many are called, but few are chosen." He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved. Brothers, these are the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Are they clear? They are true. Tell me now if it is possible for you to have faith in your heart and not tremble.
Salvation in the Various States of Life
But oh, I see that by speaking in this manner of all in general, I am missing my point. So let us apply this truth to various states, and you will understand that you must either throw away reason, experience and the common sense of the faithful, or confess that the greater number of Catholics is damned. Is there any state in the world more favorable to innocence in which salvation seems easier and of which people have a higher idea than that of priests, the lieutenants of God? At first glance, who would not think that most of them are not only good but even perfect; yet I am horror-struck when I hear Saint Jerome declaring that although the world is full of priests, barely one in a hundred is living in a manner in conformity with state; when I hear a servant of God attesting that he has learned by revelation that the number of priests who fall into hell each day is so great that it seemed impossible to him that there be any left on earth; when I hear Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in his eyes, "I do not believe that many priests are saved; I believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned is greater."
Look higher still, and see the prelates of the Holy Church, pastors who have the charge of souls. Is the number of those who are saved among them greater than the number of those who are damned? Listen to Cantimpre; he will relate an event to you, and you may draw the conclusions. There was a synod being held in Paris, and a great number of prelates and pastors who had the charge of souls were in attendance; the king and princes also came to add luster to that assembly by their presence. A famous preacher was invited to preach. While he was preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and said, "Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself with telling them on our part, 'We the princes of darkness thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned; also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you shall be with us in Hell.'" (To be continued next week)








Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 5th October 2014

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
5 October 2014

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to walk in the manner worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,...” Eph. 4:1-2
In today’s readings, the Church teaches us that the vocation of the Christian is to love God and one another. It is the most exalted of vocations because it leads to union with God here on earth and the guarantee of our eternal union with God in heaven. Dom Gueranger in his The Liturgical Year Vol. 11 sums up in the Epistle (Ephesians 4:1-6) St. Paul’s teaching on the Church “...the dignity of her children. She beseeches them to correspond, in a becoming manner, to their high vocation. This vocation, this call, which God gives us is, as we have been so often told, the call, or invitation, made to the human family to come to the sacred nuptials of divine union; it is the vocation given to us to reign in heaven with the Word, who has made Himself our Spouse, and our Head (cf. Eph. 2:5).” Gueranger, p. 374 “I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to walk in the manner worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,...” Eph. 4:1-2 In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22: 34-46) Jesus is tested by Pharisees about “which is the great commandment in the Law” (Mt. 22:36). He eludes their trap and repeats the Old Testament teaching on the need to love God and one’s neighbour: “’Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ (Deut. 6:5) This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Lev. 19:18) On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Mt. 22: 37-40 The “love” of which Jesus speaks is what St. Paul describes as the practice of “humility, meekness and patience.”

The Glorious Bond of Charity
Dom Gueranger tells us “what we must do to prove ourselves worthy of the high honour offered to us by the Son of God. We must practise, among other virtues, these three—humility, mildness, and patience. These are the means for gaining the end that is so generously proposed to us. And what is that end? It is the unity of that immense body, which the Son of God makes His, by the mystic nuptials He vouchsafes to celebrate with our human nature. This Man-God asks one condition from those whom He calls, whom He invites, to become, through the Church, His bride, bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh (cf. Eph. 5:30). This one condition is, that they maintain such harmony among them that it will make one body and one spirit of them all, the bond of peace. ‘Bond most glorious!’ cries out St. John Chrysostom---‘bond most admirable, which unites us all with one another, and then, thus united, unites us with God.’ (Ep. Ad Eph., Hom. IX, 8) The strength of this bond is the strength of the holy Spirit Himself, who is all holiness and love; for it is that holy Spirit who forms these spiritual and divine ties; He it is who, with the countless multitudes of the baptized, does the work which the soul does in the human body—that is, gives it life, and unites all the members into oneness of person. It is by the Holy Ghost that young and old, poor and rich, men and women, distinct as all these are in other respects, are made one, fused, so to say, in the fire which eternally burns in the Blessed Trinity. But in order that the flame of infinite love may thus draw into its embrace our regenerated humanity, we must get rid of selfish rivalries, and grudges, and dissensions, which, so long as they exist among us, prove us to be carnal (cf. I Cor. 3:3), and, therefore, to be unfit material either for the divine flame to touch, or for the union which that flame produces.” Gueranger, p. 374-5

The Great Commandment
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22:34-46), we see how the Pharisees fail in their attempt to trick Jesus into denying the greatest commandment of the law. “....they (the Pharisees) wanted to see if Jesus, who had declared Himself to be God, would not, consequently, make some addition to the commandment of divine love; and if He did they would be justified in condemning Him as having tried to change the letter of the law in its greatest commandment (St. Chrysostom, Hom. 77 in Matt.). Our Lord disappointed them. He met their question by giving it a longer answer than they had asked for. Having first recited the text of the great commandment as given in the Scriptures, he continued the quotation, and, by so doing, showed them that He was not ignorant of the intention which had induced them to question Him. He reminded them of the second commandment, like unto the first, the commandment of love of our neighbour, which condemned their intended crime of deicide (crucifixion of Jesus). Thus were they convicted of loving neither their neighbour, nor God Himself, for the first commandment cannot be observed if the second, which flows from and completes it, be broken.” Gueranger, p. 380-1

Denial of Jesus’ Divinity
Jesus not only shows how the Pharisees lack love of God and neighbour, but they also lack faith as they refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Dom Gueranger shows how Jesus proves that they are blinded in their hatred of Him: “He (Jesus) put a question, in His turn, to them, and they answer it by saying, as they were obliged to do, that the Christ was to be of the family of David; but if he be his Son, how comes it that David calls Him his Lord, just as he calls God Himself, as we have it in Psalm 109 (Ps. 109:1: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thy enemies thy footstool.’), where he celebrates the glories of the Messiah? The only possible explanation is, that the Messiah, who in due time, and as Man, was to be born of David’s house, was God, and Son of God, even before time existed, according to the same psalm: ‘From my womb, before the day-star, I begot thee.’ Ps. 109:3 This answer would have condemned the Pharisees, so they refused to give it; but their silence was an avowal; and, before very long, the eternal Father’s vengeance (The Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD) upon these vile enemies of His Son will fulfil the prophecy of making them His footstool in blood and shame: that time is to be the terrible day when the justice of God will fall upon the deicide city.” Gueranger, p. 381-2

Love of God Fulfils the Law
Unlike the Jews who rejected Christ and the law, the Christians, by loving Jesus, fulfil the whole law. Dom Gueranger contrasts the love of the Christians with the rejection of the Pharisees: “The Jews by rejecting Christ Jesus, sinned against both of the commandments which constitute charity, and embody the whole law; and we, on the contrary, by loving that same Jesus, fulfil the whole law. Jesus is the brightness of eternal glory (cf. Heb. 1:3) one, by nature, with the Father and the Holy Ghost; He is the God whom the first commandment bids us love, and it is in Him also that the second has its truest and adequate application....Nothing counts with God, excepting so far as it has reference to Jesus. As St. Augustine says (in Joan. Trace cx). God loves men only inasmuch as they either are, or may one day become members of His Son; it is His Son that He loves in them; thus He loves, with one same love though not equally, His Word, and the Flesh of His Word, and the members of His Incarnate Word. Now, charity is love—love such as it is in God, communicated to us creatures by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, what we should love, by charity, both in ourselves, and in others, is the divine Word, either as being, or, according to another expression of the same St. Augustine, ‘that He may be’ in others and in ourselves.’(Serm. cclv., in dieb pasch.) ....The question is St. Augustine’s again (Epist. lxi). ‘Who can love Christ without loving, with Him, the Church, which is His body? Without loving all His members? What we do—be it to the least, or be it to the worthiest, be it of evil, or of good—it is to Him we do it, for He tells us so (cf. Mt. 25: 40-45). Then let us love our neighbour as ourselves, because of Christ, who is in each of us, and who gives to us all union and increase of charity.’” (cf. Eph. 4:15, 16) Gueranger, p.382-3

“The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved” II
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Introduction
Thanks be to God, the number of the Redeemer's disciples is not so small that the wickedness of the Scribes and Pharisees is able to triumph over them. Although they strove to calumniate innocence and to deceive the crowd with their treacherous sophistries by discrediting the doctrine and character of Our Lord, finding spots even in the sun, many still recognized Him as the true Messiah, and, unafraid of either chastisements or threats, openly joined His cause. Did all those who followed Christ follow Him even unto glory? Oh, this is where I revere the profound mystery and silently adore the abysses of the divine decrees, rather than rashly deciding on such a great point! The subject I will be treating today is a very grave one; it has caused even the pillars of the Church to tremble, filled the greatest Saints with terror and populated the deserts with anchorites. The point of this instruction is to decide whether the number of Christians who are saved is greater or less than the number of Christians who are damned; it will, I hope, produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God.
Brothers, because of the love I have for you, I wish I were able to reassure you with the prospect of eternal happiness by saying to each of you: You are certain to go to paradise; the greater number of Christians is saved, so you also will be saved. But how can I give you this sweet assurance if you revolt against God's decrees as though you were your own worst enemies? I observe in God a sincere desire to save you, but I find in you a decided inclination to be damned. So what will I be doing today if I speak clearly? I will be displeasing to you. But if I do not speak, I will be displeasing to God.
Therefore, I will divide this subject into two points. In the first one, to fill you with dread, I will let the theologians and Fathers of the Church decide on the matter and declare that the greater number of Christian adults are damned; and, in silent adoration of that terrible mystery, I will keep my own sentiments to myself. In the second point I will attempt to defend the goodness of God versus the godless, by proving to you that those who are damned are damned by their own malice, because they wanted to be damned. So then, here are two very important truths. If the first truth frightens you, do not hold it against me, as though I wanted to make the road of heaven narrower for you, for I want to be neutral in this matter; rather, hold it against the theologians and Fathers of the Church who will engrave this truth in your heart by the force of reason. If you are disillusioned by the second truth, give thanks to God over it, for He wants only one thing: that you give your hearts totally to Him. Finally, if you oblige me to tell you clearly what I think, I will do so for your consolation. (to be continued next week)

The First Friday, 3 October 201
Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.

The First Saturday, 4 August 2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! Just think that when you are about to die the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven! “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen” How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix 4 September 2014

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who are interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls. Our Lady said at Fatima in 1917: “Many souls will go to hell because no one will pray and sacrifice for them.”

St. Teresa of Avila
The Fifth Centenary Celebrations1515-2015
Exhibition of the Life & Works of St.Teresa Cathedral of SS Mary & Boniface, Plymouth
Saturday, 4th October until Wednesday, 15th October
9:00 AM to 4 PM





Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost 28th September 2014

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
28 September 2014

“For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Lk. 14:11
In today’s liturgy, we are given passages which celebrate the incredible riches of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the Epistle (Ephesians 3:13-21), St. Paul, although he is in chains in Rome, celebrates “the unfathomable riches of Christ.” Eph. 3:8 Today’s Gospel ( Luke 14:1-11), describes the miraculous ability of Jesus to cure the man with dropsy and shows how Our Lord’s divine wisdom counteracts the pride of the Pharisees in the “Parable of Choosing the Lowest Place at Table.” Only divine wisdom could have challenged the Pharisees in their custom of choosing the first place for themselves at banquets. By telling them to humble themselves and pick the lowest place at table, Jesus rebukes them for their prideful attack on Him for curing the man of dropsy on the Sabbath. He also reveals their own covetousness for honours and esteem before men. In teaching them the need to be humble, Jesus reveals the importance of humility in order to enter the heavenly kingdom He has prepared for them. Earlier, in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul had extolled this wonderful plan of God for all mankind: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love.” Eph. 1: 3-4 In today’s Epistle, St. Paul praises the blessed calling of all Christians: “...and to have Christ dwelling through faith in your hearts: so that being rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, in order that you may be filled unto all fullness of God.” Eph. 3: 17-19

The Mystery of Christ Dwelling in Man
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 11 comments on the plenitude of God which is given to the soul who believes in Jesus Christ. “For, God alone, as he tells us in the music we have just heard, can strengthen in us the inward man enough to make us understand, as the saints do, the dimensions (‘breadth, length, height and depth’) of the great mystery of Christ ‘dwelling’ in man, and ‘dwelling’ in him for the purpose of ‘filling him with the plenitude of God.’ Therefore is it, that falling on his knees before him from whom flows every perfect gift, and who has begotten us in truth by his love (cf. Jas. 1:17-8), our apostle (Paul) asks God to open, by faith and charity, the eyes of our heart, that we may be able to understand the splendid riches of the inheritance He reserves to His children, and the exceeding greatness of the divine power used in our favour, even in this life.” Gueranger, p. 359 The Holy Spirit opens to us the riches of God’s grace for those who will penetrate the mystery of the predestination to holiness in love for all those who will be “the praise of the glory of his grace.” (Eph. 1:6) Dom Gueranger comments on this high calling of the followers of Christ: “It is there that divine Wisdom reveals to the perfect that great secret of love, which is not known by the wise and the princes of this world—secret which the eye had not before seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart even suspected as possible (cf. I Cor. 2: 6-9) ...The world was not as yet existing (“before the foundation of the world” Eph. 1: 4), and already God saw us in His Word (Christ) (cf. Eph. 1:4); to each one among us, He assigned the place he was to hold in the body of His Christ (cf. I Cor. 12:12-31; Eph. 4:12-16)), already, His fatherly eye beheld us clad with that grace (cf. Eph. 1:6) which made Him well-pleased with the Man-God; and He predestinated us (cf. Eph. 1:4-5), as being members of this His beloved Son, to sit with Him, on His right hand, in the highest heavens.. It is from the voluntary and culpable death of sin (cf. Eph. 2:1-5) that he calls us to that life which is His own life... Let us then be holy for the sake of giving praise to the glory of such grace (cf. Eph. 1: 4, 6) ...Thus, too, is to be wrought that mystery which, from all eternity, was the object of God’s eternal designs: the mystery, that is, of divine union, realized by our Lord Jesus uniting, in His own Person, in infinite love, both earth and heaven.” Gueranger, p. 361-2 Oh, how exalted is the calling of men to be Sons of God and “the praise of His glory” in heaven for all eternity.

The Heavenly Marriage Banquet
In a metaphorical way, the essential message of today’s Gospel is the practical fulfilment of what St. Paul is speaking about in today’s Epistle the predestination of the elect to the heavenly marriage banquet. Dom Gueranger comments on this calling: “The wedding spoken of in today’s Gospel is that of heaven, of which there is a prelude given here below, by the union effected in the sacred banquet of Holy Communion. The divine invitation is made to all; and the invitation is not like that which is given on the occasion of earthly weddings, to which the bridegroom and bride invite their friends and relatives as simple witnesses to the union contracted between two individuals. In the Gospel wedding, Christ is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride (cf. Apoc. 19:7).... But, for the attainment of all this—that is, that our Lord Jesus Christ may have that full control over the soul and its powers which makes her to be truly His, and subjects her to Him as the bride to her Spouse (cf. I Cor. 11:8-10) – it is necessary that all alien competition be entirely and definitively put aside.” Gueranger, p. 365.

Loss of Spiritual Ardour
In today’s Gospel, we see how Jesus stresses the importance of seeking God alone and not the honours of men in order to attain divine union. In a dramatic manner, as the Pharisees watch Him to see if He will break the Sabbath by curing the man with dropsy, Jesus not only cures the man with dropsy, but He reveals the serious sickness in the souls of the Pharisees. According to Dom Gueranger, quoting St. Ambrose, the man with dropsy represents “a morbid exuberance of humours, which stupefy the soul, and induce total extinction of spiritual ardour.” Gueranger, p. 367-6 Ven. Bede also shows that this loss of spiritual ardour is caused by lustful desires: “The dropsical man represents one who is weighed down by an overflowing stream of carnal pleasures, for it is a sickness named after the watery humour. But specifically the dropsical man is the covetous rich man who, the more he abounds in riches, the more ardently desires them, says St. Augustine.” The Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide, p. 540 Jesus cures the dropsical man of his covetousness for this world’s goods so that he can seek the riches of God. In reading the minds of the Pharisees, He also shows how His cure is just exactly what everyone else would do: “Which of you shall have an ass or a an
ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him up on the Sabbath.” Lk. 14: 5. The pride of the Pharisees has blinded them so that they condemn Jesus for delivering a man from sickness, even though they themselves would do the same for one of their own animals

“...he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Lk. 14:11
Dom Gueranger commenting on the evil attitude of the Pharisees tells us of the importance of humility if we are going to be accepted in the heavenly feast as Christ’s bride: “But, as above all, it is to the constant attitude of humility that he must especially direct his attention who would secure a prominent place in the divine feast of the nuptials.” Gueranger, p. 366 Jesus had spoken the “Parable of the First Seats at Table” to show that the Pharisees are ambitious and proud to presume to take the first places at a wedding banquet.“Now Christ demonstrates how unbecoming it is to vie for the first seat at table, and thereby he silently demonstrates, by way of analogy, how unbecoming ambition is in any matter whatsoever. For sin continues to be sin, although the matter may differ from one case to the next.” A Lapide, p. 341-2. Although Jesus is commenting on the ambition of seeking the first place, He is primarily teaching us all that the only way to the heavenly banquet table is one of humility. “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Lk. 14:11 Those who wrongfully desire the praise of men will not be worthy to enter the heavenly banquet as brides of Christ.

The First Friday, 3 October 201
Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.

The First Saturday, 4 August 2014
Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me." If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation. Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! Just think that when you are about to die the Blessed Virgin Mary will be there with you to help you get to heaven! “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen” How many times have you said these words in your lifetime?

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix 4 September 2014

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who are interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)
This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.” (Article 2: Statute)
We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of so many souls. Our Lady said at Fatima in 1917: “Many souls will go to hell because no one will pray and sacrifice for them.”


“The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved”
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks' mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard's most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.
One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's most famous sermons was "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved." It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men.
The reader who meditates on this remarkable text will grasp the soundness of its argumentation, which has earned it the approbation of the Church. Here is the great missionary's vibrant and moving sermon. (to be continued next and subsequent weeks)

St. Teresa of Avila
Fifth the Centenary Celebrations
1515-2015
Exhibition of the Life & Works of St. Teresa
Cathedral of SS Mary & Boniface
Plymouth
Saturday, 4th October until Wednesday, 15th October
9:00 AM to 4 PM

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 21st September 2014

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
21 September 2014

“But fear seized upon all, and they began to glorify God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us,’ and ‘God has visited his people.’”
Lk. 7:16

Today’s liturgy is dominated by the Gospel in which Jesus Christ, who is “the resurrection and the life” Jn. 11:25 raises the widow’s son from the dead. This is the same Jesus who appears on our altars, gives us life and raises us from the dead. “It is important to stress this connection between the Gospel and the altar, because it is all very well to think of the Gospel as history in which we are taught divine truths which unite us to God. But there is more to it than that; we must love the Gospel by means of its mystical significance. When the Church chooses a passage of the Gospel to include in the Mass, she does so with the idea that, not only will it reveal certain facts to us about our religion, but also so that, through the whole sacrifice, sacraments, and prayers of the liturgy, we shall draw abundant fruit for our souls. We shall begin to live what we have heard.” The Preacher’s Encyclopedia, Twelfth to Last Sundays after Pentecost, p. 152 In today’s Epistle (Gal. 5:25-26; 6: 1-10) St. Paul again emphasizes, as we saw in the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, the conflict between the flesh and the spirit: “For what a man sows, he will reap. For he who sows in the flesh also will reap corruption. But he who sows in the spirit will reap life everlasting.” Gal. 5: 8 The one hope that we all have is seen in today’s Gospel (Lk. 7:11-16) where Jesus raises “the only son of his mother” Lk. 7:12 in the town of Naim (means beautiful, delightful, pleasing). Here we see the theme that runs through today’s liturgy: “Whatever good there is in us is the fruit of His grace...Without Jesus we would abide in death; without Him we could never live the glorious life of the Spirit described by St. Paul in today’s Epistle.” Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 880

“...he who sows in the spirit will reap life everlasting.” Ga. 5: 8
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his The Liturgical Life, Vol. 13 comments on the spiritual life produced in our souls by the Holy Spirit: “When the flesh has been subdued, we must beware of supposing that the structure of our perfection is completed. Not only must the combat be kept up after the victory, under penalty of losing all we have won, but we must also be on the watch, lest one or other of the heads of the triple concupiscence (the world, the flesh and the devil) take advantage of the soul’s efforts being elsewhere directed to raise itself against us, and sting us all the more terribly, because it is left to do just as it pleases. The apostle warns us here of vain-glory, and well he may; for vain-glory is, more than other enemies always in a menacing attitude ready to in infuse its subtle poison even into acts of humility and penance...Would to God we could ever have ringing in our ears the saying of the apostle: “Whilst we have time, let us work good to all men” Gal. 6:10 ...Then will man reap with joy what he shall have sown in tears (cf Ps. 125:5); he failed not, he grew not weary of doing good while in the dreary land of his exile; still less will he ever tire of the everlasting harvest which is to be in the living light of the eternal day.” Gueranger, p. 346, 348 & 349) “... he who sows in the spirit will reap life everlasting.” Ga. 5: 8

Jesus is our only Life
“The thought that Jesus is our Life shines forth even more in the Gospel. The Master meets the sad funeral procession of a young man. His mother is walking beside the bier, weeping. ‘And the Lord, seeing her, had compassion on her, and said to her: ‘Weep not.’ And he came near and touched the bier... And He said: ‘Young man, I say to thee, arise...’ And He gave him to his mother.” (Lk. 7:13-4) Fr. Gabriel, p. 881 Jesus not only restores the son to life, but, in The Commentary on the Gospel of Luke According to Cornelius a Lapide, He also restores the souls of all sinners to the life of grace: “Allegorically, the widow is the Church, who mourns her dead sons—that is Christians who through mortal sin have been deprived of God’s grace, which is life, as it were, the soul of the soul—and by her tears begs forgiveness for them and the life of grace. Therefore, Christ 1. Halts the funeral procession, i.e., checks and restrains those passions which gain mastery over the young, so that the sinner may no longer follow them. 2. Touches the bier, i.e., the wood of the cross, sinners are moved by God to repentance and filled with grace. Hence, 3. The dead man sits up and begins to speak, i.e., begins to do good and to praise God, so that astonishment seizes all those who witness such a great and godly chance and they glorify God with one voice. So St. Ambrose, Euthymius, Theophylact, and Bede (in loco), as St. Augustine (serm. 44 de Verbis Domini). We have a living example of this in St. Monica, who as a widow mourned unceasingly for her son, Augustine, who was dead in heresy and wantonness, and she recalled him by her prayers and tears to such holiness of life that he became an eminent doctor of the Church, as he himself relates in his Confessions. Again, more particularly, the widow is the Church, the son—the people of the gentiles barred by the plank of concupiscence—and as the wood which brought death and to which it has grown accustomed—and as it were enclosed in bier, i.e., by the wood of the cross, Christ restored to life.” a Lapide, p. 377.
The miracle of the soul’s conversion
In another spiritual interpretation of this miracle (tropologically), from a moral point of view, Cornelius a Lapide sees how pastors of the Church should act towards sinners: “Tropologically, in the example of this widow we see how a pastor or a rector or a confessor should act when any of his weak spiritual children should happen to fall into mortal sin and are being borne to the grave of everlasting despair. He should follow the funeral procession with his fellow citizens, i.e., with weeping, wailing, and much lamentation, for thus his soul will receive comfort from the Lord who: 1. Touching the bier will cause the pallbearers to stand still, i.e., will put an end to lusts; 2. Will recall the dead to life; and 3. Will raise him up to the practice of the virtues, so that he may speak and confess his sins and proclaim the loving kindness of God. Thus at last he is restored to the Church, his mother, whose past sorrow will be eclipsed by her present joy, and thus also many will marvel and be led to extol the goodness of God.” A Lapide, p. 337-8.

Spiritual Meaning of Jesus’ Miracles of raising the dead to life
Cornelius a Lapide sees in the three people whom Jesus raised from the dead a spiritual (moral or tropological) significance. “We read that Christ raised three people to life. 1. The daughter of the ruler of the synagogue in the house, i.e. one who sins in the thoughts and intention. 2. The son of the widow at the gate, i.e. one who manifests his sinful intention in words, and misleads others. 3. Lazarus in the tomb, i.e. the consummate sinner who by repeating an action has contracted the habit of sin, so that he lies as it were buried in sin without hope of salvation or resurrection. The first, Christ raised to life by secret prayer apart from others; the second by a command; the third by crying with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ Jn. 11:43 This is because a sin in thought only is easily cured; more difficult is a sin in speech; and the most difficult is the sin that is actually and repeatedly committed, in which a person lies as though asleep, indeed as though dead and buried. Hence it is necessary for Christ to cry aloud in a mighty voice to the sinner’s heart, so that he may come to his senses.” a Lapide, p. 378 In Jesus’ three miracles of raising the dead, there is also a spiritual meaning of the increased seriousness of sins of the thought, word and deed.

“If anyone eat of this bread, he will live forever;...” Jn. 6:51
How blessed we are when we come to Holy Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus comes to give us life everlasting. He promised us this when He said: “I am the living bread that has come down heaven. If anyone eat of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of world.” Jn. 6: 51-2 This is one of Jesus’ most important promises; He promises us life everlasting when we come to receive His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist at Mass. Even if we are spiritually dead through mortal sin, He will raise us up, like He did with the only son of widow of Naim, by forgiving our sins in the sacrament of Penance through the priests of His Church. How blessed are those who live in the Spirit of Jesus Christ for they will have life everlasting.

How to attend Holy Mass
“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Sunday 14 September 2014

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Sunday 14 September 2014


“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that those who believe in Him may have life everlasting.” Jn. 3:14

Today’s feastday, The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, has a dual significance: first, there is the votive commemoration of the historical finding of the True Cross by St. Helen in 320 AD, and the return of the Cross to Mt Calvary by Heraclius, Emperor of the East, who after defeating King Chosroes (who had taken the Cross from Jerusalem) had carried the Cross himself to the Basilica on Mt. Calvary in 629 A D; second, there is the mystery of our redemption which is symbolized by Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross. It is this latter significance which is the most important one for us today.

The Cross Proves Our Love

The Cross of Jesus was the supreme proof of the love which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had for His creatures. In like manner our carrying of our crosses should be the finest proof of our love for God. St. John of the Cross says that the reason why so few reach the heights of perfection is that they are not willing to carry their cross. Therefore, God allows them to remain in the state of mediocrity. We should will to do more to show our love and gratitude for Jesus, who died on the cross for us, by carrying our crosses with generosity. “God loveth the cheerful giver.” II Cor. 9:7

The Glory of the Cross

Before Christ died on the Cross, the cross was an ignominious and despised object of punishment for the Jews. It was invented by the Romans to persecute its enemies. After Christ’s death on the Cross, it was a sign of His suffering and love for us. St. Paul would tell of its glory: “For the Jews ask for signs and Greeks look for wisdom; but we for our part preach a crucified Christ—to the Jews indeed a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” I Cor. 1:22-5 The Cross of Jesus Christ is the glory of our redemption. It is the trophy of the Jesus’ victory over death and sin. It is the sign of our salvation. It is Christ’s glory! For this He came into the world: “Sacrifice and oblation, thou wouldst not, then said I behold I come.” Heb. 10:5 Bishop Sheen said: “Jesus Christ was the only one born to die.” Jesus told us of His glory the night before he died: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” Jn. 13:31-2 The glory of the Cross is that Jesus conquers death and sin with His sacrifice on the Cross out of obedience to His Father and His infinite love for man.

The Cross is the Tree of Life

By Jesus’ death on the Cross all men will be drawn to him as He said: “And I if be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” Jn.12:32 This lifting up of all men to Christ will bring life to all souls. When the Israelites were punished by God with the bite of serpents, God prescribed to Moses to have the Jews mount a brazen serpent on a pole and their health would be restored. So too the brazen serpent is a figure of Christ who will restore spiritual health to all those who come to Him on the tree of the Cross. From the tree of the Cross there comes life unlike the tree of good and evil in the Garden of Eden which brought death to Adam and Eve for transgressing God’s command.

“unto death, even to the death of the Cross.” (Phil. 2:8)


Fr. Gabriel, OCD tells us in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, comments that we need to imitate Jesus so that we will become like Him even unto death: “… we must follow Him in His Passion, prepared to share in it by stirring up in ourselves, according to St. Paul’s exhortation (Today’s Epistle: Phil. 2:5-11), His sentiments of humility and total immolation which will bring us like Him and with Him “unto death, even to the death of the Cross.” (Phil. 2:8) Fr. Gabriel, p. 392 Because of Jesus’ “...obedience unto death of the Cross. Therefore God also has exalted him and has bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth.” Phil. 2:8-10

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.” John 12:32

In today’s Gospel, John 12:31-36, Cornelius a Lapide in his Commentary on the Gospel of St. John tells us: “ If I be lifted up, Latin, exaltatus, …. Most commentators say that it means, ‘If I be lifted up on the cross, i.e., if I be lifted on the cross, i. e. if I be crucified on high on a cross.’… Christ alludes to what He said in John 3:14-5: ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him may not perish; but may have life everlasting.’ Morally, Christ teaches us here that the cross is not to be dreaded, but desired, because the cross alone exalts.
‘All things,’ that is soul and body, say St. Augustine and Bede. But Rupertus says that all things means heaven and earth, men, angels and devils, ‘for I will bring it about that every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2:10).
“Thirdly, and more simply, all things means ‘all men of all nations who will believe in Me, that is all races of men, says St. Augustine. Hence S. Cyril, Chrysostom, and Theophylactus instead of all things have the reading ‘all men’, but all things is more emphatic as if to say: ‘All the spoils of the devil, that is, all the choicest things of the world which are the nations of the whole world that believe in Me.’
“I will draw. That is, ‘I will withdraw from the devil against his will, so that I may effectively draw and sweetly allure them to Myself, not against their own will, but willingly, and make them My brethren; nay more, My children, that as I am the Son of God by nature, so they may be the sons of God by adoption.”
“…Hear St. Leo (serm. 8 de Passione), treating this whole passage elegantly and tenderly. ‘O Wondrous power of the cross! O ineffable glory of the passion, wherein is seen the tribunal of the Lord, the judgment of the world and the power of the Crucified! For Thou didst draw, O Lord, all things unto Thee. And when Thou didst stretch forth Thine hands all the day to an unbelieving and obstinate people, the whole world felt the force of Thine acknowledged Majesty. Thou didst draw all things to Thyself; O Lord, when in execration of the sin of the Jews all the elements pronounced one and the same sentence, when the luminaries of the heaven were obscured, and day was turned into night, the earth also was shaken with strange quaking, and the whole creation refused its aid to the service of the wicked.’ He then develops this idea of Christ drawing all things even more forcefully: ‘Thou hast drawn all things to Thee, O Lord, for when the veil of the temple was rent, the holy of holies was withdrawn from the unworthy high priests, in order that the figure might be changed into Truth, prophecy into manifestation, and the law into the gospel. Thou, O Lord, didst draw all things to Thee, in order that that which was kept hid in one temple of Judea, by shadows and outward signs, the devotion of all nations might everywhere celebrate by a full and manifest sacrament. For now there is a more illustrious order of Levites, a higher dignity of elders, and a more sacred unction of priests. Because Thy cross is the fount of all blessings, the source of all graces, through which believers obtain strength out of weakness, glory out of shame, and life out of death.” A Lapide, p. 492-4

The Sign of the Cross

We should truly love the Cross! The Church teaches us this when we sign ourselves with the Cross. The sign of the cross symbolizes our two greatest mysteries, the Blessed Trinity and the Redemption. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, we bless ourselves with the sign of the Cross which is the symbol of our Redemption by the Incarnate Son of God. Jesus showed His great love for us by His sacrifice on the Cross: “Greater love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends.” Jn. 15:13 The sign the Cross is very simple, but how much wisdom and truth it contains. No wonder the Devil fears the Cross and the sign of the Cross. It is the sign that puts him to flight! Use it often especially in times of temptation.

Suffering for Christ

As Jesus Christ suffered and died for us on the Cross, so we should be willing to suffer and die for him. This is how we prove our love! Jesus told us that if we want to be His disciples and enter heaven, then we need to carry our daily crosses: “If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Lk. 9:23 St. Pio said that if we could see the value of suffering (carrying our crosses), we would beg for more suffering. Let us not wake up when it is too late and be sorry that we did not carry our crosses better in imitation of our beloved Saviour Jesus Christ who suffered and died for us on the Cross.

How to attend Holy Mass

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”