Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Shepherd meditation - click to read

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Feast of St Paul of the Cross, founder of Passionists - click to read

More aboutPassionists

..."Clement XIV and gave Paul of the Cross the house and basilica on the Celian hill, SS. Giovanni e Paolo. A short distance from the Coliseum, it was here Paul passed the last years of his life. Here, too, he was visited by two Popes, Clement XIV in 1774 and by Pius VI in 1775. He died a few months after the latter visit. His mortal remains are enshrined in the chapel, completed in 1880, dedicated to him....

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Canonization of the Blessed Nuno Alvarez Pereira O.Carm today!

More about new Saint HERE

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feast of St Mark Evangelist - click to read

St Mark by Donatello

"...When, on the occasion of the famine of A.D. 45-46, Barnabas and Saul had completed their ministration in Jerusalem, they took Mark with them on their return to Antioch (Acts 12:25). Not long after, when they started on St. Paul's first Apostolic journey, they had Mark with them as some sort of assistant (hupereten, Acts 13:5);...The context of Acts 13:5, suggests that he helped even in preaching the Word. When Paul and Barnabas resolved to push on from Perga into central Asia Minor, Mark, departed from them.... and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13)... St. Paul, who refused on account of it to take Mark with him on the second Apostolic journey. This refusal led to the separation of Paul and Barnabas, and the latter, taking Mark with him, sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-40). At this point (A.D. 49-50) we lose sight of Mark in Acts, and we meet him no more in the New Testament, till he appears some ten years afterwards as the fellow-worker of St. Paul, and in the company of St. Peter, at Rome (Colossians 4:10)....and he was probably there when St. Paul was martyred.

When we turn to tradition, Papias (Eusebius, Church History 3:39) asserts not later than A.D. 130, on the authority of an "elder", that Mark had been the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, and wrote down accurately, though not in order, the teaching of Peter (GOSPEL OF SAINT MARK). A widespread... tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria...The date of Mark's death is uncertain. As to the manner of his death, the "Acts" of Mark give the saint the glory of martyrdom, and say that he died while being dragged through the streets of Alexandria; so too the Paschal Chronicle.... In Christian literature and art St. Mark is symbolically represented by a lion. The Latin and Greek Churches celebrate his feast on 25 April, but the Greek Church keeps also the feast of John Mark on 27 September."

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Clandestine 'ordinations' of four 'Catholic' women-bishops in California - click to read

I am posting this sad news thinking about Archp Lefebvre's excommunication for ordaining four Bishops without Papal approval over twenty years ago, whereas clandestine ordinations of women priests in the Catholic Church are still taking place. Pope Benedict issued statement last year declaring automatic excommunication for women priests and for Bishops ordaining them. This has not been taken seriously enough by those involved in the scandal.

This humorous picture referring to the scandal was posted on the Angelqueen forum. It maybe entitled "Tea party after".
One can watch this misery on YouTube

From EWTN library Ban on women priests infallible Those who are involved in women-priests ordinations or propagate this idea are NOT CATHOLIC. Our Lord called twelve MEN for His Apostles and no women, very clear message.

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The cameo below shows Mary hands crossed on her chest, the posture of Orante. Little angels playing the trombone are surrounding her. Their musical instruments are flagged and bear the name of Mary. Underneath the image of the Virgin are depicted two scenes draw there to proclaim the praises of Mary. The scene in the foreground shows the interior of a baroque church. The priest at the pulpit announces Mary's all-holiness ("Beatissimam praedicaverunt" Proverbs 31). The second preacher, in an outdoor setting, praises the womb which bore Jesus.

"Your praise will not disappear from the people's lips" (Judith 13).

He hath so magnified thy name...that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever - Judith 13:25

Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth....because He hath so magnified thy name this day that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men....for in every nation that shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on account of thee (Judith 13:23, 24, 25, 31)

"Behold, all generations shall call me blessed!" Was ever a creature so renowned as Mary? From the time of the fall of our parents, when God promised to mankind the woman who should crush the serpent's head, she was spoken of and looked for through all ages till coming of our Lord, and we have her prophesy, which has been till now, and will continue to be, so amply fulfilled, that all generations shall call her blessed. Is there a civilized country where she is not held in honour? See the shrines, the churches, the altars erected in her name, and everywhere bearing the same fruit of increase in the knowledge and love of her divine Son. "They found the Child with Mary His Mother (Matt 2).

"In every country which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee" (Judith 18). As we honour a painter praising hos works, or an author by making known the beauty and wisdom of his writings, so we add to God's glory by appreciating, loving and exulting in His creation, and, above all, in His spiritual and supernatural creation, of which Mothe is the chef d'oeuvre.
"I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a plane-tree in the streets," etc O Mother mine, is not this literally fulfilled, especially in Catholic countries, where on hill-tops, in sheltered valleys, in the streets and by the waysides Mary's image is erected and honoured by thousands of loving hearts? Does not the church of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours tower like a mighty cedar over the town of Rouen, as does that of Fourvieres over Lyons? Are not the pictures of Our Lady of perpetual Succour (Marie-Hilf), or statues of the Blessed Mother to be found by every wayside in Tyrol, and who does not know Father Faber's beautiful lines about Rome?

At the corners of the streets,
Thy Son's sweet face and thine
Charmed evil out of many hearts,
And darkness out of mine.

What comfort and consolation the far-famed picture in the Gesu, with its title "Madonna della Strada", has brought to countless hearts! "Our Lady of the Wayside"

is in itself such a suggestive title of a helper who is ever at hand, even when we are not at prayer or in any church or oratory. How our thoughts, too, of Mary in her lifetime are associated with the wayside! No sooner had the mystery of the Incarnation been accomplished than she started in haste for the hill country, she and her divine Son hallowing the roads and paths they traversed. Again, before His birth, there was the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, to be followed ere long by the more difficult and dangerous one to Egypt, when probably the Holy Family often stopped to rest by the roadside, or under a tree, as they are frequently depicted by artists; and the same road, or most of it, would have again to be traversed on the return journey to Nazareth. Our meditations on the three days' loss also find their composition of place in country roads and the streets of Jerusalem, while these latter again supply the picture-scene for many of the stations of the Cross and our lady's return from Calvary. O Mother mine, our Lady of the Wayside, we are pilgrims travelling heavenwards. Take us under thy protecting care; be our help and refuge in the dangers of the way; shield us from harm; watch over our interest; guide our steps aright, till at last we reach the portals of the eternal city towards which we are tending.

Virgin Most Renowned, pray for us.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

LifeNews - Catholic Bishop thinks Christ died on the Cross out of solidarity with men not to redeem us - click to read

Please, send complain on the addresses provided on the link. It is shameful and very sad the 'Catholic' Bishop publicly declares heresy. We need to protest - address and phone numbers of relevant Vatican congregations available with the linked news.

What exactly has been said (text in German and English ) during the interview on German National TV:

"Journalist: Also Sie würden est nicht mehr so formulieren, dass Gott quasi seinen eigenen Sohn hingegeben hat, weil wir Menschen so sündig waren, so wurden Sie es nicht mehr formulieren?

(So you would no longer phrase it so: that God offered his own Son because we men were so sinful, you wouldn't phrase it that way any longer?)

Bishop: Nein. Er hat seinen eigenen Sohn in Solidarität mit uns bis in diese letze Todesnot hineingelassen um zu zeigen: Soviel seid ihr mir wert. Ich geh mit euch. Ich bin ganz bei euch in jeder Situation.

(No. He sent his own son in solidarity with us into the last anguish of death to show us: I value you this much. I accompany you. I am completely with you in every situation.)

This is pure heresy against traditional catholic doctrine, even if some commentators don't like to listen such thing!

Translation and comment by JSarto

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lapsed Catholic and former chief of staff of Cardinal of Westminster - spits vitriolic criticism on the Pope on National TV - click to read

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Feast of St George, Martyr - England's National Day - click to read

Beautiful picture of St George is by Raphael.

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Body-parts snatchers - what happens to fetuses after abortion?

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Meditation for the second week after Easter

''Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20: 29).

Thomas believed in Son of God only when he saw and touched Jesus' wounds. Therefore, Our Lord teaches us the faith of those who have not seen but believed is most pleasing to Him and brings many graces: ''Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now, though you see him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified '' (1 Pet 1:8). This kind of faith grows and is cultivated in humble, child-like hearts happily surrendered to God: ''Believe that he was faithful who had promised '' (Heb 11:11). The more humble surrender the greater blessings received: ''blessed are they that have not see, and have believed ''. Faith like this converted the world and threw it at the feet of Jesus. Child-like surrender and faith cooperates with Divine Graces in the practice of virtues and holiness so illustrious in martyrs and saints: ''Who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners'' (Heb 11:33). Charity depends on this kind of faith and gives real happiness to the soul: ''believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified'' (1Pet 1:8). We need to remember how limited is our reasoning to comprehend God and His works. Long time ago, certain atheist asked doctor Pasteur, the famous French bacteriologist but also man of great faith and integrity, why being so highly educated he still believed in God. Dr Pasteur answered saying his faith grew steadily stronger along with his studies. His faith was exactly this kind of child-like surrender: '' Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. ''(Matt 18:3,4)

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doctrinal discussion between Vatican and SSPX date set - click to read

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

First Sunday after Easter, Low Sunday - click to read

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Low Saturday - click to read

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From EWTN - Divine Mercy Devotion - click to read

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday in the Octave of Easter

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday in the Octave of Easter - click to read

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the new Archbishop of New York - click for details of installation Mass

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Wednesday in the Octave of Easter - click to read

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday in the Octave of Ester - click to read

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Bella Dodd's meeting with Monsignor Fulton Sheen - click to read "School of Darkness"

Near the House Office Building I ran into an old friend, Christopher McGrath, the congressional representative of the Twenty-seventh District, the old East Bronx area of my childhood. I had not seen him for more than a year. When I last saw him he had taken me to lunch and given me some advice. He greeted me warmly and invited me to his office. I was happy to go with him. There I found Rose, his secretary, whom I had known. When we were in his private office he said abruptly: “You look harassed and disturbed, Bella. Isn’t there something I can do for you?”

I felt a lump in my throat. I found myself telling him how much he had helped me the day he had taken me to lunch, and how good it had been to talk about my mother to someone who had known her.

I recalled how strange that luncheon visit had been. For the first time in many years and in a noisy restaurant in Manhattan someone had talked to me reverently about God. The people I had known in my adult life had sworn in the name of God or had repeated sophisticated jokes on religion, but none had talked of God as a living personal Reality.

He asked me if I wanted FBI protection, and I must have shivered noticeably. Though I was afraid, I was reluctant to live that kind of life. He did not press the issue. Instead, he said: “I know you are facing danger, but if you won’t have that protection, I can only pray for your safety.”

He looked at me for a moment as if he wanted to say something else. Then he asked: “Bella, would you like to see a priest?”

Startled by the question, I was amazed at the intensity with which I answered, “Yes, I would.”

“Perhaps we can reach Monsignor Sheen at Catholic University,” he said. Rose put in several calls and an appointment was made for me late that evening at the Monsignor’s home.

I was silent as we drove to Chevy Chase. All the canards against the Catholic Church which I had heard and tolerated, which even by my silence I had approved, were threatening the tiny flame of longing for faith within me. I thought of many things on that ride, of the word “fascist,” used over and over by the communist press in describing the role of the Church in the Spanish Civil War. I also thought of the word “Inquisition” so skillfully used on all occasions. Other terms came to me — reactionary, totalitarian, dogmatic, old-fashioned. For years they had been used to engender fear and hatred in people like me.

A thousand fears assailed me. Would he insist that I talk to the FBI? Would he insist that I testify? Would he make me write articles? Would he see me at all? And then before my mind’s eye flashed the cover of a communist pamphlet on which was a communist extending a hand to a Catholic worker. The pamphlet was a reprint of a speech by the French Communist leader Thorez and it flattered the workers by not attacking their religion. It skillfully undermined the hierarchy in the pattern of the usual communist attempt to drive a wedge between the Catholic and his priest.

By what right, I thought, was I seeking the help of someone I had helped revile, even if only by my silence? How dared I come to a representative of that hierarchy?

The screeching of the brakes brought me back to reality. We had arrived, and my friend was wishing me luck as I got out of the car. I rang the doorbell and was ushered into a small room. While I waited, the struggle within me began again. Had there been an easy exit I would have run out, but in the midst of my turmoil Monsignor Fulton Sheen walked into the room, his silver cross gleaming, a warm smile in his eyes.

He held out his hand as he crossed the room. “Doctor, I’m glad you’ve come,” he said. His voice and his eyes had a welcome which I had not expected, and it caught me unaware. I started to thank him for letting me come but I realized that the words which came did not make sense. I began to cry, and heard my own voice repeating over and over and with agony, “They say I am against the Negro.” That accusation in the Party resolution had made me suffer more than all the other vilification and I, who had for years been regarded as a hard Communist, wept as I felt the sting anew.

Monsignor Sheen put his hand on my shoulder to comfort me. “Don’t worry,” he said. “This thing will pass,” and he led me gently to a little chapel. We both knelt before a statue of Our Lady. I don’t remember praying, but I do remember that the battle within me ceased, my tears were dried, and I was conscious of stillness and peace.

When we left the chapel Monsignor Sheen gave me a rosary. “I will be going to New York next winter,” he said. “Come to me and I’ll give you instructions in the Faith.”

On my way to the airport I thought how much he understood. He knew that a nominal Christian with a memory of the Cross can easily be twisted to the purposes of evil by men who masquerade as saviors. I thought how communist leaders achieve their greatest strength and cleverest snare when they use the will to goodness of their members. They stir the emotions with phrases which are only a blurred picture of eternal truths.

In my rejection of the wisdom and truth which the Church has preserved, and which she has used to establish the harmony and order set forth by Christ, I had set myself adrift on an uncharted sea with no compass. I and others like me grasped with relief the fake certitude offered by the materialists and accepted this program which had been made even more attractive because they appealed for “sacrifice for our brothers.” Meaningless and empty I learned are such phrases as “the brotherhood of man” unless they have the solid foundation of belief in God’s Fatherhood.

When I left Monsignor Sheen I was filled with a sense of peace and also with an inner excitement which stayed with me for many days. I flew back to New York late that night, a beautiful, moonlight night. The plane flew above a blanket of clouds, and over me were the bright stars. I had my hand in the pocket of my blue wool coat and it was closed over a string of beads with a cross at the end. All the way to New York I held tightly to the rosary Monsignor Sheen had given me.

For the rest of that year I remained alone in New York, limited in my contacts to the few clients I served and the occasional friend who dropped in. Now and then I stepped into a church to sit there and rest, for only there was the churning inside of me eased for a while and only then fear left me.

Christmas, 1950, was approaching, an I again my loneliness was intensified. I was now living in a furnished room on Broadway at Seventy-fifth Street and still shuttling from my room to my office and back again every day and night.

On Christmas Eve, Clotilda and Jim McClure, who had lived at my house on Lexington Avenue and who had kept in touch with me and worried about me, called and urged me to spend the evening with them. After I sold my home they had had a miserable time finding accommodations. Harlem and its unspeakable housing situation was a cruel wilderness cheating the patient and undemanding. The McClures had moved to a one-room apartment on 118th Street where the rent of the decontrolled apartment was fantastic for what it offered. But Jim and Clo made no apologies for their home, for they knew how I grieved at their predicament.

It was cold when I arrived, but I forgot that in the warmth of their welcome. They rubbed my cold hands and put me in their one easy chair, and Clo served a simple supper. Jim said grace as he had always done at our house. We talked about Christmas, and as I listened to them I knew why bitterness had not twisted these two. They had made the best of what they had. They were gay and full of life, and above all they were touched with a deep spirituality which made their shabby room an island of harmony. There in a squalid building on an evil-looking street with its back areas cluttered with refuse and broken glass they had found spiritual comfort.

After we had eaten, Jim opened his well-worn Bible and read a few of the psalms and then Clo read several. As I listened to their warm, rich voices sounding the great phrases I saw that they were pouring their own present longings into these Songs of David, and I realized why the prayers of the Negro people are never saccharine or bitter. Jim handed me the book and said: “Here, woman, now you read us something.”

I leafed through the pages until I found the one I wanted. I began to read the wonderful phrases of the Eighth Psalm:

“For I will behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers ... What is man that Thou art mindful of him? ... Thou hast made him a little less than the angels ... Thou hast subjected all things under his feet.... Lord, our Lord, how admirable is Thy name in all the earth.”

For a few moments after I had finished no one spoke. I handed the Bible back to Jim. Clo poured another cup of coffee for me. Then I said I was tired and ought to get home since it was almost eleven o’clock. I promised I would come again soon, and Jim walked with me to the Madison Avenue bus and wished me a “Merry Christmas.”

The bus was crowded with chattering and happy people. I sat alone in the midst of them, with my face against the window, watching the drab streets go by. On many of those corners I had campaigned. I had walked many of them in a succession of months of meaningless activity, a squandering of my creative years in sham battle. So many wasted years, I thought, drab as the streets!

So immersed was I in my thoughts that I forgot to get off the bus when it reached Seventy-second Street to transfer for the west side. I realized I had gone too far, but had no real desire to get off the bus at all, and I watched Madison Avenue turn from stores and flats into smart shops and hotels, and when we crossed Forty-second Street I still did not get off the bus.

I have no recollection of leaving the bus at Thirty-fourth Street or of walking along that street to the west side. My next recollection is of finding myself in a church. The church, I learned later, was St. Francis of Assisi.

It was crowded. Every seat was filled. There was hardly room to stand, for people packed the aisles. I found myself wedged in the crowd, halfway between the altar and the rear of the church.

Services had begun. From the choir came the hymns of Christmas. Three priests in white vestments took part in the ancient ritual. The bell rang three deep notes; the people were on their knees in adoration. I looked at the faces etched in the soft light, faces reverent and thankful.

It came to me as I stood there that here about me were the masses I had sought through the years, the people I loved and wanted to serve. Here was what I had sought so vainly in the Communist Party, the true brotherhood of all men. Here were men and women of all races and ages and social conditions cemented by their love for God. Here was a brotherhood of man with meaning.

Now I prayed. “God help me. God help me,” I repeated over and over.

That night, after Midnight Mass was over, I walked the streets for hours before I returned to my rooming house. I noted no one of those who passed me. I was alone as I had been for so long. But within me was a warm glow of hope. I knew that I was traveling closer and closer to home, guided by the Star.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Monday, Road to Emmaus - click to read Instructions and Meditation

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St Teresa of Los Andes OCD - click to read

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

EASTER SUNDAY - click to read

Risen Christ - Medieval miniature

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Type of Jacob, The Anointing of Christ, The Entombment of Christ and Conclusions - more reading from "The Mysteries of Calvary" by Fr Guevera

When Isaac bore the wood of the sacrifice on his shoulders to the mountain, he was a type of Christ, Who should bear the Cross on His back up Calvary, on which to offer sacrifice for the sins of the world. But oh ! how far greater was the anti-type than the type! Isaac returned to his house alive, but JESUS hung on the wood of His Cross dead.

The serpent of brass which was erected in the wilderness was a figure of Christ on Mount Calvary, but the figure here again fell far short of that which it prefigured ; for the serpent of brass healed only the bodies of those stung, whilst Christ on His Cross recovers men of the wounds of their souls.

When Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, again there was an earnest of the future mighty deliverance wrought by Christ. But that to which it pointed was the greatest deliverance of all. Moses brought the people from Egypt into the desert, but Christ leads His elect into Heaven.

Joseph between the butler and baker of Pharaoh, was a foreshadowing of Christ between the two thieves ; but Joseph only promised the butler restoration to the servitude of his master's table, whilst Jesus promised the penitent thief the liberty of Paradise. The butler was to be raised after three days ; but " To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise" was the promise of Christ.

Truly, from these few examples may be seen how the antitype surpasses the type, as the rose excels the thorn, as the fruit surpasses the leaf, as the truth is better than the dream, and the spirit than the letter.

When our Blessed Lord said, " Search the Scriptures ; for in them ye think ye have eternal life ; and they are they which testify of Me" (S. John 5: 39), He plainly taught us to read the Sacred Writings with great diligence, else we should not understand the mysteries contained in them. To search is not to read carelessly and without attention ; and unless we read with devotion and thought, we shall fail to detect their testimony to CHRIST. To search out a testimony as CHRIST commands us, requires care in seeking, time for finding, light whereby to discern, understanding with which to grasp, wisdom by which to retain, and love by which to enjoy that testimony which has been sought, found, discerned, grasped, and retained.

Coming then to our purpose, we note one of the types of the Son of God in Jacob the Patriarch, among the Fathers one of the most honourable and renowned, so that the Angel, in addressing the holy Virgin, says that her SON shall reign in the house of Jacob, singling Him out in preference to either Abraham or Isaac. Let us now search into the type of Jacob.

Jacob was at variance with his brother Esau on account of their father's inheritance, and so was Christ with the Jew touching the pre-eminence of His Church ; but as, in the end, Jacob purchased the birth-right and inheritance of Esau for a mess of pottage, so Christ bought from the Synagogue its right and inheritance with His Blood. Jacob served for Leah and for Rachel his two wives ; and Christ had first the Synagogue and then the Church. The Synagogue, weak-eyed like Leah, could not discern what was for its good, and was hated ; whilst the Church, like Rachel, for whom the greatest toil was undergone, was the best loved.

Jacob died blind, his arms crossed, laden with years, surrounded by his children ; and CHRIST gave up the Ghost on Calvary with His eyes dulled by tears, His arms stretched out on the Cross, weighed down with our offences, and with Jew and Gentile around.

At the point of death, and with the sign of the Cross, Jacob took away the heritage from his nephew Ephraim, the elder, to confer it on Manasses, the younger ; and in like manner, at the last hour of life, and on the Cross, CHRIST disinherited the Synagogue, and gave the right of inheritance to the Church.

Jacob entered Egypt rich in gold, silver, and cattle, but when taken out of it, there were but the ointments and balm about his body. So Christ, the King of Glory, possessing all things, left this world in death, divested of all, exceeding poor, embalmed with the myrrh and aloes purchased by other men's money, and shrouded in a borrowed sheet.

Seeing, then, we have come from the figure to the thing figured, from the type to the anti-type, from the shadow to the substance, it is expedient for us to say something about the ointments wherewith the Son of God was anointed, and the shroud in which He was wrapped.

THE Son's Body having been placed in the Virgin-Mother's lap, and night approaching, dusk falling, and time being short, Joseph and Nicodemus were moved with great pity, and yet were constrained to ask the Mother to surrender to them the Body of her dear Son. The two honourable old men on one side beheld the SON resting on the lap on which, as an Infant, He had so often reposed, and were fain to let that wearied frame lie there where Nature pointed out its true place of sleep ; but on the other side the approach of night constrained them to conquer their compassion, and proceed with their work.

"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, . . . and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin : and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary : it shall be an holy anointing oil" (Exod. 30: 22 — 25).

In the ancient law, the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry, and the congregation, were anointed with this ointment. Without all doubt, this is a wonderful figure ; but yet its accomplishment is more wonderful, for now on Calvary the Tabernacle of God among men, our Emmanuel is anointed by the aged Joseph and Nicodemus, as was the old tabernacle by Moses and Aaron ; and that ointment which embalmed the Tabernacle of Christ's Body, now fills the whole house of His Church, and descends to every member of His congregation, as the oil on Aaron's beard ran down to the skirts of his clothing.

Tell me, I pray you, when God commanded in the Law of Moses that odoriferous perfumes should be offered in His sanctuary, did He care for the fragrance, like a man, or had this law a spiritual significance ? Most certainly, when the Holy Ghost inspired these laws, deeper mysteries were taught than the blind Jew discerned on the surface.

Let it be noted that there were many conditions to be fulfilled in the anointing with the holy oil. God commanded it to be made of only sweet and odoriferous spices ; also these spices were very costly and precious ; they were to be such as the law named, and not indiscriminately selected scented gums. None were to be wanting, and none were to be added thereto. They were to be accurately measured, and that, not by the secular and common scale, but weighed by the sacred shekel of the sanctuary. What is the holy Tabernacle but the Body of Christ ? This is the Hill to which we lift up our eyes, this the Tower to which we betake ourselves for safety, this our City of refuge, this the Tabernacle in which we will dwell, and this, too, the Temple in which we must worship.

What were the aromatic spices which were offered by the Priest ?—but the most holy virtues of the Son of God, whose fragrance fills the world, and of which the congregation of the elect are made to partake. On Calvary, where had been the odour of decaying carcasses, was now the fragrance of sweet spices. There, where all our sins and iniquities were offensive in the nostrils of God, is now the sweet-smelling savour of the perfected humility, obedience, love, long-suffering, and patience of Christ. As the wood cast by Moses into the bitter waters sweetened them, so the fetor of Calvary is made aromatic by the virtues of Christ.

What other things are those four sweet perfumes with which God commanded the holy Sanctuary to be made sweet;—but the bitter myrrh of suffering, the sweet cinnamon of charity, the calamus of patience, and the cassia of obedience ?

All the odours were of exact measure by careful weighing, to let us understand that the Son of GOD did equally and indifferently shed His Blood for all, great or small, rich or poor, living or dead. Origcn says, Often our Lord bestows His favours more or less, when He pleases, and how He pleases, and to whom He pleases, yet to all is sufficient by measure. S. Anselm, in an Epistle, writes, What do I care, my Brother, that thou art stronger than I, more noble in blood, more beautiful in body, more renowned in dignity, seeing that we are created by One God, and redeemed by One Christ, and governed by One Holy Ghost ? What does it mean, that of cinnamon there should be two hundred and fifty shekels, and of calamus the same amount ? —but that CHRIST shed His Blood as much for the labouring man who cuts stubble as for the prince who sits upon a throne. And what does it mean, that of myrrh there should be five hundred shekels, and an equal amount of cassia ?—but that, however great might be the sufferings of Christ, His obedience was equal in measure thereto.

S. Chrysostom says, When the SON of God imparted His precious Blood, He gave in excess to none, nor gave too little to any, nor deprived any wholly of it; but afterwards it had greater force in some than in others, but the fault lies with those to whom it is entrusted, not with Him Who entrusts it. What is the meaning of this, that all these sweet spices were pounded in a mortar before they were offered in the temple, and, having been ground very, small, were carefully sifted, and then mixed into a mass with oil ? Surely it points to the bruising and crushing of our Blessed LORD in His great sufferings on this day of trial and rebuke, and to the mingling with all the virtues He exhibited, and wherewith His congregation were to be anointed, His most precious Blood. And with respect to us, if our virtues and works are to be accepted of God, they must be crushed in sincere contrition, and sifted by self-examination, and fused in the oil of Divine Unction.

Unground is the spice man offers to God, who thinks on the Passion of Christ with no broken and sorrowful spirit; and unsifted arc the aromatic gums and woods man presents, when he reads or listens to the account of the Sufferings of Christ without meditating upon them ; and unmingled are the fragrant ' particles with oil, when he reads and meditates on the Death of Christ as a mental exercise, without the Holy Spirit to melt them into an ointment wherewith to anoint all his acts and all his thoughts.

The spices were to be weighed with the shekel of the Sanctuary. " All thy estimations shall be according to the shekel of the Sanctuary" (Lev. 27: 25). The Jews had two sorts of measures and weights, those used for profane purposes, and those employed in sacred things. The profane weight was the stater, whilst that used in weighing all things connected with the Temple was the shekel. Thus every thing which was in common use, which went into the market, was estimated by the stater, whilst every sacred estimation was " according to the shekel of the Sanctuary."

S. Augustine says, In thee and in me, all we do, all we think, is only of the common weight, sometimes good, sometimes bad : the perfumes of our prayers are sometimes weighed with devotion, sometimes with coldness ; but far otherwise was it with the love and zeal of the Son of God. Time increased them not, nor trouble made them cold. With the weight of the Sanctuary were the works of Christ weighed, whilst ours are tried by a different measure. His works could not be weighed with the same weight as are ours. The merits of one Holy Man may be measured with the merits of another Saint ; and the constancy and torments of one Martyr may be compared with the constancy and the torments of another ; but the virtues, and the sufferings, and the endurance of Christ must be weighed with another balance, and must not be put into the scale with the works of men. The HEIR of Eternity doth not enter into our account, nor is He tried by our measure. He is not weighed where we are weighed, nor judged as we are judged. How is it possible to weigh Him Who weighs all things ? How is it possible to measure Him Who measures all things by His wisdom?

Above, in the resting-place of the Trinity, and in the depth of the Divinity, the Son of the Living God has His measure and weight ; but the measure and weight of the Sanctuary are not as the measure and weight of our world below. No pains of Martyrs can be compared with the pains of Christ, no holiness of Angels can be meted against His, no majesty of monarchs can enter the scale with the splendour of the King of Kings.

In the balance of the Sanctuary nothing was weighed but that which was of the Sanctuary ; and so in the balance of Christ, His works alone are weighed. As we could not weigh ourselves in His balance, He came to us, and erecting that balance on Calvary, on the arms of the Cross He weighed our offences against His virtues, our rebellion against His obedience, our guilt against His Blood, and satisfied for all with His over-abounding merits.

AND now, whilst the two aged counsellors, S. John, the Blessed Virgin, and the rest are proceeding from Calvary to the grave, let us consider the words of David : " Thou hast maintained My right and My cause : Thou art set in the throne that judgest right" (Ps. 9: 4).

Many great mysteries are contained in the Psalm from which this passage is quoted, and it behoves us, in meditating on them, to set before our eyes first, Who is He Who maintains the cause, and sits in the throne ? then, What is the place where the right is maintained, and whence judgment is given ? and lastly, Whose cause is taken in hand by Him ?

He Who maintains the cause is Christ ; the place where it was maintained was the Cross ; and he whose cause was maintained was Man. What prince wrought such great things fighting as did JESUS on His throne? Who ever obtained such a great victory by hard battle as did He by enduring the contradiction of sinners ? What judge ever maintained a cause on his seat, as did Christ on the throne of His Cross ? O glorious Throne! on which He was accompanied by thieves, crowned with thorns, robbed of His Blood, deprived of His friends, encompassed by enemies!

To this throne Christ was sentenced by Pilate the governor. How then is it said that thence He deals judgment ? On this throne He is robbed of His honour and right; how then can He on it maintain my cause ?

Sitting on the throne of the Cross, the Son of God judged him who judged, that is the World ; judged that which was de

serving of judgment, that is Sin ; judged that which had sentenced Him, that is Injustice. Oh, how well the Prophet says, " Thou hast maintained my right and my cause," when it was my right and my cause which necessitated Thy crucifixion. By Thy death on the Cross Thou didst obtain for me a right to enter Heaven, by Thy pleading Thou didst maintain my cause against my great adversary, the Devil. Thou art my Advocate, Thou art my Judge, Thou art my Deliverer.

On Mount Calvary Jesus Was drucified and died, not for His own cause, but for mine; not because He was guilty, but because I was the transgressor. Then He maintained my cause, when by the surrender of Himself to death He saved me from death eternal. Then He maintained my right, when He suffered for my wrong and made over to me His right. Then He judged on His throne, when He divested Satan of his power and took me from the hands of the destroyer.

" Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " when of one ignorant Thou didst make me wise, when from a slave Thou didst make me a son, when from an alien Thou didst change me into a fellow-citizen, when from condemnation Thou didst set me free. Then didst Thou take my cause in hand, when to the prejudice of Thy Person Thou didst seek only the saving of my soul. I repeat, to the prejudice of Thy Person, for Thou didst suffer Thy Body to be mangled, bereft of life, and transfixed with a spear in death, only in order that my cause might be finished.

"Thou hast maintained my right and my cause." When Thou didst come down from the glory of Heaven, and lay aside Thy splendour, it was for my sake, for my cause. When of One invisible Thou didst make Thyself visible, when of One impassible Thou didst become passible, when of One immortal Thou didst become mortal; when from being Lord of Angels Thou didst become an outcast of men, then Thou didst take my right and my cause in hand.

Oh, how Thou didst plead my cause, seeing that, in order to elevate me, Thou didst abase Thyself; in order to give me honour, Thou didst divest Thyself of dignity and embrace infamy; in order to deliver me, Thou didst suffer Thyself to be taken ; in order to excuse me, Thou didst permit men to condemn Thee !

" Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " on the Cross, where, like an advocate, Thou didst pray for me ; where, like a judge, Thou didst pardon me ; where, like a kinsman, Thou didst pay for me ; where, like a brother, Thou didst answer for me ; where, like a friend, Thou didst die for me ; where, like a father, Thou didst weep for me.

" Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " on Thy Royal Throne of the Cross, where Thou didst hear me and the Devil, and the Devil and me, as we stood before Thee seated in judgment ; then he claimed me as his slave, then he accused me of sin ; and lo ! Thou didst refuse me to him, by claiming me as Thine own, and didst discharge the accusation by suffering Thyself the penalty. And as the Eternal Father was wroth with me because I have broken His commandments, and have not walked in His statutes, nor loved His law, Thou didst maintain my cause before Him, pleading Thy sufferings, offering Thy Blood, expiating with Thy death.

" Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " with the Angels, in giving them charge to guard me. " Thou hast maintained my right and my cause" with the Church, by incorporating me in her. " Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " with Satan, by delivering me out of his hands. " Thou hast maintained my right and my cause " against Sin, by pardoning it.

" Thou hast maintained my right and my cause," not having need or reason to do it, seeing Thou didst create me in Thy image, redeem me with Thy Blood, endow me with Thy merits, heal me with Thy wounds, enlighten me with Thy doctrine, draw me to Thine elect, and reform me with Thy Sacraments ; not that I deserved all this, but that Thou of Thy wondrous and overflowing love didst will it. O Light of my eyes and Rest of my soul ! upon my knees I beseech Thee, and with tears I ask Thee, that Thou wouldest lighten my understanding, cleanse my heart, guide my thoughts, that I may worthily meditate on all the great mysteries of Thy Passion, on all the awful and solemn events of that scene where Thou didst maintain my right and my cause. And now the work is over, Christ on His entry into the world undertook my cause, He has now pleaded it, and has maintained it unto the end. The work is finished, the Advocate has won, but His victory has cost Him His life. He has maintained my right and my cause without a thought of laying it down. Though the Jews bid Him come down from the Cross and make an end of His sufferings, He would not desert that throne, for thereon must He sit to judge my cause, and thereon must He remain till it was brought to an end.

But now all is over, and now that my cause is won, and my right is made clear, He leaves His throne in weariness for His bed in the cool and quiet grave.

" HE came again, and said, Father, one of our nation is strangled, and is cast out in the market-place. Then, before I had tasted of any meat, I started up, and took him up into a room until the going down of the sun. . . . And after the going down of the sun I went and made a grave, and buried him" (Tob. 2: 3,4. 7). These are the words of Holy Scripture, speaking of the care which the good man had to bury the dead. For there was in Babylon a poor man executed by injustice, which, when it was known to Tobit, he brought him secretly into his house, and at sunset he buried him in a new grave. Among the Works of Mercy, the burying of' the dead is very acceptable to God, as is also the visiting of the sick, the which two works always receive a reward of our LORD.

When Saul was slain upon the mountains of Gilboa, King David sent great thanks to the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead because they had reverently buried the body of the King. " Blessed be ye of the Lord, that ye have showed this kindness unto your lord, even unto Saul, and have buried him. And now the Lord show kindness and truth unto you : and I also will requite you this kindness, because ye have done this thing" (2 Sam. 2: 5,6).

Holy Scripture also highly commends Jehu for burying the body of Jezebel because she had been a king's daughter, after that, for her iniquity, she had been slain. And also Joseph is had in honour because he brought the bones of his father out oi Egypt to be buried in Palestine. The great Simon commanded a stately monument to be erected in Modin, in which he buried his brothers, the Maccabees, and reserved a place for his own bones.

But to come to our purpose. The Son of God, Holy Jesus, did not build Himself a sepulchre when He was alive, nor did His Mother know where to lay Him when He was dead ; and, as He had not where to lay His head in life, He had not where to lay His head in death. Alive, He lived in friends' houses; and dead, He reposed in another man's tomb.

How should He make Himself a tomb, when He had not a house to dwell in ? On the Altar of the Cross He remembered well to pray for His enemies, to pardon the thief his sins, but He gave no thought to where He was to be buried, for He sought not Himself, but us.

" Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore" (S. John xix. 41, 42). Hard by unto the Mount Calvary was a little garden on the hill-slope, in which, in the face of the rock, was a tomb, newly hewn, in which none had yet been laid ; and there Christ was placed.

If we examine the words of the holy Evangelist, we see that there are several remarkable particulars recorded of this grave. It was in the rock, unused, and it belonged to another man. All which conditions were necessary. For if the tomb had not been of stone, the Jews might have had some colour for their lie, when they asserted that the disciples had stolen the Body away. If it had not been new, they might have supposed the Resurrection to have been that of some other than Christ. If it had not been the property of another, and he a counsellor of the Sanhedrim, they might have believed that the Resurrection was feigned.

O Poor LORD ! did it not content Thee to be born without a house, and to live without wealth, and to die without a bed ; but must Thou lie in another man's grave ? Oh, how happy should I be, if Thou wouldst bury Thyself in this soul of mine, that, as Thou didst rise the third day, never after to die again, so I might, with Thee, be raised to newness of life.

The grave had no inscription over it, the door was open, the stone was on one side ; and now the attendants with loving hands lift the Body of CHRIST, spread the sheet on the floor of the tomb, and lay the sacred Corpse on it, and then gently wrap and veil it, ere they close the sepulchre and retire.

There, then, remained Jesus in the cave, covered with the stone, alone, anointed with rich ointments, His winding-sheet wet with the tears of those who had entombed Him.

O Love of my soul, Light of my eyes, Joy of my heart, Rest of my life, tell me, I pray Thee, how, being the LORD of Life, canst Thou lie dead and shrouded in a poor grave ?

'Why, O Good Jesus, didst Thou not elect some sumptuous tomb ? Why didst Thou not summon the choirs of Heaven to chant Thy requiem, and the hosts of Angels to lay Thee to rest ?

O Good Jesus, how much more am I bound unto Thee for redeeming me, than for creating me ; for in making me, Thou didst only give me myself; but in redeeming me, Thou didst give me Thyself. Thou didst give me Thyself when I was a stranger from Thee through sin, reconciling me by grace, making me Thy brother by nature, and Thy companion in glory.

Oh, how much more do I owe Thee for having re-made me, than for having first created me! For when I was first made, Thou didst give me nothing ; but when Thou didst redeem me, Thou didst bestow on me all Thy wealth. In creating the world Thou wast occupied six days, and in redeeming me Thou wast engaged thirty and three years ; in Thy speech receiving contradiction, in Thy doing walking amidst snares, in Thy torments an object of mockery, in Thy miracles surrounded by blasphemers.


O GLORY of Jerusalem, Joy of Israel, at the instant Thou didst assume human flesh, then began the travail of Thy soul and the sufferings of Thy body. What was Christ's most holy life, but a long and cruel Passion ? What did Holy Jesus not suffer ? what did He not endure ? seeing that in every age He was troubled, by all people He was persecuted, in all parts of His body He was tormented! He suffered in His eyes, shedding tears ; in His ears, hearing blasphemies ; in His face, feeling buffets ; in His mouth, tasting gall and vinegar ; in His hands and feet, enduring wounds ; in His head, thorns ; in His heart, a spear-point. In the manger He endured poverty ; in the desert, persecution ; in Egypt, exile ; in the temple, resistance ; in the way, weariness ; in the garden, sweat; and on the Cross, death. In the day-time He taught; in the night-time He prayed. From the hour of His birth till the moment of His entombment, what time was there in which He did not some good ? And for whom, and to whom, was that good done, but Man?

At the Hour of Lauds JESUS is seized, at Prime He is accused, at Tierce scourged at the pillars, at Sext condemned, at Nones put to death, at Vespers anointed, at Compline buried. Oh, how at each hour He does and suffers for man ! He, the Judge, for man is judged; He. the King, for man is mocked; He, the Priest, for man is, as the victim, slain ; He, the Innocent, for guilty man suffers. Oh, wondrous mystery ! He suffered in friend and in foe; and friend and foe helped Him to suffer. He suffered in the weeping women, and in the accusing infidels ; in the blaspheming and in the penitent thief; in the soldier who pierced Him, and in the Mother, pierced through with many sorrows.

Infinite was the love of my LORD and my God, for nothing could induce Him to leave His Cross till He had wrought out my salvation—no, not the hardness of the bed, nor the bitter drink, nor the grievous torment, nor the cruel death, nor the love of His Mother, nor the shame of nakedness, nor the persuasion of the people, nor the ingratitude of the world.

O Good Jesus, Love of my soul! what charity is this that overcomes Thee ? What love is this that guides Thee, that, when asked to descend from the Cross, Thou dost refuse, and yet that makes Thee mount Thy Cross unasked ? What am I, that Thou shouldst suffer thus for me, when I am conceived in sin, born in pain, brought up in ignorance, powerless to resist evil, ready to yield to sin, inconstant in virtue ? May my soul mark with attention, and consider with gravity, Who this is Who has suffered for me, where He has suffered, how He has suffered, and for whom He has suffered ; all which, if rightly considered, will fill me with amazement, and humility, and shame.

What can I present unto thee, O Lord, in return for all Thou hast done for me ? What can I give Thee, but the Blood Thou didst shed for me ? What can I offer Thee, but only the charity Thou didst bear for me ? All this I offer Thee on my knees, presenting it to Thee with many tears, hoping that it may profit me.

Finally, I present unto Thee, O my Good JESUS, all this work and the author of the same, to the end that it may profit Thy servants, and that the glory may redound unto Thee, and to no other; and, if it be not perfect, then, O Good JESUS, I pray Thee to supply that which may be wanting.
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Descend from the Cross - chapter from "The Mysteries of Calvary" by Fr Antonio de Guevara

"Christ's Entombment" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

"I SAID, I will go up to the palm-tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof" (Cant. 7: 8). That is, I will take a very high ladder, and I will ascend to the top of the palm-tree, and take hold of the branches, and pluck the fruit from off the tree.

In Divine and human learning the palm-tree is regarded as emblematical of Victory. Those who entered Rome in triumph had palm-leaf crowns ; and all the martyr-host, as seen by S. John the Divine, had palm-boughs in their hands.

Origen, in commenting on this passage of the Song of Solomon, asks, What palm-tree has there ever been, or ever shall be in this world, like the Cross of Christ, on which He triumphed over the World and overcame the Devil? Oh, what a great difference there was betwixt the palm on which the Son of God triumphed and that which was used in triumph by the people of Rome. They, if we credit Livy, only conceded the palm to the soldier who had slain his enemy ; but Jesus assumes the palm by being slain by His enemies.

O glorious Palm-tree, blessed Cross ! on which JESUS first hung the Devil, crucified sin, atoned for the world, yielded up His own life, shed His own Blood, planted the Church, and opened the way to glory.

It certainly appears, O Good Jesus, that none ever triumphed, and none ever will triumph like Thee. Thou dost not bear the palm, but the palm Thee, to let us understand that the Cross did first triumph over Thy life, before Thou didst triumph over death.

There is but one tree and abundant fruit ; and what is that fruit but the Flesh of CHRIST, whereof whosoever eateth shall live for ever. But now let us place our ladder against this tree, and let us, with Joseph and Nicodemus, go up into the palm-tree, and take hold of the boughs thereof, and gather the fruit.

Time was short, as the sun was near the horizon, and much had to be accomplished in a brief space. Joseph and Nicodemus consult with S. John and the Magdalen, and with their knees on the ground, and their grey heads uncovered, reverently kiss the Cross and worship Him Who is crucified thereon.

Christ was placed on the Cross by the hands of infidels ; but it was by the hands of the faithful that He was removed from it.

Having done reverence to Him Who hung on the tree, they set their ladders against the Cross, and took the pincers in their hands ; and, each with a hammer in his girdle, they mounted, step by step, one on either side.

Having reached the Lord, they beheld His face pale as ashes, His eyes dull and closed, His blood clotted, His hair draggled and knotted among the thorns, His bones out of joint, and His body covered with wounds and bruises. S. Cyprian exclaims, However much man may have written on the subject of the sufferings of Christ, it falls far short of what He endured.

Upon Jacob's ladder the Angels ascended and descended singing ; but on that of Joseph are shed tears. There is joy and song in Heaven ; on Calvary there is only heaviness and weeping.

The first thing that the two old men did, was to draw the cruel nails from the hands of Christ, and this they could not do without great difficulty, for the nails were of necessity large, and firm in the wood, and the dead sinews had contracted upon them. Thus they were constrained to smite with the hammer and work with the pincers ; and each blow wrung the heart of the weeping Mother, who with wan face stood below, stayed up by Salome, and gazed on the awful scene.

S. Bernard says, I conjure you, Nicodemus, by the love you bear Him Who hangs there, be gentle and spare your blows, for the Blessed Mother is ready to swoon beneath the Cross. Let not the drawing forth of the nails, which by entering slew the Son, slay now the Mother!

But, doubtless, with reverence and. dexterity the earnest men wrought. And S. Ansehn thinks that they gently struck, tenderly handled, easily withdrew, the nails from the pierced hands, and then washed them with their tears.

O glorious ladder, not of Jacob, by which Angels descend to men, but of CHRIST, by which men go up to GOD! My soul, do thou mount that ladder and contemplate thy LORD dead for thee; and do thou labour to undo that which crucified Him, and amend that which caused Him to die.

His hands having been detached from the arms of the Cross, the sacred Body of Christ leaned forward, and one of those above sustained it above, whilst another supported it below. Wondrous sight! These men held up the God Who at the same moment was sustaining their souls.

Gustave Dore "Descend from the Cross"

And now they draw out the long nail which was driven through the feet; and then they gently let down the dead Body of their GOD.

" It shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation ; . . . and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day" (Amos 8: 9, 10). This, that was prophesied of old, has come to pass. The clear day was darkened ; and the sun withdrew his light at noon ; and there on Calvary was the mourning of the Only Son. Thenceforth the Jewish feasts were turned to mourning, and all their songs into lamentation, for their house was left unto the Jews desolate, and the curse was upon them and upon their children.

And now, indeed, as the red sun touches the western horizon, is the end of a bitter day ; a day bitter in its beginning, bitter in its continuance, and bitter in its close; bitter in the hall of the Chief Priest, and bitter in the court of Pilate ; bitter on the Way of Sorrows, bitter on Calvary; bitter on the Cross, and bitter to the Mother in its close, as the Body of her SON is laid on her lap, to be washed with her tears, anointed with the " mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight," brought by Nicodemus (S. John 19: 39), and wrapped in the linen shroud.

" AND there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to JESUS by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight. Then took they the Body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" (S. John 19: 39, 40). In like manner, when the Patriarch Jacob was dead in Egypt, his son Joseph "commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel" (Gen. 1. 2). Having thus cared for the body of Jacob, Joseph went with it from Egypt, and conveyed it to Palestine, where he buried it in the cave of Machpelah.

S. Chrysostom observes that, as the works of the Son of God were many and great, so were the types that went before Him many in number and great in quality. And S. Augustine says that, as the thing prefigured exceeds the figure, and the substance excels the shadow it casts, so, without all comparison, the works done by Christ surpassed the types which foretold them.

Indeed, as the kernel surpasses in quality the shell, and the wheat excels the chaff, and the gold is more estimable than the crude ore, so much does CHRIST surpass all the figures which spoke of Him. All that the Patriarchs did may be imitated, all that the Prophets wrote may be understood ; but the great miracles that were wrought by the SON of Man none can imitate, and the depth of His teaching none can wholly fathom.

When Isaac bore the wood of the sacrifice on his shoulders

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Lenten Devotions - click to read

"Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly" (Joel 2:12-15).

"We beg you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled with God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Papal message for Lent '09

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HOLY SATURDAY - click to read

Shrine of the Holy Sepulchre - Church in Spain

Instruction on Holy Saturday

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Traditional 30 days Pieta Lent Novena -click to read

This traditional 30 days Lent Novena is an excellent Meditation Novena on the Passion of Our Lord.

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Good Friday - The Mystery of the Cross

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 'Road to Calvary'

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Jesus, permit me to penetrate with You into the depths of the mystery of the Cross.

1. Good Friday is the day which invites us more that any other to "enter into the thicket of the trials and pains....of the Son of God" (J.C. Spiritual Canticles, 35,9), and not only with the abstract consideration of the mind, but also with the practical disposition of the will to accept suffering voluntarily, in order to unite and assimilate ourselves to the Crucified. By suffering with Him, we shall understand His suffering better and have a better comprehension of His love for us, for "the purest suffering brings with it the most intimate and the purest understanding" (ibid., 36, 12); and "no one feels more deeply in his heart the Passion of Christ than one who has suffered something similar" (Imit. II, 12,4). With these dispositions let us accompany our Lord during His last day on earth.

The atrocious martyrdom, which within a few hours will torture His body, has not yet begun, and yet the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives marks one of the most sorrowful moments of His Passion, one which best reveals the bitter suffering of His soul. His most sacred soul finds itself immersed in inexpressible anguish; it is extreme abandonment and desolation, without the slightest consolation, either from God or from man. The Saviour feels the weight of the enormous burden of all the sins of mankind; He, the Innocent One, sees Himself covered with the most execrable crimes, and made, as it were, the enemy of God and the target of the infinite justice which will punish all our wickedness in Him. Of course, as God, Jesus never ceased, even in the most painful moments of His Passion to be united to His Father; but as man, He felt Himself rejected by Him, "struck by God and afflicted" (Isaiah 53,4). This explains the utter anguish of his spirit, much more sorrowful that the dreadful physical sufferings which await Him; explains the cruel agony which made Him sweat blood; explains His complaint,"My soul is sorrowful even unto death" (Mt 26,38). Whereas before he had so ardently desired His passion, now that His humanity finds itself facing the hard reality of the fact, deprived of the sensible help of the divinity, which seems not only to withdraw, but even more, to be angry with Him, Jesus groans: "My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me!" but this anguished cry of human nature is immediately lost in that of the perfect conformity of Christ's will to the Father's: "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (ibid. 26,39).

2. The Agony in the Garden is followed by the treacherous kiss of Judas, the arrest, the night passed in the interrogations by the high priests and insults from the soldiers who strike Jesus, spit in His face and blindfold Him, while in commence anew the questioning and accusations; the going back and forth from one tribunal to another begins - from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and back again to Pilate - followed by the horrible scourging and the crowning with thorns. Finally, clothed as a mock king, the Son of God is presented to the mob which cries out: "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas"; for Jesus, the Saviour, the crowd can only shout: "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Lk 23, 18-21). Loaded down with the wood for His torture, Jesus is led away to Calvary where He is crucified between two thieves. These terrible physical and mental sufferings reach their climax when the Saviour, in agony on the Cross, utters the cry: "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mt 27,46). Here again we are in the presence of the inner struggle which tortures the soul of Christ, and now accompanies, with rapid crescendo, the intense increase of His physical sufferings. Jesus had said to His Apostles at the Last Supper, in speaking of His approaching Passion: "Behold, the hour cometh.....[when] you shall be scattered.....and shall leave Me alone; yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me" (Jn 16,32). Union with the Father is everything to Jesus; it is His life and His strength, His comfort and His joy.

Jan Sanders van Hemessen - Christ mocked and ridiculed

If men desert Him, the father is always with Him, and that is sufficient for Him. This fact gives us a better understanding of the intensity of His sufferings when, in the course of His Passion, the Father withdraws from Him. Yet, even in His agony and death on the Cross, Jesus is always God, and therefore always indissolubly united to burden of our sins, which stands like a moral barrier between Him and the Father. Although personally united to the Word, His humanity is, by a miracle, deprived of all divine comfort and support, and feels instead the weight of all the malediction due to sin: "Christ" says St. Paul, "has redeemed us from the curse.....being made a curse for us" (Gal 3,13). Here we touch the most profound depth of the Passion of Jesus, the most atrocious bitterness which He embraced for our salvation. Yet, even in the midst of such cruel torments, the last words of Jesus are an expression of total abandonment: "Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit" (Lk 23,46). Thus Jesus, who willed to taste to the dregs all that is bitter for man in suffering and dying, teaches us to overcome the anxieties and anguish caused in us by sorrow and death, by acts of complete submission to the will of God and trustful abandonment into His hands.

....."All my salvation and joy are in You, O crucified Christ, and in whatever state I happen to be, I shall never take my eyes away from Your Cross" (St. Angela of Foligno).

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holy Thursday - click to read

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Bl Henry Heath - Prayer for England

In the time of Commonwealth between 1642 and 1646 Bl Henry Heath, Thomas Bullaker, Francis Bell and John Woodcock were hanged, drawn and quartered for being loyal Catholic friars and priests. In this post we can read a story of martyrdom of Bl Henry Heath that took place in 1643, and his prayers for the conversion of his beloved country.

Prayer for England - Tyburn, April 17, 1643

On his trial he said, "I came to this country to free souls from the servitude of the devil and to convert them from heresy." "Which heresy?" they asked. "Protestant, Puritan, Brownist, Anabaptist," I replied, "and many others, for whoever professes these are rightly called heretics." Again, "I was a Protestant myself up to my twenty-fourth year, and professed the same heresy that you do now. But, as Job says, 'Perish the day in which I was born,' so I heap up curses and execrations on the day on which I began to imbibe the Protestant superstition." As he was being dragged to the hurdle he prayed God to remove the darkness and blindness of the Protestants, and on the scaffold, with the rope round his neck, he protested that his return to England was for no other design but to spent his life and labours in the conversion of his country, and that for this alone was he condemned to die. After he recited the hymn and prayer of St Anicetus, Pope and martyr, whose day it was, he finished his course praying, "Jesus, Mary - Jesus forgive my sins; Jesus, convert England; Jesus have mercy on this country. O England, turn thyself to the Lord thy God." Tyburn, April 17, 1643

"Convert us, O Lord, to thee and we shall be converted; renew our days as from the beginning." - Lam 5: 21.

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sophie Scholl was inspired by Cardinal Newman writings - click to read

Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans (see photo above), both young students in Nazi Germany and co-founders of White Rose, the non-violent anti-Nazi resistant movement, were beheaded in 1943 after being caught distributing leaflets at the University of Munich encouraging Germans to passive resistance. Both of Lutheran denomination, they have been inspired, it is claimed, by Cardinal Newman writings and desired to join Catholic Church hours before their executions - Catholic Herald reports.

More from Catholic Mom of 10

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PALM SUNDAY - click to read

Mount of Olives, Palm Sunday procession heading toward the Old City of Jerusalem, down the hill from Bethany.

Palm Sunday celebration at Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

VIRGO POTENS - future martyr's prayer to Our Lady of Sichem at Montaigu shrine answered

From "ENGLISH MARTYRS - for every day of the year" - Bl Henry Heath, OSF, 1643
Father Heath's own conversion was a remarkable effect of Mary's intercession, but more striking yet was that of his aged father. A bigoted Protestant, he seemed proof alike against arguments and prayers, and was now on the brink of the grave. To Our Lady Father Heath turned, beseeching her aid for his father in his extreme peril, when suddenly the old man, now fourscore, crossed the sea, appeared at Douay, and was reconciled to the church. Again, during Father Heath's guardianship, when his community was dying of want and disease, through Our Lady's prayers the sick recovered and their needs were relieved. And now, to obtain the Superior's consent to his going to England, he started on a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montaigu, in Brabant.

At Ghent he found his petition refused, but still completed his pilgrimage, and on the way back the same Superior who refused now granted his request. From that time till his death Father Heath seemed a changed man. His anxieties and fears were succeeded by a holy calm, and supernatural joy manifested itself in his whole conduct, but especially at Mass. He constantly extolled the glory of the martyrs, as if he had already a foretaste of their reward. Thus did Our Lady answer his prayers.

"He who is mighty hath done great things for me and Holy is His Name" - LUKE 2:49

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday in Passion Week - Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

This Friday of Passion-week is consecrated in a special manner, to the sufferings which the holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus' Passion; and although the remembrance of Mary's share in those sufferings is often brought before the faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our divine Redeemer, goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honour, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother's com-passion.

It was but fitting, therefore, that one day in the year should be set apart for this sacred duty: and what day could be more appropriate than the Friday of this week, which, though sacred to the Passion, admits the celebration of saints' feasts, as we have already noticed? As far back as the fifteenth century (that is, in the year 1423), we find the pious feast to be kept by his people. It was gradually introduced, and with the knowledge of the holy See, into several other countries; and at length, in the last century, Pope Benedict XIII, by a decree dated August 22, 1727, ordered it to be kept in the whole Church under the name of "the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary", for, up to his time, it had gone under various names. We will explain the title thus given to it, as also the first origin of the devotion of the Seven Dolours, when our "Liturgical Year" brings us to the third Sunday of September [now celebrated on September 15], the second feast of Mary's Dolours. What the Church proposes to her children's devotion for this Friday in Passion-week, is that one special dolour of Mary -- her standing at the foot of the cross. Among the various titles given to this feast before it was extended by the holy See to the whole Church, we may mention, "Our Lady of Pity, "the Compassion of our Lady", and the one that was so popular throughout France, "Notre Dame de la Pamoison. These few historical observations prove that this feast was dear to the devotion of the people, even before it received the solemn sanction of the Church.

That we may clearly understand the object of this feast, and spend it, as the Church would have us do, in paying due honour to the Mother of God and of men, we must recall to our minds this great truth: that God, in the designs of His infinite wisdom, has willed that Mary should have a share in the work of the world's redemption. The mystery of the present feast is one of the applications of this divine law, a law which reveals to us the whole magnificence of God's plan; it is, also, one of the many realizations of the prophecy, that satan's pride was to be crushed by a women.

Text from the 'Liturgical Year' by Dom Gueranger
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