Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015 - Litany Lane Blog: Benediction, Revelations 7:2-4, 9-14, Psalms 24, Matthew 5:1-12, Pope Francis's All Saints Day Mass Livestream, Hymn of the Week - Kyrie Elesion (Lord Have Mercy), Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Feast of All Saints Day, Feast of All Souls Day, The Beatitudes, Purgatory and Indulgences, Act of Reparation, Mystical City of God Book 6 Chapter 6 & 7 The Way of the Cross, Catholic Catechism - Part Two - The Celebration of the Christian Mystery - Section One the Sacramental Economy - Chapter One - The Paschal Mystery in the Age of the Church - Article 2 - "The Paschal Mystery in the Church's Sacraments"-, RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults

Sunday,  November 1, 2015 - Litany Lane Blog:

Benediction, Revelations 7:2-4, 9-14, Psalms 24, Matthew 5:1-12, Pope Francis's All Saints Day Mass Livestream, Hymn of the Week - Kyrie Elesion (Lord Have Mercy), Our Lady of Medjugorje's Monthly Message, Feast of All Saints Day, Feast of All Souls Day, The Beatitudes, Purgatory and Indulgences, Act of Reparation, Mystical City of God Book 6 Chapter 6 & 7 The Way of the Cross, Catholic Catechism - Part Two - The Celebration of the Christian Mystery - Section One the Sacramental Economy - Chapter One - The Paschal Mystery in the Age of the Church - Article 2 - "The Paschal Mystery in the Church's Sacraments"-,  RECHARGE: Heaven Speaks to Young Adults


P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). A remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience, tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7. ~ Zarya Parx 2015

"Where there is a Will, With God, There is a Way", "There is always a ray of sunshine amongst the darkest Clouds, the name of that ray is Jesus" ~ Zarya Parx 2014

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge, reason and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our Soul...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013


"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012



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Prayers for Today:  31th Sunday in Ordinary Time






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Hymn of the Week
 


 
Kyrie Elesion (Lord Have Mercy)
Standard YouTube License
 
Available at Amazon -   (Google Play • AmazonMP3 • iTunes)
 


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Our Lady of Medjugorje Monthly Messages



October 25, 2015 message form our Lady of Medjugorje:

"Dear children!
Also today, my prayer is for all of you, especially for all those who have become hard of heart to my call. You are living in the days of grace and are not conscious of the gifts which God is giving to you through my presence. Little children, decide also today for holiness and take the example of the saints of this time and you will see that holiness is a reality for all of you. Rejoice in the love, little children, that in the eyes of God you are unrepeatable and irreplaceable, because you are God´s joy in this world. Witness peace, prayer and love. Thank you for having responded to my call." ~ Blessed Mother Mary



October 2, 2015 message form our Lady of Medjugorje:

Dear children,
I am here among you to encourage you, to fill you with my love and to call you anew to be witnesses of the love of my Son. Many of my children do not have hope, they do not have peace, they do not have love. They are seeking my Son, but do not know how and where to find Him. My Son is opening wide His arms to them, and you are to help them to come to His embrace. My children, that is why you must pray for love. You must pray very, very much to have all the more love, because love conquers death and makes life last. Apostles of my love, my children, with an honest and simple heart unite in prayer regardless of how far you are from each other. Encourage each other in spiritual growth as I am encouraging you. I am watching over you and am with you whenever you think of me. Pray also for your shepherds, for those who renounced everything for the sake of my Son and for your sake. Love them and pray for them. The Heavenly Father is listening to your prayers. Thank you.



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 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)


Pope Francis Daily Catechesis:

November 1, 2015 




(2015-11-01 Vatican Radio) 

Reference:  

  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed - 11/01/2015


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Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope:  2015


Vatican City, Spring 2015 (VIS)

The following is the English text of the intentions – both universal and for evangelization – that, as is customary, the Pope entrusted to the Apostleship of Prayer for 2015. 



November
Universal: That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.
Evangelization: That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.

December
Universal: That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.
Evangelization: That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.


Reference: 
  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2015 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 11/01/2015.


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Today's Word:  Benediction   [ben-i-dik-shuh n]

Origin: 400-50; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin benedictiōn- (stem of benedictiō). See Benedictus, -ion

noun
1.  an utterance of good wishes.
2.  the form of blessing pronounced by an officiating minister, as at the close of divine service.
3.  a ceremony by which things are set aside for sacred uses, as a church, vestments, or bells.
4. (usually initial capital letter). Also called Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. a service consisting of prayers, at least one prescribed hymn, censing of the congregation and the Host, and a blessing of the congregation by moving in the form of a cross the ciborium or monstrance containing the Host.
5.  the advantage conferred by blessing; a mercy or benefit


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Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 24:1-6


1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live there;
2 it is he who laid its foundations on the seas, on the flowing waters fixed it firm.
3 Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh? Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
4 The clean of hands and pure of heart, whose heart is not set on vanities, who does not swear an oath in order to deceive.
5 Such a one will receive blessing from Yahweh, saving justice from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the people that seeks him, that seeks your presence, God of Jacob.


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Today's Epistle -   Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14


2 Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea,
3 'Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.'
4 And I heard how many had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.
9 After that I saw that there was a huge number, impossible for anyone to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted in a loud voice,
10 'Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'
11 And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four living creatures, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God
12 with these words: Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 One of the elders then spoke and asked me, 'Who are these people, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?'
14 I answered him, 'You can tell me, sir.' Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.



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Today's Gospel Reading -   Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:1-12


1. Listening to the text
a) Opening prayer:
Lord, the meaning of our life is to seek your Word, which came to us in the person of Christ. Make me capable of welcoming what is new in the Gospel of the Beatitudes, so that I may change my life. I would know nothing about you were it not for the light of the words spoken by your Son Jesus, who came to tell us of your marvels. When I am weak, if I go to Him, the Word of God, then I become strong. When I act foolishly, the wisdom of his Gospel restores me to relish God and the kindness of his love. He guides me to the paths of life. When some deformity appears in me, I reflect on his Word and the image of my personality becomes beautiful. When solitude tries to make me dry, my spiritual marriage to him makes my life fruitful. When I discover some sadness or unhappiness in myself, the thought of Him, my only good, opens the way to joy. Therese of the Child Jesus has a saying that sums up the desire for holiness as an intense search for God and a listening to others: «If you are nothing, remember that Jesus is all. You must therefore lose your little nothing into his infinite all and think of nothing else but this uniquely lovable all…» (Letters, 87, to Marie Guérin).


b) Reading the Gospel:
1 Seeing the crowds, he went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
3 How blessed are the poor in spirit:
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 Blessed are the gentle:
they shall have the earth as inheritance.
5 Blessed are those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness:
they shall have their fill.
7 Blessed are the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers:
they shall be recognised as children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness:
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.


c) A moment of prayerful silence:
It is important to be able to listen in deep silence so that the word of Christ may speak to us and so that the Word made flesh may dwell in us and us in him. It is only in silent hearts that the Word of God can take root and, on this Solemnity of All Saints, become flesh in us.


2. Light shed on the Word (lectio)
a) The context:
Jesus’ words on the Beatitudes that Matthew drew from his sources, were condensed in short and isolated phrases, and the Evangelist has placed them in a broader context, which Biblical scholars call the “sermon on the mount” (chapters 5-7). This sermon is considered like the statutes or Magna Carta that Jesus gave to the community as a normative and binding word that defines a Christian.

The many themes contained in this long sermon are not to be seen as collection of exhortations, but rather as a clear and radical indication of the new attitude of the disciples towards God, oneself and the brothers and sisters. Some expressions used by Jesus may seem exaggerated, but they are used to stress reality and thus are realistic in the context although not so in a literary sense: for instance in vv.29-30: «If your right eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should be your downfall, cut it off and throw it away, for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body go to hell». This manner of speaking indicates the effect desired to be created in the reader, who must understand correctly Jesus’ words so as not to distort their meaning.

Our focus, for liturgical reasons, will be on the first part of the “sermon on the mount”, that is the part dealing with the proclamation of the beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12).


b) Some details:
Matthew invites the reader to listen to the beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus with a rich concentration of details. First he indicates the place where Jesus proclaims his sermon: “Jesus went onto the mountain” (5:1). That is why exegetes call this the “sermon on the mount” even though Luke places this sermon on level ground (Lk 6:20-26). The geographic location of the “mountain” could be a veiled reference to an episode in the OT quite like ours: that is, when Moses proclaims the Decalogue on mount Sinai. It is possible that Matthew wishes to present Jesus as the new Moses who proclaims the new law.

Another detail that strikes us is the physical posture of Jesus as he proclaims his words: “when he was seated”. This posture confers upon him a note of authority in the legislative sense. The disciples and the “crowd” gather around him: this detail shows what Jesus had to say was for all to hear. We note that Jesus’ words do not present impossible matters, nor are they addressed to a special group of people, nor do they mean to establish a code of ethics exclusively for his inner circle. Jesus’ demands are concrete, binding and decisively radical.

Someone branded Jesus’ sermon as follows: «For me, this is the most important text in the history of humankind. It is addressed to all, believers and non, and after twenty centuries it is still the only light still shining in the darkness of violence, fear and solitude in which the West finds itself because of its pride and selfishness» (Gilbert Cesbron).

The word “blessed” (in Greek makarioi) in our context does not say “softly” but cries out happiness found throughout the Bible. For instance, in the OT, those called “blessed” are those who live out the precepts of Wisdom (Sir 25,7-10). The prayerful person of the Psalms defines “blessed” as those who “fear”, or more precisely those who love the Lord, expressing this love in the observance of the precepts contained in the word of God (Sal 1,1; 128,1).

Matthew’s originality lies in adding a secondary phrase that specifies each beatitude: for instance, the main assertion “blessed are the poor in spirit” is clarified by an added phrase “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Another difference with the OT is that Jesus’ words proclaim a saving blessedness here and now and without any limitations. For Jesus, all can attain happiness on condition that they remain united to Him.


c) The first three beatitudes:
i) The first cry concerns the poor: “How blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs”. The reader may be shocked: how can the poor be happy? In the Bible, the poor are those who empty themselves of themselves and above all renounce the presumption of building their own present and future alone, and thus leave room for and focus on God’s project and his Word. The poor, always in the biblical sense, is not someone closed in on himself, miserable, negative, but someone who nurtures being open to God and to others. God is all his/her treasure. We could say with St.Teresa of Avila: happy are those who experience that “God alone suffices!”, meaning that they are rich in God.

A great modern spiritual author described poverty as follows: «As long as one does not empty one’s heart, God cannot fill it with himself. As you empty your heart, so does the Lord fill it. Poverty is emptiness, not only in what concerns the future but also the past. Not a regret or memory, not a worry or wish! God is not in the past, God is not in the future: He is in the present! Leave your past to God, leave your future to God. Your poverty is to live the present, the Presence of God who is Eternity» (Divo Barsotti).

This is the first beatitude, not just because it is the first of many, but because it seems to encapsulate all the others in their diversity.

ii)Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted”. One can mourn because of a great pain or suffering. This underlines the fact that we are dealing with a serious situation even though the motives or the cause are not mentioned. If we wish to identify today “those who mourn” we could think of all the Christians who hold dear the demands of the kingdom and suffer because of many negative aspects in the Church; rather than focus on holiness, the Church presents divisions and lacerations. They may also be those who suffer because of their sins and inconsistencies and who, in some way, slow down their conversion. To these, only God can bring the news of “consolation””.


iii)Blessed are the gentle, they shall have the earth as inheritance”. The third beatitude is about gentleness. This is a quality that is not so popular today. Rather, for many it has a negative connotation and is taken for weakness or the kind of imperturbability that knows how to control calculatingly one’s own emotions. What does the word “gentle” mean in the Bible? The gentle are remembered as those who enjoy great peace (Ps 37:10), are happy, blessed and loved by God. They are also contrasted with evildoers, the ungodly and sinners. Thus the OT gives us a wealth of meanings that do not allow for one single definition. 

In the NT the first time we meet the word is in Matthew 11:29: “Learn from me because I am gentle and humble of heart”. A second time is in Mt 21:5, when Matthew describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and cites the prophet Zechariah 2:9: “Behold your servant comes to you gentle”. Truly, Matthew’s Gospel may be described as the Gospel of gentleness.

Paul too says that gentleness is an identifying quality of the Christian. In 2 Corinthians 10:1 he exhorts believers “I urge you by the gentleness and forbearance of Christ”. In Galatians 5:22 gentleness is considered one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the heart of believers and consists in being meek, moderate, slow to punish, kind and patient towards others. Again in Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:12 gentleness is an attitude that is part of the Christian and a sign of the new man in Christ.

Finally, an eloquent witness comes from 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your adornment should be not an exterior one, consisting of braided hair or gold jewellery or fine clothing, but the interior disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, so precious in the sight of God”.
How does Jesus use the word “gentle”? A truly enlightening definition is the one given by the gentle person of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini “The gentle person, according to the beatitudes, is one who, in spite of the fervour of his/her feelings, remains docile and calm, not possessive, interiorly free, always extremely respectful of the mystery of freedom, imitating God in this respect who does everything with respect for the person, and urges the person to obedience without ever using violence. Gentleness is opposed to all forms of material or moral arrogance, it gains the victory of peace over war, of dialogue over imposition”.

To this wise interpretation we add that of another famous exegete: “The gentleness spoken of in the beatitudes is none other than that aspect of humility that manifests itself in practical affability in one’s dealings with the other. Such gentleness finds its image and its perfect model in the person of Jesus, gentle and humble of heart. Truly, such gentleness seems to us like a form of charity, patient and delicately attentive towards others” (Jacques Dupont).


3. The word enlightens me (to meditate)
a) Am I able to accept those little signs of poverty in my regard? For instance, the poverty of poor health and little indispositions? Do I make exorbitant demands?
b) Am I able to accept some aspect of my poverty and fragility?
c) Do I pray like a poor person, as one who asks with humility the grace of God, his pardon and his mercy?
d) Inspired by Jesus’ message concerning gentleness, do I renounce violence, vengeance and a vengeful spirit?
e) Do I encourage, in families and in my place of work, a spirit of kindness, gentleness and peace?
f) Do I pay back any small malice, insinuations or offensive allusions with evil?
g) Do I look after the weakest who cannot defend themselves? Am I patient with old people? Do I welcome lonely strangers who are often exploited at work?


4. To pray
a) Psalm 23:
The Psalm seems to rotate around the title “The Lord is my shepherd”. The saints are the image of the flock on the way: they are accompanied by the goodness and loyalty of God, until they finally reach the house of the Father (L.Alonso Schökel, I salmi della fiducia, Dehoniana libri, Bologna 2006, 54)
Yahweh is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
In grassy meadows he lets me lie.
By tranquil streams he leads me
to restore my spirit.
He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.
Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death
I should fear no danger,
for you are at my side.
Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.
You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup brims over.
Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.
I make my home in the house of Yahweh
for all time to come.


b) Closing prayer:
Lord Jesus, you show us the way of the beatitudes so that we may come to that happiness that is fullness of life and thus holiness. We are all called to holiness, but the only treasure of the saints is God. Your Word, Lord, calls saints all those who in baptism were chosen by your love of a Father, to be conformed to Christ. Grant, Lord, that by your grace we may achieve this conformity to Jesus Christ. We thank you, Lord, for the saints you have placed on our way and who manifest your love. We ask for your pardon if we have tarnished your face in us and denied our calling to be saints.


Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.



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Saint of the Day:   All Saints Day

Feast Day:  November 1
Patron Saint:  varied


All Saints
All Saints' Day (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In the Western calendar it is the day after Halloween and the day before All Souls' Day.

In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in purgatory (the 'Church Suffering'), those in heaven (the 'Church triumphant'), and the living (the 'Church militant'). Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways; for example, in the Methodist Church, the word "saints" refers to all Christians and therefore, on All Saints' Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation, are honoured and remembered.


In the East

Eastern Christians of the Byzantine Tradition commemorate all saints collectively on the first Sunday after Pentecost, All Saints' Sunday (Greek: Αγίων Πάντων, Agiōn Pantōn).

The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI "the Wise" (886–911). His wife, Empress Theophano—commemorated on 16 December—lived a devout life. After her death in 893, her husband built a church, intending to dedicate it to her. When he was forbidden to do so, he decided to dedicate it to "All Saints", so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast was celebrated. According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.

This Sunday marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to all the saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.

In the late spring, the Sunday following Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter) is set aside as a commemoration of all locally venerated saints, such as "All Saints of America", "All Saints of Mount Athos", etc. The third Sunday after Pentecost may be observed for even more localized saints, such as "All Saints of St. Petersburg", or for saints of a particular type, such as "New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke."

In addition to the Sundays mentioned above, Saturdays throughout the year are days for general commemoration of all saints, and special hymns to all saints are chanted from the Octoechos. In the Maronite Catholic Church, the Sunday of the Righteous and Just is the traditional Maronite feast in honor of all saints.


In the West

The Western Christian holiday of All Saints' Day falls on 1 November, followed by All Souls' Day on 2 November, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
 
The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to 13 May 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. There is evidence that from the fifth through the seventh centuries there existed in certain places and at sporadic intervals a feast date on 13 May to celebrate the holy martyrs. The origin of All Saints' Day cannot be traced with certainty, and it has been observed on various days in different places. However, there are some who maintain the belief that it has origins in the pagan observation of 13 May, the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Liturgiologists base the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of "all the dead".

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to 1 November and the 13 May feast suppressed.

This fell on the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to the Roman festival of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, having celebrated Samhain in the past, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this 1 November date, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: "...the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20."

A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on 1 November in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued "at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops", which confirmed its celebration on 1 November. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484).

The festival was retained after the Reformation in the calendar of the Anglican Church and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. In the Church of England it may be celebrated either on 1 November or on the Sunday between 30 October and 5 November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada, the Methodist churches, and the Wesleyan Church.

Protestants generally regard all true Christian believers as saints and if they observe All Saints Day at all they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those who have died who were members of the local church congregation. In some congregations, a candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are affixed to a memorial plaque.

In many Lutheran churches, All Saints' Day and Reformation Day are observed concurrently on the Sunday before or after those dates, given Reformation Day is observed in Protestant Churches on 31 October. Typically, Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" is sung during the service. Besides discussing Luther's role in the Protestant Reformation, some recognition of the prominent early leaders of the Reformed tradition, such as John Calvin and John Knox, occurs. The observance of Reformation Day may be immediately followed by a reading of those members of the local congregation who have died in the past year in observance of All Saints' Day. Otherwise, the recognition of deceased church members occurs at another designated portion of the service.


Roman Catholic Obligation

In Catholicism, All Saints' Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in many (but not all) countries, meaning going to Mass on the date is required unless one has a good reason to be excused, such as illness. However, in a number of countries that do list All Saints' Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, including England and Wales, the solemnity of All Saints' Day is transferred to the adjacent Sunday, if 1 November falls on a Monday or a Saturday, while in the same circumstances in the United States the Solemnity is still celebrated on 1 November but the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated.

Customs

In Mexico, Portugal and Spain, offerings (Portuguese: oferendas, Spanish: ofrendas) are made on this day. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed.  All Saints' Day in Mexico, coincides with the first day of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration. Known as "Día de los Inocentes" (Day of the Innocents), it honours deceased children and infants.  Portuguese children celebrate the Pão-por-Deus tradition, going door-to-door where they receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates. This only occurs in central Portugal.

Hallowmas in the Philippines is variously called "Undas" (based on the word for "[the] first"), "Todós los Santos" (literally "All Saints"), and sometimes "Áraw ng mga Patáy" (lit. "Day of the Dead"), which refers to the following day of All Souls' Day but includes it. While traditionally, Filipinos observed this day solemnly by visiting the graves of deceased relatives, offering prayers and flowers, lighting candles, cleaning and repairing the graves, this tradition is slowly dying. Instead it has been replaced by Filipinos spending the day, and often the entire night, picnicking and holding reunions at the cemetery near their loved ones. Many sing, bring Karaoke TV sets and musical instruments, and even burst fire crackers. In fact, for the past few years, the government has banned bringing of liquor, sharp instruments and guns due to incidents of drunkenness and resulting violence during the festival.

In Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, France, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, and American cities such as New Orleans, people take flowers to the graves of dead relatives. In Portugal people also light candles in the graves.  In Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Catholic parts of Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.  In English-speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn "For All the Saints" by William Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Catholics generally celebrate with a day of rest consisting of avoiding physical exertion

References

  • Glanville, Downey (1956). "The Church of All Saints (Church of St. Theophano) near the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople". Dumbarton Oaks Papers 9/10: 301-305.
  •  Mershman, Francis (1913). "All Saints' Day". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "All Saints, Festival of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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Saint of the Day:   All Souls Day

Feast Day:  November 2
Patron Saint:  n/a


The official name of the celebration in the Roman Rite liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is "The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed". Another popular name in English is Feast of All Souls. In some other languages the celebration, not necessarily on the same date, is known as Day of the Dead.

In Western Christianity, All Souls' Day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in Purgatory.

The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints' Day. In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, if 2 November falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Liturgy of the Hours is that of the Sunday, though Lauds and Vespers for the Dead in which the people participate may be said. In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever 2 November falls on a Sunday, to the next day, 3 November.

The Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead, mostly on Saturdays, because of Jesus' resting in the Holy Sepulchre on that day. In the Methodist Church, saints refer to all Christians and therefore, on All Saint's Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation are honoured and remembered.



Office of the Dead

The Office of the Dead is a prayer cycle of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Roman Catholic Church, said for the repose of the soul of a decedent. It is the proper reading on All Souls' Day (normally November 2) for all souls in Purgatory, and can be a votive office on other days when said for a particular decedent. The work is composed of different psalms, scripture, prayers and other parts, divided into The Office of Readings, Lauds, Daytime Prayer, and Vespers (with Compline taken from the Sunday hour of Compline).

Composition of the Current Office

The current office, according to the 2000 Liturgia Horarum (Liturgy of the Hours) editio typica altera (second typical edition) includes the normal cycle of a typical ferial office, namely an Office of Readings (Matins), Lauds, Daytime Prayer (Terce, Sext, or None), and Vespers. The final hour of Compline is taken from Sunday. The Office of Readings includes Psalms 40 [39]: 2-14, 17-18 (this psalm selection is split between verses 9 and 10 into two sections, to keep the character of threefold cycle of Psalms for the hour); and 42 [41]. These psalms are followed by two longer lessons which are variable and come from one of multiple options. Lauds includes Psalm 51 [50], the Canticle of Ezechias (Hezekiah) (verses 15-16 are not included), and Psalm 146 [145] or 150. These are followed by a short lesson, a responsory, the Benedictus and the preces. Daytime Prayer consists of Psalms 70 [69], 85 [84], and 86 [85]. These are followed by a short lesson and a versicle which vary depending on which of the little hours (Terce, Sext, or None) are being used for Daytime Prayer. Vespers includes Psalms 121 [120], 130 [129], and a canticle from Phil 2:6-11. This is followed by a short lesson, a responsory, the Magnificat, and the preces. The hour of Compline is taken from Sunday after Second Vespers.

The Pre-Vatican II Composition of the Office

This office, as it existed in the Roman Liturgy prior to the Second Vatican Council, was composed of First Vespers, Mass, Matins, and Lauds. The editor is not known, but the office as it existed before the reforms was no older than from 7th or 8th century. A well known refrain from the cycle is Timor mortis conturbat me, "The fear of death confounds me" or, more colloquially, "I am scared to death of dying". The word dirge comes from it.

The Vespers of the older office comprise Psalms 116.1–9 [114], 120 [119], 121 [120], 130 [129], and 138 [137], with the Magnificat and the preces. The Matins, composed like those of feast days, have three nocturns, each consisting of three psalms and three lessons; the Lauds, as usual, have three psalms (Psalms 63 [62] and 67 [66] united are counted as one) and a canticle (that of Ezechias), the three psalms Laudate, and the Benedictus. We shall speak presently of the Mass. The office differs in important points from the other offices of the Roman Liturgy. It has not the Little Hours, the Second Vespers, or the Compline. In this respect it resembles the ancient vigils, which began at eventide (First Vespers), continued during the night (Matins), and ended at the dawn (Lauds); Mass followed and terminated the vigil of the feast. The absence of the introduction, "Deus in adjutorium", of the hymns, absolution, blessings, and of the doxology in the psalms also recall ancient times, when these additions had not yet been made. The psalms are chosen not in their serial order, as in the Sunday Office or the Roman ferial Office, but because certain verses, which serve as antiphons, seem to allude to the state of the dead. The use of some of these psalms in the funeral service is of high antiquity, as appears from passages in St. Augustine and other writers of the fourth and fifth centuries. The lessons from Job, so suitable for the Office of the Dead, were also read in very early days at funeral services. The responses, too, deserve notice, especially the response "Libera me, Domine, de viis inferni qui portas æreas confregisti et visitasti inferum et dedisti eis lumen . . . qui erant in poenis . . . advenisti redemptor noster" etc. This is one of the few texts in the Roman Liturgy alluding to Christ's descent into hell. It is also a very ancient composition (see Cabrol, "La descente du Christ aux enfers" in "Rassegna Gregor.", May and June, 1909).

The "Libera me de morte æterna", which is found more complete in the ancient manuscripts, dates also from an early period (see Cabrol in "Dict. d'archéol. et de liturgie", s. v. Absoute). Mgr Batiffol remarks that it is not of Roman origin, but it is very ancient (Hist. du brév., 148). The distinctive character of the Mass, its various epistles, its tract, its offertory in the form of a prayer, the communion (like the offertory) with versicles, according to the ancient custom, and the sequence "Dies Iræ" (q.v.; concerning its author see also BURIAL), it is impossible to dwell upon here. The omission of the Alleluia, and the kiss of peace is also characteristic of this mass. There was a time when the Alleluia was one of the chants customary at funeral services (see Dict. d'archéol. et de liturgie, s. v. Alleluia, I, 1235). Later it was looked upon exclusively as a song of joy, and was omitted on days of penance (e.g. Lent and ember week), sometimes in Advent, and at all funeral ceremonies. It is replaced to-day by a tract. A treatise of the 8th-9th century published by Muratori (Liturg. Rom. vet., II, 391) shows that the Alleluia was then suppressed. The omission of the kiss of peace at the Mass is probably because that ceremony preceded the distribution of the Eucharist to the faithful and was a preparation for it, so, as communion is not given at the Mass for the Dead, the kiss of peace was suppressed.

Not to speak of the variety of ceremonies of the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, or Oriental liturgies, even in countries where the Roman liturgy prevailed, there were many variations. The lessons, the responses, and other formulæ were borrowed from various sources; certain Churches included in this office the Second Vespers and Complin; in other places, instead of the lessons of our Roman Ritual, they read St. Augustine, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus, Osee, Isaiah, Daniel, etc. The responses varied likewise; many examples may be found in Martène and the writers cited below in the bibliography. It is fortunate that the Roman Church preserved carefully and without notable change this office, which, like that of Holy Week, has retained for us in its archaic forms the memory and the atmosphere of a very ancient liturgy. The Mozarabic Liturgy possesses a very rich funeral ritual. Dom Férotin in his "Liber Ordinum" (pp. 107 sqq.) has published a ritual (probably the oldest extant), dating back possibly to the 7th century. He has also published a large number of votive masses of the dead. For the Ambrosian Liturgy, see Magistretti, "Manuale Ambrosianum", I (Milan, 1905), 67; for the Greek Ritual, see Burial, pp. 77–8.

History

The Office of the Dead has been attributed at times to St. Isidore, to St. Augustine, to St. Ambrose, and even to Origen. There is no foundation for these assertions. In its 20th century form, while it has some very ancient characteristics, it cannot be older than the 7th or even 8th century. Its authorship is discussed at length in the dissertation of Horatius de Turre. Some writers attribute it to Amalarius, others to Alcuin (see Pierre Batiffol, "Hist. du Brév.", 181-92; and for the opposing view, Bäumer-Biron, "Hist. du Brév.", II, 37). These opinions are more probable, but are not as yet very solidly established. Amalarius speaks of the Office of the Dead, but seems to imply that it existed before his time ("De Eccles. officiis", IV, xlii, in P. L., CV, 1238). He alludes to the "Agenda Mortuorum" contained in a sacramentary, but nothing leads us to believe that he was its author. Alcuin is also known for his activity in liturgical matters, and we owe certain liturgical compositions to him; but there is no reason for considering him the author of this office (see Cabrol in "Dict. d'archéol. et de liturgie", s. v. Alcuin). In the Gregorian Antiphonary we do find a mass and an office in agenda mortuorum, but it is admitted that this part is an addition; a fortiori this applies to the Gelasian. The Maurist editors of St. Gregory are inclined to attribute their composition to Albinus and Etienne of Liège (Microl., lx). But if it is impossible to trace the office and the mass in their actual form beyond the 9th or 8th century, it is notwithstanding certain that the prayers and a service for the dead existed long before that time. We find them in the 5th, 4th, and even in the 3rd and 2nd century. Pseudo-Dionysius, Sts. Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, and Augustine, Tertullian, and the inscriptions in the catacombs afford a proof of this (see Burial, III, 76; PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD; Cabrol, "La prière pour les morts" in "Rev. d'apologétique", 15 September 1909, pp. 881–93).

Practice and obligation

The Office of the Dead was composed originally to satisfy private devotion to the dead, and at first had no official character. Even in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, it was recited chiefly by the religious orders (the Cluniacs, Cistercians, Carthusians), like the Office of Our Lady (see Guyet, loc. cit., 465). Later it was prescribed for all clerics and became obligatory whenever a ferial office was celebrated. It has even been said that it was to remove the obligation of reciting it that the feasts of double and semi-double rite were multiplied, for it could be omitted on such days (Bäumer-Biron, op. cit., II, 198). The reformed Breviary of St. Pius V assigned the recitation of the Office of the Dead to the first free day in the month, the Mondays of Advent and Lent, to some vigils, and ember days. Even then it was not obligatory, for the Bull "Quod a nobis" of the same pope merely recommends it earnestly, like the Office of Our Lady and the Penitential Psalms, without imposing it as a duty (Van der Stappen, "Sacra Liturgia", I, Malines, 1898, p. 115). At the present time, it is obligatory on the clergy only on the feast of All Souls and in certain mortuary services. Some religious orders (Carthusians, Cistercians etc.) have preserved the custom of reciting it in choir on the days assigned by the Bull "Quod a nobis".


Gertrude the Great

St Gertrude the Great
Gertrude the Great (or Saint Gertrude of Helfta) (Italian: Santa Gertrude) (January 6, 1256 – ca. 1302) was a German Benedictine, mystic, and theologian.  She is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and is inscribed in the General Roman Calendar, for celebration throughout the Latin Rite on November 16.

Gertrude was born January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia (within the Holy Roman Empire). Nothing is known of her parents, so she was probably an orphan. As a young girl, she joined the Benedictine monastery of St. Mary at Helfta, under the direction of its abbess, Gertrude of Hackeborn. She is sometimes confused with her abbess, which is why she is often incorrectly depicted in art holding a crosier. Some scholars refer to the monastery as Cistercian, since it was founded by seven sisters from the Cistercian community of Halberstadt. However, it could not have had this status officially since it was founded in 1229, the year after the Cistercian men decided they would sponsor no more convents. She dedicated herself to her studies, becoming an expert in literature and philosophy. She later experienced a conversion to God and began to strive for perfection in her religious life, turning her scholarly talents to scripture and theology. Gertrude produced numerous writings, but only the Herald of God's Loving-Kindness, partly written by other nuns and formerly known as her Life and Revelations, and the Spiritual Exercises remain today. She had various mystical experiences, including a vision of Jesus, who invited her to rest her head on his breast to hear the beating of his heart, and the piercing of her heart with divine love.

Gertrude died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, around 1302. Her feastday is celebrated on November 16, but the exact date of her death is unknown; the November date stems from a confusion with Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn.

Though Gertrude was never formally canonized, nevertheless she received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day was declared in the year 1677 by Pope Clement XII. Gertrude showed "tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory" and urged prayers for them She is therefore invoked for souls in purgatory.
Perhaps for that reason, to her name has been attached a prayer that, according to a legend of uncertain origin and date (neither are found in the Revelations of Saint Gertrude the Great), Christ promised to release a thousand souls from purgatory each time it was said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and within my family. Amen.


References

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
  • Cabrol, Fernand. "Office of the Dead." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 2 Nov. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11220a.htm>.
  •  Apostolic Constitutions, VI, xxx; VIII, xl; PS.-DIONYS., De hierarch. eccl., vii, n. 2; AMALARIUS in P.L., CV, 1239 (De eccles. officiis, III, xlix; IV, xlii); DURANDUS, Rationale, VII, xxxv; BELETH, Rationale in P.L., CII, 156, 161; RAOUL DE TONGRES, De observantia canonum, prop. xx; PITTONUS, Tractatus de octavis festorum (1739), I (towards end), Brevis tract. de commem. omnium fidel. defunct.; HORATIUS A TURRE, De mortuorum officio dissertatio postuma in Collectio Calogiera, Raccolta d'opuscoli, XXVII (Venice, 1742), 409-429; GAVANTI, Thesaur. rituum, II, 175 sqq.; MARTÈNE, De antiq. ecclesioeritibus, II (1788), 366-411; THOMASSIN, De disciplina eccles., I-II, lxxxvi, 9; ZACCARIA, Bibl. ritualis, II, 417-8; IDEM, Onomasticon, I, 110, s.v. Defuncti; BONA, Rerum liturg., I, xvii, §§ 6-7; HITTORP, De div. cathol. eccles. officiis, 1329; GUYET, Heortologia, 462-73 (on the rubrics to be observed in the office of the dead); CATALANUS, Rituale Romanum, I (1757), 408, 416 etc.; CERIANAI, Circa obligationem officii defunctorum; BÄUMER-BIRON, Hist. du Brév., II, 30, 37, 131 etc.; BATIFFOL, Hist. du Brév., 181-92; PLAINE, La piété envers les morts in Rev. du clergé français, IV (1895), 365 sqq.; La fête des morts, ibid., VIII (1896), 432 sqq.; La messe des morts, ibid., XVI (1898), 196; EBNER, Quellen u. Forschungen zur Gesch. des Missale Romanum, 44, 53 etc.; THALHOFER, Handbuch der kathol. Liturgik, II (Freiburg, 1893), 502-08; KEFERLOHER, Das Todtenofficium der röm. Kirche (Munich, 1873); HOEYNEK, Officium defunctorum (Kempten, 1892); IDEM, Zur Gesch. des Officium defunctorum in Katholik., II (1893), 329. See also the literature of the article BURIAL and other articles cited above, CEMETERY, CREMATION etc.

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      Featured Item from Litany Lane


       
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      Today's Snippet I:  The Beatitudes


      I. THE BEATITUDES
       
      1716 The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven:

      Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
      Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
      Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
      Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
      Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
      Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
      Rejoice and be glad,
      for your reward is great in heaven.12


       
      1717 The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.


      II. THE DESIRE FOR HAPPINESS
      1718 The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:
      We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated.13 How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.14 God alone satisfies.15  
      1719 The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and live from it in faith.


      III. CHRISTIAN BEATITUDE
      1720 The New Testament uses several expressions to characterize the beatitude to which God calls man:
      - the coming of the Kingdom of God;16 - the vision of God: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"17
      - entering into the joy of the Lord;18
      - entering into God's rest:19
      There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?20
       
      1721 God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us "partakers of the divine nature" and of eternal life.21 With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ22 and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.


      1722 Such beatitude surpasses the understanding and powers of man. It comes from an entirely free gift of God: whence it is called supernatural, as is the grace that disposes man to enter into the divine joy.
      "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." It is true, because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that "man shall not see me and live," for the Father cannot be grasped. But because of God's love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he goes so far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him. . . . For "what is impossible for men is possible for God."23
       
      1723 The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love:
      All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth they measure respectability. . . . It is a homage resulting from a profound faith . . . that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the day and notoriety is a second. . . . Notoriety, or the making of a noise in the world - it may be called "newspaper fame" - has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration.24
       
      1724 The Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the apostolic catechesis describe for us the paths that lead to the Kingdom of heaven. Sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we tread them, step by step, by everyday acts. By the working of the Word of Christ, we slowly bear fruit in the Church to the glory of God.25

       
      IN BRIEF
      1725 The Beatitudes take up and fulfill God's promises from Abraham on by ordering them to the Kingdom of heaven. They respond to the desire for happiness that God has placed in the human heart.

      1726 The Beatitudes teach us the final end to which God calls us: the Kingdom, the vision of God, participation in the divine nature, eternal life, filiation, rest in God.

      1727 The beatitude of eternal life is a gratuitous gift of God. It is supernatural, as is the grace that leads us there.

      1728 The Beatitudes confront us with decisive choices concerning earthly goods; they purify our hearts in order to teach us to love God above all things.

      1729 The beatitude of heaven sets the standards for discernment in the use of earthly goods in keeping with the law of God.



      12 Mt 5:3-12.
      13 St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1,3,4:PL 32,1312.
      14 St. Augustine, Conf. 10,20:PL 32,791.
      15 St. Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in symb. apost. I.
      16 Cf. Mt 4:17.
      17 Mt 5:8; cf. 1 Jn 2; 1 Cor 13:12.
      18 Mt 25:21-23.
      19 Cf. Heb 4:7-11.
      20 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 22,30,5:PL 41,804.
      21 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Jn 17:3.
      22 Cf. Rom 8:18.
      23 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4,20,5:PG 7/1,1034-1035.
      24 John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Saintliness the Standard of Christian Principle," in Discourses to Mixed Congregations (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1906) V, 89-90.
      25 Cf. the parable of the sower: Mt 13:3-23.

       

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        Today's Snippet II:   Purgatory, Sins, Indulgences



        Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. 

        Catholic doctrine

        The faith of the Church concerning purgatory is clearly expressed in the Decree of Union drawn up by the Council of Florence (Mansi, t. XXXI, col. 1031), and in the decree of the Council of Trent which (Sess. XXV) defined:
        "Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful" (Denzinger, "Enchiridon", 983).
        Further than this the definitions of the Church do not go, but the tradition of the Fathers and the Schoolmen must be consulted to explain the teachings of the councils, and to make clear the belief and the practices of the faithful. 

        Temporal punishment

        That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture. God indeed brought man out of his first disobedience and gave him power to govern all things (Wisdom 10:2), but still condemned him "to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow" until he returned unto dust. God forgave the incredulity of Moses and Aaron, but in punishment kept them from the "land of promise" (Numbers 20:12). The Lord took away the sin of David, but the life of the child was forfeited because David had made God's enemies blaspheme His Holy Name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). In the New Testament as well as in the Old, almsgiving and fasting, and in general penitential acts are the real fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 17:3; 3:3). The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, can. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God. 

        Venial sins

        All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God's law. On the other hand whosoever comes into God's presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His "eyes are too pure, to behold evil" (Habakkuk 1:13). For unrepented venial faults for the payment of temporal punishment due to sin at time of death, the Church has always taught the doctrine of purgatory.
        So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity. ("Aeneid," VI, 735 sq.; Sophocles, "Antigone," 450 sq.). 

        Errors

        Epiphanius (Haer., lxxv, P.G., XLII, col. 513) complains that Aërius (fourth century) taught that prayers for the dead were of no avail. In the Middle Ages, the doctrine of purgatory was rejected by the Albigenses, Waldenses, and Hussites. St. Bernard (Serm. lxvi in Cantic., P.L. CLXXXIII, col. 1098) states that the so-called "Apostolici" denied purgatory and the utility of prayers for the departed. Much discussion has arisen over the position of the Greeks on the question of purgatory. It would seem that the great difference of opinion was not concerning the existence of purgatory but concerning the nature of purgatorial fire; still St. Thomas proves the existence of purgatory in his dissertation against the errors of the Greeks, and the Council of Florence also thought necessary to affirm the belief of the Church on the subject (Bellarmine, "De Purgatorio," lib. I, cap. i). The modern Orthodox Church denies purgatory, but is rather inconsistent in its way of putting forth its belief. 

        At the beginning of the Reformation there was some hesitation especially on Luther's part (Leipzig Disputation) as to whether the doctrine should be retained, but as the breach widened, the denial of purgatory by the Reformers became universal, and Calvin termed the Catholic position "exitiale commentum quod crucem Christi evacuat . . . quod fidem nostram labefacit et evertit" (Institutiones, lib. III, cap. v, 6). Modern Protestants, while they avoid the name purgatory, frequently teach the doctrine of "the middle state," and Martensen ("Christian Dogmatics," Edinburgh, 1890, p. 457) writes: "As no soul leaves this present existence in a fully complete and prepared state, we must suppose that there is an intermediate state, a realm of progressive development, (?) in which souls are prepared for the final judgment" (Farrar, "Mercy and Judgment," London, 1881, cap. iii). 

        Proofs

        The Catholic doctrine of purgatory supposes the fact that some die with smaller faults for which there was no true repentance, and also the fact that the temporal penalty due to sin is it times not wholly paid in this life. The proofs for the Catholic position, both in Scripture and in Tradition, are bound up also with the practice of praying for the dead. For why pray for the dead, if there be no belief in the power of prayer to afford solace to those who as yet are excluded from the sight of God? So true is this position that prayers for the dead and the existence of a place of purgation are mentioned in conjunction in the oldest passages of the Fathers, who allege reasons for succouring departed souls. Those who have opposed the doctrine of purgatory have confessed that prayers for the dead would be an unanswerable argument if the modern doctrine of a "particular judgment" had been received in the early ages. But one has only to read the testimonies hereinafter alleged to feel sure that the Fathers speak, in the same breath, of oblations for the dead and a place of purgation; and one has only to consult the evidence found in the catacombs to feel equally sure that the Christian faith there expressed embraced clearly a belief in judgment immediately after death. Wilpert ("Roma Sotteranea," I, 441) thus concludes chapter 21, "Che tale esaudimento", etc.:
        Intercession has been made for the soul of the dear one departed and God has heard the prayer, and the soul has passed into a place of light and refreshment." "Surely," Wilpert adds, "such intercession would have no place were there question not of the particular, but of the final judgment.
        Some stress too has been laid upon the objection that the ancient Christians had no clear conception of purgatory, and that they thought that the souls departed remained in uncertainty of salvation to the last day; and consequently they prayed that those who had gone before might in the final judgment escape even the everlasting torments of hell. The earliest Christian traditions are clear as to the particular judgment, and clearer still concerning a sharp distinction between purgatory and hell. The passages alledged as referring to relief from hell cannot offset the evidence given below (Bellarmine, "De Purgatorio," lib. II, cap. v). Concerning the famous case of Trajan, which vexed the Doctors of the Middle Ages, see Bellarmine, loc. cit., cap. Viii. 

        Old Testament

        The tradition of the Jews is put forth with precision and clearness in 2 Maccabees. Judas, the commander of the forces of Israel,
        making a gathering . . . sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)
        At the time of the Maccabees the leaders of the people of God had no hesitation in asserting the efficacy of prayers offered for the dead, in order that those who had departed this life might find pardon for their sins and the hope of eternal resurrection. 

        New Testament

        There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come." According to St. Isidore of Seville (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6) these words prove that in the next life "some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire." St. Augustine also argues "that some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come" (City of God XXI.24). The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n. 11) and other eminent theological writers. 

        A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15:
        "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."
        While this passage presents considerable difficulty, it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved. This, according to Bellarmine (De Purg., I, 5), is the interpretation commonly given by the Fathers and theologians; and he cites to this effect:
        • St. Ambrose (commentary on the text, and Sermo xx in Ps. cxvii),
        • St. Jerome, (Comm. in Amos, c. iv),
        • St. Augustine (Enarration on Psalm 37),
        • St. Gregory (Dial., IV, xxxix), and
        • Origen (Hom. vi in Exod.).
        See also St. Thomas, "Contra Gentes,", IV, 91. For a discussion of the exegetical problem, see Atzberger, "Die christliche Eschatologie", p. 275. 

        Tradition

        This doctrine that many who have died are still in a place of purification and that prayers avail to help the dead is part of the very earliest Christian tradition. Tertullian "De corona militis" mentions prayers for the dead as an Apostolic ordinance, and in "De Monogamia" (chapter 10) he advises a widow "to pray for the soul of her husband, begging repose for him and participation in the first resurrection"; he commands her also "to make oblations for him on the anniversary of his demise," and charges her with infidelity if she neglect to succour his soul. This settled custom of the Church is clear from St. Cyprian, who (P.L. IV, col. 399) forbade the customary prayers for one who had violated the ecclesiastical law. "Our predecessors prudently advised that no brother, departing this life, should nominate any churchman as his executor; and should he do it, that no oblation should be made for him, nor sacrifice offered for his repose." Long before Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria had puzzled over the question of the state or condition of the man who, reconciled to God on his death-bed, had no time for the fulfilment of penance due his transgression. His answer is: "the believer through discipline divests himself of his passions and passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, passes to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance for the faults he may have committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more, not yet attaining what he sees others have acquired. The greatest torments are assigned to the believer, for God's righteousness is good, and His goodness righteous, and though these punishments cease in the course of the expiation and purification of each one, "yet" etc. (P.G. IX, col. 332). 

        In Origen the doctrine of purgatory is very clear. If a man departs this life with lighter faults, he is condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, and prepares the soul for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. "For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (1 Corinthians 3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works." (P.G., XIII, col. 445, 448). 

        The Apostolic practice of praying for the dead which passed into the liturgy of the Church, is as clear in the fourth century as it is in the twentieth. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Mystagogical Catechesis V.9) describing the liturgy, writes: "Then we pray for the Holy Fathers and Bishops that are dead; and in short for all those who have departed this life in our communion; believing that the souls of those for whom prayers are offered receive very great relief, while this holy and tremendous victim lies upon the altar." St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, col. 524, 525) states that man's weaknesses are purged in this life by prayer and wisdom, or are expiated in the next by a cleansing fire. "When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil." About the same time the Apostolic Constitution gives us the formularies used in succouring the dead. "Let us pray for our brethren who sleep in Christ, that God who in his love for men has received the soul of the departed one, may forgive him every fault, and in mercy and clemency receive him into the bosom of Abraham, with those who in this life have pleased God" (P.G. I, col. 1144). Nor can we pass over the use of the diptychs where the names of the dead were inscribed; and this remembrance by name in the Sacred Mysteries--(a practice that was from the Apostles) was considered by Chrysostom as the best way of relieving the dead (Homily 41 on First Corinthians, no. 8). 

        The teaching of the Fathers, and the formularies used in the Liturgy of the Church, found expression in the early Christian monuments, particularly those contained in the catacombs. On the tombs of the faithful were inscribed words of hope, words of petition for peace and for rest; and as the anniversaries came round the faithful gathered at the graves of the departed to make intercession for those who had gone before. At the bottom this is nothing else than the faith expressed by the Council of Trent (Sess. XXV, "De Purgatorio"), and to this faith the inscriptions in the catacombs are surely witnesses.
        In the fourth century in the West, Ambrose insists in his commentary on St. Paul (1 Corinthians 3) on the existence of purgatory, and in his masterly funeral oration (De obitu Theodosii), thus prays for the soul of the departed emperor: "Give, O Lord, rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest Thou hast prepared for Thy saints. . . . I loved him, therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not leave him till by my prayers and lamentations he shall be admitted unto the holy mount of the Lord, to which his deserts call him" (P.L., XVI, col. 1397). St. Augustine is clearer even than his master. He describes two conditions of men; "some there are who have departed this life, not so bad as to be deemed unworthy of mercy, nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness" etc., and in the resurrection he says there will be some who "have gone through these pains, to which the spirits of the dead are liable" (City of God XXI.24). Thus at the close of the fourth century:
        • not only were prayers for the dead found in all the Liturgies, but the Fathers asserted that such practice was from the Apostles themselves;
        • those who were helped by the prayers of the faithful and by the celebration of the Holy Mysteries were in a place of purgation;
        • from which when purified they "were admitted unto the Holy Mount of the Lord". 
         
        So clear is this patristic Tradition that those who do not believe in purgatory have been unable to bring any serious difficulties from the writings of the Fathers. The passages cited to the contrary either do not touch the question at all, or are so lacking in clearness that they cannot offset the perfectly open expression of the doctrine as found in the very Fathers who are quoted as holding contrary opinions (Bellarmine "De Purg.", lib. I, cap. xiii). 


        Duration and nature

        Duration

        The very reasons assigned for the existence of purgatory make for its passing character. We pray, we offer sacrifice for souls therein detained that "God in mercy may forgive every fault and receive them into the bosom of Abraham" (Apostolic Constitutions); and Augustine (City of God XXI.13, 16) declares that the punishment of purgatory is temporary and will cease, at least with the Last Judgment. "But temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment." 

        Nature of punishment

        It is clear from the Liturgies and the Fathers above cited that the souls for whose peace sacrifice was offered were shut out for the time being from the sight of God. They were "not so good as to be entitled to eternal happiness". Still, for them "death is the termination not of nature but of sin" (Ambrose, "De obitu Theodos."); and this inability to sin makes them secure of final happiness. This is the Catholic position proclaimed by Leo X in the Bull "Exurge Domine" which condemned the errors of Luther. 

        Are the souls detained in purgatory conscious that their happiness is but deferred for a time, or may they still be in doubt concerning their ultimate salvation? The ancient Liturgies and the inscriptions of the catacombs speak of a "sleep of peace", which would be impossible if there was any doubt of ultimate salvation. Some of the Doctors of the Middle Ages thought uncertainty of salvation one of the severe punishments of purgatory. (Bellarmine, "De Purgat." lib. II, cap. iv); but this opinion finds no general credit among the theologians of the medieval period, nor is it possible in the light of the belief in the particular judgment. St. Bonaventure gives as the reason for this elimination of fear and of uncertainty the intimate conviction that they can no longer sin (lib. IV, dist. xx, p.1, a.1 q. iv): "Est evacuatio timoris propter confirniationem liberi arbitrii, qua deinceps scit se peccare non posse" (Fear is cast out because of the strengthening of the will by which the soul knows it can no longer sin), and St. Thomas (dist. xxi, q. i, a.1) says: "nisi scirent se esse liberandas suffragia non peterent" (unless they knew that they are to be delivered, they would not ask for prayers). 

        Merit

        In the Bull "Exurge Domine" Leo X condemns the proposition (n. 38) "Nec probatum est ullis aut rationibus aut scripturis ipsas esse extra statum merendi aut augendae caritatis" (There is no proof from reason or Scripture that they [the souls in purgatory] cannot merit or increase in charity). For them "the night has come in which no man can labour", and Christian tradition has always considered that only in this life can man work unto the profit of his own soul. The Doctors of the Middle Ages while agreeing that this life is the time for merit and increase of grace, still some with St. Thomas seemed to question whether or not there might be some non-essential reward which the souls in purgatory might merit (IV, dist. xxi, q. i, a. 3). Bellarmine believes that in this matter St. Thomas changed his opinion and refers to a statement of St. Thomas ("De Malo", q. vii, a. 11). Whatever may be the mind of the Angelic Doctor, theologians agree that no merit is possible in purgatory, and if objection be urged that the souls there merit by their prayers, Bellarmine says that such prayers avail with God because of merit already acquired "Solum impetrant ex meritis praeteritis quomodo nunc sancti orando) pro nobis impetrant licet non merendo" (They avail only in virtue of past merits as those who are now saints intercede for us not by merit but by prayer). (loc. cit. II, cap. iii). 

        Purgatorial fire

        At the Council of Florence, Bessarion argued against the existence of real purgatorial fire, and the Greeks were assured that the Roman Church had never issued any dogmatic decree on this subject. In the West the belief in the existence of real fire is common. Augustine (Enarration on Psalm 37, no. 3) speaks of the pain which purgatorial fire causes as more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life, "gravior erit ignis quam quidquid potest homo pati in hac vita" (P.L., col. 397). Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames," and he adds "that the pain be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life" (Ps. 3 poenit., n. 1). Following in the footsteps of Gregory, St. Thomas teaches (IV, dist. xxi, q. i, a.1) that besides the separation of the soul from the sight of God, there is the other punishment from fire. "Una poena damni, in quantum scilicet retardantur a divina visione; alia sensus secundum quod ab igne punientur", and St. Bonaventure not only agrees with St. Thomas but adds (IV, dist. xx, p.1, a.1, q. ii) that this punishment by fire is more severe than any punishment which comes to men in this life; "Gravior est omni temporali poena. quam modo sustinet anima carni conjuncta". How this fire affects the souls of the departed the Doctors do not know, and in such matters it is well to heed the warning of the Council of Trent when it commands the bishops "to exclude from their preaching difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification', and from the discussion of which there is no increase either in piety or devotion" (Sess. XXV, "De Purgatorio"). 

        Succouring the dead

        Scripture and the Fathers command prayers and oblations for the departed, and the Council of Trent (Sess. XXV, "De Purgatorio") in virtue of this tradition not only asserts the existence of purgatory, but adds "that the souls therein detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar." That those on earth are still in communion with the souls in purgatory is the earliest Christian teaching, and that the living aid the dead by their prayers and works of satisfaction is clear from the tradition above alleged. That the Holy Sacrifice was offered for the departed was received Catholic Tradition even in the days of Tertullian and Cyprian, and that the souls of the dead, were aided particularly "while the sacred victim lay upon the altar" is the expression of Cyril of Jerusalem quoted above. Augustine (Serm. clxii, n. 2) says that the "prayers and alms of the faithful, the Holy Sacrifice of the altar aid the faithful departed and move the Lord to deal with them in mercy and kindness, and," he adds, "this is the practice of the universal Church handed down by the Fathers." Whether our works of satisfaction performed on behalf of the dead avail purely out of God's benevolence and mercy, or whether God obliges himself in justice to accept our vicarious atonement, is not a settled question. Francisco Suárez thinks that the acceptance is one of justice, and alleges the common practice of the Church which joins together the living and the dead without any discrimination (De poenit., disp. xlviii, 6, n. 4). 


        Indulgences

        The Council of Trent (Sess. XXV) defined that indulgences are "most salutary for Christian people" and that their "use is to be retained in the Church". It is the common teaching of Catholic theologians that
        • indulgences may be applied to the souls detained in purgatory; and
        • that indulgences are available for them "by way of suffrage" (per modum suffragii). 
         
        (1) Augustine (City of God XX.9) declares that the souls of the faithful departed are not separated from the Church, which is the kingdom of Christ, and for this reason the prayers and works of the living are helpful to the dead. "If therefore", argues Bellarmine (De indulgentiis, xiv) "we can offer our prayers and our satisfactions in behalf of those detained in purgatory, because we are members of the great body of Christ, why may not the Vicar of Christ apply to the same souls the superabundant satisfaction of Christ and his saints--of which he is the dispenser?" This is the doctrine of St. Thomas (IV, Sent., dist. xlv, q. ii, a. 3, q. 2) who asserts that indulgences avail principally for the person who performs the work for which the indulgence is given, if they but secondarily may avail even for the dead, if the form in which the indulgence is granted be so worded as to be capable of such interpretation, and he adds "nor is there any reason why the Church may not dispose of its treasure of merits in favour of the dead, as it surely dispenses it in favour of the living". 

        (2) St. Bonaventure (IV, Sent., dist. xx, p. 2, q. v) agrees with St. Thomas, but adds that such "relaxation cannot be after the manner of absolution as in the case of the living but only as suffrage (Haec non tenet modum judicii, sed potius suffragii). This opinion of St. Bonaventure, that the Church through its Supreme Pastor does not absolve juridically the souls in purgatory from the punishment due their sins, is the teaching of the Doctors. They point out (Gratian, 24 q. ii, 2, can.1) that in case of those who have departed this life, judgment is reserved to God; they allege the authority of Gelasius (Ep. ad Fausturn; Ep. ad. Episcopos Dardaniae) in support of their contention (Gratian ibid.), and they also insist that the Roman Pontiffs, when they grant indulgences that are applicable to the dead, add the restriction "per modum suffragii et deprecationis". This phrase is found in the Bull of Sixtus IV "Romani Pontificis provida diligentia", 27 Nov. 1447. 

        The phrase "per modum suffragi et deprecationis" has been variously interpreted by theologians (Bellarmine, "De indulgentiis", p.137). Bellarmine himself says: "The true opinion is that indulgences avail as suffrage, because they avail not after the fashion of a juridical absolution 'quia non prosunt per modum juridicae absolutionis'." But according to the same author the suffrages of the faithful avail at times "per modum meriti congrui" (by way of merit), at times "per modum impetrationis" (by way of supplication) at times "per modum satisfactionis" (by way of satisfaction); but when there is question of applying an indulgence to one in purgatory it is only "per modum suffragii satisfactorii" and for this reason "the pope does not absolve the soul in purgatory from the punishment due his sin, but offers to God from the treasure of the Church whatever may be necessary for the cancelling of this punishment". 

        If the question be further asked whether such satisfaction is accepted by God out of mercy and benevolence, or "ex justitia", theologians are not in accord — some holding one opinion, others the other. Bellarmine after canvassing both sides (pp. 137, 138) does not dare to set aside "either opinion, but is inclined to think that the former is more reasonable while he pronounces the latter in harmony with piety ("admodum pia"). 

        Condition

        That an indulgence may avail for those in purgatory several conditions are required:
        • The indulgence must be granted by the pope.
        • There must be a sufficient reason for granting the indulgence, and this reason must be something pertaining to the glory of God and the utility of the Church, not merely the utility accruing to the souls in purgatory.
        • The pious work enjoined must be as in the case of indulgences for the living.
         
        If the state of grace be not among the required works, in all probability the person performing the work may gain the indulgence for the dead, even though he himself be not in friendship with God (Bellarmine, loc. cit., p. 139). Francisco Suárez (De Poenit., disp. Iiii, s. 4, n. 5 and 6) puts this categorically when he says: "Status gratiae solum requiritur ad tollendum obicem indulgentiae" (the state of grace is required only to remove some hindrance to the indulgence), and in the case of the holy souls there can be no hindrance. This teaching is bound up with the doctrine of the Communion of Saints, and the monuments of the catacombs represent the saints and martyrs as interceding with God for the dead. The prayers too of the early liturgies speak of Mary and of the saints interceding for those who have passed from this life. Augustine believes that burial in a basilica dedicated to a holy martyr is of value to the dead, for those who recall the memory of him who has suffered will recommend to the martyr's prayers the soul of him who has departed this life (Bellarmine, lib. II, xv). In the same place Bellarmine accuses Dominicus A Soto of rashness, because he denied this doctrine. 

        Invocation of souls

        Do the souls in purgatory pray for us? May we call upon them in our needs? There is no decision of the Church on this subject, nor have the theologians pronounced with definiteness concerning the invocation of the souls in purgatory and their intercession for the living. In the ancient liturgies there are no prayers of the Church directed to those who are still in purgatory. On the tombs of the early Christians nothing is more common than a prayer or a supplication asking the departed to intercede with God for surviving friends, but these inscriptions seem always to suppose that the departed one is already with God. St. Thomas (II-II.83.11) denies that the souls in purgatory pray for the living, and states they are not in a position to pray for us, rather we must make intercession for them. Despite the authority of St. Thomas, many renowned theologians hold that the souls in purgatory really pray for us, and that we may invoke their aid. Bellarmine (De Purgatorio, lib. II, xv,) says the reason alleged by St. Thomas is not at all convincing, and holds that in virtue of their greater love of God and their union with Him their prayers may have great intercessory power, for they are really superior to us in love of God, and in intimacy of union with Him. Francisco Suárez (De poenit., disp. xlvii, s. 2, n. 9) goes farther and asserts "that the souls in purgatory are holy, are dear to God, love us with a true love and are mindful of our wants; that they know in a general way our necessities and our dangers, and how great is our need of divine help and divine grace". 

        When there is question of invoking the prayers of those in purgatory, Bellarmine (loc. cit.) says it is superfluous, ordinarily speaking, for they are ignorant of our circumstances and condition. This is at variance with the opinion of Francisco Suárez, who admits knowledge at least in a general way, also with the opinions of many modern theologians who point to the practice now common with almost all the faithful of addressing their prayers and petitions for help to those who are still in a place of purgation. Scavini (Theol. Moral., XI, n. 174) sees no reason why the souls detained in purgatory may not pray for us, even as we pray for one another. He asserts that this practice has become common at Rome, and that it has the great name of St. Alphonsus in its favour. St. Alphonsus in his work the "Great Means of Salvation", chap. I, III, 2, after quoting Sylvius, Gotti, Lessius, and Medina as favourable to his opinion, concludes: "so the souls in purgatory, being beloved by God and confirmed in grace, have absolutely no impediment to prevent them from praying for us. Still the Church does not invoke them or implore their intercession, because ordinarily they have no cognizance of our prayers. But we may piously believe that God makes our prayers known to them". He alleges also the authority of St. Catharine of Bologna who "whenever she desired any favour had recourse to the souls in purgatory, and was immediately heard". 

        Utility of prayer for the departed

        It is the traditional faith of Catholics that the souls in purgatory are not separated from the Church, and that the love which is the bond of union between the Church's members should embrace those who have departed this life in God's grace. Hence, since our prayers and our sacrifices can help those who are still waiting in purgatory, the saints have not hesitated to warn us that we have a real duty toward those who are still in purgatorial expiation. Holy Church through the Congregation of Indulgences, 18 December 1885, has bestowed a special blessing on the so-called "heroic act" in virtue of which "a member of the Church militant offers to God for the souls in purgatory all the satisfactory works which he will perform during his lifetime, and also all the suffrages which may accrue to him after his death" (Heroic Act, vol. VII, 292). The practice of devotion to the dead is also consoling to humanity and eminently worthy of a religion which seconds all the purest feelings of the human heart. "Sweet", says Cardinal Wiseman (lecture XI), "is the consolation of the dying man, who, conscious of imperfection, believes that there are others to make intercession for him, when his own time for merit has expired; soothing to the afflicted survivors the thought that they possess powerful means of relieving their friend. In the first moments of grief, this sentiment will often overpower religious prejudice, cast down the unbeliever on his knees beside the remains of his friend and snatch from him an unconscious prayer for rest; it is an impulse of nature which for the moment, aided by the analogies of revealed truth, seizes at once upon this consoling belief. But it is only a flitting and melancholy light, while the Catholic feeling, cheering though with solemn dimness, resembles the unfailing lamp, which the piety of the ancients is said to have hung before the sepulchres of their dead." 


        References

        Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

        • Hanna, Edward. "Purgatory." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 2 Nov. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm>.

         
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            Today's Snippet III:   Acts of Reparation


            In the Roman Catholic tradition, an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the "sins of others", e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.[1] These prayers do not usually involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair sins.

            In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI defined reparation as follows:
            The creature's love should be given in return for the love of the Creator, another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation.[2]
            Pope John Paul II referred to reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified".[3]

            Theological basis and history

            The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2157 states:
            The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior's grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father.
            "All that we do without offering it to God is wasted," Saint John Mary Vianney preached. According to Catholic theology, the worth of an action in the eyes of God is found in the intention, i.e. what takes place in the heart of each person, on whether the person lives based on the love for God (the greatest commandment) or love for self. Thus, Catholic spirituality encourages the practice of fixing one's intention towards loving God at the very beginning of the day, through the morning offering. Catholic authors also encourage repeating this offering throughout the day, especially at the start of one's professional work which takes a large part of each day.

            The morning offering is an essential part of the theology of sanctification of work, or the use of work, secular or otherwise, as a means of arriving at personal sanctity. The other element in this theology is the actual work done with spirit of excellence in consonance with the intention of offering something "worthy" to the sanctity, majesty and the goodness of the Father God.


            "All that we do without offering it to God is wasted." - Saint John Mary Vianney
            This theology is also supported by private revelation to some saints. For example, Sister Josefa Menéndez (1890-1923) reported that she heard Jesus Christ tell her: "When you awake, enter at once into My Heart, and when you are in it, offer My Father all your actions united to the pulsations of My Heart . . . If [a person is] engaged in work of no value in itself, if she bathes it in My Blood or unites it to the work I Myself did during My mortal life, it will greatly profit souls . . . more, perhaps, than if she had preached to the whole world. You will be able to save many souls that way."

            Saint Mechtilde (1241-1298), a popular saint during the time of Dante and who was mentioned in his Divine Comedy, also had visions of Jesus Christ and transmitted the following words of Jesus: "When you awake in the morning, let your first act be to salute My Heart, and to offer Me your own . . . Whoever shall breathe a sigh toward Me from the bottom of his heart when he awakes in the morning and shall ask Me to work all his works in him throughout the day, will draw Me to him . . . For never does a man breathe a sigh of longing aspiration toward Me without drawing Me nearer to him than I was before." It is also said that the morning offering helps "refresh and recharge" the soul, preparing the soul to face each day with the help of God himself.[1]

            The morning offering has been an old practice in the Church but it started to spread largely through the Apostleship of Prayer, started by Fr. Francis X. Gautrelet, S.J, and specially through the book written by another Jesuit, Reverend Henry Ramière, S.J., who in 1861, adapted the Apostleship of Prayer for parishes and various Catholic institutions, and made it known by his book "The Apostleship of Prayer", which has been translated into many languages.


            Duty of Reparation and Devotion

            In the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI called acts of reparation a duty for Roman Catholics:
            We are holden to the duty of reparation and expiation by a certain more valid title of justice and of love, of justice indeed, in order that the offense offered to God by our sins may be expiated
            The pontiff further emphasized, "Moreover this duty of expiation is laid upon the whole race of men"

            Prayers of Reparation

            A number of prayers as an Act of Reparation to the Virgin Mary appear in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of December 15 1854, and published in 1898 by the Holy See). The Raccolta includes a number of diverse prayers for reparation.[4]
            • The Rosary of the Holy Wounds (which does not include the usual rosary mysteries) focuses on specific redemptive aspects of Christ's suffering in Calvary, with emphasis on the souls in purgatory.[5]
            • A well known Act of Reparation to Jesus Christ and for the reparation of blasphemy is The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion (Prayer) first introduced by Sister Marie of St Peter in 1844. This devotion (started by Sister Marie and then promoted by the Venerable Leo Dupont) was approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885.[6]
            • A frequently offered Act of Reparation to The Holy Trinity is based on the messages of Our Lady of Fatima and is usually called the Angel Prayer.[7][8]

            Morning Offering Devotion


            John Paul II: Morning Offering is “of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful."
            In Roman Catholicism, the Morning Offering is a prayer said by an individual at the start of the day in order to consecrate the day to Jesus Christ. It serves the purpose of preparing the Catholic to focus completely on Christ and give to him all that he or she does during the day. There are several different forms of Offering.

            Pope John Paul II said that the Morning Offering is “of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful."

            The Morning offering is meant to be prayed first thing in the morning, upon waking up. Throughout the day, a Christian offers up everything – joys and successes, difficulties and sacrifices, to Jesus, uniting them to His sufferings and merits so that one’s works gain the merit they can never have apart from Him.

            The Morning Offering is suggested to be renewed many times throughout the day with simple short prayers (called "aspirations"), e.g. "I will serve!"; "I offer my work unto you."

            A specific Morning offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was composed by Fr. François-Xavier Gautrelet in 1844. It reflects the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and is also an Acts of reparation for sins:
            O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
            I offer you my prayers, works, joys, sufferings of this day,
            in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.
            I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart;
            the salvation of souls, the reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians;
            I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all members of the Apostleship of Prayer,
            and in particular for those recommended by the Holy Father this month.
            Amen.

            First Friday Devotions

            The First Friday Devotions are a set of Catholic devotions to especially recognize the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and through it offer reparations for sins. In the visions of Christ reported by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, several promises were made to those people that practiced the First Fridays Devotions, one of which included final perseverance.[1]

            According to the words of Christ through His apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, there are several promises to those that practice the First Friday Devotions:
            "In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."[2]
            The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. On these days, a person is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion.[3] If the need arises in order to receive communion in a state of grace, a person should also make use of the Sacrament of Penance before attending Mass. In many Catholic communities the practice of the Holy Hour of meditation during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the First Fridays is encouraged. [4]

            First Friday - Communion of Reparation

            Receiving Holy Communion as part of First Friday Devotions is a Catholic devotion to offer reparations for sins through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the visions of Christ reported by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, several promises were made to those people that practiced the First Fridays Devotions, one of which included final perseverance.[9]

            The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. On these days, a person is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion.[10] In many Catholic communities the practice of the Holy Hour of meditation during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the First Fridays is encouraged. [11]

            First Friday Promises

            1. I will give them all of the graces necessary for their state of life.
            2. I will establish peace in their houses.
            3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
            4. I will be their strength during life and above all during death.
            5. I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.
            6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.
            7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
            8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
            9. I will bless every place where a picture of my heart shall be set up and honored.
            10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
            11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
            12. I promise you 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 their sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.[5]

            First Saturday Devotions

            The First Saturdays Devotion (or Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary) is a Catholic practice which, according to the visionaries, has been requested by the Virgin Mary in several visitations, notably Our Lady of Fátima and the subsequent Pontevedra apparitions. This devotion, and the marian apparitions, have been officially embraced by the Roman Catholic Church.

            The devotion fits on the Catholic tradition to venerate the Virgin Mary particularly on Saturdays, which originated in the scriptural account that, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, her heart was to be pierced with a sword, as prophesied during the presentation of Jesus in the temple; such sword was the bitter sorrow during the Crucifixion of Jesus (which Catholic devotees understand as the union of the Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus -- see Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Apparitions). Such sorrow is particularly bitterly endured on Holy Saturday after Jesus was placed on the Sepulcher (before the Resurrection on Easter). Devotees of Fátima believe that the First Saturdays help to console the sorrows of God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary for the sins against Her Immaculate Heart.

            The Act of First Saturday Reparation

            When Lúcia Santos experienced the Pontevedra apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she heard her promise to grant great graces, especially at the hour of death, in particular the salvation of the soul, for the believer who for Five Consecutive First Saturdays of Month (5 Saturdays in 5 months) receives Holy Communion and practices the following exercises as an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven:
            • Sacramental confession
            The confession can take place days before or even after the Holy Communion is received, but the Holy Communion shall be received with dignity, in a state of Grace, keeping in mind that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist (Transubstantiation). The Intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be kept to oneself; it is not necessary to notify the confessor priest.
            • To receive Holy Communion
            The Holy Communion has to be received within the 24 hours of the first Saturday of the Month. Attendance to Holy Mass is optional. Receiving Holy Communion as part of this devotion must be consciously intended as an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart. The devotee need not tell anyone else, but keep it in mind. To avoid omitting the Intention every Saturday, the General Intention for the devotion of the Act of Reparation can be mentally or outspokenly stated before starting the First Saturdays (or in between). If a person has a valid reason not to attend Mass (Masses not available on Saturdays, difficult mobilization, other major event), the devotee may consult a priest about receiving Communion privately or on another day with the intention of making this Communion as part of the devotion.
            • A 5 Decades Rosary is recited
            The Rosary must also be recited with the intention of making reparation. A 15 Minute Meditation is made on the Mysteries of the Rosary This Meditation should also be done in an Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Rosary Meditations can be done on all 15 of the mysteries or fewer but must last for 15 minutes. This meditation is in addition to the recitation of the Rosary. It can be done alone or in a group and with or without the aid of sacred scripture.

            The activities of the Five First Saturdays devotions are different from similar devotions on other days in that all should be done with the specific intention in the heart of making reparation to the Blessed Mother for blasphemies against her, her name and her holy initiatives.

            Sister Lúcia, the only Fátima visionary to survive into adulthood reported that the Blessed Mother came to her in her convent at Pontevedra, Spain with the following statement:
            Look, my daughter, at my Heart encircled by these thorns with which men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, strive to console me, and so I announce: I promise to assist at the hour of death with the grace necessary for salvation all those who, with the intention of making reparation to me, will, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the beads, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
            The First Saturdays devotion had already been an established custom in the Catholic Church. On July 1, 1905, Pope Pius X approved and granted indulgences for the practice of the First Saturdays of twelve consecutive months in honor of the Immaculate Conception. This practice greatly resembled the reported request of Mary at the Pontevedra apparition.


            Acts of Reparation to The Holy Trinity

            Roman Catholic tradition include specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for insults and blasphemies against the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Sacrament. Similar prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary and Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ also exist

            Fatima prayer to the Holy Trinity

            This prayer is based on the 20th century apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, and is attributed to an angel who appeared to the visionaries. It is sometimes called the Angel Prayer. The apparitions of Fatima have been approved by the Holy Catholic Church, thus deemed worthy of belief.

            In Catholic tradition, Saint Michael is the prince of the church of Jesus Christ and also the defender of Israel. Having revealed the Chaplet of Saint Michael to a Portuguese nun in the 18th Century, Saint Michael is often associated with being the angel that prepared the children shepherds for the visit of the Blessed Mother of God in Fatima, and thus to him it is attributed the prayer.

            Words of the prayer:
            O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.

            Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ

            Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for insults and blasphemies against Jesus Christ and the Holy Name of Jesus. These include the sufferings during the Passion of Jesus. Similar prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary and Acts of Reparation to The Holy Trinity also exist.

            These prayers are recited with the intent to repair the sins of others, e.g. when the name of Jesus Christ is taken in vain, for the repair of the sin of blasphemy or the insults against and sufferings of Jesus in Calvary. Pope John Paul II referred to reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified".

            Specific Roman Catholic organizations with this purpose exist. For instance, the Archconfraternity of Reparation for blasphemy and the neglect of Sunday was founded by Msgr. Pierre Louis Parisis in 1847 and the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was founded in 1851 by the Venerable Leo Dupont, the "Holy Man of Tours". In 1950, the Venerable Abbot Hildebrand Gregori formed the organization "Prayerful Sodality" which in 1977 became the Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face.


            The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion


            Sister Marie of St Peter with the Golden Arrow. The three rings symbolize the Holy Trinity
            The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion is a prayer associated with a Roman Catholic devotion.[1] The prayer and the devotion are based on reports of visions of by Jesus to Sr. Marie of St Peter, a Carmelite nun of Tours, in 1843.[2][1] The prayer is an Act of Praise and Reparation for Blasphemy. It is also a reparation for the profanation of Sunday and the Holy Days of Obligation.

            On March 16, 1844 Jesus reportedly told Sr. Marie:
            "Oh if you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once, Admirable is the Name of God , in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy."

            Sister Mary stated that Jesus told her that the two sins which offend him the most grievously are blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday. He called this prayer the "Golden Arrow", saying that those who would recite it would pierce Him delightfully, and also heal those other wounds inflicted on Him by the malice of sinners. Sr. Mary of St. Peter saw, "streaming from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, delightfully wounded by this 'Golden Arrow,' torrents of graces for the conversion of sinners.[2][1][3]

            The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion (Prayer)

            This prayer is part of the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and appears in the book “The Golden Arrow”, the autobiography of Sr. Marie of St Peter. In her book she wrote that in her visions Jesus told her that an act of sacrilege or blasphemy is like a "poisoned arrow", hence the name “Golden Arrow” for this reparatory prayer. [1]  Words of the prayer:[2][1]
            May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable,
            most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God
            be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored
            and glorified in Heaven, on earth,
            and under the earth,
            by all the creatures of God,
            and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
            in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
            Amen.

            Rosary of the Holy Wounds


            Venerable Marie Martha Chambon.
            The Rosary of the Holy Wounds is a Rosary based prayer but it does not include the usual mysteries of the rosary. It is primarily directed at the sufferings of Jesus Christ and was first presented by the Venerable Sister Marie Martha Chambon who lived in Chambéry, France and died in 1907.

            She reported that Jesus Christ appeared to her asked her to unite her sufferings with His as an Act of Reparation for the sins of the world. It also has special applicability to the souls in purgatory.[6][7]

            Prayer of reparation for insults and blasphemies

            Words of the prayer:[8]
            O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who hast said: "If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you", we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Spirit world without end. Amen

            Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary

            Roman Catholic tradition and Mariology include specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for insults and blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin Mary. Similar prayers as Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ and Acts of Reparation to The Holy Trinity also exist.m  Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Roman Catholic prayer book, first published in association with the Roman Catholic Congregation of Indulgences in 1807.

            The Raccolta is a book, published from 1807 to 1950, that listed Roman Catholic prayers and other acts of piety, reparation, such as novenas, for which specific indulgences were granted by Popes. The Raccolta (literally meaning "collection" in Italian) is an abbreviation of its full title: Raccolta delle orazioni e pie opere per le quali sono sono concedute dai Sommi Pontefici le SS. Indulgenze ("Collection of Prayers and Good Works for Which the Popes Have Granted Holy Indulgences"). The text was in Italian, with the prayers themselves given in Latin. By his bull Indulgentiarum Doctrina of 1 January 1967, Pope Paul VI ordered a revision of the collection of indulgenced prayers and works "with a view to attaching indulgences only to the most important prayers and works of piety, charity and penance". In 1968 it was replaced by the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, listing fewer specific prayers but including new general grants that apply to a wide range of prayerful actions.

            The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, which is in Latin, differs from the Italian-language Raccolta in listing "only the most important prayers and works of piety, charity and penance". On the other hand, it includes new general grants of partial indulgences that apply to a wide range of prayerful actions, and it indicates that the prayers that it does list as deserving veneration on account of divine inspiration or antiquity or as being in widespread use are only examples of those to which the first these general grants applies: "Raising the mind to God with humble trust while performing one's duties and bearing life's difficulties, and adding, at least mentally, some pious invocation". In this way, the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, in spite of its smaller size, classifies as indulgenced an immensely greater number of prayers than were treated as such in the Raccolta.

            Reparation for insults to the Blessed Virgin Mary

            Words of the Prayer from Raccolta:
            O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, look down in mercy from Heaven, where thou art enthroned as Queen, upon me, a miserable sinner, thine unworthy servant. Although I know full well my own unworthiness, yet in order to atone for the offenses that are done to thee by impious and blasphemous tongues, from the depths of my heart I praise and extol thee as the purest, the fairest, the holiest creature of all God's handiwork. I bless thy holy name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of the human race. I bless the Eternal Father who chose thee in an especial way for His daughter; I bless the Word Incarnate who took upon Himself our nature in thy bosom and so made thee His Mother; I bless the Holy Spirit who took thee as His bride. All honor, praise and thanksgiving to the ever-blessed Trinity who predestined thee and loved thee so exceedingly from all eternity as to exalt thee above all creatures to the most sublime heights. O Virgin, holy and merciful, obtain for all who offend thee the grace of repentance, and graciously accept this poor act of homage from me thy servant, obtaining likewise for me from thy Divine Son the pardon and remission of all my sins. Amen.

            Reparation for blasphemy against the Blessed Virgin Mary


            Words of the Prayer from Raccolta:
            Most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, turn thine eyes in pity upon us, miserable sinners; we are sore afflicted by the many evils that surround us in this life, but especially do we feel our hearts break within us upon hearing the dreadful insults and blasphemies uttered against thee, O Virgin Immaculate. O how these impious sayings offend the infinite Majesty of God and of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ! How they provoke His indignation and give us cause to fear the terrible effects of His vengeance! Would that the sacrifice of our lives might avail to put an end to such outrages and blasphemies; were it so, how gladly we should make it, for we desire, O most holy Mother, to love thee and to honor thee with all our hearts, since this is the will of God. And just because we love thee, we will do all that is in our power to make thee honored and loved by all men. In the meantime do thou, our merciful Mother, the supreme comforter of the afflicted, accept this our act of reparation which we offer thee for ourselves and for all our families, as well as for all who impiously blaspheme thee, not knowing what they say. Do thou obtain for them from Almighty God the grace of conversion, and thus render more manifest and more glorious thy kindness, thy power and thy great mercy. May they join with us in proclaiming thee blessed among women, the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God.
            Recite Hail Mary three times.

            Acts of Reparation Mention in Apparitions

            The need for reparation has been mentioned in some Marian apparitions. The messages of Our Lady of Akita, which were formally approved by the Holy See in 1988 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) include the following statement attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
            "Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates."
            Our Lady of Fatima messages have also emphasized the need for reparations. According to the child seers, Mary asked them to make sacrifices to save sinners. By this the children understood her to mean moderate acts of mortification of the flesh.[12]

            Organizations for Reparation

            Specific Catholic organizations (including Pontifical Congregations) whose focus is reparation have been formed:[13][14]
            • The Archconfraternity of Reparation for blasphemy and the neglect of Sunday was founded by Msgr. Pierre Louis Parisis in 1847.
            • The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was founded in 1851 by the Venerable Leo Dupont, the "Holy Man of Tours".
            • In 1886 Pope Leo XIII authorized the formation of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation in Rome.
            • In 1950, the Venerable Abbot Hildebrand Gregori formed the organization "Prayerful Sodality" which in 1977 became the Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face.
               
               

            Theological issues

            From a theological view, reparation is closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. Christian theology teaches that man is a creature who has fallen into original sin from an original state of grace in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition.

            Roman Catholic theology asserts that it was by voluntary submission that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for man's disobedience and sin and that his death made reparation for the sins and offenses of the world. Catholicism professes that by adding their prayers, labours, and trials to the redemption won by Christ's death, Christians can attempt to make reparation to God for their own offenses and those of others. Protestant Christians believe that the prize is already won by Christ for those who believe, wholly apart from their merit, or lack thereof, and that obedience and service to Christ is an outflowing of the new life that he purchased for them in his death on the cross.

            The theological doctrine of reparation is the foundation of the numerous confraternities and pious associations which have been founded, especially in modern times, to make reparation to God for the sins of men. The Archconfraternity of Reparation for blasphemy and the neglect of Sunday was founded 28 June, 1847, in the Church of St. Martin de La Noue at St. Dizier in France by Mgr. Parisis, Bishop of Langres. With a similar object, the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was established at Tours, about 1851, through the piety of M. Dupont, the "holy man of Tours". In 1883 an association was formed in Rome to offer reparation to God on behalf of all nations. The idea of reparation is an essential element in the devotion of the Sacred Heart, and acts of reparation were once common public devotions in Roman Catholic churches. One of the ends for which the Eucharist is offered is for reparation. A pious widow of Paris conceived the idea of promoting this object in 1862. By the authority of Pope Leo XIII the erection of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation was sanctioned in 1886.

            References

            1. ^ Acts of Reparation http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/qt/Reparation_HN.htm
            2. ^ Miserentissimus Redemptor Encyclical of Pope Pius XI [1]
            3. ^ Vatican archives http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_20001021_riparatrici_en.html
            4. ^ Joseph P. Christopher et al., 2003 The Raccolta, St Athanasius Press ISBN 978-0-9706526-6-9
            5. ^ Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-454-X
            6. ^ Dorothy Scallan. The Holy Man of Tours. (1990) ISBN 0-89555-390-2
            7. ^ Our Lady of Fatima http://www.fatima.org/
            8. ^ Story of Fatima http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-104.html
            9. ^ Peter Stravinskas, 1998, OSV's Catholic Encyclopedia, OSV Press ISBN 0-87973-669-0 page 428
            10. ^ Roman Catholic worship: Trent to today by James F. White 2003 ISBN 0-8146-6194-7 page 35
            11. ^ Meditations on the Sacred Heart by Joseph McDonnell 2008 ISBN 1-4086-8658-9 page 118
            12. ^ Lucia Santos, Memoir 1, pp. 45-48, and Memoir 2, p. 82 and 93, in Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, entire text online.
            13. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
            14. ^ Byzantine Catholic Church in America - Hildebrand Gregori a Step Closer to Canonization



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            THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD

            Mystical City of God, the miracle of His omnipotence and the abyss of His grace the divine history and life of the Virgin Mother of God our Queen and our Lady, most holy Mary expiatrix of the fault of eve and mediatrix of grace. Manifested to Sister Mary of Jesus, Prioress of the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agreda, Spain. For new enlightenment of the world, for rejoicing of the Catholic Church, and encouragement of men. Completed in 1665.


            THE DIVINE HISTORY AND LIFE OF THE VIRGIN MOTHER OF GOD
            Venerable Mary of Agreda
            Translated from the Spanish by  Reverend George J. Blatter
            1914, So. Chicago, Ill., The Theopolitan; Hammond, Ind., W.B. Conkey Co., US..
            IMPRIMATUR:  +H.J. Alerding Bishop of Fort Wayne
            Translation from the Original Authorized Spanish Edition by Fiscar Marison (George J. Blatter). Begun on the Feast of the Assumption 1902, completed 1912.
            This work is published for the greater Glory of Jesus Christ through His most Holy Mother Mary and for the sanctification of the Church and her members.


            Book 6, Chapter 6

            JESUS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE. THE SCOURGING AND CROWNING WITH THORNS

             

            At the dawn of Friday morning, say the Evangelists (Matth. 27, 1; Mark 15, 1; Luke 22, 66; John 11, 47), the ancients, the chief priests and scribes, who according to the law were looked upon with greatest respect by the people, gathered together in order to come to a common decision concerning the death of Christ. This they all desired; however they were anxious to preserve the semblance of justice before the people. This council was held in the house of Caiphas, where the Lord was imprisoned. Once more they commanded Him to be brought from the dungeon to the hall of the council in order to be examined. The satellites of justice rushed below to drag Him forth bound and fettered as He was.


            They again asked Him to tell them, whether He was the Christ (Luke 22, 1), that is, the Anointed. Just as all their previous questions, so this was put with the malicious determination not to listen or to admit the truth, but to calumniate and fabricate a charge against Him. But the Lord, being perfectly willing to die for the truth, denied it not; at the same time He did not wish to confess it in such a manner that they could despise it, or borrow out of it some color for their calumny; for this was not becoming his innocence and wisdom. Therefore He veiled his answer in such a way, that if the pharisees chose to yield to even the least kindly feeling, they would be able to trace up the mystery hidden in his words; but if they had no such feeling, then should it become clear through their answer, that the evil which they imputed to Him was the result of their wicked intentions and lay not in his answer. He therefore said to them: “If I tell you that I am He of whom you ask, you will not believe what I say; and if I shall ask you, you will not answer, nor release Me. But I tell you, that the Son of man, after this, shall seat Himself at the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22, 67). The priests answered: “Then thou art the Son of God?” and the Lord replied: “You say that I am.” This was as if He had said: You have made a very correct inference, that I am the Son of God: for my works, my doctrines, and your own Scripture, as well as what you are now doing with Me, testify to the fact that I am the Christ, the One promised in the law.


            But this council of the wicked was not disposed to assent to divine truth, although they themselves inferred it very correctly from the antecedents and could easily have believed it. They would neither give assent nor belief, but preferred to call it a blasphemy deserving death. Since the Lord had now reaffirmed what He had said before, they all cried out : “What need have we of further witnesses, since He himself asserts it by his own lips?’’ And they immediately came to the unanimous conclusion that He should, as one worthy of death, be brought before Pontius Pilate, who governed Judea in the name of the Roman emperor and was the temporal Lord of Palestine.


            The sun had already arisen while these things happened and the most holy Mother, who saw it all from afar, now resolved to leave her retreat and follow her divine Son to the house of Pilate and to his death on the Cross. When the great Queen and Lady was about to set forth from the Cenacle, saint John arrived in order to give an account of all that was happening; for the beloved disciple at that time did not know the visions, by which all the doings and sufferings of her most holy Son were manifest to the blessed Mother. After the denial of saint Peter, saint John had retired and had observed, more from afar what was going on. Recognizing also the wickedness of his flight in the garden, he confessed it to the Mother of God and asked her pardon as soon as he came into her presence; and then he gave an account of all that passed in his heart and of what he had done and what he had seen in following his Master. Saint John thought it well to prepare the afflicted Mother for her meeting with her most holy Son, in order that She might not be overcome by the fearful spectacle of his present condition. Therefore He sought to impress Her beforehand with some image of his sufferings by saying: “O my Lady, in what a state of suffering is our divine Master! The sight of Him cannot but break one’s heart; for by the buffets and the blows and by the spittle, his most beautiful countenance is so disfigured and defiled, that Thou wilt scarcely recognize Him with thy own eyes.” The most prudent Lady listened to his description, as if She knew nothing of the events; but She broke out in bitterest tears of heart–rending sorrow. The holy women, who had came forth with the Lady, also listened to saint John, and all of them were filled with grief and terror at his words. The Queen of heaven asked the Apostle to accompany Her and the devout women, and, exhorting them all, She said: “Let us hasten our steps, in order that my eyes may see the Son of the eternal Father, who took human form in my womb; and you shall see, my dearest friends, to what the love of mankind has driven Him, my Lord and God, and what it costs Him to redeem men from sin and death, and to open for them the gates of heaven.”


            The Queen of heaven set forth through the streets of Jerusalem accompanied by saint John and by some holy women. Of these not all, but only the three Marys and other very pious women, followed Her to the end. With Her were also the angels of her guard, whom She asked to open a way for Her to her divine Son. The holy angels obeyed and acted as her guard. On the streets She heard the people expressing their various opinions and sentiments concerning the sorrowful events now transpiring in reference to Jesus of Nazareth. The more kindly hearted lamented over his fate, and they were fewest in number. Others spake about the intention of his enemies to crucify Him; others related where He now was and how He was conducted through the streets, bound as a criminal; others spoke of the ill treatment He was undergoing; others asked, what evil He had done, that He should be so misused; others again in their astonishment and in their doubts, exclaimed: To this then have his miracles brought Him! Without a doubt they were all impostures, since He cannot defend or free himself!


            Through the swarming and confused crowds the angels conducted the Empress of heaven to a sharp turn of the street, where She met her most holy Son. With the profoundest reverence She prostrated Herself before his sovereign Person and adored it more fervently and with a reverence more deep and more ardent than ever was given or ever shall be given to it by all the creatures. She arose and then the Mother and Son looked upon each other with ineffable tenderness, interiorly conversing with each other in transports of an unspeakable sorrow. The most prudent Lady stepped aside and then followed Christ our Lord, continuing at a distance her interior communication with Him and with the eternal Father. The words of her soul are not for the mortal and corruptible tongue.


            The image of her divine Son, thus wounded, defiled and bound, remained so firmly fixed and imprinted in the soul of our Queen, that during her life it never effaced, and remained in her mind as distinctly as if She were continually beholding Him with her own eyes. Christ our God arrived at the house of Pilate, followed by many of the council and a countless multitude of the people. The Jews, wishing to preserve themselves as clean before the law as possible for the celebration of the Pasch and the unleavened bread, excused themselves before Pilate for their refusing to enter the pretorium or court of Pilate in presenting Jesus. As most absurd hypocrites they paid no attention to the sacrilegious uncleanness, with which their souls were affected in becoming the murderers of the innocent Godman. Pilate, although a heathen, yielded to their ceremonic scruples, and seeing that they hesitated to enter his pretorium, he went out to meet them. According to formality customary among the Romans, he asked them (John 18, 28): “What accusation have you against this Man?” They answered: “If He were not a criminal, we would not have brought Him to thee thus bound and fettered.” This was as much as to say: We have convinced ourselves of the misdeeds and we are so attached to justice and to our obligations, that we would not begun any proceedings against Him, if He were not a great malefactor. But Pilate pressed his inquiry and said: “What then are the misdeeds, of which has made Himself guilty?” They answered: “He is convicted of disturbing the commonwealth, He wishes to make Himself our king and forbids paying tribute to Caesar(Luke 23, 2); He claims to be the son of God, and has preached a new doctrine, commencing in Galilee, through all Judea and Jerusalem.” “Take Him then yourselves,” said Pilate, “and judge Him according to your laws; I do not find a just cause for proceeding against Him.” But the Jews replied: “It is not permitted us to sentence any one to death, nor to execute such a sentence.”


            The most holy Mary, with saint John and the women who followed Her, was present at this interview; for the holy angels made room for them where they could hear and see all that was passing. Shielded by her mantle She wept tears of blood, pressed forth by the sorrow which pierced her virginal heart. In her interior acts of virtue She faithfully reproduced those practiced by her most holy Son, while in her pains and endurance She copied those of his body. She asked the eternal Father to grant Her the favor of not losing sight of her divine Son, as far as was naturally possible, until his Death; and this was conceded to Her, excepting during the time in which He was in prison.


            One of the accusations of the Jews and the priests before Pilate was, that Jesus our Savior had begun to stir up the people by his preaching in the province of Galilee (Luke 23, 6). This caused Pilate to inquire, whether He was a Galileean; and as they told him, that Jesus was born and raised in that country, he thought this circumstance useful for the solution of his difficulties in regard to Jesus and for escaping the molestations of the Jews, who so urgently demanded his death. Herod was at that time in Jerusalem, celebrating the Pasch of the Jews. He was the son of the first Herod, who had murdered the Innocents to procure the death of Jesus soon after his birth (Matth 2, 16). This murderer had become a proselyte of the Jews at the time of his marriage with a Jewish woman. On this account his son Herod likewise observed the law of Moses, and he had come to Jerusalem from Galilee, of which he was governor. Pilate was at enmity with Herod, for the two governed the two principal provinces of Palestine namely, Judea and Galilee, and a short time before it had happened that Pilate, in his zeal for the supremacy of the Roman empire, had murdered some Galileeans during a public function in the temple, mixing the blood of the insurgents with that of the holy sacrifices. Herod was highly incensed at this sacrilege, and Pilate, in order to afford him some satisfaction without much trouble to himself, resolved to send to him Christ the Lord to be examined and judged as one of the subjects of Herod’s sway. Pilate also expected that Herod would set Jesus free as being innocent and a Victim of the malice and envy of the priests and scribes.


            When Herod was informed that Pilate would send Jesus of Nazareth to him, he was highly pleased. He knew that Jesus was a great friend of John the Baptist whom he had ordered to be put to death (Mark 6, 27), and had heard many reports of his preaching. In vain and foolish curiosity he harbored the desire of seeing Jesus do something new and extraordinary for his entertainment and wonder (Luke 23, 8). The Author life therefore came into the presence of the murderer Herod, against whom the blood of the Baptist was calling more loudly to this same Lord for vengeance, than in its time the blood of Abel (Gen. 4, 10). But the unhappy adulterer, ignorant of the terrible judgment of the Almighty, received Him with loud laughter as an enchanter and conjurer. In this dreadful misconception he commenced to examine and question Him, persuaded that he could thereby induce Him to work some miracle to satisfy his curiosity. But the Master of wisdom and prudence, standing with an humble reserve before his most unworthy judge, answered him not a word. For on account of his evil–doing he well merited the punishment of not hearing the words of life, which he would certainly have heard if he had been disposed to listen to them with reverence.


            The princes and priests of the Jews stood around, continually rehearsing the same accusations and charge they had advanced in the presence of Pilate. But the Lord maintained silence also in regard to these calumnies, much to the disappointment of Herod. In his presence the Lord would not open his lips, neither in order to answer his questions, nor in order to refute the accusations. Herod was altogether unworthy of hearing the truth, this being his greatest punishment and the punishment most to be dreaded by all the princes and the powerful of this earth. Herod was much put out by the silence and meekness of our Savior and was much disappointed in his vain curiosity. But the unjust judge tried to hide his confusion by mocking and ridiculing the innocent Master with his whole cohort of soldiers and ordering him to be sent back to Pilate.


            Pilate was again confronted with Jesus in his palace and was bestormed anew by the Jews to condemn Him to death of the cross. Convinced of the innocence of Christ and of the mortal envy of the Jews, he was much put out at Herod’s again referring the disagreeable decision to his own tribunal. Feeling himself obliged in his quality of judge to give this decision, he sought to placate the Jews in different ways. One of these was a private interview with some of the servants and friends of the highpriests and priests. He urged them to prevail upon their masters and friends, not any more to ask for the release of the malefactor Barabbas, but instead demand the release of our Redeemer; and to be satisfied with some punishment he was willing to administer before setting Him free. This measure Pilate had taken before they arrived a second time to press their demand for a sentence upon Jesus. The proposal to choose between freeing either Barabbas or Jesus was made to the Jews, not only once, but two or three times. The first time before sending Him to Herod and the second time after his return; this is related by the Evangelists with some variation, though not essentially contradicting truth (Matth. 27, 17). Pilate spoke to the Jews and said: “You have brought this Man before me, accusing Him of perverting the people by his doctrines; and having examined Him in your presence, I was not convinced of the truth of your accusations. And Herod, to whom I have sent Him and before whom you repeated your accusations, refused to condemn Him to death. It will be sufficient to correct and chastise Him for the present, in order that He may amend. As I am to release some malefactor for the feast of the Pasch, I will release Christ, if you will have Him freed, and punish Barabbas.” But the multitude of the Jews, thus informed how much Pilate desired to set Jesus free, shouted with one voice: “Enough, enough, not Christ, but Barabbas deliver unto us.”


            While Pilate was thus disputing with the Jews in the pretorium, his wife, Procula, happened to hear of his doings and she sent him a message telling him: “What hast thou to do with this Man? Let him go free: for I warn thee that I have had this very day some visions in regard to Him!” This warning of Procula originated through the activity of Lucifer and his demons. For they, observing all that was happening in regard to the person of Christ and the unchangeable patience with which He bore all injuries, were more and more confused and staggered in their rabid fury. Despairing of success the demons betook themselves to the wife of Pilate and spoke to her in dreams, representing to her that this Man was just and without guilt, that if her husband should sentence Him he would be deprived of his rank and she herself would meet with great adversity. They urged her to advise Pilate to release Jesus and punish Barabbas, if she did not wish to draw misfortune upon their house and their persons.


            Procula was filled with great fear and terror at these visions, and as soon as she heard what was passing between the Jews and her husband, she sent him the message mentioned by saint Matthew, not to meddle with this Man nor condemn One to death, whom she told to be just. The demon also injected similar misgivings into the mind of Pilate and these warnings of his wife only increased them. Yet, as all his considerations rested upon worldly policy, and as he had not co–operated with the true helps given him by the Savior, all these fears retarded his unjust proceedings only so long as no other more powerful consideration arose, as will be seen in effect. But just now he began for the third time to argue (as saint Luke tells us), insisting upon the innocence of Christ our Lord and that he found no crime in Him nor any guilt worthy of death, and therefore he would punish and then dismiss Him (Luke 23, 22). As we shall see in the next chapter, he did really punish Christ in order to see whether the Jews would be satisfied. But the Jews, on the contrary, demanded that Christ be crucified. Thereupon Pilate asked for water and released Barabbas. Then he washed his hands in the presence of all the people, saying: “I have no share in the death of this just Man, whom you condemn. Look to yourselves in what you are doing, for I wash my hands in order that you may understand they are not sullied in the blood of the Innocent.” Pilate thought that by this ceremony he could excuse himself entirely and that he thereby could put its blame upon the princes of the Jews and upon the people who demanded it. The wrath of the Jews was so blind and foolish that for the satisfaction of seeing Jesus crucified, they entered upon this agreement with Pilate and took upon themselves and upon their children the responsibility for this crime. Loudly proclaiming this terrible sentence and curse, they exclaimed: “His blood come upon us and upon our children” (Matth. 27, 25).


            In the house of Pilate, through the ministry of the holy angels, our Queen was placed in such a position that She could hear the disputes of the iniquitous judge with the scribes and priests concerning the innocence of Christ our Savior, and concerning the release of Barabbas in preference to Him. All the clamors of these human tigers She heard in silence and admirable meekness, as the living counterpart of her most holy Son. Although She preserved the unchanging propriety modesty of her exterior, all the malicious words of the Jews pierced her sorrowful heart like a two–edged sword. But the voices of her unspoken sorrows resounded in the ears of the eternal Father more pleasantly and sweetly than the lamentation of the beautiful Rachel who, as Jeremias says, was beweeping her children because they cannot be restored (Jer. 31, 15). Our most beautiful Rachel the purest Mary, sought not revenge, but pardon for her enemies, who were depriving Her of the Onlybegotten of the Father and her only Son. She imitated all the actions of the most holy Soul of Christ and accompanied Him in the works of most exalted holiness and perfection; for neither could her torments hinder her charity, nor her affliction diminish her fervor, nor could the tumult distract her attention, nor the outrageous injuries of the multitudes prevent her interior recollection: under all circumstances She practiced the most exalted virtues in the most eminent degree.


            Such was the implacable fury of the priests and confederates, the pharisees, against the Author of life. For Lucifer, despairing of being able to hinder his murder by the Jews, inspired them with his own dreadful malice and outrageous cruelty. Pilate, placed between the known truth and his human and terrestrial considerations, chose to follow the erroneous leading of the latter, and ordered Jesus to be severely scourged, though he had himself declared Him free from guilt (John 19, 1). Thereupon those ministers of satan, with many others, brought Jesus our Savior to the place of punishment, which was a courtyard or enclosure attached to the house and set apart for the torture of criminals in order to force them to confess their crimes. It was surrounded by a low, open building, surrounded by columns, some of which supported the roof, while others were lower and stood free. To one of these columns, which was of marble, they bound Jesus very securely; for they still thought Him a magician and feared his escape.


            They first took off the white garment with not less ignominy than when they clothed Him therein in the house of the adulterous homicide Herod. In loosening the ropes and chains, which He had borne since his capture in the garden, they cruelly widened the wounds which his bonds had made in his arms and wrists. Having freed his hands, they commanded Him with infamous blasphemies to despoil Himself of the seamless tunic which He wore. This was the identical garment with which his most blessed Mother had clothed Him in Egypt when He first began to walk.


            Thus the Lord stood uncovered in the presence of a great multitude and the six torturers bound Him brutally to one of the columns in order to chastise Him so much the more at their ease. Then, two and two at a time, they began to scourge Him with such inhuman cruelty, as was possible only in men possessed by Lucifer as were these executioners. The first two scourged the innocent Savior with hard and thick cords, full of rough knots, and in their sacrilegious fury strained all the powers of their body to inflict the blows. This first scourging raised in the deified body of the Lord great welts and livid tumors, so that the sacred blood gathered beneath the skin and disfigured his entire body. Already it began to ooze through the wounds. The first two having at length desisted, the second pair continued the scourging in still greater emulation; with hardened leather thongs they leveled their strokes upon the places already sore and caused the discolored tumors to break open and shed forth the sacred blood until it bespattered and drenched the garments of the sacrilegious torturers, running down also in streams to the pavement. Those two gave way to the third pair of scourgers, who commenced to beat the Lord with extremely tough rawhides, dried hard like osier twigs. They scourged Him still more cruelly, because they were wounding, not so much his virginal body, as cutting into the wounds already produced by the previous scourging. Besides they had been secretly incited to greater fury by the demons, who were filled with new rage at the patience of Christ.


            As the veins of the sacred body had now been opened and his whole Person seemed but one continued wound, the third pair found no more room for new wounds. Their ceaseless blows inhumanly tore the immaculate and virginal flesh of Christ our Redeemer and scattered many pieces of it about the pavement; so much so that a large portion of the shoulder–bones were exposed and showed red through the flowing blood: in other places also the bones were laid bare larger than the palm of the hand. In order to wipe out entirely that beauty, which exceeded that of all other men (Ps. 44, 3), they beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, thus leaving unwounded not a single spot in which they could exert their fury and wrath against the most innocent Lamb. The divine blood flowed to the ground, gathering here and there in great abundance. The scourging in the face, and in the hands and feet, was unspeakably painful, because these parts are so full of sensitive and delicate nerves. His venerable countenance became so swollen and wounded that the blood and the swellings blinded Him. In addition to their blows the executioners spirted upon his Person their disgusting spittle and loaded Him with insulting epithets (Thren. 3, 30). The exact number of blows dealt out to the Savior from head to foot was 5,115. The great Lord and Author of all creation who, by his divine nature was incapable of suffering, was, in his human flesh and for our sake, reduced to a man of sorrows as prophesied, and was made to experience our infirmities, becoming the last of men (Is. 53, 3), a man of sorrows and the outcast of the people.


            The multitudes who had followed the Lord, filled up the courtyard of Pilate’s house and the surrounding streets; for all of them waited for the issue of this event, discussing and arguing about it according to each one’s views. Amid all this confusion the Virgin Mother endured unheard of insults, and She was deeply afflicted by the injuries and blasphemies heaped upon her divine Son by the Jews and gentiles. When they brought Jesus to the scourging place She retired in the company of the Marys and saint John to a corner of the courtyard. Assisted by her divine visions, She there witnessed the scourging and the torments of our Savior. Although She did not see it with the eyes of her body nothing was hidden to Her, no more than if She had been standing quite near. Human thoughts cannot comprehend how great and how diverse were the afflictions and sorrows of the great Queen and Mistress of the angels: together with many other mysteries of the Divinity they shall become manifest in the next life, for the glory of the Son and Mother. I have already mentioned in other places of this history, and especially in that of the Passion, that the blessed Mother felt in her own body the torments of her Son. This was true also of the scourging, which She felt in all the parts of her virginal body, in the same intensity as they were felt by Christ in his body. Although She shed no blood except what flowed from her eyes with her tears, nor was lacerated in her flesh; yet the bodily pains so changed and disfigured Her, that saint John and the holy women failed to find in Her any resemblance of Herself. Besides the tortures of the body She suffered ineffable sorrows of the soul; there sorrow was augmented in proportion to the immensity of her insight (Eccles. 1, 18). For her sorrow flowed not only from the natural love of a mother and a supreme love of Christ as her God, but it was proportioned to her power of judging more accurately than all creatures of the innocence of Christ, the dignity of his divine Person, the atrocity of the insults coming from the perfidious Jews and the children of Adam, whom He was freeing from eternal death.


            Thereupon they took Jesus to the pretorium, where, with the same cruelty and contempt, they again despoiled him of his garments and in order to deride Him before all the people as a counterfeit king, clothed in a much torn and soiled mantle of purple color. They placed also upon his sacred head a cap made of woven thorns, to serve Him as a crown (John 19, 2). This cap was woven of thorn branches and in such a manner that many of the hard and sharp thorns would penetrate into the skull, some of them to the ears and others to the eyes. Hence one of the greatest tortures suffered by the Lord was that of the crown of thorns. Instead of a sceptre they placed into his hands a contemptible reed. They also threw over His shoulders a violet colored mantle, something of the style of capes worn in churches; for such a garment belonged to the vestiture of a king. In this array of a mock–king the perfidious Jews decked out Him, who by his nature and by every right was the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Apoc. 19, 16). Then all the soldiers, in the presence of the priests and pharisees, gathered around Him and heaped upon Him their blasphemous mockery and derision. Some of them bent their knees and mockingly said to Him: God save Thee, King of the Jews. Others buffeted Him; others snatched the cane from his hands and struck Him on his crowned head; others ejected their disgusting spittle upon Him; all of them, instigated by furious demons, insulted and affronted Him in different manners.


            It seemed to Pilate that the spectacle of a man so illtreated as Jesus of Nazareth would move and fill shame the hearts of that ungrateful people. He therefore commanded Jesus to be brought from the pretorium to an open window, where all could see Him crowned with thorns, disfigured by the scourging and the ignominious vestiture of a mock–king. Pilate himself spoke to the people, calling out to them: “Ecce Homo,” “Behold, what a man!” (John 19, 5). See this Man, whom you hold as your enemy! What can I do with Him than to have punished Him in this severe manner? You certainly have nothing more to fear from Him.

             
            When the Blessed among women, most holy Mary, saw her divine Son as Pilate showed Him to the people and heard him say: “Ecce homo!” She fell upon her knees and openly adored Him as the true Godman. The same was also done by saint John and the women, together with all the holy angels of the Queen and Lady; for they saw that not only Mary, as the Mother of the Savior, but that God himself desired them thus to act.


            WORDS OF THE QUEEN

            The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

            Think well, then, my dearest, which of these thou wishest to choose in the sight of my Son and me. If thou seest thy Redeemer, thy Spouse and thy Chief tormented, afflicted, crowned with thorns and saturated with reproaches and at the same time desirest to have a part in Him and be a member of his mystical body, it is not becoming, or even possible, that thou live steeped in the pleasures of the flesh. Thou must be the persecuted and not a persecutor, the oppressed and not the oppressor; the one that bears the cross, that encounters the scandal and not that gives it; the one that suffers, and at the same time makes none of the neighbors suffer. On the contrary, thou must exert thyself for their conversion and salvation in as far as is compatible with the perfection of thy state and vocation. This is the portion of the friends of God and the inheritance of his children in mortal life, in this consists the participation in grace and glory; which by his torments and reproaches and by his death of the Cross my Son and Lord has purchased for them. I too have co–operated in this work and have paid the sorrrows and afflictions, which thou hast understood and which I wish thou shalt never allow to be blotted out from my inmost memory. The Almighty would indeed have been powerful enough to exalt his predestined in this world, to give them riches and favors beyond those of others, to make them strong as lions for reducing the rest of mankind to their invincible power. But it was inopportune to exalt them in this manner, in order that men might not be led into the error of thinking that greatness consists in what is visible and happiness in earthly goods; lest, being induced to forsake and obscure the glory of the Lord, they fail to experience the efficacy of divine grace and cease to aspire toward spiritual and eternal things. This is the science I wish thee to study continually and in which thou must advance day by day, putting into practice all that thou learnest to understand and know.



            Book 6, Chapter 7

            THE WAY OF THE CROSS

            The sentence of Pilate against our Savior having been published in a loud voice before all the people, the executioners loaded the heavy Cross, on which He was to be crucified, upon his tender and wounded shoulders. In order that He might carry it they loosened the bonds holding his hands, but not the others, since they wish to drag Him along by the loose ends of the ropes bound his body. In order to torment Him the more they drew two loops around his throat. The Cross was fifteen feet long, of thick and heavy timbers. The herald began to proclaim the sentence and the whole confused and turbulent multitude of the people, the executioners and soldiers, with great noise, uproar and disorder began to move from the house of Pilate to mount Calvary through the streets of Jerusalem. The Master and Redeemer of the world, Jesus, before receiving the Cross looked upon it with a countenance full of extreme joy and exultation such as would be shown by a bridegroom looking at the rich adornments of his bride, and on receiving it, He addressed it as follows:


            O Cross, beloved of my soul, now prepared and ready to still my longings, come to Me, that I may be received in thy arms, and that, attached to them as on an altar, I may be accepted by the eternal Father as the sacrifice of his everlasting reconciliation with the human race. In order to die upon thee, I have descended from heaven and assumed mortal and passible flesh; for thou art to be the sceptre with which I shall triumph over all my enemies, the key with which I shall open the gates of heaven for all the predestined (Is. 22, 22), the sanctuary in which the guilty sons of Adam shall find mercy and the treasurehouse for the enrichment of their poverty. Upon thee I desire to exalt and recommend dishonor and reproach among men, in order that my friends embrace them with joy, seek them with anxious longings, and follow Me on the path which I through thee shall open up before them. My Father and eternal God, I confess Thee as the Lord of heaven and earth (Matth. 11, 25), subjecting Myself to thy power and to thy divine wishes, I take upon my shoulders the wood for the sacrifice of my innocent and passible humanity and I accept it willingly for the salvation of men. Receive Thou, eternal Father, this sacrifice as acceptable to thy justice, in order that from today on they may not any more be servants, but sons and heirs of thy kingdom together with Me” (Rom. 8, 17).


            None of these sacred mysteries and happenings were hidden from the great Lady of the world, Mary; for she had a most intimate knowledge and understanding of them, far beyond that of all the angels. The events, which She could not see with the eyes of her body, She perceived by her intelligence and revealed science, which manifested to Her the interior operation of her most holy Son. By this divine light She recognized the infinite value of the wood of the Cross after it had come in contact with the deified humanity of Jesus our Redeemer. Immediately She venerated and adored it in a manner befitting it. The same was also done by the heavenly spirits attending upon the Queen. She imitated her divine Son in the tokens of affections, with which He received the Cross, addressing it in the words suited to her office as Coadjutrix of the Redeemer. By her prayers to the eternal Father She followed Him in his exalted sentiments as the living original and exemplar, without failing in the least point. When She heard the voice of the herald publishing and rehearsing the sentence through the streets, the heavenly Mother in protest against the accusations contained in the sentence and in the form of comments on the glory and honor of the Lord, composed a canticle of praise worship of the innocence and sinlessness of her all–holy Son and God. The most loving Mother was so admirably faithful in her sufferings and in imitating the example of Christ our God, that She never permitted Herself any easement either of her bodily pains, such as rest, nourishment, or sleep; nor any relaxation of the spirit, such as any consoling thoughts or considerations, except when She was visited from on high by divine influence. Then only would She humbly and thankfully accept relief, in order that She might recover strength to attend still more fervently to the object of her sorrows and to the cause of his sufferings. The same wise consideration She applied to the malicious behavior of the Jews and their servants, to the needs of the human race, to their threatening ruin, and to the ingratitude of men, for whom He suffered. Thus She perfectly and intimately knew of all these things and felt it more deeply than all the creatures.


            Another hidden and astonishing miracle was wrought by the right hand of God through the instrumentality of the blessed Mary against Lucifer and his infernal spirits. It took place in the following manner: The dragon and his associates, though they could not understand the humiliation of the Lord, were most attentive to all that happened in the Passion of the Lord. Now, when He took upon Himself the Cross, all these enemies felt a new and mysterious tremor and weakness, which caused in them great consternation and confused distress. Conscious of these unwonted and invincible feelings the prince of darkness feared, that in the Passion and Death of Christ our Lord some dire and irreparable destruction of his reign was imminent. In order not to be overtaken by it in the presence of Christ our God, the dragon resolved to retire and fly with all his followers to the caverns of hell. But when he sought to execute this resolve, he was prevented by the great Queen and Mistress of all creation; for the Most High, enlightening Her and intimating to Her what She was to do, at the same time invested Her with his power. The heavenly Mother, turning toward Lucifer and his squadrons, by her imperial command hindered them from flying; ordering them to await and witness the Passion to the end on mount Calvary. The demons could not resist the command of the mighty Queen; for they recognized and felt the divine power operating in Her. Subject to her sway they followed Christ as so many prisoners dragged along in chains to Calvary, where the eternal wisdom had decreed to triumph over from the throne of the Cross, as we shall see later on. There is nothing which can exemplify the discouragement and dismay, which from that moment began to oppress Lucifer and his demons. According to our way of speaking, they walked along to Calvary like criminals condemned to a terrible death, and seized by the dismay and consternation of an inevitable punishment.


            The executioners, bare of all human compassion and kindness, dragged our Savior Jesus along with incredible cruelty and insults. Some of them jerked Him forward by the ropes in order to accelerate his passage, while others pulled from behind in order to retard it. On account of this jerking and the weight of the Cross they caused Him to sway to and fro and often to fall to the ground. By the hard knocks He thus received on the rough stones great wounds were opened, especially on the two knees and they were widened at each repeated fall. The heavy Cross also inflicted a wound on the shoulder on which it was carried. The unsteadiness caused the Cross sometimes to knock against his sacred head, and sometimes the head against the Cross; thus the thorns of his crown penetrated deeper and wounded the parts, which they had not yet reached. To these torments of the body the ministers of evil added many insulting words and execrable affronts, ejecting their impure spittle and throwing the dirt of the pavement into his face so mercilessly, that they blinded the eyes that looked upon them with such divine mercy. Thus they of their own account condemned themselves to the loss of the graces, with which his very looks were fraught. By the haste with which they dragged Him along in their eagerness to see Him die, they did not allow Him to catch his breath; for his most innocent body, having been in so few hours overwhelmed with such a storm of torments, was so weakened and bruised that to all appearances He was ready to yield up life under his pains and sorrows.


            From the house of Pilate the sorrowful and stricken Mother followed with the multitudes on the way of her divine Son, accompanied by saint John and the pious women. As the surging crowds hindered Her from getting very near to the Lord, She asked the eternal Father to be permitted to stand at the foot of the Cross of her blessed Son and see Him die with her own eyes. With the divine consent She ordered her angels to manage things in such a way as to make it possible for her to execute her wishes. The holy angels obeyed Her with great reverence; and they speedily led the Queen through some bystreet, in order that She might meet her Son. Thus it came that both of Them met face to face in sweetest recognition of each Other and in mutual renewal of each other’s interior sorrows. Yet They did not speak to one another, nor would the fierce cruelty of the executioners have permitted such interaction. But the most prudent Mother adored her divine Son and true God, laden with the Cross; and interiorly besought Him, that, since She could not relieve him of the weight of the Cross since She was not permitted to command her holy angels to lighten it, He would inspire these ministers of cruelty to procure some one for his assistance. This prayer was heard by the Lord Christ ; and so it happened, that Simon of Cyrene was afterwards impressed to carry the Cross with the Lord (Matth. 27, 32). The pharisees and the executioners were moved to this measure, some of them out of natural compassion, others for fear lest Christ, the Author of life, should lose his life by exhaustion before it could be taken from Him on the Cross.


            Beyond all human thought and estimation was the sorrow of the most sincere Dove and Virgin Mother while She thus witnessed with her own eyes her Son carrying the Cross to Mount Calvary; for She alone could fittingly know and love Him according to his true worth. It would have been impossible for Her to live through this ordeal, if the divine power had not strengthened Her and preserved Her life. With bitterest sorrow She addressed the Lord and spoke to Him in her heart: “My Son and eternal God, light of my eyes and life of my soul, receive, O Lord, the sacrifice of my not being able to relieve Thee of the burden of the Cross and carry it myself, who am a daughter of Adam; for it is I who should die upon it in love of Thee, as Thou now wishest to die in most ardent love of the human race. O most loving Mediator between guilt and justice! How dost Thou cherish mercy in the midst of so great injuries and such heinous offenses! O charity without measure or bounds, which permits such torments and affronts in order to afford it a wider scope for its ardor and efficacy! O infinite and sweetest love, would that hearts and the wills of men were all mine, so that they could give no such thankless return for all that Thou endurest! O who will speak to the hearts of the mortals to teach them what they owe to Thee, since Thou hast paid so dearly for their salvation from ruin!”


            WORDS OF THE QUEEN

            The Virgin Mary speaks to Sister Mary of Agreda, Spain

            I desire that the fruit of the obedience with which thou writest the history of my life shall be, that thou become a true disciple of my most holy Son and of myself. The main purpose of the exalted and venerable mysteries, which are made known to thee, and of the teachings, which I so often repeat to thee, is that thou deny and strip thyself, estranging thy heart from all affection to creatures, neither wishing to posses them nor accept them for other uses. By this precaution thou wilt overcome the impediments, which the devils seek to place in the way of the dangerous softness of thy nature. I who know thee, thus advise and lead thee by the way of instruction and correction as Mother and Instructress. By the divine teaching thou knowest the mysteries of the Passion and Death of Christ and the one true way of life, which is the Cross; and thou knowest that not all who are called, are chosen. Many there are who wish to follow Christ and very few who truly dispose themselves to imitate Him; for as soon as they feel the sufferings of the Cross they cast it aside. Laborious exertions are very painful and averse to human nature according to the flesh; and the fruits of the spirit are more hidden and few guide themselves by the light. On this account there are so many among mortals, who, forgetful of the eternal truths, seek the flesh; and the continual indulgence of its pleasures. They ardently seek honors and fly from injuries: they strive after riches, and condemn poverty; they long after pleasure and dread mortification. All these are enemies of the Cross of Christ (Phil. 3, 18), and with dreadful aversion they fly from it, deeming it sheer ignominy, just like those who crucified Christ, the Lord.


            Another deceit has spread through the world: many imagine that they are following Christ their Master, though they neither suffer affliction nor engage in any exertion or labor. They are content with avoiding boldness in committing sins, and place all their perfection in a certain prudence or hollow self–love, which prevents them from denying anything to their will and from practicing any virtues at the cost of their flesh. They would easily escape this deception, if they would consider that my Son was not only the Redeemer, but their Teacher; and that He left in this world the treasures of his Redemption not only as a remedy against its eternal ruin, but as a necessary medicine for the sickness of sin in human nature. No one knew so much as my Son and Lord; no one could better understand the quality of love than the divine Lord, who was and is wisdom and charity itself; and no one was more able to fulfill all his wishes (I John 4, 16). Nevertheless, although He well could do it, He chose not a life of softness and ease for the flesh, but one full of labors and pains; for He judged his instructions to be incomplete and insufficient to redeem man, if He failed teach them how to overcome the demon, the flesh and their own self. He wished to inculcate, that this magnificent victory is gained by the Cross, by labors, penances, mortifications and the acceptance of contempt: all of which are the trademarks and evidences of true love and the special watchwords of the predestined.





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            Catholic Catechism 

             

            PART TWO - THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY 

            SECTION ONE -THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY

               CHAPTER ONE - THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE AGE OF THE CHURCH

            ARTICLE 2 - "THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE CHURCH"S SACRAMENT"
             



            1113 The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.29 There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.30 This article will discuss what is common to the Church's seven sacraments from a doctrinal point of view. What is common to them in terms of their celebration will be presented in the second chapter, and what is distinctive about each will be the topic of the Section Two.


            I. THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRIST
            1114 "Adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus . . . of the Fathers," we profess that "the sacraments of the new law were . . . all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord."31
             
            1115 Jesus' words and actions during his hidden life and public ministry were already salvific, for they anticipated the power of his Paschal mystery. They announced and prepared what he was going to give the Church when all was accomplished. The mysteries of Christ's life are the foundations of what he would henceforth dispense in the sacraments, through the ministers of his Church, for "what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries."32
             
            1116 Sacraments are "powers that comes forth" from the Body of Christ,33 which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are "the masterworks of God" in the new and everlasting covenant.


            II. THE SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
            1117 As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her "into all truth," has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its "dispensation."34 Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.

            1118 The sacraments are "of the Church" in the double sense that they are "by her" and "for her." They are "by the Church," for she is the sacrament of Christ's action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are "for the Church" in the sense that "the sacraments make the Church,"35 since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.

            1119 Forming "as it were, one mystical person" with Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as "an organically structured priestly community."36 Through Baptism and Confirmation the priestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the faithful "who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ."37
             
            1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood.38 The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. The saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person.39 The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.

            1121 The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible,40 it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.



            III. THE SACRAMENTS OF FAITH
            1122 Christ sent his apostles so that "repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations."41 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."42 The mission to baptize, and so the sacramental mission, is implied in the mission to evangelize, because the sacrament is prepared for by the word of God and by the faith which is assent to this word:
            The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God. . . . The preaching of the Word is required for the sacramental ministry itself, since the sacraments are sacraments of faith, drawing their origin and nourishment from the Word.43
            1123 "The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called 'sacraments of faith.'"44
             
            1124 The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles - whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]).45 The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.46
             
            1125 For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy.

            1126 Likewise, since the sacraments express and develop the communion of faith in the Church, the lex orandi is one of the essential criteria of the dialogue that seeks to restore the unity of Christians.47


             
            IV. THE SACRAMENTS OF SALVATION
            1127 Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify.48 They are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. The Father always hears the prayer of his Son's Church which, in the epiclesis of each sacrament, expresses her faith in the power of the Spirit. As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power.


            1128 This is the meaning of the Church's affirmation49 that the sacraments act ex opere operato (literally: "by the very fact of the action's being performed"), i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all. It follows that "the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God."50 From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.


            1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.51 "Sacramental grace" is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.



            V. THE SACRAMENTS OF ETERNAL LIFE
            1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord "until he comes," when God will be "everything to everyone."53 Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit's groaning in the Church: Marana tha!54 The liturgy thus shares in Jesus' desire: "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you . . . until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."55 In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while "awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus."56 The "Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come . . . Come, Lord Jesus!'"57
            St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: "Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it - Christ's Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ's Passion - grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us - future glory."58
            IN BRIEF
            1131 The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

            1132 The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly community structured by the baptismal priesthood and the priesthood of ordained ministers.

            1133 The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacraments by the Word of God and the faith which welcomes that word in well-disposed hearts. Thus the sacraments strengthen faith and express it.

            1134 The fruit of sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial. For every one of the faithful on the one hand, this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.



            29 Cf. SC 6.
            30 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274) DS 860; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1310; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1601.
            31 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1600-1601.
            32 St. Leo the Great, Sermo. 74,2:PL 54,398.
            33 Cf. Lk 5:17; 6:19; 8:46.
            34 Jn 16:13; cf. Mt 13:52; 1 Cor 4:1.
            35 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22,17:PL 41,779; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III,64,2 ad 3.
            36 LG 11; cf. Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (1943).
            37 LG 11 § 2.
            38 Cf. LG 10 § 2.
            39 Cf. Jn 20:21-23; Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18-20.
            40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609.
            41 Lk 24:47.
            42 Mt 28:19.
            43 PO 4 §§ 1,2.
            44 SC 59.
            45 Ep. 8.
            46 Cf. DV 8.
            47 Cf. UR 2; 15.
            48 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1605; DS 1606.
            49 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1608.
            50 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 68,8.
            51 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1604.
            52 Cf. 2 Pet 1:4.
            53 1 Cor 11:26; 15:28.
            54 1 Cor 16:22.
            55 Lk 22:15.
            56 Titus 2:13.
            57 Rev 22:17, 20.
            58 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III,60,3.




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            RE-CHARGE:  Heaven Speaks to Young Adults


            To all tween, teens and young adults, A Message from Jesus: "Through you I will flow powerful conversion graces to draw other young souls from darkness. My plan for young men and women is immense. Truly, the renewal will leap forward with the assistance of these individuals. Am I calling you? Yes. I am calling you. You feel the stirring in your soul as you read these words. I am with you. I will never leave you. Join My band of young apostles and I will give you joy and peace that you have never known. All courage, all strength will be yours. Together, we will reclaim this world for the Father. I will bless your families and all of your relationships. I will lead you to your place in the Kingdom. Only you can complete the tasks I have set out for you. Do not reject Me. I am your Jesus. I love you...Read this book, upload to your phones/ipads.computers and read a few pages everyday...and then Pay It Forward...




            Reference

            •   Recharge: Directions For Our Times. Heaven Speaks to Young Adults.  recharge.cc.


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