Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Most Precious Blood



The Church dedicates the whole month of July to devotion of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. In the old calendar July 1st was its special feast day, and still remains so for Traditionalist Christians.

The Liturgy, that admirable summary of the history of the Church, reminds us every year that at this date in 1849, thanks to the French army, the revolution which had driven the Pope from Rome was vanquished. To perpetuate the memory of this triumph and to show that it was due to the Saviour’s merits, Pius IX, at the time a refugee at Gaeta, instituted the Feast of the Precious Blood. Pius XI in 1934 raised it to the First Class.

The Heart of Jesus has made this adorable Blood circulate in His limbs; wherefore, as on the feast of the Sacred Heart, the Gospel presents to our view the thrust of the lance which pierced the side of the Divine Crucified, blood and water gushing forth. Thus become united the two testimonies which the Holy Ghost bore to the Messias, when He was baptised in the water of the Jordan and when He was baptised in blood on the cross (Gradual). The Docetes taught that Jesus was the Christ at His baptism, and had thus come by water, but being no longer Christ on the cross He had not come by blood.

Let us do homage to the Precious Blood of our Redeemer which the priest offers to God on the altar.


Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Sunday






Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave



Saturday, 11 April 2020

Holy Saturday


The fire is struck from a stone to indicate, that Christ is the light of the world, and the Stone which the Jews rejected has now become the Cornerstone of His Church (Psalms 117: 22), that the divine Son, the Light of the World, was apparently extinguished at His death, but at His resurrection shone anew; that all those who witness this ceremony today be spiritually enlightened hereafter.

This fire is blessed, because the Church blesses everything that is used for divine service, and because the light and fire represent Christ, who brought the fire of love upon earth with which to rekindle our hearts. (Luke 12: 49)

The Easter (or Paschal) candle is an emblem of Christ who has risen from death. Christ the true Light leads us from the bondage of Satan into the freedom of the children of God, as the pillar of fire led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.





Friday, 10 April 2020

Good Friday


Good Friday (also called "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday") is the most sombre day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socialising is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between nine and noon), likely on 3 April AD 33. He died at 3pm, and then, visible from Jerusalem on that date, came a partial lunar eclipse which began at moonrise, at 3:40pm:

Mark 15: 25, 33
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him ... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

Because Jesus suffered on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00pm, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called "Tre Ore" or "Three Hours' Agony" might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion, reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion etc.

No true Mass is offered today (or tomorrow until the Vigil tomorrow evening); instead a liturgy called the "Mass of the Presanctified" is offered, which is not a true Mass because no consecration takes place. Instead, we consume Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass. Vestment colors will be black, and the liturgy consists of lessons, prayer, St. John's version of the Passion, and ends with a long series of prayers for various intentions: the Church, the Bishops, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the conversion of the Jews, the conversion of infidels. These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.

Then the Cross will be unveiled and and elevated to be adored by our kneeling three times before it at the words "Venite, adorémus" (come, let us adore). We kneel thrice because He was mocked thrice: in the high priest's courtyard, in Pilate's house, and on Mount Calvary. Then the priest lays the Cross on a cushion and covers it with a white veil to symbolise the Entombment. He takes off his shoes, like Moses before God, and kneels three times as the choir chants. He and his acolytes kneel and kiss the Cross.

The Cross is held up for us, and we file past - men first, then women - to kneel and kiss the Cross while the choir sings the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him. Note the use of the singular "thee" in these Reproaches. Our Lord is speaking to you. The first three of the twelve Reproaches are:

O My people, what have I done to thee? Or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer Me. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Saviour.

Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou has prepared a Cross for thy Saviour.

What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou has become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink, and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Saviour.

A second choir responds to each of those Reproaches with a trisagion in Greek and Latin. You might recognise its English translation if you have ever prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet:

O holy God!
O holy God!
O holy strong One!
O holy strong One!
O holy immortal One, have mercy on us.
O holy immortal One, have mercy on us!

The remaining nine Reproaches are answered with the response "O my people, what have I done to thee? or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me." ("Popule meus, quid feci tibi? aut in quo constristavi te? responde mihi."). The words evoke awe in reminding us of our ancient Israelite heritage - and evoke humility in recalling how our ancestors failed repeatedly:

For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born: and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged.

I led thee out of Egypt having drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea: and thou to the chief priests didst deliver Me.

I opened the sea before thee: and thou with a spear didst open My side.

I went before thee in a pillar of cloud: and thou didst lead Me to the judgment hall of Pilate.

I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou didst beat Me with blows and scourges.

I gave thee the water of salvation from the rock to drink: and thou didst give Me gall and vinegar.

For thy sake I struck the kings of the Canaanites: and thou didst strike My head with a reed.

I gave thee a royal sceptre: and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns.

I exalted thee with great strength: and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross.

After the Reproaches, we receive Communion, receiving Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass.

It is customary for churches to offer the Way of the Cross devotion on this day, especially around 3:00pm, the hour of His death. And, again, there may be a tenebrae service (consisting of the Matins and Lauds for Holy Saturday). "Tenebrae" means "shadows," and they should remind us of how the skies darkened when Christ was on His Cross.






Thursday, 9 April 2020

Holy Thursday



The last three days of Holy Week are referred to as the Easter or Sacred Triduum (Triduum Sacrum), the three-part drama of Christ's redemption: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:

Mandátum novum do vobis dicit Dóminus, ut diligátis ínvicem, sicut diléxi vos. "I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34)

These are the words spoken by our Lord to His apostles at the Last Supper, after He completed the washing of the feet.



“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me.” They were very sad and began to say to Him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with Me will betray Me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray Him, said, “Surely not I, Master?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Then one of the Twelve — the one called Judas Iscariot — went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over.

Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”

Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to His disciples and found them sleeping.  He asked Peter, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!”

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Arimathean Joseph



St Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus, probably ever since Christ's first preaching in Judea (John 2: 23), but he did not declare himself as such "for fear of the Jews" (John 19: 38). On account of this secret allegiance to Jesus, he did not consent to His condemnation by the Sanhedrin (Luke 23: 51), and was most likely absent from the meeting which sentenced Jesus to death (Mark 14: 64). The Crucifixion of the Master quickened Joseph's faith and love, and suggested to him that he should provide for Christ's burial before the Sabbath began. Unmindful therefore of all personal danger, a danger which was indeed considerable under the circumstances, he boldly requested from Pilate the Body of Jesus, and was successful in his request (Mark 15: 43-45). Once in possession of this sacred treasure, he — together with Nicodemus, whom his courage had likewise emboldened, and who brought abundant spices — wrapped up Christ's Body in fine linen and grave bands, laid it in his own tomb, new and yet unused, and hewn out of a rock in a neighbouring garden, and withdrew after rolling a great stone to the opening of the sepulchre (Matthew 27: 59, 60; Mark 15: 46; Luke 23: 53; John 19: 38-42). Thus was fulfilled Isaiah's prediction that the grave of the Messiah would be with a rich man (Isaiah 53: 9). The Greek Church celebrates the feast of St Joseph of Arimathea on July 31st, and the Catholic Church on March 17th. Additional details are found concerning Joseph in the apocryphal Acta Pilati. There is also apocryphal legend telling of Joseph accompanying the Apostle Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and others on a preaching mission to Gaul. Lazarus and Mary stayed in Marseilles, while the others travelled north. At the English Channel, Philip sent Joseph, with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire, the British Isles. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this event, with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative. Comprehensive coverage of this is found in the book The Grail Church (1995).


Most Precious Blood

The Church dedicates the whole month of July to devotion of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. In the old calendar July 1st was its ...