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).

Friday, 13 December 2019

St Lucy

St Lucy, a virgin of Syracuse, noble by birth and by her Christian faith, went to the tomb of St Agatha at Catheria and obtained the cure of her mother, Eutichia who was suffering from a hemorrhage. Soon after, she gained her mother’s permission to distribute to the poor all the possessions which were to have served as her dowry. As a result of this charitable action, she was accused of being a Christian and brought before Paschasius the Prefect. When neither promises nor threats could induce her to sacrifice to the idols, Paschasius became enraged and commanded Lucy to be taken to a place where her virginity would be violated. But the power of God gave the virgin a strength that matched the firmness of her resolution, so that no force could move her where she stood. And so the prefect commanded a fire to be kindled all around here, but the flames did not harm her. After she had suffered many torments, her throat was pierced through with a sword. Wounded she foretold that the Church would have peace after the deaths of Diocletian and Maximilian, and on December 13th she gave up her spirit to God. Her body was first buried at Syracuse, then taken to Constantinople, and finally transferred to Venice.

Prayer in Honour of Saint Lucy

O God, our Creator and Redeemer, Mercifully hear our prayers that a we venerate Thy servant, St Lucy, for the light of faith Thou didst bestow upon her, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to increase and to preserve this same light in our souls, that we may be able to avoid evil, to do good and to abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin.

Relying on Thy goodness, O God, we humbly ask Thee, by the intercession of Thy servant, St Lucy that Thou wouldst give perfect vision to our eyes, that they may serve for Thy greater honour and glory, and for the salvation of our souls in this world, that we may come to the enjoyment of the unfailing light of the Lamb of God in paradise.

St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear our prayer and obtain our petitions.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

St Andrew

November 30th is the pivotal date for the beginning of Advent, starting the Sunday closest to November 30th, which, of course, is the feast day of Saint Andrew. Today marks the beginning of the traditional Advent devotion of the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena.

The following prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Prayer is an essential part of Advent.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord

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.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

The Ascension

The final words of Saint Mark’s Gospel chosen by the Church to be read during Ascension’s Mass recount how the eleven Apostles are sent forth on mission.

The earthly sojourn of Jesus is drawing to its end. The Incarnate Son of God’s visible mission has reached its completion. It is now the Apostles’ turn to proclaim Jesus Christ’s good news, the Gospel, and to proclaim it to all creatures. A great novena opens up for the Apostles which will close on the morning of Pentecost’s feast with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. During these days the Apostles are not to leave Jerusalem, but are to wait there for the Paraclete Whose visit has been promised by the Father (cf. Acts 1: 4) and Who will light up and warm up still quite lukewarm hearts and soul. Jesus does not ignore the limitations of those to whom He entrusts the evangelizing of the world. Prior to sending the Apostles forth on mission, He upbraids His disciples “with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen Him after He was risen again” (Mk 16: 14).

Are the words of Jesus still up to date?

On this very day Jesus still sends forth on mission, He sends us forth on mission. Let us turn towards the Father and ask that those who have become adult Christians when they received the anointing of the sacred chrism during confirmation should receive a renewed outpouring of the Holy Ghost, so that like the Apostles we may become true witnesses of Christ again. Mission lands are opening up in front of us: Omni creaturæ, all creatures.

To proclaim Christ does not mean shackling man under the burden of commandments, it means liberating him from his passions. More than three centuries were needed so that societies of the antiquity should understand what an extraordinary grace the visit of God is for man. Today we have to follow the same way, which begins by our own conversion. Are we really convinced that choosing Christ is making the right choice? Have we therefore truly chosen Christ? Last, do we believe that proclaiming Christ means serving our neighbours?

Today’s world is a world of dictatorships: dictatorship of a single man, dictatorship of the most powerful men, dictatorship of a majority. Saint Thomas Aquinas has given a paramount criterion for political discernment: the common good. The various dictatorship regimes are evil insofar as they propose to promote the good of a part only of the group. A good political regime should discern and promote the common good of all the members of the group.

It is difficult to discern in today’s political life a will to promote common good. The law rather aims at supervising a maximal permissiveness, as it offers to each and all to assuage their passions while at the same time seeking to minimise consequences for others, thus avoiding to make too many disgruntled persons. A new mankind is being shaped which brushes aside all of those who stand in its way or are burdensome: unwanted or crippled children, elderly people, social misfits where are to be found so many young people who will find but in alcohol, drugs or suicide an answer to their misery. Society is serenely assured to be well within its rights and will restrict itself to record the fact into soulless statistics, thus concealing behind anonymous figures those who are its own victims and who are not to be mentioned.

Even as societies jettison man, should not man jettison these societies and choose anew man and his good? Preach the Gospel to every creature! That is Christ’s answer.

The Apostles around the Lord were but eleven. That is not much. The disciples of Jesus accounted for at most a few hundred persons. That is not much either, for a Roman Empire which encompassed the whole Mediterranean basin. Yet, with the help of the Holy Ghost and in obedience to the marching orders received from Christ, the Apostles undertake to proclaim the Good News which will be accompanied and confirmed by the signs granted by the Lord.

Today’s world is not that different from the decadent Roman Empire, especially as concerns morals and the family. Refusing to give children or adolescents any authentic reference point has been, is and will be the weapon of all and sundry dictators. Faced with those, Christians must be counter-revolutionary insofar as they refuse to be dazed by the artificial proliferation of ideas, but rather dash them against Christ and reality so as to discover what really underpins them.

How could we still listen to the champions of relativism, those who will receive with starry-eyed wonder any stupid idea, the sole merit of which consists in antagonising customs inherited from so many centuries of Christianity and that have shown their mettle, and who condemn with the utmost harshness to be silenced those who advocate what was yesterday only still called truth, or the foundations of our society?

There is no longer, as they say, any truth, any certainty. That is a lie: there is the Gospel. “Preach the Gospel to every creature,” Christ asks from all His disciples. Young people, grown-up men and women, all creatures have a right to the truth. They have a right to know God.

Shall we be courageous and answer their expectation? In these days let us join the Apostles in the Cenacle. Let us unite in their prayers and let us ask for each other the grace of the Holy Ghost. Jesus will not fail to hear our prayer. May He not have someday to upbraid us with our lukewarmness and our incredulity.

May Mary, the Woman who believed, walk with her children on the path. Let us be apostles, let us be courageous witnesses unto the ends of the world of Him in Whom we believe.

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 no...