Vol 13 Issue 14 ~Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 4, 2020 ~ Saint Isidore, opn!
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Palm Sunday
3. Saint Vincent Ferrer
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
Holy Week is upon us and we enter into joining Holy Mother Church as she accompanies her Divine Spouse in His passion and death. Tomorrow, Sunday, as we go in procession with our palms, we join with the first Israelites who fulfilled the prophecy: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy King will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zach. 9:9) It was a prophecy the Jews at the time of Christ were well aware of, for Isaias had already prophesied: Behold the Lord hath made it to be heard in the ends of the earth, tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy Saviour cometh: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord. But thou shalt be called: A city sought after, and not forsaken. (Isa. 62:11-12) They were hearing the words: Blessed be he that cometh in the name Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar. (Psalm 117:26-27) These words aroused the scenes of the establishment of the throne of David in that of his son, Solomon. The Davidic dynasty was wrought with fighting. There were the continued attempts of Saul’s sons to regain the throne. There were several of the sons of David also attempting to gain the throne. But God had chosen Solomon to reign—not the rulers, not the priests, only the priest Sadoc and the prophet Nathan, and the prince Banaias (acknowledging the threefold character of priest, prophet and king). To accept the kingship, Solomon was to ride to the place called Gihon on a mule: King David also said: Call me Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Banaias the son of Joiada. And when they were come in before the king, he said to them: Take with you the servants of your lord, and set my son Solomon upon my mule: and bring him to Gihon. And let Sadoc the priest, and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and you shall sound the trumpet, and shall say: God save king Solomon. And you shall come up after him, and he shall come, and shall sit upon my throne, and he shall reign in my stead: and I will appoint him to be ruler over Israel, and over Juda. (3 Kings 1:32-35)
It goes further: And Sadoc the priest took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon: and they sounded the trumpet, and all the people said: God save king Solomon. And all the multitude went up after him, and the people played with pipes, and rejoiced with a great joy, and the earth rang with the noise of their cry. (Ibid. 39-40) We know Christ was anointed by the Holy Ghost, and we know the heavenly Father, like Solomon’s Father, ratified the anointing: A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (John 12:28; cf. 3 Kings 1:48)
Now the Jewish leaders saw also the boughs that were placed before the Christ, and surely they were recognizing not only Zacharias’ prophecy, but also the scene of Jehu’s election to be King of Israel by Eliseus (As Samuel anointed David, as Nathan anointed Solomon): And when thou art come thither, thou shalt see Jehu the son of Josaphat the son of Namsi: and going in thou shalt make him rise up from amongst his brethren, and carry him into an inner chamber. Then taking the little bottle of oil, thou shalt pour it on his head, and shalt say: Thus saith the Lord: I have anointed thee king over Israel. And thou shalt open the door and flee, and shalt not stay there. So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went away to Ramoth Galaad, And went in thither: and behold the captains of the army were sitting: and he said: I have a word to thee, O prince. And Jehu said: Unto whom of us all? And he said: To thee, O prince. And he [Jehu] arose, and went into the chamber: and he [the prophet] poured the oil upon his head, and said: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I have anointed thee king over Israel, the people of the Lord. (4 Kings 9:2-6) We see the same scenes that are types of the Christ, and so, we see the entrance of Jehu to take over his kingship in these words: Then they made haste and taking every man his garment laid it under his feet, after the manner of a judgment seat, and they sounded the trumpet, and said: Jehu is king. (4 Kings 9:13) Placing everything together, the Jewish leaders knew that David overcame Saul, that Solomon overcame Adonias and all his brothers. Particularly one can see this in the words quoted from Psalm 117, even to the horn of the altar as one continues to read 3 Kings: Solomon sitteth [now] upon the throne of the kingdom, and the king’s servants going in have blessed our lord king David, saying: May God make the name of Solomon greater than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king adored in his bed: And he said: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who hath given this day one to sit on my throne, my eyes seeing it. [cf. Luke 2:30] Then all the guests of Adonias were afraid, and they all arose and every man went his way.] And Adonias fearing Solomon, arose, and went, and took hold on the horn of the altar. (Vv. 46-50) And this is the fear that arose in the hearts and minds of the priests and leaders of the Jews, for they saw the prophecies fulfilled and they knew the outcomes (cf. 4 Kings 9:7-8; John 11:50) They only thought that if they could kill the Christ the prophecies would not be fulfilled and this is what we follow during Holy Week—yes, His death, but also His Resurrection which is the victory over His enemies.
As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Christ Prepares the Apostles for the Sacrament of His Body and Blood
We may take a passage from the angelic Doctor (op. cit. 6, 5, 946) to expand on the grace of faith in which one recognizes the Truth of Christ:
This drawing by the Father is most effective, because, every one who has heard of the Father and has learned, comes to me. Here he mentions two things: first, what relates to a gift of God, when he says, has heard, that is, through God, who reveals; the other relates to a free judgment, when he says, and has learned, that is, by an assent. These two are necessary for every teaching of faith.
Every one who has heard of the Father, teaching and making known, and has learned, by giving assent, comes to me. He comes in three ways: through a knowledge of the truth; through the affection of love; and through imitative action. And in each way it is necessary that one hear and learn.
The one who comes through a knowledge of the truth must hear, when God speaks within: I will hear what the Lord God will speak within me (Ps 84:9); and he must learn, through affection, as was said. The one who comes through love and desire—if any man thirst, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37)—must hear the word of the Father and grasp it, in order to learn and be moved in his affections. For that person learns the word who grasps it according to the meaning of the speaker. But the Word of the Father breathes forth love. Therefore, the one who grasps it with eager love, learns. Wisdom goes into holy souls, and makes them prophets and friends of God (Wis 7:27). One comes to Christ through imitative action, according to: come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you (Matt 11:28). And whoever learns even in this way comes to Christ: for as the conclusion is to things knowable, so is action to things performable. Now whoever learns perfectly in the sciences arrives at the conclusion; therefore, as regards things that are performable, whoever learns the words perfectly arrives at the right action: the Lord has opened my ear; and I do not resist (Isa 50:5).
At this place John seems to turn to the teaching on the Holy Eucharist. With the words of Christ requesting faith in Him, Amen, amen I say to you: he who believes in me has eternal life (John 6:47), There is the undeniable proclamation: I am the bread of life. (v. 48) He then shows the type and that it was only a type, since it did not give life, Your fathers ate manna in the desert, and they are dead. (v. 49) Now there is the reality which it prefigured, which is Himself because He came from the Father in the Incarnation: This is the bread, which comes down from heaven, so that if any man eat of it, he will not die. (v. 50) Therefore, he emphatically states as conclusive: I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. (v. 51) And then enjoins: If any man eat of this bread, he will live for ever. And He adds that it will be given in sacrifice: the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. (v. 52)
The Church has except two interpretations for this passage: Faith in Christ as the Son of God and the Holy Eucharist, i.e., the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. Saint Thomas explains the first in these words:
His intention is to show that he is the bread of life. Bread is life-giving insofar as it is taken. Now one who believes in Christ takes him within himself, according to: Christ dwells, in our hearts through faith (Eph 3:17). Therefore, if he who believes in Christ has life, it is clear that he is brought to life by eating this bread. Thus, this bread is the bread of life. And this is what he says: amen, amen, I say to you: he who believes in me, with a faith made living by love, which not only perfects the intellect but the affections as well (for we do not tend to the things we believe in unless we love them), has eternal life.
Now Christ is within us in two ways: in our intellect through faith, so far as it is faith; and in our affections through love, which informs or gives life to our faith: he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him (1 John 4:16). So he who believes in Christ so that he tends to him, possesses Christ in his affections and in his intellect. And if we add that Christ is eternal life, as stated in that we may be in his true Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20), and in him was life (John 1:4), we can infer that whoever believes in Christ has eternal life. He has it, I say, in its cause and in hope, and he will have it at some time in reality. (Op. cit., 6, 6, 950)
The Council of Trent confirmed the second in Session XIII, Oct. 11, 1551, in its Decree on the Holy Eucharist:
And finally this holy Synod with paternal affection admonishes, exhorts, entreats, and beseeches, “through the bowels of the mercy of our God” [Luke 1 :78 ], that each and all, who are classed under the Christian name, will now finally agree and be of the same opinion in this “sign of unity,” in this “bond of charity,” * in this symbol of concord, and that mindful of so great a majesty and such boundless love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His own beloved soul as the price of our salvation, and gave us His “own flesh to eat” [John 6:48 ff.], they may believe and venerate these sacred mysteries of His body and blood with that constancy and firmness of faith, with that devotion of soul, that piety and worship, as to be able to receive frequently that “supersubstantial bread” [Matt. 6:11], and that it may be to them truly the life of the soul and the perpetual health of mind, that being invigorated by the strength thereof [1 Samuel 19:8], after the journey of this miserable pilgrimage, they may be able to arrive in their heavenly country to eat without any veil that same bread of angels [Ps. 77:25 ] which they now eat under the sacred veils. (Chap. 8; cf. DB 882)
Having taught that the Bread that is to be given is His flesh, there is now the consideration of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood. Saint Thomas (op. cit. 6, 6, 660-64) gives the following explanation that touches upon many points, yet is bound together as the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
We can consider four things about this sacrament: its species, the authority of the one who instituted it, the truth of this sacrament, and its usefulness.
As to the species of this sacrament: this is the bread; come, and eat my bread (Prov 9:5). The reason for this is that this is the sacrament of the body of Christ; but the body of Christ is the Church, which arises out of many believers forming a bodily unity: we are one body (Rom 12:5). And so because bread is formed from many grains, it is a fitting species for this sacrament. Hence he says, and the bread that I will give is my flesh.
The author of this sacrament is Christ: for although the priest confers it, it is Christ himself who gives the power to this sacrament, because the priest consecrates in the person of Christ. Thus in the other sacraments the priest uses his own words or those of the Church, but in this sacrament he uses the words of Christ: because just as Christ gave his body to death by his own will, so it is by his own power that he gives himself as food: Jesus took bread, he blessed it and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: take and eat it, this is my body (Matt 26:26). Thus he says, that I will give; and he says, will give, because this sacrament had not yet been instituted.
The truth of this sacrament is indicated when he says, is my flesh. He does not say, that this signifies my flesh, but it is my flesh, for in reality that which is taken is truly the body of Christ: who will give us his flesh so that we may be satisfied? (Job 31:31)
Since the whole Christ is contained in this sacrament, why did he just say, is my flesh?
To answer this, we should note that in this mystical sacrament the whole Christ is really contained: but his body is there by virtue of the conversion; while his soul and divinity are present by natural concomitance. For if we were to suppose what is really impossible, that is, that the divinity of Christ is separated from his body, then his divinity would not be present in this sacrament. Similarly, if someone had consecrated during the three days Christ was dead, his soul would not have been present there, but his body would have been, as it was on the cross or in the tomb. Thus, it is preferable to say flesh, since this sacrament is the commemoration of our Lord’s passion—according to as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord (1 Cor 11:26)—and the passion of Christ depended on his weakness—according to he was crucified through weakness (2 Cor 13:4)—he rather says, is my flesh, to suggest the weakness through which he died, for flesh signifies weakness.
The usefulness of this sacrament is great and universal.
It is great, indeed, because it produces spiritual life within us now, and will later produce eternal life, as was said. For as is clear from what was said, since this is the sacrament of our Lord’s passion, it contains in itself the Christ who suffered. Thus, whatever is an effect of our Lord’s passion is also an effect of this sacrament. For this sacrament is nothing other than the application of our Lord’s passion to us. For it was not fitting for Christ to be always with us in his own presence; and so he wanted to make up for this absence through this sacrament. Hence it is clear that the destruction of death, which Christ accomplished by his death, and the restoration of life, which he accomplished by his resurrection, are effects of this sacrament.
The usefulness of this sacrament is universal because the life it gives is not only the life of one person, but, so far as concerns itself, the life of the entire world: and for this the death of Christ is fully sufficient. He is the offering for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the entire world (1 John 2:2).
The Jews, that is, those who were from Judea and had better instruction than the country people of Galilee, understood what Christ told them and questioned among themselves how to respond to a seeming untenable teaching. They knew that it was not words coming from a demented mind, for they were not irrational. By nature one would have to believe what another said, or give convincing proof that what the other said was not true. But to accept what Jesus just told them would change the whole paradigm of their concept both of the Messias and even that of God. Therefore they settled on simply questioning the capability of Christ giving His Body to eat since, naturally speaking He would have to demonstrate the Truth of His statement—not giving recognition to the previous miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. So, the Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying: how can this man give us his flesh to eat? (John 6:53) Our Lord, at this moment, insists on faith in Him. When the Apostle Thomas replied to the other Apostles, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe (John 20:25), Jesus Christ condescended to Thomas’ request: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. . . Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed (ibid. 20:27, 29) The Jews saw the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, but they did not believe—and Christ, knowing, states once more what He said with the addition that they must also drink His Blood:
Then Jesus said to them: amen, amen I say to you: unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will also live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your fathers who ate manna and are dead, he who eats this bread will live forever. (Ibid., 6:54-59)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MATTHEW xxi. 1-9
At that time when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto Mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them: and forthwith he shall let them go.
Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon.
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: and the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA
V. 9. And the multitudes cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of . . .
What Hosanna means I shall now briefly explain. In psalm 117, which manifestly was written concerning the Coming of the Saviour, among other things we also read this verse: O Lord save me: O Lord give good success. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. In place of what is given in the Septuagint: Ὦ Κύριε, σῶσον δή, that is, O Lord save me, we read in the Hebrew: ANNA ADONAI OSIANNA, which Symmachus has clearly interpreted to say: I beseech Thee, O Lord, save me, I beseech Thee. Therefore let no one think that the saying is made up from the two phrases, the Greek and the Hebrew; rather is it wholly Hebrew.
REMIGIUS: And is composed from a complete phrase and an incomplete one. For OSI in Latin means Salva, save, or Salvifica, deliver: ANNA among them (the Hebrews) is the cry of one beseeching. For with them one who beseeches says ANNA, as among Latins one in pain cries, heu!
JEROME: For it signifies that the Coming of Christ is the salvation of the world. Hence follows: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; which Our Lord also confirms in the Gospel, John v. 43. REMIGIUS: Because as in all his good works He sought not His own but the glory of the Father.
GLOSS: And the meaning is, Blessed, that is, may He be glorified; that cometh, that is, Who has become Incarnate; in the name of the Lord, that is, of the Father, glorifying Him. Again they repeat, Hosanna, that is, Save me, I beseech Thee; and they determine where they wish to be as saved, in the highest, that is, in heaven, not upon the earth.
JEROME: Or through this that there is added Hosanna, that is, salvation in the highest, it is clearly indicated that the Coming of Christ means the salvation, not alone of men, but of the whole world, linking earthly with heavenly things ( cf Phil. ii. 10). ORIGEN, Hom. in Matt: Or they praise the humanity of Christ in that they cry out: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And His complete restoration to the House of God, in that they cry: Hosanna in the highest.
CHRYSOSTOM. ex Op. Imp: Some interpret Hosanna as also meaning glory; others as meaning redemption. And both glory is due to Him, and redemption belongs to Him Who has redeemed all men. HILARY: For the words of praise clearly express the power of redemption that is in Him. They call Him son of David, in Whom they confess the inheritance of an eternal kingdom.
CHRYSOSTOM, ex Op. Imp. Hom. 37: Never before had the Lord made use of the services of beasts of burthen, or placed about Himself as ornaments the green foliage of trees, except on this occasion, when going up to Jerusalem to fulfil His passion. For He stirred up the Jews, who beheld this and envied it, not that they might do that which previously they were not willing to do, but that they might do that which previously they desired to do. Opportunity therefore was given to them; not a change of purpose.
JEROME: But, mystically, the Lord draws nigh to Jerusalem; going out from Jericho, with a very great multitude following him; returning as a great man endowed with much riches (the salvation of those who believed in Him), He desires to enter the City of peace, and the abode of the vision of God. And He came to Bethphage, that is, to the House of Jawbones which was a figure of praise of God, and was situated on Mount Olivet: by which is signified the light of knowledge, and rest from toil and pain. By the village that was over against the Apostles, this world is signified: for it was against the Apostles, and neither did it wish to submit to the yoke of true doctrine.
REMIGIUS: The Lord then sends the Disciples from Mount Olivet to the village; as from the primitive Church He sent His preachers into the world. And He sent two, because of the two orders of preachers; which the Apostle makes clear when he says: He who wrought in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, wrought in me also among the Gentiles (Gal. ii. 8); or because there are two precepts of charity; or because there are two testaments; or because of the letter and the spirit.
JEROME: Or because of the theoretical and the practical; that is, knowledge and good works. The ass which was used to the yoke, and subdued, and had born the yoke of the Law, is interpreted to mean the Synagogue. The ass’s colt, wanton and unbroken, stands for the people of the Gentiles: for Judea in respect to God is the mother of the Gentiles. RHABANUS: Hence Matthew, who wrote his Gospel for the Jews, alone relates that the ass was brought to the Lord, that he might show that the salvation of this same Jewish people must not be despaired of, providing they repent.
CHRYSOSTOM, ex Op. Imp. Hom. 37: Because of certain resemblances men are likened to these animals; not knowing God, nor the Son of God. For this is an unclean animal, and more unintelligent than other beasts of burthen, stupid and weak and ignoble, and toiling under a load. Such men were, before the Coming of Christ: soiled by every passion, unreasoning, without sense in their speech, foolish in their neglect of God-for what greater folly than to despise their Creator as though He were a creature, and to adore the work of their own hands, as if it were their Maker-weak of soul; ignoble because, forgetful of their heavenly origin, they had become slaves of their passions and of the demons. Laden, because they suffered under the burden of pagan darkness and superstition, laid on them either by the demons or by the Pharisees.
The ass was tied, that is, held by the chains of diabolical superstition, so that it had no freedom to go whither it willed. For before we can sin we have freedom of will, to follow or not after the will of the devil, according as we wish. But if we once have sinned we have bound ourselves to his service, and cannot free ourselves of our own power. As a ship with a broken helm is led hither and thither at the sway of the storm, so man, when he loses the aid of divine grace through sin, does not that which he wishes, but what the devil wishes. And if God does not deliver him by the strong hand of His mercy he will remain till death in the bonds of his sins. And so He commands His Disciples: Loose them, namely, by means of your teaching, and through your miracles: because all, Jews and Gentiles, have been freed by the Apostles. And bring them to me; that is, convert them to the blessedness of My Kingdom.
ORIGEN, Hom. in Matt. xvi. 16: Whence it was that ascending to heaven He commanded His Disciples, that they should forgive sins, giving them the Holy Ghost (Jn. xx. 22, 23). Those now loosed from their sins, and going forward in grace, and sustained by the divinity of the Word, are found worthy of being returned to the place from which He had brought them: but not now to their former tasks, but to preach there the Son of God. And this is the meaning of: And forthwith he will let them go.
HILARY: Or, by the ass and its colt is signified the twofold calling of the Gentiles. For the Samaritans, who served God in accordance with certain rites of their own, are here signified by the ass. The colt signifies the Gentiles, who were still wild and unbroken. And so two are sent to free those who are still in the bonds of superstition: for through Philip Samaria believed, and through Peter Cornelius was brought to Christ as the first fruits of the Gentiles.
REMIGIUS: As was then said to the Apostles: If any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them, so now preachers are commanded that, though enmity seek to oppose them, they should not desist from preaching the Gospel.
JEROME: The garments of the Apostles laid upon the beast may mean either the teaching of Christian virtues, the explanation of the Scriptures, or the variety of the truths of the Church; with which if the soul be not adorned and clothed, it shall not merit to bear the Lord.
REMIGIUS: The Lord riding on an ass went towards Jerusalem, because as the Ruler Who guides either the Holy Church or the soul of each believer, He both guides their life in this world, and afterwards leads them to the sight of their heavenly country. The Apostles and the other teachers of the Church laid their garments upon the ass: because the faith they received from Christ they gave to the Gentiles.
But the multitudes spread their garments in the way: because those believing from the Circumcision rejected the faith given them by the Law. They cut boughs from the trees: because they received from the prophets, as from green trees, proofs concerning Christ. Or, the multitudes who spread their garments in the way represent the martyrs, who gave their garments, that is, their bodies, which are as it were the clothing of their souls, for Christ. Or they are signified who mortify their own bodies by self denial. They who cut boughs from the trees are they who desire to learn the sayings and deeds of the Holy Fathers: for their own salvation and that of their children.
JEROME: His words: The multitudes that went before and that followed, showed that both peoples, those who believed in the Lord before the Gospel, and those who believed after, with one voice praise and confess the Lord. CHRYSOSTOM, as above: The former in prophesy acclaiming the Christ Who was to come; the latter giving praise acclaim the now fulfilled Coming of Christ.
St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor
1. The world has rarely seen the equal of St. Vincent as a preacher of penance. He spoke “as one having power.” By his influence over minds and hearts he broke the tyranny of Satan in souls and substituted the reign of God. Born of a genuinely Christian family in Valencia, Spain, in 1357, he grew to manhood just before the unfortunate Western Schism (1378-1417), during which two or three men claimed the papal throne at the same time and the religious confusion and corruption of the Christian people were appalling.
It was into this chaos that God placed St. Vincent to be the “Angel of judgment,” He had been a Dominican since 1374 and was just then attracting attention as a preacher, at first in Valencia. Peter de Luna, Cardinal-legate, took him to the court of Charles VI of France, but Vincent could not stomach the pomp and artificiality there, and promptly returned to his monastery and his preaching. When, in 1394, Peter de Luna was elected as a second pope in Avignon, he took Vincent into his service. From 1399 to 1409, the preacher made his famous missionary journey through Catalonia, France, and Lombardy to Geneva and Fribourg in Switzerland, and even to England. Often thousands of penitent men and women followed him. In the hope of ending the schism he repudiated Benedict XIII (Peter de Luna) before an immense multitude in Perpignan, and then preached penance throughout France, and as far as Constance. From here he went to Normandy and Brittany, where he died, April 5, 1419. Pope Callistus III intended to canonize him, but it remained for Pius II to do so, in 1458.
2. “God, who wast pleased to enlighten thy Church with the virtues and preaching of thy confessor Vincent . . .” (Collect). For the Church and religion this was a most unhappy time, until God raised up this preacher. Benedict XIII, invalidly elected pope by Spaniards and Frenchmen, offered Vincent bishoprics and even the cardinalate, but he refused everything. All he wanted was a commission from the pope to work for the salvation of souls. Having obtained this he preached with ardent zeal throughout the provinces of Spain, calling all to repentance. He possessed a gift for picturing the judgment of God upon sinners, as well as the eternity and horrors of hell, in such a way that even the most obstinate sinners repented, wept over their sins, conscientiously performed the penances he imposed, and started a new life.
God supported Vincent’s preaching with many miracles, he possessed the gift of prophecy, and exhibited extraordinary holiness of life. Thus, he was able to lead numberless infidels, Mohammedans, and heretics to the true faith. When he preached in Toledo the Jews of the city accepted Christianity and changed their synagogue into a church dedicated to the Mother of God. In 1412, in the presence of a vast throng at Salamanca, the Saint raised a dead person to life. Then, entering the synagogue, he preached so convincingly to the Jews of the city that they immediately asked for baptism and converted their synagogue into a Church of the Holy Cross. Everywhere the results of his preaching were equally phenomenal. But withal he remained the humble friar, observing the rules of his Order even on the most tiring trips and in spite of prodigious missionary activity. Every day, except Sundays, he fasted; always he persevered in prayer and familiar intercourse with God. Truly, his life was a miracle of God’s grace, of virtue, and of union with God.
“My faithfulness and mercy shall go with him; as my champion he shall rise to greatness” (Offertory). On one occasion when the enthusiastic preacher had aroused the Valencians, a lascivious woman conceived an unchaste love for him. Pretending to be sick she sent for Vincent to come and minister to her. When she revealed her feelings and intentions, the Saint fled in fright. Then, out of a spirit of revenge, the woman spread shameful lies and calumnies about him, and tried in every way to undermine his reputation. But God’s “faithfulness and mercy” were with Vincent. When the woman saw that he remained patient and calm, she repented, confessed publicly, and apologized. St. Vincent not only pardoned her, but he also, through prayer, secured her release from the mental suffering that was torturing her.
But the young Dominican also had his interior trials. It was only by prayer and hard fighting that he conquered them and kept himself fit for the work of God. “My faithfulness and mercy shall go with him.” He continued to charge his words with the living and life-giving power that irrepressibly gripped the hearts of his listeners and overcame all interior opposition. All this success was not simply the result of study, labor, and skill; it was the natural overflowing of a soul filled with the spirit of God. “As my champion he shall rise to greatness.” What wonderful fruit of the grace of God!
3. The fact that Vincent effected such remarkable conversions was due, next to the power of God working through him, largely to the seriousness with which he urged people to repent and the vividness with which he described the punishments of eternal hell-fire. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). “Let us not run away from sermons on hell; then we shall be able to run away from hell itself” (St. John Chrysostom). “No sin can remain unpunished. Punish it yourself [by penance] so that you will not have to be punished for it” (St. Augustine). Do not all of us need to do penance and render satisfaction for our sins?
There is consolation in the fact that God sends saints, in times of danger and confusion, to preserve His people from ruin. Thus, He sent St. Vincent as a powerful apostle and preacher of penance to his age. God does not forsake His Church.
Collect: God, who wast pleased to enlighten Thy Church with the virtues and preaching of Thy confessor blessed Vincent, grant that we Thy servants may be schooled by his example and freed by his protection from all harm. Amen.
AND OUR CHILDREN
Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons
By Mary Reed Newland (1956)
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
THE PASCHAL CANDLE
Another mid-Lent consideration is the Paschal candle. The same type of candle is used as described in the first chapter for the Christ candle. The instructions for cutting the cross, the A (alpha) and Ω (omega), and the numerals of the year on the Paschal candle are given with the text of the restored Easter Vigil, available in booklet form and also in missals printed since the Vigil was restored. They look like this:
2 ½ 0
2 ½ 0
To make these cuts visible, they may be stained or painted with red oil paint. We add other symbols of the Redemption painted in the same manner as we paint the Christ candle. We have the pelican feeding her young, the cross with grape vine and wheat, the symbol above, the phoenix arising out of its funeral pyre, and the lamb triumphant on an altar with its banner of victory.
The pelican, according to an inaccurate legend, has the greatest love of all creatures for its offspring and will pierce its breast and feed them (this is the inaccuracy: it only appears to do this because of the way it holds its head) with its blood This is a symbol of the Blood of Christ by which He redeemed us and with which He feeds us in the Holy Eucharist.
The grapes and wheat are symbolic of the Holy Eucharist, the unbloody sacrifice that repeats daily at Holy Mass the bloody sacrifice of the Cross.
The phoenix is a mythical bird of great beauty which was said to die, periodically, on its own funeral pyre, only to arise more youthful and beautiful than ever to begin another life: a symbol of the Resurrection.
The lamb is Christ, the true Paschal Lamb on the altar of sacrifice replacing forever the sincere but insufficient sacrifices of the Jews. The banner is His symbol of victory over sin and death.
At the four points of the cross and at its center we pierce with a hot skewer and insert at each point a dove, like the five pegs of wax and incense (they look like nails) which you see on the great Paschal candle on the altar. The incense for which we substitute the fragrant doves is a symbol, when burned, of the zeal of the faithful; by its fragrance, of the odor of Christian virtue; by its smoke, of the ascent of the prayer of the faithful to the throne of God.
As with the Christ candle, we must plan time together in the evenings in order to prepare the candle and discuss the doctrine relating to these symbols. It is a fruitful work and truly beautiful when finished. It is saved for Easter morning when the first child downstairs, after taking Jonas out of the fish and setting him ashore, claims the privilege of lighting the Paschal candle after the others have gathered.
It may sound a little naïve to recommend reading aloud as a substitute for television, but it is an excellent substitute if it is taken seriously. A fine book for Lenten reading aloud for the family is Jesus, Son of David, by Mother Mary Eleanor, S.H.C.J. It is suitable for a group including children from five up (our five-year-old loved it, although now and then he had to ask questions—but questions are good), and the chapters serve as single readings for feasts, Mass preparations, and especially well (those on the Last Supper, the Trial, the Passion and Death, the Resurrection) for Holy Week meditations. Several times it moved them to tears, and it is good that we should weep over Christ’s sufferings. We weep so easily over things of no consequence.
Evenings when our children have been too excited to pray well, when it has been a bad day with everyone at sixes and sevens, we have made night prayers one part vocal prayer (perhaps one decade of the Rosary following an examination of conscience and the Confiteor) and four parts such reading. It calms them wonderfully and gives them a chance to return to first things first, and meditate before they fall asleep.
Passion Sunday we put the purple shrouds on the statues and religious pictures, and Palm Sunday we weave some of the palms into a mat to place under a figure of Our Lady and the Christ Child. Thoroughly soaked in warm water, palms will weave easily even if they have been quite dry. A running machine-stitch all around the edge keeps the mat from coming apart. Some of the palms are saved for Asperges (sprinkling) when we have blessings with holy water, and some are to be nailed as small crosses to the tree by the garden after the Rogation Day procession.
A PASSOVER SUPPER ON HOLY THURSDAY
Holy Thursday we have a Paschal supper. The shopping for this must be done early in the week. As far as we are able, we serve the foods served at a Jewish Seder supper (their Passover meal) , although ours has a different significance. These are the foods Our Lord ate at the Last Supper, and this is the feast day meal that celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist; so we want it to be in every way possible richly significant.
I went shopping once for the foods for such a supper, at a market where I knew I could find some Jewish clerks to help me with the recipe for charoset (pronounced, I believe, haroset). One old man brightened when I asked him. “You are having a Seder? Oh, good. It is one of the most wonderful memories of my childhood, the Seders.” He told me how his mother used to make charoset, and when I was leaving he called after me: “Happy feast day!”
I went to another counter to buy wine, and another Jewish clerk helped me eagerly, happy to think I was having a Seder.
Then I went to the fruit market and asked for the apples and raisins and nuts “needed for charoset;” I said.
The smile vanished instantly from the face of the clerk. He coldly gave me my purchase and turned away. It was an odd feeling. I had never been taken for a Jew before, never felt so keenly a Christian’s intolerance. It is quite different from the experience one has with people who don’t like Catholics. It is much colder. Uglier.
But what is a Paschal supper?
There is much to tie together if we are to sum it up for our children—and sum it up we must or they will make no sense of it and will miss entirely the majesty of this story of God’s love.
It started with Abraham, whom God called out of a pagan land and promised to make the father of a great people. This was hundreds of years after the deluge. Abraham was a descendant of Noe’s son, Sem. He was a Semite. This was the beginning of the Jews; they were a chosen people. God gave Abraham the land of Chanaan, and sent him a son, Isaac, and it was out of this line that the Messias would come—to save all mankind from their sins.
Isaac was the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of that Joseph we heard St. Stephen tell about in his speech before the Sanhedrin (chapter 5, the feast of St. Stephen, December 26). When famine struck the land of Chanaan, Joseph invited his father Jacob and his eleven brothers and their families to dwell in Egypt, and this began the four hundred years’ sojourn of the Jews in the Delta in Egypt. They multiplied greatly in number, and adapted to the customs of these Egyptians, becoming defiled by idolatry, acquiescing in a land of magicians and infidels, until under a Pharaoh who had no memory of Joseph or his services, they were enslaved. Multiplied as they were, to him they presented a threat if an enemy should attack Egypt and arm these foreign inhabitants; so he ordered the extermination of all their newborn male children. It was for this reason that Moses was hid in the bulrushes where he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as her son; and in his maturity he was sent by God to be a deliverer to his people.
In this role Moses is a type of Christ, and the freeing of the Jews from bondage in Egypt under his leadership is the great type of the Redemption: the freeing of mankind from bondage to sin and death by Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Through Moses, God warned Pharaoh to let His people go, but in spite of terrible plagues visited upon his land, he refused. Finally Moses warned Pharaoh of the last most terrible plague. God had said:
“At midnight I will enter into Egypt. And every firstborn in the land of the Egyptians shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sitteth on his throne even to the firstborn of the handmaid that is at the mill, and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as neither hath been before, nor shall be hereafter. But with all the children of Israel there shall not a dog make the least noise (i.e., bark at them), from man even to beast: that you may know how wonderful a difference the Lord maketh between the Egyptians and Israel.” But Pharaoh would not hear.
Then God gave Moses the instructions for the first Pasch (pronounced pask), the meal to be eaten that night and as a memorial every year thereafter to commemorate the night God would pass over Egypt to slay the Egyptian firstborn and free the Jews.
This month in which would begin their freedom, He said, would be the beginning month of the year, and every family was to obtain on the tenth day of the month a yearling lamb without blemish. If they were not a large enough family to consume it themselves, they must find a neighbor whose family could consume it with them. They would keep the lamb until the fourteenth day and on that evening sacrifice it, dipping branches of hyssop in its blood to smear the transoms and lintels of their doors so that God would pass over their houses when he slew the firstborn of Egypt.
They were to roast the lamb and eat it all, head, feet, and entrails and break not a bone; eat it with unleavened bread and wild herbs, and whatever was left of the lamb was to be burned in the fire. They were to eat it in haste, wearing their shoes, their cloaks girded about them and with their staves in their hands, ready for the journey.
It is almost impossible to put into words all the mind sees here. The sacrifice of the lamb becomes the signal. The blood of the lamb the sign. They are to be ready, for when this is done they will be on their way to freedom. We have only to recall that St. John the Baptist pointed to Him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God,” to see what it means.
The Gospels of our Lenten reading ( if it has been on the life of Christ) show us that He timed His appearance in public carefully—before the raising of Lazarus, after the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday—so that He would be there to celebrate the Pasch with His Apostles. It is at this meal where He ate the Paschal lamb with them, that He broke with tradition (and He loved the Law), blessing bread and wine, instituting an entirely new act at the Paschal meal. The Holy Eucharist . . . . Only His divine hand could have consecrated that first bread and wine for the sacrifice—for all He had the power to give to priests—because the bloody sacrifice of the Lamb had not been completed.
It was when He left the supper, and went to meet the cross, that all men were on their way to freedom.
This is a beautiful night. We want to celebrate it tenderly and lovingly, but it takes years to manage it perfectly, I think, because children will be children and break the spell. But we can keep the spell in our hearts as we teach them the meaning of it, and some day they will be as thrilled as we. The seed we are planting this night is the seed of their own hungering after Holy Communion.
Father Krier will be in Pahrump on April 16 and Eureka on April 23. Because of the restrictions on interstate travel, there is no possibility presently to travel outside Nevada. (Needles will still have regularly scheduled Mass)
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