Catholic Tradition Newsletter A13: Fourth Sunday in Lent, Confirmation, Saint Benjamin, Family

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Vol 12 Issue 13 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
March 30, 2019 ~ Lenten Feria

1.      What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2.      Laetare Sunday
3.      Saint Benjamin
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

As the Month of Saint Joseph closes, just a few more words about this great Saint who was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX as Patron of the Catholic Church in December 1870.

The name Joseph is derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The verb יֹסֵ֧ף (yō·sêp̄) means to add, increase or do again and will be interpreted in its variations. The Lord also remembering Rachel, heard her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bore a son, saying: God hath taken away my reproach. And she called his name Joseph, saying: The Lord give me also another son. (Gen. 30:22-24) Joseph was the first born of Rachel, but the children born to her maid-servant Bala through Jacob (Dan and Nephtali) would be considered hers. Joseph of the Old Testament was a prefigure of Christ, but one can also see a prefigure of Joseph in the New Testament. Joseph of Nazareth (cf. John 1:45) also had Jacob as his father: And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matt. 1:16) Joseph in the Old Testament was chosen by the captain of the guard to be over his house: And Joseph found favour in the sight of his master, and ministered to him: and being set over all by him, he governed the house committed to him, and all things that were delivered to him (Gen. 39:4); Joseph in the New Testament was chosen to be over the house committed to him, the holy Family: the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, . . . And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. (Matt. 1:20, 21) This brings the point, too, that both Josephs were told in dreams of God’s will: And he [Joseph] said to them: Hear my dream which I dreamed . . . . He dreamed also another dream, which he told his brethren . . . . (Gen. 37:6, 9) [B]ehold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt . . . behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. (Matt. 2:13, 19-20) In this way, also, Pharao’s words to his people, Go to Joseph (Gen. 41:55) can be applied to Saint Joseph: Ite ad Joseph.

To conclude, Pope Leo XIII wrote in Quamquam pluries (August 15, 1889), regarding Saint Joseph:

You well understand, Venerable Brethren, that these considerations are confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name – a point the significance of which has never been denied – was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favour and especial goodwill of his master, and that through Joseph’s administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title “Saviour of the world.” Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master’s domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth.

We have finished the Anthology on the Sacrament of Confirmation and will begin a Compendium on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. During May I will insert an article on Mary that holds some significance.

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor



By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier


The task of presenting a work on the Holy Eucharist is both necessary but fearful. Who can assume that he is able to encompass such a momentous and sacred reality that pertains to Christ Himself, who is God, being offered, contained and received? But it is necessary in an age when even the simple definition of the Holy Eucharist is no longer known, let alone accepted. Previous to Vatican II Catholics in the United States of America were instructed in catechetical classes and religion classes chiefly by the Baltimore Catechism. This Catechism decreed by the Third Baltimore Council (1884) was to provide a standard Catechism that was addressed to Catholic children in American with phraseology comprehensible to their understanding and not European based. Until the Baltimore Catechism, most Catholics used adaptations of European (Irish, German and French) catechisms that were archaic or literal translations. The Council’s decision provided a Catechism that was complete and comprehensible. Therefore it is safe to say that most of the faithful Catholics had to memorize the answers to the basic questions explaining the Catholic faith from the Baltimore Catechism. Regarding this, it should be remembered that the answer to, What is the Holy Eucharist?, is: The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. Under the appearances of bread and wine the Lord Jesus Christ is contained, offered and received. If one believed the truth of the answer one immediately recognized something was wrong with the teachings that introduced the Novus Ordo Missae in the late 60’s. The New Mass was presented as a sacrament, as a mysterium, as the Last Supper, the Lord’s Meal, the Eucharistic meal—but never any more as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The audience was told they never knew what was happening before; now they would actually participate in the celebration.

This was fifty years ago and there is need to look at the Holy Eucharist again as the Roman Catholic Church has instructed her clergy and faithful. It may not be possible to address all the different reflections of the Holy Eucharist, doctrinally, liturgically, historically, and devotionally since the Holy Eucharist must be looked at also sacramentally and sacrificially. The greatest treasure the Church possesses is the Mass, within which is the Sacrament and the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ. This cannot be lost and the present author, knowing his inadequacy to engage in such a project, asks his readers to bear with the shortcomings especially when one might have great expectations. One can but admire the great theologians of the past, a Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Saint Robert Bellarmine or Saint Charles Borromeo, a—even more recently—Adrian Fortescue or Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Today there are only their writings left and from these and many more the author will gather the jewels of the teachings of the Church to provide a compendium of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

As the Holy Eucharist is both a Sacrament and Sacrifice, the elements of being both are so intertwined that just as one cannot have the Sacrament without the Sacrifice, so one cannot completely write of one without realizing one is also speaking of the other. In the division what is the customary outline will be followed. First will be that of Christ contained and received in the Blessed Sacrament as Spiritual Food but also in the sacrificial participation of His Sacrifice. Then there will be a presentation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where, even though Christ is contained and received, there is the offering of the sacrifice of Christ—which offering the communicant fully participates.

The Mass is the heart of the Catholic Faith. It gives life to the Church both because the members are fed by the Bread that comes down from heaven (cf. John 6:50) and also because the Mass incorporates everything Catholics must believe. Therefore, assisting at Mass is both a profession of faith as also a living of that faith.

The following words of Venerable Louis of Granada expresses well the importance of learning about this Sacrament:

Since it is necessary to instruct souls in the doctrine of this Sacrament, the first thing that I shall say is that many of the faithful are so firm in their faith in this mystery that it helps them to accept the other articles of faith as well. In the reception of this Sacrament they receive such great consolation of soul, such great enlightenment of intellect, such great love in their hearts, and so many helps to virtue that they realize that only God could have instituted something so beneficial for the sanctification of souls. And since they know that He who ordained these things is the Author of all other mysteries, the certain faith in this mystery increases their faith in the others. (SCL, III, 47)

(To be continued)


The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal


JOHN vi. 1-15

At that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would.

And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now these men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountains himself alone.


V. 1. After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee etc …

CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 42 in John: Just as javelins when they meet with something strong and unyielding rebound with great force against those who thrust them, but when nothing opposes them they fall down and lie still, so is it that when we resist men of violence with violence, they rage the more; but should we yield, we calm their fury. And so Christ calmed the fury which had arisen from the preceding discourses, by retiring into Galilee; but not to the same districts as when He had come up from Jerusalem. For he did not go into Cana of Galilee, but crossed over the sea. Hence is it related: After these things Jesus went over etc.

ALCUIN: This sea is called by a variety of names by reason of the diversity of places. In this place it is called the sea of Galilee, because of the province; it is called the sea of Tiberias, because of the city of that name. It is called a sea, not because its waters were salt, but after the manner of the Hebrews, who called large bodies of waters seas. The Lord frequently crossed this sea, that He might impart His Teaching to the peoples dwelling beyond it.

V. 2. And a great multitude followed him because they saw the miracles etc.

THEOPHYLACTUS: For he preaches from place to place, testing the dispositions of the peoples; rendering more eager and solicitous the men of every city; hence: And a great multitude followed him. ALCUIN: And this because He gave sight to the blind, and did other similar things. And we must keep in mind that those whom He healed in body, He likewise renewed in soul.

CHRYSOSTOM, as above, sparsim in princ: Though delighting in His teaching they were moved more by His miracles. But signs, as Paul says, are not for believers, but unbelievers (I Cor. xiv. 22). They were wiser of whom Matthew says: The people were in admiration at His doctrine (Mt. vii. 28). But why does he not relate the miracles they saw Him working? This Evangelist desires to devote the great part of his Gospel to the discourses of the Lord. For there follows:

V. 3. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain and sat there with His Disciples.

He went up into a mountain because of the sign that was to follow. That the Disciples alone ascended with Him is the fault of the crowd, which failed to follow Him. He went up that He might also teach us to seek quiet, apart from the noise and tumult of men: and that solitude is more suited to the pursuit of wisdom. For there follows:

V. 4. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand.

See how the Evangelist tells us nothing of the miracles of Christ during a whole year other than that He healed the paralytic, the son of the Ruler. For he was not trying to make a record of all of them, but narrating a few among the many; and these the striking ones. Why did He not go up to Jerusalem for the Feast? Because He had begun gradually to undo the Law; taking occasion from the wickedness of the Jews.

THEOPHYLACTUS: Since the Jews were wont to follow Him, taking this opportunity of their absence He shuts out the Law; thus conveying to those who were observant that the Truth being now come all figures were at an end; and that He was not so subject to the Law that He must observe the festivals of the Law. And note that this was not a feast of Christ, but of the Jewish people.

BEDE, in Mark 5: If any one carefully studies the words of the Evangelist, he will easily learn that there was a space of one year between the beheading of John the Baptist and the Passion of Our Lord. For since Matthew says (xiv. 13) that when Jesus heard of it He retired into a desert place, apart, and there fed the multitude. And John says that the pasch of the Jews was near at hand when He fed the multitudes. It is therefore clearly indicated that John’s beheading took place close to the Festival. With the passing of the space of one year Christ was put to death; at the time of the same Festival.

V. 5. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes etc.

THEOPHYLACTUS: The Evangelist says: When he had lifted up his eyes, that we might learn that He did not turn His eyes this way and that, but sat recollectedly giving His attention to His Disciples.

CHRYSOSTOM: For He did not sit idly with His Disciples, but studiously conversing with them; holding their attention upon Himself. Then, raising His eyes He saw the multitudes coming towards Him. On whose behalf did He question Philip? For He knew which among the Disciples of His gathering most needed instruction. Such a one was Philip, who was afterwards to say: Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us (Jn. xiv. 8). And He first instructs him. For if He had simply wrought the miracle, the sign would not have seemed so striking. So now He makes him proclaim their lack of food, that they might the more clearly perceive the greatness of the miracle. And so there follows:

V. 6. And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do.

This He did, not because He did not know what Philip would say, but said it as men will. Just as when it was said: He that searcheth the hearts (Rom. viii. 27), does not mean the searching of ignorance, but of true knowledge; so when the Evangelist says that He said this to try him (Philip), he means merely that the Lord knew perfectly. And it can also be said that He made this man more sure, inducing in him by this questioning a more precise memory of the miracle. For this reason also the Evangelist, lest you suspect any thing out of place because of the simplicity of the remark, adds: For he himself knew what he would do.

ALCUIN: He asks therefore, not that He might learn what He knew not, but that Philip might learn the dullness of his own faith, which, he himself could not know, but his Master knew, and strengthened by performing this miracle. THEOPHYLACTUS: Or also that He might reveal this fact to others; not as though He Himself did not see into Philip’s soul.

AUGUSTINE, Harmony of the Four Gospels, 2: 46, 96: For if the Lord, according to the narration of John, seeing the multitudes asked Philip, with a view to trying him, whence food might be found for them, a difficulty might be raised whether that was true which the others narrated; namely: that the Disciples first said to the Lord that He should send away the multitudes. To whom, according to Matthew, He replies: They have no need to go, give you them to eat (xiv. 16). Accordingly, we must understand that the Lord after these words looked upon the multitude, and then said to Philip that which John relates; but which the others have omitted, viz.: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

CHRYSOSTOM: Or those are one set of events and these are another; and both did not take place at the same time. THEOPHYLACTUS: The Lord therefore, testing Philip to see if he had faith, found him still subject to human impressions; as is plain from what follows:

V. 7. Philip answered him: two hundred pennyworth of bread is not etc.

ALCUIN: In which he discloses his slowness of faith. For if he had perfectly understood his Creator he would not have been mistrustful regarding the generosity of His power.

AUGUSTINE, Harm. of F.G., 2: 46, 96: But that which Philip, according to John, here answered, this same Mark records as having been said by all the Disciples: desiring by this to be understood as saying that Philip had answered as the mouthpiece of the others: although he may have employed the plural number for the singular, as was frequent.

THEOPHYLACTUS: And the Lord found Andrew like to Philip; though considering the matter from a higher point of view than Philip. For there follows:

V. 8 and 9. One of his Disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter etc.

CHRYSOSTOM: I believe that Andrew did not speak without a reason, but because he knew of the miracle Eliseus had wrought with the barley loaves. For the prophet had fed one hundred men with twenty loaves (IV Kings iv). His mind therefore rose somewhat higher; but he did not rise to the heights, as appears from what follows: But what are these among so many? For he reckoned that he who was wont to perform miracles would make fewer from the few, and more from the greater number. But this was not so. For He could as easily feed the multitudes from a few loaves as from many. For He needed no subject matter. But, lest created things seem outside the power of His wisdom, He uses created things to work His wonders.

THEOPHYLACTUS: The Manicheans are confuted, who say that bread and all such created things are from an evil God; because Jesus Christ the Son of the Good God multiplied the loaves. For if created things were evil, He that was Good would not have multiplied them.

AUGUSTINE, as above: What Andrew, according to John, here says relating to the five loaves and the two fishes, the others (Evangelists), using the plural number for a single person, relate as coming from the Disciples generally.

CHRYSOSTOM: Let us here learn, we who give ourselves to pleasure, what was the food of these truly great and admirable men; and the amount of it they brought with them; and the plainness of their table. And before the loaves were multiplied He bade them sit down, that you may learn that the things that are not are as the things that are, as Paul says: And calleth those things that are not, as those that are (Rom. iv. 17). For there follows:

V. 10. Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down etc.

ALCUIN: We say the men literally lay down; reclining in the manner of the ancients: There was much grass in the place.

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