Vol 12 Issue 28 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
July 13, 2019 ~ Our Lady on Saturday
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Bonaventure
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
In reading the teachings of the Catholic Faith by Popes, Councils and Doctors of the Church prior to Vatican II it was made very clear what the Church taught and believed—in fact, it was the intention. Since Angelo Roncalli and his successors, everything coming from the Conciliar Church has become double-talk and unintelligible. This Conciliar Church is now preparing for a Synod in South America and the following article best describes what those trying to cover the Synod experience even as members of this Conciliar Church:
Analysis: The Amazon synod and the English language
By J D Flynn
July 4, 2019
On June 30, Vatican Media published a commentary on the upcoming synod by Mauricio Lopez Oropeza, a layman who oversees a Church-sponsored advocacy network for Catholics in the Amazon. He was recently president of the World Christian Life Community, a lay movement of Ignatian spirituality associated with the Jesuits.
Oropeza wrote that the upcoming meeting “is increasingly becoming a Synod which goes far beyond the territory upon which it is based,” adding that the synod “can, and should, contribute enlightenment in a universal overview.”
The rest of Oropeza’s commentary gives indication of what kind of contribution the pan-Amazonian synod might be intended to make to any such “enlightenment.”
Noting the issues defining the synod, Oropeza discussed a tension “between the Kairos of the ‘new paths for the Church’ and the cronos of the urgency to respond to the socio-environmental crisis through an ‘integral ecology.’”
“Will a Synod be able to interpret this ‘Kairos’ moment to embrace the revelation of God who demands a progressive but inevitable pastoral conversion and at the same time, able to make a prophetic and effective call for a conversion at a material level and in relationships, in the face of the enormous planetary socio-environmental crisis in a ‘cronos?’ One without the other will be insufficient, and incomplete,” Oropeza wrote.
Even those who have read a great deal of theology could be forgiven for not understanding what any of that means. Indeed, much of the commentary, published by the Vatican’s official media outlet, is stilted, jargon-laden, and difficult to understand. The official synod preparatory document, by most estimates, is much the same.
In 1946, George Orwell wrote that modern English prose, especially when produced by politicians or bureaucracies, “consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.”
“The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness,” Orwell wrote, adding that “modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”
Modern ecclesial prose, especially when it is written by committee, fits some of that description.
Observers have long lamented the tendency of contemporary Vatican documents to read more like text produced in Brussels committee rooms or Washington, DC think tanks than like the clear, prophetic, and direct language that might be expected from religious leaders.There are notable exceptions, but finding the point in Vatican prose can sometimes seem a Herculean labor.
Synodal documents are especially susceptible to the modern tendency toward vagueness and imprecision, because they are designed to accommodate, or at least give nod to, the particular agendas of all those who have spoken into their creation.
As a result, Vatican synods are often very long meetings, sometimes quite controversial during their proceedings, leading to final documents soon shelved. It is infrequent that a document produced by a synod becomes a major point of reference for the Church.
When that does happen, it is because of the decisions of the pope, not the deliberations of the synod. Francis, like Pope Benedict and Pope St. John Paul II before him, has on some occasions used the opportunity of a post-synodal apostolic exhortation to say something with significant impact on the life of the Church. But a post-synodal apostolic exhortation that generates as much conversation as did Amoris laetitia, or, less controversially, Christifidelis laici, is the exception, rather than the rule.
Synods are meant to be conversations. They have no power to effect policy, or proclaim doctrine. The outcome of the conversation does not bind the pope. Their documents, even if taken up as official texts of the Church, bind neither will nor intellect. The synod is not an ecumenical council.
And when the language of a synod – even before it has begun – is laden with slogans, maxims, and ambiguity, it is all the more likely that the outcome of the meeting will be similar. For those wishing to usher in major changes to the Church, a synod is likely the wrong place to expend energy. The effort required is significant, and the return on that effort is not.
The Amazonian synod will be a matter of controversy. During the meeting, journalists, myself included, will raise issues and concerns, especially if procedural law seems to be shaded in order to produce a predetermined outcome. Given the terms of the debate, the final synod document may well contain serious theological issues. But, after the synod, if history is a reliable guide, very little is likely to happen that is not already – right now – likely to happen.
The synod’s best value, perhaps, is as a kind of barometer. During the meeting, there is a great deal to be learned about the state of the Church. The debate around the synod is worth watching. The politics may well become fierce. But the practical stakes of a synod – which has neither power nor authority – remain, by design, exceedingly low.
Note: It is the head of this Church that decides to accept and promote the errors of these committees and not the local leaders. Many tried earlier to excuse Roncalli, Montini, and Wojtyla by saying it is the local bishops—but it must have authorization from above. Therefore, the changes come from above, not below.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Martin Luther and Consubstantiation
Martin Luther took a complete leap from the Catholic Faith. Though the Conciliar Church may imply that Lutherans believe the same (cf. Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, October 31, 1999), Martin Luther can be said to only hold on to his corrupted version of Scripture and receiving bread and wine that, according to him, Christ makes Himself present only to those who believe and receive.
Born in Eisleben, 10 November, 1483, Luther followed an academic career. Whether psychologically sick or unable to reconcile his struggle with physical drives and temptation, after entering the monastic life of an Augustinian friar and still finding no peace, he despaired of the Catholic teaching providing the answer and resorted to devising his own solution which was to deny responsibility for his moral failures. Of course, rejecting the Catholic faith could only lead him to adopt the teachings of others: Berengarius, Wycliff, and Hus along with the Waldensians and Albigensians. Being an Augustinian monk, it also meant rejecting Saint Augustine and choosing Pelagius.
As Wycliff, Martin Luther had to reject the Papacy and the teaching Magisterium:
Here I shall be called a Wycliffite and a heretic by six hundred names. But what of it? Since the Roman bishop has ceased to be a bishop and has become a tyrant, I fear none of his decrees; for I know that it is not within his power, or that of any general council, to make new Articles of Faith. (Luther, Babylonian Captivity, p. 29—as quoted by O’Connor, 135)
Like Barengarius, he would deny Transubstantiation:
Some time ago, when I was drinking in Scholastic theology, the learned Cardinal of Cambrai gave me food for thought in his comments on the fourth book of the Sentences. He argues with great acumen that to hold that real bread and real wine, and not merely their accidents, are present on the altar, would be much more probable and require fewer superfluous miracles—if only the Church had not decreed otherwise.67 When I learned later what church it was that had decreed this, namely, the Thomistic that is, the Aristotelian church—I grew bolder, and after floating in a sea of doubt, I at last found rest for my conscience in the above view, namely, that it is real bread and real wine, in which Christ’s real Flesh and real Blood are present in no other way and to no less a degree than the others assert them to be under their accidents.
(Luther, Babylonian Captivity, p. 29—as quoted by O’Connor, 135)
Like Hus, he would deny the authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals, but also demand that the faithful receive the “cup”. But it would include a different reason: The denial that holy Mass was a sacrifice. All was bound to reflect his belief that nature is left to itself (Pelagius). As Ganss writes on the life of Martin Luther in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The undue importance he had placed on his own strength in the spiritual process of justification, he now peremptorily and completely rejected. He convinced himself that man, as a consequence of original sin, was totally depraved, destitute of free will, that all works, even though directed towards the good, were nothing more than an outgrowth of his corrupted will, and in the judgments of God in reality mortal sins. Man can be saved by faith alone. Our faith in Christ makes His merits our possession, envelops us in the garb of righteousness, which our guilt and sinfulness hide, and supplies in abundance every defect of human righteousness.
Be a sinner and sin on bravely, but have stronger faith and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor of sin, death, and the world. Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice: sin must be committed. To you it ought to be sufficient that you acknowledge the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, the sin cannot tear you away from him, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders” (Enders, “Briefwechsel”, III, 208).
As man can do nothing for his salvation, the historical death of Christ becomes the source alone in which one must trust (faith in the Lutheran sense) to be saved. Therefore, sola fide. Rejecting the Church and her Magisterium, Luther—in an academic world—must have an authority and being a Biblical scholar and with the Hussites and Wycliffians clinging to the Bible, so Luther claimed the Bible as the only authority. Therefore, sola Scriptura. But even Scripture contradicted Martin Luther’s doctrine and so he had to rewrite Scripture and remove or belittle passages that disproved him. For the simple people it was enough; for the academics it became the door to private interpretation according to personal inspiration, that is, God inspired them to understand the words of Scripture accordingly. Of course such a teaching left Martin Luther with only a portion of Germans—now you had Zwingli, Calvin, John Knox and everyone else “inspired” to draw disciples of new beliefs.
Further, if man can do nothing, man cannot perform any good work, then merit and grace and propitiation and intercession all become meaningless—which means the Catholic Mass ceases to be of any meaning for, first, according to Luther, only the historical event of Christ’s death satisfied for all sin; secondly, it cannot work for the obtaining of merit, or satisfaction, or impetration because then it would be a good work. So Luther writes about the Mass:
This has been the fate of the mass; it has been converted by the teaching of godless men into a good work. They themselves call it an opus operatum, and by it they presume themselves to be all-powerful with God. Next they proceed to the very height of madness, and after inventing the lie that the mass is effective simply by virtue of the act having been performed, they add another one to the effect that the mass is nonetheless profitable to others …. On such a foundation of sand they base their applications, participations, brotherhoods, anniversaries, and numberless other lucrative and profitable schemes of that kind. (Luther, Babylonian Captivity, p. 47—O’Connor, 140)
If, however, you recognize that this Sacrament is a promise and not a sacrifice, you are not uncertain and are aware of no anger [on the part of God] . . . . And as he promises and shows himself to be gracious and merciful, so you will find him to be, if you hold and believe him to be thus. And if you notice that he promises you nothing but grace, then you will understand with a light and joyous conscience that he demands nothing from you in the way of gift or sacrifice but that he lovingly entreats and encourages you to accept his gift. (Luther, The Misuse of the Mass, in Luther’s Works, vol. 36, p. 176.—O’Connor, 141; Note: Grace, according to Lutheranism, means nothing more then the gift of salvation—Author)
The priest offers up once again the Lord Christ, who offered himself only once (Heb 9:25-26), just as he died only once and cannot die again or be offered up again (Rom 6:9-10). For through his one death and sacrifice he has taken away and swallowed up all sins. Yet they go ahead and every day offer him up more than a hundred thousand times throughout the world. They thereby deny, both with their deeds and in their hearts, that Christ has washed sin away and has died and risen again. This is such an abomination that I don’t believe it could be sufficiently punished on earth if it rained pure fire from heaven. The blasphemy is so great that it must simply wait for eternal hell fire.(Luther, The Abomination of the Secret Mass, in Luther’s Works, vol. 36, p. 320—O’Connor, 141.)
The Augsburg Confession:
To all this was added an opinion which infinitely increased private Masses, namely, that Christ had by his Passion made satisfaction for original sin and had instituted the Mass in which an oblation should be made for daily sins, mortal and venial. From this has come the common opinion that the Mass is a work which by its performance takes away the sins of the living and the dead. Thus was introduced a debate on whether one Mass said for many people is worth as much as special Masses said for individuals. . . .
Concerning these opinions, our teachers have warned that they depart from the Holy Scriptures and diminish the glory of Christ’s Passion, for the Passion of Christ was an oblation and satisfaction not only for original guilt but also for other sins. . . .
The Scriptures also teach that we are justified before God through faith in Christ. Now, if the Mass takes away the sins of the living and the dead by a performance of the outward act, justification comes from the work of the Mass and not from faith. But the Scriptures do not allow this. (Augsburg Confession, 24, in Joseph A. Burgess, pp. 184-85.—O’Connor, 141)
If the Mass is meaningless, what follows? It becomes a memorial of the Lord’s Supper. And, of course that is why one must receive both the bread and the wine. As Christ’s death is an historical event, so the Last Supper is an historical event, but one that is memorialized—like the Passover of the Jews—of the death of Christ. This is what Martin Luther taught (similarly to what one hears in the Conciliar Church). O’Connor has him sum up his belief in the Holy Eucharist in these words:
See, then, what a beautiful, great, marvelous thing this is, how everything meshes together in one sacramental reality. The words are the first thing, for without the words the cup and the bread would be nothing. Further, without bread and cup, the Body and Blood of Christ would not be there. Without the Body and Blood of Christ, the New Testament would not be there. Without the New Testament, forgiveness of sins would not be there. Thus the words first connect the bread and cup to the Sacrament; bread and cup embrace the Body and Blood of Christ; Body and Blood of Christ embrace the New Testament; the New Testament embraces the forgiveness of sins; forgiveness of sins embraces eternal life and salvation. See, all this the words of the Supper offer and give us, and we embrace it by faith. Ought not the devil, then, hate such a Supper and rouse fanatics against it? (Luther, Confession, p. 338.—HM, 142)
Martin Luther, then, taught that Christ’s Body and Blood are present with the bread and wine (Consubstantial) and were only present at the Lord’s Supper to be received by the believer:
It is not necessary. . . that one of the two disappear or be annihilated, but both the bread and the Body remain, and by virtue of the sacramental unity it is correct to say, “This is my Body”, designating the bread with the word “this”. For now it is no longer ordinary bread in the oven but a “Flesh-bread” or “Body-bread”, i.e., a bread that has become one sacramental substance, one with the Body of Christ. (Luther, Confession concerning Christ’s Supper, in Luther’s Works, vol. 37, p. 303.—HM, 136)
Therefore it is entirely correct to say, if one points to the bread, “This is Christ’s Body”, and whoever sees the bread sees Christ’s Body. . . . Thus also it is correct to say, “He who takes hold of this bread, takes hold of Christ’s Body; and he who eats this bread, eats Christ’s Body; he who crushes this bread with teeth or tongue, crushes with teeth or tongue the Body of Christ.” And yet it remains absolutely true that no one sees or grasps or eats or chews Christ’s Body in the way he visibly sees and chews any other flesh. What one does to the bread is rightly and properly attributed to the Body of Christ by virtue of the sacramental union. (Luther, Confession, p. 300—HM, 136-37)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MATTHEW V. 20-4
At that time: Jesus said to His Disciples: Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill: And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgement. And whosoever shall say to his Brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee; leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother; and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.
EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA
V. 20. For I tell you that unless your justice abound more than . . .
HILARY, in Matt. Can. 4: Declaring to the Apostles that there shall be for them no entering the kingdom of heaven unless they surpass the Pharisees in justice, with this most apt beginning He here commences to advance beyond the works of the Law. And this is what He means when He says: I tell you.
CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 16 in Matt: By in justice He here means in every virtue. But note the increase of grace. For He now wills that His own Disciples, who were as yet untaught men, shall be better than the teachers of the Old Testament. He is not saying the Scribes and Pharisees are wicked: for otherwise He would not have said that they had a certain degree of justice. See how by these words He confirms the truth of the Old Testament, comparing it with the New; for they are the more and the less of the same thing.
CHRYSOSTOM, Opus Imperfectum, Hom. 11:1 The justice of the Scribes and Pharisees is the commandments of Moses; their perfect fulfilment is through the commandments of Christ. This then is what He means. Unless that over and above the commandments of the Law you also fulfil My precepts, which among them were held as the least commandments, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The observance of the first does deliver us from punishment, that, namely, which is due to the transgressors of the Law, but they do not lead us into the kingdom of heaven. But My commandments both deliver you from punishment and lead you into heaven. But since it is the same thing to break the least of the commandments as not to observe them, why does He say above (v. 19) of the one who breaks one of these least commandments that he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven?
But understand that to be the least in the kingdom of heaven is the same as not to enter it. For anyone to be in the kingdom does not mean that he reigns with Christ, but only that he is among the people of Christ: as though saying of the one breaking them that he will be indeed among Christians, yet the least among them. He however who enters into the kingdom becomes with Christ a partaker of His kingdom. And so he who does not enter into the kingdom of heaven shall not have glory with Christ, yet he will be in the kingdom of heaven; that is, among the number of those over whom the King of heaven reigns.
AUGUSTINE, City of God, 20, 9: Or again: Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, that is, more than theirs who break what they teach; for elsewhere He said of them: For they say, and do not (Mt. xxiii. 3 ); just as though He says: Unless your justice so abounds that you do not break, but rather do, what you teach, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. We are to understand the kingdom of heaven here in another sense, where both these are: They who break, and they who observe, what they both teach; but one is called the least, the other is called great: as the Church here present. And it is called the kingdom of heaven in yet another way; as that into which no one enters unless he who does; and this is the Church as it shall be in heaven.
AUGUSTINE, Contra Faustum, Bk. 19, ch. 31: This phrase of the kingdom of heaven, which the Lord so frequently uses, I know not if anyone has found it in the books of the Old Testament. For it belongs rightly to the revelation of the New Testament, and it was reserved to be uttered by His mouth Whom the Old Testament foreshadowed would reign as King over His servants. This end therefore, to which the commandments are to be related, was concealed in the Old Testament; although even then there were those who, living according to it became saints, looked to the revelation to come.
GLOSS: Or, that He says, Unless your justice abound, applies, not to what the Law itself contains, but to what the Scribes and Pharisees understand by it.
AUGUSTINE, Contra Faustum, Bk. 19, ch. 28: For almost everything that the Lord taught at the time that He added: But I say to you, is found also in these ancient books. But because they alone regarded as murder the killing of a human body, the Lord made known to them that every evil impulse to the hurt of a brother must be regarded as partaking of the nature of murder. For this reason He goes on:
V. 21. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill.
CHRYSOSTOM, Op. Imp. Hom. 11: Christ willing to make known, that He is the God Who of old spoke in the Law, and Who now announces the dispensation of Grace, also places in the beginning of His own commandments that commandment which in the Old Law is placed before all the rest; that is, forbidding whatever is injurious to our neighbour.
AUGUSTINE, City of God, I, 19, 20 We do not think it a sin to kill a twig, because we have heard it declared that, Thou shalt not kill, as the Manichean folly imagines; nor do we understand that it was said of irrational animals. For by the most just law of the Creator their life and death is made subject to us. Accordingly, the commandment, Thou shalt not kill, is to be understood only with reference to men. Not another man other than yourself. For he who kills himself, kills none other than a man.
They however who by God’s authority wage war do not act contrary to this precept; and neither do they who in the fulfilment of public office punish criminals with death, in strict accord with reason and justice. And not alone was Abraham not charged with the crime of cruelty, he was praised in the name of piety, because he was ready through obedience to God to sacrifice his son. These then are examples of those whom God commands to kill, either by a law He has given, or by an express command to some person. For he does not commit murder who renders obedience to the one commanding him, as the hilt to the one using a sword. Otherwise Samson could not be excused, for pulling down the house upon himself and his enemies, had he not been secretly commanded by the Spirit, Which had wrought wonders through him.
CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 16 in Matt: In saying, Of old it was said, He points out that it is a long time since they received this commandment. This He says in order to rouse His dulled hearers to the more sublime commandments; as a teacher might say to a dull boy, to urge him on, ‘you have wasted sufficient time in learning to spell’. And accordingly He continues:
V. 22. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother.
See in this sentence the power of the Law-Giver. For none of the ancients spoke in this way. They said instead: Thus saith the Lord. For it was as servants that they proclaimed the commands of their Lord. Here He proclaims as Son the things that are His Father’s, and which are also His. They proclaimed His words to their fellow servants; but He here gives the Law to His servants.
AUGUSTINE, City of God, IX, 5, 5: There are two opinions among the philosophers with regard to the passions of the soul. For to the Stoics it is not acceptable that such emotions afflict a wise man. The Peripatetics however say they do happen to a wise man, but to a moderate degree, and subject to the mind’s control; as when mercy is shown, yet in such a way that justice is upheld. But in the Christian belief we do not ask whether a worthy soul is angered or saddened, but why is he?
CHRYSOSTOM, Op. Imp: For he who is angry without cause must answer for it. He who is so with cause has not to answer for it. For if this were not so teaching would be without profit, and crime could not be controlled. So he who with due cause is not roused to anger sins by this: for patience with things that are against reason breeds evil, fosters neglect, and becomes an invitation to wrong doing, not alone to the wicked, but also to the good.
JEROME: In certain copies (of the Scriptures) the words, without cause, are added. However in authentic copies the meaning is definite, and anger wholly forbidden: for if we are told to pray for those that persecute us, every excuse for anger is taken away. We must then erase, without cause; for the anger of man worketh not the justice of God (Jas. i. 20).
CHRYSOSTOM, as above: But that anger which has cause is not anger, but a criticism. For anger strictly means a commotion of feeling. He who with cause becomes angry, his anger does not derive from emotion; and so he is said to condemn rather than to be angry.
AUGUSTINE, Book of Retractions, XIV, 9: We affirm that this also is to be considered: What does it mean to be angry with his brother, since a man is not made angry by his brother, but by the offence of his brother. He therefore who is angry, not with the offence, but with his brother, is angry without cause.
AUGUSTINE, City of God, Bk. XIV, 9: No person of sane mind will fault being angry with a brother in order to correct him: for this impulse arises from the love of good. Such an emotion, coming from holy charity, since it is in accord with reason, is not to be called evil.
CHRYSOSTOM, as above: I believe however that Christ is speaking, not of the anger of the body, but of the anger of the soul: for the body cannot so obey as not to feel emotion. So when a man is angered, but will not do what his body urges, his flesh is angered, but his soul is not.
St. Bonaventure, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
1. Bonaventure is a precious gem of the Church; few men have so well understood how to combine harmoniously a profound knowledge with deep piety. Born in 1221 near Viterbo, Italy, he became ill while still a child, and his parents asked St. Francis of Assisi to come and bless him. The Saint did so, and, when told later that the child had recovered, exclaimed: “Buona ventura.” This means, “Fortunate outcome,” and it became the baby’s name. Bonaventure entered the Franciscan Order and took his theological studies in Paris; study meant for him constant praying and meditating. Asked whence he derived his remarkable knowledge, he pointed to his crucifix and said: “That is the source. . . . I have learned Jesus crucified.” In order to apply himself properly to sacred science, he kept mind and body under strict discipline.
When he had become a priest he always approached the altar with tears of intense emotion, so deep was his devotion. He soon became famous as a teacher of theology in his monastery, and later, at the University of Paris. In 1251, when only thirty years old, Bonaventure became general of the Franciscan Order, and controlled its destinies successfully until the year 1273, when Pope Gregory IX named him cardinal and commissioned him to preside over the Council of Lyons (1274). The task set the Council was the reunion of the Greek Church with the Latin See. Bonaventure’s striving for this important reconciliation was successful until, during the third session, he suddenly lost all physical strength. The Holy Father gave him the sacrament of the last anointing and Bonaventure died on July 15, 1274, at the age of fifty-three. A holy religious, a prudent superior, and a renowned preacher, he was, next to St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian of Scholasticism. Pope Leo XIII referred to Bonaventure as the “Prince among the Mystics.” He has also been called the second founder of the Franciscan Order, and with good reason.
2. “The Lord moved him to speak before the assembled people, filling him with the spirit of wisdom and discernment” (Introit). This was true of the Saint, first of all as a gifted teacher of the Order’s young members. Later, as superior he organized successfully, despite the early difficulties of the Order, and steered a safe course through the dangerous doubts and tensions that upset the brethren. He saw clearly the task set for his Order by the Church, and held the friars to it. Finally, the words of the Introit apply to his work in Paris, where he attracted attention as a teacher, and also as preacher and author of numerous works in which he synthesized the great mass of the religious thinking of his time. This he did so systematically and succinctly that he may be said to have been filled by the spirit of God with a true and profound understanding of divine things. We thank God for having given His Church so great and holy a teacher. “Sweet it is to praise the Lord: to sing, most high God, in honor of thy name” (Introit Psalm), thanking thee for the marvels thou didst effect through, and in, St. Bonaventure. “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.”
“You are the light of the world” (Gospel), the light that shines in the darkness. A light indeed was this Saint, for his time as well as for the succeeding centuries. Without sunlight on the earth, everything would die. Life thrives best where the sun’s rays have full access. In the measure that the light of faith and grace are active in a soul; in the degree that the spirit of man reaches for and absorbs the eternal light of the triune God, in that degree will man produce sublime spiritual fruit. Surely St. Bonaventure demonstrates this; besides the light of natural knowledge there shone in him with rare brilliance the light of faith, drawing him up into the mysteries of revelation and enabling him to express them attractively. In addition there was in him such an abundance of grace that it filled his heart with a most generous, seraphic love for God and Christ, and urged him to lead souls by his spoken and written word to the source of light. “You are the light of the world. . . . A lamp is not lighted to be put under a bushel measure; it is put on the lamp-stand to give light to all the people of the house; and your light must shine . . . brightly before men” (Gospel).
3. The secret of fruitfulness among the saints lies in the fact that they seek to glorify God, not so much by the restless industry of external activities as by living with Christ in the presence of God. Consequently, in their work they are not self-sold slaves, but freely keep their gaze on God, the one thing necessary. God can use such persons for the execution of His plans, for it is His will and glory alone that they aim at. “He was a faithful and wise servant, one whom his master entrusted with the care of his household, to give them their allowance of food at the appointed time” (Communion).
Collect: O God, who didst give blessed Bonaventure to Thy people as a minister of eternal salvation, grant, we pray Thee, that we may be worthy to have as our advocate in heaven him who on earth taught us the way of life. Amen.
AND OUR CHILDREN
Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons
By Mary Reed Newland (1956)
SUMMER SAINTS AND SOME
BECAUSE all the people in this chapter are saints, that pun should be explained. How else can St. __________, whose feast is in February, be fitted into the summer part of this book? Yet our family had such a lot of fun celebrating his feast that it would be a shame to leave him out.
All those who know what Apostle took Judas’ place, please stand up.
Now you two sit down.
No need for the rest to be fussed. Hardly anyone ever knows.
It was St. Matthias, whose feast is on February 24. We decided we should get acquainted with him and celebrate his feast.
NO. 13: ST. MATTHIAS
Actually, little is known about him. After Our Lord ascended into Heaven, the Apostles returned to the Upper Room where Our Lady, the holy women, and the remaining disciples gathered to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles. While they waited, St. Peter said that something should be done to replace Judas. He quoted a passage from the Psalms where it was prophesied that one would be a traitor and another should “take over his office.” Two men, Justus and Matthias, were suggested. All prayed to Our Lord asking, with His help, to choose the right one; they drew lots and Matthias was chosen. One of the two traditions about him holds that he evangelized Palestine and was martyred there; the other says it was Ethiopia. Whichever, he was one of the Apostles and he is in the Canon of the Mass.
To us, also, Thy sinful servants, who hope in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some place and fellowship with Thy holy apostles and martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthias . . . .
Knowing so little about his life, we decided not to separate him from the rest of the Apostles but celebrate a feast in his honor which would include the others—and remind us, incidentally, that the superstition about unlucky thirteen is nonsense. It wasn’t unlucky for St. Matthias; he died a saint. If being thirteenth were a guarantee of that, I would volunteer any time.
The story of his election is told in the Epistle for his Mass, and his Collect is a beautiful addition to Grace at Table this day:
O God, who didst associate blessed Matthias to the company of Thine Apostles, grant, we beseech Thee,. that by his intercession we may ever experience Thy tender mercy towards us. Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who is God, and liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
Feast-day dinners in our family are begun by singing “Happy Feast Day to you” to the tune of the birthday song. While not liturgical, it is a custom of long standing and comes from the heart. The big feature of this dinner celebration is the dessert: thirteen gingerbread Apostles.
Any good gingerbread cookie dough will do, and any good gingerbread-boy cookie cutter will make a gingerbread Apostle (or you may cut them freehand with a knife). The twist is in the decoration. We decorated each one with his own symbols, tied a ribbon through a hole pierced (before baking) in the top of each cookie, served them on a tray, covered, with only the ribbons showing; you got your dessert by choosing a ribbon, finding the cookie, and identifying it. This is an excellent way to learn all the Apostles. The combination of head and stomach is hard to beat.
The frosting is a confectioner’s sugar recipe tinted with vegetable colors. The symbols may be made with stiff frosting squirted through a squeegee, if you have one, or may be cut from foil, paper, or made of any materials that suggest themselves. Here is how we decorated the cookies.
St. Peter (June 29). Red frosting because he was a martyr. Symbols: two keys, a cock crowing, an upside-down cross, a fish, a sword. The keys remind us that Jesus gave him the Keys of the Kingdom; the cock recalls his denial of Our Lord; the cross tells that he is supposed to have been martyred head down; the fish—he was a fisher of men; the sword tells of his temper on the night he cut off Malchus’ ear. Our Peter cut a silver-foil fish for this cookie and stuck it in the frosting. You could do the keys and sword of foil also, with the cross of melted chocolate. The cock can be drawn or cut from a picture, cut out and stuck on. St. Peter is the patron of locksmiths and cobblers.
St. Andrew (November 30). He is next because he is Peter’s brother. Red frosting for martyrdom. Symbols: a fish hook, fisherrnan’s net, two fishes, a cross saltire (X) because he is supposed to have died on such a cross, preaching joyously till death came. This shows the inspired origin of X marks the spot. When we put X’s on exam papers, licenses, ballots, we might remember St. Andrew and ask him to help us choose well. The fishing symbols recall that he was, like his brother, a fisher of men as well as of fishes. He is said to have evangelized Scotland, and so is a patron of the Scots, as well as of fishermen and fish dealers; he is invoked by women who wish to become mothers.
St. James the Great (July 25). He is called great because he was the tall James. He was the son of Zebedee and the brother of St. John the Evangelist. Our Lord called these two the Sons of Thunder: partly, we are told, for their vehement defense of Christ and His teaching, and partly because they wanted Him to burn up the Samaritans inside their houses with fire from Heaven, like the three little pigs, because they wouldn’t welcome them into their village. Our Lord rebuked them for it. He said that He came to give life, not destroy it—which teaches a good lesson in resisting the temptation to “get even.” This was certainly the opposite of the meekness He said would “inherit the earth.” This James was the first Apostle to die for Christ, beheaded in Jerusalem by Herod Agrippa. His symbols—the pilgrim’s cloak, staff, hat, purse, and scallop shell (always the symbol of pilgrims)—signify that he went on long missionary journeys. A tiny shell stuck to the frosting on this cookie was the clue we used.
St. John the Evangelist (December 27). He is the brother to the tall James, and is best known as the “disciple Jesus loved.” It was Salome, the mother of these two, who asked Our Lord for the best seats in Heaven for them. He was the only Apostle who lived to a very old age and died a natural death; so the frosting on his cookie is white. His symbols are awfully complicated for cookies: a cauldron with an eagle rising (escape from boiling oil); a chalice with serpent emerging (escape from poisoned wine); an eagle, symbol of the fearless evangelist. We made up one, to tell how he loved Our Lord: a heart.
St. Philip (May 11). He was one of the first to follow Our Lord and was present at the miracle of the loaves and fishes. At the Last Supper he asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father.” And Jesus’ answer is one we should remember when people question the Divinity of Christ: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). His symbols are a basket and loaves; a cross, a spear, stones to describe his martyrdom. We put a snip of bread on his cookie.
St. Bartholomew (August 24). The mystery man. His name, Bar-Tolmai, indicates that he is the son of Tolmai. He is an old friend of St. Philip and is often mentioned with him. It is supposed that he is the Nathaniel to whom Philip made his announcement under the fig tree. Nathaniel was skeptical that this Man was really the Messias, and Our Lord commended his skepticism because Israel was often thick with self-appointed messiases. “Behold a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile,” said Our Lord, as Nathaniel came toward Him down the road. Then to Nathaniel: “Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee!” Then didn’t Nathaniel believe! He lost his heart that moment. “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God! Thou art King of Israel!” St. Bartholomew’s symbols are about as grisly as you’ll find: flaying knives, a cross, an axe, and such, because his was a wild and bloody death; and then there is our pet symbol for him—a branch of the fig tree. Make this with melted chocolate and green candy leaves from the cake-decorating department in the dime store.
St. Thomas (December 21). The twin, best remembered because he doubted Our Lord’s resurrection. When Our Lord finally came and showed Thomas, He made reference to us: Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” St. Thomas was allegedly a missionary to India, where he preached and built a church with his own hands; hence he is one of the patrons of builders and has carpenter’s tools among his symbols. He was stoned but did not quite die; so he was shot down with arrows next (according to tradition); then, still alive, he was run through with a spear by a pagan priest. None of these symbols suited us; so we made up another: five red cinnamon candies to remind us of the Blessed Wounds he was told to inspect. Remember to make the intention to gain the indulgence for the Souls in Purgatory when you say his prayer at the Elevation of the Mass: “My Lord and my God!” He is also the patron of masons.
St. Matthew (September 21). He was the publican, the tax collector, and since so few of these were honest, they were despised by all (there is nothing new under the sun). Our Lord was going along His way after curing a paralytic when He saw Matthew sitting in the counting-house at his table. “Follow Me,” was all He said, and up jumped Matthew without even saying good-bye or giving two weeks’ notice. That is how we are supposed to obey Him—right away. He is supposed to have been martyred in Ethiopia on a T-shaped cross (called a Tau cross), with his head chopped off with a battle-axe. There’s a better symbol than that to help children learn about him: a bright new penny. Whoever draws this cookie gets to keep the penny.
(To be continued)
Father Krier will be in Pahrump, Nevada on July 11 and Eureka, Nevada, July 18. On July 20 He will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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