Vol 12 Issue 38 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
September 21, 2019 ~ Saint Matthew, opn!
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Thomas of Villanova
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
Faithful Catholics know that the Pope is infallible. They know that the Church is guided by the Holy Ghost. They should know of the Vatican Council of 1870 and its teaching:
Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation. (Session IV, July 18, 1870, Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ; cf. D 1827)
This is what brought faithful Catholics to the conclusion that Vatican II and its perpetrators and hierarchy were not truly Catholic: Truth does not change and if the Catholic Church demands of our faith to believe that she has never taught error and cannot—then a Church that does teach error is not the Catholic Church.
But we still have Gallicanists, Febronists, Old Catholics and pseudo Orthodox amongst us who believe they can pick and choose because they do not have to accept Catholic teaching unless they approve it. This is the problem with the Liturgy—not the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Canon Missae), but the Liturgy surrounding the Mass, which has continuously changed. Specifically, the Restored Holy Week that was implemented by Pope Pius XII in 1955. The ridiculous claims that Pius XII did not approve it is disingenuous. One such group writes: Pius XII Was Gravely Ill with Hallucinations And Screaming out in Pain in the Apostolic Apartments Pius XII Himself Never Signed the Document Approving The Protestantized Holy Week of 1956. Let’s examine such a misleading statement:
1. Pius XII was gravely ill with hallucinations and screaming in pain in the apostolic apartments.
During 1953 Pius XII was gravely ill, and recovered. But the reforms began with the publication of Mediator Dei (1947), which was to set the standards for reforming the Liturgy (Feasts found in the Propers of the Mass, not Ordinary). The allowing of Saturday evening for the Easter Vigil was 1951. Pius XII wrote Humani generis (August 12, 1950) stating again that certain changes could not take place—knowing work was being done to simplify the Liturgy. That abuses were taking place was therefore known to him and why he condemned the practices. [Note, that saying Mass on the back of a jeep or in a field during war was common during World War II and no one complained.] That Pius XII was ill in 1953 does not mean he was ill in 1955 and later. He wrote after his illness over a dozen Encyclicals along with apostolic constitutions and other papal documents that fill volumes. In 1954 Montini was sent to Milan and Domenico Tardini was pro Secretary of State—having full access to Pope Pius XII. Yes, Augustin Bea was confessor to Pius XII. They make it sound like Bayside or those who claim a true Lucia and false Lucia—not what is and is not the Catholic Faith. Joseph Löw was mainly responsible for the Restored Holy Week—not Bugnini. Therefore, Pius XII fully knew what he was doing in 1955 and approved the Restored Holy Week liturgy. I have a Carthusian Missale from 1750 that shows the Liturgy with four lessons for Holy Saturday—so not all Roman Catholic liturgies had twelve lessons, for instance. Each of the critics found in the Rorate Coeli against the Restored Holy Week Liturgy can be met with arguments in support of the revisions.
2. Pius XII Himself Never Signed the Document
A pope doesn’t sign the documents of a Sacred Congregation, He approves them. So it is stated in AAS 47, 1955, p. 840:
The Most Eminent Fathers, assembled in extraordinary congregation at the Vatican Palace on July 19, 1955, after mature deliberation, recommended by unanimous vote that the restored Order of Holy Week should be approved and prescribed, if it should please His Holiness.
When all these matters had been individually reported to the Holy Father by the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, His Holiness deigned to approve the recommendations of the Most Eminent Cardinals.
Wherefore, by special mandate of our Most Holy Lord, Pius XII, by divine Providence Pope, the Sacred Congregation of Rites has decreed the following:
I. The restored Order of Holy Week is prescribed
1. Those who follow the Roman rite are bound to observe in the future the restored Order of Holy Week, as described in the typical Vatican edition. Those who follow other Latin rites are bound to observe only the time set in the new Order for the liturgical functions.
2. This new Order must be observed from March 25, 1956, the Second Passion Sunday, or Palm Sunday.
3. No commemoration is allowed during the entire Holy Week, and collects commanded under any title are prohibited at Mass.
A failure to accept the divine authority of the papacy and choosing to celebrate a liturgy different than that approved places one in the same category as the Novus Ordo Church with all their experimentations and wanting to do as they please for the most money and entertainment (not God’s glory). It is this rejection of the divine authority of the Pope that places the FSSPX in accepting the Conciliar Church—they (the FSSPX) are just better, but there is no absolute in their faith. As long as laity and ignorant clergy continue to think they can believe as they wish and celebrate the liturgy as they wish they are not doing it in the unity of the Roman Catholic Church. CMRI and Trento and the other true bishops and priests celebrating the liturgy (Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in particular) in the unity of the Roman Catholic Church should be commended and supported for upholding the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith—not just nostalgic preferences.
Calling it something it isn’t is like the New York Times and CNN, you just realize they don’t have an argument but an agenda.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Evolution and Modernism
Drummond goes on to explain how Schillebeeckx develops his theory of rejecting the past belief of the Church regarding transubstantiation:
He offers three ingredients that played a role in this particular reconsideration of transubstantiation. First, theologians were in recent times rediscovering the scholastic idea of signs in the sacramental economy. Where one explains the Eucharist in terms of physical reality, that is precisely where one leaves the realm of the specifically sacramental reality, in which realities are present “in genere signi.” Thus, Schillebeeckx writes: “Transubstantiation is profoundly real, but it is so within the framework of the category of ‘sacramentum-signum.’” The conversion is ontological for Schillebeeckx, to be sure, but the locus of this ontology is not to be found on the physical level, but in the ontology of sacramentality. The modern difference, however, was in the new phenomenological investigation into human sign-making, where the validity of the sign is rooted in the subjectivity of the person, rather than in the extrinsic, objective reality of the thing.
The second new factor Schillebeeckx points to is a reevaluation of the term “substance,” so central to the traditional understanding of the Eucharist change. The categories of substance and accidents were criticized variously as irrelevant, overly-vague, or invalid all together. Schillebeeckx himself wished to demonstrate that “the conciliar fathers at Trent, while thinking in the Aristotelian categories which were theirs, intended to define dogmatically the reality proper to the eucharistic presence, that is, our Catholic eucharistic faith, and not the categories which they used in discussing and formulating this properly eucharistic presence.” This distinction, if valid, would open the possibility of an orthodox understanding of the Eucharist independent of the once useful, but supposedly superfluous, doctrine of transubstantiation. We shall return to Schillebeeckx’s historical-doctrinal analysis of this point momentarily.
The third element prompting these new discussions was a “renewed appreciation for the several ‘real presences’ of Christ in the minister, the assembly, and in the other sacraments. If each of these multiform presences has its own proper mode of presence, this opens the way to reevaluating how transubstantiation does not limit Christ’s presence to the Eucharist, but rather defines this particular mode of presence. Such reflections prompted the new investigations of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Let us return to Schillebeeckx’s analysis of Trent and its use of transubstantiation, where he makes several clarifying distinctions. He first affirms the biblical reality of a “real presence” in the Eucharist that cannot be reduced to a mere symbol. From this truth he distinguished the correlative affirmation of a substantial change that such a presence requires. This affirms “the realistic character or…the ontological dimension of the presence of Christ.” Independent of these two affirmations he distinguishes the “manner of presenting the dogma…on the level of philosophy of nature: the ‘transsubstantiatio.’” Here he seems to be separating the (necessary) content of the Eucharistic dogma from the (contingent) explanatory tools evoked to elucidate the content. Finally, Schillebeeckx points to the “question of terminology,” that is, of the use of the word “transubstantiation” itself, which originates in the twelfth century and was only reluctantly used (he argues) by many of the fathers of Trent.
Having made these distinctions, Schillebeeckx draws out the underlying, fundamental truths that the Catholic Faith proposes, to which any newly proposed theories must conform:
The dogma obliges the Catholic to admit the profound realism, or the ontological dimension of the eucharistic presence in such a way that after the consecration the reality present is no longer ordinary or natural bread and wine, but our Lord himself in the presence of bread and wine which has become sacramental. This leaves the door open to a conceptual presentation of the dogma different from the medieval and Thomistic conception.
The dogma insists that there be an ontological change. This means that the terrestrial reality, bread and wine, is affected not just by an extrinsic declaration which would not intrinsically touch it. Rather, the consecratory anaphora makes of this bread the real and realistic gift of the body of our Lord as spiritual nourishment for the soul. The bread has become sacramental. And as one reality cannot be at the same time two realities, what is really present after the consecration is no longer bread, but the body of the Lord…under the sign of sacramental bread.
In his estimations, then, the new theories of transfinalization and transignification “deviate from the scholastic interpretation of the dogma, but they do not deviate from the dogma itself. Rather, they try to present that dogma in existential categories that are at once ontologically profound and more intelligible to the people of our day.”
Drummond then points out that Schillebeeckx assigns different understandings of words to different ages, that is, the Council believed it meant one thing then, and now it can mean something different:
This the theologian does in order “to make a distinction between what was ‘really affirmed’. . . and the way in which this affirmation was expressed – its ‘wording.’” The latter may have been essential or even considered identical with the former at the time, but the passage of time and new modes of thinking demand that the distinction be made.
In concluding, Drummond admits that what the neo-Modernists were teaching was not Catholic, nor was it beneficial for the Catholic Church:
Schillebeeckx’s own theory of transignification, dependent as it is on a distinction between reality-in-itself and phenomena falls into the very pit from which he wished to set us free. While he judged modern man of being incapable of understanding or relating to the traditional scholastic formulae, he introduced a new structure as rarified as the former. The common believer, with whom Schillebeeckx seemed so concerned, is unlikely to understand more readily the terms of phenomena, signs, meaning-giving, and transignification, than he was substance and accidents. To the average Catholic (as can be demonstrated by the reaction to popular presentations of the idea) Schillebeeckx’s defense of these new theories will seem to empty the Eucharist of its (forgive the term) substantial reality. Unless one is well versed in a particular school of philosophy, the common meaning of “what a thing is” and “what meaning it is given” are two different questions.
This seems to come down to a question of causation. Does the Eucharist have a new reality because it is given new meaning (transignification), or does it have a new meaning because it becomes a new reality (transubstantiation)? The Catholic tradition has voiced the latter opinion for two millennia; Schillebeeckx and his kind suggest the former. For all his cries of ontological density and Catholic orthodoxy, these two positions are not, in the final analysis, the same.
The closing cited paragraph is revealing, for this Conciliar Professor of a Conciliar Seminary acknowledges that Vatican II and its reforms by these Phenomenologists did not clarify the Catholic faith, but muddled it to such an extent that no one knows what to believe but that the faith was changed from Catholic tradition cannot be denied. One may here interject that Giovanni Montini issued Mysterium Fidei, on September 3, 1965, in which is stated:
To give an example of what We are talking about, it is not permissible to extol the so-called “community” Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism—which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist—fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ’s presence in this Sacrament; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than “transignification,” or “transfinalization” as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed. (§11)
If what Giovanni Montini stated was a condemnation, it was reneged, for the so-called “community” Mass soon became the rule and the “Masses that are celebrated privately” were no longer permitted—in fact, by 1970 the Mass would cease to be with the Nous Ordo of Montini and Bugnini. [In 1968 (July 25), with Montini’s publication, Humani vitae, there were the same exclusions, but because of allowable “discussion” contraception became the norm rule and abstinence the exception] Consider Sacrificum laudis of August 15, 1966, in which Montini states:
Yet, from letters which some of you have sent, and from many other sources, We learn that discordant practices have been introduced into the sacred liturgy by your communities or provinces. (We speak of those only that belong to the Latin Rite.) For while some are very faithful to the Latin language, others wish to use the vernacular within the choral office. Others, in various places, wish to exchange that chant which is called Gregorian for newly-minted melodies. Indeed, some even insist that Latin should be wholly suppressed.
We must acknowledge that We have been somewhat disturbed and saddened by these requests. One may well wonder what the origin is of this new way of thinking and this sudden dislike for the past; one may well wonder why these things have been fostered.
Montini new well where this new way of thinking arose as can be seen in his Novus Ordo Missae, the result of which Latin ceased and profane songs reign.
Another innovation, which was also mentioned by Montini in his Mysterium fidei, was introduced by the Protestant Franz Leenhardt (1902-1990). A Calvinist, he said Christ was present in the bread through Transfinalization. In his work, “This ls My Body”, in Essays on the Lord’s Supper, chapter 3 titled Transubstantiation there is this passage:
The word transubstantiation expresses this transformation [which takes place in the celebration of the Eucharist] without attempting to provide an explanation of it. . . . It is useful because it preserves two affirmations which are essential to faith, in which everything can be summed up: (1) the substance of things is not in their empirical data, but in the will of God who upholds them. And (2) Jesus Christ declares in the Upper Room, in a sovereign manner, his will that the bread should be his Body; he transforms the substance of this bread. Substance does not mean, for Christians, the matter behind the form, the substratum of the accidents. Let me repeat, substance is the final reality of things as faith recognizes it in God’s creation and in his ordinance to his creatures. . . . Only the believer knows the substance of things and of man. Only he can recognize in the bread of the last Passover this new substance which is given to him by the word of Jesus Christ. (p. 50)
The French theologian Joseph de Baciocchi (+2009) took the idea of transfinalization and transignification to further develop the concept of perception of the believer in relation to the Eucharist. O’Connor, describes it this way:
[T]he French theologian J. de Baciocchi appealed to the sovereignty that the resurrected Christ has over all creation to help understand the profundity of the Eucharistic change. If Christ is sovereign and all-powerful over created realities, the only definitive point of view concerning things is that which is held and willed by Christ. “Things are purely and simply that which they are for Christ, since the understanding of Christ is [the] absolute norm for our understanding. . . . The sensible and physical-chemical properties [of things] have only a relative significance.” (de Baciocchi, Presence Eucharistique et Transsubstantiation, p. 151.) In the Eucharist, “the word of Christ, without altering the gifts in their empirical context, totally changes their social and religious finality”. (Ibid., p. 150.) For de Baciocchi this type of change is truly objective because of Christ’s dominion over reality.
This notion of a change of finality or significance was developed by others within a “personalist” context in which the Eucharistic elements were presented as the effective signs of an interpersonal relationship with the risen Lord. He gives the elements a new finality or purpose, that, namely, of effecting his total and personal offer of himself to the Church and to the individual believer. Being “present” to another is essentially a matter of interpersonal communication, not a matter of bodily contiguity or closeness. (HM, 159)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
LUKE vii. 11-I6
At that time: Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear upon them all; and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up amongst us: and God hath visited his people.
EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA
CYRIL, Catena G.P.: The Lord joins wonder to wonder. In the previous miracle, when they besought him earnestly, he went at once. Here He came unsummoned, as we are told:
V.11. And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city.
BEDE: Naim is a city of Galilee within two miles of Mount Thabor, By the divine will a great multitude went with the Lord; that there might be many witnesses to this great miracle. So we read: And there went with him his disciples and a great multitude.
GREGORY NYSSA, On the Soul and Resurrection: We come to a proof of the resurrection of the dead, not from the words of the Saviour but from His deeds, Who, beginning His miracles in lesser things, prepares our faith for what is greater. For first, in the desperate sickness of the centurion’s servant, He as it were takes in hand His power to raise the dead. After this, when He restores to life the son of the widow, who was being carried to the grave; a miracle of higher power; He leads men’s minds towards faith in the resurrection. Hence there follows:
V.12. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother.
TITUS OF BOSTRA: For if someone had said of the centurion’s servant, that he was not going to die; to silence such a presumptuous tongue, it is here related that Christ meets a young man already dead, the only son of a widow. For there follows: And she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her.
GREGORY NYSSA: The greatness of her affliction is set out in a few words. The mother was a widow, without hope of other sons; with no one to whom she might turn in place of the son now dead. He only had she nursed. He was the sole source of gladness in her house. All that is sweet and precious to a mother, this he alone had been to her. CYRIL: An affliction that awakens compassion, moving us to grief and to tears. Then follows:
V.13. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not.
BEDE: As though saying: Cease to weep for him as dead whom in a moment you shall see rise living. CHRYSOSTOM (or TITUS, in Catena GP): He Who comforts the afflicted, bidding her not to weep, teaches us that we are to be consoled in the presence of the dead by the hope of their resurrection. Life meeting death halts the bier. Then follows:
V.14. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still.
CYRIL, Book 4, 14 in John: He works the miracle, not only by word of mouth, but also touching the bier; that you may know that the sacred Body of Christ has power to save mankind. For it is the Body of Life, and the Flesh of the Omnipotent Word, Whose power it possesses. For as iron applied to fire will do the work of fire, so flesh, after it had been united to the Word, Which gives life to all things, also becomes life-giving, and a banisher of death.
TITUS: The Saviour, however, is not like Elias, weeping over the son of Sarepta (III Kings xvii); nor like Eliseus, who laid his own body on the body of the dead (IV Kings iv); nor like Peter, who prayed over Tabitha. He it is Who calls forth the things that are not, as though they were; Who can speak to the dead as though they lived. So we read: And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.
GREGORY NYSSA: That He said, young man, signified that he was in the flower of his age, drawing near to manhood; who a little before was the light of his mother’s eye, now drawing near to the time of marriage, the hope of her race, the young branch of her succession, the staff of her old age.
TITUS: He to whom this command was given, instantly rose up. For the divine power is irresistible. There is no delay; no urging through prayer. So there follows:
V.15. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.
Here are the marks of a true resurrection. For the body that is dead cannot speak; nor would the woman have brought home a dead and lifeless son. BEDE: Fittingly does the Evangelist record that the Lord was first moved with mercy towards the mother, and in consequence raises her son to life; that in the one case He might give us an example of compassion, in the other increase our faith in His wondrous power. Then follows:
V.16. And there came a fear on them all; and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us; and God hath visited his people.
CYRIL: This was much for an unfeeling and an ungrateful people. For in a little while they would regard Him neither as a prophet, nor for the profit of the people. This miracle could not be hidden from any one living in Judea. So we read:
V.17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea and throughout all the country round about.
AMBROSE (Maximus in Catena GP): It is fitting to record that we have seven accounts of resurrection from the dead before that of the Lord. Of these the first is that of the son of the widow of Sarepta (III Kings xvii), the second of the son of the Sunamitess (IV Kings iv), third that caused by the remains of Eliseus (IV Kings xiii), the fourth this of Naim, the fifth that of the daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue, the sixth that of Lazarus, the seventh that which took place at the passion of Christ: for many bodies of the saints that had slept arose (Mt. xxvii. 52). The eighth was Christ’s, Who, free of death, lived on as a sign that the general resurrection, which is to come in the eighth age, shall not be annulled by death, but shall remain and shall not be undone.
BEDE: The dead man who was carried out through the gates of the city before the eyes of a multitude, signifies man struck senseless by the mortal disaster of sin, and not hiding his soul’s death in the chamber of his heart, but making it known to men by the evidence of word and deed: bearing it through the gates of the city as it were. For I think the gates of the city stand for one or other of the bodily senses. He is fittingly spoken of as the only son of his mother; for one is our Mother, made up of many persons: the Church; and every soul that remembers it was redeemed by the death of Her Lord, knows that the Church is a widow.
AMBROSE: For I see this widow, surrounded by a multitude of people, as more than the woman who, through her tears, obtains the resurrection of the young man who was her only son; for the reason that it is Holy Church, seeing their tears, recalls to life from the way of death, and from death itself this younger people; and who is forbidden to weep for him, since he was to rise again.
BEDE: Or, the error of Novatius is confuted, who, striving to make void the cleansing of the repentant, denies that Mother Church, weeping because of the spiritual death of those that were born to her, should be consoled by the hope that life shall be restored to them.
AMBROSE: This dead man was carried to the grave on a bier made from the four elements. But he had the hope of rising again, because he was borne on wood. For though it had before been a source of loss to us, yet, after Christ had touched it, it began to help us to Life; that it might be a sign that salvation was to overflow to the Church through the yoke of the Cross. For we lie lifeless upon a bier, when either the fire of unrestrained desires consumes us, or when coldness overflows in us, or the power of our soul is weakened by slothful habit of body.
BEDE: Or the bier on which the dead man is carried is the evilly secure conscience of the desperate sinner. And they who carry him to burial, are either unclean desires, or the seductions of evil company; who stood still when the Lord touches the bier. For the conscience that is touched by the fear of heavenly judgement, will often, restraining carnal desires, and those who unjustly praise it, return again to itself; answering the voice of the Saviour calling it back to life.
AMBROSE: If therefore there is a grave sin which you cannot wipe away by the tears of your repentance, let the Church your Mother weep for you, while the multitude stands by. Soon you will rise from death, and begin to speak the words of life, and fear will come upon them all; for by the example of one, all are converted. They also shall glorify God, Who has given us such remedies to escape death.
BEDE: The Lord hath visited his people, not only once by the Incarnation of His Word, but by sending It at all times into our hearts. THEOPHYLACTUS: By the widow you may also understand a soul that has lost its husband, that is, the divine word. For the son is the understanding, borne without the city of the living; the casket is its body, which some indeed speak of as a tomb. The Lord touches it, and He raises it up; making him return to new life who, rising up from sin, begins to speak and to teach others; for before he would not have been believed.
St. Thomas of Villanova
Thomas was born in Spain. His father was a miller in the town of Villanova, and from his kind parents, Thomas learned to be very charitable to the poor. He did very well in school and became a teacher of philosophy when he finished his studies. Next he joined the Augustinian Fathers. After he became a priest, he was given many important positions and finally was made Archbishop of the city of Valencia.
His priests tried to make him change his old, mended habit for more dignified robes, but St. Thomas told them his old clothes had nothing to do with his duty of taking care of souls. Every day, in his great charity, he fed several hundred poor people. When he received a large sum of money to buy furniture for his house, he gave it to a hospital, saying: “What does a poor monk like me want with furniture?” No wonder he was called the “father of the poor!”
St. Thomas was very gentle with sinners at a time when most people were not. Once when he tried to make one man change his sinful ways, the man angrily insulted him and furiously stormed out of the room. “It was my fault,” said the humble Archbishop. “I told him a little too roughly.” Never would he permit anyone to criticize someone absent. “He may have had a good intention in doing what he did,” the Saint would say. “I, for one, believe he did.”
Before he died, St. Thomas gave to the poor everything he had. He even directed that his bed was to be sent to the jail for the prisoners to use.
I will try not to be selfish anymore. This Saint once said, “If you want God to hear your prayers, you should help those who are in need.”
(Daughters of Saint Paul)
AND OUR CHILDREN
Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons
By Mary Reed Newland (1956)
THE FEAST OF ALL SAINTS
THE FEAST of All Saints is one of the greatest of all the feasts because it celebrates what could have been impossible. The cross is a tree that bears fruit. This is the feast of its harvest. The celebrations of the mysteries in the life of Our Lord are glorious and there is no detracting from them. But He was God. This day we celebrate the perfecting of human nature, by grace pouring from the side of Christ on the cross, through His Church and His sacraments, remaking men after their despoiling in the Garden.
Aside from all the lofty things to be said about the saints and to the saints on this day, we want our children to understand in the marrow of their bones what the principal idea is: “We are so glad for you. Now pray, so we’ll be there too!” And they must add to this and to every feast an endless: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making it possible.”
Celebrating all its patrons this day, the family plans a procession to the dinner table which will show them off splendidly. If there have been saint costumes from All Hallows’ Eve, nothing could be better than to wear them again in procession on All Hallows’ Day. Had someone suggested this to me as a child, I would have died of joy. I remember vain attempts to recapture Hallowe’en magic by putting on a costume a second night, but the magic was gone. Only one night of the year did it really transform me, not because the night was really magic or that I knew why I wore it, but because it was the night for costumes. There was no reason to wear it a second time. Now that we understand there is a reason, it is a great incentive to be a saint on Hallowe’en.
A PROCESSION OF HOPEFUL SAINTS
We assemble for our procession.
St. Monica wears a veil, something black or grey, symbolic of widowhood. She may carry a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament to tell of her devotion to the Holy Eucharist and her attendance at daily Mass (St. Augustine wrote about this in his Confessions), or she may carry a spindle, the symbol of all married ladies who were saints. The monstrance is a flat paste-up of yellow, gold, and white paper; the spindle is a stick with white cotton batting.
Jamie carries as many of the symbols of pilgrims as he can find, because St. James the Great (the tall) is always dressed as a pilgrim. His best friend gave him a key chain with little shells on it one year, for his feast day, because the scallop shell is the most common symbol of pilgrims. A staff is another, and a pilgrim’s hat (broad brimmed), and a purse (like a shoulder strap bag).
John has difficulty deciding which St. John to be, but usually ends up as St. John the Baptist. One Hallowe’en we had a charade of St. John the Baptist. A mysterious maiden came dancing in with a jack-o’-lantern on a platter—representing what? Some people are shocked to think that we would disport so, but we think it is apropos. Losing one’s head for the love of God and going right to Heaven is something to grin about. A cruciform staff is one of his symbols, and the paste-up puzzle of St. John has several symbols on it (described in chapter 3). (We keep forgetting to buy a comb of honey.)
Peter rattles keys and carries the paste-up puzzle of St. Peter—or, if he can manage it, a rock—and the fishing pole with the yellow fish dangling (see chapter 18). Stephen wears a gorgeous crown made of two crowns. A high red paper crown has a smaller silver paper crown stapled over it. It is really very handsome. In this he represents St. Stephen, King and Confessor, of Hungary. He also carries a rock to show his devotion to St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. He always says: “This is for St. Stephen of Hungary, and this is for the St. Stephen what got rocks thrown at his head, and when I get there I’ll be St. Stephen Newland.”
Philip carries a basket of bread to recall that St. Philip doubted that the five thousand (not counting women and children) could be fed. That evening after the Sermon on the Mount, he literally had to eat his own words. He also carries a branch with green leaves. Although this is a little obscure, it reminds us of Philip’s friend Nathaniel, sitting under the fig tree when Philip told him they had found “Him of whom Moses and the prophets spoke.” It was Jesus, son of Joseph, of Nazareth, he said. Nathaniel muttered: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And Philip, to his everlasting credit, answered: “Come and see.”
Christopher is still to be initiated to carrying anything but his faded dolly stuffed with shredded nylons and his little dirty doggy. Perhaps this year he will get in line if we give him a flashlight, a modern counterpart of St. Christopher’s lantern.
Grandma Reed will carry Our Lady, because her name is Ann; Granny Newland will carry a rosary because her name is Catherine and she is a Dominican tertiary.
There are plenty of St. Williams for daddies named William but not all their stories are told in detail. The symbols of St. William of Monte Virgine are a trowel (because he built a monastery), a lily for chastity, a passion flower (to indicate that he was devoted to the Passion of Our Lord). But there is another St. William, of Perth, a Scotch saint who is mighty appealing to fathers bearing his name. He was a baker in private life, then turned his feet toward God and set out on a pilgrimage with his apprentice to do penance for his sins. Somewhere along the way the apprentice murdered him. This is not the feature that appeals to fathers. For lack of a symbol, a tray of hot rolls would do nicely, luring even the most self-conscious father into a procession. (Not all fathers go for processions. It is fatal to try to drag them in. Never use force on them or on older children who may feel it is an awkward idea. You can always think of some happy but unobtrusive way to recall the triumphs of their saints. Often just to tell their stories at dinner is enough. Your own good sense will guide you.)
The banner for the Assumption is carried by the mother in this household, because her name is Mary and she was baptized on the feast of the Assumption. It is beautiful to have each one carry a lighted candle—his baptismal candle if he has one. This to remind us that we and the saints together have life in Christ. In the Mystical Body we are all one. They are in Heaven; we are on earth; the holy souls are in Purgatory. One Church extending into eternity.
If you have enough room and time for a long procession, it is nice to sing the Litany of the Saints. If this isn’t practicable, save it for night prayers.
At the last Gospel of the Mass, St. John says:
But as many as received Him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God: to them that believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
WHY WE SHOULD KNOW THE SAINTS
Each succeeding feast gives us a new understanding of this. We have been “born of God.” We must know the saints because we can learn from them how to receive His will, to love it, to act on it, to use the power He has give us to become the sons of God. Here, we are His adopted sons separated from Heaven by life in the flesh. That part of us that He made in His own image and likeness is detained a while, in the body. It is being tried. The saints went through the trials too, and with the help of His grace, they overcame them. They are in glory now, sons united at last with their Father. This is the greatest of His mercies. He loved us before the creation of the world, and planned for us to be in eternity with Him. When sin spoiled the plan, He perfected it—if one can say that—with the Incarnation. He became a man and spent Himself to devise the means for our perfection. The saints used it. We must too.
The antiphon from Vespers for this feast says what we want to say:
O ye Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominions, Principalities and Powers, Virtues of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, ye Patriarchs and Prophets, holy Doctors of the Law, Apostles, all Martyrs of Christ, holy Confessors, Virgins of the Lord, Hermits and all Saints: Intercede for us.
Father Krier will be in Los Angeles October 1. From October 8-11 he will be in Spokane, Washington, for the annual Fatima Conference. He will be in Pahrump, Nevada, October 17 and Eureka, October 24.
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