Catholic Tradition Newsletter A44: Holy Eucharist, Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, Saint Hubert

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Vol 12 Issue 44 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
November 2, 2019 ~ Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
3.      Saint Hubert
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

November is the month of the Holy Souls. October 31, the Eve of All Saints (All Hallow’s Eve or Hallowe’en for short) introduces us to this devotion to the Holy Souls by the allowance of seeking alms on this day in return to praying for the souls in purgatory the following days. All Saints, November 1, at noon, the Church interrupts her celebration and turns her eyes to those who are languishing in Purgatory. It is as though she cannot celebrate knowing the holy souls in Purgatory need her prayers and all she needs to do is pray for them and perform good works. So her children begin their prayers and good works, visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the Church and saying seven Our Father, Hail Mary’s and Glory be’s along with visits to the cemeteries where their bodies lay until the final judgement—where we assure they are remembered and their bodies, once temples of the Holy Ghost, are respected by the care of the grounds and headstones. These prayers and good works are continued the next day after assisting at Holy Mass for the repose of their souls, November 2. Again, because the Church knows they suffer, she allows the priest to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass thrice so many holy souls can be released from their penalty.

The faithful departed may have died in God’s grace, but the justice of God demands that sin be atoned for—in this life or in the next. It is of faith that one who dies in mortal sin suffers eternal death, cast into the fires of hell with the fallen angels. It is also of faith that one who dies in venial sin or with un-atoned sin, must atone or be purified of the effects of their sins. Only the pure can see God (cf. Matt. 5:8). But just as Christ atoned for original sin and repented personal sin of those who are redeemed through baptism, so the members of His Mystical Body, the Church, can atone for the sins of those other members suffering in purgatory. The Church presents this faith in her liturgy for the faithful departed at the funeral, on All Soul’s Day and the Masses on the anniversary of their death as also in the daily Mass for the Dead:

At the Funeral Mass we read in the Offertory: We offer you, O Lord sacrifices and prayers of praise; receive them in behalf of those souls we commemorate this day. Grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to that life which you promised of old to Abraham and his seed. At the Postcommunion we pray: Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the soul of your servant who this day has departed out of this world, being purified by this sacrifice and delivered from his or her sins, may receive pardon and everlasting rest.

At the anniversary Mass we read this passage from Machabees:

In those days, the most valiant Judas, making a gathering sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. (For if he had not hoped that those who were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead.) And because he considered that those who had fallen asleep with Godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (12:43-46)

And the Postcommunion the Church prays: Lord, purify the soul of your servant by this sacrifice which we offer on the anniversary of burial, that he or she may obtain forgiveness and everlasting rest.

In the Daily Mass for the Dead the Secret reads: O God, your mercy is infinite. Through these sacraments of our salvation pardon all the sins of your servants, who were given the grace to acknowledge you during life. And the Postcommunion, as in the other Masses, tell us what we are asking through the Mass: O almighty and merciful God, we offer this sacrifice of praise to your divine majesty in behalf of the souls of your servants. May this sacrament cleanse them from all sin so that they may enjoy the light of eternal happiness.

It is clear that the Catholic faith in Purgatory is not just a pious belief but one of Church doctrine that imposes upon her children to pray for the faithful departed as the faithful pray with the Church.

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

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WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST

By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

Vatican II:   

Pope Pius X (1903-1914) began his reign trying, as others have before him, removing the profane and keeping the sacred. His first act was to re-establish Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy, as the singing in the Church brought in profane singers with classical melodies—think Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn.  Already, on November 22, 1903 (Feast of Saint Cecilia, patron of Music) in his Motu Proprio, Tra le sollectudini, Pius X writes:

There is one pastoral care paramount not only for this Holy See—to which we have unworthily been raised by Divine Providence—but also for individual churches: maintaining and promoting the beauty of the house of God. Here the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, here the faithful gather to receive the grace of the sacraments, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the altar, to adore the most Blessed Sacrament and to be united at the Church’s common prayer in her public and solemn liturgy.

Therefore, there must be nothing in this sacred building that might be a reasonable cause for disgust or scandal; above all, nothing directly offensive to the decorum and holiness of the sacred rites and thus unworthy of the house of prayer and the majesty of God.

We do not here propose to treat individually each of the abuses that may occur. Rather, we devote our attention today to one of the most common abuses, one most difficult to uproot. This must be condemned, even where everything else deserves the highest praise, where there is beauty and grandeur of building, splendor and exactness of ceremonies, full attendance of the clergy, gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. We speak of the abuse in singing and in sacred music. . . .

This Pope then continues:

Being moved with the most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish again in every way among all the faithful, the first thing to which We must turn our attention is the holiness and dignity of the temple. There Our people assemble for the purpose of acquiring the Christian spirit from its first and indispensable source, namely, active participation in the most sacred mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. It is vain to hope for such copious blessings from Heaven if our worship of the Most High, rather than ascending with an odor of sweetness, again puts into our Lord’s hands the scourges with which the unworthy profaners were once driven out of the temple by the Divine Redeemer. (Emphasis author’s.)

The use of this phrase, active participation, would be completely distorted by the Liturgical Movement that developed later under Annibale Bugnini and the neo-Modernists. Unfortunately, because Pope Pius X does not define active participation, but he does introduce it with the words: Our people assemble for the purpose of acquiring the Christian spirit from its first and indispensable source. In other words, they participate in the spirit of the liturgy, the sacredness that is found in the Liturgy when done properly—not by doing the liturgy itself. But the anti-liturgical heresy that Gueranger spoke of was what Annibale Bugnini and the neo-Modernists adopted.

That Pope Pius X rejected the anti-liturgical heresy can be seen in his General Principles:

Sacred music, because it is an integral part of the liturgy (a), participates in the same general purpose of this solemn liturgy, that is: the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It enhances the beauty and splendor of the ceremonies of the Church. Since its chief function is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text presented for the understanding of the faithful, its own proper end is to make the text more meaningful for them. Through this means they can more easily be moved to devotion and better disposed to receive the fruits of grace coming from the celebration of the holy mysteries.

Sacred music must. therefore, possess in the highest degree the qualities which characterize the liturgy. In particular it must possess holiness and beauty of form: from these two qualities a third will spontaneously arise—universality.

Sacred music must be holy, and therefore exclude everything that is secular, both in itself and in its rendition.

It must be true art. In no other way can it affect the minds of the hearers in the manner which the Church intends in admitting into her liturgy the art of sound.

It must also be universal in this sense, that, although individual countries may admit into their ecclesiastical compositions proper forms native to each, still these forms must remain so subordinate to the general character of sacred music that no hearer of another nation might be disturbed thereby. (Tra le Sollecitudini. Emphasis author’s.)

After decreeing that music should retain the sacredness that is found in Gregorian Chant and not that found in profane melodies; that music composed for theaters is not to be heard in churches, this Pope then goes on to continue the work sought by Pope Leo XIII which was to reform the Roman Breviary. On November 1, 1911, he wrote the Apostolic Constitution,  Divino Afflatu,

that, among other things, the ancient custom of reciting all the Psalter, if possible, during the course of the week, be revived in such a way, however, that no heavier burden be placed on the clergy whose work in the vineyard of the holy ministry is already so heavy because of the diminished number of workers. We thought it Our duty to answer these requests and wishes, which were also Ours before Our elevation to the Pontificate, and also to answer the prayers made to Us later on by other Venerable Brethren and pious men. However, We took care to see that the recitation of the entire Psalter in the course of a week should not detract from the veneration of Saints and on the other hand should not make the duty of the Divine Office a heavier, but rather a lighter burden on the clergy.

Two years later, he issued the Motu proprio, Abhinc duos annos, of October 23, 1913. Here he acknowledged that if it were to be done worthily:

To change the composition of the Breviary to make it in accordance with Our desires, that is, to give it a finished perfection in every part, would involve:

—restoring the calendar of the Universal Church to its original arrangement and style, retaining meanwhile the splendid richness which the marvelous fruitfulness of the Church, the Mother of Saints, has brought to bear upon it.

–utilizing appropriate passages of Scripture, of the Fathers and Doctors, after having reestablished the authentic text;

—prudently correcting the lives of the Saints according to documentary evidence;

—perfecting the arrangement of numerous points of the liturgy, eliminating superfluous elements.

But in the judgment of wise and learned persons, all this would require considerable work and time. For this reason, many years will have to pass before this type of liturgical edifice, composed with intelligent care for the Spouse of Christ to express her piety and faith, can appear purified of the imperfections brought by time, newly resplendent with dignity and fitting order.

He still allowed several changes to be made immediately. One was that instead of 12 Psalms for Matins, there would be only 9 (Sundays had 18 psalms). Raising Sundays over the Saints without lowering the number of Psalms (and dividing lengthy ones) would have increased a cleric’s obligation. As was stated in Divino Afflatu, the decrease in priestly vocations placed more responsibilities upon those filling the void. In all, still retaining the clerical obligation of reciting the Psalter, though shorter, allowed the cleric to continue his priestly functions of administering the Sacraments and preaching the Gospel while giving the divine praise the Church wished to render to God.

But, what Pope Saint Pius X said concerning the Breviary in Abhinc duos annos would, without authorization, soon be applied to the Mass and Sacraments, that is:

—restoring the calendar of the Universal Church to its original arrangement and style . . .

—utilizing appropriate passages of Scripture. . . after having reestablished the authentic text;

—prudently correcting the . . . Saints according to documentary evidence;

—perfecting the arrangement of numerous points of the liturgy, eliminating superfluous elements.

The adoption of these points was made later by members of the Liturgical Movement to apply to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. From what was directed to be only a reform of the Breviary so the both Divine Office and Holy Mass would be a unified public worship that the Church having already offered throughout the centuries, it would now be changed to revising the Mass. From what was to be a worship in which the laity could be instructed to understand and join the Priest by their presence and spiritual union, it would now become one that eventually evolved into a service separated from the tradition of the Church and divorced from a consecrated priesthood, for laity would perform hitherto priestly functions and disunity would reign with experimentations and adaptations.

How did the Liturgical Movement afterwards eventually justify changing the Mass? Because the understanding of revising the Liturgical Calendar, found in the beginning of the Missale, and the manner of ranking Sundays and feasts needed to be revised to update and bring unity in the Liturgy. It was from this non-plus that was soon extended to what was never and could not have ever been considered, the changing of the Ordinary of the Mass and from thence to changing the Canon of the Mass.

The founder of the Liturgical Movement (1909), was Dom Lambert Beauduin (1873–1960). Beauduin started the Liturgical Movement with a submission of a report, De Promovenda Sacra Liturgia, to the General Chapter of the Beuron Benedictine Congregation in July of 1909. He presented the same paper to the Catholic Conference at Malines two months later. He received further support of Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier (1851-1926) of Mechelin, Belgium, to promote liturgical piety as outlined in another paper La Vraie Priere de l’Eglise. The Conference passed the resolutions:

  1. To emphasise the use of the vernacular missal as a book of piety and to popularise the complete text of at least Sunday Mass and Vespers by translating it into the vernacular;
  2. To give a more liturgical character to popular piety, especially by the recitation of Complin as an evening prayer, by assistance at the parish High Mass and Vespers, by using the Mass prayers as a preparation for, and thanksgiving after, Holy Communion, by the restoration of ancient liturgical traditions in homes;
  3. To work for a wider and more perfect use of Gregorian chant as desired by Pius X;
  4. To promote annual retreats for parish choirs at some centre of liturgical life, as, for example, at the Abbey of Mont-Cesar or at Maredsous. (Reid, 79)

All of these were approved, taken up and promoted throughout Europe and the Americas. Translations of the Missal—including the Canon—became common whereas previously they were non-existent. It may be noted that previously even Prosper Gueranger did not translate the Canon in the vernacular for his readers. Today it is expected to see the faithful with a missal book in their hand that has also a vernacular translation of the Canon. There were more Churches where the clergy would Chant Vespers or Compline with the congregation present. Gregorian Chant was taught in Catholic Schools and Music Books for Choirs contained the Gregorian Chants with the Church choirs singing the High Mass or Missa Cantata. Books began to be published that explained the Liturgy to the laity and groups were started to inspire the laity to be present at liturgical functions (Vespers, Funerals, Candlemas, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week, etc.). These were all good actions and no one complains today at the spiritually fruitful outcome.

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY

MATTHEW xviii. 23-35

At that time: Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man, a king, who would take an account of his servants. And, when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents. And, as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. But that servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And the lord of the servant, being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.

But, when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow-servants that owed him an hundred pence; and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his fellow-servant, falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt.

Now his fellow-servants, seeing what was done, were very much grieved; and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me; shouldst not thou then have compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord, being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA

CHRYSOSTOM, Homily 62 in Matthew: That no one should think that the Lord had commanded something severe and burdensome, when He said we must forgive even till seventy times seven, He added a parable. JEROME: For Syrians, and especially Palestinians, are wont to add a parable to everything they say; so that what their hearers might not retain from a simple statement, may stay in the mind by reason of the parable. And so we are told:

V. 23. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a man king, who would take an account of his servants.

ORIGEN, in Matthew, Tr. 7: The Son of God, as He is Wisdom and Justice and Truth (I Cor. v. 30), is also a Kingdom; not of those here below, but of all who are above, in whose minds justice and the other virtues reign; who have become the kingdom of heaven through this, that they bear the image of the heavenly One. This Kingdom of heaven therefore, that is, the Son of God, when He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, uniting man to Himself, then became like a man king.

REMIGIUS: Or, the Kingdom of heaven may aptly stand for the holy Church, in which the Lord accomplishes what is spoken of in this parable. The Father is sometimes designated by the word man, as where it was said that, the kingdom of heaven is likened to a man king, who made a marriage for his son (Mt. xxii. 2); and sometimes it designates the Son. Here however it can be understood of both: the Father and Son Who are one God. God is also spoken of as a king, ruling and governing all that He has made.

ORIGEN: The servants, in this parable, are solely those who are employed as dispensers of the word; to whom it was entrusted, that they might trade with it. REMIGIUS: Or, by the servants of this man king are meant all men, whom He has created for His own praise, and to whom He has given the law of nature; and with whom He takes an account, when He searches into the life and conduct and actions of each one, so that He may render to each according to his deeds. Hence there follows:

V. 24. And, when he had begun to take an account, one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents.

ORIGEN: The King will take an account of all our life, when we must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ (II Cor. v. 10 ). Saying this we do not mean that this accounting will go on for a long while. For when it is His will to sift the souls of all men, He will by His ineffable power, bring swiftly to the minds of each, all they have ever done. He says, And, when he had begun to take the account; because the beginning of judgement will begin from the household of God (I Pet. iv. 17). In the beginning therefore of His taking an account, one is brought before Him who owed Him many talents; one, that is, who had committed great evils; one to whom great things had been entrusted, and who had yielded no profit: who perhaps had ruined as many men as he had wasted talents; who therefore owed Him many talents, because he had followed the Woman sitting upon a talent of lead, whose name is wickedness (Zach. v. 7).

JEROME: I know that some interpret this man who owed ten thousand talents as the devil, and would have it that his wife and children, who were to be sold because he persevered in his wickedness, represent foolishness and evil thoughts. For just as wisdom is said to be the wife of the just (Prov. iv. 7; vii. 4), so is foolishness said to be the wife of the unjust and the sinner. But how the Lord forgave him ten thousand talents, and how he would not forgive his fellow servant a hundred pence has no explanation in the Church nor should any be accepted by prudent men.

AUGUSTINE, on the Word of God, Sermon 83, 6: We must therefore affirm that, because the law is given to us in ten commandments, the ten thousand talents mean all sins; that is, committed against the law. REMIGIUS: Man sinning of his own will and choice, cannot raise himself by his own effort, and therefore cannot pay what he owes; since he has nothing of himself, by which he can free himself of his sins. Hence follows:

V. 25. And, as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The fool’s wife is folly, and the pleasures and desires of the flesh. AUGUSTINE, Gospel Questions, I, 25: This means, that the transgressor must pay for his desires and his evil works, as it were for his wife and children; and this is what he pays. For the price of the one sold, is the punishment of damnation. CHRYSOSTOM: But He does not command this out of cruelty, but out of ineffable love. For He wishes to frighten him by these threats, that he may beg not to be sold, And from what follows we are shown that this happened, since He goes on to say:

V. 26. But that servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all.

REMIGIUS: By these words, falling down, we are shown the humility and desire to make amends of the sinner. Saying, have patience with me he expresses the cry of the sinner for time, and the opportunity to reform. But the mercy and clemency of God towards converted sinners is without measure: since, through baptism or penance. He is ready at all times to forgive them their sins. Hence follows:

V. 27. And the lord of that servant, being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.

CHRYSOSTOM: See the superabundance of the divine love. The servant asks only for time. He gives more than is asked for: pardon, and the forgiveness of the entire debt. He wished to forgive them from the beginning; but did not wish that this should be solely His gift, but also the fruit of the sinner’s supplication, that he might not go away uncrowned. But He did not forgive the debt before He had taken the account, because He wished to show how great the debt was from which he frees him; that at least because of this, he might become more considerate of his fellow servants. Up to this he was acceptable: for he has admitted his debt, and promised to repay it, and falling down had pleaded and acknowledged the greatness of his debt. But what he then does is unworthy of his earlier actions. For there follows:

V. 28. But, when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence.

AUGUSTINE, Sermon 83: That it is said he owed him a hundred pence is derived from the same number, ten; the number of the law. For a hundred times a hundred is ten thousand, and ten times ten a hundred. Both numbers are derived from the number of the law, and in both you find sins. Each is therefore a debtor, and each implores pardon: for every man is in debt to God, and a debtor to his own brother.

CHRYSOSTOM: There is as great a distance between sins committed against man and sins committed against God as there is between ten thousand talents and a hundred pence. That it is greater, and much greater, is evident from the difference between the persons offended and from our repeated offences. For while other men watch us we desist and are slow to sin; but though God sees all all the day we do and speak evil without a thought. And not by this only are our sins against God seen to be greater, but also from the favours we enjoy from him. For He made us and made all things because of us. He breathed into us a rational soul. He sent us His Son and opened heaven to us and made us His children. Should we therefore die each day for Him, could we repay Him what we owe Him? Far from it; but this again would return to our profit. Instead we offend Him in His laws.

REMIGIUS: So therefore by the one who owed ten thousand talents those are signified who commit the greater crimes; by the debtor who owed a hundred pence those who commit the lesser offences. JEROME: To make this clearer let us give an example. Should one of you commit adultery, murder, sacrilege; these greater crimes of ten thousand talents will be forgiven to the one who asks, provided he in turn forgives those committing lesser sins against himself.

AUGUSTINE, as above: But this servant, unjust and ungrateful, refused to give what was given to himself; though unworthy of it. For there follows: And laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest.

REMIGIUS: He insisted vehemently, to take vengeance on him. ORIGEN: Meaning, I think, took him by the throat, because he had just left the king; for he would not have taken him by the throat, had he not gone out from the king.

CHRYSOSTOM: By saying, when that servant was gone out, he shows that it was not a long time after, but immediately after; while the favour he had received was still ringing in his ears, he misuses in malice the freedom he had received from his own master. What this other servant then did follows:

V. 29. And his fellow servant, falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all.

ORIGEN: Note the precision of the Scriptures. The servant owing many talents falls down and adores the King. But he who owed a hundred pence, did not worship, but falling down besought his fellow servant, saying: Have patience with me. CHRYSOSTOM: But not even the very words that saved himself moved the ungrateful servant.

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November 3

St. Hubert, Bishop of Liege, Confessor

GOD, who is wonderful in his mercies above all his works, called St. Hubert from a worldly life to his service in an extraordinary manner; though the circumstances of this event are so obscured by popular inconsistent relations, that we have no authentic account of his actions before he was engaged in the service of the church under the discipline of St. Lambert, bishop of Maestricht. He is said to have been a nobleman of Aquitain; passed his youth in the court of Theodoric III. and probably spent some time in the service of Pepin of Herstal, who became mayor of the palace of Austrasia in 681. He is also said to have been passionately addicted to the diversion of hunting, and was entirely taken up in worldly pursuits, when, moved by divine grace, he resolved at once to renounce the school of vanity, and enter himself in that of Christ, in which his name had been enrolled in baptism. St. Lambert was the experienced and skilful master by whose direction he studied to divest himself of the spirit of the world, and to put on that of Jesus Christ: and to learn to overcome enemies and injuries by meekness, and patience, not by revenge and pride, rather to sink under, than to vanquish them. His extraordinary fervour, and the great progress which he made in virtue and learning strongly recommended him to St. Lambert, who ordained him priest, and intrusted him with the principal share in the administration of his diocese. That holy prelate being barbarously murdered in 681, St. Hubert was unanimously chosen his successor, and the death of his dear master inflamed him with a holy desire of martyrdom, of which he sought all occasions. For charity conceives no other sentiments from wrongs, and knows no other revenge for the most atrocious injuries than the most tender concern and regard for sinners, and a desire of returning all good offices for evil received; thus to overcome evil by good, and invincibly maintain justice. St. Hubert never ceased with David to deplore his banishment from the face of God, and tears almost continually watered his cheeks. His revenues he consecrated to the service of the poor, and his labours to the extirpation of vice and of the remains of idolatry. His fervour in fasting, watching, and prayer far from ever abating seemed every day to increase; and he preached the word of God assiduously, with so much sweetness and energy, and with such unction of the Holy Ghost, that it was truly in his mouth a two-edged sword, and the people flocked from distant places to hear it from him. Out of devotion to the memory of St. Lambert, in the thirteenth year of his episcopal dignity, he translated his bones from Maestricht to Liege, then a very commodious and agreeable village upon the banks of the Meuse, which from this treasure very soon grew into a flourishing city, to which the ruins of Herstal, a mile distant, and of several other palaces and fortresses on the Meuse, contributed not a little. St. Hubert placed the relics of the martyr in a stately church which he built upon the spot where he had spilt his blood, which our saint made his cathedral, removing thither the episcopal see from Maestricht in 721, which St. Servatius had translated from Tongres to Maestricht in 382. Hence St. Lambert is honoured at Liege as principal patron, and St. Hubert as founder of the city and church, and its first bishop.

The great forest of Ardenne, famous in the Commentaries of Julius Cæsar and later writers, was in many parts a shelter for idolatry down to that age. St. Hubert, with incredible zeal penetrated into the most remote and barbarous places of this country, and abolished the worship of idols; and as he performed the office of the apostles, God bestowed on him a like gift of miracles. Amongst others the author of his life relates as an eye-witness, that on the three days’ fast of the Rogations which the whole church observes, the holy bishop went out of the city of Maestricht in procession, through the fields and villages with his clergy and people, according to custom, following the standard of the cross and the relics of the saints, and singing the litany. This religious procession was disturbed in its devotions by a woman possessed by an evil spirit; but the holy bishop silenced her and restored her to her health by signing her with the cross. In the time of a great drought he obtained rain by his prayers. A year before his happy death he was advertised of it in a vision, and favoured with a sight of a place prepared for him in glory. Though the foreknowledge which faith gives us of the great change for which we wait the divine will, be equally sufficient to raise up our hearts thither, the saint from that time redoubled his fervour in sighing after that bliss, and in putting his house in order; and reserved to himself more time for visiting the altars, and the shrines of the saints, especially the tomb of St. Lambert, and the altar of St. Albinus, commending his soul to God through the intercession of the saints with many tears. Going to dedicate a new church at Fur, (which seems to be Terture in Brabant,) twelve leagues from Liege, he preached there his farewell sermon; immediately after which he betook himself to bed ill of a fever, and on the sixth day of his sickness, reciting to his last breath the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, sweetly reposed in Christ, on the 30th of May, in 727. His body was conveyed to Liege, and deposited in the collegiate church of St. Peter. With the leave of the bishop, and of the emperor Lewis Debonnair, it was translated, in 825, to the abbey of Andain, since called St. Hubert’s, in the Ardennes, on the frontiers of the duchy of Luxemburg. The abbot is lord of the territory, which comprises sixteen villages. The shrine of St. Hubert is resorted to by many pilgrims, and has been honoured by many miraculous cures, especially of persons bit by mad dogs. The principal feast of St. Hubert, probably on account of some translation, is kept on the 3rd of November. (Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

THE YEAR

AND OUR CHILDREN

Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons

By Mary Reed Newland (1956)

1

THE WREATH, THE GIFT,

AND THE CANDLE

CHRISTMAS IS COMING—for the children the most wonderful time of the year. And for the children of Light it should be the most wonderful, wonderful time of the year, because to the Church it is the year’s beginning. No one but God could have made such a beginning, so full of beauty and glory and sheer magic as this.

But you cannot just walk into such a blaze of glory without preparation, to be ready for that sharp sweet moment when an Infant’s cry cut the night: “a moment’s fall, the last we should know of loneliness.”

You must creep up to it, think about it, count the days, watch the signs and prepare. And folly though it seems in a world where all value is counted in material things, a child can never know the whole ecstasy of Christmas unless he knows its meaning; unless he takes its meaning into his own two hands and examines it closely and finds its mystery for himself. It must be made of his own experience and delight and love.

MAKING THE ADVENT WREATH

Advent for children should rightly be a very busy time, starting with the making of the Advent wreath. This is a sacramental in which the whole meaning of Advent is symbolized—and symbols are a language children understand very easily.

If the wreath is to be hung from the ceiling, the frame can be made in a number of ways. It can be wire coat-hangers unshaped and twisted to form a circle (with cross-pieces to brace it); it can be cut from plywood; it can be a cast-off floral wreath frame; it can be several circles of heavy cardboard cut and taped together and braced with cross-pieces, or it can be (as is ours) the circular wooden frame from an old ash-sifter—which works incredibly well. Any of these ways is all right, so long as you make it. That is the most important point: to make it.

Candleholders, improvised or ready-made if suitable, can be wired to, soldered to, or cut into the frame at the four points of the compass (we made ours of bouillon tins, nailed to the braces and silvered). On a hung wreath the greens are fastened to show from the bottom rather than the top. It is tied with purple ribbons between the four candles and hung by the ribbons from the ceiling. If purple ribbon is not available for Advent, you can dye white ribbon, and at Christmas you may if you wish change the ribbons and candles to red or gold, the colors of divine joy and love.

One year we sprayed our wreath with water glass, an egg preservative purchased at drugstores, but the advantage is debatable. It does not make the wreath noninflammable, although it would burn with difficulty; it does make it dry and crumbly. This may be because we use crow’s-foot (an evergreen creeper) and princess pine for our wreaths, and these get dry before the season is over. If you decide to spray your wreath, place it on a wide spread of newspapers on the floor or table so that you won’t have water glass all over everything. The principal protection against fire is to have the candleholders firm and the candles firmly in them. Our bouillon cube tins provide three or four inches of fireproof candleholder. We never let the candles burn down too far, nor light them unless there is a grownup present, and we have never had any trouble with our Advent wreaths beyond some soot on the ceiling one year, and one scorch mark because we hung it too high. The candles need not be blessed candles, although the beeswax candles burn the most beautifully and more slowly, and there are plenty of ways to use up the leftover candle stubs.

A table wreath can be a simple wreath of greens resting in a pan of water to keep them fresh, or a large ringmold filled with wet sand which will keep the greens fresh; or you may put greens in a ringmold filled with wet plaster ( of course they do not come out!) . Candlesticks are placed on the table inside the wreath. The ribbon may be tied to the candle, or it may bind the wreath or be tied on it in four bows between the candles.

Well, what does it mean?

The circle is a symbol of eternity and the never-endingness of God, and the evergreen is a symbol of eternal life and the never-changingness of God. Tertullian in the third century wrote to the Christians of his day: “You are a light of the world; a tree ever green.” Children love to learn by symbols.

We wondered one year if the smaller ones remembered.

“What does the circle of the wreath mean, dear? Do you remember?”

A small boy thought very hard and then said: “I can’t tell you but I can show you.” He hugged himself with both arms and went round and round in a wide circle. “See? God never stops.”

“You mean God goes round in circles?”

“No! God doesn’t go round in circles. God never stops means God never ends.” He thought. “He never begins, either. Like circles.” It is what the catechism says—only in his words . . . .

Did God have a beginning?

God had no beginning. He always was and always will be.

The four candles in the wreath are for the four weeks of Advent. Three candles are white for divine innocence [or purple for penance—Editor] and one is rose to match the rose vestments permitted on Gaudete Sunday (third Sunday of Advent), reminding us of the shout of joy in that day’s Introit . . . . “Rejoice (gaudete) in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice.” The rose-colored candle says that the promise is almost fulfilled; come, everyone, rejoice!

The ribbon is purple for penance, but it is a different kind from the penance of Lent. That penance is heavy with sorrow, bitter and painful with the knowledge of our sins. We are sinners in Advent, too, but the emphasis is differently placed. The emphasis is on our longing, our need—not only for the great graces of the feast of His Nativity, for the renewing in our hearts of the mystery of His birth—but our need to be ready for the glorious moment of His Second Coming. This penance is a chastening, a cleansing, a hurrying and a waiting, a longing and an aching that is at the same time both painful and sweet. Like the family waiting for the baby to come, we could all but die with the waiting—for His birthday, and His coming again in glory.

The family gathers for the blessing of the wreath on the Saturday night before the first Sunday of Advent, or on the first Sunday itself, with the father or some older member of the family reading the blessing.

Blessing of the Advent Wreath

Father: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who hath made heaven and earth.

Father: Let us pray. O God, by Whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ Our Lord.

All: Amen.

(Sprinkles wreath with holy water.)

The father or leader reads the prayer for the first week, then holds up the youngest child to light the first candle, which is also lighted all through the week when the family gathers in the room with the wreath. Two candles are lighted by the oldest child the second week, three the third by the mother, four the fourth by the father. Leaflets with the prayers are available for a few cents each, or you may read the prayers from the missal, as they are the Advent Sunday Collects.

In families where there are many children it is impossible to satisfy all who want to light candles since there are only four Sundays in Advent. We solve this problem in our house by letting them take turns lighting the candles during the week. They are never lighted unless an adult is present. When there is a guest who asks: “What a pretty wreath. Is it something special, with the candles like that?” the children love to explain: “It’s an Advent wreath, and the four candles are for the four weeks of Advent. Every week we light another candle, you see, and the light around it grows bigger. That means that the birthday of the Light of the World is coming soon. Baby Jesus, you know, and Christmas. It’s His birthday and He’s the Light of the World.”

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FYI—Nota bene:

I have received several emails, calls and individual inquiries about a so-called Byzantine Patriarch in the Ukraine. Please be advised that they are not legitimate Catholics in any sense. The first tell-tale sign should have been the assumption of a preposterous title: Patriarch. The Roman Catholic Church only recognizes the Pope as Patriarch of the Western Church. In the East there are only 5—and none are Ukrainian—that is from previous Russian Orthodox Church in Kiev. The second is that these “priests”?? of the Conciliar Church who started the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church next reveal they are not legitimate Catholics because they retain the word “Orthodox”, not “Uniate” [even though the Ukrainian word is not orthodox the use of this word is used by them in other languages and applies to the Orthodox Churches—they are, for the most part, Czechs]. Those who forward or publish their talks, papers, et cetera are having Catholics read non-Catholic literature. If there is something that is said or written by a non-Catholic there should be a qualification that they are not part of the Catholic Church (such as Conciliar, such as Orthodox, such as a sect (like these people) and I pray and hope the priests and bishops overseeing this are diligent enough to recognize what is and is not Catholic and prevent the further spread of error and confusion. Once more, the UOGCC is a group of so-called concilair priests who made themselves bishops (no bishop consecrated them). They do not have the Roman Catholic Faith nor understand the Roman Catholic Faith! We can pray they come to knowledge of the truth—not say they have the truth.

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Father Krier will be in the Czech Republic (Touzim) November 5-10 and 16-17. In between he will be in Germany (Munich) November 11-15. Afterwards he will be in Los Angeles November 19, Pahrump November 21 and Eureka November 26.

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