Vol 12 Issue 45 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
November 9, 2019 ~ Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Saviour
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Andrew Avellino
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
On October 26, a columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal, Victor Joecks, wrote an article the shows the trend of our young people: Fewer and fewer believe in God at a time when scientific evidence proves more and more that God exists.
The most significant news of the month doesn’t involve Ukraine. It comes from a Pew Research Center survey showing that American religious affiliation continues to plummet.
Among millennials, 49 percent identify themselves as Christians, compared to 40 percent among the religious “nones.” This category includes atheists, agnostics and those saying “nothing in particular” fits their religious inclinations. The contrast with older Americans is vast. Among those born between 1928 and 1945, 84 percent call themselves Christians.
There are many cultural, political and technological reasons for this shift. But perhaps nothing has accelerated this decline more than the idea that science has disproved or eliminated the need for God.
Scientific advances over the past several decades, however, provide some of the best evidence for the existence of God. Start with the Big Bang.
The idea that the physical universe has a definite beginning isn’t a new idea — for the religious. The first words of the Bible read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.” Dating back to the ancient Greek philosophers, secularists held a different view. For millennia, they believed matter was eternal.
This newfound — historically speaking — scientific consensus of a beginning bolsters a strong philosophical argument for God’s existence.
Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
The universe had a beginning.
Therefore, the universe had a cause.
For the religious, the cause is obvious — God. Secularists don’t have that option available. Which one requires more faith: believing that God exists or that everything and everyone came from nowhere and nothing?
That’s hardly the only scientific advance that’s bolstered the case for an intelligent designer. Consider how many factors had to be exactly right for life in the universe — let alone on Earth — to exist. There’s so much precision that even atheists such as Stephen Hawking recognize the fine-tuning.
“The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron,” he wrote in “A Brief History of Time.” “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”
Consider the cosmological constant, which relates to the universe’s expansion. If it had been different by an amount equivalent to 1 quantity in 10120, life wouldn’t exist. That’s a “1” followed by 120 zeros. For comparison, scientists estimate there are 1080 particles in the universe. There’s no scientific necessity that these numbers be so perfectly calibrated to allow life. What’s the best explanation left: a chance greater than the number of particles in the universe or a designer?
That’s not the only place design is evident. The human body has 30 trillion cells, performing a wide variety of functions. You don’t tell your cells what to do. The information contained in your DNA does. DNA stores a vast amount of functional, specified information in a format similar to a computer code. That information is needed to produce the proteins, which are microscopic, incredibly complex and the building blocks of life.
As Stephen Meyer details in his book, “Signature in the Cell,” the best and sole explanation for vast amounts of this type of information is outside intelligence. The information is too complex and useful to explain by chance alone.
Science can’t prove — or disprove — the existence of God. By definition, that’s beyond its scope. Science is the study of the natural, not the supernatural. A belief in God is a personal decision, but the best inference from all that science has discovered is that an intelligent designer exists.
The PEW organization has polls that are to direct public decisions based on the false concept that democracy is majority rule and if the majority believe something it should be accepted as the bases for societal belief. Therefore, when the majority disbelieve in God, apparently belief in God should no longer be accepted. Of course, the PEW organization deliberately fails to consider that if the majority believe in God then disbelief in God should be considered unacceptable. This is why, as science provides evidence of God’s existence it is not mentioned, but if some wild fraudulent theory is promoted to disprove the Bible or Christianity, it is just as wildly circulated—but never retracted once the fraud is discovered or refuted. Unfortunately the Conciliar Church is in the hands of those who reject the objective Truth of the Catholic Faith and join in popularizing erroneous science. Faithful Catholics must be grateful they have the true Faith and clearly see the Truth as taught by Holy Mother Church.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
[Note: The beginning maybe a repeat of the end of last week’s section but is included again as a continuum and revision.]
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 and updated to bring unity in the Liturgy. It was from this non-plus that was soon extended to what was never and could not ever have been considered, the changing of the Ordinary of the Mass and from thence to changing the heart of the Mass: The Canon of the Mass. Louis Bouyer would write in 1954: . . . [W]e must not try to provide an artificial congregation to take part in an antiquarian Liturgy, but rather to prepare the actual congregations of the Church today to take part in the truly traditional Liturgy rightly understood. (Life and Liturgy, 14-15)
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:
- 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;
- 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;
- To work for a wider and more perfect use of Gregorian chant as desired by Pius X;
- 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.
Principles that Beauduin promoted are found in this excerpt:
Above all the Liturgy is: 1. One. Unity of belief, of discipline, of common fellowship, must necessarily show itself in worship; and despite certain divergences the Liturgy is fundamentally, profoundly one. 2. Traditional. This unity must be realised also in point of time. The Church of today is the Church of all times and of all peoples; hence her Liturgy is traditional. This characteristic is so important that it receives precedence over that of uniformity, as is seen in the preservation of the Oriental rites. 3. Living. The former characteristic does not make of the Liturgy a fossilised antique, a museum curiosity. The Liturgy lives and unfolds itself also today and, because universal, is of the twentieth century as well as of the first. It lives and follows the dogmatic and organic developments of the Church herself. (Beauduin, 34)
The development until just after World War II confined itself to Liturgical Piety, Liturgical Studies and the laity having the vernacular translations of the Mass in their hands as they attended Mass. It meant also that the priests would have choirs who would sing the Mass according to Gregorian Chant. The Congregation would participate by following the Priest in their Sunday Missal, such as Fr. Steadman’s, or a Daily Missal, such as the Saint Joseph or Saint Andrew. As in some European and Latin American Countries, the laity also began in a few parishes to respond to the priest in Latin or join with the choir in the singing.
Yet, a few voices began to be heard that went beyond Liturgical Piety, beyond Liturgical Studies and instructing the laity in the spirit of the Liturgy.
Joseph Göttler (1874-1935) wrote a paper, Pia Desideria Liturgica, that was printed in the German Theologie und Glaube (Paderborn) in 1916. As a teacher of Pedagogy and Catechesis he raised the question: why not simply having the Mass of the Catechumens (Instructional) in the vernacular instead of the Priest having the readings first in Latin and then repeating them in the vernacular. In 1957, the generally ignored paper of Joseph Göttler was republished by the Deutschen Liturgischen Institut in Trier at a time when the Liturgical Movement was seeking change. The Abbey at Maria Laach, nearby, was allowing the priest to face the people (versus populum) and included an Offertory Procession. We know the acceptance of the Mass of the Catechumens (called also the fore-mass) was first done at Vatican II (1964 Missale). Joseph Göttler, himself, did not further advocate—but the concept was adopted by the so-called pastoral liturgists that developed from the Liturgical Movement and began unapproved experiments. It is known that through his suggestions that parts of the Rituale Romanum would be beneficial if said in the vernacular, were increasingly being allowed to be said in the vernacular since Pope Saint Pius X.
Until 1948, there was no known approved Catholic movement advocating changing the Mass.
The Liturgical Movement from 1948
Pius XI wrote the Apostolic Constitution, Divini cultus sanctitatem, on December 20, 1928, in which words he opened with:
Since the Church has received from Christ her Founder the office of safeguarding the sanctity of divine worship, it is certainly incumbent upon her, while leaving intact the substance of the Sacrifice and the sacraments, to prescribe ceremonies, rites, formulae, prayers and chant for the proper regulation of that august public ministry, whose special name is “Liturgy”, as being the eminently sacred action.
The Teaching Magisterium has always kept this distinction between what she (the Church) has instituted and what Christ has instituted, between what she has received from the Apostles and what she has since added. The Popes have always preserved what another Pope has confirmed as Church teaching. And, in this light Pius XI continues in the Apostolic Constitution:
There is thus a close connection between dogma and the sacred liturgy, and between Christian worship and the sanctification of the faithful. Hence Pope Celestine I saw the standard of faith expressed in the sacred formulae of the liturgy. “The rule of our faith,” he says, “is indicated by the law of our worship. When those who are set over the Christian people fulfill the function committed to them, they plead the cause of the human race in the sight of God’s clemency, and pray and supplicate in conjunction with the whole Church.” (Epist. ad episcopos Galliarum, Patrol. Lat., L, 535) . . .
No wonder, then, that the Roman Pontiffs have been so solicitous to safeguard and protect the liturgy. They have used the same care in making laws for the regulation of the liturgy, in preserving it from adulteration, as they have in giving accurate expression to the dogmas of the faith. . . .
His approbation of the Liturgical Movement is then expressed in the words:
This is the reason why the Fathers made both spoken and written commentary upon the liturgy or “the law of worship”; for this reason the Council of Trent ordained that the liturgy should be expounded and explained to the faithful.
But he restricts it:
It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that anything that is used to adorn the liturgy should be controlled by the Church, so that the arts may take their proper place as most noble ministers in sacred worship. Far from resulting in a loss to art, such an arrangement will certainly make for the greater splendor and dignity of the arts that are used in the Church. This has been especially true of sacred music. Wherever the regulations on this subject have been carefully observed, a new life has been given to this delightful art, and the spirit of religion has prospered; the faithful have gained a deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy, and have taken part with greater zest in the ceremonies of the Mass, in the singing of the psalms and the public prayers.
The Encyclical was not on reforming the Liturgy—as it is made out to be—but on implementing the decrees of Pius X on Sacred Music. The Liturgical Movement can be seen as allowed to promote, like Catholic Action, the implementation of the Decrees of the Church. It would soon extend beyond as neo-Modernism entered into or used the Liturgical Movement to obtain objectives outside its original apostolate.
On June 29, 1943, Pope Pius XII wrote his Encyclical, Mystici Corporis, acknowledging the developments of the Liturgical Movement, but also indicates a concern both in rejecting but over-emphasising the role of mysticism. Understanding the fulness of faith includes knowing that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, but the relationship is not purely pantheistic nor is it an empty expression:
[T]he chief reason for Our present exposition of this sublime doctrine is Our solicitude for the souls entrusted to Us. Much indeed has been written on this subject; and We know that many today are turning with greater zest to a study which delights and nourishes Christian piety. This, it would seem, is chiefly because a revived interest in the sacred liturgy, the more widely spread custom of frequent Communion, and the more fervent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus practiced today, have brought many souls to a deeper consideration of the unsearchable riches of Christ which are preserved in the Church. Moreover, recent pronouncements on Catholic Action, by drawing closer the bonds of union between Christians and between them and the ecclesiastical hierarchy and especially the Roman Pontiff, have undoubtedly helped not a little to place this truth in its proper light. Nevertheless, while We can derive legitimate joy from these considerations, We must confess that grave errors with regard to this doctrine are being spread among those outside the true Church, and that among the faithful, also, inaccurate or thoroughly false ideas are being disseminated which turn minds aside from the straight path of truth.
For while there still survives a false rationalism, which ridicules anything that transcends and defies the power of human genius, and which is accompanied by a cognate error, the so-called popular naturalism, which sees and wills to see in the Church nothing but a juridical and social union, there is on the other hand a false mysticism creeping in, which, in its attempt to eliminate the immovable frontier that separates creatures from their Creator, falsifies the Sacred Scriptures.
As a result of these conflicting and mutually antagonistic schools of thought, some through vain fear, look upon so profound a doctrine as something dangerous, and so they shrink from it as from the beautiful but forbidden fruit of paradise. But this is not so. Mysteries revealed by God cannot be harmful to men, nor should they remain as treasures hidden in a field, useless. They have been given from on high precisely to help the spiritual progress of those who study them in a spirit of piety. For, as the Vatican Council teaches, “reason illumined by faith, if it seeks earnestly, piously and wisely, does attain under God, to a certain and most helpful knowledge of mysteries, by considering their analogy with what it knows naturally, and their mutual relations, and their common relations with man’s last end,” although, as the same holy Synod observes, reason, even thus illumined, “is never capable of understanding those mysteries as it does those truths which forms its proper object.” [Sessio III; Const. de fide cath., c. 4.]
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MATTHEW xxii. 15-21
At that time: The Pharisees, going, consulted among themselves how to ensnare him in his speech. And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker and teachest the way of God in truth. Neither carest thou for any man; for thou dost not regard the person of men. Tell us therefore what dost thou think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do ye tempt me, ye hypocrites? Show me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar’s. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.
EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA
CHRYSOSTOM, Ex Opus Imperfectum, Homily 42: Just as when one tries to dam the course of a stream, checked at one point, the current will seek a path elsewhere; so was it with the malice of the Jews. Routed at one point, it breaks out at another. Hence we read:
V. 15. Then the Pharisees, going, consulted among themselves how to ensnare him in his speech.
Going, I say to the Herodians. Plot and plotters were of the same cloth; and so there follows:
V. 16. And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians.
GLOSS: Who, as unknown to Him, might more easily deceive Him, and that through them, they might seize Him; which they dared not of themselves, for fear of the multitude.
JEROME: For Judea had lately become subject to the Romans, under Caesar Augustus, and when the census had been made of the whole (Roman) world, Judea had been made a tributary of Rome. And there was great division among the people; some saying they should pay the tribute, in return for the peace and security the Roman arms conferred on all; the Pharisees, on the contrary, who were full of their own righteousness, contended that the People of God, who were wont to pay tithes and also gave first fruits and other offerings contained in the Law, ought not to be subject to men’s laws. Augustus however had made Herod, the son of Antipater, a foreigner and a proselyte, king of the Jews and entrusted to him the raising of the tribute, subject however to the dominium of Rome. So the Pharisees send their own followers with the Herodians, that is, Herod’s soldiers; whom the Pharisees called Herodians in derision, because they paid tribute to the Romans, and did not give themselves to the worship of God.
CHRYSOSTOM, In Matthew, Homily 71: They therefore send their own disciples with Herod’s soldiers, so that whatever He might say, they could arrest Him. They preferred He should say something against the Herodians; for, afraid to lay hands on Hirn themselves, because of the people, they wished to place Him in danger from this, that He was liable to the tax.
CHRYSOSTOM, Opus Imperfectum: This however is the first pretence of hypocrites: to praise those they desire to ruin. And so they break out in praise, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker. They call him Master, so that, honoured and praised, He might, trustingly, reveal to them the secret of His heart; as though hoping to have them as disciples. GLOSS: There are three ways in which it is possible for someone not to teach the truth: Firstly, the teacher, who may neither know nor love the truth; and against this they say: We know that thou art a true speaker. Secondly, in respect of God: there are those who having lost the fear of God, do not teach the pure truth they have learned; and against this they say: And teachest the way of God in truth, Thirdly, in respect of our neighbour: when out of fear or love of someone they are silent about the truth. And to exclude this they say: Neither carest thou for any man; for thou dost not regard the person of any man.
CHRYSOSTOM, in Matthew, Homily 71: Here they begin to refer covertly to Caesar and Herod. JEROME: This smooth and treacherous questioning was a kind of reminder to the one answering, that he is to fear God rather than Caesar. So they then say:
V. 17. Tell us therefore what thou dost think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
So that if He says the tribute should not be paid, the Herodians hearing Him, would at once detain Him as guilty of sedition against the Roman rule. CHRYSOSTOM, as above: Because they knew that some had suffered death on suspicion of plotting this very thing, they aimed, by means of His own words, to cast a like suspicion on Him. Then follows:
V. 18. But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said: Why do ye tempt me, ye hypocrites?
CHRYSOSTOM, Ex Opus Imperfectum: He did not reply softly, in accord with their own smooth words; but spoke harshly, in accord with their cruel thoughts. For God answers men’s hearts, not their words. JEROME: This is the supreme power of the One answering; that He knows the minds of His questioners, and calls them, not disciples, but tempters. He therefore is called a hypocrite who, being one thing, makes a pretence of being something different.
CHRYSOSTOM, as above: He calls them hypocrites, so that they, seeing He was a Reader of human hearts, might not dare to go on with what they were plotting. See how the Pharisees spoke smooth deceitful words to destroy Him; while Jesus humbles them to save them: for God’s anger is more to man, than man’s favour. JEROME: For wisdom ever acts wisely; since tempters are best confuted with their own words. And so there follows:
V. 19. Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny.
This coin was equivalent to ten sestertii (a shilling), and bore the image of Caesar. So there follows:
V. 20. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this?
Let those who think the Saviour’s question was due, not to design, but to ignorance, learn from this that it was not so: for He would at least have known whose image was on the coin. Then follows:
V.21. They say to him: Caesar’s.
This Caesar was, we believe, not Augustus, but Tiberius; under whom also the Lord suffered. All the Roman kings however were called Caesar, from Caius Caesar, the first to assume supreme authority. Then follows: Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; that is, the coin, tribute or money. HILARY: For if we have nothing of Caesar’s, we shall not, by that circumstance, be bound to render him what is his. But however if we depend on him, if we enjoy the privileges of his rule, we have no ground for complaint, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
CHRYSOSTOM, in Matthew, Homily 71: You however, when you hear the words, Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, understand that he is only speaking of things in which we in no way offend against what is due to piety, for if there should be any such thing, it is not Caesar’s, but the devil’s tribute. Then that they might not say, ‘you are subjecting us to men,’ He goes on: And to God, the things that are God’s. JEROME: That is, tithes, first fruits, offerings and victims; just as the Lord had rendered tribute to Caesar for Peter and Himself (Mt. xvii. 26), and rendered to God what is His, by doing the will of His Father.
HILARY, in Matthew, Canon 23: We are also to render to God things that are God’s: that is, body and soul and will. The coin of Caesar is in gold, on which his image is stamped. But man is God’s coin, on which is the image of God. Therefore, give your money to Caesar; keep for God a blameless conscience.
ORIGEN, in Matthew, Tr. 21: We learn here, from the example of our Saviour, that we ought not, on the grounds of piety, pay heed to things that are spoken of by the many, and which therefore may appear remarkable; but rather to things said in a manner that accords with reason. We may also understand these words figuratively; that we are to give certain things to the body, a tribute to Caesar as it were; that is, necessary things. But the things that relate to the nature of our souls; that is, those that lead to virtue, these we should offer to God.
They therefore who teach the law of God, beyond due measure, and tell us we are to take no thought for the things due to the body, are the Pharisees who forbade that tribute be given to Caesar; that is, forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created. (I Tim. iv 3). They however who think we should indulge the body above what is needful, are the Herodians. But it is the will of our Saviour that virtue should not be endangered by ministering to the body beyond due measure; and that at the same time our bodily nature should not be over-wearied by immoderate straining after virtue.
Or, the prince of this world, that is, the devil is called Caesar: for we cannot render to God the things that are God’s, unless we have first rendered to this prince the things that are his; that is, until we have first put away all malice. And from this present passage of Scripture we learn this also: that in the face of those who tempt us we should neither be wholly silent, not yet answer simply but circumspectly, that we may cut off all contact with those who seek a pretext against us; that we may teach blamelessly the things that can save those who wish to be saved.
JEROME: They who ought to have believed, wondered at this so great wisdom: because their plotting had found no grounds to ensnare Him. So there follows: And hearing this, they wondered and, leaving him, went their way.
ST ANDREW AVELLINO (A.D. 1608)
ST ANDREW AVELLINO was a native of Castronuovo, a small town in the kingdom of Naples, and born in 1521. His parents gave him the name of Lancelot at baptism. He determined to enter the clerical state, and was sent to Naples to study civil and canon law. Being there promoted to the degree of doctor and to the priesthood, he began to practise in the ecclesiastical courts. This employment, however, too much engrossed his thoughts and dissipated his mind; and, having while pleading a cause caught himself in a lie, and reading that same evening the words of Holy Scripture, “The mouth that belieth killeth the soul,” he resolved to give himself up entirely to the spiritual care of souls. This he did, and with such prudence and ability that in 1556 Cardinal Scipio Ribiba entrusted to him the task of trying to reform the nuns of San Arcangelo at Baiano. This convent had an evil reputation, and the efforts of the young priest were ill received both by some of the nuns and certain men who used to visit them. These did not stop short of physical violence, but Don Lancelot’s strivings and willingness to give his life for the good of souls met with little success, for eventually the convent had to be suppressed.
Don Lancelot in the meantime determined to put himself under a rule, and joined the congregation of clerks regular called Theatines, which had been founded at Naples by St Cajetan thirty years before; his novice-master was Bd John Marinoni. Lancelot himself was now thirty-five, and on changing his way of life he also changed his name, to Andrew. He remained in the Theatine house at Naples for fourteen years, his goodness, spiritual fervour and exactness in discipline causing him to be employed as master of novices, and then elected superior. Among those whom he trained was Father Lorenzo Scupoli, author of the Spiritual Combat, who became a clerk regular when he was forty. The fine qualities of St Andrew Avellino and his zeal for a better priesthood were recognized by many reforming prelates in Italy, particularly Cardinal Paul Aresio and St Charles Borromeo. The last-named in 1570 asked the provost general of the Theatines to send St Andrew into Lombardy, where he founded a house of his congregation at Milan and became a close friend and counsellor of St Charles. He then founded another house, at Piacenza, where his preaching converted several noble ladies, induced others to enter the religious life, and generally “turned the city upside down”, so that complaints were made to the Duke of Parma, who sent for him. St Andrew was able to satisfy the duke, and so impressed his wife that she asked him to be her spiritual director. In 1582 St Andrew returned to Naples, and preached with great fruit in the conversion of sinners and the disabusing of the minds of the people of the beginnings of Protestant error which had penetrated even into southern Italy. A number of miraculous happenings are recorded in his life, including the case of a man who denied the real presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This man is said to have gone to Holy Communion out of human respect and fear, but removed the Host from his mouth and wrapped it up in a handkerchief, which he subsequently found stained with blood. In remorse and terror he went to St Andrew, who published the story but refused to divulge the penitent man’s name lest he should be proceeded against for sacrilege.
On November 10, 1608, being in his eighty-eighth year, St Andrew Avellino had an attack of apoplexy just as he was beginning to celebrate Mass, and died that same afternoon. His body was laid out in the crypt of the church of St Paul, where it was visited by large crowds of the faithful, many of whom snipped off locks of his hair to be carried away as relics. In so doing they seem to have made cuts in the skin of his face. The next morning, thirty-six hours after death, these cuts were seen to have exuded blood, and as the body of the saint was still warm it is natural to suppose that he was not really dead. Further incisions were made by physicians, and for another thirty-six hours blood continued to trickle from them. This blood was, of course, carefully kept, and four days later it was seen to be bubbling; in subsequent years it is recorded that, on the anniversary of St Andrew’s death, the solidified blood liquefied, after the manner of that of St Januarius in the same city of Naples. St Andrew was canonized in 1712. During the process the phenomena connected with his blood were proposed as a miracle, but the evidence was regarded as inadequate. Mgr Pamphili (afterwards Pope Innocent X) deposed that a phial of the solid blood in his care failed to liquefy on any occasion. (Butler’s Lives of the Saints)
AND OUR CHILDREN
Planning the Family Activities for Christian Feasts and Seasons
By Mary Reed Newland (1956)
THE WREATH, THE GIFT,
AND THE CANDLE
ADVENT PENANCES, AND A STORY ABOUT A JUGGLER
Next, there is the all-important matter of a birthday gift for the Light of the World. If there are to be gifts for others, there must first be a gift for Him. It is His birthday, not ours; and what kind of birthday is it when all the gifts go to the wrong people? What kind of gift would He like?
There is a story to tell at the beginning of Advent, about someone who had nothing to give. It illustrates best of all for children how the intangible is to God the most tangible, and makes entirely reasonable to them a scale of values one would suppose far over their heads. The story is Le Jongleur de Notre Dame—The Juggler of Our Lady. It is as old as old, but each time it is told it seems more beautiful.
It is about a monk who had no great talents, who could not illuminate manuscripts or write music or sing songs or paint pictures or compose prayers or do any of the dozens of things the other monks were preparing to do in honor of the Mother of God and her newborn Son. So he made his way to the crypt below the main altar of his abbey church, and there before her statue he humbly confessed that he had nothing to give. Unless . . . but of course. He had been a tumbler and a juggler in the world. Long ago. He had been a rather brilliant tumbler and juggler, if the truth were known. Might she like to see him juggle and tumble? She was young and gay. She had laughed and clapped her hands. Surely her Child had. Perhaps he could tumble for them, all alone in secret? That is what he would do: give her the only thing he had to give. He would display his talent for the honor and glory of God and the entertainment of the Queen of Heaven.
So he removed his habit down to his tunic and then he danced.
And he leaped and he tumbled and he juggled in the most inspired fashion until finally he fell in a swoon at the feet of his Lady. And while he lay there limp and wet from his efforts, senseless as though he were dead, she stepped down from her pedestal and tenderly wiped the sweat from his brow and sweetly considered the love he had put into this performance for her and her dear Son’s sake.
And this happened every day.
Now there was another monk there who began to notice that the tumbler came not to Matins and kept watch on him because “he blamed him greatly.” So he followed closely the movements of the tumbler. One day he followed behind him and carefully hid himself in the recesses of the crypt and witnessed the whole performance. So profoundly was he impressed and inspired that he hied himself straight to the abbot, who prayed God would let him too witness this wonder of dancing and juggling for the Mother of God. And he did see not only the dancing and the juggling and the leaping and the capers but also the Queen of Heaven, in the company of angels and archangels, come down and with her own white mantle fan her minstrel and minister to him with much sweetness.
When it came to pass that the abbot made it known to the minstrel that he had been seen—poor minstrel! He fell to his knees to beg forgiveness and plead with them not to send him out from the monastery. Which of course they did not do but held him in high esteem until the day he died; and there about his bedside they saw the Mother of God and the angels of Heaven receive his soul and carry it to everlasting glory.
“Think you now that God would have prized his service if that he had not loved Him? By no means, however much he tumbled . . . . God asks not for gold or for silver but only for true love in the hearts of men, and this one loved God truly. And because of this, God prized his services.”
This, then, is the pattern for the gift: it must be a giving of self.
Our children usually give Him their desserts and treats during Advent except on Sundays, the two feasts, and the two birthdays that we celebrate with special festivities. These days they give Him something else instead. They try to give more willingly than before their bumps and hurts, and (this really hurts) their will in such matters as being first, sitting by the window in the car, licking the bowl, doing the dishes without being asked, or doing homework first instead of last.
No funnies (especially no Sunday funnies) makes a beautiful gift for the funnies and comic-book addicts, and no radio for the radio fans. No TV is an excruciatingly difficult gift to make but more beautiful for its being difficult; and the Christ Child has a way of giving back more than you have given Him.
These gifts of self-denial are not quite so hard when you see that you are accomplishing something. Gift boxes chosen at the beginning of Advent receive a bean for each day of enduring self-denial. On Christmas Eve these are wrapped in gay paper and ribbon and put under the tree to await the feast of Epiphany. Another custom is to make a tiny cradle for the Christ Child; a piece of hay or soft yellow yarn or a shred of finely cut tissue paper for each daily self-denial makes Him a soft bed to lie on. Salt boxes, match boxes, corn-meal boxes, lined and covered with pretty papers, make lovely cradles. Then on Christmas morning, to their great delight, the children find a tiny Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes contentedly lying on this soft bed they have so arduously made for Him.
Going without TV, radio, or these other things, need not be so difficult as it appears to be – not if we make good substitutes for them. It is far more satisfying to make, to do, to act, to sing, yourself, than it is to watch someone else do it. It is a fundamental part of emotional security and self-confidence to know that you are able to do something in your own special way. Many parents worry about the tendency of children to sit vegetating in front of TV sets, becoming by avocation a perpetual audience, but cannot quite discover the secret to shutting off the set and contenting the children without it. Creative activity is one answer. Taking advantage of the great penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, not only to encourage self-denial but also to explore the spiritual meanings of these seasons with creative activities, is almost certain to bear fruit.
Ultimately we must insist on times of quiet, away from the manufactured entertainments of this world, in order to form the habit of recollection. We are supposed to be contemplatives according to the capacity God has given us—which means that we see the world, ourselves, and all that is created, in the right relation to God and that we think on these things often with love. Whether we will end up “contemplatives” in cloisters or as contemplatives who are farmers, writers, bus drivers, policemen, dancers, whatever—in order to grow we must be reaching constantly to God with our minds. We need quiet for the very least of this, for the beginning of meditation. Parents can begin the process for their children with quiet times of creating and conversation together. That is what these conversations are—family meditations. Making a Christ candle during Advent can be such a project and can be, for a child, the beginning of learning how to meditate.
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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