Vol 14 Issue 4 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
January 23, 2021~ Saint Emerentiana, opn!
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Third Sunday after Epiphany
3. Saint Timothy
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
As mentioned last week, we in the United States are now being told by those in our government agencies along with monopolized media that they need to control the information that is being published. I remember being in monasteries and seminaries and archdiocesan libraries in Europe that still had sections under lock and key that contained books on the prohibited list—but as memorials of the past. These books were in previous centuries reserved for those of mature and solid faith who used these sources to present refutations of the errors they contained—and this after years of study in the various sciences of the Catholic Church. It stopped the curious and immature from confusion and doubt, not knowing what was true and blind to the error—and the Church was able to direct—in theological matters (faith and morals)—the subject to finding the truth in solid Catholic books. The Church did not bother with works that did not involve faith and morals (unless to boycott an avid anti-Catholic). It was easier previous to the nineteenth century because neither did the majority of people read nor were books readily available as they are today. This is mentioned lest one look at the Church as hypocritical in addressing the state now censoring information. Since the end of the nineteenth century there was a proliferation of literature that made it impossible for the Church to review all literature and simply reminded Catholics that they should not read immoral works in general and that those touching on faith and morals must have an imprimatur of an Ordinary (bishop of a diocese). Then the 1960’s saw a virtual cessation to books having imprimaturs. Under these circumstances it has been very difficult to demand a rejection of non-Catholic or pseudo Catholic literature which gave rise to everyone and their aunt publishing visions and being private secretaries of Jesus or Mary with a daily message as though they were a greater than a priest—to the Modernists having free reign to publish the New Theology of the Conciliar Church—to laity who never attended a seminary becoming Doctors of the Church making infallible declarations upon their personal faith and morals that even Councils and Popes refused to do. So, even in the Roman Catholic Church the realization is that censorship, to be imposed, can only be obtained when the Church reminds the faithful they are committing a serious sin if they read materials that are opposed to or are dangers to their faith and morals. Why? Because distribution of information is no longer confined to the written book—it has morphed into every available media channel possible to be distributed as broadly as possible: text, email, pdf, chat, blog, podcast, YouTube, etc.
There is not here an advocacy to say it is alright to spread falsehood or baseless rumors, and it is a consequence that falsehood and baseless rumors are easily able to be spread; rather it is on one hand condemning the suppression of Truth while on the other hand reminding Catholics that spreading error is against both the Second and Eighth Commandments—we don’t judge our actions against the U.S. Constitution, but against the Law of God. We are guaranteed the civil right to freedom of speech by the U.S. Constitution and therefore the guaranteed right to tell the truth—but it is a sin to tell lies, to deceive or willingly mislead.
Once more, to counteract the errors, we must read solid Catholic books to be imbued with a sense of what is Catholic and what is not—for without this foundation one is unable to build a faith upon Catholic principles and can be easily swayed by erroneous arguments, personal emotions and pride.
Finally, what is at the heart of these words is that suppression of Truth means that we must have the Truth to pass on to our children presenting it in a way that they will accept it, with God’s grace—and that is first and foremost living our faith. The Church will continue to teach the Truth and administer the Sacraments because Christ guaranteed He will be with the Church until He returns. Marantha. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 16:22; Apoc. 22:20)
As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
The Holy Eucharist is a True Sacrifice
The Sacrifice of the Mass
THE HOLY EUCHARIST AS A SACRIFICE
An Explanation of Holy Mass
The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament and a Sacrifice and as a Sacrifice it is the center of worship in the New Testament. As was quoted in the first section, the holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. Under the appearance of bread and wine, the Lord Jesus Christ is contained, offered and received. (cf. Baltimore Catechism, q. 343) The reception of the Holy Eucharist by consuming the Host (Oblation) gives the recipient the Sacramental graces of the Holy Eucharist. As the author of the work, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, states it:
As sacrament the Eucharist under the visible forms of bread and wine contains the Body and Blood of Christ, and when we receive it we receive those invisible graces that make our souls share the life of God. Considered as a sacrifice, however, the Eucharist is an offering made to God of something that is eminently valuable, as a sign of God’s supremacy over us and the world. (12)
It must be stressed that the Holy Eucharist cannot be a Sacrament unless it is a Sacrifice, but it is only a Sacrifice if it is a Sacrament. Though one may consider both aspects independently, the separation cannot be any different than considering two sides of a coin—there is nothing unless you have both sides even though you describe each side separately. Therefore, in first considering the Sacrificial component, there is no denial of it being a Sacrament—but always, too, the Sacrament is the participation in the Sacrificial component.
The Catholic, having reached the age of discretion (7 years) is bound to assist at Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Therefore, it is appropriate to spend some time on answering the question, What is Holy Mass? Though this will be far from a complete outline of all the points, it should assist one in reflecting on the great event that unfolds each time one assists at Holy Mass—where one is not simply a spectator, but actually participates. This is why it is so important for one to understand what is happening so one can more fully participate. This is not in a false sense that one must be doing something to be a participant other than knowing what is happening and joining in the offering of the Sacrifice in heart, mind and soul. Many Conciliar Catholics feel left out because they are told they are to participate but find themselves in the benches watching and ignored because their sense of active participation is interpreted as physical activity, doing something active like shouting and dancing and passing out the bread. But the Catholic sense is that one makes it their sacrifice by both uniting with the priest in will to offer a sacrifice acceptable to God the Father as expressed in the Orate, fratres. The priest says to the faithful: Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may become acceptable to God the Father Almighty. The altar server replies for the faithful: May the Lord accept this sacrifice from your hands to the praise and glory of His name for our advantage, and that of all His holy Church. Because it is the Sacrifice of all the Church, everyone worthy then expresses it is their sacrifice by receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ at the Sacred Banquet that shows the Sacrifice and they are one. Such should be the sentiments of those privileged to be present and the following explanations will bring this to light. The whole context of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist points to this reality.
As Laux writes: Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist, not only in order to be with us always under the sacramental species, but also in order to offer Himself for us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Laux, 49)
Sacrifice is the combining of two Latin words, sacer, which means sacred, and facere, which means to make, giving one the meaning of to make sacred. This describes when something is consecrated and then offered to God.
Sacrifice has existed always and everywhere among mankind. Amongst the Indians (India), the Vedics had the most extensive sacrificial rituals that allowed them to influence the gods in their favor when offering the sacrifice. The Hindus further developed it into temple worship with praise and piety even though mixed with superstition. The Persians, in the attempt to obtain power over evil offered sacrifice to their god, Ahura Mazda. The Greeks and Romans offered sacrifices for favors from their gods or appease them in natural disasters. The Chinese offered sacrifice through their Emperor who alone had direct contact with heaven and was further centralized through the teachings of Confucius. Even Buddhists in China honored this system. The Egyptians built temples where only Pharaoh and the priests were allowed to enter to perform strictly regulated sacrificial rites at first to the god Ammon-Ra and then to adding animal worship. In Babylon and Assyria the king was the high priest, who, with those of a priestly caste offered worship to the gods and ate of the sacrifices in a sacrificial banquet. The Canaanites built temples and altars on high hills and sacrificed little children to their god Moloch in appeasement (living very immoral lives their fear of justice seemingly drove them to greater immorality in worship). The Phoenicians were perhaps even more immoral, and their human sacrifices expressed the degradation of their lives of cruelty and sensuality. [It is hypothesized that lost Phoenician sailors brought both the concept of pyramids and human sacrifice to the Mayans and Aztecs] One may gather that the concept of sacrifice from obtaining favor to appeasing wrath determined the sacrifice offered. It also distinguishes the sacrifices of the pagans from that of the believers in the true God.
In Sacred Scripture one reads that God accepts only certain sacrifices and forbids others as seen in the sacrifices of Abel, Noah, Abraham and the descendants of Abraham: Isaac, Jacob and the Israelites. Under Moses the sacrifices are ordered as found in the Book of Leviticus:
The Book of Leviticus prescribes the types and the ritual of the Jewish sacrifices. In general, there were two kinds: (1) bloody, or slain offerings, and (2) unbloody, or meat and drink offerings. According to the reasons for offering the sacrifices, they were divided into: (1) holocausts, or burnt offerings—a lamb officially sacrificed twice daily, and others offered on particular occasions, such as childbirth, cure of leprosy, etc.; (2) peace offerings—voluntary sacrifices made out of love of God; (3) sin offerings—made in atonement for certain national transgressions and on the principal feasts of the year; (4) trespass offerings – made in atonement for individual faults. (Confraternity, 4)
The author of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues in giving six marks of a true sacrifice as follows:
First, an external, visible sign, united to internal devotion.
In the Old Testament these visible signs, or objects of sacrifice, were lambs, goats, doves, oil, bread, salt, wine and other articles. God willed that men should offer such things to Him in order that the external sacrifice might lift their hearts to Him. By offering a visible sacrifice, we serve God with our body as well as with heart and soul and mind. The strength and skill of the body are gifts from God. The fruits of the earth are also gifts from God. It is therefore logical that, in serving God, we employ the whole of our nature and environment.
During the Babylonian captivity, Azarias cried out, longing to make sacrifice to God for deliverance of his people: “Neither is there at this time prince, or leader, or prophet, or holocaust, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place of first fruits before Thee, that we might find Thy mercy” (Daniel 3:38, 39). However, Azarias continued: “Nevertheless in a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be accepted . . .”; thus indicating that, without internal devotion, the external offering is worthless.
The second mark of a true sacrifice is that it must be offered to God alone. Honor is shown to God in many ways, as by genuflecting, bowing and prostrating. But such actions are also offered to men in high offices. Sacrifice, however, cannot be made to any creature. We cannot offer sacrifice to the angels, to the most beloved, and honored saints, not even to the Blessed Virgin, who is the Mother of God. It is an act reserved for God alone. When we sacrifice, we acknowledge that the one to whom we sacrifice is divine. Hence if, through sacrifice, we impute divinity to a creature, we commit the sin of idolatry. Moses said: “He that sacrificeth to gods, shall be put to death, save only to the lord” (Exodus 22:20).
The third mark of true sacrifice is that it must be offered in acknowledgment that God is the highest authority, and in profession of our complete submission to Him. Ordinary eating of food for purposes of health or life has no value before God. But when food is consumed as a sign of worship of God,’ from a contrite heart which acknowledges Him as our Creator, our Preserver and our Redeemer, and in expression of our submission to Him, then it becomes filled with merit for our salvation and is, a true sacrifice.
The fourth mark of a true sacrifice is that it must be offered by a priest and presented by him to God for and in the name of the people. Even peoples who had only natural religions that is, all except the Jews and the Christians – had a priesthood, the essential idea of which was someone in authority who alone had the power to offer sacrifice. Sometimes in early days, this person was the lord of the household or head of the family or tribe. Moses ordained that only those of the blood of Aaron could hold priestly positions. We have already mentioned the priesthood of the pagan rites. All agreed that a gift placed on the altar by an individual not a priest would not be a sacrifice.
The fifth essential of a true sacrifice is the purification of the victim through prescribed external ceremonies as a—preparation before the offering. Before this preparation, the offering is of time and of the earth, and for the use of man. After these ceremonies it becomes “a pure ob1ation, unsullied, consecrated and belonging to God.” The Old Testament priest took the bread or the blood of the victim in his hands, lifted it to heaven, and then put it on the altar with certain prescribed ceremonies before the sacrifice itself.
The sixth, and last, essential of a true sacrifice is that the victim offered must be partially or entirely destroyed. Every act of adoration expresses the thought that God is the First Source and the Final End of all things. This sentiment is represented visibly when the offering is destroyed upon its presentation to God. In the Old Law, the animal offered was burned to ashes; the blood and wine of the sacrifice were poured on the ground; food offerings were eaten. In a commemorative sacrifice, such as the Sacrifice of the Mass, the destruction, while not real, is really symbolical.
God had two reasons for commanding destruction of the victim: First, the destruction prefigured, or pointed out ahead of time, the central and most important Sacrifice, that of Calvary, wherein Jesus Christ was to offer, to be destroyed, His human life for our salvation. The second reason for the destruction of the victim was that man might show thereby that he leaned entirely upon God and submitted himself completely to God’s will. (5-7)
(To be continued)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
Matthew viii: 1-13
At that time: When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him: and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: see thou tell no man: but go, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when He had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled: and said to them that followed Him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the west and the east, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.
ORIGEN, PRIEST AND CONFESSOR
The Healing of the Leper
And when He was come down from the mountain. When Jesus was teaching on the mountain top His disciples were with Him; to whom it was given to know the secrets of His heavenly doctrine, through which the heart of the insensate world would be seasoned by the knowledge of salvation, and by means of which the eyes of the blind, obscured by the shadows of earthly indulgence, would open to the light of Truth. Hence the Lord says to us: you are the salt of the earth. You are the Light of the world (Mt. v. 13, 14). And now coming down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
They could in no way ascend the mountain because, they upon whom the burthen of sin lies heavily, unless they cast off their load, are wholly unable to ascend to the heights of the divine mysteries. So neither, long ago, could the Children of Israel go up the mountain and behold the Face of the Lord, for they were hampered by the burthen of the manner of life which they had learned in Egypt, so Moses alone ascended, and with him a few among the Elders of Israel. Accordingly, as the Apostles ascended the mountain with the Lord, so now do faithful souls that fear God, that love God, desiring His heavenly kingdom, and forever following after the Lord, go up after Him unto the heavenly mountain, hearing the Apostle saying: Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth (Col. iii. 2).
The Lord coming down, that is, stooping down to the infirmity and helplessness of the others, and merciful towards their weakness and misery, the multitudes followed Him; some, because they loved Him, many because of His doctrine, and not a few because of His healing and compassion. And behold a leper, one of those who sought to be cured, who longed for deliverance, came and adored Him, saying:Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Running to Him as He comes down you beg Him, O Man; but on the mountain you spoke not? Why is this? Because all things have their season (Ecclus. iii): a time for teaching, and a time for healing. On the mountain He taught, He enlightened, He cured souls, He healed hearts. Because of these greater things, I was reluctant to speak. I stood aside for these supreme things.
Having completed these tasks, He comes down from the heavenly mountain to heal all flesh, and there comes to Him a man, a leper, adoring Him. Before he makes his petition he begins by adoring Him; before he begs, he renders homage. He adored Him. By this action, addressing Him as Lord and God, he adored Him. As those blessed Magi first kneeling down adored Him, and then offered their gifts, so in like manner this man, falling down, adored Him, and in this way presented his petition, saying: Lord, thou who art fittingly adored and rightfully served, I adore Thee as Lord, and so as Lord I call upon Thee, confessing Thy works. By Thee are all things made, Thou, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. Thou hast willed that this unclean leprosy should come upon me, either because of my sins, that being chastised I may do penance, or because of Thy Providence, that miraculously healing me, Thou mayest be glorified. All things are done by Thy command and disposition, and Thou givest health abundantly. Therefore, whether I am afflicted with this leprosy because of my sins, wiping out my sins, heal me: or, whether because of Thy Providence, miraculously heal me, that Thou mayest be glorified before men.
Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. There is need here of Thy will, because creatures obey only Thy will, and so if Thou will Thou canst make me clean. I do not falter doubting, nor do I speak as he who besought the healing of his son: if thou canst do anything help us (Mk. ix. 21). But I know that Thou canst do all things, and here I petition not Thy power, nor seek Thy might. Men I know are weak, but I implore Thy will, and the power that follows it will immediately perform this grace for me
Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. To me the gain, to Thee the praise; to all who behold Thy wonder an increase in knowledge of the truth.
Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. Thou Who by Thy servant Eliseus didst cleanse of leprosy Naaman, the prince of Syria, bidding him wash in the Jordan, now, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.
To whom in reply the Lord says: Believing, you confess that I can, and that if I will it comes to pass; accordingly, I will: be thou made clean. Wondrously hast thou believed, and wondrously art thou healed; without measure thou hast confessed, without measure art thou made joyful. I will: be thou made clean. You faltered not in believing: I am quick to heal. You delayed not to confess your faith: I delay not to cleanse thee. I will: be thou made clean. That I may show thee great favour, I stretch forth my Hand to thee; and stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will: be thou made clean.
And why did He touch him, since the Law forbade the touching of a leper? For this did He touch, that He might show that all things are clean to the clean (Tit. i. 15). Because the filth that is in one person adheres not to others; neither does external uncleanness defile the clean of heart. But wherefore, in this circumstance, does He touch him? That He might instruct us in humility; that He might teach us that we should despise no one, or abhor them, or regard them as pitiable, because of some wound of their body, some blemish that is sent by God, for which it is He that will give reason, and render an account. I am the heavenly physician, He says, I can cure bodies as well as souls. And so I touch all, not that their infirmities may adhere to me, but that I may drive them from those who are afflicted. For I am the Incomparable Sun and the Moon of Justice. And so I draw nigh to all, and I shine in all my splendour unto their salvation. I am as I was, and I abide in the beauty of My own singular holiness.
Stretching forth His hand, He touched him. I do not despise the Law, but I cure the wound. I do not dissolve the precept, but I banish and cleanse this leprosy. And so when I stretch forth My Hand, it goes away; nor can its taint come near my perfection, nor resist my power. I say therefore: I will: be thou made clean, and stretching forth His hand to touch, the leprosy immediately departs, and the Hand of the Lord is found to have touched, not a leper, but a body made clean!
Let us consider here, beloved Brethren, if there be anyone that has the taint of leprosy in his soul, or the contamination of guilt in his heart? If he has, instantly adoring God, let him say to Him: Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean. Thou hast long ago cleansed Naaman who committed many crimes, and Thou hast had compassion throughout the ages on an immeasurable number of others who have besought Thee. Thou, therefore, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And the Lord, swiftly stretching forth the hand of His mercy, will say: I will: be thou made clean, as Jesus says it to the one He cleansed of leprosy.
The Lord had compassion on this man who believed in Him, who trusted in His power. To him Jesus said: thou hast believed, you are healed; thou hast hoped, you are made clean. Forget not what you were, nor what you are now made into. Cease not to give thanks, nor cease to confess the Lord. Beloved, this also we must do, as often as He has delivered us from some peril, or comforted us in some grief, or infirmity, or sickness, or from any extremity whatsoever. Let us not be ungrateful, nor forgetful of our Benefactor, but speedily render Him thanks; and let us offer a gift according to our means, to shew Him honour. For this also the Lord commands.
But go, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. Jesus therefore saith to him: see thou tell no man. And wherefore, Lord, will he tell no one? Because of My humility, because of My hidden sweetness. And you, let this be a lesson unto you, whenever you do anything of good, do not seek to be honoured for it before men, to be extolled, to be foolishly pleased, as is the way with so many when they do a little good, or have fasted, or given an alms to the poor, or a gift in honour of an altar or in honour of the saints. For these seek to be glorified before men, and to please themselves, losing their reward with God. See thou tell no man; but though thou be silent, this deed will most wondrously cry out. Though thou open not thy mouth, every member of thy body will be exultant; yesterday unclean, today clean; but a little while ago, repulsive; now, most pleasing.
See thou tell no man, but go, shew thyself to the priest. For as you go walking to the temple, all who see thee will be astonished, and the priest beholding thee will feel a sense of dread, since, according to the Law, once, and yet a second time, you were shut up by him, and then showing thyself it was found that you could not be made clean. Go, therefore, show thyself to the priest, that seeing you he may know that you were made clean, not through the observances of the Law, but by the operation of grace; not by the shadow that is the earthly priest, but by the heavenly splendour of the High Priest.
Go, shew thyself to the priest. Sent by the High Priest, show thyself to the priest, cleansed as thou art by the High Priest of God the Father. But be not seen in the presence of God, nor come not before the High Priest, with empty hands. Come not into the midst of the holy temple without fruit, but offer a gift. This that was spoken to him, is said to us all, and admonishes us that we hold not our gifts and our possessions to ourselves; but use them to give thanks: especially when delivered from some tribulation.
Offer, He says, thy gift. And wherefore? That all who see thee bearing it, and offering it, may believe in this wonder; and may give thanks to God who has had compassion on you; and to the unbelieving let it be a reproach and a testimony of the hardness of their hearts. So likewise the man lying for eight and twenty years in infirmity, raising him up from his sickness, He bids him take up his bed and go into his house (Mk. ii. II), so that the bed, being borne by him through the city, would proclaim the wonder; making known and praising Him that had healed him. So did He send the blind man to the pool of Siloe, so that others, seeing the blind man walking there, and returning cured, being struck with wonder, would believe in Him that wrought such signs and wonders, Who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.
St. Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
1. On the day before the feast of St. Paul’s Conversion, the Church focuses our attention on the Apostle’s favorite disciple and faithful co-worker, St. Timothy. He came from Lystra (cf. Acts 16: 1); his mother was Jewish, while his father was a Greek. St. Paul took him as companion on his second missionary journey and entrusted to him some important missions. Toward the end of his career, the Apostle appointed him as his representative in Ephesus; but, shortly before his death, he begged Timothy to come to him in Rome. Later, he returned, as bishop, to Ephesus and was martyred there, about the year 97. The Bible contains two letters of St. Paul to Timothy.
2. The youthful Timothy was so deeply impressed by St. Paul’s preaching in Lystra that he left father and mother to join him; he thus became the Apostle’s “faithful and dearly loved son in the Lord” (I Cor. 4:17) and his “own son in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2). A trusted companion in missionary work, Timothy attended his teacher in chains at Rome. St. Paul wrote from prison: “Others think only of themselves, not of the interests of Jesus Christ. You (in Philippi) know how Timothy has proved himself: he has helped me in the service of the Gospel as a son his father” (cf. Phil. 2:21). Again, when Paul was imprisoned the second time, Timothy hastened to him from Ephesus to offer his services. for Paul knew that his death would soon be demanded. To further the interests of Christ and His Church, to serve the Gospel, Timothy joyfully assumed the labors and sacrifices of missionary life; he was happy to be privileged to give his life for Christ. He was a true disciple, and he fought the good fight for the Faith.
“The love of money is a root . . . from which evil springs, and there are those who have wandered away from the faith by making it their ambition . . . . It is for thee, servant of God, to shun all this; to aim at right living, holiness, and faith, and love, and endurance, and kind forbearance. Fight the good fight of faith, lay thy grasp on eternal life, that life thou wert called to, when thou didst assert the great claim before so many witnesses” (I Tim. 6: 10 ff., cf. Epistle). This is a magnificent profession of faith as Timothy exemplified it in his baptism, in his activities as bishop, in his collaboration with Paul, in his Christian living, and in his sufferings for Christ. These words of St. Paul are addressed to us today, and they constitute an excellent norm for our thinking, our actions, our renunciations.
3. The Church wants us to recognize ourselves in St. Timothy. The words of the Gospel apply to us: “If any man comes to me, without hating his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yes, and his own life too, he can be no disciple of mine” (Gospel). It should be noted that when our Lord speaks of hating our relatives, He means that we may not prefer them to Himself. Christ knows no compromise and Timothy grasped the depth, the seriousness, and the implications of His words. We ought to take them seriously, too, as did St. Paul and St. Timothy.
“A man cannot be my disciple unless he takes up his own cross and follows after me” (Gospel). That is the path for the Christian. Timothy walked on it. Do we?
Collect: Have regard to our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds lies heavy upon us, let the intercession of Thy blessed martyr bishop Timothy, now in heaven, protect us, Amen.
A MOTHER’S LETTERS
A Book for Young Women
FATHER ALEXANDER , O.F.M.
A “REAL” WOMAN
SOMEONE has said that ruin awaits all who refuse themselves nothing, and I think, dearest, you are now sufficiently instructed to see its truth. Ruin of health awaits those who pamper their bodies and refuse nothing to the senses, which are always clamouring for all-round satisfaction.
Many, on the plea that they are simply doing what is” natural”—i.e., what nature seeks—literally waste away from the face of the earth. If that were all, it were little, but at the same time they ruin the immortal soul, which is dragged to death at the heels of sinful gratification. Even that is not all, for if natural cravings are wrongly satisfied, children yet unborn may suffer through the debility of her whom they will call “mother.” Social ruin overtakes those who refuse themselves nothing in dress and amusements, who run recklessly into debt, and so expose themselves to temptations to cheat, to thieve, or to lead a profligate life.
If married, they are sometimes responsible for the estrangement of their husbands, the penalizing of the children, and the ultimate breaking-up of the home. As nothing is more insidious and at the same time more infectious than the evils I have named, I beg of you, dearest, to practise self-denial at all hazards. Do keep your expenditure on dress and innocent pleasures much within your income, for she who runs into debt is the veriest of slaves. Once a woman gets on this downward grade she seldom or never escapes, and, if married, she hands on her chains—as a legacy—to her children. I have known the best of husbands to become soured, discouraged, and despairing because of the thriftless, reckless, spendthrift habits of their wives. Although not always caused by “drink,” it almost invariably leads to it, through sheer despair of escaping from the manacles forged by themselves. In courtship, I can quite conceive that the love of a really fine young fellow may be lost if he finds his sweetheart to be an empty-headed, reckless spendthrift.
This is worthy of serious thought also from the moral point of view, for one may be spendthrift of grace as well as of money, and while a young man of shady character may exult in a girl’s expenditure (or abandonment) of modesty, reserve, self-respect, religiousmindedness, a youth who comes from a really good home, and who, therefore, has high ideals of what a woman ought to be, will be very much scandalized. He who has had a sensible mother, and has been reared side by side with modest sisters, goes into the world with the highest possible estimate of womanly virtue, for he naturally thinks that all the members of our sex are like those he met at home. What a pity to think that the first to undeceive him may be the young woman with whom he walks out!
Even if a youth came from a family of quite another stamp there is every reason to believe that if his sweetheart acted with becoming reserve and modesty, she would mould him to goodness, and fill him with respect for her and the other members of her sex. So strongly am I convinced of this, that when I hear of a fall I instinctively blame the girl, for it seems to me that if she acted in conformity with the innate modesty of her sex, listened to the counsels of her elders, remembered the instructions given at school, from the pulpit and in the Confessional, profited by the mistakes made by others, she would resolutely have withstood all attempts on her virtue. As a rule, all the evil is put down to the sharer in her guilt, but I hold that the lion’s share falls to the girl. Hence it is that her social punishment is the heavier.
At the present time the outcry against this is very loud indeed. It is regarded as an injustice. I must say that I cannot join in the cry, for our dignity as women would be much surer of being upheld if we clamoured more for a higher standard of prudence and modesty in our girls than for the meting out of equal punishment to men. The crying evils against the holy virtue of purity can be remedied only by greater circumspection on the part of women. If they claim the right to be on the level of men in this respect, it will mean a considerable descent for womankind—for men, by nature, are not as modest as women. It is for women to raise the standard of modesty and to draw men upward by the spectacle of its beauty, and the evidence of its magnetic power in fostering mutual respect and in forming honourable homes.
These reflections show the wisdom of the Church in urging women to look to the modesty of their dress and to cultivate prudence and self-respect. Far from wishing them to be prudish or straitlaced, she desires them to be perfectly natural, and, therefore, never ceases to put before them the example of Our Blessed Lady and the great women-saints and to implore them to model their lives on theirs. The girl who listens to the Church will be what God intended her to be—womanly. She who disdains to listen will be “mannish”—and a mannish woman is an abomination in the eyes of God and men. Men, of course, will pretend to admire, but in their hearts they cannot love mannish women any more than women can love womanish men. Our hearts go out to those of the other sex who distinguish themselves as men. How our hearts dilate as we say: “Ah! There’s a man!” Even so, the hearts of men—of good men—are very full when, discerning true womanly qualities of head and heart, they cry: “Ah! There’s a woman indeed!“
Look out on life, then, dearest, not through glasses borrowed from men, but through your own womanly eyes, for if you ape men, either in thought, word, or deed, you will fail in your mission as a woman. Men want your views—not their own dished up and served out in ape-like fashion.
The craze to be the “equal” of man is one of the most insidious evils of the present time. How men must smile at the idea! How God must reprobate it! Let us recognize that our only way to be the equal of man is to do such strenuous work, within the limits of our womanly nature, as he does within the limits of his powers. If we compete with him as if we were men, we shall go to the wall. This is being verified at the present hour by the abnormal increase of womanly diseases, due to overstrain—especially during those periods when women, physically and mentally, have absolute need of rest. There is no need to argue the question of “equality.” We have only to look at the splendid institutions, within the Church, run by women to find ample proof of woman’s capacity as woman. Think of the admirable Training Colleges for Teachers, our Convents for the relief of the aged poor and orphans, the Reformatories and Industrial Schools—all managed by Nuns—and you will be more than satisfied that women can be the equals of men in many departments. In some things they should be superior to men—i.e., in modesty, meekness, patience, long-suffering, fidelity, docility, gentleness—but alas! only the few think the matter out on these lines.
In married life, by God’s decree, the husband is the head of the wife, and this should be seriously taken to heart by every girl who contemplates Matrimony. If it were pondered over in all its details it would save her from that awful curse—a Mixed Marriage. If, in the past, Mixed Marriages were surrounded with dangers, those dangers are now increased beyond all powers of calculation or description. The loose ideas of non-Catholics with regard to sexual morality, the prevalence of means to frustrate God’s designs in the propagation of the race, the new-fangled facilities for divorce, the growing hatred of the non-Catholic world for definite religious instruction in schools, should make a Catholic girl fear and dread to contract such a marriage, no matter how loudly the non-Catholic young man may profess that he will respect her “convictions.” A Catholic girl worthy of the name should have the humility and docility to listen to the warnings of the Church, as voiced through her approved teachers. If she does not make a sacrifice of her own views she will live to regret her obstinacy-which God forbid! The views of a Catholic girl should be those of the Church which, throughout all the ages, has ever been the champion of the rights of her sex. Women’s real rights are now in danger. Let all Catholic women rally to the Cross, prepared to sacrifice even their lives rather than endanger their virtue or their faith. Let them learn how to use their vote and throw in all their weight on behalf of truth, justice, and purity.
Father Krier will be in Albuquerque (Saint Joseph Cupertino Chapel) January 25. He will be in Pahrump (Our Lady of the Snows Mission) February 11.
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