Catholic Tradition Newsletter C8: Holy Eucharist, First Sunday of Lent, Saint Severian, Family

Vol 14 Issue 8 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
February 20, 2021 ~ Lenten Feria

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      First Sunday in Lent
3.      Saint Severian
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices
Dear Reader:

During Lent Holy Mother Church turns toward the thought of Penance, and this includes the Sacrament of Penance and therefore the Preparation for the Sacrament of Penance which starts with an examination of conscience. I mentioned in previous Newsletters (Issues C1 and C6) the importance of the Second and Third Commandments—and as this was the topic last week in my sermon it might be well to provide a comment, especially as a reader raised the question regarding my words and the laxity of observing the Third Commandment. First, let us look at the Third Commandment in its entirety:

Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy works; but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; thou shalt do no work on it, neither thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and the sea and all things that are within them, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and sanctified it (Exodus 20. 8-11; cf. Deut. 5:12ff.).

As there is not a discussion here of the ceremonial aspects pertaining the Old Testament observance, I will stay with this passage from Exodus. There are three parts: (1) Work, (2) Rest, (3) Worship. To have any meaning separate from Saturday Idleness as Orthodox Jews and some Christian sects promote, all three must be incorporated to also justify that we as Catholics observe this Third Commandment on the first day of the week. Therefore, the observance of the Rest is not unless one is working the remaining six days. Therefore work is imposed on all. As all must work the six days, all must cease to work on the day assigned to rest established by the forbidding of the means of work: man-servant or maid-servant, beast of burden, stranger. By removing the means of work, one cannot work—in the servile realm of work—because of its impossibility without assistance. The command that the means (assistance) is to also rest is because of the reason of rest: to sanctify the day. All of God’s creation is to accomplish this because only in so doing is God acknowledged as Creator.  All creation is to accomplish this because all creation (physical) was created to serve man in helping him obtain his rest in heaven and it does not do this if it is not resting on the day of rest because man is not resting—therefore man is not acknowledging God as Creator giving man six days to work for the end to rest (on the Sabbath and in Heaven). But the rest has no significance unless on that day worship is given to God. The true and proper meaning, therefore, of this commandment tends to this, that we take special care to set apart some fixed time, when, disengaged from bodily labour, and undisturbed by worldly cares, we may devote our whole being, soul and body, to the religious worship of God. (Roman Catechism, III, 4) Work obligation takes one away from Worship obligation—and why God made it a direct command.

The Hebrews, at the time of Our Lord, made the Sabbath a control over the people—not the day it was intended: liberty, joy, rest, worship. The Church properly sees this day in light of the restoration of all things as the heavenly Father intended and sees in the example and words of Christ Jesus the understanding that imposes cessation of labor, but not charity; the cessation of material gain, but not personal enrichment; the cessation of suffering but not joy. The twelfth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel presents Christ showing, as Lord of the Sabbath, that it is lawful to do a good deed on the sabbath days.” [Matt. 12:12] And Mark’s Gospel mirroring the same teaching, taking the conclusion Christ gave: The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. (Mark 2:27) The Church has understood that that which, therefore, allows man to keep the Sabbath (the Lord’s Day) as a day of rest and worship, a day of enjoyment and personal enrichment (mind and soul) is allowed.

This means those works that are of hospitality, of entertainment, recreation and such like may be engaged in. Yet, those engaged must take a day of rest, must give worship because there is no excuse—and this is seen by the imposition of “a day off” which must be, in justice, spent as a day of rest and, if Sunday worship was not possible, a day of worship coupled with the day off.

Included in what is forbidden on the Lord’s Day is, as the Baltimore Catechism instructs, public buying and selling, markets and fairs, and also the conducting of court. (Cf. Q. 240 ff.)

Making reference to Our Lady of La Salette, the indifference toward the Second and Third Commandments was the cause of God’s chastisement (just as was often seen in the Old Testament). In a secular society bent on desecrating all that is holy the observance of the Lord’s Day is non-existent. This does not mean that Catholics may ignore the Commandment—rather it means that the commandment should be all the more stringently observed (not in a pharisaical manner, but in its spirit put into practice). To excuse oneself without serious reason is to violate the spirit of the Lord’s Day though it might not violate the letter (i.e., a mortal sin). Therefore, as I said in the beginning of this year, there is no excuse to go shopping on Sunday, to seek employment on Sunday, to do what should have been done during the week—home maintenance projects—on Sunday (the secular world providentially gave the five day work week so on Saturday these projects could be done). If one does not have an absolute necessity to buy something on Sunday, one should not—but one may buy that which allows one to enjoy Sunday (unless it could have been purchased on another day). So, one can go to a restaurant to eat, an ice-cream shop for an ice-cream, the gas station for fuel while traveling, tickets to a museum, etc. But grocery shopping, department store shopping, online shopping, etc. are all breaking this commandment. Cooking Sunday dinner does not, but cooking for the week does. This is why I mentioned that if one is offending in this area, the resolution not to ought to be made—because one has fallen into breaking the Third Commandment and must overcome the sin—and it must be recognized as a sin.

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

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WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST

By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

II

The Holy Eucharist is a True Sacrifice

The Sacrifice of the Mass

THE HOLY EUCHARIST AS A SACRIFICE

An Explanation of Holy Mass

Ceremonies of Holy Mass

10. The Altar clothes or altar table coverings: There are three required altar clothes, the top with lace hangs over the edges of the side to the floor, the other two only cover the mensa or altar top. If no ceremonies are happening, there is usually another felt covering over them, called the vesperale (evening) that only has the practical usage of keeping the dust off the altar.  The three clothes are representative of the clothes that covered the dead corpse of Christ while It laid in the tomb.

They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. . . And when he [John] stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in . . . . Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. (John 19:40, 20:5-7)

It is a praiseworthy custom, to which we would urge our pious women, to procure linen and make corporals, palls, purificators, and altar cloths for use at the celebration of the Mass. If we would have deemed it a privilege and a blessing to have been among those who wrapped the dead Body of Christ in linen cloths and laid Him in the tomb, how much greater the honor, and how consoling, to make with our hands the sacred linens upon which His living Body and Blood rests during the Mass. (Smyth, 7)

11. The antependium, a cloth that hangs in front of the altar and is required if the altar is bare, such as plain stone, brick or wood, or is supported only on the sides. If the frontal is decorated it need not be covered. The color of the antependium corresponds to the color of the vestments of the Mass offered. It is figurative of the stone covering the tomb: And he [Joseph of Arimathea] rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. (Matt. 27:60; Mark 15:46)

12. The credence table is placed on the epistle side to hold the cruetslavabo bowlfinger towelCommunion paten and, during a Solemn Mass, the Chalice. This reminds one of the passage of the Passion: Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. (John 19:29)

13. The cruets hold the water and wine to be used for the Mass. They are usually made of glass so the priest may easily distinguish which is wine and which is water. Sometimes another pitcher of water and basin and towel are also used to wash the hands when the priest blesses, for instance, the ashes for Ash Wednesday. With the cruets there is a small basin or bowl (finger bowl) to wash the fingers of the priest during the Lavabo along with a small cloth (finger towel). Here is brought to mind the scene: And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. (Matt. 27:24)

14. Bells are seemingly a replacement for cymbals, but bells also as combined. First, one reads the Hallel (Praise) Psalm 150 v. 5: Praise him on high sounding cymbals: praise him on cymbals of joy: let every spirit praise the Lord. Alleluia. The bells are a sound of joy and are rang during the Gloria on  Holy Thursday as joy for the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, then silenced for the Passion and Death of Christ—when wooden clackers are used—and then rang again for Gloria of the Easter Vigil at the joy of the Resurrection. It is rung at the Sanctus in praise of Christ coming:

So when they all sounded together, both with trumpets, and voice, and cymbals, and organs, and with divers kind of musical instruments, and lifted up their voice on high: the sound was heard afar off, so that when they began to praise the Lord, and to say: Give glory to the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever: the house of God was filled with a cloud. (2 Paral. 5:13)

It is rung to announce the Consecration, a sign of Christ’s presence: And all Israel brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord with joyful shouting, and sounding with the sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and cymbals, and psalteries, and harps. (1 Paral. 15:28) The bell or bells are rung on festivities in a longer peel for the joy of the occasion. Here it replaces the cymbals.

But the bells are also used to announce moments in the Liturgy, reminding one of the little bells attached to the garment of the high priest: And little bells of the purest gold, which they put between the pomegranates at the bottom of the tunick round about; to wit, a bell of gold, and a pomegranate, wherewith the high priest went adorned, when he discharged his ministry, as the Lord had commanded Moses. (Exod. 39:23-24; cf. Ecclus. 45:10)

The general practice is given by Carroll Smyth:

The altar bell is rung when the priest spreads his hands over the bread and wine, just as it was each time the priest pronounced the words, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. This is to give notice to the people that the awful and mysterious moment of the Consecration is at hand, and it is rung again during the Elevation to call us to an act of adoration, and finally, before the Communion of the priest, it is rung to notify those who wish to receive Holy Communion to approach the altar rail. (34-35)

15. Aspergil, filled with holy water, and sprinkler. The Asperges meThou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow (Ps. 50:9) gives this its name. The priest, before High Mass, sprinkles the congregation—as also on the Easter Vigil—to remind them of their baptism that washed away their sins and that they should be cleansed through repentance as they are about to enter the holy of holies (Mass).

16. The Communion rail or communion bench or altar rail separates the sanctuary from the rest of the Church. Heaven is separated from earth, eternity from time. The faithful, unless they are serving Mass, are not to enter the sanctuary during the Divine Liturgy (except the Sacrament of Marriage—in which to signify the two are joined together by God is performed in the sanctuary) It is also where the laity come up to receive Communion so it is symbolic of the banquet table where all are invited to the wedding feast (cf. Matt. 22:1ff)

17. Usually two angel figures are placed on or near the altar to show the presence of God:

And they shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in the midst of them: According to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee, and of all the vessels for the service thereof: and thus you shall make it . . .Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle. Let one cherub be on the one side, and the other on the other. Let them cover both sides of the propitiatory, spreading their wings, and covering the oracle, and let them look one towards the other, their faces being turned towards the propitiatory wherewith the ark is to be covered. (Exod. 25:8-9, 18-21)

And one reads in the Gospel: And she [Mary Magdalen] saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. (John 20:12)

18. A Sanctuary Lamp, a candle or oil burning in a red globe (glass) to signify the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. This lamp is always burning when the Blessed Sacrament in reserved in the Tabernacle.

It is a curious fact that in nearly all the early pictures of the Last Supper, a lamp is seen hanging over the table. This incident makes us realize what importance the early followers of Christ attached to the necessity of burning a light during the Holy Sacrifice. We read, too, in the Old Testament that God commanded the people to burn a lamp filled with the purest oil of olives before the Tabernacle of Testimony. . .

To Catholics the world over, the sanctuary lamp is a beacon light, guiding them to the lonely Prisoner of the altar, Who “bringeth them unto their desired haven” of peace and forgiveness. (Smyth, 6)

The above will be seen always in the Sanctuary (except what is placed on the Altar (Chalice, cards and missal) or Credence table (cruets, bowl, finger towel)

What is seen next is the priest as he leaves the sacristy and approaches the Altar. He is vested in clothes that are different from secular dress to express reverence which is due God. It brings out two dispositions, the first that he is going to perform a sacred function, and secondly, that it is not himself that is presented to the faithful, but Jesus Christ as an alter Christus and the sanctity demanded of the priestly life. Let Thy priests be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice (Ps. 131:9). The priest, out of view, washes his hands, while saying: Give strength to my hands, Lord, to wipe away all stain, so that I may be able to serve Thee in purity of mind and body. He is about to enter into the Holy of Holies and, like Moses, symbolically removes his sandals (cf. Exod. 3:5), or reminds himself of Christ washing the feet of His Apostles at the first Mass on Holy Thursday: He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. (John 13:4-5) The priest then begins to vest.

The symbolism of the sacred vestments is allegorical and moral as well as typical and representative. In the first sense, they remind the priest of the virtues which he should practise, in the latter, they vividly recall to priest and people various scenes of Christ’ s Passion, which is commemorated and renewed in the Sacrifice of the Mass. (Stapper, 239)

Besides the cassock, the vestments used by the clerics in major orders for the liturgical celebrations are chiefly from ancient Greek and Roman civil clothes worn by persons of rank having property. The Romans had a social division consisting of those of rank (honestiores) and everyone else (humiliores-lower). While the world has changed its styles of clothing through the centuries, the clergy have always retained essentially the same garments.

 (To be continued)

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY

MATTHEW iv. 1-11

At that time, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: if thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone Satan: For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.

I. ST AMBROSE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR

The Acceptable Time

1. Behold, Dearly Beloved, the sacred days are drawing near, the acceptable time, of which it is written: Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Cor. vi. 2). And so you must be more earnest in prayer and in almsgiving, in fasting and in watching. He that till now has given alms, in these days let him give more; for as water quencheth a flaming fire, so does almsgiving wipe out sin (Eccles. iii. 33). He that till now fasted and prayed, let him fast and pray still more: for there are certain sins which are not cast out, except by prayer and fasting (Mt. xvii. 20).

Should anyone cherish anger towards another, let him forgive from his heart. Should anyone take unjustly what belongs to another, let him restore it; and if not fourfold, at least that which he has taken; if he desires God to be merciful to himself (Lk. xix. 8). And though a Christian should abstain at all times from cursings and revilings, from oaths. from excessive laughter, and from idle words, he must do this especially in these holy days, which are set apart so that, during these forty days, he may by penance wipe out the sins of the whole year.

2. Let you believe, and believe firmly, that if in these days you have made a thorough confession of your sins, and done penance as we have told you, you shall receive from Our Most Merciful Lord the pardon of all your offences; as did the Ninivites, who earned deliverance from their affiictions by doing penance in sackcloth and ashes (Jn. iii). So you also, following their example, if you cry out with all your heart to the Lord, you will invoke His Mercy on you, so that serene and joyful you will celebrate the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, and, thus blessed, you will after this life cross over to your heavenly home, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

II. ST AMBROSE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR

The Season of Penance

1. Behold, now is the appointed time, in which you must confess your sins to God, and to the priest, and by prayer and by fasting, by tears and by almsgiving, wipe them away. Why should a sinner be ashamed to make known his sins, since they are already known and manifest to God, and to His angels, and even to the blessed in heaven? Confession delivers the soul from death. Confession opens the door to heaven. Confession brings us hope of salvation. Because of this the Scripture says: First tell thy iniquities, that you may be justified (Is. xliii. 26). Here we are shown that the man will not be saved who, during his life, does not confess his sins. Neither will that confession deliver you which is made without true repentance. For true repentance is grief of heart and sorrow of soul because of the evils a man has committed. True repentance causes us to grieve over our offences, and to grieve over them with the firm intention of never committing them again.

2. And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year. Therefore I counsel all of you, and I exhort each one of you singly, to repair whatever you know within your soul is blameworthy. Whosoever among you discerns within himself what is unworthy in a Christian, let him correct it; and where he has given less than his due, as where he has not faithfully paid his tithes. What does it mean to give tithes faithfully, but that no man should offer to God, either of his grain, or of his wine, or of the fruit of his trees, or of his sheep, or from his herds, or from his business, or even from the chase, what is defective or stunted. For of all substance the Lord bestows on a man, a tenth part He reserves to Himself. So it is not lawful to keep what the Lord has reserved to Himself. To thee He has given nine parts; for Himself He reserved a tenth. And if you do not give God His tenth part, God will take your nine parts from you.

Again, if anyone knows in his own heart that he has taken something unjustly from another, let him make amends by restoring what he has unjustly taken. For he that will not render to God His tenth, which He reserved to Himself, and to another man what he took from him unjustly, such a man no longer fears God, and does not know the meaning of true repentance, or of true confession of his sins.

3. Such a man cannot give an honest alms. It is good then, Brethren, to render to God what is His, and to your neighbour what belongs to him; so that when you give alms from the fruits of your own honest labour, you may obtain pardon of your sins, according to the word of God: Redeem thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities with works of mercy to the poor (Dan. iv. 24). And you should further know: that as water quencheth a flaming fire, alms resisteth sins (Ecclus. iii. 23).

And this you ought to do, since each according to his means should give to the needy; that is, he that has much should give much, and he that has but little ought to give a little; as the holy Tobias taught his son: Give alms out of thy substance, and turn not away thy face from the poor: for so will it come to pass that the face of the Lord shall not be turned away from thee. According to thy ability be merciful. If thou have much give abundantly: if thou have little, take care to bestow willingly even a little. For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity (Tob. iv. 7-10).

And with what earnestness, with what eagerness, should not the Christian give alms, so that he may hear at the day of judgement the words: For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison and you came to me. Come, ye blessed of my Father (Mt. xxv. 34-6). And if you will not do these works of mercy which I here recall to your minds, then on that day shall you hear: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.

4. Since these days will come I dare not refrain from speaking to you of the danger, of the great evil, that hangs over this multitude of people. Yet, if you do these works, He will say to you: Come, ye blessed of My Father. And what kind of Christian is it who will not fast, at least till nones, during this season? Recall how the Ninivites required even of children at the breast that they too should fast, and their flocks and herds likewise, that all might be delivered from the danger that threatened them. What kind of Christian is he who though well and able refuses to fast with Moses, with Elias, and with the Lord? They will say: We cannot both work and fast. They cannot because they will not. Then let them work less that they may fast more. I warn you and I exhort you in the Lord, that none among you, unless a sick person or a child, eat or drink before the hour of nones, except on Sundays.

5. I counsel you also that he who is near the church, and can come, should hear Mass each day. And that he who can should come each evening to the recitation of matins. Let those who live far from the church try to come to matins each Sunday; that is, men and women, the young and old, and all except the sick; but let one or two remain at home to safeguard the house.

6. Let husband and wife live singly till the octave of the Pasch. Let him who has hate in his heart, or anger, against another, put it wholly from him; if he wishes to be saved. And every Sunday all Christians should offer Mass and communicate;5 excepting those whom the priest has advised not to communicate. I counsel you that during Lent you should offer and communicate every day, or, as I said, at least every Sunday. And therefore let you lead a pure and holy life, so that you may be worthy to approach to Holy Communion. And you must understand that whatever it is that you deny yourself through fasting must be given entirely to the poor, not kept back for yourselves.

7. May Almighty God grant that you keep before you what I have told you, and that you fulfil it in deed; so that at the end of this life, and at the close of your labours, you may enter into eternal rest. May He grant you this Who created you, and sought at the price of His own blood to redeem you, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

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21: ST SEVERIAN, BISHOP OF SCYTHOPOLlS, MARTYR (A.D. 453)

IN the year 451 the fourth general council was called at Chalcedon to pronounce upon the Eutychian or monophysite heresy which was spreading very rapidly in the Eastern portion of the Church. Dioceses were being split into factions which, in some cases, elected rival bishops and refused communion to their opponents. The decision of the council, which totally condemned the heresy, was accepted at once by a great proportion of the Palestinian monks, but there were many exceptions. At the head of these was Theodosius, a violent and unscrupulous man who obtained sufficient following to enable him to expel Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, and to gain possession of the see for himself. He then raised so cruel a persecution in Jerusalem that he filled the city with blood, as we learn from a letter of the Emperor Marcian. At the head of a band of soldiers he then proceeded to carry desolation over the country, although in certain places he met with opponents who had the courage to stand firm in their orthodoxy. Of these no one showed more determination than Severian, Bishop of Scythopolis, who received as his reward the crown of martyrdom. The soldiers seized him, dragged him out of the city, and then put him to death.

BD PEPIN OF LANDEN (A.D. 646)

PEPIN OF LANDEN was never canonized, although his name appears as a saint in some of the old martyrologies. The wisest statesman of his time, he was mayor of the palace to Kings Clotaire II, Dagobert I and Sigebert III, and was practically ruler of their dominions. He was the grandfather of Pepin of Herstal, great-grandfather of Charles Martel, and the ancestor of the Carolingian dynasty. He has been well described as “a lover of peace, the constant defender of truth and justice, a true friend to all the servants of God, the terror of the wicked, the father of his country, the zealous and humble defender of religion”. He associated with himself as counsellors two wise and holy bishops, St Arnulf of Metz and St Cunibert of Cologne, and though a most faithful minister to the king, he considered himself equally the servant of the people.

First and foremost he always placed his duty to the King of kings, and when King Dagobert, forgetful of the principles which had been instilled into him in his youth, gave himself up to a vicious life, Pepin boldly rebuked him and never ceased to show his disapproval until he became sincerely penitent. Dagobert, before his death in 638, had appointed Pepin tutor to his three-year-old son Sigebert, who under his guidance became himself a saint and one of the most blessed amongst the French kings. Pepin protected the Christian communities of the north against the invasions of the Slavs, worked hard for the spread of the Christian faith, and chose only virtuous and learned men to fill the bishoprics. His wife was Bd Itta, or Iduberga, by whom he had one son, Grimoald, and two daughters, St Gertrude and St Begga. Pepin died in 646 and was buried at Landen, but his body was translated to Nivelles, where it lies in the same tomb as that of his wife and close to the altar of St Gertrude. For many centuries their relics were carried every year in the Rogationtide processions at Nivelles. (Butler’s Lives of the Saints)

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PLAIN TALKS ON MARRIAGE

FULGENCE MEYER , O.F.M.

(1954)

Chapter I

Happiness in Marriage

“E Pluribus Unum”

Nothing makes so strongly for the material and spiritual welfare and progress of a parish as union and harmony of its members. Wherever there is a united front and a concerted action towards a given goal, success is bound to follow. The only way to achieve and hold this desired union and harmony is the recognition of the lawful and God-given authority on the part of the entire parish. The authority is represented by the pastor actually in charge. As he is finally responsible for the condition of the parish, all its members should yield to his guidance and government. If this is done, even though his plans or decisions may not be the wisest in themselves, there will nevertheless be good and substantial results. For after all, as has been well said, the best of governments is invariably that in which all the subjects heartily concur. Whilst on the other hand there is no greater menace to the progress and life of a parish than dissensions, feuds and factions among the members, or between the members and the head of the parish.

Active as they are for their home church, a good Catholic couple will not allow their interest to concentrate on it to such a degree as to be completely absorbed by it, so they can not take cognizance of the Church at large and its diocesan, national and universal needs. This sentiment would smack distinctly of selfish localism or provincialism, that are antagonistic to Catholicism, which embraces the entire world. A good Catholic couple will therefore take a lively interest also in the ecclesiastical affairs beyond their parish, and contribute according to their capacity to the diocesan collections, as well as to those for the domestic and foreign missions, and most of all to that for the Holy Father in Rome.

A House of God

And again, since, as was said above, the parents are the priests of the little parish which is their family and their home, they will at once take it upon themselves to give their home the air of a house of God. In other words, they will supply it with those emblems that ought to have a place in every Catholic home. Of these emblems the first and foremost is the crucifix of which mention was made above. Besides it there ought to be other representations of our Lord, His Mother, and the saints, discreetly placed about the home. Whilst the house needs not to be turned into a holy picture gallery, yet a prudent selection of holy pictures will become a Catholic home well. They are indicative of faith, and of a certain gratitude for, and pride in, the faith. In the meantime they are a continuous reminder of God and His saints, the heroes and heroines of virtue, to the family, and thus provide it with a potent stimulant to piety and goodness.

Every Catholic home should have on hand two candle-sticks and two blessed wax candles to be used in cases of sickness for the administration of the sacraments; also a bottle containing holy water; and in every sleeping room there ought to be a small holy water font.

The Holy Bible

A copy of the Holy Bible, of the Lives of the Saints, and of some good explanation of Catholic beliefs and practices should be found in every Catholic home. It should moreover keep at least one Catholic magazine together with the Catholic newspaper of the diocese or province. The parents are not only to make this provision, but they are also to set the example in the regular and wholesome reading of these books and periodicals, and cultivate a taste for them in themselves and their children, by often and prudently making their contents the subject of the family conversation. At the same time they will be careful to shut their home to all literature of a dangerous or dubious character, even as they will rigidly prohibit in it profane and other language that is unbecoming in the house of God, namely the little temple over which they have the charge and the responsibility.

To God What Is God’s: to Caesar What Is Caesar’s

Good Catholics are not only loyal members of their Church, but also dutiful citizens of the state. Even as it is an inestimable privilege to belong to the true Church, so it is a great boon to be a subject of the United States of America. Catholics show their appreciation of the latter favor by conscientiously paying their taxes, and observing the laws of the country. Even though they may not be in sympathy with a certain law: as long as it is on the statute books they will observe it from motives of obedience to the civil authority, which they know is constituted and supported by God. There are few countries in the world in which the Church is given so much liberty and room for her expansion, development and activity as in the United States; and for this reason we Catholics ought to be particularly devoted to the maintenance of our country’s laws and institutions.

Catholics will do their duty as to this especially by contributing their share to procure a good and wise government. They will take a judicious interest in the political situation in order to be able to cast their votes sanely and efficiently. They will vote at every state and federal election, and also at every important local election. All things being equal, they will support their fellow-Catholics in their campaigns for public offices, in order to insure a just proportion of their co-religionists among the civil officials of the land.

The Mighty Ballot

While our Church enjoys great freedom in this country, it still has many bitter enemies here whose aim in life is the Church’s thraldom and destruction. They are doing all in their power to disfranchise the Catholics by depriving them practically of the rights and privileges of American citizens. They even want to despoil Catholic parents of their natural right to educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience. These wicked men can succeed in their iniquitous and un-American endeavor only in one way, and that is, if Catholics neglect to use the weapon of defense given them by the constitution of our country. This weapon is the ballot. As long as Catholics use the ballot prudently, consistently and universally, no one will ever reduce them to slavery; but once they grow careless in the employment of this powerful weapon, it will be their own fault if they are subjected to an ignoble and tyrannical dominion. It devolves, therefore, upon our Catholic parents not only to vote themselves in the interest of our rights as American citizens—and to vote regularly at every election in order not to get out of the habit and be caught napping—but also to arrange that their children who are of age vote with them. In unity there is strength, especially with reference to the almighty ballot box of a nation like ours.

David and Goliath

The blatant bigotry rampant in various parts of our country may be likened to Goliath, the swaggering giant of the Philistines, flouting the chosen people of God and their religion. The pebble from the sling of David, that felled the mighty Goliath, is a symbol of the ballot. If all Catholics cast their vote with a true and sure aim at each election, the giant of intolerance, stalking abroad, will be reduced to impotence and disgrace.

But this treatise is mainly to deal with your vocation as married men and women; hence I shall now discourse on the subject of holy matrimony.

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FYI

The following announcements from Conciliar Church in Los Angeles is a warning to the Vatican II Catholic the direction their Church is taking them:

On Saturday, February 20, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., all are invited to join the Parliament of the World’s Religions and The Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union for a special program on “Deepening our Awareness of Love, Compassion and Joy for the Healing of the World.”  The program is hosted as part of the ongoing Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue on Climate Change launched by the Parliament’s Climate Action Program and the Bernardin Center in 2020.  The retreat invites attendees to listen to their hearts in order to raise their voices in unity and take action to mitigate climate change.  This requires attendees to consider their own suffering and the suffering of the planet.  By doing so, people can then identify their hope for a new world, their love and compassion for all beings, and a vision that will guide everyone to act.  The virtual retreat will be facilitated by Ven. Dr. Dhammadipa Sak, who serves as the Abbot of the U.S. Zen Institute; and Sister Pat Bergen, C.S.J., an educator, spiritual directress, and retreat facilitator.  For more information and to register, please visit:

https://parliamentofreligions.org/blog/2021-01-28-1230/parliament-host-buddhist-catholic-dialogue-retreat-climate-awareness

and:

March 5th        Are Women Deacons Next? Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.

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Father Krier will be in Albuquerque (Saint Joseph Cupertino) February 23. He will be in Pahrump (Our Lady of the Snows) March 11 and in Eureka (Saint Joseph) March 18.

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