All men are vain in whom there is not the knowledge of God; and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand Him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman. (Wisdom 13:1)
April 7, 2018 ~ Holy Saturday
1. Mary as Co-Redemptrix
2. Low Sunday (Quasimodo)
3. Saint Dionysius
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
This Sunday the Church will reflect upon the second Sacrament instituted for the forgiveness of sins: Penance. May faithful Catholics make use of this Sacrament to obtain what this Sacrament was instituted for: to take sin out of one’s life. It cannot be used as a blanket to cover one’s sins. There must be the true resolve to “sin no more.” Sometimes hearing the accusations the Innovators mention isn’t because it was what the Catholic Church taught, but how Catholics lived. Here is a clear example: that of those who think they can sin, all they have to do is go to Confession and tell it and it is forgiven. But, remember, Our Lord not only said, Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven; He also said, Whose sins you shall retain they are retained. The Church tells us that unrepentant sins are not forgiven as also sins that one has no resolve to avoid in the future. May our Confessions be sincere, honest and entire and thereby also fruitful in helping take sin out of our lives. May Catholics be grateful of God’s divine Mercy to institute this Sacrament.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
Pope Pius XII, repeats the same teaching in the Encyclical Mystici Corporis
110. Venerable Brethren, may the Virgin Mother of God hear the prayers of Our paternal heart – which are yours also – and obtain for all a true love of the Church – she whose sinless soul was filled with the divine spirit of Jesus Christ above all other created souls, who “in the name of the whole human race” gave her consent “for a spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature.” [St. Thos., III, q. 30, a.1, c.] Within her virginal womb Christ our Lord already bore the exalted title of Head of the Church; in a marvelous birth she brought Him forth as the source of all supernatural life, and presented Him newly born, as Prophet, King and Priest to those who, from among Jews and Gentiles, were the first to come to adore Him. Furthermore, her only Son, condescending to His mother’s prayer in “Cana of Galilee,” performed the miracle by which “his disciples believed in Him.” [John, II, 11.] It was she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always more intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained by his unhappy fall, and her mother’s rights and her mother’s love were included in the holocaust. Thus she who, according to the flesh, was the mother of our Head, through the added title of pain and glory became, according to the Spirit, the mother of all His members. She it was through her powerful prayers obtained that the spirit of our Divine Redeemer, already given on the Cross, should be bestowed, accompanied by miraculous gifts, on the newly founded Church at Pentecost; and finally, bearing with courage and confidence the tremendous burden of her sorrows and desolation, she, truly the Queen of Martyrs, more than all the faithful “filled up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ. . .for His Body, which is the Church”; [Col., I, 24.] and she continues to have for the Mystical Body of Christ, born of the pierced Heart of the Savior, [Cf. Vesper hymn of Office of the Sacred Heart.] the same motherly care and ardent love with which she cherished and fed the Infant Jesus in the crib. (par. 110)
In the proclamation of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII stated:
We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been designated by the holy Fathers as the new Eve, who, although subject to the new Adam, is most intimately associated with him in that struggle against the infernal foe which, as foretold in the protoevangelium,[Gn 3:15.] would finally result in that most complete victory over the sin and death which are always mentioned together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles.[ Rm 5-6; I Cor. 15:21-26, 54-57.] Consequently, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and the final sign of this victory, so that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her divine Son should be brought to a close by the glorification of her virginal body, for the same Apostle says: “When this mortal thing hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.”[ I Cor 15:54.]
Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, [The Bull Ineffabilis Deus] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.[I Tm 1:17.] (Munificentissimus Deus, November 1, 1950, pars. 39-40)
Finally, Pius XII reaffirmed and developed the New Eve in his encyclical, Ad coeli Reginam (October 11, 1954):
From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God’s design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of “recapitulation,”[S. Irenaeus, Adv. haer., V, 19, 1: PG VII, 1175 B.] in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ “in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race”;[Pius XI, epist. Auspicatus profecto: AAS XXV, 1933, p. 80.] and if, in truth, “it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,”[Pius XII, litt. enc. Mystici Corporis: AAS XXXV, 1943, p. 247.] then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam. (Par. 38)
Having established Mary as the New Eve, it follows that the cooperation of Mary in the work of Redemption of her Divine Son, by which the Church attributes to her the title Co-Redemptrix, must now be shown. The key is her cooperation, for only a Divine Person could reconcile mankind with God, and that is acknowledged by Christ’s death on the Cross. In showing her cooperation, there is no denial or rejection of the Redemptive act of Christ. Catholic teaching holds that each individual must cooperate, through grace, in the Redemptive act. The Council of Trent expresses it as follows:
Canon 9. If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathema (Session VI, Decree on Justification; DB 819; cf. DB nn. 798, 801, 804).
The Council of Trent continues that after baptism there must be a continued cooperation with grace, but that also merit is obtained by cooperating with grace in performing good works. Saint Paul confirms in Philemon: That the communication of thy faith may be made evident in the acknowledgment of every good work, that is in you in Christ Jesus. (1:6) Again, to the Phillipians: Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will. (2:12-13) But Mary’s cooperation was to be directly involved with her Divine Son’s Redemptive act in a very close manner because she was united with her Son by grace, not ever having sin and always loved by her Son. In as much as she was redeemed, she cannot redeem. But she provided the Priest and Victim, she gave consent to be the mother and, as a mother, to sacrifice her Son. Therefore, Attwater writes:
As one of the redeemed, a member of Christ’s mystical body, Mary’s part in this matter is in the first place like theirs: a bringing about of the application of the fruits of His redemptive act. But Mary co-operates in a far deeper, closer, more effective sense than anyone else can do, because of her intimate union with Jesus and His work for mankind. For she is Mother of the Redeemer, herself by anticipation the first-fruits of the Redemption, not cleansed but uniquely preserved from original sin. She it was, it has been observed, “who prepared, fashioned, nourished and bore the Redeemer, the Priest, the Victim, the Altar of the one infinite sacrifice. Hence all her ministrations as mother, from the first instant of the Incarnation, were sacrificial and redemptive” (Father L. E. Bellanti, S.J.). So Christ-like is she, so attuned to God’s will, so full of grace, that no limit can be put to the grace she wins for others; in the sense that the redeemed are able to merit for others besides themselves, Mary’s merits plead to God for every grace for every other human being-her co-operation in her Son’s redemptive work is universal, it stands alone in degree and extent. (Dictionary of Mary, 238)
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) gave a sermon on Mary that is read at Matins by the clergy, in which he also set forth the suffering of the Mother of Our Lord:
The Martyrdom of the Virgin is set before us, not only in the prophecy of Simeon, but also in the story itself of the Lord’s Passion. The holy old man said of the Child Jesus Luke ii. 34, Behold, this Child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; yea, said he unto Mary, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also Even so, O Blessed Mother! The sword did indeed pierce through thy soul! for nought could pierce the Body of thy Son, nor pierce thy soul likewise. Yea, and when this Jesus of thine had given up the ghost, and the bloody spear could torture Him no more, thy soul winced as it pierced His dead Side His Own Soul might leave Him, but thine could not.
The sword of sorrow pierced through thy soul, so that we may truly call thee more than martyr, in whom the love, that made thee suffer along with thy Son, wrung thy heart more bitterly than any pang of bodily pain could do. Did not that word of His indeed pierce through thy soul, sharper than any two-edged sword, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, Heb. iv. 12, Woman, behold thy son! John xix. 26. O what a change to thee! Thou art given John for Jesus, the servant for his Lord, the disciple for his master, the son of Zebedee for the Son of God, a mere man for Very God. O how keenly must the hearing of those words have pierced through thy most loving soul, when even our hearts, stony, iron, as they are, are wrung at the memory thereof only!
Marvel not, my brethren, that Mary should be called a Martyr in spirit. He indeed may marvel who remembereth not what Paul saith, naming the greater sins of the Gentiles, that they were without natural affection, Rom. i. 31. Far other were the bowels of Mary, and far other may those of her servants be! But some man perchance will say Did she not know that He was to die? Yea, without doubt, she knew it. Did she not hope that He was soon to rise again? Yea, she most faithfully hoped it. And did she still mourn because He was crucified? Yea, bitterly. But who art thou, my brother, or whence hast thou such wisdom, to marvel less that the Son of Mary suffered than that Mary suffered with Him? He could die in the Body, and could not she die with Him in her heart? His was the deed of that Love, greater than which hath no man John xv. 13; hers, of a love, like to which hath no man, save He. (From the Sermons of St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, On the twelve stars)
(To be continued)
Dr. Pius Parsch
The Church’s Year of Grace (1953)
THE FIRST WEEK AFTER EASTER
Special rubrics govern Mass and Office during Easter Week (e.g., the Gradual is found at Mass, Matins have but one nocturn, hymns and other embellishing accidentals are omitted). The rubrics peculiar to Eastertide begin with Low Sunday. The Easter season covers the period from Easter to the Saturday after Pentecost.
Our best efforts must be directed toward developing a keen appreciation of the symbolism underlying the Easter season. The whole period is but one great feast. In the Church’s calendar major feasts are celebrated with an octave. Easter, however, is the greatest of Christian feasts, the Feast of feasts. Accordingly the Church celebrates Easter not simply during one octave but during seven octaves and a day—a “jubilee octave” of fifty days.
We have seen that the time before Easter has been associated with the seventy years Israel remained in Babylon—hence the name Septuagesima. The Easter season lasts fifty days. The number fifty symbolizes unbounded joy and points to the beatitude of heaven. If then we felt ourselves as captives in Babylon forbidden to sing Alleluia during Lent, now during Easter time we should feel as if we were in heaven where the Alleluia, heaven’s song, is sung continually.
The design. With Gregorian notation we have the antiphon for the third nocturn of Matins on Easter: “Alleluia, do not weep, Mary, alleluia; the Lord is risen, alleluia, alleluia!”
For this reason too Alleluia occurs repeatedly in the Mass text; it is Easter’s song par excellence, the song the angels sing.
The Church has a penchant to see Easter as the fulfillment of Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, “the land flowing with milk and honey.” During this period we should be oblivious of living upon earth as we experience a foretaste of heaven. We should keep our true greatness vividly before our eyes, viz., we are chosen children in the service of a kind and merciful Father—and in our hearts we carry heaven.
During Eastertide the Church’s worship is characterized by certain variations that are well known to liturgically-minded Christians. For the moment the following survey will suffice.
1. From ancient times it has been customary to stand rather than kneel while praying. For standing points to Christ’s resurrection.
2. One or two alleluias are added to the variable chants in Mass and Office. Glancing through tomorrow’s Mass we find alleluias in the Introit, after the Epistle, and with the Offertory and Communion. Give these little, lovely songs the attention they deserve.
3. The Epistle is not followed by a Gradual, but by a somewhat lengthier Alleluia verse. The Gradual is omitted because by nature it seems to be rather somber and penitential. A second versicle is added to the Alleluia chant.
White, the color denoting joy and happiness, is worn for all Proper of the Season Masses. The Gloria in excelsis, omitted during Lent, is now sung both on Sundays and weekdays.
Regular Scripture Readings again form part of the Office. During Easter time these Readings are restricted to the New Testament according to an old, established principle: Omnia nova, Let all things be new at Easter! During the first two weeks the Acts of the Apostles, the inspiring story of the apostolic Church, is read.
Station at St. Pancratius
These are the firstborn lambs
who brought the tidings, alleluia, alleluia.
Now they have come to the font,
They are filled with glory, alleluia, alleluia.
They stand in the presence of the Lamb,
dressed in white robes,
holding palm branches in their hands.
They are filled with glory, alleluia, alleluia.
1. Liturgically, this day is known as Dominica in albis, the Sunday in white. At baptism, as noted above, the neophytes were given a white robe and a burning lamp. With these they left the baptistry and marched to the church where they offered their first holy Mass. The white garments symbolized baptismal innocence and grace. What remains of this venerable, ancient rite? At the baptism of an infant the priest places a white linen upon the child while saying: “Receive this white garment and see that you wear it without stain to the judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may enjoy life everlasting.” It certainly may be recommended, then, that sponsors provide a white dress for their godchild; after baptism it should be kept for the child as a remembrance of the greatest day in its life.
The design. In the center is pictured the mysterium described by the Gospel and Communion verse: “Bring here your hand. . . My Lord and my God. . . Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (Eucharist, faith). In the background is the “locked door”; upon the banner, the Savior’s Easter Greeting. At the bottom the Epistle is visualized: “The Spirit (tongue of fire), the water (with little fish), and the blood (chalice); and these three are one.” These are the three Easter sacraments, viz., baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. The top section may be associated with various texts, e.g., the Epistle: “There are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father (hand), the Word (Lamb), and the Holy Spirit (dove).” The Lamb is standing on an altar (Mass) and carries a milk pitcher (catacomb symbol of the Eucharist). On each end of the altar is an Orante figure—neophytes or first communicants.
Dressed in white, the neophytes assisted at their first Mass and received their first holy Communion. After the service they did not divest themselves of their baptismal apparel but wore it during the whole ensuing week. They were guests of honor in the parish. Each morning they came to Mass in their white robes, and in the afternoon they returned as a group for a service at the baptismal font. Their presence was a living sermon reminding all that as Christians they had risen with Christ to a new life on Easter. On the Saturday after Easter they came to the church of their baptism for the last time. Here they took off their white garments and placed them in the church’s wardrobe where they remained as a memorial of their baptism and of the vows they had made.
On the following day occurred the last stational procession as all the faithful marched to the Church of St. Pancratius. Now for the first time the neophytes appeared in their ordinary clothes, the external sign that at last they were full-fledged members of the Christian community. For the final confirmation of their baptismal vows, a part of today’s liturgy, the station church, St. Pancratius, was most appropriate. For St. Pancratius was a youth who at the tender age of fourteen sealed his baptismal promises with his blood. Those who find the observance of vows difficult should look to him for help and inspiration.
2. Holy Mass (Quasimodo). Today’s formulary is a classical example of how the ancient Church could blend invincible strength with gentleness and tender affection. The faith of martyrs irresistibly strong rings out in harmony with the Church’s maternal love for her new-born children. It is Mother Church who greets the neophytes (and all the faithful) as the Mass begins: You have been born in the waters of baptism, but you are as helpless as an infant; now you must grow strong at the breast of Mother Church through the Eucharist. This gives the theme for the formulary (the Introit is the overture to the Mass drama).
Here we have a fundamental principle of liturgical piety: Baptism is preparatory to the holy Eucharist. The baptized faithful must proceed to the Communion table to attain spiritual maturity now during Easter time, in fact, throughout all of life. Psalm 80 in its entirety belongs to the Introit (try to acquire the habit of praying the whole psalm when preparing the text beforehand). It is a genuine feast day psalm, one that peals out clear and strong like a mighty bell. The Spirit of God is speaking to us, pointing out our good fortune as Christians and our invincibility, “He will feed them with the best of wheat and with honey from the rock.” The holy Eucharist, of course, is meant.
The Collect is both highly instructive and beautifully phrased. Easter, indeed, is past but its transforming power should show itself in how we “act and live.” A life program in a few words! Having risen spiritually, we must live accordingly.
The Epistle has an unusually solemn tone. Faith is its theme, faith powerful enough to conquer the world. The baptized are “born of God”; faith in Christ “overcomes the world.” To this faith the Holy Trinity bears witness, viz., the Father at the Messiah’s baptism in the Jordan, the Son dying on the Cross, the Holy Ghost in the Church. But the liturgy attaches further significance to these words. It sees in them an allusion to the three sacraments conferred during the Easter vigil—baptism (water), Eucharist (blood), confirmation (Spirit). The phrase, “not in water only, but in the water and in the blood,” is particularly important. For by these words the Church wishes to reiterate that baptism of itself is not sufficient to make a mature Christian, but baptism with the Eucharist is.
In dramatic fashion the Gospel presents to us one of the more memorable appearances of our blessed Savior after His resurrection. Eight days after Easter (i.e., today) Christ appeared to the disciples with “doubting Thomas” present; together with them we are instructed on “faith that does not see” or understand, and yet believes. The theme of the Mass is again touched upon lightly here—when you find it difficult to believe, put your finger into Christ’s wound, i.e., receive the holy Eucharist. Then you will be strengthened, then you will see Christ; and with Thomas you will say, “My Lord and my God.”
One other observation on today’s holy Gospel. In the sacred drama of Mass we play the role of Thomas, a fact beautifully shown in the Communion antiphon. As we approach the sacrificial banquet, the risen Savior says, “Bring here your hand (Christians in ancient times received the Eucharistic Bread in their hands); see the places where the nails were.”
The Easter joy in our hearts finds expression in the Secret as we bring to God the gifts of the “Church exultant” and beg for “perpetual gladness.” Note how three different words are used for the same emotion. The Postcommunion assures us that the Eucharist was instituted as a pledge of our redemption and begs that it might be a “healing remedy for us both now and in the time to come” (later in the day the Pope used to go in procession to the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian).
3. Scripture Reading (Col. 3:1-17). Because of the special character of today’s liturgy, the Church does not begin the regular sequence of Scripture lessons but selects a passage proper to the occasion. It is a farewell address of Mother Church to the neophytes and to us; her theme is the same as that found in the Collect, viz., show forth the spirit of Easter in how you act and live.
“Therefore, if you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, shall appear, then you too will appear with Him in glory. Therefore mortify your members, which are on earth. . . put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, abusive language and foul-mouthed utterances. Do not lie to one another. Strip off the old man with his deeds and put on the new, one that is being renewed unto perfect knowledge ‘according to the image of his Creator.’ Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another.”
4. Divine Office. Matins today is unusually rich in truths suitable for further meditation. The general subject would be, “What the new Christian believes and does.” St. Augustine is the main speaker, “The Easter solemnity comes to an end with today’s liturgy. The neophytes therefore lay aside their baptismal robes, fully aware however that the shining whiteness of those garments must be retained forever in their hearts.
“My words are indeed addressed to you all, but since today brings an end to the celebration of the baptismal mysteries, may I speak in particular to you, most tender buds of sanctity, born anew through water and the Holy Ghost—holy sprouts, a host of youths, flowers to our honor and the fruits of our labor, ‘my joy and my crown—all you who stand fast in the Lord.’ Let me speak to you in the words of the apostle: Behold the night is past; the day is at hand. Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. (These words now addressed to the neophytes had effected St. Augustine’s own conversion.) Let your loins be girt about and lamps burning in your hands; and you yourselves like men waiting for their master’s return from the wedding. Behold, the days are drawing near of which the Lord says: A little while and you shall not see Me, and again a little while and you shall see Me.
“This is the hour of which He said: You shall be sorrowful but the world shall rejoice. Christ is referring to this life so filled with temptations as we journey on without Him. But, He continues, I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no one shall take from you.”
The antiphons remind us to think about the Gospel narrative during the entire day. At sunrise: “When it was late that same day, the first day of the week, although the doors where the disciples gathered had been closed, Jesus stood in the midst and said to them: Peace be to you, alleluia.” At sunset: “After eight days, although the doors were closed, the Lord entered and said to them: Peace be to you, alleluia.” During Easter time the antiphons for Lauds, and Vespers on weekdays too echo the message of the Sunday Gospel or some appropriate reflection on Christ’s resurrection.
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