1. Baptism: Means of Salvation (18)
2. Trinity Sunday
3. Mary, Queen
4. Marriage and Parenthood (22)
5. Articles and notices
It must be stated again and again and again, in season, out of season (cf. 2 Tim. 4:2), parents must take responsibility for their children. They must teach them the truths of their Catholic faith. They must give an example of living their Catholic faith. They must make sure, as far as possible that their children are living their Catholic faith. True, the absence of Holy Mass and sacraments makes it difficult as Vatican II has deprived the world of the greatest source of grace, as also the forced attendance of our children at anti-Catholic public schools where no traditional Catholic school exists. The silence of a moral force within the Catholic Church cannot be acceptable especially today when silence gives consent to the immorality prevalent and prevailing in today’s society. Too many are fighting shadows outside but don’t see the enemy within. Blaming the devil for his wonderful deceits will not save one from temptation. In finding ways to avoid temptation, in recognizing the deceit, in seeing the true enemy and not being afraid of the shadow are a necessity for Catholics if they are to persevere.
The world may say the Catholic Church is obsessed with sex. In reality, the Catholic Church is obsessed with purity: purity of intention, purity of thought, and purity of body. She looks at the purity of her worship and the purity of her doctrine. It is the world that is obsessed with sex and wants limitless access to gratifying its obsession. The Catholic realizes that as error defiles doctrine and sacrilege defiles worship, so also sex defiles the body, the mind and the intention (unless it is contained in its proper sphere of marriage). The Catholic, then, in wanting to preserve the purity of life needed to fulfill the good one is able to perform will want to be free from sex (not because sex is evil, but because sex does not belong outside of marriage just as the heart does not belong outside the body) except in that union that makes two one: marriage. The training and preservation of chastity, or purity, begins with the parents—especially the mother—who teaches the child modesty and cleanliness and keeps the child away from anything that may offends modesty and cleanliness. This will never happen if the parents act, watch, allow or possess that which is contrary to the virtue of modesty in the presence of their child or children. If the children are exposed to and taught that such is acceptable by the example set by the parents who do not recoil at such impurity, then the children will interpret it as normal. They should, while infants and toddlers, be corrected whenever they touch themselves inappropriately even though in curiosity; and, as children never to expose themselves or see others exposed immodestly. Before and as adolescents, they should be taught to never to touch another or be touched in a way that is to cause feelings of sexual stimulation. They should be reminded that all thoughts of another within a sexual context are forbidden by the Ninth Commandment and are accompanied with an impure spirit which wants nothing more than to destroy one’s purity because then everything they do will become corrupted for even the intention of doing something will no longer be for a pure intention.
Those who are preparing for marriage or are married should be reminded that a corporal union between a man and a woman is for one purpose and that purpose must be, at least implicitly, for the gift of children. If the married couple are not open to this wonderful miracle God may wish to accomplish through them, then they are rejecting God’s intended purpose. Therefore, any form of artificial contraception is an open rebellion against one’s purity since there is no longer purity of intention. It is known that artificial contraception opened the door to the demons of impurity because males and females no longer feared their impurity being revealed by a child that might result. Because of the failure of contraceptives and its introduction of the sexual revolution, abortion (the murder of the unborn child God gave to the parents to love and nurture) became the result, blackening the hearts and minds of these assassins even more. Contraceptives also made adulterers of husbands and wives, causing the ruin of so many marriages and orphaning so many children. Their children for the most part now want nothing to do with marriage and live in concubinage just like animals.
Catholics who excuse themselves from striving for absolute purity should carry a sign that reads: I am guilty of today’s state of affairs where sodomy, adultery and child sacrifice triumphs over purity, fidelity and love as I am part of an affair. How can Catholics oppose that which they do? Perhaps if Catholics repent, Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? (Jonas 3:9; cf. Judith 7:24) The destruction of Sodom and Gomorra is vividly described to warn those in the future. The unfaithfulness of the Israelites was the cause of the destruction of their temple and their captivity in Babylon and would again happen to the Jews as Christ foretold in Matthew (24), Mark (13) and Luke (21) and which will be the fate of Catholics for their infidelity as John confirms in his Apocalypse.
For the sake of the children, may Catholic parents and all Catholics begin observing the commandments rather than point to the infidels as the cause of one’s infidelity—because they are not the cause, you are.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor
Means of Salvation
Restoration of Grace
Waiting for the Redeemer (d)
Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas
Taking a look at Circumcision in the Old Testament, St Augustine of Hippo and St Thomas of Aquinas provide an insight into justification corresponding to the principles of St Paul.
If one compares Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 4, with Augustine’s Book 16, chapter 26, the similarities of thought become evident and not just because the Church has repeated his exposition of the episode of Ismael’s rejection through the propagation of his widely read book, The City of God.The Church also reads this passage of Paul to the Galatians on the Fourth Sunday in Lent.
After these things Ishmael was born of Hagar; and Abraham might think that in him was fulfilled what God had promised him, saying, when he wished to adopt his home-born servant, “This shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth of you, he shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4) Therefore, lest he should think that what was promised was fulfilled in the handmaid’s son, “when Abram was ninety years old and nine, God appeared to him, and said unto him, I am God; be well-pleasing in my sight, and be without complaint, and I will make my covenant between me and you, and will fill you exceedingly.”
Here there are more distinct promises about the calling of the nations in Isaac, that is, in the son of the promise, by which grace is signified, and not nature; for the son is promised from an old man and a barren old woman. For although God effects even the natural course of procreation, yet where the agency of God is manifest, through the decay or failure of nature, grace is more plainly discerned. And because this was to be brought about, not by generation, but by regeneration, circumcision was enjoined now, when a son was promised of Sarah. And by ordering all, not only sons, but also home-born and purchased servants to be circumcised, he testifies that this grace pertains to all. For what else does circumcision signify than a nature renewed on the putting off of the old? And what else does the eighth day mean than Christ, who rose again when the week was completed, that is, after the Sabbath? The very names of the parents are changed: all things proclaim newness, and the new covenant is shadowed forth in the old. For what does the term old covenant imply but the concealing of the new? And what does the term new covenant imply but the revealing of the old? The laughter of Abraham is the exultation of one who rejoices, not the scornful laughter of one who mistrusts. And those words of his in his heart, “Shall a son be born to me that am an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” are not the words of doubt, but of wonder. And when it is said, “And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession,” if it troubles any one whether this is to be held as fulfilled, or whether its fulfilment may still be looked for, since no kind of earthly possession can be everlasting for any nation whatever, let him know that the word translated everlasting, by our writers is what the Greeks term αἰώνιον, which is derived from αἰὼν [aeon], the Greek for sæculum, an age. But the Latins have not ventured to translate this by secular, lest they should change the meaning into something widely different. For many things are called secular which so happen in this world as to pass away even in a short time; but what is termed αἰωνιον either has no end, or lasts to the very end of this world. (Lib. xvi, cap. 26)
Augustine had summarized this chapter as De testificatione Dei ad Abraham, qua eidem seni de sterili Sarra filium spondet patremque eum gentium statuit et promissi fidem sacramento circumcisionis obsignat (Of God’s attestation to Abraham, by which He assures him, when now old, of a Son by the barren Sarah, and appoints him the Father of the nations, and seals his faith in the Promise by the sacrament of circumcision.—ibid., lib. xvi, Breviculus.) Augustine does not mean it has the force of a Sacrament instituted by Christ, but it is a “mystery” of faith which sealed belief in the Promise (Christ) just as the Sacraments. This faith justified, i.e., sanctified the child, at the moment of circumcision because of faith in Christ. Augustine wants to stress faith, just as Paul; yet Augustine is also cautious to enough to understand the faith must be a living faith that is expressed in fulfilling those signs that “seal” faith. He therefore continues in the next chapter to speak of those males who were not circumcised, whether they were lost.
When it is said, “The male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people, because he has broken my covenant,” (Genesis 17:14) some may be troubled how that ought to be understood, since it can be no fault of the infant whose life it is said must perish; nor has the covenant of God been broken by him, but by his parents, who have not taken care to circumcise him. But even the infants, not personally in their own life, but according to the common origin of the human race, have all broken God’s covenant in that one in whom all have sinned. Now there are many things called God’s covenants besides those two great ones, the old and the new, which any one who pleases may read and know. For the first covenant, which was made with the first man, is just this: “In the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) Whence it is written in the book called Ecclesiasticus, “All flesh waxes old as does a garment. For the covenant from the beginning is, You shall die the death.” (Ecclus. 15:17) Now, as the law was more plainly given afterward, and the apostle says, “Where no law is, there is no prevarication,” (Romans 4:15) on what supposition is what is said in the psalm true, “I accounted all the sinners of the earth prevaricators,” except that all who are held liable for any sin are accused of dealing deceitfully (prevaricating) with some law? If on this account, then, even the infants are, according to the true belief, born in sin, not actual but original, so that we confess they have need of grace for the remission of sins, certainly it must be acknowledged that in the same sense in which they are sinners they are also prevaricators of that law which was given in Paradise, according to the truth of both scriptures, “I accounted all the sinners of the earth prevaricators,” and “Where no law is, there is no prevarication.” And thus, because circumcision was the sign of regeneration, and the infant, on account of the original sin by which God’s covenant was first broken, was not undeservedly to lose his generation unless delivered by regeneration, these divine words are to be understood as if it had been said, Whoever is not born again, that soul shall perish from his people, because he has broken my covenant, since he also has sinned in Adam with all others. For had He said, Because he has broken this my covenant, He would have compelled us to understand by it only this of circumcision; but since He has not expressly said what covenant the infant has broken, we are free to understand Him as speaking of that covenant of which the breach can be ascribed to an infant. Yet if any one contends that it is said of nothing else than circumcision, that in it the infant has broken the covenant of God because, he is not circumcised, he must seek some method of explanation by which it may be understood without absurdity (such as this) that he has broken the covenant, because it has been broken in him although not by him. Yet in this case also it is to be observed that the soul of the infant, being guilty of no sin of neglect against itself, would perish unjustly, unless original sin rendered it obnoxious to punishment. (De Civitate Dei, libri xvi, cap. 27)
It is original sin that has condemned all offspring of Adam and Eve, but it is the faith of the parents in the Promise (Christ) that saves. If the parents do not believe, than the child falls into the common sentence upon mankind. This understanding brings to the forefront the dependence of children, in general, upon the faith of their parents for salvation. If the parents do not believe, then the children are deprived of justification. The faith of the parents is expressed in works of faith, which also saves their children (for it was not uncommon for the woman to circumcise the child; cf. Exod. 4:25). This, then, is a mystery, a sacrament in the sense of the Old Testament.
When one reads James: What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him? (2:14) and, But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith (2:18)—James is saying the works must seal faith: James Seest thou, that faith did co-operate with his works; and by works faith was made perfect? (2:22) This agrees with Augustine and does not contradict Paul, for Paul is forcefully reprimanding adherents to the Law that the Law was to seal the faith in the Promise, but to continue the Law would deny the Promise has been fulfilled. This is particularly stressed in St Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews where Paul exalts Christ above the Angels, Moses, and the priests (of Aaron’s priesthood). Augustine repeats this again:
But let him inform us how it was that his soul would be cut off from his people if he had not been circumcised on the eighth day. How could he have so sinned, how so offended God, as to be punished for the neglect of others towards him with so severe a sentence, had there been no original sin in the case? For thus ran the commandment of God concerning the circumcision of infants: The uncircumcised man-child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised on the eighth day, his soul shall be cut off from his people; because he has broken my covenant. Genesis 17:14 Let him tell us, if he can, how that child broke God’s covenant—an innocent babe, so far as he was personally concerned, of eight days’ age; and yet there is by no means any falsehood uttered here by God or Holy Scripture. The fact is, the covenant of God which he then broke was not this which commanded circumcision, but that which forbade the tree; when by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for in him all have sinned. Romans 5:12 And in his case the expiation of this was signified by the circumcision of the eighth day, that is, by the sacrament of the Mediator who was to be incarnate. For it was through this same faith in Christ, who was to come in the flesh, and was to die for us, and on the third day (which coming after the seventh or Sabbath day, was to be the eighth) to rise again, that even holy men were saved of old. For He was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification. Romans 4:25 Ever since circumcision was instituted among the people of God, which was at that time the sign of the righteousness of faith, it availed also to signify the cleansing even in infants of the original and primitive sin, just as baptism in like manner from the time of its institution began to be of avail for the renewal of man. Not that there was no justification by faith before circumcision; for even when he was still in uncircumcision, Abraham was himself justified by faith, being the father of those nations which should also imitate his faith. Romans 4:10-11 In former times, however, the sacramental mystery of justification by faith lay concealed in every mode. Still it was the self-same faith in the Mediator which saved the saints of old, both small and great— not the old covenant, which genders to bondage; Galatians 4:24 not the law, which was not so given as to be able to give life; Galatians 3:21 but the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:25 For as we believe that Christ has come in the flesh, so they believed that He was to come; as, again, we believe that He has died, so they believed that He would die; and as we believe that He has risen from the dead, so they believed that He would rise again; while both we and they believe alike, that He will hereafter come to judge the quick and the dead. Let not this man, then, throw any hindrance in the way of its salvation upon human nature, by setting up a bad defence of its merits; because we are all born under sin, and are delivered therefrom by the only One who was born without sin. (On Marriage and Concupiscence, lib. 1, cap. 24).
(To be continued)
Week of Trinity Sunday
Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
That they may be one
- “I pray … for them also who through their word [the preaching of the apostles] shall believe in Me. That they all may be one as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us” (John 17:20 f.). The Holy Trinity, the trinity in unity and the unity in trinity, is the model and the source of our unity in love.
- The Holy Trinity is a type of the union of love which exists in the Christian family. The life of the three persons of the Blessed Trinity is a life of most intimate unity. Apart from the distinction of persons, they are one in nature, in knowledge, in understanding, and in love. For them there can be no isolation, no consideration of self apart from the other persons, no life for themselves apart. In the bosom of the Holy Trinity there is only the closest community of interest in one another, for one another, and to one another. “As Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee.” The Christian family, the religious community, the Christian community, should all pattern their life of unity after this example of multiplicity in unity and unity in multiplicity. This unity of His members is the cherished wish of the Savior, expressed in His priestly prayer the night before He died: “That they may be one.” In what manner are they to be one? “As Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee.” What a sublime and divine model! “I in them, and Thou in Me.” And to what purpose? “That they may be made perfect in one.” The main purpose, however, of this Christian unity is that “the world may know that Thou hast sent Me and hast loved them, as Thou hast also loved Me” (John 17:23). In life we honor and acknowledge the divine Trinity principally by living in perfect unity and harmony with one another. In this way we show ourselves to be the true children of the Father and win His love for us.
The strength necessary for establishing this Christian unity comes to us from the Holy Trinity. Our poor, fallen human nature does not easily accommodate itself to such unity. It is hindered by envy, ambition, and selfishness; it is hampered by individual habits and customs; it is fettered by our unchecked love of the trivial pleasures of the world. Moreover, true Christian unity is made difficult by the diversity of temperaments and the persistence of self-will. All these human weaknesses make an almost irresistible obstacle to that wish of our Lord, “that they may be one.” A true unity, stripped of all hypocrisy and superficiality, can be achieved only by grace. Grace is given to us precisely for the purpose of helping us to overcome all narrowness and selfishness inherent in our fallen nature, that we may find it possible to live with one another and for one another.
“And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them; that they may be one as We also are one” (John 17:22). The glory which is given to us is the glory of divine sonship, the result of sanctifying grace. Why is this life of God, this life of the Blessed Trinity, given to us? In order that we may be one as the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one. Sanctifying grace is the result of our participation in the life of the Blessed Trinity. Such a participation must result in the unity of heart and spirit. When sanctifying grace resides in the soul, all narrowness of spirit and all isolation must be destroyed. We share in the glory of God, in the sonship of God, to the degree that we separate ourselves from the world and acquire the generosity necessary for sacrificing our own interests and our own wishes for those of our neighbor.
- “That they may be one.” We all form one body with Christ. “Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you, unto the honor of God” (Rom. 15:7). “And if one member suffer anything, all the members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it” (I Cor. 12:26). But are we truly conscious that we form one body? Who of us can say that he is ill when his neighbor is ill? Who of us is vexed when his neighbor is distressed? Who of us has suffered because others have suffered misfortune? All about us there are so many in spiritual, moral, and physical need, and yet we seem to be scarcely aware of it. Our consciousness of our unity is so meager! Should we not feel our brother’s need? Should we not assist him in carrying his burdens? To do so would indeed be in the true spirit of Christianity (Bossuet).
“O Lord, be Thou merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee” (Gradual). The liturgy directs our attention to the Eucharist and to our incorporation in Christ. From these sources the spirit of Christ, the spirit of charity, must find its way into our souls. “I will speak of all Thy marvelous works; I will be glad and rejoice in Thee; I will sing unto Thy name, O Thou Most High” (Communion).
Pour forth the spirit of Thy love into our hearts, O Lord, that all they whom Thou hast nourished with this heavenly bread may, through Thy paternal goodness, be of one heart and mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI
The Holy Eucharist
- The feast of Corpus Christi was established as a day of thanksgiving for the institution of the Holy Eucharist as a sacrifice and a sacrament. “He fed them [the faithful] with the fat of wheat, and filled them with honey out of the rock [Christ], alleluia, alleluia, alleluia” (Introit). Christ in His humanity and in His divinity, in body and soul, has become both our high priest and our sacrifice, our food and our friend, and resides in our tabernacles.
- The promise of the Holy Eucharist (Gospel). The multitude which followed Christ into the desert and lingered with Him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, was fed with a miraculous bread. During the following night Christ astonished His disciples by walking on the water, showing them that He was the master of nature and the elements. The following day the people flocked to Him again, for they hoped that He would again provide them with food. Christ spoke to them in the synagogue at Capharnaum. “My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live forever” (John 6:56-59). Many of the Jews complained, “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” and at once they left Him. We, however, accept this teaching of Christ, as did St. Peter: “Lord, . . . Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:69). We believe, for we know that Thou art God.
The institution of the Holy Eucharist. “Brethren, I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat, this is My body which shall be delivered for you; this do for the commemoration of Me. In like manner also the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in My blood; this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread or drink of the chalice unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord” (Epistle).
- The Lord promised the Eucharist and gave it to us. That which we preserve in our tabernacles, that which we worship and adore on our altars, is not mere bread and wine, but the real flesh and blood of the Lord. He is present there entire and undivided, with the fullness of His divinity and of His humanity. He is there “full of grace and truth …. And of His fullness we all have received” (John 1:14, 16). Christ lives and remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He is there, not merely symbolically, but actually and in person. In the Eucharist there really resides He who was born of Mary, who was crucified and died for us, who arose from the dead and was glorified.
“I believe … in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,” who is actually present here in the Blessed Sacrament. He was “born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father; by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven; and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven. He sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end” (Credo).
“The eyes of all hope in Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest them meat in due season. Thou openest Thy hand and fillest every living creature with Thy blessing” (Gradual). Thou fillest them with grace through the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist.
O God, who in this wonderful sacrament has left us a memorial of Thy passion, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of Thy body and blood that we may ever perceive within us the fruit of Thy redemption. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Our Lady, Queen of All Saints, and Mother of Noble Love
- On the afternoon of October 31, 1954, in Rome, the miraculous picture of Mary, Salvation of the Roman people, was carried in procession from its throne in St. Mary Major to the Basilica of St. Peter. There were 480 Marian banners from the best-known places of pilgrimage in the world, as well as 280 Italian banners of Mary, in the vast procession. The international Marian Congress had begun its sessions in Rome just a week before; now, its climax and conclusion was to be the announcement of the new feast of “Our Lady, Queen” and the solemn crowning of her image. Pope Pius XII appointed May 31 as the date of the future feast, and he asked that on this day each year, the consecration of mankind to Mary be renewed. As the Holy Father crowned the picture of Christ, he prayed: “As we now crown Thee on earth, may we be found worthy to be crowned by Thee in heaven with honor and glory.” While placing the diadem of twelve stars on the image of Mary the Pope said: “As we crown thee with our hands, may we, through thee, be found worthy to be crowned by Jesus, thy Son, with honor and glory in heaven.”
- The Church has for centuries believed in the queenship of Mary, as is evidenced by various prayers and expressions, especially in the recitation of the Rosary and in the Litany of Loreto. In the Rosary we praise her for the glory she received when God crowned her Queen of Heaven. In the Litany we call upon her as Queen of angels, of patriarchs, and prophets, of apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all saints; as Queen conceived without sin, Queen taken into heaven, and Queen of peace. The Church believes firmly that Mary has a kingdom and royal powers; the faithful have great confidence in her queenly intercession.
For more than a thousand years the Church has been greeting Mary in the Divine Office and in private devotion with the words: “Hail Holy Queen; our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” On her feast days we pray the forty-fourth psalm, that prophetic song honoring the mystical nuptials of Christ, the Royal Bridegroom, with Mary, His Bride: “Joyful the thoughts that well up from my heart, the King’s honor for my theme. . . . Thy throne, O God, endures for ever and ever. . . . At Thy right hand stands the queen, in a vesture of gold. (Listen, my daughter, and consider my words attentively. . . thy beauty, now, is for the King’s delight; he is thy Lord and God, and worship belongs to him.) The women of Tyre, too, will have their presents to bring; all that are rich among the citizens will be courting thy favor. All her splendour is the splendour of a princess, through and through; so bedecked is she with embroidery, and tassels of gold. Maidens will follow in her retinue into the King’s presence, all rejoicing; all triumphant, those companions of hers, as they enter the King’s palace.” Mary is the Bride of the King. She, the new Eve, stands at the right of the second Adam, Christ the King, in her splendor as a sublime, matchless Queen. “Hail, Holy Mother, in thy womb there lay a King who bears o’er earth and heaven endless sway” (Introit of Mass of the Blessed Virgin). It is quite true, then, as Pope Pius XII said, that the feast of Mary, Queen, does not introduce anything new. The Pontiff gives recognition to traditional Catholic belief when he “acknowledges and crowns, before all the world, a truth that can help us to overcome the evils of our day and protect Christians.”
Mary’s dignity and power as Queen flow from her intimate union with Christ, the Redeemer. Fundamentally, all her prerogatives stem from the fact that she answered the angel: “Be it done according to thy word,” and thus became the Mother of the Son of God, the King and Lord to whom “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given” (cf. Matt. 28: 18). She is the Mother of the divine King and therefore shares in His royal dignity in a limited and subordinate way. If Christ is our King because, as the new Adam, He is our Redeemer, then, also, is Mary our Queen, since as the new Eve she was associated in God’s plan with Christ, our Savior, in His redemptive work. She is thus rightly called “Co-Redemptrix” and properly enjoys a certain dominion over the redeemed, granted her by her Son. Christ is King by nature and by His redeeming death; Mary is Queen by grace, through Christ and with Him. By virtue of her intimate association with Him, she possesses a dignity and sublimity above all other creatures; she has gained the power to distribute to us men the treasures that Christ merited, and, by virtue of her unique, maternal right of intercession, to obtain for us grace and aid from God.
- The power of Mary, the Queen, is a power over the heart of Christ, the King. Out of love for her, He listens to the petitions which she has the duty and right to lay before Him on behalf of the welfare of our souls.
Mary’s power is a power over us men, whom she has taken as her children and whom she desires to guide and mold “until Christ be formed in us” and we gain admittance to the blessed kingdom of her Son. She can influence our wills, so that we shall seek what is good; she can influence our hearts, so that we shall love what God wills for us.
The royal power of Mary is a power and dominion over the universe, but especially over mankind, over each individual, whether he be on the way to God or gone astray. On behalf of all of us God has given her the maternal power to assist us in attaining to eternal salvation; the power to obtain for us pardon, grace, light, and strength.
Mary also has power over the evil spirits and the tyranny of hell, sin, and Satan. Already in Paradise she was pointed out as the one who would crush the serpent’s head.
Mary’s queenly power also extends in a marvelous manner over the affairs of the world, over the laws of nature, over sickness, and over the occurrence of mishaps. Witnesses of this power of Mary are Lourdes, Fatima, Loreto, and the numerous places of pilgrimage with their thousands of votive plaques, crutches, and the like. These are unmistakable proofs of Mary’s intercessory power as Queen: Mary, Queen, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Finally, our Queen exercises a motherly as well as a dominative power over Holy Church, over dioceses, parishes, families, religious orders, and monasteries, as history records. Even Christian states and countries may claim the benefit of her power. She is the “conqueror in all the battles of God,” against the heathen (e.g., the Turks at Lepanto) and against the heresies of all ages.
We appreciate our good fortune in having Mary as our Queen, in being under her royal power and dominion. As her beloved children we may turn to her with complete confidence in time of need, using the words of the hymn: “Gracious Queen, remember, it has never been heard of on earth that a pilgrim appealing to thee has been forsaken.” Pope Pius IX exhorts us, in the Bull concerning the Immaculate Conception: “In every necessity, anxiety, and danger, one must take refuge to her and approach her with confidence. Constituted Queen of heaven and earth, she stands at the right hand of her Son and storms Him with motherly petitions. Whatever request Mary wishes to obtain from Him, she will find a hearing: her prayers are never fruitless.”
MARRIAGE AND PARENTHOOD
The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN
Among the several kinds of cases in which the rights of God, the rights of parents, and the rights of children seem to clash, there are two which are constantly arising, and concerning which the Church has made definite arrangements. The question concerns the choice of a state of life. Is the child bound to obey its parents in choosing whether to get married, or to become a priest or a religious?
We are here dealing with what is called a vocation. Now a vocation is a call from God. It is known by certain signs which are recognized by the Church, and with which spiritual directors are well acquainted. If, therefore, those signs are present, if the vocation is sufficiently manifest, then clearly the child is perfectly justified in obeying the call of God, and in setting aside the command of the parent who interferes with the call of God. And the principle works both ways. If the child is called to any given state of life, then it is wrong for the parent to interfere with that call.
If, on the other hand, the child is not called to a given state, then it is wrong for the parent to urge the child, either directly or indirectly, to enter that state. Whether the case be one of entering upon matrimony, or the priesthood, or religion, God’s call goes before the wishes of a parent. To ignore the wishes of parents in such a matter is no dishonor to them. Our Lord indeed rebuked the Pharisees, because under the pretense of honoring religion they taught men to withdraw the honor due to parents. The virtues by which God is honored and by which parents are honored are quite distinct from each other, but they are not at variance. Each virtue is limited by circumstances. Virtue carried beyond this limit is no longer a virtue but a vice. Thus the virtue of dutifulness to parents is limited by the virtue of religion, or the worship of God. It can be no honor, therefore, to a parent to render him obedience when obedience to God demands some contrary action.
Thus, whenever it comes to a choice between the service of man and the service of God, the service of God must prevail. Hence those plain words of Christ: “He that loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” These words apply more particularly to the priestly and religious states, though there is an equally strong sanction as regards the matrimonial state. Christ Himself said: “Have ye not read that he who made man from the beginning made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
On the other hand, there are circumstances when the claims of the parents would seem to prevail. It is not so in reality, for in these circumstances the call of God is not manifest. It is when the parents are so very poor that they cannot live without the support of their children. God does not wish children to leave their parents in such plight, under the pretense of leading a higher life. The highest life in such circumstances is to stay at home and take care of the parent who may be poor, sick, or aged.
There are four chief signs of a religious vocation, namely: constant desire; fitness for the order as to health, ability, and character; acceptance by the order; the absence of any obligation of supporting parents in need. If, therefore, the candidate for religious life found that, in order to enter religion, he must leave his parent in destitution, that would be a clear sign that he had no vocation. That one fact would mark the limits of the virtue of religion. God could not possibly be honored by the entrance of one into religion under such circumstances. To act thus would be to turn the virtue of religion into a vice. Hence the duty to parents and the duty to God cannot clash, for the limits of the one are outside the limits of the other. If in any given case they seem to clash, if a child wishes to marry, or to become a nun, or a priest, or a monk, contrary to the wishes of its parents, then the practical thing to do is to consult one’s spiritual director. He is trained in the theology of the subject, he knows something of human nature, he knows the disasters that are in store, either for forcing a vocation where there is none, or for destroying a vocation where there is one. He knows also the blessings that are in store for the true vocation faithfully followed.
By virtue of this division of labor it comes about that in addition to the love, reverence, and obedience which children owe to their parents, there is also a love, reverence, and obedience due to spiritual superiors. The priest is God’s servant through whose ministry God’s graces are conveyed to the soul. He is our spiritual father, and therefore in all matters spiritual is entitled to the obedience of the spiritual children committed to his care. And by the same title of spiritual fatherhood he has also a claim on their reverence and their love.
Sometimes it is necessary for both parents and pastors to get others to help them in their work of temporal and spiritual education. This help is represented in modern times by a vast system of scholastic and collegiate institutions. The schoolmaster, the schoolmistress, the professor, the master of the apprentice,—all these, too, have in their own measure a claim on the love, reverence, and obedience of the children committed to their care. The teacher stands in place of the parent or pastor. It is his duty to recognize in himself an instrument in the hand of God, for the education and improvement of those committed to his care. On this account, therefore, he is entitled to his share of love, reverence, and obedience. True, the love cannot equal the love of a parent. Still, in proportion as the schoolmaster takes upon himself the responsibility of training a child, he may lawfully expect from the child corresponding duties. The principle involved is the same. The teacher is doing the work of God. The child, therefore, in honoring the teacher thereby acknowledges its submission to God; and in doing so it does honor to itself, for it makes profession of its right place in the order of the world.
In these days there is a strong tendency among men to exaggerate their rights and to undervalue the rights of their superiors. In the family, and in the State and in religion, there is a strong force of opposition to law. It is well, then, for children to realize early the dignity of dutifulness to parents, spiritual pastors, and temporal masters. From a merely natural point of view such dutifulness can only lead to the good of the children. But from a supernatural point of view the thought is noble in the highest degree. We see that in serving our parents and those in authority for the rake of God, we are serving our own best interests; for we are thereby doing our best to place ourselves in that adjustment of the universe which God has ordained as the most perfect.
The saints have ever been eminent in this virtue.
Let us take the Blessed Thomas More as a glorious example. Dutifulness toward his parents was one of the most beautiful traits of his life. From his earliest years he showed the tenderest affection for them. Then, when in later life he came to occupy the high post of Lord Chancellor, the fondness and reverence for his parents increased rather than diminished. And the story is told of him how, when his father held a position in one of the lower courts, he used to be seen every morning to go and kneel and ask for the old man’s blessing.
The law is clear, then, and so it remains for children to fulfill the commandment and to look forward confidently to the reward which will surely come to them in this life and in the next. For God has promised and He is faithful.
(To be continued)
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