- What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
- Fourth Sunday after Easter
- Saint Peter of Verona
- Family and Marriage
- Articles and notices
I am returning to the thesis on Confirmation. Since Holy Mother Church begins to prepare us for the feast of Pentecost (May 20) this week along with Ascension Thursday (May 10), it seems providential that there will be some reflection upon the Holy Ghost. Confirmations will be administered at Saint Joseph’s here in Las Vegas by Bishop Martin Davila on May 27—when Pentecost is renewed.
May is also the Month of Mary. It is appropriate that Pope Pius XII placed the feast of Saint Joseph on the first day of May. It allows Catholics to reflect upon his role as Spouse of Mary but also in our spiritual life. We don’t want to make the saints just beautiful pictures that decorate the house or church but rather as members of the Mystical Body of Christ who have a place in the life of the Church and are interested in our living the divine life bestowed upon us through Baptism which must be nourished and fostered or will wither and die. Saint Joseph was recently placed as Patron of the Universal Church to illuminate his vocation to protect and provide for Jesus and Mary. He did this by simply working as a carpenter in complete submission to God’s will, by taking Mary to wife, by departing Nazareth for Bethlehem for the census, by fleeing to Egypt when Herod sought the Child’s life, and, years later, by returning to Nazareth to once more take up shop as a carpenter without complaining, without murmuring, without recognition. When, in the spiritual life we read about carrying our crosses this is a sign whether we are truly carrying our cross and doing penance for our sins or gaining merit and grace: Do accept what God assigns us in our life, or do we complain and murmur like the Israelites in the desert? Because human nature is weak and yet proud, immediately one turns to God, not as one who knows God makes all things good, but as rebellious because one wants to be god—that is, independent of Him—without grasping the reality that one cannot exist without God. If one resigned oneself to the Divine will, one would not revolt like the devils, but seek to fulfill completely God’s divine Will. Saint Joseph shows us this through his life and why he is the patron in the fight against Communism (Marxist Socialism) which thrives on malcontents who want the flesh pots of Egypt (this world) instead of the promised land (heaven).
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?
by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Foretelling of the Coming of the Holy Ghost in the New Testament
The same action of the Holy Ghost is found in the New Testament, as was found in the Old Testament, in which particular individuals are found to receive the Holy Ghost as a special gift or grace. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is greeted as being full of Grace: And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28) But the special action of the Holy Ghost is seen to work to accomplish the Incarnation. To her request, How shall this be done? The Archangel Gabriel replies: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee; And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Ibid. 34, 35.) After the birth of John the Baptist, his father, Zachary was filled with the Holy Ghost and he prophesied. (Luke 1:67) Luke continues to also show the same regarding Simeon when the Christ was presented in the Temple: And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. (Luke 2:25-26)
John the Baptist prophesied that the Christ would give everyone the Gift of the Holy Ghost: I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. (Matt. 3:11; cf. Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16and John 1:33). That all four Evangelists testify that this would come to pass bears witness that it was essential to the Gospel message. Christ confirms these words of John the Baptist when He addresses Nicodemus, announcing Himself as fulfilling the prophesies concerning Him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5) When He begins to proclaim He is the Messias awaited by the Prophets, He introduces it by quoting Isaias, as seen in the Synagogue at Nazareth:
And he came to Nazareth, where he was brought up: and he went into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the sabbath day; and he rose up to read. And the book of Isaias the prophet was delivered unto him. And as he unfolded the book, he found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of
heart, To preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward. And when he had folded the book, he restored it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears. (Luke 4:16-21; cf. Isai. 61:1)
Christ foretold to His disciples that they would receive the Holy Ghost as He instructed them regarding their future mission: And when they shall lead you and deliver you up, be not thoughtful beforehand what you shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost; (Mark 13:11) confirmed by Saint Luke: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you must say. (Luke 12:12)
The Liturgy during the Paschal Season, which is also a preparation for Pentecost, brings out the passages that refer to foretelling of the coming of the Holy Ghost by drawing on the discourse of Our Lord at the Last Supper. In chapter fourteen Christ already promises to send “another Advocate” (Paraclete). He is the Comforter, the Messias, but He will send His Spirit to also dwell in His Church. The concept of the Messias being a comforter (מנחם) is why many of the false messiahs took the name Menachem: Menachem the Essene, Menachem ben Judah and Menachem ben Hezekiah. Job, a prefigure of the Christ, speaks these words: If I had a mind to go to them, I sat first, and when I sat as a king, with his army standing about him, yet I was a comforter of them that mourned. (Job 29:25) There is also that of Ecclesiastes: I turned myself to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done under the sun, and the tears of the innocent, and they had no comforter; and they were not able to resist their violence, being destitute of help (comfort) from any. (Ecclesiastes 4:1) In the prophecy of Nahum, Ninive is to be lacking a saviour, using the same term: And it shall come to pass that every one that shall see thee, shall flee from thee, and shall say: Ninive is laid waste: who shall bemoan thee? whence shall I seek a comforter for thee? (Nahum 3:7) It appears that the Christ would be a Comforter. But now Christ speaks of sending another Comforter.
And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. . . . But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. (John 14:16-18, 26.)
This is reiterated in John 15, verse 26-27: But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.
Finally, to show the necessity of His Passion and Death, Christ Jesus concludes in Chapter 16:
But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you. (John 16:7-15)
After His Passion and Death, Christ, before ascending into heaven, tells the Apostles and disciples to remain in Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost: And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) This Saint Luke repeats when he opens up the second part of inspired writings known as the Acts of the Apostles:
The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. . . . you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:1-5, 8)
It is evident, then, that in the New Testament there is the working of the Holy Ghost in particular instances, as stated in the Gospels at the time of the conception and birth of the Christ. When John the Baptist preaches, the Gospels record him taking up the prophecy that the Christ will give everyone the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Then Christ announces, but during His public ministry and more emphatically at the discourse at the Last Supper that He will give the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Dr. Pius Parsch
The Church’s Year of Grace (1953)
Last Sunday the Church began to prepare us for Christ’s return to heaven. Today she proceeds a step further. She alludes not only to the ascension but also to the descent of the Holy Spirit, and indicates that there is a connection between them. Our Savior says expressly that the Holy Spirit will not come unless He leaves the earth. Moreover, the Holy Spirit will take the place of Jesus; He will be the Consoler, the Leader, the Teacher, the Advocate of the Church and of Christendom. There will be a difference, however, in the mode of operation; Jesus fulfilled His mission in a manner visible to all, the Holy Spirit will work invisibly in the Church and in the souls of men.
Saturday evening. Tonight’s Vesper antiphon is from tomorrow’s Gospel: “I go to Him who sent Me, and no one of you asks Me: Where are You going? Alleluia, alleluia.” The Church is preparing us for our Savior’s ascension.
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of Truth . . .
- Holy Mass (Cantate).In word and action the Mass-mystery reveals to us the operation of the Holy Spirit. Again today the Alleluia takes a central position in theIntroit, “Sing to the Lord the new canticle: Alleluia.” The reason follows immediately, “The Lord has done wonderful things.” These marvels that God is manifesting to all the world are the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s activity in the souls of men.
The Oration is directed to the Father, but we can ascribe the realization of our petition to the Holy Spirit. It is He who fuses the faithful into a homogeneous Body, the mystical Christ, and impresses upon it one will, one love, one longing. This Body has no other objective than to follow Christ whither He has gone. On this surging sea of life, our hearts are anchored in heaven where “true joy” reigns.
The word desursum is the key to the Epistle. What, after all, is “the best gift, the perfect gift. . . coming down from the Father of lights”? The Holy Spirit, in baptism. The Holy Spirit “begot us by the word of truth, that we might be, as it were, the first-fruits of His creatures.” This high dignity demands a correspondingly high morality- swiftness to hear, control over speech and impulses to wrath, rejection of all uncleanness and malice. The Holy Spirit likewise acts as a gardener who nurtures the seed of divine truth in the soil of our hearts. He is “the Lord’s right hand”; it is the power of His right arm that is responsible for “victory, exaltation, eternal life” (Allel.).
The design. The activity of the Holy Spirit in the garden of the soul. There is the lily of purity, the rose of charity, the palm of righteousness or martyrdom. As Queen and Bride, the Church plays and sings the Canticum Novum (the New Canticle), i.e., the Alleluia, on her harp (cf. Intr.).
The Gospel proclaims a double message, Christ’s return to heaven and the mission of the Paraclete. The third Person of the Blessed Trinity will soon inaugurate His saving work in the world and in the Church. As Guide and Teacher He will continually deepen our insight into the doctrine of Jesus. He will also glorify Christ, the mystical Christ on earth. The holy Eucharist is the means He uses (Gosp.); that which we listen to in the Fore-Mass, we soon experience in reality.
With sentiments of gratitude we begin the Offertory, chanting an Easter song: “What great things the Lord has done for my soul, alleluia!” Formerly, when the entire Psalm was sung, these words were repeated after each verse. There is more content to the Secret than ordinarily; it echoes the prayer said at the mingling of the wine and water, “Through the sacred exchange proper to this Sacrifice we become sharers in God’s own nature,” and concludes with the request for grace to put into practice the truths we profess. The prayer, therefore, touches upon the three fundamentals of our holy religion, grace, faith, commandments—deification, creed, morality.
The Gospel verse used for the Communion was not selected at random; by it the liturgy seeks to teach us that the Eucharist is the great means or instrument through which the Holy Spirit operates in the world and in the Church. For surely the Eucharist is the fountain bubbling over with every grace. The Postcommunion, on the other hand, emphasizes the negative aspects of moral purification and protection from physical and spiritual dangers.
- Scripture Reading (James 1:1-16).We are indebted to St. James the Less for a very instructive and edifying New Testament book, one, moreover, which is exceptionally easy to understand. It ranks among the oldest in the New Testament, written shortly before the first council of the apostles in Jerusalem. The very person of the author fills us with great respect. He was related to Jesus, he was the first bishop of Jerusalem, and due to many prayers his knees became calloused “like a camel’s hoof.” The style of his letter is simple, direct, compact; the contents eminently practical. Significant observations and edifying passages abound. This week offers a splendid opportunity for reading and meditating upon his words, since little else of special import occurs in the liturgy.
The first topic St. James develops is patience. “Esteem it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith begets patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”
The apostle continues, commenting on true wisdom, the wisdom that begets virtue. “But if any of you is wanting in wisdom, let him ask it of God, who gives abundantly to all men, and does not reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask with faith, without hesitation. For he who hesitates is like a wave of the sea, driven and carried about by the wind. Therefore, let not such a one think that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
“But let the brother of lowly condition glory in his high estate, and the rich man in his low condition. . .
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation. . .
“Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God; for God is no tempter to evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed by his own passion. . . . Therefore, my beloved brethren, do not err.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”
- Patience.This week the Church focuses our attention upon patience as the virtue to which we should devote particular attention. To spur us on she selects a beautiful passage from the pen of St. Cyprian. The saint begins with an example of patience, the patience of God Himself. “This is a virtue we share in common with God Himself, for patience has its source in God, and from Him derives its glory and its dignity. Both its origin and its greatness are due to God, its Author. Man should indeed love whatever is dear to God; and whatever good His divine Majesty loves, It commends to men. If God is both our Lord and Father, we should seek to imitate the patience of our Lord and Father; for servants ought to obey, and children ought not to prove unworthy of their parentage.”
At this point Cyprian scans the life of Christ to point out examples of His patience, particularly during His sacred passion. The remaining books of Holy Scripture, both of the Old Testament and the New, contain numerous examples of patience. Finally, our saint discusses the relation of patience to ordinary Christian life. It is the virtue that gives perseverance, preserves from vice, maintains charity, overcomes hatred and hypocrisy, and triumphs over the obstacles of life. “Patience touches every phase of human activity; nothing can be brought to completion in all our strivings unless patience endows us with that power. It is patience that both commends us to God and keeps us in His service.
“Patience restrains anger, bridles the tongue, governs the mind, maintains peace, regulates discipline, breaks the force of evil desires, checks the violence of rising passions, quenches the flame of hatred, controls the power of the rich, consoles the poor in their neediness, safeguards the blessed integrity of virgins, the chastity of widows, and the inseparable union of love between those espoused or married. Patience makes man humble in prosperity, courageous in adversity, meek under insults and injuries. Patience teaches us to forgive the sinner quickly, and when we ourselves offend, to pray long and earnestly for pardon. Through patience we overcome temptation, endure persecution, embrace suffering and martyrdom itself. Patience bolsters the very foundation of our faith; mightily does patience further the increase of our hope. It likewise guides all our actions, enabling us to remain on the path of Christ, walking in His patience.”
29 : ST PETER OF VERONA, MARTYR (A.D. 1252)
ST PETER Martyr was born at Verona in 1205 of parents who belonged to the sect of the Cathari, a heresy which closely resembled that of the Albigenses and included amongst its tenets a denial that the material world had been created by God. The child was sent to a Catholic school, in spite of the remonstrances of an uncle who discovered by questioning the little boy that he had not only learnt the Apostles’ Creed, but was prepared stoutly to maintain in the orthodox sense the article “Creator of Heaven and earth”. At Bologna University Peter found himself exposed to temptations of another sort amid licentious companions, and soon decided to seek admission into the Order of Preachers. Having received the habit from St Dominic himself, the young novice entered with zeal into the practices of the religious life. He was always studying, reading, praying, serving the sick, or performing such offices as sweeping the house. Later on we find him active as a preacher all over Lombardy. A heavy trial befell him when he was forbidden to teach, and was banished to a remote priory on a false accusation of having received strangers and even women into his cell. Once, as he knelt before the crucifix, he exclaimed, “Lord, thou knowest that I am not guilty. Why dost thou permit me to be falsely accused? ” The reply came, ” And I, Peter, what did I do to deserve my passion and death? ” Rebuked yet consoled, the friar regained courage, and soon afterwards his innocence was vindicated. His preaching from that time was more successful than ever, as he went from town to town rousing the careless, converting sinners, and bringing back the lapsed into the fold. To the fame of his eloquence was soon added his reputation as a wonder-worker. When he appeared in public he was almost crushed to death by the crowds who flocked to him, some to ask his blessing, others to offer the sick for him to cure, others to receive his instruction.
About the year 1234 Pope Gregory IX appointed Peter inquisitor general for the Milanese territories. So zealously and well did he accomplish his duties that his jurisdiction was extended to cover the greater part of northern Italy. We find him at Bologna, Cremona, Ravenna, Genoa, Venice and even in the Marches of Ancona, preaching the faith, arguing with heretics, denouncing and reconciling them. Great as was the success which everywhere crowned his efforts, Peter was well aware that he had aroused bitter enmity, and he often prayed for the grace to die as a martyr. When preaching on Palm Sunday, 1252, he announced publicly that a conspiracy was on foot against him, a price having been set on his head. ” Let them do their worst “, he added, ” I shall be more powerful dead than alive “.
As he was going from Como to Milan a fortnight later Peter was waylaid in a wood near Barlassina by two assassins, one of whom, Carino, struck him on the head with a bill-hook and then attacked his companion, a friar named Dominic. Grievously wounded, but still conscious, Peter Martyr commended himself and his murderer to God in the words of St Stephen. Afterwards, if we may believe a very old tradition, with a finger dipped in his own blood he was tracing on the ground the words Credo in Deum when his assailant despatched him with another blow. It was April 6, 1252, and the martyr had just completed his forty-sixth year. His companion, Brother Dominic, survived him only a few days.
Pope Innocent IV canonized St Peter of Verona in the year after his death. His murderer, Carino, fled to Forli, where repentance overtook him ; he abjured his heresy, became a Dominican lay-brother, and died so holy a death that his memory was venerated. So recently as 1934 his head was translated from Forli to Balsamo, his birthplace near Milan, where there is some cultus of him.
(Butler’s Lives of the Saints)
Girls, you’re Important
Instructions for Catholic Girls
By the Reverend T. C. Siekmann
The Reading Habit
Besides being well-read, a girl ought to like to read. Much enjoyment is to be found in books, magazines and pamphlets. While it may appear to be something of a duty to keep informed on public affairs, it can be a pleasant pastime as well. Nor need one read only what is informative. There is plenty of light, yet good fiction that will fill many hours, while broadening one’s education considerably.
The girl who reads much will likely be a very interesting friend. She will know many things others never heard about. One reason why some girls are not popular is that they have nothing to talk about. They just listen. Not to talk too much may be a good quality to have, but you ought to be able to add your bit to a conversation.
Travel broadens one’s outlook immensely. Few girls can travel extensively. But reading is a good substitute. It is almost as good to be able to say that you read about something, as to say that you actually saw it. To be unable to say anything is to appear dull.
Even the very lightest of fiction is not a waste of time, for it brings ideas, opens up new avenues of thought, and aspires one to live a broader, more satisfying life. Then, too, there is the great advantage
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