Vol 14 Issue 5 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward KrierJanuary 30, 2021 ~ Saint Martina, opn!
1. What is the Holy Eucharist
2. Septuagesima Sunday
3. Saint Don Bosco
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
This week the Church introduces the Pre-Lenten Season. It is usually a mixture of light and shadow, of joy and sorrow, of celebration and ending celebrations. This year continues to be one of the years the contrast is stark as we are still celebrating Christmas until the Feast of the Purification on February 2—so the Nativity Scene is still erected with the figures. At the same time the altar is set up with purple, the priest wears purple, and one might still hear Christmas themed hymns. But, there is no longer the Alleluia nor the Gloria on this Sunday, even though the Church is still celebrating the Nativity for the Feast of the Presentation has not yet arrived. Sometimes the celebration is close to Ash Wednesday, sometimes it ends before Septuagesima Sunday—but usually it is in between. Therefore the term, Pre-Lenten Season but not Post-Christmas. Christmas was introduced in the third or fourth century while the Paschal Season has Apostolic Tradition. The numbering before and after the Feast of the Resurrection varies and because of its importance and precedence is not moved by the Christmas or Epiphany celebration.
What, then, is the spirit of this Pre-Lenten period? It accords first with the Paschal Season in as much as Lent precedes the Feast of the Resurrection and is a time of Penance, so the major signs of joy are slowly being removed: the Alleluia at all times, the Major Gloria at Sunday and Ferial Masses along with the festive white or lively green (replaced with purple or violet). When Lent begins, the full force of the Fast and Abstinence will then be in effect and the call for sorrow for sin and the contemplation of the Passion of Christ will be heard and seen in the Church. Even the somber of Lent will become even more dour when the Minor Gloria is removed and the Crucified and Saints are covered from view in the Sanctuary during Passiontide. So the spirit of Septuagesima Sunday is to prepare us for Lent, for Ash Wednesday and the days following that will prepare us for the Paschal Festival. The mind is already forced to think of the Lenten penances one will impose upon oneself—not just the Church—and the choice of personal sacrifice one will give to Christ as an offering of gratitude for His Redemptive Act on Good Friday. This must all be decided before Lent begins so the means and ways are determined.
This year Catholics in particular should be enjoining and resolving to both be faithful to the Laws of the Church concerning the Lenten Fast and Abstinence (includes complete abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Easter Vigil) and personal sacrifices. Last year many Catholics found Mass suddenly taken from them during this season; may this year not find even more government interference in our Catholic worship and the difficulty to profess openly our faith.
As always, enjoy the readings provided for your benefit.—The Editor
WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
The Holy Eucharist is a True Sacrifice
The Sacrifice of the Mass
THE HOLY EUCHARIST AS A SACRIFICE
An Explanation of Holy Mass
Old Testament Sacrifices
These two reasons are found in the sacrifices representative in the Old Testament. Abel: Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat: and the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offerings. (Gen. 4:4) Noe: And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowls that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar. (Gen. 8:20) Melchisedech: But Melchisedech the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God. (Gen. 14:18) Abraham: And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. . . . Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son. (Gen. 22:6, 13) Moses: And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year . . . And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. . . . And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the side posts, and on the upper door posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Ex. 12:5, 6, 7)
The Old Testament sacrifices were not of themselves capable of giving to God satisfactory adoration, thanksgiving, imputation or atonement. God accepted the sacrifices only in view that the sacrifice typified and obtained its value from the sacrifice Christ offered on Calvary.
New Testament Sacrifice
The Sacrifice of the New Testament begins with the Institution of the Sacrifice by Christ Himself:
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and having raised His eyes to heaven, unto Thee, O God, His Almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take ye all and eat of this: For this is My Body.
In like manner, when the supper was done, taking also this goodly chalice into His holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to Thee, He blessed it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take ye all, and drink of this: For this is the Chalice of My Blood of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins.
That it was an inauguration of a new covenant sealed in blood is evident from the repetition of the inauguration of the old covenant: And [Moses] took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said: This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. (Ex. 24:8) Saint Paul confirms the parallel when he writes: [Moses] Saying: This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you.(Hebrews 9:20) Again, that it replaces the Old Covenant in these words: And to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel. (Heb. 12:24)
Christ offering His Body and Blood finds its bloody reality fulfilled, as prophesied in His Passion and death, the shedding of His Blood—which shall be shed for you—on the cross on Calvary. As Laux explains:
1. The Sacrifice of the Cross [is] the Most Perfect Sacrifice. The Sacrifice of the New Law is the Son of God Himself, who, by His death on the Cross, offered Himself to His Heavenly Father in our stead and “obtained everlasting redemption” for us (Heb. 9,12).
The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is called a sacrifice of redemption, because by it He ransomed us from the slavery of sin. It was the most perfect sacrifice that could be offered, because it fulfilled in the most perfect manner the conditions essential to a sacrifice:
a) It was worthy of God’s majesty, for it was the sacrifice of the Son of God, who was both the Priest and the Victim;
b) It was a fit and proper sacrifice for man’s sins, for it involved the offering of a human body—of a body specially fashioned, as St. Paul remarks, for that sacrifice;
c) The sacrifice was an expression of the most perfect and absolute submission to God’s holy will;
d) The sacrifice was accepted by the Father.
When Christ instituted the Sacrifice of the New Testament He said: Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19) The Sacrifice, the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ, was to be renewed by the Apostles and their priestly successors. That offering was to be in the same manner as that which Christ instituted at the Last Supper, but that sacrifice was to be that same sacrifice He offered of His Body and Blood on Calvary. Sacrifice was not to end in the New Testament, but constantly renewed as prophesied by Malachias: I have no pleasure in your sacrifices [Old Testament], saith the Lord of hosts; I will not receive a gift of your hands. For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, My Name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My Name a clean oblation (Mal. 1:11)
This instituted Sacrifice of the New Testament that renews the Sacrifice of Calvary is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is a true sacrifice because it meets all the requirements of a sacrifice:
a) The Victim is Jesus Christ Himself under the appearances of bread and wine;
b) The oblation takes place at the Consecration, when Christ, at the words of the priest: This is my Body—This is my Blood, becomes present on the altar under the separate species of bread and wine. The separate species represent the death of Christ, the separation of His Blood from His Body;
c) By this most perfect oblation God is adored and honored in the most perfect manner, and the fruits of the Sacrifice of the Cross are applied to our souls.
The Mass is, therefore, in the words of St. Peter Canisius, “both a representation, at once holy and living, and an offering, bloodless yet actual, of the Passion of the Lord and of the bloodstained sacrifice which was offered for us on the Cross.” (Laux, 53-54)
Mass is Christ offering His death represented by the separate consecrations expressed in these words of Saint Gregory Nazianzus, when with bloodless stroke thou separatest the Body and Blood of the Lord; having speech as a sword (Ep. CLXXI. ad Amphil.), through the ministry of the priest. Therefore, also, Christ is the principal Priest of every Mass that makes Mass the same Sacrifice as Calvary: Same Priest; same Victim.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The best explanation of the derivation of the word Mass is by Laux, though a deeper study brings out many concepts of what Mass is in considering different sources of the word Mass as influencing the adaptation of the word.
The word “Mass” comes from the Latin missa, a later form for missio (like repulso from repulsio, collecta from collectio) and originally meant merely “dismissal.” In the first ages of the Church, after the Gospel and the sermon, the catechumens were admonished by the deacon to leave the church; this was called the missa, or dismissal of the catechumens. At the end of the Holy Sacrifice the deacon said to the faithful: Ite, missa est—”Go, it is your dismissal”; this was called the missa, or dismissal of the faithful. Thus, we see that the Eucharistic part of the service began and ended with a missa, and in the fourth century this part was itself called the missa. It was used in this sense for the first time, as far as we know, by St. Ambrose, who relates in one of his letters that after the dismissal of the catechumens he began the celebration of the Mass: Missam facere coepi. Later on, the word Mass was applied to the whole liturgical service. (Laux, 54)
The explanation by Pohle shows the attempt at understanding Holy Mass and the thoughts that erupt in contemplating this wonderful Sacrifice:
The word “Missa,” according to some, is derived from the Hebrew מִסָּה, [missa] i. e. portion, according to others from the Greek μύσις, [mysis] i. e. occlusion. Mittere in the sense of perficere, offerre sacrum, [to perfect, to offer a sacred (gift)] occurs in the writings of classical authors. But it is more probable that the word Missa is a late Latin form of missio, as oblata from oblatio, collecta from collectio, etc.
Missio may refer either to the divine mission of the Logos for the reconciliation of mankind, or, by synecdoche, to the “dismissal” of the catechumens in the primitive Church, which has left its traces in the “lte missa est.” The term Missa for the Sacrifice of the Altar probably came into common use in the Latin Church as early as the sixth or seventh century. In the East they have retained the older technical term “Liturgy.” (Pohle 272-273)
The Four Ends of Mass are adoration, thanksgiving, satisfaction and petition. This concept is poignantly illuminated in this stanza:
Adore till the Gospel;
Give thanks till the bell;
Till Communion ask pardon;
Then all your wants tell. —FATHER RUSSELL
In the work, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, there is this explanation of the four ends:
Our private praise of God is imperfect and often worthless.
It is therefore wise to unite it with the perfect praise which Christ Himself, our Mediator, offers to God on the altar during Mass, This union makes our poor worship full of merit and pleasing to Almighty God.
It is not only with our hearts and lips that we should honor God. The action of our lives must be a constant adoration of the Creator. God must be always before our eyes. We must never stray from the beneficent influence of His Divine Presence; we must never stop praising Him. If but every day is lived in praise of God, it will be filled with good and holy work, kindness to others, helpful and profitable conversation and noble thoughts. All these will continue the morning Mass in our hearts, influencing us to good, just as magnificent music is heard for hours in memory. (33)
The greatest of all ways, of thanking God is the Blessed Eucharist. This word comes from the Greek language, and means a rite of thanksgiving. In the Gloria of the Mass, the Church gives thanks to God: “We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory.” In the Preface of the Mass the Church reminds us of the duty of thanksgiving: “It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to Thee.”
God Himself has made possible what we cannot do ourselves. He has made it possible for us to thank Him for all things through Jesus Christ. Christ and His sacrifice have made us rich enough to repay even the God of heaven and earth for all the goodness we receive from His hand! Our private prayers, our penances and our individual devotions cannot accomplish this, because we cannot offer to God the gift of His Son in these things. It is only in the Sacrifice of the Mass that we can return the One Acceptable Gift. (34)
The Mass helps to wipe away the guilt of sin. The Sacraments of Baptism and Penance forgive sin directly, if all conditions required are present. The Mass, however, appeases the anger of God and secures from Him the grace of repentance. Mass obtains actual graces for us which enlighten our minds to see the awfulness of sin, which soften our hearts with feelings of mercy and hope, and which turn our steps to the Sacrament of Penance in deep contrition and sorrow. The Mass also obtains pardon for venial sins which so often lead us to the brink of mortal sin. The Mass, then, does not directly cancel sins; it is not a sacrament. But it has the power to propitiate for sin by giving those graces needed to bring us to the sacraments.
In the celebration of Mass, especially in the Secret Prayer, the Church constantly begs the Lord for reconciliation. The Church wishes to impress upon her children that we poor, sin-laden men must first be reconciled to God, must be restored to His friendship, to participate in the blessings which He will then freely and generously impart.
The Mass also has the power to cancel temporal punishment, which is the satisfaction due after the guilt of sin has been remitted. We know that this temporal punishment must be paid either on this earth or in purgatory. That is the reason why we have Holy Masses said for the souls of our dead friends—that God may accept the satisfaction of the Mass to lessen their time in purgatory. To what extent Mass offered for a soul in the state of grace on earth or in purgatory cancels temporal punishment has not been determined. Saint Thomas Aquinas contends that the offering of the Mass is sufficient to satisfy for all punishment. (34-35)
The hour of the Sacrifice of the Mass is the time when God Almighty sits upon the throne of grace. It is then that we are advised to draw near His feet to ask for mercy and for help in all our needs. Saint Alphonsus Liguori says that the angels look forward to the time of Mass with radiant eagerness, for it is then they wish to intercede for us so that their intercession may be acceptable before God.
The Council of Trent teaches that the sacrifice is offered for all the spiritual and temporal graces which we need. Examine the various Votive Masses and the prayers for different purposes in the Roman Missal. You will discover that the Church pleads eloquently for all the needs of soul and body, not only for individuals but for nations. . . .
If we enter into the spirit of the Mass we enter into the all-perfect spirit of Christ’s Passion and Death, with the result that our lives will be flooded with graces. The Mass helps us to do good actions, to overcome temptation, to hate the world with its deceit and its dangers, to resist the attacks of Satan, to endure difficulties with patience, even with joy and gratitude. In short, we have in the Mass all the help we need to fight the good fight to the final triumphant end of our earthly pilgrimage.
(To be continued)
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers
M. F. Toal
THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
MATTHEW XX. 1-16
At that time: Jesus spoke to His Disciples the following parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.
When therefore they were come, that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats.
But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.
I. ORIGEN: EXPOSITION OF THE PARABLE
The Kingdom of heaven is like to an householder . . .
It seems as if the whole parable was uttered that we might learn that those coming last to work receive the same wage as those that were first called, and that they who first were called were placed last by the master of the vineyard, and were accordingly the last to receive payment. But we must know that if this parable of Jesus, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. ii. 3), be carefully studied, so much wisdom will be found hidden in its depths, by those who have the gift to discover it; so that it must be this parable especially the Saviour had in mind when He said: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world (Mt. xiii. 3 5).
It is necessary for whosoever desires to understand this parable that he first knows what is the day that is here spoken of, and what is the meaning of its hours; and that it was not by chance that the master of the vineyard entrusted the care of his vineyard to five different orders of labourers. Then he must seek out, he that is able to seek, why some of the labourers were hired in the morning; and, after this, not at the second hour, but about the third hour, yet others were hired; and after this again the next hiring was not at the fourth, or the fifth hour, but at the sixth, and so on; not at the seventh or eighth hour, but at the ninth? Lastly, not at the tenth hour, but at the eleventh. For there should be a reason worthy of Jesus why between the morning and the next hour there is but a brief interval and not such as there is between the third and sixth hour, and between the sixth and ninth? And then why is there but one hour between the ninth and the eleventh, such as there was between the morning and the third hour?
Neither must we pass over the question as to why the householder made a contract of a denarius a day with those labourers he had hired in the morning, while to those he hired about the third hour he made no mention of a fixed sum, saying merely: I will give you what shall be just. He acted likewise with those he called about the sixth and ninth hours, and to those who had given a reason why they stood all day idle He said likewise: go you also into my vineyard. Since the master of the vineyard was standing outside his vineyard, and finding there the labourers, he sent the first into his vineyard, to the second he said: go you also into my vineyard, using the same words to those he called even up to the eleventh hour: go you also into my vineyard; let him strive to understand who can what is the market place, which in Greek is called nundinae or ninth day, in which Jesus found men standing idle. Again he must likewise seek to learn who they are whom he found standing there, and to whom he said: why stand you here all the day idle? And let him ponder who can the significance of their reply who had stood there the whole day idle; and the pain of standing there idle, and the promptness of their answer: that they were ready to work but no one had hired them; as there were many to be hired, but few to hire them.
And also we must carefully reflect upon what it was that the lord of the vineyard said to his steward when evening was come: Call the labourers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. We must try to understand what was it moved the lord of the vineyard to tell his steward to call the labourers, bidding him pay them their hire, beginning with the last to arrive and then going to the first, so they received payment first who were hired about the eleventh hour, then those that were hired at the ninth hour, in the third place those who were hired about the sixth hour, fourthly, they who were hired about the third hour, and, last of all, they were paid who were hired in the morning early. This is plainly shown from this that he said: Pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.
But who is it, apart from the lord who owns the vineyard, that is steward of the vineyard, and who pays the wages according to the lord’s bidding? And if they who were called about the ninth hour did not therefore bear the burthen of the day and the heats, then manifestly it was not they who murmured against the householder, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burthen of the day and the heats.
Neither did they who were called about the sixth hour bear the burthen of the day and the heats, unless perhaps of half a day. And they who were called about the ninth hour did not sustain the burthen of the whole day, but, if one must speak with accuracy, the half of the day and also its quarter. Only they who were hired in the morning, bore the burthen of the whole day and the heat. The rest endured only according to the measure of the time they had laboured in the vineyard.
Since also there are different parables concerning the vineyards, we must inquire whether the vineyard is here employed in its literal sense, or in different senses. I believe that we should also seek to understand why it was he said, not to all of those who came first, and who thought that they should receive more, but only to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny?
These and similar questions I find contained in the parable before us, to be answered by someone; and it is not for anyone to speak in a manner befitting the parable, other than he who may in strict truth say: But we have the mind of Christ (l Cor. ii. 16). This I shall confidently make clear to you. For who indeed has the mind of Christ in this parable, save he that submits himself to the Holy Spirit, of Whom the Saviour says: He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you (Jn. xiv. 26). For unless the Paraclete had taught all that Jesus said, as also this parable, nothing worthy of Jesus could be said concerning it. And if they that search into the Gospel according to John have sought these things from the Paraclete, according to the words of Jesus, some have given heed, not indeed to the Paraclete, but to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared (l Tim. iv. 1), so that they call the spirit of error, and demons, by the great name of the Paraclete, Whom the Saviour had promised to the Apostles, and to whosoever is as it were the equal of the Apostles.
And I am of opinion that Matthew knew all the mysteries throughout this parable, and also those contained in those of the Sower of the Seed, and of the Tares sown among the Wheat, but he did not consider it practical, as in the case of the others, to write about them, for fear that in committing to writing the full meaning, to a certain degree, of this parable, he would be writing as it were an entire record of the whole. If Matthew is wisely reserved in regard to the unfolding of the parable, it is evident that, if anyone, even in part, can discern this, he is perhaps to be praised; indeed to make known what is disclosed to him, and to put it in writing, will in no way be a hindrance to the exposition of the mysteries.
Now we are far from penetrating to the depths of the things hidden in the parable, but the few that have been made clear to us we venture, and not without earnest prayer, to put before you, setting out briefly some things we have learned, and then having fittingly meditated on the parable we shall go on to other things. Let us therefore first consider what is the meaning of that day of which the parable speaks; let us see also whether we can speak of the whole of this present time as a kind of day, great indeed to us, but of little duration in relation to the life of God the Father, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. And this present time has the same relationship to the life of the blessed Powers and Virtues, brought together out of many generations. For as one single day is in relation to the life of all long-living things, so is this present span of time in comparison with the life of the heavenly beings. And if it is such in relation to the life of the heavenly creatures, see then of what little moment is this life in comparison with the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Whether such a mystery is referred to in the Canticle of Deuteronomy: Remember the days of old (Deut. xxxii. 7), let him seek out who can. And if such are the days of the world, it follows that a similar meaning is to be given to the words of Psalm 76, verses six and seven: I thought upon the days of old: and I had in mind the eternal years. I meditated in the night with my own heart: and I was exercised and swept in spirit. Will God then cast off forever? And perhaps God, if I may speak boldly, will not cast off for ever, for it is a grave thing for the Lord to cast off in one world; but in the other world He may perhaps cast off, when a certain sin shall not be forgiven either in this world or the next (Mt. xii. 32).3
Who therefore can relate the six days and the seventh of resurrection to days of this kind, or the sabbath days, and the days of the new moon, and the festival days of the first month, and the fourteenth day of the Pasch, and the other days of Azymes? He who follows reason in this matter will fall into an abyss of opinions, regarding a day of this kind after the manner of festival days, or after the manner of that sabbattical year in which God bestowed the fruits which remained from the precious cultivation upon the poor and the stranger, and upon the beast of the field while he is yet suffered to rest (Ex. xxiii). Who is able to scrutinise the number of the days in that sea of fifty years; (I say sea because of the profundity of the teaching here) so that he may know and truly understand the fiftieth year, and what is there laid down to be filled (Lev. xxv).
St. John Bosco, Confessor
1. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934, Pope Pius XI canonized Don John Bosco, to the great delight of Catholics all over the world. And there was reason for his popularity: He had been a savior of boys. As a boy himself, he had been a barefoot cowherd; as a priest, he used to mend the clothes of his boys. Born in the village of Becchi, in Italy, August 16, 1815, he was only two years old when his father died. His mother, a deeply religious woman, took care to train her children in Christian living. When John was ten, he had a dream in which he saw Christ bringing to him a group of disorderly, cursing boys who quickly became transformed into meek lambs and followed Christ and His Blessed Mother. Then he heard our Lord tell him that this scene indicated his future field of priestly labor.
Beginning December 8, 1841, in Turin, John Bosco became the apostle of neglected boys. They used to say: “He is good to us; he would like to cut us down from the gallows.” After much labor and in spite of suspicions and persecutions from all quarters, he acquired the necessary buildings and started the Institute of the Salesians, named for St. Francis de Sales. The new society received ecclesiastical approbation in 1869. Eventually, he affiliated with the Salesians the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, the Sons of Mary for belated vocations, and the pious Society of Salesian Auxiliaries, all lay people under the direction of their respective pastors. Don Bosco was a man of faith, of confidence in God, and he burned with a self-immolating love that transformed everything in its path. He used to say: “If only we could embrace the whole world with our love in order to bring it to God and the Church! Seek first the kingdom of God. May the will of God be done!”
2. “God gave him wisdom and great discernment, and gave him a heart as wide as the sea shore” (Introit; cf. III Kings 4:29). Here, the Church applies to St. John what Scripture says about Solomon. Certainly, God had given him wisdom and understanding that would have made him a great success in the world. In school, he had completed the work of three grades in one year; as he advanced, he took up Latin and Italian literature privately; he became proficient as a carpenter, a shoemaker, a confectioner, and a cook. Gifted as he was, both intellectually and physically, Bosco could have succeeded at whatever work he chose. But his one ardent ambition, on becoming a priest, was to live among the poor, and to sacrifice himself in humble, willing service for homeless boys. He devoted all his rare gifts and energies to the poorest class of boys, becoming to them father, mother, brother, friend, servant, companion—all for love of Christ and for the salvation of their souls. From his profound, living faith flowed tender love and superhuman patience that led his charges to goodness and to Christ.
His remarkable success induced the Pope to offer him an honor. “Holy Father,” he replied, “what a figure I would cut as a monsignor among my boys! They would not even recognize me; they would lack complete confidence in me if they had to address me with a title. It will be better if I remain simply poor John Bosco.” Some people considered him unbalanced; all saw that he had a gift of powerful love and unusual supernatural wisdom, drawn from Christ by his unquestioning faith. His success was a triumph of love in a world that was accustomed to yielding only to force and brutality. He admirably exemplified the words of our Lord: “Unless you become like little children again, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Gospel).
“Be content to trust in the Lord and do good; live on thy land with its riches to sustain thee. Fix all thy longing in the Lord, he will give thee what thy heart desires; commit thy life to the Lord and trust in Him, he will prosper thee. “The poor and the helpless shall exalt thy name” (Gradual and Alleluia verse). Don Bosco was always poor, and yet he was always undertaking new projects, building churches and institutions, and taking in more boys, not only in Turin but all over Italy, in Europe, and even beyond the ocean. He knew the power of sincere trust in God; he understood the promise, “Hope in the Lord and He will accomplish all.” And God rewarded his confidence with numberless miracles. “Nothing must make you anxious; in every need make your requests known to God, praying and beseeching him, and giving him thanks as well. So may the peace of God, which surpasses all our thinking, watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” In these words, the Epistle describes St. John. The Communion antiphon applies to him the words of the Apostle concerning Abraham; “Abraham, then, believed, hoping against hope; and thus became the father of many nations” (Rom. 4:18). Bosco was eminently a man of faith. His entire life, full of activity, labor, and blessings was a commentary on trust in divine providence. Still, the Saint used to say: “How much God has done through us! But how much more He would have done if my faith had been stronger.” And in that conviction lay the secret of his marvelous success and his sanctity.
3. Don Bosco’s life was one filled with energetic labor for souls: “Let us work now; in heaven, we shall have rest. How can I be idle while the devil is working? I did not become a priest in order to take care of my health. Anyone who dies from overwork will attract hundreds to fill his place.”
St. John was an unforgettable educator; he exercised extraordinary influence over hearts, because he was a saint. It is the nature of light to illuminate: it is the nature of sanctity in a person to attract others to a holy life. He led boys to holiness by his own holiness of thought, of will, and of love. He had learned the art of teaching from St. Paul: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity feels no envy; charity is never perverse or proud, never insolent; has no selfish aims, cannot be provoked, does not brood over an injury; takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but rejoices at the victory of truth; sustains, believes, hopes, endures, to the last” (I Cor. 13:4ff.). It was his practice to forgive all and to give everything. Why do we fail, sometimes, to influence or to win those under or about us? Perhaps we need more of the saintliness of St. John Bosco.
Collect: O God, who didst raise up Thy confessor St. John to be a father and teacher of youth, and didst will that by his doing and the virgin Mary’s help new families should flourish in Thy Church, grant that we, being fired with the same flame of charity, may be enabled to seek out souls and to serve only Thee. Amen.
A MOTHER’S LETTERS
A Book for Young Women
FATHER ALEXANDER , O.F.M.
A GIRL’S FUTURE
You must not be surprised at the restlessness of the young women under your care. If they are about your own age your personal experiences will provide you with part of the explanation. They are waking up to the knowledge of all kinds of possibilities, and becoming gradually aware of the fact that a decision, with regard to their future, must be made by themselves. That is the great problem which confronts every young woman. At home and in school everything was arranged for her. Now that she has to make up her own mind about a career in life she feels (or ought to feel) that no one can decide for her. Hitherto she has leant on others—now she must stand on her own feet. True, she may still seek guidance (and she ought to do so from those more experienced), but, all the same, the last word must be uttered by herself. Apart from this, there can be no stability of character.
I have known a whole life to be spoiled by indecision—by flitting from one thing to another without calm, deliberate choice and a determination to stick to that on which one has made up her mind. Such a girl wishes others to decide for her. If they refuse, she is disappointed, and if they consent, she betrays them by her inconstancy.
If you have won the confidence of the girls around you, you cannot do better than urge them to think out things for themselves (on the lines laid down by legitimate authority) and to will and act in accordance with those thoughts. A mere “wish,” “fancy,” or “desire” is of no use at all. After studying the pros and cons one must make up her mind one way or the other. This is the keynote of success all over the world, and in every branch of the world’s work. It is especially needful in the matter of vocation, whether it be for a single life in the world, a religious, or a matrimonial life.
With regard to this, I am afraid that we mothers are often to blame, for as we advance in years we grow selfish and conservative and cling to our favourite sons and daughters as if we were created to be inseparable. Many a splendid girl has lived to become a soured, irritable, and disappointed “Old Maid” solely because she felt that she could not leave mother, and her cue was taken, not from her own feelings in the matter, but from the idea that a separation would kill mother. Mothers are not so easily killed!
Of course, if a girl decides to remain with her mother to the end and shuns all allurements to the contrary, she is worthy of all praise for her self-imposed sacrifice, but, having made her choice, she must be prepared for the consequences and not bewail, later on, her “foolishness,” for that would mean offering sacrifice with one hand and taking it away with the other.
No matter what state of life a girl may choose, she will be all the better equipped if she understands the full meaning of each and all; for if she decides without sufficient knowledge and deliberation, she may be tempted, in later years, to think that she was, more or less, deceived. No greater calamity than this could befall a young woman. As you, dearest child, have still to decide on your future, let me beseech you to remember that you shall ever remain a human being, and that the holiness of a state will not endow you with an angelic nature. Woman you are, and woman you shall remain, and although a holy state will bring with it very special aids for your advancement in virtue—especially in the angelic virtue—you must ever be prepared for the assaults incidental to the human nature with which God has endowed you. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
I can conceive a girl fancying that this or that state would free her from all troubles of that kind, and certainly the religious state does save one from a thousand external troubles that have to be faced in the busy world; but she has always with her a nature which, although for long periods very dormant, can never be depended on to be absolutely and finally at rest. You have only to turn to the lives of some of the greatest women-saints to be assured that I am far from exaggerating.
But enough about Vocation! Your best plan is to pray daily for light on your future, to think matters over, to have a chat (when you feel inclined) with me or with some sensible Nun, and to open your mind to your Confessor. After that—don’t ask another to decide for you, for that would be unpardonable weakness. Decide for yourself, and whatever your choice may be, it will have my blessing.
I am so grateful to God for having inspired me to open my mind to you, for it has (as I gather from your letters) encouraged you to be frank. May God bless you! I pray that all other mothers may get a similar light, for I do believe that the majority of domestic troubles arise less from lack of goodwill than from want of mutual confidence. Just at your age many young women are grossly misunderstood. They long to be understood precisely as they are, but they find no one at home who is willing to take the pains, and hence they are forced to unburden themselves to an outsider. This, I am sure, accounts for many things done in haste and repented of at leisure. How I pity them! Please God, dearest, you’ll never belong to that unhappy band, for you know where to find a heart that is full of sympathy.
The report you read in the paper of a child having been tampered with shows the need of vigilance on the part of mothers. Some are culpably lax in that respect. Little ones should not be left in the company of persons of the other sex for any length of time, no matter how good, or apparently good, those others may be, and a great deal of danger would be averted if children were more decently clothed than they sometimes are.
In a recent letter you asked me about the propriety of discussing the subjects we have treated. All depends on the dispositions of those who take part in the conversation. They should certainly not be discussed with persons of a frivolous turn of mind, or with those of the other sex; but if pureminded, level-headed young women compared notes on these matters, I really think that a sound and safe public opinion would be created that would be very advantageous.
The woman in your employment who ridiculed another because of her being childless showed a very low frame of mind. She ought to be ashamed of herself! Children are the gift of God, and if a wife remain childless it would be not only impertinent but cruel to upbraid her. It may be due to no fault on her part nor on that of her husband. Sometimes there are physical reasons which might easily be remedied if a doctor were consulted, but even when all the physical conditions necessary are there, it may not be God’s holy will to bless with fertility.
Unhappily there are cases in which God’s wishes to bless a couple with children are frustrated, and if you wish to know the mind of the Church on that scandal you should consult “The Catholic Home.” To write of it here would require more time and space than I can afford. Indeed, I have avoided touching on several things that I might have gone into, but I thought it well to refer you rather to the above work, in which you will find all that is needed to supply the gaps in these necessarily short letters.
You are now so much more clever than I (from an educational and business point of view) that I feel I have not the head to help you in very difficult things, but I can at least suggest where you can find help, no matter what problem may confront you. You can find it by having recourse to the accredited ministers of God’s Holy Church, and you shall have the grace to follow the solid advice given if you continue to practise your holy religion as you were trained to do when under the roof of your fond parents. Again—God bless you !
Your ever loving
Father Krier will be in Pahrump (Our Lady of the Snows Mission) February 11 and Eureka (Saint Joseph Chapel) February 18.
The topics of Faith and Morals will correspond to the Roman Catholic Faith in Tradition and the Magisterium. The News will be of interest. The commentaries are for the reader to ponder and consider. The e-mail address will be for you to provide thought for consideration. The donations will be to support the continuation of this undertaking.
While the Newsletter is free of charge it is not free of cost. Please consider supporting St Joseph’s Catholic Church with a tax – deductible donation by clicking the secure link: Donate
Or if you prefer send a check to
Catholic Tradition Newsletter
c/o St Joseph’s Catholic Church
131 N. 9th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Visit us on the Worldwide Web: http://stjosephlv.org
e-mail news and comments to: email@example.comTo unsubscribe, please type, “unsubscribe”‚ in subject line.…
[Message clipped] View entire message