Catholic Tradition News Letter B32: Holy Eucharist, 10th Sunday after Pentecost, St John Vianney

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Vol 13 Issue 32 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
August 8, 2020 ~ Saints Cyriacus, Largus, Smaragdus, and Companions, opn!

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
3.      Saint John Marie Vianney
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices
Dear Reader:

Continuing the presentation of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Saints whom Catholics attribute particular intercessory power and pray to in all their needs despite being told that science has all the answers and the Saints are mere legends, here at the last seven:

Saint Christopher, whose feast is July 25, was a giant of a man who feared nothing and wanted to serve a fearless master. Born Reprobus, he later entered the service of a wicked and cruel king. When the king expressed fear of the devil, he sought to serve the devil among evil men. The leader who professed to be the devil himself, Reprobus noticed, feared the symbols of Christ, particularly the cross. Finding a servant of Christ, a holy monk, he was told he could serve Christ, because of his size, by taking people across the river Orontes (Syria). While performing this task, one day a Child asked to be taken across. Placing the Child on his shoulders, Reprobus began wading through the water, but the child’s weight became too much for him. Questioning the Child and why this weight, the Child replied: Thou beareth the Creator of heaven and earth. I am Jesus Christ, thy King and Lord, and henceforth thou shalt be called Christopher (Christ bearer). Christopher is said to have preached the Christian faith until he was taken prisoner during the reign of Decius and beheaded about the year 250 A. D. He is invoked by all travellers, against lightning (storms) and pestilence.

Saint Vitus (Guy), whose feast is celebrated on June 15, was a young Sicilian boy who was martyred with his nurse and tutor for the Christian faith at the instigation of his father who handed him over to the governor of Sicily along with the couple who had Vitus baptized as an infant. They were eventually put to death in the year 303 under the persecution of Diocletian. Saint Vitus is invoked against paralysis, epilepsy, and nervous diseases—especially the Saint Vitus’ Dance or Sydenham’s chorea that children suffer as a result of Rheumatic Fever.

Saint Pantaleon, whose feast is July 27, was a Christian physician in the service of the Emperor Maxim. Adopting the immoral lifestyle of the imperial court, he soon lost his faith. A priest, Hermolaus, admonished him until Pantaleon once more took on his Christian duties, giving away his inheritance and assisting all in need. As many were cured simply by the Saint’s prayers, Maximin had Pantaleon give an account and finding him a Christian ordered that he be nailed to a tree and beheaded in the year 308. Saint Pantaleon is invoked against lung diseases (cancer and tuberculosis).

Saint Acacius (Agathus), whose feast is May 8, was a Roman Centurion from Cappadocia. Hearing a voice saying, Call on the God of the Christians, he took up instruction in the faith and, after he was baptized, attempted to convert the soldiers under him to the faith. The Emperor Diocletian hearing of this had him cast into prison and tortured. Transferred to Byzantium, he heard the words, Acacius be firm. The guards and other prisoners hearing it were terrified, many being converted. In 303 he was beheaded. He is invoked against headaches.

Saint Barbara, whose feast is December 4, was from Heliopolis in Egypt. Her father confined her to a fortress so she would not be exposed to the growing Christian population and their faith. Despite his efforts, she learned of the Christian faith and asked to be instructed. Origen sent a disciple who came under the guise of a physician. After being baptized, she began to destroy the idols of the household enraging her father. He delivered her to the pagan proconsul who had her tortured in front of her approving father. As the tortures did not move Barbara to abandon the faith the father took a sword and cut off his own daughter’s head. He and the proconsul were immediately struck dead by lightning bolts. This was the year 306. Saint Barbara is invoked against fever, lightning and explosions as also a sudden and unprovided death.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, whose feast is November 25, was the daughter of the Egyptian Queen, Sabinella. A virtuous child, she grew to only indulge in earthly wisdom. Becoming acquainted with a holy hermit, she was soon taught the Christian faith. In a vision she found herself unable to approach Christ and His holy Mother Mary and seeking why was told she must first be baptized. Once baptized she had another vision in which Christ put a ring on her finger. After her mother died as a Christian, the persecutions under Maximin began. Being renowned for her knowledge and nobility, she was presented to be judged by a group of pagan philosophers who were to refute her claims about the truths of the faith. It is said she converted them instead to the faith. The Emperor Maximin condemned her to be tortured. She was tied to a spiked wheel on which she was to be spun, but it broke apart. She was then beheaded, the year being 307. Saint Catherine is invoked in lawsuits and against a sudden and unprovided death.

Saint Margaret, whose feast is July 20, was raised a Christian by her nurse. The father, a pagan priest was appalled when his daughter was speaking of the Catholic religion and that she wanted to live a life of virginity. Presented to the Prefect of Antioch in Pisidia (in what is central Turkey today), the Prefect Alybrius took a desire to marry Margaret and persuade her to renounce the faith. Upon rejection and Margaret refuting his misunderstandings of the faith, he had her tortured to near death, then casting her in a dungeon to die. But she recovered only to be tortured again and not being moved to renounce her faith the Prefect had her beheaded. This was the year 304. Saint Margaret is invoked against kidney diseases.

Fourteen Holy Helpers, who served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific vision in Heaven and because thou persevered till death thou gained the crown of eternal life, remember the dangers that surround us in this vale of tears, and intercede for us in all our needs and adversities. Amen.

Fourteen Holy Helpers, select friends of God, I honor thee as mighty intercessors, and come with filial confidence to thee in my needs, for the relief of which I have undertaken to make this novena. Help me by thy intercession to placate God’s wrath, which I have provoked by my sins, and aid me in amending my life and doing penance. Obtain for me the grace to serve God with a willing heart, to be resigned to His holy will, to be patient in adversity and to persevere unto the end, so that, having finished my earthly course, I may join thee in Heaven, there to praise for ever God, Who is wonderful in His Saints. Amen.

During the Bubonic Plague (1347-51), also called the Black Death, over a third of the population of Europe died of the disease. Many died within hours of being infected. The Fourteen Holy Helpers as a group were invoked by the Church at this time and since in especially times of plagues. May all Catholics again invoke these Saints to deliver the world from the present plague—or, if one believes only the scientists have the answer, one will have to wait while scientists continue to experiment on humans.

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

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WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST

By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

Part III

The Real Presence

Hilary writes of Jesus being united to the Father and Holy Ghost naturally, the Holy Trinity is united to the Christian naturally in the receiving of Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood made food:

Now our Lord has not left the minds of His faithful followers in doubt, but has explained the manner in which His nature operates, saying, That they may be one, as We are one: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in one. Now I ask those who bring forward a unity of will between Father and Son, whether Christ is in us today through verity of nature or through agreement of will. For if in truth the Word has been made flesh and we in very truth receive the Word made flesh as food from the Lord, are we not bound to believe that He abides in us naturally, Who, born as a man, has assumed the nature of our flesh now inseparable from Himself, and has conjoined the nature of His own flesh to the nature of the eternal Godhead in the sacrament by which His flesh is communicated to us? For so are we all one, because the Father is in Christ and Christ in us. Whosoever then shall deny that the Father is in Christ naturally must first deny that either he is himself in Christ naturally, or Christ in him, because the Father in Christ and Christ in us make us one in Them. Hence, if indeed Christ has taken to Himself the flesh of our body, and that Man Who was born from Mary was indeed Christ, and we indeed receive in a mystery the flesh of His body — (and for this cause we shall be one, because the Father is in Him and He in us) — how can a unity of will be maintained, seeing that the special property of nature received through the sacrament is the sacrament of a perfect unity? (On the Holy Trinity VIII.4.13)

Ambrose, in commenting on the substantial change in the Eucharist to be found in various prefigurements of the Old Testament, writes:

49. If that which you so wonder at is but shadow, how great must that be whose very shadow you wonder at. See now what happened in the case of the fathers was shadow: They drank, it is said, of that Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were done in a figure concerning us. 1 Corinthians 10:4 You recognize now which are the more excellent, for light is better than shadow, truth than a figure, the Body of its Giver than the manna from heaven.

51. Moses was holding a rod, he cast it down and it became a serpent. Exodus 4:3-4 Again, he took hold of the tail of the serpent and it returned to the nature of a rod. You see that by virtue of the prophetic office there were two changes, of the nature both of the serpent and of the rod. The streams of Egypt were running with a pure flow of water; of a sudden from the veins of the sources blood began to burst forth, and none could drink of the river. Again, at the prophet’s prayer the blood ceased, and the nature of water returned. The people of the Hebrews were shut in on every side, hemmed in on the one hand by the Egyptians, on the other by the sea; Moses lifted up his rod, the water divided and hardened like walls, and a way for the feet appeared between the waves. Jordan being turned back, returned, contrary to nature, to the source of its stream. Joshua 3:16 Is it not clear that the nature of the waves of the sea and of the river stream was changed? The people of the fathers thirsted, Moses touched the rock, and water flowed out of the rock. Exodus 17:6 Did not grace work a result contrary to nature, so that the rock poured forth water, which by nature it did not contain? Marah was a most bitter stream, so that the thirsting people could not drink. Moses cast wood into the water, and the water lost its bitterness, which grace of a sudden tempered. Exodus 15:25 In the time of Elisha the prophet one of the sons of the prophets lost the head from his axe, which sank. He who had lost the iron asked Elisha, who cast in a piece of wood and the iron swam. This, too, we clearly recognize as having happened contrary to nature, for iron is of heavier nature than water.

52. We observe, then, that grace has more power than nature, and yet so far we have only spoken of the grace of a prophet’s blessing. But if the blessing of man had such power as to change nature, what are we to say of that divine consecration where the very words of the Lord and Saviour operate? For that sacrament which you receive is made what it is by the word of Christ. But if the word of Elijah had such power as to bring down fire from heaven, shall not the word of Christ have power to change the nature of the elements? You read concerning the making of the whole world: He spoke and they were made, He commanded and they were created. Shall not the word of Christ, which was able to make out of nothing that which was not, be able to change things which already are into what they were not? For it is not less to give a new nature to things than to change them.

53. But why make use of arguments? Let us use the examples He gives, and by the example of the Incarnation prove the truth of the mystery. Did the course of nature proceed as usual when the Lord Jesus was born of Mary? If we look to the usual course, a woman ordinarily conceives after connection with a man. And this body which we make is that which was born of the Virgin. Why do you seek the order of nature in the Body of Christ, seeing that the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a Virgin, not according to nature? It is the true Flesh of Christ which crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body.

54. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: This is My Body. Matthew 26:26 Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood. And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks. (On the Mysteries 8.49, 9.51 sq.).

Saint Augustine addresses those receiving Holy Communion:

I am not unmindful of the promise by which I pledged myself to deliver a sermon to instruct you, who have just been baptized, on the Sacrament of the Lord’s table, which you now look upon and of which you partook last night.

You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That Bread which you see on the altar, consecrated by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what the chalice holds, consecrated by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. Through those accidents the Lord wished to entrust to us His Body and the Blood which He poured out for the remission of sins. If you have received worthily, you are what you have received, for the Apostle says: ‘The bread is one; we though many, are one body.’ Thus he explained the Sacrament of the Lord’s table: ‘The bread is one; we though many, are one body.’ So, by bread you are instructed as to how you ought to cherish unity. Was that bread made of one grain of wheat? Were there not, rather, many grains? However, before they became bread, these grains were separate; they were joined together in water after a certain amount of crushing. For, unless the grain is ground and moistened with water, it cannot arrive at that form which is called bread . . . . (Sermon 227.)

There is this reflection of Augustine when commenting on Psalm 33:

A psalm of David, when he changed his countenance before Abimelech, and he sent him away, and he departed.

1. Because there was there a sacrifice after the order of Aaron, and afterwards He of His Own Body and Blood appointed a sacrifice after the order of Melchizedek; He changed then His Countenance in the Priesthood, and sent away the kingdom of the Jews, and came to the Gentiles. What then is, He affected? He was full of affection. For what is so full of affection as the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, seeing our infirmity, that He might deliver us from everlasting death, underwent temporal death with such great injury and contumely? And He drummed: because a drum is not made, except when a skin is extended on wood; and David drummed, to signify that Christ should be crucified. But, He drummed upon the doors of the city: what are the doors of the city, but our hearts which we had closed against Christ, who by the drum of His Cross has opened the hearts of mortal men? And was carried in His Own Hands: how carried in His Own Hands? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, This is My Body. Matthew 26:26 And He fell down at the doors of the gate; that is, He humbled Himself. For this it is, to fall down even at the very beginning of our faith. For the door of the gate is the beginning of faith; whence begins the Church, and arrives at last even unto sight: that as it believes those things which it sees not, it may deserve to enjoy them, when it shall have begun to see face to face. So is the title of the Psalm; briefly we have heard it; let us now hear the very words of Him that affects, and drums upon the doors of the city.

11. Now will He speak openly of the same Sacrament, whereby He was carried in His Own Hands. O taste and see that the Lord is good Psalm 33:8. Does not the Psalm now open itself, and show you that seeming insanity and constant madness, the same insanity and sober inebriety of that David, who in a figure showed I know not what, when in the person of king Achis they said to him, How is it? When the Lord said, Except a man eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, he shall have no life in him? John 6:53 And they in whom reigned Achis, that is, error and ignorance, said; what said they? How can this man give us his flesh to eat? John 6:52 If you are ignorant, Taste and see that the Lord is good: but if you understand not, you are king Achis: David shall change His Countenance and shall depart from you, and shall quit you, and shall depart. (Enarr. in Ps. 33 Sermo 1, 10; Ps. 34 1, 11 in Schaff)

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

LUKE xviii. 9-14

At that time: Jesus said to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, this parable. Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, the other a publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in the week: I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

And I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exaltetlh himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA

V. 9. And to some who trusted in themselves as just, . . .

AUGUSTINE, Serm. 36: Since faith is a gift given to the humble, not to the proud, He adds to what He had been saying a parable of humility, and against pride. So we read: And to some, etc., . . . He spoke this parable.

THEOPHYLACTUS: Since pride more than any other feeling disturbs the minds of men, the Lord more frequently warns us against it. Pride is contempt of God. For as often as a man ascribes the good he does, not  to God, but to himself, what is this but a denial of God?1 So because of those who trust in themselves, not attributing all to God, and for this reason also despising others, He puts this parable before us; to show us that although a man draws near to God through justice, yet, if he becomes proud, this will cast him down to hell. Hence we have:

V. 10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee . . .

GREEK WRITER (Asterius in Catena PG): The lesson taught us in the previous parable, of the widow and the judge, is that of perseverance in prayer. By means of the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee He teaches us how we are to direct our prayers to Him, so that our giving of ourselves to prayer may not be profitless. The Pharisee is condemned because he had prayed unwisely; for there follows:

V. 11. The Pharisee, standing, prayed thus with himself: O God . . .

THEOPHYLACTUS: By saying, standing, He indicates a conceited soul. For even from his demeanour it could be seen that he was proud.

BASIL: He says he prayed with himself, not as it were with God; for his sin of pride turned him in upon himself. For there follows: I give thee thanks. AUGUSTINE, as above: He is not reproved for giving thanks to God, but because he revealed no desire that anything might be added to himself. So you are already complete; you abound (in grace)? There is no need for you to say: Forgive us our trespasses. What then are we to think of the one who resists grace, if he is so rebuked who gives thanks with pride? Let those take notice who say: God made me a man; I make myself just. O worse and more detestable than the Pharisee, who proudly described himself as just, yet gave thanks to God for this.

THEOPHYLACTUS: Take note of the order of the prayer of the Pharisee. First he recounts the things he was not; then he tells us what he is. For he goes on: I am not as the rest of men.

AUGUSTINE: He should have at least said, ‘as many men’. What does the rest of men mean, if not all others except himself? I, he says, am a just man; the rest of men are sinners.

GREGORY, Morals 23, 7: There are four forms in which every swelling of the arrogant is shown to us. When they think that the good in them is either from themselves, or, if they believe it is given from above, think they received it because of their own merits; or, certainly, when they boast of having what they have not; or, lastly, while holding others in contempt they desire to appear as though they alone possess that which they have. Because of this the Pharisee here attributes to himself alone the merits of his good works.

AUGUSTINE: Note that the proximity of the Publican was an occasion of greater pride for the Pharisee. For he goes on: As also is this publican. As though to say: I am unique; he is of the rest.

CHRYSOSTOM, Sermon on Phar. and Publican: It was not enough for him to hold all human nature in contempt; he must also attack the Publican. He would have sinned much less had he left the Publican alone. Now in the one sentence he attacks the absent, and wounds the only person present. We do not give thanks by speaking ill of others. When you give thanks to God, let Him alone be your thought. Do not let your mind tum to men; and do not condemn your neighbour.

BASIL: The proud man differs from the reviler only in his manner. The one uses reproaches against others; the other uplifts himself because of the inconsiderateness of his own mind.

CHRYSOSTOM: He who speaks ill of others does great harm to himself and to others. In the first place he makes the one who hears him worse than he was; for if he is a sinner, he becomes more content: finding a companion in sin. If he is a just man, he is uplifted in himself: because of others’ sins he is led on to think more highly of himself. In the second place he injures the fellowship of the Church. For all who hear him will speak ill not only of the one who sinned, but will also impute calumnies to the Christian religion. Thirdly, he causes men to blaspheme the glory of God; for just as when we live justly the name of God is honoured, so when we live wickedly the name of God is dishonoured. Fourthly, he who is spoken ill of is shamed; and will become more hostile and reckless. Fifthly, he who speaks ill of others becomes liable to punishment for what he has said; which was also degrading to himself.

THEOPHYLACTUS: It is profitable to us, not alone to decline from evil, but also to do good (Ps. xxxvi. 27). And so when he said: I am not as the . . . adulterers, he adds, by way of contrast:

V. 12. I fast twice in a week; I give tithes of all I possess.

They called the week the sabbath, from the last day of rest. The Pharisees fasted on the second and fifth days of the week (Monday and Thursday). He therefore opposes fasting to the passion of adultery: for lust is born from bodily delights. He sets the payment of tithes against, extortioners and unjust. For we read: I give tithes. So far do I shun extortion and injustice, that I also give away what is mine.

GREGORY, Morals 19, 17 (on Job xxix. 14): See how through pride he laid open the citadel of his heart to the enemies that lay in wait for him; and whom he had shut out in vain by prayer and fasting. In vain are all the remaining defences, as long as there is one place undefended where the enemy can enter.

AUGUSTINE: Examining his words you find he asks nothing of God. He came up to pray. He has no wish to ask God for anything. He wishes simply to praise himself; and insult the other man praying there. The conscience of the Publican holds him afar off; but his piety brings him near to God.

V. 13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not . . .

THEOPHYLACTUS: Though the Publican is said to stand he differed from the Pharisee both in word and in manner, and also in his contrite heart. For he was ashamed to lift up his eyes to heaven; regarding them as unworthy of the celestial vision: because they had preferred to look upon earthly things, and seek for them. And he also beat his breast. So we have: But struck his breast; as it were striking his heart because of its evil thoughts; and also as though awakening it from sleep. So he sought for nothing; only that God might be merciful to him. For there follows: saying: O God be merciful to me a sinner.

CHRYSOSTOM: He had heard the remark that, I am not as this publican, and he was not indignant, but rather moved to the heart. The one laid bare the wound; the other seeks a remedy. So therefore let no one put forward the poor excuse: I dare not, I am ashamed, I could not open my mouth. That kind of fear is from the devil. The devil wishes to close the approaches to God.

AUGUSTINE: What wonder then that God pardons what he confesses. He stood afar off; but he began to draw near to God, and the Lord began to draw near to him: For the Lord is high, and looketh on the low (Ps. cxxxvi. 7). And the publican would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven; he did not look up, that he might be looked upon. Conscience pressed him down; hope uplifted him. He struck his breast; he sought to punish himself; and for this the Lord had mercy on the repentant. You heard the prideful accuser; you heard the humble accuser. Now hear the Judge speaking:

V. 14. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified . . .

CHRYSOSTOM: This present discourse puts before us two chariots, each with two charioteers. In one we have justice together with pride; in the other sin and humility. Yet see how the chariot of sin passes that of justice. Not by its own powers but by the power of its associate humility. The other is defeated, not by any weakness of justice, but through the weight and swelling of pride. For as humility by its excellence overcame the handicap of sin, and leaping forward reaches God; so pride by its mass easily weighed down justice.

If therefore you give yourself earnestly to many good works, but take yourself for granted, you have lost all the purpose of your prayer. But should your conscience be laden with a thousand bundles of guilt, but you believe this only of yourself: that you are the lowest of men, you will obtain much confidence in God’s presence.

And so He goes on to give the reason for this sentence; saying: Every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. The name humility is manifold in meaning. Humility is a certain moral excellence, according to the words: A contrite and a humbled heart thou wilt not despise (Ps. l. 17). There is a humility that comes from suffering, as we learn from the words: The enemy hath persecuted my soul: he hath brought down my life to the earth (Ps. cxliii. 3 ). There is the humility that comes from sin, and from pride, and from the insatiability of riches. For what is baser than those who cast themselves down before riches and power, and hold them as great things?

BASIL: It is possible also to be worthily uplifted; that is, when you do not dwell in thought on lowly things, but your mind is uplifted in virtue through greatness of soul. Such elevation of mind is conspicuous in affliction, or as a certain generous firmness in the midst of tribulations, a contempt for earthly things; a manner of life that belongs to heaven. And elevation of soul of this kind is seen to differ from the arrogance of pride as the fulness of a healthy body differs from the inflation of the flesh in dropsy.

CHRYSOSTOM: This prideful inflation can cast down, even from heaven itself, whoever is not watchful; while humility can uplift even a guilty man from the depths. For the one saved the Publican before the Pharisee, and led the Thief into Paradise before the Apostles; the other penetrated even among the spiritual Powers. And if humility alongside sin raced so fast that it passed justice joined to pride, if you yoked it to justice, how would it not go! With great confidence it will come to stand at the Divine Tribunal in the midst of the angels. And again, if pride joined to justice was able to cast this latter down, were pride joined to sin, to what deep Gehenna will it not thrust it down? I do not say this that we may neglect justice, but that we may avoid pride.

THEOPHYLACTUS: But someone may perhaps wonder why the Pharisee should be condemned for speaking a few words in praise of himself, while Job who said many is crowned with honour? For the reason that the Pharisee said such things while, for no reason, condemning others; Job on the other hand, though his friends urged him on, and affliction pressed hard upon him, was compelled to speak of his own virtues for the glory of God; lest men should cease from going forward in virtue.

BEDE: The Pharisee is a figure of the Jewish people, who boasted of their merits deriving from the Law. The Publican a figure of the Gentile, who though far from God confessed his sins: and of whom one goes away humbled because of his pride, the other because of his humble repentance merited to draw near exalted.

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AUGUST 9

St. John Mary Vianney, Confessor

1. John Vianney was born of simple, pious parents on May 8, 1786, at Dardilly in France, shortly before the outbreak of the French Revolution. Matthew and Mary Vianney’s child understood the meaning of prayer by the time he was three having already a tender devotion to the Blessed Mother. The boy tended his father’s little drove of cattle and sheep until the pastor of Ecully offered to help him get an education. John was a poor student; only the thought of becoming a priest kept him from yielding to discouragement. Called to military service in 1809, he was soon released because of the precarious state of his health. He returned at once to his studies and was ordained to the priesthood on August 9, 1815. After serving as assistant at Ecully for several years he became pastor of Ars in 1818. This parish was in a pitiable condition as to religion and morals, but before many years had passed his prayers and preaching had reformed it. He listened to all who came to him with troubled consciences, and before long people were arriving from every part of France, to the number of twenty thousand a year. The Cure received them all at the cost of heroic mortification and charity; his austere life, amiable disposition, and a supernatural power that went out from him attracted people powerfully. He died on August 4, 1859, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 31, 1925.

2. “Right reason is on the good man’s lips; well weighed are all his counsels” (Introit). Men were amazed at the towering wisdom of the simple, unscholarly pastor of Ars. Divine light served him for learning. A saint has said: ‘What purifies the eye of the heart and disposes one to elevate himself to the true Light is contempt for worldly affairs, mortification of the body, compunction of heart, contemplation of God’s admirable being and His pure truth, fervent and trustful prayer, joy in God, ardent longing for heaven.” According to this formula St. John Vianney possessed powerful spiritual vision. From his youth he had stayed near the true Light, and it flooded his soul. He opened his heart in prayer, and God filled it with divine light.

Through his transparent personality this light was diffused upon souls, particularly in his catechetical instructions. His very language seemed to be other than human, and all classes of hearers found themselves hanging on his words, charmed by his pleasing voice, the vividness of his picturesque illustrations, the holy fire. How was it that this extremely inept student, who could not pass examinations, eventually became a master of the word of God? How could he charm the people so that they believed as he did, loved as he did, and, at his word, completely changed their lives? “Thou hast hidden all this from the wise and prudent, and revealed it to little children” (Matt. 11:25). The spirit of God inspired him to know and to teach; the whole sum of his learning was faith; his book, Jesus; for, when asked who had taught him theology, he would say: “The same one who taught St. Peter.” The divine wisdom decreed: “My faithfulness and mercy shall go with him; as my champion he shall rise to greatness” (Offertory).

“Blessed is the man who lives unreproved, who has no greed for gold, puts no trust in his store of riches. Show us such a man, and we will be loud in his praise” (Lesson). Such a man was St. John Mary: he had neither bag, nor money when he arrived at Ars in Lent of 1818. He had to store his wood in the rectory parlor. In his own room were only a poor bed, table and prie-dieu. The church was his living-room: here he stayed for hours without moving—bathing, he used to say, in the flames of love. Reducing his own needs to a minimum, he spent most of his income and all gifts in repairing and adorning his church. God and souls were his riches.

St. John spent many hours in the confessional, even late at night. ‘Whatever time remained at his disposal was devoted to prayer, by means of which he could effect conversions and miraculous cures. But he complained: “I see only my sins, and I do not even see all of them.” Repeatedly tortured by this self-disgust he would cry: “I am drying up with discontent on this earth,” and, “If I had known what it means to be responsible for the welfare of my neighbor, as a priest, I should have buried myself in a desert,” Indeed, “Here is a life to wonder at. . . . His treasure is safely preserved in the Lord’s keeping, and wherever faithful souls are met, his alms-deeds will be remembered” (Lesson).

3. Some sayings of the holy Cure: “Those who make no effort to overcome themselves and bring forth fruits of penance are like trees in winter: they have neither blossoms nor fruit, and yet they are not dead.”

“The Cross is a key which will open heaven for those who love and understand it.” “Virtue alone has the power to gain for us the most magnificent of all goods, peace of soul and hope of obtaining everlasting life.”

Collect: Almighty and merciful God, who didst make blessed John Mary remarkable for priestly zeal and constant fervor in prayer and penance, grant, we pray Thee, that his intercession and example may enable us to win the souls of our brethren for Christ, and with them to attain everlasting glory. Amen.  (Benedict Baur)

_____________________

Good Morning,

Boys and Girls!

            REV. THOMAS J. HOSTY, M.A., S.T.B.

(1952)

[Note from Editor: The following was before unions were completely taken over by opportunists exploiting the workers, taking away the worker’s rights and inserting their own agenda.]

DON’T FORGET – YOU’RE A UNION MEMBER!

GOOD MORNING, BOYS AND GIRLS!

We hear a great deal about unions these days. It hasn’t always been that way, though. Why when I was a youngster (and it wasn’t around the time of the Revolutionary War, either!), there was very little mention made of unions. I’m glad unions are spoken of so much nowadays, because that’s what our Holy Father, the Pope, wants. Of course, I know that all of you understand what a union is, but I’ll explain what it is anyway.

A union is a group or a club of men and women, doing the same kind of work, who join together to make a society. The purpose of that society is to protect the workers in that trade or in that type of work. The union helps its members to make a better living and to get better working conditi…

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