Catholic Tradition Newsletter C17: Holy Eucharist, Third Sunday after Easter, Saint Mark

5 Things We Can Learn From St. Mark the Evangelist – Diocesan

Vol 14 Issue 17 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 24, 2021 ~ Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      Third Sunday after Easter
3.      Saint Mark
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices
Dear Reader:

In the sanctuary now there is placed the Paschal Candle. This Candle is lit for Mass (except Requiem Masses) during the Easter time until the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, at which time it is put out after the reading of the Gospel. This visible and sensible symbol of Our Lord’s time spent on this earth after His Resurrection was to prove to His followers that He had truly risen and to show them the life they would have when they, too, rose from the dead at the end of the world.

Many cannot conceive of the resurrection of the body because they see the fulfillment of the words of Scripture: Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return (Gen. 3:19—Perhaps the only thing written in Scripture that these unbelievers believe). But those who accept such determinations either forget that man was formed from the dust of the earth and given life or that man was never dust (according to pseudo-science) but came from two life bearing organisms that continue to give life—either to live in the next generation (which is not true because they are still living distinct from the next generation) or to exist for the future (material) life which is not and can not want to be but only is because present life gives it life without that life itself wanting it. The former reminds the believer that the body can be formed from the dust again: Thy dead men shall live, my slain shall rise again: awake, and give praise, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is the dew of the light: and the land of the giants thou shalt pull down into ruin. (Isaias 26:19) The latter that life is not extinguished, just resurrected in an evolved formed. That the dead rise again from the dust (the grave) is the true doctrine which Christ confirms. The evolutionary doctrine is rejected because it is not a different Christ that rises, but the same Christ:  Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

I point this out because, as mentioned last week, one lives one’s own life and, though one can give of one’s life, it is not to simply die, rather that all may live. In this light, the returning of the material body to dust is a reality of the physical realm; but in the realm of life—which is beyond physical—life continues. And the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

Still, because human nature is not complete unless it consists of both body and soul and, being incomplete, is imperfect, it seeks perfection and that is in the resurrection of the body. Returning, then, to the forty days the risen Christ walked on the earth, Christ was demonstrating that when the resurrection of the body happens, the body will be formed anew in a transfigured or glorified state (for the just) and partake in the life of heaven—the damned will of course also receive a corresponding body to suffer with that soul in hell. This is written to answer the question of how one will receive his or her body again once it has turned to dust and ashes and forgetting their body came from dust and ashes: Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay, and thou wilt bring me into dust again. (Job 10:9) It is an article of our faith that we await the resurrection of the body—a body that will correspond to the life of glory and that the Christian burial is an expression of that faith. Cremation indicates that one does not believe in the resurrection of the body for one did not prepare for death in the light of faith but only that it was the end of life and didn’t matter anymore what happened after death because one no longer was alive—a sign one entered into the eternal death of the soul Christ so frequently warns His followers to avoid.

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

II

The Holy Eucharist is a True Sacrifice

An Explanation of Holy Mass

Part 2

The Mass of the Faithful

THE PREFACE AND SANCTUS

The Preface

The Preface is an essential feature of the Mass, preceded by a dialogue (anaphora) found in all primitive Masses. The Preface is also known as the Eucharistic Prayer because it is a hymn of thanksgiving (Eucharistia). It is set outside the Canon because it changes and is changeable. As the Latin name, prefacio, indicates, it introduces the Canon, or the Consecration and is found in all liturgies. That it has no mention of sacrifice or of the sacrificial elements, gives the reason it is said or sung loudly as also the words of Scripture: For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matt. 23:39) The Preface announces the Coming of the Lord in the Consecration.

The Common Preface seems to be the oldest Preface and contains all the elements the other Prefaces model: Thanksgiving as worthy, just, obligated, and salutary; that the angels praise and adore God; and that the angels now join with mankind in worshipping God. In contrast to the Roman Liturgy, the Oriental Liturgies only have one Preface. In the Middle Ages, as already witnessed in the Leonine Sacramentary, most feasts had their own Preface and were sometimes placed with the Propers as changeable parts of the Mass.  The Restoration by the Council of Trent allowed ten of the Prefaces to remain: ChristmasEpiphany, Lent (Quadragesima), Holy Cross, Easter (Paschal), Ascension, Pentecost (Holy Ghost), Holy TrinityApostles, and the Common Preface which were already once limited in the Gregorian Sacramentary credited to Pope Saint Gregory I (590-604). It was this Sacramentary that was sent to Charlemagne between the years 781-791 by Pope Adrian I to be used throughout the Frankish Kingdom. The Council of Trent also added to those of the Gregorian Sacramentary the Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was formulated by Saint Bruno and inserted in the Roman Mass in the year 1094 by Pope Urban II (giving the Mass eleven Prefaces). Pope Benedict XV re-introduced the Preface for the Dead and added the Preface of Saint Joseph in April of 1919. Pope Pius XI added the Preface to Christ the King in 1925 when he established the Feast itself and then added another to the Sacred Heart in 1929. Today, there are fifteen Prefaces in the Roman Missal, though some Religious Orders have additional approved Prefaces retained before the Restoration under Pope Saint Pius V.

Sanctus

All the Prefaces end with the word, dicentes (saying) upon which the priest bows and says: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. Isaias has the vision of the Angels before the throne of God proclaiming: Holy, Holy, Holy.

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple. Upon it stood the seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they flew. And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory. (Isa. 6:1-3)

This is repeated by Saint John in the Apocalypse speaking of the Evangelists in the Divine Liturgy: And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come. (Apoc. 4:8) The Church has her members join with the heavenly court and also say: Holy, Holy Holy. With these words joined to the Preface she understands that the Angels are also present in the Sacrifice to be offered now in the Canon of the Mass. It was said and meant to be said (or sung) by the whole congregation, but seems to have fallen out of custom. This references the scene on the first Palm Sunday where one reads:

And when he was now coming near the descent of mount Olivet, the whole multitude of his disciples began with joy to praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works they had seen, Saying: Blessed be the king who cometh in the name of the Lord, peace in heaven, and glory on high! And some of the Pharisees, from amongst the multitude, said to him: Master, rebuke thy disciples. To whom he said: I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out. (Luke 19:37-40; cf. Matt. 21:9: And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.)

One is also brought back to the scene in Numbers, where one reads, after the Israelites murmured and contradicted the will of God as being wrong, wanting to abandon Him:

And the Lord said to Moses: How long will this people detract me? how long will they not believe me for all the signs that I have wrought before them? I will strike them therefore with pestilence, and will consume them: but thee I will make a ruler over a great nation, and a mightier than this is. And Moses said to the Lord: That the Egyptians, from the midst of whom thou hast brought forth this people, And the inhabitants of this land, (who have heard that thou, O Lord, art among this people, and art seen face to face, and thy cloud protecteth them, and thou goest before them in a pillar of a cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night,) may hear that thou hast killed so great a multitude as it were one man and may say: He could not bring the people into the land for which he had sworn, therefore did he kill them in the wilderness. Let then the strength of the Lord be magnified, as thou hast sworn, saying: The Lord is patient and full of mercy, taking away iniquity and wickedness, and leaving no man clear, who visitest the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Forgive, I beseech thee, the sins of this people, according to the greatness of thy mercy, as thou hast been merciful to them from their going out of Egypt unto this place. And the Lord said: I have forgiven according to thy word.

As I live: and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. But yet all the men that have seen my majesty, and the signs that I have done in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now ten times, and have not obeyed my voice, shall not see the land for which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any one of them that hath detracted me behold it. My servant Caleb, who being full of another spirit hath followed me, I will bring into this land which he hath gone round: and his seed shall possess it. (Num. 11-24)

The faithful, who believe, are about to see His glory—they are to see God come down and dwell among them as He did in the Incarnation for He will change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood to be with them who being full of another spirit hath followed Him to Calvary renewed.

The sanctuary bells are rung during the Sanctus three times, the faithful fall to their knees (cf. Apoc. 5:14) and then once again there is complete silence as the priest enters into the Holy of holies, the Canon of the Mass. The choir sings the Sanctus at a High Mass, but Pope Sixtus (+ 127) is said to have decreed that all the faithful should say the Sanctus at Mass. (Cf. Liber Pontificalis, vol. I, 128)

(To be continued)

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY

John xvi. 16-22

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. Then some of his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith to us: A little while, and you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me, and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore: What is this that he saith, a little while? we know not what he speaketh. And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask him; and he said to them: of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me? Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labour, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you.

APRIL 25

St. Mark, Evangelist

1. John, also called Mark (cf. Acts 12:12), sprang from a prominent Jewish family in Jerusalem. A cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), he was converted and baptized by St. Peter. Along with Barnabas he accompanied St. Paul on his first missionary journey, in the year 45; but, owing to differences of views he left the other two at Perge and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). When St. Paul was planning a second journey Mark tried to redeem himself by offering to join him, but St. Paul rejected the offer. However, in the year 61, the two were working together again. In 63 and 64, Mark was with St. Peter in Rome, where he wrote his Gospel.

According to tradition St. Mark became the first bishop of Alexandria. The Church honors him as a martyr, but the manner of his death is uncertain, one account saying that he was dragged to death, another that he was burned. According to reports his relics were taken to Venice. Mark’s Gospel opens with the prophecy of Isaias: “Behold, I am sending before thee that angel of mine who is to prepare thy way for thy coming; there is a voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, straighten out his paths” (Mark 1:2; cf. Isa. 40:3). In allusion to the “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” this Evangelist is represented by the symbol of the lion.

2. “Each had his wings spread out above him . . . . Each of them marched straight forward, following the movement of that divine breath, never swerving as he marched” (Epistle). This is Ezechiel’s reference to the four living creatures, which the Church has adopted as symbols of the Evangelists. The mysterious words show the Church’s high veneration for the authors of the four Gospels. “Each had his wings spread out above him,” that is, their gospel reports are not of human, natural origin but the effect of divine inspiration, by which God Himself granted the Evangelists interior enlightenment, moved them to write, and guided their pens in such a way that they could record His word faithfully. God Himself is the real source and author of the Gospels. The Evangelists, in their writing, follow “the movement of that divine breath [Spirit], never swerving,” never even for a moment following any other inspiration but that from on high. What St. Peter said concerning the prophets of the Old Testament and their predictions about the coming Messias, holds true equally of the Evangelists of the New Testament: “It was never man’s impulse, after all, that gave us prophecy; men gave it utterance, but they were men whom God had sanctified, carried away, as they spoke, by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:21). Therefore St. Peter also says: “It is with good reason that you are paying so much attention to that word; it will go on shining, like a lamp in some darkened room until the dawn breaks, and the day-star rises in your hearts” (ibid. 19). When Peter teaches, the Church teaches!

“At this time: The Lord appointed seventy-two others, and sent them before him, two and two” (Gospel). St. Mark labored for Christ, both in his setting down of the Gospel narrative as well as in his activity as a missionary. Full of zeal, he joined St. Paul when he and Barnabas set out from Antioch to carry the word of Jesus to the pagans of Asia Minor. By way of Seleucia and Cyprus they arrived at Perge, in Pamphylia. From here Mark returned to Jerusalem; but he soon regretted that he had deserted St. Paul and later on, together with Barnabas, his zeal for Christ led him to undertake a missionary journey to Cyprus (cf. Acts 15:39). After he had rejoined Paul, the Apostle sent him to the Colossians, to whom he wrote as follows: “Greetings to you . . . from Mark . . . if he visits you, make him welcome. . . . These [Mark and Justus] are the only Jews who have helped me to preach God’s kingdom; they have been a comfort to me” (Col. 4:10) But Mark was also a helper of St. Peter. Clement of Alexandria calls him “the companion of Peter,” and Irenaeus says that he “handed down to posterity the sermons of St. Peter in writing.” St Jerome also testifies: “He [Mark] brought to Egypt the Gospel he had written and was the Erst to preach Christ there. By his preaching and his holiness he laid the foundation of the Church there so firmly that he crowned his activities for the cause of Christ, as well as his missionary work, by giving his life in martyrdom.”

3. We thank St. Mark for his Gospel. It is the more precious because we know that he evidently was recording what St. Peter had personally seen and heard and experienced.

The Gospels are books that are not only to be read, but also to be lived. They will be understood only by those who frequently refer to their doctrines, measuring the worth of their practical lives by the yardstick of this word of God. It is only in action, in performance, that we can prove we are taking the Gospel seriously and can experience the power of the word of God, which surpasses all human power. Would that we understood this gift of God better, and appreciated it morel We read so much that is worthless, or even harmful, and neglect the gospel of Jesus Christ, the word of God!

Collect: God, who didst endow Thy evangelist, blessed Mark, with sovereign grace to preach the Gospel, grant that we may ever profit by his wisdom and be defended by his prayers. Amen.

(Benedict Baur)

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PLAIN TALKS ON MARRIAGE

FULGENCE MEYER , O.F.M.

(1954)

Chapter V

Sins Against Holy Marriage

(Part Two)

A High Privilege

In reality, however, man is probably as often, if not oftener than woman, the more guilty party in the sin of contraception. Maybe it were more correct to say that the guilt is about equally divided. If so, it is a sign that they both are practically ignorant of the high privilege and the inestimable distinction of parenthood. This, more than anything else, accounts for the prevalence of the detestable sin of the violation of nature in marriage. If our Catholic husbands and wives truly realized what it means to be a parent, they would never be tempted sinfully to shirk or evade their sacred responsibilities of marriage. To be a parent means to be assumed by God as an active partner in the procreation of an immortal being, made after God’s own image and likeness, redeemed by the Precious Blood of His only begotten Son, and destined to shine before the throne of God in indescribable glory and blessedness throughout all the ages of eternity. But for this parent, this being would never be called into existence to give glory to God, and enjoy God, forever and ever.

An Inestimable Distinction

If in all the world there was only one couple to whom God gave the power of parenthood: how they would be envied by all others for this stupendous and almost divine privilege! All the other couples could produce marvels of human ingenuity, art and craftmanship: they could erect magnificent buildings, raise great monuments, paint wonderful pictures, carve splendid statues, compose beautiful poems or inspiring songs. Yet all of this would be as nothing when contrasted with the procreation of living, rational and immortal beings, resembling God Himself, and blending in their lineaments the features of father and mother, to transmit them unto future generations, and perhaps perpetuate them even on earth unto the end of time, as a lasting pledge of the mutual love of this fortunate couple. But why should the privilege be esteemed less merely because God multiplied it so liberally?

“Where Are the Rest?”

Do not forget this one thing: that life is a stage. You have but a brief period to play your part upon it. Soon the curtain will ring down, and you have to give an account of your role on earth. If you then appear before the judgment seat of God with but one or two children, or even none at all, when, as you and your partner enjoyed the privileges of married life, you should have had six, eight, ten or more; and the Judge asks you sternly: “Where are the rest?”—it will not avail you to answer, saying: “Lord, I was the richest man in our town or the whole territory round about; I had the most sumptuous mansion, the finest automobiles, and the largest number of friends of the whole state; my wife’s clothes, furs and jewelry were the despair of all the women of the country; I was politically powerful; we were socially prominent: in a word, we were a celebrity such as the world had seldom seen.” All of this will be futile over against the cutting question of the Judge: “Where are the rest?”

No Empty Excuses

Nor will you then have the heart to advance as an excuse of your conduct the empty and futile pretexts of poverty, economical stress, disease and what not, with which you now try to ease and hush your conscience; for in the light of the omniscience of God all their hollowness and speciousness will be apparent and ghastly. All you can do then is to be silent, as was the man who had entered the festive hall without a wedding garment. And with regard to you, too, the King will say to the waiters: ”Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt., 22, 13).

But if in judgment you can appear with all the children God gave you, and you can say in the words of our Lord: “Of them whom Thou hast given me, I have not lost anyone” (John, 18, 9);—then no matter how poor and struggling you were on earth, how delicate of body and wanting in health, how socially inconspicuous and politically obscure, the Judge will compliment you highly, and reward you amply, saying: “Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt., 25, 23).

Questions and Answers

The question is often asked, if it is permissible for married people to agree to observe certain times and to perform the marital act only when conception seems less likely to occur. As long as they do the act properly when they do it, married people do not sin by restricting themselves by mutual consent to whatsoever days they choose, even if in this choice they are led mainly or exclusively by their desire not to have any more children. It is the same when, after a number of years of married life, to avoid an untimely increase in the family, couples consent to wait until after the woman has had her menopause, or change of life, before they resume knowledge of one another. There is nothing reprehensible in this proceeding for, whilst the primary purpose of marriage, the procreation of children, is not interfered with, the other objects of it are being duly pursued. But in the observance of these days or periods, married people must remember, that conception is by no means impossible. It occurs every now and then in these so-called safe seasons. Consequently the couples in question should not allow themselves to be set too firmly against having more children, so that in case they are blessed with another one, they accept it readily and with thanksgiving from the hand of God.

From what has been said it follows, that it is by no means a sin for married people, while virtuously performing the marriage duty, to harbor the wish not to have any more children, as long as they are willing to take them if they come. Nor is it unlawful for the woman to rise immediately after the nuptial act, to use the vessel, or to wash herself externally for reasons of cleanliness. These things do not impede or disturb the course of nature with reference to conception. Neither is it wrong, with due resignation to God’s will, to pray that there be no more children; just so nothing sinful is done to prevent their coming.

Nature’s Great Mystery

The labor of childbirth for the mother remains one of the deepest mysteries of nature. Why something that is so necessary for the preservation of the human race should be coupled with so much difficulty, pain and danger baffles our understanding. The fall in paradise and the consequent curse inflicted by the Lord upon woman hardly accounts for what we call the natural mystery; for human nature, whilst it dropped from its preternatural and supernatural elevation through the fall, is not worse or otherwise than it would have been, had it never been elevated. Why then is childbirth naturally so arduous and perilous?

The Excellence of Motherhood

The best explanation seems to be given by the high dignity and sublime prerogative of motherhood. Nature demands a corresponding payment for whatever distinctions and privileges she bestows. She confers no higher excellence and gives no loftier station than that of motherhood: hence the big price she demands in return in the way of maternal suffering, anxiety and dread. Her reward for their endurance, however, is also in proportion to their size and intensity. Our Lord expresses it thus: “A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John, 16, 2l).

By common consent mankind gives more consideration, appreciation and gratitude to the mother than to the father. We have a fine historical illustration of this in the rapturous exclamation of the woman in regard to our Savior: “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee” (Luke, 11, 27). She centered all her admiration and gave all the credit to the mother. Jesus had no father according to the flesh, of course; yet the woman was not aware of this when she declared her sentiments. The mother naturally seems also to get greater joy out of parenthood than does the father. She feels a sweeter transport and a higher pride in being able to point to her children and say with the ancient Roman matron: “Behold my jewels.” In view of all this a sensible woman willingly resigns herself to the ordeal of motherhood when she feels called to it by God.

What Mankind Owes to Motherhood

It was in and through motherhood that one of our kin was elevated to the highest dignity, and endowed with the sublimest sanctity any actual or possible created being is capable of:—at the incarnation of the Son of God. Through becoming His Mother, Mary at once and forever rose above all the angels and archangels of heaven. Through her divine motherhood she more than repaired the loss inflicted upon mankind by the first woman. For the paradise Eve deprived us of Mary gave us heaven: a prettier, a more blessed and a more glorious heaven than we should have had, had Eve never seduced Adam to sin. So much we owe to motherhood. What a grand privilege, then, accrues to every woman who becomes and is a mother after God’s own heart!

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Father Krier will be in  Albuquerque, New Mexico (Saint Joseph Cupertino) on May 11. He will be in Eureka, Nevada (Saint Joseph) on May 27. 

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