Today, I offer our readers a glimpse into the recent March for Life held in Washington, D.C. to stand in opposition to the disastrous Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion in America. The Society of Saint Pius X, its priests, faithful, and His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General, as well as many of its affiliated communities (Benedictines, Dominicans), heard Mass, participated in conferences, and marched for the protection of life at all its stages. A few video clips are below:
February 2.—THE PURIFICATION, COMMONLY CALLED CANDLEMAS-DAY.
THE law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean, during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch anything consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and double that time for a daughter. On the expiration of the term, the mother .vas to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or Temple, a lamb and a young pigeon, or turtle-dove, as an offering to God. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity and reinstated in her former privileges.
A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor; but as the expense of a lamb might be too great for persons in poor circumstances, they were allowed to substitute for it a second dove.
Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and His blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is evident that she did not come under the law; but as the world was, as yet, ignorant of her miraculous conception, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Devotion and mal to honor God, by every observance prescribed by His law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself, she made the offering appointed for the poor; but; however mean in itself, it was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to Him. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God, and that, after its presentation, the child should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.
Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home; she denies herself, all this time, the liberty of entering the Temple; she partakes not of things sacred; and on the day of her purification she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world’s Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the Temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to His Eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems Him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives Him back again as a sacred charge committed to her special care, till the Father shall again demand Him for the full accomplishment of man’s redemption.
The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery—the meeting in the Temple of the holy persons Simeon and Anne with Jesus and His parents. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so-much-longed-for Messias. Re foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow, and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians, also, whose lives were a contradiction to His holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God’s holy will. Anne, also, the prophetess, who in her widowhood served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the Redeemer of the world. Simeon, having beheld Our Saviour, exclaimed: “Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
This feast is called CANDLEMAS, because the Church blesses the candles to be borne in the procession of the day.
Reflection.—Let us strive to imitate the humility of the ever-blessed Mother of God, remembering that humility is the path which leads to abiding peace and brings us near to the consolations of God.
Every time we pass from one year to the next, when the world is celebrating with fireworks, alcoholic beverages and late nights, the Catholic must ponder the reality of the new year, especially the inundation of commercials and advertisements proposing solutions for one’s “New Year’s Resolutions”.
Therefore, the question that many readers may have is whether a Catholic, most especially a traditional Catholic, can take part in such New Year’s Resolutions. The answer to this seemingly loaded question lies in the understanding of the nature of humanity as a composite of body and soul.
If for example, a Catholic makes a purely natural resolution such as joining a gym to lose weight and get healthy during the new year, that same individual must contemplate the real reasons for this resolution. On a purely natural level, what good is it to just get fit for the sake of being fit? Is being fit going to entice the person to become vain in clothing attire, or in the choice of vacation spots? Is the choosing of a gym for the sole reason of meeting new people and potentially finding someone with similar interests of the opposite sex? Is this resolution just a matter of seductive and badgering advertisements and a way to carelessly use the money that an individual has been endowed with? All these reasons are purely natural, and do not assist the Catholic unto their Final End. In fact, in the words of Sacred Scripture, “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? (St. Matt 16:26)”.
Yet, the same resolution can be properly made if done with the right intentions, if the soul can make a resolution that is holy, noble, and is able to unite both the natural and supernatural aspects of this life unto his Final End which is the Beatific Vision. So, how can making a resolution to get fit meet such a standard worth of respect and acknowledgement by Almighty God? In this case, a soul who makes a resolution to get fit in order to respect the body as the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19), and to see the healthy body and mind as a vehicle to corporal and spiritual works of mercy does well in the natural and supernatural domains.
Yes, dear readers, resolutions for the new year can be very good in every way, if done with the right intention of mind and spirit. If our resolutions for the new year unite our human will with that of the Divine Will, in which there is no longer two wills, but the will of Almighty God, such resolutions are praiseworthy and to be encouraged by the faithful.
However, with any resolution that we should make (think of resolutions for Advent and Lent), it is more praiseworthy to remove a certain habit or character defect and subsequently replace such a habit or defect with a good action or habit lest the former problem or vice returns in haste. For example, choosing to abstain from chocolate or TV during seasons of penitence might be a good habit for a time, but what action or habit is such being replaced with? Maybe that soul could spend more time in prayer, choosing to spend 15-20 minutes a day in spiritual reading, choosing to make a retreat, or devoting oneself to the Blessed Virgin Mary by making the Total Consecration.
In my own life, I have made personal, professional, and spiritual resolutions. I have resolved to become a better man as well as a future husband and father by being more patient to those I am in contact with, and by refusing to respond too quickly to other’s faults, but rather see how my faults contribute to potential hardship and disparity. I have also resolved to become a better educator by finding more new, engaging, and fascinating ways to encourage my students to learn through projects and experiential opportunities. Finally, I have resolved to fully and completely devote myself to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, without any reservation, so that she may hold me in her mantle, guide my eyes, my ears, my nose, my tongue, and every member of my body so she may dispense to me the graces necessary to living a holy life rooted in the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, with an eventual reward of the Beatific Vision!
YES, resolutions for the new year are something to be encouraged to all Catholics, but only when these resolutions are done with the natural and supernatural in mind, and where the human will is totally and filially devoted to man’s Final End, his Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessedness of Heaven.
December 21.—ST. THOMAS, Apostle.
ST. THOMAS was one of the fishermen on the Lake of A Galilee whom Our Lord called to be His apostles. By nature slow to believe, too apt to see difficulties, and to look at the dark side of things, he had withal a most sympathetic, loving, and courageous heart. Once when Jesus spoke of the mansions in His Father’s house, St. Thomas, in his simplicity, asked: “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?” When Jesus turned to go toward Bethany to the grave of Lazarus, the desponding apostle at once feared the worst for his beloved Lord, yet cried out bravely to the rest: “Let us also go and die with Him” After the Resurrection, incredulity again prevailed, and whilst the wounds of the crucifixion were imprinted vividly on his affectionate mind, he would not credit the report that Christ had indeed risen. But at the actual sight of the pierced hands and side, and the gentle rebuke of his Saviour, unbelief was gone forever; and his faith and ours has ever triumphed in the joyous utterance into which he broke: “My Lord and my God!”
Reflection.—Cast away all disquieting doubts, and learn to triumph over old weaknesses as St. Thomas did, who “by his ignorance hath instructed the ignorant, and by, his incredulity hath served for the faith of all ages.”
ST. DAMASUS was born at Rome at the beginning of the fourth century. He was archdeacon of the Roman Church in 355, when Pope Liberius was banished to Berda, and followed him into exile, but afterward returned to Rome. On the death of Liberius our Saint was chosen to succeed him. Ursinus, a competitor for the high office, incited a revolt, but the holy Pope took only such action as was becoming to the common father of the faithful. Having freed the Church of this new schism, he turned his attention to the extirpation of Arianism in the West and of Apollinarianism in the East, and for this purpose he convened several councils. He rebuilt the church of St. Laurence, which to this day is known as St. Laurence in Damaso; he made many valuable presents to this church, and settled upon it houses and lands in its vicinity. He likewise drained all the springs of the Vatican, which ran over the bodies that were buried there, and decorated the sepulchres of a great number of martyrs in the cemeteries, and adorned them with epitaphs in verse. Having sat eighteen years and two months, he died on the 10th of December, in 384, being near fourscore years of age.
Recently, on the AP news site, an article was published entitled Backlash Over Common Core Extends to Catholic Schools, which portrays the difficulty in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) not only in Catholic schools, but even in current schools across the nation.
The article takes the main position that the Catholic Church is in a position to approve the CCSS, and uses as its argument that “many students will eventually enter public high school, therefore the standards are imperative to prepare them for success” (Thompson, AP, 2014). This quote within the article is taken from a statement made by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), who in recent years have just become the “catholic” alternative to the ultra-liberal and freedom bashing National Education Association (NEA) which advocates big labor and retention of poor teachers because of certain collective bargaining agreements which put the teacher before the education of the child against every foundational principle of the Catholic faith, which we learn of in the Gospel of St. Mark: “and whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (St. Mark 9:41).
To advocate for the standards citing merely natural reasoning (meeting supposed standards in a public high school) is a mere smoke screen to make the true intentions of the NCEA which is to become “equals” if it were possible with the public schools who receive immense amounts of financial assistance through the federal government.
The CCSS are not just “standards” to “help” children become more enlightened and engaged in their learning, but they also attach high-stakes testing to these standards which were created through the partnership of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Council of Chief School State Officers which in no way represents the Catholic faith, or even public teachers in general. The aim of the CCSS is not to engage students and not to help them attain a level of academic maturity that is needed in order to make sense of the world around them. The real goal of the CCSS is to strip every child of their innate knowledge of God, to confuse children by having them complete mathematical computations that defy logic and reason, and most importantly, a curriculum that is hostile to the classical literature and teaching methods that have sustained generations of students throughout history, and of which has made men into Saints.
What is the response to such an attack on the education and faith of our children? First, we must understand that the education of children is firstly the duty of parents. Parents are to educate the intellectual, moral, and spiritual domains of their children in every way, for it is in these ways in which parents will be judged by Almighty God at their particular judgment. Responding to Our Lord with ignorance, or by stating that the public schools are the ones who failed will only bring about a stricter and swifter punishment for neglecting the needs of one’s children. So, firstly, parents must regain control of their children’s education. Whether it is by placing them in a good Catholic school where emphasis is on Thomistic philosophy and the Great Books curriculum (which is the first option), or whether it is through home schooling through great programs such as Our Lady of Victory School, parents do have choices which not only protect the child from severe attacks against faith and reason, but more importantly, provide a safe environment where ideas and issues can be explored and discussed without being tainted or rebuked for maintaining traditional standards according to the perennial teachings of the Church.
Finally, do not fear what men and government may do to you, but fear more importantly the judgment of God. Making necessary choices can be difficult, but the souls entrusted to our care are worth more than we can even imagine in the eternal plan of God!
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!
ST. EULALIA, Virgin, Martyr
ST. EULALIA was a native of Merida, in Spain. She was but twelve years old when the bloody edicts of Diocletian were issued. Eulalia presented herself before the cruel judge Dacianus, and reproached him for attempting to destroy souls by compelling them to renounce the only true God. The governor commanded her to be seized, and at first tried to win her over by flattery, but failing in this, he had recourse to threats, and caused the most dreadful instruments of torture to be placed before her eyes, saying to her: “All this you shall escape if you will but touch a little salt and frankincense with the tip of your finger.” Provoked at these seducing flatteries, our Saint threw down the idol, and trampled upon the cake which was laid for the sacrifice. At the judge’s order, two executioners tore her tender sides with iron hooks, so as to leave the very bones bare. Next lighted torches were applied to her breasts and sides; under which torment, instead of groans, nothing was heard from her mouth but thanksgivings. The fire at length catching her hair, surrounded her head and face, and the Saint was stifled by the smoke and flame.
Reflection.—The apostles rejoiced “that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.” Do we bear our crosses with the same spirit?