First Blood 2019

 

“Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful.” (Divine Intimacy)

He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.
He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.

 

Today, the Octave of Christmas is the day we commemorate the first shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, at His Circumcision.  It is fitting that we start off  the year with this commemoration of the first sacrifice of the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is His vivid lesson in humility and obedience, always necessary virtues.

From Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. we read:

The Magnificat antiphon of First Vespers of the Feast sums up perfectly the spirit of this day, ‘For His great love, wherewith He loved us, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.’ This liturgical solemnity unites to the consideration of God’s immense charity, which illumines and dominates all the feasts of the Christmas cycle, this vision of the Incarnate Son of God in the likeness of sinful man. In order to transform us from sinners into children of God, the only Son of the Father willed to be clothed in human nature, thereby putting on our sinful flesh and submitting to all its most humiliating consequences. The law of circumcision could in no way affect Jesus, the Son of God, the Most Holy One; but Jesus willed to submit to it as the least of the sons of Abraham, for as St. Paul says, ‘It behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren … that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Heb. 2, 17). The rite … caused the first drops of the Precious Blood to be shed from the immaculate flesh of Jesus. Thus, eight days after His birth, He is beginning His redemptive mission. He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.

Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful. “

Father reminds us that this first shedding of the Blood of Our Savior marks the beginning of the civil year, consecrating it , making it truly the “year of Our Lord”, since time itself belongs to God. Our life too, belongs to God; it has been redeemed and sanctified by the Blood of Christ.

Quoting St. Ambrose, Father Gabriel points out that circumcision represents purification from sins and that we too, can “become new creatures, purified in the Blood of Christ, vivified and nourished by His grace, so that it may no longer be we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. A new year! A new life! The new year which begins today will acquire value only if lived in this light.” Continue reading “First Blood 2019”

If today you hear His voice . . .

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” (Psalm 94, v8), (Heb. 3,15)

Wherein we reiterate that the requests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary still remain to be fulfilled. Indeed, they are more pressing now than ever.

The devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Christ the King, and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary are inseparable, They are in no way disparate, nor are they contradictory. And these are inseparable as well from the Mass and most especially, the Holy Eucharist.  Furthermore, the requests, demands really, of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, as relayed by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1689, still stand today, more than three centuries after they were made known. Once God has uttered a request, it does not cease to be simply because centuries pass while Catholics turn an indifferent ear to them.

What I had hoped to accomplish in earlier posts was to demonstrate the reason why Christ Our Lord made His request of the King of France. It was because of the importance of the French Monarchy, as a worldly force established by the will of God for the glory and protection of Christ’s Church. I refer readers to the writings of Solange Hertz as previously cited.

St. Pius X tells us in Vehementer, “The Creator of mankind is also the Founder of human societies, and He preserves them just as He maintains individuals in existence.”  God sent Joan of Arc to make this clear. Her mission was precisely to establish the fact that France was a nation constituted by God under a king who was Jesus Christ’s designated lieutenant. Thus, we see that God first sent St. Joan to aid France, then sent St. Margaret Mary with a message from His Sacred Heart. The engineer of destruction for the latter message was the deceitful Jesuit superior who refused to comply. I will not expand on this now, but it is documented by Hertz in Utopia Nowhere.

At the risk of oversimplifying, I will just state that if Pope Pius XI had only obeyed the commands of the Immaculate Mother of God at Fatima, instead of separating that requested devotion from devotion to the Sacred Heart and Christ the King, he would have been able to fulfill both the demands of the Immaculate Heart and the demands of her Son. Instead of the ever-expanding reign of the evils of satanic marxism, we could have had the glorious reign of Christ the King, through the Immaculata, as Our Lord Himself had so desired.

And what are we to think of France?  The Kingdom of France, established by King Clovis was consecrated by him to  Christ’s Kingship forever by constitutional law. The document’s preamble begins with, “The illustrious Nation of the Franks, having God for Founder,” and closes by praying that, “the Lord Jesus Christ direct those who govern in the way of piety.”  When France’s king failed to submit to the request of its true ruler, Christ the King, it fell to apostasy. Of this, Pope St. Pius X prophesied: “she who had made an alliance with God,” would one day repent and “bear My Name before all peoples and all the kings of the earth.” God’s gifts being without repentance, we may believe that the return to natural law will begin with the conversion of regicide France. (Solange Hertz, “Utopia Nowhere“, loc 1101-1105)

Hertz believed strongly that France would return to the faith:

She will begin by restoring the kingdom of France, and by God’s grace, the rest of the nations will rise and follow France back to their Lord and ruler Jesus Christ. In a discourse to the French cardinals in 1911, St. Pius X predicted: “The nation which made an alliance with God at the baptismal fonts of Reims will repent and return to her first vocation.” (op cit, loc 1667-1669)

At this point, I must emphasise these facts: God’s requests still stand: France must be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Russia must be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  These two are inseparable, Divine requests and until they are obeyed, suffering will continue to gather in violent intensity throughout the world. Our Lord has assured us, through St. Margaret Mary that He will reign despite all opposition and in the same manner, Our Lady and Our Lord have both asserted to Sister Lucia that in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

That said, how will this happen?  Since devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is Eucharistic, let us see what the Apocalypse tells us of the victory of the Eucharistic Lamb – that is, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The judgments executed by the Eucharistic Lamb upon Satan shall involve the whole world not to destroy but to chasten it and wrest it from the hands of Satan liberating the human race from his sordid servitude.

From an earlier post,The Eucharistic Vision of Our Lady of Knock:  The Holy Eucharist makes every church a temple and every tabernacle a throne of God. Thus, the vision of Knock points us to Apocalypse, Chapter 5, v. 5, which in turn points us to Isaias 11, 1-5, all of which emphasize the importance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus, symbolized for us by devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Prisoner of Love in the Eucharist.

From Father Herman Bernard Kramer:

“The temple of Christ is every Catholic Church, where He dwells in the Eucharistic Mystery. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the sacred mystery, in which Christ is “as if sacrificed”, is truly and mystically slain or immolated. The sacrifice is inseparably united with the bloody sacrifice of the Cross, because it represents and renews it. Through the Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ becomes present, establishes His throne in the Church and extends the effects of His death on the Cross and carries the purposes of God to completion. To outward appearance He is dead in the Eucharist, so there He rests “as if immolated”. But the Holy Eucharist is the throne of God through the inseparable union of Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  …

Fr. Kramer tells us, “The Real Presence of Christ has been …  the standard for the armies of Christ. His soldiers, the martyrs, confessors and virgins have ever fought and bled for the altar and the cross.” And we know that Christ the King demands that the standards of the French King bear the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thus we understand that Christ intends to reign through Eucharistic devotion, through the true sacrifice of the Mass.

Thus, to be as clear as possible, this battle is over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is over the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.  The revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary concern the most Holy Eucharist. And do take note of the fact that the message of Fatima was introduced by St. Michael in a very triumphant tableau of – what? What was St. Michael telling us? He was stating the grounds of the battle: the Mass, the Eucharist and urging the weapons for the laity: Make of everything a sacrifice! Pray and sacrifice!

The silent tableau of Knock took place in inclement weather just outside the Church, thus pointing to the institutional Church forcing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass outside. The apparition of Knock displayed on a desolate night thus foretold a period in which the conciliar Church would attempt to stifle the true Sacrifice of the Mass and replace it with a protestantised fellowship service, to serve ecumenism and the prince of this world. This is the agenda of the present occupant as we shall see before the year ends.

At Knock, the Little Lamb on the altar stood with two powerful representatives of the priesthood, St. Joseph, chaste guardian of the Holy Family and Patron of the Church, and St. John the Beloved, to whom Christ entrusted His Mother and to whom the Holy Spirit revealed the mysteries of the Apocalypse. St. John pointed to the Scriptures, begging the question, “To which scriptures?” The vision itself answers:  The Lamb on the altar indicates Apocalypse 5. The two patrons of the priesthood, St. Joseph and St. John, indicate the importance of priests in these times. Our Lady of Knock, in this vision, never took her eyes from heaven, never wavered in her intercession for the Church.

Considered in the context of the other Marian apparitions, Knock is a warning against the silencing of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the sacrilege of the Holy Eucharist, the corruption of the faith. Our Lady’s appearances at La Salette and Knock were followed by the revelation of Fatima. The Angel of Fatima, Michael, the great Archangel warrior who battles Satan gave us a warning about the abuses of the sacrifice of the Mass and desecration of the Eucharist. And now, 100 years later, the onslaught of sacrileges, outrages, and indifference  continues.

It is urgent that Catholics understand that Satan is at war with the Little Lamb, our Eucharistic Lord. Unfortunately, most Catholics are indifferent to this battle. But it is real. Satan knows that the Eucharist is Emmanuel, God with us. Although so many Catholics have forgotten this truth, or are indifferent, the devil knows that Christ the King reigns through the Eucharist. And that is why he is striving with all his immense power to extirpate the true Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to eliminate the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ on our altars. By their perversion of mercy, in giving the the Body of Christ to unrepentant sinners, modernists debase Our Lord’s sacrament of love and attempt to drive Jesus from His own Church.

La Salette, Knock, Fatima, and Akita, all warn us of this time. This is a spiritual battle of never before seen proportions. Although we know Who will win it, we cannot afford to lose any time, for with knowledge comes responsibility. We must live our Consecrations, moment by tedious moment. Just because our lives are ordinary does not mean that they are not very, very precious to Jesus.

From Our Lord’s words to Sister Josefa Menendez:

“I so much want souls to understand this! It is not the action itself which is of value; it is the intention with which it is done. … I have many hidden souls who in their humble labors are very useful workers in My vineyard, … My love goes so far that My souls can draw great treasure out of mere nothing. When as soon as they wake they unite themselves to Me and offer their whole day with a burning desire that My Heart may use it for the profit of souls … when with love they perform their duties, hour by hour and moment by moment … how great is the treasure they amass in one day!

“I will reveal My love to them more and more … it is inexhaustible, and how easy it is for a loving soul to let itself be guided by love.” (Sister Josefa Menendez and the Way of Divine Love.)

In these times, Our Lady has given us, through God’s immense, unfathomable mercy, a profusion of graces through her holy Rosary. Please pray your Rosary with confidence in our Mother’s providence for us.  Our Lady of Fatima will not fail.  Please pray the Rosary for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Choices and decisions

 

“It is paradoxical, but only the Society can help the Church, in reminding the popes and the bishops that Our Blessed Lord founded a monarchical Church and not a chaotic modern assembly. The day will come when this message will be heard. But, for the moment, it is our duty to keep this deep sense of the Church and its hierarchy, despite the battlefield and ruins that lay before our eyes.”

 

In this new interview, the Superior General of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, Father Davide Pagliarani, speaks of choices and decisions, contrasting those of the modernists who claimed victory at the Second Vatican Council with the decisions and choices of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and those priests who have followed him, remaining true to the Church’s perennial mission. To whom does the future belong? Father Pagliarani has some interesting insights.

La Porte Latine – It has now been five months since you were elected Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, for a twelve-year mandate. These five months have certainly allowed you to make a short overview of the work, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre, complementing your already rich personal experience. What general impression have you made and have you drawn up your first priorities for the coming years?

Father Pagliarani: The Society is a work of God, and the more we discover it, the more we love it. Two things strike me most in discovering the Society’s labours. Firstly, the providential character of the Society: it is the result of the result of choices and decisions of a saint, guided only by a supernatural and “prophetic” prudence, whose wisdom we appreciate even more as the years go by and as the crisis in the Church gets worse. Secondly, I have been able to see that we are not some privileged people, whom God has spared: He sanctifies all our members and our faithful through failures, trials, disappointments, and in a nutshell, through the Cross – and not by any other means.

Continue reading “Choices and decisions”

Dross into Gold, The Way of Divine Love

Today, December 29, we mark the 94th anniversary of the death of Sister Josefa Menendez, the humble nun who wrote “The Way of Divine Love”.  In paperback from TAN, or on Kindle. We’ve written about the beautiful Way of Divine Love before (here) and about Sister Josefa’s deep devotion to the Divine Infant (here). But now, we will focus on the most often overlooked or misunderstood concept in Josefa’s writings: true humility.

The writings of Sister Josefa echo in many ways the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and one can discern a hint of them in Sister Lucia’s writings as well. I strongly suspect that the true writings of Sister Lucia would bear even more resemblance to both of them were we to have access to them. This is because Our Lord Jesus Christ has been telling us in no uncertain terms, what is necessary to counter-act the arrogant self-centeredness which prevails in the world today.

Tragically, this selfishness has so captivated the souls of mankind that today among the vast majority of people, there is a rigid resistance to Our Lord’s plea for humility of heart. Mankind has developed a resistance to the grace of God much as some disease bacteria develop a resistance to antibiotics, and now they despise the “poor in spirit” as lacking in self esteem, and care not a whit for the “Kingdom of Heaven”.

It is true that the Message of Divine Love is Christ’s plea for our love but it is also a valuable reminder that we must become truly as a little child, poor in spirit, meek and pure of heart in order to be able to receive His love,  Otherwise we risk becoming the darkness that cannot grasp the light. The worldly are unable to grasp Our Lord’s words to St. Margaret Mary:

“If I had been able to find a creature more miserable than you,” He said to Saint Margaret Mary, “I should have chosen her….”

And to Sister Josefa:

“If I could have found a more wretched creature, I should have chosen her for my special love, and through her revealed the longings of My Heart. But I have not found one, and so I have chosen you.” (June 7th, 1923).

Like the followers of Christ who rejected His teaching on the Eucharist, many today reject these “hard sayings”.  But to those very few who have kept His grace in their hearts, we share the truth of the Way of Divine Love with you.

Continue reading “Dross into Gold, The Way of Divine Love”

Blasphemy for Christmas

 

“And he took me away in spirit into the desert. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” (Apocalypse, 17,3)

St. John thus makes note of the important place that blasphemy holds in these latter days. Wouldn’t you love to see this remarkable papacy from St. John’s eyes! Well, as luck would have it, here we are in the midst of those times so long ago prophesied. . .

Isn’t this the fifth Christmas for this benighted papacy? This poor pope must be about 83 or so, and his time is running out.  It seems to have brought with it an increase in his vengeance against Christ and His Blessed Mother. On Friday, 21 December, the day he addressed the Curia, he also spoke to his employees and their families at the Vatican.. According to Vatican News,

“Drawing attention to the Nativity scene, the Pope said that Our Lady and St. Joseph are happy because, after a thousand worries, they have received this Gift from God with so much faith and so much love. ‘They are overflowing with holiness and therefore with joy.’ But it was not easy for them, the Pope said, adding ‘saints are not born, they become so, and this also applies to them.’ “

And so, in a very off-hand manner, the pope asserts that Our Lady and St. Joseph “were not born saints, they become so”; thus, neatly divesting Our Lady of her infallibly proclaimed Immaculate Conception. This continued along the lines of his earlier affront to Our Lady which we discussed in Pope Francis tells us about Mary, a normal girl”

This insult was then echoed by a protege of the pope, Bishop Manuel Linda of Oporto, Portugal in a Christmas interview with the Observador, a widely read newspaper of Portugal. According to Rorate Caeli:

“He [Christ] was conceived by Mary and Joseph as any other person… Virginity is only associated with Mary as a metaphor to prove that Jesus was a very special person.”

“We should never refer to the physical virginity of Mary.” “The Old Testament says many times that Jesus was to be born of a maiden, a daughter of Israel, who was simple, poor, and humble. But this is truly just a reference to the full devotion of this woman to God.The gift of being mother of God was given to Mary because she had an undivided heart.What matters is full giving of herself,”explains Bp Manuel Linda.

“And he adds, “There certainly are women with a ruptured hymen who are more virgin in the sense of full devotion to God than some with an intact hymen.”

Effeminate Apostates

Well, we know what happened to the “woman” who rode the scarlet coloured beast. “And the ten horns which thou sawest in the beast: these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her with fire.” (Apoc. 17, 16)

Continue reading “Blasphemy for Christmas”

Bound by Love

 

What is the meaning of the swaddling clothes with which Our Lord was bound by His Mother?

From St. Alphonsus Liguori:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2, 7)

JESUS IN SWADDLING-CLOTHES

Look! We see Mary, having now brought forth her Son, taking Him with reverence in her arms, adoring Him as her God, and then wrapping Him up in swaddling-clothes:  The Holy Church says the same: “His limbs, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, the Virgin Mother binds.”

Behold the Infant Jesus, who obediently offers His little hands and feet, and allows Himself to be swaddled. Consider that every time the Holy Infant allowed Himself to be swathed He thought of the cords with which He should one day be bound and led captive in the garden, and of those also with which He should be tied to the column, and of the nails which should fasten Him to the cross; and thinking of these things, He willingly allowed Himself to be bound, in order to deliver our souls from the chains of hell.

Bound, then, in these swaddling-clothes, and turning towards us, Jesus invites us to unite ourselves to Him with the holy bonds of love. And turning to His eternal Father, He says:

“My Father, men have abused their liberty, and by rebelling against Thee have made themselves the slaves of sin; but I will make satisfaction for their disobedience, and will be bound and confined in these swaddling-clothes. Bound with these, I offer Thee my liberty, in order that man may be delivered from the slavery of the devil.  I accept these swaddling-clothes; they are dear to Me, because they are the symbols of the cords with which, from this moment forth, I offer Myself to be one day bound and led to death for the salvation of men.”

Continue reading “Bound by Love”

And Joseph also went up from Galilee

 

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.” (Luke 2, 4-5)

The following is Saint Alphonsus de Liguori’s meditation for Christmas Eve.

Meditation IX

DECEMBER 24

SAINT JOSEPH GOES TO BETHLEHEM WITH HIS HOLY SPOUSE

God had decreed that His Son should be born not in the house of Joseph, but in a cavern and stable of beasts, in the poorest and most painful way that a child can be born; and therefore He caused Cæsar to publish an edict, by which people were commanded to go and enroll themselves, every one in his own city whence he drew his origin. When Joseph heard this order, he was much agitated as to whether he should take with him or leave behind the Virgin Mother, as she was now so near childbirth. ‘My spouse and my lady, said he to her, on the one hand, I do not wish to leave you alone; on the other, if I take you with me, I am much afflicted at the thought of all that you will have to suffer during this long journey, and in such severe weather. My poverty will not permit me to conduct you with that comfort which you require.’ But Mary answers him, and tries to give him courage with these words: ‘My Joseph, do not fear. I will go with you; the Lord will assist us.’

She knew, both by divine inspiration, and also because she was well versed in the prophecy of Micheas, that the divine Infant was to be born in Bethlehem. She therefore takes the swaddling-clothes, and other poor garments already prepared, and departs with Joseph.

And Joseph also went up . . . to be enrolled with Mary.

Let us now consider all the devout and holy discourses which these two holy spouses must have held together during this journey concerning the mercy, goodness, and love of the divine Word, who was shortly to be born, and to appear on the earth for the salvation of men. Let us also consider the praises, the benedictions, the thanks-givings, the acts of humility and love, which these two illustrious pilgrims uttered on the way. This holy Virgin, so soon to become a mother, certainly suffered much in so long a journey, made in the middle of winter, and over rough roads; but she suffered with peace and with love. She offered to God all these her trials, uniting them to those of Jesus, whom she carried in her womb.

Oh, let us unite ourselves also, and let us accompany Mary and Joseph in the journey of our life; and, with them, let us accompany the King of Heaven, who is born in a cave, and makes His first appearance in the world as an infant, but as the poorest and most forsaken infant that ever was born amongst men. And let us beseech Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that, through the merits of the pains which they suffered in this journey, they would accompany us in the journey that we are making to eternity. Oh, blessed shall we be if, in life and in death, we keep company with these three great personages, and are always accompanied by them!

AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS

My beloved Redeemer, I know that in this journey Thou wast accompanied by hosts of angels from heaven; but on this earth who was there that bore Thee company? Thou hadst but Joseph and Mary who carried Thee with her. Refuse not, O my Jesus! that I also accompany Thee. Miserable ungrateful sinner that I have been, I now see the injuries I have done Thee; Thou didst come down from heaven to make Thyself my companion on earth, and I by my frequent offenses have ungratefully abandoned Thee! When I remember, O my Saviour! that for the sake of my own cursed inclinations I have often separated myself from Thee and renounced Thy friendship, I could wish to die of sorrow.

But Thou didst come into the world to forgive me; therefore forgive me now, I beseech Thee, for I repent with all my soul of having so often turned my back upon Thee and forsaken Thee. I purpose and hope, through Thy grace, nevermore to leave or separate myself from Thee, O my only love! My soul has become enamoured of Thee, O my amiable Infant God! I love Thee, my sweet Saviour; and since Thou hast come upon earth to save me and to dispense to me Thy graces, I ask this one only grace of Thee, permit me not to be ever again separated from Thee. Unite me, bind me to Thyself, enchain me with the sweet cords of Thy holy love. O my Redeemer and my God, who will then have the heart to leave Thee, and to live without Thee, deprived of Thy grace?

Most holy Mary, I come to accompany thee in this journey; and thou, O my Mother, cease not to accompany me in the journey that I am making to eternity. Do thou assist me always, but especially when I shall find myself at the end of my life, and near that moment on which will depend either my remaining always with thee to love Jesus in paradise, or my being forever separated from thee and hating Jesus in hell. My Queen, save me by thy intercession; and may my salvation be to love thee and Jesus forever, in time and in eternity. Thou art my hope; I hope everything from thee.

From Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. “The Saint Alphonsus de Liguori Collection” [30 Books]  Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Bethlehem and Calvary

Our Lord Jesus Christ could have chosen to redeem us in an infinite variety of ways, but He chose the way of a helpless infant. There is a lesson in that, but it is often overlooked. Caryll Houselander was a quirky lady, and has some interesting thoughts to offer on the subject. She certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I am fond of this essay and hope that you too will see something of value in it.

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On the night of His birth, when He first gave His body to us, lambs were brought to Christ. On the night before He died, when He gave us His body in Holy Communion, He kept the ritual of the Paschal lamb. The lowly beasts came into the stable to stand close to Mary and Joseph and to warm them with their great shaggy flanks. The breath of cattle is fragrant with clover; old men and children believe that this is so because the ox was to breathe on the nakedness of the little Lord to warm Him. At all events it was the yoke of the ox that Christ used as the symbol of the Cross laid on the shoulders of all those who would follow Him through the ages. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and humble of heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is sweet, and my burden light.”  (Matt 11, 29-30)

A donkey stood by the manger, and Christ rode on a donkey on the eve of His Passion – which, we are told, is the reason why every donkey has a cross marked out in soft dark fur on his grey back. Long ago the prophet had foreseen the hour of Christ’s birth and Christ’s death in one inseparable vision: “In the midst of two animals, Thou shalt be made known. When the years shall draw nigh, Thou shalt be known. When the time shall come, Thou shalt be shown.”  On Calvary Christ is set between two thieves; in Bethlehem He is set between two animals. On Calvary He is poor, with the poverty of destitution; in Bethlehem He is poor, with the poverty of destitution. He is deprived of his home in Nazareth; the cradle made ready for Him is empty: “The foxes have holes; the birds of the air nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”

On Calvary He was naked, stripped of His garments and of all that He had; in Bethlehem He was naked and stripped of all that He had. On Calvary He was stretched and straightened and fastened down to the Cross; in Bethlehem He was stretched out and straightened and fastened in swaddling bands. On Calvary He was lifted up, helpless, and held up for men to look upon; in Bethlehem He was lifted up, helpless, to be gazed upon. “Lo, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me!”  On Calvary He was laid upon a wooden cross; in Bethlehem He was laid in a wooden manger. By the Cross stood Mary His Mother; by the crib knelt Mary His Mother. He was crucified outside of the city wall; He was born outside of His own village and crowded out of Bethlehem: “I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men and the outcast of the people.”

At His birth He was called “King of the Jews”; at His death He was called “King of the Jews.” The claim to be king threatened His life in Bethlehem; the claim to be king cost Him His life in Jerusalem. Three times this mysterious title is heavy with doom: at His birth, His trial, and His death. At His birth: “There came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to adore Him.’ ”  At His trial: “And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked Him, saying: ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews?’ Jesus saith to Him: ‘Thou sayest it.’ ”  At His death: “And they put over His head His cause written: ‘This is Jesus the King of the Jews.’ ”  He was mocked at His birth by Herod; He was mocked at His death by the Roman soldiers. In both cases the derision was a mockery of adoration.

Herod was the pioneer of those hypocrites who, for their own pride, would slay the Christ Child in the heart of the world: “Go and diligently inquire after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him.”  The Roman soldiers were the pioneers of those egoists who, for passing entertainment and sensation, will ridicule and blaspheme the suffering Christ in the heart of man, motivated — like so much of the cruelty today — by group mentality. . .

Two crowns are set side by side — a crown of gold at His birth, a crown of thorns at His death. The crown of gold is too hard and heavy for His infant head; His head bowed and died in the crown of thorns. . .  At Bethlehem myrrh was brought to Him; and myrrh was brought to anoint His body for burial. Each time, it was brought by a rich man who came by night — first by the wise king and then by Nicodemus. . . There, in the stable at Bethlehem, began the lovely waste that is the extravagance of love, that is and will always be scandal to the loveless. Already, as the useless crown of gold that the infant’s head could not support shone at His feet, as clouds of incense hung in the rafters of the stable, and as the air grew fragrant with the smell of myrrh, the box of precious ointment was broken to anoint the Beloved for His burial. Already before God the great cathedrals arose, growing up to Him like forests of stone. Jewels from the crowns of kings and queens were set in chalices of beaten gold. Already contemplatives, drawn by an inner compulsion as mysterious as the migration of birds, flocked to God. Carmelites, Carthusians, Trappists, Poor Clares, were received into the Infant’s open hands, and there nailed into the Man’s hands nailed to the Cross — nailed by the three vows that are the three nails that hold Christ in us to the cross of suffering and the love that redeems the world. “To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” . . .

Both the manger and the tomb were borrowed. Both had been made for their owners. They were not made for Christ. All that had been prepared for Him God had set aside. God chose what men should give to His Son, and He chose things so shaped or worn to the givers’ life that they had become part of them, so warm with the givers’ touch that they could not be given without the giving of self.

Christ accepted those offerings in which self was given: not what man had made for Him, but what man had made for himself — the gifts with self at the core, involving the surrender of the giver’s will, even in the choice of the gift. So it is today and always. We would like to give God gifts of our own choosing which, even if they are in one sense part of our life, are yet things added on for the purpose of giving, without having to pull up anything of ourself at the roots.

We are often surprised when, after we have offered God several litanies a day and a pest of little mortifications, He chooses instead something that is really ourselves: our solitude, for example, or the sweetness of the feeling of love, or, as is very frequent now, our home. It is what God chooses that kindles in the crucible and burns the flame of love. He accepted both straw and gold. He did not despise the humble animals or the humility of their giving; He accepted the warm breath of the cattle on His cold hands and feet, the soft touch of the sheep’s wool, and the joy that shone from the violet eyes of the little red calves. . . .

In Bethlehem the Mother of Christ gave Christ’s human body to us. She had given her own flesh and blood to Him to be His flesh and blood. Now she gave herself to us in Him, by giving Him to us. She gave His body to cold, to thirst, to light and darkness, to sleep. In Bethlehem began the thirst of Calvary, the terrible thirst caused by loss of blood, the thirst that withers the tongue and the hands and feet and the whole body. In Bethlehem came the infant blindness; and blindness came again on Calvary, filling Christ’s eyes with the darkness of dying.

In Bethlehem Christ slept His first sleep in His Mother’s arms; on Calvary, He slept His last sleep in His Mother’s arms. In the inscape of Calvary, in the Passion of the infant Jesus, we behold His Resurrection from the dead. Christ came out of the darkness of the womb. He was the Light of the World. He came to give the world life. The life of the whole world burnt in the tiny flame of an infant’s life; it began the age-long fight with death in the least and frailest that human nature can be; in the helplessness, the littleness, the blindness of an infant, life prevailed. The Light of the World shone in darkness. At Bethlehem love and death met in the body of Christ, and love prevailed.

Over and over again in every human life, love and death meet face-to-face. No human power, splendor, or strength, no material might or wealth, can overcome death — the death of the soul. Yet if the life in the soul is the tiniest spark of the life of Christ, love prevails and death is overcome in us. Christ came out of the darkness of the tomb. He came back from the helplessness and blindness and silence of death, and His feet that walked on earth bore the wounds of death, and His hands that touched the flowers and the grass bore the wounds of death. He had overcome the world; He had died all our deaths and had overcome death. All over the world, in generation after generation, men rose from the dead; all over the world, everywhere, there was resurrection and Easter morning in the heart of man.

The message of the Incarnation is peace. At Bethlehem angels stood among the flocks and round the stable door; angels stood beside the empty tomb. On the hills above Bethlehem the angels’ song was peace: “Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.”  And peace was the word on the tongue of the risen Christ, His greeting to the world: “Peace be to you.”  At the Nativity, it was to shepherds that the angels brought the message of peace, and shepherds who came first to the Divine Child. On the night before He suffered, Christ, keeping the Feast of the Paschal Lamb, gave His peace, the peace of the Lamb of God: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (“Little Way of the Infant Jesus” by Caryll Houselander, Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.)

Dear Readers: It has been rather strongly brought to my attention that Houselander is considered to be (even though she died some years before the tragedy of Vatican II) a modernist for her false ecumenism. On the basis of what I have just been told, that would indeed appear to be the case. And so I will no more quote her. But still, the above essay appealed to me as being along the line of the writings of beloved Archbishop Fulton Sheen and her thoughts on the Divine Infancy were rather nice. Actually, the quote from Houselander that brought her to my attention was:  “When the Christ Child once more reigns, His throne will be His mother’s arms.”

Now that, dear readers, is something we can all agree on!

 

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

St. Joseph and the Birth of Jesus

Today, we offer a few thoughts on St. Joseph’s role in the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the writings of Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

ST. JOSEPH’S EXCEPTIONAL MISSION

To St. John the Baptist was entrusted the task of announcing the immediate coming of the Messiah. It can be said then that he was the greatest precursor of Jesus in the Old Testament; and it is in this sense that St. Thomas understands our Lord’s pronouncement in St. Matthew’s Gospel:  “Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of woman a greater than John the Baptist.”  But our Lord immediately adds: “Yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The kingdom of heaven is the Church on earth and in heaven, the New Testament surpassing the perfection of the Old although some just men of the Old have been holier than many of the New. And in the Church who is “he that is the lesser”? These mysterious words have received more than one interpretation. They make us think of words spoken later by Jesus: “For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater.”

The lesser means the most humble, the servant of all, and therefore, because of the connection and proportion of the virtues, the one who has the greatest charity. And who in the Church is the most humble? He who was neither apostle nor evangelist nor martyr—exteriorly at least—nor pontiff nor priest, nor doctor, but who knew and loved Christ Jesus certainly no less than the apostles, the Evangelists, the martyrs, the popes and doctors of the Church: the humble artisan of Nazareth, the humble Joseph.

The apostles were called to make the Savior known, to preach the gospel that men might be saved. Their mission, like John the Baptist’s, belongs to the order of grace necessary for the salvation of all; but an order still higher than the order of grace exists, one constituted by the very mystery of the Incarnation, the order of the hypostatic or personal union of the humanity of Jesus with the very Word of God. Mary’s unique mission of divine motherhood adjoins this order, and Joseph’s hidden mission also, in a sense, has a like position. . . .

Bossuet expresses all this with lovely clarity in his first panegyric on this great saint when he tells us:

“Among vocations I have noticed two in the Scriptures that seem direct opposites, the apostles’ and Joseph’s. Jesus is revealed to the apostles to be announced throughout the universe; He is revealed to Joseph to be passed over in silence and to be kept hidden. The apostles act as light, to show Jesus Christ to the world. Joseph serves as a veil to cover Him; and under this mysterious veil are hidden for us Mary’s virginity and the Savior’s greatness. . . . He who glorifies the apostles with the honor of preaching glorifies Joseph with the humility of silence.”

Before the manifestation of the first Christmas should come, it had to be prepared for by thirty years of hidden life. For each of us perfection consists in doing what God wills in the life to which He has called us. Joseph’s entirely exceptional vocation seems, in its silence and obscurity, to surpass the calling of the greatest apostles, touching so closely the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation. After Mary, Joseph appears nearer than anyone else to the Author of grace; and if he was, then he received in the silence of Bethlehem, during the sojourn in Egypt, and in Nazareth’s little home, more graces than any other saint will ever receive. His special mission in regard to Mary consisted chiefly in contracting with the Mother of God a real and absolutely holy marriage.

According to the account given in St. Matthew’s Gospel, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in his sleep and told him: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Mary was really his wife by a true and entirely heavenly marriage, which was to have a fruitfulness wholly divine. The initial fullness of grace given to the Virgin in view of her divine motherhood in a sense evoked the mystery of the Incarnation.

As Bossuet says: “The virginity of Mary drew Jesus down from heaven. . . . Since her purity made her fruitful, I have no fear to assert that Joseph had his part in this great miracle; for if angelic purity is Mary’s treasure, this treasure lay in the keeping of the just Joseph.”

Joseph, in the simple framework of a village carpenter’s life, had the privilege of sharing in a stainless and reverent union with the most perfect creature that God has ever made. He has drawn nearer the Mother of God than any other saint, more closely allied than anyone else to the Mother of all men, Joseph himself included. Under all her titles as co-redemptrix, universal mediatrix and distributer of all grace, Joseph loved Mary with the purest and most devoted love, a love that can rightly be called theological, for he loved the Virgin in God and for God, because of all the glory that she gave to God.

The beauty of the whole universe bears no comparison to the sublime union of these two souls, a union created by the Most High, giving delight to the angels and joy to God Himself. As to Joseph’s exceptional mission in regard to our Lord, we know that in all truth the Word of God made flesh was confided to him rather than to any other of the just men of all generations. The holy old Simeon took the child Jesus into his arms for a few moments and saw in Him the salvation of the people, “lumen ad revelationem gentium,” but Joseph looked after Him night and day during His whole infancy, often holding in his arms the Child in whom he beheld his Creator and Savior. From Him he received grace upon grace during the long years when he lived with Him in closest daily intimacy, watching Him grow, contributing to His human education, receiving His obedience.

(Joseph) is commonly called the “foster father of the Savior,” but he was in a sense more than that for, as St. Thomas points out, by marriage a man becomes a child’s “foster father” or “adopted father” only accidentally; while there was nothing at all accidental in Joseph being given charge of Jesus. He had been created and put into the world for just that end. It was his predestination, and in view of his wholly divine mission Providence had accorded to him all the graces that he had received from his infancy, graces of deep piety, of virginity, of prudence, and of perfect fidelity.

In the eternal designs of God, Joseph’s union with Mary existed simply for the Savior’s protection and education, and Joseph received from God a father’s heart to care for the Child Jesus. This was his principal mission; in view of it he received sanctity proportionate, in a sense, to his rank, to the mystery of the Incarnation, which dominates, in its infinite reaches, the whole order of grace.

Sinibaldi’s recent work, La Grandezza di San Giuseppi, brings out St. Joseph’s eternal predestination as the Blessed Virgin Mary’s spouse, explaining with St. Thomas the threefold fitness of such a predestination. The Angelic Doctor established the same point himself; asking whether it was fitting that Christ should be born of a virgin who had contracted a real marriage, he gave as his answer that it was fitting for the sake of Christ Himself, His Mother, and us. It was highly fitting for our Lord Himself because, until the time should come for the mystery of His birth to be manifested, He would not then be considered an illegitimate son and would have protection during His childhood. For the Blessed Virgin it was no less fitting because it kept her from being judged a guilty adulteress and stoned as such by the Jews, as St. Jerome observed; it also served to protect her in the difficulties and persecution that began with the Savior’s birth.

It was, St. Thomas adds, very expedient for us, too, because we thus learn through testimony above suspicion, Joseph’s, about Christ’s virginal conception; in the human order of things, his testimony also lends support to Mary’s. Lastly, it was supremely fitting that we should find in Mary at once the perfect model of virgins, of wives, and of Christian mothers. Herein lies the explanation of why, according to some authors, the eternal decree of the Incarnation, so far as it must be realized hic et nunc, in such and such determined circumstances, included not only Jesus and Mary but Joseph as well.

From all eternity indeed it was decided that the Word of God made flesh should be born miraculously of Mary ever virgin united to the just Joseph in bonds of true marriage. St. Luke thus expresses the carrying out of this providential decree: “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” . . .

In a discourse that was given in the Consistory Chamber on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1928, His Holiness Pope Pius XI compared St. Joseph’s vocation with St. John the Baptist’s and St. Peter’s. There is significance, His Holiness said, in the fact that God raises up certain magnificent and lustrous figures so near to one another as to be almost contemporaries: St. John the Baptist, who came out of the desert with a voice now thundering like a roaring lion and now speaking with the accents of the friend of the bridegroom rejoicing at the bridegroom’s glory, and at the last offering up before the world the glory of his own martyrdom; Peter, who heard the divine Master speak to him divine words that bore witness about him before all men of all ages: “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church.” “Going therefore, teach ye all nations.”

His was a magnificent and divinely radiant mission. Between these two, St. Joseph’s appears, in recollection and in silence, almost unperceived and unknown, coming to light only centuries later when its silence was to be broken by a resounding hymn of glory.  There where the mystery lies deepest, the surrounding night grows darkest, the silence grows greatest, the highest mission is to be found, accompanied and reechoed by a happy necessity in a brilliant retinue of virtues and merits. It is a unique and very high mission to guard the Son of God, the King of the world, to watch over the virginity and sanctity of Mary, to have a hidden place and share in this great mystery, shielded from the eyes of the centuries while cooperating in the Incarnation and Redemption.

All Joseph’s sanctity lies precisely in the completely faithful accomplishment of this great and humble mission, so high and so hidden, so splendid and so surrounded with shadows. [End Quote]

So, in the shadows of these dark times, we see a light growing brighter, as the mission of St. Joseph becomes clearer.

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The preceding essay is from  Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s essay, “St. Joseph, model of the hidden life and first among the saints”.

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Update on my subscription problem with WordPress Jetpack subscriptions.

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