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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel



July 16

The Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulæ, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of Saint Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,

Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.”

It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end.

In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:

1. Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely.
2. Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.
3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.

These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach of them deprives us of all merit; and is not this something to be taken into account? “He who sowetb sparingly shall also reap sparingly.” (II Corinthians 9:6)

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, and celebrate a festal-day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose solemn feast the angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak of my works for the King.”

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

O God, Who hast honored the Order of Carmelites with the particular title of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, mercifully grant that, protected by her prayers whose commemoration we this day celebrate with a solemn office, we may deserve to arrive at joy everlasting. Who livest, and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:28-81

As the vine, I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me shall not be confounded; and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.

Explanation

The Church applies this epistle to Mary, thereby encouraging us fervently to honor the blessed Mother of God, in whom the Eternal Wisdom dwelt bodIly, and through whom He was given to us, that by her intercession our understanding may be enlightened, our will strengthened, and we be inspired with fresh zeal to practice ourselves, and to prevail on others to practice also, whatever is chaste, becoming, and holy.

Gospel: Luke 11:27, 28

And it came to pass as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin (Goffine’s Devout Instructions)


November 21


The Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple at Jerusalem by her pious parents, Joachim and Ann, there to be educated in the service and the law of the Lord in order that she might be guarded against the defilements of the world. From this we learn:
  • Joachim and Ann offered to the Lord their only and most beloved child, and gave her up entirely to His service. Great as the sacrifice was, they yet made it. The preservation of the innocence of their daughter was to them above all else. Parents, God requires of you that you should not merely offer your children to Him in the temple, but that you should take care to keep them pure and holy, as living temples which have been consecrated in Baptism.
  • Mary gives and dedicates herself to God as soon as she is capable of serving Him, and that without any reservation, for all time, and irrevocably. When, then, shall we give ourselves in earnest to God? True, we have been given to Him in holy Baptism, we have been consecrated as His temples, we have renounced the devil and the world, we have vowed to live only for God, and this vow we have, perhaps, often renewed; but have we kept it? What we gave with one hand, have we not taken it away with the other? Have we not defiled the temple of our hearts by shameful lusts, lived for the world and vanity more than for God? Ah, when shall we give ourselves up to God sincerely and forever? Perhaps when we are old! But will God accept our offering then? Will He be pleased that we begin to serve Him only when we can no longer serve the world? that we first begin to live for Him when our life is soon to cease? No; God is a jealous Lord, and is not pleased with a heart divided between Him and creatures. He requires us to love Him with all our heart and all our soul, and to serve Him with all our powers. Let us, then, do this, and do it from our youth; let us keep ourselves in body and soul undefiled for the Lord; such love, and such love only, will He reward as perfect.
Prayer

O God, Who wast pleased that the blessed Mary, ever virgin, the habitation of the Holy Ghost, should on this day be presented in the temple, grant, we beseech Thee, that by her intercession we may deserve to be presented in the temple of Thy glory. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:14-16

From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable people, and in the portion of my God His inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.

Gospel: Luke 11:27, 28

And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.

Explanation

By His answer Jesus would have us understand that His Mother was not to be blessed merely because she bore Him, the Son of God, but rather because she at all times endeavored to keep the word of God in her heart and to observe it in her life. If you would be blessed, learn to be not only a hearer, but a doer, of the word of God.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Feast of the Holy Rosary (Our Lady of the Rosary) from Goffine's Devout Instructions

First Sunday in October (Now October 7*)




This feast was fixed for the first Sunday in October by Pope Clement XI, in perpetual commemoration of a celebrated double victory gained by the Christians at Lepanto, in 1571, under Pope Saint Pius V, and at Belgrade, under Pope Clement XI, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who had been invoked by saying the Holy Rosary. It is at the same time the principal feast of the Arch-confraternity of the Holy Rosary.

In 1885 Pope Leo XIII, ordered the Rosary to be recited every day duriug the month of October in every parish church and cathedral throughout the world, and those of the faithful who cannot be present at this recital he exhorted to say it with their families or in private.

The Holy Rosary is a form of prayer in which there is first said the Apostles’ Creed, and then fifteen decades, each one of which consists of ten Hail Marys. Each decade has one Our Father to be said before it, and is followed by a meditation upon some one mystery of our redemption. It is called the Rosary, or Wreath of Roses, because the joyful, the sorrowful, and the glorious mysteries, aptly symbolized by the leaves, the thorns, the flower, of which the rose consists – with the prayers and praises that are blended together – compose, as it were, a wreath or crown. It is also called the Psalter, because it contains a hundred and fifty Hail Marys, as the Psalter of David contains a hundred and fifty psalms, and because it is used in place of the singing of psalms, as practised in former times.

There are three parts in the Rosary – the joyful, the sorrowful, the glorious.

The joyful part consists of the five first decades, to which are attached five mysteries of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, through which, full of joy, we speak to Mary of Him:
  • Whom she conceived while a virgin.
  • Whom she bore to Elizabeth.
  • Whom she brought forth while a virgin.
  • Whom she offered to God in the temple.
  • Whom she found in the temple.
(This is said particularly in Advent.)


The sorrowful part, in like manner, contains five decades, in connection with which there are presented for our meditation five mysteries of the passion and death of Jesus:
  • Who for us sweat blood.
  • Who for us was scourged.
  • Who for us was crowned with thorns.
  • Who for us bore the heavy cross.
  • Who for us was crucified.
(This is said particluarly in Lent.)


The glorious part, consisting of the last five decades, reminds us of the glory of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin by five mysteries in which we commemorate Him:
  • Who rose from the dead.
  • Who ascended into heaven.
  • Who sent to us the Holy Ghost.
  • Who received thee, O Virgin, into heaven.
  • Who crowned thee, O Virgin, in heaven.
(This part is said particularly at Eastertide.)

How was this prayer introduced into the Church?


Saint Dominic had for many years preached against the errors of the Albigenses and other heretics, with such zeal and profound ability that they were often convinced. But nevertheless the results were unimportant; but few returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church. In this discouraging state of things Saint Dominic redoubled his prayers and works of penance, and in particular besought Mary for support and assistance. One day Mary appeared to him and taught him the Rosary. He zealously labored to introduce everywhere this manner of prayer, and from that time preached with such success that in a short period more than one hundred thousand heretics and sinners were converted. The divine origin of the Rosary is testified to by the bull of Gregory XIII of the year 1577.

Is the Rosary a profitable method of prayer?


Yes; for by bringing before the eyes of the spirit the fundamental mysteries of Christianity it supplies us with the strongest motives to love God, to hate sin, to subdue the passions, to contemn the world and its vanity, and to strive after Christian perfection, in order that we may gain those happy mansions which Jesus prepares for us. The Rosary, besides, brings before us living examples – Jesus and Mary – whom we must follow; and encourages us to good works by pointing to the all-powerful grace procured for us by Jesus, and the all-prevailing intercession of the gracious Mother of God. Let us not be ashamed to carry the beads with us, for otherwise we might be ashamed of being Catholics; let us say the Rosary often – every evening – as was the custom with Catholics in former times, and we shall find that, as in Saint Dominic’s day it was a wholesome check to error, so too In our times it will be, if said aright, a powerful weapon against heresy and unbelief, and will increase faith, piety, and virtue.

How should we say the Rosary?

1. Properly; that is, as has been above described, and slowly, with a distinct pronunciation of the prayers and mysteries.

2. Devoutly, not only with the lips, but also with the heart.


More particularly we ought to meditate upon the mysteries that come before us; thus, at the joyful mysteries we should think of the infinite love of God to men and on His humiliation for us, thanking Him, and promising our love to Him in return; at the sorrowful mysteries we should have compassion on the Saviour suffering for us, should from the heart detest the sins which were the cause of His sufferings, and make the most earnest resolutions for the future; at the glorious mysteries we should remember the glory which awaits us also if we follow Jesus and Mary.

Prayer


O God, Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, procured for us the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that, commemorating these mysteries in the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and possess what they promise. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, etc.

Epistle: Proverbs 8:22-35


The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and My delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear Me: Blessed are they that keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth Me, and that watcheth daily at My gates, and waiteth at the posts of My doors. He that shall find Me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38


At that time 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. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.

-- Goffine’s Devout Instruction


* Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays.  


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (From Goffine's Devout Instruction)

May 31

This day is called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary because on it Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, whom, as the angel had told her, God had blessed with a son in her old age.

In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings:

"Hail, holy parent, who didst bring trth the King Who rules heaven and earth forever. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak of my works for the King."

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her visitation we may obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc. Amen.

Epistle: Canticle 2:8-14

Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart; behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the tune of pruning is come; the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come; my dove in the clifts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall, show me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears; for thy. voice is sweet, and thy face comely.

Gospel: Luke 1:39-47

At that time: Mary rising up went unto the hill-country with haste, into a city of Juda; and she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost; and she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord. And Mary saId: My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

1. As soon as Mary heard that Elizabeth was with child she hastened to her. The alacrity of the Blessed Virgin teaches us that we should take part with gladness in the happiness of our fellow-men, and quickly make ourselves ready to discharge our duties, sacrificing for that object, if necessary, even our own much-loved retirement, our devotions and other exercises of piety.

2. Mary visited her cousin out of real love, not out of unmeaning ceremony. Would that her example were followed in our visits!

3. By the visit of the Blessed Virgin John was sanctified in his mother's womb, and Elizabeth, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, knew, by the miraculous movements of her child, that Mary was the Mother of the Lord. Such effects did this visit produce. What would Jesus effect in us if we received Him with due preparation!

Explanation of the Canticle "Magnificat," Or "My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord"

In this hymn Mary with joy praises God, the Lord, that He has regarded her humility, aud made her to be the Mother of His only-begotten Son, wherefore she should be called blessed by all generations; and she declares the truths and mysteries which the incarnation brought to light. The mercy of God, namely, reaches from generation to generation to them that fear Him. He scatters the thoughts of the proud, and puts down from their seats the mighty; but He exalts the humble. He fills those who hunger for justice with good things, but those who think themselves rich He sends away empty. He receives all true Israelites, and performs in them the promises which He gave to the fathers. This hymn is repeated by the Church every day at Vespers, in praise of the work of redemption, begun by the incarnation of the Son of God in Mary. Would that every Christian, since he becomes one only by Christ being, as it were, born in him, might share those feelings which the Blessed Virgin and Mother has expressed in this hymn of praise, and, with the Church, daily praise God for the mystery of the incarnation!

Aspiration

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who didst descend from the highest heavens io the womb of the Virgin Mary, didst therein rest for rune months, and with her didst condescend to visit and sanctify Saint John, grant that we, by the practice of good works, particularly of humility, may become partakers of the fruits of Thy incarnation.

--Goffine's Devout Instructions




Sunday, April 07, 2013

Feast of the Annuciation of the Lord (From Goffine's Devout Instructions)





April 8

This feast is so called from the announcement to the Blessed Virgin, by the archangel Gabriel, that she was to be the mother of the Messias. In the Introit of the Mass the Church refers to this high dignity of Mary's: "All the rich shall entreat thy countenance; after her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. My heart hath uttered a good word, I speak my works to the King."

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

O God, Who didst please that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be blessed by her intercession with Thee. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Epistle: Isaias 7:10-15

In those days the Lord spoke to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good.

Instruction on the "Angelic Salutation" or "Hail Mary"
Why is this prayer called the "Hail Mary" or "Angelic Salutation"?
Because it begins with the words which the archangel Gabriel addressed to the Blessed Virgin when he announced to her that she should be the Mother of God.
Of what does the Angelic Salutation consist?
1. Of the words of the archangel Gabriel. 2. Of the words of Saint Elizabeth. 3. Of words which have been added thereto by the Catholic Church.
Which are the words of the archangel Gabriel?
"Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women."
What is the meaning of these words?
The words "Hail Mary" indicate that profound veneration for the Blessed Virgin which was felt by the archangel Gabriel, and which we, in imitation of his example, ought also to cherish. The words "full of grace" remind us that God bestowed upon the Blessed Virgin greater graces than upon all men and angels together, and that not for herself alone, but for us also; they therefore encourage us to pray to Mary with fervor and confidence, that by her powerful intercession she will obtain for us the graces necessary for our salvation. "The Lord is with thee" - these words express the peculiar complacency with which God has regarded her, on account of which He wrought in her special miracles of wisdom, omnipotence, and benignity. Let us rejoice with Mary over these prerogatives, and implore her to intercede for us, that God may be with us also, to sustain us by His almightiness, to govern us by His wisdom, to incite us to all that is good by the fire of His infinite love. Finally, the words "Blessed art thou among women" are as much as to say: Thou art the happiest of all women, since thou alone of them all hast no stain of sin on thee; thou art chosen to be the Mother of God; thou shalt conceive Him by the Holy Ghost, and shalt bring Him forth without losing thy virginity. Thus it was that the angel saluted the most blessed Virgin, and yet there are men who are ashamed thus to salute Mary, and to give praise for the graces which God conferred upon her.
Which are the words of Elizabeth, and what do they mean?
"And blessed is the fruit of thy womb" - the word blessed is equivalent to praised. In saying these words, therefore, we desire that the fruit of Mary's womb, Jesus, may be worshipped and praised by all men.
Which are the words which the Catholic Church has added?
To the words "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb" she has added "Jesus," in order thereby to explain them, and to indicate that this prayer is to be offered in the name of Jesus. Thereupon follow the words, "Holy Mary, Mother of G6d" pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen."
What do these words mean?
With the words, "Holy Mary," we apply to her who is full of grace as our intercessor, and thereby are reminded to strive to imitate her holiness, if we would be sure of her intercession, and of being heard before God. We call her" Mother of God," because she brought forth Jesus, the Son-of God. Thereby we at the same time remind her that she is our mother also, and pray her to care for us as a mother j not as though we believed she could of herself help us, but with the design that she should offer to God her all-prevailing prayers for us j hence we sa.y, " Pray for us,;' adding, "sinners." By these words we remind Mary of our misery, al!d ourselves of our powerlessness for good, and of our guilti~ess in the sight of God, praying her to procure for us the grace of God to do true penance, to acquire virtues, and to gain true peace, and that" now," inasmuch as at every moment, and throughout our whole life, we have so many dangers to meet, so many virtues to gain; "and at the hour of our death," that we may overcome the temptations of the last de cisive hour, and stand complete victors before the throne of th~ etewal Judge. "Amen," so may it be, is, as it were, to repeat and make stronger the whole prayer.
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

At that time 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. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.

Salutation to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

Hail, Mary, full of grace! I rejoice, and give joy to thee, that thou hast been chosen the Mother of the Most High, and the queen of heaven and earth. With thee is the Father Who begot, from all eternity, Him Whom thou didst bring forth as God-man in time; with thee is the Son, Whom thou didst bear, in thy virginal womb; with thee is the Holy Ghost, overshadowed by Whose power thou didst become the Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Praised, therefore, be thou, thou blessed among women; thou daughter of the Most High; thou bride of the Holy Ghost; thou joy of heaven; thou ornament of the Church of God; thou honor of Christians. Oh, pray God for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


--Goffine's Devout Instructions


Monday, March 18, 2013

Feast of Saint Joseph (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

           March 19



SAINT JOSEPH was descended from the kingly line of David, and was a kinsman of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Matthew 1:1-16) The Gospel gives him the praise of being just (Matthew 1:19), that is, a man distinguished for all virtues. And surely, as he was chosen from all other men by God to be the foster-father of His Son, he undoubtedly excelled, in virtues and sanctity, all saints then living. Of his youth nothing certain is known to us, and of his later life we know only what the Gospel relates. He was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55), and lived at Nazareth, in Galilee (Luke 2:4). Being espoused to Mary, he was inclined, upon learning that she was with child, to put her away privately, not wishing to expose her to public reproach; but being instructed by an angel, he took her to himself, in obedience to the command of God, went with her to Bethlehem, and afterwards, with Mary and the new-born child, fled, without timidity, to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13) At the command of the angel he returned thence, and again dwelt in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23). From this place they went every year to the feast at Jerusalem, where it happened that Jesus, then twelve years old, remained behind them in the temple, and was anxiously sought for by them. More than this is not told us. At the time of the marriage at Cana it would seem that he was no longer living, since there is no mention made of him. Though little is said of him, that little is rich in profitable instruction. How worthy to be admired and imitated is his example, his chastity, his tenderness towards Mary, his forbearing to pronounce a judgment in regard to her condition when he could not explain it, his quick and unreserved obedience towards God and the commands of authority, his love for Jesus, and his care for both the mother and the child. On account of his sanctity God has specially distinguished him by miracles, and the Church honors him in a particular manner. In the Litany of the Saints he is named among the patriarchs, and the feast of his patronage is celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. Venerate, therefore, Saint Joseph; choose him for your protector in life and in death, and make yourself worthy of his protection by following his example.

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:
"The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be assisted by the merits of the spouse of Thy most holy Mother, that what of ourselves we are unable to obtain may be given to us by his intercession. Who livest and reignest with You and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6

He was beloved of God and men: whose memory is in benediction. He made him 1ike the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For He heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-21

When Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put per away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: 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; and she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Instruction

To encourage us to veneration for Saint Joseph, Saint Teresa wrote:
"I do not remember to have asked Saint Joseph for anything which he did not grant me. The great favors which God has granted me through him, and the many dangers of soul and body from which he has freed me, truly deserve admiration. It seems that God has granted to other saints the grace of assisting, in particular needs, those who invoke their intercession; but this glorious saint assists in all needs. The Lord seems thereby to indicate that, as He was subject to Joseph on earth, so now He grants him whatever he asks for. The same thing has been experienced by persons whom I have advised to recommend themselves to him."

"I would gladly advise everyone," says Saint Alphonsus, "to have a great devotion towards this saint, since I have experienced what graces he can obtain from God. For several years I have asked him, on his feast, for some par ticular grace, and every time my petition has been granted. As we all have to die, we should have a particular devotion towards Saint Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death; for all Catholic Christians consider him to be an intercessor for the dying, and that he assists, at the hour of death, those who venerate him; and this for three reasons:
  1. Because Jesus loves him, not only as a friend, but as a father, on which account his intercession is more powerful than that of any other saint.
  2. Because Saint Joseph obtained special power against the evil spirits who tempt us at the hour of death.
  3. The assistance which Jesus and Mary gave to Joseph at the hour of his own death procured for him the right to obtain a holy and easy death for his dependants. If in their dying hour they invoke his aid, not only will he assist them, but he will obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary."
Ought not these words of a great saint encourage you to venerate Saint Joseph every day? Should not the hope of dying one day under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, move you to devotion to the foster-father of Jesus?

Prayer to Saint Joseph

O most chaste Joseph, who, by thy purity and other exalted virtues, wast worthy to be chosen for the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, I beseech thee, by the great graces of which thou wast made partaker, that thou wouldst, by thy intercession, obtain for all parents grace to rear their children piously; for all married persons who are distressed and afflicted through poverty and tribulations consolation and encouragement; for all unmarried persons who have devoted tbeir chastity to God the grace of perseverance; and, finally, for all the dyjng the grace to come, after a happy death, to thy foster- child, Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, world without end. Amen.

Goffine's Devout Instructions


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (From Goffine's Devout Instructions)



December 9

On this and the following eight days the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary, who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men. The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times. Pope Pius IX, forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally, on 8 December 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin. It is, therefore, now no longer, as fomerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith, that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. I will extol thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me." Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and forever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

We beseech Thee, O Lord, to bestow on Thy servants the gift of heavenly grace, that, for those to whom the Blessed Virgin's maternity was the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her immaculate conception may procure increase of peace. Through Christ our Lord, etc. Amen.

Epistle: Proverbs 8:22-35

The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and My delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear Me: Blessed are they that keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth Me, and that watcheth daily at My gates, and waiteth at the posts of My doors. He that shall find Me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

Explanation

This lesson is, in the literal sense, a eulogy on the divine and uncreated wisdom, which before all things was in God; through which all things were made, disposed, and preserved; which rejoices in its works, and calls upon all its creatures, especially on men, to render to it love and obedience. Most of what is here said is also to be applied to Mary, of whom it may with truth be said that, as the holiest and most admirable of all creatures, she occupies the first place in the heart of God. Therefore the Church also refers to her those words of the wise man: "I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first born of all creatures."

Gospel: Luke 1:26-28

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. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.


--Goffine's Devout Instructions