New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why I like Dr. Plinio

I received a flurry of emails asking me why a lot of my articles always had reflections by Dr. Plinio. Well firstly, I do believe he is a very Holy man and is a Saint. While he wrote about a lot of religious topics, he also wrote about secular matters and lifted the everyday and mundane up.

Below is a classic example. Dr. Plinio has contemplated on a glass of cold draft beer. The ability to live and always be enchanted by the everyday and lift ones mind up to greater things is one of the ways to saintliness.

Reflections on a Cold Draft Beer
by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

It was a particularly hot afternoon, so I gazed at the icy mug of beer before me with a sense of anticipation.

I still had the idea – right or wrong – that draft beer should be crowned with a head of foam, albeit not too thickly. Lacking a head, this beer seemed like a shirt without a collar. That was my first reservation.

Viewing the beer against the against the light, I saw that it had a small number of tiny gas bubbles. I thought that a strong dose of bubbles, of a certain size, were required to prepare the palate to savor the brew, and from that arose my second reservation.

Nevertheless, as I said, the day was quite hot, so I took a swallow of that conveniently iced draft beer. At that time I had not yet fallen into the misfortune of having to avoid cold drinks. Indeed, I liked everything that was cool: above all, summer breezes, fresh temperatures, and icy beers.

Thus I sought to quench my thirst with the contents of that frosty mug. The beer tasted good enough, but lacking a head of foam and being somewhat flat, it seemed rather devoid of life. There could be no discourse with that beer, which was as monotonous as idle gossip.

A few moments after I had drained the glass – not withstanding the defects that had given rise to my earlier reservations – I noticed a flavor tastier than the beer itself lingering on my palate, which reconciled me to the brew. It was, of course, the beer’s after-taste – something like that feeling one gets after having reflected on an idea and reached a conclusion about it.

Nothing, not even ice cream, bears the charm of glacial cold better than a draft beer. Between beer and cold there is a natural marriage, which highlights beer’s character.

Of course, like everything in this world, that beer was but a rough sketch of a perfect ideal.

* * *

Perfection implies two characteristics: first, being devoid of any defects; second, having qualities that are invariably elevated to the maximum degree possible.

Frankly, I could not have appreciated that beer had I not been able to picture the perfect draft beer. At the same time, having imagined the perfect draft beer, I knew I wasn’t drinking anything but a common beer. Nonetheless, it led me to contemplate its possible perfection – and that contemplation is the joy of my life.

Without a doubt, the color of beer is beautiful, though I wish mine had been endowed with a more consistent golden hue. Be that as it may, beer is an attractive domicile for light. Light enters the beer and remains within it, becoming more beautiful than light in water. That is saying a great deal, since from a certain perspective water is an ideal abode for light.

A life lived in such reflections is utterly enjoyable. A child studying a glass of beer can entertain himself much better than if he were gazing idly out a window. A contemplated beer speaks more eloquently than a neglected window.

In that humble beer, I saw the possibility of its being greater than it was, and this possibility spoke to me of God.

We must accustom our spirits to savoring things in this manner. The man who loves beer and interprets it solely in terms of itself winds up a drunk, but the man who savors not simply a cold draft beer but the ascent to the marvelous to which its contemplation leads will know the nobler and more lasting joys of moderation.

(Published in Crusade May-June 2001)

Feast of St. Rose of Lima - 23rd August 2008

Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Rose of Lima. She is one of the lesser known saints of the Church. Let us read the commentary of Dr. Plinio about this saint and incorporate some of her virtues during our march to the Father's kingdom.

St. Rose of Lima – August 30

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

Some half century after the conquest of America by the Spaniards, the city of Lima, founded at the foot of the Andes Mountains as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, was suffering so great a corruption of customs that St. Francis Solanus threatened it with divine chastisements, as the Prophet Jonah threatened Nineveh. Divine Mercy, however, was already acting in the soul of a child capable of making the necessary expiation.

Rose of Lima, born on April 20, 1586, grew under the protection of Divine Goodness. She took the third order habit of St. Dominic at age 20, offering constant prayer and sacrifices in her small oratory in the family garden. She was only 31 years of age when, on the evening of St. Bartholomew’s feast (August 24) in 1617, she cried out: “The Spouse is here!” and she delivered her soul to God.

Zeal for the cause of God consumed this virgin. When she turned her eyes to the unfaithful nations of South America, she would weep and suffer torments of soul. She often counseled priests and monks to go with all haste to the aid of those nations. Once, she thought of adopting a boy to raise him and later direct him to the missions, but her death prevented the realization of that wish.

One time a Dutch fleet of Protestant heretics stopped outside Lima’s harbor. The alarm was raised in the city to prepare for an invasion. Rose ran to the Church of St. Dominic and like a warrior placed herself before the Tabernacle in order to protect Our Lord with her life. God, however, was satisfied with that manifestation of her dedication. The enemy fleet left without damaging the city.

Not just in Lima, but in all Peru and Latin America, miracles of conversion and countless graces were received through the intercession of that humble virgin, unknown until her death. The Sovereign Pontiff testified that since the discovery of Peru, no missionary had ever produced such a universal spirit of penance.

The young woman who prayed and suffered amidst the general corruption of her city desired to live in silence and obscurity. Her action after death, however, made her the Patron Saint of Peru, and Pope Clement X extended her protection to all of America, the Philippine Islands and India.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

These facts from the life of St. Rose of Lima allow us to see the condition of Latin America at that time. In Brazil as well as Spanish America, the coming of the Iberians produced a very dangerous moral trauma. Those men who came to the New World were moved by a thirst for adventure. Arriving here, they found an exuberant tropical flora and a weather that favored lust and nudity. Most of them succumbed to a life of immorality and complete vulgarity. This brought the new society to a very low level.

St. Rose of Lima understood that unless there was a strong reaction assisted by grace, the plans of Divine Providence in bringing the Iberians to Latin America would be frustrated. The plan was to make those Indian peoples Catholic, and form an immense Catholic bloc extending from Mexico to the south of Argentina and Chile.

In that dire moral situation, God called, not a great preacher to convert those Iberians and Indians, but a person with a universal vocation to change the lives of them all. This person was a young woman, St. Rose of Lima. Through her penances, sufferings, and prayers she accomplished in the realm of the Communion of Saints what was needed to save not only her country, but others. Her sanctity influenced all Latin America and worked countless miracles and conversions. Both during her life and after her death, she spread the spirit of penance and mortification, a very difficult thing for people to accept.

With this, she halted in good measure the general corruption of customs, and vaccinated those peoples against the spirit of the Revolution.

We see what a single soul can do by delivering herself entirely to Our Lord and Our Lady, renouncing all the advantages and comforts the world can give and delivering herself to penance and the Divine Mercy. If one of us would decide to be a saint, an unspeakable good could be done.

This should encourage us to ask Our Lady and St. Rose of Lima for this grace. Let us ask St. Rose of Lima, who did so much good for our Continent to make Latin America a true Catholic Continent so it can accomplish its mission of providing faithful peoples for the Reign of Mary.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Feast of the Queenship of The Blessed Virgin Mary - 22 August 2008

Today lets us spend time contemplating on the Queenship of our Mother. Are we true sons and daughters of such a worthy Mother?

Queenship of Our Lady – 22 August 2008

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

The queenship of Our Lady is supernatural in character because she is the first and highest of the creatures of God. She is not the first in the order of nature, for the Angels are more than she. An angel is a pure spirit and, therefore, more than a human creature. But she is the first creature in the order of grace. That is, she received incomparably more graces than the Angels. The graces the Angels received are subordinate to the graces Our Lady received.

She is also the first of all women. The first of all men is Our Lord Jesus Christ; the first of women is Our Lady. This alone would suffice to give her the right to queenship. For royalty is a de jure state from which flows a de facto situation. One who is first has the right to command and be served, and especially when her queenship is linked to an eternal queenship that will never end. This defines her queenship.

Our Lady is the first of creatures because she is the Mother of God. No one has had or can have a union with the Most Holy Trinity as close as hers. She is the Most Beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father, the Most Admirable Mother of the Eternal Word, and the Most Faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

Further, she is Queen because God placed the government of all things in her hands. God does not do any supernatural thing on earth that does not pass through her. All the prayers that are raised from earth to Heaven pass through her; all the graces that come from God to earth are at her request. If all Heaven were to implore something, without her intercession it would not be attained; and if she alone among the citizens of Heaven would ask for something, she would obtain all she asked for. This makes her a Queen in the plenitude of the term.

Now then, these concepts that correspond to her Heavenly Queenship, which is her highest title, must correspond also to her earthly Queenship. What is this earthly Queenship of Our Lady? All of human society should be organized in such a way that everything is according to her will by the fact that she is Queen. All those who govern should follow her will. St. Louis of France used to call himself “le sergent de Dieu en France,” which freely translated means “God’s captain in France.”

He considered himself just an executor of the will of God, even though he was one of the most powerful monarchs of his time. He understood his mission well, because actually this is what each King should be. The same should apply to Our Lady. Kings and rulers should be her captains.

Now, what is the will of Our Lady? Since she does not appear in mystical ways to communicate with us, how can we know her will? Above all other things, the will of Our Lady lies in Catholic doctrine and in obedience to the Catholic Church as she always was. In essence, this is the will of Our Lady, because her will coincides with the will of God. Obedience to the Catholic Church is, therefore, the clearest and most indisputable component of the will of Our Lady.

But there is another factor, which is the voice of grace in us. Grace indicates to each person a way to follow it in order to achieve God’s plan for him or her. This is what is commonly called the vocation of a person. The vocation is the call of God, the call of Our Lady, to fulfill that pre-established plan they have for each one of us. Therefore, to correspond to one’s vocation is also to accomplish the will of Our Lady.

How should one correspond to his or her vocation? It is to do everything that one can to preserve the deposit of Catholic doctrine as it was always taught by Holy Mother Church. Now then, since Vatican II this deposit of Faith, Morals, Liturgy and Canon Law has been systematically attacked by the enemies of the Church who infiltrated inside her and replaced her doctrine with quite different new teachings. So, obedience to one’s vocation implies the defense of this deposit from the enemies who attack it. Therefore, to be faithful to the call of Our Lady, we must fight to destroy her enemies in our days.

There is another point that still needs to be addressed. If to carry out the will of Our Lady is to follow the will of the Church, one could affirm that the Middle Ages was already the Reign of Mary. Why do we expect a future Reign of Mary?

I think that if the Middle Ages had not deteriorated, it would have become the Reign of Mary. We can see that devotion to Our Lady was growing at the height of the Middle Ages. Then, it started to decline. A plan of God was interrupted.

Many of the truths about Our Lady had not yet been elucidated; many of the great Doctors of Our Lady had not taken Mariology to the higher levels it later attained. For instance, the great voice of St. Louis Grignion de Monfort had not yet been heard; slavery to Our Lady – defined by him as true devotion to Mary – had not been explained. Above all, the truth of the universal mediation of Our Lady had not been taught. These truths would have been discovered and taught to all Catholics if the Middle Ages had not fallen.

But this is not what happened. The Middle Ages fell. So, these truths came to light in a different way, without being properly reflected in the social sphere. They were not applied to all of society as they should have been. For the fullest glory of God on earth, it is necessary that His plan be fully executed here. That is, it is necessary for the royalty of Our Lady to be established on earth based upon these truths and still others that will come.

These are the principles that explain the full meaning of the Queenship of Our Lady, whose feast is today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saint Pius X - 21 August 2008

On the 20th August 2008, Pope Benedict XVI during his general audience said that it is important and advantageous to cultivate devotion to the saints, and recommends vacation as a good time to study their lives.Pope Benedict XVI went on to note that saintliness is a universal call. For more details refer to Zenit

Today is the feast of Saint Pius X. The commentary from Dr. Plinio includes some glimpses at the history of the church. For the benefit of the reader, I have linked up all the encyclicals as well as the other Popes.

The life of St. Pius X speaks to us in so many ways that it is difficult to choose the one with a more formative character. But we can begin by stressing a curious facet of his life that also signifies an aspect of the life of the Church.

The Times of Pius IX and Leo XIII

We know that Pius IX was a prototype of a counter-revolutionary Pope. He proclaimed the dogmas of Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception; he fought on every front of combat and was attacked on all of them by the Revolution. His pontificate closed at the apex of his confrontation with the Revolution, with the troops of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel taking Rome as well as the Pontifical Territories from the Pope.

After Pius IX, whose process of canonization is ongoing, came Leo XIII. I have never heard anyone propose a process of canonization for him. There is no record that even his greatest enthusiasts ever considered this possibility. Recently (these comments were made in 1966), an ensemble of letters by Leo XIII to his family was published by a German scholar, who, with that delightful naiveté of many Germans, presented them exactly as they were written. I believe that those letters destroyed any possibility of the canonization of Leo XIII.

From a small perspective – because those letters reflect only a very small part of his life – Leo XIII revealed in them his great concern about the glory of the Pecci family, that is, his own family. He had been Count Pecci. So, there are letters to his sister, his mother, and other members of the family remarking how he did this and that as Pope, and that his actions would bring great glory for the Pecci family. The lackluster name of the Pecci family, he noted, would now be immortal! The publication of these candid letters found an icy reception from the Italian press, and given its inconvenience, the book was more or less set aside and forgotten.

To show how such an attitude is unbefitting the role of a Pope, let me remind you of an episode that took place in the Middle Ages. Pope Innocent III was reigning. His pontificate was praiseworthy in many aspects. But he had the weakness to construct a tower in honor of his family, the Conti family. He built the Torre dei Conti over a site where Roman Emperors used to erect historical monuments for their personal glory. Perhaps Innocent III was trying to compare himself to them. The tower is still there, near the Coliseum.

A holy religious woman, whose name I don’t recall at this moment, had a vision that she communicated to the Pope about this tower. In the revelation Our Lord ordered her to tell Innocent III that because he made that tower to glorify his family, he would remain in Purgatory until the last day of the world. Here is a criterion to understand what Leo XIII’s vainglory regarding his family probably represented in the eyes of God.

Leo XIII was a Pope whose pontificate could be symbolized by the ralliement [in French, re-uniting], the policy of uniting Catholic social-political views with the Masonic ideals of the French Revolution, until then strongly condemned by the Church. That is, a policy diametrically opposed to that of Pius IX.

St. Pius X was the counter-revolutionary Pope who condemned the Sillon, condemned Modernism, and re-established the Catholic position in France that had been shaken by the ralliement. He was also the one who instituted the policy of permitting First Communion for children at the age of reason, among many other splendid things he did.

Leo XIII had a very long pontificate, so long that he saw the deaths of all the Cardinals who had elected him. When the last of these Cardinals died, he had a medal stamped saying to the body of Cardinals he had created: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” It was another manifestation of vainglory. It was this body of Cardinals created by Leo XIII that, after he died, elected Pope St. Pius X.

A Mysterious Inner Force that Restores the Church

The fact of his election illustrates something of a mystery that exists in the life of the Church. Given her intrinsic sanctity, everything follows in accord with the plans of God when the hour of Divine Providence arrives. At the hour when God wants to intervene, even in the darkest, more incomprehensible, and almost hopeless situation, a force acts in the Church and it moves the action of men and the reaction of the Catholic grassroots in the most unexpected and inconceivable ways.

The election of St. Pius X was like this, and it shows us that we should always consider the possibility that this institutional force will intervene and do something that we could not imagine. This force comes from the presence of Our Lord in the Church. More than in any other domain of creation, in the Church a word from Him has a decisive weight and can change everything. When things go awry in the Church, it is because God chooses not to intervene. Our Lord sleeps in the bark of the Church, like He slept in the boat with the Apostles. Our Lord was sleeping as the storm reached its apex. The Apostles became fearful and awakened Him. Then He ordered the storm to stop, and there was a great calm. How many times in the History of the Church has Our Lord seemed to be sleeping! Perhaps if we would pray more for Him to awaken, things would be different.

With the election of St. Pius X, this happened. Cardinal Sarto made no effort to be elected. On the contrary, he made a resistance to his own election, perhaps because he perceived the overwhelming weight that he would have to carry on his shoulders. Finally he accepted, but he lacked some of the many capacities necessary to exercise the pontifical function. He was not an accomplished diplomat, for example, and was unfamiliar with the great political questions of the time. He needed someone to help him govern with regard to these important matters.

Then he became acquainted with Cardinal Merry del Val. When St. Pius X accepted the Papacy, he had no idea how he would be able to deal with those questions, but God put the necessary man near him. This is just one highlight of his glorious pontificate.

Fulmination of Modernism

When St. Pius X rose to the Pontifical Throne, a large part of the good Catholic press was so discouraged and defeated that it was near death. Almost all the elements of the Counter-Revolution were in an analogous state. I read a report of a Catholic French ultramontane of that time in which he described how his movement was so devastated that they did not even realize during the first years of St. Pius X’s pontificate that he was their champion. The nightmare they had endured under Leo XIII had lasted so long that it took some time for them to awaken from that dark night, and begin to marvel at the true dawn St. Pius X represented for the good cause.

It is good for us to consider what his condemnation of Modernism represented. A conspiracy had been established inside the Church, like a conspiracy inside a country, in order to usurp the supreme power. It intended to submit the Church to a series of reforms in order to adapt her to the errors of the Revolution. It wanted to establish democracy throughout the Church; it wanted the Church to support and collaborate with all the political leftist parties and movements; it prepared a false ecumenism to be made with all false religions in order to spread religious indifferentism everywhere so that no one would have certainty about the one true Faith. For Modernism the faith inside of each person was sufficient. In brief, it wanted the Catholic Church to stop being herself.

St. Pius X discovered this conspiracy, and fulminated against it with his documents. This is the first great characteristic of his pontificate, which would be enough to immortalize him. Imagine if he had failed to do so. Today, any reaction against Communism and Progressivism would be impossible. We are still in this fight because he smashed Modernism at the beginning of the 20th century. We are here now, because of the fierce energy of St. Pius X.

He inherited from his predecessor a notable work, the restoration of Scholasticism. However, as soon as Leo XIII died, Scholasticism began to be distorted in order to accommodate Modernism. St. Pius X elaborated a summary of the fundamental thesis of Thomism – a kind of appendix to the Encyclical Aeterni Patris – which he obliged all teachers and professors of theology and philosophy to accept under oath. With this he preserved the great edifice of Scholasticism from corruption.

Against the Ideals of the French Revolution

At that time, France was the most influential nation in the world. The political and social life of France, the pro and con positions of anti-clericalism, the confrontation between Revolution and Counter-Revolution were followed and imitated by almost the whole world. Years before, the Prince of Metternich, a famous Austrian minister, expressed this well in a very picturesque way, saying, “When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes.” This influence continued into the time of St. Pius X.

In the France of those days, there was a strong tendency, even among the Bishops, to accept the separation between the Church and the State, along with other principles of the French Revolution. St. Pius X prepared a bomb to destroy this position. It was his Encyclical Vehementer Nos, in which he laid to rest all the hopes of Laicism in France, the compromises being proposed by the French government and the Liberal clergy, and initiated a true ideological war against the revolutionary French regime. This bomb stopped or slowed down the march of Revolution in its ensemble for a long time in France.

He gave another important blow against the ideals of the French Revolution when he announced the the beatification of St. Joan of Arc, an action that strongly displeased the Revolution, because St. Joan of Arc represented Catholic France holding a sword for the restoration of the legitimate monarchy. She also fought to maintain the integrity of the French borders. The announcement of her beatification caused a tremendous joy among the French people, and it considerably strengthened the Catholic ultramontane cause.

The Importance of Early Communion for Children

Another great thing that St. Pius X did was to allow Communion for children at age 7 and encourage daily Communion. I sustain that this measure, besides having all the spiritual advantages we know, created an enormous difficulty for the Devil and his cohorts to have power over many souls.

Let me explain this point. Before this measure of St. Pius X, Catholics would make their First Communion only in their late childhood or adolescence, after many mortal sins would have already been committed, giving the Devil a special power over them. For this reason, many souls abandoned the Catholic Faith even before they received First Communion, making them an easy prey for the Devil and Secret Societies.

On the contrary, in a child who receives his First Communion in the state of his first innocence and has the possibility of making frequent Communions, Our Lord establishes Himself with a special power over the soul and, consequently, diminishes the power of the Devil. This also diminishes the power of Masonry and other Secret Societies over those Catholics who become members of such organizations. Their power over those members will never be as great as it would have been had they not received First Communion as children.

I consider this measure of St. Pius X as a fundamental cause for the loss of influence and dominion of Masonry over its members. I am not talking about its control over world events, where Masonry became more powerful, but rather its control over the interior of souls, where it became weaker.

A Prophet Who Was Rejected

St. Pius X was not only a good Pope; he was a saint and a counter-revolutionary. In a certain way he was also a prophet. He made a last appeal for the people of his era to persevere and prevent the chastisements that could come. If the world would not listen to his appeal, then World War I would come as a chastisement. Cardinal Merry del Val reported in his memoirs that St. Pius X predicted the war as the end of an era. One can see that there is a link between St. Pius X and Fátima. Since his pontificate was not well accepted, the war came, and this was a principle cause for the rise of Communism in Russia, and afterward, the dissemination of its errors all over the world. One thing is linked to the other.
The magazine La Critique du Liberalisme [The Critique of Liberalism] published an article about the death of St Pius X. The author sustains the thesis that St. Pius X was murdered on the order of Masonry. He affirms that St. Pius X caught a simple cold, but suddenly and inexplicably that cold would cause his death. One morning when he awakened, he could no longer speak, which was not proportional to that cold; he tried to write in order to communicate something, but also found himself unable to write. Soon afterward he died.

The author also tells about a young, brilliant naval officer in Prussia who became a Jesuit. After being ordained, he became a nurse and was named to take care of the Pope during that cold. On that final night of the life of St. Pius X, he was closely attending the Pope. After the Pope died, the Jesuit returned to Prussia, left the Order, and returned to a brilliant career as a naval officer. During the war he became a submarine commander. The author affirms that St. Pius X was killed on the order of the German Masonry, and therefore, would be a martyr. I repeat the thesis of this article without having formed my own opinion on it.

In his memoirs Cardinal Merry del Val confirms that St. Pius X could not speak or write, and he adds: “No one will ever know what happened that night.” It is a mysterious phrase.

In 1950, I followed the funeral ceremonies for Marc Sangnier in the French press. Sangnier had been the leader of the Sillon movement, which was condemned by St. Pius X in the Encyclical Notre charge apostolique. The burial of Sangnier was a veritable apotheosis. His body was exposed for public viewing in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the burial cortege was followed by members of the French government, Senate, House of Representatives, diplomatic body, and numerous ecclesiastics. All this was done in a spirit of protest against the condemnation St. Pius X made of Modernism.

One year later, St. Pius X was beatified. There were no celebrations in France, at least nothing that came close to those for Sangnier. This shows how St. Pius X was rejected.

Even with this hatred, Divine Providence made the memory of St. Pius X shine above the firmament of the Church to illuminate the dark days that would come after him. He is an astral body, like a moon, that prolongs the glimmer of the Papacy amid the darkness that fell over the Church after his death.

What should we ask of St. Pius X? There are so many things to ask that the best advice is to ask for everything: the unexpected victories, perseverance, the gift of raising the fury of the enemies, astuteness, and the courage to walk even to a martyr’s death if necessary.

(Uncorrupted body of St Pius X)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Battle of Lepanto

If you belong to the generation that I am a part of, chances are you have not studied or heard a lot of the history of the Catholic Church. The tragedy of not knowing the History of the Catholic Church is that one is then forced to learn a warped version of Church history from the popular media. A consequence of this is that one ends up with wrong notions of the Crusades and the Knights Templar and one is unable to defend the Church in the face of such calumnies.

Our history lesson today covers one of the greatest naval battles in history; The battle of Lepanto.

(Please Click on Picture to see a large image of it. Mexico_San_Miguel_de_allende_atotonilco_chapel_of_the_rosary)

When Saint Pius V ascended the Papacy in 1566, Christendom faced perils both internal and external. One of the greatest external threats came from the agitated and violent followers of Mohammed. All the information and intelligence that Pope Pius V had been gathering indicated that the Ottoman juggernaut was about to roll across the Mediterranean and adjacent lands, spearheaded by the Turkish fleet. Its target was Italy and Rome. No nation could stand up to the marauding infidels and the candidates for an alliance were few. Northern Europe had risen up in armed rebellion against the Church with France deeply involved in the conflict, this was a part of the internal struggles in the Church. The Ottoman Empire felt that neutrality was the best policy after the Turks occupied a large chunk of its land in the Danube River Valley.

Only Spain and Venice had the resources to resist, and they hated each other with a deep mistrust. Yet Saint Pius through means of prayer forged an alliance with them as the core of an organized fleet of over 200 galleys. With his considerable tact and diplomatic skills, he not only kept them unified, but he convinced them to attack the enveloping menace.

A Christian naval fleet was assembled under the overall command of Admiral Don John of Austria. Although just in his twenties, Don John was a capable naval commander. The Spaniards were led by Santa Cruz, the Genoese by Andrea Doria, and the Venetians by Agostin Barbarigo and Sebastian Veniero. The fleet under Don John's command was some 300 ships strong, with over 100 ships and 30,000 men being supplied by Philip II of Spain alone. The Pope personally outfitted and supplied 12 Papal galleys, and provided funding for many of the others as well. The Venetian contingent was around 100 ships, manned in part by additional Spanish soldiers. In the Venetian fleet there were six galleys. Heavier, broader, and much slower than conventional galleys, they were nonetheless technologically advanced - the heavy gun platforms and battleships of their day. All total, over 50,000 men served the fleet as rowers, and another 30,000 were fighting soldiers.

In September of 1571, Don John moved the Catholic fleet East to intercept the Turks at Corfu, but the Turks had already landed, terrorized the population, and then moved on. While anchored off the coast of Cephalonia, news reached Don John that the Christian stronghold at Famagusta on Cyprus had fallen to the Turks, with all prisoners being tortured and then executed by the Moslems.

Don John then pulled up anchor and moved to engage the Turkish fleet in the Gulf of Lepanto, off the southern coast of Greece. The Turkish fleet, some 330 ships strong, under the command of Ali Pasha, had been reinforced by Uluch Ali, the Bey of Algiers, and head of the notorious band of Moslem corsairs (pirates) that had long terrorized Catholic ships in the Mediterranean.

On the night of October 6, with a favorable wind behind him, Ali Pasha moved his fleet westward toward the mouth of the Gulf of Patras to intercept the approaching ships of the Holy League.

At dawn, on October 7, 1571, the two fleets met. Don Juan split his fleet into three sections: on the left (north), the Venetians under Agostin Barbarigo; on the right (south), Andrea Doria led the Genoese and Papal galleys; in the center, Don John commanded his flagship and galleys. Santa Cruz, with a force of 35 Spanish and Venetian ships, was held in reserve. He ordered his captains not to fire until 'close enough to be splattered with Moslem blood.' The iron rams were removed from the Christian ships, as the plan was for boarding and close quarter fighting. Two of the large Venetian galleasses were towed into position in front of each of the three Christian divisions.

Ali Pasha's fleet approached in a giant crescent formation, and seeing the opposing fleet, he also ordered his fleet split into three divisions. Ali Pasha himself took up the middle position opposite Don John, and charged forward to engage Don John's ships. The Venetian galleasses opened fire, and almost immediately eight Moslem ships were hit and began to sink. The Catholic galleys, their decks filled with soldiers, opened fire with arquebuses and crossbows as the Moslem ships drew alongside. Ali Pasha's men attempted to board the Catholic ships, but the Spanish soldiers were experienced and well disciplined. Attack after attack was beaten back with deadly shots from their crossbows and arquebuses.

Don John ordered the ship of Ali Pasha to be boarded and taken. Two times the boarding attack of the Spanish soldiers was beaten back, but on the third attempt they swarmed over the deck, now awash in blood, and took the ship. Ali Pasha was captured and beheaded on the spot (against the wishes of Don John), and the Battle Flag of the Ottoman Fleet came down off the mainmast. The head of the Turkish admiral was spitted on a long pike and raised on high for all the enemy ships to see. The Turkish attack in the center collapsed, and Don John sent his ships in pursuit of the retreating Turks, and also turned to aid in the battles raging on his flanks.

On the Catholic right, Uluch Ali and his pirates had broken through Doria's lines and managed to capture the flagship of the Knights of St. John. Santa Cruz, seeing what had happened, came up to the rescue, and Uluch Ali was forced to abandon his prize. The Genoese were in a fight for their lives with the remainder of Uluch Ali's ships, but after Don John had broken the enemy fleet in the center, he turned and came to the aid of the Genoese. The Algerian corsairs were finally overcome, and fled for their lives in full retreat.

Admiral Mahomet Sirocco, commanding the Turkish right (on the Catholic left), sailed close to the rocks and shallows on the northern shore of the gulf and was able to outflank Barbarigo's Venetian galleys. Barbarigo's flagship was surrounded by eight enemy galleys, and the Catholic Admiral fell dead from Turkish arrows. His flagship was taken for a time, but aid finally arrived, and Sirocco's flagship galley was sunk. The Turkish admiral was yanked out of the water, and, like Ali Pasha, killed right on the spot.

The engagement lasted, all total, around four to five hours. When it was all over, 8,000 men who had sailed with Don John were dead and another 16,000 wounded. The Turks and Uluch Ali's corsairs had over 25,000 dead, and untold thousands more wounded and captured. Over 12,000 Catholic galley slaves had also been rescued from the Moslems. The Venetian galleasses had taken a heavy toll on the Turkish fleet. It was a major victory for the Holy League and Christendom.

During this battle, Pope Pius V, a Dominican prelate before his elevation, did what Catholics have always done in times of acute danger: fly into the arms of the most powerful Mother of God. He ordered all monasteries and convents in Rome to increase their prayers for the impending battle and organized rosary processions in which he, as sick as he was, participated.

As the Christian fleet sailed toward the great clash of cultures, Mass was celebrated and the rosary recited daily on each vessel. This heartfelt request for divine assistance resulted in a crushing defeat of the Ottomans at Lepanto that ended their dominance in the Mediterranean.

At dawn, on October 7, 1571, as recorded in the Vatican Archives, Pope Pius V, accompanied by a group of the faithful, entered the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray the Rosary and ask Our Lady to intercede for a Catholic victory. The prayers continued in Rome as the Catholic and Moslem fleets battled far away in the Gulf of Lepanto. Later in the day, the Pope is said to have suddenly interrupted his business with some Cardinals, and looking up, cried out,

"A truce to business! Our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Catholic army."

The Pope, of course, had no way of knowing that the battle was taking place and being decided on that very day.

To celebrate Our Lady’s intercession, the Church has designated October 7 as the Feast of the Holy Rosary and Saint Pius V added Help of Christians (Auxilium Christianorum) to the Litany of Our Lady (Loreto).

(Pope Pius V Praying to Our Lady Mexico_San_Miguel_de_allende_atotonilco_chapel_of_the_rosary)

Sources : Tradition in Action and TFP

Feast of St. Bernard - August 20th, 2008

St. Bernard – August 20

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot, Confessor and Doctor of the Church, 1090-1153. He is a Doctor of Marian devotion, the author of the Memorare; he was a counselor of Popes and Kings; he ended the schism caused by the Anti-Pope Anacletus II and fought against heretics. He also preached the Second Crusade.

The following is an excerpt from the Rule of the Knights Templar inspired by St. Bernard. It is the oath the knight would take to enter the Order of the Temple:

“I swear that I will defend by my words, arms, and every possible means, even with the loss of my own life, the mysteries and articles of the Faith, the Seven Sacraments, the Symbols of the Apostles and of St. Athanasius, the Old and New Testaments with the explanations of the Holy Fathers approved by the Church, the unity of the Divine Nature and the Trinity of Persons in God, the virginity of the Virgin Mary before, during and after the parturition.

“I promise obedience to the Grand Master of the Order according to the statutes of our Blessed Father Bernard. I will engage in combat on foreign lands whenever it is necessary. I will never flee from the infidels, even should I be alone. I will observe perpetual chastity.

“I will assist with my words, arms, and actions religious persons, principally the abbots and religious of the Cistercian Order, as our brethren and special friends with whom we have a perpetual association.

“I voluntarily swear before God and His Holy Gospel that I will keep all these commitments.”

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

There are many beautiful things in here.

First, there is dedication to the Catholic Faith and the oath to die a martyr. This aim is implicit when the Templar swears to never deny any article of the Faith. If an enemy would oblige him to renounce them, the Templar knight had made the vow to die rather than do so.

Second, there is the vow of obedience. He promises obedience to the Grand Master, an immolation of his life by surrendering his will to another. With the vow of obedience, a man renounces self-government. He is no longer master of himself, and another man commands him what to do. With this, the religious hands over one of the most profound and elevated things a man can give, which is his own will.

It is beautiful to see the docility of the Templar knight. At first glance, one would say that such obedience robs a man of something of his virility. But this is not true. By the vow of obedience, at depth, a man becomes freer, because he puts his will in the hands of a superior who leads him along the way of virtue. Doing this, he becomes freer than if he would have to decide by himself whether or not to practice a virtue.

By obligating himself to practice virtue by the vow of obedience, he becomes freer, for freedom is not the liberty to practice evil, but rather the liberty to choose the means to practice virtue, to do good. To do evil is not true liberty; it is a false liberty; actually it is the slavery of man to the Devil, the world and the flesh. With the vow of obedience, the door to this false liberty is locked, and what remains is the true liberty to do good. This is appropriate for the life of the knight. He is the man par excellence who chooses the liberty par excellence – which is the liberty of only doing good. With this, he has already won, potentially, the battle against his worst enemy, sin.

Third, he also takes a special vow, which is the vow to never flee before the enemy. To understand the seriousness of this vow, you can imagine a Templar knight riding his horse alone on a road. He sees five infidels of Mohammed on horseback in the distance. If he flees, he can save his life; but if the enemies see him fleeing, pursue and kill him, then he goes to Hell, because he broke his vow. So, he does not flee, but prepares himself to face the enemies. You see how this vow arrests a man’s natural fear, and obliges him to be courageous. The fear of Hell obliges him to be courageous. Again, he becomes free from his own cowardice. He goes forward securely and serenely to face his enemies. It is extraordinarily intelligent and superbly beautiful.

Fourth, there is the vow of chastity. He promises perpetual chastity. In the Rule of the Knights Templar, there is a eulogy of chastity that I like very much. It says “chastity is security in the fight.” I will explain this. If a cavalry charge is made against a very strong enemy, as the charge moves forward to clash with the adversary, a married man would normally be thinking about his wife and children whom he could leave a widow and orphans should he die. Further, if the fight becomes very difficult, the natural tendency of the married man is to flee in order to protect his family. It is understandable. But with these men you do not have security in the attack. From one moment to another, the married knight can flee.

On the contrary, the man who is unmarried and chaste does not have this concern. In such circumstances, he will be thinking of the glory of God and the need to defeat the enemy. Chaste knights, therefore, permit a stronger attack that can endure all kinds of counter-attacks. This explains the motto “chastity is security in the fight.”

Fifth, there is something else in this selection that most people don’t realize, which is the brotherhood that existed between the Knights Templar and the Cistercians. Both Orders have St. Bernard as their co-founder. How beautiful that those two Orders, one contemplative and another an order of warriors, were considers twin orders. Actually, contemplation provides the foundation for the true fight. They are harmonic contrasts that complement one another. How well contemplation and war fit together!

Beyond this, how beautiful is the Catholic Church where all the harmonic contrasts merge together in perfect unity! She is so beautiful that Progressivism cannot disfigure her. The wrinkles and stains that Progressivism puts on her face are transitory. The Catholic Church will wipe them away with horror when the Reign of Mary will be implanted.

After it is established, the best thing to do will be to convene a great Council. At this Council the Church will clearly demonstrate that all these horrors we are witnessing today did not come from her spirit.

Let us ask St. Bernard to intercede before the Divine Throne in order to hasten the coming of the Reign of Mary.

Clothes to Mass

Have you noticed the clothes worn to Sunday mass in summer? When did it become acceptable to wear sandals, flipflops, cargo pants, short pants etc to church? I am not talking about the clothes women wear, enough of pages and ink has been spent on that. I am referring to mens' clothing. For the sake of comfort and convenience, many men (including some traditionalist men) have abandoned the jacket, tie, and polished shoes for more comfortable attire. If a man was to have an appointment to meet with the Bishop, governor or another important dignitary, he would certainly put on a suit coat and tie. Yet when he approaches the altar to receive the King of Kings in Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he somehow finds it “enough” to don a short-sleeved shirt, casual pants or blue jeans and tennis shoes.
There is a casual familiarity as he ambles down the aisle as if he were walking in the park to receive the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of our Precious Lord. No head bowed down no reverence what so ever for Our Lord. Let us read what Dr. Plinio has to say about clothes. Pay special attention to the last question and the reply provided.

Dressing Well: Vanity or Virtue?

Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira

I received some questions about the way one should present himself. I will answer them one at a time.

Question: Why should we dress well? Isn’t concern about making a good presentation a way to favor vanity?

Answer: The reasoning behind this question is this: Man should avoid everything that propitiates sin. Now, to dress well can propitiate vanity, which is a form of sin. Therefore, one should avoid dressing well.

Let me apply this reasoning to the topic of study. To study can propitiate vanity. Therefore, one should avoid studying.

The same could also apply to hygiene. To keep oneself clean can propitiate vanity. Therefore, one should avoid showering and bathing.

If one would keep applying this reasoning to the different spheres of human behavior, in the end the ideal situation for the practice of virtue would be barbarism. Barbarism is the logical consequence of this reasoning. But this is an absurd conclusion. Now, everything that leads to the absurd is false. Therefore, this syllogism is false.

The true answer is that in everything man does, an abuse can enter. One can abuse intelligence, courtesy, dressing well, and even virtue, since a person can become proud of the virtue he practiced. This is not a reason to abandon civilized customs; rather they should be practiced with a vigilant eye turned toward curbing and controlling one’s vanity.

A civilized man presents himself as clean and decent with the dignity that his social condition requires. Doing this, he demonstrates the respect he has for himself and the respect he has for God, in whose presence he always is. Each one of us is worthy of respect for we were created in the image and likeness of God, baptized in the Catholic Church, transformed into a temple of the Holy Spirit, and chosen by Our Lady to serve her. Therefore we must present ourselves in accordance with this dignity.

Question: What are the more profound motives that oblige me to dress well?

Answer: The first profound motive is that it is proper for things that are good to reflect their internal goodness in their appearances. The most magnificent expression of this is the divine majesty and virile beauty reflected in the face of Our Lord in the Holy Shroud of Turin.

The face of Christ reflects His Divinity

Jesus Christ’s face is a fitting translation of the hypostatic union of His human nature with God. On the Shroud He appears good, affable, dignified, distinguished, majestic, and sovereign in His human nature, in a way that makes His Divine Beauty transparent in His face.

This principle, valid for the face and body, it is also applicable to dress. The apparel is a complement of the body. For men conceived in original sin, clothing is indispensable. It should be, then, a complement to the body that reflects the seriousness, dignity, and distinction of the soul. Therefore, it should be serious, dignified, and distinguished.

The second motive for dressing well is that it is proper for the appearance of a thing to correspond to its reality. The apparel of a person should show what he is. Therefore, the attire, which should always be dignified, should also be more or less refined and finely made according to the social and economic position of the person. There are persons who need to be very well dressed because they belong to a high social position. Other persons do not need to dress at that level.

Each one should dress in harmony with his social level: Neither above his level nor below it. Clothing is not supposed to make a person look like something he isn’t. There is no reason for anyone to be ashamed of his social level. We should be content with the social level in which Divine Providence placed us at birth. A man or a woman should be authentic and dress in accordance with his or her level.

Question: There are some moments when a person would like to be at ease and relax. Is it all right to follow this natural tendency?

Answer: Each one of us is conceived in original sin. For this reason, there is something in each of us that would like to set aside the rules of civilization and return to barbarism. We would like to take off the coat, loosen the tie, open the collar, take off the shoes, send away the person sitting in the chair next to us so we can put our feet there, yawn in boredom and tell the person speaking to be quiet because we are tired and want a break. Human nature asks for these things, but we should control and conquer them by making the necessary effort.

Our nature is revolted against courtesy, refined manners, and also, dignified dress. Why should one restrain these reactions? We should do so as an obligation of charity toward our neighbor, and also as an obligation of justice toward him. One owes respect to his neighbor. To present oneself well in society and treat our neighbor well is not something we do only because we want to show him goodness, but also because he has the right to receive a dignified treatment. He is also made in the image and likeness of God.

To behave without placing restraints on our bad spontaneity is to march straight toward barbarism. It is to deny the fruit of thousands of years of Catholic effort to correct bad human tendencies to build a civilization. It is to renounce the conquests of culture that were made over decadent human nature in order to imitate Our Lord. In final analysis, it is to deny one of the fruits of His Blood, Christendom.

Why Dies Irae

I received a very nice email from a friend asking me why I chose to call this blog Dies Irae (Day Of Wrath). There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I really love the painting which can be seen as the header of this Blog. In the center if God and the Virgin Mother to His Right. To His left at the bottom are the damned and to His right are those who will join Him at the banquet feast. I love the painting so much that I am tempted to make a poster sized copy of it and frame it on the wall. It is wonderful to wake up in the morning and look at the picture and contemplate ones last end.
Secondly there is the Gregorian chant. Which words cannot describe and hence I posting it as a video here below

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Latin Mass

For the past year or so I have gradually fallen in love with Latin prayers at mass. I have heard about 31 masses in Latin which is the language of the Holy Roman Apostolic Catholic Church. Why do I love Latin at mass?
For centuries till Vatican II mass was in Latin, all the prayers were in Latin. You could move from India to the UK to USA and mass was in Latin no matter where you went despite people speaking different languages, when you went to church you prayed the 'Pater Noster' with all the Catholics across the world. What a tremendous sense of unity.
During one of the Latin masses, while listening to the Credo, I could not help thinking of all the Saints of the church. St Agustine, St Thomas Aquinas and on and on who heard and prayed the mass in Latin. Oh was a loss for our generations to lose this link with the historical and Church Victorious. Just pause for a moment and meditate on this. Imagine hearing and praying the mass in Latin (for example saying the Pater Noster). Imagine that these words that you say were said by St. Augustine or any of your favourite Saint. Does it not make the hair on your back stand as you are filled with the wonder and unity of being united with the past of our great Catholic tradition.
While I love the mass in the vernacular, my soul is uplifted when I hear and say the prayers in Latin.
This brings me to my second point. The advantage of hearing mass in vernacular is that a lot of the prayers and introductions of the mass are very meaningful and can be understood by the layman. (Example the introduction of the mass The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all... just ponder what it means to have the grace and love of God with us ) If this was in Latin most people would not undersatnd it right away. A solution to this would be to hand out a mass booklet before a Latin mass which had Latin on one half of the page and the vernacular on the other half, this way everyone would be able to follow the mass.
I am very happy that our Holy Father has allowed the use of the Latin mass, my only problem now is how do I convince my local parish priest to say at least one mass in Latin.
Please note that one of the best Latin masses I heard had the readings, Gospel and homily in the vernacular and all other mass prayers in Latin.
For an understanding of how beautiful one Latin prayer sound please refer to the Credo below:

St John Eudes

Amongst the greatest tragedies facing Catholics today is that we have stopped having devotions to the Saints. We spend hours watching TV and knowing the ins and outs of the lives of the rich and famous, much to the detriment of our souls. It profits us nothing to know about wealth and immorality. If only we looked at the lives of the saints and tried to imitate their virtues, we would learn that we are miserable sinners and in need of God's grace. Through the intercession of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary we would grow in holiness and one day be counted amongst the Good and Faithful servants.
Today let us contemplate on the life of St Jean Eudes.St. John Eudes, August 19

Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira

Biographical selection:

The font where St. John Eudes was baptized
St. John Eudes was born in 1601 in the village of Ri, Normandy, France, to pious parents who consecrated him to the Holy Virgin. In 1615 he made a vow of chastity while he was studying with the Jesuits of Caen. On that occasion he consecrated himself to Mary, and from then was notable for his fervent devotion to her.

He left the Jesuits to enter the Congregation of the Oratory, founded by the famous Fr. Pierre de Berulle, who worked to re-establish orthodoxy of doctrine and sanctity of life among the clergy. St. John Eudes thought that the training of priests should also be a priority, so in 1643, he left the Oratory and founded the Society of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists Fathers) to specialize in seminary education. Its first seminary opened in Caen, shortly followed by many others.

In order to convert women of ill-fame and assist those who had converted from a wayward life, he founded another institution, the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity. He also instituted the parish mission to evangelize the neglected souls. For long years, he preached to large crowds in churches or the open fields, or in the courts of nobles and the King. His sermons were known for his strong condemnation of the vices of his audience and their great eloquence supported by his eminent sanctity.

He spread the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and was responsible for getting the church to accept liturgical offices in its honor. Always faithful to the Chair of Peter, he was persecuted by the Jansenists, whom he counter-attacked with energy.

He died August 19, 1680, pronouncing the names of Jesus and Mary.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

There is a parallel between the spiritual and the juridical work developed by St. John Eudes during his lifetime.

St. John Eudes lived, as you just heard, in a Catholic country, France. His mission was not to combat the declared, external enemies of the Church, but rather to try to restore the fervor of tepid Catholics.

The country at that time was suffering a profound religious crisis from which the French Revolution was born. This religious crisis had its substance in the fact that love of God and true fervor had almost disappeared in the souls of the people, and the Catholic sense of the faithful had dimmed.

Divine Providence, wanting to avoid the coming tragedy of the French Revolution and, above all, the apostasy that it represented, called great souls in different ways to reignite Catholic fervor in France. Many saints of the 17th and 18th centuries were zealous and fiery souls. They were not characteristically great theologians, but saints whose role was to spread the love of God and stoke the coals that still smoked and fan them into burning flames.

Among such souls, you have St. Vincent de Paul who was a man with an incandescent love of God and St. Francis of Sales who spread a profound love of God in the highest levels of society. But, in particular, there were two fundamental burning fires at that time:

• The work of St. Louis Grignion de Monfort in the 18th century in the Vendée and Bretagne, which gave birth to the Chouannerie;

• and the work of St. John Eudes, which we are commenting on now.

Anyone who reads the revelations of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque sees that the goal of those apparitions was to inaugurate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One of its main characteristics was to move tepid Catholics out of their their tepidity, to light the love of God in souls that had cooled. St. Margaret Mary received that devotion as a great treasure, but she was a Visitation religious who could not leave her convent. Her mission was to record the devotion, practice it, and become a saint. Her canonization was a confirmation and approval of the Church for that devotion.

The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary

St. Margaret Mary wrote to King Louis XIV of France telling him to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and place the Sacred Heart on the flag of France. The King refused to do both things. The result: the royal power deteriorated in France. When Louis XVI was a prisoner in the Temple in 1792, he finally made that consecration, but he did it without the adhesion of the French people. He still had the de jure power to make the consecration, but no longer a de facto power. It was already too late.

St. Margaret Mary also wrote to missionary priests to make them aware of the devotion, and it began to spread in pious circles. One of those who heard about it was St. John Eudes, who soon after embarked on his great work as the apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

A great orator, he founded a new congregation hoping that, with the prestige of his sanctity and the work of that institution, the devotion would take off in France. But this did not happen. There was another refusal of grace. This time it was not the refusal of the King, but the hardness of heart of the French people. The devotion made little impression and did not raise great enthusiasm. The writings of John Eudes, who became a saint, formed the basis for a generalized devotion to the Sacred Hearts in the 19th century, but the 18th century did not accept that devotion. He was a kind of rejected prophet who fought with all his strength unsuccessfully against the tepidity of the French Catholics.

St. John Eudes in St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican
To fight against such tepidity, he used juridical methods in parallel with spiritual ones. Seminaries were nonexistent in France, so he founded seminaries. In this way, the men studying to be priests could be removed from their families and formed in a fervent ambience so that when they were ordained priests, they would be enthusiasts of that devotion, with no links to world. The seminaries – until they became the sad reality we see today – were a truly admirable thing for the formation of the clergy. They acted as a lever to restore the Catholic spirit in Europe in the 19th century.

You see, then, a saint who fought against tepidity in two ways: spiritually, by founding a congregation destined to spread this devotion; and juridically, by founding a new way of teaching and forming the clergy that existed in thesis, but was not yet a fact in France.

What does the life of St. John Eudes teach us? I think that one of the most dangerous things for a counter-revolutionary is to become mediocre and tepid. To become a person who no longer cares about the great panoramas and the grand needs of our cause, but one who just wants to live his petty life with its small pleasures. In many ways, this is more dangerous than depraved movies, immoral magazines, and bad company, because it corrodes the very core of the love of God in a soul. Such a spirit of mediocrity and tepidity makes a person insensible to the Passion of the Church in our days and the grandeur of the fight to save the Church from her enemies. No Lepanto, no Covadonga, just the small pleasures of the little life of self.

The devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary is an adequate means to correct such a spirit. If we have this problem, or even this temptation, we should pray to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary to restore us to fervor. It is the specific remedy for such a serious illness. We should also ask the patronage of St. John Eudes to achieve this objective.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 15th August 2008

Today lets us contemplate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary using the writings of Dr. Plinio to guide us...

One often hears meditations on the sorrows of Our Lady, but people from times past, unlike contemporary men, also used to speak often about the joys of Our Lady. For this reason, one of the most famous sanctuaries in Brazil is the Church of Our Lady of the Pleasures, on Mount Guararapes, erected in honor of her joys.

Today, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, let us consider her pleasures. There is a good reason to do this. St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that no one can subsist on earth in complete unhappiness. To support the suffering of life, a person needs to have some pleasure, even if it is small; otherwise a constant and intense sorrow is insupportable. He was not speaking of pleasures as the world imagines them, but about the good Catholic pleasures and joy.

Our Lady had many joys. The Magnificat is the expression of the supreme one, the Incarnation, but there are others, such as those celebrated in the joyful mysteries of the Rosary. None was greater, in a certain sense, than that of the Assumption. About these earthly and celestial pleasures, I will say a word.

You know about the coronation of the Queen of England – there are films, features, and photo-albums illustrating it. The Queen leaves her palace wearing a diadem and other splendid attire and enters a magnificent golden carriage. The carriage, preceded and followed by a brilliant chivalric cortege, moves along slowly and arrives at Westminster Abbey. The bells ring, the cannons roar. The Queen processes up the central aisle of the Abbey and receives the homage of the nobility, peers of the kingdom, and members of the Royal House. Then the coronation ceremony takes place. After she is crowned and seated on her throne, her joy reaches its apex. Her joy spreads over the city, kingdom and whole world. She is the Queen par excellence and it is a universal celebration of the monarchy.

The joy of the Queen gradually increases as the day progresses. She awakens glad, and her joy swells until the moment of the coronation, when it reaches the pinnacle. Then her triumph is complete, and her joy is one that reflects the dignity, honor and magnificent destiny of ruling a great people.

I am not considering that Queen Elizabeth II is an Anglican being crowned in a religious ceremony conducted by this false religion. I am considering the Catholic England of old that gave birth to this Monarchy, whose ceremonies still smolder under the ashes of that unfortunate Protestant branch. I am reflecting on this coronation as a symbol.

Now, let us consider the Assumption of Our Lady. After her most serene death and resurrection, Our Lady knew that she would be taken to Heaven. She knew because she had reached the summit of her sanctity and wisdom, which communicated to her that the hour of her glorification had come. Also her love of God had never been so intense and she felt that the moment of the Beatific Vision was near. So, Angels from the highest Choirs came down to bring her solemnly to Heaven.

I imagine that her angelic carriage, to use a metaphor, was preceded and followed by a cortege of selected Angels, perhaps warrior Angels with many victories against the Devil, similar to the military cortege of the Queen of England. Then she arrived at that most solemn place in Heaven where the inhabitants were gathered to pay her homage. She was received by her chaste spouse, St. Joseph, and together, as in a cathedral, they processed down an aisle among the ordered ensemble of Saints.

As she passed and moved toward the throne of the Holy Trinity, Who awaited her, she received the reverence of all the Saints and Angels. In this cortege of honor, she not only received the homage of each one, but she had a perfect understanding and discernment of what each homage represented. To each Saint or Angel, whom she personally recognized, she gave the proportionate retribution of affection and admiration. She took great joy in this hyperdulia of the inhabitants of Heaven honoring her because she was the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the creature most faithful to Him.

As the procession came to an end, the feast of the Assumption reached its apex. For the first time Our Lady experienced the Beatific Vision; at that same moment she was received by the Divine Word, the Holy Ghost, and God the Father. They solemnly welcomed her, greeting her as the most beloved Daughter of the Father, the most admirable Mother of the Son, and the most faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Then they proclaimed her Queen of Heaven and Earth. After this proclamation, the Three crowned her as such.

All the preceding steps of her assumption led up to that stupendous end. She ardently desired that end and it enormously pleased her. This hypothetical description gives you a faint idea of the ensemble of joys Our Lady experienced that day.

I want to stress that this is not a hyperbole, an exaggeration. I think that a feast like this actually took place in Heaven as part of the assumption of Our Lady. Her assumption, her glorification, and her coronation were three things that came together in a grand ceremony in Heaven.

A similar glorification will take place at the end of History after the Last Judgment. Following the supreme glorification of Our Lord as King of History and the solemn recognition of His victory over Satan and his cohorts and armies, it is probable that Our Lord will pay a final homage to Our Lady, and again the Holy Trinity will confirm her sovereignty over Heaven and Earth – the glorified Earth at the end of the world.

It is my opinion that this glorification of Our Lady at her resurrection and assumption had an effect on earth and nature. As at Fatima when the sun changed its colors and danced, twirling toward the earth to confirm the words she spoke to the children, on the day of her assumption, I imagine the sun was shining with a special glorified light, the air was exceptionally pure, and all nature was immensely joyful.

The face of Our Lady before her assumption would have shined with increasing brilliance expressing the great love of God she was feeling, her eagerness to be with Him, and a presentiment of the joys she would shortly have. I think that the last day of Our Lady on earth in a certain sense represents the transfiguration of Our Lady; it was her Tabor. The persons who were with her and saw her would never forget that day for the rest of their lives.

I think that she will communicate to us and to the entire earth, when the Reign of Mary predicted in Fatima will be solemnly established, some of the joy she had on the day of her Assumption and that she now has in Heaven.

There is an invocation in a Litany to Our Lord in which we ask: ut ad celestia desideria erigas, te rogamus, audi nos – that our souls be raised to the desire for celestial things, we pray Thee, hear us. This invocation should be the conclusion of our meditation on the Assumption of Our Lady. We should ask that we may love the celestial happiness of Our Lady to give her glory and that we may one day be with her in Paradise. We should also love and meditate on her joys as a way to accept with peace and resignation the sorrows and sufferings God sends us so that we might prove our love for Him.

Dr. plinio Correa De Olivera

Mission Statement of this Blog

This Blog is dedicated to Our Lady. It's purpose is to help build up faith in the True Holy Roman Apostolic Church. This blog aims to remain true to to the Roman Pontiff and the teachings of the Church Magesterium.
All posts on this blog along with replies will be moderated and items which go against the mission statement and purpose of this blog will not be printed.
This bog is called Dies Irae which is Latin for 'Day of Judgment'. As many Saints of the Catholic Church have written to us, if we keep our final end in mind we will be horrified by sin and its affects in relation to God. Keeping the image of Dies Irae in mind let us march forward knowing that our every action, thought, word and deed will either take us closer to Heaven or to final damnation in Hell.
Salve Maria