A Most Blessed Eastertide to you!
Click to view the card:Copyright ©1997-2018 American Greetings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Click to view the card:Copyright ©1997-2018 American Greetings, Inc. All rights reserved.
Holy Week, which for Christians is the most important week of the year, gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the central events of the Redemption, to relive the Paschal Mystery, the great Mystery of faith . . . May divine grace open our hearts to an understanding of the invaluable gift of salvation, obtained for us by Christ’s sacrifice. We find this immense gift wonderfully described in a famous hymn contained in the Letter to the Philippians (cf. 2: 6-11), upon which we have meditated several times during Lent. The Apostle concisely and effectively retraces the mystery of the history of salvation, mentioning the arrogance of Adam who, although He was not God, wanted to be like God. And He compares the arrogance of the first man, which we all tend to feel in our being, with the humility of the true Son of God who, in becoming man does not hesitate to take upon Himself all human weaknesses, save sin, and going even as far as the depths of death. This descent to the ultimate depths of the Passion and death is followed by His exaltation, the true glory, the glory of love which went to the very end.
“And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
‘Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of an ass.’
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!’
“And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.'” (Mt 21:1-11)
May we love and worship Him Who gave His all for us. A blessed Holy Week to you all with our love and prayers,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B
Today, in the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite, is the beginning of Passiontide. It is known as Iudica Sunday, from the first word of the Introit of Mass, from Ps 42 (41).
The following is from Father John Zuhlsdorf’s outstanding blog with our gratitude: http://wdtprs.com/blog/author/fatherz/
“We lose things during Lent. We are being pruned through the liturgy. Holy Church experiences liturgical death before the feast of the Resurrection. The Alleluia goes on Septuagesima. Music and flowers go on Ash Wednesday. Today, statues and images are draped in purple. That is why today is sometimes called Repus Sunday, from repositus analogous to absconditus or “hidden”, because this is the day when Crosses and other images in churches are veiled. The universal Church’s Ordo published by the Holy See has an indication that images can be veiled from this Sunday, the 5th of Lent. Traditionally Crosses may be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and images, such as statues may be covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil. At my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN, the large statue of the Pietà is appropriately unveiled at the Good Friday service.
“Also, as part of the pruning, as of today in the older form of Mass, the “Iudica” psalm in prayers at the foot of the altar and the Gloria Patri at the end of certain prayers was no longer said. “The pruning cuts more deeply as we march into the Triduum. After the Mass on Holy Thursday the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main altar, which itself is stripped and bells are replaced with wooden noise makers. On Good Friday there isn’t even a Mass. At the beginning of the Vigil we are deprived of light itself! It is as if the Church herself were completely dead with the Lord in His tomb. This liturgical death of the Church reveals how Christ emptied Himself of His glory in order to save us from our sins and to teach us who we are.
“The Church then gloriously springs to life again at the Vigil of Easter. In ancient times, the Vigil was celebrated in the depth of night. In the darkness a single spark would be struck from flint and spread into the flames. The flames spread through the whole Church.
“If we can connect ourselves in heart and mind with the Church’s liturgy in which these sacred mysteries are re-presented, then by our active receptivity we (who are baptized and in a state of grace) become participants in the saving mysteries of Christ’s life, death and resurrection . . .
“As we march into Passiontide, keep close in your thoughts the wonderful thing our Lord accomplished for us. He has offered us freedom from the bonds of our sins and opened the way to heaven.”
We wish each of you a most blessed and holy Passiontide as we await the Resurrection of the One who died and rose that we might live.
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
“As we begin our annual Lenten observance with its solemn call to conversion . . . it is more than ever my pastoral duty to nourish your minds with the word of God when you are about to mortify your bodies by fasting.
“We are soon to celebrate the Passion of our crucified Lord. It is therefore in keeping with our commitment to Him that we should crucify ourselves by restraining the desires of the flesh.
“As St Paul says: You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all your self-indulgent passions and desires.
“Such is the Cross upon which we Christians must continually hang, since our whole lives are beset by trials and temptations.
“Not for us, as long as we live, to be rid of those nails we read of in the psalm: ‘Pierce my flesh with the nails of your fear.’
“Flesh means the desires of our lower nature; nails, the demands of God’s justice and holiness.
“With these the fear of the Lord pierces our flesh and fastens us to the Cross as an acceptable sacrifice to Him.
“In a similar passage the apostle Paul appeals to us by the mercy of God to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
“To hang on such a Cross brings no shame to the servants of God; it is something in which they glory, as Saint Paul does when he says:
‘Far be it from me to glory in anything except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.’
“This crucifixion, I repeat, is something that must continue throughout our life, not for forty days only.
“It is true that Moses, Elijah, and our Lord himself fasted for forty days; but in Moses, Elijah, and Christ we are meant to see the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, and to learn from them not to cling to this present world or imitate its ways, but to nail our unregenerate selves to the Cross.
“Christians must always live in this way, without any wish to come down from their Cross, otherwise they will sink beneath the world’s mire.
“But if we have to do so all our lives, we must make an even greater effort during these days of Lent. It is not a simple matter of living through forty days;
“Lent is the epitome of our whole life.”
(Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Sermon 205,1 (PL 38:1039-1040); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, First Sunday in Lent, Year 2.)
Beloved, may the words of the most dear Saint Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, be a blessed encouragement to you to never give up. Regardless of your success or failure to keep your Lenten resolves, don’t allow the enemy to win by discouraging you from beginning again – every day! The only true failure is to not get up, to stay down, to give in to discouragement. Discouragement is a tool of the devil. It is never of God.
Together, let us “begin again” and never stop “beginning again”!
Our love to you and our unending prayers for a blessed and holy Lent,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
Oh Beloved, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it – believing, that is – being Catholic – having been led into all that Judaism promised and into the full measure of Christianity, the fullness of all that Our Blessed Savior has given us this side of Heaven.
Having journeyed through 18 years of a fervent Evangelical Protestantism, I was quite floored at the response of many Catholics who bemoaned having to attend Church on Sunday because it was their obligation. “Obligation?” I thought to myself. How could you keep a Catholic away?! It’s a chore to go to Church? . . . to go to the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us??
Then came my first Lent as a Catholic (there was no recognition of Lent in my non-denominational experience). I began to hear, from Catholics, the language of “dread,” of “giving things up,” of suffering through this season.
How on earth, I thought? Do those who dread this season of fasting, penance and prayer have any true knowledge or understanding of the privilege Our Lord has given us in inviting us to share in His very sufferings, in His 40-day fast in the wilderness while experiencing every temptation that the devil would throw on Him – and which God allowed and purposed Him to go through?
For me, dear ones, now after almost 23 years a Catholic, and for our community of sisters, it is a blessed, prayerful, and, please God, transformative time, a time filled with the certainty of Our Savior’s love and of His call for us to be in the world and not of it, to grow deeper into union with Him, and to console that “Heart that so loved the world and is so little loved in return.”
For those who may wish a fuller understanding of or refresher on the history and customs of this blessed season leading all the way to the Resurrection of the Passover Lamb, I would refer you the wonderful article (complete with recipes) from the fisheaters.com website below.
From all of us here at the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, we wish you and your loved ones a most holy and blessed journey through the awful wilderness with the Son of God made Man.
Mother Miriam and Daughters
|Theme:||Christ in the Desert, the Babylonian Captivity continued from Septuagesima|
|Symbols:||Cross, crown of thorns, three nails, Chalice, Host|
|Length:||Ash Wednesday to Vespers of Holy Saturday|
Lent (the word “Lent” comes from the Old English “lencten,” meaning “springtime) lasts from Ash Wednesday to the Vespers of Holy Saturday — forty days + six Sundays which don’t count as “Lent” liturgically. The Latin name for Lent, Quadragesima, means forty and refers to the forty days Christ spent in the desert which is the origin of the Season.The last two weeks of Lent are known as “Passiontide,” made up of Passion Week and Holy Week. The last three days of Holy Week — Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday –are known as the “Sacred Triduum.”
The focus of this Season is the Cross and penance, penance, penance as we imitate Christ’s forty days of fasting, like Moses and Elias before Him, and await the triumph of Easter. We fast (see below), abstain, mortify the flesh, give alms, and think more of charitable works. Awakening each morning with the thought, “How might I make amends for my sins? How can I serve God in a reparative way? How can I serve others today?” is the attitude to have.
We meditate on “The Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, and we also practice mortifications by “giving up something” that would be a sacrifice to do without. The sacrifice could be anything from desserts to television to the marital embrace, and it can entail, too, taking on something unpleasant that we’d normally avoid, for example, going out of one’s way to do another’s chores, performing “random acts of kindness,” etc. A practice that might help some, especially small children, to think sacrificially is to make use of “Sacrifice Beads” in the same way that St. Thérèse of Lisieux did as a child.
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to thy people Israel.”
From the Antiphon for the Magnificat:
An aged man carried a Child,
but the Child guided the aged man.
The Virgin who had given birth to Him
remained a Virgin after childbearing;
Him Whom she bore she adored.
Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly beseech Thy majesty,
that as Thine only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple
in the substance of our flesh,
so too Thou wouldst grant us to be presented unto Thee with purified souls.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
. . . There is no need for confusion in our day. The following three holy Bishops have simply stated the immutable (that is, unchanging) truths of our Holy Catholic Church and of “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Please do read the article in full and be at peace.
After the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (2016) various bishops issued at local, regional, and national levels applicable norms regarding the sacramental discipline of those faithful, called “divorced and remarried,” who having still a living spouse to whom they are united with a valid sacramental matrimonial bond, have nevertheless begun a stable cohabitation more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.
The aforementioned rules provide inter alia that in individual cases the persons, called “divorced and remarried,” may receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, while continuing to live habitually and intentionally more uxorio with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. These pastoral norms have received approval from various hierarchical authorities. Some of these norms have received approval even from the supreme authority of the Church.
The spread of these ecclesiastically approved pastoral norms has caused a considerable and ever increasing confusion among the faithful and the clergy, a confusion that touches the central manifestations of the life of the Church, such as sacramental marriage with the family, the domestic church, and the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.
(Please click here to read the full article. However, for those who may not be able to read the full article for any reason, we have posted immediately below, its conclusion. Our deep gratitude to and for such Shepherds of the Church.)
Being bishops in the pastoral office, who promote the Catholic and Apostolic faith (“cultores catholicae et apostolicae fidei,” see Missale Romanum, Canon Romanus), we are aware of this grave responsibility and our duty before the faithful who await from us a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage. For this reason we are not allowed to be silent.
We affirm therefore in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, of St. John Fisher, of St. Thomas More, of Blessed Laura Vicuña and of numerous known and unknown confessors and martyrs of the indissolubility of marriage:
It is not licit (non licet) to justify, approve, or legitimize either directly or indirectly divorce and a non-conjugal stable sexual relationship through the sacramental discipline of the admission of so-called “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion, in this case a discipline alien to the entire Tradition of the Catholic and Apostolic faith.
By making this public profession before our conscience and before God who will judge us, we are sincerely convinced that we have provided a service of charity in truth to the Church of our day and to the Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth.
31 December 2017, the Feast of the Holy Family, in the year of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.
We bless our friends at Fish Eaters for their magnificent work of teaching and leading us through all the Feasts of the Liturgical year. Please do take a tour through their website (fisheaters.com). Your Faith will be immeasurably enriched!
The Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas, and tonight is known as”Twelfth Night” (or “Twelfthnight”). It begins the celebration of Christ’s revealing His Divinity in three ways, which is formally celebrated tomorrow:
In many Catholic homes (especially Italian ones), it’s not Christmas Day that is for giving presents to children, but the Feast of Epiphany, when the gifts are given in a way related to the Magi. So today will have a “feel” of Christmas Eve, and because of the Epiphany’s association with the Magis’ gift-giving, tomorrow is often referred to colloquially as the “Little Christmas.”
It is today that the Three Kings should reach the creche (heretofore, they should be kept away from it) and that Baby Jesus should be adorned with signs of royalty, such as a crown, ermine, and gold or purple cloth. Set up golden candlesticks around the manger where He lies.
Along with the crowns, scepters, gold, and royal purple, peacocks are also a symbol for the day. They are more generally a symbol of immortality (and therefore a good symbol for Easter, too), but also a symbol of royalty and of the glory revealed by Christ today. The most profound symbols of all, though, are light as a symbol of theophany; wine in memory of the miracle at the wedding in Cana; water and the dove in memory of Christ’s Baptism by St. John; the Three Kings, their gifts, and the Star of Bethlehem.
The Magi and Their Gifts
Typified in the Old Testament by the Queen of Saba (Sheba), who entered Jerusalem “with a great train, and riches, and camels that carried spices, and an immense quantity of gold, and precious stones” in order to ascertain King Solomon’s greatness (III Kings 10), the three Magi entered Jerusalem bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the newborn King. The Fathers see in their gifts omens of Christ’s life:
Beloved, I came across the article below and wanted to share it with you. It was written in 2014 by Father Peter Carota, a beloved priest of the Diocese of Stockton, California, who went home to his eternal rest in July of 2016. The initial title of Father’s article read: “10 Ways to Really Have a Happy (Traditional Catholic) New Year.” I pray Father will not mind my omitting the words “Traditional Catholic.” What Father proposes is the only way to have a Happy New Year, whether or not one considers themselves to be a “Traditional” Catholic or a Catholic at all. Here is wisdom from above, which is the only source of true wisdom and means to eternal life.
We wish each of you a most blessed and holy New Year in the One who makes all things new!
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. and Daughters
1) Become Holy.
Without Holiness there is no Happiness. Since Catholics and atheists all say “Happy New Year,” we, at least, truly know that the road to happiness is only through a life of holiness and sacrifice. That entails a firm commitment to grow in a deeper union with God. This will require making and taking time to pray and read the Bible. We want to be saints and help others be saints.