The following reflection from the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, we have taken from the wonderful and faithful Timman at The Saint Louis Catholic, which he, in turn, has taken from, in his words, from the venerable Fisheaters blog:
Meditation on Death
Chapter 23 of “The Imitation of Christ”
By Thomas á Kempis (d. A.D. 1471)
Very soon the end of your life will be at hand: consider, therefore, the state of your soul. Today a man is here; tomorrow he is gone. (I Machabees 2:63) And when he is out of sight, he is soon out of mind. Oh, how dull and hard is the heart of man, which thinks only of the present, and does not provide against the future! You should order your every deed and thought, as though today were the day of your death. Had you a good conscience, death would hold no terrors for you; (Luke 12:37) even so, it were better to avoid sin than to escape death. (Wisdom 4:16) If you are not ready to die today, will tomorrow find you better prepared? (Matthew 24:44) Tomorrow is uncertain; and how can you be sure of tomorrow? Of what use is a long life, if we amend so little? Alas, a long life often adds to our sins rather than to our virtue!
Would to God that we might spend a single day really well! Many recount the years since their conversion, but their lives show little sign of improvement. If it is dreadful to die, it is perhaps more dangerous to live long. Blessed is the man who keeps the hour of his death always in mind, and daily prepares himself to die. If you have ever seen anyone die, remember that you, too, must travel the same road. (Hebrews 9:27)
Beloved, I am sending you an announcement and a video which, in my Jewish upbringing and Evangelical Protestant background, I could never have imagined.
First the announcement: I will be speaking at the glorious Sacred Liturgy Conference in Spokane, Washington, this coming summer, June 9-12, 2020, together with a company of magnificent holy men of God that one can rarely find together under one roof. Here is the information for those of you who, by God’s grace, may be able to attend:
Here, dear ones, from their press release, is a simple taste of the treasure that awaits those who attend:
This year’s theme is “Incarnation in the Eucharist”. We are overjoyed to have on our faculty His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Müller. Cardinal Muller will give the keynote address and will celebrate the Pontifical Mass of Corpus Christi, Eucharistic Procession, and Benediction at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.
“For more information including schedule, full list of speakers and to register please visit www.sacredliturgyconference.org. Space is limited and an “Early Bird Special” rate is available through March 1, 2020.”
Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Purification of the Blessed Mother
Beloved, there is a beautiful homily for this glorious feast (actually three feasts in one) on the website of Rorate Caeli given last year at the beautiful Abbey of Our Lady of Fontgombault in France by the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2019/02/fontgombault-sermon-for-candlemas-2019.html.
Tonight, at the Priory of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, as we prayed Vespers for this most special feast, I was struck by the exquisite beauty of the Verse, Magnificat Antiphon, and Collect. I’ve copied them for you below:
♦ Verse: It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit. R. That he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
♦ Magnificat Antiphon: 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.
♦ Collect: 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 Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Oh beloved, I just watched this video on Michael Matt’s “Remnant TV” and wish all could truly listen to the heart of Our Blessed Mother – which I suspect experiences a much deeper agony than even this ballad portrays. Please never stop defending life – at every stage – no matter the circumstance – no matter the cost.
Our love to you in the Heart of such a Mother, the Mother of our Messiah who gave His life for us,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
P.S. If you have not yet listened to the speech of President Trump at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., I would urge you to! Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5T4NCsbRFk
Beloved, I received the video above in an email from one of my favorite bloggers: St. Louis Catholic Blogspot: https://stlouiscatholic.wordpress.com/2019/12/26/a-star-in-the-night/. I do not want to resist sending it to you. Show it to all you love, and to all who do not know how to love. Our love to you this Holy Vigil of the Solemnity of the Mother of God and the Circumcision of Our Lord.
A Blessed and Holy New Year to you all,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B. and Community
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This wonderful post is from Regina Magazine: https://reginamag.com/advent-embertide/?ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_12_15_2019_6_26)&goal=0_184b518184-a167a5193d-19286329&mc_cid=a167a5193d&mc_eid=512052c326. It is a wonderful magazine that we highly recommend to you!
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as “Advent Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of the Season of Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days’ Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with Wednesday’s Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2 :
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just:
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God:
and the firmament declareth the work of His hands.
Wednesday’s and Saturday’s Masses will include one and four Lessons, respectively, with all of them concerning the words of the Prophet Isaias except for the last lesson on Saturday, which comes from Daniel and recounts how Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago are saved from King Nabuchodonosor’s fiery furnace by an angel. This account, which is followed by a glorious hymn, is common to all Embertide Saturdays but for Whit Embertide. (1)
Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons 1 that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote (see Readings below).
These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day.
Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:
Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia
Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.
Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost,
are when the quarter holidays follow.