Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Email: torontocatholicwitness@outlook.com

Monday, 19 August 2019

St. Thomas a Becket's example

 
The story of St. Thomas a Becket is well-known.

How he was murdered while saying Vespers in Cantebury Catherdral on December 29th, 1170, by the followers of Henry II, a result of having exerted what the king felt to be too much power. (Power, one should note, he had all rights to bear.)

I bring up this significant murder because the Saint exemplified a willingness to sacrifice himself for the sake of the Church, a notion of sacrifice which seems to be absent in the developed countries of the West today.

I have not been posting much over the past couple of weeks. It is high summer here in Canada. There are much better things to do than sit here and blog. Since my posts surrounding Michael Voris, I have also been given to think that much of what I think and reason does not need to be said aloud. Especially some of my more dangerous opinions about the papacy and other such things.

Fellow Catholics, we are in scary times. It is in times like these - as St. Thomas a Kemphis alludes to in The Imitation of Christ - that, to relieve our wearied hearts and minds, we turn to our fellow man and express them, our worries and cares.

But - I ask - how often do we come back feeling any better?

I am not discounting the cathartic release that comes with voicing this or that frustration. I have done so on this blog, with a priest, and with a host of other people. Venting and talking out one's experiences with others is important from time to time. It is how we learn.

But, so often, we run the risk of turning things into mindless chatter. We ought to speak our mind, but we do not need to say everything that is on our mind. Sometimes it is better to keep silent for its own sake, and this is in itself a form of dying to one's self, for we learn to curb our own appetites for gossip and love of one's own opinion.

However, it does not mean we should keep silent every waking moment of the day. There are times - often mandated by charity - that we must speak.

It takes a lifetime to master this balance. A lifetime. St. Thomas a Becket spoke those ringing words in the image above when it was appropriate for the edification of all. If he had spoken them at some other time, they would not be as effective.

While we ponder his words, let us resolve to lay down our swords, tongues, and accept whatever the Lord has deigned to give us, speaking only when we must.

Indeed, let us repeat those same words our saintly predecessor said.

It is long past time for us to be counter-cultural, and give the world the water it is gasping for, even though they don't know it.

Part of that is learning when to hold our tongue.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

What is this aurora before which the brightest constellations pale? Laurence, who has been shining in the August heavens as an incomparable star, is well near eclipsed and becomes but the humble satellite of the Queen of Saints whose triumph is preparing beyond the clouds. 
Mary stayed on Earth after her Son’s Ascension in order to give birth to His Church. But she could not remain forever in exile. Yet she was not to take her flight to Heaven until this new fruit of her maternity had acquired the growth and strength which it belongs to a mother to give. How sweet to the Church was this dependence! A privilege given to her members by our Lord in imitation of Himself. As we saw, at Christmas time, the God-Man carried first in the arms of His Mother, gathering His strength and nourishing His life at her virginal breast: so the mystical body of the Man-God, the holy Church, received, in its first years, the same care from Mary, as the divine Child our Emmanuel. 
As Joseph heretofore at Nazareth, Peter was now ruling the house of God, but our Lady was nonetheless to the assembly of the faithful the source of life in the spiritual order, as she had been to Jesus in His Humanity. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost and every one of His gifts rested first on her in all fullness. Every grace bestowed on the privileged dwellers in the cenacle was given more eminently and more abundantly to her. “The sobered stream of the river makes the city of God joyful, because first of all the Most High has sanctified His own tabernacle, made her the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus.”  
Eternal Wisdom herself is compared in the Scripture to overflowing waters. To this day, the voice of her messengers traverses the world, magnificent, as the voice of the Lord over the great waters, as the thunder which reveals His power and majesty: like a new deluge overturning the ramparts of false science, levelling every height raised against God and fertilising the desert. O fountain of the gardens hiding yourself so calm and pure in Sion, the silence which keeps you from the knowledge of the profane, hides from their sullied eyes the source of your wavelets which carry salvation to the farthest limits of the Gentile world. To you, as to the Wisdom sprung from you, is applied the prophetic word: “I have poured out rivers” (Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 40). You give to drink to the new-born Church thirsting for the Word. You are, as the Holy Spirit said of Esther, your type: “The little fountain which grew into a river, and was turned into a light, and into the sun, and abounded into many waters” (Esther x. 6). The Apostles, inundated with divine science, recognised in you the richest source, which having once given to the world the Lord God, continued to be the channel of His grace and truth to them. 
As a mountain spreads out at its base in proportion to the greatness of its height, the incomparable dignity of Mary rested on her ever growing humility. Nevertheless we must not think that the Mother of the Church was to be nothing more than a silent winner of Heaven’s favours. The time had come for her to communicate to the friends of the Spouse the ineffable secrets known to her virginal soul alone, and as to the public facts of our Saviour’s history, what memory surer or more complete than hers, what deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation, could furnish the Evangelists with the inspiration and the matter of their sublime narrations? How could the chiefs of the Christian people not consult in every undertaking the heavenly prudence of her whose judgement could never be obscured by the least error, any more than her soul could be tarnished by the least fault? Thus, although her gentle voice was never heard abroad, although she loved to put herself in the shade and take the last place in their assemblies, Mary was truly from that time forward, as the Doctors observe, the scourge of heresy, the mistress of the Apostles and their beloved inspirer. “If,” says Rupert, “the Holy Ghost instructed the Apostles, we must not therefore conclude that they had not recourse to the most sweet teaching of Mary. Yes, rather, her word was to them the word of the Spirit Himself. She completed and confirmed the inspirations received by each one from Him who divides as He wills.” And Saint Ambrose, the illustrious Bishop of Milan, speaking of the privilege of the beloved disciple at the Last Supper, does not hesitate to attribute the greater sublimity of his teachings to his longer and more intimate intercourse with our Lady: “This beloved of the Lord who, resting on His bosom, drank from the depths of Wisdom, I am not astonished that he has explained divine mysteries better than all the others, for the treasure of heavenly secrets hidden in Mary, was ever open to him.” 
Happy were the faithful of those days, permitted to contemplate the ark of the covenant in which, better than on tables of stone, dwelt the plenitude of the law of love! At her side the rod of the new Aaron, the sceptre of Simon Peter, kept its vigour and freshness, and under her shadow the true manna of Hheaven was accessible to the elect of this world’s desert. Denis of Athens, Hierotheus, both of whom we will soon see again beside this holy ark, and many others, came to the feet of Mary to rest on their journey, to strengthen their love, to consult the august propitiatory where the divinity had resided. From the lips of the Mother of God they gathered words sweeter than honey, calming their souls, ordering their life, filling their noble minds with the brightness of Heaven. To these privileged ones of the first age might be addressed those words of the Spouse, who in these years was completing His gathering from His chosen garden: “I have gathered my myrrh with my aromatical spices: I have eaten the honeycomb with my honey: I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved” (Canticles v. 1). 
No wonder that in Jerusalem, favoured with so august a presence, the first group of faithful rose unanimously above the observance of the precepts to the perfection of the counsels. They persevered in prayer, praising God in gladness and simplicity of heart, having favour with all the people. And they were of one heart and one soul. This happy community could not but be an image of Heaven on Earth, since the Queen of Heaven was a member of it. The example of her life, her all-powerful intercession, her merits more vast than all the united treasures of all created sanctities, was Mary’s contribution to this blessed family where all things were common to all. From the hill of Sion, however, the Church had spread its branches over every mountain and every sea. The vineyard of the Pacific King was extended among all nations. It was time to let it out to the keepers appointed to guard it for the Spouse. It was a solemn moment. A new phase in the history of our salvation was about to begin: “You that dwells in the gardens, the friends hearken: make me hear your voice” (Canticles viii. 13). The Spouse, the Church on Earth, the Church in Heaven, all were waiting for her, who had tended the vine and strengthened its roots, to utter a word such as that which had heretofore brought down the Spouse to Earth. But today Heaven, not Earth, was to be the gainer. “Flee away, O my beloved” (Canticles viii. 14). It was the voice of Mary about to follow the fragrant footsteps of the Lord her Son, up to the eternal mountains where her own perfumes had preceded her.
 - From the commentary on the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 14th) in The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Toronto area Latin Masses for the Feast of the Assumption



Dear friends, this Thursday is the Feast of the Assumption. Please let family, friends and those of good will who are searching for the Truth. 

Let us never for get the words of the first Pope, St. Peter: 

"Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved". (Acts 4:12).

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Pope Benedict XVI...Six years on, and STILL going strong! Why did he REALLY resign?



The other day, "Pope Emeritus" Benedict XVI paid a visit to Castel Gandolfo. According to the reports carried in the SSPX news agency, the former Pope was described by witnesses as ".. a man still in good health for being 92 years old, “smiling, aware, curious, available, and affable.”

According to Crux, another witness stated: "...it was striking to see his fairly thin, very fragile physique and his severe difficulty in walking".

The two statements are not contradictions, but complementary. They describe an elderly, mentally aware gentleman, who in his 92nd year has taken on some understandable frailties, such as difficulty walking. 

Now, Let us cast ourselves back six and a half years to 2013, and re-read the following reason for the papal resignation: 

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.  
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005...

Nearly seven years ago, Pope Benedict informed the Church that due to deteriorated strength of mind and body that came on "in the last few months", he was "for THIS reason", renouncing the papacy. I, like so many others I know, believed that a health issue had come upon the Pope and that he was in his final months of life.

However, since he is still very much alive, obviously the event/events were NOT medical

So, what were they? 

What precipitated this collapse of "strength of mind and body..."?  


WHAT HAPPENED IN 2012 THAT CREATED SUCH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STRESS ON POPE BENEDICT THAT HE TOOK THE UNPRECEDENTED STEP TO RESIGN THE PAPAL OFFICE?



The Pope himself gives us a clue as to the real reason: "shaken by question of deep relevance for the life of Faith..." The "life of the Faith", in other words, the Church was under attack not only from the world, but also from WITHIN. 



Question: Why do you think the Pope resigned? 


The combox awaits readers reflections, comments, and contributions as to the reason/s  and motivation/s for the papal resignation.