Wednesday 31 May 2023

For what it is worth, "shadow's shadow; a world of shadows" will pass

Readers will forgive the momentary emergence.

I have lately observed that there is an increasing frustration with "wokeness," political correction, and general "misbehaving," to put the last term lightly. I have seen this with friends, family, colleagues, and comparative strangers. 

It is important to put things in their proper place, and understand them for what they are. It would be an injustice to do otherwise. At the same time, it is wise to recall the following:
"A shadow's shadow, he tells us, a shadow's shadow; a world of shadows! How is man the better for all this toiling of us, here under the sun? Age succeeds age, and the world goes on unaltered. Sun may rise and sun may set, but ever it goes back and is reborn. Round to the south it moves, round to the north it turns; the wind, too, though it makes the round of the world. goes back to the beginning of its round at last. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea never grows full; back to their springs they find their way, and must be flowing still. Weariness, all weariness, who shall tell the tale? Eye looks on unsatisfied; ear listens, ill content." (Ecclesiastes 1:2-8, R. Knox Version)

Speaking of verse 2, St. Jerome had the following to say:

If all things that God made are truly good then how can all things be considered vanity, and not only vanity, but even vanity of vanities?  Just as Song of Songs means a song that stands out from amongst all songs, so we see that in "vanity of vanities" the degree of vanity is shown.  It is also written similarly in Psalm 38.6: "Nevertheless every living man is vanity."  If living man is vanity then a dead man must be vanity of vanities.  We read in Exodus that Moses' face is glorified so much that the children of Israel are not able to see him[8].  Paul the apostle said that his glory was not really glory when compared to the glory of righteousness: "For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth." [9]  We are therefore able to say that even we in this respect, heaven, earth, the seas and all things that are contained within its compass can be said to be good in themselves, but compared to God they are nothing.  And if I look at the candle in a lamp and am content with its light, then afterwards when the sun has risen I cannot discern anymore what was once bright; I will also see the light of the stars by the light of the setting sun, so in looking at the world and the multitudinous varieties of nature I am amazed at the greatness of the world, but I also remember that all things will pass away and the world will grow old, and that only God is that which has always been.  On account of this realisation I am compelled to say, not once but twice: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.  Instead of "vanity of vanities" the Hebrew text reads 'abal abalim' which all manuscripts excepting that of the Septuagint translate similarly in Greek as atmos atmidon or atmon which we are able to translate as 'a breath' and 'a light wind which is quickly dispersed'.  In this way it is shown to be vain and in no way universal by this phrase.  For those things which seem to be temporal, in fact are; but those which do not are eternal.  Or since that which will give rise to vanity has been exposed, he groans and is anxious and awaits the revelation of the sons of God, and "now we know in part, and we prophesy in part" [10].  All things are and will be vain, until we find that which is complete and perfect.

In short, all the things of this world - even the good - are nothing compared to God. He and His Kingdom alone are eternal.

Readers, do not lose heart. Evil does seem to surround us in our day. But it was always thus. In past ages, evil surrounded its denizens as well. Each age has had its troubles. In the same vein, each age has had its good bits too. It was always thus there too. Nature, good friendships, edification from others, are just a few of these good bits in our day.

Alas, even the good things fade. Nature withers. Good friendships end. Edification passes us by.

So too it is with evil.

The Jews of old, while awaiting the Messiah, looked with anticipation towards His coming. For them, the past was not something to look back on with nostalgia, or "as better days." It was the future that was to be better. Thus, for those Jews who remembered the Scriptures, the promise of God as Messiah was the force that kept them hopeful. All things, evil and good, were pale in comparison to this promise. 

The Preacher hints at this throughout Ecclesiastes. While the "[e]ye looks on unsatisfied; ear listens, ill content," still hope remains. Things will be set right, with respect to both the good and evil, with the coming of the Messiah. Indeed it was, and continues to be.

This madness, to use the term, will end. So, too, will the goodness. God and His Kingdom alone are the constant. Trust in Him.

With thanks to "The Creed in Slow Motion" by Rev. Knox, for its words on the Jewish view of history.

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Wednesday after Pentecost



LESSON (Acts V. I2-16.) In those days, Were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. But of the rest no man durst join himself unto them: but the people magnified them. And the multitude of men and women that believed in the Lord was more increased, insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least might overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities. And there came also together to Jerusalem a multitude out of the neighboring cities, bringing sick persons and such as were troubled with unclean spirits, who were all healed.

EXPLANATION In this porch of the temple the apostles met frequently because there they found occasion to prepare and bring the heathens to receive the faith of Christ. From this porch the Gentiles were permitted to enter the temple, and in order to open their eyes, God wrought, through the apostles; great miracles.. ,St. Peter was especially distinguished; for even his shadow healed diseases, and he was the first to receive the Gentiles into the Church. Thus : in the apostles were verified Christ's words: He that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do, and greater than these shall lie do: (John XIV. 12.)

GOSPEL (John VI. 44-52.) At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: No, man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. It' is written in the prophets: .And. they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath ,learned, cometh to me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say unto you: He that believeth in me,. hash everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from, heaven: that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread, which carne down from heaven. If any, man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: arid the bread than I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.

INSTRUCTION From these words of Jesus that no man comes to Him unless drawn by the Father, that is, as St. Cyril says, unless the Father move him through exhortations; instructions, or revelations, it is seen that the grace of God is necessary for conversion, faith, and eternal happiness. "But that you may be drawn," says St. Augustine, "pray." Ask God incessantly for help and grace, that He may draw you wholly to Him, nourish and strengthen you with the true bread, the flesh of His Son, and you will thus gain eternal life.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Tuesday after Pentecost


The Introit of the Mass is:

INTROIT Receive the joy of your glory, allel.; giving thanks to God, allel.; who hath called you to a heavenly kingdom, allel., allel., allel. (IV. Esd. 2.) Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Ps. LXXVII.)

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the power of the Holy Ghost may be ever present with us to purify our hearts from sin, and to defend us from all adversity. Thro'.

LESSON (Acts VIII. 14-17) In those days, when the apostles that were in Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for he was not as yet come upon any of them, but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost.


Is Confirmation a Sacrament?

YES, for it has the three marks of a Sacrament: the visible sign, the invisible sanctifying grace, and institution by Christ.

Did Christ institute this Sacrament?

Christ is the Author of this Sacrament as He is of all the others, with this difference only, as St. Thomas of Aquin says, that He instituted this only by promise, for it was necessary that He should die, should rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven (John XVI. 7.) before giving the fulness of the Holy Ghost, in which consists the proper effect of this Sacrament. This according to the tradition of the Fathers, is the doctrine of the infallible Church. Thus St. Clement, a disciple of the apostles, writes that St. Peter taught him, and that the other apostles had also announced it, in accordance with the command of the Lord. That the apostles administered this Sacrament by Christ's command, is clear from the Acts of the Apostles (viii. i4?z7.) which state, that Peter and John laid their hands upon the newly baptized at Samaria, and prayed over them, thus imparting to them the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which St. Paul also did to the baptized at Ephesus. (Acts XIX. 5, 6.)

What, is the visible sign in confirmation?

The imposition of the bishop's hands, the anointing with holy chrism, and the words: N. N., I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, &c."

What graces are received in this Sacrament?

This Sacrament gives to those who have been baptized, the Holy Ghost with the plenitude of His gifts, and thus completes the grace of baptism; for which reason confirmation is also called by the holy Fathers: "Completion," "Sealing." It especially gives strength to profess the faith firmly, and to live in accordance with it, and is therefore called Confirmation from the Latin confirmare, to strengthen, to confirm; it elevates man, who has by baptism become a child of God, to the dignity of a soldier of Christ, enrolls him as a warrior under the banner of the cross, imprints upon him an indelible mark, and thus distinguishes him from those who have been baptized, but not confirmed, and can therefore be received but once.

Who has power to administer confirmation?

The ordinary ministers of this Sacrament are the bishops only; for according to the Acts of the Apostles (VIII. 16.) only the apostles and their successors who are bishops, can impart the Holy Ghost by imposition of hands.

What is the holy chrism which the bishop uses in confirmation?

The holy chrism which Christ commanded to be used in confirmation, consists of balsam and olive?oil mixed, and signifies the plenitude of grace which comes down from Christ through the Holy Ghost upon those to be confirmed; the balsam represents the good odor of the edifying life which those confirmed should lead, as said by the apostle: We are a good odor of Christ; (II Cor. II. 15.) the balsam also indicates, that as the bodies of the dead are preserved from corruption when embalmed with it, so the soul by the heavenly grace obtained in confirmation, is preserved from the infection of sin.

Why is the forehead anointed with chrism in the form of a cross?

To remind the Christian that he is never to be deterred by either shame or fear from the public acknowledgment of the name of Jesus, but must fight valiantly as a true soldier of Christ, under the banner of the cross, against all the enemies of his salvation.

Why does the bishop impose his hands upon those to be confirmed?

This indicates that the actual imparting of the Holy Ghost is taking place, (Heb. VI. 2.) and that the person confirmed is placed under God's special protection.

What prayers are said by the bishop while he imposes his hands upon those to be confirmed?

The bishop repeats the following prayers: Almighty, eternal God, who halt deigned to regenerate these Thy servants by water and the Holy Ghost, who hast also granted them the remission of all their sins, pour out from heaven the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, Thy Paraclete. Amen.

The spirit of wisdom and understanding. Amen.

The spirit of counsel and of fortitude. Amen.

The spirit of knowledge and of piety. Amen.

Fill them with the spirit of fear towards Thee, and sign them with the sign, of the cross of Christ, granting them eternal life, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with Thee in the unity of, the same God,, the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for all, eternity. Amen.

Why does the bishop ask especially for the spirit of the fear of the Lord?

Because the filial fear of the Lord is the foundation of all good, the beginning of all wisdom, the fountain of life, and gains for him who possesses it eternal happiness. (Ps. CXI. 1.)

Why does the bishop give those confirmed a slight blow on the cheek?

To remind them that like Christ and the apostles, they must courageously bear all adversities and persecutions for the holy faith, and thus obtain that true peace which the bishop wishes them.

Why do the sponsors lay their right hand on the shoulder of the one to be confirmed?

To show that they are witnesses of the renewal of his faith; that they will exhort him, when necessary, to preserve the faith; that they will walk before him in the true .path of virtue by good example. (In regard to the spiritual affinity arising from confirmation, see the instruction concerning baptism on the feast of the Holy Trinity.)

Is confirmation necessary for salvation?

It is not absolutely necessary for salvation, but he who having the opportunity would neglect to receive it, would commit a grievous sin, even a mortal sin, because he openly shows by this, that he has no regard for the assistance of the Holy Ghost: Baptism lays the foundation for the Christian religion, but confirmation crowns the work baptism has commenced, because in confirmation, as the Roman Catechism teaches, the form of a true Christian is perfected.

What is required of those who are to be confirmed?

They must be in the state of grace, or purified by a good confession from the sins committed after baptism, for, to receive this Sacrament while in mortal sin, would be a sacrilege; they should be well instructed in the truths of faith, especially in those relating to confirmation; they should have a sponsor or witness who has been confirmed; they should arouse in themselves a great desire for the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they should receive the Sacrament with great reverence and devotion, and while being confirmed should make the resolution to become and remain henceforth true, zealous Catholics; finally, those who are to be confirmed, should never forget that they must be present from the first imposition of hands by the bishop, because this is the especial signs to which the granting of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is annexed. It is seen from all this, that it is not advisable to allow infants to be confirmed, because they do not know what they receive, nor can they be properly prepared, and they can be saved even if they die without confirmation.

What should be done after receiving confirmation?

Those confirmed should remain in church some time, and thank the Holy Ghost for the graces received; renew the promise to serve God faithfully henceforth, and to preserve the faith. They should daily show themselves, by an edifying life, to be true Catholic Christians, and thus add to the truth that unbelievers may also see the fruits of confirmation, and learn to love and respect a Church, that gives such glorious gifts to her children.

[To be said often during the year.]

I thank Thee, O Holy Ghost, that Thou bast given me Thy grace in the Sacrament of Confirmation to strengthen me against all temptations and persecutions, and I most humbly beseech Thee that by Thy inward inspirations Thou mayst continually so urge me on, that in all the dangers to my salvation, I may faithfully cooperate with the graces I have received, and never from fear or false shame transgress the commandments of God and the Church. Let me die rather than ever offend Thee, O Holy Ghost, or refuse to heed Thy inspirations, or drive Thee from me by mortal sin. Amen.

Monday 29 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Monday after Pentecost (Whitmonday)

Fr. Leonard Goffine also speaks on the Motives for Loving God.


The Introit of the Mass is the same as on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

COLLECT O God, who didst give the Holy Ghost to Thine apostles: grant to Thy people the fruit of their pious petition; that to whom Thou host given faith, Thou mayst also impart peace. Thro'.

LESSON (Acts X. 34., 42-48.) In those days, Peter opening his mouth, said: Men brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead: to him all the prophets give testimony, that through his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him. While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

EXPLANATION This lesson relates the manner in which the Holy Ghost descended upon the converted Gentiles who were assembled with the centurion Cornelius, and who heard the sermon of St. Peter with hearts burning for knowledge. — Endeavor, to assist at sermons with a heart desirous of learning, and the Holy Ghost will enlighten you; and do not fail to invoke the Holy Ghost, before the sermon.

GOSPEL (John III. 16-21.) At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus: God so loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

For God sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged: but he that doth not believe is already judged; because he believeth not in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved. darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil:, for every one that Both evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that has works may not be reproved. But he that Both truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

How has God shown His love for us?

He has given us His only Son fox our Teacher and redeemer, delivering, Him up for our sake to the most ignominious and painful death of the cross. For God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. (John III. 16.)

Why, then, are so many lost?

Because they despise this love of God and reject Christ, the Light of the world, that is, do not follow His teachings, even hate Him, loving more the darkness, that is, the suggestions of Satan, and the pleasures of this world.

Has the Holy Ghost come into this world as a light?

Yes; for. He inwardly, enlightens the hearts of men by His grace, that they may properly understand the truths, of salvation; and as the natural light leads us out of darkness, so the Holy Ghost by His supernatural light leads us, out of the darkness of ignorance, and from the snares and dangers of the world and the devil, into eternal happiness.


God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son. (John III. 16.)

What will we render to God for the love He has shown us heretofore and still manifests towards us every moment? He has loved us from all eternity when we were not, and although He knew that we would be sinners and enemies to Him, He loved us with infinite love, showing His love by creating all things for us. But even this was not enough; to release us from the misery of sin, He gave us His only-beloved Son, who, clothing Himself with our mortal flesh, and having become our equal in all things, except in sin, shed the last drop of His blood on the cross as a ransom for our sin's; gives Himself to us for our nourishment in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; offers Himself daily, in the Mass, to His Heavenly Father for us, and is, day and night, present with us in the most adorable Sacrament. What more could the infinite love of God give us? One thing more — the Holy Ghost, and Him He has sent with all His gifts and fruits.

"If," says St. Bernard, "we love him who does us good, assists us in our needs, undergoes danger in our behalf, how then, must we love Him who has given us all that we have; who has given us the angels to be our guardians, the sun, moon, and stars to shine for us, the earth for our dwelling, the elements, the plants, the animals to supply our necessities, our food, our pleasure; who continually preserves us, that we fall not back into original nothingness; who constantly guards us from innumerable dangers and evils; who has not only endangered His life, but has really suffered the most bitter death for us; who so mercifully forgives us all our sins, heals all our weaknesses, keeps us from perdition, and crowns us with mercy and compassion!" (Ps. CII. 4.)

Let us therefore with our whole heart love this good and gracious God, who has loved us without any merit of ours, let us be ashamed that we have until now loved Him so little, and performed so little for love of Him. God seems to live only for us, to occupy Himself only with us, and we — alas! instead of living for Him alone, have until now lived only for the world, lived only to offend Him! Let us cast ourselves down in sorrow before the face of God, and exclaim with St. Francis of Assisi: "My God and my all! What art Thou? and what am I, but a worm of the earth? Most Holy Lord! Would that I loved Thee! Sweetest Lord! Would that I loved Thee!" Say with St. Ignatius:


Only Thy grace,For it makes me so rich,
Only Thy love,I ask no more;
Only that, O Lord,If I am Thine and Thou mine,
Only that give me.Then shall I be eternally happy.

Sunday 28 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Great Feast of Pentecost


What festival is this?

It is the day on which the Holy Ghost descended in the form of fiery tongues, upon the apostles and disciples, who with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were assembled in prayer in a house at Jerusalem. (Acts II.)

Why is this day called Pentecost?

The word "Pentecost" is taken from the Greek, and signifies fifty. As St. Jerome explains it, this was the last of the fifty days, commencing with Easter, which the early Christians celebrated as days of rejoicing at the resurrection of the Lord.

Why is this day observed so solemnly?

Because on this day the Holy Ghost, having descended upon the apostles, the law of grace, of purification from sin, and the sanctification of mankind, was for the first time announced to the world; because on this day the apostles, being filled with the Holy Ghost, commenced the work of purifying and sanctifying mankind, by baptizing three thousand persons who were converted by the sermon of St. Peter; and because on this day the Church of Jesus became visible as a community to the world, and publicly professed her faith in her crucified Saviour.

Why did the Holy Ghost descend on the Jewish Pentecost?

Because on their Pentecost the Jews celebrated the anniversary of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, and God would show by sending the Holy Ghost on this days that the Old Law had ceased and the New Law commenced. God also chose this time, that the Jews who on this day came together from all countries to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost, might be witnesses of the miracle, and hear the New Law announced by the apostles.

Why is the baptismal font blessed an the vigil of Pentecost, as on Holy Saturday?

Because the Holy Ghost is the Author of all sanctity and the Fountain of baptismal grace, and because in the Acts (i. 5.) the descent of the Holy Ghost itself is called a baptism.

In the Introit of the Mass the Church rejoices at the descent of the Holy Ghost and sings:

INTROIT The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, allel.; and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice, Allel., allel., allel. (Wisd. I.7.) Let God arise, and his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him, fly before his face. (Ps. 67.) Glory etc.

COLLECT God, who on this day didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit: grant us in the same spirit to relish what is right, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Thro'. — in the unity of the same, etc.

LESSON (Acts II. I-II.) When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place; and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them:. and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were. dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue: and they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? And how have we heard every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

Why did the Holy Ghost come upon the apostles in the form of fiery tongues?

The appearance of fiery tongues indicated the gift of language imparted to the apostles by the Holy Ghost, and inflamed their hearts and the hearts of the faithful with the love of God and their neighbor.

Why did a mighty wind accompany the descent?

To direct the attention of the people to the descent of the Holy Ghost, and to assemble them to hear the sermon of the Apostle Peter.

What special effects did the Holy Ghost produce in the apostles?

He freed them from all doubt and fear; gave them His light for the perfect knowledge of truth; inflamed their hearts with the most ardent love, and incited in them the fiery zeal for the propagation of the kingdom of God, strengthened them to bear all sufferings and persecutions, (Acts V. 41.) and gave them the gift of speaking in various languages, and of discerning spirits.

Festival of PentecostGOSPEL (John XIV. 23-31,) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words: and the word which you have heard is not mine, but the Father's, who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you: but the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have ;told you before it came to pass, that when it shall come to pass you may believe. I will not now speak many things with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath givers me commandment, so do I.


Why is the Holy Ghost expressly called "Holy," since this attribute is due to each of the divine persons?

Because He is the Author of inward sanctity and of all supernatural gifts and graces, and therefore to Him is especially ascribed the work of man's sanctification.

What does the Holy Ghost effect in man?

He enlightens him that he may know the truths of religion and salvation, and the beauty of virtue; He moves him to desire, to aim after and to love these things; He renews his heart by cleansing it from sin, and imparts to him the supernatural gifts and graces by which he can become sanctified, and He brings forth in him wonderful fruits of holiness.

What are the gifts of the Holy Ghost?

According to the Prophet Isaias they are seven: 1.The gift of wisdom, which enables us to know God, to esteem spiritual more than temporal advantages, and to delight only in divine things. 2. The gift of understanding, by which we know and understand that which our faith proposes to our belief; children and adults should pray fervently for this gift, especially before sermons and instructions in the catechism. 3.The gift of counsel, which gives us the knowledge necessary to direct ourselves and others when in doubt, a gift particularly necessary for superiors, for those about choosing their state of life, and for married people who live unhappily, and do not know how to help themselves. 4. The gift of fortitude, which strengthens us to endure and courageously overcome all adversities and persecutions for virtue's sake. 5. The gift of knowledge, by which we know ourselves, our duties, and how to discharge them in a manner pleasing to God. 6. The gift of piety, which induces us to have God in view in all our actions, and infuses love in our hearts for His service. 7. The gift of the fear of the Lord, by which we not only fear the just punishment, but even His displeasure at every sin, more than all other things in the world.

Which are the fruits of the Holy Ghost?

As St. Paul (Gal. V.. 22-23.) enumerates them, they are twelve: 1. Charity. 2. Joy. 3. Peace. 4. Patience. 5. Benignity. 6. Goodness. 7. Longanimity. 8. Mildness. 9. Faith. 10. Modesty. 11. Continency. 12. Chastity. To obtain these fruits as well as the gifts of the Holy Ghost, we should daily say the prayer: "Come, O Holy Ghost, etc."

Why does Christ say: The Father is greater than I?

Christ as God is in all things equal to His Father, but as Christ was at the same time Man, the Father was certainly greater than the Man-Christ.

Why does Christ say: I will not now speak many things with you?

Christ spoke these words a short time before His passion, and by them He wished to say that the time was near at hand when Satan, by his instruments, the wicked Jews, would put Him to death, not because Satan had this power over Him, but because He Himself wished to die in obedience to the will of His Father.

Saturday 27 May 2023

Some words on Pentecost and the Holy Ghost

Pentecost, one of the great feasts of the Church, is tomorrow. To recognize the occasion, we are publishing a transcription from an "old book" on the Holy Spirit's role in Pentecost - and beyond. This writer has been treated to several sermons of late on how the Church is the Church of the Holy Ghost, and found the following similar to what he has heard. For context, the transcription comes from a tome called "The Fountain of Catholic Knowledge," and was published in 1897. There is a handsome portrait of Bl. Leo XIII for the front-piece. May the following transcription be a source of edification for our readers.

The Holy Spirit is, I repeat, the soul of the Church. It is He who animates, sustains, and protects it, who gives it life, and makes it fruitful in all good works; it is He who brings destruction upon its enemies; it is He who maintains in the true faith and constantly assists the Pope, its infallible head.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and dwells in all fulness in the Sacred Heart of the Saviour, as in a house of life and life. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son as in the Father, and reaches the faithful only through the divine channel of the Heart of Jesus.

Our Lord, the invisible Head and Ruler of His Church, works only through the Holy Spirit, whom He sheds as a heavenly dew upon the souls of the faithful.

Thus, it is the Holy Spirit who gives to the Sacraments all their virtue, to the Pope his infallibility, and to bishops and priests their sacred prerogatives.

It is the Holy Spirit who governs and directs the Church, sanctifies the saints, and strengthens the martyrs. It is the Holy Spirit who makes fruitful all Catholic institutions, and inspires all noble deeds.

Nothing exists, and nothing can exist, without the working of the Holy Spirit, since He is, with the Father and the Son, the only true and living God, Creator, and Lord of all things.

Fallen angels and sinful men drive him from their hearts, where, with the Father and the Son, He ever desires to dwell. But the faithful children of God and of the Church guard themselves carefully as the temples of the Holy Ghost, knowing well that the indwelling spirit of their God is the most priceless possession, the source of all grace, and the germ of eternal happiness and glory.

Every year, fifty days after Easter, the Church, in remembrance of the Holy Ghost, solemnly celebrates the beautiful feast of Pentecost, which is, next to Easter and Christmas, the greatest of the year.

Monday 22 May 2023

Sunday 21 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Sixth Sunday after Easter

Today, Fr. Leonard Goffine provides two Instructions. The first is on scandal. The second, on account of its approach, regards preparing for Pentecost.



This Sunday and the whole week should serve as a preparation for the festival of Pentecost, that we may be enabled by good works and pious devotional exercises, to receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost. At the Introit the Church sings:


Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee, allel. My heart bath said to thee: I have sought thy face, thy face, O Lord, I will seek: turn not away thy face from me, allel. allel. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? (Ps. XXVI. 7-9.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT  Almighty, everlasting God, grant us ever to have a will devoted to Thee, and to serve Thy majesty with a sincere heart. Through .etc.

EPISTLE (1 Peter IV. 7-11.) Dearly beloved, be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things, have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covereth a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another without murmuring: as every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administereth; that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

EXPLANATION The practice of the virtues which St. Peter here prescribes for the faithful, is an excellent preparation for the reception of the Holy Ghost, for nothing renders us more worthy of His visit than true love for our neighbor, the good use of God's gifts; and the faithful discharge of the duties of our state of life. Strive, therefore, to practise these virtues and thus make yourself less unworthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Say daily during the week the following prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, who bast assembled the people of all tongues in unity of faith, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy divine love.

GOSPEL (John XV. 26-27., to XVI. 1-4.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whomsoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things I have told you, that, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you.

Why is the Holy Ghost called the Paraclete?

Through the apostles and disciples whom He made so eloquent and so courageous that they intrepidly professed and preached Christ to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah. This doctrine He confirmed by astounding miracles, and sealed it by their blood which they shed in its defence The Holy Ghost still gives testimony of Christ through the Church, that is, the clergy, through whom He speaks, and who must, therefore, be listened to reverently. We must also give testimony of Christ and profess by our lives, by patience in crosses and afflictions that He is our Teacher, our Lord, and our God; for if we do not thus acknowledge' Him in this world He will deny us before His Father in heaven. (Matt X. 33.)

Did the Jews sin in persecuting and putting to death the apostles?

Undoubtedly; for although they erroneously believed they were doing God a service, their ignorance and error were very sinful and deserving of punishment, because they could easily have known and been instructed in the truth.

Those Christians who neglect all religious instruction hardly know what is necessary for salvation, and make light of many things which are grievous sins; as also those who are in doubt whether they justly or unjustly possess certain goods, and yet through fear of being compelled to make restitution, neglect to settle the doubts such are in culpable ignorance.

What must every Christian know and believe in order to be saved?

That there is but one God, who has created and governs all things; that God is a just judge, who rewards the good and punishes the wicked; that there are in the Deity three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that the Son of God became man for love of us, taught us, and by His death on the cross redeemed us; that the Holy Ghost sanctifies us by His grace, without which we cannot become virtuous or be saved; that man's soul is immortal.

PETITION Send us, O Lord Jesus ! the Paraclete, that He may console and strengthen us in all our afflictions. Enlighten us by Thy Holy Spirit that we may learn and live in accordance with the truths of faith. Amen.



These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. (John XVI. 1.)

How is scandal given?

By speaking, doing or omittihg that which will be, to others an occasion, of sin: Scandal is given in different ways, for instance: if you dress improperly, speak improper words, or sing bad songs; by which you can see, that your neighbor will be tempted to think, desire or act wrongly; or what is worse, if you act sinfully, in the presence of, others, or bring bad books., books against good morals, or against the holy faith, among people; if you incite others to anger, cursing, and vengeance, or if you prevent them from attending church, the sermon, or catechetical instruction, etc. In all these things you become guilty of scandal, as well as of all the sins to which it gives rise.

If at the Last judgment we will be unable to, give an account of our own sins, how, then can we answer for the innumerable sins caused by, he scandal we have given? Therefore Christ pronounces a terrible, woe upon those who give scandal. Woe to that man, He says, by whom the scandal cometh! It were better for him, that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. XVIII.)

How do parents give scandal?

By giving their children bad example; by excessive anger, cursing and swearing; by avarice, injustice and cheating; by discord and quarrels; by gluttony in eating and drinking; by extravagance and vanity in dress; by sneering at religion, good morals, etc.; by not keeping their children from evil company, but sometimes even bringing them into it; by not punishing and endeavoring to eradicate their children's vices. How much parents sin, through such scandals, cannot be expressed; at the Day of judgment their children will be their accusers!

How do masters give scandal to their servants and those under their care?

In the same way as parents do to their children; by keeping them away from, or not urging them by their own example or command to attend church on Sundays and holy-days; by giving them meat on fast-days; by commanding them to do sinful things, such as stealing, injuring others, etc.



1). We should withdraw, after the example ef the Blessed Virgin and the apostles, to some solitary place, or at least avoid, intercourse with others, as much as possible; speak but little, and apply ourselves to earnest and persevering prayer; for in solitude God speaks to man.

2). We should purify our conscience by a contrite confession, become reconciled to our neighbor, it we have lived in enmity; for the Holy Ghost, as a spirit of peace and purity, lives only in pure and peaceful souls. (Ps. IXXV. 3.)

3). We should give alms according to our means, for it is said in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts X.) of the Gentile centurion Cornelius, that by prayer and alms-deeds he made himself worthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

4). We should fervently desire to receive the Holy Ghost, and should give expression to this longing by frequent aspirations to God, making use of the prayer: "Come, O Holy Ghost, etc."

Thursday 18 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the glorious feast of Ascension Day

Fr. Leonard Goffine has some instruction on Miracles.



At the Introit the Church sings the words which were spoken by the angels to the apostles and disciples, after the Ascension of our Lord:

INTROIT Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? allel.: He shall so come as you have seen him going up into heaven. Allel., allel., allel. (Acts I. 11.), Oh, clap your hands, all ye nations; shout unto God with the voice of joy. (Ps. XLVI. 2.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that we who believe Thy only‑begotten Son, our Redeemer, to have this day ascended into the heavens, may ourselves also in, mind dwell amid heavenly things. Through the same etc.

LESSON (Acts I. 1-11.) The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach , until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles ,whom he had chosen, he was taken up: to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the prom­ise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth: for John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They, therefore, who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? But he said to diem: It is not for you to know the times or moments which the Father hath put in his own power; but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold, two men stood by them in white garments, who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand yon looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.

EXPLANATION This gospel of St. Luke addressed to Theophilus, a Christian of note in Antioch, contains an account of the life, sufferings, and death of Jesus up to the time of His ascension into heaven. The Evangelist con­tinues his account in the Acts of the apostles, in which he describes in simple words that which Jesus did during the forty days following His Resurrection, and the manner in which He ascended into heaven in the presence of His apostles. Rejoice that Christ today has entered into the glory gained by His sufferings and death, and pray: I rejoice, O King of heaven and earth, in the glory Thou bast this day attained in heaven. Sing to God, ye kingdoms of the earth: sing ye to the Lord: sing ye to God, who mounteth above the heaven of heavens to the east. Give ye glory to God for Israel, his magnificence and his power is in the clouds. God is wonderful in his saints, the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people, blessed be God. (Ps.LXVII. 33‑36.)

GOSPEL (Mark. XVI. 14-20.) At that time, Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. (And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned: And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing,  it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick; and they shall recover.) And the Lord Jesus after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere, the Lord work­ing withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

The part of this gospel which is within the marks of parenthesis, is the gospel for the feast of St: Francis Xavier.

Why did Christ say to His apostles: Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creatures?

To show that no one is to assume the office of preach­ing, but must look for his mission from the lawful pastors of the Church. And when Christ sends His apostles into the whole worlds to all nations without exception, He shows His willingness to save all men. If the designs of God are not fulfilled, the blame is not to be attributed to God, but to man, who either does not accept the doctrine of the gospel, or accepting, does not live in accordance with it, or else renders himself by his obduracy in vice, unworthy of the gospel.

Is faith without good works sufficient for salvation?

No, faith that is not active in love, not fruitful in good works, and therefore not meritorious, (Gal. V. 6.) is not suf­ficient for salvation. "Such faith," says St. Anselm, "is not the faith of a Christian, but the faith of the devil." Only he who truly believes in Christ and His doctrine, and lives in accordance with it, will be saved.

Is ours then the true faith since all the faithful do not work miracles; as Christ has predicted?

St. Gregory very beautifully replies to this question: "Because the Redeemer said that true faith would be ac­companied by miracles, you must not think that you have not the faith, because these signs do not follow; these miracles had to be wrought in the beginning of the Church, because faith in her had to be increased by these visible signs of divine power." And even now when such signs are necessary for the propagation of the faith, and victory over unbelief, God gives His faithful power to work them.

Are miracles wrought now in the Catholic Church?

Yes, for there have been at all times saints in the Church, who, as seen from their lives, have wrought miracles, on account of their faith, which even the heretics cannot deny; for instance St. Francis Xavier, who in the sight of the heathens, raised several dead persons to life. In a spiritual manner all pious Catholics still work such miracles; for, as St. Chrysostom says, "they expel devils when they banish sin, which is worse than the devil; they speak new tongues when they converse no longer on vain and sinful things, but on those which are spiritual and heavenly." "They take up serpents," says St. Gregory, "when by zealous exhortations they lift others from the shame of vice, without being themselves poisoned; they drink deadly things without being hurt by them, when they hear improper conversation without being corrupted or led to evil; they lay their hands upon the sick and heal them, when they teach the ignorant, strengthen by their good example those who are wavering in virtue, keep the sinner from evil, and similar things." Strive to do this upon all occasions, O Christian, for God willingly gives you His grace and you will thus be of more use to yourself and others, and honor God more than by working the greatest miracles.

Where and how did Christ ascend into heaven?

From Mount Olivet where His sufferings began, by which we learn, that where our crosses and afflictions begin which we endure with patience and resignation, there begins our reward. Christ ascended into heaven by His own power, because He is God, and now in His glorified humanity He sits at the right hand of His Father, as our continual Mediator.

In whose presence did Christ ascend into heaven?

In the presence of His apostles, and many of His dis­ciples, whom He had previously blessed, (Luke XXIV. 51.) and who, as St. Leo says, derived consoling joy from His ascension. Rejoice, also, O Christian foul, for Christ has today opened heaven for you, and you may enter it, if you believe in Christ, and live in accordance with that faith. St. Augustine says: "Let us ascend in spirit with Christ, that when His day comes, we may follow with our body.

Yet you must know, beloved brethren, that not pride, nor avarice, nor impurity, nor any other vice ascends with Christ; for with the teacher of humility pride ascends not, nor with the author of goodness, malice, nor with the Son of the Virgin, impurity. Let us then ascend with Him by trampling upon our vices and evil inclinations, thus build­ing a ladder by which we can ascend; for we make a ladder of our sins to heaven when we tread them down in combating them:"

ASPIRATION O King of glory! O powerful Lord! who hast this day ascended victoriously, above all heaven, leave us not as poor orphans; but send us, from the Father, the Spirit of truth whom Thou hast promised. Alleluia.

Why is the paschal candle extinguished after the gospel on this day?

To signify that Christ, of whom the candle is a figure, has gone from His disciples.



And these signs shall follow them that believe.(Mark XVI. 17.)

What is a miracle?

A miracle, as defined by St. Thomas of Aquin, is any­thing beyond the ordinary, fixed state of things that is done through God. Thus when the sun stands still in his course, when thousands are fed with five loaves and two small fishes, when by a word or simple touch the dead are raised to life, the blind see, and the deaf hear, these are things contrary to nature, and are miracles which can only be performed by God or those persons to whom God has given the power.

That God can work miracles, cannot be denied. God has made the laws of nature, and at any time it pleases Him, He can suddenly suspend them, and that God has at times done so, we have more solid and undeniable proofs, than we have for the most renowned and best authenticated facts of history, far more witnesses testify to miracles, the whole world has believed them, and been converted by them; more than eleven millions of martyrs have died to confirm and maintain their truth; no one gives up his life for lies and deceptions; the Jews and pagans have admitted them, but ascribed them to witchcraft and the power of demons rather than to God; by this they proved and acknowledged the truth of miracles, because in order to deny them, they were driven to false and absurd explanation of them.

Can men work miracles?

No; only God works miracles through man to whom He gives the power. The history of the Christian Church in all ages bears testimony, that men have wrought miracles in the name of Jesus, as, for example, the apostles and the saints.

Can miracles be worked by the relics of saints, pictures, &e.?

The Church, in the Council of Trent, solemnly declares, that we are never to believe that there is in any picture or relic any hidden power by which a miracle can, be worked, and that we are not to honor or ask any such thing of them. Therefore no miracle can ever be worked by them, but God can perform miracles through them, and He has done so, as the holy Scriptures and the history of the Church of Christ both prove. But when through certain pictures (usually called miraculous pictures) miracles do take place, that no deception may occur, the Church commands that such a picture shall not be exposed for the veneration of the faithful, until the truth of the miracles performed is by a rigorous examination established beyond doubt; she then causes such pictures to be respectfully preserved as monu­ments of the goodness and omnipotence of God.

Why are there not so many miracles in our ties as there were in the first days of the Church?

Because the Church is no longer in need of such extra­ordinary testimony to the truth of her teachings. Thus St. Augustine writes: "He who in the face of the conversion of the world to Christianity demands miracles, and strives to doubt those which have been wrought in favor of this most wonderful change, is himself an astonishing miracle of irrationality and stupidity;" and St. Chrysostom says: "The question is sometimes asked: How happens it there are not so many miracles now‑a‑days? The answer is, because the knowledge of Christ is propagated all over the earth, and the Church is like a tree which, having once taken deep root and grown to a certain height, no longer needs to be carefully watered and supported."


Sunday 14 May 2023

Fr. Leonard Goffine on the Fifth Sunday after Easter

Fr. Leonard Goffine includes a short explanation of the Lord's Prayer, and some Instruction on Rogation Days.



In thanks for the redemption the Church sings at the Introit:

INTROIT Declare the voice of joy, and let it be heard, allel.: declare it even to the ends of the earth: the Lord hath delivered his people. (Isai. XLVII. 20.) Allel. allel. Shout with joy to God, all the earth: sing ye a psalm to his name, give glory to his praise. (Fs. LXV.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, from whom all good things proceed: grant to Thy suppliants, that by Thy inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by Thy guidance may perform the same. Through etc.

EPISTLE (James I. 22‑27.) Dearly Beloved, Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a than beholding his own countenance in a glass: for he beheld himself and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was. But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless, and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world.

EXPLANATION True piety, as St. James here says, consists not only in knowing and recognizing the word of God, but in living according to its precepts and teachings; in subduing the tongue, the most dangerous and injurious of all our members; in being charitable to the poor and destitute, and in contemning the world, its false principles, foolish customs and scandalous example, against which we should guard, that we may not become infected and polluted by them. Test thyself, whether thy life be of this kind.

ASPIRATION O Jesus! Director of the soul! Give me the grace of true piety as defined by St. James.

GOSPEL (John XVI. 23-30.) At this time, Jesus saith to his disciples: Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father,anything in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto, you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. In that day, you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you that I will ask the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples say to him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we know that thou knowest all things, and thou needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth from God.

Why does God wish us to ask of Him?

That we may know and confess that all good comes from Him; that we may acknowledge our poverty and weakness which in all things need the help of God; that we may thus glorify Him and render ourselves less unworthy of the gifts which He has promised us.

What is meant by asking to the name of Jesus?

By this is meant praying with confidence in the merits of Jesus, "who," as St. Cyril says, "being God with the Father, gives us all good, and as mediator carries our petitions to His Father." The Church, therefore concludes all her prayers with the words: "Through our Lord, Jesus Christ." It means also that we should ask that which is in accordance with the will of Christ, namely, all things necessary for the salvation of our soul; to pray for temporal things merely in order to live happily in this world, is not pleasing to Christ and avails us nothing. "He who prays for what hinders salvation," says St. Augustine, "does not pray in the name of Jesus." Thus Jesus said to His disciples: Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name, "because," as St. Gregory says, "they did not ask for that which conduces to eternal salvation."

Why is it that God sometimes does not grant our petitions?

Because we often pray for things that are injurious, and like a good father, God denies them to us, in order to give us something better; because He wishes to prove our patience and perseverance in prayer; because we generally do not pray as we ought; to be pleasing to God, prayer should be made when in a state of grace and with confidence in Christ's merits, for the prayer of a just man availeth much; (James V. 16.) we must pray with humility and submission to the will of God, with attention, fervor, sincerity, and with perseverance.

At what special times should we pray?

We should pray every morning and evening, before and after meals, in time of temptation, when commencing any important undertaking, and particularly in the hour of death. God is mindful of us every moment, and gives us His grace. It is, therefore, but just that we think often of Him during the day, and thank Him for His blessings.

How can we, in accordance with Christ's teachings, (Luke XVIII. 1.) pray at all times?

By making the good intention when commencing our work, to do all for the love of God, and according to His most holy will; by raising our hearts to God at different times during the day; frequently making acts of faith, hope, love, and humility, and by repeating short ejaculations, such as: O Jesus! grant me grace to love Thee! Thee only do I desire to love! O be merciful to me! Lord hasten to help me.

What is the signification of the different ceremonies that Catholics use at their prayers?

The general signification is that God must be served, honored and adored, not only with the soul but with the body; when we pray aloud we praise God, not only with the mind, but also with our lips; when we pray with bowed and uncovered head, with folded, uplifted, or outstretched hands, on bended knees, with bowed and prostrated body, we show our reverence and subjection to the majesty of God, before whom we, who are but dust and ashes, cannot humble ourselves enough. These different ceremonies during prayer are frequently mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments, and Christ and His apostles have made use of them, as for instance, the bending of the knees, falling on the face, &c.

Which is the best of all prayers?

The Lord's Prayer which Christ Himself taught us, and commands us to repeat. When said with devotion, it is the most powerful of all prayers. (Matt. VI, 9-13; Luke XI. 2‑4.)


Of what does the Lord's Prayer consist?

It consists of an address, as an introduction to the prayer, and of seven petitions which contain all that we should ask for the honor of God, and for our own salvation. The address is thus: Our Father who art in heaven:

What does the word “Our" signify?

In the communion of saints we should pray for and with all the children of God; we should be humble and preserve brotherly love towards all men.

Who is it that is here called our “Father"?

Our Father is God who has made us His children and heirs of His kingdom through His Son.

Why do we say "Who art in heaven", since God is everywhere?

To remind us that our true home is heaven, for which we, should ardently long, because our Father is there, and there He has prepared our inheritance.

For what do we ask to the first petition: "Hallowed be Thy name?"

That we and all men may truly know, love, and serve God.

For what do we pray to the second petition: "Thy kingdom come?"

That the Church of God; the kingdom of Christ, may extend over the whole earth, and the kingdom of sin and the devil be destroyed; that Christ may reign in our hearts and in the hearts of all; and that God will deign to receive us into the kingdom of heaven when our earthly pilgrimage is ended.

For what do we ask to the third petition: "Thy will be done on earth as it is to heaven ?"

We beg that God would enable us, by His grace, to do His will in all things, as the blessed do it in heaven. In these three petitions we seek, as taught by Christ, first the kingdom of God, that all the rest may be added unto us. (Luke XII. 31.)

For what do we ask in the fourth petition: "Give us this day our dally bread?"

We beg for all necessaries for body and soul

Why does it say, "this day?"

The words "this day" signify that we should not be over anxious for the future, but place all our confidence in God who will provide the necessaries of life.

What do we ask for in the fifth petition: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us?"

We beg that God will forgive us our sins, as we forgive others their offenses against us. Those who make this petition, and still bear enmity towards their neighbor, lie in the face of God, and will not receive forgiveness. (Mark XI. 25, 26.)

What is risked for in the sixth petition: Lead us not into temptation?"

We ask God to avert all temptations or at least not to abandon us when we are tempted. We cannot, indeed be entirely free from them in this world, they are even necessary and useful for our salvation: for without temptation there is no combat, without combat no victory and without victory no crown.

What do we ask for in the seventh petition: Deliver us from evil?"

We beg that God would free us from all evil of soul and body.


What are processions?

Processions are solemn religious assemblages of persons marching together, and are instituted by the Catholic Church partly to encourage the piety of the faithful, partly in remembrance of graces received, and in thanksgiving for them. Processions are approved of by the Fathers of the Church from the earliest ages. Those who take part in them in a true spirit will reap wholesome fruit of Christian piety.

Are processions something new?

No, they were the custom in the very earliest centuries of the Church, as testified by the acts of the martyrs, of Saints Cyprian, Lucius, Boniface, and the Fathers of the Church, Saints Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gregory, and others. They are also founded on Scripture. Thus King David caused the ark of the covenant to be carried in solemn procession to Jerusalem, (II Kings VI.) and Solomon, his son, had it carried in solemn procession into the new temple. (III Kings VIII. 1-6.)

What do processions signify?

Processions are a figure of our pilgrimage on earth; we are strangers and wanderers here below, our journey reaches from this valley of tears to the heavenly Sion, the procession therefore returns into the house of God; our journey leads over the thorny ways of life, the procession therefore takes place in the open air, where the pilgrim is exposed to all kinds of weather; they are a powerful incentive to fervor in prayer for the faithful; when hundreds, even thousands of faithful praise God aloud, or cry to Him for help and mercy, must not even the coldest heart be roused to vivid, fervent devotion, since Christ has promised to be present even where two or three are assembled in His name? Processions are an open acknowledgment that praise, thanks and adoration are due to God alone, while they are a public profession of our faith in Christ, the Crucified; they are a solemn thanksgiving for being permitted to profess Christ, our Lord, before the whole world, as also for all the graces obtained through Him; they are a public testimonial of our faith in the one, holy, Catholic Church, whose members are united by the same bond of faith, and who form under their head, Christ, one family in God. Finally, they are a sign of the triumph of Christian faith over the darkness of heathenism. If processions are solemnized with such intentions, with order and dignity, with fervent devotion, in the light of faith, they are indeed a pleasing sight for angels and men

Why are banners and the cross carried in procession?

The cross signifies that we are assembled as Christians, in the name of Jesus, in whose name we begin and end our prayers, through whose merits we expect all things from the Heavenly Father, and whom we must follow: on our journey to heaven; the red and white banners indicate that we must walk in all innocence under the banner of Christ, and fight unto death against sin, against the world and the devil, and be as ready as were the martyrs to give our life for our faith; the blue banners indicate that we must walk the road of self-denial and mortification, with really humble and penitent feelings for our gins. The banners are also emblematic of Christ's victory over death and hell, and of the triumph of His religion over the pagans and Jews.

Why do we go around the fields in processions?

To beg God to bless the fields with His fatherly hand, to give and preserve the fruits of the earth, and. as He fills the animals with blessings, and gives them food at the proper time, so may He give to as also our necessary food.

What is the origin of the procession on St. Mark's day and on Rogation Days?

The procession on St. Mark's day was instituted even before the time of Pope Gregory the Great (607) who, however, brought it into fervent practice, "in order," as he says, 'to obtain, in a measurer forgiveness of our sins." The same pontiff introduced another, called the Sevenfold Procession, because the faithful of Rome took part in it in seven divisions, from seven different Churches, meeting in the Church of the Blessed Virgin. It was also named the Pest Procession, because it was ordered by St. Gregory to obtain the cessation of a fearful pestilence which was at that time raging in Rome, and throughout all Italy. This pestilence so poisoned the atmosphere that one opening his mouth to sneeze or gape would suddenly fall dead; (hence the custom of saying God bless you," to one sneezing, and of making the sign of the cross on the mouth of one who gapes). The same holy pope ordered the picture of the Blessed Virgin, which is said to have been painted by St. Luke, to be carried in this procession, and that the intercession of this powerful mother be these supplications and the pestilence asked. God heard ceased. It is said that the processions in Rogation Week owe their origin to St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne in France; in the neighborhood of which city there were, in the year 469, terrible earthquakes which caused great destruction, the fruits perished and various plagues afflicted the people. The saintly bishop assembled the faithful, recommended them to seek refuge in the merciful God, and led them in procession around the fields. Such processions spread over France, and gradually throughout the Christian world; they are held in order to obtain from God the averting of universal evils, such as war, famine, and pestilence, and are, at the same time, a preparation for the Ascension of Christ who is our most powerful mediator with His Father, and whom we should invoke especially during these days.

With what intentions should we take part in a procession?

With the intention of glorifying God, of thanking Him for all. His graces, and of obtaining aid and comfort from Him in all our corporal and spiritual needs; with the view of professing our faith openly before the whole world, and with the sincere resolution of always following Christ, the Crucified, in the path of penance and mortification. He who entertains other intentions and takes part, perhaps, for temporal advantages, or for sinful pleasures, or to avoid labor, &c., sins against God and the Church who weeps over and condemns such abuses.