Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Martyrdom of St. John Fisher - 22 June 1535 (By Michael Davies)

[Taken from Saint John Fisher, by Michael Davies, The Neumann Press, 1998. Also available at St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr]

Statue of St. John Fisher outside St. John Fisher Church, Rochester, England

The Martyrdom of St. John Fisher

The last four days of the saint's life were sunshine. All his depression of soul had left him, so that his jailors marvelled at the joy and sense of freedom which possessed him. At five o'clock in the morning of 22 June, the Lieutenant of the Tower [of London] came to his bedside and found him fast asleep. Waking the prisoner gently, [Sir Edmund] Walsingham broke the news of his execution with great courtesy and sympathy. The cardinal [St. John had been Bishop of Rochester, and was made Cardinal Priest of Saint Vitalis by Pope Paul III a month earlier on 20 May] thanked him, and asked when it was to be. When he learned that the hour fixed was ten o'clock, he made answer:

Well, then, I pray you, let me sleep an hour or two, for I may say to you, I slept not much this night; and yet, to tell you the truth, not for any fear of death, I tell you, but by reason of my great infirmity and weakness.
And he turned over and went to sleep again. When he was awakened he called to his man to help him up, and commanded him to take away the shirt of hair he always wore, and to lay him forth a clean white shirt and all his best apparel, saying: "Dost thou not mark that this is our marriage day, and that it behoveth us, therefore, to use more cleanliness for solemnity of the marriage sake?"

When he came out of the Tower, a summer morning's mist hung over the river, wreathing the buildings in a golden haze. Two of the Lieutenant's men carried him in a chair to the gate, and there they set him down, while waiting for the Sheriffs. The cardinal stood up and leaning his shoulder against a wall for support, opened the little New Testament he carried in his hand. "O Lord," he said, so that all could hear him, "this is the last time I shall ever open this book. Let some comforting place now chance to me whereby I, Thy poor servant, may glorify Thee in my last hour" - and looking down at the page, he read:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know Thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou has sent. I have glorified Thee on earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do (John, 17:3-4).
Whereupon he shut the book, saying: "Here is even learning enough for me to my life's end." His lips were moving in prayer, as they carried him to Tower Hill. And when they reached the scaffold, the rough men of his escort offered to help him up the ladder. But he smiled at them: "Nay, masters, now let me alone, ye shall see me go up to my death well enough myself, without help." And forthwith he began to climb, almost nimbly. As he reached the top the sun appeared from behind the clouds, and its light shone upon his face. He was heard to murmur some words from Psalm 33: Accedite ad eum, et illuminamimi, et facies vestræ non confundentur. The masked headsman knelt - as the custom was - to ask his pardon. And again the cardinal's manliness dictated every word of his answer: "I forgive thee with all my heart, and I trust on Our Lord Thou shalt see me die even lustily." Then they stripped him of his gown and furred tippet, and he stood in his doublet and hose before the crowd which had gathered to see his death. A gasp of pity went up at the sight of his "long, lean, slender body, nothing in manner but skin and bones ... the flesh clean wasted away, and a very image of death, and as one might say, death in a man's shape and using a man's voice." He was offered a final chance to save his life by acknowledging the royal supremacy, but the saint turned to the crowd, and from the front of the scaffold, he spoke these words:

Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ's Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my courage hath served me well thereto, so that yet hitherto I have not feared death; wherefore I desire you help me and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of my death's stroke, and in the very moment of my death, I then faint not in any point of the Catholic Faith for fear; and I pray God save the king and the realm, and hold His holy hand over it, and send the king a good counsel.
The power and resonance of his voice, the courage of his spirit triumphing over the obvious weakness of his body, amazed them all, and a murmur of admiration was still rustling the crowd when they saw him go down on his knees and begin to pray. They stood in awed silence while he said the Te Deum in praise of God, and the Psalm [70] In Thee O Lord have I put my trust, the humble request for strength beyond his own. Then he signed to the executioner to bind his eyes. For a moment more he prayed, hands and heart raised to heaven. Then he lay down and put his wasted neck upon the low block. The executioner, who had been standing back, took one quick step forward, raised his axe and with a single blow cut off his head. So copious a stream of blood poured from the neck that those present wondered how it could have come from so thin and wasted a frame. There was certainly divine irony in the fact that 22 June, the date of the execution, was the Feast of St. Alban, the first Martyr for the Faith in Britain. If the king had realized this he would certainly have arranged for the execution of Cardinal Fisher to take place on another day. The judgement passed upon the king in a contemporary account could hardly be more severe:

More monstrous was it that the king or any man could be so cruel to put such a man to death, yea, though he had been an offender; for very shortly he must have died by nature. And surely, I think, if he had been in the great Turk's land, and guilty of a great trespass there, he would never for pity have put him to death, being all ready so near the pit's brink. For it is the most cruel thing that can be, to put any to death that is presently dying. Wherefore in this point I think that this king Henry passed all the Turks or tyrants that ever was read or heard of.

Plaque on Tower Hill at the site of the execution of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More, among others

The headless body of the martyr was stripped of its clothes by the executioner, the clothes of the condemned were one of his perquisites, and lay on the scaffold for most of the day until out of pity and humanity someone stepped forward and cast a little straw over the naked remains.

At about eight o'clock in the evening commandment was come to bury the body to certain men that tarried there about the scaffold with the body all that afternoon with halberds and bills. Whereupon one of them took up the dead body without the head upon his halberd and carried it to a churchyard of a parish church there hard by called Barking, where on the north side of that church, he and his fellows with their halberds digged a grave (for other grave had he none but this that they digged with their halberds) and therein without any reverence they vilely threw this holy, innocent bishop's dead body, all naked, flat upon his belly, without any winding sheet or any other accustomed funeral ceremonies, and then covered it quickly with the earth, and so, following herein the commandment of the king, buried it contemptuously.
The faithful began coming in large numbers to venerate the place where the body of the Saint was buried, and so the remains were removed and reburied in the little church of St. Peter-ad-Vincula in the Tower, near the body of St. Thomas More whose predetermined sentence of death had been pronounced in Westminster Hall on 1 July 1535. Once he had been sentenced St. Thomas openly avowed his conviction that the oath of supremacy was unlawful. He stated that supremacy in the Church could not belong to a layman and that it "rightfully belonged to the see of Rome, as granted personally by Our Lord when on earth to St. Peter and his successors, and that just as the city of London could not make a law against the laws of the realm of England, so England could not make a law contrary to the general law of Christ's Catholic Church." He added that for England to refuse obedience to the See of Rome was the same as for a child to refuse obedience to a parent. In a letter to [Thomas] Cromwell written fifteen months earlier, More had expressed the belief for which he and Fisher were prepared to die: "This is the Catholic Faith: which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved." St. Thomas More was executed on 6 July and met his death with the same courage that St. John Fisher and the Carthusians [who were executed on 4 May 1535] had shown. Eyewitnesses testify that he even displayed cheerfulness upon the scaffold, affirming that he died a faithful subject to the king and a true Catholic before God.

St. John Fisher's head was placed into a bag by the executioner to be impaled on London Bridge. One account claims that it was first taken to Anne Boleyn who ha[d] expressed a desire to see it. Gazing upon it contemptuously she is said to have remarked:

"Is this the head that so often exclaimed against me? I trow it shall never do more harm!" And with this striking it on the mouth with the back of her hand, she hurt one of her fingers upon a tooth which stuck somewhat more out than the rest did, which finger grew sore, and putting her to pain many days after, was nevertheless cured at last with much difficulty, but after it was healed, the mark of the hurt place remained to be seen when her own head was not to be seen on her shoulders.
Even if this story is not true it shows that the people regarded Anne Boleyn as another Herodias and the saint as a second John the Baptist who gave his life for the sanctity of the marriage bond, but in view of the vindictiveness that she displayed towards Catherine, Princess Mary, Wolsey, and Fisher the account seems far from improbable. Fisher's early biographers compared him to the Baptist and stigmatized Henry as more cruel than Herod. The next day the head was parboiled and impaled upon a pole on London bridge among the heads of the Carthusian Martyrs who had offered their lives for the unity of the Church. To the embarrassment of the authorities the saint's head remained incorrupt:

Almighty God was pleased to show, above the course of nature, in this preserving the fresh and lively colour in his face, surpassing the colour he had being alive; whereby was noted to the world the innocence and holiness of this blessed father, that thus innocently was content to lose his head in defence of his mother, the holy Catholic Church of Christ; whereby the people coming daily to see this strange sight, the passage over the bridge was so stopped with their going and coming, that almost neither cart nor horse could pass, and therefore at the end of fourteen days, the executioner was commanded to throw down the head in the night time into the river of Thames, and in the place thereof was set the head of the most blessed and constant Martyr, Sir Thomas More, his companion in all his troubles, who suffered his passion the 6th day of July next following.
St. John Fisher, martyr and patron of marriage, pray for us!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One Hundred and Sixty-one Years Ago...

On this day in 1846, Blessed Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was elected Pope. He was elected on only the second day of the conclave of cardinals, on the fourth ballot. His predecessor, Pope Gregory XVI, had made him a Cardinal Priest with the title of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus in 1840. In his book on Blessed Pius IX, Italian author Roberto de Mattei, a Profesor of Modern History at the University of Cassino in Rome, recounted how a 19th century biographer of the pope described him.

"'Mastai,' writes Mgr. Balan, who draws a flattering portrait of him, 'was a man of singular virtue, of great piety and purity, and of a mild and compassionate character. But he was also firm and a great expert in political matters; he had a deep understanding of the sad conditions of our society, he had had personal experience of numerous upheavals and of the artfulness of the sects, and he was well versed in ecclesiastical discipline. He was eloquent, sober, temperate, with an attractive personality, kindly, a stranger to any undeserved favour towards his relatives, generous in giving his help and protection, affectionate, of a singular delicate conscience, and he had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. But in very stormy times he became Pope.'"

Besides his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Yves Chiron wrote in another recent biography on the beatified pope that Pius IX:

"Before taking his meal, he frequently used to read, or have read to him, a selection of texts from St. Francis de Sales, and he often recommended this work.... We can be sure that it was this love of St. Francis de Sales - which was communicated to him by Cardinal Polidori [one of the pope's spiritual teachers when he was a young priest] - that led Pius IX to proclaim him a Doctor of the Church in 1877. This special attachment to the author of the Introduction to the Devout Life was also evident after his death when, in one of his prayer-books, a special little picture was found: in it, he himself had put together tiny portraits of the saints who were dear to him: the Blessed Virgin [Mary]; the apostles Peter and Paul; St. John; St. Catherine, virgin and martyr [probably St. Catherine of Alexandria, patron of philosophers]; St. Philip Neri; St. Louis [Aloysius] Gonzaga; and St. Francis de Sales."

Blessed Pius IX's election wasn't announced until the following morning. It was Cardinal Tommaso Riario Sforza who made the announcement from the balcony of the Quirinal Palace (which was the location of many papal conclaves before the Papal States were overthrown, and the kings of Italy between 1871 and 1946 took their residence there). His solemn coronation as pope took place several days later on June 21 at St. Peter's Basilica.

Blessed Pius IX reigned as Pope for thirty-two years, the longest pontificate in history, only after St. Peter himself. It is often stated that the the three greatest acts of papacy were his solemn definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; the issuing of the Syllabus of Errors, which, according to Professor de Mattei, "condemned the principal errors which corrupt culture and modern society;" and the First Vatican Council, in which papal infallibility was dogmatically defined. All three events are associated with December 8 - December 8, 1854 for the definition of the Immaculate Conception; December 8, 1864 for the promulgation of the Syllabus, which was an annex of the encyclical Quanta Cura; and December 8, 1869 for the opening the First Vatican Council.

+Blessed Pius IX ~ Ora pro nobis+
Pray for the canonization of Pope Pius IX

(I credit Caesar on the Catholic.com forums for this, though I happen to have agreed with this sentiment for some time now.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart) - Encyclical by Pope Pius XII

From HAURIETIS AQUAS (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart) - Encyclical by Pope Pius XII


1. "You shall draw waters with joy out of the Savior's fountain." These words by which the prophet Isaias, using highly significant imagery, foretold the manifold and abundant gifts of God which the Christian era was to bring forth, come naturally to Our mind when We reflect on the centenary of that year when Our predecessor of immortal memory, [Blessed] Pius IX, gladly yielding to the prayers from the whole Catholic world, ordered the celebration of the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Universal Church....

11. There are others who reckon this same devotion burdensome and of little or no use to men who are fighting in the army of the divine King and who are inspired mainly by the thought of laboring with their own strength, their own resources and expenditures of their own time, to defend Catholic truth, to teach and spread it, to instill Christian social teachings, to promote those acts of religion and those undertakings which they consider much more necessary today.

12. Again, there are those who so far from considering this devotion a strong support for the right ordering and renewal of Christian morals both in the individual's private life and in the home circle, see it rather a type of piety nourished not by the soul and mind but by the senses and consequently more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men.

13. Moreover there are those who consider a devotion of this kind as primarily demanding penance, expiation and the other virtues which they call "passive," meaning thereby that they produce no external results. Hence they do not think it suitable to re-enkindle the spirit of piety in modern times. Rather, this should aim at open and vigorous action, at the triumph of the Catholic faith, at a strong defense of Christian morals. Christian morality today, as everyone knows, is easily contaminated by the sophistries of those who are indifferent to any form of religion, and who, discarding all distinctions between truth and falsehood, whether in thought or in practice, accept even the most ignoble corruptions of materialistic atheism, or as they call it, secularism.

14. Who does not see, venerable brethren, that opinions of this kind are in entire disagreement with the teachings which Our predecessors officially proclaimed from this seat of truth when approving the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.? Who would be so bold as to call that devotion useless and inappropriate to our age which Our predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII, declared to be "the most acceptable form of piety?" He had no doubt that in it there was a powerful remedy for the healing of those very evils which today also, and beyond question in a wider and more serious way, bring distress and disquiet to individuals and to the whole human race. "This devotion," he said, "which We recommend to all, will be profitable to all." And he added this counsel and encouragement with reference to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: " … hence those forces of evil which have now for so long a time been taking root and which so fiercely compel us to seek help from Him by Whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God? 'For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.' We must have recourse to Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

15. No less to be approved, no less suitable for the fostering of Christian piety was this devotion declared to be by Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI. In an encyclical letter he wrote: "Is not a summary of all our religion and, moreover, a guide to a more perfect life contained in this one devotion? Indeed, it more easily leads our minds to know Christ the Lord intimately and more effectively turns our hearts to love Him more ardently and to imitate Him more perfectly."

16. To Us, no less than to Our predecessors, these capital truths are clear and certain. When We took up Our office of Supreme Pontiff and saw, in full accord with Our prayers and desires, that the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had increased and was actually, so to speak, making triumphal progress among Christian peoples, We rejoiced that from it were flowing through the whole Church innumerable and salutary results. This We were pleased to point out in Our first encyclical letter....

41. Hence, since there can be no doubt that Jesus Christ received a true body and had all the affections proper to the same, among which love surpassed all the rest, it is likewise beyond doubt that He was endowed with a physical heart like ours; for without this noblest part of the body the ordinary emotions of human life are impossible. Therefore the Heart of Jesus Christ, hypostatically united to the divine Person of the Word, certainly beat with love and with the other emotions- but these, joined to a human will full of divine charity and to the infinite love itself which the Son shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit, were in such complete unity and agreement that never among these three loves was there any contradiction of or disharmony.

42. However, even though the Word of God took to Himself a true and perfect human nature, and made and fashioned for Himself a heart of flesh, which, no less than ours could suffer and be pierced, unless this fact is considered in the light of the hypostatic and substantial union and in the light of its complement, the fact of man' s redemption, it can be a stumbling block and foolishness to some, just as Jesus Christ, nailed to the Cross, actually was to the Jewish race and to the Gentiles.

43. The official teachings of the Catholic faith, in complete agreement with Scripture, assure us that the only begotten Son of God took a human nature capable of suffering and death especially because He desired, as He hung from the Cross, to offer a bloody sacrifice in order to complete the work of man's salvation. This the Apostle of the Gentiles teaches in another way: "For both He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one. For which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will declare thy name to My brethren' … And again, 'Behold I and My children, whom God hath given Me.' Therefore, because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also in like manner hath been partaker of the same … Wherefore it behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God, that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that wherein He Himself hath suffered and been tempted He is able to succor them who are tempted."

44. The holy Fathers, true witnesses of the divinely revealed doctrine, wonderfully understood what St. Paul the Apostle had quite clearly declared; namely, that the mystery of love was, as it were, both the foundation and the culmination of the Incarnation and the Redemption. For frequently and clearly we can read in their writings that Jesus Christ took a perfect human nature and our weak and perishable human body with the object of providing for our eternal salvation, and of revealing to us in the clearest possible manner that His infinite love for us could express itself in human terms....

58. Since, therefore, Sacred Scripture and the official teaching of the Catholic faith instruct us that all things find their complete harmony and order in the most holy soul of Jesus Christ, and that He has manifestly directed His threefold love for the securing of our redemption, it unquestionably follows that we can contemplate and honor the Heart of the divine Redeemer as a symbolic image of His love and a witness of our redemption and, at the same time, as a sort of mystical ladder by which we mount to the embrace of "God our Savior."

59. Hence His words, actions, commands, miracles, and especially those works which manifest more clearly His love for us—such as the divine institution of the Eucharist, His most bitter sufferings and death, the loving gift of His holy Mother to us, the founding of the Church for us, and finally, the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and upon us—all these, We say, ought to be looked upon as proofs of His threefold love....

101. The Church, the teacher of men, has therefore always been convinced from the time she first published official documents concerning the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that its essential elements, namely, acts of love and reparation by which God's infinite love for the human race is honored, are in no sense tinged with so-called "materialism" or tainted with the poison of superstition. Rather, this devotion is a form of piety that fully corresponds to the true spiritual worship which the Savior Himself foretold when speaking to the woman of Samaria: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore Him. God is a spirit; and they that adore Him must adore Him in spirit and in truth."

102. It is wrong, therefore, to assert that the contemplation of the physical Heart of Jesus prevents an approach to a close love of God and holds back the soul on the way to the attainment of the highest virtues. This false mystical doctrine the Church emphatically rejects as, speaking through Our predecessor of happy memory, Innocent XI, she rejected the errors of those who foolishly declared: "(Souls of this interior way) ought not to make acts of love for the Blessed Virgin, the Saints or the humanity of Christ; for love directed towards those is of the senses, since its objects are also of that kind. No creature, neither the Blessed Virgin nor the Saints, ought to have a place in our heart, because God alone wishes to occupy it and possess it." It is obvious that those who think in this way imagine that the image of the Heart of Jesus represents His human love alone and that there is nothing in it on which, as on a new foundation, the worship of adoration which is exclusively reserved to the divine nature can be based. But everyone realizes that this interpretation of sacred images is entirely false, since it obviously restricts their meaning much too narrowly.

103. Quite the contrary is the thought and teaching of Catholic theologians, among whom St. Thomas writes as follows: "Religious worship is not paid to images, considered in themselves, as things; but according as they are representations leading to God Incarnate. The approach which is made to the image as such does not stop there, but continues towards that which is represented. Hence, because a religious honor is paid to the images of Christ, it does not therefore mean that there are different degrees of supreme worship or of the virtue of religion." It is, then, to the Person of the divine Word as to its final object that that devotion is directed which, in a relative sense, is observed towards the images whether those images are relics of the bitter sufferings which our Savior endured for our sake or that particular image which surpasses all the rest in efficacy and meaning, namely, the pierced Heart of the crucified Christ.

104. Thus, from something corporeal such as the Heart of Jesus Christ with its natural meaning, it is both lawful and fitting for us, supported by Christian faith, to mount not only to its love as perceived by the senses but also higher, to a consideration and adoration of the infused heavenly love; and finally, by a movement of the soul at once sweet and sublime, to reflection on, and adoration of, the divine love of the Word Incarnate....

116. But although, venerable brethren, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has everywhere brought forth fruits of salvation for the Christian life, all are aware that the Church militant on earth—and especially civil society—has not yet attained in a real sense to its essential perfection which would correspond to the prayers and desires of Jesus Christ, the Mystical Spouse of the Church and Redeemer of the human race. Not a few children of the Church mar, by their too many sins and imperfections, the beauty of this Mother's features which they reflect in themselves. Not all Christians are distinguished by that holiness of behavior to which God calls them; not all sinners have returned to the Father's house, which they unfortunately abandoned, that they may be clothed once again with the "first robe" and worthily receive on their finger the ring, the pledge of loyalty to the spouse of their soul; not all the heathen peoples have yet been gathered into the membership of the Mystical Body of Christ.

117. And there is more. For if We experience bitter sorrow at the feeble loyalty of the good in whose souls, tricked by a deceptive desire for earthly possessions, the fire of divine charity grows cool and gradually dies out, much more is Our heart deeply grieved by the machinations of evil men who, as if instigated by Satan himself, are now more than ever zealous in their open and implacable hatred against God, against the Church and above all against him who on earth represents the Person of the divine Redeemer and exhibits His love towards men, in accordance with that well-known saying of the Doctor of Milan: "For (Peter) is being questioned about that which is uncertain, though the Lord is not uncertain; He is questioning not that He may learn, but that He may teach the one whom, at His ascent into Heaven, He was leaving to us as 'the representative of His love.'"

118. But, in truth, hatred of God and of those who lawfully act in His place is the greatest kind of sin that can be committed by man created in the image and likeness of God and destined to enjoy His perfect and enduring friendship for ever in heaven. Man, by hatred of God more than by anything else, is cut off from the Highest Good and is driven to cast aside from himself and from those near to him whatever has its origin in God, whatever is united with God, whatever leads to the enjoyment of God, that is, truth, virtue, peace and justice.

119. Since then, alas, one can see that the number of those whose boast is that they are God's enemies is in some places increasing, that the false slogans of materialism are being spread by act and argument, and unbridled license for unlawful desires is everywhere being praised, is it remarkable that love, which is the supreme law of the Christian religion, the surest foundation of true and perfect justice and the chief source of peace and innocent pleasures, loses its warmth in the souls of many? For as our Savior warned us: "Because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold."

120. When so many evils meet Our gaze—such as cause sharp conflict among individuals, families, nations and the whole world, particularly today more than at any other time—where are We to seek a remedy, venerable brethren? Can a form of devotion surpassing that to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be found, which corresponds better to the essential character of the Catholic faith, which is more capable of assisting the present-day needs of the Church and the human race? What religious practice is more excellent, more attractive, more salutary than this, since the devotion in question is entirely directed towards the love of God itself?

Finally, what more effectively than the love of Christ—which devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus daily increases and fosters more and more—can move the faithful to bring into the activities of life the Law of the Gospel, the setting aside of which, as the words of the Holy Spirit plainly warn, "the work of justice shall be peace," makes peace worthy of the name completely impossible among men?

124. In order that favors in greater abundance may flow on all Christians, nay, on the whole human race, from the devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, let the faithful see to it that to this devotion the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God is closely joined. For, by God's Will, in carrying out the work of human Redemption, the Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably linked with Christ in such a manner that our salvation sprang from the love and the sufferings of Jesus Christ to which the love and sorrows of His Mother were intimately united. It is, then, entirely fitting that the Christian people—who received the divine life from Christ through Mary—after they have paid their debt of honor to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should also offer to the most loving Heart of their heavenly Mother the corresponding acts of piety affection, gratitude and expiation. Entirely in keeping with this most sweet and wise disposition of divine Providence is the memorable act of consecration by which We Ourselves solemnly dedicated Holy Church and the whole world to the spotless Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary....

Monday, June 04, 2007

Seen in Washington, DC

The "new" pastor at Old St. Mary's in Washington, DC (he has been there for almost a year) has been doing some repairs around the parish. In preparation for repainting the walls of the sacristy, he removed some framed pictures on the wall. One was a painting of Pope John Paul II. The frame was in need of some work as well, so he took the painting out of the frame. Behind the painting, he found another painting of an earlier pope. This is what he found.

Pope Pius XII