Dignare Me Laudare Te, Virgo Sacrata

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Restoration of the Reign of Christ the King

[Image of Christ the King, taken from Pius XI: The Kingship of Christ]

[The following is excerpted from "The Reign of Christ the King in Both Public and Private Life," by Michael Davies; published by Tan Books. According to the publisher, it was "slightly adapted [from] a talk given by Davies at the VNI Conference in the Chicago area in November of 1991. VNI - Voice Network International - is an organization based in the Chicago area and run by Catholic laymen to promote solid Catholic restoration in the Church."]

"We must make the social reign of Christ the King possible today. If we do not do all that is in our power to restore the Social Kingship of Our Lord, we are not worthy of our Baptism, we are not worthy of our Confirmation, we are not worthy of the glorious name of Catholic. There is only one solution to the problems of mankind, and that is to establish the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ - Pax Christi in regno Christi. There is no other solution to what Professor [Dietrich] von Hildebrand rightly termed the dehumanization of mankind."

"Hilaire Belloc explained that the two alternatives for our civilization are Catholicism and chaos. Anything less than Catholicism - even if it calls itself "Christianity" - will not stand up in the long run against the encroaching barbarism. So it is we Catholics who actually hold the key both to the social reign of Christ and to the saving of our civilization. We must therefore all work toward the day when the governments of our nations (as well as all individual men) publicly recognize Christ, His Catholic Church, and His holy law - and regulate themselves accordingly."

"Do not say that this cannot be done. It has been done with the fight for the Tridentine Mass, which is now being celebrated throughout the world to an extent that few of us would have deemed possible a few years ago. It has been done with the pro-life movement...."

"We can fight for the Social Kingship of Our Lord without the need of approval or leadership from our bishops. We can and must mobilize all citizens of good will, whether they are Catholic or not. There were Protestants and even Jews who fought the "Gay Rights Bill" in Connecticut, and they were undermined by our bishop."

"If anyone reading this honestly believes that society cannot be changed, I can only reply, 'Tell that to to the homosexuals, tell that to the abortionists.' They have changed society, they have corrupted it, dehumanized it, but they knew what they wanted and they were prepared to fight for it, and they are still prepared to fight for it. Shall the children of the light show less zeal than the children of darkness?"

"...This is a providential moment to begin this crusade. There is a definite revulsion among basically decent people at what they see happening to society, and, as Catholics, we can mobilize them to campaign against so-called "rights," which...are not rights at all, and cannot be rights, because they are contrary to the law of Christ the King."

"Let us begin the campaign to restore our King to His rightful throne by working to overthrow the diabolic trinity of abortion, pro-homosexual legislation, and pornography. These are evils that cry to Heaven for vengeance. They...can be made illegal once again."

"'Impossible,' you may say. Why impossible? Impossible because we, as the children of light, are not as prepared to commit ourselves to the fight for what is good as the children of darkness are to commit themselves to the fight for what is evil?"

"Because all men are subject to the law of Christ the King, particularly in what concerns the natural law, which is engraved in the heart of every human being, we must, as I have just suggested, do all in our power to enlist the support of both Catholic and non-Catholic people in the fight for those basic decencies which are absolutely essential to the social reign of Christ and without which society will disintegrate. As Professor von Hildebrand has warned us, we shall even become dehumanized...."

"...Von Hildebrand taught correctly that in a state consisting principally of non-Catholics it is the vocation of Catholics to act as a leaven, but how can they do this when their commitment to the Kingdom of Christ the King is, in most cases, so manifestly inferior to that of so many devout Protestants?"

"This means that, in re-establishing the reign of Christ the King, our first task must be to re-evangelize the Catholic community. We must fight for orthodox religious instruction in our schools, and above all, for a liturgy in which Our Lord is recognized clearly as our King, and this must be [for Latin rite Catholics] the traditional Mass...the Tridentine Mass. The liturgy of the traditional Mass is focused upon God, that in the New Mass is focused upon the community. The reign of Christ the King cannot be established until He becomes once more the center of our lives."

"...I would like to conclude on a note of optimism. Our Lady has promised [at Fatima] that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. She has promised this, and she will fulfill what she has promised. This means that, without a doubt, her Son will reign - He must reign!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Image of Our Lady of Good Counsel, taken from
Transalpine Redemptorists

[The following is excerpted from Pope Pius XI's 1931 encyclical Lux Veritatis.]

"...[I]f the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary is God, assuredly she who bore him is rightly and deservedly to be called the Mother of God. If there is only one person in Christ, and this is Divine, without any doubt Mary ought to be called, by all, not the mother of Christ the man only, but Theotokos, or God-bearer. Let us all, therefore, venerate the tender Mother of God, whom her cousin Elizabeth saluted as "the Mother of my Lord" (Luke i. 43), who, in the words of Ignatius Martyr, brought forth God (Ad Ephes. vii. 18-20); and from whom, as Tertullian professes, God was born; whom the Eternal Godhead has gifted with the fullness of grace and endowed with such great dignity."

"Nor can anyone reject this truth, handed down from the first age of the Church, on the pretext that the Blessed Virgin Mary did, indeed, supply the body of Jesus Christ, but did not produce the Word of the Heavenly Father; since, as Cyril already rightly and lucidly answered in his time, even as those in whose womb our earthly nature, not our soul is procreated, are rightly and truly called our mothers; so did she, from the unity of her Son's person, attain to divine maternity."

"Wherefore, the impious opinion of Nestorius, which the Roman Pontiff, led by the Holy Spirit, had condemned in the preceding year, was deservedly and solemnly condemned again by the Synod of Ephesus. And the populace of Ephesus were drawn to the Virgin Mother of God with such great piety, and burning with such ardent love, that when they understood the judgment passed by the Fathers of the Council, they hailed them with overflowing gladness of heart, and gathering round them in a body, bearing lighted torches in their hands, accompanied them home. And assuredly, the same great Mother of God looked down from heaven on this spectacle, and smiling sweetly on these her children of Ephesus, and on all the faithful Christians throughout the Catholic world, who had been disturbed by the snares of the Nestorian heresy, embraced them with her most present aid and her motherly affection."

"From this dogma of the divine maternity, as from the outpouring of a hidden spring, flow forth the singular grace of Mary and her dignity, which is the highest after God. Nay more, as Aquinas says admirably: 'The Blessed Virgin, from this that she is the Mother of God, has a certain infinite dignity, from the infinite good which is God.' (Summ. Theo., III. a.6.) Cornelius a Lapide unfolds this and explains it more fully, in these words: 'The Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God; therefore she is far more excellent than all the Angels, even the Seraphim and Cherubim. She is the Mother of God; therefore she is most pure and most holy, so that under God no greater purity can be imagined. She is the Mother of God; therefore whatever privilege (in the order of sanctifying grace) has been granted to any one of the Saints, she obtains it more than all' (In Matt. i. 6)."

"Why, therefore, do the Reformers (Novatores) and not a few non-Catholics bitterly condemn our piety towards the Virgin Mother of God, as though we were withdrawing the worship due to God alone? Do they not know, or do they not attentively consider that nothing can be more pleasing to Jesus Christ, who certainly has an ardent love for his own Mother, than that we should venerate her as she deserves, that we should return her love, and that imitating her most holy example we should seek to gain her powerful patronage?"

"Here, however, We would not omit to mention a matter which has given Us no little consolation, namely that in the present time, even among the Reformers, some understand the dignity of the Virgin Mother of God better, and are led and moved to reverence her duly, and hold her in honour. This, when it comes from the inward and sincere conscience, and is not as sometimes happens effected to conciliate the minds of Catholics, bids Us hope that by the prayers and efforts of all the good, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, who cherishes a mother's love for her erring children, they may at length be brought back to the one true flock of Jesus Christ, and therefore to Us who, though unworthily, hold His place and His authority on earth."

"But there is another matter, Venerable Brethren, which We think We should recall in regard to Mary's office of Maternity, something which is sweeter and more pleasing; namely that she, because she brought forth the Redeemer of mankind, is also in a manner the most tender mother of us all, whom Christ our Lord deigned to have as His brothers (Romans viii. 29). As Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, says: 'Such a one God has given as one to whom by the very fact that He chose her as the Mother of His only begotten Son, He clearly gave the feelings of a mother, breathing nothing but love and pardon—such did Jesus Christ show her to be, by His own action, when He spontaneously chose to be under her, and submit to her as a son to a mother; such did He declare her to be, when, from the Cross, He committed all mankind, in the person of His disciple John, to her care and protection; and as such, lastly, she gave herself, when embracing with a great heart, this heritage of immense labour from her dying Son, she began at once to fulfil all a mother's duties to us all.' (Encyclical Letter Octobri mense adveniente. September 21, 1892.) From this it comes that we are all drawn to her by a powerful attraction, that we may confidently entrust to her all things that are ours—namely our joys, if we are gladdened; our troubles, if we are in anguish; our hopes, if we are striving to reach at length to better things. From this it comes that if more difficult times fall upon the Church; if faith fail, if charity have grown cold, if private and public morals take a turn for the worse; if any danger be hanging over the Catholic name and civil society, we all take refuge with her, imploring heavenly aid. From this it comes lastly that in the supreme crisis of death, when no other hope is given, no other help, we lift up to her our tearful eyes and our trembling hands, praying through her for pardon from her Son, and for eternal happiness in heaven...."

"But in a more special manner it is fitting that those mothers of this our age, who being weary, whether of offspring or of the marriage bond, have the office they have undertaken degraded and neglected, may look up to Mary and meditate intently on her who has raised this grave duty of motherhood to such high nobility. For in this way there is hope that they may be led, by the help of grace of the heavenly Queen, to feel shame for the dishonour done to the great sacrament of matrimony, and may happily be stirred up to follow after the wondrous praise of her virtues, by every effort in their power...."

"We will not close this Encyclical Letter, Venerable Brethren, without mentioning a matter which will surely be pleasing to you all. Desiring that there may be a liturgical monument of this commemoration, which may help to nourish the piety of clergy and people towards the great Mother of God, We have commanded Our supreme council presiding over Sacred Rites to publish an Office and Mass of the Divine Maternity, which is to be celebrated by the universal Church...."

Pope Pius XI

"Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, 25 December the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the year 1931, the tenth of Our Pontificate."

Saturday, October 02, 2010

St. Gemma Galgani and Her Guardian Angel

Photograph of St. Gemma Galgani, taken from Tonus Peregrinus blog

[The following is excerpted from the St. Gemma Galgani blog. 2 October is the Feast of the Guardian Angels.]

"Father Germano [Venerable Fr. Germanus Ruoppolo, C.P., a priest of the Passionist Order who was St. Gemma's spiritual director and biographer] continues '...He let her see him sometimes raised in the air with outspread wings, with his hands extended over her, or else hands joined in an attitude of prayer. At other times he would kneel beside her. If they were reciting vocal prayers or the Psalms, they did so alternately; if aspirations or prayers from the heart, "they rivaled one another" [these are Gemma's words] that is, they had a holy rivalry as to whom would say them with more fervor saying "Viva Gesu" or "Benedetto di Dio" and other such beautiful invocations. When it was time for meditation, the angel inspired her with sublimest ideas, and moved her affections so that the result of this holy exercise may be more perfect. The subject of these meditations was, for the most part, the Passion of Our Lord, the angel like a good master, laid open its profound mysteries to her soul. "Look" he would exclaim, "at what Jesus suffered for men. Consider each of these wounds. It is love that has opened them all. See how horrible sin is, since to expiate it, so much pain and so much love have been necessary." These and other such reflections went straight to the heart of the fervent Gemma.'"

"On another occasion she writes:

'I was in bed suffering greatly, when on a sud­den I became absorbed in prayer. I joined my hands and, moved with heartfelt sorrow for my countless sins, I made an act of deep contrition. My mind was wholly plunged in this abyss of my crime against my God, when I beheld my Angel standing by my bed. I felt ashamed of being in his presence. He instead was more than courteous with me, and said, kindly: "Jesus loves thee greatly. Love Him greatly in return." Then he added: "Are you fond of Jesus' Mother? Salute Her very often, for She values such attention very much, and unfailingly returns the salutations offered to Her; and if you do not sense this, know that She makes a proof of your unfailing trust." He blessed me and disappeared.'"