"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"

"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"
"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ" according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider: 1. Mass versus populum. 2. Communion in the hand. 3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers. 4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form. 5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Turn My Eyes Away

BEHIND the cloud of the Sacred Species, as in a Heaven that is closer to us, I adore Thee, O Jesus, and recognize Thee as the One I will see face to face one day, the One Whose sight constitutes the happiness of the elect, the Son of God in Whom the Father is well pleased, the Son of Mary.

Thy glorious Heaven is too resplendent for us; we could not bear its brilliance. The love of Thy Heart for poor exiles inspired Thee to institute the Eucharist, which maketh Thee present here on earth with a presence so well suited to our weakness. Thou art here to give us a pledge and a foretaste of what we shall possess on high.

The pledge - that is to say, Thy promise. For Thou Thyself hast said, O Jesus, He who eatseth My flesh ... hath life everlasting. I am the Bread of Heaven: whoever believes in Me shall not die. [cf. St John 6:52] In this way Thou hast committed Thyself ... After giving this first gift of Thy Eucharistic presence, how couldst Thou not give Thyself to us later in Heaven?

The foretaste of Heaven. What is Heaven? It is the perfect possession of every good. Now, the Eucharist is "the Bread of God, the Bread of Angels, the Bread of Heaven." It is the possession of Jesus, His permanent presence, the sacramental manducation of Jesus. The mode differs, true: Jesus veils Himself for us, and we, for our part, are powerless to possess Him perfectly, and inconstant in remaining in His presence. Faith alone enjoys Him, while the senses remain excluded from contact with Him. The Essence is nonetheless the same, and in the Host as in Heaven, Jesus truly giveth Himself.

The foretaste is more than the pledge: it is an early participation in the promised and awaited good. It is already the beginning of the enjoyment of everything contained in the full possession. The Eucharist is thus called the Bread containing all delights. How can we not taste the Divine beatitude of the Bread of God, the seraphic joys of the Bread of Angels, and finally, something of Heaven itself in the Bread of Heaven?

Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, I adore Thee instituting the Sacrament that transforms our earth into the vestibule of Paradise. In Thy Sacrament, Thou hast made Thyself the guide and the way that leads me to Heaven. Grant that through Thy merits and Thy mercy I may attain it someday. Turn my eyes away from all the vanities of the earth, and ordain that, no longer living for anything but Thee, I renounce every desire other than that of serving Thee for the rest of my life.

O Jesus Host, Thou doth fill our souls with grace,
and art for us the pledge of the blessed eternity to come.

Cf. Fr. J. Honoré Brousseau, s.s.s., Le Sacré-Coeur medité au Pied du Très Saint Sacrement, Apostolat de la Presse: Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1953.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Joyful Virtue

The Joyful Virtue

Chastity leads to hope and to joy;
unchastity leads to despair and sadness.
Chastity delights God;
unchastity delights the devil.
Chastity opens the soul to God;
unchastity opens the soul to the devil.
Therefore, as Saint Benedict says, Castitatem amare, “Love Chastity.”

Chastity facilitates growth in all the other virtues; unchastity stunts growth in all the virtues and, if unchecked, will contaminate and destroy them.
Chastity opens the door to Divine intimacy; unchastity closes the door to Divine intimacy, attracts evil spirits, and provides ground for familiarity with them.

Chastity confers spiritual authority
and causes the soul to radiate a supernatural peace.
Unchastity destroys spiritual authority
and causes the soul to emit a sense of disquiet, trouble, and sadness.

Chastity is its own reward
in that it disposes the soul for familiar and continuous communion with God.
Unchastity is its own punishment
in that it makes the soul heavy and insensible to spiritual joys.

Unchastity infects the will with weakness, pollutes the memory, and darkens the imagination.
Even the body is affected adversely by unchastity; it gives rise to psychosomatic complaints, fatigue, and restlessness.
It weakens the body’s resistance to illness by strengthening the soul’s collusion with sin.
Ultimately, unchastity foments unbelief, despair, and hatred of God.

To set out on the path of chastity
is to set out on the path of joy
that leads to the ineffable sweetness of union with God.
The soul is created for Truth.
The soul yearns for Truth
and recognizes Truth when she encounters it.

The soul that feeds upon Truth
grows strong in goodness
and radiates a supernatural beauty.
Unchastity blinds the soul to Truth.
The chaste soul holds fast to Our Lord’s words, “The truth shall set you free.”
Unchastity produces, in the worst cases, an aversion to the Truth and a contempt for Truth that causes the soul to repulse it.

Chastity flourishes in the light
and turns to it like the sunflower to the sun.
Unchastity darkens the mind
and causes the soul to prefer the cover of darkness to the light of Truth.
This is why unchastity always goes hand-in-hand with the vice of lying.
Unchastity finds it necessary to spin a web of lies around itself; it thrives in the climate provided by error, lying, and deceit.

Chastity goes hand-in-hand with love for Truth.
It delights in what is beautiful
and pursues what is good.
It generates a climate of joy
in which the other fruits of the Holy Ghost thrive and abound.
If you would be happy, be chaste.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Air of Angels: Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne


The French Revolution reveals the titanic struggle between good and evil. During the terror, over 40,000 Frenchmen were executed just for holding fast to the Catholic Faith and objecting to the worst excesses of the Committee of Public Safety. The blood lost in the years of 1792-1794 staggers the imagination even in the retelling and the campaign against the Church was as diabolical as it was cruel.

Contemplative religious communities had been among the first targets of the fury of the French Revolution against the Catholic Church. Less than a year from May 1789 when the Revolution began with the meeting of the Estates-General, these communities had been required by law to disband. But many of them continued in being, in hiding. Among these were the community of the Carmelite nuns of Compiegne, in northeastern France not far from Paris -- the fifty-third convent in France of the Carmelite sisters who followed the reform of St. Teresa of Avila, founded in 1641, noted throughout its history for fidelity and fervor.

 "Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Quidenham, Norfolk - Windows - geograph.org.uk - 1084822" by John Salmon.

Their convent was raided in August 1790, all the property of the sisters was seized by the government, and they were forced to discard their habits and leave their house. They divided into four groups which found lodging in four different houses all near the same church in Compiegne, and for several years they were to a large extent able to continue their religious life in secret. But the intensified surveillance and searches of the "Great Terror" revealed their secret, and in June 1794 most of them were arrested and imprisoned. They had expected this; indeed, they had prayed for it.

At some time during the summer of 1792, very likely just after the events of August 10 of that year that marked the descent into the true deeps of the Revolution, their prioress, Madeleine Lidoine, whose name in religion was Teresa in honor of the founder of their order, by all accounts a charming perceptive, and highly intelligent woman, had foreseen much of what was to come. At Easter of 1792, she told her community that, while looking through the archives she had found the account of a dream a Carmelite had in 1693. In that dream, the Sister saw the whole Community, with the exception of 2 or 3 Sisters, in glory and called to follow the Lamb. In the mind of the Prioress, this meant martyrdom and might well be a prophetic announcement of their fate.

Mother Teresa had said to her sisters: "Having meditated much on this subject, I have thought of making an act of consecration by which the Community would offer itself as a sacrifice to appease the anger of God, so that the divine peace of His Dear Son would be brought into the world, returned to the Church and the state." The sisters discussed her proposal and all agreed to it but the two oldest, who were hesitant. But when the news of the September massacres came, mingling glorious martyrdom with apostasy, these two sisters made their choice, joining their commitment to that of the rest of the community. All made their offering; it was to be accepted.

After their lodgings were invaded again in June, their devotional objects shattered and their tabernacle trampled underfoot by a Revolutionary who told them that their place of worship should be transformed into a dog kennel, the Carmelite sisters were taken to the Conciergerie prison, where so many of the leading victims of the guillotine had been held during their last days on earth. There they composed a canticle for their martyrdom, to be sung to the familiar tune of the Marseillaise. The original still exists, written in pencil and given to one of their fellow prisoners, a lay woman who survived.

Give over our hearts to joy, the day of glory has arrived,
Far from us all weakness, seeing the standard come;
We prepare for the victory, we all march to the true conquest,
Under the flag of the dying God we run, we all seek the glory;
Rekindle our ardor, our bodies are the Lord's,
 We climb, we climb the scaffold and give ourselves back to the Victor.

O happiness ever desired for Catholics of France,
To follow the wondrous road
Already marked out so often by the martyrs toward their suffering,
After Jesus with the King, we show our faith to Christians,
We adore a God of justice; as the fervent priest, the constant faithful,
Seal, seal with all their blood faith in the dying God....

Holy Virgin, our model, August queen of martyrs, deign to strengthen our zeal
And purify our desires, protect France even yet, help; us mount to Heaven,
Make us feel even in these places, the effects of your power.Sustain your children,
Submissive, obedient, dying, dying with Jesus and in our King believing.

On July 17 the sixteen sisters were brought before Fouquier-Tinville. All cases were now being disposed of within twenty-four hours as Robespierre had wished; theirs was no exception. They were charged with having received arms for the emigres; their prioress, Sister Teresa, answered by holding up a crucifix. "Here are the only arms that we have ever had in our house." They were charged with possessing an altar-cloth with designs honoring the old monarchy (perhaps the fleur-de-lis) and were asked to deny any attachment to the royal family. Sister Teresa responded: "If that is a crime, we are all guilty of it; you can never tear out of our hearts the attachment for Louis XVI and his family. Your laws cannot prohibit feeling; they cannot extend their empire to the affections of the soul; God alone has the right to judge them." They were charged with corresponding with priests forced to leave the country because they would not take the constitutional oath; they freely admitted this.

Finally they were charged with the catchall indictment by which any serious Catholic in France could be guillotined during the Terror: "fanaticism." Sister Henriette, who had been Gabrielle de Croissy, challenged Fouguier-Tinvile to his face: "Citizen, it is your duty to respond to the request of one condemned; I call upon you to answer us and to tell us just what you mean by the word 'fanatic.'" "I mean," snapped the Public Prosecutor of the Terror, "your attachment to your childish beliefs and your silly religious practices." "Let us rejoice, my dear Mother and Sisters, in the joy of the Lord," said Sister Henriette, "that we shall die for our holy religion, our faith, our confidence in the Holy Roman Catholic Church."

While in prison, they asked and were granted permission to wash their clothes. As they had only one set of lay clothes, they put on their religious habit and set to the task. Providentially, the revolutionaries picked that "wash day" for their transfer to Paris. As their clothes were soaking wet, the Carmelites left for Paris wearing their "outlawed" religious habit. They celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in prison, wondering whether they would die that day. It was only the next day they went to the guillotine.

The journey in the carts took more than an hour. All the way the Carmelite sisters sang: the "Miserere," "Salve Regina," and "Te Deum." Beholding them, a total silence fell on the raucous, brutal crowd, most of them cheapened and hardened by day after day of the spectacle of public slaughter. At the foot of the towering killing machine, their eyes raised to Heaven, the sisters sang "Veni Creator Spiritus." One by one, they renewed their religious vows. They pardoned their executioners. One observer cried out: "Look at them and see if they do not have the air of angels! By my faith, if these women did not all go straight to Paradise, then no one is there!"

Sister Teresa, their prioress, requested and obtained permission to go last under the knife. The youngest, Sister Constance, went first. She climbed the steps of the guillotine "With the air of a queen going to receive her crown," singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, "all peoples praise the Lord." She placed her head in the position for death without allowing the executioner to touch her. Each sister followed her example, those remaining singing likewise with each, until only the prioress was left, holding in her hand a small figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The killing of each martyr required about two minutes. It was about eight o'clock in the evening, still bright at midsummer. During the whole time the profound silence of the crowd about the guillotine endured unbroken. Two years before when the horror began, the Carmelite community at Compiegne had offered itself as a holocaust, that peace might be restored to France and the Church. The return of full peace was still twenty-one years in the future. But the Reign of Terror had only ten days left to run. Years of war, oppression and persecution were yet to come, but the mass official killing in the public squares of Paris was about to end. The Cross had vanquished the guillotine.

These sixteen holy Carmelite nuns have all been beatified by our Holy Father, the Pope, [Pope St Pius X, 27 May 1906] which is the last step before canonization. Blessed Carmelites of Compiegne, pray for us

List of the martyrs: Martyrs of Compiègne

The martyrs consisted of 14 nuns and lay sisters (O.C.D.), and two externs:

Choir Nuns

    Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, prioress (Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine) b. 1752
    Mother St. Louis, sub-prioress (Marie-Anne [or Antoinett] Brideau) b. 1752
    Mother Henriette of Jesus, ex-prioress (Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy) b. 1745
    Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified (Marie-Anne Piedcourt) b. 1715
    Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, ex-sub-prioress and sacristan (Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret) b. 1715
    Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception (Marie-Claude Cyprienne) b. 1736
    Sister Teresa of the Sacred Heart of Mary (Marie-Antoniette Hanisset) b. 1740
    Sister Julie Louise of Jesus, widow (Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville) b. 1741
    Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius (Marie-Gabrielle Trézel) b. 1743
    Sister Mary-Henrietta of Providence (Anne Petras) b. 1760
    Sister Constance, novice (Marie-Geneviève Meunier) b. 1765

Lay Sisters

    Sister St. Martha (Marie Dufour) b. 1742
    Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit (Angélique Roussel) b. 1742
    Sister St. Francis Xavier (Julie Vérolot) b. 1764


    Catherine Soiron b. 1742
    Thérèse Soiron b. 1748