Tuesday, April 30, 2019

What does God want?

Such is the will of God
that we should have everything
through Mary.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Pope St. Pius V

Antonio Ghislieri was born in 1504 in Bosco, in the Tortona diocese. He received the Dominican habit at age fourteen, and after his ordination in Genoa, taught theology and philosophy for some years. He was Prior and Novice Master of several priories during a time of great moral laxity.

In 1556, he was consecrated Bishop of Nepi and Sutri and, the following year, was made Inquisitor General and raised to the rank of Cardinal.

Pope Pius IV transferred him to the bishopric of Mondovi in Piedmont, a diocese that had suffered much from the ravages of war. Under the care and guidance of the new bishop, the region was soon restored to peace and prosperity.

Recalled to Rome at the death of Pius IV, he was chosen as his successor, due in great part to the efforts of St. Charles Borromeo who saw in him the reformer the Church needed.

Taking the name of his predecessor, Pius V immediately introduced a new austerity and sobriety in the Papal States, re-directing sums customarily used for celebrations and festivities to aiding hospitals, poor convents and the truly indigent. He also initiated the tradition of the pope wearing white, as he continued to wear his white Dominican habit after being raised to the papal throne.

With zeal and apostolic energy, he launched numerous reforms, from ridding the Papal States of brigands to passing legislation against prostitution. In countering the widespread practice of granting favors and nominations to family members, or nepotism, he kept relatives at a distance.

Pope Pius V also had the best edition of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica published and, in 1567, he declared him Doctor of the Church. He promulgated the Catechism of the Council of Trent and had it translated into foreign languages. He also imposed on all parish priests the duty of using the Catechism to instruct the young in the tenets of the Faith.

Politically, materially and prayerfully, he supported Don Juan of Austria and Marc Antonio Colonna in the war against the Turkish fleet at Lepanto, the maritime battle that broke the Ottoman power in the Mediterranean. From the very onset of the conflict, the Pope had prayed almost continuously, often with arms raised like Moses on the mountain. At the decisive hour of victory, as a Rosary procession wound its way through Rome, the Pope interrupted his work, walked over to a window, and with radiant face, exclaimed, “The Christian fleet is victorious!”

To commemorate the great deliverance on October 7, 1571, he instituted the title of “Our Lady Help of Christians” and the feast of the Holy Rosary.

In the following year the pope was struck with a painful disorder from which he had long suffered, but which his austerities aggravated. He died on May 1, 1572, at the age of sixty-eight.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Of what should we be afraid?

And of what should we be afraid?
Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus.
We have discovered what we have to do.
Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that
they cannot overcome us
unless we so choose to let them.
So we must fight courageously and
mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.

St Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine Benincasa was born in Siena, Tuscany, in 1347. The twenty-third child of Giacomo, a well-to-do dyer, and his wife Lapa, the lively and happy girl grew up in the Benincasa’s spacious house. Their family home is preserved to this day.

At six years of age, Catherine saw Our Lord Jesus dressed as a Pontiff atop the Church of the Dominicans. This vision left such a deep impression upon her that she pledged herself to Christ.

Under family pressure, when she turned twelve, Catherine consented to pay more attention to her appearance and had her beautiful hair dressed to the fashion of the day. Repenting of this “great sin”, she cut it all off and declared she would never marry – a scandal to her family. She was set to menial labor, and harried and scolded continuously in an attempt to break her resolve. One day her father found her praying, a dove hovering over her. From that moment he ordered that she be left alone to a life of prayer.

Received into the Dominican Order as a tertiary in 1366, Catherine had a vision in which Jesus, accompanied by His Blessed Mother, officially betrothed her and placed a ring on her finger.

After this mystical betrothal, she was told that her seclusion was over and she must mingle with her fellow human beings seeking their salvation. Gradually, there gathered around her a group of followers whom she guided in the spiritual life. As her renown for holiness grew and the fame of her miracles spread, former suspicion turned to veneration.

Catherine became the arbiter of a serious feud between Florence and Perugia and the Holy See then at Avignon, France. She visited Pope Gregory XI and convinced him to return to Rome. Finally, through her mediation the cities were reconciled to the Holy See.

Around this time she produced the great work – later entitled “Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena” – which she dictated under the inspiration of God the Father.

With the death of Pope Gregory XI in 1378, and the election of Urban VI, the cardinals in Avignon disputed the choice and elected a rival pope giving rise to the great schism. Catherine spared no effort in establishing recognition of Urban. Far from resenting her help, he called the holy mystic to Rome to profit from her advice.

But early in 1380, thirty-three year old Catherine suffered a strange seizure after she offered herself as a victim for the healing of the Church. On April 29, after much suffering, Catherine gave up her ardent soul to her Divine Spouse.

She was canonized in 1461 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970.

Sunday, April 28, 2019


He that loveth correction, loveth knowledge:
but he that hateth reproof is foolish.
He that is good, shall draw grace from the Lord:
but he that trusteth in his own devices doth wickedly.

Book of Proverbs (12:1-3

St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort

Louis Grignion de Montfort was born in Brittany, France on January 31, 1673. From an early age he showed signs of spiritual maturity, and at the age of twelve entered the college of St. Thomas Becket in Rennes. There, a fire was lit within him inflaming in him a desire to become a missionary preacher. He was ordained in Paris in the year 1700.

He preached tirelessly in various cities and towns, incurring the displeasure of many ecclesiastics infected with the heresy of Jansenism. Traveling to Rome, he put his case before Pope Clement XI who named him Missionary Apostolic to France.

Louis de Montfort is specially known for his ardent devotion to the Mother of God, and his treatise, True Devotion to Mary, is one of the Church’s greatest devotional treasures. This true Apostle of Mary founded two religious orders: The Daughters of Divine Wisdom, and the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. His fiery zeal produced special fruits in the region of the Vendée, which three generations later valiantly rose up against the atheistic French Revolution then mauling France.

Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort died at age forty-three in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in the Vendée on April 28, 1716 worn out by the efforts of his apostolate.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The power of habits

Habits acquired by our human actions alone
do not perish by one single contrary act: for
a man is not said to be intemperate for one single
act of intemperance, nor is a painter held an unskillful
for having once failed in his art; but, as all
such habits are acquired by the influence of a series of
acts, so
we lose them by a long cessation from their
acts or
by many contrary acts.

St. Francis de Sales

St. Peter Armengol

Peter Armengol was born in 1238 in a small village in the archdiocese of Tarragon, Spain to a family of noble lineage.

Although his parents took great care regarding his education, young Peter forsook his life of privilege and turned to a life of crime, vice and caprice. He joined a gang of criminals who lived as bandits in the mountains to escape the authorities, and he soon became their leader.

Years later, when Armengol’s band of brigands attempted to ambush the retinue of a noble Spaniard, Peter was astonished when he discovered that the man he was fighting, and wanting to run through with his sword, was none other than his own father. Overcome with remorse, the repentant prodigal cast himself on his knees before his astonished father, imploring his forgiveness. Peter resolved to enter a Mercedarian monastery in Barcelona, an Order devoted to the ransoming of captive Christians. So fervent was he in his repeated requests for the habit and consistent in giving conducive proofs of his vocation that he was accepted.

For eight years, Armengol was the one directly responsible for the ransom of the captives, but his greatest yearning was to actually go himself to Africa and become a captive for the ransom of Christians, a desire that God saw fit to grant. On a ransom trip to the African continent, Friar Armengol agreed to become a hostage himself in exchange for the release of eighteen children. He was to be held until a sum of money was delivered for his ransom by a certain date. If it was not paid by the date set, Peter would be executed by his Moorish captors.

During his captivity, he converted many Moslems to the true Faith by the fervor of his preaching. However, when the sum of money intended for his ransom did not arrive at the appointed time, his captors threw him into prison, and subjected him to numerous forms of unspeakable and excruciating tortures, which he survived only by the grace of God.

The ransom still not having arrived, the Moors conspired to execute him. Totally confident, even in that impossible hour, Friar Armengol entrusted himself to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and went calmly to his impending death.

Six days later, when the company of Friars arrived with his ransom money, his body still hung from the gallows. Torn with grief, they went to the site of the martyr's death, hoping to at least recover his body, but were stunned when they found him still alive! Peter explained to them how the Virgin Mary had held him up and kept him alive until their arrival.

Armengol returned to Barcelona and lived a retired life in the Mercedarian Monastery of Our Lady de los Prados where he passed his days in familiar conversation with his Queen, whom he loved with such filial devotion.

God called his servant home on April 27, 1304.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Two things are required

Two things are required
in order to obtain eternal life:
the grace of God and man’s will.
And although God made man without man’s help,
He does not sanctify him without his cooperation.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Mother of Good Counsel

In the quaint medieval town of Genazzano, about 30 miles from Rome, on a side altar of the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, there is a small image of the Blessed Virgin holding her infant Son. The Child, in His turn, lovingly encircles Mary's neck with His arm, inclining her head towards Himself in a gentle and intimate embrace.

This small fresco has a marvelous history.

In the fifteenth century there lived in the town an elderly widow, by name Petruccia, who had invested the entirety of the small fortune left to her by her husband in a needed side chapel for her church. Her money running out when the walls were only a few feet high, the townsfolk openly mocked and ridiculed her for her foolishness. Undaunted, Petruccia assured them that in spite of the apparent failure of her own endeavors, the Mother of God and St. Augustine, whose spiritual sons were caretakers of the church, would finish the work she had begun.

On April 25, 1467 as the inhabitants of Genazzano celebrated the feast of their patron St. Mark, marvelous music was heard approaching, its source seemingly from above. Looking upwards, the astounded citizens saw a brilliant cloud descending towards them. The bell of the church, and then others throughout the town, began to peel of their own accord. The cloud came to rest on Petruccia’s unfinished chapel wall and gradually dissipated, revealing the extraordinary image of the Madonna and Child. The widow's supernatural confidence being so wonderfully rewarded before the astonished gaze of all, the construction of the chapel was not long in its completion.

Shortly after these remarkable events, two foreigners in strange attire arrived in Genazzano claiming to be Albanians. Their names were Giorgio and DeSclavis and on seeing the icon, they cried out with joy and then told a wonderful tale.

After the death of Albania's king, George Castriota, known as Scanderberg, their nation had finally been conquered by the invading Turks. Early in 1467, while they prayed before the miraculous fresco, the image suddenly became illuminated, and detaching itself from the wall, it began to move through the air. Entranced, the two former soldiers followed the painting, first over land and, then, across the Adriatic Sea, which solidified under their feet.

In the Eternal City they lost sight of it, until hearing reports of a great miracle in a nearby town, they surmised where their Madonna had come to rest. Both decided to remain near their treasure, and married and raised families in Genazzano.

A plaque left at the shrine by visiting Albanians begs their Madonna to return to them, but there she is to this day. It is a continuous miracle: a fresco painted on eggshell plaster suspended in the air for five and a half centuries, but how much greater is the miracle of that tender embrace between Mother and Child, that union of soul into which each one is invited and warmly received.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Why did Jesus die, toil, hunger, and thirst?

All the penalties imposed
by divine judgment upon man
for the sin of the first transgression
– death, toil, hunger, thirst and the like –
He took upon Himself, becoming what we are,
so that we might become what He is.

St. Mark the Hermit

St. Mark the Evangelist

We learn from the Epistle to the Colossians that Mark was a kinsman of Barnabas, who was a Levite, which presupposes that Mark was also of a Levitical family.

We read of Mark accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their apostolic missions, assisting them in Cyprus (Acts 13:5) and journeying with them to Perga in Pamphylia, from whence he returned on his own to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). The Apostle to the Gentiles seems to have construed this last action on Mark's part as displaying a certain disloyalty. Later, when preparing to visit Cilicia and Asia Minor, a heated argument ensued with Paul refusing to include Mark, while Barnabas defended his cousin, "so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed" (Acts 15, 37-40).

It is this same Mark who is later imprisoned with Paul in Rome. As proof of how much his personal opinion concerning Mark had changed during their joint captivity, the Apostle to the Gentiles afterwards writes to Timothy in Ephesus, “…take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me in the ministry.”

Tradition strongly affirms that Mark, the author of the second gospel, was more closely associated with St. Peter. Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Papias speak of Mark as being Peter's interpreter. Writing from Rome, Peter refers to “my son, Mark” (1 Peter 5, 13) who apparently was there with him. This is undoubtedly Mark the Evangelist.

Ancient tradition relates that Mark lived for some years in Alexandria as bishop of that city, and there suffered martyrdom.

The city of Venice claims to possess the remains of St. Mark the Evangelist, brought there from Alexandria in the ninth century. Preserved by the Venetians for centuries, their authenticity has not gone unchallenged. From time immemorial, however, St. Mark – Apostle and Evangelist – symbolized by the lion, has always been honored as patron of this "Queen of the Adriatic."
Photo by: Bolo77/Stefano Bolognini

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Miraculous Christ de la Vega

There was once in the city of Toledo, Spain a soldier, Diego Martinez, and a young woman, Ines de Vargas, who were in love.
Diego was called to fight in Flanders, so, at Ines’ insistence, before a crucifix known as The Christ de la Vega, Diego solemnly swore to marry her on his return.
With Diego gone, Ines felt lost and alone, and often sought solace at the foot of the Christ who had witnessed their solemn engagement.
Years went by, Ines always on the lookout. One day, at the head of a returning cavalry, she beheld her fiancé. She screamed and rushed to meet him, but he feigned not to know her, and passed on.
Successful in war and prowess, he had not only been promoted to captain, but had been knighted by the King, and no longer considered Ines a worthy prospect.
Tears being of no avail, the spurned young woman took her case before the governor of Toledo, Don Pedro Ruiz de Alarcon, claiming that Diego Martinez had sworn to marry her. But the captain denied such a vow, and with no witnesses, the case was about to be dismissed when Ines cried:
“Indeed, there was a witness–the Christ the la Vega!”
There was a stunned silence. But, this was Catholic Spain, and finally, judge, Diego, Ines, court and the curious repaired to the Basilica of St. Leocadia* , which housed the carved Christ.
Kneeling between Diego and Ines before the life-sized crucifix, Don Pedro held up a Bible and asked if He, Jesus Christ, Sovereign Lord, would indeed swear to the couple’s solemn vow to wed each other.
In the dead silence that ensued, all present heard a voice coming from the statue,
At the same time, to the astonishment of all, the statue’s right arm, descended, its hand coming to rest on the Bible which the judge held up.
So struck were Diego and Ines, that giving up all earthly plans, they entered religious life.
As to the Christ de la Vega, to this day, His right arm remains in the same position, and, some affirm, His mouth slightly open in the utterance of His witness.
By A.F. Phillips
*Now the Ermita del Cristo de la Vega

How to win

In the spiritual life, one does not sustain honorable losses.
War honors
come only with victory.
And winning consists in not abandoning the cross
even when one falls beneath it. It consists in persevering
amidst the apparent failures of external works,
amidst adversity, in the exhaustion of all of one’s strength.
It consists in carrying the cross to the height of Calvary, and, there,
letting oneself be crucified.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Fidelis was born Mark Rey in Sigmaringen in Prussia, and was the son of the town's burgomaster. Pursuing studies at the University of Freiburg in Bresigau, he eventually taught philosophy, while working towards a degree in law.

In 1604, he was appointed tutor to a small group of noble youths and with them made a six-year tour of Europe. His pupils, who grew to respect and love him, attested to the austerity and holiness of his life.

On his return to Germany, he took a doctorate in law and was soon known for his integrity and for his espousal of the cause of the oppressed. Still, the corruption within the legal profession disgusted him and he decided to enter the Capuchin branch of the Franciscan Order.

He was a preacher and confessor of great repute and from the beginning of his apostolic life fought heresy, especially in the form of Calvinism and Zwinglianism, not only through preaching but also with his pen.

Appointed, with eight others, apostle of the region of Grison with the mission of bringing its people back to the faith, he undertook the project with courage and dedication. From the start the wonderful effect of his zeal infuriated his adversaries. They roused the peasants against him by spreading the rumor that he was an enemy of their national aspirations and the agent of the Austrian Emperor.

Fidelis was warned, but chose to spend several nights in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at the feet of a crucifix. On April 24 he was back at his pulpit. A gunshot fired from the crowd missed him, but once back on the road, he was attacked by a group of armed men demanding that he renounce his Faith. He refused and was struck down while calling on God to forgive his assailants, as they mangled his body with their weapons.

The conversion of a Zwinglian minister who witnessed the scene was one of the first fruits of his martyrdom. Fidelis was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sickness itself can be a prayer

The prayer of the sick person is
his patience and his acceptance of his sickness
for the love of Jesus Christ.
Make sickness itself a prayer, for there is none
more powerful, save martyrdom!

St. Francis de Sales

St. George

Though the story of St. George is intertwined with legend, especially the account of him slaying a dragon, the historicity of his life is certain.
He was of Greek origin, seemingly of a noble, Christian family. His father was Gerondios, from Capaddocia, a prominent officer in the Imperial army. His mother was Polychronia, from the city of Lyda, now in Israel.

As a youth, he lost first his father and then his mother, after which he enlisted in the Roman army under Emperor Diocletian. The latter favored him in honor of his father’s service, and George was made an Imperial Tribune.

By imperial edict, Roman soldiers were forbidden to practice Christianity. Notwithstanding this prohibition, George loudly proclaimed himself a follower of Christ before the Emperor Diocletian and his fellow soldiers. Upset at the news, the Emperor offered George an abundance of earthly goods in exchange for his Christian Faith, but George was unmoved. He endured various tortures and was finally beheaded. The Empress Alexandra was converted by his courageous example, and some interpret that while the dragon often depicted being slain by St. George is the pagan Roman might, the lady in the background is the Empress.

Devotion to St. George spread throughout Asia Minor, and already early in the fourth century churches were being dedicated to his honor.

Throughout the history of Christian battles there have been reports of St. George’s heavenly assistance, Richard I of England and other Crusaders also confirming such intercession. It is not known how St. George was chosen as patron of England, though it is certain that his fame had reached the isle long before the Norman Conquest.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The True Meaning of Easter

Header-The True Meaning of Easter

The Resurrection represents the eternal and definitive triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the complete defeat of his adversaries, and the supreme argument of our faith. Saint Paul said that, if Christ had not resurrected, our faith would be vain. The whole edifice of our beliefs is founded on the supernatural fact of the Resurrection. Let us then meditate about this highly elevated subject.
*      *      *

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Christ Our Lord was not resurrected: He resurrected. He was dead. Lazarus was resurrected. Someone other than him, in this case, Our Lord, called him back to life. As for the Divine Redeemer, no one resurrected Him. He resurrected Himself, needing no one to call Him back to life. He took his life back when He so willed.

Fra Bartolommeo - The Resurrection of Christ
Everything that is said about Our Lord can be analogically applied to the Holy Catholic Church.  We often see, in the history of the Church, that precisely when She seemed irremediably lost and all the symptoms of catastrophe seemed to undermine Her, events took place that kept Her alive against all the expectations of Her adversaries.  A rather curious fact is that sometimes it is the Church’s enemies that come to Her aid, rather than Her friends.  For example, in a most sensitive time period for Catholicism like Napoleon’s era, an extremely unusual episode took place: a conclave was convened for the election of Pius VII under the protection of Russian troops, all of them schismatic and under the command of a schismatic sovereign.  In Russia itself, the practice of the Catholic religion was curbed in a thousand ways.  Yet, in Italy, Russian troops ensured the free election of a Sovereign Pontiff precisely at the moment when a vacancy in the See of Peter would have caused such grievous damages for Holy Church that, humanly speaking, she might never have been able to overcome them.

Such are the marvelous means that Divine Providence employs to demonstrate that God has the supreme government of all things.  However, let us not think that the Church owed Her salvation to Constantine, Charlemagne, John of Austria, or Russian troops.  Even when She seems to be entirely abandoned and when She lacks the most indispensable natural resources for survival, let us be certain that Holy Church will not die.  Like Our Lord, She will rise with Her own, divine strength.  And the more inexplicable the seeming resurrection of the Church may be from the human standpoint (we say seeming, because, unlike Our Lord, the Church will never die a real death), the more glorious Her victory will be.
In these murky and sad days, let us thus confide.  However, in order to restore all things in the Kingdom of Christ, let us confide not in this or that power, man, or ideological current but in Divine Providence, which will once again force the sea to open wide, move mountains and cause the whole earth to tremble if necessary to fulfill the divine promise:
“The gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her.”

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Why was Mary raised to the dignity of Mother of God?

 Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God
rather for sinners than for the just, since
Jesus Christ declares that
He came to call not the just, but sinners.

St. Anselm

St. Theodore of Sykeon

Born in the Roman Galatian town of Sykeon in Asia Minor, Theodore was the son of a woman of ill repute, who kept an inn along the imperial highway.

As a child, he was so given to prayer that he would often give up a meal to spend time in church. From an early age he shut himself up first in the cellar of his mother’s house and then in a cave beneath a disused chapel. Later, for a time, seeking to further escape the world, he sought solitude on a mountain.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem Theodore assumed a monk’s habit, and though only eighteen years of age, was ordained a priest by his own bishop. His life was most austere, wearing an iron girdle about his body and only sparingly partaking of vegetables.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy and miracles, on a second pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he obtained abundant rain after a severe drought.

Theodore founded several monasteries, and ruled as abbot in Sykeon. He was consecrated Bishop of Anastasiopolis, though he deemed himself totally unfitted. After ten years he succeeded in relinquishing his post and retired to Sykeon.

From Sykeon he was recalled to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate and there healed one of the Emperor’s sons of a skin disease, reputedly leprosy.

Theodore had a great devotion to St. George and did much to propagate devotion to him.

He died in Sykeon on April 22, 613.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

This transcends reason, nature, and experience

Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalen]: 
"Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father" (John 20:17).
He meant: 

Depend no longer on this fallible sense.
Put your trust in the word, get used to faith.
 Faith cannot be deceived. 

With the power to understand invisible truths,  
faith does not know the poverty of the senses.
It transcends even the limits of human reason, 

the capacity of nature, the bounds of experience.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm was born in Aosta in Italy about the year 1033. There was little sympathy between the lad and his father, a harsh man who practically drove him from home after his mother’s death to pursue his studies in Burgundy, France.

In the Benedictine monastery of Bec in Normandy, Anselm met and became the disciple and friend of its great abbot, Lanfranc. When Anselm was twenty-seven, Lanfranc was elected to higher office, and he himself appointed Prior of Bec. Fifteen years later, Anselm was chosen abbot, a position that entailed visits to England where the abbey had property, and where Lanfranc was now Archbishop of Canterbury.

An original thinker and great scholar, Anselm had a burning passion to learn about natural and supernatural truth. He developed a method of study for which he came to be known as the "Father of Scholasticism." Under his governance, first as prior and then as abbot, the Abbey of Bec became a center of true reformation in Normandy and England.

Above all, Anselm's great merit lay in his earnest and conscious effort of living according to what he learned from the study of divine truths. His life truly was a combination of contemplation, study, prayer, writing, and activity.

As the seat of Canterbury became vacant, the pastoral staff was forced into the monk’s reluctant hand. Now, as archbishop, he set about defending the liberties and rights of the Church against encroaching English monarchs for which he was sorely persecuted and exiled, but ultimately upheld, by Pope Urban II.

While in Rome in 1098, Anselm attended the Council of Bari and assisted in the definition of the doctrines challenged by the Greeks.

Anselm’s was a character of singular charm. He was known for his sympathy and sincerity which won him the affection of men of all classes and nationalities. A friend of the poorest of the poor, his care also extended to slaves, being one of the first to stand against slavery. In 1102, at the Council of Westminster, he obtained the passing of a resolution prohibiting the practice of selling men like cattle.

Anselm of Canterbury died in 1109 and was declared Doctor of the Church in 1720.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Prayer for Easter

A Prayer for Easter

From Holy Saturday to Pentecost we sing or recite one of the Church’s most joyful anthems, the Regina Coeli (O, Queen of Heaven), customarily said in place of the Angelus at twelve noon.
According to the Golden Legend, a thirteenth century work on the lives of the Saints, Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century was leading a procession asking for relief from a pestilence afflicting the population of Rome.  Being carried in the procession was an icon of the Blessed Virgin reputedly painted by St. Luke.  Suddenly, the air was filled with a heavenly perfume dispelling the pestilence.  Looking up, St. Gregory beheld angels singing: “O, Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He whom you deserved to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia! " To which the holy Pope added: “O, pray to God for us, Alleluia!”
At the same time, the holy pontiff saw the angel of death sheathing his sword atop the Hill of Hadrian, today the Castle of Sant’Angelo.
Since then this story has been associated with the origins of the Regina Coeli.
The idea is to rejoice with Our Blessed Lady that her Son, after a grueling passion and frightful death, is alive again.  While the prayer of the Angelus celebrates Jesus’ Incarnation, the Regina Coeli celebrates His Resurrection and “congratulates” the Mother on her Son’s victory over sin and death.

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Regina Coeli (QUEEN OF HEAVEN)

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Regina Coeli, laetare, alleluia
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Let us pray:
O God, who gave joy to the world through the
Resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we
Beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin
Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting
Life. Through the same Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Why Mary is called "the moon"

For this reason she is called "the moon":
that as the moon is between the sun and the earth,
and reflects upon the latter what she receives from the former,
so Mary receives the celestial influences of grace from the divine Son, 

to transfuse them into us who are upon the earth. 

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Around the year 1268 in the Tuscan village of Gracchiano-Vecchio, a child was born to a well-to-do couple, a little girl who was to become one of the great women saints of the Dominican Order.

Attracted  to prayer from an early age, even as a child Agnes would spend hours on her knees praying the Our Father and Hail Mary. At nine years of age, she convinced her parents to place her in the nearby Franciscan monastery at Montelpuciano. In the austerity of monastic life, she advanced in virtue by leaps and bounds.

Five years later, Agnes was called upon to leave Montepulciano to assist in the foundation of a new convent in Proceno. As soon as it was known that Agnes was at Proceno, several girls offered themselves as postulants. With special papal dispensation, the fifteen-year-old Agnes was elected abbess.

From that day onwards, she redoubled her austerities, living for fifteen years on bread and water, and sleeping on the ground with a stone pillow.

Still, the inhabitants of Montelpuciano pined for their now famous saint, and on the plans to build a new convent for her, she returned. The establishment flourished under her rule and guidance, and she remained prioress of this convent until her death.

In her later years, she suffered from a painful illness but did not allow this condition to interfere with her duties. She died at the age of forty-nine.

Friday, April 19, 2019

A Way of the Cross

Header-A Way of the Cross
by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Download here buttonOpening Prayer:
O Sorrowful Mother, in these times wherein the immense majority of men flee from the sacrifice inherent to the perfect fulfillment of all the commandments and counsels of thy Divine Son, obtain for all those who meditate on this Way of the Cross the necessary strength for each to carry his cross to the heights of Calvary.

First Station
Second Station
Third Station
Fourth Station
Fifth Station
Sixth Station
Seventh Station
Eighth Station
Ninth Station
Tenth Station
Eleventh Station
Twelfth Station

Thirteenth Station

Fourteenth Station
About the Author

WOC-Station 1 First Station
Jesus is Condemned to Death
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
The judge who committed the most monstrous professional crime in all history was not impelled to do so by the excitement of any burning passion. Nor was he blinded by ideological hatred, by craving for new riches or by the desire to please some great potentate. He was moved to condemn the Just One by fear—fear of losing his position for apparent lack of zeal for the prerogatives of Caesar; fear of causing himself political complications by having displeased the Jewish mob; and the instinctive fear of saying “no," of doing the opposite of what has been asked of one, of facing the crowd with attitudes and opinions different from those that prevail there.
For a long time, O Lord, Thou didst fix him with that look which in one instant worked the salvation of Peter. It was a look through which one could see Thy supreme moral perfection, Thine infinite innocence. But he condemned Thee anyway.
O Lord, how many times have I imitated Pilate! How many times, out of ambition for personal advancement, have I permitted orthodoxy to be persecuted in my presence without saying a word. How many times have I stood by with my arms crossed at the fight and martyrdom of those who defend the Church! I did not have the courage to give them even a word of support because of an abominable slothfulness to face those who surrounded me, to say “no" to those around me, for fear of being “different from the others." As if Thou hadst created me, Lord, not to imitate Thee, but to slavishly imitate my companions.
In that painful moment of condemnation, Thou didst suffer for all cowards, for all weaklings, for all the lukewarm . . . for me, Lord.
My Jesus, pardon and mercy. By the fortitude Thou didst show me in braving unpopularity and facing the sentence of the Roman magistrate, cure the weakness of my soul.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 2
 Second Station
Jesus Carries the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Thus began, my adorable Lord, Thy walk to the place of immolation. It was not the wish of the Heavenly Father that Thou shouldst die by one fulminating blow. In Thy Passion, Thou hadst to teach us not only to die, but to face death. Facing it with serenity, with neither hesitation nor weakness, walking toward it, even with the resolute pace of a warrior advancing to combat—behold the admirable lesson Thou givest me.
In the face of pain, my God, how great is my cowardice. Sometimes I hesitate before taking up my cross; sometimes I shrink back, neglecting an obligation. Finally I accept it, but so irksomely, so halfheartedly, that I seem to hate the burden that Thy will hast placed on my shoulders.
How often, on other occasions, do I close my eyes in order not to see the pain. I voluntarily blind myself with stupid optimism because I have not the courage to face the trial. And so I lie to myself: It is not true that the renunciation of a certain pleasure is an obligation for me in order not to fall into sin; it is not true that I must overcome a certain habit that favors my most deep-rooted passions; it is not true that I must abandon a certain group, a friendship that undermines and ruins my whole spiritual life. No, none of this is true at all . . . I close my eyes, and I cast aside my cross.
My Jesus, pardon me so much sloth. By the wound that the Cross opened in Thy shoulder, cure, O Father of Mercies, the horrible wound I have opened in my soul through entire years lived in interior dissipation and self-indulgence!
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 3Third Station
Jesus Falls the First Time
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
What then, Lord? Was it not justifiable for Thee to abandon Thy cross? By carrying it until all Thy strength was exhausted, until the insupportable weight of the wood hurled Thee to the ground, hadst Thou not clearly proved that it was impossible for Thee to continue? Thine obligation was fulfilled. Let the angels of heaven carry Thy cross for Thee now. Thou hast suffered in full measure all that was possible. What more wouldst Thou have to give?
Nevertheless, by acting in another way, Thou didst give my cowardice a sublime lesson. With Thy strength exhausted, Thou didst not renounce the burden but askest for yet more strength to carry the Cross once again. And Thou didst obtain it.
The life of a Christian is difficult today. To be obligated to struggle unremittingly against oneself in order to keep the Commandments seems to be an extravagant exception in a world that flaunts the joy of life in licentiousness and opulence. Heavy on our shoulders weighs the cross of fidelity to Thy Law, O Lord. At times, we seem to be out of breath. In these moments of trial, we rationalize. We have already done all that we can. After all, a man's strength is so limited! God will take this into account. Come, let us drop the cross here by the roadside and sink cozily into a life of pleasure. Ah, many are the crosses abandoned alongside our ways, perhaps along my tracks!
Grant me, Jesus, the grace to continue to embrace my cross, even when I collapse under its weight. Grant me the grace to rise up again whenever I grow faint. Grant me, Lord, the supreme grace of never departing from the way by which I must reach the height of my own Calvary.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 4
Fourth Station

Jesus Meets His Mother
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Who, my Lady, seeing thee shed such tears would dare to ask thee why thou weepest? Neither the Earth, nor the sea, nor all the heavens can serve as a term of comparison to thy sorrow. Grant me, my Mother, at least a little of that sorrow. Grant me the grace to weep for Jesus with tears of sincere and profound compunction. Thou didst suffer in union with Jesus. Grant me the grace to suffer as He and thou didst suffer.
Thy greatest sorrow arose not from contemplating the inexpressible bodily sufferings of thy Divine Son. What are bodily evils in comparison with those of the spirit? If Jesus had suffered all of those torments while having at His side compassionate hearts! If His Sacred Heart had not been wounded enormously more by the most senseless, unjust, and blatant hatred than by the weight of the Cross and the brutalities that wounded His Body!
Rather, He was assailed by the tumultuous manifestations of hatred and ingratitude of those whom He had loved: Two steps away was a leper whom He had healed; a little farther, a blind man whom He had restored sight; farther along, a tormented soul whom He had restored peace. All of them called for His death; all of them hated Him; all of them insulted Him. These caused Jesus immensely more suffering than did the inexpressible pains that weighed upon His Body.
Yet, there was worse. There was the worst of evils. There was sin: avowed sin, obtrusive sin, atrocious sin. If all those acts of ingratitude had been committed against the best of men but by some absurdity had not offended God . . . but they were committed against the God made man, and thus they constituted a supreme sin against all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. This was the greatest evil of the injustice and the ingratitude.
This evil lies not so much in the offense against the rights of a benefactor but in the offense against God. Amidst so many and such great causes of sorrow, what caused Thee the most suffering, my Divine Redeemer, and thee, Blessed Mother, was certainly sin.
And I? Am I mindful of my sins? Do I remember, for example, my first sin, or my most recent sin? What of the hour when I committed it, of the place, of the persons who surrounded me, the motives which led me to sin? If I had thought of the magnitude of the offense that a sin causes Thee, would I have dared to disobey Thee, my Lord?
O my Mother, by the sorrow of that holy meeting, obtain for me the grace to have always before my eyes Jesus suffering and wounded, exactly as thou seest Him in this step of the Passion.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 5
 Fifth Station
Jesus is Helped by the Cyrenean to Carry the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Who was Simon? What is known of him, except that he was of Cyrene? And what do most men know of Cyrene other than it was the land of Simon? Both the city and the man emerged from obscurity and entered into glory, the most exalted glory, sacred glory, at a moment when the thoughts of the Cyrenean were far from all this.
He was walking carelessly along the road. He was thinking only about those petty problems and petty interests that make up the trivial lives of the majority of men. But Thou, Lord, didst cross his path with Thy wounds, Thy Cross, Thy immense sorrow.
Simon had to take a position in regard to Thee. The soldiers forced him to carry the Cross with Thee. He could carry it with bad humor, indifferent to Thee, trying to please the people by means of some new way of increasing the torments Thou didst suffer in soul and body; or he could carry it with love, with compassion, scorning the mob, trying to relieve Thy suffering, taking some of it on himself so that Thou wouldst suffer a little less. The Cyrenean preferred to suffer with Thee. For this reason his name has been repeated with love, with gratitude, with holy envy, for two thousand years, by all men of faith, all over the face of the earth, and so it will continue until the end of time.
Thou hast passed also along my path, my Jesus. Thou didst pass when Thou called me out of the darkness of paganism and into the bosom of Thy Church through Holy Baptism, Thou didst pass also when my parents taught me to pray. Thou didst pass again when in the Catechism class I began to open my soul to the true doctrine, Catholic and orthodox. Thou didst pass in my first Confession, in my First Communion, in all of the moments when I vacillated and Thou didst help me, in all of the moments when I fell and Thou didst pick me up, in all the moments when I asked and Thou didst hear me.
And I, Lord? Even now Thou passest by me in this exercise of the Way of the Cross. And what do I do when Thou passest by me?
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 6Sixth Station
Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
One would say at first glance that never was there a greater reward in all of history. Indeed, what king ever held in his hands a cloth more precious than that veil? What general, a more august banner? What gesture of courage and dedication was rewarded with a more extraordinary favor?
But there is a grace that is more valuable than having the Holy Face of the Savior stamped on a veil. The representation of the Divine Face was made on the veil as in a painting. In the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, His Face is reflected as in a mirror.
In her institutions, in her doctrine, in her laws, in her unity, in her universality, in her unsurpassable catholicity, the Church is a true mirror in which our Divine Savior is reflected.
And we, all of us, have the grace of belonging to the Church, of being living stones of the Church! How we ought to give thanks for this favor! Let us not forget, however, that noblesse oblige. Belonging to the Church is a very great and very demanding thing. We must think as the Church thinks, have the mind of the Church, proceed as the Church wishes in all the circumstances of our lives. This supposes a real Catholic sense, an authentic and complete purity of customs, and a profound and sincere piety. In other words it supposes the sacrifice of an entire lifetime.
And what is the reward? Christianus alter Christus. I will be in an eminent way a reproduction of Christ Himself. The likeness of Christ, vivid and sacred, will be imprinted on my own soul.
Ah, Lord, if the grace granted to Veronica is great, how much greater is the favor that Thou dost promise me!
I ask of Thee strength and resoluteness so that I may obtain this favor by being faithful in every trial.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 7Seventh Station
Jesus Falls the Second Time
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
To fall, to be stretched out flat on the ground, to be at the feet of all in order to publicly manifest that now Thou hast no more strength; to these humiliations Thou didst choose to subject Thyself, Lord, as a lesson for me. No one felt sorrow for Thee. Rather, they redoubled their insults and abuses. All the while, Thy grace sought in vain in the interior of those hardened hearts for a movement of pity.
Even at that moment, Thou didst desire to continue Thy Passion for the salvation of men. What men? All men, including those who were doing everything possible to increase Thy suffering.
And so, Lord, I must continue my apostolate, even when all my works have tumbled to the ground, even when all have joined together to attack me, even when the ingratitude and perversity of those to whom I have wished to do good have turned against me. I will not be so weak as to change my path to please them. My ways can be only Thy ways, the ways of orthodoxy, of purity, of austerity. Following Thy ways I shall suffer for them. With my imperfect sorrows united to Thy perfect sorrow, Thine infinitely precious sorrow, I shall continue to do good for them so that they may save themselves, or so that the rejected graces may accumulate over them like burning coals clamoring for punishment. Thus Thou didst with the nation that committed the deicide and so also wilt Thou do with those who will reject Thee until the end of time.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 8Eighth Station
Jesus Consoles the Daughters of Jerusalem
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
There were at that time good souls, who, realizing the enormity of the sin being committed, feared the divine justice.
Am I not witness to a certain sin like that? Is it not true that today Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church are disobeyed, abandoned, betrayed? Is it not true that the laws, institutions, morals, and ways of the people are more and more hostile to Jesus Christ? Is it not true that Our Lady spoke at Fatima, pointing out all of these sins and asking for penance?
But where is that penance? How many are there who really see these sins and who try to point them out, denounce them, fight them, dispute every inch of their progress, raise up against them a whole crusade of ideas, of acts, of force if it be necessary? And how many are capable of unfurling the standard of absolute and flawless orthodoxy in the very places where impiety or false piety struts? How many are they who live in union with the Church during this moment that is tragic as the Passion was tragic, this crucial moment of history when all mankind is choosing to be for Christ or against Christ?
Oh, my God, how many myopic ones there are who prefer neither to see nor to foresee the reality that lies plainly before their eyes! How much false peacefulness, how much trifling well-being, how many petty routine pleasures! How many tasty dishes of pottage to be eaten!
Grant us, Jesus, the grace not to be of that number. Grant us the grace to follow Thy counsel, that is, to weep for ourselves and for our own. Give us not just a few sterile tears, but grant us a flood of tears, which, poured out at Thy feet and made fertile by Thee, may become for us forgiveness, strength for the apostolate, for the fight and for acts of intrepidity.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 9Ninth Station
Jesus Falls the Third Time
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Thou art now, my Lord, more tired, more drained, more wounded, more bloodless than ever. What awaits Thee? Hast Thou reached the end? No. Precisely the worst is yet to come. The most atrocious crime is still to be perpetrated. The worst sorrows still must be suffered. Thou art on the ground a third time but, nonetheless, all that is behind Thee is no more than a preface. And, behold, Thou once again movest that Body that is but one wound. The seemingly impossible is being achieved, once more Thou slowly riseth to Thy feet, even though every movement increases Thy pain. There Thou art, Lord, standing once again . . . with Thy Cross. Thou didst know how to find new strength, new energy, and Thou didst continue. Three falls, three equal lessons in perseverance, each more poignant and more expressive than the last.
Why so much insistence? Because our cowardice is insistent. We resolve to take up our crosses, but cowardice always comes charging back. So that cowardice might find no pretext in our weakness, Thou didst desire to repeat the lesson three times Thyself.
Yes, it is true: our weakness cannot serve us as a pretext. Grace, which God never refuses, can do that which mere natural strength would never be able to do.
God wishes to be served to the last breath, to the exhaustion of the last drop of strength, and He multiplies our capacities for suffering and doing so that our dedication may reach the extreme limit of the unforeseeable, the improbable, the miraculous. “The measure of the love of God is to love Him without measure," said Saint Francis de Sales. The measure of fighting for God consists in fighting without measure, it may be said.
But, I, how quickly I tire! In my works of apostolate the least sacrifice holds me back, the least effort terrifies me, the slightest combat puts me to flight. I like the apostolate, it is true. The apostolate I like is one entirely in accordance with my likings and fancies, to which I give myself when I wish, as I wish, and because I wish. After that I consider I have done a great almsdeed for God.
But God is not satisfied with this. For the Church He wants my whole life, He wants organization, He wants sagacity, He wants intrepidity, He wants the innocence of the dove and the cunning of the serpent, the sweetness of the sheep and the irresistible and overwhelming wrath of the lion. If it be necessary to sacrifice my career, friendship, family ties, petty vanities and inveterate habits, to serve Our Lord, I must do so. For this step of the Passion teaches me that we must give everything to God, absolutely everything, and after having given everything we ought to give our very lives as well.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen. 

WOC-Station 10
 Tenth Station
Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Everything, yes absolutely everything. We must suffer even shame for the love of God and for the Salvation of souls.
The proof of this: He who is Purity par excellence was stripped, and the impure mocked Him in His purity. Our Lord endured these jests of impurity.
Does it not appear insignificant for Him—having already endured so many torments—to endure these jests as well? But this lesson, like the others, was necessary for us. Because of the scorn of a maidservant, Saint Peter denied Our Lord. How many men have forsaken Our Lord for fear of ridicule! If men go to war and face gunfire and death to avoid being mocked as cowards, is it not perfectly true that certain men fear laughter more than anything?
The Divine Master faced ridicule. He taught us that nothing is ridiculous when it is in the line of virtue and goodness.
Teach me, Lord, to reflect in myself the majesty of Thy countenance and the strength of Thy perseverance when the wicked wish to use the arm of ridicule against me.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 11
 Eleventh Station
Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
For Thee, my Lord, impiety chose the worst of final torments. The worst, yes, because it is that which causes one to die slowly, that which produces the greatest sufferings, and that which, being reserved for the most abject criminals, was the most infamous. Everything was prepared by hell to make Thee suffer in body and soul. Does this immense hatred not have some lesson for me? Woe betide me—who never will understand it sufficiently—if I do not become holy.
Between Thee and the devil, between good and evil, between truth and error, there is a profound, irreconcilable, eternal hatred. Darkness hates the light, the children of darkness hate the children of light; the fight between the two sides will endure until the consummation of the ages, and there will never be peace between the race of the Woman and the race of the Serpent.
In order to understand the immeasurable extension and immensity of this hatred, it is necessary to contemplate all that it dared to do. There is the Son of God, transformed, in the words of Scripture, into a leper in whom nothing is sound; a being who writhes like a worm under the effect of the pain; detested, abandoned, nailed to a cross between two common thieves. The Son of God: what grandeur—infinite, unimaginable, absolute—is contained in those words! Behold, in spite of all, what hatred has dared to do against the Son of God!
The whole history of the world, the whole history of the Church is nothing but this inexorable struggle between those who are of God and those who are of the devil, between those who are of the Virgin and those who are of the Serpent. It is a struggle in which there are not merely mistakes of the intellect nor only weakness in the angelic and human hosts that follow Satan, but also malice—deliberate, culpable, sinful malice.
Behold that which needs to be said, commented on, remembered, emphasized, proclaimed, and once more remembered at the foot of the Cross. For we are such, and liberalism has disfigured us to such a point that we are always inclined to forget this truth absolutely inseparable from the contemplation of the Passion.
Well did the Virgin of Virgins, the Mother of Sorrows, know this, she who participated in the Passion along with her Son. Well did the Virgin Apostle know this, he who at the foot of the Cross received Mary as his Mother, thus receiving the greatest legacy ever given a man to receive because there are certain truths which God has reserved for the pure and which He denies to the impure.
My Mother, in the moment in which even the good thief merited forgiveness, I ask that Jesus forgive me for all the blindness with which I have considered all the works of darkness being plotted around me.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 12Twelfth Station
Jesus Dies on the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Finally the apex of all pains is reached. It is a summit so high that it is lost in the clouds of mystery. The physical pains having reached their limits, the moral sufferings having attained their zenith, a mysterious torment must be the climax of such an inexpressible pain, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" In a certain mysterious way, the Word Incarnate Himself was afflicted by that spiritual torture of abandonment in which the soul receives no consolations from God.
Such was this torment that He of Whom the Evangelists record not a single word of pain uttered that piercing cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
Yes, why? Why did this happen if He was Innocence itself? This terrible abandonment was followed by death and the perturbation of all of nature. The sun was darkened. The sky lost its splendor. The earth quaked. The veil of the temple was rent in two. Desolation covered the whole universe.
Why? To redeem man. To destroy sin. To open the gates of heaven. The height of suffering was the height of victory. Death was put to death. The purified earth was like a great field that had been cleared so that the Church might be built on it.
All of this, then, was to save, to save men, to save this man who I am. My salvation was purchased at such a price. I will spare myself no sacrifice to secure that precious salvation. By the Water and the Blood that came forth from Thy Divine Side, by the Wound of Thy Heart, by the sorrows of Mary Most Holy, grant me O Jesus, the strength to detach myself from the persons and things that can separate me from Thee. Today they die, nailed to the Cross, all the friendships, all the affections, all the ambitions, all the delights that have separated me from Thee.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 13
 Thirteenth Station
Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
The repose of the sepulcher awaits Thee, Lord. In the shadows of death, Thou dost open heaven to the just in limbo, while on earth around Thy Mother, a few faithful ones gather to give Thee funeral honors. In the silence of those moments, there is the first glimmer of an aborning hope. Those first acts of homage being offered to Thee mark the inauguration of a series of acts of love by redeemed mankind that will continue until the end of time.
It is a scene of sorrow and desolation, yet of great peace as well. It is a scene wherein something of the triumph is presaged in the ineffable cares with which Thy Divine Body is treated.
Yes, those pious souls condole with one another, but there is something about them that makes one foresee in Thee the glorious Victor.
May I also, Lord, in the great desolations of the Church, be always faithful; may I be present in the saddest hours, unshakably preserving the certainty that Thy Spouse will triumph by the fidelity of the good because Thy protection assists Her.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

WOC-Station 14
Fourteenth Station
Jesus Is Laid in the Sepulcher
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
The stone is rolled into place. Everything seems to have ended. But, it is the moment when everything begins. It is the regrouping of the Apostles. It is the rebirth of dedication, of hope. Easter draws near.
At the same time, the hatred of Thine enemies surrounds the sepulcher, Mary Most Holy and the Apostles. But they do not fear. In a little while the dawn of the Resurrection will break.
Let me not fear either, Lord Jesus, not fear when everything seems irremediably lost, not fear when all the power on earth appears to be in the hands of Thine enemies. Let me not fear because I am at the feet of Our Lady where the true followers of Thy Church always regroup, for new victories.
Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

Prof PlinioAbout the Author
This Way of the Cross was one of two written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and inspirer of twenty-five other sister organizations around the world. He also inspired the The America Needs Fatima campaign of the American TFP. A brilliant scholar, writer, university professor and lawyer, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira was above all, a great leader whose only ambition was to defend Christian Civilization against its systematic destruction. Thus he dedicated his life to the service of the Church in the temporal sphere, fighting particularly the errors of Communism and its manifestations in the West, in the form of a cultural revolution.
He felt a special calling to work for the sanctification of families and temporal society, and had a special charisma to spot the subliminal evil influences of today’s culture, which aim to infect and destroy both. At the time of his death in 1995, he had produced a wealth of writings in the form of meditations, articles and books sharing with us his unique gift and insight.