Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 23.


Hence to change a bit of bread into His own body, He has only to will it, to declare it, saying: This is My body.  Just as there are mysteries in nature, such as the intimate union of our soul and body, our physical life, the changes of substances into one another, the workings of electricity, so also, and even much more, there are greater and deeper mysteries in religion, in all that relates directly to God Almighty and infinitely perfect, and in the truths He has deigned to reveal to us through His divine Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, such as the Blessed Trinity, that is, one God in three equal and distinct divine Persons, the Incarnation of the Son of God, and other mysteries, especially that of the Blessed Eucharist or Real Presence.

Wherefore in matters pertaining to faith and revelation, the question is not and should not be, whether we understand the doctrines proposed to our belief, but whether these doctrines have been really revealed and taught by Jesus Christ. Our divine Savior, whilst calling Himself the Son of man because He was really man like ourselves, claimed to be the Son of God, to be true God and equal with God, His Father, and to be one with Him; this claim He upheld and proved to be true by numerous unquestionable miracles; the greatest of which and the most unquestionable and the most clearly proved of historical facts, was the raising of Himself to life the third day after His most cruel and public death. Jesus Christ, therefore, is true God, almighty, omniscient, and the infallible Truth itself. Wherefore, all that Jesus Christ said, declared, and taught, must be accepted as absolutely and infallibly true, how may be to us. To gainsay the words, the teaching of Jesus Christ is to charge God Himself with deception, ignorance, or impotence. Every man claiming to be a Christian, is bound to admit this without any qualification whatever. The writer of these lines has clearly and conclusively proved that at the Last our divine Savior actually changed bread and wine into His very body and very blood, and, at the same time, empowered the priests of His Church to do likewise in remembrance of Him; and, moreover, that Jesus Christ actually declared that the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood is necessary to salvation. 

However incomprehensible all this is to our reason, we have no valid reason to doubt it or to hesitate in believing it firmly, for he who denies or doubts it, is not a true Christian, and practically charges Christ with deception, or with lacking the power to do what He wills and expressly declares; he practically joins the ranks of infidels, of unbelievers.

A man cannot be or consistently call himself a Christian, a believer in, a follower of Christ, unless he sincerely believes the words of Christ, who alone has the words of eternal life. (John 6:69)

We know that at the Last Supper Jesus Christ said, This is My body, which shall be delivered for you (i Cor. ii: 24). What He then held in His hands must have been His true body, though this was not apparently so; to doubt or deny it would be to charge Jesus Christ either with uttering an unmitigated falsehood, or with being unable to change bread into His true body, or with not knowing what He was actually holding in His hands. The true Christian who believes Jesus Christ to be God, to be truth itself, to be omniscient and almighty, will say; I firmly believe that after Jesus Christ had pronounced these aforesaid words over the bread He had taken into His hands: This is My body, which shall be delivered to you, He actually held in His hands, no longer bread, but His own body, which He sacrificed on the following day on the cross for the salvation of mankind. How the bread could become the true body of Christ, I do not know, I do not understand, but I know that Christ, being God, is almighty and can therefore effect all that He wills, and consequently, that He then by His almighty power, changed the bread He was holding into His true and real body. I know and believe that Jesus Christ willed, that all who desire salvation should partake of His very flesh and blood, and that He therefore instituted the priesthood in His Church, so that they should multiply His presence in the Blessed Eucharist all over the earth, to enable all men to partake of His flesh and blood and believe that Jesus Christ, being God and almighty, can do this and has actually done all this; although it is beyond my comprehension and that of all mankind, nevertheless, I believe it all most firmly, for Jesus Christ is the all-wise and all powerful God.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 22.



Many sincere Non-Catholics refuse to believe in the Real Presence, on the ground that it is wholly incomprehensible to them, how a little piece of bread can become the true body of Jesus Christ, and a few drops of wine can become His true blood, and how His body and blood can be in so many places at the same time and be actually received whole and entire by so many persons. They claim that, if they could understand this, they would no longer  refuse to believe in the Real Presence. 

We should, however, bear in mind that the truth of a thing does not depend on our understanding it. Experience shows that every one of us holds many things to be true which he does not and can not understand. Every one knows and believes, that the food he partakes of is changed into his own blood and flesh ; that the blood circulating in his body becomes flesh, veins and arteries, bones, skin, hair, and forms the different organs of his body; but does he understand all this ? how this is done is a perfect mystery to him. The same may be asserted of the vegetable kingdom: plant, for instance, a peach stone ; in the course of time it will grow into a tree ; now tell me how the very same sap of the peach tree formed in its roots and circulating in the tree forms its bark, its wood, its branches, its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit which is composed of the stone, the seed, the pulp, the skin, each of which would naturally argue a different origin for every other part. But although we know that the same sap forms them all, can we understand how this is effected? Hence even in the natural order there are everywhere mysteries which surpass our understanding, and the only rational explanation we can give thereof is, that God made things so. Our senses, our reason testify to the existence, reality and truth of these natural facts and we act reasonably, when we believe them, although we cannot understand them. Their truth does not depend on our understanding them. Let us never lose sight of the fact that God is almighty, and is also Truth itself; that He gives existence to things by His mere word, by a mere act of His will. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 21.



The Angelic Doctor so clearly and so beautifully elucidates the doctrine of the Real Presence, that it will not be thought inopportune or wearisome, to devote another article to quotations from his works on this vital subject, especially since our holy Mother the Church has made so prominent a use of them. After the Epistle of the Mass of Corpus Christi, the priest before proceeding to read or sing the Gospel, reads the following " Sequence,'or hymn of St. Thomas, in honor of the Blessed Eucharist:

"Praise, O Sion, thy Savior; sing hymns and canticles in praise of thy Guide and Shepherd. Praise Him with all thy might, for He is above all praise and can never be sufficiently praised. As a special theme of praise, there is this day proposed the living and life-giving Bread, which at that blessed supper Christ, it cannot be denied, gave to His twelve apostles. Let our praise be full and melodious, let the rejoicing of our mind abound in joyful and becoming strains, for this is the day when we solemnly celebrate the first institution of this Sacred Table. In this feast of the New King the New Pasch of the New Law puts an end to the passover of the Old Law. This new Feast puts the ancient to flight. Truth expels the shadow and day light displaces the darkness of night. That which Christ performed at His Last Supper, He declared should ever be done in remembrance of Him. Taught by His holy precepts, we consecrate bread and wine into the Victim of salvation. The Christians are taught that bread is changed into the flesh of Christ, and wine into His blood. That which thou graspest not and seest not, since it is outside the order of nature, thou shouldst believe with a lively faith. Under diverse species (of bread and wine), which are mere signs and not sub stances, there are hidden far more excellent things. The flesh of Christ is food and His blood is drink; and yet Christ is whole and entire under each species. He is not cut by those who receive Him, nor is He broken or divided (by the division of the species), but He is always received whole and en tire. One person receives Him; a thousand also receive Him; yet all and each one receive one and the same (neither more nor less) ; and when He is received, He is not consumed. The good receive Him; the wicked also receive Him, but with the different result, either of life or of perdition. He is death to the wicked, and life to the good; thus thou seest how different is the outcome of each, although both receive the very same food. When the Sacred Host is broken, do not waver, but remember that Christ is contained in the smallest part, as well as in the whole. There is no breaking of the substance (of Christ's body), but only the breaking of the sign (species), by which neither the state nor the size of the ' signified ' (the body of Christ) is diminished. Behold (then) the Bread of Angels, become the food of wayfarers (on the road to heaven, our true country, our true home); it is the real Bread of the children (of God), which should not be given to the dogs (to the unworthy, to those laden with mortal sin). It was prefigured in the immolation of Isaac, in the paschal lamb, and in the manna given to the Israelites. O Jesus, our Good Shepherd, truly (our) bread, have mercy on us; deign to feed us, deign to protect us, deign to make us see the good things in the land of the living (heaven). Thou who art omniscient and almighty, who here below feedest us mortals, deign to admit us into heaven, as coheirs and companions of its holy citizens, to share (there forever) in Thy Sacred Banquet. Amen."

Such is the grand hymn of St. Thomas explaining most clearly the doctrine of the Real Presence, which the priest reads in the Mass of the Feast of Corpus Christi, and which is called by its first words: Laud a, Sion. In Catholic countries, either on the Feast itself or on the Sunday following, there is a solemn triumphal procession with the Blessed Sacrament in the open air, during which the Lauda Sion, and other hymns in honor of our Eucharistic Savior are sung.

St. Thomas Aquinas also composed the antiphons for the Magnificat of first and second Vespers of the office of Corpus Christi. They are as follows:

1. " O Lord, how sweet is Thy Spirit, since in order to manifest Thy sweetness towards Thy children, Thou by bestowing the most sweet Bread from heaven, fillest the hungry with good things, and sendest away hungry the fastidious rich."

2. " O sacred Banquet in which Christ is received, the remembrance of His passion is recalled, the mind is filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us."

These antiphons remind us of the words of our divine Savior in His discourse promising the institution of the Blessed Eucharist. There is another hymn of St. Thomas in honor of the Blessed Eucharist, which, although not placed either in the Office or in the Mass of Corpus Christi, is found among the prayers recommended to be said by priests during their thanksgiving after saying Mass, and is well adapted to be recited during a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, or sung when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for the adoration and benediction of the faithful, and therefore we give it here.

"Devoutly I adore Thee, O hidden God, who truly remainest concealed under these species. My heart wholly subjects itself to Thee, because whilst contemplating Thee, it grows faint (with love). The sight, the touch, the taste are deceived in Thee; here we can trust our hearing only; wherefore what ever the Son of God has said, I firmly believe for there is nothing more true than this word of Truth itself. On the Cross Christ's Divinity alone was concealed; but here even His humanity is hidden; nevertheless, believing and acknowledging both, I pray for that which the penitent thief prayed for. Thy wounds, O Jesus, I do not, like Thomas, be hold ; nevertheless I own Thee for my God. Grant that I may evermore and more believe in Thee, hope in Thee and love Thee. O Memorial of the Lord's death, living Bread imparting life to man; grant that my mind may always live by Thee, and that it may always relish Thy sweetness. O loving Pelican, Lord Jesus, cleanse my impurities with Thy blood, a single drop of which is sufficient to save the whole world from its sins. O Jesus, whom I now behold veiled (in this Sacrament), grant, I beseech Thee, that which I thirst for, that when I shall see Thy Face revealed, I may be made happy by the vision of Thy Glory. Amen."

In this hymn and in his prayers destined for priests before and after Mass St. Thomas shows that he is not a dry, learned philosopher and theologian, but that his piety is as tender as his learning is great. This will be apparent to our readers from two of his prayers recommended especially to priests by the Church, the one before, and the other after Mass, which all of us may well use before and after holy Communion.

1. BEFORE COMMUNION. " O almighty and eternal God, behold me approaching the Sacrament of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; I come to It as a sick man goes to the Physician of life, the unclean to the Fountain of mercy, the blind to the Light of eternal splendor, the poor and needy to the Lord of heaven and earth. Wherefore I beseech the abundance of Thy immense bounty to deign to heal my infirmity, to wash my uncleanness, to enlighten my blindness, to enrich my poverty, to clothe my nakedness, so that I may receive the Bread of Angels, the King of kings; the Lord of lords, with such reverence and humility, with such contrition and devotion, with such purity and faith, with such good purpose and intention as is conducive to the salvation of my soul. Grant me, I beseech Thee, to receive not only the Sacrament of the Lord's body and blood, but also the reality and virtue of this Sacrament. O God of meekness, grant that I may so receive the body of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, which He took from the Virgin Mary, that I may deserve to be incorporated into His mystical body and numbered among His members. O most loving Father, grant that I may for ever contemplate face to face Thy beloved Son, whom I propose to receive concealed in this Sacrament. Amen."

The foregoing prayer of St. Thomas before holy Communion is addressed to the heavenly Father to obtain from Him the graces we need to receive His divine Son worthily and profitably for our salvation.

In like manner, the Saint addresses his thanksgiving after holy Communion to the eternal Father also, for giving him the body and blood of His only-begotten Son as the food of his soul, and beseeches Him to grant that he may derive therefrom the fruits of eternal life:

2. AFTER COMMUNION. " I give Thee thanks, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who, without any merit on my part, but solely through Thy merciful condescension, didst deign to satiate me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant, with the precious body and blood of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I beseech Thee to grant that this holy Communion be not to me a source of punishable guilt, but a wholesome intercession for pardon; may it be to me the expulsion of my evil habits, the extermination of my concupiscence and lust, an increase of charity and patience, of humility and obedience, and of all the virtues; a firm defense against the snares of all my enemies, both visible and invisible; the perfect appeasement of all my emotions, both carnal and spiritual; may it be to me a firm clinging to Thee, the one and true God, and the happy con summation of my end. And I beseech Thee to deign to lead me, a sinner, to that ineffable Banquet, nowhere Thou with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy Saints the true light, the complete fulness, everlasting joy, consummate pleasure and perfect happiness. Amen."

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 20.


Who is the Angelic Doctor? St. Thomas Aquinas. He is surnamed the Angelic Doctor, or the Angel of the Schools, because in clearness and depth of learning he is more like an angel than a man. Without exaggeration it may be said that his was the grandest mind ever possessed by mortal man. All our modern intellectual giants are veriest pigmies when compared to St. Thomas Aquinas. In his works are found, as Pope Leo XIII insinuates, besides the clearest proofs and the vindication of the Christian truths, the most thorough refutation of all errors past, present and future. Although so wonderfully learned, he writes in a style so simple, so plain and clear, that there can be no mistaking of his meaning. But many complain of finding it hard to understand him. That is true; but the difficulty of understanding St. Thomas lies not in the intricacy or obscurity of his sentences, or in the ambiguity of his terms, for his sentences are very simple and his terms are well defined; the difficulty of understanding him results from the depth and sublimity of the subjects he treats, both in philosophy and theology. St. Thomas was also a very holy man and very much addicted to prayer. When ever in writing on a subject, he came across a difficult point, he had recourse to mental prayer to obtain from God the light he needed, and would continue therein till the difficult point became clear in his mind, so that he was wont to say that he learned more by prayer than by study. Luther dreaded the works and arguments of St. Thomas more than anything else, for he uttered the vain boast that, if the Catholics would give up St. Thomas, he would destroy the Catholic Church! At the great Council of Trent the two great works that were the oftenest consulted and that were placed side by side, were the Holy Bible and the great Summa of St. Thomas. St. Thomas Aquinas was born about the year 1226 in Southern Italy. At the age of nineteen years he received the Dominican habit at Naples, where he was prosecuting his studies. This greatly displeased all members of his family who, finding their entreaties useless, resolved to remove him from the convent by force. To prevent this, the Dominicans secretly sent him to Paris. But he was waylaid and captured by his brothers, and imprisoned in a castle. There every means, both fair and foul, was used to prevail on him to give up his vocation, but all in vain, for he not only remained steadfast, but even succeeded in prevailing upon his sisters, who had been sent to overcome his constancy, to leave the world and enter the religious state. With their help he escaped from his prison and succeeded in reaching Paris; and soon was sent first to Cologne to study under the renowned Blessed Albert the Great, and later on to Paris where he received the degree of Doctor with St. Bonaventure, and for a number of years taught with wonderful success theology and philosophy in its celebrated University. "The Church," says Father Bowden, " has ever venerated his numerous writings as a treasure-house of sacred doctrine; while in naming him the Angelic Doctor, she has indicated that his science is more divine than human. The rarest gifts of intellect were combined in him with the tenderest piety."

He died in 1274 on his way to the General Council of Lyons, to which Pope Gregory X had summoned him. St. Thomas is intimately connected with the history of the Blessed Eucharist in the Catholic Church. In the year 1264 Pope Urban IV ordered the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, which he had just instituted, through out the whole Church. He enjoined a committee of theologians, among whom were St. Thomas and the great St. Bonaventure, surnamed the Seraphic Doc tor, on account of the ardent piety and sublimity of his writings, to prepare each the Office and the Mass of the Blessed Sacrament for that great Feast. When St. Thomas had read what he had written on the subject St. Bonaventure would not read what he himself had prepared, because, as he said, it would bear no comparison with what St. Thomas had com posed. Let us now examine some of the beautiful passages of the wonderful composition of St. Thomas on the Blessed Eucharist. The following is a passage from the Divine Office:

" The immense benefits of the divine bounty be stowed on Christians confer on them an inestimable dignity. For there is not, nor was there ever in former times, a nation that had its gods so near as our God is near to us. The only-begotten Son of God, wishing to render us partakers of His divinity, assumed our nature, in order that, after becoming man, He might make man divine. Moreover, the nature He assumed like ours, the very same He delivered up for our salvation; for He offered on the altar of the cross His body as victim for our reconciliation with His Father; He shed His blood both for our ransom and as a cleansing bath, so that we, being redeemed from a wretched slavery, might be cleansed from all sins. Now, in order that the remembrance of so great a benefit should remain constantly in us, He left His body and His blood, under the appearances of bread and wine, to be used by the faithful as (spiritual) food and drink. O feast so precious, so much to be admired, bringing salvation and filled with every sweetness! For what can be more precious than this feast, in which, not the flesh of bullocks and goats as in the Old Law, are placed before the guests, but in which Christ, the true God, is given to us as our food? What is more wonderful than this Sacrament ? For in it the bread and wine are substantially changed into the body and blood of Christ; and therefore Christ, the true God and perfect man, is contained under the appearances of a little bread and wine. He is eaten by the faithful, but not torn in pieces; for, if the Sacrament is divided, Christ (is not divided, but) remains whole under each particle. The accidents subsist without subject in this Sacrament, so as to make room for our faith, whilst we are receiving visibly that which is invisibly hidden under a foreign species."

In the above quotation we see that St. Thomas expressly declares that in Holy Communion, Christ, the true God, is given us as our food and is eaten by us; however He is not torn in pieces as bodily food. When the Sacred Host is divided, the body of Christ is not divided, but is entire in each piece, however small it may be. In the Blessed Eucharist, he tells us the accidents, that is the taste, color, smell and other properties of bread and wine are present, but the substance of bread and the substance of wine are not present, for they have been changed by consecration into the substance of the body and the substance of the blood of Jesus Christ. The receiving of Holy Communion is visible, but the body and the blood of Christ which we therein really receive, are invisible to our senses, and thus give us the opportunity of exercising our faith.

" No other Sacrament," continues St. Thomas, " is more wholesome than this one, for it purifies our sins, increases our virtues and replenishes our mind with an abundance of good gifts. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all, might prove useful to all. In fine, no one can sufficiently express the sweetness of this Sacrament, by which spiritual sweetness is tasted in its very fountain, and in which the remembrance is recalled of the most excellent charity which Christ showed in His Passion. Wherefore, in order to impress the more deeply in the hearts of the faithful the immensity of His love, Christ, after celebrating the Jewish Passover with His disciples at the Last Supper, and being about to go from the world to His Father, instituted this Sacrament, as a perpetual memorial of His Passion, the fulfillment of the ancient figures and the greatest miracles wrought by Him; and He thereby left a wonderful consolation to those who grieved at His departure from this world."

In another place, speaking of the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi, he says: " It is befitting the devotion of the faithful, that they should solemnly celebrate the institution of so salutary and so wonderful a Sacrament, and that we should revere the ineffable manner in which our God is present in this visible Sacrament, and praise the power of God working so many wonders in this very Sacrament, and give due thanks to Him for so salutary and sweet a benefit. Although on Holy Thursday, the day on which this Sacrament was instituted, special mention of its institution is made during the solemn Mass, nevertheless, all the remainder of the Office of that day is devoted to the veneration of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Wherefore, in order that the Christian people should worthily celebrate the institution of so great a Sacrament, Pope Urban IV, filled with devotion towards this Sacrament, piously decreed, that the memory of its institution should be celebrated by all the faithful on the first Thursday following the octave of Pentecost, so that whilst making use of the Sacrament all the year round for our salvation, we may celebrate its institution, especially at the time when the Holy Ghost taught the hearts of the disciples to know fully the mysteries of this Sacrament. It was also at that time that the faithful began to partake of this Sacrament as their spiritual food."

Let us now turn our attention to the beautiful hymns of the Divine Office of the Blessed Sacrament composed by the Angelic Doctor, beginning with the Pange, lingua, gloriosi, the hymn for vespers. " Sing, O my tongue, the mystery of the glorious body and precious blood which the King of the nations, who was brought forth from the Virgin's fruitful womb, shed for the world's ransom. To us He was given, for us He was born of the spotless Virgin, and conversed with men, sowing the seed of the word (of God), till He closed in a wonderful manner the time He spent on earth. Whilst at table with His brethren at the Last Supper, after com plying fully with the prescriptions of the (Mosaic) law in eating of the paschal lamb, He with His own hands gave Himself as food to His twelve apostles. The Word made flesh with a word makes real bread His real flesh, and real wine His real blood; and although our senses fail to recognize this change, faith alone suffices to confirm (convince) a sincere heart. (The last two stanzas are the Tantum ergo and the Genitori, which are sung before every benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.) "Therefore let us, this so great Sacrament, profoundly revere, and let the ancient figures give way to the new rite, and our faith supply the deficiency of our senses, To the Father and to the Son let there be praise, rejoicing, greeting, honor, virtue and blessing, and equal praising to the Holy Ghost from both proceeding. Amen."

The next hymn we give here of St. Thomas is the " Sacris solemniis " for the " Matins " of the Office of the Blessed Sacrament. " Let us celebrate this holy and solemn Feast with joy, and let us sound its praises from our inmost hearts. Let us lay aside the things of old, and let all things be new, our hearts, our voices, our deeds. We now recall the Supper of that last night when Christ, as we believe, gave the lamb and the unleavened bread to His brethren, in accordance with the laws prescribed to their ancestors. After they had eaten the lamb, a figure of Christ, and finished the repast, Christ, as we should confess, gave to His disciples with His own hands His own body, whole and entire to all, whole and entire to each one likewise. To them in their weakness He gave His body as a strengthening food, and in their sadness He gave them the chalice of His blood, saying: Receive the cup I give you, drink ye all of this. Thus did the Lord institute that Sacrifice which He wished to entrust to His priests alone, for whom it is meet and fit that they should partake of it themselves and also give it to others. Thus the Angels' bread becomes the bread of men. This heavenly bread puts an end to the figures of the Old Law. O wonder of wonders, in deed, for a poor, humble servant feeds on the Lord Himself! O triune Deity, we beseech Thee, deign to visit us, as we worship Thee; through Thy paths lead us to the light to which we tend, and in which Thou dwellest. Amen."

The next hymn of St. Thomas in the Divine Office is that for Lauds beginning with the words " Verbum supernum." The fourth stanza is worthy of admiration. The great Latin poet, Santeuil, of the seventeenth century, was wont to say, that he would be willing to give up all his fame his Latin poetry had acquired for him, could he thereby possess that of being the author of those four verses, beginning " Se nascens." The fifth stanza and the sixth are those usually sung at Benediction when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, " O salutaris" and " Uni trinoque." Here is the hymn: " The Word of God went forth from heaven without leaving the right hand of His Father; He came on earth to do His work, and reached at length the evening of His life. As He was about to be betrayed to His en emies by one of His disciples, He previously gave Himself to His disciples as the Bread of life. To them under a two-fold species He gave His flesh and blood, so that He might feed the whole of man (who is composed of flesh and blood) — (Se nascens). At His birth He gave Himself to man as a fellow-man; when at table, He made Himself man's food; when dying, He became man's ransom; and reigning in heaven, He gives Himself to man as his reward. (O salutaris) O saving Victim, which openest heaven's gate, whilst enemies wage against us a relentless war, deign to give us strength, to bring us help. (Uni trinoque) To the triune Lord be everlasting glory, that He may bestow on us in our country a life without end. Amen."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 19.


The same apostle, St. Paul, writes thus to the Romans: " Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (says the prophet Joel 2:32), shall be saved. How, then, shall they call on Him, in whom they have not believed ? Or how shall they believe Him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher ? And how shall they preach unless they be sent? . . . Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (the Gospel) of Christ" (Rom. 10: 14, 15, 17). No one may therefore undertake to preach the Gospel, to teach the doctrines of Christ, unless he is sent by Christ, unless he has his mission to do so from Jesus Christ Himself. The Catholic Church alone has her mission to do so from Jesus Christ and His apostles, and therefore, the Catholic Priesthood, the mouth piece of the Church, is alone entrusted with that mission. Whence, then, had the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century the mission to preach a gospel different from that preached by the Catholic Church, which Christ commissioned to preach to mankind? They could not have it from Christ who is ever with His Church, as He solemnly promised, and whose teaching is as unchangeable as truth itself. If not from Christ, it must be from " the gates of hell," vainly attempting to prevail against the Church Christ founded on Peter!

Therefore, let us firmly believe in the Real Presence and in the other mysteries the Catholic Church teaches, and let us thank God for the inestimable gift of faith, and especially for His personal, though invisible, Presence among us in the Blessed Eucharist. There in our churches we can visit Him, pay Him our homages, thank Him, beseech Him to forgive our sins and to assist us in our wants, temp tations, and trials, with the confidence of being heard. Protestants cannot find Jesus Christ in their churches, for they have no Real Presence; and they have no Real Presence because they have no Priest hood, no one empowered to do what Jesus did at the Last Supper, to change bread and wine into His Very Body and His Very Blood. Some of the pious among the Separated Brethren, when they wish to pay their homage to Jesus Christ and beseech His assistance, are accustomed to come to a Catholic Church to find Jesus and pour our their hearts to Him! May He deign to bestow on them the gift of the true faith!

Finally, we have had, of late years, tangible proofs of the Real Presence in the Catholic Church. Lourdes, a small town in France, not far from the Pyrenees, is a renowned place of pilgrimage in honor of the Blessed Virgin, who in 1858 several times appeared to a little peasant girl, and gave her her name, saying: " I am the Immaculate Conception "; and told her that she wished that people should henceforth come there in crowds to honor her and receive favors. Every year people afflicted with various incurable diseases beyond all medical (or magical) skill, or with spiritual and other trials, come from almost every country in the world to implore help, health, etc., through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Every year miraculous cures, proved beyond all shadow of doubt, more or less numerous, take place, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin; but the majority of them at the general pilgrimages are directly performed by Jesus Christ Himself in the Holy Eucharist, thus proving the Real Presence of Jesus Christ therein. A few days before the breaking out of the terrible war now going on in Europe, that is, on the 25th of July, 1914, the International Eucharistic Congress was in session at Lourdes, listening to the great Dominican preacher, Rev. Father Janvier. The following lines are taken from his sermon: " For us," says Father Janvier, " the miracles, which take place at Lourdes, have an important bearing. They confirm and facilitate our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. . . . The miracles which have taken place before the tabernacle, after a Holy Communion, during the passing by and at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, confirm our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This faith, in fact, is for the sick, the inspiration of their supplications. They believe that Jesus Christ is truly, really, and substantially present in the Host; that He is hidden therein with His Body and with His Blood, with His Mind and His Heart, with His Humanity and with His Divinity. This is the reason why they go to Him as if they touched Him with their hands; as if they heard Him with their ears; as if they actually beheld Him in His physical body. From Him they expect consolation, their cure, health, and life, and their expectation is based on the words pronounced by the Prophet of Nazareth over the first consecrated bread and wine: 'This is My body! This is My blood'; in a word, it is based on His positive Presence in the ciborium, in the chalice, in the monstrance. And God, by choosing His intervention, for performing a miracle, the very moment when he receives Holy Communion, the very moment when the Blessed Sacrament passes near him and blesses him, God Himself, I say, by these very facts, adheres by a sensible sign, to the words of Jesus (instituting the Eucharist); He adheres indirectly, it is true, but, at the same time, He implicitly and truly approves them and holds Himself responsible for the teaching of the Church proclaiming the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, in our tabernacles. Is God mistaken in this? No, my brethren, for He possesses in a transcending degree the science of facts, of things and their essences. No, my brethren, for He is infallible, not only in His thoughts, but He is infallible also when He speaks; He could not betray the truth without ceasing to be God. There fore the miracles of Lourdes bring fresh security to our faith. By their means God guarantees that our faith in the Majesty of the Altar has a solid basis, that the Savior really dwells in the Sacred Host, and that we can safely offer to the Host the adorations, the prayers which the Israelite's addressed to Jesus, the Son of the heavenly Father."

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 18.


The history of the Church most clearly proves that no novel doctrine opposed to, or different from, that of Jesus could be broached either in the early ages of the Church or in later times without causing great opposition and horror among the faithful and without being at once condemned. Faith was held dearer than anything else, and worthy of the sacrifice of all goods and life itself for its preservation, as is attested by millions of martyrs who died in its defence. The horror of heresy, of false and novel doctrines, can be seen from numberless examples, a few of which are given here. "If any man come to you and bring this (novel) doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God speed you" (2 John 10). It is St. John, the apostle of charity, who says this; and what he said he also practised; for when he was told that the heretic Cerinthus had entered the house he was in, St. John at once left it, for he did not wish to remain under the same roof as a heretic. The heretic Arius was explaining his heresy in an assembly; but the hearers showed their horror by closing their ears and would not listen to the blasphemies. One day the heretic Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, whilst preaching to his own diocesans, said that Mary was not the Mother of God, but only the mother of the man called " Christ," the people were so horrified that they all at once left the church. On another occasion a member of his clergy, by his order, was preaching the same heretical doctrine, to the horror of the people, when a certain Eusebius, a prominent lay man, could no longer stand such heretical preaching, arose and proceeded to protest and to refute him, to the delight and applause of the people.

The charge that the Church of Jesus Christ fell into errors and corrupted His doctrine, is an insult to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for He repeatedly asserted that His Church would never in the least swerve from the truth, and would always triumph over error. In the first place, the angel Gabriel, the messenger of God to the virgin Mary, expressly declared to her that the kingdom of the Son, who was to be born of her, would have no end: "And of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). The kingdom of Jesus Christ is His Church, and had His Church fallen into error, it would no longer be His kingdom and the divine prophecy of its lasting forever would have failed of fulfilment; but what God Himself foretells must be fulfilled, for He is Truth itself, and not a liar or a deceiver, as such a charge would make Him!

In the next place Jesus Christ said to Peter: "Thou art Peter (that is, the rock), and on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her" (Mat. 16:18). History shows how "the gates of hell,'* that is, errors and earthly power, have fought against her, to subdue her, to enslave her, to crush her, but all in vain. Hence St. Jerome says: " As long as the world shall last, the strength of the Church shall be tested and shall abide the test. This shall be so, because the Lord God almighty, who is the Lord God of the Church, has promised that so it shall be, and His promise is an unchanging law." Had the Church ever fallen into error or into idolatrous practises, as Protestants charge, our divine Savior would have proved a false prophet! To say this is clearly a blasphemy! Moreover, did not our divine Savior also promise to be with His Church until the end of the world, saying: "Behold, I am with you all days until the consummation of ages "? (Mat. 28: 20). Did He not also make this promise to His Church (apostles) on the eve of His death, saying: " I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever, The Spirit of truth. . . . The Paraclete the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name; He will teach you all things and bring all things to your minds, whatsoever I shall have said to you" (John 14:16, 17, 26). Had the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, which is the only Church He founded, ever fallen into error and idolatrous practises, or taught any thing different from the doctrine of Christ, He would not have kept all these promises. To assert this is nothing short of blasphemy. Christ made and destined His Church to be " the pillar and ground of truth" (i Tim. 3: 15), and surely kept His promise.

Moreover, let us remember that God does not change, cannot change, for He is infinitely perfect; only that changes and can change, which is imperfect and is liable to grow better, to improve, or to grow worse, to deteriorate. God does not change and " the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance " (that is, unchangeable) (Rom.11: 29). Therefore, the Catholic Church, once founded and established by Jesus Christ as His Church, as assisted by Him, as taught and directed by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, is always to remain so, and is therefore and shall ever be the true and infallible Church of Christ, and her teaching and doctrines shall ever be the teaching and doctrines of Jesus Christ, in which there neither is nor can be any error. To assert the contrary is to charge God with error! No other church can have the least claim to being the Church of Jesus Christ. Listen to the words of St. Paul: " But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. . . . For I give you to understand, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. i: 8, 9, 11, 12). Here St. Paul anathematises all those who preach a gospel different from that which he had preached to them and which Jesus Christ Himself had specially revealed to him. And his anathema would extend to himself and even to an angel, were he or the angel to preach a gospel differing from that which he had preached to them. This is a terrible condemnation of those pretended
reformers of the sixteenth and other centuries who dared to preach a gospel, that is, doctrines differing from that preached by St. Paul and the other apostles on the Real Presence and other doctrines which the Catholic Church received from Jesus Christ Himself!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Promise Of Our Divine Saviour to give to men His very Flesh to eat and His very Blood to drink. part 17.


With the exception of a small number of obscure heretics, no one had denied the Catholic doctrines of the Real Presence until the appearance of Luther and other heretics in the sixteenth century. Not only the whole Catholic Church, but also all the ancient sects which, centuries previous to the pretended Reformation, had been cut off from the Church of Christ, such as the Greeks, the Nestorians, the Copts and the Armenians, had always believed and still believe in the Real Presence. But in the sixteenth century a novel and upstart religion, headed by the apostate monk Luther, with out either divine authority, mission, or sanction, came forward repudiating the ancient and universal belief in the Real Presence and other genuine Christian truths, charging them with being anti-Christian and idolatrous, striving in a hundred different and contradictory ways to explain and interpret the express and most plain words of Jesus Christ, constantly wrangling among themselves and splitting into numberless sects. On the other hand, the Catholic Church (and even all the aforesaid ancient sects likewise) has continued to believe and cling faithfully to the original doctrine of the Real Presence as preached to her by the apostles of Jesus Christ, maintaining that she has always been in lawful possession of this sacred doctrine taught by the apostles, who heard it from the very lips of the Savior.

That the Catholic Church received her doctrine of the Real Presence from Jesus Christ and His apostles, can be proved by arguments other than texts of Scripture and quotations from the writings of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. One of these arguments is called the argument of "Prescription." This form of proof is used both in law and in theology. In law it is equivalent to the old adage: "Possession is nine points of the law." For instance, a man who has long been in undisputed possession of some property or privilege, is deemed its lawful possessor, and can not be dispossessed, unless legally conclusive proof is given, that he never had a lawful right to the same. The burden of  impugning his right thereto; that is, he who is in possession needs not directly to prove his right.

Now let us see how in theology " Prescription " is an unanswerable and conclusive proof. That the Catholic Church alone has existed from the time of Jesus Christ and His apostles and was founded by them is admitted by all who are acquainted with history. Hence it was the Catholic Church which Jesus Christ commissioned to teach all nations, and of which all nations were bound to believe and to become members under the pain of eternal condemnation : " Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15, 16). It is, therefore, clear that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and that all men were obliged to believe her teaching under the pain of forfeiting their salvation. Even Protestants admit that the Catholic Church was the Church of Christ, the true Church, during the first three centuries; " but," say they, " after the first three centuries, the Catholic Church began to corrupt the doctrines of Christ and His apostles, adding a number of doctrines and practices both false and idolatrous, which Jesus and His apostles had not taught, such as Confession, the Real Presence, prayers to the Virgin and to the saints." Here we have only to refute them by using the argument of " Prescription," saying to them: " You say that the doctrine of the Real Presence was never taught by Jesus Christ and His apostles. If so, it must have been introduced into the Church at a later date; please tell us, then, when, where and by whom such a wonderful doctrine was introduced, for it must have drawn the attention of the Christians of the time; we know the place, time, and authors of the various novel doctrines, differing from and opposed to the doctrines transmitted to His Church by Jesus Christ and His apostles; we can give the time, place, and authors of the heresies broached in all ages. If the Real Presence is not a doctrine of Christ and His apostles, as you assert so boldly, you must be able to give us the particulars of its first appearance in the Church. But this you cannot do, for there is no record of a later introduction into the Creed of the Catholic Church, as there is for the first appearance of Arianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, Donatism, Pelagianism and Protestantism with its various sects. Hence the conclusion is clear that the doctrine of the Real Presence was contained in the doctrines, which Christ and His apostles commissioned the Church to teach to mankind, and to be believed by all men under pain of eternal condemnation''