The Church's Year
ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
In thanks for the redemption
the Church sings at the Introit:
Declare the voice of joy, and let it be heard, allel.: declare it
even to the ends of the earth: the Lord hath delivered his people.
(Isai. XLVII. 20.) Allel. allel. Shout with joy to God, all the
earth: sing ye a psalm to his name, give glory to his praise. (Fs.
LXV.) Glory etc.
O God, from whom all good things proceed: grant to Thy suppliants,
that by Thy inspiration we may think those things that are right,
and by Thy guidance may perform the same. Through etc.
(James I. 22‑27.) Dearly Beloved, Be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be
a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a than
beholding his own countenance in a glass: for he beheld himself
and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.
But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath
continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of
the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man
think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving
his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Religion clean and undefiled
before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless, and
widows in their tribulation, and to keep one's self unspotted from
True piety, as St. James here says, consists not only in knowing
and recognizing the word of God, but in living according to its
precepts and teachings; in subduing the tongue, the most dangerous
and injurious of all our members; in being charitable to the poor
and destitute, and in contemning the world, its false principles,
foolish customs and scandalous example, against which we should
guard, that we may not become infected and polluted by them. Test
thyself, whether thy life be of this kind.
O Jesus! Director of the soul! Give me the grace of true piety as
defined by St. James.
(John XVI. 23-30.) At this time, Jesus saith to his disciples: Amen,
amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father,anything in my name, he
will give it you. Hitherto, you have not asked anything in my name.
Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things
I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no
more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the
Father. In that day, you shall ask in my name: and I say not to
you that I will ask the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth
you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out
from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world:
again I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples say
to him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb.
Now we know that thou knowest all things, and thou needest not that
any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth
God wish us to ask of Him?
That we may know and confess
that all good comes from Him; that we may acknowledge our poverty
and weakness which in all things need the help of God; that we may
thus glorify Him and render ourselves less unworthy of the gifts
which He has promised us.
meant by asking to the name of Jesus?
By this is meant praying
with confidence in the merits of Jesus, "who," as St.
Cyril says, "being God with the Father, gives us all good,
and as mediator carries our petitions to His Father." The Church,
therefore concludes all her prayers with the words: "Through
our Lord, Jesus Christ." It means also that we should ask that
which is in accordance with the will of Christ, namely, all things
necessary for the salvation of our soul; to pray for temporal things
merely in order to live happily in this world, is not pleasing to
Christ and avails us nothing. "He who prays for what hinders
salvation," says St. Augustine, "does not pray in the
name of Jesus." Thus Jesus said to His disciples: Hitherto
you have asked nothing in my name, "because," as St. Gregory
says, "they did not ask for that which conduces to eternal
it that God sometimes does not grant our petitions?
Because we often pray for
things that are injurious, and like a good father, God denies them
to us, in order to give us something better; because He wishes to
prove our patience and perseverance in prayer; because we generally
do not pray as we ought; to be pleasing to God, prayer should be
made when in a state of grace and with confidence in Christ's merits,
for the prayer of a just man availeth much; (James V. 16.) we must
pray with humility and submission to the will of God, with attention,
fervor, sincerity, and with perseverance.
special times should we pray?
We should pray every morning
and evening, before and after meals, in time of temptation, when
commencing any important undertaking, and particularly in the hour
of death. God is mindful of us every moment, and gives us His grace.
It is, therefore, but just that we think often of Him during the
day, and thank Him for His blessings.
we, in accordance with Christ's teachings, (Luke XVIII. 1.) pray
at all times?
By making the good intention
when commencing our work, to do all for the love of God, and according
to His most holy will; by raising our hearts to God at different
times during the day; frequently making acts of faith, hope, love,
and humility, and by repeating short ejaculations, such as: O Jesus!
grant me grace to love Thee! Thee only do I desire to love! O be
merciful to me! Lord hasten to help me.
the signification of the different ceremonies that Catholics use
at their prayers?
The general signification
is that God must be served, honored and adored, not only with the
soul but with the body; when we pray aloud we praise God, not only
with the mind, but also with our lips; when we pray with bowed and
uncovered head, with folded, uplifted, or outstretched hands, on
bended knees, with bowed and prostrated body, we show our reverence
and subjection to the majesty of God, before whom we, who are but
dust and ashes, cannot humble ourselves enough. These different
ceremonies during prayer are frequently mentioned in both the Old
and the New Testaments, and Christ and His apostles have made use
of them, as for instance, the bending of the knees, falling on the
is the best of all prayers?
The Lord's Prayer which Christ
Himself taught us, and commands us to repeat. When said with devotion,
it is the most powerful of all prayers. (Matt. VI, 9-13; Luke XI.
EXPLANATION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER
does the Lord's Prayer consist?
It consists of an address,
as an introduction to the prayer, and of seven petitions which contain
all that we should ask for the honor of God, and for our own salvation.
The address is thus: Our Father who art in heaven:
the word “Our" signify?
In the communion of saints
we should pray for and with all the children of God; we should be
humble and preserve brotherly love towards all men.
it that is here called our “Father"?
Our Father is God who has
made us His children and heirs of His kingdom through His Son.
we say "Who art in heaven", since God is everywhere?
To remind us that our true
home is heaven, for which we, should ardently long, because our
Father is there, and there He has prepared our inheritance.
do we ask to the first petition: "Hallowed be Thy name?"
That we and all men may truly
know, love, and serve God.
do we pray to the second petition: "Thy kingdom come?"
That the Church of God; the
kingdom of Christ, may extend over the whole earth, and the kingdom
of sin and the devil be destroyed; that Christ may reign in our
hearts and in the hearts of all; and that God will deign to receive
us into the kingdom of heaven when our earthly pilgrimage is ended.
do we ask to the third petition: "Thy will be done on earth
as it is to heaven ?"
We beg that God would enable
us, by His grace, to do His will in all things, as the blessed do
it in heaven. In these three petitions we seek, as taught by Christ,
first the kingdom of God, that all the rest may be added unto us.
(Luke XII. 31.)
do we ask in the fourth petition: "Give us this day our dally
We beg for all necessaries
for body and soul
does it say, "this day?"
The words "this day"
signify that we should not be over anxious for the future, but place
all our confidence in God who will provide the necessaries of life.
we ask for in the fifth petition: "Forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us?"
We beg that God will forgive
us our sins, as we forgive others their offenses against us. Those
who make this petition, and still bear enmity towards their neighbor,
lie in the face of God, and will not receive forgiveness. (Mark
XI. 25, 26.)
risked for in the sixth petition: Lead us not into temptation?"
We ask God to avert all temptations
or at least not to abandon us when we are tempted. We cannot, indeed
be entirely free from them in this world, they are even necessary
and useful for our salvation: for without temptation there is no
combat, without combat no victory and without victory no crown.
we ask for in the seventh petition: Deliver us from evil?"
We beg that God would free
us from all evil of soul and body.
CONCERNING THE PROCESSIONS ON ROGATION DAYS
Processions are solemn religious
assemblages of persons marching together, and are instituted by
the Catholic Church partly to encourage the piety of the faithful,
partly in remembrance of graces received, and in thanksgiving for
them. Processions are approved of by the Fathers of the Church from
the earliest ages. Those who take part in them in a true spirit
will reap wholesome fruit of Christian piety.
No, they were the custom
in the very earliest centuries of the Church, as testified by the
acts of the martyrs, of Saints Cyprian, Lucius, Boniface, and the
Fathers of the Church, Saints Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gregory,
and others. They are also founded on Scripture. Thus King David
caused the ark of the covenant to be carried in solemn procession
to Jerusalem, (II Kings VI.) and Solomon, his son, had it carried
in solemn procession into the new temple. (III Kings VIII. 1-6.)
Processions are a figure
of our pilgrimage on earth; we are strangers and wanderers here
below, our journey reaches from this valley of tears to the heavenly
Sion, the procession therefore returns into the house of God; our
journey leads over the thorny ways of life, the procession therefore
takes place in the open air, where the pilgrim is exposed to all
kinds of weather; they are a powerful incentive to fervor in prayer
for the faithful; when hundreds, even thousands of faithful praise
God aloud, or cry to Him for help and mercy, must not even the coldest
heart be roused to vivid, fervent devotion, since Christ has promised
to be present even where two or three are assembled in His name?
Processions are an open acknowledgment that praise, thanks and adoration
are due to God alone, while they are a public profession of our
faith in Christ, the Crucified; they are a solemn thanksgiving for
being permitted to profess Christ, our Lord, before the whole world,
as also for all the graces obtained through Him; they are a public
testimonial of our faith in the one, holy, Catholic Church, whose
members are united by the same bond of faith, and who form under
their head, Christ, one family in God. Finally, they are a sign
of the triumph of Christian faith over the darkness of heathenism.
If processions are solemnized with such intentions, with order and
dignity, with fervent devotion, in the light of faith, they are
indeed a pleasing sight for angels and men
banners and the cross carried in procession?
The cross signifies that
we are assembled as Christians, in the name of Jesus, in whose name
we begin and end our prayers, through whose merits we expect all
things from the Heavenly Father, and whom we must follow: on our
journey to heaven; the red and white banners indicate that we must
walk in all innocence under the banner of Christ, and fight unto
death against sin, against the world and the devil, and be as ready
as were the martyrs to give our life for our faith; the blue banners
indicate that we must walk the road of self-denial and mortification,
with really humble and penitent feelings for our gins. The banners
are also emblematic of Christ's victory over death and hell, and
of the triumph of His religion over the pagans and Jews.
we go around the fields in processions?
To beg God to bless the fields
with His fatherly hand, to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
and. as He fills the animals with blessings, and gives them food
at the proper time, so may He give to as also our necessary food.
the origin of the procession on St. Mark's day and on Rogation Days?
The procession on St. Mark's
day was instituted even before the time of Pope Gregory the Great
(607) who, however, brought it into fervent practice, "in order,"
as he says, 'to obtain, in a measurer forgiveness of our sins."
The same pontiff introduced another, called the Sevenfold Procession,
because the faithful of Rome took part in it in seven divisions,
from seven different Churches, meeting in the Church of the Blessed
Virgin. It was also named the Pest Procession, because it was ordered
by St. Gregory to obtain the cessation of a fearful pestilence which
was at that time raging in Rome, and throughout all Italy. This
pestilence so poisoned the atmosphere that one opening his mouth
to sneeze or gape would suddenly fall dead; (hence the custom of
saying God bless you," to one sneezing, and of making the sign
of the cross on the mouth of one who gapes). The same holy pope
ordered the picture of the Blessed Virgin, which is said to have
been painted by St. Luke, to be carried in this procession, and
that the intercession of this powerful mother be these supplications
and the pestilence asked. God heard ceased. It is said that the
processions in Rogation Week owe their origin to St. Mamertus, Bishop
of Vienne in France; in the neighborhood of which city there were,
in the year 469, terrible earthquakes which caused great destruction,
the fruits perished and various plagues afflicted the people. The
saintly bishop assembled the faithful, recommended them to seek
refuge in the merciful God, and led them in procession around the
fields. Such processions spread over France, and gradually throughout
the Christian world; they are held in order to obtain from God the
averting of universal evils, such as war, famine, and pestilence,
and are, at the same time, a preparation for the Ascension of Christ
who is our most powerful mediator with His Father, and whom we should
invoke especially during these days.
intentions should we take part in a procession?
With the intention of glorifying
God, of thanking Him for all. His graces, and of obtaining aid and
comfort from Him in all our corporal and spiritual needs; with the
view of professing our faith openly before the whole world, and
with the sincere resolution of always following Christ, the Crucified,
in the path of penance and mortification. He who entertains other
intentions and takes part, perhaps, for temporal advantages, or
for sinful pleasures, or to avoid labor, &c., sins against God
and the Church who weeps over and condemns such abuses.