The Church's Year
ON GOOD FRIDAY
This day was formerly for
the Jewish people a day of preparation for Easter, and was called
by them the Parasceve; for us Christians it is the anniversary of
the death and burial of our Lord who on this day, being Himself
both High-Priest and Victim, offered Himself upon the cross for
the salvation of the world.
do Catholics hold this day in such veneration?
Because it is one of the
greatest days from the beginning of the world to its end. On this
day the designs which God had from all eternity were perfected,
as Jesus Himself expressed when He said, All il consummated; for
on this day He was given up toy the Gentiles by the Jews, was scourged,
crowned with thorns, loaded with the cross, dragged to Calvary amid
taunts and sneers, there nailed to the cross between two thieves,
and by His painful death finished the great work of redemption.
did Christ suffer so much to, redeem, us?
To show us what
an immense evil sin is, on account of which He underwent such cruel
sufferings that He might satisfy divine justice. His love for us
was so great that He gave the last drop of His blood to save us.
He rendered satisfaction for all men without exception, that none
might be lost, that every one might possess eternal life. Look up
today, and every day of thy life, to Christ on the cross, and see
how God punishes sin, since He did not even spare His only-begotten
Son, who took upon Himself our sins, and for them died this cruel
death. What death is due to thee, if thou dost not despise and flee
does the Church celebrate the commemoration of the passion of Christ
in such solemn quietness?
That we may be
induced to thank the Saviour for our redemption, and to move us
to sincere love for Him by serious meditation on His passion. For
this reason St. Paul ordered the observance of this day, and the
Christians even in his time sanctified it by deep mourning, and
Why do we
not observe Good Friday with such festivities as do the Protestants?
Because our grief for our
Saviour's death is too great to permit us to celebrate it joyously,
even nature mourned His death; the sun was darkened, the earth trembled
and the rocks were rent. Although the Christian rejoices on this
day in the grace of redemption through Christ, he is aware that
his joy cannot be pleasing to God unless he endeavors to participate
in the merits of the passion and death of Christ by sorrow for his
sins, by amendment and penance; and this is the very reason why
the Church solemnizes this day in a sad and touching manner.
are there no candles lighted at the beginning of the service?
To signify that on this day
Christ, the Light of the world, became, as it were, extinguished.
does the priest prostrate himself before the altar at the beginning
of the service?
That with him we should consider
in deepest sorrow and humility how the Saviour died on the cross
for our sins, and how unworthy we are on account of them to lift
up our faces.
does the service commence with the reading of two lessons?
Because Christ died for Jews
and Gentiles. The first lesson is from the Prophet Osee, (Osee VI,
1-6.) and the other from Exodus, (Exod. XII. 1-11.) from them we
infer that by the bloody death of the immaculate Lamb Jesus we are
healed of our sins, and redeemed from death.
the first lesson the Priest says the following:
O God! from whom Judas received the punishment of his sin,
and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effects
of Thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ at the time of His passion
bestowed on each a different recompense of his merits, so having
destroyed the old man in us, He may give us the grace of His Resurrection.
Who liveth, & c.
After the Passion the priest prays in behalf of the one, only true
Church, that she may increase, and that peace and unity may always
remain with her; for the pope, that his government may be blessed;
for the bishops, priests, the clergy, and the people, that they
may serve God in justice; for those converted to the faith, that
they may continue to grow an knowledge and an zeal for the holy
religion; for rulers as defenders of the Church, that they may govern
with wisdom and justice, and that those under them may be
loyal to them with fidelity and obedience; for the unfortunate,
that God may have mercy on them; for heretics and apostates, that
they may be brought back from error to the truth of the Catholic
faith; for the Jews, that they may be enlightened; for the heathens,
that they may be converted. Before each gayer the priest says Oremus,
(Let us pray Flectamus genua, (Let us kneel; when kneeling, we say
Amen, and at the call Levate (Rise up) we rise: except at the prayer
for the Jews, when the genuflection is omitted, because the Jews
bent the knee in mockery before our Lord. As Christ on this day
prayed for all men, the Church desires, that we do the same; say,
therefore, the following:
O Lord Jesus! who on the cross, while enduring the most excruciating
pain, didst pray with a loud voice for all men, we humbly pray Thee
for Thy vicar, Pope N., for our bishop N., for all the priests and
clergy, for our civil government, for the neophytes, for the unfortunate
and oppressed, for all Catholics, that Thou mayst preserve them
in the true faith, and strengthen them, that they may serve Thee
according to their different vocations. We pray Thee also for all
unbelievers, and those separated from the true fold, for the Jews,
and for the heathens, that Thou mayst unite all in Thy holy Church,
and bring them to eternal salvation. Amen.
is done by the priest after these prayers?
The priest then goes down
from the epistle side of the altar, takes the veiled crucifix, and
extending it towards the people, uncovers it so much that the head
is seen, and sings in a low voice: Ecce lignum. crucis, &c.:
Behold the wood of the cross on which the Salvation of the world
was hanged! The choir answers: Venite, adoremus: Come, let us adore!
at which all kneel, adoring Christ who died on the cross for us.
The priest then advances to the corner of the altar, uncovers the
right arm of the Crucifix, and sings in a higher tone: Ecce lignum
crucis, &c.; to which the choir responds as before. Then at
the middle of the altar he uncovers the entire Crucifix, and elevating
it, sings in a still higher tone than before: Ecce lignum, &c.
The choir responds again: Venite adoremus. The image of the crucified
Redeemer, which has been hidden from our view since Passion Sunday
should make a deep impression upon us; it teaches us at the same
time how the Saviour became gradually known to the world. Jesus
is adored three times, because He was mocked three times: in the
court-yard of the high-priest, in Pilate's house, and on mount Calvary.
When the crucifix is unveiled the priest carries it to the place
prepared for it, and kneeling he places it on the cushion covered
with a white veil to represent the laying of Christ in the sepulchre;
he then retires to the gospel side of the Altar where he puts off
his shoes, like Moses, when he was about to approach Almighty God;
he then kneels and meditates on the passion of Christ; goes a few
steps forward, again kneels, and still a third time, this time directly
in front of the crucifix. He adores Jesus with humility, considers
His infinite love, which brought Him to the cross and laid Him in
the sepulchre for our Redemption; and then kisses with reverence
the image of the crucified Saviour. During this veneration of the
cross the choir chants alternately the versicles called the Reproaches,
and between each part of the canticle the following words in Greek
and Latin: "Holy God! Holy and strong God! Holy and immortal
God! have mercy on us!" In these versicles Christ tenderly
and lovingly reproaches the people who crucified Him, which we may
also take to ourselves, who have so often crucified Jesus anew by
sin. They are therefore called reproaches, words of complaint, and
continue during the veneration of the cross by the priest. Afterwards
a hymn of praise composed by St. Fortunatus is sung in honor of
the victory gained on the cross by our Saviour, which calls upon
us also to render praise and thanks to Jesus crucified.
Adore also in deepest humility
the Saviour who died on the cross, and is now victoriously enthroned;
ask with sincere contrition the forgiveness of your sins, and by
a threefold advance, kiss with sincere love His sacred wounds, promising
to love all men, even your enemies, and to have pity on all in distress,
according to His example.
follows the veneration of the cross?
The sacred Host consecrated
on Holy Thursday, and kept in the chalice, is brought by the priest
in procession, from the repository to the high altar, incensed
in sign of adoration, and after a few short prayers the priest elevates
It with the right hand, breaks It, puts one part in the chalice
and communicates, and soon after leaves the altar.
there, then, no Mass said on this day?
No; for on this day there
is no bread and wine consecrated, which is the essential
part of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
is no Mass said on this day?
Because Jesus Christ having
this day sacrificed Himself on the altar of the cross in a bloody
offering, it is not meet that His death sacrifice should be today
repeated even in an unbloody manner. Besides this, Mass is a joyous
and comforting sacrifice, and is therefore omitted because of our
devotions may be practised to-day?
Besides adoring Jesus in
the holy sepulchre, the stations may be said, meditations made on
the sufferings of our Lord. Let the words of St. Augustine touch
your heart, when he places the crucified Redeemer before our mind
in the following words: "Behold the wounds of Jesus who is
hanging on the cross, the blood of the dying, the price of our redemption!
His head is bowed to give the kiss of peace; His side is open to
love; His arms are extended to embrace us; His whole body sacrificed
for our redemption. Let these words be the subject of your meditation
that He may be wholly in your heart who is nailed to the cross for
OF CONTEMPLATING CHRIST'S BITTER PASSION
Christ also suffered
for us: leaving you an example that you should follow his steps.
(I Peter II. 21.)
Whence does it come,"
writes St. Alphonsus Ligouri, "that so many of the faithful
look with so much indifference at Christ on the cross? They generally
assist during Holy Week at the commemoration of His death without
any feeling of gratitude or compassion, as if it were a fable or
an event in which they had no interest. Know they not, or believe
they not what the gospel relates of Christ's passion? Indeed they
know it, and believe it, but do not think of it. It is impossible
that he who believes and meditates, should fail, to become burning
with love for God who suffers and dies for love of him." But
why, we may ask here, are there so many who draw so little benefit
even from the contemplation of the passion and death of Jesus? Because
they fail to consider and imitate the example which Christ gives
in His sufferings.
"The cross of Christ,"
says St. Augustine, "is not only a bed of death, but a pulpit
of instruction." It is not only a bed upon which Christ dies,
but the pulpit from which He teaches us what we must do. It should
now be our special aim to meditate upon the passion of Christ, and
to imitate those virtues which shone forth so preeminently in His
passion and death. But many neglect to do this: They usually content
themselves with compassion when they see Christ enduring such great
pains, but they see not with what love, humility, and meekness He
bears them; and so do not endeavor to imitate His example. That
you, O Christian soul, may avoid this mistake, and that you may
draw the greatest possible benefit for your soul, from the contemplation
of the passion, and death of Christ, attend to that which is said
of it by that pious servant of Gods Alphonse Rodriguez:
We must endeavor to derive
from the meditation on the mysteries of the passion and death of
Christ this effect, that we may imitate His virtues, and this by
slowly and attentively considering each virtue by itself, exercising
ourselves in forming a very great desire for it in our hearts, making
a firm resolution to practice it in words and works, and also to
conceive a holy aversion and horror of the opposite vice; for instance,
when contemplating Christ's condemnation to the death of the cross
by Pilate, consider the humility of Jesus Christ, who being God,
as humble as He was innocent, voluntarily submitted and silently
accepted the unjust sentence and the ignominious death. Here you
see from the example given by Jesus, how you should despise yourself,
patiently bear all evil, unjust judgment; and detraction, and even
seek them with joy as giving you occasion to resemble Him. To produce
these necessary effects and resolutions, you should at each mystery
contemplate the following particulars:
First, Who is it that suffers?
The most innocent, the holiest, the most loving; the only-begotten
Son of the Almighty Father, the Lord of heaven and earth. Secondly;
What pains and torments, exterior and interior, does He suffer?
Thirdly, In what manner does He suffer, with what patience, humility,
meekness and love, does He bear all ignominy and outrage? Fourthly,
For whom does He suffer? For all men, for His enemies and His executioners.
Fifthly, By whom does He suffer? By Jews and heathens, by soldiers
and tyrants, by the devil and all impious children of the world
to the end of time, and all who were then united in spirit with
His enemies. Sixthly, Why does He suffer? To make reparation for
all the sins of the whole world, to satisfy the justice of God,
to reconcile the Heavenly Father, to open heaven, to give us His
infinite 'merits that we may from them have strength to follow the
way to heaven. At the consideration of each of these points, and
indeed at each mystery of the passion of Christ, the imitation of
the example of His virtues is the main object, because the true
life of the Christian consists in the imitation of Jesus. In considering
each stage of the passion of Christ place vividly before your mind
the virtue which He practiced therein; contemplate it and ask yourself
whether you possess this virtue, or whether you still cherish the
opposite vice. If you find the latter to be the case make an act
of contrition, with the firm resolution to extirpate this vice,
and excite in yourself a sincere desire for the opposite virtue.
In this way you will draw the greatest advantage from the contemplation
of Christ's passion, and will resemble Christ, and, as the pious
Louis of Granada says, there can be no greater honor and adornment
for a Christian than to resemble his divine Master, not in the way
that Lucifer desired, but in that which He pointed out, when He
said: "I have given you an example, that as I have done to
you, so do you also."
PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN. (CHAPS. XVIII., XIX.)
At that time, Jesus went
forth with his disciples, over the brook of Cedron, where there
was a garden into which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas
also, who betrayed him, knew the place: because Jesus had often
resorted thither together with his disciples. Judas therefore having
received a band of men and servants from the chief priests and the
Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus,
therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth
and said to them: Whom seek ye? They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him,
stood with them. As soon then as he had said to them: I am he; they,
went backward, and fell to the ground.
Again therefore he asked
them: Whom seek ye? And they said: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered:
I have told you, that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these
go away. That the word might be fulfilled which he had said: Of
them whom thou bast given me, I have not lost any one. Then Simon
Peter having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high-priest,
and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus.
Then Jesus said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The
cup which my Father hath given me, shall not I drink it?
Then the band, and the tribune,
and the servants of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him: and they
led him away to Annas first: for he was father-in-law to Caiphas,
who was the high-priest of that year. Now Caiphas was he who had
given the council to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man
should die for the people.
And Simon Peter followed
Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known
to the high-priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the
high-priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then the other
disciple who was known to the high-priest, went out, and spoke to
her that kept the door: and brought in Peter. And the maid that
waited at the door, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this
man's disciples? He saith : I am not.
Now the servants and officers
stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves:
and with them was Peter also standing, and warming himself.
high-priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always
taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither all the Jews
resort: and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest thou me?
ask them who have heard what I have spoken to them: behold they
know what things I have said. And when he had said these things,
one of the officers standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest
thou the high-priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken, evil,
give testimony of the evil: but if well, why strikest thou me?
And Annas sent him bound
to Caiphas the high-priest.
And Simon Peter was standing
and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also
one of his disciples? He denied it and said: I am not. One of the
servants of the high-priest, a kinsman to him whose ear Peter, cut
off, saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Then
Peter: again denied, and immediately the cock crowed. Then they
led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor hall. And it was morning:
and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled,
but that they might eat the passover.
Pilate therefore went out
to there, and said: What accusation bring you against this man?
They answered and said to him: If he were not a malefactor, we would
not have delivered him up to thee. Pilate then said to them: Take
him you, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore
said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. That
the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which he said, signifying what
death he should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again,
and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews?
Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others
told it thee of me. Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation,
and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me. What hast thou
done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom
were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should
not be, delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence.
Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered:
Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this
came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth:
every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.
Pilate saith to him: What
when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith
to them: I find no cause in him. But you have a custom that I should
release one unto you at the passover: will you therefore that I
release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again,
saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Then, therefore, Pilate took
Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns,
put it upon his head: and they put on him a purple garment, and
they came to him, and said: Hail, King of the Jews! And they gave
him blows. Pilate, therefore, went forth again, and saith to them:
Behold I bring him forth to you that you may know that I find no
cause in him. So Jesus came forth bearing the down of thorns, and
the purple garment. And he saith to them: Behold the man. When the
chief priests, therefore, and the officers had seen him, they cried
out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take
him you, and crucify him; for I find no cause in him. The Jews answered
him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because
he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore had heard
this saying, he feared the more. And he entered into the hall again,
and he said to Jesus: Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Pilate therefore said to him: Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou
not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release
thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me,
unless it were given thee from above. Therefore he that hath delivered
me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought
to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release
this man, thou art not Caesar's friend. For whosoever maketh himself
a king, speaketh against Caesar.
Now when Pilate had heard
these words, he brought Jesus forth: and sat down in the judgment-seat,
in the place that is called the Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
And it was the parasceve of the passover, about the sixth hour,
and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out:
Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them:
Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no
king but Ceasar. Then therefore, he delivered him to them to be
crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his
own cross he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but
in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him, and with him two
others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote
a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was:
Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.
The title, therefore, many
of the Jews did read, because the place where Jesus was crucified
was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and
in Latin. Then the chief-priest of the Jews said to Pilate: Write
not, the king of the Jews: but that he said: I am the king of the
Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. Then
the soldiers, when they had crucified him, took his garments (and
they made four parts, to, every soldier a part) and also his coat.
Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
They said then one to another:
Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be:
that the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith: They have parted
my garments among, them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots.
And the soldiers did indeed these things. Now there stood by the
cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus therefore saw
his mother, and the disciple standing, whom he loved, he saith to
his mother: Woman! behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple:
Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his
own. Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there
was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they put a sponge full
of vinegar, about hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus, therefore,
had taken the vinegar, he said: It is consummated. And bowing his
head, he gave up the ghost.
the Jews (because it was the parasceve) that the bodies might not
remain upon the cross on the Sabbath-day(for that was a great Sabbath-day),
besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might
be taken away. The soldiers, therefore, came: and they broke the
legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him.
But after they were come
to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break
his legs. But one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear,
and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw
it gave testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that
he saith true, that you also may believe.
For these things were done
that the Scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone
of him. And again another Scripture saith: They shall look on him
whom they pierced.
And after these things, Joseph
of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for
fear of the Jews), besought Pilate that he might take away the body
of Jesus. And Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore and took
away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at the first
came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes; about
a hundred pound weight.
They took therefore the body
of Jesus, and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices, as the
manner of the Jews is, to bury. Now there was a garden in the place
where he was crucified; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein
no man yet had been laid. Therefore, because of the parasceve of
the Jews, they laid Jesus there; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
PEOPLE AT THE CROSS, AND THE PEOPLE OF TODAY
At Golgotha, in sight of
the temple and city of Jerusalem, in the presence of two or three
millions of Jews, who had come to the city from all lands, Jesus,
the Son of God, hung upon the cross, an , expiatory sacrifice for
mankind burdened with all manner of sin. Near cross of her dying
Son stood Mary, His mother, filled with grief; by her side John,
the beloved disciple, and kneeling at the foot of the cross almost
insensible from sorrow and anguish, convulsively winding her arms
around the wood of the cross, was Mary Magdalen, the penitent. On
a cross at the right hand hung a penitent thief turned towards the
Saviour; at the left hand on another cross groaned another criminal
of impenitent heart, blaspheming the Holy One of Israel. Around
the agonizing Saviour stood the Scribes and Pharisees, that hypocritical
class of practiced miscreants, who hated and persecuted the innocent
Lamb Jesus, even in death, who blink to all the predictions of the
prophets whose books they had read, blind to the actual miracles
which Jesus had wrought before their eyes to prove His divinity
and His mission, filled with envy and hatred, reviled the dying
Redeemer. At a distance stood a crowd of curious, indifferent people,
who had come to Jerusalem to attend the feast of the Passover, and
having heard of Jesus were present at His crucifixion. Not far from
them the rough soldiers and executioners lay around, dividing among
themselves the Saviour's clothes and casting lots for His seamless
This was the society that
surrounded the Son of God and Redeemer of the world bleeding on
the cross, and in their different phases they are types of the men
Only few were there who clung
to the Saviour in unwavering faith and true love, ready to die with
Him, and for Him. There were few who suffered all taunts and sneers
all revilings and blasphemies, .and departed not from the cross.
Of these three were especially faithful, viz. Mary, John, and Magdalen.
Those who like Mary and John are pure and innocent, or like Magdalen
are weeping for their sins, who confess Jesus with their heart and
lips, cling faithfully to Him, and permit neither persecution nor
death to separate them from Him, are like the faithful three at
the cross. As then by the cross, so today, the number of the faithful
is small, and great is the number of those who, like the careless
spectators of the crucifixion, are not decided enemies of Jesus
crucified, nor yet His firm friends. They have indeed been baptized
in the name of Jesus, they remain externally with the Catholic Church,
which Christ founded, but they are sunk in lukewarmness, have no
living faith, and are wavering to and fro like a reed between the
world and Jesus. They fear the sneers of the so-called learned and
enlightened, many of whom are well represented by the Scribes and
Pharisees, who, having no faith in Christ themselves, bear in -
their hearts only hatred and contempt for His Church; they
shun the cross, because it is too heavy for their sensuality; they
do not, it is true, commit public crimes, they prize highly a good
name, occasionally observe the law of the Church, but are accessible
to every error; their ears incline to every blasphemy against the
religion of Jesus and His ministers, the priests. Instead of standing
fearlessly and boldly for Christ, for the holy faith He has taught,
and which the Church teaches, they turn away, are silent, even go
with the Church's enemies that they may not be sneered at. The are
neither hot, nor cold, so that the words of the Scriptures are verifled
in them: Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I
will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. (Apoc. III. 16.) The Lord
casts away from Him these lukewarm, indifferent Christians, as nauseous
saliva, and leaves them to their destruction. The true Pharisees
of our day are those who purposely close their eyes to the light
of truth, who have put aside faith in Jesus, and are no longer disposed
to receive instruction. Their pride, their egotism has blinded them,
with their poor reason they wish to understand the mysteries of
,the Almighty, with their weak intellect to fathom His ways, even
seek to be equal to God; they deny every revealed truth, they deny
the existence of heaven and hell, they propose to live like the
animals, without God, but their end is, ruin! Few of them,
having seen their error, as the thief on the cross at the right
hand of Jesus, turn repentingly to the Redeemer; obdurate as the
robber and murderer at His left, the Pharisees of our day cease
not to blaspheme the Crucified, and to revile His holy Church. These
are assisted by the apostates and unbelievers, who, like the soldiers
and executioners, divide among themselves His clothes, and cast
lots for His seamless garment. Those clothes which the soldiers
divided among themselves, are the truths which the apostates and
heretics yet retain after their apostacy from the Church. They have
divided these truths, for they have separated themselves into thousands
of sects, and possess only portions of the one truth, which Jesus
has laid down in. His Church, whole and complete. "Upon my
vesture they have cast lots."
This seamless vesture of
Christ is His holy Church that cannot be separated or divided, she
is one, and must remain one to the end of time. Concerning this
one true Church, the sects all quarrel, all want to be the true
Church without considering that, as but one soldier, by the lots,
received Christ's seamless garment, so only one association of men
can be the true Church, and that is the association which Christ
Thus we find at the cross
on Golgotha the different classes of people of our day represented,
namely, the pure and innocent; the repenting sinners, firm adherents
of Jesus and His teachings; as also the lukewarm, wavering, nominal
Christians; obdurate heretics, professed infidels and apostates.
So today mankind is divided into like parties.
To which party do you belong,
O Christian soul? To which do you wish to belong? Choose! The time
of the division is near. The Lord already holds in His hand the
winnowing shovel to clear His floor. If you are not a firm adherent
of Jesus and His Church, in the storm that is gathering you will
be blown like chaff. If you remain with the small group at the cross,
in persevering courage, you will stand firm, and on the day when
the cross shall appear in the clouds of heaven, you, with Mary,
the mother of the (faithful, with John and with Magdalen, will triumph
forever, as a victorious knight of the cross. Decide!