Fr. Leonard Goffine's
The Church's Year
For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night came was
in the midst of her course, Thy almighty Word, O Lord, down from
heaven, from Thy royal throne (Wis. 18:14-15). The Lord hath reigned,
he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and
hath girded himself (Ps. 92:1). Glory be to the Father.
Almighty and everlasting God, direct our actions
according to Thy good pleasure; that in the name of Thy beloved
Son we may deserve to abound in good works. Through our Lord.
(Gal. 4:1-7). Brethren, as long as the
heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he
be lord of all: but is under tutors and governors until the time
appointed by the father: so we also, when we were children, were
serving under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of
the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under
the law: that he might redeem them who were under the law, that
we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons,
God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba,
Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son; and if a son,
an heir also through God.
St. Paul desired to instruct the Galatians,
many of whom still clung to the Mosaic law, that this was no longer
necessary, because Christ had freed them from its hard bondage,
which contained merely the rudiments, so to speak, of the one only
saving faith, and had made them children and heirs of God, for which
they should rejoice.
Ours is a far greater happiness
than that which the Jews received, because we, through our ancestors,
were converted by apostolic messengers of the faith from heathenism
to the true, saving Catholic faith, and by this holy religion were
changed from vassals of Satan, into children and heirs of God. What
a great advantage is this! Must it not be dearer to us than all
the kingdoms of the world? Let us thank the Lord for it, and be
careful not to lose this prerogative of being a child of God, an
heir to heaven, let us not by sin give ourselves anew, as voluntary
slaves to Satan.
(Lk. 2:33-40). At that time, Joseph and
Mary, the mother of Jesus, were wondering at those things which
were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to
Mary his mother: Behold, this child is set for the fall, and for
the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be
contradicted: and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of
many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a
prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was
far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years
from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four
years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers
serving night and day. Now she at the same hour coming in, confessed
to the Lord; and spoke of him to
all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had
performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned
into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew and
waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.
Mary and Joseph wonder at the things which were spoken of the child
They wondered, not because
that which was said of the child Jesus by Simeon was new to them,
for they already knew why He was sent from God, but because of the
marvellous ways in which God revealed the mysteries of the new-born
Savior to Simeon, the shepherds, and to other pious people.
Christ set for the fall of many?
Christ is set for the fall,
that is, for the eternal damnation, of all those who either reject
His doctrine, or live not according to its teachings. They themselves,
not Christ, are the cause of their damnation on account of their
perversity and hard-heartedness. "If I had not come and spoken
to them," says Christ, "they would not have sin: but now
they have no excuse for their sin" (Jn. 15:22).
is Christ the resurrection?
For those who believe in
Him, and live in accordance with the teachings of His doctrine.
These, if they persevere will at the Last Day rise to eternal life.
Christ a sign that shall be contradicted?
Because, by His birth from
a virgin, by His life and death, and especially by His heavenly
doctrine, which is entirely opposed to the carnal spirit of this
world, Christ became an object of mockery and blasphemy. Even now,
according to the saying of St. Bernard, Christ is a sign of contradiction
for many Christians who contradict His humility by their pride,
His poverty by their avarice, His fasting by their gluttony, His
purity by their impurity, His zeal by their indolence, etc., thus
denying by their actions that which they confess with their lips,
proving thereby that they are Christians but in name, of whom it
is written: "Thou hast the name of being alive, but thou art
dead" (Apoc. 3:1).
meant by these words: Thy own soul a sword shall pierce?
It means that the greatest
grief should cut like a sword through the inmost parts of the soul,
which came to pass, when Mary heard the calumnies and blasphemies
of the Jews against her Son, and when she saw Him
die on the cross between two thieves. Meditating on this grief of
the most loving mother Mary, St. Bonaventure exclaims: "Never
was there grief so great, for never was there a Son so loved!"
do we learn from this gospel?
The widows should learn from
Anna, who spent nearly all her life in the temple, to serve God
by prayer and fasting; for a widow who prays not, but lives in pleasures,
is dead, while she is living (I Tim. 5:6). Parents should learn
from it, to be careful that their children not only increase in
knowledge, but that they by a pious life advance in grace before
God and man.
O Jesus, Thou new-born Savior, do Thou
move our hearts to the fulfillment of Thy precepts that Thou mayst
be set for our fall; for it would be much better for us, not to
have known the ways of righteousness, than having known them, to
have departed from them.
blessed them "(Lk. 2: 34).
meant by a blessing?
A blessing on the part of
God, means the giving to man some spiritual or temporal grace; a
blessing on the part of an angel or a man, means the expression
in prayer of a wish or desire that God would give to some particular
person a corporal or spiritual grace. In the proper sense of the
word, only God can give a blessing, because all spiritual and temporal
good comes from Him; angels and men can only wish and ask of God
that He would bestow His gifts.
examples of blessing in the Bible?
Yes, for the angels blessed
Jacob (Gen. 32:26), and Jacob blessed his sons and grandsons (Gen.
48:15), Melchisedech blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:19), and Rebecca was
blessed by her brothers (Gen. 24:60).
well for parents to bless their children?
Yes, for God frequently ratifies
the blessings wished by the parents, as in the case of Isaac who
blessed Jacob, and Jacob who blessed his own sons (Gen. 49). And,
on the contrary, God permits the curses of parents to be fulfilled
on their children as history shows. "The father's blessing
establisheth the houses of the children; but the mother's curse
rooteth up the foundation" (Ecclus. 3:11).
has the priest's blessing?
A very great one, because
it is given by the priest, the vicar of Christ on earth, in the
name of Jesus, and of the Church founded by Him, in which He has
deposited the plenitude of His blessings. The Church expresses this,
when the bishop, anointing the hands of the newly ordained, makes
the sign of the cross over them. "All that they bless, is blessed;
that they consecrate, is consecrated and sanctified in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ." The blessing of the priest is to
be prized therefore, and an obstacle not set to it by a sinful life.
Parents should ask his blessing for their children when he happens
to visit them. Children
were brought to Christ that He might lay His hands on them and bless
them (Mt. 19:13).
ON BENEDICTIONS, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (sorry,
not on line yet).
the effect of God's blessing?
In spiritual life it gives
great joy and strength to practice virtue; and in physical life
it gives fruitful prosperity in our occupations and undertakings.
Therefore, all is contained in the blessing of God, and he who receives
it, is richer than if he possessed the whole world. We should
endeavor by a pious life to secure this blessing, for it rests only
on the head of the just (Prov. 10:6).