Insight into the Catholic Faith presents

Catholic Tradition Newsletter

 

A weekly presentation of News, Information, Readings and Commentary for traditional Roman Catholics and Catholic Families remaining faithful to the teaching Magisterium as held by all faithful Catholics through the centuries.


Vol 11 Issue 37                    Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier


September 15, 2018

Seven Sorrows of the BVM


  1. What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
  2. Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
  3. Saints Cornelius and Cyprian
  4. Family and Marriage
  5. Articles and notices

 

Dear Reader:

Next week will be the Ember days, when Holy Mother Church will fast and pray that God will bless the earth and provide a good harvest, not just in material things, but more especially in spiritual. The outcome of these prayers is the vocations to the priesthood and the ordinations that are normally administered on Ember Saturday. Please pray this week for the candidates preparing in traditional Roman Catholic Seminaries throughout the world. As the scandals of the Conciliar Church are published, one may look askance at the priesthood—but as Catholics two things must always be placed in mind, they take God’s place in our lives as an “alter Christus” who are to administer to us the sacraments and lead us to salvation and, because they have this sacred calling, the wicked one knows all to often that in destroying a priest he destroys also the souls of those entrusted to the priest. Saint John Vianney is patron of Priests not because of his knowledge, but because he fulfilled that which is the obligation of a priest—to lead his parish to heaven. Pray for priests, pray for holy priests. Assist them in their spiritual life by supporting them in holy endeavors—for without the priest one could say there is no chance to obtain heaven.

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor

________________


WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier


XIV


Post Trent Church Teachings on Confirmation


The post-Trent decrees continue to deal with the abuse of usages by the schismatic Greeks slipping into use among the Catholics using the Oriental Rites. There are many different traditions and practices that are not allowed in the Latin Rite, but permitted in the Oriental Rites. Many of these are compromises in keeping the Uniates in the fold of the Church. Still, it must be remembered that the majority of Catholics are in the Latin Rite and the Church, where possible, seeks to have unity in practice while preserving the Oriental Rites but also reminding the Latin Rite clergy they are not to bring Eastern Rite Catholics into the Latin Rite.

On August 30, 1595, Clement VIII (1592-1605) addressed the inter-action between the Italo-Greeks (Southern Italy) and the Latins that no priest has the power of himself to confirm, while instructing the clergy that the Greeks do have the faculties to consecrate the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick, but not that of Holy Chrism—which has universally always been done by a bishop:


  • 1. Latin bishops should anoint with chrism children or other baptized who have in fact been signed on the forehead with chrism by Greek priests, and it seems safer for them to do this with caution and conditionally, as follows: N., if you are confirmed, I do not confirm you, but if you are not confirmed, I mark you with the sign of the cross, and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; this is especially the case when, with some probability, it can be doubted that they were baptized by Greek bishops. (Cf. D. H. 1991)


  • 3. . . . Greek priests are not to be forced to accept the holy oils, except the chrism from the Latin diocesan bishops, since oils of this kind are produced and blessed by them in the furnishing of the oils and the presentation of the sacraments according to the ancient rite. . . . Let them be forced to accept chrism, however, which, even according to their rite, cannot be blessed except by a bishop. (Cf. D.B. 1086; D.H., 1992)

In 1742, Benedict XIV (1740-58) published the Constitution, Etsi Pastoralis, on May 26, 1742, reminding the Italian-Greek priests they did not have the faculties to confirm (as those in the Ottoman empire) and were to take the children to the local Bishop to receive this Sacrament. The constitution was also   informing the local ordinaries to accept the infants (normally the age of confirmation at this time was 7), as the tradition of the Greeks was to confirm right after baptism.


(3) Let Latin bishops unconditionally confirm infants or others baptized in their dioceses and signed on the forehead with chrism by Greek priests, since neither by our predecessors nor by us has the faculty been granted, nor is it granted to Greek priests in Italy and the adjacent islands to confer the sacrament of confirmation on baptized infants. . . . (cf. D.B. 1458)


That priest, with permission from the Apostolic See, may confirm is seen in the decision of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and signed by Clement XIV (1769-1774) on May 4, 1774. In this decree the Pope explains the reason.


Instruction for a Priest Administering the Sacrament of Confirmation by Delegation from the Apostolic See


Even though, according to the definition of the Council of Trent [sess. 7. confirmation, can. 3:], the bishop alone is the ordinary minister of this sacrament, nevertheless, for just reasons the Apostolic See sometimes has the custom of granting a simple priest the faculty of conferring it as an extraordinary minister.

A priest to whom this faculty has been granted should therefore above all take care to carry with him chrism blessed by a Catholic bishop in communion with the same Holy See and should be aware that he is never allowed to administer confirmation without it or to receive it from heretical or schismatic bishops. (cf. D. H. 2588)


With the French Revolution and the end of Catholic Monarchies, the education systems fell into the hands of secular states, the leaders of which revised the view of the world from Christocentric to anthropocentric. As Protestantism rejected the grace of God so the Jansenists, attempting to reconcile with Protestantism also rejected grace working with man’s cooperation; as the rationalists rejected the supernatural so the Modernists denied direct divine intervention, i.e, that God as God actually spoke to the sacred writers and actually came on earth in the Person of Jesus. Imbibing the teachings of August Comte, Religion has become the social conscience of the believer that changes with the progress of humanity. Modernism rejected revealed religion and all the facets that are corollaries of a revealed religion which makes the Truths of religion absolutes. Regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Modernists attempt to show the evolution of the faith by claiming Baptism and Confirmation were a single Sacrament, but eventually became two. This error was condemned by the Decree of the Holy Office, Lamentabili, on July 3, 1907 and signed by Pope Saint Pius X (1903-1914).


Error 44. There is no proof that the rite of the sacrament of confirmation was practiced by the apostles; but the formal distinction between the two sacraments, namely, baptism and confirmation, by no means goes back to the history of primitive Christianity. (cf. D.B. 2044)


Later the same Pope would remind the Orientals that certain errors taught by the Schismatics could not be held by Catholics, including that a priest could confirm without apostolic faculties. He enumerates the errors as follows:


No less rashly than falsely does one approach this opinion, that the dogma concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son by no means is taken from the very words of the Gospel, or is sanctioned by the faith of the ancient Fathers; — most imprudently, likewise, is doubt raised as to whether the sacred dogmas on purgatory and on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary were acknowledged by the holy men of earlier years; — . . . regarding the constitution of the Church . . . first of all an error, long since condemned by Our predecessor, Innocent X, is being renewed [cf. Decree of the Sacred Office January 24, 1647], in which it is argued that St. Paul is held as a brother entirely equal to St. Peter; — then, with no less falsity, one is invited to believe that the Catholic Church was not in the earliest days a sovereignty of one person, that is a monarchy; or that the primacy of the Catholic Church does not rest on valid arguments. — But . . . the Catholic doctrine on the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist is not left untouched when it is taught inflexibly that the opinion can be accepted which maintains that among the Greeks the words of consecration do not produce an effect unless preceded by that prayer which they call epiclesis, although, on the other hand, it is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the sacraments; and no less inharmonious with this is the view that confirmation conferred by any priest at all is to be held valid. [From the letter, Ex quo, to the Archbishops Apostolic Delegates in Byzantium, in Greece, in Egypt, in Mesopotamia, in Persia, in Syria, and in the Oriental Indies, December 26, 1910; cf. D.B. 2147a]

(To be continued)

--------------------------

Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1959)


SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Be enthroned at My right hand


As has already been pointed out, the past two Sundays together with the present seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost are transitional from summer to autumn; and therefore they exhibit characteristics of both seasons. Beginning with the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, the major and most frequently recurring theme consisted in the antithesis between the flesh and the spirit, between the world and God. During the approaching fall and winter phase of the Church year, emphasis will lie on preparation and expectation for the Lord's Second Advent. Let us analyze these strains more closely.

  1. Text Analysis. The Summer Theme. Ever since Adam's sin, disorder and conflict have wearied the soul of man. Original sin takes its toll - and this is what St. Paul refers to by the term flesh, Christ endowed us with another principle of action, and Paul calls this spirit. "Spirit" consists primarily in the manifold supernatural gifts granted us by God. It was not part of the divine plan to restore paradise to us as such. Earth would continue to be the battleground between good and evil, the stage for the holy war of which Christ said: "I did not come to bring peace, but the sword." The Christian, therefore, must be a soldier—this line of thought was developed in the liturgy on summer Sundays. His struggle continues all during life, with light and darkness, spirit and flesh constantly at odds. God's side will not always emerge with flying banners, and there will be some major disasters. But final victory will be ours. Today's Mass gives a preview of the aftermath, when it no longer will be a matter of opposing parties but of peaceful unity.

The peculiar beauty of our formulary is its clear picture of the compelling unity of our holy religion: unity in faith, unity in morals, unity in grace and worship. One Christ, one Church, one Love. The wonderful sevenfold oneness of the Church is seen through the prism light of the Epistle; one Body, it is enlivened by one Spirit and strives for a single goal, heaven. That Body has a single head, Christ; one faith enlightens us, and but one sacramental order sanctifies us from baptism to our last anointing. While above all reigns God, our only Father! With bowed heads we stand in reverential fear before this awesome unity, a oneness into which we have been immersed and by which we have been assimilated. Are we then to continue vacillating between spirit and flesh? The Gradual, perfectly fulfilling its function of echoing the Epistle, places the proper words on our lips: "How fortunate is the nation for whom Yahweh is God, how fortunate the people whom He has chosen as His inheritance." The Collect outlines the way to attain the good fortune of such blessed unity: avoid all contact with the devil and practice perfect obedience to the only God.

From another approach, that of the Gospel, the oneness of our holy religion is due to Christ and to supernatural charity. Christ stands at the center of our faith. One of the objectives of the liturgical apostolate is to restore a Christocentric outlook. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Both the Epistle and Gospel contain memorable words on the virtue of charity. "Bear with one another in love, anxious to preserve the unity of the spirit by means of the bond of peace." "You must love Yahweh, your God, with your whole heart. . . . You must love your neighbor as yourself." It was toward the realization of such earth-transcending unity through the Church, through Christ, through love that the liturgy of the summer Sundays was oriented.

The Church's Harvest Time. The Christ-picture unfolded before us in today's liturgy is set against the background of harvest time in the year of grace: "Christ enthroned at God's right hand until He makes His enemies His footstool." It is a fearsome scene, embracing the whole of world history and the Last Judgment. Serene and calm Christ sits as King and abides the time till He may place His foot upon the neck of every foe. Unto the proud and stubborn He "stands in dreadful magnificence; He breaks the obstinacy of princes and strikes down with fear all the kings of the earth" (Comm.). Upon the docile "beams the light of His countenance from the sanctuary; and He turns mercifully toward the people upon whom His Name is invoked" (Off.). How well this passage pinpoints the purpose and nature of holy Mass.

  1. Holy Mass (Justus es). Today's liturgical mood is not quite as heavy and depressing as last Sunday's; there is a greater sense of calm and composure arising from the knowledge that all human suffering forms part of God's just judgment; and the Church pleads for mercy (Intr.). As her obedient children, our great endeavor is to walk "undefiled in the way of the Lord," to "follow God alone with a pure mind" and to "avoid the diabolical contagion" of sin (Coll.). (Note the words, via, ambulant, sectari, ambuletis—life is a pilgrimage.)

The Apostle of the Gentiles stands before us "in his chains" and entreats us "to walk worthy of our Christian vocation in humility and meekness, in patience and charity, ever anxious to maintain the bond of unity and peace" (Epist.). Mother Church is greatly concerned over keeping these ideals alive in her children's hearts; for this end she seeks to impress us by unveiling before our spiritual eyes the profound sevenfold oneness that is hers: (1) one body, Head and members, (2) enlivened by one Holy Spirit, (3) having one common goal, heaven, (4) one Lord, Christ Jesus, (5) one common faith, (6) unified by the same sacraments (baptism, Eucharist), and (7) governed by one common Father in heaven. What mighty motives for peace and harmony in one's own soul and among all mankind! Every Christian should reflect this unity, should strive constantly to exemplify it, because it alone can transform us into the "blessed nation that He has chosen as His inheritance" (Grad.), a people whose strength is the Triune God.

From this thought of the earthly Church united in Christ, it is but a small step to the heavenly Sion; therefore the Alleluia verse is a maranatha, a longing cry to be at home with Christ (the whole of Psalm 101 could be interpreted as the outburst of a homesick soul in exile). The Master Himself speaks of the great law of love of God and neighbor in the Gospel. But we must limit ourselves to its principal feature, the 109th psalm, which is prayed so often in the liturgy. This psalm adumbrated the Messiah as God's eternal Son sharing the royal throne with the Almighty on High; furthermore, it has afforded the liturgy a Christ-picture which may still be seen portrayed in richest colors in the apses of ancient basilicas. The liturgical thought—content of the Gospel may be summed up thus: in the midst of persecutions, in the soul's dark night, the Church (individual members too) glances longingly upward toward her glorified Lord at the Father's right, waiting for Him to subdue all enemies.

Since our glorified Lord is very near during the holy Sacrifice, we keep in mind this Gospel scene, and during the Offertory procession we petition Him to "look favorably upon His sanctuary and upon His people" at His Second Coming and also now during the holy Sacrifice because holy Mass is the parousia anticipated. In the Communion too the Lord appears in glory, annihilating all enemies (the entire psalm would fit wonderfully well here). Secret and Postcommunion plead for the remission of sin.

A discerning eye would quickly perceive references to "The Returning King" throughout the Mass. Introit: the just and merciful Judge; Collect: following in His train; Gradual: Creator, King; Alleluia: parousia prayer; Gospel: at the Father's right hand; Offertory: let Your face shine upon us; Communion: awe-inspiring, glorious One!

  1. Divine Office. The two principal thought areas in the Gospel—charity, Christ—are found summarized in the day's greater antiphons. "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus answered: You must love Yahweh, your God, with your whole heart. Alleluia." Charity is the great commandment! "What is your position regarding the Messiah? Whose son is he? They said to Him: David's. Jesus asked them: If so, how then can David, being inspired, call him Lord, saying: Yahweh said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand"? Jesus Christ is equal to almighty God! St. John Chrysostom comments on the law of love:

"Why did He say: And the second is like unto this? Because the second commandment prepares the way for the first, and itself in turn is supported and aided by it. For, as it is written, Everyone who does evil hates the Light and never attains to the Light. Or, according to another passage: The fool says in his heart: God does not exist. This passage then continues: They have become corrupt, their deeds abominable. Another text tells us: The root of all evil is avarice, and its victims have strayed far from the truth. While in the Gospel we read: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My commandments.

"Now for all of these quotations the basis is: You must love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself. If, then, to love God implies love of neighbor (according to Christ's words: If you love Me, Peter, feed My sheep), and if love of neighbor results in the observance of God's commandments, it is indeed quite right for the Lord to say that on these two commandments the whole Law and the prophets depend. Once, when questioned on the subject of the resurrection, Jesus replied at greater length than they had anticipated; now again, although questioned only with regard to the first commandment, does He add the second gratis, a commandment not too distantly related to it at all; for although it is second, it is like unto the first. Thus very unobstrusively He brings home to them that it had been out of hatred that they had questioned Him."

  1. Sunday Meditation. A. Psalm 109. For a better understanding of the Gospel it would help immensely to study this important psalm in detail:
  2. The King


An oracle of Yahweh to my Lord (the Messiah):

Be seated at my right;

your enemies, I will make them your footstool.

The sceptre of your power Yahweh extends from Sion (saying):

Rule in your enemy's midst,

for the triumph is yours.

On the day of your might

you will proceed in holy splendor.

I have begotten you from the womb

before the morning-star.


  1. High Priest and Judge


Yahweh has sworn an oath, never will he retract it:

You are a priest forever,

after the model of Melchisedech.

At your right hand

Yahweh destroys kings on the day of his wrath.

A judgment day he holds against the nations,

makes corpses lie in heaps.

Heads he shatters

over the plains.

From a brooklet on the wayside he drinks,

then nobly lifts up his head.


Psalm 109 is directly Messianic; and Jesus Himself used it as such. In boldest pictures it depicts the Messiah's victory and triumph. Divided into two strophes, it first considers the Redeemer as co-Regent with His eternal Father (according to Oriental etiquette a co-regent assumed the place at the ruler's right). In due time He will vindicate His regency by triumphing over all enemies and on the day of His Second Advent He wilt appear in the full glory of His majesty.

In the second strophe the Messiah appears as a Priest resembling Melchisedech and remains such even though a portion of mankind rejects and despises His priestly work. The final verses show Him as Judge. On the day of retribution, the great judgment day, He deals with His enemies like the conquerors of old; He heaps corpse upon corpse, crushes the skulls of adversaries, fills the land with ruins—a very realistic picture indeed. Even though in the original and in translations the psalm suffers from obscure phrases, for purposes of prayer the text remains sufficiently clear; we need simply to keep our gaze fixed upon the Messiah as King, as Priest, and as Judge.

This venerable psalm, so deserving of prayerful meditation, will, if permitted, exercise a beneficent influence upon one's daily life. For in it we children of the light are privileged to behold in clearest sunlight the One for whom the psalmist so ardently awaited, Christ our King. What new insights fulfillment throws upon the oracle! He does not make His enemies into a footstool through force, but through grace brings them to their knees. Recall St. Paul's reflections. The sceptre which He stretches forth from Sion is the Cross; on it He truly reigns in the midst of enemies. Then the psalm raises the curtain hiding eternity and we behold our King "proceeding in holy splendor" in the glory and brightness of His saints. Shall I also be numbered among them?

And now I see Him as the eternal High Priest upon the altar of the Cross (Priest and Victim simultaneously); I see this Sacrifice offered daily upon the altar, myself standing in His place. I am a star, illumined by Him the Sun—a priest, too, after the model of Melchisedech. And now I behold Him in a still different role, as Judge, as Victor. The story of the Church has indeed been that of world-judgment under the hand of the Messiah-King. Julian the Apostate was not the only one forced to the final acknowledgment: "O Galilean, Thou hast conquered!" Such vindication of divine justice, however, is but a weak shadow of that last dies irae. Psalm 109 should be prayed with sentiments of deepest homage, awe, and adoration.

  1. The King, His kingdom, and His law. Under these three headings let us consider the doctrine contained in today's holy Mass. (1) The King. No doubt most diverse answers would be received in reply to a questionnaire concerning the Christ-picture present-day Christians preferred. For some it would be the Child in the crib, for others the Man of sorrows upon the Cross, still others the Good Shepherd, while others would choose the Sacred Heart. But if we ask how Christians in olden times or how the liturgy pictures Christ, the answer could only be that every page of the liturgy represents Christ as King.

Proof is easily forthcoming. The first greeting to Christ in the Mass at early morn, the Gloria, praises the majesty of Him "who is enthroned at the right hand of the Father." Every liturgical prayer ends with the royal dedication: "Through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns. . . . " In the Divine Office the Church is constantly praying to Christ the King. The altar serves as His throne. In today's Gospel Christ speaks of His royal dignity, referring to the well-known Psalm 109; according to the flesh He is from David's family, but in His divine nature He is God's eternal Son in whom the words of the psalm have been fulfilled: "Be seated at my right; your enemies, I will make them your footstool."

How long will Christ continue enthroned at the right hand of the Most High? The psalmist says: till the final judgment. The picture of the judgment has two aspects, one terrifying, one consoling. Against His enemies the divine Judge, as today's Communion indicates, "stands in dreadful magnificence; He breaks the obstinacy of princes and strikes down with fear all the kings of the earth." But He is full of loving kindness toward His faithful ones: "Blessed is the nation for whom Yahweh is God, the people whom He has chosen as His inheritance" (Grad.). To this King we must tender loyal adherence; this is the King whose Second Advent we will anxiously await.

2) The kingdom. The realm established by our King is the Catholic Church. To His kingdom He has given the perfection of unity described in the Epistle. We are one body and one spirit in Christ, i.e., we are blended into His Mystical Body; we have been destined unto one hope, namely, heavenly beatitude where the consummate beauty of this unity will be fully manifest; one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (to which could well be added, one heavenly Bread); one God and Father who alone rules. To this only kingdom we must belong, into its unity we must be homogenized; and our lifelong efforts must be expended to ward off its one great solvent, sin.

3) The law. The royal law that our King promulgates today we will embrace with devotion and obedience; it is the law of love. We are thrilled to hear from His lips the glorious command: "You must love Yahweh, your God, with your whole heart and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind. . . you must love your neighbor as yourself." With understanding, with will, with heart, in short, with all the powers of soul and body we will accept this commandment to love God, and its companion precept, to love our neighbor.

4) But what is most appealing in the liturgy is that the Mass is not a mere study hour in which we hear about the King and about His kingdom and law. No, what is told and taught in the Mass of the Catechumens becomes actuality, reality, during the very hour; for it is sacramentally, mystically re-enacted when the King appears in the Mass of the Faithful. He ascends His throne, the altar; He is surrounded by His followers; "in the sight of His saints" He comes to us. See, here He "stands in dreadful magnificence, He who breaks the obstinacy of princes," even though it seems that He lies upon the altar immolated like a helpless lamb. It is He who shatters the enemies of His kingdom within my soul, your soul, till He has made of them His footstool. But to His subjects He wills to be indulgent; therefore, again today He invites them to a royal banquet, with Himself as Food. He gives us not only a law but also the grace and strength needed to keep and love that law.

Yes, we could say: "How fortunate is the nation for whom Yahweh is God, how fortunate the people whom He has chosen as His inheritance." For we are that nation and heirs of heaven. But we must remain docile as we await His Second Advent.

  1. The Gospel presents two questions which strike to the very depths of our spirituality (or lack of it): (a) What does Christ mean to us? (b) When are we true Christians?

1) We believe that Christ is God and Man. Both points in this profession are very important, Christ's divinity and His humanity. To our inmost depths we must be convinced of this sacred mystery. It must become part of our very flesh. If in these days, as at no other time, threatening fists are raised against Christ; if hatred against Christ is preached, then must we place ourselves close to Him, then must we remain faithful to Him, living for Him and, if needs be, dying for Him. The Apostle is able to tell what this profession of faith in Christ implies. "To me living means Christ; and death, gain." It means: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross. It is now not I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me."

Paul radiated a love for Christ that knew no bounds. If Christ is God, then I belong to Him wholly, body and soul, flesh and blood; then too He is my Judge, my King, and my All. If Christ is Man, then He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Way, and my Guide. If He is the God-Man, then He will lift me out from the helplessness of puny human nature to the glory of the divine. O Christ Jesus, do Thou fill me to the depths!

2) The liturgy shows and teaches us how to become perfect Christians. Without doubt hatred against Christ and Christianity is being stirred up by the hosts of hell, yet are not we Christians also somewhat the cause of the anti-Christian spirit in the world today? Our lukewarmness, our perversity, our pharisaism have shown to the enemies of Christ a caricature of Christianity. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels is particularly noisome. Such is the case when Catholics insist strenuously upon periphery minutiae and disregard essentials.

We are true Christians only through love. Love is the magic word that can make the world Christian, love is the Orpheus that can tame the wild animal instincts within us. We must perfect ourselves in love. And love of God must impel us to the love of neighbor. If we have charity, we can beautify the earth, dry tears, offer sympathy, disarm and conquer a hostile world. "We are reviled, and we bless!" "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good!" "If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other!" Such is true Christianity, such are the means by which the world can be redeemed.

-----------------------

SEPTEMBER 16


St. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr

St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr


  1. With the feast of St. Cornelius, who died in 253, the Church joins that of St. Cyprian, a famous bishop of Carthage, who was his contemporary. Cyprian was born there about the year 200 and came to be known as the most beautiful ornament of the third century, for he was outstanding as a Christian bishop, writer, and martyr. Diligent application to studies prepared him to become a teacher of eloquence in Carthage, winning respect and even fame by his talent and flawless life. Having learned about the gospel of Christ, he wavered for some time between truth and error, but was baptized in 246. He gave part of his property to the poor and reserved the rest for church use. A year after his conversion he was ordained priest. His complete change of life brought him ridicule from his former associates in Carthage, but the Christians respected him highly and chose him to succeed Bishop Donatus, who died in 248. Consecrated bishop, Cyprian lived wholly for Christ and the flock entrusted to him. During Emperor Decius’ persecution of Christians in 250 he fled Carthage and hid, but continued to encourage by letter those confessors of the faith who were languishing in prison. In 251 he was able to return to his people. He worked earnestly to heal the wounds that the persecution had inflicted and to prepare the Christians for further struggles and trials. Under Emperor Valerian a new persecution broke out in 257, and the following year, on September 14, Cyprian heroically suffered the death of a martyr.
  2. Quotation from St. Cyprian: “When I was still living the life of a heathen, it seemed hard and tedious for a man, having been born anew [in baptism] and filled with a new spirit, to lay aside his former ways and, while still in this mortal frame, to become a new and different man. The passions are powerful, tireless tyrants. At every opportunity pride inflates, drink lures, anger rages, avarice urges, cruelty presses, ambition excites, and lust tyrannizes the slave-mind of the man who has given himself over to them. So thought I; and, because at that time I was enslaved by so many evil notions and so firmly enmeshed that I could not hope ever to extricate myself, I willingly surrendered to vices that held me fast. Since I did not believe in the possibility of improvement, I lived in accordance with my old misery.

“When baptism had re-created me, however, and washed away the stains of my former life, and had planted in my heart, now reconciled with heaven, the pure serene light from above; after this second birth through the Holy Spirit had changed me into a new man; then, in a wonderful manner my wavering was turned into firmness, the hidden was revealed, the darkness changed to light; what formerly frightened me began to attract; what formerly seemed impossible now seemed possible. Then it became clear to me that the “old man,” born of the flesh and enslaved by sin, had led a merely earthly life, while the “new man,” animated by the Holy Spirit, now entered upon a divine life. There is only one way to find a sweet, stable peace for our souls, and to gain a firmly grounded, lasting security, and that is to escape the storms of the restless world by running into the harbor of salvation, to keep one’s eye constantly fixed on heaven, and, in communion with our Lord and in intimate union with God, to look upon everything in the world that men consider great as being beneath one’s dignity. He who is greater than the world can no longer seek or wish for the things that the world can give. Released from the snares of the world, cleansed from the impurities of earthly life, and become more worthy of the realm of light promised by immortality one finds the security and stability that establishes a bulwark for eternal goods" (Letter to Donatus).

  1. "What a great and glorious day it will be when Christ will survey His people and, with divine understanding, decide the worth of each one and confer the reward for faith and holy love. What an honor and joy it will be to behold God, to triumph with Christ our Lord and God, in His kingdom of light, and to enjoy heavenly, unending bliss with all the just, the friends of God. Then we shall enjoy what no eye has seen, no ear heard, no human heart experienced.

"'Not that I count these present sufferings as the measure of that glory which is to be revealed in us.' (Rom. 8:18). Yes; when this brightness of God shall be revealed in us, then we shall be happy, happy through the Lord, who knows how to honor His servants beyond all human concept. But how will those who have separated themselves from God be able to bear their misery? Dear brethren, let this thought linger in your hearts, let it hover before your minds, day and night: the thought of justice that punishes the godless and rewards the just" (from the same letter).

Let us take to heart what St. Cyprian here proposes for our consideration from his own personal experience.


Collect: May the festival of the blessed martyr-bishops Cornelius and Cyprian gain us Thy protection, we pray Thee, Lord, and may their holy prayers win us Thy favor. Amen.

(Benedict Baur)

 

The Catholic Marriage Manual

Reverend George A. Kelly

Random House, New York 1958

5

The Miracle of Birth


Breast-feeding recommended: Catholic teachers have always urged mothers to breast-feed their babies. Until this century, breast-feeding was virtually the only way the average mother could supply nourishment to her newborn child. With the development of artificial formulas, however, it became fashionable to substitute bottle-feeding. Mothers were told that it was the "more scientific" way and that it enabled hospitals and doctors to operate more efficiently.

Perhaps it did, but German researchers made an interesting study which proved that the child thrives better under breastfeeding. In one section of a hospital they bottle-fed a group of babies under the most sanitary conditions. In another section, babies were picked up by their mothers and fed from the breast whenever they needed food. Unlike the "scientific" babies, these infants were caressed and fondled throughout the day. After only a few weeks of this treatment, the difference between the two groups was remarkable. The breast-fed babies had quieter nerves and obviously were more relaxed and better adjusted. If a nurse closed the nursery door, however gently, many bottle-fed babies would stir uneasily in their cribs or cry out. If a nurse made a similar noise where the breast-fed infants slept, they displayed no reaction.

We now know that bottle-feeding overlooks a basic fact of life. For nine months the child has led a warm, sheltered existence in his mother's womb. All his needs have been satisfied. He has had complete security. Then his birth time arrives and he begins his eventful passage into the world. It is an entirely different world, and an entirely different life from the one he knew-and he has lost the support and security he was accustomed to in the womb. To soften that awful shock of birth, and to make his adjustment as easy as possible, you should give your child support and security similar to the kind he knows. The nearest approximation is the warmth and comfort of your arms holding your baby and giving him sustenance from your own body.

In addition to the psychological value that comes to the child from feeding in his mother's arms and at her breast, there are physical advantages. Doctors find that breast-fed babies often gain weight faster, suffer fewer digestive upsets, and often have fewer allergies than those given synthetic formulas. A mother benefits from feeding her baby, too. During the latter stages of pregnancy, many of her organs—in particular, her breasts—have been developing to be able to provide milk to the infant. Nature has intended that mothers nurse their children, and a mother's bodily functions may be thrown out of gear when this function is by-passed.

Mothers who do not nurse their babies usually resume menstruation within about two months. Mothers who breast-feed their infants often delay the resumption until considerably later. This delayed menstruation has long been regarded as an indication that breast-feeding makes conception of a new life impossible. Although medical men have reported numerous cases of mothers who have become pregnant while breast-feeding an infant, there appears to be some truth to this old belief. In families of a generation or two ago, when breast-feeding was almost universal, the spacing of births was entirely too consistent to have been coincidental: babies came only two or more years apart. When mothers breast-fed their infants and made no attempt to avoid pregnancy, the family with more than six or eight children was an exception.

Two false notions have grown up about breast-feeding. The first is that mothers who breast-feed their babies will lose their glamorous figures. This consideration is hardly serious enough to justify denying an infant what it needs for healthy adjustment. Moreover, it is not true.

The second myth is that breast-feeding ties a mother down. This may be true if you work or lead an active social life away from home. But it is not true of the mother who takes care of her own children. In fact, you are less tied down in that you don't need sterilizing equipment, assorted bottles, refrigeration facilities, ingredients of the formula and all the rest. You can leave home for many hours without carrying a large package of formula equipment with you.

One of life's greatest joys is to be found in unselfishly giving of one's self. Such a joy is yours when you breast-feed your infant. You give him nourishment and security—two essentials for his full physical and emotional growth. Few things you will do for him throughout his lifetime will mean more to him—or to you.

The sacrament of baptism: Soon after your child returns from the hospital, you should prepare for his baptism. Of course, if he is in danger of death while in the hospital, he should be baptized immediately. (If he is given emergency baptism and lives, the baptismal ceremonies must be supplied later in the parish church.) Do not delay! Baptizing your child to insure his salvation if he should die is a serious obligation. Before the baptismal ceremony, you must choose a suitable name for him, and you must also select his godparents who will serve as his sponsors at the baptismal font.

The matter of choosing a name should not constitute a serious problem. However, the child must be given a Christian name. There are thousands of such names to choose from, each with a special meaning. We all recall how Jesus named His Apostle Peter because the word Peter meant rock—and it was upon this rock that Jesus intended to build His Church. Some Christian names come from the ancient Hebrew. For example, the name Elizabeth means "consecrated to God." The name John means "God is gracious." From the ancient Romans comes the name Dominic—"belonging to the Lord." Of Greek origin is the word Alice, meaning "truth." The name Agnes means "the lamb," Angela, "the messenger of God," Christopher, "the Christ-bearer." Thus it can be seen that the name you give your child can have a deep significance for him all his life. His name should symbolize the characteristics you hope to instill, and should inspire him to live up to the virtuous qualities it implies. The child also should be taught as he grows up to look upon the saint he has been named after as a special friend in heaven. Your infant's patron saint may therefore be his mediator before God.

Many saints have been neglected by men on earth. Father Daniel A. Lord, S. J., suggests that many of these saints' names be restored to current use. He has compiled a list of male names including Alvin, "pure white"; Anselm, "divine hamlet"; Brockwell, "the strong champion"; Myles, "the Saviour"; and Pascal, "the child of Easter." Among almost-forgotten female names he includes Anthea, "the lady of flowers"; Aurelia, "the golden maid"; Moira, "the soft and gentle maiden."

In choosing the man and woman who will be your child's sponsors in baptism, remember that they assume serious obligations. They promise before God that they will undertake to bring up your child as a Catholic if you are unable to do so. When they agree to be godparents, therefore, they accept a responsibility which may last until the child becomes an adult. Because of these solemn obligations, they must make a profession of faith during the baptismal ceremony and, of course, they must be practicing Catholics themselves.

During the first centuries of Christianity, the person to be baptized was immersed completely in water, as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. When the new Christian stepped from the water, he donned a white robe that symbolized the purity of his new faith and the beginning of his new life. When the priest administers the sacrament today, he uses a linen square as the symbol of that new life. He places it on the head of the infant and says, "Receive this white garment and wear it unstained to the judgment seat of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you may have everlasting life." Many Catholic parents bring their own "baptismal robe"—either a dress for the infant or the linen headpiece—and keep it after the ceremony as a remembrance. Some parents also provide a candle made of beeswax. This candle is used in the ceremony as a symbol of the light that Christians should show in their lives so that they will see the Lord when He calls them.

After the baptismal ceremonies, many Catholic mothers receive the blessing after childbirth. It should be your way of expressing thanksgiving for a safe delivery. This blessing is published in the Appendix.

                                        (To be continued)

_________________


FYI:

Something worth reading is this commentary found at this link—The Editor


http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2018/09/12/francis-a-pope-who-says-one-thing-and-the-opposite/


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