Monday, February 19, 2018

Ember Alert!

Wednesday the 21st, Friday the 23rd, & Saturday the 24th constitute 2018's Lenten Embertide. Ember Days are dedicated to redoubled fasting, abstinence, almsgiving, & prayer as the Church marks the change in the natural seasons, and prepares for a great feast (in this case, Easter).

Monday Of the First Week Of Lent

S. Pietro in Vincoli al Colle Oppio

From The Passion And Death of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my most loving Saviour! I feel indeed that all Thy speak to me of the love that Thou bearest me. And who that had so many pfoofs of Thy love couldst resist loving Thee in return? St. Teresa was indded right, O most amyiable Jesus, when she said that he who loves Thee not gives a proof that he does not know Thee.

Devotions for a Lenten Monday Holy Hour
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion of the Five Sacred Wounds

Note: This is the Lenten Ember Week. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quadragesima Sunday, The First Sunday In Lent

Station Church:
St. John Lateran

Devotions For a Lenten Sunday Holy Hour
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Psalter of St. Jerome
Threnus Prayer of St. Augustine

Prayer from The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Therefore, O my Jesus, I cannot any longer, without injustice, dispose of myself, or of my own concerns, since Thou hast made me Thine by purchasing me through Thy death. My body, my soul, my life, are no longer mine; they are Thine and entirely Thine. In Thee alone, therefore, will I hope. O my God, crucified and dead for me, I have nothing else to offer Thee but this soul, which Thou hast bought with Thy Blood: to Thee I do offer it. Accept of my love, for I desire nothing but Thee, my Saviour, my God, my love, my all. Hitherto I have shown much gratitude towards men; to Thee alone have I, Alas! been most ungrateful. But now I love Thee, and I have no greater cause of sorrow than my having offended Thee. O Jesus, give me confidence by Thy Passion; root out of my heart every affection that belongs not to Thee. I will love Thee alone, Who dost deserve all of my love, and Who hast given me so much reason to love Thee. And who, indeed, could refuse to love Thee, when they see Thee, Who art the beloved of the Eternal Father, dying so cruel and bitter a death for our sake? O Mary, Mother of fair love, I pray thee through the merits of thy burning heart, obtain for me the grace to live only in order to love thy Son, Who, being in Himself worthy of an infinite love, has chosen at so great a cost to acquire to Himself the love of a miserable sinner like me. O love of souls! O my Jesus! I love Thee too little. O give me more love. Give me flames that may make me live always burning with Thy love! I do not deserve it, but Thou dost well deserve it, O Infinite Goodness.
This I hope.
So may it be.

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

Lent solemnly opens today. We have already noticed that the four preceding days were added since the time of St. Gregory the Great, in order to make up forty days of fasting. Neither can we look upon Ash Wednesday as the solemn opening of the season; for the faithful are not bound to hear Mass on that day. The holy Church, seeing her children now assembled together, speaks to them, in her Office of Matins, these eloquent and noble words of St. Leo the Great: "Having to announce to you, dearly beloved, the most sacred and chief fast, how can I more appropriately begin, than with the words of the Apostle, in whom Christ Himself spoke, and by saying to you what has just been read: Behold! now is the acceptable time; behold! now is the day of salvation. For although there be no time which is not replete with divine gifts, and we may always, by God's grace, have access to His mercy, yet ought we all to redouble our efforts to make spiritual progress and be animated with unusual confidence, now that the anniversary of the day of our redemption is approaching, inviting us to devote ourselves to every good work, that so we may celebrate, with purity of body and mind, the incomparable mystery of our Lord's Passion.

"It is true that our devotion and reverence towards so great a mystery should be kept up during the whole year, and we ourselves should be at all times, in the eyes of God, the same as we are bound to be as we are bound to be at the Easter solemnity. But this is an effort which only few among us have the courage to sustain. The weakness of the flesh induces us to relax our austerities; the various occupations of everyday life take up our thoughts; and thus even the virtuous find their hearts clogged by this world's dust. Hence it is that our Lord has most providentially given us these forty days, whose holy exercises should be to us a remedy, whereby to regain our purity of soul. The good works and the holy fastings of this season were instituted as an atonement for, and an obliteration of, the sins we commit during the rest of the year.

"Now, therefore, that we are about to enter upon these days, which are so full of mystery, and which were instituted for the holy purpose of purifying both soul and body, let us, dearly beloved, be careful to do as the Apostle bids us, and cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit: that thus the combat between the two substances being made less fierce, the soul, which, when she herself is subject to God, ought to be the ruler of the body, will recover her own dignity and position. Let us avoid giving offense to any man, so that there be none to blame or speak evil things of us. For we deserve the harsh remarks of infidels, and we provoke the tongues of the wicked to blaspheme religion, when we who fast lead unholy lives. For our fast does not consist in the mere abstinence from food; nor is it of much use to deny food to our body, unless we restrain the soul from sin."

Each Sunday of Lent offers to our consideration a passage from the Gospel, which is in keeping with the sentiments wherewith the Church would have us be filled. Today she brings before us the temptation of our Lord in the desert. What light and encouragement there is in this instruction!

We acknowledge ourselves to be sinners; we are engaged, at this very time, in doing penance for the sins we have committed-but how was it that we fell into sin? The devil tempted us; we did not reject the temptation; then we yielded to the suggestion, and the sin was committed. This is the history of our past; and such it would, also, be for the future, were we not to profit by the lesson given us today by our Redeemer.

When the Apostle speaks of the wonderful mercy shown us by our divine Saviour, who vouchsafed to make Himself like us in all things save sin, He justly lays stress on His temptations (cf. Heb. 4:15). He, who is very God, humbled Himself even so low as this, to prove how tenderly He compassionated us. Here, then, we have the Saint of saints allowing the wicked spirit to approach Him, in order that we might learn from His example, how we are to gain victory under temptation.

Satan has had his eye upon Jesus; he is troubled at beholding such matchless virtue. The wonderful circumstances of His birth; the shepherds called by angels to His crib, and the Magi guided by the star; the Infant's escape from Herod's plot; the testimony rendered to this new Prophet by John the Baptist: are all these things, which seem so out of keeping with the thirty years spent in obscurity at Nazareth, are a mystery to the infernal serpent, and fill him with apprehension. The ineffable mystery of the Incarnation has been accomplished unknown to him; he never once suspects that the humble Virgin, Mary, is she who was foretold by the prophet Isaisas, as having to bring forth the Emmanuel (Is. 7:14). But he is aware that the time has come, that the last week spoken of to Daniel has begun its course, and that the very pagans are looking towards Judea for a deliverer. He is afraid of this Jesus; he resolves to speak with Him, and elicit from Him some expression which will show Him whether He be or not the Son of God; he will tempt Him to some imperfection or sin, which, should He commit it, will prove that the object of so much fear is, after all, but a mortal man.

The enemy of God and men is, of course, disappointed. He approaches Jesus; but all his efforts turn only to his own confusion. Our Redeemer, with all the self-possession and easy majesty of a God-Man, repels the attacks of Satan; but He reveals not His heavenly origin. The wicked spirit retires without having made any discovery beyond this-that Jesus is a prophet, faithful to God. Later on, when he sees the Son of God treated with contempt, calumniated and persecuted; when he finds that his own attempts to have Him put to death are so successful; his pride and his blindness will be at their height; and not till Jesus expires on the cross, will he learn that his victim was not merely Man, but Man and God. Then he will discover how all his plots against Jesus have but served to manifest, in all their beauty, the mercy and justice of God: His mercy, because He saved mankind; and His justice, because He broke the power of hell forever.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
S. Agostino in Campo Marzio

Prayer from The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:
O Jesus! O treasure more worthy of love than all others! Why is it that men love Thee so little? O do Thou make known what Thou hast suffered for each of them, the love that Thou bearest them, the desire Thou hast to be loved by them, and how worthy Thou art of being loved. Make Thyself known, O my Jesus! Make Thyself loved.

Devotions for a Lenten Saturday Holy Hour:
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrowful Mysteries

Friday, February 16, 2018

Former Feast Of Our Lord's Crown Of Thorns

This Crown of Thorns is a reproduction based on the Wounds of Our Lord on the Holy Shroud of Turin.

Formerly, the Friday After Ash Wednesday was observed in many places as the Feast of the Crown of Thorns.

This feast was removed from the calendar even before Vatican II, and The Catholic Encyclopedia says it was never adopted for the Universal Church. It had moved around a bit before settling on the Friday After Ash Wednesday.

O Sacred Head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding Head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn!
Death's pallid hue comes o'er Thee, the glow of life decays,
Yet angel hosts adore Thee and tremble as they gaze.

I see thy strength and vigor all fading in the strife,
And death, with cruel rigor, bereaving Thee of life;
O agony and dying! O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn Thy face on me.

In this, Thy bitter passion, Good Shephered think of me
With thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be;
Beneath Thy Cross abiding forever would I rest,
In Thy dear love confiding, and in Thy presence blest.

Friday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
Ss. Giovanni e Paolo al Celio

From The Passion and Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my sweetest Redeemer! Thou hast done this for me without my having asked Thee; Thou hast not only saved me from death by the price of Thy blood, but also my parents and friends, so that I may have a good hope that we may all together enjoy Thy Presence forever in Paradise! O Lord! I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I hope to thank Thee for it, and to love Thee forever in that blessed country.

Devotions For a Lenten Friday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotions To the Holy Cross
Stations of the Cross

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church: S. Giorgio al Velabro

From The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alophonsus de Liguori:

O dearest Saviour! Thou wert, then, content, in order to obtain for me the blessing of God, to embrace the dishonor of appearing on the Cross accursed in the sight of the whole world, and even forsaken in Thy sufferings by Thine Eternal Father,- a suffering which made Thee cry out in a loud voice, "My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?"... O prodigy of compassion! O excess of love of God towards men! And how can there be a soul who believes this, O my Jesus, and yet loves Thee not?

There are so many good prayers that Saint Alphonsus composed for his writings on the Passion that, for the duration of Lent, I will post one each day.

Devotions For A Lenten Thursday Holy Hour:

Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion To the Holy Face

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday, 2018

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

Carnival is over. Now the Lenten fast begins.

Station Church:
S. Sabina all'Aventino

From The Passion and Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Thou didst, then, O my beloved Redeemer, choose by Thy death to sacrifice Thyself in order to obtain the pardon of my sins. And what return of gratitude shall I then make to Thee? Thou hast done too much to oblige me to love Thee; I should indeed be most ungrateful to Thee if I did not love Thee with my whole heart. Thou hast given for me Thy divine life; I, miserable sinner that I am, give Thee my own life. Yes. I will at least spend that period of life that remains to me only in loving Thee, obeying Thee, and pleasing Thee.

Fish Eaters on Ash Wednesday

The Cornell Society For A Good Time on whether to display your ashes.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on Ash Wednesday.

Devotions For a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory

All of these prayers can be found at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shrove Tuesday. 2018

Fasting's Eve, Mardi Gras, Carnival, or Shrove Tuesday are names for this day before the beginning of Lent. The great fast of Lent begins tomorrow. Since pre-modern Europe observed what we would call a stringent fast (no meat, or dairy products from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) the last day before the fast was a time for eating up meat, eggs, cheese, and drinking.

The names reflect that reality. The French "Mardi Gras" means "fat Tuesday." The Latin "Carne Vale" means "good-bye meat." The name "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the expectation that the pious would seek to be shriven (to confess) before undertaking the Lenten fast. "Fasting's Eve" is fairly clear.

Shrove Tuesday celebrations are continued to some extent in New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Rio's Carnival. Drinking, feasting, and lewd behaviour were common.

But some Shrove Tuesday pastimes have passed away.

This used to be a great day for cockthreshing. A cock would be tethered to a pole, and selected participants would hurl stones at it in an effort to knock it down or kill it. It was also a good day for cockfighting, which continued to be popular into the 18th century. PETA-types would probably immolate themselves to stop that if it were common today (common, at least at the top of society: it is still widely, though secretly undertaken down at the lower levels).

Football games (we would call it soccer) were common on Shrove Tuesday in England. The difference was that in the 15th century, there were no teams and no rules. A football game was, therefore, a free-for-all. With the participants fueled by large amounts of alcohol and fresh meat, lots of people were injured. But it was all in good fun.

The Shrove Tuesday pancake is a slightly later tradition. The pancake requires milk, eggs, and butter, all of which had to be consumed before Lent started in that age before refrigeration. So the eating of pancakes became a Shrove Tuesday custom. Pancake races started at least 100 years before the Reformation. The Tossing of the Pancake at England's Westminister School is a natual development of the pancake tradition (a large pancake is tossed in part of the refectory, and the boy who comes out of a general scramble with the largest piece is given a reward).

Enjoy this last free day of Carnival. Tomorrow things take on a more sober cast.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race. Those wild and wacky Anglicans! But wait, this is from the US National Cathedral website. Those wild ecumenical whatevers!

Here is a real Anglican Shrove Tuesday pancake race, from the UK.

Throwing the Shrove Tuesday Pancake at Westminister School, London, 19th century. There was a scramble for it, as those who ended up with the pancake, or portions thereof if it was torn apart in the scrum, got a small cash prize.
More on Shrove Tuesday here at Wilson's Almanac.
And yet more, at Wikipedia.
But wait, there is even more Shrove Tuesday fun over at Fish Eaters.
How about a good pancake recipe?

Here's one from the files of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group (where there are over 500 recipes, many of them of seasonal interest, including many meatless meals for Lent):

2 eggs
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. flour
2 T. brandy
2 T. butter
1 lime

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place an iron skillet in the oven and get it very hot. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add milk, brandy, and flour. Melt butter in the hot skillet, coating bottom and sides. Pour in the batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins (or until golden brown and puffy). Remove from oven and squeeze fresh lime juice over the pancake to deflate it. Dust with confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, and butter and serve immediately.

And what goes better with pancakes than

and lots of it? I dearly love my bacon, and the next six and a half weeks will be a sore trial going without it, or sausages, or corned beef hash, or....

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