In the Footsteps of Christ Crucified

Jesus-Picture-Carrying-Cross-The-Passion-Of-Christ-Movie

A SERIES OF MEDITATIONS FOR HOLY WEEK

In the present crisis of faith, which has broken out within the Catholic Church, on account of the perfidy of those to whom the preaching of the Gospel has been entrusted,  Catholics, who seek true spiritual guidance, can look to the exhortation of Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Letter, Sapientiae Christianae, of January 10, 1890, in particular, where he remonstrates with all of the faithful in such a crisis, saying:

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe.

To doubt the truth of even 1 revealed doctrine taught by Our Lord, by His Apostles, in Sacred Scripture or in Sacred Tradition, is, let us be frank, a mortal sin meriting eternal damnation, because it breaks the bond of trust which a Catholic ought to have in God His Savior.  This, alas, is the sin of so many who are “Catholics” in name.

But another mortal sin, one of omission, is that of those who are “devoid of character”.  In our own age, when so many Catholics, even otherwise good or devout ones, sit nightly at the feet of the pulpit of the television, neglecting prayer and meditation and the reading of the writings of the Saints of old, nearly every Catholic is lacking in the virtues necessary to withstand the apostasy of our age, which is being promoted by clergy who long ago accommodated themselves to the toleration of the abominations of impurity and sacrilege in the Church, or who have wedded their souls to false obedience out of self-interest.

The near universal silence of the clergy against speaking against the Kasper thesis has astounded many a Catholic, because they presumed, out of the faith which has come to us from the Apostles, that the clergy are men of character who would speak up:  not reading the signs of the times, which clearly indicate that the present apostasy of disbelief and of silence was prepared long ago, when the Modernists pushed for and obtained at the Second Vatican Council, documents which speak ambiguously and even erroneously about our Holy Faith, in every aspect of Her life and religion.

The darkness of our age being so profound and universal, the weak soul is easily overcome by despair.  This despair comes easily upon the souls who pray but little, and who have drunk either not at all or only in a shallow manner from the clear springs of authentic Catholic meditation, indicated so clearly by the great Saints of old, like St. Teresa of Avila, whose 500th birthday the Church recalled yesterday, March 28, 2015.

There is a Remedy for this lack of Character

And it is found in a wholesome meditation on the duties which each of us have towards Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. But not just any remembrance of Him in His Passion, but one which forces us by direct consideration to confront the lack of character, in our selves, which plagues our age, and which Pope Leo XIII laments in such strong words.

Our Lord and Savior said:  “You cannot be My disciples, if you do not renounce yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” (cf. Luke 14:27; Matthew 16:24) The Faith teaches us that the footsteps of Christ Crucified lead to the glory of His Resurrection.  But even with this knowledge it is difficult for us sinners, beguiled by sins and attached to this world, to have the fortitude, the courage and the hope necessary to put these words, so mysterious and decisive, into practice.

The meditations which follow, during this Holy Week of prayer are intended to be a means to heal this spiritual malady, so that we, sinners, can grow in grace and be sanctified in the following of the Crucified. We want to be with Jesus in eternity, and hence we take up our cross so as to arrive at His glory, with the help of mediation on His Passion.

Let us, therefore, dedicate this most holiest of Weeks to such meditations, and put aside, for this week, the vain preoccupation with things, websites, blogs and social communications which distract the soul from its most important duty, conforming itself to the will of God in all things, in all affections, in all thoughts, in all judgements, in all desires, in all hopes, in all beliefs, in all loves.

And to aide in that, the From Rome Blog will now begin a series of meditations, entitled:

Prayers & Meditations for the following of Christ Crucified

O Jesus, my only Savior:  Who became Man so that thou might die for me; Who fasted forty days in the desert, neither eating nor drinking, so as to give me the courage to mortify myself; Who walked the roads of the Holy Land to give me an example in the acceptance of the little sufferings of daily life; Who endured the insults, the outrages and the disdain of Thy enemies, to teach me to love my enemies; Who, at last, embraced the Cross to save mankind from the punishment of Hell, indicating thereby, too, the path necessary for my own salvation:  come to my aide!

I confess that I am a weak, vicious and vile sinner.  I know only how to lament my own sufferings, and recount the blessings others receive.

When I contemplate Thy virtue and Thy zeal to save souls, I recognize that I do not have a heart like Thine, I do not have a spirit like Thine, I do not have the vision like Thine!  O, my dear Jesus:  seeing that Thou hast said:  “He who does not take up his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple,” (Luke 14:27), and “If anyone would come after Me, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24), and seeing that I believe that Thou would never command the impossible, I trust that Thou will give me the grace to put these words into practice, if I ask Thee.

O my good Jesus! I want so much to follow Thee!  Hence, I beg Thee, o Most Merciful Lord, to grant me the grace, the light and the heart to be Thy true disciple, to carry my cross and follow Thee, today and for the rest of my life.

We adore Thee, o Christ, and we bless Thee,
because by means of Thy Holy Cross,
Thou hast redeemed the world, with Mary!

To follow Jesus, you need to believe in Jesus!

O Jesus, when the crowd of Jews asked Thee:  “Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”, Thou replied:  “The Light is still with you for a little while; walk while you have the light, so that you might not be overcome by the darkness, because he who walks in darkness, knows not where he goes.  While you have the light, believe in the Light, so that you might  become sons of the Light.” (John 12:31-36)

With these words Thou taught us that it is absolutely necessary that we have faith in Thee, and not only a trust that Thou will be kind towards us.  If we accept Thee simply as a good preacher, listening but not changing our life, our mind and our heart, it shall be in vain that we have listened to Thee.

Thy words are light for us in this world of darkness.  If we harken unto them and put them into practice, we will become sons of the Light; if we do not put them in practice, we shall lose the Light which Thou are.  Hence, to begin to follow Thee is not a devotion for the perfect, it is the sole road to my salvation and for the salvation of all.

O Jesus, my Divine and True Teacher, guide me to Thy Kingdom of Light; lead me on high, far from the shadows of this world!  Be my Companion along my own road to Calvary, which is the only escape for me from my sins and vices, which threaten so to swallow me up!  Save me, O Savior of the World! and grant me to desire as much to be saved, as Thou desire to save me!

O Lord, by the sign of Thy Cross,
deliver us from our enemies!

 Download in PDF format, the entire booklet of meditations

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Pope Leo XIII speaks on the duty to fight openly against the Kasper Agenda

From his Encyclical Letter, Sapientiae Christianae, of January 10, 1890.

Pope Leo XiII

Pope Leo XiII

14. But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”(12) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”(13) Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.

15. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent. Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. “How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”(14) Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must tie preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom “the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God.”(15) It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all :hat pertains to morals and faith.

16. No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. “All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.”(16) Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.

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12. Summa theologiae, IIa-IIae, qu. iii, art. 2, ad 2m. 

13. John 16:33.

14. Rom. 10:14, 17. 

15. Acts 20:28.

16. Constitution Dei Filius, at end.