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. 

The Court hath no power over Marriage

God, the Creator

God, the Creator, Author of Man

Rome, March 11, 2015: The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has announced in January that it will hear a case regarding a dispute in which the question of the “right” of individuals to obtain marriage licenses, regardless of their gender, arises.

The US media and indeed many commentators have been presenting the news in an exceedingly erroneous manner: they are saying that the decision is already certain or that the Court will use its judgement wisely, but none dare to touch upon the truth of the matter, namely that,

The Court hath no power over Marriage

It is a truth of nature and of Divine Law, that no court has authority over the institution of Marriage. This truth is taught implicitly by Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical, Libertas, n. 10, when he writes (bold-facing added):

10. From this it is manifest that the eternal law of God is the sole standard and rule of human liberty, not only in each individual man, but also in the community and civil society which men constitute when united. Therefore, the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law. Likewise, the liberty of those who are in authority does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable and capricious commands upon their subjects, which would equally be criminal and would lead to the ruin of the commonwealth; but the binding force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law. Thus, St. Augustine most wisely says: “I think that you can see, at the same time, that there is nothing just and lawful in that temporal law, unless what men have gathered from this eternal law.”(5) If, then, by anyone in authority, something be sanctioned out of conformity with the principles of right reason, and consequently hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment can have no binding force of law, as being no rule of justice, but certain to lead men away from that good which is the very end of civil society.

Thus, because marriage, which is an institution of nature, takes precedence to the state in both time and causation.  Hence, just as no state can exist unless there first be marriage, since every state is a society of men, and there cannot be a state without marriage.

Again, because God made made unto His image and likeness and He made them male and female, He also established that with the union of 1 man and 1 woman, their bond of fidelity remain unbroken throughout life. This truth is evidenced in the rational nature of man as much as in the physical nature of man.  For, the proper development of the individual requires that he have 1 father and 1 mother, that his father be a male and that his mother be a woman; and that the two of them give him undivided and stable commitments in being his father and his mother, in unity, harmony and love.

And just as the violation of any of these characteristics of a marriage breaks down the family, so, just as the family is the fundamental building block of human society, the violation of any of these breaks down the state or impedes it all together.

Thus no court of men has any power over marriage, since “to have power over” means to have the authority over an institution.  Since man does not have authority over institutions which have not arisen from human authority, courts of men must look to the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, the Creator, to know beforehand the unpassible limits and constraints which He has placed upon marriage.

Hence, a court which attacks marriage, attacks the state.  And,

A Court which attacks the State is at war with the people

Hence it is a high crime and act of treason, for any human court to rule against the nature or duties of the institution of marriage.  Such a court cannot define anything, but can only rule validly in law when it accepts AND recognizes the institution of marriage for what it is, as arising from the very nature of man as God his creator has established him in body and soul.

A court which attacks marriage, in attacking the state, is at war with the people. The citizens of any such state have thus the natural right and divine duty to arrest such judges and imprison them.  Their crime is a capital one and citizens can lawfully by natural right put such justices to trial for a capital crime, even if there are no existing laws for such such a penalty, because such a penalty for such a crime is derived immediately from the Natural Law which requires no human positive law to be enacted.

Thus, when such a court attempts such a crime, the bond of allegiance of the people is without a doubt severed toward such a court, and its decisions can and ought to be rejected.  Any human government or state which attempts to impose such a judgement upon the people, itself enters into a state of war with its citizens.  Henceforth, they can lawfully omit all allegiance to such a state, whether as regards the payment of taxes, the levy of troops, the enforcement or obedience of laws, but only if and to the extent that they seek to establish anew a more just order and a state or government or laws which are more harmonious with the natural law and divine right.

These words might sound extreme, but they are no lest extreme than the crime committed by such a court in such an affair of men.

INIMICA VIS: The prophetic teaching of Pope Leo XIII to the Bishops of Italy

His Holiness Pope Leo XIII

His Holiness Pope Leo XIII

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on December 8, 1892.

To the Bishops of Italy:

The enemy forces, inspired by the evil spirit, ever wage war on the Christian name. They join forces in this endeavor with certain groups of men whose purpose is to subvert divinely revealed truths and to rend the very fabric of Christian society with disastrous dissent. Indeed, how much damage these cohorts, as it were, have inflicted on the Church is well-known. And yet, the spirit of all previous groups hostile to Catholic institutions has come to life again in that group called the Masonic sect, which, strong in manpower and resources, is the leader in a war against anything sacred.

2. Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have in the course of a century and a half outlawed this group not once, but repeatedly. We too, in accordance with Our duty, have condemned it strongly to Christian people, so that they might beware of its wiles and bravely repel its impious assaults. Moreover, lest cowardice and sloth overtake us imperceptibly, We have deliberately endeavored to reveal the secrets of this pernicious sect and the means by which it labors for the destruction of the Catholic enterprise.

3. Now, though, a certain thoughtless indifference on the part of many Italians has resulted in their not recognizing the magnitude and extent of the peril. And so the faith of our ancestors, the salvation won for mankind by Jesus Christ, and, consequently the great benefits of Christian civilization are endangered. Indeed, fearing nothing and yielding to no one, the Masonic sect proceeds with greater boldness day by day: with its poisonous infection it pervades entire communities and strives to entangle itself in all the institutions of our country in its conspiracy to forcefully deprive the Italian people of their Catholic faith, the origin and source of their greatest blessings.

4. This is the reason for the endless artifices they employ in their assault on the divinely inspired faith; this is the reason why the legitimate liberty of the Church is treated with contempt and beset with legal oppression. They believe that the Church does not possess the nature and essence of a true society, that the State has priority over it, and that civil authority takes precedence over sacred authority. This false and destructive doctrine has been frequently condemned by the Holy See. Among many other ills, it has been responsible for the usurpation on the part of civil authorities of that to which they have no right and for their unscrupulous appropriation of what they have alienated from the Church. This is clear in the case of ecclesiastical benefices; they usurp the right to give or withhold the revenues of these according to their good pleasure.

5. Likewise, in a manner no less insidious, they plan to soften the opposition of the lower clergy with their promises. Their purpose in this endeavor can easily be detected, especially since the very authors of this undertaking do not take sufficient pains to conceal what they intend. They wish to win over the clergy by cajolery; once the novelties have confused them, they will withdraw their obedience to legitimate authority. And yet in this matter they seem to have underestimated the virtue of our clergy, who for so many years have given manifest examples of their moderation and loyalty. We have every reason to be confident that, with God’s help, they will continue their devotion to duty no matter what circumstances may arise.

6. This summary indicates both the extent of the activity of the Masonic sect and the goal of its endeavors. What compounds this harmful situation, however, and causes Us deep anxiety is that far too many of our compatriots, driven by hope of their personal advantage or by perverse ambition, have given their names or support to the sect. This being so, We commend first and foremost to your efforts the eternal salvation of those whom we have just mentioned: may your zeal never waver in constantly and insistently recalling them from their error and certain destruction. To be sure, the task of extricating those who have fallen into the snares of the Masons is laborious, and its outcome is doubtful, if we consider the cleverness of the sect: still the recovery of no one should ever be despaired of since the force of apostolic charity is truly marvelous.

7. Next, we must heal those who have erred in this respect out of faint-heartedness, that is, those who, not because of a debased nature but because of weakness of spirit and lack of discretion, have allowed themselves to be drawn into supporting the Masonic enterprises. Sufficiently weighty are the words of Our predecessor Felix III in this regard. “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed…. He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.” By reminding them of the examples of their forefathers, the broken spirits of these men must be reanimated with that courage which is the guardian of duty and dignity alike, so that they may be ashamed and regret their cowardly actions. For surely our whole life is involved in a constant battle in which our salvation itself is at stake; nothing is more disgraceful for a Christian than cowardice.

8. It is likewise necessary to strengthen those who fall because of ignorance. By this we mean those, not few in number, who, deceived by appearances and allured by various enticements, allow themselves without understanding it to be enrolled in the Masonic order. In these cases We hope that with divine inspiration they will be able some day to repudiate their error and perceive the truth, especially if you try to remove the false outward appearance of the sect and reveal its hidden designs. Indeed these can no longer be considered hidden since their very accomplices have themselves disclosed them in many ways. Why, within the last few months, the designs of the Masons have been publicly proclaimed throughout Italy, even to the point of ostentation! They wish to see the religion founded by God reudiated and all affairs, private as well as public, regulated by the principles of naturalism alone; this is what, in their impiety and stupidity, they call the restoration of civil society. And yet the State will plunge headlong into ruin if Christians are not willing to be vigilant and not willing to labor to support its well-being!

9. But in the presence of such audacious evils, it is not sufficient merely to be aware of the wiles of this vile sect: we must also war against it, using those very arms furnished by the divine faith which once prevailed against paganism. Therefore, it is your task to inflame souls by persuasion, exhortation and example, nourish in the clergy and our people a zeal for religion and salvation which is active, resolute, and intrepid. These qualities frequently distinguish Catholic peoples of other nations in similar situations. It is commonly claimed that the ancient ardor of spirit in protecting their ancestral faith has grown cold among the Italian people. Nor is this perhaps false; especially since if the dispositions of both sides be inspected, those who wage war on religion seem to show more energy than those who repel it. But for those who seek salvation there can be no middle ground between laborious struggle and destruction. Therefore, in the case of the weak and sluggish, courage must be stirred up through your efforts; in the case of the strong, it must be kept active; with all trace of dissent wiped out, under your leadership and command, the result will be that all alike, with united minds and common discipline, may undertake the battle in a spirited manner.

10. Because of the gravity of the matter and the necessity of repelling the danger, We have decided to address the Italian people in a letter which We are including along with this one; propagate it as widely as possible and, where needed, interpret it to your people. In this manner, with the blessing of God, we can hope that spirits may be aroused through the contemplation of the threatening evils and betake themselves without delay to the remedies which We have pointed out.

11. As a presage of divine gifts and testimony of Our benevolence We affectionately accord to you, Venerable Brethren, and the people entrusted to your care, the apostolic blessing.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s, 8 December 1892, in the 15th year of Our Pontificate.

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[English translation from Papal Encyclicals online; compare the text at the Vatican website EnglishItaliano].