Thursday, 28 February 2013

Novena for the Election of a New Pope

Bishop Fellay of the Society of St. Pius X* has recommended that Catholics pray the following Novena, starting tomorrow, March 1, for the election of the new Pope. This is taken from the SSPX's website.

*I am not myself associated with the SSPX, just for the record. 
Veni, Creator Spiritus
Veni, Creator Spiritus
Mentes tuorum visita
Imple superna gratia
Quae tu creasti pectora

Qui diceris Paraclitus
Altissimi donum Dei
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas
Et Spiritalis unctio

Tu septiformis munere
Digitus paternæ dexteræ
Tu rite promissum Patris
Sermone ditans guttura

Accende lumen sensibus
Infunde amorem cordibus
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti

Hostem repellas longius
Pacemque dones protinus
Ductore sic te prævio
Vitemus omne noxium

Per te sciamus da Patrem
Noscamus atque Filium
Teque utriusque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore

Deo Patri sit gloria
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sæculorum sæcula. Amen.

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator
Take possession of our souls
Infuse with heavenly grace
The hearts Thou hast created

Thou Who art called the Paraclete
Best gift of the Most High God
Living fountain, fire, charity
And spiritual unction

Thou sevenfold gift
Finger of God’s right hand
Thou promise of the Father
Teaching speech and understanding

Enkindle the light of our minds
Pour love into our hearts
The infirmity of our body
Confirm with perpetual strength

Repulse the enemy even further
And give peace in his stead
May Thou so lead us
That we evade all harm

Through Thee grant us to know
Father as well as Son
And with Both Thee, Spirit, Trinity
Forever may we believe in

Let glory be to God the Father
And to the Son, Who from the dead
Has arisen, and the Paraclete
Unto ages of ages. Amen.
Collect for the Election of the Supreme Pontiff
(From the Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Summo Pontifice)

O Lord, with suppliant humility, we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou wouldst grant the most Holy Roman Church a pontiff, who by his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may be ever honored by Thy people for the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son who with Thee livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
V. Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee!
St. Pius V, pray for us.
St. Pius X, pray for us.

Divine Intimacy - On Being Hidden from Oneself

The following passage, taken from the Lenten readings in Divine Intimacy, really touches me deeply, as it describes certain virtues which I quite keenly lack...

1. In order to enter the fullness of the hidden life, it is not enough to hide oneself from the attention of others; we must also hide from ourselves, that is, forget ourselves, avoiding all excessive concern about ourselves. We can be preoccupied with self not only from a material point of view, but also from a spiritual point of view. To be overly concerned about one's spiritual progress, about the consolations which God gives or does not give, about the state of aridity in which one may be -- all this is often the sign of a subtle spiritual egoism, a sign that the soul is more occupied with itself than with God. We must learn to forget ourselves, to hide from ourselves, by refusing to examine too minutely what is happening within our soul, and by not attaching too much importance to it, renouncing even the satisfaction of wanting to know the exact condition of our own spiritual life. It is well to understand that God often permits painful, obscure states just because He wants the soul to live hidden from itself. This was the aim of St Teresa Margaret's programme of self-effacement; she intended not only "to live, as it were, hidden and unnoticed" among her sisters, but "to be, in a certain manner, hidden and unknown to herself, to die to herself without knowing it and without feeling any pleasure in this mystical spiritual death, burying in Christ, in a very subtle way, every thought and personal reflection, even in the spiritual and eternal order." This is what complete forgetfulness of self explicitly proposes to one who renounces even the spiritual satisfaction of recognizing his own immolation. But in order to avoid turning one's thoughts inward, the soul must focus its aspirations elsewhere; hence the negative exercise of not thinking of itself must accompany the positive exercise of fixing its centre in Christ, of "burying in Christ" every thought, every preoccupation with self, even in the spiritual order. No one can succeed in turning away from himself unless he concentrates all his attention on the object of his love. St Teresa Margaret completely forgot herself; her thoughts were absorbed "in Christ", her one Well-Beloved.

2. A soul entirely oblivious of self is also completely disinterested. It no longer serves God in a mercenary spirit, with more regard for the reward which it may receive than for His glory, but it is "at His service", according to St Teresa's beautiful expression, "gratuitously, as great lords serve their king" (L). This should be the attitude of an interior soul called by God to a life of intimacy with Him. Such a one should act not as a hireling, but as a daughter or a spouse. Here we have one of the most beautiful fruits of the hidden life. St John of the Cross teaches that "more pleasing to God is one good work, however small it be, that is done in secret with no desire that it be known, than a thousand that are done with the desire that they be known to men. For he that with purest love does such works for God's sake, not only cares nothing to have men see him, but does them not even that God Himself may see him. Such a man, even though God were never to know it, would not cease to render Him the same services, with the same joy and purity of love" (SMI, 20).

This total purity of intention makes the soul act for God alone and never for personal interest, even of a spiritual nature. God will certainly reward our good works, but concern about this is wholly abandoned to Him as long as the soul is intent only on giving Him pleasure. The hidden life thus finds its culminating point in a complete disinterestedness, not only concerning human rewards and praises, but also in regard to spiritual consolations; our soul seeks God alone and God alone is sufficient for us. Even if, apparently unaware of our love and our services, He leaves us in aridity and abandonment, we do not worry nor stop on this account, since the one motive which actuates us is to please God alone.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


I often feel very weak and small when I compare myself to other people, such as the Saints and certain people I know personally; and I am inclined to feel ashamed of this weakness. These people have all had heavy crosses to bear, and they manifestly do not give way under the weight of these crosses. But I? I have a fairly good life. It has its ups and downs, of course, and its many little crosses; but nothing which would seem particularly significant or worth complaining about. And yet I am so easily tempted to discouragement and frustration, drawn into depression and sadness by these little things. I so easily give way under small burdens, making these small things seem so much bigger and heavier than they really ought to be.  Most of my suffering, then, would seem to be purely psychological. In light of all this, to compare myself to other people has honestly become quite humiliating to me. Why am I so weak?

The truth is that different things pose different burdens to different people. God sends us trials and sufferings according to our own abilities; it's mostly relative. What is a light burden for someone else can often be a heavy burden for me. As humiliating as this may be, at first, there is something that must be realized here: my weakness is permitted by God, in order to purify me of my self-love. I should completely abandon myself to God's Will, even where He permits certain flaws and weaknesses in me. 

Further, I ought to recognize that I can be as holy a Saint as anybody else even if, absolutely speaking, my burden is lighter than theirs. This is something St. Therese is quite insistent upon. She teaches "The Little Way," an essential component of which is the truth that we can attain to a perfect degree of holiness and love of God no matter how weak we are, no matter how little. This is because each and every person has his own cup filled to the brim, even if one person's cup is smaller than another's. Both cups are equally full, even if they do not contain the same amount in them. Our sufferings and trials are exactly proportioned to our own personal capabilities, which are different from each other's. And within the compass of each person's capabilities, each one is able to attain a perfect degree of holiness. 

I believe it is one of St. Therese's letters to her sister Celine that she makes the point that, even if we have not the strength to bear the sufferings of the martyrs, we nonetheless have the ability to attain a perfect degree of holiness and love of God in the smaller sufferings that we can endure. We need not perform the same actions as the martyrs and offer the same sacrifices; but we can have the same love that they had, the same love that motivated their actions. That love can also motivate our actions, causing us to use every ounce of what little strength we have and to bear whatever weight we can accordingly. We can fill our cup to its brim, even if contains less in it than a bigger cup; but both cups will be full. I can bear the greatest amount of suffering I can handle and still overflow with the love of God, even if someone else stronger is enduring more suffering than I am. And we can both be perfect.

So really, I oughtn't to be discouraged by my weakness, as compared to the other Saints. Of course, I should be saddened by my falls and failures and always seek to correct them; but I ought to recognize in these same failures my weakness, and never be discouraged by them, knowing that God is using them for my own good, as He always does.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Lenten Poem

"Compassion" by Bouguereau
A Sonnet to the Sorrowful Jesus
by The Maestro

Let me mingle these, my tears, with Thine, 
Whose tears roll down Thy face’s cheeks so fine.
Let me share my sorrows, Lord, with Thee – 
And, too, Thy sorrows, prithee, share with me.
Let me know the love between us twain,
Who, lovers true, do share each other’s pain.
Let compassion, common, given be;
And thus shall I the love between us see.

Let me walk along, O Lord, with Thee,
Along the paths of this Gethsemane;
Let me be condemned with Thee and whipped,
And of the cup of sorrow take my sip; 
Let me wear Thy holy crown of thorns,
Along with Thee endure the soliders’ scorns.
Let me wear Thy shameful scarlet cloak,
And let me hear the words that Pilate spoke.

Let me, Lord, embrace the cross with Thee,
And bear it by Thy side to Calvary. 
Let my hands, like Thine, be nailed down,
And let my grievous wailing cries resound.
Let me, nailed upon the cross, be raised,
And hear the tumult of the crowd’s dispraise.
Let me, Lord, with Thee be crucified,
And for Thee die, just as for me You died. Amen.

St. Thomas on Fasting

From the Summa Theologica.

Whether fasting is an act of virtue?

Objection 1. It would seem that fasting is not an act of virtue. For every act of virtue is acceptable to God. But fasting is not always acceptable to God, according to Isaiah 58:3, "Why have we fasted and Thou hast not regarded?" Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.

Objection 2. Further, no act of virtue forsakes the mean of virtue. Now fasting forsakes the mean of virtue, which in the virtue of abstinence takes account of the necessity of supplying the needs of nature, whereas by fasting something is retrenched therefrom: else those who do not fast would not have the virtue of abstinence. Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.

Objection 3. Further, that which is competent to all, both good and evil, is not an act of virtue. Now such is fasting, since every one is fasting before eating. Therefore fasting is not an act of virtue.

On the contrary, It is reckoned together with other virtuous acts (2 Corinthians 6:5-6) where the Apostle says: "In fasting, in knowledge, in chastity, etc. [Vulgate: 'in chastity, in knowledge']."

I answer that, An act is virtuous through being directed by reason to some virtuous [honestum] [Cf. 145, 1] good. Now this is consistent with fasting, because fasting is practiced for a threefold purpose. First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh, wherefore the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 6:5-6): "In fasting, in chastity," since fasting is the guardian of chastity. For, according to Jerome [Contra Jov. ii.] "Venus is cold when Ceres and Bacchus are not there," that is to say, lust is cooled by abstinence in meat and drink. Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things: hence it is related (Daniel 10) of Daniel that he received a revelation from God after fasting for three weeks. Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): "Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning." The same is declared by Augustine in a sermon (De orat. et Jejun. [Serm. lxxii (ccxxx, de Tempore)]): "Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one's flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity."

Reply to Objection 1. An act that is virtuous generically may be rendered vicious by its connection with certain circumstances. Hence the text goes on to say: "Behold in the day of your fast your own will is founded," and a little further on (Isaiah 58:4): "You fast for debates and strife and strike with the fist wickedly." These words are expounded by Gregory (Pastor. iii, 19) as follows: "The will indicates joy and the fist anger. On vain then is the flesh restrained if the mind allowed to drift to inordinate movements be wrecked by vice." And Augustine says (in the same sermon) that "fasting loves not many words, deems wealth superfluous, scorns pride, commends humility, helps man to perceive what is frail and paltry."

Reply to Objection 2. The mean of virtue is measured not according to quantity but according to right reason, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6. Now reason judges it expedient, on account of some special motive, for a man to take less food than would be becoming to him under ordinary circumstances, for instance in order to avoid sickness, or in order to perform certain bodily works with greater ease: and much more does reason direct this to the avoidance of spiritual evils and the pursuit of spiritual goods. Yet reason does not retrench so much from one's food as to refuse nature its necessary support: thus Jerome says:* "It matters not whether thou art a long or a short time in destroying thyself, since to afflict the body immoderately, whether by excessive lack of nourishment, or by eating or sleeping too little, is to offer a sacrifice of stolen goods." [The quotation is from the Corpus of Canon Law (Cap. Non mediocriter, De Consecrationibus, dist. 5). Gratian there ascribes the quotation to St. Jerome, but it is not to be found in the saint's works.] In like manner right reason does not retrench so much from a man's food as to render him incapable of fulfilling his duty. Hence Jerome says (in the same reference) "Rational man forfeits his dignity, if he sets fasting before chastity, or night-watchings before the well-being of his senses."

Reply to Objection 3. The fasting of nature, in respect of which a man is said to be fasting until he partakes of food, consists in a pure negation, wherefore it cannot be reckoned a virtuous act. Such is only the fasting of one who abstains in some measure from food for a reasonable purpose. Hence the former is called natural fasting [jejunium jejunii] [Literally the 'fast of fasting']: while the latter is called the faster's fast, because he fasts for a purpose.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Holy Abandonment - Our Own Faults

Dom Lehodey

The following very remarkable passage is taken from Dom Vitalis Lehodey's book Holy Abandonment.


Let us speak now of our own actual faults. And first of all, though we should always be most zealous in the avoidance of sin, we must nevertheless maintain ourselves in peaceful resignation to the order of Providence. For, as St. Francis de Sales remarks, "whilst God hates sin with a sovereign hatred, He yet in His wisdom permits it, in order to allow His rational creatures to act according to their natures, and to render the good more commendable for that, having the power to transgress the law, they do not actually transgress it. Let us therefore adore and bless this holy permission. But because Providence, though permitting sin, hates it infinitely, we, too, must detest and hate it. We must desire with all the ardour of which we are capable that the evil permitted - in this sense - should not be committed. Consequently we should employ every possible means to prevent its birth, its growth, and its dominion. Let us imitate Our Lord, Who never ceases exhorting, promising, threatening, forbidding, commanding, inspiring within us, in order to turn our wills from evil without depriving them of their liberty."21 If we persevere without flagging in prayer, vigilance, and fighting, our faults as we advance will become less frequent, less voluntary, and more easily repaired; and our souls will be established in a progressive purity. However, apart from a very special grace, such as was bestowed on the Blessed Virgin, it is impossible in this life to avoid all venial sins. The Saints themselves have acknowledged as much.

Whenever we have the misfortune to commit a fault, "let us do what we can to repair it: Our Lord assured Carpus that He was ready, if necessary, to suffer death again in order to deliver one single soul from sin. But our repentance should be strong, resolute, constant, tranquil, not turbulent, uneasy, or despondent."22  "It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin," says St. Therese of the Child Jesus, "that I raise myself to God in confidence and love. Ah, no! I feel that even if I had on my conscience all the crimes that could possibly be committed, I should still lose nothing of my confidence. I should simply go, my heart breaking with repentant sorrow, and throw myself into the arms of my Saviour. I know how He cherished the poor prodigal son. I have heard His words to St. Magdalen, and to the woman taken in adultery, and to the Samaritan woman. No, nothing could shake my confidence, because I know the love and compassion of Him on Whom I rely. I know that all the sins of the world would be instantly lost in the infinity of His mercy, as a drop of water thrown into a blazing furnace."23 Let us not, therefore, imitate those to whom a peaceful repentance seems always a paradox. Is there not a golden mean between the indifference dreaded by their spirit of faith and the chagrin and despondency which throw them into impatience? We cannot be too much on our guard against the agitation excited in us by our sins. Instead of being a remedy, it is a new evil. Furthermore, bad as our faults may be in themselves, they become still worse in their consequences, when they give rise to uneasiness, discouragement, or perhaps even despair. On the contrary, peace in repentance is a thing very desirable. "St. Catherine of Sienna committed certain faults. When in consequence she afflicted herself before the Lord, He made her understand that by a repentance, simple, prompt, fervent, and trustful, she pleased Him more than if she had never transgressed at all. All the Saints had their shortcomings. Some amongst them, as David and St. Peter, were great sinners, and perhaps they would never have become great Saints if they had not first been great sinners. As St. Paul teaches us: all things co-operate into good for the elect - even their sins, adds St. Augustine."24

There is, indeed, an art of utilising our faults. The great secret is to accept humbly, not, of course, the fault itself or the injury done to God, but the interior humiliation and the confusion inflicted on our self-love, so as to establish ourselves in humility, confident and peaceful. Is not pride the principal cause of our failings? Now, it is a powerful remedy against this pest to accept the shame as something we have only too well deserved. We can escape easily enough from other kinds of humiliation by persuading ourselves that they are unjust. But how avoid the confusion and the cruel lesson of our own faults? They exhibit in full light both our native depravity and our cowardice in the combat. Humiliations, properly accepted, lead to humility. Humility, in its turn, by constantly reminding us of the lost time we have to redeem and the faults we have to expiate, nourishes compunction of heart, stimulates our spiritual activity, and teaches us to be merciful to others.

On this point, De Caussade has some very wise reflections: "God permits our little infidelities in order to convince us more intimately of our weakness, and to make us die gradually to this unhappy self-esteem, this presumption, and this secret confidence in ourselves which prevent us from acquiring true humility of heart. We know well that nothing can be more agreeable to God than a complete contempt of self, accompanied with absolute confidence in Him alone. The God of goodness does us, consequently, a singular favour when He obliges us to drink, often against our wills, this bitter chalice so dreaded by our self-love and our corrupt nature. Without that, we should never be cured of our secret presumption, and our proud self-confidence. We should never understand how all the evil in us comes necessarily from ourselves, and all the good from God alone. A million personal experiences of another kind would be required to give us an habitual hold on this double truth. And the number should be doubled where the vices of pride and presumption, hidden in the soul, have acquired greater vigour and struck deeper root. These faults are therefore very salutary, inasmuch as they serve to keep us always little and confounded before the Divine Majesty, always distrustful of ourselves, always annihilated in our own eyes. Nothing, indeed, is easier than to avail ourselves of each of our infidelities in order to acquire a new degree of humility and to dig deeper in our hearts, so to speak, the necessary foundation of all true sanctity. Should we not admire and bless the infinite goodness of God Who can thus draw our greatest advantage from our very short-comings? And for this He only requires that we should not love our shortcomings, that we should gently humble ourselves on their account, that we should rise again with unwearied constancy after each of our falls, and that we should assiduously labour to correct them."25

With regard to the penal consequences of our sins, if God wills that we cannot lawfully escape them, we must accept them with humble conformity to His good-pleasure. It may be, for example, the shame we feel before our brethren, or the loss of our reputation, or the harm done to our health. Perhaps our negligence, our indiscretions, our detractions, our displays of ill-temper, or our peevish character, has brought upon us unpleasantnesses, humiliations, mortifications, prejudice to our interests. Our faults will leave behind them an evil legacy of trouble, preoccupation of mind, and painful anxiety. Now, God has not willed the fault, but He does will the consequences of it. He makes us suffer in order to cure us. He punishes us in time so that He may not have to punish us in eternity. "Lord," let us say to Him, "I have richly deserved this chastisement. Thou hast permitted it, even in a sense positively willed it. May Thy holy will be done! I adore it and humbly submit to its ordinances." Let us thus humble ourselves, yet without trouble, bitterness, disquietude, or discouragement, remembering that God, whilst hating the fault, employs it nevertheless as a useful instrument to keep us in abjection and self-contempt.

It is with the same filial and peaceful conformity we must accept the penal consequences of our simple imprudences. According to De Caussade: "There is hardly a trial more mortifying to self-love, and consequently more sanctifying, than that which results from some inculpable imprudence. It does not cost us nearly as much to accept the humiliations which come from outside, and which we have not brought upon ourselves in any way. We resign ourselves also much more easily to the confusion caused by faults graver in themselves, provided they do not appear externally. But a simple imprudence which has vexatious consequences, visible to every eye: this assuredly is the most humbling of all humiliations. And therefore it gives us an excellent occasion for dealing the death-blow to self-love. We must never fail to profit by such an opportunity. What one has to do then is to take one's heart in both hands, and despite its resistance oblige it to make an act of complete resignation. That is the moment when it is necessary to say and to repeat the fiat of perfect abandonment. We must even force ourselves forward as far as an act of thanksgiving, and add to our fiat a Gloria Patri. One single trial thus accepted will bring the soul farther on the road to perfection than numerous acts of virtue."26

St. Francis de Sales "was never impatient with himself, or even with his own imperfections. The hatred he entertained for his faults was peaceful, calm, and strong. He considered that we punished ourselves better by a tranquil and constant repentance than by a repentance that is bitter, impatient, and choleric; because the latter with its impetuosity is more in accordance with our inclinations than with the gravity of the faults. 'As for me,' he said, 'if I had the unhappiness to fall into great sin, I should not reproach my heart in this fashion: Are you not utterly miserable and abominable to allow yourself, after so many resolutions, to be thus carried away by vanity? You should die of shame, and never again raise up your eyes to Heaven, blind and impudent as you are, a traitor and a rebel against your God. No, I should prefer to correct it reasonably and with compassion, like this: Cheer up, now, poor heart of mine! See! We have fallen into the pit which we had so firmly resolved to avoid. Well, let us rise again and quit this place for ever. Let us implore the mercy of God, let us hope that it will help us to be stronger for the future, and let us humbly resume our road. Courage! We must be henceforth more vigilant, and God will assist us. And on this reprehension I would establish a solid and firm resolution never again to commit that fault, and to employ the requisite means for carrying out my resolution.' "27 De Caussade, on his side, counsels us to offer unceasingly this interior prayer to God: "O Lord, preserve me, I beseech Thee, from all sin, especially of this or that kind. But as for the pain which serves to cure my inordinate self-love, the humiliation and confusion, which wound and should crush my self-esteem, I accept these for as long as Thou willest, and I thank Thee for them as for a signal favour. Grant, O Lord, that these bitter remedies may produce their effect, that they may cure my pride, and help me to acquire true humility, which is the solid foundation of the interior life and of all perfection."28

In spite of prayer and our best efforts, new faults will infallibly be committed. The one remedy is to humble ourselves always more profoundly, to return to God with the same confidence, and to resume the fight without ever yielding to discouragement. "If we once learn to humble ourselves sincerely for our least faults and to rise again promptly with confidence in God, tranquillity and meekness: that will be an assured remedy for the past, a powerful support and an efficacious preservative for the future. But holy abandonment, rightly understood, should set us free from that impatience which makes us desire to reach the summit of sanctity at a bound, and only succeeds in removing us further from it. The only way thereto is the way of humility; impatience is one of the forms of pride. Let us apply ourselves with all our power to the correction of our shortcomings; but let us resign ourselves to the fact that we shall not succeed in extirpating them all in a single day. Let us ask of God in fervent and persevering prayer, and with the most filial confidence, to grant us the decisive grace that will withdraw us completely from ourselves to make us live henceforward solely in Him; but let us leave it to Him, with an abandonment equally filial, to determine the day and the hour when this grace shall be given us."29


21. Op. cit., c. vii et viii.
22. Id., op. cit. I, ix, c. viii.
23. Histoiré, c. xi.
24. De Lombez, Paix inter., 4e P., c. vii.
25. Abandon, 2e P., iii, 15.
26. Abandon, 2e P., I, vi; Lettre, 24.
27. Vie, I,v.
28. Op. cit., 2e P., I, iii; Lettre, 3.
29. Id., Ibid., Lettre. 19.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dom Gueranger - Second Sunday in Lent

Taken from Dom Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.


The subject offered to our consideration, on this second Sunday, is one of utmost importance for the holy season. The Church applies to us the lesson which our Saviour gave to three of His apostles. Let us endeavor to be more attentive to it than they were.

Jesus was about to pass from Galilee into Judea, that He might go up to Jerusalem and be present at the feast of the Pasch. It was that last Pasch, which was to begin with the immolation of the figurative lamb, and end with the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. Jesus would have His disciples know Him. His works had borne testimony to Him, even before those who were, in a manner, strangers to Him; but as for His disciples, had they not every reason to be faithful to Him, even to death? Had they not listened to His words, which had such power with them that they forced conviction? Had they not experienced His love, which it was impossible to resist? And had they not seen how patiently He had borne with their strange and untoward ways? Yes, they must have known Him. They had heard one of their company, Peter, declare that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Notwithstanding this, the trial to which their faith was soon to be put was of such a terrible kind, that Jesus would mercifully arm them against temptation by an extraordinary grace.

The cross was to be a scandal and a stumbling-block to the Synagogue, and alas! to more than it. Jesus said to His apostles at the last Supper: “All of you shall be scandalized in Me this night.” Carnal-minded as they then were, what would they think when they should see Him seized by armed men, handcuffed, hurried from one tribunal to another, and doing nothing to defend Himself! And when they found that the high priests and Pharisees, who had hitherto been so often foiled by the wisdom and miracles of Jesus, and now succeeded in their conspiracy against Him, what a shock to their confidence! But there was to be something more trying still: the people, who, but a few days before, greeted Him so enthusiastically with their Hosannas, would demand His execution; and He would have to die, between two thieves, on the cross, amidst the insults of His triumphant enemies.

Is it not to be feared that these disciples, when they witness His humiliations and sufferings, will lose their courage? They have lived in His company for three years; but when they see that the things He foretold would happen to Him are really fulfilled, will the remembrance of all they have seen and heard keep them loyal to Him? Or will they turn cowards and flee from Him? Jesus selects three out of the number, who are especially dear to Him: Peter, who He has made the rock, on which His Church is to be built, and to whom He has promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven; James, the son of thunder, who is to be the first martyr of the apostolic college; and John, James’s brother, and His own beloved disciple. Jesus has resolved to take them aside, and show them a glimpse of that glory, which, until the day fixed for its manifestation, He conceals from the eyes of the mortals.

He therefore leaves the rest of His disciples in the plain near Nazareth, and goes in company with the three privileged ones towards a high hill called Thabor, which is a continuation of Libanus, and which the psalmist tells us was to rejoice in the name of the Lord. No sooner has He reached in the summit of the mountain, than the three apostles observe a sudden change come over Him; His Face shines as the sun, and His humble garments become white as snow. They observe two venerable men approach and speak with Him upon what He is about to suffer in Jerusalem. One is Moses, the lawgiver; the other is Elias, the prophet, who was taken up from earth on a fiery chariot without having passed through the gates of death. These two great representatives of the Jewish religion, the Law and the Prophets, humbly adore Jesus of Nazareth. The three apostles are not only dazzled by the brightness which comes from their divine Master; but they are filled with such a rapture of delight, that they cannot bear the thought of leaving the place. Peter proposes to remain there forever and build three tabernacles, for Jesus, Moses, and Elias. And while they are admiring the glorious sight, and gazing on the beauty of their Jesus’ human Nature, a bright cloud overshadows them, and a voice is heard speaking to them: it is the voice of the eternal Father, proclaiming the Divinity of Jesus, and saying: “This is My beloved Son!”

This transfiguration of the Son of Man, this manifestation of His glory, lasted but a few moments: His mission was not on Thabor; it was humiliation and suffering in Jerusalem. He therefore withdrew into Himself the brightness He had allowed to transpire; and when He came to the three apostles, who, on hearing the voice from the cloud, had fallen on their faces with fear, they could see no one save only Jesus. The bright cloud was gone; Moses and Elias had disappeared. What a favour they have had bestowed upon them! Will they remember what they have seen and heard? They have had such a revelation of the Divinity of their Master! Is it possible that, when the hour of trial comes, they will forget it, and doubt His being God? And when they see Him suffer and die, will they be ashamed of Him and deny Him? Alas! the Gospel has told us what happened to them.

A short time after this, our Lord celebrated His last Supper with His disciples. When the supper was over, He took them to another mount, Mount Olivet, which lies to the east of Jerusalem. Leaving the rest at the entrance of the garden, He advances with Peter, James and John, and then says to them: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here and watch with Me.” He then retires some little distance from them, and prays to His eternal Father. The Heart of our Redeemer is weighed down with anguish. When He returns to His three disciples, He is enfeebled by the agony he has suffered, and His garments are saturated with Blood. The apostles are aware that He is sad even unto death, and that the hour is colose at hand when He is to be attacked: are they keeping watch? are they ready to defend Him? No: they seem to have forgotten Him; they are fast asleep, for their eyes are heavy. Yet a few moments, and all will have fled from Him; and Peter, the bravest of them all, will be taking his oath that he never knew the Man.

After the Resurrection our three apostles made ample atonement for this cowardly and sinful conduct, and acknowledged the mercy wherewith Jesus had sought to fortify them against temptation, by showing them His glory on Thabor a few days before His Passion. Let us not wait till we have betrayed Him: let us at once acknowledge that He is our Lord and our God. We are soon to be keeping the anniversary of His Sacrifice; like the apostle, we are to see Him humbled by His enemies and bearing, in our stead, the chastisements of divine justice. We must not allow our faith to be weakened, when we behold the fulfillment of those prophecies of David and Isaias, that the Messias is to be treated as a worm of the earth, and be covered with wounds, so as to become like a leper, the most abject of men, and the Man of sorrows. We must remember the grand things of Thabor, and the adorations paid Him by Moses and Elias, and the bright cloud, and the voice of the eternal Father. The more we see Him humbled, the more must we proclaim His glory and divinity; we must join our acclamations with those of the angels and the four-and-twenty elders, whom St. John, one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration, heard crying out with a loud voice: “The Lamb that was slain, is worthy to receive power and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction!”

The second Sunday of Lent is called, from the first word of the Introit, Reminiscere; and also Transfiguration-Sunday, on account of the Gospel which is read in the Mass.

The Station at Rome is the church of St. Mary in Dominica, on Monte Celio. Tradition tells us that in this basilica was the diaconicum of which St. Laurence had charge, and from which he distributed to the poor the alms of the Church.

Propers for the Second Sunday in Lent

Ps. 24:6, 3, 22
Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your mercy are from of old, that my enemies may never rule over us. Deliver us from all our distress, O God of Israel. Ps. 24:1-2. I have lifted up my soul to You, O Lord; in You, O my God, I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame. V. Glory be . . .

O God, You see that we are completely powerless of ourselves. Protect us from bodily and spiritual dangers, so that we may not be harmed by physical misfortunes and evil thoughts. Through our Lord

I Thess. 4:1-7
Brethren: For the rest therefore, brethren, pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus that, as you have received from us, how you ought to walk and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: That you should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, Not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God: And that no man overreach nor circumvent his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before and have testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification, in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

Ps. 24:17-18
The cares of my heart are multiplied; deliver me from my distress, O Lord. V. See my wretchedness and my suffering, and forgive all my sins.

Ps. 105:1-4
Give glory to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. V. Who shall tell the mighty deeds of the Lord; who shall proclaim all His praises? V. Blessed are they who keep the precepts, who do what is just at all times. V. Remember us, O Lord, in Your benevolence towards Your people; visit us with Your saving help.

Matt. 17: 1-9
At that time, Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." And the disciples hearing fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: "Arise, and fear not." And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead."

Ps. 118:47, 48
I will meditate on Your commandments, which I love dearly; and I will lift up my hands to Your commands, which I cherish.

Look with favor upon these offerings, O Lord, that they may be an aid to our devotion and to our salvation. Through Our Lord . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Lent)
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

Ps. 5:2-4
Hear my call for help and hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God; for to You I pray, O Lord.

Almighty God, we humbly ask that those who are nourished with Your Sacrament may live a life of worthy service pleasing to You. Through Our Lord . . .

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Motives for Contrition

The Repentant St. Peter
There are several motives which one could have to be contrite or sorrowful for one's sins, and there is a kind of gradation between them. These are the three main ones that I can think of, off the top of my head; I'll go through them one by one:

1. Fear of one's own imperfection. Although this is not a bad motive, in the right context, by itself it can easily be a result of the sin of pride, which is the excessive or disordered love of one's own excellence. A proud man might indeed seek true virtue, but simply because he wants to be himself a perfect man. When he falls into sin or makes mistakes, he becomes discouraged and distraught, for he now realizes that he is imperfect. His main focus is on himself, and his own perfection and excellence; and this is the prime cause of his sorrow for his sins.

2. Fear of hellfire, and of the loss of salvation. Any man who really believes in heaven and hell must want to go to heaven and not to hell, that's only natural. But if his only reason for doing good and avoiding evil is so that he might be happy in heaven rather than miserable in hell - if the main focus of his motives is on his own happiness - then again, he is being self-centered. When he falls into sin, he becomes sorrowful because he realizes now that he deserves to lose salvation and to be damned in hell, and he fears this greatly. 

3. Love of God, and fear of offending Him. If one's sorrow for one's sins is founded upon charity, a pure love of God for His own sake, and a fear of offending and displeasing Him, then one's sorrow is finally pure, one's contrition is finally perfect; for this is no longer self-centered, but God-centered. And it is interesting to note that this perfect contrition encompasses the other two, but perfects them: for the man who loves God perfectly will fear his own imperfection because he knows that God commanded him to "be perfect" - not simply because he wants to be perfect himself, but because God wants it; and he will fear the loss of his salvation, not so much because he fears to lose his own happiness and salvation, but because he knows that God desires his happiness and salvation for him. Thus, the first two motives of contrition are perfected by the third.

Friday, 22 February 2013

February 22.—St. Peter's Chair at Antioch

Taken from Fr. Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints.

THAT St. Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by many Saints. It was just that the Prince of the Apostles should take this city under his particular care and inspection, which was then the capital of the East, and in which the faith took so early and so deep root as to give birth in it to the name of Christians. St. Chrysostom says that St. Peter made' there a long stay; St. Gregory the Great, that he was seven years Bishop of Antioch; not that he resided there all that time, but only that he had a particular care over that Church. If he sat twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his chair at Antioch must be within three years after Our Saviour's Ascension; for in that supposition he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius. In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the anniversary of his Baptism, on which he renewed his baptismal vows and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption: this they called their spiritual birthday. The bishops in like manner kept the anniversary of their own consecration, as appears from four sermons of St. Leo on the anniversary of his accession or assumption to the pontifical dignity; and this was frequently continued after their decease by the people, out of respect for their memory. St. Leo says we ought to celebrate the chair of St. [paragraph continues] Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom; for as in this he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, so by the former he was installed head of the Church on earth.

Reflection.—On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the Divine Goodness for the establishment and propagation of His Church, and earnestly to pray that in His mercy He preserve the same, and dilate its pale, that His name may be glorified by all nations, and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for His divine honor and the salvation of souls, framed to His divine image, and the price of His adorable blood.

St. Thomas on Self-Denial

This is chapter 10 of St. Thomas' work On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life. The book's primary aim is to consider the religious life and priesthood, etc., but much of it can be applied to the ordinary lay Christian as well. In this work, St. Thomas lists three different ways by which one might attain perfection. In this particular passage, he speaks of the third way, namely self-denial. This is especially relevant now in the season of Lent.


The Third Way to Perfection, Which is the Denial of Our Own Will

It is not only necessary for the perfection of charity that a man should sacrifice his exterior possessions: he must also, in a certain sense, relinquish himself. Dionysius, in De Divinis Nominibus IV, says that, “divine love causes a man to be out of himself, meaning thereby, that this love suffers him no longer to belong to himself but to Him whom he loves.”St. Paul, writing to the Galatians, illustrates this state by his own example, saying, “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), as if he did not count his life as his own, but as belonging to Christ, and as if he spurned all that he possessed, in order to cleave to Him. He further shows that this state reaches perfection in certain souls; for he says to the Colossians, “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). Again, he exhorts others to the same sublimity of love, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, “And Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor 5:15). Therefore, when our Lord had said, “If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,” He added something greater than all these, saying, “yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). He teaches the same thing in the Gospel of St. Matthew when He says, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mat 16:24).

This practice of salutary self-abnegation, and charitable self-hatred, is, in part, necessary for all men in order to salvation, and is, partly, a point of perfection. As we have already seen from the words of Dionysius quoted above, it is in the nature of divine love that he who loves should belong, not to himself, but, to the one beloved. It is necessary, therefore, that self-abnegation and self-hatred be proportionate to the degree of divine love existing in an individual soul. It is essential to salvation that a man should love God to such a degree, as to make Him his end, and to do nothing which be believes to be opposed to the Divine love. Consequently, self-hatred and self-denial are necessary for salvation. Hence St. Gregory says, in his Homily, “We relinquish and deny ourselves when we avoid what we were wont (through the old man dwelling in us) to be, and when we strive after that to which (by the new man) we are called.” In another homily he likewise says, “We hate our own life when we do not condescend to carnal desires, but resist the appetites and pleasures of the flesh.”

But in order to attain perfection, we must further, for the love of God, sacrifice what we might lawfully use, in order, thus to be more free to devote ourselves to Him. It follows, therefore, that self-hatred, and self-denial, pertain to perfection. We see that our Lord speaks of them as if they belonged to it. For, just as in the Gospel of St. Matthew he says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell all that you have and give to the poor,” (Mat 19:21) but does not lay any necessity on us to do so, leaving it to our own will, so He likewise says, “if any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). St. Chrysostom thus explains these words, “Christ does not make his saying compulsory; He does not say, ‘whether you like it or not, you must bear these things.’” In the same manner, when He says: “If any man will come after Me and hate not his father” etc. (Luke 14:28), He immediately asks, “Which of you having a mind to build a tower, does not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether) he have enough to finish it?” St. Gregory in his Homily thus expounds these words, “The precepts which Christ gives are sublime, and, therefore, the comparison between them and the building of a high tower shortly follows them.” And he says again, “That young man could not have had enough to finish his tower who, when he heard the counsel to leave all things, went away sad.” We may hence understand, that these words of our Lord refer, in a certain manner, to a counsel of perfection.

The martyrs carried out this counsel of perfection most perfectly. Of them St. Augustine says (in his sermon De martyribus, that “none sacrifice so much as those who sacrifice themselves.” The martyrs of Christ, denying themselves, did, in a certain manner, hate their lives, for the love of Christ. St. Chrysostom, again, says, writing on the Gospel of St. Matthew, “He who denies another, be it his brother, or his servant, or whomsoever it may be, will not assist him if he sees him suffering from the scourge or any other torture. And we, in like manner, ought to have so little regard for our body, that, if men should scourge, or in any other way maltreat, us, we ought not to spare ourselves.”

Our Lord would not have us to think that we are to deny ourselves, only so far as to endure insults and hard words. He shows us that we are to deny ourselves unto death, even unto the shameful death of the cross. For He says: “Let him take up his cross and follow Me.” We, therefore, say that the martyrs did a most perfect work; for they renounced, for the love of God, life itself, which others hold so dear, that, for its sake, they are content to part with all temporal goods, and are willing to purchase it by any sacrifice whatsoever. For a man will prefer to lose friends and wealth, and to suffer sickness, or even slavery, rather than to be deprived of life. Conquerors will grant to their defeated foes the privilege of life, in order that they may keep them subject to them in slavery. Satan said to the Lord, “Skin for skin, and all that a man has he will give for life” (Job 2:4), i.e. to preserve his body.

Now, the more dearly a thing is loved according to nature, the more perfect it is to despise it, for the sake of Christ. Nothing is dearer to any man than the freedom of his will, whereby he is lord of others, can use what he pleases, can enjoy what he wills, and is master of his own actions. Just, therefore, as a person who relinquishes his wealth, and leaves those to whom be is bound by natural ties, denies these things and persons; so, he who renounces his own will, which makes him master, does truly deny himself. Nothing is so repugnant to human nature as slavery; and, therefore, there is no greater sacrifice (except that of life), which one man can make for another, than to give himself up to bondage for the sake of, that other. Hence, the younger Tobias said to the angel, “if I should give myself to be your servant, I should not make a worthy return for your care” (Tobit 9:2).

Some men deprive themselves, for the love of God, of some particular use of their free will, binding themselves by vow, to do, or not to do, some specific thing. A vow imposes a certain obligation on him that makes it; so that, for the future, he is not at liberty to do, or not to do, what was formerly permissible to him; for he is bound to accomplish his vow. Thus, we read in Ps. 65. 13, “I will pay you my vows which my lips have uttered,”and again, “If you have vowed anything to God, defer not to pay it; for an unfaithful and foolish promise displeases him” (Eccles. 5:3).

Others there are, however, who make a complete sacrifice of their own will, for the love of God, submitting themselves to another by the vow of obedience, of which virtue Christ has given us a sublime example. For, as we read in the Epistle to the Romans, “As by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just” (Rom 5:19). Now this obedience consists in the denial of our own will. Hence, our Lord said, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). Again He said, “I came down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). By these words He shows us, that, as He renounced His own will, submitting it to the Divine will, so we ought wholly to subject our will to God, and to those whom He has set over us as His ministers. To quote the words of St. Paul, "obey your prelates and be subject to them" (Heb. 13:17).

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Pope Pius IV - Tridentine Profession of Faith

This is supremely refreshing to read; they don't do things like this anymore these days.

Pope Pius IV
I, N, with a firm faith believe and profess each and everything which is contained in the Creed which the Holy Roman Church maketh use of. To wit:

I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God. Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. He was also crucified for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was buried. And on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, and who spoke through the prophets. And one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Apostolic and Ecclesiastical traditions and all other observances and constitutions of that same Church I firmly admit to and embrace.

I also accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

I also profess that there are truly and properly Seven Sacraments of the New Law, instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salvation of mankind, though not all are necessary for everyone; to wit, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and that they confer grace; and that of these, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also receive and admit the accepted and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of the aforesaid sacraments.

I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really, and substantially, the Body and Blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that a conversion takes place of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood, which conversion the Catholic Church calls Transubstantiation. I also confess that under either species alone Christ is received whole and entire, and a true sacrament.

I steadfastly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful. Likewise, that the saints, reigning together with Christ, are to be honored and invoked, and that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated. I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, of the Mother of God, ever virgin, and also of other Saints, ought to be kept and retained, and that due honor and veneration is to be given them.

I also affirm that the power of indulgences was left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of them is most wholesome to Christian people.

I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church as the mother and teacher of all churches; and I promise true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred Canons, and general Councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent, and by the ecumenical Council of the Vatican, particularly concerning the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching. I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the Church hath condemned, rejected, and anathematized.

This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, I do so profess and swear to maintain inviolate and with firm constancy with the help of God until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and professed by all those over whom I have charge. I N. do so pledge, promise, and swear, so help me God and these Holy Gospels of God.

St. Thomas on the Suffering of Christ

Article 1, question 46 of the Third Part, from the Summa Theologica.

Whether it was necessary for Christ to suffer for the deliverance of the human race?

Objection 1. It would seem that it was not necessary for Christ to suffer for the deliverance of the human race. For the human race could not be delivered except by God, according to Isaiah 45:21: "Am not I the Lord, and there is no God else besides Me? A just God and a Saviour, there is none besides Me." But no necessity can compel God, for this would be repugnant to His omnipotence. Therefore it was not necessary for Christ to suffer.

Objection 2. Further, what is necessary is opposed to what is voluntary. But Christ suffered of His own will; for it is written (Isaiah 53:7): "He was offered because it was His own will." Therefore it was not necessary for Him to suffer.

Objection 3. Further, as is written (Psalm 24:10): "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth." But it does not seem necessary that He should suffer on the part of the Divine mercy, which, as it bestows gifts freely, so it appears to condone debts without satisfaction: nor, again, on the part of Divine justice, according to which man had deserved everlasting condemnation. Therefore it does not seem necessary that Christ should have suffered for man's deliverance.

Objection 4. Further, the angelic nature is more excellent than the human, as appears from Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). But Christ did not suffer to repair the angelic nature which had sinned. Therefore, apparently, neither was it necessary for Him to suffer for the salvation of the human race.

On the contrary, It is written (John 3:14): "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."

I answer that, As the Philosopher teaches (Metaph. v), there are several acceptations of the word "necessary." In one way it means anything which of its nature cannot be otherwise; and in this way it is evident that it was not necessary either on the part of God or on the part of man for Christ to suffer. In another sense a thing may be necessary from some cause quite apart from itself; and should this be either an efficient or a moving cause then it brings about the necessity of compulsion; as, for instance, when a man cannot get away owing to the violence of someone else holding him. But if the external factor which induces necessity be an end, then it will be said to be necessary from presupposing such end--namely, when some particular end cannot exist at all, or not conveniently, except such end be presupposed. It was not necessary, then, for Christ to suffer from necessity of compulsion, either on God's part, who ruled that Christ should suffer, or on Christ's own part, who suffered voluntarily. Yet it was necessary from necessity of the end proposed; and this can be accepted in three ways. First of all, on our part, who have been delivered by His Passion, according to John (3:14): "The Son of man must be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." Secondly, on Christ's part, who merited the glory of being exalted, through the lowliness of His Passion: and to this must be referred Luke 24:26: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?" Thirdly, on God's part, whose determination regarding the Passion of Christ, foretold in the Scriptures and prefigured in the observances of the Old Testament, had to be fulfilled. And this is what St. Luke says (22:22): "The Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined"; and (Luke 24:44-46): "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Me: for it is thus written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead."

Reply to Objection 1. This argument is based on the necessity of compulsion on God's part.

Reply to Objection 2. This argument rests on the necessity of compulsion on the part of the man Christ.

Reply to Objection 3. That man should be delivered by Christ's Passion was in keeping with both His mercy and His justice. With His justice, because by His Passion Christ made satisfaction for the sin of the human race; and so man was set free by Christ's justice: and with His mercy, for since man of himself could not satisfy for the sin of all human nature, as was said above (Question 1, Article 2), God gave him His Son to satisfy for him, according to Romans 3:24-25: "Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood." And this came of more copious mercy than if He had forgiven sins without satisfaction. Hence it is said (Ephesians 2:4): "God, who is rich in mercy, for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ."

Reply to Objection 4. The sin of the angels was irreparable; not so the sin of the first man (I, 64, 2).