Sunday, 31 May 2020

Queenship of Our Lady.

Today the Church celebrates the great feast of Pentecost and brings to a close the Marian month of May. The anthem of the Regina Caeli has been sung for the last time as Eastertide closes and we proceed to the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Due to the date of Pentecost this year, the feast of the Queenship of Mary is not commemorated, but this should not stop us from dwelling on it ourselves. The feast is of course a great deal more prominent this year, since so many countries around the world have dedicated or consecrated themselves to Our Lady in the recent months.
When we consider this feast it is interesting to note that it is one of the lesser celebrated feasts of Mary. Other Marian feasts, particularly those found in the mysteries of the rosary, are celebrated with more pomp and dignity than the Queenship of Mary and so it is perhaps more necessary to give attention to this feast, which might otherwise be forgotten. 
How is it then, that Mary is Queen? She is the first of all creation, created by God as Immaculate and free from all attachment to sin, a fitting honour for she who is the Mother of God. In fact mariologists teach that all the titles of Our Lady stem from the fact that she is the Mother of God, and consequently she cannot be other than a Queen. Hence St. Bernard mentions that “No sooner had Mary consented to be Mother of the Eternal Word, than she merited by this consent to be made Queen of the world and of all creatures”. Indeed it would be folly to thus consider any other possibility, except that Mary is by her Divine Maternity the Queen of all creation. For she is both creature of God and Mother of God; guided by the Holy Spirit but also espoused to the Holy Spirit. 
Furthermore, she has been given to us in the spiritual and temporal realm as Queen and mother, when Christ spoke the words, “Behold thy mother”. (John 19:27) All that comes to us from Christ passes through the hands of His Queen since He so wishes to cultivate a love of God through devotion to His Mother. So writes St. Alphonsus: “the kingdom of justice He reserved for Himself, and that of mercy He yielded to Mary, ordaining at the same time that all mercies that are dispensed to men should pass by the hands of Mary and be disposed of by her at will”.(1) As the Mediatrix of graces {a title honoured by a feast also kept on this day in some places} Mary has a role greater than any Queen in history, inseparably united to Christ in the work of redemption and thus united in glory. Just as Christ triumphed on the cross with Mary at His side, so we honour her at the side of Christ triumphant in Heaven. 
Mary’s Queenship is enacted thus through the mystery of the cross and understood only through devotion to her and her Son. This feast is the celebration of all the immense sufferings and trials which she willingly undertook from the moment of the Annunciation, conscious of her duty of love. It is an opportunity to dwell upon the magnitude of her role in our salvation, a role which does not in any way serve to decrease the infinite power of Christ’s redemptive death. Through His death and resurrection Christ is truly the king of glory and we cannot but say the same of Mary who joins Him on the heavenly throne. The saints mention that Mary’s good works surpassed in merit all those performed by the saints, and so must her reward. Her glorious place in the celestial court as Queen and Mother is most intimately linked to the depths of sorrows which she endured on the desolate hill of calvary. 
If we wish to understand Mary as Queen, we must learn to understand her role in the redemption. Only by meditating on and gradually understanding the unfathomable sufferings she willingly endured can we consequently understand the righteousness of her Queenship and her beautiful glory. Just as Christ the King cannot be viewed separate from Christ on the cross, so also must we view Mary as Queen alongside the image of Mary suffering at the cross. The cross necessitates the crown and the crown depends upon the cross. 
St. Alphonsus describes the heavenly scene of Mary’s coronation thus: “the three Divine Persons, placing her throne at the right of that of Jesus, declared her Sovereign of heaven and earth; and commanded the angels and all creatures to acknowledge her as their Queen, and as such to to serve and obey her”.(2) She is truly the Queen of all, invoked in the Litany of Loreto as Queen of angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, saints and families. Mary is our Queen not through political or military conquest, but through the practice of humility, suffering and love of God. Her rule is manifested through the implementation of these virtues and a fostering of the love of Her Divine Son. She has no other law except conforming to the will of God (a topic recently examined  on this blog with the help of St. Alphonsus). In the place of demanding tithes she offers us comfort and guidance found through consecrating ourselves to her - a gift that the world can never understand nor seek to rival. Nor is she a queen of malice, but is rather the Queen and Mother of mercy, desirous of pardoning and assisting those who fly to her protection.
Mary our Queen is ever at our side and ever fulfilling her role as Queen and Co-Redemptrix, as recalled in the words of the Memorare. On this feast we have a chance to dwell on the mysteries which she has wrought in the history of the Church and in our own lives; on the intimate role she played with Christ in the redemption; on the immense glory which she offered to God by her humble fiat and her life of hidden suffering; and on the glory which she offers to God through her coronation as Queen and through the many souls she leads to Him. Indeed it is hard to briefly summarise the beauty of this feast, when many tomes have been written upon Mary by great saints and mystics, who themselves would profess that they had not covered the topic sufficiently. If we wish to properly celebrate such a feast as well as grow to love and understand Mary as our Queen, it is best to take the fifth decade of the Glorious mysteries. We can do this whilst gazing at an image of her beside the cross as well as one of her glorious coronation in heaven. Spending time in this manner will serve not only increase our devotion to her but also to love Christ even more, which is all she truly desires.
If we do not have time to work our way through some of the great works of Marian literature (The Glories of Mary or True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin stand out) then a sincere and prayerful recitation of the fifth decade can be a ready way to know and love our heavenly Queen. To these we can add these lines of a prayer by St. Alphonsus: “O exalted Virgin, well do I know that thou who art Queen of the universe, art already my queen; yet am I determined to dedicate myself more especially to thy service, in order that though mayest dispose of me as thou pleasest…Accept me, O Mary, for thine own, and as thine take charge of my salvation”.

  1. St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, (London, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1868), 13.
  2. Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, 394.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Ligouri's homily for Pentecost.

In the run up to the great feast of Pentecost, it can be of great use to take the words of the saints regarding the feast as our spiritual reading. St. Alphonsus Ligouri is one of the great masters of the spiritual life and his collection of homilies are a source of wisdom and light. Here, (at the risk of laziness) I have decided to offer his thoughts on the great feast instead of my own. 

"As the Father hath given me commandment, so do I." JOHN xiv. 31.

JESUS CHRIST was given to us, by God, as a saviour and as a master. Hence he came on earth principally to teach us, not only by his words but also by his own example, how we are to love God our supreme good: hence, as we read in this days Gospel, he said to his disciples: "That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I." To show the world the love I bear to the Father, I will execute all his commands. In another place he said: ”I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38.) Devout souls, if you love God and desire to become saints, you must seek his will, and wish what he wishes. St. Paul tells us, that the divine love is poured into our souls by means of the Holy Ghost. “The charity of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us." (Hom. v. 5.) If, then, we wish for the gift of divine love, we must constantly beseech the Holy Ghost to make us know and do the will of God. Let us continually implore his light to know, and his strength to fulfil the divine will. Many wish to love God, but they, at the same time, wish to follow their own, and not his will. Hence I shall show today, in the first point, that uur sanctification consists entirely in conformity to the will of God; and in the second, I shall show how, and in what, we should in practice conform ourselves to the divine will.
First Point: Our sanctification consists entirely in conformity to the will of God.
1. It is certain that our salvation consists in loving God. A soul that does not love God is not living, but dead. "He that loveth not, abideth in death." (1 John 3:14.) The perfection of love consists in conforming our will to the will of God. "And life in his good will." (Ps. 29:6.)Have charity, which is the bond of perfection." (Col. 3:14.) According to the Areopagite, the principal effect of love is to unite the wills of lovers, so that they may have but one heart and one will. Hence all our works, communions, prayers, penances, and alms, please God in proportion to their conformity to the divine will; and if they be contrary to the will of God, they are no longer acts of virtue, but defects deserving chastisement.

2. Whilst preaching one day, Jesus Christ was told that his mother and brethren were waiting for him; in answer he said: "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father that is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother." (Matt. 12:50.) By these words he gave us to understand that he acknowledged as friends and relatives those only who fulfil the will of his Father.

3. The saints in heaven love God perfectly. In what, I ask, does the perfection of their love consist? It consists in an entire conformity to the divine will. Hence Jesus Christ has taught us to pray for grace to do the will of God on earth, as the saints do it in heaven. ”Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10.) Hence St. Teresa says, thatthey who practise prayer, should seek in all things to conform their will to the will of God." In this, she adds, consists the highest perfection. He that practises it in the most perfect manner, shall receive from God the greatest gifts, and shall make the greatest progress in interior life. The accomplishment of the divine will has been the sole end of the saints in the practice of all virtues. Blessed Henry Suson used to say: "I would rather be the vilest man on earth with the will of God, than be a seraph with my own will."
4. A perfect act of conformity is sufficient to make a person a saint. Behold, Jesus Christ appeared to St. Paul while he was persecuting the Church, and converted him. What did the saint do? He did nothing more than offer to God his will, that he might dispose of it as he pleased. "Lord," he exclaimed, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6.) And instantly the Lord declared to Ananias, that Saul was a vessel of election, and apostle of the Gentiles. “This man is a vessel of election to carry my name before the Gentiles." (Acts 9:15.) He that gives his will to God, gives him all he has. He that mortifies himself by fasts and penitential austerities, or that gives alms to the poor for God’s sake, gives to God a part of himself and of his goods; but he that gives his will to God, gives him all, and can say: Lord, having given thee my will, I have nothing more to give thee I have given thee all. It is our heart that is, our will that God asks of us. My son, give me thy heart." (Prov. 23:26.) Since, then, says the holy Abbot Nilus, our will is so acceptable to God, we ought, in our prayers, to ask of him the grace, not that we may do what he will, but that we may do all that he wishes us to do. Every one knows this truth, that our sanctification consists in doing the will of God; but there is some difficulty in reducing it to practice. Let us, then, come to the second point, in which I have to say many things of great practical utility.

Second Point: How, and in what, we ought to practise conformity to the will of God.
5. That we may feel a facility of doing on all occasions the divine will, we must beforehand offer ourselves continually to embrace in peace whatever God ordains or wills. Such was the practice of holy David. “My heart," he used to say, ”is ready; God! my heart is ready." (Ps. 107:2.) And he continually besought the Lord to teach him to do his divine will. ”Teach me to do thy will." (Ps. 143:10.) He thus deserved to be called a man according to God’s own heart. ”I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills." (Acts 13:22.) And why? Because the holy king was always ready to do whatever God wished him to do.
6. St. Teresa offered herself to God fifty times in the day, that he might dispose of her as he pleased, and declared her readiness to emhrace either prosperity or adversity. The perfection of our oblation consists in our offering ourselves to God without reserve. All are prepared to unite themselves to the divine will in prosperity; but perfection consists in conforming to it, even in adversity. To thank God in all things that are agreeable to us, is acceptable to him; but to accept with cheerfulness what is repugnant to our inclinations, is still more pleasing to him. Father M. Avila used to say, that "a single blessed be God, in adversity, is better than six thousand thanksgivings in prosperity."
7. We should conform to the divine will, not only in misfortunes which come directly from God such as sickness, loss of property, privation of friends and relatives but also in crosses which come to us from men, but indirectly from God such as acts of injustice, defamations, calumnies, injuries, and all other sorts of persecutions. But, you may ask, does God will that others commit sin, by injuring us in our property or in our reputation? No; God wills not their sin; but he wishes us to bear with such a loss and with such a humiliation; and he wishes us to conform, on all such occasions, to his divine will.

8. "Good things and evil... are from God." (Eccl. 11:14.) All blessings such as riches and honours and all misfortunes such as sickness and persecutions come from God. But mark that the Scripture calls them evils, only because we, through the want of conformity to the will of God, regard them as evils and misfortunes. But, in reality, if we accepted them from the hands of God with Christian resignation, they should be blessings and not evils. The jewels which give the greatest splendour to the crown of the saints in heaven, are the tribulations which they bore with patience, as coming from the hands of the Lord. On hearing that the Sabeans had taken away all his oxen and asses, holy Job said: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away." (Job 1:21.) He did not say that the Lord gave, and that the Sabeans had taken away; but that the Lord gave, and that the Lord had taken away: and therefore he blessed the Lord, believing that all had happened through the divine will. “As it has pleased the Lord, so it is done: blessed be the name of the Lord." (Ibid.) Being tormented with iron hooks and burning torches, the holy martyrs Epictetus and Atone said: ”Lord, thy will be done in us." And their last words were: ”Be blessed, eternal God, for having given us the grace to accomplish thy will."

9. ”Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad." (Prov. 12:21.) A soul that loves God is not disturbed by any misfortune that may happen to her. Cesarius relates that a certain monk who did not perform greater austerities than his companions, wrought many miracles. Being astonished at this, the abbot asked him one day what were the works of piety which he practised. He answered, that he was more imperfect than the other monks; but that his sole concern was to conform himself to the divine will. Were you displeased, said the abbot, with the person who injured us so grievously a few days ago? No, father, replied the monk; I, on the contrary, thanked God for it; because I know that he does or permits all things for our good. From this answer the abbot perceived the sanctity of the good religious. We should act in a similar manner under all the crosses that come upon us. Let us always say: ”Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight." (Matt. 11:26.) Lord, this is pleasing to thee, let it be done.

10. He that acts in this manner enjoys that peace which the angels announced at the birth of Jesus Christ to men of good will that is, to those whose wills are united to the will of God. These, as the Apostle says, enjoy that peace which exceeds all sensual delights. The peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding." (Phil. 4:7.) A great and solid peace, which is not liable to change. "A holy man continueth in wisdom like the sun; but a fool is changing like the moon." (Eccl. 27:12) Fools that is, sinners are changed like the moon, which increases today, and grows less on tomorrow; Today they are seen to laugh through folly, and to- morrow, to weep through despair; Today they are humhle and meek, tomorrow, proud and furious. In a word, sinners change with prosperity and adversity; but the just are like the sun, always the same, always serene in whatever happens to them. In the inferior part of the soul they cannot but feel some pain at the misfortunes which befall them; but, as long as the will remains united to the will of God, nothing can deprive them of that spiritual joy which is not subject to the vicissitudes of this life. “Your joy no man shall take from you."  (John 16:22.)

11. He that reposes in the divine will, is like a man placed above the clouds: he sees the lightning, and hears the claps of thunder, and the raging of the tempest below, but he is not injured or disturbed by them. And how can he be ever disturbed, when whatever he desires always happens? He that desires only what pleases God, always obtains whatsoever he wishes, because all that happens to him, happens through the will of God. Salvian says, that Christians who are resigned, if they be in a low condition of life, wish to be in that state; if they be poor, they desire poverty; because they wish whatever God wills, and therefore they are always content. ”Humiles sunt, hoc volunt, pauperes sunt, paupertate delectantur: itaque beati dicendisunt." If cold, or heat, or rain, or wind come on, he that is united to the will of God says: I wish for this cold, this heat, this rain, and this wind, because God wills them. If loss of property, persecution, sickness, or even death come upon him, he says: I wish for this loss, this persecution, this sickness; I even wish for death, when it comes, because God wills it. And how can a person who seeks to please God, enjoy greater happiness than that which arises from cheerfully embracing the cross which God sends him, and from the conviction that, in embracing it, he pleases God in the highest degree? So great was the joy which St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel at the bare mention of the will of God, that she would fall into an ecstacy.

12. But, how great is the folly of those who resist the divine will, and, instead of receiving tribulations with patience, get into a rage, and accuse God of treating them with injustice and cruelty! Perhaps they expect that, in consequence of their opposition, what God wills shall not happen? “Who resisteth his will ?" (Rom. 9:19.) Miserable men! instead of lightening the cross which God sends them, they make it more heavy and painful. “Who hath resisted him, and hath peace ?" (Job 9: 4.) Let us be resigned to the divine will, and we shall thus render our crosses light, and shall gain great treasures of merits for eternal life. In sending us tribulations, God intends to make us saints. "This is the will of God, your sanctification." (1 Thess. 4:3.) He sends us crosses, not because he wishes evil to us, but because he desires our welfare, and because he knows that they are conducive to our salvation. "All things work together unto good." (Rom. viii. 28.) Even the chastisements which come from the Lord are not for our destruction, but for our good and for the correction of our faults. ”Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord....have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction." (Jud. 8:27.) God loves us so tenderly, that he not only desires, but is solicitous about our welfare. ”The Lord," says David, ”is careful for me." (Ps. 39:18.)

13. Let us, then, always throw ourselves into the hands of God, who so ardently desires and so anxiously watches over our eternal salvation. ”Casting all your care upon him; for he hath care of you." (1 Peter 5:7.) He who, during life, casts himself into the hands of God, shall lead a happy life and shall die a holy death. He who dies resigned to the divine will, dies a saint; but they who shall not have been united to the divine will during life, shall not conform to it at death, and shall not be saved. The accomplishment of the divine will should be the sole object of all our thoughts during the remainder of our days. To this end we should direct all our devotions, our meditations, communions, visits to the blessed sacrament, and all our prayers. We should constantly beg of God to teach and help us to do his will. "Teach me to do thy will." (Ps. 143:10.) Let us, at the same time, offer ourselves to accept without reserve whatever he ordains, saying, with the Apostle: ”Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" (Acts ix. 6.) Lord, tell me what thou dost wish me to do I desire to do thy will. And in all things, whether they be pleasing or painful, let us always have in our mouths that petition of the Pater Noster -"Thy will be doneLet us frequently repeat it in the day, with all the affection of our hearts. Happy we, if we live and die saying: ”Thy will be done” “Thy will be done!"

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Our Lady Help of Christians

Today we have the chance to celebrate the great feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, a title by which she is well known due to its inclusion in the Litany of Loreto. It is a title added to that prayer by Pope Pius V, after the miraculous victory which she wrought over the Moslems at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Pius VII then instituted the feast of Mary, Help of Christians as a solemn thanksgiving for the protection which she had shown to him and the Church during the time in which he had been imprisoned away from the Vatican for more than five years and also during another period when he was forced to flee from Rome. The pontiff decreed that the date of his triumphant arrival back into Rome after his five year imprisonment should be kept as the feast of Our Lady as Help of Christians. Furthermore, he instituted a proper office of the feast for the recitation of the Divine Office.
The title is one which was a particular favourite of St. John Bosco, who had a particular devotion to Mary as Help of Christians and dedicated the mother church of his congregation in Turin to her patronage.
Due to the great beauty of the feast, as well as the fact that this title is most well known through the Litany of Loreto, it is an opportunity to turn to the pages of a pious book which presents short meditations upon each of the appellations of the Mother of God as found in that litany. My Queen and my Mother was written in 1904, the fiftieth anniversary year of the definition of the Immaculate Conception.

“After Jesus no one loves us as Mary does, for she, more than any other, realises the worth of a soul, and moreover, her heart, being greater than that of any other mere mortal, has a greater capacity for loving. Let us then cry to her in all our needs. She is our Lady of Perpetual Succour, ever ready, ever at hand to hear and help us. As children turn to the Mother instinctively in every trouble, so let us turn to Mary. No matter what befalls us, if we run to her confidingly and shelter ourselves under her mantle, all will be well. Let us apply to our attitude towards her the words of Dante, who writes: ‘astounded, to the guardian of my steps I turned me, like the child who always runs for succour where he trusteth most’.
Nor can we doubt Mary’s power to help us any more than her good will. If King Solomon rose to show his mother reverence when she entered, causing a throne to be set for her beside his own, and saying with the utmost deference when she proffered a request, ‘My mother, ask, for I must not turn away thy face’, what will not our Lord and Master do, He who implanted in the heart of the wise king these beautiful virtues of filial love and reverence? We have seen that at the marriage feast He could not resist even the slightest indication of His Mother’s wishes, though, as He said, His appointed hour for working miracles had not yet come, and the matter was only the supply of a temporal passing need. How much more readily will He grant her request when she pleas for a fresh supply of grace for her clients, or begs for them a new wedding garment, when, like careless children, they have spoilt their first one!
Still more eagerly will He respond to her desires when she lays before Him the necessities of souls who are labouring for His glory, who are in trouble and distress because they do not yet see the perfect fulfilment of that prophecy of David: ‘All the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea’. 
But it is well to go to Mary with every affair, great or small, that concerns us. However trivial, it will not be too much so for her motherly heart to take an interest in and however vast, it will not exceed the scope of her queenly magnificence and power. Let us say to her: ‘Look upon thy servants and upon their works, and direct their children. And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us; and direct thou the work of our hand…Yea the work of our hands do thou direct’…
Let us rejoice then in having so good, so large-hearted and powerful an advocate, and let us trust our all to her, saying: 

‘Mother Mary to thy keeping, 
Soul and body we confide; 
Toiling, resting, waking, sleeping, 
Be thou ever at our side.

Cares that vex us, joys that please us, 
Life and death we trust to thee;
Thou must make them all for Jesus,
And for all eternity.’

Help of Christians, pray for us.”(1)

With these words our meditation closes, leaving the meaning very clear - Mary has been given to man, especially to those faithful souls, as a guide and protector in order that she might draw souls to her Son. In modern times, both from within and without the Church, the role of Mary is often attacked or downplayed, and if care is not taken then a very protestant view of the Mother of God will soon be held. In order to combat such an eventuality then, we can follow the example of Pius V and VII, along with St. John Bosco, and invoke Mary as our help in all matters. Practicing devotion to her publicly and privately can only serve to increase our devotion to her Son, for she directs all to Him. The title of this feast is Our Lady as Help of Christians, not as the end of Christians. Therefore we should have no fear of any undue reverence when entrusting every action to her, since she has been given as the very help by which we are to attain our end. 
Our Lady the Help of Christians is needed now more than ever before. Whilst the armies of the Turks are not publicly sailing across the seas in order to conquer the realms of Christendom, (although such an event is indeed happening under other guises) yet such attacks on the Church are very much occurring. Her enemies have grown emboldened and do not concern themselves with secrecy, preferring to openly attack reason, dogma and truth in every sphere of society and even in the churches. There has been no need of a foreign enemy to destroy Christendom, for it has already all but crumbled from within, and those faithful to Mary and her divine Son, are ridiculed, ignored and persecuted. Temporal leaders and spiritual shepherds have seemingly joined forces in depriving the Church of Her divine right to worship Her Creator, and those faithful children of Mary are decried for being selfish and full of self-pity for seeking to render homage to God.
In such a time, devotion to Mary as the Help of Christians has perhaps never been more necessary. She is the one to whom Christ’s faithful must turn in the wake of such public rejection of God. We have confidence in our Immaculate helper, who is ever at our side and makes all our cares, trials and joys into offerings for Jesus. Such a Mother, whose love for us is only surpassed by love for Her Son, cannot fail to heed the cries and supplications which are made to her under the title of Help of Christians. There remain seven days between now and next Sunday, the feast of Pentecost, but also the date of the ancient feast of the Queenship of Mary. In the last week of Mary’s month of May, perhaps we can turn to her, asking her to guide the Church in Her vocation to teach the truth and bring souls to Christ.

(1) R.G.S, My Queen and My Mother, (Post Falls ID, Lepanto Press, 2006), 181-184.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Certain Old Testament types of Mary.

It would be very remiss if the month of May passed by without some special attention to Mary! Mariology is one of the most beautiful elements of study in the Church today. That which concerns Mary is linked directly to God, for she is the Mother of God and can only lead her children to Him. Devotion to her constitutes devotion and love for her Divine Son. The subject of Marian typology is one very interesting way of coming to know Mary in a closer way, by examining the correlation between Old Testament figures and the Mother of God. So rich is the text that the true difficulty is in deciding which aspects of the topic to deal with in this short work. Rather than give a broad overview of Marian typology, we shall turn attention to some of those types which are most interesting and beautiful: those in the story of Abraham, the Ark of the Covenant and the role of the queen mother.

Mary and Abraham.
The types of Mary are not merely confined to the great Biblical women, for even in Abraham can a pre-figurement be seen of Mary. The story of Abraham starts with his very dramatic calling by God. He receives his vocation, is then ordered to leave the security of his homeland and journey far into a land unknown, which will be revealed to him by God. “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you.” (Gen 12:1) A calling from familiar security into the wild unknown. Almost as a sign of His almighty power and as a reward for obeying the Divine will, God promises to Abraham that his name will be a blessing for ages to come. “All the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” (Gen 12:3) On every step of his journey, Abraham built an altar to the Lord, humbly surrendering his own will to God’s. 
This action is almost identical to Mary’s on the occasion of her Annunciation. Upon receiving the message of God she accepted the will of God without hesitation, fully aware of the awful responsibility which she was undertaking. It was a calling from the peaceful and prayerful life which Mary was leading, to an honour as exalted as it was painful and sacrificial in its nature. As Mother of God she was to partake in Christ’s every sorrow and pain, to suffer the most unimaginable torment as she watched her Son be tortured through sin and its effects, culminating in the agony of Christ’s crucifixion. This sacrificial action was undertaken by both Mother and Son, as Christ himself expressed to St Bridget, “My Mother and I saved man as with one Heart only, I by suffering in my Heart and My Flesh, she by the sorrow and love of her Heart.”(1) All this, Mary knew when she uttered her “Fiat”, surrendering completely, as did Abraham, to the will of Almighty God. As a result of her acceptance, Mary became “blessed .. among women” (Luke 1:28) 
Just as through Abraham, “all the kindred of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12:3) so also the whole of creation shall “call me blessed” (Luke 1: 48). The blessing bestowed on the world through the obedience of Abraham, is like that bestowed on the world through Mary. The blessing which stems from Mary is God Himself, and it is for this reason that we honour her as blessed. 
Another interesting image of Mary can be found in the journey that Abraham undertook to reach the promised land. Having accepted the will of God, he had to test his patience as he travelled to attain the great land that God had spoken of. Abraham had to rely completely on the Divine will. So also does Mary await patiently, for nine months, the coming of her child who is to be the Messiah. Her mission began whilst at prayer, and it is in this state which she continues, whilst also visiting her cousin Elizabeth to assist that noble woman in her own pregnancy. 
Sarai was the wife of Abraham, a woman free born, unlike her maid-servant Hagar. Whilst Abraham did originally have a son with Hagar, it was Sarai’s child, the child of a free woman, who bore Isaac, father of a great nation and himself a type of Jesus. Mary Immaculately conceived, is free from any slavery to sin, for “whosever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34) As the only human free from sin, it is thus she who is the Mother of Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body.
In order to put Abraham to the test, God ordered that Abraham should sacrifice his only son, whom the aged man had awaited for so long. Such a dreadful task Abraham undertook, leading Isaac up to the place of sacrifice, “they two went on together” (Gen 22:6) He put aside his earthly feelings, trusting in God. This heartrending offering is a clear pre-figuring of the actions of Mary, as she accompanied her Son on the way to the cross, and “stood by the cross of Jesus” (John 19:25) as He gave His life in expiation for the sins of man. Mary knew the sacrifice which was asked of her and her Son, but also why Christ’s death was necessary. 

Mary, the ark of the Covenant.
The ark of the covenant is one of the most striking prototypes of Mary in the Old Testament. It was the precious tabernacle, in which the Israelites place their most sacred objects, treasures of the faith, gifts directly from God who had Himself given the exact descriptions of the Ark. “Make me a sanctuary and I will dwell in the midst of them. According to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee.” (Ex 25: 8-9) It’s construction was of the finest materials, “gold, silver and brass….violet skins, and setim wood.” (Ex 25: 3,5) The setim tree was a rare plant, which grew in the wilderness and was “imperishable wood”.(2) Thus the ark, was designed by God to the most minute details, (Ex 25: 3-40) made from the most immaculate of woods and “plated with gold inside and out.”(3) It was topped by a “golden crown round about” and inside lay the “testimony which I will give thee.” (Ex 25: 11,16) This dazzling glory was to be the dwelling place of God, marked by the “pillar of cloud” (Ex 33: 9) wherein dwelt the Lord. 
Mary is such an ark. She was preserved from the dawn of time from any taint of sin which might mark her soul. Her soul was spotless and shining before God having “never suffered the deprivation of grace” embodied with the “fullness of grace [which] enable her to choose the good and the right every day of her life.”(4) The gems and precious metals of which the ark was composed, were all symbols of the gem of her spotless soul for according to the Church fathers Mary’s perfect virginity and fullness of grace are prefigured by the ark of the covenant. She bore the Christ child in her immaculate womb for nine months, and tended Him for the rest of His years. Mary is the Mother of God, a title which “resumes and includes everything.”(5) God so ordered every detail about His Blessed Mother so that she would be perfect, in the same manner that He ordered the construction of the ark. Her submission to the Divine will was of course much greater and far more pleasing to God, than the fineries which lined the ark.
Inside the ark lay the written word of God, as given to Moses upon the tablets of stone. The virginal womb of Mary was the dwelling place of the Word, “and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) She is the living temple of the Word the Ark of the New covenant.
The Israelites were also bidden to construct “a propitiatory of the purest gold” from which God would talk to His people and from “thence will I give orders, and will speak to thee.” (Ex 25:17,22) The Spirit of God came down over this ark “covering all things and the majesty of the Lord shining.” (Ex 40: 33) The use of the word “covering” is especially important for it denotes a direct link with Mary. In the gospel of Luke, one reads of how the “power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore else the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 35) The Spirit of God came upon the ark in the Old Testament just as it came upon Mary who was to be the Ark of the New Testament. St Luke was aware of this prefiguring and would have been also fully conscious of the connections which his readers would make with the text of Exodus. 
God gave the ark to His people after their flight from Egypt, after they had endured the trial and persecutions in that land. From that moment on, the ark was at the centre of the Old Testament, and the Jews guarded it with their very lives. When the ark was with them they were successful in battle, and when they disregarded it, they felt the wrath of God. In a like manner God gives us His mother, who is not only the Mother of God as declared at Ephesus in 431 A.D, but is “in the order of grace, the mother of all believers…our mother.”(6) At the height of His sufferings on the cross, Christ looked down to earth and gave His mother to us. She has ever since guided the Church will all her motherly attributes, encouraging and praying with the terrified apostles in the upper room on the feast of Pentecost. If we stay close to Mary then we are by default close to God, who is her Son and Saviour.
Mary, the Queen Mother.
The role of the queen mothers throughout the entirety of the Old Testament is a true foreshadowing of the role of Mary as Mediator and Advocate in our vale of tears. The queen mother had a special privilege in the courts of the ancient kings, as seen in the court of Solomon. “A throne was set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right hand.” (1 Kings 2:19) She was also the counsellor to the king as seen in the book of Proverbs, chapter 31. Should any misfortune befall the king, it fell to the queen mother to act as regent, to guide the country through the turmoil. Mary undertakes this role as befits the Mother of God, and Mother of the Church. As Miravalle states in his work, “it is Mary of Nazareth who becomes the Queen and Mother in the Kingdom of God, as the Mother of Christ, King of all nations.”(7) At the cross, Mary took the Church under her protection, much as one would care for a child lost without its parents. The accounts of the Old Testament provided the early Christians with the insight necessary to recognise Mary’s position in the Church, indeed they readily welcomed her as their Mother.

Thus, even in Abraham and the Ark of the Covenant, very clear prototypes of Mary can be found. It is not just in the women of the Old Testament, but in the great father of Israel, Abraham, that a mirror of Mary’s life and actions can be found. The ark of the covenant is widely recognised as one of the most prominent types of Mary in the Old Testament, and quite rightly so. A lesser known type, is that of the queen mothers in the Old Testament, but this should not be forgotten, for Mary is truly Mother of God, of the Church and hence of each of us. The queen mothers wonderfully pre-figure Mary who is both the perfect queen and mother. Through looking at the types of Mary in the Old Testament, one can learn a great deal about the Mother of God even without comparing texts with the New Testament, for the types themselves are quite striking and simple to understand.

(1) Mark Miravalle, With Jesus - The story of Mary Co-Redemptrix, (Goleta: Queenship Publishing, 2003) 97.
(2)  Rev M.J Scheeben, Mariology Volume I, (Birmingham and New York: Vail- Ballou Press, 1954) p39.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Mark Miravalle, Meet Mary - getting to know the Mother of God, (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 2007) p30.
(5) Leen & Kearney, Our Blessed Mother, (Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds Ltd, 1947) p33
(6) Miravalle, Meet Mary, 39.
(7) Mark Miravalle, Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, (Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1993), p59

Sunday, 17 May 2020

The practice of the spiritual life.


“You must be honest with yourselves; you are to live by the word, not content merely to listen to it”.(1) These words from the Epistle of St. James ring out as a terrible challenge. They call to mind the words of Christ: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven”. (Matt 7:21).
In what does this honesty consist in the everyday life of a Catholic? The answer lies in the humble practice of the spiritual life, as taught and demonstrated by the saints throughout the Church’s history. The spiritual life can be defined thus: “a share in the divine life given us by the Holy Ghost who dwells in us, because of the merits of Jesus Christ”.(2) In recent times particularly, the practice of the spiritual life has greatly declined. Even, often especially, amongst many who would consider themselves faithful and pious Catholics, the spiritual life can often be largely ignored (including by myself). One reason for this is that amongst such souls the spiritual life is simply not attractive enough! It is all too enticing to study some particular branch of theology, become an expert on current affairs in the political or religious sphere, or simply become too caught up in day to day activities. 
In an age of great crisis, chiefly in the spiritual realm, reading about the daily life of prayer or the manner of making a good examination of conscience, can readily appear unappealing or unimportant. We tell ourselves that surely there are many more important things to be doing, or more interesting subjects to be studying. Or again, that we do not need to pay attention to the spiritual life, since it is something which we grew out of when we finished our youthful studies of the catechism. And so we fall into the habit of trying to become an expert on any subject other than spirituality. Again, I speak from experience. 
Yet, this clarion call from the Sacred Scriptures cannot be ignored, for we are to be honest with ourselves if we wish to attain salvation. Indeed, regardless of whether we are or not, God will certainly be honest with us in the hour of our judgement. For at that time it will serve us nothing to be able to cry out ‘Lord, Lord’ and to express the greatest theological or scientific truths, whilst we yet remain completely inept in the spiritual life. St. James warns that if we are not doers of the word then we deceive only ourselves. (cf James 1:22).
What is it then that we find so unappealing, difficult or annoying about the spiritual life? Is it surely not one of the greatest temptations from the devil, to so belittle or ignore our daily time deepening our love of God! How great a paradox it is, when we will give time to matters of the world or even of the faith, yet avoid giving the time to practicing this faith. The words of the epistle ring altogether too true: “if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain”. (James 1:26) Again, I speak from experience. Faith must be practiced and lived, not learned and forgotten. 
Often the spiritual life can seem such a trial precisely because we know how important it actually is. Perhaps there is something which we have done, or failed to do, which is troubling our conscience, causing us to avoid spending time in prayer lest we encounter that which we seek to avoid. In this way, we can become like Jonah, trying to avoid the voice of God which we know we will encounter when attending to the spiritual life. 
Or again, it can be easy to avoid the spiritual life because of the change of life which we know it necessitates and the sacrifices we might be called to make. Knowing the reality of the nature of the spiritual life, we seek to avoid it, lest perhaps we have to forego any enjoyment which we are particularly attached to.
Yet all these excuses and methods which we can employ in order to escape the practice of the spiritual life are the greatest folly. Did not St. Augustine profess the truth that ‘our hearts are restless until they rest in you O God’? Is it not always the case that avoiding the spiritual life, for whatever purpose, will in time lead us to such a confusion, bewilderment and trial as experienced by Jonah? No manner of success or worldly enjoyment can make up for the gaping whole in our souls by the rejection of Christ through the abandonment of the spiritual life. It is because by avoiding the spiritual life we are thus abandoning the call of Christ imprinted on our souls; this call is the call to be perfect in imitation of God. “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). These words give meaning and purpose to the spiritual life. In practicing the spiritual life we are fulfilling the greatest commandment, that of loving God with our whole heart, soul and mind.
Dom Marmion mentions that the soul in the spiritual life is characterised by a love of God  which “causes us to refer ourselves entirely to God and find in Him the Supreme Good which we prefer to all other good”.(3) The spiritual life is in essence a sharing of the life of Christ, which is the life of the cross. We cannot learn to love Christ without loving the cross: “he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me”. (Matt 10:38). These few words can serve as a guide for our daily life. It is not in the attainment of the highest honours, the most acclaimed accolades of man, the largest salary or the greatest academic degree, that we follow Christ. It is in the faithful, daily practice of the life of Christ and the life of the cross.
We have been called to imitate God Himself, to model ourselves upon Him and grow in perfection. We have been called to put off ourselves and put on the life of Christ. St. Peter mentions that we have a divine vocation to the cross: “for unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps”. (1 Peter 2:21) We have further been given a mandate by God Himself to grow in holiness and unity with Him, and consequently to receive a peace and a joy which will be unobtainable without Him. Yet how often is it that we reject these truths and ignore the spiritual life out of one reason or another - a reason which will never be worthy enough to excuse the rejection of the love of God. 
By practicing the spiritual life we fulfil this call to imitate God and grow in that loving bond of union with Him which is centred upon the cross. The practice of the spiritual life is a look in the mirror of which St. James speaks, but one which moves us to conform to the will of God and practice the words which we hear. It is only in the practice of the spiritual life that we can change from those who cry ‘Lord, Lord’ to those who do the will of Our Father in heaven. 

(1) James 1:22. Taken from the epistle of today’s Mass, James 1:22-27.
(2) Abbé Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, (Brattleboro, Vermont, Echo Point Books & Media, 2015), 44.
(3) Blessed Columba Marmion, Christ, the Life of the Soul, (Tacoma, Washington, Angelico Press, 2012), 209.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

An expedient absence.

St. John’s Gospel today bears the words “It is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to You”. (John 16:7) Homilists around the world have explained in great beauty and with great wisdom the meaning of this text and the vital importance of the advent of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. However, it can be also especially useful to consider the words of Christ in a different manner, taking only the first part of the statement and examining those occasions when God seems truly distant - “It is expedient to you that I go”.
In what manner and in what time can we really state that it is good for us that Christ remove Himself from us! Truly, of course as the Gospel teaches, so that the Holy Spirit may be sent. But we have decided to leave aside this truth for a time and consider the line differently. So how can it be expedient for Christ to leave us? Surely we will fall miserably into all manner of failings and fall from our place in the spiritual life? 
Let us take a familiar example to examine the question and provide some form of answer. When a child is learning to walk, there comes a time when his mother must relinquish her hold on his hand in order that he might learn to support himself. Instead of carefully guiding him with her own hand, perhaps she might stand a few paces away and encourage her son to walk to her. If she did not do so, then her child would rely constantly on the full support she provides and not mature into a capable adult. But by putting his trust in her and walking towards her, he will learn to trust her more. Whilst it might seem like his mother has abandoned him, eventually the child will understand how such an action was actually for his greater good.
We can apply this example, albeit slightly imperfectly, to the gospel passage in question. For just as the child must be taught to walk towards his mother, we must learn to do the same with God. By apparently withdrawing from us, God is in fact watching over His children and gently encouraging us towards a deeper love and union with Him. When the mother lets go of her child’s hand, he feels suddenly unsteady and perhaps at a loss. It is just so when God appears to withdraw some of the sensible spiritual comforts which we have hitherto enjoyed. Like the unsteady child, we can be tempted to topple or fall, uncertain of what to do. 
However, just like a loving parent, God is not absent, but merely a few paces away, calling us to Him. If we rely on our own capabilities, then our swift trip or fall is certain; but if we turn our eyes towards Him and place our trust in Him, then we will make our way towards Him. Instead of gazing down at the floor or at ourselves, we are called to place our faith in God and look only at Him. With our gaze firmly fixed upon He who is ever constant, such apparent abandonment is in fact a time of great grace.
The saints mention periods of even many years when they experienced the ‘dark night of the soul’: a time when they were bereft of spiritual comforts and filled with confusion and doubt. Notably, St. Teresa d’Avila and St. John of the Cross spring to mind, for they wrote in great beauty about the spiritual trials and benefits of such times of aridity. In times when our prayer goes seemingly unanswered or we endure great sufferings and trials, it does indeed feel like God has withdrawn from us, but that it is not expedient for Him to have done so! All our woes rise before us, threatening to engulf us and it is then that if we gaze only at ourselves then we will indeed be lost in misery and despair. 
Yet we have discussed only recently the importance and great value of sufferings and their purpose in the spiritual life. The Church teaches that our sufferings are given for a purpose, and such a purpose is not to provide an occasion to wallow in misguided self-pity. Far from it, for on these occasions when God appears to have withdrawn from us, He is in fact granting an opportunity to increase our love and dependance on Him. God is, in a sense, merely withdrawing a few steps and encouraging us to walk to Him. Nor even are we walking through our own power, but, “through Him, and with Him and in Him”, as the liturgy states.
So how then is it expedient that God should depart from us? In order that we might join Him through patiently bearing suffering and uniting this to the cross; in order that we might learn our dependance upon His grace and mercy; in order that we might see that without Him we can do nothing; in order that we might use this opportunity to deepen our love of Him and mature in the spiritual life. Seen through the eyes of the world, divorced from God, any trials and sufferings may indeed seem like God is no longer with us, nor is it expedient that He has withdrawn His presence. Yet, when we put our faith in Him like little children, then the apparent withdrawing of the Divine presence is in fact expedient, helpful and even necessary for the spiritual life. 
Before finishing this short meditation there is one important difference which we must make between the mother and God - for whilst the mother allows her child to walk unaided, God, although seemingly absent, never truly abandons us, nor can He ever do so, for Christ taught that “behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world”. (Matt 28:20). St. Paul teaches that “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it”. (1 Cor 10:13). 
“It is expedient to you that I go” - our prayer this day should be that we learn to love and trust God even more, especially on those occasions when He seems distant, for it is in these times that He is working His wonders.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

The value of suffering.

The traditional calendar celebrated yesterday the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate. St. John the Evangelist is ranked amongst the martyrs, due to the horrific torture and attempted death which were inflicted upon him by order of the emperor Domitian. Dom Gueranger recounts that it was this day upon which the beloved disciple offered his life for Christ, who so miraculously spared him from the cauldron of boiling oil. Enraged, the emperor banished the saint to the island of Patmos to live the rest of his days in exile. The saintly commentator mentions that we should not be surprised at this miracle, since was not St. John the only one who remained with Mary at the foot of the cross? Was it not to him that Christ gave His Blessed Mother also?
Pondering on this account, no doubt familiar to many, can give occasion to a very profitable meditation upon suffering and its benefits. St. John was keenly aware of the worthlessness of this life and its comforts in comparison to union with God, hence why he is mentioned as rejoicing at the sight of the instruments of his martyrdom. Having seen His Saviour crucified on Calvary, the beloved disciple was especially aware of the glory and great graces which can be won through dying for Christ. Nor should we expect that he was unaffected by the perfect act of love and suffering by which Mary united herself to Christ on the cross: an act of love which he beheld with his own eyes. These two souls, one the Mother of God and the other Christ’s beloved disciple, serve as models for us in the way of sacrificial love of God.
The Catholic life is one of suffering out of love for God. It is with this in mind that St. Louis de Montfort wrote his beautiful letter to ‘The Friends of the Cross’ and counsels that walking the royal road of the cross is the surest way to imitate St. John in his pure and ardent love of God. The spiritual life, especially the purgative way, ie. that of beginners, is a true way of the cross, for it is centred upon, oriented to and nourished by the cross. It is our prerogative to join our Saviour upon those beams, offering ourselves with Him, in Him and for Him.
Yet fear of suffering is perhaps the greatest obstacle to our advancement in the spiritual life and is one of the chief objections which critics of the faith have. In the eyes of the world, suffering is the greatest evil that exists, and the concept of willingly suffering for the sake of God is one which can rarely be understood. 

What place then, does suffering have in the spiritual life? How can we seek to answer the critics who might view the Catholic faith as having a bizarre fixation with suffering?
Firstly, Christ died upon the cross for our sins and did so out of the most perfect love. He died innocent of all guilt, yet we have trouble passing through even one day without committing at least one or two (at least minor) sins. Each sin is an infinite offence against almighty God, a rejection of His goodness and a desire contrary to the eternal law. In light of our sins alone, we merit the sufferings of this world for the offence which we have caused to God. Indeed, it is as a result of the very first sin that we have sorrows and hardships, to serve as a reminder and a punishment for man’s infidelity to God.
When we endure tribulations, we are reminded of the fleeting nature of this world and that it is only in union with God that true happiness is to be found. Without such trials we might easily become attached to the pleasures of this world, which are all too often bought and enjoyed at the price of our salvation. Yet only Christ is the Good Shepherd, the careful guardian of His sheep, who can offer the food of eternal life.
But there are other positive aspects of suffering, whereby we can merit graces and atone for our sins through the patient bearing of trials. The path of the cross, the path of suffering, allows us to join ourselves to Christ’s sacrifice, for each mortification or cross we receive from God is in fact “the greatest gift of heaven, the greatest gift of God”. (1) St. John recognised this fact, when he rejoiced at the thought of impending death, for it gave him the chance to demonstrate his love for God and to sacrifice all for love of Him. 
As mentioned recently, we preach Christ crucified and the Catholic faith is one centred upon the cross. Life and grace come through the cross; it is the image found in our homes and churches, serving to remind us of the import which it must have in daily life. Fr. Boudon declares that, “to be a Christian and to be crucified is one and the same thing. If you renounce suffering, you must renounce Christianity”. (2) These crosses call us to accept the call of Christ, namely to take up our cross and follow Him.
But we can go further than this, because if we view sufferings and the way of the cross as merely things to be endured out of love for Christ, then we still approach this fundamental aspect of spirituality through the eyes of the world. When we view the cross in earthly eyes we can see nothing but detriment to ourselves, yet the saints teach that in the eyes of God, each moment spent on the road of the cross is glorious beyond words. To put it quite simply, Christ gave His very life for us; how can we be so proud as to believe that we can do any less for Him? He has even consoled us already, stating that “My yoke is sweet and my burden light”. (Matt 11:30) When reading the lives of the saints, one striking point is their understanding of suffering; they knew suffering was not a mere trial which they simply endured, but it was a supreme honour by which they could imitate and compassionate Christ. This ought to serve as pious motivation for joyfully accepting and even longing for suffering, as a chance to unite ourselves with Christ. 
Dom Marmion composes a similiar meditation for this feast, in which he writes on the joyful acceptance of trials. The holy abbot draws from the Gospel of the day, stating that “we cannot reach perfect union with Christ Jesus unless we accept that portion of the chalice which Our Lord wills us to drink with Him and after Him”. (3) Christ knew of the sufferings which He was to undergo, and yet took up the cross with love and zeal. It is this kind of love of suffering to which He calls us also.
Such is the lesson which we can draw from the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate. The beloved disciple serves as a model for faithful and holy suffering. He drank the chalice which was proffered to him and so calls us to partake of the chalice of suffering which Christ offers to each of us. Uniting sufferings to Christ, through Him, with Him and in Him, is one of the most beautiful mysteries of the faith and which is only understand by devotion to Christ crucified.

  1. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, Letter to the Friends of the Cross, (Hanover PA, St. Louis de Montfort Academy), 14.
  2. Fr. Boudon, The Holy Ways of the Cross, 21.
  3. Dom Marmion, Words of Life, (Gateshead on Tyne, Northumberland Press Limited, 1939), 301.

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost: Imitate St Paul to effect the reign of Christ the King

  Dom Gueranger writes in his commentary for the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, that the Mass has references to the “days of the anti...