… that’s right. Before posting our St. Thomas day lecture and some local media coverage, here is Brooklyn-based Net’s coverage on “Currents,” from our St. Albert Day Lecture on Hatred and Forgiveness, delivered by Dr. Paul Vitz in November of last year.
Fr. Walter Wagner, OP preached all the Masses. Hear why…
Those of you at our Dominican parish will celebrate St. Thomas’s day with the rank of Feast, with proper readings. The rest of the Church honors the Common Doctor with a memorial, with readings typically taken from the day.
The first reading would ordinarily continue our reading of the Book of Hebrews. (Instead, at St. Vincent Ferrer and other Dominican parishes we’ll read from Wisdom or Ephesians.) What follows is St. Thomas’s commentary on the Hebrews passage you would otherwise have heard!
[hold the cursor over the passage numbers, and it will appear onscreen]
536. – After exhorting them by frightening reasons to cling to Christ by faith, hope and charity, the Apostle now gives pleasing reasons, as a good physician after cutting applies soothing lotions. For of all commendations for doing good, there is one which best stimulates a person to persevere in a good work already begun. For virtue praised acquires an immense drive, and glory is a strong stimulus. In regard to this he does two things: first, he recalls the good things they had done; secondly, he urges them to finish what still remains (v. 35). In regard to the first he does three things: first, he recalls in a general way the tribulations they suffered for the faith; secondly, he describes the kinds of tribulations (v. 33); thirdly, he explains these in detail (v. 34).
537. – Therefore, because past success stimulates a person to do better, just as bad fortune on the contrary leads to despair, he recalls their past good deeds, saying, but recall: ‘I have remembered you’ (Jer. 2:2), i.e., the good you accomplished; the former days, i.e., the first days of your conversion, when after you were enlightened by faith, which enlightens and cleanses the soul: ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’ (Ac. 15.9; ‘Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem’ (Is. 60:1). But this is accomplished by faith in Christ: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts’ (Eph. 3:17); ‘To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death’ (Lk. 1:79). For the first light of the soul is faith. You endured a hard struggle with sufferings, i.e., struggled against the great suffering inflicted on you by those who persecuted Christ in you: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ (Ac. 9:14), me, I say, in my members, because, as Augustine says in a sermon on this text: ‘While the members were on earth, the head cried from heaven;’ ‘She gave him strong conflict, that he might overcome’ (Wis. 10:12); ‘I have fought a good fight’ (2 Tim. 4:7). For, as it is recorded in Acts 8 a great persecution arose against the Church after Stephen’s death: ‘For you, brethren, are become followers of the Churches of God which are in Judea; for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews’ (1 Th. 2:14). Therefore, if you began to endure from the beginning, it would be blameworthy to give up now.
538. – Then when he says, and on the one hand by abuse and affliction you were made a gazing stock, he shows what these afflictions were. For a person suffers in two ways: in himself by enduring affliction, and in someone else by taking pity on another’s affliction. But they suffered in both ways. In regard to the first way, he says, and on the one hand, i.e., with respect to yourselves, you were made a gazing stock, which is very disagreeable for a wise man. For if a fool is mocked, it is not serious, even if he endures a great amount of derision from others, but to a wise man it is a burden. Furthermore, if he is troubled and mocked by his persecutor, it is very disagreeable. Therefore, he shows how great their affliction was, because they were made a gazing stock, i.e., no one took pity on them but instead rejoiced in their afflictions, i.e., in their reproaches: ‘The reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me’ (Ps. 68:10); ‘Many are the tribulations of the just’ (Ps. 32:20); ‘We are made a spectacle to the world,’ unto derision, ‘And to angels’ unto congratulation, ‘And to men’ who use their reason ‘unto imitation’ (1 Cor. 4:9). In regard to the second he says, and on the other, became partners of those who were so treated, i.e., of those who suffered such things: and this by compassion and by administering aid: ‘Communicating to the necessities of the saints’ (Rom. 12:13).
539. – Then when he says, for you had compassion on the prisoners’[them that were in bands], he explains what he had said. First to all in regard to the second, namely, how they had compassion, for among the Jews many were in bands; as it says in Acts (8:3) that Paul made havoc in the Church, committing men and women to prison: ‘I was in prison and you visited me’ (Mt. 25:36). In regard to the first he says, and the plundering of your property for helping those in bands, you took with joy: ‘Count it all joy, when you shall fall into diverse temptations’ (Jas. 1:2); ‘The Apostles went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus’ (Ac. 5:41).
540. – But with what joy? Should tribulations be loved? It certainly seems not, because Augustine says: ‘You are commanded to bear them, not love them.’ I answer that they are not loved for their own sake, but for something else: and that is the way they loved them; hence, he continues, since you knew that you had a better and abiding possession, namely, other riches more important, which are increased by the removal of those riches, by which they are called better. For temporal riches are hollow, because they consist in things that are beneath men; but spiritual riches consist in God, namely, in the enjoyment of God: ‘Riches of salvation, wisdom and love; the fear of the Lord in his treasure’ (Is. 33:6). Furthermore, they last, because the others fail of themselves and can be taken away; but these cannot: ‘Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven’ (Mt. 6:19).
541. – Then (v. 35) he shows what remains for them to do, i.e., to retain the confidence obtained from their good works. In regard to this he does three things: first, he gives an admonition; secondly, how to observe the admonition (v. 36); thirdly, he proves this with an authority (v. 37).
542. – He says, therefore: Inasmuch as you have done so many good things in the first days of your conversion, it should cause you to have much confidence in God; do not, therefore, throw away your confidence, which you will lose, if you stop doing good: which has a great reward: ‘Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven’ (Mt. 5:12); ‘I am your protector and your reward exceeding great’ (Gen. 15:1).
543. – The way to keep it is patience; hence, he says, for you have need of patience. For just as meekness moderates anger, so patience puts a limit to sadness, so that it will not exceed the bounds of reason. But sadness is sometimes caused by evils inflicted or by good deferred: ‘Hope that is deferred, afflicts the soul’ (Pr. 13:12). But it is properly called patience, when it is concerned with the first; but long-suffering, when it is concerned with the second. Here, however, patience stands for both: not only for enduring evil, but for long-suffering in the face of good things deferred. He says, therefore, that in regard to both, patience is necessary for us: ‘The patient man is better than the valiant’ (Pr. 16:32); ‘In your patience you shall possess your souls’ (Lk. 21:19); ‘Patience has a perfect work’ (Jas. 1:4).
544. – Why is it necessary? That you may do the will of God and receive the promise, i.e., fulfilling God’s will, which is done by obeying God’s commandments, which are the signs of God’s will. Hence, doing the signified will of God, which is the way God’s will is sometimes taken in the Scripture: ‘His ministers who do his will’ (Ps. 102:21). Thus, you will receive the promise, i.e., the things promised, which is given to those who work: ‘Call the workers and give them their hire’ (Mt. 20:8); ‘In your patience you shall possess your souls’ (Lk. 21:19); ‘He that perseveres unto the end, he shall be saved’ (Mt. 24:13); ‘I will suddenly speak against a nation and against a kingdom, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken shall repent of their evil, I also will repent of the evil I have thought to do to them. And I will suddenly speak of a nation and of a kingdom, to build up and plant it’ (Jer. 18:7).
545. – Then (v. 37) he cites an authority to prove what he had said. In regard to this he does two things: first, he states it; secondly, he applies it to his thesis (v. 39). In regard to the first he does three things: first, he suggests how near the reward is; secondly, he describes the condition of the reward (v. 38); thirdly, he mentions the danger of losing the reward (v. 38b).
546. – In regard to the first it should be noted that this authority seems to be from Habakkuk (chap. 32); nevertheless, the first words are taken from Hag (chap. 2). But he probably did this because both were speaking about the same coming. For Habakkuk (2:3) says: ‘As yet the vision is far off,’ and Hag (2:7) ‘Yet one little while.’ Therefore, he uses the words of one as though they were the words of the other. Or better, because the Apostle is speaking of his own time, namely, after the incarnation and resurrection, from which less time remains until the judgment than remained from the time of the prophet, he prefers to use Haggai’s words at the beginning. Yet the two authorities agree in the end. Or, one could say that he is speaking as though of himself, and should be delivered no less than the prophets.
547. – But there are two comings of the Lord according to the two judgments: one is general, namely, at the end of the world in the general judgment; the other is particular, after every person’s death. But in regard to both he says, for yet a little while, as far as the length of time is concerned. And, of course, in regard to the first, although, i.e., is much compared to the flow of time in relation to ourselves; yet it is brief compared to eternity: ‘For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, which is past’ (Ps. 89:4); ‘Behold, I come quickly’ (Rev. 22:12). But as to the particular, which is at death, and concerning which Jn (14:5) says: ‘I shall come again and take you to myself,’ it does not make much difference whether it is less or more, because in the judgment each one will be as he is when he dies. Therefore, we should strive to appear good at death, because where I find you, there I will judge you. Hence, he says, a little while, because tribulations are not of long duration: For if they are overwhelming, they are destroyed, but if they are slight, they are not quickly ended: ‘That which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation works for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory’ (2 Cor. 4:17). Therefore, the coming one shall come quickly and will not tarry, either in death or in the judgment: ‘Behold the judge stands before the door’ (Jas. 5:9).
548. – But he indicates the ones to be rewarded when he says, But my righteous [just] man lives by faith. This same text is found in Romans (1:17) and Gal (3:11). But the reward is paid only to the just: ‘The salvation of the just is from the Lord’ (Ps. 36:39). But justice is of two kinds: one in regard to human judgment: ‘not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own’ (Rom. 10:3); the other in regard to divine: ‘They were both just before the Lord’ (Lk. 1:6). But God requires the latter justice; hence, he says, my just man, i.e., the justice which is ordained to me, i.e., who is just to me and for me. But that by which a man is justified is faith: ‘The justice of God by faith of Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 3:22). The reason for this is that a man is just, because he is ordained to God; but that by which a man is first ordained to God is faith; therefore, he says, My just man lives by faith: ‘He that comes to God must believe’ (Heb. 11:6). Not only is justice by faith, but the one justified lives by faith. For just as the body lives by the soul, so the soul of God. Hence, just as the body lives by that through which the soul is first united to the body, so by that through which God is first united to the soul, the soul lives. But this is faith, because it is the first thing in the spiritual life: ‘If you will not believe, you shall not continue’ (Is. 7:9), just as a house does not remain, if the foundation is destroyed: ‘And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God’ (Gal. 2:20). But faith not formed by charity is dead; therefore, it does not give life to the soul without charity: ‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren’ (1 Jn. 3:14). Or, my just man lives by faith, i.e., is considered such by me, and has the life of glory without actual suffering, if the opportunity to suffer is not given.
549. – Then when he says, but if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him, he shows the danger hanging over a person who does not continue in the justice of faith. For since it lies within the power of the believer to destroy himself or to save himself, he says, but if he shrinks back, namely, from the faith and from justice, my soul has no pleasure in him. Our version has Habakkuk (2:4): ‘His soul shall not be right in himself.’ But the sense is the same. Jerome says that wherever the Hebrew differs from the Septuagint, the Apostle uses what he learned from Gamaliel, at whose feet he learned the Law. Therefore, my soul, i.e., my will, has no pleasure in him. For the will of God should be the rule of our actions. Therefore, a person who does not agree with God’s will, his soul is not right.
550. – Then when he says, but we are not of those that shrink back and are destroyed, he applies this to his thesis. As if to say: This is the way it will be in the case of those who withdraw from the faith; but we are not the children of withdrawing unto perdition. But a person is said to be a son of anything which rules him. Thus, a person is called the son of death, when that by which he is rejected by God, rules him: ‘These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit’ (Jude 1:19). Unto destruction of the soul: ‘You have destroyed all them that are disloyal to you’ (Ps. 72:26); ‘And the way of the wicked shall perish’ (Ps. 1:6); but of those who have faith, i.e., reborn in Christ, and save their souls. For a person who keeps God’s commandments saves his soul: ‘If you will enter into life, keep the commandments’ (Mt. 19:17); ‘We are not of the night, or of darkness’ (1 Th. 5:5). Therefore, let us not fail from the faith.
This is the first time in 6 years that I haven’t been in DC for the events surrounding the protest of 1973′s Roe v. Wade decision, most especially, the “march for life.” I am continually disheartened by the meagerness of the media’s coverage of this event, which covers many stories of far greater significance, and has covered “marches” that draw far fewer people. The March for Life is the largest annual march in our nation’s capital, and it is significantly comprised of the youth. However, news of a new MTV show that frankly narrates the promiscuous projects of teens is apparently more media-worthy.
Nevertheless, the uplifting dynamics of the weekend remain an effective sign of Christian life: There is an evil that we hate, recognizing it as evil because of reason’s natural judgments, and further inspired by the grace of Revelation. The evil is an object of hatred because of the grave systematic harm it does to individuals–the children killed and the mothers wounded–as well as to the mores that it culturally engenders and enforces.
But it is opposed simply by reason and by love. By the continual projection of argumentation against legalized abortion into the public forum. And most of all by the love of the Christian community for each other and for the world. Thus, it becomes an occasion of rejoicing. As St. Paul taught, while in prison, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near” (Phil 4.4-5).
On 22 January, Archbishop Dolan announced the establishment of a Pro-Life Commission to assist him in the archdiocese’s efforts to foster a greater appreciation of the sanctity of life of every human person, from conception to natural death.
Fr. Walter Wagner, O.P., our pastor, was one of the twenty-five members asked by the Archbishop to be on this Commission. Its members of various professions and states in life were selected because of work that they have already done to encourage instruction and conversation regarding the nature of human life. And this work will continue.
Congratulations, Fr. Walter.
Tonight, Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., STD will deliver our annual St. Thomas Day Lecture. He will consider the basics of John Paul II’s “theology of the body” apropos the perennial wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas, whom JPII himself taught, the Church has justly and consistently proposed as a master of thought (i.e., as such) (see Fides et ratio, n. 43). The lecture is free, and will provide time for questions. Fr. Petri teaches theology at Providence College.
I’m joined by Fr. Darren Pierre, O.P. (who’s here at St. Vincent’s in residence, serving in the provincial offices) & Fr. Anthony Giambrone, O.P. (who served here for a brief while as a deacon, and is now pursuing doctoral studies at Notre Dame). Word to Life airs on satellite radio for The Catholic Channel every Friday at 1 pm (EST), Sirius 159 / XM 117.
After being out for a couple of days, both I and the internet are back. Rev. Bro. Justin Brophy’s homily from this past weekend. Bro. Justin is a newly ordained Deacon for the province, and preached all the Sunday Masses for the annual Deserving Poor Boys Appeal, whose collection supports our brethren in formation.
BENEDICT XVI WILL BEATIFY JOHN PAUL II ON 1 MAY
VATICAN CITY, 14 JAN 2011 (VIS) – On 1 May, the second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI will preside at the rite of beatification for John Paul II in the Vatican.
According to a note released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, “today 14 January, Benedict XVI, during an audience granted to Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authorised the dicastery to promulgate the decree of the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). This concludes the process which precedes the rite of beatification.
“It is well known that, by pontifical dispensation, his cause began before the end of the five-year period which the current norms stipulate must pass following the death of a Servant of God. This provision was solicited by the great fame of sanctity which Pope John Paul II enjoyed during his life, in his death and after his death. In all other ways, the normal canonical dispositions concerning causes of beatification and canonisation were observed in full.
“Between June 2005 and April 2007 the principal diocesan investigation was held in Rome, accompanied by secondary investigations in various other dioceses, on his life, virtues, fame of sanctity and miracles. The juridical validity of these canonical processes was recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with a decree of 4 May 2007. In June 2009, having examined the relative ‘Positio’, nine of the dicastery’s theological consultors expressed their positive judgement concerning the heroic nature of the virtues of the Servant of God. The following November, in keeping with the usual procedure, the ‘Positio’ was submitted for the judgement of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who gave their approval.
“On 19 December 2009, Benedict XVI authorised the promulgation of the decree on John Paul II’s heroic virtues.
“With a view to the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, the postulator of the cause invited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to examine the recovery from Parkinson’s disease of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre Normand, a religious of the ‘Institut des Petites Soeurs des Maternites Catholiques’.
“As is customary, the voluminous acts of the regularly-instituted canonical investigation, along with detailed reports from medical and legal experts, were submitted for scientific examination by the medical consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 21 October 2010. The experts of the congregation, having studied the depositions and the entire documentation with their customary scrupulousness, expressed their agreement concerning the scientifically inexplicable nature of the healing. On 14 December the theological consultors, having examined the conclusions reached by the medical experts, undertook a theological evaluation of the case and unanimously recognised the unicity, antecedence and choral nature of the invocation made to Servant of God John Paul II, whose intercession was effective in this prodigious healing.
“Finally, on 11 January 2011 the ordinary session of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints took place. They expressed their unanimous approval, believing the recovery of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre to be miraculous, having been achieved by God in a scientifically inexplicable manner following the intercession of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, trustingly invoked both by Sr. Simon herself and by many other faithful”.
[From our Holy Father's Wednesday catechesis on St. Hilary of Poitiers, 10 October 2007]
To sum up the essentials of his doctrine, I would like to say that Hilary found the starting point for his theological reflection in baptismal faith. In De Trinitate, Hilary writes: Jesus “has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28: 19), that is, in the confession of the Author, of the Only-Begotten One and of the Gift. The Author of all things is one alone, for one alone is God the Father, from whom all things proceed. And one alone is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist (cf. I Cor 8: 6), and one alone is the Spirit (cf. Eph 4: 4), a gift in all…. In nothing can be found to be lacking so great a fullness, in which the immensity in the Eternal One, the revelation in the Image, joy in the Gift, converge in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit” (De Trinitate 2, 1). God the Father, being wholly love, is able to communicate his divinity to his Son in its fullness. I find particularly beautiful the following formula of St Hilary: “God knows not how to be anything other than love, he knows not how to be anyone other than the Father. Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in his totality. This name admits no compromise, as if God were father in some aspects and not in others” (ibid., 9, 61).
For this reason the Son is fully God without any gaps or diminishment. “The One who comes from the perfect is perfect because he has all, he has given all” (ibid., 2, 8). Humanity finds salvation in Christ alone, Son of God and Son of man. In assuming our human nature, he has united himself with every man, “he has become the flesh of us all” (Tractatus super Psalmos 54, 9); “he took on himself the nature of all flesh and through it became true life, he has in himself the root of every vine shoot” (ibid., 51, 16). For this very reason the way to Christ is open to all – because he has drawn all into his being as a man -, even if personal conversion is always required: “Through the relationship with his flesh, access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self (cf. Eph 4: 22), nailing it to the Cross (cf. Col 2: 14); provided we give up our former way of life and convert in order to be buried with him in his baptism, in view of life (cf. Col 1: 12; Rom 6: 4)” (ibid., 91, 9).
Fidelity to God is a gift of his grace. Therefore, St Hilary asks, at the end of his Treatise on the Trinity, to be able to remain ever faithful to the baptismal faith. It is a feature of this book: reflection is transformed into prayer and prayer returns to reflection. The whole book is a dialogue with God.
I would like to end today’s Catechesis with one of these prayers, which thus becomes our prayer: “Obtain, O Lord”, St Hilary recites with inspiration, “that I may keep ever faithful to what I have professed in the symbol of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That I may worship you, our Father, and with you, your Son; that I may deserve your Holy Spirit, who proceeds from you through your Only Begotten Son… Amen” (De Trinitate 12, 57).
New York Encounter is an annual four-day public festival comprised of presentations, artistic performances, exhibits, and information booths that present a variety of charitable, cultural, and work-related initiatives. It will take place January 14 – 17, 2011 and all the events are designed to communicate the remarkable vastness, openness, richness, and depth generated by the Catholic faith. Visit the NYE website (www.newyorkencounter.org) for details.
Among the great events scheduled, there will be a one-time reproduction of Paul Claudel’s, Tidings Brought to Mary, produced by the Blackfriars Repertory Theater and The Storm Theater.
Roughly 4 out of 10 births in NYC were terminated in 2009.
6 out of 10 African American babies born in that same year were killed. More black women had abortions than births.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising… i.e., as the outcome of a rather specifically intentioned project. The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, considered blacks and the immigrant poor “… human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning… human beings who never should have been born” (Pivot of Civilization); thus, the whole purpose of birth control advocacy — of which legalized abortion has always been an integral element — is to yield a “race of thoroughbreds” (Birth Control Review, Nov 1921).
Here’s an article that recaps the press conference held yesterday with Archbishop Dolan and other non-Catholic religious leaders of New York City to speak against this gravely wicked affliction.
Here’s a provocative op-ed by Ross Dothout from a couple of days ago. If you’ve already read it, you might look over the posted comments, and think about which ones are much more “recommended” than others and what they say.
Let us pray.
[From the homily at the canonization of St. John Neumann (1811-1860) by Pope Paul VI, 19 June 1997]
….At the time of John Neumann, America represented new values and new hopes. Bishop Neumann saw these in their relationship to the ultimate, supreme possession to which humanity is destined. With Saint Paul he could testify that “all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3, 22). And with Augustine he knew that our hearts are restless, until they rest in the Lord (S. AUGUSTINI Confessiones, 1, 1)….
There are many who have lived and are still living the divine command of generous love. For love still means giving oneself for others, because Love has come down to humanity; and from humanity love goes back to its divine source! How many men and women make this plan of God the program of their lives! Our praise goes to the clergy, religious and Catholic laity of America who, in following the Gospel, live according to this plan of sacrifice and service. Saint John Neumann is a true example for all of us in this regard. It is not enough to acquire the good things of the earth, for these can even be dangerous, if they stop or impede our love from rising to its source and reaching its goal. Let us always remember that the greatest and the first commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God” (Matth. 22, 36).
True humanism in Christianity. True Christianity-we repeat is the sacrifice of self for others, because of Christ, because of God. It is shown by signs; it is manifested in deeds. Christianity is sensitive to the suffering and oppression and sorrow of others, to poverty, to all human needs, the first of which is truth.
[Born in what is today the Czech Republic, St. John Neumann is the only male citizen (naturalized in 1848) of the US who is a canonized Saint. St. John's namesake, as a note of local interest, was he under whom our neighbor church on 1st Ave and 66 finds its patron - St. John Nepomucene.]
[Excerpted from Pope Paul VI's homily at the canonization of Mother Seton, the first canonized native-born American, 14 September 1975]
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with spiritual joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she marvellously sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. This is the title which, in his original foreword to the excellent work of Father Dirvin, the late Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, attributed to her as primary and characteristic: «Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American»! Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America. Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage. This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of new and authentic riches that are yours: that religious spirituality which your temporal prosperity seemed to obscure and almost make impossible. Your land too, America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness. And here is a splendid proof-among many others-of this fact….
And then we must note that Elizabeth Seton was the mother of a family and at the same time the foundress of the first Religious Congregation of women in the United States. Although this social and ecclesial condition of hers is not unique or new (we may recall, for example, Saint Birgitta, Saint Frances of Rome, Saint Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal, Saint Louise de Marillac), in a particular way it distinguishes Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton for her complete femininity, so that as we proclaim the supreme exaltation of a woman by the Catholic Church, we are pleased to note that this event coincides with an initiative of the United Nations: International Women’s Year. This program aims at promoting an awareness of the obligation incumbent on all to recognize the true role of women in the world and to contribute to their authentic advancement in society. And we rejoice at the bond that is established between this program and today’s Canonization, as the Church renders the greatest honor possible to Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton and extols her personal and extraordinary contribution as a woman -a wife, a mother, a widow, and a religious….
To all our beloved sons and daughters in the United States and throughout the entire Church of God we offer, in the name of Christ, the glorious heritage of Elizabeth Ann Seton. It is above all an ecclesial heritage of strong faith and pure love for God and for others-faith and love that are nourished on the Eucharist and on the Word of God.
Fr. Walter continues our theological catechesis on the Threefold Body of Christ. He will treat the sources of the Church’s teaching on the Sacramental Body of the Eucharist in the Bible and Early Church.
The lecture is free, at 7 PM, in the Church Hall.
A plenary indulgence is offered today to the faithful, who devoutly assist either at the solemn singing or recitation of the Veni Creator to implore divine assistance for the course of the whole year… (under the usual conditions).
Those of us at the 8 am recited this beautiful hymn with the intention of receiving the indulgence.
May God bless this New Year!