Acts, Chapter 2, Verse 26-27
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will
dwell in HOPE, 27 because you will not
abandon my soul to the netherworld, nor will you suffer your holy one to see
desires that all men be saved. Christ by the action of His precious blood has
sought to redeem all and He desires that none see corruption. Traditionally
during the month of November, the church seeks to aid all those who are in
purgatory awaiting the grace of God.
Council of Trent
If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged, either in this world or in Purgatory, before the gates of Heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.
Purgatory. The Council of Trent. Session XXV. December 4, 1563
Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, following the sacred
writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught in sacred councils
and very recently in this ecumenical council, that there is a Purgatory, and
that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and
chiefly by the Acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar, the Holy Council commands the
bishops that they strive diligently to the end that the sound doctrine of
Purgatory, transmitted by the Fathers and sacred councils, be believed and
maintained by the faithful of Christ, and be everywhere taught and preached.
Canons Concerning The
Sacrament Of Penance. The Council of Trent. Session XIV, November 25, 1551
CANON 12. If
anyone says that God always pardons the whole penalty together with the guilt
and that the satisfaction of penitents is nothing else than the faith by which
they perceive that Christ has satisfied for them, let him be anathema.
CANON 13. If
anyone says that satisfaction for sins, as to their temporal punishment, is in
no way made to God through the merits of Christ by the punishments inflicted by
Him and patiently borne, or by those imposed by the priest, or even those
voluntarily undertaken, as by fasts, prayers, almsgiving or other works of
piety, and that therefore the best penance is merely a new life, let him be
CANON 14. If
anyone says that the satisfactions by which penitents atone for their sins
through Christ are not a worship of God but traditions of men, which obscure
the doctrine of grace and the true worship of God and the beneficence itself of
the death of Christ, let him be anathema.
CANON 15. If
anyone says that the keys have been given to the Church only to loose and not
also to bind, and that therefore priests, when imposing penalties on those who
confess, act contrary to the purpose of the keys and to the institution of
Christ, and that it is a fiction that there remains often a temporal punishment
to be discharged after the eternal punishment has by virtue of the keys been
removed, let him be anathema.
Chapter IX— On the
Works Of Satisfaction. Session XIV. The Council of Trent. November 25, 1551.
[the Council] teaches furthermore that the liberality of the divine munificence
is so great that we are able through Jesus Christ to make satisfaction to God
the Father, not only by punishments voluntarily undertaken by ourselves to
atone for sins, or by those imposed by the judgment of the priest according to
the measure of our offense, but also, and this is the greatest proof of love,
by the temporal afflictions imposed by God and borne patiently by us.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The Celebration of the Creator's
To "keep holy" by
17. The connection between Sabbath
rest and the theme of "remembering" God's wonders is found also in
the Book of Deuteronomy (5:12-15), where the precept is grounded less in the
work of creation than in the work of liberation accomplished by God in the
Exodus: "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt,
and the Lord your God brought you out from there with mighty hand and
outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath
day" (Dt 5:15).
This formulation complements the one
we have already seen; and taken together, the two reveal the meaning of
"the Lord's Day" within a single theological vision which fuses
creation and salvation. Therefore, the main point of the precept is not just
any kind of interruption of work, but the celebration of the
marvels which God has wrought.
Insofar as this
"remembrance" is alive, full of thanksgiving and of the praise of
God, human rest on the Lord's Day takes on its full meaning. It is then
that man enters the depths of God's "rest" and can experience a
tremor of the Creator's joy when, after the creation, he saw that all he had
made "was very good" (Gn 1:31).
mystery does the Church celebrate to-day?
celebrates to-day a threefold mystery:
1. The arrival in Bethlehem
of the Wise Men from the East to adore the new-born, Savior.
2. The baptism of Jesus in
3. The first miracle of
Jesus at the wedding in Cana.
is this festival called Epiphany, or the manifestation?
in the three events just mentioned Jesus manifested Himself not only to the
Jews, but also to the gentiles, as the expected Messiah, the Redeemer of the
world, and the beloved of His heavenly Father. The Church sings to-day with joy
at the Introit, “Behold the Lord, the Ruler, is come, and a kingdom in his
hand, and power and dominion” (Mai. iii. 1). “Give to the king Thy judgment, O
God, and to the king’s son Thy justice” (Ps. Ixxi. 2).
O God, Who didst on this day reveal Thy
only-begotten Son to the gentiles by the guidance of a star, grant in Thy mercy
that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be brought to be hold the beauty of
EPISTLE. Is. Ix. 1-6.
Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light
is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold darkness
shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon
thee: and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the gentiles shall walk in thy
light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thy eyes round about
and see all these- are gathered together, they are come to thee: thy sons shall
come from afar and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see
and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of
the sea shall be converted to thee, the strength of the gentiles shall come to
thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and
Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and
showing forth praise to the Lord.
what does the prophet here speak?
foretells the future manifestation of the light of the Lord Jesus to Jerusalem,
which was a type of the Church, and that by that light the gentiles should
enter into the one Church of Christ.
praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth; ye mountains, giv
e praise with jubilation, because the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His poor ones (Is. xlix. 13).
GOSPEL. Matt. ii. 1-12.
Jesus, therefore, was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of King Herod,
behold, there came Wise Men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is He
that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the East and are
come to adore Him. And King Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem
with him; and assembling together all the chief priests and scribes of the
people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him,
In Bethlehem of Juda: for so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem,
the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee
shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. Then Herod,
privately calling the Wise Men, learned diligently of them the time of the star
which appeared to them: and sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and
diligently inquire after the child: and when you have found Him, bring me word
again, that I also may come and adore Him. Who having heard the king, went
their way: and behold, the star which they had seen in the East, went before
them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star,
they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found
the child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down, they adored Him: and opening
their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And
having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they
went back another way into their country.
did the Wise Men come from afar to seek the Savior in Jerusalem?
lived in Arabia, and had acquired some information of the prophecies of Israel,
particularly of the noted prophecy of Balaam, “A star shall rise out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall spring up from Israel” (Num. xxiv. IT), which was the more
significant to them because they were, as their name denotes, skilled in
astronomy. But to these human considerations must be added the light of divine
inspiration, as St. Leo says, “The star shone also in their hearts a beautiful
example for us to follow, without delay, the inspirations of divine grace, and
to do the will of God without fear of men”.
was the significance of the presents which the Wise Men offered to the Savior?
offering gold, the Wise Men honored the infant Jesus as King; in frankincense,
as God; in myrrh, as suffering Man.
can we offer to Jesus similar gifts?
can present Him with gold by giving up to Him what we value most, our will;
also, by giving alms in His name to the poor. We can present Him incense in
fervent and devout prayers ascending to heaven; and myrrh, by preserving purity
of body and soul.
to me, O my divine Savior, the faith of these Wise Men; enlighten my
understanding with the light which enlightened them; but move my heart also,
that I may follow that light, and sincerely seek Thee, and Thee only, Who didst
first seek me. Grant that I may find and adore Thee, with the Wise Men, in
spirit and in truth, offering to Thee, like them, gold in my obedience and
alms, incense in my prayers, myrrh in my penances and mortifications, that,
after having brought Thee the offerings of my faith on earth, I may adore Thee
in Thy eternal glory. Amen.
The central theme of Advent and Christmastide, the manifestation, or epiphany, of Jesus Christ, also dominates the Weeks after Epiphany. That manifestation began selectively, first to Mary (Ember Wednesday, Annunciation), then to Elizabeth and John the Baptist (Ember Friday, Visitation), and then to Joseph (Vigil of Christmas). Next it grew stronger with the adoration of the Shepherds (Christmas), the Magi at the Manger (Epiphany), Simeon, Anna, and the Doctors in the Temple (Sunday after Christmas, and Holy Family), and even to John the Baptist's disciples (Octave of Epiphany).
But the epiphanies of
Jesus Christ did not end with these events. On the contrary, everything that
our Lord did and said during His public ministry was designed to manifest His
divine nature. It is the Time after
Epiphany that corresponds to this period of our Lord's life. The Epistle
selections, mostly from Paul's letter to the Romans, stress the calling of both
Jew and Gentile to the new revelations, while the Gospel selections narrate the
words and deeds of our Lord during His adult ministry in Galilee, the northern region of Israel
that was the scene of most of His public life. All of these readings give
witness to the astonishing fact that this itinerant preacher was the coeternal
Word of God, the Word who spoke as only God can speak and who worked miracles
that only the God of heaven and earth can work.
Thus, even though these
weeks, with their green vestments and annum (what is called
"Ordinary Time" in the new rite), they are more properly seen as
continuing the Christmas cycle's focus on "theophany". By helping us
to heed the words of Christ and understand the significance of His miracles,
the Time after Epiphany deepens our meditation on the mystery of the
Candles are a symbol of
Christ, the Light of the World. The wax is regarded as typifying in a most
appropriate way the flesh of Jesus Christ born of a virgin mother. From this
has sprung the further conception that the wick symbolizes more particularly
the soul of Jesus Christ and the flame the Divinity which absorbs and dominates
both. — Catholic
On Jan. 8, 1935, Elvis
Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Miss. Every year, Graceland —
Elvis' estate in Memphis — hosts a five-day-long birthday celebration. Rise
bright and early for the Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony on Graceland’s North Lawn and stay
for the birthday-cake cutting.
and the Nun
Dolores Hart began her career as an actress when she was only 19 years old, making her screen debut in 1957 as Elvis' sweetheart in Loving You. Dolores became an overnight success story and starred with Elvis again in King Creole the following year in 1958. She then took on Broadway, starring in The Pleasure of His Company in 1959, for which she won a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress. Further movie hits followed, including the hugely popular Where the Boys Are and Lisa, the story of a young Holocaust survivor, which earned her a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Picture/Drama. By now one of Hollywood's rising stars, she went on to make six more films, among them St. Francis of Assisi, where she portrayed Clare, a woman who gives up everything to follow Saint Francis and founds the Order of Poor Clare’s. Dolores' last film role was opposite Hugh O'Brien in 1963 in Come Fly with Me.
the height of her career, Dolores stunned the world by making the decision to
become a cloistered nun and enter the Abbey of Regina Laudis. "I just knew that this was what God wanted
from me," she said years later. Mother Dolores' mission as an
actress did not end, but rather took a contemplative turn. "I never felt I
was 'walking away from Hollywood'" she said recently. "I felt I was walking into something
more significant and by that, I took Hollywood with me."
Catechism of the Catholic Church
VOCATION TO CHASTITY cont.
Offenses against chastity
is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally
disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive
2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the
genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium
of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of
the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation
is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate
use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is
essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought
outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order
and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in
the context of true love is achieved." To form an equitable judgment about
the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take
into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety
or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a
minimum, moral culpability.
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried
woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality
which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and
education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption
of the young.
2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the
intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third
parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act,
the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the
dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one
becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses
all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense.
Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of
2355 Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in
it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who
pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his
Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men,
children, and adolescents (The latter two cases involve the added sin of
scandal.). While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the
imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or
2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another
person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the
respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a
right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always
an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by
parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children
entrusted to them.
S.J., Rev. Fr. F. X.. Purgatory Explained (with Supplemental Reading: What Will
Hell Be Like?)