6 Things You Should Know about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.” – Pope Pius XII

Listers, have you ever contemplated where the title of the Virgin Mary, “Our Lady of Mt Carmel” came from? Do you find it odd that some traditional Roman Catholics wear their Brown Scapular 24/7? Hopefully this list will help address some of the questions concerning devotion to the Brown Scapular.

“If I should say anything that is not in conformity with what is held by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, it will be through ignorance and not through malice.”
– St Teresa of Avila

A 1996 doctrinal statement approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states that “Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is bound to the history and spiritual values of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and is expressed through the scapular. Thus, whoever receives the scapular becomes a member of the order and pledges him/herself to live according to its spirituality in accordance with the characteristics of his/her state in life.”

 

1. St Simon Stock

Saint Simon Stock was born in England and was a Prior General of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who had their origins in Palenstine. Some of the brothers relocated to Europe in the early 13th century and became a mendicant order (mendicants live solely on alms). There are various controversies surrounding the vision of Our Lady that St. Simon had, one account goes as follows:

“St. Simon was an Englishman, a man of great holiness and devotion, who always in his prayers asked the Virgin to favour his Order with some singular privilege. The Virgin appeared to him holding the Scapular in her hand saying, ‘This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved.'”1

This goes without saying, the original context of this promise was for those who preserved in their vocation as Carmelites. In the 16th century, the Carmelites began distributing Brown Scapulars to the laity and became a very popular sacramental.

 

2. Who is Our Lady of Mt Carmel?

Simply put, Our Lady of Mt Carmel is the Virgin Mary. It was a title bestowed upon Her because She is the patroness of the Carmelite order. The first Carmelites lived on Mt Carmel in the Holy Land and were hermits in the 12th century. They built a chapel in honour of The Virgin and entitled it: “Our Lady of the Place”.

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, OCD, a revered authority on Carmelite spirituality, wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means:

“Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalcuable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme. […] Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, ‘Queen and Splendor of Carmel’.”

 

3. Promises of wearing the Scapular

On July 16th 1251 the Blessed Mary made this promise to Saint Simon Stock: “Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” She continues, “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.” Partial indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss their scapular.

Amongst the myriad of miracles attributed to the Brown Scapular, there are a few more famous occurrences:

In May 1957, in Westenboden, Germany, an entire row of houses had caught fire. The inhabitants of one of the houses fixed a scapular to the front door of their home. Five hours later, 22 homes on the block had burnt to the ground. Yet amidst the destruction, the home with the scapular attached to it stood unharmed. This miracle was witnessed by hundreds of people.

Three holy men devoted to the scapular, Pope Bl. Gregory X, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. John Bosco, all died wearing the scapular. When their graves were opened years later, the bodies and vestments had decayed but their scapulars remained perfectly intact.

In November of 1955, a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed in Guatemala. All the passengers died except for one young girl. She related that when the plane was going down, she clutched her scapular and cried out to Our Lady for help. She was burnt and her clothes were tattered and burnt as well, but the girl was overall unharmed and her scapular free from any burns.2

 

4. The Rosary and the Scapular Are Inseparable

In order to obtain the graces and promises recieved from wearing the Scapular, one should wear it devoutly. In other words, under the usual conditions, i.e. state of grace (Go to Confession regularly!!), be properly invested/enrolled by a Catholic priest, pray either the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or 5 decades of the Most Holy Rosary daily. Novenas to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are optional but highly recommended to show the Mater Dei that we Her most lowly and undeserving servants have faith in Her most powerful protection and intercession.

 

5. Saintly Quotes on Brown Scapular

Pope Pius XII stated:
“Let it [the Brown Scapular] be your sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which We are particularly urging in these perilous times.”

Pope Pius XII went so far as to say:
“The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.”

In our own times, Pope Paul VI said:
“Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin … the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel” and in another place referred to the Scapular as that which is “so highly recommended by our illustrious predecessors.”

St. Alphonsus tell us:
“Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular, they decry it as so much trifling nonsense.”

 

6. Our Lady: Prayers, Lists, and More

1. Prayer to Our Lady of Mount. Carmel
2. Litany of Intercession to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
2. Investiture of the Brown Scapular in English and Latin
3. Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima: 4 Things You Must Know About Our Lady of Fatima
4. Virgo Potens: 8 Quotes by Roman Pontiffs on the Holy Rosary

Many more lists of quotes and prayers may be found via the SPL threads of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Rosary. An exhaustive list of the articles by John Henry may be found here including the very popular Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home and the controversial All Human Creatures are Subject to the Pope.

  1. Medieval Devotion to Mary among the Carmelites, Fr Carroll, O.Carmel []
  2. Stories were taken from Garment of Grace by the Slaves of the Immaculata. Vienna , OH; 1991 []

18 Quotes by Roman Pontiffs on Mary as Mediatrix

“If it is impossible to separate what God has united, it is also certain that you cannot find Jesus except with Mary and through Mary.” – St. Pius X

Roman Pontiffs on Mary as Mediatrix:

Treasury of All Good Things

1. “God has committed to her the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary.” and “God has committed to the Blessed Virgin Mary the treasury of all good things in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace and all salvation.” (Pius IX: Encycl., Ubi primum, February 2, 1849.) — [p. 12, number 12; p. 18, no. 38]

Only Through Thee

2. “O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, obtains salvation except through thee, none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Leo XIII: Encycl., Adiutricem populi, September 5, 1895.) — [p. 12, no. 13]

No One Goes to CHrist Except Through His Mother

3. “With equal truth it may be said that of the great treasury of all graces given to us by Our Lord—for grace and truth came by Jesus Christ—nothing comes to us except through Mary’s mediation, for such is God’s Will. Thus, as no man goes to the Father but by the Son, so no one goes to Christ except through his mother.” (Leo XIII, Encycl., Octobri mense, September 22, 1891.) — [pp. 13,14, no. 19]

With Mary and Through Mary

4. “If it is impossible to separate what God has united, it is also certain that you cannot find Jesus except with Mary and through Mary.” (St. Pius X: Allocution to the Franciscans, November 12, 1910.) — [p. 14, no. 20]

 

The “Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy” is the largest Monstrance in the World.

Our Lady of the Rosary

5. “Every day, as the Church herself recommends, priests will recite the Holy Rosary, which, by proposing for our meditation the mysteries of the Redeemer, leads us to Jesus through Mary.” (Pius XII: Exhortation, Menti nostri, September 23, 1950) — [p. 14, no. 23]

What We Owe the Virgin Mary

6. “As the various mysteries present themselves one after another in the formula of the Rosary, for the meditation and contemplation of men’s minds, they also make clear what we owe to Mary for our reconciliation and salvation.” (Leo XIII: Encycl., Fidentum Piumque, September 20, 1896.) [pp. 15,16, no. 29]

All Hope

7. “All our hope do we repose in the Most Blessed Virgin, in the all-fair and immaculate one who has crushed the most cruel serpent’s poisonous head and brought salvation to the world.” (Pius IX: Apost. Const., Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854.) — [p. 18, no. 39]

The Mediatrix of Our Salvation

8. “O Holy Mother of God; to thee we lift our prayers for thou, powerful and merciful, art the Mediatrix of our salvation.” (Leo XIII: Encycl., Jucunda semper, September 8, 1894.) — [p. 19, no. 43]

Through the Mater Dei

9. “None, O Mother of God, obtains salvation except through thee, none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Leo XIII: Adiutricem populi, September 5, 1895) — [p. 19, no. 44]

I Stand With the Catholic Church: 10 Pictures in Defense of the Church

Mary is the Mediatrix and the Dispenser of Graces

10. “Whenever we speak of Mary or speak to her, let us not forget that she is really our Mother, for through her we received divine life. She gave us Jesus himself, the source of grace. Mary is a Mediatrix and Dispenser of Graces.” (Pius XII: Radio message to the Italian Catholic Action, December 8, 1953) — [p. 22, no. 59]

Under her Patronage

11. “Since Mary is ‘Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope,’ let us cry to her, ‘mourning and weeping in the vale of tears,’ and place ourselves and all that is ours confidently under her patronage.” (Pius XII: Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947.) — [p. 25, no. 71]

Hope & Trust

12. “The Catholic Church has always and with justice put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God.” (Leo XIII: Encyclical, Supreme Apostolatus, September 1, 1883.) — [p. 32, no. 104]

Suffering with her Son

13. “According to the common teaching of the Doctors, it was God’s design that the Blessed Virgin Mary, apparently absent from the public life of Jesus, should assist him when he was dying nailed to the Cross. Mary suffered and as it were, nearly died with her suffering Son; for the salvation of mankind she renounced her mother’s rights and, as far as it depended on her, offered her Son to placate divine justice; so we may well say that she with Christ redeemed mankind.” (Benedict XV: Letter, Inter sodalicia, May 22, 1918.) [p. 35; no. 119]

Immune from All Sin

14. “She it was who, immune from all sin, personal or inherited, and ever more closely united with her Son, offered him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father….” (Pius XII: Encyclical, Mystical corporis, June 29, 1943.) [p. 37; no. 128.]

 

Sorrowful Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Necessary to Secure Salvation

15. “… it is evident that she cannot do other than help most devotedly her dearest adopted sons at an hour at which it is necessary to secure for them salvation and sanctity for all eternity.” (Benedict XV: Letter, Inter sodalicia, May 22, 1918.) [p. 46; no. 171]

She Has Received Us As Sons

16. “… It was before the eyes of Mary that the divine sacrifice for which she had borne and nurtured the Victim was to be finished. … In the miracle of love, so that she might receive us as her sons ….” (Leo XIII: Encyclical, Jucunda semper, September 8, 1894.) [p. 50; no.187]

All Graces to Mankind

17. “Mary is all powerful with her divine Son who grants all graces to mankind through her …” (Benedict XV: Encyclical, Fausto appetente die, June 29, 1921.) [p. 59; no. 244]

Salvation of the Christian People

18. “From whom can we expect the salvation of the Christian people today if not from her of whom it is written that whosoever shall find her shall find life and shall have salvation from the Lord?” (Pius XI: Letter, Cum valde, Februrary 20, 1929.) [p. 59; no. 245]

Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima: 4 Things You Must Know About Our Lady of Fatima

“Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1917

“Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war.”
~Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1917

Listers, as most Catholics know May 13th is the anniversary of the first apparition of  Our Lady in Fatima. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Fatima is quite popular due to the various prophecies that Our Lady graced the shepherd children with but also what she commands the children to do. Many traditionalists around the globe continue to heed the commands of the Virgin Mary till this very day. Devotion to the Virgin by way of praying the Rosary daily and wearing the Brown Scapular increased due to the council and warnings of Our Lady in Fatima although the revelations of these devotions were around long before this latest apparition.

 

The three children of Fatima: Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.

1. Her Commands to All Catholics

The following are commands of Our Lady of Fatima for all Catholics:

  1.  “You must pray much for sinners and priests and religious.”
  2. “Priests must be pure, very pure. They should not busy themselves with anything except what concerns the Church and souls. The disobedience of priests and religious to their superiors and to the Holy Father gravely displeases Our Lord.”
  3. “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
  4. “Never speak ill of anyone. Never complain or murmur. Be very patient, for patience leads us to Heaven.”
  5. “Our Lady can no longer uphold the arm of her Divine Son which will strike the world. If people amend their lives, Our Lord will even now save the world, but if they do not, punishment will come.”
  6. “Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
  7. “Will you offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He sends you? In atonement for all the sins that offend Him? And for the conversion of sinners?”
  8. “My Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.”
  9.  “Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: “O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
  10. “Pray, pray, a great deal, and make the sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.”
  11. “I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not continue to offend Our Lord Who is already deeply offended.”
  12. “The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable.”
  13. “I promise to help at the hour of death with graces needed for salvation, whoever: on the 1st Saturday of 5 consecutive months, shall confess and receive Holy Communion; recite 5 decades of the Rosary; and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart.”

 

“Photograph taken during the reputed “Dance of the Sun” at Fatima on 13 October 1917.” – via Wikipedia

2. Warnings if Disobeyed

Our Lady not only gave commands for all Catholics whilst in Fatima, She also gave several warnings if Her requests were to be ignored either by the faithful or the hierarchy:
  1. “If my requests are not granted, Russia will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be destroyed!”
  2. “If my requests are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace…. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph…. a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

 

“Chapel of Apparitions, built at the place where the Fatima apparitions were reported.” – via Wikipedia

3. Checklist: Are We Doing Her Will?

Lastly, we want to ask ourselves as faithful Catholics if we are truly doing what Our Lady requests.

  • Praying the Rosary daily?
  • Offering up your daily tasks as a sacrifice in reparation?
  • Wearing the Brown Scapular as a sign of personal consecration–and making acts of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
  • Fulfilling Our Lady’s First Saturday’s Communion request?
  • Making frequent visits to church–adoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? Mass–Communion?
  • Making a Holy Hour at least once a week in reparation for the sins of the world and for the conversion of sinners?

 

“Inside the Basilica of the Rosary” – via Wikipedia

4. The Prayers of Fatima

The following are prayers taught by Our Lady to the children of Fatima:

Pardon Prayer
O My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love you! And I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, and do not love you.

Prayer of Reparation
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore thee profoundly. I offer thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of thee the conversion of poor sinners.

Eucharistic Prayer
Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my god, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament!

Sacrifice Prayer
O my Jesus, it is for love of you, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.

Rosary Decade Prayer
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

 

Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii, ora pro nobis!

Virgo Potens: 8 Quotes by Roman Pontiffs on the Rosary

8 quotes by various Popes explaining the power and necessity of the Rosary in the Catholic life.

Listers, the following list catalogues a sampling of papal statements about the importance of the Rosary. SPL was started in October – the Month of the Holy Rosary – and will continue to post lists honoring Our Lady and the Rosary.

“It has always been the habit of Catholic in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in Her maternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God. And truly the Immaculate Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of God and thereby associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation, has a favour and power with Her Son greater than any human or angelic creature has ever obtained, or ever can gain…” ~Pope Leo XIII

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the: Mother of God; a Perpetual Virgin,; Immaculate in all Her ways; Queen of Heaven and Earth; Mother of the true Church; the Mediatrix of all grace; and Co-Redemptrix. The Litany of Loreto gives us several titles of the Blessed Mother that better describe Her role in our salvation. One that has shown favor with both Saints and Supreme Pontiffs is that of “Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.” From this simple title stems various others such as: Virgin Most Powerful, Help of Christians, August Queen, Refuge of Sinners, Seat of Wisdom, and Cause of our joy.

Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII has written several Apostolic Letters on the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one that comes highly recommended is “Supremi Apostolatus Officio.”

“This devotion, so great and so confident, to the august Queen of Heaven, has never forth with such brilliancy as when the militant Church of Go has seemed to be endangered by the violence of heresy spread abroad, or by an intolerable moral corruption, or by the attacks of powerful enemies. Ancient and modern history and the more sacred annals of the Church bears witness to public and private supplications addressed to the Mother of God, to help She has granted in return, and to the peace and tranquillity which She has obtained from God.”~Pope Leo XIII

The Virgo Potens - The Virgin Most Powerful

6 Quotes: Pope Leo’s Predecessors on the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  1. Urban IV: testified that “every day the Rosary obtained fresh boon for Christianity.”
  2. Sixtus IV: declared that this method of prayer “redounded the honour of God and the Blessed Virgin, and was well suited to obviate impending dangers.”
  3. Leo X: that “it was instituted to oppose pernicious heresiarchs and heresies.”
  4. Julius II: call it: “the glory of the Church.”
  5. St. Pius V: that “with the spread of this devotion the meditations of the faithful have begun to be more inflamed, their prayers more fervent, and they have suddenly become different men; the darkness of heresy has been dissipated, and the light of the Catholic faith has been broken forth again.”
  6. Gregory XIII: in his turn pronounced that “the Rosary has been instituted by St. Dominic to appease the anger of God and to implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

All Human Creatures Are Subject to the Pope: 8 Papal Quotes On Salvation

“The universal Church of the faithful is one outside of which none is saved.”
Pope Innocent III, ex cathedra, Fourth Lateran Council (1215 AD)

Listers, the following is a short compilation of quotes taken from previous Ecumenical Pontiffs of Rome: “Outside the Church there is no hope for salvation.” These quotes show us the confidence that our previous Bishops of Rome have had in their authority given by God Himself to be the Vicar of Christ here on Earth. As St. Augustine said, “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” Cheers!

SPL On the Papacy
10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy
13 Biblical Reasons Peter was the Prince of the Apostles

 

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

 

1. The Church Is One

“The universal Church of the faithful is one outside of which none is saved.”
Pope Innocent III, ex cathedra, Fourth Lateran Council (1215 AD)

2. Every Human Creature

“We declare, say , define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
-Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (1302 AD)

3. All Must Abide in the Bosom of the Church

“The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her… No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
Pope Eugene IV, ex cathedra, Council of Florence, Cantate Domino (1441 AD)

4. True Worship Is Catholic Worship

“The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in Her and asserts that all who are outside of Her will not be saved.”
Pope Saint Gregory the Great (590-604)

5. Outside No One Is Saved

“By heart we believe and by mouth confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside which we believe that no one is saved.”
Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, 18 December 1208

6. Why We Profess: No Salvation Outside the Church

“Certainly many remarkable authors, adherents of the true philosophy, have taken pains to attack and crush this strange view. But the matter is so self-evident that it is superfluous to give additional arguments. It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth Itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members. For we have a surer word of the prophet, and in writing to you We speak wisdom among the perfect; not the wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God in a mystery. By it we are taught, and by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and that no other name under heaven is given to men except the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in which we must be saved. This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church.”
Pope Leo XII, Ubi Primum

7. The Disease that Is Killing the Flock

“You see, dearly beloved sons and venerable brothers, how much vigilance is needed to keep the disease of this terrible evil from infecting and killing your flocks. Do not cease to diligently defend your people against these pernicious errors. Saturate them with the doctrine of Catholic truth more accurately each day. Teach them that just as there is only one God, one Christ, one Holy Spirit, so there is also only one truth which is divinely revealed. There is only one divine faith which is the beginning of salvation for mankind and the basis of all justification, the faith by which the just person lives and without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the community of His children.[Rom 1; Heb 11; Council of Trent, session 6, chap. 8.] There is only one true, holy, Catholic church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church. There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord,[St. Cyprian, epistle 43.] outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church.[St. Cyprian,de unitat. Eccl.] Thus, there can be no greater crime, no more hideous stain than to stand up against Christ, than to divide the Church engendered and purchased by His blood, than to forget evangelical love and to combat with the furor of hostile discord the harmony of the people of God.[St. Cyprian, epistle 72.]”
-Blessed Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem

8. The Necessity of Belonging to the True Church

“Some say they are not bound by the doctrine which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian Faith. These and like errors, it is clear, have crept in among certain of our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science.”
-Venerable Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis

 

Other Lists from John Henry
Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form
The Idiot’s Guide to Fasting and Abstinence
Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii: 6 Things All Catholics Should Know About the Rosary
The Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home
And more

Other Lists on Salvation of Non-Catholics
How Were Men Saved Before Christ?
Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?

Pax vobis cum.

Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form: 11 Questions and 8 Photos from Holy Innocents, NYC

“The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek to remind him that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Christ.”

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

Sunday March 18th 2012 at Holy Innocents, NYC.

1. What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Ghost comes to us in a special way and enables us to profess our faith as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

“But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”- St. John 16:7

2. Who is the usual minister of Confirmation?

The bishop is the usual minister of Confirmation.

His Excellency, Bishop Timlin.

3. What does the Bishop do when he administers Confirmation?

The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and, while laying his hand on the head of each person, anoints the forehead with holy chrism in the form of a cross.

“And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” – Acts of the Apostles 19:6

SPL’s own Carlos Urbina receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

4. What does the anointing of the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross signify?

The anointing of the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross signifies that the Catholic who is confirmed must always be ready to profess his faith openly and to practice it fearlessly.


5. Why does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek?

The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek to remind him that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Christ.


6. What are the effects of Confirmation?

Confirmation increases sanctifying grace, gives its special sacramental grace, and imprints a lasting character on the soul.

7. What does the sacramental grace of Confirmation help us to do?

The sacramental grace of Confirmation helps us to live our faith loyally and to profess it courageously.

8. What is the character of Confirmation?

The character of Confirmation is a spiritual and indelible sign which marks the Christian as a soldier in the army of Christ.

9. What is necessary to receive Confirmation properly?

To receive Confirmation properly it is necessary to be in the state of grace, and to know well the chief truths and duties of our religion.

10. After we have been confirmed, why should we continue to study our religion even more earnestly than before?

After we have been confirmed, we should continue to study our religion even more earnestly than before, so that we may be able to explain and defend our faith, and thus cooperate with the grace of Confirmation.


11. Why should all Catholic be confirmed?

All Catholics should be confirmed in order to be strengthened against the dangers to salvation and to be prepared better to defend their Catholic faith.

All questions are taken from the Baltimore Catechism.

The Idiot’s Guide to Fasting and Abstinence: 5 Things to Know

“Put on the spiritual armour, and thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares, for the season is one of wrestling.”

“Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry.”
St. Matthew

1. Tradition and Canon Law

Christians have always set aside Wednesdays and Fridays as penitential days. Wednesday was the day Our Lord was betrayed and Friday was the day Our Lord was crucified. In most Eastern Catholic churches and Orthodox churches Wednesdays and Fridays are still days of penance. In the Latin Church, only Fridays remain as weekly penitential days on which abstinence from meat and other forms of penance are performed.

1983 Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

2. Abstinence

In the Latin Church, abstinence means refraining from eating the meat from mammals or fowl. Though Canon Law does not forbid meat derivatives – broths, gravies, etc. – moral theologians have cautioned against them.1 Fish is allowed; traditionally, the laws of abstinence apply to all aged seven and over, but the new Code of Canon Law applies it to all who are fourteen and over. Partial abstinence consists of meat and soup or gravy made from meat may be eaten, but only once a day and at the principle meal.

3. Fasting

Fasting is the taking of only one full meal (may include meat) and two smaller meals (meatless) that must be smaller to the lager meal. No snacking between meals is allowed, but water, milk, tea, coffee, and juices are fine. Meat is allowed at one meal, only.

We are to abstain and fast on Ash Wednesday. During the Lenten embertide traditional Catholics abstain and fast- the Lenten Embertide is nonexistent in the Mass of Paul VI. All days of Lent but Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and First Class feast; traditional Catholic partially abstain and fast, Catholic who attend the Mass of Paul VI need not do anything for it is not required anymore. Fridays and Saturdays of Lent traditional Catholics abstain and fast; 1983 Code requires those who attend the Mass of Paul VI to abstain on Fridays (not Saturdays). On Good Friday, both traditionalists and other Roman Rite Catholic abstain and fast. On Holy Saturday, traditionalists abstain and fast until after the Vigil Mass; again, for those who attend the Mass of Paul VI, this is not required.

4. The Holy Law of Fasting

Pope Clement XIII, Appetente Sacro, 1759 decribes the reason for fasting:

Pope Clement XIII

“You will begin most appropriately, and with hope of the greatest profit, to recall men to the observance of the holy law of fasting, if you teach the people this: penance for the Christian man is not satisfied by withdrawing from sin, by detesting a past life badly lived, or by the sacramental confession of these same sins. Rather, penance also demands that we satisfy divine justice with fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and other works of the spiritual life. Every wrongdoing — be it large or small — is fittingly punished, either by the penitent or by a vengeful God. Therefore we cannot avoid God’s punishment in any other way than by punishing ourselves.”

“If this teaching is constantly implanted in the minds of the faithful, and if they drink deeply of it, there will be very little cause to fear that those who have discarded their degraded habits and washed their sins clean through sacramental confession would not want to expiate the same sins through fasting, to eliminate the concupiscence of the flesh. Besides, consider the man who is convinced that he repents of his sins more firmly when he does not allow himself to go unpunished. That man, already consumed with the love of penance, will rejoice during the season of Lent and on certain other days, when the Church declares that the faithful should fast and gives them the opportunity to bring forth worthy fruits of penance.”

5. The “Golden Mouth” on Fasting

St. John Chrysostom sums up the attitude we should have when fasting:

7. …We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman sharpens his sickle; and the traveller boldly undertakes a long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for the contest. So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons; and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of extravagant desires; and as travellers let us set out on the journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for the contest. For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor, and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveller. Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict naked. If a soldier, it behoves thee to stand in the battle line armed at all points. How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou hast become a wrestler.

Put on the spiritual armour, and thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares, for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with demons. Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as on no side to receive a deadly blow. Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. He too himself practised this art. Therefore writing to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle, which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and journey on. And how mayest thou be able to do these things? By subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts. Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a groundwork and instructor in all these things.

Portrait of Saint John Chrysostom of Antioch (Hagios Ioannis Chrysostomos). An early Byzantine mosaic from the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (modern Istanbul).

8. I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep, but of real fasting; not merely an abstinence from meats; but from sins too. For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not crowned unless he strive lawfully.” To the end then, that when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but afterwards when down empty, and destitute of the fruit of fasting. The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou mayest learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other duties follow with it. The Ninevites fasted, and won the favour of God. The Jews fasted too, and profited nothing, nay they departed with blame. Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting contend with a shadow. Fasting is a medicine; but a medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him who employs it. For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the country, and the season of the year; and the corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars; any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing, such exactness is required on our part, much more ought we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into every particular with the utmost accuracy.

11. I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting, but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said by what kind of works? If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him! If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him! If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not! If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties. For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting. For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what is forbidden. Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes. Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

  1. USCCB: “Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat.  Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden.  However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste).  Fish are a different category of animal.  Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted. [Source] []

The 3 Basics of Ash Wednesday

“For dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.”

“For dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.”

 

1. Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday in the Latin Church is the day for being reminded of and contemplating our mortality, of which Ecclesiasticus reminds us:

“What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation commeth…”

Christians of the true Faith must always keep their eyes on the world to come, for the things of this world as St. Paul says are transient. This is one of the reasons why we use ashes on this most Solemn of days: to remind us that we are mortal, and are subject to the rot and decay of our culture now desperately  tries to emphasize away but we as Catholics solely depend on Jesus to overcome this fate.

 

2. Ashes

The ashes are made by the burning of palms from last year’s Palm Sunday. The ashes are made from burnt palms shows us the link between victory, and penance and mortification which ashes have always symbolized:

“Therefore I reprehend myself, and do penance in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6

The priest, after burning the palms shall bless the ashes and sprinkle holy water and incense on them. He will then put ashes on his own forehead and then the congregation saying:  Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris. For those attending the Mass of Paul VI will probably hear the priest say: Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

Once we leave church, we are to leave the ashes on our foreheads until they wear off naturally from the course of our days. Ashes are a public witness to those things our society does not wish to embrace: reality of death, penance for sin, and the hope of the resurrection.

 

3. Fasting

Most importantly, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence, a day to recall the profound truths of our existence.1

Suggested reading: “Meditation on Death” Chapter 23 of “The Imitation of Christ” By Thomas á Kempis.

  1. Fasting and Abstinence: FASTING: Catholics who are 18 year old and up, until their 59th birthday (when you begin your 60th year), are bound to fast (1 full meal and 2 “snacks” that don’t add up to a full meal) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. ABSTINENCE: Catholics who are 14 years old and older are abound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent. Throughout the day, Catholic should meditate on our mortality. Source: Fr Z []

Grace and Glory: 11 Quotes on the Beatific Vision of Mother Mary

“She is all beautiful, all near to God. For she, surpassing the cherubim. Exalted beyond the seraphim, is placed near to God.”
John of Damascene, Homily on the Nativity, 9

1. Infinite Treasury & Inexhaustible Abyss

“Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”

“To them Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction.”
Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX

2. The New Ark of the Covenant

“O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides.”
Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216

Mother Mary, pray for us.

3. Immaculate Clay

“She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay.”
Theotokos of Livias, Panegyric for the feast of the Assumption, 5:6

4. Above the Cherubim and Seraphim

“She is all beautiful, all near to God. For she, surpassing the cherubim. Exalted beyond the seraphim, is placed near to God.”
John of Damascene, Homily on the Nativity, 9

 

5. God Has Taken Mary in a Way Only Known to Him

“As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.”
Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae (PG 86-II,3306)

6. Illuminated by Divine Grace and Full Glory

“It was fitting …that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinised, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory …should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God.” Theoteknos of Livias, Homily on the Assumption

7. Looks Upon Christ As He Sits With the Father

“It was fitting that the she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father, It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.” John of Damascene, Dormition of Mary (PG 96,741)

Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

 

8. Overshadowed

“And as the grace of the Triad is one, so also the Triad is indivisible. We can see this in regard to Saint Mary herself. The archangel Gabriel when sent to announce the coming of the Word upon her said, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’, knowing that the Spirit was in the Word. Wherefore he added: ‘and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.'”
Athanasius, To Serapion of Thmuis, III:6

 

9. Salvation to the Centuries

“The Virgin received Salvation so that she may give it back to the centuries.”
Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 140

10. The Mediatrix

“Mary the Ever-Virgin — radiant with divine light and full of grace, mediatrix first through her supernatural birth and now because of the intercession of her maternal assistance — be crowned with never ending blessings …seeking balance and fittingness in all things, we should make our way honestly, as sons of light.”
Germanus of Constantinople, Homily on the Liberation of Constantinople, 23

11. Mary Saw the Blessed Trinity in Unveiled Beatific Vision

“And hence they affirmed that the Blessed Virgin was, through grace, entirely free from every stain of sin, and from all corruption of body, soul and mind; that she was always united with God and joined to him by an eternal covenant; that she was never in darkness but always in light; and that, therefore, she was entirely a fit habitation for Christ, not because of the state of her body, but because of her original grace.”

“The most holy Mary, being conceived without sin as described above, was entirely absorbed in spirit and entranced by her first vision of the Divinity. At the first instant, and in the narrow dwelling of the maternal womb, began the love of God in her most blessed soul, never to be interrupted, but to continue through all the eternities of that high glory, which She now enjoys at the right hand of her divine Son.”

Mary Queen of Heaven, pray fo us.

“She was born pure and stainless, beautiful and full of grace, thereby demonstrating, that She was free from the law and the tribute of sin. Although She was born substantially like other daughters of Adam, yet her birth was accompanied by such circumstances and conditions of grace, that it was the most wonderful and miraculous birth in all creation and will eternally redound to the praise of her Maker.

At twelve o’clock in the night this divine Luminary issued forth, dividing the night of the ancient Law and its pristine darknesses from the new day of grace, which now was about to break into dawn. She was clothed, handled and dressed like other infants, though her soul dwelt in the Divinity; and She was treated as an infant, though She excelled all mortals and even all the angels in wisdom.”

“Similarly, but in a more glorious and admirable manner, the person of the divine Word now received the child Mary, whom He had chosen as Mother, as Queen of the universe. Although her real dignity and the purpose of these ineffable mysteries were unknown to Mary, yet her infant faculties were strengthened by divine power for the reception of these favors. New graces and gifts were bestowed upon Her, by which her faculties were correspondingly elevated. Her powers of mind, besides being illumined and prepared by new grace and light, were raised and proportioned to the divine manifestation, and the Divinity displayed Itself in the new light vouchsafed, revealing Itself to Her intuitively and clearly in a most exalted manner. This was the first time in which the most holy soul of Mary saw the blessed Trinity in unveiled beatific vision.”
The Mystical City of God, Ven. Mary of Agreda, Vol 1, Chap. 7

Regina Sanctissimi Rosarii: 6 Things All Catholics Should Know About the Rosary

“To them Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction.” Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX

Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him.“~St. Padre Pio

Aula Paolo VI hall in the Vatican, March 10th, 2007.

1. All Catholics Should Pray the Rosary

Why pray the Most Holy Rosary? The answer is actually quite simple: It is the request of the all Power Virgin Queen and Mother, Mary. However, one cannot truly call themselves a Roman Catholic if one does not write an entire volume explaining why.

2. The Woman-Made Psalter

The Most Holy Rosary is simply the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When our most August Queen Mum appeared to St. Dominic in the 13th century she gave him specific instructions on how to pray Her Psalter. Today when one says they “pray the Rosary” they often mean just a third of Her Psalter, for the Most Holy Rosary consists of all 15 Mysteries. The Rosary isn’t a “man made” prayer as most Protestants and even heretical Catholics claim. In fact, it is woman made, the Holy Theotokos Herself revealed this glorious and most perfect prayer.

3. The Mediatrix of All Grace

The will of the Blessed Virgin is completely conformed to that of Her Son, in other word – God. She is the most humble and chaste spouse of the Holy Ghost and will never do anything contrary to the will of God. Thus, we ought to trust the Blessed Mother just as God has, because She ultimately brings us to God. Mary is our Salvation, and Christ is the source of our Salvation. Mary is the Gate and Christ is the Key. It is only through Her that we are saved. God has so graced Her from the moment of conception to do His most perfect will and because of this He has entrusted Her to be the Mediatrix of ALL grace. In other words; all earthly blessings pass through the very hands of the Virgin Queen.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” Saint Maximilian Kolbe

4. Origin of the Rosary

There are many arguments of how the Rosary came to be. There are various accounts, but what the Church has declared is simple: She appeared to St. Dominic with beads and the instructions… of course over time it has organically developed into what it is today. How do we know the Blessed Mother hasn’t an issue of how Her Psalter has developed? Well, Her most recent apparition in Fatima states that she wants the Rosary to be prayed as it has been prayed for several centuries but to add a prayer:

Oh mi Jesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, libera nos ab igne inferni, conduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim illas quae maxime indigent misericordia tua. Amen.

5. A Weapon Against Both Heresy & Danger

Many non-Catholics view the Rosary as a mindless babbling, that is due to ignorance. Little do the they know that it is a meditation on the lives of Mary and Jesus: ad Iuesm per Mariam. The Rosary since it’s beginning has been a weapon against both heresy and danger! Various Saints such as St. Louis Marie de Montfort, St. Padre Pio, and various Pontiffs would completely agree.

6. The Queen and Her Army

“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”~Blessed Pope Pius IX.

Notice this beatified Pope said “army” with the “Rosary” and then mentioning that they shall “conquer”…odd statement to make, being that it takes weapons and skill to win war, however Our Heavenly Queen is far more powerful and witty than any of our lowly plots, etc. She alone experienced the Beatific Vision here on Earth imagine the power she now has as Queen of all things seen and unseen?1 The entire court of  Angels and Archangels as well as the Saints? And of course, God will never deny His Mother anything!

  1. Mary and the Beatific Vision: She as a creature was alone in this grace – “Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”

    “To them Mary is an almost infinite treasury, an inexhaustible abyss of these gifts, to such an extent that she was never subject to the curse and was, together with her Son, the only partaker of perpetual benediction.” Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX []

The Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home

The focal point of a Catholic home should be the family altar. This would be a place in which the family can gather to offer their prayers to God and ask the Saints to pray for them.

1. The King of the Catholic Home

It has been said that the Catholic home should be seen as “The Domestic Church”. With this being said, the Father is the head, the Mother is the beloved spouse, and the children are brought up learning to love and serve the Blessed Trinity. The true head of the Catholic home is Christ, just as the Head of the Church is the Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness. Christ should be known and recognized in each Catholic home as King; the family’s week should be centered around the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and prayer is a must.

2. Proper Prayers

Parents should encourage their children to pray to the Lord Our God, The Blessed Virgin, and the Saints in their own words as well as the traditional prayers of the Church.

  • Prayers of the Rosary: Sign of the Cross, Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Fatima Prayer
  • The Nicene Creed
  • Blessing before and after meals
  • Prayer to Guardian Angel
  • Act of Contrition
  • Act of Faith
  • Act of Hope
  • Act of Charity
  • Hail, Holy Queen
  • St. Michael prayer
  • The Eternal Rest Prayer

The parents are encouraged to also teach these prayers to their children in Latin as well.

“The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs” — Pope Pius XII

3. Holy Water

Prayer can be encouraged through the most minor of things, such as placing Holy Water fonts in bedrooms and ones main door. All Catholics should know the use and purpose of Holy Water, St. Teresa of Avila says:

“…There is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the cross, but return; so holy water must have great value.”

Parents too should bless their own children with Holy Water, by signing them on their foreheads. Lastly, each child should have a Blessed (by a priest) Crucifix in their bedrooms above their beds. The child should be taught to kneel when rising and going to bed and say their prayers with their parents.

4. The Focal Point of the Home

As soon as Catholics move into a new home, they should ask a priest to bless it. All families should consider with great deal consecrating their homes to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Why? It is a simple way of letting Christ know that He is King.  The center of any home let alone a Catholic one should NEVER be a television! The focal point of a Catholic home should be the family altar. This would be a place in which the family can gather to offer their prayers to God and ask the Saints to pray for them. Family Rosaries, prayers for special graces, family novenas, and Lectio Divina should be said in front of the home altar.

5. Home Altar: Orientation & Necessary Items

Family altars, should ideally be placed on the Eastern wall, in the same orientation of church buildings; however, it is not necessary. The altar can be simple or elaborate, but beautiful nonetheless. Basic items that should be placed on the altar include:

  • Crucifix
  • Statue of Our Lady
  • Holy Water
  • icons (statues of Our Lord, Virgin, and/or Saints)
  • Blessed Salt
  • Rosaries
  • Charcoal incense burner
  • Blessed Candles, vigil candles, and Baptismal candles
  • 1962 Roman Missal

6. Home Altar: Recommended Literature

One should also consider: Breviary, the Douay Rheims Bible (only approved translation) Little Office of Our Lady, Holy Cards, flowers, the names/pictures of dead family members, palm branches, sacramental certificated (Baptism, 1st Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony). It would also be wise to keep a small library of books that will cultivate our Catholic faith: traditional Catechisms (Baltimore catechism, etc), “Lives of the Saints”, “Summa Theologica”, the writings of Sts Therese the Little Flower, St. John of the Cross,  St. Louis de Montfort, etc.

7. The Liturgical Season at Home

Families should change the home altar as the liturgical seasons change as well. During Passiontide (last two weeks of Lent), icons and statues should be covered with a purple cloth and there should be no flowers on the altar. In May, one might want to Crown Mary with Roses, keep a vigil candle going for as long as possibe, and bring Her various votive offerings, etc. Some families even clothe statues of the Virgin according to the liturgical season, for example, dressing Her in a white veil for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, or black on Good Friday.

Parents should make the liturgical year come alive for their children. This will help them pay more attention to the Mass and sermons, etc. During family devotions, it would be wise to dim lights, burn incense, light candles, play sacred music. Catholic spirituality whether it is Eastern, or Latin is about engaging the senses.

Let us be inspired by the words of a great Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila:

“In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.”

Queen of families, pray for us.

 

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National Enthronement Center
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