During the eighth apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, Bernadette turned to the onlookers and exclaimed, “penitence, penitence, penitence!”
Discerning the Third Secret of Fatima Sr. Lucia wrote, “After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!”
Our Lady has appeared on Earth several times to promote a message of peace, with that message of peace Our Lady has urged us to take up penance. As we approach the season of Lent it is good to begin to ponder how we can answer the call of Our Lady and live a life of penance. Today the world infiltrates many with falsehoods, lies, and eternal damnation. Our Lord offers us the fullness of truth and eternal salvation. Many will choose to fall to the ways of the world, so submit themselves to living in and of the world.
The Solemn Season of Lent is quickly approaching. For those who subscribe to the Old Rite we are currently in the season of Septuagesima, which marks seventy days before Easter Sunday and occurs for the two and a half weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday. Septuagesima is a time set aside by the Church to prepare for the season of Lent. Lent, as many know, is a time set aside by the Church for spiritual growth, intense fasting, and deep contemplation of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
As we observe the season of Septuagesima, we should build a plan to grow closer to Jesus Christ and His Church this Lent. Often we are tempted to submit ourselves to the same fastings year after year for Lent, this Lent try something new, try the Traditional Latin Mass
This week the Church will commemorate the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France. The apparitions began on February 11, 1858, and continued with seventeen additional apparitions, once daily from February 14 until March 4, 1858. Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette three additional times on March 25, 1858, April 7, 1858, and on July 16, 1858.
Bernadette Soubirous and her family were not of much wealth, in fact, the Virgin Mary first appeared to Bernadette while she was out collecting pieces of wood to trade for a loaf of bread. Bernadette could feel gusts of wind, but the trees and bushes did not move, however, Bernadette noticed a wild red rose in the grotto being blown. Bernadette brought herself closer to the grotto, when she looked up into the grotto she saw a lady “dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same color as the chain on her rosary, the beads were white”, from this darkened grotto was a “dazzling light”. In her first apparition, the Virgin Mary invited Bernadette to pray the Rosary with her.
Our priests need our prayers. It is our responsibility as Catholics to pray for our priests, our parish priests, our diocesan priests, religious priests, missionary priests, for the priests of the entire world, including our bishops and pope.
Often I have heard people criticize our priests, usually critiquing their homilies, questioning their life-experience, and at times attacking them for things they have no control over, each of these criticisms are behind their backs and without prayer. These are the very men who have been ordained by God to walk with you and bring Christ to you at all times of your life. It is at your birth, throughout life, and at your death that a priest will be at your side. Our priests today already face backlash in the public square, why do their very own parishioners feel the need to fuel this fire?
Sure, a priest can say or do something that may upset us, in the end they are mere humans too. But instead of going behind their backs and gossiping and critiquing, may we pray for these men. Our priests need and rely on the prayerful assistance of their parishioners.
As Catholics we have some of the richest of literature, the beautiful expression of written words to express the fullness of our faith, the truths that Christ came to proclaim, and the timeless prayers of our Church Fathers.
There is an endless amount of books and literature that we can read, but where should we start? There are so many authors, ideas, and agendas, so where should one start in 2020 with good, solid, and truthful Catholic literature? I would like to share five books that I have read recently, that will give one spiritual nourishment and the Truth of Christ’s Church to any reader.
As a convert to Catholicism I have always fathomed over and enjoyed Sacred Music, that of Gregorian Hymns and Chants, as well as those old traditional English and Latin hymns. Sacred music is not found within many Protestant liturgies, rather it is concerto style music, lots of emotions, and usually quite loud. This past Fall I was prompted by a friend to learn the simple tone of the Salve Regina, and with that came the many memories of first discovering Catholicism and Sacred Music from the start of my conversion in 2012. So as I found myself venturing back to the heart of Traditional Catholicism this past Fall, I rediscovered the beauty and art of Sacred Music. I also realized that Sacred Music was being stripped from so many of our sacred liturgies in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
What is Sacred Music? Simply, Musica Sacra, or Sacred Music, is to only be used within the Church and Her Sacred Liturgies, it has been solely created for these.
"Nevertheless, there are also those people who, ...experience the lack of this “one language,” which in all the world was an expression of the unity of the Church and through its dignified character elicited a profound sense of the Eucharistic Mystery. It is therefore necessary to show not only understanding but also full respect towards these sentiments and desires. As far as possible these sentiments and desires are to be accommodated, as is moreover provided for in the new dispositions. The Roman Church has special obligations towards Latin, the splendid language of ancient Rome, and she must manifest them whenever the occasion presents itself."
-Pope Saint John Paul II,
Seth is a convert to the Church and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.