Day 1 Nov 29
Day 2 Nov 30
Day 3 Dec 1
Day 4 Dec 2
Day 5 Dec 3
Day 6 Dec 4
Day 7 Dec 5
Day 8 Dec 6
Day 9 Dec 7
Leo The Thirteenth's own voice suggests the intention for the month, as the most pressing and urgent of all the necessities of this necessitous time. As pilgrimage after pilgrimage gathers with swelling hearts around the dishonoured throne of Leo the Thirteenth, that voice is heard again and again repeating: Be united—if you would indeed aid God's cause—be united. Let nothing come between you "to cause discord, if you would overcome the efforts of God's enemies. See how formidable is the league in which they are united in their attacks upon Christ and His Church. No matter how widely they differ amongst themselves, nor how they may privately hate one another, against the Church they are one. All differences are sunk that with one voice they may cry her down, all enmities forgotten that that may strike with united force at her. To repel such foes you too must be united, no variety of opinions must arise to make you quarrel, no mere human nor worldly interests must prevail against that one supreme desire which should bind you all to the Church and to God, and unite you all together in the strong bonds of cordial and brotherly love.
And in this exhortation, the lips of the Vicar of Christ do but faithfully echo the voice from the Tabernacle. From its silent depths there never ceases to issue that fervent prayer That they all may be one.(St. John xvii. 21.)
This perfect union for which Jesus Christ prays, to which His Vicar on earth now so pressingly exhorts us, should manifest itself not only in the union of hearts by true mutual affection and charity, but in the union of our action, in our zeal for God's glory, and in our union of minds, by the subjection of our personal views and opinions for the sake of a supreme good which we all supremely desire. It is devotion to the Heart of Jesus that above all makes this triple union grow amongst us, and it is by promoting devotion to the Heart of Jesus that we shall spread it.
Perfect devotion to the Sacred Heart is that which makes every impulse of our will an echo, as it were, of an impulse which is moving the Heart of Christ. It makes our sympathies like His sympathies, our desires identical with His — and the more perfect that devotion is the more promptly our hearts feel what He is feeling, the more purely and energetically we strive to do what we know He wills.
It is this perfect devotion which the Apostleship of Prayer teaches and gradually makes habitual to the members of the League of the Heart of Jesus. Those who use its one essential practice every morning, meaning thoroughly what they do, must, and do after a time, find themselves constantly face to face with a question which before perhaps they did not ask themselves: What does the Heart of Jesus feel about this, what is Its desire? They have learnt that to love is to seek the interests of those we love, and to let nothing stand in the way of those interests, and therefore they must in all things study and prefer the interests of Jesus Christ, because His Heart is what they love best of all.
But does the effect of this new-born solicitude for what concerns Him stop there? Assuredly not. Inevitably it pushes those who are affected by it to draw near to one another, and that union which was the happiness and the strength of the first Christians becomes their happiness, and a fountain of courage and strength to undertake for the sake of their common love what before they would not have dared.
In the midst of a world which forgets Him, a heart which loves Jesus Christ may well be lonely till it has found another whose love is like its own. How many in truth there are whose devoted dispositions are condemned to a painful sterility for lack of those whose sympathy and support might develope energies capable of great and lasting good. It is in such souls that devotion to the Sacred Heart, as here pictured, the very desire to spread its knowledge and its love, produces union.
And those works of zeal and charity, on which so much interest and labour are expended—how often are they not found to flag and become barren, with how much desolation are not those too often inundated who devote themselves with unreserved fervour to the toil and drudgery which these works entail. And if we ask why, it is because not only in the world of self-seeking, but even amongst the friends of Jesus Christ, Omnes quarunt quae sua sunt, non quae Jesu Christi: * All seek themselves, not His pure interests* (Phil. ii. 21.). St. Paul used the words of the labourers in the vineyard in his time, and the labourers in the vineyard of both sexes finds its truth bitter to-day.
Yes, we seek ourselves. Even in our work for God, we want to be noticed and spoken of, we are not willing that others should bear the name, and the result is discord and heart-burning and paralysis—paralysis, that is, of the work which God is looking for. It is from that same devotion to the Sacred Heart that we must expect the healing power which can cure this wound. For if indeed we all seek the good pleasure of Him who is hidden and forgotten there, then we shall all know how to subordinate the work we do to the common good.
Lastly there is the rebellion of the judgment to control, the opinions which each one loves to vaunt, or clings to, at least tenaciously, and considers infallible. In France, in Belgium, in Italy, in Switzerland, and Spain the political differences which divide Catholics seem to have greater moment, for it is they who put men into power who are the open enemies of God. But in reality the root of the evil is just as strong amongst ourselves, though its fatal flowers display themselves less openly. Human opinions about all sorts of trivial things divide not only man from man, good work from good work, but brother from brother, and sister from sister. If then united prayer ever drew down great graces, greatest of all should those graces be when united prayer begs for united hearts, united minds, united action for the cause of Him who Himself prays for us that they may all be one.
O Jesus, through the most pure Heart of Mary, I offer the prayers, work, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Thy Divine Heart. I offer them in particular that all Thy servants may work in perfect union. Help us, O Jesus, Who dost so desire that we should love one another, to sacrifice for Thee the worldly things which divide us. Amen.
For the triumph of the Church and Holy See, and the Catholic regeneration of nations.
December - Apostleship of Prayer
THE heavens resound with a joyous and sublime canticle : “Glory to God in the highest heavens, and peace on earth to men of good- will." Angels bear the glad tidings to the world: " This day is born to you a Saviour." O heavenly spirits ! tell us where shall we find this Saviour so ardently desired, so long expected ? In Bethlehem, the city of David. In Bethlehem ! A small city indeed for so great a King ! But surely some ancient, stately palace, the last relic of the fallen for- tunes of those who once ruled in Juda, has been fitted up to receive the Son of God. Ah ! no. His poverty finds no place for Him even in the public inns of the old city. The owners of human habitations refuse to receive Him ; and His Mother, all desolate, sees Herself forced to share with animals a corner of their stable. " And this shall be a sign to you," continue the angels : " you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger."
What a change, great God, in Thy manifestations ! Formerly, when Thou didst appear to our fathers of the old law, it was always under striking, and even terrible, figures ; and often those who had been honored by Thy manifestation were heard to cry out : " We have seen the Lord ; let us die the death." Now Thou presentest Thyself to us in the form of an infant.
An infant attracts us by its charms and touches our hearts by its helplessness. Its weak cries, its sweet smile, its peaceful rest soften the heart. What is more amiable than an infant ? And behold, my Saviour is one ! He does not resemble the children of some royal house around whom servants and courtiers gather in crowds. A cradle gilt with gold, a sumptuous service, would repel the lowly and the poor ; and Jesus came that all should approach Him with confidence and love. This is why He shows Himself to us "wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger."
But at this crib how many precious lessons unfold themselves to me !
The infant Jesus teaches me to trample under foot the vain honors which human pride pursues with frantic eagerness.
The infant Jesus teaches me to despise the false and fleeting goods which my covetous heart rushes after.
The infant Jesus teaches me that privations and sufferings are intended to tame and reduce to obedience my rebellious flesh, the enemy of all virtue and of my perfection.
The infant Jesus calls me to a state of simplicity and candor, to an obscure, solitary, and hidden life.
With deepest reverence I receive these lessons in my heart, for it is love that gives them to me.
Love ! Behold what moves me most to-day. The imperial edict which tore the Holy Family from the sweets of the domestic fireside, the blindness of men who refused an asylum to the Son of God hidden in the womb of His Mother, the cold December night of His nativity, the stable of Bethlehem, the swaddling clothes, the crib — all this was prepared in His eternal councils by the love of my God.
The Splendor of eternal light, the infant Jesus clothes Himself with our poor flesh. It is for love of me. My impure eyes could never have borne the brightness of His glory ; and yet I had need of coming near my God, of seeing Him, of hearing Him, of touching and embracing Him. After the anxious waiting of humanity we had need of being delighted in the light of His sensible presence.
Master of all the goods of the world, the infant Jesus condemns Himself to poverty. It is for love of me. My heart, so easily charmed with earthly things, had to learn that they are too small and too mean for my love, and that those who have the smallest portion of them ought to possess, like their Saviour, the fullest measure of spiritual goods.
Eternally and perfectly happy, the infant Jesus began to suffer at the moment of His birth into the world. It is for love of me. I will be less inclined to rebel against the hard necessity of suffering when I see my Saviour submit to it from the first moment of His mortal life.
Who will not return the love of Him who has loved so much ?
Would that I possessed the most pure heart of Thy Mother, O my Jesus, in which to love Thee as I ought !
Would that I could unite my affections with those of Thy adopted Father, so full of humility and reverence !
Would that I had a place among the shepherds whom the angels notified of Thy birth, so as to take part in their simple and fervent adoration !
Would that I could enter into the company of the kings and lay down at Thy feet the gold of my charity, the incense of my adoration, the myrrh of my penance !
O beloved Child ! drive me not away. Allow me at least to envy the lot of the poor, dumb beasts that warmed Thee by their breath ; and, even if it is small indeed, deign to unite the humble love of my poor heart with Thy infinite love.
The Nativity of Jesus Christ by Father Masillon
Ecclesiasticus 7:40, "in all thy works be mindful of thy last end and thou wilt never sin."
ALL SOULS' DAY.
(Prayers for the dead.)
O vos fideles animae.
YE souls of the faithful who sleep in the Lord
But as yet are shut out from your final reward;
Oh, would I could lend you assistance to fly
From your prison below to your palace on high.
O Father of mercies, Thine anger withhold,
These works of Thy hands in Thy mercy behold:
Too oft from Thy path they have wandered aside,
But Thee, their Creator, they never denied.
O tender Redeemer, their misery see,
Deliver the souls that were ransom'd by Thee;
Behold how they love Thee despite of their pain,
Restore them, restore them to favour again.
O Spirit of Grace, O consoler divine,
See how for Thy Presence they longingly pine!
Ah, then, to enliven their sadness descend,
And fill them with peace and joy to the end.
O Mother of Mercy, dear soother of grief,
Send thou to their torments a balmy relief;
Attemper the rigour of Justice severe,
And soften their pains with a pitying tear.
Ye Patrons who watched o'er their safety below,
Oh think how they need your fidelity now;
And stir all the Angels and saints of the sky
To plead for the souls that upon you rely.
All ye too who honour the Saints and their Head,
Remember, remember to pray for the dead;
And they in return from their misery free'd,
To you will be friends in the hour of your need.
(Printed by permission of the Author.) F. CASWALL.
THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER SACRED TO THE PIOUS
PRACTICE OF PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD.
A HOMILY ON THE TEXT:"It is therefore a holy and salutary thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins."—2 Machabees, xii. 46.THE month of November is by a holy and excellent custom of the faithful in an especial manner sacred to the pious exercise of prayers for the dead, and the custom, of course, reposes first on the general truth conveyed in the words of the sacred Scripture above quoted: "It is a holy and salutary thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins;" and secondly, on the circumstance that on the second day of November, viz., on the day after the solemn celebration of the Feast of all Saints, the whole Church keeps a day of solemn commemoration of the Souls of all the Faithful departed, from whence the piety of the faithful has gradually built up the excellent practice of treating the whole month of November as in an especial manner sacred to the pious and holy exercise of prayer for the repose of the souls of the departed.
There is always a great and precious value in a good custom, and we can seldom do anything better than seek to introduce a good custom where it either does not exist or has fallen through, or endeavour to strengthen and invigorate by all means in our power what is already in existence. As returning November, then, brings round its annual memory of the departed, we cannot do better than seek to reinvigorate and refresh our minds with considering anew some of the principal reasons which render it a "holy and a salutary thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins."
This thought we must consider is holy and salutary in two different respects; first, for the reason that it is by the mercy of God that it comes to be granted to these prayers greatly to benefit the dead, by their effect in loosing them from their sins ; and secondly, because the charity of offering such prayers is very greatly blessed to ourselves.
What the particular sufferings are which those of the departed suffer who are in the condition to be benefited by our prayers, it is not granted to us to know. It is sufficient for us to know that the suffering is real, and that it is caused by their sins, for the sacred text is particular in specifying the effect of the prayer that is to be piously and charitably hoped for on behalf of the departed, namely, that they may be loosed from their sins. What the precise happy effect to the departed of being loosed from their sins may be, is not a thing placed within our ken or knowledge. These things are the secrets of the unseen world, which we are not allowed to know; but taking the world which we do see and know as a mirror of the world which is veiled from our sight, we ought to be able, without difficulty, to come at least to such an understanding of the benefit that must accrue to the departed from being loosed from their sins, as should be quite sufficient to awaken and keep alive our charity in their behalf. The sins which are taken notice of and which are attended with penalties and suffering in our world, are not by any means either fully commensurate or precisely identical with the sins that carry with them penalties and sufferings in the world that is out of our sight. We must guard ourselves from falling into any such error as this; but notwithstanding in a general way the parallel is such that there is very much to be learned from it.
Sin in our world, then, is known to bring two kinds of penalties with it. Direct penal suffering such as is visited upon proved offences against human law, of which kind are imprisonments, hard labour, floggings, and the like; and secondly, disqualification from eligible social promotion, and exclusion from desirable society with others. To be loosed, then, from sin in our world, has the effect which we can quite understand, of opening the prison doors for restoration to personal liberty and freedom, and the removal of the social bars and disqualifications which cause the exclusion of the sufferer from much that is pleasant and eligible in this world. And in this manner we may very sufficiently understand what a great gain it cannot fail to be to the departed, if the being loosed from their sins has the analogous effect in the world where they now are, of putting an end to the positive suffering that they may be enduring, as also of removing the bar and disqualification under which they lie of being admitted to the heavenly society, the joy of which they so greatly long to share.
If, therefore, God in His great mercy has been pleased to grant to the prayers of those who are still on earth the gracious efficacy that they avail to loose the dead from their sins, it needs no further insisting to make it plain, at least as regards the departed, how holy and salutary a thought it is "to pray for-the dead that they may be loosed from their sins."
But the benefit of such prayers is by no means restricted to the departed. If they bring, as we are taught to believe, a great relief and advantage to the dead for whom they are offered, they bring also at least equal blessings and benefits of another kind to the living who have the faith and charity to offer them; and the thought to pray for the dead is not holy and salutary solely with respect to the dead, but also equally holy and salutary in its way for the living.
In the first place, prayer for the dead is pre-eminently an exercise of the virtue of faith. Many other good deeds, such as visiting the sick, and relieving the pressing necessities of the poor, bring with them a present reward of their own, in our being able to see with our eyes the happy results of our charitable efforts; and there is a certain reward also in the gratitude and thankfulness which we may frequently receive in return for our assistance. But in the case of prayer for the dead, we can receive nothing whatever of this kind that we can appreciate by sight, for all rests purely on faith. It is simply from faith in the assurances of the Church that we know that our prayers occasion any relief to the sufferers, and we can as little see the sufferings themselves which are relieved as we can either see the relief which our prayers have been the means of bringing, or receive any manifestations of gratitude from those to whose relief we have been instrumental. And yet such prayer is far from being without its reward in its own kind, namely, in the way of greatly strengthening the very faith which has prompted and sustained the prayer. "Lord strengthen our faith," was a prayer of our Lord's Apostles to Him. And nothing tends more solidly to strengthen and confirm faith than the pious practice of praying for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.
Again, praying for the dead is holy and salutary for the living, because it puts them in mind of what is impending over themselves, in a way that cannot fail to make a salutary impression. "Remember thy latter end," says the sacred text, ''and thou wilt never sin." The charity of praying for the dead is rewarded by the fixing in our minds the salutary thought that we must die ourselves. And this thought is one that is fruitful in the best results. It is not only one of the best preservatives from sin, but it is also one of the most powerful stimulants to industry and the good employment of time. As the wise man says, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for there is neither knowledge, nor wisdom, nor understanding, in the grave whither thou hastenest."
And again, the object for which we pray in behalf of the dead is "that they may be loosed from their sins," and in doing this we confess that that which occasions suffering and distress to them in the world where they are is their sin. It cannot, therefore, but strike every one's mind how very contradictory it must be to have the charity for the dead to pray on their behalf, that they may be loosed from their sins, and to be without charity to ourselves, to beware how we may be binding ourselves in our own world with the chains of sinful practices in which we wrongly indulge ourselves, not attending to the truth that the sinner is equally bound by his sin as well in our visible world as in the world which we cannot see. If, therefore, we were to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins, at the same time that we are binding ourselves with sins of our own, we should be having charity which we confess to be for suffering brought upon others by their sins, and no concern for the sufferings which we could not but equally know that we are bringing on ourselves by our own sins. And this seems too palpable a contradiction to be possible, except through almost inconceivable blindness and perversity. It is, therefore, a most holy and salutary thought, as far as we are ourselves concerned, to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins, for in so doing we procure for ourselves the best possible admonition to keep out of the way of sins ourselves, and the charity which we show to the dead, by prayers for them, comes back to ourselves in the form of the best possible charity for ourselves, which dictates the most scrupulous abstinence from the ways of sin, and the most watchful vigilance against contact with anything that may be an occasion of temptation to sin.
And these considerations must now suffice to commend and encourage, to the utmost of our power, the pious and holy custom of making the month of November especially sacred to the charitable practice of praying and causing masses to be offered for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.
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The Liturgical Year - Christmas
Date Liturgical Schedule November 28: Feria
Monday of the First Week of Advent
November 29: Vigil of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
November 30: Saint Andrew, Apostle
Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
December 1: First Day of December
Thursday of the First Week of Advent Dominican Martyrology
December 2: Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart.
Saint Bibiana, Virgin and Martyr Friday of the First Week of Advent
December 3: Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Saint Francis Xavier, Confessor, Apostle of the Indies
December 4: The Second Sunday Of Advent Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Same Day. Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
December 5: Monday of the Second Week of Advent
Commemoration of Saint Sabas, Abbot
Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, and Confessor
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
December 7: Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
December 8: The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
December 9: Friday of the Second Week of Advent
December 10: Saint Melchiades, Pope and Martyr
The Translation of the holy House of Loretto
Saint Eulalia, Virgin and Martyr Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
December 11: Saint Damasus, Pope and Confessor
The Third Sunday Of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Monday of the Third Week of Advent
December 13: Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Same Day. Saint Odilia, Virgin and Abbess
Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
December 14: Seventh Day within the Octave of the Immaculate Conception
Wednesday in Ember Week
December 15: Octave of the Immaculate Conception OF THE MOST BLESSED VIRGIN
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
December 16: Blessed Sebastian Maggi, Confessor, OP Book, OP Rite
Saint Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli and Martyr
Friday in Ember Week
December 17: First Antiphon
Saturday in Ember Week
December 18: The Fourth Sunday Of Advent
Expectation of the Blessed Virgin
December 19: Third Antiphon
O Radix Jesse
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 20: Fourth Antiphon
O Clavis David
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 21: Saint Thomas, Apostle
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 22: The Patronage or Our Blessed Lady, OP Book Sixth Antiphon
O Rex Gentium
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 23: Seventh Antiphon
Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 24: Vigil of the Nativity
December 25: CHRISTMAS DAY
Early Morning Mass (8:00 AM)
Third Mass (10:00 AM)
December 26: Saint Stephen, The First Martyr
December 27: Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
December 28: Holy Innocents
December 29: Saint Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr
December 30: Day within the Octave of Christmas
December 31: Saint Sylvester, Pope and Confessor
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