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The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

for Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Do not do at Mass what you would not do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross before you.

Do at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would do were you standing at the foot of Christ hanging on the Cross — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross, really and truly. Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing before Christ on the Cross, you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Do what you would have done. Do not do
what you would never have done.

This is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.




The Sin of Anger

and the Pedigree of our Malice


Wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins — sins that, consequent to them, engender other sins.

Fundamentally, the sin of Anger is a rebellion against God.

It occurs when our will is frustrated and does not attain to its end. It is the disordered will inasmuch as it understands the self, and not God, as the end of a proposed or desired state of affairs. The fulfillment of the will of God is the greatest good possible for the human soul, which is to say that God is properly the end of all willing in man. Wrath is the violent rejection of God's will in preference to the unrestrained will of the self apart from God. Indeed, the expression of wrath or anger is the most explicit denial of the sovereignty of God over all things at all times. It is the preference of one's own will to the will of God, which, as we have said, is the greatest good possible. The human will that is one with the will of God is the attainment of holiness. It is union with God, and as such, the perfection of the soul. It is the speculum Dei, the perfect reflection of God in Whose image man is not just fundamentally, but in the Order of Being, ontologically created.

In all things we must discern the will of God — and do it. If it coincides with our own desires, that is an indication of the soul's progress to union with God. If it does not, and we repudiate our own will in preference (and obedience) to the will of God, that is even greater progress to union with God.

Once we come to understand that nothing — absolutely nothing — that touches upon us, happens to us, afflicts us or consoles us, occurs except that God either wills it or permits it for our good, however remote our apprehension of it, however implausible, or even impossible the consequences may appear to us. It is not within the provenance of man to see, let alone comprehend, that infinite reticulation of the fabric of the universe, at the intersections of which we would find the will of God intelligibly impressed.

A Paradigm

In the physical sciences today we often hear of things measured in terms of nanometers (1/1-billionth of a meter). 2-billion-600-million (2,600,000,000) transistors are, as of this writing, on Intel's 10-Core Xeon Westmere-EX microprocessor using a 32-nanometer manufacturing process. This is the mind of man, the design of mere man. The relationship of one single transistor to the 2 billion-600-million others, wherever their placement in the array, is such that the whole depends on the one and the one on the whole.

We nod our heads in agreement and are amazed at the staggering numbers involved and the sophisticated technology together with the intelligent design that coordinated all 2 billion-600-million transistors to a purposeful end. And yet we are skeptical that God orders all things, however remote our understanding of them, however utterly inaccessible, even impossible to our comprehension — to a good and coherent end because we cannot perceive it in the moment ... or even in a lifetime?

Were you to count up to 2 billion-600-million, by the second around the clock, it would take you over 82 years — which, according to actuarial tables, exceeds the anticipated lifetime of any man or woman — and all this on a man-made microprocessor less than the size of a typical thumbnail.

The material universe is a nearly infinite reticulation woven by God and multiplied exponentially by time through what was, is, and will be. It is ordered as God wills — not as we will.

Anger, then, is a rebellion against the will of God which is always consummately good. It has no lasting place in the heart of a Catholic. Irascibility (the predisposition or susceptibility to anger) as one of the Capital or Deadly Sins, is indeed the progenitor of other sins and other evils. It presumes to know the good with greater perspicacity than God and as such is latently a claim to superiority over God.

The Aftermath of Anger

Anger is the father of mayhem and murder. It was so from the beginning: through anger Cain rose up and slew Abel. It is expressed in impatience, pride (as the absence of humility) and selfishness. It is the violent frustration with a world that is not amenable to the selfish will, and in this sense it would be the "creator" of the world around it, a world in perfect conformity to its own will. In this sense it is the inclination to usurp the creative order of God. Instead of bending the will to God, it attempts to bend the world to itself — and God with it.

Anger expresses itself in destruction — of relationships, communities, even nations. It descends to depth of demonic rage. Hell, I am convinced, is infinitely more than the loss of all hope. It is the unremitting experience of eternal anger culminating in violent, unrelenting rage; rage against God, and all who are, and all that is. The contorted, frightening, and ugly face of anger is the baleful image of the demonic, a harbinger of things to come for those who do not submit themselves to God, like the father of lies and murder who in the primordial beginning first set his will against God.

Let it not be said of us,
"You are of your father the devil .... he was a murderer from the beginning, and ... a liar, and the father thereof." (St. John 8.44)

Anger — stamp it out within yourself, and give it no quarter. Like Saint Stephen, the first Martyr for Christ and His Church, let your countenance be as the
"face of an angel" (Acts 6.15) even amid your tormentors — and not the menacing face of the demons.

Choose then, whom you will be like ... and where, as a consequence, you are likely to go.

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"What is Holiness?"

Holiness — sanctity — is simply the conformity of the will to the will of God.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen on the Law of Love If you listen to no other homily on being a Catholic and your obligation to love God and your neighbor ... listen   to this: The Law of Love by Venerable Servant of God Fulton Sheen

Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in


for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50



Saturday July 26th in the Year of Grace 2014


This Day, the Twenty-Sixth Day of July

The departure out of this life of St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

At Philippi, in Macedonia, the birthday of St. Erastus, who was appointed bishop of that place by the blessed Apostle Paul, and there crowned with martyrdom.

At Rome, on the Latin road, the holy martyrs Symphronius, Olympius, Theodulus, and Exuperia, who (as we read in the Acts of Pope St. Stephen) were burnt alive, and thus obtained the palm of martyrdom.

At Porto, St. Hyacinth, martyr, who was first thrown into the fire, and then precipitated into a stream without being injured. Afterwards, under the emperor Trajan, being struck with the sword by the ex-consul Leontius, he terminated his life. His body was buried by the matron Julia, on her own estate near Rome.

Also, at Borne, St. Pastor, priest. His name is used to designate a cardinal's title in the church of St. Pudentiana, on the Viminal hill.

At Verona, St. Valens, bishop and confessor.

In the monastery of St. Benedict, near Mantua, St. Simeon, monk and hermit, who was renowned for many miracles, and at an advanced age rested in the Lord.

At Lovere, in the diocese of Brescia, St. Bartholemea Capitanio, virgin, who founded the Sisters of Charity, dedicated to teaching the young. Pope Pius XII added her name to the catalogue of holy virgins.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.


Roman Martyrology by Month


Why the Martyrs Matter

Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2. “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.

Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal

Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised "De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs" for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.



by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore

THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? "Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted." Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannon's mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion "If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this world's evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?"

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day's models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

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1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15


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(Apocalypse 3.8)

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